Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Attention - Attention -

One of our new 'baby' chickens just laid her first egg!

Yes, it was one of the Reds -- precocious, as always

I feel so proud.

Tuesday Stuff on the Way to Other Stuff: Ireland, Here We Come!

Yes, this is a week early. We're leaving tomorrow for Ireland, and I don't know how much access we'll have to Ye Olde Wifi. So if it's a little quiet for the next few weeks, I'm fine...wandering around old castle ruins, exploring the oceanside and listening to 'trad' music at a pub. Everyday stuff like that. Nothing much. (!!!!)
     The Mama is holding the fort at home, taking care of the dogs and chickens (what's left of them), and looking forward to running this house on her schedule, instead of ours. I don't mind, honestly -- she's been a champ, staying away from home for more than two weeks (a month, by the time we get back) and adapting to the way we do things. Sometimes it drives her crazy -- she likes to be at events at least 30-60 min. early, for example, and we tend to get there right before it starts -- but she's generally been patient with us. 
     So here's your latest Monday stuff -- but on a bright, shiny Tuesday. I'll check in pretty soon and let you know how the Emerald Isle is. Erin go bragh!

Another video of the Loch Ness monster...or is it?

The snowiest place on earth. Would you believe it's in Japan? Don't miss this video for the incredibly cool  Japanese snow monkeys. (They hang out in the hot springs. Smart primates.)

Caryl Bryer Fallert: 30 Quilts in 30 Years -- a new traveling exhibit. This quilter has been a huge influence on our art today. And to see how her viewpoint (and methods) have changed over the years...well!

How to eat vegetarian on the cheap...from the Five Cent Nickel. I'm a diehard carnivore, but we eat like this semi-regularly, as well. And it does save money.

Can you tell your mom no? Get Rich Slowly explores this innocent little question. I winced a bit -- our trip to the airport tomorrow evaporated, and I was forced to call and ask Daughter #2 for help. Fortunately, she can give it...but I know she'll have to go out of her way to do it. GUILT GUILT GUILT.
    I can say no to The Mama, but it is incredibly difficult. She's a master at pushing the GUILT button, too. Fortunately, what she asks of us is usually not money-related.

And, of course:

Monday, August 26, 2013

Mummy, Are You There?

There's a new batch of mummy sightings. (And not just because The Mama is currently in residence...)

Take a look at the Mexican mummies of Guanajuato -- these were bodies that were originally buried at the local cemetary, but dug up and stored after their relatives either would not or could not pay the cemetary tax. Now the town's gathered enough for them to open a museum...and the mummies, more than a hundred of them, are on display.

I know what you're thinking. Weird, right?

Wait...there's more.

A couple dozen monks' bodies are on display throughout Japan -- monks who literally mummified themselves! These men ate only nuts and seeds for years, to thin and refine their bodies, then drank poisonous tea. That way their bodies were cleaned out of -ahem- extra solids, and any maggots in residence were killed. (Turns out that at least one of the local springs had a high level of arsenic in it, which should have helped along the process, as well.)
    Then they crawled into a stone tomb only big enough to be seated in the lotus position, equipped with an airtube and a bell. Every day they rang the bell...when it stopped ringing, the tomb was sealed up.

    Years later, their tombs were opened and the bodies examined. For those who'd still rotted, the tombs were sealed back up and forgotten. Think the last knight in the Indiana Jones epic:

The intact bodies were dressed, put on display and venerated as incarnations of Buddha...where they remain today.
    No, I am not making this up.

The Japanese don't have the monopoly on this sort of thing...witness the catacombs of the Capuchin Monastery in Palermo, Italy, where nearly 8,000 bodies are on display, sorted tidily by occupation (religious/non-religious), age and type (virgin/non-virgin, I guess). The oldest corpse is that of a friar who died in 1599.
     The area is unusually dry, which is thought to have helped keep the bodies 'fresh.' (Makes me wonder what Colorado does to bodies, since it's so arid here!) That, and the embalming procedure: "formalin to kill bacteria, alcohol to dry the body, glycerin to keep her from overdrying, salicylic acid to kill fungi, and the most important ingredient, zinc salts to give the body rigidity."
     Instead of burying the bodies, monks would let them 'drip dry' until body fluids were gone, store for a while, then a year later, rinse the body with vinegar and re-dress them in their finest garments. The mummy would then be put in their proper place, standing up.

