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

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Alex Spa Totally Henna Set Reviewed

Body Art For Kids

henna body art
Henna Body Art image courtesy of Pixabay.com
A super fun gift idea for young girls is the ALEX Spa Totally Henna Deluxe set. Let me review it for you this morning. 

Tattoos and body art in general are quite popular with the generations who are younger than myself. Children see the adults around them with a tattoo and often want to have one too. Obviously we can't, or shouldn't, do a real tattoo on a child but there are some alternatives. 

We have all seen the sticker style of tattoos that can be used for children. There are also decal types that can be rubbed on a child. Did you know that you can now do a Henna style of body art on children? It is pretty darned cool in my humble opinion.

Henna has been used since the days of antiquity to create body art, dye hair, color fingernails and in fabrics. Henna comes from a plant known as the Henna tree, the mignonette tree or the Egyptian privet. Dried leaves are ground into a powder and then a liquid is added to create the stain to apply to skin, hair, nails or fabric. 

What I like about this kit that can be purchased for a child is that it acts much like real henna and will last for a few days or can be washed off with soap and water at any time. We just played with the kit with my seven year old granddaughter and had a lot of fun!

The kit comes with three tattoo pens that can be used with your choice of stencils that stick to the skin and can then be pealed off when the design is finished. You can enhance parts of your design with some one of the two shimmer writers that are included with the set. One of the shimmers was a copper color and the other was a soft gold. There are also some little plastic "jewels" that can be applied to the design. It was very easy to work with and the colors were subtle. 

I did notice that as the day progressed the design was wearing away just a little with normal play. At bath time, it came off easily with no residue or staining to the skin. 

We really had a lot of fun picking the stencil we wanted to use and deciding which color to place where. After the initial work was done, it was fun to add some shimmer and a jewel or two. 

What a fun alternative the the stickers and rub-ons for temporary body art for children! This might be a fun item to include in your gifts for the holidays or for birthdays.



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Christmas Candles - A Great Gift Idea or Not?

Christmas Candles - great gift idea or not
I wanted to review a few candle gift ideas for Christmas as I always thought that candles made great gifts at Christmas time.  In fact in my mind candles and Christmas are synonymous with each other, but I wasn't sure why.

I decided to google why we always think of a Christmas candle (just in case it was just me!) and found that there's a lot of debate over whether or not candles make a great gift idea or not.   Apparently a lot of people think you shouldn't give candles at Christmas time - what do you think?  I'd love to hear your thoughts below.

I have always enjoyed being given a candle and I have thought of giving a candle many times although until this year I haven't actually done so before.

Why Christmas Candles


>Apparently candles were used way before we even celebrated Christmas.   During the ancient winter solstice celebrations candles were lit as a way of remembering that spring would soon come.

The earliest records of candles being used at Christmas apparently dates back to the middle ages where a large candle was used to represent the star of Bethlehem.

I think the reason that I think of candles and Christmas together is because many cultures put a candle in the window at Christmas time combined with images of the first Christmas trees with candles on them.

The most well known origin of lighting a candle in the window for Christmas is the catholic Irish tradition - this dates back to the 17th century at a time when the catholic religion was being suppressed in Ireland under British rule. The family would put a candle in the window to signal any passing priests that they were welcome, the authorities were told that the candles were to welcome Mary and Joseph into their homes - this was believed to have been an Irish superstition and worked.

Since this time the custom has spread and is said to be a sign of welcome for anyone who may be passing so that they could share whatever the family had for Christmas as no one should go without at this time of the year.

I have also heard that the lighting of a candle in the window is to represent family or people who are close to the family that cannot be there for the celebrations either because they're serving their country overseas or even because they've passed away.

Fragrant Candles

There are so many lovely 'smelly candles' as my daughter calls them, available as a gift that it's hard to know what to give someone. My favorite one this year is the Spiced Vanilla Chai candle. This is a slow and clean burning, hand-poured coconut wax blend candle that smells divine.



Another popular fragrant candle to give is one from the Yankee candles range.

Unfortunately not everyone likes the same fragrances so this isn't a gift that you can give just anyone!

Decorative Candles

Decorative candles are totally different and are a great gift idea whether you choose to give the shorter, fatter candles or the taper candles, these can be gorgeous. A lot of decorative Christmas candles also come with their own holders which are really good.

I used to use candles a lot, but I must admit that since becoming a mum I have been more aware of the dangers of an open flame which is why I love the different LED lit decorative candles that are available. I think these are definitely the best holiday candles if you don't know whether someone likes fragrant candles or not.




This is my favorite LED candle design for Christmas - I love the Robin Redbreast, but there are lots more to choose from if you prefer other styles of candles from personalized photos to peppermint stripes, vintage designs or more - Christmas LED Candles.

