Sunday, April 30, 2017

Two Ways to Add a Rustic Look to a Room Without Treating the Walls

Two Ways to Add a Rustic Look to a Room Without Treating the Walls

Create a Rustic Theme in Your Space Without Painting or Treating the Walls

Painting isn't a big deal. Unfortunately, most people think a rustic look is created by adding barn wood or other wood treatments to the wall. While it's true that barn wood walls make a stunning addition to a country theme, it's not the only way to achieve a rustic effect.

Barn Wood Draperies - A Wood Look With Cloth

Barnwood drapes come in a variety of styles and designs. You can see additional choices when you visit the barn wood drapery photo.

If your room has a large picture window or a sliding door, the drapes will add an impactful rustic feel when closed.

However, you don't need a window to put drapes up. By putting drapes on a feature wall that doesn't have a window, you create the illusion of more space while adding to the country feel.

In fact, you can have something behind those drapes: Behind the drapes, go ahead and feature a faux window or 3D country scenic wall decal. Open the drapes, and you've created a third dimension.

Faux Wood Area Rugs - Rugs that Look Like Hardwood

Did you get an area rug that looks like a hardwood floor? Of course, most of us know about the typical bamboo floor rugs, but the ones that surprise people are rugs explicitly designed with fabric/cloth to look like a wood floors.

The above rug has a rubber backing and thus may not have the feel of a traditional area rug. Think of it as a giant mouse-pad. However, you can put a piece of carpet foam underneath to increase the low pile. However, to be aware, it is pretty soft to begin with.

A good spot for this rug is under a coffee table. With the light barn wood drapes and a matching area rug, you only need to add rustic accessories: pillows, throw blankets, trinkets, and rustic lamps. You've completed the theme without opening a can of paint.

Have fun with your paint-free redesign.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Saturday, April 29, 2017

A Bird in the Hand-i-Craft

Plush toy bluebird
Bluebird Plush Toy in Crochet
 A review of crafty toy birds.

There are several 'Bird Days' throughout the year, with the first one occurring on January 5th (National Bird Day).  This reminded me that I wanted to show off some of the bird handicrafts I have come across in my crafting journey. 

Whether crafty birds are carved out of wood as toys, room decor or jewelry, knitted or crocheted as cute plush animals, or sewn into soft pillow toys, they all make adorable toys for children to play with or teens or college kids to use to decorate their room. Birds appeal to many people and the choices in hand-crafted items are truly unique. 

Wooden Seagull Ornament

Wooden Seagull Ornament
Wooden Seagull Ornament
Hand cut out of maple using a scroll saw, this seagull coastal scene ornament is sanded smooth and finished with Danish penetrating oil. A cabled cotton cord is included to hang the ornament.  Ornament size is 3" diameter by 1/4 inch thick. 

Seagull wooden ornament is handmade by Susan in Missouri and available in her Etsy Shop Ooh Look It's a Rabbit.

Bird (Owl) Lanyard

hand-crafted owl lanyard
Hand-crafted Owl Lanyard
Both a useful and a decorative item, lanyards for I.D. badges or keys come in very handy. For bird fanciers, this owl fabric lanyard from Kathie of CutePurseNalities on Etsy is handmade using 100% cotton fabric and a silver swivel clip. 

The fabric has adorable little owls in green, brown, orange, red, yellow and blue on a white background.


Amigurumi Bird Stuffed Toy


Amigurumi Animal Plush Bluebird
Amigurumi Animal Plush Bluebird on Etsy
Cute & cuddly, this roly-poly bluebird is handmade in royal blue and white acrylic yarn. The beak and feet are orange and bluebird has red tuffs on top of his head.

Bluebird's eyes are plastic craft eyes and he is filled with soft new polyester fiberfill. Little bird measures approximately 4 x 4 inches. He's a cute round roly-poly animal just the right size for little hands to hold. 

Plush bluebird toy in the Etsy shop of Coastal Crochet Crafts has been sold, but contact this crochet website to order your own. :) 



Hand-Sewn Hummingbird Softie


Hummingbird hand-sewn soft toy
Hummingbird Hand-Sewn Soft Toy

This Hummingbird is great for playing or decorating your child's room. Wonderful for Baby as a first toy or for a child to play with. It makes a great gift for a Baby Shower!

I love Hummingbirds they are fun to watch - so busy ... so cute and colorful. I always wanted to hold one ... and now you can too ;-).  Hummingbird plushie measures 8 x 4 x 2.5 inches (across wings the measurement is 12 inches).

You can find this delightful hummingbird hand-sewn toy in the Etsy shop of RB Query of California. 

For other craft items and ideas, check out the reviews at

Related Links:


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Friday, April 28, 2017

Stellaluna (Fruit Bat) Children's Book Reviewed

Stellaluna Children's Book Reviewed
If you ask my daughter what her favorite childhood book was, she would quickly answer, Stellaluna.  She loved that bat!  Actually, she still feels an affection toward the book and her Stellaluna plush bat. 

Based on a child's opinion, this is one of the best books in her library.  If I had to guess, I would say she felt genuine heartbreak for the little bat who was separated from her mother after an owl attack, and extreme joy when they were reunited. 

As an adult and parent, I rate the book as the best because of the writing style and real animal facts woven throughout the story.   Children are being entranced by the fiction story as well as educated about fruit bats.  Personally, I like all bats, but I think the choice of a fruit bat is perfect for a child's story.  After all, fruit bats eat fruit! 

The illustrations in this book are fabulous!  They are accurate depictions of a bats body features and give the bat a gentle, endearing face.  If you have ever looked at a fruit bats face, you would find they have rather cute furry faces in reality.  Bats are the only mammals that can fly.  Except for the wings, they look like other mammals.  As a matter of fact, they are called flying foxes because they facially resemble a fox.

Stellaluna - Recommended Children's Book

Stellaluna Children's Book Reviewed
Scanned photo of one of the Illustrations in the Book
Stellaluna is a baby bat who hasn't even learned to fly yet.  Her mother carries her with her when she is flying.  One night, Stellaluna and her mother are attacked by an owl.  Stellaluna is knocked from her mothers grasp.  As Stellaluna is falling to the ground, she snatches hold of a tree branch and cries out to her mother, but her mother doesn't answer.  When she can no longer hold on, she slips and falls further and lands in a bird's nest full of baby birds.  

Because Stellaluna is starving, she finally opts to open her mouth, close her eyes and accept the disgusting live lunch the mother bird is feeding her babies.  Stellaluna has to learn to live like a bird in order to survive, but she still sleeps hanging upside down.  Her adopted siblings are intrigued and want to hang upside down too.  The mother bird returns and reprimands the babies, saying they will fall and break their necks.  As the babies return to the safety of the nest, the momma bird refuses Stellaluna admittance unless she promises to behave and stop being a bad influence on her baby birds.

The birds and baby bat grow up together, eat together, and learn to fly together.  Landing gracefully like the birds proves to be impossible for poor Stellaluna.  Their differences are once again obvious and embarrassing for Stellaluna.

There is more to this fabulous story, including how Stellaluna is reunited with her mother, but I will let you discover the rest of the story for yourself.

My Opinion of Stellaluna

 StellalunaThere are several reasons why I would recommend this book for children.  I have already mentioned the educational value and the exceptionally entertaining writing style of the author.  But, I would also like to point out the real life lessons about how we can all learn to live and love others in spite of our differences.  How we can learn to survive even when we are out of our element.  Children won't recognize those lessons as they read the book, but they may well recall the lessons taught when they encounter challenges at school or later in life.

Not only are the differences between bird and bats evident when reading the fiction story, there are "Bat Notes" at the back of the book that share real facts about bats.  A wonderful addition to help children learn fact from fiction.

This book is loved by both girls and boys.  Our son also lists Stellaluna as one of his favorite childhood books.  How do I know?  He walked by while I was writing this review and said, "that is a great book!"

 Stellaluna Plush Bat

Stellaluna Plush Toy Animal

In 1994, the Stellaluna plush was available to purchase with the book.  Our daughter has the plush Stellaluna.  They are no longer produced and can only be purchased from secondary markets like or Ebay where they are pretty expensive.

However, a child will not recognize the difference in the original Stellaluna plush and a fruit bat plush.  I recommend choosing one that resembles Stellaluna and allow you child to enjoy having a little fruit bat of their own.  


Read More Book Reviews at

Stellaluna Children's Book Review Written by:
House of Sylvestermouse

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Reviewing Tips on Backyard Perch for Bird Photography

Goldfinch on Perch photo by mbgphoto
Goldfinch on Perch
Backyard bird photography can be a relaxing and rewarding hobby.  There are many books to give you ideas on getting the most of backyard bird photography and they contain tips on everything from feeders, to lighting, to setting up an ideal setting for the birds. 

Setting up a Natural Looking Perch

On this page I would like to concentrate on one aspect of backyard bird photography, setting up a natural looking perch.  I have been photographing birds for a few years now, but I always felt I was fighting the background and surrounding features in my backyard. I would photograph birds on the feeders and sitting on the shepherds hooks but just never quite got that photo I was trying to get. When our photography club announced that our speaker would be talking on backyard bird photography I was really excited to be going and getting some tips.  

When the speaker first started he showed us lots of photographs he had taken of birds on natural looking perches.  I thought they looked great and figured he had to be out in parks or the woods to capture the birds sitting on those perches.  Then he told us his secret.  He creates his own perches in his back yard and trains the birds to come and sit there.  He does this by watching the birds habits when feeding and then setting up a natural perch nearby.  In his example he showed a feeding box he had made that he sat on the ground and then mounted a branch, using an old tripod,  to hang just above the feeding area.

I liked his idea, but I have a small backyard and wanted to keep my backyard attractive and yet still use the natural perch idea.  The next day I was wondering around my backyard thinking about the lecture and I came across a big tree limb that had fallen in the storm the night before.  I took the limb and buried it in an old flower pot and then moved it near the bird feeders.
perch limb set up for photography photo by mbgphoto
Perch Limb
I set up the perch and now I had to wait for some birds to come.  I had my camera set up on a tripod just inside our patio doors and I would sit and watch all the birds but they never landed on the perch when I was watching.  

Backyard Bird Books

Moving Perch for Birds Convenience

I next decided to move the perch between my finch feeder and my songbird feeder to give a better landing place for birds waiting to get their turn at the feeders.  In just a few minutes I captured a photo of the first bird landing on the perch.  Since then I have captured many birds sitting on the perch.  I have added some green plants to the container to make it more attractive and I am quite pleased with my first attempt at setting up a perch.

Photos of Birds Landing on Perch

Here are some of the photos I have taken in the last week.  I have my camera set up just inside our glass patio doors and the photos are taken through the glass.  I have the camera on a tripod and I have a remote shutter that I have close by when I am sitting at the table in front of the doors.  This way if a bird catches my eye I can grab the shutter and click away.  The camera is set at aperture priority with a f5.6 setting and is focused at the very top of the perch.  
sparrow on Perch photo by mbgphoto

Female Cardinal on Perch photo by mbgphoto

American Goldfinch on Perch photo by mbgphoto

Male Cardinal on Perch photo by mbgphoto

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Start Now to Prevent Tax Preparation Stress Next Year: A Review

Does Tax Preparation Stress You Out?

I finished my taxes about a week ago. Medical circumstances caused us to leave them until the last minute. Getting the data together was stressful. Even last year, when someone else prepared our taxes, we had to find and list all the data on the accountant's form.

Start Now to Prevent Tax Preparation Stress Next Year: A Review
Image Courtesy of Pixabay, Text Added on

It's not hard for me to enter data into tax software. I stress out when I don't have the data handy to enter. My husband manages our rental business and keeps the records in a black book. He files receipts -- all receipts and documents -- in an accordion file I find it hard to look through. Some tax information is in check registers and credit card statements. I keep my business records in a desk organizer designed for taxes. 

This year at tax time everything came to a head. I had trouble finding the documents  I needed in his file.  He couldn't find property tax records and I had to chase them online. I had to organize all the credit card statements for several different cards. Year-end statements from banks and insurance had not been filed anywhere and we had a treasure hunt. Part of the problem is that most mail still goes to our other house where he does his work. He gets behind in filing and things get lost. 

By the time we finished our taxes this year, I decided our system must change. We have got to start this year's tax preparation now -- not after the first of next year. This year is already one-third gone as I write this. The day after I finished the tax preparation and we mailed the taxes, I started sorting this year's receipts. Here are three things I'm doing now to make tax time easier and less stressful next year. You may want to do them, too. 

1. Have the Proper Organizers on Hand

I use two desk organizers. One is for paying bills so I don't get behind. The other is for organizing receipts and other documents in tax categories. When the mail comes in, I pull any bills or important tax documents immediately. Bills go into my bill organizer by month. I usually put the date due on the envelope and put them in the pocket in order of when bills are due with the first to be paid on top. Documents go immediately into the tax organizer. 

After the bills are paid, they are marked with the date paid and method by which they were paid. If I pay online by electronic transfer, I write the confirmation number in the check register and also on the bill itself. Then I file the paid bills where they belong. Credit card statements are filed by issuing bank in separate folders. It's too bulky to put them in the tax organizer book pockets. Statements from the medical insurance companies also go in the file cabinet, as do utility bills and other bills that come every month and may not be tax deductible. 

Medical receipts for out-of-pocket payments to medical professionals go into the proper pocket in the tax organizer. So do year-end interest and income statements, 1099 forms,  and business expense receipts. Here are some very good organizers. 

I personally use the Adams Tax Preparation Organizer pictured above. It has pockets to hold receipts for each tax category. Above the pockets are lines for listing the records contained with their dollar amounts. The inside front cover explains what belongs in each pocket.

The All-in-One Income Tax  Organizer pictured would be a good substitute for the larger more complex accordion file my husband uses. The Budget Book pictured would make it easier to keep track of personal finances than the organizer I use now. It has more budgeting features for keeping track of anticipated expenses and income. The Tax Minimiser is designed especially for small business owners. 

2. Set Aside a Time Every Week to Organize Receipts

Early Preparation Prevents Last Minute Stress

Start Now to Prevent Tax Preparation Stress Next Year: A Review
Image Courtesy of Pixabay

This year's mad dash to find the receipts and documents we needed to prepare our taxes was stressful enough to send Hubby to the ER. I'm determined to avoid that last-minute stress next year. We started so late this year that we had missed our accountant's deadline to get data to him. We would have had to file an extension. But one needs to have a good idea of how much one will owe before filing that extension. We really had no idea. 

That's why we decided to go back to doing the taxes ourselves using TurboTax, my favorite tax software. I have used it for years, and I was pleasantly surprised to find it was even easier to use this year. Because I have two small businesses now and we both help with the rental business, we needed the Home and Business version of TurboTax. It has all the tax schedules we need. 

By doing the taxes ourselves, we were able to prepare them at the last minute and know for sure how much we needed to pay. We also saved ourselves about $800. Waiting until the last minute created stress, though. I needed to finish the day before taxes were due because of a previously scheduled a doctor appointment on the day taxes were actually due. I didn't realize it was the day taxes were due when I made the appointment.

We bought the software on a Wednesday and then we tried to get the data together. I worked on my Schedule C forms and Personal Information while Hubby gathered the other data on the rentals for Schedule E. 

We had to work almost nonstop during the day and evenings, but we did take a break for two hours on Friday night for dinner and TV. Then I went back to my computer and Hubby went back to his black book.

 A few minutes later he developed some mild chest pain, so we were off to the Emergency Room. He does have heart problems, and it seemed wise to be safe rather than sorry. He was OK, but we didn't get home until early morning and we had to sleep late. Neither of us was at our best for the rest of the day, either, and we had to spend Easter Sunday working on taxes. We did finally finish by the deadline.

Start Now to Prevent Tax Preparation Stress Next Year: A Review

Weekly Organization During the Tax Year Could Have Prevented This Stress

As demonstrated above, we can't know ahead what the future holds. We cannot predict medical events that can occupy our time when we had intended to start our taxes. The solution? Start preparing your taxes for next year now by keeping receipts organized as you get them. At least once a week make sure you have receipts in the proper pocket of your organizer and that you have written the business purpose for each receipt. 

As you pay your credit card bills each month, circle deductible expenses and make sure you have the register receipts that match them in your file. If you manage rental properties, make sure you write on each receipt which property it was for and the purpose of the purchase. Then you won't have to look at your Home Depot or Lowe's receipt the next year and try to figure it out. It's much easier to remember what you did during the week than what you did last year. 

Keep all register receipts that have some sales tax on them -- especially if you don't pay a state income tax. As tax law stands now, you can deduct the amount of sales tax you paid or the amount you paid in state income tax (but not both) on your federal return. Keep receipts from stores and from online purchases. I have a file in my email program just for receipts from online orders. Taxes on just those purchases came to several hundred dollars last year. 

I have already started preparing my taxes for this year using this kind of organization. I have instructed my husband to bring home all receipts and mail for me to go through so I can see that they are properly labeled and won't be hard to find next year at tax time. I still have the first four months of this year to catch up on, but I've been using my tax organizer since January. I always make sure I have the new one before the end of December each year so I don't have to wait to get documents and receipts where they belong. 

If you don't have your tax organizer for this year yet, get it now. Pick up an extra for next year while you are at it. Also, make sure you get a bill organizer or some financial software to make sure you always remember to pay your bills on time.

I prefer a desk bill organizer since I thought Quicken was too complicated for my situation when I previously used it years ago. Even though it imports bank and other financial information automatically, it was not intuitive to use.  I made mistakes because I didn't understand how to use it properly and those mistakes were impossible to undo. If you can use it properly, Quicken makes it easy to import your tax information directly to TurboTax.

3. Keep Track of Deductible Mileage

Whether you use your car as an employee of a company or for your own business, you may be able to deduct your mileage. To do that you have to keep track of your business miles driven. 

I cannot stress this enough. It's best if you keep a mileage log in your car. I have always found the Dome three-pack pictured below adequate for my needs. It's a great deal if you use more than one car at your house for business or other deductible trips.  Besides space for logging mileage, there is space for recording car expenses and parking fees.  You can deduct not only business mileage but also mileage for transportation to medical appointments and work you do for charity. Current tax laws may change, but it never hurts to keep track. 

The one thing you must write down each year is your beginning and ending odometer reading. Without that, you will have a tough time deducting any of your mileage. We record it in the logbook and on our calendars on December 31 of the old year and January 1 of the new tax year. Make writing that starting mileage part of your New Year's celebration. 

Believe me, you don't want to have to reconstruct the beginning and ending mileage from repair receipts or insurance mileage data a month or two from the beginning or end of the year.That means having to use your calendar and habits to reconstruct all the miles you drove for any reason between your receipt date and the beginning or end of the year, and your figure may not be 100% accurate.

Sometimes we can get impatient or find that it's hard to read the odometer and record mileage for every trip. We often make the same trips repeatedly for business, as when we visit a certain rental property, bank or the post office. You may only need to document the exact mileage for that place once, and then just record the date, place, and miles traveled the next time you go. Another great way to see how many miles it is to a destination is to use Google Earth. When you ask it for directions from one place to another, it will give you the total miles for the route you take.

Whatever System You Use, Start Now to Relieve Tax Preparation Stress Next Year

I prefer the organizers that sit on my desk to keep my finances and tax records in order. You may prefer software or some other system. What's important is to have some system that works for you and keep your records filed year round. Then when taxes are almost due you won't need to have a treasure hunt for missing receipts and documents. If there is a medical or some other emergency near the tax deadline, you will be much better prepared to face it if you aren't worried about getting your taxes done. You will already be organized and ready to plug the data into your forms or software. 

Disclosure: This post is not intended to give legal tax advice. It is based on my own experience. To be sure you prepare your taxes to conform to the latest changes in the law, consult a tax professional and/or only use tax software with the latest updates. 

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Deterrents For Raccoons Reviewed

When Raccoons Get On Your Last Nerve

Raccoon Image From
Let's review some deterrents for raccoons, today. Shall we? One might look at the image to the left and think that a raccoon is such a cute little critter. Well, I guess there is a cuteness about that face but there is a reason they have that little bandit mask over those eyes! As cute as they might be, you do want to discourage them from visiting your yard and garden as much as possible. 

Currently, my husband and I have been battling with a mother raccoon and her ingenuous ways of finding food to eat in our backyard. It isn't the first year but we are hoping that it will be the last. I understand that she probably has young ones to feed but she needs to find her meals somewhere else. It was one thing when she or one of her friends came and robbed the bird feeders of the seeds. It is totally another thing when she discovered my hummingbird feeders and figured out how to shimmy up the skinny little pole and tip the feeder over for the sweet drink inside. What a mess! Not to mention she leaves nothing for the hummingbirds to drink. The ants love her antics because they can come swarm the sugar water that spilled on the ground. Enough, I say, enough!

In the past, I tried an ammonia deterrent. It was simple but honestly not that effective. The premise for it is that you soak a rag in ammonia, place it in a coffee can that you have punched holes in and sit it where you want to keep the raccoons away. It worked for about 2 days and then no matter how often I replaced the ammonia soaked rag; Ms. Raccoon was up to her antics again. 

I have read that raccoons do not like hot peppers. So, I have considered leaving some hot pepper suet at the base of my hummingbird feeder. I worry that this deterrent might harm other creatures that may visit the yard, though. It isn't supposed to harm birds but what about cats or dogs who might get into it? 

I also saw that they make raccoon baffles that sort of work like a squirrel deterrent. That might work except those darn raccoons are pretty smart and I worry that they might figure out how to get around the baffle by jumping above it. 

The premise of the baffle for raccoons is that it fits at the base of your feeder. I don't know if it works or not. I can see it would be difficult to get onto my pole but maybe not all poles. It would certainly be worth a try for many people.

So, you may be wondering what is my plan for this year? It turned out to be pretty simple, actually. Each evening around dusk I plan to just bring my feeder into the house. Ms. Raccoon can't get into it if it is inside the house. Her babies won't bother it nor will any of her friends. Raccoons are pretty clever but there isn't any way that they can figure out how to open a locked door and I seriously doubt that they would break the glass so I think I have come up with the best deterrent of all. If there is nothing out there for her to get into, she will finally decide to move on to the next victims.

I wish Ms. Raccoon, her babies and her friends no harm. I just do not want her or any of them coming to my yard to drink the sweet nectar left for the hummingbirds or anything else for that matter. Since I am pretty sure that Ms. Raccoon can't read, instead of a sign saying that she is not welcome; I just will not put out anything that she can feed on at night. A silent message, if you will, to go away.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Monday, April 24, 2017

I Am Heath Ledger Documentary

I saw some exciting news on the television today!  Kate Ledger appeared on a morning show announcing the upcoming release of I Am Heath Ledger. I immediately opened Amazon and pre-ordered my copy of this documentary. This is not a movie review as I have not yet viewed the documentary, rather, it is an attempt at spreading this exciting news to other fans who enjoy Heath Ledger movies.

