source: anna carol
It’s been close to two years since I last did a Favorite Reads post.
My online time has changed dramatically during that time. I used to read a lot of specialty blogs, like Crafty Pod, Meggie Cat and How About Orange. Since my last update, many of these sites have stopped publishing.
Now, instead, I read mostly websites, with a few blogs sprinkled in.
Here are the websites at which I spend 80% of my (non-working) online time.
- Pinterest – Why? Constant flood of ideas for every kind of craft and recycling project.
- Make Something 365 – Why? I purchased the 365 book and I love to read the website for inspiration.
- Keri Smith – Why? I own almost everything Keri Smith has written. She is my guru.
- Class Central – Why? List of almost 2000 free classes each month. Most are given by well respected colleges and universities.
- Ted – Why? Short, high quality talks on a variety of subjects.
- Talks At Google – Why? Longish talks, often on best selling books.
- Allrecipes – Why? Most recipes have been tested and rated, and include comments and changes.
- Chowhound – Why? Great group discussions on many food related topics. I especially enjoy cookbook posts.
- reddit – Why? When I have a question, I love to get multiple opinions on the subject. I also love to read answers to others folks questions.
- MetaFilter – Why? See above.
- ProBlogger – Why? Perpetual favorite of mine. Lots of guest bloggers.
- Moz – Why? Quality information, backed by research.
- KeyWord Tool – Why? My favorite keyword tool. Free and very easy to use.
- flickr – Why? Practically unlimited supply of free photos.
- PicMonkey – Why? Online photo editor. I usually use the free version but there is a paid version with more options.
- Houzz – Why? I get their newsletter. Every time I open it there is always something new to peruse.
- LibriVox – Why? Who wouldn’t love hundreds of free audiobooks?
- goodreads – Why? I enjoy the entire site but I especially love to browse Listopia.
- Better World Books – Why? Good place to purchase used books for readers living outside the US. Free shipping.
- Amazon – Why? Great resource for book reviews.
- Book Depository – Why? Thousands of new books for sale for readers outside the US. Free shipping.
Read More: Good Reads or Home
This is the time of the year that everyone is looking for ways to make extra money. Between unpaid credit card bills from Black Friday and overly generous seasonal gift giving, a lot of us are scrambling for extra cash.
If you already have a full-time job or have small children at home, the best way to earn money may be to start your own mini business. You can set your own hours, choose your own pay and do the kind of work you enjoy.
I know quite a few people (including myself) who have made money working from home. Here are a couple of ideas to get you started.
A neighbor used to make money each year by delivering the new Yellow Pages to our area. She had a big van and a good back but it was still a lot of hard work.
My mother sold rubber stamps and Spanish videos at the flea market (what a combination!). She ordered the products wholesale and rented a booth in a popular indoor flea market. She made about $1000.00 profit in good months. Warning: Don’t just jump into a flea market business without a lot of research. This business is a lot harder to pull off than it sounds.
A friend of mine has done daycare in her house for many years. She always has to be home and her house needs to be constantly spotless but she actually makes very good money.
Another neighbor made good money running a long distance van service. He advertised in the community newspaper for customers who needed to go from Baltimore to New York or Baltimore to New Jersey. My neighbor also did airport runs. He charged a flat rate, irregardless of the number of people traveling.
My mom ran a notary service from her house. She made only a few dollars per notary and had the aggravation of strangers coming to her home at all hours. She hardly made any money but she did for many years. Update: Several people are now offering mobile notary services (for a high price) and this may be a more profitable endeavor.
I use self-employed plumbers, electricians, handymen, movers and cleaning help. My father-in-law uses self-employed painters, carpenters and caterers. I assume each of these contractors makes a decent living.
My husband worked for a man who sold t-shirts, undershirts, underpants and socks at flea markets. The man would buy “imperfect” merchandise very cheap and sell them for a small mark-up. In order to earn a reasonable living, instead of just selling at one flea market, he hired enough teens so that he could sell at several.
I tutored Russian and Israeli immigrants in English. I found some students through my part-time ESL job and others through advertising in the community newspaper. I was able to do the work without knowing either Hebrew or Russian, as the lessons were all given in English. I will probably write a longer post about this later.
My niece runs a nursery school from her home. She has a degree in early childhood education and teaches the class in Hebrew. She has six to eight children each year and provides a complete preschool curriculum.
My daughter’s 20 year old friend made $10.00 dollars an hour babysitting. Babysitting doesn’t seem like a very grown up way to make money, but it is actually quite profitable.
I used to send my son to a man who specialized in teaching religious studies to homeschooled boys. The man charge several hundred dollars a month and taught the boys in groups of eight. The classes lasted three hours daily and took place in his dining room. He taught a group of younger boys in the morning and a group of older boys in the afternoon. If you have a important skill to pass on, teaching homeschool classes may be the way to go for you.
My husband and I had a business called Baltimore Computer Repair. My husband made house calls to sick computers at night, after his day job was through. He found his customers through advertising in our daily newspaper. My son, who is A+ certified, now does this same work in Israel.
The husband of a friend makes money at home doing telephone soliciting for charities. He works his own hours and is on commission.
My husband made close to $1000.00 a month on weekends by doing computer programming for businesses. He got the first job, writing an inventory program, for a distant friend who owns a pizza shop. The pizza shop owner recommended him to a man who owned three grocery stores, who recommended him to a print shop owner, etc.
When I was a teen, I made a small amount of money doing grocery shopping for senior citizens. I advertised in the community paper and got plenty of calls. I charged a $5.00 minimum or $.15 per item. Nowadays, I would have to charge a lot more to make this worthwhile, probably $.30 per item.
I see plenty of boys (and men) making money shoveling snow, mowing lawn or raking leaves. As a matter of fact, I’ve paid for these services plenty of times myself.
My mother sold Avon for many years. Unlike lots of other direct sales programs, you do actually make money from Avon. Mary Kay and Tupperware also make a profit for their salespeople. I have friends who sold both, quite successfully.
I had a very successful business selling hats and modest skirts from my basement. I sold to a specialty crown (religious women and cancer patients). I sewed the hats myself and outsourced the simple skirts to neighbors. Besides selling from home, I had several retail distributors.
In the past, I have made money from this blog. Right now this blog is making less than $100 a month, but several years ago it was doing slightly better. The money comes from Google Adsense and is deposited in my bank account each month.
Now for a couple of businesses that don’t work (at least for me)!
I used to have my own flea market business, selling kitchenware, novelties and kid’s toys. I ordered products wholesale through the Thomas Register and through flea market merchandise catalogues. I also bought merchandise locally at wholesale stores. I lost a ton of money on this project and to this day I don’t know why.
I had a business where I tried to outsource computer techs to busy companies who needed help with their overflow. Another big failure. The cause of this flop was easy to understand after just a few weeks. The smaller companies didn’t have any overflow work to offer us and large companies wanted an established business to work with.
I made handmade gifts and jewelry to sell at flea markets. After a month of Sundays I finally sold one pair of earring. The cause of this disaster was simply a lack of thinking on my part. I didn’t realize that people go to flea markets to get great deals…not art jewelry at medium to high prices. I really had no excuse for this stupidity because I already had flea market experience.
I once tried selling greeting card ideas to the companies listed in the back of Writer’s Digest. Yes, people said it took years to break into the greeting card market, but I didn’t believe it. I sent out hundred of greeting card ideas and not one of them sold. I guess sometimes you need to listen to advise.
If you have a successful business, please let me know about it in a comment.
Read More: Good Reads or Home
source: Margarida Sardo
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about my style of crafting. I’ve recounted every project I’ve done over the last couple of years, and I’ve come to a realization….I’m a utility crafter.
What is a utility crafter?
It’s a crafter who crafts useful projects only. I don’t make decorative eyeglass cases, pretty little toe rings or lovely lingerie bags. Those projects are charming, but their not for me.
What I do make are fitted sheets, skirts, replacement board game boxes, greeting cards, gifts of food, and mini-notebooks. All things that are cheaper to make myself or can’t be easily located.
The only exception is scrapbooking. Scrapbooks don’t save me money and they aren’t really useful.
I’d love to expand my crafting horizons and make a couple of things just for the creative fun of it. Unfortunately, I never have time. Instead I’m busy crafting gift tags, making free, printable board games and sewing storage bags. Oh, well.
What is your crafting style? Please send me a comment and I’ll be happy to publish it.
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When I stumble upon a blog I really enjoy, one of the things I always do is check out what THEY read. I figure, if I enjoy their blog, we must share the same interests. And, being a blogger, they must really know who the “stars” of the blogging community are.
Here is my list of current favorites. They may not be the blogs I love in a month from now, but as of now, these are the blogs I read every day. Hope you enjoy!
- Crafty Pod – Why? Wonderful podcasts on a wide variety of crafty topics.
