Friday, February 27, 2009

Furniture makeovers (link)

There are some interesting furniture makeover ideas on this HGTV website, but distressing furniture is merely silly. There are two cat furniture suggestions--using a bedside chest to hide the litter pan (remove the drawer but keep its face and put a hole in the side; kitty doesn't need a curtain, however) and removing desk drawers to give your cat(s) cubbyholes with cushions. That could be fun for you and kitty.

There's a link to an article by Matt Fox about recycling furniture; he and Shari changed a dining room buffet into a mail center in the foyer. A lovely and useful makeover. There are also articles on low-profile furniture (it makes the room look larger and the ceiling higher), arranging furniture, and slathering paint on furniture so that years later some poor devil will be gnashing her teeth and snarling as she strips that paint off. Been there, done that. Red, white, and blue stripes?!

Link: Furniture: Get Tips on Decorating, Arranging, and Painting Furniture : HGTV

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Architecture of the Imagination

"This ship, Cunning Stalker, ... was built in the classical kzinti hemisphere-and-cone pattern, ...

The aft part of the ship contained several cargo holds, whose partitioning could be altered. Richard wondered briefly if might have been a slave transport; ... There was a control center well forward. The engineers had sleeping cabins near the engine spaces, the rest of the personnel about the control center. ...

Sometimes in the wars, humans, who, one way or another, found themselves sharing ships with kzinti, had managed or elude or ambush those kzinti by climbing through ducting too narrow for the great felinoids to enter. Richard noticed, ..., that Cunning Stalker appeared to have been refitted with memories of this in mind. Any ducting too small to admit a kzin was either also too small to admit a human, or else covered with very tough gratings.

... The control center was downright intimidating, with three kzinti busy at instrument consoles ... worthy of a hospital doc. The ports had not yet been opaqued for the transition to hyperspace, and Kzinhome's primary was a vast red ball filling the sky to one side as they skimmed it. ..."

From String by Hal Colebatch & Matthew Joseph Harrington in Man-Kzin Wars XII (Baen, 2009)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Garden lights

I came across a solar-powered gazing ball ("Colorful by day--spectacular after dark!") in the Solutions catalog. And some fiber optic lights for the garden somewhere, but I can't find them now. I know I'd like them too.

I ordered the Saturn Illuminarie recently from Plow and Hearth. (It's on sale.) I was tempted by the pot stickers (set of three--sun, moon, and star designs); they're on sale too... The world is full of beautiful things.

And I just got another catalog from Gardener's Supply Co.; its garden lights include art glass globes. Ooh, I want one of those! (These garden lights aren't all solar powered; some of them use luminescent paint and "fairy dust." (That's a special phosphorescent paint.)

Links: and

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Kitchen design finalists (link)

Here are some high tech kitchen designs with a variety of ideas--some bright, some colorful, modern light fixtures and faucets, and expensive... And stools that look like spiders. Looks like an aquarium in one too. Frankly, none of them look comfortable or inviting to me, but designers need to be stand out... You may find some useful ideas here. Link: Slideshow : 2009 NKBA Kitchen Design Finalists :

Friday, February 20, 2009

Home theatre installation (link)

This blog doesn't tell you how to do it, but it's an interesting discussion, and if the store you buy it from doesn't help you, it looks like Radio Shack might be the place to ask for help... And be sure you get all the accessories! Link: Bob Gatton's Tech Talk -- Hooking this stuff up?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Publication news

My story, Seedlings, is included in Magistria: The Realm of the Sorcerer (a shared world anthology), which is available at Plant mages fight with magic and their sentient plant companions. [This anthology is a reprint; it's out from a new publisher, Ricasso Press.] Magistria: Shards of the Goddess is upcoming; my story, Crystal Quest, will be in it. Black Dragon, White Dragon is also out from Ricasso Press and available on I haven't read it, but the stories sound good. (I've been reading what people are saying about it.) Magistria link: Magistria: The Realm of the Sorcerer: Robert J Santa, Lawrence Barker, G W Thomas: Books

Building a Cool House for Hot Times without Scorching the Pocketbook is #7 on this Barnes & Noble top ten list: Barnes & Books - Architecture, Domestic->Amateurs' manuals

My children's book, Why Won't Anyone Play with Me?, is also available on the B&N website: Barnes & - Book Search: Why Won't Anyone Play with Me?

My short story (reprints) collection, Aliens, Animals, and Adventure, is available from Anthology Builder: AnthologyBuilder: create your ideal anthology

My audiobook of time travel tales, Sugar Time, is available from Hadrosaur Productions: Hadrosaur Audio Odysseys

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Architecture of the Imagination

"The doorkeeper installed him in a parlor just off the main entryway and left him. Jethri looked about him, eyes slightly narrowed in protest of the decorating. A deep napped crimson carpet covered the floor from crimson wall to crimson wall. A couch in crimson brocade and two crimson brocade chairs were grouped 'round a low table covered with a crimson cloth. A black wooden bookshelf along one short wall held volumes uniformly bound in red leather, titles outlined in gilt.

Jethri was beginning to feel a little uneasy in the stomach by the time the hall door opened and the master of the house joined him."

From Balance of Trade (a Liaden universe novel) by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller

Monday, February 16, 2009

Paint color ideas

A friend recently gave me some Porter Paint folders. She's been decorating and wanted to share some color ideas with me. There are a lot of whites: Delicate White, Cake Batter, Alabaster, Creamy White, Heavy Cream, and more. I'm not that fond of white; it's boring. (Heavy Cream, Navajo White, and Morocco Sand are darker, however.)

Nordic Lights Palette includes Morning Fog (a pale blue). Some darker colors are Friar's Brown (very dark) and Wool Tweed (not as dark). The Desert Spice folder includes Gingerbread and Allspice, also Caramel Apple and Spiced Cider. (Caramel Apple is light, and Spiced Cider is much darker; you'd think it would be the opposite.) Desert Spice is also related somehow to Feng Shui. (I'm not limited by Feng Shui so I won't proceed further.)

Another folder is Tapestry and Mosaic, which includes Pine Cone (dark green) and Fuzzy Sheep (white), plus Pizza Pie (not quite brick red) and Cedar Chest (closer to brick red). The Midnight Song Palette includes Smoky Grape, Pageant Pansy, and Blackearth (a dull black--in case you wondered). Euro Blush Palette has some very pale pinks.

I enjoyed looking at these colors, and I love some of the names! But I've learned that no matter how much you like a color, it might not be right for your wall or trim... (Repainting is no fun; the sooner you catch a mistake, the better.)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Kitchen islands (link)

Kitchen islands give you more countertop space, storage, and a place for eating and visiting. This article also discusses materials and the amount of space you need between the island and appliances, etc. (I've read about a woman who finally got her dream island and could no longer open her oven door.) And while the article suggests putting cooktops and sinks in an island, that may not be practical because of plumbing runs and wiring. Link: Island Living Get Inspired at The Home Depot

Friday, February 13, 2009

Colorful ideas for your home (link)

There are color tips on this HGTV website from David Bromstad, host of Color Splash and the season one winner of Design Star. [I saw him win, btw, and I've watched Design Star last year. Now I'm waiting for this year's show.]

There are other links for adding drama with black, choosing paint colors and the best colors to go with a cork floor and kitchen (white isn't always the best option) and bathroom (a zen bathroom?) colors, the latest trends, ... Link: Color Ideas & Inspiration: Paint Colors, Room Colors, & More : HGTV

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Home and garden ideas

I got some good catalogs in the mail recently. In Grandinroad, there's an interesting pile of books laid flat in a huge circle that extends from floor to ceiling! Very impressive. Apparently it's in a room from Metropolitan Home. I guess no one's going to want to read those books, and it's just for looks.

