Taking Care of Gracie…and a Giveaway

I always get so many questions and comments about our beagle Gracie, so I thought I’d take time to tell you a bit more about her and how she came into our lives.


We got Gracie a little over three years ago.  A lady, Peg, was boarding Gracie and the couple who owned her never came to pick her up.  The owners were contacted but said that they were getting a divorce and no longer wanted her.  In Gracie’s short life she had been to a home, a shelter, a home and now was at the kennel where she was being boarded.

Gracie was a barker and Peg decided to try to help Gracie overcome that before she took her to the shelter as Peg couldn’t keep her either.  One day, Peg was out walking six of her boarded dogs all at once when a friend of mine commented on the dogs.  Peg explained Gracie’s situation and said she was trying to find a home for Gracie.  My friend knew I wanted a house dog and immediately told me about Gracie.

After  much deliberation, and begging on my part, my husband relented.  He didn’t grow up with a house dog and wasn’t sure if he would like it.

We have not regretted it for a minute (well maybe a minute…she still has an infatuation with the garbage can).  She is not the perfect dog…but she sure has brought some light hearted moments to our family.  The first time she tried to lick plates from the dishwasher…we were all shocked.  Now, the second she hears silverware clank…she’s right next to the dishwasher…and we are no longer shocked.

When I picked up Gracie from Peg she explained that beagles are active dogs and NEED to be walked.  She said currently Gracie was walking 3 miles a day.  Now that, scared me a little…I knew I would be the only on in the family who would walk her….and walk her I have.  It’s been a good thing, because in the process, I walked off 30 pounds!

Gracie is a MUCH better trainer than Bob or Jillian from The Biggest Loser….she doesn’t yell at me or make me feel awful.  She just quietly gives me that guilty stare or a few whimpers until I take her for a walk….She’s been good for my hubby too.  He’s a workaholic and Gracie “guilty stares” him into laying on the couch so she has someone to snuggle with.

Gracie loves quilts.  She’s actually become quite the “cover girl”.  She is always running to get her picture taken the second the camera comes out.

Gracie hasn’t always been as easy going as she is today….I took her to dog obedience classes shortly after we got her.  One of the things that has stuck with me is when the instructor told us to go home and read the label on our dog food.  She said the first ingredient should be a meat product.  WOW….I never realized that dog food that’s labeled meaty chunks wouldn’t actually be made up of mostly meat.

When BlogHer contacted me ask me to review Purina’s Dog Food, Pro Plan Selects, I was a bit skeptical.  I didn’t want to switch Gracie to a product that was not a quality dog food….after asking about product ingredients I found out that Purina Pro Plan selects would be the perfect food for Gracie…Meat is the main ingredient.

I can honestly say….Gracie loves the food.  We tried out the Natural Beef and Barley Formula.

My grown daughter, Kelli, was so taken with Gracie that she got a beagle of her own…Puppycat…and she loves the Purina Pro Plan Selects too.

If you want to try Purina Pro Plan Selects for your dog…check out this coupon.

To read more reviews & find more giveaways visit the BlogHer Prizes & Promotions page.

BlogHer is also joining in on the fun by offering a $100 VISA gift card for anyone who wants to enter.  Check out the rules to enter below.
The giveaway will run from June 20th – July 20th.


No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

a)      Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post

b)      Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post

c)       Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post

d)      For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.


This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older.

Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail.

You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

I REALLY admire Peg for working with Gracie because she is not a barker anymore.  I REALLY admire people who make life long commitments to shelter dogs.  I am happy to say that this will be Gracie’s last home.

June 20, 2011   164 Comments

Giveaway from Heat Press Batting Together

Some time ago, I told you all about Heat Press Batting Together…I am so in love with it, I wanted to tell you about it again.

The product is designed to help quilters use up scrap pieces of batting. I tried it out using Warm and Natural.  To use it I took two pieces of batting. I trimmed the edges to make straight lines. I butted the seams together, put the tape over the top and ironed it down. It worked PERFECTLY. I really liked it.

I had questions and comments asking could I sew through it?  Could you feel it in the quilt after it was quilted?  I have use two rolls now and feel I can honestly answer your those questions.

