Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Windows (link)

This HGTVPro webpage has links to a number of window designs and ideas, but what I appreciated most was learning that now there are acrylic-block windows that you can open. I love modern technology! Link: Window Design: Tips for Choosing the Best New and Replacement Home Windows : HGTVPro.com

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The original pumpkin pie

I read in the October/November issue of Country magazine that American colonists sliced the tops off of pumpkins, cleaned out the seeds, and filled the pumpkin with milk, spices, and honey and baked them in hot ashes. That'd be a fun experiment to do in a firepit or fireplace. (I still plan to get a firepit some day!)

Sparkle note: If you drag a treat from the box, and click on it again, Sparkle will jump up and catch it!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Corralling kitchen clutter (link)

Helpful suggestions for making your kitchen more efficient to work in include culling (why do we still have that broken can opener in the utensil drawer?), using dividers (I use small, narrow boxes), folders for restaurant menus (I need to do that!), and more; but I really do not need a remote controlled sink strainer!

Link: KOHLER: Planning Tips: Conquer Kitchen Clutter: Kitchen: Articles

Friday, September 24, 2010

Ideas for entertaining and gift giving

I received a free preview issue of Martha Stewart Living recently and found some fun and useful ideas in it. Suggestions include being a good host by offering non-drinkers a selection of freshly squeezed citrus juices [lemonade would be refreshing!], unusual bottled juices, and a cocktail made with orange juice, a dash of bitters, and a topping of seltzer. [A friend introduced me to orange juice and tonic water years ago.]

And I liked her idea for a late-night gettogether: a dessert buffet! Other ideas include pinning a gift of earrings through a large, fresh leaf and writing a brief note on the leaf with a paint pen. And topping a macaroni and cheese casserole with bread crumbs and cheese to dress it up. And for a wedding gift, give them a large breakfast-in-bed set with accessories..

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Updating your kitchen (link)

Here are some suggestions for updating your kitchen from HGTV: Kitchen Updates for Any Budget : Rooms : Home & Garden Television

I like their suggestion for taking your old kitchen hardware with you to the store to be sure the holes match! There're also painting, lighting, faucet, backsplash, cabinet ideas, and more. (What I would like is an integrated sink backsplash--an old idea, but it saves you wiping up water behind the sink constantly.)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Recommended books for Christmas shopping

I recommend these books which I've bought recently (some were pre-ordered): I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett, Cryoburn (Miles Vorkosigan) by Lois McMaster Bujold, Flinx Transcendent by Alan Dean Foster, and two Modesty Blaise short story collections: Cobra Trap and Pieces of Modesty.

And, of course, I recommend my own books, which include:

Building a Cool House for Hot Times without Scorching the Pocketbook (the new edition has color photos); the ISBN number on that edition is 978-1-60749-562-8: Online Bookstore

Or you can order it from amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Building-House-Without-Scorching-Pocketbook/dp/1413735215/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1284260474&sr=1-1

It covers the building process and what’s involved in building your home and includes diary excerpts, photos, and advice from planning to punch list and beyond. It got a rave review from The Midwest Book Review and was on the Reviewer's Choice list.Here it is: http://www.midwestbookreview.com/sbw/feb_05.htm#rc

And here's a link to a free excerpt:http://www.freebookexcerpts.com/2008/05/08/building-a-cool-house-for-hot-times-without-scorching-the-pocketbook-by-joy-smith/

Why Won't Anyone Play with Me? Why doesn’t anyone want to play with Kallie Kitten? Why do they jump into the pond or hide? Will anyone ever talk to her? Will this frisky little kitten learn to play their games?Illustrator Andrea Gradidge was originally from the UK and now resides in British Columbia, Canada. She has illustrated various chapbooks and e-zines and alsomy story "Sammy's Beautiful Tail".Children will enjoy this colorful picture book and the cut-out critters at the end. It is available online at Barnes & Noble:http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/results.asp?WRD=Why+Won%27t+Anyone+Play+with+Me%3F&r=1

Aliens, Animals, and Adventure (my short stories (reprints) collection):: http://www.anthologybuilder.com/view_template.php?template_id=196

Sugar Time, an audiobook of three time travel tales with sound effects & music. Check it out at: http://hadrosaur.com/audio_books.html

Magistria: The Realm of the Sorcerer, a shared world anthology of mages and magic; it includes my story, Seedlings, in which plant mages fight alongside their sentient plant companions. You can buy it on amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Magistria-Realm-Sorcerer-Robert-Santa/dp/0981932320/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1232426222&sr=1-1

Thursday, September 16, 2010

What to do with a small space (link)

Here's a quiz on how you would cope with a small space dilemma: HGTV Quiz: Test Your Small-Space Savvy

(I disagreed with some of the answers--and colors and designs.)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Flooring basics (link)

Check out these HGTVPro flooring webpages and learn more about floor types, floor finishes, laminates, green flooring, and floor components if you're replacing a floor or wondering what to choose for your new house. Link: Euflooria: Floor Covering Choices and Tips for Replacing and Installing Floors : HGTVPro.com

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Fall fun

The October issue of Country Living focuses on Halloween. Interesting costume ideas include one inspired by Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds (the editor dressed up as Tippi Hedron's character and added red greasepaint and birds; check out the photo) and a couple imitating the Empire State Building and King Kong!

