Thursday, June 24, 2010

The price wars between Kindle and Nook mean savings for you!

If you have a reader to buy for this year, you might want to take a look at a Kindle reader from Amazon.  Right now, there is a price war going on and you can purchase one of these readers for under $200.  Who knows how long this will last, so now is the time to buy.  Christmas will be here before you know it and by then the price may return to almost $300.

The Kindle comes with free wi-fi connection and the ability to access so many different types of reading material that it makes your head spin.  This device will allow you to read books, magazines, newspapers, blogs, etc. with ease.  This is a slim, lightweight device that is much easier to carry around in your bag.  No more wasting time waiting at the doctor's office or in line at the store.  Now you can be connected and be reading no matter where you go.

Here are just a few articles in the news about this topic:

E-reader Price War --Wednesday, June 23, 2010
On the Business Beat, our focus is on the electronic reader and a new layaway plan.
The electronic reader war continues heating up today.
Bottom line, the prices are coming down.
Target is now selling the Amazon Kindle, with the price down to $189. The price drop follows Barnes & Noble cutting the price on its "Nook" to $149, and its 3G model to $199.
Also out there, the Borders version, called the KOBO, selling for $149 [ more...] 

Amazon Kindle sees price drop -- June 21st, 2010
Amazon just announced that their Kindle e-reader will receive a price drop to $189, falling all the way from $259. It would be interesting to see just how this rather steep price drop will help boost the Kindle’s sales in wake of the iPad’s phenomenal release and sales performance figures thus far. For those who have been living under a rock for the past few years, the Amazon Kindle is the 3G wireless portable reader which allows you to think of a book and be reading in 60 seconds, regardless of where you are – subject to availability of a Wi-Fi or 3G connection, of course. Best of all is, there are no monthly fees or annual contracts to worry about, and you can choose from more than 600,000 books. Woe to those who purchased the Kindle just a day earlier at the full $259 price, eh? Press Release

Bought a Kindle Too Soon? Ask For a Refund -- June 22, 2010, 4:43 PM ET
Some people who were on the fence about buying a dedicated e-reader may be celebrating Monday’s price war between Barnes & Noble’s Nook and Amazon’s Kindle. For the first time, both devices now cost less than $200.

Associated Press
Amazon’s Kindle
But there was one group who wasn’t celebrating: People who recently bought the devices at their former price of $259. Both Amazon and Barnes & Noble were promoting the devices as Father’s Day gifts at the higher price (although Barnes & Noble was including a $50 gift card with purchases).
Now some good news: Both companies say they’re willing to refund customers who bought their e-reading devices recently. You just have to ask for it.
Amazon says it will give the $70 price difference between an old and new Kindle as a credit to customers whose devices were shipped in the last 30 days.
Barnes & Noble says it will give customers a $10 refund and $50 gift card to Nook customers who are still within their 14-day return policy period. You can contact customer service, or just find the store manager at your local Barnes & Noble branch.
Follow Geoffrey Fowler on Twitter.

For information on Kindle visit The Kindle Reader.
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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Here's a wonderful ornament that you can make for gifts!

Here's a really great tutorial to make easy gifts to give this year.  I know that I will be trying this myself.  These look so festive and I bet they are really easy.  I may make these to give to my co-workers and to mail with my cards to friends far away.  I really appreciate this wonderful tutorial.  Please click on the title link and visit the blog for more.

Christmas Ornament Tutorial

Hi! I just sent all 9 packages to their recipients of my swap group today (Phew!) and decided to post the tutorial here as well. It's a christmas ornament made out of shrinkable plastic and adorned with my favourite itsy bitsy buttons. But first, download the template here.

STEP 1 : DOWNLOAD TEMPLATE. This is how the template looks. I've not included the patterns, you may want to decorate them as you like. Digitally or with sharpies/colour markers. I've used quilting textile patterns and put in the recipients name with Adobe Illustrator. If you need the illustrator file, just e-mail me.

STEP 2 : DESIGN YOUR ORNAMENT & PRINT. That's my work table with all the printed shrinkable plastics. Choose shrinkable plastics that allow you to print on your inkjet printer if you intend to do this digitally. Read instructions on shrinking percentage and enlarged as you seem fit. Bigger ornaments need bigger graphics (you may try out one first.) Usually shrinkable plastics will shrink about 50% tp 60% from the printed size. Some may even shrink horizontally more than vertical. For mine, the rounded ornaments started as perfect circles, but when they're heated it shrunk vertically more, so they now appear oval like.

STEP 3 : Remember to print at 50% lighter shade. Because of the shrinking that will take place in your ovennete, things will appear very much darker.

STEP 4 : CUTTING OUT THE PIECES. All arranged out. I'd advice you to cut 1 set at a time and punch the holes as soon as you do. Make sure the punches are on the same direction for all the pieces. If not, you will have the holes in the wrong edges.

