Saturday, September 30, 2017

Courage!

After a difficult month (which was supposed to be easy), I get the feeling that I am starting to climb out...that something interesting is waiting just around the corner. 
     I've been reminding myself that the crest of the Scottish clan I'm related to (Cumings) features a rearing lion and the single word:

                COURAGE.




If you're still at the bottom of the pit, looking up at the dark walls around you, don't give up. 
      Help (and relief) may well be on the way. 





One of my favorites:










Thursday, September 28, 2017

Rainbows Squared

Kafe Fassett, are you listening? 
     Because this wonderful quilt looks an awful lot like your inspiration. 

(Actually, Veronika Mattison made it, according to Pinterest.)




No pattern -- but you really don't need one.
     *Figure out your biggest square (piece it the same way as Log Cabin).
      *Then do a two-square smaller set half the width and the same height as the larger block.
      *A third block, the same width and roughly 2/3 height, can be added to the mix.
      *Based on this quilt, Mattison also uses a thin sashing strip at times to separate and accent the color in that area.

     Make a variety of blocks -- keep your colors carefully separate. (Using coordinated sashing helps, too.) Bear in mind that the quilt shown relies on the color wheel: primary colors are separated by the secondary colors that blend between them.
      Then use this photo to lay the blocks out, rearranging and adding sashing strips as needed. Stitch together in sections until you reach the size needed for your quilt.

      You won't need a fancy quilting pattern -- simple outline quilting will add depth and visual interest. Bind your finished piece with a dark neutral.

Your Rainbow Quilt will help keep things cheerful through the bleakest day of winter.



National Coffee Day Sept. 29... Free Fish & Chicken... and Updates

**Snap!**

That, and a bunch of squeaking, interrupted my typing. After spending a good part of the morning putting away beans, etc. so the mice wouldn't get into them, it was nice to hear the results of the Brick's latest peanut-butter set trap.
    Interestingly, our friends down the street had just brought a handful of mice for the chickens. Did this one feel called to become chicken food, too? A second big one joined it, soon after. (Son #1 found a third running around inside the utility sink in the laundry room, and sent it to the Big Mousetrap In the Sky.)
     I felt terrible about the mouse invasion, until I heard about a couple in Redhawk, a snooty subdivision near us. Their mouse total this fall (so far, at least) is TWENTY-FIVE. Yow.
     All the same, these mice need to find somewhere else to live.



The chickens are only laying an egg every 2-3 days now. Their days are numbered, the little dinosaurs.



They should take some heed of the bobcat that our neighbor spotted this week in the open space area below our backyard. I have a feeling it wouldn't mind a chicken dinner...if not for Charley the dog and a sturdy coop.

Cleaning up, putting away -- and reports.  I have actually been making progress at this!  I have to -- clients are waiting. Plus I need to clear away a bunch of things before the upcoming conference...hunting season...and an ASA (American Society of Appraisers) meeting.

I would love to tell you exciting things are going on here at Chez Brick -- but they're not.
However,
          Life goes on...

* * * * * * * * *
Long John Silvers is offering BOGO on fish & chicken meals, if you have this coupon.  (Good through 10/8/17)





* * * * * * * *
National Coffee Day is Friday, Sept. 29! A bunch of places are offering free or discounted coffee on Friday, including these thirteen spots. (Thanks, Brad's Deals, for pointing them out.)

Don't be chicken about it!





Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Let There Be (Multi-colored) Light

Got an old light fixture you're sick of?



Turn it into an outdoor light -- with intriguing colored bulbs!



The secret? A little elbow grease -- and Sharpie colored markers.

Heather Elzey of Hometalk makes this surprisingly easy. Go here for full details. 



I am wondering. Would the Sharpie trick work on indoor bulbs? Larger clear beads? Bowls or plates? Hmmm...



Frugal Hits & Misses: September Report

This month heralded a welcome break from the heat -- and, finally, a chance to test drive our 5th wheel trailer. We were right. It's going to be a comfortable home when we finally move in next spring! 
     I love the fall color and renewed hope in this lovely season.

If it weren't for the truck maintenance/repairs and the bathroom renovations, we would have had a reasonably frugal month. Those lesser costs will help out with October's bills, at least. 





