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Shelterpop

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    Start cleaning a room from one corner and work your way out. Going through each room twice will do wonders for the overall end result.

    In the first run-through, gather everything that doesn't belong in the room and put them in a basket for the time being--returning each item to its proper place will quickly have you distracted from the room you are cleaning. The second time through, wipe down tables and shelves and finish vacuuming or sweeping the floor.

    Have a cleaning tip to share? Let us know at Twitter.com/ShelterPop.

     

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    Our favorite authors give us a peek into the space where they write, research and yes, procrastinate. Today, The Wedding Shawl author Sally Goldenbaum welcomes us to her porch.

    Where I write?

    In heaven.

    Or one little sliver of it, maybe.

    It's a room off the back of our Prairie Village Kansas, home, tucked behind the family room and kitchen.

    Courtesy of Sally Goldenbaum



    A white, screened-in porch, square as a box, with a sisal rug angled beneath the furniture and a traffic pattern faint and tan on its surface. An old cabinet saved from an interior renovation is built into one corner and looks like it has owned the space forever. The chairs are casual with blue and white cushions, and the couch is the perfect length to hold a resting writer between chapters. It even has its own special breeze, one that travels through the space on warm Kansas days and whispers, 'Stay here. Be still. Write.'

    Each spring I eagerly await the first warm-enough week when I fill buckets with soapy water and head out to clean the wide ceiling fan. Next come the screens and the walls, dreary with winter dust. The cushions are washed and piled on the deck to dry in the sun, the chairs wiped off, favorite CDs and books and candles brought out for their summer stay in the corner cabinet.
    And in the far, upper corner of the porch, on the other side of the screen, I know for certain that porch-writing season is about to begin. A pair of robins tells me it's so. They come back each year to burrow into the space they've hollowed out beneath the porch eave, filling it with ribbons and straw and dryer fluff as they ready themselves for the birth of their young. The magic rite of spring.

    And I settle in, too, preparing for the birth of a book.

    The writing porch isn't a fancy one. The furniture is a dozen years old and the pillows have taken the shape of resting bodies. But from March to late October and sometimes all the way to Thanksgiving, it's an office, a home. A writing space.

    It isn't only the robins that share this space with me. I've a writing companion, too-Nancy Pickard (The Scent of Rain and Lightning)-who shares the breeze and the white furniture, who, on most days, appears like magic with her black Mac in hand and settles into the wicker chair across the porch from me, or some days the rocking chair or the couch.

    Courtesy of Sally Goldenbaum



    Although Nancy and I write our own separate books, we share the space and the writing vibes, sometimes the muses if they show up. But especially we share a kindred spirit and sensibility. Another person who knows that sitting at a computer isn't always easy. That cleaning an oven or walking in a freezing rain or going to Target sometimes sounds devastatingly attractive.
    But no, it's time to write, our presence says to one another. And so we stay put. Without a single word passing our lips, we shout to the other: I'm sitting here on this lovely porch writing. Don't you think you should be, too?

    The rule of our writing porch is simple: Quiet. Authors at work. And mostly that's what we do, saving news updates and gossip for later, pausing only for water or coffee or diet Coke refills.
    But sometimes priming-the-pump breaks are in order, when one of us might head to the deck where the dogs are napping in the sun, to sit with Sophie and Daisy and hope the bungled chapter will straighten itself out in our absence. Or maybe we'll talk through a snag together, walking around the yard, smelling the lilac blooms or the spread of iris as we help one another figure out why a new character appeared on the page. Or we might sit side by side at the edge of the pool, pants legs rolled up and feet in the water, to talk about the perfect murder or red herrings or why a plot is suddenly falling apart.

    Then back to the porch and the hum of the fan, to papa Robin flying to his nest with a fat worm in his beak, to open laptops and pages begging for words and resolution.
    Eventually the sun crawls across the sky, sinks down beyond the thick band of shrubs and trees at the edge of the yard, and shadows blanket the porch (and weary writers).
    5 o'clock.

    And as if by magic (the writing muses at work? A very nice husband?), wine glasses and cheese and crackers appear on the glass-topped coffee table. We set aside our Macs and celebrate the day, the amazing people living in our books, the magical way a plot unfolded or a friendship was strengthened.

