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Close to home with Mary Beth Breckenridge

What does your door say about you?

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: May 31, 2012

I've been asked the color of my eyes, my mood and even my parachute. But no one's ever asked the color of my front door.

Red, for the record. Apparently that means I'm passionate, according to Debbie Zimmer of the Paint Quality Institute.

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DIY earring organizer

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: May 22, 2012
Earring tree

Is there anything better than making something from nothing?

That's what I like best about my new earring organizer.

I'd looked at some wall-mounted organizers online, but everything cost a lot more than I was willing to shell out. So I devised my own by gluing a scrap of window screening to the back of an old 11-by-17-inch picture frame, spray-painted black.

Earrings with plain hooks fit right through the screen holes, and I repurposed some Christmas ornament hooks for hanging my lever-back and hoop earrings. I can even hang post earrings by pulling the bottom of the organizer away from the wall a little bit to give me access to attach the earring backs.

Now my earrings are no longer in a tangle in a basket. Instead, they decorate my wall when they're not decorating my ears.  

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A summer look for a fireplace

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: May 16, 2012
libbymantel

A fireplace warms up a room in winter, but once the weather warms, it’s just a black hole.

Interior designer and TV personality Libby Langdon suggests a way to make it a focal point during the off season, too. She recommends having a mirror cut to size and placing it in front of the fireplace opening. In front of the mirror, create an arrangement of hurricane vases with candles inside, coral, seashells and smaller votive candles.

Instant summer.

You can find more inspiration on her website

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Efficiency standards raised for clothes washers, dishwashers

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: May 16, 2012

New energy-efficiency standards for residential clothes washers and dishwashers were announced today by the U.S. Energy Department.

Under the new rules, front-loading clothes washers will use 15 percent less energy and 35 percent less water. Top-loading clothes washers will use 33 percent less energy and 19 percent less water. For dishwashers, the savings will be about 15 percent on energy and more than 20 percent on water.

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New this week

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: May 14, 2012

In this week's home section: a tour of an art-filled home in Bath, and my musings on being Mommy to a grown-up.  

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'Homegirl' back on Nate Berkus' show

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: May 11, 2012

Regular readers know I've been watching 'Homegirl' Gina Bishop's star rise for a few years now.

The Hudson resident's next brush with fame comes Monday, when she appears for a second time on The Nate Berkus Show. She'll be participating in a bedroom makeover challenge.

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HGTV's Sabrina Soto plans Twitter chat today

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: May 10, 2012

Sabrina Soto, the HGTV designer and home style expert for Target, will be chatting with fans at 3 p.m. today via Twitter.

She'll be promoting her first book, Home Design: A Layer-by-Layer Approach To Turning Your Ideas into the Home of Your Dreams.

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'House Hunters' visits Kent tonight

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: May 9, 2012

If you missed the visit to Kent by the HGTV series "House Hunters," the episode airs again tonight.

The show follows a single mom named Gretchen who's looking for a home near her daughters, both students at Kent State University.

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New LED bulb will replace 100-watt incandescent

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: May 8, 2012

At last we're getting a standard-shape LED bulb that's bright enough for most home uses.

GE announced today that an LED replacement for the 100-watt incandescent bulb will reach store shelves early next year. Its 27-watt Energy Smart LED bulb, developed at Nela Park in East Cleveland, will be introduced this week at the Lightfair International trade show in Las Vegas.

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Study finds toxic substances in garden tools

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: May 3, 2012

Mom was right when she warned you not to drink from the garden hose. 

A study by the Ecology Center in Ann Arbor, Mich., recently found high amounts of lead, phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA) in the water from a garden hose left in the sun for a few days.

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Target teams with Nate Berkus

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: May 3, 2012

Popular Interior designer and TV personality Nate Berkus is launching a collection with Target.

The Nate Berkus Collection will arrive in stores Oct. 21, the company says. It comprises more than 150 products in the categories of bedding, bath, accessories, lighting, rugs and window treatments. 

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An easy way to reduce paper waste

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: May 1, 2012

Paper accounts for about one-third of municipal solid waste, the Environmental Protection Agency says.

Here's an easy way to cut down on the paper we use every day. I've been using this technique since I first saw the video, and it works.

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