Blog Posts by Martha Stewart Living

  • How to Make Fabric and Leather Organizer Baskets


    This workwear-inspired catchall is the perfect organizing accessory for your keys and phone when you get home from work or to organize the top of your dresser. Create your own using your favorite fabric and leather.



    More from Martha Stewart:

    10 Ways to Save Energy at Home

    Dishwasher Dos and Don'ts

    19 Tips for Perfect Laundry Every Time

    Martha Stewart's Ultimate Organizing Solutions

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  • How (and When) to Clean an Area or Shag Rug

    Safavieh, exclusive rug partner of Martha Stewart Living, has been in the business for an incredible 100 years. Who better than the company's owner, Arash Yaraghi, to give us the bottom line on maintaining area rugs -- even the notoriously fussy shag?

    Related: 47 Ways to Maximize Space in Your Kitchen

    How often should I be cleaning my carpets?

    Would you guess monthly? Yearly? Not even close. Even the plushest carpets need formal cleaning only every five years. Save your time and money: spot-treat stains as needed in between -- and vacuum regularly, of course.

    Related: 12 Tools to Use in Your House in Unexpected Ways

    What's the best stain treatment out there?

    For all the pricey options available, I've found nothing more effective than plain white vinegar and water. Blend them together in equal parts, and pour the solution over the stain. After a few minutes, wipe it away for a rug that's as good as new.

    Related: Martha Stewart's Ultimate Organizing Solutions

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  • Crystal-Clear Answers to Three Window-Washing Myths

    By Kevin Sharkey Martha Stewart Living

    Come spring, I'm obsessed with cleaning -- I want to do it and do it well. Sparkling windows and mirrors are at the top of my list, and I'm always looking for ways to get the job done better and faster.

    Related: 10 Ways to Save Energy at Home

    There's a lot of noise out there about technique, and it can be hard to get a clear answer on even the most basic questions. Well, I've done the legwork, so do yourself a favor and forget what you've heard. Time to start taking your window-washing tips from -- if I may be so bold -- the experts.

    Don't wash windows in the sun, or you'll get streaks. True. Direct sunlight -- or wind, for that matter -- will dry your windows too quickly, leaving unsightly streaks behind. To avoid a cloudy residue, save this chore for a cloudy day.

    Related: Martha Stewart's Ultimate Organizing Solutions

    For the best wash, pony up for the fancy sprays. False (and how!). I use a 1:1 mix of vinegar and water. It

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  • Floods of Inspiration: Rainy-Day Decor and Style Ideas

    So your spring cleaning's done, but the season's wet weather isn't. Don't let a rainy day dampen your mood -- or your home. These decorative ideas and cleaning tips will keep you sparkling on all fronts, no matter the forecast.

    Related: 47 Ways to Maximize Space in Your Kitchen

    Bucket Umbrella Stand

    Transform an inexpensive flower bucket into a nice-looking umbrella stand by painting the bottom of the bucket with glossy oil-based enamel paint. In addition to providing color, the paint will help disguise any rust caused by dripping umbrellas. Mark the bottom third of a tall galvanized bucket (available at garden centers) with painters' tape; prime and paint this area and the bottom of the bucket. Let dry 24 hours before removing tape.

    Related: 12 Tools to Use in Your House in Unexpected Ways

    DIY Entryway Decor

    Swapping standard coat hooks for drawer knobs of varied shapes and sizes creates a whimsical look that will have you praying for jacket weather.

    Hanger

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  • 12 Spots You (Almost) Forgot to Clean

    1. Pillows

    It's not enough to wash the cases, you should also throw the pillows themselves into the laundry (most are machine washable) once every three to six months to remove mold, bacteria, and odors.

    2. Small Appliances

    Out of sight, out of mind -- that seems to be most folks' credo when it comes to the interiors of small appliances. Thing is, the insides see more action than the outsides, and deserve to be cleaned as well. For a coffeemaker, fill the carafe with equal parts water and white vinegar. Pour into the reservoir and turn the machine on. When several cups have filled the carafe, turn it off and let it sit for an hour. Then turn it back on and "rinse" with a few cycles of water. For a toaster, simply pull down the crumb tray knob or turn the toaster upside down to allow the crumbs to fall out; wipe the tray with a damp sponge.

    Related: 47 Ways to Maximize Space in Your Kitchen

    3. Ventilation Hood

    You've wiped down the counters and appliances and mopped

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  • Brass Entryway-Organizer: That's One Good-Looking Life Hack

    The school permission slip. The envelope that needs to be posted. This back-door bulletin board organizes all of that -- and saves you precious time in the last-minute scramble as you head out the door. Ours is a basic store-bought corkboard that's been painted and outfitted with a ledge and rod (to hold larger mail), plus cup hooks (for keys). Keep the family's monthly calendar here, too, for at-a-glance reminders of doctor appointments and meetings.

