A Nest for All Seasons A Nest for All Seasons: September 2014

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29 September 2014

Companions, a Potty Mouth and a Fall Preview

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If you are a gardening aficionado, you might be a bit confused at this blog as of late.   There has been a lot of posting on kids, family, crafts and even photography, but where has the gardening gone?  Well, to be honest, I am doing a LOT of it, but there isn't a whole lot being published. Why, you ask?  Well, something better is on the way.  I whole big wonderful mess of gardening information in one big bite. It will just take awhile. For  today though, I have a couple easy tips for fall planting and a fun new product to share with you.  Some supplies and products were provided for the review purposes of this post.

  It is almost time for planting daffodil bulbs and when deciding on where to place them might I suggest looking around for a little bit of this?


See those fuzzy little ears?
They contrast really well against a clump of tall, waving daffodil leaves:


...and if I may be so bold, don't do the naturalized planting here unless you are doing several hundred in a large field of lambsear.  
Otherwise, a nice little field of little lambsear with a nice solid clump of daffodil is just right.
Longfield Gardens is my choice for interesting daffodils like Love Call, Falconet and Cragford!


I also wanted to share a fun new product with you -- shhhh, its name is Potty Mouth!


Thanks to Potty Mouth for the sample planter to test out in my fall garden.  These "pots" are actually lightweight, "half" pots with spiky bottoms that "plant" directly into the ground.  They are made from recycled plastic, stone powder and wood powder -- super durable!  Use them to highlight a particular planting, protect a fragile transplant or mark where a clump of dahlias went in.  Instead of dealing with the hassles of potted plants (you have to baby them A LOT), you can get the look of a potted plant, but roots can live naturally in the ground with a LOT less care!

Now notice those little spikes that look like grass?  Those are actually grape hyacinth and they bloom each spring, but give a little foliage "preview" each fall.  When planting your fall bulbs, those little hyacinth markers are quite helpful!


Longfield Gardens sent some beautiful tulips along with grape hyacinth to plant for next spring.  PLANTING TIP: I plant a few hyacinth with each tulip grouping to help mark where the tulips are each fall.  When I see a little clump of hyacinth in fall, I know a WHOLE LOT MORE is below the surface.  I have saved countless large bulbs from shovel spearing in fall this way!  Save the bulbs!!  Save the bulbs!




Come back in about 5 months to see the tulip and hyacinth show -- it will be fantastic!




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Companions, a Potty Mouth and a Fall Preview

Pin It

If you are a gardening aficionado, you might be a bit confused at this blog as of late.   There has been a lot of posting on kids, family, crafts and even photography, but where has the gardening gone?  Well, to be honest, I am doing a LOT of it, but there isn't a whole lot being published. Why, you ask?  Well, something better is on the way.  I whole big wonderful mess of gardening information in one big bite. It will just take awhile. For  today though, I have a couple easy tips for fall planting and a fun new product to share with you.  Some supplies and products were provided for the review purposes of this post.

  It is almost time for planting daffodil bulbs and when deciding on where to place them might I suggest looking around for a little bit of this?


See those fuzzy little ears?
They contrast really well against a clump of tall, waving daffodil leaves:


...and if I may be so bold, don't do the naturalized planting here unless you are doing several hundred in a large field of lambsear.  
Otherwise, a nice little field of little lambsear with a nice solid clump of daffodil is just right.
Longfield Gardens is my choice for interesting daffodils like Love Call, Falconet and Cragford!


I also wanted to share a fun new product with you -- shhhh, its name is Potty Mouth!


Thanks to Potty Mouth for the sample planter to test out in my fall garden.  These "pots" are actually lightweight, "half" pots with spiky bottoms that "plant" directly into the ground.  They are made from recycled plastic, stone powder and wood powder -- super durable!  Use them to highlight a particular planting, protect a fragile transplant or mark where a clump of dahlias went in.  Instead of dealing with the hassles of potted plants (you have to baby them A LOT), you can get the look of a potted plant, but roots can live naturally in the ground with a LOT less care!

