five things we learned last week

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1. Fences — even recycled ones — cause splits in opinion. This idea got the discussion going, with Riff weighing in: “In general, I’m not a fan of fences at the front of a property as they close things off too much. But for a side or back yard, I love it. It’s definitely a departure (and a step-up creativity-wise) from the plethora of shiny, white, vinyl fences that are dominating suburbia. Go for it, but tell your neighbor to paint their side if they don’t like it!” See the fence here.

2. Recovering an old couch? Consider an everyday basic, suggests our friend Thelma A. “Try just simple blue denim — it makes a great durable contrast to an old piece with good bones.” See more fabric ideas here.

3. Tea drinkers are right to be concerned about teeth stains, though there are alternatives. PlantingOaks says: “You might try yerba mate. I’ve never tried it before, but it is supposedly a light colored highly caffeinated herb…. Another option I’ve heard to avoid staining teeth is to drink through a straw. Yes, that’s a little weird with warm beverages, but it could be an option.” Read more suggestions.

4. We don’t need fancy brownie pans. Tasha wrote: “Oooh, Alton Brown would have a heyday with this — he argues that the only unitasking tool in the kitchen should be the fire extinguisher. I agree with him; this looks like a waste of $25.” See the contraption she is talking about here.

5. Household chores are manageable, if you do them on a schedule. As DJ says: “I have found that, even though we are all tired on weekday evenings, it’s much better to try to cram chores in then than it is to try to do them on the weekend. All I want to do on weekends is play.” Click here for some home organization inspiration.

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