Apr 06 2012

Owning a business is like being the conductor of an orchestra.

The instruments can be tuned, the notes learned and the music played, all by the individual members, but to have the vision of oversight, to understand the whole piece and how the various parts are to be played together takes a leader with vision, foresight and timing.

Yes, timing. Knowing what to do when. When to push ahead. When to fall back. When to pursue opportunity and when to shut the door in its face. Timing and risk management are the two essential talents of a great conductor and good business person.

The movie Little Women was recast and released in 1994.

Sometimes one little click on a computer can lead to a whole new life. For instance, in November 2011, I was working on the back end of SunbonnetSmart.com, putting in the sales area to sell my e-products when I noticed a comment on one of my posts.

Cat Morrow, who has a wonderful organic food and natural lifestyle website left a comment about my Your Family Cow source of raw milk post. And Cat was connected to something called BlogHer. One click of the mouse, looking at Cat’s web site, then looking at BlogHer, changed my life forever.

Cat Morrow of NeoHomesteading:
her comment changed my life!

I read BlogHer and I read BlogHer, article after article, post after post and Chatter after Comment. I decided that BlogHer was the most amazing marketing tool I had ever seen, on the Internet or off. And that weekend in November, I made a big decision. I decided to orchestrate my business differently than I had planned. Being the owner of my business web site blog and entrepreneurial, I decided to conduct my symphony in a different way. I changed the score, the instruments and the musicians to put my energies in a different direction.

“It takes people a long time to learn the
difference between talent and genius,

especially ambitious young men and women.

Amy was learning this distinction through
much tribulation, for, mistaking enthusiasm
for inspiration,
she attempted every branch
of art with youthful audacity.”

The Wisdom of Little Women, p 24

I had lots going for me in that I was ambitious, but not a young woman. I knew well the difference between talent and genius. I also knew not to mistake enthusiasm for inspiration, that marketing products and ideas are two different things. And I recognized without a shadow of a doubt, with over thirty years of business experience behind me, that hooking my SunbonnetSmart cart up to BlogHer was a wise thing to do. And so, I put all of my energy into doing what I like to do best: nurturing women, networking and writing. I was like Little Women’s Jo March in that:

“…when the writing fit came on, she gave
 herself up to it with entire abandon, and
led a blissful life, unconscious of want,
care or bad weather, while she sat safe
and happy in an imaginary world…”

The Wisdom of Little Women, p 24

I have been very happy in my BlogHer world, insulated by positive women leaving beautifully soulful Comments. But now, duty calls. I must now get back to my business and work to make a living in this recession-based whatever it is we are living in. Like Jo, I must work “by the magic of a pen” to turn comforts for us all. What I am saying is that I have the business experience and I see so much talent on BlogHer, I feel called to help those who are looking for a market and don’t know how to get out there.

What got me thinking about all of this is, remember that back end of my web site that I was working on last November, well it’s still there, just waiting until I get back to it. So, we have a sales interface all set up, waiting to go. A couple of weeks ago, when Isabel Anders was mentioning she wanted to expand awareness of her The Wisdom of Little Women book, I told her that we could sell it on my web site in a turn key fashion, put it up and see what happens.

The Wisdom of Little Women is a popular
item at the Orchard House Museum Gift Shop.

Now, having read The Wisdom of Little Women, I see all of us, those of us on BlogHer, as Little Women. We are all working hard to keep the home fires burning while the world is pictured as being in turmoil. In an instant it hit me that we can work together, like the March family did, to weather our storms.

Throughout this thinking process of the last couple of weeks, culminating with actually meeting the three BlogHers, Chelsey, Sabrina and Carol, in New York City, I have decided I would like to publish e-books and I’m throwing my sunbonnet into the ring. Why not turn my web site into an outlet for anyone on BlogHer that is interested in getting their book out on the web?

We can have the same fun we are having now, but help supplement our incomes as well.

Listen to Grammy Sunbonnet when she says,
“We’re not going to get by on our good looks alone.”