     If your yen for mummies is not yet satisfied, there are always the mummies of Vac, Hungary. These bodies were accidentally discovered in 1994 by workers, stacked up in 265 brightly-painted and ornamented coffins. Apparently the secret crypt had been bricked over hundreds of years ago, and eventually forgotten. Now you can view them, down to their hand-knitted stockings and tightly-clutched rosaries.

Don't give up. There are always the catacombs of Paris to be explored...as well as any number of German 'bone houses,' where bodies were only laid at rest in a cemetary until well-rotted. Then the bones were taken apart, and selected items (like skulls) decoratively displayed in large arrangements. Land is at a premium in many areas of Europe, and this was a way to use and re-use the same property. (Shoot, maybe we'll stop by and shake the hand of one of the mummies of Michan.)


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Ireland Is Calling

Now that I'm back from Cheyenne, there are only a few days until we leave for Ireland. Somehow I must clear away the remaining appraisal items, make lists for the Mama (who is going to hold the fort, and take care of everyone while we're gone). Plus, I do a lecture Tuesday night for the Piecekeepers guild in Parker, CO. ("Quilts with Secrets:" you're welcome to visit!)
    Also pack for Georgia. I'll be teaching a three day Crazy quilt class, plus opening up a Crazy exhibit at the Southeastern Quilt & Textile Museum, the week of Sept. 10-14 (Leaving for it the day after we get back.) There are still spots in the class -- and I plan to lavish everything I've got, including many free samples, on the students. Come on by!
    And of course, get ready for the Irish trip, as well. It's going to be zany, but worth it in the long run. We have had a rough week, what with losing at least two of our babies -- who are now nearly adults, and getting ready to lay.

This week's posts are a little sparse -- I haven't had much time for trolling. But I think you'll find them interesting. 
     We have no guarantees how much we'll find wifi in Ireland. So posts may also be a bit sparse for the next few weeks. I promise I'll make up for it, though, when we get back.

Ten things you can do during the evening -- this evening, even! -- to save money. (From The Simple Dollar) 

Overspending...and dealing with the debt hangover that follows. Real-life advice from Get Rich Slowly. 

Killing the thousand-dollar grocery bill. Good stuff from Mr. Money Mustache...don't miss the comments, either. Some great ideas and recipes here.
     I love MMM. He is bossy, opinionated, and eminently practical. He's also a wizard contractor who can make renovation dollars stretch until they scream for mercy. Take a look at his "relatively sweet shower" for evidence.

And looking forward to this -- have a great week, yourself.

A Chickie Tragedy

     Back from Cheyenne, and a long three days of appraising for the Cheyenne Heritage Quilters. (Thanks, dears! Had a great time.)

     Went straight to friends' house to watch the Broncos game. (Who won...a miracle...)  The Brick could not close up the coops before he left, because it wasn't dark yet, and the chickies were wandering around.
     Came home to piles of feathers...two chickens dead and torn apart, and two missing. The Brick and I kicked ourselves and kicked ourselves. We've known a fox has been watching from the fence for weeks. Our neighbor, a fellow gardener, as well as  a beekeeper, saw him peering in from outside.
      Normally, Charley and Abby, our golden labs, are outside when we're gone. But Charley has been suffering so much from allergies the Brick kept both dogs in the house. That, apparently, was all the incentive the fox needed. The chickies put up a battle -- a few made it to the outside edge of the yard -- but no good.
      The rest of the babies were perched, terrified, on the gate to the chickenyard. One of the adults was on top of the big chicken coop -- which has never happened before. The rest of the adults were inside the big coop...also terrified, but intact.
      I felt terrible. These chickens rely on us. How could we have let them down? We buried the two bodies by the raspberry bushes, and figured the other two were goners, as well.

