The Blind Perspective

The Blind Perspective

Hello CAMPBELLSWORLD VISITORS!!! Here is one of the best newsletters I receive each month. This lady gives me a run for my money! Yall enjoy, and have a great day!

Welcome to The Blind Perspective

April 2017
Volume 3 Issue 4

Table of Contents

Greetings from the Editor
Movers & Shakers
International Perspective
Exercise, does a body good
Have I Got A Story For You
The Braille Highway
Make Your Money Work
Kaleidoscope of Krafts
Spencer’s Spotlight
Computer Tech101
the Rotating Trio: EyeShare
Cooking Concoctions
Riddle & Brain Buster


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Greetings from the Editor

By Karen Santiago Hello All!
I don’t know about you, but this year is flying by. We just recently had the changing of the seasons and for some, the changing of the clocks as well. Speaking of changes, we have made a change to our health segment. Our readers have been writing in suggesting that we focus more on specific exercises, rather than the mechanics of exercise. With your suggestions in mind, we have found a very qualified person to fulfill your wishes. His name is Dan, and you can read about him, his background, and his first article below. We all here at the Blind Perspective would like to thank Ken for his hard work and past articles. All the best to you, Ken! Readers, remember that your emails with opinions, suggestions, and comments are taken seriously by our writers. We all enjoy hearing from you, good or bad. Feedback is so important. It allows us to cater to your needs. So, write us and let us know how we are doing. At A Glance: American Action Fund, Florida, Exercise; In the Chair, Books, Emails & Conclusion, Repurposing, Portable Speaker, Computer Suggestions, Communication, Earth Day Recipes, Riddle & Brain Buster!

Movers & Shakers

American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults
by Karen Santiago I had the pleasure of conducting a Q&A with Chris Danielsen, About the American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults. Please read on to learn about this wonderful organization. Tell me a bit about yourself.
I currently serve as director of public relations for the National Federation of the Blind, a sister organization to the American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults, for which I also perform some communications functions. I have held this position for eight years and have been involved with the NFB for twenty-eight years. I was born totally blind with very limited light perception, most of which is now gone. What is the American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults?
The American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults is a not-for-profit organization incorporated under the laws of the state of Maryland. It was established in 1919 to provide blind people with reading material, to educate the public about blindness, to give aid to the deaf-blind, to provide adaptive equipment to the blind, to offer expertise to governmental and private agencies serving the blind, to help older Americans adjust to vision loss, to offer services to blind children and their parents, and to do any other lawful thing that it can to improve the quality of life of blind people. The AAF also partners with organizations of blind people to create and enhance innovative and imaginative programs and services that allow blind people to achieve their dreams. For example, the organization supports groundbreaking education programs that teach blind children and youth that they can participate fully in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, which have traditionally and falsely been thought to be closed to the blind. The organization also supports programs to introduce Braille to blind pre-school children so that they can experience the independence and joy that Braille brings while their peers are discovering print. This helps children understand that Braille is a reading medium that is equal to print and that will allow them equal participation in education and employment. The organization also provides direct personal and financial assistance to blind and deaf-blind individuals when needed. We know that when blindness comes upon an individual or a family, it can seem like a devastating blow. However, the Action Fund also knows that blindness is not the defining characteristic of a blind person’s life. Therefore, the organization gives blind people a fundamental belief in their value, their capacity for contribution to our society, and their ability to live an exciting and fulfilling life through education, training, and alternative methods of accomplishing the tasks that this exciting life demands. For over ninety-five years the Action Fund has been developing programs to support the blind, and the principal message we have is that the right perspective about blindness gives hope and provides opportunity. The Action Fund is not the only organization serving the blind, but we provide hope to blind people, and hope is the most critical element in transforming the lives of blind people. What services do you provide?
Our Kenneth Jernigan Lending Library distributes Twin Vision® books, which are picture books with side-by-side print and Braille so that sighted and blind family members can share them, free of charge throughout the United States, to state schools for the blind, regional Braille libraries, blind children and blind parents, institutions serving the blind, and schools and libraries in many foreign countries. The organization also funds a scholarship in Kenneth Jernigan’s name, honoring his leadership in the blind community and his legacy. Each year the American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults produces tens of thousands of Braille calendars and sends them to blind individuals free of charge. The AAF has developed a series of books, “The Shape of Things,” so that blind children can enjoy pictures they can touch, just as sighted children enjoy pictures they can see. Also, in an effort to help young blind Americans become more aware of our nation’s history and traditions, Braille copies of great American documents are published and distributed free to schools and libraries by the AAF. The organization also produces and distributes a popular series of Braille books geared towards children and young adults. It makes an ongoing effort to get Braille versions of current, popular books into the hands of these readers so that they are reading what their sighted peers are reading. These books are delivered by mail and can also be downloaded from our website, While the Braille books are meant for children to keep, since Braille books can be hard to find and expensive to purchase, they are sometimes returned when the children outgrow or no longer wish to read them. The American Action Fund donates these gently used Braille books to an annual Braille Book Fair conducted by the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children, or sends boxes of them, upon request, to blind individuals or to entities serving the blind in foreign countries. Recently books were sent to Bangladesh, India, Nigeria, and Uganda. How are you funded?
We are funded entirely through individual donations, which we solicit primarily via our website and through a mass mail campaign. Is there a membership?
There is no membership in the American action Fund for Blind Children and Adults except for service on our Board of Directors, which governs the organization. How does one become a volunteer?
Contact us using the information below. Where do you provide these services?
We have offices in Baltimore, Maryland and Tarzana, California, from which we provide our services throughout the United States and occasionally to foreign countries. Are there plans to expand internationally?
We contribute Braille and Twin Vision books to foreign organizations, agencies, and libraries as we can, but we primarily serve individuals and entities in the United States. Who do you serve?
Blind and deaf-blind children and adults, and schools, libraries, and agencies that also serve them, throughout the United States and sometimes internationally. What qualifications must one have to obtain services?
For individuals, there is no qualification for our services other than being blind or deaf-blind. Tell me about your braille book programs.
Recently we have produced Braille books in two very popular children’s book series, Pete the Cat and The Thirty-nine Clues. We are also including in this year’s mailings two books about a blind cat, Oskar, and his feline pal Klaus, whose adventures highlight that blindness does not prevent a cat, or a person, from having adventures. We also sponsored the production of Braille labels for the print versions of the books, available at The AAF is also currently sponsoring the Braille production of the popular National Geographic for Kids magazine, which children who participate in our Braille program are receiving along with their regular books this year. Can you share your thoughts on learning Braille?
We have been concerned for a while about the decline in Braille literacy. We feel that Braille is the key to literacy and success for blind children, including those with low vision, and that at the very least it should be in every such child’s toolbox. What format are the Braille books?
The books are produced in Unified English Braille. The Braille books for older children are embossed in double-sided Braille, while the Twin Vision books have print and Braille on facing pages but without double-sided Braille embossing. How do people find out about you?
Often people find out about us through other entities serving the blind, such as schools and libraries. As a child I remember receiving books from the American Action Fund; my mother had learned about it from a case worker we had when I was in preschool. Contact information:
American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults
1800 Johnson Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21230
(410) 659-9315

