Thursday, August 16, 2018

Happy Birthday, Mom!

    The Mama's 81st birthday is today. 

She went to supper at Brother's house. When she got home, she saw this by her back door:

Then, inside the house:

80 balloons inside -- plus the one by the back door. Oh my.

What a wonderful surprise, thanks to a whole bunch of cousins: Joy, Joanie and the Potters. You guys are great! 

Happy Birthday, Mom. Much love to you.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

One More Day...

I'm tired.

Tomorrow starts work at the Cheyenne Heritage Quilters's show.

Meanwhile, we took Daughter #2 and Son #1 to the airport, at a feather-ruffling 5:30 a.m., to catch a flight. We have to go back and pick up friends tonight, around 10:30 p.m...after taking them to the airport a week ago. Another friend got a ride to the airport, for her father's funeral.
    DIA should be giving us credits every time we drive in there...which will be next week again, to pick up Daughter and Son.

The Brick is out working on the trailer. He's already fixed the water system, and the electrical system is in progress. I need to get out there, put away groceries and make the bed.

He is doing much better, but gets tired fast. I don't blame him. This has been a horrendous six weeks for him. But at least the surgeon gave him a clean bill of health yesterday...the surgeon said his gallbladder hadn't been working for some time, anyways -- so having it (and his appendix) gone was a big step forward for his health.

A huge batch of appraisals have gone on their merry way. A few more must be finished before we leave. (I already know I have two big reports to finish off -- and after Saturday, I'll have two full days of appraisals to send out from the show.)

 One more check on The Book, and a final signoff. Starting to pick up readings and book signings...which is great.

It's raining and thundering like crazy -- the first substantial storm we've gotten in a few weeks. Charley and Ruby hate it, and are hiding under the table Apparently Mom Will Save Them.

And here I am, dirty dishes in the sink, clothes to wash, errands to do (no milk in the fridge, after all)...

    ....and wishing I could run away from home. 

The Brick said he'd join me.  I know -- we'll take the trailer and the dogs, and we'll head for Cheyenne.


Monday, August 13, 2018

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Cheyenne... And Updates

Chugging along.

The Brick is finally starting to act like his old self again, cracking jokes and spending a lot of time on the trailer. He's already fixed several problems, including water pipes that had frozen and cracked before we purchased it. He also fixed the washer (inside the house), and is currently tinkering with the electrical system (on the trailer). He loves doing this kind of work -- and is good at it. (He was in charge of his electrical shop when he was in the Navy.) What a guy -- I'm lucky to have him in my life. 

We've both had some struggles with allergies. (So has Charley the dog, quite frankly.) There's certainly plenty of work to take care of -- the Brick is increasingly picking up his share, but still gets tired quickly and has to rest. I understand that. 

This week, I'll be judging and appraising at the Cheyenne Heritage Quilters' annual show, in (where else) Cheyenne, WY. The show runs Aug. 16-18... if you're in the area, plan on stopping by. Go here for location and times, as well as more information.

I've had a long and memorable relationship with these quilters...and have become very fond of them. Looking forward to it!

An unusual quilt story -- revolving around an early handkerchief!  (From Civil War Quilts)

Six movies that exploited sets and props from... other movies!  Did you think Indiana Jones and Das Boot, or Star Trek and Andy Griffith, fit together? You will, after this.  (From Cracked) Also from them:

Seven musicians who stole their hits (or at least big chunks of them) from someone else. And actually got away with it a good percentage of the time.

Avid can and trash collector -- secret New York City millionaire.

Magazines are in trouble... even the big splashy ones like Vogue. This has been getting gradually worse over the years -- and won't be stopping anytime soon, either.

Chocolate cheesecake -- sound good? (It was, made for Daughter #1's birthday. From Kraft)

The $25 purchase that made all the difference in a rental kitchen(From Kitchn)

Handed-down recipes that are winners. Including (of course) cabbage rolls!  (From Taste of Home)

Ten treasures found by accident:


Ten lucky discoveries by people that made them rich:

"What's the most insensitive thing you've seen a tourist do?" Some illuminating answers via Reddit -- and not all the tourists are Americans, either. (Though we seem to grow our share of morons.) My favorites were during college years, when I was living in Vienna, Austria with my cousins: loud guys in equally loud shorts, cameras across their chests...certain that they were 'blending in.'

Ten actors who regret their iconic roles. Sean Connery...and James Bond? Yup. (From Suggest)

A fire in Ireland reveals a long-hidden WWII pilot sign.  (From Newser)

Seven small frugal ideas that pay off -- big.  (From Money Beagle)

Cattle make a citizen's arrest! That'll teach a carjacking suspect to run through their field.
    I grew up on a farm with 'feeder' cattle, raised for meat. They're incredibly curious creatures. If you lie down and wait, they'll eventually gather around you: 'Whatcha doin'?'

Movie set extras whose antics changed the whole scene.  (From Grunge)

"Box of memories:" a wistful look back -- including textiles. (From Diary of A Stay-At-Home Mom)

The best way to freeze zucchini... and use it afterwards.  We just got given several large ones... (From Living Life in Rural Iowa)

And in keeping with my current mood: a very feisty version of "Keep Your Hands to Yourself" by the band Precocious --

And the originals, of course --

Have a great week. Stop by and see the Cheyenne quilt show -- it's bound to be terrific!

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Hooray! Uhhh...Wait A Minute

    Patchwork is hitting fashion again this season! 

The latest issue of Oprah shows this:

Gentle Readers, you got that right. A miniskirt, stitched from a crazy quilt, is strutting down the runway, courtesy of Christian Dior.

I'm glad to see that patchwork is getting the artistic recognition it deserves. It must be...even the guy featured in a "Crazy Rich Asian" documentary is wearing a patchwork blazer. (His has comic book influences on it, too.)

Cool... oh, wait.

If you've hung around this blog at all, you probably know that I wrote a book on Crazy quilts: their history, why they became trendy... and yes, how to make one, using several different methods. 

I have a great respect for Crazies. They've survived a lot, including the killer blow of weighted silks, which made many Crazies far too fragile to survive intact.. 

Now take a look at the skirt again:

Not only is the model wearing a Crazy remnant... I'm pretty sure it's an antique Crazy.

Which means an old quilt (or top) gave up its life for this skirt. Which drives me a little nuts, anyways, particularly when it's for no good reason.

Not only that -- this skirt is bound to include weighted silks, which are apt to shred and shatter with any repeated pressure, or exposure to wind, rain, etc. 

What do you think the backside of this skirt is going to look like, once its wearer has sat down in it several times? 

It's not going to be pretty.

What a waste, Christian Dior. Show some respect for the art form. At least make up a modern Crazy-patched panels to cut the skirts from, instead! 

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Own An Unusual Piece of Textile History

An 1888 Benjamin Harrison campaign quilt is up for sale on Ebay.

Here's the basic info:

1888 Presidential Campaign Quilt "For President Benjamin Harrison / For Vice President Levi Morton" & "Protection" 
c. 1888 Presidential Campaign, Benjamin Harrison and Levi Morton Portrait Quilt, Legend "Protection" and "For President Benjamin Harrison / For Vice President Levi P. Morton", Similar to "Threads of History" Illustration number 607, page 263, Very Fine. 
This original Hand-sewn Quilt Cover measures about 81.5" x 67.75" having a red, white and blue checkerboard pattern which surrounds a Hand-sewn in 23" x 22" Bandanna with the Presidential Political Campaign Slogan, "Protection" against patriotic red and white stars and stripes, surrounded by "For President Benjamin Harrison / For Vice President Levi P. Morton". The blue has faded, small stain at bottom of bandanna. Round Portraits of both Harrison and Morton placed in opposite corners. Similar to an example listed and illustrated as number 607 seen on page 263 of the Smithsonian's major reference titled, "Threads of History". A nice example allowing you to actually snuggle up with Benjamin Harrison and Levi Morton! 

