Last Minute Easter Decor Ideas

Easter is just a few days away. That means if you haven’t started your Easter decor, you’re going to have to scramble! But don’t worry — there are plenty of cute ideas you can put together yourself in no time — you can even enlist the kids to help! Here are a few last minute Easter Decor ideas.

egg-buntingEgg Garland The easiest Easter egg garland to make is using pastel paint chips — if you happen to have paint chips leftover from your last home makeover. Modern Parents Messy Kids makes it look so easy! Just create a template of an egg so all of your eggs are the same, trace them onto your paint chip, cut them out, poke holes in the tops and string them together with fancy baker’s twine and you have Easter egg garland. Of course, you don’t have to do egg shapes — you can do the garland in the shape of bunnies and you don’t even have to use paint chips — just use construction paper and you can have your kids decorate whatever Easter shape you choose.

pussy-willow-treeEaster Trees Pussy willow branches in vases are used as accent pieces year-round, but you can tailor them to suit your Easter celebration. You can use the paint chip egg garland idea to make eggs or bunnies but instead of stringing them together, you can tie little loops of twine or ribbon through the holes so you hang them on your pussy willow branches. If you don’t have pussy willow branches, a few bare sticks from the yard will do the job just as well.

Eggshell-planterEggshell Planters This one isn’t new, but it’s a favorite! Eggshell planters are super easy to make and small succulents are relatively inexpensive. Just cut the top off  of however many eggs you want to use, poke a hole in the bottom for drainage, fill it with soil and a succulent and you’re done! They’re so cute and you’ll be able to enjoy them long after Easter.

peep-vaseVases and Jars There are so many pretty, little things you can do with vases and upcycled jars to enhance your Easter decor. An Affair from the Heart has, by far, the most clever curation of Easter vases. With a small jar inside of a bigger vase, she filled the bottom with a layer of Easter candy followed by a layer of Peeps — reserving the inner jar for water and Easter flowers. It makes an impossibly adorable center or accent piece. If you want to simplify the idea, you can layer different colors of jelly beans and instead of flowers, use the center for a candle. If you don’t want to use candy, you can fill large jars with Easter basket grass and top it with colored eggs. There is no end to what you can do with a jar!


We’ve got ideas and products for every season at LTD! From Easter to the Fourth of July, shop LTD for products priced for fun.

Clever Easter Treats

We have less than two weeks to plan for Easter — the first big holiday of spring! We know we’ll be eating ham, potatoes and plenty of hard boiled eggs (which we will certainly make into deviled eggs!), but we’re looking for treats for the kids that we can make with them and share on Easter morning while they hunt for their baskets. But Easter treats have to be cute so we’re sharing some of our favorite, clever Easter treats.Bunny-bait

Bunny Bait Simply Kierste put together Bunny Bait — it’s a simple mix reminiscent of Chex Mix only made for bunnies and kids. It’s super easy and fun to hand out — and don’t worry, it’s not packed with sugar! Pretzels and peanuts balance out the candy and marshmallows.

birds-nestBirds’ Nests The Curvy Carrot has another no-bake treat that is about the cutest Easter confection we’ve found — birds’ nests! Melt some chocolate to toss with pretzels and these little guys practically form nests themselves! It’s a memorable treat to please adults and children alike.

pretzel-chicksEaster Pretzel Chick Treats Pretzels seem to be the snack prop of choice when it comes to Easter treats! Cincy Shopper turned her pretzels into little chicks! Putting these together doesn’t require turning on the oven and they’re a great little craft to keep the kids busy on a Saturday afternoon.

Nutter-Butter-ChicksNutter Butter Chicks Sweet Simple Stuff somehow made Nutter Butters even tastier! Making these chicks is a little bit more involved, but these don’t require baking either, so the kids can help make these fun snacks.

baby-bel-bunniesBabybel Bunny Snacks There aren’t too many tasty savory snacks for Easter, but Blessed Beyond Crazy came up with something to take the edge off that sugar high on Easter morning! Babybel bunnies are the perfect break from all the sweets the kids plow through on Easter. They don’t require much prep work and it’s a fun snack for kids to try to assemble themselves.

