Saturday, January 31, 2009

Decorating ideas for your living room (link)

A living room can be a family room, a den, or whatever you--or your designer--want to call it, but replaced by the kitchen? Not in my house. (Btw, I have a Great Hall, which is divided into the living room into which you enter, the library and office, and the dining room at the far end, where you can enjoy the view through the French doors, which are usually open in good weather.)

Wainscoting, organization, and other helpful home hints are covered on this HGTV webpage; and the adjectives include: cozy, colorful, exotic, modern, funky, functional, and formal. Check out these ideas and more at: Living Rooms Design, Decorating Ideas, Pictures : HGTV

Friday, January 30, 2009

Bathroom makeovers (link)

Here are some big photos and ideas for bathroom makeovers from HGTV and Candice Olson: Tips for Incredible Bathroom Renovations : Bathrooms : Home & Garden Television

The bathroom with men's club amenities would be fun; it includes an exercise machine and view of the outdoors. Another bathroom has a huge shower and a really looong sink--no vanity, just wide flat surfaces flanking the sink. Another one has custom cabinety over the toilet. I've never liked storage over the toilet--too hard for access and too easy to drop things into the toilet. The fourth bathroom has an open loft look with corners and a knee wall for separation. Interesting. I prefer being able to shut the door.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Painting ideas (link)

Here are some great painting tips, including painting your laminate bathroom countertop, faux painting, mixed media, silk scarf resist painting (that's new to me!), antique finishes, 3D painting, exterior painting, and encaustic wax octopus painting. (I have got to check out that last one immediately!) Here's the link for the list: Painting & Finishing Ideas, Tips, & Advice : HGTV

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

3D television (link)

This is certainly an intriguing idea, but not practical for most of us yet...

"2) To watch these 3D movies you will need a 3D source (these could be Blu Ray DVD players, satellite or cable boxes), a 3D enabled TV and the shutter glasses.
3) The TV sends a wireless signal to the glasses to sync the shutters with the picture on the TV."

For even more mind-boggling info, see the rest of the article: Bob Gatton's Tech Talk -- 3D TV in Your Home

This is something I'd be more likely to splurge on--than Surround Sound, for instance. I read in a recent TV Guide that there'll be a Chuck episode in 3D February 2. I dug up some old 3D glasses, but now I suspect they won't work since if this is a program on the cutting edge, "everyone in the room in the room will need to wear a pair of glasses, if you aren't wearing the glasses and watching something that is in 3D, the picture will be unwatchable."

However, when I looked it up on Google, the Chuck website doesn't give any data on how it works. The episode is titled: Chuck Versus the Third Dimension
Here's the link to that: Chuck: Chuck Versus the Third Dimension -

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Magistria: The Realm of the Sorcerer

The shared world anthology, Magistria: The Realm of the Sorcerer, is now available on amazon: Magistria: The Realm of the Sorcerer: Robert J Santa, Lawrence Barker, G W Thomas: Books

My story, Seedlings, is about plant mages and their sentient plant companions; Seedlings refers to the plants and the children that a plant mage rescues from their pursuers...

Here's the amazon blurb: "She had been a goddess for millennia. Now her time was drawing to a close. Her massive, fiery body burned with magical brilliance, eradiating the worlds that floated around her...But her time had come...She could deny it no longer. The change was creeping over her shining, spherical form..."With these words the universe of Magistria was literally born. Join the imaginations of fourteen of today's fantasy writers as they introduce you to the first volume of their shared world. Lawrence Barker, Andrew C. Ferguson, Jack Hillman, Ben Peek, Christopher Sloan, Robert Bee, Joy V. Smith, Robert Burke Richardson, Joshua Reynolds, Jack Mackenzie, Robert J. Santa, K. A. Patterson, Lillian Csernica, and G. W. Thomas who also edited the collection.

