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House To Home

Quilt artists busy at work

In this winter of hunkering down at home, there’s a trend that’s just right for the times: quilts as decor and as art. An artistic quilt might be displayed prominently on a wall, thrown over a couch, or just folded and hung from the rungs of a ladder. (Or you could cozy up with ...

Is COVID-19 vaccine safe for pregnant women?

What should I know about COVID-19 vaccines if I’m pregnant? -------------- Vaccination is likely the best way to prevent COVID-19 in pregnancy, when risks for severe illness and death from the virus are higher than usual. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says ...

Japanese Garden in Lotusland, Calif., an outdoor getaway for many to reflect

MONTECITO, Calif. — The botanical gardens at Lotusland, near Santa Barbara, California, offer a meditative retreat outdoors during the coronavirus outbreak. Consider the Japanese Garden, which opened in June 2019 after a $6 million, 11-year renovation under the stewardship of former ...

Turn seeds into trees

How exciting to think of a full-size tree locked up within each seed still clinging to the branches of sugar maples, hornbeams, oaks, sycamores and other trees at the end of summer. It was with such visions that I dropped an apple seed into some potting soil in an 8-inch clay flowerpot one ...

Amazon pledges $2 billion for affordable housing in 3 cities

SEATTLE (AP) — Amazon has announced $2 billion in loans and grants to secure affordable housing in three U.S. cities where it has major operations, including a Seattle suburb where the online retail giant employs at least 5,000 workers. Amazon said it would give $185.5 million to the King ...

Ask the Associated Press: Can I get coronavirus again?

• If I’ve already had the coronavirus, can I get it again? • It’s possible, but such cases seem to be rare. It’s not unusual to develop some immunity to a virus after an infection, since our bodies are generally better at recognizing and fighting off bugs they’ve encountered ...

Here, chicky, chicky! Pandemic feeds demand for backyard chickens

ROSS, Calif. — The coronavirus pandemic is coming home to roost in America’s backyards. Forced to hunker down at home, more people are setting up coops and raising their own chickens, which provide an earthy hobby, animal companionship and a steady supply of fresh eggs. Amateur ...

Reset for the new year: Soothing decor good way to usher in 2021

After an anxiety-filled 2020 and during the continuing pandemic, many of us are looking to our homes for nearly everything: a place to work, study, sleep, eat, exercise. And don’t forget unwind. Homes these days can offer calm and relaxation, designers say. Whether that means a decor ...

COVID-19 accelerates no-exam trend in life insurance

Big data is playing a prominent role in life insurance this year. Interest in coverage has surged during the pandemic, but for many people, social distancing mandates took the life insurance medical exam off the table. As consumers look for quick, noninvasive ways to buy policies, insurers ...

If you want to grow apples, choose the tastiest variety

By LEE REICH Associated Press If you’re thinking about growing apples, take some time now to test varieties and talk with local growers. I grow an apple called Hudson’s Golden Gem and I do so for one reason. Yes, this apple’s russeted, golden skin is beautiful. But it’s the ...

The various advantages to shopping locally

FROM METRO CREATIVE SERVICES Residents of a given town or city are often encouraged to support local businesses by looking to these firms to fill their needs. Small businesses are not just integral parts of communities, employing millions across the country, they also are operations that ...

Ask the AP: Can I shop safely?

Q: Is shopping in stores safe during the pandemic? ------------------------------- A: There are ways to reduce risk, but health experts advise avoiding it when possible. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says holiday shopping in crowded stores is a “higher risk” ...

Day in the sun: Budding florists show their stuff in TV reality series

NEW YORK — They designed epic floral statements in limited time with some very intense judges, but the contestants on the new reality competition series "Full Bloom" did not wilt under pressure. Ten budding florists from around the United States compete in wildly creative floral design ...

Financial advice rarely one-size-fits-all

When I hear financial tips that are unrealistic or shame-inducing, I cringe. Any advice that makes complicated money moves seem like an easy path to profit is downright dangerous. Questionable guidance is all around, oversimplifying important decisions or claiming a one-size-fits-all ...

Colder months can be perfect time to photograph gardens

NEW YORK — The coronavirus has led more people to spend time outdoors, and many find themselves walking the same paths and gazing at the same trees or shrubs day after day. Author and self-taught landscape photographer Larry Lederman suggests looking at your surroundings anew by turning a ...

Cuttings can multiply trees, shrubs

How magical: Stick a piece of wood in the ground and next year it becomes a plant. That stick is a hardwood cutting, an easy way to multiply some favorite trees, vines and shrubs. They’re called “hardwood” because the pieces are mature and woody rather than young and succulent. Not ...

Weather, treatment options addressed

By The Associated Press ------------------ Does weather affect the spread of the coronavirus outside? ------------------ Not really. The World Health Organization says the virus can be transmitted in any kind of weather and that there is no reason to believe that cold weather can ...

Ask the AP: Is it safe to celebrate Halloween?

Ask the AP: ------------ Can I celebrate Halloween during the pandemic? ------------ Yes, but probably not like you normally would. Health experts say some Halloween traditions like crowding on doorsteps for candy and inching your way through haunted houses heighten the risk of ...