Orchard House, the home of Little Women in the book, and the
Alcott family in real life, is now a museum in Concord, MA. Their
gift store sells Isabel’s book, The Wisdom of Little Women.

Say, BlogHers, can’t you take a hint?

Let me know what you think of this. I am counting the seconds
while waiting to hear from you in the Comments below.

NaBloPoMo April 2012


To purchase Isabel Anders’ book:

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Mar 19 2012

Let us use the moment of the Equinox to join together to send Peace, Love, and Light to Mother Earth and to Humanity.

Peace Love, and Light,
Barbara Wolf

What a beautiful place it would be if we could give each other the world.

A world of peace…

Giving each other peace and the world.

From the Global Meditations web site,  Posted March 18, 2012:

The Equinox is March 20, at 1:14 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time, which is 5:14 a.m. UTC, Greenwich time.

Will you observe the moment of the Equinox by sending Peace, Love, and Light to humanity and our earth? Your brothers and sisters will be observing.

World Clock will convert your time.

Can you conceive of the positive energy that is created when so many are thinking the same thing at the same time?  Peace, Love, and Light — this world needs a boost of this energy.

Yearly, at the moment of the March Equinox, the Japanese Peace Bell is rung in the Rose Garden at the United Nations in New York City.

Masahiro Kataoka Nakagawa placed the Japanese Peace Bell at the UN in New York in 1954.

Singer Pete Seeger rings the United Nations Peace Bell
in New York City on Earth Day 2009.

In 1969, John McConnell pointed out the need for humanity to respect and preserve the beauty and ecological balance of Mother Earth, and he proposed that Earth Day should be yearly celebrated. This proposal was supported by United Nations Secretary General U Thant, Margaret Mead and many others, and soon the concept spread world wide. A tradition began of ringing the United Nations Peace Bell at the moment of the March Equinox.

In 1998, John McConnell invited me to the ringing of the peace bell Equinox ceremony and I have attended nearly every year since. Today his age prevents him from attending, and so I take a birthday card to the ceremony for all to sign. His birthday is March 22, and he was born in 1915.

Let us use the moment of the Equinox to join together to send Peace, Love, and Light to Mother Earth and to Humanity.

Peace Love, and Light,
Barbara Wolf

NaBloPoMo March 2012

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Jan 30 2012

Morna, CEO/Founder
The International Association of Professional Quilters

In every creative person’s life there comes a point where one turns a corner. Creating starts out small as a new skill is learned or technique attempted. Quickly, though, as expertise and satisfaction grow, the sewer, crafter, painter or other artist begins to enjoy creating an abundance of wares. And therein lies the problem.  A business is the natural answer, but one that requires developing a new set of skills. Successful artisans don’t always have what they need, experience-wise, to create cash flow while maintaining stock, taking care of financing and taxes as well as government regulations and oversight.

New business owners are often disappointed when realizing they don’t get to do their artwork as much as before opening their business. Soon, administrative duties may seem to require more time than creative planning and fulfillment. Pushing papers and following regulations become overwhelming without a dependable plan for organization. So, what DOES one do to keep up with it all?

These WACs from WWII are discovering how much it takes
for administration. There’s lots to do!

I know a quilter who just might have the answer. But! She’s not just any quilter. Morna McEver Golletz is a quilter who’s also a journalist. It was only natural, therefore, that she become the Editor of The Professional Quilter magazine and she has successfully managed this publication, steadily increasing its subscriptions for many years.

Then Morna founded the International Association of Professional Quilters, connecting quilt related business owners from all over the world. With her business savvy and enthusiastic outlook, she is a gifted in mentoring new and prospective business owners. That’s is why I am writing about Morna today. Morna has broadened her business advice to include all those who create and want to sell their creations. She is having a big gathering, the Creatives Arts Business Summit, March 29-31, 2012, near Dulles airport in Washington, DC that I introduced to BlogHer before the holidays and there is still time to sign up to be included.

Even better perhaps, if you don’t have the time to travel, are her mentoring videos that are currently being promoted. She can tell you all about it, so click “play” and let me introduce you to Morna:

Morna is ready and happy to share her years of experience.
She asks you not remind her how many years it has been.

