At the Sun-Gazette, we often receive product samples and press releases from companies promoting their new and unusual items. We thought we'd tell you about some of these new products in the hopes that one of these "odds and ends" will be right for you or someone you know.
This is one of those "why didn't I think of that?!" products.
The Neatnik Saucer is a great tool for dining out with little ones. The saucer fits in restaurant-style high chairs to keep food and toys off the floor and provide a clean space for teething children who love to put everything in their mouth.
The portable saucer is collapsible and easily cleanable and comes in a 12-by12-inch carry case with a pocket for wipes.
The Neatnik Saucer retails for $32.95 and comes in several styles and colors, including one with non-toxic dry-erase crayons.
Neatnik was invented by a mother and daughter team after they went out to eat at a restaurant with the baby. The saucer has Velcro straps and suctions to the table so toys, pacifiers and other items can be attached to be played with at the table.
The saucer is made of BPA-free materials so it is safe for baby.
During a recent trip with a 15-month-old, the Neatnik lived up to its name: our dining area was neat and clean after putting up with two adults and two toddlers. The mess was confined to the saucer, which could easily be wiped clean.
The only real trouble we had was folding it back up - follow the directions!
It's similar to folding some of the round-style sunshades for a car. Once you figure it out, it's OK, but it can be a bit embarrassing when you're at the restaurant!
Play around with it in your home before you use it the first time.
And don't be surprised if people around you ask where you got it - you can get it online or through Amazon and Walmart - those with little ones or grandkids will want to check it out.
For more information, visit www.neatniksaucer. com.
Cook in Color
Cook in Color is a Portland, Ore.-based company that features unique and colorful kitchen cooking and baking utensils, tools, accessories, supplies, gifts and party favors to inspire the beginner cook or seasoned chef.
The company features a large selection of fun shaped and brightly colored mixing bowls, measuring cups and spoons, kitchen timers, trivets, cutting boards, mixing spoons, whisks, wine openers, scrub brushes, potato mashers, veggie and potato peelers, cheese graters, cookie cutters, cupcake liners, kids cooking tools and more.
There also is a Kids Central Kitchen section that features child-friendly items for the junior cook, such as a chef's hat, food-themed school supplies and items for a child's party.
The products are reasonably priced for unique hostess gifts, teacher gifts, housewarming gifts or stocking stuffers.
Prices start at 99 cents, but most products and utensils are less than $10 each, and the bakeware comes in themed sets for parties, baby showers and holidays.
There also is a blog with recipes on the site, where owners Mark and Maureen Hotchkiss share tips for pickeling and making homemade pesto.
We received the ibis garlic press and the monkey peeler, which are dishwasher safe and attracted a lot of attention. The monkey peeler - which doesn't peel monkeys, but potatoes - had a swivel blade and a potato eye remover.
The "beak" of the garlic press could be swung around for easy cleaning.
For more information, visit www.cookincolor.com.
Xob (pronounced "zob") is a company in Boulder, Colo., that focuses on upcycling - using existing materials to create a product of higher environmental value or better quality than the original materials.
Xob uses "previously loved" wool-blended sweaters and suits that are collected, washed and then sorted into color families.
The sorted garments are cut into various pieces that are then sewn into new, one-of-a-kind products.
According to the company, each year, Xob products are directly responsible for diverting more than 30,000 pounds of materials from the waste stream.
Created by Icebox Knitting, which designs, markets and produces the brand, the company has been in business for 18 years and has sales in the United States, Japan and Korea.
The products are made in America. We received the Xob handwarmers in black and grey that retail for $28 with free shipping for U.S. orders.
The handwarmers are made from upcycled sweaters with accent thumb and fingers.
Due to the recycled nature of this product, no two items are alike and colors selected are from the same "color family."
These handwarmers are great for the fall and winter, when you want to keep your hands warm but still need access to fingers for your phone, keys and keyboard.
They came in handy at work, when the office temperatures were too cold for comfort but we still needed to continue working on our computer keyboards.
The company also creates knit caps - including one with a ponytail cut out - visors, beanies, bomber-style caps, headbands, mittens, flower ties, pouches, handbags, scarves, tissue holders, stockings and sweater monkeys.
Toddler, child and adult sizes are available in an array of colors and styles. Most products are between $8 and $32, with a higher cost for specialty items, such as buffalo down, which is a rare fiber. For more information, visit www.xobhats.com.
***NOTE: Williamsport Sun-Gazette readers can get 20 percent off by using the discount code WSG20. ***
Bedol Squirt Alarm Water Clock
The Bedol Squirt Alarm Water Clock is the newest water clock design released by designer Mark Bedol and the Bedol International Group Inc. in Claremont, Calif.
No batteries or electricity are used to make the clock run, instead it is completely powered by H2O.
Inside the clock are metallic plates that allow ions in the water to turn into current.
The plates are located in the water reservoir, and the current they produce powers the device.
When you fill the reservoir with water, the clock turns on, displaying numbers on the screen.
There are two buttons on the face of the clock, which allow you to easily set the date, time and activate the alarm.
It has 12-hour and 24-hour time settings. You can set the alarm for one time use, daily use or it also can be set to ring at the same number of minutes past the hour every hour. It also comes with an instruction booklet to help with setting date, time and alarms.
Ionization in the water will become low after six months to one year or more, depending on the composition of the tap water used in the clock.
At this time, pour out the water from the clock and refill the reservoir. The clock will remember the time while the water is being changed.
The Bedol Squirt Alarm Water Clock would make a great Christmas gift for environmentally- aware friends, travelers, college students or anyone on your list.
The clock measures 3 1/2 inches tall and 4 1/2 inches in diameter and is shaped like a water droplet.
It is available in five colors: blueberry blue, kiwi green, tangerine orange, plum purple and smoke gray. Suggested retail price is $26.
To buy a clock, visit www.bedolwhatsnext.com.
- Compiled by Julie Reppert and Dana Borick.