If there can be any silver lining at all found in the horrific disasters that recently hit New Zealand and Japan, perhaps itâ€™s that many more of us will be better prepared should a similar event occur closer to home. I felt a little like a crazy survivalist when I told my husband I thought we should have an emergency stash of food and water in case â€œthe big oneâ€ hits the Pacific Northwest, as seismologists have warned, but Jamie Lee Curtis is making me feel a lot less dorky. As spokesperson for the American Red Cross campaign, Do More Than Cross Your Fingers, she touts her preparedness stance and offers tips for what to put in your emergency kit. I bought a few IKEA SAMLA storage bins for supplies and am starting to fill empty 2-liter plastic bottles with tap water. Originally I was only thinking of storing food and water, but FEMA and the Red Cross suggested much more. So now I will also be packing a First Aid kit, blanket, fleece jackets, some old boots, a Leatherman multi-tool, can opener, flashlight and extra cash. Since an earthquake would likely force us outside our home, Iâ€™ll be putting our kit in our detached garage. Depending on the types of catastrophes that could hit your area, an evacuation backpack in your entryway closet or a kit in your basement could make more sense. Have you, too, been inspired by recent events to start an emergency kit, or have you been prepared for a while? Whatâ€™s in yours? — Ginny F.
Last spring, I bought this simple white pitcher from Target for $13.49, along with several packs of wildfower seeds from the Dollar Spot. While Iâ€™m still happy with the pitcher, the seeds didnâ€™t sprout. Not a single one. So this year, in addition to trying some more seeds from any place other than Target, Iâ€™m also on the hunt for a cut flower farm or farmerâ€™s market. You can find one near you at Local Harvest . â€” Sarah L.
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!
Repurposing items for nifty and imaginative alternate uses is where itâ€™s at, but repurposing Ikea items? Now thatâ€™s where youâ€™re bound to get a project at a price you canâ€™t beat. Iâ€™m always amazed by the projects featured on Ikea Hackers, but for those of us with less time, space or power tool prowess, nothing compares to a straight up, no-mess repurpose. Lillian of Domestic Simplicity has a great one with her use of Ikea spice racks, $3.99 each, to store childrenâ€™s books. With their slim design, the racks are the perfect way to let little ones see the covers of their favorite books while preserving floor space in small bedrooms. â€“Sarah C.
Our ceilings are pretty high, which can be both a blessing and a curse. Yes, I love the drama and open feel, but simple things like changing a lightbulb can be a pain without a pretty tall step ladder. So when I spotted the STEP ladder at huset shop, I immediately fell in love. Produced by Design House Stockholm and designed by Karl Malmvall, this step stool is designed to hang on the wall, displayed proudly rather than secreted away in a closet. While I absolutely adore the minimal design, wood frame, and bold red color, the price — a steep $298, is a no-go for me. I wonder how many coats of red spray paint it’ll take to get a similar effect on my current Skinny Mini? — Megan B.
I hate changing the furnace filter every three months — they are expensive, and they just seem to create so much waste. So when I was visiting my mom last week, I noticed she had a nifty reusable filter for her furnace. She said she’s had it for a year and LOVES it. So I bought one, a WEB Eco Filter Plus, as soon as I got back home. I really like how it can be adjusted to fit any size furnace, as we’ve just bent a too-large filter to fit before. It was really easy to customize, too, taking just over five minutes to cut and snap all the pieces together. The instructions suggest you clean it monthly for best results, and I plan on doing that, by just running it through the tub. For the price of two disposable filters, I’ve got a perfect-sized lifetime model. Score! — Megan B.