Tips When Buying a Summer Cottage

Posted on 2nd December 2014 in Planning Your Summer Home

Tired of the freezing winter months? Or the noisy engines in the bustling city? But you’re not really interested in building your own summer house?

West Hartford HomesWhile trying to keep your heaters on out there, you might be thinking in the middle of a CT winter of acquiring a recreational retreat house or cottage at a lakeside or Connecticut River bank where you can spend your summer weekends into or have picnics with your family or friends.

Buying a summer cottage is entirely a different game from buying a summer home in West Hartford or other metro areas. You need to follow some practical tips before you can find that perfect lake front retreat for the whole family. Before you contact a realtor or agent, it is important that you have an idea of what you want. This will save hours spent on house hunting with your agent or realtor and with the price of gas, having some inkling of what you want will save money as well.

First, you need to ask yourself how much free time you have to stay in your summer cottage. Does your job allow you to have both days off every weekend or just one day a month or a two week vacation? The answers to these questions will influence your decision in shopping for the best homes in West Hartford, CT or surrounding areas.

How long are you able to tolerate the journey from your home with kids and a drooling dog in a car? Most of the time, the further you are going to travel from the city, the less expensive the cottage could become.

Another important thing to consider before shopping for the best cottages in West Hartford is your ability and your desire to do it all yourself. Summer cottages can require some chores that may be foreign to you as an urban house owner. You may encounter unexpected animal guests, septic tanks, excessive snow fall, ice flows, fallen trees, leaves and more. These are just some of the tasks that will fill up your weekend job jar. Depending on where your summer cottage is located, trying to locate someone to fix your broken septic tanks may seem monumental. If home repairs is not your cup of tea, buying a new cottage or building one from the ground up instead of acquiring an old one is a better way to go.

Increased Entertainment

You also need to think about to why you are buying the property. Do you want to buy the home for a weekend getaway alone or are you looking to invite guests to come over every weekend? If lots of guests is the case, you need to think about the type of sleeping quarters you should have, how many beds you need, not to mention the kitchen, the cooking and dining arrangements.

Check the Neighborhood

Checking the neighbourhood is really important especially if you are seeking to have a complete retreat from the bustling city. This is even more important than buying a house in the city. That is why you need a retreat cottage in the first place. You want to have relaxing, cool and breath-taking scenery around you. Do you want to be isolated on a small lake where you can enjoy kayaking alone? Or be situated on a larger body of water where you could powerboat with the family? This is really an important consideration that your agent or realtor should know.

Visualizing your Life in a Cottage

Visualizing what your summer cottage is supposed to look like before you buy it can save time, energy and “gas.” You don’t need to go around the country to shop for the best summer home you like. Having all your wants in mind can speed up the process. All you want to do is tell the agent or realtor of the specifics or if you want to do it yourself, you can just search on the online listings and narrow down the choices to your best option in mind. This way, you can prepare yourself towards the actual buying process in finding the best homes in West Hartford.

If you need the name of a good Realtor in CT, I can comfortably recommend  The Ogren Real Estate Group in West Hartford Center. Lisa Ogren provides a comprehensive listing of the best homes in, not only West Hartford, CT, but the surrounding area as well. Lisa is personable and makes the task of hunting for an ideal summer home in CT a fun adventure. So whether you use Lisa or another Realtor (or even if you go out and hunt by yourself), enjoy yourself and remind yourself of all the fun times you will have in your own summer home!

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Where to Build Your Summer Cottage

Posted on 29th September 2014 in Planning Your Summer Home

Get away from it all with a quaint summer cottage that’s all your own. These special spaces are designed for relaxation, recreation and family time, but where it’s located can make all the difference. We’ve compiled this list of some of our favorite summer cottage location ideas that will no doubt inspire you as you plan to build your very own.

The Lake House

Pack up your bicycles, jet skis and fishing gear for a week on the lake. A summer cottage at the lake could have a number of different designs, but many properties take advantage of the view and possible activities. A screened-in porch and separate entry for busy recreational enthusiasts are perfect to keep the family flowing through the cottage without tracking in mud during tea time. Two-story cottages allow you to feast your eyes on the view from way above the shoreline. Consider including a stunning screened-in porch in your summer cottage design so you can enjoy the outdoors without having to worry about bugs.

