Monday

Self-Cleaning Windows

Continuing in our series about new self-cleaning technologies, today I wanted to talk about windows. As it turns out, there is more than one kind of self-cleaning glass, with many more types still in the planning stages. Currently, the most prevalent kind of self-cleaning windows work by utilizing UV rays from the sun. These rays activate chemicals on the glass that loosen dirt and allow it to be washed away by rainwater.

This video shows a time lapse demonstration:



Come back next week when we explore another type of self-cleaning technology that is being used on glass, cars, and more.

Gabe's Goals Live On

In the spirit of Frances Gabe, I’d like to tell you about some of the newest self-cleaning technologies that are either currently available or will be in the foreseeable future.

This week, let’s talk toilets. Wouldn’t you love a toilet that cleans itself? Well, the future is here:



This neat little gizmo actually cleans itself. Every time you flush, it takes the toilet seat for a whirl and returns it to a sparkly, just-like-new clean. This type of toilet seems to be catching on all over Europe. I wonder how long it'll take to show up here in the US as well.
Soon, I hope!

The World's First Self-Cleaning House

Have you ever heard of Frances Gabe? Certainly, she's a hero of mine!

Frances Gabe's self-cleaning house (yes, you read that correctly) uses nearly 70 various tools to save time, space, and labor, rendering such petty chores as dusting, dishwashing, and even washing clothes completely unnecessary.

With a house made from cinder-block, termites are no longer an issue. Every surface of the house is also coated in resin, which repels water. In every room there is a ceiling mounted device that washes, dries, heats, and cools the room--all at the touch of a button. With waterproof, dust-proof carpets and furniture completing the set, the home is set up to literally clean itself whenever you need it to. Simply push a button or two, and soapy water will quickly give the room a much-needed scrubbing. Next, the rinsers go to work getting rid of the suds. Finally, the blowers dry any remaining water that hasn't run down to the drains located at the bottom of the sloped floors. Impressed yet?

If that wasn't cool enough, get this: the bathroom cleans itself too. The toilet takes care of itself, as do the sink, shower, and bathtub. No more hands-and-knees scrubbing with bleach getting up your nose! In the same vein, the self-dusting bookshelf keeps both the bookshelf clean and your nose sneeze free. On cold nights, a fire in the fireplace is often a cozy, fun family activity that can really be special. Cleaning the ash out of the fireplace, however, is not so special. That's why a drain in the fireplace gets rid of them for you in the self-cleaning house. Still not impressed? The kitchen cabinets are also the dishwasher. Imagine: Take out the dishes, eat off of them, put them back in the cabinet, hit "clean," and then forget about it until you need to use them again! If this isn't the coolest house ever, I don't know what is.

If you want more information on the self-cleaning house or Frances Gabe, you can look here. She lives in the woods of Oregon, and never has to clean a thing! Brilliant!

First Things First

Hello Friends, now that our Author Q&A series is over, I’m back and ready to share some more fun House That Cleans Itself info. It’s been a busy time for me, and many days I hardly know which way is up. That’s why I’ve chosen to blog today on the topic of prioritizing.


See, if you’re housekeeping impaired, chances are you’re priority-impaired as well. Like me, you may often find yourself overwhelmed when you have a lot to do and not enough time to do it in. Do you often say, “I don’t even know where to start!”


If, so you might enjoy this handy trick: To get your ducks in a row, try using an online prioritizer, such as the one found here:


http://cgi.money.cnn.com/tools/prioritize/prioritize_101.jsp


(And if that one doesn’t work, just google “prioritizer” to find many more.) At first glance, this looks like a financial tool, but in truth you can use it to sort ANY list in order of priority. Every time my to-do list starts to overwhelm me, I use one of these.


I love prioritizers so much I won’t even take up the time here to explain how they work. Just trust me on this one, give it a try right now, and see what you think. Start with a simple list, like 5-10 things you really need to do, and let it work you through until it has put those 5-10 things in order of how they need to be done.


Cool, huh? Told you so!


See you next time, when I’ll tell you about the world’s first self-cleaning house.

Friday

Author Response, Part Nine

This week, author Susan Page Davis tells us all about the messy world of The Blacksmith's Bravery.

What's the neatest or messiest character you have ever created, what book did they appear in, and why did you make that creative decision?


In my book The Blacksmith's Bravery (coming from Barbour in December), Griffin Bane is a victim of the scrubbing bandit. He lives in one small room behind his blacksmith shop. It's jammed full of stuff and very messy. When his nephew comes to live with him, he's too embarrassed and overwhelmed to let the boy see his living quarters, so he boards him at the rooming house across the street.

