this ceiling fan fix: what do you think?


This “ceiling fan upgrade” DIY at House*Tweaking really has fans, so to speak — I first saw it when an enthusiastic friend posted it to Facebook. I can certainly understand wanting to hide a fan you don’t like, and her ceiling fan isn’t the kind I’d choose, but it looked new and is fairly inoffensive — a lot better than the 1970s version currently hanging above my bed. (And we own our house so we have no excuse; we should have replaced ours by now.) I also worried that the chandelier would make noise when the fan is on (or at least distracting movement), but Dana at House*Tweaking says that it’s not an issue as long as the speed doesn’t go above medium. (And just in case Dana sees this post, I do just love lots of what’s on her site — this mini mudroom for instance! Genius!) What do you think of the fan fix, and have you come up with any other quick fixes for unattractive fixtures in your space? — Mary T.

P.S. Speaking of Facebook, just a reminder that you can canoodle with Shelterrific on our Facebook page!

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holiday wrap up: store your holiday lights on paper tubes


For those of us who decide not to leave up the lights

I finally got around to taking my holiday decorations down this weekend … my little fake Christmas tree gets stuffed back into its garbage bag, and my holiday wreath into its box. I also had several strings of holiday lights up on my porch that need to be tucked away. I got to thinking — every year I spend 20 minutes untangling lights, no matter how neatly I think I wind them up the year before. Next year will be different though! I did a little brainstorming and came up with a storage trick that I think will help – I wrapped my lights around a cardboard paper towel tube, cutting a slit in one end to keep the cord and plug from unraveling. I think this will make putting up my lights a snap next year! What storage tricks do you have? –- Rebecca F.

From our partners

post off: dishwasher or hand wash?


Dishes are my business. Really. I feel like they are ALL I DO sometimes. And at work, where I do the bulk of them, I have to manually wash everything with the “three sink system”, an effective, albeit labor-intensive method. Thankfully, we had the budget to put in a dishwasher when we bought our house two years ago. It helps to alleviate my day to day dish workload immensely, and I can’t even imagine a time where I lived without one, though I did for many years. I know people, though, who own dishwashers and don’t use them, preferring to hand wash everything. As crazy as that sounds to me, there are obviously two schools of thought on this one. So where do you stand? Do you scrub it up with good old-fashioned elbow grease, or do you let technology do the work? — Megan B.

photo courtesy of flickr user Avrene.

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dreaming of the newest spring perennials


The closest thing I have to color in my garden right now is Nandina berries, but that hasn’t stopped me from dreaming of spring plantings. After a quick seplace online, I found plenty to get excited about. Four new Coreopsis varieties, which require less water than a lot of perennials; a chartreuse-leaved Bleeding Heart; almost a dozen new Helleborus (Lenten Rose), which although slow to get going, are a great solution for shade beds; and eight new Heuchera (Coral Bells), another old-fashioned shade plant. You can find photos and info on the varietals I mentioned on Perennial Resource, as well as the rest of their new for 2011 list. — Sarah L.

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neat and cheap: hip drawer liners from hammocks & high tea

drawer liners
drawer liner rolls

I’ve never been much for New Year’s resolutions…they just seem like a breeding ground for disappointment. But a good January “start-the-year-off-fresh” cleaning spree? Now you’re talking!

This year, I’ve decided it’s my closet that’s in dire need of a makeover. I live in an old Victorian house, with a closet that could be called scattered on its best day, and a complete disaster the rest of the time. With shoes I keep meaning to put back in their boxes, rolling racks standing in for hanging rods, and shelves I can’t access without an advanced course in gymnastics, there’s just a general feeling of disorganization and disarray in what should be the happiest room in the house for a fashion blogger .

While a major remodel is out of the question, I’m convinced it’s the little things that are going to remedy this disaster. Like, for example, these beautiful drawer liners from Hammocks & High Tea (don’t you just love the name?). I adore the hip chevron and ikat-inspired patterns, and I also love that you can pick from a half dozen barely-there scents (or go unscented if you prefer). I’ll be adding a bit of amber or lavender/lemongrass to the mix, to help counteract the “musty old house” scent my closet’s currently wearing.

For $25, you get a generous set of six sheets, which will cover quite a bit of space. And since they’re non-adhesive, I don’t have to stress about cutting and applying them with engineer-grade perfection. Genius!

Now I just have to tackle that shoe situation. –Becki S.

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