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    One of this season's hottest antiques trends is school house decor. Think pull-down maps, old-school pendant lamps and those tall stools from art class. Want to know more? Join me as I go through B4 It Was Cool, a fantastic shop in SoHo filled all things academic-chic.

    So I'm partial: Parts of my apartment look as if its been lifted from somebody's elementary school in 1960. I've got not one, but two Soviet-era globes (in case the Cold War breaks out again), three typewriters, a vintage arithmetic poster and a few cafeteria trays. Though I'm an extreme example, the vintage school house decor trend has become increasingly popular. Case in point? The brisk business reported in stores like B4 It Was Cool, seen in this video.

    Owner Gadi Gilan told me that the demand for the industrial-chic furnishings and accessories hasn't been this high in the over 20 years that his store has been in business. Though he still gets requests from those looking to add a little school style to their homes, his primary customer has become restaurants. So, his biggest challenge is finding multiples to sell (like matching sets of lights) rather than individual pieces. What does this mean for you? That you'll be able to find smaller sets of items (or single pieces) that secondhand dealers can't sell, at flea markets or salvage shops.

    My biggest tip for adopting vintage school house decor? Signing up for your local college's Material Surplus sales. (Often found by contacting the college's building management department.) These are scheduled sales or auctions that happen a few times a year, where excess and old furnishings are sold off for exceptionally fair prices.

    And now that you've got bargains on the brain, brush up on your flea marketing skills...
    How to Bargain at Flea Markets
    Our Picks: Top 5 Flea Markets in the Country
    The Best Flea Markets in the World


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    In this week's Random Recast, wallpaper grabs the spotlight...but with a twist. We're featuring four fabulous projects from our new favorite wallpaper designer, Kimberly Lewis.

    wallpaperKimberly Lewis

    Why does this always happen: You have to dash off a thank you note, but there's none to be found. Or, you make a mistake on the last card you had. Not to worry, if you have scraps of wallpaper lying around. Here, Kimberly folded pieces of her Sierra pattern in the Cadmium and Aubergine colorways to fit an envelope. For an extra-special touch, she cut a piece of coordinating wallpaper to fit the interior of the envelope, then tucked it inside to create a liner. To see how to make your own envelope liners, visit 100 Layer Cake.

    Want more creative ideas for reusing wallpaper? Check out...
    Random Recast: Wallpaper Day 1
    Daily DIY: Book Review - Wallpaper Projects
    Top 20 creative uses for wallpaper


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    In this week's Random Recast, wallpaper grabs the spotlight...but with a twist. We're featuring four fabulous projects from our new favorite wallpaper designer, Kimberly Lewis.

    wallpaperKimberly Lewis

    Bunting makes a sweet decoration for a party, but it also makes a darling nursery decoration when made using a stylish wallpaper in a muted color. (Like Kimberly Lewis Home's Striped pattern in Cloudberry and Canary.)

    "I love the idea of wallpapering an accent wall for a nursery, then using the leftovers to make bunting to hang on an adjacent wall," Kimberly says. "Here, I ran the stripes horizontal instead of vertical because I like how it feels a bit nautical."

    To make the bunting, simply cut triangle-shaped flags from wallpaper, then secure the long ends to a length of ribbon using glue.

    Want more creative ways for reusing wallpaper? Check out...
    Random Recast: Wallpaper Day 2
    Random Recast: Wallpaper Day 1
    Daily DIY: Book Review - Wallpaper Projects


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    We're just as intrigued as you are that the legendary singer-actress did something as mundane as having a yard sale. But wait until you hear what was on offer...

    yard-saleTheo Wargo, Getty Images / Alamy (photo illustration)

    Were you in the market for Michael Jackson's epaulets? Then you should have been at Liza Minnelli's yard sale this past weekend in East Hampton, New York. Though it was probably a more flashy affair (after all, it was the Hamptons), we like to imagine that the scene resembled a typical yard sale like the photo above.

    So, what was on offer aside from the King of Pop's epaulets? Couture clothing (sequined, we assume), furniture from her Lake Tahoe home and a book on hip replacement signed by her surgeon. Liza remarked on the latter, "You've got to keep on trucking, folks, keep on trucking!"

    Our favorite part of this whole event wasn't that Joy Behar showed up (picking up some jewelry), but the fact that Liza placed a classified ad in the local paper, The East Hampton Star. Though it was a blind ad, this line gave it away: "Don't bother coming early, entertainers sleep in."

    And so do we, Liza.

    Want to star in your own yard sale? Check out...
    How to hold a profitable yard sale
    Make cash with a yard sale
    5 tips for finding garage sale gold

    And to see how it's done, watch this...


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    From coffee grinds to vinegar, rethink everything you know about the kitchen staples in your cabinet with these 220 "other uses."

    other-usesJessica Lucia, flickr

    We all feel a little smarter when we remember that one weird tip for solving an every day problem. For me, the moment happened when a guest knocked over a bloody mary cocktail onto my new rug. Instead of panicking, I just got up and found a container of baby powder. After scraping up the bloody mary cocktail carnage, I sprinkled the stain with baby powder, let it dry and vacuumed the whole mess up. The carpet carries no trace of this event ever happening.

    Where the tip came from, I have no idea. I assume it lodged itself into my subconscious after glancing at an article somewhere. But wherever it came from, I'm thankful. I'd like to return the favor to the internet with a few of my favorite other uses tips-lists (try saying that 5 times fast). We'll kick off the first of these mega-lists with the kitchen cabinet, a place that has tons of everyday items with tons of alternate uses. Ready? Let's go.

    25 Other Uses For...Olive Oil

    other-useskeoshi, flickr

    My favorite: Using a dab of olive oil to un-stick a zipper. Here's 24 more via Curbly.

    11 Other Uses For...Salt

    My favorite: Use salt to clean up that egg you've accidentally dropped onto the floor. Here's 10 more other uses.

    21 Other Uses For...Coffee Grounds

    other-usesoberazzi, flickr

    My favorite: Using coffee grounds as an exfoliant. (But I have to warn you that it can sting, so those with sensitive skin should skip that use.) Here's 20 more other uses.

    9 Other Uses For...Cornstarch

    other-usesSuzanne Long, flickr

    My favorite: Homemade spray starch. Just mix a tablespoon of cornstarch with a pint of water and spray the wrinkled clothing in question. Here's 8 more other uses.

    35 Other Uses For...Vinegar

    other-uses For these tips, use plain white vinegar...not your fancy stuff. Photo: Sheila Ryan, flickr

    My favorite: Soaking a shower head in white vinegar to remove limescale build-up. Here are 34 other uses.

    15 Other Uses For....Tea

    other-usesJon Hamblin, flickr

    My favorite: Applying tea to razor burned skin to take the sting away. Here are 14 more other uses.

    10 Other Uses For...Coffee Filters

    other-usesVicky Sawyer, flickr

    My favorite (other than these gorgeous roses made from coffee filters): Lining a pot with a coffee filter before filling with soil, to prevent excess dirt from coming out of the drainage hole. Here are 9 more other uses.

    18 Other Uses For...Cooking Spray

    other-usesandyburnfield, flickr

    My favorite: Keep grass from sticking to lawnmower blades by spritzing them beforehand with cooking spray. Here are 17 more other uses.

    6 Other Uses For...Ketchup

    other-usesDrew Stephens, flickr

    My favorite: Shining up tarnished metal. Just wipe the metal in question with ketchup, then buff off for a shiny finish. Here are 5 more other uses.

    70 Other Uses For...Baking Soda

    other-usesrowdykittens, flickr

    My favorite: Brightening car headlights. Simply apply baking soda to a sponge, then use to scour off dirt. Here are 69 more other uses.

    Do you have a favorite other use for something in your kitchen cabinet? Let us know in the comments.


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    We're getting a head start on celebrating Dad with a countdown of our favorite Father's Day crafts.

    fathers-day-craftsKristen Magee

    The shirt-and-tie theme is a popular one when it comes to Father's Day crafts, but no one has done it as well as Kristen Magee from PaperCrave. Here, she put a festive spin on the traditional gift bag with paper details that just scream "Dad." And thanks to her free template, you can quickly whip up your own customized gift bag. For the tutorial and template, visit PaperCrave.

    Want more Father's Day inspiration? Check out...
    Father's Day Crafts Countdown: Shirt Napkin Fold
    Father's Day Gift Guide: Celebrate Your Dad's Quirks
    Martha Stewart's Father's Day Cupcakes

    And for even more ideas about what to do for Dad, watch this...


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    We are so sad to break this news: ReadyMade is folding.

    We just heard that one of our favorite titles, ReadyMade magazine, is folding. While we are seriously upset to hear about this, we can't say that we are 100% surprised, since so many of our favorite magazines have folded since 2008: Domino, Blueprint, House & Garden, Metropolitan Home and so many more.

