Year: 2020

Ways to Earn Money From a Hobby: Making Money From Hobbies Can Be a Useful Income Stream

There are many different hobbies, from birdwatching to metal detecting with much in between. Hobbies can vary from a vague interest, through to an all consuming passion. One common feature of a hobby, however is that it is likely to cost money. Whether the hobby requires expensive equipment, costly supplies, or simply a few magazines or publications to keep up to date with latest developments there is often a cost involved. Making a few dollars from a hobby is a useful aspiration. This is a great way to fund a hobby and provide enough money for new supplies and is also potentially the first step on a career.

There are many ways of earning money from your hobby and these include:

Selling Unwanted Magazines, Books and Other Supplies

Thanks to websites such as eBay and Craigslist, there is a huge market place for specialist supplies. Whereas at one time a few old magazines would have had no value, today with the opportunity to sell to the whole world, those old magazines that have been cluttering up the cupboard may well turn out to have a value. Even if the value is very small, this is still a bit of extra money that can be put towards ya hobby.

Speaking and Lecturing Engagements

Many clubs and organizations actively seek speakers to talk on a whole range of subjects and these groups will often pay for time and expenses. These include specialist groups or perhaps just associations of like minded people who put on regular activities for its members. Although public speaking isn’t for everyone, most experienced speakers will confirm that it is so much easier to engage an audience when talking about a subject that someone is passionate about, as this enthusiasm shines through. A good way to gain experience of talking about a hobby is to volunteer to talk at hospitals, church groups, residential homes and other organizations.

Run Classes

Running regular classes can be hard work, but it can also be financially rewarding. Many enthusiasts run classes and workshops and find the combined benefit of an income plus the sharing of knowledge with other people extremely beneficial. The Internet has also opened up the opportunity for running online classes and workshops. This is becoming increasingly popular and online workshops and classes can be found on a wide variety of subjects.

Tours and Excursions

Many specialist tours and excursions have experts as part of the team. A bird watching tour, for instance may have an expert birder to talk to and help the guests, or a local history excursion may want someone who is an authority on the subject to help. This type of assignment can vary from a couple of hours locally through to an all expenses paid cruise!


A great way to make some money from a hobby is to write about it. There is a large market place for well written articles including specialist magazines, websites, books and ‘new generation’ publishing opportunities such as e-books.

Making money from a hobby isn’t always important, as the satisfaction of learning and getting engrossed in a subject is often reward in its self. There is no doubt, however, that a bit of extra money is always useful!

Book of Mormon Translation Process: Did Joseph Smith use a Seerstone or the Urim and Thummim?

Mormons believe that the Book of Mormon was translated by Joseph Smith through the power of God. How this happened is a subject of some debate as the historical record of the process and the translation story taught to Mormons and church investigators differ considerably.

In a strange twist that seems like it belongs more to an alternate dimension, the translation process depicted in the South Park episode All About Mormons tells a more accurate story of the Book of Mormon’s creation than the faith-promoting version of the translation process taught by the Mormon church.

The Faithful Version

One thing is not in dispute between the official and the more historically accurate version of the translation of the Book of Mormon. Joseph Smith claimed to have been visited by an angel who revealed to him the location of golden plates an a nearby hill. It would be four years before the angel who visited Smith would let him take the plates for translation. The first Mormon prophet would return to the site every year until he was allowed to take the plates from the HIll Cummorah.

The version of the Book of Mormon translation story that the church teaches has Joseph Smith using a device called the Urim and Thummim. The Urim and Thummim was a pair of glasses with diamond lenses attached to a jewel encrusted breastplate. Joseph Smith looked into the lensesand he would see the text in English. The words the prophet saw would be read aloud and the scribe working with Smith committed the words to paper.

The Seer Stone – the More Historically Accurate Version

The actual translation process worked a little differently. Viewers of South Park may remember Joseph Smith putting a seer stone into a hat and reading off the words that appeared on the seer stone, according to The Mormon Times.

