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Weekend Art Project

While skimming through Pinterest recently, my daughter and I came across a project that looked fun and inexpensive so we thought we’d give it a try. It utilizes heavy art paper, a lot of crayons, white glue, scrap paper, and painter’s tape. 12715686_10153753304735660_3061785048652222276_n

Start the project by applying a thick layer of glue where you want the crayons positioned, then set the crayons into the glue. It will take several hours for this to dry, so just lay it flat for a while (we let it sit overnight).

Next, cut out a shape you’d like to have centered in the color splash (or several, or even none). It’s important to use painter’s tape because the hot blow dryer will not melt the adhesive (trust me, other types of tape failed). Tape around the edges of the shape, then trim it to shape and place on the canvas under the drip line.

With a blow dryer, melt the crayons and let the wax run down over the entire canvas. You’ll need to hover over a section until you get a good amount running down then aim the blow dryer to spread it out.

The wax will dry in a few minutes so when you’ve covered the canvas, peel up the taped-on shape while it is still wet. If you wait until it dries, it will tend to pop and crack off. Try using different color combinations and shapes and get creative!

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Ad Tracking On Facebook and How To Stop It

So you visit a website, let’s say… a Halloween costume shop because you are looking for the perfect spandex bodysuit to play your favourite super hero. The next time you log in to Facebook, you’re seeing ads down the side of your page and stealthily snuck into your News Feed. These ads are full of spandex body suits. And latex. And worse. You only needed a spidey costume! Your browser has tracked your surfing activity and fed it back to Facebook. Do you feel violated yet?

There is now a way to drastically reduce the number of activity-based ads (also known as behavioral advertising) that you see on Facebook. Since simply turning off your cookies renders Facebook (and many other websites) virtually unusable, the Digital Advertising Alliance gives you a tool to opt out of tracking based advertising. Here’s how you do it:

Visit the Digital Advertising Alliance’s opt-out page at: http://www.aboutads.info/choices/ (Think of this DAA tool as the “Do Not Call” list of the Internet.)

The page will automatically begin scanning the browser you are using for companies that are tracking your activity and reporting it to Facebook to generate ads.

When the scan is complete, you will see a list of companies that have been participating in this on your computer at your expense. Here, you want to check the “Select All” box, then submit your choices at the bottom.

Once complete, you will have a screen that looks like this:

Opt Outs

I have selected the 3rd tab here to show companies that are no longer tracking what I do for advertising (and God only knows what other purposes). As you can see, 118 companies were found in this case to be tracking activity. Of those, one “could not be communicated with.” 96 of these companies had an option to “opt out” of their tracking based advertising. The rest had no available opt-outs. Still, there are now 96 companies that are no longer tracking me for Facebook ads? I’ll take it.

Of course, this will not get rid of all of your Facebook ads – they have to stay afloat somehow and advertising is their primary source of income. However, you can feel a little bit better about your privacy and that in itself is worth a few clicks.