Gunning Daily News

Affordable Ways to Decorate for Fall

September 21, 2011 4:39 pm

From the runways of Paris to the world's best interiors, unique color combinations are everywhere this fall. Shoppers can now incorporate the season's trendiest looks into their own home decor with simple and affordable changes in wall art, rugs and mirrors from, Inc., an online specialty provider of wall art. To determine the latest styles, merchandising experts shared their top tips for infusing attractive hues into a space to create a variety of looks—from classic to contemporary, and vintage to sophisticated.'s color-based suggestions to enhance any room of the home or office include:
• Classic Neutrals: Modern meets casual thanks to neutral colors like camel with touches of gray, which offer a simple and contemporary look. The tone-on-tone effect is often found to be soothing.
• Soft and Subtle Pastels: Light colors found in botanical prints and maps create an instant vintage feel—one of the season's enduring trends.
• Warm and Cool Tones: Foster an earthy, inviting energy by combining orange with red hues inspired by worldly shades of India and Morocco. For a cooler look, turquoise and teal accents can conjure up thoughts of the ocean or clear skies.
• Rich Colors: Deep shades of purple and even yellow, when mixed with gray or charcoal, can completely transform a room's energy into something regal yet inviting.
• Trendy Metallics: Adding sheen and luxuriousness to a room is easy thanks to metallic (gold, silver and copper) wall decor—from custom-framed mirrors that add a reflective glow, to gold-framed and metallic accented fine art pieces.

Additionally, recommends using these colors to create a personal gallery by hanging wall art with frames in different sizes, shapes and colors to create an engaging, dramatic and unique statement. now offers a collection of area rugs and mirrors of all shapes and sizes to help customers complete their decorating vision.

For more information, visit

5 Tips to Set Priorities

September 21, 2011 4:39 pm

It’s easy, especially this time of year—right after vacations—to get into the right mindset and get organized.
From the personal to the professional, our priorities can sometimes be a little confused.

For this, offers these five tips for getting your priorities in order:
1. Use a paper-based, electronic or computerized list to keep track of your tasks, instead of relying on your memory. A list will give you a clear idea of what you need to accomplish.

2. Which tasks could you handle another day? If you would face no consequences by moving a task forward, move it ahead another day or another week.

3. Know the difference between important and urgent. Important means a task needs to be done while urgent means it must be done immediately. Knowing the difference between the two will make prioritizing easier.

4. Realize that you can't do everything. This will help you to realistically prioritize your tasks.

5. Determine if postponing the task would affect other projects you are working on. Tasks and projects can have a domino effect. If you do one task, yet fail to do another, you may have wasted effort on the first task.


Word of the Day

September 21, 2011 4:39 pm

Housing codes. Local regulations that set minimum conditions under which dwellings are considered fit for human habitation. It guards against unsanitary or unsafe conditions and overcrowding.

Question of the Day

September 21, 2011 4:39 pm

Q: Does the federal government offer home improvement programs?
A: Yes. Among the most popular: 

Title 1 Home Improvement Loan. HUD insures the loan up to $25,000 for a single-family home and lenders make loans for basic livability improvements—such as additions and new roofs—to eligible borrowers.
Section 203(k) Program. HUD helps finance the major rehabilitation and repair of one- to four-family residential properties, excluding condos. Owner-occupants may use a combination loan to purchase a fixer-upper "as-is" and rehabilitate it, or refinance a property, plus include in the loan the cost of making the improvements. They also may use the loan solely to finance the rehabilitation. 

VA loans. Veterans can get loans from the Department of Veterans Affairs to buy, build, or improve a home, as well as refinance an existing loan at interest rates that are usually lower than that on conventional loans.
Rural Housing Repair and Rehabilitation Loans. Funded by the Agriculture Department, these low-rate loans are available to low-income rural residents who own and occupy a home in need of repairs. Funds are available to improve or modernize a home or to remove health and safety hazards.

Should I Remodel or Sell ‘As Is

September 20, 2011 5:09 pm

This question is a common headache for many homeowners when placing their home on the market. On one hand, a remodel could create a diamond in the rough, and possibly even encourage a faster sale. On another, selling as-is in a competitive market could save months of listing time if priced right.

When You Should Remodel
Analyzing your competition can be a great way to gain insight into what buyers are looking for in your market. It's easy to assume a feature or amenity should immediately increase the value of your home. In some cases it will, but many times a remodel will only bring your home to the market readiness of other similar homes in your neighborhood.