International Perspective

Blind Services In Florida
By Roanna Bacchus About Me
In today’s society individuals with visual impairments encounter many difficulties. I was born in February of nineteen ninety in Boston, Massachusetts. As a toddler, I attended the Early Intervention Program at the Perkins School For The Blind in Watertown, Massachusetts. After Early Intervention, I went to a preschool in Boston where I was exposed to a wide variety of activities. I am a recent college graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Central Florida. About Florida
Florida is in the Southeastern part of the United States. Orlando offers world-class attractions such as Disney World, Universal Studios, and the Holy Land Experience. Currently Orlando has a population of about 255,000 people. Saint Augustine is one of Florida’s historic cities and the oldest city in the nation. Florida is known for its orange crop that is produced each year. Braille
Unfortunately, braille menus are not available at many of the restaurants here in Central Florida. Braille signs are available in many restrooms in the public schools and other facilities. The Lighthouse of Central Florida (Lcf) provides braille classes on a regular basis, and the Braille Association of Mid Florida is one of the agencies that transcribes printed materials into braille. I am planning to start a small business that will provide braille menus to local restaurants that do not have them. School for the Blind
The Florida School For The Deaf and Blind (Fsdb) is in Saint Augustine, Florida. This educational institution provides a variety of services to deaf and visually impaired students throughout Florida. Blind students may also be mainstreamed into the public school systems in their respective counties. Many Teachers of visually impaired (Tvi) travel to schools within their district that provide services to visually impaired students. Mobility
My family and I live in a remote suburban area which does not have a bus stop. I use a cane to get around outside of my home when I am in the mall or another area. I take my white cane to church each Sunday. Without a car or the use of public transportation, Floridians are not able to move freely throughout the state. Orientation and mobility instructors do go to different communities to show residents how to travel independently around their homes. Guide dogs
The Florida Association of Guide Dog users, a division of the National Federation Of The Blind (Nfb) works to promote the rights of guide dog users in Florida. I do not currently own a guide dog since I live with my parents. I am still working to improve my mobility and cane skills so that I can own a guide dog at some point in the future. During the Nfb’s national convention Flagdu works with a local company to provide pet food that can be delivered to the hotel for guide dog users. They also encourage their members to educate the public about their rights as guide dog handlers. Many people have not had good experiences with guide dogs when using ride sharing services such as Uber and Lyft. Public Transportation
Access Lynx is the service that many blind people use for their public transportation. Due to issues, such as unreliability and random pickups I choose not to use Access Lynx to get around Orlando. Ride-sharing companies such as Uber and Lyft also offer their services to disabled Floridians. Taxis and the SunRail train system are also options for transportation. My family prefers to provide transportation for me rather than having me travel alone. Access Technology
Local lighthouses in each county provides courses in access technology for the blind. The Florida Division of Blind Services (Dbs) refers their clients to other agencies that can offer technology training in and outside of the workplace. Engineers are often sent to the homes of clients to install computer software such as Jaws on home computers. Many people in Florida including myself own notetakers with refreshable braille displays that have been purchased by our state agency. Employment
The Lighthouse provides job training to blind people in Central Florida. They also offer a course called Ability To Market which provides opportunities to hone interviewing skills and other job-related components. The Center For Independent Living provides employment services to disabled citizens in Central Florida. Career Source of Central Florida links people with disabilities to any jobs that are available to them. Rehabilitation Agencies
The Rehabilitation Center for the Visually impaired is in Daytona Beach. This is a place that provides blind people with the opportunity to learn the necessary independent living skills that will allow people to succeed in their daily lives. The Nfb and the Fcb also have chapters in Florida that provide scholarships that allow blind students to attend their national and state conventions. The Florida Division of Blind Services provides many of the services available to blind Floridians. Local lighthouses provide courses in braille, access technology, cane travel, and daily living that will allow clients to increase their independence. I hope this article gave you a glimpse of the services available to blind people in Florida. I love living here despite the Summer heat and rain. My family and I have lived here for twenty-two years.