This morning, the Mama kept insisting that she'd heard a chicken kicking up a fuss in the side yard, about 4:30 a.m. (Nobody slept well -- I was up until 2, the Brick got up at 3:30, and the Mama was awake by 4:30 a.m.) We couldn't figure out how, since the surviving chickens were all de coop. I went down and looked. Lo and behold, one of the babies had managed to jam herself up in the bushes. She couldn't get out -- it took nearly a half-hour for the Mama and me to haul her out of there, after cutting branches and getting scratched up ourselves.  All we can figure is that she flew into the bushes in a panic when the fox showed up, and stayed there, quiet, all night, until he came back early this morning. But she was so firmly in there, he couldn't get her out, either.
    The baby was panicky, and a few feathers gone, but walking fine after a little petting and reassurance. I had prayed the night before, asking to find at least one of the chickens alive and ok, but thought it was a stupid thing to ask God for. After all, there was no chance of that happening, was there...

     Well, there was. Thank God.

The Rhode Island Reds were fine...fox didn't want to mess with them, I guess.
UPDATE:  We counted again Monday morning -- 8 out of the ten babies are there, including the Miracle Chick. So we just lost the two...

Friday, August 23, 2013

Appraising: What's It Like? What's It Worth?

...and who's asking? 

I've been appraising for the past few days in Cheyenne, Wyoming, at the Cheyenne Heritage Quilters annual show. If you're in the neighborhood, we're at the First United Methodist Church on 18th St. in Cheyenne...come down and take a look! Beautiful quilts, a nice mix of vendors...lots to see.

This appraising business can get interesting. I often get to see some outstanding pieces, both antique and modern-made. Sometimes I see some that are less than stellar, though treasured by their owners. In other words...

What's valuable to you may not actually be worth anything. A basic look at the "value vs. worth" argument...something I often run into, as an appraiser. (From My Journey to Millions)

It's difficult to say to someone, "Your quilt's not worth anything." Especially if that quilt was made by someone they love, who is now gone. Better to acknowledge that sometimes a piece is near-priceless, for the same reason it's 'not worth anything.' I have quilt blocks made by my grandma, who was a wonderful woman, but could care less what fabrics went with what, as long as the resulting quilt was warm. Grandma sewed by grabbing two patches out of a paper grocery sack, and sewing them together. And the quilts she made looked just like they were sewed that way.

     I was one of the youngest cousins, when she died in the mid-70s, a junior in high school who worked for $1.50/hr at Rogers Hardware. Someone decided that it would be more fair to all the cousins if everything was sold, rather than given away -- which meant that the older cousins, who had more money than I did, could afford things.
    I could not. Which means that today, I treasure anything Grandma worked on. A few pieces have trickled my way over the years, mostly through The Mama. They are more dear to me than many of the much elaborate quilts in my collection.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Blue Moon Tonight - Aug. 20

Yes, a lovely full-figured blue moon -- also known as a Full Red, Sturgeon Moon, Green Corn and Grain Moon. (The Sturgeon name? That fish is thought to be easier to catch this time of year. Indian tribes named the moons according to the growing and gathering seasons.)

Voila - a Full Red moon

It's one more full moon than we normally get in the season. (Thus the name.) And if you've been outside these summer nights, it's generally huge.

September 2009's blue moon -- from Wikipedia. (See the entry here.)

Full moons happen approx. every 29.5 days...but a blue moon is much less common. After tonight, we won't see another one until 2015.

Huffington Post tells you all about it here.

And of course, there's...

Strangest Money Habits

What's your strangest money habit?

Reach Financial Independence asked this, and it got me to thinking -- what do I do, money-wise, that most probably drives my friends and family members crazy?

*Argue over coupons. Daughter #1 was mortified at a King Soopers once, because I didn't get 50 cents credited on my bill, like I was supposed to. (It took at least five minutes for the clerk to understand and fix it. Stupid clerk.)

*One word: returns. If meat, veggies or milk go bad quickly (say, 2 days after I've bought them), I'll take them back to the grocery store and get a replacement.

*Two more words: complaining letters. I'm famous -- really -- with friends and family, for getting money and replacements back on defective merchandise and shoddy service. ("You had to wait an hour for your food? You need to have Cindy write you a letter.") I used to be a food critic for the Traildust restaurant chain (sadly not here in Denver anymore), and it drives me craazy to be treated badly with the money I spend. A letter helps.  (More on this in the future.)

