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Shopping for a duvet can introduce you to a whole lot of terms you’d never heard before, or least terms you’ve forgotten since the last time you went shopping for bedding. Fill, fill power, thread count, and material are four of the biggest factors impacting the quality of a duvet. Before you go out and start comparing duvets, brush up on your terminology.

#1 Fill

The material that fills a duvet will affect how breathable and insulating a duvet is. The three most common duvet fills are down, feathers, and synthetic materials. Synthetic materials are typically the most affordable but the least breathable. Down is highly insulating and might be too much for hot nights unless used in combination with feathers.

#2 Fill Power

As funny as it sounds, fill power is a measure of fluffiness, or the loft of a duvet, and it’s also related to how insulating the down is. It means “down per ounce” and a fill power of 600 or higher is a good sign of a quality duvet.

#3 Thread Count

If you’ve been shopping for duvet covers, you’ve probably heard a lot about thread count. Thread count is based on the number of threads woven into the sheets. Higher numbers are generally associated with higher quality, but that’s not always the case. Since extra “picks” can be woven into the weft (horizontal threads), sometimes thread counts reach into the thousands without really affecting quality. A realistic maximum thread count per square inch is around 500 to 600, though it depends on the manufacturer.

#4 Duvet Cover Material

The duvet cover is a removable cover on your duvet and it plays a big role in how comfortable you feel at night. The most common types of materials are cotton, flannel, silk, polyester, and bamboo.

Cotton may be the most comfortable duvet cover material, especially if you opt for Egyptian cotton. Upland cotton is the most common cotton grown in the world and not as soft as Egyptian or Pima cotton, but it’s an affordable option. Pima cotton has longer threads that are frequently used in bed sheets. It’s grown in the southern United States.

Flannel is related to cotton – it’s cotton that’s been combed and it’s the material you want on your duvet cover on cold winter nights. It traps body heat under the duvet and keeps you warm and cozy.

Silk is a fine fiber produced by silk worms and it’s associated with luxury. However, silk is expensive and while it can feel cool at first, it’s not necessarily the best material for summer.

Bamboo, on the other hand, is breathable like cotton. The one downside is it feels a bit rougher and stiff.

Finally, there’s polyester, the only synthetic material on this list. Typically, you want polyester blended with cotton, as on its own polyester is stiff and rough. Used in a blend, cotton will be more affordable.

It’s time to simplify your duvet shopping. Go online and quickly compare thread counts, materials, and fills. You’ll have a cozy night’s sleep in no time.

Finding out your house’s value is vital to a lot of business.  If you’re trying to sell it, looking to get a home equity credit, or wanting to evaluate if your yearly property taxes are correct, you’ll need to know your home’s value.  Luckily, although there is a little guesswork with any method, it’s easier than ever to discover your home’s value.

Check Similar Houses In Your Area

This option is the easiest and least invasive way to find out.  Look around for homes that have recently sold in your area.  Although you can also check the cost of houses up for sale, since these haven’t sold yet, it can be hard to tell how good of a reference they are.

Consider the size of your home, what add-ons and perks it has, and what things you think may detract from the price.  It’s vital that you be honest with yourself and not expect your one-story, two-bedroom home to have the same value as a two-story four-bedroom.

Calculate It Online

The internet is any home seller’s best friend.  It has an array of tools from how to find a real estate agent, to a property value estimator.  This option works better if you’re not entirely sure on whether you want a realtor or not, and can help you see why your home’s value is what it is.  With this clarity, you may be able to make changes to improve that value or be pleasantly surprised by how high it already is.

Pay A Professional

A professional, who makes their living in appraising properties, is the one to trust above all.  They take your property, the market, and comparable properties, into account and come back with an estimate closest to what you’d make if you sold the property.  The only drawback is this is the only option on this list where you’d have to pay someone.  

A professional appraiser would give you the best results, the ones closest to reality, but the price of one is a drawback for many.

This option is best for people sure they want to sell their home and want to take the next step to do so.

Talk To A Realestate Agent

This option doesn’t come without strings.  Although most real estate agents will do comparable market analysis checks for you- they usually do these under the assumption that you will hire them to sell your home.  If you’re wanting a free analysis, and don’t mind disappointing someone if you don’t want to sell, this could be a viable option.  Unfortunately, because of the pressure to follow through and hire the realtor, many people avoid this option.

The main point in finding out your property’s value is to decide if you want to sell it.  Although there are countless other reasons to do it, that’s the lead one.  Finding out your home’s value can help you make changes to increase it, or choose to hold onto it longer until the market is in your favor.  Make the choice that’s right for you, but be sure to stay informed.

Creating the perfect family space is not an easy ask for parents. We have to find the balance between usable space and practicalities combined with the reality that every day our children leave a sprawling mess for us to wade through. Toddlers especially relish the opportunity to pull every single item we own out of drawers and off shelves in order to redistribute them about the floor. We have found one small solution to keep a handle on tidiness, which helps with at least the visual aesthetics of family space, if not the lock and key required to keep hands out of drawers! That solution is window shutters. And what is better than everyday ordinary shutters?  Cheap shutters of course!

How will cheap shutters help enhance the family space? As mentioned it’s no secret that toddlers and children will pull everything down within reach. That goes for window coverings too. With full length curtains and shades our little loved ones will find endless opportunities to play hide and seek, to pull down and to generally cause havoc where possible with flapping material. Using window shutters singly eliminates this opportunity without any compromise to the visual appearance of our family spaces. In fact, we’re sure that you will agree interior shutters actually look pretty sharp in rooms, enhancing the space and creating clean living styles. The resident have a really great article for how to create a clutter free room and having window shutters would be well served in there!

Are shutters more hassle than they are worth?

Shutters can be pretty spendy even if they are ‘cheap’. However if you look at the long term they work out pretty well and could even add value to your home. Curtains need some cleaning every once in a while, especially if you live in a city where they will capture all of the pollution entering your windows. So factor in some washing as well as fading and your nice curtains become a little bit of a pain to keep spick and span. With shutters a quick wipe down with a cloth every few months keeps the dust and particular pollution at bay. Quick, simple and cheap to maintain! When you consider that if you ever up sticks and move home you’ll likely be leaving your shutters behind, they definitely add some value to a home as the new owners will at worst have immediate window coverings. This definitely makes life easier during a stressful moving home time. At best they will see how perfect they are for the space and keep them installed in their new house for longer. Win-win! Phil Spencer puts it well in this article in the Telegraph calling shutters out for their ‘timeless elegance’. Need we say more?!

 

After enjoying fresh vegetables, herbs, and fruit from your own garden during the summer months, you may be disappointed when winter comes around. Of course, you can buy organic produce from many local markets. However, there is something enriching about the process of growing your own produce.

The reality is that you do not have to completely abandon growing your own produce in the wintertime. You can cultivate an indoor winder garden. What follows are some tips, suggestions, and strategies to grow vegetables, herbs, and fruit indoors during the colder months of the year.

Herbs

Herbs represent the easiest edible plants to grow indoors during the winter months. With that in mind, basil is the simplest of the herbs to grow indoors — and, if you are like most people, basil is likely one of your favorite herbs. Growing basil can be done successfully by planning seeds in a pot placed next to a south facing window.

Other types of herbs oftentimes can be better grown indoors if you start them from cuttings, rather than seeds. These include rosemary, thyme, parsley, and oregano. These herbs can be planted in a pot place in a south facing window as well.

Root Vegetables

You may have grown different types of root vegetables outdoors. You can grow some of these successfully indoors during the winter months.

Radishes definitely can grow in an indoor setting because this vegetable doesn’t root as deeply as other root vegetables. Certain varieties of carrots can also be grown indoors as well.

The key to cultivating radishes and carrots indoors during the winter months is to select a box or trough of an appropriate depth (deeper for carrots). Seeds should be planted any time from mid-autumn to late winter.

Mushrooms

Mushrooms can be grown inside during wintertime. You may be unfamiliar with cultivating mushrooms. Indeed, you may think that there is just something too mysterious about growing mushrooms. In fact, you can cultivate mushrooms fairly easily.

You need to have a draft-free, dark place in your home. A cupboard of pantry can work. Ideally, the space should be such that you can maintain a temperature between 50 and 60 degrees.

You do not need to begin the process of growing mushrooms completely from scratch. You can purchase special compost that contains mushroom spawn. All you need to do to start the process of growing your own mushrooms is to water the soil and then leave it in your predesignated space.

Leafy Greens

If you want a bit more of a challenge, you can cultivate certain leafy greens indoors in wintertime. This includes lettuce, spinach, and arugula.

Leafy greens require more sunlight than the other vegetables previously discussed. IN reality, leafy greens are likely going to need more sunlight that can be gleaned even in a window with a southern exposure in wintertime. Therefore, you need to seriously consider investing in fluorescent grow lights to supplement natural light. You will want to leave the grow lights on between 10 to 12 hours each day.

Beyond the issue with ensuring leafy greens get enough light, the rest of the process of tending to these types of vegetables is not hard. You begin the process by planting seeds in moist potting soil. You need to water your leafy green crop regularly.

Tomatoes

You do not have to abandon home-grown tomatoes in the wintertime. As with leafy greens, tomatoes to require a bit more effort when grown indoors during the winter months.

You do need to select smaller varieties of tomatoes. With that said, you will still want to stake the plants to ensure that the weight of the fruit properly is supported. You will also want to use a larger pot or container to accommodate a tomato plant.

Edible Flowers

You may not have yet had occasion to experiment with edible flowers. You might want to take the plunge to growing and using edible flowers during the winter months.

Two edible flowers are particularly easy to grow indoors in wintertime. These are impatiens and calendulas.

These two types of edible flowers are delicious addition to salads. They are perfect salad toppers, adding color and an additional dash of flavor.

As with most of the other plants recommended for an indoor winter garden, edible flowers can be placed in a south facing window in your home. The amount of natural light received each day via a window on the south side of your house should be enough to sustain the growth of edible flowers.

Jessica Kane is a writer for Grow Ace, your best online option for getting your new hydroponic grow operation up and running quickly and easily.