Bicycle Storage Solution

Thanks goodness it’s bicycle riding weather! Finally! Dan and I hadn’t ridden our bikes since our Pedal to Pittsburgh last October. (If you’re new and didn’t read about our Pedal to Pittsburgh, you can read all about it here. We rode our bikes 180 from Cumberland, Maryland to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It was a blast!) So yes, we are avid bicyclists. And we have bikes. A lot of bikes. Our basement is full of bikes. Which was the problem. Until recently.

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Just look at them all lined up. So nice and neat. In one place. It wasn’t always like that.

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 No, it looked more like this!

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And this!

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And sadly, like this : (

Until I heard about Monkey Bars Storage. Monkey Bars Storage gave us one of their Garage Bike Racks to install, use and review and let me tell you, we love it. Since we don’t have a garage, we put ours in the basement and since they are no studs in our unfinished basement, Dan had to borrow a friend’s hammer jack to drill the holes in the block for the screws for the brackets. But once that was done, the rest of the installation was done in minutes. The large bike rack holds up to six bikes and it only takes up four feet of wall space! Monkey Bars Storage also has a smaller 3-bike rack.

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Monkey Bars Storage has lots of garage storage solution products.  Utilizing a patented design and all-steel components, the system provides innovative and durable storage solutions. The Monkey Bars system is designed to hold a lot of storage in a little amount of space. And since Monkey Bars components are made of steel and powder coated, you are getting solid products that will last.

Thanks to Monkey Bars Storage for helping de-clutter our basement bicycle mess!

Disclosure: I was provided product in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. As always, I only promote products that I use and love.

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Fabric Flowers Cut with Silhouette®

This is a story about how I embellished some $4 Ikea curtains with fabric flowers that I cut with my Silhouette® Cameo.

embellish ikea curtains by createandbabble.com

Have you seen these curtains at Ikea? I picked up about 8 of them a few weeks ago because number one: the price was right: $4.00, and number 2: I like the light, airy feel of them and thought they’d be perfect for the three windows in my master bedroom. Well they’re still not hanging in my master bedroom. I’ll get to it. Some day. But in the meantime, I came up with an idea on how to embellish them.

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Here’s what the package looks like in case you’re interested in finding them at Ikea. The display had some crocheted flowers on them and that’s what gave me the idea of embellishing them myself.

fabric flowers by createandbabble.com

 

Have you cut fabric with your Silhouette® yet? If not, you gotta try it. I used the sewable heat transfer fabric interfacing on the back of the fabric and simply followed the directions on the packaging.  The fabric I used is a light cotton. (I made the cutting file, which is a 12 petal flower. If you’d like the cutting file for this flower, shoot me an email or leave a comment at the bottom of this post and I’ll be happy to share it with you.)

fabric flowers by createandbabble.com

I layered two flowers together and sewed a button in the center to keep them together.

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I just tacked them onto the curtains with a couple of stitches. Easy. These are hanging on the patio doors in my living room. It was difficult to get a good photo of them because of the poor lighting, but I think you get the idea.

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I can think of a bunch of ways to use these fabric flowers. Floral fabric with colored buttons for a nursery would be adorable. And what’s really nice about cutting your own fabric flowers is that you get to pick the size of the flower and use any fabric that you like.

Have you used your Silhouette® to cut fabric? What have you made? I’d love to hear!

 

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Staircase Makeover

This year’s “While Dan is Outatown” project is just about done! You may remember when I shared with you how Dan goes out of town on business every March and I start a DIY project while he’s away. Last year I painted the kitchen cabinets. This year I tackled the staircase. It was in dire need of a makeover. It was especially evident after I renewed the grout lines on the slate floor. Since the floor looked so new, it made the tired, old staircase look even worse. The carpet on the steps was matted and stained and the wood trim needed repaired and painted. This project actually got started when I restained the bannister. Dan was still home when I did the bannister but had no idea what I was going to do when he went away on his trip!

DIY Staircase Makeover
Want to see how I did it? I admit it took some time, but it wasn’t hard at all.

diy-staircase-makeover As soon as Dan was out the door, I grabbed a pair of plyers and pulled back a corner of carpet on the top step to see what was underneath: padding. No surprise there. Thankfully the carpet came off very easily. No horror story here about thousands of staples.

diy staircase makeover Even removing the tack strip wasn’t as bad as I had thought it would be. Just a few taps of a hammer onto a small crow bar did the trick.

stair case makeover There were a few staples to remove, but that part went quickly, too. I had read horror stories about this part, but I was lucky. It seems that whomever installed that carpet didn’t go crazy with stapling.

diy staircase makeover by createandbabble This photo shows what I hadn’t planned on. It seems that a paint sprayer was used when the house was built and there was overspray on the ends of the steps. Now what?

diy staircase remodel So I was off to Home Depot to get a sander. Even though the layer of paint was light, it was too much for a sanding sponge. I needed a little power behind some sand paper. I got the Ryobi Job Plus base that came with a triangle shaped sanding head: perfect! It took a few hours to sand off the pained and smooth out the finish on the walls.

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I found a tube of spackle at Home Depot that goes on pink and turns white once it dries. I used that to fill  all the nail holes, staples holes and cracked molding. Now I don’t know if there’s a “right” way to do this. Paint first? Stain first? I decided to paint first. Since the side moldings were already white, they only needed one coat of paint. I used the same paint that I used on the kitchen cabinets because it goes on so nicely, plus it’s durable.

Since the risers were bare wood, I gave them two coats of primer first, then two coats of the white paint. I waited a few days before I started staining the treads. I used Minwax Wood Finish Ebony. Since these steps are used every day, I went with the every other step method. This part took a few days because I only worked on them about an hour a day. Once the staining was done, I added two coats of polycrylic to seal them.

diy staircase remodel

Here’s a before and after to show what a difference this had made to my hallway!

diy staircase makeover by createandbabble Before…

staircase makeover by createandbabble.com And now! I still have a few touchups to make but I’m so pleased with how this turned out! Since I don’t get a lot of natural light in this space, it’s hard to capture how much brighter this space is after the makeover, so you’ll have to take my word for it ; )

Tell me, have you removed carpet from a staircase? Was it a staple horror story? We removed the carpet off the steps in my daughter’s house and it was a nighmare! It took four of us all day to remove all those staples. I got lucky with this one!

 

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HoneyBaked Ham Easter Dinner {and Gift Card Giveaway}

This post is sponsored by HoneyBaked Hams. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

When I was asked if I would be interested in writing a post for HoneyBaked Ham, it took me, oh, about a millisecond to respond YES! For the past few years, HoneyBaked Ham and Turkey have been staples on our Christmas and Easter menus.

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Since I work full time in addition to writing this blog, I don’t have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen. When I have time off, I don’t even want to be in the kitchen, but rather enjoying the time with my family.

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In fact, if you’re a regular around here you know that I don’t really like to cook. And even if I did, I’m sure that I couldn’t come close to duplicating this hand-glazed ham with its signature, sweet, crunch glaze that has that one of a kind taste.

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And the turkey! My favorite! The tender turkey breast is coated with the same sweet, crunchy glaze as HoneyBaked’s signature Ham. Serve it on its own or pair with the Ham as I do.

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I love that the Ham is spiral-cut. It just makes it so easy to serve. Easter Sunday is a casual family day around here. We don’t do a formal sit-down dinner. After church, we set out the HoneyBaked Ham and Turkey and let them come to room temperature. No heating required! I usually make a side dish of potato salad and a tossed salad. Then when the kids and the grandbabies arrive, we fill our plates with ham or turkey sandwiches, salads, and eggs of course! It sure beats fussing in the kitchen for hours!

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HoneyBaked Ham also offers delicious Heat & Share Sides, Desserts and even Honey-Spice Bacon. HoneyBaked helps create a delicious Easter brunch or dinner, that’s easy on you. So while you’re making memories with your loved ones, you can trust HoneyBaked Ham to deliver an authentic, perfect taste that everyone will love, sure to become an Easter tradition. I know it has in my home. I got my HoneyBaked Ham and Turkey at the HoneyBaked store in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania where they are currently offering the following specials:

  • In-Store Specials:
    • $54.99 Easter Ham & Turkey Combo (pair a Turkey Breast (approx. 3 lbs) with your choice of a Boneless Ham (approx. 3-5 lbs) or Quarter Ham (approx. 4.5 lbs)
    • $22.99 Turkey Breast (with any Half or Whole Ham purchase)
    • $24.99 Easter Brunch Bundle (Cinnamon Walnut Coffee Cake and Honey-Spice Bacon)
    • Heat & Share Sides: Two for $13.99; three for $19.99
  • With Coupon
    • $3 OFF Boneless or Quarter Ham (Save an extra $1 when you sign up to become a HoneyBaked VIP at honeybakedfoods.com: $4 OFF)
  • Become a VIP at HoneyBakedFoods.com for exclusive savings all year long.

Offers valid only at:
Participating Retail Locations: Rolling Meadows, Orland Park, Villa Park, Morton Grove, Naperville, Chicago, Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington, Plano, Mesquite, Hurst, Lewisville, Houston, Austin, Spring, Clear Lake, Sugar Land, Indianapolis, Ferndale, Grand Rapids, Roseville, Birmingham, Troy, West Bloomfield, Livonia, Flint, Dearborn Heights, Sterling Heights, Taylor, Ann Arbor, Canton Township, Oklahoma City, Pittsburgh, Mechanicsburg, Monroeville, San Antonio, Bellevue, and Lynnwood.

HoneyBaked Ham is giving away 20 $50 Gift Cards! Enter below for your chance to win! Good Luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

DISCLOSURE: This post was sponsored by HoneyBaked Hams. I was given product for my review. However all opinions are my own and as always, I only recommend products that I use and love.

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Decorating Dilemma Solution

I can’t wait to show you my decorating dilemma solution! First the dilemma: there’s this eyesore in my living room. Do you know what a big, ugly, subwoofer looks like? No? Let me show you.

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Don’t ask me what it does. I don’t know. And I don’t really care. I just know that it has to be there. It belongs to Dan. Who belongs to me. And that’s how this ended up in my living room causing a little bit of a decorating dilemma. As you can see, it’s not high enough to be an end table. It just sits there taking up valuable real estate in the living room. Until now.

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Problem solved.

subwoofer-turned-end-table-by-createandbabble.com Besides the lovely subwoofer, Dan also had an old end table and I thought, hmmm, maybe if we saw off the legs, it will sit perfectly on top of the subwoofer. We were so anxious to try this idea, that I didn’t even think to grab my camera to take photos of the table with the legs on.

eyesore-5 But it looks just like this, but with four legs on it ; )

how-to-clean-paint-off-glass-knobs-createandbabble.com It also had two red paint-covered glass knobs. To clean the knobs, I put them in a pot of simmering water.

cleaning-glass-knobs-createandbabble.com The remaining paint residue came right off with a soapy rag.

cleaning-glass-knobs-by-createandbabble.com Good as new!

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Back to the end table. As you can see, this piece has been painted a few times in the past. I thought about painting it but in the end decided to go with stain.

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I had some Minway PolyShades leftover from the bannister makeover, so this little makeover cost $0.

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I’m kinda proud of this idea. It solves my little decorating dilemma stylishly and inexpensively! What do you think?

decorating-dilemma-by-createandbabble.com I’m so glad that I decided to go with the stain instead of painting it. The color of the stain (Espresso) go perfectly with the black subwoofer and the mantle shelf and clock that I hung on the adjacent wall.

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This corner of the living room is really coming together.  I just need to decorate the shelf.
So tell me, do you have a big subwoofer? Or am I the only one?

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Easy DIY Painted Flower Pots

Yes, Spring is coming. It really, really is. Or so they say. I’ll actually believe it when I see feel it! I just can’t wait for my daffodils and tulips to bloom. I even have my easy DIY painted flower pots all ready. But since at this rate, my daffodils won’t be ready until, oh, I don’t know….June? I bought some. I spotted already-bloomed daffodils at the home improvement store and I just couldn’t help myself. They looked so bright and cheery. I just had to have them.

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Look at them all bright and cheery with their yellow and orange happiness! How could I resist?

diy-painted-pots-createandbabble.com These cute, little pots started life as plain galvanized metals pots.

easy-diy-painted-pots-createandbabble All I did was give them a quick coat of  white spray pain, brushed on some yellow acrylic craft paint and added white spots using a Q-tip. I am one messy gardener. Since it too cold to do this outside, I cover half of the living room carpet with newspaper and use an old poster board for my work surface on the floor. And I still managed to get the potting soil everywhere!

easy-diy-painted-flower-pots-createandbabble I think I found the perfect place for them. All lined up in the pass-through window. I never know what to put on this windowsill so I usually just leave it bare, but I really like the look of the row of potted daffodils.

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Oops! I think I could have done a better job at wiping off the potting soil on the first pot.

Has Spring arrived yet where you are? We are supposed to have temps in the 60′s over the weekend and I’m looking forward to that!

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DIY Stenciled Honeycomb and Bee Pillow {With Stencil1 & FolkArt Paint}

This DIY Stenciled Honeycomb and Bee Pillow is sponsored by Plaid was sponsored by Ed Roth Stencil1 Stencils and FolkArt Multi-Surface Paints by Plaid Crafts.

