Thursday, July 31, 2008

REVIEW: Pampered Paw Gifts

Pampered Paw Gifts
Special Lapdog Creations Gift
Where to Find:
Pampered Paw Gifts
UPDATED TO INCLUDE DIRECT LINK TO THE SPECIAL LAPDOG CREATIONS GIFT HERE (READERS: PLEASE NOTE UNDER THE PRICE WHERE IT SAYS TO EMAIL FOR YOUR SPECIAL DISCOUNT CODE!)

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I saved this special review to coincide with Dogs on Thursday!

When Tera, owner of Pampered Paw Gifts, approached me to review her products, I was very excited! Offering unique gifts for both dogs and cats (as well as pet parents!), Pampered Paw Gifts is a unique shopping experience.

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Gift baskets are offered in all shapes and sizes for any occassion (birthday, holiday, pet loss, thank you, new puppy/kitten, etc) and are completely customizable! Pampered Paw Gifts also offers both dog & cat cakes, treats, toys and luxury gifts. A high point in my book is that all of the treats offered are high quality, made form natural and human grade ingredients - and nutrional information is available on the website.


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Tera surprised me by creating a one two-of-a-kind special Lapdog Creations Gift. The gift contains a 2009 Rachael Hale (my favorite pet photographer) mini dog calendar, vanilla wafer treats, large peanut butter bones dipped in carob, yogurt & sprinkles and a fun Zanies stuffed squeaky bone ... all packed up pretty in a super cute large clear vinyl-zippered bone shaped purse, accented with a single paw print sticker and beautiful ribbon -- completely ready to gift to the deserving doggy on your shopping list!


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Tera is offering this exact gift basket to any of my readers for just $22! If you are interested in purchasing one, please contact her via the website UPDATED TO INCLUDE DIRECT LINK TO THE SPECIAL LAPDOG CREATIONS GIFT HERE (READERS: PLEASE NOTE UNDER THE PRICE WHERE IT SAYS TO EMAIL FOR YOUR SPECIAL DISCOUNT CODE!) and mention that you would like to purchase the Pampered Paw Gifts Special Lapdog Creations Gift. A portion of Pampered Paw Gifts sales are given back to rescues & shelters around the country and I was given the opportunity to pick which organization would receive that portion from the sale of the special LCG. I chose Janet and Precious Pets Animal Rescue. Janet is a one woman show and the angel responsible for rescuing my dear sweet Sophie off of the rural streets of MO. Therfore, for every LCG purchased, a portion of the proceeds will go to straight to helping Janet rescue, care for and adopt out more of these delightful strays.

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All 4 of my dogs highly enjoyed the goodies tucked in side of the gift basket - especially the peanut butter treats dipped in carob & yogurt! I will enjoy the adorable Rachael Hale calendar (Tera didn't even know how much I adore her work when she put this basket together) and am finding that the super cute bone shaped zippered bag makes a great small project knitting bag (talk about a multitasking gift!)! The only change I might've made to this special LCG would have been to change the color theme from green to purple (Matt actually pointed that out... men don't pay attention to many details, but he did notice that and I thought it was sweet). Regardless of color, the gifts are high quality and I will certainly be using Pampered Paw Gifts for my own future gift giving needs! They even have a Buyer Rewards program!

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So, whether you need to get a birthday gift for your furbaby, send a new kitten basket to your Aunt, shop for your 4 legged holiday gifts in one spot or want to send a special thank you treat, Pampered Paw Gifts is the place for you! The gifts are also great for businesses - grooming clients, VIP customers, etc.

CONTEST! Pampered Paw Gifts was gracious enough to provide two of the special LCG baskets and that means I have one to giveway! All you need to do is leave a comment here telling me what furbaby would be the lucky recipient if you win and mention a product that peaked your interest over on the Pampered Paw Gifts website. Please don't forget to include a means of contacting you if you win! Deadline to enter is Thursday, August 7th at midnight. Winner will be selected by random number generator. Thank you to Tera for providing the giveaway.

The winner of the Crochet Lace book from a previous review was drawn via random number generator... Congratulations Alana! I will be in touch to get your mailing address.



Wednesday, July 30, 2008

REVIEW: Namaste Bags

Namaste Bags
Where To Find:
Namaste Inc.

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After receiving product for review from the wonderful girls (and boy!) at Namaste, I quickly realized that this is one amazing company! A family business, they use animal friendly faux leather and they bring their dogs to work!! As if that isn't enough, they make some amazing products!

