Modern alternatives to Christmas tree skirts

 

Chiffon Bridesmaid Dresses uk

I’m really excited about Christmas this year. You see, it’s my first winter in my house and that means it’s the first time I can have a fresh tree for Christmas. My apartment before (and most here in Michigan) did not allow them because of the fire hazard. In my jolly excitement, I’m trying real hard not to go overboard with ornaments, lights and the whole mess.

As I’ve enjoyed decorating my own home for the first time, I have had a real interest in minimalism. I am trying to incorporate that into my holiday decorations. I have an excellent vintage tree topper, some hand-me-down glass bulbs from my parents and the perfect hand-knit stockings. Simple and classic, that’s what I like. But there is one element, that for some reason, I cannot agree upon. Tree skirts.

I just don’t like them; and while I realize I can scrap the detail all together, I would like some element under the tree.

A few months ago we started working with an awesome manufacturer, Bungalow Flooring. Aside from their innovative photo-realistic rugs and padded floor mats, they make some really cool Christmas pieces. If you hadn’t already guessed, my favorite is fit for your tree. Buy Bridesmaid dresses NZ at discount price at Topbridal.co.nz

The Bungalow Tree Mat is a round rug designed to protect hard floors from tree stands. Available in multiple designs — and each in 19 different colors — these mats are a great modern alternative to your mama’s old tree skirt.

Patterns include snowflakes (at right), little Christmas trees or reindeer.

You can choose colors from purple to orange, from teal to yellow; my house is all reds and teals so I think I’m gonna go with the basics and opt for the bright, cheery red.

A polypropylene front and rubber backing is skid resistant as well as resistant to mold, mildew, rot, cracking and other wear. The wide border helps contain any spilled water and dirt, keeping floors clean.

Measuring 35 inches in diameter, this protective floor rug is great for any area of the home. Now that I can do a fresh tree, I just may consider adding one in the master bedroom too. Imagine waking up to the wonderful scent of blue spruce every morning. Does it get any better?

Better yet, Bungalow Flooring manufacturers all of their products right here in the United States. I love these mats and it makes me even happier to support a U.S. manufacturer.

 

 

 

Thanksgiving recipes: Use a ricer for the best mashed potatoes

Yes, the turkey is the star of the Thanksgiving Day dinner, but there are many key players. My favorite every year is the creamy, buttery mashed potatoes — no one can make them like my mother. This year, I finally asked: what’s the secret?

Using a ricer instead of whipping or hand mashing potatoes creates smooth, lump-free spuds fit for melted butter, gravy or both. Cook’s Illustrated recently put a few model to the test and picked two models on our site as their top two favorites.

  • RSVP International Potato Ricer: This food press features a sturdy handle and pot hook so it stays in place while you process your potatoes. The rectangular shape makes it easy to fit spuds of all sizes, plus the interchangeable disks allow you to master a range of different textures. It’s also a great model for making your own baby food or removing extra moisture from cooked greens. Plus, it’s dis-mountable and dishwasher safe!
    Cleaning: ∗∗∗  Ease of Use: ∗∗∗  Performance: ∗∗∗
  • OXO Three in One Adjustable Potato Ricer: This ricer from OXO is made for more than one job. The adjustable grates are great for ricing potatoes, but can also be used to cube veggies for soups and other recipes. This model also features a pot hook so it can be rested on the side of your pan while you process potatoes. Made from stainless steel and BPA-free plastic, plus it is safe to use in the dishwasher.
    Cleaning: ∗∗∗  Ease of Use: ∗∗1/2  Performance: ∗∗∗

Tips for the best mashed potatoes:

  • Season the cooking water: potatoes can be bland and the best way to season them is to salt the water you cook them in.
  • Get butter and cream warm before adding: Using cold cream or butter can cause potatoes to get gummy. Heat up the butter and cream beforehand.
  • Infuse: Steep crushed garlic and your favorite herbs in your warm butter before adding to your potatoes. This way you get flavor without lumps or chunks.
  • Use a ricer: Obviously, using a ricer will give you the smoothest potatoes, but make sure you do it while the spuds are still hot.

Holiday baking with fresh spices

pumpkinpie

The holiday season is fast approaching and with it comes loads of cleaning, shopping, decorating and of course — baking! While you’re prepping for your holiday feasts, consider using fresh herbs and spices instead of the market shelf dried variety. Storing and preserving these fresh goodies is simple with the right tools and using them can add that extra oomph to your recipes.

Whether you have left over homegrown goods from your summer garden or want to preserve fresh items from a local market, there are plenty of options to get the job done.

Many spices are sensitive to direct sunlight and intense heat, so they should be stored in a cool, dark area that is still within easy reach of your prep area. The best places to store your spices are inside cabinets and drawers, which keeps spices within easy reach. You can also store spices on a counter top away from any windows.

Fresh herbs

elegant evening dresses Keep all your excess fresh herbs stored away until you can use them with the Progressive fresh herb keeper. The water reservoir offers hydration for stored herbs, ensuring they stay fresh for several days in the refrigerator. Now you can keep fresh herbs readily available so you can enjoy fresh basil, rosemary and other spices in your signature dishes. These savory choices are a perfect addition to Thanksgiving Day turkey and more.

Spice mixtures

If you like to create your own spice mixtures and meat rubs, you need a convenient place to store your concoctions. Our spice balls provide tons of storage space to store large amounts of spice mixtures so you can keep a large quantity of herbs on hand. You can store smaller spice mixtures in our spice shakers, which allows you to sprinkle your favorite mixture over steaming plates of food.spiceshaker

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by spices, especially blends. But it’s really as simple as trial and error. Mix your favorite spices, see what you like and what you don’t.

Here’s one to try this holiday season:

Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix

  • 3 tbs cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • 2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cloves

Mary Joesten contributed to this story.

Simple, realistic steps towards a paperless kitchen

The thought of creating a paperless kitchen may seem like a daunting task, but with the help of the right organizational pieces it can be easily done. Any home – small or large, contemporary or traditional – can be reorganized to limit paper products.

instagram_paperlessFirst, it is important to consider your household, the people around you and what level of change is appropriate for your lifestyle. Going paperless doesn’t have to be a black and white choice – any move in the right direction has its impact. It is important to communicate with your family and agree on a plan of action before implementing any large changes in your home.

Before you begin

There are lots of easy ways to make your own kitchen towels on the cheap. For specifics, check our Pinterest board on the same subject. If you’re not the hands-on type, start stocking up on towels when you find them on sale. It’s important to start loading up on towels before riding your home of paper products. You want to be ready to tackle life’s messes sans-paper before you run out of paper towels, napkins, etc. This way you can seamlessly transition from one lifestyle to the next.

Storage

Once you have stocked up on dish and hand towels as well as fabric napkins, it is time to find a storage solution that works for you. A lot of organizers love utilizing glass candy jars to keep clean towels at the ready. This allows you to keep towels near the sink or on the counter top without compromising neatness or décor. paperless_rags

For dish towels or other rags that may not be as pretty to display, consider re-purposing a plastic bag recycler. These handy bins are hidden under kitchen counters to create out-of-sight storage. Fill them with clean kitchen rags and easily access a towel whenever you need it.

Use and cleaning

Once it is time to throw towels in the dirty laundry, it’s necessary to have a receptacle in the kitchen. Utilize an over the cabinet waste bin to collect dirty towels. This small, stylish trash bin hangs over cabinet doors; you can hang them to sit either inside or outside the door. Doing this limits the need to do laundry more frequently, and keeping it tucked under the counter keeps any odors or stains out of sight.

Not all towels are ready to toss in the laundry after one use though. To allow them to dry properly and keep them at hand for another use, add extra areas to hang them. Over the door towel racks are the perfect way to create more storage without compromising wall space or creating permanent structures. These handy rods simply slid over kitchen cabinet doors without hardware or tools – plus, they’re padded to protect wood from scratches and signs of wear. These racks are also perfect for the bathroom!

Once you have these simple organizational hacks conquered, a paperless kitchen will be just another aspect of your everyday life. And then you can work to utilize it throughout the rest of the house!

Find these products and more like them at StacksandStacks.com.

Go back to school with healthy packed lunches

Ready or not, here comes another school year. As the homework piles up, it’s important to keep your attention to detail. There’s no denying it, some days it is just easier to have the kids grab lunch in the cafeteria, but today’s lunchrooms are chock full of sugary drinks and salty snacks that begin a lifetime of unhealthy habits.

Utilize these handy pieces to create quick, easy and healthy lunches every day:

lunch1Japanese style lunch box

Let lunch get creative with this Bento Box style lunch box. Bento Boxes are a traditional boxed meal in Japanese culture. They typically have separate containers for rice, protein and veggies. Modern twists on this style create an easy way to pack a well-balanced, healthy lunch for work or school. This specific design features a nesting container with three cubbies and a lid – perfect for packing and separating items without using disposable plastic bags.

Reusable lunch wrap

lunch2If you or your kids or more of just the plain ol’ sandwich type, this reusable wrap is for you. You can pack any kind of sandwich without using plastic wrap.

Snack dipperlunch4lunch3

Snacking doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Packing healthy snacks is super easy thanks to this cool double compartment container. This piece is designed to accommodate your favorite dips and sides, like hummus with carrots, celery with peanut butter and more. This case is awesome for lunches but is great for a quick study break snack you can throw in your purse, backpack, briefcase and more.

Salad container with dressing holder

The ultimate in healthy lunches: a simple salad. Not so simple to pack though.  Well that has changed. This handy container is made to pack your favorite salad, complete with a side of salad dressing. The leak proof container is also ideal for stir-f
ry, pasta and other dishes. It comes with a detachable ice pack so it’s super easy to keep foods cool during the day – this container can sit in your locker before lunch and stay fresh.

Feeling inspired? Check us out on Pinterest for lunch ideas. 
Find these products and more like them at StacksandStacks.com.

Go back to school with cool locker accessories

Go back to school with cool locker accessories

It still feels like summer has just joined us, but the beginning of another school year is drawing near. Every year we pile up the supplies, but it’s easy to overlook the details. As kids get older, maintaining storage and organization at school becomes more important. Help kids keep their lockers clean and their academics up with some of our customer favorites:

  • Adjustable locker shelf: Add storage and efficiently to any locker with this plastic shelf. Built to fit standard sized lockers, this unit features two shelves and a pull out drawer for smaller supplies. Available in black, blue or pink this shelf unit is perfect for all ages. Organize books and binders while maintain space for backpacks and lunchboxes with this handy shelf.backtoschool-1
  • Locker liner: Add personality to school lockers with this cool wallpaper. This decorative paper applies completely adhesive free – the magnetic sheets come in four pre-cut panels. Choose from a multitude of patterns: classic damask, blue polka dots, green stripes, leopard, zebra, teal paisley, pink chevron or purple scrolls.
  • backtoschool-2Magnetic pencil cup: Keep pencils, pens and other writing tools handy with this magnetic pencil cup. The brushed stainless steel finish is the perfect style to satisfy any age or gender. This simple piece the easiest way to stay organized at school.
  • Locker pockets: This hanging organizer is perfect for the locker. The fabric unit features five pockets to help sort all kinds of supplies. This piece even includes a mirror so kids can check their appearance between classes. The design includes a top hook to hang the piece and is available in either pink or blue colors.backtoschool-3
  • Designer locker white board: This handy little white board is the perfect way to remember homework assignments, important dates and more. Featuring a magnetic back, this white board holds on tight to inner out outer locker surfaces. It even comes with an included dry erase pen with a built in eraser. Choose from different patterns: purple damask, black polka dot, pink polka dot, blue flowers, blue scroll or leopard print.

Find these products and more like them at StacksAndStacks.com.

Enjoy this summer’s herbs all year long

One of my favorite things about summer is fresh herbs. Even when I was in an apartment, I had all my pots lined up on the deck, boasting fresh bunches of oregano, basil, cilantro, rosemary and more.

Towards the end of the summer, when a distinct chill starts to creep through the air, I always debate what to do with my remaining herbs. I never have the space to bring the pots inside and keep them going – beside, I’m pretty sure my cat would just dig them up.

This year is different. I am prepared with loads of ideas to preserve and utilize all my leftover herbs.

Cubes

herbs-4

Photo courtesy thekitchn.com.

herbs-1Yes, you can freeze fresh herbs. They actually last way longer this way and the flavors are so well preserved. There are lots of ways to go about this, but my favorite so far is freezing them in olive oil with an ice cube tray. I love this tray from CasaBella the best. The cubes are small and square so you can get good oil to herb ratio, plus the silicone makes it super easy to pop out the cubes without breaking them.

To do this, roughly chop up herbs and place them in the cube tray using equal amounts in each mold. Fill the molds with olive oil (or a different oil of your preference — coconut oil works well too, but I prefer the flavor of olive for cooking.) Freeze the trays and add a cube to recipes as you cook. You can remove the cubes from the trays after a day and throw them all in a freezer-safe Ziploc bag to free up the molds for other projects.

Oil

herbs-6Skip the freezing all together and create your own oil infusions. Glass oil bottles are inexpensive and easy to store. Slide bunches of your favorite fresh herbs into the bottles – maybe one with basil, another with rosemary or get creative and mix different flavors in one bottle – fill them with oil and leave them in a cabinet to infuse for no more than three months. Just like the cubes, this oil can be added to cooking and baking – or better yet, mopped up with some nice, crusty bread.

Butter me up

Photo courtesy goodlifeeats.com.

Photo courtesy goodlifeeats.com.

If you prefer to enjoy those fresh herbs sooner rather than later, compound butter is a great, inexpensive and almost effortless way to utilize them.

I’ve yet to meet a compound butter I will turn my nose up at. There are tons of recipes online, but the idea is so simple you can do whatever you want.

Throw two sticks of very, very soft butter in a bowl and set aside. Mince one tablespoon each of your favorite herbs — I love mincing up some fresh garlic as well. Throw in your herbs and mix with the soft butter until completely combined. Roll out some plastic wrap and scoop the butter on top. From there, form a long roll with the butter and roll the warp around it, twisting the ends. Let you fresh butter set in the fridge before using. Now you can add this tasty butter to baking and cooking – or snacking.

Outside to in

herbs-2If you do want to keep you herbs inside for the colder months, there are a couple easy transitions you can make.

herbs-3

Photo courtesy domestically-speaking.com.

Bring the outside in by utilizing a cool window box indoors. The great thing about window boxes is that they allow you to maintain multiple plants in one pot, limiting clutter and mess. Even better, they typically come with mounting hardware and can easily be anchored to a kitchen wall, staircase railing, windowsill and other spaces.  Doing this allows you to tend to your herbs without hording space with multiple pots.

If you’re feeling a little more DIY creative, consider mason jar planters. These adorable alternative planters can make a great display piece for your kitchen. Mount a few to an empty wall or the side of your cabinets to create a playful spot for your herbs. The clear glass presents an opportunity to get creative too. Place rocks or cool glass stones in the bottom of the jars to accent your kitchen décor or color scheme.

Utilize these easy steps to enjoy your fresh herbs throughout the entire year.

Find these products and more like them at StacksandStacks.com.
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Ideas for innovative kitchen storage

Ideas for innovative kitchen storage

The kitchen is the hub of activity in your house. Even though it’s great to have a central gathering place and something in common that brings you and your family together every day (food), it can get chaotic pretty easily. Usually it’s not just home to pots, pans, appliances, and food, but also a catch-all for things like mail, keys, and purses–not to mention the infamous junk drawer. Even if you have a spacious kitchen with plenty of storage, keeping it organized is vital for everyone’s sanity. Here are a few tricks to keeping your kitchen neat and orderly no matter what the day brings.

Rolling cabinet trays and vertical drawers

kitchen-1

Photo courtesy Modernize.com.

Ever just pile things on top of each other in the lower kitchen cabinets simply because you don’t feel like crouching down to put it in its proper place? Ever lose track a cleaning supply or a spice bottle because it was shoved behind 20 other items? One of the simplest kitchen hacks is installing rolling wooden or metal storage trays for your cabinets. Don’t forget about hanging racks on the insides of the doors that will allow extra storage space for smaller items. Vertical drawers are also a great solution because they allow you to save that precious horizontal space for bigger items.

Create this kind of storage space quickly and for less with the Slide Out Storage Tower. This three shelf storage shelf is perfect for storing dry goods, spices and more in the kitchen. The five inch wide shelf fits perfectly between stoves and counter tops – or even slides into the pantry.

Hanging utensils

In a small kitchen, the best thing you can do is take advantage of unused vertical space. While you could run out of counter space easily, you probably won’t run out of wall space. Hang vintage-chic baskets to store things like spatulas, ladles, and whisks. Not only will this save you counter space, it will also save you time while you’re busy cooking dinner.kitchen2

The Three Tier Seagrass basket is a great way to get this look. This sturdy basket lays flat against the wall and has a strong wooden handle to hang from. Each basket is large enough to accommodate large kitchen utensils, but is also perfect for storing napkins, take-out menus and more.

Coffee corner

kitchen-3

Photo courtesy Modernize.com.

If you’re a coffee fan, you probably have a whole section of counter or an entire cabinet dedicated to coffee paraphernalia. Keep everything organized by building a shelf or two for your most-used (or favorite, or most decorative) mugs and other supplies. Not only will this probably save you time and space, it will also make a decorative statement if you want it to be one.

Create more shelf space with the Sliding Cup Rack. Install it to the underside of a cabinet or shelf above your coffee maker to create a perfect java spot in the kitchen. This rack holds 10 mugs while keeping them accessible and on display.

Magnetic strips 

Instead of having a clunky countertop knife holder, opt for magnetic strips on the wall. This can also help keep your kids safe from sharp knives and scissors–without the hassle of baby-proofing the drawers.

kitchen-4Available in both 18.5 and 10 inch sizes, the Stainless Magnetic Knife Wall Rack will help keep kitchen knives at your fingertips without compromising counter space. Perfect for smaller kitchens, this magnetic strip is made from long lasting stainless steel and is easy to clean. Knives stay accessible but out of the reach of children – and you have more counter space to get some creative cooking done.

Dividers for pans 

Pans are pretty easy to store without taking up too much space. But stacking them just makes it so hard to find the exact one you need when you need it. Save yourself the time and stop clanking around loud enough to wake the dead every time you want to make cookies by buying pan dividers. Don’t forget that cutting boards and cooling trays can easily slide in too.

modernize-2

Photo courtesy Modernize.com.

The 12-Inch Tray Divider in nickel finish is the easy way to add dividers to existing cabinet space. This divider is constructed from strong steel wire and comes with included hardware to install in any cabinet. Use it to easily organize cutting boards, baking sheets, muffin tins and more.

Fold-down table for two 

Even if you don’t have a breakfast nook, there’s still a solution for a quiet meal for two in the mornings. Fold-down tables can pull double duty by giving you a place to eat and also giving you more counter or work space when you require. And the best part is that it won’t take up a permanent spot in your kitchen.

The Fold-A-Way Kitchen Table is the perfect piece for a small kitchen – or small family. Designed to seat two, this table folds up to tuck away when not in use. This hardwood table can be used with both leafs up or just one if you need added prep space during a get together. Folded up and against the wall, this table takes up only about 10 inches.

Innovative shelving 

This homeowner opted for a metal bar, somewhat like a clothes rack, and hooks that hold a hanging shelf conveniently near the stove. There’s also a creative wine glass rack. Don’t be afraid to do whatever works best for you. There are no rules to follow for making your kitchen easier to navigate and organize. Do it according to your needs.

Find more ideas at modernize.com. Find these products and more at stacksandstacks.com.

 Hannah West is a soon-to-be published Young Adult author based in Dallas, TX. She specializes in fiction but enjoys dabbling in diverse writing projects and currently writes for Modernize.com.

Tending: Photo-realistic rugs start a conversation

The search is never ending for that perfect rug. The size, shape, color, design, especially the price – all these factors go into, what is typically, a focal point of a room. Now that detail can be an explosion of personality and comfort in your home. The FoFloor rugs from Bungalow Flooring are the coolest new way to soften hard floors and create depth.

These rugs have been selling – pardon the cliché – but like hot cakes. And it’s not hard to see why.bungalow-4

These lively floor mats are made with woven polyester faces that capture near photo-realistic images and graphics, adding a distinguishable element of depth to any space. With a wide selection of a variety of images and sizes, you are sure to find something to bring out your personal style.

The image quality is what really makes these mats stand out. With a choice of anything from tile mosaics and cozy cabin wood, to stone walkways and graffiti walls – the choices are endless.

