Oriental Trading Company – Your “one stop shop” for all your summer party needs



Ahhh Summer… vacation, the beach, county fairs, lazy days by the pool… there is so much to accomplish in such a short amount of time.

Personally, I am not a fan of the heat and humidity – but I do enjoy doing fun things with my family and friends.

When I have parties or get togethers are our home, I always like to go all out and decorate based on certain themes. That means decor, party supplies and even games for the kids to play.

Whenever I am planning a big party I always visit one of my favorite places to shop for themed goodies (and more!) – Oriental Trading Company.

Oriental Trading is one of my favorite places to shop because they have products for just about every holiday, season and theme. They even carry products from unusual themes. Take for example “Zombies.” If you planning a Zombie themed party (birthday, Halloween, party for a Walking Dead fan…), you would be surprised by what you can find at Oriental Trading.

It’s summer time! I’m pretty sure Zombies are not on most people’s minds. More appropriate themes would be Luau, camping and carnivals.

I wish we had a yard because I would LOVE to host a carnival themed party for my family and friends. I think that would be a super fun party to host. I would love to do it towards the end of summer as a way to celebrate the fun summer before having to go back to work and school.

I have the party all planned out in my head. I would rent one of those popcorn carts, serve snow cones, burgers and hot dogs and ice cream.

I would love to set up games all around the yard. Oriental Trading has fun game options.

Bean Bag Toss


Disc Drop

Milk Bottle Toss

Coin Toss

Best of all, these games are budget friendly and can be used again and again. They could be used at birthday parties or even fun rainy day activities for your children/grandchildren.

Of course, when you have carnival games you need to give out prizes. Oriental Trading has you covered when it comes to prizes too. From plush toys to yo-yos, and from balls to puzzles – there are many options to choose from. You can buy assortments in bulk so that there is something for everyone to enjoy.

In addition, Oriental Trading has a lot of carnival themed decoration to really turn your backyard into an exciting carnival. The only thing missing would be rides and entertainment. I’m sure super creative people could come up with ride ideas (maybe a trip around the yard in wagon pulled by a lawn mower?) and entertainment (music, magic tricks…).




A carnival themed party is one of my “must do someday” sort of parties. Of course, without a yard that won’t be possible any time soon. Someday… (hopefully).

Oriental Trading Company has plenty of themed ideas including baby showers, bridal showers, weddings, most major holidays, graduation and more. Whether you are looking for party supplies (paper plates, cups, napkins…), decor, favors, outdoor activities or even gift ideas, Oriental Trading has plenty to choose from.

They even sell craft and hobby supplies for both children AND adults.

If you would like to check out all that Oriental Trading Company has to offer, you can visit them online at OrientalTrading.com. Be sure to check them out on social media too. All of their links are found at the bottom of their website.

Have you ever shopped at Oriental Trading Company?

Are you planning a party this summer?



*I will be receiving free products in exchange for my participation. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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How to make a beautiful sea glass wind chime inspired by Nicholas Sparks’ The Choice


The Choice

If you read my post about the Nicholas Sparks The Choice movie night I hosted you might recall that I spoke about a wind chime my guests and I were trying to make. At that time I didn’t have the directions for it, so we were confused by what we had to do. There were seven of us and none of us could agree on how it should be made. Each of us had our own ideas. Because it was getting late and we hadn’t watched the movie yet we decided to forgo the wind chime craft for the time being.

I finally received the directions and I was able to make it on my own.

The wind chime was inspired by the film The Choice, which is now available on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD.

You can read my review, as well as read about our movie night experience, in this post – Nicholas Sparks’ The Choice Movie Night.


For this lovely craft you’ll need the following.

  • Embroidery Hoops in two size (one large, one small)
  • Paint (optional)
  • Sea Glass (available at most craft stores)
  • Wire (the kind you use to wrap jewelry with)
  • Clear string (like fishing line)
  • Scissors
  • Crazy Glue

And ideally, someone to help you out so that you tie the strings on correctly (a mistake that I made).

First and foremost you can get rid of (or re-purpose) the outer rings on the embroidery hoops. You only need the inner ones.

chime 1

Paint the hoop (optional) any color you want. I received white and gold. Initially I painted them gold but then I went ahead and “white washed” them with white paint. I wanted to give them a beachy/weathered look.

This is not a clear picture (I cropped it) but I wanted to show how I combined the colors to give it a washed out look.

This is not a clear picture (I cropped it) but I wanted to show how I combined the colors to give it a washed out look.

Let them dry for at least an hour and DON’T rest them on paper towels – they will stick to it (lesson learned the hard way).

While the hoop are drying take the crafting/jewelry wire and wrap it around the sea glass. Try and wrap it tightly (use a needle nose pliers if you have one). If need be you can add a dab of Crazy Glue to keep the wire in place.

I wrapped an assortment of colors, shapes and sizes.

craft 2

One you have wrapped as many piece as you want, string the clear string through the wire and tie it to the sea glass. Cut the strings in a variety of lengths.

When the hoops are fully dried (if you painted them) you’ll need to use the clear string to attach them to one another. The directions I have tell you to make the smaller hoop go on top (over) the larger hoop. I did it the opposite way because I had envisioned the wind chime to resemble a chandelier. I would think either way would work, depending on your preference.

My mistake was to do this on my own. I didn’t attach the smaller hoop to the larger one with equal length string, causing it to go more to one side than the other. I figured I could counteract that by putting heavier sea glass to the other side so it would balance out OK.

You can also use a dab of Crazy Glue on the clear string to keep it from slipping.

After I put it together I realized that I needed to re-do the hoops because they are clearly not centered properly. For that reason I haven’t put all the sea glass on it as of yet. So at this moment in time it’s a “work in progress.” This weekend I am going to assemble it a bit to do it the right way. Then I’ll attach the remaining sea glass that I had wrapped in wire and tired to the clear string.

These pictures didn’t turn out so good, but hopefully you get the idea.



I know that I can fix it so that it look a lot better.

None the less, I had fun with it and I am looking forward to the final result.

I’ll update this post with the final project once it’s completed. In the mean time, this would make a fun family activity. I could see this being done with sea shells too. I love the idea of using shells and sea glass you and/or your family finds on the beach, that way every time you look at it you’ll remember your summer by the beach.

What do you think of this craft idea? Do you think you’ll try to make one of your own?

Have you seen The Choice yet?

The Choice 2


*I received the items to make this project for free. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 


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How to Start a Craft Business and Succeed



Making the decision to put all your efforts into starting your own crafting business is exciting. While it requires hard work and dedication, you are doing something you love to do, only now it’s putting money in your pocket. A crafting business has the same chance as any other business for survival. With hard work and perseverance, you can make a living off your designs.

Putting a price tag that is favorable to both you and the customer is important. You must figure in the cost of supplies and the amount of time it takes to put each piece together. Since you will be taking orders you want to make sure that you can deliver the product on time and make money doing so. Doing a bit of research on similar products and their pricing before committing to a set rate will help you get off on the right track.

Before going live, you need to have the right resources in place. In order to successfully run a business and have it turn a profit, you must have items that a buyer wants. Keeping track of your big sellers is key to establishing a steady growth. By putting in place systems like Primary-Intel.com, you can help determine your profitability with a variety of reports that you can customize to your business needs.

In addition to your marketing strategy, you must also set yourself apart from the normal online business. This can be things such as weekly specials, a personal corner where you give tips on how to make select items or a unique packaging with a surprise in every delivery. With nearly everyone having access to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, people who purchase from you will drum up business without you having to do anything else.

Customer service is a huge part of any successful business. Even if you have the product people want, if you are lacking in this area it will hurt your bottom line. Staying on top of e-mails and responding in a professional manner even if the message in your view is not the truth will bring buyers around for repeat sales. This also means that packages must ship in a timely fashion and with the goods intact. While you certainly can’t help a mishap at the post office, you can make good on the transaction. Since this is a rarity it will not take away from your profits.

Like any business, you must set realistic goals. You shouldn’t expect it to be an instant sensation, though that would be wonderful. Having patience and the willingness to change up your product line to accommodate the majority of your sales will help you sustain a steady growth. If you see that sales are not moving, then bring fresh ideas to the table and try something new.

