• 10 Questions and Answers about Terracotta

    Updated: Tue, Oct 14, 2014

    Terracotta is gorgeous, earthy, and green. A richly colored ceramic, it is used for many diverse purposes in house and home, including plumbing pipes; bricks and pavers; floor, roofing, and counter tiles; dishes; sculptures; planters; and vases. Learn more about this amazing building and decorative material through our answers to 10 frequently asked questions. 1. What does the word "terracotta" mean? Terracotta is Italian for "cooked earth." 2. What's the difference between terracotta and ceramic? The term ceramic refers to a general grouping of inorganic, non-metallic solids that have been shaped (usually by hand rather than on a potter's wheel), heated by firing in a kiln, and then cooled.

  • Save Money with These Subs for Expensive Ingredients

    Updated: Mon, Oct 13, 2014

    Reducing your weekly grocery bill is not simply a matter of spending less. You also need to cook smart to get the most for your money while producing meals the whole family will enjoy. When ingredient prices are higher than the New York City roof of One World Trade Center (tallest building in the US), sub in cheaper alternatives and save dough without sacrificing deliciousness. General Principles of Substitution Substitute ingredients with similar properties and flavor profiles. (For example, dry cottage cheese makes an acceptable replacement for ricotta; both are semi-solid and mildly cheesy tasting.) This is especially important when certain chemical reactions are necessary to make your cake or cookies rise.

  • 10 Top To-Dos for Fall Maintenance

    Updated: Mon, Oct 13, 2014

    1. Take Care of Your Furnace. If you live in a chilly place like Minneapolis, an HVAC system that delivers optimal performance is a wintertime must. Schedule a professional maintenance visit for thorough inspection of switches, burners, and safety controls; the motor and blower need to be both checked and cleaned by a skilled technician. A task you can -- and should -- do yourself is changing the air filters every 1-3 months. 2. Install a Carbon Monoxide Detector. A carbon monoxide detector can be a lifesaver when you operate equipment powered by an internal combustion engine -- a generator, for example -- or fuel-burning appliance -- a furnace, range, water heater, or space heater. Fuels that produce CO when burnt include natural

  • Green Winter Clothes: Stay Warm and Save the Planet

    Updated: Sun, Oct 12, 2014

    Wearing synthetic fabrics is a no-no if you're committed to saving the planet -- or even just wishy-washy about it. Most synthetics, for example polyester and acrylic, are based on petroleum, often with other goodies like natural gas or coal mixed in. Not only does the manufacture of these "miracle fibers" leave a great big ugly carbon footprint, they tend to off-gas dangerous substances (such as carcinogenic PFCs), affecting you on a very personal and immediate level. Even natural fabrics may be made in a way that exploits human beings, animals, or the earth itself. So when you shop for winter duds, look for natural fibers that are sustainable, fair trade, and cruelty-free, to make sure that you're not staying cozy at anyone else's expe

  • Highs, Lows and In-Betweens: a USA Weather Quiz

    Updated: Tue, Oct 7, 2014

    The United States is a land of great geographic diversity. When you travel around the country, you will encounter an amazing variety of terrain, including mountains and plains, lakes and deserts, as well as temperatures which run the gamut from scorching hot to bitingly cold. Test your knowledge of America's climate, with this multiple-choice quiz covering weather-related highs, lows, and in-betweens. 1. Although Florida's nickname is "The Sunshine State," the sunniest municipality in the USA is actually located in the state of: A) Arizona B) California C) Nevada D) New Mexico CORRECT ANSWER: A). Yuma AZ is the record holder for sunniest city, with 90 percent of the maximum possible sunshine.

  • Wine Racks: the Perfect "Two-Way" Repurpose

    Updated: Sun, Oct 5, 2014

    Repurposing has been gathering steam over the past few years as a fun and inexpensive way to reduce our landfills and help save the planet. Lately we've started seeing lots of examples of a popular "two-way" repurpose. Wine racks are transformed into household accessories such as towel hangers or vertical gardening stands, while anything from an old dresser found by the roadside to an antique cask can be upcycled as a uniquely inventive wine rack. Quirky Repurposes for Vintage Wine Racks After hunting down vintage wine racks in thrift shops, at garage sales, or even abandoned next to garbage bins, creative and quirky repurposers use their finds to craft all kinds of pretty, practical storage.

