Tagged: Learn how to videos

Feb 01

How To Hard-Boil an Egg

How To Hard-Boil An Egg (courtesy of 5Min.com)

From Out and Bound to Martha Stewart to Jacques Pepin – everyone seems to have their own way of making the perfect boiled egg. I’m Katy, and, with my simple method, there’s no egg puncturing or pan shaking required!

First put the eggs in the saucepan, and fill with enough water to cover by 1 inch. You may want to consider using room temperature eggs, but, fresh from the fridge is fine, too.

Then, bring the eggs to a boil on high heat.

Next, cover the pan and immediately remove it from the heat.

While the eggs are sitting, fill a medium bowl with ice and water.

After 10 minutes, remove the eggs from the hot water, and transfer them to the ice water bath. Let them sit for another 5 minutes. Giving the eggs a cold water bath helps remove the shell, so if you’re looking at 2 eggs and can’t tell which one’s raw, spin them on the counter top. Hard-boiled eggs should spin quickly and easily, like a top!

For more delicious egg recipes, like my famous deviled eggs, check out Yum Sugar TV!


Jan 27

How to Tell if Someone is Lying

How To Tell If Someone Is Lying (courtesy of 5Min.com)

How do I tell if someone is lying to me? There are a lot of indicators of why somebody might be lying, and we could actually do a whole session on this, but here are some indicators that somebody’s lying:

First of all – do they only show one emotion? Have you ever met somebody who says how are things going? Oh, great, great, great great. Everything is always great. Oh, and you’re great, and everything! Well, here’s the thing. We all have down days, we all get upset with one another. If somebody’s showing you only one emotion, chances are, they’re not being up front.

Here’s another indication…if they’re not giving you the details. Do you ever ask someone a question, and they don’t really answer the question? Or, they give you kind of a vague answer? Or, they get defensive or make accusations back? In other words…and you think to yourself, “they didn’t answer the question?” Chances are, they’re covering up for something, and therefore, they are lying.

So, there are many indicators, but those are perhaps 2 big ones that I see often and we need to pay attention to. And then, of course, push forward, or walk away from the situation if you can, or, deal with it another way. Legally, of course, but the key is to do something about it, if it’s going to affect our life.


Jan 23

How to Make Tamales

Learn how to make delicious tamales (courtesy of AllRecipes.com)

Tamales are as beautiful as they are delicious! Wrapped and steamed in leaves, this authentic, Latin-American treat can be made in so many variations – just like the American sandwich! Served as a special occasion food, in part because they take time to make, tamales are steamed, cornmeal dumplings filled with moist, flavorful filling, all wrapped up like a gift, in a corn husk! First, let’s take a look at what goes inside a tamale, from the inside out.

Filling. This is traditionally meat – braised beef or pork – but, you can pack tamales with chicken, roasted veggies, cheese or seafood.

Masa dough. The dumpling or breading of the tamale, is made from ground corn flour, lard and salt. This doughy mixture is cooked into firmness through steaming.

The wrapper. Tamales are wrapped and cooked in a plant leaf – dried corn husks, fresh corn husks or banana leaves are common wrappings. This non-edible layer holds the tamale together as it cooks, and it gives the tamale its distinctive, authentic look. Before you get started, be aware that tamales take a fair amount of time to make. Some tamale makers suggest you may need as much as 2 days.

Day 1 – You cook the meat.

Day 2 – You assemble the tamales.

Others suggest that you make the tamales all in one day, and make a party out of it! Invite over your friends and family to form a tamale making assembly line. Either way, here are the tools to make tamales:

A dutch oven to cook the meat
Large capacity, 16 to 20 quart steamer to steam the tamales
Knife, spoon or spreading utensil of your choice

Step 1 – Prepare the filling. Most tamales are filled with braised pork or beef, in a sauce of spices and dried and crushed chilies, but you can use chicken, roasted vegetables, cheese, beans or seafood. Even make dessert tamales, filled with a sweet mix of fruit and nuts!

Traditionally, you simmer a large, 3-4 pound piece of pork or beef roast in a dutch oven with onion, garlic and enough water to cover the meat. Cook the meat on low heat until it’s tender and cooked through, for at least 2 hours. Ideally, you want to be able to pull it apart with a fork.

Once you’ve cooked the meat, you can ad spices and seasonings. Typical choices are chilies,
chili powder, garlic powder, ground cumin, black pepper and salt. Well, here’s how you season the cooked meat. Heat a splash of corn oil in a large pan. Heat on medium-high and add seasonings of your choice. Add the pulled, cooked meat and mix with the oil and seasonings.

Step 2 – Prepare the husks. Soak the dried corn husks in water for about an hour, to make them pliable.

Step 3 – Make the masa. Traditional tamale dough is a mixture of masa, lard and salt. Fresh masa is dried corn that has been cooked in lime water, soaked overnight and ground up while still wet. You can buy fresh masa. It makes the lightest, fluffiest tamales! Or, you can make your own masa, using Masa Harena – flour from dried out masa. If you use Masa Harena, you add liquid – either water or meat broth, to moisten it.

For light and fluffy tamale dough, whip the lard and salt with an electric mixer for a few minutes. If you don’t want to use lard, you can use the same amount of vegetable shortening. Add masa and continue to whip, adding water or broth, until the mixture is the consistency of soft cookie dough. How do you tell if your masa mixture is moist enough? Here’s a test. Drop a small ball of dough into a glass of water. If the dough sinks, it needs more liquid whipped into it. If it floats, it’s ready to use!

Step 4 – Wrap it up! Open up a corn husk or leaf and lay it on a cutting board. Spread a layer of masa dough, about a ¼ to a ½ inch thick. Then, spread a tablespoon of filling down the middle of the masa dough. Carefully roll up the husks so that the masa dough completely covers up the filling, and the parcel stays in tact. Use a strip of husk to tie the package closed. Pretty, isn’t it?

Step 5 – Steam the tamales. Stand the tamales upright in a steamer basket. Turn the water to high and steam over boiling water for 45 minutes. Remove the tamales from the steamer with tongs, taking care not to burn yourself. Arrange the tamales on a platter, and Dig In! Remind tamale newbies to remove the corn husk before eating!

Make a lot of tamales and freeze the excess. Tamales can be frozen for up to 6 months. Wrap them in a heavy, resealable plastic bag. To re-heat, thaw tamales in the refrigerator, and steam or microwave them until they are heated through.

If you’re craving tamales, set aside some time, invite over friends and family, and get rolling! Tamales are easy to make, when there are lots of hands to help!


Jan 19

How To Make A Silver Retro Christmas Tree

How To Make A Silver Retro Christmas Tree (courtesy of Threadbanger.com)

Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Happy Kwanzaa, and welcome to Décor it Yourself! Every year, Will and I bring home a cut tree, but, this year we wanted to be a little greener and save some green, by bringing home a live one and showing you how to make your own retro tinsel tree!

First, gather a bunch of wire hangers and straighten them all out.

Fold 4 of them in half, then fold in half again, and reinforce the joint with galvanized wire.

Now, take out 4 pieces of thick wire, measuring 64 inches. Wrap the entire length of the 4 metal pieces in galvanized wire to create a strong structure.

Take your “L” shaped feet and attach to one end of your thick wire, to create the stand. Wrap until all 4 feet are secure.

Wrap the entire pole in tinsel, starting at the bottom. Once covered, wrap with galvanized wire.

Now, you’re gonna make your branches. You’re gonna cut different lengths of wire from your hangers, for the tiers of your tree.

Once you have your wire cut to the length it needs to be, wrap the entire piece with tinsel. Bend some tinsel over the end so it covers the sharp end of the hanger. Then, wrap that end with galvanized wire a couple of times, to secure the tinsel.

Now, wrap the entire branch with the wire until you reach the end. Then, secure that end the same way you did the first.

Bend one end 3 inches up at a 90° angle. You will need:

10 – 21” branches

8 – 16” branches

6 – 12” branches

5 – 10” branches

5 – 9” branches

4 – 8” branches

3 – 6” branches.

You’re going to attach your branches by placing them on the trunk, like so. It helps to mark where you’re going to attach them by marking them with a piece of wire.

Use a friend’s help to hold all of the branches of that tier in place. Wrap around all of them at one time with wire. Be sure to wrap all the way to the end of where the small parf of the L reaches the trunk.

We started with the bottom tier of the branches. Next, do the top tier, then measure the space in between to evenly distribute the rest of the tiers.

Once all tiers are securely attached, you’re going to finish your base. Take a square piece of wood, big enough for all 4 legs to fit on. Screw mending plates to each leg, about 2 inches from the trunk.

Paint your feet white to complete your stand.

Fold the branches in different directions to make it lush. Decorate, and voila! You have a retro tinsel tree for under $30 that you can use year after year!

A whole bunch of you asked for Christmas tree alternatives, so when we come back, I’ll show you plenty!

Welcome back! Another great tree alternative is a rosemary bush in the shape of a Christmas tree, that you can also use when cooking your holiday meals.

For small spaces, use a wall decal for your tree, as featured in Apartment Therapy.

Ingrid from Wood and Wool Stools has a cool tree alternative, as seen here. Read last year’s Threadbanger blog for these DIY trees by Venest. Our own viewer, Isabel, made this tree alternative out of a vintage body form. Awesome work, Isabel!

What are you doing for your tree this year? Going eco and green with a live one, or making your own? Send in photos so we can see them. Thanks so much for watching! I’ll see you next wek, and remember, Your Nest Needs You!


Jan 19

How To Make Christmas Photo Ornaments

How To Make Christmas Photo Ornaments (courtesy of Howcast.com)

Decorate your Christmas tree with this keepsake ornament featuring a photo of a loved one. You will need:

Transparent ornament with a removable top
Cotton swab
Acrylic paint

Step 1: Cut out the photo you want to use into a circle that measures about 3 inches across.

Step 2: Remove the hanger and cap from the bulb. Then wrap the photo around a pencil, making sure the photo is facing outward.

Step 3: Holding the photo around the pencil, slip it inside the bulb. Release the photo from the pencil.

Step 4: Position and straighten the photo with a cotton swab.

Step 5: Get creative and glue small shells, colored tinsel, colored sand, and even popcorn to the inside and outside of the ornament. Gluing decorations inside will also help keep the photo in place.

Step 6: Write the date on the back of the ornament with acrylic paint, and a message if you like. Finish by tying a bow around the top of the ornament and give it as a gift to the person in the picture or hang it on your own tree.

Did you know? Ornaments on the 2008 National Christmas tree were made with holographic film to make the tree look lit all day!


Jan 19

How To Prevent Common Christmas Disasters

How To Prevent Common Christmas Disasters (courtesy of Howcast.com)

With a little forethought, you can avoid many embarrassing, annoying, and downright dangerous holiday mishaps! You will need:

Emergency gifts
A drink limit
Kiss-avoidance strategies
Fishing wire
A computer with internet access
Orange and lemon rinds (optional)

Step 1: Have wrapped, unisex gifts on hand in case you forget someone. This is also useful if someone gives you something that cost twice as much as what you gave them: Just say, “And here’s your other gift!” Pick things you can use if you don’t give them as gifts, or stuff that can hold until next year.

Step 2: Figure out how much alcohol you can drink at the office Christmas party before you’re at risk of doing something you’ll regret. Then stick to your limit.

Step 3: Avoid an unwelcome mistletoe kiss by saying you have a cold – or feigning a cough or sneeze as the person closes in on you.

Step 4: If someone gives you a lousy gift, simply say, “Thank you.” If you pretend to like it, you may get more of the same next year.

Step 5: Prevent an emergency trip to the veterinarian by keeping sweet treats away from dogs and cats. Chocolate toxicity is the most common holiday-related illness for pets. Poinsettias are also poisonous to your four-legged friends.

Step 6: Keep kids and pets from knocking over the Christmas tree by securing it with clear fishing line attached to the treetop and a ceiling hook. If you have a cat, scatter orange and lemon rinds on the tree skirt; most cats hate citrus scents.

Step 7: Don’t panic if you still need gifts and even the drugstores are closed: Just go online, order a gift, and print out a photo of it. On your way out when you realize you’ve forgotten someone? Pick up some movie passes or a gas gift card.

Did you know? The average person gives up on trying to make their new electronic gift work at 11:48 a.m. on Christmas morning, according to a survey!


Jan 19

Learn How To Celebrate Christmas On A Budget

How To Celebrate Christmas On A Budget (courtesy of Howcast.com)

It’s not just about buying less during the holiday season; it’s about buying smarter. You will need:

A budget
A gift list
Shopping web sites
Haggling skills
Secondhand purchases
Supermarket flyers

Step 1: Set an overall gift budget and use it to determine how much you can spend on each person on your list. Make sure you stick to it! Consider a family agreement to buy gifts for the children only.

Step 2: Search for gifts on eBay, Craigslist, and sites that offer discontinued or overstock items. Use price comparison web sites to ensure you’re getting the best deal, and look for rebates.

Step 3: Check out thrift shops, secondhand stores, and pawn shops – the latter in particular offer great savings on jewelry, watches, and electronics.

Step 4: Learn how to haggle. You can often get a discount just by asking for it, especially if it’s a small store, you’re a good customer, and you offer to pay in cash. Just remember to be polite and ask discreetly. Always ask salespeople if there are any coupons, promotions, or discounts available.

Step 5: Bake holiday treats from scratch to reduce costs, and consider giving some of them as gifts. Start scanning supermarket flyers a few weeks in advance for sales on baking supplies so you can stock up when prices are low. Butter stays good in the freezer for several months.

Step 6: Find ways to save on decorations. If you buy a real Christmas tree, make a wreath out of trimmings. Fill colorful bowls and vases with edibles, like fruit and nuts. Turn stemware upside down and put votive candles on the base for an unusual candleholder, or float votives in the glasses right side up.

Step 7: Trim your holiday card list by only sending greetings to people you rarely see. Then shop the post-Christmas sales to stock up for next year!

Did you know? The average American family spends over $1,000 on Christmas!


Jan 19

How To Get In The Christmas Spirit

How To Get In The Christmas Spirit (courtesy of Howcast.com)

Dreading dragging out the decorations and pretending to love gifts you don’t really want? This year, find every way to make this a memorable, meaningful season for you and your loved ones. You will need:

Holiday music
Christmas tree
Volunteer work
Christmas movies
Personalized letters

Step 1: Greet people with a holiday wish and smile wherever you are.

Step 2: Clean the house while blasting cheerful holiday music and belt out a tune to get your spirits up.

Step 3: Decorate the house in festive colors. Hang mistletoe and set out red and green candles, tape up friends’ greeting cards, hang stockings on the mantle, and put the tree up early. Include the kids by letting them make their own decorations and crafts for the tree.

Step 4: Hang outdoor lights along the eaves, over the trees, and on the bushes. Paint a special Christmas letter box for the porch. Buy animated and lit reindeer, and other decorations for the lawn.

Step 5: Volunteer to bring toys, clothing, or a little cheer to those not as well off. Give to others around you, shoveling the walk for an elderly neighbor, making cookies, or helping out at church. Take some time to reflect on your blessings. Make this a family ritual.

Step 6: Watch Christmas movies with the family to get everyone in the spirit. Before bed, tell the kids Christmas stories to make it a season they will never forget.

Step 7: Send out personalized, old-fashioned, well-wishing notes and letters to friends, family, and associates. Everyone likes to get a nice letter this time of year.

Did you know? A box office flop when it was released in 1946, It’s a Wonderful Life became the film classic it is today around 1974 when it became public domain and could be run on television for free!


Jan 05

How To Make Lavender and Chamomile Sugar Scrub

How To Make Lavendar and Chamomile Sugar Scrub (courtesy of NoreensKitchen.com)

Hi everyone! It’s Noreen, and welcome to my kitchen! And welcome to another episode of The holidays are coming! Now, last week, we did bath salts, and I did want to make a statement about that. In some states, what they call “bath salts” have been made “illegal” because it’s a certain type of drug, that, I think you smoke – I don’t even know. But, they’re not the bath salts that I make. So, when you talk about bath salts and you hear that in the news, that’s not what we’re talking about. That’s something totally different – it’s just called the same thing.

But anyway, we’re gonna kinda go a step further today, and we’re gonna make a sugar scrub. This is really nice – you take it in the shower and then you scrub it all over your skin, and you rinse it off when you wash off, and it exfoliates all of those dead skin cells and it makes your skin glow, and it helps your body absorb moisturizer a lot more quickly, and it helps you to – the things that are in it are gonna help the toxins escape from your body, and it’s gonna be wonderful!

So, let’s see what goes in this! This is another thing that you could make assembly line style. You can make a whole bunch of it and just jar it up. You could even sell this at bazaars – it would be fantastic. So, what we’re gonna start with is a cup of Demerara sugar, and I’ll show you what that looks like. I should have left it out – you know what? I have a full one over here, let me grab it. I buy this in my grocery store – this is also what I use in my favorite bread recipe! This is pure cane sugar – sugar before it’s refined – so it still has a lot of molasses in it. Still has a lot of nutrients and minerals in it that refined sugar does not have. In the bowl it goes – a cup.

And, this is a ¼ cup of epsom salt. Not sea salt – a ¼ cup of epsom salt, because epsom salt is gonna help extract toxins from your body.

The next thing we’re gonna do…this is Vitamin E oil. You can get this at the health food store, you can get it online, I bought it in the vitamin section at Walmart, and it was about $3.00. And this will go a very long way – except you have to get it open! I’m gonna use a tablespoon of Vitamin E oil.

We’re gonna use a ¼ cup of some sort of oil, but, this is organic olive oil – cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil, ok? I will warn you – you cannot use vegetable oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, with this. You can use these 3 types of oil. You can use olive oil, you can use liquid coconut oil or you can use almond oil for this scrub. The olive oil contains lots of antioxidants that are fabulous for your skin, so you’re nourishing your body as well as having healthier skin.

Now, I’m also going to add a tablespoon each of lavender flowers and dried camomile flowers. Put those both in. You can do anything with this. If you want to make a lemon scrub, you can zest a lemon and you can put the lemon zest in here and it will smell fabulous. You can throw some black tea in here – just pop open a couple of black tea bags – or you can use green tea, or you can open up your favorite herbal tea and just toss a couple of those loose tea bags in here. Not the bag part, just the herb part.

Now, let me show you these herbs here before we move forward. This bag of lavender flowers was less than $5.00, and I get this from San Francisco Herb and Natural Food Company, and their website is HerbSpiceTea.com, and I love them! They have fantastic prices and an amazing, amazing selection to choose from, and they have medicinal herbs, they have culinary herbs and spices. And then, this is whole chamomile flowers, and both of these bags are a pound. You know, that’s a lot. When you think, I’m gonna buy a pound, that’s a huge bag. A huge bag! But, the chamomile flowers are fabulous. Chamomile helps you to relax. It takes the edge off, it has a natural calming quality about it, so this is perfect for taking a shower in the evening. It’s gonna help you exfoliate your skin as well, along with everything else that we’ve put in this scrub. This one I got from MountainRoseHerbs, which is another one of my favorite purveyors, or vendors, for herbal supplies. And, I will put their web addresses in the underbar, and their website is MountainRoseHerbs.com. And again, they have fabulous prices, and they also have – they have some things that San Francisco Herb and Tea doesn’t have, and vice versa. They also have a fantastic website where they actually have videos – they have a YouTube channel, and they have recipes and demonstrations, and you can learn a lot on their website about the origins and the uses for all of the herbs and everything that you’re looking at on there.

So, back to this! The only thing left to do know is to jar this up. I just put my trusty canning funnel up here, and I may have to tap this down. You’re gonna get more than a jar’s worth. This is just for demonstration purposes. You can pretty up that jar, put it in a cellophane bag, tie it with a bow, and you’re ready for gift giving! You can put a tag on it, and leave instructions below on how to use it. In fact, I’ll show you right here. I’ll just take some warm water – I’ll just do it on my arm, here. Just take a handful of it and rub it on your skin, and you’ll be able to feel – it’s gonna exfoliate all of the dry skin of of your body wherever you use it. It smells wonderful, and the, you know, the oil is not gonna be greasy on your skin, and you’re gonna wash it off with soap after you’re done. And I’ll just reach over here and get some of my hand soap. And it’s just like, if you’ve ever gone to Bath and Body Works or Crabtree and Evelyn or some really – like The Body shop, they’re really expensive places where you can go and get body care items. And you just dry off. But, this makes your skin really soft – feel it. Really soft!

So, give this a try. It’s a great gift! We’ve added the extra vitamin e in there. You don’t have to use a tablespoon if you choose not to. You can use a teaspoon. If you’re looking out for your budge, you don’t have to use it at all. So, there you have it – Sugar and Olive Oil Body Scrub that you make from home to give to your friends and family for Christmas. It’s not expensive, and you can make – if you buy a container of the Demarar sugar, a bottle of olive oil, a bag of epsom salts and a little bit of chamomile or lavender or spearmint or whatever herb you choose to put in there, or you don’t have to put herbs in it at all. You can make a whole bunch really cheap, and you can give it to everybody that you know and care about for Christmas. So, there’s another idea for holiday gift giving…I hope you try it, and I hope you enjoy it! Until next time – I’ll see ya!


Dec 21

Learn How To Make A Novel Wreath From An Old Book

How To Make A Novel Wreath From Old Books (courtesy of MadeByMarzipan.com)

This project is not hard, but it is time consuming. Put on a movie, and get comfortable, and make yourself a novel wreath!

Supplies Needed:

Foam Wreath Form
Old Books
Hot Glue Gun
Fabric Scraps
Ribbon or Tulle
Beads or corsage pin

I’m using a foam wreath form. Wrap it tightly with a scrap of mutual colored fabric. I recycled this strip of fabric from an old skirt. Use hot glue to secure in place. Once you’ve covered the wreath, use a generous amount of glue on the back to secure the fabric’s loose end. Trim off any excess fabric.

Now I’ll show you how to make the flowers. You’ll need an old book. If you have one that’s a little aged and yellowed, it gives the flowers an antiqued look. You’ll need 3 yellowed pages for each flower. Cut the pages in half. Round off the edges and corners of the pages.

Now, start at the paper’s edge, cut in a spiraling circle towards the center. When you reach the middle, you’ll have a round little tab in the center. Keeping the 3 layers together, roll tightly from the edge. I’m holding the paper a little awkwardly, since I’m trying to capture this on video, but I find it easiest to pinch the top and bottom of the paper, between my thumb and forefinger, and turn the flower with the other hand to roll it up.

When you reach the end of the paper, you’ll have the round tab at the bottom. Squirt hot glue on the spiraled bottom of the flower and press this tab to make it stick. You can vary the size of your flowers by loosening your grip. The paper will unravel and make a fuller blossom.

Once you’ve made all your flowers, you can add them to your wreath form. Nestle the flowers close together – you don’t want the fabric to show through.

Before you finish covering your wreath, you’ll want to add your ribbon for hanging. Tie both ends of a ribbon to the wreath, then make sure the knots are on the back of the wreath. Use another segment of ribbon to tie a bow at the top.

Keep going until the top and sides are all covered. Finally, you can add pearl beads to the center of each flower. Alternately, you could also stick pearl tipped corsage pins through the middle of each blossom.


Dec 09

Learn How To Make Christmas Cookie Bouquets

Learn How To make Christmas Cookie Bouquets (courtesy of Howcast.com)

Follow this recipe to make a festive, edible decoration that everyone will enjoy! You will need:

Roll of cookie dough
1/3 c. pasteurized egg whites
4 1/2 c. confectioner’s sugar
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
Cookie and cake decorations
Peppermint candies
Christmas cookie cutters
Wooden skewers
Electric mixer with paddle attachment
Colorful ribbon
Holiday-themed bowl
Florist foam
Red and green food coloring (optional)

Step 1: Roll out the cookie dough to double the thickness of your skewers. Then use your cookie cutters to cut out cookies. Poke the skewers into the sides of the cookies to make cookie lollipops.

Step 2: Bake the cookie lollipops according to package directions, adding one to two minutes to account for the added thickness. Allow the cookies to cool completely.

Step 3: Make the icing by beating the egg whites in the mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form.

Step 4: Change the mixer speed to medium-low and slowly add the confectioners’ sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, scraping the bowl between additions. Use more sugar for stiff icing to decorate designs and less sugar for loose icing to fill in the designs.

Step 5: Add the lemon juice, increasing the speed to medium-high until stiff peaks form and the icing is no longer shiny — six to eight minutes. Then ice the cookies. Divide the icing and add red and green food coloring.
Step 6: Use festive cookie and cake decorations to embellish the cookie lollipops. Tie a piece of colorful ribbon around each stick.

Step 7: Stick the lollipops into the florists’ foam in the bowl and hide the foam with peppermint candies. Use your bouquet as a festive centerpiece — if you can stand not eating it first!

Did you know? In 1979, in honor of the American hostages in Iran, only the top ornament of the National Christmas Tree was lit.


Dec 05

Learn How To Keep Hanukkah Candles From Tipping Over

How To Keep Hanukkah Candles From Tipping Over (courtesy of Howcast.com)

Enjoy the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah with peace of mind, knowing that the flickering candles in your menorah will stay put! You will need:

Lighter or match

Even when they are secured, candles can be a fire hazard. Never leave lit candles unattended.

Step 1: Place the sheet of foil under your menorah to catch any wax that may drip. You can reuse the foil for each of the eight nights of Hanukkah.

Step 2: Use a match or lighter to light a spare candle that you won’t need to use in the Hanukkah ceremony. This is a good way to make use of any candles in the box that are cracked or malformed.

Step 3: Hold the lit end of the candle over the first branch of the menorah, tilt it, and allow a few drops of wax to drip into it.

Step 4: Place the first candle into the holder, twisting it slightly while applying gentle pressure to secure it in the melted wax.

Step 5: Repeat the procedure with the other candles — one for each night of Hanukkah that has passed as well as the current night. Don’t secure the Shamus, or helper candle, until you are finished using it to light the other candles during the ceremony.

Step 6: Light the menorah after saying the traditional Hanukkah prayers to celebrate the Festival of Light. The wax will harden around the candles to keep them in place.

Did you know? For the entire 8 days of Hanukkah it is forbidden to fast or to eulogize!


Nov 29

Learn How To Hang Christmas Lights Outdoors

How To Hang Outdoor Christmas Lights (courtesy of Howcast.com)

Get in the Christmas spirit and illuminate your house with a dazzling display of lights! You will need:

Power source
Extension cord
Tape measure
Christmas light hooks
Vertical Christmas light clips
Pole with a hook
Switch or timer (optional)
Coat hanger (optional)
Broomstick (optional)
Duct tape (optional)

Step 1: Find an outdoor electrical outlet that you will be able to plug a heavy duty extension cord into. Use an outlet that is controlled by a switch or run your lights through a timer.

Step 2: Use the tape measure to determine the length of the area where you want to hang the lights as well as the height of any walls, bushes, or trim where you will be hanging lights. Then figure the number of 50-foot light strings you will need.

Step 3: Look for broken or missing bulbs, and worn or bare wires before you plug in the lights. Then plug in the lights to make sure they work before you hang them.

Step 4: Use a stepladder if your house’s eaves are low. If not, use an extension ladder. Plant the ladder on level ground and extend it well above the eaves at a safe angle.

Step 5: Hang lights along the gutters first, using plastic clips made for light strings. Then attach lights to vertical trim using the vertical clips.

Step 6: Hang lights in small trees using the pole with the hook on it. Drape the string over the hook, extend it to the tree, and then twist the pole, allowing the string to fall from the hook to the branches. You can make a device by bending a coat hanger into a hook and attaching it to a broomstick with duct tape.

Did you know? Thomas Edison created the first strand of electric lights and decorated the outside of his Menlo Park Laboratory with them around Christmas, 1880!


Nov 23

Learn How To Have A Skinnier Thanksgiving

How To Have A Skinnier Thanksgiving (courtesy of Howcast.com)

You can save calories without sacrificing flavor, just by tweaking your Thanksgiving dishes! You will need:

Low-fat, low-sodium chicken broth
98% fat-free cream of mushroom soup
Fresh cranberries
Sugar or sugar substitute
A little restraint
A fat separator

Step 1: Favor the white meat over dark to cut four calories and one fat gram per ounce. Don’t ban dark meat altogether – it’s actually more nutritious, containing more iron, zinc, riboflavin, thiamine, and vitamins B6 and B12
Step 2: Cook your stuffing outside the bird; it’s lower in fat that way.

Step 3: Remove the fat from the pan drippings before you make the gravy, either by using a fat separator or chilling them in the fridge and then skimming off the fat. You’ll save a whopping 56 grams of fat per cup of gravy! For a really low-cal gravy, skip the drippings and make it out of low-fat, low-sodium chicken broth mixed with a little flour dissolved in water.

Step 4: Use chicken broth instead of cream and butter to make mashed potatoes. Consider making smashed potatoes by leaving on the nutrient-rich skin.

Step 5: Make the traditional green bean casserole with 98% fat-free cream of mushroom soup and cut the calories by more than half, plus eliminate 14 grams of fat. Shave off another 250 calories by using only half the can of French-fried onions.

Step 6: Make your own cranberry sauce. Wash a bag of fresh cranberries, put them in a pot with a cup of water, let them cook until the desired texture, and then stir in sugar or sugar substitute sparingly, to taste.

Step 7: Slim down the candied yams by cutting back on the added sugar or maple syrup — you probably won’t even miss it — and nixing the mini marshmallows.

Step 8: Stick to pumpkin pie. At around 240 calories a slice, it beats apple, mince, and pecan. Don’t eat the crust and you’ll save another 100 calories.

Did you know? On average, Americans take in 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat on Thanksgiving Day!


Nov 22

Learn How To Host Your First Thanksgiving

How To Host Your First Thanksgiving (courtesy of Howcast.com)

Stop stressing! These tips and tricks will help you pull together a fabulous celebration with minimal angst. You will need:

Adequate seating and tableware
Traditional favorite foods
Mini-pumpkins and gourds
Votive candles
A cleaning service (optional)
Two small turkeys (optional)

Step 1: Figure out if you have enough chairs, seating space, and tableware. Borrow from friends and neighbors to fill any holes. Or check out a thrift store; if you don’t need or want it afterward, donate it back. Throw some cushions on the floor around your coffee table and let little guests eat there.

Step 2: Call your guests so you’ll have a handle on how many people are coming – and an excuse to fish for contributions. People often want to contribute, especially if it ensures that their holiday favorite will be on the table.

Step 3: Don’t be shy about asking for assistance before, during, and after. You’ll need all the help you can preparing the food, getting your home ready, serving, and cleaning up afterward. If your budget allows, hire a cleaning service a day or two before.

Step 4: Honor traditions; even if you personally think that green bean casserole is disgusting and cranberry jelly out of a can a disgrace. If it’s important to someone, serve it – and let them take the leftovers home.

Step 5: Consider cooking two small turkeys instead of one big one. They’re easier to handle, cook faster and more uniformly, and are more tender and juicy than a large, older bird. Plus, they provide twice as many drumsticks!

Step 6: Finalize your menu and go shopping. Figure out what you can make a day or two ahead so that the big day is not such a rush. And remember: Now is not the time to attempt a dish you’ve never tried. Plan on these per-person servings: 1¼ lbs. turkey, 1/3 c. gravy, ½ c. mashed potatoes, ½ c. of each vegetable side dish, ¼ c. cranberry dressing, ½ c. stuffing; two dinner rolls; and 1/8 pie.

Step 7: Make a simple table centerpiece out of a bowl of small gourds and mini-pumpkins and line the table with votive candles. You’re all set!

Did you know? The pilgrims carried a supply of beer on the Mayflower, in part because it was safer to drink than water!


Nov 21

Learn How To Take Great Pictures With Your Cell Phone

How To Take Great Pictures With Your Cell Phone (courtesy of Howcast.com)

You might not be composing award-winning photos, but if you cross paths with the right celebrity at the right moment, you’ll want to know how to make your shot a tabloid-worthy one. You will need:

A cell phone

Step 1: Set your camera phone to take the highest quality (and largest file size) photo possible.

Step 2: Make sure your camera lens is clean—and that you know exactly where it is!

Step 3: Arrange your subjects or scene as you see fit.

Step 4: Make sure there’s plenty of light. If you have a flash, turn it on, and stand with whatever other light source is around behind you, so it shines on your subject. Don’t block the light with your own body, casting shadows on your subject.

Step 5: Get in close so that the subject is in full-frame.

Step 6: Use the rule of thirds, framing your subject in either the left or right third of the frame, not dead center—creating a more interesting picture. If you’re shooting a celebrity at a club, use the rule of fourths—if the bodyguard is four times your size, don’t take the picture.

Step 7: Keep the camera as steady as possible—the less movement the better, so stabilize yourself as best you can.

Step 8: Snap your shot and hope for the best—or the worst, as the case may be!
Did you know? Both Sharp and Kyocera introduced the first camera phones in 1997.


Nov 18

Learn How To Survive Thanksgiving With Your Family

How To Survive Thanksgiving With Your Family (courtesy of Howcast.com)

Forced feeding, intrusive questions, tipsy relatives, stuffing – it’s all part of Thanksgiving’s charm – if you know how to finesse it! You will need:

A relaxation strategy

A party rental company

Some little white lies

A hearty appetite

and Gratitude!

Optional: Miniature bottles of liquor and extra therapy sessions!

Step 1: Prepare yourself for the stress ahead by practicing deep breathing, meditating, or stocking up on mini bottles of booze that can be hidden in your clothes. If you’re seeing a therapist, now would be a good time to book an extra appointment or 2.

Step 2 – Before your mom can ask, are you seeing anyone? or your dad can demand, when are you gonna get a real job?, slyly hint at a potential romance/career advancement/Nobel Peace Prize nomination – then refuse to say another word lest you jinx it.

Step 3 – Give your hostess, especially if that hostess is you, the perfect gift. Rent dishes from a caterer! No more spending hours up to your elbows in turkey grease, while the men in the family act like dishwashing is tantamantic castration.

Step 4 – When it’s time to go around the table and state what you’re grateful for, have a sentimental spiel ready about the person at the table whom you like least. It will completely throw them off their game!

Step 5 – Go ahead and gorge yourself! Thought it is widely believed that people pack on 5 to 10 pounds during the holiday season, the truth is that the average person gains less than a pound!

Step 6 – When all is said and done, be grateful that you are healthy enough to be celebrating Thanksgiving, prosperous enough to have to worry about overeating, and lucky enough to have loved ones to share the day with! Did you know? Chardonnay is the perfect wine to pair with turkey; if you prefer red, make it a pinot noir and serve it slightly chilled.


Nov 17

Learn How To Save Paper

Learn How To Save Paper (courtesy of Howcast.com)

Think green, and you’ll learn how to save trees, and maybe put a little green in your pocket! You will need:

Shop eco-friendly

Use electronic devices

Rethink your print practices

Reusable containers

Cloth napkins and handkerchiefs

Recycled toilet paper

Shop eco-friendly by buying products in bulk or concentrate, to reduce paper packaging waste. Choose products with minimal packaging. Nails, screws, wire and other hardware items may be purchased loose from many home improvement stores to reduce paper packaging.

Step 2 – Go electronic, and text yourself to-do lists and memos. Send e-cards, pay bills online, eliminate junk mail and invest in an e-reader.

Step 3 – Change your print practices to include using the print range feature, to print only what is needed. Use the double-sided printing feature, and email documents whenever possible.

Step 4 – Use reusable containers, napkins and handkerchiefs.

Step 5 – Make the switch to toilet paper and other items produced with recycled paper, and next time you hug a tree, you might get a hug back!

Did you know? Experts estimate that between 2000 and 2005, about 1% of the planet’s total forested area disappeared.


Nov 16

Learn How To Get Really Creative For The Holidays

How To Get Really Creative For The Holidays (courtesy of Threadbanger.com)

It’s that time of year again, when Jack Frost nips at your nose, and the Grinch’s heart grows 3 times its size. It’s winter in the city, and holiday season everywhere!

Well, hello there, my Threadbanger friends, and welcome to the Décor It Yourself holiday special! If thinking about the upcoming holiday season stresses you out, relax! The holidays aren’t about spending money that none of us have. They’re about spending time with those that we love. So today, we’re gonna create the invitations, décor and gifts to give our loved ones a warm, wintry evening.

Gifts can be one of the most stressful parts of the holiday season – especially during these hard times. I’m gonna give you 3 easy gift ideas, that cost no more than $10!

For our first gift, we’ll take inspiration from our Earth Day episode, and create a gift by putting a cut plant in a vintage vessel. Who doesn’t need a little extra green, especially during these hard times.

These lovely coasters were made from remnants of fabric from leftover DIY projects. I still get in trouble when I go home to my folk’s house and don’t use a coaster. Sorry, mom!

For our last gift, you’ll need cinnamon sticks, cloves and clementine peels. Place your ingredients into an old mason jar and take a cool dishtowel and wrap it around it. Tie it with a bow, and you have a nice, warm gift of aromatic mulling spices. For more on mulling spices, check out the first episode of Décor It Yourself.

And now, on to my favorite element of any time of year – the décor!

For a quick and classy element of décor, spray a candle with adhesive, roll it in some glitter and place into an old shot glass or decorated vessel.

For our next décor piece, we’ll use our old wire hangars to create cool, seasonal sayings.

And, for the easiest of our décor ideas, take an old mirror and place on it your favorite woodland friends. Add a touch of glitter for a little snow flurry.

For our final low-budget décor piece, we’re gonna put our own spin on an old, kitschy idea. You’ll need some airtight glass containers, a glue gun, some figurines, glycerin, glitter and distilled water.

First, sand the inside of the container’s lid. Glue the feet of your figurine to the inside of the container’s lid and allow to dry.

Add 2 tablespoons of glitter to the vessel and fill with distilled water. To distill water, just boil and allow to cool.

Now, just add one drop of glycerin to the container, close the lid, and use your snowglobe as winter décor, or add a bow, and you have another gift to give!

Now that we have our seasonal décor and our gifts to give, we’re ready to invite our guests. After all, opening your home is a gift in itself! For unique invite ideas, check the DIY weddings episode of Décor It Yourself. But, for the holiday invite, we’re using a polaroid from last years’ Christmas. Look at us – living together in sin!

Well, we’re almost ready for our guests! But, to keep your party stress-free and low budget, choose one signature cocktail and one tasty treat. We’re doing sparkling peach and pomegranate schnapps, along with cookies, cupcakes and pumpkin bread.

I guess it’s time to celebrate!

Well, that was a hit! I’m off to clean up, but be sure to check back the first Wednesday of every month for more nesting. And remember, Your Nest Needs You!


Nov 15

How To Make A Wreath Out Of Old CDs

How To Make A Wreath From Old CDs (courtesy of Howcast.com)

Short on holiday decorations, but long on old CDs? Tis the season to be crafty! You will need:

A plastic, wooden or foam craft ring
30 old CDs
A hot-glue gun
A picture hanger
A strand of battery-powered holiday lights
A holiday bow or ribbon
A hammer
A nail
A plastic scraper (optional)

Optional: An over-the-door wreath hanger

Step 1: Arrange the CDs in evenly spaced intervals completely around the craft ring, shiny side facing out, and glue them into place.

Step 2: Glue a second layer of CDs so that they’re evenly spaced between the CDs on the first layer.

Step 3: Glue the picture hanger to the back of the ring so the wreath will hang properly.

Step 4: Glue the battery pack for the Christmas lights to the back of the wreath, opposite the hanger. When the glue dries, wrap the strand of lights around the outer edge of the wreath, with the lights hanging over onto the CDs. After positioning the lights, glue the strand to the backs of the CDs to hold it in place.

Step 5: Glue the bow or tie the ribbon to the bottom of the wreath to give your creation some holiday flair. Before displaying your wreath, remove any stray bits of glue with your hands or a plastic scraper.

Step 6: Tap a nail into your door and hang your wreath. If you can’t use nails, use an over-the-door hanger. Turn the lights on and bask in the colorful glow!
Did you know? In 2000, global sales of CDs peaked at 2.5 billion. In 2006, that figure was down to 1.8 billion.


Nov 11

Learn How To Furnish An Apartment For Almost No Money

How To Furnish An Apartment With Practically No Money (courtesy of Howcast.com)

You can’t be a couch potato without a couch. So stop squatting and listen to these hints! You will need:

Investigative skills

A dose of humility

And a keen eye

Step 1: Spread the word among friends and family that you are in the market for furniture they no longer need or want.

Step 2: Check out www.craigslist.com for free stuff, trade possibilities, or the opportunity to barter one of your skills.

Step 3: Comb thrift stores and second-hand stores in your area. Make friends with an employee at the local Goodwill or Salvation Army store so they can alert you if the perfect sofa, desk, or whatever comes in.

Step 4: Go curb shopping—that is, drive around looking for perfectly good pieces of furniture that people have thrown out. Some communities have designated “big trash” days when large items are allowed to be discarded. Time your curb shopping for maximum results. The end of the month at apartment complexes is good, as that’s when people move out, as is early May around universities, when college kids are cleaning out their dorm rooms.

Step 5: Check community websites for “freecycling” postings.

Step 6: Be creative. See the possibilities in things: an old bedspread can become drapes by sewing a pocket for a curtain rod; old dressers and bookshelves can be jazzed up with paint and new hardware; chair slipcovers can make the ugliest chairs look elegant.

Step 7: Check for discounts. Visit your local furniture stores to see if they have any scratched furniture or showroom samples available at deep discount.

Did you know? An Englishman vacationing in Australia in 2004 paid $36 for a suitcase that turned out to be filled with Beatles memorabilia worth nearly a million dollars!


Nov 08

Learn How To Make A Mojito

How To Make A Mojito (courtesy of Howcast.com)

Yes, it’s a trendy drink. But on a hot summer evening while drinking with good friends, this cross between the Mint Julep and the Daquiri doesn’t feel like a trend. It feels like destiny. You will need:

2 oz. light or gold rum
Some fresh mint
2 tsp. sugar
A lime cut into 4 wedges
Some soda water
Some ice
A collins glass
A measuring jigger
A muddler
And a spoon

Step 1: Pull off mint leaves. Set 1 mint sprig aside, and pull the leaves off the remaining sprigs. Some mojito recipes call for as many as 2 dozen mint leaves—how many you use depends on how “minty” you want your drink to taste.

Step 2: Add mint, lime & sugar. Line the glass with the leaves and add the 4 lime wedges and the sugar. Gently muddle everything against the sides and bottom with the muddler or back of a spoon. In Cuba, where the mojito originated, just 1 tsp. of powdered sugar is used.

Step 3: Fill the glass with ice.

Step 4: Pour in the rum & mix again.

Step 5: Add soda & garnish. Top off the cocktail with soda water and garnish with a sprig of mint. Mojito!

Did you know? While the Mojito was a favorite of “Carrie” and the gals on Sex & the City in the 1990s, it was also a favorite of Hemingway and the guys in the 1930s.


Nov 07

How To Use Sustainable Holiday Decorations

Sustainable Holiday Tips (courtesy of TheSalvageStudio.com)

Welcome to the Salvage Studio. I’m Beth Evans Romos, this is Amy Duncan and Lisa Hildebrand. We began our creative endeavor 3 years ago with our mutual lust for rust! We rescue good junk and re-purpose it into fun and functional home and garden décor!

Today, we’re gonna talk about how to set an entertaining table, Salvage Studio style. This works great for entertaining during the holidays. This same idea would also work if you were doing a sit down dinner. We’re gonna start from the bottom up, and we’ll talk about all the different ideas you can use to give you that lust for rust look.

First of all, starting with the tablecloths. I like to use white linen. White linen tablecloths are abundant at the thrift stores, they don’t need to be ironed because we like that sort of shabby chic ruffled, crumpled look. I like to layer several over one another. This works out great, because if the ones underneath have a hole and stains in them, the one on top will cover it over.

Once you have that down, then I like to put mirrors on top. Flat mirrors are easy to find, often times without the frame, and it just really helps to add an element to the tabletop and give it some sparkle. It works really great if you have some candlelight – it helps to bring that to focus.

Then, the next thing are trivets. You’re probably serving a combination of hot and cold food, and so we like to put down some interesting trivets. This one is an old spinning wheel, this one is a grapevine wreath, and this one is an old industrial gear.

Here’s some items that you can put your dishes in to. We love silver plate at the studio. And it doesn’t need to be shiny and bright. We love it to be tarnished, because it really shows the patina and adds one more layer of texture to your table. This is a beautiful dish, and if you collect a lot of different ones, you never know when they’re gonna come in useful.

We found this piece, which is an old farm pulley, at a friend’s house where she was throwing some things away. I thought, my God, what could we ever do with that? And we turned it upside down and thought wow – that makes a beautiful stand. And then the silver dish sits on top, and there you have the perfect display piece for your buffet table.

Another use of silver plate is taking the old silver plated trays. This has been attached to a lazy susan that has been painted black. The 2 are married together with adhesive, and again, makes a sunny presentation on your table.

Continuing on with silver plates, we also have these pedestals that can be made. These glasses are from wedding receptions that I don’t think were ever used after that fact, and then, just have the trays glued on top. If you stack them together, one on top of another, then you maximize the space on your buffet table, and you also have a wonderful looking display for crackers, cheese, fruit or desert items.

Another great buffet piece is made from putting together the glass ceiling fixtures with an old candlestick. This is an old wooden candlestick that has been painted a white color, and this piece has been attached to it with a rubber gasket and a screw. This is great, then, in not only holding things such as bread, but it could also hold a salad or possibly some mixed vegetables.

Continuing on with other pieces that have been repurposed. These candlesticks have been made from an old wooden lamp that has a great texture and patina to it. And, glued on the top has been a silver plate coaster. Always nice to add candlelight to your buffet table. It just really makes everything look that much more festive.

Another great piece that has been put together from repurpose items is this fireplace tool caddy. It has been reborn as the perfect buffet piece. These are, again, the glass globes from a smaller fixture that has been wired on and crystals added. You could put in silverware, you could put in napkins, you could put in bread sticks.

Then, finishing up with the final touches. I have napkins here, in an old soup tureen that has lost its top. And again, we like to use the real napkins along with the real silverware and real plates on the buffet table, instead of plastic and styrofoam. It just really gives that extra touch that means so much that you care.

And finally, for a little personal touch, I have these glass jars with photographs. They could very easily be place holders, if you were doing a sit down dinner, or they could just have a little fun momento for people if you’re having a family reunion. What this is is an old photograph that has been inserted into a glass jar. This one has some buttons in the back to help hold the photo in place, and then, the cover has been spray painted black and put on to hold it all together.

So, as you can see, lots of lovely ideas that makes use of what you have at hand to give our buffet table that special look!


Oct 31

How To Make Resin Jewelry

How To Make Rock Star Resin Jewelry (courtesy of CreativeJuice.com)

Today, rockin’ crafts take center stage! First, we break the mold, designing some hard core resin jewelry. Then, we belt out stylin’ ideas for buckles that burst with glitz and glam! And, we;ll tear through a tee technique that’s totally cutting edge! Sine like a rock start, right now on Creative Juice!

You don’t have to be a rock start to appreciate some edgier fashion style, like this resin guitar pick necklace. But, you can be a fan of creating your own resin style jewelry. Fun, funky and easy to do, and we’re gonna show you how!

Creating resin jewelry isn’t as scary or intimidating as it may appear. It’s actually very easy, and considering how many you can get out of these 2 bottles, it’s very cost effective. So, we got these 2 bottles at the craft store. They come as a kit. You also want to purchase a mold, like this one here. They come in a lot of different shapes and sizes. We’re gonna be making the oval one right here. And, these cost about $1.50 – really cheap.

Now, you also need to purchase some food grade silicone, and before you put your resin in, you have to spray the entire sheet with the silicone. Or, at least the mold that you’re gonna be using. Now this is kind of a lubricant, so when the resin hardens, it’s very easy to pop out and it’s not gonna stick to your mold. And we’ve gone ahead and just pre-sprayed these.

The next thing you want to do is choose what you want to embed. You can embed so many different things. I’ve got fun beads here, you could do this confetti – what I used to put in cards all the time and it would spill everywhere, stars and heart shapes! We’re gonna be using a guitar pick for ours. Now, we went and purchased these little tiny cups, these little measuring cups. You can get them at hobby stores or at medical supply stores, and they’re great because they have all different kinds of measurements all the way around. We’re gonna be using the drams measurement.

Now, we’re using 2 part resin, so let’s pour that right in.

Don’t forget your gloves!

Oh, yeah – gloves! Thanks for reminding me! You definitely want to wear gloves on this, because if it gets on your skin, it will burn you. We’re ready! OK, so, I’m doing 2 drams of the resin, and you really need to measure carefully, because even a small discrepancy can make your final resin too soft or too brittle. And, I’m doing 2 drams of the hardener. Like that. Now, I want to mix this up. I use these tiny, little popsicle sticks here. You want to mix this slowly for about 2 minutes, and avoid all air bubbles. That’s why I’m going really slow and just gently blending this together. Now, you can see it’s kind of foggy right now. You want to wait til it gets a little bit clear. The more you blend it, the clearer it’s gonna get. So now, I’m just gonna go around these edges here and scrape the sides and just make sure that it’s all blended very nicely together.

OK, I think our 2 minutes area about up. What I’m going to do is pour it into our 2nd cup here. Just make sure it’s all completely, completely blended all nicely together. And now, I’m just gonna remix this for about 30 seconds is all you have to do. And this will really help to make sure that all that’s blended together. All right, our resin is ready to pour. There you go, Cathie!

Thank you! We’re gonna pour it into our mold. We’re gonna fill it about halfway up, and then we’re ready to embed our guitar pick. I’m gonna use a tweezer here, and go in with a popsicle stick and coat the front and back of this, and that’s gonna help it slide right into place without creating any more air bubbles. If you were using paper or fabric, you would want to make sure that you coated them with some sort of a spray polyurethane or a decoupage medium before embedding them. Then, place it face down, because we want that to show. And we’ll just top it off with the rest of the resin. I’m not gonna go all the way to the top of the mold, cause if you did, you may get a lip once it’s dry, and then you’d have to go in with a file and file that away.

And, there you go! It’s really as easy as that. Now, you just want to set this aside for 3 days. Let it dry for a good 3 days. Completely cure it up. Now, this is for a clear one. We do want to show you how to add color, which is so fun! Blues, reds, greens, every color you can possibly imagine! This one here has been drying for one day. So, we already have our resin down, and we still have some room at the top. So what we’re gonna do is, we’re gonna add some dye to our resin, mix it together and pour a layer right on top, just like this one. So it’s basically just the back of it that’s giving this whole entire thing the color. If you were to mix all of the resin green – add some dye to all the resin and pour it on top – you would not be able to see this pick. It would completely cover it. Look at that. Just the tiniest little amount of dye here. Got a little bit extra. Place that right in there. And these dyes are specifically made for this.

A little bit goes a long way, doesn’t it?

Yea. Same thing, you don’t want to stir it too aggressively, you don’t want to create any more air bubbles. Now we’re ready to just pour it right on top. Ooh, that looks great with the yellow – nice, soft green. And, there you go! Same thing, you just want to set this aside for 3 days.

Now, we’re ready to pop out our guitar pick. Here’s the one that we did. What we just showed you how to do, this one has been drying for 3 days and it’s as simple as just popping it out, just like this. Put your thumb right on the bottom, move it around a little bit, and there it is! Pretty nice, huh?

Now, we just need to create a pendant out of it. It’s very simple. We’re just using the Fiskar drill, here. Just a hand drill. We’ve got a 1/8th inch drill bit, and we’re just gonna drill straight onto this – it’s so easy! You could use a power drill if you wanted to, but this just works so great. You can see how easy. I’m not even using one muscle!

There we go! Let’s dust this off. If you’ve got any little sharp edges here, you might want to use a little file. This little round file works nicely. Put it through, just kind of spin it around here. You could use a bead reamer if you have bead reamer at home. And remember, all the instructions on resin are at our website, DIYNetwork.com.

So, to get started with the wire wrapping, I’ve just got a small piece of wire here and it’s very flexible, and I’m gonna place that right through he hole that we drilled, just like that. And, you want to go ahead and just wrap one of them, just kind of coiling it around. Now I’ve got a wire cutter here, and I’m gonna cut away this excess. Go in with my pliers and flatten that down. Now I just need to create a little loop at the top. To do that, you just want to bend back your wire, then come on forward with it. Let’s make a pretty good size. I’m gonna leave a little bit of length on there, and we’ve got ourselves one inexpensive pendant.

Well done, Cath! Now all we need to do is, we’re just gonna string some chain right through it. You can buy ball chain by the foot, or if you have an old necklace laying around, just revamp it with a new resin pendant! There you have it, you wanna try it on?

I would love to try that on! So, have some fun with resin and make some jewelry! Coming up – we buckle down with a belt project that’s flashy and flamboyant! So strap yourself in with more Creative Juice!

For our rocker episode, I’m gonna belt one out…aww just kidding I’m not gonna sing a tune! But, I’m gonna craft up a really fun, rocker-inspired belt. First thing that you’re gonna need is a belt blank. Just go online and search for belt buckle blanks. They’re about 6 bucks and they come in tons of different styles. I’ve got some paper cut-outs here, and this one here, the crown, is just a font that I enlarged on the computer. This one here is just a piece of wrapping paper, and I spelled out the word Rock Queen. I’m gonna glue stick these right down onto the surface of my belt. Just cut them to size. Just fits in there. If you wanted to get real precise with your edges, you could lay this down on a photocopier and just use that to build a template.

Now, I’m gonna add a fun crown. Now, this font is called a dingbat, I think. It just came with my computer. And you can just print it out on a larger size and change up the colors, and ou can keep layering these up with tons of different images or sayings.

