Jul 24

220 More Crochet Stitches ★★★★☆

This review was originally posted February 7, 2009.

220 More Crochet Stitches: Volume 7 (The Harmony Guides)

by The Harmony Guides

I love the clear close-up photos of the finished product in 220 More Crochet Stitches , which help me decide if I want to try making it. A great book for those trying to design their own shawls, scarves or sweaters and just need a good idea to get started.

I like having the diagrams under each pattern. I follow those much better than the written instructions. Most of the patterns don’t repeat simply on every row. They tend to take several rows to repeat. Beginners should gain a little more experience before attempting.

Jul 24

200 Crochet Tips, Techniques & Trade Secrets ★★★★★

This review was originally posted on February 7, 2009.

200 Crochet Tips, Techniques & Trade Secrets: An Indispensible Resource of Technical Know-How and Troubleshooting Tips

by Jan Eaton

This review was originally posted on February 7, 2009.

200 Crochet Tips, Techniques & Trade Secrets is my absolute favorite crochet book. What fabulous photos and instructions. It’s great for beginners as well as more experienced crocheters. Not only does it go over the basics of crochet (the hooks, stitches and yarn types), it also helps more experienced crocheters design their own garments, with tips on shaping and drape. I personally do not use it to design my own garments, but I find the tips useful for modifying patterns and spotting problems. All the necessary elements for the design of garments from start to finish are included. Excellent! If you own only one crochet book, this should be it.

Jul 21

Remington F3-3900B Rechargeable Foil Shaver ★★★☆☆

Remington F3-3900B Rechargeable Foil with Pivot and Flex Technology

My husband has owned foil shavers before. He doesn’t like the Remington F3-3900B Shaver. Complain is more like it. From the beginning, all I heard was him grumbling about how it hurt, how it sometimes pulled instead of cut, how it’s not a close shave. Okay, I get it. He doesn’t like it. Three stars, he says. I’m guessing he’s being generous.

This product was provided for review by the Amazon Vine program.

Jul 21

Rokit Boost SwageU Bluetooth Headphones ★★★☆☆

Rokit Boost SwageU Bluetooth Headphones – Built in Microphone – Compact Unique Design – Wireless Bluetooth Headset – Music and Hands Free Call Streaming (White)

I thought the back part of the Rokit Boost SwageU goes on the head, but we wear it around the neck. The earphones are attached to the frame via weak magnets and connected to it with thin cords. Remove the earbuds and place them in the ears. It looks a little funny, but we don’t have cords dangling everywhere, just a frame around our necks. When done, store the buds on the frame.

Bluetooth paired easily. It always reconnects. Range is very good. Controls are easy to reach. Music sounds fine for this non-audiophile, at least when I’m sitting still at my desk. Just don’t go for a walk.

What’s that? If you’ve ever worn earplugs, you know how the sounds of the body are magnified. That is the sensation I got when I went out. I heard myself walk, every step on the pavement. The wind blew across the ears and the hair brushed against the cord, it was severe cord thump.

Sit still and all will be good.

This product was provided for review by Rockit Boost.

Jul 21

Laser USB 2.0 Wired + Wireless Bluetooth Barcode Scanner ★★★☆☆

Laser USB 2.0 Wired + Wireless Bluetooth Barcode Scanner for iPhone iPad Android Tablet PC, Bluetooth Adapter(for PC user), Power Adapter and USB Cable Included, support Mac OS X, Linux, Android and IOS 7 Grey

While my other scanner needed a USB dongle, this Wireless Barcode Scanner can work off a Bluetooth signal. I paired it with my HTC One. It works, but I can either use the scanner or the virtual keyboard, not both. To be honest, I wouldn’t normally use this with my phone for scanning. I’d just use the phone app for scanning and skip the handheld scanner.

Using it with a PC, that I’d do. In case you don’t have Bluetooth, or even if you do, there is a Bluetooth dongle included. I was told by the vendor it will connect with Bluetooth on my computer, but it needs to use the dongle to work with inputting. I didn’t have success pairing my Windows 7 PC, whatever Bluetooth dongle I used. It did work with my Windows 7 Starter Edition netbook. Pairing involves scanning five different barcodes, then turning off and on. Once I had it paired, everything was flawless. Reconnection is pretty quick, as well.

Also available is a corded option (USB cable included). I have to use the cord for my PC. The cord gave me no problems, but I like doing things wirelessly.

Between this scanner and my old one, I prefer the old one. Bluetooth pairing takes more time than I want, the Bluetooth dongle is larger than I’d like (smaller than a standard flash drive, larger than a thumb drive), and I don’t see a need to use a handheld scanner with my phone. For whatever reason, the Bluetooth dongle works on my netbook but not my PC, where I would find it most useful. Wired scanning is an option, if the wireless connection fails. I’m glad that was included.

PROS:
+ Bluetooth or USB wired options
+ works with my Android and Windows 7 Starter Edition
+ iOS option (I did not test this)
+ Bluetooth dongle provided for PC
+ comes with USB cable

CONS:
- did not work with my Windows 7 PC
- pairing is multi-step
- does not allow keyboard entry on Android once paired

This product was provided for review by TEEMI.

UPDATE 7/21/14: I have been corrected by TEEMI. There is an app that’s supposed to allow the Android keyboard to function when the Bluetooth scanner is connected. This app requires us to allow installation from unknown sources. It is not available with the product but was emailed to me from the vendor. It is called Cilico.

I installed the app, followed the multi-step instructions, repeated this a few times, because my scanner would fail to connect. Using normal pairing, the scanner pairs. Using this app, the scanner does not pair.

At this point, even if the app works, I would not raise the star rating. Bluetooth should be simple: one step. This is far too complicated, even if it works as it should when set up correctly.

Jul 21

Super Flex Silicone Oven Mitts ★★★★★

Super Flex Silicone Oven Mitts, 1 Pair, Dark Red, with Quilted Liner, Protects up to 450° F + Free Sauce Brush + Waterproof

These Super Flex Silicone Oven Mitts are a good fit on my medium hands. The silicone prevents slippage, is waterproof and easy to rinse off. The cloth liner provides comfort. I have other silicone mitts. Between this set and my old set, I’d say this one does let in a tiny bit more heat. Moving the rack in a 400° oven, I can feel it just a tad. On the other hand, the silicone on these mitts is much more pliable. I have much more dexterity and a better grip on my pots and pans.

The brush it comes with is a little small. I have similar brush that’s larger which I prefer, but this little one grabs up sauce well enough. I spent an entire afternoon cooking up ribs, marinating every two hours using my new oven mitts and brush. What a nice set.

This product was provided for review by Nurturing Planet.

Jul 21

Prime Garden 4-Piece Heritage Hammock ★★★★★

Prime Garden™ 4-Piece Heritage Hammock Essential Package,100% Cotton Rope, Polyester Pad And Pillow Combo, Green Coated Steel Frame, Rust Resistant, Accommodate 1 Person, Weight Limit 275 lb

My two kids and myself have tried this Prime Garden™ Heritage Hammock and it is a winner. It is large and comfortable. It supports sitting and lying down. It holds one person . . . or in my son’s case, him and the dog.

Setup could not have been easier. It is completely tool free, not even a screwdriver. Just snap the bars on and hook the chains on the hammock.

It’s a little hard to get on the hammock, because it’s only attached to the stand at two points. I had one before this that had four attachment points. That made it more stable, less likely to tilt, but it felt more like a cot. The freer movement of the two point design is quite relaxing.

This hammock is attractive, easy to set up, wonderful to use. I love it.

This product was provided for review by Prime Garden.

Jul 21

Planters Honey Roasted Peanuts ★★★★★

Planters Honey Roasted Peanuts

Whenever we go on a camping trip, we bring along Planters Honey Roasted Peanuts. They’re portable,don’t need refrigeration, and are a quick grab-and-go snack. Did I mention they’re delicious? As my daughter says, “soooo addicting.” Everyone was eating them, except my son, who’s allergic to peanuts. Even when we got back, we put what was left on the counter and I caught my father-in-law munching on them. There’s a reason we save these for special occasions: 110 Calories for 39 peanuts. For every yin, there is a yang. Can there be no evil in good? Let’s just say, it’s worth it.

Jul 21

Master Lock 1534D Password Plus Combo Lock ★★★★☆

This review was originally posted February 7, 2009.

Master Lock 1534D Password Plus Combo Lock in Black, Blue, Red, White, Colors May Vary

What an ingenious idea. No more trying to memorize random numbers. It’s easy to create your own combination. Just slide the wheels on. You get to choose from letters, numbers and characters. Not all letters are represented, though.

I use Master Lock Password Plus for the gym. I haven’t gone for awhile, but I still remember the combo — my own creation that makes sense to me! I can’t tell you how many combination locks I’ve had to toss because I no longer had the combination.

This little lock fits on the locker at the gym just fine and is secure enough for locker room purposes.

Jul 21

Standard Helium Balloon Kit Party Accessory ★★★★★

This review was originally posted February 7, 2009.

Standard Helium Balloon Kit Party Accessory

It’s no fun lugging a bunch of helium balloons in the car. They barely fit and I can’t see to drive. I thought I’d try this Standard Helium Balloon Kit Party Accessory out one year at home. Wow. Real helium balloons without the hassle.

It’s easy to use. Just place the balloons on the valve and push down. It even comes with its own set of balloons.

I bought mine from Michael’s with their 40% off coupon and the price comes out less than inflated balloons from the store.

Try these out. Don’t worry, the entire box and tank are recyclable. You may never want to buy inflated balloons again.

UPDATE 6/27/12: I just bought another one of these once again. This time, I decided to use all the helium in the tank and whatever balloons are provided. The box says it will fill 30 9″ balloons. It came with 30 balloons and white curling ribbon. I was able to fill all thirty balloons (yes, they were on the smaller side), plus fifteen more balloons I had lying around at home. Total: 45 balloons! I did run out of curling ribbon at 27 balloons, but I had some extra curling ribbon at home.