Tag Archives: craft

Foxes & Angels Greetings Cards review

Disclosure.  This post is a review of a product that I received for free.  All opinions are my own.

It is always a delight when I receive a nice card with a lovely personal message, so I like to give similar to my family and close friends, either making the cards myself or taking great care choosing ones to purchase. The key criteria for me is that cards should be environmentally friendly, so I was very happy to discover Foxes & Angels, who offered to send me a free pack of cards to review. As times are tough for small businesses right now, I said that 2 cards would be sufficient.

Foxes & Angels Greetings Cards

The cards are beautifully illustrated by Besheer Abbaro, a descendant of Sir Edwin Lutyens the architect, using techniques of lino prints, drawing and painting. I am always in awe of people who can craft such lovely designs. Besheer is very talented like my brother-in-law, who does traditional wood block printing.

It was particularly poignant to receive the Alexandra Palace scene, as that is one of the venues where my mum used to exhibit and teach at craft shows. She used to make so many different types of cards – cross-stitch, iris folding, quilling, tea bag folding to name but a few. I’m sure I got my own love of craft from her.

Foxes & Angels Alexandra Place Christmas Card

These cards are blank inside and measure approximately 18cm by 13cm, so lots of space for your message. The cards are printed on good quality FSC (Forestry Stewardship Council) certified card, as they have been unable to source suitable recycled card to showcase the lovely images but they are still pursuing this. And the envelopes are brown kraft recycled paper. They offer a choice of protective recycled cellophane bags which are made from corn starch or small paper card clasps when you purchase online. The clasps are a peelable label. Alternatively you may opt for neither. I was pleased to see that the external postal packaging also looked recycled and noted the use of paper tape. Their website states that they are always seeking to reduce their carbon footprint where possible.

Foxes & Angels Christmas Card

As well as Christmas cards, the range encompasses birthday, new baby, new home, thinking of you, music exam and everyday cards.

In addition to their own online shop, the cards are also sold via a selection of independent retailers. I think it would be useful to the consumers who purchase the cards via these other stockists, if there were some indication that the bags are biodegradable cellophane and more importantly, how to dispose of them. Perhaps this information could be incorporated onto the reverse of the cards.

It would also be great to see more information on the website regarding estimates of how long the biodegradable recycled cellophane bags take to degrade and whether they are suitable for home or industrial composting.

Foxes & Angels Christmas Card

The pricing of the cards is excellent value, currently most of the range is priced at £2.75 each or packs of 6 for £11. Checkout process is simple.

Do take a look at the range to see all the other great designs. They have a great vintage retro look. And thankfully no pesky glitter or foil embellishments in sight.

Foxes & Angels greetings cards

Foxes & Angels greetings cards

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a selection of both winter and their new spring season greetings cards courtesy of Foxes & Angels to one lucky winner. A lovely prize.

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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

I think Stag At Night is my favourite and I’d love to hear which card design you like best.

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Handmade doll and book giveaway

I do enjoy dabbling in crafts from time to time and last week I made a decoupage Mother’s Day card for my mum. I sometimes dream about the possibility of setting up my own crafting business, but that is all it is, just wishful thinking. However today I would like to introduce you to a talented lady who does have her own crafting business.

Sue Kim makes gorgeous ragdolls and she has now written her first children’s book “Grandma’s Special Birthday Party” featuring her dolls. Along with her daughter Veronica , Sue made all of the dolls, clothes, and even some of the furniture used in the book.

Grandmas special birthday party by Sue Kim

The story is about two twins Abby and Ally, their lovely dogs, and their family. In this story Abby and Ally prepare a special birthday party for their Grandmother! And it celebrates international day and teaches children about many cultures and traditions around the world!

And the dolls aren’t Sue’s first foray into crafting. She is already an established author with 5 sewing / quilting books on Amazon to her name.

You may find out more about Sue on her website Second Avenue. You will also be able to see plenty of her beautiful dolls either there, or on Etsy or Instagram.

