Monday, November 30, 2009

Free Giveaway!

The contest is still going...THREE new giveaways, thanks to Carolina Pad. This stationery company has come up with some of the most colorful, cheerful (and very high quality) stationery products I've seen in a long time. And thanks to their generous donation, we're going to send three stationery gifts out for three lucky people, in time for Christmas giving!Here's the plan.

You've got at least three chances to enter:
* Post a comment on any posts between today and Dec. 4. Yammer on about whatever you'd like. (You'll have an entry for every comment, but it's limited to one a day.)
*Visit Carolina Pad, come back, and let me know your favorite design there. Make this a separate comment. (In case you're wondering, the giveaways will all be in their classy 'Hot Chocolate' pattern.)
*Join up -- become a follower of my blog, and earn a third entry!

The contest ends Dec. 4...and we'll announce the winners Dec. 6.

My Buddy - Stephen King

It's true...and yet it isn't.

I'm fascinated by the guy, as well as revulsed (he periodically suffers from "trash mouth" and the desperate need to describe weird sex in detail) and frustrated (he's great at characterization and detail, but sometimes shovels his endings in wayyy too fast).

Some of his books have gone way past creepy-in-a-fascinating-way to directly affecting my life. Case in point: His 1987 novel, Misery, about a writer who becomes the pet of Annie Wilkes, his "greatest fan." (King himself admitted that Annie represented the addictions he'd had for years, including alcohol and drugs.) For anyone who's a writer, just the idea of being kept hostage and forced to write has a nasty attraction (time to write! no interruptions!) at the same time it repulses ('ol Annie's going to chop my foot off if I don't make the characters do what she wants! Why would they...they never do what I want them to do...)

I read the book shortly after I had Daughter #1, not realizing until halfway through that Annie was a nurse at Boulder Community Hospital. Where she went on trial for murdering babies in the neonatal section. Where both our daughters were born.

Talk about chills down the spine. I even did some checking -- was there a nurse put on trial for this? But apparently, King made it up. (whew)

I also had a love/hate affair with King's Needful Things...where you can get anything you want, but you have to pay for it by doing "favors" for the owner.

And, of course, there's The Stand.

All three have been made into tv series...although I think I prefer The Langoliers and The Shining (which King has been working on a sequel to), instead of any of them. (Shawshank Redemption -- yes, King wrote that, too! -- is also great.)

One of King's very best books, though, is also one of his least-known: a nonfiction look at himself and his work, called simply On Writing. It also covers his 1999 accident, which left him in pain ever since.
Roger Ebert observed: "A lot of people were outraged that he [King] was honored at the National Book Awards, as if a popular writer could not be taken seriously. But after finding that his book On Writing had more useful and observant things to say about the craft than any book since Strunk and White's The Elements of Style, I have gotten over my own snobbery."

Stephen King: one amazing, messed-up guy.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving Weekend

Thank goodness Brin of MessyThrillingLife had a peaceful Thanksgiving -- she's had a rough year, including losing her beloved home, and it's good to see her starting to get back on a more even keel. She's spending the evening by the Christmas tree, enjoying a cup of hot chocolate and favorite books.

Our tree is still standing in the forest -- we couldn't get a permit fast enough to cut it this weekend. Nonetheless, I spent some lovely time starting up Stephen King's The Stand. (An amazing take on the fight between good and evil...and set partly in Boulder, which is doubly creepy.) Daughter #1 got me Charles Dickens' Christmas Stories, and I've also been reading those a bit at a time.

A nice holiday break, before work starts back in tomorrow.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

(A Few) Day(s) After Thanksgiving Musings

It's been a nice rest...being with both Daughters. Cooking together. Playing Scrabble. (And arguing about which words are 'real,' and which aren't!) Watching the Three Stooges, in one big warm pile on the couch. Not worrying, about business or chores or responsibilities.

(Very happy sigh here.)

Since my ancestors came not long after the Pilgrims arrived at the Rock, I've always had a soft spot in my heart for them. The Pilgrims, I mean. (Plus one of my dearest friends, Chris, has an ancestor in William Brewster, one of the leaders.) My own family tie came with Isaac Cumings, who arrived here on the good ship Sally Ann. Life wasn't easy for him, or for any of the other potential DAR ancestors, but he persevered. Reminds me that I need to do the same.

