1. DIY – For the Hostess with the Mostess: Make Your Own Chalkboard Serving Platter

    Planning on playing host or hostess in your new Neal kitchen? We’ve got the perfect creative project for you! With chalkboard art being all the rage, we thought we’d incorporate it into our home. With your own chalkboard serving platter you can creatively label all the items you have on your platter and we guarantee it will have your guests swooning! Cheese, crackers, cookies or more, this is a fun project that will add that special touch! Follow the simple instructions here!


  2. DIY- Build Your Own Mason Jar Herb Garden

    With BBQ season in full swing and Easter cooking around the corner, we thought it might be fun to start growing your own personal herb garden! There’s nothing quite like having fresh ingredients to add to a tasty salad or main dish! Not only will it add a pop of color to your garden, it also tastes great, too! This DIY project is quick and easy and is one that the whole family to get involved with. For a list of materials and simple instructions click here! Visit our Pinterest page for more fun DIY ideas!

    (Photo: http://camillestyles.com/uncategorized/transformed-mason-jar-herb-garden/)

     


  3. Outdoor Living

    Bringing the indoors out and the outdoors in is a privilege few get to experience.  Thankfully, the tropical Southwest Florida lifestyle provides us with such luxuries! At Neal Communities, we believe in personalizing your home and making it fit your lifestyle, so why not pull out all the stops? From breathtaking pools, to optimal grilling & relaxation space, we can bring all the comforts of the indoors outside. Need to see it to believe it?  Look no further; we have the gallery just for you!


  4. Why Homeowners Prefer New Pools

    While the idea of purchasing an older home complete with a pool is a tempting buy (especially in the hot Florida heat), often times, purchasing an older home (and an older pool) comes with unanticipated maintenance.  Leaks, cracks, relining, and resurfacing, are just some of the expensive risks of an older pool product.  When you invest in a new pool, you can be sure that your water sanctuary is designed for your perfect Florida lifestyle.  From shape, to style, as a division of Neal Communities, Waterscapes Pools & Spas will ensure that every stage of the pool building process— from design and planning to tile and surface finish selection— is done to the highest of standards.  Explore the world of Waterscapes Pools & Spas.


  5. Pantone’s 2014 Color of the Year: Radiant Orchid

    A beautiful and vibrant color that exudes warmth and interest, Radiant Orchid is a trendy shade to be added to the home design palette.  With just a few touches we brought Radiant Orchid to Country Club East- Haddington, Palmavera Model in Lakewood Ranch!

    Keeping up with “trend” is a great way to keep your home spaces looking fresh and contemporary and you can easily do this without breaking the bank. Decorative plates, pillows, candles, and floral arrangements are simple and cost effective ways to incorporate trendy colors into your home without making too much of a commitment (for when the next trend comes along!).

    A few touches are all it takes to give your home a fresh new style so do not be afraid to embrace it! Take a look here to see all the ways Neal Communities has subtly incorporated trend and color into its designs, achieving home looks that are contemporary and classy. 


  6. Wash, Dry and a must buy !

     

    A recent survey by the National Association of Home Builders listed the Laundry Room as one of the top things that people want in their homes. With such a sought-after room, it’s important to be sure you’ve got a home that corresponds with your needs.

    Many of our Neal Communities’ homes include a separate laundry room with space for storage and the option to have a large laundry sink.  One of these homes is the Windsong model at Grand Palm featured above. There has never been a better time to buy in the Sarasota/Bradenton area and you have a lot of available choices.

    Visit our website for a full list of move in ready homes.

     

     


  7. 2014- The Year to Get Uncluttered

    If you are still trying to come up with a worthy resolution, we have a great idea for you. Why not make a promise to make 2014 the year you get your house more organized! Sure it isn’t the most exciting resolution around but it beats eating lettuce everyday, right?

    Here at Neal Communities, we put together a list of some super easy (and yet completely genius) ways to start organizing right now.

    Get excited – or as excited as you can about organization!

    1. Is your closet overflowing with clothes that don’t fit, don’t flatter, or just don’t do it for you anymore? We’ve all been there. But why hold on to clothes you aren’t using when there is someone out there who could really use them? Take the time to go through your closet and remove anything you haven’t worn in a while. Consider donating to some of these organizations!