Or if sewing is your thing, then there are plenty of downloadable patterns to browse on Sue’s other website ithinksew.

Handmade ragdoll and book giveaway

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway one of Sue’s beautiful handmade dolls (value £87), along with a copy of her children’s book and 6 postcards to one lucky winner. What a lovely prize from Sue.

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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

I’d love to hear what crafts you enjoy?

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Disclosure.  Although I am hosting this giveaway, I have not received any products.  All opinions are my own.

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Guest post: How to prevent a mess when crafting with kids

Allowing your kids to do craft work is rewarding in many ways. It keeps them entertained for a long time, it gives them the freedom to express themselves and you get to see how their faces light up and how big their smiles are when they do something interesting.

crafting

That being said, we cannot leave out the other important aspect of kids’ crafting – the mess. Crafting is all fun and games until it comes time to clean the aftermath of it. Sure some kids know to be very careful and not make a mess but then crafting loses half of its fun and appeal.

Instead of forbidding your kids to use some crafting supplies because they leave a mess or if you teach them to be super careful when they create their masterpieces what you can do is just prepare for the mess. It’s as simple as that.

crafting

If your kids really love crafting there is a number of things that you can do to prepare the space which they will use in a way that it will be easier to clean up. And also, to make sure they use art and craft supplies that can be cleaned – such as paints and markers that are washable.

Here are some ideas about how to prepare the crafting area for a lot of use and for easier cleaning.

1. Set limits and boundaries – limit the craft area to only one room or even better outdoors. If you have an outdoor space – yard, garden, lawn, patio, etc. If it is a good and sunny day set their crafting zone somewhere outside to prevent the mess inside of your home. Just the coffee table, their room or any other room is fine. Limit the mess in as small place as possible for a quick cleaning.

2. Use cling wrap to prevent stains and splashes of paint and markers on your furniture. Put the wrap on the table and whatever mess your kids make will be easier to clean and you will have protected your table. When the craft time is over simply remove the wrap and have your table untouched.

3. Lint roller – this is a great tool to use if your kids love using a lot of glitter, which we all know ends up all over the house. When your kids are done crafting before letting them run around the house use a ling roller to remove all glitter from their clothes or hands and then from the area they have been working at.

4. Old clothes – as we know kids tend to get themselves dirty paint, glue and all other messes can then be found on their clothes. That is why you should find some old shirts and pants and call them their ‘creative costumes’ and only allow them to do crafts when in them so you will not have to worry about not being able to get the watercolour stains off their new clothes.

5. Limit the supplies – give them one or two sets of markers, crayons, pencils and paint. Give them one or two types at a time, or when their paint is finished give them more. This way they will have fewer things around them to make a mess with.

crafting

But as a whole, try to not take it too strongly and think only about the mess and the cleaning. Worrying about this will only take the fun out of crafting and enjoying your kids’ crafts.

Crafting is the best way of letting your kids’ minds work creatively and express themselves. It is also very therapeutic and is a great way to keep them entertained for a long time. Just make sure you prepare the crafting area well.

crafting

Guest post by Demi Giles

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3d Decoupage Advent project plus crafting giveaway

Counting down the days until December, it is time for my latest craft project – a 3d decoupage advent calendar card kit which I received free to review from docrafts. I was very pleased to receive this as making 3d decoupage pictures and cards used to be one of my favourite hobbies before the boys were born. I still have a drawer full of prints waiting for me to find time to do more crafting.

docrafts advent calendar card

The docrafts website has loads of creative inspiration for crafting projects, plus a wide range of products for sale. It also has a busy crafting forum. Do take a look.

This kit contained an A5 size preprinted card, 3 die-cut sheets, a preprinted paper, 2 card extensions and an expandable envelope. There were some very small font instructions on the reverse of the pack, too small for me to read easily, but it seemed fairly obvious what I needed to do.

