Monday, November 30, 2009

Christmas gift book suggestions

Here's a smorgasbord of books I've written or have stories in:

Why Won't Anyone Play with Me? is my children's picture book. You can find it at: Why Won't Anyone Play with Me?: Books: Joy V. Smith

The new edition of my house book, Building a Cool House for Hot Times without Scorching the Pocketbook, has color photos; the ISBN number on that edition is 978-1-60749-562-8:

Aliens, Animals, and Adventure includes some of my stories (reprints). Browse the stories here: AnthologyBuilder: create your ideal anthology

And my audiobook of time travel tales, Sugar Time, is available from Hadrosaur Productions: Hadrosaur Audio

Magistria: Realm of the Sorcerer is a shared world anthology (invitation only). Check it out on amazon:

Thursday, November 26, 2009

I'm a winner!

I reached and passed my 50,000 word goal last night and received my official validation from National Novel Writing Month and printed out my certificate and picked up my virtual badge. I'm glad I finished. I can actually write more if I want--until the end of the month, but I think I'll take a little break before polishing and submitting it. (I'm browsing markets now...)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Bullseye window glass (link)

You can enhance your home by adding handblown reproduction bullseye window glass. It's lovely and unique, and there are some examples of ways you can use it. Apparently you have to have it installed in your doors and home when you get it though. Link: Hand-blown Bullseye Window and Door Glass from Sugar Hollow Glass in Fairfield Connecticut

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Home for the holidays ideas

The December/January issue of Country Living is full of fun and lovely deas, including a photo display of America's best-selling rugs. My favorite was Rose Tufted Rug from Pier 1. The others, I thought, were on the dull side.

There was also a look at Christmas candy; and the Real Estate Sampler's focus was on churches converted into homes. Great selection! The Gift Guide was very tempting. There were cameo soaps, matchbook notepaper, items made from recycled Chinese newspapers, an iPod case with a gramaphone on the cover, and more. My favorite was measuring spoons that look like Victorian silverware (from Beautiful!

There were also Christmas ornaments (including origami) and a collection of pet gifts. (I'm sorry, but dogs dressed to imitate humans is an idea thought up by merchants! You don't have to do that, people!)

There are more ideas, which include tree trimming, gift wrapping, and home decorating (with some Swedish inspired ideas), plus a section of yummy-looking Christmas treats.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Guide to selecting floors (link)

Floor choices include exotic woods, which are increasing in popularity; bamboo; laminate, which stands up to moisture and is good for kitchens; cork, which is a renewable resource; linoleum, which has been around for years, but lately--not so much, but it's hot now; tile; vinyl; and concrete.

Link: Guide to Selecting Floors : Home Improvement : Home & Garden Television

Note: Some homeowners are using wood more in kitchens, but my dishwasher flooded my kitchen once...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Little Sarah

Another little orphaned squirrel immigrates to the cathedral oak! Little Sarah's foster mother brought her to live in our big back oak--and took lots of pictures, I'm told. (I just ran over from the neighbor's yard sale where I was working for a minute to welcome her--and put our dogs in the house. And you can't bark on the back porch either!) She was rescued from the mouth of her foster mother's dog when she was only the size of her thumb! I think she'll be happy here. I see the other squirrels frolicking in the trees and the yard, and we give them peanuts every day. Living on a wildlife habitat is fun. We haven't seen any foxes lately, btw, but the sandhill cranes are often in the front yard and there are herons fishing in the pond...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Stamping & staining concrete (link)

This HGTVPro website shows some interesting effects with staining, dying (more colorful), epoxy coatings, acid staining, and stamped concrete samples--nice variety! And stamped concrete overlays for damaged concrete; also stencil resurfacing. Link: Slideshow : Stamped and Stained Concrete Designs :

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

National Novel Writing Month update

The goal of NaNoWriMo is 50,000 words by the end of November. I'm past the halfway point (32,000 words last night), but, oh, November 30 seems a long time from now. If I stick to my current goal of 2,000 words a day, I should be fine, but last night I did some editing and discovered that I'd messed up my chapter numbers so I had to fix that--chapter heading by chapter heading--after correcting my notes. I got to bed at five last night, but could sleep in. Tonight I've got to do some more research first. I've got a new list...

