Don’t let Daylight Savings leave you in the dark.

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It’s that time of year again when the days get shorter and the nights get longer – also known as daylight savings time. Not only does the time change mess with our internal clocks, it affects our lighting too. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your outdoor space or stay safe – just make sure you have the right lighting solutions.

Enjoy your fall evenings

There’s something magical about fall nights that make you want to embrace the chill and head outside to enjoy stories around the soft light of the fire. Keep some warm faux fur blankets on hand to fight the cold and make sure you have enough sticks for impromptu s’mores parties. Before you know it, you’ll be heading outside more than you thought you would this time of year.

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Ambiance and accent lighting can help create a great entertaining mood to your backyard as well. Add string lights across your dining or sitting area. LED rope lighting has a similar effect and use about 80% less energy than incandescent lights. Flame-less candles on tables can also add a nice subtle glow for cozy get-togethers around the table with hot chocolate or hot toddies.

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Shed a light on your safety

This time of year usually means you’re getting home after the sun goes down and coming home to a darker entryway. Consider setting your lights on timers or installing motion-sensor lights to outsmart the dark (and any sneaky teenagers). Dusk-to-dawn lights are a great option if you’re looking for lights that change with the sun every day.

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Or try solar path lights – they charge all day and guide your way all night. They’re great if you park in your driveway or for greeting nighttime visitors. And don’t forget about your porch light. You probably use it all year long, which means it might be time to check the bulb and update the style. Speaking of updating, switching out incandescent bulbs with CFLs can save you up to 20% on your energy bill.

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As always, if you’re not sure where to start, stop by your neighborhood Orchard and ask any of our friendly team members for help. And be sure to visit us on Facebook or Instagram to show off your outdoor spaces.

5 Ways to Make Your Home Safer and Smarter

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Ever wish your home could take care of itself? Now it can! Smart home technology is not only popular but effective at keeping your house and your loved ones safe. Let’s take a look at some of our favorites uses for smart home technology.

Doorbell ditch no more

Do you ever wonder what’s going on outside your home while you’re away? Install a smart doorbell with live streaming capabilities and never wonder again. With this nifty little device, you can get motion-activated alerts sent straight to your phone, tune in to what’s going on outside your house at any time, and even speak to guests or loiterers through a two-way audio system.

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The right temperature around the clock

Thermostats that adjust to your desired temperature are great, but smart thermostats that learn your preferences and program themselves are even better. Devices like this one will auto-schedule themselves around your schedule, so the temperature is always right when you’re home and always energy efficient when you’re away.

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A bright idea for your holiday lights

With the holiday season approaching, don’t let the stress of turning your decorative lights on and off hold you back from getting in the spirit. Install an outdoor Wi-Fi outlet and let the lights take care of themselves. Once the holidays are over, use the outlet year round to automate patio and other outdoor lights.

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Keep an eye on your home at all times

Installing both indoor and outdoor security cameras let you watch what’s going on when you’re away from your house. Some even record 24/7 and let you talk and listen with built in speakers and mic. These nifty devices are also a great way to keep track of your pets if you’re wondering what mischief they might be up to when you’re gone.

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Get your security on lock

Take your home security to the next level with an electronic deadbolt that operates using your smartphone’s Bluetooth. Just touch your phone to the lock to open. You can send eKeys using your phone as well, and the deadbolt will also operate with a traditional key as a backup.

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Have questions about making your as home and smart and secure as possible? Stop by your neighborhood Orchard today! We’re here to help keep our neighbors safe and happy.

Spice Up Your Pumpkin Decorating This Year

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This Halloween, mix it up a little. If you’re tired of the mess and labor involved with carving pumpkins year after year, we’ve got good news for you. Here are a few easy ways to make those pumpkins pop without carving your days away.

Paint a Pumpkin

Pick up a few cans of paint, some brushes and maybe a stencil or two. Then gather the kids and get down to business! See who can come up with the most creative, creepy, or spooktastic design.

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Pumpkin Hardware

Craft yourself a FrankenPumpkin using hardware. Just grab a few nuts, washers and screws and get creative with your scary creature. See how many different faces you can make!

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Pumpkin Planters

Who says Halloween can’t be elegant? Create a pumpkin succulent planter for a classy take on a creepy tradition. Once Halloween is over, replant your succulents in a pot and keep them for the fall.

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Dremel Carver

Still want to go traditional? Grab a Dremel Pumpkin Carver Kit and create your masterpiece with precision and ease. Carve out the traditional spooky face, or get creative with scary designs or cute patterns.

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For assistance with any of these spooktacular pumpkin projects or for more Halloween inspiration, stop by your neighborhood Orchard today. Check out our October in-store events, including Fright Weekend October 13-15!  

A Ghostly Halloween Craft

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Get a little eerie this Halloween. Fill your yard with these haunting wire ghosts to create the perfect Halloween atmosphere. Your neighbors will be equal parts jealous and spooked!

Instructions

1. Measure the chicken wire for the torso of the figure. Cut the wire out.

2. Roll the cut piece into a cylinder and twist the free wires together to hold it in place.

3. Shape the cylinder into a torso form. Mold the wire by pressing, bending and folding it into the desired shape.

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4. Measure the circumference of the bottom of the torso to determine how wide the waist needs to be for the skirt of your figure.

5. Choose your desired skirt length and cut out several triangular pieces for the skirt portion of the dress. The top of the skirt will connect to the waist, and will gradually get larger as you add volume to the hem of the dress.

6. Connect the bottom pieces to the waist of the torso. Hook each of the bottom pieces together. This should create a funnel shape out of the wire.

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7. Once all your pieces are connected, you can add additional pieces such as dress straps, lights and glow in the dark spray paint.

8. Finally, you’ll need to set the dress. Bend the bottom of the dress in and out in various spots to make it look like it is moving. As an option, you may also choose to secure it using your staple gun.

Need help or have questions? Stop by your neighborhood Orchard where our ghouls are waiting to assist you. Happy Halloween!

Bring the Harvest Home: 5 Tips for Fall Decorating

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Can you feel it? The weather is getting chillier and the leaves are changing colors. Fall is finally upon us once again. Soon the holiday season will be in full swing, so take a little time now to dress up your porch for the fall. Here are our five tips for your seasonal transformation.

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Start with a color scheme

All great decorating projects start with choosing a color scheme. Go with the traditional fall palette of oranges and reds or opt for a more modern, neutral approach with whites and grays. If those options don’t strike your fancy, try going bold. Take a chance with jewel tones or simply pick your favorite color and a few more colors that go well together.

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Add natural elements

Use the seasonal changes happening all around you as inspiration for your porch décor. Incorporate leaves, flowers, hay bales, pine cones and of course, pumpkins! Choose the real thing for an authentic look or opt for fake natural elements to last all season.

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Cozy up to the season

Fall is a time for snuggling up by the fire and keeping warm in mittens and scarves. Take that theme outside by adding cozy blankets and festive pillows to your every day porch seating. You can even craft your own fall pillows with stencils and some weather resistant paint.

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Paint your pumpkins.

A creative spin on the classic jack-o-lantern. Carving pumpkins can be messy, tough and time consuming, so if you’re looking for an easier option with the same effect, try painting them! Talk about a fun fall activity to try with the kids, too.

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Layer your décor

Now it’s time to put all of your decorative elements together. Place larger décor pieces against your house, and bring smaller elements out in front. Allow your décor to cascade down the stairs if you have them. Perch your favorite pieces on stools or your existing seating. Layering creates an inviting feel to your fall porch makeover.

For more fall-inspired décor tips, visit your neighborhood Orchard today!