Monday, September 30, 2013

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Bought A New Quilt!

Actually, I got two. 

This one is a Ruby McKim Bible History piece -- I've got some future plans for this pattern, and this blue-and-white beauty will fit right in.

It's redwork -- but 'blue redwork,' done in the almost-teal Dutch blues so beloved in the early 20th century. Here are some block details:
Moses in the bulrushes
Daniel in the lions' den -- and a hole. Gotta fix that.
 The quilting is more elaborate than you usually see in a quilt of this type. (Often it's meant for children.) Not bad stitching, either, which is always nice.

Quilt #2 is much older -- and both sides are interesting. On one, scrappy blocks in various c.1880-1890 fabric mixes.

The front...

On the other: a cheater print! This c.1890 version looks like Baby Blocks...or at least that's one of this pattern's names. Notice that the reds in this print are not colorfast. Got some crocking going on here.

And the back...which is almost more interesting.
Up close, the crocking is even more evident.
I'm pretty sure this quilt is tied, which means I can take it apart and have two interesting tops to work with. Both quilts have some damage, but that's okay -- I didn't pay much for them.
        While I'm waiting for the Ebay packages to arrive:

Not enough money to buy pine flooring? Make your own!  (From Shabby Creek Cottage)

Dumpster diving works nicely for redecorating, if money's tight. Check out the before/after photos on this DIY profile.  Yow -- I'd like to rummage around in her neighborhood! (From Apartment Therapy)

Living in a tiny space -- more ideas for decorating. (From the Assortment Blog)

And if that isn't enough, contest winners using small living spaces. (From Apartment Therapy)

Silver dollar soccas -- these tiny chickpea pancakes look absolutely delicious. (From 101 Cookbooks)

A surprisingly easy-to-make mermaid cake for your favorite ocean-lover. The secret? A Barbie doll...and fruit leather! (From Betty, via Frugal Upstate - thanks for the heads-up.)

Seven terrifying archeological discoveries...boy, these are weird. (From

Plus the opposite -- 10 discoveries where the places they're found are strange!

 How a mom taught him frugality -- and a dad, multiple streams of income. (From Trent over at one of my favorite spots, The Simple Dollar)

"Thinking poor" can influence foolish short-term decisions. Consider the long-term implications, instead. (From Wisebread

Paying student loans off -- fast. This could certainly apply to other debts, too. (From Making Sense of Cents) 

Stop by tomorrow; I've got a bunch of updates about past events to tell you about. 
Have a good, productive week.  

Juuuust starting to show color in the high country. About a month later than usual.

Saturday, September 28, 2013


Sweet nothings whispered in your ear this time of year...

The Brick can relate.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Another Mystery - This Time, From the Ocean

What in the world is this strange beast, caught swimming by an oil-rig camera?

A gigantic transparent manta ray?

 A Really Really Big jellyfish?

 A giant chiffon handkerchief with LED lights? (Sorry, I couldn't resist.)

You can see it via LiveLeak, if you prefer.

Was this a bigfin squid? (No samples have ever been taken, though they've been observed -- and filmed -- in the wild.)


A Historical Mystery, Played Out...

Not many people, unless they're serious chess fans (or paying attention during the first Harry Potter movie--they were used on-set), know about the late 11th or 12th century Lewis chessmen.

These strange pieces were found in 1831 in, of all places, a sandbank! A man named Malcolm "Sport" Macleod discovered them, minus board, in a dune on the Isle of Lewis on Scotland's Outer Hebrides. Sometimes they're called the Ulg chessmen, after the bay they were found by. (One story has them being scraped out by a cow.) Sport extricated the pieces from the little chamber he found them in, exhibited them, and eventually sold them to a rich collector. (Sadly, the MacLeods were among those families booted out a few years later during the Great Potato Famine.) The collection was eventually split up, sold and resold, with the majority of the pieces purchased by the British Museum in London. (Eleven are in the Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.)   The British Museum's report on the chessmen is here.

Some factors affect this set. For one, The 78 pieces (the British museum says 93) consist of eight kings, eight queens, 16 bishops, 15 knights, 12 rooks and 19 pawns. Way more pieces than needed for just one set! Some experts think these were a dealer's samples, representing up to five sets, destined for wealthy Viking settlements like Dublin. (Yes, Ireland.) 

