Growing up, I donâ€™t remember ever going to a yard sale, at least not until I was in high school — and by then I was at the age where I hated going with my Mom to look through other peopleâ€™s stuff. (Ironic, given my love for antiques.) What I do remember, however, were farm auctions: fields full of tools, equipment, old harnesses, generations of accumulated furniture, linens, and magazines, all of which served as perfect mazes to run through with my siblings and friends. While I havenâ€™t been to a farm auction in ages, I have finally become an official suburbanite after staging my first yard sale. It was a ton of effort, but by following tips from the Yard Sale Queen, we got rid of most everything. Plus we taught the kids another way to practice the three Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle). Iâ€™m just not ready to do it again for at least another 10 years. What about you? Are you planning a yard sale this year? — Sarah L.
I try to be an organized person. Really, I do, but most days, my desktop looks like itâ€™s on the verge of a digital mutiny lead by a mishmash of uncategorized jpegs and hastily saved documents. Happily, all that is about to change thanks to this ingenious organizational how-to from Shelterpop. My fave tip? Organize with images. Simply download a desktop image, like this minimalist option from ExitCreative, and move your icons into their designated areas, or create your own, like the postâ€™s author Erin Loechner did with her to-do list grid. For more background templates and non-visual desktop organizing tips click here. â€“ Sarah C.
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!
In talking with garden friends and nursery staff, it seems old-fashioned annuals are back in vogue this year. Perhaps itâ€™s botanical comfort food during the recession, or maybe itâ€™s just a natural cycling around again. Whatever the reason, here are some tried-and-true annuals to enjoy in your garden this year. — Jenny P.
Impatiens — Lots of colors and wonderful for shady areas! They like lots of water, though, so donâ€™t let them dry out.
Geraniums — There is something so cheerful about these plants! Choose from red, pink, white, or salmon. Let the soil dry out a bit between waterings and remove the old flowers by snapping them off at the base of the stem.
Marigolds — Sunny and ruffly — thereâ€™s a reason our grannies planted these! And hereâ€™s an added benefit: if you like to vegetable garden, plant marigolds around the edges of your garden to deter pesky veggie-eating bugs.
Begonias — Small flowers in red, pink and white, with green or bronze foliage. Plant them close together for more impact. Theyâ€™ll also take a bit of shade where the many other annuals want full sun.
Zinnias — There are so many colors and varieties of zinnias that youâ€™re sure to find one that fits what youâ€™re looking for! Just remember to be careful of overhead watering; zinnias are susceptible to powdery mildew and donâ€™t like water on their foliage. Aim the hose at the base of the plant or use a drip system.
For my birthday earlier this month, I finally got something Iâ€™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, Iâ€™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 Maryâ€™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…)
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