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 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.

Last Minute St. Patrick’s Day Treats

Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day! If you don’t have everything together, don’t worry — there are shortcuts for everything, even a St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Since we like to keep things simple at LTD, easy St. Patrick’s Day treats is what we’re working on today. Here are 5 Last Minute St. Patrick’s Day Treats to try.

Rice-krispy-shamrockShamrock Rice Krispy Treats I Heart Naptime won us over with these Shamrock Rice Krispy Treats! It doesn’t get much easier than melting butter and marshmallows to mix with green food coloring. If you’re doing this last minute, the hardest part about it might be finding a shamrock-shaped cookie cutter.

green-velvet-cupcakesGreen Velvet Cupcakes If you made red velvet cupcakes for Valentine’s Day, making green velvet cupcakes for St. Patrick’s Day should be a snap! Christi at Love From the Oven takes you through the cupcakes, step-by-step. The only obstacle you might encounter is deciding if you want to make a cake, cupcakes or mini-cupcakes!

Shamrock-cupcakeShamrock Cupcakes How cute are these shamrock cupcakes? Leigh is behind Easy Cake Decorating – and she certainly makes these cupcakes look easy AND adorable. Apparently, all it takes to make these sweet treats is a bag of marbles!  And, of course, you need a steady hand, but they’ll impress anyone as long as they taste as great as they look.

leprechaun-barkLeprechaun Bark Paint Chips & Frosting really knows how to keep St. Patrick’s Day simple, delicious and clever! All you have to do is melt chocolate — it practically makes itself. The only thing hard about making leprechaun bark is waiting for it to cool before breaking off a piece to eat!

Mint-crinkle-cookiesMint Crinkle Cookies Jen’s Favorite Cookies for March is the mint crinkle — and boy are they easy! They don’t require any decorating to be cute — with just 6 ingredients and 20 minutes, you’ll be ready for St. Patrick’s Day with your new favorite green treats!

We have ideas and products for every holiday at LTD! Check back for Easter and Mother’s Day for more great items and inspiration to plan for your holiday.

Items We Adore: Easter Product Picks

Hippity hoppity Easter’s on it’s way! The snow is almost melted and we’re so excited for the new season and all of the holidays that come with it! Easter is just a few weeks away and we’ve got our catalogs open to our favorite items for the celebration. Here are this week’s Items We Adore: Easter Product Picks.

bunny-stakes

Welcome spring with cheerful Easter Garden Decor. Line a path with the Set of 3 Solar Lighted Bunny Stakes. Each bunny glows with white light for up to 8 hours on a full charge.

easter-necklaces

Any little girl will look absolutely adorable wearing this Bunny Necklace. The bunny pendant is set with a colored gemstone and dangles from a silvertone cable link chain with a spring ring closure. Comes in a fuzzy bunny gift box that she can use for storing it.

easter-door-bunny

Celebrate the Easter season with a Lighted Geo Mesh Bunny or Chick. It features 15 white lights intertwined in the mesh that makes up its glittered body.

Easter-easy-bulbs

Fill your garden with 50-Pack Easy-to-Grow Bulbs for an assortment of beautiful flowers that will bloom year after year. Each pack includes 50 easy-to-plant perennial bulbs.

easter-books

Kids can pet the soft furs and skins of adorable animals in a Set of 2 Touch & Feel Children’s Books. Your child will enjoy the brightly illustrated pages, delightful stories and 7 interactive touch and feel panels of each hardcover boardbook.

Dessert for Any Holiday: Key Lime Pie

Key-Lime-PieSaturday is March 14 — to math nerds, this is known as Pi Day (as in 3.14 — the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter). And, as you may know, St. Patrick’s Day is coming up on March 17th. Here at LTD, we wanted to do something to celebrate both holidays (we love holidays here!). What we came up with is also one of our favorite desserts — Key lime pie. Though it’s not pi, it is a perfect circle and it’s not a traditional Irish dessert (surprisingly, there aren’t very many), it’s green-ish. The one thing we can definitely claim is that it’s delicious.

There are many ways to make a key lime pie. Everyone seems to have an idea on how it should be done, so there’s not really a wrong way to make it, but there are a few things it has to include: a graham cracker crust, lime juice, egg yolks, and sweetened condensed milk. As the name suggests, it originated in Key West, Florida and it’s the official dessert of the state of Florida. As the legend has it, Florida’s first millionaire, William Curry, had a cook who created the Key lime pie. Her name was Aunt Sally, but some people believe she adapted it from what fishermen made on their boats. This was in the early 20th century when they didn’t have refrigeration on boats so they relied on canned milk (sweetened condensed milk) and the egg yolks didn’t require cooking (the acid in the lime juice cooks the eggs, but most people don’t feel safe doing that now). And, of course, they’re made with Key limes which are no longer plentiful in Florida — the ones we get at the store are usually grown in Mexico (they are a bit more tart than our regular limes and much, much smaller, but regular limes are a reasonable substitute — plus, they’re easier to work with than Key limes and they’re less expensive).The idea that fishermen made it on board a vessel makes perfect sense — but we’re not here to make sense, we’re here to make Key lime pie!