Exercise, does a body good

By Dan Kiely I would like to tell you a bit about my background so You know I have credibility in what I will be writing about. I graduated from Saint Mary’s Campus of the college of Saint Catherine in Minneapolis, MN with an associate degree in Physical Therapy, and a certificate in massage therapy. I worked as both a physical and massage therapist for years. I specialized in sports, Thai, reflexology, and European therapy. I have extensive knowledge and experience in yoga, Pilates, and weightlifting. The objective of my monthly article is to provide simple easy exercises that you can perform without using any exercise equipment. These exercises will do a variety of things such as minimize aches & pains, stretch, tone & tighten, and strengthen body parts to name a few. I will also include a healthy tip each month. In my first article, I will describe strengthening and stretching exercises you can do while sitting at your computer. #1 Neck Bridging:
Slightly tuck your chin towards your chest and then press your head toward an imaginary wall. Hold this position for a count of 5 to 10. How many reps is up to you, but 10 to 15 is good. Remember to keep your chin bent toward your chest throughout the movement. Adaptation: Interlock your fingers and place your hands behind your head. With your chin slightly tucked towards your chest, press your head back against your hands. #2 For your upper back rhomboids area):
Imagine you have a quarter in the middle of your back, so you want to squeeze the quarter in place. Take your shoulder blades (scapula bones) and squeeze them together. Hold this squeeze for a count of 5 or 10, and again, do 10 to 15 reps. #3 Stretching exercise for your upper back:
. Take your right hand and place it on your left shoulder.
Then take your left hand and grab your left elbow.
Use your left hand to stretch right arm towards your left shoulder.
Hold for a count of 5 to 10.
then reverse the hand position, so you can stretch your left arm.
Adaptation: For an elongated stretch, raise your arm (one with hand on shoulder) to shoulder height and stretch. #4 For lower back:
Sit up straight in your chair.
Create an exaggerated arch in your back, then press your lower back into the back of the chair.
hold that pose for a count of 5 to 10, and do this 10 times. This will involve your abdominal muscles. #5 For your calves:
While sitting with your feet hip width apart, raise your heels off the floor and onto your toes. Hold this position for a count of 5 to 10. How many repetitions you do is up to you, but 10 – 15 is good. #6: For your Shins:
While sitting with your feet hip width apart, raise your toes. Hold this position for a count of 5 to 10. How many repetitions you do is up to you, but again, 10 – 15 is good. Tip:
Most doctors recommend drinking 8 (8ounces) glasses of water daily. Another popular method people use to determine how much water they should drink daily is:
Take your body weight and divide it in half. Then take that number and drink that much in ounces daily. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, then you would need to drink 75 ounces of water daily. These are the exercises I recommend for people that sit for a long period of time. So, good luck and get moving!