Rustic Exterior by Norwich Architects & Building Designers Smith & Vansant Architects PC


Decked Out on the Bay

If water access is your goal, summer cottages directly at the water’s edge are prime real estate. Install a walkway deck that wraps around the cottage — it’ll also be perfect for storing small vessels or simply jumping into the water. Add a few lounge chairs along the deck to soak in the sun as friends and family take off on kayaks and paddleboats. The entire family won’t want to leave this water paradise for a long time.

Rustic Exterior by Los Angeles Design-Build Firms KellyBaron


A Forest View

Take an alternative view of the world by venturing up into the mountains. Building a charming cottage hidden amongst the forest where stones and trees surround the property as lifelong sentries is the perfect idea for nature lovers and people who want to have a feeling of getting away from it all. Explore the flora and fauna outside the cottage while enjoying a fire in the fireplace during indoor nighttime activities. Although you may believe most forest homes are essentially log types, there are other architectural styles with modern amenities for the busy family.

Escaping the Everyday

Summer cottages aren’t just reserved for June, July and August. Expand your vacation prospects and build your cottage in the desert, where you’ll be able to enjoy it in the spring, fall, and winter. Desert summer cottages are typically ranch-style homes, taking advantage of the one-floor structure to keep the rooms cool. Enjoy biking, hiking, golfing and many other aspects of desert life when the temperatures are much cooler. It may be a smart idea to include storage for sports and bike equipment in or outside your cottage.

Wraparound Views

Even a simple summer cottage in a meadow region has its perks for families and friends. The wide open space allows the property to expand into bigger rooms and deck areas. Wraparound decks are common for big properties, allowing everyone to sit out on the porch and enjoy the nature around them. Chairs, loungers and tables are often set out for everyone’s enjoyment. Set up some food and drinks to make the afternoon a highlight of the vacation.

Beach Style Exterior by Charlestown Design-Build Firms Natale Design/Build


About the Author:
Tim Smith blogs about home improvement topics and is a former contractor. Tim writes for Modernize, a site that gives homeowners home ideas and inspiration.


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How to Hook Up a Home Portable Generator

Posted on 4th November 2012 in Planning Your Summer Home

We live in New England and just went through a major storm so when I saw this guest article on portable generators come across my desk, I became very interested. Hopefully you won’t need a generator for as long as we used ours but it is a good idea to be prepared for that possibility. This article may give you some ideas for a generator for your summer house.

by Vincent Kiernan

Portable generators are efficient machines that are very important in our homes. This is because they save us from staying in the dark when the lights go out, and also ensure that we can still enjoy hot meals even when there is no electricity.

Portable Generators Uses

Portable generators therefore provide for various uses around the houses. This power is usually used by appliances such as the cookers that use electricity, televisions, radio and other electrical appliances. Therefore, whenever there is a power shortage, all one has to do is to start up the portable generator and in no time, the electrical appliances in the house will be working. They are very effective as one can carry a portable generator to provide lighting for them while they go out on for fun activities such as camping, hiking and picnics. They can also be used in activities such as extraction of minerals, in factories and in offices.

Another situation where one notices the importance of portable generators is when there is an urgent situation that needs power but there is a blackout. This could be if a close relative is in a critical condition and is relying on the power for their survival and then suddenly, there is a blackout. This is where a portable generator could save the day, as all you have to do is to fuel a portable diesel generator and get it working. However one must be careful while handling diesel to prevent accidents.

Generator Maintenance

Portable generators are important because if maintained well; they can serve for a very long time. Like other machines, all that one needs to do is to ensure that they are taken care of. It is important to note that portable generators are not to be kept in a damp area as this may reduce its efficiency. One must also be very careful and check on it every now and then to ensure that it is running well.

However, one has to ensure that the portable generator is placed in an area with enough air. This would be an area that has enough space, preferably a place that is not confined. This is because while operating the portable generator, there is need for enough fresh air so that it can function properly. This is one safety measure that is to be applied when dealing with a portable generator.

When the portable generators are running, they release a dangerous gas known as carbon-monoxide. This gas is deadly if inhaled by any human. Therefore it is wise to install devices that can detect the presence of the gas in case the gas finds its way into the house. One should also avoid plugging the generator together with the electrical devices found in the home as these may lead to short circuiting thus destroying the appliances.

