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Archive for August, 2012

Heaven Sent College Classes, or Beginning Chinese (and 100s more FREE)

August 29th, 2012 at 09:23 pm

In the past couple years you've heard about it, free on line courses by very high quality universities. Why are they doing it? How can they possibly afford to do it?

Really!! I was practical and picked classes that were within my interests but would lead to a good living back then. I felt I never was able to study subjects just for the love of it! Honestly, how many ancient civilization majors are out there digging in Afghanistan or Jordan already (and we all know how safe THAT is). And their chance of making that earthshattering discovery is, um, one in how many bazillion? Those folk spend an entire lifetime on the something like 'correlating the fiber in Egyptian ceremonial headdress with nomadic tunics of the 1800s' and they STILL don't get an answer.

No mind. CLEAR THE CALENDAR full steam ahead!

From simply learning basic Chinese to what might be heaven sent help to high school teachers, it took me 2 minutes to find these incredible invites from MIT:

Chinese I
"This course provides an introduction to modern standard Chinese (Mandarin) for the absolute beginner by developing basic conversational ability, reading and writing skills, and an understanding of the language learning process all aimed at allowing students to continue learning on their own."
See HERE for details.

Astrophysics R Us
"For five weeks during the summer, students come to MIT to participate in this introduction to investigating astronomical systems. Look for the "Teachers' Tricks and Tips" in each section that provide details on incorporating these activities in other classrooms.

Best for: Students in grades 9 11 who want to undertake astronomy projects; Instructors who want to introduce their students to the basics of astronomical investigations."

See HERE for details.


There's "History of Western Thought 500-1300"; "Women in South Asia 1800-Present"; "The Middle East in the 20th Century"; "Bioethics"; "The Nature of Creativity"; "Science Communication-A Practical Guide"; "Sustainable Development-Theory and Policy"; "Congress and the American Political Process I"; and I could go on and on. And oh yes, "The Ancient World: Greece".

Here is a link to all the 1000+ classes
MIT Open Courseware

Massachusetts Institute of Technology. MASSACHUSETTS OF TECHNOLOGY. Are you kidding?? I can't afford 5 minutes of a live class. I wouldn't get in the school anyway. And I get a whole online class free?? And as many as I want?? WOOOOO HOOOOO Insane.

This is not the only university giving free courses online. It's just the one I found right away.

I want to do this!! Please send me TIME!! Or at least - please please let this still be around when I am ready to devote a routine spot in my life to study for personal fun. Anyone else?

Free Museum Day All Over the US - Sept 29

August 28th, 2012 at 04:59 pm

Try something new, I dare ya! Use the offer from Smithsonian to go to any of hundreds museums across the US free on Sept 29.

See here FREE MUSEUM DAY

There isn't much fine print:
2 free tix per household
Print Out tix must be given at the door

So how about going to an art museum which you'd normally eschew? Or a history museum to learn about your local past? Or a SCIENCE museum!! JUST DO IT!

There are a few near me which are a bit pricey so normally off my routine. But this is a good time to give one of them a look. I usually enjoy and learn something at a museum; really most of the time there is a good reason these points of interest exist.

And here's a point of interest in my Etsy shop:

Roller Coaster Copper Necklace


After making a set of symmetrical, feminine wire pendants, I let loose and just got a little silly. The result is this loopy, curving, fun copper necklace. It is hung on 18" black satin cord. Strategically placed red cut glass dots and tiny leaf green beads are wired on for added interest. Allow it to acquire patina for even more character. See more detail
here


You can use the tweet button (left sidebar) to pass on the free museum info ~

What's that on your eyes? MAKE UP?!

August 27th, 2012 at 08:07 pm

Who doesn't know that retail sales mean boom or bust for stores at the end of the year? Of course, no surprise there. Also no surprise that smart families run an end play around the issue and simply stock up on gifts throughout the year when a good buy is available. (Finding hiding places, though, can be a different issue...)

I also used this principle for years and put the most effort into promoting my crafts and selling at events at end of the year holiday fests. It was a major time sink, and took me away from my family a bit.

But this year I turned the tables and, like a buyer, have emphasized selling throughout the year during calendar highlights. It's working!!

This past weekend was the last outdoor table I did for the summer. It was at the harbor art gallery where a classic car show was also held in the marina. Sales were good, my sea glass designs got lots of attention but fancier higher priced jewelry also sold. The event was well planned, we had artwork that featured autos, we had several live artists doing work at the gallery, and free refreshments for visitors. I even spruced up and got the eye make up on!

Sea Glass Spear Necklace

Simple but unusual shaped piece of sea glass is held in copper wire on a black leather string. A printed wood bead adds to the natural style. Handmade and original. See here for more pictures and detail.

Was it that I spruced up my appearance at the event? I hope not. Throughout this past July and August I've done a wide variety of events including: teaching a jewelry class, selling at a figure skate competition, and several outdoor dates at the harbor. The combined income is probably going to equal what I have earned at the end of the year in the past.

Two pair of these new fancy earrings sold, too quickly for me to even take a formal photo (this one's from my phone).

