Category Archives: Innovation – Great Tools


funnel technique

All one has to do is look at these to understand I have my work cut out for me in learning the acrylic pour techniques. So far, I’ve tried 3. The one above is called the funnel technique.

Double floating cup technique

larger single floating cup technique

As I am typing this, my sweet husband came in and asked what these ‘represented.’ When I told him, ‘failures,’ he said, “Oh, That’s what I would have said.” So now I’m honest AND a bit hostile.

Needless to say, acrylic pour may LOOK easy when you watch a demonstration on YouTube, as with anything else, it takes lots of practice before I may see some progress.


Filed under Innovation - Great Tools, learning new things, playing in my art room

Shock and Awe

We have a Dyson Animal Vacuum Cleaner. Mine doesn’t have as much purple as the one in this picture, but it’s a wonderful vacuum. I’ve told you that I’m a slob – and that a sparkling clean, perfectly ordered home is not high on my list of priorities.

Lately, though, since we have two dogs and two cats, all of whom seem to be shedding hair as a main priority of their days – as well as 4 goldfish who thankfully DON’T shed, I’ve been vacuuming at least every 3 days, if not more, trying to keep up.

I started the vacuum today and my husband said, “Why are you vacuuming? You just finished.” I explained to him that it was the day before yesterday when I vacuumed the first floor. He shrugged, saying, “I don’t think it needs it.”

When I finished, having vacuumed the carpet in the office, foyer and living room, and the tile in the dining area, kitchen, pantry, utility room and two half-baths, I emptied the canister and brought the trashcan to my husband. He looked down and said, “UGH! Where did all that come from?” His face told the story. He looked a combination of shocked/disgusted/impressed, with an “euwwww!” set to his lips.

I kindly took the trash can away remarking that it was amazing how much the vacuum got up when “you didn’t think it needs it.”

I’m just really glad we have a great vacuum cleaner. I just wish that it were a bit less graphic about what was on our floors before I started….

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Filed under Housekeeping - Maintenance, I'm a slob, Innovation - Great Tools

Olympics Skiing Analysis Tool Blog

I’m fascinated by what to me is a brand new technique for analyzing the performance of one skier to another.  I have no idea how they do it, but they almost seem to superimpose a video of one skier over a second video of another skier, showing both skiers taking the curves of the course as if they were skiing at the same time.

You can see where one skier went in a wider curve than the other, losing valuable time. The skiers are skiing side by side, turning as if they are birds in a flock who turn at the exact same time as if a memo were sent out to the group. Suddenly, they diverge a bit, and the final result is more or less time on the clock, or a crash into the foam at the sides of the course.

It’s even better than being able to study football plays over and over of your team or your opponents. These would be a great learning tool for skiing students, Olympians and even gold medal winners.

They haven’t mentioned the technique when they use it. The commentators are just concentrating on the two skiers involved and the race at hand. I’m fascinated with the way the both the Olympians AND the techniques to cover them have grown.

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Filed under Awe-Inspiring Photography, Changes, Innovation - Great Tools

The Egg

Ron Leishman - via Mothering Multiples

Ron Leishman – via Mothering Multiples

Every morning I have a hard-boiled egg, meat, cheese and butter – microwaved –  for breakfast. Lately, my husband has decided that HE should peel the egg for me.

We’ve had trouble peeling eggs. I found a suggestion that if you put a teaspoon of baking soda into the water in which you boil the eggs, the shells will come off more easily.  We now do that and it HAS helped, but not always. We also put the eggs into ice-cold water directly after boiling them. That helps, as well – but not always.

My husband watched a few YouTube videos on the subject a couple of days ago.

He came into the office with a hard-boiled egg. He got my attention, then peeled off a bit of each end of the egg-shell. He BLEW into each end and then looked at me like, “VOILA!” He proceeded to try to take the eggshell off, and had as much trouble as we sometimes do. I told him that even if it worked, I didn’t want him doing that to MY egg. If he wanted to blow into HIS egg, that was fine, but NOT MINE!  I then pointed to the desk top and the floor. Both were littered with tiny bits of egg-shell. He called the dogs over, but they weren’t interested. He finally got a dust pan and cleaned things up.

I had just gotten my concentration back at the computer when he came in again. This time, he wanted me to go to the kitchen with him. He put a second hard-boiled egg into a glass, filling the glass about half full of water. He then started shaking the glass violently. The result was water all over the cabinets, counter tops, and floor.  I just looked at him. He looked like a little kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar. He tried removing the egg-shell. It worked, but I was still looking at the mess all over my kitchen. He then took a towel and wiped up most of the mess.

Today, when I was fixing my breakfast, he was already working on my egg. He came over in just a second with the egg nicely shelled and ready for our egg slicer. I said, “That was fast.” He smiled, saying he’s perfected the egg in the water-glass technique.

