kinda genius: “do not lose me” key hook

I’m of the opinion that all dwellings should have a landing strip — that counter/table/shelf/nook where you throw your keys and the mail when you walk in the door. If I remember to take my keys out of the door (This isn’t always the case!) then I always know where to find them. I love Hector Serrano’s take on the landing strip. His “do not lose me” key hook design is based on the classic “do not disturb” signs from hotels across the globe. With the addition of just a couple of hooks, this design becomes a genius key caddy. This was definitely a “Why didn’t I think of that?” moment. –Erica P.

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tidy up your doodles with graphkin napkins

I have scribbled more notes, reminders, doodles, and digits on paper napkins then you can possibly imagine. That’s why I fell hard for these Graphkin Napkins as seen at Happy Mundane. I don’t have much of a need for them (I rarely use paper napkins) but I might pick up a packet just because. The set of 12 is designed by Colin O’Dowd and made from recycled paper. Pick them up over at the UK-based Design Museum Shop — and let me know if you find a US source! –Erica P.

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help! how should i care for this plant?

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.

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field trip: chicago gardens, past and present

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 Bayless’ 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-Bouzide’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.

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check these out: crocheted lawn chairs!

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!

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