Review: Mermaid Sequin Purse, K-Mart

A squarish-rectangular mermaid sequin chain handbag/purse, comprising a green-on-black sequin fabric with a black and silver zipper opening and two silver-coloured D-rings attached to the bag at either end of the zipper. A silver-coloured chain with rounded links attaches to each D-ring with a miniature dog-clip. The bag sits on top of a blue microfibre electric blanket.

Price: $3 AUD.

Dimensions: 25 x 20.5 cm.

I found this on clearance sale at my local store–marked down to $3 AUD from $9 AUD! I don’t know how many are still left or how many stores have them, but I think it’s worth a look for this price!

I love this bag because the clip-fastening chain gives it so much utility. It can be a fancy feminine-ish dressy handbag with the chain attached; it can be a simple mermaid sequin pouch or case without it. You can hang it from a wall with the chain attached or slide it onto a bookshelf without it. You can even make your own strap from cord or ribbon if you don’t like the chain–and if you have a pair of needle-nosed pliers, you can adjust the chain to whatever length you prefer. Mum and I had a five-minute conversation on adding jump rings and charms to the chain to turn it into a belt…

Unfortunately, the bag isn’t quite big enough to hold my iPad or a 7 inch tablet, but it does hold my old Sony Reader and 5th Gen Kindle (screen size for both approximately 6 inches). It’s much deeper than most mermaid sequin pencil cases, too, so if you’re wanting a bigger pencil case for markers or stim toys, I recommend this–as someone with a fairly diverse stim kit, I don’t find that the smaller K-Mart mermaid sequin pouches fit all the toys I wish to travel with. This does, easily.

(Aside from my own use, I tend to find myself in situations where I’m pulling stim toys out to demonstrate or educate, especially with mental health professionals, so I need more toys with me than a Tangle in my pocket.)

Inside the bag, there’s a small zip pouch and a small fold-out pocket for a phone, useful both for use as a purse and for organising smaller stim toys.

I wish it were a bit more colourful (imagine this bag in rainbow sequins, right?) but other than that, I think this bag is absolutely brilliant in terms of size and varied utility.

Originally posted on @stimtoybox on October 15, 2018.


Ask: Cheap Tangles

An anon asks:

hi!! do you know where you can get cheap (under 10#) smooth tangles (no textures/bumps) ???

As a general note for folks asking me this sort of thing: I need you to tell me where you’re located! I can’t provide more than a general answer, otherwise. In addition, I’m Australian, not American, so while Tumblr does lean often towards US-based resources and vendors, I won’t have the same on-the-ground experience as an American stimmer does.

It also helps to mention if you’re after offline or online vendors, and if your budget includes or excludes shipping costs.

As an example for why location matters, I’d say that the best place to get cheap (Zuru) Tangle Jr Classics would be K-Mart at $4 AUD, but this isn’t useful if you’re not based in Australia. Likewise, if I say Amazon has a set of three for $7.95 USD, that’s unhelpful for folks based in Australia, as we can’t (easily) purchase items from the global marketplace. If you’re not in Europe or the UK, this listing at Tink n’ Stink for £3.25 GBP isn’t as useful to you, either…

For smooth/non-textured Tangles, anon, you’ll be wanting to look at the Classics and Metallics by Tangle Creations and the Classics, Metallics and Wilds from Zuru. All of these Tangles are smooth and untextured. Most stores that stock Tangle Jrs will have smooth ones–sometimes stock levels change, depending on how the stores sell their stock, but the way Zuru batch their Tangles means that the Classics/Textured and Metallics/Sparkles come together, so it’s rare to find a textured Tangle Jr without an untextured one on the shelf as well. A Tangle Jr Classic is the easiest Tangle to find, in my experience.

Here in Australia, offline resources include K-Mart, Toyworld, Australian Geographic and Kidstuff. (My K-Mart stores have fluctuating stock, in that they sell out quickly and will be off the shelves for a little while until they get a new batch, so you need to check regularly and often.) In the US, I believe Tangles have been seen at Walmart and Target, along with several specialty toy stores. In the UK, toy store The Entertainer stocks them.