Another idea--from the Rachael Ray Show--is the alphabet in photos; each photo has an object that looks like a letter. Sometimes you have to look hard to recognize the letter, but it's an interesting concept. Later in the catalog are benches, an obelisk, and rabbits made from twigs and vines. Frankly, those rabbits don't look like they're made from twigs; they resemble creatures from the Tournament of Roses parade. Link:

And in a favorite catalog, Plow and Hearth, are more glowing garden accesssories--modelled after the moon, sun, stars, Saturn with rings, and an armillary. They're all designed to light up your garden at night, and I'd love to have them all. I'd put some in the beds surrounding the patio out back. There are also some shimmering gazing balls. The cat playing with one is a fun idea. More glowing toadstools, gazing balls, and a wind vane use luminous paint or crystals to absorb the sun's light during the day and glow gently at night. I love them all! Link:

And I loved the flowers in the Select Seeds catalog. The moon garden collection, which includes Moonflower and Colchester White Centaurea, is beautiful. The catalog is full of beautiful flowers, including poppies, hollyhocks (which I remember fondly from my childhood; the blossoms made skirts for wooden clothespin dolls), dianthus, coleus, and so many more. I love those colors! Link:

Monday, February 9, 2009

House Beautiful Paintbrush

I came across this useful and fun website--well, the URL--on a page from House Beautiful that a friend loaned me so I could look at paint colors on the pages. Enjoy! Link: House Beautiful Paintbrush (It'll have to load.) The color choices are to the left. Click on a room first. The shades will be to the left of the tower of colors.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Bathroom storage ideas (link)

There are some useful ideas for bathroom storage on this HGTV webpage. I especially like the recessed cabinets flanking the big mirror and the Shaker pegboard (underneath a shallow shelf) next to the big sink--for multiple people, though I can't help wondering how practical it is. There's usually a lot of splashing in a sink and those pegs seem awfully close. I like the open cubbies under the recessed cabinets, though I don't care for open shelves (photo 1). Not practical; I want my linens and supplies clean and dry--and toilet paper hidden. Link: 10 Stylish Bathroom Storage Ideas : Bathrooms : Home & Garden Television

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Publication news

Now that Magistria: The Realm of the Sorcerer is out, I've been updating my page on the ISFDB (Internet SF Data Base) and adding tags. I have to add all my anthologies still, including Magistria: Shards of the Goddess when it's out. Here's the link if you want to check out my publishing history. (Well, not everything is listed, including early interviews and ezines.) It's mostly genre: Joy V. Smith - Summary Bibliography

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Kitchen remodeling (link)

Check out this HGTV webpage for ideas on kitchen remodeling--styles, cabinets, backsplashes, countertops, and more. Among other links is one that helps you plan your kitchen layout. While your style and the appliances you choose are important, don't forget the state and local codes! And the dishwasher should be close to the sink. (I knew that. My dishwasher is next to the sink and drying rack so I can put dirty dishes in the dishwasher and clean dishes in the rack.) For more helpful ideas: HGTV Kitchen Design Ideas & Remodeling Projects - Kitchen Cabinets, Countertops, Flooring : Home & Garden Television

Here's a shortcut to the kitchen layout page: Developing a Functional Kitchen Floor Plan : Kitchens : Home & Garden Television

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Waterless urinal mystery (link)

None of us will probably ever have a waterless urinal in our homes, but I thought this was interesting because I also wondered how you could keep a waterless urinal clean: Ed Del Grande: Ask Ed -- Waterless Urinal Mystery... Solved!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Types of home construction

Here's a website that lists types of home construction: Types of Home or House Construction: Conventional Prefab Modular Panelized

Of course, conventional home construction covers a lot of territory: frame, masonry, post & beam, ... My current home is masonry (concrete block w/stucco brick). I'm thinking of using prefab concrete panels for my next house; it's quicker and hopefully cheaper.

If you're interested in learning more about building a home, my book, Building a Cool House for Hot Times without Scorching the Pocketbook, gives the background of my home construction process; it's available from Barnes & Noble: Building a Cool House for Hot Times Without Scorching the Pocketbook, Joy V. Smith, Book - Barnes & Noble

It's #7 on this B&N top ten best sellers list: Barnes & Books - Architecture, Domestic->Amateurs' manuals