Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Internet Error Codes: What Do They Mean?

It happens to all of us. We're just surfing along and up comes an error. What do all of those error codes mean? Here's a quick rundown of the most common.

400 - Bad Request - You probably typed in a URL wrong and the server has no clue what you're looking for, or you aren't allowed to have access. Usually, it's a matter of the URL being typed in wrong. Maybe you mixed upper and lowercase letters or something like that.

401 - Unauthorized Request - You tried to get to something on the Web server you're not allowed to play with. In other words, you ain't on the party list.

403 - Forbidden - You can't access the page. You may not have access (it may require a password), or it may be blocked from your domain.

404 - Not Found - The page you were trying to look at was not found on the server. This is probably the most common error you'll come across. What has probably happened is that the Web page you were going to has been removed or renamed.

500 - Internal error - Usually caused by a CGI error. You fill out a form, but the script used to process it is not working properly.

503 - Service Unavailable - The server may be overloaded, down or have other similar problems. Try later.

F4: So Many Uses

There are several uses for the F4 function key located on your keyboard. First of all, you can use it to close any open application. Just make sure the program you want to close is selected, press Alt+F4 and that window will automatically close. Now, if you're using a single application that has many different documents within it, press Ctrl+F4 and just that one window will close instead of the whole program.

You can also use F4 to shut down your computer. Make sure all of your programs are closed and press Alt+F4. That will bring up the "Turn off computer" box and you can proceed with the normal shut down. Pressing Alt + F4 is the same as Start, Turn off computer.

Who knew one little key could have so many important functions?!

Monday, February 27, 2006

Tips for Selecting Spatula's

Setting up a first time kitchen can be quite a task. You don't know exactly what you need and when you do look, there are a billion choices. For a bare bones kitchen here is an item that you will want to have on hand. Please remember when you are making your purchases, don't skimp on the quality. If you spend a little bit more now, you will save a lot of money down the road.

A good silicone spatula is a cook's friend.

Find one that is firm enough that you could use to turn food in a skillet, yet soft enough to use as a scraper for removing food from bowls and dishes.

For super easy clean up, just toss in the dishwasher.

How to Clean Candles

You are having a special dinner tonight and have the table set with your best china and silver.

You go into the closet to find your candles, and when you do find them, they are covered in dust and who knows what else? How are you going to clean them up?

A quick and easy way to clean your candles is to grab some rubbing alcohol and a cotton ball.

Soak the ball with the rubbing alcohol and gently wipe off your candle sticks.

The rubbing alcohol should remove most of the debris to make your candles presentable again.

Tips On Writing Successfully for the Web

Online readers love free information. They scour the Internet daily looking for specific information to solve their problems, help them be successful, live longer or get healthy. You should join the information revolution too! Publish your free, helpful solution-oriented articles to Fred's Head or the Fred's Head Companion.

  1. Make your article scan ready. Your impatient web readers will want important information to jump out at them. Some practical ways to make your text scannable include:

    • headings
    • sub-headings
    • bulleted lists
    • numbered lists
    • easy steps
    • typeface variation

    For example, compelling headlines are considered an art. Are you drawn to the author's article as "How to Write Web Articles" or "5 Tips to Write Winning Web Articles?"

  2. Keep it short. Get and keep the attention of web readers by delivering short messages. You put effort into gaining your web reader's attention; now make their click worthwhile with brief compelling copy in bite sizes. Start with the conclusion. Your readers may not make it to the end of your piece to get it. Web readers don't want to get bogged down in long blocks of text. So get to the point early and use the rest of your article to support that main point.

  3. Make your title sizzle. Dull titles will not capture your readers' interest. It will make your article fade into the sea of other boring articles listed in article banks these days. You have to create a title that will reach out and grab your reader by the collar. Make it short. Create interest. Include the main benefit or solution in your title.

  4. Talk to your target audience. Your information is not for everyone. Avoid generalities. Choose a friend or family member that's interested in your topic. Write your article to them. Writing to a friend will make your copy personable and friendly. You won't come across as a fussy hen, do this, do this, don't do that. You will connect with your readers as a friend giving advice. Your article will do a better job of building credibility for you.

  5. Add substance. Resist fluffing your articles. Include practical, valuable information in your copy. Everyone loses when you don't take the time to impart substance. It increases the reputation of the web being an unreliable source of knowledge. Additionally, lack of substance will block your road to profitable referrals. Do the research and/or draw from your knowledge and experience to illustrate. Your stories and real life examples will meet your reader's need for practical information and connect with their emotion. It's a known fact emotions will move people to action. Whether you desire them to act by signing up or making a purchase, add substance and improve your reader responses.

  6. Make it web professional. Create a more web professional look by using short sentences, then format your page to approximately 65 characters per line. Long stringed sentences that stream from side to side of the web page look visually unprofessional. Select a layout for your article from several short article formats that include the how-to, tips list, question-answer, problem-solutions and interview. Make your introduction and summary short but do add one. Your web readers don't want just a list of boring facts and information. They want to connect with you by reading your personable introduction and practical tips with a definite ending or summary. Remember, excited readers become enthusiastic buyers and enthusiastic buyers will refer your product or service to all their friends.