    Update: From my friend Liz Armstrong, (now former) Online Editor at ReadyMade. Here's what she had to say:

    Unfortunately, this is true. Effective tomorrow, I will no longer be with the company, because ReadyMade won't exist. Seriously sad, sad, sad. And thank you for caring.

    Liz blogs at xoJane, definitely go check her out.

    Update: From the official press release on ReadyMade folding, citing weakness in the home category
    Meredith Corporation (NYSE:MDP; said today that it will record a special charge of approximately $10 million (approximately $6 million after-tax or $0.13 per share) in its fiscal 2011 fourth quarter. The charge includes closing the ReadyMade brand due to ongoing weakness in the home category/marketplace, and other selected workforce reductions - for a total of approximately 75 positions companywide.

    Update: From the Des Moines Register
    Slusark said ReadyMade had a loyal following but it "didn't have the potential to grow into a large-scale brand, and that's what we're interested in offering. ... From a business standpoint, it was not profitable."

    Update: From ReadyMade
    ReadyMade farewell blog post is up. Check it out at ReadyMade.

    Update: Designer and ReadyMade fan Brian Everett posts a screen grab of the final ReadyMade blog post.

    Almost immediately after the news hit the internet, fans and readers had something to say. Here's a sampling.

    Loren Lankford, vintage stylist and shop owner: Why close the website?

    "As someone who has worked in this industry during a time of intense overturn and hardship, I can understand why Meredith would want to close a title to save money for more profitable titles. But what makes me the most sad is that they're shutting down the website. I find it hard to believe that the site doesn't get serious traffic...especially now. As the economy continues to be tough, people are going to want DIY content."

    Blaine Deutsch, designer, via Twitter @BlaineDeutsch: There is a need for DIY content.
    "ReadyMade was a wonderful source for ideas and inspiration. They proved that DIY didn't need to look cheap."

    Elka Karl, editor, CasaSugar: Hope for a second life with print-on-demand.
    "As someone who volunteered as an editor and all-around ringleader for an award-winning arts and cultural magazine for four years (Kitchen Sink, out of Oakland, we ran in the same circles as Shoshanna and Grace as far as independent publishing went), I can attest to the fact that making a magazine profitable is difficult at best.

    After ReadyMade was bought by Meredith and moved to Iowa, I had my concerns that it would be unable to maintain the momentum needed to keep such a scrappy, delightful publication going. I was pleasantly surprised at the magazine's new look and great content after the move, and had high hopes that it might be able to make it. However, moves such as reducing ReadyMade's staff numbers pointed to the parent company's true priorities.

    Precisely because so much of this type of DIY content can now be accessed online for free, it is easy for me to understand how Meredith made the unfortunate decision to cut the title. My great hope, at this point, is that ReadyMade can revive its online presence and publish print-on-demand DIY books, as it did with its ReadyMade 100 issue." [Note: Check out Elka's project from the ReadyMade 100 issue.]

    Julia Walsh, editor, CasaSugar: Not so surprising, but disappointed that the website won't survive.
    "To be honest, I'm not completely surprised. When Meredith moved ReadyMade to DesMoines two years ago, I worried this might happen. Anytime a publication or a company makes a big move like that can put it on shaky ground.

    It's not that the demographics aren't there to support it, but it's evident that crafters are looking to the web for DIY inspiration and information. I find it quite unfortunate that ReadyMade couldn't just fold their publication and move solely online, as Craft magazine did. ReadyMade had such a firm grasp of the online space and handled it (and engaged with their readers) much more effectively than many other shelter and lifestyle magazines that are still running do."

    Summer Pierre, artist and author: Another loss for print vs. web.
    "What an end of an era. When I was starting out in the blog creative scene 8 years ago, ReadyMade was part of that world--the place you got ideas, and hoped to show up in its pages one day, and got your inner DIY crafty nerd reflected back to you. Now that's ending. Web sites are great, but it won't replace that sense of life the way that magazine did." ""

    Crystal Gentilello, co-founder and editor-in-chief, Rue Magazine: There is support for DIY/home content.
    "I'm so sad to hear the news about ReadyMade's closing. Not only because we're losing a beautiful publication, but because a passionate and talented group of people are losing their jobs. And it's unfortunate, because the demographics are absolutely there to support standout publications like ReadyMade. As design enthusiasts are becoming increasingly educated readers and consumers, thanks to targeted TV programming, the internet, and the democratization of information, we're observing great popularity with DIY and decor solutions. We're coming up on our one-year anniversary at Rue magazine - a digital interiors and lifestyle publication - and have enjoyed exponential growth in both readership and revenue, which confirms to us that there is in fact a healthy and strong demand for this type of content."

    Nicholas Pavlidis, corporate/intellectual property attorney: Seriously, there is support for DIY/home content in print form.
    "It's amazing that, with DIY so hot, people who are supposedly "in the know" are dropping out. I would think magazines would support DIY more than news audiences too because it's easy to do projects with a mag in front of you and there is really little functional benefit to having printed news with news stories changing by the minute. The "news" would be "old" by the time the paper is out. But DIY doesn't have that problem you would think."

    From ReadyMade user SBG: A contrarian stance.
    "I know I have to be realistic here, but I have to wonder in this consumer culture, if your demise was a result of encouraging your followers to embrace a more conservative lifestyle based on reusing, recycling and re-thinking instead of embracing one with the same old product pushing, buy-buy-buy mentality. Making money is so important, often times too important. I guess this is what happens when you're bought up by a company that is less concerned about your mission statement than your profits. Good bye and good luck."

    From ReadyMade user Poorboy: Someone decided to send the widow a "Congratulations" card.
    Great to see yet another ill planned hipster enterprise go where it should. in the trash. Good riddance.

    [Editor's note: We don't normally acknowledge trolls, but the irony of someone who hated the magazine seeking out the website and going through the trouble of commenting is just too much. And doesn't irony = hipster?]

    "We'll be adding to these reactions as they come our way. Want to get in on the conversation? Let us know your thoughts in the comments or on our Twitter page @DIYLife (make sure to use the hashtag #SaveReadyMade).


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    This week, designer Kimberly Lewis showed us four other ways to use wallpaper around the house.

    wallpaperKimberly Lewis

    If you've fallen in love with a wallpaper pattern that just doesn't work in your space, you can still use it in your decor. Just frame it and call it artwork. Or, you can use wallpaper to put the focus on a fab vintage frame. Says Kimberly:

    " I had bought this vintage frame at a yard sale a while ago and it was sitting in my closet because I hadn't found the right piece of art for it. I decided that it was too pretty to not be put out and admired. I cut a piece of my wallpaper Pebble in Dusk to fit and ta-da instant art! Patterns can easily be changed out depending on your mood or season."

    Missed this week's Random Recast? Here's a recap:

    Project #3: Wallpaper Bunting

    wallpaperKimberly Lewis

    To create bunting, cut wallpaper into triangles and stitch (or glue) to ribbon.

    Project #2: Custom stationery

    wallpaperKimberly Lewis

    Make your own custom stationery set by folding wallpaper scraps into notecards. For that extra-special touch, line the envelopes with coordinating wallpaper.

    Project #1: Pinwheels

    wallpaperKimberly Lewis

    Custom pinwheels make adorable party decorations. I know of a bride who filled her reception with them, which made the atmosphere fun and charming (just like her).

    Want to catch up with past Random Recast projects? Check out...
    Random Recast: New Uses for Milk Jugs Round-Up
    Random Recast: New Uses for Rope Round-Up
    Random Recast: New Uses for Grocery Bags Round-Up
    Random Recast: New Uses for Aluminum Foil Round-Up


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    Because you still have time to knock out a few Father's Day crafts before Sunday...

    fathers-day-craftsLevi Brown, ReadyMade

    Every father has a secret place in his heart for Wonder Woman. But, you're not limited to the awesome heroine if you decide to undertake this easy idea for making a wallet from a comic book. The following tutorial calls for just folding, but you can reinforce the stress points (at the short ends of the wallet) with a line of stitching. Check out the adorably illustrated tutorial at Keri Smith.

    Can't get enough Father's Day crafts? Then check out...
    Father's Day Crafts Countdown: Shirt Napkin Fold
    Father's Day Crafts Countdown: Button-Down Gift Bags
    Father's Day Gift Guide: Celebrate Your Dad's Quirks

    And for a more advanced Father's Day craft, watch this....


