Saturday, March 22, 2014

Thursday, January 23, 2014

School Closings and Chaos: One super fun way to entertain the kids

I’m watching mom’s on facebook and twitter practically begging for the weather to change so their kids can go back to school. 

It was ok for them to be home for the first couple days, but now that it’s stretched into 7 days for some, you guys are going nuts.

So, here’s one awesome way to keep the kids entertained, and it’s freaking cheap!  I’m talking .99 cents cheap, and tons of hours of fun.

Best of all, you can buy them right now and start creating cool worlds, comic books, and cartoon strips! 

I used to babysit 7 kids (all siblings) – try that one.  The one thing I found that kept them entertained the entire evening (4 hrs) was getting them drawing, creating their own worlds, and telling their own stories from their drawings.

Don’t bother saying your kids can’t draw, because they can, they just need the right books to do it with.  And this is where I come in.  Smile

Amit Offir has some of the greatest drawing books out there for kids.  I use them all the time.  Some are very simple, and some pretty complex, and his new series has videos.

You can buy the books individually, or as a set.  I have them as a set, but a great way to try them out to see if you’re kids will like them, is to buy the .99 cent deals.  The books are on Kindle, but it’s no big deal if you don’t own one.  You can download the Kindle app for pc’s.

So, here we go: (I blab on a bit longer under all the book links, so don’t forget to keep reading.)

Amit has book after book on drawing everything you can think of.  However!  When you go to amazon to see all he has, make sure the book you order is in English.  His books have been translated into 20 languages, so be careful what you order.

I’d add the video courses, but google will can my hide for adding too many product links.  I might even get nailed for this one.

Anyway, the drawing books with videos have really simple characters to draw, where the other books gradually become more and more complex. You can tell that by the covers.

Also, make sure what you’re buying is for Kindle and not hardback. 

Amit also offers the books in sets.  I have both sets, and I also have the drawing fish on rocks with video.  The video is fantastic!

So, pick one up and get your kids drawing!  Sit down as a family and create your own comic strip, or even better!  Make a comic book together!

Let me know how it goes.  I’d love to hear your stories.

And as always – pass it on!  Smile


Monday, January 13, 2014


Hey y’all!  Last week I did a product review on the awesome Brother XL2600I sewing machine.

This week I’m focusing on various sewing supplies, from cutting boards, to scissors.  After all, you can’t sew without the proper tools to do it with.  Smile

I was planning on putting up cutting boards today, but then I came across the Clover Wonder Clips, and had to give you the heads up about them.  Why?  Because I can’t imagine sewing without being stabbed to death.

If you sew at all, even a little bit, you know what I mean.  Apart from the stabbing, it gets a bit annoying having them rust on me.  Maybe it’s just my cottage being a bit damp and that’s what causes it, but either way I don’t like it.

Anyway, on to the clips!  I’ve never run across a product yet that had such incredible ratings.  These clips get a 4.9 out of 5 stars by 556 women!  That many women agreeing on something tells you it’s gotta be good.  Smile

So!  On to the details!


According to Amazon, the list price is: $32.95

Amazon’s price: $13.15

That’s a whopping $19.80 savings, or for those of you who like percentages – 60% savings.  That’s huge!

Small, open wide to hold multiple layers.

Flat on one side for easy feeding.

Perfect for making: quilts, handbags, etc.

Comes with 50 clips.

PROS (based on consumer reviews)

  • small, hold firmly
  • great for edgings
  • great for holding binding on a quilt
  • doesn’t distort and warp fabric like pins do
  • olds several layers of fabric and material
  • no more pricked fingers
  • easy to attach and remove
  • measures both quarter and half-inch increments
  • One consumer even uses them for knitting projects

CONS (based on consumer reviews)

  • Can't sew over them like you can with pins.
  • Take up storage space.

TIP (based on consumer reviews)

Buy more than one pack.  They liked having 50, but more is even better.

My two favourite things out of the list are: I don’t get stabbed (I’m accident prone.), and it doesn’t warp the fabric. 

[Don’t get the wrong idea with me talking about not being stabbed anymore. You still have to use pins to secure your pattern to the material to cut it.] 

I know the one user also uses them on her knitting projects, but I’m not sure I’d try that one simply because of the way yarn works.  On the other hand, stitch holders aren’t all that great.

Then again, I could be completely wrong.  If you check out various knitting sites, you’ll find knit clips and even the Wonder Clip.

I know bringing up knitting is a bit off target, but a lot of you who sew also crochet, knit or both. 

Anyway, this is a newbie for my amazon wish list, and is in next months budget.  Smile

You can click here to put it on your wish list, or pick it up now before you forget! 

See ya tomorrow!

PS:  Don’t forget to sign up and join the other Little Wrinkles who receive email updates when a new post is up!  The sign up box is in the top right hand corner of this page.


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Product Review: Brother XL2600I 25 Stitch Free-Arm Sewing Machine

When I was growing up in the 60's and 70's, mom made a lot of my clothes.  I remember her sitting on the living room floor with the material for her latest project spread out over her big cardboard pattern cutting board. 

The famous apple pin cushion would be off to one side, and a few pins held fast between her lips, as she attached the pattern to the material.

Despite enjoying watching the process, and wishing she’d let me play with the electric scissors, I never learned how to use a sewing machine until I was in my 40's. 

I fell in love with it!  I found out that not only is sewing fun, but so is looking for material, the odds and ends to make the product, and sometimes designing the project as well.

With that in mind, I decided to do up a review on a great starter/novice sewing machine.  It's the Brother XL2600I Sew Advance Sew Affordable 25-Stitch Free-Arm Sewing Machine.

Amazon sells it for a great price:  $79.99, plus FREE shipping.  It regularly sells for $149.99, so you save 47%. 

For the record, Walmart sells the same machine online for $102.81 (as of 1/6/14).  So, obviously, Amazon is the best way to go on this one.

The Brother XL2600I has some pretty awesome customer satisfaction ratings:

Amazon: 956 customers give it a 4.4 outta 5.
Walmart: 601 customers give it a 4.5 outta 5.

Let's take a look at the specs on it:

1.  Free-arm 

2.  25 built-in stitches, each with multiple stitch functions

3.  Accessory storage built into free arm

4.  automatic needle threader

5.  thread cutter

6. jam resistant drop-in bobbin, and auto bobbin winding

7.  One-step auto-size buttonholer

8.  110-volt machine operates with foot pedal

9.  light bulb for workspace illumination


Buttonhole foot
zipper foot
button sewing foot
narrow hemmer foot
blind stitch foot
needle pack
twin needle
extra spool pin
darning plate

PROS (based on consumer comments)

1. The price!

2. Easy to put together/easy to take apart.

3. Great for beginners/novices.

4.  Great gift even for kids 9 and up.

5.  Excellent for crafting, as well as other sewing needs.

6.  Simplicity

7.  25 year limited warranty

CONS (based on consumer complaints)

1.  Doesn't handle heavy fabrics.

2.  No hard case for it.

3.  Some say the tension is a bit of a problem.

4.  Slow stitching speed.

5.  Bobbin issues (jamming)

6.  No handle for carrying it around.

7.  Instructions are difficult to read.


Some folks complained about the parts being plastic, and some claimed they kept breaking.  However, I found that those who really like this sewing machine claimed the opposite of what the others said.

Now, some did have a few of the same experiences as those who didn't care for the machine.  For instance, some found the language layout of the bilingual manual confusing. 

I had a similar experience recently with an item I bought.  I couldn’t figure out what they did with the English.  After I slowed down and took a careful look, I found it and wondered how on earth I missed it. 

You might have experienced something similar with products you’ve boughten.  On the whole though, the majority of owners had no problem with the manual.

Bobbin issues?  Some agree that yes, they had a few problems with the bobbin, but after they figured out the trick, it was ok.

Some agree that the tension is a bit tricky, but again, after they figured out the trick - it was cool. 

As for those who didn't like the quality?  You're not going to get the same quality at $79 as you are for a sewing machine that costs $799.  It's a common sense thing.

One of the things I couldn't figure out was how some claimed that their warranty had expired after 18 months or so, and now they were having to pay for stuff.  I obviously missed something, because the machine has a 25 year limited warranty.

Another problem I have with the complaints, and perhaps I'm just being picky, is if you're having problems with different things, why not look on youtube and see what you're either doing wrong, or not doing. 

You can check out youtube’s list of how the various parts work with the Brother XL2600I.  NOTE:  There’s a few videos here that aren’t the one we’re talking about, so make sure it says Brother XL2600I.


When I look at how many people absolutely love this machine I can easily set aside the comments of those who weren't all that keen on it. 

I love the simplicity, that it's light weight, and has an automatic needle threader.  I wish mine did!  I have to use a magnifying glass to see the eye of the needle.  The joy of being over 50.  :) So, the auto-needle threader is the big plus for me.

I own a Singer that a friend gave me, but I really want this one.  Yeah, I know it’s crazy to own two sewing machines, but I really do like that auto-needle threader, and the older I’m getting, the more essential I see it. 

So, this little baby is now sitting in my amazon wish list, and before summer, I betcha she’s sitting on my craft table.  Smile

Overview of the Brother XL2600I:

Brother XL2600I Sewing Machine Review