Ideas for Unusual Wedding Favors

An unusual wedding calls for unusual wedding favors or maybe you just want to give your guests something different! In this instance you will probably want to avoid the usual favor stores and things like candles, candies and photo frames and instead come up with unique and original ideas of your own.

It may seem daunting to think about wedding favors that depart from the normal offerings but advantages themselves are merely small gifts given as a token of thanks. Whether you want quirky or quaint you will actually find there are many things available that can become unusual wedding favors.

The most unique and unusual favors will of course be things you have made yourself. Scour craft websites like Etsy for inspiration as these sites are full of unique ideas which can be adapted to suit weddings. How about key rings with hand embroidered inserts depicting your names and wedding date or fridge magnets with a hand painted design? If you do not have a lot of time to devote to making your rewards then consider ideas which can make things in larger quantities without too much effort, such as your own custom cookies, homemade candles or mini soaps.

But if making your own wedding favors does not suit then it is time to hit the high street and look around gift and home stores for unusual items you could give out at your wedding. Gift stores are a great source of unique and quirky items for favors or for packaging. Mini decorative boxes or tins, handcrafted décor items and charming accessories can make for great favors. Homeware stores are another good choice for decorative homewares, kitchenalia and items for the garden.

Also check out junk stores, charity stores and antique fairs for original items you could use as or in your wedding favors. It can be very surprising what you can pick up for very little money and it is undoubtedly your guests will ever receive a similar favor at subsequent weddings!


The Priestly Blessing

The Priestly Blessing (known as ‘Birkat Kohanim’, literally ‘Blessing of the Cohens’) is a Jewish prayer which was first recited by Aaron, the High Priest in the Holy Temple and brother of Moses. It was instigated at the request of G-d to bless His people on His behalf.

“And the L-rd spoke to Moses, saying; speak to Aaron and to his sons, saying; so shall you bless the children of Israel….they shall place my name upon the Children of Israel, and I shall bless them.” (Bamidbar/Numbers 6:23-7).

“Aharon raised his hands towards the people and blessed them…” (Vayikra/Leviticus 9:22).

The priestly blessing is:

May the Lord bless you and keep you

May the Lord shine His countenance toward you and be gracious to you

May the Lord lift up His countenance toward you and give you peace

To this day Aaron’s descendants (known as Kohanim) are bestowed with the honor of channeling G-d’s blessing to his people during certain synagogue services.

The priestly blessing is the oldest known Biblical text that has been discovered; it was written on amulets found in graves in dating from the First Temple Period.

Judaism permits only Kohanim to perform the Priestly Blessing to a congregation, as part of the synagogue service. However, the same blessing is used by parents to bless their children each Friday night before the beginning of the Shabbat meal.

In order for the Priestly Blessing to be said in synagogue, there has to be a ‘minyan’ present; ten men (including the Kohanim). Prior to performing the priestly blessing the hands and feet of the Kohanim are washed by a Levi. They then walk in front of the ark (where the Torah scrolls are kept), cover their heads with their prayer shawls and say an initial blessing.

The person leading the prayers then slowly recites the three verse blessing, with the Kohanim all responding in unison, repeating it word by word after him. After each line, the congregation responds “Amen”

During the course of the blessing the Kohanim hold the palms of their hands upwards and outwards, using a special hand gesture. This positioning of the fingers and hands form a vessel through which G-d can channel his blessing towards the congregation. The prayer shawl of each Kohan is draped over his head and hands so that neither he not the congregation can see his hands while the blessing is being given.

The Talmud states that it is forbidden to gaze upon a Kohen during the chanting of the blessing. Some commentators feel that this is because the presence of G-d rests upon the Kohen at this time. It is therefore customary for male members of the congregation to spread their prayer shawls (tallit) over their own heads during the blessing so as not look at the Kohanim. If a man has children, they will stand under his prayer shawl to be blessed. Many adults have fond, nostalgic childhood memories of standing beneath their father’s tallit and hearing the chanting of the Priestly Blessing.

Female members turn their faces downwards or sideways or hold their prayer book in front of their face in order to hide the Kohanim from their sight.

With the destruction of the Temple, most Kohanic duties became defunct, but the Priestly Blessing remained as it was never directly attached to the Temple. These days there are various customs regarding if and when the blessing takes place. The custom of many synagogues in the diaspora is to perform the Priestly Blessing only on religious holidays, however in other synagogues it takes place every Shabbat (Sabbath). Inside Israel and in Sephardi synagogues it is performed daily.

The Priestly Blessing dates back to biblical times and, as with other aspects of Judaism, has been faithfully passed down from generation to generation to ensure that it is still prevalent today. It is a moving and symbolic custom for the Kohanim but is also a very meaningful and uplifting experience for those receiving it.


What to Expect When Using Cast Iron Kitchenware

The great thing about this type of kitchenware is that it provides a surface for cooking that is second to none if it has been cured the right way. This type of kitchenware is also one of the most tenant options that you can find today and you can use it in the kitchen or even take a piece or two camping with you to cook on the campfire.

You'll find that cast iron kitchenware is designed to last for a long time and it has a track record of being extremely durable and long lasting. Look around and you'll find people have cookware and other kitchenware made of iron that has been past down through the family for more than 100 years. The great news is that you can purchase new kitchenware made out of this material as well. This allows you a great cooking surface with some attractive new options.

One of the great things you can expect from your cast iron kitchenware is a near non-stick surface. The great thing is that when you cure these items, it will naturally become non-stick. This is a safer option than some of the other synthetic surfaces that other types of kitchen ware often has on it today. There are studies that show that some of these surfaces may end up causing medical problems if they are ingested. You do not have to worry about any parts flaking off and causing you any medical problems.

The even heating of the cast iron kitchenware is a big bonus that many people love. Some other types of kitchenware make cooking tough because the food does not cook evenly. With the iron kitchenware options, they all heat up evenly, which helps you to ensure you cook the food evenly as well. This results in food that tastes a whole lot better and there are no burnt spots to worry about.

Once you make an investment in this cast iron kitchenware, you probably will not have to make another purchase in the future. This type of kitchenware is long lasting and may last you for years. It's also versatile, which makes it a great addition to any kitchen today. Some of the available options not only work well on your stove top but they also can be used in the oven. This provides you with more possibilities when you are cooking in your kitchen. Some options can even be used over a campfire so you can cook when you are out on a camping trip.


