Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Ideas and news from Home magazine

A photo of a makeover in the July/August issue of Home magazine shows how getting rid of an old metal balcony (one of those fake ones) and adding a garage door with frosted panels improved a home.  (Those frosted panels are nifty!)

How to Live in Small Spaces sounds like a useful book; and there's a new type of water cooler where you put the water bottle in the bottom AND it dispenses hot and cold water.  I love modern technology!

Shaw, one of the country's largest flooring and carpet manufacturers, is trying to reduce the three million tons of carpeting thrown away each year by making its products and processes "more eco-friendly" and recycling its old nylon carpeting AND using more Anso nylon...

New products include a Spisani tangerine acrylic tray.  I like the modern look of it, even though I use old collectible hammered aluminum trays.

Home has an interesting article on eco-friendly fences, including wood, bamboo, and fiberglass composite.  And articles with a variety of decorating ideas for your home, including a beautiful fire pit--though I plan to get an inground one so it doesn't blow away during a hurricane--and an imaginative long hallway makeover.  Plus, I learned that black granite is too dense, according to one expert, to need a sealer.  Good luck with removing stains from the other kinds of granite!  (See the Writing Home/Our Readers Speak column.)

Tropical Storm Chantal

Tropical Depression #3 is now Tropical Storm Chantal, but it's heading away from us, possibly towards Newfoundland and Iceland.  Another system is heading towards the Carribbean Sea, with more coming off Africa.  (It's that time of the year.)

AND the official reports:

THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER HAS ISSUED THE LAST ADVISORY ON TROPICAL STORM
CHANTAL...RAPIDLY BECOMING EXTRATROPICAL ABOUT 260 MILES EAST-SOUTHEAST OF
HALIFAX NOVA SCOTIA.

[[But.....]]

THE AREA OF LOW PRESSURE ASSOCIATED WITH A TROPICAL WAVE HAS CONTINUED TO
MOVE WESTWARD AND IS CENTERED ABOUT 425 MILES EAST OF THE SOUTHERN WINDWARD
ISLANDS. THE SHOWER ACTIVITY REMAINS DISORGANIZED BUT ENVIRONMENTAL
CONDITIONS APPEAR TO BE FAVORABLE FOR A TROPICAL DEPRESSION TO FORM DURING
THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS...AS THE SYSTEM MOVES WESTWARD AT 10 TO 15 MPH.

EVEN IF DEVELOPMENT DOES NOT OCCUR...THIS SYSTEM WILL LIKELY BRING A FEW
SQUALLS TO THE WINDWARD ISLANDS DURING THE NEXT DAY OR SO. AN AIR FORCE
PLANE IS SCHEDULED TO INVESTIGATE THE SYSTEM ON WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON...====

(Thanks, Lloyd!)


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Sunday, July 29, 2007

Building and decorating tips

There are some interesting articles and columns in the Country's Best Log Homes (Bed & Bath issue/September 2007), which I got recently.  Log Home Retrospective points out that two keys to building are patience and research.  Think about the roof price ("... we had more angles on this home than you'd find in a geometry book."), the well depth, and the stability of the land.  (The builder said "...  The house is moving."  They had to find another property...) 

For log homes, use a variety of woods inside for interest.  Salvaged wood is good.  And there are some interesting bathroom ideas, though one article said that vessel sinks are becoming increasingly popular.  (Elsewhere I've read that they're passe, but it's early yet.)  For small bathrooms, keep it simple; for a large bathroom, add a plant, candles, a TV, etc.  (Not in my bathroom!)  Btw, they're making laminated logs now.

There's also an article on building economically and decorating with a western/horse theme, among others, along with lots of photos of magnificent homes and views.  And a variety of log home models and house plans.  My favorite is The Stone Creek (Precision Craft/Mountain Architects Inc.); it's not the common log MacMansion.  It looks historical and real.

There's a short piece, 10 Cost-Savings Plan Details, that includes such money-saving tips as the basic keep-the-plumbing together and a patio is more economical than a wooden deck with railings.  There's also a calendar of log home events (open houses, seminars, & other programs).