I wanted to actually test out (read: use for a few weeks) the bags in order to give a proper review... and the result is that I couldn't be happier carrying the Laguna (from the Cali Collection) around everywhere!

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At first sight, I thought "oh wow... this is a big bag..." but after actual use, I have to say this is my new favorite bag! It does look big, but once you start stuffing things in, you will quickly realize just how perfect it is. Perfect enough to tote everything I need to knitting nights, as well as to shows, day trips, etc. I also love the softness of the faux leather... like butter! The zippered interior pocket instantly gives you 2 completely separate compartments, plus it has interior pockets for your cell phone, keys & gadgets and an exterior pocket that I have found is perfect for stashing a small notebook, pen and some business cards (as you can see in the photo, I've also found a place to clip my Moo card holder to). The shoulder strap is detachable and you can fold the handles/top flap down over itself when the bag isn't stuffed full. Laguna is my perfect knitting bag.. yes, I heart it!

I have been using testing the Catalina Pouch (bottom right hand corner in top photo) as well - it has some notions and gadgets in it and is tucked inside my Laguna. Its the perfect size and the fabric coordinates with all of the Cali Collection colors!

The Vintage bag (top right hand corner in top photo), which was inspired by a forgotten 1940's knitting bag design, is spacious and accomodating for all of your needs. Slots for all types of needles wrap around the exterior and the extra large interior is perfect for those larger projects or to store your stash in at home.

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This classy looking bag is, appropriately enough, part of the Classic Collection and is currently only available in the colors remaining in stock. Grab yours while you can - once they're gone, they are gone, as they will be discontinued once sold out!

The Cali Clutch (bottom left hand corner in top photo), is the answer to your needs if you want a great on-the-go, going-out bag that you can carry your essentials in, as well as your current WIP... and look super chic doing so! I couldn't think of a better way to describe this bag than they did themselves, so direct from Namaste... "What do you call a classy, slim, well designed organizational product that can hold your straights, circulars, credit cards, cash, keys, phone, sunglasses, a small project and still be considered a high fashion accessory? Before now it would be called impossible, but we call it the Namaste Clutch." Photos can be deceiving - you must see this bag in person to fully understand just what you can fit in it! You can easily bring your current sock or fingerless mitts with you when you go out dancing with friends on Friday night - and never be bored again!

The Cali Collection also includes a Cozy for your needles.

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The Cozy is an extra large, sophisticated case to transport or store your straight needles in. It totally reminds me of the old fashioned cigarette cases of the 50's that all the chic ladies carried around - only much longer!

All in all, I am highly impressed with Namaste bags. The quality is top notch, the products are ingenious (they truly know what knitters need), the owners are amazing (read: exceptional customer service!)... and did I mention they all have dogs, support shelters & rescue organizations and bring their dogs to work? Namaste rates A-one and 4-paws-up in my book and I will forever be a faithful customer! This was my first experience with their bags and had I not had this opportunity to review them, I'm not sure I would have ever gotten around to ordering one. Therefore I hope that if you're in the same boat, reading this tried-and-tested review, that I have convinced you to take the plunge and order... today! Trust me, you will not be disappointed!

Now... since this is a review on my blog and Namaste is dog friendly... and well, just because I can, I'm going to give you some gratuitous photos of a couple of my photogenic kids endorsing the bags.

Lola thinking the Vintage just might be some sort of feed bag...

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Teutul thought there might be some cookies in there too...

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Lola, aka Protector of Mommy's Laguna ... nobody's getting their hands on that!

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My handsome guy, Zeus posing with the Vintage...

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Keeping the Needles Clicking

It seems like I haven't posted much for knitting content as of late, huh? I really do knit.. I do, I do! In fact I have a FO to show!

The Mini Felted Bag, which I did in a hand dyed yarn that happened to leave my brand new bamboo circs with a purple tint (I'll spare you the details - see my Ravelry projects for more info).

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I wasn't sure how much I was liking this bag as I knit it up (due to the large pools of color), but once it felted I think its pretty cute! It just might be a Christmas gift for someone, but I haven't totally decided yet. I will do another for me, but in a more neutral shade.

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One of the things I love most about this cute bag? The way the bottom came out with the thin "stripes"! (stop laughing...)

