Sunday, June 7, 2015

Get Ready For Summer With Mabel's Labels

“I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Mabel’s Labels. I received a voucher to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.”

School just ended for us here in Texas; and we are scrambling to get ready for summer school, summer camp and all those summer classes that we signed up for in the fall. Especially with swim classes, lunch boxes, and water bottles it's imperative that everything be labled with your kids names if you ever want to see it again.

Enter Mabel's Labels. Mabel's Labels is the very first 'mompreneur' business that I had ever heard of-- I remember reading about them in a Parent's magazine ages ago! I was so excited when I received an email asking if I'd like to try out the Camp Label Pack. The Camp Label combo comes with all the labels you need for summer camp gear and clothing. You can label everything from shoes to clothes to toothbrushes!

The thing I love the best about the combo packs is that you only have to put your child's name, color, and icon choices in once. Every single label will match (and comes with the same icon) so even non-readers can easily pick out which item is theirs. This makes ordering all the different labels you need super simple-- you don't have to customize each product individually. I know it's sounds cliche but the hardest part really was deciding which color and animal my son would like best.

 The pack comes with instructions on how to use each type of stickers (some are for solid surfaces and some are for fabric). The labels are laundry safe, dishwasher/microwave-safe and 100% guaranteed. They are perfect for clothes, swim gear, backpacks, shoes, toiletries and everything else that your kiddo will need for camp and beyond.  
 My favorite labels that arrived were these metal dog tags. The combo pack comes with two and they look really cool and professional. I want to buy a few of these for my daughter's lunch pail and backpack. I wanted to make sure they were sturdy, so I spent a good few minutes trying to peel the label off the tag with my finger nail, but couldn't even get the edge up. These really stick!

And I have good news for you all too! By signing up for the Mabel’s Labels Newsletter and completing one additional social share, you will be given a one-time use coupon code. Mabel's Labels is offering a really neat giveaway/discount for MIH readers! Using the link below, you can get a coupon for somewhere in between 15 - 50% off. Some lucky readers will even get free item coupons! The promotion ends on June 22nd, so hurry and get your coupon before then!

What are you doing to get ready for summer? Let me know in the comments!!!!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Keeping in Touch with Loved Ones All Over the Globe

If you've been reading the blog for any length of time-- you'll know that I believe in the power of grandparents. Both my parents and my grandparents are huge parts of my kids' lives. They are always ready to babysit, or just come over and play. We are lucky enough that they live locally-- but my kids have a few sets of grandparents and great grandparents that live farther away.

I'm always looking for ways to make it easier to stay in touch, so I was super excited to see an email about Panasonic HomeTeam pop up in my in my inbox. Our extended family is all over the globe, and my husband and I use a variety of apps to chat and keep up with everyone. But what about our kids? I'm certainly not going to let them loose on Facebook. Enter HomeTeam-- It's a fun, safe app that is geared specifically to kids under the age of 10.

Since the app runs on tablets and laptops we already have, we installed it on our Ipads and let the kids take a spin. I love that the interface is simple enough for my 4 and 5 year old to use without constant direction from us. (And it seems easy enough for most grandmas and grandpas too!)

HomeTeam allows you to chat, play games and even read e-books with family no matter where they are.

The book selection is great! The titles are separated by age, so it's easy to pick out something that's appropriate for the kids. Since my kids are just beginning to read, I especially love that the app gives them a chance to read the book, or hit a button for help with the words.

My son loves the games-- especially the ones with his favorite characters like Curious George.

But really, the thing I like the most is that this app makes screen time more than just alone time. Instead of just playing by themselves, my kids can make lasting connections and spend time with someone who loves them.

