Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Strawberry Meringue Cake and other tasty treats

In the April issue of Southern Living--in the food section--there are some interesting tomato selections, along with the tastiest food destinations and strawberry recipes. (My family has been making strawberry soup on special occasions for years.) But check out that strawberry meringue cake! (It's on the cover.) There's also a fun article on Bite-Size Southern Favorites. Use a Tasting Spoon when serving those.

They also explore southern destinations, including the Carolina Lowcountry. There is also decorating, entertaining, and landscaping advice (that showy primrose is beautiful and delicate), but I especially enjoyed the article on the home built to replace one that was destroyed by Katrina.

I see Dillard's carries Fiestaware (ad), which we've accumulated over the years--including knock-offs--though never at Dillard's.

Monday, March 26, 2012

More ideas for making your old--or new--home lovelier

There are more beautiful and imaginative makeovers of kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms, and laundries, plus whole home makeovers, in the April issue of This Old House. Again, a porch adds beauty and style to a home. And remember that natural stone finishes, such as marble, require sealing, and they don't absorb sound. I also enjoyed the ideas for dressing up your landscape; and permeable pavers for your driveway are more environmentally-friendly. Be sure to check out the old houses that need saving at the back of each issue.

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

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Helpful ideas and suggestions for your home

There are some great house makeover projects (inside and out) in the March issue of This Old House. I love those Before and After pix, and it's amazing how adding a front porch improved homes. There are some good articles on Hidden Fire Hazards and using various colors on your front door; the one I liked best was reddish brown. Yellow and light green--not so much. Also an interesting article on fiber cement siding, with a selection of types; it sounds great, but it does need to be painted or stained. While I'd never use marble for a kitchen counter, I loved the Calcutta gold marble counter in one home. (My granite countertops are way too dark.)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Plant a tree today!

“When is the best time to plant a tree? Twenty years ago. The second best time? Today.”—Chinese proverb

And here's an inspiring story of a man who did that--day after day:
"The Man Who Planted Trees is a simple and unforgettable tale about perseverance, hope, and humility. In the years before the First World War, in the foothills of the French Alps, the narrator meets a shepherd who has quietly taken on the task of planing 100 acorns a day in an effort to reforest the desolate region. Over the next several decades, this man's quiet, solitary works comes to fruition—the region in transformed, life and hope return, and the world is renewed."

Check it out on Amazon: Amazon.com: The Man Who Planted Trees (9781860461170): Jean Giono, Aline Giono, Harry Brockway: Books

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

New deck product (link)

Here's another new eco-friendly deck product, and it looks more interesting than most decks: VAST Composite Deck Pavers Square Footage (from HGTV)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Saving energy in an older home (link)

It might be a good idea to get an energy audit for your home to see how you can improve its energy efficiency. (An energy audit is better than an energy survey, btw.) Retrofitting isn't easy--or cheap, but it can help you save money and make your house more comfortable. Replacing your windows, doors, or AC unit is sometimes a good idea. When we remodeled, we replaced all our windows (24 , as I recall), a side door, the AC unit, and added a screen door that converts into a storm door. (Those were just a few of the things we had to do.) For more info, check out this HGTV webpage: Home Energy Efficiency Ideas and Best Practices. And check out my ebook, Remodeling: Buying and Updating a Foreclosure for more about our projects: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/71560

Friday, March 9, 2012

Home and gardening ideas

The April Country Living issue has a section on kitchen gardens, along with recipes. (We have tomatoes, pepper plants, and fruit in our front flower bed, btw; it gets lots of sun.) There are also garden accessories in this issue; and the Real Estate Sampler focuses on homes with greenhouses!

For home decorating ideas, that shutter wall is eye-catching, and I love Benjamin Moore's Spirit in the Sky paint color--one of the colors the homeowner used on her shutter collection. (Sort of a green blue.) And the blue and white color combos elsewhere are beautiful. Other decorating ideas include an animal trophy collection--something I've never thought of, though our house is full of animal and frog statues and figurines. There's also an interesting look at bridge--the card game--collectibles.

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

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Living room design ideas (link)

Here are some inexpensive ideas for refreshing your living room; they include adding an interesting, patterned rug; new lighting fixtures; beautiful draperies; and a focal point; and, of course, rearranging furniture and getting rid of clutter. Check these ideas out at: Designers' Best Budget-Friendly Living Room Updates : Rooms : Home & Garden Television

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Clean up your closet! (link)

Is it time to upgrade your closet? Check out this closet makeover and get more ideas from the other links on this HGTV webpage: Making the Most of a Master Closet : Interior Remodeling : HGTV Remodels

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Remodeling: Buying and Updating a Foreclosure (ebook)

You can buy Remodeling: Buying and Updating a Foreclosure on Smashwords this week for only .99: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/71560

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Read an Ebook Week (March 4--March 10)

It's Read an Ebook Week on Smashwords! This week I'm offering my SF adventure story, Hot Yellow Planet (the sequel to Pretty Pink Planet) for free: