Read More »from Easy improvements for outdoor spaces
Maximize living space in your home: Spruce up your porch with distinctive furnishings and decorations.
Create an outdoor room: Whether your home is blessed with a generous wraparound or a small front porch just big enough for a chair or two, this is important emotional real estate. It's a place to unwind in the fresh air after a long day, an area that allows you to extend a summer evening outdoors with friends and neighbors. Should you call it a porch, a portico, or a veranda, this space is a significant element of American architecture, especially in the South, where wide, deep front porches are common. Treat your porch as you would the rest of your home, outfitting it with all-weather rugs and furniture, and other decorative touches.
A mood room: If you use your porch to entertain or simply to read and relax, creating the proper ambiance is a key concern. Be sure to install the right lighting for evening hours, and put up curtains or blinds to help filter the daytime sun. A comfy
Blog Posts by Country Living
Read More »from Easy improvements for outdoor spaces
A favorite served at fairs, backyard parties, and sidewalk stands, lemonade is as refreshing as it is simple to prepare. Here, how to make the original, plus two yummy variations.
To prepare a 2-quart pitcher, mix 2 cups of lemon juice with 6 cups of water and 1 cup of superfine sugar. Fill with ice. For the best results, use fresh-squeezed lemons. Tip: About 6 medium lemons produce about 1 cup of juice.
Note: Lemonade served in a full-bottomed pitcher easily accommodates a pretty garnish. Make the garnish tasty, too, using fruit-flavored ice cubes. Cut up the fruit of a honeydew melon into 1-inch pieces, puree in a food processor, strain, and freeze in ice cube trays overnight. Try pureed watermelon, cantaloupe, kiwi, and mango, also!
Stir 2 tablespoons of grape juice into 2 quarts of fresh lemonade for just the right shade of pale pink. Chill and serve.
Combine 1½ cups of fresh lime juice and ½ cup ofRead More »from Lemonade 101
Read More »from Dressing Up Deli Salads
Transforming plain deli fare into just plain delicious is a matter of notching up the taste of your store-bought side dishes with a few ingredients.
For example, you can transform:
EGG SALAD with a judicious dash of cayenne pepper or cumin, or by stirring in a smidge of wasabi mayo or horseradish.
Infuse ordinary MACARONI SALAD with a touch of culinary inspiration via vinaigrette, some artichoke hearts, and/or a helping of chickpeas.
And here's a flavorful trick that not only adds kick to a CHUNKY CHICKEN SALAD, but also stretches the quantity: Mix it with chopped green apples or herb-roasted fingerling potatoes; or, for texture, add some dried cranberries or chopped walnuts. Or set out the add-tos so guests can pick their own favorite flavorings.
Packing a Picnic
Summertime Potato Salad Recipe
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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.
Read More »from How to Navigate the Nursery
At the nursery, the profusion of colors and scents, varietals and blooms can sometimes make even the most enthusiastic gardener a shrinking violet. But there is an easy-to-adopt strategy for making a visit to the local nursery a successful shopping experience.
BEFORE YOU GO
- Make a List: Just as you would for most shopping excursions, when venturing to the nursery make a written list of what you hope to accomplish and buy. Be as specific as possible, taking into account such factors as sun vs. shade and container vs. ground plantings. The more specific you can be about the cultivars you want, the easier it will be for the staff to expedite the order and fill you in on availability (if you're really ambitious, have an alternate list of plants in mind, in case what you want is not in stock). Consider bringing along pictures of the space you are going to plant.
- Choose a Color Palette: To build a color palette, clip images from catalogues and magazines, or use swatches of your favorite
This Atlanta homeowner injected delightfully unexpected personality with industrial items, many of which were discovered on-the-cheap from sources such as eBay, Home Depot, and antiques fairs.
Patience and resourcefulness turned up nifty solutions:
- The newly renovated kitchen is now bright with skylights and glass pendant lights that formerly hung in a school ($20 each at an antiques fair).
- The counter stools were nabbed on eBay ($50 each).
- A big metal sink, with its integrated backsplash and countertop, was picked up at an auction "in the middle of a field" for a mere $50, says Aaron.
- The narrow stack of lockers, bought at an antiques fair for about $100, finds its place by the sink where it now conceals cleaning supplies.
