Easy Guide To Folding a Fitted Sheet

There are few parts of doing laundry quite as exasperating as folding fitted sheets. Not even missing socks can compare with the frustration of not being able to fold it just right so it sits nicely on the linen cupboard shelf. Fold and refold. Repeat. Get frustrated, roll the sheet into a ball, shove into cupboard, close door, walk away and find chocolate. Today’s the day you can toss all that frustration to the side.

Your linen cupboard has never been quite so tidy and organized.

For this how-to we show a crib sheet because it’s easier to demonstrate in the photographs, but this works just the same way for King, Full, and Twin-sized sheets. (We know because we tried out every one just to make sure.)

We’re going to demonstrate two different folding methods. Both ways give you perfectly folded fitted sheets. We happen to prefer the first method, but I can see the appeal of second method too. Method #1 works well with any size sheet. And honestly, we had never seen this way of folding before, but observed the way a set of new sheets were packaged, and thought, “Well, if the manufacturer can get it to fit in the package, we’re going to take notes!”

In our opinion Method #2 is better for larger sheets because there is less bulk from the elasticized edges. With smaller sized sheets there is less fabric in the center to offset the bulky elasticized edges. Of course, you have to experiment a little and see which method you prefer and works with your linen cupboard.

The key thing to remember for the tidiest looking folded fitted sheet is to flatten and smooth out the sheet and even out the corners with each step. Those pesky rounded, elasticized corners can be tackled!  I’ll show you how as we go along.

Recipe: Salted Caramel Brownies for Two

These brownies are chewy and moist, fudgy and thick. The caramel layer is soft and the sea salt just takes these over the top.

Whether you’re looking for a sweet treat to end a date night or something to share with your roommate while you count the weeks to spring break, these salted caramel brownies are the perfect treat to share with someone at the end of the day!

Living With Kids: Deborah Harju

I’ve always thought of Los Angeles as one of those cities where anything can happen. Scripts are pitched and sold and made into movies. Waiters turn into actors over lunch. You could round the corner and bump into a celebrity. You could round the corner and become a celebrity! Or. You could live out your own entertaining reality show, working and playing and coming home every day to the smiling stars you call your own. That’s exactly how Deborah and her family are living in L.A. Which is definitely a worthwhile paparazzi moment, in my opinion. Welcome, Deborah!

10 Easy Options For Greening Your House

This time of year always gets me thinking about ways I can be more green. We all know it’s important to reduce, reuse and recycle. We know saving energy is a very good thing. But sometimes it can seem daunting or overwhelming and you might wonder where to start. And sometimes, it feels like no matter what efforts we make we’re somehow doing it wrong or not doing enough. I’m not perfectly green by any definition, but I’ve got 10 simple things everyone can do, no matter where they live, to make their home greener. 

Recipe: Marinated Flank Steak Salad

Marinated Flank Steak Salad | DesignMom.com

Here’s a fresh, gorgeous meal that looks and tastes amazing. While this may seem complicated at first look, it’s really very easy. You just mix up the marinade, add to the meat, let it sit for at least 30 minutes or longer, if needed. You can prep this in the morning while getting kids ready and off to school and put it together at dinnertime. To make things even easier, you could use store-bought marinade and dressing. But maybe my favorite part of the recipe is getting to use smoked salt.

Smoked salt used to be a special order kind of ingredient, but now you can find it in most grocery stores. It’s a great way to add a smoky flavor without using a grill. It adds tons of flavor to this steak. If you can’t find it or prefer not to use it, just substitute with regular salt. Smoked paprika can also be used in place of the regular paprika. (As a note, the paprika in this recipe is not the hot, spicy one. It’s “sweet” paprika.”)

Recycle Old Jars into Succulent Planting Pots with Color-Block Twine

Block-Color Wrapped Jar Pots for Succulents | Design Mom

Embracing the season of spring? Well here’s a happy, easy project to bring a little sunshine and color into your day.

These little twine wrapped planters are perfect for brightening your home. I like the idea of a collection of them on the coffee table, or perhaps lining a windowsill. And they would also be darling as party favors or anytime gifts. Another idea: I can picture these as place-setting holders — you could hang the name name cards from an extra length of twine.

However you choose to use them, you’ll be glad you made this easy project! Let’s get to wrapping.

Living With Kids: Shira Gill

’m giving you another California home and sunny interview to warm us all up today. Meet Shira Gill, a sweet mom and wife who turned her 25 house moves into a thriving and much-needed business that edits pretty much an entire life.

Are you hanging on tightly to too much? Do you dread opening your closet in the mornings, not to mention – shudder – your child’s over-crammed wardrobe? Do your afternoons careen into crazy town no matter how well you think you’ve prepared for the chaos? Call Shira. I bet she’s either experienced or seen and solved much worse!

Recipe: Baked Ham & Egg Cups with Dressed Greens

This meal was designed for breakfast, but it’s substantial enough that it could easily work for dinner too! And before we jump into the recipe, please tell me I’m not the only who hasn’t tried baked eggs — and I’m not counting eggs as part of cake batter. I make them over easy, boiled, scrambled, poached. In frittatas and omelettes. Egg salad too! I consider myself an egg fan. How have I never made baked eggs?