Whether you’re planning Easter dinner or a Memorial Day barbecue, we love  any and all holidays at LTD! We have ideas, decor and products to make every holiday delightful! Keep checking back for a little inspiration for every season.

 

Items We Adore: Garden Product Picks

The first day of spring is here! We can already see some of the buds poking up from the ground and we can”t wait to get our hands dirty in the garden! This week we”re looking at all the things we need to make our gardens perfect — and we”ve made a list of a few of our faves! Here are this week’s Items We Adore: Garden Product Picks.

solar-orb

This futuristic Solar Orb Mobile is an interesting element for your outdoor decor. The shimmering orbs automatically light up at dusk. They”re surrounded by spinning rings. A solar panel at the top provides the power for the lights.

 

vertical-planter

Gardeners and non-gardeners alike will love this Polanter Vertical Planter. It”s casino online easy to use, can be hung anywhere and needs less watering than hanging baskets and flower pouches. Use for flowers, tomatoes, strawberries, herbs and more. 

wrought-iron-trellis

The Set of 2 Wrought Iron Garden Trellises displays your climbing plants in an especially attractive way. The freestanding trellises, topped with a decorative finial, add a dramatic accent to your yard. Encourage climbing roses, ivy or other flowers and shrubs to cover the heavy-gauge, rustic-finished bars. 

watering-stakes

Maintain your plants indoors and out with a Set of 3 Glass Watering Stakes. Fill these clear, decorative figurines with water, then stake them in any potted plant. The watering stake drips water into the dirt, so your plant is always perfectly watered. 

Wind-bell-tree

Twisted Garden Bell Tree enhances your garden with unique style and sound. It has 6 spiral wires adorned with multicolored acrylic beads and bells at the tips. When the wind blows, the bells create beautiful, harmonic sounds.

7 Container Garden Ideas We Think You’ll Like

Container-GardenGardens aren’t just for those who have big backyards or giant lots in suburban spaces. Perfect gardens can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes that don’t have to fit in the confines of a garden plot. At LTD, we’ve been looking at all the fun ways to give our gardens character. This week, we’re all about container gardens. Here are 7 container garden ideas we think you’ll like.

Old Tea Cups Before you send your old dishes off to the thrift store, think about how they might hold some herbs or flowers. If you have a teapot (these are very popular for container gardens) to match your cups, create a flower tea party!

coffee-can-gardenTin Cans Whether you have coffee cans or soup cans, clean them out, poke a few holes in the bottom for drainage, fill them with soil and seeds and you have a garden. They can be arranged and rearranged to suit your mood, painted to give your patio a pop of color or mounted to create a vertical garden. The Newly Woodwards hung their coffee can planters along the fence to create a welcoming yard — tin cans are about as versatile of a planting vessel as you can find!

Tool & Tackle For those who have a handyman and angler in their lives, old tool boxes and tackle boxes make spectacular container gardens. You really only need casino online to punch a few holes in the bottom of the box for drainage and you have a themed planter. The same idea can be used for those old themed lunch boxes you can’t bare to throw away but don’t have any use for.

soda-bottle-gardenPlastic Soda Bottles Plastic soda bottles can be hacked up into planters of all shapes. Cut off the top and you have a steady container to put anywhere. RiteMail cut out the middle of many bottles and strung them together to create a vertical garden that covers an outdoor wall. The same idea can be used for something on a smaller — but still impressive — scale.

Kitchen Garbage An old lemon peel or an empty egg shell make sweet planters if you plan well. Cut (or crack) the top off your lemon (or whatever piece of fruit or egg shell), scoop out the middle and prepare it for drainage and add the appropriate seeds (small plants and flowers) for your natural planters.

Furniture Not all furniture is in the right condition to become a container garden. They have to have some sort of base or foundation remaining to stand up straight — for instance, you may not be ready to get rid of that antique chair with a missing leg, but that doesn’t mean it should be made into a planter. But that chest of drawers that’s taking up space in the garage may be able to hold all of your favorite plants with plenty of drainage to keep them healthy.

croc-container-gardenShoes They may not be fit to run another marathon, or support you at your next formal dinner, but you can get more mileage out of any shoe in the garden! One family took rubber shoes, made them into planters and hung them on a fence to create an outdoor vertical garden. It’s one more reason to buy new shoes.