The generator should also be insulated from any liquids. Being an electrical appliance, if it gets into contact with any liquid, it could blow up, destroying the portable generator for good. This may also lead to shock, in case a person handles it with wet hands. Therefore, one should be very careful when handling a portable generator.

It would therefore be okay to say that the portable generators are an important part of very many people’s lives. They have very many uses thus they should be a part of every household.

About the Author:
Looking for the best details about portable generators? This site for the data that you need. You may also check: Review on Yamaha EF3000iSE Portable Generator

Durable Cardboard Boxes For Moving

Posted on 4th November 2012 in Planning Your Summer Home

When you have a summer house, you probably use cardboard boxes to move things to and fro. Here is an article you might find of interest on a topic you may never have considered — what kind of cardboard boxes should you use. Enjoy!

by Jay Polley
Most moving companies sell all of them retail, and many online resources offer discounts when buying in quantity. Paying for a container with these features is really worth keeping this expensive item safe. There are also strong meal boxes with reinforced protective attributes so if something falls on the dish box it will not damage what is inside.

Every storage unit can be labeled ahead of time so every bedroom wardrobe box can turn to the right place. Put the space name on all four sides of the shifting box so no matter what method it is dealing with on the vehicle, it is obvious where that box is going. This extra money can be applied toward other moving-related or commercial costs.

They have a wall mount hanger bar inside so wardrobe contents are moved through closet to box to closet without actually removing the hanger. This will help focus on the unpacking process. A few dish boxes have cardboard partitioning so each piece is cushioned by corrugated cardboard.

All that remains is putting the boxes within the right rooms and unpacking all of them. Take the time to create a plan, buy moving boxes that fit the item becoming packed, and pack very carefully so each box is easy to move. These types of boxes are also often reinforced along with styrofoam or bubble cover to keep the items inside snug.

Affordable moving boxes in medium and large sizes can accommodate cumbersome items such as kitchenware, playthings, pillows as well as linens. Whenever packing each box, label it clearly. Once the movers arrive, they will have plenty to strain on the truck while you pack up the final linens, restroom supplies, as well as kitchen materials that were used the night before.

There is bound to end up being stuff that will not be making the actual move. So many moving boxes arriving at one time may overwhelm a homeowner. Write in large characters on all four sides and also the top.

The first thing that everyone should perform is use a thick, darkish marker to label what room the box is going to in the new house. Some offer no-charge shipping with regard to orders of a certain amount of money, while others provide free shipping for any size order. Moving can be an overwhelming job.

Notes from the Author:
Looking to find the best deal on boxes for moving, then visit to find the best advice on moving boxes new york for you.

A Homeowner’s Guide to Buying and Renting Properties

Posted on 4th November 2012 in Planning Your Summer Home

Here is an interesting guest article on whether to buy or rent. It isn’t specific to a summer house but much of the info can be applied to your decision as to whether to buy or rent your summer house. Enjoy!

by Andrew B. Court
A lot of people struggle with the decision of whether to buy or rent properties. There are pros and cons to both situations and it really depends on the individual’s financial and current situation. The decision may require a lot of thinking about the pros, cons and the challenges of both options.

Renting is a very comfortable way to have a place to live while not having to worry about maintenance and repairs. In most renting situations, renters don’t have to worry about flooding, maintenance, foundation issues, and any other required repairs. Renting also gives a bit more freedom because you can move to a different place if your lease is up. By renting, you avoid property taxes and having to pay a homeowner’s insurance.

On the other hand, renting also has its drawbacks. You can end up investing thousands of dollars without ever owning the place. You are limited to any changes that you want to make to the unit. Renting also means that you have abide by your landowner’s rules and conditions.

On the other hand, renting also has its drawbacks. You can end up investing thousands of dollars without ever owning the place. You are limited to any changes that you want to make to the unit. Renting also means that you have abide by your landowner’s rules and conditions.

Buying a home is a very good investment. Your money will go towards a property that you will end up owning someday. Over time, your property will build equity and you will get a return on your investment in most cases. When you own your own place, you can do all the updates and changes that you want to make.

