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Labour Day has come and gone. The school bell rang this morning and all the kiddos filed in for another season of ABC’s and 1,2,3’s. Can I get a fist pump parents? Woohoo!

Cork Elementary School Bell

Not so fast though! Just because the kids have headed back to school, doesn’t mean that you don’t have a thing or two to learn as well! Of course, my version of learning comes from home maintenance, as you might well imagine. So here are a few ABC’s and 1,2,3’s that you home owner’s might want to think about now that the kids aren’t constantly underfoot. Back to work with you!



Autumn (Photo credit: blmiers2)

A – Autumn is a great time to give a good clean to yard tools, before storing them for the winter. Sharpen the blades on your shears (and whatever other sharp tools you’ve got). Don’t forget to oil them before putting them away either. Check to make sure your rake is handy and will make it through another season of raking. With all the drought-like conditions we have had this summer, the leaves seem to be turning already, so start warming up those raking muscles! Pull out the summer annuals that are looking ragged and replace them with festive mums and kale. It’s almost time to plant spring bulbs too! I don’t even want to think about it yet, but you also might want to move your snow shovel to a handier spot too. Just saying!

B – Brushes that have been ignored during the humid months of summer deserve to be picked up again to apply a fresh coat of paint to the house. Update the kitchen or freshen up the bathroom. Start the school year off right with a fresh start for everything and everyone in your house, including everyone’s bedroom walls! The temperatures will only be dropping from here on out, so making your home more inviting, when you will be spending more time indoors, will be a delight on those cold winter nights when all you want to do is cocoon.

C – Clean out the cupboards of the summer gear. With the school bell rung, sneakers are the shoe of choice for children now. It is a perfect time to toss the ratty flip flops and store your strappy sandals for another season. At some point a little rain might fall, so grab your galoshes and get them handy, along with the fall coats. As you are cleaning and storing summer gear, you also might want to cover your patio table and store your chairs. Lazy days in the hammock are pretty much over too, so if you store it for winter, now is the time!


1 – Once a month the furnace filter needs to be replaced. I am not saying that you need to turn on the furnace just yet, but it might be time to go look at your furnace and see when the last time you replaced its filter was. The cold winds of winter will be blowing around soon enough, so make sure that you are prepared for when they arrive. While you are at it, you might even want to have your furnace inspected and cleaned before winter is knocking on your door.

2 – Twice a year you should seal your tile grout and now is the perfect time to do that. The heat and humidity of summer are on the wane, making indoor projects less gruelling. This is a project that many home owners forget, but applying a sealant protects your tiles from mildew and mold. As many bathrooms are tiled, and humidity is a given in this room, this is a project that you should definitely have on your home improvement list.


Lawn (Photo credit: प्रतीक)

3 – Remember the big 3 of fall lawn care; fertilizer, overseeding, water! Just because the heat of summer is gone, doesn’t mean that its time to ignore our lawn’s needs. You should continue to water your grass right up until your lawn stops growing. Look towards a greener lawn next year, by overseeding and fertilizing now to ensure a healthier lawn in the spring. While it doesn’t need to be done twice a year, if you didn’t aerate your lawn this spring, you might want to consider it now as well.



The temperatures have shifted. It is decidedly cooler at night and you might have even needed a sweater in the morning as of late. While I am not quite ready to say goodbye to Summer, I think it is safe to say that the height of it is gone. Autumn might not officially ring in for another month yet, but the school bell will be calling all kids in two weeks time. It won’t be long before frost will follow. Perhaps it’s time to tackle some last-minute outside projects, before the weather is too crisp for comfort.


  • Now that the humidity has broken, how about tackling those outdoor painting projects?
    • Stain the deck and fence
    • Slap a fresh coat of paint on wooden siding
    • Repaint the bench on the front porch to erase that sun-stained look
    • Touch up your cast-iron planters with a bright and cheery colour
  • While you are looking at your planters, why not think about replanting them with some fall flair?
    • Remove leggy annuals and replace with seasonal selections like kale, stonecrop, mums or bright red blood grass
    • If you are thinking further ahead, you could even add a hay bale under, behind or near your planters, plus other fall selections like Indian corn, or decorative gourds that will have visitors in mind of the coming Thanksgiving season
  • Don’t limit yourself to planters to bring Autumn colour to your yard!
    • Say goodbye to pansies and petunias and embrace black-eyed susans, asters and delicate grasses to sway in the breeze
    • Deadhead spent flowers to make room for late season bloomers, but leave enough for a bit of winter interest once a blanket of snow covers the ground. Sedums look graceful touched with white, as do decorative grasses and sunflower stalks. You just might find a new crop returning next year due to your (lack) of efforts now!
    • While you are planting fall favourites, think about digging in some spring bulbs too, like daffodils, crocuses and a tulip or two
  • The leaves might not be turning yet and clogging up your gutters, but it doesn’t hurt to get up on your roof now to inspect it for loose or missing shingles. Check your flashing, chimney and pound in any loose gutter spikes while you are up there.
  • Once you are back on the ground, inspect your home for ventilation leaks around windows and doors. If your a/c is still running, you will feel the cool breeze through those gaps and be able to fill them before the breeze is blowing the other way.
  • Inspect your foundation to see if you might be in for any other problems come the approaching wetter seasons. Cracks can spell trouble in your basement and are better to fix when the weather is still dry.


