Posts in Kijiji for the Home

How can you tell the difference between crystal and glass?

At times of celebration, crystal glasses are often brought out to mark the special occasion. After all, experts say that good stemware will enhance the taste and sensory experience when drinking fine champagne or wine. But the average person typically can’t tell the difference between a regular wine glass or champagne flute and its crystal counterparts at first glance. Distinguishing from the variety stemware offered these days can prove to be difficult task — the answer isn’t always crystal clear. Being able to identify the difference can help you score amazing deals at yard sales or flea markets. If you’re curious to know the difference or are looking to invest in the finer stemware consider these tips on what to look out for. Like buying a diamond ring and taking into account the four Cs — clarity, colour, carat and cut — crystal has distinguishing properties you should look out for.

Defining glass and crystal
Your everyday juice glass and other glassware are typically made of traditional soda-lime glass, which is made up of a combination of lime, sand (silica) and soda. It’s generally more affordable and is made to withstand dishwashers and the variety of temperatures.

Crystal
Crystal is actually a special kind of glass that has about 24 per cent of lead oxide in it. Anything lower is not considered crystal. For that reason, it’s often referred to as lead-crystal, which will actually sparkle more as the lead content gets higher. Crystal is also much more expensive.

How do you tell the difference between glass and crystal?

How do you tell the difference between glass and crystal?

How to tell the difference

Clarity: Hold it up to the light and you’ll probably see a rainbow because crystal and its cuts will act as a prism. Crystal is clear and bright where as glass may have tints and is generally cloudier.

Cut: Crystal is often used in chandeliers, fine wine glasses, vases, jewelry and other higher-end items because of its reflective quality. When it has barium oxide in it, it has a high index of refraction. The refractive index makes crystal sparkle like a diamond when cut at sharp angles.

Weight: Crystal is much heavier than ordinary glass because of the lead oxide content. It’s also thinner than regular soda-lime glass. A direct comparison of two glasses of the same size will show crystal has more of a substantial feel.

Sound: Crystal makes a musical ping or chime when tapped, whereas glass does not. Try also wetting your fingers and running it around the rim of the crystal glass and you’ll be able to hear a musical ring.

Potential Health Hazards: Health Canada warns that lead crystalware may release lead into food and beverages it comes in contact with. The risk is lower if the crystalware is only used over the course of a meal. Health Canada recommends avoiding storing food or beverages in crystal and soaking new crystalware in vinegar for 24 hours and rinsing it before you use it. Also wash crystal by hand with a mild detergent. Dishwasher detergent can damage the surface and cause more lead to be released next time it is used. Eating a balanced diet that includes calcium, iron, protein and zinc will also help reduce the amount of lead and cadmium your body absorbs. If you’re especially worried, consider buying lead-free crystal, which doesn’t have the same weight and brilliance of crystal, but is quite similar in all other aspects.

Buying the Right BBQ

Every season brings along with it certain joys, and for most Canadians, that joy during the summer is BBQing. Backyard grilling with beers (or lemonade if you’re under 19), while lounging on lawn chairs in flip flops and sunglasses is pretty much the quintessential summer experience.

Buying a brand new BBQ, however, can be a pricey investment and although we all like shiny, new appliances, it could actually be a lot more sensible to look into used BBQs since they’re usually only used during the few months of summer weather we actually have in Canada!

Instead, by going the used-BBQ route, you’ll be able to save your hard-earned cash for new big-ticket appliances you would be using every single day like dishwashers or ovens. It's nearly BBQ time - are you ready?

Here are a 3 things to consider in your hunt for the perfect used BBQ:

Charcoal or Gas?

BBQ connoisseurs have long debated which type of BBQ grill is actually superior and what it comes down to is what you prioritize as being the most important features. For taste and authenticity, a coal BBQ is the way to go, but the cons are that fuel gets expensive and it’s not as easy to clean. For convenience and fool-proof grilling, gas is your best bet but it lacks that classic smoky flavor which is especially apparent if you want to grill meat besides hamburgers. You also have to consider the space you’re putting the BBQ into- both the size of the area and whether it’s covered or an open space will impact your decision. If you have a wide-open yard or large patio, your space can probably handle a gas grill and the possible flame-ups (open flames) that flare up from time to time. On the other hand, if your patio is covered in some way either by synthetic materials or trees, a coal grill will be much safer.

Size

It’s easy to get a little carried away and want to buy a fancy BBQ that’s larger than what you actually need. Picture an average meal you’ll be serving from the grill and try to get an idea of how much food you’ll actually be cooking- that will give you an idea of the amount of space you need. All those extra grilling racks and side burners may not be necessary if you’re not often serving meals to big parties all the time.

Maintenance

Since we aren’t likely to be using our BBQs year-round, how easy or difficult it is to take care of the grill during the off-season is very important.
Firstly, for any BBQ, it’s a good idea to purchase a cover for it to protect it from dust buildup, damage from any kind of moisture, and rust.

For a stainless steel BBQ, keeping the exterior shiny and rust free comes from regular cleaning. “Normal” stains can be wiped away with just some soap and warm water, and even when it’s not dirty, the BBQ would benefit from a quick wipe down with clean fresh water. It’s important to make sure you dry the grill’s exterior completely after you’ve finished cleaning it.

For harsher stains that won’t just come off with a quick wipe, stainless steel requires a specific steel wool scrubber that is designed especially to be gentle enough for stainless steel.

