Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Alien Cupcakes!

These are amazingly weird-looking...

...and very easy to make, thanks to Betty Crocker!

Pair them with Who Needs A Cape's Ghost Cookies and spooky drinks for your Halloween party.

Looking for Frugal Tips?

I'm a big fan of little (and big) ways to save. 

Living Life in Frugal Iowa just posted 25 more tips. (Her first 25 were pretty good, too.)

And here are five more of mine:

*Use your bacon in bits. A few slices go a lot further if diced and mixed into your scrambled eggs...or top a potato or bean casserole for a tasty main dish.

*Buy a plant you can split. Some greenery can be easily propagated. Geraniums, for example, will grow roots in water if you cut a long stem that includes a few leaves. (Petunias, too.)  You don't even have to go to that trouble for spider plants or strawberry runners; just bury the plantlet right in the ground. Go here for more ideas. Speaking of that:

Yes, this is a spider plant

*Start your geranium, rose or leafy cuttings in late winter. Come spring, you'll have healthy, thriving plants for your summer garden.

*Clean your windows with newspaper. Yep, that grubby, inky stuff really produces a nice shine.

*Once home, take your shoes off at the door. Not only will it give you extra mileage on your shoe leather, but your floors will benefit from less dirt tracked in.

I'll be on the election job all week...but am bringing a friend - a combined sinus and earache that make my head bang like a drum at times. The two crowns I got a few weeks ago can ache, too -- but based on the fact that loud noises can drive me totally nuts, I'm guessing it's mostly earache. Ah well -- you can still type in numbers and check names, even when your head aches now and then. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Elections, Hunting...and Arrow

I've spent the last week working for our local election board, checking signatures, counting ballots and otherwise shuffling incredible amounts of paper. Another week and a half, and I've got a tidy packet to help pay for our upcoming cruises. (More on that soon.)
    The hunters returned last night, dirty, tired and a little discouraged. It's been so warm around here that the elk have stayed up in the high country. (Otherwise known as the "black timber.") It's really, really difficult to get at them up there. Cold weather drives the animals down -- and that's what we've got moving in today. But Daughter #2 had to be back at work last night, and the Brick had to be at the office this morning. (Daughter #1 hasn't had any luck either, though her sister got a buck.)  

    The Brick has been watching episodes of The Arrow, a tv adventure series about Oliver Queen and his fellow justice fighters. It's full of humor, double (and triple) meanings, adversity and all sorts of fun fights. Not to mention cute guys.  The archery stuff doesn't hurt, either.
     I've gotten hooked on it, too. The concept, like Guardians of the Galaxy, is based on a comic book. Funny -- I didn't read that many comic books as a kid...

Don't forget about Phenomenal Gems' great new giveaway - - it ends Oct. 31st.

A new standing desk for laptop users. This is a clever alternative for an easy stand that's inexpensive, too.

Will canning food save you money? By the way, I don't necessarily agree with her conclusion... (From Get Rich Slowly)

Snowy ways to save the day. Whether or not you have a milder-than-usual winter, or really get dumped on, a little prep work will make life easier.  (By yours truly, via Midlife Finance)

The world's 18 strangest homes. (From Popular Mechanics)

Spooky Ghost Cookies. (From Who Needs A Cape) Add an orange candy nose and red-hot buttons, and these could be Snowmen Cookies, as well.

Getting to -- and staying at -- Los Vegas for free!  (From Frugal Rules)

The simplest way to get rich. Hint: it's easy, but it takes a while. (From MoneySmartGuides)

Chocolate chip peanut butter oatmeal cookies...oh my.  Add a few nuts, and you've pretty much hit everyone's favorite flavors.  (From MoneySaving Mom)

A guy goes to a recent Denver Broncos game with his son, leaves for a minute...and vanishes. The police (and his family) don't know what to think:

Have a great week. 

Did you know that pumpkins are one of chickens' favorite foods?

Saturday, October 25, 2014

More Bigfoot Stuff!

Yes, I still collect stuff about Bigfoot.

