Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Where Bigfoot Goes in the Spring... you know.

To Boulder, Colorado, on the Pearl Street Mall.  (Hey, he enjoys tulips, just like us.)

And hanging out with Daughter #2. 

Who is a brat, for sending this to her mother, the True Believer.

Happy May Day, Petunia...

Cold Nights, Cinco de Mayo...and Enchiladas! it cold around here. 

It's not snowing anymore, but we've had cheek-nipping, hair-whipping, door-banging wind for the past few days. The chickens don't act like they mind it -- but their egg production is way down. I've taken to feeding them bits and pieces of Easter ham fat, just to keep their strength up.

The 'baby' chicks, now teenagers, are doing great. They strut around their coop, and peck at anything that moves.

It's a good night for crunchy, garlicky enchiladas, like this "No-roll" version, courtesy of Betty Crocker. Cinco de Mayo (May 5) is coming up, and it might be a good recipe for later., as well.

(Or try any of these other enchilada dishes, courtesy of Betty, that Mexican senorita.)

No-Roll Mexican Rice Enchiladas

1 box (6.4 oz) rice and vermicelli mix with Spanish seasonings
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 1/4 cups water
1 can (19 oz) Old El Paso® mild enchilada sauce
1 can (16 oz) pinto beans, drained, rinsed
1 can (11 oz) Green Giant® SteamCrisp® Southwestern style corn, drained
1 package (8.2 oz) Old El Paso® flour tortillas for soft tacos & fajitas (ten 6-inch tortillas)
2 cups finely shredded Mexican cheese blend (8 oz)

  • 1 Spray 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray. In 12-inch nonstick skillet, cook rice and vermicelli with butter over medium heat until rice mixture is golden brown, stirring frequently. Stir in water and seasoning mix from rice box. Heat to boiling. Cover; reduce heat to low. Cook 15 to 20 minutes or until rice mixture is tender. Stir in 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce, the pinto beans and corn.
  • 2 Heat oven to 350°F. Place about 1/2 cup rice mixture on center of each tortilla; top rice mixture in each tortilla with about 1 tablespoon of the cheese. Fold each in half. Arrange tortillas in 2 rows of 5 in baking dish, placing tortillas open end up, slanting and overlapping. Pour remaining enchilada sauce evenly over enchiladas. Cover tightly with foil.
  • 3 Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until hot and sauce begins to bubble. Uncover; sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake uncovered about 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. 
  • Invite 3 friends over, crack open the tequila, and enjoy!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Spring Decorating

Icy winds and snow are buffeting our part of Colorado right now...but the ground is warm, plants are leafing out, and I know spring will reappear. Sometime. 

A wreath from a garden hose for our front door, as a reminder?

Yes...and it's easy, too.

Thanks for the idea, Create.Craft.Love!

Kentucky Fried Chicken Two-Piece Meal BOGO...Yum!

Crunchy, spicy...what's there not to love about KFC? 

Now, print out this coupon, and you've got two 2-piece meals for the price of one.

Including grilled chicken, too. (Yup, that's tasty, as well.)

Coupon's good through May 11, 2014. If you buy a Sunday newspaper -- or can still get your hands on a copy -- there were more free BOGO coupon inserts in the Parade and USA Weekend magazines.

If you enjoy saving money...try visiting my other blogs, both called "Savings Site." Either Savings Site blog (#1 or #2) passes along the word on freebies, free events and valuable coupons.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Housewifey Stuff

It's been a quiet week in Lake Woebegone, my hometown. 

Actually, it hasn't -- I've had three long appraising sessions, mostly on quilts, but also including a wide variety of antiques and collectibles. Ever try analyzing cut glass, dolls, quilt tops, antique bottles, and old red-handled sleds...all in the same hour?
      I have. 

     And I helped out with our church's tenth anniversary celebration yesterday, as well. So did the Brick. After the festivities were over, we staggered home and took a four-hour nap. It was wonderful. 

     My busyness, though, has made this week's Stuff list a little thin on top. It will be richer next week -- promise. Meanwhile, I've been hanging out wet clothes in the brisk, chilly wind, and cleaning up all sorts of dustbunnies (or dustdoggy fur). The Brick just got home, so it's off to load the dishwasher and finish making supper. We had bits of snow swirling around yesterday among the bright green grass -- I'll bet we get more this week.
    Updates, in case you're wondering:

*The baby chicks are now fully-feathered, and sneaker than the dickens. They keep trying to slide through little spaces. I found one wandering around, put her back, went to do something -- and two more were out. The stinkers. They don't seem to notice the long as we keep the heatlamp shining into the coop at night.

*Our cousin Joe Kelly is still missing. He's been gone now for two weeks.

*If you're headed (or at) the American Quilter's Society conference in Paducah, KY, take a look at the Museum of the American Quilt's invitational exhibit that's a homage to Libby Lehman. (Who is still recovering, by the way, though she's doing better.) You'll find a quilt from yours truly, "A Crazy Tribute to Libby," in the mix.

The winners of the Denver Post's 'Peeps Diorama' contest! (Yes, we're weird here in Colorado. And no, it's not due to the constant pot fumes, either.) What's funniest to me -- the grand prize winners were a group of very educated and savvy professionals from the Denver Art Museum's conservation center! I met a number of these people recently while doing some consulting for the museum...they're smart and very enjoyable to be around. But winning with Peeps!?!  :)

11 signs that spring's (finally) arrived in Alaska. (From Donna Freedman) 

50 family-friendly things you can do..for $10 or less. (From MoneySaving Mom).

Becoming self-sufficient. From yours truly at Midlife Finance. You might also find my posts on tiny houses and men, women and money interesting.

Cake - pictured on BeatFM105's Facebook page:

Saturday, April 26, 2014

A Little Change Can Change Your Life

Do you pick up pennies off the ground?

Donna Freedman does. 

In her post for Get Rich Slowly, "Why I Still Pick Up Pennies," Donna says:

"I pick up road pennies with copper coatings ravaged by traffic. I fish nickels out of puddles. I’ve spied dimes glinting across parking lots. I rescue quarters from bus-stop gutters.
Occasionally I find paper money, usually one-dollar bills. This year was unusual because I found a $10 and a $20 bill along with 23 quarters, 52 dimes, 15 nickels and 288 pennies."

Do the math: almost $50, just in a year of casually looking. Hardly spare change! As Mr. points out, picking up even one penny translates out to good wages. Don't believe him?
    "It takes about one second to pick up a penny when you see it. So what is that per hour? 
$00.01 x 1 second x 60 x 60 = $36.00/hour"

Cuban friends I met in Florida were very insistent about picking up coins. For one thing, they insisted that leaving money on the ground actually showed disrespect. (They were equally point-blank about not leaving purses and wallets on the floor -- same issue.) Why would money want to stay with you, if you didn't show respect for it?

I'm not sure about money having feelings...but I have noticed that coins, regularly salvaged and as faithfully saved, can add up to a substantial sum. This guy came up with $200, which financed a vacation trip. Others have collected spare change to beef up their emergency funds, or pay for Christmas or anniversary presents. Here are ways to do it:

*Glance at the ground every so often. Look for glints in the sun (coins) or fluttering (bills). My mom found a $5 bill on a cruise ship hallway floor once; no doubt dropped by some boozy gambler.

*Check under chair and couch cushions. (Don't miss looking underneath the furniture, either.) Coat pockets, inside drawers, in the bottoms of purses...these all are fertile ground for spare change. If you're donating items, check them first before bagging them up. This also goes for moving: a handful of change fell out of a bag of discards I was taking to the dumpster for our daughter. Don't miss a cent.

*Empty your pockets - every single night. Don't spend your change -- put it away, instead.

*Find places to keep what you find. A bank by the washing machine. (Another place where change often turns up.) A jar or box on your dresser, for money from your pockets. And of course, there's always: a piggy bank!

I also keep some cash in a sugarbowl, more as a joke than anything. But even that adds up, after a while.

