Wednesday, January 20, 2010

PicPocket Books


#13 - rainmommy & #48 - Patty

Do you have small children? Do they love to read? Growing up I never really liked to read - may be because the books that you had to read in school were boring :) So when our boys were young we read to them quite a bit and had lots of books at home and also visited the library on a regular basis. We all know ho important learning to read is. Son 2 wasn't very keen on reading, but I bet if we had an iPod or an iPhone
when he was young and access to a place like PicPocket Books - he would have read
more! Here is what Lynette has to say about PicPocket books:

PicPocket Books allow children to enjoy picture books as downloadable iPhone/iPod touch apps. Children ages 2 - 8 can enjoy their favorite stories on the go—at the doctor’s office, at the store, on the airplane; any situation where it's impractical to bring physical books along. PicPocket Books offer a new and unique experience, combining the beauty and distinctive quality of picture books with professionally produced audio narrations and interactive visual text.
PicPocket Books has the largest and most “literary” selection of picture books available on the iPhone. We offer a wide range of classic content from established publishers, including previously published "board books", concept books, easy readers, fairy tales, and other culturally diverse picture books. We produce our titles through an artistic process and our apps remain faithful in content to the original books. The full color illustrations are detailed and clear. The text is easily readable and we offer a "learn-to-read" feature where the text is highlighted as the word is spoken, encouraging the connection between the written and spoken word for emergent readers.

Our apps aid and encourage kids in learning to read and promote literacy by offering positive exposure to books and stories. First of all, most kids are very curious about electronic gadgets. Why not capitalize on that fascination to grab their initial interest? Whether we're talking print or digital books, reading is an active mental process: something to encourage at every opportunity. Our apps offer a "learn-to-read" feature where the text is highlighted as the word is spoken, encouraging the connection between the written and spoken word for emergent readers.

Here at PicPocket Books, we are iPhone app developers, but we’re parents of young kids first. And as parents, we are mindful of the content kids are experiencing on mobile devices and amount of exposure they are getting to the screen. Why do kids get a lot of screen time? One reason is because they are really drawn to this kind of media. The technologies that are new to us are very intuitive to them and will be a significant part of their lives for years to come. We think it's important to introduce our children to quality and age-appropriate content on the screen, whether we're talking mobile digital technology, desktop computers or other media. We don’t see PicPocket Books as replacements for print books or the valuable time parents can spend reading to their children, but as educational and culturally valuable alternatives to video games or movies, especially for families on-the-go.

Reading a story book on a screen is also a very different experience from playing a repetitive video game on the same screen. It has the same educational, mind-opening benefits as reading a traditional print book: increases vocabulary, improves concentration and focus, and expands horizons.

PicPocket Books has added some interactive audio hot spots to selected PicPocket Book titles like Oh, Crumps, Peterkin Meets a Star, Monster Trucks, Tractors, Rescue Vehicles, and Round Is A Mooncake. We are adding additional animations to some titles that are currently in production. The animations are subtle, like snow falling or stars twinkling, because we publish previously published books rather than made-for-iPhone stories - so the artwork is already drawn, and we strive to remain faithful to the original book. Our intent is to encourage curiosity by adding elements of interactive discovery to each title which the hot spots and subtle animations provide. We are consciously NOT creating video games, but hope that PicPocket Books can offer a gentle alternative to games for parents who want to offer their children mobile digital books.

PicPocket Books is offering two lucky winners a chance to choose three titles each from their selection of picture books.



Monday, January 18, 2010

Steward Bags Give Away


Are you trying to use less plastic when shopping? I've been trying for a while now. Finally getting the hang of taking my cloth bags with me when I leave the house :) It's a habit that I've had some difficulty getting into, but I'm really tired of the plastic bags all over the house, in the garbage and cluttering my pantry. Plus the fact that they are taking up space in landfills, which are starting to take over large area's of land. It seems the older I get the more conscious I am of what we are doing to our World!

I was still struggling with how to purchase my fresh produce and not use the wimpy plastic bags the store provides when I can across Steward Bags.

This is a wonderful Canadian Company that sells 100% cotton bags for produce! Here's a bit about the company:

Our Mission Statement

To provide grocery shoppers with a high quality, eco-friendly alternative to plastic produce bags as well as encourage and challenge others to become active participants in stewardship initiatives for our planet.

Company History
Steward Bags was born out of our family's love for the outdoors and our passion for stewardship of the Earth. We are committed to learning new ways to reduce our ecological foot print. We waited for others to create an eco-friendly alternative to the plastic produce bags and grew impatient. In the meantime we debated. One of us insisted on tying a knot in the top of the bag so the produce didn't roll out. The other, however, argued that knotting the top of the bag makes it difficult to re-open and impossible to reuse. Either way these bags ended up piling up in our garbage and ultimately in the local landfill.

Not only have we developed this organic produce bag as an Earth friendly alternative to plastic produce bags, now we have one less thing to argue about.

We feel that the development of our product is a natural progression from reusable grocery bags.

The produce bags come in two sizes -
Large: 12" x 15"
Small: 10" x 12"

Josee sent me 4 large bags and 4 small bags to try out and pass to my friends. I happen to have 5 friends that are very conscientious about what they are doing to the environment, and were thrilled to receive a produce bag! We all LOVE them! They are strong enough to carry a bunch of oranges, but light enough they won't add weight when you are at the check-out. If you have been looking for a way to rid yourself of plastic while in the produce aisle at your favorite grocery store - here is the perfect way! If you are looking for Canvas Bags - they carry those too :)

One winner will be getting 2 Small & 1 Large Produce Bag from Steward Bags.

Small: 10"x12"
Large" 12"x15"

-100% organic cotton
-certified EKO Sustainable Textile
-fair wage/fair labour
-hand wash in cold, hang to dry



Sunday, January 17, 2010



Do you enjoy a glass of wine every now & then? Would you like a really cute pair of Salt & Pepper shakers on your table? If you answer is "yes" then you need to check out Huephoria. The have wonderful hand painted wine glasses and also salt & pepper shakers in lovely designs.

A little about HuePhoria:

HuePhoria's two Syracuse, NY artists, Jen and Lisa, met at a "Mom's Coffee" in 1998. While staying home to raise their children, they both had found outlets to feed their creative souls...and to keep their sanity. Their common interests would eventually come in very handy for their future endeavor: throwing fun and spontaneous parties, experiencing retail therapy outings and, of course, painting anything they could get their hands on. The two quickly became great friends and decided to paint furniture and glassware to try to make some extra cash. Lisa and Jen began selling their HuePhoria hand painted goods at local fundraisers and through word of mouth to get their hobby-turned-business into motion.

The HuePhoria "ball" concept was born in 1999 out of necessity. The wine glass supply in their cupboards seemed to be dwindling (probably from the fun and spontaneous parties) and they saw this as an opportunity to paint some new ones for themselves that would be much more creative than the glasses they were seeing in stores. Not only that, the idea of each person having their own unique ball design on their glass would solve the ongoing dilemma of remembering who's drink was who's! Lisa and Jen got to work, painting each glass and baking them in their ovens, and selling them to the loyal customer base they had built locally. (Unfortunately for their families it was about the only baking being done in their kitchens!)

After selling more than 5,000 glasses in 2 years, they hit a point where could not keep up with demand, nor could they offer the glasses to retail stores at a wholesale price that would keep them in business. (Not to mention that they were both going blind from the tiny detail painting!) However, this was their dream and they were not ready to hang up their paintbrushes just yet. In 2005, grassroots HuePhoria took a leap...they partnered with dear friend Kathy (a NH businesswoman) to help jump start HuePhoria glassware into mass production.

With a high quality line of hand-blown, hand-painted, dishwasher safe stemware, HuePhoria hit the retail market. Jen, Lisa & Kathy have been "having a ball" ever since!

