Showing posts with label Product Reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Product Reviews. Show all posts

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 12, 2021

Forest Animals in Wood Reviewed

There are many clever artisans who create Woodland animals hand-cut from a variety of woods for children's play. Other crafters create them as wall hangings, some especially sweet for a baby's nursery or a child's room. Others create wooden animal puzzles.  


Some are finished in natural wood, many of which are considered 'Waldorf Toy Animals'.  Others are hand-painted. All are special because they are lovingly handmade.


These Forest Critters include the animals usually found in the woods, including foxes, wolves, bears, deer, squirrels, bunny rabbits and many others, including birds such as the Owl. 


This page presents a few creative sets of Woodland creatures and a couple individual animals as toys – all created in wood. 


Waldorf Toys


According to a description on Google....


Waldorf toys are wooden toys, they are eco-friendly toys and of course organic toys. ... Toys that are made from natural materials, with rich, natural colors, and that are lovingly handcrafted are inviting and contribute to a child's “sense of life.” Waldorf toys are often simple, without a lot of detail. 


Woodland Animal Sets in Wood


Woodland animals handcrafted in wood
Woodland Animal Nature Toys


All Natural toys for small children shaped like cute Woodland Animals to promote Nature-Based Play.


Each critter is hand-cut out of natural wood and sealed with a Non-Toxic Food Grade Sealant made from beeswax and olive oil. 


These natural wooden toys encourage key early childhood developmental skills such as brain development and small motor skills. They can practice balance by standing them up and stacking, counting the animal toys and families, or creative play with these fun natural toys. 


There are two sizes to the sets, which include a bear, a deer, a rabbit, a squirrel and a bird.  These wooden forest animals are handmade by Erik in Michigan and are available in his Etsy Shop Hessler Customs.


Animal Puzzle Handmade in Wood


Wooden Frog Puzzle

This stand up frog puzzle is handcut from 3/4" thick cherry on a scroll saw, sanded smooth, and finished it with a natural beeswax and organic jojoba oil polish.


The puzzle is 6 1/4" tall, 7 1/4" wide and 3/4" thick. It has four puzzle pieces.  This is a great beginner puzzle for ages 3+.


Woodland Frog puzzle is handmade by Susan who lives in Missouri near St. Louis. She has been creating adorable woodland creatures for many years and is a very talented craftsman. Susan and I met up several years ago when I was living in St. Louis and I have been a fan of her work ever since seeing them in person. You can find this frog puzzle and many other delightful wooden toys created by Susan in her Etsy Shop OohLookItsARabbit.


Woodland Animal Peg Dolls


Woodland Animal Peg Dolls

These Woodland animal peg dolls make for delightful playtime. They are made of solid beechwood, measure 2/5 inches tall and are hand-painted and sealed using CE tested (certified) non toxic paints and sealants.


Included in this listing are a Bear, a Fox, a Deer, a Hedgehog, an Owl and a Badger. They are available to purchase individually or as a set.


These Woodland animal peg dolls are handmade by Katie and are available in her Etsy Shop Multipegs.


Woodland Animal Wall Hangings for the Nursery


Woodland Animals Wall Art for the Nursery

This delightful array of Woodland animals for the nursery wall (or any child's room) are created by Lea of Michigan for her Etsy Shop NovelWares.


• Crafted from 1/4” solid walnut which is sourced from sustainable and responsibly harvested forests

• Sealed with a poly for durability and easy cleaning

• Comes with double sided tape for easy and quick installation on your wall.   


Some of Lea's forest animals include 


There is also a bear, a bee, a hedgehog and a wolf.  Check out Lea's shop for many selections in this world of wooden forest animals. 


Summary




Many more Woodland Forest Animals are available throughout Etsy cleverly created in wood.  Just do a search for Woodland Animals in Wood for a wide variety of these cute animals who live in the forest. 


Related Post:


Review of Woodland Forest Animals as Soft Toys


*Forest Animals in Wood reviewed 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, October 6, 2021

My New Irresistibly Delicious Keto Cheese Crackers Recipe

Cheddar cheese crackers are one of the few things I've really missed since I embarked on a healthy ketogenic diet in 2019 (and lost nearly 60 pounds). The only acceptable replacement I've found for those famous, small, square cheese crackers in the bright red box with the cutesy name are Defy Foods' yummy keto cheddar crackers, which are only available online and, like all high quality commercial keto foods, cost significantly more than their unhealthy, conventional counterparts.

