Friday, March 31, 2006

Wood-burning fireplaces

There's a great article, The Art of the Hearth, in the April (Making Your House a Home) issue of New Mexico Magazine; it focuses on the kiva fireplace; there are photos of a variety of kiva fireplaces and advice on choosing your fireplace.  There's also a sidebar of fireplace terms.  Some people are switching to zero-clearance metal box fireplaces to save money; the important thing is to hire someone who knows what they're doing.     

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Home sales taper off

New Home Sales Down 10.5%
Demand tapers off as mortgage rates inch upward. West region hit hardest.

From HGTVPro newsletter.  And I read in last week's real estate section also that home sales are tapering off and should reach a normal level eventually.  Speculators are buying less.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Katrina related wood issues

From The HouseMaster eNewsletter:

Can Formosan termites be spread through mulch and other products from hurricane damaged areas?

What affect does this fungus have on the strength of wood lumber used in home construction?


Monday, March 27, 2006

Too Much Color?

Whether it's orange (a bathroom in the April issue of Country Home), Pepto-Bismol pink (as the painter described my bedroom color), or a too dark blue (which I saw on a home show on HGTV recently), you can lighten or darken the color with a glaze or by sponge painting.  It's easier than repainting a whole room. 

Thursday, March 23, 2006


Our Toadhouse Collection

We have about ten toadhouses, including broken flower pots. We find them in garden stores and catalogs and have picked up a few while on vacation. Toadhouses come in simple, upside-down bowl shapes, mushrooms, tree stumps, and even little houses with a window and chimney. Our biggest toadhouse is a combination bird bath and toadhouse. I've seen one in a catalog made of wood with a thatched roof; and I just saw a toad trailer in a Gardener's Supply Company catalog.  It resembles an Airstream trailer, but I noticed that it has a floor.  I've seen one with a floor before, but I'd never get one for toads because they like to dig into the dirt--probably for coolness and safety. 

When we got our first toadhouse, we wondered if toads would really be interested, but it wasn’t long before one moved in.  Like butterflies, toads are living additions to the garden, but they're nocturnal; and they're painted in earthtones, but they are utilitarian as well, doing what they do best--eating bugs--an added benefit for the garden.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Scaffolding and Safety (link)

Scaffolding on a Steep Slope
I have a very tall house, built into a hill, and the sides are at a steep slope. Here's my problem: the house needs to be stained....  Link: Scaffolding on a steep slope - Topic Powered by Groupee Community

From: HGTVPro e-newsletter 

Monday, March 20, 2006

Flora! Fauna! Fun! (Decorating with nature)

Lose the winter doldrums by adding color to your home. From teapots to textiles, get ideas for rooms with a touch of nature.  [I liked the pond theme best.]

From Oprah's e-newsletter

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Mood lighting in your bath--tub

I just came across a submersible light that you put in your bathtub.  It comes in six or seven soft glowing colors.  You can choose one color or Spectrum.  (I want Spectrum!)  I found it in the Whatever Works catalog, but I suspect it'll be popping up all over now.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Home theatre (excerpt & link)

What is a Home Theater and What Does it Do for Me?

A Working Definition Of Home Theater

Home theater refers to a setup of audio and video equipment in your home that tries to duplicate the movie theater experience.

Application Of Home Theater

The application of this definition can vary widely, however. Many consumers are intimidated by the term "Home Theater" as they think this means a lot of money, equipment, and cables running all over the place.    ...

From: House Building Guide Newsletter - March Issue

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Life Out There?

I've always thought that thinking there are no other forms of life Out There is darn egocentric.  And, as someone else said, it would be an awful waste of space.  In the meantime, I have fun creating my own aliens in stories such as You Are What You Don't Eat: EOTU Ezine  and Moovin' Up .

Wednesday, March 8, 2006

Short story online

My short story, Taking Tawny Home, is online at Story Station: Story Station - Children's Stories & Young Adult Stories .  This is a sequel to Lost in the Long Dark, which appeared in Alien Skin some time ago.


Tuesday, March 7, 2006

Medicine cabinets

There's an interesting article with photos of a wonderful selection of medicine cabinets (aka cosmetic cabinets) in Home Remodeling & Makeovers (Woman's Day Specials).  There are even more interesting and spacious wood cabinets in home catalogs.

Monday, March 6, 2006

Kitchen islands

In an international survey sponsored by Ikea, 41% said they would add one.

From Home Remodeling & Makeovers (Woman's Day Specials magazine)

And there's an interesting sidebar in the Spring 2006 issue of Renovation Style (Special Kitchen Issue).  "Islands don't work at all in some kitchens. [It's] not a good idea if it will cut aisles to less than 36 inches..."  And it considers the furniture look...

Thursday, March 2, 2006

Organizing your home

Sign up for HGTV's free organizing newsletter and get expert tips for a neater home in six weeks.  We've got a game plan to get your home neat and orderly in no time! Sign up now for our Get Organized Special Spring Edition newsletter, and we'll send you checklists, weekly assignments, strategies and encouragement from HGTV experts. Plus, share stories with others on message boards, and get printable to-do lists to keep you on track.