First Friday Freebie: Happy New (and Simplified) Year!

Happy New Year, Everyone! It seems impossible that we’ve already breezed through Christmas and landed in 2018. I knew this particular First Friday Freebie would sneak up on me and it did!

Don’t you love gifts that come with explanations? We were discussing at Christmas how it seems all our gifts come with some sort of novel-length explanation. So, now let me explain –

You may at first think that I’m too exhausted from the holidays to think of something better or that I’m just plain unimaginative (or cheap), but I wanted to introduce you to something life-changing.

You know what I mean – one of those small things in life that make all the difference and make you wonder how you ever lived without it – like Velcro on toddlers’ shoes, plastic wrap, duct tape and cooking spray.

While preparing the post on 50 Ways to Make 2018 a Better Year, I considered what I might offer as January’s Freebie to help out with that. Then, I remembered that innocent looking little sample package that arrived in the mail a few years ago.

I gave it a shrug and tossed it in my desk drawer. I’d seen Post-it Notes before. These seemed to be some new-fangled version and I wasn’t about to throw free stuff away. I knew 3M made the kind that pull apart from opposite ends and the ones that are super-sticky. These, apparently, had taken sticky down yet another avenue.

Later, when I’d finished up the pad I was using, I got them out and discovered that I’d been keeping something fabulous in hibernation in that desk drawer. That’s why I’m offering them as this month’s First Friday Freebie –

Full Adhesive Post-Its www.midweststoryteller.com

Full Adhesive Post-it Notes!

These are one of my favorite finds. Well, I suppose you’d say they found me! And, I’m giving away a full pack – not a sample.

(The ones in the photo are my open pack. The ones I’m giving away are due to arrive soon – yes, the January Freebie did sneak up on me.) The Freebies will be in yellow as I tried to pick something neutral for you.

What did we do before Post-it Notes anyway? Run around with fuzzy rolls of tape in our pockets?

Once I began to use these, the possibilities became endless. I stopped ruining storage boxes with marker pens – I just changed the note and because of the full adhesive, they actually stayed on and didn’t curl! I started using them to label cardboard boxes, plastic tubs, bottles, jars and plates of goodies. They adhere wonderfully, and best of all, come off cleanly when you want them to. Bookplates! They’re perfect for that! I no longer have to “ugly up” the nice boxes in my basement shelves of upstairs closets or pull them all out to see what’s inside. Use two sheets! On one, list the general heading in large print. On the other, list the individual contents.

There are lots of other removable labels out there – even nifty chalkboard ones – but they are way too pricey for marking storage boxes and other things that require temporary or alterable labels.

Consider these to be regular Post-it Notes in REVERSE! The adhesive covers the whole back of the note except for a narrow strip at the bottom (or top, if you prefer)edge, giving you a way to grasp it for removal.

Don’t scoff – you’re gonna love these things more than Velcro! BONUS: They also come in “super-sticky”, making the world practically perfect in every way.  The 3M Company isn’t messing around when it comes to its sticky business.  Under the Post-It section of their web site, you’ll find over 300 choices when searching for the perfect note!

You may have a little trouble finding them in your typical discount stores. Staples carries them, but being a bargain hunter, I order mine from Amazon.com here. They’re great for filling in your order for free shipping.

The “Freebie Rules” have changed recently to make it easier for you to win, so read on, SUBSCRIBE and share this post with all your friends so they can enter also. A winner will be chosen at random from those subscribers who enter today by leaving a comment which says, “I’ll take the notes!”

And now, here are the revised rules.

  1. First Friday Freebies are available to SUBSCRIBERS ONLY. That means if you have come to this post through social media or someone has emailed you a link to it and you haven’t become a subscriber yet, you’ll need to hop on over to the right sidebar and do that really quick. If you are on a phone or tablet, the easiest way is to go to the “About Me” page. All it means to be a subscriber is that you’ll receive an email each time Midwest Storyteller has something new, which won’t likely be more than once or twice a week. It keeps you from missing out on all the fun and FREE STUFF! And, I’m not sharing your emails with anybody.
  2. IMPORTANT: After subscribing, you MUST check your email to confirm the subscription or it will not appear. Then, sadly, you won’t be eligible to enter.
  3. To enter the drawing, scroll back up to the top of this post and under the title, click on “Leave a Comment”. Subscribers who comment as directed before midnight on Friday will enter the drawing, provided they are already on the subscribers list and live within the continental United States.

Three simple steps!

