DO IT NOW
Contrary to popular belief, fall is the best time to tend to your grass. Fertilize or put down an application of cornmeal gluten by the end of the month. If your grass hasn't been looking its best, consider aerating or spreading a thin layer of compost on your turf. Water well at least once a week if the weather continues to be dry.
Check out "Eero Saarinen: Shaping the Future," a joint retrospective by the Walker Art Center and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts on works by the architect who gave us the St. Louis Gateway Arch, the Womb Chair and a wealth of midcentury mod work. In addition to the Walker's ongoing exhibit, there are several events and a symposium examining his work Oct. 11 and 12; exhibitions run through Jan. 4. See details for all at www.walkerart.org and www.artsmia.org; search for "Saarinen."
Think of it as a smaller, more exclusive Parade of Homes. The first Homes by Architects tour features only 29 houses, but all of them were -- you guessed it! -- designed by architects. Styles range from an updated farmhouse to a thoroughly modern cube house. Tickets for this weekend's tour are $30 and are available at www.homesbyarchitects.org.
Ideas for an office organizer and a space-saving workstation, inspired by Lanette Lorsung of Andover and Lisa Peterson of Benson, respectively, are included in the Cool Junk column of Country Home magazine's September issue.
The editors of CottageLiving magazine have pulled together their first special pub dedicated to the room that holds your stove and fridge. "CottageKitchens: Looks that Cook!" examines 25 U.S. kitchens -- alas, none from Minnesota -- and includes Q and A's with their owners on how they achieved their goals. Beautiful photography and "fresh idea" pullouts provide plenty of inspiration for you to do something about that ratty old room of yours. On newsstands until Sept. 23; $9.99.
Billy Beson made a name for himself by designing the homes of A-list Minnesotans. Now you can take a virtual tour of the sleek modern penthouse he designed for himself. Noon Thursday at www.startribune.com/homegarden.
Melissa Michaels' blog muses on subjects from excellent vacation spots to the Twitter photo showing her more "Matrix-ey side." But consider this a teaching blog. Occasional posts labeled "Observation" are instructive exercises. Readers are not supposed to like or dislike, but to learn from the discussion. It works, but you will wade through a few inane comments to uncover the gems.
Just how ugly is your couch? You can pit a photo of its gravy-stained hide against other trashed-out sofas for a chance to win the 2008 Ugly Couch Contest -- and a $5,000 living room makeover by HGTV designer Kim Myles. Enter and see details, including how to send a snail-mail entry, at www.surefit.com. A panel will choose 20 semifinalists (who win slipcovers from the contest sponsor) before opening the contest to nationwide voting.
KIM YEAGER, CONNIE NELSON