Category: product review

I’ve actually had the time to put together a tutorial/review for you folks! Aren’t you excited?

As most of you know, I loves me some eBay and often scour the $0.99 selections of different sections looking for interesting things. This time I’ve found something from the “Nail Art” listings.

The largest flower is approx. 3/8ths of an inch across.

For about a dollar (with free shipping) I got this tiny silicone mold – there are dozens (perhaps even hundreds) of styles available, mine just happens to be flowers. Some of the more intricate styles cost more, but most can be found for around $2.50. Most are what I would consider “girly” – little flowers, fruit, animals, and lacy patterns. Food is oddly popular, with different breads, cakes, cookies, and candies available.

These are just some of the styles available.

Their original use is for making embellishments for women’s nails – hence the graduated sizes – using a two-part acrylic paste.

I don’t have any of the acrylic powders or liquid, although I’d like to get some, so I’ve been experimenting with different clays and Sculpey. Model Magic works pretty good, it’s not too sticky that it won’t come out in one piece, but it doesn’t really hold detail all that well.

That’s when I ran into a problem – the acrylic paste hardens quickly and can be popped out fairly soon after putting in in the mold, the air-dry clays take a bit longer so I couldn’t make a lot at once and Sculpey has to be baked but that would cause the mold to melt.

Enter my little friend Mr. Tape!

If you can't see it, that's because it's invisible.

I squish the tiny bits of clay into the mold and then press a strip of tape over it.

Like so.

After pressing firmly, first with my fingers and then by pressing the mold against the table,  I very carefully peel the tape off so that the tiny flowers are stuck to it.

Like this, but less blurry.

I make the tape strips long enough that I can fold over the ends and handle them without them sticking to my fingers. If I’m using air-dry clay I just sit them aside and let them dry – the pieces are less that an eighth of an inch thick so they dry pretty quickly – and peel them off the tape after about an hour and flip them over so the backs can dry.


I have attempted to make some using Sculpey – it holds detail better but once baked the tiny pieces are fragile and crumble easily because they are so thin.

The top set is Model Magic, the bottom is Sculpey. None of the bottom pieces survived baking, though.

They look pretty boring in white, but can easily be done with colored compounds or painted. I’ve used both Sharpies and nail polish with good results – the easiest way to paint them is to cut a square out of the center of a stiff piece of paper (like an index card or a paint sample chip) and then put a piece of tape across the opening, flip it over, and adhere the little design to the adhesive side.

I’m going to order some of the acrylic that the molds are designed for, but I’m still going to play around with other stuff. I’m curious to see how plaster would work in them, or a bit of melted chocolate.

As I mentioned, these are designed for nail art, but the little designs could be used for lots of things. I’ve incorporated several into various art projects. I have plans to buy more molds, they are fairly cheap and fun to mess around with.

I guess I could always do my nails more. And you know I want those kitties.


Light My Fire!

As I haven’t done a Dollar Review for a while, I thought I would do one on the Permanent Match.

This is a permanent match.

This one of those things you can find all over eBay that looks like it wouldn’t work but really does. Mine’s a cylinder but they also come in a rectangular shape. Either way, the idea is the same. That little knob on top unscrews and a shaft comes out, that’s the “match” part of the thing.

Sorry it's so blurry.

The metal “match” is hollow, there’s cotton wadding stuffed in the end with a little steel tooth crammed in to hold it in place. You can’t really see the wadding in the photo, it gets all black and charred after awhile. You fill the little chamber with naptha, the “match” has a gasket at the top so it won’t leak. The little bar on the side is a flint; you make the fire the old-fashioned way, by drawing the little steel bit  down the flint very fast. There’s a lot of sparks and if you’ve done it right, some will land on the naptha-soaked cotton and set it on fire. It’s takes a bit of practice to get it right, but it does work.

Now, the downside – I’ve seen claims that the thing will light “10000” times and that might be true under perfect conditions, but I wouldn’t bet on it. The flint on the side wears down a little bit each time you swipe it and not every swipe will work perfectly. The flint is just barely the same size as the steel tooth, if you don’t get them lined up perfectly you end up gouging bits of plastic out of the sides of the notch it rests in. If you leave the match tip burning for any length of time, the cotton wadding gets burned up and I’ve yet to find a way to get the little steel bit out so I can change it. I would really prefer a design where I could add more wadding, once it gets burned up the thing is nearly useless.

But when it works, it works very well.



Final verdict – For my ninety-nine cents and free shipping, I thought the permanent match was worth it. I wouldn’t want to depend on it to light a campfire in the darkest jungles of Borneo, but it is a nice novelty to have around.



As I have mentioned before, I very rarely do my nails with colored polish, mostly because it tends to flake off and look terrible after about a day. The Thursday before I was set to go on vacation, one of the Mary Kay ladies who regularly come in to work stopped by with a basket of discounted items. While I very rarely wear any sort of make-up, I saw something that caught my eye.

Hello, beautiful.


I was feeling impulsive, so I bought it. The next morning I had a few minutes, so I swiped on a couple of layers before heading out the door, not really expecting anything miraculous. All day long I kept expecting to see it flake or peel off, but it didn’t.

So the relatively light use they got at work didn’t do anything, I was sure once my vacation started it would come off quickly. I was staying home for most of the week and catching up on my cleaning, so I did a lot of scrubbing and scouring and generally bad things for nail polish.

And it held.

Right thumb, nearly pristine.

right fingers, lots of wear to the index and little fingers but middle a ring are nearly pristine.

left thumb, also pristine

left fingers, surprisingly less wear than the right considering my left hand is my dominant one.



While it might look like a mess, this is actually quite impressive. Normally after a full week there is nothing but a few stray microscopic particles of color desperately clinging for all they are worth. I also received several complements on the color (Coral Stone); one from my niece Thing 2, who wants me to paint her nails this color the next time she comes over. I was very impressed by Mary Kay’s nail lacquer and plan on buying more.

(I should mention that I am not a Mary Kay representative, nor do I plan to become one. I was not compensated in any way for this review, but if Mary Kay would like to send my some nail polish I wouldn’t mind 🙂 )

Since my last review of a product went so well, I thought I’d give it another try.

Judging solely by eBay listings, Asian people have an unnatural obsession with their ears.

Which brings us to today’s item up for review – the Flashlight Earpick!



While it may sound like a terrific band name, this is in fact a tiny flashlight that comes with three different clear plastic tip attachments that you are supposed to stick in your ear.


Hey, my flash works!

There are dozens and dozens of these things on eBay, some are slightly different colors but it’s basically the same thing; a little flashlight with plastic bits you stick in your ear. There are three bits, a small scoop, a larger scoop, and what are suppose to be tweezers.  You are supposed to use these high quality tools to remove wax and debris from your ear.

And the occasional earwig.

Since I don’t have many insects crawling into my ear to lay their eggs in my brain, I have used the little scoop on occasion to remove wax. It works about as you would expect, the flashlight portion really doesn’t help when it’s your own ear. Mother Dearest did use it to take a look at my ear to see it it looked inflamed during my last ear infection. It’s a good little tool if you need a tiny handheld light that you can get into tiny spaces. The light is pretty bright, the only real downside is I can’t figure out how to change the batteries but at $0.99 with free shipping it would be just as cheap to get a new one.

They also make nifty miniature light sabers.


Don't tell me you weren't thinking about it.

I really love eBay, it’s like a yard sale you can visit in your jammies. If you like to casually browse through the categories (like I do) there are some really odd things out there, mostly from Asian countries it seems, at really low prices. I like to buy the occasional odd thing, as long as it’s less than a dollar and has free shipping, and will amuse myself by searching for random words to see what pops up.

I’ve decided to justify this time-wasting obsession by mining it for valuable blogging gold!

To that end, I will be writing up reviews for these cheap little items as I get them and posting them on a semi-regular basis. If anyone would like to suggest (or send) me something, I’m more than happy to accept any suggestion (or freebie!) you might offer.


This is one of those odd things that is sold for around the same price, mine was $0.99 with free shipping,  by dozens of dealers under different Engrishtastic names. I’ve seen it as “Hyper Peeling Stick” “Dental Bleaching Stick” “Tooth Teeth Stain Eraser” “Whiten Teeth Tooth Dental Peeling Stick” , and variations on those themes. All the creatively named products are the same thing; a turquoise handle and a bundle of white rods of aligned and compressed  fibers that look very similar to the innards of a hi-lighter or other felt-tipped pen. The little white sticks have a flat end that fits into the handle and a chiseled end that is supposed to do the polishing. Mine did not come with any neat packaging, it was all tossed together in a little baggie made of the thinnest plastic I have ever seen. There were no instructions but it’s pretty straightforward; put white thing in socket on blue-green thing,  rub on teeth.

I have used it on my teeth, just to see what it was like. It does polish, and leaves my teeth feeling squeaky clean. Kind of like a touch-up between dentist visits.  It’s sort of tedious, but if you’re watching TV or some similar activity where your attention is elsewhere, it makes it go by faster.  It’s pretty small and takes some maneuvering to get the back teeth. There’s not really any taste other than a general “plasticy” flavor you would get from licking a straw, many of the eBay ads call it a “bleaching” stick but I detected no chemicals that would do any sort of bleaching.

The bag is seriously thin, it's like a square plastic soap bubble with a ziploc top.

What I really like to use it for is polishing jewelry. It does a wonderful job of getting the tarnish off of rings, doesn’t scratch, and doesn’t make a mess the way paste cleaners can. It’s also good for removing permanent marker from non-porous surfaces like plastic and for taking stains off of fingernails. It takes a bit, but it does the job without leaving a lot of scuffs behind. It does work better if it’s dampened, but it works when dry too.

The little sticks are probably meant to be used just once and thrown away, but my frugal nature won’t allow me to do that; even if they only cost about four cents each I still want to get my money’s worth. The compressed fibers in the individual rods are bound together strong enough that, with a good sharp knife or  razor blade, you can shave off the used portion and expose a fresh polishing surface. I bought my little set over a year ago and I still haven’t used but two or three of the cleaning sticks.

The petite powerhouse of scrubbiness.

I think these little guys are well worth the $0.99, I’m sure there are other uses for them besides what I have mentioned. If you have an extra dollar laying around, it’s a good buy.