Sunday, April 30, 2017

Stuff on the Way to Other Stuff: Snow? What Snow??

We got somewhere around 1 1/2 feet of snow Friday and Saturday. 

It made for a much more peaceful weekend. Sunday, the skies returned to blue, and the snow melted with a vengeance. By sunset, huge patches of grass and bare ground competed with the scrapings of white left.

Welcome to Colorado...

Mohamed Sanu: a classy football player.  (Keep up the good work!) Another sadder football case:

The fight over Aaron Hernandez' brain. (From The Trust Advisor)

21 tips for going on a cruise to Cuba.  The Brick would like to do this -- so would I.  (From Cruise Critic)

28 years old -- and $2.5 million to the good. (From Making Sense With Cents) Also: the couple who paid off more than $200,000 in debt -- in two years.

Bits-and-pieces quotes from that old rassler, Mark Twain. A classic, from yours truly.

Old-fashioned strawberry ice cream. Make it yourself; it's better for you, and saves.  (From Hundred Dollars A Month)

Martha Washington's signature, plus four monogrammed handkerchiefs: strong provenance, $4000 starting bid at an auction next month.

Ten strange discoveries that could rewrite history.  (From Listverse)

16 recipes that use only one pound of ground beef. Including stroganoff and tacos!  (From Betty Crocker)

Five examples of blatant celebrity hypocrisy.  Not that this could ever happen... (From Cracked) Also from them:

Seven stupid scenes from famous movies...that fortunately were axed before they hit the screen.

Tips for REALLY getting a low-price deal out of flying the cheap airlines.  (From Brad's Deals)

Egg substitution list.  Comes in handy when the chickens aren't laying...or you're allergic. (From Strangers & Pilgrims on Earth)

Very soon, we'll again be enjoying flowers that bloom in the spring... I hope.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Spring? What Spring??

As of early Saturday afternoon, we have more than a foot of snow on the ground -- and it's still coming down.

It literally happened that way. 

Friday morning, clear and warm. Friday afternoon, the clouds started coming in -- and it commenced to snow at 4:30 p.m.
    By 6 p.m. or so, the snow was sticking.

IF it comes...

I'm not surprised. This is typical for us -- and Colorado. I did get the garden bed of greens and peas covered, and brought in the flowers I bought this week. (Fortunately, they weren't planted yet.)

Temps are down in the 20s. Our power flickered on and off several times last night, but never went completely out. We're warm and snug -- and maybe a bit drowsy. A good day to stay in.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Bigfoot's Back in Town?

I haven't forgotten Our Mutual Buddy. 

He's been kind of quiet lately -- but I suspect he's not back yet. (He seems to migrate up and down the Front Range, in the spring and fall most years. At least that's what the sightings suggest.)

While I'm waiting for the Big Guy to show his face around here, I'm enjoying this 2016 commercial from HomeServe.

He'll stop by soon. I hope.

Life update:  One more report to go -- and it's nearly finished. I have to concentrate on quilt binding and restoration this weekend, then I'll be caught up. 

The Brick is feeling better. Me, too. We just run out of steam really quickly. 

     Fellow blogger Rae (from Life by Design) stopped by tonight for supper and a bed for the night, on her way south to Mexico for the summer. We've had a good time talking, from healthcare to travel, and the Canadian vs. US viewpoint on practically everything. She is a clever, intelligent woman with some thoughtful ideas...I've enjoyed having her here. 

She's heading out early tomorrow...if you've paid any attention to Western weather forecasts, Colorado is bracing for a big storm the next few days. You read that right. Late April/early May doesn't mean flowers -- around here, it means SNOW.

    Maybe Mr. S. is waiting for the dramatics to finish, before he heads back.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Deer Me...

Somebody was checking out the chickens this afternoon. 

And where was our fierce guard dog, Charley? Did he notice? Naahh...he was...

barking at those evil birds, the doves that hang out on the power line!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Hey Girl - Again

Still plugging away around here. 

The Brick doesn't cough as much -- but when he does, the house rattles, and all the dogs look startled.

Continued crashes and such from the bathroom-in-progress. Daughter #2 is now here, as well, chatting away. (She is a jewelry appraiser, and a huge help in double-checking values when I'm working on such things.) 