We don't drink wine as a rule at our house, but I usually have the salt & pepper shakers close to the table, in the kitchen. So when Lisa from Huephoria offered to send me a wineglass to review, I asked if salt & pepper shakers could be sent instead. I could pick any set I wanted, and picked the snowman set - LOVE snowmen :)

They are adorable! There are two different snowmen on each shaker. The shakers are glass with a metal twist top and painted designs on the sides. "The Men" looked at me a bit funny when I set the table with the shakers - they just don't understand my fascination with snowmen. The shakers work great and look great, so they will just have to deal with snowmen on the table year round.


Huephoria will send one person their choice of Salt & Pepper Shakers.



Reusable Sandwich Set Give Away


Introducing Prairie Wind Designs an amazing shop on Etsy! Misti has beautiful bags, toddler dresses and more.

*Where are you from? Tell us a bit about yourself.
I grew up on a farm in southwest Kansas. I currently live in Frenchtown, Montana with my husband, two adorable children, ages 6 and 3, and our golden retriever, Prairie. I guess you could say I love wide open spaces, from the mountains of Big Sky Country to the wheat fields of Kansas.

*How did you decide on your shop name? Why did you start your business?
I love the prairie. I feel it has played a big part in shaping me into the person I am today. Growing up working the ground and having faith the seeds you plant today will be the harvest you reap tomorrow. With the prairie comes wind and the winds of change have blown my life in many directions. First separating me from those Kansas sunsets to find myself among the majestic mountains of Montana. Then, after meeting and marrying my best friend, saying goodbye as he went Iraq. It was staying up those
lonely nights that I found comfort in my sewing machine. After my husband returned, I became a stay at home mom and have enjoyed making things for and with my children. Several friends talked me into doing some local farmer's markets and an Etsy shop just seemed like the next step.

*What types of items do you have? Do you have something new you will be adding?
My items are all things I have created with fabric. I have a range of items from purses and diaper bags to barnyard coloring wallets for the little ones. I have many ecofriendly and upcycled items from sandwich and snack bags, reusable grocery bags and toddler dresses that I upcycle from previously loved men's shirts.

*What do you like about being a seller?
The connections you make with people. Montana can get lonely at times. The people I have met through our Montana Etsy Team and the other artists are so supportive and it is my link to the rest of the world.

*What’s your supply addiction; is there a specific color or type of supply you just can’t pass up?
Fabric, fabric, and yes, more fabric. Yet another reason to start my Etsy shop - a place to go with some of my fabric. Or was it a reason to buy more? I forget.

*What motivates or inspires you to create?
I love creating something with my hands for someone else. I enjoying thinking about that person as I am creating each piece and when it is complete, I feel like I have given a piece of myself.

*What is your favorite on-line shop?
Why, Etsy of course. I try to make most of my purchases from other Etsians.

*Which item in your shop did you enjoy making the most and why?
This adorable little red toile dress. I upcycled it from a pair of capri pants. (which was a challenge in itself) I had so much fun with this I kept going to make a matching bag. I love giving something that has been cast away a new life.

One lucky winner will receive this amazing Mary Engelbreight Reusable Sandwich and Snack Bag Set!


Sandwich bag measures 8" X 8".
2 1/2" gussetted bottom allows bag to stand on its own.
Snack bag measures 6" X 4 1/2"
1" gussetted bottom
Velcro closures keep items fresh and secure.



Saturday, January 16, 2010

Gravy Boat Give Away


Ashley from CSN Stores contacted me about doing a review for one of their products, from one of their stores!
Well - of course I asked if it would be possible to also have a give away, and Ashley agreed! So - now I had to pick something that I wanted, was useful and would also be an item that one of you might also like! It was not an easy decision let me tell you.
But I have made up my mind, and this is what Ashley sent to my mailbox and what she will be sending to one lucky winner !

A Gravy Boat was on my Christmas List, however since there were "men" shopping for me - I didn't get one. I have used it a number of times since receiving it and absolutely LOVE it! The gravy boat is the perfect size - holds 20 oz. It is Dishwasher Safe, Oven, microwave, and freezer safe.



