Saturday, July 31, 2010

Home and garden ideas

There were some lovely home and garden ideas in the August issue of Southern Living, including a Carrara marble floor and matching shower wall tiles in a master bath, which will have to be sealed, I believe. And, of course, an antique rug instead of a bath mat. There were book and display shelves surrounding a reading/storage bench with a background of studded squares; plus water saving ideas in a garden. Other garden ideas include giant chess pieces on a giant board, stones set in the lawn in a starburst pattern, and an idea we plan to implement--using a truck tire rim as a fire pit. We'll have to surround it with retaining wall pavers, I think. The small rocks they used are too small as a surround. Recipe ideas included two lemon pie variations. And I smiled when I saw the suave Vern Yip in the Kraft Sandwich Shop mayo two-page spread.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Top ten neutral colors (link)

Libby Langdon's picks include a "calming ... blue," a "terrific tan," and a "serene cream." There's also a "convivial yellow." For more suggestions, see: Libby Langdon's Top 10 Neutral Paint Colors - Shelterpop

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Home from the SPCA

I had to put Xena, the Warrior Puppy, to sleep in June. She was 15 years old and a part of my life for a long time; and she's in my house book, Building a Cool House for Hot Times without Scorching the Pocketbook--pictured on the back cover with me and inside looking out a window.

I'm still missing her, and at one point--although browsing the local SPCA website--I found myself saying rebelliously: "I don't want a puppy. I want Xena!" I knew then that I wasn't ready, but my sister, who was closely monitoring the website, sent me a picture one day and said--Look at this one. Hmm, I thought. She meets the criteria (female, short coat, not too big, etc.), though I prefer a younger puppy (she was listed as four months old), and I said OK. We can go and look at her. We took her to an outside exercise pen to check her out, and she wasn't very interested in the humans, but sniffed all over the pen and wanted to play with the dog in the next pen.

I wasn't sure about her; some puppies are all over you, but she was an older stray. Hard to tell... When I saw her on the website, the name Blizzard popped into my mind. (She was white.) After thinking for a while--there were no other puppies I was interested in (I chose Xena from a litter at the SPCA.), but most of the dogs--and cats--were older--and she did respond to the volunteer and to treats, and I liked her so I finally said: Yes! I'll take her. I couldn't take her then since she had to be spayed, but I picked her up a couple days later. Keeping her on leash for ten days so she wouldn't be too active and rip out her stitches helped with training and bonding, although she really wanted to run sometimes--and jump up and down on Bryn, the Corgi.

Yesterday I took her to the vet for her final puppy shots and check-up. (I've got to get her used to riding in the car so I don't have to carry her in and out.) She was happy to get back to her home, and I was so happy to have her here! She's part of the family now, though I'll always treasure Xena's memory.

Btw, the SPCA has a great selection of cats and dogs looking for good homes, and it's such a good deal since the price includes altering, shots, and more--depending on your local shelter. And right now our SPCA is taking in dogs abandoned because of the Gulf oil spill affecting people's lives and livelihoods....

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Design basics (links)

Learn about styles, color, fabrics, textures, furniture arrangement, displaying art, and more at: Design 101 : Decorating : Home & Garden Television

Monday, July 26, 2010

What's My Style quiz (link)

This is a fun quiz. Pick your bedroom and kitchen styles, a chair, accessories, the house exterior you'd prefer, and more. You'll get a description of your style--not just a category. Quiz link: HGTV - What's My Style

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Staycation suggestions (link)

These staycation site ideas for your backyard involve pools, gardens, shelter, outdoor kitchens, and lots of money. I like the Robinson Crusoe theme though and the faux rock water slide. Check out the landscape designs for ideas for your home: Vacation Landscapes : Outdoors : 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!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Kitchen layouts (link)

Before WWII, kitchens had stand-alone pieces; later there were built-in cabinets. And then there's the work triangle and the galley kitchen. For more styles, go to: 5 Most Popular Kitchen Layouts : Rooms : Home & Garden Television

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Energy efficiency (link)

Here are a collection of links revolving around a comprehensive retrofit of an old house to make it energy efficient: Energy Answers: Home Performance Testing and Remodeling Rebates :

Monday, July 12, 2010

Tales of the Talisman (link)

The summer issue of Tales of the Talisman (Vol. 6, issue 1) is now out, and my article, Man-Kzin Wars: Behind the scenes of a great and long-running series, is included:

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Shopping quiz (link)

I enjoy these shopping quizes where you choose the smarter buy, though I tend to choose the one I like the most, which often is the smarter buy--or not. Have fun with this quiz about shopping for your living room: HGTV Quiz: Living Room Design: Test Your Shopping Smarts

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

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Ten tips for remodeling (link)

Start with setting priorities, then study the available space. What do you want to do in this space? What will the house look like on the outside if you move a wall out or add an addition? For more advice, including the importance of the roofline, go to: 10 Tips for Creative Remodeling : Slideshow :

Friday, July 2, 2010

Dressing up outdoor spaces and floors

The stamped and stained concrete deck is my favorite upgrade; the harlequin floor I wouldn't want to tackle... You can add lots of color or go for a more natural and relaxing look. Check out the ideas at: Unique Outdoor Flooring Ideas : Home Improvement : Home & Garden Television

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Decorating ideas

There's an imaginative use of rope and heavy cord in furniture and accessories in the July/August issue of Country Living. The spool table, light fixtures, and crocheted rug were different. Good use of eye-catching outdoor thermometers too; I liked the one with the 3D numbers.

There were some craft ideas also, including the use of clip clothespins. And you can wear little watches on a charm bracelet. I enjoyed the photo spread of green flowers, such as the Green Jewel coneflower, though they didn't include the green rose, which we give as bouquets for a completely different gift.

There were some beautiful home makeovers, and this issue's real estate sampler focused on homes with ponds and streams. There were also entertainment and food suggestions. Who'd have thought of spicy corn on the cob?! But I really liked the idea of the catered gourmet outdoor dinner parties...