    Sometimes.

    And sometimes we simply reach for our wine glasses, sink deep into the cushions, and wonder when writing became so hard and why our brains hurt.

    But always-always-we celebrate the joy of having written.

    Some days the muses take a vacation and so does Nancy, venturing off to take care of life. And on those days especially-when I'm alone on the porch-my mind wanders away from the current mystery my seaside knitters are trying to solve and slips back into real-life events-ones that happened right here on this same porch, the memories embedded deep in the cushions of the chairs. If these soft chairs could talk, I think, they'd spin as many stories as the authors who settle here.

    Even before the white porch gave birth to The Wedding Shawl and Nancy's The Scent of Rain and Lightning, it heralded beginnings. Sometimes even the stuff of novels -- it's where our family gathered to welcome grandbaby Julian home from the hospital, and where we introduced a new daughter-in-law from California to the rest of the family.

    It's where we sat in somber silence as we learned of a relative's pending divorce-and where we mourned the loss of the family patriarch.

    The porch has hosted baby showers and birthday parties, bridesmaids' luncheons and family reunions-and quite possibly teenager trysts, mercifully hidden from parents' radar.

    And it's where our daughter and her fiancé looked out over the yard one summer day to plan a magnificent wedding ceremony-right back there beneath the trees, in the exact spot where a pool now sits. The same backyard wedding that inspired a scene in The Wedding Shawl.

    The porch.

    It's where we go. Where our family gathers.

    Where memories-and books-are born.

    So that's where I write-on my porch with my friend, Nancy. It surrounds me, cushions me, and holds me still. And perhaps it's this stillness that carries me forward, for like all writers, I also write from another place. A place deep inside me where my mind's eye can see beyond the white screened-in porch and the green backyard. It's in that other 'place' where I see the color of the sea, feel the smoothness of a wet, sandy beach, smell the salty air. It's there I hear the voices of the seaside women.... and write.

    Courtesy of Sally Goldenbaum



    Sally Goldenbaum is the national bestselling author of the Seaside Knitters Mystery Series and twenty-five other novels. Her most recent mystery, The Wedding Shawl, was released this May. Sally lives in Kansas, far from the sea, but her porch, like a magic carpet, transports her to far-away places where mysteries lurk and Sirens sing. Visit her online at sallygoldenbaum.com

     

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    Overwhelmed by all the gorgeous antiques and colorful finds at summer flea markets? Don't panic. A good game plan is all you need.

    Check out this great story from our friends at CasaSugar!

    h&m home

    Going to the flea market is one of my favorite activities for a hot Summer day. It's a perfect opportunity to find one-of-a-kind treasures that bring a sense of originality into your home. However, it can be a long day, and the whole process can seem a tad overwhelming. In order to enjoy all of the beauty and kitsch your flea market has to offer, here are some tips and tricks that will help you plan ahead.


    Make a wish list.
    Flea markets are full of incredible finds, but the sheer number of goods can be a little distracting. Arrive at the scene with a definite idea of what you're looking to pick up.

    Arrive early.
    Sometimes you have to arrive a little earlier in the day, but it's always worth it. The sun isn't as strong and you get first dibs on the goods.

    Take measurements.
    You want to make sure a piece fits your style and your space. Be sure to know what you're working with before you fall in love with any flea market finds. Refunds are generally not an option.


    Bring cash.
    While vendors may accept credit cards, having cash in your pocket is your best bet. Be sure to bring a mix of small and large bills.


    Looking for more smart tips for shopping flea markets? Check out the rest over on CasaSugar! And check out more of their stories like:
    5 Signs You Should Say Yes to a Flea Market Furniture Piece
    Color Me Orange All Over

     

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    Don't have time to browse all the online sample sales everyday? You're in luck: We searched them all and brought back the best.

    Editor's Pick: Urn and Chandelier mirror art panels from Evergreen Home and Garden Accents, $199, One Kings Lane.


    Breathtakingly beautiful, these mirror art panels have a timeworn appeal that will bring an 18th-century elegance to any room. We're mesmerized by the urns and chandelier etched in silver and gold, which make these mirror art panels seem almost otherworldly.