Put your money where it does some good. Banks and credit unions will often take bags of coins free of charge, if you're a member -- deposit the proceeds in a savings account. That way, your cash will be ready for the next emergency, vacation or special project. Do this quarterly, at least -- you'll be amazed at how quickly your money adds up. (There's also Coinstar -- but it charges a fee, with rare exceptions.)

Use at least some of your discovered funds to help others. Donna Freedman donates her found cash to a worthy cause every year. We use our 'washing machine money' (about $25) for a Christmas Angel present -- we send gift cards or small presents anonymously over the holidays. The joy this small action brings is surprisingly large.

See? Even a small amount of change can be a positive one. Mr. Penny Picker-Upper says, "People who pick up pennies are luckier than people who do not pick up pennies. Of we don't believe in luck. We simply believe that opportunities present themselves to people who are observant, in-tune with their surroundings, and open to the possibility of happiness in their world Finding and picking up a penny is a little message to you that you are on the right track in life."

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Not That You'd Know Anyone Like This...

Some of my readers? Here and elsewhere? Hmmm....

Update on Joe Kelly

Our cousin is still missing. 

Nothing's been seen of him since early in the week -- and that was only one sighting. He's been gone for nearly 1 1/2 weeks now.

You can read the initial report here. 

And here's the update. 

If you notice Joe or his truck, please let us know.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Have You Seen This Man?

Our cousin, Joe Kelly, has been missing from his home in Billings, MT since last Monday...

He may have been seen yesterday (4/20) -- but it's not certain.  The vehicle he was driving is behind him in the photo.
    Cousin Jane and her son Miles are worried...please write me asap, if you've seen Joe.

go here for the video.

Quick - Register Before 4/23!

Target is offering a free one-year credit monitoring service, if you've used a credit card at their stores. 

It's easy to register...and you don't have to worry about submitting receipts or any such rigamarole. Just go here and register -- but do it quickly. Their offer expires after Wednesday (4/23).

A Thought...

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Spring-ing into Gigs

It's been a long few weeks. 
     I'm grateful I didn't head to Paducah this year, for the annual American Quilter's Society funfest...not sure I could have done it. I find myself increasingly exhausted, just keeping up with the batch of gigs that's come along in March and April. After Deer Trail and Estes Park, I did another talk at the Byers library on "Quilts with Secrets." It was made even more interesting, by someone bringing her family's Crazy quilt for me to puzzle over. She planned to finish it, and wasn't sure where to head next. 
     I brought some old handkerchiefs, too, just to pique people's interest. One was an 1850 treasure from a sailor's estate -- it was a map of England, so he could make his way around whenever he landed there at port! 
     This week is full of appraising gigs -- but at least I get to stay at home. Sort of. Meanwhile:

What it's like to live in your New York City. On a related note:

Waking up in Wal-mart. The parking lot, that is. A photographer spent three weeks traveling to various lots...and here are the people he found. (I wonder if he hit our local Wally -- it's on a hill, and has an incredible view of the mountains. My folks used to joke that they would take their RV around the country, and just stay in Wal-Mart parking lots. Obviously, some people do just that.)

What vehicles should last the longest? Five Cent Nickel weighs in with the top five (actually six).

Ten things not to buy in 2014. (Well, at least to think harder about before you get out your wallet.) 

A couple of 17th century pirate hiding spots rediscovered in Ireland. Complete with concealed steps and niches for lanterns.

I've grown to love this enigmatic country. You would, too.

Ten amazing underwater discoveries. Cities, planes...even two locomotives no one can figure out!  And from the same site:

Ten lesser-known American mysteries. Including missing treasure, mysterious deaths...and another Bigfoot sighting!  (Or have fun with these other Bigfoot sightings from around the world.)

The 2014 Pulitzer Prize winners. Including a guy from the Gazette in Colorado Springs!

"Help! My significant other makes me pay for everything." Advice from Making Sense of Cents. (Ta da -- not having to deal with this is one of the perks of true partnership.  We deal with things together.)

