Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Five Things Learned from Mr. Bean

 What can you learn from a gawky misfit who loves to shove his way to the front, play mean tricks on people...and who's obsessed with a three-wheeled blue car?

Plenty, it turns out.

Mr. Bean has been duckwalking his way through Rowan Atkinson's imagination since Atkinson was studying for  a degree in Electrical Engineering at Oxford. Bean (yes, his first name is "Mister") came out of an early comedy sketch. In his television series, he literally falls out of the sky, while a choir intones (in Latin): "Behold the Man who is a Bean."

If you've never seen Mr. Bean episodes, you're in for a treat. His pushy, juvenile ways are very, very funny. (Mr. Bean episodes can be accessed via Youtube here.)

I've learned a few things from this strange little man.

*Don't be afraid to improvise. When Bean's suitcase can't hold a pair of long-legged pants, he turns them into shorts. When he can't find a paintbrush, he uses his Teddy. And when that takes too long to paint his apartment, he plants a large firecracker in the paint can. (Okay, that is a little weird.)  The point: he's not afraid to try something unusual. Often it works!

*Frugal is as frugal does. Mr. Bean takes advantage of sales. He's careful to spend only what he can afford. Which means that his main present in his Christmas stocking is...the second one! ("Christmas socks," he exults, as he tries them on.) He also wears the same outfit, over and may get a little boring, but it becomes his trademark look. (And saves money, to boot.)

*Take joy in the little things. A fish sandwich enjoyed on a park bench (albeit from a live goldfish!); a cupcake, topped with a cherry, munched in the park. Christmas carolers at your door, and a platoon of marching soldiers. Mr. Bean enjoys it all.

*Value the people in your life. This lesson's learned the negative way -- Bean is more apt to take advantage of his friends...the dentist...his fellow churchgoers and exam-takers. If only he showed a little more consideration, he wouldn't be alone so much of the time! (Or get his car smashed up as often.)  Truth is: we need others, just as much they need us.

*Be yourself. Maybe Bean is strange -- but his odd dealings with life's problems have translated into dozens of episodes, both live and animated, plus two popular movies. (It also gave Atkinson entree into other movie roles, including his James Bond-mocking stint as Johnny English.) The series won several international awards, and is considered one of the most popular English comedies ever.

In 2012, Atkinson announced that Mr. Bean was retiring. "The stuff that has been most commercially successful for me – basically quite physical, quite childish – I increasingly feel I'm going to do a lot less of," Atkinson told the Daily Telegraph's Review. "Apart from the fact that your physical ability starts to decline, I also think someone in their 50s being childlike becomes a little sad. You've got to be careful."

He's got a point...but I'm going to miss Mr. Bean.

Easter Bunnies...From Marshmallows!

Additions for your family's Easter baskets can start to be pricey. These Easter bunnies are easily made from plain ol' marshmallows; they're a cheerful addition to Easter table decorations, too.

EASTER BUNNIES (from Taste of Home)

  • 2/3 cup vanilla frosting
  • 30 large marshmallows
  • Pink gel or paste food coloring
  • Red and pink heart-shaped decorating sprinkles
  • 60 miniature marshmallows 
  1. Frost the tops of 12 large marshmallows; stack a large marshmallow on top of each. Quarter the remaining large marshmallows; set aside for ears. Tint 1/4 cup frosting pink. Cut a small hole in the corner of a pastry or plastic bag; place pink frosting in bag.
  2. Pipe a ribbon between the stacked marshmallows for bow tie. With white frosting, attach red hearts for eyes and a pink heart for nose. Pipe pink whiskers and smile.
  3. For ears, pipe the center of quartered marshmallows pink; attach to head with white frosting. With the remaining white frosting, attach the miniature marshmallows for legs and tail. Let stand until dry. Yield: 1 dozen. 

More bunny ideas here and here, too. Even marshmallow bunny paws.
Guess people really like these little guys! 

P.S. This is a crossover post from my articles at the Holiday Goodies blog.    Enjoy...

Can I have a marshmallow, too?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

I Have A Headache...


Taxes, reports, a quilt to embellish and finish for a challenge. Oh yes, and schlep Daughter #1 to the doctor's office this afternoon. (Her shoulder is really healing nicely, after surgery in January.)

Why do I have to take time to sleep?

Why do we have to pay taxes?

Why did I procrastinate on some of this stuff?!?

We've been watching Mystery Science Theatre 3000 a lot lately. It actually makes more sense during times like this -- especially at 1 a.m. in the morning. Or 2 a.m. Or 3:30 a.m.

Don't ask how I know that.

 (This is my favorite one. Yes, it's really silly.)


This song is dedicated to those of you out there in similar predicaments:

Now get to work. And give me a call at midnight, if you're still up. We'll go out for coffee or something.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Monday Stuff on the Way to Other Stuff: Well, That's Spring

Eight inches of snow yesterday, with a nice thick coating of ice, as well. Friend Jo and I went to the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum's "Sunday at the Museum" talk about "Men with Quilts." My colleague Steve was one of the co-presenters. He did a great job, but we left soon after. 
     For one, I'd been up working until 3:30 a.m. that morning. (And dozed off a few times -- sorry, Steve.) For another, the snow was coming down fast. It was a good thing we did -- we came across two multi-vehicle crashes, with a sprinkling of in-the-ditch accidents, as well. I was grateful to finally make it home. 
     Had to take a car to the dealer this morning, and I got there 30 min. late -- Denver was riddled with accidents. Now, though, the sun's out, the streets are nearly dry, and the snow is melting fast. I'm glad I didn't plant yet - temps went down to 17 or so last night. By the end of the week, it should be back up in the 60s or 70s.
     Spring? Winter? Welcome to Colorado in the springtime. 

Now on to the Stuff:

The best chicken breed for the apocalypse. (From Backyard Chickens)

 Get your date  something she'll never forget -- a fried chicken prom corsage!

Two interesting questions. What advice would you give? (From Making Sense of Cents)

When the 'check engine' light comes on, DON'T ignore it... or any of those other pesky routine maintenance issues for your car. (From Donna Freedman)

Ten inspiring spaces for small balconies. (Apartment Therapy)

 Also good -- Gardening without a garden, using your patio or balcony. (Also from AT)

A genius poker player who's being sued -- looks like he may have been cheating. Speaking of:

The German champions of the Bali worldwide bridge tournament have been deposed, as well-- turns out they were convicted of cheating. What tripped them up: communicating by coughing. One of the American team they beat got suspicious when those coughs signaled certain actions -- and their fraud was confirmed by videotape.
    What's extra sad: these Deutschers were respected doctors at home. Why did they do it??

The oldest-ever message in a bottle.

Five recent cases of looted art being recovered. If you enjoyed Monuments Men, you'll find these interesting.  (Also - the Nazi art stash just found, hidden in a German apartment.)

Easter basket goodies that won't bust your budget. (From Monroe On A Budget)

And from yours truly --

Men, Women and Money. (From Midlife Finance)
The world according to Suze. Orman, that is. (Also from MLF)

Daffodils, for beauty and income.    (From Penny Thots)

Rhubarb - the springtime special.   (Also from PT)

Have a good week.

Friday, April 11, 2014

If You've Been A Teacher...'ll want to take time to watch this.

One of the most amazing commentaries on the value of teaching that I have ever seen.

Twilight Zone's "The Changing of the Guard"

    (with Donald Pleasance)

And something else that came out of it - this wonderful poem by Howard A. Walter:

 I would be true, for there are those who trust me;

 I would be pure, for there are those who care;

 I would be strong, for there are those who suffer;

 I would be brave, for there is much to dare.

 I would be friend of all— the foe, the friendless;

 I would be giving, and forget the gift;

 I would be humble, for I know my weakness;

 I would look up, and laugh, and love, and lift.

Chicks And Cars!

Chickens have been on my mind a lot lately. 

Partly because of the mysterious disappearance. Partly because the chicks are getting bigger and bigger -- and it's supposed to snow Sunday. I can't very well put them in the little coop...but they're starting to try to fly out of the brooder bin, as well. One actually made it yesterday, but was so confused at her success that I was able to grab her in time.

     Mercedes-Benz has been thinking about them, too. Chickens, that is.


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Introducing A Quilting Friend

     I have an interesting friend I'd like to share with you.

I first met Ann Hazelwood through our mutual AQS (or American Quilter's Society) certifications in appraising. But Ann is much more than that. She has been a member of the AQS appraiser certification committee, fellow member of PAAQT (our appraisers group), a shopowner, designer, collector…and novelist! Her Colebridge Community series features four quilt-related novels, so far, including her newest: The Jane Austen Quilt Club. That book will be celebrated at Paducah, Kentucky’s AQS conference this year with “An Evening with Jane Austen.” As a fan of Dear Jane for decades, I’m looking forward to exploring Ann’s connection.
     Writing is an an important part of Ann's life. “Quilts are my love; writing is my passion!” she explains. I asked her several questions about her work; she has given me permission to share her answers with you.

      When you ask how one gets started with a certain venue, it doesn't seem to ever have a beginning and an end, especially when it's something you love doing and it's something you have always done. I have been writing since I was six years old. My biggest fear was not ever having enough paper. I still crave paper today!
     In my business of thirty years (Patches etc.), I produced a 12-page tabloid Victorian newsletter, something I relished. We converted that to a weekly e-mail newsletter, and proudly obtained more than 3,000 quilters on the list nationwide. That was fun.

     I have been with three publishers in my career. My interest in tourism was vital to my business. I wrote five Missouri travel books over a period of time, that I truly enjoyed.
As a quilt shop owner and appraiser for AQS, I had plenty to write about. I began with a daily calendar for AQS, then a line of small books that started with a ‘100 things’ theme.
     When AQS decided they might try fiction, my editor read The Basement Quilt, which I had just written for fun, testing my fictional skills. Little did I know then that a series was born. AQS warned me I was a guinea pig for them, but to our amazement, these novels have been very successful. The Jane Austen Quilt Club is fourth in the series. [The others are The Potting Shed Quilt and The Funeral Parlor Quilt.] I have written each book on its own merit, so one does not have to read the previous one. The characters have people engaged, as if they know them personally. There will be three more to follow in the series, as of now.
     I’m often asked for advice by would-be writers. Many have ideas in their heads that never make it to paper, so that would be the first piece of advice --Get it all out and don't worry about publishing or editing till much later. 

   Paducah 2014 offers a unique venue this year at the Maiden Alley Movie House downtown on Wed. April 23, from 5-7:30 p.m.. It's called “A Night with Jane Austen.” Besides showing the movie AUSTENLAND, Karen Gloegger [author of Jane Austen Quilts Inspired by Her Novels] and myself will be giving a short talk about our books related to Jane. Tea will be served, and we’ll be signing books, as well. I hear some are dressing in costume. It is a period in time where we are certainly enjoying the English right now. Jane has something in common with the location of Downton Abbey, so all quite fun!

   I am fortunate to have another career that lends itself to retirement mode. I still travel extensively, lecturing, appraising, and of course promoting my series.
They say ‘Write about what you know’ -- so I have. Living and doing business on a historic main street, quilts, paranormal activity, family, friendships and yes, even romance… these are all on the table. I hope you will visit the Colebridge Community soon.


 You can contact Ann via the following: 

Ann M Hazelwood, LLC
420 Clark Street
St. Charles, MO 63301

Be sure to stop by her website, ANN HAZELWOOD SERVICES: