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Grab Bag

Editor's Note: this article by Zena Pearcy of Austin, Texas, is reprinted from The News, a publication of the National Federation of the Blind of Texas (Summer 1996).

We are including a new feature in this issue of 'The Canadian Blind Monitor'. As you can see, it is called Grab Bag, and the idea of this feature is to provide our readers with helpful tips on how to accomplish all sorts of tasks using alternative techniques. Some of the tips we present will come from professionals who teach such techniques. Others, we hope, will come from our readers.

So, if you use alternative techniques that you would like to share with others, please, send us detailed information about them. We will present as many of these tips and hints as we can in each edition. With this kind of help we can all become more independent.

To submit items for Grab Bag, write to:

NFB:AE, P.O. Box 5058, Station A, Kelowna, B.C. V1Y 8T9

Our first Grab Bag tip will assist you in labeling canned food and in maintaining a grocery list. We hope you find it helpful. For many years, blind people who use Braille have labelled cans using dymo tape and various other methods, but I have found that thin, flat magnets work very well for this purpose. Many companies use these magnets as advertising giveaways. So, you may be able to obtain some that way, and they are available for purchase from Easier Ways, 1101 N. Calvert Street, Baltimore, MD 21202. Their phone number is (410) 659-0232.

These magnets are small enough to put on the top of a can, and it is easy to emboss them with Braille by simply using a slate and stylus. You can also make up magnetic labels for other items, such as produce, meats, juices, and anything else you buy on a regular basis. Obviously, they won't stick to lettuce or ground beef, but you can put them in a drawer near your refrigerator, and when you use up the item in question, you can grab the appropriate magnetic label and stick it on the fridge. You can also take the magnets off your cans as you use them and do the same. Using this technique you can maintain an accurate grocery list, which you can transcribe onto paper before going to the market. Then, you can simply clear off your refrigerator list, and start all over.

The great thing about this labelling and list-making method is that you can reuse the magnets, which is a real time saver.