Do You Use Christmas Candles & Which is Your Favorite?


Do you have a tradition of Christmas candles and do you like the idea of a candle with a flame (with fragrance of not) or one of the LED lit candles.  I would love to know.


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Reviewing an Essential Oil Holiday Set

Purchase here!
Arbonne have just brought out their holiday range for 2018 and this year it includes a gorgeous essential oil set.   If you're interested in using essential oils then this is a great way to start your selection.

The set comes in a gorgeous holiday themed gift box which makes it a perfect gift for someone who is interested in aromatherapy.

Let's have a look at what's included in the set...

What's in Arbonne's 2018 Essential Oil Gift Set?


The set features all of Arbonne's single essential oils which are lavender, lemon, peppermint & tree tea as well as two of Arbonne's combination blends - Harmony & Focus.

I believe that if you're starting your aromatherapy journey then the first three oils you should get are lavender, lemon and tea tree so this is a perfect set.

Arbonne's Essential Oil Holiday Set
Arbonne's Essential Oil Holiday Set


Lavender Oil


Lavender oil is the absolute Queen of essential oils, it's referred to as 'a first aid kit inside a bottle' because of how many things it's really good for.   Now essential oils should always be diluted before being used on your skin EXCEPT lavender oil - it is powerful enough to do a whole heap of things while being gentle enough to be able to use neat.   I should note that I do still dilute it personally.

Some of the common ailments that can be relieved with lavender oil include headaches (find out how in my article on naturally relieving headaches), stress relief, insomnia, insect bites and burns.

It can also be used for making bath bombs, you can add a drop to your hand cream for a beautiful fragrance and it also combines with lemon oil to make a cuticle oil - find out more here.

Around the house you can make your own carpet deodorizing powder simply add a few drops of lavender oil to baking soda as well as using it in these ways -



Lemon Oil


Lemon oil has lots of great things going for it, the citrus scent is very uplifting and it also has both anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties which means that as soon as any viruses start doing the rounds I pop a few drops of lemon oil into my diffuser to ward them off!

It's also a great essential oil to help you stay alert, perfect for long trips in the car, when working overtime or studying.

More ways to use lemon oil ...


Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil is so soothing and refreshing I absolutely love it!  When one of my late friends was going through chemotherapy he was suffering from really bad night sweats and asked if there was any natural products I could recommend.  I told him to try adding a few drops of peppermint oil to a cool bath and see how that worked - I did caution him that as well as cooling properties peppermint was also invigorating so he may find he couldn't sleep afterwards.   It worked really well to cool down his body so he was able to sleep.

Peppermint is more commonly used to help muscle aches and pains (diluted in a carrier oil or ointment base) or to help with a sinus headache.   Now I have seen a lot of places online suggest putting a drop of oil on your fingers and massaging your sinus points - please do NOT do this.  The only oil that can be used neat in this way is lavender oil, always dilute peppermint oil.

If you do suffer from sinus problems including headaches I would get a small roller bottle and add a carrier oil with a few drops of peppermint oil in it and keep that with you so that you can apply it throughout the day.

Peppermint oil is also regularly used in a foot bath as it's cooling on swollen feet and also helps with foot aches.  When I worked in a health food shop we had concrete floors which meant at the end of the day (especially on late nights) my feet were often sore so I would add a few drops of peppermint oil into my foot spa and rest my feet while enjoying a cuppa and a few chapters of a good book when I got home.

Tea Tree Oil


Now I love using tea tree oil, and have actually written and article extolling it's uses ...

Tea Tree Oil UsesReviewing Uses for Tea Tree Oil
After being introduced to tea tree oil over twenty years ago I have embraced a few different ways of using it, let's review just a few uses for this potent essential oil.


Harmony Blend

The Harmony Blend smells divine, it's been blended together to help give you a sense of harmony and I think it does that very well.  It includes uplifting citrus oils like orange, tangerine & grapefruit which I always call the happy oils as they really do raise the spirits.  Also included is lavender for it's relaxing properties along with essential oils like rosemary, eucalyptus to really help you feel grounded.

This is a great blend to add to a bath or a diffuser to really create a spa like atmosphere in your home.  It's also good to use in a massage oil or even to pop into your favorite body lotion.

Personally I think it's lovely to pop into an aromatherapy necklace if you have one as it would be a lovely aroma to inhale throughout the day and keep you feeling centered.

Focus Blend


If you're having problems with focusing on the task at hand, then perhaps you need some focus blend!  I have written a post all about how and when to use this blend -

Focus Oil Aromatherapy BlendReviewing Arbonne's Focus Blend
Arbonne's Focus blend is a combination of pure essential oils that aid with focus and concentration, excellent for students, people who have problems focusing and for long car journeys.