Now notice those little spikes that look like grass?  Those are actually grape hyacinth and they bloom each spring, but give a little foliage "preview" each fall.  When planting your fall bulbs, those little hyacinth markers are quite helpful!


Longfield Gardens sent some beautiful tulips along with grape hyacinth to plant for next spring.  PLANTING TIP: I plant a few hyacinth with each tulip grouping to help mark where the tulips are each fall.  When I see a little clump of hyacinth in fall, I know a WHOLE LOT MORE is below the surface.  I have saved countless large bulbs from shovel spearing in fall this way!  Save the bulbs!!  Save the bulbs!




Come back in about 5 months to see the tulip and hyacinth show -- it will be fantastic!




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27 September 2014

Halloween Vinyl Projects and an Old School Trick or Treat

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Portions of this Silhouette Vinyl post have been previously published on Crafts Unleashed. Craft Supplies have been provided by Consumer Crafts. Without these supplies, these project ideas and craft ideas would not be possible, so THANK YOU to our sponsors!

branch title page Halloween is coming around the corner next month and I love to add a little bit of easy "halloweeny" flair to my home without getting too "creepy".  The solution?  A hefty dose of gold and creamy white without any blood and guts and such.  Won't you join me for three easy gold vinyl projects today?  Let's get crafting!

Supplies:


PROJECT #1 -- Gold Vinyl Candles

The first project I wanted to create was a simple update to basic creamy white candles.  They already have a "harvest/fall" color to them, so the addition of gold vinyl decals made them perfectly Halloweeny!   I used THIS Silhouette cut file (99 cents) for the three designs as well as THESE darling pumpkins (also 99 cents).  You will see them pop up over and over again in this vignette!

silhoeutte designs
Once you have your silhouette cut out the designs, it is simply a matter of PEEL and STICK.
trick or treat poem amy renea peeling vinyl

PROJECT #2 - Gold and Black  Halloween Banner

The second project is a play off a previous project you have seen here at Crafts Unleashed (Remember this canvas banner??)  I simply colored in one side of the banner with a giant sharpie marker and added a few more of my gold vinyl "stickers".  (Get the banner cut files HERE).

halloween banner amy renea
My favorite part of this project?
 The black and white striped side reflects off the back of the mirror for added interest -- fun, eh?
halloween banner gold vinyl

PROJECT #3 - Jack-O-Lantern Metal Tray

Hands down, the easiest project of the bunch was this little "Jack-O-Lantern" Tray.  I simply got a beat up old metal tray for pennies at the thrift store, gave it a coat of creamy white spray paint and added a gold vinyl "face".  Don't own a silhouette machine?  No problem!!  You could ABSOLUTELY cut out fun Jack-O-Lantern faces out of vinyl with basic scissors.  Wouldn't a whole display of trays with unique faces be fun??

two halloween projects

diyptch
The cherry on top of the projects?
Light 'em up baby!
halloween sidebar at night
I added three strands of Halloween (orange!) twinkle lights, hiding the lightbulbs as much as possible so the effect was more of a "glow" that individual light bursts.  The first strand hides behind the candles and back of the dresser, while two other strands are stuffed into drawers cracked open for a bit of a creepy "something is going to pop out of the drawer" look.

BONUS PROJECT!!



I got a little carried away when searching for fun Halloween cut files and stumbled upon an old Halloween poem (the precursor to the more pedestrian "trick-or-treat").  I took a portion of the poem, cut it on my Silhouette Cameo and hand placed the letters on my office chalkboard.  Why didn't I use transfer paper??  I wanted the look to be a little "off", almost like a ransom letter cut from newspaper letters.  You see -- it is a bit of a "threat":

Better be Ready
Better Beware
Better not find your Larder Bare;
Of Candy Apples and Hickory Nuts
& Gingerbread in Generous Cuts




In other words....TRICK OR TREAT!!

