Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Small space living

There's an interesting article in the October/November 2008 issue of Ready Made magazine about enjoying your small space and making it beautiful.  Well, actually, it's an interview with Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan.  He chose location over size and points out that a small space is usually cheaper.  Check out his website for decorating ideas: Apartment Therapy 

Monday, September 29, 2008

Subtropical Storm Laura

Laura just popped up along the east coast and is heading north, but will turn east towards Ireland.

Link: Subtropical Storm LAURA

(Thanks, Lloyd!)

Update (9-30-08): Laura is now a Tropical Storm but isn't expected to last long.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Books by Joy V. Smith

Aliens, Animals, and Adventure (SF & fantasy story collection): AnthologyBuilder: create your ideal anthology

Building a Cool House for Hot Times without Scorching the Pocketbook: Building a Cool House for Hot Times Without Scorching the Pocketbook, Joy V. Smith, Book - Barnes & Noble

Sugar Time: Hadrosaur Audio Odysseys

Why Won't Anyone Play with Me?: Amazon.com: Why Won't Anyone Play with Me?: Joy V. Smith: Books


Magistria: Realm of the Sorcerer (Shared world anthology)

Magistria: Shards of the Goddess (vol. 2)

Hidebound: SF adventure ebook


Friday, September 26, 2008

Tropical Storm Kyle

TS Kyle formed from that Low off the east coast and is headed north; it may make landfall in North or South Carolina.  It's not anywhere near us.

Links: Tropical Storm KYLE  ; Atlantic Graphical Tropical Weather Outlook 

(Thanks, Lloyd)

Update: Kyle is headed north for New England and will miss the Carolinas, and it looks as if it'll become a category 1 hurricane on the way.

Update (9-28-08): Kyle is a category 1 and is headed towards Maine.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Color & decorating ideas (link)

Here are decorating hints and links from HGTV.  Their website mentions the 60-30-10 rule: The dominant color should be 60%; the secondary color 30%; and the accent color 10%.  I would not go to extremes trying to follow this rule!

Link: Color Tool: Room Color Ideas and Tips for Your Home : Home & Garden Television

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Plumbing lines (link)

I came across this basic plumbing line info on one of the HGTVPro.com blogs:

" ... Can a sink be hooked up to a higher drain line? Or will I have to stay with a smaller sink? ..."

A: ... This is not an uncommon problem, since most plumbing fixtures are installed to factory rough-in measurements.

Let me explain. When a new house is being built, the plumber runs the water and drain line while the walls are open. At that point, the plumber should have a fixture list with all the specifications as to where the pipes need to stick out of the wall. This is called the "rough-in" work.

Once the walls and or cabinets are closed in, then the plumbing fixtures are installed and hooked up to those water and drain line stubs. This is called the "finish" work.  ..."

Link: Ed Del Grande: Ask Ed -- Deep Trouble for Kitchen Sink

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

House ideas

There's a fun idea about colors in the October 2008 issue of Better Homes and Gardens.  Use spicy colors such as saffron, ginger, cinnamon, paprika, and a muted chili pepper. 

You can color coordinate your home by using at least three colors that work together; combine them in different ways--walls, furniture, etc.  And you can match the color of framed prints to the color of the headboard of a bed. 

Apparently a room isn't done without pillows.  (Some people have a pillow addiction; 'course some people have a candle addiction.)  But if you want to cut back, recycle.  In a Living Green article, one family has a number of ideas, including putting a recycling bin next to every wastebasket in the house.  There's an excellent article on shopping "naked," btw.  You should check that out.  (Leave your credit cards at home.)  Other helpful ideas are included in the article.

Instead of removing a popcorn ceiling, you can put bead board over it.  And you can make curtains using napkins, grommets and rivets.  (The grommets and rivets come in kits.)  

Now that it's fall, you can use gourds and pumpkins for decorating, including displaying flowers in gourds.  You just hollow out the neck--not very much apparently, after cutting off the stem--and add a little water.

