As you know, we are honey enthusiasts here at Shelterrific. Even though our own adventures in bee keeping have ended in disappointment this year, that is not going to stop us from supporting the beekeeping community. We love seeking out small-label honey, and have gathered a collection of from our travels. (The most recent? Honey from the Grand Wailea in Maui!) How to serve and present this sweet golden syrup is always a dilemma. Jars get sticky fast, and it’s always a challenge to get the last bits out of the bottom. That is why we are swooning over this Hive Honey Jar from Biodidactic via Etsy. The jar is beautifully hand crafted to allow for maximum dipping, and the dipper is made from Maplewood. It’s a splurge at $98, but something to treasure. Make the gift even more meaningful — adopt a honey bee hive and gift it to your loved one! One of our favorite upstate bee emporium’s, Bee & Hive in Rhinebeck, is offering “hive adoptions” on its website, Bare Honey. Currently taking orders for the 2014 season, this is a great program for anyone who wants to learn about honey farming, but can’t have a hive of their own. You’ll learn about the hive, have the opportunity to visit, and get a few jars of honey to savor and share each year. $95 at barehoney.com.
We often dream about packing it all in and heading to the hills or treetops to live in a small kit house. From our research, we’ve found they usually require some serious dough in the end, and can end up costing as much as buying an already existing home and sprucing it up. Ian Kent hopes to change all that by introducing Nomad Micro Homes — small, DIY dwellings that only cost $25,000. While not exactly the kind place you could live in all year long (unless perhaps you were a desert dweller), the Micro homes could be great weekend getaways, guest houses or even artist or writer studios. According to the founder, if you can put together Ikea products, you can put together one of these houses in one week. (Though, if you’re like us, your Ikea skills are not so great.) With their minimalist lines and high ceilings, it’d be easy to imagine spending some quality time inside one of them. Visit Nomad Micro Homes for more information.
This post is sponsored by Lowe’s.
We firmly believe in being your own handyman. Whether it’s installing our own back splash tile in the kitchen, renovating our backyard deck or giving a staircase a ombre hue, we regularly roll-up our sleeves and tackle little projects all over our homes. Sometimes things go wrong. Paints drip on the floor. Tiles dry crookedly. Equipment gets rusty. We pull our hair out. No one is happy.
Luckily, there’s a little help to be found via Vine and these handy D.I.Y. videos produced by Lowe’s. The wonderful thing about Vine is that the videos are super short — 6 seconds! — and loop over and over. So if you miss something the first time, don’t sweat it, you can catch the second or third time around. Here are six cool tricks we learned from watching these Vines — though if you start playing around on the social network’s app you’ll find many, many more.
Six Handy Tricks We Learned From Lowe’s Vine Videos:
1. Potatoes aren’t just for dinner — or making crafty stamps! The next time you are dealing with a broken lightbulb in lamp, use a potato to unscrew it without risking a finger cut.
2. Rubber bands have many uses (besides being woven into colorful bracelets for grade-schoolers). You can use them to catch paint drips from a can, or twist out a stripped down screw.
3. For your next colorful paint project, don’t mess with a new paint tray for each color. Simply line your old ones in aluminum foil and reuse.
4. Take the guesswork out of picture hanging. A piece of tape can help measure the distance between holes and get things picture perfect.
5. You don’t need luck to make your tiles line up perfectly. Pennies placed in between the rows of tiles will do the trick until they dry nicely.
6. What could be more dull than a rusty knife? Dip your cutters in some lemon juice for 15 minutes and see how they shine.
Have you discovered any great DIY Vine videos? Let us know and we’ll feature them on Shelterrific!
This is a sponsored post.
Even though our team is no longer in the running, it’s still fun to keep up with what’s going on in the Re-Energized By Design competition. This week, the remaining three teams made over their laundry rooms.
In addition to $500 and energy efficient lighting from GE, the homeowners each received an brand new set of Frigidaire Affinity laundry equipment. These are not your average high-efficiency washers & dryers — this is serious technology in action here. The Affinity dryer will dry a full load in less than 30 minutes, and the washer features allergen reduction and sanitizing features along with having the highest energy star rating. And aesthetically they please, too (though I have to wonder why no one picked the red option).
Love what those scrappy Sayers did in their space with that upcycled laundry drum light fixture. Their creative approach is always surprising, and will be tough to beat in the final round. In the end, the Mendes family’s pastel laundry room didn’t make the cut — that leaves the Sayers and the Reillys to duke it out in the kitchen challenge! who do you think will win?!
This is a sponsored post.
What is Re-Energized by Design, you ask? Well, it is an awesome web series that Shelterrific is excited to be participating in — produced by Puget Sound Energy, it’s all about incorporating energy efficiency into home design. The challenge is this: six teams of homeowners are paired with design coaches and together they compete to re-design 5 rooms with a focus on saving energy with a small budget. Cameras are documenting each leg of the challenge, and with every room one team gets the boot! The prizes are great: a home full of new LED and CFL lightbulbs from GE, a full suite of kitchen and laundry appliances from Frigidaire, and $5000.
I was fortunate to be paired with the Bedford family, who are just delightful. Kristen and her husband Slade have a great contemporary house, fun design aesthetic, and are really willing to completely put themselves into every challenge. This experience for me has literally been re-energizing to me as well, ending a year-long creative rut and getting me back into blogging and crafting and having fun again. I can’t wait to share what we’ve created together.
