Monday, October 31, 2016

DIY, Hunting-Style

The guys found an unusual rock formation (one of several) near Meeker, Colorado...

...but it looked crooked. So they decided to fix it. 

Chris pushed on it one way. Still looked a little off...

Tommy adjusted it some more.

A final push from the Brick (yes, that's him)...

There.     Perfect.

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Doe, A Deer -- No Bones About It

The Brick's home...dirty from hunting all week, smelly and very, very welcome. It's been too quiet around here. 
    He did almost bring an elk home -- he barely missed hitting one. (The animals move a lot at dusk. Unfortunately, you can't see enough to shoot at them then.)
    Most of the time, his party saw only a few tracks, or animals far away. But the last day, the guys kept seeing deer -- more than a hundred, all lounging around, mostly on private property.
     And no one in the hunting party had a deer permit. (They'd applied, but didn't have their names drawn.)
     Go figure.

He did bring home an interesting elk skull he found at the base of a cliff. Six points, but not nearly as nice as Keith's. More bones were there...but surprisingly, only one of the ivories. (Elk, if you didn't know, have two teeth that are pure ivory. Just two.) Did the elk get lost, stumble from sickness or hunger, and fall off the cliff? Was it shot by a poacher who changed his mind at the last minute?
     The guys were told that winter kill in their unit was especially high last winter. Maybe this happened to Our Buddy. Who knows. He makes a grand display by our front door, though. (By the way, the horns that point straight out from the forehead are called 'brow tines;' the others toward the back are 'swordpoints.')

Inspected by Charles & Abs -- who have sniffed it thoroughly.

Daughter #2, on the other hand, got herself a nice plump doe. 

To go with the other two animals her partner harvested. And they generously share their meat with their poor, malnourished, suffering parents. Whoo hoo--  good eating! 

Looks like the FBI's investigation into Hillary Clinton's e-mails isn't done yet, after all.

A group of the IRS threateners has beeen shut down! If you haven't gotten a phone call like this, consider yourself lucky. Someone phones, announces that they're a police officer or from the IRS, and says there's an arrest warrant out because you haven't paid your taxes. I've gotten several of these. (Yes, my taxes are paid. No, the IRS does NOT call you, or send a cop out to arrest  you on the spot.)

Accent walls - done in a wide variety of interesting ways.  (From Hometalk)

No-bake sugar cookie balls.  (From Who Needs A Cape)

Some of the funniest animal tags you'll ever see.  Like this one:

Learning to be content -- even when you're able to go back to a more expansive lifestyle.  (From Moneysaving Mom)

Video: 10 creepy true stories to make you shiver.  (From Listverse)

When did the AIDS epidemic really start to be noticed? New York in the 1970s and early 80s. A new genetic study suggests that it was actually around for decades before this...and the gay flight attendant who was blamed for its start in the U.S. and villified as "Patient Zero"...really wasn't.

Getting first-class treatment on an economy budget. Making your airline tickets go further.

Darker months and quieter days. And looking forward to it.  (From the Assortment Blog on living on less)

Natterings on a busy life. A nice scattershot look from Frugal in Lincolnshire.

Report from a scammers conference -- cheating people, especially the elderly, and proud of it. Speaking of:

A waitress decides to 'become' a French aristocrat, and gets away with it. Until she also fakes her death...

Ten lost masterpieces...including two of Shakespeare's plays, "Love's Labour Won" and "Cardenio." A lot more than ten here, actually, since the entries include groups and series.  (From Listverse)

A Madonna painting, originally valued at $26, is now thought to be a Raphael worth millions. (Don't experts actually LOOK at these pieces??)

Dipped wax leaves -- a lovely way to preserve fall colors. (How-tos from Hundred Dollars A Month)

Visiting Ireland on a budget: tips on cars, hotels and more.  (From Irish Central) Or see here.

Homemade 'Biore' strips. No more blackheads!  (From Beautiful Shoes)

Have a great week.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Politics in Cloth -- And A New Exhibit at The Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum

     Even though we women have been able to vote for (barely) more than a century, it's good to remember that our foremothers...
     could not.

They had opinions too, same as us. So how did they express them?

