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The Grapevine (Dec. 7)

  • Published Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013, at 7:52 p.m.
  • Updated Friday, Dec. 6, 2013, at 7:19 a.m.

Poinsettia care

Poinsettias can look great for a long time if given the proper care, Ward Upham of K-State says. Here are his tips:

• Place the poinsettia in a sunny window or the brightest area of the room, but don’t let it touch cold window panes.

• Temperatures above 75 degrees will shorten bloom life and below 60 degrees may cause root rot. Move plants away from windows at night or draw drapes between them to avoid damage from the cold.

• Stick your finger about a half inch into the soil every day. If it is dry to that depth, the plant needs water. Pour in lukewarm water until some of it runs out of the drainage hole, then discard the drainage water. (Remove any foil wrapping, or place a hole in the foil to let water drain out.)

Tree Nanny monitors water level

Tree Nanny baby-sits your Christmas tree to help make sure it doesn’t go dry.

The battery-operated device, formerly called the Smart Tree Keeper, straps to the tree trunk and monitors the water level in the tree stand. When it senses that the tree needs water, it plays “Jingle Bells” every 10 minutes.

A light sensor can tell when the tree lights are off, so the music won’t come on at night and wake you.

The “nanny” includes clear plastic tubing and a funnel that can be hung from a branch and used to refill the tree stand. A chime alerts you when the stand is full.

It can be ordered at landmarcproducts.com and homedepot.com. It costs about $20 plus shipping and handling, unless picking it up at a Home Depot store.

— Akron Beacon Journal

Designer Q&A

Q: What is your favorite white paint color, and what color should ceilings be to pair with it?

A: Thomas Pheasant, a Washington-based interior designer, answers: My favorite white is Benjamin Moore’s Ivory White. It’s bright and warm. I tend to make my ceilings slightly whiter than my trim, since they typically look darker than the walls.

— Washington Post

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