Monday, January 31, 2011

Selling our house: Report #4

Today, January 31st, we closed on selling our old house. Signed the papers--after reading them and making minor corrections where needed--and got the check and deposited it. (After reading the list of monies being disbursed hither and thither, you discover the final total.) At last!! It's been a pleasure working with the new owners, who are very nice, and are letting us stay on until we can move into our new house. This was especially generous of them when we were still browsing houses! To be continued...

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Preditors & Editors poll final tallies

The Preditors & Editors official final tallies are in and my article is second in the nonfiction category:

Standings for Nonfiction articles
1. Tussie Mussies - Talking Flower Bouquets, Vonnie Winslow Crist, Faerie Magazine
2. Man-Kzin Wars: Behind the scenes of a great and long-running series, Joy V. Smith, Tales of the Talisman
3. Robert the Bruce, Richard H. Fay, Abandoned Towers

Link to final tallies: Critters Writers Workshop - P&E Readers Poll

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Kitchen islands (link)

Here are some lovely ideas for kitchen islands. The eating island with stools works, and I like the elegant one with the drawers and open corner shelves, and possibly pull-out bins. The stove cooktop I don't care for--not enough room to work, and I've read that installing plumbing and wiring in kitchen islands can lead to problems. Link: Kitchen Islands: How to Add Beauty, Function and Value to the Heart of Your Home : Rooms : Home & Garden Television

Friday, January 28, 2011

Selling our house: Report #3

We have been busy culling old papers, photos, books, etc. for what seems like forever. We looked at more homes today, and we've been browsing houses and lots online and talking to a builder in case we could build. It's cheaper to buy though and quicker. One of the houses we looked at today meets a lot of our criteria; however, it needs lots of work inside and out. And Blizzard is going to miss the acres she's had to race around in. She's in for a shock!

Of course, there are a lot of steps to work our way through. Tomorrow we look at the house again and possibly sign an offer. I'm torn between being afraid that we'll lose the property and missing all our crape myrtles (we have a collection spread out in beds over our five acres), plus lots of other trees and flowers and our new fire pit, among other things. Not enough room at the new place for all our lawn ornaments, bird baths, and benches.

And we're dealing with various people and paperwork. A post-purchase contract? Hmm. And I have to talk to the insurance people, movers, DirecTV, contractors, ... The new owner has been busy with deliveries, including giant palm trees that frightened Blizzard, but she finally snuck up on them. They made a neighbor's dog twitchy too. And he's started the new fence out front--they had to carve a path for it out of the front woods--and it is impressive. That was a beautiful azalea that got trodden underfoot though. And the root balls of the palm trees must be watered.

The realtors we've been working with have been very helpful, especially Shawn, who's been ferrying us around and waiting patiently while we dissect the houses and cruise the neighborhood... The new owners are a pleasure to work with also. They've been very generous with things we want to take with us and with the time to look...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Remodeling tips (link)

Remodeling involves variables: quality, quantity, and cost. First, think within your homes's footprint. Do you need to add on? Explore the simplest solutions. If you decide to add an addition, consider how the exterior of the house will look. A poor design can reduce your home's value. For more suggestions, go to: 10 Tips for Creative Remodeling : Slideshow : HGTV Pro

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Selling our house: Report #2

The buyers have lots of plans for the house and grounds; they'll be adding trees to the landscaping and making other changes outside, including ideas we'd been thinking of doing some day, such as adding more hardscape and making the driveway into an allee.

They are letting us take the Shaker pegboards and hanging cupboards, among other things, and he said he'll take them down for us. That is very nice of them because we would have had to buy new pegboards. They’ve taken measurements in the house, and this coming week a nurseryman will be delivering 20 foot tall palm trees to line the driveway, which is very long; he stopped by to look the grounds over. (The buyers bought the palm trees, including some cluster palms for the yard, and pavers from a nursery going out of business.)

The buyers also had a septic tank company come and clean out the septic tank and replace the filter the same day so we met lots of people that day. And we also told our realtors that we're ready to start browsing. They had wanted us to wait until after the closing--when we’d have money to buy and not lose a house we liked… But they called today, and we’re going to look at the “perfect” house this afternoon. He’s more optimistic than I am, but someone told me--Just don’t whine about how it’s not as good as our house....

Friday, January 21, 2011

Recycling and Renovation

There are interesting articles in the February issue of Southern Living on salvaging and refurbishing furniture with paint and fabric. "Make 'forgotten pieces unforgettable.'" And there are articles on the makeovers of a cottage and a rancher, as ranch houses are now called. Even though I'm not a fan of white, brighter is often better. And I see more people using outdoor lanterns indoors.

