Showing posts with label Gifts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gifts. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

WHAT SOLD ON EBAY? SECOND EDITION

This is the second edition of WHAT SOLD ON EBAY. If you've ever been curious, discover some of my new, used and vintage sales!

Curious? People often are, whether purely out of simple curiosity or because they have considered or actually do sell on eBay. Let’s review What Sold on eBay since my last post. Once again, these are five items that sold from my eBay store, Treasures By Brenda. This time, they’re from a weekend in October.
Yes! This Hudson's Bay waist pouch (or fanny pack as you may call it) sold from my eBay store. Discover more interesting SOLD items here!

On this particular weekend, with one exception, the sales were used and vintage items. And once again, that demonstrates what I believe, that eBay is one of the best places to turn to for items that are out of production.

So here are the five items that sold from my store starting with the only item that was new:


WAIST POUCH / FANNY PACK


Did you ever use a fanny pack? Or maybe you wear a waist pouch today? Whatever you call them, there has been a resurgence in interest in fanny packs. Fanny pack, by the way, is what we called them when they were first popular in late 1980s and early 1990s when, according to The Globe and Mail, Adweek Magazine declared them “the hottest product of the year.” Well, they’re back. We have so many types of bags available today that I don’t imagine that fanny packs will ever be the hottest product of the year again but they are popular. This one had the advantage of also bearing the iconic stripes from Canada’s Hudson Bay Company and it is SOLD. I do have one HBC fanny pack left and you can find it here with my collection of  Hudson’s Bay Company merchandise

WHAT SOLD ON EBAY? One cute-as-can-be wind-up pecking chick toy!
VINTAGE WIND-UP TOY


Are you intrigued by wind-up toys, vintage or not? The smallest item I sold was surely this fun little metal toy. In this case it was a tiny chick with the original box. Wind-up toys are tricky, they have certainly been reproduced and this one was vintage though not extremely old or very valuable. Still, it was a fun item, an addition to someone’s collection or maybe a fun stocking stuffer. It is SOLD but if you want one, you will find more of this vintage wind-up pecking chick here on eBay

KNIFE BLOCK


Do you use a knife block to store your knives? Whether you do or not, you might be surprised that some knife blocks have considerable monetary value. In this case, mine was a small Cutco brand block that was not particularly valuable but that definitely did have value to the person who purchased it and who wanted a smaller knife block. However, the large Cutco blocks, like the one shown in this picture that hold 32 pieces, can sell for over $300. Mine is SOLD but if you are interested, you will find more than 1,500 Cutco knife blocks on eBay here.
What sold on eBay? How about a handsome Cutco knife block?

BEER STEIN


Do you drink your beer in a stein? I don’t have a whole lot of luck selling beer steins and I had a vintage Lord Nelson HMS Victory beer mug in my store for a long time. Let’s just say for years during which it was listed at various price points until eventually it was clearance priced. It had some crazing and so, when I found another one like it that was in better condition in my pile of items to list, I removed the crazed one and listed the second one, which sold in a week proving that condition is very important to buyers. A lesson to all would-be eBay sellers! Mine is SOLD but if you’re after a Lord Nelson stein, look here

WOOL WINTER SCARF

WHAT SOLD ON EBAY? How about a handsome pure virgin wool scarf. Discover more great sales here!

Do you wear a wool scarf in the winter? I have read that wool scarves are good sellers and I have sold a few but I would caution that they, too, need to be in very good condition and they have to be listed at the right price. In this case, my sale was of a handsome pure virgin wool men’s scarf in a tartan pattern. I have other scarves in my eBay store but none like this traditional one. Mine is SOLD but if you are looking for a pure virgin wool scarf, click here

BOWLING PINS


What would you do with an incomplete vintage set of 3.5 inch table top bowling pins? Whether or not they appeal to you, you might agree with me that they were the most unusual item I sold this weekend.  They have been used and loved whether as part of a game, as a toy or as a decoration, I do not know. In any case, these go against the idea of condition being very important to buyers and I believe that in this case the much beloved condition may have actually added to their appeal for the buyer. Mine are SOLD and when I looked today, I could not find anything exactly like them but you can follow this link to see the assortment of miniature vintage bowling pins that I did find on eBay. 

WHAT SOLD ON EBAY? Vintage tabletop bowling pins. What would you do with them?

While none of these items are available anymore in my eBay shop, I do have many other unique and interesting items. Do drop in to my shop, Treasures By Brenda, by clicking here

You never know
what I might have
in store for you!
Brenda

MORE READING:

Learn more about this vintage item that is enjoying a current resurgence in popularity.  

What Sold on eBay? First Edition
Discover what items sold the first time I wrote a post like this one.
Disney's television series, Tale Spin, continues to be popular as do these vintage toys.















Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

The Best Acrylic Fabric Paints for Painting Clothes and Accessories

Acrylic fabric paints, iron-on appliques and other embellishments are a fun and easy way to transform ordinary t-shirts, sweatshirts, denim jackets and jeans into special, one-of-a-kind clothing designs. 

Even if you don’t feel especially artistic, it’s extremely easy to add striking hand painted designs to basic wardrobe items by applying acrylic fabric paint through a stencil with a foam pouncer. 

Embellishing clothing with fabric paints is also a wonderful project to do with kids. Both my fashionista niece and her younger brother used to love taking solid color T-shirts and creating their own hand painted and stenciled designer tees, which they wore with pride.

Some fabric paints also work well on other materials, including leather and vinyl, so they’re great for painting shoes, sandals, handbags, belts and other accessories to give them a whole new look with fresh colors, color blocking, patterns or painted accents.

I have researched and used different types, brands and formulas of fabric paints in different price ranges. In this review I will share my favorite acrylic fabric paints for decorating clothing and accessories. 

The Best, Most Versatile Acrylic Fabric Paints for Embellishing Clothing & Accessories

Why Use Acrylic Fabric Paints?

Acrylic fabric paints, also called acrylic textile paints, are formulated specifically for use on fabric clothing and other textiles. Unlike fabric dyes and alcohol-based textile paints or inks, they do not spread and saturate the fibers. Most work best on untreated or pre-washed, natural fabrics and synthetic fabrics whose fiber content contains at least 50% natural fibers. 

Acrylic textile paints are usually thinner, penetrate fibers better and dry more flexible than standard acrylic paints formulated for art or craft uses. Fabric paints also contain a binder that helps them adhere much better to natural fibers after the paint dries and is heat-set (usually with an iron). This binder makes the painted designs more durable, so they can better withstand repeated washing and resist cracking, peeling or flaking when the fabric is gently stretched or folded, such as when you put on, move around in, take off or put away your painted clothing.   

More transparent colors usually have a thinner consistency and are softer to the touch when dry compared to more opaque fabric paints. They are great for lighter color fabrics, since the color of the clothing will show through them. For the same reason, opaque fabric paints will show up much better on darker clothing, although they are slightly thicker and will dry a bit stiffer than more transparent formulas.

Good Quality Fabric Paints Give the Best Results

Jacquard makes moderately priced, high-quality, highly pigmented paints, dyes, mica powders and other art and craft supplies. Jacquard's Textile, Neopaque and Lumiere lines are my go-to acrylic paints for painting fabrics.

Photo of Jacquard Textile acrylic paints "Exciter Pack" assortment

Jacquard Textile 

Jacquard Textile paints have a medium- to light-bodied consistency and come in 39 semi-transparent colors. Mixing any of the other colors with 123 White will create a pastel shade. You can make any color more transparent without affecting the quality or consistency by mixing it with Jacquard Textile 100 Colorless Extender. (Another option, which I don’t recommend, is diluting the paints with up to 25% water, since it will reduce their viscosity and negatively affect the quality.)  Mixing any other Jacquard Textile color with #220 Super Opaque White will make it more opaque. 

The Jacquard Textile Color Exciter Pack is an economical assortment that includes small bottles of nine of the most useful colors in the line. It's a great way to try these paints without investing a lot of money.

Jacquard Textile colors can also be mixed with Jacquard Lumiere, Neopaque or Dye-Na-Flow paints or with Jacquard Pearl Ex Powdered Pigments to create custom colors and effects.

Jacquard Neopaque and Lumiere

Neopaque is Jacquard’s line of light-bodied, opaque acrylic paints. They come in 21 colors plus a Flowable Extender medium that can be used to make the colors more transparent without altering the paint’s texture, consistency, adherence and other key properties. Lumiere is a companion line of 33 beautiful metallic and pearlescent paint colors designed to complement the Neopaque solid colors and have similar characteristics. My favorite Lumiere paints are the color-shifting duo-chrome colors!

Even though the Jacquard Neopaque and Jacquard Lumiere lines have not been optimized specifically for painting on fabrics, like the Jacquard Textile line, they have many of the same characteristics and are also considered fabric paints. After they have dried and been heat-set, both Neopaque and Lumiere paints adhere to textiles very well, remain flexible and resist cracking, peeling and chipping. I have used them to paint fleece sweatshirts, both freehand and with stencils, and they have withstood many washings well.

Both formulas are opaque, highly pigmented and provide good coverage, even on dark fabrics. You can mix any Neopaque or Lumiere shade with Neopaque Flowable Extender to make it more transparent without changing its consistency, thickness, flexibility, adherence or other important characteristics. 

Similarly to the Jacquard Textile line, you can mix pastel shades by blending a small amount of Neopaque White into any of the other Neopaque colors.

Photo of Jacquard Neopaque and Lumiere acrylic paints
I've been using my first Jacquard Neopaque and Lumiere acrylic paint Exciter Packs for many years. 