    Adding the shallow shelf along the bottom and the brass rod across the front helps corral files, folders, and envelopes that are too bulky for a tack or pin.

    Related: 47 Ways to Maximize Space in Your Kitchen

    Materials
    Drill and bit
    Bulletin board
    Wooden board, 1 by 2 inches, cut to interior width of bulletin board
    Wood screws
    Paint (in desired color) and paintbrush
    White cork fabric (optional)
    Multipurpose spray adhesive, such as 3M Super 77 (optional)
    2 sets of gooseneck brackets
    #4 screws, 1/2

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  • 5 (Totally Avoidable) Mistakes You're Making when Buying Linens

    Jane Scott Hodges understands that style is personal. That's why she founded Leontine Linens, a couture fine-linens company that goes the extra mile to make sure clients come away with products they love -- even conducting in-home consultations. Leontine Linens designs custom items for bedrooms, bathrooms, dining rooms, and more. Each made-to-order piece -- from bath towels and bed sheets to napkins and nightshirts -- is crafted individually and meant to add a bit of luxury to everyday life.

    How did Leontine Linens start?

    It all started with monogrammed linens. I wanted to put a fresh twist on [traditional] monogramming. I thought it would be fun to blow the designs up and make [them pop], so you can swap formal white linen napkins for a more [playful] color version.

    I think it's a shame to only have nice dinners out, where it can be loud and distracting. People worry about getting everything perfect for at-home dinner parties. If you have 14 people and a china set of 12,

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  • 3 Last-Minute (But Still Amazing) Mother's Day Gifts

    Do Your Mama Proud

    She raised you to be resourceful and think on your feet, so we're sure she won't mind if you put those skills into action. If Mother's Day snuck up on you this year (doesn't it always?), never fear! Read on for ideas to help pull together a meaningful tribute to Mom in minutes . . . she'll be none the wiser.

    Screen (and Face) Time

    When you were little, you had all the time in the world to spend with Mom. Show her you still care by planning a special night in for the two of you to cuddle up with a favorite film.

    Movie Night Mother's Day Card

    1. Print the movie ticket clip art.

    2. Cut out, and fold.

    3. Slip it into a small envelope addressed to the guest of honor.

    Related: 12 Tools to Use in Your House in Unexpected Ways

    Special Delivery

    Sign Mom up for a fruit- or cheese-of-the-month club, or buy her a share in the local CSA. A grocery-inspired gift will save her time and money all year long.

    Related: Martha Stewart's Ultimate

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  • 3 Things Your Mom Actually Wants for Mother's Day

    Your mom gave you the world growing up -- and while you may not be able to repay her gift in kind, you can make her day with something more tactile. This year, skip the drugstore card and craft a symbolic gesture to show her what her many gifts meant to you.

    Tissue Paper Posies

    A classic Mother's Day move -- but for good reason. Tissue-paper posies will add festive flair to eggs Benedict and fresh-squeezed OJ.

    Materials
    5-by-15-inch sheets of tissue paper
    Pipe cleaners

    1. Layer 5-by-15-inch sheets of tissue paper, alternating colors. Make 1-inch-wide accordion folds.

    2. Wrap 1 end of a pipe cleaner around the center of the folded paper, and twist to secure. Round the edges of the folded paper with scissors.

    3. Fan out folds, and gently pull apart each layer of tissue paper to create petals.

    Related: 12 Tools to Use in Your House in Unexpected Ways

    Flower-Arranging Gift Kit

    Your favorite gardener will appreciate a kit for arranging flowers that she can

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  • Three Julep Cup Decorating Ideas for Derby Day (or Any Day)

    By Kevin Sharkey of Martha Stewart Living

    I've always had a thing for julep cups. I'm not sure when the infatuation began; I've got good associations with occasions where they tend to appear, and I've always appreciated the light that silver brings. Martha gave me a monogrammed set from Tiffany's a few years ago, and it's one of my favorite gifts I've ever received.

    Related: 47 Ways to Maximize Space in Your Kitchen

    In honor of the Kentucky Derby (the mint julep's unofficial holiday), here are three of my favorite ways to use these bright and shiny vessels around the home. They're available in many price points and styles -- sleek Art Deco, softer hammered silver -- so you can easily adapt these ideas to your own taste.

    One day, when I grow up, I want a set of solid-gold cups. Here's hoping!

    On the table. A julep cup makes a charming vase or centerpiece -- it looks polished, but not overthought. I'd also use them as place settings for an intimate brunch or dinner

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