How to make money buy happiness. And it's not by buying what you think! (From Mr. Money Mustache) 

Nine ways to get stuff for free from Amazon. I've earned literally hundreds of dollars of giftcards from Swagbucks over the years -- you can, too, and it's really easy. Click on the 'Swagbucks thang' at right to learn more. (From Cha-Ching on A Budget.)

The art of asking for a discount. I'd never thought of asking about leftover breadsticks at Pizza Hut! (From Save Outside the Box)

Reclaimed wood projects. I love Funky Junk Interiors' stuff anyways -- all that texture and patina -- but she really shines in this area. And so do her contributors, including this wonderful spool table. ( me ideas...) Plus, if you're going to work with reclaimed wood, a way to:

Minimize 'tearout' (splinters) and raggedy areas. (From Follow Your Heart Woodworking)

Quilt-Speak: a graceful (and grateful) look at how one person began quilting -- and appraising. (Thanks to my friend and colleague Ann Nash.)

Could there be money hidden in your walls? (From the Penny Hoarder)  A girl wrote me one time -- she and her husband were renovating, and when they broke the wall open, a newspaper clipping floated down at their feet. It was a quilt pattern. The girl was a quilter, had thought they might have a resident ghost...and figured "Lucy" wanted her to have the pattern!

Have a great week.  

Friday, April 18, 2014

Tulips Are Blooming In...

Springtime breezes bring up a cheerful flower that's surprisingly durable: the tulip

These blooms, from the genus tulipa, come in a whirlwind of colors. Once planted, the bulbs will produce a flower, year after year. In fact, some countries produce swaths of blossoms every spring. Holland is famous for its multi-colored tulip fields, which are a major tourist draw. Like here.

Although tulips were raised in Persia, much earlier, they aren't mentioned in print until 1559. They gradually gained prominence and interest until their peak in the early 1600s, when tulip-collecting became a frenzy. Tulip bulbs then were literally worth their weight in gold! They were also used as a kind of currency.
     Eventually the speculating imploded, and tulip bulbs became affordable for everyday people. They've remained especially popular in the Netherlands, one of the countries most involved in the mania; in fact, many cultivars are known as "Dutch tulips." You can see the world's largest permanent display in Holland at the Keukenhof.


 Growing up in Michigan, we often visited Holland in springtime for the tulip festival. Fields of blooms, wheel-turning windmills, and pretty Dutch girls sweeping the streets, wearing klompen (wooden shoes). The song they sang still reverberates:

"Tulips are blooming in Holland -- Michigan..."

Today, a ten-dollar bill will buy a whole basket of tulip bulbs -- most are 50 cents or less a bulb. Although they're easiest to find in the fall, just before the first snowfall, you'll find tulip bulbs now, as well. Dig a shovelful of dirt, then plant them in clumps. Or throw them up in the air, then dig holes and plant them where they fall. You won't see growth until next spring...but it will be worth waiting for.

Even better, plant tulips near hibernating bushes and perennials. They'll be a cheerful show while more warm-weather greenery are growing into place. Then the leaves will gradually fade from sight, while summer flowers start blooming.

While you're waiting, there's always:

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Five Things Learned from Mr. Bean

 What can you learn from a gawky misfit who loves to shove his way to the front, play mean tricks on people...and who's obsessed with a three-wheeled blue car?

Plenty, it turns out.

Mr. Bean has been duckwalking his way through Rowan Atkinson's imagination since Atkinson was studying for  a degree in Electrical Engineering at Oxford. Bean (yes, his first name is "Mister") came out of an early comedy sketch. In his television series, he literally falls out of the sky, while a choir intones (in Latin): "Behold the Man who is a Bean."

If you've never seen Mr. Bean episodes, you're in for a treat. His pushy, juvenile ways are very, very funny. (Mr. Bean episodes can be accessed via Youtube here.)

I've learned a few things from this strange little man.

*Don't be afraid to improvise. When Bean's suitcase can't hold a pair of long-legged pants, he turns them into shorts. When he can't find a paintbrush, he uses his Teddy. And when that takes too long to paint his apartment, he plants a large firecracker in the paint can. (Okay, that is a little weird.)  The point: he's not afraid to try something unusual. Often it works!

*Frugal is as frugal does. Mr. Bean takes advantage of sales. He's careful to spend only what he can afford. Which means that his main present in his Christmas stocking is...the second one! ("Christmas socks," he exults, as he tries them on.) He also wears the same outfit, over and may get a little boring, but it becomes his trademark look. (And saves money, to boot.)

*Take joy in the little things. A fish sandwich enjoyed on a park bench (albeit from a live goldfish!); a cupcake, topped with a cherry, munched in the park. Christmas carolers at your door, and a platoon of marching soldiers. Mr. Bean enjoys it all.

*Value the people in your life. This lesson's learned the negative way -- Bean is more apt to take advantage of his friends...the dentist...his fellow churchgoers and exam-takers. If only he showed a little more consideration, he wouldn't be alone so much of the time! (Or get his car smashed up as often.)  Truth is: we need others, just as much they need us.

*Be yourself. Maybe Bean is strange -- but his odd dealings with life's problems have translated into dozens of episodes, both live and animated, plus two popular movies. (It also gave Atkinson entree into other movie roles, including his James Bond-mocking stint as Johnny English.) The series won several international awards, and is considered one of the most popular English comedies ever.

In 2012, Atkinson announced that Mr. Bean was retiring. "The stuff that has been most commercially successful for me – basically quite physical, quite childish – I increasingly feel I'm going to do a lot less of," Atkinson told the Daily Telegraph's Review. "Apart from the fact that your physical ability starts to decline, I also think someone in their 50s being childlike becomes a little sad. You've got to be careful."

He's got a point...but I'm going to miss Mr. Bean.

Easter Bunnies...From Marshmallows!

Additions for your family's Easter baskets can start to be pricey. These Easter bunnies are easily made from plain ol' marshmallows; they're a cheerful addition to Easter table decorations, too.

EASTER BUNNIES (from Taste of Home)

  • 2/3 cup vanilla frosting
  • 30 large marshmallows
  • Pink gel or paste food coloring
  • Red and pink heart-shaped decorating sprinkles
  • 60 miniature marshmallows 
  1. Frost the tops of 12 large marshmallows; stack a large marshmallow on top of each. Quarter the remaining large marshmallows; set aside for ears. Tint 1/4 cup frosting pink. Cut a small hole in the corner of a pastry or plastic bag; place pink frosting in bag.
  2. Pipe a ribbon between the stacked marshmallows for bow tie. With white frosting, attach red hearts for eyes and a pink heart for nose. Pipe pink whiskers and smile.
  3. For ears, pipe the center of quartered marshmallows pink; attach to head with white frosting. With the remaining white frosting, attach the miniature marshmallows for legs and tail. Let stand until dry. Yield: 1 dozen. 

More bunny ideas here and here, too. Even marshmallow bunny paws.
Guess people really like these little guys! 

P.S. This is a crossover post from my articles at the Holiday Goodies blog.    Enjoy...

Can I have a marshmallow, too?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

I Have A Headache...


Taxes, reports, a quilt to embellish and finish for a challenge. Oh yes, and schlep Daughter #1 to the doctor's office this afternoon. (Her shoulder is really healing nicely, after surgery in January.)

Why do I have to take time to sleep?

Why do we have to pay taxes?

Why did I procrastinate on some of this stuff?!?

We've been watching Mystery Science Theatre 3000 a lot lately. It actually makes more sense during times like this -- especially at 1 a.m. in the morning. Or 2 a.m. Or 3:30 a.m.

Don't ask how I know that.

 (This is my favorite one. Yes, it's really silly.)


This song is dedicated to those of you out there in similar predicaments:

Now get to work. And give me a call at midnight, if you're still up. We'll go out for coffee or something.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Monday Stuff on the Way to Other Stuff: Well, That's Spring

Eight inches of snow yesterday, with a nice thick coating of ice, as well. Friend Jo and I went to the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum's "Sunday at the Museum" talk about "Men with Quilts." My colleague Steve was one of the co-presenters. He did a great job, but we left soon after. 
     For one, I'd been up working until 3:30 a.m. that morning. (And dozed off a few times -- sorry, Steve.) For another, the snow was coming down fast. It was a good thing we did -- we came across two multi-vehicle crashes, with a sprinkling of in-the-ditch accidents, as well. I was grateful to finally make it home. 
     Had to take a car to the dealer this morning, and I got there 30 min. late -- Denver was riddled with accidents. Now, though, the sun's out, the streets are nearly dry, and the snow is melting fast. I'm glad I didn't plant yet - temps went down to 17 or so last night. By the end of the week, it should be back up in the 60s or 70s.
     Spring? Winter? Welcome to Colorado in the springtime. 

Now on to the Stuff:

The best chicken breed for the apocalypse. (From Backyard Chickens)

 Get your date  something she'll never forget -- a fried chicken prom corsage!

Two interesting questions. What advice would you give? (From Making Sense of Cents)

When the 'check engine' light comes on, DON'T ignore it... or any of those other pesky routine maintenance issues for your car. (From Donna Freedman)

Ten inspiring spaces for small balconies. (Apartment Therapy)

 Also good -- Gardening without a garden, using your patio or balcony. (Also from AT)

A genius poker player who's being sued -- looks like he may have been cheating. Speaking of:

The German champions of the Bali worldwide bridge tournament have been deposed, as well-- turns out they were convicted of cheating. What tripped them up: communicating by coughing. One of the American team they beat got suspicious when those coughs signaled certain actions -- and their fraud was confirmed by videotape.
    What's extra sad: these Deutschers were respected doctors at home. Why did they do it??

The oldest-ever message in a bottle.

Five recent cases of looted art being recovered. If you enjoyed Monuments Men, you'll find these interesting.  (Also - the Nazi art stash just found, hidden in a German apartment.)

Easter basket goodies that won't bust your budget. (From Monroe On A Budget)

And from yours truly --

Men, Women and Money. (From Midlife Finance)
The world according to Suze. Orman, that is. (Also from MLF)

Daffodils, for beauty and income.    (From Penny Thots)

Rhubarb - the springtime special.   (Also from PT)

Have a good week.

Friday, April 11, 2014

If You've Been A Teacher...'ll want to take time to watch this.

One of the most amazing commentaries on the value of teaching that I have ever seen.

Twilight Zone's "The Changing of the Guard"

    (with Donald Pleasance)

And something else that came out of it - this wonderful poem by Howard A. Walter:

 I would be true, for there are those who trust me;

 I would be pure, for there are those who care;

 I would be strong, for there are those who suffer;

 I would be brave, for there is much to dare.

 I would be friend of all— the foe, the friendless;

 I would be giving, and forget the gift;

 I would be humble, for I know my weakness;

 I would look up, and laugh, and love, and lift.

Chicks And Cars!

Chickens have been on my mind a lot lately. 

Partly because of the mysterious disappearance. Partly because the chicks are getting bigger and bigger -- and it's supposed to snow Sunday. I can't very well put them in the little coop...but they're starting to try to fly out of the brooder bin, as well. One actually made it yesterday, but was so confused at her success that I was able to grab her in time.

     Mercedes-Benz has been thinking about them, too. Chickens, that is.


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Introducing A Quilting Friend

     I have an interesting friend I'd like to share with you.

I first met Ann Hazelwood through our mutual AQS (or American Quilter's Society) certifications in appraising. But Ann is much more than that. She has been a member of the AQS appraiser certification committee, fellow member of PAAQT (our appraisers group), a shopowner, designer, collector…and novelist! Her Colebridge Community series features four quilt-related novels, so far, including her newest: The Jane Austen Quilt Club. That book will be celebrated at Paducah, Kentucky’s AQS conference this year with “An Evening with Jane Austen.” As a fan of Dear Jane for decades, I’m looking forward to exploring Ann’s connection.
     Writing is an an important part of Ann's life. “Quilts are my love; writing is my passion!” she explains. I asked her several questions about her work; she has given me permission to share her answers with you.