Recently, I began experimenting with my own homemade keto cheese crackers recipe, inspired by recipes from two of my favorite low carb recipe developers. I combined elements of both their recipes and added some powdered, dehydrated, real cheddar cheese for an extra flavor boost. This past weekend, I finally perfected my version. Both my husband and I couldn't be more thrilled with the results!

I am sharing not only my delicious new keto cheese crackers recipe but also my product review of the Defy Foods keto cheddar crackers, which I will still keep in the freezer for when I don't have time to bake them from scratch.

Crisp, Salty and Satisfying Keto Cheese Crackers with photo of crackers on plate
My healthy, homemade low carb crackers are bursting with real cheddar cheese flavor

My Inspiration for This Recipe

When I decided to try my hand at making homemade cheddar cheese crackers, I started by searching for recipes on my two favorite low carb keto recipe developers' blogs, Carolyn Ketchum's All Day I Dream About Food and Maya Krampf's Wholesome Yum. Carolyn and Maya are two of my go-to gurus for reliable, delicious recipes that support my low carb lifestyle. 

Carolyn's Keto Cheese Crackers with Pepper Jack looked great, but I'm not a big fan of pepper jack cheese or red pepper flakes. I also wasn't sure that adding garlic powder to the dough would give me the classic flavor I was looking for. The recipe also called for brushing the thinly rolled out dough with melted butter and then sprinkling it with coarse salt before baking. While it sounded delicious, I preferred to start with fewer ingredients and fewer steps for my first attempt.

Maya's Low Carb Keto Cheese Crackers Recipe had fewer ingredients and steps. However, the optional nutritional yeast "for cheesier flavor" wasn't something I had on hand, since I didn't care for the taste the few times I had tried using it as a substitute for grated cheese.

Recipe Experiment #1: Tasty, But Not Quite There Yet

Since I wanted my crackers to have a strong cheddar cheese flavor, I replaced the optional nutritional yeast in Maya's recipe with Vermont sharp cheddar cheese powder. 

The resulting crackers were quite tasty. However, I wanted them to have a stronger cheddar flavor and be a bit more buttery and salty. In addition, the small, fragile squares of thinly rolled dough were quite prone to tearing as I transferred them to the parchment-lined baking sheet.

Recipe Experiment #2: We Have a Winner! 

For my second batch, I changed a few things when I was making Maya's cheddar dough:

  • I substituted twice as much Vermont sharp cheddar cheese powder for the optional nutritional yeast.
  • I increased the amount of salt from 1/4 teaspoon to 3/8 teaspoon. 
  • After stirring together the dry ingredients, instead of combining them with the egg first, I stirred them into the melted cheese along with the egg.

I also made several other changes based on Carolyn's pepper jack cheese crackers recipe:

  • The dough was rolled out on a silicone baking mat sprinkled with almond flour (using parchment paper on top to prevent the dough from sticking to the rolling pin). After pricking and cutting the  dough, it was much easier to just slide the mat onto the baking pan instead of lifting and transferring the fragile squares of raw dough.
  • I used a pizza cutter to slice the sheet of dough into approximately 1-inch squares. (I also didn't worry about trying to cut perfectly parallel and perpendicular lines, since I wouldn't succeed in any event!).
  • Before putting the crackers in the preheated oven, I brushed them with melted butter and sprinkled them with coarse salt.
  • This time, I baked the crackers at 300 ℉ instead of 350 ℉, left them in longer, turned off the oven when they were barely golden brown and left them inside to finish developing their color, cool slowly and crisp up.

Maya and Carolyn are extremely talented, very experienced low carb recipe developers. Combining elements from both their recipes and adding the Vermont sharp cheddar cheese powder turned out to be a winning strategy. This new version produced dozens of perfectly crisp, deliciously salty, buttery cheddar cheese crackers that tasted absolutely amazing! 

My husband adored them, too. (In fact, he might easily have devoured the entire batch on the spot if I hadn't set aside a small plate of these crackers to photograph for this recipe!)

Plate of prepared keto cheese crackers

Wholesome, Homemade Low Carb Cheddar Cheese Crackers That Everyone Will Love

I'm really excited to share my new keto cheese crackers recipe! 

For the many people who follow a low carb or ketogenic diet and have been searching in vain for buttery, salty, flavor-packed low carb crackers that don't cost an arm and a leg, these scrumptious bite-sized savory snacks will satisfy those cravings. Unlike the conventional grocery store kind, these are made with minimally processed, "real food" ingredients. 

