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Finding the right pieces to complete your wardrobe can be challenging, but bras seem to defy even the most skilled shopper. Bras that should technically fit have straps that dig in or cups that never seem to sit right. There are the lovely lacy bras, there are the comfortable supportive bras, and the two never seem to have much in common. And if you’re a bargain hunter, best of luck with sizing, as to whether you’re a 34B or a 44E, your size is likely to be sold out. But bra shopping need not be a constant misery. A look at the most common factors in poor bra selection should help you spot the cause of your bra shopping woes.

Made to Measure

When was the last time you were measured for a bra? If you have lost or gained weight, or recently begun an exercise program, you may be due for a fitting. Get measured at a lingerie shop, or if there’s not one near you, have a friend measure you. If you’re having a friend measure you, have them measure under your breasts and at the fullest point of your breasts when standing upright, bare-chested. For the best possible fit, your friend should measure the fullest point of your breasts when you are bent over at the waist and while you are laying flat on your back. Calculate the average of the three fullest point measurements to get a cup size that will fit you through a full range of motion.

In Your Cups

Your bra cups should contain all of your breast tissue. There should be nothing spilling over the sides. The straps should never dig in, and the band should never gape. The center gore between your breasts should always sit flat against your sternum. If all of these things are not present, try different sizes until you find a size that fits best. Many people find that they are a smaller band size and larger cup size than they imagined. For instance, some people go from 42C to 40DD.

Get In Where You Fit In

Buy bras in shops where the selection in your size is plentiful. It might seem cheap and convenient to try the bargain basement shops. But what you gain in a 25 percent off sale, you lose in hours trying to find a suitable size and decent selection. The smaller selection in larger sizes are quickly snapped up. Bra shops that cater to those with fuller bra sizes will have bras suitable for all occasions. When you shop at stores that cater to your needs, you can buy that halter top with the confidence that you’ll find a suitable bra to go under it.

There’s Hope

The average American bra size recently jumped from 34B to 34E, and the average American dress size is now 16. This may prompt retailers to offer a broader selection of bras in fuller sizes, making bra shopping less of a pain. But the most powerful weapon against the misery of bra shopping is you. Insist on the quality you deserve, and shop at retailers who respect that right. Get the support you need.

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How to Make Your Own Biodegradable Seedling Pots

by Gail Kavanagh

Growing seedlings in plastic trays is a tricky business. While separating the seedlings to be transplanted into the garden, they can get stressed and damaged, and the roots can become tangled. But there is a simple solution: sow your seeds in biodegradable pots and plant them in the earth, container and all. There will be no more stressed or wounded seedlings and they grow happily in the soil in which they were set. Here are some ways you can make your own seedling pots from recycled materials.

Egg Cartons

The recycled paper material used to make pulp egg cartons (not the plastic kind) are perfect for recycling again into the garden. Cut each cup into an individual container and place them side by side in your garden tray. Each little cup can be filled with soil and planted with small seeds – two or three is best, to give the seedlings a good chance. Don’t heavily water the seedlings, just gently mist them with a spray bottle filled with water. When they are large enough to transplant, it is easy to just take each cup and seedling and plant it directly into the ground. The cup will rot and allow the roots to grow down into the soil.

Toilet Roll Tubes

Have you ever wondered what use these ubiquitous items have besides making skittles for toddlers? They make ideal seedling pots. Fit several into a seedling tray or tin half as deep as the toilet rolls, and fill each roll with potting soil. You can put larger seeds into these, like nasturtium or melon, one to a roll, and keep lightly misted until the seedling appears and fine roots appear at the bottom of the roll. Transplant the seedlings into the spot in the garden where they are to grow in their cardboard containers.

Newspaper, scrap paper and brown paper

Making seedling pots from rolled paper is quick and easy for fast growing plants like squash, but for slower growing seedlings use a technique similar to paper maché. You can use empty yogurt tubs or plastic drinking cups for molds. Tear the paper into strips wide enough to cover the whole outside of the mold – including the bottom – and long enough to wind around the mold several times. Soak the strips in warm water for a few minutes, then wind around and under the mold. Set the cups in the sun and let the paper dry. Slip them out of the mold and fill with potting soil. These will hold together well, but if a corner goes astray, use a stapler (not glue or cello-tape) to fix it in place.

It is simple to make these biodegradable seedling pots, and you will find that other materials can be used as well. Cardboard can be rolled in a fashion similar to toilet rolls and held in place with staples. Old garments can be utilized as well – pieces cut from woolly sleeves and denim jeans can be stood up, filled with soil, and will work nicely as seedling pots. Large potato or rice sacks can be filled with soil, and openings cut in the side to make attractive strawberry or herb planters. Keep your eyes open and you will see that you don’t need fancy, expensive gardening accessories. Recycling is a frugal option that works even better.

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