Printable Crafts – Possibilities and Ideas 1


We all sometimes need a "little something" gift.

To congratulate, to say thank you, as a small token of acknowledgment, to wish someone luck or hope, or to say get well soon. Or to acknowledge the birthday or other special day of someone you may not know very well, like a co-worker or neighbor.

Printable crafts can make a modest item special, by customizing and personalizing it and thenby creating a new item especially for the recipient.

Beside a printer, computer and suitable graphic software, you only need a few basics for printable crafts. These include scissors, a craft knife, a steel-edged ruler or guillotine, glue, downloadable printables and suitable paper or cardstock to print on.

o A favorite all-occasion winner that is easy and quick to make, is a printed wrapper with personalized text for a bar of chocolate. A wrapped chocolate is one of the most versatile quick gifts – and the chocolate bar itself can be a budget bar or a luxurious and expensive one. Two of the most widely available and suitable sizes are 1.55 oz Hershey bars and various European 100g chocolate slabs.

There are ready-to-print wrappers available online if you want a quick and ready solution. Or you can use a printable motif and put it in a repeat pattern in a graphics program. A printable vignette picture can also be glued to colored card or paper in a coordinating color. Then you could still add a matching printable tag and a printable border design as ribbon around the middle of the bar.

Tip: Unless you buy special made-for-wrapping bars, add your personalized wrapping over the original wrapping so that the recipient can check ingredients in case of allergies.

o A bottle of wine can be personalized with a custom printable label too. Cut your label slightly larger than the one on the bottle, but leave the small back label visible. You can also soak the label off first (which would remove the back label too) or scratch it off nicely with a craft knife.

The same goes for a cooldrink bottle, beer bottle or a health drink – even a bottle of water. Add your own customized and printed label and you have a nifty little gift.

o Items like luggage tags and small sewing kits or a shower cap in a pack are useful little gifts for someone going on a journey. The luggage tag can be laminated in plastic if you have inserted or typed the recipient's address already.

o A pretty printable box or packet will elevate a small gift into something special. Like a golf ball in a custom box, bath salts or potpourri in a pretty packet and candy in a cone.

o Something drinkable like cocoa in a printed packet, or a few special teabags or coffee pods in little printable envelopes are great too.

o Lollipops can have little personalized covers and these can be inserted into a bunch of flowers, or can be tied together with a ribbon as a lolli bouquet.

o Candles are another versatile and inexpensive gift. Add a printable wrapper around two candles or around a pillar candle and add a coordinating tag. A votive candle in a glass container can also be dressed up with a wrap label.

o Add a printable topper to a packet of home baked cookies. Add a custom label or a tag.

Tip: Wrap any food that can spill or stain in food-safe plastic or cellophane first.

o Nice artisan soap is another item that can be wrapped and beautifully presented with the help of printable crafts. Wrap the soap in plain or printed paper. Then add a printed border design around the bar and glue a label on top over the border.

o Any bath product – like bath oil, bubble bath or bath salts – can be personalized with a printable label. Tie a matching tag around the neck of the bottle with a pretty ribbon.

Again, I would leave back labels intact so that the recipient can read the ingredients in case of an allergy.

Printable crafts can also be combined with store bought items to round out a gift. Why not make up coordinated combinations of many of the above for unique personalized gifts? Coordinate printable craft motifs and colors and put the items in a basket, pretty bag or gallon can for a pamper hamper or gift basket.

o You can combine drinking chocolate in a printable packet with marshmallows in a bought mug. And the teabags or coffee pods can be combined with a mug, tea-cup or even a pretty spoon.

o A small toy or activity book can be combined with a bouquet of customized lollipops for a sick child.

o And book can be combined with a printed bookmark and wrapped chocolate or a personalized bottle of wine.

o Combine a map or journal with a sewing kit and luggage tag for a useful travel gift.

Use any of these versatile budget-friendly ideas to resolve those "little gift" dilemmas for many occasions. The personal note achieved with the printable element has an effect that is more than the actual value of the gift. Printable crafts help to create items that are thoughtful and distinguished.



Decorating Tips for Your Living and Dining Area

For every homeowner, the living and dining areas are the most used in any house. This is where the whole family comes together. It is also a place to entertain friends and extended family. Precious memories are built in these rooms, and so it just but natural to want to have the best living and dining area for your home.

When decorating these spaces, it is important to know a few tips and tricks of the trade before going off to the store and purchasing homewares. First thing to know is that there should be a focal point in every room. This point of focus can be a large window or a painting or any art piece. Once you have this central piece, you can now then start to arrange your furniture around it. Be sure to begin with the larger items first, like a couch or table, then work your way to the smaller pieces, up until you have put everything in its place. Consider also having certain accent pieces in the room. This can either be pillows that give a color contrast, or certain smaller furniture pieces that you can put atop tables. Another good focal point could also be a cluster of picture frames on the wall. This is much more personal and is always a great topic for conversation. Choose your favorite photos and have them printed and framed before hanging.

When you are in the store to buy the homewares you need, remember not to buy oversized pieces. It is best to have the actual size of your living area before heading out to the store. This way, you know exactly your limitations are when deciding on the size of the furniture to get. Also take note of your ceiling. If you have a low ceiling then it is best to avoid tall pieces since this will only make the space look even smaller. Find the suitable furniture height for the room you will be putting it in.

For those with a smaller space, it is common to have the living and dining in one area. If this is the case, it would be best to define the places by either putting an area rug to define the living area, or even considering having a different kind of flooring to separate the two. Always remember to consider the space allotot for your area. It is always to have more space space than to have an overcrowded room with too many pieces of furniture. Do not buy a dining set that is too big for your dining area. Make sure there is always room for people to walk around without bumping each other.

There are so many more ways to enhance and maximize one's space. Be creative and always remember to pick homewares and furniture pieces that you love and that will give you comfort and that can serve multiple purposes in your home.


Top 5 Tips When Purchasing a BBQ

This season of winter sales is a great time to buy your new BBQ. You will be able to get some great deals online and in stores. Here are my top 5 buyers tips to consider to find the perfect BBQ for you.

1. BBQ size matters! Think about how much space you have in your garden, backyard or garage. The last thing you want to do is return home with a BBQ that swamps the space at the back of your house or apartment. If you can afford a larger BBQ, and you want it to be 'parked' outside, make sure that you get a suitable cover for your BBQ so that it does not take too much of a bashing from the elements!