From ski boots to a dresser drawer, just about anything can be turned into a garden! As gardening season picks up, LTD has more ideas and products to give you the garden you want to take care of.

Spring Cleaning: 6 Things You Should Not Store in the Garage

garageThe countdown to spring is on — and that means we’re clearing out our houses of winter clutter. We’ll be scouring our homes from top to bottom and clearing out every nook and cranny. Inevitably, what we don’t throw out, we’ll want to store until fall and some of it will end up in the garage. But there are some things that don’t belong there. Here are 6 things you should not store in the garage.

Books, Paper Files, Photo Albums There are many reasons not to store anything made of paper in the garage. Unless you have climate control in your garage, the fluctuating temperatures and moisture levels can wilt your precious papers. In addition to environmental conditions, pests are another factor to protect your goods from. Termites and silverfish live on paper and they have easy access to the garage anytime the door is open and through cracks when the door is closed. When it comes to paper goods, if it’s worth keeping, it’s worth keeping indoors.

food-storageFood and Fridge Keeping an extra refrigerator stocked with food in the garage is only efficient in the fall and winter — during spring and summer when the temperatures are high, your refrigerator has to work hard to keep your perishables cold and preserved. If you do have a refrigerator in the garage, you might be storing canned goods as well which are also affected by extreme temperatures. To keep food efficiently safe, keep it in the kitchen.

Paint Storing Paint in the garage seems logical — that’s where you put lots of your home improvement tools and materials — but it’s not very good for your paint. Water-based paint can freeze and when it thaws, it’s useless. In heat, it deteriorates quickly. If you are certain you’ll use it again, it’s best stored in a spot in the house where you can control the temperature. If you don’t know if you’ll use it, it’s best to dispose of it by letting it dry out completely and then tossing it in the garbage.

Propane By definition, propane is a fire hazard — we use it to heat up our grills — so you want to be careful with where you store it. With a hot environment, there’s a risk that the relief valve can open and let out the propane unexpectedly making it dangerous if it’s in an enclosed space and, according to the National Fire Protection Agency, it’s against fire safety code. Propane tanks should always be stored outside.electronics

Electronics Dust, moisture and extreme temperatures don’t mix with electronics. Any one of those things can damage something with wires. If it’s something you want to keep, keep it inside. If you plan on donating it, take it to the donation center immediately.

Cloth or Fabric If you’re planning to donate clothes or extra bedding, try taking it to the thrift store sooner rather than later. Fabric likes to absorb moisture and retain it which makes it an excellent breeding ground for mildew. Pests also love to eat natural fibers which create unsightly holes in clothes. In wetter months or moist climates, keeping fabric in the garage for too long may make it useless once it gets to the donation center.

 

 

6 Ideas for Upcycling Your Old Sweaters

Less than a month until spring and we’re ready for the new season — even if the cold weather isn’t ready to go quite yet. Spring cleaning is underway and the first things to go — as soon as the weather permits — is that big bag of sweaters. But before you decide to give send them off to the thrift store, consider getting a little more use out of them in another form. Here are 6 ideas for upcycling your old sweaters.

sweater-blanketBlanket While your sweaters may be taking up too much closet space, you can never have too many blankets! Right now is the perfect time to get started on projects to get ready for next winter. Seamstress Erin has an excellent, detailed tutorial on how you can spin your old sweaters into a new throw!

sweater-bootsLeg Warmers Here’s an easy-peasy way to make use of that sweater you desperately want to replace: leg warmers! The Farmer’s Nest has a super-cute, super-easy, fashion-forward tutorial to take the sleeves of your sweater to add flair to your boots. With the weather ahead, you might be able to use these now for your rain boots! And, as a bonus, she has a quick how-to on using the rest of the sweater to make a throw pillow cover.

dgfev online casino size-medium” src=”http://blog.ltdcommodities.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/sweater-mittens-300×227.jpg” alt=”sweater-mittens” width=”300″ height=”227″ />Mittens Here’s a favorite for LTD — because we’re in Chicago, our winters are brutal and there are never enough mittens or gloves to keep up with the cold weather. The Renegade Seamstress gives stitch-by-stitch instructions on making super-snug mittens out of that favorite sweater you don’t want to let go of… but have to give up. Armed with this pattern, you will never run out of mittens!

