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Energy Miser0

Summer will soon be upon us, my friends.  And my A/C will be cranking as hard as possible to keep my house at a nice, chilly 80 degrees.  Yeah—80 degrees.  It’s damned hot here in Florida, and it makes me cranky.

Last season, I shared with you how much money you could save with a Black & Decker AutoSwitch.  Now, I give you:  the Energy Miser.


Remote Controlled Drink Float0

Have you ever been floating around in your pool, sipping on a nice cocktail, enjoying the calm flow of the water—and then noticed that your cocktail is empty?

If you’re lucky,  somebody out of the water will be available to refresh your beverage, thus allowing you to continue your soothing float uninterrupted.  But sometimes that luck just isn’t there.


Mini Portable Solar Panel Battery Recharger0

Kermit might not think it’s easy to be green, but every day, more and more environmentally healthy and user-friendly devices are becoming available. And some of these are portable and easy to use.

Take this mini portable solar panel battery recharger. It’s a nifty gadget that generates 4 different voltages – 3, 6, 9, and 12 volts – using stored solar power.

You simply slide the yellow lever to select the voltage you need. For example, to charge 2 AA rechargeable batteries (1.5 volts per battery) you slide the lever to position 1 for 3 volts and pop the batteries into the compartment on the backside of the panel. To charge a 3.6 volt battery for a cell phone you’d slide the lever to the 2nd position for 6 volts and plug the connector into the phone. There are 5 different connectors plus alligator clips included.

The handle doubles as an adjustable stand which allows the panel to be positioned for maximum sunlight exposure. And it stores energy for later use.

You can charge all sorts of equipment with this little panel. Portable radios, cell phones, MP3 players, flashlights. You name it.

 A great deal at around $25.00, I’m thinking this will make a great gift for my techie nephew. Fun, green and functional.

text and mini solar panel photo by Ann D. Travers

first photo via

Baby Monitors0

We all know how important it is to keep an eye on babies. 

After all, we don’t want them creeping out of their rooms and eating our brains.

Oh, wait.  That would be zombies.  My mistake.  To me they look quite similar.  Drooling.  Slow-moving.  Scary.


Vintage Kitchen Appliances0

I can be picky about my kitchen appliances.  For example, I despise glass top stoves.  I like that they come up to temp rapidly, but they are a royal pain to clean if something boils over.  Sure, I know there are new cleaning agents out there that make it a lot easier than it used to be to scrape burnt gravy off of a glass burner—but call me a purist.  I’m an old-fashioned gas stove kind’a guy.

Take this stove from Elmira  for example:



Last year, I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.  I now stick myself daily with insulin (which isn’t anywhere near as bad as I thought it would be—and this is coming from a guy with a life-long needle phobia).

Over the months my body’s systems have evened out—and I’ve gained weight.  Three inches around my waist, to be precise.  And I find this distressing, as I only have a few pairs of pants that fit me properly.

That’s where the Loopsie may come in handy.


5 Great Apps for Home Improvement0

The best multi-tasking tool out there?  Your phone!

Check out these free or low cost apps for your iPhone, iPad, or iTouch that you can carry with you wherever you go. 


How to Repair a Leaky Outdoor Faucet0

Is it just normal wear and tear when products that were installed at the same time begin to fail at the same time?  Not one but three of our 10-year old faucets began dripping incessantly this fall within weeks of each other. 

Once over the irritation of three separate repair projects, I was grateful that we are tool-handy and can repair these leaks without calling for the plumber.  Can you?  Just buy a repair kit, follow directions, and fix it yourself.


How is Cement Made?2

Cement is everywhere – and we hardly notice it.

Sorta like dog doo, we don’t think about the cement under our feet, until we’ve stepped in a fresh pile.  


iPod Docking Station for the Bathroom0




Yup –  just what it looks like.  A toilet paper holder with an Ipod docking station built into it, conveniently called the Ipod Roll Holder.


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