Showing posts with label Gifts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gifts. Show all posts

Thursday, July 30, 2020

DIY Copper Bookmark - Painting With Fire

DIY Copper Bookmark

I have always been a maker.  At the moment, I find myself fascinated with copper as canvas. There is something entirely mesmerizing about painting with fire on copper.  Over the past few days, I have experimented with the creation of copper bookmarks.  I'd like to share the process for those who might enjoy giving this a try.

You can do so much with copper, but I am focusing, right now, on hammered, stamped, and annealed copper.  I call the annealing of my pieces "painting with fire."  It is my absolute favorite part of this project.  When you take a torch to copper, you never know exactly how the finished piece will look.  I am always delighted to see the surprising effects of heat on my metal works of art.

My M.O. (modus operandi) happens to be the repurposing of materials.  I love nothing more than to bring new life to those things that have unseen, or unused, potential.  In this case, I was fortunate enough to reclaim some small copper sheets that were the remnants of a solar installation.  Though the metal was scratched and tarnished, with irregular edges, I knew it held great promise, and a beauty to be found when its true colors were revealed.  These are the steps I took to transform the copper.

Step One: Cutting the Copper
I first considered using a hacksaw to cut the copper sheets into bookmark-sized pieces.  After trying that, I decided it would be much faster and easier to use my Dremel Saw-Max with the metal cut-off wheel.  That worked perfectly.  The important thing was to protect the surface of the copper using painter's tape.

Cutting the Copper Using Dremel Saw-Max

Step Two: Filing the Rough Edges
After cutting the copper, the edges needed to be deburred to remove the sharp slivers of metal.  I used a round file for this step.

Filing the Metal Burrs

Step Three: Rounding the Corners
Because the corners of the bookmark were sharp, the next step was to use my Dremel rotary tool, with a sanding bit, to gently round off those points.

Rounding the Corners Using Dremel Rotary Tool

Step Four: Cleaning the Copper Surface
Before heating the copper, I needed to clean off the surface tarnish, fingerprints, etc.  The simple way to do this is with fine steel wool (00 grade) and a little elbow grease.  When I was done, the copper was nice and shiny (see the center image below).  I chose to leave some of the character marks (a few nicks and minor scratches).  My work is not meant to have a machined look.  I want it to be wabi-sabi (where the imperfection is the beauty).

From Tarnished to Bright, Shiny Copper

Step Five: Painting With Fire
I love this step!  My bookmark blank is now laid on a moist sand mound.  I place the front side of the bookmark facing down (because that is the side of the copper that will have the most colorful effect after I torch the back side).  I use a mini butane torch to paint (anneal) the copper.  Basically, I just heat the metal until it begins to turn vibrant purple, blue, and fuschia colors.  The possibilities are endless and no two "paintings" are ever the same.

Butane Mini Torch and Fuel

Painting With Fire - Torching the Copper Blank

Newly Torched Copper Bookmark

The Infinite Variety of Fire-Painted Copper Bookmarks

Step Six: Water Bath
Using a forceps, I then plunge the hot metal into a cool water bath.  Next, I pat dry the copper with a soft cloth.  (It's also important to wear clean, soft gloves so you don't mar the metal surface with fingerprints, etc.)

Cooling the Torched Copper in a Water Bath
Step Seven: Stamping the Bookmark
At this point, I used metal stamps (Impress Art uppercase alphabet set) to imprint a message on the front of the bookmark.  This is the hardest part of the process.  Getting the spacing and impressions right can be extremely challenging.  I had to leave the perfectionist in me out of the equation and just go for it.  What will be, will be!  And that is okay.  It is the charm of handmade art.

Stamped Copper - Rumi Quotation


Step Eight: Edging the Bookmark
Depending on the look you want, you can leave the edges of the bookmark plain, but I wanted a hammered copper look.  This is where I used a ball-peen hammer to make some shallow depressions all around the perimeter of the piece.

Creating Hammered Copper Edge Using Ball-Peen Hammer

Step Nine: Finishing the Piece
I used a tiny bit in my Dremel rotary tool to drill a hole in the end of the bookmark (for attaching a chain and embellishments).  Next, I applied a finish wax (a natural carnauba wax) to protect the surface from fingerprints, tarnish, etc.  Finally, I chose a pair of wing charms to be a whimsical play on my chosen sentiment.

