Monday, July 24, 2017

Grandma, I'm Thinking Of You...

Shades of  my tiny five-foot grandma. I saw her, standing at the back door, take on her grown sons -- my uncles -- and yell, "WIPE YOUR FEET!"
     Which they did, sheepishly, like the little kids they once were.

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Dumpster Diving

This has been our friend for the past two months. 

Broken chairs, replaced toilets, rotting boards...anything and everything has made its way into the gaping maw of our Large Orange Friend, with our blessings. It looks terrible in the driveway -- but like the smelly dog who cheerfully takes care of your leftovers, you can't always have perfection.

Hey -- we resemble that! 
Last Thursday, our contractor friend said the dumpster was going away today (Monday). That meant ramping up the throwing-away process -- and fast. The Brick spent Saturday afternoon getting rid of old drywall from the garage. Yesterday, we spent much of the day dragging out all sorts of items, and topping it off with selections from the wood trashpile behind the garage. Daughter #2 and Son #1 showed up in the evening to help finish off the job. (Either they were really kind...or stupid. Either way, we were very grateful.) 

     It's still HOT, with a bit of cooling-off toward night. Someday, we hope to take a vacation. Go swimming. Have a picnic. ANYTHING that doesn't mean sorting through fabric, filling up bags and throwing wood, javelin-style, into the dumpster. 

     It's full, by the way, and waiting for pickup. I won't be sorry to see it go.

Abby, on the other hand, stays. She's priceless1

AUGUST 27th is the deadline for buying your senior national parks pass at $10. (Actually, it's $20, if you buy it online -- $10 for the pass, $10 for the processing fee.) On August 28, the price goes up to $80! If you're 62 or older, you should seriously consider getting this NOW.

A black cop, doing her job, is murdered while on duty. How come we're not hearing more outrage about HER death?

Ten ways the Victorians poisoned themselves. My old favorite, fabric dyes, isn't even on this list.  (From Listverse)

Dealing with the heat, when you live in a truck.  (From Inside the Box)

"What's with all the haters?"  From Thrifty Mom in Boise... the way I've been feeling lately.

What they found when renovating a dimestore in a small town in Michigan. (Our cousins own this place!)

Basting a quilt by using pool noodles. I knew about storing them this way, but makes sense. (From Quilt Digest)

A Swiss couple went out to check on their cattle -- and disappeared. Seventy-five years later, their bodies emerge from the snow!  (This happens more than you think: like the two young Japanese climbers whose bodies were found on the Matterhorn -- 45 years after they disappeared.)

Six normal people who made split-second decisions to do something crazy -- and brave.  (From Cracked) Also from them:

Five historical buildings with weird hidden stairs, buildings and such. Including the Lincoln Memorial! And yet another one:

Five everyday places with dark historical secrets. Case in point: Hitler's suicide bunker is topped by a kids' playground!

Cats and rats, living together.  I don't know what I think about this...but the Creepy Index inches up every time I think about it.

The quinoa whisperer...and a look at gardening, Alaska-style.  (From Survive and Thrive)

Martin Landau died last week. An elegant man.

Martin Landau-Mission-1968.jpg

John Heard also died -- only 72.  He is probably known best as the dad from Home Alone, but he had some incredibly complex roles, including 'good' guys who are really 'bad.' (But you don't know it until the very end.) An amazing actor.

Have a good week. Stay cool, and go SOMEWHERE.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Get In Touch With Your Inner Kindergartner

I thought this quite interesting...

I teach students how to do this with watercolors, but have never had much success with crayons. 

Looking forward to trying this!

Visit Kitchen Table Classroom for the particulars.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Slow Progress

Still hot. 

Everything feels muggy and sticky. The refrigerator started dripping a pool of water while the Brick was still at mandolin music camp, causing momentary panic. Fortunately, he was able to tell me which nozzle to turn off, to get the water to stop. (It was the one for the icemaker.)

     The dogs find a cool spot on the tile or rug, and lay as flat as possible under the fan.


Sleep gives Mr. Charles some relief -- he's been scratching a lot because of allergies.