THIS time it worked, my kitchen wasn’t awash in water, and my egg was shelled in a sanitary fashion – quickly and easily!

AND, my husband is still alive to tell the tale…


Filed under Challenges, Changes, Childlike Fun, Cooking/Recipes/Low Carb Lifestyle, Innovation - Great Tools

Master Bath Cleaning/Reorganization Project is Finished!


One set of shelves



Second set of shelves



Main part of bathroom – vanities are on the right. Closet is to the right, as well. Shower to the left.



Vanities with now clean/organized drawers!



Shower room – shower is to the right.



My closet.

The project took several days, but we spent several YEARS stuffing things into drawers and shelves. We can find everything now. Nothing falls on us when we open a door, cabinet door, or drawer. We actually have lots of places we can put things! It will take us a bit of time to get things as out-of-control as they were. The trash man will be impressed with the amount of ‘stuff’ we’re getting rid of this week. :0)


Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Housekeeping - Maintenance, Innovation - Great Tools


Kenco Plastics, Poteau, OK

Kenco Plastics, Poteau, OK

My husband and I drove to Poteau, Oklahoma today to see the offerings of two companies, Kenco Plastics and Randco Tool & Mold, where everything was being auctioned. You could go see the offerings today and tomorrow and Friday bid on the offerings online.

It was sad to see these two large manufacturing companies go out of business. Rando had one client for whom they manufactured things: Kenco, and Kenco was going under. There is a chance that Kenco will be bought by someone else and reopened in the future. We met some employees of Kenco and the owner of Randco. The owner of Randco had been in business 29 years.

My husband will bid on a couple of lots, hoping that we’ll win the bidding and can go back to Poteau again to get our ‘new’ tools. Time will tell.

The companies going out of business is another sign that manufacturing is in trouble in the United States. We make less and less. Highly skilled people are out of work and are trying to make ends meet grabbing any jobs they can. Hopefully, we can turn this state of affairs around in the near future.

Meanwhile, even though our Garmin GPS tried to send us to Lower Slabovia today – rather than Poteau – we met some really nice people and saw some nice countryside. Wish us luck on winning our bids!


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Filed under Changes, Innovation - Great Tools

Power Washing – Part III

I’ve been pressure washing the deck since noon. I came in now because it started to rain heavily. I’m hoping that it will stop soon so that I can finish the job. I’m working on the outside edges and uprights of the deck and then it will be finished.

I honestly can’t say enough about this ‘new tool’ for me. I’ve tried all kinds of deck cleaners, but it was a complete waste of time. I guess your deck should be clean BEFORE you use these – they didn’t phase our deck. I had given up on getting rid of the black stuff, green stuff, and identified ‘stuff’ that was all over our deck.

I love seeing the grain of the wood again! Our boards are warped. We have nails that have worked their way up. It doesn’t look like a new deck by any means, but it is cleaner than it has been for at least 25 years, and that means a lot to me.

I think I’ve shocked my husband. He really didn’t expect me to do anything with this. He asked me today, in one of the many times he came out to check on me, if I wanted a bigger, more powerful pressure washer, now that I seemed to be using it all the time. I told him ‘no.’ This is one I can handle. I don’t have to worry about it getting away from me. It’s not as heavy as some I’ve seen.

When the deck is back together again, I’ll post pictures of our CLEAN deck!

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Filed under Housekeeping - Maintenance, I'm a slob, Innovation - Great Tools

Power Washing, Part II

If I were a younger person, I would still be outside with the power washer. As it is, I spent an hour and a half today cleaning stuff, then came inside and fell asleep in my recliner. As I type, my jeans have dried mud on the legs and I have a thin film of ‘stuff’ all over me.

I did the back concrete sidewalk today, and got a good start on our deck. Since they’re both 30 years old and have NEVER been power washed, I’m not sure you can imagine what I’m dealing with.

I’m going to try to finish the deck tomorrow, and then I’ll post before and after pictures.

I honestly can’t believe what a power washer can do. I may be becoming addicted….

Now, up for a shower, clean clothes, and I’ll start dinner.

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Filed under Housekeeping - Maintenance, I'm a slob, Innovation - Great Tools

Falling Plates


Between our shop and our square foot garden, there is a large pile of slag. We use this from time to time around the yard, but mainly we use it as a backdrop for shooting practice. We have been just putting up paper plates using clothes pins, but my husband saw an idea for a “Falling Plates” target in a magazine and decided to make one for us.



It’s basically a really heavy square tube of metal on even heavier stands. He has cut out thick ‘plates’ from metal and attached them so they swing freely from the horizontal tube.