Buying also has its drawbacks. One of the biggest disadvantages is the upfront investment that you have to make when you purchase which includes the down payment, the inspection, and the closing costs. Being a homeowner also comes with many responsibilities. If your home is damaged or needs maintenance, you have to absorb all of the costs. You also need to look for someone that can take care of the repairs. When you are a homeowner, you don’t have an on-call maintenance crew to come in like if you were living in an apartment. Buying a home also comes with additional costs, such as property taxes and insurance.

Visit the real estate agent in Toronto, Slavens & Associates Real Estate Inc. 435 Eglinton Avenue West Toronto, ON M5N 1A4‎ (416) 483-4337

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Enhance Your Home And Its Value When You Build A Garden Summerhouse

Posted on 7th July 2012 in Planning Your Summer Home

By Guest Author: Julia Dunlop

A summerhouse is a quintessentially English thing. One thinks of summerhouses and one imagines the romantic tryst of a Jane Austen heroine perhaps, or the Famous Five plotting a caper over ginger beer.

With our summers being so notoriously unreliable, it is natural we cherish the glorious days we are given. A good quality garden summerhouse will both extend the summer by trapping warmth and blocking chill winds and offer a cool haven when the sun is at its fiercest.

With the quality of today’s materials however, today’s contemporary garden summerhouses are more than just a one-season option, they are used all year round. In addition to traditional single-skinned models, clients can elect to have their summerhouse double-glazed and insulated, usually with utilities installed, so it can serve out-of-season too, perhaps as a garden office, games room, play room, gym, home cinema or therapy suite. These days many people who need extra space are looking to their gardens, constructing something with an en-suite shower room, which may double as a secluded and romantic guest room.

An extensive range of styles and designs are offered by the specialist installers, from ultra-modern Nordic-styles to traditional ‘log cabins‘. As well as ‘off-the-peg’ styles, a bespoke service is offered where customers can specify the exact dimensions, style and facilities they wish.

A full landscaping service is also offered to blend the summerhouse ideally into the surroundings, perhaps creating a discrete new space for entertaining friends or just relaxing. Features such as verandas, corner splays, timber decking or window boxes can add further individual touches. The interior may be painted although many prefer the natural effect of the timber.

Among the most pleasant consequences of the decision to build a contemporary summerhouse is the effect its likely to have on the value of your house. Everybody knows how an attractive garden can produce the magical factor that turns potential buyer into a serious bidder. Sensing the potential of that new summerhouse you have just had erected can be the moment a potential buyer is inspired to pull out all the stops to get your house. Whatever you spend is almost certain to be recouped, and possibly many times over.

Light, warmth, friends, family, a long slow lunch: English perfection.  A summerhouse is not just for summer.

About the Author:
Bakers Timber have been creating and installing wooden garden buildings since the mid 1980s. Their innovation and attention to detail means that they can produce any modifications you desire: whether you want a swimming pool or a wooden garden summerhouse , they’ll help you realize your dream.

Incorporate A Patio On To Your Property

Posted on 17th March 2012 in Gardens & Exteriors, Planning Your Summer Home

When you build your summer house, it is worth your time to plan for a nice outdoor patio to spend those summer evenings! Here’s an article we found that might give you some good ideas!
— Jim

by guest author, Renee Wilson.

Each and every house is one of a kind and it comes in a wide range of price ranges. However, numerous homes are deprived of all the features you prefer unless you add them yourself. At the time you purchased your house, there were likely things either didn’t like or knew that you were intending to add afterwards, for instance a larger veranda. Quite a few residences might have decks which are not huge to be functional therefore they must be expanded.

Putting in patio decking or possibly making present one to be bigger will truly increase the worth of your own home. When it comes to social gatherings, your deck would be a great place for everyone to assemble. There are plenty of layouts and various kinds of wood you could choose. If you do not have the expertise to put together something like a terrace all by yourself, then you can certainly hire a certified building contractor.

It will run you more funds, but in the long run, can be more than worth it. You don’t want to find yourself making a shoddy porch if you did it on your own. Think about it, this specific undertaking is equally as essential with other residential upgrading projects like basement remodeling, hence make certain all is appropriate. If you don’t do a good job, the value of your home will certainly drop.

Employing a skilled contractor will cost more money but they will probably do the job appropriately and this will definitely increase the appraisal of the property. To get yourself a skilled contractor, the most sensible thing to do first is check with people you know if they can recommend someone. Otherwise, then check out the local lumberyard, especially if you have purchased materials from them, and talk to the people there. They will probably give you a list of general contractors that they suggest. Before you employ anyone, take a look at some of the labor they have done, to see if the quality is as good as you want. It is best to make certain that they come highly approved and that they are properly insured and licensed. Get exactly what you want accomplished, put in writing, with guarantees telling what work will be done, and by what date.

You can also speak to one or two building contractors and get offers from them to make the decision who will perform the job for the best price. This may perhaps be the best method to choose mainly because it frees up your time to perform your own job while you have people who know what they’re accomplishing, working on the terrace. It is simple for you to look forward to how you will utilize a terrace if you set a deadline for completion. The house will easily be a lot more stress-free if you don’t now have a deck but you intend to add one.

You can absolutely have a nice pleasant summer day by resting on your veranda. The deck could also be an awesome place to have neighbors and family members gather while have an attractive barbeque.

About the Author:
Learn exciting home improvement works you can do to give your house looks elegant, raised values and relaxing. Check out accent lighting web site, you will be amazed just how straight forward techniques enhance the home.

Wood Pergola Kits

Posted on 10th January 2012 in Construction Tips, Planning Your Summer Home

Wood Pergola kits change the way you view the world from your summer house. Any one of these kits will offer a relaxing focus to your patio, deck, or backyard.

Sonoma Pergola Kit, 14 Ft w-Roof – Wall Redwood

Sonoma Pergola 14 Ft w-Roof-Wall Redwood

Nothing you can do to your home can, so quickly, easily and affordably, produce such a visual impact while adding permanent value.

  • Easy to put up
  • Weatherproof, heavy-duty trellis supported by 150-lb metal-frame columns
  • Each column can be firmly secured to your deck, patio, or ground
  • Stainless steel hardware will never rust
  • Designed for long-lasting outdoor use
  • Crafted in beautiful Asian cedar 112 inches total height;
    151 inches center of post to center of post

More details…


Breeze Cedar Pergola Kit – Attached w/ 2-9FT Posts 12×12

Breeze Cedar Pergola-Attached w/ 2-9FT Posts 12x12
  • Western Red Cedar Construction
  • Pre-cut Kit – No Cutting Required
  • Notched and Pre-drilled Girders
  • Notched and Pre-marked Joists 2 – 5 1/2″ x 5 1/2″
  • Posts Hardware Included (screws, nails and lag bolts)
  • Step by Step Detailed Assembly Manual
  • Delivers in About 3 Weeks

More details…

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Alternative Energy For Your Summer House

Posted on 22nd November 2011 in Planning Your Summer Home

Solar Panels on Summer HouseThe cost of energy is among the concerns when building a summer house. Many of us feel that the cost we pay to power our summer home is too high. And most of us would prefer to use green energy if feasible. But what are our options? Going with renewable energy sources, of course!

People might think that renewable power is a recent development but renewable energy has existed since long before electricity was discovered.

Consider these alternative energy sources when you build a summer house:

Wind energy: Windmills today are used in some summer houses to operate small generators. These machines produce and store electricity for use in running small home appliances. However, windmills have been in existence for any very long time. Farms out west have used windmills as pumps to supply water for cattle and crops for many years on the open plains. It can be worth your while to look into using a windmill to supplement your energy usage.

And as I mentioned with farmers, the windmill was used for many purposes beyond electricity production. Years ago wind power was used to mill grain since grinding grain by hand is extremely difficult. And since it was so effective for those other purposes, it was inevitable that the windmill evolved as a renewable energy source.

Solar power: Many people think about this kind of alternative energy as something that is technologically advanced. In a way, utilizing the energy from the sun to create electricity is. But solar energy was already being used for many years. I recall my grandparents’ home with a solar panel on top. It was crude compared to today’s technology but copper tubing in a glass encased box heated up water enough to heat the house and the hot water for most of the year.

And don’t forget the dependable solar collector — a clothesline. Yes, we’ve been using solar power to dry our clothes for many years and still do so today. When you think of how much electricity a clothes dryer or hair dryer uses, it makes sense that the sun continues to be a popular alternative for a summer house.

Solar energy is used nowadays for a number of tasks. Some use it to warmth their summer houses, others use photo voltaic energy to provide electricity, and some use solar panels to run small home appliances and to offset some or all of the costs on their utility bill. The efficiency through which we can now convert photo voltaic energy into electricity is proof that it’s very easy to operate the energy needs of an entire house! Now, isn’t that amazing?

Water power:  This kind of alternative home energy utilizes water power to be able to turn turbines to operate machines. Once more, this isn’t a real new technology. Like windmills, waterwheels were frequently accustomed to harness the energy of the nearby river to be able to generate power. If your summer home is located on a running stream or river, it might be a good option. Make sure you talk with your local Environmental Protection Agency to make sure there are no environmental impacts that would prevent you from doing this.

Biofuel: This really is another alternative home power source. Biofuel is created naturally through the decomposition of various biological materials. By utilizing biofuel rather than the most popular LPG, home proprietors can reduce their heating bills. If your summer house is part of a farm, you know that there is plenty of biofuel around (if you don’t believe me, just stand behind a cow!). It might be time to consider tapping into that renewable energy.

Geothermal: This is a resource that taps the power being naturally created through the Earth herself. It is most practical if installed during the initial summer home building project rather than as a remodeling job. Geothermal typically uses piping buried 5-10 feet or more into the ground. These pipes have water or other liquid fed through them which transfers the heat too or from the ground (depending on what temperature balance you need). The installation can be costly but the payback comes through the huge savings in lower utility bills.

As you can tell, you will find a lot of different kinds of alternative energy sources for your summer house. Explore these options and uncover which resource might be right for you to employ. Some of this technology may not yet be practical for the usual homeowner. However, some may be very enticing for a summer house where the biting winter freeze is not a consideration. And as technology is constantly evolving, you can be certain that using renewable power will continue become more efficient over time.

By utilizing alternative home energy, you accomplish a couple of things: it will save you in your expenses and also you help produce a better world. The thing is, alternative renewable energy doesn’t produce the volume of dangerous pollutants towards the atmosphere. And by utilizing these sources, you harness relatively free energy. Many people may tell you that the products needed to harness these renewable resources are initially too costly, but over time, you’ll generally save a lot more than you spent.

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Low-Cost Tips To Decorate Your Summer House

Posted on 19th November 2011 in Construction Tips, Planning Your Summer Home

A summer house does not need to be dripping with expensive decorations. Think of informal casual decor. Even expensive beach houses on Cape Cod typically have inexpensive decorations. If you are planning to build a summer house or already have one that needs some help, here are some tips.

So don’t get caught up in fancy. Don’t use fancy covers for the furniture that is going to have wet bathing suits or muddy shoes resting on it. Do you need some art work? What about the locals? No need to spend a fortune when some local artist may be delighted to sell you some items with a local flair. Is that dining room set looking beat up? It may just need to be hit with some sandpaper and then coated with a couple of cans of spray paint to make it look as good as new.

If the walls are looking glum, paint is not very expensive. Check you local paint store to see if they mis-mixed some paint. Those cans are heavily discounted and, unless you want an exact color, you can usually find some good colors at a great price.

Don’t pay full price for furnishings for your summer place if you are on a budget. Go to Craigs List ( or eBay ( and do a search for items you need. Chances are there is someone eager to get rid of the same thing that you want to buy. That’s how you get some real good bargains. Don’t want someone’s trash? Don’t buy it! Look some more and you will find just what you want in great condition for a price you can afford!

Better yet, look around the house before you head to the summer home. You probably have lots of stuff that you can use to decorate the summer cottage. As we were building our summer house, my wife was accumulating “stuff”. I could not envision where it was going to go but she had a plan for everything. Although we may have ended up with one too many trout-shaped salt and pepper shakers, for the most part, everything that she had been gathering found a place in the new summer house.

She did the garage sales (called tag sales around here) where she picked up some nice items. We learned that if we wanted rustic lake themed decorations, we needed to go to garage sales in woodsy areas on or near lakes in the area. If you want beach decorations, head down to the beaches and shop some garage sales. If you are like my wife, you may not know what you want when you poke around but the minute you see that “just right” item, you will know it. And the 50 cents you pay for it will make it even more of a treasure!

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