By using campaign ribbons (often in Crazies), handkerchiefs/bandannas and printed fabrics that featured their cherished beliefs -- and candidates. (Items like this were often cherished souvenirs from World's Fair and other national events, too.)

Believe in the person? Then you feature them in your quilt.

Like this wonderful mid-19th century Feathered Star quilt, pieced in indigo and white.
                                        The Man of the Hour:

    Henry Clay, a skilled Kentucky politician who served terms in the House, as well as the Senate. He also was Secretary of State under John Quincy Adams. Mr. Clay would have loved to have been President: he ran three times, in 1824, 1832 and 1844. And lost every time, though he had more than his share of admirers over his long and illustrious career.

Not for his looks, obviously.   (From Wikipedia)

     Like this quilter.

 I'm pretty sure she used a campaign bandanna for the center square.

 (There are other quilt designs named for Senator Clay, too: e.g., Clay's Choice.)

     Julie Powell, a fellow appraiser, collector and one of the country's best authorities on political quilts and textiles, donated the Henry Clay Feathered Star to the Boston MFA (Museum of Fine Arts). It's featured on the museum's pages this month.

     She's written a book (that was originally an exhibit catalog) called The Fabric of Persuasion -- extremely helpful, if you want to learn more about commemorative textiles. It's out of print now, but you can buy it used on Amazon, or print off a fresh copy on

     I love Julie's matter-of-fact approach to the subject. She's not given to burbling or hyperbole, even about our best-known politicians. Stick to the facts -- and show lots of great pictures. Nice.

Another campaign bandanna, from yours truly's collection:  Grover Cleveland, from his 1888 campaign

* * * * * * * *
The Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum will be hosting its own political themed exhibit, opening as soon as the museum's occupancy permit is approved. Yes, RMQM has moved! I served on its board twice, believe in this wonderful museum, and continue to volunteer and contribute to it. It's one of the best textile museums in the West.

Patchwork Pundits Take On Politics & The Presidential Quilt Project

Go here for more.  Opening reception is scheduled for Nov. 4, 2016.

RMQM is now all in one building -- on 200 Violet in Golden, CO, just a few miles from its former downtown Golden gallery. Now combined: staff offices, an excellent research library (including collection photos you can rent for use in articles, brochures and products, etc.)...and what most people will appreciate: a much expanded exhibit space that lets RMQM feature even more. Go to the museum website, or get directions to the new location here by clicking on the links.

'Patchwork Pundits' features some of the museum's favorite political textiles, and Sue Reich, a friend and fellow appraiser, is curating the 'Presidential Quilt Project' for RMQM. You think that our politics are complicated and today -- they've been that way for centuries!

It's easy to forget that in all the noise and racket -- but life WILL go on after the election.

Presidential Election Memes think on, groan over...and maybe laugh a little. (It's better than crying!)

Yes, he actually said this...

Yes, he said this...and did it.

Yes, she said this...and did it.

All I can say is:

Friday, October 28, 2016

Frugal Hits & Misses: The October Report

I've found two surprise benefits to keeping track of our frugal successes and failures. First, knowing I have to confess to you, Dear Reader, holds me back from doing anything too wacky in this department. Secondly, it reminds me that we really are doing well, in spite of unexpected events this month. And there have been plenty.  

(Here are September's and August's reports, in case you're curious.)

This monthly update is a bit early...but I had time to write it. In the spirit of others who give us all a hand on this subject (ahem), here goes.

*I was careful on food purchases -- especially veggies and fruit. This was partly because I knew we'd be out of town for at least two weeks. I cleaned out the refrigerator before we went. (Stale stuff promptly went to the chickens, who recycled them efficiently.) I also used coupons when possible. For some strange reason, the local groceries went hogwild on our favorite brands of canned soup. Fine with me -- I had coupons!
     Friends gave us a large box of crisp apples. Apple pie, here we come.
     The Friday/Saturday store worked its usual magic, as well. Ten pounds of mushrooms: $5.00. Enchilada sauce: a buck. A head of lettuce: 50 cents. And another 50 pounds of beans (kidney this time), plus 40 pounds of chicken wings, for $20 each. Most of the chicken wings will go in the freezer for a Seniors Luncheon in January.

