Monday, April 27, 2015

Monday Stuff on the Way to Other Stuff: Avalanche

At least seventeen people killed on Everest...because of an earthquake? The avalanche caused by the quake (which decimated Nepal) also took out teams getting ready to attempt to summit Everest. 
That's not the main news, though -- thousands are dead or missing because of the massive earthquake in Nepal. 

And James Holmes' theater murder trial has finally started -- greeted with relief by every Coloradoan, since we've been paying big bucks for every day it's been delayed. (He says he shouldn't be held accountable, by the way, because he was insane when he did it. Horsefeathers.)

The last bit of the PAAQT appraisers conference happened this morning. By noon, appraisers were fanning out everywhere, headed for lunch or out of town. I grabbed some sushi, trundled out of Paducah back to the hotel and took a nap. Tomorrow: on to Michigan, to visit the Mama. It will be a pleasure to drive past so many trees sporting their spring flower dress...Daughter #2 said it snowed (again) in Colorado yesterday. Meanwhile:

Nine freebies you can (or might) grab on an airline flight. (From AARP)

The 'extra  room' you have -- really, it's the front porch. (From The Nester)

15 crazy ideas that actually help make your life more organized.  (From Apartment Therapy)

Interesting ways to make cheap tile look more expensive. (From Apartment Therapy)

Soda pop cupcakes -- two ingredients, that's it!  (From Betty Crocker)

Frugal snacks...from yours truly via Midlife Finance.

Chickens - a modest proposal. (From same) Our baby chicks are getting very big and noisy...and ready for the coop outside. If only it would stop snowing!

Have a great week.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Pancakes for the Weekend!

Make them extra special with this unusual twist, thanks to our buddette Betty Crocker:


(Betty calls them 'cake batter pancakes,' but that doesn't sound so good to me. They sure look tasty, though:

Enjoy them with a big glass of milk...and maybe a celebratory candle or two. 

CAKE (er, batter) PANCAKES



1 cup Original Bisquick™ mix
1 cup Betty Crocker™ SuperMoist™ yellow cake mix
3 tablespoons candy sprinkles
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs

Glaze and Garnish

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Additional candy sprinkles


  • 1 Heat griddle or skillet over medium-high heat or electric griddle to 375°F; grease with cooking spray, vegetable oil or shortening. (Surface is ready when a few drops of water sprinkled on it dance and disappear.)
  • 2 In medium bowl, stir together pancake ingredients until blended. Pour by slightly less than 1/4 cupfuls onto hot griddle. Cook until edges are dry. Turn; cook until pancakes are golden brown. Stack on serving plates.
  • 3 In small bowl, beat powdered sugar, milk and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla with whisk until smooth.
  • 4 To serve, top each serving with glaze and additional candy sprinkles. 

Paducah Livin'

...which means I sit for 9 hours each day at the PAAQT appraisal booth, handing out brochures and talking about the importance of appraising your quilts. (Yes, it really IS important.)
    Wait -- step back.
    I would be sitting there 9 full hours, but for the wonderful colleagues who have stopped by to say hi, help out and sit in for some time, so I can use the bathroom and wander a bit.
    Thank you, Jayne, Donna, Candy, Jennifer, Karen, Gail, Diane, Linda, Joan, Lynne and Amy... you're sweethearts, every one of you.

It's certainly been interesting. I think the workmanship level has been higher than usual this year in all categories. Karen Kay Buckley's winning entry, Majestic Mosaic, is amazing. I was lucky enough to check the quilt out up-close, front AND back...and it's just as well-made from the back as the front, which is here:

Karen is now recovering from open-heart surgery...what a way to celebrate!

  More quilts here...

Several old and new friends have wandered by these past days, including a girl I met at a retreat in Cheyenne, and is now living down south. (Doing well, too.)  Another friend made during a redwork class stopped... and I met a bunch of new people, as well, including several studying to become appraisers. That's the nice thing about being here -- Paducah just draws quilters to it.

