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.

(See the end of this page for subscribing via email, RSS, browsing articles by subject, blog archive, APH resources, writing for Fred's Head, and disclaimers.)


Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Making Coffee When You Can’t See

by Alena Roberts

I’m guessing that the Northwest is probably the most caffeinated part of the country. Coffee shops are practically on every corner, and even though I’m not a coffee drinker myself, I find the aroma amazing. The great thing about coffee is that the roasting can be done without the aid of sight, and as part of a new program, the Washington State School for the Blind is combining math with coffee for an educational and aromatic experience.

The students started with an old popcorn maker, a colander, and some wooden spoons. Their teacher found a place in California to order the beans, and then it was up to students to find out how to best roast them. The math came in when the students were asked to devise a way to properly roast the beans and then figure out how much to sell their beans for in order to make a profit. The students accomplished this, and they’re now selling their beans at the school’s coffee shop and to the school’s staff.  The project has been successful enough that they’ll be getting a real coffee roaster this year.  This seems like it holds great promise for the students who are participating, as it may lead to a career for them in the future.  With internet commerce more popular than ever, they could easily branch off and create their own company out of their home or shop.

This article prompted me to do some research, and there are two blind coffee roasters and cafe owners that I discovered online. For all you coffee lovers, their information is below.

The first is called Blind Dog Coffee. The owner lost his vision to childhood cancer and part of each purchase goes to funding childhood cancer research. You can order from his site or visit the cafe in Gardnerville, Nevada. The website is:

The second is called The Unseen Bean and their cafe is in Boulder, Colorado. The owner has been blind since birth, and found his passion for coffee roasting after visiting a coffee shop in San Francisco. Find out more here:>href=>

Article Source:
Matilda Ziegler Magazine for the Blind

How to Fold a Plastic Bag That Will Fit into Your Pocket

How to Fold a Plastic Bag

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit
Tired of all those plastic grocery bags stuffed under your sink that threaten to spill out all over the place? This article will teach you how to fold a plastic bag into a compact, secure shape that makes it easy to unfold.


  1. ]] Flatten the bag, trying to get all the air out of it. Make sure you line up both sides of the bag so that the handles aren't creased. This is easiest to do on a hard, flat surface such as a kitchen countertop.
  2. Fold the bag in half lengthwise ("hotdog" style), and flatten again to squeeze out the air. Repeat four or five times until you have a long skinny strip. The flatter it is, the easier it will be to tie it.
  3. Fold the strip in half to make a shorter strip. To get it even narrower, fold this strip in half lengthwise like in the previous step.
  4. Tie a slip knot in the bag. To do this, make a small loop about 1 inch from the folded end of the strip. It should be just big enough for 2 of your fingers to fit through. Make sure that the folded end of the strip is in front, while the longer "tail" crosses behind.
  5. Fold the tail towards you so that it crosses over the loop. Push the middle part of the tail through the loop until it gets stuck. The bag should be roughly ball-shaped. If you are unable to do this step because the strip is too thick, go back and flatten it again.
Undoing The Bag
  1. Press in the middle of the loop (red X in the picture) until the "tail" pops out of the loop, and you get a short strip. Unfold the strip and your bag is ready to use again!
Alternative Folding Technique
  1. Flatten and fold in half lengthwise to create a strip the width of the handles as in steps 1-3 above.
  2. Fold one bottom corner over to meet the other side to form a triangle.
  3. Fold up the bottom of the bag at the line formed by the folded edge; this method is similar to the technique used to fold a flag.
  4. Repeat with the other corner, then fold up the bottom again
  5. Carry on with this two-step folding until you reach the top of the bag. The neater and flatter it is, the smaller the parcel.
  6. Fold the handles them over and tuck one end into the triangle you have formed. Your bag is now a small flat triangle.
  7. Unfold by pulling out the tucked-in end and shaking.


  • It is best to do this on a hard, flat surface. This will allow you to get the most air out of the bag, and a flatter strip is easier to tie.
  • Get as much air out of the bag as you can. While making the strip, flatten it again each time you fold it.
  • It's a lot easier to tie a slip knot or an overhand knot if you don't fold the strip in half, but the bag will be harder to untie and not as compact.
  • You can do this fold will almost any kind of plastic bag, but the thin, standard sized bags from supermarkets work the best. Thicker bags, like ones from bookstores or packaged bread, are more slippery and sometimes pop out of the knot on their own.
  • Reuse old plastic bags. They are good for lining garbage cans around the house. When you pack a suitcase, put your shoes and laundry in plastic bags so they won't soil the other clothes. Use them as dust covers for small objects (like lamps) when you're away or on vacation.
  • You can store a lot of plastic bags and they stay in nice condition using this method.
  • An alternative to folding is to cut little window into a used plastic water or (clean) milk jug. You can just stuff the bags in there and don't worry about folding!
  • Some discount and craft stores sell fabric tubes for stuffing your bags into. Whether you fold them are not it is a great way to keep track of them, keep them from coming untied and store them until you reuse them.
  • Reuse plastic bags for cleaning up after your dogs on long walks. Don't buy more. The knotted bags makes it easy to grab 1 or 2 and stick them in your pocket or bag on the way to take your dog for a walk.


  • You shouldn't save bags that were used to carry raw meat.
  • Don't let babies play with plastic bags.
  • Some cats like to play with folded bags - make sure they don't have holes before you use them!
  • Be sure the bags are completely dry before folding, or you will have a mildew/mold problem later.
  • Plastic bags stored in dark areas, such as under the sink, are breeding grounds for cockroaches.

Related wikiHows

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Fold a Plastic Bag. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

APH Launches Redesigned Website

We're excited to announce the launch of our completely redesigned APH website! The web address continues to be

Some new features include: Redesigned look, improved navigation, "billboard" main feature, social media links, What's Hot section, Featured APH Products, highlights of APH News, and highlights from the "Fred's Head from APH" blog. Our shopping site continues to be

Friday, May 27, 2011

Picture Maker: Wheatley Tactile Diagramming Kit and Accessories

Picture Maker: Wheatley Tactile Diagramming Kit
Fun, colorful tactile board can be used for numerous educational activities! Includes a felt covered board measuring 21 1/2 x 11 1/4 inches, and a wide variety of VELCRO® brand-backed pieces that attach to the board in an infinite number of patterns.

  • Over 100 pieces in many shapes, sizes, textures, and colors.
  • Extra "hook" VELCRO® brand material provided for helping create additional tactile pieces.
Example activities
  • Mapping: streets, bus routes, classrooms
  • Charting: flow charts of organizations, processes
  • Basic concepts: shapes, numbers, spatial relationships, etc.
  • Art activities
Guidebook includes suggestions for use and example layouts in print and raised-line graphic form. The guidebook is a large print/braille publication.

Picture Maker: Wheatley Tactile Diagramming Kit:
Catalog Number: 1-08838-00

Guidebook only (large print/braille):
Catalog Number: 6-08838-00
Click this link to purchase Picture Maker: Wheatley Tactile Diagramming Kit.