Morna’s videos offer her years of business experience in an easy to digest form. And, the best thing is that you get to try them out and see if they work for you.  She is offering the first videos in the series for FREE!

Go here to learn more:

In this free training program, you’ll discover: 

1) The key to creating structure in your business

2) What the right planning strategies are for you

3) What key resources you should have in order to leverage the Internet for your business

4) How to set a clear line of demarcation between business and hobby and to make sure you are on the business side of it

5) And a lot more!

Join Morna for this free 4-part training program and begin taking your business to the next level. The training program is three videos followed by a live call on February 6 at 4 pm eastern.

 Click here to register and you’ll get the first video immediately.

See what you think of Morna’s approach. In business,
I’ve found, there is always more to learn!

NaBloPoMo January 2012

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Jan 02 2012

The older I get, the better I understand Ben Franklin
saying “a penny saved is a penny earned.”

Whenever I feel a need to jump start my financial situation, I turn to self-help authors, although I have been “self-helping” myself so long, I should probably have written self-help books by now. Even so, I like to bring in new ideas and feel bolstered in my efforts at improvement by listening to voices of authority. I never get tired of “going to school.” I suppose that does make me a perpetual student, but I’m not offended by that term.

At any rate, after watching all sorts of experts from all sorts of places, it seems the best advice to be found is to spend less than you make, or make more than you spend. In addition, it seems the only sure fire way to make money is to save it, by setting aside some of whatever it is I can bring in. I’ve decided even if I’m just saving  spare change in a sugar bowl, the old time symbol of frugal housewifery, I will be better off tomorrow, thanks to my efforts today.

Sugar bowls, all shapes and sizes, have traditionally been
a safe haven for women’s household emergency money.

I like the female energy of saving in a sugar bowl. I like female traditions handed down since kitchens have had cupboards. Connecting to a long line of women who have known how to control that which they could control, makes me feel more solid. And sugar bowls are so profoundly beautiful, whimsical, floral, Scandinavian, elegant and retro that there is something for everyone, no matter what the inner saver may require to get motivated.

The sugar bowl is a secret place hidden away in what, for most of history, has been a women’s refuge, the kitchen. There is no reason why, as we grab a briefcase to go out to the morning commute, this tender tradition can’t continue. Handy change for needy moments, right there, ready to go and only we know where it is, or that it even exists.

Anne is author of the blog, Sugar Bowl Mix

Speaking of sugar bowls, I joined www.BlogHer.com in November 2011, and have been enjoying the contact with female bloggers. On BlogHer, there is a particular blogger who carries on the female tradition of the sugar bowl. A blog called Sugar Bowl Mix posted by Anne, was one of the blogs that got me interested in BlogHer in the first place. Anne understands the tradition of the sugar bowl and has a great anecdote about a family sugar bowl that she shares here.

Anne’s lovely heirloom sugar bowl has a cute story.

But! Anne hasn’t blogged since October, 2011, and I miss her! Maybe she is tired of the demands of blogging, after all, she’s been at it since 2009. Or, maybe she needs to hear from her reading public that we miss her. Whatever the reason, I want to start an e-mail shower for Anne at Sugar Bowl Mix right here, right now.

Would you help?

You can write Anne and tell her she’s missed by
sending an e-mail to: Anne(at)sugarbowlmix(dot)com


To visit Anne’s blog, click this button:

Be sure and write and let Anne know we want
  more stories from and about the sugar bowl.


If you need more money to put in your sugar bowl, this
series of positive thinking lectures by Napoleon Hill
is captivating. See what you think.


NaBloPoMo January 2012

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Dec 15 2011

Electronic Benefit Transfer cards, EBTs, have replaced
the Food Stamp vouchers that were used for years.

When someone close to you dies and passes over, the biggest shock is that the world still goes on. As you sit on a park bench, numbly trying to collect yourself and make sense of things, there are children gaily playing on sunny days where everyone is the world is happy…except you.

