Friday, May 28, 2010


One more way to make money from home that I've found is Zazzle. A little creativity is all that's needed to create your own Zazzle products, which Zazzle will print on their products and give you a commission. I love photography, so I took the leap and signed up. About half of my Zazzle products are nature photography, some geared toward local teams and schools, and others are just funny quotes.

As with any online venture, you get out of it what you put in. Quality and quality are both important, and a little promotion doesn't hurt, either. Keywording and creating products that are in demand should also be taken into consideration.

It's been a couple months since I starting putting up items on Zazzle, and today I made my first sale, yippee! I sold a travel coffee mug that said "I like my coffee like I like my men, tall, dark and rich." I made $1.40, it's a start! I can't wait to make more products now!

Swag Bucks

Since my hiatus, I signed up for Swag Bucks to see if it added up to anything. Boy am I pleasantly surprised! I signed up through a friend on facebook because I kept seeing where she won this and that, and thought it couldn't hurt to try. I installed the Swag Bucks toolbar, as I search out various things throughout the day. I suppose it would be just as easy to go to their search engine. Either way, it adds up.

You can seek the Swag codes to earn Swag Bucks, take the daily poll, sign up referrals, and other various ways to earn. When you add up to certain levels, you can cash in your Swag Bucks to buy merchandise or gift cards to various retailers, including

In a little more than a month, I have enough to get four $5 from Amazon and halfway to the next one. I'm very happy with Swag Bucks! Click the logo below to learn more.

Search & Win

Natural Remedies in the Garden

One thing I love about gardening is I feel like I'm spending time with my Grandmothers all over again. Both were frugal and full of knowledge. I spent many summer mornings with Grandma and Granny as they tended to their gardens, learning many natural ways to control pests and boost growth and fruit production. 

Slugs and snails are a big problem around here for any gardener. I remember my grandparents saving egg shells for this. They would rinse them out, crush them flat and let them dry in the sun. When you have a fair amount of them, crumble and sprinkle them around the base of plants. Slugs and snails will not cross this. If they can't reach your plants, they can't eat them!

Most other garden pests can be controlled with a mix of water, dishwashing liquid, and cayenne pepper. I mix about one part dishwashing liquid to three parts water, and a little bit of cayenne pepper. The pepper will clog a lot of sprayers, so I just put it in the watering can and water it over top the plants, covering the leaves and stems as much as possible. It's ugly, but effective. This washes easily off your fruits and veggies and will not harm the plants in moderation.

Bigger critters is where it starts getting tricky. I planted an entire row of sunflowers around my garden. Deer LOVE sunflower leaves, and my best friend has had luck with them stopping there. I planted mine in an area you have to step down into, and deer don't seem to cross over. The end that slopes out to meet the rest of the yard I planted pumpkins, the leaves are a little prickly so I hope they don't like them. Otherwise, I've heard a lot of home remedies can work some. A bar of scented soap like Irish Spring hung in a pair of panty hose can help deter them. It makes sense to me, as hunters do not wash with soap before going out to hunt.

The one I'm really fearing might win the battle is raccoons. We have tons of them out here. The garden I planted this year isn't permanent, so I couldn't justify putting a fence up just yet. Even if I had, they're good climbers. An ammonia soaked rag hanging nearby is supposed to be a good way to get them to avoid the area. Only time will tell with that!

Edited to add: Don't go overboard with the cayenne. A little goes a long way. A lot fries your plants.

Gardening to Save Money

Being blessed with a lot of rich soil, this year we planted a fairly large garden to help trim the grocery budget. Not only will it save money, but there's just something about produce fresh from the garden. All the hard work, watching over and nurturing plants, there's just a sense of satisfaction that comes with growing your own food.

Early in the season I bought two mini-greenhouses off eBay for $40. They are well made, and seem like they will last several seasons. I used them to start most of the garden from seed. Most things came up really well, only a couple did not and it was probably that I tried to start them outside when it was a little too cold. I did also buy some tomato plants, a jalapeno plant, two green pepper plants, and some summer squash already started.

And I couldn't resist, I also bought the Topsy Turvey tomato planter. I put one tomato plant in that and two others the same size in the ground. Guess which sprouted the first tomato? Yep, the upside down one! I'm not as impressed with the upside down strawberry planter. I think it could work for some fruits and veggies, but my strawberries just aren't doing that great.

One other thing we did was stagger plant some things like peas and green beans so we have more than one harvest, and not stuck processing too many at one time. I plan to freeze or can a lot of what comes out of the garden to use through the year. I really hope to trim down the grocery budget with this. 

And of course we had to have the one novelty plant. I am growing three giant pumpkin plants. I didn't follow all the advice for growing the record breaking pumpkins, some of them top 1,000 lbs! But I did buy seed of the same stock as the champs and even if it's only half that size we're going to love it!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

I'm baaack!

Yay, I'm back! For months I had a rather nasty virus on my computer that was redirecting search engine results, some news pages, and most importantly No matter what I did myself, I could not fight it or stop the redirects. I was not able to log into my blog at all!

All my anti-malware software was pretty well useless. If it would open, it wouldn't update or it would scan clean. Others would not open at all, and when I tried to download them again my computer would not connect to their pages. I was at my wit's end!

So, I took the plunge and posted asking for help on Bleeping Computer and was quickly helped by Gringo. It didn't take long and my computer had all malware removed and running the way it should, yay! I highly recommend Bleeping Computer for computer help, the forums are very helpful and you'll find tons of information on fighting spyware, malware, and viruses or trojans. Mine was a nasty rootkit infection that seems to be going around. Hopefully I'll be back online more often and back to work!