Another is their unusual design. Some of the pieces, especially the king and queen ones, resemble similar pieces found during archeological excavations in Trondheim, Norway. Could the set have originally come from Norway, instead?

Nearly all the pieces are hand-carved from walrus ivory. (A few are carved from whale's teeth, instead.) Some show traces of red paint, suggesting that the opposing sides were actually red and white, rather than dark and white.  

All images are from Wikipedia...the queen's expression is supposed to represent meditation, the experts think. (Yeah, right...)
 The rooks are Viking 'berserkers,' the then-civilized world's most feared warrior. These are so much in the mood for attacking, they're biting their shields in fury.

Mr. Rook, in all his enraged glory. Get a hobby, man!
Chess was known during the medieval period -- but so was an Celtic variation named Fidchell. (Also spelled fidhcheall, fidceall, fitchneal or fithchill.) These pieces may have been meant for that game, instead, since Fidchell was common in Ireland and Wales before the 1200s. The game is mentioned in ancient Celtic legends, and was said to be a favorite of the gods.Chess, on the other hand, was just starting to be played in this part of Europe at this time.

Copies of the Lewish chessmen are readily available from a variety of places; the Museum of Scotland's set is copied directly via laser scan from the originals, and is thought to be one of the most authentic.

Considering that one -- just one -- Scandinavian chess piece -- most probably a queen with her attendants -- sold recently for $443,000 (see the photo below) --

Well, a few hundred dollars or less for a replica of this fascinating Lewis chessmen set is a good buy.  An excellent book on the subject: The Lewis Chessmen: Unmasked by David Caldwell. (Besides its examination of the theories and controversies connected with the set, the book includes photos of every single piece, something you won't find elsewhere.)

Where did the Lewish chessmen really come from? Who made them? What do they represent? Even if we're not sure, their wild, expressive faces are an intriguing puzzle to ponder.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Monday - No, Tuesday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Back in Business

The Brickworks offices reopened for regular hours this week -- we were on a skeleton crew last week, and closed for inventory the weeks before that, while the Brick and I visited Ireland. Piles of stuff await going through, but I've also got an armload of appraisals to double-check and type up. No sluffing off around here. Meanwhile:

Yelling at the same people you're urging to eat better on a budget? (Not to mention trying to get them to shell out money for the book, as well as watch the show.) Jamie Oliver's got me puzzled on this one.

Have you ever fallen for a scam? (From Get Rich Slowly)

Barbara Taylor Bradford is auctioning some of her jewelry. I read and reread Bradford's A Woman of Substance. What's even more fascinating: the book seems to be about some of her family members! Anyhow, if you're in the market for something of Bradford's, here's your chance. The only bad part: it doesn't seem to be auctioned off for charity. 

If you need glasses, this is something to consider -- get your first pair of glasses free when ordering from Coastal. (And you don't have to order anything besides that...) Daughter #2 is very happy with her glasses, so I just ordered a pair. (Bifocals, darn it.)

An easy way to make a loose shirt into a fitted one. (From Brown Sugar Toast)

Try this weird Scarecrow game, and you're eligible for a BOGO coupon from Chipotle!

Some of the loveliest batiks ever, from Lunn Fabrics via Robert Kaufman.

Eating (and well) on $30 a week for food, from Moneysaving Mom.  (The comments are just as good as the post.)

Joshua Chamberlain's original Medal of Honor is discovered hidden in a book...from his granddaughter's estate. We've long admired this Civil War general who participated in the Battle of Roundtop Mountain. (Oops, Woah of Nawthern Agresssion, to my Southern friends. See Beverly, I am learning!) Chamberlain was also the president of a college, and the governor of Maine, yet remained surprisingly modest. When Medals of Honors were redesigned and replaced, he was given the option of giving back the old one to get the new one -- or keeping both. Apparently he chose the latter option.

Students think their building is haunted -- turns out it's someone living in a secret apartment they didn't know existed. Strange, huh?

Tips for making great burgers, courtesy of Williams-Sonoma.

Have a great week...and enjoy Fall.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Amazing Coincidences -- And CQC's Quilt-A-Fair Canceled

News alert:  For those of you planning to attend the Colorado Quilt Council's annual Quilt-A-Fair event this weekend, save your pennies -- it's been canceled. A lot of roads are closed in that area, and the fairgrounds no longer are accessible. Wait until next year, I guess.

