Thursday, November 27, 2008

Design Within Reach Black Friday Discounts!

Design Within Reach doesn’t hold many sales during the year, but when they do hold a sale, they do hold a sale. From Black Friday, November 28th to Cyber Monday, December 1st Design Within Reach is giving customers 15% any purchase in their stores or online. You must use the Black Friday discount code DWRFF8 for your online or in store purchase to get the 15% discount.

Design Within Reach is also having a Floor Sample Sale where you can save up to 50% off. The email I received from Design Within Reach says that their Floor Sample Sale starts November 28th but some stores may be marking down items and selling them early. Last weekend while Husband and I were doing some Christmas shopping recon we visited our local Design Within Reach Studio and saw that they had many floor samples already marked down. (And sweetie, if you’re reading this, it was the Nelson Crisscross Pendant that I repeatedly mentioned how nice it would look in the living room. Christmas is coming hint, hint!)

If you don’t live near a Design Within Reach Studio, or like me, some of the items you want to buy aren’t available in the brick and mortar store, the online store is holding a clearance sale.

Happy Shopping!

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Monday, November 24, 2008

The KOR ONE: Reusable Water Bottle or Swanky Hydration Vessel?

KOR set out to redesign the reusable water bottle and make it appealing to the nonsporty crowd because let’s face it most of the reusable water bottles out there are designed for the sporty folks. KOR managed to combine my teenage love of fashion with my adult love of product designs (seriously folks, I’ve geeked out over the posh design of an orange juice squeezer) and put it into one gorgeous looking water bottle. Wow. (OK. OK. They call it a Hydration Vessel when really it’s a reusable water bottle - but who am I to quibble with marketing semantics?) Imagine my delight when KOR sent me one of their BPA-free plastic Hydration Vessels for review.

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The KOR ONE is a one of the few water bottles I have that I can but in the dishwasher. Given the rounded bottom, the bottle is surprisingly sturdy and doesn’t tip over easily. And just for fun, the KOR ONE features a “stone” cap insert with inspirational sayings such as “Never Settle” or “Laugh Often.” They also include a blank stone so you can create your own message. I got all Alice in Wonderland and made a “Drink Me” stone for my - oh, geez, I’ll just say it - my Hydration Vessel’s lid.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Have You Ever Put An Active Dog On Complete Bed Rest? It’s Not Easy…



cat ball muzzle on
makes dog look like Spaceman Spiff
all to check his back



Blitzkrieg is a very active little dog. And he’s smart. He knows tons of tricks sit, speak, down, wait, shake, and high 5 with his left and right (blind side thankyouverymuch) paw and the favorite of the neighborhood kids, dance on his hind legs, which Peke people commonly refer to as The Pekingese Dance. Teaching Blitzkrieg these behaviors has helped us use positive reinforcement training turn the shy and fear aggressive abused dog we rescued into the confident and well-adjusted goofball we have today. One of the Blitzkrieg Rules is that if Blitzkrieg wants to join a human who is already sitting on the sofa then he has to “ask” permission by sitting first before the human (me) tells him “OK, hup”. This is Blitzkrieg’s cue to jump up on the sofa for a good snuggle.
As of last Saturday, Blitzkrieg couldn’t hup.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Skil Power Cutter Review

It’s no secret that I love high quality power tools. I know the big names and as I’m slowly building the tool collection in my DIY workshop, I tend to check those out first. That’s why I was very excited that the fine folks at Skil sent me their new Skil Power Cutter for review because up until now, the only experience I’ve had with Skil brand power tools is drooling over their XBench Portable Workstation in the hardware store. Unfortunately, the Power Cutter is such a specific tool that I could only use for maybe one or two specific DIY or craft jobs around The Condo, that I can’t justify drooling over it. Maybe you might though.

