Stow MA Real Estate | Katie Fisher, Mark Forgues & Carolyn Fisher- Fisher And Associates Real Estate


Not long ago to protect our homes from intruders we would lock the doors, the windows, close the blinds, leave a light on and possibly set the alarm. Today houses are full of devices that make our lives convenient such as computers, laptops, printers, smart televisions, streaming media devices, gaming consoles, smart appliances, digital assistants, mobile phones, tablets, baby monitors, web cameras, alarm systems, and cars. All of these devices have a commonality of being connected to the internet. Which means they also provide another means of breaking into homes... via the internet.

Protect your home network

Protection of your home network starts with your connection to the internet. You always close your windows and doors, and wouldn’t give strangers the keys, right? Make sure you are not allowing free access to your network by leaving your router or wireless access point unsecured. Some necessary steps to secure your network include:

- Change the administration login and password from the factory default. Anyone can quickly perform a web search and find the router or wireless access point manufacturers default username and password.

- On a wireless access point or router change the SSID (this is the name of your wireless network) you can name it whatever you want just do not leave the default name on.

- Enable encryption on your Wi-Fi network. There will be several choices of encryption to use. Select the WPA2 over WEP. If there is a choice of several WPA2 choose WPA2-PSK AES. Assign a passphrase that is at least 8 characters long and consists of letters (both upper and lower case), numbers, and special characters. The longer the passphrase the securer it is.

- Turn off guest networks unless you actually plan on using this feature.

- If your router supports the Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) disable it. This is vulnerable to brute force attacks.

- Ensure that the router’s built-in firewall is activated. It will be NAT (network address translation) or SPI (stateful packet inspection). The firewall is another layer of protection for your network.

Keep Your Connected Devices’ Software Updated and Secured.

Enable automatic updates for the operating systems on your desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. By getting these updates, you will get new software features and security patches for the device. Keep any anti-virus and anti-malware software updated too.

Over the next couple of days take a look at your home network and make sure you are not leaving the doors to the network unlocked. Talk to your technology providers about additional safeguards you can set up to protect your information.


Part of you can't stay away from flea markets, garage sales, and antique malls. But another part of you knows that there is not enough room in your home for the random pieces that you find. The living room corner is not the perfect place for a rusted pitchfork, and your bedroom shouldn't house that old hand plow. But some items fit right in, and others that can be made to order with a little hacking.

Hacks, not a hacksaw

Although many hacks require some cutting or drilling into the piece, remember that its very age makes it less able to withstand severe alterations without also improving its stability. For example, a wooden library card-filling system creates a perfect side table with the addition of legs, and the wood usually can withstand the drilling. Conversely, a metal and glass tea trolley may not have the stability to add drawers or remove shelves, and a dresser with delicate French legs might not bear the weight of your entertainment system. A sturdy farmhouse table, however, makes a fantastic coffee or game table and only requires cutting down the legs. Before embarking on alterations, consider the original use of the piece and adjust your expectations accordingly.

Think creatively

Vintage beds rarely come in queen-size. If you’ve got your eye on an antique headboard, but you have a queen bed, consider that you may need to add pieces to the sides to make it fit. Or, you can take that headboard and attach it to a bench instead, so you get the vintage piece in a useful, but fitting, alternative.

Another hack for a headboard is to use an antique door. Many old doors have interesting architectural features worthy of artistic interest. Turn a door on its side and connect it to legs and your bed frame, and voila! You have a lovely headboard. Or create a banquette with two doors attached as the bench backs in a corner.

Expand its use

Metal tea trays in deep rich colors make excellent wall art for a kitchen, breakfast nook, or even a bedroom. Cluster several together for interest and to draw the eye. Or, attach a large tray to the top of a nightstand for instant charm. If the tray has a sturdy base, you can even connect hairpin metal corner legs to create a side table.

Don't buy the first items you see. The perfect one might be right around the corner in a market you've never visited. If you're new to an area, ask your real estate professional about local thrift stores, farmers markets, and city-wide garage-sale days.