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Since it is supposedly Spring (or so the calendar says, but not the weatherman!), I’ve been busy bringing some Spring-time decor into my home. Even if it doesn’t feel like Spring outside, at least I can make it feel like Spring inside! I recently stenciled a white pillow cover using a new stencil from Stencil1 and FolkArt Multi-Surface Paints.

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Now when I started using stencils many, many years ago, the stencil choices back then were, well…limited. And really not too original or inspiring. All of that has changed. These Stencil1 stencils are not your grandmother’s mother’s stencils! Stencil1 is a street art-inspired brand founded by artist, painter, graphic designer and DIY enthusiast Ed Roth.

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The Ed Roth designs are so unique. The sets include a background pattern, a silhouette, and a detailed design that make it easy to achieve a truly artistic look. The large size (12 x 12) is perfect for larger surfaces such as walls, floors and furniture. The 6×6 designs are great for adding accents to smaller projects. Each stencil is made from mylar that is easy to clean with soap and water.

Here’s how I made my Stenciled Honeycomb and Bee Pillow:

Step One – Gather Supplies

  • Ed Roth Stencil1 Stencil
  • FolkArt Multi-Surface Paint
  • Stencil brushes
  • white broadcloth fabric for pillow cover
  • Painters Tape
  • Repositional spray adhesive
  • Sanding sponge
  • Paper towels
  • Paper plate

Step 2 – Stencil the Background

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Dip the stencil brush into the paint and then dab and swirl the brush onto paper toweling until the brush seems dry and most of the paint has been removed.

diy-stenciled-pillow-by-createandbabble.com Using a circular motion, apply the paint over the stencil onto the fabric. I try not to fill in the entire shape to keep the design from looking flat.

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To add more dimension to the honeycomb shapes, I went back over the design with just a hint of pink paint. That’s what I love about stenciling. You get to customize the look by using the paint colors of your choosing and match your decor!

Step 3 – Stencil the Bee

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This where I got creative with the colors. Since I’m stenciling this pillow to coordinate with a floral pillow that I had previously made, I chose to pick up the colors in that pillow, so I used a bright green paint color for the silhouette of the bee. I sprayed some repositional adhesive to the back of the stencil to be sure the paint didn’t seep under the stencil and then swirled on the green paint.

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Then I taped the details of the bee over the previously stenciled silhouette and got extremely creative by using purple paint. Hey, it’s your bee – you can make it any color you want! I do recommend FolkArt Multi-Surface Paint – they are great on any surface including both indoor and outdoor applications. They are even dishwasher safe!

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A little trick of mine was to go over the bee with a sanding sponge ever so lightly. I think it makes the design look less painted-on and more like it’s woven into the fabric.

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Now I have custom fabric to make my pillow cover. Look for a tutorial coming up soon on how I make pillow covers with a zipper! Gasp! Don’t worry, it’s not as hard as you think.

Step 4 – Stand back and admire your pretty pillow!

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I love how it coordinates with the floral pillow and just screams Spring! That is what is so great about stenciling: making it your own. You can create beautiful things and customize them to work with your style and decor.

Whether you want to stencil a pillow cover, a wall, a canvas, placemat (well just about anything!), you can find the Ed Roth Stencil1 line at JoAnn Fabrics & Craft stores. To find more inspiring stencil and paint projects. visit Plaid Crafts on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram. For even more inspiring Stencil1 ideas, see the projects below made by some very creative bloggers:

*This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Blue Print Social for Ed Roth Stencil1 Stencils and FolkArt Multi-Surface Paint by Plaid Crafts.  All opinions are 100% mine. For more information, see my disclosures here.

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New Use for an Old Shutter

Sometimes (okay, a lot of times) I’m guilty of being a “tosser”. To me, a tosser is the opposite of a pack rat or “keeper”. I’m so glad I didn’t throw away this old shutter that I found in the basement. It’s not like I didn’t think about it ; )

new use for old shutter by createandbabble.com
But, in my defense, the shutter didn’t look like this when I found it.

new use for old shutter by createandbabble

I think it was a craft fair purchase from back in the 90′s. If I remember right, it had some straw, a big dried sunflower and a floppy bow on it. I loved it at the time.

new use for old shutter by createandbabble

But now I like it more. …with the chippy paint….

old shutter with spring banner by createandbabble.com

…the chipboard banner and butterflies cut out of card stock and vellum with my Silhouette Cameo®

distress old shutter by createandbabble.com

I distressed the chipboard pennant pieces with some crackle paint I found at my local scrapbook store.

new use for old shutter by createandbabble

The letters were cut from Silhouette’s adhesive card stock.

new use for old shabby shutter by createandbabble

The flowers and butterflies are Silhouette® cutting files. Adhesive-backed gems were added for glam.

new use for old shutter by createandbabble.com Yes, I sure am glad I kept that old shutter!

