Friday, February 15, 2013

(Product Review) Bazzill Basics Vibrant Blue A7 Envelopes

Bazzill Basics Vibrant Blue A7 Envelopes Review

Product unavailable

Reviewed by kelly60 on 2013-02-14

Product Rating: 5

Community Rating: Very Helpful

Pros: Pretty color, nice size, easy to seal

Cons: None

Summary: These vibrant blue envelopes work well for store bought greeting cards, handmade greeting cards, or a variety of other purposes.

When purchasing store bought greeting cards, you can generally expect to get envelopes with your purchase. Sometimes though, I have accidentally ruined an envelope, and more often I need additional envelopes for hand made greeting cards. I found the Bazzill Basics Envelopes in a variety of colors for around $5 for a package of 50 envelopes.

This review features the Bazzill Basics Vibrant Blue A7 Envelope, which is a bright blue envelope that is well suited for a 5x7 inch greeting card. These work well for birthdays, Christmas, Easter, baby showers, Valentines Day, Birthdays, or any other holiday. Since I make many of my own greeting cards, these work well for my needs.

These envelopes are brightly colored, and thick enough to keep greeting card designs from showing through. The paper is textured, with a wet and stick flap which sticks well. It is easy to write on using a pencil, ink pen, or sharpie marker. If using markers, I would suggest writing on the envelope before adding the card though, as sharpie markers do tend to soak through some surfaces. This hasn't been a problem for me though, especially with the fine tip sharpies.

It is easy to add any 5x7 inch holiday card to these envelopes, and I have also enclosed family photos along with some of my cards. They fit well and are easy to send through the mail.

This is just one of the colors offered by this company, but it is one that I found particularly appealing. I would recommend these envelopes for anyone who needs replacement envelopes for there holiday cards or extra envelopes for handmade greeting cards or for any other purpose.

Originally published on Epinions.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

(Product Review) Apex Pill Splitter

Apex Pill Splitter Review

Apex Pill Splitter (colors may vary) (AP70028)

Product Rating: 4

Community Rating: Very Helpful

Pros: Made in USA, small, inexpensive, easy to use

Cons: None

Summary: This product is easy to use, and works well. I recommend this to anyone who needs to split medication doses for personal or veterinary uses.

I take several medications and supplements, and on occasion I have needed to split pills in order to take a smaller dosage of one pill or another. I have cut them in half with a knife or razor blade for years, but decided to pick up a pill splitter in an effort to simplify things.

The Apex Pill Splitter is available in a variety of colors. I ordered mine for around $5 each. When ordering online you get a random color rather than a choice, however I was happy with the blue one I got.

This item is made in the USA, and feels fairly sturdy. It is made of plastic with a steel blade for cutting the pills. To use it, simply lift the hinged top, slide your pill into the notched v-shaped slot, then gently close the cover. As long as your pill is lined up correctly, it should cut fairly evenly. The only time I had problems with this is when I got in a hurry and didn't have the pill lined up straight in the slot.

I have seen comments by others stating that they ended up with lots of crumbs or uneven cuts. I haven't had a problem with this when using it correctly. Yes, you do need to make sure the pill is straight or you obviously won't get a straight cut. Also, if you slam the lid shut rather than closing it slowly, your medications might crumble somewhat rather than a nice smooth cut. Aside from that, it seems to work rather well.

Another nice feature of this pill splitter is that it has two little compartments in it where you can store your split pills. If cutting a couple of types of pills, just drop one into each compartment. You can even store them in the compartments if desired, or pour them out into your pill bottle or pill box.

You can use this on both coated and uncoated pills up to a half inch in diameter. I have used it for larger pills as well as smaller ones, and for both round and oval pills. It worked well for my medications as well as for pills for my pets.

I recommend this product to anyone who needs an easy and convenient tool for splitting pills.

Originally published on Epinions.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

(Product Review) Amscan Pirate Eye Patches

Amscan Pirate Eye Patches Review

Amscan Pirate Eye Patches (12 count)

Reviewed by kelly60 on 2013-02-08

Product Rating: 2

Community Rating: Very Helpful

Pros: Inexpensive pirate themed item for loot bags

Cons: Cheaply made, falls apart easily, won't last through even a short party

Summary: If you are looking for something very cheap to tuck into loot bags, these are better than nothing, but don't expect them to last through the entire party...

I enjoy throwing themed parties and one of the themes I have used in the past was a pirate themed birthday party. I purchased a variety of pirate themed items including gold coins, pirate tattoos and stickers, Amscan Pirate Eye Patches and other pirate loot items.

This 12 count package of pirate eye patches is one of those instances where you get what you pay for, and you really shouldn't expect much when you pay around a dollar for a dozen eye patches. Still, I had hoped that they would at least hold up well enough that the kids could at least use them at the party. Unfortunately, out of a dozen eye patches, there was only one left intact at the end of the party.

These eye patches are made of black plastic with a skull and cross-bones image and elastic cord attached. The pirate themed patches looked as if they would suit my purposes, but the elastic cord was so fragile that it broke on nearly every patch within a few minutes.

Luckily, I had some elastic thread on hand and was able to put a few of them back together well enough that the kids could wear them, but even so, I was disappointed in how quickly they fell apart and the fact that I had to fix them so quickly.

I would only use these as a last resort, and suggest paying a bit more for a higher quality product, preferably one that was made in the USA. I didn't expect these to last long, but it would have been nice if they could have at least lasted through the party.

These are not intended for younger children, and could present a choking hazard for children under three years old.

Originally published on Epinions.

Friday, February 8, 2013

(Product Review) TeleBrands Original Chef Basket Deluxe (As Seen On TV)

TeleBrands Original Chef Basket Deluxe (As Seen On TV) Review

TeleBrands Original Chef Basket, Deluxe - 4615

Reviewed by kelly60 on 2013-02-07

Product Rating: 2

Community Rating: Very Helpful

Pros: Folds somewhat flat, works for some foods, I only paid a dollar for mine.

Cons: Made in China, poor construction, sharp edges, difficult to clean

Summary: It was probably worth the dollar I paid for it, but I'm glad I found it at the dollar store instead of paying full price.

If you have ever watched the infomercial for the TeleBrands Original Chef Basket Deluxe, you may have thought to yourself how useful this gadget might be, but like so many of these products from the infomercials, this product is more little more than hype.

The Chef Basket claims that this product has a "12-In-1" design and can be used "on the stove top for cooking, boiling, deep frying, steaming, poaching, blanching or par-boiling, and as a colander for rinsing, washing, draining, straining, storing." Yes, this sounds like a pretty versatile gadget. Unfortunately, I did not find this basket to be very useful.

The first thing I noticed when removing it from the box was the poor construction. This basket is made of steel wire that isn't put together very well. There were some parts where the seams were not attached well, leaving openings, and sharp points to the woven basket. In addition to small pieces of food slipping through some of the openings, this also makes hand washing nearly impossible. Even though they tell you that this is dishwasher safe, I wasn't happy with how well it cleaned up in my dishwasher either.

So, how useful is this gadget? It certainly would not replace my colander because it just isn't large enough to get the job done, and is much harder to clean. The same is true for most cooking tasks I tried. I can use it to wash a few veggies, then insert it into the pan of boiling water, but can't cook a large enough batch of most things to feed my family. I used it for french fries, steamed veggies, pasta, and boiled eggs, but couldn't only make small quantities of any of these things. It could cook a box of macaroni & cheese except that stirring was difficult and some of the noodles fell through or got stuck in the holes. I could make around 8 hard boiled eggs, or a few smaller boiled potatoes. It may be large enough for a single person, or maybe even a couple, but the size was too small for most purposes I would normally use it for.

When expanded, the basket measures about 5 inches deep by around 9 inches in diameter. Since the handles must extend horizontally outside the cookware but not near the flame, you have to be careful of the pan size you use it with or the handles to heat up. There is a warning about proper positioning of handles, but doesn't tell you that you have to use a specific sized pan to keep them from burning your hands. Even when used according to the directions, they still heat up to some extent, but you will probably at least be able to handle them if you are careful.

They also claim that it folds flat for easy storage. Even though it does collapse to take up less space, it does not fold completely flat like the commercial shows. It looks good in the box, but once removed would not fold up as small again. Still, it doesn't take a lot of space, so I could live with this if the product worked as well as described.

The box also offers the "Amazing Chef Knife" that never needs sharpening for free, but instead of including this bonus knife in the box, there is a certificate for the knife which will cost you around $6 shipping and handling... not exactly free in my opinion.

Overall, I'm glad I didn't pay full price for this kitchen gadget. I found mine at a dollar store, so for the price of a dollar, I got to try it out. I'm not sure what the online price was for this basket, but I do recall seeing a buy one get the second one for an extra shipping and handling charge. Whatever the price, it was too much.

Originally published on Epinions.

Friday, February 1, 2013

(Product Review) Office Snax Starlight Peppermints

Office Snax Starlight Peppermints Review

Reviewed by kelly60 on 2013-01-31

Product Rating: 4

Community Rating: Very Helpful

Pros: Sweet, nostalgic, convenient, low in calories

Cons: No nutritional value.

Summary: Handy and flavorful hard candies come individually wrapped for added freshness and convenience.

I have been enjoying Starlight Mints ever since I was a child. Although these mints come in different flavors and colors, the Starlight Peppermints are the ones I have enjoyed the most over the years. Some of the other varieties available include wintergreen, spearmint, cinnamon, and fruit flavors.

This 2 pound tub of Office Snax Starlight Peppermints gives me enough of these minty hard candies to last for quite a while. I use this disposable plastic container to fill one of the candy dishes in my home, and leave the remainder of the container in the kitchen where we can simply reach in and grab a quick snack if desired. I prefer to purchase these in the tub, however they are also available in plastic bags as well.

These classic red and white hard candy discs are great for those times when I need just a bit of something sweet, without filling myself up. They are great as a breath mint, an after dinner mint, or for anytime I need just a little something sweet.

These candies are individually wrapped so they are also convenient to take along with me wherever I go. I often carry a couple of these mints in my coat pocket, and sometimes in my car for those times when I need a breath refresher or something to cure a dry mouth when there is nothing handy to drink. Individual wrappings also help to retain the freshness of these candies.

Another nice thing about these nostalgic candies is that there are 3 pieces per serving, and this only contains 20 calories. This means that snacking on one or two of these from time to time won't add a lot of pounds to your waistline. This is great for those of us who could stand to lose a little weight. Of course, if you are looking for nutritional content, you won't find it here. Since these are mainly made of sugar, you aren't going to find a lot of nutrition here. Still, when I can pop a sweet treat into my mouth without wrecking my diet, they can't be all bad.

Originally published on Epinions.

(Product Review) Mod Podge Satin Finish Decoupage Glue

Mod Podge Satin Finish Decoupage Glue Review

Mod Podge Satin Finish 8 Oz.

Reviewed by kelly60 on 2013-01-31

Product Rating: 4

Community Rating: Very Helpful

Pros: Glues, seals, protects, non-toxic, dries clear, easy cleanup, versatile product works on most surfaces.

Cons: None

Summary: Great for gluing, sealing and protecting. This versatile product is non-toxic, easy to clean up, and can be used on many surfaces.

As I have mentioned in previous reviews, I have always enjoyed crafting. I loved it as a child, and throughout the years have enjoyed creating various projects with my children, and more recently my grandchildren.

I keep a good variety of craft supplies on hand, and try to always be prepared for whatever craft project we decide to make. One of the items we used recently was Mod Podge Satin Finish. I like the satin finish for some projects, although there are also other finishes available such as a glossy finish if you wish to give your project a bit more shine or a matte finish if you want to eliminate the shine.

The kids enjoyed helping make handmade Christmas ornaments by decorating styrofoam balls. One type of ornaments was made by attaching various materials onto the balls using Mod Podge. They enjoyed making them, and they looked beautiful on our Christmas tree.

Mod Podge comes in an 8 ounce bottle. It looks similar to Elmer's glue, but not only works well for gluing things together but also acts as a sealant for the finished product. You can dip a paintbrush directly into the bottle of Mod Podge, or you can do as we did and pour a little into small paper cups so everyone can have their own small container. This works much better when working with young children because even though you may have a few small spills, it won't be as bad as if the entire bottle were spilled.

I like to put down newspaper to catch the worst of the mess when making this type of project. Then, I put a variety of styrofoam balls on the table and let each child choose which size and shape they want to work with. We started out by poking a small hole in the ball and adding a hanger made of their choice of a pipe cleaner or a yarn loop. They also got to choose from assorted holiday napkins, and wrapping paper. They can basically design their balls any way they like by either cutting or tearing designs from the gift wrap or napkins, then gluing it to the balls. The Mod Podge dries clear and once painted a light sprinkling of glitter works well to add a bit of sparkle to the ornament. These make beautiful handmade ornaments once the Mod Podge dries completely.

There are many ways to vary this project, but I think you get the idea. This is a great group project for children or adults because the Mod Podge is easy to work with and there really is no wrong or right way to make these ornaments. They were all different, and they all looked beautiful.

In addition to our Christmas ornaments though, there are many other uses for Mod Podge Decoupage Glue. This 40 year old product still works great for most any decoupage project, and can be used on a variety of surfaces including wood, paper, foam, fabric, candles and more. We have used it on flower pots, plaques, jewelry, picture frames, wreaths, and many other projects. Because it dries clear in around 15-20 minutes, it can be used to glue things together or as a top coat or sealer. You can even use this in multiple layers to apply texture or added dimension to your project. This is non-toxic, so I don't have to worry about the kids using it, and it cleans up with soap and water, so I don't worry much about spills and messes. Just be sure to clean up spills while they are still wet because once it dries, you won't be able to remove it.

I have been using Mod Podge for around 30 years, and find it a very useful to be something no crafter should be without. 

Originally published on Epinions.

(Product Review) Mod Podge Gloss Lustre

Mod Podge Gloss Lustre Review

Mod Podge Gloss Lustre 16 Oz.

Reviewed by kelly60 on 2013-01-31

Product Rating: 4

Community Rating: Very Helpful

Pros: Glues, seals, protects, non-toxic, dries clear, easy cleanup, versatile product works on most surfaces.

Cons: None

Summary: Great for gluing, sealing and protecting. This versatile product is non-toxic, easy to clean up, and can be used on many surfaces.

I have loved crafting since I was a child and have always enjoyed working on a variety of crafts with my children and grandchildren. It is important to me to keep an assortment of craft supplies handy so we have everything we need for whatever craft project we decide to do next.

In a recent review, I discussed Mod Podge Satin Finish Decoupage Glue and some of the uses. Mod Podge is available in several types ranging from a matte finish to the Gloss Lustre Mod Podge discussed here so you can choose the variety according to how much shine you want on your finished project. I have used several different varieties of this product for various purposes. My most recent project using this particular variety was making wall hangings with the kids.

The Gloss Lustre has a high gloss finish and is well suited to projects where we want a lot of shine. Unlike the Christmas ornaments I discussed in my previous review, the projects made with this type of Mod Podge won't need any glitter to help them shine.

I have used this on a variety of crafting and home decor projects including hand painted planters, wall plaques, picture frames, keepsake and jewelry items, and more.

For this project we started out with a variety of wooden and plaster bases and created some beautiful wall hangings. Some of the children drew pictures on their bases, while others cut or tore pictures from magazines and newspapers, then glued them to the bases by painting a coating of Mod Podge onto the surface, placing the picture on the base, then painting more of the Mod Podge over the pictures to seal the project and add a nice luster to the project.

I made a few different ones, mostly either cutting or tearing the pictures as the children had done, but added a special touch of my own when I made them without the kids around. For a unique look, I took a few of the pictures and added a burnt edge, although I didn't want to do this with the little ones watching. Just be careful if you try this so you don't catch your picture (or anything else) on fire. I prefer working over the sink for this part.

The Mod Podge works well to coat and seal most porous surfaces such as wood, paper, fabric, plaster and more. You can use it as a glue, sealant and protectant on a large variety of craft projects.

You can dip your paint brush or sponge brush directly into the bottle if desired, or when working with children or groups it works well to pour a little into paper cups so everyone can have their own container to work with. This is the best way to work with children because any spills will be minimized when each child has just a little at time.

Just paint a layer of Mod Podge onto the surface, position any pictures onto the surface, then paint one or more additional layers over the entire plaque to coat, seal and protect your wall hanging. You might want to help younger children to get their pictures aligned properly because it isn't always easy to rearrange the pictures once they are placed.

A single layer of Mod Podge should work well to coat your project, however since this product dries in approximately 15-20 minutes, it is easy to add additional layers if desired. Additional layers can be used to add more shine, to add texture, or to fix any irregularities in your surface. Just be careful not to coat it too thickly unless you want your surface to be slightly bumpy and irregular. This is fine for some projects but not for everything.

Mod Podge is great for kids because it is non-toxic and cleans up easily with soap and water. Just be sure to clean it up before it dries because you won't be able to remove it once it dries completely.

I have been using various Mod Podge products for around 30 years, and find these products to be something no crafter should be without.

Originally published on Epinions.