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    Time is ticking away, but you'll be covered with these four last-minute Father's Day crafts.

    fathers-day-craftsPiggy Bank Parties

    Superheroes are a go-to theme for Father's Day crafts and celebrations. Even if Dad didn't spend quality time in the comic book shop during his formative years, you can always amend the superhero motif to be "Super Dad." Whether you're going to serve up sweets or sandwiches tomorrow, these free printable party picks designed by Piggy Bank Parties will dress them up nicely. To download the printables, which include the aforementioned cake stakes, but also a banner and card, visit Piggy Bank Parties. (Also, since Piggy Bank Parties is offering the printables for free, they're only asking that you "like" their facebook page. So, do it!)

    Missed the other projects in our Father's Day Crafts Countdown? Check out...

    Father's Day Craft Project #3: Comic Wallet

    fathers-day-craftsLevi Brown, ReadyMade

    A spare page from a comic book becomes a super wallet with just a few folds.

    Father's Day Crafts Project #2: Button-Down Gift Bags

    fathers-day-craftsKristen Magee

    Need a gift bag or box? I always forget to buy those things too. No worries, these fun button-down gift bags are easy to DIY thanks to a free template.

    Father's Day Crafts Project #1: Collared Shirt Napkin Fold

    fathers-day-craftsJessica Jones

    And finally, a plate-topping surprise folded from a napkin. (How fun would this be with a hawaiian-print fabric?)

    If you're still going to make a last-minute dash to the store, I highly recommend watching this video on how embracing your Dad's quirks is the secret to good gift giving:

    Father's Day Gift Guide: Celebrate Your Dad's Quirks

    And for a slightly more advanced Father's Day craft, check this out...


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    In Vintage Video Break, we take a look at the sometimes-hilarious old reels, films or commercials now available to us thanks to the internet.

    In this vintage commercial from the 50's (back when they filmed live ads during a program), the flubbed lines are worthy of a laugh. But my favorite part is when the actress holds up a card boasting 38 shades of colors...all of which look remarkably similar thanks to black-and-white film. Here's the clip, found thanks to YouTube:

    Want a bit more...reliable advice for choosing paint? Check out....
    Painting Tips: From Choosing a Color to Tackling the Ceiling
    Paint Like The Pros Do
    Can You Pause a Paint Job?


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    This guest bathroom had potential that was hard to see under that New Yorker cover wallpaper, vinyl flooring and boxy enclosures. The "after" proves that less is more when it comes to bathrooms.

    bathroomWade Freitag

    When you see how soothing this Portland, Oregon guest bathroom turned out, it's hard not to look at the before photo and go "yikes." The large enclosures around the sink and bathtub ate up a significant amount of floor space and created an awkward layout. The homeowners noted that the vinyl floor covering was impossible to clean. And then there's the matter of the New Yorker cover art wallpaper, a busy pattern that made the room feel smaller and, well, chaotic. All of these elements had to go.

    The biggest difference, of course, came from paint (Antique Gold by Benjamin Moore). But the new double-hung window (which replaced the aluminum sliding window), smaller mirror and hexagonal floor tiles subtly enhance the space further. And here's something interesting: The tile wainscot was replaced with subway tile, not only for stylistic reasons, but also because existing tile that's 10 years or older can be impossible to match just right.

    To find out more about this renovation, visit Style 1900.

    Feeling inspired to take on your own bathroom renovation? Check out...
    Adventures in Virtual Bathroom Remodeling
    Perpetual Remodeling Syndrome: Bathroom Makeover
    2011 Bathroom Trends

    And for some bathroom improvement ideas, watch this....


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  • 06/24/11--04:23: Curbspotting: Vintage Lamps
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    If you saw these vintage lamps on the curb, would you take them home? One talented designer did just that. See how she gave these lamps a decidedly modern update.

    vintage-lampsLia Fagan, flickr

    I admit to a bias against the vintage lamps I find on the curb, at the flea market or thrift store. It's not that I think they don't have potential, but most of the time I feel like updating the lamp can be more trouble than it's worth. But Lia Fagan of Mod Pieces, a shop specializing in rescuing vintage lamps, is causing me to reconsider my stance. Here's how she transformed the outdated set.

    She gave the bases a coat of periwinkle paint, and then covered the shades in an abstract paint-splatter print fabric. It's funny how painting the base in one color actually brings out the sculptural details (like the fern leaves) on the lamp base. To see more of Lia's vintage lamp makeovers, visit the Mod Pieces Flickr page.

    Want more lamp makeover ideas? Check out...
    How to add a faux antique finish to light fixtures
    How to choose a lampshade
    How to rewire a lamp

    And to save your favorite lamp, watch this...