HITS:

*Watched a bunch of shows free...plus some Broncos football. (Now, if we could only get Michigan and CU college ball events too.) One of our favorites, Designated Survivor, started up again on Sept. 27.

*Earned two more $25 Amazon gift cards by using Swagbucks... again! (I got a $3 giftcard, too.) No work -- just the searches and shopping we normally do. And they don't pester us, which I especially like. Go here for more, and to register -- it's easy.

*The Brick got a 20-cents-a-gallon discount for gas. Thank you, Safeway, for adding all those little incentives for buying produce, etc. -- they really add up. I used a 10-cents gasoline discount at King Soopers; good, but not as nice.

*Processed -- and processed and processed -- peaches. Put 50 pounds each of kidney and white beans in more reliable storage containers. (The Brick is convinced that our mousey problem stems partly from them munching on  beans. I'm not sure, but did it for his sake, if not the mice.) Scrubbed out the cooler we keep on the back deck, and will fill it with apples we got in Palisade.

*Bag of specialty dogfood -- an $8 coupon made it only a penny!

*The Brick got a 'preferred customer discount' when buying truck parts -- $50 saved, just because he mentioned it!   $100 to have oil change and brakes done. (If it had gone to the dealer, we would have paid $600 or more.)

*A free Red Lobster birthday lunch from friends. (Thanks, guys.)

*22 videos for $1 each, thanks to the library's used-book room. (One put up on Amazon.)

*Sold a few things on Amazon. 

*Free movie tickets for us and two friends to American Made.

*Some appraising work. Enough to keep me busy.

*$5 discount on a $25 Red Robin gift card. (Which we'll use to augment the free birthday burger I get this month.)

*$ from playing for a wedding. And a funeral. And a church service. Not a lot, but some.

*A $10 rewards card from Lowe's -- spent on flowers. Plus a bunch of birthday discounts and specials.  (Free cupcakes, baguettes and garlic bread from the thrift shop, too.)

*A package of Cheddar cheese -- found in the grocery store parking lot. Something like this happened back in June, too. Weird.



Cheese -- always good for soup

*For fires this month, we used the wood we cut up, instead of buying any. Those 'sticks' really came in handy. Next: a few dead trees in the backyard that have been 'curing' all summer. (We'll X them with spray paint before the leaves fall on the living trees.) We didn't have to turn on the furnace yet, thanks to this.

*Stayed and worked, when we wanted to go camping, instead. Welcome to adulthood...

*Generator given to us by friends, plus a giftcard, for doing them some favors. The generator's just what we needed for helping out with the trailer's power needs.

*50 pounds of onions: $5.  (Yes, from our favorite Friday/Saturday store.) Unfortunately, they got wet -- so I spent several hours chopping and cleaning them for the freezer. (Total packages: 31.) It will be nice to have them ready to use this winter, but I would have been happy to do something else, instead. Ironically, only the last few onions really made me tear up.

*Three stops at Burger King - all with coupons. This helped balance out other costs on the camping trip. (See below.)

*Boxes of peaches: $10 each!  We paid $17 each for two boxes of 'green' peaches (that ripened a week later) plus two boxes of Jonathan apples. The peaches are nearly gone, but the apples should hang in there for months, stored in the crisper.

MISSES:

*Some wastage on the peaches -- those little devils just ripened soooo quickly. (The chickens ate the leftovers -- but reluctantly.)

*Another bag of cracked corn for the chickens, who only lay when they feel like it. Which isn't often. Their end is growing near.

*Final bills for renovating the bathrooms are paid. It will be a stretch, covering everything. Thank God we can do it. (I mean that literally.)

* A $500-and-change bill in Grand Junction to fix the truck, which kept overheating, whether it was pulling the trailer or not.

*A bunch of small expenses to fix the Brick's IPad and cellphone -- only the cellphone isn't fixed yet. $100 here, $50 there...it all starts to add up.

You can see earlier monthly reports here, starting with August. 




Tuesday, September 26, 2017

An Online course on C.S. Lewis and His Work -- FREE!

Hillsdale College is offering you a chance to learn more about one of the greatest writers and thinkers of the 20th century:

C.S. Lewis



I have loved this man's work ever since I first dipped into The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (which I thought for years was the only book)-- and Screwtape's Letters.

