Best Made Company

Came across this neat online store (that actually design some of their own stuff). It’s called Best Made Company and pretty much does what it says. They try to sell the best of all sorts of things, from shirts to toolboxes. There’s a slight leaning towards outdoorsy stuff, but also plenty of other things, including Best Made Soap. Their hardware is, as you’d expect, made to last for generations. It’s a real pleasure to just browse and admire the good old-fashioned workmanship.

Best Made Toolbox
Our Famous Red Wool Blanket

Best Made Company® is dedicated to equipping customers with quality tools and dependable information that they can use and pass down for generations. We seek to empower people to get outside, use their hands and in doing so embark on a life of fulfilling projects and lasting experiences. [From the About Page]

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IdeaPaint: Turn Your Walls Into Whiteboards.

Autistic children often have a lot of creative energy, but it doesn’t always end up in the right place. Why not turn their bedroom walls into whiteboards, and let them use the space for artistic expression? IdeaPaint is a special paint that creates a whiteboard-like surface, and is used in schools, offices and other spaces where creativity is encouraged. Video from DailyGrommet.

Manuka Belt: The No-Buckle Magnetic Belt

Autistics are often hyper-sensitive to tactile stimuli, the feeling of certain fabrics, labels or seams rubbing against the skin, or the tightness of clothing. I know of one person on the autistic spectrum who can’t touch fleece with her bare hands (except her thumbs, for some reason). This blog has featured a  clothing line  that caters specially for autistic children; with soft fabrics, and no labels or seams that stick out. Belts can be a problem for some autistics, because they’re often either too tight or too loose, the holes never seem to be in the right place. Belt buckles are also a pain for autistics with poor fine motor skills.

The Manuka Belt offers a neat solution. It has no buckle, and relies on the magnetized strap to keep the belt in place (even against 20 pounds of force). With no holes, it’s infinitely adjustable to within a fraction of an inch, ensuring a perfect fit any time. The belt is made of a neodymium rubber composite, so the magnetic material is mixed into the rubber itself. The belt is currently featured on Kickstarter, interested parties can sign up on the Manuka Magnetics website to be notified of when and where it goes on sale.

Etymotic ER-20 Noise-Adjusting Earplugs

Many autistics are sensitive to noise, including what non-autistics would regard as normal background noise (e.g. muzak and chatter in a mall, traffic sounds on the street, various noises at a fairground, chatter in a school cafeteria) . Being on the ASD spectrum, I personally find background chatter and muzak distressing after a few minutes. In such environments, I normally listen to slow music on my earphones, but it’s not convenient when holding a conversation at the same time.

Some autistics get round the problem by wearing these earplugs from Etymotic. Unlike normal earplugs, the ER-20 is designed to reduce volume without blocking sound completely, and maintains a high degree of fidelity, so you can hear conversations or music clearly (just not as loud). Some autistic users have found them helpful in reducing the irritation of ambient noise.

“I am autistic with severe sensory deficits. These ear plugs are perfect for this problem. Have tried sponge ear plugs off and on, but they muffle all sound. The Etymotic Ear Plugs keep the sounds sharp and audible but just turn the volume down. It was recommended by a friend who has the same problem.” [Amazon customer review]

The earplugs come in different sizes, so be sure to get the right size for your ear canal. The earplug stem sticks out of the ear, so depending on how your ear canal is angled, it may (or may not) be conspicuous. For examples, see the pics below, courtesy of Amazon. The wearer in the second pic appears to have a ear canal that’s angled down, so the earplug stem is less obvious. For detailed product specs, visit the Etymotic website.

What’s a Disorganized Person To Do?

This well-organized book by Stacey Platt gives hundreds of useful tips for the organizationally-challenged. This is a book you can enjoy just browsing through; the layout is a pleasure to behold, and the photographs are beautiful. The author obviously knows her stuff, she’s a professional organizer who coaches high-value clients.

“This is the greatest book I have seen on organizing. It is incredibly informative, actionable and easy to read. I am going to send one to all of my friends and family members. There is so much great information on things that I never realized I was doing incorrectly.” [Amazon customer review]