A few weeks ago, while watching my father fix a dresser drawer with a butter knife at my apartment, I finally put my foot down. Having a dad who is the MacGyver of home repair is a luxury I enjoy immensely, but out of respect for both him and my silverware, I’ve decided it’s high time to stop the madness and invest in some real tools. My search for fun, alternative options has me smitten with bright designs by Alice Supply Co. (the darling of this winter’s New York International Gift Fair), but my fave find thus far is the Elemen’tary line of screwdrivers from Brook Farm General Store. Created by a cabinetmaker in England, each set features a simple, hardwood handle with interchangeable bits. At $32, Set No. 2 with its short handle and six bits seems the perfect addition to my big -girl toolbox. For more cool tools (including an awesome antique level) visit Brook Farm General Store. — Sarah C.
I’m not as organized as I’d like to be. I just find it really difficult to keep things neat and tidy when every little bit of space in my tiny New York apartment is being used. At this point, if something new is coming in, something old must go out… seriously. When I spotted these Ditty Bags over on Design*Sponge, I immediately thought they’d help me in my quest for organization. (Or at least my quest towards “looking” organized.) I could buy a few to act as closet catchalls and give anyone who opens the door the illusion of a well-arranged space. Pick from five different colors, and purchase one or a few for about $25 each at The Mariners Supply Company. — Erica P.
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!
Like many of us here at Shelterrific, I am a complete pushover when it comes to chic packaging. My latest packaging crush comes in the form of La Compagnie de Provence’s Extra Pure line of liquid Marseille soap — if it were a man, I’d marry it. I’ve had my eye on the collection for a while, what with its contemporary, clean graphic design, all-natural composition, and intoxicating array of fragrance options, but folks, this romance just got serious. For its 20th anniversary, the company commissioned Marseille artist Stephan Muntaner to create three limited edition soap dispensers, and it’s official: I’m in love. Inspired by the art of sailor tattoos and the port city of Marseille, each vibrant design adorns La Compagnie de Provence’s signature glass bottle. The liquid soap therein is made in the traditional fashion with vegetable oils and is scented to give a salty whiff of the sea with each wash. It appears that my bathroom will now be home to Swoonfest 2010. Snag the design of your choice for $28 at Vickerey.com. And for more packaging to love, check out their Savon de Marseille Origami Bar Soap, $10. Each French-milled bar comes with instructions to turn the bright paper wrapper into an origami sea creature. — Sarah C.
Last year, when spring rolled around, we had to get a lawn mower. Our grass was out of control and we were borrowing our friend’s mower way too often. So, when we spotted the super-sweet, vintage orange Scott’s Silent Mower out front of our favorite neighborhood hardware store, we had to get it. The orange hubcaps emblazoned with that “S” had me at hello, I admit it! However, what really sold us was the clerk at the store, who assured us we wouldn’t regret the purchase: “It’s a simple mechanism. Easy to sharpen, cheap to repair.” I liked having something that wasn’t disposable and that would give me some bonus exercise with my yard work. And a year later, I’m still happy. There are a few pointers, though. You must make sure there aren’t too many rocks or twigs in your path, or you may have a few bruises. And make sure your grass isn’t too high, or else you’ll just flatten it, not cut it. You can find your own vintage mower at flea markets, garage sales, and craigslist, or you can buy a new version of the old thing. –Megan B.
A few months back, I finally learned how to mix up my own green cleaners. I did have a little help — I attended an event hosted by CoolMom, an organization focused on combating global warming by making small changes in our everyday lives. And one of those changes is to stop using harsh chemicals and instead mix up our own cleaning supplies out of water, vinegar, baking soda, and essential oils. We brought our own jars and spray bottles, and for a $5 fee, CoolMom supplied the rest. Within a half-hour, I was ready to go with surface spray for countertops and windows, a soft scrub for tubs and sinks, and even some disinfectant.
Four months later, I can report that the cleaning supplies are a revelation! I’m serious! My toilet is just as clean using the disinfectant I made as it ever was using Comet. My glass surfaces and stovetop are even cleaner — Mom, I’m sorry I ever forgot that you used to use vinegar on everything; it cuts through grease like nothing else! The only slight issue was with the soft scrub. It works great on my tub and sinks, but I’ve noticed that my tub seems to get dirty faster. (Not to be gross, but it doesn’t look dirty, it just kind of feels dirty under my feet — but this is after about a week, at which time I should probably be cleaning my tub again anyway.) I’m going to experiment with some vinegar and see if that makes a difference. Click for the best part of all this — and get all the super-easy recipes for making your own green cleaners! — Mary T. (more…)