Scrappy quilts, featuring a political message in the middle (usually a bandanna or handkerchief), were very popular during this period. This quilt isn't what I'd call a scrap quilt, since the colors are carefully arranged, and the fabrics seem to be consistent. It's quite wonderful, nonetheless.

     More about politics in cloth here.  

    Another look at the subject, including the 'I LIke Ike' dress and umbrella shown below, from the Eisenhower campaign of 1952

Photos from the Blogarama post -- click on the link above

Early American History Auctions is offering this piece via live auction. You've got eight days to set up an account and bid. (They're valuing it at $1500-2000 which, in my opinion, is WAY too low. Starting bid is $900.) Click here for more. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Happy Birthday, Lovey!

It's Daughter #1's birthday today.

My fellow writer --

Mutual puzzler over mysteries and cosmic questions --

Hunter, traveler and explorer --

And just plain Sweetheart.

Happy Birthday, Jess! 

You are a treasure to your father and myself... and we love you. Have a wonderful day.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Five Budget-Friendly Ways to Throw A Memorable Wedding

    We've been through this recently, with Daughter #2 and Son #1's early June wedding. It was amazing, looked rather lavish...and yet cost very little, compared to most weddings. 

Here are five approaches that helped --but you need to keep them in mind from the start,  for most effective results. Weddings are very easy to overspend on. (Trust me, I know -- the temptation is always there.)

*Decide on what's important to you. How much will that cost, compared to your budget? (Yes, you need a budget, even if you go over it.)  Lots of guests...or not many? A public venue...or your folks' backyard? These decisions have a direct impact on the money you'll need to spend.
     In Daughter #2's case, she didn't mind having fewer guests...but did want their wedding up in Colorado's mountains. We live several states over from most of our family members; most chose not to come. (Which I had figured would happen, quite frankly. They rarely visit us, either.)
     Thanks to a blog, Daughter and Son discovered the Sunshine Mountain Lodge in Allenspark, not far from Estes Park. Not only did it have a great patio (reception! dancing!), but a parklike area under the trees was perfect for chairs and a wedding ceremony. And 6 cabins, plus a bunkroom, were thrown in for the price. (It  had a large room indoors, used for the reception, that we could have used for the ceremony, in a pinch. We could also cater our own food -- a BIG advantage.)

Not only could most of the guests stay overnight...they did. Daughter/Son charged them a nominal price for cabin rent -- far less than what they would have had to pay elsewhere. (That extra $$ helped cut down the cost of the venue, as well.) Many of our company played after the wedding, visiting Estes and its most famous feature: Rocky Mountain Park.

*Mix expensive with frugal --  but make it useful.   Daughter's $500 wedding gown was worn with a $20 veil. (Could she have taken a cheaper approach? Sure...but she loved this gown.)
     The bridesmaids' gowns, Son's suit and groomsmen outfits -- all were chosen, with an eye to being worn more in the future. The bridesmaids all wore the same color, but their dresses (and shoes) ranged from long and fluffy (that one was worn with sparkly combat boots) to lean and elegant. (That version went with high, high heels.) The girls all chose patterns suited to their favorite look -- and they'll be able to wear them for years to come.

     Instead of 'canned' music, we asked a friend, Sal Mancini, who plays guitar professionally. His music made the ceremony -- and the reception special. He also took requests, and played until late. (After he finished, Daughter/Son played a setlist from their favorite songs.) Was it cheap? No. But it was very, very memorable. (And Sal gave us a good deal.)

     This resolve applied in some unusual ways. The wedding flowers (see below) were mostly cut from garden plants...which are currently growing more leaves and flowers in Daughter/Son's garden! The rock decorations went back on our shelves...and in Daughter/Son's business. Daughter has plans to market the decorations on Craigslist. And if they don't sell, the log slices (see below) will keep us warm this winter in the woodstove.

*Make your own. That included everything from the wedding cake to the food served during the rehearsal dinner and reception. (Look for a separate post on food in the near-future. There are ways to do this, even if you can't cook.) Son drilled out holes from log slices to hold plants for the ceremony area and reception. Daughter ordered lights and tulle from Amazon. (The venue had folding chairs available, which kept that cost down.)

Like this. Very trendy right now.  (Pinterest)

The wedding ceremony featured chairs, plants in logs...and a pathway, plus 'archway' made from rolls of tulle, wrapped around tree trunks and anchored down with the chairs. The cost of the tulle? Less than $20. The succulents were $1 each (yes, they were used after the wedding was over), and the logs were free. Total cost: about $30.

And for the reception, the featured spirits were beer and mead that Daughter/Son had brewed themselves.

*Use what you love - make it personal.  Wedding flowers are normally a hefty percentage of costs. Instead, we bought plants, carefully chosen for color and texture, at the local garden center and a Home Depot, including petunias and the surprising star of the group: coleus! Son/Daughter also stopped by an iris farm in Boulder, and bought several plants. A few blue silk roses were added for the bride's bouquet. (We could not find real flowers in the right shade of blue, look as we might this time of year.)
    These were all stripped and made up into bouquets for the wedding party, bouquets for the tables at the reception (each with a different-colored iris), and unusual boutonnieres. The latter featured a small succulent surrounded by small blossoms, wrapped in coleus leaves -- then wrapped at the base with black duct tape. Similar to this version from Style Me Pretty, via Pinterest:

The succulents not only don't wilt -- they help keep the other greenery and flowers moist.

Coleus leaves are large enough to enclose smaller flowers, yet they provide a vibrant pop of color. They don't wilt easily, either.

Daughter's wedding bouquet featured petunias -- after all, that is one of her nicknames. (This poignant secret was only known to a few people there.) They were bunched with other flowers and greens, including mint from our garden, held in place with white ribbon.

See the petunias... held by our darling Petunia?

I added a dozen white roses ($15, from Sam's Club) to the head table. Amethyst and other rock specimens were used on the tables, along with the floral bouquets. Even the wedding cake had a 'geode' slice to it... the 'amethyst' looked amazingly real. Each table featured a different gem, with hand-lettered placecards.

Why rocks? Because Daughter and Son are both avid rockhounders. Daughter manages a rock/souvenir store on Boulder's Pearl Street Mall, but also has a thriving Etsy business on the side that deals in minerals and fossils, something Son contributes to, as well.

*Have everyone come early...and don't hesitate to ask them for help. Because the wedding party was staying overnight, we had built-in volunteers for setting up chairs and tables, setting out food and cleaning up. (We made it as easy as possible for them, by using biodegradeable bamboo plates -- a fancier 'wooden' look -- as well as pinked fabric cloth napkins (cut by The Mama) and 'metallic' silverware. Large garbage cans made it easy to sweep tables clean, then the tables could be folded up and stored, for more space.)
    So many people helped. Caitlin's fiance (a former chef) flipped pancakes while Cait made wedding boutonnieres...with niece Brianna, whose husband Kevin set up chairs, along with Brother. Daughter #1 styled Daughter #2's hair and helped her get dressed...while Dre, D#1's boyfriend, got the pig roast going. (Meanwhile, I hand-stitched a loose strap on Daughter #1's dress, worked some on flowers...and tried not to cry.) Friend Kitty was everywhere, practically, making sure that things ran smoothly.
    Son #1's mom Christine oversaw the rehearsal dinner food -- and I took care of the reception. (Except for Dre's roast pigs, which he supervised.) But we had a lot of help doing it.
     And everyone pitched in to clean up. Wow.

You can find weddings mentioned for under $1000 on the Internet. (Although this couple's experience seemed a bit wacky. I wonder if they're even still married.) This site has lots of budget tips, too.

And you can go the opposite end of the spectrum, with the bride and groom ending up bankrupt.

Daughter and Son's wedding was just right. It cost more than $1000...but not much. It never felt cheap. (Even though it was.) It was just a group of friends and family, celebrating the union of two people they love.

It was wonderful.

The happy couple -- notice Son's boutonniere? Daughter got her jewelry (and that for the bridesmaids) wholesale.
 Makeup and hair were by Big Sister. (Mom got to watch, and help out here and there.)
The silk ties were purchased in a group from Amazon, for about $11 each. (The Brick wore the same tie -- as did the groomsmen.)

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Monday Stuff On the Way To Other Stuff: Trying Not to Be Jealous

     Friends Tommy and Chris are in Alaska right now, visiting our mutual buddies Liz and Russ. The temps are cooler, the air's clear and they've having fun.

Lots of fun.

No fair.

How come the Brick and I have to stay home and trudge through paperwork, dirty dishes and picking up stuff? Oh, right -- because he's been so sick. And we have lots of work to catch up on. And I have only a few weeks before traveling starts up again.

Welcome to adulthood. 

Vintage lunchbox recipes. (From Taste of Home) Including these old-timey favorites, Stained Glass Cookes. (The recipe calls them 'Church Window.')

What do colleges REALLY want from the students who apply?  (From Liz Weston)

Dying in New York (or at least being famous there) is going to mean something different for celebrities, their heirs -- and their estates. A complicated discussion, but intriguing.  (From The Wealth Advisor) Also interesting:

Why Leon Cooperman quit -- and closed out his hedge fund. Contrast this with the Bernie Madoff saga.

How to make pajama pants. (From the National Sewing Circle)

Hair jewelry, memorials and souvenirs. An interesting quickie history on the subject. (From Raucous Royals)

Did you know Benito Mussolini left a secret message that was only just recently found? I didn't either... but here it is.  (Cracked and Live Science)  Also:

How 13 dictators died. And it aint pretty, either.

The guy who got caught on video taunting a bison in Yellowstone? Turns out he's done this before...and not just to animals, either.
     What a jerk. (He's in jail now, by the way.)

Seven ways to save on vacations.  (From Brad's Deals)

Copycat versions of famous recipes. (From Taste of Home) Including California Kitchen's BBQ Chicken Pizza.

From the Department of "Be Sure Your Sins Will Find You Out:" that 'unsuspecting' tourist shoved by the British royal guard had been grabbing at him several times before, trying to provoke something, according to military spokesmen.

Swedish royal family crown jewels stolen! The gang got away on a motorboat...

Twelve financial strategies for people struggling to get started.  (From The Simple Dollar) Also from them:

Avoiding the trap of financially dependent children.

From the Department of "Never Too Late to Do the Right Thing:"  a former waitress returns money she stole back in the 90's.

Have a good week. Enjoy some sunshine. 

And try not to smack your friends, if they're on vacation -- and you're not.

Trying Not to Laugh. Really.


I blame Monty Python -- it's all their fault.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Monty Python Rises Again!

The British Library, which has access to Michael Palin's private archives, has found new details of three scenes from Monty Python's Holy Grail.  (Palin's comments are included in this version.)

The Black Knight actually had a buddy.

His compatriot was the Pink Knight, who demanded smooches for passage. ( Hobbes would have approved.)

Calvin & Hobbes by Bill Watterson (2012), via Pinterest

Remember the end of the movie, when everyone gets arrested and dragged off?

Well, they first visit a bookstore for lonely cowboys. Let's put it this way -- Pardner, if ya ain't gotta copy of Black Beauty, them thar's fightin' words.

I'm not sure what the third scene is -- maybe a riff on 'Harmless little bunny, eh?

Or the Frenchman shouting colorful insults from the castle wall.

"Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elderberries."

All I know is that this British comedy troupe managed to be rude, funny and insulting... sometimes all at once. We still repeat their lines, decades after we first heard them, including the Comfy Chair:

(No one expects the Spanish Inquisition.)

Ministry of Silly Walks:

And that great classic, Spam:

But my very favorite remains "How Not to Be Seen:"

The principle works for textile restoration, too.

Garden Swirls... from Water Bottles!

That's all it takes -- plus a little time, some permanent markers and a pair of scissors. 

It's from Creative Garden Living -- go here for more. 

Identifying Coins -- The Easier Way

A terrific chart to print off for your files...

(Thanks for sharing on Pinterest, Shopnet.One. They've got some interesting pieces for sale -- click here for more.)