Turn a little-used room into the best place in the house.
As part of a guild whose quality handmade crafts raise $10,000 each year for the Christmas fair at St. John's Episcopal Church in Northampton, retired florist Susan Roy needed a place where she and her fellow crafters could work.
"I've always had a crafts room - before, during and after my children," Roy said. "In my French-Canadian family, every woman sewed, knitted or hooked rugs. Everybody made things." [Read more]
Eric and Nancy Kaye of Eric Kaye Interiors in the renovated space that was a hardly used den in a Northampton home. The panels behind Eric can be closed to keep the living room separate. (Photo: Gordon Daniels)
AMHERST, Mass. -- At 18, the high-functioning autistic Temple Grandin constructed a "squeeze machine" to help calm her anxiety. She got the idea after observing that cattle being held in a squeeze chute seemed to relax while waiting in line for veterinary attention.
A pair of Amherst-based entrepreneurs took Grandin's idea and ran with it. Last month, they introduced an inflatable vest that offers a "portable hug" to help calm and soothe children with autism and other disorders. [Read more]
The pressurized vest created by Therapeutic Systems of Amherst helps calm and soothe children with autism and other disorders. (Courtesy of Therapeutic Systems)
A surgeon restores the hand of a young Iraqi woman injured by a terrorist bomb.
NOORA AL-SARIAA, 27, a striking young woman with dark, shoulder-length hair, brown eyes, and a ready laugh, struggles a bit with English. So she sometimes expresses herself with her graceful hands. The bomb injury that left one of them functionally useless just over a year ago is barely noticeable now. [Read more]
After six hours of microsurgery, Noora's hand function improved, and today she can grasp objects. (Photo: Sasha Nialla)
Options abound for donating or reselling home materials - everything from your old kitchen cabinets to wood flooring and vintage radiators - and for buying used goods cheaply, too.
OF THE 105 MILLION tons of construction and demolition debris generated in this country in 2010, only 28 percent was recycled, according to the Waste Business Journal. A kitchen and bath remodel alone can produce a ton and a half of waste. Yet renovating doesn't have to mean sending all your old treasures to the trash. [Read more]
Harry and Jeanine James own New England Demolition and Salvage in New Bedford; their inventory includes items both decorative and practical, from radiators and shutters to 6,000 doors. (Photograph by Webb Chappell)
HAWLEY, Mass. -- Looking for a no-frills vacation in the woods? From December through late March, Stump Sprouts, a mountain-top lodge just this side of the Berkshires, offers 25 kilometers of groomed cross-country ski trails among ice-tinseled trees and snow-covered brooks. At the summit, skiers are rewarded by views that include New Hampshire's Mount Monadnock. [Read more]
Cross-country skiing is a highlight at Stump Sprouts lodge, where guests bring their own bedding and share a dining hall. (Photograph courtesy of Stump Sprouts)
The elegant trogon, a tropical bird from Mexico, usually comes to breed near the Southwestern Research Station in southeastern Arizona in late March or early April. (Photo: Dawn Wilson)
PORTAL, Ariz. -- For birders in the Southwest, the elegant trogon is the Holy Grail. A tropical parrot-like species, with a bright red breast, iridescent green top feather, and a long coppery tail, the trogon comes up from Mexico each spring to breed along area creeks. But it's not just trogons that make the place special. It is home to the American Museum of Natural History's Southwestern Research Station and has been dubbed one of the world's "biodiversity hotspots." [Read more]