Happy Yarn Mail May 2017 Review

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Hello, friends!

It’s time for another Happy Yarn Mail review!  Today, we have May’s box.  As a price reminder, this box costs $29.95 plus shipping, which for me ends up being about $40 per box.  What’s included for that price, is a unique crochet project, the yarn to complete the project, and a little extra crochet related goody.

There is a new feature with this box, where you can purchase add ons to the box for an additional fee.  Last month’s extra was a polymer clay crochet hook, and the extra for June was a yarn bowl, both decorated with the happy sprinkles we see on the box each month.  The items were super cute, but quite pricey, so they did not find their way into my cart.  (The hook was $33 and the yarn bowl was $40.) 

Another new feature with this subscription box, is a mini version of the box for $19.95.  This box features the unique pattern, the yarn needed to complete the project, and nothing else.  When I checked the shipping price for the mini box, it looks like it would cost me $26-$27 total, which is really the price I think the box should be with the extras included.

A quick note on shipping, the boxes get shipped at the end of the month.  So, while I purchased the May box on May 1st, it did not ship until the very end of the month.  What I like about the shipping, however, is that it is sent by 2 day Priority, so once it is shipped, you have that pretty box on your porch waiting for you before you know it!

So let’s see what was in May’s box!

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Upon opening the box, I was greeted with the prettiest collection of happy, sunny, summery yarn!  The pattern for this box is a Pink Lemonade Clutch, and these little balls of yarn just scream pink lemonade and summer!  There is also a skein of Lion Brand Fast Track yarn, something I have never used before and was very excited to try out!  I believe all the yarn is Lion Brand, though there are not any labels on any of the yarn.

My first reaction to the project and goodies was a definite squeal of excitement.  It is a project that my soon to be 12 year old daughter would just love to have, and it is something that I would not have thought of or chosen to do on my own.

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This cup though!  So stinkin’ cute!!!!  Pink and gold and just adorable.  I love it.  It says “Chain 1 Sip 1”, which as a crocheter, made me giggle.  This is sooooo much better than the plastic bag that was sent in April’s box!  It also came with some herbal tea and directions on how to make your own honey lemon iced tea, specifically for this tumbler.

I was so in love with this whole box, it really did make me happy.

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The project was super simple to follow, I feel confident that my daughter, a new crocheter, could easily make several of these for her friends with no problem.  The Fast Track yarn really does work up very quickly, and the fringe is the perfect accent to the finished project.  This clutch can easily be made in an afternoon.

What I am most pleased with this month, is the amount of yarn included in the box!  If you will recall, I had a real problem just finishing the project for April with the included yarn.  There simply was not enough and I had to make adjustments to the project just to get it finished.  You can see in the blue basket next to my finished clutch, all of the leftover yarn I had.  No stress, and several little pretties to add to my stash, thank you very much!

I have spent a lot of time researching yarn boxes since April’s box, and have come to the conclusion that there simply is not anything that can  compare to Happy Yarn Mail.  They are all almost exclusively knitting boxes, and include patterns for things I have zero interest in making.  To be perfectly honest, the other boxes seem old lady oriented.  How many shawls and socks can one person knit before losing their will to live?

And besides that, this girl is too legit to knit.  hehehe

This box includes patterns for things very similar to what I would normally be hooking up.  I can easily see myself pinning all of these projects to my crochet board on Pinterest.  They are young and hip and fun.  And being a fellow creative person, I can tell you that these projects open doors in my head for so many other ideas, fun twists or new ways of using bits and pieces of these projects for completely different applications.

I still think the box is a little overpriced.  Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love and adore this box.  I just wish it cost less.  It would be great if they offered a discount for ordering several months at a time, like most all other subscription boxes do.  If this was offered with a nice discount, I would definitely order a 6 or 12 month subscription.

At the end of the day, I guess I look at it as a splurge.  A little gift to yourself once a month.  I have already ordered June’s box, after which I saw coupon codes released for $5 off the box.  Boo.  But I can’t wait to see what June’s box brings, and of course, I can’t wait to share my thoughts with you all.

Do you get any yarn subscription boxes?  Are there any hidden awesome crochet boxes I don’t know about?  If so, let me know!

 

Happy Yarn Mail April 2017 Review

I am a sucker for subscription boxes, and while there are several out there that cater to crafters and even yarn lovers, they are typically geared towards knitters and include patterns for projects I would never make.  Or they come with super expensive yarn that I would have trouble finding, never mind how impractical it would be for the projects I tend to make.

So when I heard about Happy Yarn Mail, and saw a preview of the first month’s box, I have to admit, I was pretty darn excited!  On the website, Happy Yarn Mail promises an exclusive crochet design each month, only for subscribers and designed especially for the box, all items needed to make the project minus the hook, an exclusive video tutorial for the pattern, and extra crochet freebies designed exclusively for subscribers.

The monthly box costs $29.95 plus shipping, which for me was almost $10, ouch.  I handed over my $40 and happily waited for my Happy Yarn Mail to arrive.

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How stinkin’ pretty is that box?  I mean…….so cute!!!  It definitely made me smile, and looked super cute, waiting for me on my doorstep.

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Inside was a pretty pop of hot pink tissue paper and a thank you note card.

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Once you lift the tissue paper, you are greeted with your project for the month!

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This month’s project is Crochet Hoop Art.  Included is one hoop, what looks like a full skein of Lion Brand yarn in an off white color, and then three tiny little hand rolled skeins of the colors needed to make the hydrangea flowers.  There were no labels on any of the yarn.  The extra gift this month is the little plastic notions bag, that comes with a tiny bottle of glue and a little sampling of fringe, I am guessing to wrap around the bag?

The instructions look to be well written, though I have not yet made the project.  I have never seen anything like this before, so it is definitely a unique idea!  And this pattern opens the door for so many other fun ideas you can make with the basic instructions given here.

My only problem with this box is the value.  For $40, I was underwhelmed.  Lets go over an estimated price list here.

*Lion Brand yarn is about $3.99 per skein.  The tiny mini skeins come nowhere near a full skein all added together, so I would value the amount of yarn in this box as $5.

*Embroidery hoops are really inexpensive unless you get into the higher end materials and finishes.  This is a basic, inexpensive model, so we’ll say it has a value rounded up to $3.

*Crochet Patterns are generally between $3-$5 on sites such as Etsy or Ravelry.  This is a pretty simple pattern, but it is printed in color for us, so let’s give it $4.

*Notions bag with glue and fringe.  This is a plastic material with a tiny amount of fringe and a tiny bottle of glue.  It’s cute, and nice to have everything you need to fancy up the little bag all ready for you.  At best, I would say we could value the whole set at $5.

With these values, it brings the total estimated value of the box to $17.  But we paid $30 for the box and an extra $10 for shipping.  Is this a good value at $40 per month?  I hate to say it, but I don’t think so.

I love the pretty box, I love the crochet theme, I love the projects I have seen so far, and I really love the whole idea.  But I think it needs to be priced better.  I would be happy paying $25 a month for this box, tops.  I know the estimated $17 value we gave it is definitely more than it cost to put it together because companies get things at discounts for buying in bulk.  And I realize this is a small business at the moment, put together by a blogger and crochet designer.

Also, the exclusive patterns that come in the box that aren’t available anywhere else?  March’s pattern is available for purchase through the owner’s Etsy shop.  For $4.99.  Umm…

Next month’s box has an add on item, a pretty crochet hook, that you can purchase in addition to the box or separately, in limited quantities.  The crafter behind the hooks has a horrible reputation online, of taking money and not delivering goods, so I would be wary of even purchasing the item.  I’m not sure if Happy Yarn Box already has the hooks in their possesion or not, but it sounds like it could be a nightmare.

I plan on trying a few more boxes to see if the value can be found, because like I said, I really do love everything about this box except for the high price tag!  Stay tuned for an update with the finished pattern and review on how it turned out, as well as a review for any other boxes I may purchase.

Check out Happy Yarn Mail for yourself by clicking HERE.

Did you get this box?  Or March’s box?  What did you think?

As I said, I paid for this box with my own money, and all opinions are honest and my own.  I have not been compensated in any way for this review.

 

The cold never bothered me anyway….when the heater worked….

We have had some mild weather these last few weeks, even seeing highs in the 60’s, a real treat for winter time in the midwest!  But the cold has crept back in, and in sheer protest, either from age or Murphy’s Law, our lovely furnace has decided that it will be taking an extended vacation, leaving us in the cold.

BOO!!!

Abe’s reading up repairs and tutorials online, and I am crossing all my fingers and toes, praying for a break.  We have always had to fight our heater at the old house, I guess it would feel strange not to fight it here.

Meanwhile, sounds like a good time to snuggle with the babies, both two and four legged, and sip some hot chocolate while we cheer on our own Mr Fixit.

Daddy, Daddy, he’s our man, if he can’t fix it……we will be cold.  😛

*UPDATE*

Abe *thinks* he knows what the problem is, he thinks we need a new flame sensor.  In the meantime, he was able to clean the old one and got the heater working again.  *happy dance*  We are really hoping and praying that we can kind of baby it until we are able to order a replacement part.  In the meantime, we are nice and toasty warm though!  🙂

Hot Spot Natural Cure for Dogs & Cats

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And other furbabies too, for that matter!

So, what is a hot spot, you may ask?  Also known as moist eczema, they are a somewhat common skin problem in pets.  They can be caused from a flea bite, an itchy spot, a small cut or scratch, you name it.  It is an area on the pet’s skin that is irritated, causing them to lick and bite at it, further irritating the area.  Often the area will be bright pink or red and hot to the touch, thus the name.

Desi recently came down with a hot spot on one of his rear feet.  It was red, hot, and angry looking.  He had been nibbling away at it and even chewed away a good amount of fur, making it look even worse.  Now, if you have never had any experience with a hot spot, or if your pet has an injury that you have never seen before, obviously you should take them straight to the vet.  This post is just some helpful advice for those of us who are familiar with hot spots and are looking for an effective at home treatment.  I will tell you, I am a registered veterinary technician, and I have had a good amount of experience with these babies.  If I weren’t certain of what it was, I would have him checked by our vet immediately.  The hot spot can quickly get worse and even get infected.  If the cause is a flea bite, you will also need to treat the flea problem, or you aren’t really helping the issue.

Desi’s spot was from a small cut on one of his toes, probably from running around in our backyard and playing with Lucy.  After thoroughly cleaning the area, I made up a mixture of 1/3 Listerine, 1/3 baby oil, and 1/3 water.  I just used a small spray pump bottle, like the ones you find in the travel section of any big box store.  Shake it up, and spray on the affected area, rubbing it in and getting all the nooks and crannies all nice and coated.

I repeated this step several times a day for the first day, and by day two, I saw a huge improvement!  I continued applying a few times a day for about three days total, and now his foot looks good as new!  Well, the hair is still short and growing back, but you know what I mean!  🙂

So why does it work?  The Listerine prevents infection and has anti fungal properties, and the water dilutes it so that the high alcohol content does not burn the inflamed area.  The baby oil seems to help the Listerine really stick to the spot, and crazily enough, does not make an oily mess at all!

This is definitely a good trick to know, especially since often times these little hot spots like to pop up on weekends when the vet is not open.  Give it a try!

Happy Fall!

Can you believe that the summer is already past and here we are in a brand new, beautiful fall season once again?!  Fall is absolutely, by far, my favorite time of year!  The crisp, fresh chill in the air, the fun activities, the beautiful colors, yes, I am Fall’s number one fan!  🙂

We had a busy weekend at the house cutting the grass, taking down the pool, and visiting with friends.  This week, I have some awesome reviews to share with you, and a few before and after pics to share from working on the house.  It’s a bit scary, taking things apart and realizing that as DIY intermediates, we are doing a far better job than what was done before!  I’ll just say, when we took apart our kitchen sink to re plumb for our new dishwasher, we found that the plumbing was held together with electrical tape!  Now, we aren’t professionals by any stretch of the imagination, but really?  Electrical tape?  Scary stuff!

I want to introduce you all to the newest member of our family!

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Please meet, Desi, our new puppy!  We adopted him from the Humane Society at just 9 weeks old, and he has been an amazing addition to our happy household!  They had him marked as a Chihuahua/Boston Terrier mix, but who knows what this little guy really is!  We love him to pieces and Lucy is very happy to have a new friend to play with!

Do you love the names, btw?  Lucy and Desi?  Hee hee!!  I always knew, when we adopted Lucy, that she would one day need a Desi!

 

Felt Christmas Tree

If you have ever even casually peeked at Pinterest, I’m sure you have seen the cute little felt trees that some genius mama made for her kids to play with.  While the idea is to give them their very own tree and ornaments to decorate and thusly stay away from the real tree, I can tell you that while the tree is cute and fun, even for the older kids, it’s just not the same as the real one with the sparkly lights and dangling goodies.

That said, we made the tree and I kind of love it.  It is way bigger than I intended, but it turned out cute and the babies love it.  Sara likes to take the dump truck, drive it to the felt tree, remove all the ornaments, placing them in the dump truck and then she drives it around the whole house, squealing with joy.

It is pretty simple to make, just cut a Christmas tree shape out of felt and then ornament shapes out of felt.  I used some cookie cutters for some of the ornaments and others I just free handed.  There is no special trick to sticking the ornaments to the tree.  Felt sticks to felt.  It’s just that easy, trust and believe.  Now, hanging the tree on the wall was another story.  I originally intended on putting it on our metal front door with a few dabs of hot glue.  The glue wouldn’t hurt the metal, and I knew it would be secure.  Then I made the tree about four times bigger than intended and it wouldn’t fit on the door, so I had to think of a plan b.

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I considered using velcro, Command strips makes them with that adhesive that won’t damage walls.  Ultimately, I decided on flat thumb tacks because I knew that it would get roughly handled by the kids and I did not want to pick the tree up off the floor 900 times a day.

So far, so good!  The kids play with it every day and it hasn’t fallen down once.  The ornaments get crumpled up and slobbered on and they still stick just fine to the tree.

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I haz all the ornaments, muahahahaha!

Pinterest Made Me Do It

Okay, so, I saw a similar, adorable idea for a new way to make a hand print turkey with the kids on Pinterest and decided that I had to do it.  My original plan was to do it with both Noah and Sara, my 3 year old and 1 year old.  Yeah, I has the crazy.

While I was happily crafting with Noah, Sara was destroying the house.  Emptying book shelves, screaming, crying, all in all, just being a butt.  It was around the time I got a face pat from a tiny hand covered in paint that I realized the insanity of the situation and came to my senses.  We finished Noah’s turkey, but Sara?  Yeah, maybe next year.  The novelty has officially worn off.

Here are the pictures of our craft.  I think it turned out super adorable, regardless of the mess.

We started with a plain piece of paper and four different colors of paint.  Technically, I only had red, green and yellow, so that orange is custom made using my amazing kindergarten acquired color mixing skillz.  Impressive, I know.

The Noah smiles get weirder, just wait.

Basically, you paint the kiddos hand and plop it on the paper.

You are going for a fan shape, the hand prints are going to be the turkey feathers.

Yes, that’s the face he makes when we tell him to smile.  Well, it’s the most normal of the faces he makes when we ask him to smile.

After the hand prints are all in place, wait for them to dry before adding the embellishments.  I used scrap book paper and a paper bag for the body and head and I actually cut the feet, beak, and gobbler out of the ads we used for our drop sheets.  I’m a handy girl, what can I say?  We had the googly eyes on hand, but I think you could cut them out too.

How cute, right?  I added his name and the year, and I *hope* to tackle this again next year.  It’s not hard at all, it’s quick, but it is messy and near impossible to do by yourself with more than one little bit running around.  Just sayin’.

Autumnal Candle Jar

I love candles.  So many candles come in really pretty jars these days.  It seems like a waste to just throw them away, so I decided to re-use one as a pretty, autumnal jar, to place an LED tealight in for a soft glow during the cool, fall months.  It is super easy, and I love re-purposing the jar.

Start with a clean jar, one with all the wax pulled out.  (You can freeze the leftover bits to easily scrape them out, if it’s giving you a hard time.)

Sometimes the labels peel off easily, but 100% of the time in my house, it’s a battle.  I peel off what I can and then use Oops to get the rest of the residue off.

For the next step, you need Mod Podge and I used some autumn colored leaves found at the dollar store.  I just pulled them off the stems and after applying a generous coat of Mod Podge to the inside of the jar, I placed the leaves pretty side down around the inside of the jar.  I wouldn’t use real leaves because I think they would eventually turn brown and ugly.  It looks a hot mess now, but wait until it dries.

Ta da!  A pretty, fall jar, perfect for a little flameless candle or even putting wrapped candies in.  Pretty spiffy, and it was made for pennies!

October in a Nutshell

I’ll admit, October flew by before I had a chance to catch my breath and enjoy the scenery much.  We filled every single moment we could with fall activities and decorating for Halloween.  Here are a handful of photos I intended to share throughout the month.  Hey, it’s the thought that counts, right?

 

Early in the month, we hit up the dollar stores for some inexpensive decorations and party supplies.  I added ribbons, bows and other glittery embellishments to make the inexpensive finds just a little more fabulous.

 

 

This wreath was a dollar, I just spray painted it black and added the roses, skull and ribbon for hanging.  You can never have too much glitter in my book.  Never.

 

I had fun with Bella’s hair for dance class in October.  Ever since I sent her to dance with Easter eggs in her hair for Easter, the staff kind of expects something out of the ordinary from us.  (I’ll rehash the Easter egg ‘do in the spring, I promise.)  This was simple, easy, and got alot of attention, which of course, Bella LOVES.

 

The extreme closeup of the Halloweenie mani kind of looks sloppy, but whatevs.  Do you know how hard it is to paint tiny, nibbled baby nails?  Yeah, kind of ridiculous.  It was still cute.  Just trust me on that.

 

To go with the festive mani, we did some fun makeup for her Girl Scout Halloween dance.  I used a liquid liner, which I regretted right away, but it was too late to turn back.  A pencil would have been much neater, but you get the idea.

 

You can’t drink regular old soda at a Halloween party!

 

We ate these yummy snakes, which are crescent rolls filled with cheese and lunch meats.

 

Creepy spider web bean dip!

 

That spider must have a sweet tooth.

 

My crew on Halloween!  Abe, Matt, Noah and I were all pirates.  Sara was Tinkerbell, and Isabella was Merida from Brave.

 

“Do you ever get the feeling that someone is watching you?”

That crazy display is at Grandpa’s house.  I have to say, I enjoyed having Abe home with us this Halloween season.  He is usually working on Halloween junk with my dad from about mid July up until minutes before Trick or Treaters start arriving at the haunted house they build.  With things being all weird with my dad, we had the luxury of extra time with Abe.  We all LOVED it!  Our plans are to make our own haunted house in our new home (fingers crossed) next year.  The kids already have all sorts of plans for spooky things, I think we will quickly build a reputation wherever we decide to move.  Well, besides the house with all the kids.

This weekend, I took Matt with me to do some clearance Halloween shopping.  We got a giant cart full of costumes and decorations for next year at 70% off!  It was a major score, and Matt being so Halloween obsessed, he was in heaven, filling the cart with all sorts of fun, creepy things.

Okay, Halloween is over and done.  Whew!

DIYdidIthinkthiswasagoodidea?

Abe took a long weekend this past week, and so I convinced him to take on a project I have been wanting to do forever.  One that he did not want to do.  See, we have this nice kitchen table that wasn’t as nice as we thought it was.  Within two months of buying it, it was pretty much crap from a water spill that bubbled up in the middle of the table.  Soon after, other marks started showing up from moisture, splitting the wood and just making it look junky.

That was depressing.  We spent good money on what we thought was good furniture, and come to find out, what was advertised and what we were in fact told was solid wood, was actually a very thin piece of wood over what I presume to be MDF.  Why would we think Weekends Only would sell crappy furniture?  Lesson learned.

Regardless, we spent the money and I was determined to make this table look awesome again.  I did research and studied tutorials over the last several months and felt confident that we could fix the table.  We sanded, we prepped, we stained.

Here’s a fun fact.  When your table top is all dusty from sanding, and you want to wipe it off really well before staining it, DO NOT USE A DAMP CLOTH TO DO SO!!!!

Is that common knowledge?  Because I didn’t know that, so maybe I’m just a dumbass.  Apparently, when you get even the teeniest tiniest amount of moisture on the raw wood, that opens up the pores and gives it super stain soaking powers.

Wanna guess how I got the excess dust off?

Yup.

Wanna see a picture of how I ruined all our hard work?

 

See those purdy finger streaks on the table?  The super dark marks where I opened up the wood pores with my damp cloth?

*le sigh*

So, this left us with some fun options.  One included completely re-sanding and then re-staining.  That would be the right way to fix it, on a normal table that wasn’t crap.  See, the tiny sliver of wood left on top of the MDF is more than likely not enough to last another sanding.  Soooooo…..

We painted it.  You can still see the wood grain through it, which is cool, and once we get it good and sealed/lacquered, hopefully it will be gorgeous and well protected until we buy a new set, not from Weekends Only.

It will either be cool, or require tablecloths until we get our new set.

Oh well, live and learn I suppose.  I’ll share more photos of the disaster once we have the clear coats on.  Woo hoo!