Have I Got A Story For You

By Carla Jo Bratton Spring Salutations Book Lovers!
This month I bring you three wonderful writers and three very different books. My short story collection is a science fiction classic. So, on into spring and into great reading. What the Dead Know
Written by Laura Lippman
Reading time: 11 hours and 2 minutes
Thirty years ago, two sisters disappeared from a shopping mall. Their bodies were never found, and those familiar with the case have always been tortured by these questions: How do you kidnap two girls? Who or what could have lured the two sisters away from a busy mall on a Saturday afternoon without leaving behind a single clue or witness? Now a clearly disoriented woman involved in a rush-hour hit-and-run claims to be the younger of the long-gone Bethany sisters. But her involuntary admission and subsequent attempt to stonewall investigators only deepens the mystery. Where has she been, why has she waited so long to come forward? Could her abductor truly be a beloved Baltimore cop? There isn’t a shred of evidence to support her story, and every lead she gives the police seems to be another dead-end: a dying, incoherent man; a razed house; a missing grave; and a family that disintegrated long ago, torn apart not only by the crime but by the fissures the tragedy revealed in what appeared to be the perfect household. In a story that moves back and forth across the decades, there is only one person who dares to be skeptical of a woman who wants to claim the identity of one Bethany sister without revealing the fate of the other. Will he be able to discover the truth? My comments; If you haven’t read a Laura Lippman book yet, grab this one. It is one of her many standalone novels. She also writes the Tess Monaghan mystery series. What the Dead Know is a nail biter right up until the twisted end. Commonwealth
Written by Ann Patchett
Reading time: 10 hours and 9 minutes
The acclaimed best-selling author – winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize – tells the enthralling story of how an unexpected romantic encounter irrevocably changes two families’ lives. One Sunday afternoon in Southern California, Bert Cousins shows up at Franny Keating’s christening party uninvited. Before evening falls, he has kissed Franny’s mother, Beverly – thus setting in motion the dissolution of their marriages and the joining of two families. Spanning five decades, Commonwealth explores how this chance encounter reverberates through the lives of the four parents and six children involved. Spending summers together in Virginia, the Keating and Cousins children forge a lasting bond that is based on a shared disillusionment with their parents and the strange and genuine affection that grows up between them. When, in her 20s, Franny begins an affair with the legendary author Leon Posen and tells him about her family, the story of her siblings is no longer hers to control. Their childhood becomes the basis for his wildly successful book, ultimately forcing them to come to terms with their losses, their guilt, and the deeply loyal connection they feel for one another. Told with equal measures of humor and heartbreak, Commonwealth is a meditation on inspiration, interpretation, and the ownership of stories. It is a brilliant and tender tale of the far-reaching ties of love and responsibility that bind us together. My comments; I love Ann Patchett’s books. If this one doesn’t sound like the read for you, check out State of Wonder, Bel Canto, Run or The Magician’s Assistant. There are a ton of science fiction short story collections out there for your enjoyment. In my opinion, this one is the father of them all. The Illustrated Man
Written by Ray Bradbury
Reading time: 7 hours and 40 minutes
Ray Bradbury’s The Illustrated Man is a kaleidoscopic blending of magic, imagination, and truth, widely believed to be one of the grand master’s premier accomplishments. Collected here are eighteen tales, startling visions of humankind’s destiny, unfolding across a canvas of decorated skin, visions as keen as the tattooist’s needle and as colorful as the inks that indelibly stain the body. My comments; Each tattoo on the illustrated man tells a story. They each one in turn come to life showing what may or may not come to pass in the future. There is something for everyone in this collection. This is why it is a classic. As always gentle readers, you can contact me at my email address above, with any comments or suggestions.
Happy Reading,
Carla jo

The Braille Highway

By Nat Armeni Happy April to all! I am so pleased and thankful for all of your emails and opinions you gave me re the issue I outlined in my March article. I have pasted snapshots of what people wrote and I will let you know what I have decided to do. Enjoy reading what others have suggested. Here is the first email from Brian:
“the fact that I can read my bills for myself but I would like to point out some errors in the braille. If they don’t know then they can’t fix it.” Next is a sample of what Shannon had to say:
“Hi there! I am a loyal reader of the Blind Perspective, and have enjoyed your articles very much. This is the first time I’ve ever Emailed one of the writers, and perhaps what I say will be of no value to you, but I just thought I’d give you my own perspective on the situation you’re facing with your Braille invoices. Therefore, if I were in your situation, I would not complain to the two companies about their badly formatted, non-UEB Braille letters. I would be grateful to get them in Braille in any format. Mind you, I do see no harm in at least putting forward a gentle suggestion as to how they could improve their services. I just wouldn’t personally do it in the form of a complaint.” Well, Shannon, I believe that we all here at the Blind Perspective truly value what the readers have to say. Personally, I value the readership’s opinions and their point of view. Now here is Caterina’s opinion:
“I think that I would let the company know that there is an alternative method of formatting so that everything has a correct layout. Put nicely, it should hopefully be received as helpful and not as a complaint.” David wrote in with his comments:
“Hello, Nat: I recall something similar when I used to receive a monthly phone statement from MCI back in the day. It was very readable, but the formatting was a bit off. I’m not sure that there is much to be done about this though.” Lou’s take on my questions is:
“First off, thanks for your column. I don’t use braille as much as I used to, but still love it. I get several magazines, and use a braille only notetaker. AlthoughI’m writing this on a Mac with speech, I will always appreciate the non-intrusive nature of braille. Having said that, I think it valid for you to let the companies in question know of your concerns. Notice, I didn’t say complain. Were I you, I would use the “sandwich” approach. Start your letter by telling them how much you appreciate the statements/invoices in braille. Next, voice your concerns constructively such as “while this is a great service, there are ways you could make it easier for your customers who use braille to benefit from it.” It is nice to see that the folks who have taken the time and trouble to write to me are all appreciative with the under tone to let them know in a non-argumentative way on how to improve the already great service. Now read Mary’s slightly different opinions from the previous emails:
“Hi, I just read your article in the Blind Perspective, March, and have some comments. First, I would complain. Not about the lack of UEB, perhaps they do not have anyone who has learned the new code, but if a company is producing braille material they should at least format it properly. I receive 5 statements in braille, one is uncontracted braille, the others in UEB, all formatted nicely.” Another David, but this one is from the UK writes:
“Regarding your recent post about the bank statements you receive. As a huge Braille fan, and advocate at all times of the delicious dots, I believe that you should complain. Many others in your position may be experiencing similar difficulties, but feel disempowered to say anything.” I see valid points in both Mary’s and David from the UK emails. Only 2 more email opinions left to read. Kaye writes in with the following:
“I think if I were in your situation, I would bring the issue to the attention of the company. It does not have to be framed as a complaint though. Many times, as I’m sure you know, companies provide braille, but the person doing the printing can’t read a dot of it. They have no clue whether or not it is properly formatted or if it even makes sense. They probably just run the invoice through a translation program, and hope for the best. Perhaps if you let them know they will attempt to remedy the situation.” Deborah rites in with the following thoughts:
“I enjoyed reading your section of the Blind Prospective. The only statement which I received in Braille is my bank, South StateBank. There was a change in management of the bank and I was not sure if the new bank would offer the Braille statements. When I asked, the new management was happy to confirms the Braille statements would continue. There were some adjustments in the first few months. I asked if the paper could be with hole-punched edges and they agreed. Each account has a separate statement making it easier to check each account. As I use purchases made for my annual tax deducts, I read each and every item.” Excellent suggestions and an example of ask and one shall receive, at least in Deborah’s example of requesting whole punched paper. After reading the many emails, it is easy to see that the majority’s opinion is to praise for the service and to give a gentle suggestion for improvements. So, that is what I ended up doing. I live on the west coast of Canada and I will be writing about how blind people can differentiate their currency. So, if you all can be so kind to email me on how you can identify your coins/paper currency from your country, that would be greatly appreciated. The email to write to me is at the top of this article. Remember to stay on the dotted line of life! See you again in May!!

