Jul 24

Fellowes Neptune3 125 Laminator ★★★★★

Fellowes Neptune3 125 Laminator, 12.5-Inch with 10 Pouches (5721401)

I’ve owned a few cold laminators. I’ve always wanted a thermal laminator. Let me just say, if you are deciding between cold and hot, go for hot, unless whatever you are laminating can’t take the heat. The sheets are more clear, more stiff, more durable, and don’t ever wrinkle when they come out.

I love it! I am never going back. The Fellowes Neptune3 125 Laminator heats up quickly. I just have to feed the pouches in one by one. Voila! There’s a tray in back to catch the end product. I get a professional laminated page.

Also included is a cold lamination function. No cold press pouches were included for me to test, but I prefer hot anyway.

I only wish the tray folded up somehow. It’s a wire tray that we have to take off and find a way to store.

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

Jul 24

BalanceFrom High Accuracy Touch Multifunction Digital Kitchen Scale ★★★★☆

BalanceFrom High Accuracy Touch Multifunction Digital Kitchen Scale with Extra Large Backlight Display (Silver)

This BalanceFrom Kitchen Scale measures in pounds, ounces, and grams. From an angle, I can read water, milk, fluid ounce, ounce, and timer, but those features are unavailable and hidden when read from directly above. According to the vendor, these units were put there just in case they wanted to include them.

The glass top makes wiping down messes easy. It’s a longer shape to fit bowls and such. The tare function helps with that. It weighs products up to a maximum of 11 pounds or 5 kilograms.

Accuracy is good enough for the kitchen. There’s no way to calibrate it if the numbers are off. You’d have to call the company. I have a 500 gram calibration weight and it consistently shows 497 or 498 grams on this scale.

This product was provided for review by BalanceFrom.

Jul 24

Damai Universal Cable/Pens Organizer ★★★★☆

Damai Universal Cable/Pens Organizer Stable (Small, Black)

The Damai Universal Cable Organizer works mostly for thin, short cords. It’s literally a stretch for my longer micro USB cords, and rolling up when all five slots are full makes a fat wad. There’s a bungee cord to keep the roll together, which is another cord I need to keep track of. I wish the bungee was sewn on.

I don’t like it as much as I thought I would because the cords don’t slide in as smoothly as I’d like. Maybe if all my cords were a foot or two long, it would work better. Still, I use it in the car every day to control the cable clutter. That’s worth something. 3½ stars.

Jul 24

Vinsic 5-Ports 40W USB Charger ★★★★★

Vinsic 5-Ports 40W USB Charger, Smart Power Desktop USB Charger Adapter for iPhone 5S 5 4S, iPad, Samsung Galaxy, HTC, Nexus, Motorola, Cellphone, Tablets (White)

So far, so good! I’ve been charging everything I can think of and the Vinsic Charger charges all. The other day, it was loaded to the max with two tablets, two cell phones, and an LED desk lamp. No problem, and the charge was quick.

The cable is long enough to reach to my desk. It doesn’t use a bulky AC adapter like many of them do (thank you!), and there’s no indicator light. I don’t think they can win with me on indicator lights. On the one hand, I like knowing if the darn thing is on. On the other hand, this is great of the bedroom. Ah, total darkness. I’m waiting for them to make an indicator light I can turn on at the touch of a button. Haven’t found it yet.

I like how it’s smart, so I don’t have to search for the iPhone port or the Samsung port or the universal port. I usually ignore those labels, probably to the detriment of optimal charging. This way, I get a fast charge without even thinking about it.

This product was provided for review by Vinsic.

Jul 24

VIVOTTI 4/4 Violin ★★★★☆

VIVOTTI 4/4 Full Size Solid Wood Ebony Fitted Carbon Fiber Tailpiece Violin Outfit, Including Lightweight Oblong Violin Case, Ebony Frog Violin Bow, DESPIAU Bridge, Rosin, and Strings, Matte Brown Finish

The VIVOTTI Violin comes with everything a student violinist needs to get started, except the shoulder rest. It features a double zipper, zippered outer pocket, two bow spinners, a shoulder strap, and rosin. The compartment inside is large enough to store a shoulder rest. I like the snug fit for my violin and the Velcro strap to keep it secure.

I’m nowhere near professional. In fact, I would label myself a beginner, as scales are about all I can play. The warmth I hear from real musicians is not there, but the tone is good enough for my student ears.

The biggest drawback is the slippery pegs, which makes tuning very difficult to nearly impossible. As hard as I push in, it won’t grip. There is an inexpensive solution in the name of something called peg dope, but I didn’t have any and didn’t want to go out and buy some. Instead, I tried rubbing a candle on the pegs. This helped enough to tune, but it was still difficult. It really needs peg dope.

This product was provided for review by Appearances International.

Jul 24

ePhoto Photography Studio Continuous Lighting Umbrella Kit ★★★★☆

ePhoto Photography Studio Continuous Lighting Umbrella Kit + Free 45 Watts 5500k Fluorescent Photo Lamp Bulb by ePhoto INC Dk1

I bought the ePhoto Photography Studio Continuous Lighting Umbrella Kit on the advice of a friend, as I take lots of photos of products. It folds up well, it’s lightweight, and it comes with a light bulb. I don’t think the bulb puts out enough light, though. It’s CFL. Maybe replacing it with an LED would work for me. If I can get enough light out of it, it would be perfect for my needs.

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

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.