Everything is blooming like crazy outside -- but I don't have time to go wander around in it. 
Soon, hopefully. 

Meanwhile, I thought you would enjoy another visit to "Hey Girl" World. (You know I've got a thing for this.) Poor Ryan Gosling has no idea how it started -- but he's managed to draw other cute guys in. Most of the selections today are craft-related: quilting, knitting and crochet enthusiasts, enjoy.

Try not to drool onto your fibers.  (Okay, maybe a little.)

And of course:

This is the last one...I think. 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Bathrooms

I'm not sure how...God's grace, I think. But we made it through a night and a day of Worship Team, flu notwithstanding. I'm pretty sure we were both running a fever before practice this morning, but fortunately they (the fevers, that is) broke sometime during the first service's sermon. Whew.
     The Brick went out with Son #1 to pick up tile, the toilet and the vanity this afternoon. We got an e-mail from Home Depot that the vanity had arrived. When Son went down to pick it up, though, they informed him that they hadn't received any order for us! Maddening. Turns out there was a small scratch down the front that will need refinishing...but it also means that Home Depot cut the price $300. No problem with that -- but it took several visits, a few hours of wrangling and a visit to the manager this morning to get that. 
     We should have our guest bathroom finished by Wednesday or so. Then it's on to the master bath.
     Meanwhile, I plug away at these reports. Then on to some quilt restoration -- and packing up donations again. 

    Since the Brick took on shopping duties (what a sweet man), I was able to fit a short nap and reading the Sunday paper into my worktime yesterday.  Feeling a little better. \
     The Brick dragged himself off to drive school bus today. (I wish he hadn't.) Hopefully, he'll feel better soon, too.

How to make money writing.  (From Amanda Bella)

Tartiflette pizza -- what's not to love about potatoes, bacon, onion, cheese...and pizza? (From Good Cheap Eats)

From kidnapping to kids, an amazing mini-memoir by Beth Rodden via Outside magazine.

The five best auction sites for watches.  (From Forbes) Plus a good blog that covers watches.

When bad times, hit...what do you do?  (From Funky Junk Interiors)

Hey, bring your pet to a Furry convention -- he'll have a great time!

A carrot eggs, butter or milk, and mixed right in the pan!  (From Strangers & Pilgrims on Earth)

When people can't agree to disagree.   I'm with Mavis on this one.  (From One Hundred Dollars A Month)

Chicken gyros. They need to marinate all night for best flavor...but it's said to be amazing. (Go ahead and call them shishkabob, instead -- it won't matter. From Amanda Settle)

How to get stuff DONE.  Even if it's tomorrow.  (From Raptitude)

A Chinese warehouse just cut its labor costs in using robots. I don't know whether to like the cheerful music that goes with the video -- or be horrified.

Foolish money mistakes and other stupid decisions that affect your life.  How to avoid them.  (From Money Boss)

Have a productive week.

Triangle boy -- via Pinterest

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Happy Weekend

     Making progress...finally! Still behind -- but not as much. As usual, life at Chez Brick is anything but simple:

     *Son #1 is banging away in the bathroom. Today, he finishes the flooring and puts in the bathtub. Then it's on to toilet, tile and the vanity. He's staying overnight, which means I cook and do the Mom Thing.

     *Nitro, our old-dog friend (15 1/2, and shaky on his legs), is staying with us while his owners are at a conference. Which means:

     *Charley is busy trying to dominate Nitro, plus 'reassure' me that he (Sir Charles) is still Big Dog On Campus. (Abby could care less.)  Our granddog Karma is on-site, as well, making things even more interesting.

     *I'm trying to finish off these reports, so I can return several boxes of estate items tomorrow. (And cash some welcome checks.)

     *We have practice tonight, plus play/sing for Worship Team at a church down south in Palmer Lake.

     *Tomorrow morning -- early, of course! -- it's the usual Worship Team for Creekside Bible. It's a bluegrass service, which means the Brick's mandolin is essential.

     To top things off, the Brick feels awful. (Sounds like bronchitis.) He dragged himself off yesterday to drive schoolbus for a track field meet, and didn't get home until nearly midnight.

      Joy of joys, I'm starting to not feel so hot, either. 
                          (Maybe it's an attack of bad grammar.)

Gripe, moan, complain. 

We'll get through somehow. Hope your weekend is going smoother than ours. 

Friday, April 21, 2017

He Has to Eat, Too...Right?

   Still hip-deep...but slowly making progress. 
   Aunt Corrinn died early yesterday morning. Surprisingly, The Mama is doing better... I have racked my brain, trying to think how to make it to the funeral service. What with all the other chaos going on, I just don't think we can. 

Meanwhile, this interesting perspective:

Plus this jar from an estate I'm appraising: now you know the Evil One's side job. 
He's selling chili powder for Mexene!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Visiting A Weiner Kaffeehaus

...or Vienna coffeehouse, if you're English-speaking.

Here's a guide to get you through it. 

Back in college days, I spent a summer in Austria (Osterreich) and Germany, and a big chunk of that time was in Vienna. Cousins Tim and Joan Cumings were missionaries there, and  had an apartment not far from Schonbrun, the emperor's summer palace.

A few peaceful afternoons were spent there, wandering through the palace flower gardens and marveling at the rooms' elegant walls, painted ceilings and huge ceramic stoves. For an awkward farmer's daughter, this was unexpected territory.

Here it is, in all its glory  (courtesy Wikipedia)

My stay in Wien (pronounced "Veen") didn't provide for a lot of free time. For one thing, I was there to help out with Tim and Joanie's girls, and help pack for their move further south to Villach, ("Fee-lach") I didn't have a lot of extra money.

A few times, though, I visited a coffeehouse, both in Wein and in Heidelberg, Germany. (Deutschland, for you German-speakers out there.) My impressions:

*Elegance.  Why did I wear jeans and a sweater, when even the waiters were dressed better? Everything was presented with a flourish -- even the cloth napkins and china cups.  (Get that, quilting students??)  I had to repress an urge to double-check my wallet, for fear I'd end up washing dishes to pay.  (Yes, I was that poor.)

*Glass. Everywhere glass...and mirrors. You weren't supposed to stare directly at people, but that wasn't a problem. You just peeked into one of the mirrors, and gawked to your heart's content.

*The best, thickest coffee in the world.  Not only was it dark and practically leaped out of the cup -- if you didn't finish with a good solid batch of grounds in the bottom, it wasn't good kaffee. 

*Plan on sitting down? Then you'll pay extra.  Many people drank their coffee standing up, reading newspapers arranged on POLES. (Bear in mind that this little farm girl had not been to many big cities, at this point. Although somewhat familiar with Chicago, I'd never gone in a coffee place, been in a taxi, spent very few nights in a hotel, or eaten in a really upscale restaurant. I was pretty green.)

*Don't skip dessert -- no matter what.  If you love sugar, especially frosting, Austrian and German pastries are the best in the world. I'm not a big frosting girl -- to my mind, wedding cakes should be served au naturel. But the delicate, flaky pastry, lightly glazed and often decorated with fruit, did me in. So did the huge sort-of gingerbread cookies, Lebkuchen ("leb-koo-khen") that the Brick and I love to this day.

Oh my.

*TAKE YOUR TIME.  Rest. Look around, while you sip and crunch. (If you're a hickster from Michigan, try desperately to look sophisticated while you're doing it.) Don't rush; this is An Experience. Enjoy it.

Fortunately, there are some spots in America that still foster this grand tradition. My favorite, so far, is the Neue Galerie in New York City. They have a great collection of German/Austrian art, including some iconic Klimt pieces. Stop at their restaurant afterwards for kaffee mit schlag (coffee with whipped cream). For a moment, I almost felt back in college days, counting Austrian schillings with leather backpack at hand and a Solzhenitsyn novel nearby.

Even if you can't head to Europe right now, take time to bake some's been the signature dessert of the Hotel Sacher -- and Vienna -- for centuries. (Almost pronounced "soccer") Sachertorte remains the Brick go-to for birthdays, as well as Christmastime.

Sachertorte, in all IT'S glory (courtesy Wikipedia)

In spite of his years overseas, traveling for the Navy, the Brick never got to Austria -- or Germany, for that matter. I never made it to Paris, London...or Venice, even though Villach was within spitting distance. (An omission I forever regret -- but I was young and stupid. And overwhelmed.)

     We hope to see these again.  Sometime. Soon.

St. Stephen's Cathedral -- another amazing place in Vienna

Its tile roof, closeup   (courtesy Wikipedia for both photos)

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Can You Bear It?

I am hip-deep in appraisals, clothes washed and ironed, dust and bits from the bathroom-in-progress...and thanks to grabbed meals and unfinished tasks, a house that looks like a bomb went off in it. I need to clean up, for the next tour. And we still don't have it officially on the market! 
    To make life even more interesting, our Aunt Corrinn in Michigan is not doing well. The Mama is terribly worried.  I've been trying to finish up a report while getting/giving phone calls and texts. Our wonderful cousin Dave took The Mama to the hospital so she could be with her sister-in-law. (My brother or another cousin will bring her home.)

    These are times I wish I lived in Michigan, instead of Colorado.

Meanwhile, you'll enjoy this bear sign, taken from a vintage advertisement. Look closely at it -- notice the raggedy fabric patch? Why do you think that's there?  (smirk)

As the Brick and Daughter #2 pointed out, "Why would you be okay with your ammo 'usually' working?"

Back in a bit.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Oh Deer...

Home update:  After two different showings to the same family last week, they decided 'no' -- our house sits nearly at the top of a steep hill, and the mom decided her clients couldn't drive up it. (Mine do this all the time with no problems -- but I couldn't persuade her.) 

    The same realtor says she has another family who wants to see the house, too. I'm not holding my breath...but there's a lot of interest right now in our neighborhood.  Which is good.
    The first bathroom renovation is in progress -- everything's torn out, and the new walls are almost in place. The Brick and Son #1 got a bathtub; the toilet and vanity are due in later this week. 
    Meanwhile, everyone uses the master bathroom, or trudges downstairs for that one.

More junk is slowly being cleaned out. The dumpster should be delivered in the next few days. 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Meet Me in Pueblo on Monday!

Want to hear some silliness (and a lot of history) about various quilt styles and textile events? Stop by the Pride City Quilt Guild's meeting in Pueblo -- I'll be there! 

Monday, April 17 --    Westminster Presbyterian Church  10 University Circle   Pueblo, CO
    Registration is at 9 a.m.; meeting begins at 9:30 a.m. 


 Last week was hazy, filled with work;  hours of practice and music for both Good Friday and Easter; bangs and crashes (the guest bathroom getting obliterated, thanks to Son #1);  frantic cleaning...and two house visits by a possible buyer. (She brought her husband the second time.) We're told they're interested. If the offer's reasonable, we're interested, too! 
     I have a lot of partially-completed projects -- now just have to finish them. But Pueblo comes first.

What Mr. Money Mustache does right -- and wrong.  You can learn a lot from this popular blogger, even when you don't agree with him.  (From White Coat Investor)

A creepy interview with a 12-year welfare recipient.  What's astonishing is her matter-of-fact answers to the questions she's asked. It is what it is...

Getting a bunch of strawberry plants from a few parent plants -- free!  I can't garden much right now, so enjoy this blogger's adventures even more.  (From Our Life in the Country)

Five-layer carrot cake -- with cream frosting, drizzled with salted caramel sauce. Oh my.  (From Betty Crocker)

Cheater prints...or 'Printed Patchwork,' as they were apparently called in the 19th century. History and LOTS of photos.  (From Barbara Brackman's Material Culture)

Gold coins found on a the desert!    If you're thinking Clive Cussler's Sahara at this should be.

The one-dollar prom outfit!  And it's lovely.  (From The Prudent Homemaker)

David Letterman's mom died. This sweet lady was 95; she died a day before Dave's 70th birthday.

Thriving at rock-bottom.  Another classic from yours truly...mostly about groceries.

Absolut does quilts. If you're curious about the designer behind the quilt on the Absolut bottle, meet Libs Elliott here.

Making pizza -- in the woods!   (From Urban Daddy) I realize this is an infomercial of sorts. (This one definitely is.) But I'm fascinated, nonetheless.

Fred Astaire, smooth-dancing during the 1970 Oscars. The man was 71! I guess I shouldn't be surprised, though -- according to his wife, Astaire continued dancing until a few weeks before his death, more than a decade later.

A man gets run over by a deer...on April Fool's Day!  His family didn't believe him, until he got the surveillance footage. (I wouldn't have either, quite frankly.)

Another interesting twist to the Roanoke mystery. This one's jewelry-related. (From the Smithsonian)

A Tennessee woman insists that President Obama said we could ALL print our own money -- and does just that.  (She went to jail for it...but I'm impressed at her fervor.)

Ten incredible 'last photos.' Including shots from 9/11, Princess Diana's car crash...and Elvis' visit to the dentist.  (From Listverse)

Babies and dogs. A boatload of "awwwww" photos.   (From Dogsome)

Museum pasta salad.  Chicken, mandarin oranges, snow peas...ummm.  (From The Prudent Homemaker)

Homemade rose lotion.  Including helpful links for the ingredients.  Except I'd make mine lavender-scented.  (From The Herbal Spoon)

Two almost-identical applique quilts...that shouldn't be.  Attributed to two different quiltmakers; are they, or aren't they?  (By Alden O'Brien, from Barbara Brackman's blog.

If you're in the Pueblo area (pronounced "Peb-lo," for you outsiders), stop by and say hi! 

Have a great week.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Dyeing Easter Eggs -- Naturally

Try these...simmer the chopped items gently for 10-12 minutes, drain (capture the water), then submerge your boiled eggs in the colored water. .

(Quilters use a similar process when tea-dyeing fabrics for a more vintage look.)

Use the parboiled veggies for other dishes.

This step-by-step guide is slightly more complicated, but makes some good points:

*Add a little vinegar to the solution, to help set the dye. (Salt helps, too.)

Steeping your eggs in the solution, even as long as overnight, will give you richer colors.

I'm Guest Posting on Frugal Farmer Today! again.  Actually, I'm (a)live ALL the time. 

Here it is -- 

"How to Save Money When 
           You're Living Paycheck to Paycheck"

As if this never happens to you...

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Easter Baskets -- For Guys! PLUS Updates

The auction of Libby Lehman's quilts is almost done.  A number of these pieces are iconic -- and worth considerably more, in this appraiser's humble opinion, than they're going for. Auction closes the evening of April 12 -- go take a look. Quick!
    (Or, if you're not sure who Libby is, go here first.)

I'm starting a new "Moneysaving" series this week! Each post will cover a different area. First on the list will post in a few days:  Saving (and making) money on that bugaboo, credit cards. 

Want to REALLY clean up your house? Try planning to sell it. I spent an hour or so last night bagging up newspapers and other burnables around the woodstove. Found all sorts of things under the piles, too, including rocks, a pair of leather gloves, firewood (didn't know it was there) -- and to my embarrassment, a large garbage bag of scrunched-up Christmas giftwrap from at least three or four years ago. Now that's hoarding.



It's easy to buy frou frou stuff for Easter baskets:  chocolate bunnies, bright-colored grass, flowery hairbands and such. But what about the guys in your house -- the ones that would rather die than admit they like jelly beans?

Make them a basket of items they really enjoy.

Fellow blogger Who Needs A Cape got me started thinking on this, after she talked about her men. She doesn't have any daughters. We have two -- and I've generally gone the dainty route for them before. This year, though, Daughter #1 is on vacation, and Daughter #2/Son #1 won't be in town.

     That leaves the Brick. What can I do that he'll enjoy? 

*Chocolate peanut butter eggs.  He loves peanut butter cups -- he'll like these.

*A video he hasn't seen.  (DVDs are a standard item in Brick family Easter baskets.)

*An IOU for brownies.+  The man lives for them.  Plus:

*A coupon for a long backrub.  Ditto.

*His favorite dark chocolate -- or a bag of nuts. Or chocolate-covered nuts.

*Kenyan coffee beans. He's currently hooked on these, and Sprouts has them on sale this week.

+Normally I'd just make these up -- but we both have to sing and play for church not only on Good Friday, but two services on Easter, as well.  Plus the attendant practices. Holidays are exhausting when you're on Worship Team.

My blogger friend swears by jerky, beef sticks and gift cards -- more good inclusions for guys.
     And no pretty pastel grass in their baskets.

Now you're in the Easter mood, enjoy these festive offerings:

Gives a whole new meaning to 'toothsome,' doesn't it...