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Make Money Online: Paid Viewpoint, Rakuten, Respondent, Qmee, Microsoft Bing Rewards (updated 2022)

One of the things I admire most about the “Greatest Generation” (besides their amazing fashion sense, of course) is their frugality, their “make-do-and-mend” approach to money and possessions. They knew that banks fail, economies go through major depressions, and it’s better to have a coffee can full of money buried in the yard in case of a rainy day or a dustbowl decade.

In that spirit, I thought from time to time I could share a few things that I’ve found to be a reliable source of a few coins for the Folgers can. There might be an affiliate links to some items, but as you know, I only recommend items I trust and believe in.

1. Paid Viewpoint

Format: Surveys. Pays in: Amazon, PayPal, eBay, others.

My lifetime earnings: $376.56. Average monthly: $8.

2. Rakuten (aka eBates)

Format: Shop through browser link. Pays in: PayPal.

My lifetime earnings: $499.61. Average quarterly: $18.


Format: Focus groups, interviews. Pays in: PayPal.

My lifetime earnings: $380. Average project: $71.25

4. Qmee

Format: Search rewards through browser extension, surveys, shopping. Pays in: PayPal, gift cards, charity.

My lifetime earnings: $123.36. Average survey: $1.44.

5. Microsoft Rewards

The site has gone through a few name changes (Bing/Microsoft) but I’ve been clicking through searches and earning a $5 Amazon gift card every 20 days for oh, about 8 years now.

6. Pinecone Research

It’s hard to find a signup link for Pinecone, but once you’re in, you’ll get occasional survey invitations that always pay $3. They used to send checks in the mail, then it was PayPal, and now it’s kind of a sketchy bank transfer (or gift cards), but they do reliably pay out.




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Book Review: A Modern Guide to Textured Crochet by Lee Sartori

A Modern Guide to Textured Crochet: A Collection of Wonderfully Tactile Stitches
Lee Sartori

Random House / Interweave, 2021.
128 pages
From the publisher:

A colorful and contemporary collection of stitches, crochet techniques, and projects for creating rich and appealing texture in your work

Crocheters looking for more texture, depth, and contemporary design will delight in this colorful new guide. Aimed at the experienced beginner to intermediate level crocheters with some extra ideas aimed at more advanced makers, the book covers a variety of textured crochet techniques–from the straightforward to the more complex and unusual –along with beautiful projects designed to showcase them.

Get ready to explore the beautiful textures that can be achieved with crochet–Bobbles, Popcorns, Clusters, Puffs and more. Each chapter guides you through a new stitch or stitch progression with photos, detailed instructions and diagrams to ensure you can follow along easily. In addition to simple, on-trend projects perfect for gifting or use in your home or wardrobe, you’ll find useful tips for saving time and troubleshooting, and additional ideas to explore.


Our thoughts:

Such an inspirational book! The author provides lots of ideas that can be mastered with a few key techniques and a limited number of yarn colors, although if you have no background at all in crochet, you’ll probably want to learn the basics of chaining and foundation stitches elsewhere. The photos are beautiful and the layout is very pretty. The focus is less on following steps to a project (there are only five projects total) than it is learning stitches that you can use in your own creativity. One reviewer on Amazon went to the trouble of making a list of all the stitches:

  • Bobble
  • Popcorn
  • Cluster (using single, double and treble crochet)
  • Puff
  • Shell
  • Picot
  • Tulip
  • Embossed
  • Lilac
  • Branches and vines
  • Butterfly
  • Cable (one for each season)
  • Crab
  • Ice cream cone
  • Lemon peel
  • Strawberry
  • Shell
  • Rose
  • Diamond waffle
  • Modified puff
  • Acorn
  • Berry
  • Jasmine
  • Basketweave
  • Loose leaves
  • Houndstooth
  • Coffee cup
  • 2×2 rib
  • Spike puff
  • Waffle
  • Feather
  • Embossed holly
  • Snowflake

This book will definitely go on my gift idea list for the crochet enthusiasts in my life.

amzn | lib
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Food | Drink | Entertaining

flat lay photography of sliced apples, sausages, chips and brown sauce

Food. Drink. Entertaining.

I collect recipes that I’ll never make and patterns I’ll never have time to sew. It’s a compulsion. My hard drive is always getting full, as are my email inboxes and bookshelves.

Want to follow along? My collection on Pinterest is always being updated.


Or check out the Dining category…

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Free Sewing Patterns

sewing stuff

Free sewing patterns from all around the world! If you want to use a pattern that’s not in your language, try opening the site in Google Chrome or Google Translate to get a machine translation. And be sure to bookmark the page as new patterns will be added.

