New Hypoallergenic Hooks from Uncommon Artistry on Amazon

michaels hooks vs uncommon artistry hooks

I ordered these “Hypoallergenic” Surgical Steel Ball & Coil Earring Hooks (X100) from Amazon on July 3rd, 2013.  When I bought them, I didn’t realize they were coming from China.  If I had known that, I wouldn’t have bought them.  In fact, I tried to cancel my order right away, but they wouldn’t let me.  I was able to click the link to cancel, but the drop down menu for the reason for returning didn’t have any options, so without a reason to choose from, it was impossible to cancel.  My other reason for wanting to cancel was because of the reviews saying these aren’t actually hypoallergenic which I did not read until after I bought them.

So what I did on July 4th was I went to Michael’s and bought some hooks because I was so excited about making earrings and I wanted to buy the hooks because the sooner I could make them, the sooner I could sell them.  But I found out that they weren’t actually hypoallergenic.  I wore a pair for a couple of days to test them out and my right ear lobe started to get infected.  I decided to just keep making earrings and when I finally got some hypoallergenic hooks from Etsy, I took all the Michael’s hooks out and replaced them with hypoallergenic hooks.

The earrings in the image above are the Michael’s earrings on the left and the “hypoallergenic” surgical steel ball & coil earrings from Uncommon Artistry on the right.  When you are looking at the 2 bags next to each other, you can tell there is a huge difference in the colors.  The Michael’s is like a silver, while the Uncommon Artistry is more of a gray or like a blue gray color.  They actually look exactly alike in the image above with the exception of the curvature of the 2 earrings.

I am testing a pair out on my own ears just like I tested the Michael’s earrings because before I write a review on Amazon, I want to make absolutely sure they are hypoallergenic.  If they aren’t then I can say that they aren’t, but if they are then I can say they are.  If they are hypoallergenic then I can use them and say without a shadow of a doubt in my description that they are indeed hypoallergenic.  Otherwise, I have to note that they aren’t and indeed mention that if you have allergies, don’t buy these, buy the hypoallergenic ones.

So I’ve only been wearing them for like a minute and my right ear is already starting to pulse lol.  It’s like I can feel my heartbeat in my ear lobe.  I’m not quite sure if my ear is still recovering from the infection from the Michael’s earrings.  I haven’t worn anything in my ears for weeks, or since that first test that I did.  I started wearing plastic earrings in those holes yesterday.  When I put the plastic earrings in yesterday, both ears were a bit sore and they were hard to put in at first because I think the holes started closing up or perhaps they were closing because of the (for the lack of a better word) infection juices were causing the holes to close.  LOL I didn’t know how else to say that.  Anyway, I had to clean my ears yesterday because the earring was a little red from forcing it through the back.  They are still sore, so if something is going to happen, it’s probably going to happen fast.

For reference, I finished typing this out at 2:25 p.m. on July 17, 2013.  Will update on my findings…

bent hooksQuality:  I have been reading the reviews and more than a few said there were some that were bent and the coil and ball were missing or whatever.  Well, I was curious to see if there were any like that and as I was putting the normal ones back in the bag, I was counting them.  I counted 112 hooks and there were only supposed to be 100.  But, I think that makes up for the fact that 4 earrings were bent, well, 1 of those wasn’t too badly bent, but well, you see in the picture.  And 2 of them were hooked together and as you can see 1 is missing the ball and coil.  I think I can deal with the loss of 4 earrings and I can unhook those 2 good ones and replace the ball and coil from one of the bad ones.  I still come out on top with 108 good hooks, well 2 of which I am wearing for testing that I cannot actually sell, so 106 good hooks lol.

Update 8:39 p.m.: I had to take them out.  I’m in agony right now.  My head feels tight and my jaw is in a lot of pain, more pain on the right, but in pain on both sides.  These are worse than the Michael’s earrings lol.  At least with the Michael’s earrings I was able to wear them for 40 hours, I couldn’t wear these for more than 6 1/2 hours.  Heck, I was ready to take them out after the first minute because the pain started immediately.  I will not be using these earrings, not even for people who don’t have allergies.  These are going in the trash.  At least it was only $2.32.  Next time I will make sure I read the reviews first.

Earrings for Men

checkered 1

I’ve been so focused on making the keychains and keychain style earrings for women that I totally forgot that I actually wanted to make earrings for men so I could make some for myself.  I finally figured out how to make the studs out of the plastic lanyard “gimp” by only making a couple of stitches before gluing them and sticking them to plastic studs.

black and white 3

This is the pair that I made for myself, I made another pair to sell.  When I was a kid, my parents bought me a pair of Vans with the black and white checkered pattern and for some reason I’ve been a fan of the checkered pattern ever since.  I made one in every color, except for orange because when I mix the orange with black, the orange is translucent so it turns brown.  It’s not pretty.  So I have red, yellow, green, blue, purple and white with black.  I made them in all those colors to sell, but I will be making myself one in each color.

gold and silver I also have a pair in silver and a pair in gold.  The silver is a solid silver ribbon with a mirror finish in clear gimp.  The gold is different though in the sense that it looks gold, but it’s sparkly.  When you look at it and tilt it, you see the little color spots seem to change color with the lighting.  I honestly don’t know how else to explain it.  I would have liked to have bought some solid gold like the solid silver with the mirror finish, but they didn’t have any.  They had the same type of silver as the gold, but I wanted solid silver.

These studs aren’t just for the studs, ladies can wear them too, of course.  I also have the Breast Cancer Awareness pink color in solid pink, pink and white and pink and black.  Anyone can wear those actually.  You don’t have to be a woman to wear them, you can be a man who wears them in solidarity, or whatever reason you have for wanting to wear them.

pink 1

I am quite proud of my ability to make these earrings.  I have listed them on Etsy for a mere $3 a pair.  I didn’t want to ask too much for these earrings because I am not a professional, these are just a hobby and the only reason I am selling them is to help pay for a new bicycle so I can start losing more weight with Noom.  Which reminds me, I’m going to make some solid green earrings for myself for when I start riding my future bike.

So to respond to the men who have asked for earrings, here you go.  If you would like a specific color combination, there is a link in every pair of earrings listed for requesting a custom color.  Just tell me know which two colors you would like and I will make them.

Help Me Exercise

Huffy Nassau

I have been riding my bicycle for years for exercise because I have a bad back which causes excruciating pain when I walk.  It’s just easier on my back to sit down.  I was diagnosed with Degenerative Disc Disease in my lower spine, but since then the pain has gone higher, near the top of my spine.  I have recently had new x-rays on my back and those x-rays will tell the doctor whether I need to have another MRI done or not so that I can finally get something done about it.  I have already lost 70lbs with diet alone, but I feel that by not exercising because I don’t have a bicycle to exercise with, I am probably not just losing fat, but also muscle tissue and I don’t want that to happen, so that’s why exercise is crucial to helping me in my weight loss journey with Noom.

Since I had my accident a few months ago that resulted in a broken arm, I haven’t been able to ride my bike.  It’s not because of the accident, but because of my back tire.  See, it was constantly going flat even though there wasn’t a hole in the tube, so I bought a no mor flat hard rubber tube for it and I couldn’t install it and I think trying to install it I might have made things worse.  The damage that no mor flat tube caused will end up costing me $30 for a new tire and $30 for a new rim, or more.  Well, my bike was only $60 to begin with and I have sunk far too much money into it and it’s old now so I would rather just start fresh with a new bike.

The bike that I want to buy (image above) is from Target.com for $125, although that is a temporary price reduction, by the time I have the money saved it will go up to $140, so that is why I am asking for help to pay for it.  I’m not asking for a handout, but simply asking if people bought a keychain or a pair of earrings on my Etsy store.  Whatever I make on Etsy will help me buy a new bicycle.  I already have half of the money, I just need the other half.

Below are my keychains and earrings and I am making more everyday.  The earrings are only $5 and the keychains are only $3.50 because I don’t feel right about asking for any more than that.  I always feel bad about asking for money, so that’s why I am selling these so cheap.  They literally take a couple of hours to make, so I am working hard for the few dollars I am asking for and also risking damage to my hands because I have carpal tunnel syndrome.

So if you find something that you like, please help me out and if you would like a specific color combination let me know and I will make it.  I have the following colors available.  Red, translucent orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, black, white, clear, translucent blue and translucent pink.  Thank you for reading.

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I’m not a one trick pony after all

circle brick and wall

I have been playing around with my lanyard (or gimp) material a lot over the last week.  I thought there were only 2 styles, the square and the round.  Well, a friend told me on Facebook to try the triangle pattern which uses 3 colors.  I never even knew it was possible to use not just 3 colors, but only 3 strands.  She sent me to “Laneyards” on YouTube and I’ve been watching a lot of his videos and have discovered so many different patterns that I never even knew existed until now.

So I put all of the images on my crafts page in the Lanyard Keychains section.  I made some keychains with the Mega Lace, I made a pretzel, I made a long wall stitch with the Mega Lace, there are some imperfections in it because I had to add more of the clear gimp because I didn’t have enough, but it doesn’t matter because it was just for practice.  Then today I just added the ones you see in this post.  The one on the bottom is the brick stitch in a circular pattern and the one above that is the wall stitch in a circular pattern.  Of course they were just practice.  They are small because I used scrap gimp to make them.  I’m out of all of my gimp now so if I want to make more, I’ll have to take a trip to Michael’s, which I will do tomorrow.

I never knew I had it in me.  I really think these are so cool.  Of course, I don’t know what I’m going to do with any of them lol.  My next trick will be a rainbow wall in a circular pattern.  I honestly don’t know how it’s going to turn out, but I’m going to try it anyway.

I am also going to make many awareness ribbons for many causes that I support.  There are too many to list, and most likely I will have a keychain of only cause ribbons that I won’t be able to keep on my keychain, because if I did, they’d never fit in my pocket lol.  Of course I can put one on my keychain at a time during that awareness month.  Either way, I’m going to be very busy making lots of ribbons with the simple circular stitch, bending it to make a circle, then attaching it to the other side to make it into a ribbon, then continuing with a few more stitches to finish it off.

My hands seem to be doing fine with the stretching and pulling of the gimp.  I had to stop crocheting after 20+ years because of my carpal tunnel syndrome, so perhaps if I can make these keychains, I might be able to crochet again.  Maybe… we’ll see.

Freschetta Simply Inspired Pizza

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of FRESCHETTA® for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Freschetta Pizza Simply Inspired - Chicken Bianco

Pizza has been one of my favorite foods since I was a kid.  There are so many toppings to choose from when you are buying for delivery but it doesn’t seem like the frozen section has too many topping combinations.  FRESCHETTA® Simply…Inspired™ thin crust pizza comes in 8 distinctive varieties that are all made from fresh ingredients like roasted bell peppers, fresh tomatoes, all real cheese and a thin crust which is better for your diet.

Speaking of diets, when I am dieting, it’s best to buy a pizza with a thinner crust because it has less calories.  Well, these Simply Inspired pizzas from Freschetta are really low cal.  Check it out, this Chicken Bianco pizza is only 360 calories for 1/3rd of the pizza.  That’s so great because normally they say 1 slice is 1 serving.  1/3rd of the pizza is what, 3 slices?  So you’re getting 3x the pizza!

I have bought the regular Freschetta rising crust pizzas and I love them.  The quality and taste of the ingredients is what makes Freschetta the better pizza.  And wouldn’t you know it, they are green, no not the colors of the ingredients, the packaging.  The Fresch-Taste seal locks in the vibrant flavors of the pizza and it uses 30% less packaging.

Better get the Chicken Bianco and Tuscan Farmhouse soon because it’s not going to be around for very long.  Trust me, they are really good.  You won’t want to miss out on them.  My opinion is that Freschetta is the superior frozen pizza that you and your family will love without any of the guilt.

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Boring Webcam Time

I don’t know why I feel the need to do this but I have my webcam turned on while I’m embroidering. I have to finish this Christmas stocking for Chips niece’s grandson so he can have it next month. I started working on it in May this year but stopped halfway through because it was my 3rd stocking in a row and I was burned out on embroidering.

I figured, I have 6 months to finish it and it probably won’t take more than a couple of days so I’ll do it in December. Well, it’s December and so now I shall work on it again.

I have set up my webcam in my old webcam page over at http://www.xanapus.com/cam but I don’t really know if anyone is watching because it doesn’t tell me so I’m just going to assume nobody is watching because it’s so stupid lol. I just figured, if you want to see my progress then check it out.

The stocking that I am working on is a snowman holding a broom upside down with a chipmunk on his shoulder and a Christmas tree behind him. There is a deer, rabbit and a fox sitting in front of him.

The only thing in this project that is finished is the deer. I’m not working on finishing any 1 particular character, I am more focused on specific colors. Yesterday I finished the shadow color which is a medium blue. I haven’t decided what color(s) I’m going to work on today, as if it really matters.

If you check in from time to time, thanks for coming. If you are sitting there watching me, you must be bored. If that is the case, let me know you’re watching with the chat mod at the top right of the screen in my blog.

My Free Nook Cover

Last night while we were at Barnes & Noble, after I had already paid for the Nook, Darrin asked if I bought a cover for it. Well naturally I didn’t. I had only saved up just enough money to buy the Nook. I didn’t even buy the extended warranty (which I have 30 days to buy), how could I afford a cover?

We went over to the Nook display and I was looking at their prices. Some of them were $50. Some were as low as $10 but those were rubber and didn’t cover the book like a book cover. I don’t want that. We left with the thought that ‘I will eventually buy one’ in mind.

I’m sitting here looking at the Nook and thinking, I really wish I had a cover for it because now that I’m thinking about it, it starts to worry me. How can I possibly feel safe with the limited warranty that I get if I don’t have a cover to protect it if something happens.

As I’m looking at the covers available I’m noticing that they are basically just cardboard with plastic or fabric sewn onto them. I could do that. Could I do that? Yes, I think I can.

For some odd reason we still have the big box that Chips HDTV came in. The cardboard is really thick but it’s not too thick and it’s not too thin either. I want the cover to be strong enough that it won’t bend easily. I cut the top flap and the side in a book V shape. Although I needed to add another bend because this thing is a bit thick and I need it to wrap around in more of a U shape.

I have these book covers that I bought at the grocery store in 2007 when the final Harry Potter novel came out. Luckily it came out around the same time they started stocking the back to school stuff. It’s a stretchy fabric so it starts out small but stretches enough to fit a big history or science book. I bought 2 of them, black and red. They were cheap so I bought 2. They had some other colors but black and red were my favorite.

I’m really glad I’ve held onto them all these years because I was able to finally utilize one of them. I got the cardboard cut up perfectly so it’s just the right size for the Nook. I stretched the book cover over the cardboard and although it’s a bit long it fits and it kind of looks cool at how loose it is. It looks like it was on purpose that it’s so loose.

Ok, now I have a cover but how the heck is this thing supposed to really hold it? I’m gonna need some corners to hold onto it. How do I do that?

Solution. You know Rexlace? You know, the stuff that you use to make those cool key chains? Well, in 2004 (I think) I remembered how I learned how to make those key chains when I was in the cub scouts and I wanted to see if I could learn again. I bought a bunch of rexlace, even megalace. I thought the megalace would be really cool but it turns out that it was even more difficult to make that I thought.

I’ve held onto all that rexlace and megalace all these years. When I buy craft stuff, I may not use it all up right away but eventually I will have a need for it and tonight I had a need for it.

I have some black megalace and I pulled some of it out and held it up to the corner and measured how much I would need and cut 4 pieces. Ok, I have the pieces but how to sew it on? I started using a needle and thread but that was very difficult and time-consuming and the thread kept breaking.

Solution. I have a sewing awl. AHA! That works perfectly because the needle is thick enough to go through the cardboard and the handle makes pushing it through a breeze and the wax thread is thick enough that it will hold better than plain old sewing thread.

It took me awhile and since the thread was black, the megalace was black and the book cover was black, it made it very difficult to see in the poor lighting in my room. But it worked out. I have my book cover, the nook stays in place and I saved $50.

The only issue that I have is that the cover won’t stay closed so in order for it to stay closed I have to lay it down so that the weight of the Nook lies on the front cover to keep it closed. That’s fine though. I may eventually figure out a way to sew a latch on the front and back, like a buckle or something. I don’t know. I will figure it out, I always do.

So now my Nook is protected when not in use and when in use as well. I am very happy and satisfied with my handy work.