How to Fold Almost Anything

I shared a great video for folding sheets in the past.  The 2-minute Fixology video below not only better explains how to fold the fitted sheet (see first video for storing method), it also includes clothing items you may want to: put in a drawer, pack in a suitcase, or put on a shelf.  If you are still confused about how they did the t-shirt since they do not talk your through it, check out the step-by-step video on t-shirt folding,


Finishing Ends on Cord, Leather, Ribbon, String, or Wire Beaded Necklaces and Bracelets

I have shared tips on jewelry making in the past on this blog based on my experience with stretch cord, cotton cording, or wire.  Recently a friend ask me to make her a long suede corded necklace like one she bought and loved to wear often.  She wanted me to take a shorter bead necklace in another color that she had and re-make it into  something like he favorite necklace.  I easily found a matching color  leather cord to her short bead necklace and the similar crimps for finishings/findings to her favorite necklace at my local craft store (links to Amazon examples).  I insiticitvely knew what to do, but thought I should look for an instructional video before starting just ot be certain.  Below is an 8.5 minute video I found for finishing 5 types of ribbon, suede/leather strips, or flat vinyl/cotton cording.

To see others techniques, view post on finishing the ends of beaded necklaces or bracelets made on wire in the post How to Attach Clasps to Jewelry Creations or Replace if Beads Break near Clasp.  You can use the crimp cover noted in that video to cover knots at the end of stretch bracelets or knots in other types cords and strings for a more finished look.  See also post on Knotting pearls for safety for how to do knots and ends of beads on string or thin cording.

Warning Package Thief!

I'm a #TexasGirl, so I wrote this poem as a holiday warning to package thieves (aka #ChristmasGrinch or #PackageThief or #PorchPirates).  This is just meant to be funny - I am not advocating gun violence.  I'm also a little bit of a #Techno Geek, so I had to create a 2nd amendment rights meme to go along with the poem.

Package Thief Warning
by Shirley Fine Lee (copyright Dec. 6, 2019, all rights reserved)

Dear package thief,
This is Texas and
That is my property!
Don't you know?
Our governor upped the ante,
You can go to jail
As your theft penalty.
Don't you never mind though,
It is still law here that
I can protect my property.

Don't you never mind...
I need no technology
Because my hunting dog
Will know you're near my property.
He jumps, barks, and howls
His bite is worse than the growl.
He is better than an alarm.
No, you never mind that!
Yes, he could do you harm.
But don't you worry none
I'll not let him loose
To tear you limb from limb
Starting with your caboose.

Don't you know,
My hound's simple warning
Starts me on a run?
Giving me enough time
To get my trusty gun,
Make sure it's loaded,
Aim it towards the floor,
And meet you at the door.

There I'll say with force,
"Friend, this is my property,
This is my porch,
That there is my package.
If you keep standing here,
Holding it like your baggage,
I'll shoot you in your foot.
Or you can set it down,
And turn around.
Then run away from here,
While hoping I'm so kind
Not to unload shots
Into your behind!"

Caramel Topped Gingersnap Pumpkin Cheesecake

Do you love pumpkin pie, cheesecake, and gingersnaps?  These sweets (plus gingerbread menhouses, and variations of these favorites) are great desserts for the holidays! Would you like a single desert that combines them all for a special holiday treat?   Check out Imperial Sugar's suggestion for Gingersnap Pumpkin Cheesecake with Caramel Topping  in video below.  If it looks good to you, then get the recipe and go shopping for ingredients to prepare this mostly make-ahead dessert.  And yes, it is ok to cheat by using store-bought gingersnaps for prep and for topping - before serving use canned whipped cream and jarred caramel sauce instead of making them from scratch per linked recipes.

Bell Bottoms Are Back! Can you believe it?

Did you think the sailor-style of high-waisted and bell-bottomed (or flare-leg) pant would ever come back?  It was big fashion around 1968-1978.  Way before the pencil-style (aka skinny leg) became the current fashion rage.  You only saw people wearing the bell-style as a brief comeback in the late 90's as a reflection of That 70's Show on television. followed by an occasional appearance as a "hippie" party costume.  Now, over 4 decades later we are seeing celebrities wearing the bell style pant leg as everyday wear.  As before, the smaller bells are more popular in jeans,  The bigger flare (formerly known as elephant bells - which lead to the 70's trend of elephant-leg lounge pants that flared down from the hip) seems to be reserved for dressier styles and lady country singers.

Are you wondering if the look is for you?  Check out 5 Reasons to Embrace Jeans with Flare. and The Top 7 Denim Trends. All sorts of pant styles are making a resurgence in fashion.  However, the lycra-infused skinny leg is still very popular!  Women still want to look thinner and be comfortable at the same time, which this time-tested style still provides.  So the skinny-leg and jeggings may stick around a while longer.