Happy Halloween y'all!  Get crafting!

 
Pin It

Halloween Vinyl Projects and an Old School Trick or Treat

Pin It

Portions of this Silhouette Vinyl post have been previously published on Crafts Unleashed. Craft Supplies have been provided by Consumer Crafts. Without these supplies, these project ideas and craft ideas would not be possible, so THANK YOU to our sponsors!

branch title page Halloween is coming around the corner next month and I love to add a little bit of easy "halloweeny" flair to my home without getting too "creepy".  The solution?  A hefty dose of gold and creamy white without any blood and guts and such.  Won't you join me for three easy gold vinyl projects today?  Let's get crafting!

Supplies:


PROJECT #1 -- Gold Vinyl Candles

The first project I wanted to create was a simple update to basic creamy white candles.  They already have a "harvest/fall" color to them, so the addition of gold vinyl decals made them perfectly Halloweeny!   I used THIS Silhouette cut file (99 cents) for the three designs as well as THESE darling pumpkins (also 99 cents).  You will see them pop up over and over again in this vignette!

silhoeutte designs
Once you have your silhouette cut out the designs, it is simply a matter of PEEL and STICK.
trick or treat poem amy renea peeling vinyl

PROJECT #2 - Gold and Black  Halloween Banner

The second project is a play off a previous project you have seen here at Crafts Unleashed (Remember this canvas banner??)  I simply colored in one side of the banner with a giant sharpie marker and added a few more of my gold vinyl "stickers".  (Get the banner cut files HERE).

halloween banner amy renea
My favorite part of this project?
 The black and white striped side reflects off the back of the mirror for added interest -- fun, eh?
halloween banner gold vinyl

PROJECT #3 - Jack-O-Lantern Metal Tray

Hands down, the easiest project of the bunch was this little "Jack-O-Lantern" Tray.  I simply got a beat up old metal tray for pennies at the thrift store, gave it a coat of creamy white spray paint and added a gold vinyl "face".  Don't own a silhouette machine?  No problem!!  You could ABSOLUTELY cut out fun Jack-O-Lantern faces out of vinyl with basic scissors.  Wouldn't a whole display of trays with unique faces be fun??

two halloween projects

diyptch
The cherry on top of the projects?
Light 'em up baby!
halloween sidebar at night
I added three strands of Halloween (orange!) twinkle lights, hiding the lightbulbs as much as possible so the effect was more of a "glow" that individual light bursts.  The first strand hides behind the candles and back of the dresser, while two other strands are stuffed into drawers cracked open for a bit of a creepy "something is going to pop out of the drawer" look.

BONUS PROJECT!!



I got a little carried away when searching for fun Halloween cut files and stumbled upon an old Halloween poem (the precursor to the more pedestrian "trick-or-treat").  I took a portion of the poem, cut it on my Silhouette Cameo and hand placed the letters on my office chalkboard.  Why didn't I use transfer paper??  I wanted the look to be a little "off", almost like a ransom letter cut from newspaper letters.  You see -- it is a bit of a "threat":

Better be Ready
Better Beware
Better not find your Larder Bare;
Of Candy Apples and Hickory Nuts
& Gingerbread in Generous Cuts




In other words....TRICK OR TREAT!!

Happy Halloween y'all!  Get crafting!

 
Pin It

26 September 2014

TOP 10 Educational Websites and Apps for Kids' Tablets

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Remember this? That is the Intel 2 in 1 I introduced to you HERE.

Intel 2-in-1 on Make A Gif
make animated gifs like this at MakeAGif

We have had a bit more time to get to know each other and  wanted to share my experiences with you before you take the plunge and buy that tablet your school now requires your 8 year old to bring with them to school (yes, that is the letter that came home from school this week...)


Dell/Intel provided this computer for review. All opinions are my own.