Step 5 : PUNCHING THE PIECES. Only punch the edges where you will sew the pieces together. Always remember to punch before heating, if not it will be too late to punch once it is shrunk! Too thick and too damn hard! Oh yes, a bigger punch is used if you need a bigger hole. Too small of a hole will not be effective once it is shrunk. (I hope that makes sense.)
Step 6 : HEATING THE OVEN. Please use the oven. NO MICROWAVE OVENS (unless you want a Chernobyl incident here!) I use a simple toaster oven. You need very low heat (follow manufacturer's heating instructions). Pop them two at a time on top of foil. Watch them shrink and curl. Don't worry about the curling, it will naturally uncurl once it is ready to come out. This will take less than 30 seconds or more depending on heat. When there is no more movement or shrinking, pick them out with wooden chopsticks onto a wooden board and flatten while still warm.

STEP 7 : Place on wooden board to cool. Do the rest. It's quite automatic after awhile. If you notice unsightly dents in the middle, it means that your piece needs more heating. Do not overheat though, it will take a lot of heat to melt it again and it will be disastrous.
You can pop in The big pieces on at a time. Don't be in a rush, I know you'll get excited watching it shrink and dance but you need to control the curving when it comes out from the oven and you need to flatten it immediately.

Check out the shrinking.

Laid out to rest.

STEP 8 : VARNISHING. I used Modge podge to varnish and waterproof the pieces. You can also use aerosol sprays but Modge Podge is way cheaper. Let dry overnight and away from busybody 4 year olds.

STEP 9 : ATTACHING THE PIECES. Select matching buttons. Size of buttons depends on how far the holes are from one piece to another ornament piece. I tie a knot to secure the button first before sewing onto the pieces.

Select the last piece and sew to the upper one.

To knot off by going around a few times and knotting at the back to properly secure the button to the piece.

Sewing the upper pieces together depending on how many layers you want your ornament to be.

STEP 10 : ATTACHING THE RIBBON. Assemble the ribbon and buttons for the upper ornament.

STEP 11 : ATTACHING THE RIBBON FOR THE TOP MOST ORNAMENT. With the same method, attach the topmost ornament with a ribbon for hanging. Select soft ribbons for this.

Do the bow for the middle. You can opt for felt cutouts or maybe lace, there are many possibilities. Use your noodles!


Knot off with the same method for a neat finish.

Tada! The finished ornament. This is for Melissa of Group 17.

All in a row. I even made one for myself. Now, remember to write to me about your creation this Christmas.

Merry Christmas Everyone. Have a blessed Christmas and Happy New Year. Do write and keep in touch.

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Here's a wonderful Christmas craft--paper ornaments!

This is another simple, easy Christmas ornament that can be made quickly.  If you have the paper strips already pre-cut, this would even be a fun project for the entire family with smaller children.  For older children, cutting the strips could be a fun part of this project.  Picture these festive ornaments hanging all over your living area.  How fun!

diy wednesdays: modern paper ornaments
it’s official. we drove by a real-life christmas tree lot today, which means that it’s time to get cracking on our holiday decorating. these paper ornaments can be hung just about anywhere (from a tree, in a window, from a chandelier) and they are super simple to make. all it takes is some paper and a stapler to make any room feel festive. just click here for more photos and full instructions.
happy decorating!
-derek & lauren

Here’s what you’ll need:
-Various colors of paper or cardstock, cut into 1″ x 11″ strips. We used 5 colors of cardstock plus silver and gold gift wrap.
-X-acto blade
-Metal ruler
-Cutting Mat
-Thread or monofilament for hanging
Using your X-acto blade and straight edge, cut a few sheets of each color paper into strips that measure 1″ wide by 11″ long.
Lay out your color combinations. We used 3 colors per ornament, repeating the middle color on the outside of each one.
Cut the center strip down to 6″ long. The following concentric layers will consist of 2 pieces, each measuring 7″, 9″ and 11″, respectively.
Make sure the tops of all the strips are flush, and then staple them together. Then line up the bottom edges on the opposite side, so that they are flush, and place a staple on that end. We kept it nice and simple, but there are a bunch of different configurations you can do by playing around with the lengths of the strips and different placement of staples. Now just find a favorite spot to hang them. Ours are clustered above the dining room table.
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Read more at Design*Sponge

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Are you ready for the Holidays? They will be here very soon!

I hate when the Christmas holidays arrive and I am not ready.  I don't enjoy the holiday; I don't feel festive.  All I really feel is angry and frustrated.  Especially since I hate shopping, the crowds make me crazy.  So this year, I have a plan that I thought I would share with you.

On June 25th, there will be exactly 6 months until Christmas.  So I am making a shopping list--presents, decorations, food, etc. that goes with Christmas.  I will split my list into two week sections, so every pay period I will get something to prepare myself this year.  If I start now, I may just be ready for the season and be a little less grouchy to boot!

My list so far goes something like this:

List of family to buy for
List of friends/co-workers to buy for
Decorations still needed or to be replaced
Craft items needed
Holiday cooking menu and grocery list

These lists, in turn, will be broken down by pay periods and then I can plan to spend a little each check to get what I want to get for Christmas this year--all while avoiding the crush and rush of that season's shopping.

I hope this inspires you to try this or come up with your own way to get ready so you, too, can have a festive holiday this year.

