New Years is one of my favorite times of year, and to celebrate the imminent arrival of 2014 I have picked eight fonts which I think are both elegant and perfect for celebrations. You can use them in your digital scrapbooking, your blog graphics or even for creating those last minute party invitations!
The fonts are free to download and for personal use, but check the small print for anything beyond that. :)
Since I shared a post on my favorite font combinations, I have been getting the occasional email asking for suggestions for more font combos. So, in response to a request, here are some Christmas font pairs which I think are perfect for crafts, scrapbooking, invitations, etc...
This time last year, I downloaded so many Christmas fonts that I had to put together an image with them all on so that I could remember what I had. I ended up sharing this in a post and my font collections ended up being a regular feature on the blog.
The number of fonts I have download has increased a lot since then, so this year I am sharing 16 more Christmas fonts. Hope you like them as much as I do!
I know a lot of people like to change their blog with the seasons. I seriously considered giving A Typical English Home a festive makeover this December, but with being so busy I probably wouldn't get around to switching it back until next summer. However, that isn't going to stop me sharing some cute Christmas social media icons with my readers...
There are twelve free social media buttons included: blank, Bloglovin', email, Facebook, Flickr, Google Plus, Instagram, Pinterest, RSS, Tumblr, Twitter, You Tube
The icons come in four wintery colours:
All of the icons are in .png with a transparent background, so that they can be used against any colour.
Click on the link below to download the corresponding .zip file with all of the social media buttons.
I know I already shared a printable Christmas planner last year, but I couldn't resist creating a shiny new one. My 2013 printable planner is bigger, better and prints to an entire A4 page (after 17 months of blogging I have finally worked out how to create printables that don't have pesky margins).
There are currently 14 pages in the planner, although that is subject to change if I think of anything else I would like to add. I am splitting the planner into two posts to spread my workload a bit. The rest of the printables will be available next Thursday.
I know that some people love writing holiday cards, but others find the whole thing a bit of a chore. Whatever group you fall in to, stay organised and make sure you don't forget anyone with this printable Christmas card list.
It is scary how quickly the costs can add up at Christmas. Many people keep track of how much they have spent on gifts, but those inexpensive little extras can also cost a lot once you add them all together. If you are trying to be good and stick to a budget this year, this printable will help to keep you on track. I recommend printing off a sheet for each different category (food, decorations, entertaining, activities, etc).
I find myself scribbling all sorts of notes in the run up to Christmas (ideas, brainstorming, more to do lists). Sure you could regular lined paper for this, but this coordinated blank insert will look much cuter. :-)
Don't forget to check back next Thursday to download the rest of the 2013 Christmas planner! If you are trying to get organised for the festive season, then you may also want to check out my Tuesday posts for the next few weeks which will be full of tips and checklists to help you create an organised and stress free Christmas.
Wow, what a week! To say that this week has been somewhat chaotic would be an understatement, and to top it all off I have been without an Internet connection for a lot of the time (hence no post yesterday). But onwards and upwards.
For those of you who, like me, are amazed by how quickly 2013 is flying by, here is a reminder that it is less than 3 weeks until Halloween. I know, right? Now that I have realised exactly how close we are to 31st October, I am starting to think about things like pumpkins and costumes.
Here is the pumpkin I did last year:
Ten points to Gryffindor if you instantly knew it was the Hogwarts school crest. ;-)
I have been asking the kids for feedback on what sort of pumpkin they would like this year. I was personally rooting for a Despicable Me minion pumpkin. But the kids are adamant that they want the same Harry Potter pumpkin we had last time. Which I have to admit was pretty cool, and very popular with the trick or treaters.
And since I am the caring, sharing type, you can download the stencil which I have created for my own use (link is below the picture).
Although I am not a completely OCD, bleaching-work-tops-six-times-a-day kind of girl, I am very clean and tidy. But over the summer we got a new family member who is rather at odds with my love of a clean, fresh home.
This is Clara. Better known as Ms. Stinky Furball, which probably tells you everything you need to know about her arrival's impact on my housework routine.
Now I love dogs, but Eau de Dog is not my favorite smell in the world (read: I detest the smell of dog). So most of my cleaning practises are now geared towards ensuring guests don't catch the whiff of puppy the moment they enter the house.
Actually, my new cleaning routine seems to be going well and there isn't a great deal of difference in how my home looks (or smells) since before Clara entered our lives. As long as you ignore the half chewed and discarded toilet roll tubes that she likes to strategically scatter around my home.
Here are some of the best tips you can implement if, like me, you are pet loving, dog smell hating, tidy freak.