Now hurry! Go! Go! Go! Subscribe, Confirm and Enter before midnight tonight, January 5th

Did you miss the last Freebie?  Check it out here.  Don’t forget to “Share” and “Pin” and by all means, “Leave a Comment”.  Share the nifty-est “life-changing” thing you’ve discovered.

First Friday Freebie: Because There’s a Nip in the Air – Somewhere.

Only 24 more days till Christmas! How exciting! In case you’re having a difficult time with all the suspense, keep in mind that there are 0 – yes, ZERO – days until the First Friday Freebie. That’s right! You get to open this package today!

Mystery Freebie December 2017 www.midweststoryteller.com

It’s December and there’s a nip in the air – somewhere. Strangely, it’s not happening yet in our part of the Midwest. We seem to be getting someone else’s weather. The scary part is – someone else might be getting ours! I chose this gift for you with the hope of keeping you warm and cozy while you’re out and about finishing (or starting – breathe, just breathe) your Christmas shopping. It’s unseasonably warm here, but in this neck of the woods, that could change drastically in a matter of…say, 30 minutes?

Oh, come on! Don’t scroll at such a snail’s pace, like Great-Aunt Fannie trying to save the paper – rip it off and take a peek.

Freebie EchoTouch Gloves www.midweststoryteller.com

These EchoTouch ladies’ gloves “keep your hands warm while you keep in touch”. It seems that most everyone (excluding Smuffy) carries a smart phone these days. Though we enjoy the amazing technology that lets us navigate its depths with a tap or swipe of a finger, there’s that annoying fact that it can’t be done with gloves on! A few years ago, I received a pair of touch gloves as a gift and I’m hooked! I always seem to have cold hands and this helps me use my phone when I’m out and about without the hassle of taking my gloves on and off all the time. I find myself avoiding the “old style” gloves now in favor of this great invention.

Another problem with gloves, in a general sense, is keeping track of them. Although I don’t want to be seen running around like a toddler with a string running through my coat sleeves, it sometimes seems like a plan. If all the gloves I’ve lost were scraped from the parking lots upon which I’ve scattered them and were then placed end-to-end… Oh, never mind – back to the FREE gloves!

This neutral heather-gray pair of gloves are a Size LARGE. While I don’t consider myself to have large hands, I do have long fingers, so this is the size that always works for me. Not your size? They’ll make a great gift. And to all you guys out there – I know what your doing and the stores will be empty by the time you get finished doing it. Win the gloves and at least she’ll have something.

Similar gloves retail on the Echo web site for $39.00. (You have no idea how tempted I am to keep these for myself!) You can check out there other styles here.

The “Freebie Rules” have just changed to make it easier for you to win, so read on, SUBSCRIBE and share this post with all your friends so they can enter also. A winner will be chosen at random from those subscribers who enter today by leaving a comment which says, “I love the gloves!”

And now, here are the revised rules.

  1. First Friday Freebies are available to SUBSCRIBERS ONLY. That means if you have come to this post through social media or someone has emailed you a link to it and you haven’t become a subscriber yet, you’ll need to hop on over to the right sidebar and do that really quick. If you are on a phone or tablet, the easiest way is to go to the “About Me” page. All it means to be a subscriber is that you’ll receive an email each time Midwest Storyteller has something new, which won’t likely be more than once or twice a week. It keeps you from missing out on all the fun and FREE STUFF! And, I’m not sharing your emails with anybody.
  2. IMPORTANT: After subscribing, you MUST check your email to confirm the subscription or it will not appear. Then, sadly, you won’t be eligible to enter.
  3. To enter the drawing, scroll back up to the top of this post and under the title, click on “Leave a Comment”. Subscribers who comment as directed in the post before midnight on Friday, December 1, 2017 will enter the drawing, provided they are already on the subscribers list and live within the continental United States.

Three simple steps!

Now hurry! Go! Go! Go! Subscribe, Confirm and Enter before midnight tonight!

Want to see some past Freebies and their winners?  Take a peek here and here.

The Rose Leaf Project

I promised in the earlier post, “Creativity Unhampered”, that I’d return to my flight of fancy concerning my new discovery – Triple Thick. I suppose it may have been sitting on the shelf in Hobby Lobby for years, but I never knew it. Now, I’m giddy with possibilities.

Triple Thick www.midweststoryteller.com

After using it to restore my mom’s vintage clothes hamper, I wondered how it might work on various objects. Check out the hamper restoration here.