    Want to snap this up? Move quickly. Sale ends Friday, 11am. Check back tomorrow for the next Daily Sampling!

     

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    Be practical about what you hold on to and save. Certain things might be worth something someday, but if that's the only thing that's keeping them out of the trash bin, give it away. Assess what you really really love and what you don't love or need carefully. If you're not sure about what something is worth, do a little digging on eBay or bring it to a local antique dealer.

    Have a cleaning tip to share? Let us know at Twitter.com/ShelterPop.

    Getty; Corbis

     

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  • 07/20/11--03:13: Plant of the Week: Rose
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    Each week, bring something new to your garden/windowsill/favorite vase -- and impress your friends with your ahead-of-the-curve picks.

    Rosa "Pat Austin", bred by David Austin. Photo: Marie Viljoen


    The most well-known flower of all has a reputation for being fickle. But a repeat-blooming shrub rose's unmatched ability to produce those sweet-smelling blooms from spring until frost perhaps excuses a little botanical tetchiness. Roses need direct sun (six hours minimum), regular feeding and water. Just like people. Deny them, and that fussiness may become apparent.

    For months of flowers, look for roses described as repeat-blooming.

    Get more about rose care from David Austin.

     

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    We're celebrating flea markets around the country this week with tips and insider notes. Today, what I learned working as a first-time seller at Brimfield.

    Earlier this week, I recounted my weekend working as a seller at the Brimfield Antique Show, from setting up late and waking up at the crack of dawn to spotting Diane Keaton shopping right by us. It was an exhilarating and extremely educational (albeit exhausting) experience. If you're thinking about showing and selling at flea markets, here are a few tips that I picked up as a first-time seller at the fair.

    Shelterpop


    1. Don't miss opening day. According to our site manager and all the other vendors, the opening day of the fair is the most important day. It's when all the decorators and serious shoppers are there to get first dibs on the best of the best. We missed day one this time, but we'll be sure not to for come September's show!

    2. Book your lodgings early and close to your site. Places fill up quickly when it gets near the time of the show so book early. Not only would this make your commute for the week easier, you'll also likely meet other vendors and shoppers attending the show, which can help you network and sell!

    3. Set up early. We had very little time to set up but somehow managed to pull it together. Most vendors get to the fair a day or two early to set up their spaces--putting up display cases, painting the floor, hanging artwork, etc. How you display your merchandise is key since you want to show off your best pieces. But keep in mind that "best" doesn't always mean "most expensive."

    4. Greet, smile, and be positive. This is a given but it's surprising how easy it is to forget this--because it's too hot, you're tired of sitting all day, you're hungry, etc. Greet shoppers and ask if they're looking for anything. If they say no, tell them you're happy to help if anything catches their eye. The lack of enthusiasm, care, and attention to a shopper's wandering eye is the quickest way to kill off any interest they have in your merchandise.

    5. Know your merchandise. There's nothing worse than appearing clueless about what you're offering customers. You should be sure to know the pricing (of course) as well as the provenance of each item if there is one. Sometimes the backstory to an item--whether a piece is 19th-century French or 18th-century English--makes all the difference to a shopper. Be confident about what you're offering, shoppers will appreciate that.

    6. Be smart bartering. Everyone's looking for a good deal so it's important to be realistic and smart about what you're trying to get for an item and what the shopper is looking for. If you can't reach a compromise, explain the reasoning behind the price--the item is handmade or an artwork is by a well-known artist. A lot of times people are more understanding than you think. And if they still won't bite, you'll have to use smart judgment. But don't be afraid to hold on to the piece, it might just catch another shopper's eye later on.

    7. Dos and don'ts: Do: Bring cash! And wear comfortable walking shoes, have a book or music handy to get you through the afternoon lulls. Don't: Use the porta potties (as a vendor you should have access to better facilities through the site's management). And don't have any expectations--a positive attitude will help you sell better.


    Looking to shop instead? These 8 steps will help you prep for flea markets and make you a savvy shopper.

     

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    Actor Anthony Mackie talks about building his new bar and explains why he isn't afraid to get his hands dirty "just because I'm in a movie now and then."

    The bar that Anthony Mackie built. Photo: Jennifer Cooper


    Most people know Anthony Mackie from his roles in The Adjustment Bureau or The Hurt Locker and Brooklynites are now getting to know him as the man behind new Bed-Stuy bar NoBar. But this isn't just any celebrity-turned-nightlife-impresario. Not only will you find Anthony behind the bar most nights, you'll find that he built the bar. And the bar back. And oh yes, the floors. And did we mention this man is not afraid to snake a toilet? Read on to see how he stayed on budget thanks to eBay, why (he says) women aren't impressed with his handy skills and his feelings on mass-market furniture in our exclusive Q&A on DIY Life!

     

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    Don't have time to browse all the online sample sales everyday? You're in luck: We searched them all and brought back the best.

    Editor's Pick: Ming stacking tables by Baker, $399, One Kings Lane.



    For these Ming stacking tables, Baker looked to a traditional 18th-century design for inspiration. The black crackle finish and gold trims make for luxurious touches, and we see the tables elegantly stacked next to a sofa in a living room or grouped side-by-side in a formal sitting area. The different sizes make these stacking tables versatile in use, so feel free to play with their arrangement.


    Want to snap this up? Move quickly. Sale ends Saturday, 11am. Check back tomorrow for the next Daily Sampling!

     

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    We're celebrating flea markets around the country this week with tips and insider notes. Today, what I learned working as a first-time seller at Brimfield.

    Earlier this week, I recounted my weekend working as a seller at the Brimfield Antique Show, from setting up late and waking up at the crack of dawn to spotting Diane Keaton shopping right by us. It was an exhilarating and extremely educational (albeit exhausting) experience. If you're thinking about showing and selling at flea markets, here are a few tips that I picked up as a first-time seller at the fair.

    Shelterpop


    1. Don't miss opening day. According to our site manager and all the other vendors, the opening day of the fair is the most important day. It's when all the decorators and serious shoppers are there to get first dibs on the best of the best. We missed day one this time, but we'll be sure not to for come September's show!

    2. Book your lodgings early and close to your site. Places fill up quickly when it gets near the time of the show so book early. Not only would this make your commute for the week easier, you'll also likely meet other vendors and shoppers attending the show, which can help you network and sell!

    3. Set up early. We had very little time to set up but somehow managed to pull it together. Most vendors get to the fair a day or two early to set up their spaces--putting up display cases, painting the floor, hanging artwork, etc. How you display your merchandise is key since you want to show off your best pieces. But keep in mind that "best" doesn't always mean "most expensive."

    4. Greet, smile, and be positive. This is a given but it's surprising how easy it is to forget this--because it's too hot, you're tired of sitting all day, you're hungry, etc. Greet shoppers and ask if they're looking for anything. If they say no, tell them you're happy to help if anything catches their eye. The lack of enthusiasm, care, and attention to a shopper's wandering eye is the quickest way to kill off any interest they have in your merchandise.

    5. Know your merchandise. There's nothing worse than appearing clueless about what you're offering customers. You should be sure to know the pricing (of course) as well as the provenance of each item if there is one. Sometimes the backstory to an item--whether a piece is 19th-century French or 18th-century English--makes all the difference to a shopper. Be confident about what you're offering, shoppers will appreciate that.

    6. Be smart with bargaining. Everyone's looking for a good deal so it's important to be realistic and smart about what you're trying to get for an item and what the shopper is looking for. If you can't reach a compromise, explain the reasoning behind the price--the item is handmade or an artwork is by a well-known artist. A lot of times people are more understanding than you think. And if they still won't bite, you'll have to use smart judgment. But don't be afraid to hold on to the piece, it might just catch another shopper's eye later on.

    7. Dos and don'ts: Do: Bring cash! And wear comfortable walking shoes, have a book or music handy to get you through the afternoon lulls. Don't: Use the porta potties (as a vendor you should have access to better facilities through the site's management). And don't have any expectations--a positive attitude will help you sell better.


