Gift Ideas, Holiday Gift Guide 2017, Home

Canvas On Demand Has Awesome Gifts for Everyone on your List

I have partnered with Canvas on Demand and US Family Guide for feature

Canvas On Demand

Throughout the years I have gifted many personalized photo and creation gifts to the kids, our parents and friends. When I need an idea besides boring gift cards, fruit baskets or socks and shirts I appreciate the ability to create a more personalized gift.

This Christmas I have 2 Canvas On Demand Gifts to wrap. My son loves the video game Overwatch. It is all he talks about. The licensing is so new it is hard to find Overwatch products so I was able to find the logo image online and upload it right into the portal and order it on canvas. He has no idea such an Overwatch product exists and it’s because I made it in a matter of minutes.

Canvas Gifts

They offer more than just canvas prints. From incredible photo-to-canvas art for parents, Coloring Canvas for kids, and customizable photo gifts, including ornaments & more, Canvas On Demand can help with your holiday haul. I also ordered a fun color canvas for a family member who loves to read. I actually think it looks cool uncolored, but they may choose to color.

coloring canvas
For a limited time, Canvas On Demand is offering my readers a whopping 60% off your entire order with code USFAM. Select from canvas prints and more! Valid until 12/12/17.

Holiday Gift Guide 2017, Home

Try Out These 4 Shabby Chic Table Centerpieces

Let’s get to that table for the Holidays. It is the place where family gathers and creating a fun centerpiece adds to the holiday feel of the home.

Try Out These 4 Shabby Chic Table Centerpieces
Photo Source: Pixabay

For your holiday table, you should begin decorating by adding some centerpieces. This might be one long centerpiece or multiple decorations for the middle of a larger dining room table. These centerpiece ideas are for both shabby chic and Christmas styles.

Add Ornaments or Pinecones to a Big Bowl

This is one of the simplest and least expensive decor items for your table centerpiece. It works with any style of Christmas decor, so for shabby chic, you are just changing the overall style and color of the bowl and what goes inside of it. If you can find an old wooden bowl, that is perfect for this. You can also use any white or silver bowl you have or like this one. Fill it with pinecones spray painted white or another shabby chic color like light green or pastel pink. You can also just fill it with ornaments of these same colors. Ball ornaments in white or silver often work very well for this type of centerpiece.

Create Twinkle Light Mason Jars

Mason jars on their own already fit in with the shabby chic style since these jars have been around for a long time. Just using them in your decor make them appropriate for this Christmas decorating decor style. To be more specific to Christmas, fill large mason jars with strings of twinkle lights. You can either get shorter strings that use batteries for the lights instead of being plugged in, or you can drill holes in the bottom so that you can pull out the lights and plug them in somewhere near the table. Just bring the cord underneath the table runner so it isn’t obvious, then connect them to a nearby outlet.

Create a Mini Village

If you want to have a Christmas village but only have enough for a small one, placing it on your dining table is perfect. You can create that small shabby chic village by putting it on a vintage-style cake platter. There are clear cake platters, or you might even find one in a distressed white color or silver. Just add some snow to the platter, then add some houses, buildings, and people, and your village is ready for Christmas.

Use a Distressed Planter

When you want to use Christmas flowers as the centerpiece, you may not want a modern flower vase or classic red and green Christmas vase. Instead, you can get a vase or planter and spray paint it a white color, then add some distressing elements. You can also use an older wooden planter for this purpose.

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How to Pack and Move Furniture

Only the thinking that you are going to start your life in a new place can energize you enough to pack your stuffs and belongings on your own. But when it comes to packing your furniture, your enthusiasm is not enough. If you don’t pack these stuffs in a well-planned way moving can be stressful.

How to pack and move furniture

You might have heard from your friends while visiting his new house that some of his furniture acquired scratches while the movers loaded it on the moving truck. Therefore, it is not hard to perceive that you’re moving into a new place can either be adventurous or it can turn into a misery, another horrible story about moving, depending upon what strategy you choose when you start packing, especially furniture. Here are some tips to pack your furniture and move them unscathed to your new place.

Assemble packing supplies

You have to pack these things carefully and to do it you first need packing supplies, like:

  • Some cardboard boxes
  • Packing tape
  • Moving blankets
  • Bubble Wrap
  • Sofa and mattress cover
  • Plastic stretch wrap
  • Sealable plastic bags
  • Corrugated cardboard sheets

Make a list and start to gather them. You can collect these supplies from a hardware store or you can buy them online.

Don’t do it on your own

Packing furniture is not an easy job, since you might need to move heavy furniture from its previous places. You need to call someone and ask for help. You might be having expensive decorative accessories along with them and you will suffer from a huge loss if you break those stuffs by mistake. You must look for a helping so that you can assure the safety of your expensive materials as well as furniture. However, if you find such people in your life going busy that time or in some case you don’t want to ask them to help you, you should definitely hire professional movers who would do the packing job as well. There are many companies that offer such services. All you need is to choose a good one and leave all your worries on them.