For knock-offs, consider Wish, Aliexpress or eBay. These will be much cheaper than branded Tangles but you very often get what you pay for–quality varies widely. It’s been a while since I’ve bought a knock-off Tangle: the most recent one I bought was this translucent version, and while I think it’s exceptionally pretty, it was so stiff, like most knock-offs, that I had to lubricate it before using. Once lubricated, though, it was one of the better fakes I’ve ever had–but that’s no guarantee yours will be the same. So do know that when you buy knock-offs, it’s a bit of a gamble in terms of how well you like what you get. I’ve some I love and some I can’t bear using.

(If you do go the knock-off route, check out my Tangle Mods and Care Guide for how to improve these Tangles.)

Lastly, check out the #tangle tag if none of the above works for you–I do tag everything to make it easier for people to search for information about toys.

Originally posted on @stimtoybox on August 08, 2018.

Review: Squishimals, K-Mart

A round, yellow Squishimals toy sitting on a red watermelon slice pillow. The Squishimal is a round ball-shaped plush shaped like a very kawaii-styled chick, with a yellow plush body and wings, small orange feet, and oversized black embroidered eyes with white pupils and star-shaped eye-shines, pink embroidered cheeks under the eyes and an orange embroidered beak in the centre of its face. A white paper tag attached to the wing says “squeeze me” in English and French, white product tags are attached to its back and stick out across the underside of its body, and a cardboard swing tag featuring cartoon images of various Squishimals under a colourful header sits underneath the toy.

Price: $9 AUD for the full-size plush.

Dimensions: approximately 10.5 cm across.

This is a combination plush toy and squishy–a squishable foam core inside a plush animal skin. If you like squishable toys but don’t like the texture of foam/prefer the texture of minky plush, or you find that commercial foam squishies tear and wear too quickly for regular stimming, you may find the Squishimals worth the outlay. They are more expensive than many stim toys, but I do think they’re worth the price, as they’re not going to rip and tear under normal handling the way commercial foam squishies inevitably do.

You can get clip-on bag-charm style Squishimals for $5 AUD, but they are a fair bit smaller. This size cups quite nicely in my hand–a little bit bigger than the standard apple squishy, a little bit smaller than the average jumbo squishy. They’re moderately slow-rising–nowhere near as slow as many good squishies, but they don’t bounce back immediately, either.

Mine is very soft, made from a minky-style fleece, and the large embroidered textures add a nice texture. There’s also several seams because of the round shape, and while they’re not obtrusive, they also provide texture for stroking. Because of the shape, they can also be tossed from hand to hand. I really do like how this toy combines the best features of a plush toy, squishy and stress ball in one!

I have two drawbacks for the Squishimals. The first is that they’re denser and firmer than most squishies–somewhere between a squishy and a regular stress ball. They’re not too rough on my hands, but they’re not quite as gentle as a regular squishy. (For many, though, this may be not be any kind of disadvantage.) The second is that they are scented in an oversweet, dreadfully artificial fragrance. It does fade: I’ve had my chick for two months now, and it only smells of anything if I hold it right up under my nose. When I first brought it home, though, I had it airing out in the sunroom for weeks, and while I dislike most artificial scents, this one repulsed me.

I do think, if there’s somewhere safe for you to let the toy air out, that they’re worth persisting with, even for stimmers like me. The combination of plush and squishy has been worth the difficulty of the smell.

Originally posted on @stimtoybox on August 30, 2018.

Review: Liquid Pencil Case, K-Mart

A seafoam/aqua green plastic zipper pencil case sitting on a red watermelon slice pillow. The pencil case has a clear plastic front pocket filled with a clear gel, rainbow glitter pieces and paper cut-outs of various kawaii-style pictures: unicorn, sausage dog in a hotdog bun, hamburger, rainbow, ice-cream, shooting star. A vinyl rainbow charm hangs from the aqua zipper pull and a white and black plastic tag is attached to said zipper pull by a silver ball chain. Type on the tag reads “Anko Liquid Pencil Case 3+ years”.

Price: $3 AUD.

Dimensions: 18 x 11 cm.

This is another liquid or gel-filled pencil case with a front pocket filled with gel, glitter and paper-style images of cute objects.

I do feel that this is slightly overpriced, but the gel inside the front pocket of the pencil case is very nice to squish. It also retains coolness very well, for folks who like handing cold toys or having a cold temperature element in their stimming–if you leave it in a cool room, or perhaps even the fridge for short periods of time, the pencil case becomes quite cold to the touch and takes a decent amount of handling to warm up. I actually find it a little too good at remaining cold, at least in the winter–even with the heater going in my room, the case is much cooler to the touch than my desk and keyboard.

I will say that as a squish toy, which is how I’ve been using this case, it works best without pencils or anything else inside. I can easily just push the paper images and glitter about the case without anything hard underneath. If you just want to turn it about for the movement of the glitter, it’ll work as a pencil case (or for smaller stim toys) but I find this detracts from the squishability of the gel filler. Unlike mermaid sequin pouches, I’m not using this for storage.

Because it’s entirely plastic, it may work for storing chewables, but I wouldn’t zip the case entirely closed if so.

I do recommend checking your case thoroughly to make sure all the paper images are turned the right way. My flamingo image is backwards and it does annoy me a little bit!

Originally posted on @stimtoybox on August 31, 2018.

Review: Play-Doh Starter Pack, K-Mart

Play-Doh’s Rainbow Starter Pack, a selection of eight yellow plastic tubs, topped with a matching coloured plastic lid, of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple and pink dough. Photo shows the tubs inside a box and covered with cling film, surrounding a picture of a Play-Doh zebra and giraffe surrounded by leaves and flowers in the centre of the box.

Price: $6 AUD.

I’m not reviewing Play-Doh as such here, as most will be pretty familiar with the product: brightly-coloured, squishable, mouldable, has an unmistakable scent. I was given the large selection of Play-Doh above as a birthday present (both the set of regular tubs in the second photo and the Starter Pack shown in the first photo) and I want to call people’s attention to this set of mini-sized tubs.

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Review: Super Brain Putty (Crystal Clear), K-Mart

A grey, plastic tin of Slimy brand Super Brain Putty in Anti-Matter Crystal Clear–a perfectly translucent, untinted putty that looks somewhat like liquid glass. The tin is fastened to a teardrop-shaped black back card behind a clear blister package. The card has the text “Slimy” and “Never Dries Out” and “Endless Fun” in English and German, and a range of white text on a black border around the edge of the card, “Super Brain Putty” and various words in German. The tin has a white/silver/grey-toned sticker on the lid showing a snow-covered mountain backdrop behind the circular border text “Super Brain Putty Form Print Snap Melt Bounce Stretch” in white. A white vector brain image in the centre sits beside the words “Super Brain Putty” and above the words “Anti-Matter Crystal Clear”.

Price: $6 AUD (was $8 AUD at time of initial review).

Longer-time followers may remember my disgruntled review of another clear putty earlier this year, Lab Putty’s Sculpting Glass Putty. I found it too brittle–too prone to breaking into shards of putty–to be useful. I’m pleased to say that this putty is so much better to use if you can get it out of the container … but I’m not a fan of the clear putties in terms of stimming practicality.

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Review: Rainbow Glitter Pen, K-Mart

A black ballpoint pen sitting on a red watermelon slice pillow. The pen has a clear chamber at the top third of the pen filled with circular rainbow-coloured glitter pieces and a clear liquid, with a plain black barrel and a thin black clip attached to the top of the pen.

Price: $3 AUD.

Dimensions: 14 x 0.8 cm.

Variants: There are multiple colours available on K-Mart’s website, including gold, silver, rose, purple and ombre.

K-Mart has gotten in a whole range of glitter and liquid pens targeted at adults: smaller pens, clean designs, smaller glitter chambers, dark and pastel barrel colours. If you’ve felt self-conscious about using the larger glitter baton pens but still want some stim in your stationery, these will be ideal.

Unfortunately, the changes made to make these more office-suitable also make them less stim-friendly. The liquid inside the clear chamber is very thick and the glitter takes a long time to move down it–too long to hold my attention, as I get bored of watching it. I prefer the fall rate of the glitter in normal glitter batons and baton pens. The glitter in mine also tends to get stuck in clumps, requiring more banging and shaking to move down the chamber.

This pen is also of a standard single-colour ballpoint thickness, which, while normal, is much more difficult for people with any kind of chronic pain or hand disability to hold. (I’ve seen several OTs in my time and not a one of them had anything good to say about the use of narrow pens.) I need my pens to be at least the width of a four-colour click pen, and this is just too narrow for me to use at all, never mind comfortably.

(It has a standard 1.0 mm black point, which I’ll mention as someone who prefers a 0.7 mm point.)

This said, I can see this pen being really useful for many adults as a subtle office stim toy, and there’s lots of different colour options!

Originally posted on @stimtoybox on September 04, 2018.