Tag Archives: home

Trump budget threatens dream of buying, owning a home

The NeighborWorks Alliance of Wisconsin Chair Noel Halvorsen issued the following statement in response to President Trump’s budget proposal which would eliminate the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation, commonly referred to as NeighborWorks America:

The proposal by the White House will have a detrimental impact on people in every part of Wisconsin when it comes to achieving and maintaining homeownership.

Communities throughout Wisconsin have experienced positive economic impact from the housing and community development activities provided by the NeighborWorks Alliance of Wisconsin, which is made up of six groups all chartered by NeighborWorks America.

In our most recent Economic Impact Study, it showed that in 2014 the impact of homeownership services and development activities from the NeighborWorks Alliance of Wisconsin sustained 495 jobs and generated more than $69.17 million in economic activity.

These findings demonstrate the value of NeighborWorks organizations in supporting homeownership and community development.

Losing NeighborWorks America would be a tremendous setback for communities across Wisconsin.

Although the agency’s budget is small, less than three thousandths of a percent of the federal budget, the 1.4 million that came to Wisconsin in 2016 was leveraged into tens of millions of direct investment in homes and neighborhoods and generated $13.8 million in real estate and income tax revenue at all levels of government.

Unfortunately, the White House proposal goes even further and includes elimination of:

• the HOME program.

• CDBG.

• CDFI.

• Funding for Habitat, Enterprise, LISC, and more.

Essentially, the budget proposal empties the federal toolbox for underserved market housing investment  and community revitalization.

That would mean fewer Wisconsin families buying homes and less renovation of blighted houses in at-risk neighborhoods.

The NeighborWorks Alliance of Wisconsin calls on Congress to reject the president’s proposal and craft a budget that maintains NeighborWorks America and other critical agencies and programs that help families achieve and maintain the American Dream and help all of us build stronger communities.

FilmStruck aims to bring the art house into your living room

Does this sound familiar? You want to stream a movie and end up spending most of your time clicking through a disorganized sea of options, most of which aren’t especially good, anyhow.

FilmStruck, a new subscription streaming service by Turner Classic Movies and the Criterion Collection, hopes to fill what’s been a giant void in the supposedly glorious age of streaming.

The plentiful options on Netflix, Amazon and Hulu (where Criterion was previously housed) have been terrific for all kinds of watching, just not great cinema.

FilmStuck doesn’t hope to compete with those giants, which are busy building their own original series and films while concentrating less on offering robust libraries. Instead, TCM and Criterion want to bring the art house, and all the passion of movie love, into the 21st century and your living room.

“We feel like it’s a vacuum that needs a caretaker who cares,” says Jennifer Dorian, general manager of TCM and FilmStruck. “There’s a real need out there in the marketplace for film fans.”

Executives for both TCM and Criterion call their union “a lovefest,” and the match is indeed a fitting one. TCM, the 22-year-old cable network of commercial-less Hollywood classics, and Criterion, the 32-year-old purveyor of pristine, supplement-stuffed DVD sets, have both weathered continued change in media and emerged all the stronger for their steadfast dedication to movies.

While networks like AMC (“American Movie Classics”) and IFC (“Independent Film Channel”) have turned their focus to TV series, TCM and Criterion have kept the faith, and earned devoted followings because of it. The partnership came together because of their already close ties and mutual respect. When word got to Turner Classic that Criterion would be exiting its home at Hulu, talks about creating a new streaming platform began.

“We had a great set-up at Hulu, especially given the time we started there,” says Peter Becker, president of Criterion Collection. “But that service was never built from the ground up to be for movie lovers, to highlight special editions, to be curated, to highlight all kinds of stuff. There was very little opportunity to speak to our audience in our own voice.”

FilmStruck will be available for $6.99 a month via filmstruck.com, the Amazon Fire, Apple TV and iOS and Android devices. It features films from the vaults of major studios but the focus of its about 500 rotating films is more independent, international and contemporary. It’s more Kubrick and Kurosawa than Doris Day and John Wayne.

