Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Exotic Nejiri Kama

Nejiri Kama, Japanese Sickle

By Olivia
Nejiri Kama, Japanese Sickle

It doesn't look too sharp, but it is one of the sharpest blades for the garden that you will ever need.

I have garden tools that I use and use and use and use.......and this is one of them that is High on my list of must have garden tools. The Nejiri Kama not only sounds exotic, it is exotic. Coming from the master gardeners in Japan, it and my Hori Hori blade are by far the best tools any gardener could ask for.

Right now I'm going to tell you why I love the Nejiri Kama too! This tool is multi purpose to the extreme. You have to be careful with it, because the blade is sharp. This tool makes weeding a breeze, but it can also be used to dig furrows in the garden and uproot young weeds before they become a mangled mess of roots. The blade is not as large as a regular sickle that farmers would have used, but it is just as impressive when it is used to wipe out an area that has become overgrown, or just needs major tidying up.

The blade drawn against the top layer of soil will cut off anything growing that shouldn't be and because the blade is only about 5 inches long, there is no danger of removing a limb. That gives the gardener in question a more focused swath when weeding. Care still needs to be used whenever sharp tools are being handled, and this one is no exception to that rule.

The other part I love about this tool, is that using the tip, you can weed quite nicely around bedded plants without disturbing their root structure. The sickle being fashioned from one piece of metal will not break at the bend and with a little care, can be sharpened as you would any other tool in your arsenal of gardening weapons. The wooden handle is comfortable in your grip, and even with arthritic hands, holding this tool will not cause strain or pain in your joints.

The description here speaks about weeding raised beds, and I agree that it is great for that, but I would also say that you can use it in a regular garden bed too! It will require that you bend a little, but that can be good exercise too! Give this tool a try, and I'm sure that it will soon become one of your favorite tools too!
tomita japanese gardening tool
Another wonderful tool for the garden.

The Tomita is also handy.
This tool is on my "to buy" list. With the good things that have happened with my other Japanese inspired gardening tools, I'm sure that this one will be a hit as well.
This is my Hori, Hori and I love it!
My absolute favorite tool ever! Might I suggest you splurge and get one for yourself!
You already know that I love this tool. It is so useful when planting, preparing soil mixes, and all other little jobs in the garden.

Spear & Jackson P818 Traditional English Style Stainless Steel Dibber

This old fashioned tool has probably been around for centuries, but it is another favorite of mine.

I love the way this tool is able to do many things, from weeding to aerating the ground around your plants to top dressing your garden.....all with one tool.....

You can read more about Grammie Olivia's Gardening at her website:

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Review Of 11/22/63 by Stephen King

Reviewing An Historical Fantasy Book

You might think that it is a little on the odd side to do a book review of a book that was published almost 4 years ago, but hang in there with me because it might make some sense as to why I chose this book by Stephen King to tell you about today. It was the very first book by Stephen King that I have ever read and even though it was almost four years ago, the story has stayed with me.

Not All Books By Stephen King Are In The Horror Genre

I know how very popular the author Stephen King is with people all over the world, I now know why after having read one of his books that would fall into the historical fantasy genre instead of the horror genre that he is so well known for. Honestly, I had avoided reading any of his work because I am not a big fan of scary books. So, when I saw that he was releasing this novel in November of 2011, I decided that I would really be interested in it. After all, I remember quite vividly that day in history when our beloved President was shot in Dallas, Texas.

King Had Me On The First Page

nook reader turned off
As soon as the book was available to the public, I downloaded it to my Nook. Before I was finished with the first page, I was captivated by the very way Stephen King puts words together to tell a story. I remarked to my husband that just in the first page, I was impressed with King as a storyteller. If you have not read anything by him, you should! He is that freaking awesome! I'll probably never be brave enough to read on of his actual horror stories because he will scare the bee-geezus out of me!

What is the book about?

One might think that it would be an account of the assassination of JFK and you would be partially correct. It is so much more than that! Stephen King does chronicle the weeks of the events leading up to that fateful day in our history but not in a way that you might presume. He begins the story with a High School English teacher who supplements his income teaching GED classes for adults. King then takes us on a journey of time travel like you wouldn't fathom in your wildest dreams. All the while, adding pieces of historical facts and assumptions that pull everything together. I'm not going to go much further than that because you can read a synopsis of the book just about anywhere. 

Instead, I'm going to tell you just how much I enjoyed reading it, all 880 pages of it! Stephen King has a penchant for writing tomes (lots of pages) but he is so good at his craft that you don't mind that the books are so long because of the way he tells his story with such detail. I found that I couldn't put the book down and then was sad when I read the last page.

