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Does Your Busy Schedule Take Time Away From Interacting With Your Children?

Sometimes we have a tendency to get so wrapped up in our busy schedules that we do forget about quality time with our children. This isn’t referring to time in the car taking the kids to school or dance practice. This refers to good old quality time between a parent and their child.

This may seem difficult when a lot of parents are working two jobs, going to school to further their education, or even taking care of sick family members. It may seem impossible to find the time to do interactive things such as playing games, practicing flash cards, doing crafts, and other activities that are important to a child’s development.

The good news is that there are ways for busy parents to still help their kids learn despite their busy schedules. It just takes a little bit of creativity.

Utilizing time well

Organizing time is the key to being able to spend time with your children. If you’re going back to school, try to organize your school schedule to the best of your ability to free up some of your time. The same is not as easily said for work schedules, but there are some cases in which an employer will allow the reorganization of a work schedule.

It more or less depends on the type of industry that you work in. Some parents have even had their children’s bus drop the kids off at their work or the kids walk to the place of work. Here, the parent can spend time with their children while waiting for the other parent to pick them up.

Multitasking is another way to be able to spend time with the children. While dad is doing chores throughout the house, daughter can be getting her homework done. If he is working around the kitchen, she can do her homework at the kitchen table so that he can help her when she needs it. Even if you have to wait in the car for prolonged periods of time, having the kids do homework in the car is a great way to have quiet time and be available when they need you.

Making routines out of these two things can make a huge difference. Doing some of the same things repeatedly gets the kids and you used to doing them and it will become a way of life. Children are always learning and making it a routine to do things such as talk to them or help them with their homework enhances the learning experience considerably.

Getting help

It also helps if you can find others to help you. This is especially true for single parents. A good babysitter may be able to help the kids with their homework if you can’t be there. Maybe there is even a summer program or afternoon program that your child can go to until you are able to pick them up and have great conversation in the car on the way home. Even having a grandparent or a friend help out is a great way to keep your child moving where he or she needs to go.

As you can see, there are some creative ways to spend time with your child even if you need a little help here and there. In the end, you will find time to spend with your child even if it is for a little while before bedtime. Doing little things such as reading a book, telling stories, playing educational games making sure your child gets to where they need to be when they need to be there shows that you care and support them in the things they want to do.

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Fort Myers Florida – A Great Family Vacation Spot

The city of Fort Myers is located on the sunny southwest coast of Florida and is the perfect spot for a Southwest Florida vacation. This friendly city is an very accessible holiday destination serviced by the recently expanded Southwest Florida International Airport. More than 7.5 million people pass through its gates each year, coming from all over the world for the beautiful weather, world famous beaches and casual, easy-going lifestyle.

Fort Myers was the site of an actual military fort, built in 1850 to defend the local white settlers against the unhappy local Seminole Indians led by Chief Billy Bowlegs. The Seminoles were eventually persuaded to move west and did so in 1858. It lay empty until 1863 when a small detachment of Union soldiers occupied it and held it until the end of the Civil War.

Settlement gradually trickled into the area after the war, but it was not until the 1880s that a significant number of settlers made their way to the Fort Myers area. By 1885 when it was incorporated, Fort Myers was the second largest city (after Tampa) on the west coast of Florida. Settlement really took off after the extension of the Tamiami Trail (today’s Highway 41) over the Caloosahatchee River in 1924.

Today Fort Myers is the county seat of Lee County and is linked to Tampa further north and Fort Lauderdale and Miami on the eastern coast by Interstate 75 and U.S. Highway 41. The population of the metropolitan area of Fort Myers stood at around 625,000 in 2008.

Fort Myers has a rich history and is the home to quite a number of museums, historical landmarks, and yearly celebrations. Visitors will find it very accommodating and easy to find a place to stay, with luxury resorts, budget-friendly inns, and hotels with internet service that cater specifically to the business traveler.

One of the most interesting places to visit is the Southwest Florida Museum of History which opened in 1982. The museum was created by transforming the old railroad passenger depot and surroundings lands on Peck and Monroe Streets. There is also a Downtown Walking Tour exploring the historic buildings of Fort Myers.

Florida is famous as a family-friendly place to visit, and Fort Myers is no exception. Kids and adults alike will enjoy the Imaginarium which features a hurricane simulator and many exciting hands-on and interactive exhibits for kids and adults of all ages. For the very littlest folks there is an early-childhood area.

With over 250,000 visitors each year, the Edison and Ford Winter Estates are the biggest tourist attractions in the city. In fact it is one of the top 10 most popular national historic sites in the United States. Visitors can explore the 15,000 square-foot museum which showcases Edison and Ford memorabilia. The site also features a 14 acre tropical garden and a guided tour through the homes and laboratory.

Like much of Florida, Fort Myers is dependent on the tourist trade for a large part of its economic activity. Many seniors make the trek to the area to spend the winter months, and others come for the beautiful beaches, boating and fishing, and year-round golfing on the many golf courses in the area.

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Wicker Patio Furniture: A Timeless Choice

The origins of wicker furniture can be traced all the way back to the Egyptian Empire where furniture was made from the woven reeds and swamp grasses that grew along the Nile. While not one is sure Cleopatra ever lounged around on wicker patio furniture – or even had a patio for that matter – many homes enjoyed the timeless beauty of wicker patio furniture.

The actual term wicker is something of a misnomer. While many people associate wicker patio furniture with rattan, the traditional material this type of furniture is made from, the word actually refers to the weave itself. Wicker furniture can be made of out virtually any material that can be woven from natural materials like rattan and bamboo to plastics.

If you’re lucky enough to choose rattan for your wicker patio furniture, you’ll be overjoyed with its beauty, quality and durability. Rattan is a pretty amazing material that is strong and resilient. While it is pliable when it is heated, when it cools it will keep its shape.

As such, the furniture is a great solution for the deck, patio or balcony. The natural appearance of the rattan lends itself well to the outdoors, creating a connection between nature and your furniture. It nicely bridges the gap between formal and informal décor. It can be dressed up or dressed down to suit your own tastes.

Of course, its durability is another great selling point. It is really strong. Properly maintained, wicker patio furniture will last a long time, especially if it’s kept on a covered patio or balcony or in a sunroom. That’s because it is naturally resistant to the elements, especially moisture and mold. In most cases, all you need to do is wipe your wicker patio furniture off with a cloth or dust it occasionally.

The waterproof nature of wicker also means that if you spill something on it, the liquid will tend to just drip right through to the floor. With other woods, it may cause a stain, but not on wicker.

Even though wicker furniture looks substantial, it’s easy to move it around. That’s a real bonus if you like to rearrange the patio furniture now and then to suit your entertainment style.

Some manufacturers have taken wicker furniture to new heights, mixing traditional wicker with other materials. This can give the wicker a very fashion forward appearance that still have classic elements. For example, you may find a lovely wicker table to have a smoked glass top.

Other designs are modern or contemporary in their approach. They offer homeowners an updated look that is minimalist in design, but decadent in beauty and comfort. Today, you can get a wide range of wicker patio furniture, including chaises, sectionals, chairs, sofas, loveseats and tables.

If the furniture is done in an artificial rattan, don’t think of it as being inexpensive. Artificial rattan offers additional benefits that natural rattan can’t. It’s particularly well suited to extremely harsh climates, as it is fade resistant and can take high temperatures with ease. An added bonus or wicker patio furniture made or artificial rattan is that it can be made in different fashionable colors that fit a wide range of décor.

The ability to get colored wicker furniture allows you to mix and match textures and colors, including the cushions. Many furniture retailers, particularly those online, allow you to custom order the wicker furniture right down to the cushion colors and sometimes, even the color of the wicker.