Make Your Money Work

By Munawar Bijani Really? You’re STILL reading? I must say, I’m impressed! This month, we’ll start a new topic. First, let’s recap what we’ve learned so far. We began by finding out what our monthly expenses look like. Next, we drew up a budget, so that we knew where every dollar went, and how much we needed to make to meet our expenses. After this, we made a discretionary budget. Next, we made a savings goal to start growing our wealth. After all this, we discovered we had left over cash, so we talked about ways to invest that money and make it grow; this included stock markets, IRA’s and ISA’s. And this brings us out of saving money and into our next topic: credit! But fear not! Since we’ve had some heavy articles recently, I’ll give you a break here and not discuss numbers, at all! No really, I won’t! The downside is that you won’t get any actionable information from this article, but it still has concepts that’ll help you. What’s credit? Credit is some amount you have with some person or institution (like a bank) that lets you borrow money. But there’s something we have to talk about before we discuss how to take peoples’ money: a credit report. Each one of us–if we’ve borrowed money in any capacity–whether it’d be a loan or by using a credit card, have what’s called a credit report. This is a record of all loans we hold, how we’re doing on the payments to these loans, etc. In essence, your credit report is your trustworthiness to borrow and repay money. A lot of us subscribe to religions that believe in deities whose jobs are to keep a running total of our good and bad deeds. Credit reports are exactly this, except they exist in tangible form, and they only look at our deeds per money. For example, if you have one loan, and you make all your payments to that loan on time, your credit report will reflect this, and your “credit worthiness” goes up. On the other hand, if you miss even one payment on that loan, your credit worthiness will drop. Your credit worthiness on your report is determined by your “credit score,” which is a formula that’s hard to understand (so I won’t make you look at an explanation,) but results in a number directly related to how well you manage your loans. So, as your credit worthiness goes up, your credit score rises; and, as your credit worthiness drops, your credit score will drop. Your credit score is important, because when you apply for a loan, the lending institution will pull up your credit report and examine your credit score. If it’s not good enough by their standards, they’ll consider you to be unreliable and won’t grant you a loan. A bad credit score has other implications too. Utility companies (such as your light company and water company) will make you pay a fee up front called a “deposit,” because they want to secure some money in case you don’t pay your bill. With a good credit score, you won’t pay this deposit (Ah, you say, so therefore I paid a deposit when I started my utilities!) Did the lightbulb go off yet? So, does this mean you shouldn’t borrow money? Actually…it’s the opposite! There’s a saying: “Bad credit is better than no credit,” and next month we’ll discover why. (See? I told you I’d cut you a break in this article!) Seriously though, I’ve been waiting to write this series for a while now because I’ve personally observed that many of us visually impaired people don’t have credit, even in our adult years. So, we’ll learn together about this not-so-scary topic and hopefully stop shying away from the plastics (since, if used correctly, they can really help.) We started into the topic of credit in this article and discussed credit reports. Next month, we’ll get more technical and discuss smart borrowing…and, yes, next month we will do the numbers, so be ready! If you have any comments on this article, you can Email me at my address above.