*Secretly stash away a few hot sauce packets at Taco Bell. Or a sauerkraut one at Sam's. I love sauerkraut. 

*Rarely keep dollar bills. They spend too easily -- five and ten-dollar bills are harder to break. (The one exception: a wad of 20 singles for making change at teaching gigs.)

*Ask the clerk at the credit union, 'Got anything weird?' Half-dollars, silver dollars...every once in a while, they have something unusual.

*Stash little money caches all over the house. It must be the equivalent of worrying about whether I'll go hungry...fat chance, considering this chubby self. But I figure that if the banks close, we'll still have some folding money to get by.

So what's your strangest money habit?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Yes, I'm Here. And it's Tuesday.

Oh boy. Do I have a life right now? Between family celebrations (we have 3 family and several friend/relative birthdays in the month), finishing up business stuff and trying to get ready for Ireland, I feel like a chicken. A chicken going fifty ways at once. 
   To make things even more interesting, I appraise for the Cheyenne Heritage Quilt Guild's annual show from Thursday - Saturday at the United Methodist Church in Cheyenne, WY. Their quilt show is outstanding....come and visit!

Deal Chicken. A new Groupon-style site that lets you get good stuff for much less! (Click on this link, and you're helping me a little, too.)

Ten of the stupidest things confiscated by the TSA. My favorite: the guy who had his chocolate pudding taken away, but the agent let him keep his Swiss army knife. Ooh...that makes sense...

Talking about crazy -- the craziest things to do to save money, from Save Outside the Box. (Actually, some of these seem smart.)

How not to travel with a toddler. John Corcoran's column is laugh-out-loud funny. (But will I be laughing next week, on the plane to Ireland?)

Homemade laundry soap -- easy, effective. And according to The Family Homestead, really, really cheap.

New York welfare recipients are sending barrels full of the food they buy with EBT cards to family and friends in Haiti and elsewhere. I guess that's world aid...but do they really need the cards, if they're eating just fine without them?

 Beer-battered fish tacos. (I must be hungry or something.) From Frugal Upstate

The best advice on blogging I've seen in a lonnnggg time. From J.D. Roth, the originator of Get Rich Slowly. 

Five classic moments in pop culture that didn't play out the way they were supposed to...the variations were even better!

Five incredibly stupid marketing stunts -- including a riff on the James Holmes affair. You'll find these hard to believe -- but they happened. 

The kid who throws wild "free rager" parties all over New York City, using Facebook and some inventive planning. (His last one was on Manhattan Bridge, in the wee hours of the morning.)

Taking advantage of 'fallen fruit' -- and sharing with neighbors. We've been lucky to have good next-door neighbors who trot over with everything from zucchini to cornbread. (We respond with cupcakes, rolls and a dozen eggs now and then.) Our other neighbors are friendly, but more distant. What if we were all more neighborly now and then? It might just change the world. (From Get Rich Slowly)

Paper-thin chive pancakes, one of 101 Cookbooks' offerings. Wouldn't these be good with a sliver of ham and some Swiss cheese?

Little things DO add up. A reminder from Mr. Money Mustache.

Making peace with your credit cards. (From The Simple Dollar.)


A teacher who's been missing since 1985 is found -- behind a false wall in her home. Husband died back in December, and the contractor who's cleaning out the trash-littered place found Jo Ann Nichol's skeleton. (I hope she came to 'visit' Husband often.)

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Weird Stuff - But Something You'll Win Trivia Competitions With

I love these crazy Mental Floss goodies.

Witness something you've always wondered about, but never knew who to ask:

the Real Names of 44 fictional characters, from the Cookie Monster (whose name is Sid) to Mr. Clean (Veritably - really) and the Pillsbury Doughboy. (Real name, Poppin' Fresh - and he's got a wife and kids, too.)

And I get a share of anything you win.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Tell Us A Yarn About the Warhol Bridge...

More than 1800 knitters have covered Pittsburgh's Warhol Bridge in yarn. Panels and panels of knitting are strung along the bottom of the bridge. A "yarn bomb," they're calling it.

Full story here. (Photo's from the story.) They've got plans to cover the bridge in fabric next.

Unusual, perhaps...but pretty!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Ageless Wisdom from the Mama

As I've mentioned before, The Mama will be staying with us all this month, plus a part of September, to help out. (She's also minding shop while we go to Ireland. Considering her record at spoiling pets rotten, Charley and Abby can hardly wait. The chickens are less interested.)

     She definitely runs on a different schedule than the Brick and I normally do. Up much earlier. (She lives in Michigan, after all -- 2 hours later.) Meals much earlier, as well, and your standard meat/potatoes variety. She serves fruit in fancy salads -- I tend to plop it on the table, in a bowl. And although she'll eat food made with more out-of-the-box ingredients (nasi goreng, and Indonesian food, for example), she doesn't cook that way herself.
     The other issue is stamina. She is having increasingly more trouble walking. Dealing with our thinner air (6,250 altitude) is no joke, either.
     Fortunately, she's wise enough to plan for her limitations. If we go to the park or museum, she walks for a while, then sits down on a bench and waits. Or she'll stop periodically for a rest. I need to be careful not to push her too much, so she enjoys this visit, instead of thinking back on it with dread.

     The Mama has watched me doing weekly stint of articles: Midlife Finance and Penny Thots, primarily, as well as here. "Why don't you try some writing, too?" I asked. After all, she writes great letters. So, while the dogs napped and she had her morning coffee, she wrote this:

     "In the Spring, when starting our garden, we thought of planting one zucchini plant. That would take care of us -- and maybe some for the neighbors. Wow! What a surprise! We had zukes coming out of our ears. Enough for us and all our neighbors, plus the whole street and just maybe the whole town -- at least that's what we felt like. 
     "So if you're thinking of putting in several plants -- think again. Just how many zukes are you willing to throw to the birds -- or if you're lucky -- to the chickens.
     "Everyone will like you. After the zucchini stops, that is."

Thanks, Ma. Looking at the massive zucchini plants out in the garden, who have just started bearing dozens of cute little vegetables...
     You're probably right.

Don't let those sweet, innocent flower faces fool you -- this plant's a killer.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Another Great One Gone...

Maurine Noble passed away July 31st. 

I did not know this lady well...but machine quilters everywhere have benefited from her books and experience. Go here for her memorial site, and to leave a comment. Her family would love that.

Maurine, not long before her death -- from her photo gallery on the memorial website

Here's her obituary:

  • 81 years old
  • Date of birth: Feb 6, 1932
  • Date of passing: Jul 31, 2013

Every quilt you make, I don’t care if you make hundreds of them, you will always learn something. If you sit down to really study it, you will learn something new. ~ Maurine Noble ~

A Memorial Service will be held at Plymouth Congregational Church on Sunday, August 25 at 2:30 pm.

Maurine Leander Noble, beloved wife, mother, grandmother, avid quilter, published author, and one of the pioneers of machine quilting, died peacefully July 31, 2013 in Edmonds, Washington with her family by her side. She was 81.

Maurine was born February 6, 1932 in Seattle, Washington to Ella Leander. Her father Maurice passed away unexpectedly three weeks before she was born. She lived with her mother and two older brothers, Ivan and Bob in Ballard. She graduated from Ballard High School and went on to earn her Bachelor’s Degree from Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon.
It was there she met her husband Ed, whose Army career took them far and wide to places like Germany, Chicago, New York City, Okinawa, California and Washington. 
Maurine was an internationally recognized leader in machine quilting. Her first book Machine Quilting Made Easy was published in 1994 and is still in print. She went on to publish two other quilting books, Machine Quilting with Decorative Threads and Machine Appliqué. All three publications have been widely used and are still sought after. She taught machine quilting classes throughout the United States, Canada, and South Africa; it was one of her greatest passions and deepest joys. She made countless friends in the close-knit quilting community and many of them became part of her extended family. 
Maurine’s generosity of spirit led her to organize The Plymouth PieceMakers, a quilt group whose purpose was to make and donate quilts to newborns, those suffering from long term illness, and later also for high school graduates at Plymouth Congregational Church in Seattle. The group's program of donating quilts expanded into the community through Plymouth Healing Communities, an organization supporting those suffering from mental illness and homelessness. 
While Maurine was well-known for her machine quilting talents and exceptional teaching ability, her greatest legacy will be as a mother and grandmother. She is survived by her husband and three children, Lee Noble, Elin Antonsen (married to Lasse) and Russ Noble (married to Diana) and her three grandchildren, Taylor, Adam and Sierra, as well as numerous nieces and nephews. Her unconditional love, compassion, thoughtfulness, and uncommon grace, made her a strong role model. The world is and always will be a better place because Maurine was here.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations in the memory of Maurine Noble to Plymouth Healing Communities at www.plyhc.org or at 1217 Sixth Avenue, Seattle, WA 98101. 

 Go here for a look at this wonderful book.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Sunny Daziness

Sun's out, the Mama is busily sweeping, and the week's towels and sheets are churning away in soapsuds. (Like the Days of the Week dishtowels, I grew up being taught that Monday was also Washday!) The dogs are just plain happy to have everyone home, and follow us all around. Charley, the Golden Lab/Chesapeake mix, has had a heck of a time with allergies, snuffling and scratching himself raw. We finally had to take him to the vet's for a steroid shot and antibiotics. Thankfully, his fur is starting to grow back in, and he seems much less miserable.
    I'm still working on catching up...but the pile of 'done' projects is growing. Meanwhile:

Don't forget about the annual Perseid meteor shower. It's at its peak Aug. 12 -- today!

Get a free meal this month at IKEA -- just for requesting a catalog. This is a great way to fund a night out, and maybe pick up a bargain or two, as well.

Ten Ways to Save Money...without even thinking about it much. (From The Simple Dollar)

A U.S. family decides that they're going to go live on an island. (They don't like government interference, they say.) They buy a boat and sail it out from San Diego (no prior experience, of course), only to be disabled after a series of storms. They drift for weeks, gradually running low on food. Eventually, they're rescued and flown back to the U.S. Now they're planning on rethinking this whole experiment -- and trying something else.
    Oh, and guess who paid for their plane tickets home?
    The U.S. government, of course. Not to mention us, the taxpayers.

An Illinois golfer is playing through...and a sinkhole opens up underneath him! (Guess the course got a hole in one.)

Somebody swiped the keys to the Tower of London. Fortunately, the authorities noticed right away, and locks were changed. (Or did something 'disappear,' and they don't want us to know about it yet?) Suspicious minds are welcome to chime in here. Or Sherlock.

Granny Jordan's chicken casserole. Bake it hot, or eat it cold as a salad, plopped on lettuce leaves - it's delicious either way. (From Southern Plate.)

More weird stuff about Steve Jobs than you'd ever care to know. Wonder how he acts at a yogurt shop, or a football game? In public? Out of public? This website is obsessed with the Apple founder.

A centuries-old box of silver coins found, while clearing for a parking lot in Jamaica. (The worker was breaking up some ruined concrete columns.) Could they have come from a monastery that is thought to have been there, originally? Finders are not always keepers, though -- in the Jamaica case, the coins belong to the landowner, not the 19-year-old wielding the sledgehammer.
    (If you enjoy reading about treasure troves, don't miss this long and involved explanation of the Staffordshire Hoard, found in a vacant field in England in 2009. Some scattered pieces were found years later.)
    Or these gold coins, just found recently on Florida's Treasure Island (Sebastian shore) by treasure hunters:

Visual Catnip -- several minutes of "small, very fast birds" for you and  your favorite cat:

Charley isn't the only one in the Brick house struggling with allergies. We all have fussed with swollen eyes and scratchy throats the past few days. (What in the world has suddenly bloomed, to cause us so much trouble?)  Better that, than what Johnny Rivers has...

Have a great week.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

What A Week!

Thank God it's almost over.

This week, I:

*drove ANOTHER 1300 miles or so to get home from Michigan and Indiana.
   (I'd already driven 1200 miles in a day or two the week before.)

