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…)
A few weeks ago, we featured fun porcelain commuter cups from Vessel Drinkware. I loved my cups so much that I decided to expand my collection to include cups for cold drinks. These candy-colored, double-walled, BPA-free Spirit tumblers are perfect for an iced tea, latte, or morning smoothie on the go. Not only do these bad boys keep your beverage of choice cool in style, they’ve also got a smart design feature: a nifty swiveling straw that enables you to suck up every last drop of your drink with ease (and nary a slurp). Shown above are Crow, Nuts & Bolts, Lucha LIbre, and Zombie. Spirit tumblers also come with all the designs featured in our aforementioned coffee post. Get them here, where they’re currently on sale for $13.99. — Megan B.
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!
Awhile back, I posted about a plant I rescued from the test kitchen where I was working at the time. The poor little guy was in rough shape when I brought him home, but I was determined to bring him back to life. After re-potting him and giving him a stake to hold up his stalk, I turned to you, savvy readers, to tell me how to care for him. Lucky for me, the plant I rescued needs very little care. According to reader Simone, he’s a Dieffenbachia and requires direct sun and a drink of water about once a week. A few of you also mentioned he’s poisonous to cats (and maybe dogs, too) but I don’t have any pets. I don’t get a ton of sun in my apartment, but I put him right up next to the window so he can soak in what I do get. A nice drink of water once a week and, I’ve got to tell you, my plant is absolutely flourishing! I had to add another stak,e he grew so tall in the time I’ve had him. Now I’m even considering a bigger pot (or are plants like goldfish — if you keep them in a smaller pot they just stop growing?) So I just wanted to say, Thanks for your help! — Erica P.
When I was asked to represent Shelterrific in judging the recent Chicagoâ€™s Ugly Bathroom contest, I jumped at the chance! After all, I consider myself an expert in the field since my first apartment (a one-windowed shoebox on Bostonâ€™s south shore) contained a bathroom with horrific Barbie-neon pink shower tiles, sink, and toilet. The contest was sponsored by The Tile Shop with the grand prize of a $50,000 bathroom makeover. There were hundreds of entries, and it was incredibly stiff competition: zebra-striped mirrors, shag carpeting, cigarette-burned linoleum, and outdoor light fixtures (yes, in a bathroom).
After much heated debate with my fellow judges (Chicago Home + Gardenâ€™s Jan Parr, a couple of WGN staffers, and some Tile Shop representatives) the grand prize was eventually awarded to first-time homeowners Matthew and Suzanne Witt of Evergreen Park, Ill. Matt secretly entered the contest to surprise his pregnant wife, who was forced to endure grimy pink linoleum, falling down yellow plastic tiles, and horror movie-worthy fluorescent lights. After the jump, take a look at the second- and third-place winners. I guarantee they will make your bathroom seem like a spa. — Katie D. (more…)
Does it get more adorable than this apple memo pad? If the folks at Cute Overload started moonlighting as office supply designers, I have a feeling that this would be their first product! Designed and produced by D-BROS, the Kudamemo is an apple-shaped sticky note stationary set, $40, that is equal parts practical and whimsical. — Katie D.