Gift Ideas for the Crafters & Artists

Gift ideas for the crafters and artists - there's something for everyone!

 

Crafters and artists are some of the hardest to shop for because they may be picky about their supplies or already seem to have it all.  Here are a few fun gift ideas, including top brands and products for various levels.  

 

Tombow Advanced Lettering Set – this set is perfect for the hand lettering beginner or expert.  Pair it up with one of the suggested books below and you may be receiving cute hand lettered gifts from your recipient by next year! 

 

Wacom Intuos Drawing Tablets are a must for anyone interested in art or design. Each tablet can be registered with software that suits the artists style (Graphic Drawing, Photo Editing, and Comic/Manga.)  The pen has an impressive 4096 pressure levels, delivering precision and control.  There are a variety of sizes of tablets, starting at $79.  I have had a chance to try the smaller Bluetooth model and it has been such a fun experience.  My husband has a passion for art and has already put it to use multiple times.  

 

 

Super Simple Hand Lettering Set – pair this book with a set of brush markers to give your gift recipient hours of creative fun.  

Cricut Explore Air 2 – listed as one of the best cutters for beginners by Amazon, the Cricut Explore Air 2 is also one of the more affordable cutting machines.  This machine cuts over 100 materials, and even connects to your phone or tablet via Bluetooth. 

 

 

Honey Can Do Rolling Cart – every crafter needs organization for all their supplies.  Perhaps this is just what your gift recipient needs!  

 

 

Everyday Macrame Kit – Macrame is such a beautiful way to decorate your home and not as often commonly practiced, making it a perfect “new hobby” for someone.  This book has 10 beautiful projects for your gift recipient to try out.  Be sure to include some macrame cord as well! 

 

Assorted Metallic Paper – what paper crafter can’t use more paper? And metallic!  This could make for some fun new projects!  

 

 

Canson 180 Degree Art Book – this sturdy sketch book contains high quality 65 pound paper, perfect for sketch artists and those using markers.  With strong stitch binding, you can lay this book open flat, making it ideal for artists.  

 

 

Even the crafter or artist that has it all probably doesn’t have these amazing Chameleon markers, and if they do, they will be excited for more!  These pens can make shading, blending, and color transitions look phenomenal with their unique blending chamber.  I have seen a few videos of these in use and the results are beautiful!  There are quite a few varieties of colors, so be sure to take a look around and see the choices.  

 

 

Prismacolor produces artist quality colored pencils that come in a variety of sizes of sets.  Whether you want to spend $15 or $100, there is a set available at almost any art store or online.  

 

 

Metallic markers are a must for any crafter.  These Pilot Gold & Silver Extra Fine Point Markers make a great stocking stuff or gift basket item.  BIC also makes a fun set of metallic markers, containing a variety of colors!  

 

 

I’ve always been intrigued by string art – there are so many projects you can create, whether you take a simple approach or a more detailed approach.  This DIY String Art book by Jesse Dresbach is a great place to start.  

 

 

Gift ideas for your young Paw Patrol fan

Paw Patrol gift ideas (so many cute new sets!)

 

First airing in 2013, Nick Jr’s Paw Patrol has quickly become a hit among young kids across the nation.  Following the adventures of 10 year old Ryder and six rescue dogs, the show encourages bravery and teamwork.  My kids were hooked early on and are excited with every new episode.  Eventually toys started rolling out in stores and their pretend-play was able to become even more exciting.  

Here are a few of the Paw Patrol toys and items that top our Christmas wish list this year..and shh my boys may even be getting a few! 

 

The Ultimate Rescue Mini character and vehicle sets by Spin Master are a perfect place to start.  These are small and portable, and work with most of the bigger sets that have space for other vehicles.  These specific vehicles attach to any of the Ultimate Rescue vehicles (see the fire truck below!)  Their size and price makes them perfect candidates for stocking stuffers! 