  7. Don't spice the article with "optimized" keywords to flatter search engines -- this how-to is about how to write successfully for the web, not search engines, after all. Usually, the search engines will follow the links of real readers, who actually liked your content.

You may use these guidelines for all kinds of web copy. The same elements (using keywords, making your article professional, adding substance, keeping it short and making your copy scannable) will improve the quality of your articles. Practice these simple principles and write winning articles to distribute on the web.

If you are interested in writing an article for Fred's Head or the Fred's Head Companion simply submit your material to for consideration.

Spices vs. Herbs: What's the Difference?

By Sam Herbert

Spices and herbs are common in most foods around the world today. Both are used to flavor foods and some for medicinal purposes. Herbs and spices have both been prominent throughout human history. In earlier times, herbs and spices were considered luxuries and only available for the use of the wealthy. Herbs and spices were also traded frequently between nations in medieval times. Many people do not know the difference between an herb and a spice. There are many similarities between the two, and some of the differences are very subtle, but they are still valid.

The essential difference between an herb and a spice is where it is obtained from on a plant. Herbs usually come from the leafy part of a plant, and are usually dried. However, some herbs can be used fresh. Spices can be obtained from seeds, fruits, roots, bark, or some other vegetative substance. Spices are not necessarily as fresh as some herbs can be. Herbs can be found many places around the world, while spices are more commonly found in the Far East and tropical countries. Herbs are considered to have a few more uses than spices. For instance, herbs have been used more frequently than spices in the medical field. Also, herbs can and have been used to augment cosmetics and preserve foods.

Some argue that there is no distinction between herbs and spices, considering both have similar uses. However, a botanical definition reveals that an herb is a plant that doesn^D>'t produce a woody stem. It is common knowledge that in certain areas of the United States, a dried herb is considered to be a spice. This leads to more confusion because if a spice is simply an herb, then there cannot be a difference between the two. However, believing this is ignoring the fact that many herbs tend to be leafy green substances and spices are found in plants that are tropical in nature.

Because herbs and spices have so many uses and are great food flavorings, they have played important roles throughout history. The Portuguese navigator, Vasco Da Gama, sailed to India in search of spices. Even Christopher Columbus described the types of spices available in the "new world" to investors after he landed. Herbs have been used throughout history for medicinal purposes. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), herbology (the study of herbs for medical purposes) has been used for thousands of years.

The debate between herbs and spices is ongoing. Some say that there is no difference, while others maintain that they are both completely different. Most learned scholars will say that the difference between an herb and a spice is found in where the herb or spice is obtained on the plant, and where that specific plant can be found.

Article Source:

Pruning-tips CD a gardening soundtrack

It's always helpful to keep a good pruning book by your side when you trim your trees and shrubs in February and early March. There's a new way to get the pruning guidance you need -- and you can get it while you rake your yard, commute to work, take your daily walk or pick up kids at school.

A new 60-minute CD audio book on pruning covers most of the basics, and is broken down into 19 tracks, each one a minute to five minutes long. Those short but useful segments make it easy for you to pick up where you left off or to again pick up information you found most useful. Each track is accompanied by relaxing music and the soft-spoken voice of Nick Federoff, a master gardener and host of the syndicated radio talk show "Things Green Garden Minutes." The gardener is also author of "Basic Elements of Pruning," a 56-page pocket guide. It was one of his listeners who gave him the idea to put the same information on CD.

The CD segments teach you about the importance of pruning, why timing is tied to new and old growth on plants, the differences in tree shapes, how to root prune and how to select and use tools, including chain saws, axes and hatches. You'll also hear cautions about pruning too much.

The pruning CD can be purchased through or Federoff's Web site at You can also order it by calling toll-free 800-963-9927.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Adjust-A-Spoon Measuring Spoon System

Do you ever tire of fumbling around with a ring of measuring spoons? Well, this Adjust-A-Spoon was designed for you! Made of stainless steel and dishwasher safe, you can slide your way to your desired measurement with what appears to be a minimum amount of hassle. I could definitely see myself replacing my set of spoons with one of these when they finally wear out.

No more weeding through your gadget drawer in search of the correct measuring spoon. This measuring spoon system replaces those spoons with one adjustable spoon. Constructed of brushed stainless steel, they have santoprene inserts for a nonslip grip. Dishwasher safe (top rack).

Click this link to order the Adjust-A-Spoon Measuring Spoon System from Bed Bath & Beyond.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Say "I Love You" In Braille

It's that one day of the year when everyone's talking about love... and AFB has a cute, creative way to celebrate. If you visit AFB's Braille Bug web site, you can e-mail braille love notes (like "I love you") to your friends and loved ones. The recipient of your note will be taken to a page where they can easily decode your message. We think it's a fun, different way to say I love you. Rumor has it Cupid likes it too.

Contributor: Carl Augusto
American Foundation for the Blind's Blog:

Left-Handed Mouse Clickers

Since Windows 98, a feature has been included for changing the buttons on your mouse to help you lefties out there. This feature allows you to replicate the feel of the right-handed mouse (like having the primary mouse click be your pointer finger).