sweater-bagShoulder Bag Get ready to start crossing off people on your Christmas list now! With an old sweater, you can make a stylish shoulder bag that costs little to nothing to make with an old sweater. Sweet Grace takes you through the steps to create a one-of-a-kind bag that so awesome you’ll want to keep it for yourself, but it’s a secret you’ll want to share. The trick to what makes this idea so fashionable is that it’s felted. That means, if you want to make this exact bag, the sweater you use has to be made of 100% wool (this one is alpaca wool).

sweater-heartsSweethearts Of course your upcycled sweaters don’t necessarily have to be wearable. Jess from If Only They Would Nap made her old sweaters into adorable felted hearts. She hangs them from a branch, but there are other ways you can use them: wedding shower or party favors, stocking or Easter basket stuffers, bunting for Valentine’s Day, or everyday decor.

sweater-slippersSlippers Here’s another idea to get started on for next winter: slippers! Kat at We Can Re-Do It put together an easy, step-by-step tutorial magically transform a striped sweater into adorable striped slippers. Comfy and cozy for cold nights — these will come in handy especially if next winter is anything like this winter or last winter!

Upcycling sweaters is just one of the things we’re thinking about here at LTD! Keep checking back on our blog and the website for more products and ideas to get your home projects started.

St. Patrick’s Day Crafts to Get You Through February

Winter is winding down and we’re warming up thinking about spring and all of the fun holidays that come with it. While we’re stuck indoors for a few more weeks, we’re all about crafting for spring! With St. Patrick’s Day and spring on their way, we’re thinking green… here are a few of the crafts we’re using for inspiration.

shamrock-braceletPlayful Pipe Cleaners When life hands you green pipe cleaners, make shamrocks! Lacy from Catholic Icing twists and shapes pipe cleaners to make adorable favors to hand out on St. Patrick’s Day. To take it a step further, turn the shamrocks into something wearable! Beinglds.blogspot.com has a sweet step-by-step on how to make shamrock bracelets with those pipe cleaners. With these awesome accessories, no one will get pinched on St. Patrick’s Day.

3-d-shamrock3-D Magic If you got a lot of practice cutting out hearts for Valentine’s Day, you’re primed for a fun and easy shamrock craft! Crafty Morning came up with a simple way for children to craft paper into a piece of 3-D art! All you need are green construction paper, glue, scissors and a paper mount for your masterpiece.

shamrock-menShamrock Whimsy If the idea of spring has you feeling a little whimsical, help your little ones change toilet paper rolls online casinos into little shamrock men! This will keep their hands and brains concentrated on carving shamrocks out of green construction paper to dress up the cardboard tubes for playful decor on St. Patrick’s day. Follow Sweet and Lovely Crafts detailed instructions for a craft-filled afternoon.

pot-o-gold-hatPot-O-Gold This is probably the most fun craft-turned-party-favor you’ll find for St. Patrick’s Day! It’s a leprechaun hat that doubles as a pot of gold! A few plastic food containers, paint, construction paper, and a bag of chocolate gold coins will make you look like a crafting hero and entertainer extraordinaire. For a tutorial, check out Paper Plate and Plane’s blog.

shamrock-votiveSt. Patrick”s Day Glow Extra jars or upcycled glass candle holders can be the object of a delightful St. Patrick’s Day craft! With craft glue and green tissue paper, your shamrocks will give your St. Patrick’s Day decor a warm glow! Mess for Less takes you through each step to make these simple yet classy crafts that children will love to make.

felt-shamrockPinch Protection For easy pinch-protection, a felt shamrock is the go-to embellishment for any outfit! This is another craft that will make use of your heart-making skills. Splendid Amy guides you through a few snips, a couple of stitches and the tiniest bit of hot glue to make the sweetest shamrock to put on a hat, a headband or to wear as a pin! This craft will have you counting down the days to March 17!

shamrock-cardShamrock Salutations For faraway Irish friends, send some shamrock salutations with homemade cards! A heart rubber stamp, glue, glitter, and paint turns a simple piece of paper into a St. Patrick’s Day keepsake for loved ones you want to reach out to on March 17. Child Made Tutorials lays out all of the instructions on how to make a heart into shamrock as well as shows you the sparkling finished product.

