Sunday, August 29, 2010

Batteries Not Required

Who wants to listen to the off key tones from a battery operated plastic kids toy?  I presume that nobody would be the answer.  Some people buy those toys just to pacify the kids, but do they really need it?  No, and most people I have talked to just say they can't stand the noises they make, so I say "why buy them"!  Why increase your stress by having these noisy toys.  I am all for no plastic no battery operated toys.  So far in the first 9 months we have done just that.  We do have a few plastic rattles that we got from the shower before the baby was born, but we have not purchased anything plastic for him.  Our neighbor made him and awesome wooden car, and we just bought his first big toy.  Using the age range on the toy as just a suggestion, we went ahead and bought the Zany zoo from Target.  It is awesome (though made in China) we could not resist it.  Made from wood, and painted on designs this Zany zoo captured his attention the moment we put it on the floor.  From across the house I set baby on the floor and he crawled as fast as he could over to it.  Pulled up on the side and stood and played with the top for a good ten minutes, then sat and discovered the box had sides too!  With a great color scheme, and so many things to look at this will bring years of enjoyment.  The suggested age of it is 1-3 years, but I think that because of the great colors and easy to manipulate activities it is perfect for him.  Next time you are in the store looking for a great toy to afford you a little peace and quiet, check out some of the great wooden toys available, and you too will have play time that is not aggravating!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Online Customer Service

I have talked about my feelings of customer service before.  There are some places where it does not exists.  And unfortunately that seems to be the case in your big box retailers.  When dealing with online vendors it seems as if the customer service is key, and most online retailers are really coming around.  I have had some great experiences lately with Maui Jim, Cotton Babies (cloth diapers), and most recently with Title Nine.  I opened a live chat with a Title Nine rep a few weeks back, and was asking about a tank top that I really wanted, but they seemed to be out of stock, everywhere.  She checked all the stores, and said they were just not available, and were not going to be available.  I was sad to say the least.  Then just two days ago I received another email from Title Nine, it was the same rep that I was talking to, and she said they just found a small stash of the tank I wanted, in the size and color I wanted.  She further wrote in the email, that she had put an order on hold for me in case I was still interested in purchasing the shirt!  I was so excited, that would never happen at your brick and mortar stores, I say never, but I am sure there are a few exceptions to the rule...
Anyway, Title Nine, thank you for taking the time to remember me, and put the shirt on hold.  I did buy it and it is on it's way.  Way to go with fantastic customer service you have a customer for life!

The New Education

We have all seen them advertised: online universities.  I wanted to get some feed back on what my readers think about them.  I have had a few friends get their MBA's via the internet, and I am currently enrolled in a online university photography course.  There are so many different educational opportunities available via the internet for those who otherwise don't have time, or the ability to get to a traditional school.  The Chronicle is packed full of information from jobs, to current news, and opportunities available to those with a higher education.  It is a great source of information.  That is what the internet is all about, right?  The ability to obtain the answer for any question.  Do you think having a degree from an online source is as good as a tradition school?  One online school (there are many)  Walden University, has many degree and certificate programs.  From Doctorals, to individual classes, you can tailor your schedule to your personal life.  Do your course work at your own pace, nothing is better than that!  Education is not limited to brick and mortar establishments anymore.  I am a fan of education for the sake of education, so I am in favor of all types of learning from your tradition schools, to online degree programs.

Teaching kids to like math

I am thinking that this is a difficult task.  Math, never one of my strong suits, is coming back to me.  I am starting to enjoy fractions, and dare I say percentages!  Yes, of course, they do come in handy when you are at a 63% off sale, and you have to know if I can buy those to die for shoes.  So I guess starting young is the way to go with teaching kids to enjoy math.  Tutoring can start as young as kindergarten, and go through college, for all sorts of subjects including math, and pre algebra.  Math can be used in many everyday situations, and tutoring kids early can help ease the frustrations.  How do divide numbers, fractions, decimals can all be taught to the very young using simple examples from things they see everyday.  I use algebra equations when I am in the craft room trying to come up with new quilt designs, so you really can bring math into the house so kids can see it in action.  If you can seem to do it yourself, get a tutor to help out.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Potty Pail

