Matt Gamache - Touchstone Realty



Posted by Matt Gamache on 4/22/2020

Photo by Soroush Zargar on Unsplash

Fine art has typically been defined as any creative, visual art that requires great skill or accomplishment, and is created or appreciated solely to inspire imagination, evoke an aesthetic appeal, or to share intellectual content. But, today's modern artists are pushing the boundaries of what is considered fine art by incorporating elements from nature, found items, and even paper. Paper has always been used as a secondary art medium, but in the world of fine paper art - paper is the art!

We're talking about paper sculptures, paper filigree (or quilling), decoupage, 3D paper models, and paper pulp painting. Actually, the process of making paper has risen to an art form. Handmade paper is an intriguing process that can yield an endless variety of stressed paper that transforms texture, transparency, thickness, roughness, and color.  

Fine Paper Art as a Hobby or Craft

If you're looking for creative ways to spend your time, consider paper art as fun hobby to add structure to long hours at home. But, don't stop there! Paper art can be so intricate and so beautiful, that learning one of the many paper art skills can lead to a viable, money-making craft. Below, we've curated some links to outstanding paper artists that are certainly prospering from their skills at transforming paper into incredible pieces of art. 

You may have already explored scrapbooking or card making - two popular at-home crafts that have a very large and loyal following. But, scrapbooks and even the most beautiful, handcrafted greeting card are not what we're looking at here. 

Take for example, Michelle Samour an established multi-media artist who incorporates handmade paper to explore the intersections among science, technology, and the natural world. She created and layered hundreds of individual translucent pulp drawings of viruses to create piece that suggested both a microscope slide and a reflecting pool. The intention was to draw the observer in with its beauty, while inviting quiet contemplation about viruses’ global threat.

Or consider Yulia Brodskaya, an artist and illustrator known for her handmade elegant and detailed paper illustrations. The viewer is quickly struck by the way Yulia uses the edge color of folded or shaped paper strips to 'paint' with. This style of paper art is a subset of paper filigree that uses multiple strips and shapes of color paper to fill boundaries and is often referred to as 'paper-on-edge' artwork.

Paper can also be used as a sculpting medium that far exceeds what you may have experienced making paper mache animals in middle school art class. These paper sculptures feature fine detail that is painstakingly engraving into the paper while still a bit wet. Even building the paper model can be an exercise in patience, as shown in the finely detailed features of these bird paper sculpures. 

3-dimensional artwork can be created using cut and folded paper to create brilliant, abstract artwork as shown by this video illustration of 12 Pop-up Paper Sculptures by Peter Dahmen. All of these paper artists sell their work for hundreds of dollars. When you think about the price of paper, which is relatively cheap when compared to the expense required with other forms of fine art, paper crafting can bring a good profit after you've invested the time and patience in honing your skills. And best of all, this is a craft that children can also get excited about.




Tags: education   learning  
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Posted by Matt Gamache on 4/15/2020

The homebuying journey can be long and arduous, particularly for an individual who makes mistakes along the way. Fortunately, an informed homebuyer can identify potential problems early in the homebuying journey and take the necessary steps to resolve such issues without delay.

Now, let's take a look at three common mistakes that homebuyers make, along with the best ways to eliminate these problems before they escalate.

1. A homebuyer spends too much time debating whether to submit a home offer.

The housing market moves quickly, and a homebuyer who hesitates to submit a competitive offer on a residence risks losing this house to a rival homebuyer.

Ultimately, it pays to learn about the real estate market. That way, if you fall in love with a house, you'll be better equipped than other homebuyers to submit a competitive offer before it's too late.

Check out the prices of houses in cities and towns where you'd like to live. This may help you narrow your search for the perfect home and provide housing market data that highlights how much it may cost to acquire your dream residence.

Also, take a look at the prices of recently sold houses in different areas. This will enable you to determine whether you're working in a seller's market or a buyer's one.

2. A homebuyer foregoes a home inspection.

Even though a homebuyer may want to rush through the purchase process, there is no reason to forego a home inspection.

When it comes to buying a residence, it is always better to err on the side of caution, and a home inspection offers a valuable opportunity to learn about a house's condition and uncover any "hidden" problems with a residence.