Granted, I love to read fantasy books and I've always enjoyed historical fiction but 11/22/63 is one of the very best books that I have ever read in my almost 60 years of reading books.

nook reader turned on
The wonderful thing about waiting until a few years after a book has been published is that it is now available in so many different formats. It can be downloaded on your e-reader of choice, it can be purchased as a hardcover or paperback and more times than not, it is much cheaper now than when it was hot off of the press.

If you have never read Mr. King for the same reasons that I had avoided him, I do believe that you will really enjoy 11/22/63. Just like the old saying goes, "Don't judge a book by it's cover" well, sometimes we shouldn't judge an author by his most famous genre. If I had not taken a chance on this book, I would have never known what a tremendous storyteller Stephen King is. I, also, am thrilled to find out that there are other books of his that I can read that are not tales of horror. I plan to tell you about those in the future. 

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Rescued by a Brix Jar Key: A Review

Jar Key in Action

My Problem

I am 72 and have arthritis in my hands. I shop at Costco a lot and often buy large jars with vacuum lids. Large jars that are four inches in diameter are almost impossible to open. I have tried numerous other kinds of jar openers. I had one I thought was very good, but it broke when I tried to open my large jar of artichokes. I purchased Jar Key (also known as JarPop!) because I had jars I simply could not open. The photo shows my husband using it.

All of the openers I had tried before had handles with a gripper of some sort on the end. One would have to try to get the gripper around the jar lid and then tighten the handles (or handle) with one hand while holding the jar steady with the other. Usually either the gripper would not go all the way around or, if it did, my hand couldn't hold the jar firmly in place because of its size. My hand wouldn't go all the way around it. My husband couldn't open the jars, either. These gripper gadgets will work only when a jar and its lid is small or if the lid is threaded. They don't work on large vacuum sealed jars.

So, there I was with a few large jars I couldn't open. I wanted to get at the artichokes or spaghetti sauce. What to do?

The Simple Solution

Jar opened easily with Jar Key
I checked Amazon in search of a jar opening gadget that was not in my local stores. I found the Jar Key. I ordered it and another tool that looked promising -- just in case. So far I've not had to use the other tool. I removed my Jar Key from its packaging, and got out my artichoke jar. I put the Jar Key edge under the edge of the jar lid and lifted it up, as my husband demonstrated above. It works like a "church key" in that respect. As soon as I lifted, it "popped" the vacuum of the lid and the lid easily came off. It truly was like magic. I'm going to buy another one for another location soon. I don't ever want to be without this handy tool again. If you don't have one yet, it's time to get one -- especially if you have a tough time opening these jars. While you're at it, get the four-pack. The tab that goes under the lid broke after a few years of use, so it's good to have a replacement handy.

Photos of Jar Key in use were taken by me and may not be used without permission.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Monday, April 27, 2015

Recipe Review - Drunken Mussels

Do you love seafood but find it intimidating to cook shellfish at home? Do you love mussels and wish you knew what to do with them? Chef John gives us an easy and delicious Drunken Mussel recipe. So easy that even I was able to make at home successfully.

Mussel FAQs for Beginners

What in the world are Mussels?
Mussels are "bivalve mollusks" with an elongated shell. In other words, a sort of clam but with a long shell instead of a round shell. 

Where do they come from?
They are found in freshwater lakes and streams as well as saltwater and intertidal areas. 

They are pretty ugly, why would you eat a mussel?
Mussles are also considered a healthy food because they are low in fat, high in lean protein, and contain a variety of nutrients. These nutrients include Vitamin B12, Vitamin C, iron, and Omega-3 fatty acids.  Besides that, they are pretty tasty.

How would I cook a mussel?
They can be prepared in a wide variety of ways: baked, fried, smoked, broiled, and steamed. 

I love mussels, especially steamed in wine sauce. But I have never been brave enough to make my own.  I have had friends over the years who have made them as I watched, but I was still intimated and hadn't tried on my own.

When I found Chef John and his Food Wishes site, I knew that I had to try making mussels at home.  You see, not only was his Drunken Mussel recipe easy with few ingredients, he included a step-by-step video that was easy enough for me to follow.

