Archive for the ‘Gadgets and Products’ Category

Once again days have turned into weeks since my last post.  My dear husband and I took a trip to north Arkansas for a few days for a little rest and relaxation.  While we were visiting that part of the country we had the pleasure of visiting with my crazy quilting, online friend Hollie and her husband Mark. (picture of Hollie and me in the post before this one)  When we returned home we needed a few more days of rest and relaxation to revive from the road trip…If you are over fifty, you know what I’m talking about.

When we went out of town we left our dogs at home with our oldest daughter.  They love her dearly, and we never have to worry about them when they are in her care.  Our Great Dane started getting very finicky about eating while we were gone this time, and when we returned things went downhill from there.  We were hoping he was just being sensitive, because we left him and he would soon return to normal.   His hips had been getting bad for a while.  He showed signs of old age.  I’ve seen the “handwriting on the wall” for several months.  On Tuesday of last week he completely stopped eating.  Nothing I offered him would entice him to eat.   On Monday of this week we called our vet in to euthanize him.  He was beginning to show signs of suffering, and we had to gulp up the courage to do what was best for him.  Hence…the broken heart.  Bubba was a great dog and will be missed greatly.


Moving on to crazy hearts…Late last week a crazy quilting friend’s husband passed away.  My words are not adequate for expressing the sorrow I feel for her loss.  I’ve never walked that mile…I can only imagine the pain she is feeling.  This heart will be embellished with her in mind, and I will send it to her.  Hopefully I’ll have it completed and ready to go by weekend’s end.


The next heart is for a one on one heart swap…just because.   I constructed it a little bit bottom heavy and have not decided how I will handle that.


Speaking of one on one swaps…My friend Pam and I have entered into a one on one block swap.  We chose an 8 inch block.  Each of us made a naked block and exchanged them to embellish and return home.

Here is the one Pam sent to me.  She dyed all the fabrics herself.  Aren’t they lovely.   The colors are vibrant…brights are her favorite.

Pam's block one on one

The block I sent to her is made of fabrics in far more muted colors…The trim along the edge of the curved patch was salvaged from a thrift store pillow case.  I call this block “two friends” because of the silkie I used for the anchor patch.

Pam Gonzalez - one on one

Last but not least, I worked on the final block I will angel stitch for in the World Wide Crazy Quilting encrusted RR.  The block belonged to Carol.  For my part I stitched the vine on the long blue patch, added stitching to the existing stitching on the anchor patch, and added the spider web and spider.  I tried a different web-making technique and have not decided if I like it as well as couching the web.

Carol's block

Before I go I want to announce my next giveaway.  Robbie Fields has generously offered to share two sets of her Creative Stitchery Success Strips to be given away one set at a time on my blog.   I will be featuring her success strips in a post very soon (or as soon as I can manage to get another post ready).  I recently bought a set of these strips from Robbie after hearing about them from several of my very accomplished stitching friends.  I’m so glad I did, because they make it so simple to space my embroidery stitches evenly and give them a more professional look. That’s a big plus when stitching compound-stitch, seam treatments.   I think every crazy quilter should have a set of these great stitching tools, and I have to wonder why I waited so long to buy them.  Click on the link and see how affordable they are.

Just for the record, I am hosting this giveaway because I really like the strips.  Robbie did not ask me to.  Only after I asked her if she minded if I featured her strips on my blog and told her I wanted to give a set away did she offer to furnish the sets.  I appreciate her generosity.  I expect nothing in return for hosting the giveaway.  It is my intention to share a wonderful stitching tool with those who are not aware of it.

Until next time…

I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. (Revelation 1:8)


Read Full Post »

From time to time I come across a product I have to shout about.  Such is the case with Krud Kutter.  For those of you it matters to, Krud Kutter is a green product.  The manufacturor claims to have “the hardest working green products on the planet”.  At this point…I am inclined to believe them.


