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This blog is dedicated to stamping, tips, musings, and whatever I want to post.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Mint Braava 4200 Floor Cleaner Review

This little floor cleaner exceeded my expectations. I bought one that had been returned to Amazon but was still in original packaging and had not been used. I paid $140 for it instead of the regular $200 retail, with the understanding that it still has warranty and could be returned if there was anything wrong. I have used it for 3 full battery cycles and have not had a single problem. If you want to get one, it is a good idea to read the Amazon reviews to know what it will and will not do. I agreed with the mostly 4 and 5 star reviews.

What does it do? It is an electronic dust mop, not a vacuum, which I consider a plus as the vacuum type models are noted for damaging floors. Also, a big plus is that it is completely silent except for when it lightly bumps a piece of furniture. It uses either the cloths that come with it that are machine washable or disposable Swiffer wipes that you can buy anywhere. It will also use microfiber cloths that I purchased at Bed and Bath, 10 for $7.99. They are a little large but can be folded under so the don't interfere with the center sensing track. It cleans edges and corners well as long as the corner is not too small. It goes under items very well and I love how it cleans under our king size bed. The GPS tracks very well and it has not missed a spot except where the area was too small for it to get into.

Additionally, the best surprise is how well the mopping feature works. Seriously, it does as good a job as when I do a damp mop. I doubt it would clean up really dirty or sticky areas well, but it did clean spots and left both the laminate in my kitchen and the tile in my bathroom just sparkling. It is perfect for laminate as you decide how wet you want the cloth. You can also buy a water dispenser for mopping that clips into it, but unless I had really sticky floors with little kids I doubt the average person needs that.

The advice is to clean your floors really well, which I did on Tuesday. Then you run it 2-4 times a week just to keep the floors clean.  I can see this saving me many hours of cleaning and making the deep clean easier when I do have time to deep clean.

It goes around area rugs just fine.

It is my preference to do one room at a time and then reset it, so I can change the cloth. If you have it do  the whole house (if your GPS cube will cover your house--mine doesn't), if you try to change the cloth it resets. Doing one room at a time makes sense for me, but others prefer to do it the other way. All you have to do is close the door or block the entry with a piece of wood or something simple.

It senses stairs, but just to be safe, they suggest a block on the stairs. It made me nervous around the stairway without a block as it looked like it went to far to be safe. It did not fall, but I don't want to risk it.

It left no spots or streaks.

Another tip is to use a light spray mist of cleaning product (I just use vinegar and water in a bottle) and prespray any area that is really dirty and/or spray lightly around the room as the cloth will get dryish toward the end of the cycle. It did my entire bathroom and kitchen before it got dryish, which is fine for me.

I give this machine 5 stars!

Pros-
Cleans well
Is silent
Easy to use
Excellent tracking
Goes under most furniture
Gets dust bunnies and pet hair superbly
I think the price is a real deal for what it does
It takes 16 hours to charge the first time and then about 8 after that
It is just perfect for floor maintenance.
It doesn't scare the dog at all.
It needs NO cleaning products at all. Water does the trick.
Quite easy to learn to use.

Cons-
It can get stuck under something but rarely (it does notify you that it is stuck)
Your GPS cube needs to be put up on a table and you need to make sure nothing
like a cupboard is above it to block the signal which bounces off the ceiling.
It won't pick up big things like chunks of paper
You do need to pick up everything off the floor or it will go around it
The sweeping cycle will go 3 hours and the mopping will go 2 before you need to charge it (not
really a con for me but some people buy 2 machines so they can do the whole house at once.
It won't deep clean a sticky mess

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

BEST Eyeliner Tip Ever!

I read on Pinterest, of course, a tip for eyeliner that stays put. Use an old tiny eyeliner brush that you have washed (I ran mine through the dishwasher) and brush it over your mascara brush. I tried this yesterday and it stays put all day with no smudging and no wearing off. Additionally, you can get a really good tightline (also known as invisible lining).  I have tried liquids, pencils, and gels and each has a downside. This seems to be the trick for me.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Amazing or Ordinary?

How would I explain my day to a person living 100 years ago? The following would make no sense and amazes me when I stop to think.

Today I got up and drove in for an MRI. When I got there I had to remove my hearing implant, called a BAHA. On the way home I stopped for contact lens supplies. I was glad I had downloaded books to my Kindle from Amazon so I had books to read while I waited for the MRI. When I got home, I needed a few things so I ordered items online with PRIME and they will be in my hands, from across the US, in 2 days. One of the items I ordered a couple of days ago was an electronic item that cleans my floors. Then after a nice lunch from the microwave, I spent some time updating my blog and using my Cameo (electronic cutting machine) by downloading cut files on my computer after spending sometime online in a chat room getting some information. I ran into a problem so I contacted Cameo tech support by email and within minutes they had solved my problem.Then I decided to watch Netflix through the Wii system my sons set up and found myself crying over episode 10 of "Lockdown". When I stop to think about my "ordinary" day, it amazes me.