And when my family’s income shifted and then became non existent, I was amazed how similar feelings of being on the sidelines kept me separate from the flow of what everyone else was doing. Once again, there were pretty summer days and children playing while friends seemed to be doing the most frivolous things. Life was going on, whether or not we knew what we were eating for our next meal.

For example, while we were so hungry and wondering what to do to move forward, we interacted with people actually worried about matching new china to drapes at their ski cabin in Vail, Colorado. While I was trying to make $400 in food stamps last a month to feed a family, I had to listen politely to friends telling me their vacation plans. I really felt like I was on the outside looking in and it was a very isolating feeling.

Living on the amount of food that Food Stamps provide
is very difficult. In 2008, we were on Food Stamps and
believe me, it was a big challenge to stay healthy.

And so, things are better now, but I have not forgotten where we were not so long ago. That’s why, I want to share with you who might be facing similar hardships, or who may desire a better nutritional life while living on a fixed income. I find that many of the skills people had in times past have been forgotten and rather than reinventing the wheel, you are welcome to rely on what my family learned. We could have lived much better with more bang for the buck if we had known, what I am going to share with you, from the get-go.

By the way, we did not learn all of this by ourselves.  Much of it was taught by two friends who understood our situation, perhaps better than we did at the time. These two devoted “angels” came over every Sunday and brought food and cooked it for us so we learned to eat nutrient dense food in order to eat less and enrich our bodies more. The methods were so effective, we didn’t stop once things eased up financially. Now, we have been following the tenets of the Weston A. Price diet for three years, feeling really good and spending MUCH less than we used to on food.

Here’s a shocker! These poor children from the Depression
had less food than you do, but were probably better nourished
than you are. We all need to eat from the Way-Back Machine!

Because of our two friends we learned to include more probiotics, that is more living culture of microorganisms in our food to help us digest and use the nutrients in our nutrient dense food. Did you know that the key to health is the number and kinds of microorganisms in your gut? Each of us should have about three pounds of microorganisms in our intestines to help us digest our food. Most of us don’t have anywhere close to that. So, we suffer with non-nutritive food and an inability to properly digest resulting in modern day malnourishment.

To be healthy, active and wholly engaged in life like
these two requires functional digestive tracts
full of microorganisms.

But, hey! Don’t take my word for it.  Did you know there are whole web sites devoted to the study of the micro-flora of the intestines? Yeah! it’s true. They even have a BLOG.  Go here to see and read this:

“The growing awareness that the functional integrity and microbial residents of the intestinal tract may play a mediating role in both skin inflammation and emotional behavior has shed further light on yet another dimension to the relationship between dermatology and mental health.”  

So, if I had to make a list of what to do for the paycheck
challenged, what would it be? Well, thinking about it
tonight, I would say:

1. If you are still drinking tap water, I would stop it and drink only filtered, reverse osmosis water with 40,000 Volts! minerals added.

2. With the money I had, I would buy a gallon of Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar and a quart of unfilterd raw honey. I would go to Patricia’s Bragg’s website and read up on what to do with both of them in Ms. Bragg’s book Apple Cider Vinegar Miracle Health System.

3. I would buy only organic potatoes, organic corn and organic pasta for my starches. Avoid non-organic potatoes, corn and wheat like the plague.

4. Buy organic cabbage and make natural, probiotic laden sauerkraut from the recipe found in the cookbook Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.

5. I would buy good organic whole grain bread. Without an organic bakery or making organic bread at home, I would look for Ezekiel Bread, made from organic sprouted wheat. It is often found in the freezer section.

6. Buy raw milk and make kefir and yogurt, once again to increase the number of probiotics in the gut. Instructions for making kefir from raw milk can be found on the Your Family Cow web site.

7. Buy small organic, grass fed cuts of beef and organic free range chicken and turkey and make soup with organic vegetables, frozen if necessary in winter and good water, see Step #1.