To switch buttons on your mouse to a left-handed configuration in Windows 98 and ME, go to Start, Settings, Control Panel and double click the Mouse icon. On the Buttons tab, choose the left-handed setting under Button Configuration.

For Windows XP users, go to Start, Control Panel, select "Printers and Other Hardware" (if in category view), then Mouse. Go to "Button Actions" and change the Left button action to "Right Click" and the right button action to "Left Click." (Don't be surprised if your user interface looks different. Just check things out, the feature should be there.

Monday, February 13, 2006

How to Chop Onions without Tears

Do you hate cutting onions because they make you "cry"? Here's some ways to prevent that.

  1. Put the unpeeled onion in the freezer.
  2. Leave the onion in the freezer for about ten minutes.
  3. Remove the onion from the freezer and peel it. The onion can now be sliced, chopped, or minced without tears.

Simply keep your onions in the fridge along with other veggies and you will never cry when chopping them - it's that simple!

You can freeze an onion, just prepare like you were going to use it. Pan fry it before cooling and putting into an airtight container and freeze. This stops the onion going mushy when defrosted. Use as you would any other onion.

If you use a sharp knife, there shouldn't be any tears. An onion makes you cry because acid is being released from the onion. Using a dull knife crushes the onion rather than cutting it, releasing far more of this acid into the air.

Onions that have been frozen raw may tend to be slightly mushy after thawing.

Tips On Ladder Safety

Ladders: Type and Use

There are two types of ladders: rigid ladders that can be leaned against a vertical surface such as a wall, and rope ladders that are hung from the top. The steps of a ladder are called rungs, and the vertical members are called stiles. With a bit of agility, one can slide down the stiles without climbing down each rung. Rigid ladders are usually portable.

Rigid ladders are available in many forms, such as:

  • fixed ladder (two stiles joined by several rungs; no moving parts)
  • extension ladder (fixed ladder divided into two or more lengths for more convenient storage; the lengths can be slid together for storage or slid apart to maximize the length of the ladder)
  • step ladder (hinged in the middle to form an upside down V)
  • roof ladder (rigid ladder with large hook at the top to grip the ridge of a roof)
  • hook ladder (rigid ladder with a hook at the top to grip a windowsill. This is the type used by firefighters)

Rigid ladders were originally made of wood, but in the 20th century aluminum became more common because it is ligher. Ladders with fiberglass stiles are used for working on electrical wires, because fibreglass is an electrical insulator and provides additional safety for the workers.

For proper use, a rigid ladder should be leaned at a fifteen degree angle. To put it simply, the foot of the ladder should be a quarter of the height of the ladder or less. At steeper angles, the ladder is at risk of falling backwards when the climber leans away too far. At shallower angles, the ladder may lose its grip on the ground. Ladder stabilizers are available that increase the ladder's grip on the ground.

Rope ladders are used where storage space is extremely limited, or weight must be kept to a minimum. They may have rigid or flexible rungs. Climbing a rope ladder requires more skill than climbing a rigid ladder, because the ladder tends to swing like a pendulum. These are often seen on obstacle courses, or with military equipment, and are far less common than ridge ladders because ridge ladders have many more obvious and useful applications.

Ladderss serve the most basic of functions yet certain aspects of home improvement would be impossible without them. It's amazing to think how difficult many aspects of life would be without such a basic advancement.

The websites and provide more information on ladders and their use.

When should a leaning ladder be used?

Work should be carried out on stable platforms with a proper edge to prevent falls. Ladders should ideally only be used to transport workers from one platform to another. Otherwise, leaning ladders should be used to carry out simple tasks taking no more than half an hour to prevent the risk of fatigue that could cause a fall and potential personal injuries.

Before stepping onto a ladder

  • Make sure you are wearing sensible footwear
  • Wear clothing of a sensible length so that it does not cause you to trip
  • Check that the ladder is in good condition
  • Make sure the ground is level and firm before leaning the ladder
  • Make sure that the surface is not wet or slippery before leaning the ladder
  • Slope the ladder at a safe distance using a suitable device (maximum slope 16 degrees, minimum slope 6 degrees)
  • Secure the ladder at the top so it will not slip
  • Leave around 1 metre at the top so that workers have something to grip
  • Make sure your work area is well lit (if necessary)
  • Keep the area surrounding your ladder tidy to prevent anybody tripping and knocking the ladder

When on a ladder

  • Always grip the ladder when climbing, placing each foot carefully on each rung
  • Do not let go of the ladder - only perform tasks that need one hand
  • Make sure that you have your balance before attempting any tasks while on the ladder
  • Do not overreach when on the ladder, move the ladder closer

Article Source:

Guided Walking Tour of Historic Clifton Neighborhood

Join a local historian Joanne Weeter as we walk the streets of historic Clifton, exploring the historic transportation routes that defined its growth. The Louisville and Shelbyville Turnpike and the Louisville and Frankfort Railroad are part of the historic architecture that make the area so special.

Starting at the Printing House property (1883), we'll explore landmarks like the Three Mile Tollhouse (circa 1830), Widman's Saloon and Grocery (1858), the Stoll Firehouse, and the St. Francis of Rome Catholic School (1930). The tour date is Saturday, March 18, at 11:00 AM. To make reservations for this two-hour tour, contact Mike Hudson, 502-895-2405.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Call Forwarding: A cure for cell phone static

Have you ever noticed that your cell phone works great everywhere in the world except from within your own home? A friend recommended call forwarding from my cell phone to my land line. It may seem high maintenance, but if you miss calls because of poor cell phone reception, it's a simple solution that saves you the aggravation of shouting through static.

If you contact your wireless phone service provider, you can ask them if they provide call forwarding and how to set it up. Call Forwarding is actually included on all Cingular and former AT&T Wireless rate plans. Chances are pretty good that you may be paying for this service already and you just aren't using it!

If call forwarding doesn't work for you, you may want to consider changing your wireless service provider. can tell you which wireless service providers are best for your area through a list compiled of actual user comments and reviews.

How to Keep Lettuce Fresh and Crisp

Here are a few simple ways you can have crisp, fresh lettuce on hand for delicious salads.

  1. Buy the freshest lettuce you can from a farmer's market or a grocery store you know typically has good produce.

  2. Set your produce drawer temperature and humidity controls correctly. For me, this is about the middle level. You don't want your produce drawer temperature set too low or your lettuce will "sweat" and get soggy. If you have it set to high, the lettuce will frost which is equally as tragic.

  3. If you buy iceberg lettuce, wrap it in a paper towel as soon as you get home from the store and place it back in the plastic bag before storing it in the drawer. The really absorbent kind of paper towel works best. With leafy greens, you can follow the same process. I have found though that it is better to remove leafy greens from their plastic bag and wash them before storing them. Use a salad spinner or rinse the leaves and dry them with a paper towel, then place them in a bowl. You can use the same paper towel (now damp, but will dry) to lay on top of the leaves. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid.

  4. Store your lettuce in your produce drawer with plenty of breathing room. Leaves can be bruised if you have lots of other vegetables crammed in with the lettuce.

To save time in the kitchen, wash and tear your greens and make a big salad "base" that you can pick off for a few days during the week. Since you've already made a salad base, change up the salad with different vegetables, chicken, tuna, fresh herbs, etc.

How To Fold a Fitted Sheet

There is a foolproof technique for folding a fitted sheet. These instructions are for a right-handed person; just reverse them if you're left-handed. Now, let's Uncover one of Life's Greatest Mysteries.

  1. Stand holding the sheet by the two adjacent corners of one of the shorter edges. With the sheet inside out, place one hand in each of these two corners.

  2. Bring your right hand to your left, and fold the corner in your right hand over the one in your left, enveloping it. Next, reach down and pick up the corner that is hanging in front; bring it up, and fold it over the two corners in your left hand; the corner that's showing will be inside out.

  3. Bring the last corner up, and fold it over the others; with its right side showing, it should envelop the other three corners.

  4. Lay the folded sheet on a flat surface, and straighten it.

  5. Fold the two edges in so all the elastic is hidden.

  6. Fold the sheet into a rectangle.

  7. Continue folding until the rectangle is the size you want it to be.

Oversink Organizer

I don't like doing the dishes. I really hate when you have to do the dishes and things keep falling off the top of the sink into the dishwater. You know, you reach for a rag and knock the bottle of soap in the water and get splashed? Now you get to change your shirt. There must be a way to get things organized at the sink. There is, and simplehuman has the answer.

The oversink organizer is designed to help keep your cleaning tools organized with various compartments for brushes, a bar of soap or a sponge, and even rings and other small items. A vase-shaped channel can also hold a decorative flower. Fits most double bowl sinks.

  • rust-proof stainless steel & durable ABS plastic
  • unique curved shape designed to fit around a single faucet
  • 5 year warranty
  • depth: 15.2cm x 6" width: 91.4cm x 36"height: 15.8cm x 6.25"

Click this link to purchase the Oversink Organizer:

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Bed Light Scares Monsters Away

It's a known fact that monsters, who like to hide under kids' beds, don't like lights. This is why children have a built-in defense mechanism to turn on lights when they suspect a monster has taken residence beneath their place of slumber.

The Blue Moon Night Light manages this for them by preventing monsters from moving in, and allowing boys and girls to sleep in comfort.

Powered by 14 super bright LEDs, with a life span of up to ten years, it will last long enough until kids grow up to such an age where monsters take no interest.

Now, if your child is not bothered by the little nightly visitors, you can still use this device as one of the coolest night lights to keep you from tripping or stubbing your toes on the bed frame.

Click this link to scare monsters away with the Blue Moon Night Light.

Deliver Your Contacts Via RSS

A challenge faced by us all today is that we are a more transient society both in that we tend to change our jobs more frequently while as consumers we also are changing our preferences more easily. This double effect makes it more difficult for us to stay connected with people in our personal circle of acquaintances even with the advances made by the use of technology. Through no fault of ourselves or our contacts we simply lose some of the information which connects us - a phone number, email or regular mailing address - and then we lose contact. How often have we said "I wonder where John Smith is today?"