Leather is a costly material, so buying bags, shoes, sofa or clothes in this material can set you back a few dollars. Having paid top dollar for the leather sofa or purse, you logically always want to keep the item in good shape. Sadly, leather is tough to clean. Regardless of their durability, using too much water or washing them with a washing machine can destroy the material. What do you do when you notice a stain on your leather item? Below are effective tips on how to properly clean an article with leather material.

How to Clean Leather Purses or Bags 

Leather purses and handbags are prone to stains as they are often placed on the floor and used outdoors. Some people use soap or detergent to get rid of the stains, but this is wrong - Soap or detergent remains on the leather and may result in cracking and dry patches. If you want to get rid of a stain effectively from your leather bag or purse, follow these steps;

  1. Get a mild facial soap and one part with eight parts of clean water
  2. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle
  3. Spray the mixture on a towel
  4. Use the towel wipe the grain of the leather. Do this gently until the stain removed.
  5. Leave the purse or bag to air dry inside your home. Do not expose to sunlight.
  6. When the purse or bag has dried completely, use a small amount of leather moisturizer. This helps to protect the handbag or purse. 

How to Clean Leather Furniture 

Leather furniture, such as cushions and sofa are standard in most homes, but only a few homeowners know how to clean leather furniture. Some homeowners make the mistake of using strong household cleaners on their cushions, the aftermath of such action is a worn-out cushion. To prevent such, here are some tips on how to clean leather furniture.

  1. Before cleaning, use a vacuum to remove dust and particles.
  2. Using a microfiber cloth, wipe a pea-sized amount of a mild detergent onto the furniture.
  3. Using a separate cloth, wipe the furniture gently with clean water.
  4. Continue wiping with clean water until there is no sign of soap residue on the furniture.
  5. Close blinds or curtains and allow the furniture to dry naturally. 

How to Clean dry stain from leather 

Shoes Whenever you notice a dry stain on your leather shoe, do not clean it off with water. Get an eraser and rub the stain until it disappears. Do this gently, or else you may damage the material.

Caring for your leather items requires some skill and patience. Try some of these tips today and breathe new life to your leather furniture, bags, and shoes.


Adding a new furry friend into your life can be fun and exciting until you notice that your favorite shoes have bite marks in them. If you've recently added a new puppy into your life or getting ready to, it's essential to protect your belongings to enjoy this excellent adventure fully.

Puppy-proof your home. 

Objects such as shoes, wires, and pillows can be a puppy's playground. Before committing to this addition to your family, it's essential to prepare your home to protect your things. It may require getting out of the habit of taking off your shoes at the door and start putting them inside a closet where the puppy can't access them. You may also want to consider hiding any exposed wires to reduce the risk of chewed up wires and broken electronics. Another area to be concerned about is curtains and pillows. During the youthful stage of your puppy, make it a point to keep curtains off the ground and pillows off of furniture. They can be expensive to replace, so for the time being consider putting them out of reach.

Start training.

As soon as your furry friend comes home, start the training process. Start with potty training, crate training, and simple commands. If you plan to enroll your dog to school to get professionally trained, he or she should already know how to sit, stay, and come. If you plan on fully training your pet yourself, then be sure to educate yourself on effective methods and fully commit to the process. It can be a long process, but it is definitely worth the overall investment.

Set boundaries.

The earlier you start setting boundaries, the sooner your puppy will practice them. If you do not want the puppy in certain parts of the house, put up a fence or start the habit of closing the doors. Be sure to enforce these boundaries as soon as possible and don’t let up on them no matter how adorable those puppy eyes are. 

Let your dog be a dog. 

Having a new dog in the home can take up a lot of time. In order to give your puppy an appropriate outlet for its energy, take it on regular walks, trips to the dog park, and set aside time to play. When you don't make time for your furry pal, it will find another way to let its energy out, and that usually results in something being chewed up. If you're away from your home for a large portion of the day, hire a dog walker or sitter to play with your puppy while you're gone.

Adding a new pup to your home can be exhausting in the beginning, but with the right tools and commitment, you’ll start enjoying its company. If you’re having problems training your puppy, contact a local dog training school and enroll them as soon as possible.




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