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If a picture speaks a thousand words, then what does a crooked picture say? Hanging a picture up on a wall so that it hangs flat and straight isn’t that hard, but we have some tips to make it even easier. These will really come in handy if you plan a whole wall of pictures, so hang around for these super tricks.

If you are hanging a single picture, the rule is that is should be about eye level. If you are hanging several pictures, use this “eye-level-point” as your central target and work around it.

If you are going to hang a grouping, lay it out on the floor first. You also can cut out pieces of paper the same size as the frames and tape them up on the wall to get the spacing the way you like it. When you are ready to install the hooks, do so right through the paper so you know it will be right.

Hooks for hanging pictures can be as simple as a thumb tack or as complicated as a toggle bolt. Buy something that will be easy to install, won’t ruin your wall and will be strong enough to hold your artwork or photo.

If you’re hanging up several frames in a straight line, you can use a level. The most accurate – and fun – level to use is a laser level. It will work better in dim light because it will be easier to see. If you are using a bubble level and need a longer one than you have, you can tape a small model to a long, straight pole like a broomstick, piece of rigid pipe or just a scrap of wood that is true.

We suggest installing a metal picture hanger on your frames rather than using the older picture wires to keep them straighter longer and flatter against the wall.

Placing small rubber bumpers on the back of each frame, near the bottom, also will help keep them straighter longer.

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Q: We are new to the South and are wondering about what to do with our swimming pool during the winter. Are we supposed to drain it or cover it or what? What are your thoughts on this? – T.Y.

A: We are not pool experts at all but, in much of the South, people don’t do a lot of winterization on their pools like they do up North. Even though you may not use it during the winter, you do need to keep up with the chemicals and cleaning of the pool. You’ll also want to make sure that your filter is running during a freeze to avoid frozen pipes. If you do choose to cover it during the winter, there are some other things you need to do for this. We suggest you contact a pool-supply company in your area and get their recommendations. You also can talk to some of your neighbors and see what they do.

Shoptalk

For smaller tree trimming, the 18-volt 8-inch Chain Saw would be perfect. It weighs only 4.5 pounds, uses no gas and can run for about 25 minutes on a single charge. It’s safe to use and comes with a plastic blade cover and even has an automatic oiling bar for the chain. It will recharge in four to six hours and, because it’s rechargeable, there’s no electrical cord to get in your way. Check it out on www.improvementscatalog.com.