Get it.  Click on the side bar for a link to the shop, and order it now!!!  Life saver.  That is all I have to say about that.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Remodeling Picks

We want to remodel our bathroom, and that starts with picking out tiles.  We want make our selections before we start the demolition.  That way we are sure to find something we like in a timely fashion.  I am not a good decision maker, and lean toward procrastination at any chance I get.  So picking the tiles for the shower is a big deal.  We have made one decision already, and it is what prompted the re-do.  We want to have glass tiles like subway tiles.  Something modern, something bright, something easy to clean.  These are our only demands, today.  So I am scouring the internet in search of the perfect tile.  At the local store they did not have anything that really grabbed me, so I will search, and seek out the perfect bathroom tiles for the job.  Once we have our minds made up, then the fun can really begin.  I love a good demolition, I find it therapeutic, so here I go to the shed to get my crowbar!  It is time to get started!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Printed in the USA

No, I am not talking about money.  I found this awesome site for funny t-shirts, it is nerdyshirts.  They have great quality shirts, and they are printed here in the USA!  It is fun to support a business that is trying to make it here in America, despite all the red tape, and new taxes that they will be paying in the near future.  They have a new shirt every Monday, and yep a sale's rack too!  There are always a few on the sale page.  Whether you are into Mens fashion or just need to get something super funny for a friend, check out nerdy shirts, you are sure to find something, something funny!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Bring your Herbs Inside

Check out this great idea on ReadyMade's Blog.  This Herb garden fuses function and great design.  No big budget needed either for fresh tasty herbs.  This is a low budget idea that can bring beautiful modern green design to your green thumb.  Why not give it a try, your spaghetti sauce will thank you for the freshest ingredients!

To match or not to match

I just listed some great items in the shop.  A shoulder bag which is good for all your shopping needs, or great for a purse.  Also in the same fabric I have a reusable coffee sleeve.  They would be the perfect gift for that special someone.  If you don't like the match, you can always go for one of the other items in the shop.
There are so many reasons to buy during August.  Get your holiday shopping done early, but lets not forget the fun days in August.
August 12- Sewing Machine Day
August 12 - Vinyl Record Day
August 15 - Best Friends Day
August 17 - National Thrift Shop Day

Just to name a few.
Make your shopping more green all year long, check out Threadbeaur for all your gift giving needs.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Birding! High Tech

We have talked about getting a high tech motion sensor bird camera.  I love to watch the birds as the approach the feeders, and land gracefully without spilling all the seeds out.  How fun would it be to have a photo of this, without the need to sit out in the sun all day to snap a picture.  They have a  wireless bird camera that works with your SD memory cards.  It has a motion sensor, so that it will just snap the picture when the birds are around.  No need to spend hours and days trying for the perfect shot.  You could have bird house camera to capture any little ones that might arrive.  You could watch the progress via the camera.  It could be a great learning tool for the kids too.  No need to disturb the nest, just build your own bird house, and place the camera inside.  Watch the secret nest life unfold before you!  How fun.  Now that I have found these bird cameras on the web, it might be time to pick one up. 

When Lightning Strikes

Thunder follows.  Following the thunder comes the drip, drip drip, from a shaking, shivering, panicing, panting, pacing 80 pound yellow lab.  Somewhere between her bed and my head she lost her brain.  Commands cease to work, and she is just a mess.  When you have a dog who for 11 years has been terrified of thunder, it makes for long afternoons and nights when you live in Florida.  It is almost a daily occurrence during the summer  months here and our dog has terrible anxiety attacks when it is thundering.  If it isn't bad enough during the day, the nighttime thunder storms are really bad.  Nothing quite like an 80 pound dog standing at the head of the bed to wake you up at night.  Once you wake up then she paces at the top of the bed, and that is where our heads are, so paw in the right eye, then on the tracheae, never good.  So when my mom called and told me about an ad she saw in a magazine we jumped at the opportunity to buy a Thundershirt.  Over the years we have tried medications to sooth the dog, but they are so long lasting that the storms are long gone, and the dog remains droopy all day, and night.  Today the shirt arrived, fast delivery, which was really nice, and I was really glad to see it.  All week we have had a shivering, panting, pacing dog on our hands.  Out of the package and on to her back the Thundershirt went.  The storm was over, but we rewarded her with a few dog biscuits to make her love the shirt.  The instructions were easy to understand, and offered easy tips to ensure that the pup would like her shirt.  First impressions?  Well made shirt, nice color, fit great, easy to put on.
Just a few hours later another storm was rolling through, so I just slipped the thundershirt over her head.  At first I thought this was not going to work.  She was already upset with "sky dog"(as we call thunder).  After about 10 minutes she seemed much calmer.  I am not going to say this is a cure all for her thunder anxiety, but she was not panting, shivering, yes, but no panting, and no pacing.  We were able to play on the floor and she did not even step on me once! (Bonus, baby can't pull her fur through the Thundershirt!)  The real test was the ability to follow her commands.  We put this shirt to the test, we called"outside", with only slight hesitation she got up and headed to the door.  We looked at each other with great amazement.  She would never go out in a storm before.  So out we went, and with only a little extra encouragement, she headed into the grass!  WOW!  Thundershirt where have you been all my life.
Then last night we took the shirt off and went to bed.  At 4 in the morning another thunder storm came through with a crashing thunder that woke us all up.  I grabbed the thundershirt from beside my bed and again slipped it over her head.  This really was the test.  She was upset, and shaking, and on the bed, but no panting, no pacing, no face stepping!  This takes the edge of for our poor scared dog, and I, even if pushed from my side of the bed, can still get a decent nights sleep through  a storm!  Thundershirt we thank you for helping our dog, and now if you could just make some dog breath mints we would be all set!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Fabric Hoarder

Yes, that is me.  I have so much fabric that it was stacked up in the corner.  It was time for an intervention.  I shopped all the antique stores in the area looking for a bookshelf that would hold my stash.  I was unsuccessful, and since time was of the essence I went for handmade, of course.  M made me the awesome bookshelf that is perfect for the fabric.  We went to Lowe's and picked up 7 four foot boards that were 10 inches wide and 1 inch thick.  We got them home, and in less than half an hour my bookshelf was ready.  I slapped on a coat of brown paint, and let it dry overnight!  Measuring 4 feet wide, 4 feet tall, each shelf is about 11 inches tall.  It was a quick and easy project - Instant gratification! I transferred my quilting fabric to the new shelf, and the old shelf (which he also made) will be the new home for the fabric I use to make my shopping bags.  The fabric for the  reusable coffee sleeves will also have its own area on the shelf.  I am going to be more organized, and no more fabric piled in the corner!
Now if I can just keep the fabric folded on the shelf.  It looks so good, and it makes me want to make a few new projects!  I guess I should finish the 9 quilts that are in varies stages of completion before I start another!

Cooling history

Guest post written by Pete Stump

Living in a nationally certified historic home is a blessing and a burden. Our home’s value only increases over time as long as we keep it up, which means that maintaining its exterior doesn’t require a lot of imagination because it has to remain the same.
But there are also a lot of problems with it. We’re stuck with the look of the exterior and are held to a higher regard by our neighbors than someone not in a historic home. The home also isn’t well insulated, which means that heating and air conditioning can be a problem. When the one we had broke down, we decided to go with a new model and settled on anew hvac that wouldn’t compromise the integrity of the historic structure. We didn’t have to put a noisy unit outside that’s an eyesore – at least when it comes to historic homes.
I was so grateful for the house to be cool again because we also have some antique furniture in here that doesn’t do well in damp and warm conditions that often happen in homes without good cooling systems.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Taxes! They aren't all bad.

Check out this tax on plastic bags in our nations capital!  In the article on, they give us the low down on the tax.  It has brought in almost a million dollars.  Also it has reduced the number of plastic bags by 19 million!!!!  Can you even believe that?  WOW!  Why can't we implement this all over the nation.  It is one of the taxes that I can really get behind.  Why not bring your own bag.  Let's get out of the one time use mindset!  Let's be reusers, let's be recyclers, let's all be more green.  Of course, you can get a great unique cloth shopping bag at Threadbeaur's Shop.  You don't have to wait until you are taxed for every plastic bag you use, you can start today making a difference.  Keep track of the number of bags that you have not used.  Let's count them together and see how much of a difference we can make.