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help! i need a hammock that lasts

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Even if it’s only for a few minutes at a time, lounging in the hammock is one of my favorite things about warmer weather. If only my hammocks would cooperate. Two years ago, I bought a woven hammock from Overstock.com (similar looking to this one from Branch, but a lot cheaper in many ways). After a winter in storage, the polyester-type fabric began shedding little itchy bits that got all over our clothes and skin, and then the support ropes started to snap. It was stored in a dry place, but I wondered if the previous summer’s rainstorms had broken down the fabric. The summer before, we had a rope hammock from Home Depot. It seemed sturdy, but after a couple months we realized that the holes in the wood spacer were so rough, they had worn through the support ropes, which began to break. I swear we’re not going over the weight limit! I’m tired of wasting money (and creating garbage) with hammocks that fall apart. Has anyone tried either of the hammocks we’ve written about? Is there a hammock that will last, even if I don’t rush outside to bring it in every time it rains? Any hammock help is appreciated! –Mary T.

From our partners

signs of spring: vintage metal lawn furniture

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If you’re like some of our readers, you’re on the lookout for vintage and mod patio furniture. Mulberry Street may have just what you’re looking for. They offer a wide selection of lovingly restored vintage lawn furniture that ranges from the sweet to the saucy. Even better: according to owner Amy’s blog, a spring glider sale is about to commence! (We’ll let you know when it does.) Enjoy perusing Mulberry Street’s photos of gorgeous outdoor seating, and be sure to take a look at their family history. It’s delightfully written and really captures the appeal of vintage furniture that may cost a bit more, but will pay you back with history and charm. –Mary T.

From our partners

getting your orchids to grow — more advice

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For those of you itchin’ to get something blooming in your house, here’s an update on one of our most active posts: How can I make my orchid grow?, which has gathered amazing advice in the comments. The other week, we noticed a similar Q&A in The New York Times House & Home section. A reader wrote in asking why her phalaenopsis orchid started blooming new flowers, but then they dried up and fell off. Though these orchids are pretty hearty, they can be effected by sudden changes in temperature, tobacco smoke, or most likely, too much or too little water. Click here to see Leslie Land’s advice in The Times, and click here to read our post and all its helpful comments.

From our partners

pretty crafty: bottle tree

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My husband’s fond memories of his youth in South Carolina include the colorful bottle trees that are part of the Gullah culture of Daufuskie Island. Originally intended as a way to capture evil spirits before they could enter a home, bottle trees have since evolved into creations that can add a bit of color and whimsy to any garden. Though the original versions were made from actual trees, you can make a simple yet gorgeous bottle tree for your own garden this spring using a post and rebar — like the beauty above featured at Digging. (If you’re not feeling so handy, readymade versions are also out there.) –Mary T.

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