Thursday, April 29, 2010

Award-winning kitchen designs (link)

I enjoyed the overhead view of a formal farmhouse, the refrigerator that looks like an ice-box, and "A refined version of a rugged farmhouse kitchen [that] was created through the use of copper, stone, and wood." And pewter chicken wire is sort of different. There's a small frosty white kitchen. Check out more ideas at: Slideshow : 2010 NKBA Kitchen Design Winners :

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Publication news

I got the latest issue of Tales of the Talisman today, and I checked it to see if my article, Man-Kzin Wars:Behind the Scenes of a Great and Long-running Series, is mentioned in the blurb for the next issue (summer/Volume VI, Issue I)), and it's not, but my name is on the cover. (That is always a thrill.)

The requested rewrite for my SF novel, Strike Three, is on the editor's desk. Meanwhile you can read some of my short stories in my reprint collection--Aliens, Animals, and Adventure:

And Sugar Time is an audiobook of three time travel tales with sound effects & music. Check it out at:

Magistria: The Realm of the Sorcerer: This shared world anthology of mages and magic includes my story, Seedlings, in which plant mages fight alongside their sentient plant companions. You can buy it on amazon:

Friday, April 23, 2010

Green living (link)

While this article covers some of the basics--showerheads, composting, efficiency, LEDs, etc., you can also recycle the water in your bathroom, buy green power from your utility, and keep track of the trash you create... Link: 10 Ways to Live Greener Today : Green Living : 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.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Remodeling for energy efficiency (link)

"Follow along as homeowner Jeff Wilson performs a Deep Energy Retrofit on his 70-year old Cape Cod house with the goal of making it energy neutral — producing as much energy as it uses." Link: Energy Answers: Lowering Power Bills Through Energy Efficient Home Improvements :

Monday, April 19, 2010

Home & garden ideas

The May issue of Southern Living has beautiful photos of hydrangeas, including the cover--and Southern Living in pink is pretty. (I'm pretty sure the title isn't usually in pink.) There's also a piece on southern lilacs; Lavender Lady--and possibly Blue Skies--never worked for me, but I'd like to try again.

There's also a selection of wedding accessories, including the framed wedding date made from a variety of photographed numbers. And beside the other home and garden articles, there are recipes, including one for Triple Peanut-Butter Cookies, which includes peanut flour. (It's from the National Peanut Board.)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Home storage ideas and more

There are some lovely ideas for built-in storage in the May Old-House Journal. (Remember when you decide to have a pedestal sink, you have to find storage elsewhere.) There's also a selection of decorative hooks--some with shelves--for storing things in plain sight. (I prefer Shaker peg boards; we have them in almost every room in our home.) I also enjoyed the article on the restoration of a Craftsman-style house. (I love colonnades!) And an article on restoration mistakes, which include improper paint prep and mixing metals, plus an article on row houses. Oh, when tracking down your home's history, don't forget Sanborn (fire insurance company) maps.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Decorating & entertaining ideas

There are some interesting ideas for entertaining in the May issue of Country Living. Use plant markers for identifying chunks of different cheeses; put silverware in small terra cotta pots marked with chalk for knives, forks, etc. And use the kitchen sink as a beverage cooler. Easy to get rid of the ice water afterwards.

I loved the beautiful selection of butter dishes, though I've never cared for the round ones. (I have glass and Fiestaware butter dishes myself; I think peacock is a new color.)

The Real Estate Sampler has impressive homes with wraparound porches; and there are some lovely restored homes, including one on Martha's Vineyard owned by Tony Shalhoub (Monk). And those fantastic desserts include Shaker Lemon Pie--which my sister's been making for years--and Mississippi Mud Pie and ... It's a good issue full of beautiful, delicious, and fun stuff.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Cut glass sink (link)

OK, it's not really cut glass, it just looks like it. Check out this beautiful undercounter sink from Kohler. I love it, but my practical side always wins out over the side that loves glitter and glitz; and it looks like it would be almost impossible to clean easily (the way I prefer it). See for yourself: KOHLER: Kallos™ Spun Glass Undercounter Lavatory: Bathroom: : Bathroom: New Products

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Seven important home improvement tips (link)

When working around your home, be careful about wires--and for rewiring, get a professional; priming before you paint is very important; and think about your subfloor/underlayment. For more advice, go to: 7 Costly Home Improvement Don'ts : Home Improvement : 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.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Green building myths (link)

Green building myths include: Green built homes cost more (they can actually save you money) and they look weird. Well, I think that house looks cute. (Of course, the house can look like whatever you want it to look like.) Check out more myths here: Slideshow : Busting the Green Building Myths :

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Energy Star expose (link)

I read about this earlier in the latest Consumer Reports, as I recall. I especially liked the "air purifier that looked like a space heater with a duster taped to it."
Link: Energy Star and the Gas-Powered Alarm Clock The Punchlist (

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Bedroom trends (link)

Here are 10 bedroom trends from three designers. Wallpaper's back! On the other hand, some people want serenity, using light purples, creams, and soft green. And fresh flowers freshen up a room. Or you might want to have your bedroom resemble a hotel suite. You can add appliances too. (Frankly, I'd skip the washing machine.) For more ideas, check out: 10 Bedroom Trends to Try : Decorating : Home & Garden Television

Friday, April 9, 2010

Four steps to a beautiful bed (link)

Here are some beautiful and helpful ideas--including sheet care, color, fabrics, and personalization--from Home Made Simple: Bedding Basics-Home Made Simple (I see that you shouldn't wash your sheets on the hot setting and you should turn your pillowcases inside out.)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Bedroom style quiz (link)

Here's a fun quiz: HGTV Quiz: What's Your Bedroom Style?

My style turned out to be Contemporary--which seems to be pretty much eclectic; but I confess that I didn't recognize all those designers' names or two of the catalogs.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Going green at home (link)

This HGTVPro webpage suggests recycling the usual, also rainwater, glass (as used in countertops, which has a striking effect), and using a wireless energy monitor (it's called a dashboard). Hmm. Custom recycling bins? (I use the yellow plastic bin the waste management company gave me.)

Link: Slideshow : 8 Ways to Embrace Your Green Goddess :

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Pruning primer (link)

Here's a comprehensive pruning guide, which includes hedges, pruning tips and tools, a glossary, and examples of shrubs which bloom on last year's growth and those that bloom on the current season's growth. Before you prune, know which category your shrub grows in. There's also advice on what not to do, such as topping--and in the case of crape myrtles--crape murder, which is very common in our area. Link: Proper Pruning Techniques Aggie Horticulture

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

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Choosing the right tree for a small space (link)

It's easy to choose a beautiful tree for your yard, but is it a wise choice? Will it be "A tree that's soon to dwarf the patio, the house and everything around? Here are some wonderful little trees that won't take over your yard — or your neighbor's."

Check out these small trees: 10 Great Patio Trees : Landscaping : Home & Garden Television