TCM’s head of programming Charles Tabesh will program FilmStruck, including a rotating selection of Criterion titles. But on Nov. 11, Criterion will debut its own channel on FilmStruck featuring all of its films, about 1,200 titles that encompass a large swath of film’s acknowledged masterpieces. That will run $10.99 monthly or $99 for a year.

What distinguishes FilmStruck, though, isn’t just the quality of its films but its expansive, rethought streaming experience. There’s a long list of searchable titles, but FilmStruck and the Criterion Channel are first and foremost curated experiences. Films are organized into series, retrospectives and essentials.

“This is what art-house theaters have been doing around the country for the last fifty years,” says Becker. “Why would we not build on all the curatorial energy and ideas that has been expended over all this time?”

There will be a Friday night double feature. Another weekly night will match a short with a feature. Filmmakers will be profiled in documentaries, as will art house theaters across the country.

Cinephiles may also drool over the array of special features — the sort that populate Criterion Blu-rays — that dot the service. You can listen to Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola expound on “The Thief of Bagdad” or watch the Coen brothers with Barry Sonnenfeld deconstruct their “Blood Simple” with the kind of telestrators usually wielded by NFL commentators.

“We find that this is a very satisfying night at the movies,” says Becker.

The streaming landscape is increasingly crowded, not just by Amazon and Netflix but by the likes of Fandor, Mubi, IndieFlix and Warner Archive. Standing out _ and convincing viewers to add another monthly bill _ will be FilmStruck’s biggest challenge.

Dorian says their research suggests 15 million could be willing to pay for FilmStruck. It’s a bold gambit for Turner Classic, which has been, as Dorian says with a knowing smile, “very judicious in its changes over the years.”

“We get to try new stuff that we haven’t tried in decades,” says Dorian. “I hope we’re agile and nimble. Working in software has been a total education.”

It’s a leap for Criterion, too, which will for the first time have its own digital playground. The DVDs, Becker says, remain the best image quality for their films, “but there’s now a whole generation of people who haven’t ever bought a disc.”

The entire enterprise has the spirit of a mission: Show the digital world what’s so great about movies. At the FilmStruck launch party in Manhattan, scenes from classic films like Ingmar Bergman’s “The Seventh Seal” were set up. Director George Romero could be seen playing chess with Death.

“There’s never been a better time for art-house film culture, with apologies to the ‘60s,” says Becker. “It’s a crazy time to be a film lover.”

Want to buy a Lake Michigan lighthouse?

The U.S. General Services Administration recently announced the public offering of four lighthouses in Michigan.

The sale is part of the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act program’s effort to find new owners for the historic structures.

Here’s what the GSA says about the properties:

The iconic White Shoal Light, a major engineering feat at the time of construction in 1901, is located offshore 20 miles west of the Mackinac Bridge on Lake Michigan.

The red and white tower has a terracotta, steel, and brick interior and is featured on a state of Michigan license plate.

Gray’s Reef Light, built in 1936, is located 4 miles west of Waugoshance Island on Lake Michigan.

The historic 82-foot light has a square tower with steel plate construction on a concrete crib. The light is an active aid to navigation operated by the U.S. Coast Guard.

The offshore North Manitou Shoal Light, constructed in 1935, is located southeast of North Manitou Island, in Leland Township.

The light includes a 2-story steel building that housed the living quarters and a 63-foot tall steel tower constructed on top for the automated light.

The historic light remains an active aid to navigation operated by the USCG.

Minneapolis Shoal Light marks the entrance to Little Bay De Noc in Delta County.

The 82-foot high octagonal lighthouse sits on a 32-foot square metal structure that housed the living quarters for the keeper.

The light was constructed in 1934 and was the last manned lighthouse to mark an isolated reef. It remains an active aid to navigation operated by the USCG.

As part of the NHLPA program, GSA is offering these lighthouses through an online auction at realestatesales.gov.

Proceeds from the public sales go back into the USCG’s aid to navigation fund, a fund that pays for the equipment, maintenance, and resources (fog horns, lights, battery cells, solar panels, etc.) to continue preservation and maintenance of lighthouses that are still active.

Interested bidders will need to complete an online registration form and submit a registration deposit.

These lighthouses occupy Great Lakes Public Trust bottomlands owned by the state of Michigan. The state will require any purchaser to enter into a private use agreement for lease of bottomlands prior to any use or occupancy of a lighthouse.

The lights also will serve as an active aid to navigation, which will remain the personal property of the USCG.

GSA’s Great Lakes Regional administrator Ann P. Kalayil said GSA has a responsibility to dispose of excess government real estate assets, including historic lighthouses.

“Lighthouses like these in Michigan have deep roots and sentimental value as local historic landmarks,” she said in a news release. “Through public sales, GSA is able to save taxpayer dollars on operation and maintenance of these lights while helping to find new owners who can preserve these treasures.”

Since 2000, GSA has administered the NHLPA with its partners. To date, 119 lighthouses have been sold or transferred out of federal ownership, with 74 transferred at no cost to preservationists and 45 sold by auction to the public.

On the web

Lighthouses hit auction block.

 

Happy hippy campers: Tents take a stylish turn

Whether they’re providing cozy shelter from the elements outdoors or top-secret privacy in the playroom, a number of style-savvy new tents put the “fun” in a functional structure.

Land of Nod has several tepees with pizzaz. Color-happy and neutral-toned cotton canvas comes in an array of stripes, dots or dip-dye patterns, supported by easy-to-assemble bamboo poles. Big comfy cushions are available for some models. (www.landofnod.com)

At Target, polyester fabric has a canvas look; a Southwestern print in charcoal and white would blend with lots of decor. (www.target.com)

A starry night sky graces a tepee at Wayfair. Several unadorned models can be personalized by crafty kids with paint, stamps, streamers and the like. (www.wayfair.com)

Pottery Barn has one for the sophisticated little camper, embellished with gold metallic dots. A plain white tent is roomy enough for sleepovers, and has a peek-out window. (www.potterybarn.com)

Good design isn’t relegated to just the kiddie campers, though. Tents for adults and families have creative patterns and high-tech features.

Some are more suited to fair-weather outdoor activities like park picnics or music festivals. But many are engineered for the rigors of serious camping.

Field Candy’s a website for tents with personality. One looks like a giant wedge of juicy watermelon. Another resembles the splayed-out pages of a hardcover book. Faux brick or wood tents fool the eye, and so does one with a lush lawn photo-printed on it. Flags from various countries are featured on others. You can imagine yourself hunkered down on the side of the Matterhorn in a tent printed with a realistic image of the Swiss Alps. (www.fieldcandy.com)

Camping with a crowd? Consider the London Underground Tube tent, which sleeps 16.

A smaller gang could snuggle up in the VW Bus tent, a full-size replica of Volkswagen’s iconic camper van. (www.firebox.com)

The 130-pound Cocoon Tree from Glamping Technology might catch the attention of passersby. Resembling an alien spacecraft, it consists of a spherical aluminum frame covered with waterproof fabric and the interior is equipped with a king-size mattress. All you need is two or three strong trees to which to anchor it, using the supplied ropes and nets. Or if you’re tree-challenged, use the four stabilizing feet included to place the Cocoon on solid ground. The tent sleeps four. (www.cocoontree.com)

Tentsile, a tent maker in London, has a model called the Stingray that you can suspend in the trees. Intended for camping where ground conditions are inhospitable, the Stingray can also be suspended between boulders, vehicles or other large, stationary anchors. You can enter it through the front door or through a floor vent. (www.tentsile.com)

Fjallraven’s Abisko three-season tent sleeps two and features an inner tent surrounded by vestibules that can be rolled up out of the way. The inner tent is made of mesh fabric and the flysheet has vents, making the tent a good one for hot weather camping. (www.fjallraven.us)

Big Agnes, an outfitter in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, offers a wide range of tents for everything from base camping to trail hiking. Weighing a little over a pound, the Fly Creek 1 Platinum provides 22 square feet of sleeping space, enough for two. The Yellow Jacket 3 mtnGLO, which sleeps up to four, has LED lights in the tent fabric; perfect for card playing or reading. (www.bigagnes.com)

 

Eau Claire-area artists turn felled ash trees into artwork

When Tim Brudnicki looks at the stacks of milled ash wood drying in a shed on his rural Caryville property, he sees more than the blond-colored hard surfaces adorned with swirled orange-brown lines that make up the wood’s grain.

