Weekly home&garden rail, with tips on decorating, gardening, attracting owls and more.


Decorating Tip

This summer's hottest hues are blue and white themes. Here are some cool ways to make it work for you:

- Asian: A simple white vase with intricate blue details is a hallmark of Asian decor. Fill a large vase with bright red or yellow summer flowers for a beautiful and cheerful centerpiece.

- Beach cottage: Swap out heavy rugs for breezy floor mats made of durable grass and add seating with blue and white ceramic garden stools. Frame photos of cherished summer moments in a simple white frame accented with a bit of blue.

- Traditional: Remove darker throw pillows and blankets left over from colder months and replace them with crisp blue and white cotton and silk accents. Set a lovely summer table with classic blue and white porcelain or ceramic dishes on top of white chargers and accented with crisp, white linen napkins.

- Modern: Branch out into shades of aqua and indigo with pops of bright white. Stripes and polka dots are simple and contemporary and look great on tablecloths, napkins and placemats. (ARA)

Did You Know …

One way to loosen up a door that sticks is to apply car wax to it.

Garden Guide

You can perform light pruning on your plants no matter what time of year it is. For heavy pruning, make sure it’s the appropriate time for your specific plant.

Home Improvements: Fit a big workshop in a small space

- Lay it out: Before you start placing tools, draw up design options. An overhead view provides a nice perspective to spot space-saving opportunities. Sketching also forces you to think through the entire shop, giving you a better idea of what you want and what is realistic. 

- Think mobile and modular: A shop does not have to look the same in operation as it does in hibernation. Instead of bulky permanent setups, make it easy to arrange workstations when and where you need them.

- Don't over-tool: If your shop can't hold all the tools you want, focus on the ones you need. That list depends on the kinds of projects you'll be making, so plan accordingly.

- Give dust due diligence: Without proper dust collection and ventilation, a small shop will be uncomfortable at best, dangerous at worst.

- Store smart, store more: Finding creative ways to store tools and supplies will really stretch your space. For example, if your router table rests on four open legs, build or buy a cabinet-style base and, voila -- you've got a place for bits and hand-tools without adding bulk. (ARA)

How to get rid of wasps in an eco-friendly way

Always tackle hives and nests at night, when insects are less active. Wear protective clothing, covering your face and hands. Slip a large plastic bag over the nest and knock it into the bag. Quickly seal the bag and leave it in the sun for at least a day; the bright sun will kill the insects. For ground nests, pour boiling water into the nest opening. (ARA)

Backyard Buddies

Some tips from Birdsforever.com on how to attract owls to your yard:

- Create a forest edge or open woodland with lots of trees and perching spaces. An evergreen tree is preferable. Owls will live in any back yard with mature habitat that supports a variety of other wildlife.

- Spare that old or dead tree. Screech owls can use them for nesting.

- Mount a screech owl house 10 to 30 feet above ground in a mature tree such as a large oak.

- Offer a source of water for drinking and bathing. Most owls will readily drink and bathe in garden ponds and birdbaths at night.

- Avoid using mouse and rat poison. If an owl eats a poisoned rodent, the owl will get poisoned as well.

GateHouse News Service