this just in: new from rejuvenation

Rejuvenation Midcentury Doorbell Buttons

Yes, we love them for their authentic lighting hardware and penchant for historic preservation, but this summer, I’ve got my eye on the newest additions to Rejuvenation’s line of mid-century modern bath and exterior door hardware. How adorable are these doorbell buttons? Part of their first collection of mid-century exterior hardware that also includes doorsets in five shapes, the buttons embody the iconic star, square and circle shapes of the that characterized the design of 1950s & 60s. The trend towards mid-century details continues with the brand’s new line of bath hardware, which features similar shapes that offer the same mid-century look with a contemporary twist. I love the look of the Titan and Atlas stars!

For the scoop on all new products, including finishes and pricing, visit Rejuvenation.com. – Sarah C.

Related: Click here for our behind-the-scenes tour of Rejuvenation!

From our partners

rethink everyday: drying clothes on delicate

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Ok friends, here’s a challenge: try to rethink the way you do one commonplace task. That has been my mission lately, and I’ve had a few revelations. The first, and most obvious, has been that just because appliance instructions say to do something, doesn’t mean it’s a steadfast rule (unless it’s for safety reasons). For example – let’s take the clothes dryer. I air-dry the majority of my laundry with the exception of a few things, and those things get tossed in the dryer on Auto/High for 30 minutes.That’s just what I do, and have always done. But, what if I didn’t? What if I tried another setting? I know, crazy. But what I’ve discovered is that I don’t need to use that high setting to get good results. I’ve actually found that using the “delicates” setting (which is less hot than the “auto” setting) dries equally as well, and in some cases, results in softer clothes. I didn’t realize that the highest dryer setting was actually toasting my clothes and making them feel a little crispy! With the exception of my thickest bath mats, the delicates setting has worked just fine for a medium-sized load of laundry, and I bet even saves a little energy to boot. What everyday tasks can you rethink? — Rebecca F.

Image courtesy of flickr user Aurimas Rimsa.

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collection obsession: vintage vacuum flasks

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I love thermoses and carafes — vacuum flasks as they’re technically known. Maybe it hearkens back to my Snoopy thermos in first grade, filled with perfectly piping hot tomato soup for lunch, or to my first date with my now husband, who poured me a sip of syrupy espresso from his trusty Nissan stainless thermos (still in action to this day). But now, I find myself snatching vintage thermoses up on every thrifting trip I’ve been on of late. I’m pretty choosy about which ones I buy, so I’m careful to inspect them for (1) gross odors (2) shattered or cracked glass liners (yes many of the vintage varieties were glass, which makes them fragile) and (3) the condition of the seals. Most of what I’ve bought has been pristine — hardly, if ever used — which helps seal the deal. If you’re willing to risk it, eBay is a treasure trove of vintage vacuum flasks: this beauty is $9.99, BIN (with returns accepted).

My favorite? That heavy, unbreakable stainless Uno-Vac in the back. That bad boy has seen some life — and is still, amazingly, spotless and funk-free inside. Later this week, Ol’ Ironsides (as I’ve dubbed it) will be filled with 24 oz. of something delicious (which, depending on the weather, will be either hot or cold) and brought along on our hike into the forest as part of our five year wedding anniversary celebration! — Megan B.

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everything you wanted to know about hammocks (but were afraid to ask)!

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When the dog days of summer hit, there is literally nothing that sounds better to me than lying in a shaded hammock, reading a magazine and sipping iced tea in a perfect summer breeze. Take a moment and picture it. Yep, it’s that good. Trust me… your midsummer naps will never be the same.

It’s not nearly as unattainable as it sounds. This is the modern age! No more are hammocks limited to those of us with plantation-style backyards, or two perfectly-spaced mature trees. Even the smallest of outdoor spaces, and virtually any budget, will set you up for total hammock nirvana.
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The easiest, of course, is the stand hammock. You’ll need a 15×8 area to set one up, and to allow room for swaying blissfully in the breeze (though 20×10 would be more comfortable). But if you have the space, the rest is child’s play. Get creative – use a side yard, ditch a dilapidated patio set, or repurpose a long front deck to house your hammock. The least expensive stands are metal, while wood is a pricier (but prettier) option. Metal also wins on durability, though; a wood version is more vulnerable to the elements. Be sure to check the assembled dimensions before you buy. And also check weight restrictions…if you want a two-person hammock, be sure your stand can handle it. Last, buy the stand separately from the hammock, and you’ll likely get a better quality version of both.

If you happen to have those two perfectly-spaced trees, of course, all you’ll need are a pair of hammock straps – webbed straps with carabiner attachments. You’ll see chain kits out there, but chains are very damaging to trees. The flat webbing is a much kinder option. You can also go with screw-in hooks, just make sure you’re using a hardwood tree like an oak or pine. Softer woods may not hold the screws over time, and being dropped on your backside does not make for good naps.
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The actual hammock is the next piece of the puzzle. Decide whether you want a two-seater or a single (I say, the more room, the merrier). Next, you’ll have a bevy of materials to choose from. Rope is the classic, of course. It’s also the least expensive and easiest to keep clean (since dirt and water can’t stick). It’s also the least comfortable. Cotton rope will yield more comfort, while polyester rope yields greater durability – it’s a toss-up. For my money, I prefer the quilted canvas versions. The colors do fade in the sun (though you can find versions in Sunbrella fabric that would reduce that considerably), and they have to be hosed off a few times a summer, but the comfy factor is unparalleled. Do yourself a favor and spring for the matching pillow.

If neither of those options work for you, don’t fear – no one goes hammock-less on my watch! Consider a hammock swing. Sure, it’s not the sexiest thing on the block, but there’s an excellent case to be made for function over form in this case. And you can hang them using either a stand or an eye hook drilled into your roof eaves or the ceiling on your porch. Enlist someone handy for an aerial installation – you want the hook installed into a stud so you don’t go flying! Again, I love the upholstered versions, and they happen to be much easier on the eyes than their rope counterparts. But they’re pricier as well – you can score a rope version for under $100. There are nylon versions out there too, but they’re so unfortunate-looking, I can’t even bring myself to show them to you.

A few final tips from a hammock old-timer: I recommend buying a couple of carabiners to attach your hammock to its stand or hooks – it makes it so much easier to attach and detach for shaking off and for storage. You can even install a large eye-hook in the ceiling of your garage or under your roof eaves and store the hammock there during the winter months, leaving the stand assembled and pushed out of the way. Also, be sure to double check length measurements of both the hammock and stand before you buy. Most are a standard size, but it’s always good to double-check.

And last, grab that magazine and iced tea before you settle in…once you’re in the hammock, you’ll be amazed at how quickly being anywhere else in the world sounds like too much work. — Becki S.

From our partners

neighborhood fun: sidewalk swings for summer

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One of the things that stood out to me when we moved to Portland was how, besides all the chicken coops,  all the neighborhoods had one common element: sidewalk tree swings. After growing up in New Jersey, and then living in DC and Denver as an adult, I have never seen the “median” space between the sidewalk and street used in such a playful way. Even our neighbors, who have no small children of their own, put up a tire swing and tether ball for the neighborhood kids to use. Sadly, we don’t have a tree out front to install our own swing. But if you do, here are a few easy-to-hang options:

• Disc swing from Wood Tree Swings, $55, includes a hanging kit that prevents rope from cutting into tree limbs and makes set-up a breeze.

• Sassaras Ladybug Rope Swing, $25.

• IKEA EKORRE hand rings, $10. Nope, not a swing. But the neighbor two doors down from us put this up, and it’s a magnet for older kids.

• And then there’s always the classic: a swing made from an old tire sitting in your garage.

Are sidewalk swings and play things a typical neighborhood feature where you live, or are we a bit of an anomaly out here in the Pacific Northwest? –Ginny F.

Yellow swing image by Flickr user Yume Photo

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