I pressed out the numbers and images to go behind the windows, plus an embellishment for the front. Mostly very easy to press out but there were a couple that I had to tidy the edge slightly with scissors. Then I used double sticky pads that I already had in my crafting stash to build up the layers, although I would have expected the kit to have contained these. There were additional smaller numberless baubles but I chose not to use these. I also didn’t use the preprinted paper, but this could have gone inside the card as an insert for you to personalise with a greeting message.

docrafts advent calendar card

I then folded the card extensions and glued them on to the card. And finally glued the front onto the card extensions. I’m not convinced I did this stage correctly as although my finished advent calendar looked fabulous, it was far too thick to possibly even fit into an extending envelope.

Afterwards I used a magnifying glass to study the instructions, but they were fairly minimal and didn’t give a detailed explanation of how to fold and stick the card extensions.

docrafts decoupage advent card

In summary, a lovely craft kit, but more detailed larger instructions would be helpful. It didn’t take very long to make. The kit also suggested that you could personalise it with your own photographs. A nice touch but it would take some effort printing them to such a small size to fit the windows.

This kit is available to purchase from docrafts for £3. An excellent price for a nice little craft project.

docrafts boy's activity pack

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a crafting activity goody bag courtesy of docrafts to one lucky winner. I’ve been sent one as a thank you gift and can assure you that it will be a lovely prize. Contents are worth over £18 but this retails at just £9.95 currently.

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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

I’d love to hear about your craft projects.

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of a product I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Cardmaking including a giveaway

Emma at docrafts has sent me a bundle of crafting goodies from the new Nature’s Gallery range free to review.

Docrafts Nature's Gallery crafting bundle

Regular readers of my blog may remember my earlier reviews of docrafts kits. I’ve had fun making Christmas decorations, a Roald Dahl decoupage card and gift labels previously, so I was really looking forward to trying these ones out.

Nature’s Gallery by Papermania is a new range for docrafts. It depicts a beautiful mix of botanical art illustrations and bird imagery, featuring herbal plants, ferns, specimen butterflies and insects. An ideal vintage collection for gardeners and bird lovers alike.

The items I received are:-
A4 Decoupage Pack – RRP £3.50
Six 3D Bird Stickers – RRP £2.50
A5 Paper Pack (32 sheets) – RRP £4
Mini Alphabet Stickers (306 pieces) – RRP £2.50
20 Ribbon Bows – RRP £2.50
3 cards and envelopes

I decided to make some cards. For my first card, I chose to use images entirely from the decoupage pack. No cutting was required as they just pressed out. I then built these up into a three dimensional picture using double sided sticky pads (not included). And I cut out a quarter from one of the A4 sheets to use as my background. I glued this onto a blank card and then glued my 3D picture onto that, along with a Happy Birthday banner, also pressed out from the pack.

I believe I said something similar before when making the Roald Dahl card, but I do think it would be helpful to include some sticky pads in the A4 Decoupage Pack.

natures valley decoupage

For my second card, I started by cutting a sheet from the A5 paper pack in half. I glued this onto one of the blank cards as my background. I then used letters from the pack of Mini Alphabet Stickers pack to write the words “Happy Birthday”. I added one of the 3D Bird Stickers which was ready prepared to stick straight on. Finally I attached one of the Ribbon Bows, again using a double sided sticky pad (not included).

natures valley decoupage

So a couple of very easy to make cards. But they could be used for more ambitious projects. I’d love to hear what you would do with them?

These products are part of a brand new range and are now available from docrafts stockists.

These are all great crafting supplies. I was very impressed with the quality and I consider them all to be very good value. You certainly get plenty for your money.

