Where There’s a Will There’s a Way

The demands of having a daughter sometimes take me in directions I never could have imagined. For instance, my daughter has requested some princess dresses and so I have decided that I should taking sewing classes so I can learn how to make her costumes myself as I am sure her tastes will change over the years and I can be as prepared as possible. Of course, this will not only save me some time, but it will also allow me to create something that is uniquely suited to her and her preferences.


Since I am a beginner, of course, I knew I would have to do quite a bit of research to find a sewing machine that is best for those novice sewers out there. I have asked around and I have visited quite a few mainstream and local shops the last few weeks and have managed to narrow down the field of all the various options available on the market today. You would be surprised at how many brands are out here that claim to be the best. Even when I asked friends of mine that sew, I got totally different answers and suggestions.

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A computerized version is definitely the type that I am leaning too since I want it to be as easy as possible in the beginning for me to make clothes with the material that I find. I also want a machine that is great for beginners, but can also offer me the versatility to be used once I get to the intermediate level.


What are some of the basic criteria you should look for in a sewing machine? Well, I would definitely place performance at the top of the list, along with versatility, build quality, convenience, and last but not least, price. So, now that I have narrowed down the field, I would like to share with you the sewing machines that I have vetted and know can provide the performance you need for a beginner.


Brother CS6000I

It has been one of the best-selling brands for quite some time and it is clear to see why. Not only is it great for beginners, but it is available at an affordable price that makes it hard to beat. It’s not just the great price of this model that makes it appealing, but also all of the features that come with it as well. They include 60 stitches that are built-in (including decorative) and even one-step buttonholes are well represented here with 7 offered. This is great for beginners as we usually don’t have the experience necessary to create them right off the bat.

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There are also selections from the presser feet – 9 in fact – that allow you to complete various projects including functional and decorative options that makes this machine an easy sell. There’s even more – a detachable table that is big enough to handle those particularly large projects like embroidery, quilting, and detail stitching for large coats and blankets. There’s even an LCD display screen that is easy to read and navigate. Also included are thread diagrams, needle threader that is automatic, and sewing speed control for when you have the proper experience to use it. So if you need a reliable machine that offers you plenty of features and great accessibility, this is definitely the sewing machine that you should have under consideration.


Brother Designio DZ2400

As a beginner, you may want to check into an option that is portable and computerized, which makes the Brother Designio DZ2400 a great option for both quilting and sewing. Weighing only 10 pounds, it is perfect to transport from room to room and even to sewing classes if you wish.

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Don’t be fooled by the weight of this portable sewing machine, however, as it comes jam-packed with more than enough to impress most – 185 stitches built-in, 12 quilting and sewing feet, LCD screen that is quite large, 8 buttonholes, and even a wide table for those big sewing projects. Trust me when I say that when it comes to those sewing machines that are currently available on the market, you could certainly do far worse and waste a ton of money doing so. Take this sewing machine into consideration and get started!

Strumming Away

With my life being music, I cannot afford to go days on end without proper equipment to perform. Recently, the neck on my acoustic guitar broke and now I have been looking at purchasing a new one as soon as possible. There are so many brands out there and you really could get distracted trying to narrow it down. But, this is not my first time shopping for an acoustic guitar and I luckily can narrow it down a lot quicker than the average person.


You really have to know what you are looking because there are plenty of brands that are actually knock-offs and are of below average quality. Plus, some brands have the audacity to charge exorbitant prices but fail to deliver on quality. Especially if you are shopping online, you need to be able to phase out as many wannabe contenders to make an informed decision.


How inexpensive can you get when it comes to an acoustic guitar? Well, there are some that can cost around $100, while there are others that can cost many times that amount. But don’t be fooled, because you can still get a great-sounding guitar for next to nothing. I will cover a couple of the acoustic guitars that I know can provide the value and sound that you will love.

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Epiphone DR-100

As one of the industry’s top-selling acoustic guitars, the Epiphone DR-100 has all the bells and whistles that you come to expect from this company, from its classic, simple design to its amazing finishing options. For a sound that is bright and clear, and full of range, there are few acoustic guitars that can compete, especially when the price is factored in. I personally think it sounds a lot better than other acoustic guitars in its class and for such a rich tone, it is certainly worth the $100 investment.


What do you get with this guitar? Well, a lot more than you would imagine: a spruce top that is laminated, body panels in mahogany, and more. It also plays better over time, producing a sound that resonates spectacularly. I like it because you can play all genres with it from blues to rock and everything in between, plus fingerpicking. I especially like it as it’s great for singing and playing live simultaneously. For a country or rock sound, few acoustic guitars really can compare and it blends well with other voices in harmony too. Clearly, this Epiphone model was produced to execute a brilliant sound for the money and I readily endorse it.


If you are looking for an acoustic guitar that is easy to tune, look no further. In fact, it is able to hold tunes for a week or more. I was able to play it right out the box. And with a 2-year warranty, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

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Yamaha FG800

Compared to other acoustic guitars, this Yamaha model boasts some great quality points that set it apart from others on the market. It comes fully loaded with picks and even the option to throw in a hard case shell for $50 more. The Yamaha FG800 is an improvement over the previous FG700S, which I consider one of the best acoustic versions ever.


