Brightech Lamp - GIVEAWAY!

I've told you how much I LOVE my new magnifying lamp. So I'm really excited to tell you that Brightech is giving away a Lightview XL 2-1 Magnifying Lamp to one of my readers!

This energy-saving lamp has the widest viewer of any magnifying lamp on the market, offers 225% magnification, converts easily from a floor standing lamp to a table lamp, and produces bright white light without glare. The heavy base makes it really sturdy, but I have no difficulty moving it from room to room. 

So far, I have used my lamp to read fine print, thread a needle, sew patches, work on a jigsaw puzzle, remove a splinter, fix the missing part of a rub-on, do Diamond Art, color match at night, and about a million other things. I really do love it and am so happy that one of you will win one. 

Follow the link below to enter the giveaway. Good luck!



Trick-or-Treat 2018

Halloween photos might just be my very favorites to scrap. I don't know why. With the limited color palette and same types of photos year after year, you'd think I'd get tired of it. But I don't. Maybe because the different costumes each year keep things feeling fresh.

Halloween 2018 (affiliate link)

Fun fact: The journaling card is actually the reverse of the green paper at the top of the layout. There was a skeleton girl on the right side of the card that I didn't like, so I chopped her off and positioned the photos to disguise the chopping. I fussy-cut the two spiderwebs from another journaling card that was on the bottom half of the green paper. It's rare that I use both sides of the same piece of paper on a layout!


Paint Pouring "Be Creative Every Day"

I've been having so much fun customizing my make-and-takes from Creativation. Look what I did with the paint pouring project from Testors!

I wrapped the canvas with the adorable heart ribbon (LA Ribbons). Then I stamped the sentiment (Gina K Designs Crafty & Creative), colored the brush (Chameleon Marker), fussy cut it, mounted it on pink cardstock, fussy cut that, then popped it up with foam dots. My canvas is now on display in the craft room. 

If you're interested in trying paint pouring, there are quite a few companies in addition to Testors making pouring mediums or ready-to-pour paints. You can also make your own. Last year, I shared a kid-friendly, low-mess paint pouring project. I'm totally inspired to try again!


Scout Fun!

We're coming up on the 2-year anniversary of Trevor bridging to Troop 482. I've made a lot of layouts about the trips Trevor and his fellow Scouts have taken during those two years, but I haven't done much to document the other activities. And as neat as the special trips are, I wanted to be sure to record a few of the ways that Troop 482 makes their regular meetings and short-term events lots of fun too.

Scout Fun! (affiliate link)

It's a simple layout, but I love that photos from things like Chess Night and the patrol cooking challenge are now in the album. I was sure to include in the journaling that Epic Patrol served loaded nachos, with the mystery ingredient (pickles) incorporated into their homemade salsa. I know that years from now, we'll look back at this layout and smile.    


Trouble Mini Album

Remember the make-and-take tag album from the Deflecto booth at Creativation? I added photos and a few other touches. I love it.

Trouble - Mini Album (affiliate link)

All the photos I used were ones I already had printed. There are ten photos on the three tags. I just trimmed them to size and added them to the fronts and backs of the tags. You can see the tags here. I love that rabbit


Beaver Valentine - "I Chews You!"

Continuing with my cute animal + pun theme, here's another idea for a homemade valentine.


Beaver Valentine - "I Chews You!"


  • construction paper (white, red, brown)
  • scissors
  • red pen
  • craft glue
  • black Sharpie
  • treat bag
  • pretzel sticks
  • conversation hearts
  • foam dots


Cut a piece of white construction paper so it is about the same size as your treat bag. Fold it in half to form the base of the treat topper. Write "Valentine, I chews you!" in red pen on a strip of white paper. Mat it on a strip of red paper and then glue that near the top of the folded treat topper. Cut two teeth from the white scraps and set them aside.

Cut a rough semi-circle from brown construction paper to make the beaver's head. Cut a slightly smaller oval for his tail. Use the scraps to cut two ears and nose. 

