Amber Byfield

Before & After: A Raised Garden Bed
During the last year, we focused mainly on fixing up the inside of our house. But 2011 is all about the outside, and we got to work before the holidays so we could eat out of our first food-producing garden come early spring. So far, so good. Take a look!We’re grateful that we have a lot of real estate to work with. Our first raised bed (the one pictured here) is four feet wide, eight feet long, and a foot and a half deep. It needed a cubic yard of dirt to fill it up!
Jul 17, 2020
How To Build A Raised Bed in a Metal Trough
Whether you call it a stock tank, a galvanized metal container, or a cattle trough (being from Texas, I prefer the latter), one thing’s for sure: these metal bins make for perfect and visually interesting raised garden beds. They’re cheap and come in a variety of sizes, so surely you’ll find one for your space. Then, follow these steps to create your own raised bed.
Jul 17, 2020
10 Things to Make With Felted Wool
As spring winds down, bringing the oh-so-hot temperatures of summer all the closer, we are knee deep in cleaning. In the midst of purging and decluttering, we’ve come across a handful of wool sweaters that really don’t need to make an appearance as apparel ever again. Here are 10 things you can do to reincarnate those tired old wool sweaters.Felting wool is as simple as washing an old 100% wool sweater in hot water.
Jul 17, 2020
Frugal Living: How to Make Any Fridge More Efficient in 5 Steps
Want to know how to make your fridge run as smoothly as possible, to save energy (and you money) in the long run? We’ve got five things you can try today to make your fridge more efficient. Equipment and Tools Refrigerator Vacuum with a hose attachment Appliance thermometer 1. Keep it clean. We’re talking inside and out. Here’s an in-depth look at cleaning the inside (including how to save energy while doing so): How To Clean the Inside of Your Fridge in 30 Minutes or Less. 2.
May 21, 2019
How To: Reuse Tin Cans as a Container Garden
Growing up, we were taught that everything can have more than one purpose. One man’s trash is another’s treasure, some would say; we like to think we just concentrated on the “reuse” part of reduce-reuse-recycle. So when we went home earlier in the week, we snapped this photo of one of our mom’s trash-to-treasure successes. Here’s one small, simple project that you can do at home, whether you’ve got a green thumb or not.
May 9, 2019
7 Green Reasons to Use a Bread Machine
You might remember my argument for going back to the basics last year, which is why I fought the idea of a bread machine. But my boyfriend gave me one as a gift and in the last week I’ve been converted. Sure, you can accomplish some of this list by making bread the old-fashioned (or no-knead way), or by purchasing a fresh loaf at your local bakery.
May 9, 2019
Green Building: What Are the Downsides to Adobe?
While munching on pizza the other night, conversation drifted to the topic of adobe homes. Living in our hot, dry Texas climate lends itself to homes built from mud. We went over the pros: the bricks can be made on-site with little training, they’re “cheap as dirt,” they offer natural insulation, and the nature of the building material allows much room for creativity. And that’s just what we could think of on the spot.
May 9, 2019
Before & After: A Quick and Easy Kitchen Update
Last spring, when my husband and I bought our first house, we hadn’t painted a full wall between the two of us. That changed within about two days of us getting our keys. We soon learned that the greenest (and most budget-friendly) trick in the book is to work with what you’ve got—so click through to see how our kitchen has progressed from dark and dated to light and lovely on a dime.
May 7, 2019
Hot Tip: How To Keep Your Paint Rollers and Brushes Fresh
My fiance and I have spent our last two weekends priming ceilings. It’s hard work, but rewarding. Every night after a few hours’ work, we fastidiously clean out the rollers and brushes, using more water than we’d like—and they’re never up to par the next day. This was our practice until a friend stopped by today and let us in on a painter’s secret.To make the rollers and brushes last much, much longer (and save gallons of water in the meantime!
Mar 13, 2019
Use Mulch and Straw to Keep Cats and Critters at Bay
In our house, we’re “dog people.” Don’t get me wrong; cats are cute and sweet and all that jazz, but I’m highly allergic and the neighborhood cats love to use our gardens as a litter box. Not cool. Here are three natural, safe, and locally available things we’ve used in all our garden areas to keep the cats (and critters) out.
