I rescued this plant from the test kitchen where I’ve been working; we walked in one morning to find it on the counter. It was falling over in a pot that was clearly much too small for its 16-inch height — it needed a bigger pot stat and a stake to hold up the stalk. I offered to take it home and give it some TLC, but now I’m not sure what to do. So far I’ve re-potted it in a larger planter and tied the stalk to a piece of a vintage yardstick to keep it upright. Does anyone know what type of light this plant needs, or how much water it likes? Should I attempt to put it outside on the fire escape, or will it do better indoors? Help! –Erica P.
If you want a vast, yet fast, tour of Chicago gardens, try Chicago Gardens: Past and Present at the Chicago Tourism Center. The show covers dozens of topics superficially — there are tips on how to make your own dandelion wine and coffee, images of neighborhood rooftop gardens, and a photography tour of local celebrity chef Rick Baylessâ€™ herb garden (where he grows food to serve in his restaurants Frontera Grill and Topolobampo). Visitors get a look at Chicago green spaces from conception to fruition — original garden plans painted in delicate watercolors hang alongside current photographs, illustrating a lush “before and after” of public parks. My favorite part is Danny Mansmith and Catherine Schwalbe-Bouzideâ€™s life-size, handmade “Tree of Knowledge” installation. Visitors are invited to add gardening tips, poems, and other comments to the tree via paper “leaves.” (I added a first hand warning against amateurs trying to tend orchids.) The show is free and open to the public now until August 16. Visit the Explore Chicago website for hours of operation, directions, and more details. –Katie D.
By the way, if you need help growing an orchid, this post is still going strong.
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!
I recently inherited a bunch of fabulous stuff from a friend’s mother who was moving out of her home. Pyrex bowls, clothes, and sewing patterns, yes, but the greatest find were these two crocheted lawn chairs. I have never in my life seen anything like them — it’s nylon yarn woven over an aluminum frame — which is why I grabbed them. When I got them home, I was even more delighted to realize that the chairs don’t have just an abstract pattern, but are representations of a squirrel and deer. They are the perfect summer chairs! Has anyone out there seen anything like these? Were they homemade? I just may have to learn how it’s done so I can make myself some more! –Megan B.
Update: See kourtney’s link in comments — looks like they’re macrame!
Reader Cassy writes to us with this question:
My husband would like to build a deck (low to ground) that will hold a hot tub. He wants to put a pergola over the hot tub. I have never seen one and was wondering if anyone had any ideas on how to build one, pictures, or good places to shop for one???
Cassy, thanks for writing! A quick online seplace found a few sites that might help you out. Lowes has an online how-to on building a pergola — you’ll probably notice that the skill level is listed as “advanced.” Does that describe you? Popular Mechanics also has a pergola DIY — and not only does this one have 3D animation, it calls the project “simple”! And here’s another good article at Reader’s Digest.
We like the look of a pergola, too. Readers — have you built one? Any advice for Cassy?
I like even minor items like tissue boxes to have a little personality, so it’s no wonder I came home with two boxes of these very friendly tissues from Trader Joe’s. They’re decorated with some old-timey artwork, but it’s what the tissue is “saying” to me that I like. “I’m there when you need to pick up icky things,” it says. “I’m there when you run out of toilet paper.” It even offers a kindly reminder to check my pockets before tossing my pants in the laundry. Where the tissues fall short are, sadly, softness. Simply put, they aren’t! (They’re like the Clint Eastwood of facial tissues.) But for 99 cents a box, I guess I won’t complain. –Mary T.