Subscribe Via Email

Like reading this blog? You can get the complete text of the latest articles at Within My Means in your email inbox each morning by entering your email address below, then verifying the subscription. Your address will only be used for mailing you the blog, and each one will include a link so you can unsubscribe at any time.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

May 31, 2009

Free Stuff Alert! Pet Waste Bags

This site will send you a free sample of their earth-friendly flushable pet waste bags. All you have to do is send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Pethabitats Inc. at 565 Striped Moss St., Roseville, CA 95678. I'd love to try them but my plumbing dates back to WWII, literally.

Do you know any eco-safe ways or products to care for pets? Leave me a comment if you have a suggestion.

May 29, 2009

Needlepoint Easter Runner

Just yesterday I finished one end of this Easter table runner. I chose bright spring colors to make my Easter table festive. Now I have to do the same design on the other end before I can wash it to remove the pattern marks. You can see in this photo my "made by" tag showing through the underside. I wish they'd use nicer fabrics to make these kits, with all the work you put into it and the years of use it will see.

What's your favorite source for craft supplies? Do you have a hobby you can't put down while you're watching television? Let me know.

May 27, 2009

Hollywood 1940-2008: Booksigning

Larry Edmunds Bookshop proudly presents
HOLLYWOOD 1940-2008
Booksigning & Presentation
with author & noted historian
Tuesday JUNE 9th, 7:00 p.m.
6644 Hollywood Boulevard

Book Description: Since World War II, Hollywood has fought and won that same war many times, won the West even more often—plus got the girl—and laughed like crazy, too. The postwar era in the dream factory was a prosperous time of expansion and wealth through the 1970s, decline in the 1980s, and rebirth in the new century. Vintage photographs from the rare collections of Hollywood Heritage and Bison Archives depict the municipal, business, residential, and entertainment industry growth in Hollywood proper, from 1940 until the beginning of the 21st century. This companion volume to Arcadia Publishing’s Early Hollywood completes the pictorial saga of the world’s most renowned storytelling capital. These images depict the rise of the television industry, changes along Hollywood Boulevard, and movers and shakers whose visions and influence have made Hollywood the entertainment industry’s Mecca.

Author Bio: Author Marc Wanamaker, a founding member of Hollywood Heritage, owns Bison Archives, one of Southern California’s unique photographic collections.

Netflix: Hold the Charges

I love my Netflix subscription. It allows me to keep a running list of the movies I'd like to see, but haven't. What I don't like is paying for my subscription when I'm not using it. Recently I learned that Netflix allows a three-month "hold" on your account.

When you put your account on hold, you must send in any movies that you still have within a week to avoid being charged for them, and then your account is on tempoary suspention--you're not allowed to use the services, not charged for them, but your account is not deleted and your queue remains waiting for you. If you don't reactivate your subscription within three months or extend the hold, then your account is closed.

This sounds like a great way to manage my usage. Netflix's monthly charge makes sense if I'm having a heavy video month--like when I'm off work. When I'm busy or otherwise occupied, I now place my account on hold. Money saved is better than being broke, after all....

Do you have any accounts that you must monitor this way? How do you save money on monthly bills? Leave me a comment if you have any suggestions.

Continuing Education: Oasis & Others

I found a program for classes offered through Oasis at my local community center. They have centers in Baldwin Hills, Woodland Hills, and West Los Angeles. From Oasis' mission:

to enrich the lives of mature adults by engaging them in lifelong learning and service programs so they can learn, lead and contribute in their communities.
Our vision is to see that mature adults in communities across the country - at every level of society - have opportunities and support to pursue vibrant, healthy, productive and meaningful lives.

Other opportunities for summer classes might be found through your local high school division of continuing education, or local department of parks and recreation. Here's a link to the City of Burbank's offerings. Also check out Glendale Community College's summer schedule here.

My friend Lori has taken pottery classes this way. I've taken Italian and self defense classes, and once took a belly dancing class with my mother!

Have you pursued a new interest lately? How did you find out about it? How much did it cost? Leave me a comment with your story.