6 Things to Do to Winterize Your Home

483590383We’re starting to feel the chill of fall and it’s only going to get colder. It’s just a matter of time before it’s time to turn on the heat and pull out the wool sweaters and layer discount bedding to keep warm at night. But our homes need to transition, too. Here are 6 things you need to do to winterize your home to save energy and money.

Insulation It’s easy to forget how much money we can save in heating costs with insulation. You may already have insulation in your walls and attic, but you may be able to add more to reduce energy consumption.  Energy.gov has a guide on where your house should be insulated to minimize energy use. If you want to take an extra step toward lower heating bills, you can also use a thermal insulation blanket for your water heater to trap heat and prevent it from escaping too quickly during winter months.

Roof Do a spot check of the rooftop. Check for wear and damage and if there are any missing shingles. Around the chimney, make sure the flashing is intact and that it’s not a source for drafts or leaks.

Clean out gutters and downspouts so they’re free of leaves and debris; with clean gutters, rain and melting snow won’t get trapped on your roof and cause water damage. The downspouts should drain at least five feet from your home’s foundation to prevent water from leaking into your house.

winter-curtainsDoors and Windows Caulking and weather stripping your windows can cut down on energy costs significantly. Alternatively, indoor window insulating kits work very well for the winter to keep cold air out of your home. They require a lot less work than caulking and weather stripping, but plastic may not suit your home décor. Consider heavy drapes or curtains to mask the plastic for the winter months. Plastic insulation doesn’t work for exterior doors; weather stripping at the sides and bottoms of doors is your best bet.

Heating System Before it gets cold, turn on your heat to make sure it’s working properly. If it doesn’t kick on, you can try to figure out what the problem is on your own with a little bit of troubleshooting, but if you’re not confident with your home improvement skills, call a service technician to check it out before it gets cold and he gets busy. If it is working properly, make sure to change your air filter once a month and clean the heating vents.

Plumbing In cold weather climates, frozen pipes are a serious problem. When pipes freeze, they sometimes burst, causing costly damage. It’s not as much of a problem in the middle of the house where it’s generally warm in the winter, but in colder parts of your home like the basement and crawlspaces, insulate your pipes with foam insulation. For exterior pipes and faucets, drain the pipes and shut off the water supply. Automatic sprinkler systems require a professional to drain the underground pipes.

When you travel for the holidays and you turn off your heat, remember to also turn off your water. This might save you from coming home to expensive repairs.

fireplaceChimney and Fireplace Chimneys attract critters during the summer months; make sure squirrels and pigeons haven’t made a home there and it’s clear of any other obstructions. Make sure the flue opens and closes properly. When both of those things are done, make sure your chimney draws out smoke. You can do this by burning a few newspapers to create smoke. If your living room fills with smoke, there’s likely creosote buildup and you’ll need to bring in a professional chimney sweep to clean it out.

Winterizing is a big project. You can save time by having an energy audit done on your home. Though it costs a little bit extra, having a certified professional come in and figure all the leaks and areas you missed may save you a lot of money on energy costs in the long run.

LTD Commodities has everything you need to make your home cute and cozy this winter. From baby toys to quilts to keep you warm, shop LTD Commodities for the best products at the lowest prices.

National Punch Day: 4 Punch Recipes

 

Punch

Image source: Mel McC via flickr

September 20th is National Punch Day! Of course, we’re celebrating the fruity beverage and not what you do in the boxing ring.

Punch actually has an interesting history. According to Wikipedia, punch was brought to England from India in the 17th century. It was a drink made up of five ingredients – originally, they were alcohol, sugar, lemon, water and spices, but recipes have evolved since then and now it’s a generic term for a party drink served in a big bowl. Today, we have 4 recipes we call “punch.”

Non-Alcoholic Punch

Holiday Punch

  • 1 liter ginger ale
  • 1 liter seltzer water
  • 2 liters cranberry-apple juice
Punch

Image source: Stuart Webster via flickr

Combine ingredients over ice in a punch bowl, gently stir and serve. If you are concerned about ice watering down the punch, you can freeze half of the juice in ice cube trays and use those to supplement the ice.

