How To Clean Leather

July 18, 2008 by  
Filed under Home & Garden

how to clean leatherOne of the first fabrics that man fashioned to wear or use, leather has been a popular material from its beginnings. Leather is a beautiful, longwearing, breathable, natural fabric that has multiple uses, i.e., clothing, shoes, furniture, luggage, and vehicle interiors. This valuable fabric is an investment that will last for years if it is treated with care. Owners want to know how to correctly clean leather products because leather can be quickly ruined if handled incorrectly.

Leather hides can be categorized as belonging to several types, depending on the process to preserve the hides. The piece of leather can be smooth, suede, dyed in a variety of ways, coated, or tanned naturally. The dye used to color the fabric can be of different types that demand different handling. A product that works beautifully on one type of leather can permanently stain a different type. It is important to read any manufacturer’s instructions to understand what type of finish was used to create the item.

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There are general rules for how to clean leather, however. These rules apply to how to clean car upholstery, belts, purses, jackets or other clothing, as well as furniture, luggage, and leather shoes. All leather needs an environment that is not too wet, not too dry, not too hot, or not too cold. Any extremes in the atmosphere can cause irreparable harm to the hides.

Let’s start off by identifying two types of leather. There is finished leather and there is unfinished leather. It is very good to know what type of leather you have so that you may treat it properly. Finished leather consists of the finer leather on coats or purses. Luggage and leather furniture is usually finished as well.

On the other hand, you have unfinished leather items as well. Unfinished leather consists of work gloves, garden gloves, boots that you use for work, biker bandannas, horse saddles, any type of saddle, basketballs and footballs.

Let’s start with cleaning finished leather. To clean finished leather, you must get a lightly dampened cloth with a dab of moisturizing bath soap (dove) on the cloth. Rub the leather in a circular motion and make sure that there is not too much water on the cloth. You don’t want to stain the leather more because of an access of water. After wiping the leather until the stain is gone, you can then take another dampened cloth to wipe off any soap residue. Remember, DO NOT us water to wipe the leather clean. After cleaning the leather with the second dampened cloth, you can now wipe it clean with a dry cloth and hang the leather product to air dry. It’s a good idea to apply a leather conditioner to the leather once it is dry.

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To clean unfinished leather, you will follow the same steps stated above. However, you must use “Saddle soap” instead of moisturizing soap.

Remember when removing spots from leather, always test any cleaning method on an out-of-the-way spot first.

One tip for removing spots from leather is to dip a cotton swab into rubbing alcohol and rub the spot. This can work for removing ink spots (figure B) as well. If this doesn’t work, you can use non-oily cuticle remover. (Note: That is "cuticle" remover, not nail-polish remover.) Leave it on overnight and wipe it off with a damp cloth.

To remove normal spots from leather, use the following Royal homemade recipe:

1 part lemon juice
1 part cream of tartar

Simply work the paste into the spot with a soft cloth, and if soils remain after working it in, let it sit for a few hours. Come back and apply a little more paste, work it in and wipe clean.

Instructions for more targeted stains

Grass Stain:

1. Mix 1 cup of water with moisturizing soap.

2. Moisten a cloth with the mixture.

3. Apply cloth with a circular motion on the stained area

4. Wipe clean with another cloth dampened by water only

5. Let air dry

Mildew stain:

1. Mix 1 cup rubbing alcohol with 1 cup water.

2. Moisten a cloth with the mixture and wipe the affected area.

3. Let air dry.

Ink stain:

1. Spray the affected area with hair spray.

2. Then wipe it off with a clean cloth.

3. If a leather garment has been soaked in water, let it air dry

slowly and naturally.

4. Keep it away from heat sources.

5. Once it is dry, restore its softness with a leather conditioner.

6. If leather shoes have been soaked, insert shoe trees to restore their shape and let them air dry.

Grease stains:

1. These can be removed by blotting the excess grease with a clean cloth.

2. Second, sprinkle talcum powder or cornstarch on the affected area.

3. Let the item sit for at least 4 hours before wiping off the powder.

Blood and urine spills:

These can be removed by blotting off excess moisture with a clean, damp cloth. Let the item dry slowly away from heat.

Gum that has become stuck to the leather:

1. You can remove it by rubbing a plastic bag full of ice cubes over it to harden the gum. The gum will then be easy to pull off.

2. If there is any residual, heat the area with a hair dryer and rub off the gum with a clean cloth.

Salt stain:

1. Make a solution of 3 parts vinegar to 1 part water.

2. Moisten a cloth with the vinegar solution and dab it on the affected area.

We have outlined how to properly take care of your leather possessions in this article. Leather is a delicate item and can last forever if taken care of properly. We understand that some stains might entail more than just a cleaning. Do not hesitate to hire professional leather cleaner to help you. Remember to ask that professional for a guarantee that your leather will come back that way that you would like it. They need to be legit. They need to return your article back with the same color that the item was in the beginning. If they cannot help with these simple items, then you might need to get a second opinion.

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How to Match Furniture in a Bedroom

July 17, 2008 by  
Filed under Home & Garden

how to match furniture in a bedroomIf your bedroom is an odd assortment of furniture pieces, you may be able to make them match more easily than you think. Here’s how to match furniture in a bedroom.

Decide on a Décor

Your first step is to decide on a pattern of décor for the bedroom. Some styles are easier to use as a basis for making furniture match than others. If you have your heart set on traditional styles, you may have a harder time than casual, eclectic, or even southwestern decor. Find a kind of style your comfortable with.

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Take an Assessment

Your next step is to take an assessment of what furniture is already in the room. Are there various grains of wood or just different styles? Are some pieces of the furniture modern and other pieces classical? Look at other rooms of your home for pieces that you might be able to move into the bedroom to make a more unified look.

Start with a Core

Now, find a core. Do you have two matching pieces and only one or two unusual accents? If you have two coordinating pieces, such as a chair and dresser, make those your core. Then you have only to deal with the other pieces such as night tables, headboard and accents.

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Paint

One way to help match furniture in a bedroom is to paint all of the pieces the same color. You may also choose to paint only some of the pieces. For example, if you’ve selected a casual style, you may opt to paint the uncoordinated pieces a creamy white. These white pieces will offset your chair and dresser you’ve left their natural wood color.

Fabric

Another way to match furniture in a bedroom is to use fabric to simply cover up the unsightly pieces. You can easily create a headboard cover using fabric, a staple gun and some cushioning. You may even choose to create an entirely new headboard using fabric and plywood. Side tables that don’t match can be hidden under fabric tablecloths.

To make them unified, find two circles of MDF or plywood and place the circles on top of the existing tables. Then drape the new table clothes over the circles to make two round bedside tables. You may choose to make only one new round table which can still coordinate with another wooden table on the other side of the bed.

Accessories

At the very least, use pillows, curtains and runners on dressers and side tables to help bring the room together. Use the fabric in a chair, headboard or linens to select patterns and colors, then lavishly cover the room in throw pillows and drapes. Soon, your disjointed bedroom will be a comfortable, matching place of rest – even if nobody sees it but you.

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How to Decorate Wall Space

July 17, 2008 by  
Filed under Home & Garden

how to decorate wall spaceThere is nothing more intimidating than a blank wall staring you in the face when you enter a room. A large expanse of wall space cries out for decoration, but a wall can be the hardest place to decorate. There is so much space and so many options; it’s hard to narrow down your choices. Here are a few ideas for how to decorate a wall.

Give it Some Color

The first step to cheerful wall decoration is to give your wall some color. Paint it or put on some wall paper. Even if you only paint the single wall, you will have provided an accent wall which may be enough decoration on its own to brighten up your room.

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Find a Large Piece

The next step for a large wall is to find a large decorative piece to grace it. The large piece may be something as simple as a framed poster, or it may be quirky colorful collection such as your framed montage of outhouse décor. If you’re on a budget, two sconces and a valance can frame smaller pieces of artwork, or find a mirror and repaint the frame to match your current furnishing.

Add Accents

Your next step is to add accents to the wall. These might be smaller pieces of framed artwork, sconces and candles, wall mounted light fixtures or decorative iron work. Plates on a plate rack also make an interesting wall decoration as does a well draped tapestry or rug.

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Window Décor

If your wall includes a window, be sure to spend some time considering window treatments. You might hang a simple curtain or sheers. Plantation shutters might have the right feel for the room or you could add molding around the window as the only source of decoration and leave the window uncovered. Decorate your walls to coordinate with your furniture and existing décor, but be sure to throw in enough of your own personality to make it especially yours.

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How to Decorate a Patio

July 17, 2008 by  
Filed under Home & Garden

how to decorate a patioA patio can be a lovely extension of your home, or it can be a big bare slab of concrete. The difference is just in the decoration. With a few simple touches or even a sizable investment, you can make an outdoor living area that will be a joy to spend time in or entertain on.

Consider Your Budget

The main thing to consider when beginning this process is your budget. How much do you have to spend on this project? Can you afford a makeover or are you just in the market for a few inexpensive touch-ups? If you have the money, you can hire a landscaper to surround your patio with lush vegetation, some shady trees, or some cheery floral annuals.

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Or, you can invest in some durable patio furniture like a table with an umbrella and matching chairs, an outdoor bar, or outdoor fireplace or chiminea. Perhaps you want to take your culinary flair outside and you choose to invest in an outdoor kitchen or gas grill. Don’t be discouraged if these ideas are out of your budget. A few less extravagant purchases can make a difference, too. Once you have an idea of what you can afford, you will be better prepared to make a plan to decorate your patio.

Choose a Theme

Some people choose to have a central theme with their patio decorations. From garden gnomes to birdhouses to dragonfly décor, a theme can bring your decorations together for a more well-thought-out effect. Without a theme, you can still decorate tastefully, or you may end up with a motley assortment of uncoordinated items.

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Go Shopping

Once you have a budget and a theme, it’s time to start shopping. You may want to look for decorative pots in which to grow some herbs, flowers, or greenery. Perhaps the relaxing sound of running water sounds good to you and you want to shop for a little fountain. There are a large assortment of figurines and ceramic or metal decorations to adorn your garden. Don’t forget to find a centerpiece for your patio table! From candles to outdoor wall hangings, you have limitless options to express your style and transform your patio into a showcase for your creativity.

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How To Decorate a Living Room

July 17, 2008 by  
Filed under Home & Garden

how to decorate a dining roomThe living room is the center of your home. The formal living room often sets the tone for the rest of the household, and the decorating style you select has bearing on every room in the house.

Find a Theme:

When you decorate a living room, you must first consider your preferred style. Are you a fan of country decorating with gingham and lace? Or perhaps you prefer classic styles with display tables and curios. Modern styles with bold lines and bright colors are increasingly common as are comfortable styles that use neutral colors and oversized furniture. Flip through decorating magazines or websites to see examples of what appeals to you.

Find a Focus:

The focus of your living room will be the starting point for decorating. The focus should be a large item that brings your personality to the room such as the fireplace mantle, picture above the fireplace, sofa, rug, or even an ottoman. Use that piece to find your color pattern and inspiration for the rest of the room.

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Living Room Colors:

Once you have your focus, select a wall color and accenting colors for accessories and additional furniture. Don’t be afraid to be creative, but using a focus piece will help keep the room coordinated rather than matching. Paint the walls or use wall paper, then select window treatments, rugs and upholstery that coordinates with the rest of your selections.

Living Room Window Treatments:

Window treatments such as drapes, blinds and shutters give a room a polished look. Shutters can be a more beautiful alternative to basic blinds, and drapes or window hangings bring a room together.

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Living Room Furniture:

The furniture in the living room can be many things, but most often consists of a sofa and additional seating. Chairs, chaise lounges and love seats all find their way into living rooms as do rocking chairs, ottomans and foot stools. Desks and bookcases are common additions as are coffee and side tables. Buy furniture according to the size of your room and your particular decorating style. Minimalist styles will have little furniture while traditional styles will have much more.

Living Room Accessories:

Finally, once the colors, windows, and furniture is selected, you can focus your attention on finding accessories such as pictures, lamps, curios and houseplants to help bring a room to life. Don’t overwhelm your living room with accessories, but tasteful accent pieces scattered throughout the room make the room comfortable and personalized to your unique taste.

Living Room Arrangement:

Arrange your furniture according to the shape and traffic flow of a room. Many believe the arrangement of furniture can affect the tranquility of a home, and at the very least a misplaced table or sofa can be the cause of repeatedly stubbed toes and bashed knees. Leave plenty of room for navigation and ease of motion. Group chairs together for conversations and be sure to play up the focus of your room as it is the piece that brings everything together.

Once you have your focus, select a wall color and accenting colors for accessories and additional furniture. Don’t be afraid to be creative, but using a focus piece will help keep the room coordinated rather than matching. Paint the walls or use wall paper, then select window treatments, rugs and upholstery that coordinates with the rest of your selections.

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How to Decorate a Guest Room

July 17, 2008 by  
Filed under Home & Garden

how to decorate a guest roomGuests should be welcomed into a warm and inviting space, and your decoration in a guest room can help make guests feel welcome or more like an intrusion. When you decorate a guest room, be sure to think of as many small touches as you can to ensure your guests know you are delighted to have them – even if that’s stretching the truth a bit.

Accommodations

When decorating your guest room start first with furniture that is accommodating for your guests. If most of your guests will be young single friends or young couples, a futon and blankets may suffice. But if your elderly grandmother is coming to stay, consider a raised daybed or full sized bed to ensure her comfort (and safety.) Two twin beds are also more accommodating than a full size or queen size bed. A couple can easily stay in a full bed, but two brothers may be more comfortable in separate beds.

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Welcoming Décor

The décor in the room should be tasteful and welcoming. You don’t want to overwhelm your guests with bright colors and odd lighting. Stick with the most traditional welcoming accents when you use pineapple décor – the pineapple was a sign of a home friendly to visitors historically, or use something more exotic but try to keep colors and accessories tame.

Thoughtful Touches

Be sure to include as many thoughtful touches as you can. For example, put black out curtains under the drapes in the room to keep it dark should your visitors be battling jet lag or fatigue from a long journey. If you have a coordinating bathroom, leave plenty of towels and washcloths out for guests to use. Also prepare a guest basket of travel sized soaps, shampoos and lotions you can leave in the bathroom cabinet until needed.

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Be sure to offer guests a place to put their luggage. Keep an inexpensive luggage rack in the closet or clear a dresser or desk and cover it with a towel so that guests don’t have to dig into their bags on the floor which may be challenging for that elderly granny. Finally, be sure you provide an alarm clock in the room along with a bottle or two of water so that guests don’t have to feel their way around your kitchen or bathroom at night when they are ready for a drink.

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How to Decorate a Dorm Room

July 17, 2008 by  
Filed under Home & Garden

how do I decorate my dorm roomA dorm room is a pretty tight space often shared by one or more roommates. It can be particularly challenging to decorate a dorm room as the walls are often an unattractive material, you’re unable to paint them, and there are few places to actually put decorative elements. That shouldn’t stop you from doing what you can to spruce up a dorm room, however, you’ll just have to be creative.

Coordinate with Your Roommate

If you’ll be living with a roommate, your first step is to discuss any decorating plans. You may find your roommate doesn’t care about decorations. She might also be interested in buying matching bedspreads and accessories to be sure the room is coordinated. You might also find that your roommate has her own special plans for the room. If this is the case, you can go along with the plans or you can agree to simply decorate your own space.

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Find Decorations that Fit

The most area you have to decorate in a dorm room are walls, ceilings, and floors. Any shelves will most likely be crammed with books, desks are covered in computers, and of course your bed will have a bedspread. There will be little or no room for furniture and certain accessories, such as candles, may be illegal in the dorm.

Decorate the Floor

Floor coverings such as a carpet remnant or rug offer you some comfort under your feet and a starting place for decorations. Classic beige carpet allows for any type of décor while a colorful woven rug may lend itself best to sometime more exotic such as Moroccan décor which lends itself well to colorful pillows and blankets. Find a floor covering that fits your budget and space allotment.

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Decorate the Beds

Your bedspread might be the largest splotch of color in the room if you choose bland colors for the floor and wall. Find a pattern that appeals to you. Don’t be limited by department stores. Search out markets that sell colorful spreads and blankets as an alternative to the traditional bed in a bag. Your bed may match your roommates or it may not – it’s up to the two of you.

Decorate the Walls

While you’re grabbing fun blankets for your bed, grab a few for your walls, too. Hang a lightweight blanket with an interesting pattern behind your bed to give your walls color since you can’t paint. You can even tack the blanket up over your bed in a kind of drape to give your room a truly unique flair. Twinkle lights, posters, and picture collages are another fun and personal way to add touches to your room. Add what accessories will fit and enjoy your new, if tiny, space!

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How to Choose a Paint Color

July 17, 2008 by  
Filed under Home & Garden

how to choose a color to paint withChoosing a paint color for your walls is critical to the overall feel and design of the room. The wrong choice will be apparent quickly, but will require a great deal of patience, time and resources to repair. To avoid this, be sure to pick the right color the first time.

Paint Choice Fundamentals

Paint comes in any color, but the most common wall color is white. Unfortunately, this is the least decorative wall color for design purposes. White walls can be suitable in any home, but they will not give your room the completed feel that color would.

Matte and satin paints are best in most rooms with glossy paint suitable in kitchens and bathrooms where it helps to repel water. Paints with texture and special techniques are simple to learn and can produce a designer’s effect.

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Design a Room

When selecting a paint color, your first step is to design the room overall. What sort of room are you creating? What furniture will be in the room? What is your focus in the room – a fireplace? Wall décor? Find inspiration in magazines or websites so that you have an idea of what you would like your finished product to resemble.

Explore Color Families

Once you have a feel for your room, you can begin working in color families. Red and pink paint colors are exciting while blue paint colors are cool and soothing. Greens are comforting and yellows are invigorating. You may prefer the neutrality of browns or grays, or want something truly unique such as purple. Look at your design and find the color family that works best with your image of the final product.

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Collect Paint Chips

Your next stop is to collect paint chips or samples from a paint store. Do not select the paint inside the store without first taking the samples home to see how they look against your furnishing and other colors of the room. Gather a full range of colors in your selected color family as you may discover that you want to try a deep forest green when you had originally be considering a muted olive.

Mix and Match

Layout your paint chips in the room with the blinds open to let in the sun. Paint chips are small, but they will give you a rough idea of what you’d be working with. Hold the colors next to your pictures and furniture – do some work better than others? Narrow your choices to two or three and get a second opinion if possible.

Make the Choice

Finally, take a deep breath and select the color that appeals to you the most yet works best in the room. If you simply can’t decide between two colors, get a small can of each from the paint store and paint a section of wall to see how it dries and looks in the room. You can then determine which is best and paint over the section of color that you won’t be using.

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How to Throw a Garden Party

July 15, 2008 by  
Filed under Food & Drink

how to throw a garden partyWhat better way to enjoy a beautiful day or the changing of the seasons than by throwing a garden party! Not only will your guests enjoy getting to spend time outside, they will also appreciate the novelty of a garden party and you will be able to showcase your patio or backyard that you have taken great pains to make perfect.

Furnish the Party

A party in your backyard will only succeed if furnished properly. Be sure you provide your guests with places to sit and a table or two to serve food and place plates and drinks. You can use patio furniture with matching chairs, or just pull out a folding table and cover it with a decorative tablecloth and invite guests to bring their own lawn chairs. Whether formal or casual, your party will center around the furniture.

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Choose Your Decorations

To differentiate between a casual backyard gathering and a marvelous garden party, decorate! You can select a theme, such as a Victorian gala with frilly lace and tea and scones to a Chinese celebration with paper lanterns hanging from your trees. Cover your table with a festive tablecloth, use garden flags to add some color, fill terra cotta pots with brilliantly colored flowers, or set candles afloat in a pool. When your guests arrive, the stage will be set for a fantastic time!

Send the Invitations

Without guests, your party wouldn’t be a party at all. You can incorporate your theme into your invitations, but be sure it is clear to your guests that the party will be outside so they can dress accordingly. If there is a dress code or a theme you want your guests to participate in, be sure to let them know that information as well. To ensure you have a good idea of how many guests to prepare for, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to include an RSVP request.

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Prepare the Food

For a garden party, your cuisine can match the theme, or you can assemble your favorite finger foods. Be sure you have plenty of cold drinks, especially if your party is on a warm day. Since your guests will be enjoying the outdoors, incorporate fresh food into your banquet, offering an assortment of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Have a Back-Up Plan

As with any out-of-doors event, you can’t control everything, and bad weather could send you scurrying. Be sure you have a back-up plan in case it rains on your parade. Be ready to move inside, to a covered porch or gazebo, or provide awnings or tents to keep your guests dry and comfortable. If the weather doesn’t cooperate with your plan, don’t despair! Your party will be a success if you keep a positive attitude and are flexible.

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How to Build a Fort

July 14, 2008 by  
Filed under Family & Parenting

how to build a fortWhen it’s raining out and you’re ready for a bit of adventure inside, teach your children the joys of fort building. Building a fort requires nothing other than a few sturdy pieces of furniture and some sheets and blankets. What you do with your fort and who you let in…and keep out…is up to you.

Assemble Required Items

To build a fort you’ll need items such as the following:

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  • A sofa
  • A coffee table
  • A card table
  • Blankets, quilts, sheets
  • Heavy books or other heavy items
  • Imagination

Build the Fort

To build a fort you’ll essentially be creating a tent by throwing your blanket and quilts over taller structures such as the backs of sofas, chairs, or a card table. The easiest fort to build is a card table fort. Pull out your folding card table and stand it in the middle of the room. Then throw the blankets over the table so that the material reaches the ground on all sides. When the interior space is closed off, the fort is built.

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A more complicated, but possibly more imaginative fort uses the items already in the room. Stretch a blanket over the back of the sofa and secure it using heavy books or other (non-breakable) items on the coffee table. The stretched blanket forms a roof for your fort and you can make it a bit taller and less droopy by standing a yardstick or broom in the center of the open area to prop it up. To make walls for your fort, drape light weight sheets from your blanket ceiling being sure to cover the space completely.

Whatever sort of fort you’re able to construct, help your children find the necessary provisions for an exciting afternoon of play. A flashlight, snacks, juice boxes and a radio are just the start of what your little explorers will need on their adventures.

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