      When you ask how one gets started with a certain venue, it doesn't seem to ever have a beginning and an end, especially when it's something you love doing and it's something you have always done. I have been writing since I was six years old. My biggest fear was not ever having enough paper. I still crave paper today!
     In my business of thirty years (Patches etc.), I produced a 12-page tabloid Victorian newsletter, something I relished. We converted that to a weekly e-mail newsletter, and proudly obtained more than 3,000 quilters on the list nationwide. That was fun.

     I have been with three publishers in my career. My interest in tourism was vital to my business. I wrote five Missouri travel books over a period of time, that I truly enjoyed.
As a quilt shop owner and appraiser for AQS, I had plenty to write about. I began with a daily calendar for AQS, then a line of small books that started with a ‘100 things’ theme.
     When AQS decided they might try fiction, my editor read The Basement Quilt, which I had just written for fun, testing my fictional skills. Little did I know then that a series was born. AQS warned me I was a guinea pig for them, but to our amazement, these novels have been very successful. The Jane Austen Quilt Club is fourth in the series. [The others are The Potting Shed Quilt and The Funeral Parlor Quilt.] I have written each book on its own merit, so one does not have to read the previous one. The characters have people engaged, as if they know them personally. There will be three more to follow in the series, as of now.
     I’m often asked for advice by would-be writers. Many have ideas in their heads that never make it to paper, so that would be the first piece of advice --Get it all out and don't worry about publishing or editing till much later. 

   Paducah 2014 offers a unique venue this year at the Maiden Alley Movie House downtown on Wed. April 23, from 5-7:30 p.m.. It's called “A Night with Jane Austen.” Besides showing the movie AUSTENLAND, Karen Gloegger [author of Jane Austen Quilts Inspired by Her Novels] and myself will be giving a short talk about our books related to Jane. Tea will be served, and we’ll be signing books, as well. I hear some are dressing in costume. It is a period in time where we are certainly enjoying the English right now. Jane has something in common with the location of Downton Abbey, so all quite fun!

   I am fortunate to have another career that lends itself to retirement mode. I still travel extensively, lecturing, appraising, and of course promoting my series.
They say ‘Write about what you know’ -- so I have. Living and doing business on a historic main street, quilts, paranormal activity, family, friendships and yes, even romance… these are all on the table. I hope you will visit the Colebridge Community soon.


 You can contact Ann via the following: 

Ann M Hazelwood, LLC
420 Clark Street
St. Charles, MO 63301

Be sure to stop by her website, ANN HAZELWOOD SERVICES:

Estes Park...And Chickens

     I took a long drive to Estes Park last night, to see the girls at the Estes Valley Quilt Guild.

The Powers That Be are still working on US 36, including blasting. Basically, they're moving the road further away from the river, which caused such havoc during Colorado's flooding last year. The effects of the flood are slowly being erased, but there are still a number of things that have changed -- probably permanently. One: Estes Park's Fish Creek has silted over in spots. (It's called "Estes Beach" by the locals.) Another: the piles of trunks and branches thrown up along the river. It's clear that a lot of damage happened -- fast.

If you're thinking of visiting Estes, or its crown jewel, Rocky Mountain National Park, have no fears - the town (and the park) are definitely back in business. You'll just need to take a slightly longer route, that's all.

We had a long discussion on Pioneer Quilts (based on my book, Quilts of the Golden West). Thank you, guild members, for your gracious hospitality! (Here's Judy Andersen's take on my visit.) And here's by Judy A.

     I had some further company on the way out of town -- 6 'teenager' elk who took their time strolling across the street for a snack. (Needless to say, we had to wait.)
      I had a great time. 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Often, when I'm out on a teaching gig, something weird happens at home. This trip was no exception. Said the Brick, after loving hugs were dispensed, "Do you know what happened to the third Red?"

Sure enough, we're short a chicken -- one of the three Rhode Island Reds is simply not there anymore. No piles of feathers, no body -- nothing. One of our black Australorps had a handful of feathers pulled off her back last week. (No clue how this happened, either.) We've been extra busy, and instead of counting, I've just closed the coop door.
     Guess I should have paid more attention.

This is frustrating. The chickens are starting to lay more, now that the weather is warming up. We've been feeding everybody all winter. So now that they're laying of the best layers disappears.
     See what I mean? Frustrating.

I'm guessing the culprit is our neighborhood fox. Charley the dog has generally been vigilant...what happened? Did he just slip up one night?
     Don't have a clue. 

Fortunately,  we have nine nominees waiting on the sidelines: nine Black Australorp chicks. (We had ten, but one died of pasty butt. Poor baby.) The chicks are rapidly outgrowing their fuzz in favor of feathers...and outgrowing their bin, at the same time. I desperately need to put them out in the small coop...but we're supposed to have snow this weekend.

Thanks to Keith's help, the chickenyard fenceposts and cross-posts are in place, waiting for the cedar pieces to finish off the fence. Meanwhile, the chickies roam around, pooping and (hopefully) laying more eggs.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


Got back late last night from Deer Trail...and the Crazy Quilts talk. I think the ladies (and one gentleman) had a great time, based on all the bright eyes. It was a lot of fun!
     I'm headed back to that area Saturday afternoon, to give another talk, this time on "Quilts with Secrets." (Don't ask -- you'll have to come.) In between, though, I'm headed to the Estes Park quilt guild. That's tomorrow (Wed) night.

Did I tell you we have 9 Australorp chicks, tussling and peeping down in the library? They'll go out in the small coop pretty soon.
    And surprise, surprise -- I won the Big Question in yesterday's post: Keith has been working on the chickenyard fence! Amazing...

Meanwhile, here's a very silly April Fool's blurb from Sam Adams, about their "famous" HeliYUM brand. Boy that would change the talk around the bar!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Chickenyard vs. Fireplace Insert -- Which is Best?

     I've got just a few hours before leaving for the Davies Library in Deer Trail, about an hour away. Subject: "Crazy Quilts," at 6:30 p.m. -- come on by! 
    Keith, Daughter #2's boyfriend, gave the Brick some hours of manual labor for Christmas. Now we've got a fireplace insert ready to, well...insert. But the chickens have been decimating the yard of any green stuff, as well. If I'm going to have a garden, the chickies need to be Put In Their Place. 
     Keith and Angel are here for a few days. The Brick really wants that insert taken care of. Guess which job is going to get done first? 
     While you're debating (and if you're a girl, you know exactly which will win):

30 photos of naughty dogs...including the one who pooed on the book about poo! Speaking of:

Scooter and the close call -- not to mention the Great Turkey Chase. This very funny post is courtesy of Ami Simms, my colleague and friend.

Weird airline facts I now wish I didn't know. For example: cabin lights are dimmed so you'll be able to get out of the plane more quickly. Not because you can sleep. (Silly me, to assume...)

A a wheelchair? This artist makes some very interesting visual statements.

Good old Dan Piraro is at it again, with his Bizarro blog -- this time, dealing with why there are no good photos of Bigfoot:

A jambalaya of updates, including health insurance, an update on home office deductions...and droite de suite. (Yes, I had to go back to check on spelling for that one.) All courtesy of yours truly, via Midlife Finance. You might also enjoy my thoughts on getting ready for thunderstorms and other disasters...and whatever the heck Warren Buffett is nattering about lately. 

Paula Deen's house seasoning mix. Simple, essential. (Good for gifts, too.)

Optimism that makes sense, instead of pie-in-the-sky hoping. (From Simple Dollar)

21 awful things famous people really did (and said.)

This poor guy got a chainsaw stuck in his neck. (And lived.)

Somebody else was blogging about my trip to the Downton Abbey quilt retreat! Ignore the photos...I was beat, and hoping it didn't show. (Unfortunately, it did.)

Some historians are arguing that they've found the Holy Grail! Actually, it's been around for a long time now in a museum in Spain...but misidentified, according to them.

Here it is....whaddya think? Far too gaudy for a carpenter, in its present form.
The frugal famous. From yours truly, via Penny Thots.

Sell bits and pieces of your body...for bucks!  Yes, it's all items you can grow back. (From Penny Hoarder)

Has a real chupacabra been captured?

Have a good week.