Saturday, May 31, 2014

Broaden Your Mind - Read Children's Books

You can learn a lot from them, according to Mental Floss.

I've been having a wonderful time at the North Carolina Quilt Symposium. A bunch of people are here, all trudging between buildings (okay, that part is not so good), but talking as fast as we can about the quilts we see -- plan to make -- and collect. I've seen some especially nice old chintz quilts -- did you know that this part of North Carolina, as well as South Carolina, are a hotbed for broderie perse and chintz patterns?

What a nice way to end an interesting week. Now, if I could get some sleep...

Friday, May 30, 2014

Bigfoot A Hoax. Again.

I don't want to say this. 

Good ol' Rick Dyer is smirking once again that he pulled the wool over America's collective eyes on his Bigfoot body. "Coming clean again is necessary to a new start," he wrote on his Facebook page back in April. (Or at least I was told it was on his Facebook page -- I couldn't find any confession. Just advertising for yet another Bigfoot expedition.)
The body was just a synthetic version Dyer paid to have made.

Mr. Bigfoot...or what passes for him in these wacky days

Except this time, I don't think many people believed him.

So...if we think the man's an idiot, and his BF is actually a Big Fake...did he actually succeed?

Another entrepreneur is trying his own version of Dyer's trick by announcing that a real, live Bigfoot is going to be displayed in a circus in New York, come June 7. Then released back to the wild.

Uh-huh. Go figure.

I'm still a true believer in Bigfoot. (And I'm not the only one.) Just not Big Fakes.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Update on Joe Kelly

The news has come that his wife Jane has been dreading...

Joe Kelly is dead. 

Our cousin has been missing since before Easter. He took his truck, ostensibly to run errands...and never came back. A motorist reported seeing him driving toward Columbus (Montana, not Ohio, I'd guess), but Joe wasn't using his credit cards at all. Nor was he accessing his bank account.

From the Billings Gazette newspaper article: 
At that point, she knew what the outcome would likely be. 
When Jane learned searchers had found Joe's body Wednesday in the Pryors it wasn't a surprise.
"But it was kind of a surprise he went back to the same place," she said. 
In early April, before he went missing, Joe had hopped in his truck one afternoon to go drive around south of town. Jane said at some point during the drive he got turned around and ended up in the Pryor Mountains. 
He eventually found his way out and made his way back to Billings, getting home at 1:30 a.m.
After that, Jane and Joe made an appointment with a specialist. Although Joe was only 59, he was showing distressing signs of a rapid mental decline, Jane said. 
They were hopeful the specialist would provide them with answers and maybe even treatment options. 
But the appointment never happened. It was the day Joe was supposed to see the specialist that he disappeared.

Work crews found his truck -- and Joe's body about a half-mile away. It appears his truck got stuck in the mud and snow, and Joe tried to walk out. He died of hypothermia.

Please pray for Jane, her son Miles and her mom, our Aunt Pat, while they deal with funeral arrangements...and learning to live without Joe. 

Why Lying Is Wrong - Period

Melinda Wenner Moyer's new article on Slate draws these interesting conclusions:

*Children lie.

*They do it so creatively. ("Kids who lie are demonstrating important cognitive skills.")

*Lying proves that they're developing psychologically. In other words, the "'theory of mind,' the ability to recognize that other people can have different beliefs or feelings from you...Lying also requires 'executive function,' a complex set of skills that includes working memory, inhibitory control, and planning capabilities. Your kid has to hide the truth, plan up an alternate reality, tell you about it, and remember it."

*They don't want to deal with the fallout from their actions. Normal, right? "Then, to cover up their mistakes, they’ll lie to avoid getting punished. In other words, kids lie a lot in part because they can’t help but defy you a lot, and they don’t want to suffer the consequences. Can you blame them?"

If I take Ms. Moyer's lead, I've got one basic choice.  Every time your kid lies to your face -- praise them for it! After all, they're developing psychologically and emotionally.

The question is: into what? 

  Moral, responsible adults, whose actions and words you can trust in a tight spot?

  Or people who will lie, cheat and pilfer, given the slightest opportunity?

