Outdoor Lighting Tips

Hanging your Christmas lights is a lot of work and can be a frustrating endeavor. Below are a few tips to make sure that hanging your Christmas lights is a safe and easy task.

Plan your Attack: First, decide on the area of your home that you want to cover and figure out how many lights you’ll need. Then test out your lights to make sure they still work properly. If you need more lights to cover your home, we have a great selection of lights available at our store!

Keep your Extension Cords Safe: Before using extension cords, you should first make sure that the cords are suitable for the outdoors. Also, make sure that when they are set up, your lights and extension cords are kept out of high-traffic areas. They should also be kept off the ground to prevent being covered in snow or dipped in puddles of water.

Make Sure your Lights are Suitable for the Outdoors: There are a variety of lights that you can choose from. Like your extension cords, make sure that your lights are rated for outdoor use. Never use indoor lights for the outdoors, as these lights won’t be waterproof.

Don’t Hang your Roof Lights up Alone: If you are hanging lights on your roof or anywhere that requires the use of a ladder, make sure that you have someone there to hold the base of the ladder for you. You don’t want to risk falling off and hurting yourself!

Open Your Pool for Summer in 12 Easy Steps

The weather is getting warmer, the snow is melting, and the sun seems to shine brighter with each day. Pretty soon it will be time to open up the pool for summer! Whether you are “summer-izing” your pool for the first time or you’d like a reminder of all the necessary steps, we have you covered – no pun intended! Here’s how to successfully prepare your pool for summer:

1. Remove Debris & Drain Water from Pool Cover

The first step in preparing your pool for summer fun is removing all the water and debris from your winter pool cover. Use a submersible pool cover pump for easy water removal. Once your pool cover is completely dry, you can use a large broom or leaf blower to clear off leaves and other debris so they don’t fall into the pool during the next step.

2. Remove Pool Cover

Now that water and debris have been removed from your winter cover, grab a friend and carefully peel the cover back and off of your pool.

3. Clean & Store Away Pool Cover

Pool covers can be easily cleaned with soap, water, and a soft brush. Be careful not to use anything too abrasive, as this may tear the material. For protection against bugs, rodents, and mildew, wait until the pool cover is completely dry then store in a heavy-duty plastic bin.

4. Remove All Winterizing Plugs & Re-Attach Drain Plugs

Make sure all winter plugs are removed from your pool equipment, including the filter, pump, heater, pool cleaners, etc., and replace them with your normal drain plugs. Ensure all antifreeze has been discharged before removing winterizing plugs from your pool skimmers and return lines.

5. Reconnect Pool Equipment

Reconnect your pool filter, pump, heater, and anything else that was disconnected when closing the pool. Above-ground swimming pools will need to have flexible plumbing lines reconnected to the pool equipment and skimmer.

6. Refill Your Pool

Using a garden hose, refill your pool back to its normal level (about halfway up the skimmer).

7. Clean Your Pool

Use a leaf rake net, pool brush, and/or pool vacuum to remove any remaining debris in the water.

8. Set up Your Pump & Pool Filter

Make sure to properly replace drain plugs (and any other parts that have been removed) to your pool pump and filter. Check the pump’s O-ring for any cracks or damage and replace if such blemishes are present. If the O-ring is in good shape, apply an O-ring lubricant to maintain a tight seal and provide easy removal later on.

9. Start the System Back Up

Turn on your pool filter and pump; check and make sure the system is running properly with no leaks or drips. If the pump fails to pull any water, prime the pump by turning off the filter system, removing the lid, and filling the pump housing with water. Replace the pump and turn the system back on again.

10. Test & Adjust

It is crucial to test the quality of your pool water before swimming. Once your pump and filtration system has been up and running for several hours, you will want to test levels of pH (ideal: 7.4 – 7.6), alkalinity (ideal: 80 to 120 ppm), and chlorine (ideal: 2.0 to 4.0 ppm). Using a pool testing kit is an inexpensive and easy way to ensure the safety of your water. Once you’ve established your pool water chemistry, you may need to balance your water by adjusting pH, adding chlorine, or removing phosphate.

11. Filter Overnight

Run your filtration system overnight to get rid of any remaining dirt, bacteria, algae, and debris still present in your pool water. Use algaecide to help remove stubborn or excessive algae.

12. Shock & Awe

The final step to cleaning and preparing your pool for summer is to apply a shock treatment to the water. This will eliminate nearly all the remaining contaminants and bacteria, providing you with a fresh, clean start to the summer season. Once you are all set, you can kick back, relax, and enjoy your pool!

Last Minute Gift Ideas Everyone Can Love

Last minute gifts don’t have to be terrible, rushed and thoughtless gifts. Just because you ran out of time doesn’t mean you don’t care. Plenty of people have busy schedules, stressful jobs, and responsibilities. Fortunately, you can show others how much they mean to you, regardless of your busy schedule with some last-minute gift ideas that are still pretty thoughtful. These projects are sentimental, sweet, and useful, and they’ll take less than 30 minutes to create. Happy Holidays!

Homemade Cookie Recipe


Hot Chocolate Reindeer

Chocolate Dipped Spoons

Photo Luminaries

Gift Card in Candy Jar

A Money Tree

 
 
Sherrie Carter
 

DIY Christmas Ornaments & Projects

When I was younger, my mom had my sisters and I make a handmade ornament each year. Now, we have a large selection of extremely sentimental ornaments from our past. This is something I plan to continue, and my sisters already have. Handmade ornaments are a tradition in most families, because they’re sweet and kids love making them. The best part is that you don’t need artistic talents, because when they come out terrible it’s even more adorable. Looking back on your uneven reindeer or dilapidated snowman is hilarious. Try some of these DIY ornaments with the kids this year. In a few years when they’re older, you can reminisce about the fun time you had making it, and you’ll laugh each year when you remove it from storage.




Scented Ornaments



Hand & Feet Prints



Melted Crayon Christmas Ornaments



TMNT Ornaments



Scrabble Tile Messages



Glittered Ornaments




Feeling even more crafty? Try some of these adorable DIY decorations and gifts this year. Hand made Christmas items offer an inimitable charming touch to your home. Check them out and let us know your favorite ideas!

Sparkle Branches

Santa Tulle Wreath

No Sew Deer Pillow

Peppermint Sugar Scrub

Snow Globe Ornament

 
 
Sherrie Carter
 

Unique Gift Wrap Ideas for Christmas Presents

Christmas gift wrap is as important as the gift itself. When you put effort into wrapping the gift, it shows that you care. It’s such a simple gesture that can say a lot. Sure, nobody will judge you for having mediocre gift wrap, because they’ll appreciate the gift inside. However, when you take the time to get creative and innovative with your wrap, it shows the recipient that you went the extra mile, just to give them a beautiful presentation of their gift.

Sweater Gift Wrap

Use an old sweater to make an adorable sweater-wrapped gift!


Chalkboard Wrap

Create trendy & personalized messages with chalkboard gift wrap!


Stamped Kraft Paper

Create your own pattern with markers on a Kraft paper for a custom rustic-chic giftwrap!


Plaid Wrapping Paper

If you have plaid decor in your home, try wrapping most of the gifts in plaid, red, green, and gold. This selection of colors and patterns will turn the gifts into a wonderful decoration. Plaid is big this year, just ask Target!


Glam Wrap

Add a bit of glitz and glam to your gift with shiny gift wrap and glittered accents!


Santa Style

Make your gift bag look like Santa. How cute is this?!



 
Sherrie Carter
 

Free Christmas Printable Downloads

Make the holidays fun, creative, and easy with these FREE printable downloads I found. I recently purchased three different sets of gift tags from varying chain stores and they left a lot to be desired. Although pretty, they ripped easily and didn’t stick to the wrap well. This sent me on a mission to print my own and apply them with double-sided scotch tape. While searching, I also found wall signs, jar labels, activities and even emoji wrapping paper! I’ve added pins to the best ones, but there are so many more! Check out these 50 Christmas Printable Downloads from Personal Creations.

Modern Christmas Printables


Hot Chocolate Labels

Rustic & Plaid Printable Gift Tags

Christmas Sign Printables

Classic & Whimsical Printable Gift Tags

 
 
Sherrie Carter
 

Willow Tree Figures Make Wonderful Gifts

Looking for the perfect gift this season?

Willow Tree figures are beautiful, timeless items that make amazing sentimental gifts. I love seeing these gorgeous handcrafted items every time I visit one of our stores. They caught my attention this past Mother’s Day, and I purchased my first one for my mom. We normally do quirky and nerdy gifts, but this time I went meaningful… and it was a hit. It was a truly unique and unexpected gift that told a story of a daughter’s appreciation for her Mother. That’s merely one example of the feelings these gifts can create.

These intriguing figures come in a variety of styles, each representing a life milestone, special memory, a loved one, or a specific passion. The artist and creator intentional leaves the faces blank and the clothes plain, allowing the recipient to create their own image in their minds. This empty canvas for imagination makes the gift feel incredibly personal, mysterious, and meaningful.

If you’ve never seen a Willow Tree figure, view a few examples in the photos below. The real magic happens when you see them in person, and when you feel them. If you need a meaningful gift for someone special, visit any of our three locations to browse through the figures. Choose a few that you think would work. Then inspect each one individually. Pick it up and really look at it for a long time. The one that speaks to you and evokes the most emotion is the winner.