But as of today, I won’t have to wait much longer, as the first webisode is available at 6am PST at the Re-Energized By Design site — this week’s is an introduction to all the contestants. And stay tuned each week as we reveal another webisode. Also be sure to go to the Re-Energized page on Facebook, where you can enter to win a new Frigidaire appliance like those featured in the challenge!
It’s with a heavy heart that I write this post, dear friends. A bee-apolocypse has hit our our beehive; it has collapsed, disappeared, extinguished. All that remained were a few die-hard stragglers, a pile of bee corpses, and a nearly empty hive with nothing but yellow jackets and wasps slurping up the little sweet stuff that remained.
As you may recall, not long ago we decided to collapse our two hives into one. One hive was just not producing enough filled honeycomb to survive a winter, while the other seemed to be thriving. That appeared to be a success, and when we last checked on them a few weeks ago, two levels were jam-packed with bees and there was a lot of honey. Not much of it was capped off though, so we were a little concerned that they only had a few weeks left to make some more supplies and food for the winter. To help them along, we added a shallow pool of sugar water on top. There was a screen inside of it, which is supposed to prevent the bees from falling in and drowning. To make it a little easier for them reach the water, we propped open the top of the hive with a little stone, so they could easily exit from the top and the bottom.
When we arrived to check on them the other Saturday, three weeks had passed and we could tell immediately something was wrong. It was a bright and sunny day but from the distance there didn’t see to be much activity coming in and out of the hive’s front door. As soon as we got closer, we immediately noticed that all the buzzing things weren’t honey bees at all, but rather yellow jackets. The shallow pool was empty of sugar water now, but there as a thick layer of dead bees inside. Either they drowned or engaged in a battle. But the hundred or so bee bodies in the pool didn’t represent the thousands that should have been remained in the hive. As we cracked open the top level, we knew immediately. The bees were gone. File after file was was dry of all honey and pollen. A scattering of yellow jackets swarmed greedily around.
We’re not sure what went wrong, but we have a few hypothesis.
1. Leaving the top of the hive open allowed predators to move in. Still, a yellow jacket is usually no match for a honey bee hive.
2. Too many drowned in the pool, leaving the hive week. They fled because of that.
3. It’s a bad place to put a hive. Perhaps our tiny 1/3 of an acre plot is just not conducive for honey bee hives. It’s on the edge of the woods, and maybe the feral critters and flying things are just to many. Who knows.
4. We don’t tend to the bees closely enough. Two, sometimes three, weeks pass between our visits to the hives. Perhaps that is leaving them alone and unattended too long. If we were there monitoring things more closely, perhaps we could have changed its course.
5. Or, is this a classic case of hive collapse that we have been reading about with worry?
Needless to say, losing the hive is devastating. Not only did we invest a lot of money and effort into the endeavor (about $500 or so total), but we loved the way having a hive enriches our lives. Isadora and her friends are eager pupils. We were fantasizing about what we could label our honey in the springtime. All for naught.
Of course we’ll continue to study and support local beekeeping efforts, but I don’t know if we’ll make the attempt to house our own again. Perhaps we can find someone with a farm or just a robust garden that would welcome us planting a hive on their property.
Please let us know if you know of anyone in Columbia or Green counties who might be game to try this adventure with us next year.
Smoke detectors are a necessary, sometimes life-saving tool that can be, on occasion, annoying. They go off when you’re making brulee for your dinner party, chirp in the middle of the night when their batteries die, and create loud and brutal noises. These occasional blips seem like small things to suffer from when they do the job they are intended to do — a job that hopefully you’ll never need.
Now Nest, the company who is trying to reinvent the way we look at thermostats, has unveiled a new kind of smart smoke detector, Nest Protect. It is armed with an attention-getting yet calm voice that tells you what’s wrong (“There’s smoke in the bedroom,” it may say.), can be shut off with a wave of your arm (as opposed to frantic fanning with newspapers) and sends you an alert on your phone when the battery is low. It can even be set to glow like a nightlight. Oh, did we mention it’s pretty?
After watching the video below, you might think to yourself, yes, I need one of those! But then it hits. The price is $129 — not too bad, until you consider how many a typical house needs. We have seven. That’s nearly thousand bucks! Currently we are using a standard smoke detector that we paid about $30 bucks for. You can buy four of those for the price of one Nest Protect.
So tell us, what do you think: Are you willing to pay more for a better, smarter smoke detector?
P.S. A good rule of thumb is to change your smoke detector’s batteries on daylight savings time night… coming up soon on November 3nd!
If you’re like us you’ve realized that just about the only wildlife that you can attract around your home are pesky squirrels. They dig in our flower gardens, eat our jack-o-laterns, and even break into our homes. Perhaps it’s time we just threw up our arms and said, okay, you win, make yourselves at home. One adorable way to do that is by hanging this mini retro lawn chair to your favorite tree and offering them a nob of squirrel-approved sweet corn. Would this lead to peace and harmony for the pumpkins on the porch? Something tells me no, but at least you’d get a laugh or two out of it. Mini-retro chair, $20 at Plow & Hearth.