He also envisions tabletops and headboards and other furniture he will create from wood he is giving a second life.

Tim Brudnicki, the owner of Eau Claire Woodworks, is one of three regional artisans taking part in an effort to turn some of the 300 or so healthy ash trees the city of Eau Claire is proactively cutting each year into attractive and useful furniture and works of art.

Previously, that wood has been churned into mulch or turned into pulpwood. But now, thanks to a partnership involving the city of Eau Claire, a Madison-based entity seeking to reuse downed urban trees and local artisans such as Brudnicki, those ash trees that lined many city boulevards are being used for other purposes.

“This is a great way of finding better uses for this wood that was otherwise going to a lesser purpose,” he said.

The idea for turning felled ash trees into locally produced furniture and art has its roots in the city’s management of its public ash tree population. As the emerald ash borer, a green beetle that infests and destroys ash tree populations, surfaced in recent years in the Northeast and spread to the Midwest, city forestry officials decided to thin the 7,000 ash trees on boulevards, parks and other public lands in an effort to slow the damage.

Four years ago the city began felling ash trees on public property. As city forester Todd Chwala watched one ash after another come down, he hoped there was a better use for them than being ground into wood chips or used for pulpwood.

Chwala and other city officials met in summer of 2014 to determine how to accomplish that goal. They enlisted the assistance of Leadership Eau Claire, a leadership training program operated by the Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce.

The group took on the project and ultimately contacted Wisconsin Urban Wood, a Madison nonprofit organization that promotes using wood produced by urban forestry operations and believes that such wood can be used for such purposes as lumber, furniture and works of art. The organization agreed to work as a conduit between the city and artisans such as Brudnicki who want to use the ash trees.

and artisans such as Brudnicki who want to use the ash trees.

Cut ash trees are piled at the former brush site along Jeffers Road. The three artisans currently working in conjunction with Wisconsin Urban Wood — Brudnicki; Julie McFadden, who owns Eco Urban Timber of Eau Claire; and J.R. Salzman, who owns Salzman Custom Sawing near Downsville _ choose from the logs at the site. They don’t pay for the wood but are responsible for hauling it to the locations where it will be dried and milled before they turn it into products.

Matthew Staudenmaier, city forestry division supervisor, said the urban wood renewal program makes sense in that it turns a waste product into items of value while adding to Eau Claire’s arts scene.

“These people are finding lots of uses for that same wood before was viewed as waste,” he said.

***

Brudnicki approached a stack of ash drying at his property and pointed to one thick slab, noting its twisting, prominent grain. A longtime carpenter in the Milwaukee area before moving five years ago to rural Eau Claire with his wife and two children, he said he hadn’t previously worked with ash and has been surprised at its hard nature and attractive appearance.

“It looks and acts a lot like oak,” Brudnicki said. “It can be difficult to work with too because of the twists and turns of the grain. A lot of people don’t like that in a wood. They like straight grain because it’s easier to work with. But this grain is what gives this wood its character. It’s what allows me to give some of these pieces an artistic flair.”

Brudnicki is doing just that with the pieces of ash he has procured. Nick Meyer, the publisher of Volume One who is one of the owners of the Oxbow Hotel, commissioned Brudnicki to create much of the furniture, everything from bed headboards to end tables to the front desk, for the hotel currently under construction.

Brudnicki is making most of those items from reclaimed ash. He noted how the wood’s distinctive coloration makes its swirled grain stand out and how the knots and burls in the wood help form artistic curves he can work with.

“For me, that’s where the artistic beauty of this wood is,” he said.