The Power Cutter’s designed to cut material that is up to ¼” thick such as carpeting, vinyl flooring, wallpaper, heavy fabric like canvas, window screens, plastic pond liners, or items that are a little too thick to cut with regular scissors like cardboard, foam core board, or heavy cardstock. I tested the Power Cutter on cutting cardboard, paper, canvas, and a remnant of vinyl flooring the builder left at our house and that I will someday make into a floor cloth. I found that the Power Cutter works best on straight cuts; it didn’t do too well on detailed curvy cuts. The Power Cutter didn’t take very long to charge up and they say keeps it charge up to 18 months (which due to deadlines for this review I can’t test that, so I’ll have to take Skil’s word for it.) That’s impressive because there’s nothing I hate more than to grab a rechargeable tool from my toolbox for a quick DIY task and find that the battery’s dead.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Three Easy, Natural, and Free Fall Centerpieces

Some people see raking autumn leaves as a chore. I look at it as an opportunity to redecorate my home with some unusual (and free!) natural fall elements.

My first centerpiece couldn’t be easier to make. I literally tossed a small collection of leaves, crabapples, seedpods, and a couple of buckeyes that I gathered from my yard and neighborhood park (always make sure that you have permission to take anything from property that isn’t yours first) around a paraffin free candle on an old tray.

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Since I’m working with natural and dried elements near an open flame, you’ll notice that I have the candle in a protective glass holder so I don’t accidently set my centerpiece on fire. I also make sure that I do not leave burning candles unattended.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

How to Winterize a Rain Barrel

If you live in an area that gets ice, snow, and/or freezing temperatures in winter, you should add one often overlooked task to your Fall Prepare for Winter Checklist: drain any standing water from your rain barrel.


During the winter, if the standing water you currently have in your rain barrel freezes, it could cause the rain barrel to crack or split, and well, then you’re out one rain barrel. Given the cost of those things, a rain barrel is not something that I personally would want to replace every spring or summer. Ouch.


Thursday, November 6, 2008

2 Rice Bags Turned into Shopping Tote Bags

Husband and I had some empty rice bags in our stash of reusable shopping tote bags. However, we rarely used them, or even worse, we got the passive aggressive stink eye from clerks at the grocery store because the rice bags were much smaller than the rest of our shopping tote bags.

I decided to make my small rice bags into larger shopping tote bags.

Shopping Tote Bag#1

I opened up the seams and removed the handles from this burlap rice bag with a seam ripper. Then I cut two 5 inch (3 inches wide + 1 inch seam allowances) rectangles out of a way too-faded-to-donate-to-charity 100% cotton curtain panel and sewed them to the sides of bag. I made and attached handles to the top of the bag for easy toting around town. I like how the green reclaimed curtain panel coordinates with the green lettering on the burlap rice bag.


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The zipper is not functional. I just left it in the side of the bag so everyone knows that yes, this was once a small Basmati rice bag.

Monday, November 3, 2008

I’m in Love with Earthlust Stainless Steel Water Bottles

We have several BPA free reusable plastic sport bottles hanging around The Condo largely due to Husband getting them as promotional freebies in his 5K, 10K, and ½ marathon race packs. I’m not a big fan of these bottles because of the sport tops – it’s just too hard to drink water through them. Either I have to squeeze the plastic bottle and/or suck like a manic baby on the sport top to get the water to come out of the bottle. Even then I still don’t’ get a decent drink of water. In most cases, I just unscrew the sports top and drink straight from the bottle because I like to live dangerously.

Since I have some freebies and I generally not a fan of the reusable plastic water bottles we currently have, I’ve been slow to jump on the metal reusable water bottle bandwagon. Especially when I saw that some of those supposed-to-be-better-for-you-and-the- environment metal water bottles have plastic liners. So if you want me to ditch my current #2 plastic-but-bad–reusable-water-bottle for your metal-but-supposed-to-be-greener-but-lined-with- #2 plastic-reusable-water-bottle you had better offer me something that’s much better than what I currently have sitting in my cupboard.

Earthlust did just that. They make a naturally safe stainless steel water bottle that is not only unlined (no plastic in this reusable metal water bottle!) but uses non-toxic paints, and looks good.

I got to try an Earthlust water bottle and I’m hooked. First, I like that the Earthlust bottles are just plainer prettier to look at than some of those other reusable metal water bottles. In fact, some Earthlust designs are inspired by what the owner sees around her during walks with her child. I love that. I’m a total sucker for something that has both good design and an interesting back story.