                                    * *  * * * * *

I just came across a list of amazing coincidences -- including two brothers killed. Each was riding the same scooter, and hit by a taxi. The same taxi. With the same driver. And the same passenger. A year apart from each other!

One of the strangest accounts, to my mind, was that of Edwin Booth, brother of John Wilkes, and an extremely famous actor in his time. (Think Tom Hanks or Johnny Depp.) Booth happened to save a young man who was accidentally knocked onto the subway tracks. Days later, Booth found out the young man's identity: Robert Todd Lincoln. Yes, that one -- son of Abraham.
     Robert Lincoln had his own set of weird coincidences, including being present (or nearby) when three different presidents were assassinated: Garfield, McKinley, and of course, his own father. Lincoln refused to meet any presidents after that -- he felt his presence was bad luck.

You'd look like this too, if you'd seen what he did

Lincoln became a businessman, the Secretary of War...and the man to put his own mother, Mary Todd Lincoln, in an insane asylum for a while. (She never really forgave him for it, either.) His grandson, 'Bud' Beckwith, the last direct Abraham Lincoln descendant, died in 1985...married twice, but no children. (A son, born to his second wife, was not his, apparently.)

Take a look.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Is It Just Me...

...or are there are some weird things going on in life right now. 

Maybe it's getting used to life in America again. Like people pushing, shoving and (if you're Gweneth Paltrow), swerving out in front of schoolbusses:

The water is receding now in Colorado...but there's a whole lot of mess left to clean up. And a surprising puzzle -- now that a number of roads, especially those up in the mountains, are washed out in places, how are people going to get to work?

Daughter #2 is going through this right now. She's the assistant manager at El Loro in Boulder...but her usual route, via bus down Boulder Canyon, is closed. And will be, for quite a while. There are other ways, but they'll take up to an hour longer, each way. And boyfriend Keith needs the Jeep for hunting. What to do?
    Here's a recent photo of Angel and Keith.

They've been hunting now for a few weeks (archery season), but all Angel's gotten out of it are bruises from wrist to elbow. (She keeps forgetting her armguard.) Oh, and some close encounters with elk and deer.

Speaking of hunting, all the anti-gun advocates are shocked -- SHOCKED, I tell you! -- that two Colorado state senators who led the changes in gun laws lately were recalled. (The senators, not the laws.) I'm not surprised at all, quite frankly. Before you put on your Outraged mask, take a moment to reflect on this:
    *Many gun owners are just fine with security checks and references
    *Many take extra care to not only safely handle their own weapons...but go to class to do so.
    *Many keep guns and ammo separate, and/or locked safely away.

Colorado's laws were changed by people who apparently never went hunting in their lives -- because some of the laws are the least-practical there could be. Some are downright stupid, e.g. characterizing some hunting guns as "automatic weapons." The Poster Boy for Stupid Gun Laws: you are not allowed to loan any gun to someone for more than 72 hours.
     Hmmm. Any gun. How often have we, or people we know, borrowed shotguns for hunting? A lot. Most people go hunting for a week. (Do the math.)
     Colorado's sheriffs are torn on how to handle these new regulations, with some saying they won't enforce them. 

Ok - tougher laws, with more time for security checks. (The latter are ok with me, by the way.) Let's see...
     Have we suddenly seen a decrease in gun-related incidents, thanks to all this increased regulation?
     Would decreasing access to guns for the law-abiding citizen mean that they have less of a chance to defend themselves?

Hmmm....let's ask the Navy Yard victims that one...the James Holmes theater victims, too.

Rant over. Here's one of the photos we took on the recent trip to Ireland. I'll have more, plus a report on our trip, shortly. Back to cleaning up and ironing.

Connemara, Ireland...and a view of the ruined D'Arcy castle (but not Elizabeth Bennett's honey)


Monday, September 16, 2013

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: It's Nice to Be Home

And not sitting on a plane somewhere! 

The rain has stopped...and once the floodwaters completely recede, then the cleanup will start in Colorado. It's going to be a lot of work. I am very grateful we, as well as the girlies, are ok. But a lot of people aren't. Because we live in such a dry climate, nearly every person in this state does not have flood insurance. And guess what's excluded on nearly all insurance policies?!? 
     While I wash clothes, find eggs (the chickies are getting sneaky at hiding them) and generally catch up, here are bits and pieces gleaned from the Internet.

