Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Pantry designs (link)

Here are some great pantry suggestions from HGTV. com. I have a deep pantry with high shelves, and I could use some more small shelves (I have some) and maybe those drawers; it certainly requires organization: Bring order to your pantry 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

ideas for small kitchen and dining spaces (link)

Here are some ideas from HGTV. com to utilize the space in your kitchen: Kitchen design ideas

Stacking stools is a good idea, but I prefer our little chairs; however, I would like to get the paper towels off the countertop. And more shelving in the cupboards is always a good idea. It's cool how some things fit in the shallow space under the spice rack we hung up on the back wall. 

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Hurricane Irma pickup update

There is still a lot of hurricane debris to be picked up; some of it was recently added to the roadside, and in some places, it hasn't yet been cleaned up and moved to the roadside. (Soon it will be too late for them.) Here's the official county update:

From the county: Debris Recovery Stats as of Nov. 1 

• Total loads collected: 37,114 
• Average size load: 50 cubic yards 
• Total cubic yards removed: 1,646,051 cubic yards of the estimated 2.1 million cubic yards of vegetative debris.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Cool ideas for bunk beds for kids (link)

Here are imaginative and colorful ideas from HGTV.com for fun bunk beds; they include a castle, ladders, slides, and a rope ladder; I think there are bunk beds here your kid would enjoy: Playful bunk beds

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Kitchen decorating ideas (link)

Here are some ideas from HGTV.com for decorating the space above your kitchen cabinets. We don't have shelf space above our current kitchen cabinets; it's a blank covering--or canvas, if you like. In the past we've stenciled there or hung decorative plates, but for those of you who have that space, you can use it for storage or display, as seen in these photos: What to do with unused spaces in your kitchen

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Hurricane cleanup update

I went out to pick up the paper this morning and noticed that our brush piles were gone. I slept through that, but later I heard beeping and thunks so they were still in the neighborhood. Lots of scattered debris that the homeowners will have to clean up. A neighbor is already on top of her cleanup--4 cans of yard trash. I've got a can ready to take out for our cleanup--and another one waiting in the wings.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Clever storage solutions (link)

And again from HGTV. com, some unique storage solutions if you need more space. I like the table and chairs furniture, and the collapsible futon looks useful, but check out the rest here: Space saving ideas

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Clearing countertop clutter (link)

Here are some useful solutions from HGTV. com to help you clear off your countertops or simply add needed storage space: Clear off the clutter

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Hurricane Irma report

We had plenty of time to prepare for Irma and even filled a number containers with water, though we usually don't lose water in town. (In the country, when we lost power, we lost the well pump.) We lost power at 11:50 Sunday night (September 10), but we were expecting that. We'd closed down the electronic devices, etc. and planned to go to bed, as we've always done when we didn't have power--sometimes because it hadn't been installed yet.

We got our power back Thursday night (September 14); the linesmen had been working on our street earlier and told us it would be on that night. We are so appreciative! It was much better for sleeping 'cause it was hot--and catching up with so many things...  Other homes got power at various times and some are still waiting. Now we have to get some groceries to restock the fridge and freezer. 

Most of the homes around us are in good shape, though there's lots of flooding elsewhere around bodies of water and flood zones. The huge trees down everywhere you go are impressive; lots of them were in the roads and the trunks are cut up in big chunks and piled along the roads, along with piles of branches.

We have only two piles of debris to be picked up; one pile is branches from the oak tree and elsewhere; the other pile is pine tree branches which our neighbor cut up with his chain saw. (Thank you, David!)

Friday, August 25, 2017

Open house and beyond!

Since we have accomplished most of our remodeling and landscaping plans, we finally had our open house and invited family and friends and ordered sandwich and veggie platters from Publix and added a fruit platter from the deli, along with snacks, cookies, soda and sherbet for our sherbet punch. I love open houses because there's more time for visiting and more space for parking.

My matching hall switchplates made it in time for the open house, as did our tables for the screened porch. However, there just wasn't time to put the tables together, and they're still--all three--in the box in the garage. We have yet to finish the edging for the back beds; we've taken four trips--30 pavers each trip 'cause they're big and heavy. And the horticultural honcho is laying the hose out to plan changes. If we straighten the edging a bit, we can cut down on the number of pavers, but I love the curving serpentine look and we'd lose some lawn--and have to buy more mulch to extend the bed outward.

Also, we'd like to get rid of the carpet in at least one more room... Oh, then there's the stenciling and my Shaker pegboard; the pegboard needs to be sanded, the pegs inserted, and then it needs to be painted. (Well, I think that pink is too light--and it's my bedroom!) The foyer is the next room to be stencilled, and the stencil hasn't been chosen yet. The art deco rose? The geometic pattern? The tassels are definitely too big. And the screened porch floor will be stencilled in a stone pattern.