Magistria: Shards of the Goddess is upcoming. My story there is Crystal Quest.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Basement makeover ideas (link)

Lots of interesting ideas for making your basement fun and cozy and useful, including a fireplace, a game room, a play room, a wine cellar, a wet bar, and, of course, a laundry room. First, get rid of the clutter... Find out more from HGTV designers and organizers at: Basements : Home Improvement : HGTV

'Course here in Florida we don't usually have basements. I remember that we had a sump pump in our basement in Wisconsin.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Window treatments don't have to be a pane (link)

Here is a great selection of ideas for window treatments from HGTV Window Treatments Ideas & Decorating Tips : HGTV

There are fun, frugal, and unique tips for enhancing your windows, including an interior awning, tasseled toppers, shelves, valances, and a table runner. Don't forget that you can save energy with insulated curtains. (We've been in a prolonged cold spell--I bundled up just to let one of the dogs out the door last night!)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Home ideas

There's an interesting selection of vintage stoves in the February issue of Country Living. A restored 1949 Chambers C-90 stove is priced at $8,900.00. It's a beautiful bright red; and I learned that immediately after WWII, most American appliance manufacturers were owned by automotive companies and often had bumper-like curves and chrome fixtures. Reproduction stoves are available from Elmira Stoveworks, Heartland Appliances, Viking Range, and Aga Ranges. They are really striking.

There are Before and After pictures of a recovered 1960s barrel chair in this issue also. It's one of those cases where the Before photo looks better. Featured products include bandanna-inspired table linens. They actually look pretty good--not country cliche.

There's a mention of Habitat ReStore, which is always worth visiting if you're looking for appliances or building materials. [We've donated an old fridge, unused tiles, etc. to them.]

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Is lavender the new beige? (link)

From Design Happens, an HGTV blog:

"I watch a lot of HGTV shows, and Designed to Sell is one of my favorites. If I can’t sit down and give my full attention to an episode, I love catching design nuggets while I’m doing other things. I had the show on Friday night while I was preparing to meet some friends for dinner when designer Monica Pedersen said something that stopped me in my tracks.

Lavender, Monica said, is the new beige. ..."

For more: Design Happens » Archive » The New Beige?

A lot of people thought the After picture was the Before picture; and a number of people added their own color choices in the comments. I would never have painted my dining room lavender.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

What's in & what's out for home buyers (link)

What's in:

Different ways of financing, house therapists (for refereeing house relationship problems), architectural-look garage doors, loveseats, old appliances, Obama-era colors (parchment white, cashmere yellow, and bright blues and gold), ...

What's out:

Fixer upper homes, "homey" staging, track lighting, ...

For more: News : Trends : What's In, What's Out with Home Buyers in 2009 :

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Economic forecast: Today's spaghetti model

There was a good article in the paper recently (AP byline) about talking to your children about cutting back on spending, though I see that many parents are still focused on buying expensive, high-end products for their kids. One parent quoted in the article said, 'What's wrong with spoiling them now?"

My parents worked hard when we were growing up; my mother made a lot of our clothes; we wore hand-me-downs; and she stayed up late doing chores, making Christmas gifts, etc. because she worked. We had a roof over our heads, enough food, and we were warm and protected, and she absolutely refused to cut back on milk. We had the basics, and when I was old enough, I made money babysitting and house cleaning. (And my parents never paid me for household chores!) I bought my first typewriter and school supplies with my own money. I never expected my parents to waste their money on things I didn't need.

Another thing, while I'm on my soapbox, is that we three children were not brought up to believe in Santa Claus. We knew our gifts came from our parents so we never wondered why Santa didn't bring us nice things. I've talked to many people who were sorely puzzled when they saw other kids getting toys for being naughty! Btw, my mother and father were very firm about telling us that we were never ever to tell any other child that there was no Santa Claus.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Joy's short stories

Some of Joy's online stories:

The Haunted Garden: The Haunted Garden

Moovin' Up: Moovin' Up

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

To the Last Drop!: To the Last Drop!

The Trees of Home: The Trees of Home

You Are What You Don't Eat: EOTU Ezine

More short stories can be found in Aliens, Animals, and Adventure: AnthologyBuilder: create your ideal anthology

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Children's rooms (link)

Get tips and practical advice for creating fun, colorful spaces, plus how to help your kid keep it that way. Link: Pictures of Kids' Rooms : Decorating : Home & Garden Television

There are some exciting and colorful rooms, with useful hints, from HGTV. I like the cartoon dogs on the wall in one room. Cute frogs in another room. (I'd add a few Bolt toys. I love that dog.)

Monday, January 5, 2009

Children's pedestal sinks and toilets

I came across child-sized toilets and pedestal sinks in Renovator's catalog. Some toilets have Chippy Mouse, Buddy Bear, Fire Dragon, Prancing Unicorn, and Piggy Bear designs; they have matching sinks. The description says that you can install and uninstall them with ease. The catalog also has a lovely selection of vessel sinks. (I've never wanted one, no matter how beautiful they are, because I don't think they're practical. Why would I want to wash the outside of a sink too?! The catalog does say that they're virtually unbreakable...)

Link:The Renovator's Supply - Reproduction Antique Hardware, Restoration Hardware-Plumbing-Lighting for your remodeling needs.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Architecture of the Imagination

"Val Con's dressing room--the 'apartment' set aside for their use was larger than Zhena Trelu's whole house, back on Vandar--was on the opposite side of the bedroom. There were three other rooms--a parlor, an office and a bookroom, plus a bathroom the size of Lytaxin spaceport and a balcony that looked out over the east garden.

A huge bed commanded the bedroom. Flowering vines grew up two of the posts and all over the canopy, dripping long tendrils like flowering curtains around the sides. Miri shook her head. Liadens...A whole room just to dress in, a garden growing in the bedroom, and a bunch of other stuff, here and there, apparently just done for pretty."

Plan B (A Liaden Universe Novel) by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Fireplaces, woodstoves, western apparel, and more

There are a lot of fireplace and woodstove accessories in the Plow and Hearth catalog. The FireBrite Reflectors look useful; and the Ash Vac would be good. (I've shoveled a lot of ashes out of fireplaces.) The electric fireplaces are interesting also, but I want a backup for warmth that doesn't depend on electricity. The catalog has furniture, rugs, curtains, etc. too.

Link: Plow & Hearth - Products for Home and Garden

If you enjoy Western furniture, clothes, art, and accessories, I think you'll like the Crow's Nest Trading Co. catalog. It has some beautiful things. Fun items for the garden too.

Link: Lodge Decor-Rustic Cabin Decor-Southwestern Home Decor-Log Cabin Decor-Antler Lighting

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Home and garden ideas

I saw a lovely bouquet of sunflowers in a yellow pitcher in the May 2008 issue of Southern Living. The color of the pitcher was very close to the color of the sunflowers. Very effective display. There was a hanging basket of bougainvillea on a cozy porch in the same issue. I bet you have to trim that constantly. Ouch. Another homeowner's greenhouse is under deciduous trees so it's cooler in summer and warmer in winter.

There was a combination laundry room, potting room--and more in another article. The upper cabinets had trellis doors, which was a nice change from plain doors. An eco-friendly home article mentioned that heavy moldings--so popular now--weigh down an airy, light space. And the home owners didn't want to waste materials for a "grandiose" look.

I learned in another article that in an Austin, Texas neighborhood, each household is allowed to fill one garbage bin a week. It didn't give a size, but if you go over that, you have to put a sticker on your spillover and pay extra for the pickup.

And I saw in the Whatever Works catalogue, an alarm clock with real chimes, and a cubical clock that changes colors. I just might put one or both on my birthday list. Link: Pest Control Household Gadgets Outdoor Solutions Home & Garden Problem Solutions Whatever Works