Great for guests

Preparing a stylish guest suite is a snap with inspiration from five-star hotels and these five tips from Home & Garden Television:

n Create an environment that promotes a great night's sleep. Make the bed very comfy by adding a thick duvet and lots of fluffy pillows. High-thread-count, 100 percent cotton sheets are also a must.

n Stock the guest room with magazines and books, and put together a snack tray or basket filled with light snacks and bottled water.

n Lay out bathrobes and place rolled bath towels at the foot of the bed in case guests would like to freshen up upon arrival.

n Hang a small mirror in the guest room to provide a spot for touching up makeup or putting on jewelry. A long dressing mirror is also a nice addition.

n If your overnight guests are family or close friends, it's always a nice touch to display photos of time spent together in the past; everyone enjoys a trip down memory lane.

Gardening delights

In these lean times, one of our greatest assets is a plot of land, whether it's tiny or an average suburban lot. Having soil to work with is a real blessing. Making resolutions to be more conscious of how we use our bit of land can have huge benefits for both our families and the environment this coming year.

There is no better way to help the environment, eat healthy and save money than to become a gardener. If you've never grown a food garden, let this be the year you start - even if it's just a few tomato plants. Above all, do not be afraid to fail, for it is through our worst fiascoes that we learn the most.

Also, begin the gradual development of a productive home landscape that offers fruits, vegetables, greens and herbs to feed the family. Strive to make every new plant edible, whether it is violas that add color to salads or a fruitful cherry tree instead of an ornamental flowering variety.

Water filters

Before you install any filtering system, have your water tested by a licensed professional to make sure it's safe to drink and wash with. If you're on a city water system, your utility can help you out with this. Once it's determined that the overall water quality is acceptable, then you can look into installing a basic water-filtering system.

Water-filter systems for a home can be as simple as installing a small filter on the spout of a kitchen faucet or as complicated as cutting into the main water line and installing a whole-house filtering system.

You may want to look for a beverage faucet. A beverage faucet is basically a small faucet set aside for drinking water only, mounted on a kitchen sink or countertop next to your primary kitchen faucet. A good-quality beverage-faucet kit can include the piping, fittings and "under sink" filter cartridge.

needed for installation. Installation is fairly easy to hook up since it's installed right at the kitchen-sink area, and it uses only cold water. You need to have a hole available in the sink or countertop to install the above-deck faucet unit. You can have your countertop professionally drilled for the proper-sized hole or change around your present kitchen-faucet setup to create an open hole on the sink itself.