Sunday, July 5, 2015

Give A Chore Chart A Try

Welcome to The cherry On Top.

School is finally finished and I plan on putting the kids to work.  I'd also like for them to read and practice some basic school exercises and do some yoga with me.  Ha!  Wishful thinking, right?!  Then I had this idea.  Not just a chart, but displaying the goody they will get when the chart is full.  Both my boys have Autism and like a lot of kids they are very stubborn.  It is extremely difficult to get them to do chores and homework.  

This method of actually showing them the prize has worked wonderfully.  My youngest wouldn't be able to stand waiting for 30 points.  So, I give him smaller prizes.  It takes at least two days for them to get the treat.  They are after me asking me for more chores to do.  Hehehe...

They get a sticker at the end of the day, if they were really well behaved and nice to each other.  They get stickers for reading with me or on their own.  For vacuuming, sweeping, cleaning off the table, helping with laundry, picking berries, caring for the animals...Spontaneous stickers are a real treat for them.  If they do something super special on their own and you tell them they will get a sticker for that, they love it.


I left my document in a format where I could go in and change the points.  You may want to consider starting off small and see how it goes.  This will be just a summer thing unless it keeps working so well and the kids are ok with it.

Click on the image below for more ideas over on Pinterest.

 pinterest

Thanks for checking us out. We've got a couple other posts dedicated to kid's lunch ideas and here, getting picky eaters to eat good food and tips on hosting or attending a party with Autistic kids.




Friday, July 3, 2015

MagsGraphics, Ocean Adventure Free Template

Welcome to The Cherry On Top.  We've got another scrappy edition.  Things are getting hot outside, here in Belgium and hot in the digital world, too.  My goodness, I can hardly keep up with all of the new, lovely goodies coming out.

Today, I have MagsGraphics in the spotlight with her new summer fun kit, Ocean Adventure.  I love the colours and the whimsical goodies, too.  I never get sick of scrapping with summery beach kits and I love all of these fabulous memories of the boys at the beach.  They love it as much as I do.


The first layout, I wanted to show off Mag's lovely cards from the collection.  The second, matching layout I also used the lovely cards.  They are great for project life style layouts, too.  I wanted to go with a slanted look.  Man!  That was not easy.  I try to turn my difficult and popular layouts into free templates for the fans.  Keep scrolling to find it.


This is a look at Mag's lovely collection.  Awesome beach fun with happy colours and check out the price.  Only $1 for each pack until the 7th of July. 

 SNP

Here's the free template.  It's not perfect, but it's a great base to get started.  Enjoy this free template and if you like, you can always post what you do with it on our FB Page or here, in the comments.

 free download

If you are not already a member of MagsGraphics Gallery Showcase Group, I'd double think that one.  It's very active over there and she often hooks up her members with freebies, like this one right here.

 MGSG


If you love free goodies, you've come to the right place.  Check out previous entries for more free templates, various digital freebies, printables, recipes and all kinds of other mediums that make life easier and more enjoyable.

Thanks for visiting us at The Cherry On Top.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Let It All Hang Out

Welcome to The Cherry On Top.  We are back with yet another instalment in the Dirty Laundry Series.  This time were airing it out.  It's my goal to have you leaving here with your mind made up that you are going to start hanging out your laundry or giving yourself a pat on the back for doing it all ready.

There are so many advantages to hanging out your laundry.  We'll touch on those and come up with alternatives for some of the not so advantageous reasons, too.  Make sure you read all the way through in case you haven't thought of some of these wonderful ideas.


As you may have read in a past edition, drying in the machine is more costly to your pocket and to your clothes.  If you love your clothes, you'll hang them to dry.  Any appliance that must generate heat is going to cost ya.  In my research I found that dryers are the cause for 4% of house fires.  I had no idea! If you have good weather, like now it's boiling in Belgium and my wash is drying before I can get it all hung! Line drying is totally environmentally friendly.  Every little step we can do to help, should be done.

Did you also know that the sun is awesome for your whites and can even remove stains?  How awesome is that?!  If you have a touch of wind or a breeze, you'll eliminate some serious ironing, too.  How many times have you forgotten your dryer and the clothes were just a wrinkled mess?  If you forget your clothes on the line, they'll be fine.  


