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Hodgepodge from The Geranium Farm

Debbie Sharp Loeb, teacher by training but full-time mom to a disabled son, craftsperson, bead artist, great cook, creative homemaker & terrific spotter of cool new products for everything under the sun, presents Hodgepodge: recipes, household hints, stories about children, friends & relatives, cool stuff, music, & much more.

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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Mother Bear Project

"The Mother Bear Project is dedicated to providing comfort and hope to children affected by HIV/AIDS in emerging nations, by giving them a gift of love in the form of a hand-knit or crocheted bear."
You must use their pattern which you can purchase for $5. There are drop off locations in a limited number of states or there is an address where they can be mailed. They ask for $3.00 per bear be included for shipping on to their final destination.

To find out more go to:

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Stop MRSA Now

MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is a type of Staph bacteria found on the skin and in the nose that is resistant to antibiotics. More deaths are linked to MRSA infections than AIDS.
There are two types MRSA. One that is associated with hospitals and nursing homes and now a new one which has recently begun to spread in public settings like gyms, locker rooms, households and schools.
People can carry MRSA, not have any symptoms, and can then transmit the bacteria to other people. It can be easily spread through skin-to-skin contact and by touching contaminated items making it very crucial to take measures to help reducing it's spread.

Scrub up - Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water for at least 15 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand rub sanitizer.

Wipe it down - Use a disinfecting bleach solution to wipe down and disinfect hard surfaces making sure to use clean cloths to avoid spreading MRSA from one surface to another.
(1 tablespoon of disinfecting bleach diluted in 1 quart of water)

Cover your cuts - Keep any nicks or wounds covered with a clean, dry bandage until healed.

Keep to yourself - Do not share personal items, (like towels or razors) that come into contact with bare skin.

Use a barrier - Keep a towel or clothing between skin and shared equipment.

To read more about it go here:

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Baby Quilt from a Kit

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Best Clip Art from Martha Stewart Website

Here's some of what's included:

Freezer Labels
Pie Recipe Chart
Luggage Labels
Pretty Placecards
Cook's Helper Chart
Keepsake Recipe Cards
Jam Labels
Personalized Postcards
Homemade Bookplates
Father's Day Coupons
Cupcake Flags
Alphabet Garland

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Friday, April 24, 2009

A Surprise Package & the Story Behind It

Earlier this week the above package came in the mail with a return name and address I didn't remember. Inside was the following letter:

Dear Debbie,

How are you? Hope you are doing well.
I met you a few years ago at New York Presbyterian Hospital when you
were waiting for a family member who was in surgery. You kept yourself busy crocheting PREEMIE Hats. I really admired you and your work. I got
the pattern from you and I made a few then. Here are a few more.
May peace be with you and your family, always

H. Lee

WOW, That was 8 years ago!!!

I will be sure to donate these very soon to a local hospital in need.

There are a lot of websites with patterns to knit or crochet preemie hats and other items.

For helpful size charts and more patterns: (Scroll down on link)
Donate knitted hats for preemies

For other charities accepting handmade items: (Project Linus included.)

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

The 11 Most Controversial Food Additives

Do you know what's hiding in your food?
1. Acesulfame Potassium (Acesulfame-K)
2. Artificial Flavoring
3. Aspartame
4. BHA and BHT
5. High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
6. Interesterified Fat
7. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
8. Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil
9. Red #3 (Erythrosine) and Red #40 (Allura Red)
10. Saccharin
11. Yellow #5 (Tartrazine) and Yellow #6 (Sunset Yellow)

To read more about each of these ingredients go to the link and then click on the food additive.

As some of you might know or have already experienced Walmart has or will be eliminating, their full service fabric department. Love or hate Walmart, for some this is the only place in their area that sells fabric (notions, crafts, etc.) or the only place they can afford to buy it. There is an on line petition to save this department. Go to the link to read more about it and sign the petition:

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The First Earth Day

I thought you might like to read about how the first Earth Day came about from it's founder, Senator Gaylord Nelson.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Voca People

Watch, listen, and brighten your day!

Thanks Peg for passing this along.

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Monday, April 20, 2009

You Can Make This

This "Just a Pinch Potholder" is from the website where there are instructions for some free and for purchase patterns for all sorts of crafts.
Here is the link for the potholder:

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Get Organized Using Everyday Items

"Repurpose 21 familiar items to help you streamline your life."
Here are some fun ways to reuse some everyday items you have around the house to make things a little easier.
Think of some others? Post them in the comments area.

