Monday, May 4, 2015

How to Customize Your T-shirts at Home in 4 Easy Steps

If you are one of those people who think t-shirts available out there are just not clever or funny or individualistic enough to reflect your personality, you're in luck. Today we look at how you can make your own custom t shirts right at home (we also have a little surprise for you at the end). You can create t-shirts with the photo of your child or grandchild, a clever, sassy message, a moving or inspiration quote, or any design that you particularly like.

Here’s an idea: May 10th 2015 is Mother's Day so how about a thoughtful, fun gift for your mom – a t-shirt that you made especially for her by you! There are a few ways you can go about customizing a t-shirt for your mom or for yourself.

Choose your t shirt design and color scheme

Will it be an inspirational thought or a witty saying, or will it be a photo or some graphic design? What is the color scheme going to be like? You will need to create a contrast between the color of the t shirt and the lettering or the graphics or the results will turn out dull and unattractive. Also see how and where you plan to position the image or text on the tee. If you're going to customize a t shirt for your mother, be sure you have the correct size for her; preferably in her favorite color. Also remember, 100% cotton t shirts work best for these DIY projects.

How to create a bleach spray T-shirt

For this custom t shirt you need a plain cotton shirt, stencil or cutout, bleach and spray adhesive.

  1. Create a stencil design (check out some of these Pinterest ideas for t-shirt stencils) or use one that you already have
  2. Spread the shirt out on a flat surface. Insert a cardboard sheet inside the tee so you avoid getting the bleach on the back of it. Smooth out any folds or wrinkles. Spray the back of the stencil with some spray adhesive and place the stencil in the correct position; press down lightly.
  3.  Pour undiluted bleach into a spray bottle. Spray lightly and evenly into the cutout areas and the areas surrounding the stencil. Mop up to soak up extra bleach. Carefully remove the stencil
  4. Expose the t shirt to bright sunlight for at least an hour, let dry and you're done!

How to print your own custom t shirt

  1. This process needs iron-on transfer paper, a plain tee, scissors, an iron and your trusty printer (be sure that there is sufficient ink or toner in there for your project).
  2. Choose a design for the tee on your computer – you can use a slogan, a photograph, clip art, or a graphic image. Create and edit the image, the colors and layout using photo editing or desktop publishing software. Scale up or down as required and adjust contrast and tone. If its text you're going to print, be sure to get the mirror image of the words before printing.
  3. Insert iron on transfer paper into your printer and take a printout following the printed instructions 
  4. Cut out the design carefully 
  5. Position the cut out over the t-shirt as required (centre, off centre, on the back of the shirt etc) and carefully dry iron (don’t use steam) the design on to the shirt as per the instructions. Peel away the paper backing and you're pretty much done.

Our special May coupon code

And just so you don’t have to worry about the amount of ink or toner that you're going to use up as you print out those t-shirts for yourself or your mom this Mother's Day, we’ve decided to help you say Happy Mother's Day with our special promotional all this May. We’re offering a special 7% off any $7+ on all ink and toner cartridge purchases all through this month. Use the coupon code 7MAY7 during check out to get your discount automatically.

So here are two simple ways to make create your own custom tees. Do let us know which method you tried and how it turned out for you. And if you made a tee for your mother, we’d love to hear how that turned out as well!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Fun Ways to Get Kids Involved in Arbor Day

arbor day activities It is never too early to teach kids about the importance of planting and conserving trees. If you haven’t already, this Arbor Day observed on the last Friday of each April (this year Arbor Day is on April 24th), is a perfect time to start. It’s a great way for your kids or grandkids to learn about the importance of tree conservation, to spend quality time together and to have some fun at the same time!

Do you know, there is 9,550-year-old Spruce tree that currently exists in Sweden on Fulufjallet Mountain? Trees are the longest living things on earth; invariably a valuable investment in our own future and those of our children. So Arbor Day is probably the most meaningful observance you can celebrate with your children and grandchildren.

What is Arbor Day?

The first reports of Arbor Day date back to 1805. In Villanueva de la Sierra, a village in Spain, a local priest “convinced of importance of trees for health, hygiene, decoration, nature, environment and customs” decided to plant trees and give a festive air to the place on Carnival Day.

The origin of Arbor Day the United States dates back to 1872 when the efforts of J Sterling Morton resulted about a million trees being planted in Nebraska. In 1906 conservationist Major Israel McCreight convinced President Roosevelt to make a public statement to school children about trees and the destruction of American forests and a year later, Roosevelt issued an Arbor Day proclamation.

In 1972, The Arbor Day Foundation, a nonprofit conservation and education organization was founded "to inspire people to plant, nurture, and celebrate trees". Today the foundation has programs such as Nature Explore and Tree Campus USA to help parents, caregivers and teachers connect children to nature and to engage student bodies in the process of conservation.

