Looking for new ways to deck the halls? Check out these inspired holiday decorations.
Ditte IsagerTwist on a Traditional Wreath
Instead of the traditional evergreen, try a homemade wreath of citrus fruits. Start with a circular piece of florist's foam, then use wooden florist's picks to secure large items, such as oranges, first. Continue with smaller fruit―kumquats, clementines, limes. Tie with a thick velvet ribbon.
Looking to update your holiday decor? Find more easy holiday decorating ideas here.
Melanie AcevedoSparkly Ornament Display
Place vintage ornaments on a cake stand nested with leaves for a stunningly simple centerpiece.
See More: 15 Easy Christmas Decorations
Lucas AllenModern Mobile Chandelier
Use wooden quilting hoops to create a mobile that floats over a table like a weightless chandelier. Turn the inner ring 180 degrees and wood-glue it to the outer ring at the top. Choose various sizes and hang the spheres at different lengths with clear fishing line and thumbtacks.
See More: Holiday Decorating Ideas
Blog Posts by Real Simple Magazine
Looking for new ways to deck the halls? Check out these inspired holiday decorations.Read More »from 10 Simple, Festive Holiday Decor Ideas
.No-fail strategies for handling eight types of annoying Joneses.Read More »from How to Deal with Nuisance Neighbors
By Amanda Hinnant
The Careless Dog Owner
Lets her pooch out to prowl freely―and dig up your lawn, howl at the moon, and sift through your trash.
How to deal: Skip the blame game, says Stephanie Shain, director of outreach programs for companion animals at the Humane Society of the United States, in Washington, D.C. "Your neighbor will probably feel embarrassed and defensive, so be honest," she says. "Let her know this is uncomfortable for you to bring up, too." Focus on the animal's behavior―not the owner's. Explain that you're concerned about the dog's welfare and that you want a peaceful neighborhood and unsullied gardens. Then try to come to a solution together. If you can't bring yourself to talk in person, write a letter, says Shain. If nothing changes after a reasonable period, contact local law-enforcement officials and your animal-control agency and find out about noise ordinances and
Use everyday items to dust, polish, and conceal flaws.Read More »from Surprising New Cleaning Solutions
See More: A Guide to Cleaning Household Surfaces
Baby Oil as Chrome Polish
Forget keeping skin soft, baby oil also polishes chrome. Apply a dab to a cotton cloth and use it to shine everything from faucets to hubcaps. You'll end up with shiny, happy surfaces from a medicine-cabinet staple. (Who actually owns chrome cleaner, anyway?)
See More: Clean Your Bathroom, Fast
Broom as Long Distance Duster
To dust crown moldings, place a microfiber rag over the broom's bristles and secure with a rubber band. Then use the long handle to dust areas that your arms can't reach. No more circus acts (starring you, on a rickety, wobbly stool).
See More: How to Speed-Clean Your Kitchen
Rice as Coffee Grinder Cleaner
Mill a handful of grains in your grinder and the fine particles will absorb stale odors and clean out residual grounds and oil. Discard the rice and wipe clean.
Toothpaste as CD Cleaner
To restore a damaged CD, apply a dot of
How to refresh a room using boxes, jars, and other household items.
By Joyce Bautista
3 Clutter-Busting Concepts
These three key steps will get you on your way to making order in your home using basic everyday items.
1. Contain: Enough storage space is, of course, the Holy Grail of any household. But solutions to the problem are probably littering your closets and cupboards right now. Use monochromatic boxes, wooden crates, berry baskets, and empty jars to stash anything from mementos to old files, paper clips to dried spices.
2. Repeat: Transform stray containers or collectibles into a decorative tableau by clustering like objects. Consistency produces a neater look than a random assembly does―and while one or two may look arbitrary, a group looks like art.
3. Repurpose: Although your lidless sugar bowl and your wobbly chair no longer serve their original purposes, they're far from useless. You can eke a second life out of idle treasures by assigning them new functions―and, inRead More »from Turn Clutter into Storage and Decor Solutions
William AbranowiczTake a peek at their brilliantly organized spaces―and learn their best organizing tips.Read More »from 4 Super-organized Women Spill Their Secrets
By Nicole Sforza
The Kitchen Keeper
Art director and mother of two, Irvington, New York
Artful Order in the Cupboards
Robin's crisp, curated kitchen features a pullout cabinet with 33 alphabetized spices―from allspice to wasabi―in matching glass jars on tiny tiered shelves. Another cupboard has colorful grains and dried beans and reflects the same modernist design sense. Each container is labeled in lowercase letters, in the same typeface.
Genesis of the system: "I love to cook, and when I lived in London, I got into spices," says Robin. "Some were in jars, others in bags. They were begging for uniformity. Now my sister brings me spices from Italy, where she lives. I have extra jars on hand so I can just pop them into place."
Payoff: "Looking at these cohesive spots makes me happy. Plus, it's more fun to cook when you know exactly where to find things."
Advice for newbies: "Buy
Jordan ProvostClean out your drawer now and save time searching for that spare key or frequent shopper card later.Read More »from Make Over Your Junk Drawer
From Overwhelming to Organized
Everyone has one-a kitchen catchall that, like the Little Mermaid's cavern, holds treasures untold and is normally in a state of complete disarray. But tackling that mess is surprisingly easy and will save you time in the long run. Organize it in just three simple steps.
See More: Storage Ideas for Small Spaces
Empty It Out
Line your countertop with newspaper and spread the contents of your junk drawer on it. (Amazing how much fits in that little drawer, isn't it?) Now that you can see everything clearly, go through and throw away anything that's garbage-dried-up lip balms, expired coupons, mystery keys, etc.
See More: New Uses for Office Supplies
Next, pluck out all the items that actually belong in other areas: screws and picture hangers (in the tool kit), tweezers and emery boards (medicine cabinet), and so on. Make piles for each area
Beatriz da CostaGet ahead of the kitchen chaos with great recipes with make-ahead cooking tips.
Whether you are preparing every course from scratch or hosting a laid-back Thanksgiving potluck, make-ahead recipes are key. Many dishes can be prepared at least a day in advance and simply reheated right before serving. From Thanksgiving hors d'oeuvres to traditional side dishes to easy holiday desserts, aim to have everything done by the time you start preparing our simple turkey recipe.
Make-ahead tip: The pecans can be prepared and stored at room temperature in an airtight container up to 1 week in advance.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups pecan halves
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
- Heat oven to 375° F. Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Stir in the sugar, cayenne pepper, and ½ teaspoon salt. Add the pecans and toss to coat.
- Transfer the pecans to a rimmed
Spend more time planning and you'll spend less time panicking, says New Jersey native Judith Bluysen, co-owner of Thanksgiving, an American grocery store, restaurant, and catering business in Paris. Each fall Bluysen and her team of five prepare more than 150 take-out turkeys and turkey dinners. She sticks to a schedule. Here's how you can, too.
3 Weeks Before
- Decide which recipes you want to make, keeping in mind that there's only so much one person―and one kitchen―can do. If you really do need 10 side dishes, look for recipes that use the same oven temperature, so they can cook at the same time, says Bluysen.
- After you narrow down your menu, reread the recipes that remain. Most can be broken into steps that you can do ahead of time. Then make a list of what you want to get done on each of the days leading up to Thanksgiving, says Bluysen. "I really think if you go through it enough times, you will be more relaxed," she says.
See More: Scene-Stealing Thanksgiving Side Dishes
2Read More »from A Thanksgiving timeline: How to get it all done