Unfortunately, the hunters in the family, other than Angel's earlier experience, haven't seen or heard a thing. They come back tomorrow night.'s been far too lonely around here.

I did come across a fascinating interview with Bob 'Action' Jackson, a legendary Yellowstone ranger. He had three direct encounters with Bigfoot, as well as hearing about others, but was careful not to mention them until he retired. Here's his interview.
     This is particularly enlightening, considering one of the accounts in Rusty Wilson's Mysterious Bigfoot Campfire Stories is a first-person account of a Yellowstone park ranger who comes across a BF caught in an ancient bear trap, tranquilizes it, and pulls the trap loose. This person very matter-of-factly says that park rangers see BF a fair amount in and around the park, but are not encouraged to talk about it. Hmmm. (I sure haven't seen BF included on those silly 'wildlife you can see' National Park Service signs!)
     Wilson's book is a little wacky in spots -- but then again, all BF stories seem to have a touch of this - mostly because the observer finds it hard to believe what they're seeing.

Wilson has a very funny BF story on his website, about a deaf grandpa, his grandsons...and the Forest People, who keep on visiting.

Also found a recent post on the BFRO network, about a father and son who have regular doings with what seems to be a family unit of Bigfoot! (They even eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches together.)

Soundwise, this verbalization video from Sasquatch Ontario is very, very freaky:

I am not sure whether to be amused...or terrified.
(Go to and put in 'Acknowledged By Name,' for much longer, funny/scary pronouncements by Whatever This Is.)

This one's weird, too. From East Texas. Doesn't exactly make you want to rush out to investigate, does it...

'He/she/it' is probably not around now, anyways...based on the dates of the vast majority of sightings in Colorado, they're gone by late November. Probably headed down the Rocky Mountain backbone chain to New Mexico and Arizona, where it's warmer.

See you next season, 'Squatch.

Friday, October 24, 2014

What's Happening With Libby

...our mutual friend Libby Lehman, that is. 

If you'll remember, Libby is still recovering from the effects of the stroke and aneurysm she had in 2013. What's especially wonderful: she has now improved to the point that she can use a walker! Wow...considering there were few hopes at times that she would make strong progress. She continues to have regular therapy, is speaking much more -- and in general, her improvements seem much better.

She still has a long way to go, though. 

You can help.

Libby's birthday is Nov. 12. Why not send her a birthday card?

Her current address is:
 Libby Lehman
 c/o University Place Nursing Center
 7480 Beechnut
 Houston, Texas 77074

 Encouraging notes, holiday cards or goodies would be welcome, as well. 

You can also visit the Inspired by Libby quilt auction, organized by Clara Lawrence. All of these quilts will be on display at Houston's International Quilt Festival this have a few weeks to bid. (Yes, you can do it online.)

100% of the proceeds go to Libby's Medical Fund. (As you can guess, finances have been tight for the Lehmans, and they could use the extra help.)

Go here for more on Inspired By Libby --

The quilts up for auction are here. And they're beautiful. In fact, here's one of them: Libby's Wildflower by Melinda Bula.

 Go here to take a look at Libby's wonderful quilts, and learn more about her.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

She Did It!

Daughter #2 got a buck! 

Her shot was the 'kill shot,' but as she said, the buck didn't know he was dead yet. The Brick's second shot brought him down.

Wow. You go, Angel...and plenty of delicious, healthy venison for fall and winter suppers.

(This was harvested in the Taylor Park Reservoir area in Colorado, for you Westerners who are curious.)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Stupidest Clock in the World

I'm pretty sure a BUNCH of Denver Broncos fans are going to disagree with me on this...

but hey, this is weird.

Even the cuckoo wears Broncos regalia.

I do like the photo of Mile High. (Yes, I'm aware it has another name now -- but it's still Mile High to me.) Go Broncos!!

If you'd like this to grace your living room, the Bradford Exchange would be happy to oblige.
 Go here to order your very own cuckoo clock.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Hunting Edition

The hunters are out there. 

