Pillow Puffs kit reviews

I was pretty lucky and a couple of people subscribed to the Darby Smart craft subscription box after seeing my last review. This meant that I got a $15 credit from Darby Smart which I used to buy these pillow puffs kits. Camila, my 10-yo, is very much into foxes this year, and I’m a huge elephant fan, so this had us both covered. Darby Smart offers free shipping and the kits arrived to my home in California a couple of days after I ordered them. They are $8 each and one or two would make a great birthday present.

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These kits allow to make two small stuffed animals without having to sew them.  They are not really stuffed animals of the kind you hug, they are best for decoration, but they are extremely cute.  Making them was quick and rather fun for my daughter.

Each kit includes two pre-cut and pre-printed pieces of felt, some sticky pre-cut felt pieces, stuffing, three glitter glues and a few decorations.  The instructions are common to all pillow puffs kits, but they have you do things in the wrong order.  In fact, you should decorate the top animal piece first, following the example on the box, and only after it’s done and dry you should add the stuffing and glue it to the back side.  Otherwise you are working to decorate an uneven surface.

The first kit we tried was the fox and, unfortunately, the printing on the top felt of piece was tilted.  That meant that she couldn’t decorate it to match the picture on the box.  If you take a look at the finished fox in the bottom picture, you can see how only part of his left eyebrow is shown.  My daughter was very frustrated about this, but the finished product was cute enough.  The elephant was printed correctly.

All of the felt pieces, including the animal pieces, are sticky – all you have to do is peel the backing paper and stick them to one another.  The decorative pieces (e.g. the feet of the fox) stayed put pretty well, but the edges of the fox and elephant came apart rather quickly:

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The glue just wasn’t sticky enough to make up for the push from the stuffing.  My daughter chose to glue them using a glue gun, which was not the tidiest of choices.  However, she loves using the glue gun and it worked quite well.  Regular glue might have worked as well and, of course, they can also be sewn.

All in all, this was a fun project and my daughter finished both in an hour.

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Project Runway Fashion Design Projector Kit – Review

Project Runway Fashion Design Projector KitMika, my 8-year-old, got the Project Runway Fashion Design Projector Kit from her step-grandmother for Xmas. She played with it when she just got it, then put away for several months, and got it out again this morning. I have to admit that it was quite fun.
The kit comes with a projector and a slides with sample shirts/pants/skirts/shoes/bags/etc. You place the projected images on top of pieces of papers with lightly drawn body figures (these come with the kit), trace over the images and then decorate the clothing as you’d like. There are a few more things on the kit to make it more fun – as well as a “challange” game, in which each player spins a wheel to find out what piece to design, in what style and in how much time – while competing against other players. Of course, the competition aspect is not great when you have sore losers in your family, but it would be fun for more mature players.
This kit is perfect for an 8-year-old girl or older (I even enjoyed it), but I think it wouldn’t work so well for a younger girl.
It’s not cheap, but if your girl is into fashion design, this is probably a great way for her to pass her time.

Orb Factory Sticky Mosaics: Jewelry Box

Mosaics Jewelry BoxToday Mike was late on taking Camila to daycare, which gave us some extra time for mommy-Camila time. We used it working on the Orb Factory Sticky Mosaics Jewelry Box, which I got Camila for Christmas. All in all, it’s been one of the best toys I’ve gotten her. For some reason, she loves sticking the mosaics (they are self-adhesive) on the little numbered squares on the box, and seeing the bright images appear. This is a task that she takes on (with mommy along) for a while, then she puts away, only to take it on again a few weeks later. Thus, it’s four months after Christmas and she still hasn’t finished it. But that’s cool, as it means she still has more to do when it fancies her.
The results are quite nice. We only have one side to go (and probably not enough tiles, as they’ve gotten lost all over the house in the last months), but the sides that are ready are quite pretty. I think Camila is looking forward to using it as a jewelry box in the future (for all the jewelry mommy makes her and she never wears).
I’m thinking that I’ll probably get her the fairy mosaic box, from the same company, next Christmas.
Mosaics Jewelry Box
Mosaics Jewelry Box
Mosaics Jewelry Box

Dollar Tree Photo paper – Thumbs Up

Dollar Tree Photo paper
The kids and I just spent a while scrapbooking and organizing our supplies – and I’ve realized how much I’ve come to appreciate printing our own pictures. We’re not the kind of people who get pictures printed in the first place, so we don’t usually have many around to scrapbook with. Indeed, most of the printed pictures of the kids I have are the ones my mother has sent us.
But I do want us to have more recent pictures to use, and now we can print them affordably using the photo paper available at the Dollar Tree. The paper comes in two sizes: 8 8.5 x 11 sheets (which you can use to print 1 8×10, 2 5×7 or 4×6, 4 3.5×5 or 9 wallet size pictures) or 20 4 x 6 sheets. I personally prefer the 3.5 x 5 size for scrapbooking (if for no other reason than the frames I have are those sizes), so the larger sheets are more convenient for me – or they would be, if I was able to cut straight! Well, the frames hide the imperfections. I calculate that combining the cost of the paper and printing, I’m probably spending 4 to 5 cents per 3.5×5″ print and 7 cents per 4×6 print. That’s really not bad at all. Of course, my calculations might be off 🙂
What really surprises me is the quality of the prints. The paper is glossy and the prints look great – specially considering our low end printer. Of course, I don’t know how they’ll hold long term.