    Looking to shop instead? These 8 steps will help you prep for flea markets and make you a savvy shopper.

     

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    In the digital age, the best way to keep paper from piling up is to go paperless when it comes to bills, coupons, and takeout menus. But we all know paper clutter still finds a way into our homes. So allot a few minutes each day to clear out paper, and be ruthless. File important documents and trash what you don't need. It's the only way to keep this monster under control it.

    Have a cleaning tip to share? Let us know at Twitter.com/ShelterPop.

    Getty; Corbis

     

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    We're celebrating flea markets around the country this week with tips and insider notes. Today, expert flea market shopper advice on how to talk dollars with vendors.

    Check out this story from our friends at Real Simple!



    Don't waste time searching through dusty bins for buried treasure. Vendors display their top finds in plain view. Here's how to make the most of your next treasure hunt.

    Shelterpop

    Get on the vendor's good side. If you regularly shop a market, visit the same booths over and over, says Chip Cordelli, a collector and a prop stylist in Brooklyn: "Once you develop a relationship with a seller, you can get better deals based on repeat business-and they'll put aside items they think you'll like." If you only occasionally go flea-ing, make conversation with the vendor about your similar tastes and the history of the item you're interested in before starting negotiations.

    For more expert advice, including tips from Man Shops Globe's Keith Johnson, head over to Real Simple.

    And check out more stories with shopping tips like:
    Navigating Vintage Clothing Stores
    How To Shop For Vintage Clothing
    6 Tips for Navigating Farmers' Markets

     

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    Bold bedding isn't the only way to shake up a room. With a neutral base and an array of throw pillows, you can create endless options.




    Maybe you don't want to go through the trouble of changing your bedding four times a year. You can still get a whole new look with some creative throw pillow arranging. Just stick to these loose rules: Try to keep your color palette to two to three colors, make sure that you're striking the right balance between mixing and matching and you know, the obvious: Have fun. You're arranging pillows here, this should be play, not work. Try rich fabrics and florals for a romantic vibe, neat small pillows with clean lines for a contemporary look or bring out the patterns for an eclectic feel.

    Looking for more Minute Makeovers? See our how to baby-proof the kitchen -- stylishly, organize your cabinets and fall in love with this vintage bedroom makeover.

     

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    From toilet paper wars to the remote control tug-of-war, the home can be a breeding ground for fights. Here, some of the silliest?

    Over at The Nest, they're collecting their users' most ridiculous fights. And what I noticed (aside from a serious trend of couple's food issues): So many of these are caused by everyday home occurences. Not that I can't relate. I'd be lying if I didn't admit to fighting over the TV volume, folding the laundry, locking the door -- oh, sadly, I could go on. Instead, I gathered my favorite house-caused tiffs from the post and comments -- plus some new ones from our Facebook friends:

    Getty



    "We fought about how many times a toilet should be flushed in a day. This was a serious, ridiculous, give-the-silent-treatment kind of argument." --LOISSA

    "We got into a fight while assembling the furniture in our new house. If we made it through that, we'll make it through anything!" --AUBREYDUB

    "Whether or not to tuck in the sheets at the end of the bed -- every time I make the bed, I tuck them in, and every night, he untucks them." --KDTULLY

    "We had a standoff for almost a week to see who would give in first and finally buy toilet paper. For the record, I won." --STEVE+MEL

    "My husband and I live in the country, so he thinks we have no need to lock the doors when we are home. I tried to explain to him that I felt better locking the doors while we are sleeping (otherwise, what are locks for?!). He became so angry with me, and started telling me I was basically saying he couldn't protect me. This all coming from the man who can sleep through ANYTHING and can fall asleep while doing any activity (such as driving my brand new car while I was sleeping in the passenger seat). We have had this fight on more than one occasion. Please keep in mind he DOES lock the deep freezer in the basement... seriously? You are more concerned with someone stealing your meat than your wife?!" --GooniesGeek247

    "Our most ridiculous -- and first -- fight as a married couple was over the remote control and what to watch. The remote ended up being broken, so that fight cost us $18 for another remote." --AprilSexton

