post off: dishwasher or hand wash?

dishwasher

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

nandina
hellebores

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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green tip: wash your shower curtain liner!

shower liner

I made a deal with myself for January 2011 that I would be more eco-conscious this year –always take my own shopping bags to the store, re-gift magazines that I’ve already read, keep winter composting, etc. I’m attempting to make one eco-effort every day for as long as I can! This weekend I discovered a green tip that made me happy – you can wash a plastic shower curtain liner! It was time to change mine, and was feeling really guilty about throwing it out because it can’t be recycled. After a little reseplace, I decided to try and wash it instead. I tossed it in the washer with some bathmats and cleaning rags, and set the temperature on warm. I added a little laundry soap and about a cup of white vinegar and set the wash to regular. PRESTO – a soap scum-free shower curtain liner that was ready to be re-hung. I would imagine after a few washes the curtain might be a little worse for wear, in which case I could use it as a project drop-cloth before disposing. NOTE: don’t put liners in the dryer, and be sure to wash in warm, not hot, water. – Rebecca F.

photo credit: Apartment Therapy

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stamp envy: say hello to new stamps in 2011

2011 stamps

New year, new stamps! In late December the U.S. Postal Service released its list of 2011 stamp program debuts and with it, some snazzy new options to dress those envelopes. A Pixar film aficionado at heart, I’m loving the Send a Hello collection, featuring some of my favorite animated friends, but the standout for me in this release is the Pioneers of American Industrial Design set, available in July. Each stamp honors one of twelve influential designers with their name, a picture of their object and the year it was created. Skip the lines by ordering online and have them delivered to your mailbox for just $1 shipping and handling. –Sarah C.

image courtesy of simplesong

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