Picture Maker Video

Picture Maker Video Product creator Patty Wheatley offers many tips and tricks for using the Picture Maker in all areas from classroom to everyday life. Features demonstrations of children and adults using the Picture Maker. VHS cassette runs approximately 14 minutes. Closed captioned.

Picture Maker Video:
Catalog Number: 1-30008-00 Click this link to purchase the Picture Maker Video.

Storage Panel for Picture Maker: Wheatley Tactile Diagramming Kit

Photo of the storage panel The Picture Maker Storage Panel allows you to store unused Picture Maker pieces so that the entire main Picture Maker board can be used for diagramming purposes.
The 8 1/2" x 11" panel is double-sided with soft black Veltex® brand material and has a durable 3-hole punched edge with customer-applied VELCRO® brand hook tabs. Can be stored securely tucked inside folded board or inserted into 3-ring binder.

Storage Panel for Picture Maker:
Catalog Number: 1-08838-03
Click this link to purchase the Picture Maker Storage Panel.

Textured Strips

This accessory provides additional textured diagramming strips for use with Picture Maker. These strips are different in texture, number, color, and size from the VELCRO® brand-backed pieces included in the original kit. The new strips can represent roads, railroad tracks, curved paths, sidewalks, and other map features.
As in the original kit, these Picture Maker accessories can also be used for a variety of purposes such as conveying concepts related to math, science, flowcharts, creating art, tactile discrimination, and more.

Textured Strips for Picture Maker:
Catalog Number: 1-08838-02
Click this link to purchase the Picture Maker Textured Strips.

Picture Maker: Geometric Textured Shapes

Photo showing first half of the available shapes Photo showing the second half of the available shapes
These geometric shapes are different in texture, number, color, and size from the shapes included with the original Picture Maker kit. Use these shapes in combination with the diagramming strips and shapes included in the original kit.
Example Activities:
  • Creating simple map displays
  • Demonstrating spatial concepts
  • Conveying concepts related to math and science
  • Practicing shape, texture, and size discrimination
  • Constructing flowcharts
  • Making art creations
Note: Some parts you receive may vary slightly from those depicted in photo. Felt board NOT included with Textured Shapes.
Click this link to purchase the Geometric Textured Shapes for Picture Maker.
Note: Do not allow children ages 3 and under to use Picture Maker without adult supervision. This product contains small parts, which could cause choking.

Picture Maker Video

Now on DVD!
Product creator Patty Wheatley offers many tips and tricks for using the Picture Maker in all areas from classroom to everyday life. Approximately 14 minutes. Closed captioned. The content of this video has not changed, but it is now available on DVD.
Click this link to purchase the Picture Maker Video.

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:
APH Shopping Home:

VELCRO®, VELTEX®, and VELCOIN® are registered trademarks of VELCRO Industries B.V.

The Lighting Guide Kit: What Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments Need to Know about Lighting

What Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments Need to Know about Lighting Braille Edition Guidebook cover

The Lighting Guide Kit includes a Better Vision Lamp and a book about appropriate lighting for students with visual impairments.

What Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments Need to Know about Lighting is a booklet that helps teachers, administrators, parents, and practitioners make decisions about lighting that aids their student or child with comfort and productivity. Too often, students with low vision work in lighted environments that do not meet their visual or physiological needs. This short, easy-to-read book presents information, based upon the latest research, about light and its physical properties. It shows how to judge what kind of light is best for a given student or situation. Vivid photographs show examples and help convey meaning.

Better Vision Lamp

The Better Vision Lamp was specially developed by an inventor and APH staff in order to provide the best light possible for students with visual impairments. This energy-saving lamp gives off light that doesn't cause photo stress in most people with retinal, corneal or lens disease/injury, or cortical visual impairment. Lightweight and handsome, the Better Vision Lamp goes with any décor. It uses a special 27 watt, 2700K, compact fluorescent tube that is different from most tubes of its type because it emits no blue or ultraviolet light.

The lamp and the book together make up the Lighting Guide Kit. The lamp is not offered separately.

Lighting Guide Kit
(Large Print Book with Better Vision Lamp):
Catalog Number: 1-08941-00
Click this link to purchase the Lighting Guide Kit.

Lighting Guide Kit Video

In this Homegrown Series DVD, APH Low Vision Project Leader Elaine Kitchel discusses the research behind the development of the Better Vision Lamp and APH’s commitment to provide the best light possible for students with visual impairments.

Elaine and other Lighting Guide Kit users discuss the types of tasks they enjoy while using the lamp – from doing homework, completing reading assignments and paying the bills, to hooking a rug, making jewelry, and looking at photos – as well as some of the benefits, like less eye fatigue and being able to work longer and more efficiently.

Runs approximately 19 minutes. Closed Captioned.
Click this link to purchase the Lighting Guide Kit Video.

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:
APH Shopping Home:


TADPOLE is a set of standardized tools that aids in performing functional vision evaluations or visual skills development activities. It is similar to APH's kit Tools for Assessment and Development of Visual Skills (ToAD), but is geared for younger learners. TADPOLE is a natural precursor to the ToAD Program.

Note: Materials from the ToAD kit are required to use the TADPOLE program.

TADPOLE does not provide a formal assessment—there are several excellent assessment tools available, including ISAVE from APH. TADPOLE provides materials that assist the educator as he or she performs vision assessments or activities. Note: TADPOLE also functions as the Vision Modality section for APH's Sensory Learning Kit (SLK).

The TADPOLE Practitioner's Guidebook is a collection of suggested activities, mainly for use with students who are very young (0-2 level), or who have communication and/or cognitive delays. These activities are functional, and uncomplicated, natural to the learner’s environment.

Practitioners should to purchase the ToAD kit prior to using the TADPOLE kit, since items from ToAD should be used when student's personal items are not available. Items from the ToAD Program are used with TADPOLE because they embody visual characteristics of objects that are typically helpful to students with low vision and cortical visual impairments. Some of these characteristics are:

  • Simple, single color backgrounds
  • Simple design
  • Shiny or metallic objects
  • Objects or materials colored red, yellow, and sometimes blue
  • Familiarity of objects

Suggested uses for TADPOLE:

  • As the Vision Modality for the Sensory Learning Kit by APH
  • For creating fun, yet simple activities for students who are multiply disabled
  • As Vision Assessment/Development Materials for use with ISAVE Precursor to ToAD

TADPOLE includes:

  • Complete TADPOLE Program
  • Object Cards
  • TADPOLE Mini-Lite Box overlays
  • Report of Visual Skills (10-pack)
  • Black & White Coloring Cards
  • Practitioner's Guidebook, in Large Print and in Braille
  • Tasha Tadpole's Puzzle Book, in Large Print and in Braille

Note: The optional Soft Snap Puzzles are useful with both TADPOLE and ToAD activities.
Click this link to purchase the TADPOLE Kit from APH.