- Two large shelving units outfitted with metal baskets came from a factory and were purchased for $350 each at an antiques market. Some shelves were left open for easy access to frequently used tableware.
- The huge
Read More »from Quick weekend home projects
Whether you have five minutes over a weekend or an entire day, you can start (and finish) at least one of these easy improvements. And you don't need to spend the whole weekend to see results. Here you'll find a roundup of basic maintenance tasks, simple switches, and quick decor updates that can be accomplished in minutes or an hour or two. Tackle a few of these now, and you can rest easy on your days off.
EASY 5-MINUTE UPDATES
1. Switch to energy-saving bulbs. Save money and energy by replacing incandescent bulbs around your home with compact fluorescents.
2. Install a luxurious showerhead. Oversized showerheads offer wider coverage and soothing spray. Moen's Isabel model keeps water flowing at a steady pressure. moen.com.
3. Liven up your lamps. Give lamps a color or style makeover with new shades from target.com
Update old furniture with new knobs to create a custom look!
Hang your artwork. Make a statement with your favorite
A tight budget presents the ultimate challenge: Devise inexpensive ways to achieve a stylish setting for elegant meals.
5 STEPS TO STYLE:
1. PURCHASE vintage frames at flea markets for as little as $5, says Country Living's Nicole Esposito Polly. "Paint them and hang them on their own, or use them to draw attention to 'floating' art. It's a great way to quickly create interest on a plain wall minus a big investment of time or money."
2. REPURPOSE transferware too crackled or fragile for serving food and turn it into art. Fasten to the wall with plate hangers. Gluing silver spoons to platters rounds out the theme for a dining room. Keep the silhouettes simple and uncluttered for the best results.
3. A KEEPSAKE, such as a simply framed menu from a favorite restaurant or occasion, becomes a conversation piece when you give it pride of place on a wall or shelf. And scour eBay for menu covers; use them to enclose handwritten menus for dinner guests.
Four easy improvements that up your home's worth.
Updating your color scheme or even just applying a fresh coat of paint are among the easiest ways to breathe new life into your home's appearance.2. SHUTTERS
Think of your shutters as mascara for your windows. Choosing the right style and color for your home will add definition as well as a little extra pizzazz.3. ENTRY
Set the tone for the rest of your home with a welcoming entry featuring a clear path to your front door, an attractive porch, and well-tended greenery.4. LIGHTING
Let there be light that highlights the beauty of your home and landscaping while increasing safety. Picking the right fixtures and bulbs for the job is key.
Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.Read More »from Creating curb appeal
Cord keeperRead More »from Organize your cords!
Recharge your portable electronics - cell phone, iPod, BlackBerry, PDA - without getting your wires crossed. By repurposing a low-tech shoebox, you can organize and safeguard your high-tech accessories.
STEP 1 Empty a clean, sturdy shoebox. Measure and cut wallpaper or decorative fabric to its dimensions, wrapping the top and bottom pieces separately. Secure the material with spray adhesive.
STEP 2 On one long side of the box, measure and mark placement for four evenly spaced eyelet holes. Make the first hole about 3 inches in from the box's edge. Cut eyelet holes with an X-Acto knife. Repeat on the other long side, aligning holes so the wires cross through the box.
STEP 3 Purchase an extra-large eyelet kit from a hardware store, and fit the pieces using the manufacturer's directions as a guide. Feed the wires through both sets of holes and close the lid; recharge your gadgets.
Keep electrical devices such as plugs and power strips outside the shoebox, to avoid
Read More »from Cute and functional storage shelf
Want a workspace that's both functional and pretty? Clear an ample work surface, keeping it free of piles of paperwork and clutter. Items that you use regularly - phone, computer, reference books, writing implements - should be within reach, while nonessentials can be neatly stowed on shelved or filed in drawers. To maximize space and for visual appeal, attach jelly jars to a shelf above your desk. Fill them with colorful craft and office supplies.
Space-saving storage shelf
Measure your shelf to determine the number of jelly jars to attach. Space them out evenly and mark their placement with a pencil.
HOW-TO Start with clean jelly jars. Turn the shelf over and position the jar lids along the underside of the shelf. Attach each lid securely with two small nails; if the lid is too loose, it will spin. Fill the jars with colorful office and craft supplies - check out seejanework.com - and twist onto the lids.
See more crafty storage solutions.
Elegant Desktop Organizer