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Check out Jackson & Perkins' new roses for 2015

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: January 16, 2015

Roses are red – and lavender, and white, and striped.

At least the new roses from Jackson & Perkins are.

The rose hybridizer is tempting rose lovers with four new introductions for 2015. They are:

Daring Spirit, a hybrid tea rose with 5-inch blossoms that flaunt deep pink and cream stripes and a spicy scent.

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Refrigerator has Keurig coffee brewer built right in

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: January 15, 2015
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Javaholics, your future fix could come straight from your fridge.

GE Appliances recently unveiled a refrigerator with a built-in Keurig brewing system. It will prepare and dispense single servings of coffee, tea, hot chocolate or any other hot beverage available in a K-cup.

The option is available in GE’s Café Series refrigerator. The fridge already offered a hot water dispenser, so adding a brewing system was a logical next step.

The refrigerator (model CFE28USHSS/CYE22USHSS) will be available in stainless steel and will have a suggested retail price of $3,300. It will be available in the third quarter of 2015.

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Trash the alarm clock. New light bulbs wake you gently

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: January 9, 2015

No more beeping alarm clock? Yes!

A couple of new light bulbs promise to help wake you in the morning without that jarring alarm. Both were introduced at CES 2015, the consumer electronics trade show that ends today in Las Vegas.

The bulbs are the Holi Sleep Companion and the Misfit Bolt, both of which can be programmed to gradually increase light levels in the morning to wake you gently. The Bolt can even simulate a sunrise. The Sleep Companion can be paired with wearable devices to gather data on sleep patterns and the local environment, according to LEDs Magazine.

The Bolt is currently available for pre-order and costs $49.99. Delivery is expected in mid-February.

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Bedford company's smart system promises to stop home leaks

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: January 8, 2015

Somewhere in the recesses of my mind, there festers a nagging worry that a pipe might leak or a hose might break when I’m not home. The thought of water spewing all over my house and laying waste to a place I hold dear makes me cringe.

That’s why I find leakSMART intriguing.

LeakSMART promises to detect water leaks or pipes that are close to freezing, shut off the main water supply and notify the homeowner via a smart device, all in less than five seconds. The system’s creator, Bedford’s Waxman Industries, introduced the system at CES 2015, the international consumer electronics trade show going on through Friday in Las Vegas.

The wireless leakSMART system consists of sensors that monitor temperature and water, a detection hub and a valve that attaches to your main water supply. You set the sensors on the floor near appliances and plumbing fixtures that could leak. If one of the sensors detects a problem, it sends a signal to the hub, which in turn activates the shutoff valve and notifies you.

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Lilly Pulitzer teaming with Target

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: January 7, 2015

OMG. Lilly Pulitzer is coming to Target. Can spring get here fast enough?

The brand known for its vibrant, happy prints is bringing a collection of resort wear, home goods and cosmetics to Target, starting April 19. My back deck is going to be one cheerful place this summer.

Check out this video from the intro party and a few photos from the collection.

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Stow native Freddy Hill to compete in TV's 'Framework'

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: December 29, 2014

Stow native Freddy Hill will be one of 13 furniture builders putting their skills to the test in the new Spike TV show Framework, debuting Jan. 6.

When he's not on TV, Freddy runs Bomb Factory Furniture in a renovated bomb factory in Lakewood. 

Watch for more information about him in Saturday's Beacon Journal. In the meantime, here's a preview of the show:


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Tips for getting your guest room ready

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: December 5, 2014
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Getting ready for holiday guests? Check out these tips for making your guest room welcoming, courtesy of furniture company Somerton Dwelling:

-- Leave a bottle or decanter of water on the night stand for slaking nighttime thirst.

-- Supply extra blankets to keep guests warm.

-- Empty top drawers in a dresser to give guests room for their clothing.

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Marsala is Pantone's Color of the Year

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: December 4, 2014

Man, I love it when I’m ahead of the curve.

Pantone has just announced that its 2015 Color of the Year is Marsala, an earthy red with a tinge of brown – exactly the color I have on the walls of the library in my house.

(Don’t be too impressed. We put shelves in an unused living room. Voila. Library.)

Pantone is marketing Marsala as a great color for kitchens and dining rooms, which stands to reason: Red stimulates our appetites. But this red is also subdued and sophisticated, making it a great choice as an accent color in other rooms.

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Last-minute Thanksgiving centerpiece ideas

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: November 26, 2014

Yikes! Did you forget about the Thanksgiving centerpiece?

Whip one up in no time with these suggestions from the home and garden social network Hometalk.

-- Forage in your yard. Natural elements such as fall leaves, pine cones, branches and even small logs can be centerpiece elements. Add a few gourds or small pumpkins, some Indian corn and a few candles, and you’re done.

-- Decorate with antiques. Grandma’s silver tray or a pretty old pitcher could be the base of a stunning arrangement. Work in some small heirlooms for added interest.

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Christmas lights go wireless

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: November 24, 2014

This is just the thing to warm my geeky little heart.

Inventors Chris Higgins and Hardeep Johar have developed wireless LED Christmas tree lights and mounted a Kickstarter campaign to raise the money to produce their lighting system, called Aura. The lights look and hang like traditional glass globe ornaments, but each contains a little circuit board that makes the ornament light up when it gets close to a power ring hidden in the tree.

The power ring plugs into a wall outlet and creates a magnetic field that transfers energy to the ornaments. The ring comes in a Wi-Fi version that lets you schedule and control your lights with your smart phone.

The ornaments come in crackled glass, frosted glass and – for nerds like me -- clear glass, which lets you see the little circuit board inside. They’re available with either white or multicolor lights.

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