Friday, October 21, 2016

GeoSmart Educational Set - THE Children's Gift This Holiday!

What a terrific thing that I got from Amazon to Review this time. Some of the toys I have been sent were cheaply constructed, hard to put together, didn't have much to hold the child's attention, but this one, YES! I will admit to be about to turn 61 at the end of the month, and I had fun playing with this set and had to drag myself away because I had other things to do. You do need to check this GeoSmart Educational Set. Here is my Amazon Vine Review:


If you are going to buy your child only one big (price wise) gift this year for Christmas, Hanukkah, birthday, etc. this GeoSmart EducationalSet, 100 Pieces should be it! Buy this toy!!! If I could I would give it 10 stars and 5A+++. Someone with a brain or a team with a brain designed it. I opened the set with no kids around (my boys are grown-up) and got myself lost in making things and seeing what this GeoSmart Set could do. I made a mini-version of the Pope-mobile. As a quilter, I was putting together some quilt blocks. You or your child could spend hours making things and rearranging the pieces. I can hardly wait for my cleaning lady to bring her boy over for him to play with the set as I know he will love it.

Of note, just like my other favorite children’s toy, Legos, this set also has more sets that can be purchased with will add on more pieces and more specialized pieces to make all sorts of interesting things, especially space related. With the other sets, you can make a lunar rover, space station, solar spinner, etc. Of course, as anyone knows that the more sets of Legos you have the more things you can make whether the Lego folks thought of it or not. The add on sets to the GeoSmart main set works the same way and we aren’t talking 3-4 piece sets. Some of the add-on sets have 70 more pieces including the specialty pieces for that set.

I was delighted to find that the pieces were much bigger than they looked on the computer. For instance, the wheels for the set are 2 1/2” across, the square pieces are 2 ½” on all sides. The set is for ages 5+ and up, so the bigger pieces will be easier to manipulate for small hands. They seem just the right size for making projects so they don’t get way too big or too tiny to work with. The set is made in nice bright colors and the different colors come in multiples of two, four or six, so whatever you are making you can have a matching color on the opposite side of the first color. The magnets are imbedded in the pieces and don’t feel sharp at all. All pieces seem to be big enough so that younger brothers and sisters can’t swallow the pieces.

This is a great set and I highly recommend it!


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Reading on a Kindle

When the Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook first came out, I couldn't imagine using one to read on. I love to read and love the feel of a solid book in my hands. At one point I finally had a chance to get a Kindle and fell instantly in love. I have had it for 3 or more years at this point and my actual style of Kindle is no longer made. I have a Kindle Keyboard which makes it easy to type into the Kindle if I am looking up an author or a word from the dictionary. Even when reading a 'regular' book now, if I run into a word I don't know the meaning of, I will look it up in my Kindle rather than having to get up and pull a very heavy dictionary off the shelve, look up the word and then put the dictionary back without dropping it of breaking a fingernail. I have found that the Kindle is a blessing to my arthritic hands and if I read all evening my hands aren't screaming at me like they would a regular book, especially paperbacks.

Amazon has come out with another model of a Kindle that is reasonable priced and offers almost all the conveniences that I have wished for in my Kindle (or any book for that matter). The ability to translate a foreign language into English, instead of getting up, finding the right dictionary from our 7-8 English to Foreign Language dictionaries, and looking the words up in that super tiny font that they think all high school and college kids have the ability to read. No longer do you have to jump through several pages to get your word definition as it will display right on the page you are reading. There are other things that make it so much easier to read and understand what you are reading. I still wish they would have an on board atlas for looking up current spots on a map as well as places that no longer exist since World War II. Reading any book before the 1950's, it is especially difficult to figure out where in the world the characters are. I don't know if they are working on this, but I suppose it would be a complicated project because of all the changes over 100's of years of time.

With the holidays coming you may want to consider a Kindle for you child that is meant for children only. It is the regular Kindle only bundled for children, with a 2-year long guarantee period, it has the ability to not allow a child to download 'adult' books, it is thinner and lighter for a child to hold, and it can help a child set reading goals. It comes with a vocabulary builder, dictionary, etc. It doesn't have games or email which means when you child is looking at their Kindle, they are reading! I have always felt that books are one of the best presents for children and so you might want to think about this gift for your child with the holidays coming!

Deciding to buy one now you can save up the money as well as being on the lookout for any sales that Amazon might have on this Kindle. If you have been good all year, you might want to do the same and move up to the newer Kindle as well.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

September is National Sewing Month! Get Ready!

September is National Sewing Month! What will you be making? Will you finish a UFO or just keep on with your regular sewing that you are doing? To help promote National Sewing Month, we are putting ALL our inventory on sale at  10% off for the entire month of AUGUST 2016 in both our Amazon ( and eCRATER stores ( For multi-item purchases (all at one time) there is a discount on shipping costs so don’t be afraid to add a few things to your cart. J
We realized that in our eCRATER store our Christmas items were scattered throughout the store, so we have set them all up within a ‘Christmas Store’ in our eCRATER store to make things easier to find.  Now you can find our Christmas patterns including Santa suits, craft kits and fabric there.  Please visit our Christmas Store ( We still have a lot to list in the Christmas store, especially Christmas fabric panels and Christmas fat quarters, so keep checking back as to what you might find!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Revlon RVST2160 Pro Collection 1" Wide Fast Pass X-Long Plated Flat Iron

Here is my review of this Flat Iron for hair that I received from the Amazon Vine program:


As a girl that grew up during an era when every girl that could manage it had long straight hair, I was the odd one out. I had wavy, unmanageable hair. Fast forward many years and I'm much older, still have wavy hair and as it has been growing out for several years, it is long and wavy and fly away so I was delighted to try out this flat iron for hair. After I got past trying to turn it on. I had to look in the directions to find that you have to hold the on/off button down until it comes on. The control buttons are tiny! It heated up very fast and I then got to try it out. I soon realized that I needed hair clips to hold most of my hair out of the way as you are only supposed to use a 1-inch section of hair at a time in the iron. But I made do with what I had and at least got the top hair in the front straight. So for the first time in my life I saw myself with straight hair! I actually did it before going to bed, and this morning the areas that I had straightened last night were still straight. I did like the fact that you use this iron on hair that has already dried as showering and washing my hair are exhausting for me due to chronic health problems, so doing anything to wet hair is out of the question. This iron did everything that it was supposed to. I'm sure most women using this won't have the physical problems that I do and so will find this a quick and easy way to straighten hair.

Monday, July 4, 2016

I received this book from Amazon to read and review as part of the Amazon Vine program. The Murder That Never Was: A Forensic Instincts Novel by Andrea Kane, published by Bonnie Meadow Publishing, (c) 2016, ISBN 9781682320006, Hard cover with dust jacket, 382 pages. This is the review I wrote:


This was my first book by this author, Andrea Kane. Apparently the book is the fifth in the Forensic Instincts series. On the dust jacket, they give short terms to classify each member of the FI team. It reminded me of the TV show Scorpion and each of those geniuses’ particular skills. The book did give some background on the team and bit about they have done in the past, but not so much that you felt like half the book was taken up with retelling the first book. In some respects, I felt like I was having to juggle too many main characters in my head. Generally, in most detective type books, there is one or at most two people working their way through to a resolution of a crime. In this book, there were 6 people plus a dog on the main team and then add in several boyfriends, girlfriends, wives and brothers and team grows. Two of the women’s names started with the same letter so for about half the book I kept mixing up Casey and Clair in my head. Then add in the clients, three more people. The ‘bad’ guys numbered six named individuals. There were a lot of folks to remember. I think this is why, even though the story itself was interesting, I wasn’t devouring the book at my usual pace.
Much of the team’s actions revolved around one guy, Ryan, and his remarkable computer skills including hacking. Another team member, Claire who could see into the past by holding onto an object of another person and could feel and see them in their distress. There were several scenes of couples having sexual marathons and thank goodness the author didn’t feel the need to describe them in detail, but in my opinion they didn’t add a thing to the story.
Perhaps if I had read the first book in this series, I would have been able to identify with the characters better, but somehow I felt something was missing from the book that I can’t put my finger on. Not saying the book was bad, it did have an interesting story involving athletes working towards the prize of a place on the Olympic team and performance enhancing drugs (PED). Something else that I had to figure out for myself. Unless I missed it, from the beginning of the book they referred to PEDs but it was many chapters later that you understood what those letters stood for. In this case if you aren’t into sports or sports news, this would perhaps go right over your head. For those that have missed being able to ‘boo hiss’ at Russians (in novels) since the USSR dissolved there is even an evil Russian to hate in the story.

This is one of those books that you want to be enthusiastic about. It has a different slant on a topic that would be very newsworthy if the book were true. It lightly touches on what some children go through as part of the foster care programs. There is a competent team of detectives racing time to solve the mystery, yet it just didn't highly impress me and I gave it 4 out of five stars. If you read it, perhaps you could comment on your take on the story or any of the other books in this series.

All the books in this series are available on the Kindle. Don't have one? Today is a great day to buy one. I thought I wouldn't like one and would miss the feel of a book. Believe me, when reading on my Kindle I don't miss the feel of a books in my hands at all as I didn't realize how much of my hand pain was associated with holding  a book open, especially a paperback.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Country Living Chadwick Nightstand, Cherry

This review is for the Country Living Chadwick Nightstand, Cherry  that can be purchased on Amazon ASIN B0116M9Y16. You can get the entire bedroom set as well. This is a review that I did for
First off this nightstand is gorgeous! The wood is beautiful and the color of the wood gives this nightstand a rich warm look.

Secondly, the nightstand came fully assembled. My husband had already told me no more bits of things that need put together. I really read the product page but still wasn’t sure if it was going to come in a box of wood and screws, but I was crossing my fingers that it would be in one piece. Coming fully assembled, it meant it could be put right into place. I am not using it for a nightstand, but as a table to hold my Janome 300e (the latest model being the 400e) embroidery machine as well as the machine’s hoops. The drawer I had been keeping them in also had a large amount of quilting rulers and templates and so things were a bit of a jumble when I needed to pull out a hoop.
It will be so nice to embroider something without having to reach up and aggravate my shoulder arthritis. I’m trying to turn my whole sewing room into a place that is easier to use as this disease eats away at me. I have gotten many things that help, but this piece of furniture is the best looking thing by far. My husband loves it and felt it was well put together. As he works with wood in his business, he was also very impressed with the construction and the wood used in the nightstand.

Please note that that in the attached photos, the ones with the drawers open show the color of the nightstand best. It has one top drawer and one bottom drawer, although it looks like two drawers, the bottom drawer looks like it can hold a lot depending on what you are using it for. I would have no problem using this piece anywhere in the house. It does come with levelers if needed as well as care instructions. You do not need to use furniture polish and its use is discouraged.
My sewing room is slowly starting to get sorted out and I have a stack of projects waiting in the wings, especially some embroidery projects. Janome has been coming out with some spiffy new machines lately. I've downloaded the manuals to read, and they sound wonderful, but they are not in the budget of someone that lives mostly off a SS check! Also another one called the Janome Memory Craft 9400 is coming out in a few days, that is strictly a sewing machine with 9mm wide stitches, and about 100 more stitches than my 7700. This is dreamland for me.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Review of DII Zig Zag Weave Kitchen Dishtowels

I was given the opportunity to review these towels for Amazon. DII 100% Cotton, Basic Everyday, Machine Washable, Monogrammable, 16 x 28" Zig Zag Weave Kitchen Dishtowel, Set of 4- Neon Lime. Here is my review and what I did with one of them and what I plan for the rest.

There are three things that I check for when buying towels of any kind. How well made they are, including how thick or thin. Towels that are too thick can take a really long time (thus money) to dry in the dryer and if you line dry your laundry, they can take a lot longer than other things and end up scratchier and stiffer than your other towels. So on this item, these towels were exactly right. Not too thick or thin, and as they would generally be used for dish towels, they have enough 'oomph' to dry more than one or two dishes before getting saturated. In regards to washing and drying them, the tag states that they are 100% cotton, made in Pakistan, wash in cold water and tumble dry low, low iron. Does anyone really iron their dish towels? By their very nature and what use they are put to, I don't ever wash towels on cold water. I wash them in hot or at the minimum warm water as I want at least a bit of a chance of killing off any germs they may have picked up. They also get the hottest drying of anything else in our laundry. So I do need to report that if you wash towels like I do, you can expect them to shrink up lengthwise about an inch and half. I saw no measureable difference in widths between the washed towel and the unwashed one. See photo. The top towel was the one that went through the wash and the bottom towel was still brand new. A piece of white paper was inserted between the two to highlight the difference.

The second thing I look at, actually probably the first as that is what catches my eye, and that is color. Believe me, I would never ever pick lime green towels to come into my house but that doesn't mean I didn't find a use for them! So far I have turned one into a burp rag for a baby. The rest will follow made up as the first.

The third thing I am concerned about is whether or not I can hoop the towel and do machine embroidery on it. If a towel is too thick the hoop pops open in the midst of the embroidery which pretty much spoils the design. These towels were great for embroidery as the pictures show. I make Project Linus quilts and the ones that I am currently working on are blue and green frog based. So for the mostly blue based frog quilt (boy) I made a burp rag with a frog design on one end and a saying "Burp Baby Burp!" on the other. The frog design is from Embroidery Library #C7977, my most favorite site for getting machine embroidery designs. Don't forget that when embroidering on terry cloth, to use a wash away stabilizer on top of the towel to keep the terry loops from getting in the way. I'm not sure what happen to the close up photo of the words as I'm just getting used to the camera and downloading photos.

These towels I would give 5 stars and wish I could have gotten them in colors I would use in my house, but instead they will eventually be part of a charitable gift, so the color was actually the perfect one to receive.  I hope this gives you some ideas if you end up with some weird colored towels that you don't know what to do with, make them into fashionable Burp Towels for baby.