2.Think about easy storage and mobility. If you are looking for a larger BBQ for entertaining and for cooking up big BBQ feasts, make sure you can easily move the BBQ around. I have seen so many BBQ's on the market with small wheels that definitely wont move the heavy BBQ. At best I have seen friends struggling to 'wheel' their BBQ back to the garage in a way that resembles dragging, taking half of the garden with them in the process! Make sure you opt for a BBQ that has 2 large wheels on one side of the BBQ, so that you can tilt and wheel it into position.

3. How much cooking space do you need? There are plenty of different BBQ's on the market with different cooking options. You can get 1 to 6 gas burners on gas BBQ's (sometimes more), and medium to large grills for coal BBQ's. You can even occasionally find gas BBQ combo's with separate gas burners on the side for cooking up your pot stews, rice and other hot sides. Make sure you consider what you need rather than what you think you will use as you might be throwing good money away on an option that you are not going to use. I personally like to opt for a large grill charcoal BBQ so that I can cook up a storm, and if there are any other sides to cook, I do not mind putting those extras on the stove in the kitchen. I rarely need to use the kitchen however as I will throw almost anything on the bbq!

4. Think about durability. Although you may think that opting for a small, cheap kettle BBQ is a good idea for cost effectiveness in the short term, they will usually not last for more than a couple of years, and the frame and parts rust very easily. Look for an option that gives you the space for cooking that you need, coupled with a solid frame that will last well and provide you for many happy BBQ years.

5. Design needs. Consider wherever you want extra space and shelving for storing cooked and uncooked foods whilst you prepare your feast. I always think it is a good idea to have at least two flat surfaces on your BBQ to put food, BBQ tools and plates, condiments, etc. Otherwise you will probably end up needing an extra food trolley at an extra cost anyway!

Enjoy looking for the perfect BBQ this season. Winter is often the best time of year to buy the perfect BBQ as you can get your hands on relatively cheap discontinued lines in larger homeware stores. Happy Shopping!


Top 5 Article and Blog Post Ideas For Gift Websites

1. Top 10 Romantic Gifts Which Last Longer Than Flowers
Everyone loves flowers but they do not tend to last a long time so compile a list of all the romantic gifts that you sell and make a top ten article which describes the benefits of the individual gifts.

2. Affordable Gifts Which Look Expensive
If you sell budget gifts then help your website visitors choose the results which have the 'wow' factor without costing a fortune. You could separate the article into gifts for less than £ 5, £ 10, £ 15 and so on.

3. Top Gifts to say Thank You
Give your website visitors a rundown of your top 10 gifts which are perfect for thanking someone for a kind deed that they've done.

4. How To Buy Gifts For People Over 65
Most people of a certain age have everything they could ever want so help your website visitors pick members older friends and relatives will truly love.

5. The Best Wedding Presents for Couples Who Live Together
Help your website visitors avoid giving their friends kettle number five on their wedding day and give them advice on lovely gifts which do not involve homeware.

There is so much scope with a gift website to come up with interesting and entertaining article ideas and you need to use your website copywriting skills to bring these articles to life. Make sure that you set aside time every day or week for article or blog post writing but if you can not spare the time then consider hiring the services of a website copywriter.


Seminyak on the Beautiful Island of Bali

The Yak in Bali
Seminyak. Can you afford to miss it?

Seminyak is where the uber chic and the beautiful people stay and play. There are more luxury bungalows here per acre than anywhere else in Bali. Luxury and the good life is abundant, as are world-class restaurants and chichi places to sip a skinny latte. There is really no where in Indonesia quite like Seminyak.

Shops selling designer bikinis and stylish homeware line Jalan Raya Seminyak. They keep the well busy busy by day. Whimsical bronzed candlelabras vie with oversized white linen shirts for a piece of your green. We found prices surprisingly affordable, which may explain the steady stream of expats, and tourists alike, looking through the artistically displayed merchandise.

The beach here is far queterer than in Kuta- Legian, but you do get the same wonderful sunsets. There is a broad swath of sand. It is not always clean, and the problem is especially noticeable after heavy rains. Still, most families with children choose to stay in Sanur or Kuta instead, leaving Seminyak relatively child free.

At night three areas compete for your attention .; Jalan Laksamana, Double Six and Restaurant Row. This is the main reason why people stay in Seminyak.
Jalan Laksamana starts at Jalan Raya Seminyak and ends at the beach. On offer are Top 40s cover bands, Salsa clubs, and a clutch of popular gay drinking bars. The gay scene is particularly conspicuous. The action starts after 10pm.

Double Six is ​​named after the beach side disco that only gets going after midnight. It places open till dawn. There is bungy jumping, for those wanting to discover the effect of bongy after a few shots of Tequila. Messy. Other clubs on Double Six play house, fiery Latin ala Santana, and party grooves. Stroll along the promenade and see what catches your fancy. There are a few eateries that serve pizza in the wee hours. You will be burning a lot of carbos partying here.

Restaurant Row offer amongst others, a popular steak house, upmarket sushi bars, New York style delis and Greek Restaurants. All are chic and stylish. Our picks in the area include La Luciola, Living Room, Sarong and Ku De Ta. Each restaurant has their own loyal following although we enjoyed Living Room the most.

What would this piece of paradise be without its luxury Spa? Spas are at every turn, ready to pamper and caress you as you decide where to dine that evening. Some of the Spas are expensive and you are warned to have a look at their prices before committing to any treatment.

Many say Seminyak is plastic and false. We say, to each their own poison. You will love it or hate it, depending heavily on the available credit on your card. Fashionistas, models, and beautiful people would not stay anywhere else. Eye candy for the rest of us.


Interior Design and Home Staging – The Benefits

Interior Design used to be the privelage of the elite. Your bank balance had to be large to afford to employ a Designer who could create your space. Things are very different now. With programmes like House Doctor people are becoming more and more aware of how to make the space they live in feel like their own little bit of luxury. Home Stagers are rarely qualified in Design, most have just have an eye for what looks good, so when an Interior Designer takes on both Interior Design and Home Staging then the results can be astounding.

Most Interior Designers look down on Home Staging, but that can be a costly mistake. Concept Design Studio in Maidstone have been amazed at the positive response they have received from utilising their Design Practice and incorporating Home Staging into the mix of Interior Design. Designer Saffiere says “It has been an interesting time here at Concept Design Studio, I have through Home Staging, been privileged to have helped many many clients who just need a push in the right direction, and never thought they could use the services of Interior Designer to reach their goal”

Home Staging can very easily be incorporated into the Design Practice. It takes up little of your time and can be a great assest to the business. It is remarkable how just a little bit of advice can assist a client and help them to go in the right direction.

Interior Design does not need to be so inaccessible and expensive, Interior Design should be available to everyone and the philosophy of Concept Design Studio in Maidstone is one that should be taken on by Interior Designers in the UK

Interior Design needs to move forward into this new market of ordinary people who want some advice from a professional but cannot afford to take on a whole project and all the costs involved


Why Choose Manchester for Your Studies?

Manchester is a great choice for students who love big cities and fast-paced lifestyles. With 2.2 million inmates, the Greater Manchester Urban Area is one of the UK's largest and as such boasts a vibrant, multicultural feeling.

You can choose between attending the University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University, or the Royal Northern College of Music that have a huge combined student population. The institutions are located around Oxford Road in the city's south side with some campuses elsewhere.

With a diverse offering of study programs among the three establishments, in Manchester you could have been studying anything from the Humanities to Engineering to Classical Music.

Let's see where else Manchester's appeal lies. Is it the buzzing modern city center, the nightlife or cultural scene? Well, to be fair it's a bit of everything!


In a city as big as the North Western pearl, and with as big a student population, you would expect nightlife to be very upbeat, and you're very right. Unsuprisingly, Manchester has been the cradle of many a well known British band: The Smiths, Joy Division, Oasis, Doves and more that have since inspired more recent musicians. For live music head to places like Band on the Wall, the Ruby Lounge, and the Factory.

For more mainstream bar and club nights, Oxford Road, Fallowville, the Northern Quarter, and Deansgate Locks are your best bets. Many will offer student discounts on certain nights of the week. Some of the largest club names are Bijou where you can often spot footballers, Sakura a favorite among students, and Mint Lounge a classic among the city's clubs.

Manchester is also home to a fun and friendly Gay Village, located the old cobbled Canal Street.

If you spend your first year living in halls, and if you hang around campus often enough, you'll find you're never short of a flyer or two advertising the best student deals in town.


For high street shopping and student friendly prices, head to some of the city's shopping centers: Manchester Arndale, West One Retail Park, the Lowry Outlet Mall, and the Trafford Center.

Once a month the city hosts a Vintage Fashion Market where you can find rare retro garments and accessories as well as homeware. For more regular vintage fixes, head to shops like Afflecks, Cow, and Retro Rehab.

Other markets are the twice-monthly Real Food Market held at Piccadilly Gardens, Tib Street Fashion Market, and Arndale Market with a bit of everything from food to fashion.

Visitor Attractions

There are certain attractions anyone living in Manchester should visit, as well as show off to any guests you might receive through your years of studying. Whitworth Gallery is amazing both in terms of the collections it houses, and the building itself set in beautiful parkland.

A bizarre and equivalent different experience is a visit to the Stockport Air Raid Shelters just a short trip outside the city where you can witness what it would have been like to hide underground during the war and bombs.

John Rylands Library in Deansgate is a Victorian Gothic masterpiece that echoes the design of period castles and cathedrals. The collection beautifully complements the building's architecture with pieces including the oldest known part of the New Testament, and a 1476 edition of Canterbury Tales by Chaucer.

Since most halls of residence will not allow overnight visitors due to fire regulations, accommodate your guests in a central hotel in Manchester Piccadilly that's close to transport links and attractions. They can save money by choosing a hotel with breakfast included.


Printable Crafts – Possibilities And Ideas 2


Printable crafts make it possible to create correspondence that is memorable and that will create a lasting impression with the recipient. Now that we are so used to quick stay-in-touch emails, is not receiving real snail mail an unexpected pleasure? And when such mail is handcrafted, the treat is even bigger.

Printable stationery items can be customized on your computer to include names and text of your choice. This further gains and personalizes the item. All you really need (near your computer and a printer) are scissors, a craft knife, a steel-edged ruler or guillotine, glue, and suitable paper or cardstock to print on.

Here are suggestions for how you can make stationery that is a pleasure to receive:

o Craft a card. Make use of printable cards offered online. They are a good investment, as they can be printed out repeatedly, while costing the same or less than a card bought in a store. You can build up a library to be used again and again for occasions, events and holidays.

The quality of modern desktop printing is fabulous and can be further improved by using photo or specialty papers. Printing, cutting and folding a printable card is super easy and much faster than walking or driving to a store – and ecologically much sounder.

Alternately, you can use colored cardstock as a card base. Then embellish it with printable pictures for a quick and pretty card. Also use those bits of ribbon off cuts and odd buttons for decorations.

To make it more special, you can make a dimensional card front by raising some of the pictures – using the little sticky foam squares made for 3D cards. Print a few copies of the main graphic. Cut out along the lines. Paste all the pics in layers with the sticky squares, or paste just selected parts in layers.

Use inserts that are a bit smaller than the card for inside messages. Insert them loose or tie the insert in with a ribbon – which looks very pretty. The insert can be in a color that coordinates with the printable on the front cover. It can also have a miniature of the cover pic, as well as a printed message or poem. (I suggest you always sign your name in ink though. Having all the text in a typographical font would be too impersonal.)

