Category Archives: Home Biz Ideas

Learning about Second income ideas for supplemental income and help lower debts and survive today’s high costs of living.

Make a Sculpture with Papier Mache

papier mache crafts, holiday, mardi gras, carnaval,
papier mache in history, religion, arts, festivals

The art of papier mache has been used by many cultures, and nations, for ceremonial, decorative, archetectural, utilitarian and even military purposes. Today, papier mache can still be found useful and not just in school but businesses too. Have you considered a fun papier mache project for an upcoming holiday?

Let’s Recycle that Paper

A few key points to consider, and take pride, regarding delving into papier mache art can be found such as:

– recycling paper is part of good environment stewardship
– creativity for a project is boundless and fulfilling
– art is created for display and/or immediate use
– papier mache is open to children and adults

The purpose of a pulp and paper mill, is to create, recover and recycle paper, on a mass scale. We can do our own part in recycling paper with the art of papier mache and produce our own ‘paper product‘. There are artists out there, and I mean, seriously skilled papier mache artists, who can create beautiful and fantastic projects.

Mardis Gras, Fat Tuesday, Carnaval, and Pagan Celebrations

Many different nations, societies and cultures around the world,  each have their own unique holidays. These holidays may get adopted, or shared by, and with, other societies, to eventually become annual events- such as the Mardi Gras -initially celebrated by French colonists in the southern United States, and now a economical, popular ,tourist attraction, for New Orleans.

Mardis Gras origins arise from ‘Carnaval’ celebrated and popular in Brazil, Venice and New Orleans. It evolved from thousands of years back when Pagans ( the Druids?) celebrated spring solstice and fertility.

Holiday Papier Mache Crafts

Papier mache can be used to easily bring to life , all types of creative and artistic ideas whether it is a Pinata, Halloween mask, theater project, decoration, or cool movie prop seen in your latest favorite movie. Parade floats are usually done with papier mache over a pre-shaped wire frame (armature) which can be easily done at home too, with the right materials such as:

– bendable window screen
– foil baking sheets
– tin foil
– chicken wire (for large projects)

You can bend your ‘armature’ into any shape you need and like -then add your layers of papier mache, to your desired thickness but ensure all sides and edges are covered. Gently sand with sand paper to smooth any rough edges, cover with white paint then paint again adding every color you like, and add a protective coating with adding a sealant, to prevent damage from moisture.

The last step is to add embellishments- all colors of feathers,beads,buttons, baubles and all sorts of glam! Some jewellery designers will add a, or a few, layers of colored tissue paper, for a very unique look before sealing their own jewellery designs.

Find your Inner Papier Mache Sculptor

Paper mache projects can be found in festivals but can also be used to create items for you to sell. So, go ahead, do a search on the big Google and see who is making what, with paper mache. It’s all about fun and oh, the amazing creativity! Find something that inspires you to enter the world of papier mache.

Learning in Motion


Extra Reading + Resources

How to Paper Mache – DLTK’s Crafts for Kids  

How to Build a Parade Float

Go for the Gold Letter

I hope you found this article informative. Please feel free to leave your comments and share your own observations or experiences.  Use the ‘Ask a Question’ to ask about a topic of your own interest be included. It is FREE to subscribe by my RSS feed. ** Share this article to friends and family! **


How to Start a Rental Guest House

a Guest CottageThe idea of entering and starting a ‘cottage/guest house‘ rental side business, can operate with success, if done with great marketing and management. If you use your search engine and type in words having to do with cottage rentals, you will find quite a few listings about such places. Such an endeavor can provide an extra source of income. Where do we start?

2nd Income Trends

A trend in the housing industry was recommending to have a ‘guest‘ house built on your property. One could use it for their elderly parent or as a rental income. You would have to do research into local municipal by- laws, zoning laws and regulations about providing such accommodations. Applications and fee’s can be found at the local municipal city hall office. Also, one must get a business license to operate such accommodations.

Cottage rentals have been an ongoing popular operation and source of income, for many years. Those who are able to afford buying their cottage may live in their own primary residence or have a second cottage for personal use. It does take money to begin this project but the long term pay off can be quite rewarding. A successful operation can bring repeat business, continuous bookings, a good reputation and sense of prestige.

