Archive for ‘Shopping’

November 16th, 2012

Wii U Gift Guide 2012

I’ve never done a gift guide before, but since I’ve been stalking the internet in search of new releases, I thought I might put my favorites in a central location.  If they help anyone else with their gift-giving, then even better!

WiiU handheld

Wii U – We had a chance to try out the Wii U this summer at a Nintendo event in Atlanta.  We drove over thinking that the boys would really enjoy it, but really weren’t prepared for how much fun we had!  I’ve been a big Nintendo fan ever since I got that first NES back in the day, but none of the follow-on consoles or handhelds were as much fun for me as the original.  That changed for me when I got to play the Wii U – I had a blast!  We pre-ordered the Wii U and I can’t wait for it to arrive!  It’s even worse that I can’t share my excitement with the boys because it will be a secret until it arrives on our doorstep!  I’d like to think I might be able to wait until Christmas, but that just won’t happen – haha!

Even though they don’t know when the Wii U will arrive in our house, they have put together their game wish list for that happy day.  I appreciate that so many of the games seem allow single-player, cooperative, and competitive play through the same game.  That will make game play with all ages much easier!

Rabbids Land – We’ve loved those crazy Rabbids on the Wii and can’t wait to see what craziness they get up to in the amusement park!  The boys are going to be SO excited when this one arrives!  Be sure to check back because we’ll be sharing our thoughts and impressions on this one.

WiiU Ninjas

Nintendo Land – This was my personal favorite at the event in Atlanta.  It’s actually many different games all on the same disc, which I think gives it more playability for the long-term.  I really enjoyed the Ninja Castle game, where you use the Wii U pad to shoot throwing stars at your enemies.  (That’s me playing in the photo.) There’s more to the game, too, but that was my favorite part 🙂  My 4 year old son played Donkey Kong’s Crash Course over and over and over at the event.  My husband liked that one best, too, I think.  It’s unusual that we all agree on which game we like best, but 3 out of the 4 of us chose Nintendo Land.

The Wonderful 101 – I did not have a chance to play this one, but it was Alex’s favorite.  He would play for awhile, go try something else, and go right back to it.  He tried to explain it to me, but I think it’s one of those things that you just have to play to fully understand.  It was still called by its code name, Project P-100, when we played and I think that gave it something extra in the eyes of a 9 year old.

I’m sure that we’ll be adding many more games to our list once the release date gets here.  I’ll be sure to update both our wishes and our experiences as we go!

June 28th, 2011


A few days ago, I ran across Libre tea glasses somewhere on the internet.  (If I remembered where, I’d give credit and thanks, but it was a case of following one link after another and I lost track!)  This might sound strange, but I haven’t been able to get them out of my mind since!  They are very functional glasses, of course, as they allow you to brew and drink loose-leaf teas all in one travel container, but they’re also beautiful.  I love the simplicity of the design.

I also love that they are eco-friendly and the parts of the glass that come in contact with hot liquids are all health conscious – glass, stainless steel, or BPA-free polycarbonate.  The outside wall of  the glass ‘n poly option is made from BPA-free polycarbonate for added durability.  If you’re braver than I am and/or don’t have small children, the glass ‘n glass option is also available and just as beautiful.

I can’t tell you how well the Libre functions…yet!  There aren’t any local retailers in my area, but I hope to be able to order one from Libre soon!  I’ll make sure to report back once I get my hands on one and try it out!  If you get one before I do, please let me know what you think.

Disclosure:  I don’t have any kind of relationship with Libre, other than a love for their products!
June 24th, 2010

“Are we there yet?”


We are preparing for our summer road trip to Pennsylvania.  Google Maps suggests that it should take 13 hours, but we find that it varies between 14 and 16 hours.  It all depends on how restless the boys get.  Or maybe how many Chipotle restaurant stops we make.  It’s definitely one of the two.

One thing I’ve learned in the seven years we’ve been doing this (at least twice a year), is that the boys need to be distracted or things go downhill very quickly.  We allow them to watch movies and play on various gaming devices, but I really prefer that they do something that requires them to use their minds.

I was really excited when I found this Travel Bingo game the other day at Growing Tree Toys.  Alex will really get into the hunting and finding (and winning) aspect of it, while Declan will likely just make circles all over the bingo card.  Either way, they will both be engaging their brains and I will happy!

Does your family make long road trips?  How do you keep your kids from “are we there yet??” only 3 hours into the long journey?

February 2nd, 2010

Moop Love!

We travel fourteen hours at Thanksgiving to spend the holiday with my family in Pennsylvania.  Rather than doing it all again at Christmas time or shipping boxes full of stuff back and forth, we exchange gifts while we are there in November.  We are limited in what we are able to transport back home, so some family members have begun to just gift us with cash.  At first I was a little bothered by the impersonal nature of that.  My grandmother explained, though, that she prefers give us the money to buy something we really want for ourselves instead of just giving us more things to clutter up the house.  With that in mind, I promised myself that I would honor the spirit of these gifts and find something I really wanted.  It took me a few weeks to find just the right things, but I did.

(photo from

(photos from Moop)

(photo from

These bags are both incredible.  Honest.  They are all handmade by real people in Pittsburgh.  The attention to detail is obvious in everything from the pocket sizes and placement to the half-crossed block in the stitching. The Letter Bag has been perfect for hauling everything I typically carry everyday.  I keep my Clutch in the bigger bag, but I like knowing that I can just grab it and go if I ever don’t need to take everything with me.

I’m already thinking about which Moop bag will be my next!

December 12th, 2007

Bless the Japanese

As a crafter, I am in awe of the crafty things produced by the Japanese – the fabric, the notions, the magazines and books, the fabric (did I say that one already?). All of these things provide me with endless ideas about how I can make my world a bit more beautiful with things made by my own hand. I’m not ashamed to say that – more often than not – the things made by my own hand only bear a passing resemblance to the original inspiration. I usually enjoy the creating as much as the creation, so it all works out. Usually.

One of the areas that I have been very reluctant to venture is to wool felting. I absolutely love the look of things appliqued with felted wool accents. At first I told myself my hesitation was because it is quite difficult to find wool felt around here. While that is still true, I have put together a list of online resources, so I can’t use that excuse anymore. When it really comes down to it, I think it’s because my artistic skills are seriously lacking. When it comes to drawing for embroidery or embellishment or whatever, if there’s a pattern, I’m all over it. If I have to do something free-hand, forget it. It will likely be completely unrecognizable. The good people at Clover, though, must know some other people like me.

That is a felting template, I think. I don’t read Japanese, but that’s what it looks like based on the photos. It will allow you felt that adorable hedgehog and the mushrooms, too, using the Clover felting tool and mat, along with the template thing.  Here’s one of the projects they suggest – just too cute!

The people at Clover are also very generous with their project ideas and patterns. Check out this page, which is continually updated with great stuff. Each of the Lessons has at least two projects, so it’s not just whatever they happen to have in the photo. My seasonal favorite is Lesson 42, which has an awesome wall tree and decorations. They are all in Japanese, of course, but the diagrams and illustrations make it all very easy to figure out.

Enjoy!  I’m going to try to find that template somewhere that ships to the US…

October 16th, 2007

Martha Stewart Clearance!

I stopped by our local Michael’s store today and was pleasantly surprised to see quite a few of the Martha Stewart Crafts items on clearance. I picked up a selection of notecards, but they had a wide variety of things marked down. It doesn’t look like anything has been reduced on the website, so it might vary by store. If anyone is looking for anything in particular, let me know and I’ll see if my store still has it. I hope this means they are making room for the Christmas stuff…

I also picked up these Animal Alphabet Cards for the new boy’s room. They weren’t on sale, but it was the first time I had actually seen them in stock so I snatched them up. I love the vintage look of them. Now that I have some decoration for the walls, we just need to get other things in there. Like furniture. At least the walls will look good, though!

October 16th, 2007

UK jealousy…

I have some serious jealousy issues regarding citizens of the United Kingdom. And, really, it’s not just the UK; it’s pretty much the whole of Europe. Why does it seem that you guys get all the cool stuff? For example:

My favorite show on television starts its new season today. I won’t get to see it on my television, though. Spooks is only on the BBC. Every now and then A&E, and more recently BBC America, will play watered-down, shortened for the overload of US advertising versions and call it MI-5, but it’s just not the same. The show is so intelligently written that it’s just plain fun to watch. (I understand from someone in the know that the technology is sometimes not in line with reality, but I let that slide since I don’t really know any better.) The only thing I’ve found on US television that even comes close to Spooks is The West Wing, but that isn’t even on anymore. Woe is me…

Other favorite shows are also UK products. Life on Mars, Gil Mayo Mysteries (apparently called just Mayo in the UK), Murder in Suburbia, Love Soup, and whatever else makes it to BBC America. Those two women on How Clean is Your House crack me up, but sometimes they provide a little too much information to make me comfortable living in my own house… And, of course, there’s Charlie and Lola, which brings me to the next item on my list…

Pink Milk is such a brilliant online shop! I know I’ve mentioned it before, but I was just window shopping there again today and was reminded of how much I love it. Obviously I can place orders and they will cheerfully ship overseas, but the shipping costs tend to be greater than the product cost when I shop and I have a hard time justifying that to myself. If you live in Europe and have a Charlie and Lola fan in your house, you really should check them out.

I’m trying very hard to convince my husband that we need to move to somewhere in Europe, but I haven’t been too successful yet. He claims that it would be necessary for him to have a job to make the whole thing work. I guess I can’t really argue with that. So, if any of you have husbands that are looking to hire other husbands – particularly one from the US – please do let me know so I can find something new to whine about…

August 31st, 2007

Mr. Dressup on DVD!

I didn’t grow up in Canada, but it was close enough that we got London, Ontario stations (CBC) on television. One of my favorite shows as a child was Mr. Dressup. The show was similar to Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, but much better – in my opinion. Mr. Dressup was the main character, but his puppet friends Casey and Finnegan (a boy and his dog) lived in the treehouse in the backyard. Each day, Mr. Dressup would go to the Tickle Trunk in the living room to pull out a dress up costume and act out something related to whatever was in the trunk that day. He also sang songs, told stories, and did really cool crafts. I haven’t seen the show in a very long time, but talking with a new friend who also grew up near the northern border led me to see if anything was available on DVD. It looks like I missed the original releases, but there are plenty of copies of Mr. Dressup Tickle Trunk Treasures available on Amazon and Ebay. I think I’ll add that to my Christmas list…

May 17th, 2007

The Loot

I had a really great time in Tokyo. The people are all so nice and friendly and helpful – even though I don’t speak a word of their language. I wish I could say the same for the people in my own country… I did try to speak some VERY basic Japanese, though I’m afraid it wasn’t very good. I’ll have to practice up for the next trip – I would love to go back. Ooohh, I just had an idea. How much fun would it be to have crafters from around the globe meet in Japan for a few days of sightseeing, food, books and fabric? I’m sure the realities of families, work, and vacation days will probably seriously limit the chance of that happening, but a girl can dream, right? Anyway, on to the fabric!

I made a trip to Nippori by myself while Rod was working one day. I bought a few meters of various prints and called it a day. When I got back to the hotel and showed Rod my purchases he said, “That’s it?” I hadn’t wanted to buy too much without having a specific project in mind, but he was able to talk some sense into me (when will we be back here again? how much does this stuff cost at home?) and we made a return trip to Nippori together. And then he carried the bags for me. Such a good guy!

Since I’m having so many formatting issues, I won’t even try to comment on them individually. When I was picking them out, my favorite was the hedgehog print, but now that I’ve got them all here at home with me, I can’t decide which one I like the best. I love them all! Which do you like the best?

Mice with apples

Sheep on linen Mushrooms, Bunnies and Bears

Flowers and Engrish


Red Riding Hood-ish



Squirrels and leaves


Cats and Dogs

May 16th, 2007

Home again

We have returned from a great trip to Tokyo. I have several photos to share, but I need to get some things taken care of around the house first. In the meantime, here are two photos I managed to download. They happen to be photos of my (now) favorite place to shop for fabric…

Nippori Map

And, more specifically, my favorite store and fruit…

Tomato Fabric Store

Photos of the loot to come soon!

Grrrr! I still can’t get the formatting right on this thing. What in the world am I doing wrong?

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