College students (and others) -- absentminded behavior, as well as trusting strangers, is going to get your identity stolen! Donna Freedman's got some good tips here...

Fat-shaming: in other words, ridiculing people who aren't reed-thin and bulimic. As a rather plump person right now (hopefully getting less so!), I can relate to the common sense in this article.

How this guy paid off $30,000-plus in debt. (From the Debt Princess)

And a bunch of stuff from yours truly, including the merits of traveling alone, Summer's bounty captured, and whether you should keep a second car -- or not. (from Midlife Finance) 
    My other gig, on Penny Thots, has produced such goodies as things colleges wish your student would NOT bring, dumpster diving and the joys of scavenging fruit(More posts are at both websites, in case you're curious.)

Out of the Brickworks vault:  living with people who scare you.  
    Susan Klebold's essay, "I Will Never Know Why," courtesy of Oprah Magazine and about Susan's son Dylan (and the Columbine massacre) is along these same lines. This intelligent, thoughtful woman argues that she never knew her son's murderous intents. (She also hints that he wouldn't have done it without his friend Eric's influence -- something I'm less apt to agree with.) A fascinating article.

 The Simple Dollar's reader mailbag posts. These show up every Monday and Thursday, and range from how to deal with debt, to recipes and Trent's favorite games. (His daily posts are often good, too, like this one on The Gospel of Jeff and the ballad of Joe and Mike.)  I try not to miss a single one -- you should read them, too!

Fall is definitely here in Colorado, though it's late -- the hummingbirds are still here (they normally leave around Labor Day), and the leaves are juuust starting to turn. (I suspect those last few weeks of 90-degree temps, while we were in Ireland, slowed things down.) 
     In spite of the flooding, it's still lovely. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

It's Still Raining back at 11 p.m. last night from Georgia. (I had a great time, friends at the Southeastern Museum of Quilts & Textiles -- thanks for asking me!)
    Slept in (a little). Still not sure what time it is, or where I am at any given moment. Am hoping to steady that out this coming week. It's weird, waking up and not knowing where you are. 

In case you've been living under a rock, Colorado has been dealing with torrential rains -- in many cases, we've been getting in just a few days what we'd normally have in six months or more time. Colorado is technically considered 'high desert,' and more than a brief shower is unusual for us.

Welcome to unusual -- as in big-time flooding. Roads and bridges washed out. People being rescued by helicopters and boats.

Our home in Castle Rock is unscathed, though damp -- no flooding around here yet, at least, though I feel sorry for the neighbors at the foot of the steep hill we live on . They get whatever sluices down.
     Our girlies are all right, too. But many people are not. And it's continued to rain, off and on.

It's the first time I can ever remember where people are praying for it not to rain! Thankfully, it's coming slower. But the Big Thompson river, Boulder Creek and other places continue to run fast and swollen. Roads have literally disappeared in spots, as well as bridges. Thankfully, people are generally ok, although we have had a few deaths. But very, very few have flood insurance.

Say a prayer tonight for your friends in Colorado -- they could use it.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Georgia on My Mind

Still working at the Southeastern Quilt & Textile Museum in Carrollton, GA.

Did a lecture tonight...and tomorrow will be hanging out at the museum's newly-opened Crazy exhibit. Stop by and say hi!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Where Am I? Here (Wherever That Is...)

...yep, I'm back!

We came home from Ireland in the middle of a thunderstorm. DIA was shut down because of the storm -- the plane circled for a while, then ran out of gas and had to go to Colorado Springs to wait and get refueled.

Voila -- we get home all right. And only 2 1/2 hours late.

Was Ireland wonderful? You bet. (And yes, I'll pass on a report.)

But yesterday I had to fly to Georgia for a teaching/lecture gig at the Southeastern Quilt and Textile Museum in Carollton, GA. (If you're in the Atlanta area, come on Friday night for a free lecture on Crazy quilts!)

Class today was relaxed and fun -- and we have stuff EVERYWHERE.
All the elements for a great Crazy quilt class.

More tomorrow, when I can figure out what time it is, and where I am. (The bod doesn't have a clue yet.)