Decorating Christmas Pages in a Mini 6″ Album

I am making an album for our great niece’s freshman year of college. I wanted to show you how I decorated the Christmas portion of the album, as well as how I made the pull out for it. Here is the first video showing you how to make the binding of the album and one of the pull-outs.

To begin this video, somehow I accidentally deleted the introduction and instead, began by explaining the Halloween pages of the album. The Halloween papers I used were from Joanns from last year’s single sheet options. The Christmas pad I used is from Hobby Lobby and are 8 1/2″ x 11 that I also bought last year. Here are the paper pads Hobby Lobby has available this year…unfortunately, not the one I bought, as it had a lot of gold foil on it. Link:

The corner punch I used on the Halloween page is from Stampin Up and has been discontinued, but I found it on ebay and here’s the link: It creates three different rounded corners and I liked it especially for albums.

To make the Christmas layers, I used cardstock cut to 5 1/4″ square and adhered them with tear tape link: and wet glue (I used Elmer’s Glue All on this album link:, but any wet glue will work as I use it as an addition to the tear tape to make the paper super adhered to the album.)

The two black layers are cut to 5 1/2″ x 6″ and scored on the 6″ length at 5 1/2″ to make a fold that would adhere to the page under it. I used Michaels Recollections Heavyweight black cardstock for these layers link:

When making pull out pages on the right side of the album, I first put one-half of a magnet on the cardboard base about one-quarter from the right side of the cardboard, then laid the decorated paper cut to 5 1/4″ square on top using tear tape and wet glue to adhere it. The next layer, I used the piece of Recollections Heavyweight black cardstock cut to 5 1/2″ x 6″ and scored on the 6″ length at 5 1/2″ to make the end result 5 1/2″ square and folded under the scored part. I adhered the folded edge with tear tape and wet glue (only on the 1/2″ folded piece) over the left side of the decorated paper (that I just put in the album), making sure to lay it a little above the decorated paper and lined up with the left edge of the designer paper. I added the other half of the magnet on the top of this piece of black paper, so it will connect with the magnet on the bottom layer. I added the next 5 1/2″ x 6″ Recollections black piece with the fold on the right side, laying it so it’s directly on top of the black layer beneath.

I added two pieces of Stampin’ Up Night of Navy cardstock cut to 2 1/2″ wide by 5 1/4″ tall, adhered together with tear tape…the left edge I ran through an EK Success Open Scallop Edge Punch link: then put tear tape on the back everywhere except on the scallop portion and adhered it to the back of the top black layer..I laid half of a magnet on the back of the navy blue piece as far from the scalloped part as possible and then put decorated paper cut to 5 1/4 x 5 1/4″ on the back and front of this layer. I added the second half of the magnet on the back of the decorated paper (so it faces it’s other half that’s on the Navy paper) with tear tape (keeping the backing on it) with sticky part on the underside of the magnet, so when you close the page, the magnet attaches to the black paper beneath it. That’s the simplest way I’ve found to make sure the magnets line up on different pages. Then I added decorator paper to the front and back of the second black page in the pull out and the pull out is complete.

I added a small piece of ephemera that said Christmas Memories to the left side of the Christmas section of the album. I wanted our great niece to be able to add as many decorations to this section as she wanted.

In the last video, I’ll do a walk-through of the album so you know what the entire album looks like.

Does You Let the Media Scare You, Like I Do?

I don’t watch normal television any more, because the political commercials scare me, so I either watch NetFlix or YouTube. Today I was watching a crafty video and in the videos that are featured as “Up Next” was a video about what we should start hoarding before the election. I’d never seen anything like this video, so decided to watch it. That was a HUGE mistake. The name of the channel wasn’t related to “Prepper,” but as soon as the woman started her list, I started to sweat. Her number one was a generator. Number two water filtration system, number three, a homemade toilet, etc.. Let’s just stop right there…I thought we were going to talk more about toilet paper or hand sanitizer. Apparently, this woman thinks the election is going to be the end of the world as we know it. She prefaced by saying whichever party wins, mayhem will ensue. I don’t know about the rest of you, but my worst fear is a zombie apocalypse, and my second is Civil War. Apparently, in this woman’s opinion, Civil War is just a few short weeks away.

