Thursday, April 25, 2013

All About Style...

Hello to all our lovely readers!

Looking back over our posts, I realized that we are a super diverse group of ladies with unique interests, personalities and creative passions.  Being a unique and diverse group means we also have unique style; this is how we show the world around us who we are.

My style reflects who I am as a person.  My style is reflected in what I wear, how I communicate and in the things I enjoy.  I am both extroverted and introverted (yes you can be both!); creative, outgoing, colorful, reckless, thoughtful, reserved, spiritual, cautious, compassionate and analytical.  Of course I am many other things too but we don't have all day. :)

Fashion and accessories are two of my favorite ways of expressing myself. I love combining colors and patterns that are unexpected!

When I get to put on clothes and accessories that make me look good, I automatically feel that much better about myself.  "But WAIT!" you say... "clothes DO NOT make the person... do they??"  Of course not; if you are not a good person a stylish outfit isn't going to change that.  "Hold on a second!" you say... "are you saying I have to wear those pants/shoes/shirts/colors to be in fashion?? If that's the case, forget it, that just isn't me!"  Ummm no. The golden rule of style when it comes to trends: wear what is appropriate for your body type, lifestyle and personality!  If you work as a kindergarten teacher, wearing 4 inch heels or short skirts probably isn't going to work for you.  That being said, there is no reason to go to work (or anywhere really) in clothes that are ill fitting and/or inappropriate.

If you want respect, you need to respect yourself and appreciate and celebrate who you are!  For most people, taking care with your appearance and doing nice things for yourself helps you feel and look more confident.  Going back to my original point about style; we are all unique in who we are and we need to be true to ourselves.  Use your style to decide how you want to portray yourself to the world around you.  Pay attention to yourself and treat yourself with the respect by having great style; if you do that, everyone else will too.

Thanks for reading!

Merry W. (This Merry Life)

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Power Tools - Even Girls Can Use Them

As a guest writer, I want to share my experiences with the palm sander. A vital tool for every wood worker. I have owned many brands over the years, and here are my experiences with them.

Ryobi: The cheapest sander on the market, and for what you get, it is overpriced. Its performance is hampered by strong vibration, which makes it difficult to use for delicate jobs. Not very durable, and makes sense only for people who need a sander only a few times a year.  

Craftsman: The quality of their power tools has plummeted over the years. Like most tools, they are outsourced to unnamed Chinese factories working off of a design no one should be proud of. It is never a good idea to use plastic instead of metal for moving parts. Craftsman is either unaware of this, or they just don't care. Even when working right, excessive vibration hampers performance.

Ridgid: They are also now made in China, and can only be bought at Home Depot. Notorious for electrical problems in all of their tools. When they work, they work well. Parts are so hard to come by, many repair shops won't work on them.

DeWalt: Now owned by Stanley-Bostich. The performance of their sanders is fine, however if you are a heavy user, repeated changing of the pad will cause the screw holes to deform, and the sander to become a paperweight. I also had trouble with the power switch. The rubber cover is best removed, as any gunk that gets it their will make it difficult to turn off. And, it can turn on long after you have turned it off.

Milwaukee: Another once respected American tool company has changed hands many times over the last 30 years. Now made by the same company that makes Ryobi. It shows.

Makita: The sander I currently use. Easily the best of the bunch. Quiet, with very little vibration and it is light weight. It is a great tool for me, as I use old wood that has been painted a lot. If I want to get to the third layer of paint, without sanding through to the fourth, Makita has the nimbleness to get the job done. My old man used a Makita. I should have followed in his footsteps.

With the ever changing ownership of the major brands, what was once considered a reliable tool, may now be considered by their owners to be a "profit center" rather than a product a company takes pride in.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

6 Opinions

We started this blog so that we could share our opinions with one another and anyone else who is interested.  But as I look back at our posts, I see few opinions.  Some great information is there, and even more, some interesting stories.  But not as many opinions as I thought we might have.

I know that I have hesitated to share my opinions because of fear.  Fear that I will offend someone.  Fear that you might not like me after you hear my opinions.  Fear that I will get argumentative if you disagree with my opinion (so counter-productive).  Fear.

Last night I was reading a great blog I found.  She chronicled how and why she has blogged over the years.  She is a writer by nature.  But somewhere in the vast array of posts, she shared how scary it is to blog; because to write your innermost thoughts and feelings to share with others makes you vulnerable.  It exposes you -rips off masks, creates fear.

Today, I’m conquering this particular fear. 

In my opinion, the single most important decision you will ever make in your life is to accept Jesus Christ as your Savior.

There, it’s out there now.  I’m a Christian.

There is so much hate in the world now for Christians -so many fingers pointing to Christians as haters.  I don’t want to be hated.  I am not a hater.

If you were drowning and I did not point you to water, I would be a terrible person.  That is how most Christians feel about sharing their faith.  We know that the only escape from an eternal separation from God is to know that Jesus Christ is His only Son.  That Jesus died on the cross as remediation for my sins and yours. 

