Archive for April, 2011

12 Different Easter Egg Dyes & Crafts

Saturday, April 23, 2011 1:37 Comments Off on 12 Different Easter Egg Dyes & Crafts

Stuck for last minute egg dying and crafty ideas to do with those hardboiled eggs before Sunday?  Here are some quick ways to dye Easter eggs – mostly with using stuff right in your cupboards, so you don’t have to buy one of those fancy kits for each of your kids.

Are you trying to avoid food coloring this year with your Easter eggs?  Here is how to make Tissue Paper Easter eggs – the tissue paper is the dye, so no messy containers full of dye just waiting to be spilled!

Has your daughter been eyeing up those fancy glitter Easter egg kits?  Here is how to make glitter Easter eggs them at home without having to buy a whole kit just for the glitter effect.

If your kids are more on the groovy side of things, make some fun tie-dyed Easter eggs!

Strive to Simplify has some great information on how to use natural vegetable dyes to dye Easter eggs. She has a great chart on vegetables for different dye colors, such as using red inion skinds for red easter egg dye and spinach leaves for green, which were two I knew about, but she also has quite ingenious ones I never would have thought of like hibiscus tea for purple and paprika for orange. Highly recommended!

Mama Knows has some fun Easter Egg holder printables… print them out, have your kids color them up, then they have their own holders for their Easter eggs to show them off!

Cynthia Schaffer has eggs made by painting eggs with chalkboard paint and then decorating them with chalk.  Pretty ingenious!

Measured by the Heart has eggs done by using your glue gun to make patterns on Easter eggs before dying them.

The Come Together Kids blog has a different spin on Easter eggs for your craftier kids.  These are not decorating hardboiled eggs, but a very clever Easter egg fabric batik which is done with glue.

Want to get in on the fun or have older kids who think regular Easter egg dying is too babyish?  Missy Polyclay has some great looking Easter eggs made by gluing embroidery thread (ie DMC or Anchor thread) onto eggs, wrapping them in a single layer from top to bottom.

Budget Barbie has these fun eggs made with water balloons for the eggs and wrapped with yarn.  I bet some boys could have a fun Easter egg water balloon fight with these!

Definitely Deals has this cute Easter egg tree.

And lastly, what is an Easter egg hunt without having a cute bag for putting those eggs in?  Purl Bee has these cute Easter Egg hunt bags that you can easily whip up if you are a sewer.

Have you forgotten how to make the perfect hard boiled egg?  Or hate when they turn out with those green yolks kids love to hate?  Here is our simple way of making green free hardboiled eggs!

Don’t forget that for food safety, you should never leave Easter eggs out at room temperature for more than a couple of hours if you plan to eat them!

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This was posted under category: Crafts, Holidays

How to spot a counterfeit purse

Thursday, April 21, 2011 19:52 Comments Off on How to spot a counterfeit purse

We have all seen street vendors selling off knock off purses – purses with the iconic “C” Coach logo handbags but with the “C” subtly changed to a G. Or as was made famous in the movie Serendipity, a Prada wallet with the brass Prada spelled Prado. But how can you spot a fake and not spend your hard earned money on a purse that isn’t a great deal on an authentic purse but an overpriced ripoff? Here are some things to check.

Get to know the real deal
Head to your local department store and look at a real purse of the brand you want to buy. For example, look at the chunky hardware on an authentic Coach purse (buckles, metal clasps etc), fakes have hardware that is thinner and cheaper looking. Look inside and note things like the keyring holder inside most purses and a zip pocket. Some even have an interior logo that fakes won’t have.

Look at the logo
Is the logo slightly altered, like the Coach fakes having “G”? Is the logo spelled incorrectly? These are all ways that knockoffs will sometimes be slightly differentiated from the real thing, so they don’t run afoul with copyright infringement.

Look at interior labels
Are they sewn in? Are the labels leather like many purses? If they are fabric, are they sewn in or glued in? A legitimate designer purse will never have a label simply glued in.