My Mussels Now and in the Future

I successfully filled my favorite stock pot with Chef John's steamed mussels in lemon, garlic, and wine sauce - his Drunken Mussels. That first attempt was so easy and tasty that I made the next batch with my own additions:
Old Bay Seasoning

  • 1 lb. browned sage sausage
  • I replaced the red pepper flakes with a generous sprinkle of Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 lb. of jumbo shrimp

I was thrilled to find that mussels are extremely easy to make at home. As long as you make sure the shells are scrubbed with a small, stiff brush, remove any "beards" that may be hanging from the shell, and don't wander away from the kitchen while they are steaming, delicious drunken mussels are very easy to make. If you like mussels but haven't made them at home, I hope you give this recipe a try. I think you will find it to be as delicious as I did. 

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Reviewing Custom Magnets and Buttons

Zazzle is a great way to make customized buttons and magnets.  There are so many fun ways to use these magnets and it is fairly inexpensive to create your own.


A Fun Memento from a Trip

It is always fun to have a small memento from a trip, but sometimes the items in the gift shops can be really costly.  With Zazzle you can create your own personalized souvenir using your photographs and a bit of creativity on Zazzle.  I created the button below by importing my photo into Zazzle and then adding some text on the design.  The photo is of a lighthouse in Michigan.  We found it at the end of a penisula near Traverse City. 
Old Mission Point Lighthouse Button
Old Mission Point Lighthouse Button by lighthouseenthusiast
Browse more Old mission point lighthouse Buttons at Zazzle

Recipe Magnets

Do you have a favorite recipe that you still need to look at the instructions?  Create a recipe magnet and use it to stick the recipe on your refrigerator for easy access when cooking or baking.  I have several of these recipe magnets and they sure are handy.  No more worries about getting the paper recipe spotted with food stains and the recipe is always at eye level.  Here is one I created for a favorite microwave applecrisp.

Celebrating a Special Event

Buttons and Magnets are great way to celebrate special events. I have used them for conventions at church by putting the theme of the convention on a button. They also work great for birthdays, anniversaries, themed parties and other milestones. Here is a button I made for my granddaughters birthday. It can be customized by changing the name or age.


Magnets come in either a round or square shape.  You can order them in 5 different sizes ranging from 1.25 inches to 3 inches.  The are printed on 100% recyled paper and are covered with a scratch and UV resistant Mylar.  One really nice feature is that there is no minimum order, so if you want just one for yourself you are in luck.  There are discounts for larger orders too.


Buttons also come in both a round and square shape and are printed on 100% recycled paper and are covered with a scratch and UV resistant  Mylar.  The buttons come in 5 sizes from 1.25 inches all the way up to a huge 6 inch button.  There is no minimum order for buttons and there is a discount on orders of 10 or more buttons.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Review: How to Get Rid of Annoying Crawling Insects Like Ants without Poisons

Ant Attack!

Is there any worse way to start the day that walking into a kitchen that's been invaded by ants? I realize a medical emergency or a house on fire could be worse, but it's still a real downer to go into the kitchen to fix breakfast and find the counter full of ants.

An Easy Way to Get Rid of Annoying Crawling Insects Like Ants without Poisons

That’s what happened to me again this morning. I had them pretty well cleared out and hadn't been bothered for about two weeks, but today they had found another way in I did not have guarded. Fortunately, this time I knew what to do. I was prepared. The ants you see above I was trying to kill with poison -- store-bought and a homemade version of the same thing. That was back in September of last year.

About three months ago, after invasion after invasion, I had purchased two five-pound bags of Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth. I had tried making my own ant poison using Borax from recipes I found online. The ants loved it. They loved it so much they told all their buddies about it and I had more ants than ever. I guess there were so many ants in their hills that they didn't all die off when it was brought back. I read that the liquid bait wasn't as effective at killing the whole colony, so I mixed the recipe for dry poison. It might have worked had the ants been attracted to it, but they totally ignored it.

What Did Work

It was in desperation that I tried food grade Diatomaceous Earth (DE). I used one of those little cups that had formerly held a small size yogurt to sprinkle the DE where needed. I put it where I saw the ants entering and I made borders around the areas where they were as best I could. I lined the edges of the kitchen sinks with it. Then I went away. Within 24 hours, most ants were gone or dead. I'm not sure what happened to the bodies of most of them. As more ants tried to come, they were stopped at the entrance places. Within a few days they had stopped coming. I hadn't had them for about three weeks when I went to bed last night.

An Easy Way to Get Rid of Annoying Crawling Insects Like Ants without Poisons
How I apply DE,  © B. Radisavljevic

This morning they decided to come up from the bottom instead of where I had them blocked at the windows. The counter was covered with them and the sink was full. I had been too tired to empty the dishwasher last night and the dirty dishes had been left on the counter and in the sink. I moved all dishes into the sink and spread my magic powder on the floor where the ants were coming in and put a border back on the counter and around the sink. I now apply the DE with an art paintbrush – a medium width one. It's large enough to spread my borders and also to brush ants that are outside the borders back inside them. Professional dusters are available, and might do a better job of spreading, but I decided to do the best I could with what I had on hand.