Jul 14, 2011
For Better or Worse, There are Grubs in My Compost
A few days ago, I took some food scraps out to our happily rodent-free compost bin in the back yard. It was a quiet morning, and I heard a soft noise coming, I thought, from the neighbor’s yard. Then I realized that noise was emanating from the compost bin. And the compost was bobbing up and down. So I carefully peered in, afraid of what I might find…And yep, there they were.Grubs.
Aug 4, 2010
Beat Your Tomatoes? Old Wives’ Tales from the Garden
All our friends with summer gardens are looking forward to harvesting bushels of produce this season, and are doing everything they can to ensure a fruitful return. Which means that we’ve been hearing all manner of tips, tricks, and superstitions about growing vegetables lately. Have you ever heard old wives’ tales from the garden?Like beating your tomatoes with a broom?
Jun 9, 2010
Creative Reuse: A Cotton Ball Alternative
At dinner last night, a friend of ours exclaimed, “I had a green moment today and I just have to tell you.” We were intrigued already.She proceeded to explain that she had a pair of flannel pajama pants that had been through an unfortunate encounter with brown hair dye. The dye was in such a place that she deemed the pants not suitable to take to Goodwill. In an effort to save them from the landfill and fulfill another purpose, what did she do?
Jun 7, 2010
How To Get Rid of Garage Smells
We haven’t even moved in to our house yet, and the garage, which will also be our laundry room, already smells like a tractor barn. (For those of you who didn’t grow up on a farm, think diesel.) Needless to say, we want to nip this in the bud.These outdoor areas tend to be bigger than the power of vinegar and baking soda, which we use to soak up odors inside the home. Here are a few green ideas we’ve found to deal with the smells.
May 18, 2010
Small Space Recycling Solutions
Oh, how we pine for the room to have a full recycling station at home! Imagine it: three full-size bins, clearly labeled for recycling, showcased in the pantry, ever ready for a Martha Stewart-inspired photo shoot. But alas, we’re stuck with a little bit of pantry room and some under-the-sink space. We’re betting a lot of you are in the same boat. Here are our favorite small-space recycling station tips and tricks.
Apr 14, 2010
Hot Tip: Baking Soda Remedies In the Garden
It’s “container garden” this and “grow your own vegetables” that here at Re-Nest, and we have to say that all the tips are definitely helping our miniature front-patio farm, where we saw our first green beans just yesterday!So this weekend, when we noticed an ailment affecting the foliage on some of our plants, we thought we’d investigate and share the results with you. Some of the leaves on our bean, pepper, and basil plants began yellowing.
May 4, 2009
How To: Make Earth-friendly Cascarones
The egg is a symbol that dates back to medieval times, representing Easter and Passover. In some traditions, the dyed hard-boiled egg morphed into the painted or dyed confetti-filled eggshell. And so, in our family, we take great joy in cracking homemade cascarones over (or directly onto) each others’ noggins. Granted, this may be a southern thing, but it’s an entertaining tradition to start anywhere.
Apr 9, 2009
How To: Make a Solar-Powered Garden Fountain
As spring and summer get closer, we’re dreaming up our ideal patio and garden. There are of course eco-friendly lanterns, lots of edible vegetation growing from our containers, and the sweet sound of a tiny babbling brook coming from a D-I-Y fountain. Installing a solar-powered pump for a backyard pond or fountain not only saves energy, but also omits the need for an electrician’s help to bury a line…saving you money on all fronts. Jump below for resources and fountain ideas!
Apr 3, 2009
How to Keep the Fridge Clean
Since most of us probably aren’t going to go as far as to live without a fridge, we should know how to keep up with ours to make the most of its energy use and to simply live healthier. We’re guilty of letting leftovers become science experiments, but with spring cleaning just around the corner we’re going to try to start anew. Jump below for tips on how to clean out the fridge–and keep it that way.
Feb 27, 2009
Six Ways to Dress Up A Bulletin Board
Since we spent time reorganizing at home, we took things to the streets and spent a couple of hours up at our office rearranging our workspace. And now, we’re on the quest for a bulletin board for important messages, photos, etc., for both our home and work offices. But the thing is, we’re really working on minimizing, so we’re hoping the board can shine on its own should we decide not to put anything on it.
Jan 15, 2009