Monday, March 30, 2020

How We're Keeping Busy During Social Distancing

Bristol having a good ear day

Just like darn near everyone else, we're in sort of a lockdown.  The state of IL has ordered a "stay at home" mandate.  We can still go out, but not hang out.  All non-essential businesses have closed.  As a 9-1-1 Dispatcher, I'm considered an Essential Employee so I'm still doing the night shift.  As you can imagine, it's been slower than usual.  The weekend bar fights have ceased, so that's a plus! 

Jason and I have been keeping occupied working on a few projects around the home. 

Jason built me, my oldest daughter, and my sister easels so it's easier to work on our diamond art kits.  He has three more to build for other friends.

I've been working forever and a day on this diamond art kit.  

I repurposed this standing photo frame.  My mom purchased it for me over 15 years ago.  The frames got jank over time so I took them out and stapled twine to each section.  Then I hung pictures to the twine with miniature clothespins.

Our big project has involved ripping the carpet out of the office room and guest room.  We replaced it with vinyl wood.  It's so much prettier (and easier to clean).  If we keep in quarantine much longer, we're going to start on ripping the carpet out of the front room and replacing the flooring.

So, as you can see, we've been productive.  Training a pup has kept us busy too!  But, I have to admit, I'm ready to start hanging out with my homies again.  I'm getting socially needy.

How have you been keeping busy?  
How has the COVID-19 affected you?

Dylan's Candy Bar: 20% Off Easter Collection

Get a taste of everything spring with Dylan's Candy Bar Easter 2020 Collection featuring their Signature Tackle Box, Foiled Chocolate Bunnies, Baskets, and lots more. Their Easter Indulgence Gift Basket is all the essential Easter treats in one sweet package.

Receive 20% off the Easter Collection at  Use code SUGAR2020 to save through 4/12/20. Also, receive free shipping on orders over $25 every day.

This post contains affiliate links.  Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services.  Your opinions and results may differ.

Final Winners for March

Photo by Ambreen Hasan on Unsplash

The winners of The Adventures of A.R.I: My Robot Friend DVD giveaway are:
#9, Jessica Peeling
#5, Monique S.
#44, lilyk
#14, Gina Ferrell
#15, Antoinette M.

The winner of the Creek Critters children's book giveaway is #21, Sandra Watts.

Congrats to the winners and thanks to all who entered.  As always, there's no limit to how many giveaways you can win or how many you can enter.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker - Blu-ray Giveaway

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Lucasfilm and director J.J. Abrams’ riveting, inspiring conclusion of the seminal Skywalker saga, arrives on Digital March 17 and Blu-ray March 31. The in-home release comes with over two hours of bonus material, including a feature-length, making-of documentary and behind-the-scenes access to the cast and filmmakers who brought the epic scenes and characters to life!

Bonus material includes a feature-length, making-of documentary, which goes behind the scenes with the cast and filmmakers from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and explores the legacy of the Skywalker saga. Bonus features also dig into the film’s Pasaana desert scenes, including the thrilling landspeeder chase, and the ship in which Rey discovers family secrets as well as a new little droid named D-O. Plus, fans will hear from Warwick Davis, who reprises his role as Wicket the Ewok, as well as the creature effects team that created a record 584 creatures and droids for the film. Digital consumers will receive an exclusive feature highlighting legendary composer John Williams, who has scored every episode in the Skywalker saga.

Bonus features include*:
The Skywalker Legacy – The story lives forever in this feature-length documentary that charts the making of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
Pasaana Pursuit: Creating the Speeder Chase – Dive into the making of the movie’s epic landspeeder chase and discover how this spectacular sequence was brought to the screen.
Aliens in the Desert – See what it took to create the Pasaana desert scenes, from the sheer scale and complexity of the shoot to its colorful details.
D-O: Key to the Past – Explore the ship that connects Rey to the mystery of her missing parents and get to know the galaxy’s newest, irresistible droid.
Warwick & Son – Warwick Davis, who played Wicket in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, dons the Ewok costume once more; this time joined by his son Harrison.
Cast of Creatures – The team behind the film’s memorable creatures reveal the puppetry, makeup, prosthetics and digital magic that bring them to life!
Digital Exclusive:
The Maestro’s Finale – Composer John Williams reflects on his body of work for the Star Wars saga and shares insights on scoring Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
* Digital bonus offerings may vary by retailer.