Bath Your Dog
If you never washed then you would, frankly, stink. The same is true of your dog! How often you can bath your dog depends on things like what type of coat they have, and whether they have any underlying skin conditions. You can ask your vet for advice, if necessary.
It might be a little bit of a learning curb, as not all breeds like water. We bribed our dog with treats, until she was perfectly happy to sit in the tub and be hosed down with the shower attachment.
Brush Your Dog
Bathing your dog doesn't just help them smell better because you are washing away dirt. Washing them removes some of the loose hairs - and dead fur is actually the biggest contributor to dog stink! Ideally, you need to be giving your dog a thorough brush every day.
We are still working on this to be honest, as our dog hates being brushed. But I can definitely smell the difference straight away when she's had a good brushing! And the more hair there is on the brush, the less there will be on your furniture.
Look At Their Diet
I completely forgot to include this one in the list, until a kind reader pointed it out to me (thanks Jennifer). Some breeds smell more than others and you can't completely eliminate their natural doggy odor, but you can lessen it by feeding them a high quality diet. Their diet affects their health, and in particular things like their coat - and a shiny coat and healthy skin gives off a much more pleasant odor. There is lots of information about optimizing your dog's diet online (there is too much information for me to include in this post), but steering clear of tinned dog food and corn based products is a good start.
The Vacuum Cleaner Is Your Best Friend
As I have just explained, dead dog hair is actually what you can smell if your home (or pet) is a bit whiffy. So naturally, you need to be removing that from your home as much as possible too. Vacuuming once a day should do the job. Don't forget to empty your vacuum cleaner and wash the filter often, or after a while you might find that your vacuum cleaner is the biggest culprit for spreading pet smells in your home!
Deodorize Your Floors
We have laminate, which is ideal if you have pets. Since getting a dog, we have steam cleaned once a week. This isn't just to kill the extra bacteria that our pet is constantly bringing in her paws (because actually I am pretty pro germs - healthy immune system and all that). Steam cleaning helps to lift the pet smell. If you don't have a steam cleaner, add a little white vinegar to your bucket before your mop instead. White vinegar has disinfectant properties, and it deodorizes.
If you have carpet and rugs then keeping the dog smell at bay is a little trickier. Once a week, sprinkle carpet deodorizer over your floors before you vacuum. Or for a natural alternative, use baking soda.
De-Fur The Furniture
Don't forget to make sure that your furniture (i.e, your sofa) is free of fur. Most vacuum cleaners have an upholstery attachment, but you can also just use a lint roller.
Clean Their Bedding Regularly
Nothing retains the smell of dog more than their favorite sleeping place. Ideally, you should plan ahead and buy them a couple of washing machine friendly beds. This means that you can have one in the wash and one for use, and neither should have time to develop a strong odor. If you ever use something like a crate, regularly spray the tray with white vinegar, or sprinkle it with baking soda, to deodorize the smell.
Don't forget their toys too, if they are getting a bit stinky and can handle a trip through the washing machine!
Clean With Vinegar
Did I mention that white vinegar is a deodorizer? I mention this fact several times because it is important if you want to get rid of pet smells! Plus, vinegar is an amazingly effective cleaning agent and you should be using it anyway. You can even just add it into a spray bottle and spritz it into the air - as the vinegar smell fades, so will the smell of dog.
Air Your Home
Most of us probably don't live in areas where you can throw your windows open all year round. But when the weather is warm enough, open your windows and let in some fresh air. It isn't just good for pet smells, it is great for freshening the air in general.
Mask The Scent
None of these extra cleaning measures should take up much of your time, and if you make a habit of them then your home shouldn't be smelling of pets. But if you do want to make sure your home smells lovely when guests come round, there is no shame in masking the scent. I'm not a fan of air fresheners, but will burn the occasional scented candle if I want to make doubly sure my house smells pleasant and welcoming.
So basically, common sense. But we all need a little reminder of these things some times. :)
This is the last post about Halloween fonts for 2013, I promise! The theme for this one is "Halloween movie fonts". Technically, "The Nightmare Before Christmas" is more of a Christmas film, but it is such a cute font I couldn't bear to leave it out.
I have missed creating printables - it has definitely been a while! But today I am sharing some Halloween labels which are suitable for both bottles or jars. I haven't got any photos of the labels in use yet, as I need to expand my empty bottle and jar collection in time for Halloween celebrations. But you can see what the labels look like in the picture below.