Serves 8-10.

Orange Sherbet Punch

  • 1 liter cold orange juice
  • 1 liter ginger ale
  • ½ gallon orange sherbet

Combine juice and ginger ale and gently stir. Fill glasses with ice. Top each glass with a scoop of sherbet. Pour juice mixture over sherbet.

Adult Punch

Rum Punch

  • 3 cup dark rum
  • 2¼ cups lemon juice
  • 1½ cups grenadine
  • 1½ cups sparkling wine

Combine the first three ingredients and mix well. Gently stir in sparkling wine. Ladle over glasses filled with ice.

Serves 10-12.

Warm Holiday Spiced Punch

  • 2 liters cranberry apple juice
  • 1 can (6 oz) frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
  • 2 whole cinnamon sticks
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 2 cups bourbon

In a sauce pan over medium-high heat, combine first four ingredients and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in bourbon.  Serves 12.

Punch

Image source: Tymesynk via flickr

Cheese Pizza Day: 6 Tips for Homemade Pizza

cheese-pizzaMark your calendars: National Cheese Pizza Day is September 5th. There are few foods that can instantly put your smile on a face the way pizza does. It’s the food for all ages – young and old enjoy pizza in all shapes, temperatures and texture. Frozen, delivery or homemade, even when pizza is bad, it’s still pretty good. But, of course, when you’re making homemade pizza, you want it to be better than pretty good, so here are 6 tips for great homemade pizza.

Weigh it Baking is a science. All professional bakers measure ingredients by weight using a digital kitchen scale. Using a scale makes measuring more accurate and, in turn, more tasty. It’s not a must for making great pizza, but it certainly makes a difference. Besides, learning to measure opens up a new world of professional recipes you wouldn’t otherwise have access to.

Plan Ahead Just about every pizza dough recipe you find requires it to be refrigerated overnight. When you’ve mixed together the yeast, water, salt, and flour, kneaded it and let it rise, it’s very tempting to skip the refrigeration step – don’t! Pizza dough ferments while it’s in the refrigerator. One night of fermentation is great, but three nights makes it super. This is how they do it in New Haven. If you’ve ever had New Haven apizza (that’s not a typo – that’s what they call it in New Haven), you’ve had some of the best pizza in the world.

cheese-pizzaRoll it Out In movies and TV shows you see people spinning and tossing pizza dough out over their heads to make a perfectly circular pie; what you don’t see is that it takes years of practice to make it look that easy. Tossing pizza dough is really hard. Don’t be ashamed of using a pin. It’ll make nice circles and it won’t take you years to do it.

Keep it Loose Professionals and serious pizza makers toss the dough, top it and slide it into the oven with the help of a pizza peel (like a big paddle) and a lot of semolina or cornmeal to make it loose so it doesn’t stick to the peel. To do that without everything falling off into your oven in one big lump also takes a lot of practice. But you can skip the practice and the equipment (unless you’re aiming for authentic). Parchment paper or bake mat work just fine to replace the cornmeal and the pizza peel. Roll your dough out on the paper, top it, carry it to the oven and lower it onto the pizza stone. Easy-peasy, pizza-cheesy.

cheese-pizzaKeep it Flat The best homemade pizzas are made with pizza stones, but you don’t have to have one to make a pizza good. Flip over a cookie sheet and use the bottom for your flat surface. Make sure you preheat the oven with the pan inside (as you would with a pizza stone) so it’s hot when you slide your pizza in. Alternatively, you can assemble it all in a cast iron skillet and bake it just like Pizza Hut.

Get it Hot! Turn your oven up as high as the temperature can go – most ovens won’t go much higher than 500°F. The dough has to be baked all the way through without burning the cheese on top. The high temperature for a short amount of time (10-15 minutes) allows the pizza crust to get crispy and the cheese just hot enough to bubble and melt.

Pizza is hard to make – which is why there are so many alternatives to making it at home. But eating a pizza you created yourself is way more satisfying than anything you can buy. Happy Cheese Pizza Day!