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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Updating your powder room (link)

This is a Kohler website, and it has some lovely ideas: KOHLER: Planning Tips: Powder Room Tips: Bathroom: Articles

They recommend deeper colors rather than pastels--or neutrals--and vessel sinks, though I've read elsewhere that vessel sinks are passe.  (That never stopped me from doing what I want.)  They also recommend slate, hardwood floors (I still don't want wood floors in a bathroom), quartz (I want that), and thick crown molding and baseboards.  They have some other good ideas too, though I don't care for the faucet (top one) shown at all or the vessel sinks, though I've never cared for them, although there are some beautiful ones out there.  They're just not practical.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Final flooring update

Today we cleaned the floors again and moved some more furniture; I'm moving furniture a few pieces at a time now to get rid of the grout haze, and I'm almost finished with that.  And we got rid of the last bags of tile packaging today in the garbage pickup.  And I put my concrete bench back at the end of my bed.  (I like a solid bench because of the dogs jumping on and off.)  The contractor said to be sure to put something on the concrete bases so it wouldn't damage the tile so I got big pieces of felt that sticks on, and two pieces cover one base exactly.  We were really careful putting everything in place because thinking of dropping that heavy concrete on the ceramic tile made me twitchy.  One thing about the vinyl tile, I never worried about anything falling on it like the dogs dropping their heavy nylabone toys on it, etc. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Critters in the commode (link)

Contractor Ed Del Grande explains how toilets can sometimes be a two-way street.  Link: Experts : Homeowner Issues : The Things We Find in the Toilet : HGTVPro.com

We've found frogs more than once in two different toilets in our own house and a big frog in the shower drain in my mother's house; and tonight on the news a man was interviewed because an iguana showed up in his toilet.  (Boca Grande is infested with spiny iguanas.)  We had to pull the drain up to get that frog; when I find them in the toilet, I just grab them and put them outside.  Sometimes I use our glass critter jar--if they're small enough.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

New flooring update

Yesterday we cleaned house; we hadn't done a thorough cleaning for a while, except for the constant vaccuuming to pick up loose grout and mortar and stuff we track in.  The floors look better; we got rid of most of the grout haze on the tiles, and we cleaned up grout here and there on the baseboards, walls, doors, and furniture. And we did some errands, which included getting rid of more stuff that we're culling.  And a dealer came and bought the big pie safe and some smalls.   And the garbage & recycling collectors took everything this time.   
 
Today I called the Habitat for Humanity store  for a pickup for the leftover boxes of tile.  (We put a lot in the shed, but eventually gave up; that stuff is heavy, even with the hand truck.)  They're picking them up Wednesday morning.  Anyway, now and then we look around and enjoy the new floor.  The house seems brighter and bigger.  We're still rearranging furniture and stuff and fixing things, like recoating the front steps where they got chipped by all the people, furniture, etc. going up and down.   And we moved a lot more furniture around, replaced felt footies on furniture, etc.; now the green bottles are on the bookcase in the living room, and the swan is on the table by another book case; and we bought a rug for the reading nook we made in the Great Hall.  We experimented with a lot of looks before settling on these.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

New flooring update

Saturday we moved all the furniture back where it belonged, though we made some changes because we plan to sell some more furniture.  (I wasn't going to try to put that pie safe back in the linen closet!  The narrow bookcase was much easier, and it holds odds and ends.)  Saturday night, everyone, including the dogs, was back in their own beds.  And I reshelved all the books that night, culling a few more.  (We're always recycling books--taking them to the library and used book stores and giving them to friends.)  And I think I've found everything that was shoved somewhere for storage.  Not only that, I found places for things that had been in the old country store cupboard that we sold.  Critters are peeking out of most of the bookcases and adding a touch of fun.  Okay, I admit that one shelf is a little cluttered. 

We're still doing clean-up; we carried a lot of the leftover tile to the shed.  Eventually we decided to give the rest to the Habitat for Humanity store.  The contractor left us the pallets too; we asked him to put them by the road so that people could use them; and tonight some neighbors stopped by and got them.  Just a little more cleaning and fix-ups to do.  I want to be sure the dryer vent is snug, etc., and I need a couple new rugs because some are too thick for the doors to go over now.

Friday, July 13, 2007

New flooring update

Patrick brought in a tiling crew Wednesday and Thursday, and we've been busily moving furniture back and forth and on to the front and back porches, also mattresses.  (We've always enjoyed camping out.)  He had to help us get the two big desks out of the office--after removing the door.  He just took the pins out.  (I knew that, but I was all ready to take the hinges off!) 

