Category Archives: Business

Invent new products and earn money!

You’ve heard about 3D printing, right?  It’s not just for industry anymore.  Anyone can now design and print their own custom items.  If you have an idea for a new product, Shapeways 3D Printing lets you model your design with their software, upload it to their site, choose the materials you want your item to be made of and what price you’d like to sell it for.  Then Shapeways will SELL your item for you on their site, and you’ll get a cut from the sale.  How cool is that?  Check out the site to see examples.

Pruning service and free wood chips for your yard!

Tree pruningWe needed a tree-size camellia bush pruned so called Jim Meyers of Hedgehog Tree Care. We had a specific goal:  to give the fruit trees on either side of the overgrown Camellia bush room to grow…while keeping the bush’s screening capabilities of the massive apartment behind us. To the left you can see him making some major pruning of our HUGE bush.

Driveway full of woodchipsJim loves his job and did great work, plus dumped a load of wood chips in our driveway.  After 2 days of shoveling and hauling we and our chickens are no longer walking in backyard mud.   Instead, we’ve recycled a waste woodchip product into an eco-friendly ground cover that will slowly decompose. Landscaping companies have to drive and pay for disposal of their Continue reading

Reader glasses with flair: Borghese readers by Icon Eyewear

iconeyewearI get to be a product tester! This is the first test product: a free sample of Borghese Readers from Icon Eyewear. The review goal was 50 words on “What did you like most about the Borghese readers from Icon Eyewear?”  I’ve underlined what I liked most.  Here’s my take:

Borghese Readers from Icon Eyewear fit women’s faces – slim to the head – no sliding around the ears.  Frame color is root beer in acrylic; sides are gold/black toned metal, earpieces plastic with a textural pattern (traction to keep glasses from falling off an eyeglass chain). Professional yet playful vibe.

See them in action at the Would I Wear That? Segment here.

What stories are you paying attention to?

The stories we pay attention to are what form our ideas of what’s possible.  The stories we pay attention to help show us what choices we have.  Sarah van Gelder discusses in this short Tedx talk  “Solutions Journalism”, or “Appreciative Journalism”:  news that focuses on what matters most, what’s possible now, and what’s working.

Check it out here:


Shelby the 13 year old chicken farmer

happy chickensIf you’re low on money and looking for a way to bring in a little more to make ends meet, take a page out of this 13 year olds workbook.  Shelby saved her parents from medical bankruptcy.  She got a loan from her grandma when she was 9 years old and purchased chickens.  She not only takes care of them, but she does personal delivery of the eggs as well, earning about $15,000 a year.  She’s also the youngest farmer to be awarded the Animal Welfare Seal Of Approval – meaning her chickens are very happy. Shelby used her compassion for her family, her care for animals, and her work ethic to make a positive difference for herself and her community. Maybe her example can spark ideas for us on how to use our simple skills in creative ways?

Here’s the video from CBS news:

Thanks to the Good News Network for this story.  (P.S. above photo is of our backyard chickens, not Shelby’s.)

New clothing line for go-getter women 40+

All_Styles_1There’s a new women’s clothing venture out of Seattle WA called TomboyX  – clothing specifically for go-getter women 40+ .

I like the details, fabrics, and innovative design features in the sample clothes shown in the video.  Women’s body’s over 40 start to change, so the designers fit the clothing on actual 40+ bodies (instead of the standard young-body fit model) to make sure the clothes fit right.  Details such as a special hidden button to keep button-front shirts from gaping, wider sleeves, and fabric cut on the bias for natural stretch are just some of the innovative details that make this clothing line different.  I also like that everything from design to production to marketing is made in America – which means Continue reading

Local handyman knows his stuff

nookshelf1We wanted to turn our kitchen nook into a pantry.  I researched ready-made shelving systems, but the look and/or storage options weren’t what we were looking for.  One day we were at our locally owned Beaumont Hardware store and saw near the checkout area a business card rack which included the cards of local handymen.  We grabbed a card with the name Herb Schlobohm on it. His card said “Home Maintenance and Repairs.  Unusual skills such as Blacksmithing to Veneering and just about everything in between.  Small Jobs Welcomed!”

Herb turned out to be a traditional 70+ years young handyman with old time Continue reading

Art class: why should kids have all the fun?

Robot Painting_boysSpark Arts Center is a cute little shop set up to give art classes, art parties, provide art supplies and more to kids, families, and adults.  It seems so often art is scrapped from schools due to budget cuts.  Or art consists of a harried English teacher telling kids to draw illustrations for the paper they are writing – with no instruction help involved to guide a child on what/how to create beauty.  Sparks Art Center is the brain child of Julie Jetton and Marla Munnich, artists and dynamo moms who’ve been involved in PTA and school fundraising, as well as inspiring kids and adults with their art and talents for years through teaching, mentoring, volunteering, and working professionally in Continue reading

The News Channel I Want

What if the news actually HELPED us find solutions, make connections, added value to our day?  What if news reports focused on creating a better world and things we do want – instead of pointing out the bad apples and things we don’t want?  What if news looked something like this:

“1.5 million people safely arrived at their destinations today through airways worldwide.  Let’s hear from reporter Bill  – today in the Bahamas –  about what conditions are like there.”

“It’s sunny and 80 degrees, the water is clear, the beaches are clean – it’s paradise Darlene!  Hotel packages to the Bahamas start at $$$ and the winter discount rates last through the end of the month.  Back to you.”

“In technology, Belgian students at the State University have created an app that lowers blood pressure.  They’re selling it for 99 cents on iTunes; money Continue reading

‘Pets’ with a work ethic: Put a worm bin in your fireplace

worm bin in fireplaceWe live in a 1920’s bungalow.  It has a fireplace that doesn’t work very well, so instead of using it for fires, I use it to store our Worm Factory worm bin year round.  We hide the worm bin behind a large silk scarf draped over a tension curtain rod near the front.  It doesn’t smell, so no one knows it’s there but us (and now you).

worm bin lidThe worm factory is easy to use since the instructions are printed on the black plastic lid.  I like the spigot near the bottom where you can siphon out ‘worm tea’ to feed plants indoors and out.  Not only is this a great way to recycle kitchen veggie scraps, but also to recycle paper from the shredder, lint from the Continue reading

Nordstrom: socially responsible customer service, wrapped up in fashion

NordstromWhere can you get your make-up done for free, have a personal shopper scour the store for just the items you want, eat a healthy meal, and find clothes that fit (or have them altered so they do)?  For a pampering experience in fashion, I think of Nordstrom.  Nordstrom is a regionally owned socially responsible company that caters to what the Northwest views as upscale casual.  Their products are a good price for quality.  But the real treat comes in the customer service extras they offer.

Personal shoppers will take your size and tastes and find you things to try on.  So if you’re in a rush, or if you hate shopping, they’ll basically do the legwork for you.  In the lingerie department Continue reading

A living sewage treatment plant

Here’s a really cool technique for treating wastewater that treats up to 52,000 gallons of human waste a day, and produces clean water, fertilizer for food, and solar energy in the process.  Makes me want to go on a retreat to the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies just to try it out (well, and take a rest, do yoga, get massages, learn stuff – basically my ideal retreat).  This is yet another creative example of cradle-to-cradle technology, where one being’s waste is another’s food.  This is a larger scale and power supplying version of my previous articles on home-use composting toilets and home use herb garden/worm bin/fish tank.  This is also a practical solution to update our current faulty national sanitation system.  Thanks to Yes! magazine for the link.

Don’t be slapped around by frantic email demands

My email has stealthily accumulated myriad subscriptions to political, commercial, and hobby interests. I’d open it and be bombarded with frantic pitches to donate money, sign petitions and buy now! These were all organizations I believe in that I at one time signed a petition, or purchased something I liked/ needed, or asked to receive their newsletters/coupons.

So this past week I unsubscribed.  As I received emails, I thought over each one.  If I need their product or service in the future, I can easily Continue reading

Bare Bones Budget: budgeting time, money, and more when under stress

We are gainfully self-employed now, but when my husband and I both lost our full time jobs back in the 1990‘s we were rather stressed.  So we revamped the way we looked at our work/business/home life.  One of the things we did was come up with what we call our Bare Bones Budget.  This isn’t just about budgeting money, but also budgeting/balancing time and the enjoyment of life.  So for those who are looking for a different approach when under stress (besides doom and panic), here’s what helped us – and we continue to follow today.

The Bare Bones Budget Mantra Continue reading

Don Poynter helps bring your book to print – and beyond

Dan Poynter

In the late 1980’s I was working as a DJ at a local radio station where callers would often ask how to get their music played on the radio, how to join a band, how to publicize their music, etc.  Most information I found at the time were biographies about big stars like Mick Jagger – not very helpful/practical for the beginning local musician.  I did find one book about getting started in Christian music, so read through it eagerly looking for clues to pass along to my callers/listeners.   The advice?  Call your local DJ.  I’m like I AM the local DJ, and I don’t have a clue.

So I did what I always do when there is no easy answer:  I research.  I called up venues, talked to radio music directors, talked to other local bands, talked to book and music stores, and compiled what I was hoped would be a short information pamphlet – which ended up being the size of a book.  So I researched how to publish a book, and came across an amazing book called Dan Poynter’s Self Publishing Manual.  It was a huge book, that carefully went over every Continue reading

Chiropractor to Olympians inventing new healing modality

Dean at clinic 3-2011He’s the Chiropractor to Olympians, rock stars, weekend athletes, kids, pregnant moms, and your grandma.  Dean Clark is always looking for new and better ways to alleviate pain and bring about better health. His expertise and great bedside manner have given him the privilege to be the Olympic Chiropractor to world-class athletes at THREE different Olympics (2000, 2008, 2012).  His rock star healer status has also caught the attention of actual rock stars who’ve flown him to their homes and/or on the road to treat them.  You’d think this kind of access would go to a guys’ head…but not Dr. Clark.  He’s the kindest, most down-to-earth Continue reading

Cook a turkey in a solar oven

Who would have thought you could cook a turkey in a solar oven?  My how solar ovens have improved.  It wasn’t that long ago when the only solar ovens were the ones you made at home with a pizza box and tin foil.  Then, websites became available to donate solar ovens to people in countries with not much firewood, or who had trouble affording gas/oil/etc. for cooking.  Now, people in first world as well as third world countries can purchase and use solar ovens to bake, boil, and steam food, enhancing taste and benefitting Continue reading

A taste of home: Bob’s Red Mill has different grains and a good work ethic

Bobs_Red_Mill-LogoI’m thrilled with Bob’s Red Mill.  They’re an icon in Oregon with values and customer service that go beyond outstanding.  They grind their own grain, supplying grains for authentic shows such as PBS’s Frontier house.   They have mill tours so you can see how a working mill does its thing.  In fact, they practically act out the part of the Little Red Hen (except they share the work and at the end let you eat the bread).    The company is now employee owned – a little gift from Bob when he retired.  Bob Moore Continue reading

Vegetable/herb garden, worm bin, and fish tank all rolled into one

Wouldn’t it be great to have a vegetable/herb garden, worm bin, and fish tank all rolled into one?  Such an invention already exists, and the easy at-home version is called a Fishy Farm.  I like the littler version for a fun take on indoor gardening with fish tank aquarium, but in the bigger outdoor version you can grow rainbow trout or tilapia for consumption as well.  The fish wastewater is piped up to the veggies/herbs to be used as fertilizer.  No soil is used, only clay type balls and volcanic rock, and around those balls are red worms that eat anything that the plants don’t use.  The water then drains Continue reading

Pee generated electricity

A urine-powered generator  has been created by teenage girls!  Their invention turns one liter of urine into six hours of electricity.  These girls are actively working to solve major world problems.  These generators would be great as emergency back-up, or even everyday use.  This aligns with cradle to cradle methodology.  When this idea becomes an actual product, please let me know and I’ll post it here.  Until then, take a look at this article, and if you are a decision maker, help Duro-Aina Adebola, Akindele Abiola, Faleke Oluwatoyin, and Bello Eniola  bring this invention to market!