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Easy Small Wood Projects

December 21, 2017

Whether you’re a hobbyist or trying to skill up, there are many starter wood projects to get you going.

To avoid frustration, it’s best to tackle doable weekend creations and then move on to greater things. You get the joy of crafting and having a finished piece in hand to point to and say proudly, “I made that.”

There are many packages available that give you video instructions, tool sets, and plans, and lists of materials to make these small tasks easy to complete. A great place to start is Woodworkers Guild of America. You can start simple and get more elaborate as your skills improve. These works are also great for teens who want to learn how.

Let’s run down the top ten.

10. Window box

Easy Small Wood Projects



You can build an attractive window box to hold plastic or terra cotta planters. It can be a basic rectangle, or an assembly of dowels or pickets. Stain or paint it to your liking and use flowers that are upright and tumbling over the sides.


9. Wine rack

Wine rack



This one could not be easier, as you cut in notches along two rails, then construct sides strong enough to carry the weight of the bottles. The finished work can give use to a neglected corner.


8. Birdhouse

Birdhouse



Attract songbirds to your yard with an attractive home. You can build single houses or multi-family condos. Make the look modern or rustic. Place your creation in a tree away from traffic, grab a pair of binoculars, and wait for the chicks’ first flight.


7. Building blocks

Building blocks



The classic toy holds up in the age of talking, blinking robot companions. Children can build castles and fortresses and let imagination and figures they have on hand fill in the story. Make them in a variety of shapes, finish them neatly, and use kid-safe paints and stains for color.


6. Knife block

Knife block



Everyone needs a safe place to stow sharp knives, why not make it interesting? This one couldn’t be easier. You just need to join two blocks with staggered cut-ins. You can repurpose odd pieces and dress the result up as you like.


5. Coat rack with shelf

Coat rack with shelf



Entryways and mud rooms call for organizers. You can make a coat rack with a shelf, then add baskets for mail or whatever you need to take along for the day. You can use metal hooks or go Shaker style with pegs.


4. Shapes and letters

Shapes and letters



You can cut out any shape you can draw. Trace hearts, deer, snowmen, whatever you like. You can cut out letters too. You can fix them to a board to display a sign, your child’s name, or a motivational saying.


3. Cutting board

Cutting board



Create this kitchen staple as a plain plank, or add a handle or channels for drainage. Plane it down and sand it finely for years of use. Make it attractive for serving bread and cheese to guests.

2. Mallet

Mallet



Why not use tools to make other tools? As you progress you can create a mallet, a mortar and pestle set, forks, spoons, and many more.

1. Decorative boxes

Decorative boxes



Hinged or uncovered, carved, painted or cut with patterns, boxes make great decorative pieces. From simple crates to puzzle boxes, you can show off your woodworking craft. You can hang them and display family photos. Add drawers for jewelry. Paint them with designs you draw out in your plans. These also make welcome gifts. We all need more storage.


by Catalogs.com Info Guru Roger DeGenerro

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Inspirational Ways to Start the Day

December 18, 2017

inspirational ways to start the dayWaking up early in the morning can be difficult.

The alarm goes off and most people’s first thought is something along the lines of, “Not this again…” or “I hate the mornings!” This way of thinking can color your outlook for the rest of the day. Why not start the day with tools or tasks that give you a jumpstart? Below we will go over inspirational ways to start the day.


10. Avoid the phone

dream journals



It is common knowledge that you should avoid looking at screens at bedtime. But did you know that it is also a good idea to avoid checking social media or going on your phone when you first wake up? We spend most of our days staring at computer and television screens, and that artificial light messes up the natural sleep cycle. Instead of going on the phone, consider saving your dreams in a beautiful large journal to gain a sense of self-awareness.


9. Gratitude

gratitude



Before beginning the day, it grounds the mind to consider things to be grateful for. Taking time to be thankful for the privileges and blessings in life soothe anxieties and grant perspective. This can be part of a morning ritual when first waking up and written as part of a gratitude journal with inspirational scriptures that you keep by the bed.


8. Stretching

stretching



Sitting down all day working and then going to sleep can lead to muscle tension in the neck and back, which is then aggravated by daily stress. Stretching is an inspirational way to start the day because it gets blood flowing to the brain and helps clear out the fog of sleep. This leads to a more productive morning!


7. Going outside

forest bathing



In Japan, the practice of “forest bathing” consists of simply being in the presence of trees and enclosed in nature. Careers and family obligations don’t allow for much exposure to the great outdoors in modern civilization. Taking the time to start the day in nature has been scientifically proven to reduce blood pressure and stress hormones, while improving immune system function. These physiological benefits extend to improved mental well-being and decreased generalized anxiety.


6. Listening to music or an inspirational podcast

listen to music and podcasts



Starting the day with upbeat music cds helps shake off a sleep-clouded mind and inspires a happy morning. Dancing to music while getting ready or while cooking breakfast encourages a good mood which sets the tone for a bright day.


5. Meditate

meditate



Taking the time to sit in silence soothes a busy mind. Meditating in the morning is an inspirational way to start the day because it helps train the mind to slow down and organize thoughts with ease. It counteracts anxiety which will prepare you for the day ahead.


4. Exercise

exercise



While stretching gets the blood flowing in the morning, the physiological changes that occur after exercise also make it an inspirational way to start to the day. Exercising and getting the heart rate up in the morning releases dopamine, a feel good chemical in the brain. This will also lead to better rest at night and an easier morning.


3. Create something

creative breakfast



Whether it be breakfast, a to-do list, or a face full of makeup; creating something in the morning jumpstarts inspiration for the rest of the day. Creativity is endlessly useful in any career or circumstance. Work out the creative muscle with a small ritual like this first thing in the morning and find inspiration in unexpected places.

