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7/9/2014
Fueled by a local craft brew and an overflowing gyro from a food stand, I wandered from tent to art-filled tent at the downtown 2014 Des Moines Arts Festival. Pastel paintings of gorgous florals, curvy glass-blown vases and, yes, even sculptures of copper wire rabbits on bikes caught my attention as I weaved through the laid-back crowd. (I could picture the painting and vase in my living room;... More
7/2/2014
Stormy skies and fog formed the backdrop for our most popular Instagram photos in June. Here are the five most-liked photos last month:  #1: Clouds building over Lawrence, Kansas, photographed by @joshuaholland (http://instagram.com/p/pZpbW8GzY8/). #2: Striking barn and silo in Stuart, Iowa, by @j_nutterbutter (http://instagram.com/p/pjAZvYGzXD/). #3: "Flying... More
6/25/2014
Have a blast this Fourth of July decorating your table using either of these easy, patriotic tabletop ideas. If you’re like me and are a member of the ultimate procrastinators club, you will love how quickly either table can be pulled together.  Carnation flag centerpiece Delight your guests with this striking focal piece. You will need two dozen red, two dozen... More
6/23/2014
Who would you rank as Hollywood’s greatest best-friend pairings? Butch & Sundance? Thelma & Louise? It doesn’t take long to reach Woody & Buzz. Pixar’s Toy Story franchise has now enchanted a couple of generations with the angsty cowboy and his idealistic astronaut pal. And it turns out that the Grammy-winning musical soundtrack to their partnership springs from a... More
6/20/2014
Digging, planting, building: Julie Schnedler’s sixth-grade students in Mediapolis, Iowa, were busy last month in their school’s outdoor classroom. The Mediapolis Education Foundation won $5,000 for the project from Midwest Living's Dream-It Do-It Community Challenge. The money was used to buy plants, mulch, soil, tools, a weather station, wood for planters and a watering system... More
6/11/2014
I’m no radish expert, but I am a sucker for these crunchy, water-packed little veggies that taste like the first days of summer. They remind me of my childhood, when I'd help my dad pull dirt-covered cherry red radishes from the garden and then taste their crispness at dinner that evening. So now, 20 years later, they've become a staple in my own garden. After a little... More
6/6/2014
Sitting on my back deck each evening, I ponder the amount of brown in my garden. Are my yews ever going to green up or am I going to have to take a hedge trimmer to the front half of the entire row? And how could my supposedly invincible Rugosa roses be half dead? I know fellow gardeners are lamenting the same look: Everywhere I drive, the evergreens are brown, and woody plants like roses and... More
6/2/2014
Our Instagram followers captured the wonder of lustrous landscapes and baby animals in the last full month of spring. The five most-liked photos for May: #1: Ohio barn by @kirby_124 (http://instagram.com/p/oqVqN-mzdg/). #2: A fawn "camouflaged in the weeds … snoozin' in the sun" in Wisconsin by @eselin_ (http://instagram.com/p/oO9e_zGzVc/). #3: Nest of... More
5/29/2014
I’ve gone to the dark side, of plants, that is. But in the plant world, even the dark side is pretty. And rich. And dramatic. And just the punch my embarrassingly bare front porch needs this time of year. According to Dana Rizzo, horticulturist for the Missouri Botanical Garden, the industry is seeing an influx of these black, bronze, deep purple and burgundy flowers and foliage. “... More
5/16/2014
I'm fixated on Pinterest, particularly anything DIY focused. I even have a board titled “I want to DIY.” As much as this board's collection of projects inspires me to try DIY, I've been too concerned that I'll produce a “Pinterest fail”—a project that comically looks nothing like the goal. But I promised myself this year I would... More