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About Terri Wells

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Here are my most recent posts

Four Tips to Renew Your New Year’s Resolutions

Posted by on Feb 2, 2014 in Uncategorized | 2 comments

Have you fallen off the wagon on your New Year’s resolutions? You’re not alone; according to a Forbes article from January 2013, only 8 percent of those who make New Year’s resolutions actually achieve them. If you’d like to take another crack at being among that eight percent, I have some advice that has worked for me to help keep me at least somewhat focused and moving forward for the long haul. First, find a technique to keep you on task. For me, I’ve used a kitchen timer with some success. Do you need to declutter, but feel like your house is too huge to tackle? Pick a room, set a timer for the appropriate amount of time, and get to work. Do this regularly, and you’ll make visible progress. I’ve seen some pages online that recommend spending 15 minutes on a task, on the principle that anyone can stand to do anything for 15 minutes. When I have the time, I like to set it for an hour; that way, I can get lost in the task, and I’m not thinking about when the alarm will go off. In fact, that may be the best part about having a timer — no need to check the clock! Second, give yourself credit for what you’ve already done. Okay, so you only made it to the gym once this week? Isn’t that once more than you did in all of December? The point of this is to not give you an “easy out.” How many times have you said to yourself, “well, I’ve backslid on this one thing, I might as well go whole hog”? (And yes, I’ve done it too).  Reminding yourself of what you’ve already been able to do can help you turn things around, and give you some incentive to keep going. You fell off the horse? Big deal; you were riding it for 10 minutes, so get back on and break that record. Third, acknowledge what motivates you and make it work for you. I’m notoriously bad at this…because I have a nasty little secret. What motivates me is fear, and I hate that about myself. It’s...

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Expand Your Horizons: Write for a Community Paper

Expand Your Horizons: Write for a Community Paper

Posted by on Aug 10, 2013 in Grab Bag, News | 4 comments

About two months ago, I started freelancing for the South Lake Daily Tablet. It’s a digital community paper covering a portion of the Florida county in which I live. Once I would have shied away from newspaper reporting; now I recommend that every writer try it at least once. You’ll be amazed at what you learn. At two years old, the South Lake Daily Tablet feels like a start-up gaining traction. Its online-only presence gives it great nimbleness and lower expenses. Right now it’s slowly growing its staff, which means that most reporters cover a little of everything. Weekly staff meetings with Michael and Patricia Corradino keep us on track. They’re the owners and publishers of the paper; as with any start-up, they work twelve hours and more a day. Honestly, some days they seem to show up everywhere. I have fifteen years of professional writing and editing experience, most of it spent online covering various technology-related topics. Michael Corradino’s background is specifically in news and journalism. I’ve learned a lot from him, and I expect to learn more. Let me tell you just some of the benefits I’ve enjoyed working outside of my normal niche. First, I’ve met lots of people. Just this last week I met librarians, retired and future fire fighters, a congressman, an interim police chief, a council woman, several business owners, and more. That’s a diverse group of people sure to spark one’s writing. If you want to write well, you can’t spend all of your time staring at your computer screen and drumming on your keyboard. Yes, you must write, but meeting and talking to people will give you something to write ABOUT. Second, I’ve been learning new skills. As a freelance reporter, I can’t just write a story; my publisher expects pictures as part of the package. When a photographer isn’t available, guess who gets to take the pictures? I’m grateful for digital photography; it allows me to take lots of pictures and hope that some of them come out usable. Slowly, I’ve been improving, and expect to learn more. I’ve also been learning AP style. Newspapers commonly use it, preferring it...

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Resizing a Cardigan Pattern, Part 2: Sleeve, Meet Reality

Resizing a Cardigan Pattern, Part 2: Sleeve, Meet Reality

Posted by on Jul 28, 2013 in Crafting | 2 comments

I’m making very good progress on crocheting the cardigan I’m resizing for my big and tall man. The body fits perfectly to the point I’ve reached, which is just before splitting for the back and both fronts. The one sleeve I’ve finished fits perfectly, too – but not because my initial math was perfect. Here’s something I should have realized from the very beginning: bodies rarely match the math you work out for them perfectly, and that’s just as true for men as women. I won’t completely rehash the math here; you can check the first post on this topic for my coverage of the sleeve math. Fortunately, I believe in repeatedly rechecking the fit of anything you’re making, so I only had to rip out 19 rows near the beginning. My original plan called for increasing the sleeve from the wrist about every third row, at least initially. As it turned out, that didn’t get the sleeve big enough, fast enough. When I tried it on my dearest at the 20-row mark, it was clearly too tight. That meant I’d need to do an increase row every other row. A quick try-on at the 20-row mark THIS time succeeded. Who would have figured my beloved had Popeye-like forearms? I certainly didn’t. But front-loading my increases worked, and I could work even for about 10 rows at the end before starting to decrease for the sleeve cap. That was…fun. For each increase row, I added one stitch at the beginning and one more at the end. But because of my gauge issue and how rapidly I’d have to decrease for the sleeve cap – to say nothing of the size of my beloved’s arms – I would have to decrease FOUR stitches for every row, over about 20 rows. Doing this caused the sleeve cap to cup, turning it into, well, a real cap. Though I felt a little concerned, this turned out not to be an issue. Or, for any programmers reading this, it became a feature, not a bug. When I tried the finished sleeve on my dearest, it fit perfectly. I used closely-placed safety pins along...

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Crocheted Light-up Key Chain Light Saber

Crocheted Light-up Key Chain Light Saber

Posted by on Jul 19, 2013 in Crafting, Making | 0 comments

Now even fiber artists can get in touch with their inner padawan by making a small light saber that actually lights up. I got inspired to create this, appropriately enough, from a light-up key chain shaped like a light bulb. You’ll need just a few other things to make this lovely light source for a more civilized age. Aside from the light-up key chain, you will need: A clear bendable plastic, such as the kind you’ll find used for sheet protectors at office supply stores. Two colors of lightweight yarn or crochet cotton, one for the hilt of your lightsaber and one for the blade. A crochet hook sized appropriately to use with the yarn or cotton. A small amount of craft paint to match the color of your lightsaber blade. A small paint brush.   A container for water. A pair of scissors. A pen, or something with which to mark on the plastic. Clear tape. Newspaper to protect the surface on which you’re working. A ruler is optional; I kind of winged it, but if you want your light saber blade to be an exact length, and your lines to be perfectly straight, you’ll want one. First, cut the rings off the side of your sheet protector, and the sealed pocket off the bottom. Fold it out so that you’re working with a single, flat sheet. Roll your key chain up in the plastic so that you have a little more than one complete thickness around it. Mark how far you rolled on the plastic, and how long you want your blade to be. Connect these marks to make a rectangle. Spread out your newspaper, fill your water container, and open your paint. Take your paint brush and fill in that rectangle with your paint. You don’t have to cover it too thickly; in fact, you shouldn’t, if you want your light to shine through. Let the paint dry completely before continuing to the next step. When the paint is dry, cut out the rectangle. Attach it with tape to your key chain, and roll it up. Make sure the painted side is on the inside of...

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Lizard Picture

Lizard Picture

Posted by on Jul 12, 2013 in Grab Bag | 0 comments

Hi! Not too much to talk about today, so here’s a picture I took on my front porch. It’s a joyful discovery in a couple of ways: first, that sometimes you’re lucky enough to have the animals hold still for you; and second, that an old digital camera can still take a decent picture. Let me tell you the particulars. I spotted this pair on my porch as I was going out to exercise. Naturally, I didn’t have my camera with me, so I went back inside to get it — a Kodak EasyShare CX7330, if you care. That model, if I remember correctly, is at least seven years old. So I go back outside with the camera, turn it on — and get a red light. Not enough battery to take a picture, in other words. But the lizards are still there, so I go back inside to change the battery. This time I check before going back outside — and success! Green light on the camera. I go back outside, this time with a working camera, and the lizards are still there. I take a picture…and I’m not happy. The lizards are in shade, you see, and the flash didn’t go off. So as near as I can tell, the picture is too dark to show what I’m aiming for. Also, it’s a little distant. Well, I don’t want to get so close that I’m breathing on the lizards, so I adjust my zoom. I also adjust my flash. It has four settings; I used “Auto Fill.” Then I took the picture. Success! And a good thing, too; the flash startled the poor things, and they jumped and ran off. Oh well, at least I have something to remember them by. Ah, the joys of living in a rural part of Florida!      ...

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