DIY

Last fall we were treated to a long 'Indian summer,' with temps in the 70s to low 80s (that's balmy and beautiful for those of you on celsius) throughout September and October. Weather like that is perfect for painting projects because the paint goes on smoothly and dries quickly, and you're not miserable working in the heat or cold. Besides that cool blue dining room redo, we also tackled the front and back entrance door exteriors, in addition to a row of gingerbread ball finials lining the top of our front porch.  Read more →


Last spring I shared with you one sexy idea that yielded something even sexier: measurable cost savings on our utility bill during last year's snowpocalypse. Simply wrapping your pipes with something like mini pool noodles could help you fight climate change without breaking your bank or requiring major dietary changes. Now I'm back with another hot plan to save the world, and this time I mean jeans. Read more →


In October the weather finally cooled off enough to open up the windows and tackle a huge painting project that had been on our to-do list for a while: the dining room.  Read more →


An odd thing happened to me this year: I got the Christmas spirit. No, I wasn't visited by ghosts in the middle of the night. I'm actually not sure why it happened. Lisa thinks it's because our son is staying with us this holiday season before he ships off to Navy bootcamp. That might be it. It might also be that I've just reached the age where any reason to feel warm and snuggly is a good enough reason. Read more →


This is a rhubarb custard pie, baking inside our Sun Oven. So yes. The answer is yes, you can bake a pie in a solar oven! Here's how. Read more →


Last time we mentioned solar cooking, we introduced you to the sun-sational (that pun can't help itself) Sun Oven and showed you how we used it to cook a pot of rice. This time I'm all about the meat, which turns out to be a great thing to cook the solar way. Read more →


Yeah, that's my superhero hunk, AKA the other half of Brunette Gardens... But what's that shiny thing there in the left corner? It's not kryptonite... it's a Sun Oven! Read more →


When we began growing annual vegetables last year, we came to the task with at least some experience, but we certainly had a lot to learn. Still, I'm amazed by how much food we're getting already out of our little 1/4-acre homestead habitat. Read more →


Back in the fall of 2018, we signed up for the St. Louis Audubon Society's Bring Conservation Home (BCH) program. A couple of "habitat advisors" came out to survey our garden, and they provided us with a list of recommendations for making it more wildlife- and pollinator-friendly. It was a long list, too: Our one-quarter acre was comprised of nothing but invasive plant species run amok, a huge expanse of turf grass, and a smattering of exotic ornamentals that did little to feed native insects and critters. Everyone agreed there was much work to be done. Read more →


If you love the thrill of the hunt that comes with thrifting and yard sales but aren’t visiting any estate sales, you are missing out on an opportunity for amazing vintage finds. Estate sales are like yard sales, but instead of just browsing items they’ve set out on their driveway, you’re perusing through the entire property. They’re usually held for a number of unfortunate reasons. Sometimes the sellers have a need to downsize, or the owners may have passed away. Be that as it may, estate sales provide a unique opportunity for people to walk through a home and find really interesting, affordable goods. Lucky for you, we’ve got some great tips to make sure you go through your first estate sale like a seasoned pro.  Read more →