Get More Heat from Your Same Ol' Fireplace with Simple TechniqueWritten by Susan Penney
For some people, a fireplace might as well be a video of flaming logs. Their primary interest is welcoming ambiance a fireplace’s blaze presents. If, however, you expect your fireplace to provide heat in exchange for your log-carrying, fire-building efforts, (or in case of gas logs, in exchange for your gas bill), it’s time to maximize your fireplace’s heat output.
There are various contraptions designed to return more of a wood or gas fireplace’s heat into room and stanch flow of that precious heat from escaping up chimney. Many of them involve fans and vents and considerable expense. But one of most time-honored, hassle-free, and least expensive methods of increasing a fire’s heat output is making a comeback: fireback.
A fireback is a sheet of metal, sized in proportion to fireplace, that’s placed against your back fireplace wall. Firebacks can be set on hearth’s floor and just leaned against back fireplace wall, but often they are secured by placing them in supporting braces which keep fireback from sliding. Firebacks come in two main styles: cast iron fireback and stainless steel fireback.
The traditional cast iron fireback, popular in earlier times and making a revival now, is a sheet of heavy, black, cast iron. Often they are cast with a design, such as a fleur de lis or eagle, to add a decorative touch to this functional fireplace accessory.
The cast iron firebacks work on same principle as heating radiators. The metal is heated (by hot water in case of radiators and by fire in case of firebacks), and then that heat is radiated into room.
Add Sizzle to Your SurroundingsWritten by M J Plaster
Is your home décor lacking that extra something that spells difference between comfortable and vibrant or between comfortable and tranquil? Candles might be just polish your décor needs. Take advantage of sparkling colors, rich textures, and fresh scents of candles without draining your decorating budget.
Some candles are best unadorned, but candleholders offer an additional opportunity to highlight their presence and beauty. You don't have to burn candles; you can use them as objects d'art, incorporating them into displays, floral arrangements and centerpieces—alone as an accent piece, or in a grouping as a focal point.
Typical candles no longer exist—they belong to a bygone era. Tapers gave way to thick and varied heights long ago. Today, you'll find square candles, heart-shaped candles, fruit and vegetable candles, gingerbread candles, floral candles, Christmas tree and ornament candles, and candles with artistic free-flowing shapes. Within that variety of shapes, you'll find an endless array of adornments, such as beads and glitter, straw, botanicals embedded in wax, still life scenes, etc.
Color, Shape and Texture
Today's candles come in a wide variety of hues and shades, and many add dimension of shape and texture to their composition. Marbled, frosted, and sculptured candles are widely available in a selection of sizes, shapes and prices—ranging from votives to thick, oversized candles.
If your living areas are frozen in time with a monochromatic color scheme—you know rooms we mean, they looked oh-so-good on paper until you lived in them for a month—use candles to rescue you from monotony without expense of redecorating. Marbled candles are a quick and easy way to work complementary or harmonizing color into room.
If your home utilizes color well, but lacks excitement, accessorize with textured candles to add pizzazz to room. Position candles to create a focal point or to add just right accent. Marbled candles incorporate several hues and shades of same color, and variegated candles can tie all of colors in your décor together.
Sculptured candles provide a warm substitute for expensive knickknacks and require a minimum of space. Add smaller sculptured candles to guest bathrooms along with guest hand towels and guest soaps. It's attention to detail that rolls out welcome mat for guests and creates ambiance of a memorable stay.