Home & Garden

Garden creates community, new skills for seniors at recreation center

Garden creates community, new skills for seniors at recreation center

A few gray clouds and the possibility of rain showers didn’t keep away the devoted gardeners at the South Austin Senior Activity Center. The group, which meets each Monday, spent a recent morning tending to the snap peas, cabbage and other vegetables growing in the 18 raised beds, some built of limestone and others made of white pine. They weeded out a bed to plant radishes, among other tasks...
Plant right kind of citrus trees in the right places to survive winter

Plant right kind of citrus trees in the right places to survive winter

There are only a few states with climates suitable for growing citrus trees, and Texas is one of them. With the delicious winter-time fruit and evergreen shade they provide, these trees make a great addition to a garden. However, the unpredictable winter weather pattern does create a challenge for us as it affects the maturity time of the fruit and can damage or kill some trees when temperatures fall...
Austin couple build house for the rest of their lives

Austin couple build house for the rest of their lives

Cut straight to the crucial tip: Talk to your designer. And listen. You probably won’t be sorry. Fourteen years ago, Katelena Hernandez Cowles and James Cowles talked and listened to Heather McKinney and Brian Carlson of McKinney York Architects. And they could not be happier with their pliable three-story Tarrytown house built above a dry creek for the couple and their two children, Celia and...
This winter, grow greens and know how to cook them

This winter, grow greens and know how to cook them

If you grew up in the South, your mother most likely told you to “eat your greens!” “Greens” is a loosely defined group of food plants that had its origins in the days when there were a lot of hungry people living in the rural southern states who would eat anything edible just to keep from starving. In the early days, it was never, “Would you like greens or a beef steak?&rdquo...
Friendships formed around love of gardening at East Austin Garden Club

Friendships formed around love of gardening at East Austin Garden Club

More than just flowers and vegetables bring together a close-knit, local garden group. Friendship and a sense of community bloom for the members of the East Austin Garden Club, which usually meets the fourth Saturday of the month, often at the Austin Community College Eastview Campus on Webberville Road. About eight people – members and visitors – attended a recent morning meeting that...
Austinite displays collection of African-American angels, Santas

Austinite displays collection of African-American angels, Santas

Joan Roberts Scott can’t remember when she first started collecting ornaments with African-American faces on them. She thinks it’s been more than 25 years. She knows it happened by chance, when she was in a Foley’s department store and found a set of African-American Santa Claus ornaments. Something drew her to them, and she began her collection. “I got on this mission,&rdquo...
More tips to keep your garden going during the Austin winter

More tips to keep your garden going during the Austin winter

Preparing your yard for winter in our area can be a little tricky. Not because it’s difficult, but because we have mild winters. It’s hard to get the timing right when you’re still mowing regularly over the Christmas break. We are often left scratching our heads trying to figure out what needs to happen when. We don’t have the same winter weather other places deal with. But...
Keep the garden going this winter with these tips

Keep the garden going this winter with these tips

Central Texas, with its yo-yolike erratic weather, rarely has a serious winter. I mean a Buffalo, N.Y.; Minneapolis, Minn.; Denver, Colo., kind of winter – frozen solid and miserably cold. While northern gardeners are enjoying their hot chocolate by the fire and perusing the seasonal flood of garden catalogs, we’re still pruning and digging. You’ll get a head start on spring if you...
Bouquet dianthus reigns supreme for show and cut flowers

Bouquet dianthus reigns supreme for show and cut flowers

For apartment dwellers or anyone planning a party this month, paper-white narcissus are hard to beat. A pot or bowl of these pretty plants in bloom makes a great centerpiece or table decoration that you can put together yourself. Paper-white narcissus brings the garden indoors in winter, even if the bulbs never spent a day outside. They are tailor-made for people who have no garden space but have...
How to save succulents from rot in winter