Smelly Towel Cleaner


Do you have musty or stale smelling towels? It doesn't seem to matter how many times you wash them or what type of scented detergent or fabric softener you use, the towels just don't smell fresh? This is a problem we've had at our house for a while now.
So when I was given a chance to do a review/give away for smelly towels I was quite happy too. There had to be something to make my towels smell fresh when they came out the the dryer. Smelly Towel comes in powder form. it has a slight citrus scent when you open the container, but the towels don't smell like citrus out of the washing machine, they just smell like laundry that was hung out to dry - fresh!

After doing the first load of towels I've used Smelly Towels to wash dishcloths and the fuzzy blankets we use to keep warm while watching TV in the evenings. They all smell amazing! I even used it on a load of Son 2's work clothes that smelled like diesel, oil, solvent and who knows what.. (he works as a mechanic at the local John Deere dealer
ship). It even helped those clothes smell so much better!

All you need is one cap full to do one load. So the size container lasts for quite a few loads (24 treatments according to the container). I happen to have a new HE washer & it works wonderfully in it. If you happen to also have a smelly washer - there is a product for that too.
has a great video and wonderful tips on how to remove odors.

One lucky person will get a bottle of Smelly Towels.



Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Gadget Cozy Give Away


1) #94 - MISHIA
2) #74 - RACHEL G
3) #80 - JESSICA


I was thrilled when Tyler contacted me about having a feature/give away on my blog. In fact - I have been eying different shops looking for a coffee mug cozy, and she happens to carry them! So I ordered one - in red :) Can't wait to get it!! Before we get to the give away part - here's a bit more about Tyler and her shop:

*Where are you from? Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am from Maryland, but I now live in and attend college in Alabama. I've loved learning different types of arts and crafts since I was a little kid, and I've gone through several different phases like plastic canvas, gimp braiding, latch hooking, crochet, sewing, and upcycling. Knitting is my current obsession, and I'm sure I'll stick with it until I'm old and gray!

*How did you decide on your shop name? Why did you start your business?
My shop name is pretty simple. My name is Tyler and my items are handmade. I started my business because knitting is one of my favorite things to do, and selling my items will hopefully start being a big help in purchase my (very expensive) textbooks.

*What types of items do you have? Do you have something new you will be adding?
Right now I have scarves, armbands, dishcloth, gadget cozies, mug cozies, and rugs. I will be adding some hats, shawls and headbands to my inventory shortly.

*What’s your supply addiction?
Well I'm a knitter, so my addiction is yarn of course! I have yarn all over the place: under my bed, in my closet, in a plastic storage bin, even in my sister's dresser drawer!
I started a group on called "Random Acts of Kindness" where we send each other gifts for no particular reason, and a lot of my yarn came to me free from kind knitters and crocheters from the group.

Is there a specific color or type of supply you just can’t pass up?
I love Patons SWS! It just feels great to knit with and I love the colorways.

*Do you have a blog?
Yes! I just start one on the 7th and really need some followers (hint hint). Here’s the link:

*What motivates or inspires you to create?
Looking at different pieces in fashion magazines and taking note of interesting things that people wear usually gives me great ideas for designs.

*Which item in your shop did you enjoy making the most and why?
I’d have to say the item that I enjoyed making the most was my Wildberry Scarf, because there was no pattern to it. I just had several yarns in coordinating colors picked out, and I’d switch yarns randomly to give it a unique look. The constant shift in colors really made things interesting. I think the reason I choose the same scarf to be my logo is that I had so much fun making it.

Tyler will be sending 3 winners their choice of Gadget Cozy!



Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Joy of Soap Gift Certificate


Handmade soap has to be one of my favorite things ever! I was introduced to handmade soap about a year ago by a friend and have purchased it ever since. So any time I get to try a new product I'm thrilled!

The Joy of Soap is a shop with some really wonderful soap. This is what is on their front page:

Welcome to The Joy of Soap where we combine beauty practices and botanical ingredients from across the globe with the knowledge of modern science and natural ingredients to develop bath and body products that help you to develop your own daily cleansing and bathing rituals using gentle and nourishing oils and botanicals that leave your skin clean, refreshed and rejuvenated, and that provide you with a daily indulgence to restore and increase your well being.

This is a company intent on being "Green". They use the finest all-natural ingredients they can find for their soaps. Use recycled materials for shipping, the soaps are wrapped in 100% cotton muslin bags, even their printer and label provider is a certified green company in the state of California.

I was sent 5 different soaps to try. Ginger Snap, Lay Me Down Lavender, Feeling Frisky, Two in the Shower Tea Tree, and Elizabeth's Wild Hair Shaving Soap. Don't you love the names? :) When I picked up the package at the post office I could smell the soap before I even opened it. I'm sure the women at the post office where wondering what I was getting :) The school bus smelled so nice! Luckily I hadn't taken a shower yet and could try one of the soaps right away. I closed my eyes, dug into the box and picked Ginger Snap.

This soap smells so nice. I don't like really strong scented soaps, so I was happy that these soaps have a nice medium strong scent. Lavender is not one of my favorite scents, especially if it overpowers everything around it. But the Lavender scented soap I received is actually quite nice. I don't mind it at all. The soap lathers nicely & cleans well. One bar will last quite a while which is important to me. There is nothing worse then purchasing a bar of soap & have it disappear after only 6 showers.

The Joy of Soap has wonderful individual packaging for their soaps. Each little bag is labeled with the name of the soap plus the ingredients. I've been using this soap for 3 weeks now and still really like it. The shaving soap is really nice! Shaving is not one of my favorite things to do, but I go for a massage once a month - so it has to be done :) This soap makes it a much more pleasant task, don't have to worry about nicks or dried out skin. I would definitely recommend this soap to my friends.

One person will be receiving a $40 Gift Certificate from The Joy of Soap!



Audrey's Country Crafts is in no way responsible for the mailing of the prize. After the name is drawn I will contact that person. They have 3 days to respond before another name will be picked! The name and address will be forwarded.
Thank-you for entering!!

Disclosure: I was provided a complimentary of this product by The Joy of Soap, for review and giveaway purposes. No monetary compensation was provided and opinions of the product are solely my own.


Ballerina Hair Clip Holder


I'm really hoping that one of my boys has a little girl one day. There are so many amazing shops with wonderful items for little girls. This is one of them:

*Where are you from? Tell us a bit about yourself.
Tiger and Lily Boutique is co-owned by two friends on opposite side of the map. My name is Andie. I live in Ohio and my best friend, Shanea, lives in California. We are a great mix of east and west coast. Our boutique has a mix of our crafts plus other US handmade vendors crafts.

*How did you decide on your shop name? Why did you start your business?

We wanted a name that represented both of us. Shanea's idea was the Ying Yang symbol, black and white, East coast - West coast kind of thing. We went back and forth via email a few times and that was it; Tiger and Lily Boutique was born.

*What types of items do you have? Do you have something new you will be adding?
We make mostly children's boutique crafts such as hair barretts, korker bows and jewelry. We make some other items too, like knitted wash clothes and porcelain dolls. We have just recently added a new item to our boutique called Tutu Hair Clip Holders. This petty holder can be used as a hanging decoration in your daughters room and keep the mess of ribbons out of boring boxes where they get forgotten about or smashed.

*What do you like about being a seller?
We love sharing our handmade items with everyone. Making gifts for others is so special.

*What’s your supply addiction; is there a specific color or type of supply you just can’t pass up?
FABRIC!!! Mostly Shanea's addiction. :-) She loves it, she loves to touch it and smell it - any color or type! I love it too but I don't think as much as she does. :-)

*Do you have a blog?
Yes, its
Please stop by and read our articles; sign up and leave comments...we love hearing from other crafters. We always welcome other crafters articles, so let us know if you would like to write about your craft.

*What motivates or inspires you to create?
Creating beautiful, special, gift items for friends and family. It's so much fun to create new things. Especially if it's your own creation and you aren't following someone elses pattern. Finishing a project is very rewarding.

*What is your favorite on-line shop?
Tiger and Lily Boutique - of course! :-)

*Which item in your shop did you enjoy making the most and why?
Definitely the Tutu Hair Clips Holders. They are so fun to make. They are decorative, useful and a must have for any little girls room.

Tiger & Lily Boutique will be sending one lucky winner their choice from one ballerina hair clip holder!

This perfectly adorable hair clip holders are just what you need to add that whimsical touch to any little girls room or nursery. This must have accessories will help keep the inevitably messy collection of hair clips and ties in a tidy and easy to see location.



Monday, January 11, 2010



I love fabric! All kinds, all colors . . . Never quite sure what I would do with it all, maybe just look at it? Megan has some amazing fabrics in her shop Fabric Love along with patterns.

*Where are you from? Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’ve grown up in Oregon for most of my life, and now I call Eugene, Oregon my home. Sure it rains 6 months out of the year here (we call it liquid sunshine), but it’s worth it for all the trees, moss, and the lush greenery. It’s also a great excuse to stay inside and sew or craft!

I started sewing about 10 years ago when a friend taught me how to sew a full-length, fully gathered skirt for an SCA event. After that, I sewed from patterns, checked sewing books out from the library, and learned from each project. A few years ago I took a pattern drafting class through the local community college.

*Why did you start your business?
I started my business in mid-2009 with an Etsy shop, Sanourra Designs. I love to sew, and have been collecting fabric and patterns for quite some time. I was working on my business in my free time, after putting in my eight hours a day at my office job.

My 9 to 5 at the time was as a quality manager in a factory that produced wildland firefighting garments. I didn’t see many opportunities for me to “climb the corporate ladder,” so to speak, so I wanted to create a business for myself. I applied for a business license under the name Fabric Love in August of 2009.

When I was laid off during cutbacks in September, I applied to the Self Employment Assistance Program through Unemployment Insurance, wrote a full-scale business plan, and was accepted. I launched on January 1, 2010.

*How did you decide on your shop name?
I have an addiction to fabric, and I know I’m not alone. “Fabric love” is the jolt you get when you see a fabric that makes you drool, makes you feel that your life is incomplete without it, and you know you absolutely must have it.

*What types of items do you have?
I have many bolts of Moda fabrics with a retro feel. I also have some vintage fabrics that I purchased from a friend’s grandparents who used to run a fabric shop. I have tons of vintage and retro patterns, some of them uncut. I also sell my hats and handbags in my shop, as well as any vintage finds that I just can’t pass up.

*Do you have something new you will be adding?
I got in on the reprint of Deb Strain’s Love U, so I’ll be adding some of that line this month (February). They’re mostly the snail, owl, tree and leaf prints. I just thought they were darling, and would make great kids clothes, pillowcases, or even some super cute purses. In March I’ll add some lovely prints and towelling from Moda’s Rural Jardin line, plus some gorgeous French lace batiks.

Don’t forget to keep an eye out for new handmade hats and handbags, too!

*What’s your supply addiction; is there a specific color or type of supply you just can’t pass up?
Fabric. Definitely fabric. Oddly enough, I LOVE to create frilly, girly, pretty things, even though I’m not a person to wear them myself. A quaint little floral print or a really cool retro style fabric in purple, teal, blue, or orange will get me nearly every time.

*Do you have a blog?
I do have a blog, although I don’t post on it nearly as often as I should. It’s the Love Blog at One can also find it at


Megan will be sending someone this amazing jelly roll!


One jelly roll from Moda’s Hello Betty Retro colorway.
This jelly roll contains 40 2 ½ “ by 44” strips, two of each of the retro colorway.
Value: $22.00
I made a cool retro quilt from one of these jelly rolls last summer.
Check it out at