My Go-To Solution for Most Everything

Binder Clips

They come in pretty patterns and colors too!

Do you have that one solution that solves just about every problem you have? For my husband it’s duct tape. For my youngest daughter, I think it’s sharpie markers. For my oldest daughter: probably RockyRoad ice-cream.

For me?

Binder Clips

I don’t go anywhere without them and I use them for everything. Sure they bind up papers, bills, and cards into neat stacks, but they can be used for So. Much. More. I’ve used them to string up my kid’s art around the house. Clip the art and then run a cord through the looped handle or clip the art and the cord at the same time for a different look. I’ve used them to clip the ends of a towel together around my daughter’s neck and shoulders when I’m dyeing her hair. But wait…there’s more…

Power cord contained

Every cord I own has a companion Binder Clip

clipped hair ties

These hair ties aren’t going anywhere.

Cords in your way?

Binder Clips.

Constantly losing loose hair ties in your purse?

Binder Clips.

Bag of chips going stale?

Binder Clips.

Cracker packaging sealed with binder clip

May your Triscuits never go stale.

Hanging necklaces with binder clip on cork board

Two untangled chains on a cork board.

Necklace chains a tangled mess?

Binder Clips. With the help of a thumbtack on a cork board.

But my fav binder clips use is when I’m traveling.


You know how you can never quite get the hotel room curtains to close all the way? There’s always that little sliver of light that hits you across the face just right…That’s when a Binder Clip comes in super handy!

close the drape with binder clip

Pinch those drapes closed. Not a spec of light eeks through.

So what do you think? Is this enough to convince you to stock up on binder clips? Let me know in the comments below.


Improvised Eggs

For now, my kids are still into dying eggs for Easter. Usually we cover the kitchen table with newspaper, hard boil the eggs, and rely on Paas for all our egg-dying needs.

But when Easter falls in March and your March looks somewhat like this…

We are not driving anywhere today...

We are not driving anywhere today…

Driving out to Walgreens to pick up egg dye just isn’t the best use of your day.

So we improvised.

Bad tasting but makes a great dye.

Bad tasting but makes a great dye.

Earlier in the month my daughter needed packages of sugary water flavoring for a school project. Long story but, since the dollar store didn’t have Kool-Aid, we bought some FlavorAid instead. At 99cents for a pack of twelve it looked like a great deal. However, there is a reason FlavorAid is so cheap. Imagine the worst fake fruit flavor ever, multiply that by 100x and then sweeten it up with twenty tablespoons of sugar and you might come close to the flavor of Flavor-OMG-this-tastes-awful-Aid, (named for the fact that the flavor needs help?)

Cherry FlavorAid made the egg speckled red

Cherry FlavorAid made the egg speckled red

Needless to say we had a lot of it left over. So that’s what we used! Dissolved in a cup of water and three tablespoons of vinegar, it made a fine egg dye. Some of the eggs came out speckled too, which was an unexpected, but not unwelcome effect.

The Kiwi Watermelon flavor made green eggs. The Lemonaid flavor made yellow eggs. For some reason the Grape flavor made brown eggs, but they kinda looked like chocolate, so we didn’t mind. The longer the eggs stayed in the dye bath, the darker they came out.

It took a little while for them to dry and until they did, they were susceptible to smears. So if you do this project, expect some finger color transfer.

Now there's a nice looking Easter egg.

Now there’s a nice looking Easter egg.

My youngest had the idea to wrap some of the eggs in rubber-bands before submerging them into the dye cups and those eggs had great results! I think the rubber-band trick would work with any type of dye.

We’ve gotten similar results marking up the egg with a white crayon or a wax candle, but the rubber-banding was less labor intensive.

The blue coloring came from the Berry Punch FlavorAid.

Also, the colors did not seep through the shell into the egg itself, which sometimes happens when using regular food coloring.


Would we do it again? Yes! FlavorAid + Egg Dying = Project Success.

Are you thinking what I'm thinking? If this stuff can color eggs, what's it doing to your body if you drink it?

Are you thinking what I’m thinking? If this stuff can color eggs, what’s it doing to your body if you drink it?

Photographs © Karin Blaski, 2016

Top Five Arguments Against Christmas Cards and Why I Send Them Anyway

Spreading holiday cheer is worth the time and expense.

Spreading holiday cheer is worth the time and expense.

“Christmas cards are a thing of the past.”

“Don’t you care about trees? Send an e-mail.”

“Facebook is the new delivery system. Post your message there. That’s where all your friends and family are anyway.”

“Who has the time? Don’t even bother. They just get thrown away.”

“Postage is expensive. Don’t forget about your carbon footprint.”

I know all the arguments. Hear them, read them more and more every year. According to Eric Garcia at MarketWatch the number of paper cards delivered in 2014 dropped by 30%. But you know what? I like Christmas cards. I like sending them out and I especially like getting them. My name and address handwritten on an envelope is especially cool because (duh, dun, duh) it hardly ever happens! Makes me feel like a kid, oooh something’s in the mail for me and it’s not a freaking adult-world bill. They’re pretty, they’re filled with joy and family pictures and messages of love. They make me feel good.

The Christmas Card Wreath. Now isn't that festive?

The Christmas Card Wreath. Now isn’t that festive?

Sure I care about trees. It’s why I hug them regularly, donate money to grow new ones, and take good care of the 400+ year old ones in my yard. My bookshelf honors their sacrifice. Why not send an e-mail instead? Really? Does e-mail make me think of holiday cheer and settling down with a nice, hot cocoa in front of a roaring fire? NO. It makes me think of work, work, work, work, work. I get thousands of e-mails a day, and delete 70% of them. Don’t make me sift through my e-mail to find a link to to your animated Jesus gif. Yes, that’s a thing.

Ah yes, much better than reading e-mail.

Ah yes, much better than reading e-mail.

What about Facebook? I do put holiday messages from both my family and my company out on Facebook and Twitter. My friends and customers hang out in those places. I hang out in those places. But just like my enjoying a good ebook does not preclude me from enjoying the weight of a solid hardcover in my hands, the sound of a page turning, the smell of fresh print . . . I digress. Anyway, not all of my friends and family use social media. Some are intentionally modern luddites. Yeah, that’s a thing too.

It does take time to find good cards to send, purchase said cards, look up mailing addresses, stuff and address envelopes, pay for and affix stamps, journey to the post office, open the mail slot . . . when you could be doing something else, anything else. Isn’t that the point though? I have chosen to take time away from my daily routine to do this small gesture because I care to do it. I also bribe my children to help. My twelve year old has very nice printing and my ten year old can stick a stamp like nobody’s business. I can get an easy hour of child labor for a couple candy canes.

Once I release those cards into the world if the recipients choose to throw them away, well that’s completely up to them. Free will I say! We like to save ours– especially the pictures– the others will most likely forge a new life cut up and put into some crafty kid’s project. Yes, repurposing Christmas cards is also, a thing.

The price of a stamp has risen! In the grand scheme of spending, a stamp is still pretty cheap. In a society that has no problem handing over $4.65 for a Venti Teavana ® Oprah Chai Tea Latte at Starbucks— Yes. Thing– spending 49 cents on a stamp is a matter of perspective. Got 100 cards to send? Well there’s some real money. That’s when you weigh your priorities. If food on the table, medical care, and heat in the winter top your list, then of course, Christmas cards and Chai Tea Lattes shouldn’t even be on your list. But if you’ve got an entertainment budget that includes The Baby Mop . . . unfortunately, a thing . . . you can splurge on a few stamps.

The dreaded carbon footprint could be holding you back, but you could do what I do: stop at the post office on the way to or from work. You’re out and about anyway. By the way, if your carbon footprint is the reason you don’t go out and about then why on Mother Earth are you using electricity to read this blog? Better yet, get your stamps from your mail person who comes to your house most days and once stamped, put the cards in your mailbox with the flag up. The post office is already doing its part to promote good stewardship.

So, no, I don’t think Christmas cards are a thing of the past. I still send them and receive them with happiness in my heart and I will continue to do so right up until the zombie apocalypse. Not a real thing.

Photos by Karin Blaski © 2015