What about the cumulative effect, when you try to remember what you lied about previously, so the next lies don't sound so bad?

What about the person who refuses to believe your honest words...because so many of your other statements ended up not being true?
What about the company who can no longer trust you to say the truth on a report, because you were busy jacking office supplies to take home, every time you could? 

What happens when you tell your kids about the mom who embezzled $60,000 from her kids' soccer league? Praise her for being creative enough to get away with it for more than two years? Say it's bad because -- like many kids' lies -- she got caught? (I'm sure she doesn't want to suffer the consequences, either. Can you blame her?)

What about the people whose lives are permanently affected by the lies you've told? (Put this woman's kids at the top of the list on that one.)

Must we all be watched and recorded -- because, especially if left to ourselves, we can't be trusted?

Lies are lies are lies -- whether kids say them, or adults say them. They're not the end of the world, of course. We've all done it, because we're human. But how you deal with your lies -- and more importantly, the fallout from them -- is what really says something about your character.

And a reputation for honesty, no matter what? Priceless.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

I Wish

We're finally having warm weather.

The lilacs are blooming with incredible sweetness. My grandma had a huge lilac bush in her Michigan front yard, and this time of year, I always think of her, digging in the vegetable garden. I won't be having a garden this year, other than tomatoes in pots on the deck. Too many teaching gigs, and helping out with the Mama after her heart surgery on June 4. (I'm here in Wilmington, NC, which is beautiful -- but muggy -- for a while first. We lugged what seemed like a million suitcases into the dorm, for teaching at the North Carolina Quilt Symposium.)

"Don't leave," the newly-greening grass seems to say. "Stay here. We'll be lush...if the chickens would let us." The yard promises warm summer nights with the Brick, sipping iced tea and looking out over the valley from our deck.

I won't be seeing it happening for a while, though. 

Here's a wonderful five-minute lounging chair to make, from Funky Junk Interiors. If you've got a sawhorse, a pallet and a cushion, you've got it made. Directions are here. 

Enjoy. Sigh.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Waddaya Mean, It's Tuesday?!?

Tonight, I went out for a fresh seafood dinner with friends...then we drove out to the ocean and took a walk on the beach.

No, I am not in Colorado.

Wilmington, NC, is my current spot, for the North Carolina Quilt Symposium. ("Noath Kay-a-laaana" for all you Nawthunas.)

Judging was today...and oh my, the quilts are lovely. (A surprising number did not include borders -- is this a North Carolina thing...or just copying the current Quiltcom-influenced style?) 
    I get a vacation day tomorrow, then it's appraising and classes through the weekend. There are class and appraisal spots left -- class spots with other teachers too, of course. Take a look at the link here, and come visit!  
     Meanwhile, here's what I noticed on the Internet. Sorry it's late -- but I had to drive more than 27 hours to get here. A day or two mentally disappeared in the process.

Should you take finance magazines' advice directly to heart, when it comes to purchasing stocks? My Money Design charted stocks that several publications were pushing, then followed those 'purchases' short-term to see how they did. The results are illuminating. 

Frozen limeade pie -- in a jar. (From Thistlewood Farms) I'm definitely making this one in the summer.

Five ways to make extra money at home. (From Len Penzo)

A little moneysaving trick that will produce great results. (From my old stomping ground, Penny Thots)

 Travel, see the world...and pay less. These retirees know how to do it. (A slide show from CNN Money). Speaking of:

A carnival of retirement. These are round robins containing a variety of posts by various bloggers. A quick way to find your favorite subjects on a theme.

Easy-to-make cinnamon knots. (From Cleverly Inspired - she's suggesting them as end-of-year teacher gifts)

All sorts of animal and bird cams. Not always live, unfortunately, but interesting, nonetheless. (From Discovery Channel)

Who's got the best vocal range, professionally speaking? Guns & Roses' front guy, Axl Rose... followed by Mariah Carey and Steven Tyler. (Even as messed up as ol' Stevie looks now?) Prince and James Brown round out the gifted list. The least-blessed include Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber. Oops.

Five lost treasures that are still out there -- two of these, I've never heard of.

How NOT to resign. If you're hoping for another job, that is.