How to save succulents from rot in winter

Are your succulents turning black? Are they gushy and soft when you touch them? The small accent color plants from warm dry climates slow down with the shortening of days into winter. They stop growing and therefore need no moisture besides what their bodies already hold. Yet water is continually applied, be it by rain or automatic sprinklers or a diligent overwater-er. This demonstrates why the small...
Incorporate some hygge into your home this winter

Incorporate some hygge into your home this winter

By now you have probably heard of hygge, the Danish term for cozy, contentment. While it can be incorporated into the home and year-round, the winter months are certainly the perfect time. Looking for ways to incorporate a sense of hygge this season? Begin by evaluating your whole home and then look for ways to uplift each space. Infuse scents. In nature each season brings a fresh fragrance and scent...
11 modern home decorating ideas that’ll transform any traditional space

11 modern home decorating ideas that’ll transform any traditional space

Two rules interior designers consistently remind us about decorating are to keep in mind your home’s original architecture and to try to stay true to your home’s roots. This doesn’t mean going full-blown Victorian with your furniture in a historic terrace home but rather to respect the original bones of the space, look for materials that were found in the era your home was created...
Urban retreat inspired by a special place, and a special connection

Urban retreat inspired by a special place, and a special connection

KEY PENINSULA, Wash. — You can see how an architect and a homeowner might form a genuine friendship as they formulate a design: It’s an intensely intricate process that requires bare-your-soul discussions, high-stakes give-and-take, and a whole lot of together time. In that respect, (architect) Jim Olson and (homeowner) Melissa worked a bit backward in creating her forward-looking home...
Tired of white elephant? 5 ideas for holiday gift exchanges

Tired of white elephant? 5 ideas for holiday gift exchanges

Look, we’ve all done it. You show up to your family member or friend’s house with a $25 to $50 gift, praying that whoever ends up with it in this year’s White Elephant gift exchange doesn’t hate whatever generic item you bought at the last minute because let’s face it, you completely forgot this thing was even happening. If you’re tired of doing the same ol&rsquo...
Turn trash into treasure in the garden by recycling

Turn trash into treasure in the garden by recycling

For gardeners hoping to add whimsical touches to their yards, a trip to a City-Wide Garage Sale might be as helpful as a jaunt to a local nursery. “You need to think outside of the regular flowerpot,” said Martha King, a Travis County master gardener who led a recent educational seminar on Garden Decorating 101 at Zilker Botanical Garden. About 20 people attended the seminar that emphasized...
Refinishing job stripped Larkin desk of original golden color

Refinishing job stripped Larkin desk of original golden color

Dear Helaine and Joe: I have this antique my mother purchased and had refinished when I was a child in the 1960s. I believe it is American from the 1800s. The mirror looks to be original. What is this piece of furniture called and what would you think a ballpark estimate would be of its value? Thank you, W. G. Dear W. G.: Thank goodness your mother did not do what Joe’s mother might have done...

Give your home a modern, fresh look with greenery

Think of centerpieces or greenery, and perhaps cut flowers come to mind. But these days, those looking for a more organic look are instead opting for alternatives such as succulents, moss, grass and even branches. In many instances, these selections are not only modern and fresh, but also low maintenance as well. ARTIFICIAL VS. THE REAL THING Typically nothing beats freshly cut stems as far as look...

Resolve to fill your dining room with people you love

Many of us have fabulous dining spaces in our homes … that collect dust. It’s time to fix that. This year, resolve to fill your dining room with people you love, gathered together for good food and great conversation. I firmly believe that one of the greatest gifts you can give someone is to invite them into your home to share a meal. Especially in our hustle-bustle world, where sitting...
How to grow your own apothecary rose

How to grow your own apothecary rose

As Rome declined in the wake of excesses, barbarians sacked the city. They destroyed the rose gardens of species brought from around the world as medicinal plants. Roman medicine and a love of rose flower scent sent placed them in great demand all over the city. Sadly those collections were lost with decline, their remnants surviving only in the abandoned Roman buildings that soon became monasteries...
The ins and outs of toilet shopping