Kaleidoscope of Krafts

By Lindy van der Merwe For many of us the crafting process itself usually follows a certain pattern. We decide on a project, find and buy the supplies and then proceed with the actual creation of the object we have decided to make. However, words like “recycle”, “upcycle”, “repurpose”, “refashion” etc. have become very popular, over the past years, especially where they relate to crafts and crafting of all kinds. Using what you already have or don’t use, to make something new, not only can be of benefit to oneself, but is also the right thing to do in terms of saving our environment. The projects we will be doing for this month fall into the category of repurposing. The first is not really a craft as such, but will let you create a useful item, which could be changed back to its original form. Project 1: Shoulder Bag from a Scarf
For this project you will need:
1 large, square scarf made of a lightweight fabric Directions:
Step 1: Place your scarf down on a flat surface, with the right side showing and one corner facing you.
Step 2: Starting at the point nearest you, fold over the scarf about halfway to the center of the square and tie in a knot.
Step 3: Do the same with the opposite corner of the scarf. You will now have something that looks like a skinny piece of fabric with two knots on the top and bottom edges
Step 4: Flip the scarf over so the knots are now on the inside.
Step 5: Bring the left and right corners together and tie them into a small, double knot to form the shoulder strap of your bag.
Step 6: Now, pick up your new bag and, like your scarf; it will fit perfectly with your outfit.
You could use a safety pin to hold it closed for some extra security, but it is great to just carry to the beach or when you need a bag on the fly.
When you no longer need your bag, simply untie the knots and you have a scarf again. Project 2: Shoulder bag from a t-shirt
If you have a t-shirt that you no longer wear for some reason, use it to make a casual bag you can carry over your shoulder. This is a quick and easy project, especially to do with or for teens. If you are not comfortable with doing the cutting yourself, consider asking someone to help with that specific step. I find that people are usually quite willing to help with cutting since it goes fairly quickly, especially in a project like this one, where total accuracy is not that important. T-shirt fabric is also fairly easy to cut cleanly and for this project the neckline and shoulder seams of the t-shirt will serve as a rough guide for cutting the handles of the bag. You have three options for the bottom of your bag. They are set out in Step 8. For this project you will need:
1 t-shirt
Scissors Directions:
Step 1: Set the t-shirt down on a flat surface.
Step 2: Cut off the bottom hem of the t-shirt to form a long, narrow strip of fabric. Set aside for later use in Step 8.
Step 3: Fold the T-shirt in half from left to right, so that the next two cuts will be symmetrical.
Step 4: Remove the collar by Cutting around the neckline in a nice deep semi-circle.
Step 5: Next up, cut the sleeves off, a little away from the shoulder seam, towards the collar.
Step 6: Open up your shirt again. It should now look like a neat tank-top!
Step 7: Turn the shirt inside-out.
Step 8: Choose one of the following options
A. Gather the base of the tank into a bunch and tie it with the hem strip that was cut in step 2. Make sure you tie it tight, preferably in a double knot.
B. Sew the bottom of the shirt closed using needle and thread or a sewing machine.
C. Turn the shirt right side out and cut the bottom into one inch strips that can be tied together.
Step 9: If you have used options A or B in the previous step, again turn this arrangement inside-out and you’ve got a great new handbag that is unique and trendy! Project 3: Travel Pouch from a Washcloth
For this project you will need:
1 large washcloth
12 to 18 inches (30 to 45 cm) of washable ribbon
Button (optional)
sewing machine or needle and thread (If you don’t have a sewing machine, you can sew this by hand with a needle and thread) Step 1: Start by folding the bottom of the washcloth up so that it’s about an inch or two below the top of the washcloth.
Step 2: Sew up both outside edges of the washcloth to make a large “pouch”. Use any type of stitch you know. Don’t worry if your stitches are not perfect. They will be hidden on the inside of your pouch. It will also help if you use thread that are the same color as your cloth.
Step 3 (optional): If preferred, sew one or two straight lines through both layers of the cloth up the middle of the pouch to create smaller pockets. To do this, make a fold where you’d like the stitches to go and pin the fabric in place. This will create a straight edge for you to sew along.
Step 4: Turn the cloth inside out so that your stitches are now on the inside.
Step 5: Sew the middle of the ribbon with the button (if used) to one edge of the washcloth, about halfway up.
Step 6: To use, fill the pockets with your toiletries, roll the washcloth up and tie the ribbon around the middle to hold it closed, and you’re good to go! If you have similar projects or ideas to share, I am sure we’d all love to hear about them, so please e-mail me at my address above. Until next month, happy crafting! Sources:

Spencer’s Spotlight

By Cheryl Spencer This month’s item is going to focus on light portable, and pocket friendly. there are times when you want to share your music or a song from YouTube. Well, if you are not home I have found the cutest little speaker that will literally fit in your jacket pocket, it is that small. it is the Anker Soundcore Nanobluetooth with big sound. Super portable speaker with built-in mic. and it is available on Amazon in the US, Canada, and the UK. When I bought it, it was an astounding low price of just $16.99. However, the price has since gone up to $24.99. Still a bargain for the sound and portability you get. Further details:
Small Body Big Sound: Incredibly slim and compact but pumps out crystal-clear sound via a 3W audio driver.
• Premium Design: Sleek aluminum-alloy shell is both elegant and resilient. Available in 4 stunning finishes that perfectly match your phone.
• Advanced Technology: Bluetooth 4.0 gives universal compatibility with all Bluetooth-enabled devices.
*Instantly connect to your smartphone and use up to 33 feet away. Extended battery life delivers 4 hours of continuous playtime. What you get:
Anker SoundCore nano, hand-strap, Micro USB charging cable, Micro USB to Aux cord, welcome guide, our worry-free 18-month warranty and friendly customer service. I took this little baby out of the box, and at first could not figure out how to even turn it on. But after giving it an extensive brailling, I discovered a soft spot on the bottom of the unit. I pushed it and low and behold it turned on with a musical intro. I then paired it to my I phone and played a song. Wow! It blew me away. The sound was exceptionally good coming from such a small speaker. I was very impressed. . I demoed it for my friends and they all ordered one. I also took it to an I Access I phone meeting and shared it with the group. They were surprised at the quality of the sound. Most of the members ended up ordering one or two for themselves. This little thing makes a great traveling speaker and excellent for the on the go excursions.

Computer Tech101

By Jim Morgan To quote the Author, Richard Marcinko, “Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima!@#$% culpa!” Sorry folks, there is no article this month. I have a couple of MS Access programming projects that I’m working on and I ran out of time. I fully intend to have an article for June. In the meantime, I’d find it VERY helpful if I could get some topic ideas or questions to explore. Let’s just say that the well is getting a little dry and could use some help. Thank you all for your understanding and indulgence. From the Editor:
Since Jim is busy working on some computer projects, I thought I would share a few things with you. I don’t know about you but I have a lot of websites saved in my Internet Explorer favorites. If you do not organize your websites within your favorites, they are then listed in the order you saved them. However, you can organize them alphabetically with these easy steps! 1. Open internet explorer
2. Press Alt A to open your favorites
3. Arrow down to anyone of your favorite websites
4. Press your application key (or Shift F10)
5. Arrow up (usually two times) to Sort by name
6. Press enter and now your favorites will be in alphabetical order
Note: If you add anymore favorites to the list, they will automatically go to the end of the list until you repeat the above process Have you ever encountered a webpage with hundreds of links within the text, making it a bit distracting to read? There are many web pages like this; the first one that comes to mind is Wikipedia. Maybe you would just like to read the information without being distracted by all those links. Well there is a way you can do this using Jaws settings. While on the web page you want to read, do the following:
1. Press Alt, Insert, and the letter S; this will take you into the scheme dialogue
2. Press the letter S to get to say all text only
3. Press enter to activate
Now you can press Insert, down arrow to read all without the link annoyances
To set the page back to its default do the following.
While on the web page:
1. Press Alt, Insert, and the letter S to go to the scheme dialogue
2. Press the letter C until you get to Classic (be sure to listen, since there are multiple classic options)
3. Press enter to activate Lastly, how about being able to copy some information from a website, while stripping out its format that is inherited from the web page. This will remove unnecessary formatting. This happens to be one of my favorite keystrokes especially when copying a new recipe. Here is how to do it.
While on the web page you want to copy:
1. Select the text you want using your select commands
2. Then copy using Control C
3. Open Word or outlook
4. Press the key combination: Alt, H, V, T
You will then have a text only document I hope one, two, or all three of these suggestions may be useful for you.

The Rotating Trio: EyeShare

By Russ Davis
One of the things I always seem to be doing is, looking for a conversation starter. I meet so many people while I am traveling, (and yes I travel a lot), so encountering strangers isn’t out of the ordinary. I have noticed that people seem to be fascinated by my white cane, you may have noticed the same if you happen to carry one as a mobility aid. What I decided to do a long time ago was, to not shy away from these folks, but instead to allow them to ask questions and to give them straight-forward answers, if they ask about my cane, or blindness in general. Talking to people openly about blindness is probably one of the two best ways to educate them about a world they might find quite mysterious. Of course, the other way is just to go. About living. Our lives like everyone else, working, traveling, shopping, socializing and all the other parts of daily Life, (like botching 50% of everything we try to do right, at least that’s how it works for me). I am recalling a funny little article I read last year where the writer mentioned that people you meet will often give a running history of all the other blind people they have ever met. This happened to me just the other Day on a Greyhound bus trip I was taking across Florida. To my pleasant surprise, the story about. The “blind friend”, that my new acquaintance was telling me was truly interesting and enlightening. The conversation about. This person had me thinking, “what a small world we live in”. I was familiar with them somewhat indirectly, but familiar all the same. If I had chosen to spurn an offer of help from a stranger in a crowded, hard to navigate bus station, I would not have had such a delightful traveling partner for the next two hours and would not have heard their wonderful narrative. As our conversation flowed back and forth, I was asked about my life and as would be expected, my challenges and successes as a person with a. Visual impairment. I passed along some of the ways I overcome hurdles, and those ideas will, in turn be passed on to my new friend’s, friend. I do understand that it’s not always a great idea to share my story with every stranger I meet, and that not everyone will be receptive to a chat, no matter how friendly. One good. Example came just days before the encounter I mentioned above. I met an older gentleman on another bus ride, and he, as a matter of fact happened to be blind. He asked me about what help was available for him to lead a more normal life, but then countered everything I shared with reasons why he could not employ these ideas. What I will keep in mind though is, it may just take time for my encouragement to have a positive impact. Some people just need time to let ideas and examples sink in and translate to something good in their lives. The point I am trying to make with this months Eyeshare contribution to The Blind Perspective is this, stay aware of opportunities to share with others about what wonderful things blind people can accomplish, and just as importantly, take the time to listen to their stories, and to learn from them. Anyone who knows me, knows how much I could benefit from the following bit of wisdom, “there’s a reason why God gave us two ears and one mouth”. Maybe after putting this in print, I will pay better attention to this sage advice.

Cooking Concoctions

By Maxine I have chosen to share two earthy recipes in honor of Earth Day, which will be on April 22. Did you know that there is an alliance of some 17,000 groups in 174 countries working to promote a healthy environment and a peaceful, just, sustainable world? How wonderful is that! The first recipe is not only delicious with all its flavors, but healthy too!
Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
Serves: 4 Ingredients:
1½ cup dry quinoa
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 garlic cloves, pressed
½ teaspoon dry basil, minced
½ teaspoon dried thyme, crushed between your fingers
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 cups arugula
1 15 ounce can garbanzo beans, drained
1 cup roasted red bell pepper, drained and chopped
1 cup pitted kalamata olives, sliced
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
¼ cup basil, thinly slivered Directions:
*Cook the quinoa according to package directions with ½ teaspoon salt added to the water. Cool completely.
*Mix the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, pressed garlic, basil and thyme. Whisk until well combined. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper and set aside.
*To a large serving bowl, add the quinoa, arugula, garbanzo beans, red bell pepper, kalamata olives and feta cheese.
*Drizzle with the dressing and garnish with basil.
*Season to taste. Serve at room temperature. Happy Digestion Smoothie
This is a Vegan smoothie that is gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, oil-free, refined sugar-free, and soy-free. This smoothie combines the power of many digestion-friendly and immune-boosting foods:
* Pineapple: Digestive and anti-inflammatory benefits, immune support. One cup gives you 105% of your daily Vitamin C requirements. You can use frozen pineapple chunks in smoothies to save time.
*Fresh ginger: Soothes the intestinal tract and helps with digestion. Awesome for all kinds of gastrointestinal relief, such as morning sickness. Anti-inflammatory and immune boosting.
*Fresh parsley: Rich in vitamins K, C, A, folate, and antioxidants. It’s a natural diuretic which can help release water retention. Opt for flat-leaf parsley as it’s less bitter than curly parsley. Cilantro would be a nice swap here too!
*Avocado: Major anti-inflammatory benefits + heart-healthy fats. High in fiber which aids with digestion.
*Banana: Rich in B6, manganese, Vitamin C, fiber, and potassium. Interesting to note – while bananas are high in sugar, they have a low glycemic index score which means that they won’t spike blood sugar levels. It’s soothing to the digestive track and thought to regulate the bowels and enhance friendly gut bacteria.
*Lemon: Rich in vitamin C. Aids digestion and helps flush out toxins.
Source: The World’s Healthiest Foods Ingredients:
1 heaping cup frozen pineapple chunks
1/2 large frozen banana
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup coconut water
1/4 cup packed fresh parsley leaves
2 tablespoons avocado
1 teaspoon packed fresh grated ginger
lemon or lime slice, for garnish Directions:
*Add all ingredients into a blender and blend on the highest speed until super smooth.
*try to add a handful of baby spinach or kale to boost the nutrient power even more
*fresh mint also gives this smoothie a nice digestion boost (not to mention a delicious minty flavor
This smoothie also keeps well overnight. You can make a double batch and save the leftovers in a mason jar in the fridge overnight, and enjoy it the next morning.
Yields 2 1/4 cups

Riddle & Brain Buster

By Alex Smart


why should you never iron a 4-leaf clover? Answer to March’s riddle
Everyone has it and no one can lose it, what is it?
Your shadow

Brain Buster

Answer each clue with a familiar word, name or phrase that contains three consecutive s’s.
Example: Men’s formal evening attire: Dress shoes *What Cinderella left behind at the ball:
*Broadway hit set in Southeast Asia:
*White house spokesperson:
*This may appear on kid’s pants, at the knees:
*Do needlework:
*Thick slice of meat that is pounded and braised in vegetables:
*What a savvy entrepreneur has:
*Someone who rises from poverty to riches:
*S O S:
*Classic surfing movie of 1966: Answer to March’s brain buster
Name a familiar game with four letters, switch the order of the last two letters, and you will get the name of a completely different game. Hint: One of the games is played indoors, while the other is played outdoors
Pool and Polo

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