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Gardening: Keep your houseplants alive this winter

Winter’s gentle teaser last week is a good reminder that our gardening has moved indoors for the next few months. Here are some tips to keep plants alive and happy. As we get into the holidays, poinsettias are going to find their way home with us and they don’t like the cold; they will drop their leaves if they get too much of it. Try to pick them up as your last stop before going home and don’t leave them sitting in your car. Once home keep them in bright indirect light and away from heat vents and cold drafts. Water them when the soil surface is dry to the touch but don’t let them stand in water afterward. The colored bracts will last well into late winter and beyond. They make a good houseplant year-round but are notoriously difficult to get to rebloom. Check out the Spokane Community College Greenhouse Program’s annual poinsettia sale going on today and tomorrow. See the side bar for details.

Seasonal scents: The do’s and don’ts of fall fragrances

What does your home say about you? What is the first or lasting impression? In many instances, the unseen can make a lasting impression, whether positive or negative. We are talking about scent. Fragrance can be powerful when it comes to either attracting or distracting. And for many, infusing scents is part of the experience for guests. When looking for ways to infuse fragrance and scent into your home, here are some tips. Do

10 tips to create a great closet

Let’s face it, closets can be messy! One of the main culprits often relates to a lack of proper organization. The key to a well-organized space is for everything to be in place and to have a place.

4 fall decor tips – that have nothing to do with pumpkins

Designers wisely advise us against trends: “I actually try to steer clear of trends,” says Chicago designer Summer Thornton. “They’re more likely to look dated in a few years.” Still, if you’re ready for a fall update this year, Thornton and fellow Chicago designer Amy Kartheiser weighed in on some of the fresh ideas that are floating around right now.

In the Garden: Use lessons from harvest to plow into planning for next year’s garden

With the end of the garden season rapidly approaching, it’s time to reflect on how this year’s garden performed. Two challenges were high temperatures and hazardous air quality from regional wildfires. While I feel the latter especially impacted the growth of many of our vegetable crops, there were plenty of high points worth sharing.

Ask the Builder: Smoking fireplace is likely a matter of wrong dimensions

Q. Tim, I need your help. I’ve got a masonry fireplace that puffs smoke into the room when a fire is burning. It gets worse as the fire dies down. I’ve spoken with three different bricklayers who build fireplaces and have received three different answers. Confusion reigns at my home, and my wife is none too happy. Can you share what might be wrong and if there’s an easy fix to the problem? – Gary N., Dayton, Ohio A. When the cold weather starts to descend across the fruited plain, I start to get quite a few emails like Gary’s. Smoking fireplaces are a nuisance, and unfortunately the solution is not always easy.