    "I stayed mad at my husband for a week because he refused to take the package cover off of his ps3, eventually i gave up and let him keep it on but for some reason it still bugs me." --Doubleeep

    "We fight over the thermostat. I like it cold, he likes it hot...I tell him to go put a shirt on!" --Sonya Baker

    "We rarely argue, but when making decisions regarding the exterior renovation of our home the question of painting the brick or not painting the brick created some marital stress around here. Guys apparently have a thing against painting brick. Who knew?" --Christine Reuss Wisnewski

    "Which direction to put up the tension rod for the shower curtain (because of the bump between the two pieces.) I must have been PMSing that day, haha." --Therese Noren

    "Whether it's okay to compile stray items at the bottom of the stairs leading up to the 2nd floor (in an attempt to tidy in fewer trips) until a trip upstairs is necessary. That, and whether it's okay to leave stray socks around the house after they are pulled off." --Anissa Pinkham

    "My husband and I argue about disciplining our little fur son because he pees in the house at times. He is 3 years old. I clean his little puddles and talk to him. My husband withholds his favorite treat, non salted saltine crackers, which I think is cruel. Thus we argue and I give him extra crackers." --Maria Smith

    "The color of his bathroom. I was fully prepared to let him pick out the color and just give helpful advice, but he joked one time too many that I was going to take over until I offered NO advice at all and now he painted the bathroom the color of a special effects blue screen. I'm not happy." --Carol Frye Bennett

    "The TV remote. Hubby either mutes commercials and leaves the room with the remote or surfs during commercials and I miss part of the show. Sometimes I manage to shanghai the remote, but it isn't worth the aggravation Captain OCD gives me over it." --Debbie Keller

    "He picks at me because I stuff the trash basket till it looks like the Orville Redenbacher popcorn commercial with the lid rising; I pick at him because it's apparently against his religious principles to ever, under any circumstance, rinse a dish." --Heather Sullivan

    Looking for more? Check out the rest of the piece on The Nest or these other great articles:
    7 Easy Ways to Get Quality Time Together in the Morning

    Are You a Dirty Fighter?
    Avoid Thank-You Note Hell

     

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    Don't let yourself fall into a shopping rut. Instead, explore some of the best boutiques around the country. This week: Store No. 2 by Elizabeth Bauer, 44 Centre Street, Nantucket, MA.

    We're absolutely smitten by interior designer Elizabeth Bauer 's Store No. 2, which opened just in time for summer on Nantucket. The sun-splashed shop has a beachy, island-style vibe and is very Elizabeth--nautical motifs, vintage finds, colorful glassware, sofas and chairs upholstered in bright, bold patterns. Scroll down for our Q&A with Elizabeth about her charming new boutique and where she shops for her unique pieces.


    1. What was the inspiration for your second store?
    I was inspired by Nantucket itself, it has always been a significant part of my life. In Store No. 2 there is an underlying contemporary, fun, nautical and sophisticated feel. Of course there is a reflection of my style as a designer which comes through in the combination of pattern, color and the array of vintage pieces dating from the 1930s to present day.

    2. Why Nantucket?
    I have a special place in my heart for Nantucket having spent summers there all my life. With Store No. 2 I hope to bring something new and different to the island.

    3. Are there any new pieces that are specific to this store?
    There are vintage pieces and antiques that have lent themselves to Store No. 2 over my New York City store--pieces that I could see in Nantucket, whether it be in accordance with the nautical feel, the material or, simply the color.

    Elizabeth Bauer new store no. 2Portrait: David Lewis Taylor; Store: Jeffrey Allen


    4. Where do you find these pieces?
    The vintage finds come from all over the world ranging from New York to Paris to Palm Beach. My favorite place to scout and buy is the Paris flea market.

    5. Do you have a favorite item in this store?
    The anchor table that I found in France. It is from Deauville and dates back to the 1930s.

    6. What do you like most about your second store?
    The challenge of offering a cleaner, fresher look to an island which is traditional in its style and history.

    7. How has the response been?
    Incredible!

    On ShelterPop's wishlist: Pink/Orange ikat pillows, $385 each, elizabethbauerdesign.com.

     

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    Don't have time to browse all the online sample sales everyday? You're in luck: We searched them all and brought back the best.

