Showing posts with label The Savvy Age. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Savvy Age. Show all posts

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Blue Shoe Guys Disposable Shoe Covers Reviewed

Weather is a challenge! It is raining,it is pouring, it is still snowing and welcome to Spring! Spring in the northern midwest can wreak havoc on your lawn, carpet and landscaping. Last year after a particularly challenging and wet Spring I purchased Blue Shoe Guys Disposable Shoe Covers and it was one of the best purchases of the year.
blue disposable shoe cover

What Are Blue Shoe Guys Disposable Shoe Covers?

Yes, the name is self explanatory. Strong, resilient, convenient and disposable paper shoe covers once associated with the the blue shoe covers seen in the hospital or on the shoes of the plumber or the cable television technician visiting on a service call.

The shoe covers have migrated to the mainstream and are an affordable and extremely easy way to protect carpet, hardwood floors, tiling and automobile carpet from the elements all with the flick of the shoe cover.

Shoe Covers For Fall And Spring

Four letters in this area describes the grass, mulch and landscaping with Spring and Fall ... mush!
Spring is a combination of snow melt, rain, more snow, more rain and so it goes through May. Fall brings the opposite of rain into snow, add another dose of rain plus a nice dollop of clay soil and the lawn and landscaping are soggy!

Uses For Blue Shoe Guys Shoe Covers

Saves The Carpet & Floor

I originally purchased the shoe covers as a landscaping required many trips touring the yard in wet, mushy conditions. Loved the convenience of quickly putting on the shoe covers to run in and out of the house without bringing in wet mulch, mud, grass clippings.

The shoe covers are a carpet saver for light colored carpets!


Dogs  

(Do dogs on outdoor leads only get the lead tangled in bad weather?) The shoe covers are perfect to pop on to head outside to retrieve the dog and just as easily pop off when entering the home. There seems to be a direct correlation the dog will go out on its'lead and seek and find the one lone branch to create the dog/lead/fallen branch tangle.

Guests/Visitor

So easy to have shoe covers available for service techs or guests who pop in during in climate weather when light colored carpet is a concern. It's not unusual for guests to carry a spare pair of shoes when visiting during the winter as no guest wants to track winter into your home. The shoe covers are great to have on hand when the guest forgets their spare pair of shoes and the guests are so thankful they don't have to walk around the house in stocking feet.

Car

Tuck a pair or two into your car for emergencies! I've been grateful more than once to have a pair handy for an unexpected muddy park to walk the dog or visiting a friend in the winter where I am the guest who forgot the spare pair of shoes (see above!)

Not Just For Shoes

The shoe covers are very flexible and forgiving in size. I've used the covers for any size and type of shoe or boot from the slimmest shoe to the very sturdy and very wide fuzzy winter boot.

Recommendation

I highly recommend the Blue Shoe Guys Disposable Shoe Covers! One pack contains 100 shoe covers which is more than ample for a home with a few extras to tuck into your car, briefcase or garage.


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


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Friday, March 8, 2019

The Famous Wigleys Corned Beef Reviewed


When I see St. Patrick's Day on the calendar I immediately think of corned beef and the traditional Irish boiled dinner. Actually an authentic boiled dinner is the perfect comfort food year round in our household and if you are from an Irish depression era family - well, Grandma did tend to excel at boiling :) !
Wigleys Famous Eastern Market Corned Beef. The best corned beef in Detroit reviewed.

Wigleys Famous Eastern Market Corned Beef provides the perfect mix of seasonings and high quality corned beef that allows the flavor of the corned beef to shine while the seasonings enhance the corned beef versus overpowering the beef.

Who Is Wigley?

Wigleys dates back to the 1880’s in England and the Wigley family meat recipe.  Job Wigley arrived in Detroit in 1924 with the Wigley family meat recipe along with the vision of the American dream. The family tradition continues to this day with Job’s grandson Tom continuing the Wigley business.

What Is Eastern Market And Why Is It In The Name Of Wigleys Corned Beef?

Established in 1891 Eastern Market was originally a market for wood and hay. Additional sheds were added in 1921, 1926 and moved to its’ current location. The end of W.W. II brought the wholesale food industry to the market. Hence why Wigleys Corned Beef has Eastern Market in its’ name.
Photos courtesy of CC 4.0:  Sarahebrowning,
Bill Whittaker, Etx313
Eastern Market is renowned in Detroit and the metro Detroit area. Before farm to table became trendy, vendors at  Eastern Market have provided the freshest meats, seafoods, vegetables, spices, candies,  flowers in an open air market.  Enjoy the amazing murals, antiques, art and crafts throughout the market as a destination stop for locals and tourists.
Whether it be for corned beef or flowers, Eastern Market is a treasured Detroit tradition and institution which was recorded to the National Registry of Historic Places in 1978. Wigleys and its’ corned beef is an integral part of the tradition.

