My name is Lex, and I’m a crazy cat lady.

This post brought to you by Comfort Zone® products. All opinions are 100% mine.

With how often I talk about my cats, I don’t know that it’s any secret.

This is Zelda. Zelda has always been a bit of a Nervous Pervis. Even little things seem to stress him out. He  gets particularly crochety around food time. Which he happens to think is all the time.

When Zelda gets crochety, he does all manner of obnoxious things, such as meowing incessantly and knocking things off the table. He recently broke one of my ceramic owls, a capital offense. (Okay, not really.)Read more…

Crafter’s Gift Guide: The Seamstress

No need to scratch your head in confusion trying to think up a gift for a seamstress. Here are my picks for great gifts for the budding fashion designers, quilters, or hobby sewers.

Brother CS6000i Sewing Machine
This machine made my Recommended Machines list way back in 2010. At the time it had 4.5 stars on Amazon and over 250 reviews. Today it still has the 4.5 star rating with over 1100 reviews. My rule of thumb when buying a mass produced product of any sort is CTR.
The reviews seldom lie.

I’ve had numerous readers tell me they bought this machine on that recommendation and love it. So whether the seamstress in your life is a seasoned pro or a beginner, this machine will make a good addition to their collection. (I’m not the only person with a sewing machine collection, right?)

Brother 1034D Serger/Overlock Machine
Speaking of my collection… this is one of the machines in it. When people ask me about a good serger/overlocker for a beginner, my finger points at this guy. I’ve had mine since 2007, I’ve never had it serviced, and it’s still chugging along. And at under $200, the price doesn’t hurt, either. It’s almost more than you can hope for: great reviews, great price, great function. Sometimes mass production gets it right!

If you’re not familiar with a serger, take a look at the inside of a t-shirt. All of the seams are most likely a serged/overlocked stitch, and it can’t be done with a standard sewing machine.

Another question I get often is “Should I get a sewing machine or a serger?” The answer to that is very simple: a sewing machine is a must. A serger is a companion to a sewing machine. There are a lot of important things you can do with a sewing machine that you can’t do with a serger. So if the crafter in your life doesn’t already have a sewing machine, that should be number one on the list.

When is it time to add a serger to the collection? I would recommend a serger to anyone that has a serious passion for sewing, anyone that wants to primarily focus on making clothing, and anyone that wants to sell the items they make.Read more…

Crafter’s Gift Guide: The Home Chef

If you need a gift for someone that has a passion for cooking, my bet is that they’d love a good kitchen gadget. Take it from me: I love food, I love cooking, and I love kitchen tools and gadgets.

Here are my gift recommendations for the chef in your life:

Cuisinart SmartStick Immersion Blender
I am a soup fiend, so I use this baby at least once a week. It is so much more convenient than loading the soup into the blender. Especially if you’re making a LOT of soup- trying to puree soup in a blender in batches is a pain in the patootie. Not to mention the danger and mess of hot soup explosions. It comes in about a million different colors, too. I know I shouldn’t care what color the damn things are, but I can’t ever resist. (I’m quite partial to the lime green.)

Wusthof Knife Set
If you don’t have a set of knives that are sharp enough to take a finger off, then you are missing out. I was given a set of Wusthofs about 8 years ago and they are still just as deadly sharp as the day I got them.

Now here’s my funny Wusthof story: I bought a set as a wedding gift for my best friend. Another friend and I were flying out to the wedding, and I had the knives in my suitcase. I had planned on checking my bag early, but we were running late, and we decided to go through security with our luggage and check our bags at the gate. Our plane is supposed to leave in 5 minutes, and we’re booking it through the airport. We get to the security check, and the TSA pulls my friend aside because something she’s wearing is setting off the metal detector. Great.

As I’m standing there, tapping my foot nervously because we’re seriously going to miss our flight now, I notice that the TSA has taken a special interest in my suitcase. First I think, of course, this is just my luck. My bags are always ALWAYS the ones that get “randomly” searched. Always.

The TSA agent calls her boss over. Now what?! Her boss walks over and asks me, “Is there something long, sharp, and metal in your suitcase?” And completely oblivious  me goes, “Yeah. Knives.”  Like I can’t imagine why that would be a problem. DUH. And he says, “YOU HAVE KNIVES IN YOUR SUITCASE?”  Then I realize what a freaking idiot I am and start explaining that I’m not a psycho. They’re very nice kitchen knives. They’re a wedding gift. We are going to our friend’s wedding and WE ARE GOING TO MISS OUR FLIGHT.

The TSA guy actually wound up being super nice. I’m pretty sure trying to bring sharp pointy stabby things through security is exactly the kind of thing that is supposed to get you pulled aside and stuck in a weird little interrogation room with yucky dim fluorescent lighting. Instead he said that I could go back and check my bag or they could take the knives out and let me through. “What happens to the knives?” I ask. “They get thrown away.”  ARG! So my choice is miss my flight or give up the knives. I gave up the knives, and we did make our flight. (But missed the connecting flight. And they lost my friend’s luggage. It was one of those kinds of trips.)

Misto Olive Oil Sprayer
I like to make a lot of baked versions of fried foods, and one of the tricks to getting a good crisp when you bake is spray oil. A lot of recipes tell you to brush on the oil, but in my experience, the brush leaves big gobs of oil. So I always use spray oil instead. But I hated that I was buying at least a can a month. Total waste of packaging and money.

So I finally got myself one of these sprayers. You can use any oil you want. I actually have two now- one for vegetable oil and one for olive oil. Making fresh baked tortilla chips and kale chips is super easy.Read more…

Craft Book Review – Folklore Crafts: Garden Gnomes and Matryoshka

It is my craftastic pleasure to be reviewing (and giving away- see the entry instructions below!) two craft books that are chock full of totally cute projects. Folklore Crafts: Garden Gnomes and Folklore Crafts: Matryoshka.

Both books have a bakers dozen of how-tos, and what I love is that the projects are simple and quick. If you’re a beginner, the projects aren’t too intimidating. I’ve never tried needle felting, but these adorable little dolls make me want to try it out:

Project From Folklore Crafts: Matryoshka


Likewise, for the crafts I’m more comfortable with, I’m inspired to add my own little twists. For instance, I’m just itching to stitch up a batch of these little cuties, and maybe throw in a lady friend or two:

Project From Folklore Crafts: Garden Gnomes

Better make it 3 so there aren’t any gnome fights!

One of my personal favorites is the Dr. Who nesting dolls project. I love the idea of a non-traditional set of nesting dolls, because it would make the perfect personalized gift for almost anyone… just take some of their favorite things, and paint the dolls to fit!

Project From Folklore Crafts: Matryoshka

So now that I’ve got you whipped into a frenzy over these books, here’s how you can enter to win a copy of your choice!

This is a LIGHTNING ROUND GIVEAWAY… which means it’s a quick one.

Comment here to let me know what FB pages you’ve liked- each page counts as a separate entry, so you can do one, two or all three.
Please included your facebook name in your comment!

The giveaway will close at midnight EST.

Ways to Enter


Follow the FolkloreCrafts book tour – check out tomorrow’s review at WeeklyEnthusiast!


Brusha brusha brusha!

This post brought to you by Tom’s of Maine. All opinions are 100% mine.

I am super mega picky about toothpaste. I don’t want whitening and I ESPECIALLY don’t want toothpaste made by a company that tests on animals. The answer: Toms of Maine! And they’ve got a new flavor especially for kids: Silly Strawberry.

anniekabourek | skitch.comanniekabourek |

My two favorite things about the toothpaste have to do with flavor. I am very selective about toothpaste flavor, because a lot of toothpastes, especially kid’s toothpaste, are disgustingly, cloyingly sweet. Other natural toothpastes that I’ve tried kinda taste like soap. And I probably don’t have to tell you that soap is not a good flavor.

Silly Strawberry is just barely sweet, and you can taste that the flavoring is from real strawberry extract and not some fake lab-made psuedo-berry flavoring. It makes brushing much more refreshing than when you have a mouth full of chemicals.

The second thing I like about the flavor is that unlike minty toothpastes, Silly Strawberry did not leave me with a mouth tasting of toothpaste after I rinsed. Sometimes that lingering minty freshness can be nice, but have you ever taken a big swig of juice after brushing your teeth? Yuck. So now I can have my cake and eat it too, right after brushing.

I was also pleasantly surprised to see that the toothpaste is a very pale (and natural) pink color. Even though I know Silly Strawberry doesn’t contain any artificial dyes or sweeteners, I was still expecting strawberry toothpaste to be bright pink or red. Don’t get me wrong… I love bright colors, but I’d prefer that my food (and toothpaste) not be filled with superfluous chemicals just so it LOOKS a certain way.

For some fun with the kiddies, check out the Tom’s of Maine Silly Strawberry Story Hour. On Wednesday, March 14 2012 (7:30 PM EST), there will be a reading of Kristi Yamaguchi’s new children’s book  It’s A Big World, Little Pig. (Kristi Yamaguchi!! Oh, don’t mind me, I’m kind of a figure skating dork.)

Participants of the Silly Strawberry Story Hour will have the chance to snag a free sample of both the Silly Strawberry toothpaste and Kristi’s book.

Be sure to follow @TomsofMaine on Twitter or like their FB page at for additional updates.

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