    • DressForSuccess- This Company collects professional attire and distributes them to disadvantaged women who have an interview lined up. Since 1997, over 700,000 women have been helped through this organization. Read more about it here.  http://www.dressforsuccess.org
    • Cinderella Project- Still holding on to an old gown or dress you don’t fit in anymore or something you just don’t see yourself wearing again? Check out this organization that gives donated  dresses to girls who can’t afford a prom dress. Find more information here.  http://www.cinderellaproject.net/about-us-1/sister-sites/
    • In addition, check local churches, crisis centers, or shelters. Many battered women’s shelters, homeless shelters, and churches are constantly looking for donations. Call them to see what they need.
    2.  If you have extra wall space, check out this tip. Build shelves between your clothes racks and place baskets on the shelves. Fill them with whatever fits; purses, flip-flops, high heels, scarves, belts, or ties.
    3.  If you are running out of room in your kitchen, have no fear. We have a few solutions that will help you utilize unused space and declutter your cabinets and drawers (or give you more room to get new stuff, wink wink).
    • We found this on Pinterest, a sliding cabinet device that organizes and stores your pots and pans.
    • Utilize the doors of cabinets by placing small storage racks on the inside of them. Place sponges, cleaners, spices, or other small items in them to give you more space and easily locate items you use frequently. (See photo at top of article)

    4.  You most likely spend a lot of time in your main room. Living room, family room, whatever you choose call it, let’s not have any reason to call it the messy room.  Purchase a small caddy to store remote controls, pens, magazines, glasses, or whatever else you have laying around on the coffee table. 

    *Photo credit: Better Homes and Gardens

     

    We told you the tips were easy. What are some of the tricks you’ve done to make your home more organized? Leave a comment and share your ideas!



  8. 2014 Home Trends

    At Neal Communities we work to provide exceptional customer care while making the design of your home the perfect place to fit your lifestyle. Not sure what your style is? Take our Facebook HomeStyle Quiz.

    One thing that most homeowners strive for is to remain current in their home décor.  A great way to stay current is to go over the newest home trends each year.

    So here we go, counting down the top 5 predicted home trends of 2014 in case you want a new look this New Year.

    5. The Pantone Color of the Year has been announced for 2014 and the winner is (insert drumroll here), Radiant Orchid.  This color “ emanates great joy, love and health and intrigues the eye and sparks the imagination.” Do you like the color? Could you see yourself incorporating as an accent wall or furniture?

    4. Patterns have been making their way back into everything from fashion trends to home decorating. Two particular patterns we have been seeing a lot include the chevron and floral designs. Find a new place to add some pattern. An accent rug, a new chair, curtains, or decorative pillows are all great ideas.  Can’t make up your mind? Try a combination like in this Gull 2 Cottage at Woodbrook. A patterned area rug really stands out and makes a statement for the room as shown in this picture. Notice the chairs have a subtle patterned and the curtains as well.

    3.  Open floor plans are becoming more and more desired in a new home. Imagine being able to cook dinner and still hold a conversation (with eye contact and all) with the kids in the living room. This gives the home a more spacious and relaxed look. Luckily, an open floor plan is a staple for many of Neal Communities floor plans. Just another way you can get the family all together.

    2.  Bright colors are also hot in design. Teals, reds and yellows are three colors predicted to make waves this New Year.  Not sure how or where to incorporate them? Get creative! Consider buying new vases, new dinnerware or even filling the home with bright flowers in these colors.

    1. Technology is all around us. Smart phones, tablets, gaming systems and other technology pieces have become an integral part of our everyday lives. Now they are becoming a bigger par of our homes as well. Apple’s U-socket is an outlet that allows for charging iPhones, gaming devices, cameras, Kindles, iPads, and more. They also shut off when the charge is complete.  Smart TV’s are also trending allowing users to view content through the Internet. Have a hilarious YouTube skit you can’t wait to show friends? Try Google’s Chromecast. A simple plug into your TV and you can stream YouTube.

    What trends will you be following this year? Follow us on Pinterest for more ideas! Happy New Year from Neal Communities!


  9. FALL in love.

    It’s time to say goodbye to summer and hello to fall. Time to welcome cooler weather, sweaters and pumpkin flavored everything. Living in Florida, we often don’t get the atmospheric changes of fall such as the leaves changing colors or cool autumn breezes. Despite our constant greenery, Floridians can get in the fall spirit too!

    Decorating the home to match the season is a quick and easy way to celebrate.

    1. Add a touch of autumn to your home décor with Autumnal colors, wicker pieces and accent pieces from nature such as gourds, pumpkins, branches or dried leaves.

    2. Instead of carving pumpkins this fall, try a unique approach of painting your pumpkin. You can create endless designs using acrylic paint and painter’s tape. Try designs such as a two-tone, dipped look or popular chevron stripes. Take a look at these,“12 Painted Pumpkin Ideas” to gather inspiration.  Set a bewitching scene inside or out with jack-o’-lanterns in whimsical, easy-to-paint designs this fall.

    3. Spice up any door with an autumn themed wreath. This splash of fall color brings warmth and life to any front door.

    4. Fill your home the delicious smells of fall with pumpkin, spiced apple or cinnamon. These signature autumn scents are sure to bring the feeling of fall in your home.

    5. Another great way to bring the scents of fall into your home is to do a little fall baking. Not only will your house smell amazing but indulging yourself with a warm pumpkin treat will surely put you in the mood for the season.