The ninth and final episode in the Skywalker saga welcomed the return of original characters Luke Skywalker, General Leia Organa, Chewbacca, C-3PO, R2-D2, Emperor Palpatine and Lando Calrissian, along with the latest generation of heroes and villains, including Rey, Finn, Poe, BB-8, Maz, Rose, General Hux and Kylo Ren. Newcomers include Jannah, a new ally of the Resistance; Allegiant General Pryde of the First Order; and smuggler Zorii Bliss.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is packaged several ways to ensure fans get the most out of their at-home viewing experience. The Multiscreen Edition includes Blu-ray and a Digital copy, giving viewers the flexibility to watch the film on different devices. Those with 4K Ultra HD capability may opt for a 4K UHD Ultimate Collector’s Edition, including 4K UHD, Blu-ray and a Digital copy. 4K Ultra HD provides four times the resolution of HD paired with fully immersive picture and sound and Dolby Atmos audio, allowing viewers at home to practically feel the Force.

On March 31, coinciding with the physical release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, eight Star Wars films are being released on 4K UHD for the first time: Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, Star Wars: A New Hope, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

FEATURE RUN TIME: Approximately 142 min.

Win It!

One person will win Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker on Blu-ray.

*This is a Rafflecopter giveaway open to residents of the USA.*

I received product for review.  Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services.  Your opinions and results may differ.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

JUDY - Digital Film Code Giveaway

Studio:  Lionsgate
Rating: PG-13 for smoking, substance abuse, thematic content, some strong language
Run Time: 118 minutes
Released on Digital: December 10, 2019

Directed byTony®nominee Rupert Goold (2019, Best Direction of a Play,Ink)and written for the screen by Tom Edge,Judy stars Oscar®winner Renée Zellweger(2003, BestSupporting Actress,Cold Mountain), Jessie Buckley (Beast,WildRose,TV’s“Chernobyl”),Primetime Emmy®nominee Finn Wittrock (2018, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie, “The Assassination of Gianni Versace),PrimetimeEmmy®nominee Rufus Sewell (2019, Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series,“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”), and Golden Globe®nominee Michael Gambon(2003, Best Actor in a Miniseries or aTelevisionMotion Picture, “Path to War”).Sheddinglight on theiconicJudy Garland’s final years, the film features timeless music including performances of classic songs like "Over the Rainbow", "For Once In My Life", and "Come Rain or Come Shine".  

Thirty years after rising to global stardom inThe Wizard of Oz, showbiz legend Judy Garland (RenéeZellweger) arrives in London to perform a five-week sold-out run at The Talk of the Town. While preparing for the shows, Garland battles with management, reminisces with friends and adoring fans, and embarks ona whirlwind romance with soon-to-be fifth husband Mickey Deansall while bravely struggling to overcome intensifying anxiety and physical decline. Featuring some of her best-known songs, the film celebrates the unyielding spirit and matchless talent of "the world's greatest entertainer".  

Win It!

One person will win a digital code for the JUDY film.

*This is a Rafflecopter giveaway open to residents of the USA.*

I received no compensation for this post.  This post is in partnership with PR firm.  Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services.  Your opinions and results may differ.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Using Diamond Art Club to Create My Personal Masterpiece - Review

Early this year, my sister introduced me to diamond painting.  I've been hooked since!  It's a newfound hobby that I find to be peaceful and brings out my creative side.  I've completed one diamond art canvas and my husband built a frame to hang it on my wall.  Since then, I've purchased a small handful of kits.  I'm still working on one (and like it) but a couple others have been a disappointment.  I've quickly learned that not all kits are the same.  

Diamond Art Club sent me a diamond art kit for review and, although I'm not finished yet, it's already exceeded my expectations.  

the partially completed project

For those not yet in the know, diamond painting puts you in the artist’s seat and enables you to create  masterpieces in the comfort of your own home. This meditative craft involves placing hundreds of sparkling resin rhinestones, one-by-one, on an adhesive color-coded canvas to create a vivid, shimmering work of art.  It's somewhat tedious and definitely time-consuming but the end result is worth it.  Once you’re finished, you can frame or mount your masterpiece onto a canvas to showcase your diamond painting in style. Diamond paintings make stunning gifts for family and friends, or to display in your home to brighten up any space.

So, now, back to Diamond Art Club.  I received the Alice in Wonderland 20.5" x 23.2″ (52cm x 59cm) / Round With 45 Colors kit.  To put it in perspective, it's big!  All kits come with everything you need to get started, including the wax, tray, and applicator.  (On a side note, I personally recommend purchasing little baggies or plastic containers to keep the rhinestones contained.)  
rhinestones, wax, tray, and applicator pen included with the kit

At some point I may type up a post with more detail on what diamond art is, and tips and techniques I've learned.  Right now I'm going to focus more on the company of Diamond Art Club and why I recommend purchasing from them.  Like I said, all kits come with what you need.  The art is on premium velvet tarpaulin canvas that’s soft to the touch.  I haven't found that with a kit from any other company.  Cut with 13 and 26 different facets to reflect more light and made with 100% epoxy resin for richer, more jewel-like colors, Diamond Art Club™ diamonds shine bright.

an example of what is included in a diamond art kit

Diamond Art Club offers three different types of diamonds including round diamonds for easy application, square diamonds that fit edge-to-edge for a total mosaic look, and AB diamonds that have an iridescent coating that mimics the glow of the Northern Lights.  My personal favorite are the round diamonds.  Their canvases also feature a transparent adhesive covering, allowing you to see the entire painting at any given time.  I like the transparent covering so much better than the ones that are overlaid in a white covering.  The transparent covering feature alone makes me super happy, not to mention the other things that make Diamond Art Club kits so great.  The company works directly with artists to license and create paintings to suit any taste and decor. You won’t find these original diamond art paintings anywhere else.  Another thing that I really like is that Diamond Art Club offers "oops" accidental insurance.  This means that they will replace your diamonds for free (up to 8 bags) if something were to happen.  Thankfully, I haven't had to use the insurance but I can see why it is needed and think it's a great benefit.  
close-up that shows areas I've completed and ones I haven't

And that's not all!  The company offers a Diamond Insider Rewards program that you can sign up and use for free.  You can earn points for free store credits and gifts.  Not all diamond art kits come with clear, complete instructions but this company makes sure you have just that.  If you have one, or several, diamond art kits that you love, there's a wishlist option to have your favorites all in one spot.  I'm in love with several of the designs so my wishlist is long!  

canvas laid flat with transparent covering

It has taken me forever and a day to work on my diamond art canvas.  My husband built an easel and I have it hung from there.  I usually work on the canvas when I am in the front room chilling or watching TV.  I'm still far from finished but am excited at what the outcome will be and love working on the piece.  

additional sheet that shows what completed picture will look like and coded graph showing which colors correspond with which symbols

I received product for review.  The opinions within this post are of my own and I was not influenced in any way.  Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services.  Your opinions and results may differ.

Power of Prayer Thursdays - Week 203

Photo by Joshua Eckstein on Unsplash

I believe in a God that hears prayers and answers them. I've witnessed the miraculous gift of answered prayer. And, I want to pray for you. I've started weekly Power of Prayer post every Thursday. We are now on week 203. If you are needing prayer in an area of your life, please leave a comment and I'll commit to pray for your need or request. You can be as general or as specific as you like. Whether it be for healing, salvation, finances, emotions, or another area of life, I'd like to lift it up in prayer.

So let's not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don't give up.
–Galatians 6:9