Showing posts with label guest post. Show all posts
Showing posts with label guest post. Show all posts

Guest Post: 10 Cute and Handy Ribbon Uses

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I am obsessed with ribbon. The following are my favorite ways to use ribbon because it makes everyday life just a little bit more adorable. Most of these simple ideas can be made with stuff just lying around the house. You can browse bulk ribbon by going here, and start coordinating which colors and patterns you want to use in certain ways.

1. Double knot a ribbon and tie it in a bow around your boring Samsonite luggage. This adds a cute personal touch, and will prevent that awkward and confused moment when you grab a stranger’s luggage. You can use a single ribbon, or go crazy with it, fitting as many as possible onto the handle.

2. Wrap a piece of ribbon around your ponytail and tie a perfect bow. This is classically beautiful, and makes almost any hairstyle look instantly polished. If I realize that my outfit is too dark and drab, a pretty red ribbon in the hair adds life to an otherwise gothic look.

3. Make a photo collage for a loved one, and frame it with the perfect ribbon. I made a black and white mix of photos and glued a bright red ribbon around the edges of a thrift store frame. This turned out to be part of a perfect one year, dating anniversary gift I gave my boyfriend at the time. This idea also happens to be really cheap, so it is great for anybody on a budget.

4. Tie a ribbon around a dress to change the look of your curves. I love this one. Tie the bow and slide it around to the back. This will make your waist look smaller and break up a pattern to add contrast.

5. String up a necklace. If you are like me and have a ton of random pendants lying in a jewelry box that sadly never see the light of day, you can easily repurpose them with ribbon. Get a thin ribbon around ¼ inch wide that matches your outfit and whatever bead you have lying around, and string the necklace however you want. You can also add a clasp to make a more permanent necklace (alternatively you would tie a bow behind your neck). I recommend these jewelry pliers, get the tiny baby ones from Wubbers (cute!), for opening and closing the small jump rings.

6. Tie about five inches of ribbon around a paperclip to make a non-slip book mark. I tend to do most of my reading right at bedtime, and I like that this bookmark allows me to place it directly to the right of the line I start dozing off while reading.

7. Use a real ribbon while gift wrapping. This doubles a gift’s cuteness factor. Even if you are giving the gift to a particularly masculine boyfriend, a bright green or blue ribbon is still appropriate and handy.

8. Tie a ribbon around a canning jar. Canning jars make great containers for dry recipe gifts, lights and even jams or jellies! Whatever you put in the jar, adding a touch of color and decorations will set it off.

9. Use it as a key ring and never chip a nail on those hazardous metal circles again. Make sure to double knot the ribbon so you can rest assured that no keys will go missing.

10. Tie different colors around the stems of wine glasses. Besides adding a cute splash of color to tonight’s glass of wine, it also will help guests at a dinner party keep track of their beverage.

Angela Johnson is a freelance writer for HairBow Center. She loves crafting, sewing and DIY projects of all kinds. She lives in Salt Lake City, Utah with her family and two dogs.

Guest Post: Arts and Crafts with Belarusian Children

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Arts and Crafts with Belarusian Children

This article was written by Ella Rose West, author of the Selfish Mum parenting blog – Ella posts about all things travel, family and home related, and believes passionately in mums living life to the full!

So my best friend did a crazy thing recently and volunteered to let 2 little girls from a village in Belarus stay with her for 4 weeks. Why? I asked her. Why not? she replied. And that’s why I love her.

Let me explain about the girls. They’re from a village in Belarus that is still suffering from the explosion and subsequent radiation leak at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in 1986. The radiations is still present in the air they breathe back home, in their water supply, and the ground they grow food in, so the villagers are generally very ill, and also very poor. There are charities in many Western countries that bring children across for a month to provide them with better nutrition that helps boost their immune systems and can add years on to their lives. It’s definitely worth checking out in Google!

Babysitting the Kids
She’d asked me in advance whether I’d be her “official” babysitter for the girls, meaning, could she get me CBR checked by the charity so she could dump them on me at a moment’s notice. Great friend – or glutton for punishment – I said yes.
And so that is how I ended up looking after two little girls who barely spoke any English for an evening. Thank God for Google Translate – we coped.

Our Paintings
Ok, so it wasn’t a moment’s notice, she had a work friend’s leaving meal (or something like that) planned in advance, so I knew this day was coming. She’d told me they love to do arts and crafts activities, and so I bought materials, and we made beautiful pictures of the local skyline to take home as souvenirs of their time in the UK.

How to Create the Painting
1. Start by using red paint and lots of water. Do side to side strokes from the top of the page to about two-thirds of the way down. Make sure the paint is a brighter, darker red at the top and becomes paler as you move down the page.
2. Use blue paint and do the exact same thing but from the bottom of your page working upwards to where the red paint ends.
3. Find something circular to draw around to mark the sun, and use a pencil to mark the outline. Colour in using yellow paint.
4. Add some yellow strokes into the red sky and blue sea, brighter nearer to the sun and fading out further away.
5. Add a couple of easy black birds in the sky using black paint.
6. On black paper, draw some of your area’s local landmarks. Cut the silhouettes out and stick them onto the painting.

Guest Post: 5 Ways To Make Homemade Personalised Gifts With Artistic Style!

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5 Ways To Make Homemade Personalised Gifts With Artistic Style!

When you want to get a gift for a friend or family member, it is not always easy to choose the right one. Many of the things you might buy at a store can seem a bit impersonal. After all, anyone can give the same tie or game that manufacturers churn out by the millions. This is why, if you have an artistic flair, you might choose to make a gift rather than buy one. This kind of personalized gift will be much more impressive to the recipient, since you have made it specifically it for him or her. There are several good approaches you might take when making your gift.

Polymer Clay Ceramics
In the past, if you wanted to make any kind of ceramic item, you had to have an expensive and difficult to use kiln in which you could fire (harden) the clay object you made. However, in recent years, several manufacturers have started offering polymer clay that can be fired inside an ordinary kitchen stove. You can fashion rings, pendants and even small figurines with the clay. Once you have fired an item, you can color it using craft paint.

Heat Transfer T-Shirts

A fun gift that is sure to please is a personalized t-shirt. This can be text, a photo of the recipient or of their favorite pet. All you have to do is scan the image or text you want to use into your computer. Next, you print it onto iron-on transfer paper. Finally, use a hot iron to transfer the image in the paper to the t-shirt of your choice.

Cupcake Image Cakes

If you have a knack for cooking, you can try creating a cupcake image cake. In these cakes, some simple image you want to create, such as a happy birthday message or a picture of a flower, is created using individual cupcakes. The concept is a bit like Pointillism in art, with a bigger picture being made of smaller dots (in this case, the cup cakes).

Video Tribute
If the gift is for a couple celebrating an anniversary or for a senior’s birthday, you might want to consider a video tribute. This would be a single video you create based on family video footage, or even old 8mm film. For the sections on film, you will have to have a company transfer them to a digital format before you can use them. There are several free or inexpensive video editing applications you could use to make the video tribute.

Printed Scrapbook 

Another approach you can take for an artsy gift that reviews family memories is a printed scrapbook. The nice thing about this kind of gift is that you can make multiple copies to give to more than one member of your family. To make one, all you have to do is scan in photos and documents you want to include, organize them onto pages in a freeware graphics program, and have a local printer print them for you. 

Abi has a passion for art and interior design and is always looking for ways in which she can create things for her home and business on a budget. In her spare time Abi enjoys writing for promotional merchandise specialists Fluid Branding, who stock a range of great promo items. click here to view their full range.

Guest Post: 5 Things You Can Do to Mesmerize Guests at your Wedding

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Things You Can Do To Mesmerize Guests at Your Wedding

Getting married is always a special feeling and couples usually search for ideas that can make their wedding an exceptional event for the guests as well. However, when couples start wondering what they should do to amaze the guests, they often realize that whatever they are thinking has already been done by someone they know. Custom wedding cake? Nah! Seen that too many! Use exotic flowers for decoration? A close relative has done the same!

Then what can you do? How can you add the “wow” factor to your wedding? What will make your wedding memorable and the talking point for several years? Well, if you are out of ideas, this article will surely help you. Here are some of the things you can do to make the marriage ceremony and unique experience.

1. Use ice sculptures
Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? With the help of ice sculptures, you can add elegance and romance to the wedding reception party. A centerpiece on the dining table or a large sized interlocking heart at the center of the hall has the power to spellbind the audience. You can ask the decorator to use an ice luge for serving chilled drinks to the guests. Display cold food items on an ice sculpture, placed on a large buffet table, and let the visitors appreciate the quality of the foods and the beauty of the sculpture at the same time.

2. Have a chocolate spring
Search for a company that can create a chocolate fountain for you. Chocolate is probably the one food item which is loved by people belonging to all age groups. Make sure the spring offers plenty of different flavors to keep the guests entertained. From dark to milk and white, let them enjoy all types of chocolates, some of which they may have never tasted before. Put the fountain on the table and add some nice lighting effects to create the perfect atmosphere. Place a few bowls filled with dipping items such as fruits, wafer biscuits, etc. Make sure that a professional is always present near the chocolate spring to take care of guests.

3. Hire a photo booth
A photo booth lets the guest have fun and also capture some of the most unforgettable moments. Guests will love the idea of posing for a few funny snaps and taking home those pictures. You can offer some props as well so that people can use them to give themselves a unique look. A sombrero hat or a cigar can be excellent props for the images. The best thing about a photo booth is that it produces 2 pieces of the same photograph. One gets a place in your wedding album while the other is given to the person whom the photo belongs to. Make sure that the booth is large enough so that group photos can be taken.

4. Select an unusual venue
When a wedding is held in an unconventional place, its memories stay in the attendees’ hearts forever. Opt for an outside church wedding and select a venue that both you and your partner love. For example, if you as well as your lover are soccer fans, you can get married in a famous soccer stadium.

5. Live simulcasting can be fun
We love to see our faces on the big screen and you can manipulate this common trait of human nature by broadcasting your wedding live to the people present inside the wedding venue. Hire a cameraman and technician to arrange everything and make the wedding a personal, live film. When hundreds of guests come together in one place, they smile, shake hands and embrace each other.

These priceless moments can be broadcasted live on a big LED mounted inside the wedding hall. The shyness of the bride or the funny picture of someone eating hungrily can bring unlimited joy and laughter. Live simulcasting is mostly loved by those who don’t participate in dancing or are not of the chatty type. They can sit on a sofa and see whatever is happening around even in the farthest corner, thanks to the live video stream.

Wrapping up
These things can certainly make your wedding different from all others. Those who witness it will remember the occasion for years to come and refer your wedding as the “best” they have ever been to.

Author Bio:
Dax Vyas is associated with FestiveIce. Festive Ice is a one of the leading ice sculpture designer based in Ontario, Canada. It provides services regarding Ice Sculpture and Chocolate Fountain for wedding decorations. You can also connect him at Facebook, twitter and LinkedIn.

Guest Post: Kids' Crafts: Make your Own Corn Toss Game

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Kids’ Crafts: Make Your Own Corn Toss Game

I’ll be the first to admit it; I’m addicted to corn toss.  It is just such a great game!  I love that it is portable.  I love that it doesn’t require a lot of expensive equipment or an advanced skill level.

Most importantly, I love that people of all ages can play corn toss.  From my grandpa to my toddler, anyone is welcome on the corn toss court.

What is Corn Toss?
Corn toss – or cornhole or bags – is a fantastic backyard game.  If you don’t know what it is, do a little Wikipedia reading.  You can find all the details about scoring, equipment, and more.

Once you have an idea of the game, you’ll easily understand why I am so infatuated with it!

“I Want to Play Too!”
All kids want to be like the grownups.  While I am more than happy to have kids on the corn toss court, it sometimes breaks my heart to see them struggle with the big-kid equipment.  Like trying to walk in mom’s high heels, some things just don’t work as well as kiddos want them to.

I thought about getting my son, Anderson, his own miniature cornhole set.  In theory, it might have been a good idea.  But in actuality, shelling out a fair amount of money for a child-sized corn toss set seemed absurd.

Then, it occurred to me.  Duh.  Anderson and I could make a set for him.  Not only would we save a ton of money, we could have some quality bonding time and engage in an eco-friendly adventure.

So, here it is!  A step-by-step guide to building an inexpensive, child-sized, recycled corn toss set.

Gather Your Materials
It is always a good idea to have all your craft supplies ready to go before calling in the troops.  So, before the kids get wind of your upcoming project, go around the house and collect the following items:
• Two cardboard boxes, roughly the same size (the younger the kid, the bigger the box – you’ll need a pretty big target for those little hands)
• Packing tape
• A circular template
• A pencil or marker to trace the template
• Sturdy scissors or a box cutter
• Paints, paint brushes, and other decorating supplies (optional)
• Something to toss (more details later)

Build Your Boards
Use the packing tape to close up all the flaps on the boxes.  Position each box so one of the sides without flaps is up.  This side will be much easier to cut through; trying to cut through the box flaps will be too difficult.

Place your circular template on the top of one box (the hole on a true corn toss board is slightly off-center).

Since Anderson is young (only 23 months), we made a pretty big circle.  For older kids, you might want to make the hole smaller so there is a bit more of a challenge.

Also, this should go without saying, but make sure you keep your youngsters a safe distance away from your cutting utensil of choice!

Since Anderson was going to be playing by himself, we only made one corn toss board.  If you have two or more kids playing, you’ll want a second corn toss board to aim at.

At this point, you could be done “building” your boards and just move on to finding your corn toss bags.  But, if you really want to make this a craft project, bust out the paints!  Let your kids customize their boards.  After all, most of the adult version game boards are all tricked out and fancy.

My persnickety son refuses to wear a bib or smock of any type.  If your children are more agreeable, you might want to cover them up a bit before bringing out the paints.  Otherwise, you’ll have to make a wardrobe change before playing (like we did!).

Make Your Bags
Traditionally, corn toss is played with bean bags.  Each player tosses four bags per inning.  If you have bean bags lying around the house, that’s great; bring them out.  Otherwise, you can make some simple bean bags.

While the paint is drying on your boards, round up all the stray socks you have stashed throughout the house.  Let’s be real; you’re never going to find the match anyways.  You might as well put them to good use!

Pour about ¼ to ½ cup dried beans or dried corn into each sock.  If you don’t have these things at home, you might need to make a quick run to the local grocery store (beans) or pet/livestock supply store (corn).  Once you have the desired amount of filler in each sock, tie a tight knot at the top.

Don’t worry if you don’t have filler material at home and can’t leave the house.  Simply take two socks and roll them up into a tight ball.  These will work just fine.  In fact, sock-balls are what Anderson tossed.

Once your boards have been constructed and your bags have been filled, it is time to play!

In a traditional game of corn toss, the players would stand about 24-27 feet away from the boards.  However, this isn’t a cutthroat competition you are planning for your kids.  Let them stand where they feel comfortable.

A game of corn toss is usually divided into innings.  Each player tosses four bags per inning.  While it isn’t necessary to follow all the rules laid out by the game’s governing authorities, it might be wise to at least make some rules of your own.

That way, your kids can learn about taking turns and team work.  Maybe one player throws all four bags before the other has a turn.  Or maybe you rotate; player one throws a bag and then player two throws a bag.  No matter what rules you come up with, encourage your children to keep the competition friendly; no name calling, bragging, or other forms of unhealthy competition.

As a parent, you’ll also be happy to hear your children will be enhancing their hand-eye coordination while they play.  Plus, simple addition will be needed to keep score.  What could be better than a math lesson in your backyard?!

A Few More Things to Keep In Mind
When choosing your boxes, keep in mind the age, ability, and height of your kids.  You want a big enough target; you don’t want your kids to feel discouraged because they can’t make it through the little hole of a little box.

On the other hand, you don’t want your corn toss boards to be too big.  Anderson couldn’t retrieve his bags from inside the box; it was too deep!

Also, remember to keep things light.  This isn’t about the competition.  It is about having fun with your kids.  Let them set the pace.  If they are too excited about playing the game and want to skip the painting part, let them.  If, like Anderson, they get bored with the game after 10 minutes of playing and want to get the paint brushes back out, let them.

Come Back!
After you give this project a try, be sure to come back and tell us how you did.  Was this your first corn toss experience?  Was it all I promised it would be?!  If you have any tips or suggestions I didn’t discover, let us know!

Guest author Jessica Velasco works for Custom Corntoss, a supplier of custom corn toss boards.  Just like the confusion with the chicken and the egg, she isn’t sure if the corn toss obsession is a result of her job or her job is a result of her obsession!   

Guest Post: How To Teach Someone To Knit!

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Knitting has become very trendy recently, and if you are a dedicated knitter than you’ve probably been asked to teach a friend or family member to knit too. If like me you’ve been knitting since childhood, it can be hard to remember how you were taught to knit, purl, cast on and cast off, and therefore it can be even harder to work out how to pass these skills on to someone else. My daughter, who is almost eight, is desperate to learn the basics and we’ve been spending some wet afternoons in the school holidays trying to knit a scarf. There have been tears and tantrums along the way but we have picked up some hints and tips which will help anyone else tasked with teaching a beginner knitter.

Sit Behind Them!

It’s hard to explain what you do when you are knitting. If like me you get muddled between left and right sometimes, sitting facing someone and trying to explain what to do with yarn and needles is almost impossible. If you’re teaching a child, sit them on your lap and then you can put your hands over theirs on the needles and control exactly what is going on. For an adult, stand behind them and look over their shoulder and this will help you explain what they should be doing next.

Avoid the Kits

There are a huge range of kits on the market designed to help kids learn to knit and in my experience these are worse than useless. Most of the kits have needles which are like fence posts, and little fingers find it impossible to manipulate such thick needles. Many of the very cheap kits contain poor quality yarn which is not fun to work with and once the kit is made you are left with something you would never be seen dead wearing.


When teaching someone to knit, opt for slightly thicker needles such as 5.5mm or 6mm needles. I have found that using plastic or wooden needles is better than metal as they don’t seem to be so “slippy” and there are fewer dropped stitches. Standard straight needles are better for learners than circular needles; learners don’t need the added complication of trying to keep circular needles untangled. Don’t use needles which are too short or too long, stick to the average as these are most easily controlled.


If you are using thicker needles then it makes sense to use a slightly thicker yarn, something like a Robin, Wendy or King Cole chunky, an American “sportweight” yarn or even an aran weight yarn. Thin yarn can be used with thicker needles but this makes a very lacy type knitting and it also means the learner struggles to notice when they have dropped a stitch or made a mistake. Cast on around 25 stitches in your King Cole chunky or aran and get the learner knitting plain garter stitch backwards and forwards to make a scarf or something similar. Don’t be tempted to move on to more fancy things like stocking stitch or knitting two stitches together until they have completely mastered the basics.

Morag Peers is a keen knitter and the mother of three young children

Guest Post: Add a Bit of Your Personality Artistically in Photographs

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Today's Guest Post is something that means a lot to me personally as a photographer!

How to Add A Bit Of Your Personality Artistically In Photographs

There is a big difference between a photographer and an artist. The earlier is someone who takes photos with the help of a camera while later one adds a piece of his personality to picture that he creates. Therefore, you need to be both photographer and an artist simultaneously to create splendid pictures that are satisfying as well as memorable for you as well.
Following lines contain some tips that will allow you to make your photos more appealing artistically.

·         Remember that You are an Artist and it is Your Art:
Sometimes it happens that you think yourself as a camera technician not as an artist. You simply try to capture “what is already there” with no effort to add some creativity to your photographs. The excuses like you can’t do disrespect to subject matter are understandable but they are undeniably limiting your creative skills. Therefore, you need to learn that you are in fact an artist and can do anything with your pictures as you own them and it is your art.

·         Reveal Yourself to Photograph:
Never work in “camera operator” mode and never take photos for the sake of taking them. Know what are the ingredients that can reveal yourself to the photograph you are going to take and use them in your picture. If you cannot do so, your pictures will be devoid of emotions and will not be about you. In this regard, post processing techniques will also do a great favor to you by helping you to add yourself in the picture.

·         Learn to See and Observe:
Once you learn how to get hold of the camera and are well versed with technical skills, spent most of your time on observing the work of other artists including any piece of visual art you come across. Furthermore, study art history, get in contact with other artists and then try to instill your own style in your pictures. Similarly, you should also be well versed with latest techniques emerging in the field like custom canvas printing.

·         Never Imitate Others:
It is a good thing to get inspiration from others but it is a bad thing to imitate them. Inspiration means knowing the tools and techniques other artist has used to create the masterpiece and those that appeal you and then using those methods in your favor and applying them on your subject.

·         Be a Rule Breaker:
It is important for you to consider yourself as a “digital artist” holding a camera instead of a photographer who just takes correct pictures. Never mind the criticism of the other artists when you break the rule because if your creation is about you, the audience will take interest no matter how unconventional it is.

·         Always Carry Your Camera:
Finally, you need to keep your camera with you all the time and in this busy world, you can make full use of your phone camera as well. The phone camera will make you think less of technicalities and you will be picturing with “nothing to lose” approach allowing you to do more experiments with your subject.

Above mention are some of the techniques that will greatly improve the artistic quality of the photographs you take and come up with a sensational photograph.

Author’s Bio:Anthony Powell is an avid photographer who also writes on, arts and crafts and home décor. He works for photos to canvas online store operating in UK and dealing in unique artworks and home décor improvement accessories.

Guest Post: Canvas Printing for Home Decoration

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Canvas printing is an amazing way to decorate your ordinary home look extraordinary

Canvas prints as well as artwork have grown to be increasingly well-liked as a terrific way to decorate your office or home. Transform your projects into artwork pieces along with canvas printing. Make sure they are distinct. Make sure they are stand away. Make all of them more remarkable than normal photographs. Make everything possible along with canvas images.

Here tend to be some things you need to bear in mind while decorating your home with canvas arts or even printing:

1.       Complement the actual Theme or even Mood of the Room:
Understanding the room's objective and attributes is essential before selecting a canvas prints for your wall. May be the room personal, or could it be used in order to entertain visitors? Is the area used with regard to relaxing or even performing duties, or could it be just the hallway? May be the room big, narrow or even tall? These tend to be clues that will assist to determine the kind of canvas art which will complement the color and scale of your room.

2.       Understand the actual Psychology In between Neutral as well as Vibrant Colors: -
Natural colors tend to be calming, while lively colors provide excitement as well as action to some room. For instance, you may choose amazing blue colors for any fast-paced workplace, lively yellow-colored colors for any children's space or artwork studio, and natural beige as well as mellow eco-friendly colors for any quiet escape room or perhaps a doctor's workplace.

3.       Print Dimension Should Rely on Wall Dimension: -
It is advisable to choose scaled-down canvas images for thin walls as well as larger canvas images for large walls as well as spaces.

4.       Canvas Print Selections Ought to be based upon expected furnishings pairings: -
The style and size of the canvas print ought to be in line with the furniture you intend to suspend the print alongside or more than. When walls art is actually hung over a bit of furniture, the printing size ought to be no longer compared to width from the furniture.

Benefits of Canvas Images: -

·         Canvas prints tend to be truly long lasting printed with long-lasting archival inks. The colors won't fade very easily and keep its brilliance for a long time.

·         It can also be weather proof, making this possible to work with it each indoors as well as outdoors. It is ideal for display in your home with artwork reproductions or even in exhibitions, exhibits, and so on.

·         Canvas prints include texture in order to photos as well as illustrations that you simply cannot accomplish using picture papers.

·         Canvas prints really are a fairly versatile material, very literally. You are able to roll this up without concern with damage. Stretching the actual canvas as well is but a regular ability from the material

Let your own artistry as well as creativity burst open forth as well as let canvas prints function as the medium which will turn actually ordinary images into unique ones. Look for a skilled canvas printing organization and obtain ready to hold your masterpiece about the wall.

Author Bio: Jasmine is an eminent author about the different interior design using canvas painting. She is also an expert of design home interiors. If you like her articles follow the other articles written by her.

Guest Post: Tips on designing plain white linen bed sheets and curtains for your home

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For the more creatively inclined, sometimes it’s not enough just to buy a pre-designed set of duvets and curtains for your house. Buying a set of plain white linens from somewhere like Linens Direct might seem like a dull choice on the surface, when in reality it gives you a great opportunity to flex those creative muscles and create an innovative design of your own.

There are plenty of ways to alter a set of white sheets or a pair of curtains; it just depends on where your skills lie or what it is you have in mind. For example, sewing is a very popular choice and has seen the creation of many beautiful and colourful patterns and design, though not everyone is adept at needlework and it often requires a lot of effort and concentration. However, sewing can be a great way to give a plain duvet a little pop rather than changing it completely; you could sew a colourful border pattern, for example, or a top and tail design to make the duvet or curtains stand out.

Alternatively, you could use fabric pens and paints to draw on patterns instead. Not everyone is an artist, but if you have the flair for it then it’s definitely worth a crack. You don’t even have to draw the patterns yourself if you already have something in particular in mind; you can always take a design or pattern that you like, adjust it in photo shop and then use that as a stencil or something to trace from. Tracing will help to keep the design consistent and clean-looking whilst minimising the chances for errors. Bright colours and fun characters can make excellent duvets for children, or be used to decorate the curtains in their room.
Block prints are also a good idea. The process isn’t unlike the arts and crafts you used to do at school, when you’d take a carved potato, dip it in paint and print it on the paper to make a block pattern, but instead you’re applying it to fabric. You can even use cardboard in order to make the blocks, making it a relatively cheap way to create the print. Draw out the chosen pattern onto the cardboard, carefully cut it out and cover in paint with a foam roller for an even spread and then apply to the fabric. Ensure that the material is laid out smoothly and evenly and make sure you practice on something else a few times in order to get the hang of it; otherwise it’ll just be a waste of money. This method is a little more complicated than others and certainly takes more time and effort but one that produces a fantastic result when done right.

DIY duvets and curtains may not be standard practice yet, but they’re certainly growing in popularity. The simplicity of a white duvet or pair of curtains offers a multitude of creative possibilities; from charming prints of your child’s favourite characters to a simple pattern of flowers or leaves, you can do whatever you like and you’ll be left with something unique and entirely your own.

Guest Post by Linens Direct

Guest Post: DIY Table Centerpieces

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5 DIY Table Centerpieces
Spruce up your table and breathe life to your home by stretching your imagination a little bit further and taking advantage of your resources! If you are short in time, it’s still possible to add some wow on your table arrangements to add a profusion of color and life wherever your place it.

Dried Wheat Centerpiece
If you want something new and exciting, why not display dried stalks of wheat or rice, especially if you don’t have any fresh flowers around?
 I find this rustic centerpiece very whimsical and inspiring. For people who want to bring the beauty and blossom inside their living or dining room, then, this DIY centerpiece is an option! It’s very simple and easy to create and the materials are very abundant. Whenever I plan to throw a little spring party at home, the dried wheat centerpiece always comes to my mind. I’d usually gather several manzanita branches, then I would place them on a tall vase and there I have a nice and attractive centerpiece. I love the branches because they look gorgeous while the twists and curls all add up to the drama.

Balloons have really come a long way. They’re now among the most popular centerpiece items, especially for special occasions. I once tried black balloon when I held a summer get-together with high school friends at home and I was very happy that everyone liked what I did! Here’s the secret to how you do it. First, layer kraft paper on top of a neutral tablecloth then top it with black-and-white table runner. I tied the balloons with chandelier crystals so to keep them on the table. I also placed scented votive candles to enhance the ambiance and make it more relaxing. One magazine  told me that to make the balloons personalized, try to embellish each with photographs, especially if you’re celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, or special holidays with friends and families.

Two-in-One DIY Centerpiece
What a nice centerpiece you’ll make if you try placing a peony on a small crystal or ceramic container. Get lots of them then group them together and you’ll see the nice effect. Aside from its decorative role, this centerpiece also functions as party giveaways. You can tell guests to take a vase home at the end of the evening, and you've got your favors covered, too. Add variety to the height by cutting the flowers into various lengths before placing them on the vase.

Yellow-and-White Wedding Centerpieces
Create bold yellow-and-white centerpieces by arranging jonquils, ranunculus, tulips, and sweet peas in single-variety containing. What I love about this centerpiece is that it boasts of rich variety of textures that will look pleasant to the eyes. Go for neutral themed vases, which are eye friendly, then, tie a yellow ribbon on each vase for added appeal.

Fresh Flower Centerpiece

Any vase will look wonderful and more exciting if you try enhancing its look with bands of scrap-booking paper and bell strings. Just wrap around the vase with a strip of scrap-booking paper. Accentuate the vase with strings the bells and buttons then tie it around the vase. Heighten the drama with boughs of fresh flowers. Make three to five of these, then place them at the center of your table and you’ll have a very attractive flower centerpiece to catch everyone’s eyesight. 

About the author – Manilyn Moreno is an event planner and caterer. As an event planner, she’s always on the go in thinking innovative ideas for special occasions and events. She also blogs and shares tips on how to optimize catering profit by using software for catering.

Guest Post: DIY Home Renovation Ideas Your Whole Family Will Enjoy

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Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons
Contrary to popular belief, redecorating your home does not need to drain your bank account. Often the least expensive home renovations can be done by you. Do-it-yourself renovations add the greatest amount of character and personal flare to your home. It is not necessary to be adept in artistry or interior design to create a beautifully unique home. A number of simple DIY renovation ideas can leave your home looking and feeling wonderful at a painless price.

These days, 
shabby chic homes are all the rage due to the quaint, cottage-like atmosphere they provide. This style of interior design intentionally relies on a worn-out or antique look. Furniture may have chipped paint or a style that is perceived as outdated. The point is to contradict the stiff feeling that you may find in homes that are too fancy. The main characteristic of such a style is worn furniture. Renovations are especially easy because people often throw away old, antique-like furniture. Scour garage sales and curbside furniture to find free or inexpensive “new” furniture for your home.

If shabby chic is not your personal taste, you can still make use of old furniture. A coat of paint or lacquer is far cheaper than buying an entire new set of furniture. Before painting old furniture, you will want to run your hand over the surface to see if it is naturally sleek and glossy, such as varnished wood. If so, a gentle sanding will provide the foundation for beautiful results. Then apply a coat of primer, followed by two thin coats of latex paint. Depending on the ages of you children, I’m sure they would be happy to help—there is nothing quite as thrilling as painting on the furniture! Although optional, a water-based finishing coat adds lasting protection and a glossy appearance. To avoid paint chips, wait at least 3 days before using any newly painted furniture. It may take a couple days longer in humid conditions.

Frosting windows is another simple DIY renovation that can add an entirely new look and a brighter feel to your home. While curtains can certainly be chic, they can also inhibit sunlight and give your home a gloomy feel. Plus, replacement costs can run steep. Purging the curtains does not need to jeopardize privacy if the windows are properly frosted. Frosting film is only about $20 for a large tube and film application spray is about $4 per bottle. After taking measurements, spray both the windows and frosting film with the applicator. Then stick the film onto the window, using a credit card to smooth out the air bubbles. Use an exactor knife to remove any excess film. You may also frost patio or shower doors.

Nothing makes a home feel emptier than bare walls. While hanging extravagant art may be picturesque, sentimental wall hangings yield the happiest vibes. Family photos are wonderful, but perhaps you want a creative alternative. You can create your own DIY “landmark map” that showcases all your family trips and vacations with four inexpensive materials: a large cheap picture frame, corkboard, vintage map, and pins. First, pin the map onto the corkboard. Then place a pin in every state and/or country where your family vacationed. Place the corkboard map in the picture frame, but remove the glass. Continue adding pins as your family experiences more of the world.

About the Author: Amanda Riwak is a stay-at-home mommy who loves her kids and also has a passion for interior design—and lots of creative ideas for combining both! She enjoys taking on fun decorating projects that her kids can help with as well, and together they have managed to design every room of the house. When she is not covered in paint and wallpaper, Amanda enjoys spending hours on the beach with her family and eating peanut butter ice cream.

Guest Post: 5 Rainy-Day DIY Projects to Keep the Kids Busy

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Guest Post by Patrick Rafferty

Keeping your kid entertained on a rainy day is a lot like catching a fly with your bare hands; it’s not impossible, but rather much easier said than done.

There’s only so long that a child should be in front of the TV. At a certain point, the burden of amusing your child falls upon the parent. You’ve got a golden opportunity, though. Rather than thinking of this as a mundane task, look at it as good bonding time with your kids, and even better, a chance to become a kid again, even if just for a day.

Here are a few easy do it yourself (DIY) projects that can be entertaining for the parents and kids alike.

 Make a Fort

I don’t care who you are, making a fort is fun. Go around your house and find everything that can become a foundation (couch cushions, blankets, tables, sleeping bags, etc.) and let your kid’s imagination go wild. Help them along when you see fit, but beyond that just sit back and watch. You’ll be amazed at what your kid will think of. One second they’ll be in a pirate ship, the next their castle will be under attack.


This age old game never gets old. And best of all, the more the merrier. This game can be played for hours on end, especially with a few kids or more than one parent. If it gets old, change it up a bit. Play hide-and-seek with an object rather than a person; the first person to find the object wins. Even better, make a scavenger hunt. The possibilities are endless. Have your kid put some variations on the game and see what happens.

Pull out the Board Games

Every house should have a few board games for this very purpose. Board games can be fun for kids of all ages, and just as entertaining for the parent. Start off with Candyland and gradually evolve to incorporate more challenging games: Clue, Checkers, Scrabble or Chess. If you don’t have card games, at least buy a pack of cards and teach your kid Go Fish or Battle.

Make a Collage

Everyone has junk magazines they get in the mail. Rather than throwing it away, use it to your advantage. Making a collage will let your kids truly express themselves in a way you would never imagine. Hand them a pair of scissors and a glue stick and let them run wild. Tell them to imagine what they want to be when they grow up or ask them what their favorite activities are. Help them if they need it, but more than likely, they’ll be just fine.

Arts and Crafts

This one can potentially be a bit difficult, but also the most rewarding. You might not be the most creative person in the world, but give it a try. Look around your house and find some products that inspire creative thinking. It can be as simple as using marshmallows connected to toothpicks to build a design. Have some tongue depressors and glue? Make a log cabin. If you’re really not creative, just find a bunch of items and let your kid decide what to do with them.

Rainy days can end up being some of the most memorable experiences your child will ever remember, especially if you are a part of it. Don’t be afraid to experiment. And most of all don’t be afraid to let go and have a little bit of fun with it.


Patrick Rafferty is a marketing specialist for Few and Far Company, a website dedicated to the gentleman traveler

Guest Post: 8 Great Ideas for Your Old Keys

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8 great ideas for your old keys

Over 400 million keys are thrown away each year around the world. That’s a lot of land fill and a lot of scrap metal.
If you’ve recently changed your locks and have a few redundant keys kicking around or have a bunch in the back of a drawer that you’ve never used, here are a number of ways to put them to a practical use.

Create a key charm bracelet

Use your old keys to create a stunning charm bracelet. Using a simple chain bracelet you can attach all of the keys that you have gathered over the years to unlock some special memories, as well as impressing friends and family - the more diverse the keys, the better the effect.

Make your own key wind chime
Keys are ideal for making a wind chime. The weight and shape of keys make them perfect for hanging and different shapes create various sounds and pitches. Use fishing wire to hang the keys from a metal hoop, which you can then suspend from the roof or nearby tree.

Design your own key wall art

Each key is unique. And because of this an array of different keys can create stunning images when they are displayed next to each other. Position a selection of keys in an artistic arrangement on a wooden mount or frame and you’ll have the most unique piece of artwork for your wall – as well as a real talking point for visitors.

Recycle them for a good cause

It’s an obvious solution, but keys are made from a range of different metals, most of which can be recycled. Take your old keys to your local household recycling centre and they will happily dispose of them for you in a way that is environmentally friendly. Some charities will even offer to take your old keys, melt them down and give the proceeds to good causes.

Wear a key necklace

Like with the charm bracelet, using old keys as jewellery can really make an impression. Fasten one, two, even  several keys to a simple chain necklace to create a stunning piece of jewellery - using different shapes, colours and sizes to ensure your creation is unique and eye-catching. You could always attach one of your home keys to the necklace to ensure you are never locked out again.

Make novel key Christmas decorations

Make your tree or wreath stand out when Christmas comes around by using some of your old keys as decorations. Spray them in gold or silver to give them a new lease of life and then attach ribbons or holly to give them that festive feel. The keys can then be hung from the branches of your tree, door wreaths or even decorative table centres.

Create your own key earrings

If you’re sick of studs or had enough of hoops, why not use your old keys to make a quirky pair of earrings? Give them a good clean to bring out the original finish of the metal or maybe spray them a new colour to really make them stand out.

Use old keys around the house

They may not be good for unlocking doors anymore, but keys can still have a life after their original job is done. As keys are designed to be robust and long lasting, they can still play a role around the home. Use old keys to jazz-up old zip-fasteners on a bag or piece of clothing or maybe use them in the hem of your drapes and curtains to weigh them down at the bottom – be as creative and original as you want.

Author Bio: Lucia is a full time blogger and designer who enjoys creating crafts from everyday items found in the home. She also contributes articles to Home Secure, suppliers of upvc door handles.

Guest Post: Milk Carton Animals

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Bring a Milk Carton to Life

Keeping kids amused can be expensive and unrewarding. Taking your kids to the local amusement park might seem like a great idea, but the ticket price combined with your little one becoming overtired and whiney will make you ask yourself why you bothered. What you really want is something cheap, yet still a sure bet to keep the kids amused. This is where our milk carton animals come in. Using recycled milk cartons, you won’t break the bank and will leave the little ones smiling as they have something to take away with them. Plus you can do it all from the comfort of your own home. Easy. Peasy.

What You Will Need

Milk Carton
Masking Tape
PVA Glue
Coloured paper cut into squares/ Newspaper and paint
Googly eyes
Any other decorative bits you have hanging about.

Making Your Patchwork Elephant

·         First things first, save an old milk carton!

  • ·         Clean out your carton and get rid of any milky remnants.

  • ·         Fill the carton with hot water so that you can easily peel off any labels. Nail varnish remover will remove the stamp date or any other print on the carton.

  • ·         It is best to pre-prepare and do the cutting part for children to avoid any injury since plastic edges can be very sharp. Cut the bottom off your milk carton, about half way up so your elephant looks in proportion with its trunk (the carton handle). I also cut the top off my carton, just below the lid, so the elephant has a flat head but it really does not matter too much. 

  • ·         Stick masking tape round the holes that you have created from cutting up the carton so that you have a solid area to decorate.

·         Now papier-mâché time.

Option 1:  Layer newspaper onto the milk carton using PVA glue mixed with water. You will need to leave this to dry overnight before you can consider painting it. Get your kids to decorate it whatever colour they like- the shape of the carton shows it is an elephant with a trunk, so get creative and stay away from the grey! Once the paint has dried, they can decorate their pièce de resistance further with sequins, ribbon and of course some googly eyes.

Option 2: If you are shorter on time this is a better option and you will create something equally as colourful and innovative. Instead of using newspaper to papier-mâché, use coloured paper cut into squares to layer on the elephant. This will create a patchwork effect just like Elmer elephant from the children’s story. They layer on top of the milk carton until they get bored or until they have become too messy! Once again leave this to dry overnight and then add some googly eyes!

 Hopefully you will end up with something a little like this:

The fun does not have to end there; you can create endless animals from your used milk cartons. Use the screw top end as a face-on pig’s snout or paint it black and make a penguin. Just go with the flow, the main thing is that your kids have fun and create something they love!

Lucy Carswell is a Blogger and Marketing Assistant for Cube Self Storage, Cube Record Management Services and Cube Fine Art Services. UK based storage companies specialising in secure storage of documents and climate controlled storage for fine art.