If you have family that you'd like your kids to keep in touch with, I urge you to check it out-- The HomeTeam app will be available in stores on 3/24!
 This post was sponsored by Panasonic in conjunction with SheKnows. I did receive compensation for this post.
Which feature of HomeTeam™ are you most excited to use? Tell me in the comments for a chance to win a $100 VISA gift card.
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This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older (or nineteen (19) years of age or older in Alabama and Nebraska). Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 2 business days to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 4/15/2015 – 5/17/2015
Be sure to visit the Panasonic HomeTeam brand page on where you can read other bloggers’ posts!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

DIY Mini Cards and Envelopes

Mini Cards! Card making has been so fun the last few months, but of course, tinier is always cuter.
I love these mini cards because they are perfect to slip into a gift or to jot down a quick thank you. It takes the pressure off feeling like you have to write a long note, and to top it off-- they are just adorable. I really love this method of making them since you can use any shaped die to make the card. Hearts, squares, trucks, balloons-- the possibilities are endless!

I used the We R Memory keepers scalloped edge dies to cut white card stock out on the fold; and then the same die to cut my card front out of a single sheet of pattern paper. Then, I just glued the card front on to the white cardstock.
 I loved these dies from We R Memory Keepers. With many other companies, you have to purchase two sets of dies in order to have the full range of nesting dies. With We R Memory Keepers dies, you get 15 dies in one set. It's a bargin! 

Since these cards can be any shape or size, it's fun to use the envelope punch board (also by We R Memory Keepers) to make a custom envelope. This tool is amazing, and I wouldn't make envelopes any other way. Simply measure your card and either use the chart printed on the tool or the Envelope Expert calculator to figure out where to punch and score.
I love that the tool comes with it's own little corner rounder.
A perfect fit. :)
I can't decide whether I like the white on the outside or inside better.  Just as a note, I did try the envelope notcher as well; but I kind of found it it a little harder to use. Also it was just too easy to tear the envelope while trying to open and close the envelope.
But I love how cute and perfect the envelopes came out! So tell me.... when would you give a mini card?

Friday, February 27, 2015

Invites With Ellen Hutson Zipper Panel Die

You all know that I love clever things. I've been on the look out for some interesting dies for my Sizzix die cutting machine, and I found one that I think is just so much fun. It's the Zipper Panel Die from Ellen Hutson.

The die basically creates a card that's sealed on all 4 sides. To get into it, the recipient has to peel up a middle zipper panel to reveal the inside of the card, along with any goodies you may have stashed inside. You can see a cool demo in this video. (You also get a 3 bonus word dies!)

I think the die itself is designed to hide a gift card or cash inside, but I thought it would be fun to have a little surprise birthday invite inside instead. How fun for little kids to get to tear open a card!

Here's a quick rundown of how I created these invites.
First, I found the cheapest way to print the inside of the invitations was to get them as 4x6 photos locally. The inside 'window' of the die is 4.5 inches by 3.25 inches; so make sure to center the image in a rectangle of that size.
 Create two die cuts of the zipper panel, and cut just the center panel from one as shown in the video above. Then glue the partial panel to the back of the whole panel.

Now we can decorate our card front! Because I would eventually have to create 10-15 of these I wanted to keep it as simple as possible.  I used the 'celebrate' die that is included in the set and brightly colored pattern paper.
Since photo invite we printed is 6 inches tall, and our finished card will be 5.5 inches tall, we need to trim the photo. I used a extra diecut zipper panel window to center my photo invite to know where to cut. The great thing is that once you measure it once, you can use the same measurement for all your invites.  Then attach the photo to a 5.5x 4.25 peice of cardstock.
I used super strong Scrappy Tape to stick the front panel down. I love this stuff-- it's plenty strong enough to withstand pulling up on the zipper panel.
 And here it is all finished!
I have to admit, I opened this one within minutes of making it, and I was still excited to tear open the top. Almost there...
And the big reveal! I had to mark out our address :) .
 I think this is such a cute and clever card idea!It would be easy to make a few card fronts and backs in advance. Using the scrappy tape, you can have the adhesive already applied to the card front.  I can't wait to make a ton of these for all those last minute gift card giving occasions throughout the year!

Monday, February 9, 2015

WPlus9 Cupcake Wrapper Die Review

After having a couple birthday parties under my belt, I've decided that cupcakes (trendy or not) are the way to go kids birthday parties.