May 25, 2009

Culver Ice Rink Coffee Club

(me pre-recital, circa 1984)

I took ice skating lessons when I was very young, and picked it up again in college. My skates travel everywhere with me--they live in the trunk of my car so I always have them. I have a dear friend in Salt Lake City, where my parents live, that I get together with to skate every time I visit.

I live closest to Pickwick Ice Center, but I find that rink annoyingly crowded with young kids that like to race around and slam into the walls while I'm practicing my t-stops. My favorite rinks are the Culver Ice Arena and the Toyota Sports Center. They're both about an hour away from my house, so I don't go as often as I should.

The Culver Ice Arena has a Thursday morning coffee club. For ten bucks, you get a session that lasts from 945A-1145A and includes a group lesson: warm up from 945-1015A, then have a group lesson from 1015-11A, then practice and play on your own till 1145A. You must own your own skates, and should be comfortable with forward cross-overs. Sounds like fun to me! I'm putting this on my to-do list.

Have you ever skated? Instead of ice skates, do you use in-line skates? Where's your favorite place to go? Made any friends this way? Leave me a comment with your remarks.

Culver Ice Rink
4545 Sepulveda Blvd
Culver City, CA 90230
(310) 398-5718

Toyota Sports Center
555 N Nash St
El Segundo, CA 90245
(310) 535-4510

Antiquing Along Michigan Country Lanes

(reprinted without permission from
Midwest Living Magazine, Aug. 2001)

I clipped this article back in 2001 when my sister was living in Michigan. I thought it would make a fun road trip to go antiquing in the country for a weekend when visiting her. She moved away before I had the chance, but I'd still like to do this trip. As this site has become my online idea repository, I've scanned the article and am shredding the paper. You can click on the images to enlarge them to a readable size.

What's your favorite weekend getaway, and what kind of finds might you come across there? Leave me a comment with your ideas.

May 24, 2009

Hooping It Up

Today I skillfully managed to lock my keys in my car when I had taken Claire to puppy class at a big local park. I waited a bit for a friend to pick up and bring me a spare key from home. At first, Claire and I needed a rest and cooling off from our class, so we sat and watched a kids' karate/self defense course that was happening under a stand of trees. This was another form of dog training for Claire as I put her on a down stay, and practiced that. But the novelty of watching 6-9 year olds wore off eventually, and we again stretched our legs.

That's when I wandered across a group of five or six women with brightly colored and decorated hoops hula-ing to music in an aerobic exercise class. They were kind enough to let me join in!

My mother bought a weighted hula hoop a couple years ago as an exercise tool a couple years ago, but I don't think she's ever used it. I haven't hula hooped since I was about nine years old, but I had a great time today. I played with the group in the park for about a half hour or forty five minutes. When my friend finally arrived with the keys, she had to come to me in the park and take my picture before I would quit. I've seen this group in the park on other Saturdays, but had never asked to join in. I think I'll be doing this again!

I did some research tonight and learned from a site called LoveToKnow that not only does exercising with hoops
give you a good cardiovascular workout but using these hoops also:
  • Massages your intestines and organs as it circles your waist
  • Allows for meditative time
  • Gets your heart rate up
  • Increases the fitness level of the entire body
  • Increase the flow of blood to the brain
  • Increases energy level
  • Improves coordination
  • Strengthens torso muscles
  • Enhances spinal flexibility
Another site to check out for more info is

Do you know anyone that uses hoops to exercise? Ever tried it yourself? If not, how do you exercise? Leave me a comment with your experiences.

P.S. Notice I'm wearing my "Vegetarians Have More Fun" t-shirt with bunnies on it!

May 23, 2009

May Garden Update: Hesby House

Coming from the midwest, I know a lot of families that do a mega-gardening blitz on Memorial Weekend. Here in CA, that's a bit of a late date. Instead I'll be going to a movie and a barbeque on Sunday. Here's what my garden looks like today:

Peruvian Daffodils, bulbs my mom planted at Easter

Calla Lily "Flame"

yellow rose I planted just a week before Easter,
on the side of the house

red rose I got at the hardware store from their clearance pile,
half off but half dead!

three different Amaryllises blooming right now,
two red Lion King variety and one more exotic

my side vegetable garden,
with eight different tomato varieties this year,
and a clump of daylilies transplanted from my friend Jacque's at Easter

May 22, 2009

Recycling at RePlanet

This will probably not be an earth-shattering post for those of you that conserve already, but I had an epiphany of sorts today--I took over ten dollars in cans and bottles to the recycling center nearest me today.