Is it too good to be true?
If you are buying it from a street vendor or at a flea market for twenty bucks, its a fake. If you are buying it from Marshalls, it is probably the real thing.

Trust your gut
There was a second hand store here that higher end used designer fashions and that also sold new with tags Coach purses – and they looked pretty good, but something just felt odd about them I couldn’t quite place my finger on, so I decided against buying one I really liked – lo and behold, a few months later I read in the paper they were charged with selling known fake Coach purses (meaning the store bought them for resale, knowing they were fake, but selling them as authentic)

Be wary on eBay
You can find great designer purses on eBay that are real – but there are plenty of fakes. While eBay tries to remove the fakes, you don’t want to Buy It Now on one they simply haven’t caught yet. Read the sellers feedback, especially for other designer purses sold… is the feedback good or do they have a lot of negatives? Is it a brand new seller or a longtime powerseller?

Do your research
If you know the purse style, Google it and find authentic versions – does anything look different? If it does, its a fake.

Is it too good to be true?
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Unless there is a serious flaw with it and you are buying used (ie a big stain or a damaged area) if it is a total bargain, it is probably a fake.

Can’t afford the non-fake real deal? Instead of thinking you have to get the latest trendy bag, look at other companies in your budget range with unique purses that suit your personality style. Maybe that $20 daisy flower power print purse is enough to make a statement because it is so you, and it isn’t the same kind of purse everyone else has. Don’t be one of the followers because you think you have to, be a leader!

Feeling crafty? Tomorrow we are going to showcase some do it yourself purses that are full of style without breaking the budget!

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This was posted under category: Fashion

Make your own baby sign language flash cards

Wednesday, April 20, 2011 14:04 6 Comments

When I was making a baby shower gift for a friend last year, I bought her a few books on baby sign language because she was planning to teach her baby signing with the sign language we both remembered learning in school!  But I wanted to get flash cards as well, but couldn’t find any.  We were talking about it a few days back and thought I would see if I could find flash cards now, and discovered there are several places where you can print baby sign language flash cards online!

What you need:
Card stock to print cards on
Pencil crayons or felts to decorate the cards (they are in black and white)
Elastic band or small box to keep them all together when not being used
Laminate (optional) – if you have access to a cheap laminator, you can laminate them to prolong the life of your cards and pass them on to others later!

Sources to print your own baby sign language flash cards:
Print n Learn
has a nice set of free flash cards with the letters preprinted with the signs.
Enchanted Learning has free ABC flash cards.  You will need to put the letter on the front/back (your preference)
ABC Teach has some nice ones, but you need to pay a yearly membership fee for them (well, if you want to go beyond the first few letters!).  Comes in color, black & white or grayscale.  Letters are shown in the front of the card though.  (Check out Child of the Nature Isle blog to see how they colored and used the cards, awesome!)

Sources to buy baby sign language flash cards:
If you are looking for some flash card sets for a gift, here are some of the popular flash cards on Amazon.  But making flash cards for your gift would be an awesome gift, especially if you color them with style :)

I also wanted to include a link to this awesome placemat – it has sign language alphabet on the front so you can reinforce sign language at meal time too!  File this one under things I wished I thought of first!

More from moms doing baby sign language:
I also wanted to include some more reading on doing baby sign language from moms, so check them out!

Don’t forget many community centers offer classes on baby signing now or ask at your local parenting group or baby store and see who they recommend.  It is fun to get together with other moms and learn signing together.

Last but not least, remember Baby Baluga by Raffi?  Here is a great video signing Baby Beluga!  While it goes to the book, you could easily use the actions to sing the song once you know all the signs.

This was posted under category: Babies & Kids

Reminders on how to stop pesky cold calls

Wednesday, April 20, 2011 2:50 Comments Off on Reminders on how to stop pesky cold calls

It seems that the economy is making companies cold call even more these days while they are trying to drum up every possible business they can.  Since a friend of mine got six cold calls in the same day and asked what to do about it, I thought it might be good to give everyone a refresher on how to stop getting them – and what to do if they are still contacting you.

Get your name on the Do Not Call Registry.
Sign up for the registry here.  The results aren’t instantaneous, but within 31 days you should stop receiving telemarking calls.  Don’t forget to register your cell phone numbers as well and your kid’s phone if they have a seperate phone line.  You can also confirm if your number is on the list or not if you have forgotten or if you have a recycled phone number, although recycled numbers should be automatically removed from the list.

Report companies who phone you if your name is on the registry
Part of it is making sure you report companies who flout the rules – and unfortunately some do.  Don’t forget that political parties and legitimate charities are excluded from the Do Not Call Registry rules, so if you are contacted by any of those, you will need to tell them directly to remove you from the list if they phone.  And companies you have a previous business relationship are permitted to phone you for 18 months after your last purchase.  Click here to file a complaint.

Don’t let telemarketers lead you on
It is a talent that telemarketers have to keep you on the phone as long as possible by trying to skew their conversation in such a way it isn’t easy for you to cut in and say you aren’t interested.  Don’t worry about being blunt, if you aren’t interested, state this and then end the conversation.

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This was posted under category: Budgeting & Finances

Simplicity’s Simply Teen line of home decor patterns

Monday, April 18, 2011 7:08 1 Comment

I admit that I generally don’t flip through the sewing pattern books and look at home decor… because the vast majority of it looks like something a Grandma-type would sew with a ton of lace and ruffles in old-fashioned print fabrics.  But a fabric store location closed out and they sent all their patterns – albiet in a disorganized mess – to the fabric store near me. 

So while I went searching through the patterns to see if anything caught my eye (and how can it not when you can buy the expensive Vogue designer patterns for $3.99!) I discovered that Simplicity has a Simply Teen line of home decor patterns for teens and their bedrooms.

This is one of the Simplicity patterns I got (Simplicity 5124 is the other one), my daughter is itching for me to make her a beanbag chair for her bedroom.  And at 4 1/4 yards of fabric, if I can pick up something she likes off the bargain section, it will be a totally economical bean bag chair for well under $10 (well, depending on how much the packing peanuts cost, but I hope to get them free).  It would also make a great inexpensive but pretty darn cool present for your kid’s friends, or even just to make a few for the family room for lounging around on.  I don’t know if you have ever priced out nice bean bag chairs, but they run well over $100!

If you sew, definitely keep your eyes out for this line if you are looking for un-Grandma-like home decor to sew.  It looks as though Simply Teen line had a few other patterns as well but seem to be out of print, sigh.  Murphys law!  I have a couple other sewing projects to complete, then it will be bean bag chair time… probably do it as a nice end of the school year present for my daughter.

This was posted under category: Crafts

Extreme Couponing… how much of this stuff ends up at food banks?

Saturday, April 16, 2011 6:29 1 Comment

So I have seen the first few episodes of Extreme Couponing.  Never mind the sheer time commitment required (8 hours of clipping coupons a week?  EEK!) but have you noticed these people are showing off their wall of toothpaste or the 63 bottles of mustard they are buying, but we always see people showing off their storage spaces for their coupon haul.  But other than a few vague references to donating to food banks – and one guy, Nathan, who had a bit focused on a charity helping troop’s families, we never actually see any of this food being donated.  But we definitely see people proudly showing off their cases of toothpaste or the woman who bought out all the mustard, I don’t think even a mustard-loving family could use all that in the next 5 years! 

Not only that, stuff expires.  Cereal has a shelf life of 1-2 years.  Now, maybe this guy is going to eat those 700 boxes of cereal before it is dated, but I’d be shocked.  Same goes with a ton of other items I saw in what people had in their garages – deodorant, soup, mayo, sauces, etc. 

Now, I really hope a lot of this excess food does end up at food banks… and maybe there have been other interviews where they say this, but I wish TLC would focus more on this aspect of it and maybe convince some people to use coupons for free goods they get for the sole purpose of donating to charity, or even focus on episode on those who do it mainly for charity.

This was posted under category: Coupons