  • 10 Down-to-Earth Ways to Live Healthier Today

    Updated: Sun, Oct 5, 2014

    Do what you can, when you can, is an excellent motto for improving your health habits, especially as you get older.For example, if you've lived a sedentary lifestyle for years, suddenly beginning a rigorous exercise routine is not realistic and could even be dangerous. Instead, make smaller changes that you'll be able to stick with. Here are ten easy-to-implement suggestions that will get you started … today! 1. Eat and drink moderately. Ambitious fantasies of going on a restrictive diet often end in failure, which only makes you feel worse about yourself. Set yourself up for success with down-to-earth plans -- for instance, taking only a single helping at supper or cutting down to two cups of coffee a day instead of three.

  • Adopting a Dog is the Ultimate Repurpose

    Updated: Tue, Sep 30, 2014

    How often do you get to make a difference to the world and save a life? Adopting a homeless dog is the perfect opportunity -- you don't even have to put on your Superman cape to be a hero. The Humane Society reports that a shocking 2.7 million unwanted dogs and cats in good health are euthanized in the US every year. That number can be reduced by good-hearted people like you. Even if you adopt from a shelter with a no-kill policy, your dog will be infinitely happier as the center of attention in a loving home. Spiritual Benefits Animal adoption is the ultimate repurpose. You already know how important reusing and repurposing material objects is in order to prevent waste and keep our world clean and healthy.

  • Practical Ways to Green Your Home Sewing Hobby

    Updated: Sun, Sep 28, 2014

    Sewing is a fun and practical hobby that helps aficionados save money while getting exactly the fashion look that they want. If you are a "sewist," as they say, you can bring together both your love of sewing and your concern for the state of the planet when you try out these tips and tricks for greening your favorite hobby. 3 Rs of Sewing When you know how to sew, you can take the basic 3 Rs of green living -- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle -- into a whole new dimension as you Repair, Refit and Revitalize. The first green principle of sewing, repairing (aka mending), is a time-honored skill that keeps your beloved, still-wearable clothes in active use via patching, strategic placement of embroidery, or simply re-sewing a torn seam.

  • Eco-Friendly Ideas for Awesome Halloween Crafts

    Updated: Thu, Sep 25, 2014

    Just like when watching a horror movie has you glued to the edge of your seat waiting for the next scream-worthy moment, the anticipation of a happily haunted evening is a big part of the Halloween fun. If you really want to stir up the holiday spirit, get crafty and try your hand at some easy DIY to decorate your home, outside and in. (The projects we suggest are both kid- and eco-friendly, to boot.) These Halloween crafts all use commonly available materials that you may well already have around your haunted house. Pumpkins When pumpkins are dressed up in no-carve styles, you can repurpose their guts once Halloween is done. (Keep your jack-o-lanterns inside during the day if you live in Florida where it’s still hot; o

  • Rent, Don’t Own, to Simplify Your Life

    Updated: Tue, Sep 23, 2014

    "The more you have the more you want" may be a truism but like most truisms, this simple sentence contains a grain of … well … truth. America has long been known as a consumer society, where the hallmark of an individual's status has tended to be how much they own and what they are worth in financial terms. Since the economic downturn early in this century, though, people have been learning to tighten their belts and make do with less. Part of that process involves giving up traditional American consumerism and instead of buying more and more consumer goods, renting what they need when they need it. Would that work for you? What You Can Rent Nowadays you can temporarily “own” a huge assortment of mat

  • 11 Unusual Uses for an Old Cardboard Box

    Updated: Sun, Sep 21, 2014

    Somehow, you can't bring yourself to recycle them, or worse yet, to throw them away. They'll come in so handy some day if you decide to move to the other side of the state or put together a collection of vintage vinyl records. There's something about cardboard boxes, from tiny jewelry cases to super-sized appliance containers, that awakens the inner hoarder in almost everyone. Don't just hang on to your old cartons though ... use them! Here are 11 fun and practical ways to repurpose a cardboard box. 1. Surprise Package. This is an oldie but goodie. If you and your loved ones adore surprises, package a present inside a cardboard box in order to conceal its size and shape.