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:
APH Shopping Home:

The History of Memorial Day

In the US, Memorial Day is a time for us to honor our fallen soldiers. In between bites of hot dogs and hamburgers, visiting with friends and relatives, let's not forget those who paid the ultimate price so that we may be free.

Check out Memorial Day History: for a brief history of Memorial Day.

Blinded Veterans Association (BVA)

The Blinded Veterans Association (BVA) is an organization specifically established to promote the welfare of blinded veterans. There is no charge for any BVA service and membership is not a prerequisite. All legally blind veterans are eligible for BVA's help, whether they became blind during, or after, active duty. Through the BVA Forum, members and visitors can post up-to-date information, ask questions, reply to posts, and keep in touch with other members, their families, and BVA staff on the Net.

BVA traces its roots back to the end of World War II and was founded by a group of veterans blinded during that conflict. In 1945, they met at Avon Old Farms Army Convalescent Hospital in Avon, Connecticut and founded the Association. Thirteen years later, BVA received its charter from the United States Congress. Today, BVA Field Representatives, all of which are blinded vets, travel throughout the United States counseling blind vets and their families.

BVA awards scholarships under the Kathern F. Gruber Scholarship Program. Only dependent children and spouses of blinded veterans of the U. S. Armed Forces are eligible. Request scholarship applications and check deadlines by contacting the BVA.

Blinded Veterans Association (BVA)
477 H St., N W
Washington, DC 20001-2694
Toll Free: 800-669-7079
Phone: 202-371-8880

Managing Expectations

by Donna J. Jodhan

When it comes to suitable careers, I think that the trick here is to ensure that expectations are well managed on both sides of the fence. Nothing could be more frustrating and disappointing when expectations are not met by both sides. That is, when employers and their blind and sight impaired employees fail to discuss expectations before hand. This has been the case ever since I started my working career and with technology playing more and more of a major role in the workplace, expectations need to be managed more carefully and intelligently.

If expectations are properly managed, then it is only natural that suitable careers will be easier to come by. A suitable career, one that brings personal and financial satisfaction to a blind and sight impaired employee should also be one that brings satisfaction to the employer as well. The choice of career for blind and sight impaired employees is almost governed by the type of working environment; that is, is the employee able to function in the employer's environment given technological, physical, and other relative requirements. The choice of career for blind and sight persons is not always as clear cut as for the mainstream person and this needs to be taken into consideration as well.

There are limitations to be recognized but these limitations can easily be used to create and innovate careers that could turn into great boons for all stake and rights holders. My final words; manage expectations.

I'm Donna J. Jodhan your friendly accessibility advocate wishing you a terrific day. If you'd like to learn more about me, then you can visit some of my blog spots at:
Donna Jodhan! Advocating accessibility for all:
Weekly Saturday postings on issues of accessibility:
blogs on various issues and answers to consumers concerns:

Half Empty or Half Full?

by Donna J. Jodhan

This is one of the questions that I constantly continue to ask myself and I guess that if I am a positive person as I usually am, I would say that the glass is half full. However, there are many other blind persons who would take the opposite opinion.

For me, the glass is half full because despite my challenges I still somehow manage to come out on top and I have so many things to be thankful for. For my parents, family, and friends; plus my undying ability to dream, create, and try. Most of all, my deep and unshakeable faith in God. For others, the glass is half empty because there is so much that they have to deal with; a disability, no family close by, and not too many friends. In addition, many blind persons also have to deal with secondary and even tertiary challenges.

More and more blind persons are having to deal with such things as loss of hearing, physical disabilities, plus so much more. No wonder they find it difficult to see the glass as half full. We all need to work together to change this and I am asking you to help spread the word.

I'm Donna J. Jodhan your friendly accessibility advocate wishing you a terrific day. If you'd like to learn more about me, then you can visit some of my blog spots at:
Donna Jodhan! Advocating accessibility for all:
Weekly Saturday postings on issues of accessibility:
blogs on various issues and answers to consumers concerns:

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Additional Makeup Application Tips

by Lisa Salinger

After reading the information on the Fred’s Head Blog, I would like to add a few additional tips which may make the application of cosmetics a bit easier

Consider spending a little more for some products. While you can get away with less expensive lipstick and any liquid cosmetics, consider going “higher end,” especially for any powder-based item. While there may be exceptions at both ends of the spectrum, less expensive powders may tend to not be as firmly packed, so that a few swipes of the brush gives you more product than you need.

Don’t buy in bulk. This advice may vary based on the product and your degree of vision loss, but many with low or no vision choose not to buy a palate containing several shades of blush or eye makeup. While it is certainly easy enough to make a large print or braille representation of the layout of the various colors, it is also easier for colors to be accidentally blended together, with less than spectacular results.

Use a numeric labeling system. This is just one of many good labeling options, and has worked well for me, as well as for my clients. I suggest labeling cosmetics numerically for several reasons. If, for example, you have more than one shade of blue eye shadow, or more than one shade of pink nail polish, you’ll have room to label a bottle with a number, but space may not permit you to write “Hot Pink,” for example. Also, if you have certain colors that match certain outfits, you could conceivably carry such a numeric system over to marking your clothing. Such a system can get involved, so if you choose to do so, be sure to keep good records in your method of choice, detailing each color’s corresponding number.

Brushes or fingers? It seems that whenever the discussion of makeup application for the blind arises, the question of whether to use fingers or a brush or included applicator is debated with some vigor. Since certain methods work best for each individual, here are some things to keep in mind, regardless of which one you choose. If you mostly use your fingers to apply makeup, remember to keep your touch light and even. Some who use their fingers to smooth makeup once it has been applied suggest using the ring finger. Since this is one of the weakest fingers on the hand, you can be assured that you will not press too hard and accidentally rub off the makeup instead of gently blending it. If you mostly use your fingers to apply makeup, you will need to thoroughly wash and dry your hands between the use of each product. Not doing so can cause an excess of powder, and often in places where it is not wanted. If your hands are wet, the powder you touch can cake or clump. If you’re using a brush or sponge-type applicator, be sure to clean regularly in warm water, and dry thoroughly. This will remove excess product, and keep you from accidentally applying more than you intended.

Whatever you do, be comfortable. Whether you’re starting to apply makeup for the first time, or you’re starting from scratch due to changes in your sight, do what’s comfortable for you. Maybe you’ll want to start out with just a little lipstick, or maybe you have one standard eye shadow that you wear all the time. The important thing is to start out at a level that’s comfortable for you. Knowing what looks good on you is important, but deciding how much and what kinds of makeup to wear is an individual choice. So, if you’re not comfortable applying two shades of color to your eyelids, or using lip liner and lipstick, then do what works for you. There are methods for independently applying all kinds of products, and having that knowledge will give you options. So whether you go for the glamorous, the basic look, or something in between, start with what you can do comfortably, and go from there. It’s all about the confidence that comes from caring for yourself.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

ServiceMagic Connects You to the Right People

Headquartered in Golden, Colorado, ServiceMagic connects consumers with screened and approved local service professionals. Their network consists of over 80,000 customer-rated service pros in hundreds of categories, such as home improvement, cleaning services, photography, senior care, videography and more. All ServiceMagic pros carry the ServiceMagic Seal of Approval, which includes a rigorous screening process, including criminal background checks, and state-level trade licensing when applicable. ServiceMagic was recently named Colorado Technology Company of the Year and they draw in nearly four million unique visitors to their website each month.

