Scrapbooking with Cricut

Scrapbooking is a whole new world to me. I never realized just how popular and intricate it is. It truly is a way for a person to express themselves artistically in an easily accessible way.

I remember my aunts were  very involved with it decades ago. Everything the did was with scissors, glue, tape, material and so on. That still goes on today but one of the products that seem to really revolutionized the scrapbooking world are the Cricut machines made by Provo Craft.

The machines ( and there are a number of different models) use a cartridge and a keyboard overlay that allows you to pick out the type of characters or designs you want to use. After punching it in and laying in the paper or material the machine does the rest. It’s quite remarkable to watch. There is also a Cricut machine that can be used to make cake and cookie decorations!

Some of the more popular cartridges I have come across are the Mickey Mouse Font, Bags,Tags Boxes and more, Sesame Street Friends and Spongebob die cut cartridges. They are great for decorating scrapbooks but also for party decorations or decorating around the home. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination.

If you are involved with scrapbooking or have just a passing acquaintance you may want to look at this product. It just might make your life a little easier and add a bit more enjoyment to your day.

If you have used the Cricut products or supplies please let me know what you think. I love to hear any and all information regarding this subject. The more I learn the better I am!

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Cricut Expression by Provo Craft

I have just discovered something that most everyone else has been aware of for years. That’s the Cricut Die Cut machines by Provo Craft. They can be used to cut anything from paper and material to cake decorations.

The first machine I like is the Cricut Cake Personal Electronic Cutter. At the push of a button, the cake cutter’s stainless-steel blade cuts images out of gum paste, fondant, frosting sheets, cookie dough, or molding chocolate to give home-made cakes and cookies a professional appearance. The cake cutter works on materials from a minimum 3-by-3-inch size up to 12-by-12-inch and 12-by-24-inch maximum size, and cuts images ranging from 1-1/2 inches to 23-1/2 inches.  The cake cutter is also compatible with shape/font cartridges from the original Cricut paper-cutting machine and it offers a variety of shadow and blackout features in six modes: mix ‘n match, portrait, fit to quantity, fit to page, fit to length and auto fill. The cake cutter also utilizes four functions for decorating convenience: multi cut, center point, flip and line return. It’s a really cool device especially for the cost.

A more orthodox version is the Cricut Expression. As the largest of the Cricut machines, the this machine allows cuts from a tiny 1/4 inch up to an impressive 23 1/2 inch tall. It has 6 modes and 4 functions that offer greater customization of cuts, and the new settings and menus add functionality to the machine. Unlike traditional die-cutting machines, the Cricut Expression is portable and cuts quickly and easily. Just select the image you want and press cut. You won’t have to worry about storing expensive and bulky dies. A single cartridge for the Cricut Expression is the equivalent of hundreds of dies from a traditional die-cutting system, but Cricut cartridges can fit in the palm of your hand.

The last Cricut machine I’ll talk about is the Cricut Create Personal machine. The Cricut Create Personal Electronic Cutter combines the portability of the original Cricut machine with the functionality of the Cricut Expression machine. The Cricut Create machine is the same size as the original Cricut machine, yet it allows cuts from 0-1/4-inch up to 11-1/2-inch on a 6-inch by 12-inch cutting mat. Includes an 8-way directional blade, Portrait mode, Fit to Page mode, Auto Fill Mode, Center Point function, and Flip function. As with most of the Cricut cutters the Create is compatible with all original Cricut cartridges.

All of the cutters from Provo Craft have really opened up a world of unlimited possibilities. If you are a fan of crafts, home decorating, food decorations or anything else you can imagine these machines seem to offer it all.

Here also is a sampling of some of the more popular cartridges that are available:

 

 

 

 

If you have any experience with the Cricut line or an opinion to express please feel free to leave them here. i would love to hear what your experience has been.

 

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Holiday Chocolate from M&M’s and Hershey

I love this time of year! I know that you do too. I love it for the cool weather, the gathering of families, the good cheer. I love it for the kids and their anticipation of the coming of Christmas. One of the things I love most about the holidays is all of the food and drinks that become available during the Christmas season. And since I’m a Chocoholic I’m going to focus on some of my favorites.