If an ant walks on the DE, it will die. It will puncture their stomachs and they will lose their body fluids. However, the food grade DE is so safe that humans can eat it and it won't hurt them. In fact some people use it to treat constipation instead of using a laxative.

In the reviews on Amazon, people have reported great results using DE on bedbugs and fleas. Since it is non-toxic, it won't hurt pets or children. It will work with any crawling or flying insect. But it has to be dry to work. If it gets wet it is no longer effective, so it doesn't do much good for snails, slugs, or other bugs outdoors where you water. I don't dust any outdoor plants where a bee or butterfly might land, though I might try it on my chard that has no flowers.
I hate using any kind of poison in the kitchen or anywhere else in the house unless there is no other solution. DE won't be carried back to kill off a colony, but the ants in your house won't be returning to their colony to show their pals the way to your kitchen, either. They die quickly and don't go anywhere.

An Easy Way to Get Rid of Annoying Crawling Insects Like Ants without Poisons
Ants Killed by DE, © B. Radisavljevic

The picture above was taken in an invaded bathroom, I had left a measuring cup that had been full of homemade liquid ant bait with a Borax base. It finally dried up. The ants had loved it. A few days ago the ants found a way through my DE barrier and headed right for the cup, even though the bait had dried up long ago. So I sprinkled DE into the cup. You can see the result in the dead ants at the surface. It was the DE that killed them. Had it been the poison they would have taken it home.

There is a downside, but I can live with it. You have to keep the DE on your counters and floors until the infestation is gone. It doesn’t look nice, but it won't hurt you. Only food grade DE, not the stuff used for swimming pools, is harmless to pets and humans. So be sure to get food grade.

I have focused on ants here because I don't have pets, so no fleas. I don't have bedbugs, either, thank goodness. Ants are my biggest problem. But if you have fleas in your house or bedbugs, you might want to try it to get rid of them, too. To get your supply, just click below. I had a tough time finding food grade locally. Why not get yours today so it's on hand the minute an invasion begins. 

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Monday, April 20, 2015

Review - The Most Comfortable Women's Shoes

Dr Scholls Jennie Fashion Sneaker
Are you tired of uncomfortable shoes? Or shoes that are comfortable but ugly? Would you often rather be barefoot because shoes are hot, tight, or they pinch? In my opinion, Dr. Scholl's Jennie fashion sneakers are the most comfortable shoes ever made.

Why I Love My Jennie Fashion Sneakers.

I just can't stop recommending these shoes to friends and family.  I love my Jennie shoes and wish I had a pair of each color. I will try to summarize why these are my favorite shoes:

  • the "Free Step minimalist construction" is lightweight and comfortable. I feel almost as though I'm barefoot.
  • "Energy Wave" insole provides a surprising amount of comfort and padding
  • There is enough give and take in these shoes that they fit my feet - despite my feet being two different sizes (one foot is larger than the other by about a 1/2 size).
  • The ADORABLE barefoot-like design in the tread
  • while they come complete with laces, I wear mine easily as slip-ons due to the elasticized top. 
  • Breathable. I wear mine with or without socks and my feet are comfortable either way.
  • Durable. I had expected these lightweight and flexible little shoes to wear out immediately. They did not. They lasted through almost daily wearing for a long period of time. In fact, had the puppy not chewed them I would still wear that original pair today.
  • Didn't have to break them in. I purchased my shoes at a local store without doing any research. As soon as I tried a pair on, I immediately wanted to wear them out of the store and wear them home. 

Video Review Dr. Scholl's Jennie Sneakers

I was thrilled to find this video review of my very favorite pair of shoes. 

A Large Variety of Colors and a Name We Trust

Dr. Scholl's Jamie
In addition to the Jennie style, Dr. Scholl's also offers the Jamie, which is similar. If you would like, you could have a different pair for every summer outfit. The colors range from a Natural tan Jennie, to the red Jamie, with many shades of browns, blacks, blues and greys in between.

Dr. Scholl's is a name we know we can trust. With the Jennie they combined form and function beautifully. If you are looking for a comfortable, cute, and durable pair of summer shoes, these are it. 