 

This is the top toy on my 6 year old’s list this year – the Ultimate Rescue Fire Truck!  It is available at most popular retailers this year, as well as Amazon.  He is going to be so excited on Christmas because grandma got it for him!  This truck features an extendable ladder, working claw arm, openable cab, a mini fire cart, and of course, Marshall.  This set is going to be a great addition to our current Paw Patrol collection!  

 

 

Paw Patrol: The Night Before Christmas is the perfect pre-Christmas gift!  With 24 flaps and a count down calendar, you can count down to Christmas with Ryder, Chase, Marshall, and the rest of the pups with this fun holiday book.  

 

 

The Paw Patrol Adventure Game is a fun board game for ages 4+ and 2-6 players.  The game is easy enough for preschoolers and even comes with a figure to play with! 

 

If you are looking for the toy that does it all, check out the Paw Patrol Zoomer Marshall interactive pup!  He has 150+ real Paw Patrol sounds and phrases and 80+ interactive missions and tricks.  Marshall comes to life and follows you with the wave of your hand. This gift is perfect for ages 3-5 as recommended, and will surely be a hit!  

Every kid needs their own place to lounge.  This Children’s 2-in-1 Flip-Open Foam Sofa by Spinmaster is just the right size for toddlers 18+ months old. And if you are worried about it getting dirty, have no fear – the slip cover comes off for easy cleaning!  

 

It may seem silly but my kids get so excited over new bedding with their favorite characters.  Spin Master and Nickelodeon teamed together for this cute Paw Patrol Twin Size Bedding Set.  Your little one is sure to love cuddling up and going to bed with their favorite characters.  Decorate their room further with these RoomMates Peel and Stick Characters

 

 

The Paw Patrol My Size Lookout Tower is another top one on holiday lists this year!  It stands 2 1/2 feet tall, has a rotating periscope, lights and sounds, and a working elevator and slide.  This toy is action packed for hours of adventure and fun.  

 

If you are looking for a more educational (but still fun) toy, the Vtech Paw Patrol Treat Time Marshall is just what you need for your 2-5 year old.  There are 4 play modes, each focusing on a different educational theme.  

 

 

For Christmas, you can never go too big!  This Paw Patrol large coloring book by Golden Books has over 50 stickers and an easy-carry handle.  I recommend pairing it with this Paw Patrol Coloring Set in Box for an ultimate coloring adventure.  

 

 

If you are looking for a mess free art activity, Crayola’s Color Wonder Paw Patrol Coloring Gift for Kids (Amazon Exclusive) is a great solution.  This kit contains 18 coloring pages, 10 Color Wonder markers, 6 Color Wonder paints, and 30 blank sheets.  

 

Winning the 2018 Toy of the Year Award, the Paw Patrol Sea Patroller has been a huge hit in my own home.  This vehicle transforms from ship to land vehicle with drop down wheels, and even has a moving crane.  It comes with Ryder and his ATV, and a couple of other small pieces.  My boys have made so many rescues with this fun set! 

 

The list goes on..I’ll try to keep adding as I see fit but these are my favorites!  And for those of you who are crafty, be sure to check Pinterest for fun DIY ideas as well – you never know what you’ll come across!  

Gift ideas for busy moms

Gift guide for busy moms (we all have one in our life!)

 

Welcome to my list of gift ideas for busy moms!  We all have a busy mom in our life…whether it’s our own mother, a friend, sister, or even daughter.  And often it’s tough to figure out what to get that mom because they are always on-the-go or seem to have it all already.  But there’s always something out there that they could use!  

The items on this list are personally recommended by myself – many I have even personally tried.  Others, I have simply heard raving reviews from friends, family, or even other bloggers I chat with.  Regardless – these are some pretty awesome products and I hope you find just what you are looking for!  

 

Erin Condren Undated Planner – Impress her with this trendy 12 month planner, flexible for any schedule.  Includes stickers to helping her mark important dates, detailed pages for projects, and even inspirational quotes.  Erin Condren planners are known for their quality and ability to be everything you need in a planner.  There are several branded and unbranded planner accessories to help make this planner become even more useful! 

