Archive for November, 2007

Resealable (Cat Proof) Magnetic Window Insulation Tutorial

Before I got Elliot the Cat, I used to put up those plastic shrink wrap sheets over my windows (the kind that came with double sided tape).  They worked well but I had to redo them every winter and I couldn’t open the windows without ruining the plastic film.  I stopped putting up the plastic window insulations after I got Elliot because he tore them to shreds.  This year I came up with a cat proof way to seal in the heat … take a look!  (This is not a super detailed tutorial … I’m going to assume that you have general DIY/crafting skills and know how to caulk and paint)

1. Caulk your windows and prepare surface for painting.

2. Main Supplies: Magnetic Paint (I used a magnetic paint additive), Self-adhesive magnetic tape (I got them from Ebay), and Vinyl (I got mine from a Joann’s store with a 50% off coupon).  Other supplies: tools for painting, scissors, ruler, and marker.

3. Paint window trims according to the magnetic paint instructions.  Make sure you put on enough coats to ensure a good magnetic bond.  Instead of painting the entire trim, I just painted the areas where I wanted the magnetic tape to adhere to (the outer most edges of the window trim).

4. Measure to the edge of the window trims and cut vinyl to size.

5. Apply the magnetic tape to the outer edges of the vinyl you just cut.  Peel off a few inches of the magnetic tape and start sticking the tape to the vinyl.  Hold down the magnetic strip and peel the backing strip (the white paper strip) a few inches at a time so the vinyl doesn’t get wrinkled. 

6. After you’ve applied the magnetic tape to all 4 sides, you can hang the magnetic window seal from the top of your window trim and work your way down to the windowsill.  The magnetic tape should stick to the trims like this:

7. You’ll probably have little gaps between the sill and the trim but you can fill them in with peelable caulk.  Note how well the magnetic strips cling to the window trim (excuse my sloppy paint job)!

8. Here’s the finished product.

 

Now repeat with all the windows in your home. 

These magnetic window seals are reusable and you can put them up and take them down quickly.  They will take some time to make but all you have to do is make them once and you should be set for years to come.  These can be rolled up and stored away and the best part is that they’re CAT PROOF!

The air between the window and the vinyl is definitely a lot colder than the air an inch away from the vinyl.  I’ll get a thermometer to see what the temperature difference is but I can definitely feel the difference that these windows seals make.

Whew, so there’s the magnetic window seal tutorial … it’s my very first tutorial so please feel free to leave a comment if I’m not clear in any part. 

Stay warm and pay less for heat!

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My Thanksgiving Dinner

I went to my friends’ house for Thanksgiving dinner.  This is what we had … a homemade Korean and Vietnamese extravaganza and I didn’t have to make anything.  All I can say is YUM!!!  Thanks S and G and T for making all these delicious dishes!

Alternative Incomes

I’m a little funny about money.  I like to use the money I make from my job for everyday living expenses like grocery and bills … you know, the adult stuff but I’ve always had random little side gigs that pay a little money and I consider that money to be my Play Money.  I use Play Money to treat myself to goodies that I don’t want to use my main job money for.  There’s no guilt when splurging with my Play Money and half the fun is finding ways to make the Play Money.  See, I told you I’m a little funny about money.

There’s a thing floating out there in the frugal/saving blog world called “The 20 Dollar Challenge” (see this person and this person).  The idea is to see how much money you can generate outside of your main job.  People can make a few thousand dollars more a year by doing random jobs and selling things on line.  I would like to challenge myself by creating more alternative incomes by selling on Ebay, Craigslist, Etsy, etc. and I think having a progress bar like the one on the right hand side will motivate me to do more.  

Let the challenge begin!

Paid surveys

I was reading some blogs and was intrigued by the online paid surveys that some people do for a bit of money. I really like the idea of having alternative incomes even if it’s only a few bucks here and there. Some survey sites will pay you cash (paypal or check) and some will give you points that you can redeem for gift cards. I signed up for a few over the weekend and so far no surveys yet. Beware that there are tons of scams out there so I only joined ones that were recommended by other bloggers.

No more paper clutter!

Wow, I did the unthinkable over the weekend … I tackled my paper clutter and survived!  I’m horrible at filing things and for years I’ve put statements and bills in boxes and bags thinking that I would file them someday.  I had about half a dozen of these boxes and bags full of papers and I even had a box that I moved from a previous apartment (yes, I packed up my paper clutter and moved it to my current home and the box sat unopened for 6 years).  I think I finally hit the breaking point this weekend so I started chipping away at the papers and managed to get them all sorted.

I made 3 piles for sorting, FILE, RECYCLE, and SHRED and I went through every piece of paper and sorted them by these categories.  It turned out that most of the papers did not need to be filed.  Part of my paper clutter problem was that I thought I needed to file every single bill and statement I got and when I first started sorting, I was putting my electric bills from 2002 in the FILE pile.  Then it dawned on me, why the hell do I need to keep old utility bills for?  So I went back and put the old bills and statements in the SHRED pile.  My FILE pile was actually the smallest pile out of all 3.  I ended up with 3 bags of papers to recycle and 1 duffle bag of papers to shred.  The scary (but good) thing is that I found some really important documents that NEEDED to be filed.  They were living in a box and I would’ve never found them if I needed them.  I also found a $50 amazon.com gift certificate, woohoo!  I think I shall treat myself to something nice for all the hard work I did … maybe I’ll get that book by Peter Walsh from Clean Sweep, nah, I’ll probable get those cotton/bamboo blend bed sheets that are supposedly antibacterial.

So yes, if you have piles and piles of paper crap taking up space in your home, take a weekend or three and deal with them.  It is the most freeing experience ever and you might even find some money. 

Recycling computers

Dang, desktop computers take up a lot of space.  I know computers used to take up a whole room but these have been taking up valuable space in my room for way too long.  The good news is that you can recycle these in a safe way for FREE (and you might actually get paid if your equipment isn’t as ancient as mine).  Check out Costco’s recycling partner, GreenSight.  They will pay shipping charges for your old electronics.  All you have to do is find boxes to pack them up and off they go! 

Simplifying breakfast

I’ve changed the “Living with Less” category to “Simplify”.  This is something I’ve been thinking about recently and it’s kind of a broad topic and I’m still trying to figure it out.  One thing I do know about simplifying is getting rid of clutter and things that I don’t need or love.  I’m still working on that and I’m trying to “diversify” my givings so I can get rid of more things faster.  There are some things that I just don’t want to donate to a Goodwill for whatever reason and that’s when friends come in handy.  A friend of mine works at a youth center in Chinatown so I’m giving the center a guitar and extra craft supplies.   Another friend has decided to give only handmade gifts to others so I’m giving her some of the handmade stuff I have.  I’m also going to try to sell some stuff on Ebay, Etsy, and Craigslist … a little extra money never hurts.

So that brings me to breakfast.  Another part of simplifying for me is making my own meals as much as I can.  I’ll still eat out with friends but I don’t want to buy meals for convenience.  I try to eat breakfast at home but most of the time I don’t have enough time so I end up buying a muffin or oatmeal at the cafeteria.  These pumpkin chocolate chip muffins make great on-the-go snacks and they are much healthier than the ones at the cafeteria (even with the chocolate chips).  I used this recipe but cut out half the sugar and replaced half the white flour with wheat flour and threw in some oatmeal.  Now I’m all set for breakfast for the next 2 weeks and it didn’t take that much time to make.  The house smells good, I’m saving money, and I’m eating something good for me … it doesn’t get much better than this.