My Daughter's Homework is Killing Me

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2013/10/my-daughters-homework-is-killing-me/309514/2/

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Having Fun With Giant Clothespins


Card I Made for My Niece's Wedding Shower


The Reasons this Teacher of 37 years Does NOT Believe in Homework

1-Research shows that homework does not increase learning.

2-Much homework is either busywork or test driven.

3-If a child is getting a good education during the day at school they will be too tired to do more school in the evening.

4-Children need time to play, relax, for music, art, and just plain daydreaming. It is crucial to development.

5-Families should not have to give up their family time. Some kids do scouting, church activities, or sports and the pressure of homework should not be added.

6-For some children with learning disabilities, school is a real strain. What the teacher thinks is 30 minutes of additional homework can take these kids another 1-2 hours.

7-Diminishing returns. Children can only learn so much. Research shows that if you push them into the later day that their brain starts dumping learning from earlier in the day.

8-Homework should not be new learning. This is the teacher's job, not the parent's job.

9-Many kids don't need the added stress of more drill.

10-Homework can definitely impact how a child feels about learning. When one of my children had excessive homework, he no longer had time to read for pleasure, which distressed him greatly. My other child hated to read because it felt like more homework. It made both my kids hate school for different reasons specifically the years that they were overloaded with homework.

11-If a child gets sick it is hard enough to make up what they missed in school, not to mention all that homework. I have seen kids who are still recovering with pale faces and dark circles around their eyes sit and cry trying to catch up the homework they missed when out very sick for a week to begin with.

12-Did I mention, homework DOES NOT INCREASE LEARNING.


Friday, September 20, 2013

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

How to Eat Loads and Stay Slim

 I just finished this today. Really good book, full of excellent tips. It is not a diet, but rather a way to change your relationship with food. The authors are from the UK and a number of things were a little sketchy due to their terminology. Crisps, chips, crackers, all seem to be different things. Fries, potatoes, crisps, chips, jackets all seem to be different things. The use of the word "ringing" toward the end really flummoxed me. But, the book was quite useful and well worth the $2.99. Some of the snack ideas are really great. I did not try the oil part of the diet as it just seemed to strange to me, but I have to say I am intrigued with the idea, if I could get up my courage.

Teachers are NOT paid for summers off--

Putting this myth to rest for my readers. Teachers are paid by the day. If you work 180 days, you get paid 180 days. The summer is forced unpaid leave. The same goes for spring break, Christmas break, and so on. A teacher is only paid for the actual number of days she teaches. Yes, some are paid monthly throughout the year, but they are simply getting paid in August for work they did the spring before. It is divided up into 12 payments for the 9 months work.   When you understand that the average teacher works as many hours PER YEAR as any other salaried worker, you need to understand that it is because teachers work an average of 2-4 hours AFTER their work day, every day and an average of 6 hours on the weekend (but many work more). They then have training and preparation in the summer on their own time. It is has become disheartening, over 36 years in this career, that I read so very many things that are demeaning to teachers. It used to be a respected profession.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Enjoy the Ride!

All stamps are from Kitchen Sink and the dies are My Favorite Things.

Monday, September 16, 2013

A Great Snack

I have been trying to eat healthier. I have found that if you slice a banana and put the slices flat on a plate and freeze it, that they make a great sweet snack. Also, the slices don't turn brown!

I have also started adding a couple of dozen almonds to my morning cereal. It adds lots of protein to breakfast and I can go to lunch without feeling hungry. Almonds are supposed to be one of the best appetite suppressants IF you eat 2 dozen at a time. They also contain healthy fat that people need in their diet.

Trying to see if I can post pictures

Rumor has it that you no longer have to pay a fee for too many photos on your blog, so this is a test.
Well, what do you know! I guess I will start posting cards here again!

Huge Lot of A Muse Pads for Sale

I bought all the A Muse pads in a lot.. They are all new or have only been used a couple of times. I opened a few just to try the colors. I am keeping a good many, but want to try to sell the rest as a lot as they are in perfect condition. I already had some and wanted just to fill in my color selection. The 24 colors will go for $75 as a lot with $14.50 shipping. The colors are: cherry, cocoa, blush, pistachio, burano, amethyst, bermuda, nutmeg, ocean, papaya, grass, grapefruit, fern, lichen, blueberry, eucalyptus, apricot, onyx,orange, grape, lemon whip, lime,sage, and rialto. Email me if interested. If they don't sell as a lot, I will, later in the week, let them go individually for $4 each plus shipping. Insurance optional. I will send them flat rate priority. rubyslippers@neofast.net

Friday, September 13, 2013

Halloween Votive Holder

I made this last night with my Cameo. Will be making several more and using battery operated candles in them. Click on title of this post to go to the photo.