The ins and outs of toilet shopping

Q: Dear Ed: My wife and I have been toilet shopping for our master bathroom, and we’ve noticed that some toilets have smooth sides and some toilets have wavy sides with curves. What’s the difference, and why would you choose one style toilet over the other? — Jerry and Gail, Massachusetts A: When you talk smooth-sided toilet bowls, it usually refers to whether or not...
5 designer-approved ideas to create a beautiful bathroom

5 designer-approved ideas to create a beautiful bathroom

You may have rooms or corners of your home that are easy to forget about because you spend so little time there. But that’s rarely the case with bathrooms. So why not make them as good-looking as they are hard-working? Whether you go for clean and classic, statement-making or serene, thoughtful design and attention to detail will elevate your space. FLOOR-TO-CEILING STYLE Emily Sheehan Hewett...
13 zero-cost ways to make your home feel fresh

13 zero-cost ways to make your home feel fresh

There comes a time in the life of every busy person when a decor refresh becomes not only necessary but also imminent. That doesn’t necessarily involve a full-blown remodel or decor overhaul, but just like any good spring-cleaning session, you sometimes need to roll up your sleeves to make your home feel new again. Are you hosting parties this year? Do you have guests staying over for a few...
Save this year’s crop for next year by collecting seeds

Save this year’s crop for next year by collecting seeds

Did you have a delicious tomato crop last season that you just can’t get enough of? Or maybe you want to skip a trip to your local garden center or nursery next season? Trying to keep it local? The answer is seed saving! Saving your seeds is an easy and cost-effective way to keep growing your favorite veggies year after year. Peppers, squashes, melons, sunflowers and tomatoes are a good starting...
Homeowner learns the ins and outs of interior design

Homeowner learns the ins and outs of interior design

MEDINA, Wash. — Piece by piece, room by room, Lisa outfitted her family’s entire Medina home like a dogged detective on a complicated case: gathering evidence, summoning expert witnesses and even re-creating the scene of design. And goodness — what a case. Lisa and her husband, Sebastian, live with their three children (and a nine-critter menagerie) in a dazzling showpiece of a home...
Tiffany Favrile glass highly prized by current collectors

Tiffany Favrile glass highly prized by current collectors

Dear Helaine and Joe: This bowl was given to me by my great uncle. I have had it for 40 years and just recently wondered about the inscription on the bottom. It reads “L. C. T. Favrile.” Any information including value would be appreciated. Thank you, S. P., Dear S. P. Over the years, we have seen literally thousands of pieces marked “L. C. T.,” or “L. C. Tiffany&rdquo...

Winter love letter to plaid

This is my warm and happy place: snuggled under a plaid throw blanket, a steaming cup of coffee in my hands, winter held at bay outside my cottage doors. In my house, it’s plaid season. Someone asked me once if I was ever going to get over my obsession with plaid. Nope. Plaid is the fabric of my life. It connects me to my roots, my family, my childhood. It is the classic Pendleton jackets we...
Homes that make a good first impression have 5 things in common

Homes that make a good first impression have 5 things in common

It takes just 26 seconds for a guest to form an opinion of your home when they walk through the front door. What does your space say about you? While we try to resist the urge to judge, there’s no doubt that first impressions count. Whether you’re expecting guests or you’re hoping to transform your spare room into a rental, experts agree there are five key areas that friends notice...
How to make a statement with a chandelier

How to make a statement with a chandelier

The chandelier, once a common and popular fixture in the home, is now making a comeback. Whether for function or aesthetics, chandeliers can help make an instant statement. ENTRYWAYS The entryway is a common location for a chandelier. The visual impact of placing a chandelier there can help set the tone and introduce guests to what is to come. DINING AREAS Chandeliers can be used to define rooms,...
Seedling garden sprouts up, giving residents access to fresh foods

Seedling garden sprouts up, giving residents access to fresh foods

SOUTH DALLAS, Texas — Tyrone Day said he grew up eating food in his South Dallas home that was bought from small corner stores because it was easily accessible. The items were often highly processed and easy to make, so vegetables were rarely on the menu, he said. The 47-year-old now wants to break that habit by giving South Dallas residents fruit and vegetable plants and teaching them how to...
Ways to bring dried plants back into art

Ways to bring dried plants back into art

I discovered the true meaning of sustainability at this year’s fall Twentynine Palms Weed Show. It’s a little known 70-year-old tradition held in a remote town deep in California’s Mojave Desert. This is the little known Oasis of Mara, now the hamlet of Twentynine Palms, an hour northeast of Palm Springs. It’s a short jump to the Marine Base, which wasn’t there when the...
Chose these flowering plants that bloom around Christmas

Chose these flowering plants that bloom around Christmas

While Nero Wolfe considered it essential to ride to the top floor to tend his orchids for hours each day, I’ve found that in general it is much easier to kill a flower with kindness than with neglect. That is especially true of the blooming plants that thrive around here in the winter. Seasonal favorites like poinsettias, Christmas cactus, pansies and calendula all flourish with minimal care...
Plant wildflowers now for a colorful spring garden

Plant wildflowers now for a colorful spring garden

As fall-colored leaves begin to drop, we know the change of seasons will bring a quiet solitude to the garden. Blooms will fade, perennials will settle in for their long winter’s nap, and the landscape will transform into subdued shades of brown and gray. But don’t stop working in the garden yet. Now is the time to sow seeds for a beautiful blanket of color in the spring. Each year, landscapes...
Confused about Austin’s composting program? Here’s what you need to know

Confused about Austin’s composting program? Here’s what you need to know

Composting can be a mucky, gross, smelly, decaying mess. You know this if you have a compost pile set up at your house. Sometimes you add too many leftovers and not enough leaves and the pile gets, well, a little out of hand. Thanks to the city of Austin’s growing curbside composting program, now 52,000 Austin homes are getting familiar with what happens to their food once they dump it. The...
Get ready to host guests for the holidays with our checklist

Get ready to host guests for the holidays with our checklist

The family is coming! Time to roll out the red carpet (or, at least, maybe vacuum the existing carpet). If your family is coming for a visit in the next six weeks or if you’re hosting a holiday party for friends and family or the Thanksgiving or Christmas meal, you’ve got to get ready. The time is now. Austinite Lorie Marrero, who created the Clutter Diet, has been working with Austin...
Want to create a drought-tolerant garden? See a demonstration garden

Want to create a drought-tolerant garden? See a demonstration garden

Cactuses and rocks. Those aren’t the only items that can be used successfully in areas — such as Central Texas — that might face prolonged periods of dry weather. “Drought-tolerant (gardens) can be beautiful,” says Dorothy Bentzin, a master gardener and co-chair of the drought-tolerant section of the Williamson County Master Gardeners’ demonstration gardens. Visitors...
Want to create a drought-tolerant garden? See a demonstration garden

Want to create a drought-tolerant garden? See a demonstration garden

Cactus and rocks. Those aren’t the only items that can be used successfully in areas — such as Central Texas — that might face prolonged periods of dry weather. “Drought-tolerant (gardens) can be beautiful,” says Dorothy Bentzin, a master gardener and co-chair of the drought-tolerant section of the Williamson County Master Gardeners’ demonstration gardens. Visitors...
SPA: Enjoy the flavors of the season in the spa, too

SPA: Enjoy the flavors of the season in the spa, too

Love crème brûlée? Now you can soak in it. At Hiatus Spa + Retreat, this month’s retreat special is called the Crème Brûlée. For $195, you get a brown sugar scrub exfoliation and then you’re wrapped with caramel and vanilla aromas while you get a warm and cool stone face massage. After a Vichy shower, you’ll receive a warm vanilla and shea...
SHOPPING: Adalente offers triple helping of shopping for the holidays

SHOPPING: Adalente offers triple helping of shopping for the holidays

There are three ways to shop for Adelante clothing and gifts this holiday season. This weekend, the store is at Junior League’s A Christmas Affair, which it’s been doing for more than 30 years. A Christmas Affair’s market is open noon to 9 p.m. Thursday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $15. A Christmas Affair is at Parmer Events...
Plant garlic now for a crop that goes with almost any style of cooking

Plant garlic now for a crop that goes with almost any style of cooking

What comes to mind when you think of garlic? Warding off vampires? A to-die-for pizza topping? Bad breath? This diminutive bulb holds a prominent place in our cultural and culinary imagination. For centuries, people across the globe have regarded it with fascination. This is undoubtedly because garlic packs a punch. Everyone is familiar with garlic’s strong flavor and pungent odor, but some...
See sweet little purple house on 40th Hyde Park neighborhood home tour

See sweet little purple house on 40th Hyde Park neighborhood home tour

Like its eclectic furnishings and gardens and its spectacular purple paint color, the 1903 Zimmerli-Rosenquist House in Hyde Park has had a long, vibrant history that didn’t always follow the usual path. Today, Don and Diane York own the two-bedroom house with aspects of Queen Anne, early century cottage and classic revival architecture. They bought it in 1990 for $150,000. Diane York remembers...
ACCESSORIES: Kelly Wynne teams up with Austin artisan for scarves

ACCESSORIES: Kelly Wynne teams up with Austin artisan for scarves

Handbag designer Kelly Wynne is working with fellow Austinite Alexandra Dieck of Lexicon of Style to create scarves that match her bags. They are offering six designs in three different sizes for $50-$75. Find Kelly Wynne at 3211 Palm Way, Suite W2.132. kellywynne.com
HOME: Austin couple celebrates first year of new furniture store

HOME: Austin couple celebrates first year of new furniture store

Sometimes the holidays are when you realize that your furniture is no longer working for you. If you can’t stand that couch any more or that bookcase, time to get shopping. Stacie and Jonathan Fox own local furniture stores Solid and Five Elements Furniture and are celebrating the first anniversary of opening Solid. Some of the featured items include European-designed trays for $165-330, white...
Need a hostess gift for Thanksgiving? Bring artisan find from Thirds

Need a hostess gift for Thanksgiving? Bring artisan find from Thirds

Heading to someone else’s home for Thanksgiving? You could bring that bottle of wine or flowers, but you could also bring an artisan gift that can become part of the family’s Thanksgiving tradition for years to come. Austin-based Thirds curates handmade homegoods from American artisans. Selections include BTW speckled mug and pour over set, $40 and $45; Mondays stoneware platter in white...
HOME: Freshen up your home for the holiday with Loot Finer Goods

HOME: Freshen up your home for the holiday with Loot Finer Goods

Expecting company this Thanksgiving or Christmas? Sometimes you need to give your home a refresh. Try adding new pillows or baskets. Austin’s Loot Finer Goods has items like a striped wool pillow for $67, a Bolga basket for $48 and a black and white floor cushions for $350. Find them at LootFinerGoods.com and at the Loot Rentals show room 3312 Duke Road.
Know how to plant trees correctly

Know how to plant trees correctly

It’s tree-planting time in Texas. When the weather cools down, that’s the signal to get trees into the ground so they can settle in and grow roots before the springtime warmup. There are many good reasons to plant trees in your yard. Trees benefit the people who plant them and everyone around them. They improve air quality for the entire planet by producing oxygen and storing carbon. They...
Clothing: Austin mom creates yoga line for moms, Texans

Clothing: Austin mom creates yoga line for moms, Texans

CLOTHING Austin mom creates yoga line for moms, Texans With sayings like “Mamasté” and “Om Star State,” Brianna del Castillo’s Salty Unicorn yoga apparel line brings together Austinite del Castillo’s love of yoga, her status as a mom and a Texan. Del Castillo started Salty Unicorn with Mamaste: The Mom in Me Honors the Mom in You shirts in 2016 and now is...
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