Year: 2017

How to Solve Problems

No one would fix a car without knowledge of its mechanics, yet we all try to solve problems even though we know that we don’t know what to do.  Well, good for us! Problem-solving inspires education and the creative use thereof.

The following process, which uses writing to solve problems, will help you arrive at solutions by organizing your mind, clarifying your thoughts, and eliminating confusion:

  • In detail, list all your problems in writing.
  • Write a new list that groups similar or related problems. (Similar problems might appear in many groups. This indicates a major problem that you previously failed to recognize. Solve a major problem and many related problems fall away. Adjust your list accordingly.)
  • Using the grouped list, rank the groups from most to least serious.
  • Pick the top group to resolve. (You will revisit or revise the list as things change.)
a knotty problem
Example of knots

Clarify your thinking:

  • Say to yourself “If everything was perfect, this would happen.” Describe in detailed writing your imagined perfect outcome. (This clarifies your objectives.)
    • Out of your “if everything was perfect” description, list what things already exist in your life that provide partial solutions to your problem. Once you recognize them, you can set them aside. They are “done.”
    • Out of your “if everything was perfect” description:
      • Note what components (parts) you need to know, have, or do.
      • Based on that list, write out what small and potentially easy changes you can immediately do to satisfy these needs, then do them immediately, starting with the easiest.
  • Repeat this process at “Clarify your thinking” when the situation changes, or when you move on to solving additional problems you initially identified.

If, over time, your anxiety increases, repeat the entire process by identifying all your problems, then reducing them from a large, knotty mess, to the ones that need the most immediate attention.

Questions? Comments? Ask Karen Little at


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How to Learn Royal Icing Techniques

While the Internet provides lots of information on how to work with Royal Icing, there is little information on how to prepare your kitchen for practice sessions.

If you are confused, consider the following tips:

  • Study pictures and decide what types of designs you love best. Start with Pinterest (here’s my selection), or the Images search on Google or Bing. These will become your inspirations and design goals.
  • Cookies with Royal IcingIdentify the online classes (free or fee) you’d love to take. Search the Internet using the phrase “learn Royal Icing cookie decorating.” Pay attention to classes, as well as those on YouTube.  Stephanie Kappel,  Julia Usher and Sweetambs all produce excellent tutorials.

To set up your student environment:

  • Over time (before making the frosting), bake and refrigerate 3 to 4 batches of cut-out sugar cookies for use in your practice sessions. The best shapes for practice are square and circular.
  • Purchase:
    • Disposable applicator cones (plastic or parchment). If plastic, also buy bag ties to keep frosting from accidentally flowing out of a cone’s large end.
    • Either four of each size 1 and 2 applicator tips for use with disposable cones so you can pipe with multiple colors during the same session, or simply cut the tip of your cones off to accomplish the same thing, but with less sizing control. (Note that tip couplers are not needed.)
    • Several long picks called scribe tools.
    • A glass spray bottle, which can be sanitized, for use in incrementally adding water to your frosting mixture.
  • Assemble the cones prior to a session.
  • During each session, experiment with frosting consistencies and colors mixed in separate small bowls. Have several available.
  • Test frosting consistency by filling a cone with about 1.5 inches of frosting. If the consistency doesn’t work, squeeze it back into the mixing bowl, throw the cone away, and repeat as needed.
  • Refrigerate unused frosting in an air-tight container for future use.

Now that you are organized, practice, practice, practice!


Questions? Comments? Ask Karen Little at


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Quilted, Corded Fabric Necklace in Shades of Light Brown and Orange


This four-strand quilted necklace designed by Karen Little is made from 100% cotton, including the fill. Its materials showcase three patterns, with its primary colors being light brown and burnt orange.

The longest strand falls approximately 9″ from the neck dimple and the shortest, 6″. The clasp opens easily, but for simplicity, you can slide the necklace over your head.

To remove commercial chemicals prior to assembly, the fabric was washed in mild detergent.

As fabric necklaces are similar to scarves, gently sponge it off after wearing with a mild detergent. I use Johnson Baby Wash as it is delicate and leaves no residue.

All workmanship on this necklace and your satisfaction is guaranteed or your money back.

How to Start a New Project Using Accelerated Learning Techniques

Use accelerated learning techniques when facing a new role, project, or subject. Overcome your fears of not knowing where to start, minimize the time it takes to organize new information, and easily remember what you learned.

To quickly move forward (even if you don’t yet know what you are doing), follow these six tips:

  • If you are a student, learn as much about the topic before you take the class, which is easy to do because so much information is on the Internet. BONUS: If you prepare well in the beginning, you’ll study less when in a crunch.
  • If, however, you need to learn something, but no one is around to guide you, bookmark related Internet articles, and, of course, read them. BONUS: Many browsers let you annotate (write on, cross out) the information you saved as well as provide ways to organize your material.
  • Use screen captures and your cell phone’s camera like photocopy machines. BONUS: Create your own study guides using copy’n paste.
  • When reading through new information, type (or dictate) all words you don’t understand, define those words (using copy’n paste), and review your list three to four times. BONUS: Minimum typing.
  • Using your computer’s or cell phone’s recording capability, dictate your list twice. 1) Read everything, including the definitions and 2) Limit reading the vocabulary without definitions. Listen to both lists several times, but pause after each vocabulary-only word, then say its meaning out-loud as best you can from memory.
  • Never review the information you already know. As you work through your reference material, cross out what you know, and only concentrate on what you need to learn. BONUS: Time saved!

Enjoy executing your newly acquired knowledge!

Questions? Comments? Ask Karen Little at


All rights reserved by Littleviews and Karen Little.