*somehow got two guest bedrooms cleaned and tidied up

*brought the Mama back, to stay through August (bedroom #1)

*had our nephew come to visit (bedroom #2)

*somehow managed to get a birthday dinner out, plus presents, for Daughter #2

*got way less sleep all week than I needed, and...

*slowly started to catch up on put-aside business matters

There's much more to go, but at least I'm making progress.
Hopefully, you are too.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff...Yes, I Know It's Thursday

Exhaustion. Being pulled in several different directions.
     I drove 18 hours Tuesday, starting at 3 a.m. (You have to leave early, to get through Chicago -- rush hour traffic there would drive anyone crazy.) We stopped three times to sleep for 30 or so minute, and pushed on, even through a crazy rain/hailstorm that took up the sky with one big black square, shooting out lightning. We raced around its edge, catching only a few brief showers...but it was close. Really close.
    Being home is wonderful. Having The Mama here is nice, too, if only she'd stop doing the Mom thing. ('Pick up your cup, why don't you put that away, did you know you had a big stain on your shirt?' This said, by the way, after we'd been out in public for quite some time, and I could do nothing about it. 'There's a hole in your pants, I really think you should do this/that/whatever a different way, there's a car pulling out! [muffled shriek].' etc. etc.) She means well, and she's already helped a lot, putting away things and washing dishes. She'll be a big help in the long run...I just need to grow up and handle the variety of comments. (I tend to revert back to the sulky kid who doesn't like to be bossed around. Pathetic.)
     Today is Daughter #2's 27th birthday. She and The Mama are sewing up a Forties nurse's uniform for a costume party this weekend -- but with a Steampunk/Goth twist. (Think gray and black with a bright red cross.) The Mama is one of the best seamstresses I know, so Jess is getting her class from a master.
     Now, if I could only figure out how to get completely caught up on appraising stuff, PAAQT stuff...and somehow put together a nice birthday supper (with presents). Really, really fast.
     Only a few bits this week -- but they're interesting ones. I'll be back talking again shortly.

$53 million in jewels was stolen by an armed robber...at the Hotel Carlton, which was used for the backdrop for Cary Grant's inspirational To Catch A Thief. Talk about film copying reality, or vice versa.

Five things that signal you're watching a Steven Spielberg movie. And they're right on the money, too! I'd add a few more: something happens that is not quiiite normal, and kids (or people with a childlike attitude) are the ones who discover the truly wonderful things.

Some fascinating pieces from Ancestry.com:

Guess what surprise nationality Mario Lopez has?

Vanessa Williams takes a good long look at her family tree, and also finds some surprises therein.

This subject has been of great interest to me ever since the PBS special, African American Lives, hosted by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. that traced famous people's roots. He has another series, Faces of America, that looks just as interesting. (Gates is famous for another less positive incident that led to a beer summit with President Obama...go here for that report.)

"I have always believed that what brings us together is stronger than what pulls us apart. I am confident that has happened here tonight..."
                       President Obama, after the meeting with Gates


Hopefully you're having a great week.

Friday, August 2, 2013


After a night of driving, and a few hours sleep at a rest stop, I made it to Shipshewana, Indiana, a charming little town known for its Amish and Mennonite communities.
    Shipshe has an amazing flea market two days a week -- plus an antique market regularly, as well. And both just happened to occur during the PAAQT appraisers conference this week. Darn...

The only bad part is that it's been raining. A lot. We've had to duck between the raindrops crossing the street, and going on tours.

So far, we've gone on a trip to Lansing, MI, to see Michigan State's great textile collection, had classes on the Quilter's Hall of Fame, regional differences (and similarities) in Indiana quilts, and a long and varied report on Ely & Walker, whose calicoes have influenced American quilting for more than a century.
   The food's been homestyle and outstanding; mashed potatoes, crispy chicken, fresh green beans. And a piece of chocolate peanut butter pie. Oh, the torture...
   Oh, and I also got a ripping turn-of-the-century Crazy quilt top that incorporates some pieced blocks, sampler-style. (Thanks, Rebecca Haarer.)

We're having a great time at Shipshewana. Wish you were here, too.