If your Thanksgiving wasn't quiiite as peaceful, you'll enjoy the variety of strangeness at Awkward Family Photos. Thanksgiving's represented, as well as any number of Scary Santas and even more terrifying Easter Bunnies.

See? Other leftovers are just as delicious as the stuffing (forked straight out of the carton, like I've been doing while writing) and that sliced turkey. (By the way, the spatchcocking WORKED!! Moist, delicious turkey, done in less than two hours. But don't use a kitchen scissors...we did it much more easily with an electric knife.)

And don't forget to add a comment; every time you do it, you enter my ongoing contest!

And don't kill yourself. The work will wait until Monday. Honest.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Day Before Thanksgiving Musings

The Coinstar people are at it again...cash in $40 worth of coins, and get $10 free! It's simpler than you think; load in your coins, get the 'loaded' gift card or e-cert from the machine, then mail in the claim form at the bottom of your receipt. Voila..I got a $10 Amazon gift card this way last year. (The deal's good through Dec. 6.)

Also, a treasure of '60s Texas photographs of Important People (including one of Kennedy's motorcade, moments before his assassination) found dumped under a Forth Worth, TX bridge. Authorities suspect that it was part of the items taken from a historical society five years ago.

Putting up...cleaning up...and actually finding floors and counters underneath all that stuff. A miracle. Kind of like the Italian Mafia boss who was let out of jail early, for 'medical reasons.' (Paralysis, supposedly.) When arrested, he was dining sans wheelchair, having driven to the restaurant in his sportscar. The cops asked what happened, and he replied, "It's a miracle!"

This IS a miracle; an incredible meteor shower in South Africa.

* * * * *
Don't forget about my Hot Chocolate giveaway! Here are the particulars:

-- actually, THREE new giveaways, thanks to Carolina Pad. This stationery company has come up with some of the most colorful, cheerful (and very high quality) stationery products I've seen in a long time. And thanks to their generous donation, we're going to send three stationery gifts out for three lucky people, in time for Christmas giving!

Here's the plan. (I'll repeat it again in future posts -- don't worry.)
You've got at least three chances to enter:

* Post a comment on any posts between today (Nov. 21) and Dec. 4. Yammer on about whatever you'd like. (You'll have an entry for every comment, but it's limited to one a day.)

*Visit Carolina Pad, come back, and let me know your favorite design there. Make this a separate comment. (In case you're wondering, the giveaways will all be in their classy 'Hot Chocolate' pattern.)

*Join up -- become a follower of my blog, and earn a third entry in the contest!

The contest ends Dec. 4...and we'll announce the winners Dec. 6.

* * * *

Now, if I could only get one of my family to watch some of those Pilgrim Thanksgiving specials with me...that would be a miracle, too.

Have a wonderful, peaceful Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Great Tips

Got a minute? Here's a compendium of some of the best common sense tips I've ever read. Subscribing to the home spot, Vocalpoint, is worth it, too -- lots of coupons and freebies.

one of the tips:
Stubborn stains on your clothes? Spray them with oven cleaner. (I'm going to try this, especially on stubborn stains on the 'Brick shelf'...er, the chest.)

Worth a shot.

Got any of your own tried-and-true tips to share?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Dyeing Yarn with Kool-Aid

Ever try this? The tutorial here makes it look really easy...

just two packages of kool-aid, a jar of water and a microwave.

Oh, and time.

The New Contest Is Up and Going!

Find out more about it on this earlier post. The more you post, the more chance you have at winning any one of three prizes!

And take a minute to enjoy the 'Pink Glove Dance' the staff at the Providence St. Vincent Medical Center in Portland, OR came up with to celebrate breast cancer awareness. (Warning: it loads reaaaalllyyy slow, so let it finish before watching, or you'll have to put up with 'stuttering.')

Just a few more appraisals, some other incidental work, and I'm in the clear. Then I can sit and just stitch on a little Hanky Panky.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Recession Stories

Originally, I visited the Ladies' Home Journal site because One Frugal Girl, a fellow blogger, was talking about their pantry homemade mixes. And that was interesting...

but even more so were the four stories of families coping with lost jobs, homes and improvising for insurance and work. You can read about them here.

(P.S. Don't miss out on OFG's original entry -- she's got a great recipe for taco seasoning mix.)

A long day, filled with church, lunch with a friend, a (short) nap, and a church-wide Thanksgiving supper.

See you tomorrow.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Weekend Stuff...and Announcing A Contest!

