Sunday, April 30, 2006
Saturday, April 29, 2006
Some people have blogs devoted to their home improvement projects, but while I have projects now and then, though landscaping is non-stop, I usually blog about ways to improve your home and new and interesting products, with the occasional link. My next house project will probably be the kitchen sink. We were never happy with the backsplash--we should have insisted that it go up to the window--and later we added some colorful tile, but now we're thinking--Let's rip the sink and backsplash out and add a sink with a drainboard on each side, and the backsplash will go up to the window sill! I don't know if they make sinks that way nowadays, but we visit salvage places now and then...
Thursday, April 27, 2006
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Local builders take an inside look at the Mid-Atlantic region's first near-zero-energy production home.
"Combining state-of-the-art energy-efficient features with solar thermal and photovoltaic technologies, the home is expected to perform about 50% better than a standard code-compliant home of similar size.
The 2,900-square-foot, two-story colonial with a full basement and attached garage is typical of many new homes built in the Baltimore-Washington, D.C. area, and its only distinguishing features on the exterior are an array of photovoltaic panels and two solar thermal panels on the roof." Link: Green Building : Mid-Atlantic PowerHouse Showcases Energy Efficiency : HGTVPro.com
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Sunday, April 23, 2006
Even mulch is becoming more decorative. There's red mulch, which I consider an excrescence upon the landscape, but fortunately there's a big variety of stone, organic, and rubber mulches, and, yes, I've seen the blue mulch too. I recently got some more free loads from the electric company, btw. As fast as we expand beds, we couldn't afford to keep buying it; and we're always replenishing beds. And I recently spotted someone buying mulch with Weed Stop at Wal-Mart. I'm not going to take a chance with that because of the plants and critters, but I can see that it would come in handy. Here are some tips I came across in the Parade of Homes special section this weekend:
Get mulch that won't wash away if you can. (After the hurricanes last year, I spent a lot of time raking mulch back into beds and scooping it up in a bucket.) Pull mulch away from stems and tree trunks. (I knew that!) Wet thoroughly. (Hmm. I'll just spray it a bit when I water the plants.) Fine mulches should be one to two inches deep. Coarse mulches should be three to four inches deep. (Interesting. All my mulches need replenishing anyway.)
Building a Cool House for Hot Times without Scorching the Pocketbook, which was on the Barnes & Noble's new house book best seller list last year, is still #6 on this Barnes &Noble list: Barnes & Noble.com: Books / Home & Garden / House & Home / Home - Do-It-Yourself / Architecture, Domestic->Amateurs' manuals
My children's story, Taking Tawny Home, is online at Story Station: http://www.viatouch.com/Learn/Storystation/Storystation_main.jsp (This is a sequel to Lost in the Long Dark.)
My story, Cold New Planet, is upcoming in the anthology, Tales from the Big Black; and I'm working on a sequel. Crystal Quest, a sequel to Seedlings in Magistria: Realm of the Sorcerer, is upcoming in Magistria: Shards of the Goddess.
Saturday, April 22, 2006
One of my favorite paintings is Rosa Bonheur's The Horse Fair; I have a print of it over my computer desk. She specialized in animals, and this is her best known work. Here's the link: Rosa Bonheur Online And here's a link to animal painters: Animal and Wildlife Artists: Artcyclopedia
Friday, April 21, 2006
Outdoor rooms, whether large or small, are becoming popular as a sanctuary and a place to relax and hang out with friends and family. You can opt for modular gazebos, firepits and/or fireplaces, an outdoor bar, and, of course, kitchens. New technology in fabrics make for beautiful weather resistant furnishings and rugs. And some chairs, swings, and hammocks come with canopies.
I got a catalog (FrontGate) in the mail recently with a great selection of outdoor furniture; here's the link to their outdoor living webpage: Frontgate - Outdoor Living (I've never bought anything from them.) Here's another catalog link (Improvements) with outdoor items: Outdoor
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
New Home Construction Cools
The pace of new-home construction continued to dip to a more sustainable rate in March. Link: Economic Issues : New-Home Construction Cools to More Sustainable Pace : HGTVPro.com
From HGTVPro e-newsletter
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Earth Day is April 22. You can make a real difference in less than 1 minute by sharing your voice in our powerful Hope for the Planet campaign. The messages shared in this campaign will be read by more than 80,000 people in the 28 countries where The Nature Conservancy’s works.
From The Nature Conservancy e-mail newsletter
Saturday, April 15, 2006
You can liven up your tap water by adding an LED faucet light, which installs in most nozzles in less than a minute and turns the water stream bright blue. The light turns off when you turn off the faucet. (Check out Thingsyouneverknew.com)
(This is one of Five New Ideas to Warm Any Friend's New House by Laurel Dalrymple, The Washington Post)
Thursday, April 13, 2006
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Thursday, April 6, 2006
Helping New Orleans Homeless
Builders volunteer to help out displaced victims of Hurricane Katrina. Link: Disaster Recovery : Builders Give New Orleans' Homeless a Helping Hand : HGTVPro.com
From HGTVPro newsletter