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.

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 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 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.

Football Season: 4 Man Cave Essentials

mancaveEveryone needs a place to call their own, and that includes the man of the house. The man cave creates a space where he can relax and do as he pleases without fear of interference from the ladies. It is a place where he can enjoy an adult beverage, yell at the TV, play games, and hang out with the guys. It can be the basement, attic, a rehabilitated office, or a shed. A man cave does not need to be fancy, but here are a few things a fully functional “mantuary” needs. Here are 4 man cave essentials.

mancaveSeating The main point of a man cave is to create a comfortable place to relax. That requires plenty of seating. No man cave is complete without at least one recliner. Nothing makes a guy feel like the master of his domain like putting his feet up. Take the recliner one step further with a reclining sofa or sectional that provides seating for visitors. If your man cave has a bar, stools are mandatory. Beanbag chairs are classics, and you can opt for sofa-sized ones or special designs that convert to guest beds.

Refrigeration Since no one wants to constantly run back and forth to the kitchen for drinks and snacks, the man cave needs a place to keep them chilled. It can be as simple as an old refrigerator or mini fridge appropriated for the room. If beer is your beverage of choice, try a fridge with a built-in tap . There even are appliances specifically designed to hold and cool a keg, as well as dispense beer. DIY kits help you convert a fridge to a drink dispenser. Keep your drinks and food even closer at hand with a coffee table with a built-in cooler.

Entertainment The crown jewel of any man cave is its entertainment system. Often, the entire point of establishing a man cave is to have a place to host game day parties or to watch favorite movies and TV shows. A flat screen TV, as large as you can afford and the room can hold, and a DVD player are absolute musts. Include a game console for days when nothing is on. Don’t forget tables and equipment for other pastimes, like pool, foosball, darts, and poker.

mancaveDécor The thing that really sets the man cave apart from the rest of the house is its décor. It is a spot where a man can escape from the pastels, floral prints, and matching furniture that fills most homes. A sign on or near the door should make it clear visitors are entering a male sanctuary. Look for one with the logo of your favorite team, or get a personalized one with your name. Beer-themed decorations are very popular, but do not limit yourself to that. Show off your sports memorabilia, or transform the space into a tribute to your favorite pop culture icons. Do not forget posters from your favorite movie. A man cave with an attached bathroom is the ultimate in luxury. If you are so blessed, make sure to extend the décor into the bath.

 

Guide to Upcycling Wooden Pallets

Wooden-PalletWooden pallets: they’re everywhere, they’re free (or almost free) and they’re versatile. Inside and outside they can be converted into inspiring and functional pieces of furniture. Here is a brief guide to upcycling wooden pallets .

Before You Get Started Wooden pallets are used for shipping; they keep items secure during long distance transit as well as in warehouses when goods are being moved by forklifts. They’re very sturdy but discarded fairly quickly after use – making them the perfect material for upcycling. But, because they’re cheap, discarded materials, working with them comes with pitfalls.

Selection Because they’ve traveled across the country and maybe an ocean or two, pallets have likely been exposed to chemicals and bacteria. When you’re choosing palates from a pile, use your instincts. Don’t take anything home that looks or smells terrible – it’s probably not safe. Try to stick with the clean ones and look for stamps and markings to tell you if it’s safe to use.

Preparation Scrub down the pallets with a strong disinfectant and soapy water to get rid of any bacteria lurking in the wood. Rinse it well. Bacteria grow in moist spots, so make sure it’s completely dry before starting your project.

Dismantle They can be tough to take apart, but if you’re willing to work with shorter pieces of wood, you can saw off the joints connected by nails and avoid the hassle of nail removal.

Wooden-PalletOutside Projects

Patio Furniture Pallets are sturdy enough to stand up to most of the elements which make them ideal for patio furniture. There’s no limit on the size of outdoor seating. It can be as small as a single-seat bench or big enough to accommodate five people. Construction is minimal and requires few tools. The most thought you’ll put into it is for the color of the cushions to finish off the furniture.

Gardens Pallets are a practical material for getting creative with gardens. If you just want a simple raised bed, it only takes about three pallets to put one together. With even less work and fewer pallets, you can turn a wall into garden; all you need is your garden supplies and finishing materials (landscape fabric, staple gun, staples, and sand paper) for the pallet.

Inside Projects

Beds If you’re familiar and comfortable with platform beds, wooden pallets can be collected and fitted to make a bed in just about any size and shape you need. A drill and brackets are about as complicated as the accessories get to put together a durable bed frame.

Shelves Wooden pallets as shelves give a living room or bedroom a rustic quality when the texture is left untouched. But pallet wood is, generally, good quality – some are made with cherry wood or maple – so when the wood is sanded and finished, the product can be elegant.

Wooden-PalletTables Pallets can be transformed into tables of different sizes – an end table, a coffee table and even a dining room table. Because you’re making it yourself, you can tailor the table for your needs – add compartments or drawers to make magazine storage or shelves to put books.

If you’ve never thought about upcycling pallets before, you will now. Even the least crafty people can turn out an original furniture design with the wooden pallet.  As your ideas about what you can make with them start to develop in your head, you’ll start noticing how easy they are to find and once you get started, you’ll find they’re easy to work with, too.

Who We Are Following

The Internet is exploding with new slants and twists to simplify and enhance our lives. We’re on Pinterest, Twitter and the blogosphere, watching for what’s trending, what’s useful and what we think you might like. Here’s our list of who we are following:

theidearoomAt  theidearoom.com, Amy, as a science teacher turned-DIYer-blogger-crafter, shares fun projects to inspire even the craftiest of people. She has tips on everything from dealing with a child’s temper tantrum to creating a DIY vertical flower bed. For June, our favorite was her 30 day photo challenge post. Inspiring indeed.

Every-MileEverymilesamemory.com chronicles Pat and Cindy Bonish’s travels in their RV. They’ve been on the road for the last two or so years, living, loving and taking pictures of all the places they’ve seen around this beautiful country of ours. Their story is inspiring and their pictures are enviable. Their latest adventure was to Cedar Key, Florida; check it out and you won’t be able to trade in your house keys for RV keys fast enough.

Pinterest

PinterestJen Simpson  pins and pinspires. Her boards vary – she throws a “pet-shaming” board in between her breakfast recipe and home improvement boards and you might even find a board dedicated solely to Valentine’s Day wallpaper. However unpredictable her pinning ideas are, the inspiration is always consistent.

Mandy Naranjo is full of tricks and tips to share and we’re so glad she shares them with us on Pinterest. She’s not short on ideas for what to do with a box full of buttons or what teens can do with their extra energy. DIY and crafts are what on Mandy’s mind and, you know, great minds think alike.

TwitterTwitter

@craftaholicanon If you have a DIY or craft question, @craftaholicanon will answer it. Really. Just tweet her – she’s standing by with a response or she’ll find someone who can give you the answer. In addition to answers, she also offers craft tutorials, creative ideas for the family and holidays.

@allthingsthrift tweets from every angle to keep things affordable whether you’re making holiday decorations yourself or you need a new blueberry recipe. Hair tutorials, DIY day bed pallet projects and a July 4th wreath are all on @allthingsthrift’s Twitter feed this month.

Pinners, tweeters and bloggers – there are a lot out there with great ideas; these are just a few we think are worth following.

Items We Adore: LTD Product Picks for the Week

Summer is a wonderful time to give your home a new look. Whether you fill your weekends with DIY projects or just want to add a little color to a room, improving your space has never been simpler. Start out with LTD’s Product Picks for the Week, and you will be done in no time!

metal-wall-decor-with-mirrors

Hang this Metal Wall Decor with Mirrors vertically or horizontally to make a bold statement in any room.

self-adhesive-window-privacy-film

Self-Adhesive Window Privacy Film gives you seclusion and still allows light to shine through.

3-pc-figurine-sets

The slim characters of these 3-Pc. Figurine Sets create a charming grouping on a shelf or table.

sets-of-2-electric-or-gas-burner-covers

A Set of 2 Electric or Gas Burner Covers provides additional counter space in a busy kitchen.

moose-lodge-comforter-set

Create a rustic feel fit for a log cabin in the woods with this Moose Lodge Comforter Set.

