Tuesday, July 29, 2014

108 Crochet Cluster Stitches from Leisure Arts

Having a stitch library is a valuable resource for anyone who crochets. Once you have followed a few patterns and can start to see how things are put together, you will more than likely (I know I did) want to try your hand at making a pattern that is unique to you. As I told you last week, this month I am going be sharing with you my favorite stitch guides from my favorite craft book site Leisure Arts.

This week I want to talk about clusters. When you crochet you can use clusters of stitches to make all sorts of lovely effects from a lacy appearance to a tighter textured design. I wanted to make something a bit lacy but not too delicate for a shawl for a dear friend.

108 Crochet Cluster Stitches has so many lovely clusters to pick from. They are all written with easy to follow instructions for all levels of crocheters and they range from the lacy types to the tight clusters. In addition to having these 108 clusters for you to design with, it also allows you to see how clusters work, which means you can even design your own clusters. This is a truly valuable resource.

At the start of each pattern you will see it lists your chain multiples, which makes it super easy for you to see these patterns no matter the size of your project from dish clothes to afghans, you will easily be able to get the starting chain perfect every time. Plus, if you are super new to design, there is even instructions in the back that teach you how to plan and afghan using the stitches found in this book.

Have you ever designed a pattern or worked freehand? What do you think you would design with a great resource like this? No matter what type of craft or pattern you are looking for, take some time to browse Leisure Arts' great selection and make sure you also connect with Leisure Arts on Facebook and Twitter so that you never miss a special or new pattern! Also, if you sign up for their knitting or crochet newsletters, you get a free pattern on Fridays!

Please come back next week to see another awesome book that every creative crocheter needs in their stitch library.

Disclosure: I may receive products in exchange for an honest review. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I personally believe will be good for my readers.

Monday, July 28, 2014


Have you ever looked at some one else’s crafts and thought, ’wow, I wish I could make something like that.’ Because I do all the time. Sometimes I just need a little inspiration, but sometimes I truly have no idea where to start. When I was given the chance to try CreativeBug I was so excited.

On the CreativeBug site you will find easy to follow video tutorials that will have you crafting like a pro with ease. They are super easy to follow and the variety is staggering!  No matter what your craft you will find something! They have sewing, paper crafts, yarn crafts (you know I love yarn), quilting (which I always wanted to learn), jewelry, and even a section for kids crafts. Each project even has a materials list too so you know before you start the video what you will need. 

Plus, if you are just looking for a craft for a certain thing, like say, Halloween, you can search that way. I even found a section on gift wrapping which is exciting because my wrapping efforts always tend to look like a hot mess. If you want to have a sneak peek at what the tutorials are like they even have a free section!

Of course you know I ran straight to the crochet section and found Gaga For Granny Squares. I love crochet and I keep seeing people say how easy granny squares are but I just could not get it… after watching the tutorials I feel pretty confident in saying I got those granny squares down now! Watch out! A huge granny square blanket is in the works.

I hope you will take some time to browse CreativeBug because I just know you will find something you love, chances are you will find so much you love that a subscription will be in order! You can also connect with CreativeBug on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Ozeri Artesio Soft Touch Electric Pepper Mill and Grinder

You all know by now that Ozeri offers some great household products. Most recently, I was offered the chance to try their Artesio Soft Touch Electric Pepper Mill and Grinder. You might recall me trying, and loving, their manual Duo Grinder. I was so excited to see this one because it is electric! I'm probably late to the game here, but I have never used an electric grinder before!

The Artesio grinder breaks down into three parts: the outer case, the pepper chamber, and the battery/motor unit. The soft, non-slip outer case is a flat black that would look nice with any kitchen or dining room decor. I love the sleek look; it looks more like a decoration than a grinder. When you press the silver button, the adjustable, ceramic grinding mechanism goes to work, giving you even results every time.

Another cool feature is the built in light for lower lit dining areas. If you are having a romantic dinner, the light shines on your plate so you don't over salt or pepper your dish! Also on the bottom is the adjustment knob to change the grain size. Turning it clockwise, towards the minus symbol, gives you smaller grains while turning it counterclockwise towards the plus sign gives you bigger grains.

I love how easy my Artesio Soft Touch Electric Pepper Mill and Grinder is to use. It looks good, it works good and I couldn't be happier. I also like that I can use it with either salt or pepper! I can see another one of these coming in handy so I don't have to choose! Be sure to head on over to Amazon to pick up your own Artesio grinder and see all of the other awesome products that Ozeri offers. 

Disclosure: I may receive products in exchange for an honest review. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I personally believe will be good for my readers.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Skinfix Inc.

Rashes, dryness, eczema, and bug bites are just a few of the skin problems that we face. Having dry, itchy skin is irritating and can leave you wishing for any kind of relief. Skinfix Inc. is here to make your skin woes fade! Starting back in 1850 England, Thomas Dixon made a skin healing ointment and the rest is history! His wonderful ointments have been loved by many ever since!

I was lucky enough to have the chance to try Skinfix's line and I am so happy with my results! The first product I tried was the Body Repair Balm. The balm is dermatologist tested and steroid, fragrance, paraben, and phthalate free. The packaging is also BPA free. You can use this stuff for just about anything! Eczema, minor burns, bug bites, dryness, itchiness, cracked heels and so much more! I have been using this on my eczema prone legs and dry elbows and it has worked miracles! My skin feels so soft and moisturized afterwards and it helps calm down my eczema making it less irritated and itchy. I have even used it on mosquito bites to help the itchiness go away! I love this cream and never want to be without it again!

The next product I tried was the Diaper Rash Balm. This balm is pediatrician and dermatologist tested, fragrance, nut, gluten, paraben, phthalate, and steroid free and also has BPA free packaging. This balm is a miracle. It is just that simple. My son, who has sensitive eczema and rash prone skin, had a rash I just could not get rid of. I tried everything I could think of, to no avail. I was about to take him to the doctor but then this arrived. This took the redness away in only a few hours and completely cleared it up in 2-3 days. I swear by this now.

My son and I have eczema that can get pretty uncomfortable and even painful at times. The Gentle Eczema Balm is formulated specifically for sensitive, eczema prone skin. It is pediatrician and dermatologist tested, fragrance, nut, soy, paraben, phthalate, and steroid free. It also has BPA free packaging and does not contain hydrocortisone. The eczema cream my son's doctor prescribed is a steroid cream and I don't like the idea of rubbing that all over him but it was the only thing that worked for him...until now. This balm works just as well as that cream but is all natural! I can feel good about using this on him.

The last balm I tried was the Rapid Repair Balm. This balm is dermatologist tested paraben, phthalate, steroid, gluten, and fragrance free and has the same BPA free packing. This balm is just as awesome as the Body Repair Balm. It can fix just about any skin ailment you may have. Between these two balms, you will never have to worry about irritated skin again! If you try any of these products, I recommend one of those two.

The last product I tried was the Gentle Hair & Body Wash. I received a few little sample size bottles of this product and I will definitely be repurchasing it. It is pediatrician and dermatologist tested, fragrance, nut, soy, sulfate, paraben, phthalate, and tear free. If you have a child with eczema or sensitive skin, you know that bath time can end up drying out and hurting their skin more than it helps it. I am not only able to bathe my son everyday without worrying about drying out his skin, but he feels so soft and smooth afterwards. I love this soap and I am pretty sure he likes that his skin feels better!

Skinfix Inc. has been a lifesaver for my families skin. Any kind of irritation I have encountered since having these products on hand has been taken care of with one of them. Be sure to check out Skinfix Inc's website and also follow them on Facebook and Twitter to never miss out on any news!

Disclosure: I may receive products in exchange for an honest review. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I personally believe will be good for my readers.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Food Should Taste Good Brown Rice Crackers

I seriously love my savory snacks, all kinds of chips and crackers. When snacking, I do try and make wise decisions about what I eat. That is one of the reasons I love Food Should Taste Good. I recently had the chance to try the new Brown Rice Crackers. I love that the main ingredient is brown rice flour! But the very best part is that they taste awesome! They really, really do taste great. 

There are four delicious varieties. The first we tried was the Tomato & Basil, which has a lovely crunch and wonderfully seasoned tomato flavor. These also have sesame seed, quinoa, and amaranth! They really are something special. After I savored the flavor on a few, I tried it with some cottage cheese and found it was just divine that way.

The Peppercorn Blend went straight to Andrew because I am a lightweight when it comes to heat. He really enjoyed them and ate the whole box in one sitting. He is a growing man after all. This blend has pink, white, green, and black peppercorns! He said they had a perfect amount of heat and he liked the sesames seeds in them as well.

The last two we tried were the Sea Salt and Roasted Red Pepper flavors. The Sea Salt was a lovely simple flavor that while it was great on it's own, we both liked it dipped in salsa.  Both of us love bell peppers and together we made fast work of the box, all on it’s own, no dips. It was wonderful and had a lovely pepper flavor.

The next time you are shopping for a snack that has all the taste you want and none of the strange ingredients, take a look for some Food Should Taste Good snacks. I have tried so many of their flavors from tortillas to crackers and have never found one I didn’t love. Take a moment and browse their website.

Make sure you visit Food Should Taste Good and have proper drool over all the delicious varieties. You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter so that you never miss a new flavor or special offer.

Disclosure: I may receive products in exchange for an honest review. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I personally believe will be good for my readers.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

First Things First Moon Pie Family Pack {Giveaway}

First Things First (FTF) is an award winning not-for-profit organization dedicated to strengthening families. FTF is a resource that collaborates with and is supported by a broad cross-section of community organizations, groups and individuals and accomplishes it mission through meaningful media messaging and skill building classes.

Did you know:
• 24 million children are growing up in homes without their biological fathers.
• Only 30% of divorces are due to infidelity, addiction or abuse, 70% of divorces are due to couples feeling disconnected.
• Couples who manage to devote time specifically to one another at least once a week are markedly more likely to enjoy high-quality relationships and lower divorce rates, compared to couples who do not devote as much couple time to one another.
• Fathers provide unique benefits to their daughters through their active and positive presence from the time of birth all the way through adulthood.

Often when we first met our spouses dating in a so easy and natural and as things progress and life happens it kind of takes a back seat.  Check out this awesome video about dating your spouse.

Summer is all about family and spending quality time with the ones you love. The more skills you develop the more time you invest in your family and your relationships. First Things First wants to make sure that you have some quality bonding time with your family! They are sponsoring the giveaway of a Moon Pie Family Prize Pack, enter below for your chance to WIN! 

MoonPie / First Things First Family Prize Pack includes: 
- His and Hers MoonPie T-shirts (2 Large T-shirts) 
- 2 Boxes of MoonPies

Each household is only eligible to win One (1) First Things First Moon Pie Prize Pack via blog reviews and giveaways. Only one entrant per mailing address per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

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This post is sponsored by First Things First. My Empty Nest is not responsible for prize fulfillment.

Lugz Pronto Lo

Comfortable sneakers can be hard to find and finding a comfortable pair that also looks good is even harder. Thank goodness for Lugz and all of their stylish, comfortable shoes. On top of that, their shoes are also affordable and they offer shoes for the whole family! What's not to love?

My husband got the chance to try out the Pronto Lo in the color Black / White / Mars Red. The top part of the upper is a kind of shiny fabric and the bottom part is a smooth leather fabric. The cushioned insole is white on the outside and red on the inside. These shoes also have a padded tongue and collar so your special man's feet stay comfortable all day! The texture on the bottom also makes sure that even the clumsiest of men stay upright. 

My husband absolutely loves his Lugz and has been wearing them almost everyday. This is a big deal since his military boots have been his go-to shoes for almost 5 years. He said that they not only keep his feet feeling comfortable but are also breathable and keep his feet cool in the intense Georgia heat. I can see him enjoying these shoes for quite a while and I welcome the sight of something other than combat boots on his feet!

You can’t go wrong with the quality and selection you will find at Lugz. Browse around and I think you will easily find something not only for the special man in your life, but the whole family as well! Also make sure you connect with Lugz on Facebook and Twitter so you never miss a new style!

Lugz has kindly offered one of my readers the chance to win a pair of their own Pronto Los. Please use the Rafflecopter below to enter. Open to US residents 18 and older. Winner has 48 hours to respond before another winner is drawn.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I may receive products in exchange for an honest review. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I personally believe will be good for my readers. My Empty Nest is not responsible for prize fulfillment.