The docrafts website has loads of creative inspiration for crafting projects, plus a wide range of products for sale. It also has a busy crafting forum. Do take a look.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a Nature’s Gallery crafting bundle courtesy of docrafts to one lucky winner.  A great prize.

a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of products I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Kids Weekend Box review and free offer

A year ago, we reviewed our first Kids Weekend Activity Box, fairly soon after their product launch. You can see the fun we had last time, on the following 2 posts.
Cooking Potato Boats and making 3D glasses.
Sand Art and making a bird feeder.
The boys had a great time doing these activities, so they were delighted to hear that we had been invited to review another box.

weekend box

I captured son2 opening the box on video.

weekend box

For those of you who haven’t come across it before, I’ll introduce you to Weekend Box which is a box containing Healthy, Green and Creative themed activities for your children delivered through your letterbox every fortnight. It is similar to a Graze healthy snacks box but with children’s activities in.

Each box contains 4 colour-coded activities:
Something to COOK (a healthy recipe with accompanying secret ingredient)
Something to MAKE (a craft kit with all the materials required)
Something GREEN (some seasonal seeds to plant or something to make with recycling/rubbish material)
Something to EXPLORE (sensory exploration games, for example)

Each activity is designed to build sensory exploration skills with little ones aged 3-6 as well as help teach them about different life skills in a fun and engaging way. And the colour coding makes it easy for the children to match the packets to the instruction sheets. You also get stickers for completing the activities. And the inside of the box turns into a certificate which can be coloured in.

The boxes are sent out (with free delivery) in time for the weekend every fortnight and since everything’s included in the box, you can focus on spending time having fun with your little ones.

Our box theme was Chinese New Year and a new feature included in the box is a card of Talking Points. The boys were really interested in all the information. They are already very knowledgable on the Chinese years and quickly told me that this year will be the year of the sheep and which years they are born in. All this has been learnt from a calendar that we were given at a Chinese restaurant which is on son2’s bedroom wall.

The four activities in our box were as follows:-
Red Activity with Wooster the Rabbit – Fortune Cookies.
Blue Activity with Sammy the Squirrel – Paper Plate Drum.
Green Activity with Hattie the Hedgehog – Chinese Lanterns.
Yellow Activity with Oswald the Owl – Chinese Dragon.

The boys were keen to start with the cooking. They wrote their fortunes and here I would suggest that I should have pre-cut the paper into strips for them in advance, as they boys wrote them very large when left to do this part by themselves. So we had to a lot of folding to get them small enough to fit inside.  And we had to do a bit more improvisation as I don’t possess a large enough cookie cutter. I do  want some larger ones. In fact, I’ve had 11cm and 13cm ones on my wishlist for several years but can’t find them anywhere. So if anyone knows where I can get some, please let me know. Instead we used a knife to cut round a tupperware lid as our template. Son1 was fine with that but son2 needed a bit of help. They both progressed well after that, with just a little bit of help on sealing the cookies shut, as they seemed determined to pop open.

I had already spotted that there was an error in the recipe versus the ingredients list. No mention of what to do with the 2 spoons of honey or syrup. I decided that we would use honey instead of oil to brush half the cookies. And feedback from the boys. The toppers didn’t live up to their expectation from the photo which looks like lots of small pieces of raspberry. Instead we had just 9 larger pieces of strawberry. Little and lots would have been more fun for sprinkling. However one thing there were no issues with was how yummy they tasted. We will certainly make these again.

fortune cookies

Secondly the boys made the paper plate drums. I provided additional plates etc, so that they could make one each. They were fine with this activity, but we didn’t find blu tack was that great at sticking the lolly sticks together. Very wobbly drum handles, so son1 requested sellotape instead.

chinese drums

Then we saved the other two activities for the following weekend. This time we started by making Chinese Dragons. I didn’t have a similar piece of yellow card for them both to participate, so I improvised by folding an A4 sheet of yellow paper in half and glueing an old Xmas card inside to stiffen it. I was very impressed with the glue dots that were included in this activity, worked better than the blu tack last weekend. The boys decided they wanted to draw the scales onto their dragons with felt-tip pens rather than using the paint. And then they had great fun pretending to be dragons, the exploratory part of the activity. I didn’t even need to prompt, they just started instinctively whilst posing for photos with their completed dragons.

