How to Make an Evergreen Wreath

1.Gather a large shopping bag full of 6-inch garden trimmings. Some suggested trimmings are cedar, pine, fir, redwood, magnolia and oak. Remember to include holly or other red berries in your collection. The tip ends of the branches work best.
2.Use a wire wreath frame or make your own from a wire coat hanger. (Simply unbend it from the familiar shape into a circle; you can use the hook to hang your finished wreath.)
3.Attach #24 floral wire - sometimes called paddle wire - anywhere along the wire wreath frame. Tie it to the frame at that point and keep unspooling it and wrapping as you go around the frame with the bundles of greens. Image a.)
4.Select several of the garden trimmings and place them together in a bunch with the stems at one end.
5.Place this bundle on top of the frame where the floral wire is connected.
6.Hold the bundle in place and wrap the floral wire around the bundle and frame. You will need two hands for this: one to hold the bundle in place against the frame and one to wrap the wire.
7.Wrap the floral wire around the bundle a second time and then pull it tight. Make sure to leave the wire attached to the frame - you still have a long way to go. Image b.)
8.Gather another bundle of foliage and place it so that the leaves overlap the first bunch and cover the stems. Make sure that the stems on both bunches face the same direction. Image c.)
9.Continue overlapping the bunches of foliage and wiring them to the frame until you complete the circle.
10.Add pinecones by twisting a new piece of paddle wire around the base of the cone, leaving a tail of 8 to 10 inches. Tie the wired cone’s tail to the wreath. Image d.)
11.Lift the first bundle that you wired onto the frame and tuck the last bundle under it. Image e.)
12.Twist the wire tightly around the last bundle. Knot the wire onto the frame, leaving 1 inch of wire with which to hang the finished wreath.
13.Trim the wire with scissors or pruning shears when you’re finished. click photos to enlarge  
Thick bundles make fat wreaths. The more plant material you add, the fuller your wreath will appear.
Make a bright red bow and attach it with wire to the top of your wreath.
Wreaths make wonderful hostess gifts during the holiday party season. 
Warnings: Once your family and friends see your wreath, they will all want one. Buy or make plenty of wreath frames to supply the overwhelming demand.   

How to Prevent Ringworm

1.Avoid contact with people or animals that have ringworm. Signs of infection include flakes of skin on the fur, excessive itching, patchiness and hair loss.
2.Teach children not to share combs, hairbrushes, ribbons and barrettes, or hats.
3.Wear shoes in public areas, and wear thongs in public showers and swimming areas.
4.Check your child's scalp for redness or patchiness, and wash your hands afterwards. If you suspect she has ringworm, let her teachers and her friends' parents know.
5.Teach your child not to pick at her scalp, and to wash her hands after handling pets, especially unknown ones.
6.Keep the groin and feet cool and dry, as much as possible. Sprinkle talcum powder on the groin. Wear loose-fitting cotton underwear and socks, and change them often.
7.See your doctor if lesions develop. 
Tips: See a doctor if large portions of the scalp are affected. Ringworm over large portions of the scalp cannot be treated effectively with over-the-counter medication. Without a doctor's care, you or your child could have permanent scalp scarring. 
Warnings: If you have any questions or concerns, contact a physician or other health care professional before engaging in any activity related to health and diet. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment.   

How to Donate to Charities Wisely

1.Review your income and expenses.
2.Set an annual charitable-donation goal.
3.Find one or more nonprofit organizations involved in an issue that you feel strongly about.
4.Make sure the nonprofit is classified by the Internal Revenue Service as a tax-exempt charitable organization that is qualified to receive tax-deductible donations (usually designated as a "501(c)(3)" organization) so that you can receive a financial benefit when filing your income taxes.
5.Ask a representative of the nonprofit for literature describing the nonprofit's scope of activities and for a copy of their latest financial statement (Form 990). (Note: The Form 990 must be provided immediately if the request is made in person and within 30 days if made in writing in accordance with federal law.)
6.Read the nonprofit's literature and financial statements, or Forms 990. (See "Evaluate a Charitable Organization," under Related Hows, for more details on finding and evaluating charities' Forms 990.)
7.Decide whether you approve of how the nonprofit is using donated funds.  
When financial planning, it's wise to meet with an accountant or tax adviser.
When reviewing a charity's finances, a good guideline to follow is that of the National Charities Information Bureau, which recommends that charities spend at least 60 percent of the donations they receive for program activities. Make your cash donation or donations by writing a check or using a credit card. 
Warnings: Donating cash, rather than writing a check or using a credit card, is usually not a good idea because it is harder to track, more susceptible to fraud and doesn't leave you with any records.   Steps:
1.Double-check the charity’s name; similar names can be confusing. United Way is different than United Crusade or Another Way.
2.Use the charity's supplied contact information - often the executive director or development director - to call or e-mail the charity headquarters.
3.Ask the contact person whether the organization is designated by the Internal Revenue Service as both tax-exempt and qualified to receive tax-deductible donations (usually classified as a 501(c)(3) organization).
4.Ask the contact person how the charity carries out its mission, and review its recent accomplishments.
5.Ask the contact person what percentage of donation dollars go to the actual charitable purpose. (Industry watchdogs recommend no less than 60 percent.)
6.Ask for written literature about the charity and/or its Web site location.
7.Review the written materials for substantive facts, ignoring emotional appeals.
8.Request and review the charity's Form 990, an IRS form that shows its income and expenditures. 
Never feel pressured into giving to any charity.
As of June 8, 1999, all 501(c)(3) organizations, except private foundations, are required to send copies of their three most recent Forms 990 to anyone who requests them. If the request is made in person, nonprofits must provide copies of the forms immediately. If the request is made in writing or by fax or e-mail, nonprofits have 30 days to mail copies of the forms. (Charities may charge a "reasonable fee" for copying and mailing forms. Reasonable is defined by the IRS as $1 for the first page and 15 cents for each additional page.)
Forms 990 are available online through the National Center for Charitable Statistics. (See Related Sites.)
From a new organization that does not yet have a financial statement or annual report, the Council of Better Business Bureaus recommends that you request a budget and information about the charity's funding goals and proposed programs.
For further assistance, contact the Philanthropic Advisory Service of the Council of Better Business Bureaus. (See Related Sites.) 
Warnings: Be wary of door-to-door solicitors asking for donations. In many cases, a high percentage of the money collected goes to the solicitor, not the charity.   

How to Locate the Right Home Care Services for a Senior

1.Consult a senior family member's doctor or social worker for a list of quality home care agencies.
2.Check the yellow pages for a list of home care agencies.
3.Talk to a geriatric care manager for a home care agency recommendation. A geriatric care manager is usually a nurse, social worker or psychologist by training, and specializes in geriatrics.
4.Find out if a prospective agency does national criminal background checks for all its employees. Be aware that most agencies only do state background checks.
5.Make sure the agency you hire bonds its workers in case of theft. This way a senior will be reimbursed should a worker steal from his or her home. Also, make sure the agency has malpractice insurance.
6.See if the agency does pre-employment drug screening. Also, does the agency do random drug screening?
7.Know that a non-nurse companion or a homemaker will cost between $10 and $18 per hour. Companions help seniors with cleaning, cooking, laundry and errands.
8.Expect to pay between $17 and $25 per hour for a certified home health aid and between $30 and $55 per hour for a registered nurse or a licensed practical nurse.  
Tips: It is important to find out if an agency does thorough background checks and drug screenings for all its employees.   

How to Buddy Breathe

Before You Dive
1.Set a schedule for the dive, and make sure that you and your buddy both understand it.
2.Agree on hand signals to indicate low air, out of air and requests to buddy breathe.
3.Compare your air consumption rates from previous dives with your buddy. The comparison is not a completely reliable estimate for future dives, but it can give you an idea of who might run out of air first. Remember that temperature and exertion can accelerate air usage.
4.If you have only one octopus rig between the two of you, have the person with the slowest air consumption carry it.  
Tips: Common hand signals are: low on air - place hand flat to your chest with the fingers curled under; out of air - slice hand back and forth across your throat; buddy breathe - tap on the front of your regulator with one finger. 
Warnings: Don't push your limits on your dive schedule. Always give yourself a 15-minute margin on your estimated air consumption. 
Buddy Breathing With an Octopus Rig

5.Signal to your buddy that you're out of air and want to buddy breathe.
6.Stay calm and allow your buddy to hand you her octopus regulator.
7.Remember to exhale or press the purge button on the regulator to clear it before inhaling.
8.When you're ready, calm and breathing normally, signal that you're ready to ascend to the surface.
9.Face each other and hold on to each other's equipment straps to stay together.
1..Ascend normally. 
Tips: If your tank has a reserve, you may be able to toggle it on and switch back to independent breathing before you ascend. 
Warnings: You and your buddy may both run low on air. Be ready to switch to an emergency ascent if needed. 
Buddy Breathing Without an Octopus Rig

1..Signal to your buddy that you're out of air and want to buddy breathe.
1..Allow your buddy to hand you the regulator when she's ready. Make sure your buddy keeps her hand on the regulator at all times.
1..Exhale first to clear the regulator. Use the purge button if necessary. Repeat this with every exchange.
1..Take two to three normal breaths, then push the regulator out of your mouth and let your buddy take it away and breathe for a few breaths.
1..Establish a rhythm, and let the air donor maintain control at all times.
1..When you and the donor are calm and ready, signal to each other that you're ready to ascend.
1..Face each other, and hold on to each other's equipment straps with one hand while passing the regulator back and forth with the other.
1..Establish a slightly positive buoyancy, and start kicking toward the surface. Let the donor control the rate of ascent.
1..Be ready to switch to an emergency ascent if necessary. 
Warnings: While ascending, remember not to hold your breath. Exhale slowly at all times when you don't have the regulator. Holding your breath while ascending can lead to an air embolism. 
Overall Tips: Buddy breathing can be stressful even under normal conditions. Practice in a pool until you've mastered the technique.  
Overall Warnings:
Never linger at the same depth after you've switched to buddy breathing. Accept that the dive is over, and head for the surface.
Make sure you are an officially certified scuba diver before entering the water.
Scuba diving is an inherently dangerous activity that can result in serious injury or death. We recommend that you seek proper training and equipment before attempting this activity. 

How to Make a Solar Still for Purifying Water in the Wilderness

1.Build your solar still in the lowest, dampest area you can find - at the base of a hill, in a dry streambed or at the base of a dried-up gorge. This is where ground water accumulates and is the best place for gathering it.
2.Carry a sheet of strong plastic 6 feet by 6 feet, a cup or a container, and 6 feet of plastic tubing with you in your pack. In extreme survival situations you may be forced to make due with whatever you have. Understanding the principles of the solar still will enable you to adapt to your situation.
3.Dig a large hole in the ground, 2 feet deep and 3 feet in diameter. The idea is to dig down to damp soil. Image a.)
4.Place your container, centered, in the bottom of the hole. Image b.)
5.Place one end of your plastic tubing in the container. Image c.)
6.Cover the hole with the plastic sheet. Use the dirt from the hole to weight the plastic surrounding the hole, so that no air can escape. Make sure the free end of the plastic tubing is accessible. Image d.)
7.Use a small rock to weight the center of the plastic down over the cup, creating a cone over your cup with the point pointing into your cup. Image e.)
8.Understand that as the sun heats up the soil, moisture evaporates and condenses on the plastic. This condensed moisture drips to the lowest portion of the plastic and then drips off into your cup.
9.Drink from your cup by sucking on the tubing. That way you don't have to disassemble your still to get a drink. Image f.)
1..Realize that only pure water evaporates, so that in the evaporation process, most of the impurities are left in the soil.    
In very dry areas, green (non-poisonous) plants, damp forest litter, and urine can be added to your hole to dampen it.
Dig deeper and wider in more dry areas.
Use a solar still in emergency situations at sea to purify salt water into drinking water.
Use the solar still to purify snow.  

How to Select a Rottweiler

1.Keep in mind that a rottweiler is not for everyone. This breed can be difficult to manage because of its large size, powerful body and territorial instinct. Rottweilers are vigilant watchdogs and are not always able to discern who is a friend and who is a stranger.
2.Reconsider getting a rottweiler if you have small children in the house. Although rottweilers can be friendly with children if socialized early on, this breed has strong prey and herding instincts. They are likely to chase moving objects, which can include running children.
3.Avoid this breed if you are unwilling to spend time socializing and training your dog to ensure that she does not become aggressive. Expect to take your rottweiler to obedience training once a week for 6 to 12 months.
4.Know that if you decide to own a rottweiler she will need vigorous walks at least twice a day, and she will need your consistent companionship. Rottweilers love to swim, run and chase balls. When they do not get enough exercise, rottweilers can become destructive.
5.Check out a rottweiler's features when choosing yours. Her overall appearance should be strong and unyielding with an attentive gaze. Her neck should be built and muscular. She should have a deep, expansive chest, and her coloring should be black with rust and mahogany markings.
6.Understand that a rottweiler is prone to certain health problems such as hip and elbow dysplasia (a malformation of the joints), osteochondrosis dissecans (a bone disease that causes lameness and arthritis), paneosteitis (a rotating lameness), Von Willebrand's disease (a bleeding disorder), bloat, heart disease and allergies. Talk to a breeder or whomever you get yours from to find out what type of screening they have done for some of these health problems.
7.Look at potential breeders very carefully, being sure to ask whether they are members of breed clubs, specialty clubs or obedience clubs. Affiliation with a club means you can check their references to make sure they are not a puppy mill (a place where puppies are constantly bred for financial gain without consideration of the integrity of the breed).
8.Expect to pay between $800 and $1,500 for a purebred rottweiler.
9.Be prepared to enjoy 10 to 12 years with your rottweiler, as that is the rottweiler's average life expectancy. 
Rottweilers do not bark unless there is just cause.
Consider purchasing a female rottweiler rather than a male. Females are smaller and easier to control.
Expect an adult male rottweiler to grow to 24 to 27 inches and weigh between 95 and 130 pounds. Females will grow to 22 to 25 inches and will weigh between 85 and 115 pounds. 
Warnings: Rottweilers can be aggressive with other dogs and need to be kept on a leash when around them.   

How to Buy a Toiletry Bag as a Gift

1.Consider the gender of the gift's recipient. Men tend to need less space than women and often put just a few items in a toiletry bag.
2.Decide whether you want a bag that has small, plastic toiletry bottles, or one that will accommodate full-sized bottles of shampoo, conditioner or lotion.
3.Choose a bag that will hang up and unroll downward - providing easy access to the contents - or one that sits flat. Image a.)
4.Consider both the capacity and the overall size of the bag. Will it fit easily in a suitcase or duffel bag?
5.Make sure the bag is lined.
6.Decide if the bag should have a mirror inside. While mirrors are handy to have, they carry the risk of breakage.
7.Choose a fabric and color for the bag based on the recipient's tastes. Image b.)
8.For an added treat, include the recipient's favorite lotions, aftershave, toothpaste or other toiletries in the bag. Image c.) click photos to enlarge  
If you choose a bag with small plastic travel bottles, try to find one that has a pump and funnel so that the bottles can be easily filled.
Some people have strong personal preferences about what kind of toiletry bag they will use. If this is the case, get some helpful hints before buying the bag as a gift, or consider giving a gift certificate to a travel or luggage store instead.   

How to Plan a Chinese Wedding

1.Distribute customary bridal cakes to friends and relatives to announce the upcoming wedding and invite them to attend. (These cakes are originally given by the groom's family to the bride's to send out.)
2.Expect everyone who receives a bridal cake to reciprocate with congratulatory gifts for the bride's family.
3.Select a red bridal dress to symbolize love and joy.
4.Prepare a cleansing bath for the bride to take the night before the wedding. Infuse the water with pomelo, a type of grapefruit, to chase away evil spirits.
5.Plan an eight-course meal for the reception, plus dessert. Include such foods as roasted suckling pig, shark's fin soup, deep-fried crab claws, and fish. Be prepared for the meal to last as long as three hours or more.
6.Have the bride serve tea (holding the teacup with both hands) to her parents at home on the wedding day before the groom arrives. This is her way of paying her respect and thanking her parents for raising her.
7.Ask a lion dance team to perform at the wedding to bring good luck and to ward off evil spirits. The lion presents a scroll with a calligraphy message wishing the couple good luck.
8.Plan a tea ceremony during the wedding, in which the newlyweds serve tea together to the groom's parents as a sign of respect.
9.Include lotus seeds and two red dates in the tea. The ancient Chinese believed that these items would help the newlyweds produce children early in their marriage, and the sweetness of the special tea also ensures sweet relations between the bride and her new family.
1..Set off firecrackers during the wedding celebration to keep evil spirits at bay. 
Tips: Arrange for both of you to have your hair combed out by a good luck person(someone who in the Chinese tradition is said to bring you good luck) the night before the wedding, as is traditionally done. The combing should be done for each of you four times. Remember that each combing has a special meaning. These are: from the beginning to the end, harmony, sons, wealth and a long-lasting marriage.   

How to Sleep and Work the Late Shift

1.Try not to drink caffeine too close to the end of your work shift. It can keep you from falling asleep.
2.Avoid smoking near the end of your shift. Nicotine is a stimulant.
3.Prepare for bed as you normally would at night, and establish a routine.
4.Eat something light before going to bed. Otherwise, hunger pangs can awaken you.
5.Darken your bedroom. Too much light can interfere with the quality of sleep. Hang up "black out" curtains, drape dark sheets over the windows or use a sleep mask.
6.Minimize noise and possible distractions. Unplug the phone; close the bedroom door; use earplugs.
7.Get a full "day's" sleep. Sleep the same number of hours you would at night. Schedule appointments or other activities during your waking hours, not during the middle of your sleep time.
8.Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time every day/night. It will help train your body to adjust to its new sleep routine. 
Working straight shifts is easier on your body than rotating shifts. A longer rotation is less stressful than a short one, such as rotating every three weeks instead of every week.
Keep the workplace brightly lit, if possible, to avoid drowsiness at work.
Melatonin may help your body adjust to its new sleep/wake cycle. Take a low dose before going to bed, follow directions on the bottle. 
If you still can't sleep, you may want to consult your physician. Chronic sleep deprivation can be dangerous to your own health and safety as well as that of others. Alternatively, you may want to consider going back to a regular day-shift job.
If you have any questions or concerns, contact a physician or other health care professional before engaging in any activity related to health and diet. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment.