As if we needed further evidence that beekeeping is chic, look what we found tucked into the new Williams-Sonoma catalog: Among the overpriced cookie mixes and highly specialized kitchen gadgets is an all-in-one starter beekeeping kit. Doesn’t it look gorgeous! All you need is a credit card, a plot of land (or rooftop!) where beekeeping is allowed and you’re in the honey business. It comes with three, eight-frame behive boxes, beekeepers gear and clothing, a smoker, hive tools — everything you need. Except of course, bees. What’s nice about this hive is that it is stained wood with a copper-colored aluminum peaked roof. It’s a lot prettier than most out-of the box beekeeping kits. But is that aesthetic choice worth the $500 price? We got our gear (and bees!) from BetterBee.com, where a similar kit is only about $300.
To learn more about about our previous adventures in beekeeping see this post.
There’s a battle waging in our kitchens right now: The Fruit Fly war is in full summer swing. We figured since it was on our minds, it was probably on yours. Here’s a way that has worked for Megan in the past. What about you? got any good tips on how to eliminate the pesky gnats?
I admit it: I had a fruit fly problem. Fruit flies seem to go hand in hand with summertime, delicious ripe fruit, and a busy kitchen. This summer, though, I’ve taken control, and my fruit fly problem is now more like a minor annoyance. The first step is to remove the source of food. This means, for me, keeping my ripening nectarines and tomatoes wrapped securely in plastic bags until I’m ready to use them. My onions (apparently, they love onions) are now being stored in the fridge. Second step: sanitation. I clean my drains daily with baking soda and white vinegar — those pesky little buggers like to lay their eggs in the goop that resides in drains (barf). The third step — and this one’s the most rewarding — is to build a trap. I’ve tried funnels and plastic wrap over jars of overripe fruit, but I’ve found the best trap is plain old apple cider vinegar in a dish with a few drops of liquid dish soap. The soap apparently breaks the surface tension of the vinegar, causing the fruit flies to fall in and drown rather than sip and fly away. After a few days of changing the traps, you’ll notice the numbers dwindling. Does anyone else have more fruit fly solutions?
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 love the idea of creating a front door with personality and pop — as you can see from all the ones feature in the door series thus far — but often the fun ends as soon as a screen door is installed. If you pick one up at Home Depot, it will do a great job adding a layer of weather-proofing, but it will do nothing to for your decor. The best you can hope for is one that blends in. That’s why these custom made screen doors featuring grill work from Austin designer Susan Wallace are so wonderful. Each one brings out the personality of the home and its owner in a way that says, come on in! For example, the one above is on a building that originally “freed” slave quarters and literally fronted the railyard.
See more of Susan Wallace’s iron work on Houzz.com.
At some point in the next year or two, we’re going to need to take the stucco down off of our little upstate cottage and replace it with real siding. I would love to do wood shingles, but the area is known for termites and that just seems about as smart as setting up a pest delicatessen. I spotted this chic new solution over at Houzz. It’s charred wood siding, a technique that is become popular from Japan. You literally take wood siding and char it with a torch. Afterwards, you douse it water, and then brush lightly. The result is a surface that is supposedly resistant to rot and pests and lasts for 80 years with little maintenance. (Click over to Houzz to read more.) I’m suspicious; it sounds to good to be true. I love the way it looks though, and matched with some brightly colored trim, the effect could be stunning.
What do you think? Would you put burnt wood on your home?
Photo by ThoughtBarn for Houzz
Even though we don’t currently have any beehives, we are still beekeepers at heart. As soon as we can figure out a place to put a stack of the boxed honeycombs, we’re gonna set up shop. The window of opportunity is small: You have to pre-order bees and establish the hives in early spring. The past few springs have just been a little too hectic for us to get our acts together, but next year, we’ll be ready. We also think our little girl is gonna LOVE being a beekeeper.
Meanwhile, we file away stories for inspiration. Like this one from Nowness about HK Honey in Hong Kong. This urban rooftop apiary is high above one the congested city streets, and it’s run by Michael Leung. He’s working hard to introduce the concept of locally grown food to Hong Kong. Click here to read more about him, and see more photos from Virgile Simon Bertrand, at Nowness.
We’ve also heard that here in New York, swarms of homeless bees are causing trouble. They say it’s due to the warm spring. I wish we had bees to have been enjoying the mild weather!