One more day of sitting in the booth...then it's on to the PAAQT appraisers conference.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Let's Get Clucking!

 One of the funniest chicken commercials I've ever seen... 

The only problem: They keep referring to "him" when it's pretty obviously a hen.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


This post arrived in my inbox, courtesy of Cousin Jack. I would attribute it, if I knew who wrote it originally. Bear with the occasional odd capitalization and grammatical twist...and consider what it's saying. Wow.

> >
> > At a time when our president and other politicians tend to apologize for
> > our country's prior actions, here's a refresher on how some of our former
> > patriots handled negative comments about our country.
> >
> > JFK'S Secretary of State, Dean Rusk, was in France in the early 60's when
> > DeGaulle decided to pull out of NATO. DeGaulle said he wanted all US
> > military out of France as soon as possible.
> >
> > Rusk responded,
> > "Does that include those who are buried here?"
> >
> > DeGaulle did not respond.
> >
> > You could have heard a pin drop.
> >
> >
> >
> > When in England ,
> > At a fairly large conference, Colin Powell was asked by the
> > Archbishop of Canterbury if our plans for Iraq were just an example of
> > 'empire building' by George Bush.
> >
> > He answered by saying, "Over the years, the United States has sent many
> > of Its fine young men and women into great peril to fight for freedom beyond
> > our borders. The only amount of land we have ever asked for In return is
> > enough to bury those that did not return."
> >
> > You could have heard a pin drop.
> > ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> >
> >
> > There was a conference in France here a number of international engineers
> > Were taking part, including French and American. During a break, One of
> > the French engineers came back into the room saying, "Have you heard the
> > latest dumb stunt Bush has done? He has sent an aircraft carrier to Indonesia
> > to help the tsunami victims. What does he Intend to do, bomb them?"
> >
> >
> > A Boeing engineer stood up and replied quietly: "Our carriers have three
> > hospitals on board that can treat several hundred people; they are nuclear
> > powered and can supply emergency electrical power to shore facilities; they
> > have three cafeterias with the capacity to feed 3,000 people three meals a
> > day, they can produce several thousand gallons of fresh water from sea
> > water each day, and they carry half a dozen helicopters for use in
> > transporting victims and injured to and From their flight deck. We have eleven such
> > ships.
> > How many does France have?"
> >
> > You could have heard a pin drop.
> > ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> >
> >
> > A U.S. Navy Admiral was attending a naval conference that included
> > Admirals from the U.S., English, Canadian, Australian and French Navies At a
> > cocktail reception, he found himself standing with a large group of officers
> > that included personnel from most of those countries.
> > Everyone was chatting away in English as they sipped their drinks but a
> > French admiral suddenly complained that, whereas Europeans learn many
> > languages, Americans learn only English. He then asked, "Why is it that we always
> > have to speak English in these conferences rather than speaking French?"
> >
> > Without hesitating, The American Admiral replied, "Maybe it's because the
> > Brits, Canadians, Aussies and Americans arranged it so you wouldn't have
> > to speak German."
> >
> > You could have heard a pin drop.
> >
> > ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> >
> >
> > Robert Whiting, An elderly gentleman of 83, arrived in Paris by plane. At
> > French Customs, he took a few minutes to locate his passport In his carry
> > on.
> >
> > "You have been to France before, Monsieur?" the customs officer asked
> > sarcastically.
> >
> > Mr. Whiting admitted that he had been to France previously.
> >
> > "Then You should know enough to have your passport ready."
> >
> > The American said, "The last time I was here, I didn't have to show it."
> >
> > "Impossible.. Americans always have to show their passports on arrival in
> > France !"
> >
> > The American senior gave the Frenchman a long hard look. Then he
> > quietly explained, ''Well, when I came ashore at Omaha Beach on D-Day in
> > 1944 to help liberate this country, I couldn't find a single Frenchmen To
> > show a passport to."  
             You could have heard a pin drop.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Fishing Stereotypes

Now you know...

I, for one, do NOT plan to be kissing any fish.

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Paducah

Yes, this is Monday Stuff. Yes, I know it's Tuesday. It's been a long few behave yourself with the rude remarks, already.
    I left Sunday evening and drove 7 hours to Junction City, KS. Got there about 2 a.m., then started up again about 9. Went to Laura Ingalls Wilder's home in Mansfield, MO (Something I have ALWAYS wanted to do), then trudged on to my hotel in Paducah. Got here about 10:30 p.m. last night. 
    Slept in. Stopped to get my appraising assignments, then on to set up the booth on the AQS show floor in Paducah. (If you're here, as well, stop by and say hi! It's #3618, top floor near a corner.) Met appraiser buddies for supper, then spent the evening in the booth for "sneak preview." 
     And now it's past midnight...
    Tomorrow will be longer. 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. in the booth. I'm sorry I was late posting -- but now you understand why.
   Beautiful spring-flowering trees, and actually quite pleasant here -- though we had a gullywasher of a rainstorm tonight, about suppertime. (I was just glad the restaurant patio we were eating at had a substantial awning.) I'll be here all week, working. 

Ten quickie cleaning hacks. Most have something to do with vinegar...

Eight people who should have gone down with the Titanic...but didn't.

The broke person's guide to decorating. Don't miss the reader comments -- they're great!  (From Apartment Therapy)

19 reasons to keep driving your old car. (From Cash Cow Couple)

Save enough to retire in your thirties? This couple did it.     Really, though:

Does retiring mean you HAVE to stop working? (From Mr. Money Mustache)

Investments of savvy celebrities.  Hmmm...anything we can learn from?

A grilled Elvis sandwich. Sounds weird...but the King loved it, and I'm betting you will, too. (From Who Needs A Cape)

A chicken report that's amusing and touching, at the same time. (From It's All Connected)

Lunch or supper -- in twenty minutes or less? Sure...with Betty Crocker. 

Test-drive your retirement. From yours truly, via Midlife Finance.

Have a great week. Stop by the AQS show if you're anywhere near... you'll love it!

No, this isn't Paducah...but it's lovely, anyways.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Up-Close and Feline

This piece is by one of my piano students, McKinley Dirks. It's of her cat, Tucker.

Done in chalk. Amazing, huh?

Even more amazing -- she just turned 15.  
Happy Birthday,McKinley!

What Do You Think About Altered Quilts?

Barbara Brackman's got an interesting post today on "altered quilts:" 

Vintage pieces (and apparently mostly bits and pieces) that modern artists add lettering to, recut and stitch, collage, mix and so on.

Here's one example: Natalie Chanin's Aunt Mag's Chicken Recipe

Here are two more, from Gina Adams:

Exhibits are up at the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art through May 10. (Kansas)

I've never been a big fan of "cut 'em and paste 'em" requilting -- partly because I had a good friend who would cut up perfectly good quilts and tops to make clothing (mostly jackets), which she then sold to upscale boutiques and such. We had many good-natured arguments on the subject, and I bought a piece now and then to save it from her overenthusiastic scissors.

BUT -- 

If the quilt is heavily damaged already, it doesn't seem that awful to preserve it in another way. Unfortunately, I'm not so sure that some of these artists have the quilt or the original quiltmaker in mind -- only their 'personal message' or  'artistic vision.' Kind of like trampling your grandmother, then justifying it because the old girl didn't have long to live. She would have been okay with it, anyways, because she always put your best interests first. (Or so you reason to yourself.)

I want to respond in horror all the time, for every piece...then I come across a totally lovely melding, like Mandy Patullo's Across the Wide Ocean...

...and I just can't.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Bigfoot: Part of the Family?

If you've been hanging out here, you know I have a yen for Bigfoot stories. 

Now he may become part of the family, thanks to...

Daughter #1!  (She's on the left.)

Oh fine -- she's at the Denver "Mythical Creatures" exhibit at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. Stop by for a good time.