2. Organize something small

organize



Upon waking up in the morning, it can be inspiring to dive into a necessary task. Before the brain has a chance to even consider procrastinating, begin organizing something that you have been putting off. Clean those dishes, balance that checkbook, start that paper. Getting that task out of the way creates a feeling of accomplishment that will color the rest of the day.

1. Get a good alarm

alarm



Traditional alarm clocks have been either small bells or digital honking. These sounds are harsh and don’t exactly welcome the day. Spending the time or money on phone applications or alarm clocks with natural sounds gently wakens you, allowing for a less jarring start and a more positive approach to the morning.


The general rule in our top 10 inspirational ways to start the day is that it is best to invest in your well-being. The mornings can be hectic and it is easy to forget to take the time to look after ourselves. Investing in yourself means understanding that self-care makes it easier to go through the daily routines.


by Catalogs.com Info Guru Lauren DeJesus-Glasgow

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Most Popular Import SUVs

December 14, 2017

most popular imported SUVsThis year’s leading import SUVs present an array of features to delight and dazzle car buyers throughout the U.S. From sporty urban get-arounds to more outdoor, terrain friendly models, there’s one to float your boat, or carry it to the river along with your family or friends.

Safety and comfort options have also been amped up in many models. Let’s look at the most popular.


10. Kia Sportage

kia sportage

This compact crossover Sportage presents a slightly sporty look, with a coupe-like roof, a tiger-nose grille, and defined wheel arches. Most models include a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. While the interior is comfortable and roomy, you won’t be able to throw a bicycle in the back. This is more of a get-around-town SUV.

Starting msrp $23,500, est. mpg 23/30, YTD sales 67,239.

9. Honda HR-V

Honda HR-V

This subcompact crossover SUV is designed for the local driver, not off-road adventure. With room for five or large cargo items, Honda highlights its versatility and convenience in getting around country and town. It gets high marks for safety in construction and features like the standard Multi-Angle Rearview Camera.

Starting msrp $19,570, est. mpg 25/33, YTD sales 86,491.

8. Kia Sorento

Kia Sorento

The Sorento goes after the minivan-averse with roomy seating, active Dynamax all-wheel drive that keeps track of road and driving conditions, and Torque Vectoring Cornering Control. It offers a low roofline and swept-back lines. Features include an automatic liftgate and selectable drive mode.

Starting msrp $25,800, est. mpg 21/28, YTD sales 91,944.

7. Hyundai Tucson

Hyundai Tucson

Hyundai wants you to know that its compact SUV is devoted to style and sleekness, with internal detailing, a sun roof, and brake-light spoilers. The 1.6 Turbo GDI gives you 175 horsepower while keeping up fuel efficiency. Active Cornering Control all-wheel drive takes on slippery roads with ease. Multi-link rear suspension, gas-pressurized shocks, and an independent strut design with coil springs work together to give you an incredibly smooth ride.

Starting msrp (SE model) $22,700, est. mpg 23/30, YTD sales 103,102.

6. Mazda CX-5

Mazda CX-5

Mazda’s CX-5 offers a spacious interior with flexibility for cargo with fold-down back seating. It features four cameras for a 360-degree view on a touchscreen display. The CX-5 puts family safety before all else, with automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot detection that sounds the alert when vehicles around you can’t be seen, and lane departure warnings.

Starting msrp (Sport model) $24,045, est. mpg 24/31, YTD sales 113,466.

5. Hyundai Santa Fe

Hyundai Santa Fe

This three-row, family-friendly SUV seats up to seven. The Santa Fe features a 3.3-liter V-6 engine and front-wheel drive. It offers options such as all-wheel drive and a forward-collision warning system. It boasts a luxurious cabin and a smooth ride that handles the bumps in the road.

Starting msrp (SE Model) $30,850, est. mpg (SE Model) 18/25, YTD sales 120,025.

4. Subaru Forester

Subaru Forester

The Subaru Forester is a compact crossover that Subaru has built to endure, it claims, noting that 98% of the vehicles sold in the past decade are still rolling down the highway. It features a roomy interior with a power panoramic moonroof. Safety features include good visibility, EyeSight driver-assist technology, and pre-collision braking.

Starting msrp $22,795, est. mpg 32/26, YTD sales 160,122.

3. Subaru Outback

Subaru Outback

Subaru’s crossover features symmetrical all-wheel drive, which the company highlights as adding to stability, efficiency, and quick response to changing conditions. The Subaru Outback can handle tough terrain and steep inclines, and is designed for outdoor activity cargo carrying. You can throw on a large kayak and head to the lake.

Starting msrp $25,895, est. mpg 32/25, YTD sales 170,638.

2. Toyota Highlander

Toyota Highlander

The highlander boasts classic styling and seating room for 8 in its comfortable interior. Toyota says that the available 3.5-liter V-6 direct-injection engine gives the SUV performance and efficiency. The 2016 Highlander was a Kelley Blue Book’s Best Buy Award finalist.

Starting msrp $31,030, est. mpg 21/27, YTD sales 194,734.

1. Toyota RAV4

Toyota RAV4

This top import is set to go from city to campsite. Toyota bills the 10 models in the RAV4 lineup as perfect for weekend getaways. It combines cargo and outdoor capabilities with the company’s Safety Sense technology and a great number of comfort features.

Starting msrp $24,410, est. mpg 23/30 (city/highway), YTD US sales 375,052.

Source: goodcarbadcar.net reporting of YTD sales as of November 2017.

by Catalogs.com Info Guru Roger DeGennaro

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