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    I thought having a yard sale would be pretty easy money. Turns out I was wrong.

    yard-saleWho knew there wasn't a market for old KISS merchandise? Photo: Chris Barnes

    My neighborhood was having its annual yard sale and I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to get rid of the boxes of stuff I had been meaning to get rid of. Not only would I be clearing out my basement, I could possibly get some money to, well, replace that with new stuff.

    So I started moving my boxes to the front yard at 7 am. And then came the early bird shoppers. The thinking behind an early bird shopper is that, if they catch you as you're setting up your yard sale table, you'll magically hand over everything you own for a quarter. But in this case, the early birds were content to slowly (and repeatedly) driving back and forth in front of my yard, eyeing up my boxes.

    Once I had everything set up, I sat down and waited for the customers. And waited. The more I sat at the table, the more the whole situation felt like a weird single's night. Would anyone show up? Would anyone, at least, talk to me?

    I started to regret that last thought when my first customer showed up. A woman came by and began to look through my box of Lakers memorabilia (I had a brief stint where everyone confused my love of basketball with a love of all things Kobe Bryant).

    "Excuse me, where is your New York Knicks section?" she asked.

    "Section? All I have is this box of Lakers stuff, if you're interested in that..." I said, even though I really wanted to ask why she mistook my yard sale set-up for the gift shop at Madison Square Garden.

    "NO!" She responded, clearly offended.

    About an hour later, a mother and two kindergarten-aged sons came by and immediately headed towards a box of action figures. One of the boys got excited about one of the figurines, a Wonder Woman action figure still in its original packaging. He showed it to his Mom, beaming, and asked if he could have a dollar to buy it.

    "No, you can't have that, it's a doll and boys don't play with dolls," the mother replied.

    The son, clearly used to having his dreams shattered, resignedly sighed and put Wonder Woman back in the box.

    At this point, two hours had passed without a single sale. As more customers came by, the more I started to regret even setting up my yard sale table. Even if you anticipate crazy questions, you have no idea just how crazy the questions can get. Here's just a few that I received:

    "Do you have this suit jacket in another size?"

    "Would you be willing to sell this pressure cooker [which was still new in its box] for a nickel?"

    "Can I trade you this Star Trek movie for that box of Tom Clancy novels?"

    As I answered the questions (no, no, and what Tom Clancy novels?) I heard a spectacular crash. An elderly man had apparently dropped a casserole dish onto the sidewalk. But before I could say anything, the man darted off faster than I've seen anyone run before.

    By lunch time, I was ready to throw in the towel. I realized that no one would ever be suckered into purchasing, say, a collection of KISS coffee mugs that I bought a decade ago. I figured I'd just cut my losses and return all the boxes to their previous lives as basement fire hazards.

    yard-sale Are you sure you don't want any of it? Photo: Chris Barnes

    Maybe it was the heat of the summer sun, but I had an epiphany: Don't fill the house with junk. If I don't want it, certainly I will not find someone else who wants it, either. It's the yard sale equivalent of the Law of Attraction. Just as like attracts like, intense dislike only attracts more intense dislike.

    And just as I was thinking this, two kids ran up and started to rummage through the box of action figures. The little girl was thrilled to see the aforementioned Wonder Woman doll, while her brother lovingly put together a falling-apart Transformer. I could see a very different epiphany come upon them: "When will I become a grown-up so I can amass a treasure trove of action figures?"

    When they asked how much it would be to buy the action figures, I told her they could take the whole box.

    "For a dollar?" she replied, trying to haggle.

    "For free," I told her.

    Ultimately, we all got what we wanted. I had offloaded an entire box of junk, while the kids got a whole box of ways to bother their parents.

    The rest of the boxes either went to recycling or (in the case of the more useful stuff) to Goodwill.

    I didn't have the heart, however, to inflict a box of KISS memorabilia on anyone. Until I meet a KISS superfan, the box is still hidden in the basement. Any takers?

    Chris Barnes occasionally writes about his growing collection of action figures at Ridiculously Awesome.

    Feel brave enough to try your luck at organizing a yard sale? Check out....
    How to Hold a Profitable Yard Sale
    How to Sell Small Toys at a Yard Sale (VIDEO)
    How to Run a Yard Sale (VIDEO)

    And to see how a pro organizes a yard sale, watch this....