As for interior maintenance, the racks, plates and grills need to be cleaned with any type of oil or grease removing cleaning product. As well, to rid the grill of all the leftover grease after you’re done cooking, brush the crumbs and extra bits of food leftover from your grilling and turn the burners to high (with the hood open) for about five minutes.

When looking at a used barbecue, it’s important to take a look to see if the previous owner has kept up with the maintenance of the BBQ. Inspect the interior and exterior for any beginnings of rust, excessive scratches or smells once the BBQ is turned on. Don’t be afraid to ask the seller in what condition THEY purchased the BBQ, what their maintenance routine was, and how often they used it. All these questions will help you make an informed purchase.

How to Make a DIY Flagstone Patio

With warmer days ahead, it’ll be patio season all over again. Why not bring the party outdoors by creating a backyard oasis? Start with the basics first by creating a flagstone patio to transform your outdoor space. It’s a relatively easy Do It Yourself weekend project that will be sure to impress your summer guests.

Turn Your Garden Into an Oasis with Flagstons

Here’s what you’ll need to get started:
gravel, sand or granular material
• level
shovel
• landscaping rake
hammer
chisel
• hand tamper
• rubber mallet
• broom
• natural flagstone pieces
topsoil (optional)

Prepare your base
Select how big you want your patio area to be and take measurements so you can determine how many stones you’ll need to purchase from a landscaping store, nursery or hardware garden centre to cover the surface. Start digging out the soil, about six inches deep, and have a wheelbarrow on hand so it will be easy to relocate the soil somewhere else in your yard like a planting bed. Fill the base with sand, crushed stone or a granular material. Smooth and even out the grade with a landscaping rake before using a hand tamper to further level and compact the surface.

To check that the floor is even, use your level, placing it on a piece of wood on top of the surface you’ve created.

Lay your flagstones
The choice is yours whether you want to use rectangular stone pieces or irregular ones, but once that decision has been made start setting them down like a jig saw, using a hammer and chisel, if needed, to resize or reshape any stone. Take a step back every so often to make sure you like the design. When all stones have been set down and you’re happy with the look, stand on each piece or hit it with a rubber mallet to secure them in place.

Fill in gaps
Use sand, gravel or event topsoil to fill in the gaps between stones. Sand or gravel will hold the pieces firm in place while top soil will allow grass, moss or other greenery to grow between the stones. Dump the material of your choice and use a broom to sweep it into the crevices. Use your garden hose to lightly wet the patio and rinse the stone. The water will also help the material settle in place. You may need to add more material until the gaps are properly filled and are firm.

February is the Month of….

Groundhog Day, Valentine’s Day, and Black History Month- three well known days or month-long observances that we’re all probably pretty familiar with.

However, did you know that February is also home to several other nationally recognized observances that you’ve probably never heard of?

For instance: February is also National Cherry Month, Sweet Potato Month, National Mend a Broken Heart Month, Grapefruit Month, Spunky Old Broads Month, National Time Management Month, National Bird Feeding Month, and the list goes on.

Among the many fun and unique themes associated with this month, there was one in particular that stood out to us – Pull Your Sofa Off the Wall Month. There’s no need to go crazy with the renovations-it’s not meant to be a full-fledged project, but instead, a little nudge towards breathing new life into a room that might have been neglected for far too long.

This little February gem is meant to inspire everyone to re-organize a room or two in the house by doing simple tasks such as re-arranging where furniture goes (starting with the sofa). But why stop there? After you’ve figured out a new layout for the room, you may as well start trying to de-clutter areas in the room that may be piling up with miscellaneous odds and ends.

Pull Your Sofa Off the Wall Month isn’t just for sofas- use this month to focus on a room that could use some simple updating. Bookshelves, decorative crates, DIY craft projects, 2 in 1 storage units that double as seating or tables- there are so many options available to us and this is your month to get going!

Pull your sofa, chaise longue, couch, or futon out from the wall and fix up your space!

Pull your sofa, chaise longue, couch, or futon out from the wall and fix up your space!

Pull Your Sofa Off the Wall Month also gives you a great excuse to replace your existing sofa if it’s been sitting around for a few too many years. By the time March rolls around, you’ll have something brag-worthy to show off and hopefully the motivation to continue with some other household projects that need to be tackled.

If you decide to pull YOUR sofa off the wall this month and fix up a room, show us your pictures by tweeting us @Kijiji!

Sustainability Tips

Classified ads provide a great resource to engage in both sides of the responsible consumption equation – by buying used, you are ensuring that you are not creating demand for the production of a new item. When you downsize or sell used goods, you are allowing someone else to make a socially responsible purchase.

Consider the impact of the item after you start using it as well. You can reduce emissions by biking instead of driving, or looking for energy efficient home appliances. In addition to being purchases you can feel good about, these investments will save you money on gas and electricity.

Did you know that cotton production typically utilizes more insecticides than any other individual crop? Consider buying used and vintage clothing rather than purchasing new. Many people get rid of ‘like new’ or barely worn pieces – unless you choose to share that the item is used, others will be none the wiser about your eco-friendly fashion sourcing.

Trees and forests are integral habitats for wild animals, and are key to maintaining the natural beauty and ecological balance of Canada. With such a wide array of choices of beautiful used, antique, and retro furniture, you can save trees and money without sacrificing style.

Reclaimed Rustic Harvest Wood Table on Kijiji

Reclaimed Rustic Harvest Wood Table on Kijiji

The age of technology and gadgets causes a lot of pollution – minimize the impact of your electronics purchases by ensuring that broken ones are recycled appropriately, and buying or selling used devices.