Meyer was attracted to Brudnicki’s craftsmanship after he began selling items at the Local Store, which Meyer owns, and he subsequently hired him to make furniture for the hotel. The ash trees are a great fit for the hotel, where the aim is to give patrons an authentic Eau Claire feel, Meyer said.

“We really want to make Eau Claire be a big part of this hotel, and this is a very direct way to do that, to take trees that were growing in this place and turn them into our furniture,” Meyer said.

***

McFadden praised the ash reuse effort, saying it feels good as an artisan to extend the lives of the felled trees rather than see them go to waste.

“It’s wonderful. It’s giving this wood a new home, and that is a really good thing,” said McFadden, who in addition to building her business works at Chippewa Valley Technical College as a software development teacher and a grant manager.

McFadden’s business was born from the ash tree reuse effort. She was part of the 2013-14 Leadership Eau Claire team that initially discussed the idea, and she later attended a training seminar in Spring Green designed to help attendees learn how to reuse urban wood. Many of her products combine wood, light and etching in creative ways.

“My business really sprang from this urban wood idea, so it has special meaning to me,” McFadden said, noting she hopes to continue to grow her business and turn more ash into products people can enjoy.

Brudnicki has growth plans too. He hopes to create one line of his business specifically dedicated to reusing urban wood.

He recalled a trip shortly after he moved here and started his business to a gallery in the Pepin County community of Stockholm. He had created two new tables that included a hollowed-out section inlaid with pebbles designed to impart the idea of a flowing river. His business was struggling at the time, and he doubted whether the objects would sell. Moments after he arrived at the gallery a woman bought both works, giving him confidence that maybe his business would survive after all.

Now, thanks in part to the urban ash project, he said, his business is thriving.

“I am so fortunate, and this program has been what I needed to take my business to the next level,” Brudnicki said. “This is a way to give these trees new life, and it feels good to be a part of that.”

Garden art brings drama, design outdoors

If you came across any of Barbara Sanderson’s work in a garden, you might think you’d stepped into Alice’s Wonderland. The Seattle-based glass blower crafts flowers, arbors, lights and fountains for natural settings, aiming to create a magical, otherworldly tableau.

“I love to add another dimension to what already exists,” she says.

Art created for the outdoors can bring drama and design to a garden or patio. Sheila Jeffrey, a landscape designer from Collingwood, Ontario, suggests thinking of outdoor space as you would a room, with a floor, walls and ceiling.

“As with interior art, consider the overall theme or feel of the space when you’re choosing outdoor accents,” she says.

“Walls or fences are often overlooked and are a great place for an interesting focal point.”

For wall art, consider vintage objects, such as picture frames, mirrors, cast iron grates, architectural elements or antique signs as outdoor wall art.

Arrange groupings of small vessels like planted terra cotta pots, buckets or paint cans. Put themed vignettes on shelves.

“Vintage ‘60s metal wall sculptures are a favorite of mine,” says Jeffrey, “and you can often find them at yard sales. Clear-coat them with a good exterior-grade polyurethane before displaying.”

Sanderson’s inspiration for making outdoor pieces comes from fond memories of visiting her grandfather’s English garden as a teenager.

“I spent some time gazing into his pond, appreciating the soothing sound that water makes in a garden setting,” Sanderson recalls. “I returned home determined to create a water feature for myself. That was the beginning of my focus on garden artwork.”

She forms glass into colorful, plump little birds that can be placed in a found nest, or in one of Sanderson’s spun-glass nests. Pitcher plants in vibrant hues of gold and carmine, mounted on copper rods, catch the rain.

There are Seussian fiddlehead ferns and mushrooms, as well as colorful “glacicles” rigged with lights to line a path or poolside.

And for a pond or birdbath, Sanderson has created the “bee preserver,” a glass ball studded with glass nubs so that bees have something on which to rest when they’re drinking. (www.glassgardensnw.com )

Margie Grace, a landscape designer in Santa Monica, California, often incorporates salvaged elements like driftwood, branches and stones into her projects. They can be used to make mosaics and interesting screens. She used an old metal bed as a planter, with flowers as the “pillows” and “quilt.” Her fondness for functional art led her to create a “canalito,” a canal made from stones that carries away storm water, while winding artfully around trees and beds.