Chinese dragons

And finally I had been saving the tubes from the loo rolls this week, ready for their Chinese Lanterns. This time we did use the paint, but I may have mixed it too stiff, as it wasn’t quite enough for 2 tubes. And we did have one objection from the boys. They didn’t like the colour pink for the handles, they said they should be red too, so you’ll see they are actually holding the lanterns by the base rather than the handle. I’m not sure how we could have incorporated putting LED tealights inside, as per an additional suggestion on the sheet, since they had no bases.

Chinese lanterns

The boxes retail at £7.50 including delivery which is great value for money in my opinion, less than £2 per activity. Last year I discussed what families of more than one child should do, and I’m pleased to see that you can now include siblings at £4 each. And you may choose to have your boxes fortnightly or monthly.

I think it is so exciting for a child to get their own box through the post. And son1 is several years above the target age of 3-6, but still really enjoyed it.

If readers of my blog would like to try out the Weekend Box, I have been given a unique promo code for you to get your first box for free (including free delivery).

The unique promo code is CLAIRE43 and can be redeemed at www.weekendboxclub.com. If you have any difficulties with the code, try signing up with this direct link www.weekendboxclub.com/main/signup?promocode=CLAIRE43

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of a product I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

A new lease of life for calendars

I’m a firm believer in upcycling, reusing and recycling where possible, so when my mum said she had bought a packet of 2015 calendar tabs and did I want some, of course I said yes please. Just what I needed to give a new lease of life to some of the lovely calendars that the boys have made.

upcycled calendar

originally made for 2012 by son1

upcycled calendar

originally made for 2013 by son1

upcycled calendar

originally made for 2014 by son2

These calendar tabs are available in packs of 10 for just £1 from docrafts, a company that I have reviewed products from on several occasions.

calendar tab

Regular readers of my blog may remember my earlier reviews of docrafts products. I’ve had fun making Christmas decorations, a Roald Dahl decoupage card and gift labels previously.

The docrafts website has loads of creative inspiration for crafting projects, plus a wide range of products for sale. It also has a busy crafting forum. Do take a look.

Disclosure. This is NOT a sponsored post. My mum purchased this product. All opinions are my own.

Homemade Christmas Decorations

Christmas decorations

I love it at this time of year when I fetch the boxes down to decorate our home for Christmas. So many of the items are homemade by the boys and I have a little nostalgia trip as I remember whether it was something we made together or something they proudly brought home from school. I particularly love seeing son2’s beaming smile on this little tree decoration that he made a few years ago at nursery.

Christmas decoration

Son1’s term hasn’t finished yet, but son2 has brought home a Santa hat and a beautiful reindeer picture that he made at school. Of course, son1 immediately wanted to wear his Santa hat which he made 2 years ago.

santa hat

Son2 made a santa hat

Rudolph reindeer picture

Son2’s picture of Rudolph

santa hat

Son1’s santa hat

I always make my own tags for the Christmas presents but I’ve recently started making some decorations too. Something I probably hadn’t done since I was a similar age to the boys. So last Christmas I blogged about the table decoration that I made. And this autumn I put my sewing skills to the test to make some tree decorations from a docrafts kit. I’m planning to also make a baubles table decoration.

Christmas table decoration

My Christmas table decoration

And here are a couple of lovely decorations that my mum has made for us. Craft is one of her favourite hobbies.

Christmas decoration Christmas decoration

Disclosure. I am entering this post into a competition run by Victoria of Victoria’s Vintage in association with Able Skills.

More crafting fun including a giveaway

Regular readers of my blog may remember my earlier reviews of docrafts kits. I’ve had fun making Christmas decorations and a Roald Dahl decoupage card previously. I have now received four more free products from docrafts to review.

crafting supplies

They are:-
Papermania Bare Basics – Kraft Gift Tags & Jute (contains 20) – RRP £2.50
Papermania Bare Basics – White Mini Cards & Envelopes (contains 3) – RRP £2.50
Papermania Chalk Craft – Chalkboard & Kraft Parcel Tags (contains 10) – RRP £2.75
Papermania Chalk Craft – Chalkboard Stickers (contains 24) – RRP £3

My son is attending a joint birthday party for two of his school friends. So I decided to try two of the kits out to make a couple of attractive gift tags to label the birthday presents.