Marquise Pearl Edge Earrings

Classic tear drop shape earrings, edged with tiny white faux pearl, have a half band of champagne crystals in the center. Pure elegance. Special order only.

Yippee! And not a moment to late. The most profitable December show I did for years has decided not to continue, and I had opted out of 2 other shows last year due to insufficient sales for the time investment.

So really it was all part of a larger plan for my small biz. I wanted to augment income around the year and also replace what I knew would be less at the end of the year.

Thanks for reading and what do you think of those LIME gloves in the left sidebar?!

When I went to college, there was no such thing as Environmental Health!!

August 24th, 2012 at 06:40 pm

I knew in 5th grade I wanted to help the environment and ended up with a college degree in civil engineering. That degree was the closest thing to environmental engineering at the time. In fact, environmental engineering was simply 'Drinking Water Treatment' or 'Wastewater Treatment' back then.

Some years later I did graduate work in Hazardous Materials. It was round about the time of Superfund and the course work was more a study of the rule and what technologies were being used to clean up waste and prevent spills, etc. Not exactly theoretically based science.

In the short 20 years since there has been a proliferation of environmental college majors! In fact, there are MANY specialized subjects and I wouldn't know where to start if I was a freshman.

Just a couple weeks ago I got an email from the state air resources agency on a seminar called 'We Are What We Eat and Breathe, and Build Preventing chronic diseases and protecting the environment by building healthy communities'. OK, somewhat beauracratic in title, but I saved it to view later.

HOO BOY, I watched it today and is it smart. The presenter is highly qualified of course, a doctor turned professor who is superb at seeing the big picture between health and suburban environment.

"When a large part of the population contract the same diseases (eg diabetes, overweight) it is not the result of personal lifestyle choices, it is the result of the environment they live in."

What impresses is the scientific data to back up "Driving makes you sick" and many many other example issues.

Do you think this is all common sense? But how can change be brought about in the everyday decisions about road building, bike riding, and even soda drinking?!

Here is the video, it's long but even the first 10 minutes are worthy!!
Air Resources Board Chair Lecture Series

If anyone watches, post some of your quotes below. I wish I would've been an Environmental Health major!!!!

Click if you remember these...

August 10th, 2012 at 04:45 pm

Two is the number. Two house projects accomplished. Two big items sold on craig's list. Two craft events left on summer vacation.

When the kids are out of school I don't work at the office. It's a benefit of part time employment (but don't forget there's always the 'no work no pay' clause!). Anyway, those days are a great time for working on house projects. I love the do-it-yourself, low-cost jobs. In the past? Bleach the tile grout! Better arrange the backyard stepping stones and edge pavers! Give the wood and leather furniture a serious treatment with oil soaps and polish!

This year it was time for two jobs: clean up the garage workshop and paint my daughter's room.

Working in the Workshop

My husband's workshop is a great asset, but I can't find anything! He'll use hardware, tools and but put them away 'later' (read: never). Instead of nagging, I just decided to clean it up myself. Click if you remember these:



Here's another classic, worth ~$25 on eBay? (no bids last time I looked though!):



There were buckets of soil (that might contain gold flecks!) and black bags with unknown contents (golf clubs) and memorabilia from the 1984 Olympics.

Most of the stuff was saved, my purpose was to clean up not clean out. But two things went up for sale, one gone already:


Well mission accomplished!

Workout Means Working In Kid's Room
The 2nd big job of the summer was a result of my kid breaking her toe on her metal bedframe when practicing a figure skate move in her room. Oops. I agreed it was time to replace the thrift store frame with a proper, preferably wooden, bed. We started looking on craig's list for a good candidate.

In the meantime, she had asked to paint her room a new color. I resisted knowing how big this project truly was. There was the wall paper border to remove, the diy lace enclosure around her bed that I had hung from the ceiling when she was little. The color was coral, something I had picked out about 10 years ago.

So I made her a deal. If she would clear out a load of clutter, we could paint. I knew that EVERYTHING had to come out and it WOULD NEVER fit all back in. She had way too many stuffed animals, old school artwork, birthday party favor knickknacks.

And...she did it! I knew she was serious about painting. On the next Monday, instead of the office, I got to work in the bedroom. Down with the wallpaper, in with the wall patch, up with the touch up paint.

Off to the paint store. After rearranging the old furniture and with a lowly $30 gallon of we worked together and transformed the place.

Our budget let me go further and invest in a new bed (craig's did not come through this time) for a very affordable price under $400. And though I normally would sew, we shopped and bought a new bedspread and curtains (with 5 or 6 Bed Bath and Beyond coupons).

My kid is happy and I am pleased she made the decisions on her own, not what a friend has or what the neighbors are doing.

Two Craft Sale Dates For the Summer
This Saturday I have a novel way to beat the heat. It's a regional figure skate competition all day at the ice rink and I'll have a booth from 8am - 8pm. Hope these get attention:

Sea Glass Jewelry

One of a kind pieces of sea glass are enclosed by wire in artistic jewelry. I collected this sea glass in British Columbia and used them in my own handmade accessory craft. See more of the collection here (shown: white spear with mnit green wire, coffee brown glass and stone bracelet with copper wire).