House To Home

US home prices up 6.2 percent

WASHINGTON — U.S. home prices climbed a robust 6.2 percent from a year ago, amid strong demand from would-be buyers and a shrinking supply of properties for sale. Standard & Poor's said Tuesday that its S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller national home price index stood in October a solid 6 ...

Pocket-size seed packets speak volumes

A seed packet may be small, but it speaks volumes. While seed catalogs promote thousands of types of plants, seed packets tell gardeners how to grow one. All the information is printed on the back of a paper pouch slightly larger than the size of your wallet, and at prices that won't empty ...

Beginners take heart: Indigo dyeing makes everyone look good

When the outcome of a craft project is a surprise, it's often not a good surprise. My recent experience trying indigo dyeing in Tokyo was an exception to that rule. Dye from the indigo plant has been used for centuries all over the world. It's the familiar blue of blue jeans, and in a class ...

US housing starts rose 3.3 percent in November

WASHINGTON — Construction of new homes increased 3.3 percent in November — with the gain largely coming from single-family houses being built at the strongest pace in more than a decade. The Commerce Department said Tuesday that builders broke ground on homes last month at a seasonally ...

Olive, a worthy holiday tree

How about an olive tree for a holiday tree? I'm not suggesting olive to replace spruces, firs and other conifers that are our traditional holiday trees. But an olive tree, which symbolizes peace and is a tree you actually would find growing in Jerusalem, is an appropriate accompaniment to the ...

Home decor’s steamy new palette

While it seems like white, gray and other cool neutrals have taken over many shelter magazines and blogs in the past few seasons, there's starting to be little rise in temperature. Here and there, dollops of hothouse pink, sultry red and sunset orange are showing up in decorative accessories, ...

No snow?

CONCORD, N.H. — Living in a state where it can snow anytime between October and April, I don't often wish snow would stick around even longer. But I can't deny that it can be pretty, so I decided to test a few ways of making long-lasting faux snowballs to decorate my home for the holidays and ...

Swarm chasers return wayward honeybees to hives

When half or more of your honeybees have deserted the hive and are lingering nearby, who ya gonna call? Swarm chasers can provide quick help to fellow beekeepers, keeping them from getting stung literally and financially. “A swarm is the division of the honeybee colony into two parts,” ...

Giving the gift of memory

For elderly people struggling with memory loss, one of the toughest things can be forgetting the details of their own lives. What must it be like when you struggle to recall something you were sure you'd never forget — the name of an old friend, perhaps, or a favorite city where you once ...

No strife, no food allowed in the woman cave, but decaf tea’s OK

NEW YORK — When people find out that I'm an empty nester with a “woman cave” in my New York City apartment, they seem to have a lot of questions. So I recently created this FAQ about it for Facebook friends, which led to a whole other round of comments and questions. If you're curious ...

Ask a designer:

Holiday decorating is all about adding a bit of cheer and sparkle, a task made easier by the recent popularity of all things metallic. With winter’s shortage of daylight, the sheen of metallic furnishings, fabric and decorative pieces can add a dose of the brightness and warmth so many of us ...

Nurseries worthy of a Bohemian lullaby

Traditional nursery decor tends to be a gently stirred mix of cute animals, soft hues and nicely matched furnishings. And there’s much to be said for all that sweet serenity; these are rooms both peaceful and soothing. But many parents and designers are looking to inject nurseries with a ...

Not an actual cactus, candelabra cactus is easy to grow

On my living room floor once sat a clerodendron plant, a gift that became an indoor oasis of lush greenery and clusters of red-tipped white flowers. Problem was, I had to tiptoe among its sprawling stems every time I wanted to approach the window. What’s sometimes needed in a houseplant is ...

Iowa students build robot for garden project

DAVENPORT, Iowa — Davenport West High School students are building a robot to be used next spring in gardens at Buffalo Elementary School. The “FarmBot” project is the brainchild of Buffalo Principal Heidi Gilliland as project-based learning that involves the technology students at ...

Another thing to argue about: throw pillows

It’s a well-known decorating fact that throw pillows are an easy and inexpensive way to change the look of a room. They can add color, texture, interest or a dash of holiday cheer. But that doesn’t mean everybody appreciates them. The internet is full of women (and their interior ...

US pending home sales surged 3.5 percent in October

WASHINGTON — More people signed contracts in October to buy homes, ending three straight months of declines. The National Association of Realtors said Wednesday that its index of pending home sales jumped 3.5 percent to 109.3 in October. Despite the increase, the index remains slightly ...

Plan and budget for a good return on your garden investment

The first of the 2018 seed catalogs will be arriving soon in the mail, signaling the start of another growing season. Savvy vegetable gardeners pore over the pages while choosing plants and drafting budgets. Planning ahead provides healthier returns for what can become a costly ...