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34 Practical Life Skills to Master on Your Snow Day/Weekend

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It's tempting, when drumming up content for a website like Food52, to assume that your readers have a basic working knowledge of... well. Everything. Nobody balks if we speak casually about laminating dough, for example. Further: Our comments sections, even on design and culture stories, can be as insightful as the articles themselves, and we write about community recipes, tips, and suggestions all the time (that's how Food52 got started, you know).

But as we've grown, we've seen our readers gravitate just as frequently to practical, basic life skills—how to hand-wash delicate clothes, care for stainless steel cookware, buy quality furniture, or refinish a cutting board to name a few.

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Photo by Mark Weinberg

Our editorial team has long referred to articles under this umbrella as "Home Ec" amongst ourselves ("family and consumer sciences" just does not have the same ring to it). So we're formalizing the topic, scouting out experts, and planning to bring lots more of it to you. Heavy on useful, timely, or otherwise interesting skills and tips (budgeting, yes); low on fussy, outdated, or otherwise useless tutorials (how to follow a poodle skirt pattern, no). Full disclosure: There might be some sewing.

Below, some topics and articles we're going to be sharing more of (just the beginning):

home care + handiwork

Keeping your pipes safe, your plants alive, your countertops quenched—and more.

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6 More Weeks of Winter? How to Keep Your Pipes From Freezing

6 More Weeks of Winter? How to Keep Your Pipes From Freezing by Amanda Sims

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How to Build a Fire Pit in Your Backyard

How to Build a Fire Pit in Your Backyard by Sara, Neftali & Sally

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How to Hang Pendant Bulbs (And More!) from Your Ceiling
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How to Hang Pendant Bulbs (And More!) from Your Ceiling
When to Buy Wooden Furniture—and When to Pass

When to Buy Wooden Furniture—and When to Pass by Amanda Sims

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How to Open Up a Room Without Tearing Down a Wall

How to Open Up a Room Without Tearing Down a Wall by Lindsay-Jean Hard

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How I Grew the Lush Garden Oasis of My Dreams—in 30 Square Feet
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How I Grew the Lush Garden Oasis of My Dreams—in 30 Square Feet
7 Common Houseplant Afflictions & How to Cure Them All

7 Common Houseplant Afflictions & How to Cure Them All by Tara Heibel

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How to Care for a Butcher Block Counter

How to Care for a Butcher Block Counter by Leslie Stephens

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cleaning guides + laundry

Guides on everything from cleaning all kinds of cookware to mastering the art of laundry.

Skip Your Next Trip to the Dry Cleaner Thanks to This Kitchen Tool
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Skip Your Next Trip to the Dry Cleaner Thanks to This Kitchen Tool
How to Rid Your Stainless Steel of That Pesky Chalky Residue

How to Rid Your Stainless Steel of That Pesky Chalky Residue by Amanda Sims

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The Best Oils & Techniques for Finishing Wooden Kitchen Tools

The Best Oils & Techniques for Finishing Wooden Kitchen T... by Joshua Vogel

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The 13 Best Kitchen Cleaning Tips We Learned in 2016
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The 13 Best Kitchen Cleaning Tips We Learned in 2016
A Guide to Cooking in and Caring for Copper

A Guide to Cooking in and Caring for Copper by Kenzi Wilbur

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Our Guide for Caring for & Cleaning Stainless Steel Pans

Our Guide for Caring for & Cleaning Stainless Steel Pans by Sarah Jampel

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It Takes 10 Seconds to Protect Your Shoes From Nasty Winter Weather
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It Takes 10 Seconds to Protect Your Shoes From Nasty Winter Weather
Dishes to Laundry: Cleaning Supplies Our Team Counts On

Dishes to Laundry: Cleaning Supplies Our Team Counts On by Olivia Bloom

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The Super Obvious Reason Why Your Laundry Isn’t As Great As it Could Be

The Super Obvious Reason Why Your Laundry Isn’t As Great ... by Alison Freer

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How to Find a Great Tailor No Matter Where You Live
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How to Find a Great Tailor No Matter Where You Live

cooking basics

Safe canning, happy (sharp!) knives, and chicken carving 101.

The Need-to-Know Guide to Botulism, For Safe Canning & Preserving
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The Need-to-Know Guide to Botulism, For Safe Canning & Preserving
How to Make Pickles and Jam at Home

How to Make Pickles and Jam at Home by Posie Harwood

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The Best Ways to Store Lots of Leftovers

The Best Ways to Store Lots of Leftovers by Amanda Sims

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6 Things You Should Do to Take Care of Your Knives
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6 Things You Should Do to Take Care of Your Knives
Common Entertaining Mishaps & How to Prevent (or Fix) Them

Common Entertaining Mishaps & How to Prevent (or Fix) Them by Posie Harwood

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Tips, Tricks, and Best Practices for Making Yogurt at Home

Tips, Tricks, and Best Practices for Making Yogurt at Home by Caroline Lange

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How to Break Down a Chicken ( + How to Make Chicken Stock)
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How to Break Down a Chicken ( + How to Make Chicken Stock)

creative arts

An intro to hand sewing, candle-making, working with lye, dye, and more.

How to Make Soap at Home (Even if You Failed Chemistry)
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How to Make Soap at Home (Even if You Failed Chemistry)
How to Make Soy Candles from Any Containers You Have on Hand

How to Make Soy Candles from Any Containers You Have on Hand by Caitlin Pike

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The DIY Gift that Dry Winter Hands Will Thank You For

The DIY Gift that Dry Winter Hands Will Thank You For by Caitlin Pike

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A New Life—Eternal!—For the Last Potatoes in Your Pantry
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A New Life—Eternal!—For the Last Potatoes in Your Pantry
Ice-Dyeing: The Hands-Off Way to Doll Up Your White Linens

Ice-Dyeing: The Hands-Off Way to Doll Up Your White Linens by Amanda Sims

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A Paint with Character—and How to Make it (from Milk!)

A Paint with Character—and How to Make it (from Milk!) by Amanda Sims

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How to Preserve and Press Leaves + Ideas for Using Them
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How to Preserve and Press Leaves + Ideas for Using Them
How a Non-Quilter Can Make a Quilt

How a Non-Quilter Can Make a Quilt by Lindsay-Jean Hard

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How to Make a Dog Bed Even if You Barely Know How to Sew

How to Make a Dog Bed Even if You Barely Know How to Sew by Amanda Sims

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What would you like to see from Home Ec on Food52? Tell us in the comments.

Tags: life skills, weekend projects