Rose leaves, partially decayed and plastered all over my porch after wind and rain, offered an interesting experiment. With nothing left between their veining, they looked like tan lace. I salvaged a few, pressing them between paper towels and flattening them with a heavy book.

I’d like to point out here that I exercised a great amount of restraint in getting started. My very nature called out to me to collect about five hundred of these beauties, because what if the experiment turned out to be the greatest thing I’d ever done! I reigned in the urge, for once, counseling myself that it could also be the biggest flop I’d ever wasted time and energy on. Forcing myself to keep it simple, I reasoned that Hobby Lobby had more supplies and that the bushes would lose their leaves again next year.

Once dry and flat, I spread my perfect lace leaves out onto a piece of paper to paint.

Dried Rose Leaves www.midweststoryteller.com

Now for color. I wasted some brain-time on this. Somewhere during my twelfth trip around the mulberry bush, I decided that it didn’t matter -they just needed color. Spray paint seemed the best idea. None of my leftover colors, however, seemed like anything I could tolerate, even as a test. I’m sensitive that way, you know.

So, I raided Smuffy’s paint stash and came out with chrome automotive paint. Why not? I rather liked the result. I let them dry before turning them over, giving the other side a silver coating as well.

Chromed Rose Leaves www.midweststoryteller.com

Next step: Triple Thick! I could have brushed it on, as I did with the hamper lid, but my curiosity tempted me to see what happened if I dipped them, giving them a thicker, sheeted coating. But then, how to let the very wet things dry once both sides were wet? Hmmmm… I had a brainstorm. (Now, don’t be a smarty-pants and ask me, “What with?”) Placing waxed paper in a cardboard box and up the side, I secured it by sticking straight pins through from the outside. These would provide “hangers” for my leaves while the waxed paper caught the drips.

BONUS: I didn’t find Triple Thick to be overly smelly.

DRAWBACK: The leaves were extremely thin, and doing a complete dip got them extremely wet, so some of them did tend to curl a little. 

Triple Dipped Rose Leaf www.midweststoryteller.com

Follow the instructions for drying time. I had lots of other things to do, so I probably waited half a day between re-dipping. My leaves got dipped three times. I suppose you could do as many coats as you like.

If you wanted to do this to a larger object, you would either paint the Triple Thick on with a brush or pour it into a shallow tray for dipping. The tray would need to have an airtight lid to keep it from drying out between times.

The results of my experiment? I’m rating it a success!

I know some of you have keen powers of observation and are wondering why there are fewer leaves in some photos than others.

I went to the basement to gather my leaves that had been drying on a large piece of paper on the floor. They were missing. So was the paper. I’ve lived with Smuffy for a long time, so instead of assuming that I had lost all my marbles or taken up sleep-walking, I went straight to the source and asked him what happened. He informed me that, assuming the whole thing to be trash, he’d wadded it all up and put in the garbage can. Sighing, I dove in, muttering something along the lines of, “If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard…” Yes, Smuffy is a tidy man. A very tidy man. Anyhow, in the process, there were casualties.  Another one got stuck to the sleeve of my sweater and came out the worse for wear. I ended up with four. See? I knew I should have collected five hundred!

The leaves came out slick, glossy and slightly bendable. And, I might add – nifty! While I was finishing this post, I also discovered that Triple Thick comes in a spray!  Here we go again…

I began to think how I might use the leaves. Here are some ideas –

Rose Leaf Ideas www.midweststoryteller.com

I’d love your ideas! Comment and let me know if there are any items that might otherwise be too fragile to keep that you are thinking about preserving with Triple Thick.

One last instruction – When you finish your project, remove the waxed paper from the cardboard box and peel away the dried puddles of Triple Thick. While not half as much fun as dancing on bubble wrap in bare feet, it does offer about ten seconds of entertainment for those of us not ashamed to indulge our inner child.

Speaking of children, I think Triple Thick has possibilities for all sorts of projects with your kids.

Next up: Smuffy’s back! SUBSCRIBE, so you don’t miss “Life with Smuffy: (Episode 2) Smuffy Takes The Cure” (or, “Think You’re Invincible?…Don’t Bet On It!)

SUBSCRIBE so you don’t miss it.

If you are on a computer, subscribe by entering your email in the right sidebar. On a phone or tablet, you’ll need to go to the “Contact Me” page on the menu and enter your email at the bottom of the page. After subscribing, you’ll receive a confirmation email and you’ll need to confirm your subscription.