Heath Ledger

Heath Ledger was a handsome  Australian actor who made my heart flutter when I saw him in 10 Things I Hate About You.  His twinkling eyes and face-splitting smile caused my second "star crush" (second only to Elvis, of course). Unfortunately, Heath passed away in January 2008 from an accidental overdose. He was gone far too soon and far too young.

I  never bothered to watch any of the unauthorized biographies. I never really felt like seeing what other people had to say about him. But this morning, Heath's sister Kate was announcing the upcoming release of I Am Heath Ledger (DVD release date May 23, 2017).  

This documentary is a feature length film created with many of Heath's personal and private film clips. That is what made me excited about this movie. I want to see the movies and clips he had made of himself over the years.

It is described as:

"... a feature length documentary celebrating the life of Heath Ledger: actor, artist, and icon. The documentary provides an intimate look at Heath Ledger through the lens of his own camera as he films and often performs in his own personal journey"  - Amazon 

19 Films with Heath Ledger

Believe it or not, I have not yet seen Heath Ledger's two most popular - and award winning - movies: Brokeback Mountain and The Dark Knight.  I guess it is because those two movies came out during very busy times in my life. There is no other reason I've not seen those two movies.

But three of his other movies I have not only seen, but have viewed many times over. These three very different movies are: 10 Things I Hate About You, The Patriot, and A Knight's Tale. I adored him in each role for reasons as different as the roles. 

Heath Ledger's complete movie list includes:

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Three Ways to Hide Clutter

Yep. It's that Time of the Year ... We Look at all our 'Stuff' and Think, "It's Time for a Tidy"

Of course, half the battle is admitting there's a problem! After that it's twenty five percent action and twenty five percent organizational and creative storage solutions.

Even though our clutter is organized, most of the time we're just sick of seeing the neatly stacked piles of life that take away from the overall look of our room.

The solution is equal to the mess you're dealing with: Simple mess, simple solutions, horrendous gut wrenching disaster ... major project.

If you're dealing with a relatively simple mess, here are three ways you can hide clutter:


Today's room dividers are inventive and artistic. They not only give you a practical way to hide clutter, they also double as art.

When you check out the choices of room dividers available you'll notice the wide range of art scenes featured on them. They come in designs from landscapes to cartoon characters, making them ideal for any room in the home or office.

These are particularly useful in a bedroom that doesn't have a closet. As an example, if you're using a standing hanging rod to hold clothes, put it behind a room divider and it doubles as a place to privately change clothes and it hides the clutter.

Storage Bench Featured on Funkthishouse

If your clutter problem is more about the miscellaneous items that never seem to find a home, use a bench as the main gathering place for them.

Whether it's shoes, school books, extra blankets and pillows, seasonal clothing, or photograph albums, a storage bench is a magnificent piece to tuck them away into.

Not only is it a place to hide the mess it's also an extra spot to sit. There are many places you can use a storage bench; the master suite, a child's bedroom, the front foyer, the family room, in your home office or even in the garage.

There are numerous storage bench designs to choose from, so be sure to check them out. You'll find additional styles when you visit the page featuring the above storage bench.


What? Yes, that's right, they really do exist. Of course this solution is certainly more involved and will require at least intermediate DIY skills, or you'll have to have someone put it in for you ... BUT it's worth it, they're super cool!

They really are as described, an actual bookcase that either swings inwards or outwards leading to a secret room or other space in the home.

If you have a small office in the corner of room and would like to hide important or private papers from prying eyes, then put one of these James Bond creations in .... I mean how many people do you know that have one?

There are a number of designs to choose from. They vary in style, color, features, size and type of wood. You'll see more bookshelf doors when you visit the above featured Hidden Door Bookshelf.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Friday, April 21, 2017

Best Gifts for Tea Lovers

best gifts for tea lovers
Let's review some of the best gifts for tea lovers, I've been given a few of these gifts myself as one of my aunts affectionately calls me 'an old tea bag'!