Required Skills and Knowledge

Operating a rental business does require knowledge in the hospitality and tourism industry, local Landlords Act along with business management skills. It is IMPORTANT to have these skills therefore I do recommend at least taking a course in these areas. A business plan will help you keep ‘direction‘ and ‘overview‘ of maintaining your business, marketing skills will help you learn to promote, advertise and know your competition, financial skills will help you stay in operation, and, business law will help you be aware of rights and responsibilities ,as an owner and for the customer/tenant. Paper work is involved with this business, as all businesses do have to provide for tax reporting.

The owner of a cottage or guest house will have some steps to follow once skills and knowledge are gained. A first step is having the property, for a cottage or guest house, and figuring out, how to set it up for occupancy. If it’s a two to three bedroom, one can offer a occupancy of three to six people, if functioning as a ‘cottage‘. This is done if you have bunk beds in the bedrooms and/or additional, if there are pull out beds. Furniture would have to be sturdy and removal of ‘personal‘ items done. Keep it to bare necessities as the ‘guests‘ will bring their own. Just think how a hotel room provides for their guests.

A method to deliver keys for the guest(s) would be required. Some may have a ‘lock-box‘ on site, a key pad lock may also be used or just go out and meet them in person, to deliver the keys. A major consideration and requirement for any business, is insurance. Do shop around and meet with insurance agencies who can provide for ‘vacation‘ or ‘rental‘ accommodation businesses, and they provide a good pricing range. Insurance protects you, your property and customers.

Hotels have computerized programs which help them with their booking schedules. As a small owner/operator of your guest house or cottage, you can also find computer software programs to help you with your own booking schedules. One can also offer to add the traditional method, of signing a guest book upon arrival and departure, if you’d like to add sense of ‘vintage‘ to your operations.

The advertising and promotion of your cottage or guest house will create awareness and bring customers. This can be done with attending trade shows related to the tourism and hospitality industry, registering with ‘vacation‘ or ‘rental‘ agencies, creating your own website with option to ‘book‘ a time schedule.

Excellent photographs will also be needed since these will help provide prospective customers with an idea of what they will find. This is also a good time to share available local sights and amenities, available activities and resources (boat, canoe, etc.). It’s suggested with your advertising, that it be done on international, national and regional sites to build and gain a wider awareness of your service(s).

Live in Action

Extra Reading

How to Start a Bed and Breakfast in Ontario

CMHC- Dealing With Problems

Brian’s Backyard Tiny Guest House

Owning a cottage or guest house can provide an interesting and rewarding experience. It can also be handled by a property manager once success can afford the extra costs of hiring. This area of business would be considered part of the real estate industry and why it’s popular. It can provide a source of supplemental or eventual full time income and improve your quality of living. It will take patience to learn all that’s involved along with the costs to acquire such a property but as mentioned, the long term benefits can prove rewarding.

I hope you found this article informative. Please feel free to leave your comments and share with your Friends. Use the ‘Ask a Question’ form and recommend a topic of your own interest, for the next Post! 

Article(C)2009 – current AIC|An Informal Cornr, all rights reserved. Ginsense writes articles on business skills, development, health, science, technology and society and enjoys advocating for independence, security and a better world for all of us. She is also a Writer available for Hire,  🙂


How to Earn Extra Cash – Enlarge Photo’s Service

How to Earn Extra Cash – Enlarge Photo’s Service

A corner of your apartment or even a converted closet, can be a suitable work space, to begin your own niche business, offering photo editing services, specifically, enlarging photographs, and earn some cash. How do I start?

The technique described here is to provide yourself with operating a basic service and pricing will be up to you. Just remember to not view customers as cash cows. Your little business service, if done well, will grow over time, as will your income. Treat your customers well and they will return but most importantly, they will send their friends and family. Word-of-mouth advertising, is beyond priceless.

A little of your own investment for equipment will be needed, as follows:

  • Computer
  • Scanner
  • (Free online photo editor to download)
  • Printer + ink cartridges
  • Photo paper (optional)
  • Flash drives (optional)

Let’s begin, here are the steps :

1. Take your photo that needs enlarging.
2. Place into scanner, usually face down, set or save, as a PDF. Some scanners will auto-open while others may require to save the file. Remember the NAME of the file!


Should look like this when opened with Adobe Reader. Good job! (Is that me? Yes, back when I was young and sporting that metal, rock and alternative rock gal, image). Be ready to have a couple windows, and programs, open.

3. Open your program and have it ready.
4. Once your PDF photo is open, tap your PrtSc or Print Screen key. This will capture an image of your PDF photo.


5. Go to your program and under Edit, scroll to Paste. Your image should now appear. Again, you may want to SAVE this new file. Close your Adobe Reader program. Your Paint file should look like this image, with the dotted lines.


6. Move your cursor to the bottom right dot. A little hand should pop open. Click on that corner dot, and HOLD your mouse and DRAG the corner, to enlarge your photo. Do your best to keep it’s original shape. ( Yes, that’s a different photo I captured).

7. Once you have it to your desired size, click on IMAGE then scroll to ‘Crop to Selection’, and click. Save your new enlarged photograph. Again, remember the NAME of your new file. Unfortunately, your photo size is limited to what you can see in program. My photo’s are about 4”x3” but you can paste into a word processor program, enlarge again and print.
8. The size of your new file can be found under Image, scroll to Resize. A box pops open and right at the top will tell you the size. (My own enlarged photo is 1.8Mb).
9. All you have to do now, is transfer the NEW enlarged photo to the Flash drive for your customer. They can either purchase a Flash drive from you (meaning you will need a few on hand) and will bring in extra cash! or they can bring their own. All other image and pdf files can be stored in your customer file.
10. You can use your Printer and photo paper to offer customers a print-out of their new larger photo, one or more copies, again, for extra cash, price fairly. Ensure you adjust your Printer for Photo’s since you can print one or more. Do your best to not waste your Photo paper.
11. Another method of delivery to your customers is by email. Attach their new photo to the email and send.

A few notes to think about in providing this service. Some digital photo’s appear to blur as they are enlarged whereas a photo from 35mm cameras (yes, those old photo’s stored in photo albums) can keep it’s appearance along with any ‘age spots’ but they do remain clear.

Other services you can provide with your new found business, is offer people services to ‘digitize‘ their photographs or important documents. Again, save it on a flash drive or send by email to a cloud service (Dropbox, One Drive, Google Drive, etc.), where customers can download them. This is a service so be sure you charge a fee.

Marketing can be simple such as posters, stating your business name and services with contact information on tear away strips, such as this image.(Psst!  Do your best to have yours looking spiffier than my example).

acornrsmplpstrPlace these posters in high traffic areas where people will NOTICE them. Apartment buildings, free boards, laundromat, food store, etc. Other promotional methods include :

  • Tell your friends and family to pass the word along.
  • Business cards, hand them out to store owners, restaurants, etc.
  • Network at community events with elders, parents, pet owners. Give them your business card.
  • Use a T-shirt iron on transfer with your business name on it. Print your business name services and contact information on transfer paper, iron on t-shirts.
  • Check your newspaper, to post a free ‘Announcement‘ about your business.
  • List your business online in business directories.

Operate your business with utmost security, of confidential information about your customers. Respect and friendly service will help build word-of-mouth advertising and repeat customers. You can go online and learn about the special effects the program offers, and add these skills to your services, and then graduate to the professional programs such as Adobe Photo Shop suite.

Learn about as many photo editing programs as possible and how to use them. Some are free and others will require outright purchasing. An article by FroKnowsPhoto writes that the Adobe Photo suites is offered as a ‘subscription‘ only with prices ranging from $20 – $50 per month.

Learning in Action

Extra Reading

Money Home Blog

Canada Business Network – Online Marketing Info

Small Business + Start-Ups Forum 

The end of the day, this little niche business service may not be totally glamorous but does offer the opportunity for a little ‘extra income’,  work at home and consider yourself an Entrepreneur. Learning from this little service business may help towards launching, adding more services, or entering, a larger business. Nothing wrong with dreaming about the infinite possibilities available.  What’s your dream?

Article (C) 2009 – current AIC|An Informal Cornr, all rights reserved. Ginsense writes articles on business skills, development, health, science, technology and society and enjoys advocating for independence, security and a better world for all of us. She is also a VEA available for Hire and includes Writing too! 🙂