RSSContact has been developed as an easy-to-use service to overcome this problem of lost connections to whom you desire to stay connected. Now simply and securely you can stay connected with these individuals or businesses as you choose, sharing that contact information you wish to share. The RSSContact solution is designed to be both system and operating system independent with access to your community of contacts anywhere in the world where you have easy access to the internet.

RSSContact allows individuals to share their personal contact information among family, friends, and colleagues - utilizing the latest in Really Simple Syndication (RSS) technology, including RSS channel creation and aggregation. With RSSContact, you will be able to:

  • Share your personal contact information in real-time with unlimited users.
  • Control who sees your information. Ability to display or hide specific fields.
  • Create RSS feeds that show your business and personal contact card information.
  • Invite your friends, family and colleagues to subscribe to your RSSContact Channel.
  • Automatically display changes and updates to subscribers in real-time.
  • Create contact cards that your subscribers can import into MS Outlook (VCF Card).
  • Bypass problems with firewalls and SPAM filters. Your information gets through.

RSS (Real Simple Syndication) is technology that allows certain programs called RSS readers to download new content from an RSS feed to your computer. RSS feeds are often found on blogs or forums and contain the latest posts to that blog or forum. An RSS feed can also be found on news sites and contains the latest articles found on that site. Just like an email program such as Microsoft Outlook saves you time by checking for new mail for you and downloading it so that you can view it, the RSS reader checks for updates for you and as soon as it sees an update, it will download it to your computer and can notify you by a popup message or dialog, etc.

Follow Your Favorite Comics with RSS

Tapestry Comics: is a directory of feeds for online comics. They help you to keep up to date from within your favourite news aggregator, especially if you happen to miss a few days. Feeds include Dilbert and Peanuts just to name a few.

Note: this site and available feeds are not compatible with screen reading software like JAWS for Windows and Window Eyes. The feeds contain graphic files of each comic.

RSS (Real Simple Syndication) is technology that allows certain programs called RSS readers to download new content from an RSS feed to your computer. RSS feeds are often found on blogs or forums and contain the latest posts to that blog or forum. An RSS feed can also be found on news sites and contains the latest articles found on that site. Just like an email program such as Microsoft Outlook saves you time by checking for new mail for you and downloading it so that you can view it, the RSS reader checks for updates for you and as soon as it sees an update, it will download it to your computer and can notify you by a popup message or dialog, etc.

RSS TV Listings

ktyp's RSS TV Listings is a neat way of using RSS. Here you will find a collection of television channel listings for a large selection of channels sorted by timezone. All these feeds are valid RSS 2.0 that you can stick into your favorite RSS reader or aggregator.

RSS (Real Simple Syndication) is technology that allows certain programs called RSS readers to download new content from an RSS feed to your computer. RSS feeds are often found on blogs or forums and contain the latest posts to that blog or forum. An RSS feed can also be found on news sites and contains the latest articles found on that site. In the case of this site, the RSS feed contains each channel's individual programming schedule. Just like an email program such as Microsoft Outlook saves you time by checking for new mail for you and downloading it so that you can view it, the RSS reader checks for updates for you and as soon as it sees an update, it will download it to your computer and can notify you by a popup message or dialog, etc.

Click this link to visit the ktyp's RSS TV Listings website:

Create a Calendar to Share with RSS is an exciting new way for individuals and organizations to share their calendars with family, friends, and co-workers - utilizing the latest in "Really Simple Syndication" (RSS) technology, including RSS channel creation and aggregation. Not only is RSSCalendar easy to use but it is also easy to administer, and setup is a snap. RSSCalendar is well-suited for a variety of uses, including:

  • Individual calendars
  • Family calendars
  • Company calendars
  • School calendars
  • Organization calendars
  • Team calendars
  • City calendars

The first step is to create a free account. Then add events to your calendar. Finally share your RSS feed link with family, friends or coworkers. Talk about accessability!

Click this link to visit

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The EaseOut Bulb Remover

It happens to all of us. We go to remove a lightbulb, and the darn socket stays there. You got the glass bulb in your hand, you're standing on a stool, and you're wondering if you'll be electricuted if you try to remove the bulb's leftovers. Well, there's a good chance that you will get more than you wanted if you try, so why not get some help.

The EaseOut bulb remover safely extracts broken bulbs, from light sockets. These plastic pliers don't conduct electricity, and their long, sure-grip handle has a built-in safety shield to protect your eyes and hands from glass shards. What a bright idea! Measures 8 1/2 x 5 1/2".

Click this link to purchase the EASEOUT BULB REMOVER from Taylor Gifts.

Professional Adjust-A-Cup with Satin Finish

This seems like a great idea, an adjustable measuring cup. Now we can finally get rid of all those small measuring cups we have lying around.

The Adjustable Measuring Cup Pro in a beautiful satin finish replaces 6 conventional measuring cups. Its sleeve easily slides and seals for liquid and dry ingredients. It is great for sticky ingredients like shortening, honey, or peanut butter.

It is made from durable metal and polymer for a long life and it is dishwasher safe.

Click this link to purchase the Professional Adjust-A-Cup from Kitchen Kapers:

Tips for Easy Lawn Bagging

You picked up some of those great big bags from your local home improvement store, but you are having problems getting your leaves and debris into the bag.