Use the Sharpie to add two eyes to the beaver's face. Color in the nose and the inner ears. Draw parallel diagonal lines on the the tail, first in one direction, then again so the two sets of lines meet at a 90° angle. 

Fill the treat bags with pretzels and conversation hearts. Staple the treat topper to the filled treat bag. 

Glue the ears behind the head, then glue the head to the front of the treat topper. It should hide the staples. Glue the teeth behind the nose, then use foam dots to attach the nose. Glue the tail to the back of the treat topper. 

A little update on my massive 'organize my animal crafts' endeavor. I am working on the mammals, doing a handful each day. I'm around 80 and counting. As you can imagine, there are quite a few rabbits, but the rest is a fairly balanced mix. Well, other than reindeer and beavers, which are both over-represented. No matter. I'm really enjoying looking back on my animal crafts. Having them all in one place will make things so much easier and is already inspiring me to make the animals that are not well-represented yet. 


Please Craft with Cindy: StickTogether, Rinea, Bernat, Chameleon Pens, and Diamond Art

I brought home so many goodies from Creativation that I want to experiment and play with, and to then review for you. But the manufacturers were so generous with what they gave me that it would take me until Creativation 2020 before I could use it all. 

This is only SOME of the products that came home with me.

Unless... I invited friends over to craft with me! I sent invitations to anyone I could think of who was local, kid-free, and either retired or flexible enough with their job to pop over to my house on a Monday with very short notice. 

It would be an open house - come when you can and stay however long works for you, or until I kick you out so I can do afternoon carpool. It ended up being six people, including me, which worked out beautifully. As friends showed up, I gave them an overview of each of the products and then let them work on whatever they wanted. No schedule, no structure, just time to try out the items and share their thoughts. 

Below are each of the activities we did. I've included affiliate links so you can try these crafts for yourself!



I fell in love with StickTogether at Creativation and mentioned it as one of my cool product picks. I was one of those kids who hoarded my stickers and literally never used them because I loved them so much I thought they were too special to use. So doing a craft where I peel and stick whole sheets of stickers one at a time is highly satisfying to me. It makes up for the stickering I didn't do as a kid.

Anyway, StickTogether is a great activity for several people to work on together. It's relatively mindless and very relaxing. It's easy enough that you can chat while you work, which was perfect for my get-together.

Any guesses what this design is going to be? 

I'll be revealing the finished image soon!



If you're not familiar with Rinea, it is foiled paper that you can die-cut, shape, punch, emboss, cut, tear, and so much more. It combines the sturdiness of paper with the ability to hold its shape like foil. Playing with it is so much fun!

We got out the Fiskars punches and a bone folder and went to town with Rinea!


Chameleon Pens

Chameleon Pens are double-sided alcohol-based markers with a twist. Each pen has a built-in chamber that allows you to create shading with a single marker. Color Tops allow you to blend one color with another! It's a really cool concept. 

We used Chameleon's Color Cards to experiment with the pens. The effects are so neat!


Bernat Blanket EZ

Pre-looped yarn is super trendy right now, so I was really excited that Bernat gave me a skein to try. I was skeptical that it would be as easy as they claimed, as I have tried twice to learn to crochet without much success. But I'm happy to report that it was very easy... and a lot of fun!

Five of us took turns working on the scarf and before we knew it, we'd nearly finished the skein. It was at that point that we checked to see how long the scarf was. Answer: hilariously, ridiculously long! Here's a really poor quality bathroom selfie so you can see how my new scarf fits me:

I realize that when I loop it around my neck, the ends won't be dragging on the ground, but I need to wrap it at least three times to get the ends short enough and that's uncomfortable for me. My plan is to undo about a foot and bind it off so my scarf fits me more comfortably. And the next time I use Bernat's EZ yarn to make a scarf, I'll know not to use up the whole skein before checking the length!! Speaking of checking, click the link to see all the fun solids and blends they have. 


Leisure Arts Diamond Art

I'd done (and loved) Diamond Dotz before, so I was really excited to learn that Leisure Arts is now making their own Diamond Art, powered by Diamond Dotz. Same great product, tons of great designs! None of my friends had done any sort of diamond art. 

Also new to them: My Brightech lamp. I captured the jaw drop when she realized that the lamp provided enough magnification and glare-free light that she didn't need her glasses. Honestly, you all need to get this lamp. I am now using it nearly every day for one thing or another. It can sit on the floor or a tabletop, is super easy to adjust, and makes crafting in the evenings (or on overcast days) a piece of cake. The magnification is a super awesome bonus. 



Wizardi is another manufacturer of diamond art, with designs on either wood and on canvas. They sent me home with a wooden dreamcatcher kit to try. 

There are several key differences between Leisure Arts' Diamond Art and Wizardi. Everybody tried both. I'll be showing the finished projects and doing a thorough comparison of the two soon. 


I had so much fun during 'Please Craft with Cindy' that it is going to be a regular event. If you're local to me and would like to join in the fun sometime, let me know and I'll add you to my list!


Conversation Heart Valentine Art

Oh Necco Sweethearts, February just isn't the same without you! I'm dulling my pain with Brach's Conversation Hearts, which inspired this project. There are affiliate links throughout this post. 


 Conversation Heart Valentine Art



Pour a large handful of conversation hearts into a dish. Remove one of each of the colors and set them aside, then eat the rest while you make this craft. 

Cut a piece of watercolor paper into five chunks that are each approximately the size of an index card. Trim the scraps so that you have five smaller rectangles. You'll be using these to try to match the colors of each of the conversation hearts before painting the larger pieces of watercolor paper.

Working with one color at a time, mix a small amount of paint into a slightly larger amount of white. Adjust until the color looks like a match. Paint it on the sample piece. If it's a match, paint the larger piece of watercolor paper. Repeat this process for each of the colors, except Baby Pink. It is a perfect match straight out of the bottle. Let the paint dry completely. 

When the paint is dry, punch out as many hearts as you can from the papers. 

Cut the white cardstock to make a card base (mine is 4" x 5 1/4"). Glue the hearts haphazardly to the cardstock, working from the outside in on all sides. The center area does not need to be covered.

Let the glue dry, then give the card a vigorous shake. If any hearts come off, add glue. When the glue is dry and all the hearts are very secure, continue. 

Cut a white cardstock heart that covers the empty spot on the card. Use a red colored pencil to write your message in capital letters. Use foam dots to adhere the heart. 

My card fits nicely into an envelope. You can make yours larger if you'll be hanging it on the wall, or smaller to use it as a gift tag. For a more durable piece of artwork, try using Mod Podge to add your faux conversation hearts to a canvas or a frame. So many possibilities!


Chinese New Year Treat Topper - The Year of the Pig

I'm a day late for the first day of the Lunar New Year, but I understand that the celebration lasts more than two weeks. So you still have plenty of time to make a Year of the Pig Treat Topper to wish good health and happiness to your friends and family. There are affiliate links throughout this post.


Year of the Pig Treat Topper



Fill the treat bag up to the 'neck' with red and gold foiled candies to make the body of the pig. Set it aside. Cut a rectangle of red construction paper that is the same width as the treat bag. Fold it in half to make the treat topper. Cut a semi-circular face, an oval nose, and two triangle ears from the gold paper. 

Staple the red paper over the treat bag. 

Use the Sharpie to draw two eyes on the face, two nostrils on the nose, and the inner ears. Glue the ears behind the face, then glue the face to the red paper. Use a foam dot to attach the nose so that it has dimension. Finally, write a message on the washi tape and add it to the treat topper. I used enough so that it would stretch across the front with the ends meeting up neatly in the back. 

 Wishing you all a joyous and prosperous Year of the Pig!


Looney Labs Games

I love games almost as much as I love crafting. (If you check my Gift Guide, you'll find 25+ of my favorite games listed under the "Family Fun" heading.) Board games, card games, word games - they're all great fun. Fortunately, Trevor has inherited my love of games. In fact, Trevor loves games so much that he is the founder and president of the Games Club at his middle school. 

When I attended Creativation in January, I was surprised and delighted to see that Looney Labs had a booth. They were promoting a game called Loonacy, featuring the artwork of the iconic Mary Engelbreit. There are affiliate links throughout this post. 

I did a live broadcast from the booth, where Mrs. Looney herself taught me how to play Loonacy. It's a fun, fast-paced game for 2 or more players. The key to this game is that there are no turns; everyone plays at once. In the image below, I set up the start of a game. (I'm holding up the seven cards so that they show well in the photo. When you're actually playing, they'd be face up in front of you.) As quickly as you can, you must match one of the images from your hand to one of the common piles on the table. The first person to play all their cards wins. 

There are several other Loonacy themes, including the original Loonacy, Retro Loonacy, Uglydoll Loonacy, and this not-for-kids version

While Loonacy was new to me, I already knew Looney Labs as the maker of Fluxx. Some friends introduced me to Fluxx in the late 1990's and I've loved it ever since. It's a really fun game. The rules of the game are ever-changing; in fact, even the object of the game changes! Basically, you are trying to collect the green keeper cards that fulfill the current pink goal card. For example, the goal below is Chocolate Milk. To win the game, you need to have both the Chocolate keeper card and the Milk keeper card. How many cards you draw and what you do with them is determined by what yellow rules cards are in place and what blue action cards you use. It sounds crazy and it is, but it's a lot of fun. It's one of the most popular games at the middle school Games Club and a staple on all Scout outings. 

Fluxx comes in a many themed versions. We have four, including the original Fluxx, Nature Fluxx, Star Fluxx, and Fluxx the Board Game. 

There are tons of other versions of Fluxx, including pop culture ones (Batman, Dr. Who, Star Trek, etc.), school subjects (Chemistry, Anatomy, Math), and dozens more, including this for ages 21+. I am most interested in adding Holiday Fluxx to our family's collection. 

Have you played Fluxx? If so, do you have a favorite version? 


Bear and Cat Valentine Treat Toppers

I've been out of sorts since learning that there won't be any Sweethearts Conversation Hearts this year. I'd been a victim of the Great Necco Wafer Panic, unable to buy one of my favorite candies in 2018. And now this. Sigh.

Not only do I love Sweethearts, but they're a February staple for a kids' craft blogger. Fortunately, Brachs is still producing conversation hearts. I bought a big bag. While they're quite not as tasty as Necco's Sweethearts, they're a fine substitute and my Valentine's Day will not be ruined after all.

I did some experimenting with two sizes of treat bags to see approximately how many conversation hearts each would hold, then whipped up some treat toppers to fit each size. Read on to make your own. There are affiliate links in this post.


"You're a PURRfect Friend" Cat Treat Topper



Fill a treat bag halfway with conversation hearts and set it aside. Cut the white construction paper into a piece approximately 3" x 6.5". Fold it in half. Cut a semicircle and two triangles from the grey construction paper, then punch a pink heart nose. Draw eyes and whiskers.

Glue the cat's face to the folded construction paper, curling the ears forward slightly. Staple the topper to the treat bag. Cut a piece of pink construction paper and write "You're a PURRfect friend!"

Glue the cat's nose in place, then glue the message to cover the staple. 


"You're a BEARy Great Friend!" Bear Treat Topper



Fill a treat bag partway with conversation hearts and set it aside. Cut the white construction paper into a piece approximately 5" x 8". Fold it in half. Cut a semicircle and two round ears from the brown construction paper. Draw eyes and a nose, and darken in the inner parts of the ears. Glue the bear's face to the folded construction paper, curling the ears forward slightly. Fold over the top of the treat bag and staple the topper to it. Cut a piece of lavender construction paper and write "You're a BEARy great friend!" Glue the message to cover the staple.


Creativation 2019 - Make and Takes

One of my favorite parts of Creativation is trying out new (or new-to-me) products. Watching demonstrations is great, but until I have something actually in my hand, I can't know for sure how it's going to work for me. I want to test that tools are comfortable and work as well in my left hand as in the right hands they were designed to fit. I want to feel the amount of pressure needed to dispense adhesive, and the appropriate speed for specialty pens. I need to feel paper texture and ink juiciness to learn whether they're a brand I want to use. Make-and-takes are fantastic for trying out projects with the bonus that you get to bring your completed artwork home. Today I wanted to share some of my favorites from the show. There are affiliate links in this post.



Trying out AdTech's new drip-less glue gun was a high priority for me. Not only did I love the glue gun, but the projects I made are so cool! After rubbing the tiniest bit of hand lotion onto the bottom of a glass platter, I added a glob of hot glue, waited for it to dry, peeled it up, then added a jump ring and clasp. I'll add color to this eventually.

Check out the gummy bears I made! They're made of hot glue also. Just squeeze hot glue into a silicone mold, add jump rings (or not), let them dry, then pop them out and color them. I used alcohol markers here. 


Rapidfuse had another of my favorite make-and-takes. But before I get to that, look at their awesome booth sign. Each letter has all sorts of stuff glued to it and sprayed white. The dimension was awesome. 

I love Scrabble tiles and the idea of turning them into coasters really appealed to me.  

Unfortunately, they'd cut the cork too small to fix six letters, so I had to improvise and made a "EAT -DRINK - PLAY" coaster because I couldn't think of anything else on the spot. Of course, now that I'm home, I can think of a bunch of things! Anyway, the make-and-take did its job because I was really impressed with the Rapidfuse and will be using it for all sorts of projects in the future. 

Waffle Flower

I already told you how excited everyone was about Waffle Flower's Media Mat. I jumped at the chance to try it out and make a stamped card. 

Not only do I love the mat, but I like the card too!


I own a lot of Sakura pens, but had never tried some of their specialty gel pens, like Moonlight or Stardust. I sketched a quick desert scene on the front of a card base and colored it in using all their different pen styles. I'm in love with how the colors pop against the midnight blue background.

Hero Arts

When I first saw people making this card at the Hero Arts booth, I thought it was done with foil. Nope!

It's actually strips of colored paper, glued together, then adhered behind the die-cut hello sentiment. So clever! 

Satin Ice

I can't stay away from the Edible Arts pavilion for more than an hour or two before I'm back to make sure I'm not missing an awesome make-and-take. I learned how to marble their delicious fondant and create roses. 


I made this super-cute mini album using a Deflecto base. I went rogue and changed up the design a little. I'll be adding photos of Trouble to all of the tags. 



Marbling and paint pouring are really trendy right now and I was thrilled for the chance to try it out with someone else in charge of cleaning up my mess! Testors is one of many brands that makes ready-to-go marbling paints. I took pictures of someone else making one before doing my own. Pretty!

Here's mine, drying on a paper plate. I did a lot more smaller pours than the other woman did. 


I decorated this cool container at the ArtBin booth. I wanted to go for a ritzy black/white with silver sparkles look, but the only washi narrow enough to fit around the rim of the bin was this one. We had a big debate at the booth about what animal it is. #TeamHedgehog



The painting class at Plaid was my favorite of all the make-and-takes, if indeed it counts as a make-and-take. It was a 90 minute free class on the show floor, which makes it sort of like a workshop and sort of like a make-and-take. Anyway, I loved it. 


I made a handful of other things, but these are my favorites. Do any of the projects inspire you to create? I hope so!