The Brick and Daughter #2 left for Taylor Park this morning. They'd planned on heading out Saturday morning -- but during Keith's birthday supper Thursday night, he and Daughter #1 gave us all an extra gift: the flu. The Brick dragged himself to work on Friday, then spent the next few days shivering and trying to get warm. He finally started to feel better, albeit very tired, last night. 
     Daughter #2 came out of it faster...but she didn't feel that great, either. I seem to be teetering on the edge, but so far am staying inside the bowl
      They'll be gone all week. 
      Keith got a doe with bow and arrow this past weekend, and snagged a roadkill buck, which the DOW (Department of Wildlife) okayed. Daughter #2 and Keith (yes, them of the Bigfoot Incident)  will have lots of meat, even if she doesn't get anything. I'm hoping, though, they will.
     I get to stay home, work on elections...and let the chickens in and out. Maybe even get some writing done - who knows. Meanwhile:

Caryl Bryer Fallert's fooling around with some new ideas in her quilts... some fishy ones!   (This one's called "Aquarium #2."

People overlooked by history...including a former Beatle, and the man who invented television.

Number concepts that can help you save. (From  yours truly, via Midlife Finance) Also, from same:

When it's okay to be in debt.

The desperate need to be accurate, when you're a reporter or editor. Or regular person, I might add. You can make some really stupid decisions, based on faulty information.

A Union Jack for a former toybox?  Clean painted straight stripes with minimum fuss, too. (From Nicer Than New)

Ten perplexing mysteries that have finally been solved! Or at least, they're on the way...including a lot of unanswered questions about the Franklin expedition.

Credit card 'churning' it for you?  (From Mr. Money Mustache)

French bread taco pizza. Four other fall recipes, too.  Drool. (From Betty Crocker)

Quotes from Jennifer Garner. Finally - an actress who sounds like a real person, instead of a Paragon. Moms and working girls, take special note.

Have a wonderful week.

Quick, hide -- they're coming!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Are YOU Happy?!

It has not been a fun week.

Not only did Daughter #1 and Daughter #2's boyfriend get skunked hunting...they got caught in a blizzard or two, and brought home the flu.

As Daughter #2 pointed out, "I'm worried that the Bobbsey Twins got me sick from their little hunting adventure."
    They definitely shared more than stories. Not only is Daughter2 feeling crappy, but the Brick is congested and feverish. And I think I may be getting it, as well. But right now I need to take care of the invalids -- so I'm not sick. No, I'm not sick.

This whole thing about the Bobbsey Twins is funny -- but I can't laugh in front of Daughter #1 and Keith...they still feel miserable, too. Poor things. 

Ah well.

I'm still happy -- or at least I enjoy listening to Pharrell talk about it.

Weird Al Yankovic's version, "Tacky," is almost as good -- and perfect for those strange moments when you're wondering what hit you.

     Like the flu.

  (Look for the cameo from Jack Black, just before Al finishes everything up.)

The hunters (the Brick and Daughter #2) leave tomorrow morning. Keith goes out, too...but Daughter #1 may be the smartest one of all -- she's just staying in bed.
     Maybe after the hunters head out, I can get some rest.

Friday, October 17, 2014

New Giveaway!

Daughter Angel has a wonderful Etsy shop selling rock and gem specimens. Phenomenal Gems has any number of beautiful pieces, for use in display and jewelry. Take a look here.

It's an even better time to look, now she's sponsoring a giveaway! Two specimens plus a $20 gift certificate will go to a lucky person...all you have to do, to be in the running, is sign up. Ends Oct. 31st.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Not Under, But Over -- WAY Over

Well, they sold.

Queen Victoria's hefty-sized bloomers and chemise were valued at 2000 pounds before their auction on Oct. 12.

They sold, instead, for nearly 7500 pounds -- that's nearly $12,000 for you Yanks out there! (And I'm guessing that doesn't include the auctioneer's percentage of the take, either.)

A pair of stockings, valued at 500 pounds pre-auction, went for 1300 pounds.


More here, if you're interested. This is more than the set sold for in 2012...about 360 pounds. Then again, that was just bloomers. Yes, I wrote about it back in 2012, but can I find the exact post? Nooooo....

Anyone else have the Queen's underwear laying around? You could be sitting on a bonanza.

                                                       Her Majesty is NOT amused.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: It Really Is Autumn

As in sloppy, cold, trying-not-to-get-depressed Fall. Although we've had snow (the mountains got it  more), we never got a killing frost. That's supposed to happen tonight. 
    The Brick and both girlies are headed out hunting this coming weekend, but we have nine hundred bazillion things to do before then. Including finishing up taxes. And he's crabby about it. 

     Okay, maybe I'm crabby about it, too.
    Daughter #1 (yes, she of the running magazine) spent the weekend hunting with her friend, and Daughter #2's boyfriend. And didn't get a thing. (She texted, "Cold!!!! And gameless" --frowny face) 
    Gee. Such monuments of cheerfulness to get me through this gray week. I have work to do, including a job starting shortly at the elections board. It's not difficult. And from working other years, I have this feeling there's going to be an awful lot of just sitting around, waiting for the next item. I'd better bring a book, and something to quilt on. 

When should you start collecting Social Security benefits? (From The Simple Dollar) A reasoned, thoughtful approach to this becoming-ever-more-crucial question.

Four ways to win at Social Security when you finally do start to collect. 

Roger Williams' shorthand is finally cracked. Marginal notes on a book belonging to the founder of Rhode Island, covered with odd symbols, can finally be read.

Those poor squeezed women who just cannot get by on $200,000-plus a year. Awww....

Ten little-known unsolved mysteries. And while we're at it:

Ten little-known celebrity deaths -- that are still unsolved.

Ten photo in totally and often hilariously messed up.

Eleven historical treasures that were misplaced, misidentified...or almost lost. (It's okay -- professionals know about them now.)

The largest Viking treasure ever found in Britain, so far at least. And on the ground of the Church of Scotland near Galloway! (Yes, it's still 'British' technically, not Scotland. Sigh.) Dozens of armbands, a solid silver cross -- and a large pot they haven't even opened yet. Found only a few inches under the surface, by a guy with a metal detector. Wowzers!


Two teenagers who ran away from home to join ISIS, and became poster girls for the movement. And now, they're pregnant and want to come back home. Stupid, stupid. What did they think would happen? (Yet another reminder that kids don't always think about all the consequences.)

The boiling bag. An ode to soup, and the joys of homemade stock, by Donna Freedman.

Still waiting to hear the sales results on Queen Victoria's knickers...but there are more photos here. (They sold Her Majesty's stockings, too!)

The Walking Dead's started up again -- so scary, and dark, that it's actually refreshing! Hey, they have to go through a LOT MORE than you and I ever did.
     Yes, I know it's silly. But I love this show. 

Five ways to collect (for fun and profit) and Retirement: Can You? from yours truly, via Midlife Finance.  Also: Fall-ing into the season. (ways to save and prepare for winter)

Have a good week.

Listen to the (er) Pancake...

It's been gray, gloomy and (a little) rainy all day. 

But hey, who cares when you can eat your music!!

Just when you think everything's been done  --


Oh my...

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy -- And Great Music

I don't know if it's because this summer was difficult...or I'm just tired...
    but most of the movies out now just seem mean, stupid -- or just plain silly.

A lot of them copy each other. Others seem violent just for fun. (And if f--- were suddenly removed from the English language, they'd be in big trouble.) Some are there for sex -- everything else is irrelevant. Others denigrate (pick a person, body type, or skin color).

The Brick suggested going to see Guardians of the Galaxy. Much to my surprise, I loved it!

This isn't just the story of a feisty, almost anti-hero and friends he accidentally collects as he tries to sell The Orb. (He scavenges to keep himself in breakfast food and space fuel.) Some are a, like Rocket the 'raccoon' and Groot the talking [tree?]. Oh, and the girl with green skin. And the "embroidered" wrestler. (He's in the Groot video below, in case you're curious.)

It's got creative fights. I enjoy a good brawl...if there's a reason for it. Lots of enthusiasm. Grand flourishes.

It's got lots of lippy remarks. (Pay attention -- there are some interesting shots at popular figures, politics and more here.)

Great costumes. Really Scary Villains. Even a rather gentle love story. (Not just kiss-and-instant-sex. Refreshing.)

And a surprisingly appealing mix of music, much of it from high school and college days for me. (Our Hero was kidnapped from Earth in the Eighties, with earphones, tape player and a tape of "Awesome Mix" songs his dying mother had put together for him.)

Like Redbone's Come and Get Your Love. 

You can also hear the Awesome Mix 'tape' on Youtube. It's been a surprise bestseller on the music charts, considering these are all 'old' songs. But they're still wonderful!

    (Youtube also has Awesome Mixes 2 & 3.)

And see Groot dancing to the Jackson Five. (It will make sense, once you see the movie. Trust me.)

I know. It all sounds weird. But it's full of color, action, rudeness...and is actually quite wonderful.

Go see it, especially if you graduated  during the late Seventies and Eighties.

I'm betting you'll like it. A lot.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Indigo Dreams

It's a gray-and-dreary fall day, with lots of messiness.

And I'm fighting off the blues. The flu is only reluctantly letting go -- I have work to do -- and would rather be doing something else. (sigh)

If you're going to have the blues, why not have them in quilt form?

     Nell Mathern sent me photos of this beauty from Oregon. A lady brought the quilt to her study group to show. The lady thought it might have been been from Revolutionary War era...i.e., 18th century. But it's actually a lovely 19th century piece.
    Nell tells me that instead of individual blocks, it's pieced more simply: two sections, two rows.

Section 1:  plain square (indigo)

Section 2:  square-within-a-square pieced block -- plain muslin square surrounded by indigo triangles

Now alternately join these together. That's Row One.

Row Two is exactly the same -- exactly your Section 1 plain block is muslin, instead of indigo. 

Take a look at the closeup below to see how the two different rows fit together. Easy peasy. Remember: Think Rows, not Star Blocks.

    (This is called a Variable Star, by the way.)

Add a pieced triangle border, and you've got a beautiful star quilt that is very, very American.

This quilt can use one print plus muslin, like the antique here. Use a bunch of different prints -- keep them to one color, to give the same effect. Or clean out your scrap bin for a rainbow scrappy look. (Watch the row piecing arrangements carefully, if you want to keep the star effect.)

Wish I could be quilting, instead of typing...hopefully soon.

      (Thanks, Nell, for sharing!)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Panties for Sale!

Once more, a dip into the department of "Normally This is Weird, But...:"

They're auctioning off Queen Victoria's underpants.

Yep, you read that right. The family of a former servant of has decided it's no longer important to hang onto their cherished 52-inch waist souvenir of Her Grace.  A 66-chest-sized chemise comes with the deal. (That works out to about size 26, by the way.) How do they know the underwear is Victoria's? Well, for one thing, the garments are both stitched from fine silk. For another, Victoria's monogram ('VR' for Victoria Regina) is on one leg.

Don't laugh. In 2011, another piece of the Queen's underwear sold for 9,375 pounds sterling. And that was just for the pants! This set is valuing for 2000 pounds (about $3200). I'll bet it goes for more.

If you're interested, the auction is Oct. 12 at the Westernhanger auction house in Kent. Great Britain, of course. They're sure to be taking phoned-in bids, as well.

"This is definitely one of the strangest items I have ever had the opportunity to sell in my 40-odd years in the business, auctioneer Miachael Hogben said. "This really is a once in a blue moon sale."

Click on the link to find out more. And God Save the Queen.

Monday, October 6, 2014

You Go, Girl!

See this determined-looking runner? 

It's Daughter #1, on her way to finishing the Salomon Snowmass to Aspen Half Marathon a few weeks ago.

       Jess, we're so proud of you!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Making Progress

The fog is lifting some.

I've been struggling all week with some kind of flu that takes you down for a while, lets you up long enough to spit on its hands...then down you go, with another fever. Feeling better now, but tired. The Brick seems to be experimenting with it, too.
    Nonetheless, life goes on. Because things have been quiet, I am catching up (finally) on paperwork and more. Everything should go out in tomorrow morning's mail. Hooray! Meanwhile, in Internet-land:

The story of John Downey -- one of the longest American POWs ever held. More than twenty years...the article says he has served the longest. I am not convinced, though, that all American POWs were actually released during the Vietnam War...some may still be captive.

Fixing and flipping real it a good idea for you? (From Get Rich Slowly)

A man picks up change for ten years -- and ends up donating more than $21,000 to charity from it!

Making a fancy 'princess dress' for a girlie - from an adult top. (From Penniless Parenting)

How to eat with no money. (From Made Man) Some great additional posts, including easy meals for guys to make.

French workers find gold coins and bars in a home...and end up going to jail for it.

A BUNCH of apron-making links, all mentioned in one blogpost. You'll have to do some extra clicking to see everything, but it's worth it.

Recycling sweaters for the yarn. Now you can knit with cashmere, if you like! (From My Virtual Sanity)

A floating frame for your favorite art. Graceful and inexpensive, too. (From

A barn door in a bedroom??  Yup...and it's beautiful.

Saving on a flight by using a 'fake' location. 

Tales from the Great DepressionSome touching ones here.

Make your own mozzarella. Thirty minutes, according to Mother Earth News. Then you can use it in...

Pizza in a pot -- an easy crockpot dish for these blustery days. (From Diary of a Stay at Home Mom)

Crochet    These are great!

A cute little (and effective) needle-threader. These might be good bazaar or Christmas stocking items. (From Wild Olive)

 A very pretty (and easy) crocheted slouch hat. (From Gleeful Things)

The four most persuasive words in the English language.

Have a great week.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

The Walking Dead...and Updates

Have you ever watched  The Walking Dead?

We've grown rather fond of this end-of-the-world-with-zombies series, especially its hero, the noble (and conflicted) sheriff, Rick Grimes (above)...and the 'bad' (now good) guy, Daryl Dixon (below).

Netflix finally got the fourth season loaded, and we've been gobbling up the episodes. (Yes, I know you cableheads have already seen it, and are waiting for the 5th season to start next week. Don't spoil it for us.)
     You get used to all the growling and drooling, after a while...but the tension, humor and working through problems never get stale. Although I really could do with fewer 'biters'...they're starting to rot and look nasty.

(Addendum: Much to my surprise, the Governor in The Walking Dead uses a replica of the Lewis chessmen for teaching his 'daughter' chess. An unusual touch -- but intriguing!)

More to tell you about: 

The Bigfoot saga didn't continue...darn. Keith spent last week in the area where he and Angel heard all the growling and screaming -- not a peep. He did have a bear licking his tent early one morning, though. (I'm waiting to hear more details about that interesting mention.)

The chickies are kicking in -- big-time. This week, they've been laying at least a dozen eggs a day. Wow! I don't know if it's the cooler weather, the fact that the 'babies' are now full-grown, or what. But the extra eggs are wonderful. 

I've been fighting off some flu this week...and now the Brick seems to have caught it. Not fun. We can mostly keep going, but have had to stop and rest now and then to do it.

It will be a quiet week...still catching up on paperwork (almost done), then it's work on getting things put away down in Brickworks inventory. We want to have a sale soon, but can't do it until I know for sure what we've got. We plan to offer something new this season: Christmas stockings, all filled with goodies, and gift baskets for the quilter, crafter and gardener.

Still one more weekend day...and it's sunny and cool here. Not the rain some of you are enduring. It's okay...we'll take it.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

It's Here!

Storm clouds have moved in the wind's roaring bits of snow are just beginning. 

Thought you might enjoy some of the fall photos we took this past weekend, while you're thinking about that. We have an amazing range of shading and textures here in Colorado. (These are mostly from the Buena Vista/Crystal Creek area, by the way...)

Enjoy...and stay warm.