These stately pedestals, made to fit over a chimney's flue, help prevent drafts and add a distinctive note to rooftops. Though pricey, they also make a grand spot to prop up plants. Choose antique or new pots -- find the latter at masonry yards -- and place a plastic pot liner inside each. (For fit, you may need to trim top of liner, then cut down the side and overlap edges.) We filled ours with purple cordylines, silver tradescantia, and rex begonia vine (Cissus discolor).
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Paperwhites are a favorite for the season -- until they grow too tall and flop to one side. To rein them in, root the bulbs in gravel with a solution of 1 part rubbing alcohol and 10 parts water. They'll stop growing at about two-thirds their usual height.
SourceMartha Stewart Living, December 2007
A refreshing spritz of fragrant water is a great way to keep cool in summer. To create sprays, simply fill mist bottles with water and a few strips of julienned cucumber or sprigs of lavender and mint. Label bottles (labels from chroniclebooks.com), and set them on a tray at your next backyard barbecue.
Bonus: Cucumber is known for its hydrating properties, and lavender and mint are reputed insect repellents.
SourceMartha Stewart Living, August 2009
Are your towels holding less water than they used to? It may be that your choice of washing detergent contains fabric softener, which has residues that cling to individual fibers, rendering towels less absorbent. The next time you clean a load, add a cup of distilled white vinegar to the rinse cycle; it will remove the residue and restore towels' soaking power. In the future, avoid detergents with fabric softener when washing towels.
SourceMartha Stewart Living, July 2006
Storing baking sheets, cutting boards, and sturdy platters upright on kitchen shelves frees space and keeps you from having to lift a heavy stack when you need only one item. Create dividers for them using tension curtain rods. Buy rods to fit the space, and position pairs of them at intervals. Twist to tighten.
SourceMartha Stewart Living, August 2006
Here's an easy way to give new life to old terra-cotta pots you have around the shed: Paint them to create coordinating stripes. Using masking tape in various widths, mark a simple striped design on the pot. In a well-ventilated area, spray the exterior and the rim (and any accompanying saucers) with weatherproof spray paint; let dry completely. Peel off tape.
SourceMartha Stewart Living, February 2008
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