LittleBits teaches children how to use microcontrollers

“It is easy to learn how to use these controllers,” says Travis Good, editor at Make magazine. “Even kids can do it.” They sure can with a kit from littleBitslittleBits. On these microprocessor boards, each color is an input, a processor, or an output. The parts snap together and in only one way so that it is impossible for inexperienced users to make a mistake. Kids can prototype systems without worrying that they will damage the parts by lack of knowledge. LittleBits are pricier than the plain Arduino. A starter kit costs almost $90.



In your first place? Get cleaning advice from Ask a Clean Person.

Ask a Clean PersonThe Hairpin columnist Jolie Kerr offers cleaning advice to young people who have never had to do it before. Recent questions that she has answered include how to clean a juicer, how to get jeans stains out of a carpet after an intense make-out session, and then, seriously, how to make a bed. I suppose that, if the bed had been made, the carpet would have been spared.

Ask a Clean Person

A plumber reveals his toilet clearing secrets

The Art of Manliness“Rod from Roto-Rooter” dumps his plumber’s secrets for unclogging a toilet. First, he emphasizes, avoid disaster by removing the top off the tank and pressing the flapper down to keep the bowl from overflowing. Then he suggests heating the rubber plunger with hot water to make it more pliable. Finally, he reveals his magic weapon: pouring hot water into the clog along with some dishwasher soap. Rod also offers tips for keeping a toilet clog free, including cleaning the water jets around the rim to maintain a strong flush.
How to Unclog a Toilet Like a Plumber

Learn how to apply the latest makeup looks at Smashbox

SmashboxLadies aren’t born knowing how to apply makeup. Smashbox makeup artists show us how to apply the latest looks (using Smashbox products, of course) with videos and printable step-by-step directions. Consider this a do-it-yourself site for your face! Dean and Davis Factor, the great-grandsons of Max Factor, are the founders of the Smashbox Studio Cosmetics company.

ALLDATA Offers Professional-level Car Repair Information

AllData.comThis site, from the AutoZone car parts store, is geared mainly toward professional mechanics who want to buy repair information. Still, ALLDATA does offer some help for do-it-yourselfers. Browse TechTips written by ASE-certified master technicians and engine machinists ( For about $25 per year, you can buy a subscription to ALLDATA’s database of repair and diagnostic data covering more than 20,000 vehicles dating back to 1982.

Learn to Knit and Crochet from the Craft Yarn Council of America (CYCA)

Craft Council of AmericaNeed to learn how to knit or crochet, or maybe just need a refresher? Visit the handy online tutorials of the Craft Yarn Council of America (CYCA). This yarn industry trade association offers both knitting and crochet lessons along with simple, quick patterns that make good gifts. Visit the “Project Ideas” section for patterns for ponchos, bandanas, and an easy “boa” scarf.

Can you can?

Learn to canJarden Branded Consumables, purveyor of those old Mason jars, offers step-by-step instruction on the traditional art of canning. Find recipes for all sorts of foods that you can “put up.” Buy your supplies here, too. Also in French on its Canadian mirror site.