For cute and clever pumpkin ideas, see the October issue of Country Home.  There's an interesting article on trade blankets in that issue too.  It gives historical background; and it says that Pendleton is the only company making the blankets now.  In 2009, Pendleton's 100th anniversary, they'll bring back vintage patterns.  The old blankets are collectible and expensive!

House hunting tip when looking at old houses, it's better to buy a home that hasn't been updated than one that's been badly remodeled.  Entertaining ideas from that issue include punch with floating ghosts.  They look so cool!   

I have to mention the cute Iams ad in Country Home: "Playing fetch with me involves two zip codes."  [I must point out that the dog is a Border Collie.]

Monday, September 22, 2008

Book signing

I'll be doing a book signing of Building a Cool House for Hot Times without Scorching the Pocketbook and reading and signing my children's picture book, Why Won't Anyone Play with Me? this Saturday in Tampa.  Be sure to stop by and check out my cool kitties and get a free bookmark at my table at Deep Carnivale:
10am to 5pm
          Saturday, Sept. 27, 2008
The Cuban Club and along 14th Street, between Palm Avenue and 9th Avenue
          Ybor City, Tampa Florida  (map)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Backyard Wildlife Habitat

I live on a registered Backyard Wildlife Habitat.  (I'm registered with the National Wildlife Federation, The Florida Wildlife Habitat Program [University of Florida], and the county.)  We have sandhill cranes, herons, and lots of other birds and critters; there are less deer, wild turkeys, and other animals as development continues to surround us.  Anyway, recently a wildlife rehabilitator chose our property to release five little squirrels she's been raising.  They love the cathedral oak behind the house where we released them and have been scampering all over.  I'm hoping we'll be chosen for the release of some flying squirrels.

With all the spreading concrete and developments, maybe you can make your property a refuge for birds, animals, and butterflies.  Cutting down on poisons in your yard would be helpful too.  Check out the NWF's guidelines for what you can do to help.  Here's a link to my NWF listing: Online Scrapbook - Garden for Wildlife - National Wildlife Federation

Tags: , ,

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Kitchen countertops (link)

Here are the ten most popular kitchen countertops (Great Scott!  They've included laminate!!) and other helpful articles, photos, and videos from HGTV.  Link: Kitchen Countertops: Comprehensive Countertop Guide to Choosing Kitchen Countertops

"Solid surfaces are in; tile is out.  Marble, maple, and concrete rule."  Hmm.  I thought marble wasn't very practical, but I guess that has nothing to do with trends...  You have to be careful with concrete.  I'm probably going to go for quartz, solid surface, or laminate, depending on my budget.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Foyer (link)

Here are some interesting ideas for creating or enhancing your entry way, including an attractive welcome mat or area rug, a low bookcase for a divider, a gallery wall, movable art, and a storage bench.

Link: A New Beginning | Get Inspired at The Home Depot

In our foyer we have a table and a small blackboard over it on which we write welcoming messages for guests.  And all our entrances have a different tile pattern.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Hurricane Ike

Ike is still a category 2, but is strengthening and is headed towards Galveston Bay.  (It's a strong category 2, almost a 3.) The Weather Channel has lots of footage, including weather persons being buffeted by the wind and drenched by the rain.

Update: Ike made landfall as a category 2 on Galveston Island in early morning (3:10 am) and is a cat 1 now.  It has passed Houston and is headed for the midwest.  I see that thousands of people didn't evacuate from Galveston.  I'd thought that it was supposed to be covered with water...  Damage reports are beginning to come in.

Update: Ike is now a tropical storm and is heading NNE.  From the AOL welcome window:

Texas Launches
Massive Rescue

140,000 Ignored Hurricane Warnings

Update (9-16-08): The remnants of Ike are headed for Iceland.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Publication news: The Puppy Lovers Journal

I came across this journal recently.  It's filled with 104 different and delightful pictures of playful puppies on lined journal pages you can use to write about your puppy or whatever.  There's a Kitten Lovers Journal also.  The puppies and kittens on the covers are so sweet!  Link: Puppy Lover's Journal

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Hurricanes (book review)

From ForeWord This Week (9-10-08) [e-newsletter]:

"Hurricanes by Jack Williams and Stephen Leatherman (978-0-7603-2992-4) explores Earths fiercest storms with fifty color photos and descriptions of hurricane behavior. ...