If you're not as keen on aromatherapy or you already have these oils then why not check out some of the other holiday gift ideas that Arbonne have to offer as there are some lovely things available and of course we've reviewed lots of other gift ideas for you too.


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Review of a Beach Dish Towel by Primitives by Kathy


Beach Dish Towel by Primitives by Kathy Review

I have lived on the Georgia coast for nearly 20 years and during that time my 'kids' and grandkids have frequently been to visit. My daughter, especially, loves the beach and the ocean and often wishes she could see it every day.  Since that is not possible for someone living in the Midwest, I thought this beach towel would make the perfect gift for her as a little reminder of her favorite 'beach days'. 

As soon as I saw this dish towel, I knew it was perfect for Kimberly.  The saying reflects words I have heard her wistfully say on days when she wishes the most for another beach day. 



I cannot adult today. If anyone needs me
I'll be at the beach building Sand Castles

Primitives by Kathy offers a number of different dish towels with beach themes, but this one is  my favorite.  It shows a sandcastle on a blue background with wavy lines top and bottom and the words are SO Kimberly! 



Primitives by Kathy


Kathy, and her  mother, had a paint studio and retail store in Lancaster, PA for over 10 years.  They always searched for unique and creative items for their shop. Then one day in 1997 Kathy decided to create a handmade “primitive candle box”.  That one product began what was to become a very successful business. 

In the next 20 years, Primitives by Kathy grew from 1 product to over 8,000 and today the company has a team of over 150 talented industry experts and is ranked in the top 25 of the fastest-growing women owned businesses in the world. 

Primitives by Kathy is now primarily a wholesale company for stores. I found this particular dish towel in the gift department of my local Ace Hardware, which carries a number of unique and creative handmade products such as this one. Being a proponent of handmade items myself, I greatly admire products such as these that Kathy offers.  

Visit her website Primitives by Kathy to learn more about her company and see her wide range of interesting and useful home décor items. 

In addition to selling wholesale, many of Kathy's products are now available on Amazon and range from decorative signs and boxes to coasters and dish towels to a large variety of home and kitchen décor items. Or check your local gift stores, as I did, to find these interesting items. 


Another Favorite Beach Theme Dish Towel


Available on Amazon

Besides the dishtowel I got my daughter, one of my other favorites is a dish towel with the saying “We're at the Beach ~ Kitchen Closed”.  Here on the Georgia Coast, we have a LOT of 'beach days'. 


Dish Towels as a Decor Item


I love finding the perfect gift for a relative or friend, and I am also thrilled to find a unique item such as this dish towel I purchased for my daughter.  I can just picture how special her memories of the beach will be every time she sees this beach-themed dish towel hanging in her kitchen. 

So leave the ordinary behind when you are searching for an accent item for your home décor or for a creative and clever gift item. 








(c) Wednesday Elf




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Gifts Reviewed on Review This!

Treasures from the Archives of Review This!


 Gifts Reviewed on Review This!
We all buy gifts for many different occasions.  The Contributors of Review This frequently review the gifts they have purchased and given, as well as gifts they have received and loved.  Therefore, you will find a wide range of recommendations by exploring our gift reviews, for a wide variety of recipients.

Whether you are searching for gift ideas for women, men, children, friends, co-workers or even pets, you are sure to find some excellent suggestions on Review This!  

From birthdays to Christmas gifts, Father's Day, Mother's Day, anniversaries, and even gifts for communions, these gift reviews and more, are all included.  There are reviews for specific personal preferences like "Gifts for Tea Lovers" or "Gifts for a Vegan Teen" that make it easier to identify what someone will like.  

Most often, you will find the gifts we have reviewed are unique.  They are not the items you normally see listed in the gift category of many shopping sites.  Yet, they are the items we have given or received that have made a bit hit with the recipients.  We hope our reviews make your gift shopping easier and fun.  Don't be surprised if you find a few things you want yourself.



Welcome to Our Gift Library of Reviews!



A Preview of the Pinterest Board - Gift Reviews 

There are dozens of gifts reviewed on Review This!  This small board features the most recent 50 reviews. 




Links to Additional Pinterest Gift Boards from Review This! 


Birthday Gifts Ideas & Suggestions

Christmas Gifts

Gifts for Mothers

Gifts for Fathers

Valentine's Day Gifts

Easter Gifts



Gifts Reviewed on Review This!

For a written list of the gifts reviewed on Review This, please visit our Site Director and select "Gifts" from the "Fast Click" category tabs on that page.




