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.
The closest thing I have to color in my garden right now is Nandina berries, but that hasnâ€™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. 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!
Iâ€™ve never been much for New Yearâ€™s resolutionsâ€¦they just seem like a breeding ground for disappointment. But a good January â€œstart-the-year-off-freshâ€ cleaning spree? Now youâ€™re talking!
This year, Iâ€™ve decided itâ€™s my closet thatâ€™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 canâ€™t access without an advanced course in gymnastics, thereâ€™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, Iâ€™m convinced itâ€™s the little things that are going to remedy this disaster. Like, for example, these beautiful drawer liners from Hammocks & High Tea (donâ€™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). Iâ€™ll be adding a bit of amber or lavender/lemongrass to the mix, to help counteract the â€œmusty old houseâ€ scent my closetâ€™s currently wearing.
For $25, you get a generous set of six sheets, which will cover quite a bit of space. And since theyâ€™re non-adhesive, I donâ€™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.
I made a deal with myself for January 2011 that I would be more eco-conscious this year â€“always take my own shopping bags to the store, re-gift magazines that Iâ€™ve already read, keep winter composting, etc. Iâ€™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 â€“ 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 â€“ 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: donâ€™t put liners in the dryer, and be sure to wash in warm, not hot, water. â€“ Rebecca F.
photo credit: Apartment Therapy
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, Iâ€™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. â€“Sarah C.
image courtesy of simplesong