For example, a home inspection may reveal roof damage that could lead to thousands of dollars in roof repairs in the near future. On the other hand, a home inspection may show there are no major issues with a residence, thereby verifying that a house is a sound investment.

Don't forget to consider a variety of home inspectors before you schedule a property inspection. This will ensure that you can find a home inspector who possesses the necessary skills and expertise to perform a deep evaluation of a home before you finalize your purchase.

3. A homebuyer tries to purchase a house without support from a real estate agent.

For those who want to streamline the homebuying process, expert help may be necessary. Luckily, you can hire a real estate agent who can help you seamlessly navigate the homebuying journey.

Real estate agents are easy to find in cities and towns nationwide. Meanwhile, these housing market professionals are available to help you narrow your home search, submit offers on residences and much more.

If you need additional help during the homebuying journey, it usually is a good idea to hire a real estate agent. By doing so, you can receive the expert guidance and support that you need to go from homebuyer to homeowner.




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Posted by Matt Gamache on 4/8/2020

As a home seller, it is important to do everything possible to transform an ordinary kitchen into a comfortable, attractive setting. With an awe-inspiring kitchen, you may be able to differentiate your house from others that are available in a competitive real estate market. Plus, your house's kitchen might even lead some homebuyers to submit offers immediately following a home showing.

Clearly, a top-notch kitchen can make a world of difference when you sell your house. But how can you determine whether a kitchen overhaul is necessary?

Here are three questions to consider before you embark on a kitchen renovation.

1. When do I plan to sell my house?

If you intend to sell your home quickly, you may have limited time at your disposal. Therefore, a complete kitchen overhaul may not be an option.

On the other hand, if you have several weeks or months to plan ahead, it may be worthwhile to evaluate your kitchen and find ways to improve it.

Consider your home selling timeline closely. That way, you can examine various home improvement projects and determine whether a kitchen renovation is a priority.

2. How much money do I have to complete a kitchen renovation?

A kitchen renovation can include everything from simple upgrades to a massive overhaul. As such, the costs associated with a kitchen renovation may vary.

Assess your home improvement budget and plan accordingly. If you have the funds available, you may be able to revamp your entire kitchen. However, if your financial resources are limited, you may need to consider cost-effective measures to enhance your kitchen.

Remember, there are many quick, easy ways to bolster your kitchen. Wiping down the walls and ceiling can help your kitchen dazzle. Meanwhile, repainting the kitchen walls and mopping the floors also provide simple, effective ways to improve your kitchen's appearance without breaking your budget.

3. Is a kitchen renovation worth my time?

A home appraisal may prove to be exceedingly valuable, particularly for home sellers who are on the fence about completing a kitchen renovation.

During a home appraisal, a property inspector will examine your residence and provide a report that highlights your house's strengths and weaknesses. This report can help you establish a price range for your home. In addition, the report may provide you with insights into whether a kitchen renovation may enable you to boost your home's value.

Lastly, if you're still uncertain about a kitchen renovation after a home appraisal, a real estate agent may be able to provide extra support.

A real estate agent understands the ins and outs of selling a home. Thus, he or she can evaluate your residence and help you decide whether a kitchen renovation is worth your time.

When it comes to a kitchen renovation, it is essential for home sellers to examine all of their options. Consider the aforementioned questions, and you should have no trouble determining if a kitchen renovation is right for you.




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Posted by Matt Gamache on 4/1/2020

For some people, caring for the lawn is a tedious, but necessary chore. For others, it’s a quiet way to enjoy the outdoors on the weekends.

Regardless of your feelings on lawn care, it’s important if you want your grass to look green throughout the warm months.

There’s a lot more to lawn care, however, than simply mowing and pulling weeds. In this article, we’re going to focus on one factor in particular: soil quality.

How can you ensure your grass remains well-fed and watered during those hot summer months? The answer is underground, in your yard’s topsoil.

Read on for tips on caring for your soil.

Salvaging your soil

Most people don’t have the time or money to remove their entire lawn and start from scratch with seeding or turf. So, how can you begin to help your soil now?

There are several ways to improve soil quality to encourage grass growth. Let’s start with the consistency.