The Fool Proof Corned Beef - How To Cook Wigleys?

So easy and so fool proof! Wigley’s corned beef is packaged pre seasoned; the seasoning surrounds the corned beef like a marinade.  Simply remove the corned beef from the package and squeeze the seasoning from the package and into the pot. Cover the corned beef with cold water and simmer. Depending upon the size of the brisket the corned beef will be ready in 3-4 hours.
Perfect every time!

Where To Buy Wigleys

If a visit to Eastern Market is not possible Wigleys is available throughout the metro area at grocery stores and specialty markets.  




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Monday, January 21, 2019

Kong Cloud Collar Reviewed

The dreaded two words for any dog or cat parent. The Cone. It is tough to be a conehead if you are the pet and sometimes even tougher to be the furball parent of a cat or dog recovering from surgery or an injury who returns home attached with the dreaded cone.

You are not happy. The pet is not happy. But you both will be sharing custody of the new nemesis in your life. The Cone.

Pets acclimating to wearing a cone run into everything and everyone! Imagine walking around with a plastic cone around your head and it is not difficult to imagine the problems it presents with eating, sleeping, playing, napping, squirrel chasing, stairs and the list never ends.

Kong's Cloud Collar


The Kong's Cloud Collar is an inflatable cone akin to an inner tube covered with washable soft fabric designed for comfort while not obstructing the peripheral vision of the pet. One of the main problems with a plastic cone excluding the discomfort is the lack of vision, difficulty navigating and eating from a bowl.

The Cloud Collar is designed to battle the inherent problems of the plastic cone. I purchased the Cloud Collar after my pets' last surgery and found the cone to be quite an improvement over the traditional plastic cone.


Positives Of The Cloud Collar


Easy to quickly put on and easy to take off
Soft
Adjustable collar
Washable
Pet adapted easily

Considerations


The velcro on the cone serves its' purpose to make the size of the cloud collar easily adjustable, however velcro is sticky! The velcro does attract the dog hair depending on whether the dog has fur or hair. My dog happens to be have curly hair which is a velcro attractor.

This is a consideration addressed in the customer comments so I was aware of the velcro consideration and prepared! The work around indeed worked like a charm: simply use one half of an old sock and cover the area on the collar where the velcro attaches.

The other main consideration is the type and location of the injury or wound the cone is trying to protect. A plastic cone generally stops the pet from reaching the area to be protected; the cloud collar provides the pet more mobility and therefore may be able to reach the area. My pet is very nimble and agile (code name gumby) and could reach the surgical area if he was so inclined.

Less Injury For Pet Parents


I still remember not so fondly when my dog in his energetic style of greeting ran full force into my shin with the cone. It was not pretty and surprising how much damage a plastic cone can inflict. The fluffball was no less worse for wear, but my shin was added to the recovery list.

I used a combination of the Cloud Collar and traditional plastic cone for the recovery. My dog definitely preferred the cloud collar and while under supervision I used the cloud collar. It was a nice break for the dog from the plastic cone and as the surgical area improved I used the cloud collar more.

Ten days or more is a long oh so very long time to keep a pet restricted plus wearing a plastic cone. I knew the wheels were starting to fall off when the we were gifted with a ten inch snowfall during the recovery period. Plastic cones are also excellent to scoop snow and throw snow and play with... snow! After being cooped up with snow and pet recovery cabin fever as a craft project we bedazzled the cone; confirmation the wheels had fallen off the snowed in recovery house.

Recommendation


Every pet is different regarding the tolerance of the plastic cone and cloud collar during the recovery phase. It can be a battle to keep any cone on! I recommend the Kong Cloud Collar as a means to aid the recovery while increasing the comfort of the pet and the pet parent.





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Thursday, November 29, 2018

DesignCap Free Online Poster Maker Reviewed

DesignCap is the free online poster maker offered by PearlMountain to make all your poster and flyer graphics easy to make and easy to design. The variety of templates, colors, text and background options are endless and will whet your appetite to make free posters in a few minutes for all your events.

WYSIWYG What You See Is What You Get


The DesignCap software is WYSIWYG which is very helpful for all levels of poster designers.
Beginner designers will enjoy the ability to change a template with the click of a mouse and the visual changes are immediate. Graphic designers with more advanced skills will find the templates easy to adjust with the text, color and image options.

DesignCap is an online program which is a bonus as software is not required to download to your computer; design the poster and simply save the poster as a download for its' future use.

I used the cover of my cookbook to test DesignCap and loved the ability to upload an image and change the background in a few seconds.

Background Options DesignCap

DesignCap offers a large variety of background colors and one can get lost (in a good way!) browsing through the options and making changes.

This is the DesignCap template I used for my cookbook.



This is the same template with a different border using the background menu.
The Low Oxalate Cookbook

The border was changed with a quick of the mouse when browsing the background menu. It was very helpful to have different colors and designs available to change the colors of the background.

