Saturday, December 09, 2006

The Bargainist: Keep Track of Deals and Sales

Just ran across a link to this site on the D Home Blog. Now you can keep up with sales and deals via RSS feed.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Stocking Stuffer for Guys

Peter Holmblad bottle opener, $32.44.

A Better Wine Gift

A 12-piece set of wine tools to which you add your own bottle of wine.

Available here for $60.00

Via Product Dose

Martha's Tree Trimming Advice Tested and Approved

Last night I decorated our tree. Now that I think about it, I should probably post a photo of said tree, but I wasn't that organized last night.

We have a 5' artificial tree that is pre-lit. I know, blasphemy, but we live in Texas. It's usually warm here during the winter, which I think makes for more rapid wilting of the fresh evergreens. Plus, I can't stand my furry dogs tracking pine needles all over the house in their fur.

I did try out Martha's ornament separating advice to great success. I have traditional glass bulbs only, no figural ornaments. I started by sorting the ornaments by color: green, white/silver, gold, red, blue, and "other." I put the green ornaments on first since they blend with the foliage and make a better backdrop, being careful to cover the tree evenly. I then added the white/silver ornaments, followed by gold, then red, then blue, then "other," which included orange, hot-pink, purple, and glittery ornaments. The result was that the tree was decorated more quickly with less agonizing and moving ornaments around after the fact. My husband came in and said it looked professionally done. He might be exaggerating, but I was happy with the results.

Target Watch: Cool Stuff on Sale

Bowling on Brown Art Box, $14.99 at

Thomas O'Brien Round Leather Serving Tray, $7.49 at

Thomas O'Brien Vintage Modern Mosaic Table with Chairs, $ 146.98 at

Thomas O'Brien Modern Bi-Fold Shelf, $239.99 at and in stores.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Ikea's Alta Bike is Pretty Enough for the Wall

If I lived in a city where I actually could ride my bike to work, this is a bike I would love to have, at least for the looks. I don't know what the ride is like as this is a fixed-wheel model, but the Alta is certainly refined enough to hang as art. The two-wheeler is already being called an affordable design classic by the bloggers of "This Next." Read more here.

Click here for the Alta Bikes Site.

Hostess Gifts: Books for Cooks

'Tis the season to party, and all that party attending leads to the question of giving an appropriate host/hostess gift. The easiest gift is always a nice bottle of wine or bubbly, but how about a great cook book for the chef? Here are a few suggestions:

If you're not sure what books they already have, you can't go too wrong with the 75th anniversary edition of The Joy of Cooking. Available at for $18.

For those who refuse to be a slave to the recipe, The Improvisational Cook gives ingredient-driven recipes and teaches you how to improvise based on what you have on-hand in your kitchen. $23.07 at

For the adventurous chef, one of my personal favorites, The Sultan's Kitchen. Of the Turkish cookbooks I have, which are many, this is the most beautiful. The recipes are a little complicated and labor intensive, but well worth the work. $13.57 at

Tree Trimming How-To

So Martha isn't known for her mod decorating tastes. The woman knows how to decorate a tree and the advice is good regardless of what the ornaments look like.

From the Martha Stewart Living Web site:

Our Secrets for Trimming the Tree

There's no wrong way to decorate a tree, but if you want to emulate our style, follow these steps.

1. Place tree stand in a watertight planter (ours measures 18 inches square) to yield a more tailored look than a tree skirt—and create extra room for presents.

2. String up the lights first, running them around individual branches to create a sense of depth.

3. Lay out ornaments, and consider a palette. Hang dominant colors to establish a rhythm, and then intersperse them with accents in other hues.

4. Use simple ornaments to create a backdrop for more ornate antiques as well as homemade, sentimental favorites.

5. Take a step back while decorating to see which areas need filling. Hang ornaments inside the tree—not just near its edges—for added dimension, and don't neglect the back of the tree.

6. Hang fragile ornaments near the top, where they will be less likely to get knocked off by pets and passersby.

7. Emphasize the vertical shape of the tree by hanging long, dangling ornaments—for example, icicles and teardrops. Suspend icicles at branch ends so that they look as they do in nature.

8. Keep lightweight clip-on ornaments (such as birds) on hand; they're useful fillers at branch ends.

9. Turn the lights off (or down if you are using a dimmer switch) when photographing, because excessive glare will make the tree look flat.

10. When taking down ornaments, organize them by color in boxes. Keep them in a cool, dry location, such as on the top shelf of a spare closet.