You can make a quick and easy "funnel" for using with your bag. Locate an old plastic laundry basket or tall trash can.

Open up your bag and place the basket/can inside the bag to make sure that it fits.

Once you have confirmed this, simply cut off the bottom of the basket/can. Now place back in the bag and start filling.

Once your bag is full, remove your basket/can and place in the next bag for use.

6.75 oz. Stainless Steel Vinegar Sprayer

I had no idea such a thing existed, but I was sure glad I found it. How many times have you tried to put vinegar on a salad and either didn't get enough, or worse yet got too much? What about fish and chips? It can be difficult, and embarrassing at a crowded table.

This gadget will allow you to spray on just the right amount of vinegar, no more messes, no more embarrassing moments.

Click this link to purchase the 6.75 oz. Stainless Steel Vinegar Sprayer from

Drying Seeds for Gardens

My father has a farm with a rather large garden and I receive several loads of vegetables throughout the year. This is one of the ways we keep the good stuff growing.

  1. Start by wiping them off gently with a soft towel, and place them on a brown paper bag, leaving them in a warm dry area.

  2. Walk by and stir them up by hand 3 or 4 times a day--just move them around a little.

  3. Drying time is normally around 8 hours to prevent molding & rotting when placed in a container for storage until planting time. I usually leave them on the bag for about three days to make sure they are really dry.

  4. Put the seeds in a ziplock sandwich bag, be sure to LABEL EACH BAG with DATE and WHAT TYPE of seed. If it was a SPECIAL apple that made a really great pie, instead of just listing the name such as Red Delicious, you could add a note to remind yourself that this was a special seed for something you may wish to make again.

  5. Keep all the seeds, which can turn into a very large amount after some time.

  6. Plant all the seeds and with luck you'll see some growth.

  7. Choose the seedlings your family will use. Any seedlings left over can be given away to friends and family.

Note: these instructions are for organically grown vegetables, produced from a family garden. I'm not sure of what the result would be using seeds from unknown sources or from hybrids.

I have better results by not washing the seeds.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Answer the Door with Your Phone

For those of us who love technology and who have just a little geek in us the DoorBell Fon is right up our alley.

When a visitor presses the button on the door intercom, the DoorBell Fon rings the phones in your home with a distinctive ring. Pick up the phone to converse with the person at the door. If you are on the phone when a visitor arrives a call waiting tone will sound to alert you. In fact, the DoorBell Fon system will even work without phone service. The system provides the necessary voltage to operate on its own.

Up to 2 intercom stations can be attached. Add the optional lock controller and an electric door strike and you can unlock the door from the phone by pressing "*". Easy 2 wire connection to door intercoms. Works with answering machines, most home PBX phone systems, and phone-company provided services like voice mail. Includes one door intercom station, which measures 3 7/8" X 5 1/8" X 1", and a power supply. A Brass Outdoor Intercom Station is also available.

Normally, after someone presses the button on the outdoor intercom station, the phone will ring and there will be approximately 20 seconds available for you to pick up the telephone and be automatically connected to the doorbox. By installing an add-on chip, you can add a total of 8 rings or about one minute.

This item is rather expensive, but man is it cool! Click this link to purchase or view installation instructions for the DoorBell Fon from

How to Use A Cell Phone As A Baby Monitor

Parents may occasionally find themselves in situations where conventional baby monitors won't work, such as in a large hotel. While you should not use these instructions to leave your baby unattended while you are a significant distance away from the baby, you can use a cell phone as a baby monitor in certain situations where you remain physically close to the baby and are able to offer assistance if necessary. Remember, never leave your baby unattended.

  • Obtain a cell phone with the "mute" feature and preferably the "speaker phone" feature. Top end cell phones such as the Treo 600 / 650 now have these features.

  • Place one standard land line phone or cell phone near the crib. The parent should carry the cell phone with the mute feature.

  • Connect a call between the two phones. Activate the mute feature on the parent's mobile phone.

  • Test the connection to ensure any noise the baby makes is audible on the mobile speaker phone. If you have established the connection correctly, the parent will be able to hear the baby, but the baby will not be able to hear any noise from the parent's phone.

  • Enjoy peace of mind, knowing you will be aware of your baby's safety and comfort even when you have to briefly leave the room.

Reduce the expense of using a cell phone by practicing this monitoring technique during the free nights and weekend minutes most cell phone plans have. Similarly, placing the calls between two cell phones from the same company (e.g. Verizon to Verizon) is often free on many cell plans.

Ensure you have enough power in your batteries to maintain the connection for as long as you need.

On the phone for the monitor side, look in the menu for an auto answer feature. This feature would be located under the Tools or Settings submenu. You may also want to silence the ringer. This would enable you to re-establish a connection without going back to the monitor phone.

Be aware of situations that will create a dropped call such as entering an elevator. If your call is terminated, you will not be able to re-establish a connection.

Never leave your baby unattended.

Simple Ideas to Organize Your Kitchen

The kitchen is often known as the heart of the home. It is the place where we gather to eat, cook, entertain, and spend time with friends and family. As a result, the kitchen can become one of the most difficult rooms to organize and keep clean. Try some of these tips and time savers to organize your kitchen and simplify your life.