Finished Copper Bookmark

Your acts of kindness are iridescent wings of divine love,
Which linger and continue to uplift others
Long after your sharing.  ~Rumi

I may consider creating a few custom bookmarks for my Etsy store.  Most likely, though, these pieces will be offered as gifts because they are truly a labor of love.







Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Birthday Gift Ideas & Suggestions Reviewed on Review This Reviews!

Treasures from the Archives of Review This Reviews! 


Birthdays are something everybody has even though birthday celebrations vary drastically.  The type or size of gift also varies based on the needs or desires of the recipient as well as the pocketbook of the giver.

Some people prefer to have a quiet birthday dinner with their immediate family, while others enjoy huge birthday parties with a combination of friends and family.  

Regardless of the type of celebration, it is always nice to be remembered on your birthday.  However, choosing a gift is often a challenge.

Children almost always have a list of gifts they would like to receive, but sometimes we still need additional ideas.  Some givers like to give surprise gifts.

Adults are almost always harder to buy a gift for.  To begin with, you don't always know what an adult may want or need.  Often, they are not nearly as forthcoming with gift requests as children.  That is when we are on our own to find the perfect gift.



Birthday Gift Ideas from Our Contributors 


With over a dozen contributors, all with personal experience in selecting gifts for just about anyone, Review This Reviews offers some really unique and wonderful birthday gift idea suggestions.

Here is a sampling of what you will find reviewed by our contributors.  See our Birthday Gift Ideas Pinterest Board for More!

Birthday Gifts For Men:  



Birthday Gifts For Women:  


Birthday Gifts For The Cook




Birthday Gifts For Children & Teens:  



For Anyone:  



You may also find some really wonderful gift ideas from our collection of Book Reviews, Movie Reviews, or Music Reviews.




A Review This Reviews Pinterest Board - Birthday Gifts Reviewed 


The board below features 30 of our most recent reviews.






Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Tuesday, June 16, 2020

When is National Umbrella Month?


When is National Umbrella Month?

WHEN IS NATIONAL UMBRELLA MONTH?


March is National Umbrella Month. In my part of the world, you could not pick a better month to celebrate this very important invention. Ontario is not necessarily the rainiest part of Canada but we do receive plenty of rain in the springtime, which is not a bad thing for, as you know, rain showers bring spring flowers.

Umbrellas have a number of job duties that are not limited to protecting us from the rain though that is what they are most commonly associated with. People also use umbrellas as fashion accessories, for photography and to block out the strong rays of the sun.

National Umbrella Month is the time to celebrate one of the most useful yet underrated inventions so before we plan our celebration, let's take this striking striking blue umbrella for a walk in the rain with us now. It is Amazon's top rated sky-themed umbrella and is available by clicking right here.



WAYS TO CELEBRATE NATIONAL UMBRELLA MONTH

  • Celebrate umbrella month with a new umbrella. Find one that will be sure to make you smile on a rainy day!
  • Celebrate by donating a new umbrella to a homeless shelter. It will help shelter someone else from the rain.
  • Celebrate umbrella month by promoting your business with one. Instead of using pens this year to promote your business, use umbrellas with your company business information and logo on them. You'll really stand out in a crowd!
  • Celebrate by hanging a decorative umbrella on your patio or by adding one to your patio table. Pick a colour or a pattern that you really love!
  • Celebrate umbrella month by donating all of your used ones to goodwill. If you are not using them and they are in good working condition, you can bet that someone else will.
  • Celebrate by donating ten new umbrellas to the Red Cross. Once again, you will help brighten someone's rainy days.
  • Celebrate umbrella month by reading an umbrella-themed storybook. Yes, there are beautiful children's books devoted to the wonderful umbrella.
Can you think of other ways to celebrate National Umbrella Month?

Don't let those raindrops
keep falling on your head!
Brenda
Treasures By Brenda

MORE UMBRELLAS:

Order the Sky Blue Umbrella shown on this page directly from Amazon.
Learn about Totes Clear Bubble Umbrellas.
More days to celebrate in March.
Discover the Rainbrella Golf Umbrella.
Looking For Rihanna's Pink Umbrellas?
Thank You For The Umbrella, Totes! 






Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Father's Day Gift Ideas That Won't Break the Bank!

It's a great time to start thinking about Father's Day.


Although many of us have not been able to get together with family like we have in the past, it's no reason to forget Father's Day which is coming up shortly!  

June 21st is the third Sunday and the one dedicated to those men who have the honor of being the Father or Father Figure in our lives.  Just so you know, this can also include Grandfathers, Uncles and Step Dads  as well.



Dads can be really hard to buy for!  (Moms tend to be easier, chocolates and flowers every year works.)  Not so much for Dad!  Tools and Dad stuff tends to be more expensive somehow!  But check below and see some really inexpensive alternatives!

10 Great Gift Ideas for Dads


  1. Family Manicure Kit, not just for the ladies anymore.  
  2. Car Stickers (some are really funny, like this one) But there are many others that can work for your Dad!
  3.  iPad Protector (there are many to choose from but this is an Amazon Choice with 5 star rating)
  4. Father's Day T-Shirts (this one says it all, but there are many more to choose from)
  5. Fisherman or Hunter Dads (great tools to use while out in the wilderness)
  6. For the musical Dad, Guitar Picks (sing me a song)
  7. A Special Key Ring 
  8. A Special Book
  9. B.B.Q. Tools
  10. Man's Apron
This list is Dad Approved by both my other half and my son (who happens to be Dad to 3 children).  They looked it over and each of them without being asked said they would love any one of the items in this list!   

 
  



Now these are great gifts for dads on their special day, but there are so many more things that Dad would love to have and might not indulge himself with.

If you need some help trying to figure out what to get your Dad for Father's Day,  ask yourself some questions...........


If Dad loves to read, there are hundreds of books available from Amazon or your favorite book retailer, like Chapters.

Does Dad love taking pictures?  How about a new Camera Strap with a bonus, you can read about it here!  Sylvester Mouse Cynthia found a great way to make this even better.

Does Dad love to build?  How about a new tool or a magazine with all kinds of neat ideas that Dad could try to make?

Does Dad like to run, walk or exercise in general?  Maybe a pair of Nordic Walking Sticks would be the ideal gift.

Is your Dad a sports fanatic, then there are literally hundreds of items big and small that would make a lovely Father's Day gift.  Pick your team and off you go!

Sometimes Dad's are just happy with a nice card.  You can make or buy one that will suit your Dad to a "T".  


Father's Day is the  21st of June this year.  Don't let the day go by without some lovely acknowledgement for all the things Dads do every day of the year.









Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Totes Clear Bubble Umbrella


During the spring of 2020 when the world was under lock down because of the pandemic, my husband and I have tried to take two walks every day. These walks do not quite replace our regular and beloved visits to our gyms but they are definitely better than doing nothing. Plus not only do they give us much needed exercise, they also make us feel better mentally.

Did you know that walking has been proven to improve your mood? We know this as a fact from our firsthand experience walking. We also know that we need to take advantage of whatever it is that helps us keep on smiling during these tough days. For us, our walks work wonders.

Anyway, because we are walking come rain or come shine and because it is spring in Canada, we frequently wear raincoats and carry umbrellas. We are lucky enough to have a couple of really big umbrellas that are very good at protecting us from the elements. However, they are not clear, which means that on a gusty day we are walking blind trying to peer around the outer edges of our umbrellas. It is a constant effort to make sure that no one is coming at us from the other direction!

Yesterday, I revisited some pages that I wrote previously about umbrellas and was reminded of the wonderful Totes Classic Clear Umbrella. When I originally wrote about it in 2009, it was the best-ranked Totes umbrella on Amazon.  I cannot image that fact has changed much but I do see that it is still readily available for both adults and children in the clear version but that it is also made in a variety of different colors that are opaque and still easy to see through.

The bubble style of this umbrella provides extra protection from the rain because of its rounded shape and of course, because of its size. It has an a large canopy when opened and plenty of headroom. Because it is clear, it will not block your sight, which makes walking in the rain a little bit safer and the unique shape also keeps your husband's or in our case, your wife's umbrella out of your face! "Brilliant," says my husband.