Another alternative is to lay out the card as a quater-fold card. This makes the inside of the card part of the sheet the card is constructed from. It also allows a card to be constructed from paper only, because the double fold makes it sturdy. The page (A4 or letter size) must be divided into 4 equal areas. Keep important info away from the edges and floating within each quadrant. This is because the slightest shift when printing can throw designs with frames and straight lines off-center easily. It is not really noticeable if a free-floating design is a smidgen out of line.

o It is easy to make a postcard in the same way, but you might want to enclose it in an envelope to protect your creation.

o Use printable frame designs to make cards personalized with photos. The photo must be in a layer under the frame in your graphics program (eg Photoshop). And the inside of the frame must be transparent for the photo to show. You can also cut and paste a frame onto the actual photo and paste both on the cover.

o If you need to share a fair amount of news, make printable notlets. You can fit two notes on an A4 or letter-sized page in landscape format. Border designs look pretty at the top and / or bottom. A vignette can be placed in the center top. Your address can be added as a long row below the pic, or to the top left or right.

o Embellish a plain white or printable envelope with the same or matching graphics. Put the address in a frame graphic and use a picture as a seal on the back envelope.

o Consider making a modest little card-and-gift creation.
The gift can be a printable bookmark, a tea bag or coffee pod in a mini envelope, a packet of cocoa or a flat schent sachet. The beverages imply that you share a cuppa with the recipient, while the bookmark and scent sachet will remind your friend of you when she opens that drawer or the book with the bookmark. A gift card from a store can also be included and is a nice way to avoid making and sending a parcel.

o Round out your printable stationery range by using a personalized postage stamp. These are available from Many countries have stamps that can be customized too. Use your theme pic or photo on the stamp to coordinate with your printable creation.

o If you are not a crafter, it is still possible to personalize existing card or postcard designs at

Enjoy making special stationery with printable crafts to stay in touch with friends and family!



Home Decorating Design Trends For 2007: Stylish Ways To Decorate Your Home

Predicting the latest home interiors design trends is a complex and ever changing task. Often inspiration can be taken from the fashion catwalks – currently this avenue provides designs and colors to suit most tastes and styles.

Anyone who has been following the glossy magazines can tell you that that there is plenty of pattern, color and texture in fashion, plus all sorts of exciting possibilities created with new materials and technology.

After reaching the high-tech realms of the 21st Century, today's interior collections still reflect home styles of the past. Fashion design influenced by retro styles of the sixties and seventies hit the spring / summer 2007 catwalks, and this colorful retro look has filtered into the home.
Prints are one of the largest interior stories this year and the bolder the better. Wallpaper, which is back with a vengeance and fabrics, have been bought alive with velvets and flocks.

Eye-catching pattern is showing its staying power. Bolder in our choices and using homes to reflect our bold and challenging lifestyles: no more playing it safe. Layer strong differenting patterns to build up a cornucopia of fabrics and wallpapers.

Whether you go all-out or keep it more humble, patterned paper, accessories or bedding can transform a lifeless room into a haven of color. Create a focal point by wall-papering one wall or add interest to a bedroom with bold bedlinen. But avoid mixing too many patterns and colors. For those lacking in confidence, introduce patterns via accessories like window dressings, cushions, lampshades and ornaments.

But if florals, flocks and bright colors are not your thing there is still much to chose from which reflects the latest trends. Black and white need not be bound to ultra-modern properties. More traditional-style Damask patterns, which look great in period homes, are everywhere and grace everything from wall-coverings to teapots. Black has to be glossy and polished to keep it looking rich and opulent. Use bold and sensitive shapes to add glamor.

Pretty pastel shades and soft feminine fabrics are also in vogue and provide a sharp contrast to the more dramatic interior themes of 2007. Pale pinks, greys, metallics, shimmering sequins and glass all feature heavily in this year's collections.

You can also bring an air of spring into your home with color palettes of soft greens, palest pinks and gentle aquas.

Mix and match with existing colors to update your look. Glamorous gray is the new neutral. It began on the catwalk and is now a hit in the home. From inky charcoal through to palest dove, gray will complete any hue.

With the environment and all things green hot on the agenda, homeware inspired by nature is also a predominant interior theme this year. Earthy tones of green, brown and khaki create a restful environment, while natural materials like wood and twine take you right back to nature.

The challenge of changing design trends is the difficulty of creating your perfect environment at a lightening pace. The best home interiors evolve over a period of time using a rug or a wallpaper as the central theme and then building from there. Do not be in too much of a hurry, unless commercially motivated, otherwise the finished look will resemble a hotel bedroom, rather than a stylish home.


Top Business Ideas For Mums – Discover 3 Easy Ways You Can Work From Home

Are you seriously thinking about becoming your own boss, working from home and starting up your own business? Are you in the process of thinking out the pros and cons of making this move and wondering if you can run a home business successfully? Have you begun the search but are not sure where to look? Let me reveal the top business ideas for mums and discover 3 easy ways you can work from home.

We all know that making the first move is the most difficult one but it is surprising how things pan out when the decision is made and the first step taken. Once you have done your own research and worked out all the necessary requirements, getting up and running with these simple business ideas could enable you to make extra money very easily and with making just a few minor adjustments to your everyday arrangements.

I have done some leg-work and reviewed a few ideas to help you find out what the options are. I chose 2 free businesses and one that charges a small fee, but all 3 apply countrywide and are for companies regularly on the look-out for new enrollments:

1) Avon Cosmetics – strangely enough the recession (and a good crop of male grooming products) has spouted a host of male reps for the company. Commission starts after the first £ 78 of sales at 20% and rises to 25% after £ 148. You have to buy the catalogs and order forms as well as pay for any returns.

2) Betterware – This well-established homeware business gives 20% commission on all sales (no minimum order) and provides catalogs and all literature free. They will also train any personable young person from the age of 16.

3) Kleeneze – This company has three segments to order from – homewares, health and beauty and gardening, so has something of interest to a wide range of consumer. The basic initial commission rate is 21% on all orders and there is a further bonus option of up to 16%. The difference with this company is that there is a start up fee of £ 80 and you must be 18 years or over to join.

These are great ideas for a 2nd income, but if you are looking for more serious earnings, you need to research something like an affiliate program or MLM product. Given the right opportunity, it is possible to make a serious income from this type of businesses, but it is a very competitive market. It would be very cost effective to find expert help with online marketing to enable you to understand how the internet is used and how you can maximize your income.

If you go now to I will show you how to work from home online by using some of the 50+ methods, techniques and strategies, together with great mentoring, to enable you to be your own boss and build a successful internet marketing business.


Lovely Christmas Gift Ideas for Grandparents

Grandparents can be tricky to find gifts for. They are likely to own everything they could ever need already, and are actually more likely to be looking to dispose of goods than acquire more. This comes hand in hand with the common decision to downsize homes after a certain age when the kids have moved out.

It's there before best to give a gift that you can enjoy together with your grandsparents. Instead of choosing a static gift such as an ornament, a fancy dish or similar homeware, pick an experience or a little something that can be appreciated actively and over time.

Days Out

Find out what's going on in your local area in terms of exhibits, matinee shows, fairs and the like. Think about your grandparents' interests and past experiences. For example, have they always been keen travelers? See if there might be a photo photo exhibition going on nearby.

Traveling antique fairs are quite common nowdays. How about spending a day searching for treasures?

Evening Activities

Again, this requires some prior research as you may need to buy tickets in advance. Consider options such as classical music concerts, opera, theater and ballet performances.

Alternately, just arrange to show up at your grandparents' home armed with movies or board games, snacks and refreshments for a cozy night in. It'll make a nice change from going out on the town during the weekend. When was the last time you stayed in with your grandsparents? Sometimes, it's the simple moments in life that are appreciated the most.


Everyone appreciates a good meal. Taking your grandparents out to a restaurant is a great gift as you get to spend an afternoon or evening together, and indulge in some fine, fresh food.

If you'd like to avoid the evening hours, these days, brunch has become increasingly popular and is a lovely way to spend a leisurely weekend morning. Another popular meal is afternoon tea.

Wait until the weather's warmer and treat your grandparents to a day in the outdoors complete with a picnic. To avoid leaving them empty-handed on Christmas day, give luxury hampers that come jam-packed with goodies to enjoy during a picnic, most of which will last for a good few months. Most classic hampers work well as picnic baskets too.

If your grandsparents are no longer as mobile as they used to be, offer to cook them a fancy meal in their home, or hire a private caterer for the evening.


Top 5 Things To Do In Alicante

Last summer I had a wonderful day out in the city of Alicante. The shopping is to die for, the historical buildings plentiful, and the buzz of a hectic Spanish city, not forgetting eateries in abundance makes it a very pleasant change from the beach or pool on your summer holiday. Alicante is located on the north Costa Blanca coast. Traditionally the coast that the Spanish used for their summer holidays, when you visit Alicante it feels like real Spain. There are a few things that are a 'must' when visiting Alicante:

1. Sightseeing tour of Alicante on a Segway

2. Alicante Castle

3. Shopping in El Corte Ingles

4. Lunch in Alicante Marina

5. Alicante market on the tree lined promenade by the sea

First is a tour of Alicante on a Segway. Hilarious, fun, and definitely number one on the list of 'things to do' in Alicante. A Segway is a two wheel electronic scooter that you stand up on, and ride along the pavement. On a hot and sunny day the breeze is very welcoming. You all get to drive your own Segway, the tour guide teachers you how to, then off you go in convoy through the city of Alicante seeing the sights in a few hours.

I would then head off to Alicante Castle a 10th Century Moorish Castle which sits on the top of a mountain overlooking the city. Free to visit, you can walk up, but I would not recommend it! There is a lift in the cliff edge but not from the sea level. Quite spectacular views from the Castle, and a great little café overlooking the beautiful city selling Tapas, and ice creams. We took my then 2 year old son with a sword and he thought he was a knight for the day!

No visit to Alicante is complete without popping into El Corte Ingles. Every Spanish city has one, and it is "the" shop to go to. El Corte Ingles is a huge department store over multiple floors with departments such as, homeware, children clothes, toys, handbags, cosmetics, music, films, books, women's clothes, menswear, and similar to Selfridges in that you can buy a high street swimsuit for 15 euros or a top designer swimsuit for 200 euros.

Alicante Marina is really quite posh; there are boats there that cost more to fill with fuel than my house costs to buy! Having said this, the restaurants are very down to earth, selling excellent fresh food. Forth on my top five things to do in Alicante would definitely be eat lunch at the Marina. Alicante Marina is also a good place to go for a drink and dance of an evening.

Last but certainly not least is to wander through the market after lunch. Located just behind the marina in the tree lined promenade it is a great way to walk off your meal. The market sells various products, ranging from jewelery, dream catchers, leather bags and belts, and South American drums.

The only thing I would say to be wary of in Alicante is pick pocketers especially on the beach, apart from that it is a fabulous day out on your holiday in the Costa Blanca.


All You Need to Know About Passover Gifts

Passover (heb, pesach) is a Jewish festival, commemorating the Exodus from Egypt. Passover begins on the 15th day of the month of Nisan. This year it commences 25th March. The festival is celebrated for seven days in Israel and eight days in the Diaspora. One of the most important aspects of the festival is the avoidance of Chametz, (leavened food). Houses are spring cleaned and bread is replaced by Matzah (flat unleavened bread). Matzah is a major symbol of this happy holiday which celebrates freedom and the coming of Spring.

It is traditional for Jewish families to gather on the first night of Passover (first two nights in communities outside the land of Israel) for a special dinner called a Seder.The Seder is the highlight of the festival of Passover. During this meal, the story of the Exodus from Egypt is retold using a special text called the Haggadah. Symbolic foods are ateen, songs are sung and a delicious dinner is ateen.

Passover is a time for gathering of family and friends and the seder night is a major event as families and friends gather to recollect the story and eat a special meal.

Passover Presents
Passover is a very social festival. It is a time for celebration and hospitality. Gifts are often sent to family and friends. There are many suitable gifts to give for Passover.

Passover gift baskets
Wines chocolates and fruit baskets are popular gifts. It is important when giving gifts of foods that they should be "kosher for Pesach".

Passover Flowers And Plants
As Passover is a spring festival and decorating the Seder table is an important custom, flowers and plants are perfect gifts to give.

Passover tableware and homeware
As matzah is the symbol of the festival of Passover it has become an inspiration for a plethora of gifts. Matzah covers used to cover the matzah at the seder and festive meals are often given as hostess gifts. Special matzah plates for the square matzah are another popular gift. With a lot of festive meals, tableware is a popular gift. Trivets, coasters, placemats and napkins, often with pass themes, are good gifts to give. Wine glasses and wine fountains are other ideal gifts.

Do not worry if you do not live near a Jewish gift shop, there are many online Jewish gift stores. Buying Jewish gifts online gives you a maximum choice. Online Jewish gift stores will often wrap and send and even include your Passover greeting.


Shop Till You Drop On Tyneside

NewcastleGateshead, the new name for the two cities which form the core of Tyneside, is an exciting and popular destination for a wide range of visitors. Although the conurbation boasts excellent modern art and music scenes, along with beautiful scenery on the nearby coast, perhaps the most celebrated aspects are its football, nightlife and shopping.

High-end fashionistas are well served by several stylish stores around Princess Square in the city center. Strand, Cruise and its smaller menswear-only branch, Cruise 2, are said to be favorites along the well-heeled lads of Newcastle United FC and of course the WAG set. Reiss, just across the street, is the place for classically cut formal wear while more 'street'-oriented, edgy modern fashion can be found at Union and Envy around the towering landmark of Gray's Monument.

The alternative clothing market is also well catered for with a cluster of skate shops stocking extreme sports gear and American-influenced fashion around Market Street. There are several more outré stores around Old Eldon Square, along with cool independent record stores, the best of which are Newcastle institutions Pet Sounds and Steel Wheels. Many of the students at Newcastle's two universities source original vintage clothing from Period Clothing, Nitro and Attica to perfect the slightly down-at-heel, 'shabby chic' look.

Small, independent clothes designers, along with jewelery and other crafts, are out in force at the recently established Quayside market which runs on Sundays in the city's most occurring quarter, along the river with its famous bridge, the Baltic gallery and the sparkling new Sage building. A little way outside of the city center, but easily accessible by Metro, there's the popular weekly Armstrong Bridge arts and crafts market which is held on a pedestrianized bridge over the picturesque Jesmond Dene and since 1963 has hosted scores of local independent traders selling all kinds of arts, pottery and wood crafts, knitwear and jewelery. It's a charming way to spend a Sunday and the best place to pick up a unique gift for someone who has everything.

Gateshead is home to the MetroCentre, the largest shopping center in Europe, including over 300 shops, an indoor theme park, cinema and bowling alley and over 50 restaurants. Open until 9pm weekdays, or 10 in the run-up to Christmas, crowds flock here to get all their Christmas shopping done under one roof – there really is something for everyone. Alternately, another good way to get out of the chilly North-Eastern weather is Eldon Square, located right in Newcastle city center with over 150 stores, including the flagship Fenwick department store with five floors of fashion, homeware, toys, cosmetics and an excellent food hall.

For visitors who prefer to stay and sample Newcastle's famous bars and clubs, theater and restaurants, or who simply want to shop till they drop and then chill out in luxurious comfort of an evening, there are plenty of relaxing and stylish hotels in Newcastle and Gateshead which makes it easy to buy a little more time.


Go Where Locals Go in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a crowd pleaser. Not only does it provide affordable entertainment for the masses, but also excellent multicultural cuisine, world-renovated museums and trendy shopping opportunities. Home to a major international airport, the city is easily accessible from most European destinations and many further afield. Guide books will give you a lot of useful information on what to do and see in Amsterdam, but here is what a local might tell you.

Getting around

Amsterdam has a reliable public transport network consisting of a metro, trams, buses and ferries. A single ticket will set you back € 2.60, and a 24 hour pass costs around € 7. Locals will argu, however, that the best way to get around is by bicycle. Cycle paths snake through the city getting users quickly from point A to B avoiding traffic jams. Look into renting a bicycle or find out if anyone you know in the city has a spare to lend you. Make sure the bike is equipped with front and back lights and do not attempt to cycle after a few too many local bees. Rules of the road apply to cyclists too, and police make regular appearances to ensure public safety.

Eating and drinking

Whatever your budget, in Amsterdam you will be able to save a variety of international meals. If you are looking to save some pennies, head to the De Pijp area for affordable food outlets serving up authentic fare from Surinam, a former Dutch colony, and other countries. From Monday to Saturday people flock to the area for the Albert Cuyp market selling foods, homeware, clothing and other useful goods. There are a few pop-up stalls offering fresh Flemish fries and local hit stroopwafels or syrup-filled waffles.

If you are planning to spend a bit more, you will find restaurants in most parts of town to suit any palette. De Pijp is again an increasingly popular choice, as is the Jordaan area closer to the Central Station. Neighborhood restaurants are tried and tested by locals who generally tend to avoid the city center for going out. Bazar is a favorite serving up Middle Eastern fare.

Pubs are everywhere but the city center is dominated by loud tourist traps, many centred on an Irish pub theme. For a freshly brewed beer and a low-key atmosphere off the beaten track, try Brouwerij t'IJ , an old mill converted into a brewery. Choose a snack to accompany your tipple. The cheese is made from milk produced by animals fed with the brewery's malt and hops.


For a unique shopping experience, head to the area around The Nine Streets . Home to vintage and local designer boutiques as well as cute gift and homeware shops, you will be spoiled for choice.

Twice a month head to the north of Amsterdam for the IJ-Hallen flea market. Prized as the largest of its kind in The Netherlands, for an entrance fee of € 4, you can look seemingly endless (over 1500) stalls brimming with both the good and bad kinds of junk. The market is accessible by a free ferry from the Central Station that adds to the fun of the experience.


In Amsterdam, hotels and hostels are everywhere. Choose a central location but avoid the loudest streets around Dam Square and the Town Hall where you are not guaranteed a good night's sleep. With so much touring to do, do not underestimate the importance of quality rest and recuperation and choose a hotel in Amsterdam with a solid reputation.


What is the Best Tile For Your Home Interior?

When we are talking about interior decor, flooring will be one of the most influencing factors in creating beauty and cozy interior design. Flooring is not just a matter of covering the floor with tile and beautifying it with carpet or rug. Choosing the right tile for your floor will be important in determining the appeal of your home interior decor. For this reason, you should know well the best tile to improve the beauty of your interior.

There are several types of tile that you can choose to improve the beauty of your house. You can find linoleum and vinyl, ceramic, mosaic, porcelain tiles and many more attractive tiles in many attractive colors as well. Usually, each tile fits well to some rooms in your house. Each of them also needs different maintenance to keep its beauty and quality.

Ceramic is the most common type used in interior decor. This type of tile is more expensive but more durable than linoleum and vinyl tiles. This tile is also easy to be installed in your floor. You can find that ceramic tile has a lot of attractive colors, but the most common color to be selected is white. You can use this tile to the floor of almost all part of your house. But when you are going to install this certain tile to your bathroom, make sure that you choose ceramic with rough surface. Ceramic with smooth surface usually suits to be slippery when it is wet, so choosing the rough-surface ceramic will be your best bathroom.

To get more natural look, you can choose hardwood or laminate tile. Laminate tile will be more affordable and easier to be installed than hardwood tile. Both of them will bring natural accent and beauty for your house that you will not get from other types of tile. However, you have to be ready with the higher cost and effort of their maintenance. You can use it for almost the whole part of your house, but it is not recommended to install this tile in your bathroom.

Then, you can also use mosaic tile. The different shape and size of each tile is the specialty and the beauty offered for your interior. It may have hexagonal, round, or any other geometric shape. Typically, this tile is chosen for aesthetic purpose for the floor. Nowadays, you can find a mosaic tiles in ready made form so you can easily arrange them to form any image or picture. It will be perfect addition for your kitchen and bathroom because it is slip resistant.

However, any types of tile will not beautify your interior if you do not match its color and design with your interior. So, considering the style of your interior decor is an important thing to do before choosing a certain type of tile.


The Basics on Becoming an Online Merchant

Online selling is on the rise because of the changing shopping habits of today’s consumers, those under 30 years old who were either entering into their teens or have just graduated from college when the Internet bloomed in the mid-90’s.

This is the generation who spend most of their time reading and sending Twitpics, shout-outs, reposts or jejespeak on their FB, Flickr, tumblr, and Blogspot pages, in their desire to be visible and look cool on the Internet (now broadband and a powerful tool for business) that has become collaboration-friendly, thanks to Web 2.0 technologies.

Fast forward to a cool question. Do you want to join the world of Internet retailing as a pure player to earn extra income out of the Net Geners whose disposable income will remain ‘awesome’ at least until 2020. Do I hear a resounding ‘yes’ out there? That means you’re getting into a winning ambit.

Online retailing poses the biggest opportunity for all Internet users to earn from the web. After all, you spend more than 4 hours before your computer screens doing any or all of these: researching, working, playing games, online chatting or instant messaging, Skyping.

Caveat: you will not immediately strike gold from your Internet selling but, initially it will give you an extra income and one that will grow in due course.

Consider this data from the March 2010 ITIF (Information Technology & Innovation Foundation) report.

For the last 10 years, among the world’s top 10 Internet firms are those that have been successfully selling products and services like Amazon, eBay, Expedia, TD Ameritrade (into trading services), and of course Yahoo, Google and AOL, which collectively earned $58-B in 2006. Countries leading in e-commerce are UK, US, Sweden and Denmark.

E-commerce is growing in Asia too, where total B2C sales in Japan, China, Korea and India are expected to reach $115-B this year. At 52% (in Asia), Japan has the highest percentage of online buyers, followed by Korea at 45%. China, the world’s second largest Internet population with its 210 million Internet users, is expected to see large growth in its online retail sales – $18 billion in 2010.

In other parts of Asia like the Philippines, about 90 percent of the 28-M Filipinos with access to the Internet visit social networking sites to chat, play games and promote business and civic events. Social media has become a ubiquitous tool in any business marketing campaign.

To cut your mark in online retailing:

number 1 – you must have products or services to sell

number 2 – study the basics like on-time deliveries and packaging (you don’t want the merchandise getting squashed or broken)

number 3 – you must know how to use new media.

It is wise to focus first on a small range of products and know where to source reliable suppliers. Your products or services must be sellable like mobile phones, gadgets, fashion and accessories, souvenirs, homeware, health and wellness, appliances, travel reservation, insurance.

You can earn from your hobbies and interests like bead stringing, cross-stitching, photography, handicrafts, gardening, carpentry, used or antique items.

The Internet gives you the global marketplace, hence there will be customers in Trinidad, Los Angeles, Glasgow, Shanghai, Puchong, Cebu who will like to have those items on your web store.

Here are basic tips on becoming a trusted online retailer in the net world.

Build your website. If you can’t, ask friends and kinfolk who can. It’s an integral part of running an online business. Or you can buy an e-commerce software that has a complete e-trading platform that integrates payment gateways and logistics system for local and international deliveries. This way, you don’t have to worry about setting up payment and distribution intermediary services on your own. It’s never too late to have your own website up and running and be one of the over 80 million dotcoms in the world. Going by their sheer numbers, you’re in great company.

Get yourself discovered through social sites. Your FB friends and Twitter followers will be excellent starting points for engaging with consumers. You can advertise on popular social sites or you can create a Facebook fan page or a Multiply product page. Be innovative in your spiels (but don’t overdo it) about the benefits of your products so that consumers can connect emotionally to them, notwithstanding your commercial agenda.

Attend trainings. Learning additional skills on creating compelling customer content, photo editing, viral videos, SEO, etc. will boost your confidence as a netpreneur and if you cleverly apply them, you’re on your way to building a good customer base.

It’s usually in the first year when it’s all about deciding what to sell, where to source your products, and generating awareness for your online store. You need to keep intact your enthusiasm for your business and your customers so that in the succeeding years, you can get ahead and stay ahead.

Now this is looking beyond 2020, Net Geners and their progeny – because of their online behavior – put premium on time and convenience which online retailing meets 100% spot-on.


Coolum – The Ideal Holiday Destination on the Sunshine Coast

Coolum is located on the Sunshine Coast, the once sleepy seaside holiday destination of only a few has sprung to life and is now becoming highly sent after by many as a holiday destination in its own right, away from the hustle and bustle of places like Noosa and Mooloolaba but still so close to everything the Sunshine Coast offers.

Where to start? The choice of eating establishments will be a difficult one with Coolum boasting a number of top restaurants and cafés that are perfect for a quick coffee, all day dining or a quiet drink at the end of the day. Enjoy browsing through the ever growing range of boutiques and homeware shops that call Coolum home. Coolum boasts a fully patrolled beach as well as offering wide open sandy beaches with arguably some of the best surfing on the Sunshine Coast. Coolum offers the most avid walkers a 16 kilometer boardwalk that hugs the coastline offering spectacular views and extends all the way to Sunshine Beach. Stop at the rocky headlands of Point Arkright and Point Perry to take in the stunning viewing platforms and views Over Coolum towards Noosa in the north and south to Mooloolaba. A great spot for a picnic! The iconic Mt Coolum offers a challenging climb with spectacular views once you reach the summit and well worth the effort.

Golf anyone? Coolum is also home to the beautiful Hyatt Regency golf course which is of course home to the Australian PGA Champoinship which begins the 9th of December this year. This stunning golf course offers stunning scenery with each hole being totally unique, with this course being rated one of Australia's top courses. Holidaying at Element at Coolum beach puts you close to not only the Hyatt Course but also Mt Coolum, Noosa Springs, Novotel Twin Waters and Pelican Waters.

For great Coolum accommodation look no further than Element on Coolum Beach.


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