The weather here hasn’t been the greatest, so I haven’t been out much in the last week.  I think the winter and my inactivity really add to my chubbiness…I don’t think I eat that much, but then again, I do almost no physical activities…thus, more chubby.

Yesterday, we met with a close friend who is our family’s funeral director, and made prearrangement plans for our funerals.  I know that sounds morbid, but since Rich and I don’t have any kids, it will be up to us to make all of these plans, and I’d rather make them now when there’s no stress on us.  I don’t plan on dying for a long time, but my dad died at 64, so you never know when your time is up, and I’d rather not have to think about it later.

On a brighter note, I finished the big diamond painting and thought I’d share a photo of it with you.  I’m disappointed that the diamonds weren’t all the same size, so the rows aren’t perfectly straight….The photo below shows some wrinkles in the design, because I had to fold it to work on it in my small craft area.  Since it’s 50 x 70 cm (almost 3 ft long), it was cumbersome to work with once the top portion was complete.  I’m going to flatten it with heavy books and run a rolling pin over it, and if I still have wrinkles, I might run a warm iron over a towel (on top of the design.)  Otherwise, I’m not sure what to do to fix it…and if anyone else knows, please give me some ideas.

I was fretting about the dog in the diamond painting, because I kept working on it and still didn’t find the dog…it was almost like “Where’s Waldo,” until I got almost to the bottom and his little white body materialized when I saw his face…It’s a good thing he was also wearing a blue shirt, otherwise I don’t think anyone would be able to easily find him when looking at this.

I’ll be giving this diamond painting to my sister (who really wanted it) and once it’s hanging in her house, if my nephew and his bride want one, I can make a second one for them…but definitely will be buying it from another company…one whose diamond quality is better than these.M&M Diamond Painting (1)

DiY Covered Dollar Tree Planner & Bookmark

I tried to find the planner on the Dollar Tree website, but couldn’t, but they are still available in the stores.  It’s called a “Weekly 2020 Planner.” 

Using 12 x 12″ designer paper, fold it in half (from side to side) to determine the center of your paper and then lay the planner inside, so the left edge of the planner is laying on the center fold. Try to make sure your planner is in the middle of the paper (from top to bottom.) Fold the bottom edge of the paper up and make sure the left edge of the folded paper is lined up with the left edge of the rest of the paper (and that will ensure your paper is straight on the bottom of your book.) Make a good crease so the fold stays in place, but don’t put the planner inside yet. Then fold the top paper down to meet the top of the planner, and make sure the left edge of the paper you’re folding down, lines up with the left edge of the paper  and make a crease where you’ve folded it. Put the planner inside and fold the left side of the paper so it’s almost up to the left side of the planner and crease the paper…Do the same on right side but add about 1/4″ to the folded paper so there’s 1/4″ more paper on the right side of the planner. The outside of the planner is done.

Bookmark.  I used a sheet of white Recollections 110 lb heavyweight cardstock and folded it in half on the 11″ length. Using a ruler, from the left side, make a mark that is    2 3/4″ from the left edge of the folded cardstock. Then from the top, make a mark 1/4″ from the left edge and on the left side, make a mark 1/4″ from the top of the cardstock. On the 2 3/4″ side, make a mark on the top 1/4″ to the left of your mark, and on the right side, make a mark 1/4″ from the top. Take a pencil and connect the 1/4″ marks so you have an angle on the top left and top right sides and it makes it look like a tag. Make a mark 4 1/4″ from the top of the paper so your bookmark is that tall…I ended up changing this measurement, so in the end, I cut it to 4″, sorry.  Cut out your bookmark, following the lines and making sure you don’t cut the top fold.  I lined the white cardstock with designer paper that is 3 3/4″ tall by 2 1/2″ wide and made my top cuts to match the angles of the layer below. I added a sentiment to my top layer with Stampin’ Up Bermuda Bay ink and used Brutus Monroe Icicle embossing powder to heat set it. I used a micro brush to fix the ink error… I added two small magnets under the top designer paper layer about 1″ from the bottom edge. The magnets I used are 3mm wide by 1mm thick and I bought 100 of them from the following link: https://tinyurl.com/utlpy8s for a little over $1.00.. I used four magnets and drop the entire pile onto my scissors so I know which side is the magnetic side, then put Glue Dots on the white layer of the paper before adhering the designer paper layer and lay a magnet on the Glue Dots then adhere the second magnet to the right of the first magnet, then add the designer paper on top….To adhere the second set of magnets, close the bookmark and drop the magnets so they stick where the other magnets are adhered to the back layer…put glue dots under the magnets and add the designer paper layer.

Back to the planner. I cut designer paper to go inside the front cover of the planner. Measure the paper on the left side of the planner and cut it to the size of the paper. For the back inside cover, I cut the paper to the size of the paper when you open the planner and are using both sides for your measuring. (since all planners are a little different size, you’ll need to measure the paper in yours and it’s why I didn’t give measurements for mine.) I added tear tape to the backs of these papers and added wet glue to adhere them to the inside of the planner… To make a belly band to hold the planner closed, I used Stretch Ribbon I found in the jewelry making supply department at Walmart. I used black stretch ribbon and wrapped it around an orange hair tie I bought at the Dollar Tree and then hot glued the end of the ribbon after wrapping it around the hair tie. I took it and wrapped the stretch ribbon and the hair tie around the planner, then wrapped the other end of the stretch ribbon around the other side of the hair tie and hot glued it in place making sure the stretch ribbon was tight enough to hold the planner closed when not in use.. I hot glued two blue brads (after cutting off the backs of the brads) to the stretch ribbon on either side of the orange hair tie..


The big news is, I am one day away from finishing the big diamond painting.  I can’t believe it’s almost done.  I promised my sister that I would give it to her, and if my nephew and his bride decide they want one, I’ll make another one for them.  I have to say, I’m disappointed in the quality of the diamonds in the kit.  I was told that I should have much better quality diamonds than I did with the first diamond painting I did with the snowman.  I thought that this website, https://victoriasmoon.co.uk/, that sent me the customized diamond painting, would have terrific quality, but sadly, I’m not happy with them.  Some are smaller, some are thicker, and some were actually round.  Since I got the square diamond painting, finding round diamonds seemed to be a big mistake on their part.  I’m not sure if I should just give up diamond paintings, since mine never seem to line up straight because the diamonds are not all the same.

I’ll show you the finished project so you can decide for yourself if the quality is poor or not…

We’ve been having so much fun watching animals eat at night on our Blink cameras.  The cameras are set to record in five second increments, so we get a lot of small clips of animals eating.  It’s fun to watch rabbits eating with deer, and a family of four raccoons eating…We have two bucks that come to eat together every night.  I didn’t know male deer hung with each other…I thought only the females did that, so I’m learning a lot about animals.  I also didn’t think rabbits would be comfortable eating a few feet away from deer, but they don’t seem to mind at all, and act like they don’t notice any other animals are nearby…

Yesterday, we went to see “1913,” a movie about World War I.  If you get a chance to see it, you definitely should.  It’s not your basic war movie, more about two men who are given a task to deliver a note to the front line, and how they carry out their mission. It keeps you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end, and I hope it wins the Oscar for best film..  As most war movies, it has some down moments, but it’s a really great film.  I didn’t know the two lead actors, but they did an amazing job.

Rich is almost done with the last video he needs to upload, and it’s great that this video corresponds with the timing to finish the diamond painting so I can get back to making other videos.  I’m relieved that it’s almost done, but with the results were better.  I still think my sister will like it…At least I hope she does.


You’d be amazed at the progress I’ve made on the huge diamond painting of my nephew and his new bride and their dog…..I can’t believe how far I’ve come.  When I began working on it, I thought it would literally take me months to complete, and now I’m looking at finishing it possibly in the next week.  I know, it’s crazy!!!

I thought I’d need to have Rich help me to complete it, as I would never have the endurance or commitment to finish it on my own, and when you see it in a video (and you definitely will), I think you’ll be surprised at not only that I finished it, but also how truly large it is.

For Christmas, Rich bought me a Blink security system…not really for security, but more because I’ve always wanted to be able to watch the animals that we feed corn to every winter.  He bought a three camera system that you can talk through (here’s the link in case you’d like to buy one for yourself….I’m not an affiliate and make no money from this, but thought others might have an interest in it too.  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07MMZF2BF/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

He finally installed the cameras….one at the front door so if we aren’t home and someone rings our doorbell, we can talk to them, one in the backyard to watch the animals and one inside to watch the dogs when we are on vacation.  He hasn’t installed the indoor camera, as we don’t want to use the batteries until we need to..and we spend most of our time with the dogs, so don’t need to watch them on camera when we can simply glance over at them any time we want.

Last night we got several alerts from Blink on Rich’s cellphone.  It alerts whenever there is movement in the camera’s sight line.  I think Rich needs to figure out how to change the alert to larger shape movement, because we got one notice when a rabbit came to eat, and another when a raccoon came to eat.  We got a bunch more for deer, and that’s more what we want to see…or the bear and her cubs that comes by each fall and spring to destroy my bird feeders.  Maybe we’ll catch them on camera before they get to our bird feeders and stop their progress before they there.  Since we can talk to them through the cameras, I’m hoping we can discourage her from getting closer to our house.  Maybe she’s used to these security systems, and when we talk through it, she’ll just ignore us….It would be great if I could outsmart the bear, but I find it highly unlikely.  Much like the mice in the garage we built to hold Rich’s 1966 Mustang.  They have found ways to live in the Mustang, even though we’ve tried everything we can think of to stop them…When new products come out, we try them….If you’ve heard about the peppermint and cinnamon oil products you can buy to deter mice, don’t buy it.  If you’ve heard that moth balls discourage mice, that’s not true, and the one we really believed, the electronic devices that mice supposedly hate, not so much…We have one in every electric outlet in a small garage, and we probably have more mice than devices residing there at this point.  I think the last thing we’ve tried (consistently) has been putting drier sheets inside the car…All over the inside of the car…in the trunk, the glove compartment, under the seats, you name it.  And still, last year, when Rich took the car out for the first time, he had three passengers (that he knows of) as one jumped out when he opened the door to get in, and another one jumped out when Rich got out of the car at a car parts store (looking for yet more mice deterents,) and finally, the last one, that rode with him through the entire trip, to jump out when he pulled back into the garage (apparently it knew it was home and the ride was over.)  I told Rich that I might not be willing to go anywhere in his car until he got the mice situation under control….

We could put poison or traps in the garage, but that’s a very last option, as I hate the idea of animals suffering for long periods of time, or being caught in the trap, but not dying, and laying there until they die.  It’s too cruel for me to consider..

I’m sure you know that we live in N/W PA, and the weather here in winter is not exactly fun…until today.  It’s not sunny or visually attractive, but it’s almost 60 degrees and you have no idea how great it feels to not be bundled up just to go outside…Today’s the kind of day you want to run errands in and we definitely will.  It’s really windy, but a warm wind, and I don’t mind that either.  It makes me believe that spring is on its way…and I, for one, can’t wait.





Dollar Tree Gnome, Easy to Make w/ Hand Issues

I have seen these gnomes on YouTube, but I couldn’t make them the way I’ve seen shown, as my hands don’t have the strength to make them…So, I modified the technique to work for me.

Tools Used:

Fiskars Easy Action Scissors….on sale at Joanns now for $9.99 here’s the link: https://tinyurl.com/tzlqfwy These are great for people with hand issues and are recommended by the Arthritis Foundation.

A fuzzy Dollar Tree sock, link: (these will work as well couldn’t find the fuzzy option online at Dollar Tree) https://tinyurl.com/tjjwxfs

A short women’s Dollar Tree black sock link: https://tinyurl.com/srolvrg

A White mens Dollar Tree sock: link https://tinyurl.com/v8d8xrn

Simpliity Wolf Faux Fur 4″ Trim from Joann’s link: https://tinyurl.com/s97a2mw I use about 3 to 4″ for each gnome.

Hot glue gun, Mine is a Gorilla Glue Gun and I love it link: https://tinyurl.com/wjfxdkb

A cup large enough to fill with rice and your white sock.

Cheap white rice

White string, can be embroidery floss or simple white string

LA Colors Shimmering Loose pink eyeshadow from Dollar Tree link: https://tinyurl.com/thxqq48 and a small brush to apply it with

Decorations…I used a jingle bell and twine and a styrofoam ball To make the gnome.

Start by putting the white sock into the plastic cup and fill it with rice…After you’ve filled the sock to the level you want (mine are 6″ tall), you’ll take the string and tie off the top of the sock right where the rice ends. I tie one knot then wrap around to the other side and double knot. This is easier for me because once you wrap the string around to the back, the knot doesn’t open (like it would if you tried to do a double knot the first time.)

Nose. I take a length of string, 18″ and make a lasso looking circle with a single knot tied in it. I put the string around the spot on the sock that I want the nose to be, (very close to the tied top) and pinch as much as I can of the sock and the rice…the more you grasp, the bigger your nose will be. Pull the string tight and wrap the string under the nose and knot it again, then back to the top and double knot it, as this will ensure your string won’t let loose and you shouldn’t have a problem with the string breaking either. Take 18″ of string, and tie it around the middle of the gnome. Tie it tight so you create a girdle and your gnome will stand up straight. Tie a single knot then wrap the string around to the back and tie it again, only this time, tie a double knot, then cut off the excess string. Take your black sock, cut it off right below the heel, and put the foot of the sock on the gnome like you would a kids’ sock (by folding the sock down so you can easily start it on the bottom of the gnome,) and make sure the toe is on the back of the gnome..Pull the black sock up to the nose, and hot glue it right under the nose so you can’t see where the black sock ends. You only want the sock to come up to the bottom of the nose, so trim off the excess if you have too much sock left under the nose..Pull the black sock up on the back of the gnome and hot glue it in place, and pull it as high as possible on the sides and glue it. You should use your scissors to hold the sock in place after hot gluing it so you don’t burn yourself. Take a brush and your pink eyeshadow and coat the nose as much as possible (as it will wear off with time)..Blow off any excess.

Hat…take your fuzzy sock and cut just below where the heel starts..since mine was striped, it was easy to cut across at the change in color. Then turn the sock almost inside out and put the styrofoam ball (1″)  at the very top of the toe of the sock, pull the sock tightly around the ball and take your string and tie it so the ball is tightly surrounded by the toe of the sock…knot it then take some twine (18″) and wrap the end of the twine with scotch tape that you fold over to create a point. Cut the tape so it makes it easy to put the twine through a jingle bell, then wrap the twine around the string at the base of the styrofoam ball and make a bow or a knot, and cut off excess twine. Glue the beard in place first, and then add your hat.

Beard. I cut through the backing of the faux fur, don’t cut the fur, put the tip of your scissors right under the backing but not under the fur..I cut a 3 1/2″ long piece. Trim off any backing you can see at the top of your fur (the top is the opposite end from where the long fur is)..Cut out the middle at the top, a spot for your nose, cut under the backing so you don’t cut off your fur. Trim the sides if it’s too wide, and use those pieces to make a moustache or goatee. Round the bottom edges and trim away excess backing as you don’t want it to show. Glue it under the nose and hold in place with scissors until it’s set, then glue the rest to hold it in place. Glue the hat to the top of the nose then pull down as much as possible in back and glue in place.



I’d like to say that I’ve been doing something beside working on the diamond painting, but since I’m making such huge progress on it, I can’t.

I am going to make a traveler’s journal out of a Dollar Tree placemat that I’ve seen in every DT I’ve been in…so at least I know you’ll all be able to recreate it if you want.

At the end of 2019, I made my girlfriend two re-covered 2020 calendars and showed how to cover a Dollar Tree one that’s really cute.  Unfortunately, it like the other three videos I’ve made, it’s a long one, so it takes Rich a few days to edit it.  Before he puts that one up, he’s editing one I made for making sock gnomes when you have limited strength in your hands.  The normal gnomes you see on YouTube have several small rubber bands holding them together, and I can’t handle rubber bands..they beat me more times than I beat them.  I think it’s the size of rubber bands that are used on gnomes..super small…I can’t get them to stretch to the size of my hand, so obviously, needed to come up with an alternative and I was really happy with the results I got with regular string instead of rubber bands.  I hope people will enjoy the video and are able to make gnomes if they haven’t been able to do so in the past…

I’ll bet viewers will be so happy when I finish this diamond painting, as I can’t seem to figure out how to store it somewhere while I’m working on a video, as the diamond painting takes over my entire work surface plus additional space.  It’s going to be massive when it’s finished.

Today, Rich and I are going to Erie, the closest large town nearby, to return some Christmas gifts that didn’t fit and to spend an afternoon out of the house.  As our weather hasn’t been great the last few days, I’m getting a little stir crazy from being stuck inside, and need to get out of the house.  If you live anywhere with snow, I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.  It never happened when I was working, because I was interacting with people, but now that I’m limited to talking on the phone, and weekly visits with my girlfriend, I sometimes need to run away…Today’s the day for that.

On the third, my girlfriend and I went “shopping” in my hometown, and that was short-lived, because her thirteen (almost fourteen) year old grandson just told her that he needed to volunteer ten hours by the upcoming Thursday….so that gave us six days to find somewhere for him to volunteer and get him ten hours of volunteerism at a non-profit.  He knew he had this assignment for at least three weeks, but failed to do anything about it until the night before, when he broke the news to grandma….So instead of shopping, we went to every place we knew we had contacts to beg for volunteer hours.  Luckily the senior center had four hours to give him and our local food bank had the rest, but only if my girlfriend volunteered with him, as they needed adult supervision for people filling the food bags.  That also meant that he would be out of school on Monday, as that’s when the bags needed filled.  I have to say that I was really frustrated that he’s put it all on his grandmother and did nothing to acquire his own volunteerism, but I guess that’s how kids do things today.  She will end up putting more time into this project than he will, and that’s a shame.  I really hope that he learns something from this, but I doubt that he will.  When did it become so easy to be a kid?  I don’t like the term entitled, but if I had told my mother and/or father that I had to have ten volunteer hours, they would have said “good luck with that” and let me succeed or fail on my own.  I know if they had contacts at non-profits, they would have volunteered that information, but never would have done the footwork to get me the hours.  And if I’d waited so long, they NEVER would have let me miss school to accomplish the goal.  How do kids today learn to fail if someone always is there to do the heavy work for them?

Sorry for the big rant, but it’s been something I’ve been thinking about this week and wondering how we’ve gotten so far off track.  I know it has to do with the parents/grandparents enabling kids, but it must go way beyond that, to teachers and other people in positions of authority that also allow it.  How will we create leaders in an environment of followers?  Sad…






Diamond Painting for Beginners

Below you’ll find all of the information and products used in this video:

Link to snowman diamond painting kit on Aliexpress: https://tinyurl.com/wzgnx6f  I chose the square drills and 15 x 15 cm…..You’ll pay a little over $3 for the kit. It comes with the pink pick up tool, a plastic holder for the drills and the pink wax to stick inside the pink tool.

Victoriasmoon.co.uk is the company that sent me the large diamond painting kit with a photo I emailed them of my nephew, his bride and their dog the day after their wedding. Here’s a link to the diamond painting for wedding photos. https://tinyurl.com/sowzcm6 My painting is 50 x 70 and used square drills.

Tips for beginners:

1. Get the round drills instead of the square as the round are easier to work with (according to my friend Sherri who has a facebook page for diamond painters)

2. Get large drills (diamonds) vs. smaller ones.

3. Buy a storage container for your drills and put the embroidery floss numbers on the lids as well as the code for that particular painting.

4. Each kit you buy will come with the pink wax, the applicator tool and the little bin that you’ll use to shake from side to side to turn the diamonds right side up and to put the diamonds on the painting.

5.  When you have a large area all one color, use the checkerboard system that I demonstrate at 29 minutes and 40 seconds.

6. If you have a wrinkle in your diamond painting, Studio Sam has a great video that shows you how to fix it. It’s link is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDfVWcjkQq4&t=129s

You don’t need to buy these, but I do recommend you buying:

a. Light pad…this lights your diamond painting from behind…I didn’t like that it doesn’t come with an electric cord, instead the cord needs to connect to an outlet like on your computer… Link for the light pad I bought..https://tinyurl.com/rous9cc It was $11.99 Mine came with a big blue clip and that is a great tool to hold the diamond painting where you want it on the light pad.

b. When doing a large diamond painting, you should get parchment paper to cover the unfinished surface of your painting so you don’t get your clothing stuck to the painting so much that it’s no longer sticky.

c. Washi tape to surround the edges of your painting that will be unfinished, and are sticky, so the edges don’t end up covered with clothing fibers.

How to start a new painting:

1. Make sure you take washi tape and surround the painting, making sure the lines are completely straight with the edge lines of the painting.

2. Buy storage containers for the diamonds (drills) and label each container with the code for this painting as well as the number used for embroidery floss (as this is the number that will be consistent from painting to painting. I cut the numbers out of the plastic baggies that came with diamonds and taped this to the top of my containers. I also added the symbol for this painting to the top of the container. You will definitely benefit from creating a storage system, as it will make you crazy looking through 38 baggies for the one you want each time you change colors.

3. You can start at any point, but I found that I like starting at the top left corner and trying to cover across the painting and moving down the painting worked best for me..especially when it’s as large as this one is. You’ll want to make sure you keep the unfinished portion covered with either the paper that lines it to begin with, or parchment paper, as it will lose it’s stickiness if you don’t. I cut lines in the cover paper about 4″ long and spaced 4″ across so I could keep as much covered as possible.

4. When you empty one color into it’s storage container, I recommend that you put them into a tray first and lay another tray over it and rub them together to fix any diamonds that have adhered to each other during production.

How to finish a diamond painting:

Once your painting’s done, you’ll want to use a rolling pin or a brayer to roll over the painting to ensure all of the diamonds are well adhered. If you use a wood rolling pin, put a towel over the painting so the rolling pin doesn’t damage the painting. You’ll need to seal it. I watched a video by Studio Sam called Sealing your Diamond Painting, What’s Best, and she recommended Deco Art Triple Thick Brilliant Brush On Gloss Glaze. I brushed it on my painting to seal it so the diamonds don’t fall off and so it doesn’t collect dust. You can add some glitter to hide some of the problems you might have with lining up your diamonds, and if you do this, use as little glitter as possible. I tried using the Tim Holtz glitter sprayer and didn’t have good luck with it, so just sprinkled glitter on.. I brushed off excess glitter and used a baby wipe that I added baby shampoo (1 tsp. with water in a spray bottle) to remove some of the excess glitter…it worked ok. Let it dry. Clean the brush as soon as you’re done with it as the Gloss Glaze will ruin it if you don’t.