I've recycled my own cans for years, but usually only occasionally and in small amounts--a bucket the size of a banker's box. I do have city offered recycling at my current house, so I don't need to go to the trouble of doing it myself just to be kind to the Earth, but it bothers me to subsidize someone else doing it when I could be getting the refund.

I also put a recycling location finder in the sidebar of my blog.

Recently they've closed at least half the RePlanet centers near me, leaving only bulk-per-pound places that are generally smellier and gross and for which you have to have large amounts. It took me several months to find another place with a mechanized can counter. These pay higher amounts, the full CRV (California Refund Value), than selling in bulk by weight.

Meanwhile, I had to find a storage solution for all the accumulating recycling. The only space I could come up with was the foot-wide gap between the shed and the fence in my backyard. This felt a little hillbilly-ish to me, hiding things behind the shed. And the squirrels got into my bags and tore several apart, so I had to re-bag most of them yesterday. Today's stash represented about three months' worth of cans from my single-person household and occasional guests.

The lines outside my recycling center when I arrived today

I had a long wait in full sun before I could even start all my work. In fact, it left me a touch sunburnt. Rivers of sweat trickled down my back as I fed cans into the machine. The automated machines are notoriously sensitive, and reject items regularly for no apparent reason.

The automated can counting machine

There's generally only one attendant managing the whole center. The attendant handles the by-weight accounting manually in the center of everything, so there's motion and banging all around you regardless of what line you're in. RePlanet used to have trash cans for whatever they wouldn't take, and hand sanitizer available when you were done. This was a real convenience that kept my car from getting sticky afterward. They've now cut out both those services.

Bulk by-weight bins

To their credit, if the by-weight demand is slow and the attendant is available, they'll let you count and sort your own cans manually in the bulk area in groups of 50, paying you the full CRV as if you'd waited for the machine to be free. But you do have to sort your own plastic, metal, and glass in this case, and they're supposed to limit you to 50 cans this way. I did 50 cans this way today while waiting in line for the machine, so that did shorten my workload a bit.

It took me about two hours to earn my ten dollars and suntan today, so I'm not sure it's worth it to do this regularly, especially when I figure the damage of accumulated dirt in my car. What are your experiences with can recycling? What do you do with the money you make from it?

May 21, 2009

How Email Subscribers Can Comment on the Blog

If you subscribe to the blog by email, you may be a little confused as to how to comment.

You'll have to go to the site to do so. If you click on the title of the blog post in the email that you receive daily, it'll take you to that blog post on the web. You can then scroll down to the bottom of the post, and click on the word "comment." Then just fill out the form to post.

I appreciate your input, so please don't hesitate to join in!

May 20, 2009

PaperBack Swap: Feed the Mind

One thing I did for myself while on vacation was take the time to check out the website I'd heard a lot about this exchange from folks on the Compact Yahoo Group, but had yet to investigate it. Hearing about it on the group so much, I was surprised none of my L.A. friends (avid readers, all) had mentioned it. I brought it up to my friend Cathy while staying with her, and it turns out she uses it all the time.

Here's how it works: members sign up, list books they'd like to receive, and list books they're willing to send to another member. When someone requests a book from you, you pay media rate postage to send it to them, then use the credit you're given on the site to request another book from a member for yourself for FREE. It took me less than an hour to register and to familiarize myself with the site by playing around with it.

When I came home from vacation I felt encouraged to declutter my bookshelf and list books on the site that I was willing to part with. The extra room on the bookshelf is a huge bonus! Today I ordered my first book from another person on the site, so soon I'll have a book review to post on my blog.

Do any of you use this site? What other sources do you have to feed your reading habit? Let me know your experience below.