Women’s clothes

  1. Site is available in many languages; instructions in English and Russian. Link:
  2. Deer & Doe Plantain. Link: See my review here:
  3. So Sew Easy hoodie. Link:
    1. Fabrics-Store Luana Apron Dress Pattern. Link:
    2. So Sew Easy fit and flare dress. Link:
  1. So Sew Easy low volume maxi skirt. Link:
  1. Fabrics-Store Lois Paperbag Waist Pants. Link:



Children’s clothes



  1. Ice cream cone bagsIce cream cone bags! Site is in Dutch:
  2. Swoon Sewing Patterns Ethel Tote. Link:
  3. Prj013Choly Knight Egg Bag backpack Link:

Men’s Clothes


Home Decor


Stuffed animals/ softies

  1.    Lekala Teddy Bear
  2. My Bear Story
  3. Choly Knight has sooo many designs, but here’s one of my favorites! Sloth plush link:



Check out more sewing posts in our archives!
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Restore Leather and Silver with Alberto VO5 Conditioning Hairdressing

Alberto VO5 lifehacks

Old School Hair Product = Lifehack

So this is something I learned years ago in a Hints From Heloise binder that my mother had: there is an old school hairstyling product buried on the bottom shelf of your grocery aisle that is super useful around the house: Alberto VO5 Conditioning Hairdressing. It’s in a little rectangular box that looks like this:
alberto VO5 conditioning hairdressing



The dressing is a mineral oil blend that contains no water or alcohol, so it’s great to condition leathers and metals without worrying about added moisture.


  1. Remove tarnish spots from silver by rubbing some Alberto VO5 Conditioning Hairdressing on with a paper towel or rag.
  2. Put a thin layer of VO5 on bronze or silver to prevent oxidation after polishing.
  3. Soften and restore leather, patent leather, or vinyl by applying VO5 with a paper towel or rag; wipe off excess.
  4. Lubricate stuck zippers or hinges with a very little bit of VO5.
  5. Get a stuck ring to slide off your finger by coating with VO5 and pointing hand upward to allow blood to drain, then pulling the ring off.
  6. Clean paint or other stains off your hands by wiping with VO5 then washing with Dawn dish detergent.
  7. Remove adhesive residue from bandages on skin.
  8. Soften calluses and dry skin on hands, feet, elbows, and knees.
  9. Remove waterproof mascara or other stubborn makeup with some VO5.
  10. Protect your pet’s paw pads by putting a little VO5 on them before going out for a walk in the snow and salt.
  11. Clean up your chrome bumpers or kitchen and bath fixtures by buffing on a bit of VO5.
  12. Prevent wax buildups on candle holders by coating them with VO5 first.
  13. Put it in your hair! For those of us with fine hair who want volume, a pea-sized amount (or less) should only go on split ends. But if you are looking for a wet look, a retro Dagwood, or to tame flyaways, try some Alberto VO5.

Action Shots

Want to see how it works on some leather and metal ballet flats that I hadn’t worn in over a year (thanks COVID)? Scroll down!

tarnish on shoe buckle, faded leather
tarnish on shoe buckle, faded leather
shoes looking pretty gray, not black
shoes looking pretty gray, not black
shoes brought back to life
Looking much better after one pass with VO5

Other Lifehacks

Want to see more of my attempts at being a lifehacker? Check out my DIY category for more ideas.

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10 Laundry Tips and Tricks

10 Laundry Tips and Tricks

10 Laundry Tips and Tricks

What’s the point in having great clothes and household items if you can’t keep them in good condition? Here are some of the laundry tips, tricks, and best products I’ve come across.

    1. You don’t need fabric softener or dryer sheets. Who tells you that you need them? People that sell them. Or possibly appliance manufacturers, because they gum up the works and ruin the machines faster. Fabric softener actually makes your towels less absorbent and your wicking athletic clothes ineffective. It’s also full of carcinogens. Try distilled white vinegar for fresher towels and dryer balls to combat static.
      10 Laundry Tips and Tricks dryer balls
    2. Use mesh bags. I like these drawstring bags, or you could make your own if you sew. Having a zipper rather defeats the purpose, so strings or snaps are the way to go.10 Laundry Tips and Tricks mesh bags
    3. Get a clothesline and/or drying rack and use the dryer as little as possible, for the sake of your clothes, your utility bill, and the environment. Ideally, have a place to dry sweaters flat and hang other items. Towels, blankets, and sheets are the only things I dry all the way, and even then on medium heat. Other clothes I either dry part of the way and then air dry for the rest, or air dry 100%.
      Drying rack
      Travel clothesline
      Outdoor clothesline
      Retractable clothesline