 

 

 

 

5 Simple Ideas to Give Your Room a New Look

living-roomRedecorating can be a lot of work and a lot of money but every room could use a refresher once in a while. Here are 5 simple ideas to give your room a new look without all the expense and effort of renovating.

Contrast Treat trim and baseboards as you would treat wall art or a photograph. Curate it. Give it color in contrast to the walls. Making the trim stand out mixes up the mundane and gives the room an unexpected visual pop.

Angle Pick up your furniture and move it. It doesn’t have to be completely re-arranged, a simple slide counterclockwise to change the angle of the room refreshes a tired arrangement without tearing down a wall or even dragging out your tool box.

living-room2Rotate Change up your accessories. Rotate different colored throw pillows and blankets into the room to create a different mood. Do this seasonally to brighten the room, to tone it down or when you get bored the room’s landscape.

Redistribute Go through your room and collect all your knick knacks, curios and baubles. When all of your surfaces are free of mementos, redistribute them. Just mixing up the little things brings a welcome shine to a dull room.

living-room3Nature Add a houseplant or two to the room. Plants add color and life to a room as well as filter the air we breathe. The room doesn’t even have to have much light; some plants prefer indirect sunlight and thrive in dim spots. Even if you don’t think you can care for a plant, there are many plants that require minimal maintenance.

Reviving a room doesn’t have to be a lot of work or cost a lot. Sometimes it only takes a few adjustments to bring cheer back to a room.

Ways to Use Chalkboard Paint

CAhalkboard-paint-lemonThe chalkboard has given way to the dry erase board in the classroom and now the dry erase board is being replaced by the chalkboard in the home. While the chalkboard is a learning tool quickly fading in schools now, our kids don’t have to miss out on what was a staple in the classroom for more than two centuries.  The chalkboard is a piece of childhood nostalgia we can easily bring into our homes to add character and practicality. Here are some ways to use chalkboard paint in your home for panache and purpose.

Eating & Organizing

In the kitchen, chalkboard paint doesn’t have to be more than delightful for a backsplash. It’s difficult to use the backsplash for writing notes or drawing and erasing, but chalkboard paint is a clever addition to an otherwise unnoticeable part of the kitchen.

But on the kitchen wall or even the refrigerator, it turns fun into functional with grocery lists.
Notes are well received on the kitchen wall – they can’t be missed when an entire wall is the message board.

And the refrigerator no longer has to be a vehicle for magnets; with chalkboard paint, kitchen art changes with the mood of the cook or whoever might have the chalk in hand.

Cabinet organization is chic for labeling jars of flour, rice and even spices. With the changeable nature of chalkboard paint, no container is a permanent home for whatever grain or sugar you need to store.

At the table, it adds personalized charm that’s recyclable.  Whether you want to do a kids’ birthday party or you’re having an elegant dinner party, chalkboard paint for reusable place cards or temporary placemats is a whole category of inspiration.

ChAlkboard-paint

Image Source: Nicole via Flickr

Living & Creating

In the living room, it can take the headache out of having a creative toddler – artwork is no longer unwanted on the wall. Let the creativity flow – chalkboard paint on a living room wall is a never-ending canvas for budding young artists.

And why stop at the wall when the coffee table is begging for a daily makeover?

Chalkboard paint adds character in places you didn’t know could be interesting.

Up the staircase is a new place for inspirational messages or notes that change with the seasons.

Under the staircase is a whole new corner to create style and complexity to a lifeless wall.

chalkboard-table

Image Source: Carissa Bonham via Flickr

Best of all, chalkboard paint turns an ugly piece of furniture into an object of whimsy… with a sprinkle of utility. Upcycle a dresser from a flea market, covering it with paint makes it into an organizational learning tool for your kids or you can use chalk to remind yourself where everything goes.

Chalkboard paint won’t solve all your decorating doubts, but it’s a DIY solution to many problem plans. Practically any surface or piece of furniture can inspire a new way to use chalkboard paint.