May 19, 2009

Poison Help 800-222-1222

After coming home from a ten-day vacation, I spent all yesterday afternoon regrouping. I got a half a trash can of avocado leaves off the porch and yard so that I could do a deep water, since I wasn't sure when it had last gotten attention. Opening mail, trimming dogs nails, answering emails, blogging, and facebooking seemed to eat up the rest of my afternoon--until I looked up to find Chance chewing on a cockroach trap in the living room. A quick call to the National Capitol Poison Center ensued, and it occurred to me that this is one number that should be programmed into the home cordless phone. Turns out for my six pound dogs, one teaspoon of 3% peroxide solution taken orally will induce vomiting. After that excitement, puppies got baths, and all is (so far) well. Disaster averted, once again, and now I am more prepared.

What about your home? What numbers do you keep programmed into the phone, or listed on the refrigerator? Let me know in a comment.

May 18, 2009

Make Your Own Cookbook

The neatest present my cousin Kate got for her wedding was a cookbook specially made for her by my sister.

I've thought about putting something together before, but the only publishing avenues I knew of were ones that catered to fundraising groups, and required bulk minimum orders which were too expensive for me.

My sister found a site that allows single copies. It's called Keep them in mind the next time you're looking for a unique gift option. The site looks really simple and easy to use. My sister and brother photoshopped some funny 1950s looking pictures with my cousin's face, and added them to the book too.

Have you ever made your own cookbook? What format did you use, and how did you get it printed up? Leave me a comment below.

My New Business Cards

I've posted the mailing labels in an earlier post that I just ordered for my ebay/stained glass store.

The DGA's annual meeting is tomorrow, so along with that mailing label order, I got new business cards for my film work, and my ebay store. Here they are! Thought you'd like to see them. Once again, you can see where I photoshopped them for internet privacy reasons.

What do you think?

May 15, 2009

Team Logos in Stained Glass

I'm in Kansas now for a family wedding. My two cousins are big Kansas City Chiefs fans, and this is in their garden. This reminded me of a pattern idea I have for a garden stone from my alma mater, the University of Utah, but I haven't made it yet. It's inspiring me to get going on that project.

My friend Cathy's daughter is in kindergarten, and her elementary school logo is the roadrunner. This piece below was hanging in their school office. I attended Carl Sandberg Elementary in Chicago, and they were Roadrunners also, so I got a chuckle from this. Might be a great pattern to make for them some day.

May 13, 2009

Cinespia Cemetery Screenings at Hollywood Forever

Cinespia's Saturday evening screenings at Hollywood Forever Cemetery are back, starting with a screening of Cool Hand Luke. Here are the rules of what to expect. Here's a link to the full calendar, which currently lists through the month of May.

Be sure to allow enough time to handle the crowds, and messy parking situations that arise. I've gone before in what I thought was a reasonable advance time, and been totally unable to get in. This season I'm determined to go!

Anyone else had positive or negative experiences with this screening series? Let me know in a comment below.

Wedding Stained Glass

I made this as a wedding present for Brian and Cathy about a dozen years ago, and my dad made the custom frame for it. It's hanging in their kitchen, right over the sink, in a little alcove with lots of light. I'd only been into stained glass for a couple years when I made this. There's pink waterglass petals surrounding the purple in the center.

Here's the pattern for the project, if you're interested in making one yourself. Click on the image to enlarge it. Or, you can email me using the contact info on the blog sidebar, and I can send you a pdf version. Pattern courtesy Stained Glass News.

What are your favorite colors or patterns to see in stained glass?

May 12, 2009

Ants in Pet Food?

If you find ants getting into your pet food bowls, here's a quick and easy solution: Put the bowl into another, slightly larger bowl, and fill the outer dish with a shallow moat of water. Ants can't swim, so the problem will quickly go away.

As summer approaches, what's your best tip for dealing with household pests? Leave me a comment with your suggestions.

Needlepoint Bear

I started this needlepoint bear in the 1980s as a 4-H project, and found it in the craft cabinet ten or fifteen years later. I finally completed it and gave him to my friend Cathy in the mid nineties. This is the first time I'd photographed it, and had only my phone to do so, so the pictures are pretty poor. But there are so many different stitches on this project that I'm glad to have some photographs of it. He's held up well over time (especially through three kids!) but the colors are definitely eighties.

What's the biggest craft project of any kind that you've ever completed? Tell me about it in a comment below.
Related Posts with Thumbnails

My Etsy Store

My Zazzle Products

My YouTube Player