Friday, October 5, 2012

How to make stitch and crochet markers

Crochet Stitch Markers

Tutorial: How to make crochet stitch markers

It seems like my recent post about stitch markers have generated quite a bit of views, I guess I’m not the only one that finds them adorable. In case you don't know which post I’m referring to, go here:

So since so many are interested in stitch markers I have decided to make a tutorial on how to make them, cause I know readers just simply love tutorials! They are really fun to make cause you don't need a lot of materials, and they are super easy to make too!
Here are the things that you will need to make a simple beaded stitch marker (the one that we are making today will be an open marker which means they are perfect for crocheting):

·        Beads
·        Headpin
·        Lobster clasp
·        Round nose pliers
·        Chain nose pliers
·        Cutter

Materials needed to make stich markers

Tools needed to use to make stitch markers

1. Slide your bead/beads through a headpin.  Here I’m using 2 pearls and some spacers.

step nr 1.

2. Holding the bead firmly in one hand, use the other hand to bend the headpin 90 degree downward, just above the last bed. Push your nail at spot where you will be making the bend with the hand holding the bead so that you get a neat bend.


3. Leave about 7-8mm of the pin and use your cutter to cut away the rest. The length of the headpin will determine the size of your loop. If you want a smaller/bigger loop, the length of the pin should be adjusted accordingly. 7-8mm should give you a medium size loop, the way I like it.


4: Time to make a loop.
Take your round nose pliers and grip the tip of the wire firmly, leaving just a tiny little bit of wire peeking through the barrels of your pliers. 


5. Now rotate your wrist to twist the wire into a semi-loop.

6. Release the wire and rotate your wrist back to its start position, grip the wire one more time and rotate again till you get a complete loop.
(If you are having trouble with this, you can check out the many video tutorials available on Youtube, just search for Jewelry Making Simple Loop, you should find all the help you need).


7. Now we will need to open the loop to insert the lobster clasp. To do this, firmly hold the neck of the loop with your round-nose pliers.  

8. Using your chain-nose pliers, grip the tail of the wire where the opening. With both hands gripping on the pliers firmly, gently twist one pliers up and the other down. Now there will be an opening in the loop.
(Again, if you struggle with this step, those Youtube videos should be able to help)

9. Insert the lobster clasp through the loop.


10. Using the same method above, close the loop.


So there you go! Easy peasy steps to making your own stitch marker and/or crochet markers.
Stitch marker - final product

If you do not wish to use lobster clasp and prefer to have a set of closed markers, you can use any suitable sized ring-type findings you can find at your craft store instead. 

Have fun crafting!


Monday, October 1, 2012

Stitch Markers – Aren't They Fun

Stitch Markers – what they are, how to use them and why are they so much fun?!!

When I was younger I loved to try new things, fun and creative things (hmm maybe not much has changed). For instance, I tried sewing – I sewed little dresses and shawls for my Barbie doll; I tried patchworking – made a little quilt for my nephew when he was just a tiny little baby, I wonder if my sister-in-law still kept it; I also tried knitting and got one sweater out of it, it was pink with purple stripes and very comfortable (Im sure mom still kept it somewhere, I should try and look for it and post a picture)! I still find these things that I learned then interesting and wish one day I would be able to pick them up again.
I think all knitters would agree with me that one of the fun things about knitting is having all these cool looking supplies, knitting tools and notions to play with. From the thousands of beautiful and colourful balls of yarns to various types and sizes of needles, from fancy row counters to cute little markers!

When I was learning how to knit, collecting these tools and supplies was the best part about knitting. Every other day when I went for my lesson I would bring home something new, usually yarns cause they were so irresistibly adorable (which I end up never using). Other times needles, cause I absolutely had to have all the sizes available. Im sure all you knitters out there can relate!

One thing I didn’t find back then were stitch markers like the ones we have today. Those days stitch markers we had were these colorful little plastic ones, they were cute back then but nothing compared to what’s available today.

So what are stitch markers?
Stitch markers are usually little round rings (or you can also find fancy square ones these days) that are slipped onto a needle to mark a spot in a row. Stitch markers are very crucial especially to free-crocheting and are often used to count rounds. They are also used to mark certain number of stitches and where blocks of different stitches to be placed. There are generally 2 types of stitch markers, closed stitch markers and open ones. When crocheting, only open stitch-markers are used.

How to use stitch markers?
For close stitch-markers all you need to do is slip the ring onto your needle to mark a spot (for whatever reason) in a row and continue knitting as normal. When you reach the marker again, simply slip it from one needle to another and continue again. For crocheting however, you will need open markers. Instead of slipping them onto your needle, you place them on your stitches. They can be added, adjusted and removed anytime.

So why are they so much fun?
Because they are so cute!! These days, stitch markers are like little accessories for your stitches, they come in all sorts of designs and made from all sorts of materials. Some of course prefer plain plastic rings as they are light and practical. I simple love the colorful beaded ones (not that I use them but they are still very pretty to look at) but that is probably because I love little pretty beads.