Intuitive Design

Overall I found the menus easy to use and intuitive. The text menu to change the font size was less intuitive; however this is more than likely dependent upon the skills the designer has prior to using DesignCap. Two options exist to change the font size: the A+ or A-  or the font size can be changed manually. I like the ability to choose the font size manually; however, a first glance it appears the font size is limited to the drop down menu sizes when in fact any size font can be chosen by typing in the size. DesignCap offers tutorials for assistance and step by step guidance through its' menu options.

Image Size


The design can be saved in either jpg or png format. Remember this is a poster therefore the size is large. The image can then be scaled down if necessary or optimized prior to using on a website.

PearlMountain

DesignCap is the latest online design program from PearlMountain along with the established Fotojet and DesignEvo, the free online logo maker. The mission of PearlMountain, "We aim to make professional photo editing and graphic design capability accessible to everyone."





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Saturday, October 27, 2018

Top Ten Hallmark Christmas Movies Reviewed

Ready! Set! Hallmark! Today marks the beginning of Hallmark Christmas movies! This year Hallmark has 27 new Christmas movies on its' schedule: 22 for the Hallmark Channel and 15 for the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel.


As an unabashed fan of the Hallmark Channel Christmas movies and a frequent fan who rewatches the movies  - this is my time of year to enjoy friendly romantic and romantic comedies offered by Hallmark. My top ten list of Hallmark Christmas movies contain a few of the actors we have come to know and love on the Hallmark: Danica McKellar, Lacey Chabert, Andrew Walker, Alicia Witt, Brennan Elliot, Candace Cameron Bure, Paul Greene and Nikki DeLoach.


My Favorite Top Ten Hallmark Christmas Movies 


  1. A Royal Christmas (2014)
  2.  A Crown For Christmas (2015)
  3. Christmas Under Wraps (2014)
  4. Christmas In Homestead (2016)
  5. Ice Sculpture Christmas (2015)
  6. A Christmas Detour (2015)
  7. Coming Home For Christmas (2017)
  8. A Very Merry Mix-Up (2013)
  9. The Mistletoe Inn (2017)
  10. Christmas At The Cartwright's (2014)


Actually it is very difficult to narrow down the selection to a top ten list and as Hallmark fans know their is a commonality amongst the plot lines of the movies. We know this! We like this! Escapism into the Hallmark world at Christmas works!


Countdown To Christmas

Hallmark begins their Countdown To Christmas the last weekend of October. Look for a schedule full of Christmas cheer new and original holiday movies mixed in their stable of Christmas movies from years' past. 


Where To Find Hallmark Christmas Movies?

Amazon offers a nice variety of Hallmark Christmas and Hallmark movies on DVD; many of which are affordably bundled to view at your convenience. If you do not have cable the Hallmark Channel is available through the streaming packages on Sling TV, Directnow and Dish plus Hallmark's own streaming channel Hallmark Movies Now.

Coming soon is the new Hallmark Drama Channel - Hallmark fans be on the lookout for a new addition to your Hallmark channel lineup.


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Saturday, October 13, 2018

Favorite Christmas Pop Up Books By Robert Sabuda

Pop Up books always bring a smile to my face! My favorite pop up book creator is Robert Sabuda. I was first introduced to Robert Sabuda when moonlighting at Borders Books (ah, I remember it well, we miss you Borders!). His pop up books bring the Christmas classics to life and are a must on the Christmas list for all ages!
Robert Sabuda pop up reindeer.

Christmas Pop Up Books By Robert Sabuda


 My first Christmas pop up book was The 12 Days Of Christmas! One of the special treats in the pop up books are the extra pop ups intertwined in the story. Loved finding a reindeer in my 12 Days Of Christmas !
The 12 Days Of Christmas

The Christmas pop up books by Sabuda cover the Christmas and winter classics like no other and are a wonderful addition to your library. These books will be a permanent addition to your library.


  • The 12 Days Of Christmas
  • The Night Before Christmas
  • The Christmas Story
  • Christmas Alphabet
  • Winter In White
  • Winter's Tale
  • Cookie Count
  • Believe




Who Is Robert Sabuda?


Robert Sabuda is the author, creator and renowned paper engineer who creates intricate pop up books for kids. The books are unique, whimsical and visually stunning. His artistic career spans many mediums with a specialty in 3-D paper engineering which uses to transform children's stories into stunning pop up books.

Find out more about Robert Sabuda in the video > (in his own words.) It is fascinating to hear the authors' view of his craft.

How To Make Pop Up's?


Feeling crafty? Robert Sabuda's website offers step by step tutorials on how to make your own pop up! The tutorials are organized by category and skill level plus provide pdf templates, instructional slideshows and motivation to DIY a pop up. My next DIY is the Pop Up Lion and Reindeer for the holidays.