15 Pretty Ways to Prepare for Easter

Easter falls at the end of March this year. And I’ve got a bunch of good ideas for things you can do to get ready for this spring holiday. (Don’t celebrate Easter? Several projects are more Spring-focused than Easter-focused — like growing wheat grass, and a mini carrot-cake for two.)

Here are 15 pretty ways to prepare for Easter. Take a look. Most of these are super simple. 

Tall House Floor Plans

Would you like to see the floor plans for the Tall House? Today is your lucky day. I’ve got four drawings for you — and the last one includes measurements (in meters) for those who are curious about dimensions.

If you do check out the measurements, you’ll see that the house has lots of rooms, but they are fairly small rooms. In fact, the largest room in the house is actually in the attic.

Recipe: Homemade Almond Berry Granola Bars

Homemade Almond Berry Granola Bars anyone? They’re sweet and a little salty, crunchy, and chewy. And they’ll hit the spot when you’re looking for something to nosh on. This recipe is good for anyone with a sweet tooth, especially if you’re a fan of dried fruit. The best part is that these come together quickly and the hardest part is waiting for them to be ready to cut into bars.

Ready to make something yummy?

First World Problems: The Shame of Ordering a Well Done Steak

I read this article in the Wall Street Journal about well-done steak shame and I laughed because I totally relate. I know, I know. It’s like a have the taste buds of a 5 year old, but I can’t help it; I much prefer the texture of well-done steak. I don’t like rare or medium rare at all. If that’s what I’m served (and getting the plate cooked further isn’t an option), I end up eating the browned parts around the edges and giving the rest to my husband or kids. I really don’t like rare meat.

Even though I love steak, I often avoid ordering it because I know I’ll likely get some side eye or an exasperated sigh when I request it well-done. Yes, I shouldn’t care about anyone’s reaction, but sometimes I’m just not in the mood for a lecture. What can I say? I like what I like.

According to the article the well-done steak shame may be changing. Or maybe more accurately, all the well-done steak lovers are done apologizing. Hah!

What about you? How do you order your steak? Do you die a little inside when you hear someone order a beautiful, aged cut of meat cooked well-done? And do you have any unpopular food preferences that embarrass you when ordering at restaurants? Tell me I’m not the only one!

P.S. — All the secrets of cooking on a grill.

Our Favorite (Easy!) Valentine’s Day Tradition

Do you have any Valentine Traditions with your kids? We keep Valentine’s Day pretty simple, but we do have one tradition: Valentine’s Day Breakfast. We’ve kept the tradition for many years! If it’s a school day, we get up early. If it’s the weekend, we sleep in and have more of a brunch.

I set the table the night before: Red tablecloth, heart confetti, the nicest dishes and stemware we have, cloth napkins, that sort of thing. The menu changes depending on the day. It might be French Toast with fresh strawberries and whip cream — or it might be toaster waffles if we don’t have much time on a busy school day. And to drink? We always make raspberry milk.

Felt Treat Boxes

Present your Valentine with a handmade felt box, complete with a custom design cut out made just for them. Simple construction with a sophisticated look that can hide any number of sweet treats and gifts inside. Make them for your kids, your honey, or even for classmates.

These little gift boxes aren’t just limited to the heart-filled holidays. They can be modified and styled for any time you need to give a gift. Think birthdays, Mother’s and Father’s Day or a random Wednesday when you feel extra kind. The gift recipient of these will have so many reasons to love you. It’s a kind gesture, includes a thoughtful gift and is encased in a beautiful gift box. Win, win and win.

Grab your scissors and glue gun and let’s get started.

Etched Wooden Heart Key Fobs

We’ve been thinking hard about what sort of non-plastic and non-commercial Valentines we can make for classmates, and we came up with this really cool project: wooden heart key chains! With store-bought wooden hearts, these little tokens of love are ever so easy, totally customizable, and sweet as can be.

So go grab your etching tool and let’s get started.

Recipe: Post Workout Protein-Packed Chicken Salad

This chicken salad includes chopped natural unflavored almonds, and uses Greek yogurt with a bit of seasonings as the dressing, making it super protein-packed. It’s up to you how to serve it. You can use it to top Romaine leaves or another leafy green, scoop it up with your favorite crackers, or use a few hearty slices of bread, or a tortilla, to turn it into a sandwich or wrap. You can even add chicken salad to a hollowed out tomato or bell pepper, or serve it on a bed of mixed greens. So many options! And speaking of options, this recipe makes a very good, basic chicken salad, and there are some variations below because it’s fun to change things up once in awhile so you don’t get bored. The possibilities are endless.