We got a little rain, yesterday and today. (Thank you, God.) The grass resembles plaid -- half brown and half green.

Son #1 has been sick, keeping him from working more on the master bathroom. (Poor guy.) Being here in the heat wouldn't have benefitted him much, anyways.

I trudge through the work. Various movies have been keeping me awake, including Day After Tomorrow and San Andreas (disaster movies), goofy episodes of Night Court and Keeping Up Appearances...Robin Hood, the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I also watched the full run of Planet of the Apes movies -- which have been surprisingly good.

     Maybe it helps to watch them at 2 in the morning. 

Battle for the planet of the apes.jpg
This one was still a little weird, even at 2 a.m.

 I saw two of the new Apes, too, with Andy Serkis as Caesar. (And they were good, though the dogs were nervous about all the growling and snarling.)

No coffee. That's the Brick's job - I make horrible coffee. A strange menu, consisting of watermelon and cherries (both on sale at King Sooper's), mac and cheese, seafood salad, eggs, freezer burritos (25 cents each)..and dozens of gumballs. Extra-strong tea, plus a glass of iced grape juice now and then.

The Brick called. The guys are coming home a night early! They'll be home late Friday night.

     So glad. Maybe I can actually get some sleep.

I'm not griping. This is just the way life is right now. And finally, we are starting to make some progress. Which is wonderful...especially since the dumpster is going away on Monday.

    Life goes on.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Sandal Time In The Summer

Sewrella has a wonderful summer project:

Using plain flipflops and some simple crochet to make stylin' Greek sandals. 

Flipflops are inexpensive, to start with -- and many are on clearance right now.

Here's the link, plus full instructions. This might be the start to one of your Christmas presents!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

"Just Enough Pain to Learn Compassion"

John Roberts spoke recently for his son's graduation at the Cardigan Mountain School in New Hampshire. Here's part of what he said:

“From time to time, in the years to come, I hope you will be treated unfairly, so that you will come to know the value of justice. I hope you will suffer betrayal because that will teach you the importance of loyalty. Sorry to say, but I hope you will be lonely from time to time, so that you don’t take friends for granted. I wish you bad luck again, from time to time, so that you will be conscious of the roll of chance in life, and understand that your success is not completely deserved, and the failure of others is not completely deserved either. And when you lose, as you will from time to time, I hope every now and then your opponent will gloat over your failure. It is a way for you to understand the importance of sportsmanship. I hope you will be ignored, so you know the importance of listening to others, and I hope you will have just enough pain to learn compassion."

“In a certain sense,” Roberts said, "you should not be yourself, you should try to become something better.”

Wow. Are you listening, too?

Christmas in July

Only six months til Christmas. 

Hard to believe, isn't it? With temps like these, it seems incredible that this sort of white stuff is ever going to happen again.

Actually, reading about Christmas -- and even getting in a holiday-themed movie now and then -- has a cooling effect during these sweltering days. Why not get a step ahead, and purchase a Christmas present now? Or make a project, like these baby print-related gifts.  (The 'Gift A Day' series run by The Prudent Homemaker is also very good.)  Country Living magazine has a whole list of 50+ diy gifts, as well, for your family and friends.

Edible presents will hang out in your freezer or on the shelf until needed. (This batch is fun, too.)

Here are some other ideas to get you started. 

*Start saving money. Five bucks a week, saved from now through mid-December, will give you approx. $100. That can buy a lot of extras, if done wisely.

*Don't forget the clearance areas...or the dollar store.   Stocking stuffers can be surprisingly inexpensive at the dollar store. But my favorite, by far, is the clearance section.  Summer is one of Wal-Mart's favorite times to clear out everything quickly -- like the rack of beach towels, marked down to $1.50 EACH, I saw this week at our local store. (I literally followed the clerk down the aisle as he was taking them upfront. Got the best of the batch too, including butterfly and 'Frozen' patterns.)

*Buy staples, a little at a time. Nuts, chocolate chips, marshmallow creme, cans of condensed milk -- these are used in a variety of dishes.
         Even though I don't generally start buying seafood now for the Seven Fish Dishes, I do look for sauces, canned soups and such to use. Bacon freezes well -- so does shrimp and salmon.

*Freeze or can fresh fruit.  Use it as a present -- or a sauce, garnish or ingredient in a special dish. While it's in season, you won't find better prices...and fruit that actually tastes good. (I am so tired of 'cardboard' fruits at the wrong time of year.)

Peaches are coming soon to Colorado -- another month or so.

*Go through your things. What do you already own that could be used for projects or presents? This will have a double benefit: you'll keep Extra Stuff down to a minimum by using what you've got.

*Check garage sales or thrift shops for craft materials. Partly-finished kits, skeins of yarn, beads and fabrics are often at rockbottom prices right now. It's also a good time to look for small gifts like crystal stemware, and clothes to wear at those special events.

*Ditto for Christmas decorations: lights, balls, garlands, candles and such.

*Dream about recipes. Now's the time to wander around holiday cookbooks or internet sites, looking for Good Stuff. (Like this batch, from Taste of Home.)

Here are some more posts on planning for the holidays -- this one and this one.
     This blog helps, too.

The time will go by faster than you think. 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Lonesome Bluegrass Blues

     The Brick left yesterday morning for something he's always wanted to try: a week's worth of playing mandolin, getting classes and learning new tricks. Bluegrass Camp, it's called, in Levelland, Texas. Friend Mike went along, to take banjo lessons. The guys will room together, play together...and basically enjoy the heck out of themselves all week long. 
    As for me, I get a chance to keep odd hours, eat out of cans, sleep in the middle of a pile of dogs...and hopefully get a lot of work done. But it's already too quiet, without this quiet man around.
    Son #1 is here periodically, working on the bathroom renovation. There's Charley, Abby, Karma (our granddog) and the chickens. So I'm not alone.
      I still miss the Brick.

This blog has been passing 5500 hits fairly regularly this month, and headed toward 6000 -- whoo hoo!  Thank you, Gentle Readers, for your kind attention. Thank you especially for your thoughtful remarks regarding the importance of courtesy and respect. 

Did you realize today is the anniversary of the Romanov family's assassination? Ninety-nine years ago. (I didn't, either)

We may be starting to stem the tide in the mice invasion. Three little guys got snapped this week; we'e hoping for more. (Son #1 said he would take off the current mousetrap crop for me -- yuck.)

"My favorite non-neutral paint colors."   (By Emily Henderson)

The new girls -- a chicken story.   (From Our New Life in the Country)

The 'official' climate change numbers have been extended -- into the next century. Turns out the predictions aren't jibing so well with actual numbers. Like Al Gore's prediction in 2004 that the Polar ice cap would be gone by now. (It isn't. Oopsies.)

Perfume and Spam -- my favorite.  (From Messynessychic's '13 Things I Found on the Internet Today.')

16 emergency dinners -- 35 minutes or less. Betty Crocker to the rescue.

Five years after early retirement -- what's been learned.  (From Retire At 40. Which, based on his photo, is just what he did.)

Keeping yourself clean while camping. (From Thrifty Mom in Boise)

How in the world did a strange detective series like "Monk," OCD included, ever come to life? Now you'll know.

The privilege -- opportunity, if you will -- of being able to pursue financial independence. Think smarts, education (self-educated counts) and determination. (Or what we would call 'sheer pigheadedness.') Thanks, Frugalwoods, for pointing this out.

An easy Pineapple Cake decoration.  (From Crazy for Crust)

Insiders' responses to the 2017 Emmy nominations.

"Don't thank me for my military service!"  An interesting 'Ask Prudie' post.

A kid in Colorado wakes up to crunching sounds, and a bear trying to drag him out of his tent. In Ward, not far from where Daughter #2 and Son #1 are!  (The kid lived, fortunately.)

Two states start requiring work, volunteer hours or job training for being able to get food stamps -- and enrollment magically declines more than 50%. Go figure!

Ten odd discoveries in storage units. There are some weird ones here, guys...from Listverse. Plus: ten discoveries made in people's backyards. Also from them:

Ten still-unsolved mysteries from the art world. Did you know, for example, that there are THREE Mona Lisa's, at the very least? Probably more out there -- and while we're at it:

Ten interesting Antiques Roadshow appraisals.  (From Mashable)

Saving at restaurants -- with kids or without.  (Thanks, My Abundant Life)

Ten nasty facts history somehow disregarded. (From Viral Top)

A son's sad that his mom didn't sell anything at a craft fair...see what happens.

100+ FREE quilt blocks. Thanks, American Quilter's Society. Also, they've got an interesting how-to on creating a block containing your fabric memories. (They call it a 'color portfolio.')

A very funny father-daughter wedding dance.

(The Brick, incidentally, says he is not going to do this at Daughter #2's upcoming wedding. No way.)

Sixteen things you must eat at Disneyland.  They're that good!  (From Crazy for Crust)

Have a good week. Listen to some bluegrass, for the Brick's sake.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Hanky Panky Revisited

My handkerchief quilt method has been a favorite for many people for a long time,

The sequel, Hanky Panky with a Flourish, has been in process for a few years now. I had hoped to finish it off this summer...but clearing out the house and moving has to come first. It will give the original method,  but several new ones, as well. Some patterns are for my more nervous students -- you don't have to cut the handkerchiefs.

Some weeks back, I taught an HP class at Holly's Quilt Cabin in Littleton, CO.  Here are some of my students' work, in progress. Didn't they turn out great!

Carol used a largely-blue palette very effectively, even including some commercial appliqued guest towels.
She mixed smaller and larger scale motifs, as weell as specialty edges, sometimes by layering them.

Sandy had two interesting "big boys" (larger-scale prints) to work with.
Careful positioning lets them shine, without overpowering the piece.

Here she is, in the flesh. Nice job, Sandy!

Karen takes a more minimalistic approach, with gray quietening down the yellow and green touches.
Note the two crocheted-edge butterfly hankies.

Here's Karen, by the way...

Kris's version...that's a photo-transfer in the middle, copied from an old tradecard.

Here's what she started with, using a Hanky Panky kit.
(We sell these in a wide range of colors & patterns on the Brickworks site.)

And just for fun -- The Mama's bandanna Hanky Panky. This version's even faster to make, because bandannas are BIG. The center 'running horses' was cut from a preprint pillow design.

    Thank you, students. You did a terrific job!

                  What's life without a little Hanky Panky to liven it up...

A finished Hanky Panky, from another student, Cindy Thomas. Beautiful.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Thank You!

Apparently I am not the only one struggling with the general loss of good manners today...because a LOT of readers have been weighing in on my R-E-S-P-E-C-T post, both on comments here, Facebook there, and e-mail from everywhere. 

I guess I struck a sympathetic nerve.

Thank you, everyone. If we can respond with courtesy and dignity, even when we're not treated to it in return...

That can only help.


     If you read my posts for news on antiques, frugal stuff and Bigfoot... you might want to gently close this and tiptoe away.

     I am about to rant. 

     I am 58 years old. The Brick is 62. (There, now you know.)  The Brick and I, in spite of some difficult times, have a paid-off house and no debts. (Until we borrowed for the trailer, that is.) We pay our bills -- period. This is largely due to God's grace...and a lot of finagling. We have 401Ks and a savings account.
     We would be considered reasonably successful in this area, I think.

     The Brick has decades of experience in not one, but THREE careers: the Navy, as a mechanical engineer (a registered P.E. too, no less, which he still is), and a bus driver/trainer/IT man in transportation for public schools.  He has spent decades of work in music, just for his own pleasure and our church Worship Team. (In fact, the guy is brilliant in arranging music, changing keys and combining songs -- something I hope he does more of, after we get the house on the market.) He can fix practically everything, using little more than spit and a few pieces of wire.
     I married a very clever, intelligent man. Suffice it to say: I am a lucky woman.

Here he is, with our darling daughters. Yes, hunting.