 

JJ Cole Caprice Diaper/HandBag – This bag is a diaper bag in disguise.  With pockets galore and all the typical diaper bag features, this bag can also function as a nice handbag as the babies grow out of diapers.  The mom in your life will love having such a versatile bag!  

 

 

 

Nomad 0.3m Rugged Universal Cable – as a mom myself, I can tell you it is becoming more of a need to keep a charging cable in my purse.  Whether your own phone needs a quick boost to take that call from the pediatrician, or your kids’ tablet needs a charge to keep you sane while grocery shopping, it is very useful to keep one on hand.  This short cable has it all.  Rugged (sturdy), short and convenient yet long enough for basic use, and usable by nearly any device…not to mention it supports fast charging.  This is definitely the cable the mom in your life needs! 

 

 

Apple Watch – You know this was going to make the list didn’t you?  What busy mom’s life wouldn’t be made easier with a smart watch?  There are 4 series available, each increasing with price, but also increasing with features and processor speed.  Not only will this device let the mom in your life read and respond to texts without digging out her phone, but it will also help her stay accountable for any fitness goals she has.  

 

 

Amazon Prime Subscription as a Gift – gift the gift of quick and free 2-day (and sometimes 1-day) shipping.  If she has an Alexa smart speaker device, she can save even more time shopping by simply making a voice request for any Prime-eligible item.  

 

 

Aura Cacia Essential Solutions Mist –  this spray-able mist contains essential oils intended to relax and calm the mind.  A little spritz on my pillow before I go to bed can make all the difference. Other scents are available as well, such as Relaxing Lavender and Invigorating Ginger and Mint.   

 

 

Keurig Coffee Brewer – does mom love to have a hot cup of coffee (or tea) in the morning?  If she doesn’t already have a k-cup brewer, that is just what she needs!  A Keurig can have her beverage of choice ready in less than the time it takes to check her Facebook newsfeed in the morning.  There are several varieties to choose from depending on size and brewing options – even different colors! 

 

 

CHI Original 1″ Flat Iron – every mom needs ease in her morning routine and this CHI hair straightener brings just that.  I have had mine since my husband gifted it to me before our wedding, 10 years ago.  I still receive great results after nearly daily use.  

 

Heated Coaster for Mugs – mom should get to enjoy that hot beverage before it cools off but more often than not, she probably doesn’t.  This mug warmer is the perfect solution.  If you are looking to splurge a little more on the same idea, check out the Ember temperature controlled mug!  

 

 

myCharge Wireless Power Bank – this item is all about convenience!  When mom’s phone is running low, she can simply pull this little device out and set her phone on top…voila, instant quick charging anywhere for Qi compatible devices like the newer iPhones and Android phones.  This power bank is small enough to fit in a purse without taking up much space and packs enough power to charge the typical phone up to 5 times before having to recharge the power bank itself.  Mom can recharge her phone anywhere without having to worry about cables.

 

 

Isotoner Women’s Smart Touch Cable Knit Gloves – I love a good pair of gloves and this pair is absolutely perfect.  Maybe my own kids will get them for me (hint hint!) because not only do they look cute and warm to keep mom warm on-the-go, but they are also touch screen compatible!  I also recommend making it a set and adding in these matching Isotoner cable knit slippers

 

Jaybird RUN True Wireless Earbuds – whether mom loves listening to music while working out, talking on the phone while driving, or just wants a moment of peace and quiet from everything else, these earbuds would make a great gift.  They are water resistant and the case holds another 8 hours of charge for recharging on-the-go.  

 

 

SipCaddy Portable Drink Holder – every busy mom needs a chance to unwind.  This cup holder is a fun gift to let mom know it’s ok to take a break and relax.  This “Mommy’s Sippy Cup” Wine Glass goes perfect with this holder! 

 

 

Oversized C.C. Beanie – for the mom on-the-go, this beanie is just what she needs to keep her head warm!  Comfy, spacious, and a popular brand, mom is sure to be excited when she unwraps her gift to discover it.

 

Sound+Sleep Sound Machine – mom deserves a good night of sleep for whatever she has to come the next day…work, school, appointments, you name it.  I have had this same sound machine for 3 years and it has helped my sleep immensely.  

 

Fossil Fiona Small Crossbody Bag – a crossbody bag can make life so much easier for the busy mom.  Sometimes she only needs space for the essentials.  At an affordable price for a designer brand, this bag is available in several colors.  You’re sure to find a perfect match for mom!  

 

 

Stay tuned.. if I think of anything else, I’ll be sure to add it to this list!!! 

 

How Tax Noncompliance Could Hurt You and Your Family

 

Taxes are a touchy subject and there are a number of people who knowingly or even unknowingly fail to comply, causing themselves hardship they never could have imagined.  I recommend to always familiarize yourself with your state and federal tax laws, or see an accountant.  Regardless, you should always make an effort to file your tax returns in a timely manner. If you fail to file your tax returns, you might end up paying fines. And for those of you who owe, it is always best to pay the money you owe to the IRS rather than try to avoid it. If you do not comply, you could be slapped with a tax levy, which will hurt your finances even more.

 

What Is a Tax Levy?

A tax levy is the authority that allows the IRS to seize property, bank accounts, and wages in an effort to force you to repay the money you owe them. Initially, you are served with a notice and requested to meet your tax obligations. If you fail to comply with the notice, the IRS will send you a final notice before embarking on a journey to force you to comply. The IRS expects you to respond to these notices and plan with them on your payment installments.

The IRS will give you a window of opportunity for you to contact them. It is a good idea to take up this opportunity to contact the agency and make payment arrangements. If you are unable to do it by yourself, you could hire an attorney to represent you or contact an accounting firm that may be able to help you get an extension granted.

Tax noncompliance falls under two categories: failure to file and failure to pay.  Both are equally important and will have the IRS knocking at your door if you don’t follow deadlines. Whether filing as an individual or as a family company, tax compliance is very important.  

 

Consequences of Not Being Up-to-Date on Taxes

It is very important to be up-to-date on taxes.  It is your responsibility to keep your information up to date and file by the deadline. You are expected to voluntarily report as well as remit earned income as well as accruing taxes to the government.

With the motivation the government has to seal fraud loopholes, as well as recover funds, it is difficult to get away with noncompliance with the tax laws.  You may feel like there are millions of other people the government could focus on, but they could catch that one minor loophole you didn’t think was a big deal.  You stand to pay twice the amount you owe after defaulting your tax obligations. As if that’s not enough, you could be sued and face other penalties that could result in huge fines and a prison sentence. It’s not worth it. 

Apart from failing to service your tax dues, failing to file returns on time is also penalized. Misrepresentation of your income report also attracts huge penalties. Failure to file returns on time alone could cause a 25% fine.

 

Organize and Prepare Your Financial Records

To be best prepared for tax time, it is important to keep your financial records and organize your financial paperwork. Clear records will enable you to respond explicitly to any question raised by the Internal Revenue Service regarding any item on your tax return. This is very important especially after the 2017 tax plan.

There are quite a number of ways you could organize your records. The most important thing to note though is the safety of the records as well as easy retrieval. You could take a general approach to record keeping, so that not only are you preparing for any tax audit, but also for any other eventuality.

While at it, make sure to designate a record-keeping location. This will give you an ample space to keep your records organized. Of course, filing materials will go a long way to ensure order in your filing system. You may want to have a backup for your taxes just in case you lose the main ones to any eventuality. A safe deposit box is instrumental in keeping your difficult-to-replace securities as well as documents. You should also be keen on what is important and what should go. Some documents or receipts will just take up space and are no longer necessary.

Consolidate your financial information and see to it that you create a list of debts, financial assets, and the like. This comes after you have created investment files and organized your records well. 

Most importantly, keep an eye on the calendar and be aware of deadline dates.  Knowing what is coming up in the next months could make a huge difference in your ability to file or pay on time. 

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