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Review of a Twin Bed King Connector

Turning Twin Beds into a King Size Bed is Easy and Affordable

This is a practical solution for a teen whose outgrown twin beds, or for a guest room where it's necessary to alternate between twin beds and a large single bed.

If you've ever pushed two twin beds together, you know exactly what the problem is; the gap in the middle.

Without a twin bed king converter, we've gotten around this problem by putting several toppers on the mattresses.

However, if you move around a lot when you sleep, the gap is still an issue. Movement slowly splits the twin beds apart.

So being the creative sort, I placed non-skid padding under the mattresses to prevent the mattresses from splitting apart. Although that was an affordable way to address the movement of the mattresses, it didn't solve the dip in the middle.

This is Where a Twin Bed Connector Comes In

The one featured below has straps that wrap around the twin beds. It keeps the beds together.

You may still feel a dip or gap, however, if you place a mattress cover and other toppers on before the sheet, it should be barely noticeable.

Overall this is an affordable solution to transitioning a kids room to a teens room. You can keep the twin beds and convert them into a king for the growing youngster.

Most teens want a bigger bed, and if their room is already furnished with twin beds, this is a viable solution. Best of all, you don't have to buy a king sized bed!

How to Make it Look Nice:

If the room you're making over isn't going to be switched back and forth between twin and king, then it's easy to dress up the bed so it looks like it's always been a king bed.

  • If you have two headboards and you're able to remove them, then you could either go with an improvised headboard attached to the wall that's the width of both mattresses, or elect to skip a headboard altogether and simply deck the bed out with many pillows.

  • If you opt for pillows as the backdrop, without a headboard, you can use a bolster at the head of the bed so the pillows don't appear to be resting directly on the wall. I've done this myself, and it looks really nice.

  • Use a king sized bed skirt. With one skirt going around both beds. Without the appearance of two headboards, nobody will notice the beds were once twin beds.

  • I can't stress enough how padding the mattress with various covers makes a difference; I've used a mattress cover as well as a thick foam mattress pad and it really gives the bed that one piece feel.

The Bed Sheets and the Bedding

Two twin beds, especially with extra padding on top, is a little bigger than a standard king size bed; not much bigger, but enough of an issue that you'll need over sized or deep pocket king sized bed sheets. We love Jersey Knit Bed Sheets because they're stretchable, and they'll work nicely to solve this problem. However, if you're not a fan of Jersey Knit Sheets, then be sure to get king sized bed sheets with deep pockets.

The Non-Slip Padding Mentioned Above 
Ultra Stop Non-Slip Indoor Rug Pad, Size: 4' x 6'Ultra Stop Non-Slip Indoor Rug Pad, Size: 4' x 6'
Above I talk about the non-slip padding I put between the box spring and mattress, well I actually used ones designed to hold area rugs in place.

For us they worked perfectly. This one measures 4 feet by 6 feet, so I just bought a couple for each twin bed, and positioned them on the box spring so as to cover a good portion. I would position them to go over the gap in the bed as well. The Grand Fitted Quilted Mattress Pad Cover Hypoallergenic (Stretches to 18The Grand Fitted Quilted Mattress Pad Cover Hypoallergenic (Stretches to 18

Mattress Pad Cover

Here's an example of a king sized mattress pad cover that you can put over the twin bed king connector and mattress.

This one has 20 inch deep pockets as well, so if you want to put a layer of foam underneath (for added comfort) you should have a enough room. I would say, if you had to choose between the non-slip pads above and this, choose this. It's the best way to pull the mattresses together after you've used the twin connector.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Saturday, April 18, 2015

A Review of Spring Cleaning Tips


Especially Useful Tips for People with Kids


Funny Spring Cleaning Saying

Whether you need a way to help de-clutter or clean kids toys, or tips for getting your kids involved in Spring Cleaning, the Review This blog has a few suggestions.

One of the best ways to be successful with big cleaning chores such as Spring Cleaning is to get the whole family involved.  Kids can clean, whether they believe it or not!  One good hint, for major cleaning or just daily cleaning, is to get a small kitchen timer and have the kids 'clean their room' until the buzzer goes off.  They (and you) will be amazed at how much they can accomplish working against the clock. It becomes a game for them.

Toy Clutter Control

A collection of toy blocks
Source: Pixabay

On the Tips From a Typical Mom blog, Annette has a wonderful article of 10 Tips to Make Cleaning Fun for Kids.

Toy Hammocks Save Space

Toy hammocks are wonderful space-saving ways to store toys off the floor, and a quick way to 'pick-up' and 'put-away' those toys.