Bibimap. Otherwise known as Korean mixed rice! This dish gives you all sorts of delicious options at a budget price.  (From Penniless Parenting)

'When I got my feelings hurt on the Internet.' A bit whiny...but she did learn from it. (From Blogher)

Six financial lessons learned from Godzilla. (From Donna Freedman - who else would be so goofy!) Puts my Mr. Bean conclusions in the dust.

Rearrange your office for more light and space -- cost: nothing. (From Thrift Cores' 'Curated Corners' section) 

Dealing with nighttime leg cramps. Also known as RLS, or 'restless legs syndrome.'

Have a great week. I'll be in touch.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Remembering Those Who Sacrificed for Us

Happy Memorial Day...

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

She Certainly Nose...

 This lovely cartoon is dedicated to my little brother. For obvious reasons. 

 from the Bizarro blog, a constant source of silliness.

...don't yell at me. I didn't write it! 

Friday, May 23, 2014

24 Steps to Home Decor Coolness

Ok, fine. These will take some $$ to accomplish. But wow, are they great!

Here's the full slideshow. A few selections are below, like this aquarium headboard:

Growing your own salad indoors:

And giving yourself Something Else to Think About when using the john:


Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Republic Will Rise Again

Look at this beauty. 

It's fine china, probably a Staffordshire piece. The inkwell set, shown in the photo below, features a women sewing, her children snuggled against the chair. The detail is incredible -- even the small cups for ink have detailed faces!

What's even more recently was raised up, after more than 150 years on the ocean floor. It was an artifact salvaged from the shipwreck of the S.S. Republic. (More artifacts here.) 
     The Republic sank shortly after the Civil War ended, with a boatload of silver and gold coins, plus all sorts of merchandise -- pressed glass candlesticks, dishes...

 And of course, this beautiful piece.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Mama Bear To the Rescue!

It's not just us human mothers who worry about their kids playing by the side of the road...especially the highway. 

Maybe I wouldn't lift my kid up by the head -- but she solved the problem nicely. Good for her.

(This was filmed in Kootenay park in British Columbia by Ricky Forbes. More here, if you're curious.)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Simplify and Substitute

     Sometimes you've got the time and energy for a lovingly-prepared, multi-flavored experience, like Parmesan Chicken Ziti, redolent with garlic and artichokes.

And sometimes you don't. 

There are ways to get around that time crunch, save more money, and still eat richly:

*Double the recipe, and freeze half for a busy day.

*Make it in one pot. (In fact, this recipe only needs a saucepan and a bowl.)

Or, even easier -- simplify! 

Here's the recipe for the Parmesan Chicken Ziti. (It's from Betty Crocker, by the way.)


4 cups water
2 cans (12 oz each) evaporated milk
1 teaspoon salt
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 lb uncooked ziti pasta
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
1 can (14 oz) Progresso artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
10 oz. shredded Parmesan cheese (about 2 1/2 cups)
2 juiced lemons (about 1/2 cup)
4 tablespoons butter
4 cups baby spinach (5 oz)
1/2 tsp. pepper

  • In Dutch oven, heat water, 1 can of the evaporated milk, the salt, garlic and pasta to simmering over medium heat. Simmer 12 to 14 minutes, stirring frequently, until pasta is tender.
  • 2 In medium bowl, beat remaining can of evaporated milk and the cornstarch; stir in chicken and artichoke hearts. Add to mixture in Dutch oven; return to simmering, and continue to simmer 1 to 3 minutes or until thickened and mixture coats back of spoon.
  • 3 Remove from heat; stir in half of the cheese and the lemon juice. Stir until cheese melts, then add remaining cheese (reserving 1/4 cup for serving, if desired) and butter; stir again.
  • 4 Add spinach, and stir until wilted. Serve with reserved cheese and pepper. 
  •  Makes 4-5 servings. 
 Use every item on the recipe list, and follow the directions -- you've got a delicious main dish. Unfortunately, it's also fairly expensive, and all tht stirring takes a while. What can you do?

*Combine steps 1 & 2 -- dump everything in together, and simmer it all for the 12-14 minutes the pasta needs for cooking. Or:
*Cook the pasta separately. Drain it, then add the other ingredients - except for half the cheese and the spinach. Simmer all together until sauce has thickened, stir in spinach and cheese, and serve.