Read More Product Reviews at
ReviewThisGifts.com  





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

10 Small Gifts that Fit in an Envelope

Gift Ideas that Will fit Inside of an Envelope by Funkthishouse.com
Photos: Via Pixabay
The recipient of your card might say, cash, insert cash! But when cash isn't an option, the next best thing is something personal and thoughtful.

This list of small gifts that fit in an envelope include physical products versus those typical insertions; gift cards, money or tickets.

Below are a list of items you can insert inside of a card, and then into an envelope for mailing or personal delivery:

1. Personalized Magnets

At Zazzle make your own magnets with your own message or photo. Or if you'd rather, you can choose a pre-made design. Depending on who the card is for, at Zazzle you'll find magnets in various sizes with a multitude of messages or designs to choose from.

If the card is for mom from daughter, this magnet says it well. "I Am My Mother's Daughter". It was designed based on the title and lyrics to a song I wrote decades ago. 

You could also a send a magnet that delivers a message of reassurance. The fridge magnet 'Angels on Duty' with it's blue sky background was designed to give comfort that angels are watching over. It too was based on a poem I wrote decades ago.


2. Key Chains

Key chains can also be personalized. You can find them pre-made with a thoughtful message or photo, or as in point number one, customize them yourself. Key chains make a practical and long lasting keepsake.

3. Pocket Tokens

Pocket Tokens come in various shapes and sizes and carry messages of love, remembrance, memorial and even good luck. They'll easily fit inside an envelope. Include several if you can't decide on one.

4. A Necklace

Don't send an expensive necklace in the mail via an envelope without checking whether your local post office offers an insurance option. If you're hand delivering the envelope go for it. If you've been given strict instructions to not bring a gift, then this is one way to get around it! After-all, it's just a card that happens to have a gift inside.

5. Flower Seeds

A package or two of flower seeds makes a lovely insert into a card. However, mailing seeds internationally could be an issue, so double check before you make this choice. Of course, you can order them online to be delivered directly to your recipient.

6. Guitar Picks

For the guitarist, guitar picks are the perfect token gift to add to a card. You can even get them personalized. Have your own words engraved on the pick(s) and you've gifted a lovely keepsake.

7.  A Small RFID Wallet (Keeps Credit Cards Safe from Electronic Thieves)

These make a unique gift idea when you want to send something more substantial than a token gift. They come in choices for men and women, are thin and are small enough to fit into a card. You may need a larger card depending on the one you choose, but they're thin enough to fit in an envelope. Because there's more substance to this gift, add extra tape on the envelope to ensure it stays sealed in the mail.

8. For Kids, Temporary Tattoos

Temporary tattoos are a gift givers gift. In other words, mom and dad may roll their eyes at the body art on their little one, but the little one will love you. You can also get candy or gum that includes temporary tattoos.

9. Old Time or Current Day Candy

There are so many vintage and current candy items to choose from! But you'll need the flat ones that fit inside an envelope; Lik-M-Aid Fun Dip, Airheads, Bottle Caps, Chicklets, Laffy Taffy, Razzles, and Skittles. Essentially if it fits in the envelope, go for it.

10. Personalized Stamps

Send a sheet of personalized stamps that say what you'd like to say, or have a personal photo of the person, couple, or event put on the stamp. The process for creating these stamps are thorough and professional, so your friends or family members are sure to be surprised and impressed with your thoughtful gift. It makes a lovely added gift for wedding showers. The couple can use their postage for thank you cards, invitations or as a way to advertise their just married status.

Additional Reminders:
  • Remember to weigh your card to ensure you've put enough postage on it for mailing.
  • Add extra tape on the envelope if you think the envelope could accidentally open in the mail
  • Don't mail food or garden products internationally without checking, otherwise they could get stuck at a border!




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Anniversary Gifts For Him Reviewed

Celebrating Your Marriage

Anniversary Wine image courtesy of Pixabay.com
My husband and I are about to celebrate our 20th Anniversary so I have been looking for gifts for him and I thought I would share some of the finds with you today. Although the ones that I sought out were for a specific milestone, most of these anniversary gifts would work for any year. 

I don't know about your special sweetie but mine is rather difficult to buy for. If he sees something that he wants, he just goes out and buys it. If you ask him for ideas, he says that a gift card is just fine. Well, dang it; gift cards are not much fun to give! Sure, they are practical and the person can spend them on whatever they want but there just isn't any excitement in the entire process. Since a couple doesn't celebrate a milestone of 20 years but once; I want to give him something better than a gift card. I plan to give him several small gifts instead of one big one.

One gift idea that I think he will really appreciate is a new wallet. Now, hold on! I saw you roll your eyes! This isn't just any wallet, it has an inscription on it that I think will make him smile and think of me every time he takes it out. 

