My reviews are based on my personal experience with a product or event. I am not a professional product tester nor do I get paid for any of my blog posts.

The items that I post reviews on, have either been purchased on the internet or through a local vendor. Additionally I will review items that I got on sale, as a gift or as a sample from either the manufacurer or some other source.

Note: always read the manufacturers directions on how to properly use a product and craft carefully. Additionally, I am an Amazon Associate and may earn a few cents (literally) from your clicking on my Amazon links. Since they raised the minimum payout from earnings to $10 I haven't seen a credit for a while but eventually I will get one.

Every penny counts when trying to set a budget to get supplies to use for my reviews, tutorials and hauls. However, you do not have to use my links. You can use your favorite search engine to find the best price for your budget.

CHA Show 2015 | My Top Favorite Product: 3D Bracelet Wire Jig

This the CHA Show had some interesting companies competing for the Hot New Product award, so I thought I would share a few of them with you over the next week.

The first is the Artistic Wire 3D Bracelet Jig with 20 Pegs, and Holder Tubes that I thought was a fabulous product for jewelry making.

The new Artistic Wire 3D Bracelet Jig with 20 Pegs, and Holder Tubes is the perfect tool to create bangle Bracelets, Cuff Bracelets, and other curved jewelry components.  You can create your design in the round.  Thus creating continuous hand made bracelet pieces.  Additionally, the jig can be used to create hoop earrings, curved earring designs, and curved bracelet elements.  The Jig itself is around 6.9cm in diameter, which creates a 2.75 inch diameter piece. It has evenly spaced rows and columns of holes, which hold the 20 pegs, and fasteners that are included in the kit.

As you can see in the video, the Jig is easy to use; you just secure each peg by attaching the fastener from the inside of the circle.  Then wrap the wire around to create your design.  The Artistic Wire 3D Bracelet Jig with 20 Pegs, and Holder Tubes will be available on Amazon and stores in the next few months.

What do you like best about this product, leave a comment below to let me know.

CHA Show | Yarnia (Chronicles of Narnia) Knitted Character Exhibit by Sprinrite (Pattons)

If you look closely you can see Vickie Howell by the tree.

If you loved the "Chronicles of Narnia" stories then you would have loved this years Sprinrite 2015 CHA Show booth theme which was "Yarnia".  Sprinrite are the makers of Patton's yarns, Bernat yarns, Carons yarns, Sugar & Cream yarns and other great yarn lines. They really outdid themselves at their 2015 CHA Show Booth this year.  They had so many elements of the story represented, from the wardrobe to the animals.  The clothing, the tent, the characters costume pieces, and all the animals were knitted or crochet using various yarns from Sprinrite.

Fans of history and the books, know that children (Susan, Peter, Edmund and Lucy) were evacuated from London during World War II and sent out to the country for safety. The costumes and even the luggage from this display were completely knitted. Here is a close up of the 1940s Knitted Little Girl Outfit and knitted luggage.

The attention to detail on this display is amazing. The knitted school girl outfit shows a lot of thought as to the colors that would have been used at the time.

The 1940s knitted women's costumes were also amazing. I am a huge fan of the clothing from that time period and just loved this display.

Even the famous wardrobe was covered in knitted layered pieces.  Additionally, the even the animals in this exhibit were knitted or crochet using their yarns. This includes the wolf,

del pinto

the fox,
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and the badgers.  They used a variety of their yarns to create these animals and were incredible to see in person.
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Knitted Beavers

The knitted War Queen outfit has all types of cool details.

war queen
War Queen

The White Queen Costume skirt is knitted in a chunky yarn which gives it such great texture.

Mr Tumnus
The display took them around 10 months to create and it was well worth it.  I just loved all the detail and seeing the yarns used in such a creative way, really opened my eyes as to how I can incorporate their yarns in my costume making endeavors.

My Review of the Reese's Peanut Butter Chocolate Spread

The Reese's Peanut Butter Spread is a wonderful taste sensation for those of you who love Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.  I was lucky enough to be chosen by the Folks at Influenster to send me a sample of the Reese's Spread to food craft with.
The minute I opened this spread, I was able to smell the chocolate peanut butter aroma.  The chocolate is not over powering, just as in the Reese's Peanut Butter cups.  I hoped it would taste as good as it smells, and I was so pleased that it did taste wonderful. A beautiful blend of chocolate and peanut butter.   The spread itself is very creamy and wonderful to spread onto cakes, cookies and other desserts.  I tried some on some pound cake that I had cut out with cookies cutters to make a fun holiday treat.
My kids loved the Reese's Peanut Butter Chocolate Spread and started putting it on everything. We found it is great on pretzels and potato chips.  The salt on these snacks blends really good with the spread and it quite tasty.  We also used in on fresh and frozen berry's, apples and some other fruits.  My favorite was frozen strawberries layered with the Reese's Peanut Butter Chocolate Spread and topped with whipped cream.  A very simple and tasty desert.

If you like trying new products and/or giving your opinion on the products you use, click on the word Influenster . I have linked it to provide you a direct link to join Influenster.  Once you join, just start giving honest reviews and let them know you are interested in sampling products.  Maybe next time you will be chosen to get an Influenster box full of products to try out.

Thank you to Influenster and Reese's for providing me with the Reese's Sample to food craft with and review.  They were shared and enjoyed by friends and family.

Kitchen Science Lab for Kids: Family Friendly Science Experiments with household materials | Book Review

Kitchen Science Lab for Kids: 52 Family Friendly Experiments from Around the House (Hands-On Family)  by Liz Lee Heinecke  is a wonderful resource for any parent who is looking for a way to introduce science and crafting to their children.  The 52 projects in the book are broken down into Sections.  The projects in each section are between 3 to 6.

Here is a list of the sections:
Unit 1-Carbonated Chemical Reactions
Unit 2 Crystal Creations
Unit 3 Physics in Motion
Unit 4 Life Science
Unit 5 Astonishing Liquids
Unit 6 Polymers, Colloids & Misbehaving Materials
Unit 7 Acids & Basis
Unit 8 Marvelous Microbiology
Unit 9 Shocking Science
Unit 10 Bodacious Botany
Unit 11 Sunny Science
Unit 12 Rocket Science

The projects are so much fun.   For example, in the section called “Acids and Bases” which has a fun project called “Acid Oceanification Experiment” that teaches the children how to visualize acidification by carbon dioxide.  It is an easy to follow experiment that teaches simple science in a fun participatory manner. 

Additionally, Each Section is color-coded and that informs the reader about Protocols, the Science behind the experiment, as well as step-by-step instructions on how to do the experiment.  I was also grateful that the author included Safety tips with each experiment.  As a parent who homeschools, I think this book is a great way for kids to enjoy science through some fun and easy experiments that will show them that Science is fun.

Sara Lee Pound Cake Dessert Mini Star Cake Tutorial and Review by Maria Del Pinto

Sara Lee Pound Cake is a very versatile base for many fun dessert and holiday treat ideas.  I was recently sent a free sample of Sara Lee Pound to test by the folks at BzzAgent.  I had not tasted one since I was a teenager, so I was willing to give it a try and make something with it.  My kids love the concept of cake pops but they are often too sweet or too small to really satisfy.  So I came up with this fun and easy mini star cake.

Supplies Needed:

  • Sara Lee Pound Cake
  • Reese's Peanut Butter Chocolate Spread
  • Candy Sprinkles
  • and a
  • Star Shaped Cookie Cutter
  • Butter Knife

After you have let the pound cake sit in the refrigerator for a day (you don't want to use it frozen nor let it come to room temperature), carefully slice it into three layers.  Then separate the three layers. Using the cookies cutter, cut out the star shapes.  Save the left over cake to make cake balls (there are a lot of easy recipes on the Internet for that).  Place back into freezer for 10 minutes, this will keep the Sara Lee Pound cake pieces from getting too crumbly when applying the spread.

Then take a butter knife and carefully spread the Reese Chocolate spread onto the cut outs.  Then re-stack the pieces to form a three layer treat. To finish the mini star cakes, just some candy sprinkles to the mix and you are done.

I decided to pair the pound cake with a chocolate spread, because I wanted to use the new "Reese's Peanut Butter Chocolate Spread" which I knew would taste great with the "Sara Lee Pound Cake".

The Sara Lee pound cake is such a versatile product.  I love that I can keep it in the freezer or refrigerator for last minute desert inspirations.  The cake is nice and dense and has a great flavor.  It also takes flavor very well.  For Christmas we used it to make some fun cake pops and added some of the Starbucks Caramel Syrup which was allowed to soak into the pound cake over night.  The next day we added a few more ingredients and had the tastiest cake ball treats to serve our guests.

Thank you for BzzAgent and Sara Lee for providing me with samples and coupons of the Sara Lee Pound Cake.  They were shared and enjoyed.   #GotItFree 

If you would like to test and review products, then you should contact BzzAgent for more information.  They are great to work with and their website is super easy to use.

Fabric Printing at Home: Quick & Easy Fabric Design Using Fresh Produce and Found Objects by Julie Booth | Book Review

fabric printing at home, julie booth

Fabric Printing at Home: Quick and Easy Fabric Design Using Fresh Produce and Found Objects - Includes Print Blocks, Textures, Stencils, Resists, and More is a great resource for fabric printing, fabric painting and fabric stamping ideas.

I attended a clothing swap where they had a bunch of different art stations that members could use to upcycle their new finds.  Seeing the amazing things that members made really changed the way I look at clothing and fabric. 

It inspired me to go on the hunt to find a fun way to upcycle some of my favorite pieces.  This book shows different methods to fabric stamp and fabric paint. 

Here is a partial look into the table of contents for Fabric Printing At Home:

·      Introduction: Kitchen Potential
·      Chapter 1: Getting Started
a.   Setting up a workspace
b.   Assemble your basic tool kit
c.   Paint techniques
·      Chapter 2: Kitchen Textures and Found Object Printing.
a.   Three printing techniques
b.   Create a collage design with layered textures
c.   Found objects and kitchen tools
d.   Small scale Items: Nine-Patch
·      Chapter 3: Beyond the Potato Print: Using Vegetables and Fruit to Create Fabric Designs
a.   Creating Background Textures and Vegetables
b.   Making Marbled Fabric with Cabbage Prints
c.   Carving Print Blocks from Vegetables
d.   Slicing and Dicing: Printing with Vegetable shapes
e.   Lovely leaves
f.    Brayer Rubbings
·      Chapter 4: Wrap It Up! Wraps and Foil
a.   Freezer Paper Fun: Masks and Stencils
b.   Playing with Plastic Wrap
c.   The Wonders of Wax Paper
d.   Folk Art Foil: Embossed Designs in Aluminum Foil
·      Chapter 5: Recycled and Repurposed
a.   Cardboard: The Thick and Thin of It
b.   Junk Mail Jackpot
c.   On a Roll: Fabric Designs from Cardboard Tubes
d.   Making Your Mark: Designing Print Blocks from Recycled Foam
e.   Artful Aluminum: Create decorative shapes from recycled cans and pans
f.    Printing with Recycled Materials
·      Chapter 6: Irresistible: Fabric Resists using kitchen ingredients.
a.   Resist Recipes
b.   Resist Application Techniques
c.   Painting a Resist-Covered Fabric
d.   Setting Paint on Resist-Covered Fabric
e.   Removing Resists
·      Chapter 7: Contributing Artists
·      Resources
·      Acknowledgments
·      About the Author
·      Index

In addition to all the unique objects this book suggests printing fabric with it also explains about repeats and patterns with those prints. This really exponentially increases the types of designs you can make.   I found that fabric painting is an entertaining and inexpensive way to upcycle and/or accent some of the things I own.  Fabric printing at Home is just the book to help me with my new endeavors. I am looking at everything in my house, including the food, in a new way!

If you want to check out some free projects from Fabric Printing at Home, just go the Craftside Blog to view them.