Sunday, June 29, 2014


Genre: Business Review

I first met this lovely lady in 1995 as she was beginning her involvement in historical re-enactments called Rendezvous and my career as a Free Trader was winding down.
In full disclosure I want to tell everyone right now Linda Lou Alexander is a friend.  She is in fact the Linda Lou I refer to in my “Be Careful What You Ask For” blog post over on my See the USA the Mystery Shopping Way Blog.
However, my friends will all tell you that I won’t recommend a product or business I don’t believe in.  That being said back to my review of Baskets by Linda Lou.
For two to three years Linda Lou and I spent many a ‘voo camping near each other and each of us weaving in our own way.  Me throwing a shuttle on an Inkle Loom and her with her nibble fingers weaving baskets so swiftly it was amazing to watch.

As she wove she chatted with people as they came by, sharing her knowledge of the various baskets she makes and their history.  Along the way she started giving basket weaving lessons and developed a following of people who fell in love with both her and her baskets.  Myself being one.
I am proud to say I have some of her baskets, my favorites being my large Market Basket and my Double Walled Western Cherokee.  Both have traveled all over the US with me. Yarn in the Market Basket and the other used mainly for decoration because I didn’t want to mess it up. Both are still in remarkably good shape for all they’ve been through nearly 20 years later. This is because of the careful construction of them done by Linda Lou, not because of any special treatment I’ve ever given them. While the photos that follow are not of my baskets, they are of the same type.  First the Market Basket

Now a Double Walled Western Cherokee

After I quit going to ‘voo Linda Lou and I went our separate ways, me home to tend to the ranch and her to expand her basket business more and more.  Over the years we have touched base with telephone calls, emails and now through the wonders of social media I am able once again to chat with her and admire her baskets.
Her business has grown and so has the variety of baskets she makes. 
Her inventory includes not only the original two I mentioned, but egg, bowl, Choctaw, pine needle baskets, quivers and many more.  Just look at the wonderful photos I’ve included of her work and you can see how talented she is and the quality of her work. The photos have been provided by and printed with permission from Linda Lou.  You can see she is one busy lady.

She just announced on facebook that she is now part of My Friends Place, an artisan shop that is opening July 1, 2014 in Paris, Texas.  I highly recommend you drop by and check out her baskets in person. She did not ask me for the recommendation.  I volunteered to give it because I admire her work and her determination through all that life has handed her to keep this unique skill alive for all to see.

Not going all the way to Paris, perhaps just as far as Antlers, OK then get in contact with her for a private showing in her home workshop.

 If both are too far then how about the internet? You can contact her at  where she has a mailing list for shows and classes you can attend.  

You can find her on facebook as Linda Lou Alexander.  You can also check out My Friends Place on facebook.
Linda Lou still gives classes to anyone who wants to book them.  I know as a young teen I took a basket weaving class in Girl Scouts from a friend of my mothe and thoroughly enjoyed it.  Perhaps your scout or home schooling class could benefit from her knowledge.  
Not of the underage group?  No problem,   she teaches old and young alike through state parks, community centers, churches and private homes. She has taught students as old as 93!

 Just get in touch with her and she’ll work the details out with you.
580 982 8632.u

Whatever you do, check out her beautiful handmade baskets she makes them in all types sizes and colors.  Perhaps you need something as small as a business card holder, or nut cups for a special reception, a large gathering basket, a quiver for your favorite archer or any numerous things. If she doesn’t have it in stock she can make it for you.
Have a special basket you’ve seen, but it wasn’t quite the color or size you needed?  Get a good photo to her and chances are she can make it.
No matter the size, shape or color Linda Lou’s baskets all have one unique feature no one else can duplicate, Linda Lou’s spirit that she weaves in as her small hands fly through the process and that is priceless.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


“Somewhere close behind air and water is the need for food.”
L.J. Martin, Cooking Wild & Wonderful

By: Pam Young and Peggy Jones
Genre: Non-fiction, Cookbook

Back years ago when I read S.H.E.written by these two ladies I learned a lot about organization.  I recently wrote a review about that book and decided to look into more books by them. 

