Green cleaning

If you’ve resolved to go green in 2013 — or at least to pay more attention to being Earth-friendly — here are some small but significant changes you can make in your cleaning routine.

Vinegar has long been regarded as a cheap and natural alternative to harsh chemicals.

Cost: On average, a gallon of white vinegar costs about $1.80. Even with a coupon and a good sale, all-purpose cleaners can cost at least twice as much.

Uses: Clear dirt off your computer, printer and other office machines. Turn off all equipment and use equal parts vinegar and water to wipe down surfaces. Use a cotton swab for those hard-to-reach places.

Cleaning blinds can be easy when you use a gardening glove dipped in vinegar.

Freshen lunchboxes and other small places by wiping down with a mix of water and vinegar.

For dirty carpets, rub light stains with a mix of 2 tablespoons salt dissolved in ½ cup white vinegar. Let the solution dry, then vacuum.

Remove grime from hardwood floors with a solution of ¼ cup white vinegar and 30 ounces of warm water, then mop away the dirt.

Lemons: Use half a lemon and salt to clean discolored brass, copper and chrome faucets.

Clean and disinfect cutting boards with lemon juice. Rub the lemon juice onto the board, let stand overnight, then rinse.

In the laundry room, remove grease stains on clothes by rubbing lemon juice on the spot, allow to sit overnight, then wash.  - CHARLOTTE OBSERVER 

Winterized decor

You can dress your home for the colder weather by bringing heavier, more luxurious textiles into your space. One dramatic and easy way to change things up is to add a great rug, said textile designer Khristian Howell. “Sheepskin rugs are so wonderful for the winter months,” she said. “They feel good underfoot, and bring warmth into the room, while keeping a light airy feeling.” Howell believes you can’t go wrong with textiles that have a high pile and texture, such as furs, chenille, velour and wools.

Winter is the perfect time to bring in heavier drapery to create a warm, insulated feeling and a bit of drama.

Or use fabric in place of traditional wallpaper. All you need is your favorite fabric, cornstarch and water to create a homemade adhesive that won’t harm your painted walls. The best part is, when you’re ready for a change, all you have to do is peel the fabric away from the wall, wipe the walls clean and throw your fabric in the wash to be re-used in another project.

Upholstered headboards are a fabulous way to add texture and depth to a bedroom. If your larger pieces of furniture are of a more neutral color palette, you can be bold with your choices in textile colors and patterns. Using textiles to bring in pops of color will rejuvenate your space and bring a smile to your face on those gloomy winter afternoons.  - HOME & GARDEN TELEVISION

Architectural politics

Calling all history and architecture buffs: The Twin Cities Bungalow Club is offering a unique program this week. Architectural historian Richard Kronick will present an illustrated talk on “Architectural Politics at the Turn of the 20th Century.” Kronick will explore the era’s two major and opposing architectural forces: Classicism and Arts & Crafts, tracing their roots and illustrating how they became artistic expressions of opposite political viewpoints: conservatism and liberalism.

Kronick’s presentation will be held 7-8:30 p.m. Thursday at Bethlehem Covenant Church, 3143 43rd Av. S., Mpls. Cost is $3 (free for Bungalow Club members). For more information, call 612-724-5816 or visit

Lake homes and cabins

If you own a second home — or hope to someday — you’ll find resources aplenty at the Lake Home & Cabin Show starting Friday. The three-day “lifestyle experience” features more than 250 exhibitors showcasing everything for the lake home, cottage or cabin, from furnishings and decor, to building, remodeling and landscaping resources, to recreational products.

Special presentations include music by Michael Monroe, cooking demonstrations and samples by “Getaway Gourmet” Patrick Moore; seminars on building, landscaping, cabin inheritance and nature photography; and a presentation by author Neil Johnson (“Resorts of Minnesota”) on the state’s resort history and tradition. (For a complete list of events and times, visit

Admission is $12 ($2 off coupons are available at; $5 for ages 5-15 and free for ages 4 and under. Show hours are 2-8 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Feb. 9 and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Feb. 10, at the Minneapolis Convention Center, 1301 2nd Av. S., Mpls.

Color trends

What are today’s hottest hues? And how can you effectively incorporate them into your decor? Mark Masica of Hirshfield’s and interior designer Jennifer Ball of Gabberts Design Studio are teaming up for a seminar Saturday at Gabberts.

Guests will learn about current color trends, and can enter to win free paint and a professional painter to paint one room.

The seminar is free, but reservations are requested, 952-928-3123. “Color Trends” will be offered at 1 p.m. Saturday at Gabberts, 3501 Galleria, Edina.

Vintage bridal

Planning a wedding? Creative couples who seek an alternative to budget-busting, cookie-cutter nuptials now have a new resource: Flea Market Style Weddings, a sister publication to Flea Market Style.

The glossy periodical, edited by homegrown junk maven Ki Nassauer, showcases stylish ways to incorporate vintage and flea-market finds into unique celebrations.

In the premiere issue, you’ll learn how to use vintage keys as bubble blowers, turn old silver and pewter trophies into vases and even make stunning one-of-a-kind bouquets out of crocheted doilies, ostrich feathers, antique jewelry or old maps.

There’s plenty of eye candy, including lavish photos of vintage bridal gowns, decade by decade, and couples’ real-life weddings, from a barn dance to a genteel Southern-style reception.

And if you’re new to junking and aren’t sure where to start, the back of the book includes a state-by-state shopping guide to flea markets, antique fairs and shops. The issue sells for $9.95 on newsstands.