Handmade Crochet Hammock for Stuffed Animals

Stuffed Toy Hammack in handmade crochet

Lula, a crochet crafter, crochets toy hammocks for all those cute stuffed animals your children collect and keep forever.  Hang it next to their bed, so their special stuffed animals are still close but don't take up the space in their bed any more.  

The hammocks come in several sizes and 50 color choices.   Hammocks are awesome because they help you free up floor space while displaying your child’s most treasured stuffed animals on the wall, keeping your home organized while doubling as a unique decor item!

Lula makes these hammocks in crochet for her Etsy Store Lula Bill Boutique. 

Green Cleaning Ideas

Illustration of 4 green waste paper baskets
Source: Pixabay

For those of you who prefer cleaning with environmentally-safe products, HubPages author Chen has an article on Green Spring Cleaning Tips using handy products such as baking soda and white vinegar. Products such as these are safe for even children to use while helping mom clean.

More Simple Cleaning Tips from the Contributors here on Review This!

  • And Bev has also found a telescoping corner broom which is terrific for cleaning those hard to reach those high ceilings and corners. 


House Cleaning Tips all in one Place

For all of us who live a busy life, house cleaning at any time is a chore.  This book of House Cleaning Tips and Tricks from Amazon has helpful hints and time-saving tips all in one place.  

Getting organized has never been easier.

Spring has arrived!

Putting off Spring Cleaning funny sign

Hopefully, this collection of tips and hints will give you a head start with your Spring Cleaning.  Or... you can enjoy putting it off until next year!

(c) Wednesday Elf (4/18/2015)

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Friday, April 17, 2015

Movie Review: A Good Marriage by Stephen King

a good marriage movie
I am not truly a Stephen King fan, although I do recognize his writing talent.  In fact, the reason why I am not a huge fan of his books is simply because his stories often scare me half to death.  That fact alone best demonstrates that he is an excellent writer of horror and suspense.

Since I joined Sling TV a few months ago, I am back to watching movies, TV series, and news again.  After a day of work, I find a good movie at home quite relaxing.  My husband and I enjoy watching movies together and we alternate who selects the movie for the evening.

Because I am a romantic at heart, I was drawn to the movie "A Good Marriage".   Because it was written by Stephen King, my husband enthusiastically sat down to watch it with me.  It was an excellent movie that we both enjoyed viewing, but I have to warn you, it still haunts me a bit.

Synopsis of "A Good Marriage"

a good marriageThis movie gets right to the heart of the story almost immediately and we were drawn into a world of suspense very quickly when the wife discovers that her husband is a serial killer.

I had never really considered how the wives of serial killers react or feel, especially when they are so totally clueless to the dark side of their spouse.  When she accidentally uncovered indisputable evidence that her husband was in fact the notorious killer "Beadie", she was forced to face the obvious and decide how she was going to react and respond.

Most of us sitting here would be thinking just call the police, but the story was so well written that I could easily understand the hesitance and denial, questioning how it could possibly be true that a loving and devoted husband and father could be the torturing, killing creature that was terrorizing women.

I was rather surprised by how the wife, after her initial shock wore off, logically made a plan and methodically carried it out.  She certainly proved to be her husbands equal when it came to being able to "act" normally while simultaneously setting the stage for "capturing" her own mark.

Since I never believe in spoiling the show for others when I review a movie, I will stop there and reveal no more than the basic plot.  Besides, this is a movie that you absolutely must see for yourself and follow the moment by moment details.  I would be cheating you of the magnificence of the author by writing more myself.


 The Actors in "A Good Marriage"

stephen kings a good marriage dvdJoan Allen is the wife, Darcy.  Anthony LaPaglia plays the role of the husband, Bob.  Anthony LaPaglia is the perfect choice because he really does have that normal, nice guy appearance who anyone would trust, yet he is easily believable as a methodical serial killer.

Like LaPaglia, Joan Allen looks the part and she did an exceptional job of playing a calculating wife who is capable of her own deceptions.

Together, they make me believe we can never really know our friends well and we certainly have no idea what they might be capable of given the right set of circumstances.

My Rating of the Movie, "A Good Marriage"

I have seen what the critics say about the movie and I also see the star rating on Amazon.  However, I am not going to fall in line with others.  I would give this movie 5 stars.

I base my rating on the fact that this was a suspense thriller that I could watch without being grossed out.  Graphic images were certainly not necessary to scare me, or to make me sit on the edge of my seat.  I believe that is the mark of a truly outstanding writer, as well as believable actors.

In addition to that, I appreciated the thoughtful perspective of someone who is also a victim of a serial killer, but is more often considered complicit in the crimes.  I think we all want to believe the "Bundys" and "Dahmers" of the world have some "telling" personality traits that anyone close to them would easily recognize.  Because we think there is no way they could not have known, we often make the family members pariahs in the community.  Any movie that can cause me to evaluate my own thoughts deserves a higher rating.

I highly recommend this movie for any adult.  
five star rating

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Review of Zazzle Placemats, Napkins and Kitchen Towels

Festive placemats, napkins and kitchen towels are a great way to show your personality in your kitchen.  Zazzle makes it easy was some great products that you can custom to fit your decor.  They also make great gifts for showers, birthdays, and weddings.


Placemats are a wonderful way to accent your dining room table.  Zazzle helps by providing you some great products that you can customize with your own photographs, drawings, or monograms.  These placemats measure 20x14 and are made of 100% woven cotton.  The fabric is all natural fibers and is made in the USA.  These placemats are machine washable.
I created the placemat above from a photograph I took.  The pretty pink wildflowers were blooming along a trail I was walking in Shaw Nature Reserve just outside of St. Louis, Missouri.

The placemat below of beautiful green flowers was created by my friend and fellow Review This author Sylvestermouse.


Cloth napkins are a wonderful addition to the dining room place settings.  With Zazzle you can create personalized napkins to fit your needs.  The possibilities are endless!  You might create some with holiday scenes for a favorite holiday, or perhaps napkins with photos of someone who is celebrating a special birthday.  Another idea would be to pick a theme that you enjoy or perhaps a favorite vacation that you enjoyed and add photos to the napkins.

Here are some of the features of the napkins:
  • Come in sets of 4
  • Measure 20x20
  • 100% woven cotton
  • Made in USA
  • Machine Washable
The napkin above is one I created from my photographs of a trip to Minnesota lighthouses.  The top two lighthouses are from Two Harbors, the bottom left is from Duluth harbor and the bottom right lighthouse is Split Rock Lighthouse.

For more of my lighthouse photos on Zazzle products stop by my pinterest board.
Follow Mary Granger's board Lighthouses on Zazzle on Pinterest.

Kitchen Towels

Colorful kitchen towels can add a cheerful touch to your kitchen.  I like to change my towels to fit the seasons and various holiday.  With Zazzle you can customize your kitchen towels to fit your desires.  These kitchen towels make great gifts too.  You might want to add a monogram for a newly married couple, create a festive Christmas towel using photographs from your last years Christmas tree, or create one with a design to match you kitchen decor.
Zazzle kitchen towels are made in the USA from a fabric that is a woven polyester/polamide blend. Each towel measures 16x24 and is machine washable. The towel below is one I created from a photo of a sunflower. Wouldn't this look great in a yellow kitchen?
Golden Sunflower Kitchen Towels
Golden Sunflower Kitchen Towels by mbgphoto
Browse other hand towel designs on Zazzle.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Reviewing Around The Corner Crochet Borders

My Favorite Book For Crochet Borders

Do you get stuck when it comes to putting a border on your latest crochet blanket? Perhaps my review of this wonderful book Around the Corner Crochet Borders will help solve your dilemma from now on. It certainly has helped me with my projects! My only problem now is to narrow it down to which lovely border I want to try!

crochet borders book

Since I retired from my job, I have taken up the hobby of crocheting again. My husband might say that it is more of an obsession than a hobby but we won't go there today.

What I love About Edie Eckman's book

I don't know about you but I have tried to read many a crochet pattern in my day and some of them just do not make much sense. In Edie Eckman's book Around the Corner Crochet Borders pages are filled with easy to understand directions. She also shows a diagram of each border with the stitches and I love that. Sometimes when the words sound confusing, you can look at the diagram and it suddenly makes sense. At least for me, it does. 

There are over 150 borders to choose from and let me tell you, I want to try about 120 or more of them. They are that unique and lovely! Edie also spends time in the front of the book explaining about the math of choosing and creating a border for your piece. Yes, there is a bit of a science to it all! I'm sure that you have probably tried a border and it either bent forward or began to ruffle and that was not the result you wanted. The book will teach you how to get it right every time. By the way, if that border was bending forward you did not have enough stitches for the multiples you needed and if it ruffled you had too many stitches in your border for the width or length of the piece. 

crochet border

The above picture is a border that I made from the book. It is border #20 on pages 64 and 65. Isn't it cute? In the past, I would have just put the old standby of a shell border and honestly, would have been disappointed in it. I like the shells but they are just so ordinary. Oh, another thing, with each border instruction, Edie shares the multiples that are needed to properly fit the border to the measurements of your piece. That helps to narrow your choices down according to the stitch count that your piece has.

I know that I am reviewing the border book but I thought that I would also like to offer a tip on crochet hooks. I love the ergonomic ones like the one below.

ergonomic crochet hooks
Ergonomic Crochet hooks

They are my hook of choice when doing any project because the soft grips are more comfortable to use especially when I am going to crochet for long spans of time.

If you love to crochet and want some extraordinary ideas for borders, I highly recommend Around The Corners Crochet Borders by Edie Eckman. I am thrilled that I purchased it and I plan to purchase other books by the same author. She has written it all in a way that I can understand but more importantly that I can actually use.

crochet work with border

I created a sample piece for border #20 that I mentioned above just to make sure that I understand the math and the directions. What will I do with my little sample? As a Grandmother to four little girls, it will be a doll blanket for one of them. I hope you have enjoyed my review of this book, if you have any questions please feel free to ask in the comments section below. I know you will enjoy this book if you crochet and if you have been looking for something to give as a gift to someone who crochets; this book  Around the Corners Crochet Borders would be treasured by the person you give it to.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Monday, April 13, 2015

Thrilled To Be The Folklore Contributor

Bev Owens photo
Hi, I'm Bev Owens and I am thrilled to be the Folklore Contributor here on Review This! I plan to share ideas from our modern society that have a connection to folklore from around the globe.

At a very early age, I loved to hear stories and the ones that held my attention the most were the ones that explained traditional beliefs of a culture or a custom that they had. I didn't understand at the time that I was developing a passion for folklore. I just knew that those were my most favorite types of stories to hear. Later, as I began to babysit for young ones and then had children of my own it was the legends and lore that I most liked to share with the children.

About 7 years ago, I decided to share the knowledge that I have accumulated over the decades about my own ancestry and created my first blog. Native American Totems is the space on this huge world web that I explain the teachings that my people have passed on to each other from generation to generation for thousands of years.

Besides my passion for folklore, I am sort of a "Jane of many trades" who has mastered a few of them. One of those would be gardening which has been a love of mine since I was 8 years old and my beloved Grandmother let me help put out her garden. At Indiana Garden I share my experiences with growing plants in my own region along with tools that I have found helpful over the decades of gardening in my home state. From time to time, you might find me reviewing something pertaining to gardening here on Review This.

I adore my five little grandchildren so you might find me reviewing items for children, occasionally. That is the beauty of this site, we are not restricted to just one area of expertise. I know that when I was a first time Grandma, I was a little baffled as to what products and toys were good to consider for children. It is why I sometimes review toys and gifts for children from infant to pre-teen.

My hobbies are varied with my favorite being crochet and counted cross-stitch. I am an avid reader and after retiring from my day job have become quite the bird enthusiast.

I look forward to getting to know you over the coming weeks and months!

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Sunday, April 12, 2015

How to Prevent a Door from Hitting A Wall or Closet with a Door Stop Hinge

How to Prevent a Door from Hitting A Wall or Closet with a Door Stop Hinge
Door Stop Hinge
Do you have a mirrored closet door that needs to be protected from a door handle that hits it when opened? And, of course, being a mirrored closet, a regular doorstop won't work?
A Review of a Product that Solves the Problem!
After some research, I found the perfect door stop to use that literally takes minutes to install, doesn't require any drilling, and won't stand out as an eyesore.
Hinge Pin Door Stops are a terrific little gadget that simply slips into the top hinge pin of the door, causing the rubber protector to stop against the door frame and thus prevent the door or door handle from hitting the wall, closet door, or mirrored closet door beside it.
Several of the rooms in our home have mirrored closet doors that are close to the main entry door of the room itself. 
The main washroom in our home is an example; when you open the washroom door, the handle can crash into the mirrored closet door and potentially break the glass. 
The floor in our washroom is ceramic, so a floor-mounted door stop would be too much work to install, not to mention the awful thought of drilling into the ceramic!
How to Prevent a Door from Hitting A Wall or Closet with a Door Stop Hinge
The Hinge We Installed to Protect
Our Mirrored Closet Doors
So, after hunting for a solution, I came across the wonderful little gadget called a 'door stop hinge.' My husband literally put it on the door in five minutes.
We also used one for a door where the door would hit the wall before it would hit the door stop; for years, it bothered me that our door was getting marked up, and now, after repainting our door and placing a hinge pin door stop in the top Hinge...problem solved.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

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