Wicker patio furniture is a great choice for today’s homes. It manages to offer superior quality, comfort and timeless style in a package that is also durable and long lasting. Best of all, it is virtually maintenance free.

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Seven Questions To Help You Find The Perfect Metal Photo Frame

With the huge selection of metal picture frames available, sometimes it can be difficult picking the one that’s right for you. To help you narrow down your search, use these helpful tips and questions to help you find the right frame quickly and easily.

#1- Frame Budget: How much do I want to spend?

If you’re not sure how much you have to spend to get the type of metal frame you want here are some rough guidelines for different types of metal frames, based on a 4×6 size, that can help:

* Under $10 – basic aluminum frames, simple solid brass frames

* $10 and up – basic silver plated frames, decorative metal frames, steel frames.

* $30 and up – decorative silver plated frames

* $50 and up – decorative hand made solid pewter frames

* $100 and up – decorative solid sterling silver frames

#2- Keepsake frames: Do I want it to be a treasured keepsake?

If you’re looking for a quality metal frame that you want as a keepsake, then there are three types of frames to consider: silver plated frames, solid pewter frames and sterling silver frames. These three types of frames are durable and made to last plus they have a distinct look of quality that sets them apart from other types of metal frames.

#3- Frame style: What style of frame do I want?

No matter what your style preference, there is a metal frame style to match. Here are some examples of metal picture frame styles to consider. Just keep in mind that there is a huge variety of frame styles within each grouping of metal frames.

* Elegant: Silver plated frames, sterling silver frames, metal decorative frames, and metal jeweled frames

* Casual: Decorative metal frames or solid pewter frames.

* Professional: Aluminum frames, silver plated frames or sterling silver frames

* Modern or Traditional style: Almost any type of metal frame, including aluminum frames, steel frames, pewter frames, silver plate frames, sterling silver frames, fit into this style category.

#4- Color: What color of frame do I want?

Metal frames commonly come in various gold or silver tones depending upon the metal material. One thing to know about any “silver” frame is what it’s made out of because it could be made out of an aluminum or metal alloy instead of being made out of a silver plate or sterling. So, the wording “silver frame” is describing the color, not the material it is made from. This is the case for pewter picture frames as well. Unless it’s specifically identified as “solid pewter,” it’s most likely describing the color of the frame instead of the material.

Metal frames are also available in a wide variety of colors. You can find aluminum frames in colors like gold, silver, copper, blue and black or you can find metal frames with brightly colored enamel finishes or decorated with items like crystals or beads.

#5- Finish: What type of metal finish do I like?

The most common metal finishes are matte, shiny, brushed and antiqued. Unless the finish is specifically called matte, brushed or antiqued, it will be a shiny finish.

#6- Engraved Frame: Do I want a frame that can be engraved?

If you want to engrave a frame, be sure to choose a frame that is identified as an engraved frame, or an engravable frame. This means that the metal frame has the same color metal throughout the depth of the frame. It also has to have a smooth, flat surface for the engraving. Engraved frames are available as silver plated, solid pewter or sterling silver frames.

#7- Size: Do you need a specific frame size?

If you are framing a standard sized photo, you should be able to use a ready made frame. Ready made frames are the most convenient way to frame because there are many standard sizes from which to choose.

For a piece of artwork or non-standard picture size, you will probably need a custom metal frame. Your budget comes into play in this area also. You can either buy a custom frame and have it assembled for you or, to save money, you can buy the size you need and assemble it yourself. If you’re handy at putting things together and have some extra time, you can always try assembling a metal frame yourself to save money.

Now that you have answered these 7 simple questions you should be able to easily and quickly choose the frame that fits your needs.

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Is Vegetable Oil A Workable Selection As a Substitute For Diesel

Did you possibly think that vegetable oil could be used to fuel your car? Did you ever before expect to see gas prices to go above $4 a gallon? There was a period in time when we switched to diesel fuel because it was cheaper, but now it costs more than regular gas. Although people are concerned about the shortage of oil, there are no mandatory steps to cut back on the amount we use. There are no efforts by the car companies to stop making big, gas sucking cars. However, if fuel additives truly work, then why aren’t they added to all gasoline. It is a mystery as to the reasons these fuel additives are permitted to be sold.

In the event that vegetable oil functions to run a vehicle, then why is it not really a better option than it is? Any diesel car can utilize either diseal or vegetable oil for fuel. Is there a reasons why drivers are not switching? It seems like it might be a simple solution, but what is involved in making vegetable oil. At the moment, Americans use up about 140 billion gallons of gas while dining establishments throughout the country dispose about 100 million gallons of vegetable oil. For everyone’s concern about the environment, no one seems to be aware of the potential of vegetable oil. Since vegetable oil is biodegradable, it certainly can’t harm the environment.

A number of people are concerned with how reliable vegetable oil is and its impact on the car engine. Based on history, the engine designed by Rudolph Diesel was capable of running on vegetable oil. The vegetable oil driven engine made an appearance at the 1900 Paris World Exhibition but never was put into production because petroleum diesel was cheaper to use. Consequently, contemporary diesel engines can still run on vegetable oil.

The perspectives on utilizing vegetable oil as fuel for those who have switched changes from person to person. Some state that coking of the engine is sped up by vegetable oil, although some claim there is no effect on the engine. The reliability of vegetable oil has been good as people who have older diesel vehicles have not noticed any issues with using vegetable oil. Some owners really are operating their engines safely through the use of conversion kits, while others are using a filtration process, before the vegetable oil goes in their gas tank. For making the vegetable more viscous, several owners make their own by mixing with other fluids. If you have a problem that could result in an engine breakdown, the possible factors could only be speculated on.

This won’t get people excited because there isn’t sufficient evidence that vegetable oil is a benefit. Locating an alternative fuel that has been confirmed to work effectively would be nice but we don’t have that yet.

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Ways For Learning More About Photography

Photography is a fun hobby that can accurately be described as “Easy to learn, tough to master”. Even the most experienced photographers in the world would be hesitant to claim that they knew everything about the art, and in fact many professional photographers seem like fish out of water when tasked to shoot something out of their normal niche. One of the best ways to improve your images is to learn as much as possible about the art and science of photography. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to educate yourself about the finer details of photography.

Visit Art Shows

If you’re new to photography try to go to as many photography exihibits as possible. Viewing the work of celebrated and talented photographers will help you to learn about the stylistic differences found in the many sub-genres of photography (fashion, art, nature, etc) and may also serve to inspire you to take photographs you had never considered. The more you look at other’s photographer’s work, the more you’ll build your own skills in identifying what’s good and bad in an image so you can improve your own shots.

Join an Online Community

One of the good and bad things about the internet is you can find information on just about anything. For new photographers, the internet can offer information, job opportunities and even inspiration.Sites like Photography.com have forums where members can gather to share their work for critique and ask more experienced photographers questions about lighting, film, composition, and anything else that may come up. Communities like this are for the most part welcoming, so don’t feel shy about being the “new person in town” – everyone was new at some point in time.

Learn From an Instructor

If your schedule and budget allows, you should consider taking a photography class at your local adults school or community college. Not only will you be instructed on the more “textbook” elements of photography, your instructor will likely have a list of great assignments that will help you grow as an artist. The best way to capture the full power of photography is to understand all of its different elements and photography classes can usually give you the road map and extra support you need to be successful.

Practice Shooting Every Day

This may be obvious, but the best way to learn photography is to practice taking pictures every day. Always try new things with your camera, shoot in different weather conditions and be willing to get creative with your images. The more situations you put yourself in with a camera, the more comfortable you will be with getting that perfect shot when the time is right. You should concentrate on learning one photography element at a time – like spending one day learning about contrast and another day working with depth of field. This will keep your shooting fresh and help you to get out of your “safe” zone.

Learning photography isn’t something you can do overnight, so if you’re truly interested in becoming a photo “master” be ready to invest some serious time in building your skill-set. Have as much fun as possible and always set out with a camera in-hand and a goal in mind and you’ll find that the learning part is often secondary to the experience of shooting. Don’t forget to stock up on memory cards (or film) and keep fresh batteries on hand!

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Scrapbook Ideas – Tips & Tricks To Save You Money

When you are considering scrapbook tools, scrapbook layouts, scrapbook supplies and scrapbook ideas any keen craft enthusiast will welcome any tips, tricks and general suggestions to help them create beautiful scrapbook page layouts especially if they save you money.

With this in mind I have put together some of my favourite tips that I have picked up whilst realizing my own scrapbook ideas.

– Everyone knows that scrapbook supplies can be expensive, quite often the items we purchase are not even used. More often that not, you will be able to find household items that do the same job and do not cost the earth. For example, instead of spending money on specialist sponges to apply ink to paper, try using a crumpled piece of kitchen roll.

– Do not throw away the sheet that your peel off stickers are attached to. Instead use the left over sticky boarder as an adhesive to attach embellishments to your scrapbook pages.

– Use empty jars to store your brads, ribbon, embellishments and other scrapbook supplies, not only are they free, you will be able to see the contents through the glass.

– Instead of using your best card stock when cutting shapes with your die cut machines use card that you would normally throw away such as empty cardboard boxes or cereal packets.

– Use baby wipes to clean stamps instead of paying for expensive cleaners.

– Remove any 3-D embellishments from old Christmas and birthday cards and use them in your scrapbook page layouts. You can also cut out scrapbook quotes from newspapers, magazines or old cards.

– Do not buy large quantities of scrapbook ribbon, fibres and fabrics, from craft stores as you will not want to use the same colors time and time again.

– Use a plastic letter opener instead of an expensive bone tool to score your card stock. You can pick them up at a fraction on the cost!

– Use the bits of left over punch remnants that build up in your punches for free embellishments on your scrapbook pages.

– Instead of cutting a new piece of paper to cover a small tag, use your scraps.

– Remove any buttons, ribbon or even a section of material from unwanted clothes before throwing them away as you never know when they can be used to add that something extra to your scrapbook page layouts.

– Always ask if there are any deals such as buy one get one free when visiting craft stores.

– Use a Philips head screwdriver and normal hammer to set your eyelets.

– Make your own glitter glue by adding normal glitter to clear drying acid free glue.

It is very easy to be tempted when browsing craft stores, the important thing to keep in mind is, do you really need it and is there a cheaper alternative.

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The 6 Very Best Hints For Looking Terrific in Pictures

If you have ever looked at photos of your favorite stars and models and felt a hint of jealousy, then you most likely don’t consider yourself as being very photogenic. You aren’t alone. There are lots of people who look at photos of themselves in picture frames around other people’s homes and think that they don’t look good. But the great news is that everybody has the ability to look fantastic when photographed, whether you are at a warm get-together or a fancy formal event. Putting your very best face forward is as easy as following the hints below:

Try to have great posture. There is a good reason that your mother always advised you to stand up straight. Stand up straight during photo opportunities. Having good posture will help you to appear to be more certain of yourself, taller, and more fit than you already are. Take a big breath and then try to suck in your stomach muscles. Pictures of a subject that is slumped over can make that person look older, more tired, and less attractive.

Position yourself at an angle. As you stand facing the camera, your hips need to actually be turned slightly. This little bit of an artistic twist can add untold aesthetic interest while giving your torso a slimmer, more slender look. Rather than positioning your feet just a bit apart from each other, angle them slightly with one foot in front of the other. In effect, one foot should partly “hide” the other one from view. This will make your legs appear more slim.

Make that double chin disappear permanently. A lot of people seem to have a double chin in photographs – even when they don’t naturally have a real double chin in “real life”. If you are one of these people, you do not have to deal with it anymore! To prevent the dreaded two chin result, you need to be careful of your posture and stand up straight, tilt the chin downward and out and then rest your tongue firmly up against the roof of your mouth.

Get the attention of the camera. Haven’t you ever heard the saying “Smile with the eyes”? Smiling eyes are what truly makes photos worthy of putting in beautiful picture frames and displaying them to the world. Think of pleasant things, smile with the eyes, and capture the attention of the camera. You’ll be surprised how quickly your inner model will appear!

Take some time to do your hairstyle and makeup really well. Put cover-up on any blemishes, and use a little powder to soften any oily looking spots. Pluck those eyebrows! Put on luscious lashes and lips and a hint of blush on the cheek bone. Start with clean, shiny, healthy hair, and add a tasteful hairdo. Smooth any flyaway hairs and add a hair accessory for more sparkle.

Make sure that the colors you wear will complement your skin tone. You are probably familiar with the tones make your skin appear pasty in which ones will really enhance your skin tone. If you are not sure, then simply ask for some advice from someone who really knows you well. In most cases you will want to keep your clothing simple and tasteful for the very best results. Steer clear of crazy patterns and chunky extras that tend to take the focal point of the picture away from you. Do not hold any objects in the photo – like a purse, drink, or cell phone. If you do hold on to anything then it may distract the people looking at the picture from focusing on you.

Follow these tips and you’ll take the best pictures of your life, photographs that you can place in picture frames on your mantle or desktop for your dear friends and family to enjoy for lots of years to come!

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Coconut Oil Is An Effective Treatment For Candida Yeast Infections

Coconut oil was found to be effective in killing some forms of Candida, which causes candidiasis in humans during a study performed at the University College Hospital in Ibadan, Nigeria. This study was later published in the Journal of Medical Food.

For those that suffer with candida, Coconut oil is an anti-fungal by nature, which means it is a yeast-fighter as well. The yeast on the inside is fought by coconut oil and when eaten it relieves these symptoms on the skin as well. It is a natural enhancer of the immune system since it is both anti-bacterial and anti-viral.

The use of Caprylic acid for candida has been done for years and it is one of the medium chain fatty acids that are found in coconut oil. Capric acid and lauric acid, the same as what is found in mother’s milk, are both effective as a long-term cure for candida. They work together with the caprylic acid to achieve the destruction of the yeast. Coconut oil takes care of a variety of candida symptoms.

Symptoms of Candida

*vaginal yeast infection and vaginitis
*itching of the rectum
*thrush- more common in babies
*disruptions of the skin such as diaper rash, cradle cap, seborrheic dermatitis and psoriasis

When using virgin coconut oil to cure thrush in an infant it is recommended that you feed them small portions of it throughout the day. It is not only safe but it helps to meet the nutritional needs of the baby.

There are many forms of coconut oils for the treatment of candida, such as fresh coconut, coconut water, coconut flour, coconut flakes, coconut cream and solid creamed coconut. You can also get coconut oil from coconut milk.

The best is virgin coconut oil when it comes to the benefits of coconut oil and candida. Don’t let the use of the words “extra virgin” with coconut oil mislead you. This is taken from the olive oil industry and there is no such thing or standard when it comes to the production of coconut oil. The use of these words is a ploy used in marketing to help you think that there are more benefits than in virgin coconut oil.

There are numerous companies that now sell coconut oil capsules. Two to four tablespoons of coconut oil each day is what is recommended for people. This is equal to about twenty-eight 1000mg capsules each tablespoon. The companies that sell these recommend three to six of these capsules each day, which is just a couple drops of coconut oil. It is extremely expensive to get enough coconut oil with capsules and a large amount of gelatin is taken in with them. It is best to get coconut oil from one of its natural forms that from the capsules that are on the market today to be sure that you get a full dose each day without the ingestion of large amounts of gelatin.

Now you know the benefits of coconut oil and candida. Take charge of candida, coconut oil is a fantastic cure.

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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.