     My own work has been more focused. I've always been a writer, not only for newspapers and magazines, but on the Internet, as a long-time blogger. (Since 2007 -- seven years, how can that be?!) I've been a paid staffer for several other blogs. I've written six books (working on #7, #8 and #9 when I can) and hundreds of articles, on subjects as varied as collecting silver to dealing with friends who Get Up Too Early. (That's for you, Jo and Chris.)
    I am also known as a teacher, judge and lecturer in the quilting and craft field. Encyclopaedia Britannica's quilt entries (except for 'redwork') were written by yours truly. I've done venues all over the country -- ever since 1984. Do the math.
    My third career is as a personal property appraiser. (I can't let the Brick be the one who does more than one thing!) I've been certified by AQS, the American Quilter's Society (with a few months break) since 1999, and nearly done with certification by the American Society of Appraisers (ASA), a much larger group that contains both personal property and real estate.
     I appraise anything and everything but houses and cars -- I've done this now for more than a decade, and more than two decades for textiles and related items.
     I don't think that I am God's Gift to the World. But I'm no dummy, either.

I'm not bragging about these accomplishments, for either of us. I'm just saying them.
      Because they're true.

So why is it that...

Several times in past weeks, both of us have had sessions where we're being condescended to, yelled at, lectured, or treated as if we're either idiots -- or kindergartners.

Why are our memories -- clear ones, and yes, we were both there -- dismissed as unimportant (at best) or outright lies (at worst)?

Why is our experience disregarded as irrelevant? ('Of course, you would have no idea about this.' Said or implied in a high and lofty tone.)

Now that the Brick was able to retire -- does that mean we 'don't work,' or don't understand the 9-to-5 world anymore? (In fact, I would say we work harder than ever, especially right now.)

     Are you allowed to have a different opinion without being ridiculed, dressed down or lectured to?

     Isn't it possible to hold that differing opinion without being told you're evil, or just too stupid to know better?  (Trump-haters, take special note here.)

     I can understand some of the rudeness and hateful remarks for where they're coming from: frustration, envy and dislike of the situation they currently find themselves in. (Or even because it's been so dingdang hot.) But in nearly every case:

     They were angry about something else.
     This had little or nothing to do with us personally. We were just convenient. 
     It was a way to punish us for disagreeing with them in the past -- days, months, weeks or years ago.

Why were we the targets?

In part, I think, because they knew we would not fight back.

For one thing, this behavior is wrong.

For another, it's ridiculous.  Many of the circumstances started with something that seemed pretty trivial to begin with, and got blown up totally out of proportion.

And finally,

Where does respect come into play? 

Haven't we done enough, and accomplished enough, to deserve at least a little of it? If I am doing my best to treat you with respect...don't I deserve some, too? 

I am trying hard not to blow up and respond in kind. (In fact, this post is part of that. I have GOT to get this out of my system.) But it's getting more and more difficult.

Okay. Rant over. 

The next post will be on some of the beautiful Hanky Panky pieces my students did some weeks ago.

I feel better, already. Thanks for listening.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?

Got twenty cents?

A twenty cent piece sold for more than $88,000 recently. Oops, forgot to mention it was an 1876 twenty-cent piece, considered one of the rarest examples of its kind in the world. This minting was never that popular, so eventually many of the coins were gathered and melted down. Of the few extant survivors, this one is in excellent condition.

Twenty Cent Pieces, 1876 20C MS67 PCGS. CAC....

Heritage Auctions just finished up a July auction of rare coins in Orlando, Florida. The sale was held in tandem with the summer convention of Florida United Numismatists. (In other words, coin-lovers and collectors.) Total prices, including a 17 1/2% buyers premiums, realized nearly $6 million.

That's a lot of  twenty-cent combinations.

You may collect Morgan dollars. We do, when we find them at the right price. At the same auction, an  1893-S Morgan dollar sold for $38,796.15. The date is the key. Heritage Auctions said: "...a high quality choice AU coin like this piece is not out of place in an otherwise Mint State Set."

All coin photos from auction results

Read all about it here, including Heritage Auctions' current 'top ten' list. 

Heritage Auctions is planning a series of consignment auctions in mid-September, Long Beach, California. It will be interesting to see what pops up then.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Things That Go Arf in the Night

My dog silliness file has been filling up lately -- time to share some with you, Gentle Readers. Charley & Karma won't mind...much.

Whatever, Mom... zzzzzzzz

Seems like there's always one furry body waiting outside the bathroom door.

Shades of the puppies I just dogsat -- Dobby is about the size of a large dinner plate, but he's got the heart of a lion.

Here's Luna...

And Mr. D.

And finally:

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Julius Caesar...And Heat

Saw our third Colorado Shakespeare Festival play Friday night: Julius Caesar. After the teenage slumber party that was Hamlet, we didn't know what to expect -- but it was ok. I kept thinking how much of a GUY play it was: lots of swaggering, sword-smacking, bragging, marching, swashing and buckling...

     Then, at the intermission, two people with earphones came out and mopped up the stage.

 Boy, that Julius bleeds a LOT. (He also has an ego the size of Detroit.)
     I enjoyed the text, too, particularly this quote from His Nibs:

"He thinks too much...
         He reads too much...
              Such men are dangerous."

You got it, Buddy!

This past week has been blazing. Even the dogs are eager to stay inside. The grass is crunchy brown, and I have to water daily to keep the heat-loving petunias alive. Things cool off (sort of) by late afternoon, so at least we can sleep at night. Again, sort of. People get a touch crabby and distracted in this kind of weather.  

     I just wish it would rain.

I wish...

The brothers who scammed Kickstarter fans out of a video game, and used California's renter laws to let them continue squatting in an Airbnb long after they'd stopped paying for it. (Almost got away with all this, too, though I suspect a U.S. courtroom is in their future.) One of the few times you'll see someone acting like that, and openly proud of it. (Here's an April 2017 update on what they're up to.)

Top ten 'impossible' things physicists have figured out...and now are possible.  (From Listverse)

A trove of Nazi era artifacts, found behind a secret door in Buenas Aires. Including a bust of Der Fuhrer.

A North Carolina Lily quilt mystery.  (From Civil War Quilts)

Painting AND stenciling your existing bathroom tile... sure, why not? (From All DIY)

The Air Force flyer who became his own bomb -- no parachute -- and lived to tell the tale. (From War History Online)

Opera fudge -- ever heard of it?

Ten free things you can get at airports.

Ten best places to sell your stuff online. (From One Hundred Dollars A Month)

The ex-slave who gave Queen Victoria a quilt.  (Thanks for passing this on, friend Tammy.)

What the cherry tree and cherry blossoms stand for.  Including items from the Language of Flowers and Japanese folklore.

Miracle Spray. This homemade solution is said to clean about anything but wood and mirrors (streaks them).  Thanks, My Abundant Life.

The girl who ate out of the dumpster for she could quit and travel around the world. (She saved $30,000, too.)

Birds on antique album quilts. From Barbara Brackman's Material Culture, including this c.1850 beauty:

From Woodard & Greenstein collection

Plus Instagram photos of hundreds of quilts she's sharing, some antique, some inspired by antique quilts. Oh my.

How to crank your seltzer costs WAY down, if you have a machine. (I thought of Daughter #1, who does. Thanks Frugalwoods, for the idea.)

Ten ironic images.  (Thanks, Listverse)

There's a recession coming -- get ready for it.  And he's right. Sort of.  (From Mr. Money Mustache)

Have a great week. Stay cool.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

The World's Favorite Color -- Or So 'They' Say

Wanna know the newest color most favored by the world?

Marrs Green.

At least that's according to a survey conducted by British paper company G.F. Smith. This shade of teal, with blue-green notes, was inspired by the hills of Scotland. (The shade was originally nominated by Annie Marrs of Dundee, Scotland.)


It IS pretty. But I never got the memo.  Did they ask you to vote?

Grandma, I'm Thinking Of You...

Shades of  my tiny five-foot grandma. I saw her, standing at the back door, take on her grown sons -- my uncles -- and yell, "W...