8. I would buy organic coconut oil from Tropical Traditions and take one tablespoon everyday as a natural antibiotic to help with a compromised immune system that sometimes comes from financial stress. Now is the time to stay healthy to be able to dig your way out. Also, it is better to cook with coconut oil, rather than olive oil or butter, because coconut oil has healthier properties at high temperatures.

9. I would avoid canned food, opting for frozen to stay away from food that has been in contact with metal for prolonged periods of time.  This is especially true with tomatoes. Eat tomatoes that have been canned in glass, not metal, even if the cans have been coated.

10. I would stop eating ALL restaurant food. Unless the restaurant is organic and provably so, I wouldn’t eat there. Prolonged food storage requires additives and I believe those chemicals are not good for us. Many prepared foods actually contained neuro-excito toxins that over stimulate our brains to think food tastes good when it really doesn’t. That is how MSG functions and why it is found in so many prepared foodstuffs. And besides! Think of how expensive restaurant food is compared to buying the ingredients and making your own.

So, that’s the list. If you are interested in improving
your health and fattening your wallet, just do a few of
these at a time. Any change will be for the better with
the favorable results quickly noticeable


See what you think and let me know if this interests you!


NaBloPoMo 2011

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Dec 03 2011

TomatoFest seed packets hold endless possibilities.

My package came! My TomatoFest order! Remember last week, I was so excited to tell you that the TomatoFest Annual Seed Sale is in full swing and going on until January 11, 2012 or until the seed runs out, whichever comes first. I mentioned that when the announcement e-mail arrived in my in-box, I ordered right away, to make sure I was included on my list of favorites. And, with the usual fast turn around time, my package arrived five days later. Way to go, Gary and Dagma, the tomato loving couple that owns and operates TomatoFest.com.

Dagma Lacey of TomatoFest with a display of heirloom tomatoes.

But, when I went through my order, there was a surprise: a Fuzzy Bomb! What!?!? A Fuzzy Bomb tomato? Yes! Right there in my opened mailing package of seed packs was a free gift from TomatoFest. The was a packet of Fuzzy Bomb tomato seeds that I have never heard of, much less eaten. So, I had to RUN to the computer and look it up in the descriptive entries of TomatoFest’s 600 varieties.

Turns out, a Fuzzy Bomb is so named because the plant that bears the Fuzzy Bomb tomato is, you guessed, fuzzy. Apparently it has little white hairs all over the stems and leaves. Sounds like a show stopper and a great conversation piece for the vegetable garden. I was very happy with my new found tomato friend in my free packet of seeds. Here is the photo from the TomatoFest on-line catalog:

The Fuzzy Bomb tomato is a late season indeterminate,
meaning the plant bears fruit late in the season and
grows to be tall and bountiful, rather than short and
compact like a determinate tomato plant.

The Fuzzy Bomb is a large potato leaf plant with white fuzz all over, developed by Tadd Smith of Franklin, N.C. The entry notes that the plant and fruit resemble the Angora tomato variety while producing 12 to 16 oz. fruits with very nice flavors. Reading about those white fuzzy leaves and stems, I wanted to see a photo and I did find another view of the Fuzzy Bomb tomato in the Heirloom Vegetable archives, found here, although it is pretty hard to see the namesake leaf and stem fuzz.

The Fuzzy Bomb in the Heirloom Vegetable Archives.

The Heirloom Vegetable Achives also mentioned that Fuzzy Bomb tomatoes measure about 5 inches across and are very tasty. The leaves are called “potato leaved” because they are shaped more like the leaf of a potato plant than the shape of most tomato plant leaves. This entry also mentions the white fuzzy stems and leaves. What great resources are the on-line tomato “dictionaries” of both TomatoFest and the Heirloom Vegetable Archives. In addition, the Tangager’s Song directory has great listings, so between the three, one may find almost any tomato variety detailed and photographed for identification.

The excitement I feel ordering seeds and planning next year’s garden really gets me through the winter months when the world is dormant and waiting for spring. Getting into heirloom tomatoes, specifically, has made the endeavor all the more exciting because of the wide range of colors, sizes and flavors from the older varieties of tomatoes found all over the world.