  • Clean your countertops and remove any item or appliance you do not use at least once a week.
  • Keep cookbooks to a minimum and store away the ones you don't use on a regular basis.


  • Store pots and pans in a cabinet beneath or next to the stove for easy access.
  • Place baking sheets, cake pans, pizza pans, etc. in a cabinet beneath or next to the oven. You can use a rack to help arrange baking sheets by size and those used most often.
  • Consider suspending pots and pans on a wall or from a ceiling mounted rack to maximize cabinet and storage space.
  • Store microwave safe containers in a cabinet near the microwave. Arrange containers by size and stack one inside of the other if possible. Throw away plastic containers that are no longer used.


  • Store each item so that it is easily handy and visible.
  • Group canned goods together and stack so that their labels can easily be seen. Discard canned goods and jars that have passed their expiration dates or are more than a year old.
  • Place pasta, cereal, rice, and other dried foods in labeled plastic storage containers.
  • Store gravy packets, seasoning packets, etc. in a small, clear plastic tub for easy access.
  • Line up boxes with their 'spines' facing front (like library books).
  • If possible, store the most often used items at eye level.
  • Choose a lower shelf for paper storage and place all napkins, towels and plates together.
  • Store heavy items, such as boxes of soda and juice, on the floor or on a lower shelf.
  • If you have extra wall space, consider hanging up storage hooks, a hand vacuum, a bulletin board or other helpful organizing items.
  • Purchase handy space saving products such as stacking containers, caddies to store foil and wax paper, and sturdy baskets for onions, garlic and potatoes.
  • If you have school-age children, create a snack shelf of parent-approved treats.


  • Designate certain shelves in your refrigerator for specific items. For example, use your top shelf for beverages, your bottom shelf for leftovers, place produce in its drawer, and place condiments in the door of the refrigerator.
  • Delegate one day of the week to tossing out old foods. Consider cleaning out your refrigerator on the same day you go to the grocery store. Since you will be adding new items in your refrigerator it is a great time to toss out old food to make space.


  • Organize spices on a spice rack and place the ones used most often in the front row.
  • If you have a shallow drawer near your stove, consider laying all of your small spice jars in there. Place them label side up so it is easy to view them all at once.
  • Most dried spices lose their flavor in six months. Discard any spices that are older than six months or you no longer use. To keep track of the freshness of spices, write the purchase date or throw away date on the bottle with a black marker or braille.


  • Consider recycling products to help organize your kitchen. You can label shoe boxes and use them to store items such as cookie cutters, candles, appliance accessories, etc. You can also use checkbook boxes to store items such as matches, batteries, and smaller items.
  • Square containers take up less space and fit more efficiently on shelves than round ones.
  • Place hooks inside a cabinet door to hang cooking utensils on. This will help to clear drawer space.
  • If you have school age kids or someone who carries their lunch to work, create an area in your kitchen for lunch-making. Stock it with lunch boxes and/or brown bags, plastic wraps/bags, thermos, quarters and small containers.
  • Utilize bins and baskets to keep "like items" together.
  • Store trash bags near or in the bottom of trash can for easy changing.

By using some or all of these tips, you can be well on your way to a more organized kitchen.

Happy Organizing!

Lesley Dietschy is a freelance writer and the creator/editor of The Home Decor Exchange. The Home Decor Exchange is a popular home and garden website featuring resources, a shopping marketplace, articles, decorating pictures, free projects, and more.

Article Source:

Monday, February 06, 2006

How to Treat Mixed-Wash Accidents

Who hasn't accidentally tossed a soon-to-be bleeding garment into a load of laundry? When clothing dye runs and your garments pick up the wrong colors in the wash, there's good news: It's often possible to get the stains out.

  1. Act quickly before the stain sets. It's much easier to remove a new stain than an old one.
  2. Rinse the stained clothing immediately with cold water. Then wash the garment in cold water using liquid detergent.
  3. If step 2 doesn't do the trick, soak the garment in a diluted solution of all-fabric bleach. Chlorine bleach isn't advisable unless you're certain it's safe for the fabric.
  4. Wash the garment in detergent, and use bleach that you've tested on the fabric. To test your fabric, mix a small spoonful of bleach in 1/4 cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) water. Place a couple of drops of the solution on a part of the fabric that doesn't show. If you don't see any color change or bleeding after a minute, the bleach is OK to use. You may need a sighted person for assistance there.
  5. Be patient--up to five washings may be required.

If you need to rewash the garment in a machine with bleach, keep in mind that bleach works best in hot water. Warm water is the second choice, and cold water is the least effective option.

How to Fix a Sweater That Has Stretched

If the arms of your sweater are long enough for a monkey, or maybe the whole thing is a size too large, you might be able to get it back down to size. The following techniques work best with wool sweaters.

