A couple of years ago, one of our most commented posts asked “Would you keep chickens?” Overwhelming you said, heck yeah, we’d love to raise chickens, and quite a few of you already did. Suddenly advice was flowing on breeds, coop building and egg quality. Fast forward a couple of years, and suddenly it seems that literally everyone around me is talking chickens! Many in our little New Jersey town have had their feathers ruffled recently (can’t resist the pun, sorry), after an ordinance was passed allowing backyard chickens starting this spring. People are worried about bad smells and that the foul will attract rats. We already have racoons, skunks, groundhogs and squirrels up the whazoo. What’s the harm of a few chickens? I love the idea of teaching our child where her food comes from, and it will certainly help us be more self-sufficient. Unfortunately, our own little patch of grass is much to small for a coop (what with the puppy and the playground we have planned — more on that later), but I sincerely hope one of our neighbors gives it a go. If you’re inspired, you must check out Tilly’s Nest, which just won a Blue Ribbon Blogger Award from Country Living mag. Its dedicated to the joys of raising chickens. These birds look downright huggable, and their owner, Melissa, offers amazing advice for the novice. — Angela M.
Tell us: Would you mind if your neighbors had chickens?
Photo by Laura Pandaru
We spent a lovely day in Charleston, SC last week, admiring its historic churchyards, cobble stoned streets and shuttered row houses. Little did we expect to find such a mod decor idea there. At Kaminsky‘s downtown, the smell of wafting french roast mixed with baking cupcakes, while our eyes soaked in the these clever wall coverings. From across the dining room, they had a undulating texture that cast soft shadows in the morning sun glow. On closer inspection, we realized that this expensive looking treatment was really just rows of wall trim. The moulding that most homes use around the base or in decorative accents was glued onto the walls row after row, in creating a texture that was both organic and organized. Replicating the same effect in your home would not be too difficult; the hard part might be deciding your level of commitment. If you glued them on, it would be impossible to remove without destroying the wall. Another option would be to drill them on, and then spackle over the holes before painting. We’re thinking it’d be fun in a small room (like a half bath) or perhaps on just an accent wall. The white color used in Kaminsky’s allowed the shadows to take center stage, but it also might be interesting in a pale clay or grey. If you’re ever in Charleston, but sure to stop by 78 N. Market Street for a piece of red velvet cake and a look around. – Angela M.
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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!
If you’re like us, you spent a glorious fall weekend leaping around pumpkin patches and picking apples right off the tree. Divine! But before we start carving our jack-o-lantern masterpieces, we thought it’d be a good idea to remind ourselves what we learned last year. As you may recall, our 2010 porch pumpkins had a tough time. First, they got nibbled on by some squirrels. Then, they got moldy and basically caved in.
1. Don’t put your pumpkins out too soon. Rainy damp days can be deadly. Take them inside when it’s moist out!
2. After you carve it, soak it in cold water for a bit.
3. Smear some Vaseline on the carved, exposed edges.
4. If you’re worried about hungry critters taking a bite, mist it with a diluted cayenne pepper mix or try some Bitter Apple.
Got any other tips? Tell us here — and send us photos of your carved pumpkins! We’ll be sharing ours soon.
Hey, what do you do with those little tag they put in nursery plants once you get them home? Perhaps you throw them away. Or maybe you have a system like mine: throw them in an old flowerpot in the shed until a year later when you’re trying to remember the name of what was planted where and how tall it might eventually be. Well, how about this idea from one of my neighbors: grab a simple binder, organize it by area of the yard, and just staple the tags in there along with any notes about plant care. Such a simple idea, but I admit, I was impressed! — Mary T.
This week I saw two stories about bookshelves suggesting they are going the way of the record player and rotary telephones. It seems that in the dawning era of electronic books (and I am the first to confess: I LOVE my Kindle) that bookshelves are becoming obsolete. Both Time.com and The Economist wrote about Ikea’s plans to remake its famous Billy bookcases to contain all sorts things besides books. The shelves are becoming deeper and they’re getting optional doors – all the better to hold things that aren’t books, like tsotchkes (and I am the first to confess: I LOVE tsotchkes).
In our house, we still have a lot of novels and other assorted paper products, like magazines, kids books, cookbooks, photography books. But it’s true that they are not the only objects that live on our shelves. When we staged our apartment to sell, in the photo above, we cleaned up the bookshelves so they contained very few books. Our realtor thought this would be more appealing.
These days, I find myself drawn more and more to old books and first editions. Is it the nagging sense that classic printed matter is becoming more precious? On our mantel is a first edition of EB White’s This is New York, a must have and read. I’m not buying fewer books now that I own a Kindle. Rather, now I am buying books that I truly treasure and want to have and hold and display. And for those, I need bookshelves.
What about your home’s future? Will bookshelves still have a place there? — Angela M.