Check out this image, above.  I hang my clothes according to whom they belong.  Each member has their own line.  This makes it so easy when it comes to putting your laundry away.  All of the like clothes are already together.  I love that time saver.  I can have 4 or 5 loads of wash put away in under 10 minutes, easy.  When it's organised, the kids don't mind putting it away either.


-Consider where you put your pins when hanging your wash out.  You don't want them to make marks.
-Roll up your paired up socks before you take them down.  They'll never get lost that way.
-Put hangers in the tops that don't need ironing or anything that you can just put right in the closet.
-Keep a rolling rack handy and go directly from the line to the rack.  If you hang your items efficiently, getting them to the drawers or the closet will go so much faster.


You can also use a rolling rack to dry your clothes, if you haven't got a line.  One need not a lot of space to hang clothes.  My yard is tiny.  I have one wooden poll and we brought the lines over and attached them to the wall of the house, like you see pictured above.


Another huge plus to hanging out your clothes is the perfectly folded fitted sheet!  Look how crisp that baby is!  Hehehe...Make sure your corners are positioned nicely on the inside. Your sheet will dry faster this way if yu keep it all going the same way.  Fold your sheet in half, then in half again and once more if you like.  Take it off the line and fold in have two more times and your sheet is perfect.


Get one of these awesome baskets to make hanging your wash a breeze.  Mine is so broken, but I keep using it.  You don't have to keep bending over to get your wash.  The legs fold in when your finished so it's easy to manoeuvre it around the house.


I have got one heck of a tan already just from hanging out my wash.  It gets me outside with my girls (chicken) and all of that nature.  It's truly therapeutic and I make it a point to take my time and enjoy the process.  Of course hanging out the wash is time consuming, but when it's something you enjoy and there are so many advantages to doing it, that's just fine.

Items that are best for on the line are: sheets, towels, heavy items, linens, delicates, wool, leather, swim wear, robes, shoes expensive bras, hats, toys, comforters, curtains, pillows and cushions.  Seriously consider hanging all of these items all of the time.

It was mentioned that hanging your clothes is bad for allergies.  I've never heard that so I went digging and I did indeed find that hanging your clothes inside contributes to mould, mites, humidity and a few other less positive aspects.  The key is ventilation.  Hang your clothes in the most ventilated area you have.  Outside is always best.  Read more about that here.  Although I have specific days for washing, I keep the weather in mind and wash when it's the nicest.

Consider hybrid drying when the weather isn't great.  I often throw all of the little things in the dryer and hang the large, heavy items.  This way the dryer is done faster and just a couple of pieces are left hanging.

Space should never be an excuse for hanging your laundry.  There are so many ways to get around this.  Design a line that can be taken down if you think it's an eye sore or it gets in the way of some other activity.  Hooks and other systems are out there.

There are retractable lines that take up very little space and nearly hide inside themselves when not being used.  Here are a couple of examples.  The first one is my favourite.  It's totally concealed when not in use.  The others are also awesome, space saving ideas.








Seriously, all of these options show you how easy it can be no matter how small a space you have.

When asking friends, fans and family what they hated most about laundry, they unanimously answered, putting it away.  We'll be back to cover just that next time.

Other instalments from this series that you missed are:

Dirty Laundry Do's and Don'ts
The Ideal Laundry Area
Stain Removing And Pre Wash
The Machines
Cycles
The Dirty On Detergents
Seriously, You Need To Ditch The Softeners

You might also like some fun, free printables to spruce up your laundry area.



And today I'm adding another one.  I have all of the goodies I need to turn this lovely image into a canvas master piece with real clothes pins and a handy place to clip missing socks.  I'll hook you up to the tutorial for that whenever my hubby gets the printout I need.  Hehehe...


We are still not finished with our laundry series.  We'd like to cover a few more topics such as specialty washing, ironing, dry cleaning, fabrics and clothes in general, where to buy quality clothes and recycled clothes ideas, too.  We hope you join us for those and thanks for making The Cherry a part of your day.

Happy laundering!









Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Surf, Sand, The 4th & Free Stuff From The Cherry On Top

Welcome to a super scrappy edition of The Cherry On Top.

The Digital Scrapbooking Studio has an absolutely gorgeous collaboration for the summer.  Surf, Sand And The 4th is a sensational mix of mega talented designers and fabulous goodies that will make you melt AND it's all on sale at fantastic deals!

I got to play with three designers collections and kits and I'm bringing them here for your further inspection along with..dun, dun daaa...free stuff.  Bounce around to all of the hot spots from The Cherry On Top and grab the free goodies.

This first layout is designed with A-Manda Creation's collection.  Patriotic colours and beachy elements for all of your sea side photos and memories.  This layout was a bit of a hit.  So, I thought I'd turn it into a free template for the fans.

 My Gallery At the Studio

Here's a look at A-Manda's collection.  Click on the image to get to the Studio for a further peek.

 DSS

Next up is LouCee Creations.  More fabulous goodies that reflect all of the goodness we love from the ocean and the beach.  The papers are pretty amazing and I'm showing them off with two layouts and a free paper stacker.  This layout was designed using a template from Brenian Designs.  You can find more of her templates, here.

 LouCee's Shop



I really loved the way this layout turned out.  I put a lot of shadow behind my top picture to give it some distance from that terrific background paper of the ocean.  I love that one!  I'm also a fan of red and hibiscus.  I grew up in Florida, by the beach and my heart still belongs there. For a limited time, LouCee's kit is just ONE DOLLAR!


Here's that paper stacker.  You can find it on our Facebook Page.  Click on the image to get there, but keep scrolling to find even more free designs.

 TCOT on FB

PattyB Scraps will wrap up this scrappy edition.  She added a touch of sunshine in her beautiful kit, Surf, Sand And The Fourth and I used it.  My guys when they were a bit smaller enjoying a fabulous day on the Belgian coast.

 DSS

Patty also has several additions to this collaboration.  This is just a touch.  Click on the image, above or below to see all of it.

 Pinterest

I turned this layout into another frickie.  Hey!  They are really popular and that is because they are so flexible.  You can use it as is and just pop in a great photo behind the frickie or you can shrink it up and use it just as a frame.  You can also add other elements like I did in the layout, above.  Add a couple of frames and some more pictures.  Your layout will be ready in minutes!

 freebie

You can find the links to this freebie over on Pinterest.  We hope you decide to follow us there.  We've got many freebie boards, inspiration and so much more.  Pop over there, Follow us and take a look around.

Here is your free template.  It's available in PSD and TIF format only. 

 Free Template

Take advantage of the super deals going on over at The Studio for Surf, Sand and The Fourth.  Thanks so much for hanging out with The Cherry.  Make sure you do it again.





Wednesday, June 24, 2015

How To Design An Avatar Or Siggy

Welcome to another enlightening, scrappy tutorial on avatars and siggies.

An avatar or siggy is your personalised icon for the internet Whether it be a forum, game or even your signature for e-mail.

You can design your own siggy in many software programs such as Power Point, Photoshop, Corel, My Memories Suite...Grab a digital alpha or use your own fonts provided in your software to design your name or whatever wording you would like for your siggy.



Embellish with downloads from a digital scrap kit or from legal images you find on various sites like Clker.com, dafont.com, shutter stock, dreamstime, etc...I always work with digital scrap kits.  The quality is guaranteed with most of them and private use is never a problem.  You can also find plenty of free ones if you know where to look.  Like here, our Pinterest board has tons of free goodies and our Facebook Page, too.  


If you feel you are not creative enough to pursue this endeavour, there are options for you.  You can purchase an avatar or even find free ones on sites like deitel.com or imvu.com.  Another way is to use templates specifically designed for siggies or avatars, like the ones pictured below.  They cost very little and you can use them over and over.

 Bren's store

 Dagi's shop



 free download
Click the image for the freebie!


You can even find free templates to use like the one pictured above.  How easy is that?!  If you don't know how to use a template, it's very easy.  It's just a matter of clipping in papers and placing embellishment or even more papers over the template.  You'll be ready in minutes!  If you want to find out more on how to use templates, click here.  We've got you covered!  Just type in, "how to use digital templates" and watch dozens of videos.  I learned in just a few, short minutes chatting with my scrappy friend over FB.  It's THAT easy!


Add some shadows.  Use your favourite, colours.  Include a picture of yourself, if you like.  Above is my niece and her siggy I made for her.

Her sister is a bit younger and I didn't use a photo for hers.

 Here, I changed up my avatar for the holidays.



Since The Cherry On Top is all about the free stuff, we're providing some currently available, free digital scrap goodies that you could use to make your siggy. This image is hooked up to an entire kit full of gorgeous goodies.  Bella Gypsy is one of my all time favourite digital kit makers.  Head over to their FB Page and grab this baby for nut'n!

 Bg on FB

We've hooked up this one, too.

 free mini

Head over to our Pinterest board, Free Digi Scrap Stuff to find more.


In this last example, I wanted each round brad or button you see in between each letter to be linked up to our FB, Pinterest and blog, but my technical skills were not savvy enough.  Ugh!  I have found some pretty interesting tutorials, though. It IS possible! Type in a search, linking avatars and you'll find a few like this one. It seemed easy enough.

Avatars and siggies come in all different sizes from 50x50 to 150x150 and as big as 500x200 it totally depends on where you are using it and the requirements or limitations on those pages. I'd go smaller to be sure it fits most places requirements.

So that's the skinny on avatars or siggies.  I hope it helped you out.

Have a great time creating your own siggy and show us what you make if you like!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Seriously, You Need To Ditch The Softeners

Welcome to yet another informative series in Dirty Laundry.  We are talking softeners this time and oh, my!  What I have found is very disturbing, but enlightening as well.  Shoo!

Just what are softeners?  Why are they so dangerous?  What are softener alternatives?

There is an abundance of information out there.  We'll bring it all to you, right here, in the smallest nutshell.



Softeners are a chemical compound that prevent static cling and soften fabric. Synthetic materials hold odor and hence, a big reason people reach for softeners perfume.  Another great reason to go cotton, right?! Just as with detergents, companies are not required to mention toxic chemicals in their products.  Here is list of the toxins found in softeners and the effects they've been know to have. From irritants to nerve damage, be informed.

Keep in mind, you are wearing these clothes coated in toxins every single day for nearly every single minute.  In other words you are continuously surrounding yourself and your family in toxins.  Youch!

Think about the money you would save by never buying toxic dryer sheets and softeners, again.  Hundreds if not thousands of dollars over time.  Of course, you'll also be doing the environment a huge favour and boy, could nature use a break.

Did you know that softeners may even damage some clothes?  Here is a short list of fabrics that you shouldn't even be using softeners on because they reduce absorption and increase flammability.  Obviously, towels, microfibre, athletic clothing and pyjamas.  Line dry these.

I've done some personal research with my lovely friends and family and found nearly everyone just loves their softeners and dryer sheets.  I realise how difficult the decision to ditch this stuff is going to be.  So, let us hook you up with several alternatives in hopes that you will get the effect your looking for.

The top alternative for softener is vinegar.  If the scent of softeners are your thing, then add essential oils to it.  You only need 30-40 drops to an entire gallon of white vinegar.  Who much does a gallon of vinegar cost compared to a gallon of your favourite softener?



If you have a Downy ball, put your vinegar mix in there or in the softener dispenser of your machine.  Vinegar not only softens clothes, it helps reduce soap build up and helps with static cling, too.



Another excellent alternative is baking soda.  Use it in the rinse cycle to naturally soften clothes, remove odors, whiten, brighten, remove stains and it will also help keep your wash machine clean.  Boom!  that sure is lot of advantages.



Aluminum foil balls are on the list of alternatives to soften and get rid of static cling.  However, their toxicity comes into question as well as the potential to damage delicate clothes, which shouldn't be put in the dryer anyway.  (Here's a link for someone's experience using the balls.  Click on the image.)

 foil ball review

Wool balls are an other favourite.  You can purchase them or make them yourself.  Wool balls reduce drying time and cut down on static. I love the idea of making some as a gift for family and friends.  You can even add essential oil to the balls at the end of the cycle and run the machine without heat for extra scent.  Find out how to make your own by clicking on the image below.

 wool balls

Since synthetic fabrics are the biggest culprit in static clean, try to keep them separate from cottons and hang them to dry, if it is an option.  I've found that simply giving my clothes a good shaking out helps ditch the cling, too.  

I hang my clothes out to dry and that's the topic for the next edition of Dirty Laundry.  It saves tons of money. It's the best thing for your clothes. There is no static cling. It's great for the environment and there are no chemicals.

Ask yourself, just how important is it that your clothes smells excessively perfumey and just how bad is the static cling problem?  Is it worth all of that extra money and toxins that are bad for you, your family and the environment?

If you were to use cold water, wash only full loads, wash during non peak hours, make your own detergent, use all natural products like vinegar, creme of tartar, baking soda and borax and hang out your wash, you'll easily save $1,000 a year.  Wow!

That's something to think about!