I've been drinking and enjoying tea for many decades and even though I enjoy my coffee if I have to make a choice tea is still hands down my favorite.

What to give a tea lover?   Well there's lots of great options available from a selection of teas to strainers, mugs, tea pots and much, much more.

Let's have a look at a few things that I'd like to see gift wrapped for me!

Cute, Fun, Unique, Retro & Anything BUT Boring Tea Infusers!

There are so many different tea infusers available to purchase from cute tea infusers, to fun ones, cool retro tea infusers and more - one thing these tea infusers have in common is that they're unique and are perfect gift ideas.

I have been in love with the Sloth tea infuser for a while, but that didn't stop me absolutely falling head over heels in love with the manatee inspired infuser I received one year.  Check out my fun tea infuser reviews below -

These tea infusers are a couple of my favorite tea inspired gifts that I've received and they put a smile on my face every time I use them.

I may only have a couple at the moment, but that doesn't stop me looking at others all of the time - here are some of my favorite ones -

Unique and fun tea infusers from the collection at
Click the image to be taken to a great range of fun tea infusers that you'll love

Tea Pots & Tea Pot Gift Sets

Of course you can't go past a tea pot as a gift idea for a tea drinker and there's an awesome selection available.  The great thing about a tea pot is that you can use it with tea bags or loose tea so it doesn't matter what their preference is.

I love the stackable tea pot sets that you can get that combine a tea pot and cup (some of them even have a saucer as well) .  If you're buying for a cat loving couple who enjoy tea then this set is sure to bring a smile to their faces -

Isn't it adorable?  Even a dog owner like myself would still fall in love with the black cat's face!

In my household both my hubby and I enjoy drinking tea, but I do like to experiment with different teas whereas he sticks with his standard cuppa.

In cases where people are single, or the sole tea drinker in the house, or likes to try different teas then a stackable tea for one tea set is an awesome gift idea.

If you're not a fan of the pastel purple daffodil design you can check out a whole range by clicking on the image below -

Tea for one, gorgeous teapot and tea cup sets
Click the image to go to Lou16's gorgeous collection of tea for one gift sets

You may just want to get a straight tea pot, after all lots of people prefer to drink from mugs instead of cups these days and I do have a few for you to look at right here -

As you can see teapots can be found in a range of different styles, personally I like what I think of as a traditional teapot (The Pioneer Woman one featured below), but I know that a lot of people associate teapots and tea parties with the style of the porcelain butterfly & dragonfly teapot style above.

With more and more people being inspired by different teas and infusions the blue floral teapot featured makes me think of an Asian influence, perfect for a Japanese tea ceremony.

I deliberately haven't included any clear, glass teapots in this selection even though they do appear to be quite a popular choice these days.   If you're a tea drinker you'll be aware of how much the tannin in tea can stain your cup/mug/pot which is why I'm not sure how long the glass ones will stay looking as nice as they do.  

Despite this I was given a clear tea pot as a gift so I will be trying it out for myself and will report back with a review at a later date.  If the clear pots can be kept looking nice then there are a couple of different gifts that feature them including teapots that dispense the tea from the bottom and 'flowering' tea pots.   Stay tuned for more on these after I've investigated more! 

Tea Inspired Jewelry

Along with tea I do love jewelry and combining the two makes a unique gift idea for a tea drinker in your life.  Just check out some of these favorite pieces of mine -

Beautiful tea inspired jewelry - the best gift for a tea lover
Click the image to go to a selection of tea jewelry & find the perfect gift for your tea lover

As I've said other options can include a selection of teas or a mug.  When it comes to mugs there are some great personalized mugs available.  An alternative to a personalized mug is the mugs that come complete with a strainer that sits inside them and a lid - I received one of these from a work colleague a few years ago and it's fantastic!

I hope I've given you a few gift ideas for the tea lover in your life & maybe even a few things you'd like for yourself.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

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