Now for my words – Rock Queen! I’m just gonna slide that right across the glue stick, sorta overlap that right there, and there you go! I got all the paper glued down, and now I’m gonna add some glitz to this! I’m gonna start by adding some rhinestones with some jewel glue. And this stuff works great if you’re working with plastic rhinestones, because it won’t cloud up on the backs. I’m gonna use some, kind of smoky quartz color to mix in. Just going in with my toothpick, place a couple of dots of glue down there, place our rhinestones on top, now we’re getting a little glitz. There you go, I’ve got those all glued down, now. At this point, I just want to set this aside and let this dry, and I’ve got one right here that’s already been drying, and I’m gonna apply some glitter and some Mod Podge to this. Now, Mod Podge is just a decoupage medium, and I’ve got a trick for creating a really cool sparking effect with it. I’ve got some copper glitter here and it’s ultra fine, and I’m gonna mix this together. And give a really nice coat over the entire belt buckle. That’s going to seal in all of the paper, I’m going right over the rhinestones. I like to go in one direction. Trying to go horizontal, across, because your brush strokes will show a little bit. That way, you have a nice, even coat. There we go! Got that all applied. Now, at this point, you want to set this aside and let it dry, and once it’s dry, it’s gonna look just like this. Look at all that sparkle – just by adding a little bit of glitter to the mod podge. So fun!

At this point, you’re ready to just attach it to a belt. I’ve got a belt blank here, and I want to show you how to attach the belt buckle to the belt. It’s very simple. Most of these types of belts have some snaps on the back, so, all you want to do is slide that piece, right under the bar, and then you’re gonna fold back the leather flap and snap it into place. It’s as easy as that! Then your belt will loop right through there. There’s usually a little notch here and that will hook right on through, just like that. So easy! So, get creative, get crafty, and Rock On, cause they’re a cinch!

Next, release your inner rock star with a cutaway t-shirt that will turn you inside out! T-shirts will always be a wardrobe essential. I always look for cool t-shirts, and variety is pretty important, too, like this t-shirt right here!

This t-shirt is so simple to make! We’re calling these cutaway t-shirts. We made this one earlier, and all we did was layer a piece of fabric behind our t-shirt, and then we went in and stitched out this star design. We did an outside stitching, and then we did some inside, and then we just cutaway to remove the t-shirt, exposing the cool fabric underneath there.

These are super expensive at the stores, and we’re gonna show you how to make them for minimal money. This is the one that we’re gonna be making today. This is for Cathie. I drew her a fly away heart, and that’s the image we’re gonna put right down here on the sweatshirt.

Just get your image and place it where you want to on your shirt. Let me show you a little trick, here, because I’m gonna be pinning this image onto the sweatshirt, and I’m using a self-healing mat. First, we need the piece of fabric that’s gonna peek-a-boo right through that sweatshirt. There’s lots of fabrics out there. We have found that if you use medium to small prints, you’re gonna have really good success with designs that will fit on the front of the t-shirt. This design here is great, because it’s an all-over design – there’s no right or wrong direction with it. If you’re going with some kind of really serious straight lines, you may have trouble lining it up and having really good results at the end. So look for medium to small images, all over pattern, and I like to go with 100% cotton or fiber that’s comparable to the sweatshirt or t-shirt that you’re using.

So, I’m using a self-healing mat here, and I’m just gonna slide it in my sweatshirt. And I’m using this because I’m gonna be pinning the fabric to the top of my sweatshirt, and I don’t want to possibly pin underneath here. So, if you have a piece of cardboard, a magazine, self-healing mat, works fantastic. So I’m just gonna be placing my fabric right in the area that I know my image is gonna go on top, and I’m gonna take a little time with this because I absolutely don’t want any wrinkles in this before I pin it. Fold this fabric over, and then position my image right on top. As you can see, I’ve got this lean here. I kind of want it to go off a little bit on the sweatshirt here by the zipper, so I’m just gonna fold this image over, this little piece of the wing, right there. So that looks just about right – let’s pin this down!

Now, you wanna pin this really, really well so when you start stitching everything together, nothing shifts around. You may think this is over stitching, but, trust me, you’ll be glad once you start stitching! And remember, for more information on this project and all of our other great sewing projects, just log on to our website at DIYNetwork.com. And this is ready to be sewn! So, Cathie’s gonna show you how to do this – get my self-healing mat out – there we go!

So let’s get stitching. I’m using a ball point needle, and that’s kind of a rounded needle. It’s still sharp, and it’s gonna go through the fabric really smoothly and help prevent any extra fraying that may happen. I’m using a short stitch length and going very carefully over my template. This is pretty easy sewing, but it’s also really detailed, so take your time and make it look right! There we go! Trim away these threads…

OK, so the next step in this is we want to remove this paper. So, I’m just gonna slowly pull it away from the sweatshirt here. Now, don’t go crazy and pull it really quick. You want to be a little gentle with this so you’re not gonna be pulling any threads out. Sounds like you’re ripping it, but that’s just the paper! Alright! There you go – how great is that? But, we need to reveal our fabric, and to do that, we’re gonna do the cutaway part now. What I’m gonna do is just go in and grab just this back fabric and sort of hold it separate, and in the center of where we just stitched, I’m gonna go in and make a slit. Just cut right in there. Then we’re gonna go in and we’re gonna cut very close to the stitching line, about 1/16th to 1/8th of an inch. You want to get close to the line, but you don’t want to go over that line, because then you would end up cutting through your stitches.

And we’ve got ourselves one cool, cutaway design! Now, all we need to do is to go in on the backside and remove a little it of this bulk. So I’m just using some pinking shears here, and just getting close to my stitch here and just cutting away that extra bulk. You don’t need that in there…it would just be irritating!

Let me see! I think I’m gonna be wearing this for a long time! Pretty cool! From t-shirts to sweatshirts to even jeans, you can create a rock and roll cutaway on just about any piece of fabric! Coming up, we square off with a pillow project that offers star treatment. You’ve got a backstage pass, next on Creative Juice!

Remember those cutaway tees that we did earlier, like my shirt here? Well, we did the exact same technique right on top of pillows, using this red faux suede and this black…a great combination. We also did it right on top of denim, which looked great. And we have a few tips and techniques for working with different fabrics when you’re using this cutaway technique. If you’re doing it on a t-shirt or using t-shirt knit material, you’re not gonna get much fray on your cut lines, but if you’re working with denim, you may need to use a little bit of this product called Stop Fraying. What we did is, we went in with a little bit of our Stop Fraying on a paintbrush and went right around our edges. This stuff dries perfectly clear, and it goes through the laundry.

Now, we specifically made these big pillows for on top of a bed. What we’ve done is, we wanted our birds to look at each other, going left to right, so what we’ve done is. We’ve just reversed the image on one of the pillows so they can sit comfortably and watch each other, all day long!

We hope that this cutaway technique has inspired you to try some of your own! Thanks for joining us, and we’ll see you next time – see you later!


Oct 27

Learn How To Repurpose TShirts Into Tote Bags

How To Re-Purpose T-Shirts Into Tote Bags (courtesy of Threadbangers.com)

Hey Threadbangers! Today, it’s all about the earth. Earth Day was this week, so today I’m gonna turn the episode over to G from Refashionoso.com, and she’s gonna show us an easy way to turn old kids’ clothes into a new bag…check it out!

Here we are! From 2 t-shirts from Zara Kids, let’s create a new bag! Yo – enjoy!

What I’ve got today are 2 t-shirts from my daughter. These 2. These are 2 small for her now. So, what we are going to do, because the cotton is still fantastic, is create a bag! Are you ready for this? Yes, I am!

Let’s put the t-shirts on the floor, one with the design up, the 2nd one with the design face down. With pins, pin 3 sides of the t-shirts, leaving the 4th one and the sleeves free. After that, simply start to sew!

OK, guys, done! Now, we have to create the handles of the bag, using the sleeves of the 2 t-shirts. Let’s do it!

First of all, you need 4 buttons, and 4 pieces of textile, like this – look – with a hole in the middle, so we can use that like this. If you don’t have this, simply take a piece of denim, cut a little bit – cut a little piece like this – and make a hole in the middle, ’cause the denim is very hard material, it’s very good to do this kind of thing.

Simply, in one edge of the sleeve, sew the piece of textile with the hole in the middle. In the other sleeve, sew the button. Let’s do the same for the 4 sleeves of the 2 t-shirts. This way you can see how is simple to create the handles of the bag.

Look! We have done! And here as well – yes! Now, what we have to do – we cut the 2 labels, yes. We put this part inside like this, and we fix with pins. OK, and now, we simply have to close our new bag.

To close it, I want to use an old piece of t-shirt, denim t-shirt. I’m going to put this inside, and the button of the t-shirt outside. You can close it this way. I mean, you can use the buttons, everything you want and everything you like – it’s up to you. Ad then, start to sew.

OK, guys! We have done! Yes! It’s our new bag, look! And now, just open it. That’s it, and put inside all what you need: wallet, book, keys, close it. Yes! And now, we are ready to go out! Yes! I love it!

Thanks for the video, G. You’re a rockin’ eco-fashionista!


Oct 24

Learn How To Make Pendant Lights From Thrifty Vintage Finds

How To Make Pendant Lights out of Thrifty Vintage Finds (courtesy of RetroRenation.com)

Hi! I’m Pam Kueber from RetroRenovation.com.

Hi! I’m Susan Schneider from Shandells.com,

…and we’re here today to talk to you about how to take thrifty finds from, maybe Grandma’s attic or your local re-store – even take just unique household items – and transform them into pendant lighting that you can enjoy every day! The name of the show is, “Put A Bulb In It”.

So, what do we mean by Put A Bulb In It? Well, Pam sent me an email with these amazing pendants from all over the country, different artists and different vessels and all different things, and I said, wow, this should be something fun to do! So, I went out to our local thrift store and our local junk store to see what was around that I could put a bulb in. And this is what I came back with. Here is a before and after of a Put A Bulb In It.

This is a pair of lamps that I found. Not the favorites, but they were ok, but they were glass, they had a beautiful shape, they were fluted, they had a wonderful scallop on it. But, the best thing is, they had a hole in it. Everything is already pre-made, easy for you to take everything apart, turn it upside down and Put A Bulb In It.

Hey, Precautionary Pam here, warning you, as I often do on the site, about making sure whenever you undertake a project, that you’re using proper environmental and safety procedures. Now, with the project, we’re not really giving you the advice – the DIY advice – about how to do wiring or hanging, or even about the exact wattage that should go into these puppies. That’s because every project’s gonna be different. So, make sure, when you’re going through the actual steps of rewiring, hanging and putting in the bulbs,that you’re consulting with proper, expert, professional advice. A local electrician can be a great resource. Another place to get started with good information about lots of safety stuff in the house is Underwriter’sLaboratories.com. Again, always be sure to renovate safe!

Oh! Am I live? OK. Hey Pam! I went shopping after that wonderful email that you sent me about those pendant lamps. And look at what I found here, on the table! Oh! It’s just amazing! But, let’s start with how this all started with putting a bulb in it. It started with a Ball jar. Mason jar, canning jar, they were putting bulbs in it and hanging pendants. A company that advertises with you, Barnlight Electric, they have them right on their site. So, if you don’t want to do any of this and be creative on your own, they’re made up, ready to go from them. But, here we are today, looking at all these different things that we can put a bulb in it, and we’re gonna do it ourselves.

What we need is a vessel – a glass vessel is what we have here. And we need 2 things to be with this – we need a cap and we need a hole. This one has a cap. All we need to do is to make a hole through this. We need to trash the inside here, to break the porcelain,then put a hole in it. Then, we can electrify this, hang it as a pendant. So, that’s one that’s around all over. I went and I said, let’s do something a little bit different. Here’s some old-fashioned sugar shakers. They have a wonderful column, with all the ridges going up and down. An architectural feel. And when the light comes through this, it’s a bit of a prism. This one here has a hole as well as a cap. Very easily to be electrified. Hang the pendant in the kitchen, over a dining suite, would be perfect – Put A Bulb In It! And then, we have colored glass. Colored glass – we can have green, there’s blue, there’s amber, pink, just all different jars. All that you can find in your thrift store and your bottle shops locally. And, most of them all come with caps in it. And, you can find a box of old jar caps and match your caps to it. Here we are with green ones – all we have to do it drill, put the electrical in, and there we have green pendants to hang in the kitchen.

Then I though, oh! I found these. These were peanut butter jars. They were so adorable! They were shaped a little bit different. They were rectangle, they had embossed peanuts all around them. So I thought, wow, wouldn’t these look great! Instead of the round, normal ones, have a little bit different of a shape. They have a cap in it. You unscrew these, make a hole in it, electrify it, hang up, and there you have a pendant all to your own!

These are kind of utilitarian, kitchen vessels that are all around the house. Let’s go a little bit fancier. I found these little, tiny lamps which were ok. But the nicest part about it is they were all crystal. Crystal, and they were all pressed glass. And, the best part is, they all have holes in it – that’s what you need! Unless you want to go down the route of drilling your own glass, but, that’s up to you. These have holes in it. I took them apart, cleaned them up, hang them up all electrified together, at different heights or 3 over a dining room table, 3 over a counter in a kitchen. There, you have your pendants, unique to yourself, to Put A Bulb In It!

OK, down to the next one. These were mid-century, probably outdoor fixtures that hung outside. Now, we’re gonna reclaim them, we’re gonna re-purpose them to indoor lighting. We’re gonna make a pendant out of them. What we want for this is, we need something to hold it up. So, we need a cap to go on top. The cap will hold all your electrical on the inside, and they have little tiny screws here that screw right into this lip, to hold it in. So therefore, you can hang them on their own, together, in clusters of 3, 4 and 5. Be creative, enjoy, and see what’s out there!

And also I found these, which are great. Beehive design with an iridescent feel to them. And the same thing as the ones with the gold on top of it, you need the cap that screws onto the little lip that holds it up. Then you put the electrical inside of it, and there we have a pendant, all to its own.

Here’s the absolute best thing that I found – this wonderful crystal lamp. Look at this – I thought this was great! It had a fabulous shape to it, wonderful design. It wasn’t my favorite as a lamp. Some people might like it, but I didn’t. And I thought, wow, let’s take this apart. Because this is not one piece of crystal…this is 3. So, I took this apart, cleaned it all up, and look at this. Classical, beautiful shapes that you will electrify to make a 3-pendant ceiling fixture. There you go, Pam. Stuff I found on my trip, to Put A Bulb In It!

Pam! What did you bring me?

Ok Susan! I got so excited! I went through all of my junking areas – the attic, the basement, my office – everyone knows – looking for things that we can put a bulb in, so I want to make sure that I have the right idea now. Vintage cheese grater – can we put a bulb in it?

Absolutely. Absolutely. Put 7 of them across your counter!

You know, I knew the answer was yes, because that’s exactly what in that 70s house…That 70s Show…the kitchen, if you look carefully, it has 7 pendant lights basically made out of cheese graters. And these are great!

What about a vintage coffee cup? It’s kind of translucent. This is my Blue Heaven pattern. Can we turn this into a little light?

Yes, we can. I love the pattern, will be great. Doesn’t have a hole in it, so, what I would suggest is, take this to your local tile guy, your glass guy. They’re the ones who are gonna be able to drill through glass and tile.

Tile guy. I wouldn’t have ever thought about that – that’s a great idea.

Tile guys. The important thing about drilling glass is you need water. You need the fusion of water, because that’s what’s gonna make it…you might lose some…it might happen. It’s always the weakest link that’s gonna blow. But, you can Put A Bulb In It. Good idea, too, ’cause that’s not enough coffee for me!

Alright, so how about a pendant made out of an old cake topper?

I love it! I love the shape, because it’s wonderfully smooth…we’re gonna lose this, but you know what? If you’re gonna hang it up, you’re not gonna see this. I mean, take it off and repurpose it for something else.

You wanna put 2 lights on this one?

2 lights. I like them. You’ll get a lot more light, instead of driving down. Remember, you’re gonna have to hang it up high enough so you’re not gonna have a bulb sticking in your eyes. So, the cluster lights is gonna be an easier way to go with that one.

The other idea I had – I didn’t have one at home – but when I saw this I thought, you know, there are a lot of chipping, painted cake plate toppers that would be beautiful as pendant lights.

That’s great! There’s ones with plaid all around it, just fabulous. And those are all around.

I’m super proud of this one – this is the coffee holder for one of those big Westbend guys, and I thought, oh, that would be cute! Can we Put A Bulb In It?

Yes, we can! It would take a little bit more than just, you know, throwing some wires on this, because if you want to keep the shaft and use it to hold your pendant, then we need a welder. Epoxy is not gonna hold this together. You need this to be solidly fixed, welded. You need holes drilled into your metals, so you could put a cluster body inside there.

Ok, so a little bit more professionalism if you’re gonna keep this piece, but if you’re just gonna use this as a shade, it looks to me like you could put a bulb in this one really easily.

Absolutely. This piece can come off, this one would be a lot easier. If you want to keep this, which I think we both agree is the nicer of the 2 because of its wonderful shape here, then you need to go to your professional to help you out. Yea, get some help.

Um, ok, Susan, you’re a gluten food girl…

I know, and I don’t use one anymore!

So, can we turn this into a pendant light?

Yes, we can. We can turn it into a pendant light, and what about doing it as a ceiling light? You know…doing it the other way around, so that light seeps down this way. It’s been done, but who says it can’t be done again? Perfect to put a bulb in.

OK, I’m kinda pushing limits here, he ain’t heavy, he’s my blender. It’s pretty heavy, this one. It’s like an old Oster blender top. Can we put a bulb in it?

Yes, we can put a bulb in it. It has all of the parameters. It has a top here, it has a hole, so all we have to do is take out the spinning mechanism. You can put your electrical through here, and you can hang it up. But, this needs to go into a support stud. Because, you know, you don’t want to be drinking your morning coffee and having this hit your head.

So, you need a stud for this one?

Yes, you need a stud for this one. Love the birdcage!

The birdcage. Now, this isn’t real dear. This I just got at my – I think TJMax about 5 years ago.

But, you know what? Even thought it’s not dear, it might be the perfect thing for the room that you need. So, regardless of…what about a hallway?

And, we talked about how you could cut this out and put glass in the bottom and it would shine down – more light down as well as out. And you had another idea…

I had another great idea is to open it up, and then line the insides with rice paper…a color – you know, yellow, blue green – make it bright and fun. There’s so much to do, and you can sit/put birds in it!

So, you could decorate the inside and then Put A Bulb In It. Yes! So, this is one of my favorites. It’s an old Lennox pepper mill with the welcoming wheat. I just love the shape! I mean, once you get this idea in your head, you just start looking at these objects in a different way. So, it’s a pepper mill, and obviously there’s a mechanism running down the middle of it that you can rip out. And then, what about this? Can we save this?

Yes, we can. I mean we won’t be able to save the little top here, but what we will do is we’ll drill a bigger hole than the existing hole already in this. So, that’s an easy step. You’re not going into blank, starting from scratch. So we make this hole wider so we can drop the cord down. And I think like a round little bulb on the bottom…I think it would be so adorable with a bulb. Put A Bulb In It!

OK, last but not least, Susan’s favorite – the Good Seasons dressing bottle, which I found at an estate sale in a basement. It’s still got the packaging inside of it, so they never put…how’d you make it back in the day?

Well, exactly like it says. Add vinegar, water, oil, and then put the seasonings. That’s it – every night for dinner! And shake it up. I loved to…

So can we put a bulb in it?



Let’s not put a bulb in it, let’s put a bulb ON it. I mean, can you imagine, just putting a little bulb on it, a little tiny lampshade, in your kitchen, keeping all of this original right here? I think this is our next project, Pam. Let’s Put A Bulb On This.

Alright, so next time we’ll get together and talk about how to Put A Bulb ON It.

Not in it Pam, on it!

You send us your ideas! If you have any lamp bases that you want us to try to work with, challenge us! See what we can do!

I’m Pam Kueber from Retrorenovation.com,

and I’m Susan Schneider from Shandells.com,

and we want to encourage you to Put A Bulb In It!


Oct 20

Learn How To Make Fortune Cookies

How To Make Fortune Cookies (courtesy of Howcast.com)

Making homemade fortune cookies is a snap, and your loved ones will get a kick out of their personalized predictions! You will need:



Nontoxic Pen

Cookie Sheet

Butter or nonstick Cooking Spray

2 large egg whites

½ cup of all-purpose flour

½ cup of sugar

1 tsp almond extract

Wax paper

Measuring cup

Muffin tins

Step 1: Cut paper into 16 2 x ½ inch strips, and write a fortune on each with a non-toxic pen.

Step 2: Preheat oven to 375°, and grease a baking sheet with butter or non-stick cooking spray.

Step 3: Whisk egg whites into a medium-sized bowl, until they’re just foamy.

Step 4: Add the flour, sugar, and almond extract to the egg whites and beat until the mixture is smooth.

Step 5: Drop 4 separate tablespoons of batter onto the cooking sheet, spaced far apart. You have enough batter for about 16 cookies, but don’t attempt to make more than 4 cookies per sheet. They need room to spread.

Step 6: Use a butter knife or the back of a spoon to spread the dropped batter into circles about 2 inches in diameter.

Step 7: Bake the cookies until the edges just begin to turn brown, about 6 minutes. The centers should remain pale.

Step 8: As soon as you take the cookies out of the oven, lift them off the cookie sheet with a spatula and place them on a piece of wax paper.

Step 9: Place a fortune in the center of a cookie, and fold the cookie in half, to form a semi-circle. Pick up the cookie and place the straight edge across the rim of the measuring cup. Fold the pointed edges down, one on the inside and one on the outside of the cup. Put the cookie in a muffin tin so it retains its shape as it cools. Work as quickly as you can! Once these cookies cool, they’ll be impossible to bend.

Step 10: Enjoy the looks on your loved ones’ faces when they read fortunes written just for them!

Did you know? The largest fortune cookie manufacturer in the world is located in Brooklyn, NY!


Oct 19

Learn How To Decorate For Halloween For Under $20

Halloween Decorating Tips for under $20 (courtesy of Mommaair)

Hi! I’m so glad you made it! I just got back from the dollar store and decided to show you some really cute things to make under $20 for your house for Halloween. Come on in!

OK, I’m ready to show you the supplies that I bought, and remember, this is all from the dollar store, or it’s things that I just had laying around my house that I know you have laying around your house as well! So, what you’re gonna need:

Some Black Crepe Paper

Skeleton Garland

Some Foil Skeletons and Pumpkins

Burlap Fabric

Foam Wreath

Yes, a video tape – I’m gonna show you what we’re gonna do with this –

Empty Root Beer Bottles

Creepy Cloth – like a mesh, black

Spiderweb Cloth

Some Little Spiders With Skeletons

Corrugated Cardboard

I also went out to my own yard and just clipped some dried flowers that obviously, have kind of withered, but I’m gonna use these

And then, I got some pots at the dollar store, and I have already gone ahead and painted those with black craft paint – I just did a really, quick wash of craft paint. So, I’m excited to get started! Let me show you the areas we’re gonna work on.

Here’s a quick glance of our 2 areas before we do the decorating – the table and the chest. What you’re gonna do first is you’re gonna take this tape and you’re gonna wrap it around the wreath. I’ve wrapped it around all the way. And then, you’re gonna take your crepe paper and you’re gonna make a flower. And, it’s really, really easy. All you’re gonna do is gather – bunch it around, making it as big or small as you like, and then you’re just gonna straight pin it on. There’s the finished product!

Next, the burlap. I’m gonna use this for several things. I’m gonna use this to cover the pictures in my family room. Artwork that you don’t like. I’m also using it to cover my candles. So, I’ve cut some strips and it’s very easy to fray. Once you cut it, just go ahead and pull out strings. Save these strings, ’cause we’re gonna use these later to tie on things. So, all you do is wrap it around, and then I used one of the burlap strings, and then I took one of my little creatures and hot glued it on. I also used the burlap as a runner, and then I made almost ribbon out of the burlap, and I’m gonna use this to tie on the pots.

So, for your pots, I took the corrugated cardboard. You’re just gonna wrap the burlap ribbon around, tie a messy knot. Then, I disassembled the garlands, and you’re just gonna tie that on – use another piece of the burlap string.

The last thing you’re gonna do is you’re gonna make your ribbons for the root beer bottles. It’s really easy – takes – you’re just gonna loop it around, like this. Take a piece of craft wire, and I’ve combined…I’ve done it 3 different times and overlapped them. Then, I’ve gone ahead and put them on the beer bottle. There’s the skeleton garland, and I’m gonna use these all around. I cut these. Instead of keeping it as a garland, I cut these individual, put them on the root beer bottles, and then, if you saw a crazy lady at the side of the road picking sunflowers, that was me! Fill these with sunflowers. And the thing that makes all this work, even though it’s little and it’s all from the dollar store, you’re using a lot of it. And so, when you have a lot of little things, it makes a big impact.

Last thing is this creepy cloth. I’m gonna use this as part of the table runner and also on my light fixtures. We’ll show you how to do that.

OK, we’re out of time, but I am so excited to show you the final product. So, if you take these ideas and then add them to your existing Halloween décor, I think you are gonna have a really cute décor, but really affordable.


Oct 18

Learn How To Check Your Dog For Ticks

How To Check Your Dog For Ticks (courtesy of Howcast.com)

Did you know your fine, furry friends can get lyme disease, too? Giving Fido the once over will not only protect him from infection, but, it can help keep you and your family safe, too. You will need:

Fine-tipped tweezers


Warm water

Rubbing alcohol

Cotton balls

Sealed container

A veterinarian


Sturdy table or counter

A towel

A sealable plastic baggie

Step 1 – Wash the tweezers thoroughly in soapy water, or, wipe them carefully with a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol. If you do find a tick, you’ll want to be able to remove it right away.

Step 2 – Set your dog down. If you have a small dog, it may be easier to put him on a sturdy counter or a table with a towel under him.

Step 3 – Run your hands over the dog’s body, gently but thoroughly, beginning with the face and ears and moving back toward the tail.

Step 4 – Check the dog’s chest, stomach, legs and feet. Be sure to examine between the toes and the armpits, and inside the ears. Remember, some ticks are as small as the head of a pin.

Step 5 – If you feel any bumps beneath the skin, separate the fur to examine the area more closely.

Step 6 – If you find a tick, it may have already formed a protective sac around itself. Use the clean tweezers to grasp the sac as closely as possible to the dog’s skin. Try to avoid crushing the tick’s body. This may be difficult with very small ticks, but, do your best!

Step 7 – Pull the sac away from the dog’s skin. If the tick’s mouth parts are left behind,don’t be concerned. Once the body is removed, it can no longer transmit bacteria.

Step 8 – Do not prick, crush or burn the tick. Instead, place it in a sealable container, such as a lidded jar, with a little bit of rubbing alcohol. Seal the container and throw it away. If you don’t have a lidded jar, place the tick in a sealable, plastic baggie and throw it away.

Step 9 – Clean the bitten area with rubbing alcohol.

Step 10 – Wash your hands thoroughly.

Step 11 – Over the next few weeks, check the spot where you pulled the tick. Some dogs may have a red spot or a slight swelling in the area for several days. If serious redness, swelling or tenderness occurs, contact your veterinarian.

Step 12 – Talk to your vet about whether your dog might benefit from collars, pills, or topical applications that protect against fleas and ticks.

Did you know? The most common symptom of lyme disease in dogs is lameness and painful swelling of the joints?


Oct 13

Learn How To Oil Paint – Part II

How To Oil Paint – Part II (courtesy of TVPainter.com)

(continued from Part I, found on this site)…they’re gonna be different shades. Let’s grab some of this yellow ochre. This makes me excited – I hope it makes you excited, too! It is a good feel. See, we just add a little color – just look at these trees coming along. Fall is coming, but not quite here, yet. It plays a key role in nature. Let’s grab a little of this cad yellow and go with that, too, just brighten it up just a tad…just a tad. It’s got some leaves, still.

Let’s go back here, to this little tree right here, and we’ll cover it. Hide some things…we’ve got all kinds of things..just a hint. If you just tap them with a little bit of color, it still makes them appear far off, like you got a lot of things hiding in there.

OK, now, we’ve got those background trees taken care of. I’m gonna use a 2-inch brush, and let’s go into some of the van dyke brown and some of the ivory black, and let’s tap some color into this. I’m gonna show you a little trick that I like to do. I’m tapping straight down. This color is pretty dark. But, I’m gonna have to fill in all of this – we’re gonna block all this in right here. So let’s work on that.

Notice how I started below that, and work my way up. See? It lets the color gradually get lighter, because there’s not much paint in my brush. Let’s just work on that, and see what all we can come up with….get some of this light area right there. See if we can’t get all of this laid in here. This kinda works good, this way.

Using a 2-inch brush – a clean one – let’s go into some highlight colors. Let’s go into that Indian yellow, some of the cad yellow. Now, remember, it’s gotta be thinner, so I wanna dip into this…I got a little linseed oil here I’m gonna cut with that…put a little of that linseed oil in it. If I can get my words right! I get tongue-tied sometimes! Remember, you gotta have enough paint on here, but it’s gotta be thin…gotta be thin.

Let’s put in some grass. Let’s start from the right side over here. Just tap in some highlights…not quite enough, so get some more linseed oil…tap in here. Let’s go back here in the back…there we go…it’s working now! Laying in some highlights…let’s make it a little greener…add a little more blue. Definitely worked! This is a nice color, here – let me turn it around here so you can see it. Sometimes they come out just a little bit too light, and you have to work with them. Get some more linseed oil…just a little problem, but, we’ll take care of it here in a moment. A bit more cad yellow so it’s as shadowed as I want it to.

Alright! Let’s stop just a moment. I want to put in, maybe like a little pond right there. Let’s take a 2-inch brush – a clean one – I have a lot of brushes up here that’s already cleaned so I don’t have to do a lot of cleaning all at one time. Make things move by a little easier! OK, we’ll take a little bit of this white, go up to the canvas right here, bore down, bore down, bore down. This will give us a bit of a reflection right there…something to make it look shimmery.

OK, lay that brush down, let’s get another clean, 1-inch brush. Gently, go across…see that? Instantly, you have a little pond! You got a little light. And, who knows? Let me get this other brush and add our highlight color on it. That’s one good thing about keeping it…and, let’s tap in some of the…just a little bit of this color that we used on the grass up there. Gently blend those, too. See that?

OK, I’m using a palette knife now. Go into some of that van dyke brown, a little bit of lizard crimson. You can see right here. Just mix up a little bit…makes the dirt. A little yellow ochre will help it – give it a little warm flavor! OK, let’s go right over here and cut a roll off. Get it nice and flat, cut a roll off, like that, and gently pull right across through there, like that. See, you got your…you got dirt. That easy! You don’t even have to go dig it up out of the yard! I make some funny comments sometimes – that’s what I like to do. Gotta have fun!

OK, now, use a little bit of white in with that mixture, let’s use a little bit of Indian yellow. Just a little – a bit more white. We’re gonna make a highlight for that dirt! See there? We’re using that same, dark mixture. Pull it out nice and flat, like that, cut you a roll across…just a little bit. See there? That dirt just comes alive! This makes it stand out, there – see that? But that dark – if you didn’t have that dark on it, you wouldn’t have anything at all. Just a gob of paint! Every little thing helps.

OK, while I’ve got that knife with me – I’ll wipe my knife off here right quick. OK, get some of this white…it’s got a little of this purple tint to it from that mixture that I have – that’s good. You don’t want it to be just stark, stark white. I’m kneading this paint, I guess you could say, it makes it a little creamy. That way it will go on the canvas a bit better. Sometimes these whites are thick, so…cut across the top, push it forward. Go up here, and let’s cut in a little water line. See that? Cut right there…just cut it in like that…just like that. Maybe there’s one out here…see that? We’ve got all kinds of things happening. That’s what I like. That’s how you can get all sorts of little things.

Alright, lets get some grass back up on top of this right quick. Take some of that ochre, come right here and tap in some of that grass right here. Push that dirt down…just like that. OK, lay that brush down…alright, where’s my big brush again? There we go. Tap into these three colors here, a little of the Indian yellow, some yellow ochre and some of the cad yellow. Add a little more linseed oil…(Part III to follow)


Oct 12

Learn How To Choose A Bike

How To Choose A Bike (courtesy of Howcast.com)

Taking the time to select the right bike ensures that your investment yields the rewards you desire! You will need:

A biking purpose

A landscape


A measuring tape

A retailer

Test rides

Optional: A tandem bike

Step 1 – Define whether your purpose in biking is for fitness, commuting or recreation.

Step 2 – Define where you want to ride. City streets, paved or gravel roads, trails, or a combination of services.

Step 3 – Match your goals to a bike type. Mountain bikes are for rough roads and trails, touring bikes for the open road, cruisers for city streets, and hybrids go anywhere! Check out a tandem bike – a bicycle built for 2 – to ride with a companion.

Step 4 – Using a measuring tape, measure your inseam to your shoe soles. Bike frames are sized to this measurement. Mountain bikes are sized in inches, and road bikes are sized in centimeters.

Step 5 – Ask your dealer to let you test drive the models you like. Make sure your selection is comfortable, and that you can operate it correctly.

Step 6 – Break in your bike by riding a few miles, to ensure that all the equipment is operating properly. Wheel your way to health, happiness and freedom!

Did you know? 2500 journalists, photographers, cameramen and consultants cover the Tour de France?


Oct 11

Learn How To Cure Jet Lag

How To Cure Jet Lag (courtesy of HealthyAirTravel.com)

Hello, and welcome to another edition of Traveler’s Defense Healthy Travel Tip Of The Week! This week’s healthy travel topic – How To Avoid Jet Lag. Let’s take a closer look at how the stresses of flying are affecting your body, and what you can do to prevent the symptoms of jet lag.

To truly understand jet lag, let’s take a look at how it’s actually affecting your body. The human body operates on what is called a Circadian Rhythm, otherwise known as your biological clock. This natural rhythm is synchronized with your local time zone, and tells your body when to wake up in the morning, and when it’s time to go to sleep again at night. In addition to controlling your sleep and wake cycles, these rhythms also affect your hunger, digestion, bowel habits, urine production, temperature and blood pressure. As you can see, these rhythms are essential in maintaining optimal health.

The body’s circadian rhythm actually operates on a 25-hour cycle, which is why it’s much easier to stay up an hour later, but so much more difficult to get to bed an hour earlier. This results in a more severe jet lag effect when traveling west to east.

Now that you understand what’s causing jet lag, let’s take a look at some of the best methods for prevention.

Since your body’s natural clock is synchronized to its local time, you can begin to prepare yourself in advance, by not hitting that snooze button in the morning. Starting your day slightly earlier each day, a few days before you travel, will better prepare you to adjust to a new time zone at your final destination.

Once you have made it to your destination, one of the best ways to induce a natural sleep is with the use of an over-the-counter supplement, such as melatonin. By telling your body when it should be going to sleep each night with a dietary supplement, you will find yourself acclimated much faster, and with plenty of energy to take on the day when you wake up.

Let’s not forget the cardinal rule of hydration. Drink, drink, and then keep on drinking! Healthy hydration levels is the best way to keep your body in peak shape to fend off these feelings of fatigue and weakness brought on by jet lag. That said, try your best to stay away from drinking liquids like caffeine or alcohol, that further dehydrate your body. Although you may think you need that last boost of energy to get something done on the flight, or you just want to lay back and enjoy a few drinks, the long term affects definitely outweigh the short term benefits, when it comes to this.

From all of us at Travelers Defense, thanks for watching! If you’d like to learn more about this topic, come visit us at www.HealthyAirTravel.com.


Oct 10

Learn How To Cure A Hangover

How To Cure A Hangover (courtesy of Howcast.com)

Nothing’s more fun than having a few drinks with friends…until the room starts spinning, your mouth is parched and your head feels like it’s about to explode. Here’s how to feel human again! You will need:

Plenty of water

Some burnt toast

An effervescient pain reliever

Some ibuprofen

A sports drink

A greasy bacon, egg and cheese sandwich

A cola


Some salt

Vitamins B-1, B-6 and C

The amino acid supplement, N-Acetyl-Cisteine

Step 1 – Because most of a hangover’s vile symptoms are the result of dehydration, drink as much water as you can when you get home from your big night out. You can speed up the hydration process by adding a ½ teaspoon of salt to each quart of water you drink. The salt helps the body absorb the water.

Step 2 – Burn yourself some toast! Studies show that carbon helps absorb the impurities released when alcohol has metabolized in your body. You may also want to keep vitamins B-1 and B-6, vitamin C, and amino acid supplement N-Acetyl-Cysteine on hand in your medicine chest. Taking them together has been proven to reduce hangover symptoms.

Step 3 – If your stomach is upset, go for the pop pop fizz fizz of effervescient tablets. They will help neutralize your stomach acid.

Step 4 – If you have a headache, take ibuprofen. Mixing aspirin and alcohol can irritate the lining of your stomach, and mixing acetaminophen and alcohol can increase your risk of liver damage. Never take aspirin before drinking! Studies show it can increase your blood alcohol level by a whopping 30%!

Step 5 – In the morning, have a sports drink to replace the electrolytes your body has lost.

Step 6 – Indulge in a nice, greasy, bacon, egg and cheese sandwich for breakfast. People swear by it as a cure, and scientists speculate it helps because the carbs raise blood sugar levels, fat absorbs alcohol, and the salt replaces your body’s depleted sodium. For extra sodium, and extra pep, add a few dashes of hot sauce to your egg sandwich!

Step 7 – Nauseous? Drink a cola! It contains phosphoric acid, the ingredient in the drug Emetrol, which controls vomiting.

Step 8 – When all else fails, climb back into bed – there’s a reason they call it Sleeping It Off!

Did you know? Champagne causes the worst hangovers!


Oct 09

How To Repair Cane Furniture – Part II

How To Repair Cane Furniture Part II (courtesy of Wickerworks.com/au)

Step 5 is the diagonals. I’ve started by coming up in the left-hand corner – the nearest corner, this one here. Underneath the yellow golf tee, I’ve come up underneath there, and as you can see, it goes over the verticals, the corner of the verticals there…and these ones, here, the horizontals. So, I’ve gone over the horizontals and the verticals, next one over, and you just keep following that. If you do the opposite, in other words, if you go over the horizontal and under the vertical, you’ll find you get a real zig-zag sort of pattern, and it’s not gonna slide nicely.

So, I just run this bit through first. Don’t forget, keep the cane nice and wet and you’ll find it slides easily. See, a couple of the strands have been put in now. And, when I said start from the corner, you can see down in the bottom here – just drop that – that I came up that one there and did a couple over here, and now I’m coming back. The reason that we start off in the corner is so that when you do come back this way, you’ve got a choice by going over that and coming down in there, or you can come over there. But, you see how awful that would look. So, join it back in the corner, there, get a little V shape and bring that cane underneath there and up here, and off you go. Keep going back and forth. You may get to a point in over this corner where you can join the diagonals so they go both into the same hole, and you will see that in a minute. But, really, it’s just aesthetically, you’ve got to make sure that it looks really nice and keep nice, parallel widths – that’s all you need to do. There’s no law, no rules, no one’s gonna come knock on your door saying you done it wrong. Just make sure you keep a nice, parallel look and that’s it! OK, I’m gonna keep going until I finish this step.

OK, now, were progressing with Step 6. That’s the final one of the diagonals. You can see all of the other ones are in place. I’ll put this black bit underneath so you can see it a little bit better…shows it up a little easier. Once again, I’ve started in the right-hand corner this time, underneath the white peg, and I’m gonna pull it up. And this time, you go over the horizontals and under the verticals. So you do the opposite way of weaving, compared to the first diagonal. It makes a little bit more sense once I’ve woven a few more strands.

So now I’ve finished Step 6, so both of the diagonals are in, you can see that it’s nice and neatly done. I’ll leave the golf tees in for the moment. And Stage 7, Step 7 will be the edge strip that gong all the way around where the outside holes are. You’re going to put the binder cane in, and that’s where we remove the golf tees one by one and tie off underneath.

OK, first of all you need to cut up some little pegs, and these are made out of pith core, or little timber plugs. And I’m just cutting them nice and short and putting a little sharp point on the end, if you want to, in every other hole, going around the back here. So, every 2nd hole, just tuck that into the hole. You can always push them in with your finger, but every 2nd hole, just tuck them in…another one here, and follow them all around. Take this golf tee out, and continue that around.

And you need also a binder cane, which is this one here. It’s a little bit wider than the normal rattan you need for here, so that it covers the holes up. Plug that in there, and then you have the same size cane, which is what we use in the weaving – that was the 2 ml cane, and what you need to do is come out from that hole there, go over the top of it, and pull down really tight. So, you see that for a finish. Come up through the 2nd hole and re-weave that down in that same hole again so you get that nice, little edge for it. So I’m just gonna do a few strands of that to show you what it looks like. Also, start from the back. It makes it easier to finish off, and a lot neater. So, I’m just finishing off where we first started. Just going back over the top , with the binder, just go back over the top of the other a little bit and lock it in. Just pull it a bit tight, and that’s it!

Then, all you need to do is tie off all these loose fits underneath here and snip them off and you’re finished! OK, to finish off underneath, turn the chair upside down and bring some of these canes here and just tuck them up under the next area, which is tricky with one hand! Just like that! And if you want to just finish them all off and nip off the excess, and that should hold quite easily. If you’re really worried about it, I normally put a tiny bit of pba glue just to stop them from moving. That dries clear and then it’s a nice, neat job.

OK, I’ve just finished off a bit of shellacs to brighten the color up, and now you can see that the whole seat has been hand-woven. I get a great deal of satisfaction out of doing these, and
I’m sure you will too. It’s very therapeutic! Just remember to keep the rattan nice and wet when you go to do any weaving, so naturally, stop and start whenever you want to, but maintain this to be wet for weaving. And that’s about it! If this has been helpful for you, leave a comment at the bottom of the video, would be greatly appreciated, and look out for more Need A Good Caning videos. Thanks again, bye for now!


Oct 08

How to Repair Cane Furniture Part 1

How To Repair Cane Furniture Part 1 (Wickerworks.com/au)

Here we have an antique child’s highchair, and we’re gonna put a new seat in. And, I’ve actually fixed it all up before. It was all cracked around the front area here, as you can see, but, it’s nicely glued up. And, what we’re gonna do is show you how we can hand-weave a new seat – the traditional method of caning, individually laced through all these holes.

What you’re gonna need first of all is a good-sized cane. This one is 2 ½ mil, rattan chair cane, and you can buy it at any supplier. And you also need some golf tees. I’ve got a mixture of wood and plastic golf tees in there, so you can hold the cane in place.

OK, before we get started, what you need to do is soak the cane for about a couple of minutes – 5, 10 minutes at tops – so it becomes a lot more supple, easier to weave, and you can stop and start as often as you like when you’re starting this project, as long as you ensure that the cane is wet. Obviously, if you’ve got cane in the seat partially done, soak that for a little while, and also the new strands that you start weaving, and then that way, you’re gonna find it a lot easier to slide the cane through and make a better job. Because, once it dries out , it tightens up.

Now, there’s a little tip here I want to show you. You won’t be able to see this too well on the camera film, but there’s a little node – little barbs – where the leaves come out from the rattan. It actually grows that way – outwards of course – and the leaves come out this area here. These little barbs catch on your finger, or your fingernail, as you run through there. So, it’s imperative that, when you start weaving – especially the last 2 areas – to run it so that it runs smooth against the rest of the cane. Otherwise, you’re gonna keep catching this on parts of the weave, and it will just cause a bit of a nightmare. In fact, it might even fray or split. So, there’s a little tip for you. Run your finger on the top, and if it’s nice and smooth, that’s the direction you’ve gotta weave, ok? Now, let’s get started!

OK, the very first step you want to do is to ensure that you keep a nice, straight edge from the front to the back – so it’s not sort of going over to the left or the right – by your eyes, make sure you’ve got a nice, straight side there. So you can see that’s pretty straight. You don’t want it over in that hole over there – it would look a bit silly. So, put your first strand here, have a little bit hanging down below here and golf tee in there. Make sure you have the shiny side of the cane up on top, of course, pass it through the hole that you think is dead straight, and bring it up and under next to the right or the left – whichever direction you want to take to. I’m gonna go to the right, because I’m right-handed, so it makes it a little bit easier. Bring it up through the 2nd hole. And, always ensure that you’ve got it nice and fairly tight. Pull it taught. I’m doing this with one hand and holding the camera with the other, but, I can get it fairly tight. And then, when you want to stop, just put a little tee in there, a little golf tee in there and that will hold it in place.

So then, you just keep on going through, down to this hole, run it parallel, into the next hole, crossing, and do that right on to the very end, until you get to the straight, and I’ll show you that in a sec.

So, here’s the first part done, and you can see where I’ve kept it nice and parallel, and there’s no more room for anymore. You don’t need to put any more here. And, so they’re secured by the golf tees. Now, what I’m gonna do is just carry on across the end here. And, once we’ve got all this part in, we’ll go to Stage 2, Step 2.

So, Stage 1 is done. All the strands from the front to the back of the chair are in place. And, I’ve got a fair bit left over, so I’ve brought up the other over here, and now what we’re gonna do is Stage 2 or Step 2 – come across 90° to the first step. So, as you can see – I’ll move the camera around – you’re gonna come across there and weave through those holes and then come out the other hole next to it, and then go back and forth so you’ve got a nice, square pattern.

So, you can now see how we’re forming a nice, square pattern. The cane just sits straight over the top of the first stage. And make sure it stays nice and parallel. And so you’re following every other hole that goes round – every hole that goes round. And we’ll complete that to the very end, here. There’s also a strand parallel to that one. Now, I can get one more in here. As long as it’s run parallel. So, you’ll miss another couple of holes here…so, come up, say from that hole there and run parallel to this string, and that should finish that there off. There’s a few more golf tees in here now – that’s because there’s some ends here that I haven’t tied off but you need to keep them in here, anyway. And then, be sure that you keep this rattan wet as you’re weaving away.

OK, having done Stage 2, now we’re doing Stage 3, and that’s really the same as Stage 1. I’ve come up through this little hole here, as you can see, I’m gonna run parallel to the first stage. On top, once again, and keeping it to the right of the first stage. And you’re gonna go underneath here and, I’m gonna go from left to right just to finish this little bit here off because I’ve got enough cane, and then I’m gonna start on the other area.

So now we’ve successfully done Step 2, or Stage 3, and all the parallel lines are done. And Stage 4 will be doing the same as Step 2 or Stage 2…I’m getting them mixed up here, but it doesn’t really matter there – you get the gist of it all! So, now, we’re gonna go from left to right and follow the Stage 2 ones that run parallel. But, this one is a little bit different. Just start the ball rolling by putting the cane in, and I’ll show you what I mean.

So, for Stage 4, I’ve come up out of this hole here, and if you can see close enough, I’ve gone under the first strand and over the 2nd one. And you have to do that to the next parallel one running here, too – under the first one and over the 2nd one. So, you see, there’s a nice, little square pattern forming there. I’ll just do a couple of other strands so you can see. See these little square patterns forming here? So, don’t forget, it’s under over, under over, under over – just keep on going. And don’t forget to keep the cane fairly damp. I use a little spray bottle, here, which does the trick. Just spray a little water so it slides easier, too. And don’t forget the little tip I told you before with having that running of the cane smoothly up your fingers, because as you start pulling this through, it might catch on some of the cane and break. So make sure it runs nice and smoothly. You don’t need to go right across in one go – you can do it in stages and just gently pull. See? Watch this, where it slides quite easily, and pull that nice and tight til we get to the end, here. Now, when we get to the end here, make sure you don’t get the cane twisting on anything, make sure it stays nice and straight. Keep a nice, straight square pattern here.

And there you go. So, there’s the beginning of Stage 4. So, just keep on doing that, and I’m gonna do a few more strands so you can see what it looks like. So now you can see it’s starting to form a nice square pattern there. I’m just gonna put this black fabric underneath so you can probably see it a lot easier. There you go! That’s a lot better, isn’t it? So, that’s what you’ve got to achieve – keep the squares nice and close to one another and keeping them all parallel. See? It’s looking quite good now! So, I’m gonna finish this off now and then I’ll show you what it looks like when I’ve done the whole – finished the Stage 4.

So here you can see – now, I’ve finished the 4th stage, so we’ve got a nice, square sort of pattern, and all we need to do now is the next 2 stages – these are the diagonals. (Go to How To Repair Cane Furniture Part II)


Oct 06

Learn How To Maintain Your Gutters

How To Maintain Your Gutters (courtesy of Lowes.com)

Welcome! I’m Courtney. Where is Joel? Right where you’d expect to find him – in the gutter!

Hilarious! Here, I think you missed something, Courtney. Gutter maintenance is not the most fun of chores, but, it is essential in preserving your home. Here are a few things you’ll need to get at your gutters!

A ladder

A bucket to collect your debris

A trowel of some kind for scooping out the gutter gunk

A garden hose to wash out the gutter

A pair of gloves to protest your hands

Ideally, you want to clean out your gutters a couple times a year. Spring and fall are good times. The great thing about gutters is that they keep water away from your windows and walls, as well as your home’s foundation, by sending the water down and out these spouts.

The downside of gutters is that, if they’re not cleaned properly, water will gather in them, and they will damage your roof.

If it’s been dry, removing gutter stuff may only take a good blast from your blower. However, if the dirt and leaves in your gutter are wet, you’re gonna need to get a tool like this gutter scoop, or a trowel, to get it out. Be careful not to damage or scratch your gutter.

Once you get the big stuff out of the gutter, it’s not a bad idea to flush out the whole gutter channel with your garden hose. It helps clean them out, and will help identify any areas that aren’t completely unclogged.

Installing guards is easy, and can go a long way towards reducing the amount of stuff that can get in your gutters and clog them.

One you get your gutters clean, you may find some leaky spots. These can be fixed nice and quick, by applying a little spot caulk to the inside of the gutter. If you discover larger holes or corroded sections in your gutters, you’ll need to get some patch made from the same material as your gutters. This can be laid inside, over the damaged area, set in place with epoxy and roofing cement.

You may find that sections of your gutter are sagging. This is usually a case of the nails working themselves loose. Try resetting them with a hammer, and, if they won’t hold, you replace the nails with screws!

And, that’s the 101 on your gutters. Later!


Oct 05

Learn How To Choose Wine

How To Choose Wine (courtesy of Howcast.com)

Hi! My name is Ernie Paquette, and I’m a certified, first level sommelier, and I’m here to talk to you about how to choose a wine.

So, the next time you find yourself in a liquor store and you’re trying to figure out which wine to choose, consider your audience – who are gonna be your dinner guests? Consider what your food is. High acid wines require fat, so, whether it be a white wine or a red wine that has high acid, you’ll need to – let’s say for white you’ll need to choose perhaps shrimp to be the accompanying dish. And, for huge, tannic malbecs, cabernets, you want meat that’s got some fat in it. A nice, thick steak, short ribs, something to that affect.

I’m not a firm believer in white with fish and red with meats. One of the most incredible pairings I’ve ever tasted was a very expensive chardonnay with a venison dish. The accompanying vegetables and starches have to go along with it, but there are no steadfast rules in the pairing of wines with fish. Tuna, for example, is a fish that can easily be paired with red wines…pinot noir, lighter seras. Mahi mahi is also a fish that can be paired with a red wine. It tends to have a little higher fat content, and pairs well with lighter reds.

Sparkling wines can be paired with, perhaps, an oyster or lobster bisque, is a great pairing. A cremant champagne can be used a a dessert wine! So, there are no hard, fast rules about what wine to pair with what food!


Oct 04

Learn How To Dust-Proof Your Home

How To Dust-proof Your Home (courtesy of Howcast.com)

Arm yourself with these proven strategies to banish dust from your home! You will need:

Mattress and pillow covers

Vacuum cleaner

Damp mop

Product to spray rags for dusting

HEPA air filter for the furnace

Portable HEPA filter unit


Wood, vinyl or tile flooring

Shades or blinds

A HEPA filter for your vacuum

An old tennis racket

Step 1 – Understand that dust comes from the tiny flakes of skin we constantly shed, fibers shed by fabrics, insect parts, pet dander, hair, pollen grains, mold spores and dust mites.

Step 2 – Learn the places where dust hides, such as deep inside carpet, drapery, upholstered furniture, mattresses, and on hard surfaces, including all of those knick-knacks decorating your home. If you can, replace wall-to-wall carpeting with wood, vinyl or tile, and drapes, shades or blinds that are easier to keep free of dust.

Step 3 – Enclose your mattresses and pillows in zippered, dust-proof covers. If you don’t like plastic or vinyl, look for fabric allergy-impermeable covers.

Step 4 – Vacuum the carpeting and un-upholstered furniture frequently. Damp mop floors and walls. Attaching a HEPA filter, available at some vacuum stores and allergy supply companies
to your vacuum cleaner, will prevent some of that dust from circulating back into the air.

Step 5 – Take your area rugs and cushions outside and shake them vigorously, or beat them every week. Some people like to use an old tennis racket.

Step 6 – Don’t just move the dust around with a feather duster or dry rags – capture it! Use damp rags, or, spray rags with a product that will hold the dust.

Step 7 – Wash sheets and blankets in hot water every week. Cold water leaves up to 10% of dust mites behind. Dry cleaning also kills mites.

Step 8 – Install a HEPA air filter on your furnace, or, purchase a central air filtration unit if you have forced air heating and cooling. A portable HEPA filter unit may also help remove dust from the air.

Did you know? A typical, used mattress can have up to 10 million dust mites inside!


Oct 03

Learn How To Make Hummus

How To Make Hummus (courtesy of Howcast.com)

Make this delicious and healthy chickpea puree in a matter of minutes. You will need:

A 15-ounce can of chickpeas, also called garbanzo beans

One clove chopped garlic

One lemon


Two tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste)

Two tablespoons of olive oil

Pita bread, pita chips, crackers or vegetables


A colander

Food processor, blender or a potato masher



Olives, red peppers or chili peppers

Garnish of parsley, pine nuts or diced garlic

Step 1 – Open and drain the can of chickpeas. Rinse them off in a colander and put them in a food processor or blender. Or, place them in a large bowl to mash by hand. Save a few good chickpeas to garnish the finished plate.

Step 2 – Add the tahini paste and the garlic.

Step 3 – Squeeze the lemons and add the juice to the mix. Make sure no seeds get in. Make your own variations by mixing in olives, red peppers or chili peppers.

Step 4 – Add about ¼ teaspoon of salt and one teaspoon of olive oil.

Step 5 – Blend the mixture or add by hand for about a minute, or, until it’s as smooth or chunky as you want it. If the hummus is too thick or chunky, add extra olive oil to thin it out.

Step 6 – Pour the hummus onto a plate, and smooth it out in big circles with the bottom of a spoon. Garnish with the leftover chickpeas and parsley, pine nuts, or more chopped garlic. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil.