There are also a Lumiere Exciter Pack with 9 pearlescent and metallic colors and a Lumiere & Neopaque Exciter Pack with 7 metallic Lumiere shades plus black and white Neopaque. As with the Textile line, these two Exciter Packs are a great way to get a nice variety of colors in smaller quantities for a very affordable price. I have purchased both of these Exciter Packs as well as full-size bottles of the Neopaque black and white and Lumiere duo-chrome colors I use most. I recently bought another of the Lumiere assortments because some older colors have been discontinued and newer ones added.

Another advantage of Jacquard Lumiere and Neopaque acrylic paints is that they adhere well to a wide range of surfaces including paper, wood, rubber, vinyl, leather and rubber, in addition to fabric, and can be used for many different types of projects. I have gotten more than my money’s worth out of mine. 

For example, I completely transformed an old pair of boring, frumpy, beige comfort sandals by painting the leather with Lumiere for the uppers and black Neopaque to edge the sole, and then sewing on some faux jeweled trim. 

Before and after photos of beige sandals painted aqua and blue

Heat-Set Fabric Painting Medium 

You also can achieve successful results by mixing permanent, highly pigmented art or craft acrylic paints 50/50 with a good quality fabric medium, such as Golden GAC 900 Heat-Set Fabric Painting Medium or Martha Stewart Tintable Fabric Medium. 

Pébéo Setacolor

If you are painting a very special piece of clothing or textile, you may want to consider the Pébéo Setacolor line. These superb fabric paints come in an extensive range of beautiful colors and finishes. Although they are more expensive than the Jacquard fabric paints, superior quality, performance and product selection make Pébéo Setacolor products a favorite among many professional painted clothing artists and enthusiasts. 

Pébéo Setacolor Light Fabrics are transparent and include 44 matte, metallic, glitter, and fluorescent shades. Pébéo Setacolor Opaque comes in 77 matte and “shimmer opaque” shades with glitter, pearlescent, metallic and iridescent finishes that dry softer, smoother and more flexible than most other opaque textile paints. There are also Pébéo Setacolor 3D fabric paints that come in tubes with small nozzles that are great for adding raised outlines or dimensional accents to your painted clothing designs. 

The most affordable way to try these terrific paints is with one of the 10-color introductory sets, the Pébéo Setacolor Light Fabrics Discovery Kit or the Pébéo Setacolor Opaque Discovery Kit

Use Fabric Paints and Stencils for Beautiful, Affordable, One-of-a-Kind Handmade Gifts 

Stencils are made in just about any pattern or theme you could want and require no artistic talent to use.

I have used inexpensive fabric stencils of flowers, gardening tools and bees to decorate a sweatshirt for my mother-in-law who loves to garden. 

One of my husband’s favorite gifts from me is a forest green sweatshirt I purchased for him many years ago and stenciled with a cascade of metallic and pearlescent autumn leaves. It has been worn and washed so many times that the fleece is pilling, and the color has faded. By now, the paint isn’t quite as bright or shiny as it once was, either, but it’s still hasn’t cracked, flaked or worn off, and he still wears it proudly.

Photo of man wearing dark green sweatshirt with a stenciled metallic leaf design
My husband still loves and wears this sweatshirt I stenciled for him many years ago. 

You can use alphabet stencils to personalize a T-shirt, hoodie or other garment with the gift recipient’s name or add a meaningful word or message. 

Older children will also love using fabric paints and stencils to turn simple, inexpensive pieces of clothing into personalized gifts for special friends and family members.

Stenciled or hand painted tablecloths, napkins, placemats and table runners also make wonderful gifts. Painting them with snowflakes, pointsettias and other seasonal designs makes any holiday a bit more festive. 

I hope I have inspired you to give fabric paints a try!

The Best Acrylic Fabric Paints for Painting Clothes and Accessories


The Best Acrylic Fabric Paints for Painting Clothes and Accessories by Margaret Schindel


Read More Crafts Reviews by Our Review This Reviews Contributors

Read More DIY Reviews by Our Review This Reviews Contributors




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Monday, October 18, 2021

Wear a Halloween Apron This Year!

Love Halloween? Wear a Halloween apron this year!

WHY NOT WEAR A HALLOWEEN APRON THIS YEAR?


A Halloween apron is not necessarily meant to be a costume though it certainly can be one. It also is a rather practical accessory designed to help you get into the spirit of Halloween. Why not treat yourself to one this year? On this page we review five fun reasons to buy a Halloween apron and five great places to source one.  


FIVE REASONS TO WEAR A HALLOWEEN APRON

(Just in case you need a good reason!)

🎃 No time to prepare a costume for yourself.
🎃 No money to spend on an expensive costume that you'll wear once.
🎃 No time left after creating costumes for your children.
🎃 Not going to a party so wearing an apron at home seems more reasonable.
🎃 No costume appeals to you.

If you have any of these problems, I say, "Go ahead, buy yourself a fun Halloween apron!"

FIVE PLACES TO SOURCE A HALLOWEEN APRON


If you don't have much choice at home, you might consider sourcing your Halloween themed apron from one of the following online sources:

AMAZON - A simple search of Amazon, by clicking here, turns up more than 1,000 Halloween-themed aprons! They're abundant and affordable.

EBAY eBay has a much larger selection of Halloween-themed aprons, new and used, available than Amazon does and they have vintage ones, too. However, the number of vintage Halloween aprons is somewhat limited I expect because wearing a themed apron is a newer idea. For new aprons on eBay, click here and for vintage Halloween aprons on eBay, click here.

ETSY - The sellers on Etsy are a pretty creative bunch and Halloween aprons are found a plenty on that website. Check them out on Etsy by visiting this link.

MAKE YOUR OWN - You can make one on your own. If you are a seamstress, you might like to look through the resources shown on the page How To Make An Apron, from where you might find inspiration or assistance in crafting the exact Halloween apron that you have in mind.

Do you already have a Halloween apron or are you searching for the perfect one right now?

Happy Haunting!
Boo-renda

MORE HALLOWEEN AND APRON READING:

How about a Hocus Pocus T-Shirt?
Fans of the cult-favorite Halloween movie, Hocus Pocus will love this tee!

Have a youngster clamoring for scary movies? Here are a few safe choices.

Hey Monkeybrains! Real Men Don't Wear Aprons, Do They? 
Check out a fun debate and maybe even throw in your two cents worth.

Five Grandfather-Themed Aprons
Grandpa spends time in the kitchen? There's an apron for him!

If you love working puzzles and Halloween, you will enjoy these treats. They're calorie free!





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Tuesday, October 5, 2021

WHAT SOLD ON EBAY? FIRST EDITION

Visit this post and discover a few of the interesting items that sold from my eBay store one fine fall weekend in September.
Frequently, friends and acquaintances often ask me what’s sold on eBay lately and I often receive interesting comments when I do share some of my latest sold items on social media. Therefore, I thought that I would do a review of exactly that – what has sold on eBay recently from my own eBay store. Please come along with me and we will check out a few of the interesting things that I sold one fall weekend in September of 2021.

The items that sold are as varied as the stock is in my eBay store, Treasures By Brenda. However, this weekend the sales included just a few gently used and vintage items and none of my new stock although I do have many new items in store. I have actually heard it said that about 80 percent of the items on eBay are new though I think the platform is best when it helps unite buyers with items that are no longer produced and therefore hard-to-find. I have had the pleasure of reuniting many buyers with beloved items that they had as children or even as adults.

I would like to start by sharing my favorite item but I find myself hard pressed to pick just one so here then are the four fun items that sold arranged in no particular order:

HANDMADE BABY OR LAP QUILT


The colors, the stitching lines and the wavy edges of this handmade lap quilt were absolutely darling and I think made it quite special. If I needed a throw blanket, I might have added it to my collection even though it really featured fabrics that are meant for babies. Someone somewhere put a lot of work into making this lovely piece and now it has gone to a new home where someone new will treasure it. You can see the other quilts that I have in my eBay store by clicking right here.

VINTAGE ORIENTAL DIPPING BOWLS


I am not actually sure what these tiny bowls are for. If you know, I’d love to hear. At two inches, they are too small, I think, to be used for dipping though I have called them dipping bowls. Have you any thoughts on what their original purpose might have been? If you are interested, you can discover some similar oriental dipping bowls on eBay by clicking right here.

MOUSETRAP CHEESE BOARD


This is a novelty gift idea, for sure and one that is sure to surprise guests at your next cocktail party. It is a very realistic Acme mouse trap that is oversized so that you can use it as a cheese or small charcuterie board and we know those boards are very trendy right now. I thought of gifting this item to a family member who once had quite a struggle at home with mice. I’m sure she would have responded with a roll of her eyes and exclaimed, “Oh, Brenda!” You can find your own Acme cheese board here on eBay.

TREMAR CORNISH CHIMNEY SWEEP FIGURINE


Finally, I sold was a little vintage Cornish art pottery chimney sweep or cleaner by Tremar. The company Tremar was located in and named after a village in eastern Cornwall that started producing pottery in the early 1960s. They made pieces that were popular with tourists and that included items like animals, people, vehicles and buildings. Some 'sets' were created to encourage buyers to collect multiple pieces, a technique we know today but was used less often in the middle of the century. The Tremar pottery company closed its doors in the 1980s. You can see all of the Tremar Pottery pieces on eBay by clicking here.

While these items are no longer available in my store, I do have a large stock of interesting and unusual items in my shop. Do drop in!  You can visit my store, Treasures By Brenda, on eBay by clicking here!  

You never know
what I might have
in store for you!
Brenda



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Monday, October 4, 2021

Gift Baskets for every Occasion - Reviewed

 

Gift Baskets
Photo By Pixabay

The idea of giving gifts in baskets is centuries old, gifts delivered in baskets have been around ever since someone figured out how to weave a basket.

 

The Holiday season is without a doubt the most popular time of the year to give a gift basket. In the Holiday season, many corporations send gift baskets to their valued customers as a way of saying thank you for your business.

 Many companies give their employees gift baskets during the season, or all year long as a way of saying, “great job”.

 

The Holiday season is a time to bring family and friends together, but sometimes that’s not always possible, as family members or friends move away. Sending a gift basket to a faraway family member or friend is a perfect solution for gift giving.

 

Gift baskets are a practical gift, as the basket or container can be used after the gifts are consumed. Many Holiday basket containers can be used after there’re empty, by filling them with some sort of festive Holiday décor and placing it as a centerpiece on a table.

 

The Holidays are not the only time of the year to give someone a gift basket. The gift basket industry has grown into a multibillion-dollar business a year. Today you can find or make a gift basket for any theme or occasion.

 

Here are some other popular times to give a gift basket, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Easter, Halloween, New Home, New Baby, Birthday’s. I guess that I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea. As they say, Gift Baskets are for all occasions.

 

Making your own Gift Baskets:

 

Making your own gift baskets is fun and easy. For one thing, you can choose the items in the basket to be specific to the person you are giving them to. For example, a coffee or tea basket, a chocolate lovers’ basket, how about a fruit of a cheese basket. Here is a neat idea, A Bakers Basket for someone who loves to bake.

 

Here is something that many of you may not know. Some years ago, when I was out of work for a while, I started making and selling gift baskets.

 

No, I didn’t get rich or turn it into a thriving business, but I sure did have fun making and selling gift baskets. I finally had to give it up when I got a new job but I still enjoy making my own gift baskets.

 

Here is an article that I wrote on my review site. Make a Halloween Gift Basket. It is a gift basket for kids, look and see just how creative you can get with the different ideas for items. The instructions in this article would apply to any gift basket that you want to make.

As I said, making your own gift basket is fun, easy, and creative. So, you can make your own or buy one. Either way gift baskets are a great gift giving idea.


More Gift Ideas from ReviewThis here: ReviewThisGifts.com

Wine Country Gift Baskets Gourmet FeastWine Country Gift Baskets Gourmet FeastCheck the PriceSpa Baskets for Women, Spa Luxetique Spa Gifts for Women, 8pcs Rose Bath Gift Set Includes Bath Bombs, Bath Salts, Bubble Bath, Best Gift Set for WomenSpa Baskets for Women, Spa Luxetique Spa Gifts for Women, 8pcs Rose Bath Gift Set Includes Bath Bombs, Bath Salts, Bubble Bath, Best Gift Set for WomenCheck the Price

 




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Sunday, October 3, 2021

The Christmas Riddles Book - Stumped Riddles Book Seven

Christmas Riddles - #Stumped Volume 7

When I write a new riddle book, I'm always excited when it's completed! "Christmas Riddles" is the seventh book in the StumpedRiddles Book series and is officially completed, published, and available on Amazon.

What is the Stumped Riddles Book Series?

I've always had this crazy ability to write riddles. Since learning how to self-publish books, I took the leap from publishing a poetry book to writing riddle books. To date, I've written and self-published seven riddle books, with Christmas Riddles being the seventh.

Christmas Riddles - The Book's Details

Like the other riddle books in the Stumped Riddle Book series, Christmas Riddles features eight chapters with ten original riddles per chapter. This book's chapters are broken down into riddle topics as follows:

  1. Santa Claus
  2. Christmas Trees
  3. Holiday Lights
  4. Winter Season
  5. Holiday Foods
  6. Festive Things
  7. Family Time
  8. The Meaning of Christmas
Here's a Sample of a Riddle in the Book:


Riddles for the Whole Family

The StumpedRiddle Book series is written for teens, adults, and bright kids. Ages 8 and up should be able to solve at least some of the riddles. The riddles featured range from easy to slightly difficult, thus giving everyone a chance at solving one or more.

These riddle books can also be played as a game. The game rules are simple:

Game 1

. Use a timer
. Decide on the amount of time to allow for a riddle to be solved
. Choose a person to read the riddle out loud
. The first person to shout the answer out correctly gets the point

Game 2

. Choose a person to read the riddle out loud
. Everyone writes down their guess of the riddle answer
. Put all the answers in the middle of the table
. Each person who guesses the correct answer gets the point

Additional Ways to Use The Stumped Riddle Books:
  • Teachers can use them to challenge students
  • Gifts for teens or teachers
  • A family hostess gift
  • Stocking Stuffers
  • Contest Gifts
  • Party Prizes
  • Personal Challenge
  • Distraction
Amazon eBook Preview Below - If you're unable to see the preview below, here it is directly. 



Stumped Riddles Social Media:
I'm excited to announce my expansion into another series of activity books - keep your eyes peeled for these ones!




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Saturday, September 11, 2021

Review of Woodland Forest Animals as Soft Toys

The definition of a Woodland is a place that features trees, grasses, shrubs, and other plants. A Woodland Animal is one which finds this their natural habitat. Therefore, a deer would be found in a Woodland, but not, for instance, a Zebra.


There are a great many creatures that would be found in a Woodland, including deer, bears, foxes, raccoons, squirrels, birds, bees and butterflies. Crafters love to create a representation of these animals as soft toys for the delight of children. Thus, we shall look at a few of these creations in this review.



Woodland Animals in Fabric


Woodland Squirrel



These felt squirrels are the perfect addition to a woodland themed nursery or make a snuggly companion for small creature lovers. Found in the Etsy Shop of Sweetest Soybean, where Children's items are lovingly handmade in Sarah's home studio in Madison, Alabama.


Woodland Fox



The sweetest little woodland plush, one adorable fox in rich autumn orange.

This cute little guy is made completely from super soft poly fleece in rusty orange, with black and white details.

Orange Fox is made completely from fabric, and stuffed with extra soft and plush poly fiberfill.

Handmade by Lily of Salem, Wisconsin and featured in her Etsy Shop Wild Rabbits Burrow


Woodland Frog



For those who like to sew and create cute stuffed animals, Paulina of My Scrappy Ideas has created this adorable frog pattern available in an instant download.


Ribbit the Fearless Frog has many faces. That is because he can be anything out of the following:

  • a very soft and cuddly plushie; (a terrific friend for your child during endless hours of fun)
  • unbelievably cute door stop, (guarding any desired room)
  • decorative item somewhere in your hallway; (to make your Guests feel at home)
  • or a welcome gift (that for sure will not only immediately make a way to your friend’s house, but certainly to his/her heart as well!)
  • and last but not least: a frog is always a clear sign of spring!


Woodland Animals in Yarn



Choose a handmade crochet woodland animal with long legs and arms from this collection which includes a wolf, a fox, a bunny and a big stuffed reindeer.  The Warm Cats Etsy Store created these adorable animals which are perfect as nursery décor or plush playmates for children.


Woodland Owl



Amigurumi Owl in Crochet. Plush Toy Owl. Gray Owl Stuffed Toy. Cute & Cuddly Plush Owl. Handmade Kawaii Cutie. Nursery Décor. Gift for Kids. Soft and cuddly toy owl woodland creature.

Handmade by Pat and found in her Etsy Shop Coastal Crochet Crafts


Summary of Plush Woodland Animals


Felt Woodland Animals on Etsy

The Woodland forest may be the natural home of real-life animals. But a plush Woodland Creature can easily live in a child's toybox or perched on their bed or cuddled in their arms. A fun and safe way for children to enjoy the world of these wild Woodland animals.


*Woodland Forest Animals as Soft Toys - review written by Wednesday Elf





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Wednesday, September 8, 2021

How to Choose the Best Fine Mesh Kitchen Strainers

Fine mesh strainers are used for many different types of cooking, baking and food preparation tasks, from sifting powdered dry ingredients for baking or garnishing baked goods to straining sauces and custards, rinsing uncooked rice, quinoa or beans, and draining pots of cooked pasta. 

When the sieves I inherited from my mom that had served us both for decades eventually needed to be replaced, shopping for replacements turned out to be more challenging than I could have anticipated. 

In this review, I'll share my advice on how to choose the best fine mesh kitchen strainers for your needs as well as my product reviews for the fine mesh sieves I purchased nearly five years ago and recommend highly.

How to Pick the Best Fine Mesh Strainers for Your Needs: 3 Pro Shopping Tips
Learn how to be a savvy consumer when shopping for fine mesh kitchen strainers.

3 Pro Shopping Tips for Choosing the Best Fine Mesh Kitchen Strainers for Your Needs.


Think About How You Will Be Using Them.

When shopping for fine mesh strainers, the best choice will depend on what you want to use them for. The ideal diameter, depth, handle, weight balance, durability, wire mesh size and stiffness will be very different for mesh sieves used primarily for sifting cocoa powder, flour or powdered sugar than for those used mainly for straining fresh raspberry seeds or draining a large quantity of just-cooked pasta. 

So, before you start researching or shopping for new fine mesh sieves, take a few minutes to think about the types of tasks you want, need and expect your new strainers to perform well.

Consider the Most Important Product Features and Characteristics for Your Specific Uses. 

Once you have made a list of the things you want to use your new strainer(s) for, it's time to educate yourself about the different types of materials, construction, mesh fineness, and other options available in models at different price points and think about which ones might be best suited to your needs, priorities and budget. 

For example, if you are shopping for a small strainer for steeping loose tea in a cup or travel mug, an inexpensive model made of a very finely woven nylon mesh material might do the best job of filtering out the tea leaves. On the other hand, if you also want to be able to sift or dust small amounts of cocoa powder or confectioners sugar, you might decide to go with a more expensive, stainless steel model that has a stiffer wire mesh and a slightly looser weave, the tradeoff being that it wouldn't be quite as effective at filtering out the small, powdery bits of tea leaf. 

Similarly, having a comfortable, contoured, riveted handle (and preferably two) may be a priority if you are looking for a large-capacity, heavy-duty strainer, but a thinner, flatter handle attached with spot welding might be fine if you only need a small or medium size strainer for lighter-duty tasks.

Stay Focused on Your Needs As You Compare Fine Mesh Strainers and Read Product Reviews.

Whether a review is positive or negative, consider the author's praise or complaints in the context of your own needs and priorities. Also keep an eye out for negative fine mesh strainer reviews based on inappropriate assumptions or unreasonable expectations. 

Reviews by reputable industry experts can be extremely valuable, but it's important to consider how well the reviewers' evaluation and rating criteria match for your own needs, preferences and intended uses for the product. 

I learned this firsthand at the beginning of 2017. A few weeks after I bought a Cuisinart set of small, medium and large strainers that I wanted just for the two smaller sizes, Cook's Illustrated published a fine mesh strainers equipment review (subscription required) that rated the Cuisinart set as "not recommended." Since I trust and respect the America's Test Kitchen staff's opinions, I was dismayed by the low rating for the set I had just bought. However, when I looked at the reviewers' product selection criteria and the performance tests they had devised, I saw that many of the features, specifications and use cases they had focused on (e.g., approximately 9" diameter, stiff, extremely fine wire mesh baskets, handles that were comfortable to hold over an extended period of time, long, wide hooks that fit easily over both medium and large pots and bowls) weren't relevant to the small and medium Cuisinart strainers or the types of tasks for which I had chosen that set. 

On the other hand, those criteria and tests were extremely relevant to my needs and wants for the much sturdier Kukpo 9-inch strainer I had purchased to complement the small and medium sized Cuisinart sieves. If that Cook's Illustrated equipment review had been published one month sooner, I might have had second thoughts about buying my $14 Kukpo, despite the $45 price tag of the only "highly recommended" model, the Rösle 7.9-inch Stainless Steel Round Handle Kitchen Strainer

So, keep your own needs in mind as you are reading fine mesh strainer reviews and looking at product features and specifications. Also, remember that no strainer can do every job equally well and be open to the possibility that investing in more than one might be your best bet, depending on how many things you want to use them for.  

Recommended Fine Mesh Kitchen Strainer Reviews 

Here are my personal product reviews for the best fine mesh kitchen strainers I purchased to replace the much older ones I had inherited. The ones I am recommending have been in frequent use in my kitchen for at least several years, show minimal signs of wear and continue to meet my quality and performance needs and expectations.

Kukpo Stainless Steel Double Fine Mesh Strainer Review

If you are looking for a large, versatile, affordable sieve that does a good job at a variety of kitchen tasks, the Kukpo Stainless Steel Fine Double Mesh Strainer, 9 Inch Diameter is an excellent choice.

This sturdy, inexpensive Kukpo 9-inch stainless steel fine double mesh strainer can handle most straining, sieving and sifting tasks well.

Key Features and Benefits:

  • Practical size. The basket rim is 9" across and the fine wire mesh basket itself is about 8" wide at the top and 3.25" deep, large enough to easily drain a pound of cooked pasta, but not so large that it's unwieldy.
  • A versatile workhorse. If you're looking for a single, good quality, inexpensive fine mesh food strainer that performs well for most uses, I highly recommend this 9-inch Kukpo model. It's great for straining stock, sauces, yogurt, custard, frying oil and coffee grounds; separating milk solids from melted butter for clarified butter or ghee; rinsing rice, beans, lentils and grains such as quinoa; straining seeds from fresh berry purée; and sifting flour, baking soda, salt, cocoa or powdered sugar.
  • Durable construction, including two riveted handles. Unlike many fine mesh strainers, this one has no gap between the wire mesh screen and the rim/frame where bits of food residue can get stuck and be hard to remove. It also has two handles that distribute the weight more evenly and are riveted to the rim rather than spot-welded, making it more comfortable and well balanced to hold when draining a large volume of heavy food, such as cooked pasta.
  • Two layers of fine wire mesh for better strength, stiffness and filtering ability. Doubling the mesh creates a stronger, sturdier basket that holds its shape better and resists denting, despite its size, even when mashing fresh strawberries, raspberries, or confectioners sugar firmly against the mesh to strain the seeds or break up hard lumps.
  • Dishwasher safe stainless steel. I generally prefer to wash my fine mesh sieves by hand, but it's nice to be able to run them through the dishwasher occasionally to sanitize them more thoroughly. This one has an all stainless steel construction that doesn't rust, not only in my own experience but also in those of many other customers, according to their product reviews. 
  • 100% money back guarantee. Although I couldn't find any details about the terms of this guarantee, quite a few Amazon customers have raved about the company's outstanding customer service in their reviews. 

Cuisinart Set of 3 Mesh Strainers

I've found that pairing this set of three Cuisinart stainless steel strainers with the larger, sturdier, 9-inch Kukpo double mesh strainer covers all the bases for any use I can think of.

This set of three Cuisinart mesh strainers is excellent for light-duty tasks like dusting desserts with cocoa or confectioners sugar, rinsing berries and juicing lemons.

Key Features and Benefits:

  • Three useful sizes. This set includes 3 1/8”, 5 ½”, and 7 7/8” diameter fine mesh sieves.
  • Great for less strenuous tasks. The two smaller sizes in this set are ideal for things like straining loose tea leaves, dusting powdered sugar or cocoa over desserts, washing a cup of fresh berries or string beans, or straining the seeds while juicing a lemon. The largest one is fine for sifting a couple of cups of dry baking ingredients and similar light-duty tasks, but the spot-welded handles and thinner wire mesh make it too delicate for heavier contents and more demanding applications that require the sturdier Kukpo strainer.
  • Surprisingly inexpensive. At the time of publication, this set of three cost less than $14 on Amazon. Even though I prefer the 9" Kukpo to the 7 7/8" strainer in the Cuisinart set, I consider that a very good value, even for just the small and medium sizes.
  • Dishwasher safe stainless steel. I haven't found a single speck of rust on any of mine after nearly five years of frequent use.
  • Limited lifetime warranty. Cuisinart offers a limited lifetime warranty for its products if you register your purchase with them. I haven't been able to find any information about what it covers for this strainer set. 

Bonus Tip: Use a Stiff, Thin-Bristled Brush to Dislodge Any Food Particles Stuck in the Fine Mesh

Whether you plan to wash your strainers by hand or in the dishwasher, I highly recommend inspecting the fine wire mesh carefully for any bits of food residue that might be stuck. It's best to wash and check the mesh as soon as possible after use, since any clogs will be much harder to dislodge if they are allowed to dry inside those tiny openings. If you need more time, just submerge the strainer in hot water and until you are able to clean and inspect it properly. 

I have found that small, dense brushes with thin, stiff bristles, like the two in the OXO Good Grips Deep Clean Brush Set, are the most effective tools for clearing stubborn food particles from the fine wire mesh. 


How to Choose the Best Fine Mesh Kitchen Strainers by Margaret Schindel


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Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Five Grandpa Aprons

Discover five fun aprons for the grandfather in your life!

My grandfathers are both gone. One I did not have the pleasure of knowing; the other, I knew as a child and as a teenager. I have fond memories of him and remember him as being quiet and gentle at least to his three grandchildren. I remember him offering support by just being there. My mother often tells me that when I was a baby my grandfather often checked on me, making sure that I was okay whether I was sleeping or playing.
Five Great Grandpa Aprons

I never had the opportunity to give my grandfather an apron and, to be perfectly honest, it would not have been a suitable gift idea for him. A man cooking was definitely not the norm of the time or in our family. However, we all know that is different now and if there is a grandpa doing the cooking and/or grilling at your family get togethers, one of the grandfather-themed aprons reviewed here on this page ought to make a fun, affordable and practical gift idea.

Everybody knows that grandpas are perfect at least in the eyes of their grandchildren, which is what the first aprons celebrate. 

Listed in no particular order but shown somewhere in the picture opposite this text, our first apron reads Nobody's Perfect but if your name is Grandpa, You're Pretty Damn Close. Find it here on Amazon. 

Next up, The Best Grandpa Ever apron. Available in a number of colors, you will find it here on Amazon. 

If you want a grandfather-themed apron with a grilling reference the Best Grillin' Grandpa Ever apron, found here, ought to suit.

Another choice with a barbecuing reference would be the Grandpa to Some Bar-B-Q Master to Others apron, which seems appropriate for the grandfather who takes a lot of pride in his grilling skills. I love how colorful it is. It is shown in the top box in the picture opposite the text and you will find it here on Amazon.

A personal favorite of mine is the Great Dads Get Promoted To Grandfather apron, which I think would make an amazing gift for a new grandfather or for a grandfather who does not yet know that he is going to be a grandfather. Wouldn't that be a fun and totally unexpected surprise from the expectant parents or of course for any man who has already been promoted to grandfather. Find it on Amazon here.

Edited after publication to say that I found one more great Grandpa apron. This one is also cute for the grandfather who is intensely into his grilling be that in a good or not-so-good way. Stand Back, Grandpa is Grillin' is perfect for a serious griller or for grillers like my husband and father-in-law who are sometimes perhaps a bit distracted when manning the barbecue. Find it on Amazon here

That's it, my short list of five six fun aprons for the granddads you love. Which one suits your grandfather best?

See you
in the kitchen!

Stand Back, Grandpa is Grillin' Apron
MORE APRONS:

Check out a fun debate and maybe even throw in your two cents worth.

A page of How to Make an Apron resources.
If you love sewing and even if you are not experienced, you will find a host of ideas for making aprons on this page.

Curious about the famous chef's apron? Learn about it here.












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