I was raised in THE South, in the bible belt (yes we still think of it as THE South).  You really couldn't avoid church or talking about Christ if you tried.  But it was not until I was in college that Jesus became my Lord and Savior.

I was attending a holy rolling, shouting and hollering, charismatic church service with a friend and sat there thinking the whole time – “GOD get me out of here.  I don’t want to be part of another Jim Jones and Guyana” (some of you younger people will have to look that up).  But it was truly the first service I had been to where the pastor said –“blah, blah, blah…and you know how I know?  The bible says so right here in John 10:12…let’s look it up.”  Yep…right there in church he got his bible and looked up scripture. “Wow”…I know you are thinking…what type of church did you go to before?  A dry dead one.

After months of learning more about Jesus and the bible I realized I had head knowledge but no heart knowledge.  Just like I knew who Margaret Thatcher was but I did not know her.  I had factual information about Him but no personal knowledge of Him.  I wanted that to change.  I wanted the joy I saw on the faces of other Christians who knew Him.  Who walked with Him daily. 

At the age of 23 I invited Christ into my heart and life to be my Lord and Savior. 

Does that mean my life got suddenly greater and all my trials and tribulations went away?  Quite the contrary.  But it means that I no longer have to face any of that alone.  I've also been given a guideline on how to handle and deal with that stuff.

Jesus died on the cross so that ALL can be rescued from hell and damnation, literal hell and hell here on earth. Not all will choose to accept Him.  But for those of us who do, it is our calling to tell others about Him, and how He is our access to the Father, eternally.

I’ll reiterate…accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior is the single most important decision you will ever make in your life. 

That’s my opinion.  What’s yours?


If you want to know more, but don’t want to learn publicly, shoot me an email. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Are your Dishes Dirty or Spotty?

How many times have you had your dishwasher finish washing and the dishes are still dirty or have a coating on them?  It used to work perfectly but not anymore....

You can fix it easily... I know you don't believe me...
BUT, yes you can!!
All it takes is a torx screwdriver and a phillips screwdriver and some tweezers!!

First unplug the dishwasher. Look for a plug under your sink. Make sure to unplug the dishwasher and not the garbage disposal. Then take out the dish racks.

There will be a grate or grill around it, under the arm. This is where waste water goes. Look for debris clogging up this area. You shouldn't have to clean this often if you're careful about what you put in your dishwasher, but you should remove any solid matter that builds up, especially bits of paper, shards of broken dishes, gravel, etc. You may be able to pick up solid objects accumulated on the outside by hand. If you think stuff has gotten down inside, you'll have to do some simple dis-assembly to get at it.

Carefully remove the screws, taking care not to drop them. The cover will lift off, leaving the area exposed. As you disassemble this section, take care to notice what you take off and where. Take photos along the way and set the pieces someplace safe, in the order they came off.

  • Use a cloth or your tweezers to remove solid debris. Be careful of handling broken glass if that is part of what you find here.
  • Use a brush or a cloth to loosen and remove deposits.
  • Screw everything back together, doing the reverse of what you did to get it apart. Don't over-tighten the screws, especially if they are going into soft plastic.
  • Plug the dishwasher back in.

 Some extra tips for keeping your dishwasher running up to snuff!
  • Run a bit of hot water in your sink before running the dishwasher. You will get cleaner dishes if the water starts hot. You can collect the water you run and use it for watering plants or other purposes. Run the water until what comes out of the tap feels hot.
  • Load your dishwasher properly, stacking items facing downward and inwards. Check that all the arms can spin freely before running the dishwasher.
  • Run the garbage disposal before starting the dishwasher. The dishwasher drains into the same pipe as your sink, so that drain must be clear.
  • Not all dishwasher detergents work the same. The next time you buy a new container of detergent, try a different brand and see if you get better results. Look for ratings and reviews, too. At the very least, favor powders and tablets over gels and liquids, and keep them dry and free of excess moisture prior to use.
  • Run full loads to conserve water and energy, but don't pack dishes too tightly. Dishwashers wash dishes by spraying water over them, so the water needs to be able to get to the dishes to clean them.
  • Don't wash containers with labels that could come loose. Scrape heavy debris and large particles off dishes before placing them in the dishwasher.
  • For dried-on gunk, get the area wet or spray the cleaner, then let it sit and dissolve for a few minutes before wiping. You'll save yourself a lot of scraping and scrubbing.
  • Wash small items in the basket with your forks and knives so they don't slip through the racks and end up in the bottom. Some dishwashers even have enclosed baskets just for small items.
  • Wear gloves if you prefer not to touch the cleaner or the debris.
  • Don't pre-rinse too much. Dishwashers and detergents have both improved. If you haven't tried putting dishes in dirty lately, try it again. You may be pleasantly surprised.

I know it works, I did it!!