The book looks at U.S Air Force Reserve pilots who fly into hurricanes to provide wind data to forecasters.   ...

Williams and Leatherman explain that a hurricanes winds could affect more than 200 miles of coastline, and that the names of the storms come from a National Hurricane Center-approved list of mens and womens names in French, English, and Spanish that is created each year. The photographs are especially fascinating, including one taken from the eye of Katrina before she hit, ..."

by Whitney Hallberg, Managing Editor

Foreword link: http://www.forewordmagazine.com/ftw/ftwarchives.aspx?id=20080910.htm#1

Tags: , , ,

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Home-Run plumbing (link)

I hadn't heard of this type of plumbing before now, but it sounds like a great idea. 

"Home-run plumbing systems are gaining popularity in new construction for lots of great reasons, but plumbing changes in an existing house are sometimes very challenging. However, it can be a significant improvement in performance in some cases if some small changes can be made.

... Home-run plumbing relates to the design of the piping network supplying hot and cold potable water to the various fixtures and end points around the house.  ..."

For the rest of the article: Eric Helton: Building Science -- Home-Run Plumbing  (HGTVPro.com)

Online stories by Joy V. Smith

Here are links to some of my online stories:

Taking Tawny Home: Viatouch - Learning & Leisure - Story Station "Taking Tawny Home" (Story Station)

You Are What You Don't Eat: EOTU Ezine

To the Last Drop: Table of Contents (pseudo Science Fiction)

The Trees of Home  (I love the art by Holly Eddy.): The Trees of Home  (Sorcerous Signals)


Tags: , , , ,

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Hurricane Ike

Ike is now a category 3 and moving due west towards Cuba.  It'll probably be a category 1 when it gets into the Gulf on Tuesday.

Update (9-8-08): Ike made landfall on Cuba and is travelling south.  It may curve back over the western tip of Cuba.  The evacuation of the Florida Keys has been cancelled. 

Update: Ike is a cat 2 and is leaving Cuba moving west.  The Keys and southern Florida are getting rain bands.

Update: Ike is a cat 1 and may make landfall in Texas.

The ghost of Josephine may re-develop--or not; otherwise the tropics are clear except for Ike.

Update (9-9-08): Ike is moving WNW over Cuba; it's still not clear where it'll make landfall, but it'll probably be a category 3 by then.

Update: Ike has moved off Cuba, and rain bands are moving up Florida (rotating from east to west); we even got a little shower late this afternoon.  After it makes landfall (Texas is preparing for evacuations), it'll head north. 

Update: Ike is intensifying, and here in central Florida we might get some rain tomorrow (Wednesday), which we need.  Cirrus clouds are blowing off the top of Ike in the opposite direction...

Update (9-10-08): Ike is still a cat 1, but is strengthening and will possibly make it to a cat 3.  It may make landfall between Brownsville and Corpus Christi, Texas.  Here we've been getting heavier rain from rain bands since last night.

Update: Ike is a cat 2 and should make it to 3 and possibly 4; and after it makes landfall it'll turn north.  Most computer models are in agreement--pretty close anyway.  Sometimes the spaghetti strands wander off in all directions.  Here in Florida only the west coast should be getting rain tomorrow.

Update (9-11-08): Ike is still a cat 2; it's expected to become a cat 3 just before landfall, which will be near Galveston and Houston.  One of its rain bands missed us earlier.  That'll probably be the last big one here.  They're ready to evacuate in Texas and Lousiana.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Home inspections (link)

There's useful information on house inspections in Paul Bianchina's column.  He says:

"I have always been an advocate of people looking after themselves, especially with a purchase as huge as a home. I am all in favor of disclosure laws, since only the seller knows where the leaks or other problems are (or were), but buyers also need to take the time to inspect and understand the house for themselves. There's a lot more to home than whether or not it has granite countertops!"  For more, go to his column:

Link: Don't let home inspector out of your sight | Real Estate and Technology News for Agents, Brokers and Investors | Inman News


Thursday, September 4, 2008

Storm updates

Hanna is going north and may make landfall Friday night in North Carolina.  We're getting clouds from the tops being blown off Hanna, but no rain is expected here since we're on the west side (the dry side).  We'll probably be dry for a few more days.

Ike is still a category 4 hurricane and may be headed for Florida, but wind shear is eating its eye wall.  It's moving west still, but should turn north later. 

Gustav remnants are headed east.

Update: Hanna is moving NW at 18 mph; it's farther west than expected and may become a hurricane; south Florida is getting rain.  Here in central Florida we're getting sprinkles.  Hanna may make landfall in South or North Carolina.  Georgia is getting rain.  Hanna is accelerating.

Ike is still moving west and has weakened a bit; it's a category 3 now.  Ike link: Hurricane IKE   (Thanks, Lloyd)  Some people think it's predicted path is similar to Donna's.  It's moving WNW now.

Tropical Storm Josephine has weakened and will probably curve up into the Atlantic.

Update (9-6-08): Josephine is now a tropical depression.

Ike is moving WSW and the track curves like a u before Ike starts toward the Gulf...; it may become a cat 4 again.

Hanna should make landfall tonight; it isn't dawdling so there should be less flooding.

Update: Hanna is still a tropical storm and is approaching NYC.

Ike is a category 2, but is expected to strengthen after Hanna moves farther away.  My cousin in Arizona is expecting rain from Ike later on.

Update: Ike is now a category 4 but is expected to weaken as it goes over Cuba. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Septic tank maintenance (link)

How often should you have your septic tank pumped out?  It depends on the size, the people in the house, and whether you have a garbage disposal.  (There's a chart with this article from the HouseMaster newsletter.)  There are variables, of course. 

Link: HouseMaster eNewsletter

We had our septic tank pumped out again recently.  Those new filters can be a problem, btw...  Our septic system (tanks and drain field) is so big that we call the whole area The Mesa.  When they were working on it last, they asked if we'd be using a garbage disposal 'cause if we were, they'd have to make it even bigger.

Hurricane news, resources, and links

Storm preparation tips, rebuilding along the Gulf Coast, videos, etc. from HGTVPro.com: Hurricanes : Main : HGTVPro.com

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Tropical Storms Ike & Josephine

Both TS Ike and TS Josephine are moving west.  Josephine may turn northwest later.  Ike and Josephine are lined up behind Hanna right now. 

Update (9-3-08): Ike is now a hurricane and is still heading west.

Update: Ike is now a category 4 and may be headed for Florida next week.  Josephine is expected to weaken.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Hurricane Hanna

Hanna is now a hurricane (category 1); we have Tropical Storm Ike (moving west); and Josephine may be upcoming.  And, of course, Gustav has made landfall.  Lots of footage on The Weather Channel.  Gustav is moving northwest beyond Baton Rouge, ... 

Hanna is moving north and west and may make landfall on the southeast Atlantic coast (Carolinas, Georgia, & northeast Florida).  One computer model path is farther west than the others. 

Link: Atlantic Graphical Tropical Weather Outlook

(Thanks, Lloyd)

Update: The computer models are more consistent now for Hanna.  Both Hanna and Ike are headed for the Bahamas.

Here's a link for the 2008 storm names: 2008 Hurricane Names - Official Hurricane Names List

Because of Gustav and Hanna, our rain chances here are low.

Update (9-3-08): Hanna is predicted to be farther east now and heading for New England.

Update: Hanna will probably miss Florida and Georgia.  It may make landfall near Myrtle Beach, SC.