    Editor's Pick: From left: Postcards From Paris, Fruit Market, and Memories flora and fauna tableware by Prima Design, all $40/5-piece set,, Rue La La.



    From afar these colorful glass flora and fauna trays and serving pieces look just like pretty artworks. Decorated with images of flowering blooms, whimsical birds, fading stamps, and unique font, these dishes will add country charm to any kitchen table.


    Want to snap this up? Move quickly. Sale ends Sunday, 11am. Check back tomorrow for the next Daily Sampling!

     

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    There are more than enough cleaning products for each room out there, and you don't need all of them. Too many different cleaning products means you're constantly matching tasks to cleaners when you don't need to. And remembering which bottle cleans what will quickly become a nightmare and you'll waste time going between rooms to find the right one.

    Solution: Minimize your supplies and then carry your cleaners in a bucket from room to room -- it's an efficient trick even for housecleaning experts.

    Have a cleaning tip to share? Let us know at Twitter.com/ShelterPop.

    Getty; Corbis

     

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    We're celebrating flea markets around the country this week with tips and insider notes. Today, a newcomer and a seasoned vendor offer insight for first-time sellers.

    Earlier this week I wrote about what I learned selling at Brimfield for the first time and we also offered tips on how to shop flea markets. To wrap up our nod to flea markets this week, I spoke to two Brimfield vendors about their gigs and what they think new sellers should really expect at the flea. Scroll down and check it out.

    flea market vendorsShelterpop


    Vendor: Julia Marin of Rugs Below
    Home Base: New York City
    The Goods: Oriental and Persian rugs, Americana

    How long have you been a vendor?
    About 25-30 years...my husband and I started out collecting sculptures and wall art, and then moved into handmade Oriental and Persian rugs because we think they're just like art. I've been selling at Brimfield specifically for almost 10 years.

    What are three things new sellers should keep in mind?
    1. You can't force anybody to buy anything so all you can do is come and show what you have and share what you have, and present it in the best way you can to everyone. There's no guarantee that anything will sell. You can't expect that and you have to remember that.

    2. You have to pack your inner child. If it happens it happens on the road and you have to come with an adventurous spirit. You have to be flexible. I'm a girl with a glass half full versus half empty!

    3. Tell the story about what you're doing and share points of interest about each item. Have information to share that makes your item special and show enthusiasm when talking about it.

    Your highlight this week?
    Brimfield is a place where bizarre things happen. I had a guy who had a rug and wanted to match a bunch of stuff to that. He took out paint chips and fabric swatches and he needed certain colors and dimensions. So I gave him my opinion, explained a few things, and presented colors that could work. Then after a few minutes he says, "I wouldn't know the difference anyways, I'm colorblind."


    flea market vendorsShelterpop


    Vendor: Jennifer Pate of The Quilt Ranch
    Home Base: Dallas, Fortworth, TX
    The Goods: Classic handwoven American quilts

    How did you get started as a new vendor?
    I was formerly a teacher and I lived in Asia for 25 years. There, I worked at factories with patternmakers, and when I eventually came back to the States I taught in home economics. Home economics got eliminated from the school curriculum, and so I ended up starting my own business in quilting...because I knew about the needle arts and how to sew--it was a natural segway.

    What are three things you learned as a new vendor?
    1. You have to pay your dues. You have to experience the show and learn how it really works the first time you come. I came in May and got a flat tire on the way here in the mountains, so I ended up missing most of the show and was here for only one day. But even though that was a nightmare it was a great learning curve. You make contacts and network the first time you come to Brimfield and it gives you a springboard for the next time. Your second time is when you'll make money.

    2. It rains here usually and if your products are fragile, like textiles, you really need to protect them. So have a really good tent, either one of your own or rent a sturdy one here that can handle heavy rain and weather. Don't use the pop-up ones; water and wind blow right through those. Also, put plywood sheets or tarps on the ground.

    3. If you need electricity for credit cards and your laptop, make sure you get into a field that has electrical outlets. My battery went out on my laptop that one day last time and I couldn't process credit cards. It was a nightmare. So if you need electricity, make sure you ask for a site with one.

