Wednesday, November 23, 2011

10 Reasons I am Thankful . . .

Photo collage by Karen Balvin, Sunlitway Photography (
Thanks, Karen!

Aren't grandkids the greatest?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Live to Be 100: Should You Take Baby Aspirin Every Day?

Aspirin therapy - yes or no?
The November 2011 issue of Reader's Digest has 12 tips on how to live to be 100 (see page 187). Number six advises asking your doctor about taking a single 81 mg low-dose aspirin to help prevent heart attack, stroke and cancer. The article also cautions that aspirin use has risks, so be sure to consult your doctor BEFORE starting.

Then I read a September 2011 Costco Connection article on how to make your real age younger (page 37 - and yes, I'm behind on my reading) which states, "If you're over the age of 40 (women) or 35 (men), take two baby aspirin (162 mg total) at breakfast; just make sure to get  your doctor's approval first."

Ok - so which is it? One or two? I'm well over 40 and have been taking one baby aspirin each morning for quite some time. Do I now need to double up? If so, no problem because it's already a habit.

But wait! Further research online turns up some interesting info at the Mayo Clinic website. According to Daily Aspirin Therapy: Understand the Benefits and Risks, "You should consider daily aspirin therapy only if you've had a heart attack or stroke, or you have a high risk of either. And then, only take aspirin with your doctor's approval."

What? I get the second sentence but have not previously heard the first. So do I have a high risk for heart attack or stroke? No. And what about cancer prevention? The Mayo Clinic article doesn't even mention that. It does address stopping aspirin therapy, however, and this may be even more important! In answer to what happens if you stop taking aspirin every day, the article goes on to say that “. . . stopping daily aspirin therapy can have a rebound effect that may increase your risk of heart attack or stroke.”

Are you kidding me? Is this a case of damned if I do and damned if I don’t? What happens if I just miss a day or two? Will that trigger the rebound effect that increases my risk? Or does it take longer? Hmm. Well, beings I have my doctor's blessing to take one baby aspirin each day, I'll continue on with that. But I guess I need to start taking it when I’m away from home, as well. And the next time I go in, I'll ask if I should up my daily intake to two.

So, what about you? Have you talked to your doctor about whether or not you should take baby aspirin every day?

Friday, November 18, 2011

New Hairdo - the Big Reveal!

Finally! Some photos of my SHORT hairdo taken with my daughter's cell phone the day of the "correction." I'm also re-posting the before picture from my original DIY hair donation post for comparison. And if you missed the backstory on this new do, you can get the scoop in my DIY Hair Donation Update.

Having short hair has been kind of fun (except it's a little cold - I probably should have done this in the spring). I've gotten mixed reactions to this new look but even the naysayers seem to have gotten used to it now. Mostly folks commend me for sacrificing my hair to help some woman I will never meet who has lost hers while battling cancer. Well, that was exactly the point. And I'll do it again when it regrows if I'm not too gray by then to be eligible.

Before hair donation.

After hair donation.

So . . . what do you think?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Blogging for Beginners by Felicia A. Williams

Old cover . . .

Blogging for Beginners Make Money Blogging is a new eBook just released by Felicia A. Williams that gives a newbie basic info and techniques to be a successful blogger and earn money blogging. For those who don't know, Felicia is a full-time blogger/writer that I "met" online a couple of years ago. Since that time, I’ve become a faithful follower of No Job for Mom, the little slice of cyber-heaven where Felicia shares what she’s learned to help others “free themselves from the rat race in order to have a more fulfilling life . . .”

Read Blogging for Beginners Make Money Blogging to learn everything you need to know to, well, make money blogging. In classic Felicia-style, you will find no tricks, gimmicks or get rich schemes. What you will find is clearly presented, solid information on setting up your blog, choosing blog topics, posting frequency, search engine optimization and much more.

NEW cover!!!
So what are you waiting for? For just $9.98 you can grab yourself a copy of Blogging for Beginners Make Money Blogging and be on the road to success! (And yes, that image is an affiliate link but I would still have gladly written this post without it. After all, if Felicia were a rock band, I would be her biggest groupie!)

Please note: This post was updated 11/18/11 to reflect the new title. It's the same great info but with an updated cover that gives a clearer indication of the contents.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Goodbye ArtFire

After reexamining my goals and evaluating the numbers, I’ve decided to let my Wilderness Crafter ArtFire studio go. I’ve enjoyed selling there but spending more time and money to maintain the studio just doesn’t make sense. While the site is easy to use and very seller-friendly, my sales volume does not justify the monthly fee - and I really never wanted to have a handcraft “business” anyway.

I don’t remember how I found out about ArtFire but it was shortly after I started selling on Etsy. My primary goal at both venues was to destash my excess (mostly vintage) craft books and supplies "so my daughter never has to" with the secondary idea of maybe unloading some of the excess handcrafted items I’ve made over the years. Although I usually dig into my stash to make Christmas and birthday gifts, there is a limit to the amount of handcrafted stuff that even I can off on family and friends.

When I joined ArtFire, the basic account was free. I didn’t have access to a lot of the cool seller features but the basic studio more than met my needs. Then about 13 months ago, I signed up for a special pro-seller rate when they started to transition their business model toward paid seller accounts only. I figured I’d give it to the end of 2011 and then make a decision on whether to continue. Well, it’s not quite the end of the year, but the correct decision is obvious.

So How Will I Destash Now?

So how will I continue “destashing my stuff now so my daughter never has to” if I close my ArtFire studio? Well, I still have my Etsy shop although it’s set to vacation mode indefinitely. I had such trouble signing up there (I’m sure it was me, not them) that I don’t want to delete my account just yet. As Etsy’s business model includes listing and transaction fees but no monthly fee, it won’t cost me anything to take my time on this decision.

As mentioned in a previous post on hobby clutter, I also belong to a few Yahoo Groups on which I can list sewing/quilting/craft supplies and materials. Posting to these groups has proven to be a much more expedient way to find new homes for my excess stuff. It’s a little tricky to keep track of all the posting rules, however. For instance, one group prohibits the sale of items “related to business.” Although I never intended to be in “business” selling crafting supplies or handcrafted items, apparently I will NEVER be able to post any item to this particular group that was ever listed on ArtFire. In addition, any material that was used in any handcrafted item ever offered for sale in any venue is prohibited - even if the handcrafted item was simply made to use up my stash and not originally made to be sold.

So What Have I Learned?

I think the biggest lesson from nearly two years with ArtFire is that it is easy to get distracted from my real goal. If my goal were to sell handcrafted items and crafting supplies, it would have been time well spent. Since my goal is to simply reduce 40+ years of accumulation to a manageable level, there are better ways to go about it. Add in the fact that there are usually a couple of months each year that shipping is nearly impossible because I’m not willing to snowshoe a book or pattern 5+ miles so I can get to the car to drive 20 miles to drop it in the mail. So part of the year, I need to pull back and focus my attention elsewhere (like on drinking hot chocolate in front of the fire).

The second lesson I learned is that the simplest solution is often the best (and I think this holds true in most areas of life). Posting items on sites like ArtFire and Etsy is very time consuming, as you have to take, edit and upload multiple photos, and write detailed, creative descriptions. When you have mostly singular items for less than $10 each, it’s a lot of work for little return. Posting to the Yahoo Groups is easy, however. Potential buyers usually know exactly what you’re selling and don’t require sales copy or photos from every angle.

So Goodbye ArtFire! It’s been fun but I’m moving on. And if anyone has suggestions for groups or sites on which to list sewing/quilting/craft stuff, please leave a comment and let me know.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Back to Selling Used Books Online

Sell Used Books Online - Quick Cash, Free Shipping, Free Quotes!I can’t believe it’s been over two years since I last posted about selling books online! It’s become something I just do every once in a while when the declutter bug bites and I guess I forgot to write about it. Well, Felicia over at posted about selling old books on Amazon and there’s been quite a discussion going on. There’s always something new to learn there and I am so happy to have found out about!

The beauty of, other than the recommendation by another commenter on, is that there’s no minimum dollar amount or number of books. Many of the buyers require that you have at least $10 worth of books to sell, which can be a deal breaker if your books are only bringing in a dollar or so each and you can’t find enough that you want to get rid of to reach the $10 minimum.

My Book Sales Experience

Over that past two years, I’ve shipped off several small boxes of books and have been paid by check, through PayPal and with credit. Although the amounts received are small, the buyer provides a prepaid shipping label so there’s no cost involved. To date, I’ve sold mostly to Powell’s because they require “a minimum of 3 books or $5.00 of credit,” which works best for me as I rarely find $10 worth of books to sell at one time. I’ve also transitioned from going for the cash to opting for credit with Powell’s because I get more for my books and I’ll always be able to spend it to get books that I want for free.

Now that I know about Cash4Books, I have another option for my book sales. I’m so pleased about this that I’ve added a graphic link to this post and to the sidebar (both affiliate, btw). I’ve already found one book to sell and am on the lookout for more. But if I don’t find any, they’ll take just the one! How cool is that?

So far my online book-selling experience is just with sites that buy titles based on their needs at the time - and there are MANY. Check out to compare offers from numerous sites for your books. As for selling on Amazon? I haven’t tried that simply because they require that you ship within two business days and there is no way I can commit to doing so.

So What’s the Deal with These Oregon Book Buyers, Anyway?

A little thing I find interesting is that Cash4Books is an online used book buying service owned and operated by, which is located in Beaverton, Oregon. Powell’s is in Portland. Beaverton is just a few miles west of Portland. I guess I noticed this simply because I have family in the area. I’ve actually been to the Powell’s store a couple of times, which I highly recommend if you’re ever in Portland, and I’ve driven through Beaverton many times. Obviously this all falls in the insignificance category but is just one of those small-world coincidences that pop up every now and again.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Looking Forward to the Time Change

I am SO looking forward to the time change this year. In previous years, it hasn't mattered to me much, but this year I'm excited! Since I started walking each day before breakfast (which is working out really well, btw), the absolute darkness remaining later and later as the days go by has become a nuisance. And maybe it's even a little bit of a safety issue. There I am, traipsing around out in the woods - yes, I'm on a nice path but when there is no light, rocks just seem to jump out to trip you! And I'd hate to surprise myself and a bear. Highly unlikely one would be out at that time but who knows? Also, I'd really like to eat by 7am, but when it's still too dark to walk without stumbling over rocks until after then . . . Well, let's just say that when 8am becomes 7am in just two more days, I will be thrilled!