The body for this model is constructed from nato wood, which is a great alternative if you cannot get the more pricier mahogany, which is not as environmentally friendly, either. It is also ergonomically supportive, making it ideal for those that want a smaller option to play around your house. With frets and strings so close, you don’t have to worry about extreme discomfort when playing on it and that makes it also perfect for beginning players.

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Did I tell you how much I love the design? It has been constructed to hold intonation and keep vibrations at a minimum. This version looks and sounds completely natural. Another aspect that really makes this model a winner is that it comes with a lifetime warranty. That is an enormous bonus, and one of the many reasons why Yamaha continues to receive high accolades within the community and among consumers. They always produce excellent products and they really know the industry inside and out.

Dealing with Boogers

There’s no rhyme or reason to why children incessantly pick their nose; they simply do. How you deal with it will determine how the habit is eventually broken. I have had plenty of struggles attempting to stop my son from picking his nose. Of course, it took lots of patience and even a bit of coaxing, but eventually, I got him to break the habit and it has saved us both from a few additional embarrassing moments.


Every parent has their own tried and true methods for getting his kids to stop this habit, but I know that for me, I could not use all of the ones that were suggested to me as they simply did not work. I remember once when I was sewing clothes for my son and he came into the room and began to use fabric to play with his nose. Not only was it disgusting, but I had to stop everything and preach to him about the virtues of good manners.


There are many people out there that consider it a nervous habit but I don’t consider it similar to hair twisting, nail biting, thumb sucking, or even grinding the teeth. It has nothing to do with nerves and anxiety most times. I’ve found that kids often times dig in their nose because there’s something in it or they are agitated with something lodged inside of it and want it out as soon as possible. At least that was the case with my son.


The majority of kids that incessantly pick their nose usually have allergies because of the heavy mucus flow and that was what my son was sometimes suffering from. Still, I told him there was a way to be in the nose without being filthy and displaying bad manners. Slowly but surely, he began to get the picture.


What can you do about nose picking? Well, there’s lots you can do, especially if you want to cut down on germs since children are known as huge carriers of germs in homes. Germs on the fingers can easily be transmitted to other surfaces in the house and that can lead to flu and cold symptoms. That’s more of something I don’t need and so I have employed a few tactics to ensure our house stays as germ-free as possible. They include:


Staying Hydrated

Dryer climates can dry out my son’s nasal passages, which means he is more inclined to pick his nose. Therefore, I ensure that he has access to lots of fluids throughout the day to combat this problem. Even saline sprays can do the trick when I am in a pinch.


Washing Hands

I have gotten to the point where I make my son wash his hands every time he comes into the house to reduce the germs that are coming inside from outdoors. What I definitely don’t need are sick children running around the house and exposing us all to more germs. Besides, it only takes a few minutes and it’s just good for the household at large.

Surviving the Flu

The flu always comes when you least expect it and that is exactly the case recently when I battled it as I was trying to care for my kids. Taking care of children takes a lot of energy even when you’re healthy, so imagine how depleted my vitals were with the flu looming over me. At any rate, I knew that I could not just stop everything and give in to these symptoms, so I battled tooth and nail to recover and get back to 100% health.


Surviving the flu involves a lot of coughing, sore throat, congestion of the nose, chills, and overall aches, and even more. Luckily, there are plenty of home remedies you can use to alleviate some of these symptoms, but just like with everything, some of them work better than others. In fact, I would say that some work and some do not for certain people. The following are just some of the natural ways you can heal your body of symptoms that are mild to the moderate.


Drink the Flu Away

If you are feeling thirsty, then you are already dehydrated, so when you are suffering from flu symptoms, you must drink as much as possible, especially if you have a case of diarrhea or are vomiting. It is so important to drink enough fluids as you can, even if it is only water. Fruit juices and fluids packed with electrolytes are great to drink up as well. You should ideally stay away from caffeinated drinks since they are a diuretic.


Tea with honey is also great for soothing a sore throat and if you are feeling nauseous, just remember to take small sips of water so you won’t throw up. To check to find out if you are getting enough fluids, check to see if your urine is next colorless. If not, you should be drinking, even more, fluids throughout the day. Word of advice? Avoid alcohol because it will not help you out at ALL when you have the flu. Trust me!


Soup Soup Soup!

It’s true and your grandmother was right – eating chicken noodle soup to alleviate flu symptoms actually does work, even studies have proven it can help with flu and respiratory tract infections. It is not just clinically proven, but emotionally, you will feel better too. If you end up eating only a few bites, that’s better than none at all.


Embrace the Couch

This is where it gets tricky. I have the flu but I also have to take care of my kids, but my body is clearly telling me to rest. It is so important to listen to the body and if you have been exercising, this is the best time to take a break and allow your body to recuperate. Don’t even worry about the chores as much if you can. Support your body in times like these; don’t fight against your health. At the end of the day, I made the decision, just as you will, to be better by treating myself better in every way to improve my health and rid my body of the flu.