Most of you might not remember this, but Henny Penny predicted mayhem when the calendar flipped from 1999 to 2000. It was called Y2K, and the problem that the world was consumed with, was computers at that time, only calculated to 12/31/99, and had no 2000 in their databases. So airplanes were predicted to fall out of the skies, based on loss of computer function, and banks were supposed to fail, because computers…you get the point. I was managing retail bank branches at that time, and spent a lot of time, reassuring customers that the banks were prepared for 2000…but a lot of people didn’t trust that this problem would be solved in time, so they hoarded…and bought crazy things like unprocessed wheat. We knew a man who bought a train car full of unprocessed wheat and sold it to friends/family in preparation for Y2K. Apparently he knew how to make it into flour and other usable products and I hope, in the last twenty years, he’s found a way to use it. I seriously doubt that he did. When the calendar clicked over to the year 2000, all computers worked, and everything that was hoarded was for naught, which was the outcome everyone hoped for…Can we be sure that the same will be true of this election?

I don’t need the media to tell me that this year has been a terrible one. From Covid to wild fires, hurricanes, and rioting, it’s been a scary time for all of us. I’ve never seen this country so divided, or people treating each other with such disdain. What happened to the “United” States of America. Where has our unity gone? When we watched the World Trade Centers fall in 2001, we could not have been more proud of our police, who were running in when everyone else was running out. Fast forward to 2020, when we are defunding our police departments because of the actions of a few bad police. Who will we turn to when someone is breaking down our doors, raping women, or murdering people, if there are no police?

I’m 60 years old and afraid for our future as a country. It seems we no longer respect each other and that’s sad. I’ll refer back to the media. Can’t we ever see the good in anyone? Couldn’t we provide HOPE instead of promoting hate. I’m too old to make my own toilet and sanitize my water, and quite frankly, I don’t want to poop in a bucket. Wouldn’t it be easier to treat others as we would like to be treated? Or, is that asking too much?

An Idea for Leftover Diamonds, Dollar General Magnet

I wanted to come up with an idea of something to do with leftover diamonds from diamond paintings.

I found the magnets in the craft department of my local Dollar General store. The magnets come in a pack of two from Bright and Bold called Assorted Magnets. They sold a few different designs, butterflies and flowers were available in my local store.

I started by painting the magnet with acrylic paint pens from Niutop, link: and once the paint was dry, I took a foam brush from the Dollar Tree link: and painted a thin coat of Aleene’s Tack it Over and Over glue link: Once the glue was dry, I went through my diamond storage and found colors that would work well with the paint beneath. Here’s a link to my diy diamond storage video link:

I completely covered the magnet with diamonds, working from the outside in. I wanted to have a row of blue diamonds to surround the image, so made sure if the image beneath was too close to the edge of the magnet for a row of blue diamonds, I painted the image further from the edge to allow for the row of blue diamonds. It’s important to use a few different color tones (different blues, greens, etc) as this adds to the overall look. Once the diamonds are set into the glue, the magnet is ready to be displayed, or, in my case, to use on a card.

Anniversary Card Using Watercolors & Memory Box Birthday Rose Corner Stamps

I needed to make an anniversary card for my sister’s 40th wedding anniversary and chose the Memory Box Birthday Rose Corner stamp set as the focal point of the card. It’s a very large corner stamp and takes up most of the front of a 5 x 7″ card.

Birthday Rose Corner Stamps link:

Arteza Watercolor pads link: I cut this paper to 4 3/4″ x 6 3/4″ for this card and used the scraps for stamping the leaves from this stamp set.

Pretty Excellent Watercolors link:

Grace Watercolor Brushes Link:

Waffle Flower free downloadable swatch digital stamps link:

Ranger Princess Gold Embossing Powder link:

Stamp sets used for sentiments: My Creative Times Many Greetings and Inspired by Stamping set called Wishing you

Red Card Base 5″ x 7″ Stampin’ Up cardstock in red

Gold Layer 4 7/8 x 6 7/8″ Crafter’s Companion Luxury Cardstock link:

Watercolor layer 4 3/4 x 6 3/4″ Arteza Watercolor Paper

After using Brutus Monroe clear embossing ink to stamp the rose image, I used Ranger Princess Gold embossing powder to cover the image as well as several extra leaves I stamped on a scrap of the same Arteza watercolor paper. I painted the design and the background, then took a rag and dabbed the blue background to get it to look mottled. I added a sentiment to the front of the card and inside with the same ink and embossing powder, then put kid’s fun foam behind the watercolor paper, attached with tear tape, and added it to the gold layer, and glued the gold layer to the red layer. I cut out the leaves and added foam tape to the upper portion of five leaves, then attached them to the card front on top of existing leaves or where I thought I needed some dimension.

I found washi tape in my stash that had hearts on it, and added the washi tape to the outside of the envelope. I wish I had used my peg stamps and stamped hearts on the envelope in hindsight.

Garage Sales are Winding Down, Snow is on the Way

As soon as garage sales start slowing down (mid September), it seems like I blink, and it’s snowing here. I don’t know about the rest of you, but it’s just one more sign that winter’s on its way. I used to think that Rich and I would spend our winters in the south, but two things have made that almost impossible. The two things are our dogs. They are TERRIFIED of riding in the car. I can’t stress this enough. Several years ago, we took Bella (photo below) and Aggie, who passed away in 2018, to North Carolina for a month. It took us two days to get there, and a lot of anxiety medications for Bella.

We didn’t realize, at the time, but Aggie was also suffering from anxiety. She always appeared so calm, it never occurred to us to medicate her as well. A day after we got to our beach house, we took both dogs to my sister’s house that was maybe twenty minutes away. On our trip back to the beach house, about a minute before we arrived, Aggie started to whine. I knew that meant she had to go to the bathroom, and Rich tried hard to get her there in time…but, as we pulled into the lot, she couldn’t hold it any longer, and had diarrhea all over the backseat (which luckily we’d covered with a sheet) and Bella. I quickly pulled the sheet out of the car, and Rich was stuck with cleaning poor Bella, covered in poop, as well as Aggie, whose backside and tail were also covered. It’s one of those moments that seems to stay with you forever. Unfortunately. Aggie had stomach issues for the next few days, and our vet diagnosed her with stress colitis. We fed her chicken and rice and that really helped. Aggie was 12, and this was her first trip, and first time seeing the ocean, and she loved it. Bella, on the other hand, was terrified of the waves and the noise the ocean makes, so never enjoyed walking on the beach, like Aggie did.

Since now we consider Bella the calm one of our two dogs, I know a trip like this is impossible. Honey (photo below) would probably have the equivalent of a nervous breakdown if we ever tried taking her on a twelve hour road trip. She hates any change in routine, and the car is Satan to her.

It’s funny how we plan things, (in our heads) of how we envision retirement. I know we never thought our dogs would make us snowbound, but that’s just what has happened. I can’t imagine us leaving them for a month, either, as they seem really agitated when we come home from a week long vacation (and they have a dog sitter staying with them at night and my girlfriend spending a lot of time with them during the day.)

I’m sure many of you without dogs or cats find our behavior to be over-the-top, but keep in mind, we don’t have children, so lather as much love as possible on each other and our dogs. It’s just the nature of humans…we want to give the animals we love, the care they deserve, because it’s rare to find humans who give us the attention and love our animals give us.

Our winters are long, but our dogs are more important than spending time in a nicer climate…and let’s face it, in this Covid world we’re living in, what are the odds we could even get to a warmer climate and enjoy our time there, when we’re all thinking about Covid and wearing masks, and social distancing.

ELICE Battery Powered Light Pad Review

Here’s the link to the ELICE light pad in case you’d like to purchase one. I bought mine on Amazon and am not sure where else you can find it. (Just as a reminder, I’m not an affiliate of Amazon, and make no money from the sales or review of this product, and the review is strictly my opinion.)

I compared the ELICE battery powered light pad with my existing light pad. My original light pad has three light settings, and the ELICE has five.

My original light pad is the same size as ELICE.

My original light pad has a cord and need to be plugged into either a device or an AC outlet and the ELICE can be plugged into a device or AC outlet to be charged, and then requires no cord.

My original light pad is flat, but the ELICE is raised near the top so you don’t have to lean over your projects. I really like this feature.

I charged the ELICE light pad and it ran on its brightest setting for over 6 hours. It says on the box that it will run for 300 minutes after a charge, but mine performed much better than predicted. (I realize I said it lasts 390 minutes on the video, but that was because I can’t read small numbers accurately, darn this old age issue….)

There are rulers on the top and left side of the ELICE light pad.

I found this light pad to be a great improvement over my last light pad. The fact that there’s no cord when I’m using it, is a terrific feature, as is the raised upper section of the light pad. I don’t normally gush about products, but found this light pad to be worthy of some gushing…

Is Mod Podge the Best Product for You?

I think we’ve all gotten used to the idea that when you’re doing any kind of decoupage, you’ll be reaching for Mod Podge. But is it the best product ? I’m not sure. I exclusively used Mod Podge until I started to have some issues with it.

First of all, if you’ve ever used Mod Podge, you’ve probably accidentally glued the lid to the jar…it happens to the best of us. And with openings as large as those on the Mod Podge jars, they can be almost impossible to unglue. If this has ever happened to you, and you’d like an alternative product, I highly recommend Collage Pauge. Here’s a photo of the bottle. It comes in gloss or matte, so it should work as an easy alternative. It’s made by Aleene’s and I found mine at Hobby Lobby.

Easy Image Transfer on canvas using Collage Pauge | iLoveToCreate

Of course, Mod Podge comes in a wide variety of options. Here’s a starter pack they offer. It includes matte, glossy, sparkle (with glitter), outdoor and paper. I’ve never tried paper or sparkle, but I have tried outdoor, and it is a total fail.

When using the outdoor version, you’re required to use a sealant on your project after you’ve used Mod Podge. You also need to let the project cure for a month before sealing it and putting it outdoors. I did both steps before putting bird houses outside, and within a month, there was mold growing on them. And, the paper I’d Mod Podge’d had images on it, and they were really faded. It was so disappointing, I contacted Plaid, the makers of Mod Podge twice. The first time was earlier in the spring, and I was told they were closed due to Covid. I felt that was an acceptable answer at that time, then emailed them again late in the summer. I got no response to my second email. Needless to say, I don’t recommend the outdoor version.

I’ve also tried the dishwasher safe version, and it is supposed to be waterproof, but I’ve never tested this. After reading what the company says about it, I should have used the dishwasher safe version for outdoor use.

Here’s what the company says about dishwasher safe Mod Podge.

Questions About Dishwasher Safe Mod Podge

1. Isn’t all Mod Podge dishwasher safe? Why do I need a special formula?

This is a common misconception. All Mod Podges are not dishwasher safe. The Outdoor formula is highly water-resistant but not waterproof. If you want to be able to wash a decoupaged item in the dishwasher, you need this formula!

If I’d only read this information BEFORE using Outdoor Mod Podge…darn it.

I’ve watched some YouTube videos on dishwasher safe Mod Podge, and the YouTubers I watched, all thought it performed well in their dishwashers. But, if you didn’t know, you also need to cure projects made using this version, for a month before using it, just like Outdoor Mod Podge. I don’t know about you, but for me, waiting a month to use something I’ve created, is longer than I’m willing to wait. I’ve heard you can avoid this step if you put your project in a low temperature oven for an hour, but I couldn’t find anyone to verify that, so I don’t advise you trying it.

I did find a video from Plaid, the makers of Mod Podge, where they describe all seventeen formulas of Mod Podge in case you are interested.

In the end, let’s face it, Mod Podge has captured the market for decoupage. If you need a particular formula, they offer it. Whether it works for you or not, time will tell. I can only give you this advice. Don’t be afraid to try other decoupage brands or alternative methods of sealing projects, as they might work better and cost you less in the long run.

Is Having a Crafting YouTube Channel Worth the Trouble?

Let me start by saying that I love making videos for my viewers…but, with that being said, YouTube has made this experience more than challenging. If you’re thinking of starting a crafting channel on YouTube, and don’t have a big YouTuber in your pocket, who will recommend your videos frequently, my advice is to maybe reconsider. YouTube has changed their algorythms, and are not recommending videos on crafting, unless you have a ton of views on your last video. Additionally, they don’t recommend craft videos because they want viewers to watch a lot of videos in one sitting, and they assume viewers will watch a craft video and stop watching to make that project…Unless, of course, your last video had a ton of views, that seems to override all other changes.

Let me explain this another way. If you had 40,000 views on your most recent video, YouTube will put your next video on every crafter’s “next videos to watch” list. If your last video had 500 views, your next video may drop into obscurity.

Additionally, and this doesn’t affect many YouTubers, OK, just me…..If you are non-monetized, meaning you make no money from YouTube videos (like me), then YouTube doesn’t make money either, so why promote your videos….the answer is, they don’t. So unless your subscribers are asking to get notified of your most recent video, no one will know you have any videos to watch. I realize that YouTube is in this to make money, but can’t they make exceptions for people who just want to help others (like me,) but aren’t looking to make money from the experience? It’s disheartening to see my video views drop from several hundred with each new video, to less than two hundred and have no idea what I could be doing differently to get more views…

The reason I care about the number of views my videos receive, is because I want as many people with limited hand/wrist mobility to know they have a voice on YouTube. They can find videos on a wide variety of crafts that they should be able to master. The more views, the more people I’m helping, and that’s the reason I do this.

I’d love to have ideas on how to change the trajectory of my channel, but have no one to ask. And even if I did contact YouTube and had a live person to discuss this with, (which they don’t offer channels of my size,) I’m sure their answer would be to monetize.

If you watch Lindsay the frugal crafter’s videos, I’m sure you’ve noticed her videos have almost completely eliminated crafts to instead, focus on art. It’s no surprise why she’s making this change. Her income depends on the views she gets, and when YouTube changed their algorythm, her video ideas had to change with it. It’s sad to see this, since for many of us, Lindsay’s channel was the forerunner for a lot of crafty channels, including mine.

Making a Mini Album: The Binding & Pages that Pull Out

To begin making a mini album, you’ll start by making the binding. I chose to use eight (8) pieces of 6 x 6″ white chipboard pieces (link: and used black acrylic paint to paint the the edges and most of chipboard. I used black acrylic paint from Joanns’ link: with a foam brush Dollar Tree link: Once dry, they are ready to use.

Cut a piece of scrap cardstock to 1″ wide by 6″ tall and lay it on the left edge of each of your chipboard pieces, then draw a line with a pencil on the edge of the cardstock, so you have a mark running down the left side of your chipboard pieces that is 1″ from the left edge. I took gold colored (Stampin’ Up retired) cardstock and cut 8 pieces of 3″ wide by 6″ tall strips and scored them on the 3″ length at 1 1/2″. I used 1/4″ wide tear tape (link: and wet glue (I think it was Art Glitter Glue link: )and laid two rows of tear tape (double sided tape) in the one inch space I created with a pencil line. I put wet glue between the two rows of tape and on the top and bottom and left edge of the 1″ space. To put the album together, take one of the chipboard pieces, add glue and double sided tape (tear tape), and use one of the strips that are 3″ x 6″ scored at 1 1/2″. Fold the strip in half so it’s now 1 1/2″ wide…With the folded part facing away from the album, lay the right side of the bottom of the folded strip on the 1″ line you made with pencil. Make sure it’s well adhered. Then take another chipboard piece and lay it on the top of the first chipboard making sure it’s lined up perfectly and that you’ve added double sided tape and wet glue to the 1″ space. Continue using this system until you’ve used all of your chipboard.

The top piece is your cover…don’t add another 3″ strip to the top of it, as you’ll be using other paper to wrap around the binding to make it more secure, once you’ve decorated the cover. I chose a cardstock that looked like black animal skin and scored it from top to bottom, every 1/8″ from 1″ to 5″ on cardstock that is 6″ tall by 6″ wide. You’ll want the first one inch and the last one inch to be attached to the front cover and back cover of the album. I also lined this piece of cardstock with black Recollections heavyweight cardstock that was 4″ wide and scored every 1/8″. I glued the Recollections to the inside of the center of the animal skin inspired cardstock as I knew the animal paper would tear with use without this additional layer.

To make the pull out pages… Use Recollections Heavyweight black cardstock (link: two pieces cut to 5 3/4″ by 6 1/4″ and score them on the 6 1/4″ length at 1/2″, plus one additional piece of heavyweight cardstock for the top, cut to 5 3/4″ x 5 3/4″. On the first two pieces of cardstock with the score, fold over the 1/2″ piece and use a bone folder to flatten it. I added tear tape to the 1/2″ area and glued the first of the two 5 3/4 x 6 1/4″ pieces into the album, making sure the 1/2″ score was on the right side so I can add the next layer on top of it. Then lay the second piece of 5 3/4 x 6 1/4″ pieces with the score on the left side, adhering it to the 1/2″ scored area of the bottom piece. Add the 5 3/4 x 5 3/4″ piece on the 1/2″ glue score of the second sheet. I added magnets (link: to keep mine closed. One magnet attached to the right area of the bottom page, then other side of the magnet attached to the top of the right side of the top of the second page, and another magnet added to the left side top of the second page, and the other half of this magnet added to the left side on top of the 5 3/4 x 5 3/4″ page (third page) with tear tape under them. Once the magnets are in place, decorative paper can be added. I always lay my magnets at least 1/2″ from the edge of the cardstock, to ensure that the decorative paper covers it completely.

I didn’t show this in the video, but I also cut two pieces of purple cardstock cut to 3″ by 5 3/4″ and adhered them together with tear tape and wet glue and let them dry. I used a scalloped border punch link: on the 5 3/4″ length of the cardstock, then adhered this to the top cardstock so the scallops will hang out of the underside of the cardstock and the rest are adhered to the back of the top cardstock in the pull out. This will act as a handle to lift the pull out.

I’m Obsessed with Watercolor Paint Sets

I thought I’d change things up on my blog and write what I’m going to be talking about instead of using dates. I am obsessed with watercolor paints. Since I’m not an artist, (and don’t play one on TV) I have no idea why I need to have so many paints, but here we are. Hi, my name is Sandy, and I am an addict. You probably think I’m just being funny, but if I watch a YouTube video and the artist is using watercolors that I don’t own, I immediately start checking where I can buy them. What’s wrong with that, you might say. Since I already own:

Arteza set of 60

White Nights

Pretty Excellent

Amazon no name set that Lindsay recommended

Gansai Tambi

Viviva Watercolor Sheets

Niji Pearlized Watercolors

Daniel Smith Set of 6 Primary Colors

You probably thought I was exaggerating…Oh, and there’s another set that I bought and then gave to a friend, because I couldn’t deal with half pans. I’m not able to keep my paints from contaminating each other when I use half pans and that drives me crazy. So I only buy full pan palettes now. And that’s another obsession..making sure I have a metal palette with mixing wells for full pans. Sure, I have to have those too. In case you wondered, I really like the Meeden metal watercolor palettes they sell on Amazon. They have a wide variety of sizes and colors, and the ones I’ve bought, hold full pans and have two mixing wells. I need a lot of mixing space, because unlike people who watercolor and use a small area to mix one color, I use almost one entire side, mixing just one color. (I never said I was good at using mixing space wisely, did I?)

I wish I could say that I aspire to be able to paint like a professional watercolorist at some point, but if you’ve ever seen me watercolor a stamped image, you know I can’t bend my wrist to hold the brush at 90 degrees, so I guess I’ll never have one of my paintings in a museum, darn it.

So what plans do I have for using all of these paints? I really enjoy watercoloring stamped images, and, I’ve found it’s really satisfying to blend my own colors….so that’s my plan. Continue to use all of the different watercolors I own, and have a good time doing it. The good news is that I’ll never have to worry about running out of paint, until the next video with a set I don’t own comes on YouTube, and I’ll probably add them to my ever-growing collection.