If you manage to shoot a plate, the plate falls backward. The goal is to shoot all four plates in under 4 seconds. Hahahahahahaahhaah! I couldn’t do that if my life depended on it, but it’ll be a fun thing to try.

My husband isn’t sure that his design will work as intended. It may be that the plates won’t fall backwards when we shoot them. It may also be that we shoot ONE, and they ALL fall down at the same time. He’s ready to tweak his design if we can find the time and energy after the sun goes down.

Tonight, though, the plan is to get started trying to install the 3rd raised bed garden box. If we can actually do this, I’ll take pics and share them with you.

Right now the heat index is 115 degrees F., so we’re staying inside until we can move around out there without immediately frying.

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Filed under Innovation - Great Tools

Pressured to Clean!

My husband thinks I’ve gone off the deep end on using our new pressure washer. He may be right, but it’s really satisfying to be able to clearly see where you’ve been. :0)

Here are some before and after pictures. (I realize I’m showing you clearly what a slob I am, but I think you already knew that.)


1000 gallon propane tank before.


Propane tank after.   (I’m thinking of painting this, since the paint is starting to peel. I’m looking for something unique, or at least very colorful).



Concrete pad in front of our garage mid-cleaning.


I finally finished it last night. (My husband then mowed the back yard, spraying it with grass….. :0(  )



Front sidewalk before.


Front sidewalk after.



I didn’t get a pic of the front porch and pad before.

I’m taking a day off from the pressure washing today, since I’m old and my body is telling me I need to spread this out a bit more. I plan to tackle the back sidewalk next.


Filed under Housekeeping - Maintenance, I'm a slob, Innovation - Great Tools

The Pressure is On!


I’ve decided that our pressure washer is addictive. I am absolutely amazed at how well it works, and how much more you notice when there’s a chance to do something about it.



We worked more on the driveway pad yesterday (a several-day project) and then tackled the 1000 gallon propane tank yesterday afternoon. We were chased off before we were really finished by storm clouds, but it already looks MUCH better than it did.



I had used several different kinds of cleaners, along with a big long car brush we have, as well as a good scrub brush I have, but couldn’t even phase the grime. This is a sticky type of stuff. We sprayed the tank with soap, let it work for about 5 minutes, and then started with the water. Truly amazing.

This afternoon and evening I’m going to continue on the driveway pad and see if I can get that finished.

WARNING!  Pressure washers are highly addictive!

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Filed under I'm a slob, Innovation - Great Tools

Pump Bug Sprayer

We just got a Ryobi pump sprayer. It’s battery-powered, and you just turn it on and hold down the sprayer control to spread whatever you want in a stream or wide spray, or anything in-between.

We got ours because we have a 650+ foot steep, wooded driveway with tent caterpillars this year.

There is no way you can reach them, even standing in the bed of our truck, to remove them. The best we can do is hose down each caterpillar tent the spray will reach.

We just finished filling the container with bug spray and water and attaching the battery. This battery driven pump spray goes much higher and coats things much more effectively than you can do any other way.

I drove the truck slowly down one side and back up on the other finding another tent and stopping while my husband stood in the back of the truck and hosed it down with the bug spray. Even though he had to tighten some connections and adjust the spray head a couple of times, it worked as well as we could have asked. We had one WAAAAAAY up high in a tree we couldn’t reach with the stream of bug killer, but we got the rest of it done pretty well, we think.

We’ll also be able to spray liquid fertilizer, fungicide and other things.

Aren’t we lucky that technology comes to our aid just when we need it!

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Filed under Innovation - Great Tools

Under Pressure

Blue Ocean  Pressure Washer

Blue Ocean Pressure Washer

We have wanted a pressure washer for several years now. We finally decided to go ahead and get one. After reading a LOT of reviews on the net, we bought this one. It was delivered yesterday. (Did I tell you I love the net and UPS?)

My husband put things together and – always eager to try a new toy, hooked it up to the hose and electricity and started to blast away.

He wanted to blast the dirt he couldn’t sweep up around the edges of the driveway pad. It looks like it’ll do a great job on that.

I wanted to wash the vinyl above the garage door and the top of the garage door. I was amazed at how much better it looked after no more than a minute or two!

I happened to blast a part of our driveway pad and couldn’t believe the difference.


I’m a crappy housekeeper, but I never thought I would be grossed out and embarrassed about dirty concrete…. On the left is ‘before.” On the right, ‘after.’



I went along the edge where the pad meets the garage. You can easily see where I stopped…



I’m going to fire up the pressure washer when we get back from errands. My goal for the day is to get the concrete done – sidewalk and porch in front, sidewalk in back, and the rest of the driveway pad.

We also cleaned our trash cans from all over the house and feel like we have a new lease on life. What a wonderful tool!

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Filed under I'm a slob, Innovation - Great Tools