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sandemp

sandemp

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Burn the land and boil the sea...you can't take the sky from me. Ok so I'm struggling to write a meaningful comment with every rate so apologies in advance for the generic coments

Reviews written

since 21/10/2002

620

Lamaze Puppytunes 23/11/2014

Boring Puppytunes

Sculpey Texture Maker - Lace 21/11/2014

Can Be Pretty

Sculpey Texture Maker - Lace Out of all of my stamps and texture makers the Sculpey Texture Maker in Lace would probably have to be the least used, which is a shame as it was one of the hardest to find. I was completely unable to source this from a UK retailer, instead resorting to a US based third party seller on Amazon, who was selling it for a reasonable if not slightly inflated price. Although originally designed to be used with polymer, this deep cut, semi-transparent, 12x6.5cm stamp can also be used to stamp on paper or to texture air drying clay, but I have only used it with various brands of polymer clay. As a simple texture stamp it does a pretty good job, the combination of small size, flexibility and deep cut means it's easy to get good definition. In theory the transparency should make it easy to line the design up for texturing larger areas, but to be honest I find the design just a little too fussy. Don't get me wrong, the design is very pretty, Lace is a good name for the sheet as it is indeed very lace-like, but that Lace look is created by using lots of tiny raised areas, there are circles, curls, leaves and flowers, all covered in raised detail, very pretty, but very fussy. Still it does look very pretty when used on a sheet of black clay and then highlighting the texture with shimmering mica powders. But I do think it's best used to actually stamp with ink on light coloured (or alcohol ink coated) clay with black ink. Doing this gives lots of areas of interest to cut with cutters to ...

Lamaze Torin the T-Rex 20/11/2014

Rawr

Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Remote 17/11/2014

I've Got The Remote And I'm Ready To Roll

Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Remote Grey and vaguely remote control shaped the Fisher Price Laugh and Learn Remote Control is a rather noisy addition to the Laugh and Learn range of toys, designed to provide a fun, noisy and interactive way for babies and toddlers learn about the world around them. Other toys within the range include a camera, smart phone, cookie jar and even a chair, all of which feature button to press, skills to master and annoying, loud, electronic sounds and ditties. Advertised as suitable for babies and toddlers from 6-36 months, the Remote Control is formed from durable plastic (durable enough to survive being thrown across the room to hit the wall), with lots of buttons to press, a friendly smiling face and even a light that flashes. There's a sliding on/off switch on the side, which is great for when the ridiculously cheerful tunes start to annoy, but is fairly easy for Baby to master. If the sounds do become too much then there is a volume control, but as it's one of the buttons on the front of the control, just as the sanity begins to return, Baby will accidentally find the button and it'll be at top volume again. Among the other buttons there for Baby to press are stop/go, channel up/down, two different songs and a numerical keypad. Each button gives a different noise and your absolute favourite (please note the irony) will be the song buttons. The incredibly upbeat lyrics include the endearingly catchy, ”turn the music high or low, up or down, stop or go” and “I've got the remote ...

Sculpey Texture Maker - Alligator 15/11/2014

Getting Snappy With It

Sculpey Texture Maker - Alligator Polymer clay is absolutely amazing, it can be used in so many different ways to create a multitude of different effects, but it's even more amazing when you use tools with it. One of my favourite ways of adding interest to my polymer clay creations is by using texture sheets and one of my current favourites is this Sculpey Texture Maker in Alligator. This 12x6.5cm piece of flexible, transparent, yellow, polymer clay friendly is fairly deeply textured with an alligator skin design. The texture maker can be used for several techniques including mica shift and backfilling (don't worry I will explain these terms) along with simply making impressions or even printing with ink. I'm not going to say it's the best at all this tasks, but at the £2,75 I paid for it, it does a good enough a job at some and is brilliant at others. It's hardly surprising that the first thing I used this for was to create a textured bangle. I conditioned (softened by kneading) a long strip of black clay (Fimo Soft), dusted the texture sheet with cornflour (my go to release agent) and set to work texturing the clay. The fact that the sheet is flexible means that it's easy to apply even pressure along the whole of the sheet, either with your hand or an acrylic roller. Slightly disappointingly the sheet is nowhere long enough to texture enough clay to create a bangle in one go, so it does need to be moved along. The transparency does make lining impressions up fairly easy though. After texturing the black ...

Sculpey Push Mold Flowers and Leaves 13/11/2014

Makes Making Leaves Easy

Sculpey Push Mold Flowers and Leaves Although it is possible (and not that difficult) to create polymer clay leaves and flowers by hand, if you're looking for an easy way to make lots at a time that are all pretty much identical then a mould of some sort is just the ticket. I have a number of different leaf/flower moulds in my arsenal but my favourite by far is the Sculpey Flowers and Leaves Push Mold. This was not the easiest of moulds to find, I was unable to find a UK retailer that sold it, but did find a US based third party Amazon retailer who stocked it and managed to get my hands on one for a very reasonable £4.38 with free delivery. (The current lowest price is £9.61). Unlike some of the other push moulds I own (Makins), this mould is sturdy yet flexible with reasonably deep forms. There are a total of twenty-two different forms, four leaves and eighteen petal with sizes ranging from around 1cm in length to around 3cm. Although there are twenty-two forms there are only eleven different shapes as there are two sizes for each leaf and petal. Using the mould is incredibly simple, the first task is condition (soften by kneading or continually passing through pasta machine) the clay you are going to be using. Then you need to put a release agent in the mould you're going to be using, this could be a spray of water, a dusting of cornflower or if you're after sparkles a dusting of mica/shimmer powder. Then take a blob of clay and smoosh (very technical terms blob and smoosh) it in to the hole being sure to ...

Sculpey Bake & Bond 11/11/2014

Glue for Polymer Clay

Sculpey Bake & Bond No matter if jewellery making or sculpture is your thing, if you work with polymer clay then they is going to come a time when you want to securely attach a piece of unbaked clay to something (or something to a piece of unbaked clay). There are a few products on the market (Fimo Deco, Liquid Sculpey), but my go to product would have to be Sculpey Bake and Bond. Costing around £5.75 for 2 fluid ounces (around 60ml), this bakeable adhesive is supplied in an easy to use lidded bottle. Described as providing an incredibly strong bond between two pieces of clay it can also be used to stick clay to porous materials such as wood. Preparing the bottle of Bake and Bond for use is as simple as unscrewing the nozzle, removing a seal and replacing the nozzle. There is a lid that covers the nozzle to protect the liquid from drying out, but be warned this is simply pushed in to place rather than screwing on and it's not as secure as is could be. I use Bake and Bond in so many different ways and have to admit that I'd be a bit lost with some of my creating if I didn't have a bottle to hand. The first time I ever used it was when I covered and decorated a miniature, wooden birdhouse. I used the thick, white liquid to coat the wooden exterior before applying a layer of polymer clay. Although this is an adhesive, it is quite difficult to spread and feels ever so “slippy” in it's raw, unbaked form. Although I obviously can't tell how well it worked on that particular project, having used it ...

Premo! Sculpey Cuff Bracelet 10/11/2014

Polymer Clay Bracelets Made Easy

Premo! Sculpey Cuff Bracelet There are cheap (free) options out there if you're looking for ways of making cuff bracelets out of polymer clay and I've probably tried them all. Empty (clean) fizzy drink cans seem to work well for many, but I just couldn't seem to get on with them, finding it difficult to make sure everything was straight. So when I saw the Premo Sculpey Cuff Bracelet used in a tutorial, I just knew that I had to get my hands on one. The only trouble is that as with many of the really cool Sculpey accessories the cuff bracelet is really difficult to get hold of here in the UK. It took a great deal of searching but I did eventually find a retailer that sold them (Craft Cellar) and I put in an order for one at a fairly reasonable £6.20 (+p&p) What you get for your £6.20 is a shiny strip of high tensile metal in an open cuff bracelet form measuring approximately 20mm by 165mm. The diameter of this reusable blank can be adjusted slightly by either squeezing the ends together or pulling them apart, but be warned it does take a lot of effort. Then the basic idea is you cover the outer surface of the blank with polymer clay, bake it (according to the clay's instructions), wait for it to cool and then pop your new cuff bracelet off ready to wear. The very first bracelets I made were very basic and simply a case of testing the blank out. Something that you soon realise is that parts of using these involve very sharp blades and should only be done by an adult. After the clay is placed on the blank ...

Early Learning Centre Wooden Post Box 08/11/2014

Baby JJ Posts A Letter

Early Learning Centre Wooden Post Box This free standing wooden post box is advertised as being suitable for toddlers between the ages of twelve months and three years and is a gift that Baby JJ received for his first birthday a couple of weeks ago. Beautifully finished this sturdy wooden toy features a slot for posting the five supplied wooden letters, a spring closing front door and a larger slot on the rear providing easier access for little hands. Standing at approximately 10 inches tall, the post box is just the right size for Baby JJ to play with while sitting down and the construction is so sturdy that It easily takes his weight as he uses it to pull himself up to standing. Of all of his toys this has to be one of Baby JJ's absolute favourites, he loves to post the letters and then retrieve them from the back of the box. The door he finds more difficult to deal with, it springs shut with quite a bit of force, meaning Baby JJ can't manage to get any of the letters out in time. As well as posting the letters in the box, Baby JJ does like playing with them separately. He enjoys banging them together making a great noise, crawling around with them in his hand and plating postman with Mummy. We have great fun passing the letters back and forth while I talk about what might be in them, are they a card or a bill. I'm also using them to help introduce colours, by naming the colour as we post them along with counting.. As well as Baby JJ playing with the postbox, four year old Freddy often tries to sneak a play ...

Close Parent Pop-In 01/09/2014

Cloth Made Easy

Close Parent Pop-In While not the prettiest or trimmest of our stash, the Close Parent Pop In (Bamboo) is steadily becoming a favourite workhorse for those days where ease of use and reliability take precedence over a cute, fluffy bum. While available in both block colour and print versions, I can't say these are the most inspired of designs, nor can I say that they are the most luxurious feeling, but I can say that they have reliably coped with 4+ hours of being worn by a heavy wetter and have contained some very explosive poops with not a sign of leakage. Easy to put on these nappies feature rows of poppers that snap to adjust the rise meaning the nappy can be adjusted to fit from newborn to potty training and unlike many nappies that claim to be birth to potty, these have actually managed to fit both a four week old and a nearly four year old, making the initial price tag of £16-17 each pretty reasonable. Being a two part system a small amount of preparation is required before use, but it really is minimal. The pair of absorbent bamboo pads will need several washes to build up absorbency and then snap into the shell once dry. It really only takes a couple of seconds to get the nappy ready for use and then the hook and loop waist fastening makes putting the nappy on no more difficult than a disposable, even the mother in law can manage it. The fit is slightly bulky but does still fit under “normal” clothing and I find it easy to get a snug fit around Baby JJ's waist. At ten months old Baby ...

Fisher Price Laugh & Learn Smiilin Smart Phone 29/07/2014

Not Quite As Good As Mummy's

Fisher Price Laugh & Learn Smiilin Smart Phone Just like most other nine month old babies, Baby JJ likes nothing better than nicking Mummy's mobile phone. Not only does it make great noises, but it also gets a fun reaction from Mummy or Daddy. In an attempt to draw his attention away from my gadgets, I bought Baby JJ a smart phone of his very own in the form of the Fisher Price Laugh and Learn Smilin' Smart Phone that I picked up for around £10. Considered suitable for babies over the age of six months, this chunky, battery operated smart phone is a veritable explosion of easily activated lights and sounds. At nine months old, Baby JJ has no trouble holding and manipulating the phone, but I do feel it would have been a little unwieldy when he was a smaller six months old. The phone features a light up, faux touch-screen and a pair of buttons, has an on/off switch and is powered by three AA batteries, of which a start up set are included. There is no volume control on the phone and the volume is very low, which not only protects baby's ears from damage but also protects adult's sanity. Pressing on the touch screen or the buttons will set off one of a number of different songs and phrases, that the packaging describes as “fun”. While I'm grateful for the English (rather than American) voice, as an adult I would hesitate to call them fun. They will, however, be familiar if your baby/child owns any other toys in the Laugh and Learn range, the voice is the same and the songs are very similar, with that ridiculously upbeat ...

Charlie Banana One Size Pocket Nappy 03/03/2014

We're Bananas Over Charlie Banana

Charlie Banana One Size Pocket Nappy The Charlie Banana One Size is a birth-to-potty (btp) pocket nappy that can be used either with the supplied reusable microfibre inserts or with disposable inserts than can be purchased separately. Available in a range of different plain colours along with a variety of boy, girl and unisex prints these nappies are less widely available than many brands and I have so far only managed to find them in a few places online, with many of the prints being unavailable on one or more sites. At around £14.99 for plain colour and £15.79 for printed these are very much at the premium end of pocket nappies, which is why we currently only have two in our stash. But they are by far my favourite pocket nappy in terms of looks, fit, absorbency and containment and we have two more on order. Design/Looks/Cuteness Factor 5/5 As with all pocket nappies the Charlie Banana One Size comes in two parts, the actual pocket nappy and absorbent inserts to stuff in the pocket. Being birth to potty the Charlie Banana is designed to be adjusted to grow with baby through from newborn to toddler hood and potty training with a recommended weight range of 6-35lb. This is a much smaller minimum weight than most btp pocket nappies and is possible because these nappies use a completely different method of adjusting for size than the rest of the crowd. While the majority of one size nappies use rows of poppers to adjust the rise (height) of the nappy, the Charlie Banana takes a different approach. With these ...

Tots Bots Easy Fit V3 28/02/2014

Cloth Made Easy Part One

Cheeky Wipes All in One Baby Wipes Kit 03/02/2014

Truly Bum Friendly Wipes

Cheeky Wipes All in One Baby Wipes Kit While I had always planned to use reusable, cloth nappies with Baby JJ, I hadn't even considered which wipes I would use until I actually put the cloth into action. It only took a couple of changes for me to realise that the combination of cloth nappy and disposable wipe isn't exactly a match made in heaven. In fact when using cloth nappies, the previously ever so convenient disposable wipes become ever so inconvenient and actually add an extra step in the changing process as they need to be disposed of in the bin. After trialling some bamboo flannels and finding that although they were better than disposable wipes they still weren't perfect I spent some time researching and decided to purchase the Cheeky Wipes Full Kit from Amazon for £36.99 (+£4.04 delivery). Although £40+ does sound a rather large investment, this kit does contain everything you need to start using cloth wipes both at home and out and about. With two children in nappies and going through up to a pack of disposable wipes a day (on a bad day with lots of poops from the pair of them) I knew I could expect to recoup my initial outlay within two months. My starter kit arrived packed in a cardboard box and contained two plastic boxes (each with a hinged, “lockable” lid), a mesh bag, two waterproof, drawstring bags, two bottles of oil and twenty-five white, cotton, terry bum wipes along with an instruction leaflet (that has long since disappeared). The first thing I did was put the wipes through three wash ...

Little Lamb Litte Lamb Sized Pocket Nappy 24/01/2014

These Lambs are the trimmest of all

Little Lamb Litte Lamb Sized Pocket Nappy The most expensive of the Little Lamb range, the Sized Pocket Nappies are available in a range of colours and three sizes at a cost of £12 each. I wasn't all that sure whether these nappies would prove to be a good investment, but realising that finding the perfect nappy did involve trying many different types, I originally bought one in Size One to test on the then four week old Baby JJ and was eventually impressed enough to buy a couple more Size One for him, begin to buy in Size Two for later and some Size Three for Big Brother. These pocket nappies form a two part system with the actual nappy being formed of a waterproof outer layer and soft inner layer with an opening that allows you to stuff absorbent pads between the two layers in the resultant pocket. The outer material in these nappies is a soft, breathable PUL (polyurethane laminate) formed from a stretchy polyknit bonded with a super thin layer that allows air through to baby's bottom while holding liquid in. The inner layer is formed of seriously soft micro fleece, that not only forms a super soft layer against baby's bottom but also wicks moisture away from the skin and into any boosters held in the pocket. To help provide a good fit each nappy features soft elastic at the back and around the legs and to help prevent leaks the legs are double gusseted. Each pocket nappy is supplied with a bamboo insert which differs vastly from those supplied with the one size pockets. The supplied insert is woven from Oeko-tex ...
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