Check out this video of a patrolman valiantly trying to write a ticket, while a neighborhood cat takes a liking to him -- and climbs up his leg. And shoulder. And rubs around his head. Repeatedly.
This kitty is lucky it's not in the slammer. Must be a cat burglar.

Man vs Debt has to eat his words -- and the experience is none too pleasant.

Speaking of eating, a 30-min. Thanksgiving meal. We're going to take slightly more time...an hour, thanks to the spatchcocking method I mentioned in a few posts back. (I hope it works!) Daughter #1 keeps talking about needing a Really Strong pair of household scissors. I have a pair...but will they do the trick?

Slept in this morning -- lovely. Then took an afternoon nap, as well -- both of us could not keep our eyes open. In typical Brick fashion, it's a little before 11 p.m., and we're both going strong now. Husband is working on the music for tomorrow's worship team, banging away at the piano...I come in with an alto part now and then. The dishes are staring me in the face, though, begging me to scrub them up before bed.

Both the Grand Junction and Cheyenne gigs went very, very well. Lots of appraising at both -- a Crazy lecture in 'GJ,' (that's what they call it) plus judging 250 quilts in a day. (Yep, you read that right. Couldn't have done it without the 8-plus scribes that helped. Thanks so much, guys.)
Cheyenne was a Golden West lecture, then appraising. Some beautiful pieces...some wonderful, interesting, generous people at both places. You are so kind!

Then home. And planning.

* * * * * * * *
It's time for a new giveaway -- actually, THREE new giveaways, thanks to Carolina Pad. This stationery company has come up with some of the most colorful, cheerful (and very high quality) stationery products I've seen in a long time. And thanks to their generous donation, we're going to send three stationery gifts out for three lucky people, in time for Christmas giving!

Here's the plan. (I'll repeat it again in future posts -- don't worry.)
You've got at least three chances to enter:

* Post a comment on any posts between today (Nov. 21) and Dec. 4. Yammer on about whatever you'd like. (You'll have an entry for every comment, but it's limited to one a day.)

*Visit Carolina Pad, come back, and let me know your favorite design there. Make this a separate comment. (In case you're wondering, the giveaways will all be in their classy 'Hot Chocolate' pattern.)

*Join up -- become a follower of my blog, and earn a third entry in the contest!

The contest ends Dec. 4...and we'll announce the winners Dec. 6.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Lost and Found

Lose anything lately?

Poor old Galileo had a few fingers, a tooth and a vertebrae lifted when his body was exhumed and reburied in a fancy mausoleum 95 years after his death. The fingers and tooth reappeared recently; no doubt the great astronomer's happy about that.

Also, some weird Peruvian gang is murdering people for their body fat, which they (the gang members) sell to cosmetic companies.

Well, they can have some of my fat anytime!

Did a BUNCH of appraisals today, plus caught up on piano lessons...and had supper with Daughter #1. This weekend, I'll finally announce that giveaway...check back in. It will be worth it.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I Love Being Home!

...but exhausted. Got just a few hours sleep last night, trying to catch back up.

Will have something to say, besides burbling, tomorrow.

Hope you all are doing ok.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Barbara Brackman Mentions Quilts of the Golden West!

I respect this quilt and fabric historian so much that it's a positive pleasure to have her mention my name...and Quilts of the Golden West. Take a look at Barbara's blog for more, including several photos.

* * * * *
A loooooonnnng day today. Judged 250 quilts! I did it, but by wearing out a whole bevy of scribes and myself, in the process. Glad to be home and at the computer, where I can just let my mind wander. It got a real workout today in Grand Junction.

Appraising all day tomorrow. More mental digging and shoveling, but it's worth it.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Lost and Found...In More Ways Than One!

The newest in found treasures -- a little boy digging in his backyard recovered wedding rings the previous owner lost gardening decades ago. A photo gallery of other found treasures are included on this one.

AND -- We at Brickworks are proud to announce that HANKY PANKY CRAZY QUILTS is back in print! It's taken months of effort, but new copies of the book will be arriving at the Brickworks offices by the end of the month. (Just in time for Christmas, we might add. These books make great presents.)
The best news of all -- HANKY PANKY is still only $12.95, including free shipping!

You can order your own bit of Hanky Panky at the Brickworks website. We won't charge your credit card, or cash your check or money order, until we ship the books in early December.

And keep an eye out for the HANKY PANKY sequel, headed out sometime in midwinter/early spring.

* * * * * *
Skies are gray again. Getting chilly again. Husband and Daughter #2 are thrilled; they head out for elk hunting today. When it's nice out, the elk stay up in the high country. When temps drop, they come down out of the mountains and head for the plains. This means if you get one, you won't have to spend all night (literally) trying to schlep it down and out...just four hours or so, instead! (Our backcountry really IS rough.)

I'm headed to Grand Junction and the quilt show -- but first, a talk on Crazy Quilts tonight. Go to my schedule if you'd like more info.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Weirdness -- And Goodness -- On the Internet

I am in a strange mood.

Skies have cleared -- I have a ton of work -- so what do I do? Fool around on the internet, collecting oddball stuff.

Movie stars that fight with their (druggie/neglectful/manager/greedy/pushy) parents.


Million Dollar Journey lost their wallet. (I actually found one once at the parking check-in at DIA, Denver's airport. The person apparently had leaned out their car window to pull the ticket, and dropped it at the same time. Never could figure out who they accomplished this...but the lady was thrilled to get her wallet back.)

Crazy Aunt Purl's moment of truth: that her house is never cleaner than when she's avoiding a deadline. ( Husband wishes I'd suffer from this malady more, no doubt.) Check out the Nov. 2 post.

The latest Carnival of Money posts , featuring Gather Little by Little's personal money flaws. (These are actually quite good.)

Daughter #1 wants to try the latest thing in cooking turkey: spatchcocking it. Supposedly you can cook a 12-lb turkey moist and juicy in about an hour! Martha Stewart mentioned it in the December issue of her magazine, and Southern Foodette gives a nice photo step-by-step how-to. Take a look here. (By the way, SF agrees with Martha -- she said it turned out deliciously.)

The Brazilian who showed up to his own funeral.

And CheapHealthyGood has one of the yummiest -- and easiest -- recipes for potato gnocchi I've seen in a long time. (Potatoes are on sale around here, and I'm guessing, in your neck of the woods, as well.) Follow the name link to a squash version, as well.

Now if I can only find a few recent Bigfoot sightings, my day will be complete. Is this one freaky enough?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Week Ahead

Gray clouds, gusting across the sky as if they're late to an Important Appointment. After a few days of near-balmy temps, we're back to chilly nights. Thank goodness for space heaters and warm backs, both canine and human.

My brave friend at Messy Thrilling Life is thinking pie, after an afternoon scavenging pecans from the wet ground. Can it be...? Is Pie Time that close? I've whiffed off a few versions, thanks to the Michigan apples crowded in the fridge vegetable crisper (and a very aromatic box of apples and popcorn balls that came through the mail for Halloween). Husband, that born-and-bred Southerner, though, craves "pay-kan" for Thanksgiving.

Headed out on Wednesday to Grand Junction, CO, and the Colorado West Quilters' Guild 'Quilt Show 2009:' an extravaganza of quilts, sewing stuff, exhibits and vendors from Nov. 13-15, 2009. First off: a lecture Wednesday night the 11th on "The Incredible Crazy" for the guild: come if you can!

Then judging all day Thursday, and appraisals Friday and Saturday. A busy week -- but I've got some things to finish up here the next few days, like a little Hanky Panky. (always fun!)

Have a good week yerself.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Happy Not-Halloween!

What do you do with your leftover Halloween candy? Frugal Upstate and buddies have been discussing this. Their options include crushing it and using the 'crumbles' to top cakes; decorating gingerbread houses; and so on.
I was surprised no one mentioned what I do with it (assuming I've got some, that is): fill in extra spots in Christmas stockings. (the weird eyeballs, lips, etc. are especially appreciated.)

This year, we had no trick or treaters. Yes, you read that right -- zero, zip, nada. There aren't a lot of kids in the neighborhood, to start with, and it was pretty chilly out.
I've had fun watching some of the classic horror flicks showing lately, though -- The Fog and The Shining (both Stephan King) are favorites. A very sexy version of Dracula (with Frank Langella, of all people!) ranks up there now, too. (The sex is pretty much implied, except for the obligatory cleavage. Even the guy shows some chest! The only freaky part -- taking in account, the general weirdness you get with any Dracula movie, that is --Dracula says "gooood eve-n-ing" about nine hundred bazillion times. And seems to be doing it seriously every single time!)

* * * *
I am happy to say that Quilts #1 and #2 went out the door, happily ensconced in their caretaker's arms this weekend. I got about 45 min. of sleep last night, but it was worth it. Now on to finish up the next project: a larger quilt version of Hanky Panky, done in neutrals. And on to teach at the Grand Junction, CO guild next Wednesday. (Judging is on Thursday, and appraisals on Friday and Saturday.)

Now on to finish up some dishes, while the Godfather keeps us company. (AMC has been showing all three Godfather movies today -- amazing. I'd never seen any. They're better than I figured, though you have to get used to the idea that if someone says no, does something rebellious, or gets caught cheating or doing something stupid, they're pretty much dead.)

Then on to blissful sleep.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Believing in Yourself - and the People You Love

I started life rather naively, believing that no one would deliberately do the wrong thing. Needless to say, I quickly learned that there were plenty of kids who would ridicule you, steal your lunch money and kick you in the shins, if they thought they'd be able to get away with it.

The kicker was a Government class in high school. Mr. Z gave us a game in 'life:' he assigned us various occupations, salaries, etc., then we would draw cards that would force us to make decisions that changed how the game would progress. One of my classmates decided that he wouldn't wait to see what 'life' (and Mr. Z) handed him -- he stole the cards he wanted out of the teacher's desk!

I saw him do it. Being a natural-born tattler, I immediately ratted on the kid to Mr. Z...who responded with a grin and "so what!" Right then and there, I realized that life wasn't always fair. (Though that classmate built a successful business in my hometown, I have never quiiiite trusted him.)

I can still be a bit starry-eyed, but am much more reticent, until I know I can trust the person. But once I do...there's no holding back.

* * * * *
Speaking of --

Get Rich Slowly has a fascinating post on statements (and attitudes) that can hold you back -- and how to deal with them.

One quilt down! I'm binding quilt #2 (an interesting rayon Crazy top); the client will pick it up tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Christmas gift ideas - fast, and priced right!

Yes, it's coming...and now's a great time to start on gift ideas before Thanksgiving hits. This site has so many different suggestions that I ran out of steam, trying to read them all! What sets it apart from others, though, is the plethora of inexpensive gift ideas for guys. That, and lots of recipes. Take a look!

Some Helpful Posts

Mike at Gathering Little by Little always has something interesting to say, including this post on ten little ways to save money that really add up.

My buddy at The Simple Dollar admits he's given in to various temptations...but there is a way to handle these occasional stumbles, and profit from it. You could, too.

Sunny day, but lots of work to do.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Mourning Ribbons, Performing Cats and More

What -- these don't go together in your mind?? :)

*Mourning ribbons hold a fascination for me -- partly because they've been around for hundreds of years, partly because they are such a strong signal of that person's importance to their world. Presidential ribbons are a special favorite -- and I just scored a 1994 Richard Nixon one off Ebay! Whoo hoo!
Here's a Benjamin Franklin ribbon I can only aspire to. (Maybe you can afford its $3000-plus price.)
I wonder if there's a Michael Jackson mourning ribbon?

*And the kitties, for fellow cat-lovers on this blog...

Here's the best compilation of singing and talking kitties I know of. Our cat Sheba used to do a scritchy ditty similar to this little guy. Also, a 'mouser' and a kitty who goes nuts when his string is taken away. Best of all: the Moscow Cat Theatre. (I don't make this stuff up -- I just chronicle it!)

* * * * * *
Yours Truly was mistaken in some of her fussing. (sigh) My new book, Quilts of the Golden West, has been doing wonderfully. (That was no mistake.) BUT I got the newest royalty statement, and it's clear I misunderstood the Kansas City Star accountant. The book sold $5100 worth in September -- not 5100 books.
I know it's done great in October, so I'm not too embarrassed. But please stand by as Yours Truly mops her red face with a handkerchief, and says "Oops. Sorry."

Starting a New Week!

Have you ever visited the Get Rich Slowly discussion forums? Lots of posts there on success stories, people/places/things to avoid, and this one: tips, good sites and freebies.

A beautiful day, albeit a bit snowy. Even with the sun of the past few days, we still have big piles of snow in street medians around here. Husband trudged off to work this morning, after a three-day (paid) vacation. (That's the plus of working for the school district -- when school's cancelled, it's for everybody.)

Piles of Stuff await -- I'd better get to it. Hope your Monday is a sunny one, too.

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Bathrooms

I'm not sure how...God's grace, I think. But we made it through a night and a day of Worship Team, flu notwithstanding. I'm pret...