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Neti Pot?

April 22, 2009

Neti Pot, originally uploaded by sarybow.

So do you use one? My mom swears by it but to be completely honest it “icks” me out. The idea of pouring water into one nostril and having it come out the other… I don’t know I think the sensation would freak me out and I would have a hard time sticking with it. On the other hand I’ve had sinus problems since college and I ended up feeling sick at least one or two days a month. The only medicine (and I’ve tried MANY) is 12 hour Sudafed. Now that you have to get it from behind the pharmacy counter here in the US I wonder if I’m going to be flagged as a potential meth maker… But even the Sudafed doesn’t work if I don’t take it as soon as the symptoms start.

And I don’t relish the idea of being dependent on a drug for the rest of my life so in theory the Neti Pot sounds great. If you don’t know what is and what is does let me tell you. It’s a little pot (pictured above) that is used to irrigate your nasal cavity. You use lukewarm slightly salty water to gently cleanse the nasal passage. The idea is that the water washes away pollen, mucus, viruses and bacteria that would cause you to get congested or sick. It’s been used for thousands of years in places like India but has recently grown in use in Europe and the US.

You take your Neti pot filled with the warm water and insert the spout into your nostril. Tip your head so the water pours out your other nostril. You want to choose a Neti pot that has a spout that will plug your inlet nostril to eliminate leaking from that nostril. You must be relaxed and breathing through your mouth for this to work. But if you are then it should gently flow through in a couple of minutes. Then you repeat on the other side. You could use it as needed although most people agree it’s most effective if you use it daily. I imagine daily use would also make you a lot more comfortable with the process.

I still don’t know. Is there anyone using it? What was the first time like?

What’s Been Going On

April 11, 2009


I’ve been pretty busy lately. I’ve really gotten into quilting and after completing a baby quilt I started one for myself. Shortly after that J. decided he really wanted a quilt for his birthday. I only had about a month from start to finish so every spare minute has been spent on it and blogging has fallen by the wayside.

I think it was worth all the effort and J. can’t wait to lounge on the couch with it.

Lush Moss Quilt Front

What do you think?

Homemade Beef Jerky

April 9, 2009


Homemade Beef Jerky, originally uploaded by kertong.


Today we are talking about how we made homemade beef jerky over at the Simple, Green, Frugal Co-Op, head on over and check it out!

But It’s Only One Dollar

April 2, 2009

Quarter Life Crisis, originally uploaded by robots4dancing.

I’m woefully behind on my blog posting and I can only blame the economy for my absence. You see I’m a traveling salesperson and when sales are down I’m expected to travel more. You know get out there and seal the deal! Usually I try to strike a balance between travel and being home but somehow I ended up with over two weeks of almost straight travel. It was insane! I made it home a couple nights only to drive hours and hours early the next mornings to make it where I needed to be. I started in Philly, went as far west as Pittsburgh, as far south as Richmond and as far north as Portland (Maine that is) and lots of places in between.

Anyway along the way I heard a story that I would like to share. There is a woman some of my colleagues know who has a reputation for being cheap, like super cheap, like pinch a penny until it waves a white flag in surrender cheap! One day she was checking out of a hotel and when she looked at her bill she saw she had been charged for a couple local calls. She briskly informed the desk clerk that as a rewards member she should not be charged for those calls. The clerk hemmed and hawed (my colleague thought the clerk didn’t know how to remove the charges and was hoping the lady would just drop it). Finally as a last ditch attempt to get her to pay the bill the clerk said “but it’s only a dollar, it’s not a big deal” Well she looked at him and took a deep breath as she held out her hand and said “then just give me a dollar and we’ll call it even” The clerk said he wouldn’t do that and she said “but it’s only a dollar.” The clerk managed to figure out how to take the charges off after that! You see when it’s someone else’s dollar it’s easy to think it is insignificant, such a paltry amount but when it’s our dollar well that’s just different.

In this economy we are all counting our dollars, perhaps even our spare change and we need to remember to have the same regard for someone else’s money as we do our own.

Take a Minute to Laugh Today

March 18, 2009

Nocturne, originally uploaded by kennymuz.

The TV is a buzz about the multi-million dollar bonuses AIG is paying out after receiving billions of dollars in bail out money. And while it angers me I also realize there is precious little I or even the US government can do about it.

Instead take a look at this Jet Blue commercial poking fun at those high payed CEOs and there super secret seven figure bonuses.

Simple, Handmade, Budget Friendly and Cherished for Life

March 17, 2009

Is that too much to ask of a gift? I truly admire individuals who go all out for major holidays like Christmas but trying to make a dozen or so gifts ready on the same day overwhelms me. Instead I decided to try a year of homemade gifts. It requires a lower work load stretched over the course of a year which gives me time to try and make items truly tailored for the recipient.

My first test was my mother’s birthday on the 9th. I made her a pot holder from a combination of knitting and quilting. Then I sewed the same fabric onto a kitchen towel. You can find the tutorial here. Not the most original idea but it is a useful gift, being “green”, creating items that are useful is important to me. I’d show you a picture except I was in a bit of a rush to get it mailed out in time and completely forgot to take one. The project is very easy and if you don’t knit you could create a simple pot holder from some fabric and batting. It was also very budget friendly. It took maybe 1/8th of a yard of fabric (1/4 yard usually cost a couple dollars), less than a skein of yarn (prices vary widely depending on what you use) and some scraps of batting leftover from my baby quilt. This project is also infinitely customizable, so your loved will get an item that truly fits their style.

J.’s birthday is in April and he was very firm in his desire to get a quilt. I saw this fabric and knew it would be perfect.

Erin Michaels – Lush, originally uploaded by the workroom.

I’m going to make a quilt based loosely on the Love Beads pattern. The circles will be patterned fabric, the majority of the front will be a dark brown solid and the back will be patch work so I can try and use all of the fabric I’ve bought for this project. This fabric is hard to find so it costs a bit more.

The next holiday is my sister’s birthday. My sister has, well, a very unique sense of style so I was a bit stumped and ended up simply buying her some fabric so she could make something.

Inked, originally uploaded by Archymomma.

I’ve seen this turned into purses but I just got my sister a purse and she doesn’t carry them that frequently anyway. I also thought of a pillow but… I don’t know. She will love the fabric and along with some other choices it just screams her to me so I guess I’m afraid of cutting into it versus letting her make something.

With her fabric ordered I started worrying about Mother’s Day. That’s a lot of pressure to find something that fits all my criteria and can be made in time for my mother, step-mother and mother-in-law. I’ve decided on cloth napkins as a simple and beautiful way to encourage them to be a little greener. It’s also going to help me use some fabric I purchased online and didn’t end up loving as much in person. A 1/4 yard makes 3 14 by 14 in napkin and I’m going to take the remaining patterned fabric and use it to decorate solid colored fabric so they will get a total of 6 napkins each. Well I’m doing that for my mother and mother in law, my step-mother is very definitive in her decorating so for her I’m going to make 6 solid colored napkins.

Now I just need to figure out something for Father’s Day and everyone else’s birthday. The Dad’s are hard, well I think it’s usually harder to find gifts for guys anyway! I’m thinking about handkerchiefs and tissue holders but I don’t know that they would use them. I also thought about making them lunch bags and utensil rolls since they both pack their lunches for work everyday. If I went that route I would stick with solid fabrics or simple geometric prints.

Utensil Rolls – unrolled, originally uploaded by mimiwilborn.

Some ideas I’m toying around with for birthdays are purses, camera strap covers, yoga mat bags, rice heat bags, softies, pencil rolls and bath salts. I’ve already fallen in love with a ton of fabric so now I need to make sure I put it to use!

Do you have any ideas for homemade gifts? Do you find yourself making more gifts or purchasing more gifts that are handmade?

Low-budget Basement Chopper

March 15, 2009

Kates’ gas powered bicycle, originally uploaded by

A while ago, I convinced N. that I (J.) needed to get a Whizzer, which is basically one of the original generations of commercially available mopeds. From a practical standpoint, a moped is a really great idea. It allows a person to run a great deal of errands, and get to and from most necessary activities in a highly economical manner; the Whizzer gets well over 100 miles per gallon at 25-30 miles per hour. Pretty convincing argument, no?

Well, like I said, I did manage to convince her (or at least wear her down) and was about to put some money down, when we discovered that the Whizzer could not accommodate two people. From Whizzer, we went to motorcycle. Certainly a motorcycle is still very economical in comparison to most automobiles. However, the question remained in my mind, ‘what would it be like to use one of these unique bikes?’

Well, first of all, these (usually retro-fitted bikes) are really not all that unique, at least in China. Coincidentally, most of the after-market, 2 cycle bicycle engines available are manufactured in China. Second, the number of kits available are not really that plentiful. After a great deal of research (25-30 minutes), I found that there are basically two 2 cycle kits, and about five versions of a rear-wheel drive, 4 cycle kit available. Fortunately for me, that narrowed the search a great deal.

I decided to settle on a 2 cycle kit. Why? Well, there is the (possible) aggravation of having to mix oil and gasoline, but I don’t plan on using this equipment so often that I wouldn’t be able to keep a moderate amount of fuel on hand. Also, the aggravation to cost factor ($200-300 less compared to the 4 cycle engine) is something that I’m willing to deal with.

From here, I don’t have a great deal to report. However, I plan on finding the most retro-looking bike available to get an overall classic-looking ride.

All suggestions and comments are welcome!

Whizzer, originally uploaded by Red Dog 3D.