Regardless of whether your soil is more sand, silt, or clay-based it can become compacted throughout the years. Compacted soil makes it difficult for roots to take hold and to reach vital nutrients.

Furthermore, when soil compacts it often builds a layer of debris on the top called thatch. A small amount of thatch isn’t a bad thing. It can help build your grass’s resiliency to impact, namely the feet of your pets or children when they’re playing in the yard. However, if you have too much thatch, it can create barriers to new growth.

There are two ways to manage thatch effectively: remove and prevention. To prevent the buildup of thatch, avoid mixing too much fertilizer and clippings into your lawn. While clippings and fertilizer are both useful ways to improve the quality of your soil and protect your grass, too much can be suffocating to the lawn.

Removing thatch is more difficult than prevention, but you can achieve it will a vertical mower, as well as by raking and collecting trimmings when necessary.

Why acidity matters

In the same way that we need proper nutrients to maintain or health, grass needs the right fertilizer and pH level to grow. Acidity levels range from 0 to 14, with 0 being the most acidic (things like battery acid, lemon juice, and vinegar are all acidic), and 14 being the most alkaline (things like lye and ammonia).

A good pH for grass varies depending on the type of grass you have in your lawn, but a base level would be 6.5 or slightly acidic.

To test your soil pH, you can purchase a kit online or you can send a sample to a lab and they will report back to you. Once you know the pH of your soil, you can find the right type of fertilizer.

Fertilizing

Choosing a fertilizer can seem difficult, but there are a few main things you’re looking for. Nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium are the three main nutrients required by most plant life, and they are the top three ingredients in most fertilizer. There are, however several “micronutrients” that grasses need as well. These include copper, iron, boron, and zinc.

Follow the instructions on the formula you choose. Over-fertilizing your soil can cause harm. You might notice that the tips of the soil like “burnt” or that the blades turn yellowish. This is a good sign that you’re applying too much fertilizer.




Tags: lawn care   soil   yard soil  
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Posted by Matt Gamache on 3/25/2020

Photo by LesPalenik via Shutterstock

Many first time home buyers simply don’t think too much about home maintenance during the purchasing process. The challenge is that once you’re in the home, regardless of whether you’ve thought about it or not, your home’s maintenance needs only increase. And if there’s a hidden problem lurking somewhere, the result of ignoring it means it only gets bigger, more difficult to repair and could potentially cause other issues.

Invite an Inspection

During the purchase process, you should have had a home inspection. On it, a certified inspector lists any areas with potential maintenance needs in the foreseeable future. Read through the inspection list to see what’s upcoming. Will you need a new roof in a few years? Does the exterior paint need some TLC? How old is the water heater and how long is the warranty on it? Did the inspector notice any weaknesses in the foundation or cracks in the supports? Minor issues likely weren’t enough to stop a sale since every home has some blemishes. But knowing the potential issues means you can keep your eye on them and stop something from developing into an expensive issue needing major repairs.

Do an Annual Review

Make a list and check it twice. Each season walk through your home, crawl in the attic space and under the floor joists to check things out. Look for evidence of water leaks, mold, or build-up of condensation. Check for dripping faucets, hissing or running toilets or loose fixtures. Tighten water valves and check for moisture inside sink cabinets and bathroom vanities.

If your house has a fireplace, have the chimney swept before you use it in the fall or winter. During the summer, birds and small animals often build nests in the chimney that can catch embers and cause house fires. If your chimney does not have a screen or cap, talk to your fireplace professional about installing them. Your fireplace isn’t the only thing that needs screens. If your gutters continually clog with leaves and debris, they can back up and cause significant water damage to your home. In areas with snow or ice, clogged gutters can overflow during a melt and damage the gutters, soffit and even the foundation. A gutter contractor can install screens that let the water in but keep the debris out.

Energy Review

Other areas that need consideration are windows and doors. If your dual-paned window steams or frosts on the inside, the seal has broken, so you won’t reap the benefit of energy savings. Drafty door jams and frames allow frigid air in and cause your furnace to run longer. Ask your public utility company to do an energy survey of your home and caulk, repair or replace when necessary.

Your professional real estate agent is the best resource for a home inspector, referrals for a handy contractor and how to contact your public utilities for a review. Reach out today for information. 




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