You may have read his children's series on Narnia -- or his science fiction novels. Or his commentaries on Christian faith and apologetics.

Now you can take a course on the man and his work. For free.

Go here for more. A quick signup, and your first lecture will be waiting for you.




Sunday, September 24, 2017

Monday Stuff on the Way to Other Stuff: Three? Really?!?

    So I'm curious about all things Bigfoot. And I had a birthday last week. Little did I suspect that the exact same Sasquatch birthday card would come from three people: my darling Brick, cousin Joy and friends Tom & Chris. 
    Plus another Bigfoot card. They're everywhere.
    Son #1 spent Sunday, the last day of bowhunting/muzzleloader season in Colorado, hunting up at 'Bigfoot Mountain.' (Its real name shall be forever obscured.) We're waiting to hear if he got any furry buddies -- he had an elk tag and a bear tag. 
      He didn't see or hear anything of Our Buddy on his last trip...maybe I'll luck out this time.
      Cold and blowy here -- and snowing in the mountains. We've just got rain...which is wonderful. We could have turned the heat on, but used both the electric and the real fireplaces, instead. 
     Another 10 degrees down, and at 6250 ft. elevation, we would have had snow, too.
     Meanwhile:





VERY early Spode china patterns from the 1800s. And surprisingly like 1960s cups, saucers and bowls.  (From the Spode History blog)

How to freeze eggs.  Good for the next sale -- because you'll need them for holiday cooking.  (From Hundred Dollars A Month)

"I bought fake job references over the Internet...and they worked!"  I couldn't believe this story. But there are enough shenanigans in this world...I guess it could work.
      If you could live with yourself afterwards, that is.

Five ways to whiten your teeth from coffee and tea stains.  (From Groom and Style)

Six historical figures who died really weird (and sometimes brave) deaths.  (From Cracked) In keeping with that:

25 more strange deaths.  Mostly famous people -- sometimes not. (From List25)

Jerry Lewis' daughter...is homeless.  At least she probably is his daughter. (DNA results say 88%.)
      No, she's not in his will. Neither are his five sons. (A sixth died years ago.) Do you see a lawsuit coming?? Either way, it's complicated.

A BUNCH of recipes using ketchup. Good ones, too.  (From Sudden Lunch)

Smoked Texas brisket...in the crockpot. Our friend Mike has gotten us both hooked on this stuff. Try it without barbecue sauce; that's the way he makes it. Just add a little more water. (From AllRecipes)


Has Tori Spelling seen the light? The free-spending celebrity is spotted haggling over a yard-sale rug. (Which the news site downgraded as 'dirty.' I thought it was kinda pretty!) Granted, she'd just come out of a $1000 Halloween shopping spree at Target...

A judge releases a felon with a 12-year record of violence, especially against the police, to a drug program...he never finishes it. A month later, he's dead in a gunbattle, along with the deputy he shot, as well as two more cops. Read the full story here.   (From Blue Lives Matter)

Sean's Bar: oldest pub in Ireland, probably the oldest in Europe -- founded at the 'recent' date of c.900 AD!

An Australian man loses his inheritance...or at least most of it. This man kidnapped his own daughter and held her for ransom...then took out insurance on his parents after he found out they had terminal diseases. (Collected on it, too.) Finally, large amounts of money 'disappeared' from his accounts shortly before he argued in court that he should get a larger share of his mom's inheritance. After all, he was homeless, jobless and on disability.
    The judge didn't happen to see it that way. You'll enjoy the full -- and complicated -- story on this one. (Reminds me of the guy who murdered his parents...then threw himself on the mercy of the court because he was an orphan.)
     Feel sorry for him yet?

An interesting story of charitable deceit. In Australia, again. (Poor people.) You'll have to read this one to believe it. It is patterns like this that make me wary of large charities...with the Red Cross high on the list.

Pregnant -- but still frugal.  (From the Frugalwoods)

Hemingway's house in Key West is ok. So are the kitties. Some structural damage, but everything survived Hurricane Irma nicely. Whew.

Small spaces bench design.  This example was custom-built, but I've seen it done with an IKEA bookshelf laid on its side, as well... (From Provident Home Design)




Scooter's bad day...tick-wise.  I hope this never happens to Charley and Abs.  (From Get Me To The Country)

Eat vegetarian all week.  I don't normally eat like this, but some good ideas here.  (From Balanced Style)

Have a great week. (Yes, I'll keep you posted.)




Peyton Manningisms

     Peyton Manning isn't Denver's featured Bronco anymore; he retired in 2015. That didn't stop the quarterback who followed him, Trevor Siemian, from having plenty to stay about the Great One in today's Denver Post.




He once said to Peyton, 'After a game, does the younger quarterback go up to the older quarterback? How does that work? What is the etiquette?'

Peyton's answer can be applied to all sorts of situations:

"Trevor, I'll tell you this -- when you win the game, you wait for the other quarterback to come up to you. When you lose, you go up to the other quarterback."





Another 'Mr. Omaha' comment shows the depth of this interesting man:

During the preseason, when Manning stood in full uniform with a helmet on the sideline, he was asked by a reporter why he bothers dressing when he isn't playing. With Siemian standing nearby, Manning said: 

"because I have too much respect for the guys that are on the field."


Now that's class. So is this quote:



Friday, September 22, 2017

Happy Birthday!

...to me.

Now you know why birthday freebies were included in this week's 'Stuff' post. After the money kicked out for peaches, plus a $500+ repair bill on the truck, I've been researching discounts and free stuff for your natal day. And there's a bunch of it on the Internet, including this post from allyou magazine.
     There's even a website, Birthday Freebies, dedicated to just this.

Weird.

Nonetheless, we'll benefit some in the next week from Panera (free birthday pastry) and our favorite, Red Robin (a birthday burger). Both places have reward clubs you need to sign up for in advance; just click on the links.

Here's how my day went --

I woke up this morning to my sweet Brick bringing breakfast in bed. He also gave me a bouquet of red roses -- and a Bigfoot birthday card. What a romantic.



Maybe I needed a cake like this...

     This afternoon was an adventure to see what I could scoop up for free during the errand run. I grabbed a loaf of garlic bread, a package of cupcakes and a bag of french bread loaves from the thrift shop's 'free bread' shelf. One bank threw a couple of dog bones in with the cash. (They saw Charley sitting in the back.) But the nicest 'present' by far was a pretty clear blue plastic piggybank from the local credit union, when the clerk heard it was my birthday. What a kind thing to do.

      I also redeemed a $10 rewards card from Lowes (expiring today) to buy an ornamental kale plant and two pansies. The pansies will brighten up the planter until frost, then hopefully will reappear in the spring. The kale plant looks interesting in a planter -- but even better, I'll be able to trim leaves from it for a few months. They make great additions to soup.

     A final stop at Chipotle for burritos (a BOGO earned from the library's summer reading program), plus the garlic bread heated, made for an easy supper. Of course, we had cupcakes for dessert!

Got some lovely flowers from the Mama, too


No visits from the girlies -- Son #1 and Daughter #2 are in North Carolina, rockhounding right now. Daughter #1 had her own responsibilities elsewhere. I'd seen them the week before, though, for a birthday supper.

A quiet, peaceful day was had...with rain falling on our parched yard by nightfall. 


Funny -- I don't feel any older. 



Patience...





Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Speaking Out





In our case, it was the girlies calling each other 'Cow.' Just this week, I was informed that if I hadn't made such a fuss about it, they would have gotten bored and stopped sooner. 
     Ahem. Sure. You bet.

National Museum Day Live 9/23 -- Get Your Free Tickets!

Just go here for specifics. 

Sponsored by the Smithsonian. Ironically, there are none in my state (Colorado). But hundreds of museums are participating. Hopefully there's one in your area!





Colds...And Cold Mornings

Charley Bear has a cold.

Charley Bear...and A Bear. (As in Rug)


So do we, apparently.

Getting up in the morning, already an exercise in discipline, has just gotten worse. Why would I want to leave that warm snuggly bed, when it's chilly outside?

No matter -- you have to. There's work to be done. But I feel like this about it all:




(And btw, I'm not the first dog.)

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Quilted Flowers on a Windy Day

Now this is a charmer --

From Pinterest...


What a great way to use up your scraps, while sewing this cheerful piece. I could even see making the daisies into chrysanthemums on an autumn-leafy background, with careful attention to color. Or white Christmas roses, backed by red and green!

It's called 'Blossoms' (of course), designed by Amanda Murphy.




Get the PDF pattern from PatternPile here.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Peaches, Mouseys...And Other Updates

     A cool breeze, fall colors just beginning down here. The Broncos won yesterday, and the CU Buffs and Michigan did their part over the weekend, as well. A hot cup of coffee...and a piece of peach pie close at hand. What more could you want?


Forgot to take a picture before we started eating...sorry.

     Well, some get-up-and-go, for starters.  Now we're back home, I've got reports to finish up, laundry to do -- and back to work on attacking The Piles that are currently infesting the house. I spent much of the weekend processing box after box of peaches, which were more than ripe, and starting to 'go.' The Brick helped some, too. The upshot of it: we have 20 or so quart bags of chopped peaches in the freezer, 2 batches of dried peaches, plus two peach pies (1 1/4 pies -- #2 is in the freezer) and a batch of tarts (ditto).
     They'll be delicious, but it took staying up until 1 a.m. or so every morning to get everything done. At least now we're caught up on episodes of The Last Ship and Fear the Walking Dead.

We brought back some boxes  for various friends and neighbors,  including Pastor Torrey and his wife. Sunday morning, we were peacefully listening to the sermon when he began talking about fruit. (I.e., what our actions produce in ours and other people's lives.) Suddenly, I heard my name -- he was thanking us from the pulpit for "the peaches from Palisade -- which are the best."

     That was strange enough -- but happened after the service was even weirder. We had at least three people sidle up and say, "Um, those peaches from Palisade...ya got any extra? We'd like some, too."

     Lesson learned: Never let your pastor peddle your peaches from the pulpit.

Two boxes are left -- but we bought those purposely green. Hopefully they'll last for another week or two, or I may just go peach-buggy.  You'll find recipes, by the way, over on the Holiday Goodies blog for pie and tarts. Go here for more.




Mousey Alert:  We were winning this war last month.  Sort of. But while we were gone, a new family must have moved in -- we've caught at least one, and I continue to hear suspicious rattling over by the newspaper pile. The snoozing dogs seem to notice nothing. So much for guarded vigilance.




Bathrooms:  Son #1 is finished with Bathroom #1 and almost done with Bathroom #2: marble, textured stone and (TA DA!) a toilet we can actually use. He just needs to move the vanity in and do the hookups, he says.
     That's good, because we're almost out of money in the savings account. Bathroom renovations, no matter how carefully you plan for them, are expensive.

Bigfoot:  In spite of great hopes that Son #1 would run across something (not literally!) during this year's bowhunting season... he didn't. No weird sounds, footprints, anything. I am really bummed.

General life: Charley the dog has a cold. He mopes around, even though his favorite person -- Karma, Daughter #2 and Son #1's dog -- is in residence.

Poor baby.

 The Brick doesn't feel that great, either. It may be a cold -- it may be just readjusting to the altitude. (We had a lot of trouble sleeping at 10,500 ft when we were camping last week...just couldn't seem to draw an easy breath.) Or it may be thinking about finances: we had to cough up more than $500 last week at the Grand Junction dealer, when the truck kept overheating. We made three separate trips to the dealer -- at a time when we should have just been luxuriating by the campsite. (On the other hand, we had several interesting conversations with people who were doing the same thing, including a guy who drove for Uber and a young couple from Quebec. (And had been sleeping in their minivan for days, while the dealer dithered on what to do.)
     'Picking up strange men and women,' we called it. A new hobby.

Second lesson learned:  Do not spend a day of your vacation hanging out in the RAM truck dealer's parking lot. It is not exciting, in spite of the (nice) people you may meet.

I am not that concerned. The bathrooms are paid for, and so are our bills. We still have cash in a few other accounts, and I have a few gigs coming up. If we need to pull money from retirement accounts, so be it. We'll be okay.
     He still worries, though.


At least Karma can hold Charley's paw now and then.


   

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Peaches, Peaches, Peaches

      Our recent trip to Palisade left us with a pleasure and a burden: 15 boxes of peaches that, due to their ripeness, had to be eaten up, canned or put in the freezer -- stat. 
     We filled neighbors' orders, gave away some. Five boxes remained, all in increasing states of ripeness -- except now we were getting a lot of fuzz patches, too. 
      Guess what I've been doing all weekend? 

A location scout for the Netflix tv series Narcos is found murdered:  riddled with bullets, in his car in Hidalgo...just as the drugrunners series plans to focus on the Mexican drug cartels. How much do you wanna bet the two events are related?

A trip down memory car lane...what vehicles have you owned? Which ones do you wish you still had?  (From Kevin and Ruth)

A coyote gets a ride in a car grill...for twenty miles on the highway!   Surprisingly, the little guy was released unharmed.
    Another entry from the Department of 'Ewww:'

A monster 'fatberg' is found, clogging up one of London's Victorian-era sewers.  It's estimated to weigh as much as 10 double-decker busses. (Yes, it took a while to remove.)

An English custodian finds a medieval treasure trove...buried on his school's playground.

"Ten easy things I do to save money."  (From Money Beagle)

What to do with that big windfall... inheritance, home sale, whatever.  How do you invest it wisely? (From Financial Samurai)

Dozens of birthday freebies.  (From The Frugal Girls)

Decor decisions that made them proud.  Including this colorwashed cutlery. (From Domino) 



Seventeen holiday souvenirs that don't require a lot of $$.  (From The Simple Dollar)

Slow cooker beef & broccoli. Sounds delicious.  (From Hundred Dollars A Month)





Also, don't miss her latest installment of random goodness around the Web, including a mattress store owner who gave 1,000 people a place to sleep (good for him!), a suitcase cover of your head (I am not making this up)...and Handerpants.

From 9/11's anniversary:

*Ten raw videos from the day.
*Ten famous people who avoided death that day.  (Both from Listverse)

*Watermelon molasses:  what it is, and why you should try it!  (I'd never heard of this, either.)

One-pot taco casserole.  I'm all for easy AND good, nowadays. (From Crazy for Crust)




Have a good week -- go eat some peaches!




Saturday, September 16, 2017

I Love This Time of Year!

It's definitely fall here.





We've got a few bushels of peaches to process...back to you soon.

Have a good weekend.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Dealing with Bad News

It's been a rough couple of weeks here at the Bricks. August, except for The Mama's birthday celebration, wasn't that terrific, either. 

So it seemed particularly appropriate to hear what "Chuck," aka Charles Spurgeon, had to say in his 'Morning and Evening' devotional this morning.  How a 19th-century preacher can come up with topics that apply perfectly to modern life is just amazing -- until you remember that an Amazing God is out there, who cares for us. 

          This message is for you, too.




"He shall not be afraid of evil tidings."
Psalm 112:7
Christian, you ought not to dread the arrival of evil tidings; because if you are distressed by them, what do you more than other men? Other men have not your God to fly to; they have never proved his faithfulness as you have done, and it is no wonder if they are bowed down with alarm and cowed with fear: but you profess to be of another spirit; you have been begotten again unto a lively hope, and your heart lives in heaven and not on earthly things; now, if you are seen to be distracted as other men, what is the value of that grace which you profess to have received? Where is the dignity of that new nature which you claim to possess?
Again, if you should be filled with alarm, as others are, you would, doubtless, be led into the sins so common to others under trying circumstances. The ungodly, when they are overtaken by evil tidings, rebel against God; they murmur, and think that God deals hardly with them. Will you fall into that same sin? Will you provoke the Lord as they do?
Moreover, unconverted men often run to wrong means in order to escape from difficulties, and you will be sure to do the same if your mind yields to the present pressure. Trust in the Lord, and wait patiently for him. Your wisest course is to do as Moses did at the Red Sea, "Stand still and see the salvation of God." For if you give way to fear when you hear of evil tidings, you will be unable to meet the trouble with that calm composure which nerves for duty, and sustains under adversity. How can you glorify God if you play the coward? Saints have often sung God's high praises in the fires, but will your doubting and desponding, as if you had none to help you, magnify the Most High? Then take courage, and relying in sure confidence upon the faithfulness of your covenant God, "let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."

Read more of Psalm 112 to reinforce this. It helps.
     Hang in there.