five things we learned last week


1) Black Friday deals aren’t for everyone. Sarah C. skips the mall after Thanksgiving and she’s not the only one. Brianna says: “I’m so glad to know there is someone else out there that just doesn’t have the gumption for Black Friday. I worked retail for 5 years and after that I don’t care if they are GIVING away electronics, I can not make myself get in that mess. So my strategy? I’m gonna take advantage of Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday instead.” What is your Black Friday strategy?

2) Dry-erase paint could be fun if applied correctly. Ginny F. is considering some dry-erase DIY projects for her new house, but wanted recommendations. Llyra says: “My husband’s office had this stuff, and while great in theory, it didn’t work all that well. The surface needs to be *smooth* in order to be erased cleanly, and it’s very very very difficult to paint it on that smoothly.” An interesting alternative? Dry-erase contact paper. Thanks for the idea, Daffodil!

3) Real grass on the wall? You’re intrigued. DesignGrass is the latest arrival to the green design party, and you like it. Rebecca says: “Wow, I LOVE this idea. It’s right up there with the Wooly Pockets and creating graffiti with moss. Green messages…lovely!”

4) The Messermeister serrated peeler is Shelterrific-approved. Megan B. recommends it and you have to agree. Katie says: “Isn’t it wonderful? I have one from OXO. It’s not as pretty as your red one, but it works beautifully!”

5) Moveable Type is a cause with supporters. Mary T. shared Kyle Durrie’s quest to take letterpress on the road, and in doing so, introduced us to the brilliance of Kickstarter. We’re fans of both! Sarah L. says: “How awesome is that? Someone needs to give me $250 to pledge so I can make sure she comes here.”

From our partners

moveable type, literally: taking letterpress printing on the road



I was so excited to read today about a new venture being undertaken by Kyle Durrie of Power and Light Press, a letterhead company she runs in Portland, Oregon. Kyle has a plan to retrofit a bread truck with a portable printing press, then hit to the road to conduct letterpress workshops for kids across the U.S., sharing her love and building enthusisasm for the process. Kyle’s whole plan is outlined at the Moveable Type Kickstarter site, where she explains her quest in a fun and engaging video. You can donate funds (she’s only trying to raise $8,000 — that’s a very economical project) or just learn more about it. (Incidentally, Kickstarter, a site where you can “fund and follow creativity,” is pretty cool, too.) And make sure to visit the Power and Light Etsy shop, as well. — Mary T.

From our partners

strangely appealing: designgrass

design grass

They sucked me in with the very name “DesignGrass” and they had me at “no watering or maintenance required.” Unfortunately for me, DesignGrass, the brainchild of Curb, the “natural media company,” is not for a lush lawn, but real grass that can be grown in shapes and will last indefinitely fixed to indoor walls or ceilings. So far it’s been used to add some real green to company logos and advertising promotions, though we can imagine the fun interior decorating possibilities. As long as I don’t have to mow it, I’m good. Anyone seen DesignGrass in person? –Mary T.

P.S. Curb has a whole gallery of “clean advertising” from “compost art” to “snow tagging” — check it out.

From our partners

five things we learned last week


1) Popcorn is a green way to clean those narrow-necked vases. Rebecca F. shared her simple strategy and you’re thankful for the tip. TexanNewYorker says: “Thank you for this — the last time I moved, I gave away all my skinny-necked vases because they’re such a pain to clean!”

2) Cookie cutters may be the most versatile pieces in our holiday arsenal. Ginny F. shared her inspirations for decorating with them, commenter Andrea shared her idea for giving homemade cookies along with a cutter for garnish and many of you highly recommend Ikea for its holiday selection. Jess says: “I’ve inherited quite an extensive collection of cookie cutters over the years. Make sure to check IKEA around Christmas time. My very favorite cookie cutters have come from there! (from moose to squirrel, they come in boxed sets for under $5!)”

3) Chalkboard ornaments are an easy DIY with mass appeal. While these ornaments aren’t available in the United States, Martha Stewart’s holiday do-it-yourself instructions bring them stateside for cheap. Diane says: “How totally adorable is this? Thanks so MUCH for sharing!!”

4) Taking time to burglarproof your home is important, and renter’s insurance helps. Rebecca F. shared her tips for deterring break-ins while you’re away this holiday season, and was thankful that she invested in insurance before she experienced a break-in herself. We can sympathize. Fanny says: “Yikes! That is so, so scary! Thanks for all the tips, and ditto on the renter’s insurance. I finally got it a couple of years ago, and it gives fantastic peace of mind. It also covers personal property in case of a car break-in or bike theft was well!”

5) Everyone prepares that turkey differently, and some methods are simpler than others. Megan B. shared her mother’s technique involving butter-soaked bed sheets, a new one that prominently features a paper bag, and her personal go-to from Alton Brown. Like everything Thanksgiving-related, we each have our own no-fail strategies. Mike Johnson says: “I brine the bird, but give it 24 hours to dry out in the fridge. I put herb butter under the skin, let it come up just to room temperature, and cook it breast-side up in a roasting pan on the grill. The meat won’t dry out unless it’s overcooked.” How do you brine your bird?

From our partners

blogwatch: where we’ve been clicking this week

girls2 copy

Inspiring and whimsical posters for girls by Amanda Visell at Notcot: a hip, updated replacement for the “hang in there, baby” posters of our youth. LOVE.

The Peasant Housewife has a cute how-to video for CandyCane JoeJoe Trufffles. Sounds like something we’d like to try…

Our favorite little tart fruit of fall — no, not cranberries — pomegranates, demystified, thanks to this post at Readymade.

This Tokyo apartment in a parking garage re-invents small space living. Via Unclutterer.

Lacking inspiration for Wednesday’s feast? Go no further than Serious Eats, and their omniscient Thanksgiving page.

Curbly’s got the market cornered on DIY turkey day tabletop decor: make your own tree branch napkin rings AND
festive linen napkins. With all that extra free time you’ve got. Yeah.

And while you’re at it, why not make your guests some extra seating, like these stools made from upcycled magazines at CasaSugar?

From our partners