And, the best of all? Heirloom tomatoes seeds have never been “messed with,” that is, genetically modified by laboratory means, so they maintain our planet’s true and natural biodiversity. And, even more importantly to the home gardener, heirloom seeds have not been genetically modified to be sterile suicide seeds. The seeds you collect from your heirloom tomato plant fruits will be fertile so you can grow crops from them without buying new seed packets every year. What a fun, tasty, economical win-win for all those growing heirloom seeds. If you haven’t tried it, make this next year the year you do!

NaBloPoMo 2011

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Nov 26 2011

Last July 31, I took photos of our tomatoes before I
started quartering them and putting them in freezer bags.

Well, it was perfect timing. Today, when I made lunch, I grabbed a bag of frozen tomatoes from the freezer. It was labeled “Soup Tomatoes: July 31, 2011” and whoa, what memories came rushing back. I was thinking, while I added the tomatoes to a skillet of a tomato-grass fed burger-rice-sour cream goulash, that I remember the day I made up these bags for the freezer. I made up freezer bags of soup tomatoes from the zillions of tomatoes in our backyard garden and was wondering how we would EVER eat, can or freeze them all. Thinking about all of this was perfect timing, because after lunch I came upstairs to read e-mails and discovered the TomatoFest Annual Seed Sale is in progress! There was an e-mail in my in-box. Whoa, again! Time to think of next year already…

Gary Ibsen is the founder of TomatoFest and has annual tomato
seed sales. Many gardeners call him “The Tomato Man.”

I really like ordering seeds from TomatoFest because the seed’s quality is guaranteed and they have many different types in their selection. This year, out of the 600 tomato seed varieties they carry, 125 are included in the Seed Sale. The Seed Sale just started on November 23, and runs until January 11, 2012. All of the seeds are fresh, harvested for the 2012 season, but in such grand supply, that the Ibsens can offer them at a discount…for a while. If the seeds start running out, they will be taken off of the sale list, so RUN, don’t walk to your computer and order today to be sure and get in on the sale. BTW, some seeds are as much as 50% discounted! I placed my order this morning, within a half hour of getting the TomatatoFest Annual Seed Sale notice.

Last year’s order from TomatoFest produced a
sumptuous bounty of joyful eating and fond memories.

Tomato seeds are hearty and can last from 3-5 years and longer if they are kept dry, cool and in a dark place. For that reason, I can always talk myself into buying many fun varieties during the TomatoFest Annual Seed Sale. It is interesting that the Annual Seed Sale promotes economic independence by encouraging people to try their hand at backyard food gardening. In fact, Gary Ibsen says, “Our intention is to continue to be responsive to our challenged economy and make it easier for the growing number of folks who are choosing to grow more of their own food.”

Once you get “bit by the heirloom tomato bug,” you’ll
want to try all sorts of different shapes, colors, and
sizes. The number of varieties on TomatoFest’s web site
is simply amazing. To see for yourself, go here.


The secret of companion planting is a hot tip, because
plants can influence each other, positively or negatively.
If you have an interest in this book, hover your mouse over
the link below to preview:

Carrots Love Tomatoes: Secrets of Companion
Planting for Successful Gardening

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Dec 04 2010

Ed Slott reveals the sad truth of IRAs.

Ed Slott is mesmerizing in his manner of speech. I love listening to him.  I feel better informed about lifetime saving realities and on top of my game when I view his videos and read his books. The bottom line? The tax free accounts most people fund all their working lives don’t give a valid return. As this goes against everything proposed by the nationally accepted plan of savings and it’s conversion, this might be hard for you to believe. But, Ed Slott’s presentation were was convincing enough for our family to place our 401-K assets into other investment avenues.

Think about this: Ed Slott says that if “you like staring at zeros on a piece of paper,” you are well served by your IRA plans, but if you want lifetime assets to eventually cash in or pass down to your family, you are in the wrong ball park. It just doesn’t work the way you have been lead to believe it does.

I couldn’t possibly lay it all out for you as well as Ed Slott, so here is a video to broaden your saving horizons. Click play to learn how you can better your retirement and your family’s inheritance:

Video #1-3 seem to be missing on YouTube.com, but this
one explains the basics. At the end, look over to the
right hand side and find #5 & 6.

Ed Slott has a very informative and polished web site to access by clicking here. By the way, there is a workshop for financial advisers on March 25 & 26 in Washington, D.C. that beckons to any financial professional interested in helping clients provide the best for themselves later in life and for their heirs.

Although you may not have heard of Ed Slott as yet, the bio on his web site lists a few of his many accomplishments. He has been “named “The Best” source for IRA advice by The Wall Street Journal and called “America’s IRA Expert” by Mutual Funds Magazine. Ed is a widely recognized professional speaker and collaborated to create the nationally aired Public Television specials, “Lower Your Taxes Now and Forever with Ed Slott” (2010), “Stay Rich for Life! with Ed Slott” (2009), and “Stay Rich Forever & Ever with Ed Slott” (2008).

Ed Slott also established the IRA Leadership ProgramSM and Ed Slott’s Elite IRA Advisor GroupSM, which were developed specifically to help financial institutions and advisors, financial advisor firms and insurance companies become recognized leaders in the IRA marketplace”


On his web site, Ed Slott offers a newsletter power packed with essential information.  Look for this banner:

Experts are baffled by the complex IRA tax laws and their corresponding rules. Yet, you must know them and how to apply them CORRECTLY to any particular situation. Otherwise, you will be hit with excessive taxes and possibly even penalties that can consume the lion’s share of your life savings.

Protecting your nest egg from needless taxation is the main purpose of this newsletter.


I betcha, once you watch Ed Slott’s video and look at his web site, you will be looking forward to reading his books.  I can’t say which one is better as they all provide insights that knock your sense of the IRA savings world off its moorings.

Here is one of his books for you to preview by hovering your mouse over the link:

The Retirement Savings Time Bomb . . . and How to Defuse It: A Five-Step Action Plan for Protecting Your IRAs, 401(k)s, and Other RetirementPlans from Near Annihilation by the Taxman

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Filed under: Money,Sugar Bowl — admin @ 7:14 pm Comments (0)
Nov 29 2010

Sixty tea bags nicely organized in a Round Tea Bag Box
with sparkly ribbons and chocolate coins on top!

Have you discovered Walter Drake? What a GREAT catalog company. I have ordered bunches of “can’t live without” gadgets, organizers and gifts and have been pleased with everything I have ordered. Not only do the orders arrive very promptly, but on the rare occasion that there is a mistake, a correction is offered without hesitation. I don’t know how I found about Walter Drake, but I guess online as they have a very efficient catalog web site located here.

Once I was in the Walter Drake system, I started receiving wonderful paper catalogs and e-mails giving me special offers that are so good, they are hard to refuse. The selection, sales, reasonable regular prices and occasional offers of free shipping are really hard to pass up.

When I needed to make twenty hostess gifts this Thanksgiving, (Yes! Twenty!) I turned to Walter Drake to see what I could find to make a financially reasonable presentation. If you go to the web site and search for ROUND TEA BAG BOX or click here, you will see what I decided to purchase. What a bargain!

Regularly price at $7.99, each Round Tea Bag Box was on sale for $2.92 and I was able to take advantage of free shipping. Woo-Woo! So, I bought two widths of wire edge ribbon at Costco, one 1 1/2 ” gold sparkle and 2 1/2″ white with silver sparkle snowflakes. Each roll was tremendous at 50 yards, not feet, but YARDS for $6.50. I only needed one of each. Next, I bought little white gift bags at Michaels with a 40% off coupon making a package of 50 cost $11.99 instead of $19.99.  Then I bought a bag of gold foil chocolate coins, once again from COSTCO at $13.95 for a bag of a zillion and I was set, except for the tea.