They are easy to transport, and avoid the mess and hassle of cutting up a cake during the party. And they are cute! Well, most of the time. At my son's Bob The Builder party last year the chocolate cupcakes made the yellow cupcake wrappers look muddy brown. This year for my daughters party I decided to try making cupcake wrappers as a way to avoid this problem.

Finding wrappers that I liked was a problem. I wanted some that weren't tall enough to touch the icing, and covered the discolored wrappers completely.

 I searched high and low for some cupcake wrapper die that met my requirements. I finally settled on these dies from W+9.

What I love about these:

  • They are slightly shorter than store bought wrappers, so I can fit 4 to a sheet of inexpensive 8.5x11 cardstock. Other dies I looked at only fit 4 to a 12x 12 sheet. 
  • They have tabs and slots for closures so they are easy to secure closed on the day off the party
  • They have a pretty edge, but aren't overly feminine or masculine. (See how boyish the ones in the picture are!) 
  • They cover the entire cupcake paper. So many wrappers that I looked at were lacy or see through-- which didn't help with my chocolate bleed through pattern. 
  • And... they come with an optional accessory pack to decorate the wrappers with! 
Here's a quick rundown of how to put them together:

Since a standard sheet of paper won't fit through your diecutting machine, you'll have to cut your paper in half hamburger style. Be sure to place your die as vertically as possible since it's a tight fit to get two wrappers in each half.

 These would be so gorgeous done on pretty scrapbook paper. Since I was making so many (and I was on a budget) I ended up using plain paper, and then stamping it with a floral design. I looked through my stash for any floral stamps, and arranged them using a wrapper as a guide. I then used one of my large quilting rulers to pick up all the stamps at once.
 This way I was able to stamp each liner just once, and finish two dozen in just minutes. Score!
 The notches do an awesome job of holding the wrappers together, so you can store them flat until the time of your party.
 The accessory pack for the the wrappers is adorable too. The is a die for a bow and tails. It doesn't look like much once it's cut out...
 But it's so adorable once it's folded. I love that I was able to make the bow with just one glue dot-- super simple if you have to do a bunch.
 You can also play around with the tails to create different styles. There is also die for the paper ribbon that goes around the wrapper as shown on the blue cupcake wrappers from above.
 They just made my little cupcake display. Not a single one fell apart-- and they were so easy for little hands to hold!
 Looking at this picture from above you can kind of see how much darker the chocolate wrappers are in comparison to the vanilla, but the cupcake wrappers made everything look nice and consistent. They were super quick and easy to make, (and fun too). Next, I want to try stamping a personal sentiment on the wrappers when I make small batches as a gift! How cute would it be to deliver a cupcake that says "Happy Birthday" or "Thank You" on the wrapper? That's my kind of gift :)

I want to send a a huge thank you to W plus 9 for sending me the dies to use for this review. I was not compensated in anyway, and all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Tips For Cardmaking on a Budget ... Part II

So... I'm back with a few more cards, and a few more tips on getting some cards made on a budget. 

 Tip #4: Use die cuts as sentiments! I was suprised at how in expensive word die cuts can be. They make an impact and are an easy way to add 3 deminesional interest to a card. I also love that you can change up colors and textures without having to purchase extra ink or embossing powders etc.
Tip # 2: Look into your existing craft stash for embellishments instead of purchasing items specifically geared toward cardmaking. The ribbon and embroidery thread above are straight from my sewing bins and were less expensive than purchasing bakers twine in rolls specifically meant for cardmakers.
 Tip #3: This tip is kind of a no brainer-- mix your stamp sets! (And purchase stamp sets with mixing in mind). I love the Chit Chat stamp set by lawn fawn because I can use each of the speech bubble with lots of images from other sets. The card above uses stamps from 2 different sets, while the one below makes use of  3.

I'll be back on Friday with just one more post on this topic :) I hope you are having a great 'hump day!'