You've got the big heart of a holiday party host, but you're trapped a small space. Now what? You can start with space-smart furnishings to accommodate dining and overnight guests. Invest in multifunctional pieces that make the best use of what little space you have. Also, look for folding items that are easy to move and tuck away post-party. Here are 5 sharp products for the spatially challenged.
Blog Posts by This Old House Magazine
- This Old House Magazine | Work + Money – Mon, Dec 21, 2009 7:57 PM EST
...and get hard-to-open packages open with ease!Read More »from 3 tools to cure wrap rage...
It's hard to have a holly jolly Christmas when you are forced to open a pile of clamshell- and blister-packaged gifts with tons of twisty ties while eager children await. In fact, more than 6,000 Americans visit the emergency room after attempts to open difficult product packaging-by tearing, biting, stabbing, and cutting-each year, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Ouch!
These tools (some of which are designed to exclusively open packaging and others you may already have that can be repurprosed for the task) will help you survive the gift-giving season with your presents-and your hands-in tact.
Please note: Despite their safety features, many of these package openers feature extremely sharp blades and are not intended for use by children; store these tools out of their reach.
Alloy steel jaws cut away the toughest zip and twist ties and eat through product-hugging plastic with ease. One handle
- This Old House Magazine | Work + Money – Mon, Dec 14, 2009 5:56 PM EST
You've got until tomorrow to enter the This Old Gingerbread House contest. Upload photos of any and all of your creations for a chance to win a $200 gift card from Home Depot, or rotary tools from Dremel. Need some inspiration? Here are 3 winners from the Grove Park Inn National Gingerbread House contest.
Read More »from LAST CHANCE to enter the This Old Gingerbread House contest
In a perfect world, we'd carefully unwrap gifts and save the paper for reuse next year. But tearing apart wrapping paper is about 98 percent of the fun, isn't it? Still, gift wrap accounts for much of the 25 percent spike in waste during the holiday season. Meanwhile, according to The Use Less Stuff Report, reuse of just two feet of ribbon per family would save enough of the trimming to tie a bow around the entire planet. That's a whole lot of ribbon.
If the mounds of colorful wrapping paper on your living room floor make you feel a little guilty-wasteful, even-here are a few creative reuse ideas to ease your conscience.
Off the Wall
The repetitive patterns of wallpaper are very similar to that of wrapping paper. Check your garage or closets for wallpaper scraps or samples you may have leftover. Create a reusable "Hollywood box" by wrapping a lid and box separately, or cover an old shoebox to put your gift into. Your box will be so pretty that the receiver is sure to reuse it toRead More »from 6 best guilt-free gift wrapping ideas
We don't mean to be kill-joys during the most joyous time of the year, but the stats don't lie: According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, over 12,500 of you have to leave the company of your loved ones to rush to the emergency room due to holiday-related accidental injuries. Here are some common holiday dangers that are overlooked by distracted holiday revelers more often than you might think. Take a look, know the warning signs, and you'll be the first to know if you, your loved ones, or your pets are victims of a toxic Christmas.
If your sniffling and sneezing coincide with the arrival of your freshly cut Christmas tree, you could be reacting to skyrocketing mold spore counts. If you must have a real tree in your home, prevent allergic reactions for guests and loved ones by hosing your tree down, spraying it with a mold-resistant sealant like M-1 Sure Cote, and allowing it to dry before bringing it indoors.Read More »from How to avoid 5 common holiday hazards
The days following Thanksgiving are all about two things: shopping and turkey sandwiches. No wait; the days following Thanksgiving are all about three things: shopping, turkey sandwiches, and holiday decorating.Christmas Fortress
Tackling that tangle of lights may be intimidating to some, but here are 5 breathtaking and over-the-top holiday displays that are sure to amaze.
Dominic Luberto's home in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, causes quite a stir; especially among neighbors who don't care for this bright holiday display. Luberto's lights aren't without fans, though. Local news stations have covered and photographed the place for special holiday coverage. The yard featured everything from traditional snowmen to Winnie-the-Pooh figurines.
Alek Komarnitsky recreates a version of this display every year. All of the figures and flashers are synced to software that allows you to manipulate the Lafayette, Colorado, displayRead More »from World's Wildest Holiday Houses
- This Old House Magazine | Work + Money – Mon, Nov 23, 2009 11:58 PM EST
If you're braving Black Friday-the day of blowout shopping on November 27; not the 1940 movie...although they both stir the same fright within me, and the movie tagline up there could easily apply to some Black Friday shoppers-it couldn't possibly hurt to plan ahead. In fact, a little bit of research can get you deep discounts from the comfort of your own computer desk this season. You may not even have to wait for Black Friday to get Black Friday deals from some vendors this year.
Many Black Friday advertisements are available for your perusal so that you can gauge whether venturing out is even worth it. For example, cnnmoney.com has republished a list of doorbuster deals from both Target and Walmart, which include $3 kitchen Chefmate kitchen appliances, $246 32-inch LCD HDTVs (Target), and $59 Tom Tom GPS systems (Walmart). You can see Black Friday ads and deal lists for those, and many other stores at blackfriday.info
Want Black Friday deals now, and want to orderRead More »from Draft a foolproof game plan for Black Friday bargain hunting
There's more to preparing a guest room than just making the bed. Welcome visitors with a practical space that's comfortable and anticipates their needs. First tip: While it's tempting to put infrequently used rooms to work as storage areas, clear away clutter and keep decor generic-but-beautiful when you're expecting guests.
In the end, there's only one way to be sure your guest room is grand: Pack an overnight bag and test it for yourself. Is the rarely used mattress comfortable? Are there enough unobstructed outlets available for chargers and laptops? Are there a couple of empty drawers? Space in the closet? Keep reading for clever tips and thoughtful, affordable upgrade ideas to help make your loved ones feel right at home this holiday season.
Guest room mattresses are either new and rarely used bargain finds, or old and lumpy remnants from another bedroom's upgrade. A good mattress pad is an affordable way to add comfort and support. Take a page from the bestRead More »from How to Outfit a Guest Room for $65 or Less
- This Old House Magazine | Work + Money – Fri, Oct 30, 2009 8:20 PM EDT
We asked for a few jack-o'-lanterns and you delivered a harvest of masterpieces. Then, we asked you to pick your favorites, and pumpkin-lovers came out in droves to select these winners. Here's the top 5.
- This Old House Magazine | Work + Money – Wed, Oct 28, 2009 4:50 PM EDT
In 1749, British merchant John Carlyle purchased two of the best lots in Alexandria, and put up this beautiful mansion-with its unique stone cornice and ornate woodwork-by the early 1750s. Just in time for General Edward Braddock to use the Georgian-style home to plan the French and Indian War.
The home stayed in the Carlyle family until 1827, and eventually served as a Civil War hospital, a particular point of interest for visiting ghost hunters. A 6-year-long restoration began when the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority (NVRPA) acquired the property in 1970.
The NVRPA holds an annual reenactment of Colonel John Carlyle's 1780 funeral and reading of his last will. Call 703-683-3451 for more information.
Cape May, New JerseyRead More »from Haunted historical houses you can visit this season
Dr. Emlen Physick's sprawling four-acre estate, a 1879 Victorian mansion, has changed hands only three times in its 130-year history. The home made news in 1878 for its