SU Magnetic Platform--Worth it?

Absolutely worth every penny I spent on it. This is something long overdue. I cut 8 small dies on 8 different pieces of paper, all on the same pass through last night and not a one moved a bit. I am amazed at how strong the magnet is, even with the cutting plate over the top and card stock on the plate.

The following are items I consider basic to stamping (and this item now joins those):

Rotary Cutting Board (I use one of the newer Carl's ones)
Fiskars small trimming scissors
Big Shot with Magnetic Platform
ATG dispenser
Fresh Ink from Impress
The Absorber (to clean stamps)
Xyrons in various sizes
Fun Foam with a layer of oven liner over it to stamp on
A large collection of acrylic blocks
Basic Copic collection
MS Score Board
Gina K Pure Luxury Layering Weight Cardstock
Georgia Pacific (walmart) Cardstock
Bone folders



Other items I really think are worth the money:

Silhouette Cameo and Designer Edition Software
Judikins Dusters
Large Sponge Daubers
Glue Dots
Monoaqua
Foam Mounting Tape
Stickles
Wink of Stella Brush
Zutter Corner Punch


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

My Silhouette Cameo Creations

Learning to use this machine is fun!  Click on the title of this post to see photo!

FS PTI Turning A New Leaf Dies

$11 plus $3 shipping. Email me at rubyslippers@neofast.net. Insurance extra and optional. Paypal and US orders only.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Great Story, --so well worth the minute to read it


Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same
hospital room.

One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an
hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from
his lungs.

His bed was next to the room's only window.

The other man had to spend all his time flat on
his back.

The men talked for hours on end.

They spoke of their wives and families, their
homes, their jobs, their involvement in the
military service, where they had been on
vacation..

Every afternoon, when the man in the bed by the
window could sit up, he would pass the time by
describing to his roommate all the things he could
see outside the window.

The man in the other bed began to live for those
one hour periods where his world would be
broadened and enlivened by all the activity and
colour of the world outside.

The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake.Ducks and swans played on the water while
children sailed their model boats. Young lovers
walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every colour
and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen
in the distance.

As the man by the window described all this in
exquisite details, the man on the other side of
the room would close his eyes and imagine this
picturesque scene.

One warm afternoon, the man by the window
described a parade passing by.

Although the other man could not hear the band -
he could see it in his mind's eye as the
gentleman by the window portrayed it with
descriptive words.

Days, weeks and months passed.
One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring
water for their baths only to find the lifeless body
of the man by the window, who had died
peacefully in his sleep.

She was saddened and called the hospital
attendants to take the body away.

As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man
asked if he could be moved next to the window.
The nurse was happy to make the switch, and
after making sure he was comfortable, she left
him alone.

Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one
elbow to take his first look at the real world
outside.

He strained to slowly turn to look out the window
besides the bed.

It faced a blank wall.

The man asked the nurse what could have
compelled his deceased roommate who had
described such wonderful things outside this
window.

The nurse responded that the man was blind and
could not even see the wall.

She said, 'Perhaps he just wanted to encourage
you.'

Epilogue:
There is tremendous happiness in making others
happy, despite our own situations.
Shared grief is half the sorrow, but happiness
when shared, is doubled.
If you want to feel rich, just count all the things
you have that money can't buy.

Silhouette Part 2

I spent a good part of the weekend learning to use the Designer Studio Software with my Cameo. It was well worth the effort. I am now importing SVGs with ease and cutting, resizing, etc. with good results almost every time. It is becoming more intuitive.  I am going to be more likely to take on more complicated things because the machine does a lot of the work that I used to avoid. I am impressed that it has consistency that the other machines lacked. It is much, much more precise.

I am finding out that Papertrey cardstock (and I have a ton) doesn't cut as easily as SU or other brands. If the item is intricate I cut the PTI card twice. I love the accuracy of cutting twice unlike previous machines I used.

Pinterest gave some hints to give my mats new life by washing an overused one and then using repositional glue to make it sticky again. If you do this, be sure to allow it to set 24 hours and use scrap paper on it the first 2 times you use it to make sure it is not too sticky. I like to use several mats when cutting so I can get the next one pre-loaded and keep my assembly line going.

In the previous post I did not mention the Silhouette Online store and have to say that they have great things at good prices when you are looking for files.  That $10 download store card that you get with the machine is great. The first few days I wanted the ease of buying and having it automatically show up in my library. I expected that importing would be complicated, but fortunately once you have done it it is quite simple.