These crisp, delicious, high protein cheese crackers are tasty enough for everyone can enjoy, whether or not they are trying to cut back on highly processed foods with empty calories.

They're wonderful to bring to holiday parties or get-togethers with family and friends any time of year. You can indulge without "cheating" on your low carb diet and no one who tastes them will guess that your homemade cheddar crackers are made with almond flour instead of wheat flour.

Who says you can't enjoy holidays treats without gaining weight?

How to Make Keto Cheese Crackers

These irresistible keto cheese crackers are quite easy to make. However, low carb baking is quite different from conventional baking methods. Here are a few important tips to keep in mind, especially if this is your first experience baking with almond flour.

Photo of keto cheese crackers with recipe ingredients

Choose High Quality Ingredients for the Best Taste and Texture

This recipe calls for only a few ingredients, so the quality of each one will have a major impact on the taste and texture of your homemade crackers. 

For the best flavor, buy a block of good, sharp (or very sharp) Vermont cheddar cheese and grate or shred it yourself just before making this recipe. Cabot Creamery cheddar, which Carolyn Ketchum recommends, is one of my favorite brands, too. 

I used King Arthur Better Cheddar Cheese Powder for these keto cheese crackers, which I had purchased for another recipe and like very much. King Arthur Baking Company (formerly King Arthur Flour) has a a well deserved reputation for excellence and baking expertise. I have relied on their products and recipes for decades. 

It's important to use fresh, finely ground and blanched almond flour for most low carb keto baking recipes. My favorite is Maya Krampf's Wholesome Yum premium almond flour.

You will need two kinds of salt: fine sea salt (or table salt, if you prefer) and coarse or flaked salt. For the dough, I used Redmond Real Salt Ancient Fine Sea Salt, an unrefined, unprocessed sea salt with trace minerals and no additives. It's comparable to pink Himalayan sea salt, but has been "mined in Utah since 1958 from an ancient seabed protected from modern pollution."

After pricking, cutting and brushing the thinly rolled out dough with melted butter, I sprinkled the tops of the crackers with a combination of coarse sea salt and crushed Maldon sea salt flakes before baking. The Maldon sea salt flakes were too coarse to use straight from the package, but crushing them with my fingers and mixing them with the regular coarse sea salt turned out to be the perfect topping.

Use a Silicone Baking Mat and Unbleached Baking Parchment to Roll Out the Dough

Rolling out and cutting the dough on a silicone baking mat and then sliding it onto your baking sheet is much easier than rolling the dough between sheets of baking parchment and cutting and transferring the small, fragile squares to the pan. The best known brand, Silpat, commands a premium price. Fortunately, I've also had good luck with much less expensive silicone baking mats.

It's essential to cover the raw dough with a large sheet of baking parchment paper when you're rolling it out, so that it doesn't stick to the rolling pin. These days, I only use unbleached baking parchment. (Who wants to risk leaching chlorine bleach into their homemade baked goods?) I find the flat, 12" x 16" pre-cut sheets of unbleached baking parchment much easier to use than wrestling with a piece torn from a roll whose curl stubbornly refuses to flatten out. 

Use a Large, Microwave-Safe Bowl and a Sturdy Silicone Mixing Spatula for Making the Keto Cheese Crackers Dough

I often use my 2-quart Pyrex measuring cup as a large mixing bowl, especially for recipes that require melting ingredients such as butter, chocolate or cheese in the microwave. The handle provides a good grip on the microwave-safe glass bowl as you incorporate the dry ingredients and the egg into the melted cheddar cheese.

The best tool for the job is a sturdy, stiff rubber spatula. I prefer the DI ORO Seamless Series Large Silicone Spatula for this purpose, which was named "Winner: Best All-Purpose Spatula" in Cook's Illustrated's March 2017 Silicone Spatulas Equipment Review (paid subscription required)

Roll Out the Dough as Thinly and Evenly as Possible 

The thinner you roll the dough, the crisper your crackers will be. Try to roll out the sheet of dough to as uniform a thickness as possible, which will help the crackers bake at the same rate. (You may want to make the dough near the edges slightly thicker to prevent the outermost row of crackers from browning too quickly.)

Use a Pizza Wheel With a Plastic Blade to Cut the Dough Into Strips and Then Squares

The plastic blade cuts through the dough cleanly without slicing into your silicon baking mat. It's also faster, easier and safer than cutting the small squares with a knife. The OXO 1065872 Good Grips 4-inch Pizza Wheel and Cutter for Non-Stick Pans is very similar to the one I own (which is no longer made) and gets excellent customer product reviews.

If You Are Using a Countertop Oven, Divide the Dough Into Quarters and Bake It in Four Batches

The built-in double wall ovens that came with our 1950s ranch-style house died several years ago. Since then, we have been making do with a countertop oven. (If you are considering one, I encourage you to read Sylvestermouse Cynthia's recent Calphalon Performance Cool Touch Countertop Toaster Oven product review.) 

Photo of unbaked keto cheese crackers on silicone mat in small baking pan

Obviously, having to use a much smaller silicone baking mat and pan (approximately 8.5" x 12.5") that could fit inside my large toaster oven took much longer than using a large silicone mat and baking sheet and baking in a full-size oven. However, as you can see from my photos, it is certainly doable. 

Keto Cheddar Cheese Crackers Recipe

Photo of prepared keto cheese crackers on a small plate
These buttery, low carb crackers will satisfy your cravings without kicking you out of ketosis. They're yummy enough to share with carb-loving friends and family of all ages, so they're perfect for holidays, football games, parties, kids' lunchboxes and everyday snacks. 

Prep Time   20 minutes

Cook Time  30–60 minutes

Total Time   50–80 minutes

Servings       8–10

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 ½ cups finely ground and blanched almond flour (plus extra for dusting)
  • 2 Tbsp good quality sharp cheddar cheese powder
  • 3/8 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten, at room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp butter, melted
  • Coarse salt for sprinkling

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 ℉. Place a large silicone baking mat on your counter, table or other work surface and sprinkle it with almond flour.
  2. Grate or shred the sharp cheddar cheese into a large microwave-safe bowl or a 2-quart (8-cup) Pyrex measuring cup. 
  3. Stir together 1 ½ cups of the almond flour with the cheddar cheese powder and salt.
  4. Microwave the cheese on High at 30-second intervals, stirring with a large, sturdy rubber or silicone spatula until the cheddar is completely melted and has a smooth consistency. 
  5. Stir in the almond flour mixture and the egg and use the spatula to "knead" the dough against the the sides of the bowl. Then, turn out the dough onto a lightly greased sheet of parchment or waxed paper and use your hands to squeeze and finish kneading the dough into a compact ball. The dough should be soft and pliable and feel a bit oily. If it's too sticky to work with easily, you can either chill it for 15 minutes or so or work in another tablespoon or two of almond flour.
  6. Flatten the ball of dough and shape it into a square patty, then place it in the center of the prepared silicone baking mat. Cover it with a large sheet of baking parchment (or wax paper) and roll it out as thinly and evenly as possible (no more than 1/8-inch thick).
  7. Use a pizza wheel with a plastic cutting disc to slice the sheet of dough into small squares or rectangles approximately 1-inch wide (although you can make them wider, if you prefer). You should end up with between 5 dozen and 8 dozen (60–100) crackers, depending on how thinly you roll the dough and what size you make your squares or rectangles.
  8. Prick the tops of the crackers with a fork or toothpick, brush them with the melted butter and sprinkle them with the coarse salt. Then transfer the silicone mat carefully onto a large baking sheet and place it in the preheated oven. 
  9. Bake until the crackers turn a light golden brown and the edges begin to crisp up (approximately 15–30 minutes, depending on the size and thickness), then turn off the oven and allow them to remain inside until they are firm to the touch. Keep a close eye on the color of the pieces around the edges. If they are browning faster than the ones in the center, remove the darker pieces and let them cool at room temperature while the rest of the crackers cool down more slowly inside the warm oven. 

I like to store these keto cheese crackers in single layers, separated by paper towel, inside an airtight tin or large Stasher silicone food storage bags, which are extremely easy to seal and unseal. Layering them with paper towels helps absorb ambient moisture and keep them crisp. However, if they last more than a day or two, you can just pop them back into a 300 ℉ oven for a few minutes. Just be sure to keep an eye on them so they don't get too brown.

Defy Foods Cheddar Crackers Product Review

There are very few healthy, low carb crackers on the market. The ones I have tried have been disappointingly dry and bland, with one notable exception: Defy Foods Keto Cheddar Crackers

These delicious gluten-free, grain-free, ketogenic diet-friendly cheddar cheese crackers have only 2g of net carbs and are made from wholesome, high quality ingredients. In addition, Defy Foods is a small business start-up and these cheddar crackers are the first (and, so far, only) product in their line. As a result, they're a bit on the pricey side. However, if you don't have the time or the inclination to bake your own keto cheese crackers from scratch, these are the next best thing.

As of this writing, they can only be purchased online, and until last week they could only be ordered directly from the Defy Foods website. However, they just launched on Amazon, with free Prime shipping, which is great news for Amazon Prime members! Amazon is also promoting this launch with a 15% off digital coupon. There is no way to know how long this promotional discount coupon will remain valid, so now is the best time to order a few bags of these delicious low carb crackers if you want to give them a try!


My New Irresistibly Delicious Keto Cheese Crackers Recipe by Margaret Schindel


Posts In This Series About My Keto Diet Journey

My First Year on The Keto Diet

Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part One

Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part Two

Low Carb Muffins & Cupcakes: Treats to Enjoy on a Keto Diet

Low Carb Keto Chocolate Yogurt Granola Chip Pudding Recipe

Good Dee’s Keto Cookie Low Carb Baking Mix Review

Hamama Microgreens Growing Kit Review & Success Tips

My Favorite Hamama Microgreens Seed Quilt Accessories

Keto Cheddar Cheese Biscuits With Chives Recipe

The Ultimate Keto Hot Chocolate Recipe

The Best Low Carb Keto Gift Ideas: Keto Gift Guide

The Best Low Carb Keto Cinnamon Muffins

Wholesome Yum Keto Bread Mix and Yeast Bread Recipe

The Good Chocolate 100% Organic No Sugar Dark Chocolate Review

The Best Advice to Maintain Your Keto Diet Weight Loss

My New Irresistibly Delicious Keto Cheese Crackers Recipe


Reviews of the Keto Diet by Barbara C. (aka Brite-Ideas)

My Personal Keto Testimonial

How I Stayed Committed to the Ketogenic Way of Eating


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Tuesday, October 5, 2021

What Sold on eBay?

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



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Monday, October 4, 2021

Gift Baskets for every Occasion - Reviewed

 

Gift Baskets for every occasion - Reviewed
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

 




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Friday, October 1, 2021

Coleman Classic 2-Burner Propane Stove Reviewed

The Coleman Stove is essential for camping and emergencies!

We are all accustomed to everything in our homes working with the flip of a switch or the turn of a dial.  However, when a recent hurricane hit Louisiana, I was reminded of how quickly everything powered with electricity can go out like a light for days, perhaps even weeks.

We have a lot of family in Louisiana and all have been hit hard by the extreme weather in the last 2 years.  Multiple hurricanes, tropical storms and flooding have taken their toll.  Anyone who lives on or near the coast knows they must be prepared for a disruption of utilities, often for extended periods of time.  Because they are so well prepared, we are rarely called on for help.  However, after the last hurricane, our cousin's 1960's Coleman stove stopped working.  They depend on that stove to cook, brew coffee, and even boil water as needed.  It truly is an essential appliance for a home during post hurricane recovery.

He called us and my husband went into immediate action, searching for a new Coleman stove for him.  Here in Tennessee, there were plenty available at the normal low price. He ran down to the local store and purchased the replacement stove for his cousin.

This experience reminded me of how something as simple and common as a camping stove can become life saving in emergency situations.  We need water to survive.  Being able to boil water for purification is an absolute necessity.  

There are several things that become essential for survival in extreme situations.  I would probably rate a generator as number one to keep a refrigerator running, but the Coleman stove would follow close behind. 

 

The Coleman Classic Propane Stove

There are several styles of Coleman stoves available. We opt for the two burner that will accommodate a griddle, two pans, or one pan alongside a water boiling kettle.  It is small enough to be easy to store, but large enough to really be serviceable.  

The Coleman stove does require a bottle of propane (shown in my photo on right), which is also easy to store, inexpensive, and readily available in many of the stores around established camp sites or parks.

Features of the Coleman Classic Propane Stove

  • 2 Adjustable Burners
  • Side Panels to Protect & Block Burners from Wind
  • Uses Attachable/Detachable Propane Cylinder Bottle
  • Easy to Light Flame Burners
  • PerfectFlow Mechanism (regulated, consistent performance)
  • Removable Chrome-plated Grate
  • Easy to Wipe Clean 
  • 3 year limited warranty
  • Portable

 

 






I Also Highly Recommend the Coleman Lantern 
Click the Image to Read the Lantern Review

 

 


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