Fun Arbor Day Activities for Kids

Actually Plant Trees


planting tree by hand
Plant a tree! (Image via Nature Conservancy)
You could buy saplings from a local nursery or transplant saplings you have nurtured yourself. Pick tree species that are suitable for the climate and topography of the place you live. Find suitable sites where a tree is able to flourish. Get kids to help with the digging and transplanting and watering; then have them look after the tree or trees, check their progress regularly or each time they visit. This is will educate a child about the process of growth and teach them to value trees.

An Arbor Day Ramble


Identify trees, go tree-spotting (Image via Tiny Trees)
The weather is great for a ramble in the woods or a park. While you're spending quality time with your child or grandchild, point out different trees, tell them a bit about them, collect different types of tree leaves and encourage them to make a scrap book out of those.

Arbor Day Printables 

Coloring is a simple, fun activity for smaller kids: simply print out these Arbor Day coloring sheets and get kids involved in some creative coloring. Slightly older kids can enjoy this Arbor Day alphabetical order worksheet where they arrange words like evergreen, oak, willow, plant etc in the right order. There are more Arbor Day worksheets that you can print out to increase awareness: jumble worksheet, word search challenge and so on.

Arbor Day Crafts


Print out coloring worksheets (Image via here)
These fun Arbor Day Crafts on Pinterest are easy to organize and will really engage kids: a tree collage, paintings created with kids’ hands, egg carton trees, the toilet paper tree and much more. Get kids to make stuff which you can then proudly display around the house!


Recycled Crafts 


Older kids will enjoy crafts projects involving waste or recyclable items. This drives home an important point of conservation, recycling and sustainability and is fun at the same time: items made from discarded cardboard cartons, plastic bottles, old newspapers, used straws, egg carts and much more.

Our special promotion for Arbor Day

Help us make a positive and green impact!
 To celebrate Arbor Day we are offering a special promotion: our 12% Off Ink & Toner Purchase & One Tree Donation (use Coupon Code “EDAY”) is on from 04/20/2015 to 04/27/2015. Each time you make a purchase during this period, you get 12% off and we at TomatoInk will be donating a tree to be planted to the Arbor Day Foundation for each purchase made.  

If you have any additional information or ideas about Arbor Day celebrations, we’d love to hear about them in the comments below.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Documents to Print before Filing Your Income

income tax 2015
We may not like it very much, but it is that time of year again – time to file our income tax. As the D day; 15 April draws inexorably near, most of us are subtracting standard and personal deductions, determining the income bracket and calculating what we’re left with after the government has had its pound of flesh. And then there is the process of printing and filling forms – something that the Affordable Care Act appears to have made all the more tedious.

Who needs to file income tax returns

Except for individuals over the age of 65 whose only source of income is social security, all wage earners need to pay income tax to the IRS and to states that require you to pay state income tax. While standard exemptions and tax credits for specific groups do lower your tax burden and online tax calculators promise free tax filing to ease the process, there is still much that is likely causing you a bit of a headache.

Filing your taxes

You can visit post offices and even some banks and libraries to get the tax forms you need, or you can simply download and print these from the Forms and Publications section on the IRS website. The latter option tends to be more convenient because related instructions and worksheets for all the forms are available with the printable forms. Also if you didn’t fill out the form correctly the first time around, you can simply take another printout.

You also have the option of e-filing your taxes, using free online software; however this will need you to use a PIN number that you can get from the IRS website by providing some of your personal details. Even if you do file online, be sure to take a printout and preserve the hardcopy for at least 7 years after filing.

Here are some of the IRS forms that you may need to printout for filing purposes
  • Form 1040 – the individual income tax return
  • Form 1040A – the shorter version of 1040 which allows you to claim certain adjustments to report limited types of income
  • Form 1040-ES – Form for estimated tax for individuals on income not subject to withholding
  • Form 1040EZ – For single and joint filers with no dependents
  • Form 8962 - Premium Tax Credit (PTC) to help you figure the amount of your PTC and reconcile it with any advance payments (APTC).
  • Form W-4 - The Employee's withholding allowance certificate to enable employers to withhold the correct federal income tax from income (W-2 is the form filed by employers)
  • Publication 17 – explains general rules for filing a federal income tax return
  • Publication 505 - explains tax withholding and estimated tax, and how to take credit
  • Form 1099-G - Government Payments such as federal, state, or local governments

Additional forms for this year

With Obamacare now in place, people who signed up for the Affordable Care Act need to fill some additional IRS forms and may also have to repay some previous subsidies. While employees who receive coverage via their employer, its only the W-2 form they have to bother with, but those who bought insurance through the exchange will need to fill out some new paperwork this year – a special form called the 1095-A needs you to fill out who was covered, for how long and your premium amounts.

Perhaps you have some information to share with us and our readers about free tax filing or about tax calculators that will help figure out what income tax you pay and how? Please feel free to kick of the conversation in the comments below or on our Facebook/Twitter pages.