Key Lime Pie

Crust:

  • 12 graham crackers (one regular packet plus three more)
  • 6 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar

Filling:

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons lime zest (optional)
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2/3 cup Key lime juice (regular lime juice is fine — freshly squeezed is best)

Preheat oven to 350℉.

Key-Lime-Pie

To make the crust, crush the graham crackers into a powder. You can do this by pulsing them in a food processor or by putting them in a sealable plastic bag and hammering them with a wooden mallet. Mix the crumbs with the sugar. Add the melted butter and mix it with your hands until you have what looks and feels like wet sand. In a 9” pie plate, press the mixture into the bottom and along the sides. Use a measuring cup to press it tightly and make it dense so it doesn’t crumble. You don’t have to make a lip around the edges — it will fall away when you serve it — but it doesn’t hurt to have it there. Bake for 7 minutes. Set aside and let cool.

Key-Lime-Pie

 

Place the egg yolks and lime zest in a bowl fitted to a stand mixer. Using the whip attachment, mix the ingredients on high until the yolks are creamy — 4 or 5 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium and add the condensed milk and sour cream and continue mixing until everything is well-combined — occasionally scraping down the sides. Reduce the speed to low and slowly add the lime juice. When it’s combined, pour the mixture into the cooled graham cracker crust. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes and the pie is set — the top should be smooth with no cracks. Let cool completely on a wire rack. After about an hour, refrigerate (it’s best served cold). It’s good by itself, but a dollop of whipped cream doesn’t hurt!

 

Alternatively, you can use this recipe for mini Key lime pies — this can be made into two 4” pies or if you want to go tiny, you can use a mini muffin tin (which is great for parties!)

Whether you’re celebrating St. Patrick’s Day or honoring Pi Day, LTD Commodities has ideas and products to make your holiday special!

 

Key-Lime-Pie

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.

 

 

Items We Adore: St. Patrick’s Day Product Picks

March is shaping up to fit the old saying “In like a lion, out like a lamb.” Of course we don’t know how the end of the month will be yet, but we can plan for the middle regardless of the weather. St. Patrick’s Day can help us survive the snow (or at least forget about it for a day) — and this week, we’re getting ready for it with our favorite holiday products. Here are this week’s Items We Adore: St. Patrick’s Day Product Picks:

Garden-Gnome

Gnome with Interchangeable Holiday Hats wears a festive green jacket and carries a lantern. Display him bald with a frog on his head, add a leprechaun hat for St. Patrick’s Day or whichever season you’re celebrating!

Spring-Florals-Swag

Give your guests an Irish welcome with Spring Floral Swag. It features colorful blossoms and foliage cascading down from a themed image. For use indoors or on a front door protected by a storm door.

Irish-Cooking-Recipe-Book

Indulge in delicious meals from the Emerald Isle with the Irish Cooking Recipe Book. It features over 75 sensational recipes for everyday family meals and special occasions. Learn how to cook classic dishes, tasty pub fare, hearty breakfasts, main-dish soups, homemade breads and more. You’ll find plenty of recipes to help you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day or any day.

Inspirational-Irish-Bracelet

The Inspirational Irish Bracelet is a thoughtful gift of friendship she can wear year ’round. Various green, white, pearl, clear and silver beads make up the band with a dangling Celtic knot heart charm. Three large beads read “Friendship”, “Laughter” and “Love.” The gift box has a card inscribed with a heartfelt poem.

Personalized-Irish-Plaques

The Personalized Irish Plaque proudly puts your heritage on display. This charming wall decor features fun and traditional sentiments along with your family name. The wooden plaque is adorned with Celtic symbols, shamrocks and vibrant shades of green. Choices of two Irish Pub Signs, Irish Blessings, or Irish Family Wishes

St. Patrick’s Day Scavenger Hunt

ShamrockCelebrating St. Patrick’s Day is fairly simple: you eat corned beef and cabbage and drink plenty of Guinness. But putting together something for the kids takes a little more creativity. This year, in additions to treats, our big idea for little ones is a St. Patrick’s Day scavenger hunt! Here are a few items we think would be fun for kids to find for the holiday to honor Irish heritage.

For this scavenger hunt, the obvious goal is to find the leprechaun’s pot of gold. Because leprechauns are sneaky little creatures, they’re excellent at hiding their treasures. The clues they leave behind will be clever so your kids will have to think like leprechauns to find their riches.

Shamrocks Of course you don’t have to use real shamrocks for this — you can cut them out of green paper or craft something subtle to throw your kids off. If you have a shamrock hole punch, you can make shamrock paper trail or use it to punch tiny shamrocks out of kale to make them seem authentic.

Leprechaun Pipe Leprechauns always have a pipe hanging out of their mouths. Look for toy bubble pipes at the dollar store and hide it so it looks like your little leprechaun left it behind. It works as a clue and a fun prize!

HarpIrish Harps and Tin Whistles Leprechauns are talented musicians — they love to play tin whistles and Irish harps. You can craft simple harps or check your craft store for miniatures. You can also check for miniature tin whistles, but a recorder would work, too — they’re very inexpensive and they make a super starter-instrument.

Tiny Shoes and Tiny Hammers Leprechauns are cobblers by trade and they wear out their shoes by dancing — tiny shoes should definitely be on your scavenger hunt list. You might want to scour your kids’ doll collection for these! They shouldn’t be too hard to find, but tiny hammers might. Use a kitchen mallet or a wooden mallet if you’re short on tiny hammers — a regular hammer would also work if you feel OK about your kids handling adult tools.

Pot of Gold A pot of gold is the obvious choice for the big prize. You can hide chocolate gold coins separately from the pot of gold — leprechauns are known to hide bits of their gold scattered about the countryside. Leading to the pot of gold, you can try hiding Skittles for clues — drop them like bread crumbs to lead them to the pot of gold — it’s about as close as you can get to finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

Chocolate-Gold-CoinLastly, no scavenger hunt is fun without good riddles to try to piece together to find your next clue. Not all of us are clever enough to come up with multiple riddles for one game. Luckily, the internet provides us with unlimited resources for creating poems with just a few clicks. To write your clues, use a riddle generator. But since this is a St. Patrick’s Day scavenger hunt, you might try making your clues into Limericks as they, allegedly, originated in Limerick, Ireland. There is also a Limerick generator to help you with that.


St. Patrick’s Day isn’t all about boiled vegetables and beer — it can be fun for the whole family! LTD Commodities has ideas and products for entertaining all ages and all holidays. Keep checking back for inspiration for every season.

St. Patrick’s Day: Fun Facts About Leprechauns

leprechaunIt’s finally March — the snow hasn’t melted yet but, luckily, we still have St. Patrick’s Day to distract us until the sun starts to shine. It’s a holiday with religious roots but it’s also adopted quirky symbols to help celebrate the day — particularly leprechauns. They’re mythical creatures with peculiar behaviors. Here are 5 fun facts about leprechauns.

Cobblers What you may know about leprechauns is that they’re cobblers (not the kind of cobblers you eat!) — they make shoes by trade. This is why you can track them by the sound of their tiny hammers — they’re always tapping away to put together shoes. What you may not know is that they make shoes because they are unstoppable dancers and they wear out their shoes so quickly making shoes themselves was the obvious solution to being shoeless. They’re also very good musicians — they have a talent for tickling the strings of a celtic harp, blowing a tin whistle or playing a fiddle.

leprechaunCousins Leprechauns are not known to be charming — they’re moody little creatures, but it’s nothing compared to their cousins, the lurichauns. Lurichauns are similar in stature, but instead of making shoes, they make trouble. They’re heavy drinkers and hideout in wine cellars — if a wine cellar owner has a lurichuan in his cellar, he can expect many messes and misfortune.

Granting Wishes According to legend, leprechauns squirrel away they’re boot bucks scattered across the Irish countryside or in little pots at the end of rainbows. It is believed that if a human catches a leprechaun he’ll get the leprechaun’s pot of gold or three wishes in exchange for the leprechaun’s freedom — but leprechauns are tricksters and they almost always outsmart their captors. In fact, leprechauns are where the term “Luck of the Irish “ comes from. Folklore holds the story of an Irishman caught a leprechaun who granted him three wishes. For the first two wished, he asked to be the richest man on a tropical island. When he arrived, the island was deserted and he had to use his remaining wish to get back to Ireland. Seems there’s nothing lucky about the luck of the Irish. 

Lady Leprechauns There are no female leprechauns. There are two possible explanations for this: 1) Leprechauns are part of the fairy kingdom. When a child is born as a girl, it is considered a fairy; boys are leprechauns. 2) According to The History of Fairies by Carolyn White, they are possibly the male offspring of fairies considered to be repulsive.leprechaun

Protected by Law According to IrishCentral.com leprechauns are considered endangered species and is now protected under the European Habitats Directive. Leprechauns are one of the draws to the community tourists who contribute to the economy. Since 2011, the law has shielded the flora, fauna and heritage of the leprechauns from those who might monkey with their habitat.

Whether leprechauns exist or not is important on St. Patrick’s Day, but celebrating the mystical tricksters is part of the fun of March. Set a trap, come up with your three wishes and prepare to be outsmarted!

 

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.