Here is a scene from The Blacksmith's Bravery:

So far, Griff had managed to avoid taking the boy into his private quarters. Sometime he’d get around to redding up the place, and then Justin could see it. Not until.

He shoved the door open and held the lantern high. And stopped in his tracks.

“What—” His heart lurched. Had he been robbed? The place looked almost bare. The floor between where he stood and his bunk was clear. And his bunk! The covers were smooth and. . .not his covers. A quilt he’d never seen before lay over the mattress, and his pillow actually had a linen cover on it. That was odd. When did thieves leave things behind?

Justin touched his arm. “Uncle Griff? Something wrong?”

“I’m not sure.” Griffin stepped into the room and swung the lantern around slowly. The room felt fairly warm, like someone had kept a fire in the stove today. His extra wool pants and dungarees, along with his two other shirts, hung from nails on the wall. All his boxes and kegs were neatly stacked, and the shelves, while crowded, had an orderly look. He could actually see the surface of the small plank table he’d lost sight of months ago, and sitting in the middle of that table were a covered basket and a green bottle holding a cluster of dried weeds and red berries. It was kind of pretty.

“This place isn’t so bad,” Justin said. “I thought you said it wasn’t fit to live in.”

“Well, I. . .” Griffin swallowed hard. He didn’t know who’d done this, but his initial shock had faded. Now anger vied with gratitude in his heart. Insight flashed in his brain, like the sparks that flew from his hammer when he struck white-hot iron. He could get mad at the scrubbing bandit, or he could accept an anonymous friend’s act with humility. The first course would be easiest. But someone had cared about him enough to spend a lot of effort making his place nicer. And he had a feeling it wasn’t done for Griffin Bane alone.

He whipped around and eyed Justin suspiciously. Had the boy complained to someone that his uncle had farmed him out to the boardinghouse? Had he told other people the room behind the smithy was too filthy to take a boy into?

“You, uh, didn’t say anything to anyone about not liking the Fennel House, did you?”

Justin shrugged. “Don’t think so. Why would I? It’s not half bad.”

Griff nodded and looked around again. He strode to the table and lifted the napkin that covered the basket. Biscuits. And a jar of jam.

“Hmm.”

“Hmm, what?” Justin came over and looked down at the basket. “Say, those look mighty good. Did you make ’em?”

“Nope.” Griff laid the napkin back over the tempting biscuits. “I’d say we had company while we were out to the Chapmans’ ranch.”

“You mean someone brought you those biscuits while you were away?”

“No, someone brought us those biscuits.” Griffin thought he might know who. Vashti had known they’d be gone today. But how could she have done all this by herself and still made the stagecoach after lunch? He looked cautiously at Justin. “Do you think this place is too small for the both of us?”

Justin looked around. “Well. . .there’s only one bunk.”

“True. But I could build another one over the top.”

“You mean. . .” Justin cleared his throat. “You mean you’d want me to stay with you after all?”

“If you’d like that. But if you wouldn’t, you can stay over to the boarding—”

“I would!”

“Oh.” Griffin nodded slowly. “All right, then. Let’s go over and have supper, and I’ll tell Mrs. Thistle that tonight’s your last night with them. And tomorrow we’ll scare up some lumber and build another bunk. How does that sound?”

“Sounds good, Uncle Griff.”

Griffin smiled. “Great. And for breakfast we’ll have biscuits and jam.”

-Susan Page Davis



Be sure to come back next week and see the final installment in our author Q&A series!

Tuesday

Author Responses, Part Ten


Back again with the final installment of author responses. This time, we'll hear from Mae Nunn, author of Her Forever Family, A Texas Ranger's Family
and more.


How neat or messy is your home or office most of the time?

Somewhere between the ages of 18 and 55 and for some reason known only to God, I became a tidy freak! Don't get me wrong, though. It's not that I clean all the time or that my house is spotless. On the contrary, there are two big dogs trucking across my floors all day so hair, grass, drool and crumbs are a constant maintenance evil. There's generally a dish towel on the floor for the purposes of soaking up puddles and I keep the Dust Buster charged and at the ready for miscellaneous pickups. But doggy mess aside, I believe in a place for everything and everything in it's place. I even created a hero once who lived by that credo. Of course he fell for a slob which made for a fun story to write! Yes, I have a few piles of paper, some stacks of books and there's always a load of laundry that needs to be put away, but for the most part my home is neat. I'm the kind of person who pre-cleans before my cleaning lady shows up, which has always driven my family nuts. Now that I'm a full time author and can't afford a cleaning lady anymore, that's no longer an issue at my house! Gotta go now, there's a dust bunny on the floor and it's taunting me!


Mae Nunn
Her Forever Family, April 2010
A Season for Family, November 2010