Thursday, February 22, 2018


(Charley wouldn't be so sure, either.)

Truffles, on the other hand, is experiencing snow for the first time. Whoo hoo!

Thanks for sharing, Youtube (video) and Pinterest.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Frugal Hits & Misses: February Report

What did we do in February? Other than Tucson -- and a lot of that trip is in a haze, thanks to the flu we brought back -- not much. We ate mostly out of the freezer and pantry. We cancelled out of several commitments, including some events for the local quilt museum, and our church Worship Team. (You don't sing well when you're coughing.)
      I didn't even read a lot, which is pathetic. Just didn't feel up to it. 

What I did work on were a host of little research jobs, plus prep work for the book. This week, I finish off getting the photos ready. Next, I start writing. I also have an increasing teaching/appraising schedule for the next few months -- and, of course, continuing to work on getting the house ready to sell.

Plus Daughter #2's and Son #1's wedding on June 5!

(Yes, this is a little early...but I had the time to write it now, and won't later.)

*Three mice caught! Including a big one that I suspect was our main offender. Now, if we can only get the others...

*Split the costs of the Tucson trip with Daughter #2 and Son #1. They were champs about paying their share of gas and food expenses. (I brought some extra food and a crockpot, but other than snacks, we didn't use it.) Once again, we stayed with friends...which was very, very kind of them.

*Did NOT go to the doctor for this flu business. He would have said: 'It's a virus, rest up and get over it." The Brick is more optimistic in this area. I like our doctor -- it's not that. It's just that I've heard this little refrain once too often. And I HATE paying good money, just to hear him say it.
     I also had a skin infection of some kind -- shingles, I'd guess, although in my nightmares, it was some weird flesh-eating bacteria. (I thought I'd kept this fear quiet, but the Brick said I talked about it in my sleep.) Thanks to regular applications of calomine and other lotions, THAT'S almost cleared up, as well.
     I do need a physical -- which is okay. (And the Brick just got another root canal, though it was on a tooth that was already 'crowned.') Fortunately, we still hae money in our HVA account.

Sooo glad The Walking Dead is starting up again...zombies are the spice of life.

*Did two appraisals while in Tucson...and a few more after coming home. 

*Finished up two restoration jobs. A third one is next on the list.

*Used up the bonus bucks from buying gift cards in December. 

*Did very little grocery shopping. It's easy, when you don't feel like eating much -- you stick with basics like milk, bread, eggs. I'm still interested in saving money in this area. It's just that neither of us was that hungry.
     The surprising bonus on this? I definitely have lost weight! My knee is feeling considerably better, too. (The Brick thinks that's a side benefit on the weight issue. He's probably right.)

It still feels weird to buy eggs.

*Watched a LOT of videos, including the full JAG series.  Cleaned out the collection, and donated extras. (Or put them up on Amazon to sell.) Hey, you have to do something, when you can't think clearly. Even the mediocre ones seemed more profound, while viewed in the company of Mr. Fever.

*Purchased photos for the upcoming book, but got them on sale. I need more, but we'll be making a few trips this week to get those. (Thankfully, the Brick is an excellent photographer.)

*Sold a book and video...and the first issue of O, Oprah Winfrey's magazine.

*The Brick's birthday celebration was modest -- in great part because neither of us felt up to whoop-tee-do celebrating. I did make a cake, and got a very nice buy in a present from Amazon. Other than that (and Valentine's Day too, frankly), we didn't do much.

Maybe a Bigfoot birthday cake next year? (Pinterest)

*His big birthday splash was a lunch stop at Red Robin. We used his free birthday burger, plus the bonus bucks expiring soon. A nighttime supper was covered by our friends...and I suspect that the upcoming supper with the girlies to celebrate Dad's birthday will be on them. That's how they usually do it.

*A lovely bunch of flowers, from my piano kids.  (And a few lessons given.) Picked up two more piano students, as well.

*Continued to make our loan payments in mid-month, saving on interest.

*Bought some rocks for our growing collection -- at wholesale prices.

*Saved on Valentine's Day buying them at after-Christmas prices. This pillow was a bargain, too. (For the girlies, of course, who are one of life's greatest pleasures. The Mama got one, as well.)


*Sales tax paid for 2017 -- plus the property tax for 2018. Necessary evils.