These rugs are built to last too. They’re manufactured from 4-mil neoprene, which offers low profile construction that also creates comfort when standing on hard surfaces. These mats are designed to eliminate bunching under doors, tripping hazards and the skid resistant backing will not curl or crack. These one-of-a-kind rugs stay in place on hard surfaces like wood, concrete or tile – although they are just at home atop carpeting in your living room or bedrooms.

Each pattern comes in at least three sizes, including: area ( 66 X 46 inches), runner (60 X 25 inches) and large (36 X 23 inches.)

If you love color, the Big Bloom is perfect for you. This vibrant, floral rug is the spitting image of a full garden bouquet. Pink and yellow daises as well as mums sit together to create a striking image, perfect for the bathroom, bedroom or craft space.

bungalow-1

If you have more of a classic style, either the Cottage print or Herringstone Path will blend in seamlessly with your décor. The cozy log cabin print of the Cottage rug is the perfect addition to any cabin, vacation home or just any décor of those who would rather be up-north.  The stone path print offers the same classic, charming characteristic.

bungalow-3bungalow-2

Crafters will love the Basket Weave print. This rug features an up close image of a standard bamboo basket weave. The large print is sure to pop out alongside any home décor.

And for those who dream of the beach, the Nautical print is ideal. An up close image of starfish and seashells on a clean, sandy beach adds the calming effect of lounging at your favorite water-side spot. Highlight nautical themes in the bathroom, master bedroom and more.

bungalow-5Finally, as if you need more reason, these rugs are American made. Strong, quality craftsmanship is a guarantee and Bungalow Flooring FoFloor mats are machine washable. So use them anywhere in the home and don’t worry about messes – simply throw them in the wash when needed.

Add style, comfort and what is sure to be a conversation starter to any area of your home with one of these fabulous photo-realistic rugs.

As always, find these products and more like them at stacksandstacks.com.

Celebrating all things made in America

In the United States, a lot of holidays hold significant meaning for different people. We all incorporate our own family traditions to create a personal memory. But there are a select few days that — despite whatever labels you choose to adorn yourself with — produce the same shinning pride and gratitude within all of us.fireworks

Independence Day, July 4th, the Fourth of July – this day is one, small 24-hour time period to admire and cherish this beautiful land we call home.

With that pride comes a desire to produce and consume items with the sought after “Made in America” label. This year, as we gather to celebrate our independence, let’s show our gratitude for the hardworking men and women who continue the tradition of quality American craftsmanship.

Stacks and Stacks is proud to offer a variety of products made in the USA. Here are a few notable ones:

Sterilite

Sterilite products have helped simplify and organize our lives for more than 75 years. Manufactured in the U.S., their storage solutions are found in homes, schools and offices. You may even be surprised to find out how many of their products are already in your home.

steriliteOne of their most common products is the Plastic Storage Basket. This basket, complete with handles and ventilation holes, is available in three different sizes. This storage piece is perfect for putting away kid’s toys, stashing cleaning products under the sink, transporting small items throughout the home and more.  Anything you can think of, this handy little basket can handle it.

While Sterilite is great for the classic storage pieces we love, they are always creating new items as well. A newer piece from them is the Stackable Containers. Made from durable clear plastic, this container is made from two interlocking bins with a top lid. Side latches keep the two containers and lid securely together. Perfect for craft items, small tools, school or art supplies and more, this portable organizer is ideal for the home or office – or traveling between the two.

Buddeez

Another American made brand that is quite popular on our site is Buddeez – their entire product line is manufactured here in the states. Buddeez made their debut on the market with their keep-fresh Bread Dispenser. This handy item remains the only bread dispenser on the market. Designed to store an entire loaf of sandwich bread in the bag, this tube-like container allows you to easily access every slice.buddeez

Buddeez is also known for their Bag-In Dispenser for Bulk Foods. This food-safe plastic container is designed to store and dispense bagged bulk items – like sugar, rice, cereal and more – right in the bag. The side handle and top flip-open lid both make pouring easy.

This piece is a popular one, and the reviews prove it: “I use these containers to store cereal. It helps dry cereal from going stale in the box. The containers fit nicely in my cupboard. I highly recommend them. They’d also be great for rice!”

This year, celebrate our great country by supporting local manufacturers.

Find these products and more like them at stacksandstacks.com.