9 ways to go green for St. Patrick’s Day

9 ways to go green for St. Patrick's Day

Americans love to celebrate holidays from other countries -- especially those of countries that are the ancestral homes of many U.S. citizens. St. Patrick's Day may the top of the list of such beloved celebrations. But you don't have to have a grandmother from the Emerald Isle to appreciate this festive holiday. Give your home an Irish touch with these decorating tips: 1. Go green in florals. Sometimes the best greenery is simply that -- … [Read more...]

Decorate your home for Chinese New Year

Decorate your home for Chinese New Year

By Kathryn Weber Each year, after the Jan. 1 Western, or solar New Year, the Chinese celebrate the lunar New Year. This observance can take place any time from mid-January to mid-February, depending on the arrival of a new moon. Many American cities now host elaborate Chinese New Year celebrations, but you can observe Chinese New Year at home by adopting some of the customs and rituals thought to bring luck and good fortune. At the very … [Read more...]

Avoid bringing bed bugs home from vacation

Avoid bringing bed bugs home from vacation

By Kathryn Weber A chance to relax and escape the everyday demands of work and home is a real reward, but today's vacations bring with an extra worry besides airline baggage fees: bed bugs. Once rarely seen, these blood-sucking creatures are appearing with a vengeance at the very places we go to escape -- hotels and vacation rentals. But worse than finding bed bugs on vacation is bringing them home. DO SOME RESEARCH Before … [Read more...]

Have yourself a merry little Christmas tree

christmas tree

By Kathryn Weber Years ago, it was always the eccentric aunt who bought a small, spindly Christmas tree. Today, though, small trees have begun to play a bigger role in holiday decorating. Whether it's a live pine or a rosemary bush festooned with ornaments, mini trees can be big on style and presence. A large Christmas tree is a pretty standard element in holiday decorating. But if you've seen all the wonderful small trees now available -- … [Read more...]

Power to the pumpkin


By Kathryn Weber Fall marks a time when corner lots, farm markets and grocery store parking lots are stacked with pumpkins for Halloween and Thanksgiving. They're  abundant in a wide range of colors, sizes and shapes. There's some debate about whether pumpkin is a squash or a gourd, but whatever you call them -- and whether you use them for decorating or eating -- pumpkins are a seasonal favorite. Here are some ideas to make the most of … [Read more...]

Fast, fabulous Christmas gift-wrapping

wrapping paper

By Kathryn Weber When December 25 looks like an approaching train, you know it's because you're overloaded with things to do. Just shopping for gifts can be a monumental task, much less wrapping them attractively. What you need is a fast-wrapping strategy that will reduce that gift pile quickly. By using some simple techniques, you can have beautifully-wrapped presents and more time to tick off the rest of the things on your to-do … [Read more...]

Trim your porch for Halloween

Halloween Home

By Kathryn Weber Instead of just tossing candy to trick-or-treaters on Halloween this year, send them home with something to talk about. Using simple props around your home and yard, you can create a mini haunted house right on the front porch or some spooky surprises on the way there. Set the scene If you have a small porch, it's easy to create a scene that will enchant neighborhood ghosts and goblins. Using a roll of black plastic … [Read more...]

Try these fresh ways to set a beautiful table


By Kathryn Weber Whether you're throwing a bridal shower, hosting a holiday party, or just want to make an evening meal more special, adding a little something extra to your table set-up will make the occasion more memorable. Using some simple swaps and changes, you can take your table from dull to dazzling. PLACE SETTING RULES Although there are no hard-and-fast rules about how to set a beautiful table, there is a prescribed pattern for … [Read more...]

Talking turkey: Try some new tricks to cook and serve your Thanksgiving bird beautifully


By Kathryn Weber Thanksgiving conjures images of family feasts, and the star of this annual holiday is always the turkey. Whether you're most concerned about cooking or serving your bird, there are plenty of ways to make these time-honored chores easier and more fun. Foul-free cooking Once upon a time, cooking a turkey meant roasting it in the oven. Period. Today, cooking and seasoning options have greatly expanded. The favored seasoning … [Read more...]

Try these super-fast and easy Thanksgiving decorative touches

table setting_fall

By Kathryn Weber Thanksgiving emphasizes gratitude and celebrates our abundance. And even if the festivities last only a day, taking the time to add some special decorative touches shows your holiday guests how much you care. Best of all, you can do some fabulous decorating throughout the house in less than an hour. Is the turkey already in the oven? Not to worry. You can incorporate some of these ideas in a snap. MAKE IT NATURAL Some … [Read more...]