You can EASILY sew through it.  I didn’t notice any difference with or without the product as I was quilting.  After the quilt was quilted, I could not feel the product in the quilt…so I think the product is a WIN-WIN all the way around.  I have used it in five different quilts now and can’t find a single bad thing to say about it.

10 yards comes in a package for $8.  Estimating that I making quilts that are about 90 inches, I would need 2.5 to 3″ yards for each quilt.  It figures out to be 80 cents a yard or about 2.25 per quilt depending size.  I personally think it is worth it.   Of course if you are piecing batting together for a baby quilt, you’d use much less and the cost would be less as well.

I am now completely converted and will be using “Heat Press Batting Together” all the time.  I had run out and needed to piece some batting scraps together…UGH.  I ended up sewing them together with my machine and ended up with a wavy mess that I had to rip out.  I’m not doing that anymore.

I was going to plan a trip to the nearest quilt shop, which is an hour away, that handles the product but after checking it out I found out that I can order it right from the company so no more worrying driving an hour and then being tempted by fabric.

After a visit to the company website I saw that the product can even be used by long armers and can be used even if you already have your project loaded in the machine.  I could have used that information a quilt or two ago.  I had one piece of batting that I thought was long enough but a few inches from the edge, I realized I had loaded the batting in the wrong directions.  I had to hand stitch a piece of batting in place.

Take some time and check out their site for more information and there is even a video on their product Heat Press Batting Together.  I am guessing you’ll be like me and think  you can live without find out it, then go back to the old way of sewing batting together and realize the Heat Press Batting Together is a must.

I loved the product so much that I contacted Heat Press Batting Together and asked if they would be willing to give some away and they said yes!  TWO lucky readers will each win a roll.  Here’s what you need to do….

Leave a comment.  (how easy was that!)

When I do giveaways, I never require people to friend Jo’s Country Junction on facebook, follow my blog, add me to your blog roll or do any of those things….like me, the LAST thing you need in your life is any more junk…but those things are available if you’re looking for them.

So…Comment away.  I’ll leave comments open and pick a winner on Monday.

March 7, 2011   91 Comments

Looking at Laundry in a Different Light and a Giveaway from GE

This is sponsored content from BlogHer and GE.

A couple months ago, my daughter Kayla and I were visiting the Amish community near Hazelton, Iowa. When we were there, I purchased this….
a big beautiful drying rack.

I am totally in love with the drying rack and since we purchased it, laundry at our house has taken on a whole new meaning. The drying rack is so big that I can hang one HUGE or two smaller loads of laundry on it.

In an effort to start some good habits with kids and as a way to “go a little green”, we’ve started a new system. Each day before supper, I throw a load of wash in the washing machine. In the morning, I hang it on the drying rack. Then after supper each night, the laundry is dry so the kids and I fold it and hang the new batch on the rack.

The whole process has been taking about 10 minutes out of each day….no more piles of mismanaged laundry…no daunting task…no sessions of one hour laundry folding…no yelling and no more paying the expense of drying clothes. I love it!

At first the kids weren’t super excited about it….like with anything new, everyone is reluctant to change. They felt like we “were always doing laundry”. I set a timer and they realized it was only taking a couple minutes every day compared to the daunting baskets of laundry and hour long folding session we used to deal with. Now everyone is in a better mood and we can actually spend a little family work time together.

I have found that there is a much quicker turn around and I am actually purchasing fewer clothes. Previously once laundry went to the washing machine it was often a week before it was clean and ready to wear again…now…only a day.

We converted and are using a homemade laundry soap. Back in December I was reading a blog that gave the recipe and I decided to give it a try. Over break we made a batch.

Here’s a picture of us making it. I was lots of fun…and my review of the soap, I love it!

As a parent, I think it’s important that we show our kids that conserving energy, “going green”, and reducing our carbon footprint doesn’t translate into sacrificing something. It’s just a way of life and a good way of life.

These changes we have made over the last three months, have saved us the cost of drying 80 loads of laundry. It’s saved us the cost of laundry soap.

As part of the their GE Ecomagination Program, GE is sponsoring a giveaway here on my blog with a prize of Two $50 GE energy smart LED light bulb that lasts 20 years and saves you $85 in energy cost. One given away per week of contest. To learn more about these neat new light bulbs check out this link.

Here are the rules:
You may recieve two total entries by selecting two of the following options

-leave a comment here on this blog sharing with me what you do in your home that saves energy.
-tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post.
-Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post.
-For those with not Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate entry form.

This giveaway is open to US residents age 18 and older.
Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by eamil.
You have 24 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
Visit the Official Rules

GE is also sponsoring a larger contest, GE’s ecomagination Challenge: Powering Your Home, which is a part of GE’s global commitment to accelerate the clean energy economy with a goal to bring innovative technologies to market today from the smart grid down to household appliances. Sharing your ideas could make a major difference, not only in your home, but in homes across the country…it could be a little cash in your pocket too.

To find out more about GE’s ecomagination Challenge: Powering Your Home and learn how to enter follow this link

Check out what other bloggers are doing to conserve energy in their homes by following the link….there are LOTS of fun ideas…Visit the Exclusive Offers section

February 15, 2011   84 Comments

My “Bubbly” Quilt is Circling Quilt Market

My Bubbly quilt is at quilt market in Accuquilt’s booth!

About five weeks ago, the gals at Accuquilt dropped me a note asked me it they could have my quilt as a display quilt at market. I was TOTALLY shocked….then I was flattered….then I was panicked. Panicked because all the market attenders would see my mistakes….UGH! Well of course I said yes.


You can read more about my quilt as well as directions to make your own by following this link.


Here’s even more good news.  Accuquilt has given me a Circle Die for me to give away to one of my blog readers….Do you want to win it?

Simply leave a comment telling what you favorite Go! die is here and I will pick a winner on November 8th….

Come back tomorrow and I’ll show you a quick easy project I am making for Christmas gifts using my Accuquilt Go! and my tumbler die.

November 3, 2010   24 Comments

Accuquilt Go! is Sponsoring a Giveaway…HERE

Comments have been closed.  The giveaway is over.

Today is the day many of you have been waiting for….Accuquilt is sponsoring a Go! Cutter giveaway right here on my blog.

I’ve had my Go! Cutter for a week and can honestly say I was a little skeptical at first.  I’m a gal who has been learning to use an old treadle sewing machine.  What did I need with this new modern equipment?  I wondered, “What can a Go! Cutter do that I can’t do with a rotary cutter or a scissor?”  Well after my first turn of the crank, I knew that I was hooked.  It’s easy.  It’s fast.

I have ALWAYS wanted to make a quilts with curved seams but the thought of pinning and cutting was so overwhelming that I just haven’t done it.  I truly think that the Go! Cutter will change that for quilters everywhere.  I have been having fun playing with circles.  I am looking forward to playing with some Drunkard Path, Wedding Ring, and Winding Ways quilt blocks….and don’t forget Hexies….I am definitely looking forward to hexies with my Go!.

You can learn SO much more about the Accuquilt Go! by visiting their website.  They have a GREAT video library…they are always offering sales.  Accuquilt also has a VERY active Facebook page.  You can see quilts that Accuquilt users have made, get links to great bloggers who use Accuquilt products, have you questions answered, and something we all love….opportunities to win goodies.  In fact, EVERY Friday, the giveaway a Go! Cutter.

One of my pet peeves is companies who want you to purchase their products and after you are out the door they are gone.  This is totally not true of Accuquilt.  It’s easy to see that customer service is a priority for them….I love great customer service!!

Would you love to come home and find a big box like this at your door?

Would you love to open the box and see this beauty?

Would you love to cut out a stack of circles like this in a matter of a few minutes?

Here’s your chance to do that absolutely free…

Here are the details.  There will be TWO winners.  One will receive the Go! Cutter.  One will receive  three Go! Cutter dies of their choice.

1.  Would you like to win a Go! Cutter or the three dies.
2.  If you would like the three dies, which three dies would you like? You can go to Accuquilt’s website to see them.

That’s it…nothing more.  I won’t make you follow my blog.  I won’t make you become my facebook follower, include me on your blogroll, or add me to your blogger reader.  BUT you sure can do all those things if you want…I’d love to have more readers, and friends out on web.