Several months ago, my sister-in-law Lee told me about this amazing product.  She and my brother bought an almost century old house and took on the gruelling challenge of restoring it as near original as possible.   Prior to purchasing the house, it had been a rental property for decades.  A not-so-Harry homeowner had made changes that made my carpenter-extraordinaire  brother cringe.  Not-so-Susie homemaker lived with not-so-Harry and years of crud had been allowed to build up on the kitchen cabinets and appliances.  This made Lee cringe.   Lee is an immaculate housekeeper and cleaning guru, and after over-use of elbow grease, she sought something that would make the job of removing the grunge and refurbishing her kitchen easier.  While in Lowe’s she found Krud Kutter and took a chance on it.  To her delight and amazement the stuff was a miracle in a bottle.

Because I drag my feet when it comes to shopping, it took me months to finally purchase a bottle of my own so I could see what it would do for the built up grime around our house. I finally picked up a bottle last week.   You see, I am not an immaculate housekeeper much to my own dismay, but I do enjoy and long for an orderly, clean home…and a full-time housekeeper.    One of the biggest cleaning challenges around our house is a by-product of having four-legged kids.  In the past it has taken an act of congress to cut through the dog snozz they leave on our glass storm doors.  We all know what it takes to get an act through congress!  It requires hook or crook and a lot of hidden pork… When I got home I wasted no time trying Krud Kutter out on our front door.  The stuff took the snozz off without me having to exert any effort.  I stood amazed.  It did the same for the back door which was quite a bit snozzier, because we leave the “big” door open and the storm door accessible more often. 

Since my door trials, I’ve cleaned our shower doors and appliance exteriors with the same fabulous results.   I am a believer in Krud Kutter, and the next time I go to Lowe’s, which may well be a special trip to replenish my supply, I will buy a gallon. 

I appreciate Lee telling me about Krud Kutter.  If you have tough cleaning jobs around your house, I recommend you seek out a bottle and see how it works for you.  I think you will be pleased and possibly as amazed as I was.  I’m not sure if any stores other than Lowe’s stock it, but the manufacturor has an online store where the full line of Krud Kutter products are sold.  This product is bound to make your cleaning efforts easier.  It’s that good!

Disclaimer:  The makers of Krud Kutter are not responsible for this post.  I have not been compensated for writing it nor have they asked me to give a positive review of their product. 

Until next time…

For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 1 Corinthians 15:21-22 

Read Full Post »

On the first day of May I received Susan’s beautiful, round robin crazy quilt block to add my stitching to.  I love the rich colors of the fabrics Susan used in the construction of her block.  It was a pleasure to work on.  The picture below shows the work I did.  (Calling something so pleasurable “work” seems just wrong…but I guess “it is what it is”.)

Hollie’s stitching was added before my turn. Look at the sweet bird and bird’s nest she embroidered.  The row of tiny catepillars represent those that eat her dill before turning into butterflies each year.  In my book both are very special.  I can hardly wait to see what Hollie stitches on my block…but wait I will have to, because she is last to stitch on it before it is returned to me.

Speaking of Hollie, a couple of days ago she asked me about the red block I posted a naked picture of a few posts back. As most of my own stitching does when I receive someone else’s to work on, it went on the back burner. After I completed the embellishing I did on Susan’s block, I started embellishing my red block. The main color I’ve chosen for embellishing is gold.  The red crocheted rose (Irish rose, I believe) in the center was sent to me by Pat when she downsized her stash last year.  It seems perfectly at home on this block.  To this point some blue and gold thread has been used and a bit of green beading.  As you can see, there is much  embellishing to come, because  I’ve only just begun.  Here is the progress I’ve made so far…

I’ve got one final picture to share today. One of the crazy quilting groups I belong to have a secret sister swap in progress. It’s one I am taking part in. This morning I received a squishy package from my secret sister. Look at all the wonderful eye candy she sent to me to play with. There is a small pair of golden-colored dragonfly wings in these goodies that I was especially happy to find in this secret sister stash. I saw some worked into a block of a friend and have been looking for them locally ever since…to no avail. I hope the lady who receives my package will be as pleased with hers as I am with mine. Such fun!

One last thing before I go…you have today and tomorrow to throw your name into the Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil Giveaway. You could win a quart of this wonderful product. It’s such good stuff…don’t miss out.

Until next time…

Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. . . . Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. Matthew 24:42,44

Read Full Post »

Have you ever been invaded by fruit flies?  If you are anything like me it’s not unheard of to leave a banana lying around until it turns solid brown or let an apple or two over-ripen.  I save all vegetable waste produced in our kitchen in a two gallon galvanized pot, and when the pot is full we transfer it to our compost pile.   It is the perfect breeding grounds for fruit flies.  I figure if you’ve brought fresh produce into your kitchen you know what pesky things these tiny flies can be.  A Facebook post I saw yesterday prompted me to share a fantastic solution for keeping fruit flies out of the kitchen…for it proved I’m not alone.

Early this spring I found a really cool yellow jacket/wasp trap while I was meandering through my favorite nursery looking for treasures to cure my spring fever.  The trap is a heavy, glass bottle with a concave bottom forming a well.   The bottom is so designed to hold insect attracting liquid.

There is a hole cut out in the center of the bottom.

The design makes it possible for nectar seeking insects to fly or crawl into the bottle but impossible for them to crawl out after they enter the liquid filled concave well.  I bought one with yellow jackets in mind.

Not long after bringing the trap home, my kitchen was invaded by fruit flies.  For quite some time I’ve used small dishes of apple cider vinegar to attract and drown them.  The vinegar attracts the flies, but the dishes are not escape proof so the fly population dwindles slowly.  The little dishes sitting around in random places is less than ideal.  I thought about the wasp trap hanging on my porch and brought it inside.  I filled the well with apple cider vinegar and hung it over the island in my kitchen.  Within two days all the fruit flies were floating in the bottom of the jar.  No more fruit flies.  No more little dishes sitting around with dead fruit flies floating around in the bottom.   My wasp trap is now a fruit fly trap and has an always place hanging over the kitchen island.

Clean up is simple.  Carefully remove the bottle from its hanging place and run hot water into it through the top.  The captive fruit flies…dead or alive…are washed down the drain, and the bottle is ready for fresh apple cider vinegar and to be rehung.

I googled hanging glass wasp trap and found several sources and styles.  If you are interested in doing away with your fruit flies, this method works like a charm and obtaining your own hanging glass wasp trap is just a Google away.

Until next time…

If you are suffering from a bad man’s injustice, forgive him, lest there be two bad men.   ~ Augustine

Read Full Post »

As my computer became older and older…slower and slower…bogged down in time…I found posting to be more time-consuming, frustrating, and too much hassle to keep Apron Strings going. As it often is with neglected things I felt bad about it. I missed both blogging and looking in on my bloggy friends. Still I could not bring myself to “waste” time coaxing a dinosaur computer to do my bidding. I imagine there are many who understand…who can relate…who have walked in those shoes…who long for a new computer.   Woo hoo…those days are behind me. Woo hoo, woo hoo.  I’ve tossed those old shoes out and am walking running in new ones.  My sweetheart bought me a brand spanking new, not so shiny and not at all that bright. blue, notebook computer. It reacts almost faster than I think…definitely faster than I type. Once again blogging is in my forecast…no more singing the “no blogging blues”!

A Mac was not a realistic option this time around so I chose Gateway because the one I am retiring is almost eight years old, and even though it is tired and slow it still works.  This one is part of their NV (envy) series…I’m sure glad I don’t have to “envy” it.  I’m thankful my sweetheart bought it for me.

Until next time…

Count your blessings…name them one by one.

Read Full Post »

Where does time go?!!!  It has been a full month since my last post, and in just another day or two November will be here!  The old saying “time flies after thirty” continues to prove itself true.  The author of that saying should have added “and the older you get the faster it flies”. 

As prices rise and we tighten our belts, I am always looking for ways to save a dollar here and there so we can use the dollar saved for something else.  This past week I took the time to complete a project I’ve thought about doing for quite some time.   In the long run it will save money and keep on saving.   Several years back I bought a Swiffer Jet for cleaning my hard surface floors.  Every time I’ve pulled off a nasty pad and pitched it in the garbage I’ve thought how easy it would be to make washable pads and visions of saved dollar signs rolled in my head.  I finally put action to my idea and made some money-saving, pads for my Swiffer Jet.  Sorry Procter and Gamble.  No more throw away pads for me…and I’m working on figuring out how to refill the solution bottle.

Here’s how you can make your own reuseable Swiffer Jet pads:

Materials needed for project:

an old towel

2 10 1/2 inch lengths of velcro – fuzzy side only

Cut two 11 1/2 x 6 1/2 inch rectangles from a towel that has seen better days.  (You know…one you would never think of setting out for a guest  to use.) ( I cut mine on the fold instead of cutting two separate rectangles resulting in a rectangle with different dimensions than the above instruction…23 x 13 inches…folding to achieve 11 1/2 x 6 1/2.  I tell you this only because the illustration has a fold NOT to confuse you.)   

Sew the two layers together leaving one 6 1/2 inch edge open for turning inside out.

Turn inside out and stitch across  the remaining end.    Place a piece of velcro along one 11 inch edge of the pad leaving about 1/2 inch uncovered along the outside edge.  Stitch all the way around the edge of the velcro as close to the edge as possible.  Stitch the second length of velcro along the opposite side.

And wallah…you have a washable, re-useable, seriously cheaper Swiffer Jet pad.  (One raggedy old towel makes six or more pads. )


I hope you find this tutorial helpful and easy to follow.  If you are inspired to make your own washable Swiffer pads I’d love to hear from you.  Feedback is always welcome.

Until next time…

The dreams of your future have no room for the devastations of your past.  ~ unknown ~ 

Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.   Acts 4:10-12


Read Full Post »

COMING SOON: Great giveaway to be posted soon.  You won’t want to miss it!  Keep checking back.

About a month ago I made an agreement with a representative of CSN Stores to try and review one of their products (my choice).  (I made a teaser post introducing CSN Stores the second week of August.) After looking over many of the items available through CSN I made my selection and let my representative know what I chose.  Within two days of placing my order the FedEx man brought my package to my door.

I chose an Emeril’s Reversible cast iron griddle/grill to try and review.  Because I’d had one on my wish list for quite some time it was the perfect product for me, and I was anxious to test it.  When it arrived I did not delay in opening it and was impressed by the care with which it was packed.  (Note to the green conscious:  packaging very green)  Needless to say my “merchandise” arrived in perfect condition.

My new griddle was nested between layers of recycled cardboard.  I lifted the top layer and found Emril himself smiling at me.  The product box was in perfect condition, and so was the griddle.  🙂  You can’t ask for more.

Moving right along…I was anxious to try the grill out as soon as possible.  Over the past several days I’ve used the griddle/grill for several different foods.  Here are pictures of just a few.  All have turned out delicious.


Burgers and Mahi Mahi

Lovely grill marks…almost like outside grilling. (only better…no smoke and excess heat)

Ham Steak

And the flip side…I forgot to take an after picture of the burgers cooked on the griddle, but they were beautiful.  My husband was ready for his burgers by the time I had them finished.  They turned out perfectly…cooked evenly and quickly.

There are still so many things I haven’t tried on the griddle and no steaks have hit the grill, but I will continue to use it often.  Clean up is a cinch.  Really.  Used as instructed there is no scrubbing or elbow grease needed.

I am very pleased with the performance of Emeril’s Reversible Cast Iron Griddle/Grill and would order from CSN Stores without a second thought.

If you are an online shopper I recommend you give CSN Stores a try.  I think you will be pleased with the service and products you purchase from them.  Please take a few minutes and browse their website and see the wide range of products they offer.

Customer Service…..helpful and very courteous

Packaging….product packed with great care


Product Performance….I love my new Emril two-sided griddle/grill.  Food cooked beautifully and cleanup is simple.  I think everyone should have one.

Confidence in CSN Stores…I would order from them without reservation.

I thank CSN for giving me an opportunity to participate in their product review promo.  It’s been fun.

COMING SOON: Great giveaway to be posted soon.  You won’t want to miss it!  Keep checking back.

Until next time…

Man is unjust, but God is just; and finally justice triumphs. ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow ~

Read Full Post »

Coming soon…review of CSN and Emirl’s two-sided cast iron griddle.

A while back I joined a Yahoo fiber art swap group.  Quirky little dolls kept appearing and before long my curiosity was peeked.  I didn’t get what made grown women spend valuable time making the strange little dolls so I issued the challenge to myself and made one.  One is all it took.  I’ve been bitten by the Dottee doll love bug.

Here’s my first.  I call her Lottie Dottee.  I’m considering adding a piece of under-fabric to her skirt…red to tie in the red buttons.  If I do I’ll add an after picture.

Dottees basically just hang around, but they are good for a smile.  I can understand now why grown women busily stitch the little darlings.  My second is a mermaid Dottee named Madeline.  She’s a prototype for a one-on-one mermaid swap I committed to.  The biggest challenge in making her has been drafting a pattern.  It turned out to be a tad more difficult than I expected.  It’s made me very glad not to be a mermaid sewer who makes my own clothes.  Those tail flippers are tough to get just right. 🙂  I’ll share her soon.

Yesterday my son-in-law’s dear mother passed away.  My husband and I were blessed by time with three of our grandchildren for most of the evening while daughter and sil took care of business at hand with sil’s dad.  Our six year old granddaughter loved Lottie Dottee, and we agreed making her first Dottee was a great idea.  We started it together; Rachel selecting the theme, colors and embellishments.  Her’s will be Bonnie Ballerina when it’s finished (Rachel will call her Sarah)…and she will go to live with Rachel.  That’s the only hard part to making a Dottee…sending them away to a new home.  The quirky little dolls really do stitch their way securely into your heart.

Anyone else make Dottee dolls?  I’d love to see yours.

Until next time…

You need both blessings and difficulties, because one without the other is neither.  ~ unknown ~

Now I’m off to spend the day with my mom…Y’all have a blessed day.

oxo Judy

Read Full Post »

CSN Stores have given me an opportunity to review one of their products and share that review with you.  Sometime in the near future I will receive one of their many products to use in my home.  CSN Stores stock brand named items we all know and trust like Le Creuset (the cookware we all wish we had).  Their product inventory ranges from housewares to furniture…home decor to outdoor living needs…toys for the entire family…and baby items to items for our beloved pets, and more.  Prices range from high-end to very affordable.  CSN Stores literally has something for everyone.

Because I am very health conscious I’ve chosen to try and review the Emril reversible grill.  That should take my grilling up a notch!  “Bam, bam, bam!”   Don’t you think?

I hope you will stay tuned for my review.  It’s coming soon.  In the meantime, check out the CSN Stores on the web.  CSN Stores is an international company with over 200 stores to serve us, and they make shopping for almost everything as easy as a click of the mouse.

Until next time…

A man has joy by the answer of his mouth, and a word spoken in due season, how good it is!

~ King Solomon ~


Read Full Post »

I’m thanking God I am finally beginning to feel like I’m getting over the sinus infection and bronchitis that has plagued me far too long.  It seemed to me it had a grip on me forever.  I’m doing my best not to relapse.  The air here has been ghastly to breath and flared my asthma up.  While the storms made their way through this part of the country I turned on the air conditioner and have not turned it back off.  That move is going to take bravery.  Yes, bravery.   Breathing is so much more than a luxury.

Enough of that…moving on to happier things.  Yesterday when I checked my mail I found a treasure.  Our three year old California granddaughter sent me a card.  The best part was it was her idea.  She made my heart soar and day.  Love is such a beautiful thing.

Moving on to another blessing…

My precious husband agreed we purchase a Vita-Mix.  It arrived yesterday, and already I am in love with it.  Yes it’s an inanimate thing, but it is an amazing machine.  Yesterday after reading the paperwork that came with it and cleaning it according to the manufacturer’s instructions, I christened it with my first green smoothie.  It will not be my last.  Before you say it looks disgusting let me assure you, you are wrong.  It was both delicious and so good for me.

As a quick side dish for supper last night I made pear/applesauce in about a minute and a half or so.  I didn’t make a picture of that, but it was a big hit with my no fruit eating husband.  🙂  Since neither of those creations satisfied my burning desire to use the Vita-Mix again I topped the evening off with a fresh orange sorbet sweetened with stevia.  It was impressive.

Breakfast was another wonderful taste adventure.  I made a frozen mango smoothie spiced with a pinch of cardamom.  There is no question…it was delicious.

In the event there is any doubt…

I look forward to reaping the benefits of eating healthy, whole foods prepared with this wonderful machine.  And as an extra bonus…It was made in the USA!

Until next time…

Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble therewith.  Proverbs 15:16

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: