Welcome to my blog, where I write about random topics. Use the "Posts by Tag" section on the left to view my posts sorted by the various interests.

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Thursday, May 4, 2017

Yarn Ball Winding

Do you ever get yarn in hanks like this, and find that it's impossibly difficult to work with?  All you need to do is wind it up into balls!


You'll need two things. First, this is called a swift.


And second, this is called a yarn ball winder. You can buy them at craft stores.


You use these tools to make nice, neat little cakes of yarn so that you won't end up with cranky, tangled yarn as you use it.  

Nobody's got time for that!!!

Attach the yarn ball winder to a steady surface. Put a book under it to add stability if needed.

Put the hank on the swift and find the loose end.

Put the loose end into the winder and start winding. 

Sometimes you may find that you grabbed the wrong loose end and the yarn will get cranky as you wind, and fall off the swift. But just put it back on and try to untangle the problem, or you can pull the yarn off the winder and start again with the correct end if you weren't too far along yet.


 As you wind, the yarn will look like this.

 Ahh! Isn't that much better? Insert something like a carboard toilet paper holder through the center when you remove the cake from the winder, to keep it separated properly inside.

And now you can use your yarn without spending time to untangle and tame it.

Now, visit some other neat blogs!

DIY Bra Extender

I had some old bras I just didn't want to throw away, when I changed sizes, or perhaps thought one was not so comfy or starting to wear out, and it got pushed to the side. This week I finally decided to DO something with them!

Part of the reason I had several in the wrong size is I used to WEAR the wrong size. Before I got fitted, and discovered what size I am SUPPOSED to be wearing, I bought one in larger inches around because it felt better. However the straps were always falling off my shoulders! How many of you have this problem!?  Well, the solution was to go DOWN a size. However it felt too tight and I can't tolerate that. So I simply bought a bra extender at the craft store.  Problem solved!

They're not terribly expensive or anything, but why buy them when you literally have them laying around the house for FREE, if you have any old bras you're going to throw out? All you need to do is cut and stitch.  Here's how!

First, cut the ends off.



I also cut the tags out of the way on mine.



Observe how the hooks go at one end, and the loops go at the other.



Now, lay them together like this



and stitch them together.



Before you trim off the ends, flip it over and do a zig-zag stitch to help flatten down the seam and make it more comfortable to wear.



Now trim.


You could trim it then zig zag the parts down but I found that it was far harder to sew when doing it that way because bra material is so stretchy.

Attach to bra!  Tada!  Now you can adjust your bra to fit more comfortably without having the straps fall off your shoulders.


If it's not perfect, such as one part is wider than the other, it's not going to matter. Just hand-wash these little DIY bra extenders and wear whenever you have a bra that's fitting just a bit too tight.

Now, visit some other neat blogs!



Saturday, March 11, 2017
I haven't really used this blog since Facebook really took off, but I guess I should still try to remember to post stuff here. It sure is easier to keep up with. We have resurrected our Rockhound interests lately when we finally got word from a friend about how the local lapidary club works, where they get together, and all that. So we went to our first meeting last month, followed by our first quarry hunt with the group last month! We found a lot of neat things.  We went to our second meeting this month and found out about a member's sale, where we went today and purchased our first rock-cutting equipment. We also got a lot of pretty shiny things, and some that will be once we practice with them! I say we, but David will really be the one cutting. I need to get the tumblers back into production, order new grit, etc. I need to learn how to do some wire wrapping and such so that I can help do stuff with the rocks we get, after they become all shiny and pretty. :)


Some of the stuff we got at the quarry:

Pretty rocks, already smooth, looks polished when wet

Petrified wood

Indian paint pots


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Compost

1) Compost methods.  Either you compost in batches, or adding to it continuously. Buy a composter based on what it's designed for - some might be designed specifically for batches only.

2) Content. Compost should consist of a good mix consists of three parts "brown" materials (such as dead leaves that are high in carbon) and one part "green" materials (such as fresh grass clippings and garden prunings that are high in nitrogen).
Compost should be warm (except in winter cold months), and moist but not soggy. Turn regularly to keep oxygen flowing through, and it won't smell as bad as when materials decompose without oxygen.
There is a chemistry to composting. If you have the correct balance you can throw it all in, in a batch, and let it process at once. Otherwise you're adding to it over a course of time, but must still work to achieve a balance in the composition of the compost contents.