Quite a few readers have asked for a tutorial on how to make an image for their posts (like I do), with the pretty fonts, the borders and the other graphical elements such as arrows. I actually use Photoshop most of the time, but almost everything I do can be accomplished for free in PicMonkey.
There is lots that you can do with the PicMonkey software, but since I am a fan of keeping things simple I am just going to show you how I made the image at the top of this post. There should be enough information in this post to give people the courage to experiment for themselves!
Step One. The first thing you need to do is create a blank canvas for you to "draw" on. To do this, go to the PicMonkey website and click on create a collage.
Step Two. On the left hand menu, select "Layouts" and then "Square Deal". I then selected the canvas with four cells, but it doesn't really matter which one you pick.
Step Three. Hover your mouse over the top right hand corner of one of the cells and a cross will appear, with a text box saying "Remove cell". Click on the cross to delete the cell. Repeat this for the other cells, until you are just left with one canvas.
Step Four. This step is optional. If you want to use a background pattern or colour, then you might want to do that now. I just changed the white background to a slightly different shade.
Step Five. Re-size your canvas to a more practical size. The default size is 2000 pixels, but 400px by 400px is more suited to blogs, unless you want to slow the loading time of your post. To change the size, click on the box at the bottom of the screen and change the number, (press the enter key to save your changes).
Step Six. The next few steps needed to be done in the "Photo Editor" rather than the "Collage Editor", so save your file to computer and return to the home screen.
Step Seven. Click on "Edit a photo" and open the file which you just saved to your computer.
Step Eight. I started off by adding a frame (unsurprisingly, this is done under the "Frames" tab). Toggle the thickness scroll bar until you achieve the width you want. I wanted a double line, so just repeated this step to add a second frame. You can also make changes to things like the colour.
Step Nine. Most of the images I create for the blog are for post headers. I typically start off by adding some text, (the forth tab down on the menu). Pick your font and click on the "Add Text" box.
You can highlight the text and change the colour and size, and also mix and match which fonts you want to use in your image.
Step Ten. There are loads of simple overlays you can add for free in PicMonkey, (more if you pay for the premium version). Like the text, you can change things like the colour. To change the size of the overlaid image, hover your mouse over the corner of the box and drag.
Step Eleven. There is also the option to add image elements from your computer, by clicking on the "Your Own" button. This is how I added the PicMonkey logo and my watermark, (the latter of which I haven't shown in the tutorial).
Step Twelve. When you are happy with your image, save it!
If you want to show off your newly learned PicMonkey skills, link up to your image/blog post in the comments. I always like to see what people have learned from my tutorials. :)
This post took me a lot longer than I thought it would to put together. There was so many great font that were perfect for Halloween that it was really hard to narrow it down to just fifteen! But I am really happy with the ones I've chosen, and I hope my fellow fontaholics will find some perfect fonts for their blogs, crafts and scrapbooking.
Stainless steel cutlery is tough and durable, and looks great when it is all shiny and gleaming. Unfortunately, everyday things like dishwasher detergent can easily cause staining. To avoid this, most manufacturers recommend that you remove the cutlery from the dishwasher as soon as the cleaning cycle finishes and buff it dry it with a tea towel. As a busy parent, I always ignore this and shove the cutlery straight back in the drawer.
Consequently, a lot of my knives, forks and spoons have developed a sort of dull blue tarnish:
Fortunately, I have now found a way to clean stainless steel cutlery naturally so that it looks as good as new again. And best of all, it takes very little effort!
You will need:
Baking dish Aluminium foil Salt Baking soda
Step one. Line a baking dish (or similar) with aluminium foil. Place the cutlery on it so that the maximum surface area possible is making contact with the foil. If you have a lot of tarnished cutlery, it is best to do this over several sessions, doing just a few items at a time.
Step two. Sprinkle a tablespoon of salt and a tablespoon of baking soda over the cutlery.
Step three. Boil a kettle and pour enough water over the cutlery to completely submerge it. Leave it to soak for around half an hour.
Step four. Remove the cutlery and carefully buff it dry with a clean cloth. It will now look like new.
Here is the same spoon that I showed at the start of this post. There is absolutely no sign of the tarnish left on it!
And just in case you are skeptical that a bit of aluminium foil and salt can really work as an effective cleaning agent, here is an "after" pic of the foil. As you can see, the tarnish from the stainless steel has transferred onto the foil.
So I now have a drawer full of shiny cutlery again...
Sadly, I can't say that I'm going to change my ways and buff my cutlery every time I remove it from the dishwasher. But at least now when it starts looking a bit sad and dull, I know there is a quick and easy fix to get it sparkling again.