The Chick Report...and Other Updates

We now have 13 new personalities peeping away in the library downstairs:

Let me introduce you to:
1 Black Australorp  (the same breed as the black hens we have now)
1 Mallorca (the tall black one in the back)
4 Rhode Island Reds  (we have two of those, too -- the third one got taken by a hawk/eagle/owl, and ended up in the neighbor's yard next block over))
7 'Cherry Eggers'

The 'Eggers,' according to the feedstore guy, and the girl I talked to, say that they're especially popular here locally. They can not only handle the cold...and lay eggs more consistently during the winter. And their eggs are brown ones, almost a dark red mahogany.

     OOH.  I'm a sucker for a good description. 

The chickies are in a clear plastic bin, topped with wire fencing. (They're already trying to fly out, the stinkers.) The heat lamp's on, and they've got a thick layer of shavings to dig in, poop in...and kick out their food crumbles into. Not to mention dragging them (shavings, poop, crumbles, etc.)  into the water, as well. These are not tidy individuals.

Not that the grownups care.

They're busy staying in the coop, because...


Yes, sirree. Welcome to Colorado.

We're supposed to get up to THREE FEET of the white stuff before it moves on late Friday. (We've got about 3" on the ground now, with more coming down.) My poor plants are covered up...hopefully they'll live. 
     This will leave quickly -- it always does -- but it's still a little unsettling. 

     Wonder what the chicks would do if they jumped into snow, with their dainty little feet?

In your dreams, Missy!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Tax Day - Yuck

Yes, folks, that lovely day in April that we Americans all fear and loathe --
               April 15.

Tax Day.

While you're scribbling figures and muttering to yourself, remember that you don't have to go through this agony right now. You could get an extension until October. (Go here to do that, and draw a breath of relief.)

But if you have to pay tax, you might as well grit your teeth and get it over with.

Some businesses are offering freebies to help, from Lone Star Steakhouse to Bonefish Grill. Go here to find out more.

Personal favorites:  Sonic's offering half-price cheeseburgers all day.

And Boston Market is also doing a BOGO special, on a lot of different items -- like the plated meals shown here. Good for up to 3 per customer.

If you're feeling too poor even for a half-price meal out, try some of the Flat Broke dishes on the Holiday Goodies blog -- cheap and tasty, too.

That eases the sting some...I guess.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Monday Stuff on the Way to Other Stuff: Hustle Hustle

It's a brisk, warm Monday morning. The crabapples are starting to bloom. Daffodils are moving out, to make way for the tulips. Lots of greenery is popping up. So what's supposed to show up Wednesday night? Snow, of course. Welcome to Colorado.
     I have a boatload of work to do before leaving for the American Quilter Society show next week in Paducah, KY. Had better get to it. 

The biggest surprise in the 2016 Election universe:  Hillary Clinton just officially announced she's running for president.  Gee, what a huge unexpected event.

Want to mess with someone's mind? Send them glitter, poop -- or glitter-sprinkled poop. Yes, a company actually does this. While you're at it:

Ten quirky ways (including sending poop) to make income.  (From the Penny Hoarder)

A mom who apologizes for her kids' bratty behavior in the movies -- and makes it right.

A clock table from assorted bits and pieces. Yes, you could do it, too. (From Scavenger Chic)
If clocks aren't your forte, Knick of Time has a number of excellent vintage/antique signs to use, instead. Free to print out.

Remember the 21 amazing greenhouses -- ones you can build? (From A Piece of Rainbow) The DIY plans they've got for 10 living structures are very inspiring, too. Including this 'living chair:'

Celebration cakes gone bad. Really.

Acts of kindness -- caught in photos.

Katniss' hunting cowl from Hunger Games -- a version to sew. 
(From See Kate Sew) 
    Or knit. Or crochet. 

Here's the sewn version -- using a thrift shop sweater

Hawaiian shipwreck treasure recovered.

Eleven really strange stories. 

Have a great week. 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Want to Save Time?

Then this wonderful clock table from Scavenger Chic might be just what's needed.

She made it from a $5 junk table, a couple of hoops, a table round...and a clever transfer technique.

Go here for specific DIY instructions.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

People -- We got People!

It must be National Twenty-some People Week...cause that's what I've been inclined to post these past few days!

23 famous people who used to be interns:

Chickie update -- we are now the proud owners of 13 peeping new chickies. They're snug under a heatlamp, and busily making a mess, kicking pine shavings into their waterbowl and food. (What's new.) Photos and more in a bit.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Unrecognized

23 people whose world-worthy contributions weren't recognized...
               or stolen by someone else who took the credit, instead.

You'll be amazed at some of these...including the thieves, some of whose names we know well. (Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison, for two.)

Maybe we can help fix these unknowns. They deserve some attention!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: I Had More, But...

I could just spit. 

Trying to finish the 'Monday Stuff' post quickly, so I could get it online. It was a nice one, too, filled with a LOT of stuff. 
    And of course, I not only accidentally deleted the whole thing -- but Google picked that moment to conveniently "save" it. 
    Have you ever had days like that? At least I could salvage a few items...I'll give you more next week. Promise.

A nice guide to selling stuff online. (From Brad's Deals)

This app can save you money on medication and other pharmacy needs -- it gives the lowest price automatically! (From the Penny Hoarder)

21 greenhouses you can make -- including instructions! (From A Piece of Rainbow)

A Piece of Rainbow came up with a beautiful pallet-made balcony...with an extra bonus. It comes down easily, if you're renting and don't own. Wow.

And from yours truly via Midlife Finance:

Cable:  What's In It for You?

Eating Out: Advice from an Expert

Saving the Most on Your 2014 Taxes

Have a great week.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Happy Easter!

 I am grateful for my faith. It has changed my life, serving the King. 

Easter celebrates that special day when He did something that no one else has.

Romans 6:8-11
Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

He is risen!

He is risen, indeed.

Friday, April 3, 2015

What's Next?!?

Weather, make up your mind!

We had freezing rain and snow yesterday -- woke up to ice on the windshield, and a lovely snow scene. The Rockies, modestly covered in white nightgowns, sat up to breakfast against a piercing blue sky.

Except it's April.

And we're supposed to be having flowers and grass, doggone it.

It's a fitting time for it to happen, too, on Good Friday, when we commemorate Christ's death on the Cross.

Ah well.  The sun's out, and our latest blizzard will soon be a strange memory.

I shoveled up a couple of "sandwich" garden beds this week, adding a thick "meaty" layer of chicken coop droppings between dirt-and-newspaper "bread." Didn't plant them yet, though. (Deadlines...and knowing that the snow was on its way.) Hopefully I can put in peas and spinach this weekend.

If you're also thinking 'garden,' it might be a good time to consider making a compost bin. You'll find 23 ideas here, some easy, some not. But all worth thinking about.

The only other thing that's happening around here: we just gobbled our way through 'TURN,' a fascinating AMC series on George Washington's spies during the Revolutionary War. (You can watch some here -- AMC is getting ready to post the 2-hour intro to Season Two in a few weeks.)

     Netflix posted an entire season of TURN. That was the good news -- we could binge-watch without having to put up with commercials. The bad news: we finished the final one last night. And we don't subscribe to cable, which means we wait until Season Two hits the internet.

So now what? Guess it's back to Battlestar Galactica -- and waiting for spring to come to stay.

Thursday, April 2, 2015


"Courage is what you do when you are scared. If you're not scared, it's not courage."

               --- Rayan Black

This has been a great encouragement to me. (The word is also the motto of the Scottish Cumings clan, I belong to by birth.)

  May it help you, too.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Bottoms Up!

Boy, Betty Crocker's going all out this Easter season...

First, there was the Peep and the egg.

And what stunning new development has Ms. C. come up with?

A bunny butt cake. 

Recipe's here...and it's surprisingly easy to make.

What's next -- baby bear bottoms?

Yep. Like here. (Tina Madrid of Sweet Nothings Bakery takes the honors on this one.)