I started making them for fun a couple of years back and I even sold a few here and there. There are too many to choose from and you can easily get them from the internet. These are some of the ones I've made. They are just like your jewelry except you don’t get to put them on you! 
Stich Marker

Stich marker example 2


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Stained Glass : A Forgotten Art Form

Stained Glass Wonders : A Forgotten Art Form

Image by : Ish Maelo
 Stained glass windows have long been associated with religion, but as we have embraced other forms of art such as oil painting and sculpture, stained glass is still very much inaccessible to the general public.
So why have we not embraced this beautiful craft in other walks of life?

A Religious Upbringing
In Europe, the art of stained glass reached its height between 1150 and 1500 when it was a popular addition to many buildings and, adorned with important religious iconography, it often acted as a focus point for prayer and worship.
In religious based stained glass, inspirational images depict disciples and other important cultural figures. The iconography of light as a binary opposition of evil has helped cement the stained glass window firmly in the culture of many strands of Christianity.
“I will lay thy stones with fair colours, and lay their foundations with sapphires. And I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones.”
Isaiah 54:11-12
To theologians in the medieval ages, the images of saints amongst others depicted in the windows were brought to life by God’s presence, light itself.
Sainte Chapelle, or the ‘Holy Chapel’ in France was commissioned by King Louis IX of France and houses one of Christianities most important relics, the crown of thorns.  It is fitting that such a beautiful monument encompasses this important symbol of Christianity and shows the stature and cultural significance that stained glass still has in modern religion.

A Tradition and an Art
The process of making stained glass is a complex one, powdered metals are added to molten glass, giving them distinct colouring. This method of adding powdered metals to create colour is also one used in fireworks displays. For example, copper compounds are used to create the colour blue.

Making a Comeback
The Glass Windows of the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision in the Netherlands are actually constructed from hundreds of screen shots from Dutch television programmes. The pictures have been blended in an abstract style to give its unique aesthetic and it is one of the best examples of modern stained glass design.

Image by: Lauren Manning

A Degree of Respect

Stained-Glass Window Studies at the Swansea Institute was mocked in the Daily Mail, ironically the same newspaper berating students for choosing to go to university instead of taking more practical avenues into employment.
Other arts are regarded as great works of craftsmanship, why is stain glass production anything less than an art form? It’s one we must remember and one that we can treasure by exploring both its past and its future, hopefully in an abundance of new architecture.
We should be celebrating the passing on of an ancient art form from one generation to the next, not mocking it.


Dan Izzard writes articles for Eurocell, who provide an extensive range of windows and composite doors for your home.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Top 5 Summer Activities for Children

 Top 5 Summer Activities for Children

Keeping your children active over the summer can be challenging. You still have to work, but they no longer have to go to school and this can cause some issues. They need activities that can keep them busy or at least give you some type of break if they are usually home all day during the summer. There are many activities for children of all ages that can help keep them busy for at least a portion of the summer months.
Your children will benefit greatly if they stay busy during the summer. They will be happier, more active, and can make new friends. Here are five of the best activities your children can enjoy this summer.

Summer Activities :

 1.  Summer Camp
 A great way to get a week to yourself and allow your children to have fun is to send them to summer camp. Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts offer summer camp programs, if they are already involved with one of these organizations. You can also find camps from the YMCA, churches, and many other organizations in your area.

summer camp

2.  Sports Leagues
Another great way to keep your children active is signing them up for different sports. Usually you can find baseball, golf, softball, basketball, soccer and even volleyball leagues for your children over the summer. Who knows, they may end up on a team sponsored by CJ Pony Mustang and end up with a really cool uniform shirt.

3.  Fun Summer Classes
Some areas offer summer classes that have very little to do with traditional school. These classes range from cooking classes to outdoor wilderness classes—there is something for every child. They just need to pick something they are interested in. Older kids might even get to work on cars and do things like change the calipers or learn how to do their own oil change.

4.  Day Camps
Another great way to get your kids out of the house and keep them busy is to send them to day camps. Some of these offer different field trips, swimming activities, and more. They can attend a few days a week giving you a little time to yourself, while they have fun enjoying new activities.

5.  Fairs and Carnivals
If you are looking for a summer activity you can enjoy with your children, look for a local fair or carnival to attend. You can find plenty of fun activities for everybody at a carnival or a state fair.
Regardless of what you choose for your children, it is important to get them out of the house and away from the television and video games. They need to stay active and many children would rather be active than lazy anyway. Choose a few good activities for your children and help them find something they will enjoy.


Top 5 Family Fun Night Ideas

 Top 5 Family Fun Night Ideas

 As corny as the name sounds, "Family Fun Nights" are a great way to relax, have fun, and bond with your family! With everyone living such busy lifestyles, it can be difficult to get everyone in the same room at once. With the kids going back and forth from sports practice, violin lessons, and parents working long hours, it can be a tough task to get the entire family together even for dinner. Family fun nights allow you to have everyone together at once, converse, and take a break from your crazy lifestyle. If you're looking for a big get-together, invite grandparents or relatives. If you want to keep it low-key, keep it to just your immediate family, order a pizza, and break out the games! Board games can often become tiresome and take an eternity to finish (Monopoly, anyone?) so it's important to get creative with your game ideas. Below is a list of ideas to have a blast during your next family fun night.