The next time I need a new umbrella that is generously sized, I will buy the Totes Classic Clear Umbrella so that I can see the way forward. If you would also like a little clarity in your life, you can find this Totes umbrella right here on Amazon.

Don't let those raindrops
keep falling on your head!
Brenda
Treasures By Brenda

Quick Links:

See Amazon's complete collection of Totes umbrellas.
Discover the Rainbrella golf umbrella on Review This.
Discover some Good Vibes t-shirts for women on Treasures By Brenda.
Find vintage umbrellas by designers like Burberry, Gucci, Christian Dior, Pucci, Chanel, Givenchy, Oscar de la Renta and Bakelite on eBay.










Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Movie Poster

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Movie Poster

MOVIE HISTORY


Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is a movie that never gets old. It was Walt Disney's first full length animated feature film. It was released in 1937 and featured the voices of Roy Atwell, Adriana Caselotti, Lucille Laverne and Pinto Colvig. It was one of the first Disney movies that I remember seeing as a little girl though I did not see it when it was new. If I had to guess, I would guess that I saw it a number of decades later at the movie theater when I was just old enough to go to a movie, perhaps in the late 1960s.

Most of us know the story line of this now classic movie that was based on a tale by the Brothers Grimm. It follows the adventures and misadventures of young woman named Snow White who is mistreated by her stepmother. She escapes and winds up living with the seven wonderful dwarfs that we know and love, namely Sleepy, Dopey, Sneezy, Happy, Bashful, Grumpy and Doc. Of course, in true Disney form, we all know that Snow White is eventually rescued by a handsome prince.

SPECIAL HONORARY ACADEMY AWARD


Even initially, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was considered a critical and a commercial success for Walt Disney Productions and the movie at one point held the record for highest grossing movie with sound when it earned eight million dollars at the box office. Quite fittingly, I think, child actor Shirley Temple presented Walt Disney with an honorary Oscar for the movie in 1938. I should perhaps say with a series of Oscars since the design of this particular Oscar was truly unique consisting of one normal-sized Oscar and seven smaller ones mounted on an attractive platform.

REPRODUCTION MOVIE POSTER


If you simply want a representation of the movie, I do like the idea of a reproduction movie poster. The poster shown on this page is a reproduction available on Amazon and measures approximately 11 inches by 17 inches or 28 cms by 44 cms. Because it is new, it has naturally never been hung so it has no tape marks and no pin marks. You can find it affordably prized on Amazon by following this link.

VINTAGE MOVIE POSTERS


You can occasionally find an interesting vintage Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs movie poster on eBay by following this link. If it is a true vintage poster you are after, you will have to shop carefully to avoid reproductions. However, the hunt might well be worth it. I think that some of those old pieces are very attractive.

I believe that a Snow White poster would be a great addition to any movie- or Disney-themed room and, of course, it would really suit any little girl’s bedroom or even a baby girl’s nursery.

Would it be a new or vintage movie poster for you and where would you display it?

See you
at the movies!
Brenda
Movie Treasures By Brenda

Quick Links:

Buy your Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs movie poster on Amazon.
Read about Snow White Live at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
Read my Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Blu-ray Movie Review.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Saturday, May 2, 2020

Reviewing Mother's Day Gift Ideas

Every Mother's Day people are looking to get something special for their mother.   While flowers and chocolates are a common standby, there are other ideas so let's have a look at a few.

Flowers aren't the only gift you can give your mum on mothers day


Gifts for the Mum's Who Love to Read


Obviously if their favorite author has released a book then grab them a copy, or if you've heard of a new author that you think they'd like this is an ideal time to make that introduction!

There are other things that would be good for book lovers though one of our contributors has reviewed an amazing range of gift ideas for people who love big books.

I Like Big Books and I Cannot Lie Gift Ideas

Your mother might be a regular at her local library in which case a library book would definitely not go astray.

Gifts for Tea or Coffee Drinking Mothers


Don't all mothers drink at least one of these?   You could buy them some specialty coffees or teas or even a coffee machine.   Another idea which always seems to be a winner is a mug.

Mugs for Mum Ideas

There are lots of different gift ideas for coffee lovers such as these coffee slippers.

