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.

A Nautical Themed Fathers Day Project Idea: An Anchor Shaped Coat Hook Tutorial

If you are looking for a fun and creative gift for Fathers Day easy craft project idea for personalizing an unfinished wood monogrammed anchor and turning it into a decorative robe hook, then this is the perfect gift idea for the nautical person in your life.

This project is pretty easy to make and just requires a little planning if you want to order a wooden Anchor like the one I am using here.  The anchor is from the Unfinished Wood Co. in Georgia.  Their products can be found online and in some craft stores.  If you are unable to find the monogrammed hook, you can find any similar shaped hook and monogram it yourself, using paints and your favorite font.

For this project, I am partnering with Plaid Crafts who have supplied the paints, brushes and anchor for this easy to do project.

·      Anchor Monogram
·      Folk Art Home Decor Wax Paint in White
·      Folk Art Outdoor Gloss Acrylic Paint in Pure Gold (1654)
·      Natural Jute Cord
·      Robe Hooks
·      2 Screws
·      Drill
·      3/32 Drill Bit sized to the screws
·      Medium grit sandpaper or sanding sponge
·      Fine grit sandpaper or sanding sponge
·      Pencil
·      Screw driver

Step 1:
 Using a sanding sponge or sand paper in fine grit, sand the entire surface of the wood piece (this hook was pretty smooth and only needed a little sanding).

Step 2:
 Before painting the surface of the anchor, remove any dust or sanding residue left on the surface of the wood.  Paint two coats of the Cascade Chalk Paint and allow the paint to dry between coats.

Step 3:
 Take the medium grit sand paper and sand the areas of the hook that you want to look worn.  I did all the edges of the anchor that I wanted the wood beneath to show through and some of the surface.

Optional: If you want a more worn effect, use the screw driver to leave some dents onto the surface of the anchor.

Step 4:
Paint the monogramed center of the Anchor with the Gold Paint.  Apply enough layers to make it opaque. 

Step 5:

Using the small wax brush, apply a thin layer of the Folk Art white Wax on the outer area of the anchor (make sure not to get any on the Initial) and immediately remove any excess wax with a clean soft cloth.  Make sure you are careful during this process and allow the white to remain in the surface recesses.  Set aside and allow it to dry.

Step 6:
To seal and protect the anchor project, apply a very thin coat of the clear wax paint to the entire surface of the anchor, let dry for about an hour. Then use a very soft clean cloth and work a small area at a time to buff it out to a nice shine.  Allow the wax to cure for seven days before taking it outside or exposing it to moisture.

Step 7: 

Place the hook in the desired location on the anchor. Using a pencil, mark the hole locations.  Using the 3/32 Drill Bit, make pilot holes.  Then remove any dust left on project from sanding and drilling the pilot holes.   Then attach the hook to the anchor.

Step 8:

To finish the project, I wrapped some of the anchor with natural jute cord and added a bow that was embellished with shells that my kids had collected on one of our trips.

TIP:  You can change out the bow for each season, to change the look of the anchor.

10 Reasons to Shop at the Original Renaissance Pleasure Faire.

The Original Renaissance Pleasure Faire is going on now and it is an event where you can shop at a variety of vendors who sell handmade jewelry, 

Crystaline Glass by Jon Price

pewter ware and other unique handmade collectibles.  

So here are my 10 Reasons to Shop at the OriginalRenaissance Pleasure Faire:

1)      If you want to experience a unique, entertaining and very interactive shopping experience, then you should think about visiting the Original Renaissance Pleasure Faire.

2)      If you love dressing up in costume, Cosplay and/or role-playing a character from the same time period, then you can gig with the merchants while you shop.  

      It only adds to fun while you search for some unique finds to add your collections.  

      Or some fun items to add to your child's costume like the wooden swords and shields below.

       Plus you can get your picture taking with a variety of other faire goers from different time eras as well.

3)      If you are looking for some themed clothing, then there are also a great selection of clothing vendors who sell renaissance themed clothing 

       and festival wear.  

      Many of their items can be worn to other similar type festivals, Comic Con and other such events. 

4)      If you have ever wanted to shop while eating a Turkey leg, then you will find the Turkey legs are freshly cooked and quite tasty.  If you are a messy eater, bring a bib.  The Turkey legs can be a bit juicy.
5)      If you love handmade jewelry and want to add something unique to your collection then this is the place to be.  Here are some of my favorite merchants:
pale-moon makes jewelry for men and women

a.    Pale-Moon – where customers can find some beautifully hand carved bone pieces by Christopher Miller.  
             You can pick out your favorite pieces and have them strung to 
      create your own one of kind necklaces.  I have a large 
      collection of necklaces that I add a piece to each year.

b.    ArtoFactoryWearable necklaces and art pieces that are made of old engine parts that are up cycled into beautiful jewelry by the artist Eghan Thompson.

6)      If you have ever wanted to take a shopping break and attend a live “Joust Tournament” while drinking cold ale then you are at the right place.  The Joust takes place several times a day. The ale and food stands are conveniently located nearby to serve you.  Pick a knight you like, and be prepared to cheer him to victory.

7)      If you have wanted to try out archery but just don’t have time, then you can take a break from shopping and for a small fee you can give it a try.  There are also games booths that offer axe throwing, fencing, fishing wells (for the kids) and other fun activities.  There  is also a hidden gem called "Kids Kingdom" where Children can find craft activities, shows geared especially for them and so much more.

8)      If you get tired from shopping you can also find a lovely hay bale to sit on and watch a variety of shows, which vary from belly dance performances to audience interactive shows like “MooNiE the Magnif'Cent”.  

      Where you may be lucky enough to be picked from the audience to be his onstage assistance. 

9)      If you love freshly handmade soaps, oils and creams, there are several vendors at the Original Renaissance Pleasure Faire who offer these types of wares.  You can find lovely herbal soaps and even soaps made with honey and oats. There are also live demonstrations by some of the guilds on the process of making soaps, drying herbs and more.
10)  If you have been searching for that perfect color of yarn to knit something fun and unique.  The Guild of Saint Cuthbert’s has live demonstrations on spinning yarn. They also make available for purchase, some beautifully hand spun and hand dyed yarns for faire goers.  

       If you want to spin at home, they do have hand turned drop spindles for sale too.   And if the experience of going back in time to the Renaissance gives you an urge for a cup of tea, the Guild of Saint Cuthbert’s also offers a daily “Tea with the Queen” experience which can be quite fun to attend. 

      You never know who you might run into.

So all in all, if you like to be entertained while you shop, consider visiting the
Orignal Renaissance Pleasure Faire in Irwindale, California and spend the afternoon shopping in an atmosphere of playful fun and entertainment.

These are my ten reasons for shopping at my local Ren Faire. What are yours?

Note: this is not a paid post, I just enjoy going to the faire, meeting new people and above

Vox Box

If you love getting products to try for free then I recommend joining Influenster, where I recently got the treat VoxBox which was filled with great snack type treats. Influenster is a free-to-join community where you can write or read about all types of products.  There are all types of social media loving people giving their reviews and offering advice/tips.   All you need to do to join is to sign up at the  Influenster Website.  If you look to your right, I have a emblem on this page which will take you directly there.  Once you join, you can start writing reviews of products you actually use.  

Influensters looks at the reviews and picks people to get sample boxes from them.  For instance if you do a lot of reviews on cosmetic products, then you are more likely to get offered a cosmetic themed VoxBox. Not everyone is offered a VoxBox.  It depends on your reviews, social media experience, and more.  You do not need to have a blog to participate or be chosen.  

The folks at Influenster do contact people that they have selected for a particular VoxBox,in advance. This is to see if the potential reviewer is actually interested in a particular upcoming VoxBox before they send them out.  They also list their review requirements for each particular VoxBox in advance so you can make a qualified decision if you want to receive that particular VoxBox. Some are different from others, last month I got an offer for a sports bra related VoxBox that required photographing myself in the sports bra and posting it to social media.  Hmmm....this was not something I would want my kids to see, so I did not sign up for that box. 

Anyway, once the box is received, then you photograph the outer box and the contents.  This is so you can do reviews with photos on the products later.  Each box is specific as to the type of media they want you to review the products on.  For example for the Treat VoxBox, I had to photograph the various contents and include their tags and hashtags.  Then I posted those to Instagram, amazon, twitter, and my blog along with my personal opinion of the products.   

I am selective about which boxes I will commit to receiving because of my school schedule.  I don't seem to have a lot of free time lately.  Plus, this way I get the products I am interested in and more likely to repurchase in the future.

In this box I received:

  • Yum-V's Probiotic Bear Treats
  • Weleda Sea Buckthorn Hand Cream
  • Hills Brothers Cappuccino K cup Sampler
  • Hills Brothers Cappuccino Single Serve Packets and a coupon to share with a friend
  • A coupon for a free Country Crock tub of my choice.

I am a hug coffee fan and really appreciated the sample of 4 of the Hills Brothers Cappuccino k-cups that came free in this Treat VoxBox from Infuenster. 

The English Toffee flavor was the flavor I really enjoyed and used my coupon to purchase more. I have found that there are so many regular Cappuccino and vanilla cappuccino flavors being sold that I really wanted something different. The English Toffee flavor is really good and not over powering.

Hint: use the lowest selection in your Keurig to get the most flavorful cup. I found the medium setting added too much water which took away from the flavor. I liked this K-cup for a nice afternoon pick me up. For me this is a dessert in a cup which is perfect for my busy mom schedule. I have added a picture of the nutritional info and of the k-cups sampler I got so you can get an idea of what the calories and fat content are in this coffee.

The price of the 12 cup pack is a good deal for the quality of the cappuccino. Some people have posted that they have had k-cups melt on them in their Keurig.  Thankfully, I have used six of them without any problems (however, I have a newer Keurig and the heating system is more consistent than my old one was).  [ #CozyCapp #TreatVoxbox / @Influenster ]

The coupon for the Country Crock was also appreciated because they have this great flavored spread called "Country Crock Cinnamon". My daughter loves taking it camping because it is great on bread, pancakes and crackers.  And it is easier to put in tupperware so it can be carried in her backpack than other products might be.  The hardest part is finding in our local Ralphs store.  They do not carry it consistantly, even though we keep asking them to.

The next product is the "Yogi" tea.  I already buy Yogi tea and it was fun to try some new flavors. Their teas are herbal and I find I can enjoy them without the addition of sugar or other sweetness.  I also enjoy the uplifting tea tag sayings that they attach to each tea bag.  

The Yum-V's Probiotic Bear Treats were very tasty.  

They are really sweet and have a light chocolate (bordering on Vanilla) flavor.  I enjoyed the flavor but probably would not purchase this because my daughter ate the other three in minutes so I doubt a box would last long in my home.

If you are a fan of Sea Buckthorn berries then you might enjoy this hand cream.  It does have a citrus scent that is light.  I wash my hands a lot so my hands always feel dry, so I gave it a try. It worked fine but I had to use almost the whole packet to really get them to feel moist.  The product is sold in a 1.7 Ounce tube for around $12.     

Warning: if you are allergic to bees wax then be forewarned that Weleda Sea Buckthorn Handcream product does contain beeswax.  

Once again, if you enjoy trying new products and reviewing them on social media, you may want to consider joining the Influenster community.  If you are, then click on the Influenster button to your right and it will take to the website.

Note:  I was send these products for free by Influenster to sample and review.