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    Gravity-stacked stone walls give a romantic look to any outdoor space...and require surprisingly little effort to construct.

    Growing up, any family Sunday drive through the country was punctuated by my Mom demanding to pull the car over...because she spotted some rocks. She'd send my father out to get the larger ones, while my brother and I (because we had small little kid hands) were responsible for digging out promising specimens. The idea was to get enough natural rocks to eventually build a few stone walls in the backyard, but we only ever amassed enough for garden borders.

    If there had been enough rocks, we would've gone with a gravity-stacked retaining wall. This method really requires little more than stacking rocks against dirt fill. Depending on the type of stone chosen, you can have a formal or romantic look, but overall you will want to choose flatter rocks. (Which are, of course, easier to stack.) For the more tips and a complete project outline, check out out post on building a natural stone wall.

    Want a few more ideas for building stone walls? Check out...
    How to build an engineered retaining wall
    How to Build a No Mortar Wall Video
    Cultured stone - How I learned to love "phony stone"

    And to see how to build stone walls, watch this...


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    I was reading Lifehacker when I came upon this really great tip for yet another use for vinegar from commenter Kevster. My approach to cleaning the surplus of vases in my home will never be the same (or this exciting) again.

    use-for-vinegarVincent Ma, flickr

    As a DIY editor, I thought I heard every use for vinegar that you could possibly think of. (Smell remover! Fabric softener!) But people always surprise me with their ways to use the stuff. A few months ago, I was eating at a regrettable restaurant in Atlantic City, when the bubble-haired waitress let me in on a tip: If you want to take away the heat from a spicy dish, just add vinegar. This was about the only thing I gained from that trip (the rest I lost at the casino later that night).

    Anyway, I came upon this other genius use for vinegar today: Vase cleaner. Just add baking soda to the vase, then pour in the baking soda. Yes, this is also the recipe for a science fair volcano. The baking soda foam will rise, effectively cleaning even the oddest-shaped vases. For more great tips for using vinegar, check out Lifehacker.

    Want to turn your bottle of vinegar into the most overachieving item in your house? Check out...
    Vinegar's slew of wonderful uses
    Using Vinegar for Laundry
    Best Uses For Vinegar

    And to see how to clean a faucet using vinegar, watch this...


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    Today I met with Andrew Wagner, the now-former Editor in Chief of ReadyMade, to get his thoughts on why Meredith decided to fold ReadyMade. It's a decision that's gotten much buzz around the DIY world, especially when Meredith cited "weakness in the home category."

    readymadeReadyMade; DIY Business Association

    So, we're all dying to know: What are your thoughts on the ReadyMade closing?

    "I've always thought of ReadyMade as the most successful zine of all time. It was a real passion project from the very beginning. But the goals of a niche publication like ReadyMade and that of a major publishing house like Meredith don't always align. Small, developing brands like ReadyMade are in constant need of in-depth attention from all those working on it but large publishing houses aren't necessarily set up to run in that fashion. This is neither good nor bad, just really unfortunate in these circumstances."

    Do you think ReadyMade was shuttered in the end because the audience was younger and were less inclined to pick up a print magazine?

    "I think there is definitely still a place for print amongst all age groups and ReadyMade's growth (from 125,000 circulation in 2006 to 335,000 in 2011) points to that. But publishing is, very simply put, a tough business particularly today. Magazines are dependent not only on reader support but advertising support. Today magazines are no longer competing just against other titles for readers and advertising dollars but also against all the quickly developing brands online not to mention television, movies etc. Magazines are in a particularly tough position because they are trying to put out a print product while simultaneously producing top notch websites, video channels etc. All of this needs to happen without necessarily more resources. So, essentially, I think there is a place for print even with a younger demographic but the competition is that much more fierce and you either are willing to play that game and dedicate your resources to that or you aren't and unfortunately in this case, resources needed to be directed to other places."

    Speaking of the web, was there any reasoning behind shuttering the ReadyMade website in addition to the print title?

    "I think at this point in time it was just determined that there was not enough money to be made online to support the type of quality product that we wanted to deliver online. I would love to see the site stay open - I really believe it is a hugely valuable resource. Several sources have approached me with a real interest in buying and I think there could be a real possibility that it will stay alive. I would love to see that."

    I saw a comment on your Editor's Letter that blamed the DIY audience, namely that ReadyMade encouraged them to recycle/not to buy things, for the magazine's closing. What is your response to that?