Mothers Day gift ideas include these coffee slippers
Women's Coffee Slippers - Perfect for the Coffee Loving Mom

When it comes to the tea drinking mother then we have some great gift ideas right here -

Gifts for Moms That Enjoy Wine


You can get some beautiful wine glasses including the fun Lolita collection that I'm sure any mom would love.   If they already have wine glasses covered then maybe they need some wine pearls ...

Wine Pearls - Chilling Wine in Style

Of course some nice wine to go with it is bound to be appreciated!

Spa Gift Ideas for Your Mother


Maybe you want your mother to feel special and a spa day with you just isn't on the cards.   Why not give her some of Arbonne's beautiful spa range so that she can have a spa experience in her own home.

Arbonne's Rescue and Renew products, beautiful for creating a spa experience in your own home
Arbonne's Rescue & Renew Product, perfect for a day spa at home


One of the products in their spa range is the French pink clay face mask which feels absolutely divine, you can read about it here:

Have Fun with this Pink Clay Face Mask

Essential Oils for Your Mum


Following on from the spa idea is essential oils, if your mum loves essential oils then she may have her own selection, but I'm sure she would be happy to get some aromatherapy jewelry or a diffuser.   If she's interested (or you think she would be) in aromatherapy then you could get her a few essential oils.

Some great essential oils for a beginner includes lavender, lemon and peppermint (I use ones from Arbonne, but just make sure that any you purchase are 100% pure essential oils).

Why I Love My Aromatherapy NecklaceWhy I Love My Aromatherapy Necklace
I love my aromatherapy necklace, it's something I had been thinking of getting for a while, but it was actually my daughter who finally brought me one as a gift. Let me share my review with you and let you know how I wouldn't be without this now.

An Essential Oil Diffuser Lives Up to All the HypeAn Essential Oil Diffuser Lives Up to All the Hype
I received a HoMedics brand of essential oil diffuser as a gift and I love it. It's easy to use. The rotating colored lights gives the room a lovely ambience as well. Read my review to see what my hesitation on getting one was and why I think it lives up to the hype.

Lava Stone Bracelet ReviewLava Stone Bracelet Review
These bracelets are fully adjustable due to the sliding knot and are surprisingly affordable. Lava stones can be used as a wearable oil diffuser. They also make a very attractive fashion accessory.


Gift Ideas for Mothers Who Love a Puzzle


If your mother enjoys jigsaw puzzles or Sudoku then I have a few gift ideas she may enjoy right here:

Wooden Puzzle Compartment BoxesWooden Puzzle Compartment Boxes
The boxes are offered individually with different designs to choose from. The workmanship is beyond outstanding. You would never know just looking at the box that it is also a fabulous puzzle with secret compartments inside.

A Novel Gift for a Sudoku FanA Novel Gift for a Sudoku Fan
I think this novel gift idea for Sudoku fans is even more apt in 2020! It is ideal for a mom that has a sense of humour as well as a love of this numerical puzzle, I know my mum would get a laugh out of it.

Reviewing Ravensburger Puzzles Over 2000 PiecesReviewing Ravensburger Puzzles Over 2000 Pieces
Ravensburger is a brand of puzzle that I can count on for quality. With over 2000 pieces in these puzzles they are ideal for a mother who is serious about her jigsaw puzzles (although you may want to measure her table beforehand to make sure it will fit!


More Gift Ideas that Moms Will Love


Of course I love a comfy pair of PJs, a dressing gown or a warm pair of slippers when it comes to comfy and practical gift ideas.

Scarves are also a great gift idea and I know I've got a few for my own mother over the last few years.   During the 2020 pandemic a group of people that I work online with have started to show off their scarf selections by way of big hair bows.   I couldn't resist joining in!

Me trying out a big hair bow for the first time!

Beautiful Affordable Scarves Make Great Gift Ideas

If you can't be there with your mother this Mother's Day then why not look at getting her a lipstick to brighten up her day so that she can smile anyway!

I absolutely love the feel (and look) of Arbonne's Lip Duos which I've reviewed here:

Reviewing Arbonne's Lip Duos

What Will You Be Getting Your Mum This Year?


I've actually gotten my mum something from Arbonne this year (I can't say what in case she reads this) for a couple of reasons.   The first is that I think she'll love it (the most important thing after all).  The second is that I could log into my online account, order something for her and get it shipped straight to her door even though we live in different countries.   That is what I call convenience.






Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Reviewing The Love Of A Friend

Honoring Friendship

My review today won't be about a product but instead will be about the love of a friend, a long time friend who was given her wings this weekend. She will no longer be here physically to talk to but she will always be in my heart. How could she not be in my very soul? We were friends for 56 years! Almost 6 decades of wonderful memories. Times of laughter, times of sorrow, times of struggle, and times of triumph; we shared them all.

love of a freind
There is nothing like the love of a friend
image courtesy of pixabay.com
Our friendship had an odd beginning. It began the year we entered 7th grade. We both came from small towns in small school districts. Those two districts had consolidated bringing us together that first year of consolidation. We had a lot in common before we ever sought each other out. We were both the oldest child in our family and we were both being raised by a single Mom. In 1964 divorce wasn't at all common, not in our area anyway. Up until the day our two schools merged, both of us were the only family in our school whose parents had divorced. Neither of us had someone to talk to about how we felt; to understand what divorce does to the kids. We both felt a little lost.

Oddly, my Mom had a date with her Dad. As far as our parents are concerned, that part of the story fizzled out pretty quickly. What did come out of that random date was a friendship that bonded the two of us quickly. Suddenly there was someone who understood! There was someone who cried with you when you missed your Dad. A person who didn't say dumb stuff like, "I'm not allowed to hang out with you anymore because you don't have a Dad." We would laugh about that one, of course we both had fathers; they just didn't live with us anymore. Comments like that seem odd in today's society but back then we both heard it a lot.

Looking back, I think we were meant to be friends. The connection was instant and strong. It almost seemed like in the matter of 5 minutes we were soul sisters. We were pretty much inseparable from that first day. There wasn't much we didn't do together. Trust me we did a whole heck of a lot together! It is probably best if most of that behavior is not mentioned here. 

We planned our weddings together, we had children together and raised them at the same time. As time passed we lived away from each other and there might be spans of time that we didn't see or speak to each other for months. You must remember that back then we didn't have cell phones or computers to connect with. A phone call to your friend was long distance and cost money to make; money that was short in supply in our early married lives. My granddaughters don't even know what a long distance phone call is! Anyway, my point is that after months of not seeing or talking to each other we would begin like we had just seen the other the day before. 

friendship
Friends hold your hand through life
image courtesy of pixabay.com

It is pretty special to have a friend that loves you through it all. They know all your faults and love you anyway. Her friendship was special like that, it is something I have always treasured and been in awe of. I've had many friends throughout my life but none quite like her. She was special.

When her daughter called me last week, things went very quickly. I wasn't able to go hold her hand one last time. I didn't get to tell her how much she has always meant to me. At first that broke my heart but then I realized that she of all people knew. She knew I wouldn't be able to come because of the restrictions the world is going through and she also knew that I loved her. It was more important that she be able to spend those last few days with her children, her grandchildren and her family. I'm glad she got that time with them. 

As much as it hurts to lose her, I'm finding comfort in that she didn't have to suffer very long. She had a rare form of cancer that took her quickly. I'm glad she was spared months and possibly years of pain and those horrible treatments. God was going to take her anyway, I'm actually thankful He took her before she had to go through much of that. Those of us who love her have lost her physical being but her spirit lives on in all of us. We have our memories to cherish as we continue on without her. I don't doubt for a minute that our souls will reunite. She is waiting, she is getting things ready, she will be standing there with open arms when I meet her again. Her fight is over but her memory will live on through all who knew her. Rest in peace my sweet dear friend!

My final message in this post is to remind you of that special friend you have shared your life with. Reach out to her or him and let them know what they mean to you. I don't care if you just spoke yesterday, tell them again today. Tomorrow is not a guarantee for any of us, make sure that those you love know how you feel today.






Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Saturday, February 8, 2020

Reviewing the Perfect Valentine's Day Card

What is it that makes the perfect Valentine's Day Card?   Do you know?  I do!


the perfect valentines day card


What makes the perfect Valentine's Day card is YOU!   Knowing and caring for your special person means that whatever card you choose will be the perfect Valentine's Day card.

There can be so much pressure on new couples around February 14th as they try and find the perfect card, the perfect gift or the perfect date.   I've even known someone who always broke off his relationships (if he happened to be in one when February began) just so he didn't have to deal with Valentine's Day!   Luckily he has now settled down with the love of his life and they don't celebrate Valentines Day at all.

My husband and I don't usually celebrate Valentine's Day as it's only a week after our wedding anniversary, but when we first started dating we did and I couldn't tell you what gifts I received, but the cards were the important thing.  My husband always says he's useless at choosing cards (and I must admit I do wonder where he goes sometimes until I open them up!), but he always finds one that says the perfect thing (for me that is) or a blank one when he's feeling like writing me a few paragraphs about what I mean to him.

So what is the perfect Valentine's Day card?   It's the one that shows the person you care for how much you care by either knowing what they love or by expressing your feelings for them or both.

If the person you love enjoys poetry by the likes of Poe then they may appreciate a Gothic Valentine's Day card, if you first bonded over the Walking Dead or on a Zombie walk then check out some of the Zombie Valentine's Day cards available.

Maybe your partner is a math geek or loves the Doctor in which case one of these Geeky Valentine's Day cards might be up their street.

If I was purchasing a card for my husband this year then any dog Valentine's Day card would be a winner, but this one would probably get him misty eyed -




If my daughter was getting her partner a Valentine's Day card (and I suspect they will be) then she'd probably get either a car one or one like this -




Would you guess they both love boxers?   Whereas my hubby is a total sucker for any Staffy type of dog.

The perfect Valentine's Day card is one that says I know you, or I'm listening to you.   So what type of Valentine's Day card would be perfect for the special person in your life?


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Puzzles for Puzzle Day or Any Day: A Review

Puzzles for Puzzle Day or Any Day: A Review
Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay 


I love puzzles. I especially love jigsaw puzzles. It satisfies me to find the exact puzzle piece to fit into the space designed for it. I'm delighted when I finally finish a puzzle -- especially if it's a large one. Are you a puzzle fan, too?


Puzzle Day is January 29


If you didn't plan ahead or don't have time to work a puzzle on January 29, why not celebrate by buying a new puzzle you love, instead. Then enjoy it on any convenient day. Or have a puzzle party with your family or invite a friend or two to help you work your new puzzle. There are many excellent reasons to spend some of your leisure time working jigsaw puzzles.

Here's What Working Puzzles Can Do for You

  • Working puzzles can help you relax. When we work puzzles, we focus on our process instead of on our problems and the things that add stress to our lives.
  • Working a puzzle offers a welcome break from electronics and media. It lets us work at a slower pace and really focus instead of having our attention constantly refocused.
  • If you live alone, working a puzzle can keep you so absorbed you may forget you are lonely. Put on your favorite music and have a party for one. It beats television.
  • Working puzzles helps keep your brain working well. It keeps both sides of your brain busy and since both sides need to work together to complete a puzzle, the connections between the right and left sides of your brain grow stronger. The left side helps you sort pieces and figure out where to put them. The more creative right side uses your intuition as you consider where pieces may fit into the big picture or the individual section you are working on. Exercising your brain with puzzles may delay the onset of dementia or slow it down. The brain also produces dopamine when it's helping you work jigsaw puzzles.
  • Working puzzles together can foster closeness in families and between friends. Working a puzzle together is a social activity that puts people together who have a common purpose – working the puzzle – for an extended time. They may start by planning how to work the puzzle, deciding who will do what, but later they will naturally move on to subjects they probably wouldn't usually have time to discuss. Contributor  Dawn Rae has also written about her experience with puzzles paving the way for quality time. 
  • When children begin working jigsaw puzzles, it helps them develop many important skills. Among these are fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, problem solving skills, color awareness, spatial relations, concentration, and working towards a goal.

Jigsaw Puzzle Strategy


Like most jigsaw fans, I have a strategy. Mine is pretty common.
  • Turn over all the pieces first so you know what you have to work with.
  • Find the pieces with straight edges and make the frame by forming and  connecting the edges.
  • Make sure everyone working on the puzzle can see the cover on the box as they work.
  • Try to complete one section of the puzzle at a time until it comes together to complete the picture.
Do you also use that strategy?

Finding the Right Puzzle

For the happiest puzzle working experience, you need to choose the right puzzle for your time, your skill level, and your interests. You will be looking at that puzzle for a long time. If you're a beginner, choose a smaller puzzle of about 200-300 pieces to develop your skills before moving on. Chose a puzzle with smaller blocks of color and many shapes instead of a puzzle with lots of sky or water that's the same color. That makes it easier to figure out which pieces fit.

I like nature. I created this puzzle from one of my photos of the sunset at Larry Moore Park. It comes in many sizes, but for a beginner I'd choose the 252-piece size. There is enough  variation in color and the tree branch shapes to make it easy to see how pieces may fit together. (Check out some of the other California places I made into puzzles.)




As you become more proficient, choose more challenging puzzles with more areas the same color or less pronounced subjects or designs. Or choose a larger puzzle of 750 pieces or more with a design you love and may want to frame afterwards. (Contributor Bev Owens reviews a great way to preserve puzzles you want to frame.) I love books and cats. This 750-piece puzzle by Buffalo Games is one I'd love to have on my wall. Buffalo Games makes quality puzzles. If you click through, you will see what makes them so special.





If you want to get your preschooler off to a good start, you can't go wrong with a Melissa and Doug puzzle. I used to sell these at homeschool conventions and there is a wooden puzzle to fit every interest and ability level. I like these sets for children 3-5 years old. Children this age love color and animals. The puzzles in the first set have both. These puzzles come packed in convenient wooden trays. But if you want something more educational, the pegged set has puzzles that teach the alphabet, numbers, and shapes. The pieces in this set have pegs to make them easy to lift out so that children can find the attractive pictures underneath each puzzle piece.







Puzzles Make Great Gifts

When you gift someone with a puzzle, consider the receiver's age, interests, and previous experience. You can even use a special photo to make a personalized puzzle at Zazzle, such as the one I made of the tree in the sunset I showed you above. Just click that puzzle. It will take you to the product page. Click “customize” on the top right of the page under “Designed for You.” It will show you many options. The first allows you to substitute your own photo. You can also add text if you wish.

Puzzles make great gifts for grandparents and older friends who live alone. It will help them keep their thinking sharp and give them something fun to do by themselves or with a friend.

Give a young child a puzzle and you will be helping to develop that child's brain. Give a puzzle with a related book for a double treat that will let the child be thinking of the book as they work the puzzle.

Maybe you should also gift your own family with a new puzzle to work together.
Whatever day it is, happy Puzzle Day.







Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Monopoly Unicorns vs Llamas Game Reviewed

A Different Game of Monopoly

I love to play board games with my grandchildren and Monopoly is one of them. Monopoly Unicorns vs Llamas is one I think I should have so that my youngest grandchild can play, too. The standard version is a little more than she can handle at her age but this new release would be right up her little alley.

monopoly game
Monopoly: a great family game
image courtesy of pixabay.com

The new release of an old favorite is geared more for the younger set. I know my little cupcake will enjoy playing it and I can tell you right now which team she will chose to support. The unicorn team, she is wild about those mythical creatures!

Slightly Different Play in the Game

Instead of individual play in this new edition of Monopoly, the game is played with teams. Players decide which team they want to play for, the unicorn team or the llama team. Properties aren't purchased but instead as you move around the board you collect titles for your team. Things like the Sweetest, the most colorful, or my personal favorite the twinkliest eyes. You know when the game is over when all of the titles have been collected. The winning team is determined by the team who has the most titles. Now, I'm asking you. Doesn't that sound like loads of fun?

This game can be entertaining for children ages 8 to 88. Although, I love playing the original version of Monopoly, it can take hours and hours to play. The nice thing about the Unicorns vs Llamas game is that the time-frame for the game doesn't take forever for someone to win. 

Board Games Encourage Family Time

When my girls were little, I loved playing games that we could all play together. Can I tell you how many times I've played Candy Land? It wasn't so much the game that we were playing but the family time we were spending together. Once the grandchildren began to arrive, I've kept up the tradition. 

How about you and your family? Do you play games together? If you have small ones, I think a nice round of the Monopoly Unicorns vs Llamas might be enjoyable for all.





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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