You should consider remodeling a room in your home if any of the following applies:

1) When analyzing sold history and currently active homes on the market, you find that this particular remodel is commonly found.
2) The room is in dire need of attention and a simple clean up won't suffice to get it market-ready.
3) When analyzing sold history, a predominant higher price is offered for homes with this particular remodel.

You're likely to never recoup the entire cost of a remodel, but getting your home up to par may be necessary to sell your home in a reasonable amount of time.

When You Should Sell As-Is
If your home can be considered a "benchmark" home, or a home that is already loaded with amenities not commonly found in your market, you should consider selling as-is. While a pricey remodel will certainly make your home shine during an open house, it usually costs more than it's worth.

You should consider selling your home as-is if your home meets any of the following criteria:

1) The average price per square foot in your market is deteriorating (down market).
2) Your home can be considered a "benchmark" home, or a home that has more features and amenities than the competition.
3) Your home is already on par with other active properties in the area.

The Rule of Thumb
First, ensure that your home meets the standard set by the competition currently for sale in your market. If your home is not up to par, you should consider remodeling.

If your home shares the same features and amenities as its competition, then you should consider selling as-is to avoid leaving any money on the table. A remodel is always a nice selling feature, but many times it does not make financial sense and is simply a waste of time.

Take the time to get with your real estate agent to analyze your competition, and base your decision on what buyers are demanding in your particular real estate market.

Author Jeff Hammerberg is the Founding CEO of

Winterize Your Yard and Garden

September 20, 2011 5:09 pm

As the days become shorter and the leaves begin to change color, now is the time to prepare your yard and garden for winter. There are a number of simple tasks that will not only protect plants and lawn from the cold, but will make for an easier spring.

Troy-Bilt®, a manufacturer of outdoor power equipment, offers these tips to winterize your yard and garden for the cold months ahead:

"Tending to your lawn and garden in fall can ensure that it has every chance to develop through the colder months," says Heidi Ketvertis, director of marketing communications for Troy-Bilt. "Also, winterizing your equipment will make for a better spring start."

• Evaluate. Before you start your preparations, take a moment to review what worked and did not work in the garden over the past season and jot down notes in a garden journal so you remember a year or two from now. Fall is the best time to move plants because roots are given ample time to establish.
• Clean up. Removing leaves and debris reduces the likelihood of future problems since they can harbor pests and diseases. Using a leaf blower can save time and effort.
• Repair damage. Fall is the best time to reseed a lawn that's been damaged by summer heat. Top-dressing the seed with up to one-quarter inch compost or soil will help it take root.
• Don't put away the hose. Continue to water plants and lawns in the fall, as the rainfall tends to slow down. Plants need to stay hydrated to properly retreat to their winter states. However, as soon as freezing temperatures hit, make sure to drain garden hoses and store them in a sheltered place where they will not freeze and crack.
• Fertilize. Despite what many people might think, autumn–not spring–is the most crucial time to fertilize lawns and gardens. Renewing the mulch in flower beds, especially the top two or three inches, will protect many plants from harmful freezes.
• Go easy on pruning. Pruning promotes growth. It's important to prepare plants to go dormant during the winter rather than growing.
• Think spring. Some spring bulbs, such as crocus and grape hyacinth, should be planted in the fall. Larger bulbs, such as tulips and daffodils, should be planted in the fall but won't bloom until spring. Many vegetable plants, like beets, broccoli and cabbage grow best in the winter.
• Cover plots. Covering a garden bed with burlap keeps weeds at bay. Another option is to plant a nitrogen-rich cover crop, like clover, which can be easily turned under when spring arrives.
• Tune-up tools. After completing all preparations, clean, oil and sharpen tools, and then store them in a dry place to prevent rusting.
• Winterize your power equipment. Make sure to drain the gas from your lawn mower and other gas-powered equipment after you've finished using them for the season to keep the engine running smoothly next year.
• Know when to stop. When frost is in the forecast or the temperature drops below 40 degrees consistently, usually around late October or November, it's time to close down the garden. Although it may seem like a hassle, winterizing your garden will make for less work come springtime. Consider these practical ways that will protect and care for your yard and garden so they can survive the winter, and thrive for seasons to come.

For more information, visit

Auto Theft Decreases 7.2 Percent; Auto Theft Safety Tips

September 20, 2011 5:09 pm

Fewer Americans were victims of car thefts last year. The FBI's annual Uniform Crime Report shows a 7.2 percentage decrease in auto thefts compared to 2010. Improved anti-theft devices and safety tips can help continue this downward trend. Unfortunately, potential thieves will not give up on their efforts to steal your car. But with the same persistence, Ford is constantly improving technologies and methods to keep vehicles secure for its customers.

Everyday things you can do to protect against theft:

You might think most stolen vehicles are expensive sports cars or multipurpose passenger vehicles, but that's not always the case.

It also doesn't matter whether you live in a big city, the suburbs or in the country; anyone is susceptible to vehicle theft.

In fact, 40 to 50 percent of vehicle theft is due to driver error, which includes leaving vehicle doors unlocked and leaving keys in the ignition or on the seats.
But there are measures you can take to make sure your vehicle is not an easy target for thieves:

• First, always take your keys; never leave them in or on your vehicle
• Always close and lock all windows and doors when you park
• Park in well-lit areas
• Keep your vehicle in your garage, if possible
• Never leave valuables in your vehicle, especially where they can be seen
• Never leave the area while your vehicle is running

For more information, visit

Autumn Is the Best Time for Grass Seed Success

September 20, 2011 5:09 pm

The cooler weather and increased precipitation of fall are a welcomed relief for lawns throughout United States. Grass suffered through a long, hot summer with many parts of the country experiencing drought-like conditions. Excessive heat and lack of rain can leave plants brown and withered. Grass is no exception, but there is still hope for recovery this fall.

Reseeding is a great way to revitalize the lawn, and luckily, fall provides the best conditions to plant new grass seed. Reseeding fills in bare spots caused by excessive traffic or disease, and restores thinning patches where lack of rain has scarred the lawn. In fact, reseeding with grass seed in combination with lawn food in the fall can make your lawn thicker next spring. A lush lawn helps capture and filter rainwater to recharge our groundwater supply.

Simple Steps for Reseeding Your Lawn

1. Prep
: Mow your existing lawn short and remove clippings so the seed can make contact with the soil. In thin or bare areas, loosen the top layer of soil to help the seedlings take root. For best results, aerate or de-thatch after mowing.
2. Apply: Adjust spreader settings and apply your product to the lawn. Avoid areas that have been treated with a weed killer in the past three weeks or a weed prevention product in the last two months, as new seedlings will not grow in these areas.
3. Water: Water thoroughly after application, and continue to water daily to keep the soil moist for at least two weeks, or until the seedlings reach approximately two inches in height. Sunny areas may require additional water, and shady areas may need less.

Tips for Reseeding Success 

- After reseeding, keep traffic and mowing to a minimum until new seedlings establish. 
- Do not apply a weed killer or weed prevention product to the reseeded area until the new seedlings have been mowed at least four times. Some weed controls could damage or kill the seedlings. 
- To help keep your entire lawn thick and resilient, regularly feed with fertilizer.

Fight back against the drought-like conditions of summer by seeding and feeding for the softest play space Mother Nature has to offer in the fall.

For additional information, visit

Word of the Day

September 20, 2011 5:09 pm

Homestead protection. State and federal laws that protect against the forced sale of a person’s home by creditors. Also, upon the death of one spouse, provides the other with a home for life.

Question of the Day

September 20, 2011 5:09 pm

Q: How can I finance work needed for home repairs?

A: According to the Millennial Housing Commission created by Congress, few lenders are willing to administer home improvement loans. Most prefer to make home equity loans or unsecured consumer loans because they are easier to manage. Home improvement loans usually require inspections and irregular draws on the loan amount as work is completed, which forces regional or national lenders to find local partners to provide oversight.

Financing repairs and improvements with home equity is okay for most homeowners, but it difficult for many first-time buyers. They have lower-incomes, smaller savings, and have made lower down payments on their homes than first-time buyers a decade ago. So they have little equity to borrow against. Unfortunately, it is often lower cost older homes purchased by first-time buyers that need the most work.

Unless you have a cash reserve, you will have to shop around for the best borrowing terms. In addition to the options listed above, you can ask relatives for a loan. Borrow against your whole life insurance policy. Refinance your existing mortgage. Get a second mortgage. Contact the government about home improvement programs. And – only as a last resort – borrow from a finance agency, which generally tend to charge higher rates.