five things we learned last week


1) Popcorn is a green way to clean those narrow-necked vases. Rebecca F. shared her simple strategy and you’re thankful for the tip. TexanNewYorker says: “Thank you for this — the last time I moved, I gave away all my skinny-necked vases because they’re such a pain to clean!”

2) Cookie cutters may be the most versatile pieces in our holiday arsenal. Ginny F. shared her inspirations for decorating with them, commenter Andrea shared her idea for giving homemade cookies along with a cutter for garnish and many of you highly recommend Ikea for its holiday selection. Jess says: “I’ve inherited quite an extensive collection of cookie cutters over the years. Make sure to check IKEA around Christmas time. My very favorite cookie cutters have come from there! (from moose to squirrel, they come in boxed sets for under $5!)”

3) Chalkboard ornaments are an easy DIY with mass appeal. While these ornaments aren’t available in the United States, Martha Stewart’s holiday do-it-yourself instructions bring them stateside for cheap. Diane says: “How totally adorable is this? Thanks so MUCH for sharing!!”

4) Taking time to burglarproof your home is important, and renter’s insurance helps. Rebecca F. shared her tips for deterring break-ins while you’re away this holiday season, and was thankful that she invested in insurance before she experienced a break-in herself. We can sympathize. Fanny says: “Yikes! That is so, so scary! Thanks for all the tips, and ditto on the renter’s insurance. I finally got it a couple of years ago, and it gives fantastic peace of mind. It also covers personal property in case of a car break-in or bike theft was well!”

5) Everyone prepares that turkey differently, and some methods are simpler than others. Megan B. shared her mother’s technique involving butter-soaked bed sheets, a new one that prominently features a paper bag, and her personal go-to from Alton Brown. Like everything Thanksgiving-related, we each have our own no-fail strategies. Mike Johnson says: “I brine the bird, but give it 24 hours to dry out in the fridge. I put herb butter under the skin, let it come up just to room temperature, and cook it breast-side up in a roasting pan on the grill. The meat won’t dry out unless it’s overcooked.” How do you brine your bird?

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