Folks in London, Ontario are in for a treat this weekend. Whether you are into stained glass, fabrics, metal works, pottery, wood working or even paintings, there will be something to pique the interest of any art afficienado around, at the 2012 London Artists’ Studio Tour. From Friday April 13th through Sunday the 15th, you will get the chance to meet the artists in their homes and/or studios for the 19th annual London Artists’ Studio Tour. Not only will you get the chance to ask questions about the creative process, but you even get the opportunity to purchase art right from the creator! If you ask me, that makes for a more personalized and special way to decorate your home.

With over 20 artists participating in this year’s studio tour, I thought I would highlight a few of the different artists that will be in attendance during this self-guided tour. That’s right, you get the opportunity to visit whichever artists you want, whenever you want over the weekend. My suggestion to you though is, if you intend to buy anything go Friday night, as snacks and refreshments will be available at all of the stops en route and selection will be at peak. Nothing better to tempt the eye, than with a full tummy, I’d say! The hours of the tour are as follows, but check out the online map or pick up a brochure from one of the artists for location information. Perhaps I’ll bump into you on the tour this weekend. See you then!

Friday 13th, 2012: 7:00pm – 9:30pm
Saturday 14th, 2012: 10:00am – 5:00pm
Sunday 15th, 2012: 12:00 – 5:00pm




ACME ANIMAL (Metalwork)

Acme Animal is Sue Parke, Nancy Clarke, and Don Gidley, a group of artists who work together to produce folk art with an urban sensibility. Their metalwork emphasizes colour and whimsy, and ranges from clocks and candleholders to sculptures.


CAROL CLARK (Painting)

Needing to do something dierent and challenging, Carol began painting in oil this year after more than 25 years of working in watercolour. She has found it energizing and fun to work on mostly landscapes on big canvases. Carol will also be showing watercolours, cards and other small items.


DOUG MAGRATH (Woodturning)

Doug makes functional bowls and platters on local hardwoods as well as elegant decorative burl bowls, hollow forms, vases, threaded boxes and many smaller items. He has been a full-time woodturner since 1997.



The discovery of a striking turquoise matte glaze with an exceedingly smooth surface complements Elly’s functional pottery. Decorative surfaces lend a sense of spontaneity to her disciplined pieces such as mugs and dip dishes. Another facet of her work this year is painted bird imagery on large platters.



Lynette is a painter on glass in the ancient tradition of European cathedral windows. She uses the same meticulous techniques as the medieval artists she admires. Lynette relaxes from this intensive work by drawing with coloured pencil on black paper en plein air. She restores stained glass windows and teaches all levels in her studio Rose Window Stained Glass.



Colour is Shirley’s passion. From her attic full of wool, alpaca, silk, llama, mohair etc., she weaves multi-textured pillows in several sizes. She also makes vibrant sculpted scarves. Shirley loves to do commissions, and would be pleased to work with your own special colours.


As the New Year settles in, it is a time for renewal for both your life and home. Many of you may have started off 2012 with resolutions like losing weight, getting fit, eating better or spending more time with family and friends. These are goals that are noble, but sometimes difficult to maintain if the spirit is weak. If you crave a fresh start that will last, why not think about a fresh coat of paint for your home. It is one of the easiest ways  to achieve that sense of change, power and renewal and you don’t have to sweat for hours at the gym to gain it. From a real estate agent’s perspective, it also increases the value of your home, but doesn’t kill the pocketbook in the process. Sounds like a winner idea to me!

Colour Trends for 2012

So if painting your home sounds easier than shedding that spare tire, why not head to the paint store and grab a few samples today! Every year there are new trends in the colour palette and it can all be a little confusing at times. Is fuchsia the colour of the year? And does it go with the teal couch you bought last year? Hmm…

Relax! While your favourite colour is always in (within the bounds of your own home at least), there are plenty of experts out there that predict what the hot new colours are for the year. And this year’s hot colours are not burnt orange or canary yellow, but I can enlighten you at least as to where on the colour wheel you may want to start looking for that trendy new shade for the kitchen or bathroom.

Across the board of paint companies, it would seem that blue is where it is at. This year, shades of blue create a calming effect during the continued rough economic slide we have been facing. There is enough chaos on the world scale to leave most people needing that quiet, peaceful space to retreat to, of which blue just seems to resonate. Look for Wythe Blue, Amethyst Shadow and Montpelier (all from Benjamin Moore), to create that oasis from the storm outside.

That is complimented by a handful of other earth tones, of which gray seems to be the leader. Thank clay, smoke, nimbus and sharkskin. They are cool, timeless and safe to use in any room of the house.

Follow those up with your other earth tones in green, brown and white and we spell neutral all over. Truly, it is a real estate agent’s dream, as the neutral palette is always a good sell when it is time to put that for sale sign on the front yard.

If you are craving a splash of colour to liven up your space though and just aren’t feeling the grays, why not look to the pink family? Beauti-Tone has a delicate Japanese Blossom that is mature enough for the bedroom or entry-way. Sico also has the pulse on pinks with a pleasing Chili Bean or the darker Blackcurrant Syrup, both of which would make excellent accent colours to make your gray pop. It’s not just for the baby girl’s room any more!


Regardless of what colour you pick though, remember that a fresh coat of paint will liven up any room of your house. And that goes a long way to putting the perfect start to 2012!

Welcome to In Your Neighbourhood!

Allow me to introduce myself. The name is Jim. You want to know more? Well, check out my "About Me" page! Don't forget to take a peek at my "Local London Listings" while you are here too! I update it regularly. Enjoy your visit and drop me a line to let me know you were in the neighbourhood!

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