If you take the time to present beautiful photos of your work, have a marketing strategy in place and add a personal touch, you will enjoy the rewards of owning a successful business. The best part of all is that you are earning a nice income doing something you love to do.


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PaperMade Paper Cats available April 2016


Paper Cats book

If you read my blog on a regular basis you know that we have five cats – Velcro, Kitty, Padmé, Anakin and Bella. We also have a dog (Espn) and a fish (Fishy).

Needless to say we love animals. They are an important part of our lives.

I enjoy many things related to animals – home decor, books, clothing… In fact, I have a lovely assortment of pet related books in our bookcases. Most I have read – some are still waiting to be read.

A while back I received a pet related book to review from Powerhouse Books called Paper Cats. It’s from PaperMade.

Paper Cats is just that – cats made out of paper. These are not like paper dolls. These are 3D cats that are made out of paper. Simply punch out the pieces and assemble.

According to the publisher;

Punch out, fold…voila! Instant Cuddly Kitty.

Paper Cats is the 5th in a remarkable series by paper toy maker PaperMade.™ The whimsical and playful cat designs are pre-cut, scored and perforated—easy to punch out, fold up and enjoy—instantly becoming adorable 3D objects to play with and love! Paper Cats also comes with 8 special pages that transform into the quintessential cat habitat—a carpeted cat condo! Paper Cats deftly combines paper craft with advanced paper engineering so no glue, tape or tools are ever needed!

Paper Cats make great companions for anyone age 7 to 101. Best of all, they don’t need litter boxes or food, and don’t kick up any dander—some people may love them more than real cats.

Paper Cats includes:

One oversize scratching post / carpeted cat condo
Piano Cat — the YouTube piano-playing feline
Mac — the orange tabby from Bryant Park
Surprise Kitty — another YouTube cat star
Cranky Cat — never content, even for a cat that sleeps all day
Spooky — redefining the term “scary black cat”

Series overview: PaperMade™ Books are easy to understand and assemble—no glue, tape or tools are EVER needed. They’re a safe, simple, and nostalgic alternative to digital games that are fun for the whole family. PaperMade™ — Paper craft for the masses.

The book is put together well and every page it dedicated to a single cat or accessory so that you don’t have to search for all the pieces.

The pieces pop out easily enough.

Each piece is marked with a series of lettered “tabs” and pre-scored fold lines. All you need to do it pop out the pieces, fold accordingly and you are done. I would recommend taping the pieces if you plan on keeping the cat/prop. Sometimes when you move or bend the pieces other pieces pop out.

There are no directions in the book, which I found odd. Without directions you don’t know whether something needs to be folded or bent and in which direction.

Paper Cats

PaperCats 2

According to the book the directions can be found online at ItsPaperMade.com. Currently they only have online instructions for their Paper Pups book. It’s nice because those instructions come with videos which makes it easier to figure out how to fold the pieces. It says that more instruction are coming soon, so I hope that means the Paper Cats too.

I am looking forward to learning how to put these pieces together because the book come with a large cat tree that you can put together which I think would look really cute with all the paper cats sitting on it our around it.

I think the cats are cute and I love the idea of popping the pieces out (no cutting) and some what easy assembly (if you know what you are supposed to do).

I’ll have to update this review post at a late date when I am able to see the instructions and put the kitties together.

In the meantime, if you want to learn more about PaperMade products visit ItsPaperMade.com. It’s PaperMade can also be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram under ItsPaperMade.

The company has other similar books for dog, Ninjas, monsters, robots and more.

PaperMade Paper Cats


*I received a free copy to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Decorate for the holidays – or every day – with Fun Chalk Markers



I love to surprise my family members with secret messages and little goodies tucked away inside their lunch bag, backpack or any place where they wouldn’t expect it.

I have been known to write on the bathroom mirror in lipstick. I do it to wish family members a “Happy Birthday” or just to tell my husband that I love him. I have to use lipstick because I don’t want to use something that could potentially stain the mirror, or worse yet, not come off at all.

Are you familiar with chalk markers? They look like regular markers but instead of ink they are filled with liquid chalk that dries instantly on the surface. The final result looks and feels like like chalk – and it even washes away like chalk – except with the precision of a marker.

Here is an example of something I made at my previous job using chalk markers.


You can’t tell from this photo but I used a pencil eraser to make veins in the leaves.

I could have never had done with with regular chalk. Regular chalk is very messy to use.

Fun Chalk Markers are the most versatile markers and can be used on any non-porous surface (ex. plastic, ceramics, chalkboards, whiteboards, glass, mirrors).

You don’t have to work in a classroom or have access to a chalkboard to enjoy Fun Chalk Markers. You can use them for craft projects, around the home and more.

Here are some ideas of how to use Fun Chalk Markers:

  • perfect for scrapbooking
  • for a variety of arts and crafts
  • create chalkboard signs that pop with color
  • decorate the windows in your home and car for special occasions
  • add a personal touch to bike helmets
  • organize your storage bins, since you can erase the ink from plastic when you decide to use the bin for something else
  • write inspirational messages to yourself and family members on mirrors and windows
  • write the names of your guests on their wine glasses
  • help motivate you to exercise by writing your routine on a mirror
  • write grocery lists or meal plans on the fridge with Fun Chalk
  • use them to add a touch of color to your hair for fun occasions
  • teachers love using Fun Chalk in their classrooms because they only need one marker to write on their chalkboard, whiteboard, glass windows and doors (no dust like traditional chalk)

Best o all they are non-toxic, odor-free, washable and eco-friendly.

These are so easy to wash off. Even when they are 100% dry and they appear permanent – they are not. Simply take a little water on a paper towel and wipe it clean. Since they are chalk you can also just brush it off with your hand or a chalk eraser.

I’ve used these on the bathroom mirror (to leave messages for family members), on our sliding glass door to decorate for the holiday/season and I even used them on stone (similar to a chalkboard) drink coasters to decorate for the holiday/season. Currently they are decorated for Christmas. The next time we’ll have guests over for a dinner party will be Easter, so I’ll just wash the coasters off and decorate them with flowers and/or bunnies for Easter when the time comes.


Unlike traditional chalk, Fun Chalk markers are easier to handle. You can make fine lines and dots with Fun Chalk which is not easy to do with regular chalk. Fun Chalk colors are also move vibrant. They look and feel like markers. It’s hard to believe they are really chalk.

Here are some other examples if the fun things you can do with Fun Chalk (all photos copyrighted to Fun Chalk and are found on the brand’s Instagram page – @FunChalk). You can see each photo on Instagram just by clicking the photo.

Fun Chalk Chalkboard

Fun Chalk Mirror

Fun Chalk Window

Fun Chalk Comparison

I especially love the above photo because it shows you the tremendous difference between regular chalk and Fun Chalk. Once you use Fun Chalk Markers how can you ever go back to regular chalk? I sure can’t.

My doodles and text are not as elaborate or nice as the ones from the Fun Chalk Instagram page. I would love to make the holiday lights on our windows. I also love the mirror idea.

Speaking of ideas, you can see more wonderful things created with Fun Chalk Markers on their Facebook page.

You can use these chalks in a variety of ways. They will stay “as is” until you remove them or they accidentally get wet or removed. Another words, the little red hearts I drew on the bathroom mirror for my husband could stay there indefinitely or until the next time I clean the mirrors.

Fun Chalk Markers are exactly that – FUN! Every home should have a set (or two). They come in a variety of colors. You never know when you might need them.

Fun Chalk is sold on Amazon.com from Gold Star Collections.

You can also check out the Gold Star Collections website for more information about Fun Chalk Markers at GoldStarSelections.com.

Have you used Fun Chalk Markers before? If so, what have you made with them?

If you have never tried Fun Chalk Markers, why or why wouldn’t you want to try them out? Feel free to share your thoughts. I always love to hear from my readers.

Fun Chalk


*I received free product samples in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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YouTube – Your One Stop Shop For Halloween Ideas



Trick or treat! It’s October and that can only mean one thing. It’s Halloween — everyone’s favorite creepy, kooky, mysterious and spooky time of year.

YouTube is THE destination for Halloween, from dramatic makeup transformations with Kandee Johnson to SoCraftastic’s clever DIY decorating ideas and yummy treats via MyCupCakeAddiction and Rosanna Pansino. Plus, Halloween costume ideas from #1 style and beauty YouTuber, Michelle Phan and popular YouTube teens Brooklyn and Bailey.

This year people have been searching on Google for that perfect costume, for the latest Google Halloween costume trends, click here: g.co/frightgeist.

Whatever it is, YouTube has got you covered this Halloween.

Tasty Halloween Recipes

  • Rosana Pansino (+4M subscribers & +1 Billion views) – Rosanna of  “Nerdy Nummies” has the most popular cooking show online. Watch as her and fellow YouTubers MyLifeAsEva bake Costume Quest 2 Halloween treats.
  • MyCupCakeAddiction  (+2M subscribers & +269M views) – Elise loves to create amazing cakes, cupcakes and sweets. She had the opportunity to team up with R.L. Stine aka Jack Black to create 3 amazing spooky treats to celebrate the new Goosebumps movie and Halloween!
  • LaurDIY (+2.4M subscribers & +115M views) – Toronto based DIY and lifestyle YouTuber, Lauren, whips up chocolate covered pretzels that look like pumpkins, creepy oreo eyeballs, and Halloween kabobs.
  • WhatsUpMoms (+725K subscribers & +170M views) – This channel is produced by moms, and they aim to inspire, inform, and make people laugh. This Halloween they are showing us how to make yummy chocolate apples!

Make-Up/Costume Ideas

  • Michelle Phan (+8M subscribers & +1.1 Billion views) – #1 beauty YouTuber, Michelle Phan, gives us clever and hilarious Halloween costume ideas from Tinder to Grumpy Cat and even a Belfie.
  • Kandee Johnson (+3.2M subscribers & +344M views) – Youtube makeup, style and fun guru, Kandee Johnson, is here to help you transform into female kick-butt superhero,  Wonder Woman.
  • Grav3yardgirl (+5.8M subscribers & +824M views) – Bunny Meyer is a quirky and fun YouTube beauty guru.  Watch her transform into Sarah Sanderson from Hocus Pocus. Plus, check out these Halloween-esque shoes she unboxed!
  • Brooklyn and Bailey (+1.9M subscribers & +206M views) – Need a Halloween costume but aren’t feeling creative? Check out Brooklyn and Bailey’s 28 last minute Halloween costume ideas including favorites Minnie Mouse and Minions.
  • Glam&Gore (+956K subscribers & +53M views) – Glam&Gore describe their channel as “the swiss army knife of makeup tutorials.” Pay close attention because they can help you turn into Harley Quinn this Halloween.
  • rosaliesaysrawr (+217K subscribers & +6M views) – Rosalie is her name and YouTube is her game with videos ranging from DIY, Fashion and Challenges. Want your beloved four-legged friend to dress up with you this Halloween? Rosalie has the perfect costume; Red Bull and an angel costume.

DIY Halloween Decor/Craft Ideas

  • SoCraftastic (+1.2M subscribers & +131M views) – This DIY arts & crafts channel will show you how to make a glow in the dark pumpkin.
  • WhatsUpMoms (+725K subscribers & +170M views) – From a spooky terrarium to a reusable glow and the dark trick or treating bag, these moms show us how to do Halloween right.
  • JustLikeThat (+404K subscribers & +29M views)  – These group of girls bring new videos each week and showed their viewers how to make a Halloween candy centerpiece, festive drinks and balloon art.
  • Karina Garcia – (+390K subscribers & +20M views) – Karina Garcia loves sharing DIY videos and review. This month she shows us how to create gross eyeballs in a jar and a spider web “night light.”

Do you have a favorite YouTube channel that you turn to for holiday/seasonal ideas/recipes? If so, please leave the link in the comment section so me and other readers can check it out.



*I was not compensated for this post. I posted this for the enjoyment of my site readers.

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