Thursday, May 31, 2012

Yes, Small Things DO Add Up

"We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee."
- Marian Wright Edelman

Friday, May 25, 2012

More About Free Kindle Books on Amazon

Yes, I'm still in a downloading frenzy but I've gotten smarter about it. As I said in previous posts, there are hundreds of free ebooks every day and all you have to do is find them.

One way that I've found to make this task easier and more manageable is to check the free Kindle book lists posted on each day. That way, I'm not wading through a huge list and the books are nicely labeled, so I don't even have to read the description on some. For instance, I don't read horror, so if a book is of that genre, I just skip to the next.

My initial strategy for books that might be of interest was to read the description and then the reviews, and if the book sounded worthwhile, I'd download it. Well, anyone can publish now and friends and family will likely say nice things so I've wasted quite a bit of time on substandard fiction.

My new strategy? Take the time to use Amazon's cool Look Inside feature. Duh. It's not available for every book and doesn't do a bit of good on some but should still save me plenty of time and frustration.

For most books, Look Inside provides enough of a sample to get a good feel for the writer's style and ability. Where I've run into problems is with children's books where the preview often shows little more than the cover. Well, when I'm reading to Wyatt on my Cruz, having the text and pictures on separate pages doesn't work because we can only see one page at a time instead of two, like in a real book. Anyway, that's a small problem.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Do You Own Your Home?

Most folks consider themselves homeowners if they're buying a home. A minority don't think they own their home until the mortgage is completely paid off. Well, as someone with nearly four decades of homeownership experience, I hate to be the bearer of bad news but the truth is, you NEVER own your home. In reality, at least in part, your home owns you.
Say what?
As I explained in Does Your Home Own You? published recently on Penny Thots, homeownership is a two way street. When you own your home, you have a wonderful freedom that you'd never get as a renter. However, you are also responsible for every home-related expense that comes along. In addition, you can't just walk away. If your family size increases or decreases, if you want or need to relocate, if _____ (you fill in the blank), you have to figure out what to do with your home.
"No problem!" you say. "I'll sell it or rent it out!" Been there, done that and yes, those are both options. But there are a lot of things that can go wrong in either scenario. (Ask me how I know.)
So what's the point of this downer post, anyway? Am I against homeownership? Do I just want to discourage the American dream? Absolutely not! Just be forewarned that not all your days as a homeowner will be sunny, so be sure that you're prepared for the commitment and don’t get in over your head.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

How to Build a Good Credit History

My second article at the Penny Thots site, 6 Key Steps to Building a Good Credit History, went live last week and I thought I'd share here, as well. The steps I list are:
  1. Get a Bank Account
  2. Get a Steady Job
  3. Get Some Credit
  4. Make All Your Payments on Time
  5. Keep Your Credit Card Balances Low
  6. Monitor Your Credit
Under the third step, Get Some Credit, I suggest three ways to do so:
  • Get a Credit Card on Your Own
  • Get Added to a Credit Card Account
  • Get a Co-signer

Now, for my readers here, I'd like to clarify. I am NOT suggesting that anyone co-sign any loan - EVER. I don't care who it is or what it's for. NEVER CO-SIGN.

And I'd also recommend against adding anybody to an existing credit card account, except MAYBE under extremely limited and tightly controlled circumstances.

So why did I add those things to my article at Penny Thots? Simply because those are ways to build a good credit history, which is the subject of the article and I want to be thorough. I guess now I need to work on an article or two warning against co-signing and adding someone to your credit card account.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Another Memorial Quilt Done

I just finished the fourth and final custom memorial quilt for a nice lady in Texas. She wanted three quilts made for her daughters from her husband's shirts and then decided to get one for his parents, as well. How sweet is she?

For more info on how you can create quilts from clothing or have one made, please see my Custom Memorial Quilts website.

If you'd like the Loving Arms Wrap Quilt pattern, an instant-download PDF for this quilt design is now available! Just click the link to go to the purchase page on

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Kindle Library Warning!

I've created a nightmare! I've been downloading free Kindle books like crazy the past few months and had nearly 200 in my library. Great - so now I have ebook clutter to go with the rest of the clutter in my life, which I want to clean up not add to...

Anyway, fair warning - when downloading Kindle books, follow the one in, one out rule before it's too late and you have dozens of pages with 15 books each with no rhyme or reason. Sure, you can sort by date and author, but if there's a way to categorize the online library, I sure can't find it.

But won't my books be lost?

The short answer is no. What I did discover in all my searching for a way to organize my unwieldy online library is that deleting books there does not affect what's already on my Kindle for PC or my ereader. All it does is prevent me from re-downloading the books to one of my devices (unless I buy the deleted title again, of course).

I LOVE Amazon but...

Seems there should be a better way to manage my Kindle library online. I love that Amazon provides all this free so I am not complaining but it would be nice if there were a way to categorize books in the online library and an easier way to delete titles.

As near as I can tell, and I've looked so if I missed something PLEASE let me know, there is no way to actually organize the books in the online library. With Kindle for PC, I can create "collections" and group like titles together, like cookbooks, fiction, crafts, etc. I'm not sure about the actual Kindle ereader as I have a Cruz with the Kindle app and don't seem to have any organizing options there.

Deleting books is cumbersome.

But the biggest problem with the online library is that deleting unwanted titles is so darn cumbersome. You'd think there'd be a check box by each book that then allowed you to delete multiple books at one time. But there's isn't. Not only that, when you do delete a title, instead of taking you back to the same place in your library, you go back to the beginning and have to navigate through by page or re-sort by date or author. All this wouldn't be a problem if I had caught on earlier and implemented the one in, one out rule. But trying to go through and delete titles one by one when they're scattered across 13 pages takes a LOT of time.

One in, one out...

So from now on, I'm going to delete books as I download more. Maybe not one for one, but close. In the meantime, I'll keep plugging away at getting my current mess cleaned up. I'm down to just over 100 titles now so have made some progress. There are several books, like the dictionary and user guide, that I will never delete. But I sure don't need multiple copies of read-once-only fiction cluttering up my life. After all, one of the reasons I switched to ebooks is to cut clutter.