    Your highlight this week?
    The curator for the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Suite bought a lot of my quilts this time and they're going to be in the suite! And Diane Keaton was also here at my booth! You really never know whom you're going to run into here. You just never know what could become of you from the Brimfield exposure!

     

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    Like any great room, a great garden needs to balance style and substance. Here, the spaces that do it right.


    Vanderveer Place, Brooklyn. Photo: Marie Viljoen


    The Greenest Block in Brooklyn Competition is underway in the middle of a sticky New York heatwave. Sponsored by the Brooklyn Botanic Garden's GreenBridge, the competition fosters the greening of the most populous borough's heat-radiating streets. In some neighborhoods flowers and leaves are outnumbered by cars and concrete; turn a corner and suddenly, Pow! - there are opportunistic and fiercely competitive flower baskets hanging from the street signs and sprouting from the wide sidewalks.

    This garden caught my eye because it seemed the definition of exuberance. There is no holding back: more is more. Chain-link might be considered an eyesore in most situations, but in the face of this floral explosion, it reads as the voice of reason, an orderly construct containing an uninhibited riot of flowers that would never be acquainted in nature. Sun-loving bright yellow Rudbeckia and Helianthus, and pink and white Echinacea--North American natives and their derivitives--jostle beside mauve mophead Hydrangeas, which are usually prescribed for sedate, dappled shade. Tall orange turkscap lilies look down on their lipstick-pink Asiatic cousins. An unusual blue clematis with nodding flowers (perhaps Clematis "Betty Corning") whispers of Albany and climbs a lamp pole.

    This is Brooklyn. Welcome to the party!

    See previous Green Spotlights:

    Red Hook's Pier 44
    F
    lowers Along a Red Brick Wall
    S
    idewalk Garden
    A
    Lily Garden

     

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    This week, Brooklyn-based illustrator Bella Foster talks about her bright, bright shade of purple.

    If you're design- and interior-obsessed like us here you'll fall in love with Bella Foster's colorful illustrations and paintings of interiors in a heartbeat. You might recognize Bella's fanciful art from her previous works for Kate Spade, and magazines like W and The Wall Street Journal have also recently tapped her to do work for their upcoming issues. We took a few minutes to sit down and chat with Bella about a few things ourselves...unicorns and magic included. Scroll down to see.

    Portrait: Noam Rappaport; Items: Bella Foster


    1. Do you have a favorite shade of purple?
    I love shades of bright purples, be it a bright lavender or an electric purple.

    2. What comes to mind when you think of this shade of purple?
    I associate bright purple with magic. It's the color of a wizard's cloak. It's what young girls like before they know better. There was a time I couldn't stand it in high school and I wouldn't have been caught dead in it. There are some tacky (or not) associations: Unicorns, fairies, The Renaissance Fair, self help books, incense, spells, crystals, New Age shops, Liberace...But it used to be one of the most expensive colors to produce--a luxury color during the Roman Empire and Middle Ages. But most of all, bright purple is the color of the time between dawn and sunrise and sunset and dusk. The mountains here have beautiful shades of bright lavender during sunset--it truly is the magic hour! I'm obsessed with it and it's my favorite time of day.

    3. Do you have a favorite item that is in this purple you're describing?
    Ah! I have a handful! My absolute favorites are these plates that I found in the south of Sweden in a thrift shop and these sunglasses that I got on Venice beach for $7!

    4. How do you see this shade of purple used in a home?
    Bright lavender shades are easy and you can't go wrong--It's good anywhere. Perhaps it's considered too feminine by some, but I still think it works anywhere. You can get books, napkins, paintings, flowers, or even a big crystal in a deep, bright purple! And rocks and shells with purple veining in them are also great.

    5. What are three colors that go well with this shade of purple?
    Ultramarine blue, yellow, and chartreuse. And I'm breaking the rules and adding a fourth: dark brown.

    6. If you could give your shade of purple a name, what would it be?
    Hmm...Magic Hour.


    And if you haven't already, see our previous chats on the color purple with textile designer and illustrator Lena Corwin and artist Kimberly Brooks.

     

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