3) Materials.

DO COMPOST:
Grass clippings
shredded leaves
garden debris
straw
plant residues from garden clean up
kitchen items:
paper coffee filters
old fruits and vegetables
Manure - Waste and bedding from non-carnivorous pets should be fine.
wood ash
unused cat litter
sawdust can be composted, but it is VERY carbon rich, and should be limited 30:1 to nitrogen content. It just takes a long time to break down.

DO NOT COMPOST:
weed seeds
diseased plant materials
fats
oils
bones
leftover salad if it has dressing on it
potato salad and other similar foods
bread products
heavily coated or printed paper
human or animal feces
meat products
milk products
rice
stubborn garden plants (Dandelions, ivy and kudzu - etc)
Used personal products
walnuts
napkins and paper towels if they contain content that should not be composted
wet paper - not preferred to dry
coal or charcoal ashes
lime peels
lime
non-biodegradable materials
toxic materials
colored paper
bird droppings - may contain disease or weed seeds

COMPOSTABLE, BUT ONLY WITH CAUTION:
Milk, yogurt, cheese - see here for more http://www.cleanairgardening.com/how-to-compost-meat.html
Weeds - let dry out first
Diseased plants - if your compost gets to over 135 degrees F for a few days to kill the diseases
Sod - again only if the pile gets hot, to keep the grass from growing in the compost
Tuesday, February 10, 2015

iPhone Apps

Apps.  They're great.  Everybody has them, and everybody wants them.  I have plenty myself, though not as many as I used to have. Here is a list of some really excellent apps that you may want. I find that the apps which wow me the most are the ones that turn my phone into more than just a phone.  Because we all know that smart phones ARE more than just a phone these days, I think it's a great idea to utilize the device the best way you can for your individual needs.  Here are some of my favorites.

Everyone who's into social networking can benefit from putting the apps to connect to it at the touch of your fingertips. No more having to wait until you get home just to see who likes what today.
Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, OR -- you can use ONE simple app to combine all your social networking into 1 button. Update them all at once to tell your world what you've been up to!  The one I used to use was Seesmic, but now it's Hootsuite.  You can even use it over the web. There are also other apps out there which aggregate multiple feeds this way.

Find Stuff.  Foursquare, Yelp, Urbanspoon, White&Yellow Pages. They make use of the GPS function of your phone to find relevant stuff currently near you.

iMapWeather Radio Now it's more than a phone, it's a weather radio, too! Alerts go off at the time of important events, which you can select, to keep you informed in case of inclement weather.

Yes of course it's already a PDA. But why not sync your documents between your phone and the web? Then you can get to them from any PC too and only bother with 1 copy. Evernote is one great app to allow you to do just that. Microsoft OneNote isn't as good because you can't paste in images.

Music player. Of course, the iPhone comes with the build in iPod app.  You can also listen to live streaming internet radio like Pandora. No more are the days of toting around a CD sized player. Of course, back in my day it was the cassette wielding walkman. But that's only after I got tired of lugging my Boom Box around the yard. Man, those were the days.

I know this was a post about app downloads, but let's not forget what things it comes with, too. Thanks to the built in Clock app you now have a reminder timer you can set to remind yourself of things. It's also an alarm clock, so knock yourself out. It'll wake you up when it's time to come to.

Maps. The built in Maps app is sufficient but did you know you can download Mapquest and turn your iPhone into an actual talking GPS? Also try Waze which can even interact with your calendar and Facebook events to help you find stuff.

Like to run?  Map your route and share updates with others for motivation. Because you know we all need it when it comes to exercise.

Photography.  The iPhone has a Camera so why not make use of those Photos more easily? Upload them to storage websites like Flickr and Photobucket, or send them straight to printing locations like Walgreens. Postagram will even let you put your photo onto a postcard that actually gets mailed to people, physically. Imagine that concept: non-digital mail DOES still exist!

Your phone is a Calculator. But even better, you can use it as a tip calculator through apps like AppBox. (I use lite). No more trying to do restaurant math at the last minute when your friends or loved ones are waiting on you but you have to decide how much to tip before you sign and walk away.
Thursday, December 11, 2014

How to Save Money Using Cashback Apps & Rewards

The Chicken Chick

Ok, here are the apps and other shopping “secrets” I've been using and think are GREAT! 
But please, do me the favor of using me as your referral. It takes nothing away from you but gives me additional bonus. Share the wealth since I'm sharing with you! ;-) Please? I mean hey, if they're giving back money, let's make the most of it. Share your own links with your friends, too!

1) These are apps you can put on your smartphone.  Get cash back after your purchases.You select offers, and if you buy these items in-stores, you just scan the receipt in to your phone, and they give you money back!  EASY!

  • First is Walmart’s app; it’s called Savings Catcher. Download to phone to just scan your receipt, OR you can use it on the web.
  • Next is iBotta. It has been my second best yet!  https://ibotta.com/register?friend=hhsxpyu Phone app
    (It’s really the best, in my opinion. It has team-based additional bonuses, too.)
  • Checkout51 This one is good http://www.checkout51.com Phone app
    They have weekly Freebies - you get 100% of your money back for the special items!
  • Snap (by Gropon) another phone app https://snap.groupon.com/app?ref=90b704bf4ec6dbab
  • Shrink http://goo.gl/MufaEC  If you use my "referral code" it gives you a signup bonus! SWAIKM
  • Another is SavingStar https://savingstar.com/
  • And the last receipt app is Receipt Hog.  No matter where you shop for groceries or retail, you can scan your receipt in to it to earn points. Earn enough and get cash back :)
    http://app.receipthog.com/download  You get a “bonus spin” on your first receipt, if you enter my code at signup. Net98959

 2) Also – just for added bonus…….

Don’t do any shopping online without using a cashback service!

  • eBates is definitely the best http://www.ebates.com/rf.do?referrerid=qQmegOBEQ0P8aEQjT7jhnQ%3D%3D&eeid=26471 It loads a browser plugin to remind you to activate cash-back offers. Then it tracks your shopping trip. For all qualified purchases, they give you money back!
  • MyPoints is another one. You can build a team, and you earn even more bonus points through your referrals' activity! Why just buy stuff online when you can earn free rewards (sorta like how your credit cards give you reward points for shopping w/ their sponsors!) https://www.mypoints.com/rf?refCode=PdzJ6TeHT_kkE--_k&arr=s4&afsrc=1&src=EXTERNAL_PUBLICATION
  • Active all your Regions Rewards before shopping (some offers have referral links, others work just by using your card)
  • The Discover Card has a similar program but you must activate the deals BEFORE you buy with the card
  • And always use Target’s Cartwheel app on your phone if you shop at Target.  Here too you must load the deals before you checkout. Just show them the barcode on the app for instant register discounts!
  • The uPromise service (by Sallie Mae) is like eBates. (Optional - you can load their RewardU browser plugin to track sites where they’ll give you money back for your purchases from online retailers.) You must activate the tracking link before you shop to get the money.  https://shop.upromise.com/e/index.php  This includes many retailers like Sears but also online stores like Amazon.  
    • uPromise also gives you cash back for buying things at their partner stores, when using a registered card. So for example you can register your Regions or other credit card with them, and if you buy gas at Exxon with that card, they give you money back! Includes restaurants like Wing Zone, Shipley’s, Hamburger Heaven..

*So for example, if I shopped at Sears online, I could get cash back from up to 4 places at once for a single purchase……. Shop Your Way, eBates, uPromise, and Discover!!!

Last thing.  When shopping at retail stores, always check for the coupon deals before shopping! Save money up front.

  • Before buying anything at Sears/Kmart, load ShopYourWay coupons off their website to your member account! You can rack up some great reward bucks! And some of the coupons stack.
    http://www.shopyourway.com/app/10041/l (not a referral link, should take you straight to Coupons)
  • Load any uPromise e-coupons to your store loyalty cards for participating stores before shopping.  You have to register your Publix, CVS, etc cards with them first.
  • Coupon Cabin and Retail Me Not are two reliable websites to find codes for other stores
  • Find N Save is another good app to use for this purpose!  http://www.findnsave.com/apps/  If you use the app, they don’t just show you the sales ads; they also have money-back deals where you scan the coupon and get cash back from them directly!!! So this is both a source to find coupon codes, but also to get cash-back after purchases.

HANDY TIP –
If you’re sick of carrying around store loyalty cards for all these different stores like drugstores, restaurants, etc – there’s an awesome app called mobile-pocket where you can enter your info for ALL the cards, and then you don't need the cards! Just pull up the app at the register, tap the card, and let the cashier scan your phone instead!
Thursday, November 13, 2014

Life Tips

People have often remarked that I get a lot of things done, or that I am very active. In truth, it comes down to self management, determination, and perseverence. Anyone can get more things done if they put their mind to it. Instead of wasting time on the couch, or sinking many a long hour into gaming -- yes, I went there -- you could be taking care of things. And to be honest, you really won't miss the time you used to waste because you'll feel more accomplished and positive about your life. One good turn deserves another, they say. I know, we all need our decompression time. Nothing should replace that. If you come home from work and need time to "drain your brain," by all means - you can, and should. But don't spend all night parking on the couch. Don't spend the whole weekend locked in your room at the computer.  Trust me, I do know from experience how hard it sounds to get out of that groove. I have been there! But this is how I know how possible it actually is, and how beneficially it actually becomes. The key is to get more done by not just spending ALL your time "goofing off" but to reward yourself with some "you" time once you've made some accomplishments (even if small, like: take out the trash, or, whatever tasks need completion!).

So, I decided to write up my tips. I guess these are really more like life skills.
Ironically enough, I never finished this post. But I'm going to go ahead and post it. It may just remain as a work-in-progress as life goes on.  ;-)
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Set reasonable, achievable goals. Pursue them. If goals become unreachable, adjust your list from time to time. Review your goals periodically, but always work on pursuing them.

Make daily goals. Set out to accomplish something, even small tasks, every day. You will feel more productive and start to find you get a lot more done as you get into the practice.

Make lists when you are busy and feeling hectic. If you can't remember what you meant to do, it can be frustrating. Making notes helps you organize your thoughts, as well as recall them later. Just jot down things you want to do but can't at the moment, and review it later at home or whenever you have downtime.

Think out your thoughts before sending emails. Don't just send off the first thought that pops into your head. The same should go for your spoken words. Think before you open your mouth, and choose your words deliberately to mean what you want to say. It's impossible to wipe out a wrong impression given off by words, whether verbal or written, in today's speedy day and age of rapid data. Don't blow your reputation or others' perception of you by saying things you may regret or wish you'd said differently. This does not just apply in the heat of a "moment." :)

Worry about the "big rocks" first. This is a method I learned in a training course at work which was designed for personal development. If you worry about the big topics, the smaller things will fall into place, just like if you had a big barrel of rocks and shook it around.  You would notice that the larger ones would rise to the surface. The smaller ones can easily fall around them, and fill in the cracks. Thoughts, problems, situations, and whatever you encounter in life can work from this basis.

Form long and short term goals. You can never reach a destination unless you plan it. Life is not all by chance. The power is in your own hands to make things happen. If you just teeter along blindly without taking the wheel, your car will swerve all over the place, and aimlessly go fourth, landing who knows where. Remember that YOU are the only person who has the power to be in control of you, and what goes on in your path. Take control, and choose a direction. When you set achievable goals, you can reach your destination in due time. If your goal is to pay off debts, for example, you need to set the goals of reducing spending, increasing income, etc. Eventually, if you stick to your goals, you will clear your debts. Worrying about the "big rocks" of what needs to be addressed, in this case paying off debts, helps the other day-to-day "small rocks" of how to get there fall into place better after you set your goals. You will find that with this example goal, you will have the long-term goal in mind while you set out to do short term tasks, like shopping or paying your bills. You will then make better choices about where to allocate your money to help you meet your goal. This principle can apply in other scenarios as well, though this is a good example.