Consumers visit the ServiceMagic website ( or call 877-800-3177 and complete a free service request form, answering a series of specific questions, such as job type, scope and location, to ensure the appropriate professionals are approached with the right request. The company then uses proprietary technology to instantly route the request to service members who have indicated an interest in leads in that specific area and field of work. The requests and consumers contact information are sent immediately to 3-4 ServiceMagic members via e-mail, cell-text messaging, phone, pager or fax so they can contact the consumer directly to discuss the requested project. At the same time, consumers are sent the service professionals’ profile information, contact information, past Customer Ratings & Reviews and a link to each professional’s Web site.

Benefits to Consumers

  • The service is free.
  • Saves time and stress associated with locating a licensed, insured and customer-rated service professional.
  • Access to detailed information on service professionals’ backgrounds, services and previous customer ratings & reviews.
  • Educational information is available in our Articles & Tools, including tips, guides and expert advice specific to the consumer’s service needs.

How to Wear Blush on a Naturally Red Face

How to Wear Blush on a Naturally Red Face

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit
When you have a face that is already naturally reddened by a ruddy complexion, rosacea, acne, or other sources of redness, you might feel that adding blush will only make things worse. It is possible to wear blush over a red facial complexion, as outlined in this article.


  1. Neutralize the redness to begin with. Apply a yellow-based tinted moisturizer or foundation over your whole face.
  2. Use a blush that has a pink or slightly brown color to it. This is much better than applying a blush with any hint of red to it.
  3. Place the blush on as usual. Just don't overdo it; look for a hint of a healthy glow rather than lashings of blush.



  • If your complexion is red owing to a medical condition, talk to your doctor before applying makeup. Makeup might exacerbate any problems your skin or face is experiencing.

Things You'll Need

  • Pink or brownish blush
  • Yellow-tinted moisturizer or foundation

Related wikiHows

Sources and Citations

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Wear Blush on a Naturally Red Face. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

Friday, May 20, 2011

What Does an Executive-in-Residence Do?

Kay Ferrell

What Does an Executive-in-Residence actually DO, anyway? The answer is EVERYTHING . . . and NOTHING. By everything, I mean that the APH leadership includes you in every meeting and every event possible. By nothing, I mean that what the Executive-in-Residence does pales in comparison to what individual staff members do on a daily basis. I am humbled by the experience and grateful for the opportunity to know more about how one of the premier institutions in our field works.

My APH residency occurred as part of my sabbatical from the University of Northern Colorado. I had several goals for my sabbatical, but the primary one was to develop a tactile adaptation of the Boehm Test of Basic Concepts (Boehm—3). I worked with Barbara Henderson on this effort, as well as with the author, Ann Boehm, Professor Emeritus at Teachers College, Columbia University. But the number of other people who were involved in what I thought was a tiny little project was simply amazing – Dr. Ralph Bartley facilitated the whole process; Frank Hayden, Tom Poppe, Katherine Corcoran, and Andrew Dakin designed and produced the prototype; and we consulted with Terry Gilmore, Elaine Kitchel, Loana Mason, Fred Otto, Karen Poppe, Terrie Terlau, and Suzette Wright, all of whom helped in large and small ways. How can you beat having that much expertise at your fingertips? I learned so much about test development from Ms. Henderson—how much more difficult this project would have been without her! By the time I left APH, after 11-1/2 weeks, the tactile prototype was just about ready, the large print version was in process, and we were lining up field test sites.

Another sabbatical goal was to create a blog on how a print textbook becomes a braille textbook. Jane Thompson and the Accessible Textbook Department were generous with their time and took me through the steps, allowed me to view the files to get an idea of the timeline, and posed (sometimes under duress) for photographs. This blog will be used in my courses at UNC to teach my students about the process. I also used the blog to document the progress of the Boehm—3 tactile prototype and to keep track of some memorable quotes made by some memorable people.

There were other goals that ran out of time: I had hoped to work with Gary Mudd on public affairs and with Burt Boyer on the Babies Count project. I was able to provide feedback on multiple other projects at various stages of development during my time as Executive-in-Residence. I was struck by a couple of observations: (a) APH takes its role as innovator seriously and is working, directly and indirectly, on some really exciting products; (b) APH relishes (not just encourages) ideas and comments from the field; and (c) APH truly practices quality control and continuous improvement (many of us talk about it, but how many of us actually do it?). The next time I think it takes too long for a book or product to reach the shelves, I will remember all of the alphabet meetings, the persistence and dedication of staff, the attention to detail, and the iteration of proofreading, design, and specifications that accompany each project.

I think sometimes we outsiders take APH for granted, because we are so often on the outside looking in. I had the opportunity to observe APH up close, in action, and to interact with staff on various projects. Dr. Bartley spoke often about how the staff’s opportunity to interact with ME was so important; I think it was the other way around. I hope I gave as much as I received, but I don’t know . . . . I think I am richer for the experience.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Larry Skutchan: a Blind Cool Tech

Larry Skutchan holding his John R. Mattioli Jr. Technical Innovation Award

With the introduction of APH's Braille+ Mobile Manager, I thought it was time to talk about someone I've looked up to for many years.

As a student at the Kentucky School for the Blind, I became aware of Larry Skutchan when I began working on the apple II E computer. My screen reader was a program called Bex and I remember seeing Larry's name on the credits. I would later meet Larry as I toured APH and stopped in his office to hear some of the latest speech-enabled products offered at the time. It's people like Larry who fired up my interest in technology and computers.

Over the years, I've had the opportunity to speak with Larry at different events and now that we work in the same building, I get to speak with him a little more often. He's just one of those people who you learn something from everytime you talk to them. He's always up on the latest computer gadgets and filled with great ideas of how to make technology work for the blind. There's a handfull of people that have made a difference in my life, and Larry is certainly one of them.

Larry began his career writing software for use with the Apple II computer, the ProWords talking word processor and ProTerm, a telecommunications program. He created the ASAP and ASAW screen readers for DOS and Windows, respectively, to make computers accessible to the blind. Skutchan later formed the company, Microtalk, and later the BlindCoolTech Podcast, an internet forum for people involved in developing technology for persons who are visually impaired and blind.

Born in Nebraska, Skutchan has lived all over the world as his dad spent 20 years in the Air Force. After his father retired, the family bought a farm and settled in Arkansas. He graduated from high school in Arkansas and received a B.A. in English from the University of Arkansas in Little Rock. He lost his eyesight at the age of 19 due to retinal detachments.

People like Larry have opened so many doors for the rest of us. I wouldn't be the Coordinator of Fred's Head without the work of Larry Skutchan.

Tour The American Printing House for the Blind

APH offers a fascinating guided tour of its historic facility. Visitors will see the production of braille publications, the recording of Talking Books, and a demonstration of educational products. Tours can be customized for your group's interests. Advance reservations are required for groups of ten or more people.

Tour Hours

Tours each day at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday-Thursday, except holidays. Tour length: 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Main Gallery of the Museum at APH

APH Museum

The history of the education of people who are blind is presented in APH's unique multi-media Museum. Artifacts, photos, and electronic displays present such topics as the development of braille, the history of the braillewriter, and the history of Talking Books. All displays are accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired.

Museum Hours

8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday-Friday, except holidays.

APH Facility

APH is located in the historic Louisville neighborhood known as Clifton, with easy access to nearby I-64, I-65, and I-71. Motor coach parking is available on the street. Our building is wheelchair accessible.

Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field

APH is home to the Hall of Fame, dedicated to preserving and honoring the history of outstanding professionals who have served in the fields of education and rehabilitation of people who are blind or visually impaired. The Hall is a project of the entire field of blindness. Inductees include Helen Keller and many others who have made remarkable contributions to the lives of visually impaired people. The Hall includes accessible multimedia displays and artifacts and is free-of-charge. Visit the virtual Hall of Fame at Click on "Hall of Fame."

For more tour information, contact the APH Public Affairs Department at 502-895-2405, ext. 356 or 1-800-223-1839.

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:

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Over There?

This is a mystery that has perplexed the Blind for some time. The story has been told in various ways on the internet. I believe sighted folks will enjoy this and may stop using the term when giving directions to someone who is blind or visually impaired.

As my guide dog and I stood in line at the checkout of the River City Market at CSUS, I asked the cashier what I considered a simple question. "Where are the napkins please?"

Her response was hurried, but sincere, "over there."

Emerging from the light rail for the first time, I managed to catch the attention of a passer-by. "Please sir, can you tell me where I might catch bus 63?"

A kind voice offered a pleasant response before disappearing into the cacophony of the early afternoon, "You can catch it, Over there."

So many things reside over there -- napkins, bus stops, pencils, pens, clothing racks, department stores and even my shoes! A never ending supply of important and indispensable items and locales all reside in this place which is shrouded in mystery and intrigue.

I stand in perplexed silence after learning that something is over there. It is a place I have never been and have no hope of finding on my own. My guide dog is quite skilled in finding chairs, stairs, elevators, escalators, helping me cross streets, and can even find me the Diet Pepsi display at Food Town; however, when I tell her to find "over there" her little bottom hits the floor and a small whimper tells me that she is as confused as I.

We will not be going "over there" today. Over there has caused me abit of vexation, a lot of confusion and, on occasion, made my heart race.

I have discovered that "over there" can be a dangerous place. One day, while crossing a street, I heard a driver's irritated voice shout out a warning of a truck bearing down on me from over there. Shadow artfully dodged the oncoming vehicle and pulled me to the safety of the curb. Our hearts were both racing as we took a few moments to compose ourselves.

Close encounters with over there can be frightening experiences. Although many blind people have wondered as to the exact location of, "over there," > few have dared to venture forth in an actual exploration of the mysterious > place.

One day, while standing in line at the supermarket, I asked the clerk where I might find the aspirin. With a cheery smile in her voice, she informed me that the aspirin was located, "over there."

With a weary sigh, I decided that I would take the extra step that would unravel the mystery, which had vexed my compatriots since the beginning of > time.

Taking a deep breath, and attempting to look nonchalant, I smiled at the clerk, "Where," I asked, "is over there?"

I imagined the girl's shocked expression. I felt her sharing condescending and concerned looks with her fellows in the store. The silence grew palpable as they mulled the possibility of allowing a blind person access to the forbidden land. She had no choice; she would have to tell me how to find "over there!" > I had won! Exhilaration swept through me as I waited in breathless anticipation. A victorious smile crept to my lips, my hand tightened on the handle of Shadow's harness, we would soon be going over there!

The clerk's voice reeked with resignation as the decision was made.

"That way," she said.

How to Choose a Tie

How to Choose a Tie

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit
Few fashion accessories can enhance an outfit like a necktie. And every man should have at least a dozen good ties in the wardrobe.[1] Follow these tips to look your classiest.


  1. Understand the various parts of the tie. Knowing a quality tie when you spot it is dependent on knowing what you should look for. The following elements of the tie are things to check:[2]
    • Look at the lining of the tie. The purpose of the lining is to make tying the tie easier and to prevent it from wrinkling. The lining should be made from 100 percent wool. The more gold bars on the lining, the heavier the lining.
    • Feel and look at the fabric of the tie. If you're after silk (the ideal tie fabric), make sure it is by feeling it. Silk is smooth; other fabrics mimicking silk tend to feel brittle. A quality tie will be made from three pieces of fabric, while a cheaper one will be made from only two.
    • Check for hand rolling: A hand-rolled and hand-stitched hem keeps a much better shape than a machine-made one.
    • Look for the slip stitch. This can be pulled to gather the tie together. This helps to maintain the shape of the tie.
    • Note the bar tack. This is the piece that supplements the slip stitch and keeps the two ends of the tie from separating.
  2. Size it up. Pick a tie that hits the top of your belt buckle and measures between 2¼ and 4 inches (5.5cm - 10cm) wide.
    • For a classic look, choose a width that corresponds to the width of your jacket’s lapel.
    • A tie should not be too loose or too tight; both ends of the spectrum are incredibly uncomfortable, so be sure it fits well around your neck.
  3. Remember textures. Wear wool ties with tweed or heavyweight jackets, and silk ties with business suits. For a deeper color quality on silk ties, make sure they’re woven, rather than screened.
  4. Match colors. Select a tie that has the colors of your suit and shirt as well as at least one other color to provide an accent. For formal occasions, choose a solid colored tie that’s darker than your shirt.
    • A solid tie is the most versatile of all neckties because it is appropriate with everything.
    • A dark tie is appropriate for business wear. Pairing it with a khaki or blue shirt evokes military uniform authority.[3]
    • A black tie goes with everything and is suitable for all occasions from funerals to work. It's also ideal for hiding stains.
    • Younger men tend to prefer colorful ties (and shirts), or men living in warmer climates.[4]
    • Look for a tie that goes well with your dress shirt. This tie will be kept for best. Make sure it has a nice balance or color to it so that it looks good.
  5. Look in the mirror. Frame your face. If you have dark hair and a dark complexion, go with a bright tie; if you’re fair, choose a darker tie. If your hair and skin tone contrast, wear a tie that contrasts with your skin tone.
  6. Match patterns. Pick a pattern that complements your outfit. If your shirt’s pattern is pronounced, choose a subtle tie; if your shirt is muted, your tie can be a bit flashier. The following pattern information is helpful to know:[5]
    • Repeat pattern: This is the most common style of tie and includes paisley, shapes, animals, workplace logos, rope patterns, and more.
    • Dots: The smaller the dot on the tie, the more formal the tie is. Be wary of large polka-dots because these can come across as clown-like.
    • Striped: These are known as rep or regimental ties. They originated in the need to display the colors of British clubs or army regiments. In Britain, the stripes run from high left to low right, while in America, the stripes run from high right to low left. Just to be different, of course.
    • Woven: A woven tie is usually produced only in one color. The weave texture is the pattern. One example is silk grenadine. Woven silk ties are considered formal and conservative.
    • Checks: Checked ties make a bold statement. This can be toned down however, with the addition of a checked shirt.
  7. Stay classy. When in doubt, stay subtle; while a tie can be the focal point of an outfit, it’s an accessory and shouldn’t pull the focus away from you.
  8. Take care with weekend wear. The addition of a tie to casual weekend wear is something to be done with discretion. You don't want to dress it up too much as casual shirts aren't supposed to look as if they're about to go to the office or the annual director's dinner. The way around this is to wear a simple, classic tie over casual shirts with a simple but bold pattern.



  • If you wear a striped tie and striped shirt, make sure the stripes are different sizes. Avoid mixing patterns that are too similar. For example, a thin-striped shirt should be accompanied by a bold-striped tie.
  • Seek to have at least one tie that defines you.
  • If wearing a heavier shirt, such as suede or corduroy, wear an equally heavier fabric or textured tie, preferably in a dark color. This can come across as very professional or academic.
  • Knit ties should not be hung; they should rolled up like a pair of socks because this prevents them from stretching.[6]
  • Ties can also be worn as belts, headbands, pocket squares and a watchband. In a pinch they can also be used as a baggage strap, a tourniquet or arm sling, a loincloth, a lanyard, and a whole lot of craft uses when they're no longer wanted.
  • Did you know? The French popularized the necktie in the 17th century after seeing it on Croatian soldiers during the Thirty Years War.


  • Avoid novelty ties — though they can provide a festive look, they’re more likely to be distracting.
  • Be careful when purchasing ties from mail order. They may not be of the best quality.

Things You'll Need

  • Tie
  • Jackets
  • Suits
  • Shirts
  • Self-awareness
  • Sense of style (optional)

Related wikiHows

Sources and Citations

  1. Chic Simple, Shirt and Tie, p. 31, (1993), ISBN 0-500-01593-7
  2. Chic Simple, Shirt and Tie, pp. 26-27, (1993), ISBN 0-500-01593-7
  3. Chic Simple, Shirt and Tie, p. 48, (1993), ISBN 0-500-01593-7
  4. Chic Simple, Shirt and Tie, p. 48, (1993), ISBN 0-500-01593-7
  5. Chic Simple, Shirt and Tie, pp. 32-33, (1993), ISBN 0-500-01593-7
  6. Chic Simple, Shirt and Tie, p. 29, (1993), ISBN 0-500-01593-7

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Choose a Tie. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Directional Tracking with the Hide & Seek Plush Monkey

One of the downsides of being the eldest child is that when your siblings can't crawl, they're pretty boring playmates. What's a 4 year old to do when they get bored playing peekaboo with the baby? Other than cause mayhem, which 4 year olds are spectacular at doing... ooh, how about hide and seek? Oh, wait, the baby can't hide and playing hide-the-baby is a bad, bad, idea.

This little monkey is the perfect hide and seek companion for your wee geek. Hide him indoors or outside. The seeker wand tracks the monkey and emits a signal only the monkey can hear. When your wee geek gets close to the monkey, it will start making monkey noises. Listen for the sounds, hunt around, and find the monkey's hiding place. ThinkGeek has two hide and seek monkeys: this plush version is better for the youngest wee geeks (ages 2-5) because the sound effects make the monkey easier to find. All batteries are included, so your Hide and Seek Plush Monkey is ready to play right out of the box!

Product Specifications

  • For Ages 2 and Up
  • Plush monkey plays hide and seek with your wee geek
  • Hide the monkey indoors or outside, track it with the wand
  • When the wand gets close to the monkey, the monkey will make noise
  • Follow the monkey noises to find its hiding place
  • Picked by Fox News as a Hot Toy from 2010 Toy Fair
  • Batteries are included (9V and 3AAA)
Click this link to purchase the Hide & Seek Plush Monkey from

Coupon Codes, Savings and Discounts at

By using free coupon codes provided on this site, users can save up to 90% on their regular purchases while shopping online at their favorite stores. Coupon codes are added twice a day by the CouponSpace editorial team and at the moment, the site has over 17,000 active coupon codes.

The most interesting is the coupon code sharing functionality. This allows any user to share coupon codes not found on CouponSpace with the CouponSpace consumer community. All shared coupons will appear alongside the editorially chosen coupons on the site. Users can even share coupon codes for merchants not featured on the site, and a new page will be added featuring the new merchant along with the shared coupon. In addition to this, users are able to share coupon codes of interest to them with their friends on Facebook by simply clicking a button. This way, they share smart consumer awareness together.

Click this link to start saving money with

Please Don't Patronize Me

by Donna J. Jodhan

As a blind person, one of the most annoying and upsetting challenges for me is when someone patronizes me. When a person speaks to me in a tone that they would normally use for a kid, when they pat me on the hand and say something like "Okay dear, or "you poor thing." This absolutely drives me up the wall.

Another example of patronizing is when someone speaks to my mom or friend or accompanying friend instead of me. Something like: "What would she like to have" at a restaurant or "Would she like to try on those sweaters?" Getting angry does not really help as I have discovered over the years. Instead, I speak up for myself or my mom or friend would gently say "You can ask Donna herself."

In my experience, , the worst type of patronization takes place in: Stores, the doctor's office, the supermarket, restaurants, and at recreation parks. There is absolutely no need to patronize a blind person.

I'm Donna J. Jodhan your friendly accessibility advocate wishing you a terrific day. If you'd like to learn more about me, then you can visit some of my blog spots at:
Donna Jodhan! Advocating accessibility for all:
Weekly Saturday postings on issues of accessibility:
blogs on various issues and answers to consumers concerns:

Recreational Sports; A Benefit to the Blind

A Canadian perspective by Donna J. Jodhan

As an avid ice skater and as someone who has recently become more interested in cross country skiing, I have decided to do my best to push the benefits of recreational sports for blind persons. Here in Toronto where I live, I have found it extremely difficult to find ways to engage in recreational sports and I am definitely not alone in my opinion.

Over the past year, I have spoken to several other blind persons who feel the same way. We have approached countless sporting organizations, volunteer groups, church groups, plus individuals and at the end of the day it is all the same message that we seem to be getting. It appears that the Federal government is more than willing to fund competitive sports for persons with disabilities, including blind and sight impaired persons but when it comes to recreational sports, there seems to be a huge hole; something like nothing beyond the deep blue sea or horizon.

Maybe it's time that we start to campaign for the benefits of recreational sports for blind and sight impaired persons. With a rapidly aging population, many of whom will probably lose varying degrees of vision along the way, it may be time for the various organizations and governmental bodies to start putting meaningful recreational sports programs into place. I hope that there are others out there who will hear my call and join the chorus.

I'm Donna J. Jodhan your friendly accessibility advocate wishing you a terrific day. If you'd like to learn more about me, then you can visit some of my blog spots at:
Donna Jodhan! Advocating accessibility for all:
Weekly Saturday postings on issues of accessibility:
blogs on various issues and answers to consumers concerns:

My Accessible Google: Non-Visual Access to Google's Calendar Application

Povidi LTD has announced that for the first time users who are visually impaired will now be able to access Google's Calendar Application. Up until now, this robust, online means of organizing one's calendar has been virtually inaccessible to persons who are blind or visually impaired. But no longer thanks to the development efforts of Povidi, a New Zealand-based development firm committed to providing orientation and navigation solutions as well as intuitive access to otherwise relatively inaccessible web-based applications by persons who are blind or visually impaired.

Povidi has created a user interface to Google's Calendar Application that can be freely utilized by visiting Users must first have a Google account; once they sign in and grant this application access to their Google calendar, users may create, store, and review appointments in the same manner as their sighted peers. Povidi was able to accomplish this milestone in the wake of a tragic earthquake that has decimated Christchurch.

The staff at Povidi and Flying Blind, LLC are encouraging all of their customers to give "My Accessible Google" a try and to provide their feedback. For more information about "My Accessible Google", please contact:

Darryl Sherwood, Founder
Povidi LTD

Larry Lewis, President
Flying Blind LLC

Article Source:

Android Has a Voice for Your RSS Feeds

WebTalks is an Android app that can speak your favorite RSS feeds. This works both online and offline, and in the latter case, WebTalks reads preloaded content that you have provided.

An application such as this one will be more than handy for people who are running, jogging or doing anything that keeps them from hand-gesturing to the phone/device as usual. They will be able to have their favorite magazines or news articles read to them without interupting their activities.

WebTalks can handle virtually every language - integration with Google Translate. The application will determine the language the content should be voiced in, and have it rendered as it should be.

Click this link to visit

Blind man is fire department’s ‘eyes’ for underwater operations

A 10-year-old boy has slipped and fallen into a tank near Medavakkam. Neighbours call the fire and rescue department. But the fire-fighters of the Tambaram fire station immediately make a call to Sundrarajan of Jalladampettai, near Pallikaranai.

The 38-year-old visually impaired Sundrarajan is their underwater operations expert. He rushes across with the team and dives into the tank. Within minutes, he has found the boy. Sundrarajan, who has been blind from birth, uses his sense of touch to feel his way around underwater and locate people, bodies and other objects.

“He uses his feet to ‘see’,” says a fire department officer. “He can dive into wells and tanks that are 60m deep and retrieve bodies. His sense of touch is so well-developed that he can even find chains or small coins on the bed of a water body,” he adds.

It usually takes him ten minutes to retrieve a body. “I can hold my breath underwater for more than one minute,” says Sundrarajan, who has retrieved 140 bodies and saved two lives since 1992. “But it is not an easy job as many of the tanks and wells in and around this area are quite dirty and polluted.”

Sundrarajan works part-time at a ration shop near his house in Jalladampettai, shifting and lifting bags of rice and wheat. Born as seventh child in a family of eight children, Sundrarajan hails from a lower income group family. “But I have always been independent and worked hard despite my disability. I have never lost hope,” he says. His neighbours say that Sundrarajan identifies them by their voices.

“Most people are afraid of diving into dirty water or are afraid of touching a dead body. I’m not afraid of water. I have no fear of diving in and searching for a body,” Sundrarajan said.

Article Source:
Maritime & Travel news

Monday, May 16, 2011

Spice Up Your Smile with these Sexy Summer Lip Tips

by Sassy Outwater

I was watching TV last night; in the space of one comercial break, I heard ads for three different brands of lipstick. One stays on all day. Another comes in 52 luscious must-have shades. The last one hydrates for that perfect soft sweet kissable look…

Choosing the right lipstick for your perfect Summer look isn’t as hard as you might think. And you don’t have to buy up half the store and switch colors with every dress. A few colors and glosses mixed and matched together will compliment any outfit like icing on a cake. Here’s how:


Before putting on lipstick, apply foundation to the whole face, and do the rest of your makeup. I say save the lips for last. If you’re doing an eye shadow that stands out, like a blue, green, purple or other eye-catching color, pair it with a softer, more neutral lip tone. Or vice versa. Pair soft pink, gray, and brown eye shadow colors with a lip color that pops. The two most arresting features of the face are the eyes and the mouth, so highlight one. If you are going out for the evening, it’s okay to go darker on both lips and eyes, but for day wear, choose one.

Place a light layer of moisturizer, such as a lotion or cocoa butter across your lips. Then put your foundation across your lips in a light coat. Once the foundation has set, dust it with powder. This gives something for your lipstick to hold onto, making it last longer.


Lip liner is not always necessary. The most important step to lining the lips is matching lip liner to lipstick. Do not use a liner darker than your lipstick. Lip liner gives definition and shape to the mouth. Many women never bother with it, preferring instead to use the tip of the lipstick to draw a little definition at the edge of the mouth. Lip liner pencils are the easiest and least messy way to line lips when you can’t see. Find the edge of your lip, just where your lip curves under, and gently run the lip liner pencil along this area in small precise strokes. Use a light hand, and after completing one lip, rub sofly with the tip of a finger to blend. Be careful to be especially light in applying lip liner to the corners of your mouth.


Lipstick comes in many types. Choosing Which color is right for you is a matter of your own coloring. If you are fair-haired, then pinks, warm reds, or soft berry purples will be the most natural colors for you. If you are dark, then richer tones, like deep reds and purples, lemon yellows, rich browns and deep burgundies will be your colors. If you are a redhead like me, we look our best in peachy corals, coppers, oranges and mixed colors like berry browns and peach-reds.

For Summer, a favorite look is a warm base of a pink, ddeep berry purple-brown, or soft red, with a frosted lighter color on top just to ad a bit of flirt to your smile. Frosts, shimmers and glitters can not only spice up your smile, but can soften a darker color and really bring your lips to life.

Lipsticks are either glossy or mat finish… Lip glosses are shiny, younger-looking, and fun, whereas mat lipstick is under-stated chic elegance. Pick which suits your mood.


Apply the curved side of the lipstick, or the unbristled side of the lip brush between your lips, and carefully coat the center of the mouth. Do not go all the way to the corners of the mouth.

Make sure the lipstick extends out to the lipliner line, but does not go past it. Your lip liner should still be slightly sticky to the touch and easy to find.

Rub your lips together to blend the lipstick, and then gently press a Kleenex between them to remove any excess product.

My personal opinion:

There are many cosmetic companies out there who make lipstick and lip gloss with menthol, the theory being that this will plump the lips. I don’t know about that, but the menthol for us blind girls serves a better purpose. It’s like a built-in lipstick radar. The moment my lips feel the menthol, they tingle, not unpleasantly. It guides me. If I have gotten lipstick in the wrong spot, I instantly know it.

