pen rainbow

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Wednesday—Good 4U Good 4The Home: How To Clean Pillows

Keep your pillows fluffy, soft & fresh

Spring cleaning 101:  Wash Your Pillows

What's better than freshly dried clothes on the clothesline?
Pillows dried on the line in fresh warm air...ahhhh.

Pillows need to be laundered twice a year.
Double or triple that if you live in a hot or humid climate.

Most down & synthetic pillows can be laundered in the machine.  Check the care label to make sure.

Use pillow covers for regular use.

Use a mild liquid detergent to avoid residue from powdered detergents.

Add a second rinse cycle to the wash to remove all of the soap.

Wash two pillows at a time to balance the weight in the machine.

Dry flat in the sun, hang on the line, or use the dryer with a couple of tennis balls wrapped in socks to prevent clumping.  

If you dry on the line like I do, rehang & rotate the pillows top to bottom to enable even drying in the sun.

Replace pillows every 3 to 4 years, depending on how well they are holding up.  

If the pillow becomes clumpy or flat, it's time to donate it to the local animal shelter and buy a new pillow.

by apartment therapy

by Martha Stewart

Environmentally-friendly laundry detergent

• clean • inspired •

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Tuesday's Cupboard—Thai Shrimp Scampi

Adapted from Weight Watchers Magazine_September/October 2012

Thai Shrimp Scampi

simple delicious & flavorful

Servings:  1 (I usually double or triple this recipe)

  • 1/3 cup (Thai Kitchen) organic light coconut milk
  • 1/4 c. chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp. Thai red curry paste
  • 6 whole, fresh cleaned large shrimp
  • 3/4 cup hot cooked capellini or Barilla white fiber thin spaghetti
  • 2 T. fresh chopped cilantro
  • handful of dry-roasted peanuts
  • fresh cracked black pepper

make it!
  1. Heat 1/3 c. light coconut milk, 1/4 c. chicken broth & 1/2 tsp. Thai red curry paste in a deep saucepan for 5 minutes.
  2. Add 6 peeled large shrimp; cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Add 3/4 cup hot cooked capellini & toss to combine.
  4. Top with freshly chopped cilantro, a handful of dry-roasted peanuts & freshly ground black pepper


Monday, March 28, 2016

Monday Writing Corner—April is National Letter Writing Month

Write-on is a fun literacy campaign to encourage the art of hand-written letters.  30 letters in 30 days starting on April 1st!  I'm in. 

Thanks to my niece, Rebecca, for posting it on facebook!

April is National Letter Writing Month

my dad had beautiful handwriting


"Write_On is a campaign to promote joy, creativity, expression, and connection through hand-written correspondence inspired by Egg Press founder Tess Darrow." 


30 letters in 30 days starting on April 1.  

Check out their partners here.  

Check out writing stuff on Pinterest here.  

11 Great Reasons to Write a Letter or Card
  • Say thank you
  • Say congrats
  • Reconnect after a long time
  • Say something nice about someone
  • It's fun & creative
  • It's peaceful
  • Cheer someone up
  • Use up old postcards & greeting cards
  • Send a photo
  • Pass on a family recipe
  • Use up outdated denominations of stamps

More reasons to write a letter from the write_on blog by Sabrina Moyle from Hello!Lucky > Click here

• create • write • share •

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Easter 2016

Have a wonderful Easter week!

• happy • easter • 2016 •
free photoshop template by Claire Wilson_Gingerpixels
original photos by dsmp

• welcome • spring •

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Saturday Finances—Unclaimed Property

Search individual state links to find out if you have any unclaimed assets

National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators

A real treasure hunt

What is unclaimed property?

According to the NAUPA definition, "unclaimed property" refers to accounts in financial institutions and companies that have had no activity generated or contact with the owner for one (1) year or longer.

Common forms include:
  • savings or checking accounts 
  • stocks 
  • uncashed dividends or payroll checks
  •  refunds
  • traveler's checks
  • trust distributions
  • unredeemed money order or gift certificates
  • insurance payments & life insurance policies
  • annuities
  • certificates of deposit
  • customer overpayments
  • utility security deposits
  • mineral royalty payments

How Does it Work?

Most states have unclaimed property laws which instruct companies to turn forgotten funds over to a state official who will then make a diligent effort to find the owners or their heirs.  

If you have moved around, you could potentially have lost funds in every state in which you have resided.
When owners are located, the funds are returned at no cost or for a nominal handling fee upon filing a claim & verifying identity.  

Several opportunistic businesses have used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain owner information.  They will conduct the same search that is available for free and try to charge a fee for it.  All of the information is available free of charge by searching the NAUPA directory or by searching the national database,

Where to Start Your Search

A website directory to every state's unclaimed property claim site.

A state-by-state individual search for unclaimed property.  This is limited to participating states & provinces highlighted in green.  

Go to the website to 
access this interactive map.

Search by name for unclaimed property.  Be sure to try different versions of a name, e.g. first initial, last name; full name, nicknames, etc.

Nebraska State Treasurer's Unclaimed Property Search
Search by name for unclaimed property in Nebraska.


Click HERE for more helpful info.

 • good • luck • & • happy • hunting •

Friday, March 25, 2016

Friday Photo Gallery—Free Nik Software Suite

Omigosh.  Google bought Nik Software & decided to give away the pro-pack Nik Collection suite of photo fx.  This is the photography equivalent of giving away top-of-the-line Porsches.  

Nik Collection
Be still my post-processing heart...

Free download HERE

Photo by dsmp_fast, easy, stunning results
Silver Efex Pro2_036 Antique Plate II
Photoshop CC_spot sharpen

Analog Efex Pro
The look & feel of classic cameras, film, and lenses.

Color Efex Pro
A comprehensive set of filters for color correction, retouching & creative effects.

Photo by tjn_San Francisco International Airport_International flights terminal
iPhoto Adjust_Define + Sharpen + DeNoise
Nik_Color Efex Pro4_Portrait_Film Efex_Vignette

Silver Efex Pro
Black & white darkroom-inspired effects.

Photo by dsmp_Kim Klassen Be Still Month 3 lesson_Wrappings
Nik_Silver Efex Pro2_018 Full Spectrum Inverse

Selective color & tonality adjustments without complicated masks or non-intuitive controls.

HDR Efex Pro
High-def effects with individualized selective adjustments.

Photo by dsmp_New Benicia bridge
Nik_HDR Efex Pro2_Architecture filter_21 Indoor1
 > Levels & Curves adjustments_FilmEV1_Lens2 vignette
Photoshop CC_curves adjustment

Sharpener Pro
Professional image sharpening tool set.

Tailored noise reduction.

Click HERE to read a good article by Tom Haselton, TechnoBuffalo_25 March 2016

• google • wowzrz •

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Good4U, Good4 The Home—Golden Easter Eggs

Beautifully dyed natural yellow from onion skins, orange peels & turmeric!   And, no lingering flavors on the eggs.  Pretty cool. 

Golden Easter Eggs
simply lovely

Spattered with edible gold paint & dusted with extra-fine opalescent glitter

you'll need

outer skins of 3 large onions
peels from 2 large oranges
2 T. turmeric powder

6 white hard-boiled eggs, room temp

optional:  edible gold paint & edible extra-fine glitter

An excellent way to use orange peels

Save for fresh & ready snacks, for breakfast or lunch

Orange peels, onion skins & turmeric in the pot

dye the eggs

1.  Place onion skins, orange peels & turmeric in a medium-sized pot.

2.  Add 4 cups of cold water.

3.  Cover & bring to a boil, then turn heat down to low.  

4.  Simmer ingredients in a covered pot for 15 minutes.  When water has turned a deep shade of the color you're going for, remove the pot from the heat.

5.  Strain through a wire strainer, then add 2 T. white vinegar.  You should have about 3-1/2 cups of dye.

6.  I like to dye my eggs in a 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup.  It completely covers 5 eggs; 6 if you don't mind the top one slightly exposed.

Let the eggs steep for 20 to 30 minutes, less time for lighter shades,
more time for darker shades

Carefully place eggs in a deep glass measuring cup or bowl for dying.  Pour the dye over the eggs.

7.  Let them steep for about 30 minutes for the jewell tone golden color I got.  Less time for lighter, more time for darker.

8.  Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon & place on the dryer.  They'll be dry in a couple of hours.

These will dry a little darker & there will be darker spots as the natural sediment dries.
9.  When the eggs are completely dry (at room temp), use a clean toothbrush to spatter with edible gold paint.  Then, dust with extra-fine edible glitter for extra bling! 

Pretty, fun & a great way to use kitchen scraps!

simply beautiful

Click HERE for naturally dyed blue eggs

• happy • fun • easter •

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Tuesday's Cupboard—Ayocote Bean Salad

Adapted from Weight Watcher's Magazine March/April 2016

Ayocote Bean Salad

prep 20 minutes
serves 4


  • I used fresh corn kernals cut off of the cob instead of frozen.  It would also be good with leftover grilled corn (the original recipe calls for grilled corn kernals).  
  • Instead of ancho chili powder, use regular chili powder (mild) to calm down the heat.  

  • two 15-oz. cans black beans, rinsed
  • 4 plum tomatoes
  • 2 cobs of fresh corn kernals (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 c. diced red onion
  • 1/2 c. chopped green onions
  • 1 c. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 c. chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 c. chopped yellow bell pepper
  • 3 T. lime juice
  • 1 T. chili powder
  • 2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • cracked black pepper

  • 2 fresh cut-up avocados (half an avo per serving)

make it!
  1. Combine all ingredients except avocados in a large bowl.
  2. Plate on a bed of fresh greens.  
  3. Top each serving with chopped avos.   
  4. Finish with freshly ground black pepper.

• fresh • healthy • food •

Monday, March 21, 2016

Monday—Cluster: Private Photo Sharing

An easy & secure way to view private photos

Private Group Photo Sharing

Create albums & share your family pix


This is a convenient option for viewing and commenting on photos without the privacy issues associated with facebook & other social sites.  

  • View & comment on photos
  • Only group members may view photos
  • Admin or group controls
  • Group invites via email address
  • Mobile app link-up (GREAT mobile app!)
  • User-friendly, intuitive site navigation
  • Free storage
  • No automatic photo sync
  • Need an account to view pix
  • Easy account sign-up via facebook
  • Full-size uploads & downloads
  • Updates to mobile devices 
  • Upload from Android, iPhone or desktop photo libraries, as well as directly from  smart phone cams as pix are taken 
  • Easy drag & drop upload option with iPhoto
  • Pix viewed in gallery or feed format

    • No photo editing capabilities
    • No comment editing (have to delete & start over)

    My Cluster

    I really like this site.  I'm always on the lookout for ways to share event pix and family history photos.  This site is simple, convenient, and best of all free!

    Different sites do different things, and some are better for pix than others.  With Cluster, you upload finished photos.  I haven't yet figured out how to edit my comments.  It is annoying to have to copy/delete/repost, but otherwise, it's a really nice way to view & share photos.

    I like the admin feature which limits group controls like the group settings on facebook.

    I hope it sticks around for a while because I like it better than other sites I've used so far.  

    Check it out here

    • explore • learn • share •

    Sunday, March 20, 2016

    Sunday—Happy First Day of Spring 2016

    It's Spring again!

    Signs of Spring 2016

    steve's morels

    from our yard

    calla lily 

    beautiful giants in our back yard


    This bush gets so bright that it turns the living room pink in the morning.

    wild clover

    at the Lafayette Reservoir

    lots of this

    love to walk in the rain

    • happy • spring • 2016 •