Step 7 – Enjoy your hummus as a dip with pita bread, crackers or veggies, or use it as a sandwich spread.

Did you know? Besides providing a healthy serving of vegetables and legumes, hummus is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.


Sep 30

Learn How To Tone Your Arms

How To Tone Your Arms (courtesy of WorkoutsOnDemand.com)

Hi! I’m Andrea with Workouts On Demand. Thanks for joining me! Today, I’m going to lead you through an arm workout…biceps, triceps and shoulders. All you need is your weights, dumbbells, even soup cans, if you don’t have dumbbells at home. Anything that you can hang on to. Let’s get started!

Palms up, shoulders back, standing nice and tall, curl arms up, twist it, and shoulder press. Reverse it, and down. Here we go. Curl and press. Down.

Again. Curl, Bicep curl, shoulder press. Reverse, and bringing it down. Nice, loose grip on your dumbbells. Press it up. And down. Keep going. Bicep curl, shoulder press. And down.

Nice, strong posture – pull those abdominals in a little bit. Shoulder press, and come back down. Curl and press. Down. Curl it up. Flip it. Press and extend those arms all the way up, come back down. Curl bicep, shoulder press. And down. Two muscle groups – one exercise. Press and down. And curl. And press. And curl. Uncurl it one more. Curl and press. And down. Uncurl it.

Going on to triceps. Little stance – bent knees, lean over at your hips. You have a nice, flat back. You’ll pull those dumbbells up, shoulders back, elbows stay right at your thighs and keep that straight back. Here we go.

Straight back and in. Straight back. Looking down at the floor, keep that spine nice and long, elongated. Straight back. The only part of your arm that’s moving is your lower arm. Straight back. Triceps, c’mon, straighten it! Keep that grip loose on your dumbbells. Triceps back of your arms. Up, up, good! Hang on – keep that posture, bent over at your hips. Bend your knees. Kick back. Triceps, go go go! Kick back. Nice and controlled. Stop the motion coming down. Kick back. Kick back. Good! Starting to feel it a little bit, now? Kick back. We’ve got 3 more. Three, two and one. Coming up.

Going back to shoulders. You’re gonna do a V-press right here. When you come down, you’re in a W…making a W. Keep your dumbbells away from your shoulders. Press up at a V and bring those elbows back in. Here we go!

It’s press up and down. And press. This one is a little more challenging – you’ve got a wider stance of your dumbbells.


Sep 28

Learn How To Make A Volcano

How To Make A Volcano (courtesy of ExpertVillage.com)

Hi! I’m Collin Filbate, and I’m gonna show you one way to make a great volcano for a science project!

Now, the things you’re gonna need – you’re gonna need hot and cold water. You’re gonna need parental supervision on this one, because you’re gonna be using very hot water here. You’re gonna need a cup to mix it in. You need a thermometer, and that’s because you’re gonna use some fast acting, highly active yeast. You need a pail, you need some sort of bottle. Now, a pop bottle works great.

Now, you’re gonna want to cover it with a variety of different things. You can make paper mache, you can just use sand. You can use minimally expanding foam, but that you must use in a well-ventilated area. Blow up foam around it, and then carve away when the foam is dry. You’ll have to aerate that, ’cause that does have some noxious fumes, so make sure you’ve got parental supervision there.

I’ve got my scissors, I’ve got a little cup to mix in. I’ve got my funnel again. I’ve got a little bit of red food coloring for the lava, and I’ve got hydrogen peroxide. You’re also going to need a little bit of dish soap. Let’s get started!

We’ve got our yeast here. I’m gonna cut it open. Now, check the back of the package and it says, “this yeast needs water that’s between 120 and 130°.” Now, that’s awful hot. That will scald you! So, I’m gonna put that in here. Now, I’ve got the water just right here – just above 120 here. We’re gonna let that wake up – takes a few minutes.

Now, we’re gonna put hydrogen peroxide. This is 3% hydrogen peroxide. Pour a bunch in there. And, we need it to be red, right, because it’s lava! Red lava. One of my secret ingredients is simple dish soap. You’re just gonna put a couple drops of dish soap in. Once again, mix it up.

Now, we’re gonna do a bio-chemical reaction here. Hydrogen peroxide breaks down into water and oxygen, But, it does it very slowly. Now, the yeast has an enzyme called peroxidase. Now, hydrogen peroxide kills cells, but, if a cell has a peroxidase – it’s a little enzyme that splits this up into oxygen and water – it can protect ourselves. Now, we have that, but bacteria do not. So, that’s why, when you put it on your cut, it froths up. That’s your body defending itself from the hydrogen peroxide the bacteria cannot.

Now, yeast is not a bacteria. It’s a eukaryotic organism. And we’re a eukaryotic organism, so we both have a peroxidase. And, now, that peroxidase is gonna go. I’m mixing it up, here.

The yeast should be nice and woken up, and now we’re ready to do our volcano…Our Volcano Erupts!

And, that’s how we build a volcano!


Sep 23

Learn How To Clean Your Teeth Correctly

How To Clean Your Teeth Correctly (courtesy of ExpertVillage.com)

Hi! My name is Carol and I’m a registered dental hygienist, and I’m gonna be speaking on behalf of Expert Village. In this clip, I’m gonna demonstrate on how to correctly brush your teeth.

Whenever brushing your teeth, you want to make sure to brush two times a day. And, it’s also important to brush for the full two minutes whenever you brush, ’cause your main goal in brushing is to remove plaque and buildup that’s on the teeth.

When you start brushing, you want to make sure to get every side of every tooth. And, when you start brushing, make sure to aim towards – get the back teeth first.

We’re gonna start on the inside and outside of the upper and lower teeth. When you angle the toothbrush, you wanna make sure to get it at about a 45° angle to the gum line, ’cause this is where mainly the plaque buildup gets on the teeth.

Whenever you start brushing, start at the back, and start doing small, tooth-sized circles, gradually moving forward. You want to make sure when you’re brushing, not to do a harsh back-and-forth motion, because this can cut the gums. But, continue to do the small, tooth-sized circles along the gum line…the motion that removes the plaque.

You’re gonna do the same for the lower arch. Aim the bristles toward the gum line, do the small circles. And you’re gonna do this all the way around.

Same with on the inside of the teeth…small circles all the way around. And, when brushing the chewing surfaces of the teeth, you want to make sure to hold the toothbrush flat on the chewing surface, and go back and forth, to remove the plaque from in between the teeth.

Also, whenever you’re brushing the fronts – the anterior teeth – you might try using the toe of the toothbrush, which is the tip of the toothbrush. It allows easier access into these areas, than trying to fit the brush in horizontally. So, turn your toothbrush vertically, still aiming your bristles at a 45° angle, and doing the small circles all the way across, on the inside, and then also on the upper arch, doing the small circles.

And, this whole process should take about 2 minutes. Adults and kids should all brush for that amount of time, and you want to make sure to brush your teeth in the morning after you have breakfast, and at nighttime before you go to bed. This prevents plaque buildup.


Sep 22

Learn How To Clarify Butter

How To Clarify Butter (courtesy of GialloZafferano.it)

Butter is a type of fat not very suitable for cooking, since it burns at a very low temperature. Clarified butter allows you to cook at high temperatures, to get, for example, crispy-fried food. Let’s see how to do it.

Put the butter in the or in a heavy saucepan and turn on the heat. The butter will melt, letting a white foam come to the surface.

As the foam rises to the top, skim it off with a ladle.

Let the butter simmer slowly until transparent, so that the casing settles on the bottom.

Now, strain the butter through a cheesecloth, and discard the casing settled on the bottom.

If you’re not going to use the clarified butter immediately, pour into sealed jars and keep in the fridge.

Here is your clarified butter, ready to use!


Sep 20

Learn How To Trim A Baby’s Hair

How To Trim A Baby’s Hair (courtesy of Howcast.com)

No matter how bald your baby is at birth, eventually you’ll find yourself washing mashed banana out of her hair after every meal! Here’s how to give her a trim. You will need:

A baby in need of a haircut

A high chair with seat or restraining belt

A bath towel and safety pin, or 2 bibs

A spray bottle filled with water

A comb

A pair of hair cutting shears or scissors

A toy, book or snack


Another grown-up

A soft brush

Step 1 – Choose a time of day when your baby is in good spirits, and neither hungry or tired.

Step 2 – Place her in a high chair or any chair with a restraining belt and buckle her in. Pretend that you’re a real hairdresser, and start chatting her up as soon as she’s seated. It doesn’t matter what you say – just be upbeat and reassuring! Some babies are more willing to sit still on a love one’s lap. If yours is, too, recruit your spouse or a friend to be the chair.

Step 3 – Wrap a towel gently around her shoulders and pin it in place. Or, put the bibs on her – one facing forward and one facing backward. And keep talking!

Step 4 – Hand the baby a favorite book, toy or snack to keep her distracted and happy, and hands busy and out of the way.

Step 5 – Concentrate on the area most needing a trim. Spray the hair and comb it smooth. Then, gather it between your index and middle fingers, without bunching up the hairs. If the baby is reluctant to have her hair spritzed and trimmed, spritz and snip your own, to demonstrate that it doesn’t hurt!

Step 6 – Pull the hair gently down and snip just below your fingers, in one cut. Release the hair and let it spring back into place. If it’s curly hair, pull it down as far as it will go before trimming, to avoid cutting it too short.

Step 7 – Any time your baby gets fussy, hand her a new distraction and don’t stop talking! If she’s fussy because the hair has fallen against her skin, brush it off with a soft, clean brush. A large makeup brush works well for this.

Step 8 – Re-comb the spot you trimmed and clip any stray hairs you’ve missed. Your baby is hysterical and you’re not done yet? Don’t torture either one of you! Stop cutting and do the finishing touches while she’s asleep.

Step 9 – Trim and neaten up other sections of the hair in the same way. Now your baby will be prettier than ever, and you’ll be cleaning the mashed banana up off the floor instead!

Did you know? Babies born with hair often lose all of it during the first 6 months?


Sep 19

Learn How To Roast Cashews

How To Roast Cashews (courtesy of HerculesCandy.com)

Today, we are roasting our delicious, jumbo cashews.

We cook our cashews in copper kettles using pure vegetable oil.

They start out as a pale, tan color.

You cook the cashews until they become a wonderful, golden brown!

When the cashews are done, we drain them on absorbent, food-grade paper.

Then, we salt them.

I think you know what happens next!


Sep 14

Learn How To Belly Dance: Turning

How To Belly Dance for Beginners: Hip Turns (courtesy of ExpertVillage.com)

Now, you’re gonna learn how to hip-drop,kick, turn. You’ve learned how to hip drop, how to kick – now, you’re gonna learn how to turn!

So, the same position, on the diagonal, with your front leg bent and your back leg…sometimes it’s straight, sometimes it’s a little bit bent. It depends – when you start your turn, you know. Dance doesn’t have a lot of strict rules! Once you have ballet training, everything else goes in place. So, basically, you’re gonna start the hip drop that you know already, and you’re gonna incorporate the kick, and your back leg is gonna be doing the turn and the front leg gonna help, OK? And, that’s the turn.

Once again, you start with the hip drop, you’re gonna incorporate the kick. Now, you’re gonna turn! And, you just learned how to hip drop, kick, turn!


Sep 13

Learn How To Cook Asparagus

How To Cook Asparagus (courtesy of RedbookMag.com)

Fresh asparagus is one of the simplest pleasures of the spring garden. Its unique and delicate flavor is best revealed when prepared simply. Young asparagus will have a tender stalk and cook quickly. Mature asparagus should be trimmed of their woodier stalks and cooked until they’re tender.

To steam asparagus, fit a saucepan with a steaming basket, and bring about a half an inch of water to boiling over medium high heat. Add one pound trimmed asparagus. Cover, and steam them ’til they’re tender crisp, which takes about 8 to 10 minutes.

To boil asparagus, in a medium skillet, bring about 1 inch of salted water to a boil. Add a pound of trimmed asparagus, and return the water to boiling. Reduce the heat to medium high and cook, uncovered, until they are tender crisp – about 5 to 10 minutes.

Strain them in a colander, and then soak them in an ice bath, to retain their bright green color, if not serving immediately. And, asparagus is a great, crispy addition to any crudite basket!


Sep 09

Learn How To Make A Vertical Garden From A Wooden Pallet

How To Make A Vertical Garden from A Wooden Pallet (courtesy of JaniesKitchen.com)

This is Chef Janie Pendelton, and today we’re headed back outside into our garden, and we’re gonna create a really fun project! This one is going to be made out of pallets, so if you’ve got some pallets laying around and you didn’t know what to do with them, come on, I’ll show you what to do! And, you’re gonna love this project!

OK, the first thing you’re gonna need is a pallet.

The 2nd thing you’re gonna need is some landscape fabric.

Now, we’re just gonna use the drill here. We’re gonna pre-drill a hole, because these pallets are usually made of oak or ash or some sort of tough wood. And, what you want to do is, you want to pre-drill a hole. We’re just gonna use these nails. They’re coated, so they should be alright. They’re the same thing you use on plywood siding. And what we’re doing here is, we’re just going to fix the pallet where it’s split and it’s broken. Like right here, we’re just gonna fix it where it’s split and it’s broken here. We’re just fixing this, and so that way, it won’t fall apart on us when we water this and get this wet.

You’re also gonna need some staple guns and some ¼ inch staples and a pair of scissors.

Now, we’re just gonna take our felt and we’re going to double it, and we’re gonna take the folded edge here and we’re going to line this up almost to the top. And then, we’re gonna put a couple of staples in this all the way down. OK, we’re just gonna add staples to this all the way across.

OK, and once you’ve got this stapled really well, we can put this back down. And we’re just gonna staple this down to the other side. You can see here my landscape fabric isn’t wide enough for the length of our pallet. So, what we’re going to do is we’re going to find this last board here…hear it? OK, and we’re gonna line the roll up here, so that way, it’s up against the top section of this, alright? And, we’re gonna staple this roll onto this.

Now, what we’re gonna do here, is we’re gonna add another 4 or 5 inches to this, and we’re gonna cover the bottom, and that’s gonna hold our dirt in the bottom. Now, if you like, you can put a plank board across the bottom here if you have to. But that’s not really necessary, ’cause doubling this up – it’ll hold the dirt!

OK, once you get this side stapled and you’ve got your 2nd piece on, go ahead and flip this up on its top. OK, now, once you’ve got this flipped on its top, we’re just going to take the double layer of fabric here, and, we’re just going to fold it over the front and we’re gonna do a nice fold. This will hold that dirt in. And this will allow water to escape down beneath our deck, as well. So, you ready to do a military bed fold on this, John? You’ve got the idea, right there! OK, now, we’re just folding the end over. We’ve cut the excess off, we’ve given it a tuck, and we’re gonna finish stapling across the top, anywhere there’s wood….clear across here…because this is gonna hold a lot of weight! That’s why we’re doubling the fabric and that’s why we’re putting in a lot of staples.

Alright – now, we’ve got this covered, leaving the top open for plants and leaving the face open for plants, and, what we’re gonna do now is we’re gonna finish stapling wherever this meets wood on the back side. Now, we’re just going to staple where our fabric seams meet on that back piece of wood. And, then we’re gonna staple anyplace else where fabric meets wood.

While he has finished stapling this along all the back boards, just to make sure the dirt doesn’t run down through the back, I’ve got this leftover piece of material, here. And I’m going to sew these together, and this is what I’m going to use to make the wreath for my front door…and that will be our next video!

OK, we have this all stapled. Now, we just have to flip it over, fill it with topsoil. OK, so here we just have a little bit of potting soil mix…we have our compost and we have a little bit of builder’s sand. We’ve blended it all in the wheelbarrow together, and now we’re just going to…we’ve laid this pallet on its back, and we’re just gonna fill in the slots. We’re gonna pack this not too full, because there’s a lot of dirt in our plants. And we want to fill it in evenly, so just put a shovel in each slot, so that way, we know we’ve got a good, even mix in there.

OK, now, we’ve got this all filled up with dirt and we’ve made sure to pack the bottom really well, so the dirt doesn’t collapse in to it too much. And then, we’ve left the top open a little bit more, and when we stand this up, to put the plants into it at an angle, we’ll fill the top in with more dirt here.

OK, we have azaleas in all colors, we have orange thyme, we have greek oregano, we have baskets of all kinds of flowers in here. From purple geraniums – some of these neat, new geraniums they’ve been breeding – to the trumpet vines. We have…not impatiens, but petunias of all different colors. We just have a variety of a lot of small-flowering, small-leaved plants.

OK, so, let’s start with these really pretty, purple lobelias here. We’ve got a couple of fresh thymes here – oohh, we have orange thyme! And, this is a unique sage…it’s called Golden Sage. And, here we have a curry plant. This will give it a nice, kind of a frosty color, to our wall garden. OK, so this will be our herb section, and I love, I love this thyme, this French Thyme. Look how it trails!

OK, so just continue to do this, and we’re gonna fill this in, uh, any way you like it! OK, we’ve got our blue and white lobelias, we’ve got all kinds of oreganos and rosemary and we even have curry. We have pineapple thyme…we have all kinds of things buried in this next row, and plenty of things left. So, we’re gonna start with the next row, which is gonna be a purple lobelia. And, we just planted this deep purple lobelia. We have a row of all of our herbs, and we have the white and light blue lobelia. Now, we’re gonna do another layer of herbs.

OK, we’ve just done another row of herbs, and we have 2 more rows left to plant. Then we’re gonna be sitting this upright and planting like a planter box at the top. We’ve got another row of baby blue lobelias, and now, we just have to finish this last row.

OK, now that we have this bottom section of our pallet planted, what we’re going to do now is, we’ve filled in a little bit more dirt up here at the top, and we’ve made a small planter up here, and we’re gonna go ahead and add the rest of our flowers. Now, what we’ve done is we’ve taken our hanging basket plant that we got for free, that they gave us at the greenhouse, and we’ve split this up into several sections. And we’re just going to plant this hanging basket flower, like so, OK? And, you can do what you want at the top. You can even put some vining plants, and let this vine on up the lattice, if you like. But now, this thing is really heavy, and the best thing to do is to water this and let this grow for about 3 weeks to 4 weeks, laying on its back. Now, we’re not gonna do that because of the type of flowers we have in the top, but you really should. And, you can let this grow on the ground, just flat, if you have a bedding place for it, as well. But, we’re gonna go ahead – and, if you want to, you can even line this with some landscape fabric on the inside and just cut your cross holes. But, I just packed it tighter. And you can see, it’s holding the dirt.

So, what we’re gonna do now is we’re just gonna finish planting the planter. We thought about putting a tomato plant in there – what do you think? No? OK, we’re gonna put flowers in there, then! OK, so we’re gonna go ahead and finish putting our flowers in. Are you ready? Whew! It’s very heavy, isn’t it?

OK, now we have this planted on the top section of the planter. And, what we’re gonna do is we’re gonna give this a very thorough watering. Now, you can run some sort of irrigation system, some drip hoses down through here, if you like. You can do this at any point in time. Just drill some holes in the side and run your drip irrigation in. That’s probably what we’ll have to do, because there’s no way you’re gonna be able to water these top ones and have it soak all the way through…it’s not possible. I mean, at least, it doesn’t look that way, so…the best thing to do is to, lay this, like I said, on the ground or at an angle, and water it real well.

We have 52 plants in this bottom section and then we have 3 plants at the top. And, this is not only beautiful, but also edible! So, this is Chef Janie Pendleton, out in the garden. Give this a go – A Pallet Planter – Enjoy!


Sep 08

Learn How To Grow Perfect Tomatoes

How To Grow Perfect Tomatoes (courtesy of Lowes.com)

If you love tomatoes, then, growing them at home offers you a real treat. Nothing beats the taste of that fresh-plucked, home-grown, sun-warmed tomato! Hi, I’m William Moss, and I’m gonna give you 7 tips for growing perfect tomatoes!

First, let’s talk about the types of tomatoes.

There are the larger, slicing tomatoes, which are used for sandwiches, salads.

There are the paste tomatoes, that are very good in our spaghetti, pizza, for making those sauces.

Then, there are the cherry/snacking tomatoes. They’re a little smaller, but easier to grow, and they also are sweet, so kids love ’em! And, they’re all easy to grow with these 7 simple tips.

Tip #1 – Plant them in full sun. They want about 6 to 8 hours of light. That really gives them the energy to make these big, juicy tomatoes. They like a lot of warmth as well, so, be sure not to plant any tomatoes until after the last frost date.

Tip #2 – Plant in a good soil. Tomatoes need good drainage to grow their best. Adding composte improves the drainage, and also increases the amount of nutrients in the soil.

Tip #3 – Give them some space! Tomatoes need about 2 to 3 feet of space to grow properly. When they have their proper spacing, they can grow big and healthy, and they have the proper air circulation, which helps prevent disease.

Tip #4 – Stake or cage your tomatoes! The easiest way to harvest the most tomatoes is to provide a good support system. Add the cage while they’re small, and they’ll grow up through it.

Tip #5 – Water your tomatoes! Tomatoes are about 90% water, so, to get those plump, juicy fruits, you’re gonna need about an inch a week. And, when you water, be sure to water the soil and the roots – not the leaves. That way, you prevent any diseases, especially those nasty, fungal blights.

Tip #6 – Watch for pests! Just check your tomato out, turn over a few leaves, and you’ll be typically looking for that tomato horn worm. It can eat several leaves in just a night! It’s easy to take care of, though – just pick him off or flick him off, into a cup of soapy water, and you’ll be fine.

Tip #7 – Fertilize your tomatoes. Feed your tomatoes with a slow release fertilizer. You want to sprinkle it all around the roots. That way, it will feed them for a long time.

And, there you have it! 7 tips for growing perfect tomatoes! And, when you have too many tomatoes this summer, you can pass them out around the neighborhood, and you’ll be the most popular person on the block!


Sep 06

Learn How To Apply Individual False Eyelashes

How To Apply Individual Eyelashes (courtesy of ExpertVillage.com)

In this clip, I’m going to show you how to apply individual false eyelashes. The advantage to applying individual false eyelashes instead of a strip lash or a feather eyelash? It looks a little more natural when you apply individuals. You could just do one or 2, or you could apply all the way across the eye, so I’m gonna show you different techniques with individual eyelashes.

So, I’m gonna take the individual lashes, and I’m gonna take about 6 of them and put them on my hand. And, I’m using a tweezer, and you’re gonna want to pull from about the middle of the lash, so it doesn’t get messed up.

And, now, I’m gonna take a little bit of the Duo adhesive and put just a little, tiny dot on my hand. So, I’m gonna take the lash, from the middle of it, and dip the tip just in the adhesive.

Start with the outer corner, and you want to start about 3 lashes in – 3 of your lashes in. And, you’re just gonna apply it right on top of your lashline. And, where these lashes end, that’s where you’re gonna want to start the next one. So, it’s about 3 of your normal lashes apart from each other. You’re just gonna add a little dot and then apply, and keep going. So about every 3 lashes, you’re gonna apply the individual. And, you can just do the ends right there, which is just gonna give you a little more fullness, or you can go all the way in. So, with Sara here, I’m gonna go all the way in. And…3 lashes over… then you can kind of move them a little bit while they’re kinda damp, to get them exactly where you want them.

Then, you’re gonna go back to the middle…about 3 over…dip the end in just a little bit. The individual lashes give you a really nice, natural look. Sometimes, the strip can be a little more dramatic; so, if you’re just looking for an everyday kind of look, you can go for these ones.

Now, I’m gonna add just a couple more on the ends, to give it a little more dramatic effect on the outer corner. Again, you can move them around, til they get to where you want to be. I think we need one more in the inner corner. I like using the individual lashes, too, because you can really place them exactly where you want them. So, if you want more in some spots and less in some spots, you really have that control.

And, that’s how you apply the individual eyelashes!


Sep 02

Learn How To Help A Teething Baby

How To Help A Teething Baby (courtesy of About.com)

Hi! I’m Kathy Moore, for About.com. When your baby starts leaving a puddle of drool on your shoulder, you’re in for yet another developmental milestone – teething! This program will explain what to expect when teething begins, and how to ease your baby’s pain.

Teething is simply the emergence of your baby’s first teeth. This process can begin as early as 3 months, but somewhere between 4 and 7 months is average.

The first teeth to appear are usually the bottom 2 teeth. Months later, the top teeth follow. At the start of this process, you’ll notice your child is drooling more, and wants to chew on everything. Your baby’s gums may become tender and maybe swell. A fever could occur, as well as diarrhea. But, usually, these symptoms are due to something else besides teething. Ear rubbing is also common.

For some babies, teething creates periods of irritability, with disruptions in their sleeping and eating patterns. To help our baby during this process, wipe her face frequently to keep the drool from developing a rash on her face.

Give your baby something to chew on! This could be a wet washcloth, a teething ring or a rubber toy. Just be sure that you can’t swallow it, and that it can’t break into pieces. If you use a chilled teething ring, place it in the refrigerator, not the freezer. Let your baby chew on your clean finger, or, gently rub your baby’s gums.

If your baby seems very irritable, children’s pain reliever may help, but always check with your doctor first, before giving your baby any medicine.

Once your baby’s teeth do appear, you can clean them with gauze or a child’s soft toothbrush.

Helping your baby through this stage will create a smile that will melt your heart for years! Thanks for watching! Visit us on the web, at About.com.


Aug 24

Learn How To Treat A Sunburn

How To Treat A Sunburn (courtesy of Howcast.com)

Did all that fun in the sun end with a nasty burn? Let’s get you some relief! You will need:

A Bathtub or Cold, Wet Compresses
Aloe Vera plant or lotion, or Hydrocortisone cream


Baking soda or colloidal oatmeal
Acetaminophen or Ibuprophen
Antibiotic ointment

Step 1: Cool off your skin with a cool bath, or cool, wet compresses. If you opt for the bath, add a half-cup of baking soda or several cups of colloidal oatmeal – available at drugstores. Soak for 10 minutes, repeat as often as needed.

Step 2: Apply something soothing, like aloe vera from a plant or a lotion, or 1% hydrocortisone cream. Do not use petroleum-based products or products with Benzocaine. They’ll just lock in the heat.

Step 3: If you’re an adult, take an aspirin. Its anti-inflammatory properties will help relieve the pain. Never give aspirin to children under 16. Give them acetaminophen or ibuprophen instead.

Step 4: Let your skin heal. If blisters form, leave them alone. If they break, use an antibiotic ointment. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do about peeling, but a moisturizing lotion can ease any itching.

Step 5: Buy a good sunscreen and a big sunhat, so you don’t get burned again. And, stay out of the sun until your burn has healed!

Did you know? It’s easier to get sunburned at high altitudes, because you’re less protected by the atmosphere!


Aug 23

Learn How To Deal With Mosquitoes

How To Deal With Mosquitoes (courtesy of Howcast)

Nothing can ruin a beautiful, summer day faster than being attacked by blood-thirsty mosquitoes the moment you step outside! Although it might be impossible to eradicate them completely, you can fight back. You will need:

Repellent containing DEET
Yellow Light Bulbs


Mosquito fish or larvicide
CO2 trapping device

Always use extreme caution when using insecticides. Follow the directions on the label.

Step 1: To get rid of mosquitoes, you must eliminate any standing water around your home. That’s where they breed. Things like flower pots, recycling bins, puddles, or even a small, overturned lid can result in thousands of mosquitoes. Do you have a bird bath? Change the water every couple of days. Be sure to treat swimming pools, and ask your neighbors to do the same. Stock ponds with mosquito fish, which feed on the larvae, or use a mosquito larvicide product.

Step 2: Mow your lawn frequently, and try to reduce vegetation around your house, which is where mosquitoes live.

Step 3: Make sure all of your windows and doors are kept tightly sealed. Screens should be 16 to 18 mesh. Any holes or tears should be repaired immediately.

Step 4: Replace outdoor lights with yellow bulbs. They’re not repellents, but they attract fewer mosquitoes than regular lighting.

Step 5: If you have to be outside – particularly dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active, wear long sleeves and trousers, if possible. Either apply a repellent containing DEET, or appy Picaridin, or Oil of Lemon-Eucalyptus…the only repellents considered by the Center for Disease Control and Protection to be both safe for young children and effective. Contrary to popular belief, eating garlic does not repel mosquitoes, eating bananas does not attract them, and, burning citronella candles is only slightly more effective than burning any kind of candle!

Step 6 – Direct a fan to blow on you when you’re outside, or, if you have a mosquito trapped inside that you can’t catch. Mosquitoes aren’t strong fliers, so it will make it difficult to land on you. Try to avoid shady areas, where mosquitoes tend to rest, even in the heat of the day.

Step 7 – Consider trying a mosquito-trapping device that lures the bugs with CO2. They can work. Although whether it captures enough mosquitoes to make a noticeable difference depends on many variables – even including the particular species of mosquito in your area. Don’t waste your money on ultrasonic devices or bug zappers. Ultrasonic simply doesn’t work, and zappers have been proven to result in no significant difference in the overall amount of mosquitoes in the yard.

Step 8: Mosquitoes can carry such diseases as Encephalitis, Malaria and West Nile Virus. If you’re in an infected area, consider spraying the heavy foliage near your house with pesticides; although, given the health risks, this should be a last-ditch effort.

Did you know? Mosquitoes can sense the lactic acid on your skin and the carbon dioxide in your breath from up to 100 feet away!


Aug 22

Learn How To Fry An Egg On The Sidewalk

How To Fry an Egg on the Sidewalk (courtesy of Howcast.com)

It’s hot. You’re hungry. You’ve got nothing better to do. Why not fry an egg on the sidewalk? You will need:

Aluminum Foil
A mirror or magnifying glass
A very, very hot sidewalk


Butter or oil
Salt and pepper

Step 1: the temperature of the sidewalk needs to reach at least 158°F to turn a raw egg solid. Sorry, a light-colored sidewalk on its own won’t do the trick – you’ll need to cheat just a little!

Step 2: The easiest and most sanitary way to fry an egg on the sidewalk is to use a piece of aluminum foil. Take a pan sized piece of foil and bend the edges up, so the raw egg doesn’t slide onto the pavement.

Step 3: Crack an egg or two onto the foil. The sun will reflect off the surface and will cook your eggs. If you intend to eat these eggs, you might want to use some butter or oil on the tinfoil so it doesn’t stick, and season your eggs with some salt and pepper.

Step 4: To speed up the process, use a magnifying glass or mirror to focus the sun rays on the foil. Now, you’re cookin’!

Step 5: After your egg is cooked, tell everyone that it was so hot outside, that you were able to fry an egg on the sidewalk. They’ll either think you’re most eggcelent, or just eggagerating!

Did you know? Every 4th of July, Oatman, AZ has a solar egg-frying contest!


Aug 19

Learn How To Build A Cool Sand Castle

How To Build A Cool Sand Castle (courtesy of Howcast.com)

A beachfront home may be out of your price range, but you can always build yourself a swanky sandcastle! You will need:

A bucket
Bottomless circular containers of varying sizes
Sculpting tools

Optional: Spray bottle

Step 1: Pick a good spot! You’ll want to be near enough to the ocean to have easy access to water, but not so close that high tide will destroy your masterpiece. The best spot is just where the dark sand turns lighter.

Step 2: Wet an area of sand large enough for the castle you want to build. Pile buckets of sand on it, wet the sand, and tamp it down. Repeat, until you have a firm foundation. Keep a spray bottle of water handy so you can keep your sand moist. Wet sand is the key to castle building!

Step 3: Start making towers with the help of your bottomless molds. Place the largest in the center of your foundation. Fill it with very wet sand, packed down as hard as you can. Place progressively smaller containers on top, until you have a satisfactory wedding cake-like structure.

Step 4: When all the molds are in place, carefully remove them.

Step 5: Build a wall around the castle by stacking little piles of wet sand. Smooth the sides and tops with the bottom of your shovel.

Step 6: Take a plastic knife and gently cut into the wall, to create a few archways. Use a plastic fork with the middle prongs removed to put the finishing touches on columns.

Step 7: Use your sculpting tools to carve out architectural details, like staircases, windows, turrets and doors

Did you know? The town of Myrtle Beach built a 43-foot tall sand castle in 2007 to attract visitors to the seaside resort!


Aug 11

Learn How To Make Turtle Candy

How To Make Turtle Candy (courtesy of About.com)

Hi! I’m Elizabeth LaBau, with About.com Food. Today, I’m gonna show you a quick and easy way to make Turtle Candy. To make these turtles, you’ll need:

6 ounces, or about 1½ cups of Toasted Pecan Halves
12 ounces of unwrapped, soft caramels
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate

Start by covering a cookie sheet with foil or wax paper, and spray it very well with non-stick cooking spray.

Arrange the pecans in small clusters on the baking sheet, with about 3 or 4 pecans per cluster. If your soft caramels are actually pretty hard, add a spoonful of water or cream to them before you melt them, so they’ll be softer in the final product.

Microwave the caramels until they’re melted, stirring after every 30 seconds or so. When they’re done, you’ll have a fluid and smooth caramel sauce. Using a spoon, place a scoop of melted caramel on top of each pecan cluster. It doesn’t have to be too pretty or too precise – these are actually meant to look rustic!

Once all of the clusters have caramel, melt the chocolate in the microwave, stirring after every 30 seconds, until it’s smooth and liquid. Now, pour a spoonful of chocolate over the caramel layer; again, not worrying too much about perfection. Just try to get most of the caramel covered by chocolate.

Once the turtles are done, refrigerate them to set the chocolate and caramel…for about 20 minutes. Now, these are best eaten at room temperature, so the caramel doesn’t get too hard. I think you’ll be surprised at how good this quick and easy candy is!

Thanks for watching! To learn more, visit us on the web at Food.About.com.


Aug 08

Learn How To Make Your Own Bath Salts

How To Make Your Own Bath Salts (courtesy of About.com)

Hi! I’m Jen D’Amore with About.com, and today I’m gonna show you how to make our own, fancy bath salts. Bath Salts make a great gift, and a great indulgence – especially when you’ve personally selected and put together all the ingredients. First, let’s gather your materials. You’ll need:

A Bowl – for mixing,and a spoon

Salts – we’re gonna use a combination of Dead Sea salt and Epsom Salt

Moisturizing Oil – in this case, we’ll use Sunflower oil, but you can also use Jojoba or Castor oil.

Essential Oil – in this case, Sandalwood. And finally,

a Fancy Jar

These are the basics. You can also use fresh or dried flowers. They add a nice touch, especially if you’re giving it as a gift.

First, combine 1 cup of Moisturizing oil with 10 drops of Essential oil. Add the salts to the bowl. Measuring doesn’t need to be exact, but you want about 4 cups of salt per 1 cup of oil. Then, stir gently, until the oil is evenly spread throughout the salt.

The salt will need to sit for 2 days before you use it. You can cover the bowl and store it there, or go right into the fancy jars. Let’s keep ours in the fancy jars. Just spoon them in, add some fresh or dried flowers, a ribbon – and there you have it! Homemade, Fancy Bath Salts…for a gift to friends, or to yourself!

Thanks for watching!


Aug 04

Learn How To Make Candy Sushi

How To Make Candy Sushi (courtesy of Howcast.com)

Add playful flair to your next party by making candy sushi. You will need:

3 tablespoons of butter
10 ounces of marshmallows
6 cups crispy rice cereal
Gummy worms and fish
Licorice sticks
Fruit leather


Microwave oven
Microwave-safe bowl
Wax paper
3 – 12”x7” baking sheets

Step 1 – Heat the marshmallows and butter in a microwave-safe bowl on high for 2 minutes. Stir the mixture and then microwave for an additional minute.

Step 2 – Add the cereal, stirring until it’s coated. Use a spatula to flatten the mixture onto three, wax paper-lined, 12” x 7” baking sheets. Use chocolate-flavored cereal to make your sushi look like brown rice rolls.

Step 3 – Allow the mixture to cool completely. Then, use a knife to cut each sheet in half, trimming the edges of the sheets to make six rectangles.

Step 4 – Place a few gummy worms, fish or licorice sticks at the short edge of one cereal sheet. Roll the sheet around the candy once, until the cereal just overlaps, and then trim the remainder.

Step 5 – Wrap fruit leather tightly around your candy roll. Gently squeeze it to make your sushi stick together. Use green fruit leather to imitate the seaweed used in traditional sushi.

Step 6 – Run a sharp knife under very warm water to heat it. Then, cut the roll into eight even pieces.

Step 7 – Continue to roll and cut candy sushi until all of the cereal sheets are gone. Then, arrange them on a plate, get your chopsticks and eat!

Did you know? Mildred Day invented Rice Krispie treats in the 1930s, as a fund raiser for the Camp Fire Girls. Soon after, Kellogg’s began printing her recipe on their cereal boxes!


Aug 03

Learn How To Make A Hamster or Gerbil Maze

How To Make A Maze for your Gerbil or Hamster (courtesy of Howcast.com)

Looking for a pet project? Have your gerbil or hamster stop spinning their wheels, and make them their very own maze! You will need:

A ruler
A pencil
Non-sugary cereal
A gerbil or hamster

Optional: Duct tape, construction paper, stickers or markers

Step 1 – Lay out a flat piece of cardboard to use as the maze’s floor. Choose a piece as large as a labyrinth you want to make. To increase the maze area, attach 2 pieces of cardboard together with duct tape.

Step 2 – Cut 6 inch high strips from flat cardboard, the same length and width as the maze floor. Glue the strips around the perimeter to create the structure’s walls.

Step 3 – Draw a design for the labyrinth on the maze floor. Include divergent paths and dead ends to challenge your gerbil or hamster.

Step 4 – Cut additional 6 inch high cardboard strips and glue them over your design. Make sure all of the pieces are attached sturdily so that your pet can run through the labyrinth without knocking them over. Decorate your maze with construction papers, stickers or markers to give the project a personal touch.

Step 5 – Cut 6 inch high cardboard strips, sized to use as barriers that fit tightly in the path at the beginning and end of the maze. Push them down into the path to create separate start and finish paths.

Step 6 – Place your gerbil or hamster in the start pen, and a few pieces of non-sugary cereal in the finish pen. Then, lift up both barriers and watch your furry friend find their way!

Did you know? According to a 2009 survey, 62% of all households in the United States own a pet!


Aug 01

Learn How To Do A Party Trick With Wine

How To Do The Wine Into an Upside-down Glass Party Trick (courtesy of Howcast.com)

Bet your friends that you can make wine magically go into an upside-down glass, and the next round will be on them! You will need:

A dish or shallow bowl
Small candle or tea light
¼ full glass of wine


A cherry

Step 1 – Light the candle and drip wax into the center of the dish. Place the candle on the wax so that it sticks. You can get a cherry from the bartender and light the stem, instead of using a candle.

Step 2 – Pour the wine into the dish. Red wine is best, so everyone can clearly see the wine going into the glass.

Step 3 – Place the wine glass upside-down directly over the candle.

Step 4 – Watch in amazement as the wine is drawn into the glass as the candle goes out, creating a vacuum.

Step 5 – Flip over the glass, holding the dish on top. Remove the dish, and the wine is now fully in the glass! Bottoms Up!

Did you know? Treading grapes by foot is still the technique used to produce a small quantity of high quality port wines!


Jul 29

Learn How To Read Palms

How To Read Palms (courtesy of Howcast.com)

Learn how to read a person, just by looking at their hand, using the ancient art of Palmistry. You will need:

Palm to Read
Basics of Palmistry

Step 1: Read the Dominant hand – the one the person uses to write with. It reveals what’s going on now. The Passive hand represents the person’s inherited characteristics. Markedly different lines on each hand indicate a person who has worked hard to change their basic nature.

Step 2 – Know how to view the lines. Read Horizontal Lines from the thumb side across, and Vertical Lines from the wrist up.

Step 3 – Start with the top horizontal line, or the Heart line. A line that’s close to the fingers indicates a passionate, sometimes jealous person. If the line goes straight across, the person keeps a tight rein on their emotions. If it curves up, toward the index finger, the person is more outwardly affectionate. Gaps in the Heart line suggest the person has known heartbreak. Short lines that cross the Heart line show they are very flirtatious and have a hard time staying faithful.

Step 4 – Look at the next horizontal line, which is the Head line. A strong, straight line that goes all the way across the hand, indicates a logical, no-nonsense thinker. A zig-zag line represents a mind that tends to wander. If the line curves downward, toward the wrist, the person is creative and trusting.

Step 5 – Examine the 3rd major line, which usually slopes from horizontal to vertical – the Life Line. A strong, deep line suggests a person who is enthusiastic about life and strives to reach their full potential. A shallow or faint line indicates someone with less ambition. Contrary to popular belief, the Life Line has nothing to do with how long a person will live!

Step 6 – Check out the Fate Line…the vertical line in the center of the palm. A strong, straight line indicates a person with a focused career. A faint line suggests someone less happy with their job. Forks and branches represent many starts and stops in a person’s career path.

Step 7 – Don’t like what you’re seeing? Remember that your fate is not on your hands, but in your hands. The existing lines simply represent what has come before.

Did you know? There is evidence that Palm Reading may have begun in India about 4,500 years ago.


Jul 28

Learn How To Make A Transformers Costume

How To Make A Transformers Costume (courtesy of Howcast.com)

There’s no denying it – Transforming Robots are the Coolest Thing In The Universe! Here’s how to become your very own Robot In Disguise. You will need:

Cardboard boxed of various sizes

Utility knife or sharp scissors

Spray paint and Tempera paint

Duct tape

Tires from toy trucks

Hot glue gun

Super glue


Sweatpants and a pair of gloves that match your transformer’s colors

Dark or black shoes

A friend

Optional: Two ping-pong paddles

Children under 10 should not use a utility knife or sharp scissors, and an adult should help older children.

Step 1: Find a tall, rectangular moving box that will fit over your upper body. It should be long enough to reach to your waist, and wide enough to go from armpit to armpit. Cut off the open flaps; then, cut circular holes on either side for your arms and a hole on top for your head. The armholes should fit snugly around your arms. Ask your local grocery store, bike shop, appliance store or furniture shop for boxes. They’re often willing to give them away.

Step 2: You’ll need 2 small boxes for each arm – one for the shoulder and bicep, and one for the forearm. Use just one box on a small child. Shoe or tissue boxes work well. Cut holes in the top and bottoms so your arms can fit through. Again, make sure the armholes are snug.

Step 3: For the legs, choose 2 long and narrow boxes – one for each leg. They should cover the distance from your knees to your ankles. Make holes on opposite ends that are just big enough to fit your feet through when you pull them on. The cardboard should sit firmly against your calves and ankles.

Step 4: Find a box that is just large enough to fit around your head. Remove the bottom of the box and try it on. The head piece should almost reach the torso box resting on your shoulders. Take it off and cut out holes for the eyes. Paint 2 ping-pong paddles in a solid color and glue them upside down on each side of the head box. They make great antennae!

Step 5: Spray paint the cardboard boxes in colors that correspond to your favorite Transformer. Use the Tempera paint and duct tape to add patterns and decorations, and glue the plastic wheels from a toy truck to the outside of your leg boxes.

Step 6: Put on a turtleneck, sweatpants and gloves that match your character’s colors.

Step 7: Put on the costume, starting with the leg pieces, while you can still bend down. Then, put on some dark or black shoes. Have a friend lower the torso box onto your upper body and place the arm boxes over your arms, affixing them firmly into the armholes. Finish by putting the headpiece in place. Now, all that’s left to do is Transform and Roll Out!

Did you know? In 2009, engineers completed the first test flight of the Transition Roadable Aircraft…a 2-person plane that can transform into a car in less than 30 seconds!


Jul 26

Learn How To Write A Song

How To Write A Song (courtesy of ExpertVillage.com)

In this segment, I’m gonna talk about song structure. There’s no rules, really, in creativity…you can do whatever you want. But it’s also good to know what the norm is, so that when you break them, you break them intelligently and purposefully, so you don’t just sound…seem like you have no idea what you’re doing.

Here is a standard pop structure. You’ve got:

Verse I


Verse II



Last Chorus

The verses are the parts of the story – the parts of the song – that basically tell the story. The chorus is gonna pop out as the main feeling…the main idea…the reason you wrote the song and what you want to say to the world about this song.

The 2nd verse is going to develop from the first verse – tell that story more – or, tell the details of what’s going on.

Back to the chorus, which is gonna be the exact same, usually.

Then, we get to the bridge – which is – you don’t have to have a bridge. Not all songs have a bridge. The bridge is a different perspective. It’s gonna have a different sound. It’s gonna almost come out through the looking glass. You’ve got the story and the main idea, and the bridge is gonna be like, “but, what if?”, or, “it could have been this way”, or, “I never thought of it this way”. It’s like, the other side.

And, then, you’re gonna end with the chorus, and you’ll think of a way to end your song.

There’s your basic, standard song structure!


Jul 20

Learn How To Ride A Motorcycle

How To Ride A Motorcycle for the Very First Time (courtesy of 13mordeth)

Hello, this is 13! I’ve got a few people that watch my vids that like motorcycles (no surprise there!), and some of them don’t have a bike yet, and they plan on getting one in the near future. So, this video is for them, and it is How To Ride A Motorcycle for the first time! This pretty much applies to someone who has never ridden a bike before, so, if you’ve ridden a bike before, you can just skip this vid. And, you know, this is for people who are either gonna buy a bike who haven’t owned one before, or people who come across a bike and decide they wanna steal it! Either way! So, you’ve got a motorcycle – now, what do you do?

The first thing you do is you put on your protective gear. Make sure you have the body armor. You shouldn’t wear running shoes, because running shoes have laces that can catch on things. If you do have laces, take like the loops of the bow and tuck them back into the shoes, so there’s nothing really hanging loose. Or, you could tuck the bows into the laces here – like, take a bow and tuck it underneath – just get the laces and bows out of the way, because you don’t want them to catch on anything!

OK, so you get on the motorcycle and you turn the key. The fuel injection does its thing, and then the red light comes on. That means it’s ready to start. Notice that the neutral light is not on, so that means we’re not in neutral. Most motorcycles, the gears are:

1 – Down

Neutral – Up

Up past neutral – 2nd

Then keep going up for the gears – 2nd , 3rd , 4th, 5th.

So, it’s like – 1st gear, neutral, 2nd, 3rd, 4th 5th.

So, I’m in gear right now, but I don’t know which gear, right? So, I hold in the clutch and just keep kicking down all the way, to make sure I’m on. It doesn’t go down, so that means I’m in 1st. So, I wanna go up half a click, to neutral. And now, the neutral light’s on – so, I’m in neutral. Now, I can start the bike and it won’t go anywhere.

OK. So, the bike is started. Oh, yeah, I forgot to tell you where the controls are!

The left-hand side of the motorcycle is for gears. This is a gear-shifter, and this is the clutch. Just like a car has a clutch – and these are the gears. So, the left side is for shifting.

The right side of a motorcycle is for breaking! This is the rear brake, and this is the front brake. This is the accelerator. If you didn’t know where the accelerator was, you really shouldn’t try to ride a bike!

OK…and for low speed, you should pretty much just use the back break. It’s safer, and, if you lock it up, the bike’s not gonna fall over. So, I’d say, while just getting familiar with the bike, and familiar with the clutch and stuff, you should pretty much just use the rear break. I’ll probably use both…out of habit…but, for you, I’d say just use the rear. So, just use your right foot.

OK. So, I hold the clutch in, push down. Neutral light goes off, and you feel a click. It’s in 1st gear again. 1st gear is the only, real tricky part to driving. Same as a standard car. The first thing you want to do is figure out where the clutch engages. You’re not gonna be familiar with this clutch. So, what you do is you just let it out really slowly. And, you can see now that the bike is starting to move. And I’m not touching the accelerator, but the bike’s rolling, because the clutch is like, maybe 20%, 10% engaged. And that 10% engaged is enough to get the bike to roll. So, once it starts rolling, just pull your hand back in and try it again, ok? See, the bike’s moving, and I’m not – I don’t even have my hand on the accelerator. It’s not stalling, because I’m only partially engaged. If I let it out too far, too fast…it’s rolling…now, look at that! I got the bike rolling without even touching the accelerator! I didn’t think that would happen!

Let’s try that again – it’s cause I let it out smoothly – I let it out too smoothly. If I let it out too fast, then it just stalls. OK, if your bike stalls, it’s just telling you you let the clutch out too fast. You see, that second time I let the clutch out so slowly, that the bike started riding, and it didn’t even stall, and I didn’t give it any gas! So, that just goes to prove, what you can do with a smooth clutch. A smooth clutch release. You don’t even need to give it gas. And, that’s a pretty safe way to get the bike started rolling, you know – no fear of popping the clutch, or giving it too much RPMS a doing a wheelie or whatnot, like you see on the internet. So, let’s try that again. That time I didn’t put it in neutral – I just held the clutch in, and then started it. That’s another way. You don’t have to have it in neutral to start the bike. It’s the better way to start it, but, I was certain that it was in 1st gear, so I just held the clutch in all the way and started it.

So, I’m still in 1st gear – make sure – and then…so, I’m gonna give it a bit of gas and just let the clutch out slowly. Feel it start to move…slowly. OK, now I can let go of the clutch – I’m engaged. I don’t let go of the handle, but I’m just letting go to show you that the clutch is fully disengaged…or engaged…or whatever. So, anyways, yea…when you’re at slower speeds again, you just hold the clutch in, so the bike isn’t jerky, you know? If I were to let the clutch out and then drive at this speed, it’s kind of jerky, so you just pull the clutch in, and work it together with the gas.

The first time you ride a bike, first of all, you’re stopping and starting a lot. Stop, let the clutch out, give it a little bit of gas, work the 2 together to get it rolling, ok. Stop again. You know, a lot of times, what happens is that they stall the bike. They stall it like I did earlier. Then they get frustrated, so they start it up again, then they give it more gas and let the clutch out quicker to hurry up and get moving. Then they stall it again. And, then, the next time, they give it even more gas, and then the bike jerks, and then they lose control and they crash.

So, just keep the speed down low and practice. And, that’s about it…just…the most important thing when you’re first start riding – is just really move the clutch control. Get used to moving your hand in such a slow, controlled fashion. See, you can kind of see what I’m doing with the clutch…just letting it out and letting the bike move. Then, when I stop, I let the clutch out, give it gas. When I’m giving it gas, again, I’m only going about 2000 RPMs. You can see how much that is – just a little bit. Watch the RPMs…I’m keeping it at about 2000, just to get it rolling. Try that again – watch. See, it doesn’t go up over 2, for a smooth start.

If you want to start it quicker, you can bring the RPMs up higher, but, you don’t want to do that when you’re new. I can bring the RPMs up to, like…over 5,000 – 6,000. Then I let the clutch out. But, I’m also letting it out smoothly. If I just let go of it, the front might pop up, or you might lose control, so, smooth is the key. Video is getting a little bit long, so I’m gonna stop it, here. The first time you ride a motorcycle, know where everything is, and practice starting and stopping, because, the most important thing is clutch control.


Jul 19

Learn How To Make A Kite

How To Make A Kite (courtesy of Vickie GrassStainGuru.com)

Hi! My name is Vickie Bodwell, and today I have my son, Henry Bodwell, helping me show you how to make a kite. This is one of my all-time favorite childhood memories – I remember making a kite with my dad – when I was about your age – with newspapers and sticks. However, today we’re going to use a bit more sophisticated material. We’re going to use:

Heavy craft paper

Wooden dowels

Exacto knife



Either glue or masking tape

We’ve selected some of Henry’s favorite art supplies to decorate, and the first two steps can be a little bit complicated, so if you’re working with small children, you may want to do those in advance and let them decorate the kite at the end. However, if you want to make our life really easy, you can go to our website and buy our Kitemaking Kit, and you can put it together and the kids can just go ahead and paint it. So, are you ready to go to Step 1? Great!

Step 1 – So, now on Step 1, we’re gonna go ahead and start making the frame of your kite. And, since Henry’s a little bit younger, we’re gonna go ahead I’m just gonna make this piece. What you’re gonna do is your gonna take your 2 sticks – one is gonna be a little bit shorter – and you’re gonna make a cross. You take your thumb to secure it, and you’re gonna want to make sure that the cross on either side is even. And you’ll take a piece of masking tape or glue and you’re gonna put a dab on the lower piece of the cross. Then you take your string and just wrap it tightly to secure the crossbow. And, at some point, you can check to make sure that it’s about even…at this point, balance is gonna be about your best success story for flying your kite.

Once you finish wrapping – you’ll leave a little tail to cut off – you’ll take your glue and just glop it on. So, while that’s drying – it’ll take about 30 minutes – we’ll put that aside and we’ll be ready to move on to Step 2.

Step 2 – So, in Step 2, you’re gonna be working with an Exacto knife, because you’re gonna make a groove into our wooden dowel. And, you’re gonna go along all four corners. So, at this point, you’re gonna start by making a loop at the top of the kite frame and going around each of the 4 sides. At the end, you’re gonna take your string and make another loop, by making a knot, pulling the string through and going back to your knotch. Then, just wrap around the end, let your next end go in the knotch and around, and you’re gonna end up back at the top. And, you’re gonna have a beautiful diamond shape! And you can make any adjustment you need to on your kite.

Step 3 – So, now in Step 3, it’s a good time to bring the kids back in, and we’re gonna take our craft paper, Henry, and we’re gonna carefully draw a line, about a half to one inch around the frame. And then Henry is going to cut along that edge. So, once your kite is completely cut out, you’re going to go back to your frame and you’re gonna place it in the middle. And we’re going to wrap the paper around your kite frame. So, you have the diamond shape – take your kite and put it back in the center. Take your glue or masking tape – I’ll show you how to do both. Henry, we’re going to wrap it like a present. I’m gonna move this craft paper so we can see what we’re doing. If you’re using glue, you just take it and go on one side of the twine, and you just fold it like an envelope. If you’re using masking tape, you just take your masking tape the length of one of the sides. And, you can cut out whatever excess paper you have. So, in this case we’ll just cut off the ends. And, make sure to make a nice point on your diamond kite. Alright! Now, you have the shape of your kite, right?

Step 4 – So, this is the final step in making the kite, and you’re gonna take a string and you’re gonna basically tie it from one end to the other. You make a loop. This will be, when you tie your string to fly your kite, that’s what it will go through. You tie one end to the top – just tie a little knot – tie this securely, because the story goes with my dad that he didn’t tie it securely enough, and the kit flew off! So, tie a really secure knot. Henry, you wanna put it through the loop? Alright – Tah Dah! OK, now, for the final Decorating! You can take any of your art supplies – Henry can do whatever he wants. He can paint, he can use markers, he can use crayons. And, you may even want to do a little tail at the end – weaving some of our fabric remnants and you can tie little bows on it for that extra, special flair.

Now, you have an old-fashioned, paper kite that you can go fly with your kids! So, have a great time flying your kite and we’ll see you next time!


Jul 18

Learn How To Deal With Bullies

Learn How To Deal With Bullies (courtesy of Howcast.com

Unfortunately, almost everyone faces a bully now and then. But, we’re gonna teach you how to take their fun away! You will need:

A sport
And an adult to speak with

Step 1 – Make it more difficult for bullies to bother you by avoiding them. Take a different route to and from school, and sit far away from them in the cafeteria.

Step 2 – Find a friend…preferably a BIG friend, and start hanging out with them! Two is always better than one!

Step 3 – The next time a bully taunts you, do your best to ignore him. Stand tall, but don’t engage him. Remember, bullies get their jollies out of seeing you get scared or mad. If you show no reaction, they’ll probably move on. Do your absolute best not to fight back or try to get revenge. That’s just stooping to their level.

Step 4 – If you get jumped by a group of bullies and there’s no other way out, go for the biggest one. If you can take him out, the rest will run.

Step 5 – Build up your confidence, not to mention your strength, by taking up a sport. At the very least, start working out.

Step 6 – If the bully won’t stop, get an adult’s help. Speak to a teacher, parent or other authority figure. You shouldn’t have to live in fear!

Did you know? Almost 1/3 of kids in the United States are involved in bullying, either as a bully, or a victim.


Jul 14

Learn How To Make A Coin Disappear

How To Make A Coin Disappear (courtesy of Howcast.com)

You may have seen this one a million times, but now, it’s your turn to pull the quarter out of somebody else’s ear! You will need:

A table or flat surface
An isolated seat or position, and
A coin, preferably a quarter.


A napkin

Step 1 – Place a coin on the surface about a foot in front of you, and announce that you’re going to perform a magic trick, but don’t say what it is.

Step 2 – Casually, reach toward the coin, covering most of it with your first 3 fingers, and slide it along the surface toward yourself.

Step 3 – When it reached the edge of the surface, simply let the coin drop. However, pretend it’s still in your hand, as you raise it to eye level, holding it between your thumb and first two fingers. It’s easier to perform this trick while sitting, so the coin can drop onto your lap. And, if you can have a napkin in place to catch it, even better!

Step 4 – Show the coin to your friends. As long as you make some distracting chatter and keep your hand moving, they’ll think they’re seeing it!

Step 5 – Now, move the imaginary coin to your other hand and make a fist, as if that hand now holds the coin. Make a point of showing the audience that the hand that previously held the imaginary coin is now empty.

Step 6 – With a flourish, show that both hands are empty. Just make sure the dropped coin is nowhere in site!

Did you know? David Copperfield is the highest paid magician of all time, pulling in about $80 million dollars a year!


Jul 13

Learn How To Give A Massage

How To Give A Massage (courtesy of Howcast.com)

There’s never been a better way to say I Love You than by giving a massage. Follow these instructions to become an instant hit! You will need:

Massage oil

Towels or sheets

2 pillows



Soothing music

A dark, warm room

Step 1 – Cover a bed, or a portion of the floor with towels or sheets.

Step 2 – Have your partner undress to their level of comfort, and ask them to lie face down, or with their head turned to the side. Respect how much, or how little, your partner wants to undress.

Step 3 – Place a pillow under your partner’s belly and another beneath their ankles. This will allow them to comfortably position their back.

Step 4 – Pour about a teaspoon of oil into your hands, and rub them together to warm it. If you don’t have massage oil, use an oil you have on hand that has good slippery-ness, such as mineral, peanut, almond or sunflower oil.

Step 5 – Start with long strokes, working your hands along the muscle fibers with firm, even pressure. For the back, work along the length of the spine. For legs, go from the hamstrings to the knee. Never put pressure directly on the spine; in fact, avoid touching it altogether!

Step 6 – Apply more targeted pressure, as guided by your partner. Muscles should feel relaxed and pliable. When you find a knot, apply direct, gentle pressure with your thumbs, until you feel the spot release. Circle your thumbs on a tight spot to help it relax.

Step 7 – Massage your partner anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes. When working trouble spots, leave the area once you feel it relax. Too much work in one spot can actually irritate and tighten it.

Step 8 – When you’re finished, allow your partner to relax alone for a few minutes before getting up. This down time can be just as soothing as the massage itself!

Step 9 – Instruct your partner to drink apple water. The muscles will be fatigued, just like after a workout, and need fluids to recover.

Did you know? Each year, 20 million Americans enjoy some form of massage!


Jul 12

Learn How To Whistle With Your Fingers

How To Whistle With Your Fingers (courtesy of Howcast.com)

The finger whistle may seem difficult, but, with a little practice, anyone can master it! You will need:

Clean fingers, and

A mouth


A mirror

Step 1 – Form a U-shape with your thumb and forefinger, or middle finger. Use a mirror to perfect your form and technique.

Step 2 – Place your fingers partly inside your mouth, wrapping your lips tightly across your teeth. Only the outer edges of your lips should be visible. Angle fingertips toward the center of your tongue.

Step 3 – Flatten your tongue to cover the bottom portion of your mouth. The tip of your tongue will touch your lower jaw, just behind the bottom row of teeth.

Step 4 – Inhale deeply, and blow forcefully across the top of your tongue and lower lip. Push your fingers downward and outward, onto your lips and teeth.

Step 5 – Adjust the position of your fingers, tongue and jaw for optimal whistling. Regulate the force of air for maximum affect and volume.

Step 6 – Practice regularly, until your desired whistle is achieved.

Did you know? Louisburg, North Carolina is the world’s whistling capital!


Jul 08

Learn How To Make An Optical Illusion Ring

How To Make An Optical Illusion Ring (courtesy of Howcast.com)

It’s jewelry! It’s an illusion! It’s your very own, cool creation! Here’s how to make a flower ring that will bloom before your eyes! You will need:

Newspaper to cover your work surface

Old clothes or a smock

Clear, dome-shaped beads

Acrylic paint, in different colors

A small paintbrush

A plain ring

Craft glue


Paper towel


Picture from a magazine

Step 1 – Paint a dot on the top of a clear, dome-shaped bead. This will be the center of a flower. Let the dot dry completely.

Step 2 – In another color, paint the petals of the flower and let them dry. If you don’t like how your flower looks, you can just wash off the paint with soap and water and start over!

Step 3 – Now that your flower is totally dry, you’re going to paint right over it with a third color. Your flower will disappear, but, don’t worry! You’ll see it again, soon!

Step 4 – When the paint is dry, flip over the bead. You’ll see your flower, in reverse, and magnified! Instead of painting a flower, you could also cut a picture from a magazine, the same size as the back of your bead. Put a little craft glue on the front of the picture and stick it to the flat back of the bead. The glue will dry clear, so the picture shows through.

Step 5 – Put a drop of glue on the flat part of your ring, and set your bead on top, so the flower is facing up. You can find metal, adjustable rings that have a flat disc on top, at craft or jewelry supply stores.

Step 6 – Let your ring dry for at least an hour or 2, and then, flaunt your bedazzling finger!

Did you know? In ancient Egypt, wedding rings were made from plants wrapped around the finger!


Jul 07

Learn How To Look Great In Photographs

How To Look Great In Photographs (courtesy of Howcast.com)

Sure, a beautiful photograph takes some skill behind a lens, but it takes a little skill in front of it, too! You will need:

A photographer

A camera, with flash

Step 1 – When choosing your clothes, leave bright colors, crazy patterns and horizontal stripes in the closet. Neutral colors look best.

Step 2 – Check your face in a mirror. Do you have any blemishes you could cover, or greasy skin that needs powdering? Could your eyes use some drops to clear up redness? Are your eyebrows trim and neat? If you wear makeup, remember colors will look more intense in photos, especially on black and white film.

Step 3 – Try to have the pictures taken outside, in the morning, or before sunset. The light is soft and flattering at these times. Whereas, high noon or flash photography can illuminate a little too much.

Step 4 – Make sure the camera lens is at eye level, or just slightly higher. Any lower, and you’ll look like you have a double chin

Step 5 – To appear more natural when standing for a photo, lean slightly back, with your weight on your rear foot, and angle one hip forward. Keep your posture erect, but not overly posed. Think Greek Statue, not William Shatner!

Step 6 – Turn your head 2/3 to one side or the other, for a slimming effect on your face. Avoid wide-angle lenses, which will widen the appearance of your face.

Step 7 – Look at a light source, like a lamp or a light, for a few moments. It reduces the size of your pupils and the possibility of red eye. However, never look directly at the sun!

Step 8 – Just before the picture is taken, close your eyes, and have the photographer count to 3. Then, open your eyes as he begins shooting. This is the best way to prevent blinking from ruining shots.

Step 9 – The last, and most important part of the picture, is the smile. Saying kitchy things like “cheese”, forces a fake grin and makes you look like a newscaster or a local politician. Instead, think of a funny memory, which will bring out a naturally, happy look!

Did you know? The first commercially available color film was offered in France, in 1907!


Jul 06

Learn How To Read Minds

How To Read People’s Minds (courtesy of Howcast.com)

We can’t really tell you how to become a mind reader, but we can teach you how to make some impressively accurate guesses, based on psychics’ tricks of the trade! You will need:

A pleasant demeanor

A keen eye

Leading statements

Listening skills

A knowledge of human nature

And the ability to read body language.

Step 1 – Use your body language to make the person comfortable around you. Smile, tilt your head to one side when you’re listening to them, keep your arms unfolded and point your torso and feet toward theirs.

Step 2 – Gauge how relaxed they are by reading their palms. Are their hands tightly clinched? When you shake their hand, is it cold and clammy, or hot and sweaty? All indicate unease.

Step 3 – Study their face. Specifically, the upper portion. A fake smile does not reach the eyes, so if the area around the eyes remains smooth and uncrinkled, the smiling person may really be feeling nervous or skeptical. Of course, too much botox might throw off this test!

Step 4 – Make a general statement that will help you fish for information. Something vague, that could apply to anyone, at anytime, like “you’re worried about something, aren’t you?”, or “you’re concerned about a relationship” or “something has been on your mind, lately”.

Step 5 – Listen carefully to their responses, so you can tweak your tactics accordingly. If they get emotional, you know you’ve hit a nerve. Keep digging! If not, switch to another subject. Use a psychic trick, known as the “Barnum Reading”, named after PT’s philosophy of offering something for everyone. Describe the person in safe, even-handed terms, like “you can be quiet, but when you want to, you can become the life of the party”. Watch for physical flickers of recognition, so you know what to zero in on.

Step 6 – Look for “micro expressions”, those blink-and-you-miss-them, involuntary movements that betray a person’s real feelings. For example, the person who lies when he says he’s not worried about something, will nod his head up and down, almost imperceptibly, during the denial.

Step 7 – Ask the person about something that almost everyone has in common – like a box of old photos. Then, use the response to tease out more information. Other items that a high percentage of people will identify with are:

A scar on the knee,
A meaningful piece of jewelry,
A childhood incident involving water, and
Keys that you can no longer match to anything.

Step 8 – Learn basic body language:

A person with his hands clasped behind his back or behind his head is confident.

Crossed arms indicate dislike, or guardedness.

A man with his thumbs hooked in his pants pocket is showing his sexual availability.

Ditto for a woman who plays with her hair and entwines her legs.

Step 9 – Mirror the person’s movements. If they’re cupping their chin with their hand, you do the same, to establish intimacy. It not only will help to read them better, it will make them more prone to open up to you.

Did you know? Psychic debunker James Randi has a standing offer of $1 million to anyone who can prove the existence of psychic powers!


Jul 01

Learn How To Make A Puzzle

How To Make A Jigsaw Puzzle (courtesy of Howcast.com)

Do you love to do jigsaw puzzles, but hate the corny pictures? Here’s how to make a puzzle with any picture – your pet turtle, your favorite cartoon character, your little brother…ok, maybe not your little brother! You will need:

A grown-up to help with cutting

A photo, poster, picture from a magazine or a drawing

A thick piece of cardboard or foam board



A pencil

Step 1 – Choose a picture that you want to make into a puzzle, then choose a piece of cardboard or foam board that slightly bigger than your picture. The lid of a pizza box can make a perfect puzzle board, as long as it’s not all cheesy and oily!

Step 2 – Glue your image to the board you’ve chosen, and let it dry overnight. Place a flat, heavy object on top, like a book, to make sure it dries nice and evenly.

Step 3 – Ask a grown-up to help you trim up any of the extra cardboard or foam board that surrounds your picture, with the scissors.

Step 4 – Turn your picture over, and draw jigsaw shapes on the back of the board. Shapes with at least 2 semi-circular parts, facing either in or out, work best. Small, complicated shapes will be hard to put back together.

Step 5 – Again, with a grown-up helping you, cut the picture along the lines you’ve just drawn.

Step 6 – Now, jumble up the pieces, and see how long it takes you to do your hand-made puzzle! Or, challenge your friends to try it!

Did you know? The first jigsaw puzzle was made in England in the mid-1700s. It was a map to help kids learn geography!


Jun 30

Learn How To Perfectly Poach Salmon

How To Poach Salmon Perfectly (courtesy of Howcast.com)

If you’re tired of having the same old thing for dinner, add in a little variety with a perfectly poached salmon! You will need:

I cup water

I cup dry white wine

1 lemon, sliced

3 bay leaves

1 stem fresh basil

2 fennel fronds

2 pounds salmon filet


Fresh herbs

Extra virgin olive oil

Bottle of wine




Foil pan

Tin foil

Basting brush

Serving dish


Slices of white or red onion

Step 1 – Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and then gently wash the fish, checking for any scales or bones that might have been missed. Set it aside to air dry.

Step 2 – Combine the water, wine, half the lemon, bay leaves, basil, fennel and a pinch of salt in a pan. Bring it to a boil, and then let it simmer for 10 minutes. Add slices of white or red onion for a sweeter and more aromatic poaching liquid.

Step 3 – Place the salmon in the foil pan and pour the liquid over the fish. Cover with foil and seal tightly, and bake for 20 minutes.

Step 4 – Baste the salmon midway through, before re-covering and baking for the remaining time.

Step 5 – Remove the foil pan and baste one last time, before draining the liquid and removing the filet to a serving dish. The salmon should be opaque and flake slightly when a fork is inserted.

Step 6 – Refrigerate overnight, or serve immediately. Garnish with remaining lemon wedges, fresh herbs, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Enjoy this wonderful treat with a glass of wine and friends

Did you know? In 2009, Alaskan fisheries harvested 161 million salmon, at an estimated value of $370 million.


Jun 29

Learn How To Waltz

How To Waltz (courtesy of byyoursideproductions.com)

The waltz was danced in the ballrooms of the Hapsburg court as early as the 1700s, and was once considered scandalous and violent, due to its close hold and rapid turning movements. However, by the end of the 18th century, opposition had faded away. And, during the 19th century, it was said to have been a favorite of Queen Victoria. Today, the waltz is considered graceful, elegant and a Cinderella dance of all the ballroom dances.

Lesson 1 – The Box Step

Are you ready to learn the waltz? Great! Waltz music is played in ¾ time, and has a very distinctive boom-tic-tic rhythm. Now, the dance waltz has a rise and fall which goes right along with that boom-tic-tic rhythm, and it looks something like this: boom-tic-tic, boom-tic-tic, boom-tic-tic, tic.

Now, another aspect of the waltz is that it’s a traveling dance, and travels counter-clockwise around the dance floor. But, before we move into the first step of the waltz, let’s review our dance position.

OK, as you notice, I am on his right-hand side, so I’m all set from his tie level, over.

If you look down at our feet, my right foot is pointed between his, and his right foot is pointed between mine, so that we are on our own tracks.

His right hand is on my shoulder blade, and his elbow always remains up, like this. And, my left hand rests on his arm without putting a lot of weight on it.

Now, this man is at my eye level, and between the two of us. It’s not gonna be too much this way and it’s not going to be too much this way. We’re gonna keep it right here in the middle, and I’m gonna slightly lean in to him, so that we have a pressure point here in this hand, a pressure point here in this hand, and he’s holding on to my back pretty good.

OK, now. What we’re going to do is we’re gonna demonstrate the very first step of the waltz, which is the Box Step. Ready, and…1-2-3, 1-2-3 – now, as we’re dancing, notice the rise and fall. 1-2-3, down-up-up, down-up-up, down-up-up, down-up-up.

OK, now that you’ve seen that, let’s see the man’s part! Ready, and…forward-side-together, back-side-together, forward-side-together, back-side-together. Let’s try that one more time! Left-right-left, right-left-right, left-right-left, right-left-right. Good! Now, let’s count it out! And… 1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-3. Good! Now that you have the man’s part, let’s do the ladies’ part!

We have…back-side-together, forward-side-together, back-side-together, forward-side-together. Now, let’s try this one more time! Right-left-right, left-right-left, right-left-right, left-right-left. Now, with the proper timing. And…1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-3.

OK, now, let’s try that together! And, we dance…1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-3. Now, once you feel comfortable with that, you want to rotate the step counter-clockwise, just a little bit at a time. So, we will do the same steps, and…rotate-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-3. One more time, and…1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-3. Good!

OK! And, there you have your Waltz Box Step!


Jun 28

Learn How To Tie A Scarf

Learn How To Tie a Scarf 5 Different Ways (courtesy of trendyswag.com )

Welcome, Fashionistas! I’m Katherine Akra, your host for TrendySwag.com, your video guide to discovering accessories that compliment your body and enhance your personal style…without emptying your bank account!

On this edition of TrendySwag.com, we will be covering 5 ways to tie a scarf. Are you looking for a trendy way to spruce up that wardrobe? Often times, a simple scarf can make an old outfit look new. Here I give 5 simple ways to tie a scarf:

A Square Knot – use a square scarf, and then fold into a triangle. Flip one end over the other. Take the upper end of the scarf around and behind the other. Pull through and tighten into a knot. This can be worn front, back or side.

Hacking Knot – Use an oblong scarf. Fold it lengthwise, in half. Drape it around your neck, and then pull the ends through the loop and tighten. This can be used on colder days, with a sweater or coat. This style can give an elongated, or slimming, look.

Ascot – Fold a square, silk scarf on the bias. Place around your neck, then flip the ends over each other. You can either leave the ends out, or tuck them into a v-neck shirt or sweater. This style can give you a regal look, especially if worn with a blazer.

A Neckerchief – Fold a small, silk, square scarf on the bias, and then wrap it around your neck. Tie the ends in a knot. You can wear this style with a v-neck sweater, a blouse with a collar with 2 upper buttons open, or a round-necked blouse, giving them a sportier look.

Wrap – Place an oversized square or oblong around your shoulders, or just below. Throw one end over a shoulder, or flip the ends over each other. This can give you a sophisticated look. You can wear this on top of a turtleneck shirt, or wear it with a nice dress, like a shawl.

Thanks for watching TrendySwag.com! I’m your host, Katherine Akra. When choosing accessories that fit you best, always select style before fashion!


Jun 22

Learn How To Reuse Everyday Items

Learn How To Reuse Everyday Items (courtesy of Howcast.com )

Your friends might think you’ve gone totally gonzo for green, but learning to put household items to surprising recycled uses, saves you money and helps the environment. You will need:

A commitment to recycling
An Ability to think outside the box

Step 1 – Don’t automatically discard your morning newspapers. Use it in place of paper towels to clean glass and mirrors. It doesn’t leave streaks. Shred it to make packing material, use it as a fire starter, wrap gifts with it.

Step 2 – Save plastic produce bags to pick up dog poop, use them as trash bags in your car, and wrap your clothes in them when you travel, to protect against dirty shoes and leaking toiletries. A neat way to store plastic produce bags is to stuff them in an empty cardboard tissue box.

Step 3 – Hold on to greeting cards. Even the craft-challenged can cut up old cards to make gift tags and postcards. Or, tear off the cover and use the blank side to write out your to-do list, instead of wasting notepaper.

Step 4 – Don’t throw out old mouse pads. Instead, use them as knee pads when you garden or clean the tub. Put them under hot dishes, or, cut them into pieces and glue under furniture legs to protect wood floors. Prepare file folders for reuse in advance, by putting a piece of clear tape over the tab before you add a label. When it’s time to store something else in the folder, the old label will peel off easily.

Step 5 – Re-use junk mail envelopes for your own mail. Just slap a label over the see-through window or pre-printed address. If the envelope has a bar code at the bottom, run a black marker through it.

Step 6 – Don’t dump the water you use to cook vegetables…water your plants with it! Bonus – it’s filled with nutrients!

Did you know? Between Thanksgiving and New Years’ Day, Americans generate an extra 5 million tons of trash!


Jun 22

Learn How To Pick A Great Airline Seat

Learn How To Pick A Great Airline Seat (courtesy of Howcast.com )

Don’t get stuck in a middle seat near a bathroom on your next flight. With a little time and effort, you can be sitting pretty! You will need:

A website with airplane seating diagrams
An early booking


A seat upgrade membership

Step 1 – There is no single best seat on an airplane. All have their pros and cons. So, decide what’s important to you. Legroom? Peace and quiet? A quick exit? A smooth ride?

Step 2 – Don’t assume anything about a seat without checking it out. Some bulkhead seats don’t offer extra leg room. Some window seats are between windows and, therefore, offer little view, and, many exit seats, while providing more legroom, are narrower than other seats. Find out what kind of plane you’ll be on, and then visit SeatExpert.com or SeatGuru.com. Click on any seat to see its pros and cons.

Step 3 – Pay a small fee to ensure you get a seat with the most legroom. Many airlines now identify their best seats on their websites, and charge for them accordingly.

Step 4 – Take reclining into account. If you like to sit back, avoid the last rows in any section. If you hate people leaning into your lap, try to snare an exit seat. The seats in front of these rows usually don’t recline. Exit row seats are often not assigned until check-in. To snag one, get to the airport early.

Step 5 – Consider the pitch of the seat, which is the distance between your seat and the one in front of you. You’ll find this information on airline seat websites.

Step 6 – Take turbulence into account. If you’re a white-knuckled flyer, sit over the front of the wing. That’s where you’re least likely to feel turbulence. Avoid the back, where you’ll feel every bump!

Step 7 – If you need peace and quiet, avoid sitting in the back, where the engines are the loudest. And steer clear of the bulkhead, where families with babies are usually seated.

Step 8 – When you buy your ticket, be sure to book your specific seat, either online or by calling the airline directly. Increase your odds of sitting beside an empty middle seat by requesting a back row, whether either the aisle or window seat is already booked. The middle seats in back rows fill up last.

Step 9 – Check back 24 hours before your flight. This is when prime seating often is released. Airlines occasionally switch planes, possibly turning your chosen seat into an undesirable one.

Step 10 – If you’re a frequent flyer, consider joining an airline program that guarantees a good seat for an annual fee.

Did you know? The average airline seat in coach is just 17.2 inches wide!


Jun 22

Learn How To Treat Poison Ivy

Learn How To Treat Poison Ivy (courtesy of howcast.com)

Uhhh…did you just sit in a patch of poison ivy? Yea, you did. Now what? You will need:

Rubbing alcohol
Cool water
Hydrocortisone cream
Calamine lotion
Cotton balls
Menthol cream
Cool compresses


Jewelweed sap

Seek medical attention immediately if you experience a severe, allergic reaction to poison ivy, such as:

Swelling of the mouth or nose
Difficulty breathing or swallowing
Or a high fever

Step 1 – If you’ve been exposed to poison ivy and you act quickly, you may be able to avoid an outbreak. Pour rubbing alcohol on the area that came in contact with the plant, then rinse with cold, running water. Do NOT rinse with warm or hot water, which can cause the plant’s oils to be absorbed more quickly. Also, to avoid spreading the oils, don’t take a bath, and avoid showering without first rinsing.

Step 2 – Use soap and water to thoroughly wash the area. This might help prevent the outbreak. Scrub under your fingernails and immediately remove and wash your clothes and anything else that might have the plant’s oils on it, in hot water. If you have one on hand, use a poison ivy specific cleanser, like Tecnu or Zanfel.

Step 3 – Be on the look-out for symptoms, which appear anywhere between 4 and 48 hours after exposure. They can include:


Although you won’t be able to cure the rash, you can help reduce the itching. If an outbreak covers your entire body, or is in your eyes, mouth or genitals, see a doctor.

Step 4 – Once the outbreak has begun, use over-the-counter, anti-itch products, like Hydrocortisone cream, Calamine lotion and menthol creams like Sarna. See which works best for you, and DON’T scratch any blisters!
Step 5 – Applying cool compresses to the affected area can help relieve irritation. Also, instead of water, you can use an astringent solution with aluminum sulphate, like Domeboro. A natural remedy is to rub on the sap of the jewelweed plant, also known as touch-me-not. It’s found in damp, shady areas, often near poison ivy. From summer to fall, look for orange, trumpet-like flowers.

Step 6 – Still suffering? Soak in a cool tub filled with water and a colloidal oatmeal treatment, like Aveeno.

Step 7 – Before bed, take an oral antihistamine like Benadryl, to help with the symptoms and make you drowsy.

Step 8 – If the blisters begin to ooze pus, if you develop a fever above 100 degrees or if the outbreak doesn’t clear up within a few weeks, see a doctor. You may have caused a secondary infection by scratching, and could need antibiotics.

Did you know? Global warming has made poison ivy 50% to 75% stronger and more toxic than it was 50 years ago!


Jun 22

Learn How To Write A Love Letter

Learn How To Write A Love Letter (courtesy of howcast.com)

How much do you love what’s-her-face? Here’s how to count the ways. You will need:

High quality paper stock
A good pen
And your signature scent!


A calligrapher

Step 1 – Pick out nice, heavy-stock stationery and a pricey pen. An old-fashioned fountain pen is a classy touch.

Step 2 – Put on music that moves you, and, perhaps, place a photo of your love in front of you, for inspiration. If your handwriting will have her wondering why you think her eyes twinkle like dorma and her lips taste like strawbeds, consider hiring a calligrapher!

Step 3 – Start with a loving salutation. Use a pet name, or a term of endearment.

Step 4 – Declare why you love this person, listing as many reasons as you can.

Step 5 – Close your letter with another sentiment of devotion, like, “Forever Yours”.

Step 6 – Check your spelling. Your missive will quickly change from a turn on to a turn off if you write that your lover is “eggsquisit” in all ways! Wait a day or 2, and re-read your letter several times before mailing it, so you can gain some perspective.

Step 7 – Add a final, romantic flourish by sealing the letter the old-fashioned way – with melted wax. And, lightly spraying your signature scent, if you have one. Now, await your love’s reply!

Did you know? Winston Churchill was known for his love letters. One to his first love, Pamela Plowden, was auctioned off in December 2003 for more than $160,000!


Jun 22

Learn How To Butter Corn On The Cob

Learn How To Butter Corn On The Cob (courtesy of howcast.com)

Tired of chasing fast-melting butter around your plate? There are new and improved ways to butter your corn on the cob! You will need:

A piece of bread
A Ramekin
A pastry brush
A pot of boiling water
An empty, sanitized deodorant stick
And a butterer


Jar of boiling water
and a butter roll-on gadget

Step 1 – Take a slice of bread, generously butter it, and wrap it around a cob. A heel of bread works best.

Step 2 – Pour melted butter into a ramekin or small dish, and use a pastry brush to dress your corn with it.

Step 3 – Cook the ears in a pot of boiling water. Shortly before they’re done, add a stick of butter to the water. The butter will float to the top, coating each ear as you lift it out of the pot. If you’re grilling the corn, achieve the same effect by pulling down the husks when the corn is done and, holding each ear by its husk, plunging it into a jar of hot water into which you’ve melted a stick of butter.

Step 4 – Unwrap a stick of butter, put it on a plate, and rotate each ear of corn on top of the butter.

Step 5 – If you enjoy a good do-it-yourself-project, take apart an empty deodorant stick, wash it thoroughly, shove a stick of softened butter where the deodorant used to be, and chill it in the fridge. Voila! A butter roll-on that’s perfect for corn on the cob! Just be sure to label it, so you don’t end up with buttery armpits. If you don’t want to make a butter roll-on, there are similar gadgets on the market that you just fill with a stick of butter and rub over your corn.

Step 6 – Use an old-fashioned utensil known as a corn on the cob butterer, which is a regular utensil handle attached to a square that’s just larger than a pat of butter. Put butter in it and glide it across the cob

Did you know? In some parts of Europe, corn on the cob is considered “pig food” that’s unfit for human consumption!


Jun 22

Learn How To Lighten Hair Naturally

Learn How to Lighten Your Hair Naturally (courtesy of howcast.com)

Get sun-kissed hair without visiting the salon! You will need:

A spray bottle
Chamomile, cherry or blackberry tea
Beet juice
Some lemons
Dried marigolds and apple cider vinegar
Rhubarb roots

Step 1 – If you have brown hair, make a pot of extra strong coffee. Let it cool completely. Pour the cold coffee info a spray bottle and spritz it all over your hair. Sit in the sun for about ½ an hour. This won’t lighten your overall color, but it will brighten your natural highlights.

Step 2 – If you’re blonde, steep 5 chamomile tea bags in boiling water. When the tea is completely cooled, spray it on your hair, comb it through, and sit in the sun for about 30 minutes, to bring out natural highlights.

Step 3 – Follow the same routine method if you’re a red-head, except use cherry or blackberry tea. A can of beet juice mixed with a little water will give red-heads highlights, too.

Step 4 – Blondes can squeeze a lemon or 2 on their hair, comb it through and sit in the sun, although, it’s drying for their locks.

Step 5 – Highlight any shade of hair with this trick. Put 1 cup of water, 1 cup of apple cider vinegar and a handful of dried marigold flowers in a pot and bring it to a boil. Strain out the flowers and let the liquid cool completely. Put it into a spray bottle, spritz it on dry hair, massage it into the scalp and let the hair air dry. Highlights will appear in under an hour.

Step 6 – Boil some rhubarb root, let the liquid cool completely and test it on an inconspicuous lock before applying it to your whole head. Rhubarb adds a yellow tint, so if your hair is already very light, it could end up darker.

Did you know? According to a survey, 67% of women said if they had to hire a person based entirely on hair color, they would choose a brunette!


Jun 22

Learn How To Make Bath Bombs

Learn How To Make Your Own Bath Bombs (courtesy of howcast.com)

Add some fizzle and sizzle to bath time with a homemade bath bomb! You will need:

1 cup of baking soda
½ cup of cornstarch
½ cup citric acid
2 ½ tablespoons of sweet almond oil
1/8 cup of distilled water
6 drops of the essential oil of your choice
A spray bottle filled with witch hazel
Molds, muffin tins or ice cube trays
and tissue paper.


1/8 cup of sodium lauryl sulfoacetate
Dried flower petals
Zest of a citrus fruit
Food coloring
Colored plastic wrap
and ribbon

Step 1 – Mix together the baking soda and the cornstarch in one bowl, and the citric acid, almond oil and distilled water in another. Find citric acid, also known as Sour Salt, in natural food stores, craft shops and some supermarkets. If you want your bath bombs to foam, add 1/8 cup of sodium lauryl sulfoacetate to the dry mixture, once you’ve combined the other dry ingredients. Order it on the internet.

Step 2 – Lightly grease the molds with sweet almond oil. If you don’t have multi-purpose craft molds, you can use muffin tins, ice cube trays, plastic Easter eggs that snap apart, or even Christmas ornament packages instead.

Step 3 – Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, mixing them with your hands. If the mixture is too dry to stick together, mist it with a little witch hazel, which you can find at drugstores. Dried flower petals, the zest of lemons or other citrus fruits, or food coloring can be added to the mix.

Step 4 – Press the mixture into molds, let them sit for a few hours, remove, and let them dry for a week.

Step 5 – If you’re giving the bath bombs as gifts, cover them with colored plastic wrap and tie with ribbon; otherwise, cover them with tissue paper and store in a cool, dry place.

Did you know? According to one survey, 24% of married women would rather have a bubble bath than sex!


Jun 22

Learn How To Seal A Bag Of Chips

Learn How to Seal a Bag of Chips Without a Clip (courtesy of howcast.com)

Twist-ties and bag clips are for sissies! Here’s how to keep an open bag of chips fresh – with your bare hands! You will need:

An open bag of chips
Two Hands

Step 1 – Squeeze the air out of the bag by flattening it.

Step 2 – Roll the top of the bag all the way down, to just above the chips.

Step 3 – Fold back an inch or two on each side of the bag. Use your thumbs to keep the corners pinned to the bag so ends won’t unroll.

Step 4 – Unroll the middle of the fold while also turning it partly inside out and wedging the corners underneath. It might take some practice, but you’ll get it!

Did you know? Potato chips were invented by a chef in Saratoga Springs, New York, when a customer complained that his fried potatoes weren’t thin enough!


Jun 21

Learn How To Make Goobeldy Goo

Learn How To Make Goobeldy Goo (courtesy of howcast.com)

Your science teacher would call this ooey, gooey gunk a polymer. Your mom might call it messy…we call it fun! You will need:

– A new, 4-oz bottle of white glue
– 2 Mixing bowls
– Water
– A large spoon
– Food coloring
– 2 Measuring cups
– Borax
– A measuring tablespoon
– A resealable plastic bag

Step 1 – Squeeze the entire bottle of glue into one of the bowls.

Step 2 – Fill the empty glue bottle with water. Shake, and pour that in with the glue. Stir well.

Step 3 – Add a few drops of food coloring to the glue mixture and stir. Set aside.

Step 4 – In a liquid measuring cup, mix 1 cup of water with 1 tablespoon of Borax, until the Borax all dissolves. You can buy Borax at the grocery store. It will be in the laundry detergent aisle.

Step 5 – Measure out 1/3 cup of the Borax/water solution, and pour it into the other bowl. You won’t need the leftovers.

Step 6 – Slowly, pour all of your glue solution into this bowl, and stir while pouring.

Step 7 – The goo will start forming immediately. When you’ve added the glue mixture and stirred it, pick up the blob that’s now in your bowl and start squeezing and kneading it. There will be some water left in the bottom of the bowl. Wash your spoon and bowls as soon as you’ve finished your goo, to make sure the ooze doesn’t dry.

Step 8 – The more you play with the goo, the firmer and dryer it will get. But it will still be icky enough to gross out your friends!

Did you know? Goobeldy Goo is like quicksand and gelatin. They’re all “non-Newtonian fluids” that don’t behave according to Sir Issac Newton’s law of liquids.


Jun 21

Learn How To Make A Bento Box

Learn How to Make a Bento Box (courtesy of howcast.com)

Bento boxes turn lunch into art! Follow these simple steps to get started with this unique, Japanese craft that makes food fun! You will need:

A bento container or a plastic container
Balanced meal plans
Various food items
Artistic flair


Vegetable sticks
Cookie cutters
Colorful skewers

Step 1 – Use a sectioned food container or purchase an authentic Japanese bento box. Use sticks of celery, carrots or peppers to separate the food if you don’t have a box with compartments.

Step 2 – Plan a balanced meal. Bento box lunches traditionally provide a set ratio of grains to proteins and vegetables. A common formula is 3 parts grains to 1 part protein to 1 part vegetables.

Step 3 – Pick colorful foods. Hard-boiled eggs with bright yellow yolks, vibrant, red cherry tomatoes and brilliant, white rice are popular bento ingredients. Cut the food items into shapes with cookie cutters, and use colorful skewers.

Step 4 – Add interest with contrasting, colors, flavors and textures. Include a mix of bright and dark fruits and vegetables, sweet and salty items, and chewy and crunchy foods.

Step 5 – Arrange your food selections artfully. Place the proteins, grains, and fruits and vegetables in separate compartments. Pack your box tightly so the contents won’t shift.

Step 6 – Turn your lunch into edible art. Make flowers from radishes and cut stars out of carrot slices. Garnish with little pepper rings and make mini-kabobs on toothpicks.

Step 7 – Add little faces and edible animals to your box. Give cherry tomatoes sesame seed eyes. Turn a hard-boiled egg into a bunny with cabbage-triangle ears. Making lunch cute is a big part of bento box making in Japan.

Did you know? A traditional bento box lunch contains about as many calories as the box’s volume in milliliters.


Jun 21

Learn How To Fit In On Your First Day Of Work

Learn How to Fit In on Your First Day of Work (courtesy of howcast.com)

Everyone is whispering or staring at you. At least, it feels that way! Here are a few quick tricks for dealing with those first day at the office jitters. You will need:

A New Job

Some Self-Confidence

And an Upbeat Attitude!

Step 1 – Choose your First Day outfit carefully. Your clothes are a huge part of the image you project, so play it safe – at least, until people get to know you.

Step 2 – Show up on time…but not too early! You want to appear conscientious and responsible, but you don’t want to show up your new colleagues.

Step 3 – Be prepared to answer questions about who you are, where you’re from and what you’re doing there. Rehearse your spiel ahead of time, in order to come across as confident but not arrogant. Be respectful to one and all. Not only is it good manners, but you still don’t know who’s who, and who’s about to be promoted.

Step 4 – Do more listening than talking. The only thing people enjoy more than interrogating the newbie, is talking about themselves. Impress people by remembering their names. Make a quick, mental association during introductions. For example, if you meet a woman named Sandy, picture a lovely beach.

Step 5 – Introduce yourself to others. It’s one of the easiest ways to come across as friendly and confident.

Step 6 – Be prepared to either bite the bullet and ask someone to have lunch with you, or bring a book or work to occupy yourself, if you plan to sit and eat alone.

Step 7 – Offer to help. It immediately shows bosses and subordinates alike that you are a team player.

Step 8 – Don’t suck up! Bosses can see right through it, and it won’t win you any points with the new colleagues.

Step 9 – Don’t rush out the door at 5:00, or you’ll negate any good will you established during the day.

Did you know? According to a recent pole, 84% of Americans are not in their “Dream Job”.


Jun 21

Learn How To Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

Learn How To Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions (courtesy of youtube.com/stratola)

Hey. What’s happening? It’s that time of year again. Time to set our New Year’s resolutions, and screw them up a day later. There’s a big problem that we have in society today, and that’s New Years resolutions. Period. We get all dressed up…well, this is not so dressed up – it’s 3 bucks – but, you get the point. We get goofy hats, we get all jacked up and we have some drinks and we say, “yea, it’s gonna be different! 2009 is gonna be different, just because the year changed to 09 instead of 08”. And we say, “I’m gonna lose weight, and I’m gonna stop smoking, and I’m gonna rescue orphans”, or whatever the thing is.

The problem is, we’re doing it wrong. That’s right. We’re doing it wrong. The guy wearing a freaking hat that’s too big for his gargantuan head is telling you we’re doing it wrong. I know it’s hard to take me seriously right now, but, listen – just give me 2 minutes, here.

We set it up wrong. Our motivations are just wrong for New Year’s resolutions – we can make it right, though! Let’s just use a system I call Mace, OK? M-A-C-E. If you look at these 4 letters, which stand for 4 words, you can change your New Years resolution, regardless of what it is, and actually make it work. You can actually have a New Year’s resolution…and keep it…and actually make it work! OK, come along with me for a second – trust me.

M stands for Motivation. What is your motivation for your New Year’s Resolution? Why are you making it? Are you wanting to lose weight because you are sick of seeing all the freaking people who are thinner than you, and you want to have their body? Wrong! Motivation has to come from here. You’ve got to want to quit smoking. You’ve got to want to be healthier. You’ve gotta want to lose weight because of your own reasons, not because somebody else looks that way. Not because somebody else told you. You can’t quit smoking because a commercial made you feel guilty about it. You can’t be better with money because the economy says so. It’s gotta be from within. Your motivation’s have to be right. So that’s M.

A stands for Attainable. You have to be able to reach it. You can’t say, “I’m gonna quit smoking for the year.” That’s 365 days! That’s a long time to quit, when I know when you’re trying to quit, an hour seems like a long time, let alone lots and lots of hours! You’ve got to be able to get to it. OK, you can’t say, “I want to lose 60 pounds – right now.” You can’t go from fat to fab that quickly. It’s gotta be attainable. You’ve got to be able to reach it – not for a year, but I’m talking a week. Or, even a day – just give me a day. One day at a time. It’s little, baby steps. ‘Cause when you put those baby steps together, they turn into a wonderful journey when it all works together!

OK, and C, the most important one is under C – is Controllable. You have to be able to control the goal. So, if your New Years resolution is to lose 20 pounds to fit into that dress, into those pants – that’s wrong. You can’t control your weight! Does that make sense? You can’t control the number on a scale. We fluctuate weight during the day, so if you make your goal to lose 20 pounds and you lose19, you failed! Or, you lose 21 pounds and you gain back 4. That’s the problem – we can’t control it. You can control what you do for your health – that should be your goal! Your goal should be, “I want to be healthier”. OK, and we can work with that. It’s not 20 pounds. It’s not 30 pounds. It’s whatever you’re gonna weigh when you’re having a healthy lifestyle. And, speaking of healthy lifestyle…a lot of times, us who don’t have a very healthy lifestyle, don’t enjoy the journey towards it. We set it up wrong.

And that’s what the E stands for, is Enjoyable. I tried it myself. I’m gonna reveal to you right now. I tried that program 10 years ago. You know, “insert program here”, or whatever it is. I saw the before and after, right? I saw the after and said, “yea, that’s what I want to be!” I saw the before and I said, “ooo…that’s what I am right now.” Did you ever notice that the after picture is always better lighting, and more tanned, and sometimes it looks like a different person? Anyway, so, what happens is we motivate wrong. So, I changed my food, and I got the weight patch and I was all ready to go, right? I was all set to go and be buff and 6-packing and ready to rock and roll.

I looked at my meal plan they gave me, and I had to eat boiled chicken that had no skin and broccoli. And that was the good meal. I know! And, I could have rice cakes, too…WHAT? Do I look like someone who eats rice cakes? No! So, I started hating meal time. I started hating my meals. You want to fail at a goal? Hate what your goal/journey is. That’s wrong. You’ve gotta set it up so you can enjoy it. And, if you don’t particularly like or enjoy the journey, then, set up reward systems for yourself, saying, “if I eat healthy for this week, I’m gonna reward myself with a nice meal that I enjoy,or a dessert I really want on the weekend. Or, I’m gonna go to the gym 3 times this week, and if I do, I’m gonna go buy this DVD, this book, see this movie – whatever it is…to reward yourself. Get yourself a massage. Trust me, if you haven’t been to the gym in a while, you’ll need the massage…so give it to yourself!

But, look at what you can control, what you are gonna enjoy about it. Let’s set the goals:

So, DON’T want to lose weight,

DON’T want to have more money,

Set yourself to be healthier, or,

Set yourself to spend better, or,

Set yourself to do stuff Within Your Control!

So, Do It! And, do it TODAY!

And Happy New Year’s!


Jun 21

Learn How To Make No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Learn How to Make No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies (courtesy of usafireandrescue.com)

Welcome to USA Fire and Rescue’s video recipes, where we feature favorite recipes submitted to us.

Today, I’m making no bake, chocolate oatmeal cookies. Now, this is one of my most favorite cookie recipes. It’s an easy recipe, and it makes delicious cookies! It’s perfect for when you have a sweet tooth and you need something quick. So, let’s get started!

Grab a 3-quart saucepan and add a ½ cup of butter or margarine, 2 cups of sugar, ½ cup of milk and 4 tablespoons of cocoa. Bring this to a rolling boil, and then boil it for 1 minute.

Now, take it off the heat, and stir in a ½ a cup of real creamy or chunky peanut butter, 3 ½ cups of dry, quick-cooking oats and 2 teaspoons of vanilla.

Now, you can drop this, by tablespoonfuls, onto wax paper – but here’s a little tip. These tend to set up really fast, so, to make it easier, take a 9×13 casserole dish or baking pan and spray it with non-stick cooking spray. Now, just pour the mixture into the pan. Let it cool, and then cut it into squares.

And here they are! Quick, easy and delicious no bake cookies. And these are so good that it’s hard to eat just one. For this recipe and many more, check out the website!


Jun 20

Learn How To Swim Basics for Kids

Learn How To Swim Basics for Kids (courtesy of youtube.com/NorthTexasSwimming)

Hi! My name is Robert Bina, and I’ve been a swimming lesson instructor for more than 20 years. We have divided our lesson into 5 parts:

Arm Movement
and Breathing.

Our lessons are done in waist-deep water. Our swimmers are between 3 ½ and 9. And they have just about reached the achievable, physical limit for their various ages. So, don’t push a swimmer. It’s better if they work at their own pace. Just be patient, and don’t move to the next lesson until you have mastered the preceding skills.

OK, now, for some safety tips.

#1 – NEVER go swimming alone! Remember, it’s always better to swim with friends.

#2 – NEVER, NEVER dive or go headfirst into the shallow end of a pool! The reasons for that are obvious. You don’t want to dive in and hit your head on the bottom and hurt yourself.

#3 – NEVER, NEVER, NEVER go into the water for someone who needs help. First, yell for help, then look for a ring buoy or something else that floats to give the person needing that, and finally, go for help. Never go in the water yourself. Go get an adult. Never go into the water to help someone yourself. Get your mom or dad or a grown-up to come and help you.

Are y’all ready to go swimming?

When a parent doesn’t know at what level their child is swimming, I usually ask 2 things:

#1 – Can their child put their face in the water? And,

#2 – When they put their face in the water, can they hold their breath for 5 seconds?

If these 2 things – face in the water and holding of their breath for 5 seconds can be accomplished, then there is no reason the student can’t learn the basic requirements for a good swimming foundation. Here’s how we begin to build this foundation.

Submerging is relatively easy. Before submerging the face, the swimmer should always say, “One, Two, Three”. This purges the lungs and gets the swimmer ready for a full, fresh breath.

Now, just grab the wall with both hands, keeping the arms outstretched. Just say, “1, 2, 3”, take a big breath, and then put your face down into the water, between your arms. Your face should not be deeper in the water than your ears. Do this several times. Then ask your mom or dad to count to 5. Don’t resurface until the magic number 5 is called out. Once you accomplish this several times, try reaching the magic number 10!

Now, try it without holding the wall. Put your hands on your legs, say, “1, 2, 3”, inhale and put your face in the water. Once you can do this, you’re ready to recover toys from the pool bottom.

There are a lot of submersible toys, and here are just a few. Just as long as it sinks, and is not hard to grab or too heavy, you should have a lot of fun! This exercise helps in several ways:

#1 – It reinforces taking a breath and holding it.

#2 – Usually, this is the first time a swimmer experiences loss of contact with the bottom.

#3 – At this point, you will be able to see who is submerging with their eyes open and who isn’t. Encourage the swimmer to open their eyes, but don’t make this an issue which keeps you from moving ahead. During this exercise, the swimmer begins to experience buoyancy. Just imagine trying to fly for the first time. Sometimes they float so well, they can’t get down to reach a toy. Tell them you are going to help them, after saying ,“1, 2, 3”, inhaling and readying themselves, gently push them between the shoulder blades just enough for them to get down and grab the toy.

Well, I hope our lessons have helped you feel more comfortable in the water, as well as improve on your swimming skills. Remember – Practice, Practice, Practice! You won’t get any better if you don’t practice. Just go to the pool, and the rest will come naturally! Water Fun is what we want to promote! Summertime can be pretty long and hot for a young person who can’t swim. So, see you at the pool, and remember – When in Doubt, Breath Out!


May 20

Learn How To Cast Jewelry

Learn How to Cast Jewelry (courtesy of ExpertVillage.com)

The question was, “How to Cast Jewelry?” So, for the next few minutes, we’re gonna go through the entire process, and I’m gonna show you a process called centrifugal jewelry casting…and this is how we do it.

We’re going to do what we call “sprue” the wax. This right here is the sprue, and it’s a passageway which allows the wax to escape the mold, and the metal to get into the mold. So, what I’m gonna do here is, I’m gonna heat this rubber base up, and I’m gonna stick this wax pattern right in here and let it harden. Before I actually attach this wax to this rubber base, I weighed this wax, because there is a very specific weight ratio of the weight of wax to the weight of metal. Because you have to know how much metal it’s gonna take, whether it’s gold, silver, 18 carat, 14 carat – but you need to know how much metal it’s gonna take to cast.

So now, I’m gonna put this sleeve over it that’s called a flask. Now, as we’re mixing this investment compound, it’s actually introducing air into the compound, and we need to remove all of the air because we need a totally air-free compound. And how we’re gonna do that is by use of a vacuum chamber. We’re gonna take our compound – and you can start to see the air bubbles start to rise – we need to get rid of all of those. We’re gonna place it under a bell jar on a vacuum table, hit the switch, and now, we’re gonna start to remove the air from this investment compound.

OK, now, you can see the investment start to rise as the air is being drawn out of it, and it’s gonna start to boil. And it’s gonna get to a very vigorous roll. Now, right here – this whole system is on a shaker table – where you can get aggressive and knock those air bubbles free.

Alright, now, we’re gonna pour this investment – here’s our wax pattern in the flask – we’re gonna pour it in, but we’re not quite gonna fill the mold up. Now, this time, I want to tap it lightly. Because there’s wax patterns inside the flask, I don’t really want to get aggressive. And now, I’m just gonna set it aside for an hour and 15 minutes, and when it hardens we’re gonna put it in the oven.

We’re gonna set this flask, which is now fully hardened, we’re gonna set it in an oven and now I’m gonna bake this for about 6 hours. And the wax will now go out of the sprue. The oven is gonna go to about 1500 degrees which is gonna melt the wax. The wax will exit through the sprue and just burn up in the oven, and it’s gonna leave a hollow cavity with the exact impression of the wax pattern inside this plaster mold.

Our next step will be to take it out of the oven after 6 hours, and then we’re gonna put it in a centrifugal casting machine and we’re actually going to force the gold into that cavity.

So far, we’ve injected a rubber mold, we’ve invested a flask, we’ve cast it and we’ve quenched it – and now, this is where we are. So now, we need to make this into a piece of jewelry…and here’s what goes on next!

The first thing I’m gonna to do is I’m going cut the sprue off. Alright, next, we’re gonna take a file and file the sprue down. Now, I’m gonna switch to a round file and I’m gonna do the inside of the ring. Now that the ring’s been filed, now we’re gonna switch to just a sandpaper wrapped around about a 1-inch square stick. And what I’m gonna do is now take and sand out my file marks. Now, we’ve filed the inside, filed the outside and sanded the outside. Now, we’re ready to take it to final polish!

Now, we’ve moved back to the polishing room, and now what we’re gonna do is put a high polish on this ring we just made. And that is how you make gold jewelry!


May 18

Learn How To Take Care Of Yourself When You’re Sick

Learn How to Take Care of Yourself When You’re Sick (courtesy of Howcast.com)

Oh, the misery! Your head is pounding, your whole body aches, and there’s nobody – nobody around to pamper you…you’ll just have to pamper yourself! You will need:

– A bed
– Time to rest
– Vitamin C
– Chocolate
– Warm fluids
– Electrolyte drinks


– Humidifier
– Some over-the-counter medication

Step 1 – Get lots of rest. Don’t try to work out, and make sure you get at least 8 hours of sleep a night. Don’t worsen your situation and get others sick by going out or going to work.

Step 2 – Take in lots of vitamin c with supplements, or through fluids, like orange juice.

Step 3 – Eat a little dark chocolate for its anti-oxidant qualities.

Step 4 – If you have a cough, put a humidifier near your bed or wherever you’re resting to help you breathe easier.

Step 5 – Take in warm fluids like soups and teas.

Step 6 – Keep yourself hydrated with lots of water and an occasional electrolyte drink.

Step 7 – Avoid dairy products which can uncomfortably coat the throat and mouth, as well as cause an upset stomach.

Step 8 – Rest, Rest, Rest! If you still feel lousy, try some over-the-counter medication, like ibuprophin, acetaminophin or cough syrup to alleviate some of your symptoms. They won’t cure you, but you’ll feel better.

Step 9 – Wait it out. It likely will take a few days for your sickness to run its course. But, if your symptoms persist or worsen dramatically, see a doctor.

Did you know? The #1 way to prevent the spread of illness is by washing your hands.


May 17

Learn How To Do Home Repair

Top 10 Home Repairs (courtesy of Coldwell Banker and ReelProductions.tv)

Hi! We’re here with John Molke, the housing guru, and John is gonna give us the Top 10 home repair tips for homeowners. So, John, we’re gonna start with #10 – tell us what it is.

Well, one of the things that’s critical, I think, for homeowners to always understand is the location of their furnace filter. Often neglected, the furnace filter is easy to forget because it’s usually in a location that’s hard to access. So, it’s a good idea to keep it changed. It will extend the life of the furnace, and will also make the unit operate much more efficiently, making it warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

That’s perfect – that’s a good tip! Let’s move right on to #9.

Homeowners need to understand a little of the basics of caulking. Outside the house, caulking begins to break down after a year or so. It’s a good idea to understand how to do a little bit of caulking. Just look for those places to keep down the infiltration of air from the outside, and there again, making your home more comfortable.

Going onto the next one would be caulking again, on the inside of the house. Understanding bathroom caulk. Doing a little sealing so that you don’t have to worry about water penetrating the area around your bathtub, shower and so forth. Anywhere that you have cracks in the grout and so forth, can be sealed with caulk.

So, simple caulking, #8 and #9. Let’s move on to #7, then.

I would say, homeowners need to understand about leaky faucets. It’s easy today for homeowners to go to the big box stores – the home centers, and get the repair items necessary to stop a leaky faucet. The instructions are right there on the package, so many homeowners are choosing to do those themselves. You’ll not waste water and you’ll avoid the irritation of a leaky faucet!

And, we all want that! What’s #6, John?

Understanding how to unstop clogged drains. One of the things I recommend is that people pour a cup of white vinegar down their shower drain, in their bathroom sink, once a week, and that will help keep your drain clean.

What is #5?

Homeowners need to understand the location and operation of their electric panel – where those circuit breakers are located, what they control. Hopefully, they’re marked, but, if they’re not, try to work with someone to get them marked properly so that you understand how to re-set a tripped circuit breaker.

Alright, #4…

I recommend that people know how to fix a squeaky door. You can pop the hinge pin out and put a little vaseline on it. It’s a very easy repair, and you put those hinge pins back in, the squeak will be stopped – normally for a year or two.

Alright, moving on, now – we’re at the Top 3 Tips that every homeowner needs to know.

Homeowners need to know the location of their water cut-off valve. You have a cut-off valve in your water meter box outside. It’s a good idea to look at it and just understand. It requires a special key, but you can buy that key at the big box store, at the home centers. It’s a good idea to know the location of every single cut-off valve in your house, should you have a break in a plumbing pipe.

Tip #2?

You need to understand drainage. A little bit about drainage…I use what I call the basketball theory of drainage. Drop a basketball next to your foundation. If it rolls away, you have good drainage. If it rolls next to the house, you have a problem, and that can cause basement leaks, mold, mildew problems, foundation cracking, settling problems. So, it’s very important to understand all the aspects of drainage.

Alright, John, that brings us to our #1 home repair tip. What is it?

You need to keep your house from exploding. Exploding houses are not a good idea!

That’s a pretty good tip!

Your water heater has a safety valve. Many of you may have heard that, occasionally, homes
do explode because the water heater explodes. It builds up too much pressure. Some of the older houses, the pressure valve may have gone bad, or it may not even have a pressure valve! Make sure that you understand where the pressure valve is located, on top of your water heater. You can actually test it. You can lift the little lever to make sure that it’s working properly. And that drains to a line outside your house, into a visible location, so if you see water coming out of that drain, that means the pop-off valve has failed and needs to be replaced.

John, thank you so much – these are great tips! We want to thank the housing guru, John Molke, for all of the Top 10 home repair tips that every homeowner should know!


May 16

Learn How To Teach Your Baby Sign Language

Learn How To Teach Your Baby Sign Language (courtesy of Howcast.com)

Wouldn’t it be great if your baby could just tell you when he was hungry, thirsty, or getting tired? He can, if you teach him to sign! You will need:

An American Sign Language Dictionary
and Patience!

Step 1 – Get an American Sign Language Dictionary, or, look up certain words online.

Step 2 – Start signing to your baby when he is 6 months old, so he can begin making associations between your gestures and his needs. Say the word as you sign it. Repeat the word and the sign, as often as you can, during the interaction. Babies need the repetition in order to learn.

Step 3 – Let’s begin with “bottle”. Show the baby his bottle, and then hold up your hand in front of you, palm side up. Mimic placing a cup on it with your other hand. Help the baby make the sign himself by guiding his hands with yours.

Step 4 – If you’re breastfeeding exclusively, teach him the sign for “milk”. Simply open and close your fists several times, like you’re milking a cow.

Step 5 – Tell him to ask for “more, by raising your hands in front of you, and touching and un-touching your fingertips.

Step 6 – Help him tell you he’s thirsty by making the sign for “drink”. Just pretend there’s a cup in your hand, and tip it towards your mouth.

Step 7 – Speed up potty training by making the sign for “toilet” when you catch him peeing or pooping. Just put your thumb between your first 2 fingers and shake your hand back and forth. Use sign language consistently, or not at all. Your baby won’t learn, unless you repeat the sign every time the corresponding action takes place.

Step 8 – Help baby communicate that he’s sleepy before he gets fussy. Every time you put him to bed, hold your right hand in front of your face, fingers spread and palm facing toward you. Then, move your hand down, toward your chin, as you bring all your fingers together.

Step 9 – Enjoy the perks of being able to communicate with your baby. Less frustration on his part means fewer crying jags for you to deal with!

Did you know? Research has shown that, although babies are unable to speak at 6 months, they have the ability by that age to use and understand language!


May 13

Learn How To Bird Watch

How To Bird Watch (courtesy of ExpertVillage.com)

Hello! Welcome to Expert Village! My name is Wayne Peterson, Director of the Massachusetts Audubon Society’s Important Bird Areas Program. And, we’re here this afternoon at the Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary in Marshfield, Massachusetts.

Next, we’re going to talk about backyard birding, a place where everybody has an opportunity to get involved, and where many people’s interest in birding first begins. In thinking about backyard birding, there are a variety of things to keep in mind that will maximize the experience. One of these, is obviously, to ensure the safety of birds, which means, that by locating your feeders in places where they are relatively close to shrubs that birds can quickly escape into, or trees that they can fly up into, that’s an important thing to keep in mind, because obviously, the safety of the backyard bird is important. Likewise, if you have a cat, you should keep the cat indoors. Unfortunately, lots of folks have the feeling that if they put a cat out the front door and their bird feeders are in the backyard, there won’t be a conflict. Well, unfortunately, that’s not the case.

Likewise, having your feeders situated in places where you can see them is important. So, you want to put them in a place where you have ready viewability from a window or whatever. Likewise, in order to have the feeders be relatively free from, what some people would describe as “pesky competitors” like squirrels, it’s important to have baffles of this sort,on the pole. And, as you can see, and as we will mention shortly, there are lots of different types of bird feeders and so on, that can be put up for birds. Birds will find them!

In addition to hanging feeders like this that are filled with seed – with the appropriate baffle to keep pesky squirrels and things away, it’s also possible to put birdseed right on the ground. Lots of birds will happily feed on the ground, and, actually don’t like to necessarily feed off the ground.

So, again, you’re trying to provide a mix of a sort of overall landscape considerations that will be compatible with the location of your viewing station or windows, as well as provide conditions that are, hopefully, going to ensure the safety of the birds that you’re trying to attract to your yard.


Apr 25

Learn How To Put On A Slipcover

Learn How To Put on a Slipcover (courtesy of PotteryBarn.com)

Our loose-fit slipcovers are designed to let you re-invent your sofa, simply and affordably. Tailored from easy-to-clean, high quality fabrics, they’re easy to use.

First, take seat and back cushions off your sofa. Unfold the sofa base slipcover and locate the tag that says Back on the slipcover. Loosely drape the slipcover over the base of your sofa, using the tag as a guideline, while centering the skirt pleat at the front of the base.

Begin to customize fit by aligning the slipcover over the sofa arms, pull the slipcover snugly over the front ends and top of arms while leaving the backstraps unattached. Determine the desired length of the front and back of the slipcover. Adjust the front and back length by accumulating all excess fabric on the seat. Note: the slipcover is designed to fit a variety of
furniture styles; as a result, there may be more fabric than you need. Tuck any extra fabric into the crevasses of the sofa base, while leaving enough fabric on the front of the sofa to the desired length.

Place the seat cushions back on the covered sofa frame, and place the fitted elastic, separate seat slipcover over the cushions. Tuck any excess fabric under the seat cushions.

Face the back side of your sofa, and flip the back panel of the base slipcover down, so that you are able to replace the back seat cushions underneath the fabric. Replace the base slipcover over the sofa. Tuck in any excess fabric into the back cushions and re-adjust the fabric on the back of the sofa so it drapes to your liking.

Re-center the skirt and pleat at the front of the sofa. Locate the straps on the slipcover skirt. Wrap the skirt around the base of your furniture. Secure the straps in the back with metal D rings on the slipcover and tighten. Smooth fabric to create an attractive, finished look. Wrinkles will disappear over time, once you have fitted the slipcover. A warm iron can be run over the slipcover to smooth out wrinkles as well.


Apr 22

Learn How To Read Tarot Cards

Learn How To Read Tarot Cards (courtesy of ExpertVillage.com)

Hi! I’m Anubha Gupta…on behalf of Expert Village

Now I’ll be talking about how to read the cards. It’s very important that you give to the other person the deck of cards and let him shuffle it. Once he’s comfortable with the cards, take them back and then spread the cards. It is a very important segment of reading the cards, because you have to pull out cards according to the person’s question, give them time to just think about it – just give them one minute, probably, to think about his particular question. For instance, if the person is really wondering about how their relationship would end, or is there any future to this particular relationship, ask him to close his eyes, and then just pull out the cards.

Once a person pulls out the card, there is a Faith card coming up. As you can see in the Faith card, and as we have talked earlier also, that this card says that you have to trust the person…that there is going to be a lot of trust required, there has to be a lot of patience which this relationship will be requiring. So better be very particular once this card is coming up – then you have to be very patient. For instance, there can be other questions, also, as, “when can I conceive?” or “will I be able to conceive or not?” And then there’s a magician’s card comes. That means that it happens instantly, you will not expect it and the results come positive.

Everything has to be a magician’s {unintelligible}. That means the person has to be very lucky, their kid will be very lucky, everything will happen automatically. You don’t need to undergo any kind of surgeries, any kind of trouble.

This is the way you can easily do predictions for others and for yourself. But make sure that you’re doing it on a Friday, because Friday is a day which is ruled by Venus, which is God of Love. So, if you’re doing it on a particular Friday, or Thursday, because Thursday is supposed to be God of Commitments, of particular relationships. Choose either one of the days, once you’re doing the readings, and the reading will go really well, and without any problems.


Apr 21

Learn How To Make Spinach Paneer

Learn How To Make Spinach Paneer (courtesy of ManjulasKitchen.com)

Hello! I am Manjula. Today, we are going to make Palak Paneer, and I am going to tell you the ingredients in the same manner that I’m going to add it.

Heat the pan on about medium.
2 tablespoons Oil
We are going to use ½ teaspoon of Cumin Seed
½ teaspoon Turmeric
½ teaspoon Red Chili Powder
1 tablespoon Ginger paste
4 – 5 whole Red Chilis
2 tablespoons Flour
Puree from 2 medium-sized Tomatoes
Salt to taste
I’m using a 10-ounce package of Frozen Spinach, that I have already thawed in my bowl here
And I’m going to use store-bought Paneer, about 1/3 pound.

I have already cubed these to fry. My heat is already on, and the oil should be ready. Here, I have half a tomato sliced, for garnish. So, we are just going to fry this quick. Fry this very light, a light, pink color. So now it’s getting pink and it is ready. So, let’s lower the heat. This palak paneer is a very popular dish, in India. Any Indian restaurant you will visit, they will have this dish. So, we’re going to put this on one side and start the making of our palak.

So, this pan is already getting hot, and we’re going to put 2 spoons of oil in. Wait a few seconds so this can get hot. Like I said, hing is optional, but we’re just going to use a pinch of hing. My oil is not ready yet, so I’m going to make it hotter. This is better if oil is hot and then you can put the spices to start cooking. That leaves the nice flavor. Now, we’re going to put about ½ teaspoon of cumin seed, about ½ teaspoon of turmeric and ½ teaspoon of chili powder. Now, we will put the ginger paste in there. Add the red chilis. And, now we will add the tomato puree, and let it cook. It will become a little more than half.

Now, the tomato looks ready, so we can put in the skillet which we have already hot, add that and mix it well. We are going to put little bit flour. This way, adding the flour, it keeps, it keeps it smooth. Otherwise, what happens sometimes, the spinach water will be one side and everything else will be on the other side. So, we’ll just paste a paste out of it and mix it well. This will be heavy cream. And the salt. With the spinach, you have to make sure you don’t put too much salt, because it has natural salts in there. So, now we are going to let it cook for about 6 or 7 minutes.

OK, let’s have a look at this. It’s been cooking for about 7 minutes and looks ready. Now, we are going to add the paneer we already fried before, and mix it. Now, we have to just let it cook for a couple of minutes. Just cover for about 3 to 4 minutes, and it should be ready.

OK, let’s come back and look at this again. OK, it looks ready, so let’s stir it, and it’s ready to serve! So, this is enough for about 4 to 6 people. It depends what else you have to go with it. And we are going to garnish this with tomatoes so it looks very nice. Just something I do. And, we are going to come back and do the other recipe next time. I hope you enjoyed this recipe and try it, and if you have any comments, please email me at JainKitchen@yahoo.com.


Apr 18

Learn How To Decorate Easter Eggs Using Onion Skins

How To Decorate Easter Eggs Using Onion Skins (courtesy of FoodChannel.com)

Impress your guests this Easter with an arrangement of these beautiful, naturally dyed eggs. You will need:

Yellow Onions

Raw Eggs

Small Rubber Bands

and a Large Pot, filled with water.

To start, bring the water to a gentle simmer. Briefly immerse the onion skins in simmering water for about 10 seconds, to soften.

Wrap the onion skins around the raw eggs and secure carefully with rubber bands.

Gently lower the wrapped eggs into the simmering water. Heat for 20 minutes, to set the dye and cook the eggs.

Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon, drain and cool.

Carefully unwrap the eggs and pat dry.

Dip the eggs into the prepared dye to add color.

Place your finished eggs in a basket for an impressive handmade gift or unique table decoration!


Apr 15

Learn How To Build A Bookcase

How To Build A Bookcase (courtesy of Howcast.com)

If you can read, you can build a bookcase! These instructions are for a 30-inch high, 28-inch wide, 11¼ inch deep bookcase. You will need:

Planed Pine – cut to these specifications:

2 pieces – 1 x 12 x 28½”

2 pieces – 1 x 12 x 28”

2 pieces – 1 x 12 x 26½”

Wood glue

2 bar clamps

Scrap wood

Damp rag

Drill and drill bits

8 – 1½” wood screws

8 – 1½” L-brackets

16 – ½” wood screws

Measuring tape




Wood stain, brush and clean rags

220 grit sandpaper

Clear, polyurethane finish

Optional: screwdriver

Step 1 – Using a generous layer of wood glue, affix each of the 28½” pieces to both ends of the 28” pieces, so the planks form a rectangle. Use the bar clamps to hold the pieces in place. Put pieces of scrap wood between the clamp’s grips and the wood, to avoid damaging the bookcase.

Step 2 – Mark the 4 corners of the top and bottom planks, about an inch in from the back and face of the frame, and 3/8” from the sides. Using a drill bit that’s slightly smaller than the diameter of your 1½” wood screws. Drill 8 holes on the marks.

Step 3 – Screw the wood screws into the holes, using your drill screwdriver attachment or a manual screwdriver. Wipe away excess glue with a damp rag, and let the glue dry overnight.

Step 4 – Decide on shelf placement. Take the clamps off and stand the bookcase upright. Measure and mark where the shelves should go on the bookcase. Starting with the left side, make a straight pencil line exactly where you want the first shelf to go. Repeat on the other side of the bookcase. Measure your tallest book to decide where to place your shelves.

Step 5 – Start with the top shelf. Mark a spot on the inside left side of the bookcase, 2 inches in from the front of the bookcase and 2 in inches from the back, directly below the line you’ve marked in pencil. This is where 2 of the L-brackets will go. Repeat on the right side of the bookcase.

Step 6 – Hold an L bracket upside down and mark where to drill. Securely install the L- brackets with the 1/2” screws. Repeat on the other side. Then, guide the top shelf onto the L-brackets. Use the level to make sure the L-brackets are aligned on either side of the shelf.

Step 7 – Add another set of L-brackets for the other shelf. Then, guide the bottom shelf onto the L-brackets. Glue and screw the shelves into place for added stability.

Step 8 – Apply the wood stain with a brush, and allow it to penetrate for several minutes. Remove the excess with a clean rag. Let it dry for at least 6 hours, and apply a second coat. When that dries, apply a coat of polyurethane. Allow to dry for 12 hours.

Step 9 – Lightly sand the bookshelf. Then, apply a second coat of clear finish and let it dry.

Step 10 – Choose a spot against a wall for your shelf, add your books, and step back and admire your handiwork!

Did you know? The Eagle Scouts offer a woodwork merit badge!


Apr 13

Learn How To Make A Grilled Cheese Sandwich

How To Make A Grilled Cheese Sandwich (courtesy of StartCooking.com)

Welcome to StartCooking.com! I’m Kathy Maister. To make a perfect grilled cheese sandwich, you’ll need 3 ingredients:

1st – Hearty White Bread

2nd – 2 Slices of American Cheese (the kind wrapped in plastic is perfect for this sandwich, and

3rd – 1 Tablespoon of Butter, which grills your sandwich to perfection!

(Ingredients and equipment list are at the end of this video.)

Spread the softened butter on one side of each slice of bread.

Lay one side of bread – butter side down – in a non-stick frying pan. Put 2 slices of cheese on the bread. Now, cover it with the other slice of bread, with the buttered side UP.

If you only have a block of cheese, be sure to slice it thin with a knife, or even a vegetable peeler. But, a cheese slicer works best. To use a cheese slicer like this, just scrape it across the top of a block of cheese. Wire slicers can be scraped across the top, or used in a downward motion to make perfect slices. 2 ounces of cheese is just the right amount of cheese. You may be tempted to use a lot more, but don’t! Too much cheese oozes out as it melts. All that extra cheese ends up at the bottom of your plate, or dripping down your hand as you bite into your sandwich.

Turn the stove on medium heat, and place the pan on the stove. A grilled cheese sandwich needs to cook until it’s golden brown on the outside. This requires peeking occasionally with a spatula! After about 2 to 3 minutes, it should be ready to flip. The 2nd side will take a lot less time to turn golden brown, because the pan is already heated up. Lift the sandwich out of the pan with the spatula, and set it on a cutting board.

Normally, you would cut bread with a sawing motion and a bread knife. If you did that to a grilled cheese sandwich, it would slide apart. Instead, use a large kitchen knife, and with one swift, downward motion – slice through the sandwich!

You can add extra bits to your grilled cheese sandwich if you want…sliced tomato or crispy bacon…or tuna salad. Or, how about some rye bread with swiss cheese, sliced ham and mustard? Carrots and celery sticks are great to serve on the side, but potato chips are even better! Enjoy!

For the Ingredients, you will need:

2 Slices of Bread
2 Slices of Cheese
1 Tablespoon of Butter

For the Equipment, you will need:
Butter Knife
Frying Pan
Cutting Board
Kitchen Knife


Apr 12

Learn How To Make French Press Coffee

How To Make French Press Coffee (courtesy of ParisiCoffee.com)

Hello! I’m Jasper with Parisi Coffee, and today, we’re gonna show you how to make fabulous coffee, using a press! It’s really very simple.

The first thing we’re gonna do is get some water heated. It doesn’t matter if you use a microwave or the stove top. For this demonstration, we’re gonna use 34 ounces of water. The ideal water temperature for making coffee in a press is between 195 and 200 degrees.

It’s very important to have the right ratio of coffee to water. In a press, we recommend a gram and a half of coarsley ground coffee to every ounce of water. While the water heats, we’ll prepare the press. Take a regular home scale, put the press on it, and zero out the weight. Because this is a 34-ounce press, and our ratio of coffee to water is 1.5 grams of coffee to each ounce of water, I’m gonna put in 51 grams of coffee into the press. If you don’t have a scale, the french press does come with a scoop that holds roughly 7 grams of coffee.

Today, for our coffee, we’re using a Parisi Original Kengua blend. It’s an intense coffee that enhances the palette with a smooth, mellow flavor, rich body and distinctive bouquet. So, how do you know just how coarse the coffee needs to be? One simple way is to go to your nearest grocery store, buy a small amount of coffee beans – maybe a quarter pound – and grind it in the store’s coffee grinder, just like this one. Grind it on the coarse setting. Use this as your control sample, so you know what the coffee should look like when you grind it at home. You want to make sure there’s no coffee in the store’s grinder before you prepare your sample.

Once the water comes to a boil, give it a quick stir, and if you have a kitchen thermometer, check the temperature. Now, all you do is pour your heated water into the press and let it steep for 4 minutes. After about one minute, take a spoon and break the top crust of the coffee and give it a stir. Put the lid on to hold the heat in. Now we wait. Four minutes is just the right amount of time needed to extract the best flavors from the coffee beans.

Now, all you do is push down the press, and you’re ready to serve! Here’s a serving tip…if you make a full press of coffee, take the extra coffee that’s still in the press, and put it in either another press, or a thermal container. If you let the water stay in contact with the coffee for too long, the coffee may become bitter.

If you want to make really high quality coffee for a large dinner party, make as many presses as you need, and pour them into a thermal pot to keep your coffee hot. Enjoy!

Now, that’s a great cup of coffee!


Apr 08

Learn How To Change Your Oil

How To Change Your Oil (courtesy of ExpertVillage.com)

So, the first step when you do an oil change is to jack the car up in the air – to get clearance underneath it so you can lay on the ground – you jack it up and put blocks underneath the tires, or if you have someone there to spot you, you can drive it up on a ramp.

Then, the next think you would do is go underneath the car. When you’re under the car, you’ll find your oil pan and our oil filter, right here. This is your little drain plug – loosen it and take it out. It always works better if you’re doing it like this and from right here, so the oil doesn’t leak down all over your arm, onto your elbow…a lot cleaner this way! Make sure you don’t lose your bolt into the oil pan, because you gotta fish it out. You got the oil into the pan.

While that’s going, get your oil filter. Grab your oil filter…let the oil drain out for a little while. Til it’s all gone. Grab your new filter and take some oil. Fill the oil into the filter. That way, when you start your engine, you’re not dry-starting it.

After it’s done draining, you put the plug back in. You don’t want to tighten it too much, ’cause you’ll strip out the thread. Put the oil filter in…turn until you feel it start to catch, then turn it another half-turn. So, up here, you find your oil fill cap – pop it off. Usually, it will say Oil, so it’s pretty self-explanatory there. You get a funnel and put it in there. Depending on what car you have and what your manufacturer recommends, they’ll say how many quarts your car will take for a full oil change, with a filter, and how much it takes if you don’t change the filter. Because, if you change the filter, you take a quart more than if you don’t change the filter.

After you’re done with your oil change, you write down what you did to it, how many miles you have on the car and what day it is.


Apr 07

Learn How To Fix A Leaky Faucet

Learn How To Fix A Leaky Faucet (courtesy of ExpertVillage.com)

If your faucet is dripping, you really want to get that fixed, because it adds up to a high water bill over time. And it’s really very simple. A lot of people are intimidated by it, but it’s not very complicated at all.

Most of you probably don’t have a faucet that looks like this one, but that’s ok because it will work the same way, even if you have one that sits on top of the back of the sink.

The first thing you want to do is shut off the water supply to the faucet, primarily through your shut-off valves under the sink…the knobs that feed the hoses that come up and feed the faucet. Now, in my case, I don’t have those, and I had to cut it off at the curb. So, once the water supply is shut off, then I can safely take these valves out and not worry about water spraying everywhere.

The first thing you want to do is remove the handle, which is the first step, always. Sometimes the screw that holds the handle in place is hidden under a little cap that maybe says C and H for the cold and hot water. Those will pop off pretty easily. And then once you’ve exposed the screw, you remove the screw and then you lift the handle. It may not come off this easily; you hay have to wiggle the handle and whatnot, but it will come off. You don’t want to pry it, though…you don’t want to force it off.

The next thing you want to do is remove the stem, which is this interior mechanism here that controls the flow of water, and you’ll need a crescent wrench to turn this and loosen it. Once you do, it should come off pretty easily.

The culprit, 99% of the time, with a drippy faucet, is a worn washer at the very bottom of the stem, which presses against the seat and shuts off the flow of water. It’s almost always the cold water side, too, which is the side that receives the most use.

Once you see that this is the problem, you can take this entire mechanism to your local hardware store and they will actually take this apart for you and put the new washer on. Which saves you a lot of time and effort.

And then once that’s replaced, all you have to do is just reverse the process, screwing this back into place. And then giving it a little turn to tighten it with a crescent wrench – you don’t want to force it too far – and then simply put the handle back on, the screw in place, and you’re fixed!


Apr 06

Learn How To Make Strawberry Shortcake

How To Make Strawberry Shortcake (courtesy of Howcast.com)

Strawberry shortcake doesn’t have to be cake on a plate. Turn this fruity favorite into something you really want to sink your teeth into! You will need:

One angel food cake
One 8 ounce package of cream cheese
A 14 ounce can of condensed milk
A 12 ounce container of whipped topping
1 cup of sugar
3 tablespoons of cornstarch
3 tablespoons of strawberry gelatin
1 cup of water
2 cups of fresh strawberries, quartered
A large glass bowl
5 whole strawberries

Optional: Light or fat-free cream cheese, condensed milk and whipped topping.

Step 1: Slice the angel food cake crosswise, into 3 equal sections. Make your own angel food cake with a box mix, or buy one in your grocery store.

Step 2: Mix together the cream cheese, condensed milk and whipped topping, then set the mixture aside. Lighten up your dessert by using light or fat-free ingredients.

Step 3: Stir together the sugar, cornstarch and gelatin in a saucepan over medium heat. Add water, stir until it thickens and fold in the strawberries.

Step 4 – Place one layer of the cake in the bottom of your glass bowl. Top it with a third of the glaze from your saucepan, followed by a third of the cream cheese mixture. Repeat all of this 2 more times.

Step 5 – Top your dessert with whole strawberries. Chill for an hour, and then dig in!

Did you know? The average strawberry has 200 seeds!


Apr 05

Learn How To Throw A Curveball

How To Throw A Curveball (courtesy of Youtube.com/ViewDo)

This is the curveball. You’re gonna throw a curveball primarily when you’re ahead in the count, either one or two strikes and you have fewer balls. Or, you could even mix it up and throw it first pitch in the count, and surprise the batter!

Now, as far as the grip is concerned on a curveball, you’re gonna want to have as much grip on that index finger as possible, So, for a leftie (and this goes the same for a rightie), you want to make sure that your finger is right up there by the stitches, and you’re gonna have that ring finger cradle it right on the other side of that stitch.

OK, the next thing you’re gonna do is you wanna make sure you have as much hand whipping going on as possible. As you notice, as that ball’s going through the air, you’re gonna have that ball at an angle, catching as much air off those laces as possible. And by that, it’s going to drag the air around it and create that down cutter – cutting action.

Now, as far as where to aim, you have 2 options. You can start the curve ball out in the strike zone and have it go into the dirt, making the batter fish for it. Or, you can start it out as a ball and have it drop into the strike zone. This way, if the batter doesn’t hit it, or if he doesn’t swing at it, it might be called a strike.

So again, this is a curveball…right like that.


Mar 30

Learn How To Hem Pants While Keeping The Original Hem

Learn How to Hem Pants while Keeping the Original Hem (courtesy of LaycieDo)

Hi, Everyone! Welcome to LaycieDo! I’m Lacie, and this is what I do!

I’m sure many of us have had the problem of buying a pair of pants, and then later realizing we need it to be a little bit shorter. Today, I’m going to show you how to hem pants that have a hem that you don’t want to lose, I guess you would say. I want the pants to be shorter, but maintain this look at the bottom.

This pair has already been hemmed. You can tell that this is what the pants looked like on the bottom when I bought them, but they have been shortened, and there’s a tiny seam above the original hem. And, so, you get to keep the look of how they were at the store.

The pants we’re gonna be hemming today, they have a double-stitched, white hem, and, um, I’m only taking about 2 inches off of them. So if I was just to cut them, I would have to cut in the middle of this hem and they just wouldn’t look good. So what I’m gonna do is cut right above the hem and show you how to keep the original, store-bought-looking hem.

Here is what you’re gonna need:

A pair of pants that you want to hem
A measuring tape
A razor cutter and ruler, and

The first thing we’re gonna do is lay the pants out flat and cut the hem that we want to keep, off, along with a quarter-inch to half-inch seam, whatever your preference. I’m gonna go with the ½ inch. I’m just going to cut ½ inch directly above, from the point where I want my seam to be. And you’re gonna have your seam be at the very top of the hem you’re keeping. Like, on this pair of denim jeans, the seam we’re gonna sew is right above the stitch mark and the folded hem that was originally on the pants. So, even though the stitch mark is right here, the fold of the original hem is right here – you can feel it with your finger. I’m just gonna cut ½ an inch above that.

Now, what I have here is the original hem of the pants, long width, for extra fabric or seam allowance. I’m just gonna turn that inside out, and put it aside. And I’m gonna do the same to the opposite leg. This is only gonna work if you need to hem your pants at least an inch. If they need to be hemmed less than an inch, this is probably not gonna work out, because if I’m using ½ inch seam allowance, then, right there I’m already taking an inch off the pants.

Now that I’ve cut both of the hems off, I’m gonna measure the inseam of the pant I have left without the hem, and I’m also gonna measure the hem piece that I have. I want my inseam to be 30 inches, so I have to do a little math here to figure out how many inches I need to cut off the pants so that when I sew it to the hem it will be 30 inches. 21/4 inches is how long the inseam on the pants are. The hem, not including my seam allowance, is 2 ¼ inches. If, what I have for my hem is 2 ¼ inches, and my inseam is currently 29 ¼ inches, I need to factor in for my ½ inch seam allowance, which brings my inseam to 28 ¾. So, 28 ¾ plus the 2 ¼ here, brings my total to 31 inches. I need to cut one inch off this (bottom of pants), because I want my inseam to be 30 inches. So, since I have a cutting mat, I’m just gonna align my cut right up on the line, and I’m gonna cut an inch off. If you’re using scissors, just go ahead and use your measuring tape and just mark a little dot, at an inch, all across, and you can just use a ruler or something to mark a line. Then you can cut on the line! But, if you like to sew a lot, it’s really handy to have a razor and a ruler, it just saves you so much time, and you get such clean cuts. So, here’s the inch that we’re throwing away. Do that on both legs.

Alright, now that we’ve done that, we’re ready to sew the hem to the pants. And what you’re gonna do is just turn the hem inside out, and you’re gonna place it, right sides together, on the end of the pants leg. I’m matching up the side seams – I’m just gonna stick a pin in here. So just go ahead and pin your hem to both legs. Then, go over to your sewing machine!

Alright, we’re here at the machine, and I’m going to remove my regular presser foot and put on my zipper foot, because the zipper foot is gonna allow us to get right up to this hem – to make our job look anything but home-sewn! Now, I like to start my stitching on the side where we’ve got our seams matched up, because we want our seam from the pant to match the seam onto the hem. And let’s go ahead and sew these babies up! See, we’re gonna be able to sew right up to this line, and that’s what we’re gonna use as our guide. And, we have our first leg done! But, let’s get this other one done.

OK, now, we’re done, And we have a raw edge right here. And if you have a surger or raw edge machine, go ahead and run that over this. Or, you can also just do a zigzag stitch. Put your regular foot back on and run a zigzag over that so it won’t fray. I have a surger, so I’m gonna go ahead and surge that real quick and then we’re gonna take these over and iron them. So, here we are at the surger. Now, we have hemmed and surged, ready for the iron.

OK, now, I’m gonna turn the pants inside out and I’m gonna iron the hem. OK, now I’ve ironed both the pant legs, on this side, and coming in through here. But now, I want to make sure that through washings and wearings that this hem isn’t just gonna fall down/turn down, whatever, so I’m gonna stitch it real quick in a few spots.

OK, so we’re back to the machine, and we’re just gonna do a little stitch on the front center, back center, and on each side, to hold that seam up, so it doesn’t come falling down. So, I’m just gonna use a zigzag stitch. Probably width about 2, and stitch length, zero, because I just want it to be one little stitch. Obviously, you want to use the same color thread or something that is gonna blend in if you have denim or whatever. So, I’m just gonna do a little stitch right here, which will be barely noticeable but it will hold up the pant seam. So, I’m gonna do that front center, and on each side, and on the back center.

Tah Dah! All done. So, see, that hem looks pretty good…much better than just cutting and trying to sew your own new hem. You’ve just shortened the leg, and kept the original pant bottom. Yea!!


Mar 28

Learn How To Apply Molecular Gastronomy In Cooking

Molecular Gastronomy (courtesy of MoleculeRflavors)

How to Make Balsamic Vinegar Pearls

Quart of Olive Oil – Place in freezer for 30 minutes

Mix 2/3 cup Balsamic vinegar and sprinkled Agar in a pot.

Stir and bring to a boil.

Get out Cold Olive Oil from freezer

With a food syringe, place hot vinegar mixture directly into cold olive oil, and watch it turn into pearls!

Spoon the pearls out and place into the Rinsing bath, which is a different container filled with plain water…stir, stir, stir.

Place spoonfuls atop fruits and salads.


Mar 25

Learn How To Tone Your Legs

How To Tone Your Legs (courtesy of HealthLife.com)

Alright, this exercise is called squats, but this is with dumbbells. So, I want you to begin this exercise from a standing position, with your head up, your back straight, your chest out. Keep your feet flat on the ground, shoulder-width apart and, again, your toes should be pointing slightly out, just for balance. Now, hold the dumbbells in each hand, keeping your arms right at your sides, making sure that the dumbbells are obviously of equal weight in both hands.

Now, with your back straight and your head up, slowly lower yourself down, bending your knees only. Inhale as you squat down. Then, when you get the parallels, come back up and exhale. So, squat back down and inhale. When you get to parallels, slowly and gently exhale and come back up.

There’s a few Don’ts in this exercise. Do not allow your knees to go past your toes when you’re doing this. And, do NOT use weights that are too heavy for you! It’s really best to start low with your weights, and then slowly increase your weight as you go on. And, also make sure that your arms are hanging down by your sides throughout the entire squat. The only movement in this exercise at all should come from your legs!


Mar 22

Learn How To Repair Drywall

How To Repair Drywall (courtesy of Howdini.com)

Hi! I’m Lisa Birnbach of Howdini.com. You know that hole in your wall that’s driving you crazy every time you walk past it? Well, Ed DelGrande is here to tell us how to fix it! He’s the author of House Call. How are you?

I’m doing great! I may be good, but, your wall is not good! You know, a lot of people ask me, “Ed, when do you know it’s time to use a patch instead of just spackling a smaller hole?”

I would just sell the house for that hole…

No…well, here’s the rule of thumb. Matter of fact, we’re gonna use a finger, so it’s close to a thumb! When you stick your finger in a hole, that’s big enough to qualify for a patch, so we’re gonna patch this for you right now.

OK, what are patches made out of?

Well, first, you could buy this kit for under $10 – it makes it very easy. See, it comes with the spackle, you also have your putty knives, and then you do have the patches included. So, I would get one of these kits, keep it around the house – you can use it over and over!

OK! And, so, in that one kit, you have everything you need?

Everything you need! Matter fact, I opened up another kit already, and here’s the main thing you need right here, is the patch.

Which is made out of what?

It’s a mesh…and that will actually hold the spackle in place. And plus…feel that. Feel how it’s tacky? It will stick right to the wall for you. But, before you stick it on the wall, you gotta prepare the wall. That’s the pro trick! Get a knife – if you’ve got a razor knife or a sharp knife – and just get all of the loose stuff out of there. Now the patch has something to stick to.

And that was enough?

Yea! That was enough. Remember, this is tacky. You just wanna cover that hole. And use that hole for a bullseye. Put it right in the middle. And, see how it’s lookin’ better already? Then, just push that in place.

Now I can have people over for dinner!

Well yeah, good! See, you’re learning already! You just stuck that up there nice and tight!

Now Ed, you don’t have to trim the patch?

No, because remember, we’re gonna go over that with the spackle, and if you really wanna stick it down, here’s another pro trick. If you just use the putty knife itself to get it good and tight to that wall. Now, here’s the magic spackle! This is my favorite spackle. You can see it’s pink…
Radioactive Pink!

Well, no, not radioactive! But, that pink is a very important color, you know why?


When it’s wet, it’s pink. When it’s white, it means it’s dry, and you can sand it. Plus, you can see what you’re doing to the wall. Now, watch this. We just got a nice glob of it right here. Start where the hole is, and you’re gonna feather it out. Now, see what I’m doin’ here? It’ll drop – don’t worry. Use some drop cloths, it’ll come off. And this will really get in to all that mesh screen. See how I’m working it in? It takes some practice before you actually go to the wall to your fixings…

But, this is important…you’ve done this a million times! You are biologically a man. But, for people like me who’ve never done this, is is gonna be this easy?

Yes, it should be this easy. Maybe not as quick. That’s the only difference between a pro and an amateur..the pros are just a little quicker!

So, Ed, we just went to the movies – we’re back. The thing is white and dry.

Well, now you’re ready for sanding. And then, once you sand it, wipe it down with a damp cloth and then you can paint it, But, remember Lisa, the paint has to match the walls for that hole to really disappear!

Oh, right! OK! But, you really think I can do this myself?


And the hole is gone…

It’s gone for good!

OK – thanks so much, Ed!

You’re welcome!

For Howdini.com, I’m Lisa Birnbach!


Mar 21

Learn How To Give Yourself A Manicure

How To Give Yourself A Manicure (courtesy of Howcast.com)

Nothing beats being pampered in a salon, but all of those professional manicures can add up!. Try at home with these tips from the pros! You will need:

Dishwasher or some Disinfectant
Nail Polish Remover
Cotton Balls
Nail Clippers
Emery Board
Warm, Soapy Water
Shallow Bowl
Cuticle Oil or Cream
Orange Sticks
Half a Lemon
Hand Cream
Hot, Damp Towel
Clear Base Coat
Colored Nail Polish
Clear Top Coat

Step 1: Take off any rings and set them aside until you’re through and your nails are dry.

Step 2: Make sure all reusable tools are clean. Run them through the dishwasher or clean them with a disinfectant before starting. Lay out all of your materials that you will need for easy access. Once your nails are wet, you don’t want to have to dig through a makeup bag to find something!

Step 3: If there is any old polish on your nails, remove it with a cotton ball soaked in remover.

Step 4: Trim your mails with a clipper if they’re on the longer side, and then shape them with the emery board, into ovals or rounded squares. Start on one side of the nail and use short strokes in one direction only, toward the center of the nail. And then repeat on the other side of the nail.

Step 5: Soak your fingers in a bowl filled with warm, soapy water for 2 minutes, and then dry your hands.

Step 6: Massage cuticle oil or cream into your cuticles to soften them further.

Step 7: Pull off a small piece of a cotton ball and wrap it around the tip of an orange stick. Soak it in nail polish remover, and use this to remove any dirt or lingering polish under your nails.

Step 8: Push back your cuticles with the orange stick. Use a new, disposable one, or wash the one you’ve just used. Never cut your cuticles! It can lead to infection.

Step 9: Trim any dead hangnails with your clippers. To nourish your nails and make the tips whiter, dip them into half a lemon.

Step 10: Rub on hand cream to moisturize your hands and cuticles.

Step 11: Wrap your hands in a hot towel for a minute, to help the cream soak in.

Step 12: Wipe your nails with a cotton ball soaked in nail polish remover. They must be oil-free for the base coat to adhere properly.

Step 13: Apply a base coat of a colorless nail polish and allow it to dry. Leave your base coat just a little tacky, and apply a little on the underside of the tip. It will help the colored polish resist to chipping.

Step 14: Rotate your bottle of colored polish so the mixing ball in it stirs the polish. But don’t shake! That will create bubbles which will end up marring the finish on your nails.

Step 15: Remove the wand from your colored polish, wiping one edge of the brush against the opening of the bottle, to remove excess polish.

Step 16: Place the brush in the middle of your nail, almost at the base of your cuticle. Back the brush up, until the color just reaches the cuticle, then pull it forward to the end of your nail.

Step 17: Repeat this to the right and left of the center stripe, dunking and wiping the bottle on the brush each time. So, the entire nail is covered in 3 strokes! Have an orange stick handy. Use it to wipe off any polish mistakes, while they’re still wet. Wet it with a little polish remover for big or stubborn mistakes.

Step 18: Continue polishing all your nails and let them dry completely.

Step 19: Add a 2nd coat of colored polish in the same way, and let them dry completely again. Dip your nails in ice-cold water to speed the drying process.

Step 20: Apply a thin, clear topcoat to seal the color, and enjoy what might be the best part of the manicure process…at least an hour of enforced, hands-free relaxation!

Did you know? Chinese aristocrats first used nail polish made of egg whites, rose petals, beeswax and gelatin around 3000 B.C.!


Mar 18

Learn How To Sharpen A Knife With A Stone

How To Sharpen A Knife With A Stone (courtesy of Howcast.com)

Sharp knives can cut your prep time in half, and, believe it or not, they’re actually safer than dull knives! They’re less likely to slip. You will need:

Sharpening stone
A bowl of water large enough to hold the stone
Kitchen towel
A flat, stable surface
Dull knife
A honing steel or ceramic sharpening rod

Step 1: Soak the sharpening stone in a bowl of water for 5 minutes. Avoid oil stones. They are difficult to use correctly, even for culinary professionals.

Step 2: Remove the stone from the water and place it on a towel on a stable surface. Make sure the course side faces up.

Step 3: If you’re sharpening a chef’s knife, hold it semi-parallel against the stone, at a 20 degree angle, with one hand on the handle and the other on the top part of the blade. The 20° angle should be about the width of a matchbook, or even smaller for knives that require a thinner edge.

Step 4: Starting with the base of the knife, called the heel, draw the blade sideways along the stone, while pulling the blade towards you, so that the point of contact slides from the heel to the tip. Apply moderate pressure, especially when working on this course side of the stone. Keep your fingertips on the top edge of the blade to maintain the angle.

Step 5: Repeat this motion in the following pattern: 10 times on each side, then 5, then 3. Then, single strokes, alternating between right and left 6 times. You should be able to feel with your fingernail carefully, that a rough burr has developed on the edge. Knives with thinner edges might take slightly longer to sharpen. They are typically made from harder carbon steel than the softer steel that most western chef’s knives are made from.

Step 6: Turn the water stone over to fine-tune and polish the edge. Repeat the sharpening motion with a slightly lighter touch. A course edge wears more quickly than a polished edge, but it is good for slicing items that have a tough skin but delicate flesh, like tomatoes and fish.

Step 7: Rinse the blade.

Step 8: For an even more polished edge, finish up with a few draws along a honing steel, making sure to draw the blade at the same angle as before, and with a similar sharpening motion. Now, slice away with your new, Samuari-sharp blade!

Did you know? Samurai warriors used wooden swords during practice to preserve the edges of their metal swords!


Mar 17

Learn How To Make Curtains

How To Make Curtains At Home (courtesy of Threadbanger.com)

Hey Threadheads! Welcome to my Brooklyn nest, and to Threadbanger’s new, DIY home re-fashion show.

I’m a DIYer with a passion for green living and eclectic home décor. Recently, it was brought to my attention that some Threadheads are experiencing some DIY home décor dilemmas. Never Fear – Meg Is Here!

Jasmine recently wrote in her nest’s need for a new curtain. Over on the forum, Sew It Together and Aurora 199 said that they have the same issue. Let’s see what we can do to help you guys out! One of my favorite design blogs, Apartment Therapy, highlighted this cool, branch curtain rod from DIYIdeas.com. Here’s How to DIY your Curtains!

Measure your window across and down.

Find a branch to go across the top.

At your local hardware store, pick up 2 metal loops that your branch will fit through, and use your handy dandy power drill to screw those puppies in!

Now, choose fabric. 2 of my favorite sources for fabric are ReproDepot.com and Etsy.com.

Measure and cut your fabric.

Fold and pin edges.

Sew along edges of fabric.

Cut out 4 to 5 pieces for your tabs.

Take your pieces and fold them in half, good sides together, and pin.

Sew along 2 edges and flip right side out.

Fold and press down and sew a top stitch along your edges.

Now, attach your loops.

To make a dart, pinch your fabric, sew a diagonal line, snip, fold down the flaps and sew a top stitch. And now, you have yourself a dart!

Now, put your branch through the loops, and, Voila – new curtain!

Do you have any DIY home décor projects? Well, send them in! The most unique ones will be featured on the threadbanger blog, and over on my blog, EnderbyNest.com. And, one lucky threadhead will win a fantastic, home detox kit from Methodhome.com!

This week’s Quick Tip is How To Mull Spices. Just take a retro pot, fill it with water, add your favorite organic spices – my favorites are cinnamon and cloves. Put on a light simmer, stir, and you’re mulling spices! Remember, style starts at home! Join us next week for another DIY home décor project that you can make your own. Your nest needs you!


Mar 16

Learn How To Make Corned Beef And Cabbage

How To Make Corned Beef and Cabbage (courtesy of FoodWishes.com)

Hello! This is Chef John from FoodWishes.com with Corned Beef and Cabbage, the Official Meal of St Patrick’s Day! And, why is that? It was chosen because it’s a recipe you can cook drunk! So easy! So, here we go…

I’ve got a 4 ½ – that’s a big one – 4 ½ pound corned beef, right from the supermarket. Take it out of the package, rinse it. I’m gonna add some onions, some celery, some carrots – pretty big chunks – and, you get the spices free. Alright, I like that little packet. It’s pretty much what I was gonna put in, anyway, and it makes it, you know, magically delicious.

So, I’m gonna add 3 quarts of cold water. I’m using a nice, big dutch oven, so you might have to adjust the water a little for your own size pot. You want to cover, for sure.

I’m gonna put in about a teaspoon of salt. I’m gonna bring that up to a simmer. And, before I cover it, I’m gonna skim the top for that foam. We call that corned beef scum, alright? What we’re gonna do is we’re gonna cover this. We’re gonna turn the heat to very low…very low…and, we’re gonna simmer this for about 3 hours.

It’s not gonna be totally done, but it’s going to be almost done! You can see here, it’s almost fork tender. The fork will go in, but it’s still kinda tough. And, at this point, I’m gonna add my potatoes. So, I’m gonna add, large, red potatoes that I just cut in half, and I’m gonna cook that for another half hour.

Now, while that’s simmering uncovered, I’m gonna cut up my cabbage. I have one small, green cabbage. I’m gonna cut it in eighths, which, if you’re drunk, that’s quarters cut in half. Alright, I’m gonna put that on top. And I know they’re not submerged, but that’s OK, because I’m gonna cover this and cook it for another 20 minutes or so, to a half hour, until everything is tender. Potatoes are tender, cabbage is tender, meat also tender.

Alright, we’re gonna pull out the meat. It doesn’t matter – St Patrick’s Day or not, drunk or not, meat has to rest before you slice it! Alright, after the meat rests at about 15 minutes, I’m gonna cut out any large, large chunks of fat. Leave a little bit. I’m gonna cut against the grain. I know you hear that all the time – against the grain, against the grain. See, if you cut it with the grain, this is what happens. It just shreds, it looks ugly, don’t do that. Cut across those fibers…they just have a better texture.

Serve it very simply. Fish out some potatoes, some cabbage, some carrots and some celery. A little bit of that braisy liquid on top. I serve it with a little hot mustard and rye bread…man, what a great, great American tradition! For your information, corned beef and cabbage not an authentic, Irish dish. Invented in America! Alright, and this is so easy to make. You can totally drink an entire 6-pack of Guiness or Harp, in my case, and make that very successfully. So, give it a try, go to the site, get the ingredients. And, as always, Enjoy!


Mar 15

Learn How To Make A Martini

How To Make The Perfect Martini (courtesy of Howdini.com)

I’m Allen Katz for Howdini.com, and today, I’m gonna teach you how to make a martini, one of the great classics in American cocktail culture. It’s a very simple cocktail, and, when done properly, is one of the most refreshing drinks that you can serve to you and your guests. It’s a wonderful combination, historically, of Gin (which I know surprises some people) and Dry Vermouth, or French Vermouth.

Now, many people consider a martini to be a combination with vodka and no vermouth at all. But, what we’re gonna try today is this wonderful co-mingling of 2 classic ingredients, that have such a crisp flavor and such a wonderful finish, that I think you’re gonna like this extremely, extremely well.

What we’re gonna start with is some of the essential bar tools:

Mixing glasses, of course
A Bar spoon
Several measuring tools called jiggers

The wonderful thing about preparing a home bar is that all of these tools can be purchased for 25, $30 at most, at a restaurant supply store, at a local liquor store, or even at some specialty food stores that now have cocktail ingredients. It’s quite a lot of fun! So, the simple recipe that I’m gonna try today is:

First, our most important ingredient is ice. We’ll take one mixing glass and fill it with ice.

And, in our 2nd glass, we’ll combine our ingredients. First, the gin. And, of course, ingredients are paramount in a good cocktail. And what you want to start with is a softer gin. Now, gins come in a wide variety, from very fragrant and profound with the juniper perfume and flavor, and you can try that as well. But it’s a fun thing to experiment to see how the variations in a simple cocktail (again, just 2 ingredients) can change, by changing the gin.

So, I’ve got 2½ parts of gin, and I’m gonna do about ½ a part of dry vermouth. Now, I know what you’re thinking. What am I doing with all this vermouth? Now, I’ll be honest – one, I’m a big fan of vermouth. It has a wonderful, fruity flavor. Vermouth is simply an aromatized wine. And really, a great martini is not a martini without vermouth. The idea of waving it over the glass, rinsing the glass with it and throwing it over your shoulder…it’s another cocktail altogether! And if you’ve never had it, get over that fear and try it with dry vermouth.

And, as you can see, all I’m gonna do is stir the cocktail. I know it’s a lot of fun to shake a great cocktail, but for the martini, the idea is just to get it exceedingly cold and a little bit diluted as well. Of course, we’re just using 2 spirits, and so we want to bring down that alcohol content by diluting the ice, adding a little bit of water into the cocktail. So, about 30 seconds,and we’ll be ready to go!

Now, once I’ve stirred the martini, I’m gonna prepare my glass. And, again, with just a little bit of ice and a little bit of residual water, I’m gonna get the martini glass well chilled. If you’re doing this at home, ideally if you have space, put a couple of martini glasses in the freezer. Get them well chilled…it will take 15, 20 seconds…and then, when you’re ready to serve the cocktail, you can take them right from the freezer.

So, we’ve got our martini glass chilled, we’ve got our martini well chilled, and then we’re simply gonna take a strainer…and it’s just a beautiful, clean color. And, even that fragrance of a little bit of vermouth, the gin is not too overpowering, is a wonderful combination. And, to finish it, there are several varieties that you can try. One is an olive, of course. I prefer a little bit of a lemon twist, and I just use a simple vegetable peeler to take a twist. You’re just gonna squeeze gently. If the lemon is fresh, you get some of those essential oils right in over the cocktail, perhaps just taking it to the rim a little bit. And, there you have a wonderful, classic martini!

I’m Alllen Katz for Howdini.com!


Mar 14

Learn How To Swaddle A Baby

How To Swaddle A Baby (courtesy of About.com)

Hi! I’m Kathy Moore, of About.com Parenting. Babies love to be held, and we love to hold them! But, they also need to learn to sleep on their own. Swaddling a baby in a blanket offers the same snugness as a hug, but it frees up your arms. This program offers some simple steps on how to swaddle a baby, and why it’s important.

First, choose an appropriate blanket. I find lightweight cotton or flannel works great. Make sure the blanket is at least twice as big, both long and wide, and the baby.

Fold down one corner of the blanket, and place the baby’s head in the middle of this triangle, with the head just above the fold.

Next, pull the left side of the blanket across the baby’s body. Plane it until it’s snug. Make sure her arm is along the side of her chest. Tuck this side under the baby.

Pull up the bottom of the blanket over the baby’s toes, and tuck it up and under the last fold, just below the baby’s neck.

Last, take the baby’s free arm, and make sure it stays along her side, while you pull the other side of the blanket across her body and tuck it snugly underneath.

At first, you may think that you’re pulling the blanket too tight, and that the baby looks uncomfortable, almost mummy-like. We used to call our kids baby burritos! But, it’s the snugness that they like. It’s calming and it’s soothing, and I think it reminds them of being inside the womb.

A snug wrap keeps the baby from waking itself up by its own startle reflex. This is the same reason why babies should not be swaddled while they are awake. They need to move to develop strength and mobility.

Though it may take some practice, swaddling is a wonderful technique to learn. And your reward will be watching your baby sleep peacefully! Thanks for watching! To learn more, visit us on the web at Parenting.About.com.


Mar 08

Learn How To Remove Scratches From Hardwood Floors

How To Get Scratches From Hardwood Floors (courtesy of ExpertVillage.com)

Hi! I’m Tim Gibson, and I’m gonna talk to you about how to get scratches out of your hardwood floors. Now, whether it’s an engineered floor – hardwood floor – such as this, or a solid wood floor, the surface is pretty much the same. So, you know, if you have those instances where somebody has moved back a chair and you get a scratch, then there’s some different things you can do without having to refinish the entire floor to take care of that.

Now, first and foremost, most of your hardwood floor products come with some type of a cleaner and a cleaner buffing agent, such as this. So, in most cases, if it’s a really light scratch, you can just use this with a soft, white cloth. In most cases you can either spray it directly on, or spray it on the cloth, and you simply rub. And, this will actually clean and buff the area to get some of those scratches out.

Now, there are some other after market value products that you can put on here, that are specifically formulated to hide surface scratches. Now, if you get some deeper scratches, what you may need to do is, actually get a urethane or a shellac…actually, shellac works very well. And, what you do is, you take some shellac, you cut it with a little bit of denatured alcohol to make a real thin mixture, and then you just take an artist’s paintbrush and paint it into the crack. And then, you let that dry, and then you come back and repeat. Now, after you’ve repeated putting the shellac in there, if you can still see the scratch, then you come back and do it a third time.

Now, if you have a really, deep gouge or something like that, you can also use a product like beeswax. You melt the beeswax into it, sand it lightly and buff it. Use a buffing compound and, again, the cleaning compound, and those are some typical ways that you can take care of scratches in hardwood floors!


Feb 28

Learn How To Prevent Scratches On Your Cell Phone

How To Avoid Cell Phone Scratches (courtesy of Howcast.com)

Keep your cell phone looking new with this next-to-free, protective cover, that will last longer than the original! You will need:

Permanent marker
Clear packing tape
Scissors or a craft knife
Bowl of water
Few drops of dish soap
Credit card

Step 1: Measure your screen with a ruler, and use the marker to mark the width on the packing tape before you unroll the tape. Then, add an inch to your height measurement, and mark that on the tape.

Step 2: Cut the marked piece of tape as straight as possible. Peel it from the roll starting from the top, where the excess tape is marked. Hold the tape by the excess inch. This prevents fingerprints, and prevents the tape from getting hung up on anything.

Step 3: Submerge the piece of tape completely in a bowl of water, with a few drops of dish soap, and soak it for several seconds. Avoid making the water too sudsy.

Step 4: Make sure the tape and your hands are free from debris. Then, put a drop of water or 2 on your cellphone screen and apply the tape, sticky side down, starting at the bottom. Center the tape on the screen.

Step 5: Remove excess water and air bubbles with a credit card, using it like a squeegee. Push from the bottom to the top, then blot excess water from the screen with a tissue.

Step 6: Carefully cut off the excess tape at the top, just below the face plate surface.

Step 7: Avoid scratching other parts of your cellphone by always placing it in a separate pocket from your keys and loose change, or, in a separate compartment in your handbag.

Did you know? According to a 2009 poll, 94% of Americans under 45 have cellphones!


Feb 25

Learn How To Get Water Out Of Your Ear

How To Get Water Out Of Your Ear (courtesy of Howcast.com)

Don’t feel like you’re underwater when you get out of your pool or tub! Get your ears crystal clear after swimming or taking a bath.

You’ll need:
Towel or Tissue
A Blow Dryer
White Vinegar
A Medicine Dropper
and…a doctor!

Step 1 – Dry your ear with a towel or tissue. Do not use a cotton swab to dry your ear.

Step 2 – Tilt your head to the side to the plugged ear.

Step 3 – Pull your earlobe downward, to allow the water to drain out.

Step 4 – Hold a blow dryer a few inches from your plugged ear. Put it on the lowest setting and turn it on, but be careful not to burn your skin.

Step 5 – Mix a solution equal parts white vinegar and rubbing alcohol into a medicine dropper, and drop a few drops into your ear.

Step 6 – Consult and seek treatment from a doctor if the problem persists.

Did you know? Ear infections are among the most common illnesses for young children.


Jan 21

Learn How To Paint A Wall Quickly

How To Paint A Wall Quickly (courtesy of Paint Helpers)

Painting the corners of a room has always been a two-step process. Well, not anymore! This is a brand new product. What we’ve done with this product is, we’ve combined the speed of a roller with the accuracy of a paintbrush. No one’s ever done this before!

So, the way it works is, the brush fits right here, on the shield, behind the roller. You put paint on the roller, like this, okay, load it up nice and good. Saturate the roller – close your shield. You come up to your edge – say this is a door frame or a window frame or ceiling or whatever else you’re gonna paint up to. And really, all you need to do is put the roller on the wall, roll down, roll up, roll down.

The secret to this device is a tiny paintbrush that spreads the paint right to the edge of the wall, where the roller can’t go! That brush paints that little gap right here. So, the roller puts paint on the wall, the brush picks up paint right here, and moves it over to the edge. And, you can see, it gives you a very, very sharp edge. And, the roller falls off, so you don’t have to get your hands dirty by pulling it off.

In today’s Paint Helper’s Product Reviews, we’ll be taking a look at the Accubrush Paint Edging System, which you’re seeing in use right here. Take a look at how quickly we can edge around this window, using this device. There is not a product on the market which can edge as quickly or as accurately as the Accubrush Paint Edging System. It can be used as a roller in small spaces, but, most importantly, it’s got a little brush which will automatically give us professional results against doors, windows, ceilings, all sorts of trim.

It also comes in a pole-mounted version. This is the Accubrush XT which you’re seeing here, and this is our product tester, Kat, who is edging along this ceiling without having to get up and down on a ladder. And, she is edging a perfectly clean line with no paint getting up on the ceiling. We’ll be looking at the Accubrush Paint Edging System in this edition of Paint Helper’s Product Reviews, coming up next.

You’ll be saying that painting is just so easy, from now on! It’s not the big, horrible, strenuous job that you thought it was. This actually makes painting easy. What we’ve developed is a new paint edger that combines the speed of a roller with the accuracy of a paintbrush. This paintbrush has been specially designed to paint right up to the edge, so you don’t have to worry about taping or masking off anything. So, it’s a roller and a brush, and the shield here allows you to open it up, roll paint on the roller, close the shield.

Start away from the wall a little bit…and I’m done! Like I said, it’s a roller, and then the brush fits in behind it. And the brush is actually what does the final cutting, and that is what allows you to get right up to the edge. Without that brush, this doesn’t work. So, the roller basically puts paint on the wall first, and then the brush comes behind it and moves that paint right up to the edge. So, you’re never actually putting paint on the brush itself, so it makes for a very fast operation. The consistency and the results of the painting job when you’re finished are amazing…they are very, very accurate. They are as good as a professional painter.

The Accubrush will save you enormous amounts of time, especially along ceilings. Ceilings are notoriously the most difficult part of edging; especially, since you have to carry your paint with you up on the ladder if you want to brush it in. You often can’t tape a ceiling because the tape won’t stick or there’s texture on your ceiling or whatever else. With the Accubrush, it doesn’t matter if there’s texture on your ceiling. It will allow you to paint right up to that edge, quickly and cleanly. Now, look how close that is! You can’t get anywhere this close with your hand, by using tape, or any other method!


Jan 19

Learn How To Apply Reflexology

Learn How To Apply Reflexology (courtesy of MTTI.net)

Hi! I’m Kristin Phillips, and I’m an instructor at MTTI Wellspring, and I’m going to demonstrate a foot massage.

So, the first thing you want to do when you massage someone’s feet…make sure your hands are nice and warm. You have a little bit of cream or lotion on your hands, and you want to begin by just warming up the foot with a nice, gentle, gliding stroke. So you can see, I’m coming from the bottom of the leg, off the foot, and I’m coming to the bottom of the foot as well. Get all of the surfaces of the foot. So, this is just a warm up with a nice, gliding stroke.

The next stroke I’m going to do is called fleuring. You’re going to take your hands on top of the foot, with your thumbs together, your fingers are underneath the foot to stabilize, and you’re going to spread apart – spread your hands apart, from the center on out. This is a fleuring, or a broadening stroke.

Now, we’re going to come down into the toes, and we’re going to do some friction. We’re going to rub the toes. We call this a coin rub friction. Off the end of the toes, with a little bit of stretch. When you get to the end of that toe, give it a little stretch. Little bit of a stretch. You can switch hands if you want – if that’s more comfortable.

Now, we’re going to drain the bottom of the foot. You can kneel down for this if you like to. I’m gonna do this with supported thumbs. So, I’m gonna have one thumb on the bottom, and one thumb on the top. I’m gonna follow just underneath the big toe, and I’m going to do a nice, deep glide with my thumbs, all the way down to the heel. And I’m gonna go down each toe and do that.

You have over 7,000 nerve endings in your feet, so when you give someone a foot massage, it can be very, very relaxing. It can really soothe your nervous system. So, that’s draining.

Then, come back up and do a stretch. We stretch the foot back toward the leg. Just a gentle stretch, and hold that for a couple of seconds. And now, gently stretch the foot down toward the table. And this is just very gentle.

Now, we’ve worked on the bottom of the foot. We can also work on the top with some deep glides. Do a nice little finishing, gliding stroke, and hold at the ankle and give the leg a nice stretch.


Dec 13

Learn How To Make Chain Necklace Jewelry

How To Make Chain Necklace Jewelry (courtesy of ExpertVillage.com)

Hi! This is Debra Windsong with Expert Village.

OK, in this clip, we’ll talk about necklaces made from chain. And, there are a lot of different kinds of chain, a lot of styles out there. What I normally look for is a medium weight chain, because I’m thinking that I want it to be strong enough to hold a few beads on it. There are lighter chains out there, and you really can’t do a lot of heavy work on the light chains, so just keep that in mind. If I want to use this for a clasp, I’m gonna have to make sure that it’s big enough for the trigger clasp to get through.

This one here is a fashionable chain – it’s got round and, um, very narrow, oval links. And, what I did with it is I put a pendant on the end of it, and I attached it with a bale. And I also made cuts in the chain in various lengths, and added a piece of wire that I strung a bead on. And for this chain, it’s very adjustable, because you can attach it to any one of the larger links on the upper end of the chain.

To attach the pendant to the chain, you’ll need a certain size bale, and your bale is going to depend on the size of the chain and whether or not you want to link it right onto one of these links, or have it move freely. The reason you might want it to slide freely is because if you adjust the length, you’ll want to be able to make sure that this is still falling in the middle as you wear it.

The advantage that there is to working with chain instead of the cord or the wire is that you don’t have to do as much work to get the clasp on. It’s usually a matter of simply opening up your jump ring and attaching the clasp. Also, when you do open up the jump ring, it’s very important that you take 2 flat-nosed pliers and just gently twist, slightly, so that you can twist back again and have it be a round circle, instead of getting all twisted out of shape.


Dec 06

Learn How To Wrap Presents Creatively

How To Wrap A Present Creatively (courtesy of Howcast.com)

Become a wrap artist! Learn how to make every present look festive, no matter what shape or size. You will need:

A gift box

Wrapping Paper



A bow or ribbon

Cardboard boxes or balloons


Children’s bedsheets

Chinese takeout containers, empty paper towel rolls or oatmeal canisters

Matching boxes in various sizes

Optional: 2-sided tape

Step 1: Master the basic wrapping technique. Begin by placing the gift box on the paper, top side down. Fold one end of the wrapping paper over the box to see how much paper you’ll need to completely cover it. Add 2 inches to that length and cut the paper there.

Step 2: Center the box, noting how much paper is on the short sides that are going to be folded and taped. Having enough paper to cover 2/3 of those sides when the paper is folded down is ideal. Any more and it will bunch up when you try to fold the edges. If you have excess paper on those sides, push the box to the ideal distance on one side and trim the other side accordingly.

Step 3: Fold one end of the paper over the top of the box. When you’re sure it’s straight, tape it to the box. Then, fold the other end over it and tape again. If one edge of the paper is uneven from being cut, fold it over a bit to create a straight edge. Use double-sided tape for a more polished look.

Step 4: Now, fold the paper down on one of the sides of the box. Tape the diagonals that have been formed and fold them inward. Then, bring the bottom flap up and tape it in the center. Repeat with the other side.

Step 5: Press a stick on bow in the center, or, cut a piece of ribbon that’s about 5 times the length of the gift box and wrap it around the top of the package, lengthwise, until both ends meet in the middle of the bottom of the box. Then, twist them around each other in the center of the box, bring them back up to the top of the package, and make a knot before tying a bow. If the ribbon is ribbed, take a pair of scissors, hold the ribbon ends taut and pull the blade along them, to make curls.

Step 6: Wrap an over-sized present by taking apart some large, cardboard moving boxes and building one, big bottomless box that you can cover in paper and place over the gift. Or, just smother the present in balloons!

Step 7: Wrap gifts with sharp edges in fabric. It won’t tear like paper. Just plop the item in the center, gather the material at the top and tie with a thick ribbon. Fabric shops offer great deals on end of the bolt pieces. Have a big, bulky present for a child? Wrap it in a bedsheet, featuring their favorite cartoon character.

Step 8: Think about everyday items that could hold hard to wrap gifts – chinese take-out containers, empty paper towel rolls, oatmeal canisters.

Step 9: A dramatic way to present 3 or 4 gifts of various sizes is to create a gift tower. Place the presents in matching boxes of descending size. Wrap the boxes in the same or complimentary paper. Stack them, and tie the tower together with ribbon.

Did you know? 19% of Americans say they’d rather clean the house than wrap presents!


Nov 01

Learn How To Roast Pumpkin Seeds

How To Roast Pumpkin Seeds (courtesy of YourWeightLossMentor.com)

Remove seeds from pulp

Rinse some more

Clean all pulp from seeds

Rinse real good

Discard pulp

Spray baking sheet with olive oil

Spread seeds on baking sheet

Lightly salt seeds

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes

Turn seeds over halfway through the cooking time


Oct 27

Learn How To Make Halloween Cookies

How To Make Halloween Cookies (courtesy of Howdini.com)

Hey there! I’m Laurie Gelman for Howdini.com. Looking for some Halloween treats that aren’t tricky to make? We’ve got some great, new ideas for you! And, by we, I mean, me, of course, and the always inspiring Liv Hansen, for Betty Crocker Kitchens. Great to see you!

You too, Laurie!

This is such an event in my house, I don’t know about you.

Oh, Halloween is very big at our house! Big, big, big! I’m always looking for something different and special to do, as opposed to just the candy that they get when they go trick-or-treating.

It’s pretty easy, this one – you’ll be surprised.

So you say! Let’s start with the fantastic mummy cookies. Boy, are you gonna be popular if you can make these.

Oh, you’ll be able to make them! So, you start – we have a sugar cookie dough that we’ve added some cocoa powder to.

I was gonna say, because sugar cookie dough is usually white?

Yes – we wanted to make a little contrast with the linen wrappings! Basically, you’re just gonna take it out – sprinkle a little flour down so it doesn’t stick, and I’m just gonna knead it a little bit. Get all the little crumbs mixed in.

OK, now I’m gonna start rolling it out. Just put a little excess flour down. I like to flour my rolling pin, too, just to prevent any sticking. That’s a great tip. And, you want to roll this out to about ¼ inch thick. And, a nice tip is, if you’re working and the dough happens to stick a little bit, you can always roll the dough out between parchment paper, and it won’t stick. Ad, you can also pop that in the fridge for a little while and chill up the dough. It makes cutting it out really easy.

And, then we have our little gingerbread man cookie cutter but, of course, this is gonna be a mummy! A good double use of the gingerbread man cookie cutter! So, you place it down, and, my trick for cutting is, you press down and then give it a little shake. And that will separate it from the rest of the cookie. Then you can life up. Wanna try one?

So then, basically, it’s nicely floured, so you can just take a little spatula underneath and then transfer it to your cookie sheet. And, then what we’re gonna do is, we’re gonna animate them. I just wanna show you how we would do that. Basically, you’re just gonna move their arms around a little bit, make them look like they’re running…wanna try one while I get some more on there? Then, they’re ready to go in the oven – great!

We’ve got some ones that are already out of the oven. What do you bake them at?

About 375 for about 7 to 9 minutes. And then let them cool before we start decorating.

Oh, that’s my favorite part! Just don’t eat them!

OK, so, to start to make the linen wrappings, we’re gonna actually fill up freezer bags with, um, vanilla frosting. One nice tip is you can actually put a little piece of tape there, and it will reinforce the tip. I like to roll this over, just to keep it neat. And, you just start to fill it with vanilla frosting. And, I like to twist the edge there, and that will create a little pressure, so it’s easier to squeeze out. So, then we just cut a little piece off the end. There’s one for you.

I’ll have to watch you do it, first!

Sure. So, I’m gonna start down here at the feet. And, basically, you just go back and forth, sort of zig-zaggy, and I like to go the opposite direction on the arms. You can always, like, come back and do some more – fill it in with some ones that go different angles. Looks great!

I learned from the best, let me tell you! Not bad, right? Those look good!

Then, for the eyes, we cut jellybeans in half. Cool! You can use any color eye that you want. You can even do 2 different colored eyes…really whacky!

So, the last step is you just take a little black piping gel, and you squeeze a little pupil on to make them more googly eyes. Cute! Very cool! Those look so great. This is the tip of the iceberg – fantastic!

OK, these look like the yummiest spiders your kids are ever gonna eat!

They’re the only spiders they’re ever gonna eat!

Don’t bet on that! They’re pretty easy to make, right? Let’s do it!

Yes. So, you start with the basic peanut butter cookie dough. Roll it into balls – you can roll it in sugar if you want – gives it a little glisten. And then, when they’re right out of the oven after they’re baked, you put a chocolate covered caramel on top. It has to be really warm, though, so they mush right in there and melt in. And, then you let it sit for about 15 minutes, so that the caramel gets nice and soft. And then, you can start inserting little legs. You can use pull apart licorice, and just stick it right into the side. Because it’s warm, it’s easy to do. You can do 4 on each side.

My daughter told me a Halloween joke – you wanna hear it?


What kind of shoes do ghosts wear?

What do they wear?

BOOts! To a 3-year old, that’s hysterical!

OK, and, while the chocolate’s still hot, you just apply a little candy-coated chocolates for the eyes. Then, we’re gonna do the same that we did before on the mummys. Gonna apply a little googly eyes.

You know, I actually like these cookies together, because it’s kind of like the mummy cookie came back from the grave to eat the spider cookie for Halloween! Thanks so much, Liv!

Thanks, Laurie!

And, there are a lot more party ideas and recipes and hundreds of how-to videos on Howdini.com.


Oct 25

Learn How To Carve A Pumpkin

How To Carve A Pumpkin (courtesy of FrankyFong36)

What’s up, everyone? It’s Franky Fong, and this is my jack-o-lantern. My son was here, but he got scared and ran off! This is the after…the after photo of my, uh, jack-o-lantern. You know, it’s pretty damn close to Halloween, and I haven’t seen one jack-o-lantern video on YouTube, and it seems that bloggers don’t care about Halloween, so this is gonna be my video on How I cut My Pumpkin! Alright, I hope you enjoy – oooohahaha…

Step 1 – Remove the guts. Cut at a 45 degree angle.

Step 2 – Draw out your design.

Step 3 – Poke holes along the lines of your design. I like to do large areas, like the mouth, in small sections. It’s a lot easier that way.

Step 4 – Connect the dots with your cutter.

Step 5 – Get some red wine.

At ease, soldier – carry on.


Oct 04

Learn How To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

How To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint (courtesy of Howcast.com)

Your carbon footprint is how many greenhouse gases you release in your daily activities. Be remembered by your good deed, not your carbon emissions! You will need:

A deep concern for the future

A sense of personal responsibility

Step 1 – Turn your thermostat up in the summer or down in the winter by just 2 degrees, and you’ll prevent hundreds of pounds of carbon dioxide to be released each year. Close doors to rooms that you are not using, to maximize heating and air conditioning. Insulate windows and doors to save even more heating costs.

Step 2 – Turn off and unplug your computer, TV, and other electronics when you’re not using them. Even electronics in sleep mode draw power. Leaving your TV cable box on 24 hours a day uses about 65% as much energy as a standard refrigerator!

Step 3 – Change all the incandescent bulbs in your home to compact, florescent bulbs, which use about 75% less energy.

Step 4 – Do your laundry or run your dishwasher only when you have a full load. It saves water, and it’s an excuse not to clean!

Step 5 – Eat local! An organic, out-of-season vegetable from the other side of the world may sound delicious, but it had to make that trip on a huge container ship. Take a canvas tote with you shopping, so you have a ready, and better answer, to the question “paper or plastic?”.

Step 6 – Bring your own cup or mug when you buy coffee, and stop tossing an average of 20 pounds of disposable cups a year!

Step 7 – Cut back on bottled water. Most tap water is perfectly safe to drink, and, making the plastic and transporting the bottles uses huge quantities of fossil fuels.

Step 8 – Plant a tree! Trees help reduce greenhouse gases, and every one counts. Consider it a peace offering to the earth!

Step 9 – Don’t jump in your car every time you get the urge to run an errand! Plan and consolidate your trips to cut down on gas.

Step 10 – When you can, carpool, use public transportation, or ride your bicycle or walk, proud to be treading lightly!

Did you know? Cattle produce as much as 37% of the atmosphere’s methane, a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide!


Sep 03

Learn How To Paint

How To Oil Paint Part I (courtesy of TVPainter.com)

Hi, I’m Michael Thompson, and it’s a great day to paint, and I’m glad that you’re with me! We’ll go up to the canvas here, and let me explain something. This is a 16 x 20 primed canvas, and we have a thin, white oil medium on this. And the colors I use – we’ll put them on the screen for you as we go.

Alright, I’ve got my 2-inch brush. Let’s go up to the canvas, and remember, paint can make it happen!

Cadmium Yellow
Yellow Ochre
Indian Yellow
Cobalt Blue
Vandyke Brown
Alizarin Crimson
Ivory White
Titanium White

Let’s go on to the cobalt blue…I’m using my 2-inch brush and just loading it up. I’m tapping, because it loads it evenly, OK? Just like this. Now, we go up to the top of the canvas, and, if you’ll look, I’m doing “X” strokes, just like this, right across through there, see that? Work my way down…work my way down. Let me re-load right quick…I don’t have quite enough. There we go – it’s doing good, now! Let’s get this sky really blended good. This’ll kinda give you a good work out…that’s good for you! If you get some dark spots, just simply stay in that spot and work them out.

Let’s bring this on down…just like that. See, I’m going back and forth to remove my brush strokes so it will be nice and smooth…nice and smooth. But, you can already see how the sky has got dimension. Let’s take care of this little spot right here before we stop…ok!

Alright, I’m gonna reach down here and get a fan brush – let’s go put some clouds in the sky! Using the titanium white, I’m gonna load this brush up really good. I don’t wanna…I don’t want the paint…let me say this. I don’t want the paint to come up into the ferrules, back up here in the back part. As you can see, I have a lot of paint in there, but, if it cakes up in the back, then that will cause your brush not to perform correctly and your brush won’t last as long.

Let’s go up here to the top. Let’s make one, big cloud today…right up in here. I’m doing circles, using the corner of that brush, flip it over. If you run out of paint, you’ve got a whole other side, there. Let me reload right quick. Let’s go right up here…see there? Free sample! Let’s just do some of this…see there? That will make that cloud look like it’s coming rushing up to you to meet you! Good things happen…it’s always good. Alright, we’ll stop right there – I believe that’s enough. Let me get a uh…I’m using a 1-inch brush, here – a clean one. And I’m gonna use just the top corner to blend this, so, I just gently blend, like this. See there? And remember that the paint we’re using…we use oil paints. Not acrylics or not water-based…they’re oil paints.

Alright, let’s fan some of this out, here. And you gently hold the brush down, like this, I’m gonna pull up, but I’m gonna pull up at an angle, either that way or this way. So, let’s go this way…seems like you can see that a little better. Very gentle – I mean, no pressure. No pressure at all, see that? Then, gently go back and forth…you gotta talk quiet – it helps! I need everything to help, sometimes! But, it makes it nice…nice little effect. See there? I’ll bet you can do that pretty easy. You’re probably sitting back waiting on me! That’s ok…alright, I think we’ve got our cloud done…

OK, I’m gonna use a 2-inch brush, and let’s put in some background trees right here. We can do that by simply tapping. Let’s go into the van dyke brown, and tap straight down, like this, and let’s add just a little bit of the ivory black – just a little. Adding a little bit of the titanium white kind of lightens up the mixture. Gotta get that tonal value right, ’cause things in the distance are lighter, and they gradually get dark as they come to you.

OK, tapping just like that…let’s start right here. Just tap in some shapes and designs out of our little cloud back there. OK…just like this. Reload a few colors, there. Let’s go right over here. Alright, just a few little trees of all different sorts. You want them to be kind of dark – you don’t want them to have a lot of these open spots in here, so let’s take care of that right quick. See all that? Looky there – it happens automatically! OK, we’re finished with that…let’s go ahead and put some tree trunks in.

I’m using my liner brush, and some linseed oil that I dipped in to, and a little bit of this ivory black…mix a little bit more of that black in here and get it real thin. If you’ll twist through the brush like this right here – twist the paint. K, go right here. I’m gonna stick right here in the center. Look how good that paint flow, see that? It’s really nice…really, really nice. Reload. A lot of these will disappear when we put our highlights on, but it’s fun to practice a little when you put them in. It’s always fun! Give it a little twist, bring them down just a little bit, make it closer. A little up in here – just everywhere! Just everywhere – a few here and there. That’s always nice. Alright – I think that will work!

OK, then! We’re going to some highlights. I’m gonna get a 1-inch brush. I’m gonna use just a little bit of the linseed oil to tap in to on my 1-inch brush. Let’s go into some of the white…maybe some of that indian yellow. Some of that yellow and just a little bit of the cobalt. Let’s make our own green. Remember, yellow and blue make what? They make green! I like to make my own green. Tap down.

Let’s go to this tree right over here. Go slightly above and just tap. See that? It’s already got some dark behind it to make some shadow. It makes a nice shadow. These colors work really well together. Skip around – you notice I didn’t just keep going in order. Let’s skip around with these colors…


Aug 13

Learn How To Tile

How To Tile A Bathroom Wall (courtesy of HomeDepot.com)

For variety and durability, tile is an excellent choice. In addition to giving your home a great look, it also helps protect the walls and floors from various kinds of damage. Tiling gives homeowners and easy, affordable way to add charm and beauty to their homes, with results that rival those of tiling professionals. The Home Depot is here to provide the products and guidance you need to achieve those professional looking results. In our first demonstration, we’ll install wainscot tile, with a cap, in a bathroom.

The first step is to measure the tile. Place 10 tiles, side by side, and measure the length of the row. Divide by 10, and use the resulting number as the tile dimensions for your layout.

Using a level, draw a top line all the way around the room. If you’re tiling only part way up the wall, this line should be where the tiles will stop. If you’re adding a row of cap tiles like we are, draw a horizontal line for those as well.

Now, measure from the floor to the top line, and mark a mid-height line halfway in between. Then, measure from the floor to the top line again, and divide by the size of the tile. If you end up with less than a full tile as your remainder, shift the mid-height line down by that amount, so, you’ll have a row of full tiles at the top and a row of partial tiles at the bottom.

Draw a new, mid-height line around the room, making sure it’s level. Measure the width of each wall, and mark the mid-point on the top line. Using a level, extend this line to the floor.

Now, measure from this line to one end of the wall, and divide by the size of the tile. If the last row of tiles will be less than a half a tile wide, shift the mid-point, so the last row of tile on both ends of the wall will be of equal width, and draw a new line.

Using a chalk line, snap additional vertical and horizontal lines to create a grid of 8 to 12 square foot rectangles on the wall. When this is done, get ready to start tiling!

Start by fastening a level 1×2 or 1×3 wooden batten, just below the mid-height line. Double-check to make sure it’s level. The batten will keep your first row of tiles straight, which will make the rest of the tiles on the wall straight, as well.

Mix your latex, modified, thin-set mortar, as instructed in the Techniques section of “Tiling 1-2-3”.

Using a square-notch trowel, apply mortar to one of the marked grids along the top of the batten, and comb it into straight, vertical ridges.

Press the first few, full tiles in place above the batten. Use a slight, twisting motion to be sure it makes good contact with the mortar. Do NOT slide the tiles!

After you’ve done 3 or 4 tiles, lift one off and check the back. The mortar should cover the entire surface. If it’s in rows, the trowel ridges on the wall aren’t thick enough. Scrape the mortar off the wall and reapply it, using a trowel with a larger notch. Work up and out, in a stair step pattern. Take your time, and work on the wall in manageable, 8-12 square foot sections. Save any tile that must be cut, last. If any mortar oozes up between the tiles, clean it up before it dries.

Continue until all but the top row of cap tiles are in place. Finish by placing the row of cap tiles along the top of the tiled area. When you’re done, let the mortar cure for at least 12 hours, and remove the batten.

Working from the middle, out and down, set the rest of the tiles. Support each tile with a piece of masking tape attached to the tile above it.

Let the mortar dry completely. Each type of mortar has a different curing time. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Grout is the material that fills the space between the tiles and supports them, almost like glue. Grouting is messy, so be sure you properly cover any areas that you don’t want to get dirty.

Before you start, remove any excess mortar with a razor blade or a putty knife. Using a margin trowel, mix the powdered grout with the liquid and apply it. Skim the excess grout off with the edge of the float. To avoid digging into the joints, move the float diagonally across the tiles.

The grout will set up in about 5 to 15 minutes, and have a putty-like consistency. When a thumbnail pressed against it doesn’t leave an impression, the grout is hard enough for the final cleaning.

With a damp sponge, wipe the tiles diagonally, to clean them. Rinse the sponge frequently in clean water. The sponging process will leave a haze on the tile. To remove it, wipe the surface with a damp rag, then with a clean, dry rag. Repeat this process, until the tile is as reflective as glass. Holding a lamp to the surface will help you check it.

Cure the grout, and let it set thoroughly before applying sealant. The curing process is very important – do not skip this step!

Once the grout is cured, apply sealer with a sponge. Sealing tile grout gives it greater water and mildew resistance, and helps keep it from getting dirty. Make sure to wipe off any drips before the sealer dries. And, if you’re using unglazed tile, seal it as well.


Aug 10

Learn How To Relax

Learn How To Relax and Meditate (courtesy of PranicHealing.tel)

For meditation, the first thing is the posture. You may sit in any posture. The posture must be very comfortable and stable. We can meditate either on a floor or on a chair. We can meditate in any place – wherever we feel comfortable.

Sit comfortably. Cross your legs. Clasp your fingers. Now, close your eyes. Stop inner or outer chatter. Don’t chat any mantra. Just relax. Totally relax. Just relax.

When we cross our legs and clasp our fingers, energy circuit is formed and gives more stability. Eyes are doors of the mind, so the eyes should be closed. Monk chanting, or any chanting, inner or outer, are the activities of the mind, so it should be stopped.

When body relaxes, consciousness travels to the next zone – mind and intellect. Mind is nothing but a bundle of thoughts. There are numerous thoughts always coming to the surface of the mind. Whenever there are thoughts in the mind, we may get many questions, known or unknown, to transcend the mind and intellect.

One has to observe the breath. Observation is the nature of the self, so, one should just witness the breath. Don’t do conscious breathing. Don’t inhale or exhale consciously. Let inhalation or exhalation happen on its own. Just observe the normal breathing. This is the main key. This is the wing.

Don’t go behind the thoughts. Don’t cling to queries, questions or thoughts. Dart the thought – come back to the breath. Observe normal breathing. Be with your breath. Then, the density of the thoughts reduces. Slowly, breath becomes thinner and shorter.

Finally, breath becomes the smallest, and settles like a flash in between the eyebrows. In this state, one will have no breath and no thought. He will be totally thoughtless. This state is called normal steady or state. This is the meditative state. In this state, we will be under the shower of cosmic energy. The more meditation one does,the more will be the cosmic energy one receives. This cosmic energy flows through the energy body. It is also called the body.


Jul 06

How to Replace a Bathroom Toilet

How To Replace A Bathroom Toilet (courtesy of HomeDepot.com)

The next time you’re remodeling, or sprucing up the bathroom in your home, consider replacing your old toilet, along with the other fixtures. It’s easier than you think! And, with today’s wide range of color and design choices, there’s bound to be one that will fit your new look.

Now, before you go shopping, you need to measure the distance from the wall to the floor bolts. If it measure 12 inches, you’re in luck! You have a standard toilet. Sometimes, especially in older homes, this varies – so, know before you go! Once you’ve made your decision and brought your new toilet home, it’s time to remove the existing one.

First things first! You want to turn the water off at the supply valve, and flush the toilet to empty the tank.

Now, remove any water left in the tank or bowl with a sponge and some rags. And be sure to wear some rubber gloves to protect against bacteria.

Now, once the toilet’s dry, remove the tank bolts and disconnect the water supply line.

Now, straddle the bowl, and lift the tank UP off the bowl. And be sure you lift with your legs. These things can be pretty heavy!

With the tank removed, it’s time to work on the bowl. Remove the decorative caps that cover the floor bolts. And, use a socket or adjustable wrench to remove the nuts.

Once the bolts are off, rock the bowl back and forth, until the wax seal underneath is broken, and lift the bowl up off the floor.

Scrape away any remaining wax with a putty knife, and plug up the drain opening with a rag, so you don’t have sewer gases wafting up into your home.

OK! Now for the new toilet!

You may want to start by replacing the existing flange around the drain opening. Or, at least, replace the mounting bolts.

Then, fit a new, wax ring around the base of the toilet. Now, for the tricky part!

Lift the bowl up, and line the toilet up over the anchor bolts. Once the bolts are fed through the holes, rock the bowl back and forth, to seat the wax ring, and then hand-tighten the nuts.

Insert shingles where needed, to make the bowl level, and then tighten the bolts up with an adjustable wrench. Tighten the bolts gradually, alternating from one bolt to the other. And be sure you don’t over-tighten, and crack through the bowl.

Cover the bolts with the supplied caps, and place the tank on the bowl. Guide the tank bolts into the corresponding holes. Tighten the bolts, but don’t over-tighten.

Install the toilet valve assembly.

Reconnect the water supply.

Caulk around the base.

And, you’re all set!

So, the next time you take on a bathroom makeover, consider including a new toilet on your shopping list!


Jun 30

How to Make a Summer Dress From a Men’s Shirt

How To Make A Dress From A Man’s Shirt (courtesy of Giannyl.com)


Jun 29

How to Swim the Backstroke

How To Swim The Backstroke (courtesy of StTrainer.com)

I’m Steven Taylor, endurance coach and fitness trainer through my company, Sttrainer.com.

Today, I’m going to explain to you how to do the backstroke. For this drill, you will need:

A swimming pool
A swim suit
and a cap.

You first must get your body in the correct position. This means that your body is stretched long and your hips and legs are at the surface of the water. We want your whole body at the surface of the water, not trailing down, with your hips and legs sinking in the water.

In order to do this well, it’s important to push your shoulder blades and head back in the water, squeeze your stomach muscles and your booty muscles, which will push your hips and legs to the surface of the water.

Step two to learn backstroke is to know how to move your arm through the water. It’s not true that your arm goes through the water, directly behind the body. Rather, your elbow bends, and the arm is actually more out to the side of your body than below it.

The third and final step to correct backstroke swimming is to make sure your hips and shoulders (your whole body) rolls from side to side. This will make it much easier to have a correct arm stroke and also streamlines you through the water.

In conclusion, the correct steps for swimming the backstroke include:

Good Balance, with your hips and legs at the surface of the water,

the Correct Travel with your arm, which is arm out to the side, not under and behind you

and, finally, Body Rotation, with your hips and shoulders rolling from side to side.


Jun 09

How To Remove Wallpaper

How To Remove Wallpaper (courtesy of Lowes.com)

When you start to remodel a room, you don’t want anything to get in your way, especially old wallpaper. We’ll show you how to remove old wall covering so you walls and your room are ready for anything, whether it’s a fresh coat of paint or new wallpaper. Let’s get to work!

This bedroom is going to get a new look, and we’re gonna do the renovation in small steps, that will have a big impact. The first step is removing the wallpaper, which can be quite simple. All you need are a few tools and a little patience, to let those tools do their work. You will need:

A Scoring Tool
A Scraper or Broadknife
A Screwdriver
Low Tack Painter’s Tape
Wallpaper Stripper
A Paint Brush
Paint Roller
Roller Cover and Paint Tray
Drop Cloths
A Garbage Can and Bags
A Stepstool or Ladder
A Bucket and Sponge
Dishsoap or TSP Cleaner
Wallpaper Primer/Sealer or Interior Paint Primer

You can also use a wallpaper steamer. Since we’ll be working with removal strippers, we’ll need to wear eye protection and rubber gloves. You can find detailed steps and a tool list in our printable instructions at Lowes.com/videos.

Start off by prepping the space. Move any furniture away from the walls, and cover everything with drop cloths. Also, make sure you use canvas drop cloths on the floors, since plastic can get pretty slippery.

Remove all window treatments and electrical covers.

Also, turn off the power to the electrical outlets in the room, and apply low tack tape over them, or any other surface you don’t want to get stripper on. And, if you’re going to use wallpaper stripper, be sure to have adequate ventilation.

Now, score the paper. You want to start in a 3×3 test section, starting with the ceiling, and preferably along a seam. A scoring tool creates hundreds of tiny holes in the paper, which allows the wallpaper stripper to penetrate and loosen the adhesive backing.

Then, generously spray or roll on the stripper, using a paint roller to apply it to the walls. Now, here’s where your patience comes in. Allow the stripper to set on the walls according to the manufacturer’s instructions – typically about 15 minutes. And, trust me – you definitely don’t want to shortcut this step! Now, if the paper stripper starts to dry, you’ll have to reapply it, so make sure the area stays wet.

Another option is to use a steamer. Again, have patience, and keep the steamer tight against the wall. And be careful, because steam is very hot. Now, after steaming the wallpaper, use a broadknife to lift a seam, and begin pulling the paper away at a 45° angle. Now, if the wallpaper was hung using a wallpaper primer/sealer, it should peel off easily, just like this. If it does, continue scoring and applying stripper or steaming, in sections about 4 feet wide, and remove the rest of the paper. Work from top to bottom, and always put the scraps in a heavy duty garage bag.

Now, if your wallpaper isn’t cooperating, you might have to troubleshoot. And, here’s a common problem – only the paper backing remains. Now, it’s easily fixed! Just apply some more stripper, wait the recommended time, and peel away!

Now, another common problem is paper that takes bits of drywall with it. This means the wall wasn’t primed properly, prior to application, and the adhesive is working a little too well. So, re-wet the surface, and try to carefully remove the paper. You might end up repairing the drywall. If so, watch “How To Repair Drywall” at Lowes.com/videos.

Now, once all the paper has been removed, you might notice a bit of paste residue or bits of paper backing still on the wall. Apply your wallpaper stripper again, working from top to bottom, around the room. Wait the recommended time, then, wash it off with soap and water. Repeat this step until all of the residue is removed.

Once the walls are clean, you’re ready for the next step. Now, if you’re painting, you’ll need to apply an interior primer. But, if you’re applying new wallpaper, like us, you’ll need to prep the walls. So, watch “How To Measure and Prep For Wallpaper”, at Lowes.com/videos. We’ll show you the key steps to making your wallpaper job a complete success!


Apr 15

How to Re-Grout Bathroom Tile

How To Re-Grout Bathroom Tile (courtesy of Housemaster.com)

Periodic maintenance of tile caulking and grouting is required to prevent water seepage, and consequential damage. The joint between the base of a tiled wall and the shower or bathtub is the area most likely to need attention on a regular basis.

Before beginning, it’s a good idea to add a cover over the tub or shower surface, to protect it from damage. All loose materials should be removed, and the tile cleaned and dried. Be careful, however, not to damage the tile. Use of a plastic scraper is recommended.

Grout is designed specifically for use as a filler between tiles. It should not be used at any joint where movement is possible.

For the typical repair job, a pre-mixed or tube-type is recommended. The grout should be applied liberally and forced into any gaps, using a sponge, trowel or, if suitable, your finger.

Remove any excess material.

Allow the grout to cure for the specified time, and then remove any residue, using a damp sponge or cloth.

Don’t allow the grout to fully set, as it will be difficult to remove!

Wiping at a diagonal will help maintain a uniform grout depth.

When totally dry, the tile should be polished with a dry cloth.

Caulk is a flexible sealer, intended for use at any joint between the tile and the fixture surface.

For small jobs, tube-type caulks are ideal.

The thickness of the joint to be caulked will determine the size of the bead.

In all cases, the caulk should be applied so that there is even coverage on both sides of the gap being sealed.

Hold down the tube at an angle, and lay down a continuous bead of caulk with long, steady strokes.

Depending on the particular product used, it can usually be smoothed out using either a wet finger, sponge, or special tool. Any excess caulk should be removed immediately.

Allow new caulk and grout to cure for the specified time, before using the fixture.


Mar 17

How to Change a Furnance Filter

How To Change A Furnace Filter (courtesy of Dummies.com)

Dust, dirt, carpet fibers, pet dander…these are all of the things your furnace filter takes out of the air, to help keep your house cleaner, and help keep allergies under control. When your filter is working hard, your furnace is really efficient. And, without all that stuff in the airflow, the blower motor lasts longer. The filter also prevents the compressor coils from getting clogged. So, you’ll want to change the filter regularly.

Buy furnace filters a case at a time. It’s cheaper that way. Open the case, and label each one with the date that you plan to install it. Changing the filter is easy!

First, open or slide the door panel to get access to the furnace. You usually find the filter near where the cool air enters the furnace, in the cold air return duct, or at the entrance to the blower chamber. Or, sometimes, in both locations!

Next, slide out the old filter, and replace it with the new one. Make sure the airflow arrows on the side of the filter are pointing the right way – toward the blower, and away from the cold air.

Now, replace the panel or door.

Furnaces need attention, so you want to replace the filter every month during the heating season. And, if you have air conditioning in the system, then change the filter every month all year long.

A little preventive care increases the life of your furnace, and makes your house cleaner and fresher!


Mar 08

How to Knit Through the Back Loop (ktbl)

How To Knit Through The Back Loop (courtesy of LionBrandYarn.com)

To knit through the back loop, you’re going to be inserting your right-hand needle from the right to left, into your stitch. Instead of knitting through the front, such as this, you’re gonna be knitting into this back section.

You’ll yarn over, and complete the stitch as normal. This creates a twisted stitch, so, let me show you a normal knit stitch, as compared to the twisted stitch. So, as you can see, it sort of leans a little more…the left side is slightly more elongated because of the twist.

So, here’s knitting through the back loop again. Insert your right-hand needle into the back of the stitch. Then, yarn over, and complete the stitch as normal. And, that’s knitting through the back loop!


Feb 26

How to Paint Cabinets

How To Paint Cabinets (courtesy of Lowes.com)

Painting your cabinets can give a quick update to your kitchen or bath. Just follow these steps to give your cabinets a fresh look!

We’ve already prepared our cabinets for painting. Now, if you haven’t done that yet, take a look at our how-to-video, How To Prep Cabinets For Painting, at Lowes.com/videos. You can also print out the complete instructions for this project, along with a tool list. So, with your cabinets prepped, it’s time to paint! You will need:

A good quality paint brush
A 5-in-1 tool
Stir sticks
Paint tray
Drop cloths
Painter’s tape
Sawhorses and lumber, to support the cabinet doors for easy painting.
You can also use a roller frame with a high-quality, foam roller, or a very fine, mini-nap roller to apply the paint.
You might also need door bumpers or wax.

When selecting your paint, look for a semi-gloss or high-gloss finish. A glossy finish will be easier to clean. High-quality latex products are durable and allow for easy cleanup.

If you haven’t already, clear your counter tops and tape off areas where your cabinets meet the walls and floors. Protect everything with drop cloths.

Now, if space and weather allow, take your cabinet doors into a garage or a basement for painting. If you’re painting indoors, make sure you have proper ventilation. OK, our cabinet doors have already been primed, and now we’re ready to paint!

Start by thoroughly stirring the paint. Then, begin painting on the back side of a door, starting in the center, and working your way out. You only want to brush over the surface a few times, with a high-quality brush. Brush marks are normal, and as the paint dries, these will level out.

Allow the paint to dry several hours before you turn the doors over and do the other side. Paint raised or decorative elements carefully, making sure that paint doesn’t puddle.

Alright, now on your cabinet’s framework, use a paintbrush, a high-quality foam roller or a fine nap mini-roller to apply the paint and, again, roll or brush the paint on in just a few strokes.

Wait 24 hours for everything to dry. Then, reattach drawers and doors. Another great way to get a fresh look is with new hardware. New hinges, doorknobs and drawer pulls can be installed easily, and really give your entire room a facelift!

Here’s another tip…painted cabinets will continue to cure and dry over time, so to prevent doors and drawers from sticking to the frame, apply door bumpers or even a bit of car wax to the surfaces that touch.

And with that, your project is complete! And, your kitchen, or any room with cabinets, will look dramatically different. Now, if you’re searching for other ideas on how to update your home, check out our lineup of how-to projects at Lowes.com./videos.


Jan 01

How to Crochet a Winter Headband

How To Crochet A Headband (courtesy of Threadbanger.com)

Hey everyone! Welcome to this week’s project! So, a lot of you have been requesting an easy
crochet tutorial, so this week, I’m gonna show you how to make a simple winter headband that’s gonna help keep those ears warm this season!

To make this headband, you’re gonna need some yarn and a size 10 crochet hook. Start by making a slip knot and tying it around your hook. Then, make a crochet chain by making a simple chain stitch. This chain is 62 stitches long. Now, you’re gonna stitch your first row.

Put your hook in the first stitch, and do a single crochet. Do this all the way, until you reach the end of your chain, Make sure to get that last stitch, turn your work over and put your hook in the first stitch. And again, do single crochets to complete another row.

Repeat this process til you’ve done about 11 rows, or whatever width you want.

When you’re done crocheting, pull the yarn to create a large loop, then snip the yarn and pull it all the way through that last stitch.

Now, put the 2 ends of your work together and attach them by weaving the long tail you’ve created in and out of each side.

When you reach the end, tie the 2 yarn tails together and weave them into the band so you can’t see them anymore. You can leave your band plain, add a broach, or give it to a friend.

You can also adorn it with a crocheted bow. Do 25 chain stitches, and crochet 11 rows. Fold your work in half, and connect your work by weaving the long yarn tail all the way down the side. Pull the tail together that side, and tie the 2 yarn tails together to secure.

Repeat for the 2nd side of the bow, and tie the 2 pieces together. Then, connect that whole piece to the headband. Do this by tying it to the band with the yarn tails, then weave the remaining parts of the tails through the band. I put my bow on at an angle!

Next, do a chain stitch with 10 stitches, and crochet 5 rows. Attach that square in the middle of the bow, again by tying and weaving the tails. And, you’ve completed a cute bow adornment for your headband!

For the last style, I’m taking a cue from Dionne Von Furstenberg and John Galliano by adding some pom poms! Simply cut out 2 cardboard rings, place them together, and cut a long piece of yarn. Tie one end to the side of the rings, and wrap your yarn around the rings. Do about 2 layers. Then, cut the yarn apart along the edge of the rings.

Now, cut a piece of yarn from the same as you used for the band, and tie tie pom pom together in the middle of the rings. Then, simply push the pom pom through the hole.

Attach it to the headband the same way you did the bow. Add a couple more, and you are finito! There’s many ways to adorn this winter headband – get creative!


Dec 04

How to Choose a Christmas Tree

How To Choose A Christmas Tree (courtesy of BetterTV.com)

A lot of us enjoy having a real tree versus an artificial one for the holidays, but we also like the least amount of work, too! Better Homes And Garden’s Madison tells us what we should be looking for when we’re picking out that Christmas tree.

A live Christmas tree is a classic holiday tradition. Who doesn’t love that fresh pine scent? We’re here at a Christmas tree farm to pick the perfect tree – come on!

Going to a tree farm to choose your live tree is a great tradition – for you and your family. Whether at a tree farm or a tree lot, you’ll find several types of live trees. So how do you know what’s right for you?

There are 2 main types of Christmas trees – firs and pines. Let’s take a closer look at the varieties.

The branches of firs are airier and stronger, which is ideal if you have a lot of large ornaments to display.

Firs have short, flat needles with blunt ends. They retain as well, but they’re usually more expensive.

You’ll find several varieties of firs, depending on your area, including Frasier, Balsam and Douglas.

Pine trees, such as white pine and scotch pine, have branches that grow closer together, for a denser look. They’re ideal for layering on the lights.

Pine branches are more flexible and have long, soft needles.

Depending on where you live, other species of Christmas trees may be available. Look for spruce and cedar.

Contact the National Christmas Tree Association for information on trees in your area.

When selecting a tree, make sure that the trunk is straight. Straight trunks fit better in the stand, and also have better balance. It’s also important that if you’re selecting a tree from a tree lot, make sure that they tree is not too dry.

This one is perfect! Many tree farms will put your tree on a shaker, to remove dry needles and prevent them from falling out in your car or home.

After you select your tree, have it wrapped in net or twine for easier transporting.

You’ll also need to cut about an inch from the trunk base with a pruning saw. This way, the trunk will be able to enjoy more water, and it will last longer! Once it’s cut, put it in water right away.

At this point, you may also want to thin out some branches so you have more space to show off ornaments and place gifts below the tree. Save any branches you remove for decorating later.

Let’s go inside and get this tree set up – I can’t wait to see how it looks! Getting a tree in the stand can be a challenge. But thanks to some newer designs, the job is easier than ever before.

Live trees require a little maintenance with watering. Be sure to always keep the base of your tree submerged. If the water level gets too low, a resin will form over the cut, and your tree will stop absorbing water. Just be sure to check the water level in the stand every other day.


Nov 02

How-to Fall Decorations With Pumpkins

How To Decorate With Pumpkins (courtesy of Threadbanger.com)

Hello, and welcome to Décor It Yourself! It’s October, and Halloween is approaching, so it’s time to get our pumpkins for the season. This week we’re showing you 10 uses for a pumpkin.

#1 – As a table centerpiece. Take a few different sizes of white or orange pumpkins, and gather them on your table on top of a strip of black lace, for a classy, Halloween touch.

#2 – As votives. You will need a few mini-pumpkins for this. With a knife, and on newspaper, carefully cut the top of the pumpkin off. Hollow out the inside – saving the seeds for later – and scrape the excess goo with a spoon! Add tea lights to create autumnal votives for your fall décor!

#3 – As a vase! Hollow out a medium-sized pumpkin the same way you did with the minis. Save the seeds again, for later, and once it’s cleaned out, place freshly cut flowers inside and fill with water. I’m using the flowers Will gave me for our anniversary…thanks, babe!

#4 – As a soup bowl. A hollowed out, smallish pumpkin serves as a lovely soup bowl! To make your own soup, check out recipes on EverydayFood or OrganicValley.com.

#5 – Use other hollowed out pumpkins as a candy dish, dipping dish, or for little treats. When we return, I’ll show you 5 more uses for pumpkins!

So, we obviously love the art of DIY – especially in the kitchen! Well, our good friends over at Hungry Nation TV just launched a cool, new cooking show called Working Class Foodies. It’s all about making your own food, while keeping it cheap and sustainable! It’s pretty much like Threadbanger, but with food! So, when you start getting hungry with all that DIYing, check them out at HungryNation.tv!

Welcome back!

#6 – Martha Stewart shows us this cool use for a pumpkin. Drill small holes in the side, large enough to put the end of a lollipop into, and you have a lollipop holder to place outdoors!

#7 – I think my favorite use for a pumpkin is roasting the seeds as a snack! Clean them, and bake them in the oven with a little olive oil and salt. Bake at 325 for about 20 to 25 minutes, turning every 10. Eat, or add to a salad, and enjoy!

#8 – Jack O’ Lanterns! Of course, one of the best and most common uses for a pumpkin is a homemade jack-o-lantern! Kick your design up a notch by drawing inspiration from these Better Homes and Gardens ideas. I personally love the illuminated, Haunted House design.

#9 – As art. Refer back to our graffiti lace episode, and use that technique on your pumpkin, to create and lively and unique design.

#10 – As dinner! For recipe ideas, check out Not Eating Out In New York’s Pumpkin Chili Recipe, and Martha’s Perfect Pumpkin Recipe.

Thanks so much for joining us! If you have any cool pumpkin ideas, leave them in a comment below. Before I leave, I just have to say, Happy Anniversary, Will – I Love You! And I will leave you all with this exclusive footage from our wedding a year ago…


Oct 20

How to Oil Paint – Toning a Canvas

How To Oil Paint: Toning A Canvas (courtesy of ArtistChronicle.com)

This is Don Stewart, the artist at ArtistChronicle.com, and in this video, we’re going to tone a canvas!

First question – Why do you tone a canvas? Well, not every artist does. I like to tone my canvas for a couple of reasons:

In the beginning stages of a painting, if the canvas is white, any color you put down there…you’re not really getting a true read on that tone, that color. Most colors appear darker when they are painted on a white surface.

Another reason I like to tone my canvas is that I don’t always paint over every square inch of the canvas, and so, a little bit of the tone will show through here, and a little will show through there. And that gives a nice unity to the painting. So, the toned canvas acts as a harmonizing element that ties together the colors that are painted over it.

Second question – How do you tone a canvas? I know, that’s what we’re here for, right? Well, let me step back here, and I’ll show you!

Now, this canvas has already been primed with a white ground. I purchased it that way. And, what I’m going to do is add a transparent tone to this white ground. Now, I could tone this canvas with an opaque ground. To do that, I would get primer or gesso, mix some paint with it and paint it right on. But, that would dry opaquely…I don’t want it to do that. What I want to do, instead, is to tone this with with a transparent ground. Toning with a transparent ground will allow light to reflect up through the colors of the paint. That will help give a luminosity to the finished painting.

OK, let’s get started! I choose the color, based on the colors in the final painting. As a general rule, I like to use earth tones because they dry quicker, and also, because they are a nice, neutral tone – they are unobtrusive. For this painting, I’m using burnt sienna, but you can use burnt umber, raw umber, raw sienna, venetian red…some artists will combine ultramarine blue with raw umber, and that works pretty well.

I thin down the paint before brushing it onto the canvas. I like to use a combination of 50% to 50% of my favorite medium. But, it’s perfectly OK to just use solvent. So, you would use gum turpentine or odorless mineral spirits…which I prefer, because it’s less of a health hazard.

Now, you want this to be very thin – I’d say 60 to 70% solvent. If you get it too thick, when you apply it to the canvas it will end up being too dark, and you’ll lose that luminous quality that you’re looking for. I apply the thinned down paint to the canvas with a brush, but you could skip this step and use a rag instead.

OK! I’m finished! And, I will let that dry for a few minutes, and then I will take a clean, dry cloth and use that cloth to rub off the paint I just applied. I keep rubbing until it’s a nice mid-tone, like this. And, you can see the beautiful, luminous quality already. Now, if I get too dark with it, I’ll go back with turpentine and rub the turpentine on there and make it lighter, because it’s better to be too light than too dark!

There you have it – a toned canvas! And, as you can see, I like to smooth mine out a lot. Some artists will leave streaks – it’s just a matter of personal preference. Another thing some artists will do is tone their canvas with acrylic paint, because it dries, you know, immediately. I don’t see anything wrong with that, but, some people say, well acrylic paint hasn’t been around very long and we don’t know how stable that surface will be. You know, will the painting last for a century? Regardless, I’m a purist – I like to tone with oil paint. So, I need to let this dry for 24 hours, preferably 2 or 3 days. Then, I can start my next painting! And I will be chronicling that for you guys, so, I’ll be back!


Oct 02

Knitting Tutorial – How to Knit with Double Pointed Needles

Learn How To Knit With Double Pointed Needles (courtesy of KnittingTipsByJudy)

I’m going to show you how to knit on double pointed needles – it’s not as hard as it seems!

I’ve already cast on stitches on one needle, as you can see. I cast on 12 stitches. So, we’re going to divide them now, into 3 needles.

So, we’re just going to knit 1, 2, 3, 4. That’s your first needle.

You take your next needle and you knit 1, 2, 3, 4.

You take your 3rd needle and you knit 1, 2, 3, 4.

Now, it looks like a mess! But, what you have to do – this is the hardest part – is, you’re going to join them, And just like on the circular needles, you have to make sure that all of the stitches are facing the same direction…inward.

So then, you push those stitches down. You take your 4th needle, and you pull, with the tail, and start knitting. 1, 2, 3, 4.

Now, you’ve got a free needle. You’re gonna take that up again. Drop the tail, and knit 1, 2, 3, 4.

Now, you have a free needle. You’re gonna push those to the end. And, with your free needle, continue knitting, 1, 2, 3, 4.

Now, you’ve gone a whole round, and you want to put a marker – I always just use an extra piece of yarn, a different color, so that will show the beginning of the row.

And then, you take your free needle again, going into the 2 stitches from the tail, and go 1, 2, 3, 4. And you just continue going round and round until you’ve gotten it as long as you want it to be. It’s that simple!


Sep 04

How to Reupholster a Dining Room Chair

How To Reupholster A Dining Room Chair (courtesy of BeforeAndAfterTv)

Hi! I’m Katie Stiles with Before And After TV. Today, I’m going to show you how you can, very easily yourself, reupholster a chair. I’ve purchased 6 antique, dining room chairs that I purchased at a flea market. They’re about 60 years old, and, the seats have definitely had their day! It’s very cracked and worn leather. I’m going to show you how easily you can do it yourself, and everything that you need to do it!

So, the first thing you’re gonna want to do is pop your seat out. Some seats will be screwed in, some will come out easily. This one came out easily.

And, what I’ve done, is I’ve had a piece of foam cut to the same shape. I had 6 of these cut, and I’m gonna glue it onto the surface of the seat. Now, I’m gonna use some regular, white glue, and, anything that says foam use on it is fine. And, we’re gonna make sure that we cover the entire piece of foam, for lots of coverage!

Now, I’ve used a inch thickness of foam, and it’s quite a dense foam. The denser the foam, the more life you’re gonna get out of it.

So, next we’re going to take our foam and we’re gonna put it on top of our seat, and line it up. And, this is gonna have to dry for probably at least an hour. And, the best way to let your seat dry with the foam on it is to flip it over, and that will give it the weight of the seat for the drying process.

Now, I’ve picked a really modern pattern and piece of material with some bright colors. And, now that the glue has dried, we’re ready to cover the chair!

So, we’re gonna lay our piece of material down with the pattern side down, and I’ve cut it so it’s about 6 inches on each side, to give us the room. And, we’re gonna place our seat cushion, foam side down, on top of it.

We’re going to pull up our first side of material, and, the key thing to remember throughout all of this is to keep everything nice and tight. We’re gonna start right in the middle of that. Using a staple gun and pulling tight, we put our first staple in.

Now, we’re gonna pull up on the opposite side, and again, pull in nice and tight. Find your center. Again with the staple gun, right in the middle.

And, then our 4th side – pull it tight.

Now that we have our material – all 4 sides secure – we’re going to start from each staple and work our way out along the sides, until we get just to before the corners, ’cause we’re going to do the corners last.

Space them probably about an inch apart, and remember to pull up tightly on the material, every time you staple.

Now, there’s just the corners left to do, and, you can cut off an excess of material. Just pull up on the corner and just cut off about 2 inches that you will not need, and it will just make it easier to put all of your staples in.

Now, at the corners, you really want to pull up hard. And, it’s ok if you get a little bit of gathers, because that looks normal on a chair. Just try and get it all as smooth as you can. Try and keep your gathers on the underside of the chair as much as you can. Keep it nice and tight.
You’re gonna wanna put probably about 3 staples into this area.

Now, we go to our next corner and pull as tight as we can.

So, there you have it. The corners, the sides, are all done. It took about 10 minutes to do. I’m gonna pop this back into place, to show you how it looks. Just take it back to our chair, pop it back into place, and, there you have it!


Aug 11

How to Paint A Room

How to Paint A Room (courtesy of Home Depot)

You’ve carefully selected your products and you’ve taken the time to properly prepare your room for painting. Now comes the moment of truth…applying the paint! As with any other home improvement project, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do the job. Let’s start with the ceiling and work our way down.

First, be sure to select paint specially designed for ceilings. It has a flat sheen, so the ceiling will have an even look. It will also help diffuse light, and it’s formulated to spatter less than wall paint. And, ceilings don’t always need to be painted white! Try tinting the ceiling paint to tie in with the colors you have planned for the walls.

As you can see, this particular ceiling has what’s called the popcorn texture. Many of these textures are water soluble, so it may dissolve and come down if you apply a water-based, latex paint. To avoid this, seal the surface with a white before you apply the paint.

Alright, let’s start by cutting the edges of the ceiling with a brush. Now, before you start any painting job, you should apply a thinner to your brush – water for latex or mineral spirits for oil-based paints – and remove any excess. Dip your brush about 1/3 of the way up the bristles, so paint doesn’t accumulate all the way up to the ferrule.

Gently tap the brush to both sides of the bucket, but don’t drag or press the brush against the rim…it will remove too much paint.

Start your first brush stroke 1 width from the edge, and then return to the starting point and brush toward the edge. Then, smooth the paint with a light touch.

Reload the brush, and start the next stroke on the wet edge and apply toward the dry. Then, back-paint toward the wet and lightly feather the 2 areas together with light strokes.

Now, only cut the edge for an area you can roll off, while maintaining a wet edge – say, a 3×3 foot section. Before you apply paint with a roller, prime the roller pad with a thinner, and remove any excess.

Dip the roller into a tray and saturate it with paint. Then, remove the excess by gently rolling it
back and forth across the graded portion of the tray. Begin rolling on paint along the still wet cut- in edge, to prevent overlap marks.

Reload the roller often, and roll slowly and lightly, then back-roll to blend the paint. As you can see, we’re using a roller with a long nap, due to the rough, textured surface.

Continue working in small sections, by first cutting along the wall, then applying with a roller, rolling out the paint, then blending.

Also, be sure to vary the roller directions slightly, because perfectly straight lines are more likely to show overlap marks.

Repeat this process until the ceiling is done, and immediately wipe up any drip marks on the walls as you go.

Now, make sure you apply blue painter’s tape to any ceiling molding before applying paint to the wall. The process is similar to painting a ceiling. You want to work in small sections, and cut in only as much as you can roll off before it dries.

Begin by rolling along the vertical wet edge in one corner of the room. And then, paint a 3-foot high “W” pattern, and fill the pattern in.

Once you’ve completed enough “W” patterns to fill a floor to ceiling section,fill your roller with a light load, and blend in the sections. And, if you need to stop before completing our room, stop on either an inside or outside corner. This will help hide some of the subtle color or sheen differences you may have when you continue painting later. Continue the process of cutting and rolling until all of the walls in the room are completed.

Allow this coat to dry for at least 12 hours before applying a 2nd coat, and allow the finished walls to cure for at least 24 hours before you mask off the walls to paint trim. This way, paint won’t come off with the tape when it’s removed.

If you buy premium products, prep the surface and use the proper technique, you’ll get professional results every time!


Jul 17

DIY Solar Panel Tutorial

How To Make Solar Panels (courtesy of GreenPowerScience)

Hello there! I’m your host, Dan Rojas.

And I’m Denise Rojas. And, today, we’re gonna make our own solar panels! This is the famous Harbor Freight Solar Panels that were used in many of our previous videos. Today, we’re gonna be using cells of a different type!

There are 3 basic types of cells used in most solar panels. The least efficient and least expensive of these cells is the Amorphous cell. Now, this what the Harbor Freight system is. The cells are deposited on glass, usually, and there are kits that come with this, they’re really tricky to work with. I pretty much don’t advise you to try to make these. The nice thing about these, because they are deposited on glass, even though they are less efficient than the other type of cells, is the fact that you can just dunk these in water. You can just pretty much do anything with them. They’re really, really durable.

There’s also Monocrystalline. Those are hexagon cells, Those are the most efficient, and the most expensive.

The cell that we’re gonna be working with today is Polycrystalline. These cells are almost a watt and a half, almost 2 watts a piece, and you can get these in lots of 100, and you can get them in just about any size. These cells, you have to tab them together. Now, one thing about these cells is they’re very fragile. And, um, you can see that it didn’t take much at all to break that. You’ve gotta be really careful when you work with these, because that was about a $2.00 break that I just did right there.

Now, one thing about these cells is, they are, like I said, about a watt and a half to 2 watts a piece, but they’re .5 volts. So, in order to get your voltage up, to say, 18 volts to 20 volts, you need to chain together 36 of these, or 40 of these, depending on what voltage you’re looking for. So, what we’re gonna be doing is tabbing these cells together today.

There’s basically 3 different things that you need for this. You need:

Tabbing wire, which is a thin wire that’s got a deposited metal on it. This actually solders to the cells.

There’s also a bus wire, which is basically the same thing as tabbing wire, but it’s a lot thicker, so it handles more amperage, and you use this to tie your strings of cells together.

There is also some silver solder, which is basically, you use to enhance the soldering joints.

You also are gonna need a soldering iron. They usually recommend that you use a 65-watt iron. We’re gonna use one a little bit less than that.

We’re gonna show you the basics for this, and, in future videos, we’re gonna show you how to add a lot of components to the solar panels.

So, we’re gonna get started! I’m gonna plug the soldering iron in. On thing that Dan forgot to mention is that he’s gonna be using this flux pen. Now, this pen, it actually smells like rubbing alcohol and, what it does is it opens up the cells, so that way it can accept a better soldering joint.

When you get your cells, they usually come in a bundle, like this. And, as I said, they are extremely fragile – this is another one that I broke! So, you want to be very careful with these, and handle them with care. I’m gonna show you a close-up of these, and explain exactly what’s going on with them.

What you’re gonna notice with these cells, is that there’s a series of small white lines, and 2 big lines. This is where you tabbing wire goes. Now, on the back side, there’s also 6 little joints where you solder the tabbing wire to. Most solar cells like this are usually negative on the front, positive on the back. So, in theory, you could take a bunch of them and stack them like batteries to build up the voltage. The problem is, only one cell would get the sunlight, so you can’t do that.

So, what you end up doing, is you end up taking tabbing wire, and you run it down the length of this, and you leave some extra. And, the next one attaches to the back of the next cell, and you go from there. So, you end up tabbing them together like this in long chains.

We’re gonna lay it flat, like that, and the you take your flux pen and you basically just go right up and down it. Now, it’s a good idea not to drink a lot of coffee on the day you do this, like I did, because, the steadier your hands are, the better off you are! You want to have your tab wires to be twice the length of the cell. Now, I went ahead and cut these in advance. You basically just measure it and double it over. It’s a good idea to do all of your tabbing wires in advance. That way, you don’t have to come back and do this step. Also, be careful with your soldering iron. I just grabbed it in the wrong spot and burned my fingers, so I’m gonna have 2 nice blisters, but, you basically try to get it started so you know where you’re gonna end. And, you hold it down, and the tin that’s on the outside of this should adhere to this. And, you can see that that locked down. Now, you’re gonna hold it the length, just like I have it. You take your soldering iron and you hold it flat like this, and you just gradually work it down the length of the cell.

Now that you have 2 of these tabs, you’re gonna take them and flip them over, and you’re gonna attach them like this. You’re gonna want to get this tabbing wire nice and flat – get it nice and straight. And, you’re gonna arrange them like this. Now, it’s a good idea to have a setup of exactly what you’re doing. Some people will build a little form, so that these are in a perfect, straight line and they don’t look like crap whenever you’re done. But, what you do is you bend the wire up, and you take your flex pen and you want to put it on every single one, like that.

Now, this is an area where the solder actually comes in, and you can actually use it for this. Basically, get yourself a little bead of solder on there, and what you’re gonna do is, get your tabbing wire positioned. I’m gonna use a little clamp to hold it down, because this wire does build up some heat. Let me get the first one in place here. We now have 2 cells that are joined together! So, we’re gonna go outside and we’re gonna see if this produces one volt real quick, because you want to test these as you go along. The time to replace a bad cell is now, versus once you’re completely done with your project.

Now, the way that you want to test these, is, you attach your negative lead to the front, which is this tabbing wire here, and then, you can touch pretty much anywhere on the back. Alright, so you basically take it and, we’re gonna test it and touch this to the back of this here. And you can see that we’re getting one volt out of this, which is, these 2 together produce the one volt. And, if I cover them up, they drop. So, these 2 panels – these 2 cells, are actually good to go.

So, what you’re gonna have to do in order to get a…something to charge 12 volt batteries – like these over here – what you’re gonna have to do is you’re gonna have to do this 36 times, total. So, you’re gonna need 36 of them to get to the 18 volts that you need.

So, this is what we did just now, I got a couple of blisters in the process! And, you can see that it’s a pretty tedious process to do, and, doing is this way comes out to be about $2.00 a watt, maybe a little bit less than that. As you can see, these are very fragile and they break easily, so you have to encase them really good. So, you need to put a glass cover over them. You need to seal this so moisture doesn’t get in there. There’s really a lot to the DIY process with this.

To encase it, does somebody improv on that, or, is there a professional case to use?

We’re gonna be doing that in future videos. We’re gonna be actually trying different ideas in order to…you basically make a frame, encase it in glass and seal it, so that moisture doesn’t get in there. Some people will seal these in resins or waxes, and that’s a good way, too. You just…it is a pretty tricky process! I personally don’t really see…I don’t really necessarily have the patience to do an entire panel…we’re gonna do it for our video.

Well, it seems a little hard to get the soldering and the strips on it just right, but, within time, it would come a lot easier. It’s definitely a practice thing. And, our soldering iron, by the way, is not a good soldering iron for this! You want to get – you wanna buy a good one that gets a really good heat buildup to it, and it will be a lot easier.

It looks great, and, so, somebody would have to get this…how many times would they have to produce this?

To charge a 12 volt battery, you would need to put 36 of them to get to 18 volts, or, if you wanted 20 volts, you would need to do 40 of these.

So, does it go in a row, or,how does that work?

What people usually do, is they’ll do 18 of these, and then 18 of these, and then tie those together, so that jumps the voltage up. And then, the bigger panels, if you want to increase the…’cause 36 of these would produce about 60 watts, 65 watts. The Harbor Freight system that we have outside is 45 watts, so if you put 36 of these together – make sure I’m doing the math – yea, if you put 36 of these together, you would have a more powerful system than the Harbor Freight out there. It would cost you probably about 100 bucks to do that with these cells, the tabbing wire. You have to take in to account that you’re gonna break some along the way. And, then you have to add the case cost to it, because sealing these…the Harbor Freight system has been out in the sun, it’s been out in the rain, it’s been dipped in water (some of the smaller panels), and they work fine. This is gonna be up to you, how well that works out.

Can it be embedded in acrylic, or is that too…

You can encase this in resin – you can definitely do that – different types of resin. You just want to make sure that the contacts all stay good together. And, it’s really important to test these as you go along in case they don’t work. You also need to add some blocking diodes to this, because you don’t want it to drain your battery. You need to make sure the voltage only goes in one direction.

This process is good for somebody who’s on a budget, who has a lot of time on their hands, and who is very patient and wants to do it yourself. If you’re not that type of person, buying a pre-manufactured system is probably gonna cost you double, or a little bit more than that, but that’s your call with it.

Well, I definitely think it’s worth completing, as many as we have, and embedding it into something, for a future video. We spent about $400 on a 150-cells, a little bit more than that, and that’s the equivalent of about 300 watts. So, if we can get one together, a 300-watt solar panel is – well, we wouldn’t do one, but, 300 watts of solar panels is pretty expensive to buy.
I think the challenge is worth the effort on it. You do get better at this, by the way. This was like the 3rd one that I did, and again, the soldering iron – crappy!

If you go to our website, we will have information on where you can buy all this stuff. There’s different people that sell it on eBay and that sort of thing. We’ll have some links to that, and you can at least buy some cells, buy some of this stuff, and see if it’s for you!

I’m your host, Dan Rojas…

and I’m Denise Rojas!

Thank you for watching, and enjoy our videos! Oh, and don’t grab the soldering iron in the wrong place – that really hurt!


Jun 25

How to Knit – Fair Isle Knitting

Learn How To Fair Isle Knit (courtesy of KnitPicks)

You can use a technique called stranded color work to knit with 2 different colors in the same row, or to create complex patterns. Fair Isle knitting is a type of stranded color work where you use traditional shetland island motifs and color gradients to make beautiful, shimmering patterns.

There are a number of ways to do stranded color work. In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to knit in the round, while holding one color in each hand. Your right hand will throw the yarn in the english or American style, and your left hand will hold the 2nd color in the continental style.

For each stitch, you knit one strand of yarn while the other is carried behind the work, creating a strand or “float”. You usually use finer yarn for this, because floats will cause your fabric to be much thicker. Keep the floats fairly loose. Tight floats will cause your finished fabric to picker.

When in doubt, err on the side of floats that are a little too loose. Also, don’t get discouraged. Remember that blocking out your finished piece will really even out your stitches.

1) Decide which yarn will be held in each hand, then stick to this decision throughout your color work project. Knitters usually hold the background color with the right hand, and the contrast color with the left hand.

2) When knitting in the round, follow the chart in your pattern from right to left. Color work charts usually try to use a single color for less than 5 to 6 stitches in a row, in order to keep the floats manageable.

3) If your color work pattern has teeny, tiny motifs, you don’t have to worry about the next part of this tutorial. If your chart has longer, single color stretches, you may want to wrap your floats, by bringing a floating yarn over or under the working yarn in the middle of a long color stretch. Try to have no more than 3 stitches between wraps, and make sure to alternate any wrapped stitches with regularly knit stitches.

4) To wrap a float made out of the left strand, the first stitch of the color is knit normally. The next stitch you’ll want to wrap. Put your needle into the stitch and under the yearn on the left hand. Proceed to knit your stitch with the right color, per as normal. You have essentially lifted the left-hand color over the right.

5) To wrap a float made out of the right strand, pretend to knit with your right hand, wrapping the right hand color around the needle, as if to knit, but don’t knit it! Immediately after that, pretend to knit with your left hand, by picking up the color in the left hand with the right needle tip. Then, unwrap your right-hand color, and bring the left color stitch through. Do not weave 2 stitches in a row, and be sure to put an ordinary stitch in between, or the weaving won’t work.


Jun 10

Jewelry Making – How to Use Wire Hoops

How To Use Wire Hoops (courtesy of JewelrySupply)

Wire hoops are fun and easy to use. But a question that frequently comes up is, how can I make it an earring, or a wine charm? Well, I’ll show you exactly how to do that in just one minute!

First off, let’s take a look at this wire hoop. You’ll notice that it’s not closed completely, and that one side of the hoop has a flattened end with a hole in the middle of it. This is where you will put the other side of the wire hoop through to fasten it. This doesn’t take anything more than taking your chain nose pliers, and, coming over here to the flattened end of the hoop and pulling it up ever so slightly. You’re looking to put about a 45° bend, if that, on the end of this wire hoop. Not a 90°. This shouldn’t be going straight up and down, but just a nice, gradual bend. There, that looks pretty good!

Now, on the other end of the hoop, you’ll do exactly the same. For a wine charm, this is all that you’d have to do. Simply unhook it, slide it around the glass and then connect it back together. Same goes for an earring. Slide this end through the pierced ear, and then fasten it in the back.

We do have another project, Project #E873, called our Sapphire Hoop Earring, where we actually make a loop. This works out very well with our larger wire hoop earrings. Let me show you how you do that.

This is one of the largest, simple wire hoops that we carry, Item #WH152. For this, here’s that flattened end again. Bring that up, and now, take the end of the wire hoop and push it through. The reason that we use the largest one is because, as you push the wire through, the circle or the loop that you’ll be threading your earrings on becomes much, much smaller. So, in your non-dominant hand, hold that wire where you think you want to put that 90° bend in it to make that simple loop. And then, take your chain nosed pliers and go for it! And then, finish off the wire hoop with a simple loop, just as you would with a headpin or an eye pin or any other piece of wire.

Then, open up the connector loop at the base of the ear wire. Slip it on to the loop. Close the connector loop at the base of the ear wire, and there you go!

Now, here is one type of wire hoop that we carry that’s already set for ear wires or a pendant in the middle of a necklace. When you look at this, you might think, well, how do I get it undone? Well, when I flip it over like this, you’ll see that one side of this wire hoop has already been crimped closed. The other side, though, is still open. And if I give it a gentle tug, aha! There we go. Now, from here, thread on any kind of beads that you like. Close securely, put the wire back through, and you’re set!

We also carry a couple of different wire hoops that you cannot open. These are great for attaching charms by way of jump rings or wrap loops, or you can use these for keychains or key rings. You would simply attach whatever beads or findings you like around the outside, and it also comes with a jump ring here, up at the top, so you can hang something in the center. Again, there’s a connector loop outside of this wire hoop, or you can connect an ear wire or a bale.


May 26

How to Make Cement Pots

How To Make Cement Pots (courtesy of PlantersPlace.com)

This is a finished cement pot that has been painted blue. You will need:

A Bucket
Some Mortar

Place roughly 1 part of cement in a bucket.

Place roughly 5 parts of sand in the bucket.

Add enough water to mix to a firm paste. It’s better to add too little water than too much water.

It’s important that the mixture is firm, like the picture here.

Press the cement paste firmly into the base of the pot.

Start pressing the paste onto the sides of the pot. Be patient! If any paste falls off the sides, it may mean the mixture is too wet. If that’s the case, then squeeze out the excess water and push it on the sides again.

Keep building up the pot sides, until you have gone around the whole pot.

Smooth the edges of the pot at the top as best you can, but don’t worry if it’s a bit rough! Roughness is a feature of cement pots. When you’ve finished smoothing the edges of the pot at the top as best you can, let the pot dry.

And, now you will see, this is the finished picture of a painted, cement pot!


May 11

How to Install a Light Switch

How To Install A Light Switch (courtesy of AskTheBuilder)

Light switch wiring is easy! Hi, I’m Tim Carter from Ask The Builder.com, and wiring a light switch yourself can save you lots of money. Remember, when working with high-voltage electric, always turn off the circuit breaker to prevent electrocution. You might wonder how to wire a light switch, so, let’s take one apart while the walls are opened up in this kitchen remodeling job, so you can see how the wires are connected to the switch.

A regular wall switch has 2 screws, plus the green grounding screw. The black wire that is always hot or energized, well it connects to the one screw. And the other black wire that goes up to the light fixture – it connects to the 2nd screw. It doesn’t make any different which wire connects to which screw. Be sure to loop the wire on to the switch screw correctly. As the screw tightens, the end of the wire should close up the loop.

Connect the bare, copper grounding wire to the green grounding screw.

Switch wiring is easy! Go ahead, start wiring your light switch now! I’m Tim Carter for AskTheBuilder.com


Apr 29

How to Unclog a Drain Without Chemicals

How To Unclog A Drain Without Chemicals (courtesy of Home RemodelWorkshop)

Hi! I’m Bob Schmidt with Home Remodel Workshop. Slow running bathroom sinks, slow running bathroom tubs, nothing can be more annoying! Backs the water up, brings the dirt and everything right up into your tub. I’ve had some luck in the past using my snake to unclog these things, but, to do that, you have to take out the drain trap, you have to take apart the pop up in the vanity. I found a new product that I think a homeowner could use that maybe would be very useful and quick, easy, safe tip where you won’t damage your stuff. Give me a couple of minutes, and I’ll show you how to use it!

And, the inexpensive product that I’m talking about using is called a Zipit. Basically what is it, is it’s a flexible plastic with these little plastic barbs on it. They are sharp – I mean, obviously, not dramatically sharp, but I wouldn’t let little kids play with this. But, the neat thing about this is that this won’t damage the metal on your tub, and it doesn’t require pulling the pop up out of your sink. Here, let me show you how to use it!

The only downside I have to making this video, is, apparently I don’t have a slow running drain! As you can see, I turn my water on, it takes the water down right quick. You can see by this hair right here, exactly what happens, though. This hair gets sucked down into that drain and then gets caught around this pop up and the armature around the pop up. Most of the time,that is what’s causing your slow flow.

Now, the nice thing about this product is, where typically for a snake, I would have to take this out, I would have to hand-direct the snake down into the hole to make sure I don’t scratch up this surface. Because this is flexible and plastic and has these little plastic barbs on it, I can actually slip it in with the pop up still in place, and basically slide it all the way down to the hilt. Now, once it’s in there, I can jiggle it around a little bit. Oh, and, as you can see, even with a slow running drain, you can still…or, with a clean running drain, it’s still pulling some dirt and debris out of there.

Now, I’m gonna go ahead and take this to some of the other sinks in my house, and I’m gonna try it in them also, just to show you, and maybe we’ll get better results from there. Maybe we’ll have some better luck in my kid’s bathroom! They don’t have a tendency to pick up the hair and be as tidy as we are. But still, as you can see, the drain – ah, it’s running a little slower than the other one, but not bad. So, basically, what I’m gonna do is I’m gonna take the Zipit, do the same thing as I did on the other one…stick it all the way down in there, move it up and down a little bit…not bad. I’m gonna go ahead and go to another side of the pop up, go ahead an shove it down there and see if I can find something on that side – oop! There we go! Oop, and there comes some more…I don’t even know what that is! But, as you can see, even with a drain that’s running clean, hair is already starting to accumulate inside there. You get too much of that hair in there, this drain slows down and then finally stops.

OK, here we are in the bathtub. I went ahead and I pulled the pop up out, although you don’t have to. This drain also is running clear, but I wanted to show you this “X” that’s here inside of this tub. That’s where most of the hair clogs are gonna get clogged up. Now, it’s pretty obvious it’s clean, but, if the pop up were on here, and I were sliding this alongside the pop up, these barbs would grab that hair and pull it back out of there. 9 times out of 10, that’s gonna be your problem.

And, here we are down in my nasty, stationary tub. Although the water seems to run fairly freely and goes down the drain, we don’t use the strainer as much as we should, or as much as most people do, so I’m sure that there’s lint and debris that gets bypassed in this drain. So, I’m gonna go ahead and send this down in there. Let’s see if I can…I’m snagging some of it up, but let’s go ahead and try a different spot. Yea, there’s some lint right there, coming out. I’m sure that, if let go too long, that it would also clog up this drain and make this a slow drain.

Now, as the date of this posting, I paid $2.15 for this. I think it’s well worth the effort if you have a slow drain in a bathtub or a shower or a vanity sink, as far as for a hair clog or, even a downstairs stationary tub for lint and stuff, to go ahead and give this a shot before, I would definitely do this before I would break out my snake or go to call a plumber. I’m Bob Schmidt with Home Remodel Workshop. I hope you like this tip, see you again real soon. Thanks!


Apr 16

How to Lay Tile Floor

How To Lay Tile Floor (courtesy of AskTheBuilder)

Oh boy, check this out. Hi, I’m Tim Carter from AskTheBuilder.com. Thanks for joining me today! I’m in this room that we’re remodeling, and we have to extend a tile floor into this area that’s not finished. Check that out! The reason that happened is, just about 10 days ago, right where I’m standing, there used to be a wall that went all the way to the ceiling. We took it down, so that the two rooms have now become one.

The challenge is this – check this out. If you go ahead and start to lay the tile, going this direction behind me, and you think that you’ll be able to line it up with your eye, making sure that the lines are perfect – it’s not gonna happen. You’ll make a mistake every time. You actually need to create a line on this concrete slab that you will actually lay the tile to, to know that those rows are straight. And, here’s one way that I’ve done it in the past, works pretty well.

You can use just a regular chalk line. This one happens to have no chalk on it, yet. If you’re gonna use one that’s already got chalk, make sure you pull the chalk line out and snap it a couple of times, to get as much chalk off as possible. All you have to do is open up the chalk line, and you hook the chalk line right to the underside of the tile. You can see right here. I took the end of the chalk line, hooked it to the under side of this tile, pull the string tight.

And, then what I do – now, look real closely here. I go ahead right here, and I get this string lined up right with that edge of the tile. That’s exactly what I want to see, right there, so I know it’s right. Then I take the chalk line, and I come back down here. And, what I can do, first of all, is do this. I can actually use the line – the string line – and, I can see by just hovering it over the edge of this tile, that these tiles are perfectly in line. That’s exactly what we want to see!

So, now what we’ll do is, I can make a line, right here. Right underneath the string line, on the concrete slab. So, we know where that point is. We come back here, and I line up the string, looking right down the string. Put my eye right over it. And, you can see that I can swing the string left and right, until it’s right at the edge of the tile, which it is, right there. You can see it right over the edge of the tile. I put the string down here, make a mark, and if you take a heavy object, like a full paint can, I can set it on the string.

So, now the string won’t move, and I can go ahead and make marks right underneath the string, in a couple places. And then, if you want, you can take a straight edge, like a 4-foot level, connect those lines, and you’ve got your straight line to start laying your tile!

I’m Tim Carter, for AskTheBuilder.com!


Apr 14

Garage Sale How-to

How To Have A Garage Sale (courtesy of Better.tv)

It’s time to put up the signs and make a little cash! Yep, it’s yard sale season! But, before you clean out your garage, Nicole has a step-by-step guide to throwing a profitable yard sale, and how to do your part for the environment.

Usually, I’m showing you where to spend your money. But today, I’m gonna show you how to make some money at a garage sale! They can usually be very time consuming, but they can also be profitable. How? I’ll show you!

We’re open for business! Just kidding – they’re fake – and they’re dirty. First things first is to clean all of your items, because obviously they’re going to sell better if they look presentable. And then, after that, you have to price everything. Don’t skip this step, because it’s gonna cut down on negotiation. They make labels right in your regular grocery store that you can just pick up. Or, you can get these kind, at like an office supply. For bigger ticket items, those are nice. You can just tape them right to your items. If you don’t know what to price your garage sale items at, 15% of what you paid retail is usually the standard.

Now, when it comes to sets, there’s 2 ways of thought. These coasters – there’s 4 of them. I don’t want to get stuck with just one, so I’ve tied them up – it’s $.50 for all 4. But, these candle holders are $1.00 each, and if I was stuck with just one, it wouldn’t be that big a deal. So I’ve priced them individually. It would be $2.00 for the pair. And, they’ll probably ask if I’ll take $1.50 and, of course I will – and you should, too!

So, when it’s time to bring your merchandise outside, try to bring your furniture as close to the street as possible. It’s the one thing that drive-by buyers are really looking for, because of the higher retail prices of furniture.

And then, organize your items. These boxes are available at any moving supply store, and they’re perfect for garage sales! We did kids on this side, adults on this side. And everything is hung up, so buyers don’t have to wonder what it is.

The burden of proof that things work is your responsibility, so plan to have some power at your next sale. That way, people can test out items. Also, have some batteries for the hand-held devices. Now, you don’t want people in your home, so don’t offer to let them test anything inside. Just drag out an extension cord. Also, make it very clear where the sale ends, so you have no stragglers back there where they don’t belong.

If you have kids in your family, it’s good to give them a job, so they’re not under your feet. It’s also hard for drivers to drive by a cute little kid selling lemonade! And, if you have kids coming with parents to your garage sale, it’s good to put the wee one’s merchandise at the back of the sale, and low. One, because you want them to get attached to it, and they can’t do that if they can’t see it. And, you want to put it all the way back in the sale, so parents don’t have to worry about their kids in the traffic. Happy parents spend more money!

Alright! Well, garage sales can be a great way to recycle, reuse and reduce. And, it can afford you new funds to go shopping! For BetterTV, I’m Nicole Camarady, wishing you Happy Garage Sale-ing!


Apr 01

How To Repair A Sticking Door

How To Repair A Sticking Door (courtesy of HomeRemodelWorkshop)

Hi! I’m Bob Schmidt, from Home Remodel Workshop. Do you have that door in your house that seems to be hitting up at the top? It’s rubbing the paint off, doesn’t want to open and close, and maybe the latch doesn’t work properly? I’ll show you some of the solutions for that! Let’s get to work!

Here, we have a door that doesn’t seem to be closing properly. The lead edge of the door hits this side of the jam, it’s rubbing the paint off, it’s beating up the backside of the door. A lot of times, when people see this, the first thing they want to do is run and get their power saw, and start cutting on the door, or sanding on the door. That’s generally not a good idea. There are usually some simple adjustments that will help you take care of this.

Whenever I come across a door like this,usually, I have a quick little check to asess the problem. If I see that the door is hitting on the lead edge at the top, the first thing I like to do is push over on the top hinge. If it feels like the door moves, and then the door opens and closes easily and the latch lines up, I’m pretty sure that my issue is here at this top hinge.

When I open up the door, and I look at the top hinge, the first thing I’ll do is, I’ll lift on the door. And if I see any movement in that hinge at all, I’ll know that I have a screw issue, where the screws have come loose. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of taking a screwdriver and tightening those down, and that will take care of your problem. Also, check the screws in the door to make sure they’re secure. Sometimes, just a little quarter turn will make all the difference in the world! If I try to tighten these screws down, and, after getting it screwed all the way in, the screw continues to spin, as if it’s not gripping anything, then it’s time to add a little bit of wood in that hole to tighten up that screw.

Now, some people get real picky about what you fill these holes in with to tighten these screws. I’m not one of them! I pretty much take whatever is available. I had this old piece of baseboard, that I saved to make a profile on a job – it’s made out of yellow pine. I simply take the baseboard – I hold it on the ground, take the tip of my hammer, and I’ll break off a few pieces, til I see something that I like! Sometimes, I’ll go ahead and I’ll take a knife and I’ll whittle it down a little bit. They don’t have to be real big…it doesn’t take much to fill in a screw hole.

Before I take any hinges loose, even though this is a 3-hinge door and it’s usually pretty stable when you take the top hinge loose, I still don’t want that extra pressure binding on that 2nd hinge. So, before I take the hinge loose, I usually support the lead side of the door with some shims or a block of wood or magazines, so that it doesn’t bind that 2nd hinge upon getting the extra weight on it. In this case, I had 2 of the screws that were spinning free. When I went to tighten them down, they continued to spin.

So, you take the little blocks of wood, little pieces of wood that you made (they don’t have to be cut to any length), you stick them into the hole, tapping them in, until they’re pretty snug. And then, go ahead, gently push up and down, break it off. Usually there’s enough left on there for the 2nd one. Tap it in there, down in to the drywall until it’s real nice and tight, break him off, and you’re ready to put that hinge back on!

I went ahead and put the screw back in that had tightened down – that was tight fine to begin with, and now I’m gonna go ahead and replace these 2 screws, into the new pieces of wood that we installed in the hole. I generally like to have a hand screwdriver to do this, because if you use a cordless drill or a mechanical drill bit, you can’t always feel how much you can torque it down at the end. You want to get it tight, but, like any other screw, you can over-tighten it, you can strip the threads if you start bouncing the screw tip on it. This is just generally a safer way to do it!

After you get the hinge screws in, you can feel that this hinge is much tighter than what it used to be. You can see that the margin across the door and down the left side of the door is correct, and, if you open and close the door, the latch now operates fine. Generally, that will take care of your problem.

A common cause of door problems, other than just age and sag, is people have a tendency to like to hang things over the top of their door. Shoe racks and mirrors and things like that. Generally, that’s not a good idea. It puts a lot of extra stress on a door. But other than that, usually a simple solution is the best. Don’t be in a big hurry to take a power saw or a belt sander or anything to this door, you could just complicate your problems.

Other than that, hope you found this tip useful, and good luck on your project! We have plenty more videos, back on our Home Remodel Workshop channel, and if you like them, remember to subscribe – thanks!


Mar 27

How to Reuse Old Towels

How to Recycle Old Towels (courtesy of MichelleKaufamann.com)

Millions of tons of textile waste ends up in our landfills every year – even though there are great ways to recycle! Charitable organizations are a wonderful place to send your old clothes, your old linens, your old rugs. But, sometimes those old towels that end up in the back of our linen closet are not so donation-worthy! So, here’s a beautiful way that you can transform those old towels into something luxurious, like this bath rug!

I just love this, because this is a simple, green-it-yourself project that only requires your old bath towels or beach towels – you could even do t-shirts – and, a gridded matting.

This matting you can get at almost any fabric store. You just simply choose the size that you’re gonna want your rug to be, based on your bath dimensions. For me, I’m making it about 18 inches by 2 feet. That’s what’s gonna fit best outside of my shower.

Then, you take your towels, and hopefully you washed them! And, cut them into strips. You want to make the strips about ¾ of an inch wide – about the dimensions, the width of your finger.

Then, once you have the strip made, make it into lengths of about 5 to 6 inches. For this rug, it’s probably gonna take me 2 or 3 old bath towels.

Then, once you have all of your strips, you can start tying them into the grid. You just pull it through and simply tie a knot! You just keep on tying until you have finished the grid.

For the rug that I already finished, you can see on the back that I wasn’t super precious about it. I skipped some squares, especially when a good part of the movie was happening! But, it still makes a really dense, super-soft, really cushy rug that’s lovely for when I’m coming out of the bathtub or the shower. Puts me in a good mood as a way to start the day!

Thanks so much for watching this Green-It-Yourself project. I’m Michelle Kaufamann, helping you to let the green in today and every day!


Mar 03

Knife Skills 101 – Julienne Vegetables

Learn How To Julienne Vegetables / Knife Skills 101 (courtesy of HolidayKitchen.tv)

How To Julienne Vegetables

Julienne is the French term for vegetables cut in long, thin strips, like a matchstick. Mastering the method of julienne-ing vegetables will not only improve your presentation; it will also ensure more even, consistent cooking.

To julienne a carrot, trim the top. Cut the carrot into 2-inch lengths. Trim the rounded sides of each piece, so that a rectangle is created. Cut each rectangle lengthwise, into 1/8-inch slices. Stack several of the slices together and cut lengthwise again, creating thin batons called “julienne”. Continue with the remaining carrot pieces. This cut also works well to make potato or zucchini sticks. To mince, stack the julienne sticks together and cut across.

To julienne a pepper, with your knife, remove the stem and then the bottom section. Reserve for another use. Slice the pepper lengthwise, flatten, and remove the ribs with the tip of your knife. Cut the pepper into thin, julienne strips.

Chiffonade is a similar technique, in which herbs or leafy green vegetables, like spinach or basil – are cut into long, thin strips. This is generally accomplished by stacking leaves, rolling them tightly, then cutting across the rolled leaves with a sharp knife, producing very thin strips. Start with large, unbruised basil leaves. Wash and dry them thoroughly, and then stack them together like sheets of paper. Gently, roll up one stack into a kind of loose, cigar-shape. Slice across the roll to make very thin julienne, or chiffonade.


Jan 30

How to Knit – Knitting Backwards

Learn How To Knit Backwards (courtesy of theknitwitch)

Backwards knitting is a technique that you can use to avoid purling on all of your rows. So, if you don’t like to purl, you might want to try to learn to do this.

But, you knit to the end of your row, and then, normally what you would do when you get to the end of your row is turn your knitting, and then start working all your purls on the opposite side. So, instead of doing that, is, stay on the right side of your work – keep all of your stitches on your right-hand needle – and then, start by going from left to right, in back of your stitch, wrap your yarn counter-clockwise, and then pull that stitch over and then off the right-hand needle.

So, go from left to right in back of that stitch, pull your yarn counter-clockwise around, pull your stitch over and off your right-hand needle. I know we’re taught to panic when stitches start falling off of our right-hand needles, but in this case, it’s ok – I promise!

Pull that new yarn through, and your old stitch off the right-hand needle. And, from left to right in the back, wrap your yarn around counter-clockwise, pull that new yarn through on your left-hand needle, and then pull the old stitch off your right-hand needle.

And, you just continue this all the way across your row until you’re done. And then, what you would do is go back again and just knit your next row. And that’s all there is to backwards knitting!


Dec 25

How to Crochet a Hat

How To Crochet A Hat (courtesy of Threadbanger.com)

Hey, what’s up everyone? Happy Holidays and welcome to Threadbanger! This week, we’re giving you a lesson a lot of you requested. Not only is it great for the winter months, but it’s awesome for a last-minute gift idea. The lights are startin’ to freak me out – can we get out of here?

In Meg’s cape episode, I wore this hat, and a bunch of you commented on how much you liked it. I am super proud of this hat – it’s the first one I ever made, and my grandma just taught me how to make it over Thanksgiving! Liquid Skyflier, Mercy Mile and Brooklyn Homies, listen up! Not only is it super easy to make, but it’s super quick! So, this week, I’m gonna show you how to make one just in time to gift it to someone for the holidays! That’s what I’m giving to people…sshhhh!

The first thing you’re gonna want to do is check out our “How To Crochet” episode that we did a while back. For this project, I’m using a size 10.5 crochet needle and some organic, cotton yarn.

We’re gonna start by doing a slip stitch and 8 chain stitches.

Once you have your 8 chain stitches, you connect the 2 ends by putting your needle through the first stitch and doing a single crochet stitch.

Alright! Now that you have your little ring formed, you just put your needle in that first stitch there and do 2 single crochet stitches in each stitch. So you end up with 16 stitches around the outer ring.

So for the next row, the way that I remember it the best is by going in the 1st stitch, you do single crochet. In the 2nd stitch, single crochet. In the 3rd stitch, single crochet. In the 4th stitch, 2 single crochets. And you’re gonna do that until you reach the end of the row, marked by your tail.

So the next row is a single crochet all the way around, so you don’t have to worry about counting! This could be a hat for a little baby!

We are going to do 2 singles in each stitch. We’re trying to flatten this out – we don’t want it to roll up like that yet.

And, for the next row, you do a single crochet in stitch 1, a single crochet in stitch 2 , a single crochet in stitch 3, a single crochet in stitch 4, and then 2 single crochet stitches in stitch 5.

So, when we reach the beginning of the row again, single crochet all the way around for the next row.

Instead of doing 2 single crochets in stitch 5, we’re gonna do 2 single crochets in stitch 6.

Again, it’s a single crochet in each stitch, all the way around. Let’s do it!

We are gonna start counting again, with 2 single crochets in stitch 7. And this project is very easily done with recycled yarn. Again, you can see that in the How To Crochet episode.

Alright! We’ve reached the beginning of the row again, but, instead of doing a row of single crochet all the way around, like we did after the previous counting rows, we’re gonna do 2 single crochet stitches in stitch 8.

The next row is gonna be 2 single crochets in stitch 9.

For this row, we’re gonna do 2 single crochets in stitch 10, You rockin’ stitch 10, that’s right!

Now, the next row is doing 2 single crochets in stitch 11…lookin’ good!

The next row is gonna be the magic number 12.

This is gonna be the last row where you have to count for a while – 2 single crochets in stitch 13. Get to it! Omg, this is super exciting! We just finished our last row of counting, for now. So, now what we’re gonna do is just a single crochet in every stitch, around and around and around and around, until it’s the depth that we want it.

As you keep going around and round, you’ll see it start to curl up, like this. This is good! This is exactly what we want – just keep going!

Our hat’s almost done, but we’re almost at the end of our yarn, so we’re gonna have to attach a new skein of yarn. And it’s really easy – all you do is take the end of this one and tie it to the end of this one, and tie them in a knot. Simple as that. This skein of yarn is 103 yards long, which basically tells you, you’re gonna need more than 103 yards of yard to complete your project. So, when you buy your yarn, make sure the skein is either big enough or that you buy multiple skeins, because a lot of times, they discontinue a color. Or, when they dye yarns in different dye baths, they turn out slightly different. So you just want to make sure you have enough yarn to be able to complete your hat!

Our hat is finally the depth that we want it, but now, we have to close up the rim so it fits our head better. It’s really easy! All you have to do is do a single crochet in stitch one, a single crochet in stitch 2, a single crochet in stitch 3, skip the next stitch, and do a single crochet in the following stitch. Then, you just start counting all over again and do that all the way around, until you reach the beginning of the row.

For the following, and final row, you’re gonna do the same thing you did for the previous row, but instead, you’re gonna skip 2 stitches.

Just pull that loop out really big, nip the end of the year, tie a knot and you are done! Also, make sure to snip any loose ends you may have. And now, you have a great gift for one of your friends, or, for yourself!


Dec 24

How to Make Eggnogg

How To Make Egg Nog (courtesy of ArtOfTheDrink.com)

Welcome to Art Of The Drink! My name’s Anthony Caparelli. And, we’re working today with a new drink art girl, Katelyn. So, Katelyn and I are getting ready to go to the daily motion Christmas party, and the folks at Daily Motion gave me a call the other day and ask me to whip up a batch of egg nog, take it to the party and serve it with a whole bunch of drink art girls, so we’re gonna do that. And, of course, I’ve decided on my favorite egg nog recipe, which is Makers Mark. Alright, so let’s give it a try!

Alright, first thing, big bowl and, of course, eggs. There’s a lot of eggs in this egg nog. We’re gonna make about 2 ½ gallons, and I’m gonna actually do a small batch here in front of the camera, and then I’m gonna go in the back and do a huge batch for the party. The small batch has a dozen eggs in it. So, we’re gonna go ahead and start by separating these eggs.

And, if you haven’t separated eggs before, I’ll show you how to do that. It’s really pretty simple. You crack the egg on the bowl, and the key to doing this is not to shatter the egg. You just want to see a nice crack in the egg, and then take one finger – I use my thumb – and you push it down into the egg and then you just pull the egg apart. Now, here’s the tricky part. You need to capture the yolk in half of the egg, so you’re gonna actually use the egg as 2 little cups, and then you’re gonna pass the yolk back and forth a couple times. And, each time you pass the yolk, a little bit more of the white is gonna run out into the bowl. And then eventually, you’re gonna end up with a yolk by itself that is fairly dry and clean of the whites. Now, the key here – what I’m gonna eventually do is, I’m gonna whip the yolks and the whites separately. You need to make sure that in the whites, you get absolutely no yolk. Because if you get yolk in the whites, they won’t foam the way that they’re supposed to – they’ll never form peaks, it’s gonna take forever. So, be sure you do this properly. So, I’m gonna save the yolks, and I’m gonna put the yolks in another bowl. So, I’m gonna go ahead and do this, and, for right now, I’m gonna do 12 eggs – just 12!

OK, so we have a dozen eggs separated. We have whites with no yolk in them, and we have yolk. What I’m gonna do is I’m gonna whip these separately. I’m gonna whip the whites first, so that way I don’t have to worry about cleaning this. You don’t want yolk in the white. The other way around is fine. So, I’m gonna go ahead and start with my handy dandy little blender here, and keep this to what is called soft peaks.

Alright, so this is now at what’s called the soft peak stage. It will actually hold its shape if you pick it up you’ll see that it actually holds its shape. So that’s called soft peaks and that’s exactly what you wanna take that to. And this is actually making meringue – if you throw some sugar in there, that’s meringue.

Now, the next thing I want to do is beat the yolks, and I’m gonna do that separately. I’m just gonna beat the yolks real slowly at first so they don’t spatter too badly. And I just wanna get the yolks kind of creamy, and then, I’m gonna add a bunch of sugar.

OK this is getting creamy, and I want to start adding some sugar. If I was doing a full batch, it would be a cup and a half of sugar. I’m just gonna do about ¾ of a cup, ’cause this is a half batch. And, it’s very important when you’re adding sugar to beaten egg yolks that you add the sugar slowly. You don’t want to add the sugar all at once. Get a little sugar in, make sure it’s all incorporated, and then add a little bit more. So, why don’t you add the sugar? That’s half a cup, and then, we’re gonna do a little bit more after that. So now, you want to beat this until it turns very pale yellow.

Ok that looks good – it’s nice and pale yellow, all the sugar has been incorporated. So now what I want to do is go ahead and add the Makers Mark. Why don’t you go ahead and give me that. In a full recipe we put a full bottle. You know what? I’ll let you add the Makers Mark – half a bottle. Perfect! Alright, so I’m just gonna beat this a little bit more.

So now, what we’re gonna do is fold the whites into the yolks. You don’t really have to worry too much about folding this in without collapsing the whites, because you do want to drink this. This isn’t gonna end up being meringue, so if the whites collapse a little bit, that’s not a bad thing. So that’s incorporated very nicely.

Now, we’re gonna make some whipped cream. Heavy cream – again, full recipe, we would use a quart. I’m gonna use a pint ’cause we’re doing a half recipe. And, the whole key to whipped cream is you want it to be really cold. And the colder it is, the faster it is going to turn into whipped cream. Alright, so I’ve got my whipped cream in the soft peak stage, and I am gonna just incorporate the mixture of the whites, the yolks, the Makers Mark with the sugar, into the whipped cream. It’s all gonna be together. Beautiful! And this all gets combined.

And, the final ingredient, because this is a little too low-cal the way it is, we’re gonna put in some whole milk. The colder the better. Full recipe would be a quart, and this recipe, and half recipe, is gonna be a pint, so go ahead and put half of that in here. Beautiful! What do you think? Alright – that’s perfect.

Then one more just good blend around to make sure that everything is nice and mixed – blended, and that is our Makers Mark egg nog, all ready to go! So, all we need to do now, is get this to the city, get it in a punch bowl and grate some fresh nutmeg over the top. That’s important – and we’re all set!


Nov 12

How-to Pumpkin Centerpiece

How To Make A Fall Centerpiece (courtesy of Better.tv)

Well, if you’ve been searching for a fall centerpiece, but you haven’t found just the right one, don’t worry about it. Better’s lifestyle expert, Mar Jennings is here, and he has a great that will not only work, but make for a great host or hostess gift this holiday season! You’re always bringing us a 2 for 1 – I like that!

It’s a pumpkin bouquet, and we have them all available right now because we just finished with Halloween, and of course, now we’re in November, and this is a perfect way to put this as a beautiful centerpiece. And, it’s easy to do, inexpensive, and most of the stuff is right in your own garden! So, that’s the best part! And, you can give it as a gift – perfect gift, they will remember this. And, it’s the gift that keeps giving, because it’s just so beautiful and it’s easy to care for.

So, we’re gonna start with a pumpkin. You’re gonna carve it out as you normally would – pretty simple. Because what we’re doing is we’re creating a vessel for the flower arrangement. And then, we’re gonna take some oasis – and this is available at any garden center. It’s pretty popular. And we’re going to cut it so it fits snug in the pumpkin. That will help the flowers to stand up straight.

And then, we’re just going to push it right in, and you can put all of the excess right in there. That will not hurt anything. And the idea is, so really all the flowers are secure and they don’t move around. And then, what you’re going to do is add some water. And you will notice that it will absorb all the water. So just take a minute to do that, and then, you’re going to start building from there.

The nice thing about this is you’re gonna start with your evergreen and then you’re going to build from there. So, go ahead and start pulling some.

What size do you put in first?

You know, it’s a real personal choice. I think the more you do this, the better you get, and you want to make sure that they’re secure, so go ahead and push them so they don’t move. Just go ahead and have fun with it. And, you want to have some variety all over the place, so if you’re putting a bit of a hemlock over here, put one on the other side as well, just to balance it out.

We have some flowers as well. Now, you could buy some flowers, I also have some sedum. So, what you do is you want to cut these a little bit, so let’s go ahead and chop these down. You want to fill this up as much as you possibly can, and walk away from it, look at it and go back to it. Asses it, and just continue to look at your color choices, and I use Mother Nature as my real inspiration. That’s why I brought these leaves, so you can see all the different colors that are right now in the garden, and that’s what I’m mimicking in this bouquet.

And, you’ve done this pretty quickly, right? Just keep filling it, and, if you notice, there’s some sedum in here as well in the garden. And again, go ahead and just start popping that in. And you will find that it will become very tight, very dense. Here’s some grasses, some cattails, zebra grasses, so it makes it very whimsical.

The very last part here is just taking the top of the pumpkin, and we’re going to secure that on the side. And you’re going to do that with some toothpicks, so I’m going to break some in half, and what you’re doing is creating some fangs, and this will stay on the side, and it just kind of makes it a real, finished product. And you’re securing it right on the side, like that. And it stays – it’s not going anywhere! And, that’s when you know you’re completely done.


Nov 10

Home Improvement/How To Repair Asphalt Driveway Cracks

How To Repair Asphalt Driveway Cracks (courtesy of AskTheBuilder.com)

Oh, hey! How are you doing? I’m just bringing out the last tool to start my blacktop crack repair job. Great weather today, blacktop’s dry, and that’s exactly what you need when you get ready to finish a blacktop repair job. Here’s what we’ve got. First thing we need to do before we get started, in case the safety police are watching, it’s time to get on the new, cool safety glasses. Oh, yeah – what do you think about that?

Now, what we gotta do – first thing that it says on the instructions on the caulk, or the repair sealant that we’re gonna use – you gotta clean out the crack. I always like to use a regular broom, and it works really well! Just go ahead and sweep it out, get all of that loose debris and loose sand out of the way…oh, yeah! Simple as that! Now, once again, remember the blacktop’s gotta be nice and dry.

So, let me show you what I’ve got, what we’re gonna use today. We’ve got this nice crack. And, this particular crack is kind of like a V shape. And, because it’s V shaped, it’s really pretty hard to install a backer rod, that sometimes you have to use when you install a crack sealant with blacktop. Usually, you use a backer rod when the crack is shaped more like this, where the sides of the crack are pretty parallel. And, you’ll get those cracks very frequently in a blacktop driveway, but not this particular one.

So, what we’re gonna do first is, all you have to do is start with this compound. It’s an asphalt repair – check this out, it says right here – Asphalt Repair, it’s got all the nice instructions, and it looks – it’s just like, really, caulking. And simple! All you do is go ahead and start to squeeze it out, being really careful that you don’t put too much of the material too high, because you will have a real mess on your hands. And you can see how easy that comes out! It just flows out of the tube, and one of the reasons that it flows really well is because I made sure that it wasn’t too cold out here. The outside temperature here is about 60 – 65°, and this material flows just beautifully out of this tube, and you can see that.

Now, check this out – get a little closer, I want to show you something. I’m coming up to a really big, wide area, and I want to fill that up, but not too high, and you’ll see in a minute why. And there’s another one coming up right next to it. Oh, yeah, look at this right here, you can see a big area. I kind of put the sealant in there, making sure it’s not too high.

Alright, now, here’s what I wanna show you. The next step is, I’ve got this cute, little stick – it’s actually from a piece of mulch…check this out. You can see it’s about ¼ inch wide, and I found it in the mulch, actually right next to the blacktop drive. And I just use that. Come down here close, I wanna show you something. I actually want to spread this sealant so that it smears on the blacktop on either side of the caulk, and I’m also making sure that the caulk sealant is not too high. And this makes for a really, really good bond, so that the crack sealant material will not come out, you know, this winter, when it gets really, really cold.

Now, but down here, where it’s really, really wide…before I started the job, I went around and I found some of the rocks that had actually come out of the blacktop drive. What you do is you actually put these rocks right in the sealant compound. I know it sounds crazy, but this actually helps – it helps disguise the crack, for one. And it helps make the crack sealant work a lot better, because it makes it stronger. And you just push those rocks down into the sealant, and then you push the material up against it, so that the cracks – and so that the cracks fill up with material, and it sticks well against these little rocks.

The final step in the process is to actually take some of this magic compound that I have in this can next to me…ho hooo…wait til you see this trick! A lot of people don’t do this. This is one of the secret “Ask The Builder” tricks! Before I started the job, I went to the sides of the driveway, and I found some sand. And some of this sand came from the stones and the rocks around the driveway, but actually matches perfectly, some of the rocks that are actually in the blacktop. And you go ahead and just sprinkle this sand onto the fresh compound. Look at that. Simple as that! And this sand does 2 things:

#1 – It will prevent tracking, if someone makes a mistake and walks on this material, and from it spreading onto the driveway, it does that. And that’s really important.

#2 – It’s actually gonna help disguise this crack, so that the crack looks more like the actual blacktop, on either side of the crack.

It’s that simple to patch a blacktop crack! I’m Tim Carter for AskTheBuilder.com –


Oct 27

How Build and Maintain a Salt Water Aquarium

How To Build and Maintain a Salt Water Aquarium (courtesy of MonkeySee.com)

How To Build and Maintain A Salt Water Aquarium

Hi! This is Jim Karanikas from Tropical Fish World, and I’m gonna go over a little bit about the basics of keeping a saltwater aquarium. The different clips we’re gonna be covering today are:

The basic water requirements for a saltwater aquarium, such as adding the salt and the additives and the foods.

We’re also gonna discuss lighting for the saltwater aquarium. The lighting for a fish-only aquarium is much different than that of a reef tank, so we’re gonna discuss the different options for lighting.

We’re also gonna cover the equipment that is needed for a saltwater aquarium.

I also want to show you all the interesting live animals, including fish, live rock, crabs, corals…

Probably the most important thing I’m gonna talk to you about is water quality, and troubleshooting some of the more common problems that you’re gonna have with a marine aquarium.

Some of the equipment and products we’re gonna need are:

De-chlorinating drops or liquids.
We’re gonna need some synthetic salt to put in the aquarium.
We’re gonna also need something to measure the amount of salt that’s added to the aquarium.
We’re also gonna need a filter system, and, along with a filter system, a heater.
And we’re also gonna have some safety concerns with the aquarium. We’re gonna have to make sure that we drip loop all of the cords that go into the outlets, because salt water is a very good conductor of electricity, and we want to make sure that we don’t get any of the salt water into any electrical outlets that might cause a safety hazard.

My name is Jim Karanikas. I have a degree in Marine Biology from the University of Maryland. I have run and owned Tropical Fish World since 1989, and before that, I worked at another aquarium store for about 13 years. So, say kind of, fish is my life! And I really enjoy the saltwater aquariums, and I want to make sure that you know how to do it right. I know you’re eager to get started, so let’s go ahead and see how to do it!


Oct 20

How to Decorate – Elegant Halloween Party

How To Decorate for an Elegant Halloween Party (courtesy of UrbanRoute)

If you want a spooktacular Halloween, you have to have the right ambiance. Dah dah dah dah! It’s like magic! I love this time of year! You never know what’s gonna happen. Check out these great hats and this fabulous room! Jill, what have you done in here?

Well, you know we went to town. We made it really elegant, instead of being tacky. Because, Halloween can be that way. So, we went out into nature, went for a nice walk and gathered wonderful twigs and branches and leaves, and we’ve added all kinds of lovely, elegant throws and pumpkins. Even if you don’t carve them, the pumpkins look really fabulous, just around the room.

OK, I love the spiders!

It’s fun, because you can just add a little whimsy with things like that. And, they’re just little magnets. And with the pumpkins, put them around, put them in groups of 3…we even put one inside the blackbird house.

Let’s go check out how you can have the perfect Halloween dinner setting.

We have had SO much fun putting this table together, because it’s wonderful to have the opportunity to be creative with some color from nature. So, the leaves on the table, and, the centerpiece…honestly, it is so simple! There’s sugar, candy corn, black beans and red lentils, and they become the anchor for twigs, and, just get dramatic. Go for some extreme height, add a crow, look at what you get!

Except, I think my son would try to dig down and get the candy out, I’m telling you right now!

Just put some more in another bowl somewhere else – maybe he won’t be so tempted.

But, if you do want a little candy, check out the napkin rings!

Isn’t that fun? Black licorice – you gotta have it! And, just knot it around the napkin that’s just rolled up. And, then, when you’re done, you can eat it! Such a great trick! I also love that this isn’t your classic Halloween orange.

Yes, we’ve gone with a more subdued, cinnamon color, and,it then means you can use it again afterward. I think the final thing is to be organized for your guests. Set up a little bar cart and have all of the things you need handy, so it makes your life easier. Then in the kitchen area, don’t forget to add a bit of drama. You can get wonderful, white mini-pumpkins and mass them in quantity. Use a couple of glass cloches and put some goodies inside of there….branches and pumpkins…and, voila! It’s elegant, yet it’s festive at the same time!

Thank you, Julie. I can’t wait to get home and decorate my house for Halloween! Have a Spooktacular Halloween!


Oct 10

Halloween How-to – Make a Hot Glue Web Gun

How To Make A Spiderman Web Gun from A Hot Glue Gun (courtesy of MakeMagazine)

Hi! It’s KipKay from Make Magazine with a special Halloween edition of the weekend projects! You know, when you think of Halloween, a lot of things come to mind – like spider webs! I think it’s amazing that a spider, using only his body, can continually create geometrically complex, advanced shapes, that few, if any of us could perfectly duplicate, and even with a pencil and ruler, it’s very complicated for most people to exactly duplicate. Yet, the spider does it with ease! So, the leftover, sticky debris of spiders long gone are so often used for Halloween, that you can buy all sorts of pre-made cobwebs for your haunted house. Well, today, we’re gonna make our very own spider web shooter that spreads the creeps!

You can find the hot glue web gun by Edmond Wise in the special Make Halloween edition, available in the maker shed. Our hot glue web gun starts with a hot glue gun. And, you need one that’s at least 80 watts. The one that I used was 100 watts. Since our web gun is powered by an air compressor, you’re gonna need an air compressor hose, ¼ inch copper tubing and a number of pipe fittings that you can find in your local home improvement store.

Using your spring tube bending tool, you’re gonna bend your ¼ inch copper tubing in a shape so that it’s right next to and about 1/8th of an inch behind the nozzle of the hot glue gun. When you’re all done, it should look similar to this.

Using the tube cutting tool, you’re going to cut off one end and attach your valve, using the compression fittings. Now, this is going to control the airflow going out of our web glue gun. Then, one more piece of copper tubing needs to be cut and attached to our elbow, using the compression fitting, and then that’s all joined together to build this assembly.

Then, using some teflon tape, we’re going to attach our adapter, which will go to a hose bar, and then that hose bar connects to our piece of air compressor tubing, using a hose clamp. Then, one more hose bar by the other end of our tubing, which will go to our quick release pneumatic fitting.

Now, the whole assembly can be attached to the hot glue gun using zip ties, so it can be removed and you can use the hot glue gun as you normally would later.

And, our hot glue web gun is finished and ready to test out! So, it’s time to fire up our air compressor, and we’re gonna get somewhere between 30 and 50 PSI. And then, we’ll attach our air compressor to our new hot glue web gun connection.

The last step is to test your valve, and make sure you’re getting good airflow through your tubing. And, make some spider webs! By adjusting the airflow and the amount of hot glue that
drips out of the nozzle, you can make some pretty impressive webs!

That’s how to make a hot glue web gun for your haunted house! We’ll see you next week with another weekend project!


Aug 26

How to Faux Finish Using a Color Wash

How To Faux Finish Using A Color Wash (courtesy of FauxLikeAPro)

Well, if you’ve got a big area that you’re painting and you can’t decide between 2 colors, you might be able to put them together with a color wash. And, Sandra from Faux Like A Pro is gonna show us how to do it!

Now, this is the colorwash?

Yea! Now, these are the 2 greens that you’re talking about. We’ve got 2 colors that we put together. We’ve got a blue-green and we’ve got some blue color – very complimentary to one another.

The important ingredient here is the glaze. You need a long open time glaze. I’m working with the Faux Like A Pro glaze.

And, open time means it stays wet longer?

Yea. More time to work. And we’re doing a wet on wet technique, so the entire wall needs to stay wet.

Our ratio for this is going to be 5 parts glaze to 1 part color.

The 3rd bucket we’re gonna keep as clear glaze, and that’s gonna be our 3rd color.

Ok, these are color washing brushes. This, again, is a soft-hair brush. The approach here is just to use long, sweeping strokes, because we have a huge wall to cover. I’m just gonna work with the green first, because that is the most dominant color.

Now, notice the spacing I have between each stroke. That’s gonna leave some space for the blue and also the clear glaze.

The blue can intersect with the green a little bit, almost like you’re doing a little blending while you’re stroking. Each time you place your brush down, you need to move to another area.

The final pass is going to be the clear glaze, and, we’re gonna just kind of fill that in and blend with this brush a little bit.

And that’s just gonna soften the colors?

Yes, it softens – all I have is clear glaze on here, and see what’s happening? Pick up a little of the green, and we can kind of just place a little bit in here. And, then, go back in and blend.

Once the glaze is set up, you can basically switch over to what’s called a bristle block brush, and we’re gonna blend this, and we’re also drying up the glaze, because the glaze stays wet for up to an hour.

We’ve got a lot of glaze in here and very little color. And, just by pulling up on this brush, you can eliminate all of those brush strokes if you don’t like them.

Alright – I’m ready to give this a shot!

You ready to go? Ok, good!

Nice, broad strokes – wonderful! And, the angles are important! You know, we don’t want to do vertical, we don’t want to have these angles, and spread the glaze as much as you can. See how beautiful!

And then, the final finish, we’re just gonna do another softening with this bristle block.

Ok, well, Sandra and I are gonna finish up this wall, but, this color wash is a great idea if you’re just looking for a little, subtle color. Beautiful! I can see why this is popular!


May 09

How to Recycle a 2 Liter Bottle

How To Recycle A Two-Liter Bottle (courtesy of MakeMagazine)

How To Recycle A Two-Liter Bottle

Earth Day…Two-Liter Recycling

Here’s eight quick and easy ways to recycle a two-liter water bottle:

#1) Save water, money and the environment. Fill up a two liter bottle with water, all the way to the top, and then screw on the cap. Flush your toilet. Drain the tank completely. Put the two-liter water bottle in your tank, and when the tank fills, it will be filled with less water than normal – meaning less water consumption, a decrease in your water bill, and also saving the environment.

#2) Why not cut the top off a bottle and use it as a funnel? You can make a wide assortment and different sizes of funnels, using soda bottles!

#3) Here’s a great way to get rid of annoying insects. Carefully cut through the upper third of a water bottle. Then pour a sweet liquid, like orange juice, into the bottom part of the bottle. Turn the part you cut off upside down, and place it inside the bottom of the bottle. Insects can find their way into the bottle, but they can’t get out.

#4) Make a handy bottle pod. Take off the cap to a two-liter bottle and drill a small hole. Then you’ll need a quarter inch hex bolt and a quarter inch hex nut. Put the bolt through the hole and attach the nut. Then, fill the two-liter bottle with water or sand. Attach your cap mount to the bottom of your camera and screw it onto the bottle, and you’ve got a bottle pod to go!

#5) When working in the yard, you occasionally find a weed that you want to kill, or a number of different weeds, and you don’t want to hurt the surrounding grass. Remove the cap from a two-liter bottle, cut off the bottom of the two-liter bottle, place it over the desired weed, and then spray your weed killer. This also works great on a windy day, keeping the spray contained.

#6) You can make a pretty cool greenhouse with a two-liter bottle, by cutting it about 1/3 down. Cut out a piece of cotton, or you could even use cotton string, and insert the cotton inside the top. Now, put some water in the base and then insert the top, upside down, in the base. Fill the top part of the bottle with potting soil, and you’ve made yourself a recycled greenhouse!

#7) Measure the weather! Cut the top off a two-liter bottle, right where the slope begins. Fill the bottom of the soda bottle with water, just up to the line. Now, using a ruler, measure off inch increments and mark them with a sharpie. You can also make marks for half inches. Flip over the top of the bottle and insert it into the bottom, and your rain gauge is ready to use!

#8) Make a bird feeder! Empty plastic soda bottles make great bird houses! Cut two holes in the bottle, across from each other. Then, using about an 8-inch long wooden dowel, cut out small holes and insert the dowels under the doorways. Fill it with bird feed, and then poke a hole in the bottle top and insert a piece of string. Hang it from your nearest tree or porch, and you’ve made a bird feeder and recycled another two-liter water bottle!


May 07

How to Save Money – Reducing your Energy Bill

How To Reduce Your Energy Bill (courtesy of MoneyTalksNews)

How To Reduce Your Energy Bill

If you spend about the average to keep your home cooled, heated and powered up throughout the year, then you’re spending about 1500 bucks. Now, obviously in the summer, most of that expense is going to pay your cooling bill, the average somewhere between four and five hundred dollars. If I said you could chill that bill by about 100 bucks this summer (that would be about 20 – 25%), would you be interested? Well, let’s start with the AC unit.

Clear away the debris to keep the air flowing smoothly and check the filter. And keep checking it monthly, throughout the summer. You also want to check and replace your indoor filter.

The next places you’re gonna look to cut costs are your windows and doors. Air loss can blow 15 – 25% of your energy money. So, weather strip those doors and caulk those windows.

A good ceiling fan can also save you serious money. A fan will allow you to set your thermostat at 78 degrees and make it feel like it’s 72. Not bad, considering it only costs about 15 cents to run for every ten hours it’s on.

The thermostat. Now, here’s a place where you can really save some cool cash, because every time you raise this thing just one degree, you can save, on average, about 3% on your energy bill. So, especially while you’re away, raise the temperature 5 degrees, cut your bill by 15%!

Also, do you close the vents in rooms you’re not using? Well, don’t do that! Closing more than 10% of your vents can create an air pressure imbalance that could reduce your air conditioner’s efficiency.

One more tip for staying cool and keeping costs down this summer. Avoid appliances that create heat, especially in the middle part of the day. So, when it gets hot inside and outside, make some lemonade and lay on the sofa!

For MoneyTalks, I’m Stacey Johnson…


Feb 08

Jewelry Making/Soldering How-To

How To Solder Jewelry (courtesy of JewelrySupply)

Hi! I’m Sara, the designer for JewelrySupply.com. In this video, I’m going to show you how to do a soldering technique, but first, let’s go over a couple of safety tips.

The soldering iron becomes hot when you use it, so never leave it unattended around kids or pets.

Always make sure that you have adequate ventilation because we’re using flux, wear short sleeves, remove any excess jewelry that you may have, and always wash your hands after you’re done with this technique.

The first step that you want to take whenever you’re soldering something is to make sure that you have each piece that you’re gonna be soldering together, held so it’s stationary while you’re soldering. For this, I have two 3rd hands,that are each holding one of the copper wires that I’m gonna join together.

For the next step, I’m gonna be using some solder and flux, and we actually sell them in a package that comes together. That item number is S0242. Now, the flux that’s in here comes in this handy little bottle like this. It’s very, very important that you put the smallest amount of flux possible on the joint, due to the fact that, when this flux heats up, if there’s too much on here, it will spatter and spit flux everywhere. And since flux is something you don’t want to get on your hands or onto your clothes, it’s a very good idea to use less in this instance than more.

I mostly have a soldering block underneath the area that I’m gonna be working, and that’s gonna protect my table or any surface that you’re gonna be working on from getting damaged.

Now, take your solder and unravel just a little bit, because you don’t want to be working with your fingernails right next to where you’re gonna be putting the iron. So, unravel a little bit, so you can work with this stick, just like this.

Your soldering iron is gonna get extremely hot, as I mentioned before, so make sure that, even if you have it turned off, you allow for a pretty good range of space between you and the soldering iron at any time.

So, the first thing that we’re gonna do is heat up the soldering iron, and that’s gonna take a little while, so just be calm and patient. The point of the flux being here is to create a vacuum that’s actually gonna suck that solder in all around the joint. So, be listening. And when the hissing stops, then you put the soldering iron onto the solder. When that happens, you know that you’re done and you don’t have any more flux.

So now, I’m putting the solder right here onto the joint, and I’m gonna be putting the soldering iron right over the top of that. Now, this is gonna happen pretty quick. You’re gonna notice that the solder melts, and it’s gonna work its way all around that joint – just like this!

So when you think you have a pretty good joint, remove the soldering iron, put it back into its cradle, and just let the joint sit for a couple of minutes, so that it can cool completely. Remember, these 3rd hands are also made of metal, too, so it’s also a wise idea not to go and immediately start touching them and moving them. Let everything sit. And that’s basically all that there is to basic soldering!

Whenever you’re done using your soldering iron, it is always a good idea to do what’s called tinning to the tips. I’m just gonna allow it to heat up for a minute. And all tinning means is just putting a little bit of solder on the end of it to keep any oxidation away from getting all over the tip of your iron. So when that’s all heated up, you just take a little bit, not a lot, and just put it over the tip. Allow it to cool, and then as soon as it’s completely cool, you can remove the tip from the end of the soldering iron, and you’re set!


Nov 08

How to Make Hot Buttered Cider

How To Make Hot Buttered Cider (courtesy of ArtOfTheDrink.com)

Welcome to the Art Of The Drink video podcast! My name is Anthony Caparelli, and this week, as part of our AOTD on the road November series, I am working with my wonderful sister-in-law Nola, and we have Thanksgiving this week! So, we’re gonna make my famous Thanksgiving Hot Buttered Cider, which is a cranapple cider-based drink, that has a little bit of bourbon in it. You know, when we talk bourbon in a drink, we’re talking Maker’s Mark – my favorite bourbon! This is a perfect drink to make after Thanksgiving meal, before Thanksgiving meal, it’s terrific for the fall. The bourbon in it is gonna help you feel a little bit less full after pigging out on turkey – it’s just a great drink.

So, what I want to do first, we’re gonna actually finish the drink with a dollop of fresh whip cream. I want to go ahead and get that made. I talked about making this before on the podcasts, but I haven’t actually shown people how to make it, so I want to do that. Real easy to make, and I make this instead of Ready Whip every time. Start with 1 cup of heavy whipping cream. And the secret to making this so easy on yourself is use cold cream – put it in the fridge at least overnight. OK so 1 cup of heavy cream into a mixing bowl. And then, you want confectioner’s sugar – not granulated – you want powdered or confectioner’s sugar. How much you put in is up to you, obviously. I like about 2 tablespoons per cup of cream, so I’m just gonna go ahead and put that in there. And, hand mix, that’s all you’re gonna do.

Now, the key here is to start it slow, or you’re gonna end up covered in cream! So, I’m gonna start it real slow. I’m gonna put it in there and work it around, very gently. And, what’s gonna happen is, the cream is gonna thicken up. As it thickens up, I will increase the speed of the blender very, very slowly. It doesn’t take long – this whole thing takes maybe 4 minutes.

For this drink, what I want to do is take it to just softer than whipped cream. I want to basically just thicken this. You can see, the cream right now is starting to hold the shape of the mixer blades. So, right about there, is where I want to stop. You can see the cream is just barely holding form as the mixer passes through. I’m gonna slow it down, and then lift it gently out. That is a little soft for whipped cream, but that is exactly the consistency that I want.

This is gonna serve 4. So, let’s start with 4 cups of apple cider. Beautiful! Let’s do one cup of cranberry, because this is a cranapple cider, alright? Now, it’s important to use apple cider and not apple juice if you want this to work. Terrific! Now, let’s turn the stove on high. Now we want to sweeten this a little, and maple syrup is the key. Use real maple syrup, not the artificial stuff! 2 tablespoons of maple syrup. Awesome!

Alright, now, here we have a stick of fresh cinnamon, 6 cloves and fresh nutmeg, so go ahead and put in the cinnamon and the cloves, and we’re gonna grate the nutmeg. This is just a standard cheese grater – we’re gonna use the fine holes – and I want you to do about 5 grates of the nutmeg. Right in it. Perfect! And, I said it was hot buttered cider, so let’s go and put in 2 pats of butter.

OK, so what you wanna do is just stir this gently. You want to bring it to a simmer, and simmer it for 3 to 4 minutes. Alright, you can see that it’s just starting to simmer – the bubbles are just starting to break the surface. We don’t actually want to bring it to a boil, like I said, bring this to a simmer for a couple of minutes. We want the cloves and cinnamon and the nutmeg to kind of get all nice a cooked in there, get all those essential oils released in there and flavor that cider.

Terrific! So, we have 2 coffee mugs, just go ahead and ladle it in! I’ll take that off your hands. Now, because this is Art Of The Drink, right, I said we had bourbon and I said we had whipped cream. Let’s go ahead and turn this down so we don’t scorch that cider, and get the bourbon. You can put a shot, which is an ounce and a quarter. I actually like a little bit less – I like just an ounce – but it’s completely to taste.

I did not put the bourbon in before I took it off the heat, because if I would have, all the alcohol would have evaporated. So I take it off the heat first, put it in the cup, and then I add the bourbon. And if you will hit me with just a spoonful of fresh whipped cream – nice! That looks good!

And that is our Thanksgiving Hot Buttered Cider! Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! Salude!


Oct 18

How to Halloween Crafts – Making Tombstone Decorations

How To Make Tombstone Decorations (courtesy of BigScreamTV.info)

Exactly What You’ll Need:

3/4” and 3” to 6” Styrofoam Insulation

Flat Black Spray Paint

Wire Coat Hanger

Spray Adhesive or Glue Gun




Utility Knife

No haunted house would be complete without a cemetery full of headstones! And, you can get these headstones at just about every party store or Halloween department, as my trusty assistant, Teresa, will tell you. But, they’re really expensive! For a piece of Styrofoam, it’s like maybe $7.00, probably $15 or $20 for a tombstone, and, they’re kind of not-so-great looking. I mean, they’re flat and they’re not personalized, that’s for sure. So, you can make your own tombstones, and I can pretty much guarantee that they’re gonna look better than the ones that you can buy.

Now, earlier today, we went to our local home center…go to your lumber yard, home center, anything like that. And, you wanna ask before you go – make sure they have Styrofoam insulation. The great thing about this is it’s extremely inexpensive. For a 4′ x 8′ piece of Styrofoam, you could pay maybe as much as $15, $16 at the most. So, you can make a lot of headstones from a 4′ x 8′ sheet of Styrofoam. You can also get it in smaller pieces. This is about 2′ x 4′, so this is like $3.60, and you can fit this into the car quite easily. However, don’t be afraid if you’re gonna get a really huge sheet, because this stuff breaks apart and cuts apart really easily. Just bring a little cutting appliance with you to the home center.

Probably, one of the more important things to think about before you get started, is where to get started! You probably want to do this on the driveway, on the patio, in the basement…somewhere where you can clean up pretty easily, because as soon as you start cutting this stuff, it starts fragmenting and you get little Styrofoam balls everywhere. If you want to do it in the yard, you might want to put down a drop cloth, some plastic sheeting.

OK, great! You don’t need all that much to work with this stuff. The very most important thing you need is some utility knives. Especially, the retractable utility knives are the best thing to use, because it cuts really well when they’re really sharp, and as soon as they get dull, you can either break them off or just chuck them and put a new blade in there. And these knives are really, really inexpensive and easy to find just about anywhere. And then what you’re gonna need is a marker so that you can draw out your shapes. And if you want to do any kind of circular, like a rounded top, you can use string and your marker, and we’ll show you how to mark out a really nice circular shape on the top, just using those 2 items. And then, of course, my favorite – the wire hanger. And, of course, a pair of pliers and/or some wire cutters. And, like I’ve said before, you don’t need to have wire cutters because most pliers will actually cut your wires. And, I also have my trusty hot glue gun and the bowl of ice water, in case you get a little hot glue on you! You dip your hand in there and you don’t get burn marks!

Before we get started, you’ll note that all of the Styrofoam actually has plastic coating on either side. Usually the manufacturer is printed on one side and there’s a solid color of plastic on the other. Leave this on while you do all of your drawing and cutting, because it will help the Styrofoam stay together and it will be a lot easier to mark on. And then, when you’re all finished, you can peel it right off.

OK, I’m gonna show you real quickly how to do a nice, rounded top for your tombstone. We’re gonna make a decent sized tombstone; in fact, we’re gonna use pretty much the size of this. We’re gonna take off the top and make it nice and round. And, the easiest way to do that is to tie a knot in a piece of string. You’re gonna tie that and loop it right around your marker, and you can do about half the width – easy to find. Go right in about the middle, and you’re just gonna simply…

OK, I’ve got my retractable knife here, and I’m gonna pull it out so it’s a little bit thicker, a little bit wider than the foam is thick. Be sure you’re cutting on something that you don’t care whether you get marks on it. A piece of cardboard underneath works really well. Cement will do just fine, but it will dull your blade a little bit. Especially for a curve like this, you want to try and use the smaller blades, because they go around a curve easier. You just carefully…it cuts really good when the blade’s sharp! So, there you go – your basic, basic tombstone shape!

When you’re done cutting your tombstone, you can go ahead and feel free to peel off that plastic coating. Now, you notice there’s plastic coating on both sides; whereas, the tombstone is really only gonna be seen from one side, so you only have to peel off one side.

Now, we could just stop right here and paint this one, but, I guess we’re gonna go ahead and show you how to maybe make it a little bit extra fancy! OK, one of the things that you can do real simply, is to put some lettering on it, like Rest In Peace is sort of the typical thing to do. And, if you give yourself a general idea of where you want the letters to be, with your semi-retractable knife, it’s really simple to go in there and like – don’t do it so it’s the thickness of the foam itself. You go in there with it slightly shorter and you go in at an angle, you cut down this way and you cut down the other angle this way. Just about no matter what you do to it, it kind of looks like stone. And whenever you make little jagged lines and edges in it, it looks like weathered stone! You’re scooping out a little triangle of the foam. And this stuff can also be sanded and everything if you want to sort of smooth out the edges – but, we like it rough! See where it’s dragging a lot? Now, my blade’s getting a little duller, which I don’t mind because I like it nice and rough. But, you can always snap that part of your blade off. You want to be careful and do it with the pliers, and snap the blade right off. Put it somewhere safe, and then you keep going!

Alright, so you want to dress this one up a little bit with a couple of extra bricks? Yea! So, you take some of this stuff – it’s about a ½ inch, but you can find some different dimensions – you can use a yardstick, you can use just about anything. So, I’m just gonna make these bricks all about this size. The great thing about this is it’s all really forgiving – you don’t really have to do any extensive planning ahead of time. It’s just pretty much play as you go – really easy to do! This cuts real easy. So go ahead and peel off one side of the plastic, and leave the other side on there because that way it will keep everything all nice and glued together.

Right now, what I’m gonna do is, just for fun, is I’m gonna put sort of a skull right in the middle of there. I’m just gonna free-hand it. And, it can be sort of fun and lumpy and lopsided – anything will work! Get some big eyes, and I’ll do like a separate jaw piece. You can always cut some of the teeth into it, but I’m not gonna do too many, ’cause that’s an awful lot to cut out. OK, cut out your shape. And there we have a bunch of cool details! We can make him laugh, put his face in any position.

Now, actually, how we’re gonna attach these pieces onto this one piece of Styrofoam is we’re gonna use some spray adhesive. Now, you can use hot glue, but you HAVE to use a really low temperature hot glue gun and you gotta hold it up away from the foam. Otherwise it will melt it, and sort of dig in to it and it won’t adhere. So it’s a lot easier, I think to use – it’s either called spray mount or spray glue – and you don’t want to use really heavy duty stuff, ’cause that will eat into your Styrofoam as well. So, what you’re gonna want to do is probably put down a piece of plastic; otherwise, you’re gonna get sticky stuff everywhere. Let’s just use this other piece of – we’re gonna sacrifice this and do it over the top of that. Let’s get the big piece. OK! You don’t want to get spray glue everywhere else. And then, what you wanna do is spray it lightly on both sides of where you’re gonna be putting down. You don’t have to get the whole surface. Try not to get this on your fingers, because it really doesn’t like to come off very easily!

OK, give him a nice, jaunty angle, there, like he’s laughing. OK, now, we’ve got a little empty spot up there. I’m thinking a crack! Nice, big crack. Let the crack go all the way down there. And then, all we have to do is paint it, and it’s done! Stick our hanger in and put it in the ground!

Before we go ahead and paint this, ’cause otherwise we’d have to wait til it dries, we’ll go ahead and put some wire into the bottom of this. Now, wire will work if you don’t have any wind or anything. But, if you’ve got a really heavy tombstone, or you’ve got some wind and stuff, you can always do what we did last year, and screw on a piece of wood or something like that that you can poke into the ground, ’cause that will hold the Styrofoam up a little more. But, for this, this will be great with a couple of pieces of wire. We take our hanger and cut of the top part, and I’m just gonna go ahead and cut it in half. Get it straightened out as much as possible, and you want to go ahead and stick it into the bottom, there. And you can play around for whatever works for you. If you need a long piece of wire, if you want to use 3 or 4 of them, and then you can always angle them a little bit so your tombstone is like leaning back or leaning forward. And now, we’re ready to paint it!

We’re gonna put the finishing touches on our headstone, and that means we’re gonna paint this baby! But first, or course, you’re gonna make sure that you’re outside, in a well ventilated area, and we’ve laid down some plastic. And, what’s great about this drop cloth, which you can get at most any home center or paint store, is that it’s multi-purpose! We are gonna use it in all of our dummies to stuff our dummies with, and we’re gonna use it for some other effects later on, so it has a lot of purposes. All you need is a can of flat, black spray paint. Remember to get flat black – it’s gonna look the best. You don’t want any shiny tombstones out in your cemetery – you want some really dingy, old, weathered tombstones! Remember to shake the can, hold it about a foot above the Styrofoam and start spraying in sweeping motions. Now, the thing about spray paint, as you’ll notice, is it actually eats into the Styrofoam a little bit, Which is fine, because it’s gonna make it look a little bit more like weathered stone. You can see how it’s eating away and making it look even more rotten. You don’t want to make it solid black. You want to move the spray can over in sweeping motions and just kind of dirty it up. Make it look gray and weathered in certain areas. If you hold the spray can from a certain direction, you will actually get some shadowing and highlighting. Notice how I’m holding the spray can at an angle, off to the side. Not straight overhead. You don’t want to make splotchy black marks. You just want to cast some really nice, weathered patterns.

You may want to go a little bit heavier around the edges, because, of course, that’s where the wind and rain would be hitting the tombstone if it had been out here for hundreds of years. Remember only to spray paint it lightly. You don’t want to cover it in flat black – you just want it to look like it’s been weathered. And look how nicely the paint is actually eating into the Styrofoam! It’s actually a chemical reaction between the contents of the paint and the Styrofoam. So, that’s another reason why you definitely want to do this outside. The results are awesome – it actually makes it look like it’s stone!

Alright! There we have it – there is our tombstone! Our masterpiece, where it took the sculptors years to create these, it took us probably less than 20 minutes. And what’s really awesome is it cost maybe around $7.00. That’s an awesome addition to anybody’s haunted cemetery!


Oct 11

How to Make Jewelry – How to Knot Pearls

How To Knot Pearls (courtesy of JewelrySupply)

Hi! I’m Sarah, the designer for JewelrySupply.com. Today, I’m gonna show you how to do basic pearl knotting.

The knotting technique that is commonly associated with pearls. And, when you see higher quality strands of pearls that have been made into jewelry, you will frequently see a knot in between each one of them. This is also a technique that is really great for gemstones or beads that you may have that have sentimental quality.

How you knot between each one of them is like this:

Take your cord, or the pearls that you’ve already knotted in between, and hold it in your non-dominant hand. For me, that’s my left hand. Take the cord in your right and make a simple, overhand loop. Just like this. Now, we’re gonna make a knot out of it!

Take your tweezers…I’m gonna pull the knot over on my side…and put your fingers through the loop, just like this. Grab the cord right next to the pearl. If you have to, you can pull on the cord ever so slightly, just to get a really, firm hold on that. Take the cord and pull tight, right down at the end of the tweezers.

Now, grab the cord, and with your thumbnail, put it right up next to the side of that knot. Ever so gently, wiggle the tweezers out of the knot, and close the knot completely by pulling on the cord and pushing the knot into that pearl with your thumbnail. That’s how you do that!

Here it is again. We’re gonna string the last pearl against the knot that I just made, take the pearl in my non-dominant hand, wrap an overhand loop like this. Take my tweezers, go through the loop and grab hold of the cord, right next to the pearl. Now, take the loop and close it into a knot, grab the cord, take your thumbnail right next to that knot, pull out the tweezers and, ever so gently, pull the knot closed and press with your thumbnail. Make sure it’s really tight.

Just continue on with that same technique all the way down the line, until your whole necklace or bracelet is complete! Now, you may be thinking to yourself, “well, why would I want a knot in between each one of my pearls, or gemstones or beads”? The reason for that is really quite simple. We all know what happens when a strand of beads breaks. It usually goes everywhere. Well, if a strand of pearls break, only one will fall!

Some other tips to think about –

Try to make sure that the cord in between each of your pearls is fairly close to the color pearl that you’re using. In this case, I have grey cord in between each one of these blue pearls. Over here, I have burgundy between each one of these burgundy pearls.


Oct 11

How – To Halloween: Making a Mummy Costume

How To Make A Mummy Costume (courtesy of Threadbanger.com)

You voted for it! This week on Halloween Wednesdays, we’re making a mummy costume. Alright, so here’s the supplies you’re gonna need to make your kick ass mummy costume!

First, grab some white sheets. I got this twin set at Goodwill for only 4 bucks!

You’re also gonna need a pair of white pants or jeans.

And, a white, long-sleeved t-shirt, preferably a turtleneck. I got both of these at Goodwill for only 6 bucks.

So, the first step is getting that dirty white, century-old kinda look that mummies use. So, we’re gonna do this by dying all of the material in black tea. I got this box of 100 teabags for only a buck.

Now, grab some 3 to 5 gallon buckets, add some tea, hot water, throw your material in, and let it steep for about 2 to 6 hours.

Now, take them out, dry them, and you got yourself some mummy material!

Now, lay out your sheet, grab your scissors, and start cutting some 2 to 3 inch slits down the side of your sheet.

Now, this is the easiest part. You’re gonna tear the strips the length of the sheet. They all rip pretty evenly, and all have a really cool, straight edge.

You now have your mummy bandages. Start wrapping them around your turtleneck, and to sewing the strips around your shirt. This is the most time consuming part. However, the sloppier and less conformed you sew these, on – overlap your strips, leave some pieces longer than others – it’s a mummy costume. You seriously can’t mess it up!

Now, once you get up to the chest area, I grab a pair of scissors and cut up the inseam of each of the sleeves. Lay them down flat. Cut some pieces of material out for the appropriate length of the sleeves, and get to sewing them on. Layer by layer by layer.

Once you’re done adding your material, sew on the rest of your strips to finish your shirt. Turn it inside out and sew your sleeves back up.

Now, grab your seam remover and do the pants. Rip up the inseam, all the way to the crotch. Lay flat, and now, cut out your strips to cover your pants. Start from the bottom, and begin sewing your strips onto both legs.

You can stop when you get to the crotch, because your shirt’s gonna cover the rest.

Now, turn your pants inside out, and sew back up your legs.

With your mummy outfit almost complete, you just need to cover your face with your excess material, add some baby powder for that ancient mummy affect, and you’re ready to get your grunt on!


Sep 01

How to Hang Wallpaper – Glue Activation

How To Activate Wallpaper Glue (courtesy of AskTheBuilder)

Modern wallpapers like this one often come from the factory pre-pasted. That’s ok! It’s really a good material, that paste. But, what the problem is, is remember, when you get it wet, or you use an activator to make it get wet, it starts to expand the paper! And, you need to make sure it expands on the table, not up on the wall!

Before you put the piece of paper up and even paste it, you’ve got to go ahead and cut a part off. Don’t worry about getting it perfectly straight, because you’re gonna trim the paper, once it’s up on the wall.

If the paper is pre-pasted, I get the best results from activating the glue with an activator, instead of with water. These products just brush on the paper. And, what you do, is you actually mix this product with water, wait about 30 minutes, and the final result is a really neat gel, that’s a little thicker than water, but boy, does it go on the paper easily!

This process is called “relaxing” by the professional wallpaper hangers. What’s really happening, is that once you’ve got the whole piece of paper glued, and you’ve activated that glue, the paper starts to expand, and it just needs to relax. You go ahead and fold the paper back on itself, like this. Don’t push down hard on these ends – you don’t want to make a real hard crease. That’s not a good thing.

And, then, you just sit back yourself and relax for about 5 minutes, until it’s ready to hang the paper.

I’m Tim Carter with Ask The Builder!


Aug 12

How to Use Split Ring Pliers

How To Use Split Ring Pliers (courtesy of JewelrySupply)

A lot of you have been asking exactly how do you open up split rings, or how do you use a split ring plier? It kinds of looks like a chain nose that got a little a, you know, damaged somewhere along the way, but it’s actually very, very useful.

If you look at a split ring, and if you’ve ever tried to open one,you probably found out that you’re gonna rip your thumbnails up pretty quick. A split ring plier, basically, you take the flat end, or the flat jaw, and slide it into the loop. Take the bent jaw – see this right here – and you’re actually gonna line that up just on the other side of one of the split rings, and then press. See? It’s actually gonna open it up for you a little bit. At this point, you would take a jump ring or an end of a clasp, or whatever you’re gonna attach the split ring to and slide it right in there.

Now, at this point, you would just take your fingers and kind of let off on the pressure of the split ring plier a little bit – just so it closes ever so slightly, and then slide it down the split ring a little more. Just keep inching your way down there until it locks into place, and then you’re set! All you have to do is just remove the pliers and it will close on its own!


Jul 13

How to Make Earrings

How To Make Easy Earrings (courtesy of JewelrySupply)

Hi! I’m Sarah, the designer for JewelrySupply.com. I’m gonna show you how to make a really quick and easy pair of earrings that you can wear with any outfit!

The materials I’m gonna use for these are:

2 – HP525s, or, the ball-end headpins in sterling silver

2 – 10mm Swarovsky bicones in Jet AD

2 – Sterling silver french earwires

2 – BD405s, or, 4mm sterling silver, round beads

The tools that you’re gonna need are:

Chain nose (pliers)
Round nose (pliers)

So, first things first! Take one of your headpins and thread on a bicone and a roundie, just like that, and then make a simple loop. OK, then cut this off, just like this.

OK, now, there’s 2 ways that you can attach an earring to an earwire. The first way is to not close the loop completely on the headpin, and then attach the loop from the earwire onto the headpin, just like this, and then just continue to close it. OK, so that’s one way to do it!

The other way to do it is to close the loop completely on the headpin. And, then you would open the loop on the french earwire just like you would a jump ring. So, you’re not actually going to open the loop out; instead, you’re gonna open the loop on the earwire off to the side, like that, see? Then, you attach the loop of the headpin and, just like you would a jump ring, close it the same way you opened it – just the reverse. There you go! That’s the other way to do it.

Either way, this is a really quick and simple pair of earrings that you can make for any outfit that you have!


May 27

How to Get Your Body Bathing Suit Ready

How To Get Your Body Bathing Suit Ready

How To Get Your Body Bathing Suit Ready (courtesy of SparkPeople)

Hi, I’m Nicole, a health and fitness expert for SparkPeople.com, a diet and fitness site, that gets over 1,500,000 visitors each month. Today, I’m gonna share with you our Top Ten Tips so you can look good and feel great in your bathing suit this summer!

Tip #1 – Eat a healthy breakfast every day. Breakfast eaters tend to consume more nutrients and fewer calories than people who skip breakfast. Plus, it boosts your metabolism in the morning.

Tip #2 – Exercise at least ten minutes every day. Sure, you’ll want to do more on some days; but at least ten minutes of cardio, stretching or strength training every day will help get you in the habit of exercising regularly.

Tip #3 – Write down your goals and put them in a place where you can see them every day, like on the refrigerator. Seeing your goals each day will help you achieve them!

Tip #4 – Make smart substitutions. Use vinagerette instead of ranch dressing, an english muffin instead of a bagel, mustard instead of mayo, and you’ll save 250 calories each day. That adds up to five pounds in just ten weeks!

Tip #5 – Exercise in the morning. More than 90% of people who exercise regularly have a morning fitness routine. This ensures that other things won’t happen during the day that will get in the way of your workout.

Tip #6 – Keep a water bottle with you all day. A lot of times when you think you’re hungry, you’re actually thirsty, and drinking water can sort of prevent you from eating a bunch of extra snacks during the day.

Tip #7 – Find a diet buddy. Find someone you can call, email or chat with online every day to help you stay accountable.

Tip #8 – Make three healthy recipes each week. You’ll know exactly what’s in your food; plus, cooking instead of going out, will burn 125 calories!

Tip #9 – Pack your snacks ahead of time. That way, when you’re hungry, you’ll have a healthy choice that’s already perfectly portioned.

Tip #10 – Use SparkPeople.com! OK, so this is the self-promotion part, but it really does work! SparkPeople.com is 100% free, and we give you personalized meal plans, a calorie counter, fitness programs and thousands of articles and healthy recipes. Plus, we have an online support community of members like you who can help you reach your goals. Thanks for your time, for listening to our Ten Tips, and Good Luck reaching your goals!


Apr 27

How to Make Compost From Yard And Garden Materials

How To Make Compost From Yard And Garden Materials (courtesy of PlantersPlace.com)

Hi! I’m Pam Bennett, state Master Gardener Coordinator. Let’s talk about how you can turn your yard waste into black gold, such as this.

Compost is a great soil amendment for your garden. It helps to improve drainage, and increase the quality and structure of your garden soil.

Pick an area of your yard that is open, has good drainage and is easily accessible, because you’re gonna be piling up your yard waste.

This is a typical, purchased compost bin, and they’re good for small gardens or small backyards. However, if you have a lot of yard waste, you might consider building your own compost structure. You can use:

Concrete Blocks
Recycled Old Wood Material
Chicken Wire, or Plastic-Coated Fencing Material

For a really big compost bin, consider using this pallet system. One section is for brand new yard waste, another section is for half-composted yard waste, and the final section is for the finished product.

There are 5 essential ingredients for successful composting:

Brown Stuff
Green Stuff
Fertilizer, for the organisms

The first thing you do to build a compost pile is add a layer of about 4 inches of brown stuff. Air, or oxygen, is gonna come from either turning the compost pile, or, incorporating large pieces of wood, like pine cones, large pieces of branches, or anything that gives you a little bit of air space.

The next thing that you do is add 4 inches of green stuff.

After the green stuff, add a light layer of already finished compost. This is gonna provide the microorganisms that are needed to break down the green stuff and the brown stuff.

The next layer is about a cup of fertilizer. This fertilizer is high in nitrogen and, again, feeds the microorganisms that are doing the job.

Then, finally, you want to water the compost pile. Don’t put too much water in to make it real wet; only add enough to make it somewhat of a damp sponge.

Finish building your pile to the top of the compost bin.

When you’re building your bin, the size should be 3x3x3, up to 5x5x5. This is where you’re gonna get the best composting to occur.

After you’ve completed the pile, let it sit for a couple of weeks and let the microorganisms do their job.

Then, take your pitchfork and turn the compost pile. This helps to increase the air circulation, allowing again for the organisms to continue their work.

The 3 bin system makes it really handy when it comes to turning a compost pile. You can start out with the newly composted material and put it in the 2nd bin to break down even further, and then when that’s finished, put it into the 3rd bin to be the useable product.

Fall is a good time to build a compost pile, because you have lots of leaves and lots of yard waste coming from the garden. However, a good rule of thumb is, every time you have the debris, that’s the time to build a compost pile!


Apr 01

How to Build Stairs in a Retaining Wall

How To Build Stairs In A Retaining Wall (courtesy of AllanBlock.com)

Whether built directly into the wall, in front of the wall, or sweeping off to the side, stairs are a great addition to almost any project!

When building stairs, choose your path wisely, and find the most natural path to maintain a comfortable rhythm to your stairway. You can break up long sets of steps with landings. Add a turn in in the landing, and break up a stair line. Or, use switch-backs or serpentines to meander up the hill. Tackle your slope by matching your stairway design to the natural grade of your slope.

On steep slopes, keep the blocks tight together. With AllenBlock, you get an 8-inch rise and a 12-inch run.

On gentle slopes, add pavers or other materials to increase the depth of the tread and the length of the run.

Landings are another way to soften a long stairway, and are an easy way to tie sets of steps together.

Stairs can be designed with flowing curves or straight lines.

Curved sidewalls create a softer look.

Straight sidewalls and corners create a crisp look, but will require more time to build.

Before you begin, you must determine how many steps you will need. Measure the total rise of your slope in inches, and divide by 8, which is the height of the blocks. Be sure to factor in any code requirements before you prep the site.

In this example, we will show you how to build stairs into a wall, using flowing curves. Remember, always begin building at the stair location, and build out.

Excavate the stairs. Once the number of steps has been determined, excavate the stair location, based on the rise and run in your approved plans.

The minimum width for a base trench is 24 inches.

The depth of the trench is determined by allowing for 6 inches of face material, plus 1 inch per foot of wall height. If organic or wet soils are still present in the base trench area, they must be removed and replaced with granular material.

Excavate the base trench to the necessary depth. Then, compact and level the base trench, making a minimum of 2 passes with a mechanical plate compactor.

Place the drain pipe at the lowest possible point, toward the back of the trench that can be vented to daylight every 50 feet.

Now that the base trench is ready, place a minimum of 6 inches of wall rock in the base trench and rake smooth. Compact the base, making a minimum of 2 passes.

Install the base course. Place the blocks toward the front of the trench, allowing for a minimum of 6 inches behind the blocks.

Then, fill in the area in front of the blocks with on site soils. This will keep the base course blocks from shifting, while filling and compacting.

Fill the hollow course – 12 inches behind the block, and the stair location – with wall rock.

Back fill and compact. Compact behind the block, in a path parallel to the wall, working from the back of the block to the back of the back fill area. Make a minimum of 2 passes with a mechanical plate compactor. Always compact in 8-inch lengths or less.

Remember to keep all heavy equipment at least 3 feet away from the back of the blocks.

Remove any excess soil from the top surface of the blocks by sweeping the blocks clean with a broom.

Use a level to scrape a stair tread area. Then, check the level from front to back and side to side, making sure the stair tread is level with the top of the first course of blocks.

Install the stair riser. Measure the distance for the next stair riser, and place the blocks, making sure to allow for 6 inches behind the block.

Measure the distance between the stairs to make sure that the blocks are parallel with the stairs in front.

Place a temporary block on top of the wall, close enough so that you can place a 4-foot level from the block to the stair riser block. This will ensure the stair riser block will be level with the rest of the wall. Then, level and adjust the rest of the stair riser block.

To continue building your wall out from the stair location, break the wings off the blocks by striking the wing with a hammer, to obtain a clean break. Then, place the blocks tight together, following the layout on the approved plans, making adjustments as necessary.

You can place a small amount of wall rock under the blocks to level them, then check again for level and make adjustments if necessary.

Place a small amount of wall rock in front of the blocks for the stair riser, to keep them from shifting during compaction.

Fill the hollow cores, 12 inches behind the block, and the next stair location with wall rock. Then, back fill any remaining area behind the wall rock with on site soils.

Run the plate compactor over the top of the blocks where there are 2 or more courses, and behind the block where there is only 1 course.

Continue compacting the wall rock behind the wall, as well as the excavated area of the next stair riser.

Screen the next stair tread area, and check for level from front to back and side to side.

Continue building. Measure the tread area to make sure it is parallel, and at the correct distance. Place the next temporary block to level the stair riser, and check for level.

Continue building the wall out from the stair location. Place some fill in front of the blocks. Fill the hollow cores and behind the blocks with wall rock. Fill in any remaining areas with on site soil. Then, run the plate compactor over the top of the blocks where there are 2 or more courses, and behind the blocks when there is only 1 course.

Continue compacting the wall rock behind the wall, as well as the excavated area of the next stair riser. Continue this process to the top of your wall.

Place the blocks for your next stair riser and measure for parallel and distance. Place a temporary block and adjust for level.

Build the wall out from the stair location.

Add fill in front of the blocks.

Fill the cores, behind the wall and the stair tread with wall rock.

Back fill any remaining areas and compact.

On the last course of the wall, you can choose to fill the block cores and the entire back fill area with plantable soils, to finish off your wall.

In this example, we’ve shown you how to build stairs into a wall. You can also build stairs in front of a wall, using curves, right angles or sweep them along the wall.

Or, let your imagination run wild, and create your own stair design! You can finish your stair treads with 1 of these options: AB capstones, AB capstones and pavers, pavers, or concrete. Choose the style that best compliments your landscape!

To enhance your project, view the other building options, or visit us at AllanBlock.com


Apr 01

How to Use Caulk

How To Use Caulk (courtesy of Ask The Builder)

You might think that when you’re getting ready to paint the inside of a room – both the walls, the woodwork, the trim, everything else – that to get a great job instead of a good job, that the 2 most important tools are the roller and the paintbrush. Guess what? You’re wrong! The most important tool to use, before you even get started, is a caulk gun. The reason that the caulk gun is son important, is that you use this tool to fill all those troublesome gaps between the woodwork and the wall. If you don’t fill those before you paint, after you’re finished painting, it just looks really tacky!

The key to caulking is to make sure that the size of the hole where the caulk comes out of the tube is just right. So, cut off little pieces of the tube, until you start to expose the end of the tube, to get the hole just right.

You want the size of the hole at the end of the caulk tube to match the width of the crack.

You need to make sure before you actually caulk that you purchase the right caulk. Look for one that says siliconized acrylic, or paintable. And, once you’ve got the tip cut, it’s time to caulk!

Simply take the caulk gun and put it right at the crack, and start to gently squeeze the trigger until a small amount of caulk comes out. Don’t put on too much; there’s no need for a lot of caulk.

Stop the caulk gun. Then, take your finger and use it to go ahead and smooth the caulk inside the joint. But, you’re not finished yet! You take a sponge with very little water in it, and a couple of strokes down the caulk joint, and you are good to go!

Caulking is really simple, and makes a big difference on your paint project! I’m Tim Carter, with AskTheBuilder.com!


Feb 02

How to Make a Wreath Part 2

How To Make A Fall Wreath Part II (courtesy of AskTheDecorator.com)

Hanging a fall wreath on your door is a great way to welcome guests. Hi! I’m Meghan Carter with Ask The Decorator, and today I’m going to teach you how to make a fall wreath.

To start, I always place my bow first. I’m going to put my bow on this wreath a little off center
to the left. Once I have my bow in place, I’ll know where I want to put everything else.

On this wreath, I’m going to put greenery on first because the greenery will serve as the base on top of this grapevine wreath. Once you have your greenery picked out, it’s time to attach it. I take a hot glue gun and stick it down, and just hold it down in place for a few seconds. Sometimes, hot glue isn’t enough to hold down your greenery. So, if that’s the case, take a little bit of wire – in this case I’m using a green wire – and wrap around it. Don’t worry! No one will see the wire once the wreath is done.

Once you have your greenery attached to the wreath, it’s time to place the pumpkins. I’m going to place 3 pumpkins down at the bottom. Attaching the pumpkins might be a little tricky. When I put these pumpkins on, I’m going to glue the back of them and then I’m going to hold them down. To make the pumpkins extra secure, put glue in between them and then push them together.

Once you have the bottom 3 pumpkins put on, it’s time to put on the one pumpkin at the top. Before you put this on, I always put the bow next to the greenery. Because, that way you know exactly where you want the pumpkin to go.

Once you have the pumpkins on, it’s time to put on some extra ivy. I just take little cuttings of the extra ivy and glue it on. I just place the ivy in strategic places next to where I’ve already put ivy in, just to fill any gaps and make the ivy look thicker. Once you’ve finished putting the extra ivy on the wreath, it’s time to put on the pieces of fern that look like they’re on fire.

When you put these on, only use a few, and put them very close to the actual pumpkin. After adding the pieces of fern, you might want to add some of these oak leaves to add extra color. When you add these, because they’re big, you want to put them underneath the other greenery. I know at this point, you’re probably thinking the wreath looks like a jumbled mess! But don’t worry – this is where the wreath all starts coming together.

Start adding all of your natural stuff and the berries, and you’ll see magic. What happens is, start layering all of the natural stuff and the berries slowly out, with more concentrated by the pumpkins and less fading out. Just as we did with the greenery. Don’t worry if you have to add extra greenery – that’s ok! You may find that you need to fill in a few spaces. Ow! Gosh – you really have to be careful when you’re working with hot glue. You can really burn yourself.

After you have everything on your wreath just where you want it, you get to put on the bow and you’re almost done. The way I made my bow, I have a big, wire cord going through that I can use to attach to the wreath. I just put it on there, exactly where I want it. Take the wire, and then I just twist it as tight as I can to make sure it’s not going to fall off. And any excess wire I have left, I can just cut off before I hang it up.

Look at the beautiful fall door wreath you have – isn’t it gorgeous?


Nov 16

How to Knit – Casting On

How To Knit – Learn How To Cast On (courtesy of TheKnittingSite)

When you cast on with a tail, you need to have enough length to make the stitches. Generally we reckon for half an inch per stitch.

We start with a slip knot, try to make a loop. This is the tail end, remember, and that’s the ball end. The loop goes over there. Turn the loop towards you, and push from the ball end, through. That will be your stitch.

As you pull the tail end, it tightens the knot. If I just bring my knitting needle in from the right-hand side, if you tighten the other end, the ball end, it tightens the stitch.

Now, how one holds the yarn. You’re holding it there with the stitch on the needle…you’ve got the 2 threads down here. This is the tail and this is the ball. So, make sure the tail is nearer you, and put your fingers between the 2.

Pick up the ball end with the first finger and the tail end with the thumb. Just like that. And hold the loose ends with your fingers. Just give it a bit of tension.

Now, to make stitches, you want to pick up the yarn that is closest to you, and go over and pick up the yarn that’s coming down from your first finger, to pull it under there. Then, you let that fall off your thumb. And, as you go to pick up the yarn again, it tightens the stitch on the needle!

Let me just do that again. Pick up the thread that’s nearest to you. And then, hook the thread that’s over there on your 1st finger. Drop that off the thumb, and as you take up the slack, it tightens the stitch. And, again.

Now, you’ll find after you’ve done a few stitches, that the thread from the tail starts to untwist. So, you need to drop it ever so often just to let it twist back up in the way it’s spun. And then, you carry on until you’ve cast on as many stitches as you require. Which, is normally more than that!


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