Crafting Budget – How Much Do You Spend on Crafts?

I love being creative and making something fun from random materials that anyone can get a hold of. These days, I try to get free or inexpensive materials for creative projects just for fun. If you missed my previous posts about finding free crafting materials from around the house, please take a look at them and let me know if there is anything that I’ve missed.

Crafting BudgetWhile I do try to keep my budget low for crafting, there will be times when I will splash out on quality tools or materials that I know will go a long way. This is especially true for scalpel knives, paper cutters and writing utensils.

Over the years, I’ve certainly piled up quite a collection of paper, paints, adhesives and stationery. Most of my cost went into Japanese chiyogami and washi but I only use them for “special” occasions *^_^*  Although everything takes up more space than I prefer, I try my best to keep it neat and organized… so I don’t forget what I have!

I believe that being creative should not have to be expensive, whether it’s just for fun or as a special gift. Also, many people seem to miss the point that crafting shouldn’t be terribly expensive. No matter your skill level or style, it’s possible to make beautiful things that you and others love as well.

That being said, I’m curious to know how much you spend on crafts in a year?

Adorable Halloween Pizza

I came across this cute pizza and had to share it with you!  Looks like it’s totally easy to make!

Cute Halloween Pizza

How to make:

  1. Mozzarella stretched or cut into ghost shapes, then add faces using Japanese Nori or you can also use small bits of black olives.
  2. Add pitted green olives for the spiders and pierce the sides with rosemary for the legs.
Seems simple enough, I’ll have to try it myself.


Book Sale!

Hi all  *^_^*

I’m selling some books so please have a look and message me if you are interested in any of them!

I love all of these books and have kept them in excellent condition.  Although I would love to keep them, I’m sure they will find equally loving homes elsewhere 🙂

*Shipping will be determined according to delivery area.

Hardcover, full color, 80 pages

Softcover, full color photography, 160 pages

Softcover, full instructions, some illustrations, 365 pages

Softcover, full color, 144 pages

Hardcover, black and white, beautiful illustrations, 704 pages

Hardcover, full color, 255 pages

Hardcover, full color, 380 pages

Box set includes softcover book and Reiki healing cards

Hardcover, full color photography, 223 pages

Softcover, full color illustrations, 66 pages, imported from Japan

Softcover, full color illustrations, 81 pages, imported from Japan

Softcover, full color photography, 304 pages

Top 5 Games the Whole Family Will Enjoy

There’s no doubt that it can be difficult to keep the kids entertained. If you don’t have the money to visit a theme park or museum this weekend and you can’t stand to sit through one more viewing of Ice Age 4 (you love that stupid squirrel and his acorn, but at 200 viewings and counting you’re about ready to swear off animated features completely), you might be at a loss as to how to keep the whole family entertained on a budget. But the answer is so simple you’ll be surprised you didn’t think of it before: a game night! And here are just a few classics (and classics-in-the-making) that you may want to include in the fun.

Forbidden Island. The current trend in board games centers on the idea of cooperative play. Many adults are already fond of the Pandemic board game, where players work together to stop the spread of disease outbreaks before they can decimate the population. But this is hardly fare for young kids. So if you’re seeking a co-op game for the whole family, try Forbidden Island, where everyone cooperates to rescue priceless artifacts and get on a helicopter before a mythical island sinks into the ocean. If you like this one you might also enjoy Castle Panic, where players band together to defend their castle from a slew of crazy monsters. This one is recommended for ages 10 and up, but it’s simple enough for most school-age kids to participate.

Pictureka. This memory and identification game is easy enough for even young kids to enjoy. With 9 doodle-covered game-board tiles (they’re two sided for extra fun – flip them, turn them, move them around) and a stack of “mission” cards to get you started, you’ll be looking for legs, counting toothpaste tubes, and finding pirate-related pictures all night. While tiny tots may have a hard time competing with older siblings, you might just find that your kids are out-playing you before long. In short, it can be a lot of fun for all ages.

Clue, Jr. There are plenty of classic board games to choose from, with Monopoly and Scrabble topping the list. But not all of them are geared towards the younger set. And those that are often bore the heck out of older kids. Not so with this clue-filled whodunit. Even the junior version will have the whole family guessing the identity of the cake thief (no killers in the Jr. version) right up to the thrilling reveal.

Charades. Who says you need props to get a game going? With charades all you need is your intellect and a willingness to embarrass yourself so that your team can guess the clue you’ve been set to mime. You might need to go online to generate word lists or learn common hand signals (for small words like “a” or “I” or genres like movies and books, for example). But the game itself is simple enough for all to play.

Rock Band. If video games are more your speed, Rock Band is one that the whole family can have fun with. You will need a console (Xbox 360 or PS3) and some special equipment (the mic/drum/guitar kit for the game), but once you’re set up you can spend countless nights getting your money’s worth by jamming out to your favorite tunes. If you get through them all, there are several additional games to consider (Green Day Rock Band, Beatles Rock Band, even Legos Rock Band) and you can always use your Xbox Live account to download new content.

Sarah Danielson is a contributing writer for Download Free Games where you can find educational games for kids and families such as Bookworm Deluxe and Tux Typing.

Five Alternatives to Video Games

Video games can be great fun and they provide a great way to teach children problem-solving skills. They can even be used as a brain training tool. However, you may find that excessive use of video games by your children can result in lack of social interaction with their peers, shorter attention spans and a definitive lack of exercise. These problems can be solved with some alternative fun activities to video games. Here are a few ideas with some tips to encourage your child to take part in these activities. 


A child’s room is never complete without books. Whether these include picture books to help them learn from a young age or whether you want to encourage imagination from reading fiction, reading is always a great form of entertainment. Video games put the images and action up on the screen, therefore young gamers will never be able to fully expand their imagination to create little worlds of their own. Reading also helps to expand children’s ability to spell and understand complex words. You can always find a book that suits your child’s interests or makes them laugh, which further encourages them to continue reading.

Jigsaw Puzzles and Construction Sets

One of the best ways to encourage concentration is to pick a construction set like Lego or a jigsaw puzzle. Puzzles of any kind can improve a child’s problem-solving skills and the thrill of seeing their finished model or puzzle will give them an incentive to continue with this activity. Many puzzle games and jigsaws have a theme that fits in with children’s cultural interests. Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean or even Disney themed puzzles can help encourage them to take up the activity.

Board Games

Board games are also a great way to encourage problem solving and have the competitive element that video games have. They are also a great family activity so making it a regular household activity can also encourage bonding with your child.

Outdoor Activities

Playing outdoors is important as it helps with their social interactions as well as giving children the essential exercise they need to keep the body fit and the mind active. Making up their own outdoor games can also stimulate their imagination. Children still love to play outdoors, so further encouragement of this is essential for their general well-being. If video games become a distraction or a borderline addiction, you may have to put a time limit on how long they spend on the computer.

Arts and Crafts

Encouraging your children to take part in arts and crafts can broaden their sense of creativity. The achievement of making something from scratch can be extremely rewarding for a child and it will encourage them more if you display their work somewhere in the home.

Spending some time drawing with your child or painting can be a great way to encourage this activity too. This way they get to spend some time with their parents and they create something that they can show off to their friends afterwards. Watching art shows on television can give you some ideas on what to design or make. Girls may enjoy activities related to fashion, like making bracelets or customising clothes, whereas boys may enjoy making a model aeroplane or something that they can play with afterwards.

Video games do have some benefits, but if they are becoming a regular fixture in your household, these are just some ways to try to show your children that other activities can be just as fun and rewarding.

This guest post was written by Francesca, who comes from the UK. She currently writes for Notting Hill Editions.

How to Teach Your Kids About Fire Safety

Keeping your family safe at home goes far beyond having a basic home security system. One of the best ways to prepare your kids to stay safe around the house is by teaching them standard fire drills that they can use in the event of an emergency.

In 2010 alone, the US fire department responded to 369,500 home fires. Many parents may be shocked to know that the number one cause of home fires is cooking, making it more important than ever to educate kids of all ages about the best ways to stay safe and prevent fires around the house.

But how can you teach your kids about fire safety without scaring them? The following are a few suggestions:

Help kids understand the triggers

When kids understand how fires are started, it makes it easier for them to avoid common risks and mistakes that could accidentally cause a fire.

For instance, by reminding your kids not to leave candles lit when leaving the house, you are reducing the risk of a fire starting while everyone is away. In addition, remind younger children that they should only use matches and lighters when they are supervised or older a certain age.

Now that you know cooking is the number one cause of house fires in the US, take the time to cook together as a family. This is both a fun activity and a great way to show your kids the safe way to turn on and off the oven, and how to make meals on the stove.

Make fire drills fun

Everyone experiences fire drills; even at your place of business, the HR department probably runs drills. And like your kids, you might get startled each time one happens.

Instead of making a fire drill a scary experience for your children, run fire drills at home when your kids have friends over. This way you can turn it into a contest; give out prizes to whoever completes the drill the fastest.

Even though it may seem like overkill, familiarizing your kids with your fire drill route will make a world of difference in getting your family to safety in the event of a real house fire. You know the best ways to exit your house in a fire, but does the babysitter? She won’t need to if your kids do.

Take kids on a tour of a fire station

Unfortunately, the only time that kids get to meet firefighters is when they are responding to a drill or actual fire. This doesn’t give kids the best first impression.

As a result, consider taking your children on a field trip to your local fire station. This way they’ll get to meet firefighters and see that they aren’t scary but in fact friendly, and in the event of a fire, they will help.

In addition, walking around a fire station creates the opportunity for firefighters to review important safety tips. Let’s face it: when mom reviews “stop, drop and roll” it’s annoying. But when a fireman does it, it’s awesome. Going on a field trip to the fire station is an effective way to educate your kids on fire safety, while making the field trip a fun activity at the same time.

Talking to your kids about fire safety will help to make them be aware of possible risks around the house. When you make fire safety a fun, educational activity, you can protect your family from potential danger – without causing your kids to lose sleep at night!





Sylvia Rosen is an online writer with a background in newspaper journalism. She enjoys writing about parenting, family health and home services, such as fire alarm and home security systems.