Thursday, March 30, 2017

Awesome Life Friday #106

Welcome to Awesome Life Friday!

We're so looking forward to seeing what you've been cooking, creating, growing, decorating, reviewing, giving away, and thinking about this week!

While you're here, leave your posts at the other link up we co-host here - Party in Your PJs!  It starts on Tuesday evenings, and runs through Sunday.  I hope you'll join us there as well!

Here's a bit of what we've been up to this week:

March Stitchery Check-In
Review/Giveaway: Zim's Max Crack Creme

And now our favorite part - the FEATURES !  If you're one of our featured posts, we'd love it if you'd grab a button, and thanks to all of you who shared with us last week!

This week, we're Featuring several posts that are about things that went a little bit wrong, and what the authors did in response.  As we head toward April Fool's Day, we want to celebrate these bloggers who aren't afraid to admit mistakes, to laugh at themselves, and to adapt their plans brilliantly when they don't work out at first.

A wrong choice leads to bad result and a good lesson learned.

Sometimes, the effort far outpaces the results!

The Hungry Mountaineer // Bacon: It's So Delicious It's Worth Ending Friendships
Amber shares a story of a hangover, a hotel, delicious bacon, and a smoke alarm. Oops!

The Ramblings of an Aspiring Small Town Girl // The Best Damn Chicken Noodle Soup on Earth
Sometimes you have to be willing to fail a lot before you get it just right.

Jay Tried & True // One Pot Cannellini Florentine
The only mistake here was her picky eater suddenly deciding to refuse to try it!

The Boondocks Blog // How to Not Decoupage Plastic Bottles with Napkins 
This 'half hour project' only took two days!

If you are one of our FEATURED bloggers, this button is for you!

Thank you all so much for sharing your awesomeness!

Are you all ready to party?  If you like, we'd love it you'd help spread the word by grabbing our button:

Here we go!

Review/Giveaway: Zim's Max Crack Creme


If the bottoms of your feet and heels resemble a topographical map of the surface of Mars, you need Zim’s Max Crack Creme.

My feet have looked like that for years. Hard callouses, rigid, thickened skin and ravine-like cracks — especially on my heels — have been with me for years. Along the backs of my ankles lay strips of dried, dead, discolored skin,  dark, rough and seemingly permanent.

Then my wife, Lynda, received some Max Crack Crème to review, and after using it a little while on her hands, suggested I give it a try on my feet.

Warning! Ugly feet pictures ahead!

I warned you!
I didn't have high hopes - like I said, I was sure this was a permanent problem for me. Zim’s, despite my initial skepticism, put an end to all that.

After 1 week - softer surrounding skin, cracks no longer 'raw'.
After less than two months it’s made my feet almost normal again. The dead cells along the backs of my ankles sloughed off with just a little scrubbing after just a week of treatment.

And over the next six weeks or so, the cracks closed up and the skin became softer.

The heels are still thickened, and that might just be a natural result of wearing shoes; but they are much, much better, and I think I can continue to improve them by using a pumice stone and continuing to use Max Crack Crème.

Zim’s products are all-natural, and cover a wide range of skin-care needs: moisturizing, pain relief, diabetic care and wound care, to name a few.

Max Crack Crème is meant for any part of the body where skin is subject to drying and cracking, including hands and fingers as well as feet. (And needless to say, it quickly took care of winter dryness on my wife's hands before she turned it over to me.)

It comes in an oily liquid formula and a creamy gel version. Ideally, you should use the two in tandem — the creamy daytime formula during the day when it can be held close to the skin by socks or gloves, and the liquid formula just before bed.

That’s just how I used it for my feet. I rubbed the cream on my heels and ankles each morning, just before getting dressed, and the liquid just before going to bed. (I could have used multiple applications during the day, but I didn’t want to be taking my socks and shoes off frequently while working.)

After a week of use, I used a washcloth in the shower to scrub off the dead cells behind my ankles, and they washed right off like so much dirt. This after years of my looking at them and sighing in frustration.

I tried not to track progress on the cracks too closely, checking just once a week or so. I noticed visible improvement each week, until just before writing this review, when the latest pictures in this review were taken.

Now, while I have seen much improvement, I'm not done yet. I plan to continue using the product to maintain it.

After 6 weeks, amazing progress!
I will make one minor observation - the all-natural ingredients, including Arnica Oil, that make up these product are not scent-free. There is a noticeable scent that is pretty strong on application - it's not chemical, and in fact I think it smells pretty good. It settles down after a few minutes, but it was a surprise at first and may mean you want to give yourself a few minutes before heading out in public.

Zim's Max Crack Crème is readily available in the nearby grocery store, but you can also buy it online direct from the company or other online retailers, and is very reasonably priced. Zim’s products are all described as either all-natural or “natural-based,” and the company does not test them on animals.

In my opinion, Zim’s is one of those rare products that delivers on its promised results and even exceeds expectations. Zim's has been around for 60 years, and the pharmacist who originally developed their line of products was specifically seeking a solution to the cracked skin issues of local cement workers - it's a hardworking solution to a tough problem.

If your skin is in need of care, give it a try.  Two of our US readers will each be receiving a tube of the Daytime Formula and a bottle of the Original/Nighttime formula, courtesy of Zims! Read on to see how you can enter to win this Giveaway.

To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment in this entry as instructed by the Giveaway Tools Entry Form below. This will open up additional optional entries to increase your odds of winning. (If you don't leave a comment, any additional entries will be void.)

This giveaway is open to US RESIDENTS ONLY and will end just before midnight ET on 4/13. 

The winners will be notified by email within 24 hours after the end of the giveaway. In order to claim the giveaway prize, the winner will need to respond within 24 hours of notification, or an alternate winner will be selected.

Once the winners have responded and confirmed, their first names will be posted on our Giveaways  page.

Good luck!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Party in Your PJs! #151

1 comment:
Happy Tuesday!

Welcome to the Party in Your PJs Link Party, where your posts will be seen on four different blogs each week.   In addition to Kim from The Cookie Puzzle, you'll also find Party in Your PJs every Tuesday evening at Grandma IdeasWood of Bell Trees and... here!

You'll also find the Awesome Life Friday link-up here at RCHReviews, every Thursday evening at 8pm ET so we hope to see you there as well.

Are you ready to party? I can't wait to see what you've brought to share!

Kim ~ The Cookie Puzzle | Facebook | Pinterest 
Nina ~ Grandma Ideas | Pinterest | Twitter
Lynda ~ Reviews, Chews & How-Tos | Facebook | Pinterest
Heather ~ Woods of Bell Trees | Facebook | Instagram

 Meet the Co-Hosts

Kim @ The Cookie Puzzle 

Kim is a small town girl who love simple things. Simple cookies, simple crafts and simple people. She is a wife, mother to one son and two adorable fur babies. Slightly addicted to reality TV and sitcoms, but she loves curling up with a good book or a good walk while listening to podcasts. You can find her at The Cookie Puzzle, where she shares her love for cookies and crafting. 

Nina @ Grandma Ideas 

How is this: Nina is wildly in love with her grandchildren. She delights in doing activities with them that strengthen their relationship –- playing games, doing crafts, snuggling, reading stories to them, and cooking together. She enjoys reading, technology, and traveling. (Tahiti is her most favorite place on earth!)

Lynda @ Reviews, Chews & How-Tos 

Lynda lives outside DC with her husband Michael and elderly beagle, Sadie. She and her daughter Jackie started RCHReviews as a way to spend time together in spite of living across country, and along the way they've added several friends as regular contributors. Between them all, they bring together many different perspectives and lifestyles with one common philosophy - try new things, have fun, and remember you are awesome!

 Heather @ Wood of Bell Trees

Heather is a wife of a peanut butter fanatic and mom of one silly human and one furry canine, wrangling life on 2nd shift and glitterizing everything as she goes!

The rules for the group board include:
1. Limit of one pin a day.
2. Just like the party anything goes, but clear wonderful pictures with great descriptions are most successful.
3. Please no Spam ( Spammers will be deleted without warning)
4.  If you pin to the Pinterest Board, please link to the Party in Your PJs Party also, the party runs from 7 pm Tuesdays-Midnight Saturday (Central Time)
5.  Finally have fun and share this group board  with blog friends and followers!  The more success the group board is the more success you will see from your pins.

Want to be added to the group board?  Follow our Party in Your PJs board and email Kim at

Features from Last Weeks Party!

 to see their features - we each pick our own!

All links are pinned to a Party can follow the board on Pinterest...feel free to follow the board, there is lots of inspiration to be found there.

Ok...let's party!

Rules -Link to post, not your home page
-Link to something YOU made, wrote or thought
-No Etsy or Business Pages
-Link Parties, Roundups and Giveaways welcome
- Don't Link and Run! Please visit other links, make friends, learn something new, leave a comment.

Monday, March 27, 2017

March Stitchery Check-In


I thought my stitchy update this month would be pretty simple, because I haven't done a thing since around the middle of the month, although as I write it out, I do feel better for what I did get done.

There were several reasons for the break from cross-stitch - we took a 4 day trip for a spiritual retreat that kept us very occupied with other things (although I did get a tiny bit of stitching done while sitting in workshops). Then, the changeable weather had my hands aching enough to not be able to manage much. Finally, my husband and I got motivated to work on a few home organization tasks and a bit of spring cleaning, so when I have had a few minutes to relax, I have found myself deciding to do one more small thing instead. (I am only rarely inclined to do that - so when it's happening, I roll with it!)

But really?  I just fell out of the mood to stitch - as I have off and on for the past 35 years.  I don't try to fight these moods.

Like the weather, it's easier to get through if you accept it.

One of my projects right now is to pry out some dedicated crafting space in our small one bedroom apartment, and once that's done, I know it will make me happy to go back to my needle.

So, first order of business - this month's TUSAL!  This is the Totally Useless Stitch-a-Long, where crafters show off their inevitable collection of thread snippets.  The TUSAL happens each month at the New Moon.

I keep mine in a mason jar (with a handy pin cushion attached to it with elastic lace), and tamp it down after I've show in off - so the fluffy bits are new.

I also keep an empty Altoid's tin with me in my portable stitchery bag, to use to corral thread snippets until I can get home and toss them in the jar with the rest.

So, last month, my goals were to finish my Conan the Barbarian quote backstitch sampler, finish Metamorphosis, a Quaker medallion sampler from Ink Circles, to get my next Satsuma Street 12 Days of Christmas ornament started and finished, and to start Satsuma Street's Pretty Little Washington DC.

How'd I do? Welll...

"Needles of Steel"
100 x 70
28ct white evenweave linen
silk threads

Yay!  This needs to be ironed and framed, and then it's going up over my husband's desk in his home office. (It's funny, because his company's work culture is about exactly the opposite of anything resembling cutthroatedness.)

Next, is Ink Circle's Metamorphosis - still a WIP, although I am now working on the last medallion. I bought a lap frame  and put it in there. I'm still getting used to it, though, so at present it's no more comfortable than my own usual method  of rolling the fabric and holding it by hand. (My brief try with a small hoop also felt 'meh' to me)  No getting around it - the medallion at the end of the cloth is going to be the hardest part, yet.

359 x 47
14ct burlap
DMC threads

I am currently wavering between making April a 'finish this or die trying' month, or tucking it away for awhile to work on something else - I'll decide by the end of the month.

"3 French Hens"
64 x 49
14ct white Aida
suggested DMC threads

Yikes - this is the first month I've not gotten one of these done, so I definitely need to play a little catch up here.  Getting this done will be a top priority, so I can also get the next one done by the end o April, too.  (As a side note, it cracks me up that you know this is a French hen because she's wearing a beret. But of course!)

I didn't even get started on the Satsuma Street Pretty Little Washington DC piece, and I very much want to get to it, so I think April is going to just be Satsuma Street all month long for me!

Oh!  I did get one small piece stitched up at the beginning of the month that I took on on whim.  

"Hello Spring" 
43 x 42
freebie chart
14ct DMC Bright Ideas Grasshopper Aida
DMC threads

I switched up the suggested bright orange petals for pink, using a variegated floss to give it depth - to keep the petals from looking two-dimensional, I worked full x's around the petals in a circular way instead of straight across rows.  I'm really pleased with the effect!

This month's WIPocalypse hop's question is: What stitchy blogs, groups, or flosstubes do you follow and why?  You know, other than checking in at these monthly hops, I've dropped off regular checking up on other stitchers and have no idea what flosstubes (cross-stitched based Youtube channels) there are - so I look forward to getting some recommendations from the other WIPocalypse stitchers!

So, instead I will end this month's post by showing off a couple more stitchery-related goodies I picked up this month.

First, I finally had to concede that my eyes can't deal with stitching anymore without some adjustment. I'd taken to shoving my glasses up on my head and pulling it all so close to my face that I was in danger or putting an eye out with the needle.

The problem was, most of my stitching happens in the evening, when we're settled in with a movie or binging on a series - and the very moment I'd throw the glasses up on top of my head and just listen, something on screen would happen and we'd need to back it up so I could see.  Disruptive to both watching TV and to stitching!

Then, I found these wonderful clip on magnifiers at the bead store across from where we live.  They provide great magnification so I can stitch at a comfortable distance, and sit low enough on my glasses that stopping to look at something else is nothing more complex than glancing up over the top.  As needed, they also flip up entirely so I can quickly get them out of the way.  These things are my new best friends!

Finally, I acquired one indulgence that makes me smile everytime I see it - Retromantic Fripperies "Wouldja Rather Be Stitching" Thread Organizer (with a great little planchette magnetic needleminder as well).

Unfortunately, I'm not seeing this item on the Etsy shop at present (although there is a knitter's version that is a needle gauge!), but she's got lots more, and I think I'll likely be dropping a bit more stash money their way.

So, that's it for this month.  Next month, my goals are to get caught up on the 12 Days of Christmas project and to start Pretty Little Washington DC. I may or may not try to knock out Metamorphososis, as well.  In May, I'll be taking part in the FB group Stitch Maynia's May insanity, or working on a different WIP every day for two weeks, so I can take things easier this month without concern.

(Not that any of it is really 'of concern' - this is fun time for me!)

To check in with what other stitchers are up to, stop in at the WIPocalypse check in!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Awesome Life Friday #105

Welcome to Awesome Life Friday!

I don't know about you, but now that it's officially Spring, I am impatiently waiting for it to be warm enough outside to throw open the windows and get some fresh air in here.  Until our temperatures get a little farther away from freezing, I'll enjoy instead all the fresh inspiration you all bring each week.

We're so looking forward to seeing what you've been cooking, creating, growing, decorating, reviewing, giving away, and thinking about this week!

While you're here, leave your posts at the other link up we co-host here - Party in Your PJs!  It starts on Tuesday evenings, and runs through Sunday.  I hope you'll join us there as well!

Here's a bit of what we've been up to this week:

Jackie's been sharing her daughter's clubfoot treatment since birth, and offers her latest update here.

And now our favorite part - the FEATURES !  If you're one of our featured posts, we'd love it if you'd grab a button, and thanks to all of you who shared with us last week!

Healthy But Tasty Zucchini Noodles with Bacon, Ricotta & Peas // Oh My Heartsie Girl
Doesn't this dish look refreshing?  This is a great way to taste the flavors of Spring!

Puff Pastry Baskets with Creamy Lemon Filling // Hostess at Heart
Fresh raspberries and a few simple grocery store ingredients make this simple, yet beautiful confection.

$2 Farmhouse Pillow Covers // Fresh-Squeezed Life
I love IKEA's towels and now I can't wait to use some to make these cool and breezy throw pillows.

Driftwood Art with a Starfish // Crafts by Amanda
This rustic starfish wall art will have me imagining gentle sea breezes in no time!

A Nest For My Rustic Eggs // The Boondocks Blog
Mary's creative touch and a bit of repurposing magic leads to this sweet birds nest to cradle a few painted eggs.

Blueberry Brie Grilled Cheese Sandwich // Simply Stacie
I admit I never met the grilled cheese sandwich I didn't like, but this unique version blows me away!

If you are one of our FEATURED bloggers, this button is for you!

Thank you all so much for sharing your awesomeness!

Are you all ready to party?  If you like, we'd love it you'd help spread the word by grabbing our button:

Here we go!