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Profile for Erin Rippy > Reviews


Erin Rippy's Profile

Customer Reviews: 49
Top Reviewer Ranking: 100,318
Helpful Votes: 492

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Erin Rippy RSS Feed (Nashville, TN United States)

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Pete the Cat: Big Easter Adventure
Pete the Cat: Big Easter Adventure
by James Dean
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $6.26
100 used & new from $0.04

2.0 out of 5 stars No song, half the 'book' is taken up with a poster, stickers, and cards., March 22, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
My thoughts on this Pete the Cat Easter book: Don't buy it. Half of the book is taken up by a fold-out poster, 1 sticker sheets, and 3 tear-away sheets of Easter cards. If you really WANT a poster and 1 sticker sheet and cards, maybe it's worth the price for you. The story itself? Short and anti-climatic. Pete wakes up to a note from the Easter Bunny asking for help. Pete dresses up like a bunny, finds eggs, paints eggs, hides eggs, then the Easter Bunny shows up and says, "Good job." The End.

The book doesn't have the rhythm and flow that other Pete books have had. The author -almost- had something going with this line: "A cat with ears like a bunny - now that's funny!" This line was repeated once 2 pages later "A cat dressed up like a bunny - now that's funny!" The book could have continued with this theme, showing all the funny things Pete was doing while he played Easter Bunny, and the kids could shout "NOW THAT'S FUNNY!"

But no. This almost-brilliant idea petered out really quickly.

What's missing? Eric Litwin's songs. A good storyteller can make almost any book engaging for kids, but it's certainly helpful when authors and illustrators like James Dean and Eric Litwin combine forces unleash their creative genius on the world. Pete the Cat was an overnight success with the combination of simple and fun stories that involved children in the telling of the stories, whimsical illustrations, and best of all: Eric Litwin's songs. Singing the first few Pete books and acting out some of the motions really made children come alive, and made story time something magical that they looked forward to.

With that said, I've been disappointed with the Pete the Cat books that Eric Litwin has not worked on. No song? The singing is what made Pete so spectacular! It was a gimmick that really worked.

I understand the lack of song in Pete's early reader books, and those early readers are chosen by parents and kids because they have a recognizable character, just like any other early reader with a favorite character. However, none of the newer picture books have companion songs. It's clear that Eric Litwin is done with his Pete the Cat song-writing. The illustrations are still cute, but the stories have become lackluster without memorable prose. There's hundreds of other picture books out there with great illustrations that have more engaging stories. It feels now that James Dean (and more recently his wife Kimberly) are just capitalizing on the character of Pete, with less thought about writing a story that really grabs the attention and imaginations of kids.

My own girls are 7 and almost 9. Even though they have both advanced in their reading level beyond picture books, we still often come back to our favorite picture books when we sit down to read together. They both still choose Pete on a regular basis, but they choose one of the 4 titles that have a companion song: I Love My White Shoes, Rocking in My School Shoes, Four Groovy Buttons and Pete the Cat Saves Christmas.

Our other Pete books sit collecting dust. Time to donate them to the library.

Creative Co-op Retro Decorative Cast Iron Jack, Rust
Creative Co-op Retro Decorative Cast Iron Jack, Rust
Price: $16.02
6 used & new from $16.02

5.0 out of 5 stars Cute, great for shelf-styling, February 27, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Heavy! Well made. Looks great on my rustic pallet-wood shelves.

Tozz Pro ® Zinc Alloy Wall Mount Bottle Opener and Cap Catcher Set
Tozz Pro ® Zinc Alloy Wall Mount Bottle Opener and Cap Catcher Set
Offered by Holiday gift
Price: $11.99
2 used & new from $11.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good bottle opener, well made, February 27, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I mounted this on some reclaimed wood and it works great. The bottle opener is solid cast metal. The catch bin is made from a sturdy but lightweight steel sheet metal. We had another set with a bottle-cap catch bin made from flimsy aluminum, and it dented easily.

Creative Co-Op Hand Carved Mango Wooden Dice
Creative Co-Op Hand Carved Mango Wooden Dice
Price: $11.04

5.0 out of 5 stars Well made, cute decoration, February 27, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Cute, solid wood. This looks great as a decoration on my rustic pallet-wood shelves. My kids use it for their made-up games sometimes, but I always make sure they're using it on the rug so the dice doesn't get scratched.

Fiskars 12 Inch Titanium SureCut Paper Trimmer (01-005454)
Fiskars 12 Inch Titanium SureCut Paper Trimmer (01-005454)
Price: $11.99
56 used & new from $10.19

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A decent light-use cutter, with readily available replacement blades, February 27, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Overall, I've had good luck with this cutter. It's not perfect for what I do, but it's as good as any other cutter of this style.

Cutting paper:
I don't cut paper very often, but I'd say 3 or 4 sheets of standard copy paper will cut nicely, and just 1 or 2 pieces of card stock at a time, depending on weight. This has a shallow blade, so if you're cutting lots of paper and need to cut thick stacks, this cutter is not for you. You really need a guillotine cutter for that kind of work.

What I cut:
I use my cutter to cut sheets of vinyl decals, which are pretty thick. There is a waxy backing paper, the adhesive vinyl, plus a layer of over-laminate. With such a thick material, I only cut one sheet thickness at a time. This cutter can handle 2 of my decal sheets, but I like precise cuts and the sheets slide against each other easily, so I just cut one at a time. I've chosen not to use a guillotine cutter for this work because I want my cuts to be extremely precise, and I want to work quickly. I have my decal sheets printed with cut guides, which allows me to line up my cuts quickly.

I'm often cutting hundreds of vinyl decal sheets at a time, so my blades dull quickly. I tried the Fiskars cutter because I could buy a 2-pack of replacement blades for half the price of a new cutter. Previously, I had been using a similar cutter made by Westcott, but I was having trouble finding replacement blades, and I didn't want to buy a whole new cutter every time my blade was dull.

The wire guide:
I wasn't sure what I thought of the wire guide at first. I kept getting my sheets hung up on the wire as I slid the sheet along. Now that I've gotten used to it, I don't get caught up on the wire very often, and I generally like the feature. The wire is good for eye-balling cuts, but it moves a bit while you're cutting, so don't rely on it for lining up 100% straight and precise cuts. I have cut guides printed on my material. My wire hasn't frayed or broken like other users have reported, but with heavy use it has warped a bit.

The measuring arm:
The swing-arm measuring guide is nice. If I want the dimensions of something to be precise, I measure it and mark it first. Just like in woodworking, measure twice, cut once. For rough eye-balling, the measuring guide on this works just fine.

My husband commented that this cutter 'feels left-handed' and that's because I AM A LEFTY, so I use it upside down! When you're a southpaw, you get used to using items backwards or upside down, and it feels second nature to many of us. I turned the cutter around for him, and he said, "Oh, well that's better."

My reasons for 4 stars instead of 5:
1. The wire does eventually warp.
2. The orange blade housing sometimes flies out while you're using it. It's not a tight fit. It might fit loose by design so you can easily install a replacement blade, but it's irritating and slows down me down when I'm in a good rhythm.
3. It slides around on your desk or table easily. I've had other cutters come with foam dots underneath, and it helped. I've cut my own from craft foam and stuck them to the bottom. You could also use a non-slip-grip mat under your cutter.

Abreva Cold Sore/Fever Blister Treatment, .07-Ounce Pump
Abreva Cold Sore/Fever Blister Treatment, .07-Ounce Pump
Offered by BuyBelowSale
Price: $13.15
48 used & new from $8.50

4.0 out of 5 stars Good product, but the pump isn't great, February 23, 2016
Good product. Abreva works well for my cold sores. If I apply it the moment I feel a tingle, the sore often doesn't surface at all. When it does, Abreva makes them smaller and less painful, and they go away in just a few days.

My previous tube broke open, and I thought the pump container would survive the black hole of my purse better. It's about the size of a tube of Chapstick, with a clear plastic lid. The lid isn't super tight, so we will see how it fares in my purse.

The pump isn't great, although the price on Amazon is better than at my grocery, by about 5 bucks. The pump is single action, meaning you can't gently compress it to get a smaller amount. All or nothing! It puts out too much cream, a bead about the size of a lentil. Smaller than a pea, but still way too much.

EXPIRATION DATE: it seems many Amazon reviewers have gotten stock that will expire in just 2 to 4 months. I purchased mine at my local grocery and the expiration date was 18 months out.
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Cricut Explore Air Wireless Cutting Machine
Cricut Explore Air Wireless Cutting Machine
Price: $236.89
27 used & new from $207.28

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars You can't use it offline, and the Design Software is rubbish., February 8, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I've had my Cricut Explore Air for about 6 months now. This is the first and only cutting machine I've owned, and chose it based on positive reviews, and a few superfluous features that the Silhouette products don't have, which I ended up not using at all (cut on much thicker materials, cut wirelessly, cut via iPad app).

Things I like:
1. When it works, it cuts beautifully. Clean precise cuts, so long as the images you use are high resolution or already vector SVG files. I feel that the cricut files are expensive, and there are a lot of great cheap or free resources on the web. I usually make my own files using Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator.

I've successfully cut on a wide range of paper and vinyl products. I mostly cut on adhesive vinyl. After using daily for about 4 months, I thought my cuts weren't quite as precise, although paper cuts were still great. I put in a new blade with no trouble. I also have the deep cut blade, but haven't tried it yet.

2. Cutting mats: I have both the standard and low tack cutting mats. I have no basis for comparisson, but they seem to work fine. I've successfully re-surfaced them using a low-tack spray adhesive per a tutorial I found via Pinterest.

3. Tool kit: I like the tool kit and find the scraping tool to be really handy, more so than the spatula. The scraping tool is comfortable to hold, and does a good job of getting card stock off of a sticky cutting mat without tearing it. The tweezers are an odd design and awkward to use. I use a pair of regular cosmetic tweezers made by ELF. The weeder/pick tool is good, but I think I might like something more sharp and have been thinking of buying some dental picks/scrapers. The scissors are nice and pointy and great for tiny cuts, a great compact size, but they dulled quickly. I bought a 3-pack of pointy scissors from Scotch that are comparable and I love them.

ALL THAT SAID, if I had to go back in time and make this choice again, I would not choose this machine. Here are my top reasons:

1. Cricut has one very serious FATAL FLAW: The inability to cut without an internet connection.

That's right, folks. If you don't have the internet, you don't have a working machine. If your internet connection goes out, you can't do anything. If you travel and take your machine with you and find that there isn't an internet connection where you're at, you're out of luck.
This is a deal-breaker for me. Unfortunately, I didn't find out until after I purchased the machine and had been using it for several weeks.

2. Design "Software" is online only

When you read 'Design software for PC & Mac, app for iPad and iPhone,' you might naturally think of a program that comes on disk or can be Digitally downloaded to your PC or Mac. Sadly, you would be mistaken. Cricut Design Space software system is available only online, and accessed from their website. They might put an icon on your desktop when you "install" their software, but it's really just a hyperlink to the web.
I saw 'Official C' respond to a bad review here and say, "We are sorry to hear that the Design Space program is not running on your computer as expected."

What the heck does that mean?!? It doesn't run on your computer at all! It runs on the internet!

3. Design "Software" is painfully slow

Snails could win a marathon faster than this software operates. It's slow to upload images. It's slow to convert files to vector cut files. It's slow to access previously saved projects. It's slow to add designs to your design space. It's slow to send those files to your machine to be cut. It freezes on a regular basis. Half the time it fails to 'communicate' with your machine.

For reference, I have a laptop that is less than a year old. It's an HP Envy touch-screen with an AMD quad core processor. It renders high resolution images in Photoshop and Illustrator beautifully, and quickly. I have high speed cable internet. The problem isn't my computer, or my internet connection.

4. Management of your own files that you upload is tedious. There is no organization to your image library online. Your files are displayed in the order in which you uploaded them, and I've yet to find a feature that will allow you to put them into folders or access. You can add keyword tags to files you upload, which I thought might be useful, but where the heck do you seach for those tags? I can't find that either, so I stopped bothering to add tags.

Projects that you have saved are also saved in the order you created them. It would be nice if this were at least alphabetical so I could 'organize' by creative file names.

5. No bulk image delete.

I cut a lot of personalized names from adhesive vinyl, so I'm always uploading a new cut file. I've learned that I need to delete the file right after I've used it. One day I realized that I had 200 cut files and could only delete them ONE-BY-ONE, or else I would have to SLOWLY scroll through them every time I wanted to find another file. It's honestly faster to upload an image again than try to find it in your image library online. But that's not saying much, since uploading images is SLOW.

6. Accesses your system fonts SLOWLY, and really poor kearning.

I cut text a lot. I have hundreds or typefaces installed on my PC. I thought it would be cool to be able to open up Cricut's Design Software, type out a name or word, and send it to cut. Cool, maybe. Fast and easy? Nope.

You can use Cricut's fonts, but they are $4.99 each. That's a totall ripoff, so I download freeware fonts online. (My favorite resource is I learned quickly that using them in the Cricut Design Software is SLOW (imagine that), and that the kearning (character spacing) is really bad. I've cut comparrisons between type files I create in Photoshop with a typeface's kearning as it naturally was designed, and I've cut the same word using the same typeface by accessing my system fonts online. The character spacing of words added using Cricut's type tool was awful.

So now I have to take the extra step of creating my own cut files for simple words and names, then uploading them.

7. You can't work on multiple projects at once.

I thought I could be clever and try to open up the Design Software in multiple tabs, intending to on one design while another one is cutting. Alas, I am too clever for this product. This really confused the software and my machine, and resulted in a number of botched projects that halted mid-cut.

8. Like many others, I have found the customer service to be lacking. If you send an email, you will get some generic copy-paste responses identical to information found in the FAQs on their website. I tried calling once, and the hold time was 45 minutes. I tried the online chat support and encountered a 25 minute wait time. No thanks.

I've read through a lot of the FAQs, and found that the information there was good regarding basic how-to information, but lacks sufficient trouble-shooting information for common problems.

I've personally witnessed comments on social media get deleted. This is just a poor business practice. Every company and product has problems. Don't delete questions and comments regarding a problem that a customer is having. Instead, respond in a meaningful and helpful manner ... NOT by deleting, and NOT by copying and pasting generic responses. I have more respect for a company that addresses problems head-on, instead of trying to hide them.

The poor cloud-based design software for this product and the lack of access offline are the top reasons I would not recommend this machine to others. My two stars is being generous because the machine itself works well.

Set of 8 Triangulum Touch Warm White 3 LED Stick-On Battery Lights
Set of 8 Triangulum Touch Warm White 3 LED Stick-On Battery Lights
Offered by LAMPLUST
Price: $28.00
4 used & new from $18.14

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3 out of 8 broke, but the rest are working fine, July 6, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
My family is traveling the country on an epic road trip and I bought these to light the inside of cabinets in my family's travel trailer, and to use as reading lights in the master bed area of the trailer. We needed lights that were small, lightweight, and battery-operated. In just 2 weeks, we are down to 5 working lights out of 8.

One light broke right out of the package. The back cover has 3 tiny L-shaped brackets that fit into slots in the back of the light housing, and you give the back panel a slight turn to hook into place. The problem isn't the L-shaped pieces, but the slots they fit into. There are very tiny and very thin pieces of plastic on the inside of the slots for the L-brackets to hook onto. If you're not careful, those tiny pieces break right off as you're trying to close the light. It seems like these tiny pieces were an afterthought in the design process, added on once the manufacturer figured out that the slots were a bit too long. It would have made more sense for the slots to be shorter and the entire bracket housing to be a single molded piece.

Then my daughter dropped one, and of course the tiny pieces in the slots broke, making a 2nd light unusable, unless you want to tape it shut.

The 3rd light we lost was mounted in the top of our pantry cabinet, pointing downward. The jostle of a moving vehicle may have loosened the adhesive tape, although we were stationary in a campground when it fell. And broke.

Our remaining 5 lights seem to be doing okay. They're bright, a warm light unlike most LEDs, and sticking well to vertical surfaces in the trailer. There isn't another area that I really need one right now, although it would have been nice to have all 8 working lights.

I did receive an email from Brooklyn (I assume with LampLust) asking me to post a review, and offering to send replacement parts or help with anything I might be unhappy with. Kudos to them for that. If I were at home, I'd probably take them up on that. However, living a mobile lifestyle makes it challenging to return items or receive replacements.

GoOrganic Hard Candy Blood Orange, 3.5-Ounce (Pack of 6)
GoOrganic Hard Candy Blood Orange, 3.5-Ounce (Pack of 6)
Price: $15.54

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Comparing these to Torie & Howard brand, May 8, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I love oranges and orange flavored stuff. After stealing my kid's Vitamin C gummies because they tasted so good, I figured I should find a candy to satisfy my cravings without overdosing on Vitamin C.

I appreciate having an organic option without junk ingredients. Hard candy is a great way to satisfy a sweet or tart craving without a lot of calories. These are 15 calories each, and much better than Jolly Ranchers, which have corn syrup, artificial flavors, and artificial dyes. The ingredient list on these reads: organic evaporated cane juice, organic brown rice syrup, citric acid, natural orange flavor, natural blood orange flavor.

I usually buy the Torie & Howard organic blood orange & honey candy, and thought I'd try this brand for a change. The 'Go Naturally' brand blood orange candy is GOOD, but it's not GREAT. I give it 4 stars instead of 5 because the Torie & Howard candy has a much more intense orange flavor. The 'Go Naturally' are sweeter with an undertone of orange flavor, and the Torie & Howard are more tart with intense orange flavor. I prefer the tart orange to the sweet. If you like sweet, then these are for you.

For the money, these are a good value. A single 3.5 ounce bag is currently $6.25 on Amazon, which is $1.78 per ounce. You save about $1 per ounce by buying this 6-pack.

If you're like me and prefer a more tart candy, try the Torie & Howard. Also organic and a good value. You can see in my photo that they are dark red in color, but they are colored with red cabbage and purple carrots, so no artificial dyes. The rest of the ingredients are comparable to the 'Go Naturally' candy. T&H candy comes in smaller 2 ounce tins, but are cheaper per ounce than a single 'Go Naturally' bag. If you eat candy often, you'll want to buy in bulk. T&H come in bulk, but they are big 5 lb. bags. I may have to bite the bullet and buy a bulk bag.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 10, 2015 11:09 PM PDT

Creative Galaxy
Creative Galaxy
Price: $24.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cute show about art, April 22, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Creative Galaxy (Amazon Video)
This is a cute show. The format of the show is similar to 'Super Why' on PBS, but with an art theme. The main character is Arty, a cute little green alien with a big imagination. Arty is usually faced with a problem during the show, and he has to find creative ways of solving a problem, and often incorporates an art project of some kind. In addition to introducing kids to different art techniques and famous artists, the show also teaches creative thinking, problem solving, and social skills. The show also teaches that art doesn't have to be 'perfect' and that it's okay for your art to be different and unique. I like that the show stresses the importance of the creative process, not just the outcome.

Each episode also has a real life art segment with real kids putting together an arts and craft project. Most of the projects are simple and fun using supplies easy to find. I have 2 girls, ages 6 and 8, and we love watching the show together. We often watch an episode and then turn the TV off to work on one of the craft projects. I also have noticed my kids spending more time drawing and being creative on their own, and it's nice to see them so inspired.

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