Friday, 27 September 2013

Halloween Movie Fonts

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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.

Follow the links below to download them. :)

Friday 13th
The Nightmare Before Christmas
A Nightmare On Elm Street
Addams Family
Evil Dead
28 Days Later
Corpse Bride
Sixth Sense

All of the fonts are free, with the exception of the one which I have used for the "Corpse Bride" (which is only available as a demo unless you pay for the license).

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Printable Halloween Labels For Bottles And Jars

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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.

Clip art is courtesy of PicMonkey, if you want to have a go at creating your own Halloween images.

I cannot believe we are almost in October already, I am still mentally at about Easter. :)

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Create Simple Images For Your Blog With PicMonkey

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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. :)

Friday, 20 September 2013

15 Amazing Halloween Fonts

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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.

1) Fuzzy Bat
2) Skratchy The Spook
3) Spider Written
4) Bones
5) Zombie Holocaust
6) CF One Two Trees
7) Scary Halloween
8) Spinstee
9) Frisky Vampire
10) A Lolita Scorned
11) Altrashed Rough
12) October Crow
13) Lunacy More
14) Killer's Move
15) Creepsville

All fonts are free for personal use, but check out the individual terms and conditions for information on commercial licenses.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Removing Tarnish From Stainless Steel Cutlery, Naturally!

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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
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.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Best Halloween Dingbats

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Halloween is still a few weeks away, but my kids are already starting to discuss what they are going to be dressing up as. I guess you could say they are quite excited! I've been looking forward to Halloween too, but for a totally different reason... I love Halloween fonts! Any excuse to download new fonts makes me happy. :)

I am working on a huge list of Halloween-ish fonts which I will share soon, but in the meantime here are some adorably creepy dingbats (all free to download).

1) Holloweenie Bats
2) HalloCuties
3) Halloweenies
4) KR Boo Lane
5) Spiders Club
6) Punkinhead
7) Trick Or Treat
8) Sweet Halloween Dings
9) Skullx
10) Halloween Borders

Don't forget to check back next Friday for more Halloween fonts!

Friday, 6 September 2013

The Twelve Best Number Fonts

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In case readers of my blog haven't realised, I have a lot of fonts stored on my computer. This means that, whatever the occasion, I usually already have several fonts available which are perfect. However, I'm sure my fellow font addicts will understand my frustration when it comes to using numbers for crafts, scrapbooking and blog stuff. There are often moments when I discover my "perfect" font has gorgeous lettering, but the numbers are blah - and some custom font creators don't even include numbers at all!

Consequently, I have created a list of free fonts which do have pretty numbers. If you have a favourite font for numbering which I haven't mentioned here, let me know in the comments. :-)

All of these fonts are completely free for personal use, and some can be used for commercial purposes too. Check out the terms and conditions on the relevant download page for full details. 

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

How To Make Towels Soft And Fluffy

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I don't mind slightly scratchy towels, and accept it as part of life when you have hard water. But my family (and the odd visiting friend who has borrowed one) always complain comment, so I decided it was time to do something about it. The only problem is that the usual method of softening, adding fabric softener, is actually bad for towels because it impairs the absorbency. But I have found a natural and easy way of making towels soft and fluffy again!

How To Make Towels Soft Again

If you are familiar with my other cleaning posts then it probably won't come as a big shock that this post contains the words "white vinegar". I've known for a long time that white vinegar is good for adding in with your washing, because it is a natural disinfectant and has deodorising properties (you can also use it to clean your washing machine). But it can also play a part in keeping towels soft without compromising how absorbent they are, because a lot of a towel's scratchiness is down to too much chemical build up.

Step one. Put your towels in the washing machine. If your towels are rough and scratchy and you are trying to restore them to their previous softness, do not add any detergent. The point of this exercise is to get rid of anything chemically, not add more!

Step two. Run the machine on the highest temperature your towels can cope with. For hygiene reasons, towels should always be washed at a minimum temperature of 60C. But a high temperature also helps to remove icky build up. 

Step three. When your machine reaches its rinse cycle, pour half a cup of white vinegar into your washing machine's detergent drawer. If your machine has the facility for an extra rinse cycle, take advantage of this too and pour more distilled vinegar in.

After following these simple steps you should notice some difference in how soft the towels are. If the towels still feel quite rough, you may need to repeat the process until you reach the desired level of softness.

It is possible to wash your towels this way every time they need cleaning, without adding commercial detergents, and they will be fluffy, soft and hygienic. But I am stuck in the habit of using detergent so I am now doing the vinegar method as a monthly maintenance wash, to stop the towels getting too scratchy again.

Other ways to help keep towels soft and fluffy:

  • Don't mix your loads and don't overload the drum. You shouldn't wash your towels with other items, and you should make sure there is still plenty of room on your washing machine's drum for the towels to move around. This helps keeps towels fluffy because the water is able to fully penetrate the towels and remove any soap scum, oils and other build up. I limit a load to two or three bath sheets and a couple of smaller hand towels. 
  • Don't use fabric softener. I already gave this a brief mention, but fabric softener should be avoided when you wash your towels because eventually you will end up with a build up of chemicals in the fibres which will impair the towel's ability to absorb water and make it feel rough. Keep it for clothes washing only.
  • Don't dry towels on a high heat. I don't use a dryer, but if you do then you shouldn't have the temperature set too high when drying towels.
  • Don't use dryer sheets. They contain chemicals which can coat your towels and deflect water (which you don't want to do).

So I have another regular use for white vinegar. I think I'm going to have to start buying it in bulk. :-)