It’s a big timesaver to use leftover cooked chicken for this recipe — rotisserie is perfect for this, or you can cook a few extra chicken breasts for dinner one night to use in the salad and get you through with a week’s worth of snacks or lunches. And if you want to turn this into a heartier meal, maybe for dinner, then try serving this up with a side of grilled or roasted veggies to get even more plant-powered goodness into your day. But it’s easy as can be to make ahead and will keep for days and days in the fridge. And it really is one of the best things to pack into your cooler to keep you fueled up.

Living With Kids: Ania Krasniewska

Ania is a diplomat’s wife, among many other things, but that’s the part of her that brought them to this home in Denmark. It’s also the part that seems to be breaking her heart a little these days, as you’ll read near the end of her interview. She’s got some truly lovely, stick-to-your-soul thoughts about raising kids in a somewhat transient lifestyle, knowing full well your home won’t be your home in a few short years.

I really enjoyed this peek into her diplo-lifestyle, and I hope you feel the same way! Welcome, Ania!

Dessert For Two: Peppermint White Chocolate Pudding

Oh hooray! A Dessert for Two recipe featuring wintery perfection. Peppermint White Chocolate Pudding topped with whipped cream, hot fudge sauce, and crushed candy canes. Yes, please.

All you need for this easy pudding is some milk, cornstarch, white chocolate, a little whipped cream, crushed peppermint candies or candy canes, and hot fudge sauce. You do need to use the stove for this, but it’s so easy and only takes a few minutes. (Does it need hot fudge sauce? No, not really. But you should do it.)

The mint seems to help tame the sweetness of white chocolate while being mellowed by its creaminess. This white chocolate pudding uses peppermint oil or extract. Use as much or as little as you like according to your personal preference. Let’s get to the recipe.

Start A Holiday Journal — The Easiest Most Satisfying Tradition You’ll Ever Find

I have no memory where the idea came from, but my husband and I started a Holiday Journal during our first Christmas together, and we use it each year to write a couple of pages of summary about Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. If I have any ideas for next year, like a new Christmas book I’d like to add to our collection, I’ll include those as well. Sometimes the kids add drawings or their own notes.

As with all my grand ideas, I’m not always consistent — last year the Christmas journal never even made it out of the box. But usually it does. And now that some of the kids are old enough to write, they’re helping the tradition stay alive.

Anyway. Writing my notes this year made me think about how I measure and evaluate Christmas:

-Stress level
-Success of the annual Christmas recital
-How Christmasy the house smelled
-How the Christmas tree looked (meaning: was I happy with the decorations)
-Quantity of peppermint bark & wassail consumed
-Kids faces on Christmas morning

This year will go down as happy on all measures. I especially loved our tree — knowing I had lots of vintage wrapping at my disposal, my friend brought me boxes and boxes of vintage glass balls that she found when she bought a very old house. The pure vintageness was totally awesome.

How do you measure the Holidays?

2024 Update: It’s been 17 years since I first wrote about this topic, but our holiday journal is still going strong. With so many writers in the house, the reports get longer and longer each year. (Which is wonderful!) A delightful part of our holidays has become looking back at earlier reports and remembering together.

I highly recommend this tradition. It’s easy, stress-free, low-cost (or free if you have a spare journal), doesn’t take much time, and provides huge satisfaction. Start this year!

P.S. — Beautiful leather journal.

Ask Design Mom: Hanging Stockings

I was wondering if you or any of your readers have suggestions for what to do with Christmas stockings when you don’t have a fireplace or mantel to hang them on? We live in a 900 sq ft, one story home. We don’t have kids *yet* but we want to start a family soon. As I am decorating for the season, I have found no good spot to hang stockings. (Is it strange that we are two adults in the house and yet I still want to hang stockings?) Any ideas would be appreciated! — Thanks! Meaghan

Such a good question! We’ve definitely faced this dilemma. In our 2 New York homes, we didn’t have a fire place. In Colorado and France we did. And here at The Treehouse, we do have a fireplace, but there is no mantle. Here are a few ideas:

In our first house in New York, we had a stair case with a white wood railing. We hung each stocking with a piece of ribbon (there were 5 at that time), along the stair rail, oldest at the top going down to the youngest. Then we wrapped the rail with green garland. It was very cute.

In our second New York home we made a display of the stockings above our piano in the living room — we hung them from tiny nails, filled them with the pine boughs trimmed from the bottom of the tree, and accented them with a few simple ornaments. Very festive! And this sort of display would work anywhere — above a sofa, or on any stretch of blank wall.

Here at The Treehouse, we put a row of brass teacup hooks in the ceiling just in front of the fireplace, and hung the stockings from a piece of twine. I think they look great! And this solution could also work against any stretch of wall, above a hall table or couch — it doesn’t have to be a brick fireplace.

For all of these displays, when it’s time to fill the stockings, Santa simply takes them down, fills them, and sets the now heavy stockings on the floor below the display, or near the other presents.

And one last idea, you could skip the stockings and fill wellies instead!

What about you, Dear Readers? Have you ever celebrated Christmas in a space without a fireplace and mantel? Where did you hang the stockings?

P.S. — It’s been awhile since I’ve fielded an Ask Design Mom question here on the blog, but you can find the archive here.

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