    "There's a misconception amongst many that the DIY audience is one that's 100% anti-consumerism, anti-establishment, and so on. Of course there are some people that are completely off the grid but there are far more who are completely involved in mainstream society - and those that are are precisely the consumers advertisers are looking for - smart, trend setting, highly engaged individuals. The DIY audience does, say, go to Target, will go buy a car, etc. But what makes the DIY audience different than a general mass audience is that they want to know more about a product before buying it. They ask questions. They want to know the back-story. How are things put together? Where do they come from? They really want to be a part of whatever it is they are buying. Again, they are an extremely engaged, opinionated consumer. Frankly, I think that's what the world needs much much more of."

    What can this mean for other titles? Can we expect more of the closings that happened in 2008-on across the shelter market?

    "It depends on the title and the business model behind it. Niche titles who take a niche approach to their business seem to be faring well. I helped start Dwell magazine in 2000 and though they are going through similar issues all publications are they are weathering the storm. I think Dwell succeeds for two reasons: One, that they have a staff of 30+ - each of whose mission is to grow that brand. ReadyMade had a dedicated staff of 10. Second, is that they are a privately-owned company. While it's in their best interest to grow the title and growth is what every brand is looking for, they do not have to constantly worry about the stockholders or board of directors, who are concerned-for good reason--about making a return on their investment. The Dwell backers are true believers in the product that is Dwell. ReadyMade obviously had its supporters at Meredith but in the end, it's a game of dollars and cents at a publicly traded publishing company."

    Editor's note
    Did you subscribe to ReadyMade? A rep for Meredith says that subscribers will be given the option of a few other magazines to replace their ReadyMade subscription, or the opportunity to get a full refund.

    While I dig Family Circle's and Better Homes and Garden's decorating content, I'll be taking a stand and asking for my full refund. Who's with me?

    For more on ReadyMade, check out...
    Breaking: ReadyMade is Folding - DIY Life
    ReadyMade to Fold? Unfortunately, Yes - Shelterpop
    Our Favorite DIY Projects from the ReadyMade 100 - DIY Life


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    CustomMade is a new site filled with fabulous furnishings, accessories and more that you can get, well, custom made. Here, we spotlight our favorite item of the week.

    These adorable kids' beds have a frog motif that's a welcome departure from princesses and sports. Admittedly, we did get a little distracted by the unbelievable children's room they were set in for this photo (seriously, is that an indoor treehouse?). But if a custom made kids' bed is in your budget, this completely handmade option is a fabulous choice. You can see more at Third Street Studios.

    Check back next week for a new edition of CustomMade Curator.


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    The reclaimed wood walls almost overshadow the fab food and drink at MB Post, a restaurant in Manhattan Beach, California. Stephen Francis Jones, the architect behind the hot spot's design, lets us in on how you can create your own rustic walls.

    wood-wallsStephen Francis Jones

    To give the new restaurant a cozy, lived-in feeling, architect Stephen Francis Jones turned to reclaimed wood. Though reclaimed wood is a hot commodity in the design world, Jones tells me that you can actually buy it online through "You can actually pick out the bundle of wood you want, down to the colors and textures," Stephen says. "Just keep in mind that it is 'recycled', so you may get a few bad pieces in the mix."

    And to create the wood wall, Stephen recommends starting out with a drywall surface that's been painted black. Then, simply adhere the wood to the wall with construction glue and nail with finishing nails.

    You can also use the reclaimed wood wall technique on an exterior surface. Check out MB Post's entrance:

    wood-wallsStephen Francis Jones

    Feeling inspired to see what else reclaimed wood can do? Check out....
    In the Spotlight: Eco-Friendly Flooring
    Trend Spotting: Five Non-Paint Wall Ideas
    Design Influence: Wood - Shelterpop

    And for experienced woodworkers, watch how to make a coffee table from reclaimed wood...


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    CustomMade is a new site filled with fabulous furnishings, accessories and more that you can get, well, custom made. Here, we spotlight our favorite item of the week.


    This edition of CustomMade Curator made all of us here...hungry. But these cookies are definitely not for eating: They're exceptionally realistic sculptures made by Robin Antar. Her other works include Peppermint Patties, M&M's and even the odd Diesel denim jacket. For more info, check out CustomMade.

    Want to see more remarkable custom made creations? Check out...
    CustomMade Curator: Ship Weathervane
    CustomMade Curator: Dolphin Tree
    CustomMade Curator: Artichoke Table


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