Friday, September 28, 2012

FRIDAYS TIP JAR

It's raining like crazy in the northeast today (which I totally love, by the way), so while I heat up the tomato soup I made earlier in the week (a simple, delicious recipe from Mark Bittman's latest cookbook mentioned last week), I decided to dip into my tip jar and look back at four + years of blogs I've written and pick away at some of my favorite tips.  So, whether or not it's rainy in your neck of the woods today, please indulge me as I take a little trip down tip lane...
1.) A lot of people have purchased furniture-moving disks either on HSN or at Bed Bath & Beyond and have complained to me that they leave scratches if there is a speck of dust on the floors.  Yup, I mentioned this the very first time I blogged about it four years ago.  How do I move heavy pieces easily across wood floors?  I place washcloths under each foot AND a swiffer cloth under that (why not kill two birds with one sweep, right?)
2.) Christmas lights aren't just for Christmas anymore.  After Christmas (and ONLY after Christmas, because during the holiday season the prices are stupid high) I purchase extra white lights.  In the summer I string them from tree branches above an outdoor dining area, in the winter I drape them in a dark, grey room to lighten things up, for under-cabinet lighting I'll string them up..and to make them tight and neat, I use the same nails and plastic bracket the cable man uses (you can find these at Home Depot or Lowes).
3.) I LOVE decorating with maps.  In fact, in my first apartment I didn't have one piece of art and have never believed in buying mass-produced poster art (sorry, folks!).  Instead, I picked up cheap frames at Ikea and cut cool maps out of old magazines.  I then hung a series of ten on a wall for a cool, dramatic focal point.
4.)  My go-to, healthy, fast and easy lunch; salad in a bag.  Actually, I buy the organic lettuce in the plastic box (and re-use the box for nuts and bolts in the garage, that way you can see everything without digging through a dirty toolbox or drawer).  I take my salad bowl, drizzle a bit of vinegar, sprinkle some salt and pepper then toss in the salad and mix it up.  YUM YUM!
5.) Everyone does it and I love doing it in the bathroom.  Chalkboard paint is fun to work with and dramatic on a wall.  When we first moved to New York I designed a teenagers bedroom on the Upper East side of Manhattan and painted one entire wall of his bathroom with chalkboard paint.  When I visited him a year later, he was so proud of the wall because it turned into a wall of poetry starring all of his friends.  Use it in a kitchen for reminders, a kids room for creative time or on an entire garage wall just for the heck of it.  Also try magnetic paint in any color and attach magnets to the wall..fun, fun!
6.) While I don't cut coupons, I do love a sale and I try to get the things you never think of..flash lights, for example. Because we lose power with frequency in the northeast, I have flashlights in every guest room of our house..along with maps of our area, and extra pair of slippers and a water glass and pitcher...all purchased on sale.
7.) HANDS DOWN my favorite salad dressing is so simple to make.  White wine vinegar, olive oil, minced garlic, salt and pepper whisked together.   Save some in a mason jar and have it over and over.
and speaking of garlic...
8.) Ever worked with garlic or onions and have the smell on your hands the rest of the week?  I found the great stainless steel bar above at Williams Sonoma for $3.99.  Not sure how the heck it works, but it does!  Try it tonight..work with garlic or onions and rub your hands on your stainless steel faucet or sink then smell...
As I approach five years of Dining and Designing, I'm loving your feedback so keep sending it!  Until then, have a nice weekend...I'm off to write, cook and design something....