I picked up the May 2013 issue of Real Simple Magazine in my doctor's office, and came across an article about how to recycle old CD discs on page 42. They had ideas for using them as reflectors for car headlights, a sun catcher, and some other outdoor decorations.
These ideas are so bad that I had to scribble a warning on the page, telling people not to do that.
Several years ago, CD sun catcher crafts were all the rage. I made some to sell at craft shows. As I was sitting in my craft show booth, the sun began to set. The CD turned to just the right angle and caught the sun’s rays. It reflected the sun light directly into my eyes with laser point accuracy. It hurt like all heck. I saw CD shaped spots in my eyes for the next six months. It was just like do-it-yourself Lasik surgery.
A few months later, I was at the corner of 12th Ave. and Bayou Blvd, watching a red light and waiting for it to turn green. A strong, bright flash of light would appear every few seconds. It was a CD sun catcher swinging in the breeze, hung from a balcony that was a good six to ten blocks away from the intersection. Even at that distance, the reflected light was strong enough to blind drivers and cause a traffic jam.
CD sun catcher patterns should be crossed out of every craft program, book or web site. When I see patterns for these crafts, I try to post a warning about how these crafts can cause eye injury when they are hung outdoors.
If you want to do a CD craft, only use the clear plastic disc that comes on the top of the stack, and is used for packing material. If it’s a real CD, sand the surface with fine grit sand paper and then spray paint the plastic with plastic model kit paint. Metal flake paint will sparkle, but it won’t put your eye out.
I went to go see my new granddaughter yesterday, and noticed that her three-week old bottom was red. I had advised my daughter that when this happens, you need to air out the baby.
I raised my children with cloth diapers. Airing out the baby back then meant loosely pinning or laying the diaper over the important area, and leaving the plastic pants off so that air can circulate around the skin during nap time. My daughter said that since she didn't have any cloth diapers, she had just held the baby with nothing on at all. The urine went all over the place.
If you don't have cloth diapers, the answer to this problem is in the kitchen. Use a kitchen towel. Choose an old one. As long as it's clean, it will do the job. If the baby doesn't roll over, just lay it on the important parts. If the baby rolls in its sleep, use diaper pins to keep it on. If it gets soiled, swish it in the toilet to remove the solids, and then wash it with the rest of your whites.
I know this because when I had children in diapers, and I had one of those days when I didn't get all of the laundry done, and I ran out of clean diapers, I would (oops, don't tell) bundle their bottoms in a kitchen towel instead. Today, kids run to the store. Back then, we had to be more creative.
I bought some kitchen towels for my daughter that look just like diapers. They are woven cotton cloth without all the terrycloth loops. I thought they would make good burping cloths. I used to use cloth diapers to protect my shirt, too.
Towels come in handy during potty training, as well. When my two-year old son had a problem with wetting the bed during nap time, I stopped using a mattress pad, and used a beach towel under the fitted sheet instead. Mattress pads have to be hung out on the clothes line to dry. Beach towels can go in the dryer. I used the old ones. No one complained.
Research has proven that cloth diapers are better for potty training because the wet feeling is motivation to learn. A little extra laundry now means you solve the problem faster.
Disposable diapers have their assets, but they can't do all of the things that a cloth diaper can do. So, in my opinion, all mothers need a basket of kitchen towels and a package of diaper pins to take care of the problems that disposables can't solve.
My thumb isn't green, it's chartreuse. Some things grow well, and others don't. I'm not very good at remembering to water them. When the leaves wilt, I usually remember. Some times even that isn't enough.
When I plant flowers in flower pots and hanging containers, I put a piece of florist foam over the hole in the bottom of the pot. It still allows for drainage when the rain soaks the soil, but when I forget to water the pot, it keeps the water from running out of the hole without moistening the dirt.
I don't buy new florist foam. I save foam from cut flower arrangements. It's easy to cut with a sharp knife.
My watering routine is that when I go out on the back porch to drink a glass of lemonade, I dump the ice on a plant when I am done. The ice melts slowly, which gives it time to soak into the dirt. It means that the plant will get a little water every few days, which is better than no water at all.
Sometimes when I write about craft or camping projects, I will recommend using duck tape to hold the parts together. This usually results in a comment telling me that the real name is duct tape.
Actually, duck tape and duct tape are two different products.
Duck tape is waterproof cloth reinforced tape that was originally invented by the navy. Most people think that it's silver, but the real color is battleship gray. That's because it is used on ships.
Duct tape is silver in color. It's manufactured by applying a wind proof adhesive to a thin sheet of aluminum metal. It is used to install furnace ductwork.
Duck is now a brand name for duck tape. Duck brand duck tape comes in a variety of colors.
So when I recommend duck tape, I'm talking about duck tape, not duct tape. OK?
Or as my brother would say "that's just ducky."
Someone told me that furnace filters work best when they are half full of lint. To make your filters last a few months longer, vacuum the dust off the top surface. This will make the holes in the filter smaller, allowing them to catch the fine particles that cause allergies.
Our furnace repairman told me not to buy the allergy filters because they restrict the air flow too much, and strain the motor.
Our vacuum also has a filter that is supposed to be replaced. The newer models have filters that can be washed, and this is a feature I will look for when I replace what I have now. In the meantime, the filter life can be lengthened by blowing air through the filter in the opposite direction. Use a shop vac, and set it on exhaust. Use the narrow tube attachment and blow air from the inside to the outside. This will expel some of the dirt in the filter, allowing it to be used a while longer.
Both types of filters will need to be replaced eventually, but this will let you use it twice as long, saving a little money, and reducing the amount of trash you generate.