Once I find a good place to store my photos, I will start linking pictures of what I make.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Favorite Cutting File Sites (so far)

http://birdscards.com

http://quietfiredesign.ca

http://misskatecuttables.com

SU Sticker Request

If you don't use the clear slick stickers that come with your SU stamps, would you consider sending them to me, please? My students enjoy using them in their own card making. Email me at rubyslippers@neofast.net. I will happily pay postage.

Friday, September 6, 2013

New Favorite Treat

If you love lemon meringue pie, try the Dairy Queen Lemon Meringue Pie Blizzard. It is now in my top 3. My other favorites are the Pumpkin Pie Blizzard and the Choco Cherry Blizzard.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Non-Stamping Money Saving Tip

I love really good quality exfoliating products and was willing to shell out dollars to get a very fine abrasive for my face. I learned the hard way that the cheap stuff, made with fruit pits can cause skin problems. The shards of pits can be sharp and can invade a pore that is open and can take literally years to work it's way out. My dermatologist figured out what was going on and said it was not uncommon.  I was paying about $25 for a bottle of nice exfoliator when I read in a magazine that Queen Latifah said her dermatologist confirmed what her grandma told her--that baking soda is the best exfoliator out there. I keep a plastic jar of it in my shower, sealed tight, and with a couple of silica gel packets (like come with medicines to absorb moisture) tossed in. Use about 2 t. on your wet hand in the shower and lightly rub your face and upper neck with it. If your skin is very sensitive, don't rub hard until you find out how much you can take as it is a fine but concentrated exfoliator. I have found it does 2-3 times better job than my expensive stuff. I like what it does for my legs and feet, too.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Pros/Cons (so far) with my Silhouette Cameo

Pros:

Not a huge footprint. Even though I got the bigger one it is only 6 1/4" wide so it sits right on the edge of the right side of my computer desk.

Not nearly as noisy as previous machines.

Good grids and rulers for positioning. I find it much easier than anything I have had.

Definitely cuts smoother.

*Probably my favorite thing is that I can make cuts of all my dies in black, scan them, and load them in the computer.  AND---I won't be buying plain outline dies anymore. I will still want some of the more intricate ones (see below)

My second favorite thing is that you can make a cutting file for any stamp you own and you get to choose if you want it the size of the stamp or bigger.

You can put everything on disc so you never lose it. I have not done this yet (fingers crossed).

Much easier to replace blades. No adjusting necessary, just pop it in.

Price--if you can get it on sale. I feel it will soon be paid for since I am selling dies and will be buying fewer dies.

It has made some of my old stamps feel new again!

Good tech support for all your questions and they answer them quickly.

Easy to dust. It is smooth without little places to collect dust.



Cons:

There is a learning curve.

Initially learning where to store things on the computer was annoying to me.

You will find some download purchases a real deal and others not so much.

I think the Designer Software should have come with it from the beginning.

Intricate dies like doilies are harder to get to look nice and cut completely. They also cut very slowly.

For me, the original eraser feature wasn't all it was cracked up to be. I have not tried the Designer Edition one yet, but I hear it is better.

There is a more extensive manual you can download, but it is much easier to watch lots of You Tube tutorials. Sometimes it is hard to find an answer to something but I have found tech support to be just excellent and fast.


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Silhouette Part 1


So, I decided to take the plunge again. I have owned a Cricut and a Slice in the past. They worked alright for the technology available at the time. I have been thinking about a Silhouette for a couple of years, but truly was afraid it would be too complicated for me. When it went 30% off for a day this summer at a site I use, I decided to take the plunge. I knew I had 2 weeks of vacation coming and committed to an hour total per day of trying to learn to use it, if only in 5 minute increments to save my sanity.

I will have to say, it turned out better than I thought. I was able to make more progress in 30 minutes than I expected to make in several hours. By the third or fourth day I was using basic functions fairly well, but still having a bit of trouble remembering the order of the commands (still do now and then).

By the time I had had the machine a month, I realized that I was going to need the Designer Studio Software and when it went on sale at Overstock.com, I purchased it. Warning here--it took over 2 weeks to arrive and I just got it yesterday. I am just beginning to learn it. The reason I got it was because I see so many cute SVG files for sale or free that I knew I wanted to add the option to download those too.

The files from Silhouette are about 99 cents each, extremely easy to download and use and store, and best of all you can resize anything!

Tomorrow I am going to post the pros and cons that I see so far.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

I am Bringing this Blog Back to Life!!

Even though I have run out of space for pictures, I figure I can link pictures when I need to. This blog is now going to be my multipurpose blog, although bitsofseaglass.blogspot.com will still be up and running, also.

This blog will now be for stamping, stamping tips, all kinds of tips, musings, and ideas. I don't keep a journal, so this will be it. I am even going to open comments back up after years of having them closed.

Stay tuned!