Simple Dollar Tree Hand Soap Turtleneck Sweater Party Favor or Stocking Stuffer

I wanted to make an easy gift for a dinner I was going to, and decided to use what I had on hand….I made a turtleneck sweater for a Bath & Body Works pump hand soap link: https://www.bathandbodyworks.com/s?q=… and put it inside a Dollar Tree women’s red fuzzy sock. I couldn’t find the red fuzzy socks on their website, but our Dollar Tree still had some in stock this week. You’ll put the hand soap inside the sock and pull it so the soap is at the bottom of the sock, with the heel of the sock to the back of the bottle. I then took the top of the sock and folded it inside the top until the top of the sock was below the pump of the bottle. I tied a clear white ribbon around the neck of the bottle, and added a snowflake ornament from the Dollar Tree to the front with hot glue. The snowflakes come in a pack of (I think) eight and I couldn’t find them on their website either, but did they were still in my store last week…I removed the clear plastic tie that was on the snowflake, as I didn’t need that to attach it to anything, but you could avoid the hot glue if you used the clear plastic string to drape it around the neck of the bottle…

12/20-12/21/2019

Yesterday, we were invited to a friend’s house for a Christmas party with some of our college friends.  I had been talking to one of the wives, and wondered if maybe we should take small tokens to give to the other wives, and she finally got back to me and said, yes, we definitely should.  By then I had about four hours to decide what to buy and where to find them in the small town I live in, and honestly, that was the big challenge.  I’d already bought an oversized plush blanket for the woman that was hosting the dinner, and had wine ready for them, but hadn’t really thought about what I should take for the other women.  I needed three gifts, and after a lot of deliberation, decided I could make something that would be OK….I have to be honest, I didn’t think I had a choice, since our town doesn’t have a lot of quality stores to shop….I didn’t think a candle from Big Lots or Walmart would be a great option, and that was the suggestion my girlfriend had for me..  I know the gift I ended up making isn’t terrific, but with short notice, it was the best I could do.  I created a video and will make it the next post on my blog.

Today I focused on trying to clean the chaos that is my house, and afterward, decided to read a book.  I haven’t had time for anything but Christmas preparation for so long, I decided I deserved a break.

The women last night were really gracious about the hand soaps, but since I didn’t know one of them at all, and only slightly knew another, I wasn’t really worried.  I did the best I could with the time I had.  I probably would have told them that if I knew them better…and, we probably would have laughed about my gift attempt, but like I said, I didn’t know them well enough to worry.

Fast, Last Minute Christmas Cards, Postcards

I am a last minute Christmas card maker….and wanted to use the Stampendous The Cling Snowy Postcard that’s very vintage looking. I also have a postcard stamp that you don’t really need, as you can write the word postcard and draw the address lines….

Snowy Postcard Stamp Link: Amazon https://tinyurl.com/vj76hfn

Stamp that Creates a Postcard Address Amazon https://tinyurl.com/rv3cpos

I used Recollections cream colored heavyweight (110 lb) and cut it to 4″ high by 6″ wide. I used the Stamp Perfect and my MISTI to stamp these cards, as I used an assembly line system and had to re-ink to get the postcards as dark as I wanted them to be. I used Archival ink to stamp with so if the postcards get wet while in the mail, they won’t smear or run..

Archival Brilliance Coffee Bean link Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/uf9f25a

                                                          link: Ebay: https://tinyurl.com/vfxuq5b

Ranger Archival Sepia link: https://tinyurl.com/vmjnkmd (These come in a 4 pack and coffee comes with Sepia)

Ranger Archival Coffee link: https://tinyurl.com/vmjnkmd

Ranger Archival Potting Soil link: https://tinyurl.com/wulo5rb

Ranger Archival Vermillion link: https://tinyurl.com/qmq2mkx

I had to remind myself to make sure I stamped both sides of the postcard so they are both in the same direction, as sometimes I accidentally stamp one side upside down.

If you use a stamp positioning tool, you’ll have a lot better success doing this, as you will need to restamp to get a very crisp image. I mainly used the Archival Brilliance Coffee Bean ink as the ink pad was so much larger and the stamping went to much faster when I used it. I also used the Sepia ink, as I liked the vintage look it provides. After stamping the postcard to the darkness I desired, I ran an ink pad around the edges to create a frame. I hope this gives you an idea of something you can do to create a quick, last minute card….and Merry Christmas!!

12/16-12/17/2019

My obsession with the diamond painting continues.  I spent so much time on it yesterday, that I almost neglected the things I truly needed to finish.  I wanted to make Rich individual thank you cards for all of the people who were there for us during his surgery. He’s already sent out two, and I needed another nine.  Since three were going to his friends from college, I didn’t want them to all be the same, so have been trying to make them all look different…In the end, I had to settle for four being similar, only with different colored backgrounds.

I finished the snowman diamond painting to give to my girlfriend for Christmas and I hope she likes it.  I did a video about the basics of diamond painting and will include this project in that video…Here’s the finished project.

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I think it would have turned out better if I had managed to maintain straight lines, and had to add glitter to ensure that you couldn’t see between some of the rows.  I found that I struggle with keeping things in a straight line…bummer.

I finished making fast and easy Christmas postcards and made a video showing how I did them.  I like the vintage look of them and hope the recipients enjoy them too.  The things I like about sending postcards is you only have to write a little bit and it’s much cheaper to mail them…And, at this time of year when we think more about where our money goes, this allows you to let people know you are thinking of them without spending a lot of money to do so.

I missed several birthdays in the last month, and feel terrible about it.  Especially when so many people are kind to me, and remember mine, I should be better about getting cards sent on time.  So before I allow myself to go back to diamond painting, I want to make three more birthday cards.  I know it doesn’t sound like a lot, but I try to make cards to match the person I’m sending them to, and that really adds to the inspiration time I commit to a card.  OK, it’s more like I can’t decide what to do so I don’t accomplish as much as I’d like…and my craft room looks like a cyclone hit it, so that’s another issue to consider…Darn it..

12/15/2019

I have been working on a video for diamond painting for beginners and think it’s almost ready.  I’m so far behind on Christmas projects that I might just turn them into gift ideas instead of Christmas gift ideas.  I don’t know how time gets away from me the way it does, but there you go…I always think I have a lot more time than I do to create for Christmas, and should be starting in August or September to really be done in time.

I finally got my hot glue gun review up and have had it sitting around since the beginning of November, when I shared cards I received for my birthday (in November), but I’m pretty sure, people will think my birthday is now in December since it took so long to upload the video….Geez….

I will tell you this about diamond paintings.  When you shop for them, you’ll probably get frustrated because many of them remind me of paint-by-numbers and I wouldn’t want to own one or gift one, as they aren’t really my style.  But when I read that I could turn a photo into one, the ideas started percolating.  Since my nephew’s wedding, I have been obsessed with this photo Rich took the day after the wedding that included their small white dog (almost lost in the skirt of the dress.)  I decided that when it’s finished, if my nephew and his bride don’t want it (because they think it’s odd or cheesy,) I’m sure my sister would love it….so no matter what, I have someone who should want to have it.

M&M Ollie Beach (1)

I’m not sure if I’ve talked much about diamond paintings yet, but I am amazed at how relaxing this is to do.  I really enjoy it and if you put your supplies really close to where you are working, the repetitive motion isn’t as bad as you would think.  Although I will say, you definitely need to rest often, stretch, and stop before you are sitting too long in the same position, as you’ll get really stiff.  I also try to limit the amount of time I diamond paint, as once I start the process, I lose track of time and overdo it, but that’s the nature of being me.

I have done needlepoint (when I was in college) and counted cross stitch (in the 1980’s when it was a huge fad), but both of those crafts are too labor intensive for me now, and the needle is hard to hold.  Diamond painting has so many tool options, that you should be able to find (or make) a tool that works for you.  You can even take the ballpoint out of a pen, and use the pen with the wax they give you, if you have a pen that feels comfortable in your hand.  I know it sounds like I’m trying to sell something here, but honestly, I’m just so relaxed when I make a diamond painting, that I hope others find the craft.  One last note, when you buy a kit, you get everything you need inside, unless you decide you want a light pad, you can find them on Amazon for under $10.  The only thing I don’t like about the light pad I bought, is the plug only plugs into a computer or a computer outlet, not an electric outlet.  I guess they think it makes it more portable, but I find it to be a little bit cumbersome if I try to work on a project anywhere but on a desk…but, since the photo of my nephew and his bride is so large, I can only work on it at a table.  It’s huge…I’m not sure how many years it will take me to finish it, but since it’s primarily a few colors, so far it’s really going fast.

Here’s a photo of a light pad and you’ll want one that has three levels of lighting for different light settings in the room you’ll be working in, and a larger one.. I think mine is an A4 which is 12 x 9 1/4″ lit.  I paid $11 for it on Amazon..Here’s a link to one.  https://tinyurl.com/tbzzf7k         The only issue I have with using the light pad is you also need to have a light directed at the diamonds you are going to use, as it’s hard to see if they are upside down or right side up if you don’t have good lighting on them.lightpad

There are a lot of facebook groups devoted to Diamond Paintings and my friend Sherri has one…it’s called Diamond Painting for All Ages.  I joined it, but because my facebook page is linked to Rich’s, it looked like Rich joined instead of me…Sherri said she figured somehow it had to be me, so accepted me as a member.  If you like diamond painting, or want to learn more about it, you might want to learn from these wonderful talented women….

How to Choose the Right Glue Gun + DIY Crystal, Enamel, Pearlized Dots

I have a lot of glue guns, but none that I truly like. I found this one at Joanns, a Gorilla multi-temp glue gun link: https://www.joann.com/gorilla-dual-temp-mini-glue-gun/16314940.html.. I used a coupon and bought it for under $6.00 with a coupon.

Important things to look for in a hot glue gun:

1. For me, I wanted a dual temp mini glue gun. Dual temp allows you to put it on a lower setting for easy-to-glue projects, or high, for heavy duty projects. The high setting will allow you to pull the trigger easier than the low setting, so if you have hand or wrist strength issues, use the high setting for easier use. Mini means the size of the glue sticks you use, and I prefer the mini ones as they aren’t as heavy as the full-size sticks, and the gun is usually lighter weight when it uses only mini glue sticks. The only downside is “Mini” does mean you’ll use a lot more glue sticks per project though, as you get a lot less glue per glue stick than with the full-size sticks.

2. Movable front feetIt will allow you to move this out of the way when you are trying to do close-up work. If the feet are permanently down, which some are, you won’t be able to get them out of your way for close up work.

3. A no-drip glue gun….I always seem to find glue guns that drip glue when sitting on your work station..This one doesn’t seem to drip glue.

4. Buying glue sticksthe size of your glue gun and the types of sticks are important for your specific glue gun. My glue gun is a “mini” which means the sticks are thinner…you need to buy glue sticks that are called mini….Also, since my glue gun is a dual temp, you’ll need to buy dual temp mini glue sticks. I found a sale on Surebonder Glue Roll (I couldn’t find it on Joann’s online site, but here’s a link to another site https://tinyurl.com/wpcol8s

5. Small tip– I like a glue gun with a smaller tip so I can get into small places on paper projects. It doesn’t seem to be a problem for me when trying to glue a bigger surface, so for me, it works for all projects..

6. Price…I don’t like to spend a lot on glue guns, as they sometimes don’t work well for a long period of time (and I like a bargain.)  This glue gun was under $6 when using a coupon.

7. A swivel cord...I’ve never found a glue gun with a swivel cord (where the cord attaches to the glue gun), but would love that as my cords always seem to get kinked over time.

How to make your own enamel/crystal dots…….

Using a heat resistant surface like a craft mat, a silicone mat, or parchment paper, put your glue gun as close to the surface as possible and hold the trigger until a small circle comes out, then twirl the gun to make sure you remove it from the circle of glue you’ve laid on your surface without leaving a trail or making it look like a Hershey’s chocolate Kiss.. If you live in a hot humid climate, this might not work for you, as the hot glue becomes much more stringy when it’s humid.

This will create a clear, crystal drop….If you want to create a dot that looks more like an enamel or pearlized dot, once your dot is cooled, you can pick it off of the heat resistant surface, and put it in a sealable small plastic bag with a few drops of dye re-inkers you’d get for your dye ink pads, or a very small amount of alcohol ink.  You’ll seal the bag closed and shake it well so the color adheres to the glue. Let the bag sit until the dots are dry. You can make them darker by adding another few drops of reinkers after they have dried from the first application. You can also make a more pearlized look by using a paint brush with either Mica Powder, Perfect Pearls, or my favorite, L.A. Colors eye shadow or any mica based eye shadow.  (If it’s an eye shadow you normally wear, I don’t recommend you dipping the brush into the eye shadow more than once, as I don’t know if there is a possibility for cross-contamination.) While your dots are still on their heat resistant surface, but have cooled, paint them with the eye shadow and they should hold the color..I usually wipe mine off with a brush after letting them sit for maybe a minute, to make sure I’ve taken off any excess eye shadow.

12/11-12/13/2019

I feel terrible that I’ve been so lax with keeping up with my blog.  Rich’s 59th birthday was the 11th and he wanted me to bake him a ham, so I did….Now we’ll be eating ham for weeks, haha….

My girlfriend and I have been working on making gnomes like other crafters, but wanted to see if we could figure out a way to make small ones for on Christmas trees…It seems like an easy idea, but so far, we’ve only made one, because you need a couple of socks and they have to be small enough (like baby size) to work.  Toddler size socks are way too big…and of course, that’s the size we bought, as we thought surely they would work…I didn’t record our session, as I wanted to perfect the ornament before uploading a video.

Today, Rich and I went to lunch with friends and then to Jumanji.  I saw the first version, and this uses the same characters, but when they start to play the game, the people are no longer the characters they were in the first movie, and that’s when I got confused.  A little later in the movie, they saw water that looked like it glowed, and after touching the water and then each other, they switched characters.  I’m telling you, I spent the whole movie wondering who each character was.   I’m sure most people wouldn’t have had an issue, but I was half asleep too, and that didn’t help.  I put myself on a burst of prednisone a couple of days ago, and I have trouble sleeping when taking it, so don’t sleep at night, but am tired during the day….It’s still worth it, because I finally get some energy back and am ready to do more, even being a little tired.  But once the movie theater lights go off, so does my resolve to stay awake….

We’re off to date night…every Friday night, we have take out from a different restaurant and then watch movies with the dogs.  We all love it, and since our “theater” is in the basement, all we have to say to the dogs is “date night” and they come running…ready to jump up on the couch between us and sleep until the popcorn is popped, then suddenly everyone is wide awake and ready for a kernel or two.

I promise I’ll get Rich to upload  a video this weekend, and hope it’s a good one.