Thursday, June 27, 2013

Free Online University Courses!

Did you know that you can take university courses online for FREE? Well, I didn't - at least not until I discovered Coursera, " education company that partners with the top universities and organizations in the world to offer courses online for anyone to take, for free" and believes " connecting people to a great education so that anyone around the world can learn without limits." How totally too cool is this???

The first course that caught my eye was Diabetes: Diagnosis, Treatment and Opportunities through UCSF. As the granny of a lovely 12-year-old Type 1 diabetic, I'd like to know all I can about diabetes and am especially interested in Week 5: Frontiers/New Horizons, where I hope to learn about treatment options that may be available in the not-too-distant future. But this course doesn't start until October so I found two more to take in the meantime.

Right now, I'm taking The Social Context of Mental Health (University of Toronto) and will start Nutrition and Physical Activity for Health (University of Pittsburgh) mid-July. I wanted to get a feel for the learning platform and easily found many courses I'd love to take - and it was really hard, but I limited myself to just the two (so far...).

The site is pretty easy to figure out - if I can do it, so can you! I can either view the lectures online or download the videos for later viewing. One huge advantage to watching online is that the viewer allowed me to adjust the speed and I could race through the lectures. Beings I can listen faster than the normal video speed and can only watch online before 5am (bandwidth restriction), this was great! But downloading for future viewing is even better because I don't have to be up so early so often and can more easily pause and take notes.

There's also a forum for class discussions, which I will probably use minimally. After just a couple of days, there are already an overwhelming number of posts and I don't foresee myself taking the time to read through more than a handful. So I hope the other students use super-clear thread titles.

If you'd like to learn from topnotch instructors from big name universities, check out Coursera courses. Most courses are in English (currently 363 spread across 25 subject areas!) but there are a few in other languages, as well. You can either fully participate (discussions, homework, etc.) or just audit the course - you're choice. If you do turn in assignments and complete the course, you'll get a certificate of completion.

What are you waiting for?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Homemade Christmas Cards & June Christmas Prep Report

Homemade Christmas cards & matching envelopes.
Unless you get them on sale after Christmas, buying Christmas cards can be unnecessarily costly. You can save money by making your own at home. Either opt for a simple letter-style greeting on colored paper or get more elaborate with stickers or iron-on fabric motifs.

More homemade Christmas cards.
I used heat-n-bond, a widely-available fusible web, to adhere fabric motifs to folded card stock that I had cut to fit envelopes I bought in bulk at a thrift store. Then I used a permanent marker to create a dashed outline around the shapes. Add a personal greeting inside and you're done - inexpensive, custom Christmas cards! And I decorated the envelopes, as well. How cute and clever (and simple!) is that?

As for the June Christmas Prep Report - besides getting a jump-start on cards, it's basically the same old, same old. I did have a few gift-giving occasions over the past month and it was so nice to be prepared!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

How to Accomplish Any Goal

What can we all learn from a college student? How about how to accomplish our goals? The following story came to me in an email newsletter from Morna McEver Golletz at the International Association of Professional Quilters and I just had to share (reprinted with permission, btw).

The 1977 Granada

With traveling so much in May, the weeds got ahead of me. Way ahead of me! Weeding is not a chore I enjoy. I'd much rather sit outside and enjoy the fresh air and read or take a walk. About this time I found a note from a young man in my neighborhood looking for work so I gave him a call. He was off from college and wanted to earn extra money. He has a big goal. He was the recipient of a 1977 Granada, a classic car. Only problem was the car needed some cosmetic work that he and his dad could do and he needed to buy insurance. 

What did I learn from this young man?

1. Knowing your why is huge. Tim, that's the young man's name, said he needed the car because it would make the right impression. It was an impression that he wouldn't get with the family's old pick-up truck. 

2. Create a plan and work the plan. Tim showed up at my house with calendar pages for May through August printed out. He knows how much money he needs to make to maintain the car. He has the calendar filled in with odd jobs ranging from yard work to dog walking so he can accomplish that.  

3. Set deadlines so you can work toward your goals. Tim plans to take a "lovely young woman" out on June 16th, so he's got a deadline. He wants that good impression. He has other deadlines along the way, but that's the first one. 

4. Look for options and ask for help. Tim has outlined how much money he needs to make, only it will take the summer to make enough to pay the insurance. (That's not counting on the money for gas!) To meet his goal, he had to look at other options. His older brother, after reviewing the plan, is loaning Tim the money for the insurance. The older brother considers it a good risk.   

5. Don't forget yourself. When Tim was setting his calendar, he put in the fun activities he had planned so that working toward his goal didn't consume all his time. It's easy for those of us who work for ourselves to finish one task and then jump right into the next.

While I could see all the specifics of a good business plan here, what was most fun for me was the joy that Tim had in telling me about the car, how he was fixing it up, and the impression he knew it would make. It was a good reminder for me about looking for the joy in my goals. 

Now I've got to keep a lookout on the 16th to see the car tooling up the road. 

Morna McEver Golletz is the founder and CEO of the International Association of Professional Quilters, an association to help quilters, fiber artists and other creative arts entrepreneurs build business success. Her weekly e-zine offers tips, techniques and inspiration to help you craft business success from your creative arts passion. You can sign up for a F.R.E.E. subscription at

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

How to Live on 24 Hours a Day Conclusion

Well, this is the final post on How to Live on 24 Hours a Day by Arthur Bennett. But if it's the conclusion, why is it the preface to the book? Because Mr. Bennett says in the preface that it should be read last - so I obliged.

To read the entire book, just click on the How to Live on 24 Hours a Day label, below.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

A Bit of Father's Day History

Best dad ever!

The celebration of Father’s Day started from one woman’s simple wish to honor her father. Listening to a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909 inspired Sonora Smart Dodd to pay her father, a Civil War veteran who raised his six children on his own following his wife’s death, the tribute he deserved.

On June 19 the next year, the first Father’s Day sermon was heard in Spokane, Washington. Five decades later, U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed an executive order that set the official celebration of Father’s Day to every third Sunday of June. Then in 1972, President Richard Nixon signed a law that recognized Father’s Day as an annual national holiday in the United States.

Father’s Day goes hand in hand with Mother's Day as a time to honor the unconditional love and care of parents.

Have YOU called your dad today?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Time Management Dangers to Avoid

In this final chapter of How to Live on 24 Hours a Day, Arnold Bennett spells out some dangers that should be avoided, such as:
  • Mind your own business
  • Be flexible
  • Value your time
  • Don't rush
  • Get started!

Now that I'm looking at the main points of the chapter in list form, I see that this is good advice for all areas of life!


For all chapters in How to Live on 24 Hours a Day, just click on the label, below.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Quilts, Quilts, Quilts...Quilts!

Four memorial quilts in all, sent off to Arizona in time for Father's Day. Have I been busy or what?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Would You Rescue a Drowning Child?

Well? Would you? Of course, you say! But do you even know how to tell if someone is in trouble? Can you identify a drowning victim in time to save them? Only if you know what to look for. And you probably DON'T!

Say what? Yes, once again we've all been Hollywooded up. Did you know that what you've seen on movies and television to depict drowning is usually 100% FALSE? You know how they wave and sputter and call for help? NOT TRUE! In fact, except in rare circumstances, doing any of these things is impossible for a person who is drowning.

Excerpt from article on
"Sometimes the most common indication that someone is drowning is that they don’t look like they’re drowning. They may just look like they are treading water and looking up at the deck. One way to be sure? Ask them, “Are you all right?” If they can answer at all—they probably are. If they return a blank stare, you may have less than 30 seconds to get to them. And parents—children playing in the water make noise. When they get quiet, you get to them and find out why."

If you knew all this already, great! But it was news to me. So head on over to Drowning Doesn't Look Like Drowning on to find out what drowning really looks like so that you can be prepared to recognize trouble and rescue the victim - you'll likely have less than a minute to get them out of the water! And please pass the article link on to everyone you know.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Batman Cake!

This is not the normal cake-a-week post but we recently had a 5th birthday party for my favorite little man and I couldn't resist sharing. This cake is just too cool!

To make your own Batman cake, you'll need a special pan. It seems this pan is out-of-print, so to speak, so do a web search and get it from eBay or somewhere. If you need instructions for using the pan and decorating the cake, Wilton has them posted online.

Any of you who have done cake decorating already know how nasty black frosting tastes. Not to worry - Wilton to the rescue! You can buy black ready-to-eat in a tube (got mine at WalMart). Don't know how Wilton did it but it really does taste ok. And if you're not in the mood to make any of your own icing, you can buy it all pre-made. And they have screw on decorator tips that fit right on the tubes! How clever are they? Thanks Wilton!