My favorite menthol lipstick is the Buxom line of lipsticks and glosses by Bare Minerals. I cary one gloss and one mat lipstick in my purse at all times. Two colors, one for day wear, and the other a flirtier, deeper nighttime color. A light frost over both and my smile is rockin’. The Bare Minerals lipsticks are creamy and do not rub off easily. Be careful when applying them, but enjoy their long staying power. It’s also easy to feel if you have gotten any on your teeth. Whenever you finish putting on lipstick, it’s a good idea just to run your tongue over your teeth to make sure you didn’t inadvertently paint your front teeth too. The Bare Minerals lipsticks come with a lip brush, which I find easier to use than a regular rub-on tube of lipstick. The menthol tingle and warm flavor of the Bare Minerals lip collection works well for me… The key to good makeup when you can’t see what you are doing is routine, and owning products you know work for you. Find what feels right to you and stick with it.

Lastly, I keep two or three tubes of lipstick in my purse that all feel exactly alike. There are two ways to label your lipstick, or any makeup for that matter. I use a sharp pointed object such as a knife or scissor blade to scratch lines in the base of the lipstick. The lightest has one line, the next darker shade has two,the third, three, etc. Another way to label tubes is with dimo tape. Quick color abbreviations, like R for red, or pc for peach stuck onto the bottom of the lipstick tube, eye shadow or nail polish save you from color disaster. If you have other labeling techniques, please share with me. I’d love to read your ideas.

You don’t need ten thousand lipsticks, just one or two you trust, day in and day out, with a couple hits of frost or gloss to liven things up when necessary. Try it out, and savor the result! May your month of May be full of Summer kissability!

To ask makeup or fashion questions, or to find out about me and my crazy life, visit me on Twitter: -Sassy Outwater, Musician, writer, yoga instructor, health and style junky, and blind chick

Stem Stumper: Puzzle Gaming for Visually Impaired on the iPhone

You can't go too far in the App Store without coming across yet another cute puzzle game. They're everywhere, but even in that crowded field, Stem Stumper provides an experience that's unique. While the gameplay itself may not be original, the game is completely accessible to the visually impaired.

The premise is simple: you guide an anthropomorphic plant creature around a series of obstacles—ranging from angry tree stumps to clouds of weed killer—in search of bags of fertilizer. You drag your finger along to create a path and various clues will alert you when you stumble across something important. If you're playing in the standard mode you'll be able to see as well as hear when you get close to something. And when you play in sonar mode, the visuals melt away completely, forcing you to focus on the sound.

Every item in the game, both obstacles and tools, has a specific sound. You'll hear music when you're near, and when you land on the right square that cues the sound. And since there are only a handful of sounds—and each one is distinct—it's easy to remember what's what.

The game also supports VoiceOver, making it possible to play without any visual hints at all. VoiceOver reads out the instructions for each stage, and the sound effects and musical cues guide you towards your goal.

Even for fully sighted players, Stem Stumper provides an interesting experience. With the visuals turned on it's a by-the-books iOS puzzler that's cute and fun, but not particularly memorable. When you play on the sonar mode, throw on some headphones, and close your eyes... it's completely different—not to mention much more challenging. This game is well worth a play for puzzle fans.

Click this link to purchase and download Stem Stumper for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad on the iTunes App Store.

Accessible Freebie Finder Websites

Who doesn't like to get things for free? It can be done if you know where to look, or where to go in this case. Here's some great sites for the delivery of sample products direct to your mailbox!

Freaky Freddies Free Stuff and Free Samples

Free Stuff Free Samples at Freaky Freddies. Try and say that ten times. You have just entered the funhouse full of surprise Samples. Freaky Freddies is one of the oldest and fastest growing free stuff free sample sites on the net. Currently, there are 72 categories of free stuff and free samples you can choose from, so come back often because this site is updated daily. Join the famous daily newsletter of Free Stuff and Free Samples to find out what Free Samples were added. This is no normal newsletter! Humor is added to each free stuff and free sample offer, because they like to have fun with their subscribers. hehehe
Best of all, check out the Freaky Freddies Daily Free Stuff Surprise, which you can find at the bottom of the daily deals on the home page. Remember to always REFRESH YOUR BROWSER, pages are updated DAILY!

Click this link to visit

Freebie Finder

Freebie Finder is an automated free stuff aggregator. It has been designed to collect free offers from top freebie sites, while filtering out most scams and referral pyramids. Your feedback on freebies is used to improve the listings. This site is in beta, so your suggestions are always appreciated.
Remember to bookmark this site or subscribe to their email alerts or RSS feeds because there are updates every few hours! If you have any questions, click this link to read Tips for using Freebie Finder!

Click this link to visit the Freebie Finder home page:

Freebies From Wal-Mart

One of the sites that Freebie Finder tracks is Wal-Mart Free Samples. I have been taking advantage of the Wal-Mart free samples page for a long time. From hair care and deodorant, to free contact lenses and dietary supplements, there are a lot of great samples.
The sample page is updated on a regular basis with new offers. I usually check the page once every week to see what new samples are available. You can choose to take advantage of just one sample, or sign up to receive all of the samples. Signing up is easy, and there are no long surveys to fill out or hidden offers that you must complete. You may be asked three or four quick questions, such as your age and your favorite brand of product, but the questions are quick and easy to answer.
One of the nice things about the Wal-Mart free offers page is that after signing up for samples, I have not been bombarded with spam or multiple email offers. The only change I have noticed is the fact that I now seem to be on the postal mailing list for Wal-Mart's weekly flyer. All of the samples I "ordered" came quickly and in generous sizes. One time, I actually received a full-size bottle of a product.

Click this link to visit the Wal-Mart Free Samples website.

Freebies From Costco

Costco, like other warehouse stores likes to give out free food samples while you shop. Now, you don't have to visit a store to get some great samples. Simply fill out a quick form online and the samples come to you.
At the time of this entry, Costco doesn't have a dedicated page for its samples, so you have to search for them. Hopefully they will get a sample page soon, and make it easier on us. For now, just go to the Costco site and type "sample" in the search box. That should bring up the current samples. And just like for Wal-Mart, you'll have to keep checking back for new offers.

Click this link to visit the Costco website:

Twitter Freebies

The title of this site says it all, it's an online resource to find tweets from people who are giving things away. The main page comprises a list of tweets, updated in real time, that shows the items you can get for free.
In actuality, the site grabs any tweet that includes words like “free” and “freebie”. This sometimes causes you to see tweets that have nothing to do with a freebie, but it's still worth a look.

Click this link to find free stuff on

There are lots of sites where you can access discounts, promo codes and samples. Beauty samples, food samples, health samples, home samples, pet samples, supplement samples make up the main navigation menu of Each features a true wealth of items and products, each is updated daily.
The newest additions to each category are listed on the homepage, click this link to check out

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