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Category Archives: Tips

 

Rats typically own the place. You’ll find quick enough that pet rats have no qualm being in charge of your home if you let them free roam – just make sure you ratproof your place first.

 

And as they go about their daily duty to check up on their territory, they get to know your place inside and out. This includes – and I guess we all, including the ratties, agree on this – the best place to sleep: The bed!

 

When I see ratties running about on the bed, I want to be a rat!

Just imagine this giant duvet that when you jump about it just lets you sink in like a fluffy cloud.

 

However, there is a downside to it: Rats gnaw.

They can’t help themselves, they have ever growing teeth and need to grind them down regularly.

 

And if your sheet gets in the way it simply gets shredded:

That’s why when I’m #RatSitting I put on the rattie duvet – the sheets that have already been perforated by my pet rats. ;)

That’s why when I’m #RattieSitting I put on the rattie duvet – the sheets that have already been perforated by my pet rats. 😉

 

So make sure you put on some old sheets when you want your ratties to have access to your bed. You might also be lucky and your rats don’t shred.

 

Either way you’re going to be in for a treat: Ratties snuggling up to you under the duvet is just too adorable to miss!

 

 

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Signing up to a social network without uploading a profile pic mostly leads to a default picture being displayed.

Often this is a stylised form of a portrait photo, one with long hair for female and one with short hair for male.

Why such stereotyped gender differentiation?

Here’s a neat solution to keep things simple:

Good idea: Simply convert the first letter of the name into a profile pic.

Good idea: Simply turn the first letter of a name into a profile pic.

Convert the first letter of the name into a profile pic.

This is personalised yet completely neutral way to let users sign up without even getting close to touchy topics such as gender.

 

Juice bottles: Cut the head off, drill some holes in the base - for some practical flower pots.

Juice bottles: Cut the head off, drill some holes in the base – for some practical flower pots.

 

The shape of these juice bottles is actually ideal for flower pots:

– The diameter of the bottle is about 10cm, a standard size for flower pots.

– The base is raised into a punt and gives the ideal points to drill drainage holes: As they are raised, it ensures there will always be a bit of water in the very bottom.

– The top bit can be used as a greenhouse roof to protect seedlings from weather and mice.

 

How to make flower pots from soft drink bottles:

With a pair of nail scissors, cut the top bit off.

You’ll have to cut round, that’s why it’s easier with nail scissors. Follow a line on the bottle, it’s hard not to cut skew.

Depending on the length of roots the plants will grow you can keep the bottom bit quite tall or cut it down to a standard size.
Because the plastic is see-through, you can leave a wide rim above the ground level which keeps in all the mess.

Drill drain holes in the base of the bottle.

Hold the drill steady, it’s easy to slip on the plastic. Drill about 5 holes around the centre point of the base.

Depending on the water consumption of the plant you can drill large holes so the earth will drain well or small holes to capture water.
If the plant likes wet feet, you can drill the holes higher up.

Drill ventilation holes in the top bit of the bottle.

Hold the drill even steadier, this is a slanted surface. Drill about 5 evenly spread holes in the shoulder of the bottle.

You can use the remaining  bottle tops as mini greenhouse roofs. They fit very tight into the flower pot and won’t easily come off.
Depending on the humidity preferences of the plant, you can drill large holes for good ventilation or small holes for capturing moisture and heat.

 

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Aside from aesthetics, for practical reasons alone paint is the best wood finish.

For its long life expectancy alone paint is the best wood finish.

 

With hopefully some rain coming to Cape Town during winter we need gutters!

 

But before we can install gutters, we need to decide on the look of the fascia, the trim board on which the gutter sits on.

 

Paint is generally the longest lasting finish for wood, but we’d like to keep the natural wood look.

 

Apparently there’s a well kept secret for wood treatment: water repellent preservatives (WRP).

 

The U.S. Forest Service did some research on ‘Wood Finishing: Water Repellents and Water-Repellent Preservatives’, pointing out:

“Homeowners can avoid many exterior wood-finishing problems by first treating with a WR or WRP solution to guard against damage to the wood and paint caused by water and by decay and stain fungi (mildew).
WR or WRP treatment of wood is recommended both before painting and also as a natural finish for wood.”

and concludes in their PDF ‘Water Repellents and Water-Repellent Preservatives for Wood’:

“Water-repellent preservatives can be used as natural finishes and can greatly improve the durability and appearance of wood exposed outdoors.
They can also be used as pretreatments prior to the initial painting of wood. The water repellent improves the dimensional stability of the wood, and the preservative improves the mildew resistance of the paint. These properties work in concert to extend the service life of the paint.”

 

So as long as we’re using water repellent preservatives that are paintable, we can start with the WRP wood treatment, and still apply paint later.

 

While this still doesn’t answer the question for us, it gets us a step closer! 😛

 

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LinkedIn is a great platform to market your business.

LinkedIn is a great platform to market your business.

 

LinkedIn offers a very attractive target group, with a high income and twice the average buying power.

In addition, LinkedIn users are open for business: “A full 50 percent of B2B buyers use LinkedIn when making purchasing decisions. With 76 percent preferring to use recommendations from their professional networks, the site is essentially ‘built for social selling’.” – Hootsuite

So make sure your company gets found on LinkedIn.

On top of it go the extra mile to proactively get your business out there:

 

Publish VAC = Value Added Content

Share your content expertise by creating relevant posts. Be careful about actually publishing on LinkedIn Pulse, always keep your content on your own platform and link to it.

 

Cross-Pollinate: Connect with other social media

LinkedIn is well integrated with other social media. Simply ensure all the boxes are ticked to cross-publish your content to / from other social networks.

 

Engage with Groups

You can only join 50 groups, so choose wisely. Participate actively in LinkedIn Groups by posting relevant content and commenting. Create a company branded group for exposure of your business.

 

Use your professional headline as a status update

LinkedIn calls the text under your name on your profile your professional headline. It is by default displayed with your LinkedIn Profile Card. In addition, every time you update your headline, your entire network gets notified. So utilise this space to announce company updates or offer special deals, give-aways and links to more info.

 

Cold Message

Use LinkedIn’s advanced search to find prospects. Keep in mind it’s about making meaningful connections so set a strict filter to get good results. Remember the search terms, so you can find these potential customers again in future. Draft the invitation message carefully: Be clear what the mutual benefit is of connecting.

 

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Hey Missy Bean, how do you like your freshly cleaned cage?

Hey Missy Bean, how do you like your freshly cleaned cage?

 

I actually enjoy cleaning the rattie cage.

 

Maybe it’s because the ratoots are so very interested in everything that’s happening in or around their cage, this interaction alone makes me happy.

 

But it’s also the opportunity to escape everyday life and all its worries and enter the rattie world.

 

And because in their world ratties are boss, a lot of things are determined by them. For example, how the cage is structured:

Who sleeps where, who eats first, where is the toilet, what material is being used, which nest is being moved, who gets to choose their favourite spot and who has to stay out, is all being decided by the rats.

 

These are entertaining dynamics which change and evolve all the time, so it’s like watching a soap opera.

 

The creativity how to build and revamp your rattie cage is endless. There are even rat cages made from cupboards or doll houses, so you get a chance to play architect, too.

 

This is where the analogy to the zen garden comes in:

Even if my world is in chaos, in rattie world I can easily achieve order. It’s a confined space I can manage to overview and maintain.

Cleaning is an accomplishment and because rats are so interactive, I get feedback, or at least acknowledgement, right away. I can make changes and I can make improvements.

I can come up with new clever ideas for toys or things to gnaw on or other little entertaining gimmicks.

 

And then I get to see how much fun the ratties have with it.

 

And because rats have their own mind, their reaction is often different and unexpected, so there’s always an element of surprise.

 

As with this scenario, where my ratties were not impressed with my cleaning attempts and sent me a very clear message to stay out:

They dragged toys and stones from different levels of the cage into their box to build proper obstacles and then pulled the lid of the box shut.

I find this hilarious!

And it is these moments that make even a daunting task such as cleaning the pet cage a fun story to experience: Rats make great pets! 🙂

 

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Cement Burns right at the tip of my fingers... Ouch!

Cement Burns right at the tip of my fingers… Ouch!

 

There are still some snags around the house that we’re bit by bit attending to.

The other day we made good progress again, when plastering the remaining exposed brick work.

But when, after having asked already to finish the job nicely, I saw that there were still some gaps that had not been plastered shut, I took it upon myself to deal with it:

 

Being overly proactive, I thought: Let me just quickly smooth out the plaster and fill the corners properly.

Being highly perfectionist, it didn’t go as quickly as I had hoped.

Being totally absorbed by the task at hand, I did not feel any pain at first.

 

While dry cement is calcium oxide and relatively harmless to the touch, it turns toxic when wet:

The cement becomes calcium hydroxide, a highly alkaline substance with a pH level of 12 or higher. Natural skin surface pH is on average below 5, so any direct contact can result in serious chemical burns.

As the cement is eating through your skin, you only feel the real pain when the outer layer has breached. Now the cement reacts with the water coming out from your wounds. At this point it gets difficult to simply wash off the plaster, as the chemical reaction progresses:

First brush off any dry cement, then rinse the affected areas with clean water for 20 minutes.

 

Dry cement is also dangerous when inhaled as dust in large quantities: Prolonged or repeated exposure can lead to a disabling and often fatal lung disease called silicosis.

 

Stay clear from any health hazards caused by cement.

Always wear the correct safety gear:

– overalls with long sleeves and full-length trousers

– alkali-resistant gloves

– waterproof boots

– safety glasses

– dust mask

 

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