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An Introduction to Card Making Ideas

If you are interested in crafts in any way then card making is an ideal activity to begin with. There is a huge variety card making techniques and ideas that will help you with your card making ideas.

You do not need huge amounts of time and money to get into card making, it can be as simple or as complex as you desire but trust me once you have started you will be hooked.

Card making ideas are easy fun and are an excellent way of showing your creative side, they are considered gifts when being given in the form of a card and will always be well received.

When I had my first card making idea I started with a few basic tools, often you can use items from your home that are gathering dust.

The basic items I would suggest you need to start any card making ideas are the following.

Paper or card – paper and card come in a huge variety of forms from handmade paper, vellum, patterned and so many other designs. Paper and card is really the foundation for any card it can be used to mount toppers, add a layering effect it can be used in so many different ways including iris folding, a simple but very effective technique that involves folding strips of colored paper that are layered together in a spiral pattern.

Scissors – It is extremely important to have a really good quality pair of scissors, using blunt scissors really can mess up your card making ideas.

Metal ruler and craft knife – it is important to always work on a clean surface and a cutting mat is perfect for this as you can also use your craft knife with out having to worry about damaging your table or area of work. Good cutting tools are very important

Peel off stickers – peel off stickers can be used in so many ways they are a must for anyone who wants to produce good quality card making ideas. Using a peel off sticker that is the same color as your card can also give an embossed look.

Once you become a keep card maker you can always introduce additional supplies and items to your craft box.

Remember never to throw anything away that could be used, even your card scraps as these could be used to punch out small punches for embellishments

If you are making cards with your children and using an ink pad always make sure that the ink is washable it is surprising how much children would rather ink their hands and faces rather then using it for their card making ideas.

Making cards is a wonderful past time that all the family can enjoy sending and receiving home made personal cards will bring you joy and a sense of achievement.

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How to Create a Family Safety Plan

It’s not surprising that most people do not have a plan in place for an emergency. Nobody thinks disaster will strike them. Chances are, it never will, but having a practiced, well thought out safety plan in place could mean a world of difference in your life. If you have never thought about the need for a safety plan and don’t know where to begin to formulate one, here are a few tips to help you get started.

Make it a Family Affair

Each family member should be involved in the development of the family safety plan. Hold a family meeting where everyone can participate and provide input. This family brainstorming will provide ideas and everyone will have an understanding of the plan and be more apt to take it seriously. Creating a family safety contract for everyone to sign will ensure your family’s commitment to safety. Frame the contract in a picture frame and hang it in an easily accessible location in case that emergency every strikes.

Gather Emergency Supplies

Before an emergency strikes determine what supplies you will need to keep you safe. Build an emergency supply kit or several of them and place them at different locations throughout your house so you are prepared no matter where you are. Some examples of what to include in your safety kit are a working flashlight and extra batteries, a first aid kit, non-perishable food, matches, blankets, extra clothing and jugs of water. As a safety precaution keep a flashlight and fresh batteries in a nightstand for a middle of the night emergency. You should also consider having an emergency radio especially if you live in tornado areas so you can get updates on the weather status.

Plan Emergency Escape Routes

If you wait until an emergency hits to figure out an exit route, you won’t have time to coordinate with other family members. Whether the emergency is a fire, flood or tornado, you need to have a plan that is known to all family members and has been practiced so each person is familiar with it and can successfully escape. Once your escape route is established you may want to create a poster of it to hang on the wall in a simple picture frame where it can be seen and understood even by young children.

Practice, Practice, Practice

No plan is ever fool proof. That is why you need to practice your escape plan so you don’t have any surprises during a real emergency. Once you have established a plan, hold a few practice sessions so everyone is familiar with the plan and can navigate more confidently when under stress. Whether it is a fire drill, home evacuation drill or tornado drill, practice sessions give everyone a chance to be acquainted with the escape plan and time to work on any problems that you foresee. A fun activity is more memorable, so snap some photos of your family in action and display in picture frames along with your emergency escape route and family safety contract.

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Having the Right Dog Kennels and Dog Crates is Important

Dog Kennels and dog crates are simply a “must have” if you own dogs. They are such an important part of the gear required for happy and successful dog ownership, that to go without them is really doing yourself, and your dog, a big disservice. Both kennels and crates serve important functions that, to the uninitiated, may come as a bit of a surprise. I certainly never thought of these things before I owned dogs. Now it just seems obvious to me that both are necessary items to have and use.

A dog is a social animal and likes to live with a sense of place. This can range from position in the pack, i.e., the family, to an actual location where they can go to get away from it all. Having such a place is critical for the dog’s peace of mind. Dog kennels and dog crates make the perfect places for this for several reasons. Probably the biggest reason these are ideal is that they are dedicated items, meaning that nothing else is done there. It is the dog’s own and he quickly learns this. That sense of ownership and place makes it a safe and comfortable retreat for the animal. Being able to go into a crate or kennel plays on a dog’s den instinct. Think about how wolves are in the wild. They give birth to the pups in caves or other cave-like places. It is protected from the weather and other dangers. It is secure. Crates and kennels do a pretty good job of replicating this and dogs love them.

Another reason dog kennels and crates are so important to have is for safety. When you travel with your dog, having the right crate is not only convenient, but in many cases it is also required. Airline carriers will not allow you to transport your dog without the right crate. Common sense tells us that the right crate is one that is large enough to house your pets comfortably and safely. A bumpy ride can be quite disconcerting to your four-footed friend if there is tons of room to get thrown around in. Conversely, being cramped in too small a space is not only uncomfortable, but also somewhat abusive. When shopping for a crate for Fido, be sure to follow the recommended sizes given by the manufacturers for the breed of dog you own.

Dog kennels and dog crates can be beneficial for both permanent and portable uses. A friend of mine owns a construction business and likes to take his Black Lab with him to the job sites. Rather than just have the dog ride along in the back of his truck, he puts him in his kennel. It is the type that fits nicely in the back of his rig and is easy for the dog to jump in and out of. It can be securely locked in place and is just the right size. This is a wonderful way to keep your dog safe when traveling in the back of a truck. Kenneling at home in a more permanent structure makes sense for many people as well. If you have the space for it, this can be a wonderful addition for your pet.

Dog kennels and dog crates that are easily washable are a real plus. Let’s face it, dogs can get pretty dirty. The sport breeds are particularly susceptible to this because of all the running around they do. There’s nothing like a nice swim in the lake, or a romp through the woods to make a dog smile from ear to ear. After such a big day of adventure, the last thing you want in your car is a wet dirty dog. Having them hop into a place that can be hosed off and cleaned easily is perfect.

As you can tell, dog kennels and dog crates can serve multiple purposes, both for your and your dog. So make sure to get a good one that suits your needs.

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Using the Natural Chemistry of Helichrysum Oil For Pain Relief

Helichrysum is a favorite essential oil of knowledgeable aromatherapists, as it has such immediate, profound pain relieving and healing effects. The particular species of Helichrysum “italicum”, also known as Everlasting or Immortelle, is the most broadly therapeutic of the 500 Helichrysum species. The reason has to do with the chemistry of the oil. Here we’ll have a look at the oil’s special natural chemistry, and how it might help you relieve pain and heal faster.

Healing The Body’s Structure

Helichrysum’s most revered effects have to do with the healing of the musculoskeletal system — it happens to have several natural chemical constituents that synergize to produce quick, profound results. Pure essential oils are often made up of many, sometimes hundreds of individual molecules. The “chemistry profile” of Helichrysum essential oil is very special, containing a spectrum of healing compounds produced by a single plant. Many essential oils have proven medical effects (search Pub Med for “essential oil” to see thousands of results), including antibacterial, antiviral, and anticancer activity. Helichrysum’s primary applications are on the healing of the muscles, joints, skin and connective tissues — though there are more diverse uses, these are the easiest for most users to experience.

Cooling Inflammation

Helichrysum has the properties of being anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic and regenerative all in the same oil. The anti-inflammatory effects can be attributed to the “curcumenes” present in the oil. “Curcumenes” have recently been very prominent in the field of natural nutrition, as the extract of the spice turmeric, called “curcumin” has become popular as an anti-inflammatory supplement. The supplement is considered helpful not only for joint inflammation and pain, but as an all-around anti-aging supplement as well. Helichrysum contains a significant quantity of “gamma curcumene”, providing an excellent anti-inflammatory effect.

Muscle Relaxant

Where Helichrysum distilled from plants grown in coastal regions of the Mediterranean really stand out is in its ability to release muscle tension. In particular, a sub-species known as “serotinum” has the highest levels of neryl acetate. This is of a group of compounds known as “esters” which are particularly good anti-spasmodics. Just like the word says, these compounds relieve muscle spasms — a condition that is often found in our necks and backs where the musculature has locked up in a stiff and painful condition. This can be the result of old injuries (where the body is trying to protect itself by holding together weak joints), from stress, or simple poor posture or ergonomics (like hunching over a computer all day). By relieving these spasms, circulation in the area is increased, and the healing process is dramatically accelerated.

Cellular Regeneration

Several essential oils contain various levels of molecules called “ketones”. These molecules are known to stimulate cellular regeneration (it’s why Sage oil is used to stimulate hair growth, for example). Yet these molecules can be dangerous, depending on their specific make-up. Those found in Helichrysum however, are considered completely safe. This is why the essential oil is found in nearly every formula for wound healing and scar reduction, and why the oil is indicated for healing all sorts of other types of injuries as well. You can see that this action synergizes with the others: once inflammation is reduced, and circulation to an injured area restored, healing will begin naturally — and in this case, it gets a little further encouragement from these special active ingredients.

Anti-Hematoma, Bruise Preventative

Until now we’ve talked about how the essential oil can help heal virtually any injury that has already occurred, or chronic injuries that seem to never heal. An additional unique feature of Helichrysum is its ability to prevent the formation of bruises (which are really just blood clots visible through the skin) when an in injury has JUST happened. Say you’ve just twisted an ankle or banged your knee. On a cellular level, there’s the bursting of blood capillaries and cell walls. Fluid accumulates and stagnates in the area, slowing the healing process. Applying a few drops of oil right away can effectively prevent this bruising, and dramatically speed healing of the injury.

User Experiences Encourage Experimentation

Personal and anecdotal experience with Helichrysum essential oil confirms its purported healing actions. A user with chronic neck pain from a sever auto accident found relief within minutes of massaging the essential oil at 100% into the stiff and painful vertebrae. Other users find their sports-related injuries to heal more quickly, and are less likely to become chronic overuse conditions. Application after simple burns in the kitchen leads to quick pain relief and fast healing. While the scientific evaluation of Helichrysum’s effects are yet to be performed, this is no reason to avoid trying this essential oil for yourself — the conventional thinkers firmly believed the Earth was flat for a very long time!

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The Joy of Artificial Bonsai Trees

Why are artificial bonsai trees so popular? There are quite a few reasons and they revolve around a very simple notion: bonsai trees have a truly unique look. Anything with a unique decorative look can sincerely improve any environment in which they are placed in. Once you understand this, you understand why these artificial trees are great sellers.

Many do love the look of bonsai trees but it is no secret they are not easy to shape and craft. A true sense of artistry is needed to create one. You do have the option of purchasing real bonsai trees but then you also would have to take care of them. Do you really want to do this? More than likely, you may want to but are unable to due to all the work involved. This is why artificial trees can be a much better option.

Artificial bonsai trees do give you the aesthetic look you would commonly find in real trees. Since they are artificial constructs, you need not be worried about the “little things” such as planting them, watering them, and making sure they are pruned. Of course, once you actually try to take such steps you will discover that these little steps are not exactly little. They can require a tremendous amount of effort. Artificial trees do not require such care which is why they are growing increasing popular – even if artificial trees do not really grow!

In all seriousness, if you want to add the beauty of bonsai trees to your home or office, selecting artificial trees would be a wise plan. There is no maintenance involved with them and they still deliver what you would gain from real bonsai trees. All you need to do is place an order for an artificial one instead.

One major thing to be mindful here is that you will want to purchase your artificial bonsai trees from sellers who are known for delivering exceptional quality trees. The reason for this is obvious. You want to acquire the best looking trees available and you want to purchase trees that will maintain a look of luster for a long, long time. Well established manufacturers of such trees can deliver on all these expectations. Again, this is why it is so necessary to purchase from the top names in the industry.

No matter where you purchase your selection from, you will need to be a little deliberate in terms of how you place the artificial trees in the environment you have in mind for them. Why is this? Basically, the artificial bonsai trees will need to fit seamlessly into the environment or else they will falter in terms of how they deliver on their aesthetic intentions.

You might have to move the trees around a little bit to make sure they deliver on the expected look. Such effort will be well worth it in the end when the look delivers the visual enhancements you require. Those that may be a little unsure how to do this should invest in a little bonsai research material such as books or DVDs. They could prove enormously helpful.

And once you do have the right setup with the artificial bonsai trees, you will immediately reap all the benefits they offer.

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How Moms Can Learn Piano While Helping Their Kids Learn

Are you a mother looking to get your child piano lessons? Maybe you took them as a child as well, but stopped as you got older. Or maybe you always wanted to learn the piano and never got the chance. The good news is that helping your child learn how to play the piano can actually help you learn the instrument as well.

The most important thing to do is to participate. Passively watching your child practice or just listening while you do the laundry isn’t going to teach you anything. Though you may enjoy hearing your little one gradually progress in skill, without participation you’ll be the frustrated non-musician that you’ve always been. It’s time to step up, sit down and practice right alongside your child.

When your child’s instructor is around, ask questions. Throw your mind into the lessons as though they were your own. If you don’t understand a particular exercise, ask the teacher to explain it again. Your child might need to hear it again too, but might be afraid to ask. Ask about different composers and pieces so that you understand the theories behind the music. The piano is a huge instrument, able to reproduce an unsurpassed variety of sounds, so ask investigative questions.

Practice alongside your child. By doing exercises on the piano together, you’ll bond over the newfound skill you’ve developed. You’ll strengthen the muscles in your hands and fire up unused synapses in your brain. When you’ve gained some skill and knowledge of a few pieces, play together. It’s a joy to be able to play a piano duet besides Heart and Soul.

By participating in your child’s instrumental development, you’ll know when they’re ready to be challenged. Consult with the teacher and discuss your child’s readiness. Hopefully you’ll be ready to be challenged as well. Don’t push yourself too hard, though. If you feel pain in your hands or wrists, see a doctor.

You’ll be gaining both technical skill and musical knowledge. You might find yourself exploring the classical section of your local bookstore with a new interest. If you only know Claire de Lune by Claude Debussy, you might suddenly be interest in the rest of the Suite Bergamasgue. Warm up your hands before attempting the Menuet at full speed to avoid injury.

Maybe you’ll hear jazz pianists in a new way once you’ve begun to understand what they’re playing. Or you’ll hear the Beatles Eleanor Rigby and notice the shifts between E Aeolian and E Dorian in the melody. When you start hearing music in a different light, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without playing the piano.

Remember that your child will probably learn the instrument much easier than you. The empty vessel of childhood is a blessing in this area, so don’t feel bad. Just learn to play for your own enjoyment. Find piano pieces that interest you and play them for your ears only. Of course, if you’re a bit of a showboat, you can always sit down at the bench at a party and impress your guests. Keep participating in your child’s learning and you’ll find yourself a new avenue of expression.

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How to Redecorate Your Bathroom on a Budget

There are a lot of different ways to decorate your bathroom, so sometimes it’s difficult to choose the perfect bathroom decorating idea. There are so many different themes to choose from that it can feel overwhelming. Keep in mind that since it’s your bathroom that you’re decorating, you will be able to make the final choices as well as be the one who has to live with the final results.

So take your time and think carefully about what you pick. And if you can’t decide still, here are some lovely bathroom decorating ideas.

Try Out the Retro Look

A sleek retro look can give your bathroom that vintage flair that makes your bathroom a room to talk about in your home. A pedestal sink and the black and white tiling can really help to bring this bathroom decorating idea together. There are website, magazines and local stores that can to help you to make your bathroom decorating idea become a reality. Don’t forget the fixtures, either! For a great art deco bathroom, make sure to get highly polished fixtures to add the shine this look needs to really make it pop!

A Relaxing Day at the Beach

If art deco is not to your style, perhaps a bathroom decorating idea with a nautical flair will be more to your liking. This design is actually quite easy to implement, using light colored paint and the right towels and drapes to fit your theme. Try a sky blue color on the wall, or go for a neutral, sandy sort of brown, the lighter the better. Add a little art to the walls, something subtle like a picture of a boat or an actual beach photograph, and then use aqua marine towels to help bring the theme together. For an added touch for this bathroom decorating idea, try to find a window treatment that has some sort of light wood tone to it, adding to a natural look that gives an outdoor feel while still seeming open.

Try the Simple Touches

For apartment dwellers, bathroom decorating ideas are a little harder to come up with, since landlords usually won’t let you repaint the room, and there’s little sense in spending a lot on fixtures to increase the resale value of someone else’s property. If you fall into this category, or for those looking to decorate on a budget, try to purchase bathroom accessories and pictures that will accent your bathroom.

The chances are that you’ll have a bathroom that’s plain white, so you’ll have a lot of choices. For instance, buy a bamboo trash can and other bathroom accessories and give your bathroom an Eastern feel, or add green towels and a potted plant, whether real or fake, to give your bathroom an organic sort of look. If possible, add art to help bring the look together without making permanent changes. White and neutral color bathrooms really make a great palette for you to accent.

With the large or small projects, work with an idea to unify your bathroom’s theme. Then you will have something you can enjoy for a good, long time.

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What is the Role of Continuing Care Assistance

This is a question that no one ever really wants to have to think about, but unfortunately, almost everyone will be put in a position where they have to choose at least some facet of continuing care for themselves or one of their loved ones.

People sometimes confuse continuing care with sticking one of their loved ones away in some cold, dank, understaffed institutional nursing home, but the types of continuing care available today are much better and much more diverse than they used to be.

Many nursing homes and assisted and independent living communities offer nicer living conditions than some new residents are used to and there are continuing care options that will take place right in the person’s current residence. If you or someone you love is in need of assisted care, then there is surely a comfortable option available for your situation.

Current Residence Care

Elderly persons who would most likely have a difficult time adjusting to a new environment may benefit most from remaining in their own home and receiving regular visits from a continuing care assistant. A predetermined number of visits per week from a qualified continuing care assistant can help with a variety of things that family members are simply incapable of handling, and the time that the aide is in the residence with the patient will allow the family members who are providing the rest of the care to get out of the home and take care of necessary things like shopping and errands without the worry of leaving the patient unattended.

This type of situation is good for someone who is in need of some minor assistance and some limited medical treatment, but would feel comfortable receiving it without having to uproot or disturb their current living situation.

Independent Living and Assisted Care Communities

These communities are the next best thing to having the care provided in your own home; in fact the difference between the type of lifestyle in an independent living community and entirely living on ones own is negligible. These types of communities can be housing developments or apartment complexes, and often the independent living and assisted care buildings are located within close proximity on the same grounds. This allows the easy transfer of residents from one area to another should their level of care change while they are residing there.

These residences can be single family homes or one, two or three bedroom apartments. There are truly accommodations for every type of situation. These communities offer very flexible levels of care, so if and when a resident needs change for the better or worse, there can be a seamless transition into the type of care that they are currently in need of.

Full Care Communities/Nursing Homes

The nursing home atmosphere of care is often like that of a hospital or rehab center, with private or semi-private rooms with a communal hallway linking them to each other and areas where staff members are stationed. Many nursing homes have a good bit of medical equipment for treatment on hand as well as full time registered nurses and some doctors on staff.

Though major medical procedures often aren’t conducted on site, some treatments that it would be difficult to provide in an outside assisted living community can be taken care of right on nursing home grounds.

Staff members are on site twenty-four hours a day seven days a week to care for the many residents who require almost constant care and assistance with even some of life’s most basic tasks.

Even though some nursing homes offer top notch staffs and wonderful accommodations, nursing homes are often reserved for a last resort when there are no other viable options for the level of care that someone will need to continue on.

The type of assisted living environment that is right for someone is entirely dependent on what type of care that they need as well as what they are physically and mentally prepared to deal with. Regardless of situation or level of care needed though, there is a comfortable solution for every situation.

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Creative Gifts For Pregnant Moms

It can be a lot of fun to go shopping for expectant soon-to-be moms. No matter if you are shopping for a baby shower present, new baby gift or just a small surprise gift to add a bit of happiness to the expectant mom’s day, there are practically an endless number of gift ideas from which to choose. Although many times new or expectant moms need and appreciate little presents that they will be able to use once the baby is born, it may also be a nice gesture to purchase a gift meant for the woman herself. While pregnancy can be a wonderful time in a woman’s life, nearly every expecting mom appreciates the opportunity to engage in a bit of pampering, or a gift that will merely add a smile to her day. Here are some great ideas for fun gifts that any expecting mother would surely enjoy.

The Gift of Flowers

Do not forget that you don’t have to spend a large amount of money on a gift for your friend to appreciate it. For instance, a beautiful bouquet of flowers from your very own garden can make the perfect simple gift. If you want to add something to the present that will last for a longer time, consider purchasing a nice flower vase to include so that she will be able to make even more arrangements in the future. While flowers are wonderful for any occasion, that make especially good spontaneous presents meant simply to show her that you care.

Picture frames for Future Newborn Photos

A new mom always appreciates more picture frames. If you’re looking for the ideal small gift or an additional item that you might tuck into a gift basket, frames can be the best choice. Look for fun styles that have a baby theme, or colorful frames that would be excellent for displaying infant photos. Collage and shadow box frames are also good choices, because they work well for displaying many photos or perhaps small baby-related mementos. If you already know if the baby is expected to be a boy or girl, choosing a picture frame in either pink or blue might be a fun added touch.

Spa and Body Products for the Pregnant Mom

It is hard to go wrong when getting a spa-related gift for a mom-to-be. Because it is hard work getting ready to be a mother, pregnant mothers always appreciate lotions, bath salts, and some other products that help to make them feel pampered. If there is a neighborhood spa that you know she especially enjoys, you could even give her a gift card. A gift card to her favorite beauty salon would also make a wonderful that would be appreciated and used. Or even make your very own gift ensemble of spa items such as soaps, lotions, a loofah sponge, and other bath products. If she also has other small children at home, you could tuck a gift certificate for an evening of babysitting into the gift basket too. This way, she will have a chance to really enjoy the contents of her spa gift basket without the potential interruptions of little children.

Although these gifts are simple, your expecting friend is sure to love them and be grateful for your thoughtfulness.

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Inline Skating

Inline skating, a cross between roller-skating and ice skating, came about as a result of a Russian athlete needing to train for the Olympic speed ice skating events without an ice track.

Just as in ice skating, you cannot just strap on a pair of inline skates and be a master on the first day. Make sure that you have a good pair of inline skates that fit well, it’s vital that you feel comfortable, especially in the learning stage.

Make your first attempts at inline skating on a reasonably soft surface, a well-grassed lawn or indoors on a thick carpet is ideal, so that when you suffer that inevitable first fall, you land on something soft. Starting off directly on a hard, smooth surface will certainly have you looking like Bambi on ice, with painful consequences.

Speaking of painful consequences, your equipment must include protective gear. A full set of protective gear must include a good quality helmet and wrist guards, the most common injury among first-time skaters is a broken wrist. You’ll probably fall down onto your knees or elbows a few times, too, so a set of knee and elbow pads, while they may not look too cool, will save you from painful scrapes and bruises.

But if you look beyond the painful experiences, inline skating offers many benefits.

Apart from the obvious benefit of being great fun, inline skating has many physical benefits. Studies have shown that you can gain as much cardiovascular benefit from inline skating as from cycling or running. You just need to look at a regular inline skater to see the obvious muscle strengthening and toning benefits, particularly in your legs and back.

As you tend to glide on your skates, the impact stress on your knees and ankles is much less than with running, and alternating between which foot is on the ground, you will improve your sense of balance, co-ordination and agility.

As you improve your inline skating ability, you will derive more and more satisfaction from mastering the sport and your self-confidence levels will improve. Above all, you’ll be having fun, which has to be a mental benefit!

Practice getting the basic technique right before you move on to the fancy stuff, remember the nose-knees-toes rule and try to keep these three in a vertical line. Adopt a low stance with ankles bent, knees forward and your hips low. When pushing, always try to push outwards from your body, rather than backwards, as this will give you more power.

Once you’ve mastered the basics, you can try some of those stunts like skating backwards, jumps or even a few barrel rolls, just don’t forget that protective gear, you’ll surely need it!