So that’s it….
One chance…Good Luck.

The giveaway will end at midnight on Wednesday September 8th.  Winners will be announce the following day on the 9th.

P.S.  If you get a chance…Thank Accuquilt for all the fun they have been creating all over the blog world…and head on back and browse my blog.
Comments have been closed.  The giveaway is over.

September 3, 2010   446 Comments

What I’m working on with my Accuquilt’s Go! Cutter

Here’s what I’ve been working on….or my design wall Jo’s Country Junction style.
Friday afternoon, I had a “play date” planned with my girlfriend.  I got up early and started making another batch of salsa with my tomatoes.  I got the equipment up from the basement, and got everything chopped and ready.  The only thing I had left to take care of was the tomatoes.

My girlfriend and I went shopping to The Calico Hutch, an awesome quilt shop in Hayward, Minnesota where we splurged on their $1.25 fat quarters.  We didn’t get home until early evening and there to greet me at the door was…..

I was SO excited until I realized that I had to finish making salsa before I could touch it.

The salsa QUICKLY got in jars and I played while the jars processed.

At midnight, the last jars came out and I had had enough play time to come to an opinion about my Go!….I LOVE it.

Several years ago, my daughter Kalissa spotted this fabric covered trivet at an antique shop.  She thought it was so neat because it had metal beverage tops inside the “yo-yos”.  I ended up buying and always had it my mind that I wanted to make one.  It has been here and been here and I never got around to making one.

I opened up my Go! Cutter got the circle die and started to experiment.  I grabbed my sorted bucket of 3.5 inch scrap.  I layered some fabric pieces over the 3″ die section, put the cover piece on, rolled it through and Wa-La…3 inch circles!  It honestly took a minute or so and I had 6- 3″ circles.

I took needle and thread, turned over the edge of the circle a bit less than 1/4″ and ran a running stitch all the way around in the folded edge.

I put the beer top into the gathered circle and gathered up the thread.  Then I tied a knot in the thread.

Now the edges didn’t quite all come together so instead of clipping the thread, I caught the opposite side of the circle and pulled it tight.  Then I caught the two sides and pulled them in as well until it looked like this.

I tied it off and made a couple more.  Next step was to tack them together.

At that point, it was bed time.  I was SO excited that I had finally started on a project I had wanted to do for a LONG time.  This is Go!ing to be a great little take along project.

I am opting to make an eclectic version and not a patterned one like I had purchased.

The Go! was QUICK and VERY EASY.  So far, I have only used it for circles and hexagons.  I have been very pleased with the results of each.  For project that a quilter would normally not be able to cut with a rotary cutter, it is going to be a new best friend.  I didn’t get a strip cutter so I can’t tell you about that yet.  I did order a Robbing Peter to Pay Paul die and can’t wait to try it out.  I honestly think people are going to be sewing quilts with curved seams like never before.  The Go! takes the tedious cutting process away.  Keep checking back….Accuquilt will be giving me a Go! and three dies to give away sometime in the near future.

Saturday morning I cut out more circles using my Go! and within a few minutes I had more than enough circles cut out…in fact, I had so many cut out that I have enough to give away to one lucky blog reader.   I even found a little container to store it all in so that you will have a perfect little take along project.

If you want a good chuckle, you can check out a video of me making the trivet on Accuquilt’s Facebook page or on YouTube.

If you are interested in winning this little take along trivet project, just leave a comment here on this post.

You will get 40 beer tops along with 40 Civil War fabric 3″ cut circles and the container.   I was so busy cutting and didn’t count…so lucky you…I will have FOUR  little kits to give away.   I will leave the giveaway open until Thursday morning…and that my friend is what I have been busy working on.

If you are looking for an Go! giveaway, head on over to A Quilting Life…Sherri is giving one away.

August 30, 2010   34 Comments

Hello world!

Hello all..
You have reached the review page of Jo’s Country Junction.

If a company gives me a product to review, here is the place I will be doing it at.  I promise you the reader that I will NEVER review a product in favor of the manufacturer unless I totally LOVE it.  I will ALWAYS review it with you the possible consumer in mind.   I will be completely honest giving both good and bad feedback.

August 5, 2010   No Comments