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As usual, I have 101 several WIPs going. Another probable Christmas gift is the Russet Scarf, which I previewed in yesterday's Signature Needles review.

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The lace pattern is simple enough and the results are quite pretty. I cast on mostly to review the needles, without an intended recipient, however as I've knit the first 2 pattern repeats, I think I have someone on Matt's side of the family in mind. The yarn is Dream In Color Classy and perhaps I'm having "yarn malfunctions" as of late because it is leaving a blue line across my fingers as I knit (according to the forum on Ravelry, this seems to be a common issue with DIC's blue yarns and should hopefully go away). I will be sure to wash and block the scarf well!

I've also been chugging along on my the Cross Stitch Scarf for myself (originally cast on to review the new Rowan Colourscape yarn) and am loving how this yarn is knitting up! This is my second CS scarf and an easy to memorize 2 row pattern, therefore its my brainless, easy travel knitting for now.

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This past weekend, New Hampshire hosted the Summer Knit & Crochet Show which brought my friend, the hilarious and uber talented, MaryBeth Temple to town. MBT and Little Loopy (aka "the kid") joined us on Wednesday night at A Knitter's Garden for some chit chat, book signings, knitting and maybe a few too many brownies (aw heck, what I am saying... there's no such thing as too many brownies, right?).

Joanne proudly modeling my scarf (well, this one isn't mine... but my Mom is working on mine, she was the first to buy MBT's new pattern!)

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I modeled the scarf too, but that photo is quite dorky so instead here's MBT and I (note the pretty pendant she's wearing... you like? I made it for her in the MultiTasking 9-5 swap!)

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The Purling Petals clicking away on the needles (we were missing at least 4 regulars last week, as many ladies are on vacation)...

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Joanne and MBT were interviewed by The Nutfield News and Little Loopy came to join us at the table ... and was sucked in to the Shawl KAL!

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The Shawl KAL that we're doing is going great (with many "distant" Purling Petal friends joining in on the Ravelry forum) ... everyone's is so different, but I think my favorite just might be blogless Cheryl's! She's using a gorgeous handdyed rayon...

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I'm using Mission Falls wool... but already bought some beautiful handdyed wool/bamboo/nylon at the K&C Show on Sunday for another (which means this wool one may become a gift). You can see the big difference between the rayon and wool...

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We had a great night and hope our guests did as well - even if MBT did end up having to buy the kid yarn & needles when she got hooked on the KAL! Joanne & I met up with MBT again on Sunday at the show - but I'll save the show photos for later (read: I haven't downloaded the pics of my yarn purchases yet).

Since I don't have K&C stash enhancement photos for you yet, I'll leave you with a little promotion for A Knitter's Garden... its the basket of beauteous handdyed yarn from Seacoast Handpainted! Joanne met with the new owner and will not only continue to carry the line, but will hopefully be getting some exclusive colorways named after the Purling Petals and the shop!

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Monday, July 28, 2008

REVIEW: Signature Needle Arts

Signature Needles
Where To Find:
Signautre Needle Arts


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I was a bit skeptical, yet anxious to see what all the buzz was about, especially given that Signature Needles are metal. You see, when I think of metal needles I think of that awful clickity-clack, CLANG, CLANG sound that my first (hand-me-down) needles made. I, like most knitters, have since moved on to nicer bamboo and other non-metal materials for my straights & DPNs, never to look back at "old fashioned" metal needles again.

Then a pair of gold colored size 8 needles with a middy point and bell cap end showed up in my mailbox for review.... After mere minutes of knitting with them, I'm hooked! So much so, that I will publicly announce that I heart Signature Needles! Their clickity-clack sound is much more delightful than your Grandmother's metal needles (although you probably don't want to use these if you knit in the movie theater - stick to bamboo for that) and the feel of these needles in your hands is just amazing - these truly are luxury knitting needles!

Signature Needles are a must-have for any serious knitter! Hand-crafted and hand-polished, these beautiful needles are Made in The USA (which always scores bonus points in my book)! They are the perfect fit for any knitter's hand and the company proudly boasts that no other needle makes a more perfect, uniform stitch.

Signature Needles began when the owner had one of those "Why don't they make...." moments, like many of us knitters have time and time again. Being the President of a family-owned business that manufactures custom metal components, her wish for needles with a better point was quickly realized! Lucky for the rest of us knitters, she decided to open shop and share her awesome needles!

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Have fun creating your own pair of single points - you can pick the size, length, color, point and end cap. I noticed they've recently added DPNs to the line and I am very intrigued to learn more about them. Signature Needles are shipped wrapped in tissue and inserted in a plastic tube, which makes for a great gift presenation (hint, hint... to any family reading this).

You don't have to grab a whole set (although wouldn't that be lovely?!?!), but I do urge you to set aside some extra cash and splurge on at least one pair... you'll soon heart them as much as I do and be hooked on the "new" metal!

Friday, July 25, 2008

New Item in my Etsy Shop

I'm excited to announce that I've just added a brand new item to my etsy shop, as well as to the line of Knitting Notions by Lapdog Creations at A Knitter's Garden --- yarn cutter keyring fobs!! I'm also still running my "summer sale" special on some sets of stitch markers, but not for too much longer, so grab what you need now ~ either for yourself, swap gifts, holiday gifts (yes its officially time to start thinking about that!), etc.




Thursday, July 24, 2008

Rain, Rain GO AWAY

Like Paula, we're in the midst of some major thunderstorms and more tropic-than-New-England-like weather that we all wish would just go away already! Two weeks of rain and nasty storms is really taking a toll. The dogs don't like it at all and neither do I...I've had a thing with lightning ever since it hit the house next door a few years ago... I. DO. NOT. LIKE. IT. Our news is flooded with reports of lightning strikes, house fires, downed trees, hail and tornado warnings. Tornado warnings you say??!! Yes, I too thought I lived in the land of nor'easters and snow... ugh.

I also have a nasty migraine headache that I just can't shake and therefore, this will be a quick picture post for Dogs on Thursday...

When they haven't been hiding from the storms or sticking like glue to Mommy & Daddy, the kids have been just trying to stay cool...

Zeus ~ happy dog, then hearing there were more storms coming...

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Teutul ~ chilling out ... and waiting for his doggy ice cream...

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Sophie ~ looking cute & loving the rope toys

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Lola ~ gorgeous as always!

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

REVIEW: Crochet Lace

Crochet Lace
by Jean Leinhauser & Rita Weiss
Hardcover: 144 pages
Publisher: Sterling Publishing Co. (June 3, 2008)


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As a non-crocheter (at least so far), my first thought when I glance as this lovely book is "I wonder if I can talk my Mom in to making me the Animals on Parade Child's Spread." After all, I am her youngest child, right?

Crochet Lace showcases a collection of antique tablecloths and beadspreads - each more magnificent than the previous - and revises many of the old techniques used to create heirloom vintage lace pieces of the past, only to suit today's crochet threads. Vintage lace is simply stunning, you don't have to be a crafter to realize that. This book brings back the classic charm, paying special attention to working with traditional steel hooks and choosing the perfect crochet threads.

Each of the 23 project patterns include instructions in easy to read type and large, clear charts. Each project also features full page color photos to help make the intricate designs easy to follow.

You already know that I am partial to the Animals on Parade, however there are many favorite pieces in this book. The Butterfly Filet Table Topper is perfect for any little side table and I'd love to feature the Daisy Filigree Tablecloth on my own dining table. The beadspreeds are glorious (even if not practical in a 4 doggy household).

These projects will take time, however the results will most certainly become tomorrow's heirloom pieces that your friends and family with cherish for many years to come! If you're lucky enough to have vintage lace pieces in your collection, you already know what they mean and the memories they hold... why not start creating some of your own?

About the Authors: Jean Leinhauser and Rita Weiss have teamed up to provide unique projects for knitters and crochets for many years. They are co-authors of several books, including 100 Afghans to Knit & Crochet, 100 Purses to Knit & Crochet, 100 Hats to Knit & Crochet and the bestselling, 7-Day Afghans. Leinhauser founded Leaisure Arts, America's first independent needlework publishing company and Weiss currently serves as President of the Crochet Guild of America.

CONTEST! I have a copy of Crochet Lace to give away to one of you! To enter, simply leave a comment here telling me if you have any vintage lace pieces and what they mean to you. If you don't have any, what would it mean to complete one of your own? Deadline to enter is Wednesday, July 30th at midnight. Winner will be selected by random number generator. Thank you to Sterling Publishing for providing the books for review and giveaway.

The winner of the Poochie Bells from a previous review was drawn via random number generator... Congratulations Turtle! I will be in touch to get your mailing address.