*Wasted food on our Tucson trip...because we ate out more. (Or had Son #1's grandma cooking for us. I'm grateful, since I was so sick at the time, but a little embarrassed.) A few dozen eggs and some milk had to be thrown away, along with some fast food leftovers. (Fortunately, I'd brought mostly canned goods along, which are fine.) Some stuff left in the fridge had to go, too. (A negative from no longer having chickens -- you waste more.)
     We've been slogging through the bread, but most of it was used as breadcrumbs for the Brick's birthday Sachertorte.  So that was ok.

*The dogsitting job committed to this month was cancelled. The clients got the flu... and no, it wasn't from me. We're not the only ones struggling around here. (It should be rescheduled in mid-March.)

*Paid for our own dogsitting needs -- for both Charley and our granddog, Karma. They were well cared-for while we were gone, which was important.

The twosome, doing what they do best -- snoozing
Upward and onward.

Here's last year's report for February -- or check out what happened last month around here.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Feeling A Little Catty Lately

I've been collecting feline memes...time to clean out the file folder. (Don't tell Charley the dog.)

'Hey, we help wherever we can...'

Anyone else thinking Jabba the Hutt on this one?

And finally, for the literalists:

(All images via Pinterest)

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Happy Birthday!

       Mr. Fever seems to have moved out, finally. His cousin The Cough is hanging around, and seems to be encouraging their mutual friend Sally Ear Infection to move in. Lots of nasal pressure, as a result. At least I'm feeling a little better. That's good -- because I've got a lot of work to do this week. 

The Brick is improving, too...just in time to celebrate his birthday this week. Usually we go somewhere swanky, or take a trip. Not this year -- we're just grateful to be reasonably upright. We'll probably have supper with the girls and Son #1, and I'll make the Brick a Sachertorte. (His request)

It's supposed to snow the next few days. [Update: just started, about 11 p.m. Sunday night.] Yet another reason to rest up, drink lots of tea, catch up on reports... and work on the book. 

And here's the way to deal with white stuff...Full bore!

Seven haunted hikes in Colorado.  (From Out There in Colorado)

Comments on former President Obama's 'official' portrait, including possible clues to what's hiding in all that greenery. Did you know that Monica Lewinsky's dress actually made an appearance (albeit a shadowy one) in Bill Clinton's official portrait?

Eight hours on a plane flight with a screaming child. For those of us who have experienced similar stuff...enjoy. Update: it's okay -- the kid has a 'disability.' Which the entire flight had to endure, thanks to his parents. Yep, no problem.

The 65-year-old who missed her cruise swam out to meet it. (She used her handbag as a floating cushion.) There's more to this wacky story than the bare headline, though.

Top-rated slow-cooker recipes, from 2-10 servings.  (Thanks, Betty Crocker)

Homemade chicken potpie -- in 30 min. or less!  (From Taste of Home)

Ten people who richly got what they deserved.  (From Listverse)

What if the government made a basic cash payment to you for two years -- just for the heck of it?  Finland's doing it for a selected group, just to see what happens. (No fair applying to move there.)

A thousand-year-old oak falls in Wales. Part of Offa's Dyke -- and an important historical marker.

One hundred-plus free quilt patterns to try.  (From Sewing Support)

Bits and bobs for February -- a lot of musing, done amusingly.  (From Hundred Dollars A Month)

100-plus years -- and still going strong.  A look at local centenarians, from the Prescott, AZ Daily Courier.

Skimming, scooping, rinsing and slanting -- a food-stretching classic from yours truly.

Have a good week. Happy Birthday, David dear. I love you.

One (Hidden) Benefit of A Snowstorm

Start this up first.


All you need is a Wookie as copilot...

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Quilts: Cutting Up, Showing Off and Respecting the Tradition?

Back a decade or so, when we lived in town, I had a quirky neighbor. She was the only older lady I'd ever met who proudly displayed her nude portrait in the hallway -- and painted every single wall in her house a different color. Her perennials garden helped supply mine, and she was equally generous with advice and comments about everything from women's rights to...

Mary would search for old (usually 19th century) tops, quilt sections and finished quilts -- then cut them up and resew them into stylin' jackets, tops and skirts. The resulting garments were quirky, colorful and, I'm sure, fun to wear. She charged a lot of money for them -- and she got it.

Which drove me absolutely crazy. 

