Saturday, November 29, 2014

Learning to use iMovie

Here is a beard oil commercial for my husband's company Charlemagne Beard Oil.  It's his first stab at using iMovie on the new Mac.  He adapted a template from iMovie to make it and I'm impressed that he managed to do this in only half an hour.  Yes, my sweetie is super cool!

Garden Total = 147 pounds!

We met our goal of more than 100 pounds from our garden!  Not bad for 4 plots totaling just 64 square feet.  We were also somewhat less than dedicated, I have to admit.

That's the good news.

The bad news is that it didn't make much of a dent in our food budget.  Although we spent less on groceries in September and October, the overall summer grocery cost was still higher than last year when we didn't garden.  I think that's due mostly to Belovedest buying lots of gluten-free speciality foods.

The other good news is that we ate healthier.  So instead of pasta for dinner, we had pasta and fresh carrots.  That's also why the budget didn't show much improvement - we added food from the garden rather than eating garden food in place of grocery purchases.

Still more good news is that we have 20+ bags of frozen tomatos in the freezer.  (Next year: canning.  But since it all fit in the freezer, I didn't see much need to can.)  We also have enough frozen basil to last us all winter, plus we gave away bags of it to friends and neighbors.

And the final good news: my husband bought a book on making gluten free artisan breads in five minutes a day.  I'm really hoping he uses it!

Here's the breakdown by food type, all listed in pounds.
tomatoes = 105
potatoes = 12
strawberries = 11
carrots = 6.7
purple beans = 4.9
chives = .4
basil = 3.4
cucumbers = 1.6
Lettuce = .9
peas = .4
leeks = .4
shallots = .17

As always, we learned a lot and as always.... we are going to change some things next year.....

Friday, November 28, 2014

RE: Christmas Shopping

I'm not really into buying lots of stuff for Christmas.

In fact, I'm already done, except for making a photo book with Mom, a fun gift we are going to make together.

But if I were going on a Christmas shopping spree, I'd probably do it on-line.  Yes, it might be a tad pricer when you include shipping.  But I could finish the whole thing in an afternoon, everything would come in easy to wrap boxes, and I could find just what I wanted.

Plus I could support my favorite blogs without adding a cent to my cost!  (Psst.... over there on the right.... see the portal?)  The "Links" page also has links to some of our CafePress T-shirts.   Any and all purchases are very much appreciated!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

I had no idea that my name had a connection with George Bernard Shaw.... 

Check out this site on the meanings and history behind names.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Two Computers

Friday I got a shiny new computer at work, since the previous one seemed to be rehearsing for Hamlet.

Also on Friday, we bought a Mac.

I have to say I was impressed that from box to functioning took about 5 minutes.  Now I have a lot of adjusting to do, but I'm really excited to see if making videos is as easy as I've heard.  Hopefully the blog will enjoy lots of benefits of my new tool!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sunday Thoughts

The root of all our unhappiness is the result of sin and its effects.  The sooner we are free from the distortions and crippling of sin the sooner we will experience a fuller joy and freedom as sons and daughters of God, and be able more and more to be a blessing to others.
~ Ralph Martin, The Fulfillment of All Desire

Thursday, November 20, 2014

If You Are Out of Sorts, Here's Some Helpful Trivia

Here is a bit of trivia from the days when printing presses used movable type as invented by our friend Gutenberg:
"The type case for any font contains multiples of each letter and numeral, with the largest sections reserved for the letters, or "sorts," that are used most frequently.  The expression "to be out of sorts" refers to the typesetter running out of a particular letter."

From Paperie: The Art of Writing and Wrapping with Paper, a fun coffee-table book from folks at Kate's Paperie with Bo Niles.  Even if the book does mention their business more than once, it's lavishly illustrated with pictures and artful photographs and exhaustively research by people whom I don't hesitate to call obsessed.  Page 68

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tiles Today

My tiles passed the Boiling Hot Water test with flying colors.

(I guess I should have dripped the water directly on the tiles, huh.  I’m going to try that next!)
I’m taking a dremel to some blank ones in order smooth out the edges.  Probably not necessary, but I like to go the extra mile.

I'm still trying to decide what to do about sealing them.  Jason from work has some stuff I plan to borrow and try, which I'll go buy my own if it works.

Monday, November 17, 2014

What is Beard Oil?

Check out my husband’s new website: Charlemagne Beard Oil!

As you know, the more active a website is, the higher up it will appear in lists generated by search engines, so we would love it if you would stop by the website and take a peek:

Please pass it along to your friends!

Also, if you have any suggestions or spot any errors, please let me know.  Oh, and beard oil makes a great Christmas gift for the man on your list who has everything except a razor.  :)  Thanks for your help!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Weekly Round-Up

This week I....

.... finally turned this pile of oregano
.... into a useful form.

 .... made cardboard boxes for more Christmas ornaments

.... spent time with my nephews.  Here's Mom hanging out with my mischievous little godson Alex:

.... and here's the star of the evening: Conner, who played Hank the Cowboy in the school musical and did an awesome job.  (Pardon the flip book, but hey, I'm a doting aunt!)
Note the aforementioned mischievous little godson Alex on the stairs...

Friday, November 14, 2014

Bookshelf Repair

When you don’t have time to hold it in place for 24 hours...


I think I left it there for a couple of weeks, actually. 
And, yes, it worked.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Amazon Revenue for October

The blog earned $8.92 in Amazon ad revenue in October.  Thanks very much for your purchases through our Amazon portal.  (It's over there on the right.  No, going through it doesn't change the price.  Hugs to all who use it!) 

It has been such a crazy month that Belovedest and I are just now getting around to doing the October budget.  And it's going to get busier....

Tips for Using Beachbody’s T25 and P90x

Here's what I'm talking about:  T25 and P90X3.

1.  If the people in the video are wearing shoes, wear shoes.  Otherwise you are more likely to hurt yourself.

2.  T25 is a lot more cardio.  I used it to slim down and I think it's probably more helpful for us ladies.  I switched to P90x when I needed to start building up muscles because my weight was inching toward my high school weight, which didn't seem healthy.  I didn't want to gain inches, so I decided to build muscle instead.

3.  Don't force yourself to do every exercise.  Some of them will probably hurt you, and those won't be the same for everyone.  Adapt.  Many of the exercises will be safer for us older folks if we simply take some of the bounce out.

4.  Don't force yourself to match the pace or endurance of the people on the video immediately.  There isn't any point.  Endurance and strength are built up gradually.  If you can only do 30 seconds of a 60 second exercise, then do your 30 seconds.  Gradually, your endurance will increase.  If you are planning on sticking with program for the full 70 or 90 days, it's kind of silly to push yourself to exhaustion rather than work up to what you want.  So, yes, push yourself.  But not so much that you give up or that you hurt yourself.  You have time.  If you are sweating or stretching, you're making progress.  So relax.

5.  Discard particular workouts.  I'm not going to do something that focuses entirely on abs.  As near as I can tell, I have none.  And a workout with lots of push-ups and pull-ups is pointless for me.  I can't to do them.  The workout ends up being me attempting to keep up, not being able to, and doing lots of standing around waiting for them to get to the next exercise which -- surprise!  -- I can't do either.

Don't get me wrong -- plenty of the workouts that I include are strenuous, difficult, and I'm not all that good at.  But if I can't do 90% of the material, I'm going to pop something else into the DVD player.

6. Deliberately and consciously enjoy the happy endorphins afterward.  I love having a better mood and (usually) more energy for the rest of the morning (or sometimes the rest of the day).  Keeps you coming back for more!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Buying a House in the Next Six Months?

I recently wrote a long email to a close relative who hopes to buy a house over the summer.  I thought I'd share it in case there were any prospective first-time home buyers out there who wanted the whole process all spelled out.

I know there is a big rent vs. own controversy among frugal folk.  (Plus there's the guy who says its cheaper to live in hotels....)  Home-ownership works for us.  For one thing, dollars and cents aren't the only considerations.  But if you have run the numbers and renting works for you, go for it.

Tips on buying a house

I love being a homeowner. Here are a few tips I learned along the way….

The Budget: Why houses cost more than renting
OR How much house can we afford?

Here are all of the bills you have to pay when you own a house.  Some of them you don't have when you're renting: gas, electric, water, trash ($35/month), maybe cable, and phone, cell or otherwise.  You will also want to review your life insurance policies.  It is not unusual to have an $80 a month electric bill during the summer or a $90 a month gas bill during the winter.  There are also some incidentals that aren't really a big deal unless your budget is very tight: furnace filters, salt for the water freshener, snowmelt for the sidewalks, leaf bags, etc.

Starring.... Me?

Wish me luck! I'm auditioning for a play at the community playhouse tonight....

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Craft Fair Fun

I had great fun today at the craft fair meeting all kinds of folks.  Thanks especially to Marcia for joining me, and for to Jen, Mom, and Carla for dropping by, and, of course, for the lovely Madeline for dramatically increasing the Cute Quotient!

Friday, November 7, 2014

I Saw the Sign

Remember how I was complaining that I didn’t have time to do all the fun things in Journal Bliss, the book I was reading, because I had to get ready for the craft fair November 8?

I decided to make it a both/and moment and use the techniques in the book to make a sign.  I had so much fun making this!  For me, this was daring.  It was actually really hard to let go of the control, but I did and I loved it! 

(The book wasn’t so much packed with new technique as it was high-spirited and inspiring.  It was fun, colorful, and it made me want to play.  I’m not done reading it yet.)

I took more photos than usual this time so you can see the piece evolve….

 I was doing to paint over some lace for texture but I didn't get around to it.

Craft Fair Tomorrow!

I'm busy scrambling to get ready for the craft fair tomorrow at St. John's in Lincoln, NE. (7601 Vine Street).  It's from 9-4 and I'd LOVE it if any of my readers wanted to pop by!

At my booth, 100% of the items will have at least one up-cycled or recycled component.

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Book on Book-Making

This book was packed with inventive ideas, especially for closures, so I want to note it here before it goes back to the library.  Plus I really liked it's frequent use of recycled materials.  I probably won't ever make mini-books, but the projects are easily scaled up to a larger size.

By Kathleen McCafferty

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Tile Testing Update

Editor's Note: These were tiles sealed with ModPodge which I no longer use for sealing.

The first tile test was with water.  I dipped the bottoms of glasses in water, set them on the tiles, and left them.  For a couple of days, actually, since I forgot them.

When I picked the glass off of the tile, I saw white blurs and my heart sank:

However, I left them alone and the blur went away as the tile dried.  I repeated the experiment and left the glass on for about five hours.  No blur.   I'm not sure what to do.  Can I sell them this way?  Even if someone leaves a glass on them for days, the blur isn't permanent.  But I am still reluctant to sell them because I feel like I have to include this long explanation with them in case this happens to any one.  

Or I could try to figure out another way to seal them.  

Any way, testing continues with ....

Test Two: Grape Juice


After one swipe with a towel, as good as new:

Next Up: Hot Tea!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Gardening = Piles

This is how we spent Saturday....

Here’s the oregano I need to pluck, wash, and dry.    And I need to do it soon before it dries and is not so easy to deal with.

Here’s the before pile of leaves.  Just the front yard….

Here’s the pile after Belovedest took the lawn mower to it.  All ready for the compost pile to make some free, high-quality soil!

Dumpster diving success

Income from scrap metal of the frame from an outdoor swing, an ironing board and a handful of other items headed to the trash = $11.89.

And it stays out of the landfill, always a plus.  I learned from a recent freelancing interview that the city of Lincoln, Nebraska is estimated to throw away about $13 million in recyclable items each year.  The company doing the study took core samples four times a year, and that was their estimate.

The type of metal dramatically affects the value, though.
25 pounds of sheet iron = $1.44
19 pounds of old sheet aluminum = $10.45

And, yes, I looked up how much it cost to drive to the scrap metal dealer.   It's 87 cents, one way.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Sunday Thoughts: On Purification aka Suffering

It is useful to remember when we hear descriptions of the types of trials and depth of purification that we must undergo to be able to be fully united to God that this purification isn't optional.  It's necessary.  It's not a question of "if" but of "when."  If the purification doesn't take place in this life it will have it to happen in purgatory if we are to the able to see God.  We should also recall that the sooner this purification takes place the better, for us and for everyone else in our life.  The root of all our unhappiness is the result of sin and its effects.  The sooner we are free from the distortions and crippling of sin the sooner we will experience a fuller joy and freedom as the sons and daughters of God, and be able more and more to be a blessing to others.
~ The Fulfillment of All Desire by Ralph Martin, page 352

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Tips on Writing a Book

When Katy from The Non-Consumer Advocate announced that one of her 2014 goals was writing a book, I sent her some advice.  (I try to give out unsolicited advice at least once a day.  I'm convinced that the world will stop spinning if I don't!)

Since November is National Novel Writing Month, I present to you, dear readers, the advice I had passed on to her.  (And now that takes care of handing out unsolicited advice for today....)

As a teacher, writer, and editor (and someone who has finished a book-length manuscript--a dissertation), here's some of what I learned the hard way:
--Make a regular commitment of either time or pages.  This needs to be unbreakable except for disasters and emergencies.  So "I will do X pages a day (or a week)"  Or "I will work on the book every Tuesday morning from 6-7 am" or whatever.
-- Keep a log of how often you write... date: start time/stop time.
-- Make a list of why you are writing the book and keep it handy.
-- Remember that words on a page can be edited and revised, i.e. fixed.  A blank page isn't going anywhere.  So lousy writing is better than no writing.
-- Keep a list of book-related mundane tasks for when you don't feel like writing, such as tracking down sources or proofreading.  That way you can keep working even when the Muse has left you to go lie on a beach somewhere in Greece.
-- Don't fret about how slowly the first chapters go.  The ones that follow will come faster.

Hope this helps any aspiring writings out there!

Today I....

... can't find the card reader for the camera.

And I create the Weekly Round-Up by looking through my photos.

So here's my plain vanilla best...

This week I
... almost finished a challenging freelance article. 
...harvested the last of the carrots and beans
... and today, Belovedest and I disconnected, hosed down, and put away the rain barrels.  He had drained them Thursday night in anticipation of the cold weather, but they are now put away upside down for the winter.  We decided to clean them out in the spring... when it is warmer!
... am panicking because I'm in a Craft Fair on Saturday and consequently I have a To Do list as long as my arm.... and I have ONE free evening this week. (How did that happen?)  My days off are filled with too many meetings, although I should have some time Tuesday afternoon and a little on Thursday. 
... am reading Journal Bliss: Creative Prompts to Unleash Your Inner Eccentric by someone named just Violette and it is making me want to doodle and play and I can't!  (Next week.  Unless I actually make it into that play I'm auditioning for.  But soon. I'm going to stop being so busy... soon....)

 Also coming soon-- how much $ did we save from gardening and rain barrels?  I can now do the math since it is the end of the summer..