Chinese Fans…A flirty and girly way to keep cool during hot weather

I’ve always loved using a very fancy fan to stay cool during the summer. This is especially so when waiting for a train in the hot underground subway stations in New York City. I’ve tried using those tiny portable battery operated fans but have never been satisfied with the little bit of air they manage to circulate.

Fans also offer a way to focus on thoughts of beautiful things while enduring the heat until an air-conditioned train pulls in. This is why I have at home many paper and fabric fans I’ve bought for the lovely pictures of birds, Chinese women in court dress, flowers and sometimes nature scenes.

Many 99 cents stores and variety stores in my part of Brooklyn have paper and fabric fans on sale for 99 cents or $1.00 each. I think fans should be considered a fun and very girly fashion accessory in the hot weather. I select one that goes with the colors of my outfits or pocketbook whenever I’m out for a long period of time.

The Jia-Jia Discount and 99 Cents Store in Dyker Heights has these pretty fans in satin like fabric for $1.00 each. I bought a few for myself and some extras for gifts. They make a nice surprise when visiting a friend during a hot day.

Jia-Jia Discount and 99 Cents Store is located on Fort Hamilton Parkway between 62nd and 63rd Streets in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, N.Y. The satin fans currently offered come in a wide array of brightly colored backgrounds and have floral designs like the ones shown here.


Please note: I am not affiliated with any store or manufacturer.


Attention all Dyker Heights Sewistas…Patterns at $1.00 each!

Even though I can draft my own patterns, I like to buy old or used patterns made by Simplicity, Vogue, McCalls or Butterick. I never sew anything from them but use them as a resource and reference.

The pattern envelopes provide me with information such as suitable fabrics for the particular design. The types of notions and trimmings (if any) used also provide me with details that I might use for a project of my own. The construction and pattern layout illustrations also give me ideas on new ways to approach my own projects.

I never buy new patterns since the prices are very high. This makes the search for used or old patterns at an affordable price quite a challenge.

De Crescenzo Brothers in Dyker Heights was originally a fabric store catering to the home sewist. They’ve been in business for over 70 years. My Grandmother Josie took me there to buy my very first sewing patterns. I quickly became a regular customer when I was a teenager. Whenever I thought of sewing or fabrics the first thought was “I’ll go to De Crescenzo’s.”

Time have changed and the store now focuses on home decorating with an emphasis on custom made window treatments and curtains. There is a large stock of older sewing patterns, mostly from the late 1980s through early 2000s that are in boxes on top of an old cabinet at the back of the store. All patterns are $1.00 each.

I found quite an assortment of sizes and styles. Many of the patterns are of the basic and easy to sew type. The styles are very classic and with a little adaptation can be worn today with great ease.

I highly recommend any home sewists in the area to check out the offerings on this special sale. They are open Tuesday through Saturday.

De Crescenzo Brothers is located at 6914 13th Avenue in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, NY.

Please Note: I am not affiliated with any store or manufacturer.

My New Pocketbook: It only cost $1.50!

I’ve been looking for a small pocketbook to go with the sun dresses and shrugs I bought over Memorial Day Weekend.

At some variety stores I’ve found pretty vinyl shoulder bags that ranged in price from $15-20. One store had a very pretty straw shoulder bag but the price was $30. Definitely not what I had in mind.

What I needed was a small pocketbook to hold my wallet, keys and sunglasses. I thought that is all I need when going grocery shopping or out for a walk. And it had to coordinate with my sundresses.

Vinyl and fabric pocketbook from JJ 99 cents and Up Store. This side of the pocketbook goes well with the peach colored shrug.

I found the perfect little pocketbook at JJ 99 Cents and Up Store on 11th Avenue in Dyker Heights. It has a different photo collages on each side. I selected the one that picked up the colors of the shrugs I bought to go with my sundresses. The side shown above looks good with the peach color shrug.

The other side of the pocketbook. The beige, tan and golden colors look good with the dull khaki shrug and the serpentine green/brown sundress.

When I use the pocketbook with the other side showing it goes well with the dark brown/serpentine dress I wear with the khaki shrug. I thought that although a solid color pocketbook would have been more fashionable, this one is fun and that was the whole idea about putting together a hot weather wardrobe out of whatever I could find for under $10 each item.

JJ 99 Cents and Up store is on the corner of 64th Street and 11th Avenue in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, NY. For the type of pocketbook shown here the price is $1.50 each. There are different collages and different color combinations in each collage so take your time to browse through what is available.

The pocketbook is made from a canvas like fabric with a soft vinyl strap. Inside there is a dull satin-like lining and also a small zippered pocket. The pocketbook closes with a zipper.


Please note: I am not affiliated with any store or manufacturer.

Dry Dust Cloths: Name Brands, Store Brands and Discount Store Finds

Two weeks ago I decided not to buy Swiffer brand dry dusting cloths for cleaning the floor. A box is going upwards of $7.00 and I thought that is the cut-off point for me. I purchased a box of Pathmark’s America’s Choice Vanilla-Lavendar scented dry dusting cloths for a little less than $4.00. The quality is comparable to Swiffers and they do a very good job for use on the floor or for dusting off the furniture, shades or windowsills.

After I’d brought that haul home from the supermarket, I went up to 11th Avenue in Dyker Heights. On my way to the bank I stopped by JJ 99 Cents and Up Store on the corner of 11th Avenue and 64th Street. I could not believe what I found there.

Amazing Wipes, $1.00 a box at JJ 99 Cents and Up Store, 11th Avenue and 65th Street, Dyker heights, Brooklyn, NY.

On the last shelf of the middle aisle were two dented boxes of “Amazing Wipes” for $1.00 each. The description of this product says that these dry dust cloths can be used to clean floors or dust furniture. I decided to buy both boxes and give them a try.

The Amazing Wipes are made by Pride Products and are much lighter in texture than Swiffers or America’s Choide dry dust cloths. However, they do a very good job of picking up lint, hair and dust from the floor. I consider them good for everyday use and definitely worth looking for.

I did notice that the textured surface of Swiffers and America’s Choice dry dust cloths pick up much more grimy dust than the Amazing Wipes. This doesn’t mean, though, that I would discount or bypass the Amazing Wipes if I find them again.

Instead, I’m going to use the Amazing Wipes for a daily dusting of the kitchen and bathroom floors. I plan to use the America’s Choice textured dry dust cloths before I mop the kitchen floor each week to pick up the extra kind of grimy dust that comes in from a parking lot next door. By alternating the use of each type of dry dust cloth I will save the more expensive ones for special clean-ups and use the Amazing Wipes for everyday use.

Store Brand Foods

In order to save money and eat more sensibly I have given up all cookies and cakes make by nationally known bakers like Pepperidge Farm, Keeblers, Nabisco and Entenmans. When I noticed a few years ago that a box of cake or cookies ofiten sells in the $3-5 range I started looking for other foods to have as a snack.

Instant oatmeal packets taken from boxes for store brands America’s Choice, White Rose and Krasdale.

I found that when I am very busy with work or have only limited time for preparing a snack, a bowl of instant oatmeal with fruit flavors, raisins or spices is a very good alternative to cake or cookies.

I always buy the store brand of instant oatmeal. Recently I noticed that the packaging for Krasdale, White Rose and America’s Choice instant oatmeal is the same. Although the outer packaging is different, the enclosed individual packets of oatmeal have exactly the same instructions, graphics and type of paper used. The instant oatmeal is good enough for the price. A box contains 10 packets and usually costs $2.59 a box. When these brands are on sale the price can go as low as $1.99

The benefits of oatmeal are well known: it can lower cholesterol, is a heart healthy food and these brands do not use any high fructose corn syrup. The oatmeal is already sweetened enough and tastes good with lots of milk. This is also a good start to the morning for those who do not like to cook a big breakfast. With a glass of orange juice or cup of coffee and a slice of toast a person is off to a good start for the day.

Having a good breakfast at home also ensures you may spend less money on the way to work. Having already eaten you may be able to bypass overpriced, flavored coffees and the oversized muffins and bagels sold with it.

Making a bar of soap last longer

I think one of the things I disliked about bar soap was the way it quickly turned into a gooey mess after a few uses. The soupy mixture of soap and water in the old soap dish was not pleasant to look at and very messy to clean up. I switched to liquid soaps over two years ago in an effort to save the extra work of cleaning up the soap dishes and out of frustration from losing bar after bar of soap once it became too soft and misshapen.

Box in which Lucky Brand Cocoa Butter & Lime bar soap comes in.

Inside the soap is wrapped in cellophane which keeps the bar clean and dry.

I think all that is about to change. While shopping at Pathmark at the Fairmont Mini Mall I picked up a two-pack of Lucky Brand’s Cocoa Butter & Lime hand soap for $1.00. I loved the fragrance and looked forward to trying it. When I opened the box I was pleasantly surprised to see the care given to the soap: the cellophane wrapping on the soap was a nice touch. I’ve noticed that pricey soaps like Dove are placed into the box without any paper or cellophane wrapping.

Soap dishes by BeMeiJiaju Geimei.

The soap dish consists of three parts: a little drain like part that goes over the bottom dish and a clear cover.

I realized that the culprit causing the early loss of so many bars of soap was the design of the soap dishes I previously used. When I saw these soap dishes in Chen’s Discount Store I decided to give them a try.

The two-part soap dish has a small drainboard on top of the lower dish which collects any water that drips off of the soap. This enables the soap to air dry and retain its shape much longer. Once it’s dry I put the cover on to keep the soap clean.

I also use one of these soap dishes for my scouring pads and find that it works well for them, too. Gone are the days of soupy soap dishes. I already have seen an increase in the number of days my scouring pads remain useable and my Lucky Cocoa Butter and Lime bar of soap has lasted three weeks. Ever so gradually the soap is shrinking in size from use but it has not broken or become mushy.

The Lucky Brand Hand Soaps are available at Pathmark’s Boro Park Store located at the Fairmont Mini Mall, 60th Street and 13th Avenue, Boro Park, Brooklyn, NY. Price: $1.00 for 2 bar pack.

The BeMeiJiaju Geimei Soap Dish is available at Chen’s Discount Store at 5415 New Utrecht Avenue in Boro Park, Brooklyn, NY. Price: $1.29 each.

Please note: I am not affiliated with any store or manufacturer.