Christmas Pop Up Books For All Ages


What I love about the Robert Sabuda collection of Christmas books is the appeal to all ages. If a book lover is on your Christmas list I guarantee delight when a Sabuda pop up book is received. Half the fun of giving a popup book is watching the facial expressions as the pages are turned and each page brings spectacular artistry mixed with the classic stories of Christmas.

More Robert Sabuda Pop Up Books


Classic children stories and topics are also artistically created by Sabuda and a wonderful gift for any occasion. Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, The Wizard Of Oz, Beauty And The Beast, The Little Mermaid, The Movable Mother Goose and Cookie Count are among my favorites. Dinosaur fans will love -  absolutely love the Dinosaur book.




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Monday, October 8, 2018

The Robin Revue: Watching Our Baby Robins Hatch

Oh what a show I enjoyed this Spring! I enjoyed an up close and personal seat to a family of baby robins being born. As a nature and animal lover I was in awe of two industrious robins persevering in a city neighborhood to expand their family on my front porch. I usually write reviews on Review This!, but thought this was a revue all could enjoy.


Day 1 What Is On The Porch Light?


As I drove into the driveway I noticed something hanging on the front porch light. Hmmm. The something looked like straw. Upon further investigation I determined the something was dried lawn clippings and a few pieces of string. Hmmm. The light bulb had not quite shown brightly yet.

The light bulb began to glow a wee bit brighter when hours later I drove down the driveway and noticed quite a bit of activity on the porch light; I saw a bird flying to the porch light with a mouthful of string. When I returned hours later I discovered a nicely built nest on top of the porch light. (It took awhile for the light bulb to burn brightly, some days are like that!)


I wasn't sure this would be the best place for a nest - but what do I know. I love all animals, but admit I know little about birds. At this point I wasn't sure what type of birds had built the nest as I had not gotten a good look at the nest. Although the nest looks lopsided and perhaps flimsy the nest was actually anchored around the point of the top of the porch light.

 Mom And Dad Robin Continue Nest Building


The nest became a very popular hangout for Mom and Dad Robin. I had identified the birds as robins and they must have been doing a little internal nest housekeeping with the amount of activity to and from the nest from the trees nearby. I was still questioning if this was a great place for a nest. I tried to look at the location from the robins' point of view. Yes, the nest was high off the ground and well, that was about all I could come up with ...  I thought about not turning the light on at night or what would happen if the light was accidentally turned on? I thought about the UPS deliveries, the dog walkers, the dog who lives in the home of the nest! The porch light did not seem like a great location, but of course I was vested in keeping this nest safe.

As the robins did housekeeping in the nest I found both robins quite nonchalant about the location and the bustling activity in and out the door. I was warned robins could dive bomb you if you are too close to the nest, but these two robins were pretty laid back. Until.... the eggs were laid.

We've Got Robin Eggs


Disclaimer: The photos are not always are not always the best quality as the porch light is 8 feet high and I had to get on a step ladder and then blindly hold out the camera over the top of the nest while trying not to fall off the ladder! 

One egg and Two Newborn Robins


And then there were 3 baby robins. Okay, not exactly the cutest little fuzzballs!



But growing fast!


Starting to get feathers!


Dad Robin Is An Excellent Guard


As Mom robin tended to her duties on the nest it was clear Dad Robin was not going to allow anyone near the nests. He was either in a tree about 50 feet away chirping or on this bush 10 feet away standing guard. If you opened the front door or he saw you approach the front door from the interior through the storm glass he would start shrieking and start dive bombing the door. (Dive bombing bird = not good photos!) I was so curious to see the robins, but did not want to disturb their newborn family or stress the birds. 



Taking photos of the bird nest became a two person challenge. If both birds were gone I would very very quickly try to take a photo.

The Family Of Three Robins Grows


Since I could not see what image I was taking it was always a surprise when I checked the photos.


I can't believe how quick the baby robins grew. The average baby robin takes two weeks to reach the size of their parents. The nest was quickly becoming a tight fit for the three babies.


The babies would hold their heads up and cheep cheep waiting for mom to return.


By ten days old the feathers had grown and it was difficult to find the babies in the nest with all the feathers.



I don't know if there is a runt of the litter in the bird world, but one little robin always seemed to be buried in the nest while two of the babies were adept at sticking their heads up above the nest.


Day 12 brought a nest full of what appeared to be very mature robins. By this time the family had become very territorial of the robins and anxiously checked all day to make sure they were safe. However due to their size it was clear leaving the nest was in the imminent future.

Time To Say Goodbye!


Right on schedule Day 13 brought the departure of the baby robins. I did not want to disturb the robins as we anxiously awaited lift off so did not take any photos. My family kept their distance to nervously watch the departure. It was more of a kerplunk then lift off. Thankfully the exit was a safe kerplunk into the fluffy tree and then the babies and parents flew to the tree about 50 feet away.

Whew! I was definitely vested in this little ole family and was relieved it was a successful journey from egg to exit.
Collage of the birth of baby robins.


All that was left was the nest as a reminder of our time together! As if on cue after the babies exit the nest fell off the porch light on Day 14. 






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Thursday, October 4, 2018

Bagster Review

Have you ever started a home improvement project and found the debris begins taking on a life and area of its' own?  Improving one's home can be like opening Pandora's Box; one never knows what you will find lurking in, under, or behind an older home which brings the inevitable problem of how to dispose of construction debris.

We recently demolished an old and small wooden deck. Somehow the little deck turned into a very large pile of debris which seemed to keep growing and growing. Remodeling can be like cutting your own bangs; once you start it is hard to stop. Since we were demolishing the deck... well, of course we should cut down the old unwieldy bush and then could not ignore the well worn railroad ties around the garden bed which had outlived their usefulness.


Where and how to dispose of all these goodies? Even though the pile kept growing the size did not warrant renting a dumpster. At the suggestion of the carpenter the Bagster was investigated to help unload our pile of construction debris.


What Is The Bagster?

The Bagster is a disposable bag which can hold up to 3,300 pounds of debris or waste. The purchase of the Bagster allows access to the Bagster Pick Up and Disposal Service operated by Waste Management. It is an on demand debris removal also referred to as a dumpster in a bag.



Dumpster or Bagster

In my area it is difficult to rent a small dumpster due to the booming construction industry for both pros and DIYers. Small dumpsters are difficult to rent and one must also have the room to park the dumpster.

It was clear when the deck (it looked so small) was being removed and parked on the lawn this was more construction debris then anticipated. The pike kept growing ! Who knew such a little deck could produce so much construction debris? The dirt was also filled with concrete from the original construction of the house over 50 years ago.

Now what? Enter the Bagster.




Where To Find The Bagster

I purchased the Bagster from Amazon  for $29.95. For our project we needed 1.5 Bagsters so of course not wanting to pass up the opportunity to clean out the garage we made great use of the remaining area in the Bagster.


Note: Review the Do’s and Dont's as to the type of materials accepted in the Bagster. We had old pieces of odd shaped concrete which had been hanging around the garage for years we happily filled up the remainder of the Bagster. Actually everything we wanted to put into the Bagster was on the Do list for our area.

Schedule The Bagster Pick Up

The system worked flawlessly. I used the online scheduler at approximately midnight on a Monday. I received a confirmation email of the order and subsequent emails throughout the progress of my order through the process.On Wednesday morning at approximately 5:30 am I heard a rumble outside and it was the very large crane/truck arriving to pick up the 2 Bagsters. Shortly after the pick up I received an email completing the process.

Pricing Of the Bagster Pick Up

The pricing of the Bagster and debris removal is two fold: the cost of the Bagster plus the cost of the removal by Waste Management. The cost varies per area and the flat rate can be obtained on the Bagster website. Two Bagsters plus the pick up charge was lower than the cost of renting a small dumpster and so much more convenient!

The Yellow Bagster Handles

The Bagster deceptively indeed holds ALOT of debris.It is critical the yellow handles “touch” for the Bagster to be picked up by the truck as a large crane must be able to lift the
Bagster up by grabbing the handles.


This information is clearly stated on the Bagster bag instructions and the website and do not ignore! 

Coupons

Online scheduling allows a customer to take advantage of a discount off the pick up price of more than one Bagster. Coupons are also available online by searching Bagster coupons.

Recommendation 

I highly recommend the Bagster. It worked flawlessly from start to finish. I’m still surprised how much construction debris can fit into one Bagster. Quick, convenient and on demand debris removal fit our construction project perfectly.


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Saturday, August 18, 2018

DesignEvo: Free Logo Maker Reviewed

Need a logo in minutes? DesignEvo is a free online logo maker which gives users the ability to make a logo in minutes; whether a novice or graphics professional DesignEvo provides the online software to make, create and design a logo quickly and easily.

Easy As 1-2-3

 

DesignEvo promises that a logo can be made in minutes and what is promised is delivered. I actually timed the making of this logo with a DesignEvo template. I used my lifestyle website and tagline to explore designing a new logo.


How To Use DesignEvo


I launched the free logo maker, scrolled down to my chosen category (Letter), scrolled through the options, entered the website name (or Company Name),  tagline and voila! Total creation time including download and social share =  2.5 minutes.
After creating the logo I quickly modified a few parts of the design. I tweeked the size,  modified the dot icons, changed the background color and then proceeded to download the logo and the required social share.

The requirement for a FREE logo to download for your use is very simple; a social share is required prior to downloading and credit on your website or blog. After downloading you will find a zip file with the logo as a jpg, png and a readme file with the share requirements.


What You See Is What You Get

The design interface is very user friendly and intuitive. Once the logo is created a Preview is available to see your logo on business cards, letterhead or media products.

This is a very nice program for novices to instantly create a logo by using the provided templates; for those with more advanced graphic skills the online software has the features to further customize the logo.



Customize Your Free Logo

Your logo can be easily customized with the color, font and transparency options. If you have the HEX colors for your company then the color of your logo can be changed with a few clicks of the mouse. The interface is clean, self explanatory and easy to navigate; if help is needed video tutorials and FAQ's are available under Support.


Who Is DesignEvo?

The About page of DesignEvo gives insight into the evolution of DesignEvo. Pearl Mountain developed Fotojet, a free online collage maker and is also the creator of DesignEvo. The logo maker is free or users have the option to purchase advanced features for a one time annual fee. Logo features such as resolution, copyright, vector files are restricted to the paid version.


Recommendation

I enjoyed the ease of using DesignEvo, the user friendly interface and the instantaneous results of a ready to use logo within minutes.  Colors, fonts, icons and graphics are just a click away to personalize your logo to your brand or create a brand new logo with a customizable template.




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Monday, August 6, 2018

Mosaics By Maria Review

Looking for mosaic tiles? Glass tiles in the size, shape and color needed for your mosaic tile or glass projects can be difficult to find whether it be an online merchant or bricks and mortar store.

Quality glass tile can be difficult to obtain as brick and mortar stores which carry a wide selection, are very tough to find even in large cities.



I have tried more than a few tile sources and always return to the tried and true online store of Mosaics By Maria.When I was learning to create mosaic tile projects it was my teacher/mentor who referred me to Mosaics By Maria and it was a wise recommendation indeed.


Variety Of Mosaic Tiles


Mosaic tilers and stained glass artists know how much labor is involved with crafting pieces requiring small intricate glass cuts. Pieces take hours to make and the less time nipping glass the better!

Mosaics By Maria offers rectangles, squares, mini rectangles, skinnies in a variety of sizes between 1 inch and 1/4 inch; cut with accuracy for a clean and straight edge. For those of us who tend to wander when attempting to cut a straight line these tiles are perfect for backgrounds as is or can be easily nipped to adjust the size.



Off Cut Mosaic Tiles


Off cut tiles are the remnants or scraps from the cutting of tiles from large glass sheet. Mosaics By Maria always has a large selection of off cuts sold in bulk. The off cuts are all shapes and sizes which are a must have if you tile regularly. I love the off cuts in white and black as these are colors always needed when tiling and the off cuts are a nice saving for your time, tile budget and preventing tiler elbow!


Glass Tile Sheets Offer Convenience


Smaller glass sheets are also available and the main attraction is the smaller size! Glass sheets from commercial suppliers are usually large and difficult to manage for the hobby tiler. The glass sheets must be cut down multiple times before the glass can be sized to a smaller home mosaic pieces. Mosaics By Maria offers 6 inch square glass sheets which are easy to store and easy to use.
I like to use the sheets for projects such as Chauncey The Lion.



Chauncey is made with abstract cuts from a glass sheet to form the lion.



Giraffe Mom made with pre-cut tiles in squares and rectangles nipped to size.



Turning Your Dog Into A Mosaic Tile


Yes, I turned my dog into a mosaic tile as a Christmas gift for Grandma Dog. It may seem a bit overwhelming for a novice tiler to transform a pet into a mosaic tile, but I promise a DIY er can do it. If you are interested in turning your dog or cat (fish, gerbil, rabbit!)into a mosaic tile, I provide a tutorial here.




This project was a combination of using pre cut square tiles and a glass sheet cut abstractly for the background.


Recommendation

I highly recommend Mosaics By Maria for quality mosaic tiles. My orders have always been shipped quickly, the orders have been accurate and I love the selection of pre-cut tiles to meet all your mosaic tiling needs. Always a pleasure to support a company or service which delivers as promised.


My Favorite Tile Nipper


I'm frequently asked what tile nipper I would recommend. I have definitely tried quite a few and always go back to one of the most affordable nippers which performs well consistently. I have found the Roberts/q.e.p. Glass Tile Nipper far outperforms the much more expensive tile nippers.







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Friday, June 1, 2018

Review: ROK Hardware

It started innocently enough … but don’t all DIY projects start out with the best of intentions until you hit the DIY speedbump. Years ago the kitchen cabinets were refaced with new hinges and hardware and all was well. All was well for about 12 years until the first evil click sound occurred when the cabinet was opened. The “click sound” was in conjunction with an itty bitty little black dowel from the interior of the hinge which would break and fly to the floor. The cabinet would then not open as easily or as wide as designed.  So occasionally part of the hinge would need to be replaced. No problem.
Shop with ease at ROK Hardware for all your hardware needs. Great selection, great prices and great customer service!

The DIY Speedbump


The speedbump occurred when the company discontinued the style of the original hinge and replaced the beloved model with a new model.  Aesthetically  the hinges look the same and function the same, but through the years the “little black thingy” that broke off from the hinges became a known issue on the internet.

A known issue because the search was on for the original model. First, the hinges were still available from brick and mortar hardware specialty stores, but as those supplies diminished the internet became the place to find the hinges.

ROK Hardware To The Rescue

I found ROK Hardware while searching for a supply of the hinges to replace the remaining cabinet hinges in bulk. Clearly the lifespan of the remaining hinges with the “little black thingy” was at an end and I need a supply of hinges to complete the cabinet DIY. As you can see I ran into a little speedbump with the hinges and needed a few hinge plates (which is why the pantry door is NOT on the cabinet.)

ROK Hardware offers a huge selection of hardware at low prices and great customer service.

Why I Recommend Rok Hardware

  • Huge selection – Cabinets, Hardware, Home, Kitchen, Bath, Furniture Hardware, Tools
  • Easy to Search Inventory
  • Easy to Use Shopping Cart and Website
  • Very Quick Delivery
  • Low Prices Compared To Manufacturer Cost
  • Brand Name Merchandise
  • Can use with Amazon Prime membership for fast and free shipping

I have become a huge fan of ROK Hardware whose tagline is Build It Better For Less. I love a company that delivers as promised! If you are seeking a hard to find part or replacement part bookmark ROK Hardware to comparison shop and I doubt you will be disappointed by the selection, price or shipping speed.




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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Whimzees Natural Dog Treat Review

My little furball is in love with his new friend Whimzees Dog Treats! I am in love that I found a dog treat my dog can actually eat due to his new friend the low protein dog diet. Whimzees brand of dog treats are actually all natural dental treats so one a day is the recommended serving.



 All Sizes All Shapes

One of the fun features are the different sizes and shapes of Whimzees. Every dog has their unique preference of the size and shape of a dog treat and then there are those dogs which are generalists. My dog is a generalist; not necessarily picky, but does prefer the chew stick or chew round as the first options.


 Low Protein All Natural Dog Treat

Unfortunately due to a tangle with bladder stones my dog had to be switched to a low protein menu which included low protein dog treats and chews. The treats were not an issue as I had always restricted the types of treats; but taking away the favorite dog chew was a huge issue!

The Fluff (as I call my dog in jest, as he is not a wash and wear type dog and needs to be groomed and fluffed!) absolutely without hesitation indicated that a daily chew was a necessity.


The Search For A Low Protein Dog Chew Or Snack

It was very difficult to find any dog chews that were "low protein" as defined by under 15-20% protein content. When I was roaming up and down the treat aisle at the local pet store I lucked into one of the employees who was also a dog nutritionist. I was reading the ingredients of Whimzees and as we together went through the ingredients the dog nutritionist explained each ingredient and its' benefit. The Whimzees Vegetable Sausage is a dental dog treat so the Fluff eats the stick quickly, but is very satisfied.



Switching From A Protein Dog Chew To Whimzees


It was absolutely no problem to switch to the Whimzees Dog Treats. I chose the Vegetable Sausage as it was a chew stick and suitable for the size of the Fluff. The Fluff approved immediately and is a happy little chewer with the added bonus of helping to keep his teeth clean and his breath fresh.

Whimzees can be purchased in variety packs of different shapes or a  pack of the same type of dog treat. I began with the Vegetable Sausage and next time will order the variety pack for small dogs for a change of pace. Dog owners seeking a grain free treat will love Whimzees too!

The Fluff and I highly recommend Whimzees! 




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Thursday, March 8, 2018

Kerrygold Butter Review

Butter? Yes, please! Make it a triple! As you can surmise I am a fan of real butter and not the imitation. Butter fans will absolutely enjoy Kerrygold butter which I enthusiastically recommend; your potatoes, vegetables, muffins and baking dishes will thank you!
A new memorable find! Kerrygold Butter for your eating and baking pleasure!


Kerrygold Butter Review

Grass fed cows throughout Ireland contribute to a golden, creamy butter that deserves its' place among premium butters whether in the United States or United Kingdom.  I have found a huge difference in taste between brand name and store brand butters and now I must add a third comparison category for the premium butter.

The butter is premium in taste, but I was pleasantly surprised the price is not at a premium. The cost of Kerrygold butter is comparable to brand name sticks and tubs of butter! Kerrygold has also entered the big box stores and grocery stores and the prices can be even less expensive than brand name butter.  Kerrygold is also available online as are other Kerrygold dairy products.


The fat content of Kerrygold is slightly higher than comparable butters which contributes to the creamy, melt in your mouth taste and golden color. A quick nutritional comparison finds Kerrygold butter slightly less in salt and slightly higher in fat content. The remaining nutritional comparisons do not differ. A non salt version of Kerrygold butter is also available for those who prefer to bake with unsalted butter or are watching their sodium intake.


Kerrygold Products


I have long been a fan of Kerrygold Dubliner cheese and was pleased to see more products offered by this brand in my store. Just as I recommend Kerrygold butter I enthusiastically recommend Kerrygold Dubliner cheese.

This is a white cheese with a wonderful texture that tends toward the hard side, but is mild in flavor with a very slight nutty flavor. Dubliner cheese is a nice twist for your mac n cheese dishes and melts wonderfully for any dish that needs a cheese that melts well. I always include Dubliner on the cheese and cracker appetizer plate and time after time this is the cheese that disappears first.

I am obviously a fan of the Kerrygold line of dairy products and love a product that is grass fed!



My Favorite Recipes To Use Kerrygold Butter

Grandma's Irish Soda Bread Recipe
Old Fashioned Bread Pudding
Grandma's Mac N Cheese Recipe




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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Lark Rise To Candleford Review


Lark Rise to Candleford
Take a trip into 19th century Oxfordshire, England as its' residents battle the economics, challenges, changes and the rural landscape in this pivotal time in rural England.The Lark Rise to Candleford series is based on the semi-autobiographical novels by Flora Thompson and reminds us how difficult daily life can be in that era, but as always the human spirit prevails through challenges, heartbreaks and triumphs.

This series is uplifting, realistic, charming, entertaining, visually stunning. You will care about the characters and rejoice with their successes and tear with the heartbreaks. Some of the best shows on television have been momentarily forgotten and archived. This television series deserves a search through the television archives with the reward of an endearing series families can watch together and thoroughly enjoy.


Fans Of The BBC

If you are a fan of the BBC (British Broadcasting Company) historical drama then Lark Rise to Candleford is for you. This is a character driven series in which the characters are fully developed along with the depiction of Oxfordshire and its' surrounding communities.

Long before Downton Abbey captured a new generation of BBC fans the BBC has offered quality television dramas along with the classic Masterpiece Series. It is definitely worth a look through the archives of  BBC series and you will find many hidden treasures perfect to stream or purchase for todays' binge viewers. 

Lark Rise to Candleford Book

Many fans of the Lark Rise to Candleford television series found themselves so enthralled they were propelled to seek out the original book by Flora Thompson. Lark Rise To Candleford is a trilogy published in 1945 comprised of the books: "Lark Rise", "Over To Candleford" and "Candleford Green."

The trilogy offers 556 pages of richly described landscape, English villages and countryside. The book is a wonderful way to envelope yourself into the 19th century English countryside which is so integral to the television series. 

I highly recommend the Lark Rise To Candleford: Complete Collection and here are a few of my BBC hidden treasures perfect to curl up on the couch and enjoy!




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Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Stauber Best Bulb Changer Review

Does a light bulb going out in the ceiling elicit a sigh? Or a groan? Or I can't wait to change the light bulb? High ceilings and burned out light bulbs used to elicit dread at trying to change the light bulb, but the Stauber Best Bulb Changer is a true game changer.




This little gadget will turn sighs and groans into the routine delight of changing light bulbs in ceilings, flood lights in the driveway or any unreachable light socket with a burned out bulb.

Can You Change Me Now?

Absolutely.  I used the Stauber Best Bulb Changer to change a recessed light bulb 10 feet above the dining room table.  The two recessed lights cannot be reached without a ladder and the dining room table cannot be moved so changing the light bulb is a major logistical problem. It usually takes two people, one ladder and gymnastics to change the light bulb.

Usually when one of these lights go out the first decision is to ignore the situation.  Ignoring and tolerating the situation works until inevitably the second light bulb goes out. The thought of dragging out a tall ladder or hopping on the dining room table makes changing the light bulb a most unwelcome task. No more! The Stauber Best Bulb Changer to the rescue.

Safety First

What I absolutely love about the Stauber Best Bulb Changer is the ability to safely change a light bulb in the ceiling without a ladder! Only one person is needed to change the light bulb and I changed two recessed lights in literally minutes which included assembling the light bulb changer and reading the directions.


Tools & Tips

The Stauber Best Bulb Changer does not come with an extension pole. The pole can be bought separately if necessary. However, a broom or mop with a threaded end is all that is needed. I simply unscrewed and removed the bottom of a broom and was ready to attach the bulb changer.

The first tip is to read the directions. The second tip is to thoroughly read the directions. At first glance this little light bulb changer is deceiving and the thought expressed by many consumers is, "How can this little gadget work?" It does and it worked flawlessly. The little white cloth included is important to dust off the dead light bulb so the the suction cup can work properly.

The little white string is also deceiving and many customers wonder, "What the heck is that?" The string is used to disengage the light bulb from the suction cup once the light bulb is removed. This is where reading and following the directions is crucial (Raise your hand if you can't wait to use a new product and ignore the directions!) Do not ignore the white string!

Recommendation

I highly recommend the Stauber Best Bulb Changer. Prior to purchasing I researched light bulb changing gadgets and read many reviews of the top rated light bulb changers; I am most pleased I purchased the Stauber.



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