Movie marathon
Get a bunch of movies together and choose a theme such as Westerns, horror films, Star Wars series, or Disney movies, depending everyone's ages and interests! This is a cheap and easy way to guarantee some family fun without the price of a movie theater. Besides avoiding the crowds and prices of a theater, you can laugh out loud and comment on the film. Pop some popcorn and relax!

movie marathon

Arts and crafts
If you have young children, arts and crafts are a great way to stimulate you kids' creativity. Break out the crayons, paint, and glitter (if you're feeling brave) and come up with a fun project idea, such as a bird house or homemade t-shirts. Tye-dye is a fun idea for summer, as long as you have a lighted outdoor area.

family crafting

Trivia Night
Test your knowledge with trivia night! There are fun topics for all ages- whether you want to test general miscellaneous knowledge or find out who knows the most about Harry Potter. For an even better experience, try using a dry erase prize wheel, and give out mini prizes to the winner of each round!

Baking Competition
Bring out your family's competitive side and hold a baking competition! Find out who makes the best chocolate chip cookies or banana bread. This can get messy, so make sure to save time to clean up.

Reading Night
If you have small children, you understand the importance of reading at a young age. Pick a favorite book or compilation of short stories and take turns reading it to the family. You can get creative and really "get into character" to make it an entertaining and exciting experience!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Starting To Work With Pandora Beads

Calling Pandora beads 'beads' is sometimes misleading. Pandora are an extensive range of collectable charms, like the popular charm bracelets of the last century, but with a classy modern twist. There are literally 1000's to choose from. Some are limited editions, some are commemorative, some support charities. All are designed to help the wearer capture their special moments and turn them into two-tone, sterling silver or 14k gold jewelry. A percentage of the proceeds from the sale of Pandora beads go to charity.

Pandora bracelet

Working with Pandora charms is easy, fun, and creative. The hardest part is deciding how you will capture your memories and arrange them. Charms come in all shapes and with a cross-section of price tags from.

Authentic Pandora beads have a a thread inside each charm, with the exception of the fixed beads/clips and the spacers. Pandora bracelets have a screw thread on each end, so all genuine Pandora charms simply screw onto the bracelet utilizing the exclusive thread system. The bracelets have 4 threads. Two in the centre and one at either end. If it doesn't have the thread, it's not Pandora, and we suggest that only authentic Pandora charms are used with the Pandora bracelet system. Each bracelet section holds around 5 charms, though charms come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes weaning you can sometimes fit more or less.

There's some creative variety in you choice of arrangement and overall type. Pandora sells two types of bracelets, those with the 'barrel' clasp and those with the 'lobster' clasp. In addition to the 'bead-like' charms, there are also 'dangling charms'. Coming in a variety of cameos, gold drops, pearls, two-tone's with silver threaders, birth stones, etc. 'Clips' are used to space the charms, both to help arrange charms symmetrically and to prevent the bracelet from stretching by balancing out the weight. 'Spacers' are utilized to pack out any empty spaces on the bracelet where there's no space for a standard sized charm. 'Safety chains' are also popular, allowing you to add a chain to the end of your bracelet that will hold it on your wrist as you open and close it, to avoid any accidents.

Charms, in all their forms, are very collectable. Pandora makes limited addition pieces and regularly stops production of one charm in order to make way for a new range or to commemorate a new event. If there's a charm you are fond of and you hear it's being retired, it's a good idea to grab it while you can (or perhaps mention it 'subtly' if you have a birthday coming up). While there are shops online, Pandora is also available in many retail outlets world wide, and you will often find 'country specific' ranges in these stores. For example, the Pink Enamel Heart dangle is a UK only exclusive to match a similar pink bead charm that was retired the year before, and the 2012 Olympic Medal is one of the Best of British collection released this year to commemorate the London 2012 Olympic games.

pandora beads

Whether you complete one Pandora bracelet, or many, it's a beautiful, timeless, and personal way to capture memories. A string of moments from special times, guaranteed to make you smile for decades to come. Have fun, get creative, and start your collection slowly. Making sure each charm has a memory behind it - perhaps chronicling the birth of a child, your marriage, a year in another country, or your daughters years at university - it's the perfect way to create a treasured piece of jewelry that will stay in your family forever.

Monday, June 25, 2012

DIY Vintage Photo Frame

 DIY Vintage Photo Frame

 Looking for a gift for your dad this father’s day? Did you forget to buy your mom a gift for mother’s day? Or maybe you want to be a June Bride and you’re looking for a good centerpiece for your tables for the coming wedding? You should take a look at this wonderful centerpiece idea that can either be a memorable fit that would almost last forever, or just a self-reminder of memorable experiences that you had with a certain someone. 
This “Instructographic” will teach you how to make a vintage photo frame using Mason Jars. It’s a wonderful addition to your rustic collectibles, or your vintage-themed wedding. 
The best part about this is that you can make them yourself; using any kind of photo and flower you want. Be it a message to your loved ones or a memorable photo of you or a friend. For more details about how to make this gift, do read on!

Make Your Own Beautiful Vintage Photo Frame

Friday, June 22, 2012

Facts About Birthstones

Learn interesting details about Birthstones

Are you looking for alternatives to your typical diamond as your engagement ring? Why not go for each other’s birthstones? Birthstones are traditional gems that specify someone’s personality, depending on which month he or she was born.  For example, garnet is the birthstone for January, while babies born in April get a diamond as their birthstone. Aside from telling someone’s personality based on these stones, birthstones are also involved in different myths and legends, about how they were formed and how can they heal someone; each stone having its own unique healing properties that no other gems have. If you want to find out more about these amazing birthstones, made a wonderful infographic, describing each of these gems, together with the personality they symbolize. Hopefully, this can help you find a good alternative to your diamond engagement ring – either that or convince you to get a diamond anyways, since it’s also a birthstone!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Yarn Makes Me Happy

From Grandparents to Glam-parents

Whether you're retired, or heading into retirement age, you probably don't actually feel all that different from years before. You're probably thinking you're not ready for the knitting circle just yet, but you'd be surprised.

There's no 'proper' age to take up knitting, and even if you do, you don't need to be limited to drab cardies and shapeless hats. There's a massive choice of yarns out there to choose from, from chunky to soft yarns, as well as bright pastel shades and vivid colours.

If you think knitting makes you elderly, think again. You could create wonderful clothes, accessories and even toys for the grandchildren that are as bright and vital as you are!


Treat Yourself to a Knitted Makeover

Even if you're not used to knitting, or are incredibly rusty, you can follow a few online knitting lessons and techniques on sites like YouTube. These are incredibly handy as they show you how your knitting should look as you go, which is a lot tougher to describe in books. Most people start with simple things like scarves, as you can really develop your technique. When you get a bit more confident, you can start to work on other projects. Remember, there's no hurry. Just take your time; knitting is supposed to be a relaxing hobby!
As you learn, you can make some fabulous garments. To do this, it's good to know the different kind of yarns out there. As you get to know wool yarn for knitting and crochet, you'll realise there are lots of variations. Saying this, here are a few different kinds that you'll come across when starting your new project.

Natural Yarns

The most common natural fibre yarn is from wool. Wool is perhaps the most popular yarn for making clothes, which is mainly due to its affordability and the varieties of colour it's available in.

Synthetic Yarns

It's incredible how synthetic fibres have developed over the years, offering a cheaper alternative to natural materials. There are a wide range of thicknesses among synthetic yarns, of which acrylic is the most common. If you're just starting out, it's worth choosing inexpensive synthetic yarns as this gives you the opportunity to practice without spending too much on natural yarns.

Yarn Blends

There are many yarns that offer a blend of different fibres. This creates more flexibility, allowing for a wider range of projects that need different requirements. Yarn blends can include a mixture of natural, natural and synthetic, and synthetic yarns. For example, cashmerino is a cashmere/merino blend. You can also get wool and acrylic blends.
Hopefully, this has given you a bit of a background to creating your own exciting new projects!
For a wonderful selection of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino yarns, head over to Pack Lane Wool's online store.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

5 Easy DIY Desk Organisation Ideas

5 Easy DIY Desk Organisation Ideas

I’m not ashamed to admit it, my cubicle at work is an organisation haven. It’s not so much that I’m a neat freak, more that I flip out if things aren’t where I left them – it’s a need to be organised more than a want.
Now, if I could, I would buy all my box files/storage boxes/pen pots from Laura Ashley, but unfortunately, Laura Ashley is expensive. Boo.
So, here are some unique organisational solutions that you can DIY, even if, like me, you have not one creative bone in your body. Your desk will be the envy of the office, or, hey, if you work at home, the envy of Pinterest.

1.  Storage boxes

If, like any self respecting woman in this world, you are a shoeaholic, I’m sure you’ve got a few spare shoeboxes hanging around your house. Now, I’m not suggesting you make like a tramp and just take these to work. We’re going make them all pretty first.
All you need is some patterned sticky-back plastic or wallpaper, and some patience. Take the lid off the box, and wrap it almost as you would a present, folding the covering just over the edges so you can’t tell it’s a shoebox from the outside. Do the same with the lid, et voila, a place for your papers.

2.  Storage pots

Empty jam jars are brilliant things. Great for holding paperclips, staples, noticeboard pins and basically anything else that comes in a silly container that means they constantly end up all over the desk/floor... Just treat yourself to some Bonne Maman jam (the nicest jars), eat (yum), wash out the jars and soak the labels off, and there you go. Secure storage pots.

3.  Notice board

If you can convince your boss to let you stick things on your cubicle walls, a DIY noticeboard is a great idea, so you can keep track of all of those little to-dos. It’s super simple to make too – buy cork tiles, double up and glue together, cover with sticky-back plastic (yes, I’m obsessed), and glue to wall. Sorted.

4.  Days of the week folders

If, like me, you have a love/hate relationship with your computer calendar, you need to make these. Just get some colourful cheap paper folders and some nice printed paper, cut out letters for each day of the week (“M” for Monday, etc) from the paper, stick on the folders in the top right hand corner, and you’re done. Simple daily filing – you’ve got no “I forgot” excuses now!

5.  Corkboard plant pots

No matter what anyone else says, I love office plants – what else am I going to stare at when the computer screen gets too boring? These pots are easy to make, and mean people can pin on useful notes/rude pictures when you’re away from your desk.
Simply get a clean, de-labelled tin (bigger ones work best) and a roll of cork. Cut a strip of cork the same height as your tin and long enough to go around twice. Pop some strong craft glue on one end, stick to the tin, and then roll and glue until you’ve wrapped the cork around. Pin in place to dry, and then pot your plant in a glass jar slightly smaller than the tin, and pop it in your new pot. Greenery!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Decorate Your Home

 Fun Little Ways to Decorate Your Home for Spring and Summer

Just because you live in your home year-round doesn't mean it can't change with the seasons. Seasonal decorating can help enhance the feeling of a season and keep your home from becoming dull and stale. Updating for the seasons need not be overly expensive or time-consuming. Most decorations can be achieved with simple ideas while still maintaining your unique lifestyle.

Keep It Simple – Home Decorating Does Not Have to Be Difficult

Spring is known for its rejuvenation and rebirth of all things. Why not rejuvenate your home? The most obvious change when spring comes along is the blooming of flowers of all types and colors. Using flowers to revitalize your home is an inexpensive way to bring the spirit of the season indoors. Cherry blossoms are an excellent choice as they only bloom for a few brief weeks. Take advantage of this short event by snipping a few branches and placing them in a slim, basic vase. Placing a vase of fresh flowers anywhere in your home is an easy and quick way to liven any room or space. Consider placing a bouquet on your bedside table, kitchen counter or living room coffee table.
If live flowers are not your forte, there are other floral options available. Pressing dried flowers and framing them can make for a beautiful piece of artwork on an unused wall. Simple, floral-patterned throw pillows strategically placed on chairs, sofas or beds are an easy seasonal addition that can be brought out each year when spring arrives and whisked away when spring turns to summer.
Change Your Decor to Match the Summer Mood

Summer is the time to relax and enjoy the sunshine. Even if you don't own a summer home, you can still feel like you do with a few changes to your decor. It is important during these months to keep your home bright and airy to enhance the summer mood. Use simple, light curtains instead of heavy, dark drapery in order to let in the sunlight and the summer breeze. White and khaki colors will bring the spirit of the beach to your home and keep your color pallet neutral, leaving you free to spice up a room with any accent color that you choose. Adding different shaped and sized seashells to center pieces or placing them around your home will be a wonderful reminder of the beach every day.

On the flip side, try bringing the indoors outdoors to get the most out of the beautiful weather. Create an outdoor retreat on your patio or balcony by setting up a dinner table complete with dinnerware and place settings. Add a center piece that compliments the outdoor space and shows your own personal style.
Creating a living space outdoors will encourage your family to get fresh air while enjoying the sunshine. Place comfortable chairs and sofas around a coffee table or fire pit to make an inviting lounge area. Hang colorful lanterns or a chandelier for a touch of elegance. Place candles all around for ambiance after dark. Hanging long, wispy curtains around the area will help create a resort feel and also add a touch of additional privacy.
Combine simple pieces of furniture with bright patterns and colors to make the outdoor area come alive, or keep everything white and neutral to maintain a relaxing spa-like retreat. Changing your home decor with the seasons will truly allow you and your family to enjoy the essence of the seasons and give you something to look forward to year-round.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Kitchen Makeover Ideas

Kitchen Makeover Ideas

People who are interested in giving their home a fix-up or making it look nicer should look into giving their kitchen a makeover. People might be surprised to see how much happier they will feel in a nicer kitchen. Just changing the paint could brighten up the room and make it a much nicer place to be. If people have nicer appliances then the whole kitchen will look more clean and inviting, and it will also function so much better.

It is very important for people to consider the chance of having a nicer home and a happier time spent in their kitchen. They will probably be amazed to see just how worth it they will find it to be after they spend the money.

Set a Budget
When people are considering a kitchen makeover they need to consider how much money they want to spend. They need to look into the prices of items and figure out exactly what they have the budget for. They could make grandiose plans only to be amazed to see how quickly things add up. Even the small expenses will add to the overall cost and make it all more expensive. So aside from deciding how much they want to spend, people can look into different options for saving money as they go. For instance, instead of purchasing new cabinets, they could just fix up the ones they already have. There are some really great cabinet refinishing companies that people could work hire to get the job done professionally, which could save a lot of money and make the kitchen look amazing.

Hit the Floors
Another great idea for a kitchen makeover is to invest in new flooring. That might mean wood floors or new tile, just depending on what people like. It will all be done according to their taste and according to their wishes. But when people have flooring that is stained and maybe even cracked or peeling, it is nearly impossible to get the kitchen looking nice and clean. So, replace the flooring and watch as that immediately makes the space so much more inviting. Another way to save money with flooring is to find a way to do it themselves, but if they are nervous about the outcome they could always hire a professional.

Light it Up
New lighting in a kitchen can make everything seem cleaner and brighter. New lighting will make the kitchen bright where before it may have been dingy and dark. If people are sitting in dim lighting in the evening while they are trying to cook or eat, they probably will not feel very happy about it. They need to give themselves some more light to see by so that they can do the things they need to in the kitchen. That will make the whole space so much more inviting.
Archie Johnson is a freelance blogger for Cabinet Coatings of America, a cabinet refinishing Phoenix company.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

6 Tips For An Eco-Chic Bride

6 Tips For An Eco-Chic Bride

We love weddings and we would love them even more if they have a smaller carbon foot print, but is that possible?
For a stylish and sustainable wedding celebration, you’ll have to be as creative as! It’s not just a matter of finding a beautiful eco farm nestled in the countryside for your reception, it’s also all those little details that you might not have thought about.
If the environment is your passion, then this wonderful guide full of bright tips and handy advice is a real gem for you eco-chic brides.


Hiring Plants
Instead of buying flowers that are only going to end up in the bin the day after your wedding, why not try hiring some beautiful plants? Bamboos or Palm trees would look absolutely fabulous and would be a fantastic exotic touch!
Another option for those of you, who have little green fingers, is you could plant the flowers you fancy for your special day yourself, and repot them! Obviously, you will need to know what you’re doing!

Fresh Rose Petals
If you have the budget, go for lovely fresh rose petals to distribute around your guests. They’ll look beautiful for the ceremony, such a romantic and sweet-scented idea!
 However, if rose petals area little out of your budget and confetti is a much more suitable option – remember think green and recycle that used confetti!

Wedding Dresses
Wedding dresses are very expensive and they’re only going to end up in the wardrobe anyway after that special day! So when we think about it, do we really need to have that ultra expensive, unique piece of fashion?
If you’re a lover of vintage clothes, go straight to a charity shop or log online at Gumtree, and you can re-use an old wedding dress and you may find an absolute gem - from the roaring 20s to the late 70s.

For an intimate and truly romantic wedding, you could decorate your tables with a few sets of candles arranged into lovely centrepieces; this is a great way to really enhance that intimate and romantic feel. Try scattering some lovely fresh rose petals randomly around the table to bring out some colour.


Local Products
It’s somewhat a tradition for the guests to leave the reception with a souvenir. Why don’t you get them some luxury locally sourced mouth-watering treats? Home-made chutneys, delicious marmalades, local honey, or even some vegetable baskets from local producers!


Organic Wine
In the UK, there are some great biodynamic wines that would accompany the wedding feast perfectly! Buying organic wine is certainly more expensive but worth having for your special day.
Make some calls to the nearest vineyards and find out whether they can offer a good price for a large order!
However, if wine is not to your liking and you are more of a cider or real ale fan; it may be worth getting in touch with your local organic breweries and see what they can offer you!
As environmental issues are strongly present in all of our lives, having an eco-friendly wedding is a step to helping the world we live in, and being chic is not incompatible with being green!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Make Your Own Throw Blankets

throw blankets
Make Your Own Throw Blankets This Summer

Looking for a fun, easy craft to keep you occupied this summer? Try making your own throw blankets. Come wintertime, you’ll be happy to have extra throw blankets around the house. Likewise, these unique, handmade blankets make perfect gifts. Here are two ways you can make your own throw blanket this summer:

Fleece Tie Throw Blankets. For the novice crafter, fleece blankets are easy to make. Not only do they require no sewing skills, they’re relatively inexpensive to make. To begin, you will need to purchase a  1 ½ yard piece of polar fleece, ruler, and a rotary cutter. While a rotary cutter is ideal, a pair of sharp scissors will work just as well. When purchasing the fleece, ask the crafts associate to cut the material straight. Make sure to trim any uneven edges before beginning.  Next, you'll need to cut a 4-inch square out of each of the four corners of the fleece. The next step is to cut 4" x 1" wide fringe all the way around the blanket.
Once you've done that, you'll want to use a seam ripper to make tiny slits at the top of each piece of fringe. The final step is to feed the fringe pieces through the backside of the slit you cut and pull it through, creating a neat and secured fringed edge. If you are planning to give throw blankets as gifts, you may want to personalize them. To do so, take the finished blanket to a sports store or graphic design store that does embroidery. You can have the store embroider the recipient’s name or initials on the blanket.

Quilt. Unlike a fleece blanket, quilts require basic sewing skills and more time. If you are willing to invest the time and energy, however, quilting is a great way to reuse old fabric. In fact, quilts made up of old jerseys or t-shirts make wonderful keepsakes for your family. Once you've gathered up the fabric you're planning on using, you'll need to choose a pattern as well as backing and batting materials.
The batting, also known as the inner layer of the quilt, is what makes a quilt warm and soft. To purchase batting and backing, you'll need to go to a craft shop so a professional can assist you in selecting the right materials.
As far as patterns go, there are tons to choose from, and most are available for free online. Take care when choosing your quilt pattern, as the difficulty and time spent working on the quilt will depend on the pattern you choose. Once you have all of your fabric squares, lay them on the floor and piece the quilt together in diagonal rows. To secure the three layers before it comes time to sew, you'll want to pin them together. To do so, lie the backing material wrong side up on the ground and place the batting material on top.
Next, lay the quilt top onto the batting and smooth the layers, making sure that they all lay straight and flat. Starting at the center, pin the layers (quilt top, batting and backing) every 3 to 6 inches until the entire quilt has been pinned with safety pins. This will keep your quilt pieces together until you are ready for the final step - sewing it together.
Whether you make a fleece blanket or quilt, a handmade blanket is the perfect accessory to any room in your home.
Rebecca Travis is a 2nd grade teacher who loves reading and making crafts. She gets great craft ideas from Collections Etc.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Fun DIY Crafts for Special Needs Children

Fun DIY Crafts for Special Needs Children

Learning life skills are essential for all special needs children to learn in order for them to be able to function well in society, beat the current statistics, and hold a job during adulthood. The term “life skill” encompasses a huge variety of skills that are necessary in order to function in day to day life. The category “life skills” is broad, ranging from getting dressed and brushing your teeth, to balancing a checkbook and doing laundry, therefore, there are endless possibilities for crafting as a means to learn these lessons. For example, fine motor skills are a basic necessity and are greatly improved through crafting.

Fine Motor Skills

Have children paint with black paint or use a large black marker to draw an outline on a big piece of white paper. Have them then draw more lines and shapes within their original outline. Then give the children scissors and a pile of colored paper. Allow them to cut many shapes from the paper in all sizes. Then have them glue the shapes inside their outline. Once they are finished, they will have created their own mosaic or stained glass window. The project involves a great deal of cutting which is good for their hand eye coordination as well as their fine motor skills.
Another quick project that is good for those fine motor skills and coordination is beadwork. If you go to your local craft or bead store and find a nice variety of medium sized beads, you can give the children each a piece of string or twine and a bowl full of beads and help them to string a bracelet or necklace together. Again, this helps with coordination and makes a nice gift for mom. Be careful though; you don’t want the beads to go from hands to mouth!

Hands-On Studying

Some children with special needs have the ability to retain information better when they are exposed to the information through hands on activities. A great way to get children involved and help them to have fun while studying geography is to create a topographical map. Begin with an outline of the region you are studying. Create borders with marker to distinguish the different regions. Discuss what those borders symbolize with the children and talk about what each region is and how they differ from one another. Now comes the fun part. Use salt dough to help the children create each region. Let them get in there and get dirty making mountains and valleys. After the dough has had time to dry, let the kids paint the regions. The finished product is one that everyone can be proud of and learn from.
The needs that these children have regarding learning the social behaviors and skills necessary to function and be able to take responsible care of themselves are many, and crafts are gravely important in helping implement these lessons. Whatever the activity may be, it probably will help them in some way. For example, just by creating their own art, children are learning confidence, what any person needs to learn, so that they will know they can do it.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Picnic Tailgating Party

A Picnic Tailgating Party
Add some class to your next tailgating party with a picnic basket! While the boys are grilling, downing drinks, and talking sports, roll out a blanket and claim your own spot with a basket full of culinary delights which will definitely make them jealous. Even if you're not trying to show anyone up, the basket will be a great way to transport the side dishes that are necessary to accompany all of the protein being cooked onsite. Not to mention there's room for sunblock and ponchos- you can never be too prepared.

Set up Shop in a Truck Bed

Obviously a parking lot is not the most comfy place to spread a quilt and sit down for a picnic, so don't be shy about setting up shop in a truck bed where you can find yourself hanging out even after the meal. Since the great thing about a picnic basket is it can be cute and versatile, you can get away with propping up against it and catching a little shut eye before the game. Well you probably won't be sleeping at a tailgate, but no one is going to give you a hard time about bringing your basket. You definitely won’t be given a hard time when a picnic basket is loaded with home cooked and oven baked goodies that no one else thought to bring.

Decorate with Festive Decorations!

Feel free to get festive, that's what it's all about. Roll napkins in your teams color, throw in paper plates with the mascot, and add food coloring to your potato salad if you really want to get them going. People will be impressed with the level of spunk you can pack in your basket, so just let your imagination fly. This is an occasion where it's about getting full and having fun. Plus there's nothing better than a surprise from the basket. All the other food is out on the grill, so the desert in your basket will be a popular surprise towards the end of feasting.

Pack Your Own Wine Cooler

Since the boys are sure to have their coolers filled with beer, pack your own wine cooler filled with your favorite pinot grigio, chardonnay, or even a bottle of champagne! If you’re all recovering from a fun night before, be sure to pack some orange juice. Add a little champagne and you’ve got a mimosa- the perfect cure and pick-me-up!  Be sure to pack enough water bottles in your cooler to keep the boys hydrated while they’re watching the game. Since clean-up is as simple as tossing everything back into the picnic basket followed by placing into the back into the car, leave the portable grill and game to the boys and head out early for a girls day of shopping! 
Paige One enjoys writing about fashion, outdoor summer activities, and more. Find Picnic Baskets for your next tailgating party that will help keep your food organized and you will also have a lot of fun!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Fun Wedding DIY Crafts With Paper

Fun Wedding DIY Crafts With Paper

Looking for some fun projects you can make for your wedding? Paper crafts are among the easiest DIY crafts to make, and there are tons of wonderful projects from which to choose. Get inspired by these fun wedding DIY crafts with paper.

Neon colors are a very hot wedding trend this year, and you can make some fantastic decorations using paper in those intense hues. I especially love the idea of making tissue paper flowers in day-glo orange, lime green, hot pink, and yellow. It would look super cool for the bride to carry a neon paper blossom bouquet. Just imagine how the colors will pop against a white bridal gown. Dramatic wedding jewelry and a pair of shocking pink shoes will complete the style.

Paper chains are something else that you can make with paper for your wedding. Think about the old school chains you used to make as a kid out of strips of paper – this is the same idea. To make them appropriate for a wedding, use special paper like patterned origami paper. Or use solid color paper strips in your wedding colors. They would be a terrific decoration for a wide open reception space, like an outdoor site or suspended from the rafters of a barn. What an easy and inexpensive way to add a lot of color to a big space. Best of all, making paper chains is so simple that you can enlist anyone to help you...even your groom!

Fluffy paper pom poms are another great idea for a wedding paper craft. They are usually made with tissue paper or crepe paper. You can use large pom poms in quite a number of different ways. The colors you select will have a big effect on the tone of your party, so be sure to select colors that make sense with the overall feeling you are creating with your flowers, bridesmaid dresses and wedding jewelry sets, and table decor. Create an ethereal look by filling the ceiling of an indoor reception venue with white and ivory poms. Or design a festive feeling for an outdoor summer wedding with paper balls in fuchsia, tangerine, and green. Crimson, aqua, and white poms will create a retro vibe. Paper poms are not just for hanging from ceilings; they can also go on chair backs, on shepherd's hooks lining the aisle, or almost any place else you can imagine.

Your wedding favor wrappers are another DIY craft option. Certainly you can make special wrapping paper for boxes by stamping or stenciling a motif on paper. You can also create little paper cones (perfect for holding Jordan almonds), tiny paper baskets, or decorative flat bags. The number one tip is to limit yourself to a number of paper crafts that you can realistically complete before your wedding, and to start crafting early. Your fantastic paper projects will definitely add a lot of color and charm to your wedding.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Ideas for Wedding Favors

Ideas for Wedding Favors

Your wedding is one of the biggest and most important days of your life! Naturally you will want to share this day and its memories with those whom are important to you, those that are present to make this special day even more special. Wedding favors are not just a token of appreciation, thanking your guests for gracing this event with their presence, but they can also be something that adds a little more charm, a little more color and beauty to your table which goes along with the wedding theme.

Wedding favors or also known as bonbonniere, is something that is shared across cultures worldwide. In Malaysia, the traditional wedding favors given out to guests during a Malay wedding were hard boiled eggs! However these days it is no longer common to receive hard boiled eggs at weddings, instead we find in its place, candies and chocolates, candles, porcelain trinket boxes, potpourri and many others, much like the wedding favors you find in the US, Canada and Europe.

It is up to the married couple to choose a wedding favour for their guests. It can be something simple and affordable like candies or a bag of mixed nuts, something personal like a compilation of favourite songs on a CD or a picture frame with a picture of the couple, something cute and fun, something practical like a candle or jewellery box . There are dozens of websites available that offer ideas, and even more that offer online shopping with hundreds of pretty options to make it as convenient for you as possible. So it is really up to you to figure out what you really want.

For me personally, I love how it is an opportunity for the bride and groom to share a part of them and their new life with the people they treasure most. And I love to receive something practical, something that I can display or use occasionally and be reminded of a good friend or a cousin's special day, how lovely it was and what kind of adventures I had making the long trip! 

recently had an order of 100 sets of wine glass charms from a lovely lady from Canada as wedding favors for her spring wedding. Although I wasn’t directly involved in this special event, I somehow felt I was still a part of it and I felt honored by it. And I simply loved the idea of using wine glass charms as wedding favors, I have never thought of it but it is such a cool idea!  The charms can be something that suit the couple or the theme, such as a little bride and groom, a champagne glass, a bow tie, a cake, a heart; or if the couple are dog lovers it can be a little puppy, a dog bone; different little cars for car lovers; flip-flops, a beach hat, a seashell and a sun for a beach wedding etc. They are fun, they are practical, and they can last a long time. Imagine when your guests use them at a dinner or luncheon with some friends at their home many months or even years later, the charm are definitely something cool to talk about!

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