Or substitute! Do you have one or two cups cut-up chicken (a chicken breast works, too), pork, or a can of small shrimp? Any of these would be less expensive than a rotisserie chicken. Artichoke hearts can be replaced with another firm veggie, like mushrooms, zucchini or even green beans -- or deleted altogether, still with tasty results.
     It's even easier with flavorings. Instead of garlic, garlic salt. Use bottled lemon or lime juice, instead of fresh lemons. Use whole milk (or sour cream) instead of evaporated, and mozzarella instead of Parmesan -- any of these ingredients are cheaper, and still provide good flavor.
     It's a perfect opportunity to use up leftovers, as well. Any of the light-colored meats or seafood could be used, and kale or chard could be easily used, instead of spinach. You're not wasting food. The dish will be much the same, particularly if you substitute similar texture or taste ingredients. And the taste?

Monday, May 19, 2014

Chomp Chomp


Not that I know any fat-and-happy Golden Lab/Chesapeake-named-Charley who wouldn't do the same thing...


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Sunday, May 18, 2014

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Countdown

Less than a week now before I need to head out for the North Carolina Quilt Symposium...then the Mama's surgery in Michigan. A ton of stuff to do before then. Meanwhile:

how pickpockets do it. This video report isn't pretty...but you'll learn from it.

Skillet-fried steak -- juicy, delicious and it only takes 4-5 min.Wow. (From the New York Times)

15 drool-inducing chocolate chip dessert recipes. 

A delicious (and really healthy) vegan pasta Alfredo. (From Pretty Hungry Blog)

 A kid who stood up to his bullies. Includes a surprising slideshow of celebrities who were bullied. (This slideshow will tell you more about that subject.)

A guy who catches the office a very clever way!

Four sneaky tricks car dealerships use...and how you can deal with them. (From Len Penzo)

Living in a REALLY tiny house. (from Dee Williams)

Craig Ferguson is retiring! Well, actually, he's taking a job as a game show host in December. Craig, say it isn't so...

Frugal lunchbag ideas. (From Moneysaving Mom)

The clutter's to fight it back into submission. (From Money Beagle)

A bouncy house takes flight. Three kids are injured.

Jill Abramson's fired from the New York Times...and Dean Baquet takes her place. Why is this important? Because Abramson was the first female managing editor in the long history of the august Times...and now Baquet is the first Black managing editor. how come this happened? You'll want to read this article first...then this one. Having had a pushy, dictatorial boss - who was also incredibly brilliant, and taught me so much - I would guess that Jill was much the same. Did she deserve to be fired? Probably not...because I'm guessing that her boss knew what she was before he hired her. But was she fun to work for? Probably not, either.

No news on our missing cousin, Joe Kelly. Here's his Facebook page, if you're curious. As of May 15, his credit card hadn't been used for weeks...worrying news. 

Beautiful mercury glass bird from Stow and Tell U.

Ten wonderful home libraries...these are great!

'I lied about being hurt by my teacher:' The 'Ask Prudie' columns can be interesting, but this first letter is a doozy.

Thrilled about book swaps - Penniless Parenting gives you some tips on how to do it. (She did okay on a recent produce-buying trip, too.)

Growing a family on a next-to-nothing budget. (From The Better Mom)

Have a great week.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Friday, May 16, 2014

Footprints -- And Drag Marks

Remember the lovely 'Footprints' poem?  It was written by a young girl named Mary Stevenson in 1939. This adaptation was done by Carolyn Carty in 1963:

One night a man had a dream.

He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the Lord.
Across the sky flashed scenes from his life.
For each scene, he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand:
one belonging to him, and the other to the Lord.

When the last scene of his life flashed before him,
he looked back at the footprints in the sand.
He noticed that many times along the path of his life there was only one set of footprints.

He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life.
This really bothered him and he questioned the Lord about it.

"Lord, You said that once I decided to follow you,
You'd walk with me all the way.
But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life,
there is only one set of footprints.

I don't understand why, when I needed you most, you would leave me."

The Lord replied,
"My son, My precious child, I love you and I would
never leave you. During your times of trial and
suffering, when you see only one set of footprints,
it was then that I Carried You."

Meaningful, huh?

And this, sadly, is me...

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Free Quart of Paint Saturday from True Value!

Take a minute to stop by True Value Hardware on Saturday...and you can get a free quart of easy Care Ultra Premium paint, with a coupon. Just click here -- and you're all set!

Good only on Saturday, May 17.

More News..And A Hero Cat

Cats everywhere are shocked...shocked, I tell you... that one of their number actually saved a kid from an attacking dog!

Good for Kitty.

I'm still here in Colorado. The Mama's open heart surgery has finally been scheduled -- for June 4. She wishes it would just be over, but I am grateful for the extra two weeks to get things done.

Unfortunately, it also means that I won't be back to Colorado until the end of July. All my upcoming gigs are in the East Coast; it only makes sense that I bring kits and samples for ALL the gigs, and use the Mama's house as a home base in between.

The Brick is wonderful. He's willing to keep things going here, while I take care of The Mama. He'll watch out for the dogs and chickens, as well as keep working. What a guy.

I do not look forward to the loneliness this is going to bring -- but I need to do it.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Waiting

For those of you who spent their Mother's Day out on the deck in the sun, all I can say is.... psbbbbbbbt. (sound of a very large raspberry) It started raining early in the morning, and by the time church ended, we got very large white flakes. Which are STILL coming down. We've got at least a foot of snow. Supposedly it was letting up at noon, but that was 30 min. ago, and I see no sign of it. 
    In true Colorado tradition, though, school wasn't even delayed. Go figure.
    The Mama's appointment with the heart surgeon is today. I am starting to pack, but have a day's worth of appraising at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum tomorrow. I figure I'll be on my way to Michigan sometime early Wednesday morning...then will be staying in Michigan as much as possible between gigs, until early August. 
     I hate leaving the Brick to fend for himself, even though I've cleaned and cleared away as much as possible. We've arranged for milk to be delivered, and I loaded the freezer up with easy-to-heat goodies. I've tried to make life as easy on him as I could. I still will miss him terribly -- and I know he will miss me. (At the least, he'll have to do his own wash and ironing!) Charles, Abby and the chickens will be a good distraction. 
     Now, if I could only take them with me, too.

Eating healthy on a slim budget. (From Get Rich Slowly)

Or is it cheaper to eat out, instead? Interesting discussion in this forum. (From Fat Wallet)

A $25 shopping cart trip. (From Poor Girl Eats Well)

Twisted pizza breadsticks. (From the Weary Chef)

Pancakes in a jar - and a review of some camping equipment. (From Frugal Upstate)

From his biweekly Readers Mailbag, Trent gave an interesting way to get the musty odor out of books. (If you don't read this Mondays and Thursdays, you're missing out. I rarely skip it.)
The best method I’ve found is to get a cake pan, put a thin layer of baking soda all over the bottom of the pan, then place a book on top of the soda. However, you should put the book in there standing up with the pages spread out a bit. Imagine the book standing up with the covers open fairly wide with all of the pages spread apart as much as possible. Leave the book sitting like that for 24 hours or so. (This tactic works well with kitty litter, too.)
This helps with a lot of book odors and should take care of the faint remaining odors.
If that doesn’t quite do it, try sprinkling a bit of baking soda between every few pages in the book, then close it up and leave it for a few days. Then get as much of the baking soda out of the book as you can by shaking it. This can leave a little baking soda in between the pages that you won’t notice until you’re reading it, but the odor really should be gone at that point.

How to make a fruit bouquet. (From Hoosier Homemade)

This video should be helpful, too:

Switching from freelancing to actually becoming your own business. It ain't easy...but it's rewarding. (From Make Money Your Way)

Abandoned a photographer who made a book about these sculptures of silence.

34 Crazy Thrift Store Finds.   Including a Crazy Cat Lady action figurine and Abraham Lincoln cologne. Go figure.

Quilt.con just announced their teachers & lecturers for the 2015 conference. (Nope, I'm not on the list. Yet.)

31 things to do when you're having a bad day. (From White House Black Shutters)

Wall art words - made with wire! A clever idea from Girl in the Garage.

A fascinating trip to a "clothes mountain." Wish they'd do this in my neck of the woods! (From Penniless Parenting) The same blogger has delicious-looking:

Easy recipe for dairy-free strawberry ice cream. (It's really gelato.)

Five interesting revelations from Monica Lewinsky... the reason (along with our august President) I had to explain what "oral sex" meant to our daughters years ahead of when they needed to know.
     If you're in the mood for more gossip, here's:

Oprah's former mother-in-law griping about her. Meeeannnn...but intriguing.

Did you know Pinterest has a whole section on hidden spots? Jewelry, clothing, furniture...many of the photos include constructing how-tos.

'Lazy' upholstering. Actually, it's quick -- and clever.  (From Elizabeth Joan Designs)

And this to end. (Not that I'm like this at all. Uh-unh.)

Have a good week.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

18th Century Gentleman's Waistcoats and Durham Quilts...Oh My!

     It's not often we get to see 1700s clothing...especially up close and personal. 

Thanks to Linskapet, a seller on Ebay, you've got a chance to do it -- now. Go here for the link to this wonderful piece:

and this one:

and this one!

Click on the links to see the full waistcoats. All three are from a private collection held at Hampton Court Palace....and all three date between 1760-80.

I haven't seen such exquisite closeups since Laura Ashley's Fabric of Society. (This book takes a long and careful look at very early fabrics in clothing.)

Yes, these waistcoats carry a hefty price, but they're rare. What a coup for your collection.

P.S. Linskapet also has some remarkable 'Durham' quilts -- these wholecloth pieces are very, very Brit (some would say Welsh) in style.  This one has star and moon quilted motifs, she says.

 (Actually, Durham quilts, also known as North Country quilts, and Welsh quilts have some distinct differences. Go here for a quick look at Durham quilt history -- and here for the differences between the two styles.)

 Go here for Linskapet's current listings. Linskapet has more of these textiles, plus costumes, buttons, lace, fabric and other decorative goodies. But do it quick -- this batch of auctions finishes in just a few days.

A Reprieve...And Mother's Day Freebies

I'm still here...which is wonderful.

The Mama's still on hold for open heart surgery. Her appointment with the surgeon is Monday...and I'll know for sure when to head for Michigan after that. I'm guessing soon.

Meanwhile, I've been able to work on some delayed jobs, clear away some other commitments...and spend some time with the Brick and the doggies. Knowing I must leave makes every moment sweeter.
     Yes, Mother's Day is Sunday -- but in this uncertainty, it's some farflung event, way off in the fog. Is it really going to happen?

      If you're looking for Mother's Day freebies and discouts for restaurants, by the way, here's a good place to start.

P.S. Don't forget about the Fat Wallet special, too...double the usual money back (12%, instead of just 6%) when you order a Groupon. And there are plenty of them to choose from!  That special is only good this Thursday - Saturday.
     Use this link to get started. (Yes, I get a little perk off it, too...thanks, if you do it.)

Meanwhile, I've got some ironing and appraisals to finish up. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Fat Wallet's got Groupon Buys...And Earn More Through Saturday

Starting Thursday, instead of 6%, you can earn double that on Groupon buys via Fat Wallet!

Some of the buys are terrific to start with -- like a four-pack of movie/snack tickets for Elvis movie theatres for $16. ($9 for a pair). Huge discounts on (and other flower/delivery companies). Yes, you can still get flowers delivered for Mother's Day.  Restaurant coupons. Haircut packages. Lots of stuff.

Use this link to get started. (Yes, I get a little perk off it, too...thanks, if you do it.)

It doesn't cost a thing to take a look. PLEASE NOTE: Wait until Thursday to do this...I ordered today, and only got 6%, instead of 12%! Darn...

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Parts Is Parts...

Mental Floss has a new one... 18 famous people missing at least one body part.

Hey, only the up-and-coming stuff on this blog! After all...

Seasoned with Life

Paula Deen's come up with a mix of spices she calls her HOUSE SEASONING...

only this versatile mix has been around long before Ms. Deen came onto the cooking scene.

Here's the basic recipe:


1 cup salt 
1/4 cup pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder

For best flavor, use sea salt* and fresh-ground pepper)

*Unless you're allergic to I am. Then try kosher salt, if you like the 'crusty' look.

That's it! Mix the three together and store in a shaker. Keep it on the back of your stove for seasoning meats and veggie mixes.

Once you've got the basic mix down, then consider adding other ingredients:

*parmesan cheese
*onion powder
* parsley*

*dried and crushed. Or substitute your favorite savory herb

Start with a few tablespoonfuls, adding up to 1/4 cup -- taste as needed.

A pretty jar of this mix, tied with ribbon and a sprig of fresh herb, makes a nice hostess gift. (Or maybe part of a gift basket for Mom!)

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: What to Do, What to Do

Spring is here in Colorado -- and the trees are blooming like crazy. (Except our peach trees, which apparently lost their blossoms to our cold weather weeks earlier.) It's time to plant, but I won't be putting in a garden right now, after all. The Mama's open heart surgery will be very soon, and I need to be there. That means packing for Michigan -- plus the North Carolina gig. Once I leave, I won't be back for at least a month. 
     The problem: when is the surgery? Do I plan to leave asap...or a week from now? I hope to know tomorrow.
     The Brick, bless his wonderful heart, will hold the fort while I stay with the Mama. The trick will be getting things done in Michigan, while I help out there, and yet keep life going at home. Meanwhile:

A fond (and slightly eccentric) look at Cary Grant.

How these 17 people paid off thousands and thousands of dollars of debt -- in less than four years.  (From Frugality Magazine)

Asphalt lilies? Yep...way under the ocean. (From the Weather Channel)

Six ways to doubt yourself -- and accomplish things, anyways. (From Get Rich Slowly) From the same place...

A new way to get rich slowly. Read this one carefully, and give it time to 'digest.' Some interesting concepts here.

A pretty little 'cage' dress -- made from your existing slipdress, plus ribbon. This is brilliant! (From The Felted Fox)

In honor of Cinco de Mayo, a big bunch of enchilada recipes, including 'No-Roll' enchiladas. (Yes, I mentioned these in a previous post, but they're worth repeating.)

Who doesn't enjoy a good belly rub? Actually, this seal looks an awful lot like our Golden Lab, Abby. (And yes, she enjoys a tummy tickle, too.)

Making furniture your way. (From Reach Financial Independence)
And in keeping with that,

An amazing upholstered bench, made with (drum roll) free pallets and a crib-sized mattress! (From  MyLove2Create. She's helping renovate her sister's laundry room -- but on a strict budget.)

What 3 out of 10 homeless adults had in common, as kids. I'm not completely convinced that all of the numbers quoted in this long infographic are accurate - but it will make you stop and think.

A swimmer finds himself protected from a killer whale by a pod of dolphins. Adam Walker was swimming in a 16-mile Oceans 7 Challenge race when he noticed a great white beneath him. Fortunately though, a pod of dolphins also noticed, and positioned themselves around him until the danger was over. Wow...

Have a great week.  

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Olivia Dvorak -- And News

It's been strange around here.
     The Mama had a test this week -- and turns out she will need open heart surgery very soon, to replace a heart valve. (They use 'tissue' valves to do it -- actually, pig heart valves.)
     This means that I must put pretty much everything aside for now, and head to Michigan in a few days. I'll be teaching at the North Carolina Quilt Symposium at the end of the month, so will pack for that now, and take it with to Michigan. Then I'll drive from there by the 26th...then drive back, to spend more time with Mom.
     My schedule for May and June, normally jampacked with teaching gigs, has been strangely open this year. Now I know why God arranged that -- because I would be needed to spend the time with Mom.
     You'll be hearing from me...maybe even more, because I won't have the usual life activities to take care of. (They'll fall on the shoulders of the Brick, instead.) Meanwhile, I thought you might enjoy this video of Olivia Dvorak, singing "Don't Come Knockin'." Our good friend Bert's son is currently mixing arrangements for her, and traveling as a backup band while she tours. Enjoy...