I was an editor then for Quilter's Newsletter Magazine -- a publication that not only celebrated quiltmaking, but tried its darndest to preserve old textiles for future audiences. How could these quilts be studied and admired in the future, if they were parading around on someone's backside, instead?

Mary and I had many conversations about this. (We were, after all, friends, and willing to listen to each other, even if we disagreed.) She believed that her garments were actually increasing respect for the old quilts...not lessening it. She argued that she was making good use of damaged or unfinished pieces that would have been thrown away, anyways. And to her credit, she occasionally allowed me to purchase some quilt tops, to preserve them. (An 1890s Ocean Wave top I bought from Mary hung in our foyer...and had to be included in the house sale, at the insistence of the buyer back then. I still miss it.)

Now comes along Emily Bode -- also doing her part to commemorate quilt history by cutting up antique textiles. Or so she says. Her work, like my friend Mary's, features basic garments enlivened by the colors, fabrics and patterns chosen by the original quiltmaker. Did Emily use only damaged or unfinished textiles to do this? Based on the amount of yardage needed, I doubt it. (Mary's sure didn't.) Did she do any research about the original quiltmaker...or even the pattern and its history...or whether that piece had any special cultural or historical significance?

Emily, you may believe you're some kind of iconic trendsetter. But people have been doing this to antique and vintage textiles for centuries. You're just the latest.

This smacks far too much of the same "what's in it for me" approach shown by Gloria Vanderbilt, whose varnished quilt bedroom was all the rage in the 1970s, Emily's in this mode for her benefit -- and no one else. Using handmade 'artisanal' fabrics and fabrics is trendy right now. She is smart enough -- and aware enough -- to take advantage of that interest.

What about the textiles who have disappeared forever, because of this?

Don't give me a big story about honoring tradition, Emily, and expect me to believe it. I don't.

Calvin Klein has been featuring antique quilts in their backdrops -- then arguing that it's honoring these pieces. (After the company sells them, of course.) Klein's latest collection, via Raf Simons, was a strange mix of hazmat suits and firefighters' jackets, with some printed fabrics jammed on top. Are trendy people REALLY going to wear these? (My own question: will Klein himself wear them? He's rarely shown in anything but basic suits, jeans and cowboy boots.)

My fellow appraisers, whom I respect deeply, are of all sorts of opinions about these developments in the Land of Quilts as Decor (and Costume). Some are outraged. Others are philosophic about it. (After all, it has been going on for a long, long time.) Still others suggest that this may actually be a good thing: that younger collectors may fall in love with textiles, and start to use them as they were originally meant to be. Heck, they may even start to make quilts themselves!
    My friendship with Mary, so long ago, makes me skeptical of motives -- but willing to listen.
    As long as proper respect is shown. (And frankly, I don't think it is right now.)

To make life even more interesting in the quilt world, Michelle Obama's newly-unveiled portrait (which really doesn't look much like her, but oh well) features our former First Lady in a long gown from Michelle Johnson's 'Milly' collection. Supposedly the designs on it were inspired by the African-American quilts from Gee's Bend.

There's been so much controversy about these quiltmakers over the years -- first and foremost, that they gained very little from their notoriety, since their colorful, fascinating quilts had already been sold to (and marketed by) an older dealer -- and a white man. He is the one who has benefitted financially, not them...though he has been occasionally shamed into giving them slightly more money for appearing during exhibits and such. I am amazed that Wikipedia's entry on the quiltmakers of Gee's Bend leaves this out -- but not surprised. Like the Underground Railroad quilt idea, it's one of the dirty secrets of the museum world.

What does surprise me is that so many proponents of Black American culture -- Mrs. Obama included -- continue to take advantage of these women by promoting the Gee's Bend idea without honoring the actual quilts and their makers.
        Sad. Don't they do their homework?

A Gee's Bend quilting bee 2005  (Wikipedia)

Flu alert:  Although Mr. Fever and his buddy The Cough continue to share our lives, we do both seem to be getting slowly better. I can almost breathe freely now. Almost. But I have this overwhelming desire to nod off at during breakfast. Or at the critical part of a movie. 
     A few minutes snooze, then I'm back in business. But it does feel a little awkward, to suddenly wake up and find the Brick staring at me. 


(Charley wouldn't be so sure, either.) Truffles, on the other hand, is experiencing snow for the first time. Whoo hoo! ...