We both enjoy watching the birds in our back yard. He likes to sit in the chair at our table that looks out at your yard. So I found a terrific coffee mug that he can use in the morning while he drinks his coffee and eats his breakfast. I chose one that says "Sharing the nest for 20 years." I won't show you a picture of it because they are just about sold out of that one. There were several options for an anniversary sentiment if it is something that you would like to give to your dear hubby. Getting a mug might seem a rather silly choice but in this case it fits with the tradition of the 20th anniversary being the year for giving china as a gift.

My sweet man wears a lot of t-shirts so I found one that fits our anniversary for him to wear. It has the sentiment of "Cruising together for 20 years". We don't go on ship cruises but we have cruised through life together quite happily. We used to cruise down the back roads just enjoying the ride and each other so that shirt just seemed to fit. I am sure you could find one that fits your marriage, too.




I'm still shopping around because my thought is that I will give him 20 gifts to open on our anniversary. There are so many things that I think will say, "I love you" in both romantic and humorous ways. I do like to pick whimsical things for him because that is one of the things that brought us together and has held us together; laughter. He has always made me laugh even when we were kids in school. Before we started dating, he came to me as a friend to help me heal from the loss of my first husband. He was so very sweet (still is!) in offering his shoulder for me to cry on. He made sure to tell me a joke or a funny story every time he called or stopped by. He still tells me jokes and funny stories and I still laugh. It is one of the many things that I love about him; his sense of humor.

In my search, I have found some key chains and different items that have anniversary sentiments on them that I think you will find easily too. Personally, most of those 20 gifts that I will give him are not necessarily traditional gifts for an anniversary. Instead, they will be little things that I know he likes. Something silly like his favorite candy bar. Think about that, when I give him his favorite it tells him that I know him well enough that I know that it is his favorite. To me something like that screams "I love you" even more than the words do. I know when he comes home grinning and hands me my favorite chocolate treat that it is yet another way that he is telling me that I am still the love of his life. He doesn't need to say the words at that point. I know because he obviously thought of me and wanted to make me smile.

So, I guess my point is that when it comes to finding anniversary gifts for him that it doesn't have to be something one might think of as a traditional gift. It honestly, doesn't even have to be something that you purchase. Perhaps fixing him his most favorite meal is something he will find very romantic because you made it for him and knew that it was his favorite. I think that it becomes easier when you think of your man and why you fell for him and still fall for him and know what will make him happy. 



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Disney Descendants Gift Ideas Reviewed

Gifts For The Under Twelve Kids

maleficent descendants
Disney's Maleficent Sculpture courtesy of Pixabay.com
Children under twelve, especially the girls, are most probably huge fans of the Disney Descendants movies. I know one of my granddaughters absolutely loves the characters and stories. She has asked for some items for both her birthday and Christmas. 

If you are not familiar with this very popular Disney story line, let me give you a brief little synopsis. When the Beast and Belle (Beauty and the Beast) marry they unite all of the kingdoms into the United States of Auradon. It is an idyllic place hidden away where the "good" characters of Disney tales reside. The villains of those same stories are imprisoned on the Isle of the Lost with their sidekicks and various accomplices in evil. Some time has passed and those characters that we all grew up with have children of their own, the Descendants. 

Prince Ben who is the son of Beast and Belle is about to become King of Auradon. He feels that it would be beneficial to invite four of the troubled teens from the Isle of the Lost to come be educated at Auradon Prep and to live among the residents of the peaceful kingdom of his father and mother. He chooses Carlos (son of Cruella de Ville),  Jay (son of Jafar), Evie (daughter of The Evil Queen) and Mal (daughter of Maleficent). So the first movie is about the transition of those teens into the Auradon realm. 

A sequel was released in 2017 called Descendants 2. It continues with the plot of the Villain Kids trying to fit in. Mal becomes frustrated with the expectation that she be Royally Perfect and returns to the Isle of The Lost. New characters are introduced with Uma (daughter of Ursula), Harry (son of Captain Hook) and Gil (son of Gaston). Uma is resentful of not being chosen by Prince Ben and is the self proclaimed leader of the Villain Kids on the island. She isn't real happy about Mal returning, as you might imagine. 

So, if you have a child on your gift list who loves Disney; I would imagine that they are quite familiar with these two movies. There are all sorts of gift ideas for these little fans. Of course, there are action dolls that they can collect and play with. If they do not already have one, a DVD of each of the movies is a great idea. There are all sorts of activity books to color and create with and there are even costumes for the various characters of the movies. They can carry their items to and from school in a Descendants backpack and they can wear socks and other clothing with this theme. As with all Disney brands, there are many items that will make a child happy to have.