Make your furniture packing prepared

Before wrapping your furniture and pack them, you need to dust off and clean them. You can use dry napkins and cleaning liquids available in the market. Since, after reaching your new place you have to set up the whole place Cleaning the furniture beforehand, would help to stay less stressed. Plan for some strategy and be sure which furniture is going to where, at your new place. Acting smart always helps you in getting rid of the mess that are created when you move to a new place. You can mark the furniture according to its destination. The best way is to hire some movers who are expert in dealing with such situations.

Dismantle your furniture

If you can dismantle a few furniture, do so. Because it is easy to pack small parts, rather than packing a big furniture. It would be helpful for movers as well, since they can load these packed parts on a truck in a compact way. Movers can load and unload dismantled parts easily from the truck. Moreover, they are aware of dismantling the furniture correctly. If you take the risk on your own, you might end up breaking your furniture. You just need to keep the parts together so that nothing gets misplaced or lost during the process. The best way to do this is packing the dismantled parts in same colored boxes with proper markings.

Ensure enough space

As you have done accordingly with the above-mentioned procedures, all your packed stuffs need to be stored all in one place and to make that clear a room or if you can’t spare a whole room then at least one-fourth of a room, there should be no other stuffs. If you do so, it would help your movers also. Moreover, you will get enough place to keep new stuffs at your new place if you have planned to buy some. On the other hand, you will feel more comfortable with decorating your new place with your furniture.

If you follow all the above procedures, you can accomplish your job of moving things in an organized way and you’ll be less stressed. So, the chances of mistakes will be automatically lessened. Eventually, you need to take care while unloading your furniture from the truck. Unloading seems quite easy when compared to load the furniture, but the chances of damage are high during this. You need to take a special care while you unload your furniture. Make sure movers can unload and move things without any obstruction. All you need is a good strategy, luck is always in favor with good peoples. Have a good day!

Father's Day, Gift Ideas, Holiday Gift Guide 2017, Home

Smallest Rechargeable Laser Distance Measurer by Stanley

I have partnered with Stanley Tools for the feature

The men! What do we get the men for the Holidays? Do you dare buy car parts or tools? You would have to know exactly what you are buying and when you want it to be a surprise it is hard to ask questions and be slick. There are some common tools you can buy even when you know nothing about tools. Stanley has always been a trusted brand in our home and now they have a new gadget that anyone can use to make DIY and home life easier. It is the Smallest Rechargeable Laser Distance Measurer.

Smallest Rechargeable Laser Distance Measurer by Stanley

Smallest Rechargeable Laser Distance Measurer by Stanley

What is a Rechargeable Laser Distance Measurer? If you do woodworking or DIY or even hang wall pictures and fixtures then this little gadget should be kept nearby. Measuring with a tape measure, especially if you don’t have an extra hand can be challenging. With this distance meter you get the measurement you ned for interior projects and your hands are free to go mark your spots.

  • 1/4″ at 30 ft for accuracy
  • 30 ft range for tackling most measuring tasks
  • Lithium-Ion battery for on the go USB charging

Trust me! This makes a very handy stocking stuffer or gift that will get used. Have an office party with a lot of male coworkers you need to bring a game gift for? Wrap this little gadget and it will be a hit. Visit Stanley for even more gift ides.

Stanley Tools

More from Stanley

Our middle son is away at College and this year he has requested tools for gifts. He wants to start building his own tool collection. He can’t start his first tool collection without a toolbox and with renting school apartments he’ll need something portable because he is bound to move again. The STANLEY® Essential Rolling Workshop is the perfect gift! Whether you are starting your first tool collection or transporting your tools around, it has 3 storage solutions in 1 set. The bottom is a bin that is great for the drill or drivers and small power tools. The middle is a caddy great for hammers and longer hand tools. The top is a tool box and organizer. For the smaller jobs you can just take the top box and go, leaving the caddy behind.

rolling toolbox

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Holiday Gift Guide 2017, Home

Tips For Decorating Your Christmas Mantle

I have a fireplace in my new home! I have always wanted a mantle to decorate and our new home has one. So now I have been searching for a fun way to decorate my mantle for the holidays.

Tips For Decorating Your Christmas Mantle

One of the most commonly decorated areas of a home for Christmas is the mantle. This is not only where you will hang your stockings, but it is the perfect place to set decorative items. The following tips will help you decorate your Christmas mantle in the shabby chic theme.

Use Distressed Wood Frames

If you have pictures on your mantle, and many people do, you don’t have to take them down just because it is Christmas. Instead, keep the pictures up, but switch out the frames. Even if you already have shabby chic-friendly frames, now is a great time to put away the white frames (like these) and bring out some distressed wood ones. This really adds a fun look to your mantle where the rest of your shabby chic Christmas decor is probably white, silver, and pastel colors. It gives some nature to your mantle without getting too far from the shabby chic look you want to acquire. For a bit of fun, you can even switch out the pictures and replace them with pictures of angels, snowmen, Santa and Mrs. Clause, as if they were friends and family members.

Create a Village on the Mantle

Many people create a Christmas village and put it on a table, but why not put it right on your mantle? It keeps it high enough to be away from kids or cats who are a little too curious, as well as being in a room where your family probably spends a lot of time during the holidays. Not only that, it is a convenient place to spread around twinkle lights and p lug them in, allowing you to easily illuminate your shabby chic-style Christmas village.

Use Vintage Items on the Mantle

For more traditional decorating of the mantle, you might want to use various decorative accessories and figurines. For a shabby chic look, try to find items that are vintage or at least have that old-fashioned look to them. Some items that work perfectly include an old pair of white ice skates, vintage milk jugs and bottles, or Santa Clause figures that have the old dress as opposed to the bright red dress and hat of the more modern styles.

Add Spray Painted Bottle Brush Trees

Bottle brush trees are really popular during Christmas since they are inexpensive and always add a fun element. However, instead of the bold green ones, you can either get them in white and other pastel colors, or spray paint them yourself. Spread them around your mantle in between other decorative items.

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4 Aspects for a Successful Kitchen

In life, delicious food matters as much as true love because you can’t love with a hungry stomach. Additionally, finger licking foods are not a cup of tea for everyone. It takes a lot to create such recipe which is praised among all. You might have heard one of the most prominent traditional sayings regarding food that “people have magic in their hands who cooks delicious foods”. As far as science is concerned, there is nothing like that, but no hard feelings!

4 Aspects for a Successful Kitchen

On the other hand, what you miss while debating on this topic is the environment. It may look stupid, but the kitchen plays a vital role in deciding the taste if you consider things commercially. Not every hotel or restaurants offer the same food quality and accordingly they find their way to success.

Remember, whether you are a cook or a commercial kitchen designer, you must understand the relation between demand and necessity. Delicious food is the demand and to accomplish this wish, a good commercial kitchen is the necessity. Moreover, to meet this necessity, resources must be available in the form of cooking equipment. Here are 4 most significant aspects you must keep in mind while considering a successful kitchen:

1. Cooking Equipment: Appliances and Kitchenware

As an owner of any restaurant or hotel, the first thing you must keep in mind before the development of your commercial kitchen is its resourcefulness. Your kitchen should be well equipped and you need to choose appliances that will be tough enough and not only able to handle everyday use, but will also be easy to clean. You can easily go with stainless steel appliances and kitchenware, as these equipments won’t be tarnished over time from contact with food and liquids.

There are a lot of companies that are serving the food industry for years, even if you are not able to decide the infrastructure or the relevant cooking equipment, need not to worry, you can count on them.

2. Clean and Safe storage

It is important for you to understand that there’s a difference between a domestic kitchen and a commercial kitchen. At home, you have a store room for the kitchen stuffs and raw food which may be near or far from the kitchen. However, in case of a commercial kitchen you can’t be such unprofessional. It doesn’t matter how large your kitchen is, a reflective storage is the key. The commercial kitchen is a working hub for the cooks. They are active throughout their period of work and hence there shouldn’t be a situation when they have to rush to some other place to get the raw food or any other kitchen stuff.

3. From food preparation to meal cooking

Apart from your own skills, you need to prepare your kitchen to cook delicious food. You’ll need some more stainless steel sinks in the wash basin for the dishwasher. Moreover, you should prefer stainless steel table and counters for mixing and cutting areas. Make sure you have proper cooking equipment for respective recipe. A good food prep station will be split into sections and following two tasks should be allocated for them in these;

Raw foods: Keep raw foods in this section

Sorting of food according to the demand of recipes in this section

Ultimately, you reach at the final stage, i.e. meal cooking. This is the most section and will include your ranges, ovens, stainless steel exhaust hoods, fryers, and other cooking equipment. Most kitchens, break their cooking areas down into things like the grilling station, dessert station, fryer station, salad station, baking station, etc.

4. Efficient layouts defining proper service section

You have to make it successful, that’s why you’ve come across this article. Furthermore, to make it successful you need to put all of the cooking equipment together into one smooth layout. There are various popular designs you might have seen such as

  • The Assembly Line
  • The Island
  • The Zone Style

However, there are always other options you can try or even that if you think you are enough creative then no doubt you should try the same by yourself.

The service section is where your servers or food runners will pick up the plates of food and bring them out. You need to keep this place neat and clean. Even your food comes out to be the most delicious one, an untidy service section leaves a negative impression of your business. The surface of the service section must be of stainless steel, as the area can tend to get messy, again leaving a bad impression.

It is important for you to understand that you are dealing with the health of people. Hence, the quality as well as the neatness of your commercial kitchen is necessary for a successful business. The negative impression can bring a loss to the reputation of your business. Remember, people buy only what they are able to see.