-The coat rack is a great idea for hanging jewelry but I have lots of necklaces. I attached a necktie hanger to the back wall of my closet and it has more than enough hangers. I also attached one of those expandable wooden racks for hanging coffee mugs next to it. I drape my scarves over the pegs. They're separated and easily seen when I need to match one to what I'm wearing. - Terry
-My old favorite, the shoe box: drawer separator, document holder, CD storage... The original 'aha', I think. Adelaide

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tried 'n True Quilt

My friend Helen has been one busy quilter. Here's another one of her quilts. This started as 9 patch squares that were then cut down the center vertically and horizontally and rearranged.

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Monday, April 13, 2009

The Sound of Music - Train Station

Something fun to watch! (Put your sound on.)

More than 200 dancers performed this version of "Do Re Mi", in the Central Station of Antwerp, Belgium at 8:00 AM on March 23, 2009. They created this amazing stunt with just two rehearsals. It was a promotional stunt for a Belgian television program, where they are looking for someone to play the lead role in, "The Sound of Music".

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Friday, April 10, 2009

Bunny Tangrams and More Easter Things

Here's something fun for the kids to do, three bunny tangrams!
Go to this link:

and for the pattern to print with solutions go here:

For Easter Bunny Cupcakes and More:

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Thursday, April 09, 2009

Library Elf

Library Elf will help you manage your library loans and holds.
They have a free trial period, which includes all of the premium services and then expires after six notices (or three weeks, which ever is longer). After that the free service will continue at the basic service level. The yearly cost for premium service on one card is $12.

To find out more about the two services go here:

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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Patient Inform

"patientINFORM is a free online service that provides patients and their caregivers access to some of the most up-to-date, reliable and important research available about the diagnosis and treatment of specific diseases."
Patientinform reviews hundreds of medical reports each month and then puts them into easy-to-understand terms.

Check it out here:

Go here to understand more about how it works:
Quick Guide

Designed to help patients and caregivers gain free access to original medical studies, as well as insight into how research is contributing to the treatment of disease, patientINFORM represents a unique collaboration between scientific, medical and technical publishers and voluntary health organizations to promote health literacy.

Many patient health organizations already provide comprehensive information based on the latest research. However, through patientINFORM, they deliver online access to selected peer-reviewed medical journals published around the world.

Patients and caregivers can access relevant studies any number of ways:

1) Go to for general information and for links to the participating voluntary health organizations, including: the American Cancer Society, the American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association.

2) Go directly to the participating voluntary health organizations Websites.
American Cancer Society
American Heart Association
American Diabetes Association
The National Organization for Rare Disorders
The ALS Association

Tip: Search for “patientINFORM” on the participating Website’s search engine.
patientINFORM participants provide links from their Websites to the full text of selected journal articles as soon as they are published, as well as additional information to help the patient or family member more fully understand the implications of the research.
While updated regularly with newly published research, patientINFORM also provides access to content from back issues of scholarly journals.

Note: This program is in the pilot stage.

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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

More Mug Mates!

Here are some Mug Mates my friend Helen made for me!
To see the others she made and for directions for these and others, go here:

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Monday, April 06, 2009

Sensory Processing Disorder

Hodgepodge reader Ann S., sent along this informational website on Sensory Processing Disorder. She has a grandson with this disorder and he has greatly improved with his therapies.
What I found particularly interesting at this website is a checklist of the Sign and Symptoms of this disorder. (Be sure to read the "Five Caveats" about using a checklist such as this that is given in the reading.)

Early detection and treatment are so important for any child with a disability.
A supportive extended family and friends can do so much to help a child with special needs.

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Friday, April 03, 2009

Help Kids Get Smart About Money

Money Savvy Generation has innovative products to help parents, educators and others teach kids the skills of basic personal finance, striving to empower kids to take control of their financial lives and, in turn, their futures.

Check out some of their products:

My past posting on personal money management:

HP reader Adelaide K. reminds us to check out:
which in turn also recommends , a website that offers information to help consumers make sound financial decisions at every stage of their lives, from childhood to retirement.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Joseph Quilt

Another quilt by my friend Helen. She said that she "didn't realize that this would be "Joseph", until the quilt was finished and Sunday school flashbacks occurred."

We've decided that all our quilts should be named, after all they are works of art!
. . . and with the new machine that she just recently purchased we can nicely embroider names and dates onto them.

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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Hodgepodge's 4th Birthday!

"Take note of the gifts of your life and share them."
Brother David Steindl-Rast, OSB
This quote was passed along by HP reader Liz from Santa Cruz CA

Thanks everyone for another great year! - Debbie

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