So, errands, chores, projects, and work to keep us busy, but there's always time to play with our new kitten, Bree. She's a black and white Manx--and so cute--and incredibly active... And this is what home is all about.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

More storage ideas (link)

Storage suggestions, including behind, below, and above, from HGTV.com:  Potential storage ideas

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Homes from fiction

"The room they entered was a perfect Queen Anne sitting-room, .... The walls were white panelled and hung with delicate mezzotints. The old rose of the Chinese carpet was echoed in the brocaded hangings which framed the perfect bow of the window. The old walnut furniture reflected softly the bright fire in the grate. The candlesticks were silver and the upholstery covered with needlework." 

From Police at the Funeral (Albert Campion #4) by Margery Allingham.

Friday, July 14, 2017

More new house projects

Our new house's front exterior wall has a brick (thin brick) facade and was pinkish. It really stood out, and I didn't like it so we had our contractor paint it. We studied color choices for a while; though some people suggested white (the house is white), we wanted to go for a stone look so we chose gray. Okaaay. So many shades of gray: I really liked Stone Fireplace, but the consensus was that it was too dark, so we looked at a number of lighter shades of gray and decided on Harp Strings. It looks good--certainly an improvement--though it's possible that we could have gone a little darker. However, it was so close to the line that it might have been too dark, so we're satisfied with this. (Often you can't tell until it's done, and we could have spent a lot of time experimenting...) Oh, he prepped it with tsp 'cause it was a little chalky.

The tree trimmers (two men) took down a small tree and pruned back another one in the back yard the other day, and the next day they tackled the big oak out front; since it was such a big project there were four guys and at least three chain saws. The guy who went up the ladder put on a harness for safety; then he began cutting off big branches--some of them trunk size--and dropping them. Some of them really went THUNK when they hit the ground; then the other guys sawed them up and piled everything on a long flatbed trailer. You wouldn't think that all of that would fit, but they trampled it down periodically; the big pieces helped weigh it down too. I watched from a front window--very impressive; and most of the men were older and they carried lots of big pieces of trunk to the trailer. They did a good job of cleaning up too--branches of all sizes--and they also raked. 

I got grass seed (Bahia) yesterday and started planting it 'cause we have mostly weeds out front and in some places out back. I hope it rains on it.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Small kitchens (link)

This small kitchen design idea from HGTV.com focuses on an open floor plan. Our new small kitchen already had an open floor plan--it's open to the living room--and we only have room for a small table and chairs, plus a table for the cat food dishes and treat cannister. There is enough room near it for the dog food dishes and two pet food bins (one for cats and one for dogs), and we have a waste basket. So, actually, we have enough room to move around when cooking, though there's not much counter space. Still, it works. (We did have to get rid of our old heirloom table; we used to have a dining room.) For ideas for your small kitchen, see these small kitchen design ideas

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

We have a new roof!

We got our three roofing estimates--all good and known to us, but we chose one that a friend had just used and recommended. Then we had to choose the color (we studied the samples carefully; it had to work with the house) and the type of shingle; we went with Antique Silver (Owen Corning 30 year Ark type). This should stand up to time and hurricanes. (These shingles should stand up to 110 mph winds.) 

The estimate included shingles, flashing, and felt--and removal of old roof.  Repairs are extra and we had to have some work done... The work took almost three days; it was slowed down a bit by storms (rain, lightning, and loud thunder boomers), but mostly the guys kept working. And now it's done. It looks good, and we feel secure 'cause it rains almost every day during our rainy season.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Fire pit ideas (link)

Here are some beautiful fire pit ideas from HGTV.com: 30 Backyard Fire Pit Designs 

I want a fire pit for my backyard; I think I prefer round to square, and I definitely want a wood-burning one for the look and smell--and toasting marshmallows and roasting wieners.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Downsizing (link)

Here are some helpful suggestions from HGTV.com for when you need to downsize: Things to consider before you downsize

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Outdoor disguises (link)

Here are some suggestions from HGTV.com on how to cover up nuisances outside and improve your landscape: 10 ideas for your outdoors

I need to hide a compost bin; the backyard is too new and bare. Maybe that fake bush would work...

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Renovation mistakes to avoid (link)

Measure twice, cut once, etc. Making a plan and avoiding mistakes. From HGTV.com: Reno Mistakes That Could Cost You

Yes! And don't gut everything just because you see those flippers with sledge hammers on "reality" shows. And every time you decide to remove something that was trendy back in the day, think twice about today's trends!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Remodeling update

Replacing the carpet in the living room was a really big project. The adhesive was stubborn! Our contractor had to rent a machine and do a lot of manual scraping besides to get rid of it, but the porcelain tile floor is beautiful! It's American Olean Stoneview Sky Gray/Matte; the tiles are 12 by 24 (actually 23,81 by 11.81). It's a wavy gray pattern, and we love it. Oh, the last two boxes of tile had broken and cracked tiles so he had to run down to Lowe's to get more. Fortunately they were in stock!