  1. Fill the sink with warm water. Soak the sweater in the water for 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Take the sweater out of the water and roll it in a towel to remove as much moisture as possible.
  3. Spread the sweater on a towel placed on a flat surface, scrunching the sweater into the size and shape you want.
  4. Return to the sweater every few hours, rescrunching it as necessary, until the sweater is dry.
  5. If the above steps haven't fixed the problem, you can try tumbling the sweater in the dryer on low heat, checking it every few minutes to see if it's the right size. If you're not careful, however, you can ruin the sweater. Drying it can weaken the fibers.

To avoid stretching your sweaters, store them flat rather than on hangers.

How to Fix a Sweater That Has Shrunk

When your sweater has shrunk more than a size or two, you might as well cut off the arms and use it to keep Fluffy warm next winter. But if your sweater has become just a bit too snug, try these steps to return it to its original size.

  1. Mix 2 tablespoons baby shampoo into a sink full of warm water. The shampoo will relax natural fibers like wool.
  2. Soak the sweater in the shampoo-and-water mixture for 15 minutes.
  3. Without rinsing the sweater, take it out of the soapy water and roll it in a towel to remove as much moisture as possible.
  4. Spread the sweater onto a large corkboard, pulling it into the size and shape you want.
  5. Fasten the sweater to the corkboard using pins, being careful not to snag the sweater.
  6. Return to the sweater every several hours, restretching and repinning it as necessary, until the sweater is dry.

To avoid shrinkage in the first place, don't machine-wash your sweater unless the label specifically says you can. Even if you use cold water, the agitation may cause the sweater to shrink.

How to Peel an Egg Quickly

Removing the shell from a hard boiled egg can be a pain, but with this simple process it will take you less than three seconds every time.

  1. Prepare a hard boiled egg and let it cool.
  2. Crack the shell at each end by firmly tapping the egg onto a hard surface such as a counter. Do one end, and then the other.
  3. Place the side of the egg on a counter and roll forward for one revolution with your palm firmly down on the top of the egg.
  4. Submerge the egg in a bowl of warm water and slip the entire shell off in less than a second.

Alternate Methods

  • Slide a spoon in between the egg and the shell, and pop it out. This works rather fast, but it is tricky. Be careful not to damage the egg during the process, and the egg has a tendency to fly all over the place.
  • Put salt in the water before boiling. The salt stops the egg from leaking out if the egg cracks while boiling and adds flavor.
  • Boil the egg; when done, quickly dump the boiling water. Refill the pot with very cold water from the tap; the egg will contract and the shell will peel off without ripping the egg white.

If you are making egg salad, let the peeled egg dry for ten seconds. If you don't, the thin covering of water will not mix properly with the mayonnaise.

Don't over-boil the egg. If you do, the shell will fracture into thousands of very small pieces and not peel easily at all. Worse, the interior of the shell may stick to the egg, and you end up peeling part of the egg away with the shell.

Movie Sounds from The Daily .WAV

Are you one of those folks who love sound effects? I do too! I like finding cool movie quotes or sounds to liven up my rather boring Windows sound schemes.

Well, you're really going to enjoy this website. At The Daily .WAV: you can get a free movie or TV audio file everyday for free.

When the page first loads you'll hear the wav of the day, or you can check out their archive of great audio files. What makes this so cool is that the files are in .wav format, making it easy to replace your default sound schemes with something a little more unique.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Accessible Textbook Initiative and Collaboration (ATIC)

Accessible Textbooks Department

The strategic vision of the ATIC Department, a textbook division of APH, is to effectively respond to the textbook needs of blind and visually impaired students by delivering custom-produced accessible textbooks in a variety of media in a timely manner. In addition to "hard copy" textbooks, this commitment provides textbooks through on-demand braille transcription or large print, as well as in electronic media that can be downloaded from a file repository on our web site.

ATIC Small-Size Large Print Books: A Revolution in Textbook Design!

The new ATIC Large Print Process is now fully available. This process uses proprietary software to create large print textbooks at standard textbook size! Inclusive classroom students appreciate carrying textbooks that look just like those of their peers. This standard-size ATIC textbook is full-color with a minimum 18-point font size.

Did you know there is a new form for ordering large print textbooks? (To find the form, see the web info below.) Note that to process a large print textbook order, APH must receive two clean copies of the textbook, an APH textbook order form, and a Federal Quota Order Form or Purchase Order.

The traditional APH enlarged print process continues to be available. All enlarged print books are in full color (if the original submitted book is in color). These are the books in the larger-size binding.

ATIC Braille Textbooks

ATIC continues to offer braille textbooks that feature full-color covers and a unique, easy-to-handle fold-back binding.

ATIC Workshops Available

ATIC offers training in ATIC's textbook transcription specifications, "Promising Practices for Transcribing Early Literacy Textbooks and Materials," created by APH and the Braille Authority of North America (BANA). In addition, ATIC offers a 2-day workshop on "Creating Tactile Graphics for Textbooks." Contact ATIC for more details on training opportunities.

To order an ATIC textbook in braille or large print you can download the order form at, click on "Accessible Textbook and Media Production." Or you can email

American Printing House for the Blind, Inc.
1839 Frankfort Avenue
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 6085
Louisville, Kentucky 40206-0085
Toll Free: 800-223-1839
Phone: 502-895-2405
Fax: 502-899-2274
Web site:

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