For the first one, using Kraft Gift Tags & Jute, I simply stuck some Ben 10 stickers onto the tag and threaded a length of the jute through the hole and wrote a message on the reverse. Great for the Ben 10 present inside.

Kraft Gift Tags & Jute

For the second one, using Chalkboard & Kraft Parcel Tags, I grabbed some gold ribbon from my craft stash, tore it in half lengthways to make it thinner and threaded it through the hole and wrote part of the message in blue chalk on the chalkboard. I find chalk is quite clumsy to write with, so my writing was quite large for the size of the tag. This meant I didn’t have room to write all the message, so I wrote the rest on the reverse. I finished it off with a smiley sticker.

Chalkboard & Kraft Parcel Tags

By now I had quite got into the theme of parcel labelling, so I decided to make a gift card using the White Mini Cards & Envelopes. These were a great size at 10.5 x 7cm. I stuck a selection of elephant stickers on both the card and envelope.

White Mini Cards & Envelopes

And finally I have a great plan for the Chalkboard Stickers. I’m going to make some lemon curd, but I need to get some jars first, so I will blog the recipe after it is made. Meanwhile I have prepared a sticker for one of the jars to show you.

Chalkboard Stickers

So I’ve used these all in very simple ways. But they could be incorporated into more ambitious projects. I’d love to hear what you would do with them?

These products are all brand new additions to the range and will be available in November from docrafts stockists.

These are all great basic crafting supplies. I was very impressed with the quality and I consider them mostly to be very good value. Although the White Mini Cards & Envelopes are slightly overpriced in my opinion, equating to 83p each.

The docrafts website has loads of creative inspiration for crafting projects, plus a wide range of products for sale. It also has a busy crafting forum. Do take a look.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway one of each of these four products courtesy of docrafts to one lucky winners.  A lovely prize.

a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of products I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Christmas crafts review and giveaway

Regular readers of my blog may remember that I made a docrafts Roald Dahl decoupage card a few months ago. With the school Autumn term having only just started, dare I say that I am already starting to think about Christmas, having received a free Sew & So On Christmas decoration kit from docrafts to review.

Festive Decorations Kit

This kit is to make 5 Festive Decorations to hang on the Christmas tree and it includes everything required except a needle and glue. It has step by step photographic instructions. All contents were as specified although one of the fabric pieces for the toadstool stem had a 7mm nick in it, but I think I should be able to stitch this together.

Christmas decoration kit

Kit contents

I started by making one of the heart decorations. It was very simple to sew on the lace trim, but I wasn’t sure whether to sew the ribbon onto the outside or inside of the decoration. I personally would prefer to also have written instructions which hopefully would have helped at this point. I opted to sew the ribbon to the inside, but with hindsight it may have worked better on the outside. Then I sewed the back and front together inside out, turned it out the right way, stuffed it and sewed it closed. However the stitching where I closed it, doesn’t look as good as the rest, so again written instructions may have helped, to pinpoint most discreet place to stitch closed.

heart xmas decoration

Christmas decoration

Overall I am pleased with my spotty heart. It will look nice on the tree. And I’m now making the gingham heart. In summary, a lovely craft kit, but more detailed instructions would be helpful.

This kit is available to purchase from docrafts for £4, which equates to 80p per decoration. A fantastic price for 5 nice little craft projects.

The docrafts website has loads of creative inspiration for crafting projects, plus a wide range of products for sale. It also has a busy crafting forum. Do take a look.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway one of these Christmas kits courtesy of docrafts to two lucky winners.  A lovely prize.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you can’t see the Rafflecopter box above, either click the Rafflecopter link or you may alternatively enter via my Facebook page. And you may see my other giveaways here.

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of products I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.