Then he finished our brick accent wall in the foyer; we had to order more bricks because we ran out. It is impressive; the bricks (1/2" thin brick) are tumbled so it looks old, though you do notice some of the white wall behind it because they are tumbled.... It's on the wall with the door so you don't see it until you turn around. We mixed the colors: Dixie Clay and Boston Mill (separate boxes). Btw, our contractor was James Stewart, who was patient and thorough, and we appreciate his help in making our house a home.

Next up was the screened back porch; that took several days because it kept storming; the guys were often wet, but they persevered and finished up late one night (before dark though). Today we bought two troughs for the downspouts and a door mat for the back screened door. I want to get an outdoor rug or two to dress it up--and a table for eating out there that's weather proof. 

Next up: Choosing a roofer.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Interesting ways to use wallpaper (link)

Check out the variety of ways you can use wallpaper besides on your walls: Wallpaper It 

I don't even want to think about trying to apply it to a ceiling! But I came across some old wallpaper recently that is pretty and subtle. I have yet to figure out how or where to use it. I need to line some drawers and cabinets, but this won't work for that... I'll have to look at it again--and these ideas.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Moving in update

We're keeping our contractor busy as we add extra projects to the original list! The microwave is installed--we didn't have one--but it had to be lowered so I didn't need to stand on my tippytoes to see inside. We had to remove the cabinet doors that flanked the stove top hood for that project so we removed a pair of cabinet doors on the adjacent wall to match that open shelving. That also freed up the cabinet pulls that we were running short of. We now have three different cabinet pulls in the kitchen: bin pulls, bar pulls, and knobs, but they match. (I think it looks cool!).  

Then we had him remove the door to the garage in the kitchen which gives us more room in that corner, and it looks much better without the old door. He had to add trim to hide the changes caused by removing the four cabinet doors; then he painted the trim, the dry wall that replaced the door, and after that he painted the garage walls. The garage is much lighter now; we can see everything better.

We ran out of bricks for our brick accent wall in the foyer, but we've ordered more; and the next big project will be removing the carpet in the living room and replacing it with tile...

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Small bathroom design ideas

Here are some design suggestions for your bathroom from HGTV.com: 20 design ideas

Frankly, I find most of these patterns and ideas too cluttered.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

We've moved!

We're finally moved; the movers moved our stuff (Two Men and a Truck, but we had two trucks and maybe six guys) March 22. There was a delay because of the two closings, but the guys were patient. It was hectic up to then--and afterwards!

We had to do a number of updates, and we're not done. We put in a new AC unit first, and then had a plumber and electrician each doing a number of updates. We'll have a contractor doing more projects in May, and we're also adding a screened porch in a few weeks. And then there's the landscaping; we clear cut the back yard--took out all the old trees--and removed all the bushes out front.  And we had to put in a fence; until that was done--after about three weeks--I had to take Blizzard out on leash.

So, every day we do various projects--some big and some small. This includes all the landscaping; there are a lot of new plants to water now.

We had friends over for Easter dinner after church. This house has a small kitchen and oven. Ditto for the fridge and freezer--a side-by-side. Certainly not something I would have bought. And we don't have a microwave yet. That complicated dinner.

We've unpacked most of the boxes in the garage now; I had to wait for a shelving unit. And then we had ReStore (Habitat for Humanity) pick up more boxes of stuff again. The house is small--about half the size of the Beacon house--and there's no dining room. We got rid of a lot of furniture too, and for guests we have to bring in a table from the living room. Now we're waiting for more contractors...

We have nice neighbors, btw; it's a good neighborhood. When we finally have our projects--most anyway--done, we'll have an open house, as usual after we move.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Jake the mythic mule is interviewed by Lisa Burton!

Meet Jake (from Detour Trail) as he talks about his life on the frontier and his companions: Jake and Lisa Burton (robot girl)

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Smashwords ebook sale: March 5-11

Detour Trail, my western romance about adventure along the Oregon Trail, is half price on Smashwords March 5-11: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/360381

Hot Yellow Planet (sequel to Pretty Pink Planet) is free during the Smashwords sale:
Pretty Pink Planet (Lori and Chiing's first adventure) is always free on Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/93615
Hidebound (SF adventure/romance) is also on sale (half price): https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/82218

Remodeling: Buying and Updating a Foreclosure is also half price: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/71560

Friday, February 17, 2017

Home sale update

Well, we finally sold our house, after dropping the price again, and had to look for a new house. We love our neighborhood because of the stores in the big nearby mall and other businesses and restaurants so we concentrated our search here and found one close enough; it's on the other side of the mall, and it will make our northward treks longer, but it meets our needs. Okay, it needs work inside and out, including fencing and landscaping.

The home inspection there gave us a list of fixes needed, but the sellers will take care of some of them, and our contractor for the remodeling will catch the rest. We're looking forward to the move, but--after getting some mover estimates--we see that we will need to get rid of more stuff. We'll be having another garage/moving sale next month...

Our home inspection here, btw, passed with flying colors. Our remodeling and maintenance helped.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The color of the year is green (link)

According to HGTV. com, the color of the year is lime green. Interesting range of lime greens, though I didn't care for them: Color of the Year: Greenery