Daniel C. Peterson, one of the leading apologists for the Mormon church and a professor of Islam and Arabic studies at Brigham Young University, confirms that Joseph Smith used a seer stone to translate the Book of Mormon. Peterson states that only the seer stone that belonged to the prophet resulted in a successful translation. The Brigham Young University professor relates the story where Martin Harris, one of Smith’s scribes, replaced the prophet’s seer stone with a similar looking rock. The translation process could not proceed until Smith’s seer stone was placed back in the hat.

Other Book of Mormon Translation Theories

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and other Restorationist groups have long maintained that the Book of Mormon could not have been produced by an uneducated farm boy. One of the most common alternate theories for how the Book of Mormon was produced is that the text was copied or plagiarized from another manuscript called Views of the Hebrews.

The Views of the Hebrews theory has never been proven and the question of whether Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon or if the text was the product of an imaginative but uneducated farm boy continues to be debated.

Driving Route One through Big Sur, California: Highlights along One of America's Most Famous Roadways

The stretch of coastline, loosely referred to as Big Sur, has something for everyone. Some highlights are featured here from south to north.

Hearst Castle

Hearst Castle is a National Historic Landmark and destination for one million visitors annually. Built for William Randolph Hearst beginning in 1919, major construction continued until the middle of the century. In 1957, Hearst Castle was donated to the State and is currently maintained as a state historic park with tours available.

Elephant Seal Rookery

The elephant seal rookery located on the ocean side of Route 1 near San Simeon is the largest on the West Coast of the United States. It is free to visit.

Piedras Blancas Light Station

Piedras Blancas Light Station is located at the northern entrance to San Simeon Bay. First activated in 1875, the light was automated one hundred years later. The station has been unmanned ever since. The property is now maintained by the United States Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management. Docent-led tours focus on everything from the history of the light to the natural history of the surrounding land.

Salmon Creek Falls

Salmon Creek Falls is located near the community of Gorda. It is a 120 foot waterfall, which is easily reached by way of a path on the inland side of Route 1.


Henry Miller Library

Henry Miller stated: “It was here in Big Sur I first learned to say Amen!” The Henry Miller Library is the repository of both books and artwork by Henry Miller, including an impressive collection of first editions. There is a peaceful lawn and sculpture garden where tech savvy travelers can even take advantage of free WiFi.


Nepenthe is a restaurant with spectacular views of the coastline. Once owned by Orson Wells, the property became a restaurant in 1949. Lunch is served every day, and dinner is available year round except Thanksgiving and Christmas. There is also a café called Café Kevah, as well as a shop called the Phoenix Shop.

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is maintained by California State Parks. The main attraction is McWay Falls, a waterfall which plunges 80 feet directly into the Pacific. This is the only perennial waterfall in California which falls directly into the Ocean.

Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn

Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn was founded by Helmuth and Helen Haight Deetjen. Administered today by the Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn Preservation Foundation, the property is operated on a non-profit basis. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and guests can stay in cabin-like rooms tucked beneath soaring redwoods. There is an excellent restaurant.

Point Sur Lighthouse

Point Sur Lighthouse is the only complete turn-of-the-century California lighthouse open to the public. Completed in 1889, the light sits atop a 361-foot tall rock. The light was automated in 1972. The property was transferred to California State Parks in 2004, and three-hour, docent-led walking tours are offered.

Bixby Bridge

Bixby Creek Bridge opened Big Sur to automobile traffic in 1932. It is 714 feet long and 24 feet wide. At its highest, it is over 280 feet high. The main span is 320 feet long, and the bridge is one of the most photographed sites in Big Sur.

Point Lobos

Point Lobos was called “the greatest meeting of land and water in the world” by early California painter Francis McComas. Today it is considered to be the crown Jewel of the California State Park System. The Park is a destination in-and-of-itself and may be explored at length.

Audi A5 Review – Winter Driving

The Audi A5 coupe comes in an all wheel drive version that can handle winter weather conditions. Audi has made a car capable of driving in snow and ice.

The Audi A5 is a 2-door sports coupe that is designed to achieve both stylish luxury and high performance. Buying into the hype, this writer purchased a fully loaded pitch black A5 in the early part of 2010. In contrast to most car articles that list performance specs, options and technical data, this is a true story of how the Audi A5 performed in some of the worst driving conditions this writer has ever seen.

Audi Dealership

There is always some aspect of apprehension when purchasing a new car, especially when switching to a new automaker. As many people already know, the feelings when purchasing a new can fluctuate between excitement, anxiety, doubt, and skepticism.

One recommendation is to find a dealership and sales associate that you are comfortable working with. The dealership where my car was purchased was not the first Audi dealership I visited and I did not even begin the buying process until I found a sales associate I was comfortable with. In a strange way, when you meet the right sales associate, you just know. If there is any doubt, they are not the right one for you.


As with any major purchase, there is a negotiating and bargaining process that is to be expected. Did I believe I got away with some great steal? Probably not. Did I think the dealership made some pretty good money off my purchase? Probably. Do I believe that I received a good deal and a great car? Absolutely. Of course I checked, filtering through endless forums for prices being paid by consumers across the country, before even stepping foot into a dealership.

Audi A5

Like most people, I do not proclaim to be an automobile expert, but I can appreciate a nice car. When initially purchasing the A5, I’ll admit I was drawn to the flashy day running lights that are so obviously emphasized in the commercials. However, I also knew that I wanted a coupe, and that it absolutely had to be all wheel drive. Fortunately, the A5 is available in an all wheel drive version.

Winter Driving

Growing up in the Midwest, I learned to respect winter weather while driving. Of course this lesson was only learned after multiple accidents. From personal experience, front wheel drive cars tend to do fairly well provided the driver uses common sense and safe driving practices. However, I will admit that every time it snowed or rained in the wintertime, getting into a rear wheel drive car felt like stepping into a death trap.

I cannot count the number of times my rear wheel drive car seemed to slip right out from under me, in what appeared to be clear conditions, except for maybe a little snow and ice. I have vowed never to purchase a rear wheel drive car again, so long as I live in an area that receives significant amounts of snowfall.

How the Audi A5 Handles in the Winter

On the night of November 20th 2010, rain started to drizzle down on the twin cities. By the early morning hours of November 21st, the rain had become a sheet of ice covering almost every hard surface. Unfortunately, I had gone out earlier in the evening when the weather was still clear. I remember walking on the sidewalk was nearly impossible, managing only a few steps before slipping and sliding. I remember thinking to myself that driving home was going to be an ordeal. In normal conditions, it may take me 15 minutes to drive home from where I was that night. Although it ended up taking upwards of 2 hours, I fared much better than most people.

According to the Savage Pacer News Site, there were 438 reported crashes on roads throughout the state. Please keep in mind that all these occurred within a timeframe of a few hours. I can only describe what I saw, which were 5 to 7 car pileups, countless scattered accidents, cars pulled over on the side of the road, and semi trucks as well as city busses stopped in their tracks.

Numerous exit ramps onto interstates were completely blocked off. The ice did not discriminate by make or model, as both compact cars and SUV’s slid off the road. I can only assume that most of the drivers were not driving recklessly and were even cautious due to the weather conditions.

Aside from the occasional slip when braking, the A5 was able to handle roads too icy for people to walk on. Although I had initial apprehensions about my decision to purchase the Audi A5, I knew I made the right decision as I drove past countless accidents. I know I am not an expert on cars nor am I a car salesman.

All I know is that I got home safe that night.

Break the Language Barrier: Website Translation: Adding Translation Options To Your Website

So you’ve built an amazing website for your business and have spent generous amounts of money and time to market it well in hopes of attracting an international clientele. Your search engine results page rankings are top notch and you are consistent in updating your blogs and content pages, and yet, still, most of your business is coming from within the United States or from the U.K. Why is this? Well, the answer should be fairly obvious: to sell to foreign markets you must speak the foreign market’s language.

The Importance of Website Translation

Even if foreign, potential customers find your site on a search engine page, if they have difficulty understanding the language, they will not understand what your services are much less how to purchase them, and they will likely opt to use a local company instead.

That is why having a multi-lingual website for your business is essential for maximizing your reach and expanding your opportunities for profit. Each international website should be in the language of the audience it is attempting to reach. The customers should feel catered to and secure, as this is what will make them trust your company and give you their business. Your website should be easily accessible and suited to its audience not only linguistically, but culturally as well.

Every day, more and more businesses are realizing how important website translation is for the purposes of establishing yourself as a legitimate international business. Website translation, or website localization, as it is also called, is indeed a very necessary step if a business hopes to gain and keep foreign customers.

Research by the International Data Group (IDC) shows that Internet users will be four times more inclined to purchase from a website that is in their language. Today, there are more than 100 million web users who do not speak English and more than ½ of all web users speak a language other than English as their native language. If a website caters to their native language, they are likely to stay for about twice as long on it.


Now, think about all the potential customers that will remain untapped if your website stays only in English. There are millions. Website translation is the key to reaching them and turning your national business into a truly global enterprise.

Building Credibility For Your Website

Interestingly enough, expanding your business into a global enterprise will not only result in high profits from the acquisition of new, foreign customers, but it will also increase your credibility as an international company at home, something that you can market and promote.

Translating your website to fit its international audience demonstrates a dedication to customer satisfaction. Good business is about trying to meet people’s needs and expectations. The company who does that best is the company that grows.

So if you’re hoping to grow outside of the national business arena, look into website localization. Make sure that you hire a reliable translation company for the job. It will be one of the most essential and profitable moves of your business’s path towards growth.

Comping – A Rewarding Hobby: Tips on How to Win Competitions and Contests

Compers take their pastime very seriously, and with some time and effort the rewards can be phenomenal! There are even some who enter competitions for a living and report prize winnings to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars.

Sherry Sjolander, a committed Australian comper, has penned a top-selling comprehensive how-to guide on entering competitions titled How to Win Competitions, and her advice to those beginning this hobby makes for great reading. One basic premise remains, however, and that is: if you want to win it, you have to be in it!

Where to Find Competitions

Once you start looking, you will see that there are contest opportunities everywhere. Here are just a few places to seek out competitions with prizes on offer:

  • The grocery store – you may be required to purchase a product or even just drop an entry form into a barrel; keep a close eye out for promotional stickers and signs
  • Magazines – those you already purchase or subscribe to will often be offering a number of competitions per issue
  • Television or radio promotions
  • Newspapers – both local commercial papers and community newspapers will regularly offer prizes
  • Email – before automatically deleting junk or promotional email, first browse to see if there is a competition included
  • Websites – a Google search for “competitions” will lead you to a number of websites – some of which are forums for compers where current competitions are shared and other links will take you the many online competitions available at any time.

Competition entering is a hobby that mixes luck, effort, creativity and persistence. While the rules for comping are determined by the terms and conditions of each particular competition, there are some general guidelines and tips that diehard compers swear by.

Some Basic Comping Tips and Hints

  • You have to be in it to win it!
  • Spread your effort around – a single entry in many competitions is better than many entries in one competition.
  • Enter competitions that will probably be less popular – many people avoid the “25 Words or Less” competitions and so these are the ones you should have a go at.
  • Read all the competition terms and conditions carefully and stick to the rules to make sure your entry counts
  • When writing “Words or Less” entries, consider a rhyme, a witty one-liner, a mention of the product or maybe an acrostic poem!
  • Set a budget for stamps and phone entries and try to stick to it.
  • Keep all barcodes and receipts safely if purchase is a condition of entry.
  • If you need to provide answers to a question – double check that they are correct.
  • Make sure your writing is legible and that spelling is correct.
  • Competitions that offer a lot of smaller prizes rather than only one major prize only will offer more chances of winning.
  • Lots of people forget to enter second-chance draws – make sure you submit your entries for these!
  • The more obscure the competition and the less it is promoted – the better for you!
  • Submit “Words or Less” entries towards the end of the competition period so yours is fresh in the judges’ minds.
  • Keep an eye open for entry forms as you do your grocery shopping and purchase products if you can make use of them in your weekly menu or if they are a regular staple item.

Somebody has to win, so why shouldn’t it be you? For the cost outlay of some stamps, phone calls, SMS messages and your time you could be the recipient of some great prizes! Happy comping and good luck!

Cloud Watching: A Hobby That Costs Nothing!

Cloud watching is a hobby that is accessible to all and is absolutely free. Weather cycles can create a beautiful, mesmerizing visual display.

The sky is constantly changing, presenting the observer with endless opportunities to witness the beauty of cloud formations. From sunrise to sunset, the “ultimate art gallery above”, as it was described by American poet Ralph Waldo Emerson, puts on an impressive display, including dramatic variations in colour, light and form.

In contrast to many hobbies, which require a great deal of time and money to pursue, cloud watching costs absolutely nothing and can be done at any time of day for any amount of time. Knowing a little about some of the different types of clouds can help cloud watchers get the most out of their hobby.

Basic Cloud Formations

Cirrus clouds are wispy clouds that form high in the atmosphere, usually higher than 20,000 feet. They contain ice crystals and are spread out by high altitude winds. Cirrus clouds can form “streaks” across the sky or more interesting phenomena such as the “Angels on Horseback” effect. The clouds are usually seen when the weather is fair and calm.


Cumulus are the familiar “billowing” clouds that often seem to make interesting shapes in the sky, such as castles or ducks! These clouds have a flat base and may only be 330 feet above the ground. These clouds can grow upward, forming thunderstorm clouds called cumulonimbus. Their height can range from 2 to 5 miles.

Stratus clouds are the sheetlike clouds that cover much of the sky. They can often be grey in colour. Fog is actually stratus clouds at a low level. These clouds bring rain or snow.

Spectacular Cloud Formations

Noctilucent clouds are the highest clouds possible. They can form 50 miles above the earth. These clouds can only be seen for a few hours after sunset, and they glow, as they reflect the sunlight from below the horizon.

Mammatus clouds have a “bobbly” appearance and are associated with unstable stormy weather. The shapes of these clouds can vary from long ripples stretching across the sky to more rounded formations.

A “glory” is an optical effect that looks like a small circular rainbow. it is formed when light is scattered back towards its source by a cloud of water droplets, forming coloured rings. They can usually be seen from aircraft windows when passing over areas of cloud.

You never know when or where you may witness a spectacular or dramatic cloud formation. It is easy to miss the beauty that surrounds us every day, so why not spend a few minutes in the simple pastime of cloudwatching, and enjoy the “ultimate art gallery above”?

Winter Driving Tips for Ex-Californians: Plan Ahead With Checklist and Watch Road Conditions

The slippery roads and icy conditions that begin to appear in November require a different mind-set. No longer can one hop in the car with shorts and flip-flops and take a trip on a whim.

Winter Driving Checklist

Here’s a simple list of what former Californians need to do stay safe in winter:

  1. Plan ahead. Consider delaying the trip until the weather improves. Use the Internet or television to check travel conditions before leaving. Don’t venture into areas that are unfamiliar, particularly roads in open fields where horizontally driven snowfall can cut visibility to zero.
  2. Carry such items as an ice scaper, snow brush, extra window-wash solution (the kind that won’t freeze in minus-40-degrees-Celcius weather), sand to add traction, a shovel, first-aid kit, blanket, dry clothes, matches, fire extinguisher and non-perishable snack foods.
  3. Keep your gas tank full at least half full. One doesn’t want to run out of fuel if the weather takes a turn for the worse.
  4. Every November, switch to snow tires. Make sure to change all four tires to those with extra traction for winter conditions, such as icy roads. Never “mix and match” winter tires with those used during warmer seasons.
  5. Switch off the California mentality of “get in and go.” Drivers should slow down and leave a two-second interval between them and the car in front of them. Watch out for bridges, where black ice is more likely to form and the chance of losing control of your car increases.
  6. Check the tires’ air pressure at least once a month. Air pressure decreases as the mercury drops.
  7. When driving, listen to the radio for weather updates. Drivers need to leave themselves extra driving time to get to their destinations.
  8. If a driver is taking a longer trip, he should let a friend or family member know where he’s going and his estimated time of arrival.
  9. Keep an eye out for vehicles with flashing lights that remove ice and snow from roads. Never pass around or in between such vehicles.
  10. Drivers need to have a mechanic check out their cars or trucks before winter sets in. Get the needed repairs done in advance.

Cell Phones and Road Conditions

Another essential thing to have in winter is a working cell phone to call for help during emergencies. A word of caution, however: Many states and Canadian provinces ban the use of hand-held cell phones while driving.

The main thing is don’t be impulsive. Be prepared and get into the groove of winter driving. And former California drivers should look at the positive side: They likely don’t have to worry about earthquakes knocking down freeway overpasses.

Holiday Hobby Ideas: Holiday Projects That Will Keep Little Hands Busy

It’s the time of year where spirits soar, there’s planning to be done, and little ones have so much energy that it’s hard to keep them preoccupied while other preparations are underway. Not only that, but budget concerns can definitely put a crimp in what activities are available. Here’s a few ideas on how to curb the cost and keep kids occupied for hours with a fun project that they can be proud of.

Build a Backyard Feeder for Wildlife

Wintertime can be a scarce time for mother nature’s children as well. A simple woodworking project can provide a bird or squirrel feeding platform to get them through the tough days while providing a fun activity for children of all ages. With proper supervision older children can use a hobby saw to cut out the necessary pieces, while children of any age can assemble and then paint the finished pieces.

Prefab birdhouses and feeders are also available at most hobby stores for parents wanting to bypass having to cut out patterns for the kids. There are precut wooden shapes available that are perfect for painting. Precut ornament shapes can also be found for fun painting and decorating projects. After completion hang them on the tree or over windows.

Another fun project is building toad houses. These creative little amphibian homes can be made out of just about anything and requires only glue and paint to complete. Use left over odds and ends like buttons or sea shells to add a special decorative touch and it’s ready for use. Save money on any of these projects by salvaging wood from old projects to create new ones.

Mining for Gems

Yes, it’s true, gem mining can be accomplished at the kitchen table with just a bucket of gem gravel, a bowl of water, and a small strainer. This is a treasure hunt that will have them sifting eagerly in search of hidden gems that can be used for jewelry projects. Gem dirt is available for purchase at many gem & mineral mines, and some will even offer to ship it straight to the customer. Choose from “rainbow” buckets that contain a variety of gemstones or keep it natural for a more authentic experience.


Have a lot of old seashells lying around in drawers or boxes? Round them up and put them to use in a seashell project. Build a wind chime or use them to decorate other items. Spruce up an old jewelry box or plain wooden box by gluing the shells to it in creative designs. Drill holes in them and use colorful ribbon to create unique holiday ornaments to hang on the tree.

Inspire Children to Help Others

During tough economic times, other families are feeling the punch as well. Why not design a hobby that helps others? Ask the kids to help create a “Make Someone’s Day” gift basket by having each child select a DVD, book, or toy that is still in good condition. Make plans to donate it to a local charity or give it to someone else who might also enjoy it. It’s the little things in life that can make the bright spot in someone’s day.