putting more homemade green cleaners to the test


For my birthday earlier this month, I finally got something I’ve been asking for since I could talk: a puppy. My husband and I adopted a beautiful, tiny Pomeranian from F.I.D.O. Rescue and, as you can imagine, I’m over the moon! As any new owner has to, we had to doggie-proof the house from top to bottom. That included ditching all the harsh bleaches and chemical-heavy cleaners that make your eyes water and can harm a curious pet. I started by mixing up some of Mary’s highly recommended green cleaners, then found some more concoctions that worked just as well as more toxic recipes. After the jump, check out some recipes for furniture cleaner, drain cleaner, grout cleaner, oven cleaner, mildew cleaner, and oil/grease cleaner. — Katie D. (more…)

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the sharpest knives in the drawer


My knives are by far my most used and loved kitchen tools. They weren’t cheap by any means, but when you are a serious cook, you need serious equipment…serious equipment that I had neglected completely for two years. The blades were nicked, chipped, and impossibly dull. Cutting onions was sheer torture. So I finally gave in and took my knives to be professionally hand sharpened — and to be shamed by the proprietor:

“What kind of honing rod are you using on this?”

“Um…nothing. Sorry about all the nicks.”

When I got them back I was delighted with the results: knives sharper then when I brought them home from the store — we’re talking straight razor sharp — that diced up an onion as if it were nothing at all, and with nary a tear in sight! The knife sharpener advised me to get a ceramic honing rod (which is thankfully much cheaper than metal rods) for knife upkeep in between professional sharpening. I’ll never let them go dull again! This all leads to the question: How sharp do you keep your knives? — Megan B.

Photo by Flickr member Coultl

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great garden colors: here’s how to make them work

Unless you want a crazy-quilt cottage garden featuring every color in the rainbow (and hey — those are good, too!), most people want to choose two flower colors that will pop….but which two? If you’re ready to step outside the norm, here are some eye-catchers to try.

Red & White: To avoid this combination seeming “been there, done that,” add some silvery-green in the foliage to liven things up. This duo is great for Christmastime as well as mid-summer flag-flying gardens!


Red & Purple: There is something a bit Monet-ish about this combination that makes it classic and yet slightly unexpected.


Silver & Purple: This combination is classy but never dull. I think silver foliage with nearly any color instantly creates an elegant but modern feel. Try silver and orange or yellow for an even more updated color scheme!

Orange & Lime Green: These two colors will give your garden a citrus-y tropical feel guaranteed to jolt you awake. If you’re really feeling daring, throw some purple in!


Chocolate & Green: There is all kinds of foliage in chocolate colors, and when it’s offset by any shade of green, it feels sophisticated and new.

Don’t play it safe this year! Even your garden needs updating once in awhile. — Jenny P.

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bike month for the space-impaired: foldable bikes from areaware

IF Mode

May is National Bike Month and this week, May 17-21, marks Bike-to-Work Week. In New York City, the land of bike rentals and designated lanes, it’s not hard to find a bike for a casual afternoon ride if you don’t own one, but the thought of biking to work is bittersweet because New York is also the land of tiny apartments, and renting one such space means I have little room for the ride of my dreams. It’s not surprising, then, that I was included in a mass of onlookers at Areaware’s booth at last weekend’s International Contemporary Furniture Fair. The demonstration? The collapsible capabilities of the IF Mode, a foldable bike designed specifically for commuters. At $2,250, it may be a tad pricy for me, but is an interesting idea for those short on space. What do you think, readers? Will you be biking to work this week? Own a foldable bike, or have any other crafty storage solutions to my bike bind? — Sarah C.

Check out Areaware’s complete line of foldable bikes, and click here to find a bike event in your area. Happy cycling!

From our partners
From our partners