- How About Orange – Why? Super classy blog with lots of very doable projects and great resources.
- MeggieCat – Why? Links to tons of very unusual resources. (Has not been updating recently)
- Cathy of California – Why? I love all the photos she puts up of vintage crafts.
- Small Notebook – Why? This blog always has new takes on old homemaking problems.
- Home Living – Why? This is the blog of the famous Lady Lydia of Ladies Against Feminism
- The Simple Dollar – Why? Because he doesn’t just recycle the usual trite money saving suggestions. He actually thinks things through before writing about them.
- Yehuda – Why? Lots of good information on games and gaming in Israel.
- Print And Play Podcast Blog – Why? Reviews of print and play games. (Only updates a few times a month)
- 101 Cookbooks – Why? Gourmet vegetarian recipes with gorgeous pictures.
- ProBlogger – Why? Darren is the cream of online blogging resources.
Read More: Good Reads or Home
source: John Kannenberg
When my kids were teens, the only craft I did was needlepoint. Later, after my sister introduced me to scrapbooking, working with photos was my obsession. Nowadays, my craft of choice is graphic design.
I’ve enjoyed three completely different crafts over the last 10 years, two of which I rarely work on now. What has happened to all those years of knowledge and experience? Are they now worthless?
The answer is a definite NO. While it’s true I might never go back to enjoying needlepoint or scrapbooking, the remnants of my past interest show up on frequent occasions.
There may be several subtle answers to that question, like influence on style (scrapbooking) or willingness to progress slowly on a project (needlepoint). But I like a less subtle answer. More often than not, when I work on graphic designs, they are usually printable for scrapbooks or patterns for needlepoint project. Those old hobbies haven’t disappeared from my life, they just manifest themselves differently now.
Another example. When I was younger I used to eat only margarine or butter. Later, for health reasons I switched to olive oil. Now I use a mix of olive oil and yogurt as a fat on potatoes, pasta, rice and vegetables. It’s delicious, but I would never have started this new practice, if I didn’t already have a love of creamy (from the butter) and olive oil (from my low-fat days).
Here are my questions to you:
How have your interests changed over the years? And, how have you current interests been improved by the remnants of your past?
To merge your new interests with your old, consider the following questions…
…Can you use the skills learned from a previous hobby in a new endeavor? A lover of sewing and cross stitching can combine previously mastered skills to create handsewn baby outfits with cross stitched collars.
…Can you use the subject matter from an old interest as the motif for a new? A sewing and golfing enthusiast can use golf themed fabric to make sofa pillows and awning for a porch swing.
…Can you combine two or more interests to make a third completely new interest? A hardcore fabric dyer and rubber stamper can experiment with using fabric dyes to stamp on cotton.
I’d love to hear your answers to these questions. Please write a comment to let me know what new and exciting projects you came up with!
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Several years ago, while on vacation, my teenage daughter purchased a needlepoint kit for me. I wasn’t crazy about it. The colors were too subtle, the design too chunky and the directions called for the kit to be worked in long stitch, which I dislike. However, because it was a gift from my daughter, I knew it would be completed.
Instead of throwing the kit out, I redesigned it. The light yellow and pink were exchanged for a rich gold and burgandy, the blocky design was adjusted in certain areas, and the stitch changed from long to single. Suddenly, the needlepoint kit, was lovely! And, just as important, the prepackaged canvas was now a unique, one of a kind design.
This experience taught me an important lesson: kits and projects designed by other folks need only be starting points. The projects can easily be changed a bit here or there without sacrificing the finished product. Now, I almost always make changes to prepackaged craft kits and projects.
Here are a couple of tips for making your next project more deeply reflective of your own taste…
…Start with the colors. If you dislike a color of fabric, yarn or paper that is supposed to be used for a project, feel free to hit the craft store for something more to your taste.
…Work with the small things. You might not feel comfortable changing the sleeve pattern on a blouse, but you might feel fine about adding or subtracting a pocket.
…Make small changes to the technique. Add a fancy stitch to your cross-stitch or use a special piping tip for your cake decorating. Just be aware that these changes may require the purchase of additional supplies.
…Embellish, embellish, embellish. Feel free to fold an origami flower to use with your scrapbooking kit or add a unique center square to your quilting pattern.
Warning: Avoid making really big changes unless you know the technique well. For instance, don’t make any structural changes to a knitted sweater unless you really understand how the changes will effect the finished garment.
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