Saturday, April 6, 2013





Many skills are required to become successful in sales. Etsy sellers require creative skills, marketing skills, time management skills, search engine optimization (SEO) skills, sales and customer service skills, and social media and technology skills. And yet all these skills pale in contrast to perseverance, which is the one skill that often, makes up for our deficiencies in other areas.
Having perseverance allows us to be successful no matter what obstacles are placed in front of us.  It isn’t a cake walk to meet sales and marketing challenges head on while wading through the competition and dealing with customer service issues.  And yet many of us know what we need to do and yet we simply don’t do it.

We sometimes spend our time looking for an easy way out rather than using the path of determination and perseverance and doing what we need to do even when we don’t feel like doing it.  We want to achieve multiple sales, lose weight or get rich instantly! We want immediate gratification and we don’t want to do the painstaking, persistent and thorough work that it takes to achieve these successes. 
I personally believe that the ability to persevere is the key to success in all walks of life. Remember the children’s storybook about “THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD?”
Talk about determination and perseverance!
I’ve been married for a large number of years and if anyone were to ask “how have you hung in there for so long?”  I would of course first reply that being married to such an wonderful, easy-going, lovable man makes it easy; however I also sincerely believe that having the ability to persevere is also very critical!  In the best of marriages you have your moments when it just seems like too much work and it would be so easy to say “adios my fine fellow” but by persevering through the hard stuff you reap amazing long term rewards. 

We need to practice at being determined and persistent. Whether it is simply exercising, learning a new skill, staying in a relationship or working diligently on our SEO, we need to resolve that we will persevere until the task is completed or we are satisfied with our results and ready to move on. 
Desire may be the key to motivation, but it’s through determination and perseverance while in pursuit of our goals that enables us to attain the success we seek. Perhaps the best technique to conquer the skill of perseverance is to just start. Sometimes just beginning a task is often the most difficult. However once you begin, you pick up the drive that leads to your success and accomplishment.   

Many of us remember being told when we were young that “a job worth doing was worth doing well” followed up with “do it well or don’t do it at all." Perseverance, in my humble opinion, is the one skill that guarantees your success!
What do you think? 
Which skill do you consider to be of importance in attaining success in life?
Author:  Trish (BlackCrowCurios)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Exercise, who needs it! Start counting your calories/carbs!

Okay I am a bit scatter brained today....maybe it was a full week crammed in a car for hours at a time with our three boys! It's not like the boys were fighting the whole time and everyone was tired of each other at the end of the trip.....wait that's exactly what happened! Still a great trip but boy am I glad school is back in session:)

I suppose I should get back to the topic at hand: Exercise and Countin Calories/Carbs-
Hey I'm not saying you should throw out exercising all together, but with all the reading I've been doing lately....I think it's time to reevaluate and reorder diet and exercise.
Sure each and everyone of us will benefit from consistent exercise. The whole cardio vascular and increase of red blood cells, toning of muscles and of course the "yay me" endorphin high!

Tangent alert!! bc I have two cents about running.

I run just about everyday, on a treadmill for a short 40 minutes at 5.0 mph. That kicks my butt, especially running on the front part of my feet (TOES) rather than heel to toe! Which btw I've found is the most effective way to run. The whole running heel to toe I feel is a made up gimmick by Nike and other large athletic companies!!! Take a look at the type of running shoes track runners use.....minimal practically barefoot type shoes. And take a look at the "new" phenomenon of the five finger toe shoes and minimalist shoes!! Weird don't ya think?!?

Just bc we have heels, that does not mean we weren't meant to run on our toes. Think spring loaded and conserving energy! Me being that typical "I have an old sports injured knee and it hurts to run" have retrained myself to run in the manner of the Tarahumara Tribe. The unbelievable amazing long distance BEER drinking barefoot runners!! Watch this!! It's super neat.

Okay back to the original while I exercise daily how many calories am I burning? Well I'm burning a whopping 220!!! Seriously?!? That's like drinking a 6-8oz cup of 2% milk or a sandwich with no cheese or meat on it, just bread and condiments!!! Why am I beating myself up with running when I should really be just watching what I eat?

Apparently simply watching what you eat, counting calories and or carbs, is 90% the battle. Take it from my in laws..... My MIL found out three years ago she was borderline diabetic, age 50, 5'10" size 10. She started counting her carbs, little to no exercise! She is down to a size four looks fabulous and is managing her diabetes with diet. Now FIL, age 63, 5'11" weight 210, he uses this nifty little downloadable app called Lose It.
He watches everything he eats and initially told the program what he wanted his goal weight to be. It gives you a set amount of calories you can eat each day to ultimately reach your goal or maintain your weight. He is down to 175 and maintaining. Yes he does exercise just enough so he can drink his margaritas and have desserts! The program gives you credit calories for exercise. The main thing this program does is keeps you accountable for what you are eating! If you really want that eclair, but then see that it is 350 calories, or by eating a super size McDonald's meal equates to running a MARATHON to burn the just might rethink that splurge. AND don't get me started on "Diet" sodas and artificial sweeteners!!!

Here's a little article on this very subject...very interesting!!! Take note of the "Diet" drinks making you

Okay I hope I was at least a little bit informational and persuasively opinionated as always!