    Check out this easy recipe for pumpkin cinnamon rolls.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    PUMPKIN CINNAMON ROLLS

    Author: Erin Alderson

    Recipe type: Breakfast

    Prep time:  2 hours 30 mins Cook time: 30 mins Total time:  3 hours

     

    Serves: 12

    • ¾ cup milk
    • 2½ teaspoon yeast
    • ⅓ cup natural sugar
    • 1 cup pumpkin
    • ⅓ cup melted butter
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 3 whole eggs
    • 4- 4½ cup Unbleached all purpose flour
    • divider filling
    • ¼ cup butter
    • ⅔ cup sucanat
    • ¼ cup natural sugar
    • 2 tablespoon cinnamon
    • 2 teaspoon nutmeg
    • divider Pumpkin Glaze
    • 1 cup pumpkin
    • ¼ cup natural sugar
    • 2 tablespoon maple syrup
    • ¼-1/2 cup milk
    • Heat milk (either in a sauce pan or microwave) until milk begins to simmer- add butter. Let cool until a warm temperature (about 120˚)
    • In a stand mixer bowl, at milk mixture, yeast, and sugar. Let sit for five minutes. Add 3 cups of flour, salt, pumpkin, eggs and start mixer with dough hook. Add the remaining flour, ½ cup at a time continuing until the dough pulls together. Continue kneading the dough until smooth and elastic- at least eight minutes.
    • Either in the mixer bowl or a separate bowl, lightly spray the dough with cooking oil and place in a warm, draft free spot until dough has doubled in size (around an hour and a half.)
    • Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and roll out into a 10 by 14 rectangle. Rub butter over entire surface and cover with sucanat mixture. Roll the dough into a log, squeeze slightly and adjust to form. Cut into 12 pieces (cut in half, the cut each half into half then each piece is cut into three pieces.) Place in a sprayed 9 X 13 pan.
    • Cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator overnight. (Or if you want to continue on, cover and let rise for another hour and follow with remaining instructions.)
    • The next morning, preheat the oven to 350˚ and remove cinnamon rolls from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for a half hour.
    • Bake for 25-30 minutes until cinnamon rolls are a nice golden brown color. Let cool slightly.
    • While cinnamon rolls cool slightly, combine icing ingredients and while cinnamon rolls are still warm spoon icing over the rolls.

    Enjoy while warm (as if there is such a thing as cold cinnamon rolls-usually they are gone before they even have the chance to cool down!)

    For more tips, tricks and recipes for the fall season visit our Pinterest Page and follow our boards.

     

    http://www.pinterest.com/nealcommunities/holidays/


  10. Do It Yourself Projects- Time to Get Crafty

    Do you enjoy making things from scratch, or repurposing old items and making them into something fresh and new? Or perhaps you are always looking for new ways to get your house more organized.

    Consider trying some DIY projects? With a little Pinterest inspiration, you will be surprised to learn that even you can be the next Martha Stewart, impressing your friends (and yourself) with organization ideas, recipes, and even crafts!

    To start, visit our Neal Communities Pinterest Page to get inspired! In this blog, we are going to outline how you can use wooden pallets to create beautiful and rustic home décor. You heard us correctly, wooden pallets.

    Many times, local business and stores have wooden pallets laying around that they will give you for free. Try asking larger department and grocery stores after deliveries take place. Another suggestion is many times people offer wooden pallets for free on Craigslist!

    Project One: Create the perfect patio table. Doesn’t this picture make you want to be sitting in one of those chairs, drinking lemonade with an old friend? One of the things we loved most about this particular table was the wheels on the bottom, allowing you to move it around as necessary. You have the ability to stain the wood whatever color you like! Check out this YouTube Video on how to stain wood.

     

     

    The second idea we loved was the idea of using the wooden pallets as a headboard. The wood immediately gives the bed a rustic look and paired with the white bedding, the headboard really stands out.  If this were our bedroom, we would place fresh lilacs on the nightstand for a spice of color – not to mention, we love how they  smell! Would you use this idea for your headboard?

     

     

    Even if you don’t consider yourself to be crafty, you might want to become crafty just to create this beautiful outdoor sofa! While the project might take more time than the others, the end result will be worth it! Decorate the finished product with colored pillows of your choice or swap pillows out based on the season.  Where would you place this new piece of furniture? Something about this chair makes us want to place it outside where we can sit in it and catch the sun set.

     

     

    What are some of YOUR ideas of things you would create using wooden pallets?  Whether you are a seasoned expert or a beginner in the craft department, with a little time and a lot for patience, you can create beautiful pieces like the one above. If you want to brush up on your skills before trying these at home, check out some local craft classes in Sarasota.  Plus, your local craft stores, such as Michaels, offers classes year round. Join in the fun and get building! Be sure to share photos of items you’ve created for your Neal Communities home on our Facebook page!