“Art can evoke the very nature of a place,” she says, pointing out a kinetic sculpture in a hill-top garden that mimics the pelicans soaring off a nearby bluff. (www.gracedesignassociates.com )

If your balcony or backyard has no view, consider one of Gizaun Art’s wooden wall panels. The Portland, Oregon-based studio uses all-weather, ultraviolet, translucent inks to apply photo images of flowers and landscapes onto red cedar boards, ready for hanging. Designs include sunflowers, lighthouses and landscapes. (www.gizaunart.com )

Wind and Weather stocks some backlit, punched art crafted from recycled metal drum lids in Bali. Choose from a zodiac, sun and moon, or several whimsical designs like cats on a moonlit fence, or a train chugging through a wintry night. (www.windandweather.com )

For a small terrace, the Trigg geometric container, designed by Moe Takemura for Umbra, might be just the thing. The sleek, diamond-shaped ceramic or concrete-resin vessels perch inside a slim brass frame. They could hold herbs, succulents or extra keys. (www.allmodern.com )

 

What a hotel can teach us about home design

You know that feeling you get when you walk into a hotel room and you just want to fall on that big white bedspread with the fluffy pillows?

Here are some tips from three hotel brands — Renaissance, Baccarat and Loews — on how to create that same serene and inviting atmosphere at home.

 

HOTEL SURPRISE AND DELIGHT

Marriott opens the Renaissance NY Midtown hotel this spring in Manhattan. Its design concept involves creating moments of “surprise and delight” in public spaces like the lobby and dining areas, as well as in guest rooms. For example, open a closet door and inside you’ll find bold graphics livening up a space that’s usually unadorned.

Toni Stoeckl, vice president of Marriott’s Lifestyle Brands, offers these tips for a similar approach in home design:

  • Target all the senses, including “what you see, the music, the fragrance,” said Stoeckl.
  • Pepper the environment with “moments to love,” he said. But remember: “Less is more: If you have too much art, you can’t pay attention to any one piece.” Good interior design is “more about uncovering beauty and decluttering space.”
  • Keep design elements “real and authentic. No fake flowers, no fake candles.”
  • Change artwork periodically. “Have a few pieces of art that you rotate,” said Stoeckl. Consider using the seasons as a scheduling guide for when to change displays.
  • Showcase objects and art that have layers of interest or meaningful stories. For example, a large, bright red work of abstract art near the hotel’s front desk is comprised entirely of buttons, but you can’t see the buttons until you get close. The button art was inspired by the hotel’s neighborhood: It’s in Manhattan’s Garment District, and many of its design elements are connected to the apparel and fashion industries, from little ceramic sewing machine decorations in guest rooms, to quotes from famous designers placed on coffee tables in the club lounge. Another large artwork displaying a quote from Diane von Furstenberg — “Attitude is everything”— is made from tiny pushpins.

“We want you to look at the space, but there is another layer, and we want you to look again,” said Stoeckl.

 

PAINTING WITH LIGHT

Baccarat is not just a famous brand of French crystal. There’s also the Baccarat Hotel & Residences New York, across from the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan. Chandeliers, glassware and artwork made from Baccarat crystal are hallmarks of the hotel decor, but so is lighting. “The idea of illumination is one of the central reasons why we created the hotel,” said Kemper Hyers, head of design for Starwood Capital Group, which created the hotel.

Yet lighting is sometimes overlooked in home design. Lighting your home isn’t just about finding the perfect lamp, Hyers said. It’s also about “painting with light. How do I bring this room to light?”