Pet Protection in Freezing Weather:


Have you ever heard "if it is too cold for you, it is probably too cold for your pet?"  There is more to protecting a pet from cold weather than just determining if you personally need a coat or sweater.  Fur length could be a factor, but long hair does not necessarily mean they cannot get cold.  Check out the tips below for suggestions to keep your pet safe and protected during freezing weather.

Pet Protection Tips for Freezing Weather:
  • Its cold outside!  Leave pets at home when you go out, because cars can get cold quickly once turned off.  You would not leave them in hot car in the summer, so practice the same compassion in the cold of winter.
  • Watch what pets consume with outside or in the garage.  Snow or ice may have chemicals added to prevent freezing that may harm pets.  Also pets are attracted to sweet smell of anti-freeze so they may try to lick up spillage on driveway or garage floor of this poisonous substance.
  • When you go out for walks or "potty breaks," be sure pet is on leash so they cannot get lost.  Wear reflective clothing and have reflective leash and collar with tags on pets.  Protect pet's feet and body too.  Buy Dog Booties or Cat Booties that will keep salt and wet off their paws, and prevent snow or ice getting between toes.  If no booties, use petroleum jelly to insulate and make paw care and clean-up easier once back in the house.  Consider using pet sweater or coats for short hair or older pets to keep their bodies warm and dry.  If you need a coat to stay warm, pets probably do too if you will be outside more then 10 -15 minutes.
  • Stock up on food, water, and medicine for your pet, in case of bad weather or power outages.  You should gear up with supplies for your pet as well as yourself, in case bad weather keeps you home. 
  • Monitor winter food intake.  Inside pets typically need less calories since they get less exercise, so do not let them get too fat.  Outside pets may need more calories to build body insulation as creating their own heat uses up calories..
  • Shelter pets appropriately.  Create potential shelters for outside cats, by proving insulated, waterproof boxes turned upside down with a small hole for entry.  Dog houses should have floors off-the ground to prevent  heat loss and a off-to-one-side door covering made from burlap for easy entry and wind blockage.  The off-center door also allows them to huddle in corner furthest from opening.  Providing extra insulation with carpet on the walls of houses or shelter is helpful too.  So pets may cover-up as needed whether in a shelter or a bed - blankets, light rugs. or towels are a must   If major storms or high winds are expected and temperature will remain above freezing (32 degrees), consider bringing pets into garage.  In below freezing temperatures, pets should be brought into house.
  • When playing outside with pets, watch for hypothermia and frostbite in them.  Treat appropriately and contact vet if necessary.
  • Do not let pets out alone, as you need to watch pets around deep snow or frozen water.  They can easily get lost since their sense of smell may be blocked by the snow.  They can also fall through the ice into freezing water and be unable to get out.  
  • Before you start your car, honk the horn!  This will alert cats or other animals that may be hidden in engine or wheel wells to keep warm.  

Warning:  Do NOT use space heaters, heat lamps, or strings of lights outdoors or inside garages to provide warmth for  pets.  Pets may not know if they are too close and may get burns, so watch them around fireplaces too.  Also these electrical can get knocked over or broken by wind or pets, which  might start a fire that can hurt your pet and even spread to your home. 

Freeze and Frost Tips - Protection for Plants

Do  you enjoy a beautiful landscaped area outside during the nice weather?  If you do, then you need to be aware that a freeze or frost can destroy all the lovely work you have done unless you protect your plantings.  To protect outside  plants from forecasted frost or freeze, consider the tips below.  These may save the plant, but they may not prevent all cold damage.  If some browning or wilting occurs, just leave it on the plants rather than prune and possibly shock them.

To find out the difference between a freeze and a frost, see Today's Homeowner article.

Tips for Protecting Plants from Freeze or Frost Conditions:

  1. If the plant is in a pot, move it into your greenhouse, garage, or under a carport closest to a wall  and covered for additional protection.  If it is a tropical plant, you may want to bring it into the house until the temperatures warm up more.  If the pots are too large or you do not have the inside space, cluster them together near a wall or fence and cover them for protection.  
  2. If you know about the expected freeze in advance, water ground plants in your landscaping during the morning before the temperature drops in the Fall.  If it is Spring and frost will be the next morning, water the night before.  The water will plump up the roots so they do not freeze but it is best for the foliage to dry so no ice will develop on the top of plants.  The exception is succulents, which need to stay dry to prevent dampness from causing them to rot.
  3. Mulching around plants not only retains moisture in the hot months, it helps to hold heat in the soil during cold months.  Mulch can be wood chips bought at a local garden center or straw/hya, or even raked up leaves.  So plan ahead by mulching when you plant - it will also reduce weeds!
  4. If you have delicate plants or a special plant that is not hardy to below freezing in your landscape, cover them with sheets. burlap, or blankets to insulate and protect them from the drop in temperature.  Although these will shade the plant during the day, they will let the heat of the sun warm the plants underneath.  Plastic covers are not recommended directly on the plants since those can send the cold directly to where it is touching the plants.  If you only have plastic, then you will need to make sure you can prop it above the plants so it is more like a temporary greenhouse instead of a cover.
  5. If your recently added low-growing blooming flowers beds of annuals or vegetable seedlings and you want to protect them until the temperature rises again, purchase heavy gauze or garden frist fabric and garden staples to tack it in place and hold it down over the plants.
  6. Planting vegetables in a cold frame can make it easier to cover and protect them if the area you live in is prone to multiple freezes or frost.   If you have lots of storage place, but not enough for a cold frame, you may want to invest in glass cloches. 
  7. If you only have a few new small plants to cover and you keep the pots from other plants, you can turn them over the plants for protection.  Alternatively, you can cut the top out of soda bottle or gallon milk jugs to turn over the plants.  Just be sure there is air space between the plastic and the plant so they hold in heat and do not touch plants when cold.  For a larger landscape plant, you may turn a trash can over them or purchase a large shrub cover (aka plant tent) for the night that the frost/freeze is to occur and uncover when the temperature rises the next morning.
  8. If you have tender fruit trees, you can loosely wrap their trunks in burlap or waterproof paper from the ground up to the limbs for some protection.  If this is done properly, you can leave it on for most of the cold winter season.
Warning:  Do NOT use space heaters or strings of lights outdoors or inside garages to provide warmth for plants.  If these get knocked over or broken by the wind or an animal, they might start a fire that can destroy the plant you are trying to protect and may possibly spread to your home.

Birthstones by Day of the Week!

Almost everyone is familiar with their birthstone, which is traditionally assigned according to the month in which one is born.  A few people may know that they can instead choose to use the stone associated with their zodiac sign as an alternative to the traditional monthly gemstone.  Did you know that another alternative to choosing a birthstone to wear is by day of the week?  Therefore, if you do not like your monthly birthstone or astrological stone, then you can find out what day of the week you were born and choose that stone instead.  Check out the daily choices suggested by the  International Gem Society (IGS) in chart below.

Day of the Week
Birthday Stone Choices
Phenomena Alternatives
Sunday
Monday
Pearl or Rock Crystal
Tuesday
Star Sapphire 
Wednesday
Amethyst or Lodestone
Star Ruby
Thursday
Sapphire or Carnelian
Cat’s Eye
Friday
Alexandrite or Cat’s Eye
Saturday

If you like the day of week idea, you may also find the below video of old nursery rhyme describing a child 's personality by day of birth interesting?  Personally it was wrong for me, but still cute.  If you like the poem, you can also download the words as a poster from Familii blog.

Simple Sugar-free Pecan Pie Recipe


One of the most popular southern desserts is pecan pie, which originates from Texas.  It is popular year-round in the south, but graces many tables in the USA during holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas as Fall is harvest time for pecans.  More on the history of the pecan pie and the original sugar and Karo syrup recipe may be found on Eater.com.  Below is a sugar-free version of pecan pie for homes when people are watching their weight or have issues with diabetes.


Sugar-free Pecan Pie Recipe

Ingredients:
  2 Tablespoons butter
  2 large eggs
  1 cup sugar free pancake syrup
  ½ cup Splenda
  1 Tablespoon flour
  1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
  1 ½ cups pecan halves
  1 unbaked 9” pie shell

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Melt butter in a small glass bowl in microwave.  Put it aside to cool down.
  3. In a larger bowl, add together in this order: eggs, syrup, Splenda, flour, vanilla extract, and cooled butter.  Beat mixture until blended smooth.
  4. Stir in pecans and make sure that they are coated with mixture.
  5. Pour mixture into pie shell.  May want to cover crust edge with foil to prevent over-browning.
  6. Bake in oven for about 45 minutes.

Using a Gazelle for Exercise or Weight Loss

In trying to find another method of exercise to supplement my walking, I tried a Gazelle. The video below is a short workout by Tony Little on the Gazelle, which I have tested and  actually felt the muscle burn afterwards.

In a Livestrong post, how a Gazelle can be helpful as a physical exercise routine is examined.  Also according to Livestrong, an hour on a Gazelle provides the following calorie burn by user weight: if 120 lbs = 520, if 150 lbs = 650. and if 200 lbs = 840.  The "Smart Healthy Living" blog explains more about how the Gazelle helps with weight loss, however they recommend treadmills as better for certain types of exercise.  Plus the Healthline blog compares models of Gazelle so users may find the best option for individual workout needs.