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Silhouette® Print and Cut Promotion

Woo hoo! Silhouette® is having a Print and Cut Promotion starting now! All of my dear, wonderful readers out there know that Print and Cut is my absolute favorite Silhouette® feature so I’m super excited to tell you all about this new promotion! Whether you’re already a Silhouette® owner or if you want to own a Silhouette® but have been waiting for a good deal – I have good news for everyone! Plus, I have a giveaway for some printable silver foil, so be sure to enter! More info about that at the bottom of this post. **Update: The winner is comment #9 Dawn Marie!

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First, for those looking for a great deal, Silhouette® has two awesome bundles to choose from:

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Remember to use promo code: BABBLE to get the sale prices!
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I love that Silhouette® is including so much special media goodness in the bundles. Think of all the Print & Cut projects you can make with all of that!

Which brings me to this bit of good news: Silhouette® has graciously given me a pack of Printable Silver Foil to give away to one of you!

print and cut labels-3 by createandbabble.com

You may remember that I used the printable silver foil to make the labels for the bins in my craft room. I have a full tutorial and video here where I explain how to turn a regular cut file into a Print & Cut file.


Here is a great video from Silhouette® showing more fun ways to use Print & Cut.

Pretty Print and Cut Projects by createandbabble.com

And if that’s not enough Print & Cut inspiration, I’ve gathered up some of my own Print & Cut projects and put them all in one place.

silhouette-promotion-by-createandbabble.com

Okay, now the good news for all of my Silhouette® sisters out there: 30% off all in-stock specialty media! (The image above only shows some of my favorites!) Head on over to the Silhouette® Shop to see everything! Don’t forget to use my code: BABBLE to get the 30% off!

Last, but certainly not least, let’s give away some printable silver foil! All you have to do is leave a comment letting me know on which social media you follow Silhouette® and Create & Babble!

printable silver foil giveaway by createandbabble.com

You can follow Silhouette® on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter. Follow Create & Babble on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram or Twitter!

Earn a bonus entry for subscribing to my weekly email updates! I will randomly choose a winner on March 25 and announce the winner on March 26.

Disclosure: I am a Silhouette® affiliate, meaning that I earn a small commission when you make a purchase using my promo code. As always, I only promote products that I use and love, and you all know how much I love my Silhouette Cameo®!

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Picture Keeper Review & Giveaway

Do you have about a bazillion photos on your computer? I do! To think about losing all of those photos….well I can’t even imagine how I would feel. And I don’t want to know. So when I was contacted by Picture Keeper to try out their back up solution, PK4, of course I said yes! And Picture Keeper gave me a PK4 for one of you!

picture keeper giveaway

I am so happy to have been introduced to this product. It is so quick and easy to use. Usually when it comes to anything remotely “techy”, I have to call in Dan for assistance. But not for this. I just plugged the Picture Keeper into a USB port and clicked start backup.

picture keeper review createandbabble

Picture Keeper has built-in software that does all the work for you! It automatically finds and backs up all of your photos. No login, no dragging, no duplicates. The built-in software is what makes this product so easy to use. Once your PK drive fills up, you can start using another PK drive without having to start over. It keeps track of what has already been backed up and continues on backing up new photos.

picture keeper review and giveaway by createandbabble

*ESTIMATE – based on an average size of 1 MB per picture

The Picture Keeper is available in various sizes and is compatible with both Mac and Windows computers. There is also a Picture Keeper App available to backup your mobile photos wirelessly. Think of all the photos that are on your phone. With the Picture Keeper App, you can save all of those photos.

picture keeper review and giveaway by createandbabble

I’m plugging my full PK4 into one of those digital frames that I received as a Christmas present several years ago (that I’ve never used) and putting it on my desk at work. To me, it’s one of those “two birds” thing: I get to to see all of the memories from the last few years roll across the screen AND my PK is stored in a different location in case the unthinkable happens at home. The Picture Keeper also makes it easy to make prints of your photos as you can simply take the drive to your local printing store and print the photos directly from it.

I am thrilled that Picture Keeper is giving away a PK4 device to one of you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: Picture Keeper has agreed to giveaway the PK4 device. I was not paid in cash for this posting. I was sent a product for review and all opinions are my own.

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