Some tips:

  • Experiment with tape embedded with LED lights. It’s inexpensive, easy to apply and remove, and widely available. The tape is not only handy for illuminating a shelf or dark corner, but it can also light a wall behind a piece of furniture or spotlight a work of art.
  • When you buy LED bulbs, “don’t go any cooler than 2700 warm white,” said Hyers, referring to the numerical scale used to measure bulb color. The higher the number, the whiter and cooler the light.
  • Bulb design improves every few months, so look for the latest options and “play with a mix of bulbs.” You can even buy LED bulbs shaped like classic “Edison bulbs with the long filament, perfectly done,” Hyers said.

 

CLEAN AND COZY

Loews Hotels launched a “Loews Knows” campaign in December offering short videos at https://www.loewshotels.com/loews-knows with “hints and hacks” from housekeeping managers and other staff. Topics range from cleaning to entertaining to creating the right ambience.

Some tips:

  • For “insanely fluffy bed pillows,” toss pillows in a dryer with a tennis ball.
  • To dust “like a pro,” use a microfiber cloth (avoid terrycloth). Spritz cleaning solution on the cloth (not on the surface you’re dusting) and wipe in a circular motion from high to low.
  • To create a cozy ambience for a relaxing bath, light a candle, add essential oils and Epsom salts to the water, and provide accessories, both functional and decorative: sponges, stones, body wash and handmade soap. Place a drink and book tubside, with a fluffy robe and slippers.
  • To make a guest room welcoming, fold down covers, stand pillows up, put a bottle of water on one side and a glass of milk with cookies and sliced fruit on the other, close the shades and leave one light on by the bed.
  • To remove crayon from walls, spray WD-40 and scrub vigorously with a rag or paper towel. To remove coffee stains from fabric, blot with light beer, club soda, white vinegar or baby wipes, then scrub with a toothbrush. To remove a red wine stain, soak a cloth in white wine and blot gently.

 

Right at Home: Green is a go for spring decor

When we start thinking “spring,” one color comes to mind. Tender pea shoots, that soft fuzziness on budding trees, a new lawn — there’s a palette of green that herald nature’s shift to the warm seasons.

And there are many fresh ways to bring green indoors with paint and furnishings.

“Green is Mother Nature’s favorite color. It’s so abundant in the world around us that we’re accustomed to seeing it as a background color,” says Lee Eiseman, head of the Eiseman Center for Color Information and Training near Seattle.

She also points out the “good-for-you” connotations of green — eating fruits and vegetables, juicing and so on — and the generally calming nature of the hue.

“We’re looking for that restful shade to bring the outside in, and provide balance in our lives,” she says.

Dee Schlotter, the spokesperson for PPG Brands, design and color marketers and makers of PPG Paints, says, “Green is restorative, rejuvenating and fresh. Being in nature brings an ease or a relaxation that’s almost immediate. Recreating that feeling in the home is very popular right now.”

The company has chosen Paradise Found as their 2016 color of the year. It’s a soothing gray-green with a hint of blue.

Greens like this play well with others. Combining gray-green with matte black modernizes a traditional space. Paired with white, the color becomes more mineral and organic.

Farrow & Ball has a new, leafy, verdant hue with historic provenance to help commemorate the paint maker’s 70th anniversary.

“Yeabridge Green was originally found in an 18th century Georgian farmhouse in the (United Kingdom) county of Somerset,” creative director Charlie Cosby recalls. During renovation, an original gun cupboard was removed, revealing the paint color.

Rich and earthy, it’s a green in the family of avocado, olive and evergreen.

Crate & Barrel’s Marin collection of artisan-made stoneware comes in a relaxed yet sophisticated lemongrass shade. There’s a soft wool rug named Baxter in the hue as well. (www.crateandbarrel.com )

If you’re trying green for the first time, Eiseman advises looking at the blue-greens. “They’re the most universally pleasant and least risky,” she says. “Particularly teals and deep turquoise.”

West Elm has a little midcentury-style desk and wooden counter stools in a gentle blue-green they’re calling “oregano.” (www.westelm.com )

CB2 has a sleek, low-profile dresser done in high-gloss mint lacquer. They also have a mint, powder-coated steel filing cabinet, and an array of minty trays, vases and napery. (www.cb2.com )

Saturated shades like chartreuse, citron and lime give a “pop” to walls and home accessories. At All Modern, find bold, zigzag-printed throws and slipper chairs from Amity Home, Deny Designs and Handy Living. (www.allmodern.com )

Kitchenaid’s mixers and tools come in a fresh apple green. (kitchenaid.com)

Looking for other colors with which to pair green?

“Reach across the color wheel and choose the complementary colors,” Eiseman says. “It’s the rose tones, wines and warm purples that are very effective with shades of green.”

AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin observes World AIDS Day, highlights opening of Madison medical home

The AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin is recognizing World AIDS Day by highlighting the opening of its newest HIV medical home in Madison.

The ARCW HIV medical home provides integrated medical, dental and mental health care along with a pharmacy and critical social services to make sure people with HIV have all the tools they need to live a long, healthy life with HIV, according to a news release.

“World AIDS Day is a day set aside to remember the countless number of loved ones we have lost, to support the thousands of people living with HIV today who need access to health care and treatment and to rededicate ourselves to doing all we can as individuals and as a society to eliminate new infections from occurring,” ARCW president and CEO Michael J. Gifford stated. “The opening of new medical home in Madison and our ongoing dedication to expanding HIV prevention and testing services to all who need them everywhere in Wisconsin are just two of the ways we mark this solemn and important day.”

ARCW also is offering access to pre-exposure prophylaxis, also known as PrEP, as an integral component of its health care and prevention services. PrEP works by providing HIV-negative individuals who are at high risk for contracting HIV with the same medication used to help HIV-positive individuals successfully minimize the amount of the virus they have in their body.

PrEP has been shown to be more than 90 percent effective at preventing new HIV infections when used correctly. Combined with access to health care, regular testing and other HIV prevention strategies such as condoms, PrEP provides people with a game-changing way to stop HIV.

“Today, unlike the first World AIDS Day, we have the tools and medical science to provide patients with a long, healthy life with HIV disease and to stop new infections from occurring almost completely. What we still need now is what we needed then — the collective will from our private and public leaders to join us and seize upon the opportunity we have before us,” Gifford stated. “There is much to be excited for as we look forward to a world in which everyone with HIV has unfettered access to health care, in which new infections are truly rare, and where people with HIV no longer face the stigma that helps to drive this epidemic forward.”

Get connected

HIV patients and people at-risk for HIV who would like to learn more about ARCW programs and services designed for them can visit www.arcw.org, call 800-359-9272 from anywhere in Wisconsin or contact their local ARCW office by using http://www.arcw.org/locations/.

EPA proposes agricultural ban on pesticide that damages kids’ brains

The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed to ban all agricultural use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos, because of the health risks from contaminated drinking water.

The agency said it would issue a final decision by the end of next year, after taking public comment.

The EPA had already eliminated household uses in home gardens, insect sprays and other products in 2000 — in response to a lawsuit by the Natural Resources Defense Council and other groups — because the chemical damages the developing brains of children. 

Veena Singla, a scientist with the health program at NRDC, said, “We’ve known for years that chlorpyrifos is dangerous, and that’s why we sued EPA—to take it off the market.  The agency’s announcement today is a huge step in the right direction, but we think there’s enough evidence to ban all its uses now.”

Chlorpyrifos is a toxic chemical sprayed on apples, oranges, broccoli, nuts and scores of other crops.

It’s also used on golf courses.

It is associated with long-lasting neurological damage to children and numerous farmworker poisonings.  Farms in the United States disperse more than 5 million pounds of it each year.

EPA’s decision was the outcome of a lawsuit filed by Earthjustice, NRDC and Pesticide Action Network, asking EPA to ban chlorpyrifos.

“This is what we have been seeking for years. EPA’s and other independent findings show that chlorpyrifos causes brain damage to children and poisons workers and bystanders,” said Patti Goldman, the Earthjustice attorney handling the case. “At long last, the agency is signaling its intention to protect children, workers and their families by banning this hazardous pesticide. It is imperative that EPA move quickly to protect workers and children by finalizing this important rule.”