Monday, November 16, 2009

Shuttle launch

I watched the Atlantis shuttle launch at 2:28 (ET) this afternoon out back; I saw only a long, narrow white trail that eventually went into a cloud and disappeared. The shuttle launch replays on the NASA channel were much more spectacular as it went through the clouds!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Christmas decorating ideas (link)

And here are some Christmas decorating ideas from HGTV. Those big and fancy stockings are fun; the snow shoes, pinecones, and stockings against the stacked stone fireplace in the log home work well; and the festive draped banister with a Christmas tree on the landing is certainly eye catching, but I did not care much for the monochromatic cream color scheme including stockings or the stacked ornaments (what is holding them in place?). See them all and more at: Our Favorite Holiday Ideas From Rate My Space : Holidays and Entertaining : Home & Garden Television

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

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fall decorations (link)

Here are some lovely fall decorating ideas from HGTV. I like the brown tablecloth beneath the white runners, the basket filled with fall foliage (grasses, etc.), the pumpkins, and cornucopia, but the stacked foam pumpkins look like an orange snowman without a face. Link: Our Favorite Fall Decorations From Rate My Space : Holidays and Entertaining : Home & Garden Television

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Toilet help (links)

This may help if your toilet keeps running:

"The most common type of home toilet has a bowl and a water tank. Of these two parts, the water tank is the most complex. Inside the tank are multiple components, which work together to flush and fill the bowl with water. Most problems with a toilet occur here.

The float is one important component inside the water tank. Toilets typically have one of two common types of floats: a filler float or a ball float. ..." For more info and diagrams: HGTVPro - BuildIQ Home Care Guide - Toilets : Overview

And here's a link that takes you to videos, which include a power flush toilet with no performance issues and a composting toilet: HGTV Pro Products Player :

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Fireplace ideas (link)

The fireplace decorating ideas include a big mirror propped on the mantle (propped?!), a black slate or a shiny granite hearth (striking), mosaic tile for a modern look, ... For more, go to: Hot Fireplace Design Ideas : Home Improvement : Home & Garden Television

But please, forego the candles inside the fireplace and on the mantel!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Basic kitchen tools (link)

Here's a list of 45 must-have kitchen tools--in categories, including cutlery, small appliances, and gadgets--with recommendations. You choose what you need and what you want. I like the fact that they tell you where you can go cheap and where you should spend a little more. Link: Project Center -

Friday, November 6, 2009

Magistria: The Realm of the Sorcerer

There's a good review of Magistria: Realm of the Sorcerer (by David Lee Summers, editor) in the fall issue (Vol. 5, issue 2) of Tales of the Talisman. He mentioned "Storm Warning" by Lillian Csernica as a standout story and Robert J. Santa's "In This Sleep of Death" as another fine story. (My story, Seedlings, is mentioned briefly, but not by title. At least he mentioned the sentient trees!)

Check out this shared world anthology on amazon:

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Color tips from HGTV (link)

No need to be afraid of using color in your home. Check out these ideas on this HGTV webpage:Top 10 Tips for Adding Color to Your Space : Decorating : Home & Garden Television

I liked the citrus combination, and the tall black case (lighter inside) for displaying pottery was striking.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Comfortable Home (book review link)

The Comfortable Home by Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams (Clarkson Potter Publishers, 2009) looks helpful (combining comfort, beauty, and style). Link: Design Happens » Archive » Book Review: The Comfortable Home (

Excerpt from review: "One of my favorite sections of the book is the different floor plans for each area of the home: entryway, living room, dining room and bedroom. I know that’s usually the toughest part when I’m decorating, so having six different layouts per room is incredibly helpful."

[I love seeing multiple choices for one room!]

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Green renovation (link)

Follow the ongoing green renovation of an old home, Sheep Dog Hollow. This blog has a number of green and environmental links: Photo Gallery: Sheep Dog Hollow - framing a green dream home