Saturday, August 31, 2013

Greeting Card Campaign: 8-31 Cow Chip Tossing Day

Download card here
August 31 is one of my very favorite weird special days.  It's Cow Chip Tossing Day! We think this was an idea cooked up by some Wisconsin dairy farmer as a way to get people to pick up all the cow chips (that's cow poop to you city slickers) and fling them somewhere else so he didn't have to.  The idea caught on and now, all across the fruited plain, in livestock producing areas everywhere, annual cow chip tossing contests and festivals have sprung up - usually on this last day of August when the dog days of summer have had time to thoroughly quick dry some very nice, tossable cow patties.  The secret is in the drying.  Wet or crumbly cow chips just don't toss well.  My grandpa used to collect them in spring and dry them on a rack in the sun over the summer.  Just before the competition, he'd spray paint his chips gold. He kept one on his desk as a paperweight. It had a squishy foam pad glued to the bottom to freak out inquisitive children who couldn't resist picking it up.

Tell your sweetie you love her and that's no bull@#$% with this Cow Chip Tossing Day card
Just click on the caption below the picture of the chip tosser.  The link will take you to a pdf file in Google Docs. Remember, instead of printing from Google Docs, click on "File" in the upper left corner, then select "Download" and copy the file to your own computer.  Open it with Adobe PDF Reader or whatever PDF reader you use and print the card from there. For some reason Google Docs doesn't handle fonts well, even though they are supposed to be embedded in the PDF document itself.

This is a side fold card, so when it prints, be sure to tell your printer it's in "landscape" format so you get the whole file. Flip it on the short side to print double-sided. This will save you a lot of time for making your beloved one of those decorative authentic cow chip tossing day commemorative paperweights she's always wanted!

© by Tom King

Friday, August 30, 2013

Greeting Card Campaign: 8-30 Mind Day

Click here to download card.
It's Mind Day - August 30th.   Today's the day unlimber your "leetle gray cells" as Hercule Poirot used to say, drag out your big words and engage in ponderous perspicacious profound prodigious perceptual punditry.  While you're at it, lay a little enlightenment on your precious pulchritudinous partner about your prodigious propensity and prediliction to pursue her permanent presence with this perfect proclamation of your passion - a Mind Day greeting card.

Just click on the caption below the picture of the gentleman with his lady love on his mind.  The link will take you to a pdf file in Google Docs. Remember, instead of printing from Google Docs, click on "File" in the upper left corner, then select "Download" and copy the file to your own computer.  Open it with Adobe PDF Reader or whatever PDF reader you use and print the card from there. For some reason Google Docs doesn't handle fonts well, even though they are supposed to be embedded in the PDF document itself.

This is a side fold card, so when it prints, be sure to tell your printer it's in "landscape" format so you get the whole file. Flip it on the short side to print double-sided. This will save you a lot of time for thinking about her pulchritudinousness!

© by Tom King

Greeting Card Campaign: 8-29 Lemon Juice Day

Click here to download card.
Hooray, hooray!  It's Lemon Juice Day.  So mix up a pitcher of lemonade, make a lemon pie, lemon tart or lemon pudding. August 29th is Lemon Juice Day.  Tell your sweetie, "Let's pucker up and celebrate the tart and tangy goodness that is lemon juice," with this exciting Lemon Juice Day greeting card!

Just click on the caption below the picture of the puckerer.  The link will take you to a pdf file in Google Docs. Remember, instead of printing from Google Docs, click on "File" in the upper left corner, then select "Download" and copy the file to your own computer.  Open it with Adobe PDF Reader or whatever PDF reader you use and print the card from there. For some reason Google Docs doesn't handle fonts well, even though they are supposed to be embedded in the PDF document itself.

This is a side fold card, so when it prints, be sure to tell your printer it's in "landscape" format so you get the whole file. Flip it on the short side to print double-sided. This will save you a lot of time for pucker-related pursuits!

© by Tom King


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Greeting Card Campaign: 8-28 Dream Day

Click here to download card
Appropriately enough on this anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s 1963 "I Have a Dream" speech - it's Dream Day.  Participants are encouraged to wear black and white apparel to demonstrate reverence for unity among the races. It's also a day to reflect on the significance of your own dreams, nightmares, and ambitions. Remind your sweetheart on Dream Day that she was and is your dream with this dreamy Dream Day greeting card.

Just click on the caption below the picture of the dreamer.  The link will take you to a pdf file in Google Docs. Remember, instead of printing from Google Docs, click on "File" in the upper left corner, then select "Download" and copy the file to your own computer.  Open it with Adobe PDF Reader or whatever PDF reader you use and print the card from there. For some reason Google Docs doesn't handle fonts well, even though they are supposed to be embedded in the PDF document itself.

This is a side fold card, so when it prints, be sure to tell your printer it's in "landscape" format so you get the whole file. Flip it on the short side to print double-sided. This will save you a lot of time so you can get back to your dreaming. 



Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Greeting Card Campaign: 8-27 Kiss Me Day

Click Here to Download Card
Well now, it's Kiss Me Day - one of my favorite holidays.  The holiday marks the very first screen kiss in 1929 between that spinach chugging cartoon slugger, Popeye the Sailor Man and his one true lady love, the ahead-of-her time-skinny-as-a-rail Olive Oyl.  Her response?

"My hero," she said, falling into a swoon - possibly from hunger.  It was, after all, the beginning of the Depression. Today is the day for heroes and their sweethearts to demonstrate their affection for one another with a bit of labial osculation (it means kissing so calm down all you prepubescents).  Send your own Miss Oyl a cock-eyed "romantic" greeting card and seal it with a kiss (SWAK)?

Just click on the caption below the picture of the celebrating couple.  The link will take you to a pdf file in Google Docs. Remember, instead of printing from Google Docs, click on "File" in the upper left corner, then select "Download" and copy the file to your own computer.  Open it with Adobe PDF Reader or whatever PDF reader you use and print the card from there. For some reason Google Docs doesn't handle fonts well, even though they are supposed to be embedded in the PDF document itself.

This is a side fold card, so when it prints, be sure to tell your printer it's in "landscape" format so you get the whole file. Flip it on the short side to print double-sided. This will save you a lot of time for smooching, so get to it, but remember to brush your teeth first, especially if you've been chugging spinach!

© 2013 by Tom King

Monday, August 26, 2013

Greeting Card Campaign: 8-26 National Dog Day

Click here to download card.
Today is National Dog Day.  The National Dog Day Foundation has established Dog Day as an annual holiday to encourage dog owners and animal lovers to help save unwanted canines. Thought Tinkerbelle, the mascot dog for Dog Day, has left us in 2010, National Dog Day Founder, Colleen Paige, Tink's owner, encourages everyone to celebrate National Dog Day with your favorite old hound and if you don't have one, adopt one.

And while you're at it, send a National Dog Day greeting card to your loved one to remind her who's her favorite old hound!  Just click on the caption below the picture of me and our rescue dog Daisy back when she was still skinny before Miss Sheila got busy and fattened her up.  The link will take you to a pdf file in Google Docs. Remember, instead of printing from Google Docs, click on "File" in the upper left corner, then select "Download" and copy the file to your own computer.  Open it with Adobe PDF Reader or whatever PDF reader you use and print the card from there. For some reason Google Docs doesn't handle fonts well, even though they are supposed to be embedded in the PDF document itself.

This is a side fold card, so when it prints, be sure to tell your printer it's in "landscape" format so you get the whole file. Flip it on the short side to print double-sided. This will save you a lot of time o you can still run down to the animal shelter and pick up a pooch.  We rescued our Daisy and are very glad we did. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Chocolate Skillet Cake

Chocolate Skillet Cake as made by me
a complete amateur cook as my wife will tell you.
If you are married to a person of the female persuasion or, if you yourself are a person of the female persuasion, you need to know about this cake. One fair warning, however, before you go any further.  If you are one of those women, or your spouse is one of those women for whom chocolate is a religious experience, this cake will not long survive its completion.  I've known one chaste and temperate little woman to devour this entire cake in under 24 hours. I was frankly surprised she didn't require dialysis afterward.



Ingredients:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup sugar
  • dash salt
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Frosting:

  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa
  • 3-4 tablespoons milk (as needed for consistency)
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:


  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Mix flour, baking soda, sugar, and salt together in a bowl with a wire whisk.  Set the bowl aside. 
  2. Put butter, vegetable oil, cocoa powder, and water into an iron skillet and heat on the stovetop to a boil. Remove from heat and whisk in the dry ingredients till well-blended. 
  3. Add buttermilk, egg, and vanilla and whisk till smooth and evenly colored. 
  4. Bake the skillet cake at 350 degrees F for about 15-20 minutes or until a knife comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs. 
  5.  Cool the cake while making the frosting. In a small pot, gently bring butter, cocoa, and milk to a slow boil. Remove the pot from the heat and add powdered sugar, nuts, and vanilla. Stir gently to combine . 
  6. Pour over the warm cake, spread with a spatula,

Serving suggestions:
·       Warm or cold, with ice cream, caramel sauce, whipped cream or all by itself, this amazing cake is hard to resist even if you aren't a chocoholic.

      © 2013 by Tom King

Greeting Card Campaign: 8-25 Kiss and Make Up Day

Click Here for your Kiss & Make Up Card
August 25 is Kiss and Make Up Day, a celebration of forgiveness and reconciliation. We've all had fights and they always seem like they are so important at the time, but when you come right down to it, what is more important than forgiving and forgetting, especially where it's the one you love you've been duking it out with. Not only that but the "making up" part is actually a whole lot of fun.

 So send your favorite sparring partner this romantic card to celebrate the day. You might even want to pick a little fight, just to get things rolling if you know what I mean.....

