should i buy easy-thread needles?

I like to sew things by hand. I have a sewing machine that I break out for big projects, but I find sewing by hand extremely therapeutic. Ask me to mend a fallen hem and I jump at the chance. Got a hole in your pocket? I’m your girl. I’m pretty good at threading needles, but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the genius that is these Spiral Eye Needles. A slot on the side of the eye catches the thread as you run it up the needle. It’s practically foolproof. So why haven’t I heard of these before now? Any sewers out there have a reason why I shouldn’t buy a spiral eye needle? I’d love a real-life review. — Erica P.

image via LikeCOOL

From our partners

site we’re psyched about: b&q online


We all fancy ourselves DIYers around here, but I can admit it: selecting a room color, I am happy to do. Choosing bathroom tile, can’t wait. But figuring out how much I need of any of it? Oy. No wonder I was so happy when Charles and Hudson tweeted about B&Q Online — it’s truly a wealth of resources for those who want to put a little more D in DIY — calculators on everything from how much paint you need to how many BTUs your radiator puts out, plus a whole slew of how-to guides and buying guides. Now I just have to decide what dormant project to tackle first… — Mary T.

From our partners

post off: do you have renter’s insurance?


As I write this, the ceiling in my micro-bedroom is fixing to fall in on my bed (eek!) due to some sudden water damage and it got me thinking about renter’s insurance. We rented an apartment in a very old building, so for me, buying insurance was as much about planning for the inevitable as it was for the unexpected, but the debate over its value seems to rage on among my peers. Some friends have used it to replace big ticket items after break-ins and thus sing its praises, and others argue that it’s just a scam, and that the odds that one will ever need it are slim. We entertained a similar debate on pet insuranceand the verdict seemed to favor putting money in savings over purchasing a policy. In my case, I paid less for my policy than it will cost to replace my bed if reality does come crashing down, so the gamble may be worth it, but tell me, do you have renter’s insurance? — Sarah C.

From our partners

repelling rodents naturally with fresh cab

My side of town has the nickname “Rat City” for a reason. Needless to say, I’m really thankful for the large feral cats who live in my neighborhood. But what if I want to protect the homestead from pests without harming the sweet furry monsters I want living here? Thankfully, there’s Fresh Cab. Fresh Cab is an EPA -approved, natural, biodegradable, and, best of all NON-TOXIC rodent repellent. Instead of killing your unwanted rodents and forcing you to deal with the unpleasant after-effects, it uses corn cob chips and a particular blend of essential oils to naturally repel the rodents from your home, garage, or wherever you may need it. It almost sounds too good to be true, but their guarantee and testimonials on the site have me intrigued. Does anyone have some first-hand experience with the product before I take the plunge? — Megan B.

From our partners

his say: it’s a pretty axe, but is it worth $250? nope!


I was reading a story in New York Magazine, “The Urban Woodsman,” and found myself drawn to this gorgeous tool from the Tribeca, NYC-based Best Made Company. I immediately wanted one because of its sleek curves, bright color, and elegant “courage” stamp, but the price ($250) set me back. I’d love to hang it above our fireplace, but that seems silly — especially when there’s a tree in our backyard that my wife is convinced I cannot cut down by myself.

The Best Made Co. shapes and masks off the handle, “then we prime it and spray on multiple layers of high-quality graffiti paint.” High-quality graffiti paint?! Sorry, Best Made Co., you had me at “courage” but lost me at “graffiti paint.” (I do give them credit for out-sourcing the important part — the ax head — to a 100-year-old company in Maine, where they make the fine-grained steel heads by hand.)

I now find myself Googling “wood axe,” which strikes me as one of the most un-manly things I could be doing. I could pick up a simple, cheap axe from Lowe’s (Kobalt 3-1/2 Lb. Michigan Axe with Hickory Handle, $30). But I think the best compromise would be the Gransfors Bruks Scandinavian Forest Axe, $120.

courage_ax_2 It’s made by a small, Swedish family-operated company formed in 1902, and is as beautiful as the trendy one from Tribeca. And besides, I could always paint my own orange handle. Timber! — Chad H.

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