Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Citysketch London: A Doodle Book for Dreamers: A Fun Pocket Travel Journal

Citysketch London is a cute light weight doodle book with nearly 100 creative prompts to inspire sketches of the city.  If you are planning on going to London or just dream about it, this is a fun book to inspire your own quick sketches or doodles.

The Book offers over 90 creative prompts to help the reader with ideas.  I love to use sketch books as traveling journals where I can put tickets, jot down thoughts and other fun paraphernalia  that I may collect on my trips.  This Citysketch London has some interesting information on different locations in London and gives the reader some some ideas for choosing a location or subject to sketch.

The prompts are easy to do like in the "Borough Market" section, the authors talk about some of varieties of foods sold in the area.  It also offers a great tips like warning the reader that the market is busy on Saturday mornings and will be crowded so the reader can plan accordingly.  Also the prompt for that section is to "complete a sketch of your favorite foods" with a few other ideas.  The prompts are all straight forward and easy to do. The main points is that the authors are trying to encourage the reader to actively participate in their surroundings and take note of the many small and interesting things London has to offer. The book provides some space for doodles or to adhere paraphernalia. I would say you have a half page of drawing space for most prompts.  Which is enough room for a quick sketch or to use for a short journal entry.  The video will provide a better idea of the space available for it.

Of course you do not have to do the prompts but they are fun and provide some interesting information along the way.  If you do take it on the road with you, I recommend using a pen loop or band to attach a pen or pencil to the sketch book to make it even easier to sketch when inspiration hits.

What types of sketch or journal books do you like to take on the road with you?

Monday, November 10, 2014

Origami 365 Kit by Taro Yaguchi | Book Review

Origami 365: Includes 365 Sheets of Origami Paper for A Year of Folding Fun is a wonderful way to become familiar with Taro Yaguchi's Origami Method where they teach by each individual fold and not by
projects.  The reader is encouraged to
master each fold first and then once the reader has mastered it, then they
should move onto the next one. 

You may wonder why this is important? Well the more
difficult Origami folds are much easier to tackle if you have a good base to
work from.  All the origami folds in this
book begin with some basic folds called a “Kata”.  The reader is encouraged to use patience to
learn the folding techniques and master the various techniques covered in this

The Kit Contains:

  • 1 full-colored book
  • Clear step-by-step instructions
  • Easy to follow diagrams to learn the basic folds
  • 12 Origami Projects
  • 365 Sheets of origami paper in a variety of different colors,
  • patterns and sizes

Origami is a wonderful way to teach young and old alike,
spatial relationships.  The process of
learning the different folds in the order that Taro presents them is a great
way to teach young people how to follow directions, interpret patterns and how
to make three-dimensional pieces.  This
kit is a great way to introduce someone to Origami with everything they need in
one easy to use and store kit.

Monday, November 3, 2014

COPPER SOLE™ Sock Review

I am fairly picky about what type of socks I buy for my family members because any sock has to be well constructed, be made of quality materials and still be comfortable to wear. The Copper Sole socks really fit that requirement nicely, addition to all health benefits they offer. 

The Copper Sole socks are a specialty sock made of 58% Copper Poly, 26% Polyester, 15% Nylon and 1% Lycra Spandex that are made in the U.S.A.  The Lycra is what makes the fit so nice.  The socks are unisex so men and women can wear them.

The Copper Poly is what gives the feet benefit while wearing these luxurious socks.  The socks themselves are very soft and comfortable. However it is the Copper Poly claims that I am really interested in.  The company claims that the socks are Anti Fungal and that they help athletes prevent getting Athlete's Foot (yes you can still get Athlete's foot if you don't wear foot protection gear in public showers....the sock can't work miracles) from strenuous workouts and sweat.  

I like to hike and that can be really hard on my feet.  I wear a quality pair of boots but have had a hard time finding socks that really provide a good amount of cushion to the sole of my foot when doing these hikes.  I have purchased several different types of socks from specialty stores and they were not cheap.  One pair was $25 at REI, however, I expect to pay more for the type of protection I was seeking for my feet while hiking.

Luckily for me, I was recently sent three pairs of the new Copper Sole socks to test out and give my opinion on by the folks at BzzAgent.  My first test was to take a close look at the stitching on the toe of the sock.  If you hike a lot, you know that stitching can cause problems if it is not done correctly.  I was happy to find that the stitching was done so that it lays fairly flat and will not rub on the tops of my toes.

The next test was to check out the tufting on the sock. It has to be soft and thick.
Again, I was pleased to find it was thicker than my most expensive pair of hiking socks.

As for the Anti Fungal nature of the product in the Cupron Anti Fungal Fibers (EPA Registered), well I don't have the problem so I can not answer that issue directly.  However, the socks did keep my feet dry and were very comfortable to hike and walk in.  Since my feet were so well protected, it allowed me to walk with out any issues of tired and sore feet.  This is a plus when you are very active. I really like these socks and plan to buy a couple more pairs to have on hand.  The retail price on these is around $25 a pair.  They are not cheap but then again, they are not everyday kind of socks.  The price point is about right for specialty socks. I also have some discount coupons that I can apply towards a future purchase that will bring that price down a bit.

There are a lot of other similar socks being sold on Amazon. However, the quality can really vary.  Look for the trademark on the sock to ensure that you are getting the real Copper Sole sock.  Below is a picture that shows the trademark on the cuff of the sock.

Note: These socks are really thick and will be less comfortable if you shoes are too tight.  

If you are a physically active person, stand all day on your feet or need socks with the speciality Cupron Anti fungal Fibers then these socks are worth a try.  Once again, I would like to thank BzzAgent for sending me these socks to try.  I don't think I would have known about them otherwise.

Update: I have had these for almost a month know and have worn them to work and for hiking.  They have held up well to multi washings and wearing them with different types of shoes and/or boots.  I am really impressed with the quality of these socks.

By the way, if you are interested in trying out new products, getting great coupons or just like to give your personal opinion on products, you should sign up with BzzAgent.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A "Harry Potter" meets "Dr. Who" Themed Magical Tea Party at Whimsic Alley in Los Angeles, CA

Whimsic Alley is not just a Harry Potter merchandise store, it is more of Harry Potter meets Doctor 

Who Experience.  The store stocks Harry Potter, Doctor Who,

Games of Thrones and other cool merchandise, like the "Bad Wolf" teapot,

wands, toys and so much more.

When you walk in the door, you are immediately greeted by the fun and friendly staff at the store.

The store is closing its "Great Hall" at the end of October and expanding the merchandise area,  so this was our last chance to attend an afternoon tea in the hall.  The tea I attended was a "Harry Potter" themed tea.  It even came with handmade invitations.

The hallway leading to the "Great Hall" is very Harry Potter themed and features a cute alcove that features some great photo spots like the one below.
The side wall also has been covered in wall paper that depicts Hogwarts (another great photo spot).

Another spot depicting the owl and poster of Sirius Black.

The tea offered traditional tea fare of tasty sandwiches and treats.

It was decorated in a Halloween theme.

You could even have Butter Beer.

They even had a treat trolley that came through offering some fun Harry Potter themed merchandise.

Our tea was a Halloween Costumed Themed Event which made it even more fun with all the fun
photo opportunities the store offers.  One of our friends decided to dress as a "Weeping Angel" from

the Dr. Who fame.  Since the store had a Tardis, these made for some fun and silly moments like the Alice in Wonderland meets a Weeping Angel moment below.

If you are looking for hard to find Harry Potter merchandise then this store may be helpful to you.

5464 Wilshire Blvd, 

Los Angeles, CA 90036


Saturday, October 11, 2014

Candy Aisle Crafts by Jodi Levine : Create Fun Edible Craft Projects for Your Family

Candy Aisle Crafts by Jodi Levine

Candy Aisle Crafts: Create Fun Projects with Supermarket Sweets by Jodi Levine helps you start your holiday plans with some very creative and easy candy craft projects. Jodi Levine was a craft editor for Martha Stewart for 19 years.  She is very experienced and Knowledgeable in creating exciting craft projects.  With her new book, the focus is on on Candy crafts and the many sweet creations that can achieved with them.  The reader gets to pick the complexity of the candy project they want to tackle.  From a simple candy bowl made from hard candies to themed lollipops.  This book is geared towards families, you don't have to own fancy equipment (beyond an oven to melt candy) to do the projects in this book. Most of the supplies to make the projects in this book can be purchased at your local supermarket or Target.  Below is a picture of one of the projects in the book.  I have removed the instructions so you will have to look at the book to actually read them.  However, the photo gives you a great example of how well the steps are photographed and presented.  A child could easily follow these instructions (except for the oven part) to create these darling flowers.
Easy Cookie Flowers by Jodi Levine

This book has enough projects and tips to help the reader plan some fun holiday crafts.  A lot of these projects would be great scout craft projects to celebrate the upcoming holidays.  There are some great kids projects that require minimal tools, that they can do on their own.  I found that most of these projects are perfect family craft night.  You can work with your children to create some really fun projects to use for gifts or just treats.  There are some projects in the book that involve melting both hard candies and chocolate, so I would recommend working with the kids if they decide to try some of the more advanced projects like the "Dot Flowers" project on page 16.  That project involves melting hard candy in an oven, so it is best to have the kids work with an adult to avoid any potential injuries.

I love that "Candy Aisle Crafts" provides excellent DIY tips and project tutorials for fun edible gifts for a birthday party or holiday celebrations. The are some fun ideas for combining cupcakes and candies to make darling table top decorations for a baby shower or birthday party. There are also projects for decorating some whimsical cakes.  I am not a fan of wearing candy as jewelry but if you are then there are two candy necklace projects you may want to look at in the book. There are some great projects for crafting with preschoolers.  If you love to home craft then this book will appeal to you.

Personally, I love all the creative ways that the author uses gumdrops throughout the book.  One of my favorites is the Necco Gumdrop Bees that are created to decorate drinking glasses at celebrations.  The book has some great photos that clearly show the proper steps to achieve success with the candy projects.  If you need some great kids craft inspiration or just love crafting with candy, the easy to follow instructions and photos will inspire you to try creating all types of fun candy decorative treats.

Note: I received this book free from in exchange for my honest review.  

Monday, October 6, 2014

Fun and Fantastical Hats to Knit by Mary Scott Huff Provides Great Knitting Hat Patterns for Men, Woman and Children.

by Mary Scott Huff is a great collection of knitting patterns for hats.  This book offers some great creative and whimsical patterns to knit for kids and adults then consider this book. It offers a great selection of knitting patterns for hats.  I was looking for a creative kids knitted hat pattern to make and I was delighted to find so many fun patterns to choose from. My favorite is the Mad Hatter Style Hat that is a great knit hat pattern for kids. I love that the author has included the pattern for the ears, which really make the hat more whimsical. My daughters love the pattern and can't wait for me to finish the hat (hopefully in time for Halloween).

Animal and character knit hats are becoming more and more popular and luckily this book offers some fun cool patterns. There is also a great Green Man Pattern, Medusa Pattern and the Chlamydosaurus Pattern that I found to be quite fun. The Green Man pattern is for the more advanced Knitter. The Gargoyle hat is cute and not too scary for the little ones.   The book does offer some easy knit hat patterns as well that make great knit hats for boys and girls.

Here is a short list of the patterns that you will find in this fun book:

Architeuthis (a Cephalopod), Baldy (Eagle Head), Blue Crab (would look great in other colors too), California Roll (a Sushi inspired hat), Cherry Pie (looks like a homemade cherry pie), Crown Royal (looks like a kings crown), Elfin (cute), Flower Fairy (whimsical), Frilly (Chlamydosaurus), Gargoyle (adorable), Green Man (Challenging but do able), Hedgehog Helmet (cute), Jellyfish, Medusa (fun), Mercury, Rabble of Butterflies, Scotty, Sugar Skull, Tea Party (my kids love this one), and Tortoise (another fabulous idea). Additionally the Book has some very helpful technique and stitching information for the reader.

I really love the creativity and easy to follow patterns that this book offers. If you are new to knitting and do not know how to read a pattern, there are great videos on YouTube that teach it. I would recommend this book for anyone looking for new fun hat patterns to knit.

What type of patterns do you enjoy knitting?  Leave a comment below to let me know.

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Ultimate Sock Puppet Book: Clever Tips, Tricks and Techniques for Creating Imaginative Sock Puppets by Tiger Kandel and Heather Schloss | Book Review

The Ultimate Sock Puppet Book: Clever Tips, Tricks, and Techniques for Creating Imaginative Sock Puppets by Tiger Kandel and Heather Schloss.
Sock puppets have always been successfully used in story telling, as well as fun to make. We used puppets a lot at the local library story telling hour when my kids were really little. Now my kids want to continue the tradition by making some sock puppets to entertain their younger cousins.

As the title says, this books does offer some great techniques and tips for making sock puppets. However, the book offers so much more than some simple sock puppet patterns. It is filled with techniques and tips which can be applied to many other types of creative projects. Which is why I am including a flip video with this review, to give you a better idea of the vast variety of ideas and projects this books offers the reader.

In the introduction the author points out that in the "Ultimate Sock Puppet Book" you won't be told specifically what to make or exactly how to make it. Instead this book offers a base of techniques to build upon. The book is offers an anatomy section for making all the animal body parts in all sorts of fun ways. They make it easy for the reader to find a specific section on how to make a tail or add teeth. It also covers hair, fur, eyes, noses, mouths, teeth, wings, arms, legs and more! If you wanted to make a certain animal that wasn't featured in the book you could pull together all the elements and you would be all set to create your own version of that animal in a sock puppet. If you wanted to create something from your imagination you would also be well equipped with all the techniques you would need to create fantasy critters and creatures.

The book covers both sewing and gluing construction methods and since the kids are not big fans of the sewing, they will be using the gluing methods for sure! However, the sewing is pretty simplified so if you have basic sewing skills, they are easy to follow. I recommend this book to anyone looking for a new inspirations on how to create their own sock puppet menagerie or just be inspired. The Ultimate Sock Puppet Book projects are also fun family orientated craft projects that are both fun and educational.