Friday, August 31, 2012

Kitchen cabinet ideas (link)

You may find these contrasting colors and combinations a good idea for perking up your kitchen with paint. I like the black cabinets (open shelving) in an otherwise white kitchen more than I thought I would, and the gray with beige (more of a cream, I think) is nice too.

For more ideas, look here:

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Tropical Storm Leslie

TS Leslie popped up in the Atlantic last night, but should stay there and curve away, as might Michael who could appear next week off the coast of Africa.



Leslie may become a category 2 hurricane.

Update (8-5): Leslie is a hurricane and may become a cat 2. It's heading north and probably staying away from the east coast.

Update (8-6): Leslie missed Bermuda and may be headed for Nova Scotia.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tropical Storm Kirk

TS Kirk is way out in the Atlantic and should stay there--probably curving away to the east.

Update (8-30): Kirk is now a hurricane and is moving NNW; it may make it up to a category 2.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Tropical Storm Isaac

TS Isaac is moving WNW and should become a category 1 hurricane (possibly Monday) when it gets further into the Gulf, and it may become a cat 2 before it makes landfall on the northern Gulf coast. I've been watching its projected path move east and west before finally moving steadily away from Florida's west coast and Tampa--to the relief of everyone who's been working hard to prepare for the RNC. We got a few little rain bands during the day, but now we're getting bigger bands. We shouldn't be getting strong sustained winds, so we decided not to move everything into the garage.

Update (8-27): Isaac is heading NW--probably towards New Orleans. It may become a cat 1 hurricane tomorrow morning--and then maybe a cat 2 because the Gulf water is so warm. We got only a few scattered showers here today; the heavy bands of rain stayed on the east coast.

Update (8-28): Isaac is now a hurricane (cat 1) and is making landfall; a number of Louisana parishes are being evacuated and evacuations have also been ordered in Mississippi.

Isaac has been wobbling a bit and has made two landfalls and is covering a lot of territory.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Home and garden ideas

There are some lovely home and patio makeovers in the September issue of Southern Living, but there's also an interesting article on Thomas Jefferson's vegetable gardens at Monticello and heirloom seeds--with sources.

There are also recipes for tailgate parties, but I loved all those caramel apple dishes. Spaghetti squash and meatballs, maybe not so much.

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

Friday, August 24, 2012

Kitchen design (link)

This kitchen has some lovely ideas, including the quartz countertop (my choice) and a backsplash that slides back and forth to hide small appliances, plus plenty of space and a cupola and a butler's pantry and....


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Tropical Storm Joyce

TS Joyce is moving along behind Isaac, but should head into the Atlantic.

NOAA link:

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Remodelled ranch (link)

I enjoyed these photos of a ranch remodel on, especially the monolith (I don't know what else to call it) in the kitchen. Ours (in the living room) is impressive and caught my eye when I first walked into the house when we were looking for a new home. I didn't know then that it was apparently an architectural detail in some ranch homes. (Btw, I never planned to buy a ranch, but it met our needs; we also made a few changes in our remodeling project.)

Check out that oven too! Link:

Note: I wrote a book, Remodeling: Buying and Updating a Foreclosure, about our ranch remodel; you can read about it here:

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tropical Storm Isaac

TS Isaac is heading west, but it's expected to turn to the WNW and eventually become a category 1 hurricane. It's been dropped from the prediction of becoming a category 3, and the computer models vary. 'Course it's especially a worry because of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, but it's early yet. Check out the tropics here:

(Thanks, Lloyd)

Update (8-23): TS Isaac has moved into the Carribbean and is still heading west. The spaghetti models are more in agreement now, and it may skirt the west coast of Florida when it moves into the gulf... The RNC is prepared to evacuate.

Update: Isaac is heading WNW, and the models mostly have it paralleling the west coast; it may become a category 1 in the Gulf.

Update (8-24): Isaac is heading NW now, and after moving to the west--according to the computer models--it's now moving east and closer to the west coast. We (the Tampa Bay area) should be impacted Monday.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Early American Life

The October issue of Early American Life has a couple interesting articles on what's it like to really live in Colonial Williamsburg now. And there's an article on Native American food--with recipes--that includes dishes such as roasted fish, spring purslane, sunflower seed cakes, samp porridge, and parched corn. Of course, the "Three Sisters": maize (corn), beans, and squash, were the basics.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Tropical Storm Helene

TS Helene popped up in the southwestern Gulf and is heading toward Mexico. Check it out here:

(Thanks, Lloyd)

Update: Now it's a tropical depression.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Tropical Storm Gordon

TS Gordon has reformed and may become a hurricane today, but it's headed east in the Atlantic--toward the Azores and Portugal, though one lone spaghetti model shows it heading toward England. The tropical wave coming off Africa may become Helene. Check them out:

(Thanks, Lloyd)

Update (8-18): Gordon is now a category 2 hurricane and still heading for the Azores....

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Big ideas for small spaces

The September issue of Country Living includes articles on home makeover ideas--this issue focuses on small spaces--and book collecting, indoor gardening (you can even use plants as a privacy screen), plus products--beautiful--done in watercolors, including a bench and bed linens. Recipes include a mashed potato souffle, a turtle-candy tart, and green tomato dishes.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The fall color palette (link)

It looks like a wider selection than usual for the latest color trend. With colors that include peacock blue, emerald (what a beautiful color!), Bordeaux, cedar (very subtle), and even black and white, no one should feel that they have to paint using a color they don't really like--such as eggplant--just because it's in! Look for a color you'll love here:

Friday, August 10, 2012

Gardening and landscaping ideas

The August/September issue of Birds and Blooms has helpful and fun ideas for your garden and landscape, including how to attract butterflies and birds. And you can paint a garden scene on an old satellite dish and tuck it in amongst the flowers, and recycle, stack, and paint leftover cinder blocks; then fill them with soil and small plants. There's a page of garden products for kids, and I especially liked the backyard fort kit that you cover with vines.

There are money-saving ideas and, of course, loads of beautiful photos of flowers, birds, butterflies, and children. I always learn something from the advice columns, and I love owls so I enjoyed that selection of photos too.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Mixing bedding patterns and fabrics (link)

Here are some fun and different decorating ideas for your bedroom, including staying with the same intensity of colors and the same family of white shades, though frankly I find that white bedroom boring. Btw, I use a colorful patterned flat sheet as a bedspread in summer. Here's the HGTV link:

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Practical ideas for your basement (link)

It looks like tile and/or carpet are your best bets for a basement floor because of flooding/moisture issues. Check out the reasons on this HGTV webpage and pick up hints about paint colors and furnishings for a basement:

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

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Design Stars All Stars

Now that Design Stars is over for this season, HGTV has created another show: Design Stars All Stars. They've brought back contestants from earlier seasons. Meet them all here:

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Tropical Storm Florence

TS Florence is behind TS Ernesto and is moving WNW. Ahead of both of them is a tropical wave that should give us some rain starting today.

Update (8-5): TS Florence is heading west and weakening.

Update (8-6): Not much left of Florence way out in the Atlantic.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Tropical Storm Ernesto

TS Ernesto is moving west toward the Carribbean and the Gulf; it may become a cat 1 hurricane Monday. This all, of course, is subject to change.

Update (8-5): TS Ernesto is still heading west, but it may not make it to a hurricane, and it looks like its projected path is further south now--and most of the computer models agree.

Update (8-6): TS Ernesto is heading WNW and may become a category 1 before making landfall in Mexico Tuesday.

Update (8-8): Ernesto made landfall as a hurricane and is now over water again and should become a hurricane before making landfall in Mexico again. It's still moving west.