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The holidays are here, bringing with them festive fun, good food, visits from family and friends and lots of wonderful gifts – all of the excitement makes it easy to forget that safety is an important part of making sure your holidays are the happiest ever!
Fire Safety is one of the most important things to be cognizant of over the holiday season. Here are some simple, common-sense tips from Maritime Fire Chiefs that will help keep your home and family safe during Christmas and New Year’s festivities.
Be careful with candles. While this may seem obvious, there are fires caused every holiday season because someone inadvertently left a candle unattended.
One of the best ways to candle safely is to ensure the flame is protected by a glass globe or some other non-flammable covering.
Another great alternative – flameless, LED candles – they look incredibly real, create no heat, and turn themselves off automatically after four hours (in case you forget!).
holidaysafety1Lights can get hot. Bright lights mean heat (unless they’re LED). Hot lights need to have breathing space around them.
Don’t smother them with flammables like garland or other holiday decorations – and remember to turn them off regularly, so they can cool down.
Hot lights, pets and toddlers can be a recipe for disaster – make sure you supervise children and pets around hot holiday lights.
Extension cords. They’re a must-have for most holiday decorating. But we all tend to do things with them at Christmas that we would not normally do.
Things like running them under area rugs, through ceilings, around and between tree branches…you know what I mean.
Make sure you don’t overload your cords (just because a cord has six plug-ins does not mean you should use them all!), and make sure your cords are CSA approved – there are a lot of inexpensive import cords in the market that may not meet Canadian safety standards.
Use the right cord for the job. While that may seem obvious, it’s easy to make mistakes and use an indoor cord for an outdoor job, or a light-duty cord for a heavier-duty application.
Storing electrical cords in their original packaging makes it easy to be certain you’ve got the right cord for every job.
holidaysafety2Check your chimney. First of all, it needs to be in good shape for Santa’s arrival! But there’s more to it than that. One of the most common fire calls at this time of year is related to heating – wood stoves and fireplaces that have not been inspected for a while.
Christmas paper, cardboard packaging – these tend to get burned at Christmas – and they make a large flame and quick heat – both things which can easily start a chimney fire if your chimney is filled with creosote, or if it hasn’t been used since last Christmas and hasn’t been inspected since.
Check your couch. You may have guests smoking in your home over the holidays, and if you do, it’s a good idea to take cushions out of your couch when you go to bed and just leave them on the floor until morning to ensure there are no smouldering materials down in between.
Furniture fires are a surprisingly regular call to fire departments over the Christmas holidays.
Smoke detectors. It may seem obvious, but it’s wise to inspect your smoke alarms and CO alarms – and make sure they’re in perfect working order before holiday festivities start.
There’s no more important holiday preparation than making sure you have working smoke alarms – in the event of a fire, early smoke detection offers the best chance to save your home, and your family.


Originally Published by The Chronicle Herald


Alexandra Kelter

Alexandra Kelter is a social media specialist with Central Home Improvements. Her column covers many aspects of home improvement, both indoor and outdoor, and will combine trending styles with practical applications all within realistic budgets. Kelter is also passionate about fashion, travel, living by the ocean and her bulldog.


The colour experts at Pantone® have announced their spring 2015 colour trends – cooler, softer shades with subtle warm tones that follow a minimalistic ‘en plein air’ theme, taking their cues from Nature. En plein air, or ‘in the open air’ includes an eclectic, ethereal mix of understated brights, pale pastels and nature-like neutrals.
Says Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Colour Institute, “Many feel compelled to be connected around the clock because we are afraid we’ll miss something important. There is a growing movement to step out and create ‘quiet zones’; to disconnect from technology and unwind, giving ourselves time to stop and be still. Soft, cool hues blend with subtle warm tones to create a soothing escape from the everyday hustle and bustle.”
Among the newest shades is a tropical collection of blues, aqua and azure that ally with a rich navy and an understated bright green. This group plays against more neutral tans, coral, orange with burnt undertones, a soft lemon yellow and silvery grey – adding the restful quality mentioned above to this otherwise strong palette.
And, while this all sounds just great, and is easy to incorporate into the fashions we wear – adding it into your home fashions is a little more complicated.
So, how do you add the newest colours into your home?
Woman Painting Room YellowOf the many ways to do it, paint remains the obvious solution.
But there are many ways to use the newest paint colours.
Cast aside the idea that paint has to involve an entire room, and consider painting a feature wall – usually the one you see first upon entering a room – in one of the newest shades. Quick, easy and on-trend!
Or, take a piece of furniture – perhaps a desk, or a kitchen table, or wooden chairs – and paint it (or them!) in one (or more) of the newest colours for an instant, eye-catching update.
Selecting two or three complementary colours from the new trends, and incorporating them into toss cushions, wall art, lampshades, drapes and area rugs makes a big statement for relatively little expense – and blend your newly painted feature walls into your living space in a harmonious way to ensure all the new elements work well with the existing ones.
In the kitchen, table runners, ceramic pieces, coloured glass pieces, trivets, tea towels and accent dishes can all incorporate the newest trends AND work in harmony with your cabinets, backsplashes and other finishes.
bluebacksplashFor those who want to go bigger with the new trends – updating a backsplash with tiles in trending colours makes a powerful statement.
Perhaps the easiest spaces to bring in the newest tones are in bedrooms and bathrooms –bed linens, towels and floor mats can create eye-catching appeal in just a few minutes.
Add some sparkling, coloured-glass accessories in one of two of the new colours – and you’ve created “the look” relatively effortlessly.
Outside your home, consider using the newest colours by painting doors and shutters in your favourite shade; look for planters and welcome mats that utilize colours from the new collections – and even plant flowers that feature the 2015 shades.
Some of the flowers and shrubs that came to mind for us as soon as we saw Pantone’s new palette are Indian Paintbrush, Summer Madness Petunias, Salmon Queen and Golden Yellow Hollyhocks, and Goldflame Honeysuckle.
No matter how or where you decide to add some of this spring’s newest colours – the key to success is the same. You want them to add impact without disturbing the harmony of existing pieces and colours.
While you’re making your choices, bear in mind what’s already in your living space – and make sure what you’re choosing will complement each room. Then get ready to receive the compliments that are sure to come your way when friends and family visit!


Originally Published by The Chronicle Herald


Alexandra Kelter

Alexandra Kelter is a social media specialist with Central Home Improvements. Her column covers many aspects of home improvement, both indoor and outdoor, and will combine trending styles with practical applications all within realistic budgets. Kelter is also passionate about fashion, travel, living by the ocean and her bulldog.