I am having a love affair with Walter Drake. With my large
Round Tea Bag Box order, I even got a personal letter of
thanks for being a good customer. I don’t know whether to
be happy or embarrassed about buying so much…

Next I had to figure out the tea bags as I wanted to fill the Round Tea Bag Boxes. I went to two different grocery stores and between the two of them I was able to buy twelve different flavors on sale, five boxes of each at $2.50 a box.  I bought the kind that are wrapped in foil wrappers so they last longer if people don’t get to them right away. BUT! Be aware, that if you are going to use the large foil packs in your Round Tea Bag Boxes, the box will be a little short. In other words, the lid will not sit snugly on the top of the box and there will be a little space between the two.  Didn’t bother me as I decided to use the gold ribbon around the circumference of the box, with the white ribbon around the bottom and tied with a bow on top. These two ribbons held everything together nicely.

There are six sections to the Round Tea Bag Box. I chose
12 teas with 5 teabags of 2 flavors in each section.

I cut 4’2″ of the 1 1/2″ wide gold sparkle ribbon
and tied it around the box.

I cut 4’9″ of the 2 1/2″ wide white with silver sparkle
snowflakes ribbon, wrapped it bottom to top and tied a
big bow on top. Next, I cut a 4″ x 6″ index card into
thirds, cut the points off of two corners, wrote the
recipient’s name and tied it to the bow with a little bit
of white thread.

 Then I filled the white gifts bags with coins and used the gift
bag’s ribbon to tie them around the big white bow.

I had to make twenty of these, but if you just need to make one, think of how inexpensive it could be using things you probably have at home, especially if you love fabric. Cutting strips of fabric with your rotary cutter and tying it as I did the ribbon would make the gift nice and homey. But, even if you have to buy ribbon, this gift when finished was under $15.00. They were more like $13.50 each. I was happy. Now, I am just hoping all of my recipients are tea drinkers!

If you enjoy making gifts and want some good ideas, then
preview this book by hovering your mouse over this link:

A Gift of Herbs to Make Easy, Inexpensive & Thoughtful Gifts Using Herbs

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Filed under: Money,Opportunities — admin @ 7:07 pm Comments (0)
Nov 25 2010

The Santa Sock Doll
An inexpensive endearment from the 1940s

Before mass advertising turned us into mass consumers, many things were made at home with love. Most women knew how to sew and many men did as well. Often, there was more time than money. Just as often, there wasn’t much time, but people weren’t toxic with chemicals and poor food. They had more energy with fewer complaints because they ate nutritious, natural foods that fueled the body, not lined the pockets of big business. With more energy, they were able to work long hours to make the things they needed whenever possible.

It is important to get back to eating those nutrient dense foods today. It is also important to take time to create and give to our loved ones objects of caring and love. We need to reassess what is important to us. Is emotionally leaving a child behind, so to speak, to fend for themselves while we work two jobs just to have the latest car model is the better thing to do?. Or, would it be better to ride the bus even, and spend that time with the family, while financially paring down “wants to needs.” It’s just a thought. It’s something worth mulling over, because once one realizes that everything we do is a choice, we can take better control of our lives. In really thinking about what is important to us, we can redefine our priorities and make sure our lives are the best for what we want out of them!

So, for me, creating has become very important as an affirmation of my life plan. And, it seems, the patterns used by people whose values mirror my own speak loudly to me.  I just love old patterns and styles that solidly ground me to a frugal use of money and time for what I, and those I love, get out of it. A bigger bang for the buck, is what I’m talkin’ about!

With that all in mind, Sunbonnet Smart is pleased that soon we will be presenting the first of our Sunbonnet Smart Patterns. We hope everyone will be able to afford buying our patterns to make something useful and share a gift of love. Sunbonnet Smart Patterns will be available for the 1970s price of 99cents for a pdf download you print out yourself. Low cost, great style with easy access is what Sunbonnet Smart is all about. That and enjoying the process of life.

Check back with us often and jump into the fun!

Sock Dolls are a fun “blast from the past.”
If making one of these inexpensive bundles of
love interests you, just hover your mouse over
the link below to preview this book:

Adorable Sock Dolls to Make & Love

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