There are ideas for kids' costumes too and party treats; and the skeletal hands salad servers will get people's attention. And carving colorful bell peppers into pumpkin faces is a great idea, while pumpkins are decorated in other ways..

There are also home and home cooking, fashion, gardening, and collectables articles and photos; the Real Estate Sampler showcases hobby farms. And I was happy to learn that in some places you can still get home milk delivery!

Sparkle note: If you drag a treat from the box, and click on it again, Sparkle will jump up and catch it!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Displaying and organizing your books (link)

Here are suggestions for caring for, organizing, and displaying your books. Shelve them alphabetically, chronologically (in the order that you read them), by color, or by use. (For example, keep your new books lower.) And you can make your own card catalogue with notes on the cards. Display them in interesting ways or make your bookcases more colorful.

Link: Home Library: Care & Storage Home Made Simple

Friday, September 10, 2010

More ideas for Halloween (link)

With summer behind us--well, here, not so much, but we are moving towards October and Halloween; and there are some fun ideas for costumes and decorating on this HGTV website. (I do not do dog costumes, btw, but dressing Blizzard up could be fun; at least it'd give her something more to chew on.)

Let's see. Here we have pumpking carving tips, a glow-in-the-dark bat centerpiece, a glowing jellyfish costume, and a Halloween photo contest. Check out more ideas at: Halloween Ideas: Pumpkin Carving Patterns, Costumes, Party Tips & Decorations : Decorating : Home & Garden Television

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Decorating ideas and duck/duct tape

Halloween ideas are beginning to pop up. There's an interesting idea in the September/October issue of Lowe's Creative Ideas for Home and Garden for making a ghosty face with a permanent marker on a frosted glass shade; then you put it on a black heat proof base and put a small flameless candle on the base under the shade. Nice touch for your Halloween party. There's a mention in that issue also about the upcoming Grandparent's Day on September 12.

Another interesting idea is making book jackets out of paintable wallpaper. The texture is interesting, but all that white is boring. And I enjoyed the article on the invention and use of duck/duct tape. It was invented in the early 1940s by Johnson & Johnson scientists and nicknamed duck tape. The original color was army green. Later, when it was used to seal joints in AC ductwork, it became known as duct tape and the color changed to gray. There are also articles on creating a closet, a bird buffet, a kitchen garden, and more.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Throw summer a good-bye party (link)

Another fun idea for entertaining! Grilling would work for this party. Here's a collection of links for getting ready for entertaining outdoors: Outdoor Entertaining : Outdoors : Home & Garden Television

And they invite you to submit your outdoor entertaining photo(s) or video

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Log cabins and other buildings (link)

I've always loved log cabins and visiting restored homes, musuems, villages, and farms, and I've thought about having one out back as a little getaway... Anyway, here's a company with a great inventory of log buildings you can buy and reassemble on your property: Antique Hand Hewn Log Cabins from Vintage Log and Lumber

Friday, September 3, 2010

Giving rescued dogs a home (link)

I'm sharing this article because the stray this family rescued reminds me so much of Blizzard (she was also a stray), whom I found at the local SPCA several weeks ago. You do have to be patient with them. Link: Voice lessons: An adopted stray rediscovers her bark - CSMonitor.com

Blizzard was also quiet for a long time after we brought her home (we did see and hear her bark once in her pen at the SPCA); and her coat was so thin I worried about it, but it's much thicker now, and she's more confident, though I have to coax her into the car, which is easier than picking her up which I had to do for a long time. One thing about an older puppy, I did not have a hard time house training her. As a matter of fact, she required no house training at all! (She puddled on a rug once. You do have to be alert.) I remember one puppy some years ago who shredded her papers (on the bedrom floor) into confetti constantly. There is a wonderful selection of loving dogs--and cats--at your local shelter. Find out for yourself.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Decorating, gardening, and entertaining ideas

Fall blooming perrenials include autumn sage and princess flower, and there are more suggestions in the September issue of Southern Living. I also learned about trailing pansies, Plentifall, in that issue--and that Spanish moss prefers oaks to pines. I already knew about pitcher plants because my sister had a collection of carnivorous plants in a terrarium.

I love some of the names of paint colors; there are always some new fun and beautiful names, but who'd have thought of Fresh Cut Grass?! This issue's collection of recipes includes Cream of Carrot soup (Not my favorite vegetable, btw.) and two Chicken Tetrazzini recipes. (I love a good casserole.)

And there's an article with ten ways to enhance your southern style. I see I'm off to a good start with stacks of books and well-worn pieces of furniture. (The dogs helped.) But most of my fresh flowers are outside.

Sparkle note: If you drag a treat from the box, and click on it again, Sparkle will jump up and catch it!