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

Monday, January 17, 2011

Selling our house: Report #1

Our house has been for sale for a long time--a very long time, but after dropping our price once again this month, we had two lookers scheduled for the same day. The first one made a verbal offer for cash, but it was lower than our asking price. We did query the realtor about a counter-offer, but apparently the buyers weren't interested, and they gave us a deadline on the same day. And so the second showing was cancelled. I wasn't even home, so the family had to track me down via phone, and we discussed all the variables. What is the right thing to do?! Well, today we signed the acceptance papers, and this week is the house inspection. The closing will depend upon that. And then we start looking at houses and making more decisions...

Friday, January 14, 2011

Le Corbusier armchairs (link)

These classic and colorful chairs are fun! I'm not sure how comfortable they'll be because I prefer a higher back, but I'd like to try one. Link: Design Happens » Archive » A Colorful Classic (HGTV)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Home Trends (link)

Today's home owners tend to buy smaller homes, but more storage, more natural light, a separate laundry room, an outdoor living area, and a partially separated kitchen. For more: 14 Features That Homeowners Want : Slideshow :

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Preditors & Editors poll

The Preditors & Editors 2010 poll is up and running, and my article, Man-Kzin Wars: Behind the scenes of a great and long-running series, is in the Nonfiction Article category, and since it's in a print magazine, Tales of the Talsiman, I've posted it on my media blog:
Here's a link to the voting page:

Sunday, January 9, 2011

More color choices (link)

"The Pantone® Color Institute 2011 Color of the Year is a hot reddish pink called Honeysuckle. The color experts at Benjamin Moore named Vintage Wine their paint color of the year for 2011." It's "[described] as 'an anchoring and rich hue with a deep brown base and a hint of smoky violet.'" They also offer three color palettes. Sherwin-Williams suggests self-expression. Check out the color recommendations at: Paint Color Trends for 2011 -

(From Sears e-mail)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Blizzard the Snow Princess

Here's a photo of Blizzard, taken when she was still a puppy. I think she looks a lot like Gidget, though I know that Gidget has a shorter tail, and I think Blizzard is longer, but that lovely head and beautiful ears look very similar. I'm curious to know what you all think.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Want a color that gives you instant drama? (link)

Designer Brian Patrick Flynn suggests red; it's "good in small doses." Use it on floors, pillows, furniture, and art. I do like the way it works in a black and white color scheme. See how Flynn uses it: Design Happens » Archive » Red: Good In Small Doses

And be sure to read his description of his dog. Now I'm curious... Aha! I just checked out his blog, 'cause I wanted to share it too, and there's picture of his dog, Gidget. I don't think she looks like his description! She looks like my dog, Blizzard. Okay, I'm going to post a pic of Blizzard soon. Tell me what you think!! Here's his blog: Decor Demon - Lifestyle editorial…with an edge.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Cleaning out your closet (link)

Here's a helpful step-by-step guide to getting the clutter out of your closet. Of course, you have to keep it up. (15 minutes a week is easy.) Link: 10 Steps to a Decluttered Closet : Decorating : Home & Garden Television

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Building a green addition (link)

This is an intersting project. They had to demolish the old garage, which definitely needed replacing, and build a new eco-friendly, energy-efficient one--including the foundation. Watch the project's progress here: 9 Steps to Building an Eco-Friendly Addition : Slideshow :

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

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Home decorating ideas

The February issue of Country Living focuses on decorating with the color white--white walls, floors, furniture, and accessories, and it quotes G. K. Chesterton: "White is not a mere absence of color, it is a shining and affirmative thing: as fierce as red, as definite as black."

The food section takes an enthusiastic look at potatoes, and there's a recipe for Noodle Pudding; but the most impressive food photo in this issue is the cameo-decorated chocolates. That is truly something you don't see every day.

And there's a fun collectible, "purposeful pendants," originally used as chatelaines; and the Real Estate Sampler showcases log homes. There's more, of course, including a look at turtles in the pet section.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Year's most popular colors (link)

Here are the five most popular colors from HGTV. #5 is yellow--a soft yellow. #4 is a bright, bold pink. #3 is gray--a blue gray. #2 is a softer green. [I like the pattern on the walls.] #1 is brown--a light brown. Hard to describe. See it for yourself. [It's nice, but I don't think I'd use it in my house. I'm not that fond of neutrals.] Check out the shades here: The 5 Most Popular Colors from : Decorating : Home & Garden Television