While I learned a lot from S.H.E.  I am sad to say I was not overly impressed with “The Phony Gourmet”.  I was hoping for quick fix recipes that weren’t based on already prepared foods like Whoppers from Burger King that you harvest the ingredients out of and throw in a crust. 

Sorry ladies, but if I am going to go to Burger King to get a Whooper I’m going to eat it in its original bread product, not skin it and replace the bread with a crust.  That defeats the entire purpose of going to Burger King in the beginning.

Now if I was still mystery shopping to the point I was getting burgers for free three times a day it might be a recipe I’d consider just for a change in texture, but on a day to day basis.  Nope!

I also didn’t care for their fake cooking hints, like cooking your peelings from your carrots and such in a bundle to make your family think you’ve been cooking.  I don’t know about your households, but that would really cause problems in mine. If my guys smell food, they expect food to eat.

After reading several of the 75 recipes in the book I simply skimmed the rest because quite frankly this was not a cookbook in my estimation.  

In fairness to them though I am pretty much a scratch cook and make a lot of my own mixes as evidenced by my blogs Patterson’s Pantry and Patterson’s Pantry Recipes.  Although I do love a good shortcut recipe on my busy days.   These were not the ones for me.
My overall for this book was a C-.  Sorry ladies.
Jan who is too much a foodie for recipes like what is in this cookbook in OK

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

S.H.E. SIDETRACKED HOME EXECUTIVES...from pigpen to paradise

“You will never break free to newness until you are utterly disgusted with the old way.- Vernon Howard
S.H.E. SIDETRACKED HOME EXECUTIVES...from pigpen to paradise

By Pam Brace (now Young) and Peggy Jones
Genre: Non-fiction, organization
I first purchased this book back in 1979 when I had reached the end of my rope on trying without success to be constantly on top of all the demands that my home, children and all my other activities put on me.
I used the system for a very long time and then as life smoothed out I veered away from it.  In February 2011 I wrote about it in my blog post “My Life on 3 x 5 cards. Shortly after deciding to go back to this system we went back on the road for several months, so my good intentions faded into a distant memory.  Not to mention life re-arranged in numerous ways shortly thereafter.  Since then I’ve been doggedly working on my Princess Plan which seems to fit my schedule better. 
That, however, does not negate the value of this book.  It is a simple way to organize your life, be prepared for anything, know where everything is type of system and I would highly recommend the system to anyone looking for just the right idea for organizing their life.  It could actually be used with the Flylady system, my Princess Plan or any other numerous systems.  
I prefer it over Flylady because it is far more flexible than Flylady and there are no annoying emails throughout the day to nag you to pieces.  Sorry Flylady, but you simply did not work for me and my way of life. 
If you need little reminders throughout the week of chores you planned on doing then this system could easily be incorporated into my overall general decluttering Princess Plan because it deals mainly with the nuts and bolts of day to day organization while my PrincessPlan deals with getting to that magical kingdom called “Clean and Organized.”
It is basically a series of color coded cards that are for certain chores, for daily, weekly, semi-monthly, monthly semi annually and annually.  Each chore has a designated person and you move the cards through the cardbox as the chore is completed.  
There are also cards for gift giving info, calendar of events, menus and much more. 
It is written with humor and takes a realistic approach to being a home executive. 
Pam and Peg walk you through their journey from pigpen to paradise and are honest about some of the pitfalls they fell into.  
Pam’s last name is now Young and the book has been updated and added to over the years.  It also appears they have other books on the market as well.  I’m certain to check those out sometime in the future to see if I can pick up any hints from them as I did from the original book I purchased in 1979.
I give this book an A for being easy to use and understand as well as humorous.