A few pros and cons before I dive into the list of apps you might want to try on YOUR device.

Pros:  The device is cool and has a really slick, fun design.  It is lightweight -- very comparable to the iPad -- but still includes that fabulous keyboard.  The keyboard is hands down my favorite aspect of the device as I HATE typing on a screen.  Problem SOLVED. Compared to the iPad, the Intel 2 in 1 can do more.  More word processing -- more actual computing.  The device could be the perfect solution to working on an airplane or on the train commute home.


Cons:  In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that within 3 days of using the device, there was a virus attached the computer that made Internet use impossible.   Also, I had hoped the device would serve as the kid's computer, but they had a hard time navigating the apps and ended up clicking on ads constantly.

Top 10 GAMES, Apps and Websites for KIDS -

**Apps can be found by searching the name in the App store on your device.  Most are found on both Windows and Apple, but I have noted when they are not.

Ticket to Ride -- This one is first and foremost even though it is by far the most expensive at $10. Available on IPAD, this game is an almost daily play for me. It is akin to the daily newspaper crossword -- a wake up call for the brain. The game is complex enough for adults, but our 8 year old is close to being able to compete as well. You can play against the computer, but the real fun is playing against other people.  Ages 10-13 will LOVE this one.

Top 10 Educational Apps and Websites for Kids

Once you master the basic USA map, there are lots of other maps to try like the 1910 USA map, Asia, Europe -- all fun!!

Spelling City -- This website and corresponding App run on the teacher's lists from school, making it a really fun and easy way to combine what the kids are learning at school with a fun reward of "screen time" at home.  If your school does not use Spelling City, there are still plenty of fun games and activities with random words for your child's grade level.

Don't Tap the White Tiles -- My kid's hands down favorite on the Intel 2 in 1!  This game makes a fun piano-like progression as you tap the black tiles (NOT THE WHITE ONES!).  Very addictive and great for hand-eye coordination.  Just limit time on this one -- your eyes can get really hazy if you play too long!

Top 10 Educational Apps and Websites for Kids


PBS KIDS Video -- Available on iOS and Windows, this PBS app has great cartoon, educational shows that correspond to the shows on TV.  The kids ask for this all the time and have no idea they are learning.  FANTASTIC for plan rides with headphones.

Little Dentist -- I hate this one - they love it!  They perform dental "procedures" that make me cringe, but they laugh hysterically.   I can't handle even looking at this one!  There are a ton of different games like this one including doctor apps as well.  All cringe-inducing, but all fun for the kids.

Top 10 Educational Apps and Websites for Kids

Carcassonne -- This is another one for older kids and adults.  After Ticket to Ride, it is my second favorite and worth every penny.

Top 10 Educational Apps and Websites for Kids

Raz-Kids -- This is another website and app that the our kids' school utilizes, but it also has great activities by grade level and reading level. You can start with a free trial and then purchase if it works for you!  Perfect for emerging readers and I would imagine homeschooling moms might appreciate this one as well!

Endless Alphabet -- A beautiful and educational app for the preschool and younger age group.  This has been our 4 year old's favorite app for a couple years now.  Moms will like it for the sound effects that are funny to the kids, but don't screech in your ears like some other games are prone to do. Available on the Intel 2 in 1 through the Windows app store as well as on Apple products.

Top 10 Educational Apps and Websites for Kids

Where's Waldo -- A fun app for the kids and difficult enough for mom and dad when bored as well!  Plays JUST like the books!  FREE on Windows App store, but I could only find it for sale on the iPad for $2.99.

Paper 53 -- A good app for kids that love art!  This one is a favorite of mine and I liked it so much I purchased a couple additional tools, but you can try it for free with the basic brushes.


Did I miss a great one?  Do you have a favorite app?  game?  educational website??





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#spon: I'm required to disclose a relationship between our site and Intel 2 in 1.
This could include Intel providing us w/content, product, access or other forms of payment.








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