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Monday, June 7, 2010

Here's another easy decoration you can make--

When I found this picture I was taken by the simplicity.  If you made several of these and hung them on your tree, it would make a wonderful statement.  Think about it, if you had your children make you some drawings and then you either sized them down or cut them into small squares and used them for the squares.  The ones in the picture are made out of cloth and you can find the tutorial here.

I think I will adapt this to use heavy cardstock and ribbon, maybe with some glitter and dimensional paint thrown in.  If you try this won't you let me see your finished product?  I know I'd love to see it.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Origami wreath tutorial

A little paper ornament - simple to make, perfect for popping inside a Christmas Card. Want to have a go? I promised a tutorial, so here's what to do.
Music wreath
You'll need to begin with a rectangle of paper 4cm wide by 8 cm long.  Choose paper with a bit of body - really lightweight stuff won't hold the folds as well or appear 3 dimensional when finished. I'm using some nice old sheet music.
Starting strip
Fold your rectangle in half lengthwise ( keep the prettier side out if your paper is only patterned on one side) to give you a folded strip 8cm by 2cm.
Fold in half
Fold in half crosswise so your piece is now 4cm by 2cm (like the one on the left). You then need to fold down the corners at each end of the strip.
Fold down corners
Hold your folded strip with the open edges to the top. Grab both layers of the top right hand side and fold them at 45 degrees to meet the bottom edge. Then do the same with the top left hand side.
You will be left with shapes like this. Each wreath takes 8 of them to complete.
Folded 8
Hold the first piece by the points. If you look carefully at the top edge, you'll see that there are two little pockets formed between the layers of paper. If you imagine they are numbered 1 2 3 and 4, you need to slide one folded point of the next piece, between layers 1 and 2 and the other between layers 3 and 4.
See the holes
I wish I could just show you, it'd be a lot easier! But try it, it's simpler than I am making it sound.
Insert second
Push the second piece down into the first until the tips touch the bottom of the pocket.
Push in
Then go on with the third piece in exactly the same way.
Add third
Continue round. The eighth and final piece gets the tips of the first piece tucked into its pocket to complete the circle.
Continue round
Fiddle with them to adjust so the wreath looks an even shape.All 8
I added a hanging loop by threading a bit of embroidery cotton through one of the tips using a needle.
You could go to town with fancy Christmas papers, upcycled glossy magazines, text from an old book - the origami wreath world is your oyster.  And if you have a go, do leave a link in the comments - I'd love to see them.
This is from a delightful blog, Domesticali.
Drop by and leave a comment telling her you found her here.
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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Here's another easy Christmas ornament to make ahead

Make a few of these ornaments and by the time the tree needs to be put up, you will have all you need to make it beautiful and festive.

Paper globe ornaments

I love these paper ornaments. They look so complex, but they really aren’t.

To start, you need 20 paper circles of whatever patterns you choose. I made mine about 1.5″. If you have a circle template or jumbo punch, it makes it really easy.
Fold the edges of each circle up in three places, so that it looks like a triangle with three tabs.
To make the top of the globe, take five of your circles. Glue the tabs together so that the five form a ring. Repeat this for the bottom of your globe.
To make the center of your globe, glue 10 of your circles in a line. The “triangles” will alternate pointing up and down, so that you have a straight band. Then glue the end circles together to make a ring. Glue the top and bottom pieces onto your ring.
I made a little paper dangle for mine. Once your done, just punch a few holes, put on a wire or ribbon hanger, and voila! All finished.

These are from CraftTutorials

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Easy, Breezy, Christmas tree ornaments!

- Two colors of letter sized paper
- Scissors, craft knife and ruler, or paper trimmer
- Glue (Tacky glue was perfect because it dries so fast)

There are two different ways to make this ornament.

Option 1 (ornament in the background)

  1. This is the simplest one. It only requires 4 strips of paper, of alternating colors. Cut each strip so that it is 11" (28cm) long (hint: cut along the long side of the letter-size paper) and 1/4" (6mm) wide.
  2. Fold over and crease 1/2" (13mm) of one end of one strip.
  3. Glue the new tab to the opposite end of the strip of paper. The teardrop will automatically form itself as you glue both ends together.
  4. Let it dry and repeat steps 1-3 three more times in alternating colors.
  5. Stack the teardrops together by tucking the creased ends one over the other. Tie them together with a strand of embroidery thread that is long enough to hang the ornament from. Done!

Option 2 (ornament in the foreground of the top photo)
  1. This style of teardrop requires 5 strips of paper in alternating colors. They will all be 1/4" (6mm) wide but will vary in length.
  2. The strips should be 11", 10", 9", 8" and 7" long.
  3. Follow steps 3 and 5 from above.
The simplicity of this project and the fact that the kids have been loving my paper trimmer recently, may help turn this into a group project. We'll shall see.

Here's a wonderful way to use what you have on hand to make some festive and easy decorations.  I found this on  A Little Hut where Patricia Zapata found herself in a hotel room with her kids and needed to make it more holiday-like and needed to entertain her kids at the same time.  Great post, great blog.  Check her out, won't you?  I'm off to make a few of these to use at work.
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