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Mermaids were painted on rain barrel by artist Tina Totten of Hampton, Va. MCT

Rain barrels fill many needs for home, garden

It's hard to justify rain barrels for major landscapes, but they are quite practical for small vegetable and flower gardens, especially plants grown in containers, according to gardeners. More

Not your parent's dorm — learn what you'll need (and want) on campus

Before you start your back-to-school dorm shopping, do your homework about what's really needed and talk to your roommate. Bed Bath & Beyond

As back-to-school sales ramp up and you prepare to head to your local Bed Bath & Beyond or Target, dorm shopping list in hand, it's important to do your research first. More

Tricks to getting the most from your herb garden

Oregano doesn't need much attention; it'll grow even between cracks in a sidewalk. PhotoDisc

You don't need a garden to grow herbs. Thyme and oregano thrive in the cracks between the flat stones of my sidewalk. Six hours of sun or more daily is the key to success. More

This tomato pie just too good to wait for

Serve a fresh tomato pie for a meatless meal. Kate Lawson / The Detroit News

And while I try to wait out the season and get my tomato fix from my own plants, when I saw this recipe for tomato pie from cookbook author Ian Knaur, I knew I couldn't wait. More

Jewelry designer shining example of entrepreneurship

Susie at Home co-owners Susan Stefani, right, and her mother, Angie Polizzi. Todd McInturf / The Detroit News

Some rhinestone-studded shoes in childhood leads to a Grosse Pointe store run by mother and daughter, plus a star-studded jewelry business on the side. More

Art deco sculpture likely a cold-painted bronze

Brenda Mattila with her art deco sculpture in Detroit. David Coates / The Detroit News

Growing up in Northern England, Brenda Mattila remembers her mother using the small sculpture of a woman to prop open the door between the dining and living rooms. 'This belonged to my mother, who did not like it.' More

Welcome Mat: The latest and greatest for your home

Ten Thousand Villages' Sunshade Hammock is handcrafted by artisans in Nicaragua. Ten Thousand Villages

Enjoy a lazy summer day on a hammock, get free Michigan-made art in Berkley, find a custom-made mattress, see this week's garden photo contest winner and more. More

To organize and beautify your space, just shelve it

Industrial-style shelving is no longer limited to hidden areas of the home, like a storage room or garage. Try one in a kitchen, laundry room or home office. Lowe's

Everything looks better on a shelf. These vertical problem solvers elevate our personal belongings throughout the home. Even industrial shelving has been upgraded from basement and garage status to more visible areas of the house. More

MSU builds a greener campus we can learn from

You hear a lot about green building these days, but like most things in the area of energy conservation, it takes time for such an initiative to become a common practice. MSU is taking the lead. More

3 ways to get the perfect finish for your windows

Often, the window treatments are one of the last things we do when we decorate a room, but a room just isn't done without the finishing touch of curtains. MCT

Often, the window treatments are one of the last things we do when we decorate a room. Need to cover a window or two in your home? Here are three of my very favorite treatments. More

Olive oil has lots of healthy competition

Ditch the tongs and dress salad with clean hands — you won't bruise delicate leaves, and you'll evenly coat them using less oil. Also, try strong-flavored oils — a little goes a long way. ) Yasu + Junko

These days, cooking oils often take up an entire aisle. Here's how to navigate your way around these newcomers, including avocado oil, rice-bran oil and coconut oil. More

Metro Detroit garden calendar

Learn tips about maintaining your vegetable garden at Leslie Science and Nature Center. PhotoDisc

Learn how to maintain your vegetable garden, visit Brenda's Butterfly Habitat, take a tour of local ponds and gardens, and more. More

Create a new peplum shirt out of old clothes

You can make a peplum shirt out of old clothes — or even sheets, as in these examples. MCT

This project uses a simple technique to revamp an old, well-loved T-shirt. You can get creative and use anything you have in your fabric collection, even scraps of soft cotton fabrics sewn together! More

In search of natural hues? A garden 'to dye for'

Gather plants materials for making an original eco dyed scarf. For this particular scarf, eucalyptus leaves (both in the dye as well as in the bundled scarf), marigold petals, red and yellow onion skins, red rose petal and avocado skins were used. Chris McLaughlin / St. Lynn's Press

Homegrown botanical dyes are in, part of today's shift toward more natural and organic living. And you don't need a degree in chemistry to create your own hues for scarves, sweaters or even Easter eggs. More



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