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A little potty humor

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: August 30, 2013
toilet

One of the great perks of newspaper work is the great promotional stuff you get in the mail.

Today's gem: a coffee mug shaped like a toilet, promoting a show called, aptly, King of Thrones.

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Check out these ads from the 1934 Montgomery Ward catalog

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: August 28, 2013
Catalog house

Today, a little nostalgic fun.

My email this morning brought one of those repeatedly forwarded emails I usually ignore. But this one I’m glad I opened. It contained pictures of pages from Montgomery Ward’s 1934 Christmas catalog.

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App aids in diagnosing plant problems

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: August 27, 2013

A new app can help you find out what’s ailing your plant.

Purdue University just released a mobile app for iPhones and iPads that lets you send photos and a description of a plant’s problems to one of eight university labs, including Ohio State’s C. Wayne Ellett Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic.

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Learn how to dry herbs

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: August 26, 2013

Wondering how to dry that bounty of herbs from your garden? Check out this Fine Gardening video by herbalist Susan Belsinger.

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Retro appliances!

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: August 23, 2013
GE Artistry

No, I am not a paid spokesperson for GE. But after I posted about the success of the company’s Slate kitchen-appliance finish, my friend Pam Kueber of the splendid Retro Renovation blog brought to my attention the line of retro-contemporary appliances GE is launching in September.

The Artistry line comes in black or white (yes!) with chrome details and clean-lined, throwback styling. I can’t decide whether my favorite detail is the clock in the back of the stove or the old-school GE logo.

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Is Slate the new stainless?

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: August 22, 2013
slate

Count me among the consumers who are not big fans of stainless steel kitchen appliances. So I welcomed the news this week that GE is expanding its line of appliances with its warm gray Slate finish.

In September, the company will double the number of appliance models offered in Slate, it said in a news release.

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Tickets going fast for tour of homes by architect Charles Schweinfurth

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: August 21, 2013
house

Cleveland architect Charles Schweinfurth (1856-1919) designed such Northeast Ohio landmarks as the Cuyahoga County Court House and Cleveland’s Old Stone Church, as well as some of the area’s finest homes.

You can tour three of his buildings during two upcoming tours sponsored by the Cleveland Artists Foundation.

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Site helps you choose energy-smart appliances, electronics

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: August 20, 2013

Shopping for appliances or electronics? A new website can help you get a clearer picture of how much you’ll pay to power them.

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Samsung giving away washer and dryer

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: August 19, 2013

You could win a top-loading washer and dryer in Samsung's Best Dressed Laundry Room Contest.

The company is looking for organized, innovative and stylish ways of dealing with laundry room messes. To enter, post photos of your laundry room on Pinterest with the hashtag #SamsungSpinCycle.

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Win a Modernica shell chair

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: August 16, 2013
shell chair

Here's a chance to win an iconic Fiberglas shell chair in any own color you can dream up.

Furniture maker Modernica is giving away a special edition chair to the winner of its Name Your Color Contest. Submissions will be accepted only until Sunday, so get busy.

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Plants from Firestone tournament available for purchase

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: August 15, 2013

If you made it out to Firestone Country Club for the recent WGC Bridgestone Invitational tournament, you probably noticed the gorgeous plants and containers that graced the course.

This week, you can take some of them home.

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Garden art from old dinnerware

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: August 14, 2013
gardenart_03

Here’s another twist on garden art made from repurposed kitchen stuff.

After seeing my story on bottle trees, Lynne Knight of Granger Township called to tell me about the garden ornaments she makes from colorful dishes. Knight glues together layers of plates and sometimes small bowls or whimsical accents to create flower-like sculptures. The flowers are attached to stakes for display among the posies.

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Watch for signs of tree-killing pests

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: August 13, 2013

Ohio is trying to stop the march of two tree-destroying insects, the walnut twig beetle and the Asian longhorned beetle.

That’s why it’s urging Ohioans to check their trees this month for signs of the insects. August is when symptoms of invasions by both pests are visible.

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My rant on homemade garden concoctions

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: August 12, 2013

Maybe I’m just cranky because it’s Monday, but I’m still bothered by a video I saw this morning touting a homemade weed killer.

The video, published by an online news organization that shall remain nameless, suggests killing weeds with a mixture of vinegar, salt and dish soap. The man in the video makes it sound like a no-brainer. It’s nontoxic! It’s effective! It’s made from stuff you have around the house!

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No snow? Your snowblower is free

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: August 9, 2013

Toro is making an unusual offer this fall: If you buy one of its snowblowers and it doesn't snow, you get your money back.

The S'No Risk Guarantee stipulates that if the annual snowfall this winter is less than 10 percent of the average for your area, Toro will refund 100 percent of your purchase price. If snowfall is less than 50 percent, you get 10 percent back.

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Turn a box into a storage basket

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: August 8, 2013
Upcycled Kleenex box

I've been searching for at least a year for the perfect size storage baskets for a set of shelves in my family room. I've measured countless baskets and dragged several home from the store and then back to return them, but nothing was the right depth and height for my narrow shelves. Finally I settled on some old fruit baskets I bought (cheap!) at an antiques show, but they're still not quite right.

So when I spotted this idea on Pinterest for a storage basket made by upcycling a box, my heart leapt.

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Bring a bit of the beach to home decor

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: August 7, 2013
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I love the beach, but a nautical decorating theme doesn't usually play out well in land-locked Ohio.

Libby Langdon, however, caught my attention with her ideas for bringing a bit of the beach indoors. The interior designer, author and TV personality uses elements such as shells and starfish in a sophisticated way that adds a bit of seaside romance to the home.

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Ads take on bed bug problem

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: August 6, 2013

Ohio State University is raising awareness of Ohio's bed bug problem with a series of public service announcments airing this week across the state.

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No-drill curtain rod ideas

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: August 5, 2013

Can't put holes in your walls? You can still put up curtain rods.

Home-improvement expert Tom Kraeutler offers alternatives to traditional curtain-rod hardware in The Money Pit, the newsletter he writes with Leslie Segrete of Trading Spaces fame. The two also host a radio show by the same name as their blog

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Hard-working lawn mowers need extra care this year

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: August 1, 2013

Higher than usual rainfall has kept our lawns green and growing this summer, making lawn mowers work overtime.

Since our mowers aren't getting their usual midsummer rest, they need more TLC than usual, the contributors to Ohio State University's Buckeye Yard & Garden Line remind us.

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Drip, drip, drip -- watering made easy

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: August 1, 2013

Call me lazy, but one gardening chore I don't enjoy is watering my flower containers.

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