      Clothing rack
    4. Close all zippers, and segregate zippered items in a large mesh bag. Otherwise zipper tips will make holes in your knits and silky fabrics.
    5. Wash bras and socks in a mesh bag, then hang hang bras to dry and leave socks in mesh bag in dryer. Voila, bras will last longer and there will be no more lost socks!
      blue white and yellow socks
    6. Try regular blue Dawn detergent for most stain removal, and brush in baking soda if there is anything oily to soak out of it.
    7. For blood stains, try saliva first. (It’s gross but enzymatically it often works.) For set blood stains, try period stain soap. I have a bar soap called Right Out, but it seems to be out of stock everywhere. Fels-Naptha is another wonder stain removal bar.
    8. Use Woolite Dark for black clothes and dark jeans. It contains a small amount of dye, so be wary of patterns. Jeans generally can be washed less than you think (some people never wash them at all, dry clean them, or put them in the freezer to kill the stink) but I find that modern jeans with added stretch need a wash when they start losing their stretch. I air dry though.
    9. For things that need to be cleaned but can’t be rinsed, try a no-rinse detergent like Eucalan. (Apparently you can even use it to wash cats and dogs.) Often wool can be simply aired out (clothesline or drying rack for the win), but if it or other dry-clean-only type items need more, you can put some cheap UNFLAVORED vodka in a spray bottle and spritz. Obviously test on an inconspicuous spot first.
    10. For red wine stains, put white wine on it. If no white wine is available, salt is a handy tool to soak it up also.
       wine glasses

There are the top tips off the top of my head, as of 2021. Watch for updates as I find new laundry tips and tricks!

More Lifehacks

Check out my DIY category for more cool ideas…

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Trying a free t-shirt pattern: Deer and Doe Plantain

I am looking for the perfect tee pattern! I had always heard good things about the Deer and Doe Plantain.

Available for free at

My procrastination gets in the way of quests like these, so I had actually printed this pattern at least 5 years ago but never sewed it up. The nice folks at Deer and Doe have since updated the pattern, but in the interest of saving paper, I sewed the original version with a lycra knit I’d gotten from Fabric Mart a couple of years ago.

It went together very easily, especially the handy way the sleeves are set in. I liked the length and the ease, but it was a bit big on me in the shoulders, so I graded down a couple of sizes in the neck and shoulder and tried again:

This knit, also from FM, is thinner and more finicky and might have turned out better with a serger. But it’s quite wearable. Is it the perfect t-shirt? Perhaps not. Or maybe I need to reprint and re-tape. In the meantime, I have others to try…

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BOOK: Sew Cute Quilts and Gifts | Atsuko Matsuyama

Sew Cute Quilts and Gifts
by Atsuko Matsuyama

Zakka Workshop
Publication Date:

I have been looking for beginner sewing resources to share with others, and this book has inspired me beyond measure! There are some really cute and creative ideas here, and most don’t require a lot of fabric or special supplies. Great resource!

Thanks to the publishers and NetGalley for the opportunity to review a digital ARC in exchange for an unbiased review.

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Free PDF Sewing Pattern: Retro Overnight Bag by The Crafty Kitty, via Birch Organic Fabric

Today I stumbled across this adorable pattern and fabric on the Birch Organic Fabric site, and I just had to share it! The designer is Stephanie of The Crafty Kitty, and the fabric is Serengeti by Jay-Cyn Designs. Click the picture below to download the pattern and instructions!


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New Book: Nani Iro Sewing Studio

Nani Iro

I have been an admirer of Nani Iro fabrics for years, so I was delighted to have a chance to look into this book. It includes style ideas, explanations of how to cut the fabric and sew the garments, and the pattern pieces themselves. You have to trace these out of a physical book, so if you prefer not to trace patterns, the book might not be for you. But the designs are simple, comfortable, and easy to sew, and would show off pretty fabric designs very well.

Nani Iro Sewing Studio

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Summer goals, part 1

This summer, our trips to the sea and to the pool may be in our imaginations. Why not dream back into the past as well?

Czech director Miloš Forman relaxing with the actress Jessica Lange, Russian singer Vladimir Vysotsky and French actress Marina Vlady on an L.A. balcony in 1976. Photo by Mikhail Baryshnikov, who would marry Lange that year.



Actress Marina Vlady and famous Soviet poet and actor Vladimir Vysotsky during a cruise on the ship “Gruzia” in the area of ​​Pitsunda, USSR, 1969