This brand is not going to go away anytime soon as a Descendants 3 is scheduled to be released in 2019. You might ask your little one which of the characters they love the best and start to stock up for gifts. My little one loves Uma. I wonder which one your little one loves. 



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Gifts For Writers Reviewed

Ideas For The Writer On Your Gift List

writer gifts
Writing Gift suggestions image from Pixabay.com
With Christmas coming closer by the day, I thought I would review some ideas for gifts for writers today. You probably don't have many on your list but if you have just one you might not be sure what would be useful to give to them. 

Something that is relatively easy and won't hurt your wallet very much is to get a few notebooks; you know like the ones the kids use in school. Add some pens and pencils and wrap them up as a gift. Now, you might be thinking that this seems a little old school because they most likely use a keyboard to write their stories. Well, yes but those notebooks come in pretty darned handy. I can never have enough of them! I used them to jot down ideas but I also use them to start to define my characters. I will use a page to jot down the physical characteristics, personality traits and the name of the character. It makes it much easier to refer back to while I am writing. Jotting this all down in a notebook helps me to visualize the character and breaths life into their existence into my crowded and addled brain. Trust me, a writer will appreciate getting them.

Last Christmas one of my daughters gave me this book and I really loved it!

I admire Stephen King a great deal and my daughter knows that. Now, I don't read his horror books because quite frankly I am sure he would scare the daylights out of me. What I admire is his absolute genius with words. I digress. The reason I think this is a good gift for a writer is that Mr. King talks about his process and his history as a writer. He doesn't go into the real mechanics of writing in the book. It is like he says, there aren't really any classes or books that can teach you to write. You either have it in you or you don't. What he does share are the struggles of a writer, especially in the early years. He talks about the number of rejections he received in the beginning and how he didn't give up. Sure, in his early years of writing, he hoped to make money but as any writer will tell you, there is more to it than that. There are stories in you that you just have to get out and you just keep at it. Anyway, I truly think that any writer would both enjoy and benefit from reading this book.

Another gift idea for the writer is a whimsical mug that has some sort of saying about writing. I particularly like the one below for the authors of fiction:


I am quite sure that your writer will get a chuckle out of this one every time they pick it up to drink their coffee or tea while writing. Our characters are really no different than those imaginary friends that we had as children. You may not be able to hear them or see them but they are very real to us. It may sound strange to people who don't write fiction but to an author it makes total sense. In order for us to be able to make them come alive with our words; they have to exist in our psyche.

Another option for a mug for that writer on your list is this one:

This one really made me laugh! Authors have to do a lot of research when writing a book. Well, let's  say that they should do research. When I was writing my first book and wanted to use poison to kill someone; I did a lot of browsing on types of poisons. As I was talking my ideas over with my husband he made the comment, "Babe, you better hope that nothing suspicious ever happens to me and the cops start looking at your browsing history!" We both laughed, but he had a point. Seriously!

Something else that every writer should have is a Thesaurus. The writer on your gift list may already have one but a second one would be appreciated; I am sure. You can find one in a local book store or even in the school supply section of your favorite store. It might be something that you could add to those notebooks and writing utensils as a gift.

Of course, you could get books that have to do with the mechanics of writing. My guess is; they probably already know the mechanics, though. It is like Stephen King intimates; the ability to tell a story is inside you or it is not. A person can know all of the ins and outs of grammar and punctuation but if they don't have a story to tell; what good is it?

There are all sorts of little writing aides in the form of books and game like activities that are supposed to help with story ideas. I have a few that have been given to me as gifts. They are kind of fun to use. I find them helpful in just practicing writing. I guess I look at them as sort of an improv type of activity like a comedian might do on stage. They don't really help me come up with an idea for a book but they do help me use my imagination to just write something. I do keep them because you never know when you might read through what you have done and come up with a plot in the future.

Well, I hope I have sparked some ideas for you if you have a writer on your gift list this year. Let me know in the comments if you have some other ideas. 



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Reviewing Handmade Rag Rugs

Handmade denim rag rugs by StudioAtRedTopRanch
I love rag rugs and have always loved rag rugs. Occasionally, I have made my own using strips of recycled cloth (bed sheets) and a super large crochet hook. Recently, I have learned about the hand-woven rag rugs made by StudioAtRedTopRanch. They are such beautiful rugs that I wanted to share with you.


StudioAtRedTopRanch on Etsy


This Etsy shop offers hand-woven placements, table runners, and rugs. The rugs are my personal favorite. 

Tracy is the owner/artist at StudioAtRedTopRanch.  About the rugs, she writes:


"I began making handmade rag rugs as a way to use up leftover and unloved fabric. As I studied rugmaking, it became a way to learn and preserve an art developed by women who made-do by repurposing clothes and curtains because they had no other materials available..."

One of the reasons I love her rugs is because they look a little more "finished" than my crocheted rag rugs do. I guess because hers are woven they lay flatter and looked more finished than my lumpy, thick rugs.

Another reason I really like these rugs is because they are handmade - but didn't take me weeks to make!  I enjoy making my own crafts but I just don't make much time for crafts and I have the attention span of a flea. 

One more reason I like these handmade items is because I like to support women who have small, home businesses. Besides, when someone is making something they love, and something that is meaningful to them, the quality is so much better. 

These rugs, runners, and placements are perfect gifts for people who have a country farmhouse or rustic cabin living style. Or a perfect gift for yourself - adding a touch of "home" in your favorite room. My favorite "color" (and style) is the denim rug but she offers many colors to choose from.


some of the color options at StudioAtRedTopRanch




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Sunday, June 24, 2018

When You Need Ideas on What to Write Inside a Greeting Card, Check Out These Words of Inspiration

Find a Collection of Sayings for Cards Here
When Words Fail You

One of the quirkiest things I've enjoyed doing as a hobby for decades is coming up with sayings to write on the inside of cards.

Since my friend and I were young twenty-somethings, we've been drawn to card shops. You could usually find us in a local card shop pulling the funny cards, laughing as we blurted the creative sentiments to each other.

In those early years, I remember thinking, if I had to do it all over again, I'd go into the advertising business so I could write funny lines for cards and create commercials.

Then came the internet, where I discovered I could put all those useless one liners rolling around in my head to good use.

Thus Was Born My Hobby - Writing Sayings for Cards

You'll find sayings for many types of cards: For a new home, a new driver,
Review These Sayings You Can Write in a Card
engagements, bridal showers, weddings, birthdays, sympathy, friends, to say thank you and much more.

It's a crazy knack to be able to write card sentiments in no time flat.

On a good day I'm able to sit down and pump out 50 to 100 ideas in an hour or less. Sometimes those crazy one-liners just keep coming. Of all the skills, THIS is the one I got??

When You're Stuck, Use These Sayings

For those who struggle with what to write inside a card, don't sit there racking your brain trying to find the best words.

Simply go to one of my card saying pages and choose something to put on the card, or just use a blurb as inspiration to write your own personal note.

Writing funny card sayings is my favorite thing to do, however, I've written just as many that are serious and even somber.

If I had to select, I'd say the sayings I've written for Sympathy Cards are the most useful. When dad passed away we received cards from all over the country with personally written notes and they meant so much to us.

I was completely shocked at how reading those notes eased my pain for a few moments. The thoughtfulness put into a few kind words meant more than I can express. That moment was my inspiration to put together a list of written sayings for sympathy cards.

Personally I always write a note when I give someone a card. You don't have to write long paragraphs either, just one or two lines of thoughtfulness can make all the difference.

Have fun finding the best sayings that fit your special someone. Here's a card already completed with the saying on it. It's oozing sarcasm for that friend who loves sarcasm :)



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Thursday, June 21, 2018

DIY Mercury Glass



It's time for a DIY project for the true romantics out there.  Is there anything lovelier than fresh cut flowers in an antiqued mercury glass vase?  Perhaps the reason mercury glass is such a popular centerpiece at weddings is the nostalgic effect it has on us.  I absolutely love the understated beauty and elegance of silvered glass.  The look, and the effect, is way too wonderful to save only for special occasions.  

I invite you to follow along with me and transform your own gorgeous flower vessels.  It takes very little time and money to create the beautiful mercury glass effect presented here.  In less than an hour, you can be enjoying your own timeless centerpiece.  If you're like me, you'll get hooked and create any number of these mercury glass vases for yourself and for gifting to friends and family.  This is a gift you can be sure will be used and appreciated.


What You Will Need
* Glass vase
* White vinegar
* Water
* Misting pump bottle
* Paper towels

Optional
* Tarp or plastic drop cloth
* Wooden dowel rod
* Gloves

Steps 1-5
  1. Mix one cup of white vinegar with one cup of water.  Pour into misting bottle.
  2. Use a paper towel or soft cloth to wipe your glass clean.
  3. Protect work surfaces with a tarp, newspapers, or a drop cloth.  
  4. Test mister to ensure you will get a very fine spray.
  5. Shake up your spray paint for two minutes.

Step 6
Depending on the type of glass container you are painting, you may find it very helpful to use a dowel rod.  Supporting your vase with a dowel makes it easy to mist and spray all of the surfaces at the same time (without getting paint on your hands or fingerprints on your vase).  It also enables you to spray the bottom of the vase without waiting for the paint to dry on the sides of the container.

When I was painting the test tube vases, I used short dowel rods that I stood on end in an old piece of wood.  All I did was drill some holes in a two-by-four.  Then, I stacked each test tube on a dowel, leaving enough space in between to give me room to maneuver with the mister and spray paint.



Steps 7-8
Spray a very fine mist of the vinegar water on your vase.  The key to success is to start with a very light coating of the mist.  If you get large, running droplets, go ahead and wipe it down with a paper towel and start again.

Immediately spray over the mist with a light coat of the Looking Glass spray paint.  You will repeat these steps two to three times, so it is important not to try to get all of the silvering done all at once.  Light layering is essential to getting the desired vintage look of mercury glass.






Step 9
Very gently dab all over the misted and painted surface of the glass with a clean and dry paper towel. You want to blot up all spots of water and any larger droplets of paint.  This step creates the aged look of the silvered glass.











Step 10
Repeat the misting, painting, and blotting process until you are happy with the final effect.  I repeated the process three times on the vases pictured in this tutorial.


Step 11
Once the paint is dry, experiment with arranging your favorite flowers in your gorgeous mercury glass vases.  They look really nice in groupings of various sizes and shapes.

In this example, I placed three mercury glass test tubes in an antique bed spring.  The addition of a beveled mirror base created stability and an interesting reflective quality.  Peonies seemed just right for this type of vintage floral arrangement.















Mercury glass centerpieces don't have to be expensive to look like you spent big bucks at a floral shop.  Use the glass you already have at home.  It is so easy to upcycle any ordinary jar or cheap vase into something extraordinary.  There is something incredibly satisfying about giving a face-lift to a common, plain item.

We all hold the power of transformation in our hands.  Let's go create and share some beauty today.



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

The Best Gift You Can Give Your Dad that Doesn't Cost a Dime

It's Corny. It's Cliché. But if You Can Give it, It's the Best Gift.

The best gift you can give Dad, is your time.

If you're one of the fortunate with a living father, and a father you enjoy a good relationship with, then it's a certainty that your voice or your company ranks highest on his list of wants.

This suggestion is not meant to sound preachy, it merely comes from the heart of a person whose father has passed on.

My dad loved when we visited, he often said to me, "Barb, I love it when you're here". That's exactly how we feel when our children are home as well.

Dad gave us the greatest gift, the gift of love, and we're passing that down from generation to generation. It doesn't get any better than that: Love, compassion and family.

When He Hears Your Voice, I'll Bet Your Father Lights Up

There isn't anything your father wants more than to be with you or to at least talk with you on Father's Day.

When he thinks about you I'll bet dollars to donuts that he reflects upon every aspect of your growing up. I say that because, when I speak to my sons, I see every age and almost every moment of their life in that moment. 

With social media and personal devices, our habit of texting, emailing or posting our sentiment crosses over into expressing ourselves on special occasions. That's OK too. There's nothing wrong with posting a song for dad, or texting a personal note of love to him, but if you're able to, a phone call or a visit ranks at the top.

Although you can get dad a gift, and I'm sure he'll appreciate whatever you choose, when he looks around his kitchen table at his family sharing memories and laughing, that's the gift that beats them all. His heart is your heart.

Written for My Dad in Heaven - He Blessed Us With Love






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Sunday, June 10, 2018

A Gift You Can Give for Graduation that Doesn't Cost Any Money

Make this Cake?
If that's Too Hard,
Photo Via Pixabay
To the future graduate expecting cash, let me start by saying, I'm sorry.

For the gift giver aiming for 'it's the thought that counts', here's a thoughtful, personal and easy way to express your congratulations to the graduate.

Forward a Song by Email or Share it on Social Media with a Lovely Personal Comment to Honor the Graduate

Although it doesn't sound like much, the secret is in choosing a song with lyrics that suit the person receiving the dedication.

It can be incredibly time consuming to find the right song. Below you'll find a video playlist to quickly scroll through that features various songs about moving forward or looking back on life.

The songs featured below have been carefully chosen for their range in tempo and mood, so hopefully you're able to find something that suits the personality of your Graduate.

You can arrow through each of the 24 songs featured in the video below relatively quickly or go here to listen to a short preview of each song.



If I had to choose my favorite song for a graduation celebration or to honor someone who wants to make a difference in life, I would pick "I Was Here" by Lady Antebellum.

The lyrics to 'I Was Here' talk about wanting to make a difference in this world and wanting to do something that matters. Both the music and lyrics are inspirational.

Be sure to listen to 'I Was Here', it's a wonderful song:


You could of course send a graduation card with a lovely personal note inside.

If you need help in finding the right words, here are some sayings to help get those neurons moving. Use the sayings as is, or modify them to suit the graduate.





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