Every year right at Thanksgiving Hershey comes out with it’s Dark Chocolate Mint Truffle. It has Dark Hershey chocolate on the outside and a creamy, green mint on the inside. It’s really great for after dinner, watching T.V at night with some hot coffee or just on their own with a glass of milk.

They also offer Candy Cane Striped Mint kisses that venture away from the normal chocolate flavors that the company offers. They are perfect for Christmas parties and gatherings.

Not to be out done, M&M’s has their holiday favorite Christmas Mint M&M’s that mixes the wonderful M&M chocolate with cool mint. I love these M&M’s especially. I’ll spend an evening with a bag or bowl full and a glass of cold milk and slowly relish each one.

A new flavor that I haven’t seen offered before is Cinnamon and Milk Chocolate M&M’s. They have M&M’s famous milk chocolate flavor with a hint of cinnamon in every bite.

These holiday flavors, like most of the M&M and Hershey flavors are well worth trying. The holiday flavors perhaps even more since they are around for only a short time.

If you have tried any of these candies let me know what you thought of them. I’m always interested in other peoples opinions and I would love to hear yours. Merry Christmas!

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Ceramics and Pottery of Boleslawiec, Poland

 

Boleslawcu Capuccino

Through my travels I come across many collectibles and daily use products. My wife and my Mother (God rest her soul) got me to appreciate the art and quality of fine ceramics and pottery. Whereas I have been a fan of English china and Irish crystal I have recently been exposed to pottery from the village of Boleslawiec, Poland.

At first I believed there was only a factory called Boleslawiec in Poland that made blue and white pottery. But as I began to learn more I realized that there are a number of factories in the area that create their own unique brand and styles. The pottery is also identified with the German name for the town Bunzlau. Bunzlauer ware (Ceramika boles?awiecka) grew from a folk tradition into a distinct ceramic category. The term Bunzlauer ware may also used to describe related pottery produced in the neighboring districts of Lusatia and Saxony.

Apparently the history of ceramics and pottery in the region goes back hundreds of years. There is archaeological evidence that suggests even as far back as the 700’s A.D.! Boleslawiec found itself at the crossroads of traderoutes that went to Berlin, Dresden, Warsaw, Prague, etc…, These trade routes coupled with the abundance of clay deposits of high quality in the area were the catalyst for what has now become a major pottery center of Europe.

The patterns and stampings that are used by the manufacturers in Boleslawiec make their products easily identifiable the world over.Two of the more well known factories are Zaklady Ceramiczne and Manufaktura Boleslawcu. I am most partial to the potteryfrom these two factories but that’s just me.

I invite you to investigate the pottery from the Boleslawiec region of Poland. It is quite beautiful and is something that is meant to be used on a daily basis. I find my self enjoying my morning tea that much more when I drink it out of one of my Polish mugs.

If you have any experience with this pottery or from other manufacturers in the area please share it here. I am constantly on the look out for more information regarding the ceramics from Boleslawiec. If you would like to see all of my Polish Pottery just take a look here.

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Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too! (and Eeyore, Owl, Piglet…,)

One of the things I like about this time of year is the chill in the air when the sun goes down or that magical time when the world takes a breath just before the sun comes up. The morning coffee is more welcome. Not only does it wake you up but it warms you up as well. As the sun hits the horizon a bit earlier every day that afternoon tea is more anticipated. With the holiday season quickly coming upon us there are a number of new ways to enjoy your favorite hot drink. One of those ways is with Disney’s Winnie the Pooh characters.

I’ve always been told save the best for last but this is a really beautiful mug that has all of the Pooh characters in silhouette at dusk. They appear to be returning home after a day of playing. The colors are twilight purple and a soft burnt orange. You can almost feel the cool air of the evening as you enjoy Pooh, Piglet and everyone else frolicking home. C’mon, I know the thought of it is bringing a smile to your face. There are more pictures here .Go take a look!

On most of the Pooh mugs that Disney offers It’s rare for you to find Christopher Robin among the rest of the cast. This particular mug has a white background with Christopher Robin and Pooh leading the whole gang. It’s a simple design but it highlights the characters for you with no distractions.

There is also this Tigger mug that is more modern in it’s design but also captures the spirit of Tigger and is just plain fun! Every time I look at Tigger he reminds me of someone I know at work. He’s as animated and hyperactive as Tigger and is in his 40’s.

The counterpoint to Tigger is of course Eeyore. Tigger has a ton of fans but so does Eeyore. This particular mug shows Eeyore among a bunch of lavender flowers looking almost happy.

All of these designs appear to be retired. Once they are gone they’re gone. So check them out, tell me what you think. If you have any comments please leave them. If you know about any other cool Pooh mugs let me know. I would love to see them.

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Amazon’s Kindle Fire Worth Looking At

 On September 29th Jeff Bezos introduced the new line of Amazon Kindle e-readers. The most exciting of the four models is the Kindle Fire. Some are trying to make it a i-pad killer but I don’t see it as such. It targets a market that has been so far relatively ignored It’s geared towards those tens of millions of people that would like a tablet but the price is too high for what they want to use it for. At $199 it is perfect for people who are mostly interested in the media side of what a tablet has to offer. With the Kindle Fire you can browse the internet, read newspapers, magazines, books (of course) listen to music, view photographs, play games and watch movies. Here is just a bit of Amazons product description:

  • Movies, apps, games, music, reading and more, plus Amazon’s revolutionary, cloud-accelerated web browser
  • 18 million movies, TV shows, songs, magazines, and books
  • Amazon Appstore – thousands of popular apps and games
  • Ultra-fast web browsing – Amazon Silk
  • Free cloud storage for all your Amazon content
  • Vibrant color touchscreen with extra-wide viewing angle
  • Fast, powerful dual-core processor
  • Amazon Prime members enjoy unlimited, instant streaming of over 10,000 popular movies and TV shows

After viewing the roll out and watching some demonstrations I am sold on the unit. I have read a number of reviews and comparisons and this fits my needs to a T. The new Kindles will be available to the public on November 21st. I’ve already pre-ordered mine.

If you don’t need all that the Kindle Fire has to offer then Amazon still offers the base model is the Kindle Touch which received some upgrades but still functions the same as last years model. Some of the features include:

  • Simple-to-use touchscreen, with audio and built-in Wi-Fi
  • Most advanced E Ink display, now with multi-touch
  • New sleek design – 8% lighter, 11% smaller, holds 3,000 books
  • Text-to-speech, plus audio books and mp3s
  • Built in Wi-Fi – Get books in 60 seconds
  • Massive book selection, over 800,000 titles are $9.99 or less
  • New – Borrow Kindle books from your public library

Whether you want all the media assets of the Kindle Fire or the basics of the best e-reader on the market in the basic Kindle, Amazon has shown that they are still an innovative and driving force in the new media world. I encourage you to investigate the new family of kindles. Who knows you may just discover the Christmas present that satisfies everyone on your list. Let me know what you think and if you are able to attend a product demonstration comment what you find.

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Jack Skellington is Coming to Town!

 

Disney is beginning to put it’s Halloween products out on the market. The most popular of these are the Nightmare Before Christmas characters. Jack Skellington is by far their most popular Halloween character and they are coming out with a number of new “Jack” products to satisfy his fans.

The most accessible of these products are the NBC mugs and drinkware. I came across The “Scorpio” Jack mug last week. It had just become available.

 

Jack-o-Lantern!

I also found a great mug of Jack with his jack-o-Lantern in a beautiful orange and black color scheme. I especially like all of the detail in jack’s art work and the lyrics in the background. I currently have this up for auction. Take a look and see how it’s doing.

There’s also a really nice capuccino mug from last season that I was able to find. It’s well made with a picture of jack I haven’t seen before.

Jack Capuccino!

I invite you to check these out and let me know what you think. If you have a favorite Jack mug that you can’t find let me know. I will see if I can track it down for you.

Oh, and don’t forget about Sally. What’s Jack without her and especially this face mug that is no longer available anywhere but here!

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Coffee with Disney’s Tinkerbell

 

Tinkerbell in Silver coffee mug

Tinkerbell in Silver coffee mug

One of the great things about Disney is they are constantly changing their products and product designs. It gives the Disney artists an opportunity to express the Disney characters in new and different ways. Tinkerbell is one of the Disney characters that has been given the opportunity to “express” herself in ways that just a few years ago would have never been considered. She’s sassier, sexier and sometimes grumpier then Walt ever created.

Some of the best displays I have seen of Tink have been on the coffee and latte mugs that Disney sells.

Tinkerbell Tall Latte Mug

Each year they come out with different designs on the mugs. Some years are better than others but by and large Tinkerbell is someone they want to get right. She usually wears green but recently they have had her wearing gold or silver.

Personally I like all of them. I especially like the mugs that have a close up drawing of her face. Like the one below, these have a lot of detail and expression.

Tinkerbell Tall Latte Face mug

If you have a minute I invite you to check them out. If for no other reason they are enjoyable to look at. As we approach the holidays I will have even more Tinkerbell mugs on display. Be sure to check back and see what else comes in.

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The Jonas Brothers Burnin’ it up!

jonas brothers trading pin

 

 

In the summer of 2008 I took my daughter to what I thought was going to be an experience to endure not enjoy. It was The Jonas Brothers Burnin’ It Up tour concert at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. What I thought was going to be 5 hours of pain ended up being a really great time. I enjoyed seeing how excited my daughter was and how much fun she had before, during and after the concert. She was  able to sign the bus and take pictures of it before going into the venue. The music was exactly what she wanted and the production was well done.

jonas brothers postcards

While we were at the concert we picked up some souvenirs and T-shirts. During the rest of that summer my daughter found more Jonas Brothers memorabilia at the store or over the internet to add to her  growing collection.

Featured here are some of the items that we picked up at the concert and then later from conventions and stores.

It has been enjoyable to watch my daughter grow up and go through these eras. It was bittersweet to see this one come to an end (Secretly I think she still likes them but can’t publicly admit to it). But like all great times there is a desire to move on to the next one. I imagine I ‘ll be writing something about Twilight here in the not too distant future 🙂

jonas brothers sport bottle

 

jonas brothers giant 6 inch pin

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Walt Disney’s Alice in Wonderland Snowglobe.

 

Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland Snowglobe!

 

It’s snowing in Wonderland! Well, at least the Red Queen thinks it is. The Disney Store recently retired this Alice in Wonderland snow globe. It’s quite lovely. In the last year or so the snow globes Disney has been putting out have been below standard. I’m not sure if they went with a new designer or the old one lost his touch. This Alice globe though is more like the snow globes from 3 or 4 years ago. Higher quality and a bit more imaginative. In this version the Red Queen is featured holding court in the globe. When you turn on the battery operated blower she is wrapped in swirling red hearts! Outside you see Alice peering in at the queen while the white rabbit stands there looking a a bit confused.

This is a nice addition to the Disney snow globe line. It’s a shame that it has been retired. But if this is any indication the next Alice snow globe should be just as nice if not better.

 

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Coconut M&M’s? Are You Kidding Me!??!

 

They’re great! Chocolate and Coconut together in an M&M! I’ve tried some of the other chocolate and coconut candies out there and some of them are good to be sure. But I think this is the best combination of those flavors and packaged in an M&M shell. I suggest you give them a shot. They show up in the large bags at the end of spring/beginning of summer and disappear by August. Do yourself a favor and try some before they are gone and you are left waiting 6 months until spring rolls around again.

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Shipping With Omar part deux

I recently answered a e-mail from a nice young lady that was interested in shipping costs and wrote the following reply. I thought it might be helpful for further clarification on shipping costs.

Thanks so much for your interest in the M&M’s. I do combine shipments. However the savings comes when you order 10 or more of the large bags of M&M’s. Here’s out it works out:

3 bags M&M’s = $14.50 shipping cost (one flat rate envelope)
6 bags M&M’s = $29.00 shipping cost (two flat rate envelopes)
9 bags M&M’s = $43.50 shipping cost (three flat rate envelopes)
10 to 12 bags = $45.50 shipping cost (one medium flat rate box)
12 or more bags = $58.50 shipping cost (one large flat rate box)

That being said some bags combine better than others. For example I can fit 5 bags of Hershey’s drops in the same space I can place three large bags of M&M’s. If you have a good idea what you would like and quantities then I can work up a listing for you and give you an accurate shipping cost.

As far as the Coconut and Strawberried M&M’s go I am completely sold out of those and do not anticipate any more being available. Currently the Coconut M&M’s are only available in the one ounce personal size. If M&M decides to distribute them again then the large bags will probably start showing up around June.

Thank you again for your interest in the M&M’s. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any other questions and if you would like me to put a listing together for you. Also, here is a link to my website and explanation of shipping costs.

http://omarstent.com/?p=338

Kind regards,

Jim Thomasson

 

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French Roosters and their Mugs

A few years ago I discovered a surprisingly large subculture. Rooster fans. I was bemused at first but soon came to understand the attraction. A rooster in full plume and attitude is a beautiful thing. I have since found roosters adorning all manner of home and kitchen items. A multitude of rooster variations abound on mugs, platters and plates with paintings lovingly drawn.


Fall Rooster platter

I think people like to have a link to the rural past or pottery that reflects the life they love and have surrounded themselves with. Drinking your morning coffee out of a Rooster mug on a warm Sunday morning can be just the thing to start a lazy summer day.


Provencal Yell Golden Rooster

Or a vibrant red mug full of tea on a cold winter’s day.


King Rooster

Of course if you aren’t too keen on Roosters there’s always Sunflowers!


Golden Sunflower

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Shipping Costs from Omar’s Tent to You

Shipping with Omar!

There has been a lot of controversy between buyers and sellers regarding shipping costs.  I certainly get a number of questions from potential customers regarding some of my items and why they have such a high shipping cost. Believe me, If I could ship for less I would do it because I would attract more customers and enhance my bottom line. So here’s the deal:

I ship almost exclusively with the US Postal Service. For me this makes the most sense. The type of items I sell ship better this way and frankly the overall service has been better. When I ship overseas I use USPS priority mail international. When I ship M&M’s, Hershey’s Kisses, Reese’s Mini peanut butter cups, or Reese’s Pieces or just about any chocolate product I use the flat rate envelope. I can ship up to 4 pounds of goods in this envelope worldwide for $14.50. That is what the postal service charges plus the cost of the label and the tape (I completely wrap the envelope with shipping tape to help keep the envelope intact). If there is more than four pounds then I ship with the medium flat rate box which costs $12.00 domestic and $45.50 international. If it is more than 12 bags then I ship via USPS priority mail large flat rate box at a cost of $16.00 domestic and $58.50 international.

Whatever it takes, I will get your package to you!

If it is an item like mugs or globes or plates etc…, I ship either USPS parcel post or priority mail. I use the E-bay postage calculator on all of my auctions and store items. The price of shipping on each auction is dependent on the weight of the item being shipped and the size of the box.  If insurance is required then that cost is also factored in according to the USPS guide lines.

I realize that there are some sellers out there that charge high prices for shipping. many of them are legitimate costs but some are just padding their profit margin. Take the time to compare items and see what different sellers are charging for shipping. They may charge a low price for the item but a high price for shipping or vice-versa to balance the price. Take all charges into consideration before making a decision and then decide if the item is worth it. Don’t just base your decision on the cost of the item alone.

Posted in Candy, China, Chocolate, Disney, Ebay, figurine, Hershey's, kisses, M&M's, Mugs, postage, Shipping, USPS | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Walt Disney’s Peter Pan

One of my favorite rides at Disneyland is the Peter Pan ride. As a kid and now as an adult I enjoy the flying over London at night part of the ride. It was fantastic when I was young and even though there are much more sophisticated effects these days I still really enjoy this scene.

The other day I came across a mug from Disney that brings back the memories of the ride and the movie. It has Peter, Tinkerbell, Wendy and the others flying over the rooftops of London at night. The background is that deep purple twilight that the night sky holds. All of the characters are in silhouette.

Peter Pan in Silhouette

It’s quite a lovely mug. It has some heft to it also. It’s well made and made to last. Take a look and see what you think.

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