 

Family Members & Life Events

Willow Tree Figures

New Baby

Willow Tree Figures

Military Remembrance & Honor

 Willow Tree Figures

17 Gorgeous DIY Thanksgiving Centerpieces

Inviting guests over for Thanksgiving or other holiday parties this fall? Invoke a cozy, welcoming atmosphere for your nearest and dearest with adorable harvest accents and gorgeous centerpieces. Try one of these amazing ideas we found on #Pinterest, and add them to a focal point like coffee tables, dining tables, or fire mantles. Not only are these projects beautiful, but you can make them your own and totally take all the credit when guests comment on how great they look! Check them out below, and be sure to share your favorite centerpiece ideas in our comments section!

Floral & Pinecone Decoration


White Pumpkin & Wheat

Burlap, Twine & Corn

Pumpkin Wine Chiller

Edible Turkey Centerpiece

Decorative Harvest Lanterns

Painted White Pumpkins

Harvest Candle Holders

Thanksgiving Mason Jar

Glitter Pumpkins

Live Apple Candles

Twig & Silk Floral

Pumpkin & Candle Drawer

Thanksgiving Planter Box with Candles

Pumpkins in Jars

Golden Pumpkins

Pumpkin Vase



 
 
Sherrie Carter
 

5 Thanksgiving Cooking Fails & How To Fix Them

The first few years you cook Thanksgiving dinner, there’s bound to be some disasters… and that’s okay. I’ve had my share of cooking catasrophies. We’ve all been there. Even the best cooks face these issues as stress, time, and distractions are all factors in preparing a meal. The first thing to remember is that you can fix most of these disasters with a little bit of patience and finesse. Staying calm is easier said than done when your turkey is still frozen and your stuffing is bone dry. After reading this post, bookmark it. If one of these mishaps should occur, you’ll know where to find a solution to your problem, thus eliminating stress and panic. The one disaster we can’t help you with is the notorious “forgotten item”… so make sure you double and triple check your shopping list before and after leaving the store.

 

pumpkin pie fail cooking fix

 

The Issue: The Turkey is Still Frozen! 
Fix it:
 Thaw in cool water; this will take about 30min per pound. If you don’t have that kind of time you can still cook a frozen bird. For a 12lb turkey, cook it for about 4 or 5 hours at 325, until it reaches 165 degrees. It may need an extra hour to get to that temperature.
Prevent it: Try your best to thaw it in a fridge, leaving about five hours per pound. Leave notes, tell other people. Do your best to have enough time to thaw the bird thoroughly before cooking time.

The Issue: The Turkey is Dry!
Fix it: Spray the turkey with warm stock to desired taste. If you have the time, you can bake the turkey in vegetable stock for about 15 minutes after slicing it. Don’t just hide it in gravy. Some people don’t opt for it, and your guests may see through the cover up.
Prevent it: Take the turkey out of the oven at 155 degrees and tent it in foil until it reaches 165 degrees out of the oven. This will take about 15 minutes after you remove the turkey.

The Issue: The Stuffing is Too Dry!
Fix it. Slowly add warm broth to the mix. Butter would work as well.
Prevent it: Remember that stuffing recipes are a guideline. If it feels too dry, it probably is. Add butter or broth before baking.

The Issue: We Have Soggy Stuffing!
Fix it: This is the easiest fix of all. Simply add more dry bread, toast, or croutons to the mix . You could also bake the stuffing for an additional 15 minutes if it’s only slightly soggy.
Prevent it: Similar to the dry stuffing tip, use your judgement. If it doesn’t feel thick enough, try adding dry bread before baking. Make sure you don’t use fresh bread, as it won’t work with its moisture.

The Issue: I Cracked My Pumpkin Pie!
Fix it:  Immediately after removing the pie, before it cools… use a warm metal spatula to smooth out the crack. If the crack is too deep,  you can individually slice the pie and serve it banquet style.
Prevent it:  When baking, make sure all of the ingredients are a the same temperature. Moreover, they should all be room temperature. The shock of cold to hot in the oven is what causes the crack.
Sherrie Carter

Decorating with Micro Rice Lights

Have you seen the amazing micro rice lights at DAVE’S? Smaller than traditional mini light strings, the micro rice lights are perfect for illuminating terrariums, succulent gardens, fairy gardens & more. The tiny lights placed on a thin wire create a magical look, and they’re incredibly easy to work with. The thin wire is only slightly visible in your creations, giving your piece an entrancing glow. Don’t just take our word for it though, check out a few examples in the photos below. Love decorating with lights? Send us photos of your creations and we’ll highlight the best ones!