Just click on the caption below the coupling celebrating Kiss and Make Up Day and it will take you to a pdf file in Google Docs. Remember, instead of printing from Google Docs, click on "File" in the upper left corner, then select "Download" and copy the file to your own computer.  Open it with Adobe PDF Reader or whatever PDF reader you use and print the card from there. For some reason Google Docs doesn't handle fonts well, even though they are supposed to be embedded in the PDF document itself.

This is a side fold card, so when it prints, be sure to tell your printer it's in "landscape" format so you get the whole file. Flip it on the short side to print double-sided. This will save you a lot of time so you can get right down to the "Kissing" part of the day.

© by Tom King

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Greeting Card Campaign: 8-24 Strange Music Day

Click here to download card
Okay, let's all drag out our zithers, musical saws, theramins washtub basses and glass armonicas.  It's Strange Music Day!  On August 24th we celebrate Strange Music in all its weird and wonderful forms. Let's face it all of us have some secret favorite song that no one who knows you can figure out why you like it. Three of my favorites are The Boa Constrictor Song, Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road and the always popular and cringe-inducing How the Cowboy Yodel was BornWhat sorts of strange music do you enjoy?

In honor of Strange Music Day, tell your sweetie that no matter how strange it gets, the music you two make will always be your favorite with this Strange Music Day greeting card.

Just click on the caption below the truck o' strange music above and it will take you to a pdf file in Google Docs. Remember, instead of printing from Google Docs, click on "File" in the upper left corner, then select "Download" and copy the file to your own computer.  Open it with Adobe PDF Reader or whatever PDF reader you use and print the card from there. For some reason Google Docs doesn't handle fonts well, even though they are supposed to be embedded in the PDF document itself.

This is a side fold card, so when it prints, be sure to tell your printer it's in "landscape" format so you get the whole file. Flip it on the short side to print double-sided. This will save you a lot of time to drag out your favorite weird little song and offer it up as a serenade to celebrate Strange Music Day. What could be weirder than that?

© 2013 by Tom King

Friday, August 23, 2013

Greeting Card Campaign: 8-23 Singin' in the Rain Day

Click her to download yourSinging in the Rain Day Card
August 23 is Singin' in the Rain Day.  Where the idea came from is anybody's guess. Perhaps someone wanted to celebrate rain because August 23 is usually the middle of the summer's longest hot and dry spell. It's also Gene Kelly's birthday. The American dance was born on this day in 1912. His most famous movie scene is that memorable dance scene with the umbrella in the pouring rain in the appropriately named musical "Singin' in the Rain".  A lot of people don't realize it, but Kelly was very sick when he did that number with a case of walking (and apparently in Gene Kelly's case dancing) pneumonia.  But like a trooper, Kelly chose to let the show go on.

If the weather doesn't oblige you and send along a little rain today, get out the garden hose and an umbrella and make yourself some rain. If you do, though, you might want to laminate today's "Singing in the Rain Day" greeting card for your sweetie so it doesn't get damp.


Just click on the caption below wet, singing person and it will take you to a pdf file in Google Docs. Remember, instead of printing from Google Docs, click on "File" in the upper left corner, then select "Download" and copy the file to your own computer.  Open it with Adobe PDF Reader or whatever PDF reader you use and print the card from there. For some reason Google Docs doesn't handle fonts well, even though they are supposed to be embedded in the PDF document itself.

This is a side fold card, so when it prints, be sure to tell your printer it's in "landscape" format so you get the whole file. Flip it on the short side to print double-sided. This will save you a lot of time. Have fun and remember:  Always carry an umbrella and be certain you know where the nearest lamppost is located.


© by Tom King


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Greeting Card Campaign: 8-22 Punctuation Day

"Holy Hyphenation, Batman!  It's Punctuation Day!" 

Click here to download your card.
Yes, dive into the dictionary, hold down your shift key and run your finger across the number keys.  August 22nd celebrates everyone who has any remote idea how to properly use a comma.  You may think a semi-colon is something they do at the hospital with a long tube and a TV camera, but today, it doesn't matter. Drag out your ampersands, question marks, exclamation points, quotation marks and interbangs and write a note to your "darling" - the light of your life inside this spiffy Punctuation Day Card.


Just click on the caption below the drawing of the non-specific, non-trademarked Batish-like person and it will take you to a pdf file in Google Docs. Remember, instead of printing from Google Docs, click on "File" in the upper left corner, then select "Download" and copy the file to your own computer.  Open it with Adobe PDF Reader or whatever PDF reader you use and print the card from there. For some reason Google Docs doesn't handle fonts well, even though they are supposed to be embedded in the PDF document itself.

This is a side fold card, so when it prints, be sure to tell your printer it's in "landscape" format so you get the whole file. Flip it on the short side to print double-sided. This will save you a lot of time. Have fun and remember:

Punctuation is your friend.  Without it how would Batman ever have defeated the Joker (Or the Riddler, Penguin, Two-Face, The Scarecrow, Mr. Freeze or Solomon Grundy for that matter)? No punctuation, no Biff!  Pow!  Oof? or "Wham!!!!"

Just sayin'

Tom King
© 2013

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Greeting Card Day: 08-21 Poetry Day

Click here to download your card.
Since we celebrated Bad Poetry Day a few days ago, it seems a bit premature to celebrate Good Poetry today, August 21stA lot of writer's groups, libraries and creative writing classes celebrate by holding poetry write-ins.  There are several poetry groups on-line that will help you set up your own free poetry page on which to publish your good stuff for the perusal of your fellow bards, versifiers and lyricists.

So try turning your hand at a ballads, a limerick, some free verse, blank verse, an acrostic, an abecedarian, haiku, tanka, ode, senryus, sonnet or more. It is Poet's Day, after all, so let's all have a grand old rhyme and writing it on the inside of this classy Poet's Day Card for your lady love. Just click on the caption below the drawing of the generic poet and it will take you to a pdf file in Google Docs. Remember, instead of printing from Google Docs, click on "File" in the upper left corner, then select "Download" and copy the file to your own computer.  Open it with Adobe PDF Reader or whatever PDF reader you use and print the card from there. For some reason Google Docs doesn't handle fonts well, even though they are supposed to be embedded in the PDF document itself.

This is a side fold card, so when it prints, be sure to tell your printer it's in "landscape" format so you get the whole file. Flip it on the short side to print double-sided. This will save you a lot of time.  I didn't cheat for you.  You have to write your own.  Avoid the use of the word "dove" or "shove" as rhymes for love. In fact, to help you out let me suggest you try your hand at an acrostic.  And acrostic uses each letters of a word or name as the first letter of a line of the poem.  To wit:

Lightly the fragrance of flowers in summer wafted
  O
ver a playful breeze was carried along to me just at the
    V
ery moment, when I was thinking of you, but then
      E
very moment is when I think of you.
        Do you suppose it's.......



It's not hard.  You can spell her name or some special word that describes her. You don't have to be flowery.  Stay away from words like April (it's mid-summer), dawn (She'll probably find it around mid-morning), lonely, alone or pain. Poems that use a lot of those words have become poetic hack writing.  Be yourself. Write like you speak (or at least, like you think you speak).  Trust me the first letters of each line spells a word gimmick will help improve your chances of coming up with something clever. 


If you really can't do poetry, I decided to go ahead and do copy the poem above and printed it on the inside of the card.  If you want to try your own, then only print the outside of the card and leave the inside blank. It's up to you.

If you write something on the inside of your card, that's original, though, this card will be a sure winner.

© 2013 by Tom King

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Greeting Card Campaign: 8-20 Bad Hair Day

Everybody has bad hair days once in a while but today, August 20, however is National Bad Hair Day, the day we all have one together! Celebrated on the birthday of boxing promoter, Don King, the original bad hair day guy, Bad Hair Day is a day we can all let our hair go as wild as we want.  And why not?  All the really cool people do.  There's Albert Einstein, Don King, Donald Trump, Carrot Top, Martin Van Buren and Abraham Lincoln just to name a few.  So don't feel bad if your hair is a disaster - at least not today.
Albert Einstein - King of bad hair.
Click here to download the card


Celebrate bad hair day by sending your loved one this printable Bad Hair Day card. Just click on the caption below Albert Einstein and it will take you to a pdf file in Google Docs. Remember, instead of printing from Google Docs, click on "File" in the upper left corner, then select "Download" and copy the file to your own computer.  Open it with Adobe PDF Reader or whatever PDF reader you use and print the card from there. For some reason Google Docs doesn't handle fonts well, even though they are supposed to be embedded in the PDF document itself.

This is a side fold card, so when it prints, be sure to tell your printer it's in "landscape" format so you get the whole file. Flip it on the short side to print double-sided. This will save you a lot of time. Have fun teasing your hair into some wild scary hair-do and presenting her with this Bad Hair Day card o' love.

© 2013 by Tom King

Monday, August 19, 2013

Landscape Timber Playhouse

I built one of these playhouses for our day care center in Keene.  If I can ever find the pictures I took of it, I'll post them.  It passed the licensing inspection for child care centers at the time.  Since then, they've found harmful chemicals in some pressure treated lumber (which this was not), but most landscape timbers use non-toxic treatments these days so if you buy new timbers you should be fine.  You may want to check what they are treated with.  You can often find landscape timbers pretty cheap.  I use 65 timbers I got for $2 each untreated.  I build this fortress-like playhouse for our day care center.  It withstood the attentions of up to 25 hyperactive kids at a time for 7 years and may still be standing for all I know.

Keep two things in mind when you build a playhouse, especially if you have homeowner's insurance or are sueable.  You need to keep a clear view of the kids at all times, especially when they are inside somewhere they think you aren't watching.  Kids experiment -- 'nuff said.

The other important factor is sturdiness.  Children have way more time than we do and for every minute you spend building the thing, they have hours in which to figure out how to dismantle it.  This house is over-engineered and there's no real blind spots in it.  When you go to tear it down, you may have to blast.


FIG: 1   Lay out the first two timbers
Materials:

  • Sixty five eight foot landscape timbers
  • Wood filler
  • Five 7 foot long half inch all thread rods
  • 18 half inch washers and nuts
  • Two sheets water resistant marine plywood
  • Box 3 inch galvanized screws.
  • Forty six inch nails


 
FIG 2   Bolt the rods through the end holes
Tools:

  • Sander and coarse sandpaper
  • Drill and half inch and ¾ inch drill bits.
  • Circular saw  
  • Socket set
  • Hammer
  • Square
  • Tape measure

FIG 3  Add the second pair crosswise.
Step 1 - Preparing the timbers
Drill a half inch hole through 36 timbers, 4 inches from the ends in the center of the flat side.  The rest you will leave for the roof and to cut for window and door spacers.

Step 2 -
Sand all logs and fill holes or splintered areas with wood filler. 

Step 3
Lay two timbers on the ground 6 and a half feet apart to start your stack.  Insert the four 7 foot all thread rods through the end holes and attach nuts and washers to the     
FIG 4  Add a rod for the door as shown.
bottom with the rods sticking up.

Step 4
Lay timbers across the ends of the first two timbers, threading the upright rods through the end holes of the two new timbers. You are going to keep stacking them domino tower fashion so that there will be a gap between each row so you can see into the playhouse from every side.  But don't get carried away yet.  You have to build a floor and a space for a door first.

Step 5

FIG 5 Lay floor joists
Drill a half inch hole centered vertically, three feet six inches from the end hole along one side as shown in FIG 4.  This makes a gap in the wall for a door.  You will cut the timber on that side three ft 6 in. shorter and drill a hole six inches from the cut end.  This should leave you a three foot wide, wheelchair accessible "door" for entry and egress.   

Step 6
Insert the 5th long rod for a door frame and bolt it on the bottom.  Don't forget the washer.

Step 7
FIG 6  Screw floor over joists
Lay 5 undrilled timbers beside each other spaced evenly between the two timbers that make the second row to make floor joists. Toenail the joist in place and cover with plywood to make the inside playhouse floor. This will protect little toes from splinters you'd get with a timber floor and you can put a thick coat of paint over it to make it even smoother and safer and more water resistant. Screw the plywood into the joists and the floor will be very solid and help keep the playhouse framework from shifting around as the kids climb on it.




Step 8
Cut a timber for the third row that's 3'6" shorter and drill a hole six inches from the cut end through the flatter side of the short timber.  Cut several spacer logs that are six to ten inches long with a hole drilled in the center. 

Use the spacers as shown to serve as cross members around the edges of the window and door frames as you build upward. It should take about 7 more short timbers just like the first one to frame the door.  Because the door is next to a side wall, the spacer will form part of the corner of the structure and doesn't require a separate threaded rod. Just slide the spacers down over the rod on every other row between the end logs. Remember you're leaving gaps between the rows for a reason - you want to be able to see the kids while they are inside the playhouse.

Step 9
Criss-cross the ends of the timbers back and forth by threading them over the vertical rods as shownt.  You can see where we use two shorter rods and spacers to cut and frame for a window along the back side opposite the door.  In the illustration you can see how the door is framed. The picture shows the spacers on the right side of the door in line with the wall.  I placed them perpendicular to the front wall to give it a more log cabin look. For the window, just build up adding spacers till you run out of rod, bolt it off top and bottom. Make it tight, cut off the excess rod and then use full length logs the rest of the way up.  

Step 10
Finish criss-crossing the logs till you get almost to the top of the corner rods.  For the last row, lay a solid layer of logs between the top two cross members until you have a solid roof. I didn't use plywood to cover the roof. You could, if you want or you could even add a pitched roof.  I found the flat roof fine. The playhouse is not designed to shelter anyone during a rain storm.  It's made for boys to climb on, conduct epic battles from and for girls to play house.  Screw or nail the roof logs in place to keep the kids from pulling them off and dropping on each others' heads.
Step 11
Complete the roof installation  by bolting a final  two timbers across the solid row of roof timbers as shown at the right. Once it's all bolted together, cut off any excess threaded rod to prevent injuries to the kids (they will climb on the roof).  I inset holes in the top of the keeper timbers where the rod holes are.  I used a paddle bit wider than the bolt head and cut a recess for the bolts, then screwed the bolts in tight and cut off the rod.  That way the bolt is out of the way and doesn't protrude where it can catch feet or hands.

Step 12
If you'd like to make a table or a bench inside, you can lay a couple of extra logs side by side in the space between two ranks of cross members. Push them in and pound them up against the wall to create a ledge one or two logs wide running the width of the cabin. It will reduce the inside floor space somewhat, but will give the kids a sitting place and a place for pretend cooking or workshopping.

Take Note:
  • Use landscape timbers that have been manufactured in the past decade. Toxic chemicals were used to pressure treat some older landscape lumber. Since the turn of the century, manufacturers have used non-toxic chemicals in treating them for durability and insect resistance.  
  • If you use untreated timbers, spray them with a good, non-toxic water seal every two or three years to protect the timbers from rot.
  • Surround the cabin with a 4 inch deep layer of pea gravel or sand. Pea gravel is actually better than sand at cushioning a fall. It's looser and displaces more easily when something falls on it. Also, pea gravel doesn't compact like sand into a hard surface.
  • Keep the gravel smooth or the kids will wear it down in spots and reduce the fall protection. 

© 2013 by Tom King

Greeting Card Campaign: 8-19 Aviation Day


Click here to get your Aviation Day Card
August 19th is Aviation Day, celebrating the birthday of Orville Wright, who, with his brother completed the first successful powered airplane flight. It's also know as Wright Brothers Day.  FDR officially proclaimed the 19th Aviation Day in 1939.  Oddly enough, it's also the birthday of Gene Roddenberry, whose Star Trek sci-fi series encouraged us all to look beyond the atmosphere of Earth for adventure. Not a lot of people know it, but Gene flew B-17s in the Pacific during WWII.

Tell your sweetheart today that she makes your heart soar with this printable Aviation Day Card. Just click on the caption below Wright Flyer and it will take you to a pdf file in Google Docs. Remember, instead of printing from Google Docs, click on "File" in the upper left corner, then select "Download" and copy the file to your own computer.  Open it with Adobe PDF Reader or whatever PDF reader you use and print the card from there. For some reason Google Docs doesn't handle fonts well, even though they are supposed to be embedded in the PDF document itself.

This is a top fold card, so when it prints be sure to tell your printer it's in "portrait" format so you get the whole file printed correctly. Flip it on the long side to print double-sided. This will save you a lot of time.  Have fun and enjoy making a move on your sweetie while you're slipping this romantic card into her hand.

© 2013 by Tom King

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Greeting Card Campaign: 8-18 Bad Poetry Day

Click here for card
It is strangely appropriate that August 18th is Bad Poetry Day.  I spent yesterday looking through an old school notebook filled with my high school poetry. I needed Dramamine by the time I'd had all I could stand.  It was so awful, it kept drawing me on and on, page after page, hoping I'd get better over time.  I remember myself as a far better poet than I was. Of course, it wasn't so much that I couldn't write decent poetry.  Some of my efforts showed promise.  Unfortunately, about half the people I went to school with were either headed for state prison or brilliant careers in waste management. My teachers were easy. If you could write a semi-coherent sentence, they were pathetically grateful. I didn't have a very high bar to clear sad to say.


If you'd told me I couldn't use the words "pain", "lonely", "dawn" or "alone" and eliminated the month of April from general usage, I'd have been rendered poetically mute. 


You have to admire some bad poets, though. Scottish poet, William Topaz MacGonagal, (from whom J.J. Rowlings got the last name for Harry Potter's housemaster - Professor MacGonagal) is considered by many critics to be the worst published poet in the past two centuries. MacGonagal managed to get himself published, not by the quality of his verse, but by sheer tenacity.  Publishers surrendered to avoid being buried alive in his submissions.

So to bad poets everywhere - Salute!  Today's your day to write a poem for your love.  To that effect, we're leaving the inside of this card blank with a picture of the obligatory April dawn with the sparkling sun rising sedately over the heather. There's even a cottage and a horse you can throw in for good measure.  Don't worry about rhyme, meter or making sense. Just throw in a lot of poetical sounding words and you'll be okay.  Give it your best shot. Today is bad poetry appreciation day after all.  Send your sweetie a bad poetry card to show her you care.

Just click on the caption below the shop-a-holic and it will take you to a pdf file in Google Docs. Remember, instead of printing from Google Docs, click on "File" in the upper left corner, then select "Download" and copy the file to your own computer.  Open it with Adobe PDF Reader or whatever PDF reader you use and print the card from there. For some reason Google Docs doesn't handle fonts well, even though they are supposed to be embedded in the PDF document itself.

This is a side fold card, so when it prints, be sure to tell your printer it's in "landscape" format so you get the whole file. Flip it on the short side to print double-sided. This will save you a lot of time.  Time you could be writing your own abysmal poetry on the inside of the card.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Greeting Card Campaign: 8-17 Thrift Store Day

Click here to download your Thrift Store DayGreeting Card Bargain
August 17 is Thrift Shop Day!  If you're trying to save a few bucks on back-to-school stuff for yourself (face it, your kids are NEVER going to let you get away with thrift shop stuff for them), you can't beet the Salvation Army Store or Goodwill.  Watch for red tag days, you can really walk off with some bargains.  I once got a 1500 dollar sofa in good condition with only one stain on it which my wife eradicated in short order.  The price?  $45.  Can't beat that with a stick.

Tell your sweetie she was the best bargain you every got in your life with a Thrift Shop Day Greeting CardJust click on the caption below the shop-a-holic and it will take you to a pdf file in Google Docs. Remember, instead of printing from Google Docs, click on "File" in the upper left corner, then select "Download" and copy the file to your own computer.  Open it with Adobe PDF Reader or whatever PDF reader you use and print the card from there. For some reason Google Docs doesn't handle fonts well, even though they are supposed to be embedded in the PDF document itself.

This is a side fold card, so when it prints, be sure to tell your printer it's in "landscape" format so you get the whole file. Flip it on the short side to print double-sided. This will save you a lot of time.

© 2013 by Tom King

Friday, August 16, 2013

Greeting Card Campaign: 8-16 International Tell-A-Joke Day

Download the card here.
It is ironic that International Tell-a-Joke Day falls on the day a famous comedian died.  And no, he didn't die in the Catskills or at a comedy club in Hoboken and no one was throwing tomatoes.

Josias (Joe) Miller was a 17th century British comedian, author and actor who died on August 16, 1738. He wrote the classic humor volume (Joe Miller's Jests) which was a standard humorist's tool for many years. Later, his book was renamed Joe Miller's Jokes after the English language watered down the term jest to mean hoity-toity style humor as in "Surely, you jest." which is followed immediately by, "I do and don't call me Shirley."

Tell your beloved that your love for her is no joke with this clever (if I do say so myself) International Joke Day greeting card. Just click on the caption below the dying comedian and it will take you to a pdf file in Google Docs. Remember, instead of printing from Google Docs, click on "File" in the upper left corner, then select "Download" and copy the file to your own computer.  Open it with Adobe PDF Reader or whatever PDF reader you use and print the card from there. For some reason Google Docs doesn't handle fonts well, even though they are supposed to be embedded in the PDF document itself.

This is a side fold card, so when it prints, be sure to tell your printer it's in "landscape" format so you get the whole file. Flip it on the short side to print double-sided. This will save you a lot of time.

Tell her a funny thing happened on the way to your life.........with this International Tell a Joke Day card.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

8-15 Angel Food Cake Day

Download your Angel Food Cake Day card.
https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B2b-BO76yyifaDNuWGc1TXF5blk/edit?usp=sharing
It's August 15, Angel Food Cake Day - Light, fluffy, sweet. Angel food cake is just like your angel - light and sweet.  Spongy and fluffy, but we won't carry the analogy that far. Make your Sweet Baboo an angel food cake and give her this Angel Food Day Card to let her know how much she means to you.


Just click on the caption below the picture of the husband in love and it will take you to a pdf file in Google Docs. Remember, instead of printing from Google Docs, click on "File" in the upper left corner, then select "Download" and copy the file to your own computer.  Open it with Adobe PDF Reader or whatever PDF reader you use and print the card from there. For some reason Google Docs doesn't handle fonts well, even though they are supposed to be embedded in the PDF document itself.

This is a side fold card, so when it prints, be sure to tell your printer it's in "landscape" format so you get the whole file. Flip it on the short side to print double-sided. This will save you a lot of time.

Have fun with this fun card. Download it at ( https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B2b-BO76yyifaDNuWGc1TXF5blk/edit?usp=sharing ) and enjoy the cake.

© 2013 by Tom King

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Greeting Card Campaign: 8-14 Husbands in Love & Romance Day

Click here to download the "Husbands in Love" card.
Today you get a two-fer.  It's husbands in Love Day.  It's also Romance Day for those of you out there who aren't lucky enough to be married.  Show her you are still the dashing romantic who swept her off her feet. If you haven't married her yet, guys, today's the perfect day to ask.

Just click on the caption below the picture of the husband in love and it will take you to a pdf file in Google Docs. Remember, instead of printing from Google Docs, click on "File" in the upper left corner, then select "Download" and copy the file to your own computer.  Open it with Adobe PDF Reader or whatever PDF reader you use and print the card from there. For some reason Google Docs doesn't handle fonts well, even though they are supposed to be embedded in the PDF document itself. There is a second version of the card at this link for the Romance Day Card for all you sadly unmarried guys out there. Just get busy you guys. That's all I'm gonna say.... Later you get old and dumpy and it's really going to help to be with someone who remembers when you were still good-lookin'.

This is a side fold card, so when it prints be sure to tell your printer it's in "landscape" format so you get the whole file. Flip it on the short side to print double-sided. This will save you a lot of time.
Leave this on her bedside table and see if you don't get a smooch in the morning!

© 2013 by Tom King

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Greeting Card Campaign: 8-13 Skinny Dipping Day

Download your Skinny Dipping Day card here.
It's National Skinny Dipping Day, a celebration of a time-honored rite of passage - deliberately swimming in your skin. It's not really skinny dipping if you fell on water skis and had your your suit peeled off of you when you hit the water at 45 miles an hour. It's only skinny dipping if you shed your shorts on purpose.

Skinny dipping is one part swimming, one part sneaking and most of the time one part romance. If you've missed the opportunity, to celebrate this momentous holiday, send your sweetie a card, pick out a lonesome swimming hole and celebrate!

Just click on the caption below the picture of the accidental skinny dipper and it will take you to a pdf file in Google Docs. Remember, instead of printing from Google Docs, click on "File" in the upper left corner, then select "Download" and copy the file to your own computer.  Open it with Adobe PDF Reader or whatever PDF reader you use and print the card from there. For some reason Google Docs doesn't handle fonts well, even though they are supposed to be embedded in the PDF document itself.

This is a side fold card, so when it prints be sure to tell your printer it's in "landscape" format so you get it turned right. Flip it on the short side to print double-sided. This will save you a lot of time.    In the meantime, enjoy a refreshing dip if you can find a spot somewhere. Just print off this card and invite your best friend to hit the water with you.

© 2013 by Tom King

Monday, August 12, 2013

Greeting Card Campaign: 8 12 Julienne Fries Day

Click here to get your Julienne Fries Day Card.
It's Julienne Fries Day!  Hooray!  We're not sure who Julienne was or why he liked skinny fries, but his culinary creation inspired a generation of gadgets that "Slice, dice and chop.........and they even make Julienne fries!"  So, today, tell your love that you love her more that potatoes cut thin and deep fat fried.

Just click on the caption below the picture of the skinny fries and it will take you to a pdf file in Google Docs. Remember, instead of printing from Google Docs, click on "File" in the upper left corner, then select "Download" and copy the file to your own computer.  Open it with Adobe PDF Reader or whatever PDF reader you use and print the card from there. For some reason Google Docs doesn't handle fonts well, even though they are supposed to be embedded in the PDF document itself.

This is a side fold card, so when it prints be sure to tell your printer it's in "landscape" format so you get it turned right. Flip it on the short side to print double-sided. This will save you a lot of time.   Have yourself some Julienne Fries today.  After all they are skinner, and therefore lower in calories, right?  Enjoy this appetite arousing homemade greeting card

8-11 Presidential Joke Day

Download your Presidential Joke Day Card here!
Well, it's Presidential Joke Day. Presidential Joke Day began as an attempt to humiliate our 40th president Ronald Reagan.  While doing a sound check for his weekly radio address, Reagan was fooling around and said, "My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes." over an open microphone. The media, always eager to catch a Republican in a gaffe, broadcast the bit and as a result, Russian military forces went on high alert.  Reagan had to do some 'splainin' and things settled back down. Reagan, appropriately enough for the erstwhile founder of "Presidential Joke Day" joked his way out of it, thoroughly irritating the media talking heads who are not noted for having a sense of humor.

People love to make fun of the president. Some are much easier targets than others. Tell your sweetie that she presides over your heart and that ain't no joke with this Presidential Joke Day Greeting Card.

Just click on the caption below the picture of the President who could tell a joke better than any president since Abe Lincoln and it will take you to a pdf file in Google Docs. Remember, instead of printing from Google Docs, click on "File" in the upper left corner, then select "Download" and copy the file to your own computer.  Open it with Adobe PDF Reader or whatever PDF reader you use and print the card from there. For some reason Google Docs doesn't handle fonts well, even though they are supposed to be embedded in the PDF document itself.

This is a side fold card, so when it prints be sure to tell your printer it's in "landscape" format so you get it turned right. Flip it on the short side to print double-sided. This will save you a lot of time.  Have fun and tell a presidential joke today - just not in front of the media. They really have no sense of humor when it comes to jokes about this latest president.

© 2013 by Tom King

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Greeting Card Campaign: 8-10 Spoil Your Dog Day

Click here to download the card.
Spoil Your Dog Day comes to us, appropriately enough, during the Dog Days of Summer. The heat has something to do with it being called the Dog Days, but there is also an astronomical reason.  During this time of year, the Dog Star (Sirius) is supposed to be closer to the sun than at any other time of year. At any rate, August 10th has been designated "Spoil Your Dog Day" - a day for dog lovers to cater to Fido's every whim. So whip up some homemade dog treats (recipe here), spruce up the old hound and go for a stroll in the park or something with your faithful companion (and your dog too).  And make your sweetie a card too to let her know the other old dog appreciates being spoiled too!


Just click on the caption below the picture of the pampered pooch and it will take you to a pdf file in Google Docs. Remember, instead of printing from Google Docs, click on "File" in the upper left corner, then select "Download" and copy the file to your own computer.  Open it with Adobe PDF Reader or whatever PDF reader you use and print the card from there. For some reason Google Docs doesn't handle fonts well, even though they are supposed to be embedded in the PDF document itself.

This is a side fold card, so when it prints be sure to tell your printer it's in "landscape" format so you get it turned right. Flip it on the short side to print double-sided. This will save you a lot of time.  Have fun and spoil your dog and your favorite girl at the same time with this fun homemade card.

© 2013 by Tom King