Yesterday the last of the tiling was set, though Patrick discovered that the laundry room wasn't finished just as they were cleaning up and getting ready to leave.  (They thought he was going to finish that room.)  And the office and one bedroom were grouted, so this morning we began moving furniture into those rooms--after wiping up the haze from the grouting process.  (We'll mop all the floors in a week or so.)  And then I set the computer equipment back up and connected most of the wires and got online.  But where do these last three wires go?!  I figured that out and now everything works.  Oh, and we moved stuff back into the pantry now that he moved the washer and dryer out of it.

The rest of the rooms were grouted today, and we'll move furniture and clothes back into those rooms tomorrow.  AND then the contractor, who was in the process of finishing up, had to deal with a flood in one of the bathrooms.  He was re-installing a toilet.  (Faulty connection.)  We all helped mop up, and his plumber came right over and fixed the problem, which we really appreciated.  This project is finally done!  And I know we're all grateful.  He just has to pick up some leftover materials tomorrow.  The floors look fantastic, btw, and everyone loves his inlaid patterns. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

New flooring update

Patrick is finishing the kitchen and the pantry now; he's bringing in more crew tomorrow; he wants us to clear out two bedrooms, the office, the linen closet, and the hall bathroom tonight.  Yikes!  Not only do those rooms--especially the office--have the heaviest furniture, I'm not sure there's room in the Great Hall for all of it.  Some of it will be going on the back porch and possibly down to Mom's house.  We'll be juggling the dogs, etc. for a few days.  I won't close down the computer and move the computer desk until tomorrow morning--early.  I wonder if we should get more of those furniture moving sliders...  

Double yikes!!  I found out that I'm supposed to empty all the bedrooms...  We've been busy, and everything's in the Great Hall except for one bed.  (Someone wants to spend one more night in a bed instead of on the floor.)  And the two big office desks.  We may have to take the office door off, and I don't have access to a screwdriver because it's in a room where the tile is setting.  And I can't move my computer equipment until I have a desk to put it on.  Arrrgggghhhh!!!!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

New flooring update

I've noticed that since the new floor is so much lighter than the old one, that the whole Great Hall is brighter.  The furniture continues to move around the house, and so do we and the dogs.  Fortunately we have a small house next door--where my mother used to live--and we transferred food, drinks, a drop-leaf table and plastic chairs there since we no longer have access to the kitchen (it won't be finished for several days because of the weekend; there's one line of tiles left to be mortared and the whole floor grouted) though we can get to our fridge by going outside to the laundry room.  (The fridge is in front of the dryer so we'll be using the washer and dryer at the little house too.)  We still have access to the pantry also (it's between the kitchen and the laundry room), though we've moved everything that was on the pantry floor to the kitchen countertops. 
 

Friday, July 6, 2007

Publication news

 

 

My short story, The Trees of Home, is in the May-July issue of Sorcerous Signals: http://www.sorceroussignals.com/CurrentIssue.html   

I recently approved the covers of my children's book, Why Won't Anyone Play with Me? 

My SF audiobook, Sugar Time, is featured at Hadrosaur Productions .

My book, Building a Cool House for Hot Times without Scorching the Pocketbook, is #4 on this Barnes & Noble list: Barnes & Noble.com Books - Architecture, Domestic->Amateurs' manuals

 

 

 

Thursday, July 5, 2007

New flooring update

The Great Hall is finished, and I love the patterns in front of each door!  Then he laid the inlay in the middle of the kitchen and in front of the side door--so we can't use that at the moment; and we're dancing around the tile in the kitchen.  (It's really narrow in front of the fridge.)  There are two chairs in front of the kitchen doorway to keep the dogs out, and we hardly ever trip when going over them.

We're still moving furniture around; we moved a desk and hooked up that computer Sunday, just before we lost our phone service during a big storm...  Today we put the TV back and hooked it up.  (It worked after I tracked down the manual and discovered that I'd plugged the cable in the wrong hole.  Heck, it was the wrong piece of equipment.)  And we got our phone service back this afternoon.  They finally tracked down the problem.  (It was a short in the computer modem.  Who'd have thought it?!)