five things we learned last week

1) IKEA KULLA lamps need a mass exorcism. Angela’s KULLA lamp isn’t the only one seemingly possessed — lots of you are having the same issues. Kris says: “it happened with my white floor version. freaked me out the first time it happened – it was (i swear this is true) a dark and stormy night, i was home alone, and the lamp started switching itself off. i got so annoyed i said out loud ‘i need some light!’ – and it switched on again. eek!” How’s your KULLA lamp doing?

2) Lisa has declared it the summer of the potluck! Mary T. hosted a potluck BBQ, and Lisa (dinner party) says: I am totally with you on this! I want to make this the summer of the potluck.” Check out Lisa’s link for great tips, and see how Mary saved money with her BBQ here.

3) Topsy-turvy tomatoes aren’t for everyone. Sarah says: “Kinda hating the topsy turvy. Spent the $20 because it said it would last more than one year. Doubting that. And when I add water, it pours out the bottom seams and splashes everywhere. Had the plant in since May 15 and no blossoms or tomatoes. Have used the basil I planted in the upper ports, so that is at least good. Next year I go back to pots, unless it starts doing better.” Click for more ways to grow (we hope) tomatoes upside down.

4) Hand-crank washer? You’re better off just using your hands. Some good and some bad opinions on the hand-crank washing machine, but judyofthewoods pretty much has the last word: “The plus side – it works well, the minus side – the plastic version is flimsy. The handle feels like it will break, the pivoting pins keep slipping out of the anchoring holes, and I ended up turning the drum without the handle by pushing and pulling at the whole thing…. If you are lucky enough, you may find an old metal or enameled version on ebay or in a junk shop – I have found both, though I don’t know how widely they were used…. I now mostly wash by just soaking the laundry for a few hours.” Read all of the portable washing machine opinions here.

5) It’s that time of year: margarita recipes! Here’s one from the oldies-but-goodies file. Readers are still weighing in on a two-year-old but still quite relevant post on finding the best frozen margarita recipe! Royphil345 says: “A third vote for miriam’s recipe! …This recipe really is delicious! The balance of lime, tequila, and triple sec is the most perfect I’ve tasted and you couldn’t ask for an easier recipe.” It’s only Monday, but we think we will be revisiting that recipe post ourselves!

Photo by Hady Onaissi

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blogwatch: where we were clicking this week

The Beach Cocoon — want, want, want — at MoCo Loco.

Tillamook has a fan club! We knew we liked that cheese.

PlushYou! has an interview with Jessica Marquez — her embroidery is fantastic, and she also has a “message in a bottle” service.

Casa Sugar wants to know if you love or hate mirror tiled steps. We’re leaning toward LOVE — you?

Virtual getaway: summer camp at beachbungalow8.

Here’s seven ways to annoy a flight attendant (and probably everyone else on the plane) at Yahoo Travel. (Via PR Blog.)

Books out of control? Here’s some ways to stash them, at the Washington Post. (Via Home Savvi.)

We like fire pits. We like cheap. AT has how to build a fire pit for $28.

From our partners

five things we learned last week

1) Lots of you don’t have cable. It came as a surprise that most of the commenters on the Do you have cable tv? post said no, you don’t. Erniebufflo says that, after cutting out cable: “I’m more content because I don’t want as much STUFF because I’m exposed to a lot less advertising.” Several expressed an idea that we could get behind — if we could just pick and choose one or two channels to buy, instead of a huge package of channels we don’t need, we would. Are you listening, cable companies?

2) Turtle bread exists in miniature, too! Uyek mystified us with her comment on Katie’s turtle bread, saying: “My first thought was ‘Re-Ment!'” Our first thought was, “What the heck is that?” Turns out that Re-Ment is the name for collectible miniature items that doll enthusiasts (such as Blythe collectors) purchase for their tableau. One of the Re-Ment sets, “Let’s Cooking,” features a tiny turtle bread. Uyek was so kind as to link to our post and provide photos of both here!

3) If you’re keeping chickens, keep a (fenced) roof over their heads. Alison says: “I lost a hen (from my open ‘roof’ fenced chicken run) to a young teenage raccoon thug a few weeks ago, and a ‘varmint’ proof enclosure would be pretty helpful.” She suggests a large-size dog run with a chain-link top. Visit with the city chickens here.

4) There are affordable modern mailboxes if you know where to look. Jo got a simple modern mailbox from Target for just $40, while Kristyn says: “I have been wanting this one for awhile now.” It’s red, great looking, low-profile, and only $58! Thanks, Kristyn!

5) For mini plush, $5 is the price to beat. Rebecca likes the idea of the Etsy PlushTeam’s $5 Mini Plush Mondays, saying: “Cute and a great priced item for a gift!” Find out how to buy mini plush for just $5 every Monday in June right here.

Photo by Patrick Wormsley

From our partners

post off: do you have cable tv?

For someone who spends 90% of her waking life online, I must have some Luddite in my background — not only do I not have a microwave, I don’t have cable TV. In fact, I’ve never had it — partially because I never felt particularly inspired to pay for it, partially because I spend so much time staring at screens already that I don’t need to add another time-suck to my day. These days, it’s so easy to get great shows through Netflix, Hulu, or individual TV channels’ own sites, I miss cable even less. NPR’s All Things Considered just ran a story on one man’s experience with cutting cable out of his life. What about you — where do you get your TV and movie fix these days, and why? –Mary T.

Photo by Vangelis Thomaidis

From our partners

five things we learned last week

1) When you’re buying a sofa bed for guests, you need to consider your comfort on it, too. Susan says: “My experience is that anything without arms is not comfortable for lounging. My chaise for the porch looked great in the store, even better on the porch, but I never stay on it for more than 5 minutes, because I have nowhere to put my arms when I’m reading a book.” Read about the click-into-place sofa bed here.

2) Jonathan Adler slipped up with the banana vase.
We don’t like it, and you don’t, either. Shoppingsmycardio says: “I was thinking exactly the same thing when i saw this! I normally love anything and everything from JA, but this just isn’t doing it for me. I think they’re trying to come up with cheap gifties, which is admirable…but no. we have no bananas today.”

3) Organic crib mattresses have certain drawbacks. Rebecca says: “The only thing that drives me nuts about the mattress is that it is both floppy and heavy. Changing sheets in the crib is no fun. Overall I’m happy with the mattress, but when it comes down to it, it’s just a mattress. Heck, for all I know I slept on an asbestos mattress in a lead-painted crib and so far I’m doing okay…” What’s your take on organic crib mattresses?

4) Need a furniture slipcover pattern? Use the existing cover. Jen says: “Looks like most of the IKEA hacks just cut off the old cover and use it for a pattern. Seems like an easy way to me, and you know it’ll fit!” See the IKEA TULLSTA slipcover dilemma here.

5) Cohousing is a great idea…for someone else. Few of you seem keen on actually trying cohousing personally. Tiffany S. says: I love the concept in theory. Unfortunately, one bad apple can make it harder for everyone. I’m happy I don’t have to live with a condo board let alone someone I have to cook a meal with.” While PlantingOaks says: “It sounds a bit reminiscent of college dorms… I had some of my best memories in places like that, but I’m not sure I would want to go back on a permanent basis.” What’s your take on cohousing?

Photo by Nino Satria

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