*Made a BUNCH of food for the Mighty Hunters, including three entrees, two kinds of cookies, blueberry muffins, etc. Also bought some canned items for them on sale...although the Brick, now that he goes grocery shopping too, is much more aware of what's expensive -- and what's not. (He used to just grab whatever he felt like, regardless of price.)

*Had a picnic lunch with Daughter #2 down by Boulder Creek, watching the leaves fall. Much better than the $$ I would have spent taking her out to lunch; we both loved sitting and talking.

*Kept the green beans going, to the tune of at least 3-4 more pounds of crunchiness. They finally bit the dust last week. (The greens are still producing, thankfully.) The wilting leaves went to the chickens, who relished the few limp beans left on the vines. Not that they were grateful...

*We were careful on food and gas purchases while on the road. Brought our own coffee and took advantage of specials and dollar menus when we did stop. This also applied to a new battery, bought at Wal-Mart. (I stocked up on more snacks while we were there, too. See here for more.)

*Got replacements and/or coupons for stuff that was deficient. These have been accumulating: a bag of bacon-flavored dogfood (the kids refused to eat it), two tv dinners (crappy meatloaf), two 12-packs of Coke and Barq's rootbeer (little or no fizz...what's going on with that?). A debit card (from doing a study) was updated, so it would work again. The only bad part: the dogfood bag had a hole in it. Now I have a decorative kibble design on my laundry room floor that needs to be scooped up. Oh goody.

*Found a gallon of light tan paint for the chicken a buck! Now if the coop would only empty and scrape itself off, so I can get started.

*Swapped dog & chicken care. No $$ for us, as a result -- or for the people whose dog we looked after.

*Donated two large garbage bags of coats and scarves to charity -- so many that the bags were almost too heavy to carry. (So how come our coat closet doesn't look any emptier?)

*Got free tickets to the latest Jack Reacher movie. (Review coming soon.)  You can do this, as well, by registering at Gofobo.

*Started an election judge's job. The hours won't be that long until just before Election Day. The work's reasonably mindless and the pay not that great. But every extra $ adds to the emergency fund.

*Did some appraising. Less than ten...but hey. See previous entry.

*A nice leg up on Christmas presents. Russell Stover helped with that, but so did airline miles for a magazine subscription. Found a few others here and there at the thrift shop.

*Used available fabrics and trims for the class in North Carolina.  (Got more needed fabric for future classes, using a free shipping offer from Spoonflower.)

*Picked up the 29-foot trailer we plan to eventually live in. We still don't have a suitable truck to pull it, but a friend helped us get it parked in the driveway. The Brick registered the trailer, at hundreds of dollars less than if we actually lived in Castle Rock. (The town border officially begins just outside our back fence.)

*No new clothes, stuff  or wild purchases.   Except, she says, looking down -- I did buy some fabric in North Carolina, just for the fun of it, and $6 worth of clothes (a sweater and two tops - it was half-price day) at 'Sally's' -- Salvation Army -- in Boulder. I am a bad girl.
     Seriously, though -- having the trailer in our driveway reminds me every day that I can't buy every geegaw out there, regardless of price. There just won't be room for it in our new place.

*Listed four items for sale; sold an item on Amazon. Instead of buying books or videos, I checked them out from the library. (A couple of the series we enjoy watching came in, including Season 6 of The Walking Dead. Whoopee!)

*Donated several bags of the books no one is paying much for on Amazon... to the library where I get so many books and videos, anyways. Thanks, Philip S. Miller.

*Sold eggs to our usual customers...and did some piano lessons. Side gigs really help pad out black holes in your income.  Taught the North Carolina class, which didn't pay much, compared to my usual gig -- but it was fun. Based on the comment forms, my students enjoyed it, too.

Selling my 'kids?' Shame on you!

Failures really were minor this month.

*Two more of the elderly chickens died. We've expected the old girls to start kicking off. Yes, we should butcher them -- but I've found myself strangely reluctant. They've worked so hard for us over the years. Sentimental weenie, I am.
     They weren't laying much, if at all, so that saves on feed. We've been burying them by the raspberry bushes, to give them (the bushes, that is) a protein boost.

*The Brick found out he needs two dental crowns replaced. In our neck of the woods, that's about $2000 -- if not more. Ouch. The bills for my crown are almost finished, so we'll start paying for his, $150 at a time every month.
     I really wish we could stop having to pay for some medical/dental bill every month. But it's necessary...and at least we can pay this way, instead of having to shovel up the money in one big pile.

*Went out to eat more than we should -- but a lot of it was due to being on the road. No huge deal. I bought an order of sushi, when I should have gone home and eaten soup, instead.

All our bills were paid on time -- the credit cards, as usual, paid in in full. (Yay!) The Brick hasn't been reimbursed yet for his hours of driving bus, but my North Carolina check should cover any overage. We'll use the extra $$ to save for property taxes in a few months.

November's goals -- 
    *Finish a weighted blanket for a friend's young son. (She is swapping for a wonderful wooden sign she made me.)
    *Put more items up on Amazon...probably Ebay and Craigslist, as well.
    *Write an article or two.
    *Clear out, sell and/or donate unneeded books and quilts. (I'll worry about other things next.)
    *Make up kits for a Crazy quilt class I'll be teaching in December. (More on that soon.)
    *Reserve election judge income for the emergency fund. Every single cent.
    *Christmas cards, done early? Maybe some cookies too, in addition to the Thanksgiving pies?
            Hey, while I'm dreaming --
     *Get the Christmas presents wrapped ahead of time.

I think I'll worry more about that in December...and just enjoy the season. It will be over soon enough.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Happy Irish Halloween!

One new way to celebrate Halloween: Make it Celtic. 

   Actually, the old Celtic festival of "Samhain," or 'Summer's End' (pronounced 'saw-en') came close to the date. Scottish colonists celebrated "All Hallows Even" on the same night. Eventually the two blended. Jack-o-Lanterns were carved -- but from turnips!

    Departed souls are said to be able to walk freely on this night. So to protect their families, householders would cover mirrors and sprinkle holy water around their buildings and farm animals. (Frankly, if the Dearly Departed want a crack at our chickens, I can tell you who's going to win -- and it's not going to be ghosts.)

Some famous shades are featured on Irish Central this month, including the White Lady of Kinsale. She is thought to be an aggrieved widow of a soldier who was shot for sleeping on the job. Which explains one of her favorite hobbies: pushing military men down the stairs.

'Barmbrack,' or 'speckled cake,' a fruit-studded sweet bread, is a favorite dish to serve on an Irish Halloween. This version has been adapted from the traditional recipe given on Irish Central. (Go here for that one.)

     Serve it with a glass of cider, and stay close to the woodstove. Ghosties and ghoulies may be out tonight. 


4 tablespoons butter
1 cup milk
1/3 cup sugar  (1/2 cup, if you like a sweeter bread)
1/2 teaspoon each cinnamon and nutmeg
1 tablespoon yeast
3 1/2 cups flour
1 egg
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (pecans are even better)

Microwave the butter and milk together until the butter is slightly melted; add sugar and spices. Let sit until warm, not hot, to the touch -- then add yeast. (Hot milk will kill it.) Let sit again for 10 min., if possible, to proof. (Go ahead at this point, if your time is limited.)
    Quickly mix in the the rest of the ingredients; your dough should be moist and somewhat heavy. (Tip: for high altitudes, use heaping cup measurements of flour -- it helps.) Cover in a greased bowl and let rise until doubled in size. Punch down, then shape into a loaf. Brush with butter, sprinkle with sugar and let rise again until doubled.
     Bake 40 min. at 400 degrees. A toothpick inserted in the middle of the loaf should come out clean.
     Serve warm in slices, slathered with butter.

An Irish cemetary -- just for inspiration, mind you

(This post was also featured on the Holiday foods blog.)

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Hunting Report

In the Colorado boonies, that is.

The Brick is hunting both deer and elk in the Meeker/Craig area this week with friends Dan and Sharon, Tommy, and Tommy's son Chris.

This area is incredibly beautiful -- but dry. Until it rains -- then it's slogging through muddy roads that are easy to slip off. (And drop a few hundred feet or so.)

Remote, too. Their camp is in the lighter-colored area in the middle of the photo, down in the valley.

It rained two nights ago, which is a good thing -- rain often means snow at higher elevations, and that drives the animals down to lower levels. Meeker's at 6240 feet altitude..but the mountains nearby can easily go up to 13,000 feet or so. (Lest you think that sounds awfully high...we live at 6250 ft in Castle Rock. Even most of Denver is at 5280 ft. No big deal here in Colorado.)

The Brick and Tommy found a lovely area tucked away, which they later discovered was called Hidden Valley. For good reason, too.

It included caves:

And this unusual rock formation. Give it your own name!

But elk or deer? Only a few...and those were seen from a distance.


At least they've got wonderful scenery to inspire them.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

How Old IS Log Cabin?

If you're a fan of this pieced pattern...

it may be a lot older than you think. 

No, not this Log Cabin -- though it's nice, too.

This one!    (The quilt on the left.)

That's the general design.The 'logs' can be arranged in all sorts of widths and variations -- and the blocks themselves can be arranged in all sorts of settings, from Sunshine & Shadow to Courthouse Steps. (The setting version you're seeing in the photo above is often called Barn Raising.)

     Colors are important, too. If the central square in the basic block is red, it's said to represent 'hearth and home,' a fireplace or chimney. Abolitionists during the Civil War era reportedly also used black as the central square to signal their beliefs.

      I've heard (and read) that the basic block was inspired by plowed fields, hedges...and of course, the ubiquitous shelter made out of logs. One historian insists that the pattern originally comes from the Isle of Man. American Log Cabin quilts were definitely influenced by their European forebears, but ranged into a new category all their own, thanks to the wild frontier, pioneer emigration and the general scarcity of fabric, until the advent of the railroad in the mid-19th century.

Using up scraps, particularly strips, meant the Log Cabin was economical, as well as useful. Earlier quilters often stitched their Log Cabin strips onto a fabric background, a method similar to traditional Victorian era Crazy quilt construction. Today's Log Cabin quilts, though, are squares and strips pieced together in ever-expanding rows of color.

But did the Log Cabin pattern start a hundred years or so ago? Couldn't be, because...

The design  is thousands of years old, at the very least. I had heard about it being pictured as a pharoah's vest in Egyptian tomb paintings. Then I came across these mummified cats, originally from Egypt but now in the British Museum, while researching other (ahem) 'stuffed' items.

Check out the pattern of the weaving on the cat on the left. Is it...?

Yes...yes, it is. Good 'ol Log Cabin.  And the woven design on the cat mummy next to it is reminiscent of Rail Fence, also called Roman Rail.

Go figure.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Progress... And Hey Girl Revisited

     If you read yesterday's post, you might be thinking I'm taking long, aimless bubble baths and sitting around a lot. Instead, after publishing that post, I...

    *Did some more wash and folded a bunch of clothes
    *Cleaned up the kitchen and loaded the dishwasher (at 1:30 a.m.)
    *Started an election judge's job at 9 a.m. this morning. (Sounds more impressive than it really is -- I'm just opening envelopes.) Worked more than 5 hours.
    *Stopped by church and unloaded 35 pounds of chicken wings...for a January seniors luncheon. Somehow I got them all stuffed in the freezer. Cleaned up the chicken drippings off the counter and floor. (The car is next; fortunately, we have a rubber cover that slides out and can be hosed off.)
     *Went to the bank, the library, the post office and the grocery store.
     *Got home. CRASHED.
     *Picked myself back up, ate supper, fed the dogs and chickens -- then:
     *Cored and chunked apples for three hours at friends' house. (They're canning applesauce and chutney this week.)

(Oh, and the Broncos creamed Houston, 27-9.)

Boy, am I beat -- but at least I got a lot done.

Now for that long bubble bath.

If you've been hanging out on this blog very long, you know I've got a thing for the 'Hey Girl' memes -- especially the book and craft-related ones. Ryan Gosling's the main feature, but now and then other guys creep in.

             Check out the previous ones by clicking on the link -- or just enjoy this current batch. Yow.


Yeah...well, I did it today anyways, buddy.

(Mr. Cumberbatch is included, in honor of Sherlock  finally starting its fourth season. This guy is amazing.)

And to keep things steady, until the Brick gets home from hunting: