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Decorating Trick: Create A Living Area With Curtains

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source: Gatsby

The owners of this home created a room within a room, using curtains. The curtains create a visual illusion that makes the little window nook into a whole new living space.

I see a couple of important things:

1 – The furniture in the new space is to scale. It’s small, to match the tiny size of the area. In fact, it’s much smaller than the other pieces in the room.

2 – Even though the curtain creates a new living space, the owners continued the color scheme from the rest of the room. It would have been jarring if they went for new colors and patterns.

Brilliant!

Read More: Decorating Tricks or Home

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How To Make Low-Fat Sour Cream Really Zing!

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source: liz west

I use a lot of sour cream. I scoop it onto baked potatoes, tacos, and burritos. I enjoy it as a garnish on soup and chili. It’s delish.

However, since I’m always on a diet, I use only low-fat sour cream.

Luckily, I’ve found a way to make low-fat sour cream really zing. It tastes so good, I barely notice it’s healthy.

To get the yummy taste, I add a lot of seasonings to the sour cream.

For instance, before I want to add sour cream to a baked potato, I first season it with salt, pepper and a ton of garlic. When I want to add sour cream to a burrito or taco, I stir in garlic and salsa. For soups, I usually stir in salt, pepper and dill, depending on the type of soup.

The taste of the sour cream becomes so sharp and vivid, I barely notice the lower fat consistency.

Read More: Amazing Food Hacks or Home

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Finish The Photo

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What is a semi-doodle drawing prompt?

A semi-doodle is a photograph, with a missing element, that you need to fill in. It allows you to concentrate on one small element of a drawing, instead of being overwhelmed by the entire thing. You aren’t forced to think of shape, perspective, proportion or any of the other aspects of a drawing. You just concentrate on completing one specific section.

Instructions

First, print out the image above.

Next, using the top photo as a guide, use colored pencils, pastels, watercolors or  fine markers, to complete the bottom, as shown in the sample. Try to make your version as accurate as possible.

If you don’t own a color printer, or don’t want to spend the money on ink, print the image in black and white. Use the online photo as a guide and complete the drawing prompt as shown below.

I completed the prompt in colored pencil, but for the black and white version, you could also try regular pencil, a fine black marker or India ink.

Over the next months, I plan on creating many more Semi-Doodles. If you have a request, please leave a comment and let me know.

Read More: Drawing Ideas or Home

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20 Ways To Use The Library To Save Money

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source: runmonty

I adore the library. It’s a fabulous resource for saving money. It’s full of free information, entertainment, and programs that would otherwise cost big bucks if you had to pay for them yourself.

Here are 20 of my favorite ways to take advantage of the library:

Read

Borrow novels instead of buying them. Just be careful not to rack up overdue fines.

Read the library’s newspaper. Cancel your home subscription.

Skip the newsstand and instead read magazines for free. Most libraries have an enormous selection to choose from.

Check out the library’s used book section. Bring home several books for a dollar or less.

Learn

Dip into a sewing book. Begin doing your own hems, zippers and other minor repairs.

Gather information on investments. Make some changes to your portfolio.

Study a car repair manual. Try your hand at fixing your car.

Copy down some money saving recipes for pantry basics. Learn to make your own jellies, cheese, cured meats and condiments.

Flip through some frugal books and learn some new tips. My personal favorite is the Tightwad Gazette.

Borrow a home repair manual. Use it to do your own painting, plumbing and gardening.

Use a book to learn a new craft. Save big bucks during the holidays by making your own gifts.

Play

Have your kids participate in the library’s reading program. They’ll get free prizes, tickets to the zoo and other treats.

If your not a big internet junkie, use the library’s account. It’s free and accessible whenever the library is open.

Use the library to relax. Skip the coffee shop and make the library your new, favorite “de-stress spot.”

Take your kids to one of the library’s summer programs. These include story hour, puppet shows, animal programs and more.

Borrow developmental toys for your children to enjoy. Not every library has this service, but if your does, it’s a tremendous money saver.

Skip the music store and get your dvds from the library instead. Explore some new styles of music.

Watch the library’s selection of movies. It’s cheaper than cable and quality is generally very high.

Save

Peruse the library’s coupon box. Not every library has this service.

Read the library’s copy of Consumer Reports. Be sure your next big purchase is a smart one.

Please let me know if you have any ideas to add to the list. I always enjoy getting input from readers.

Read More: Miscellaneous or Home

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10 Ways to Real World Writing

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source: Ron Lute

Most children hate to write. Writing assignments elicit a higher number of groans per  task than any other type of assignment (except for math, maybe).  However, there are ways around this problem.

One way to overcome this problem is to make your child’s writing assignments “real world”.  “Real world” assignments are tasks that really accomplish a purpose.  The motivation to write is built right into the purpose behind the task.

For instance, ask your child to write a pretend complaint letter and you will get nothing but complaints.  But, ask that same child to send off a real complaint letter, to a company that produced a shoddy toy, and the child will run to get paper and pen.

Here are some more real life writing activities:

1) Letters to the Editor.  Many children’s magazines have an area for their readers to write in with question, comments and opinions.  Take a look at your child’s favorite periodical to find out if they welcome submissions.

2) Letters to Friends or Relatives.  Explain to your child that writing letters is a good way for them to stay in touch with family and friends that live out of state.

3) Family Newsletter. An alternative to letter writing may be for your child (with your help) to produce a monthly or quarterly family newsletter.  Keep this strictly a writing activity, however.  Trying to combine the newsletter with lessons on word processing or graphics, will make writing a harder task than it needs to be.

4) Personal Blog or Website. Show your child some of the fabulous blogs written by children and ask him if he is interested in producing his own.  The topic doesn’t matter.  200 words written on the latest computer game is still an effective writing assignment.

5) Letters to a Pen Pal. The internet is full of penpal request lists.  Just be sure to preread everything your child receives or sends out to make sure it follows the rules of internet safety.

6) Writing for Freebies.  Kids love freebies and this is a highly motivating way to get him to write.  Freebie offers are available all over the internet.

7) Kids Websites.  Several child-oriented websites publish stories and poetry submitted by their readers. Many children get a thrill seeing their work  placed online.

8) Diary or Journal. A beautiful diary is a wonderful way to inspire your child to write.  Even if you are not allowed to read it, you can still be glad your child is getting daily writing practise.

9) Scrapbooking. Girls love to scrapbook and scrapbooking involves both art and journaling. Use art time for preparing the scrapbook page and writing time to do the journaling.

10) Get Well Cards.  Cards for Hospitalized Kids is an organization that collects and distributes get well cards to sick children. A list of do’s and dont’s is available on their website.

Bonus Way:

Write an Author. If your child has a favorite book have him write a letter to the author.  The letter can be fan mail or a question about a favorite part. How-to’s for writing authors is available online.

Read More: Language Arts or Home


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Tangible Things Class: How To See The World Differently

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This Is Not A Chairsource: Maureen Didde

I am currently participating in a free, online class called Tangible Things. It is given by Harvard University and it is about truly seeing and understanding the objects around you.

We did a exercise today that I would like to share with you. The exercise consists of stretching your mind by looking at an object in your home in as many ways as possible.

For instance, a telephone is a form of communication, but it’s also an artifact of modern design, a scientific invention, a retail commodity, a method of relaxation, etc.

To do the exercise yourself, follow these instructions:

1. Watch the video called This Is Not a Chair located on Youtube.

2. Complete the template This is not a _________; it is a __________.

3. Photograph the object, if desired.

Here is my finished exercise

This in not a plate. It is a decorative object. It was purchased for the pleasure it brings to the eye.

This is not a plate. It is a method of eating. It allows the user a simple way of enjoying food away from the immediate area of the stove.

This is not a plate. It is a part of a cooking technique. Food is placed on the plate and then heated in a microwave oven.

This is not a plate. It is small bit of American culture. Corelle became popular about 35 years ago and is still sold today.

This is not a plate. It is an example of modern science. This plate is made from Vitrelle, a substance first invented in a lab.

If you decide to do the exercise, please send me your results. I would love to read them.

Read More: Good Reads or Home

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