Friday, February 29, 2008

It Was A Busy Day

I started out my morning by reading and mapping out the day. I went to yoga and then washed and vacumned out my car. Then it was on to lunch with my friends. We were celebrating Chris' birthday. She turned... hmmmm... I guess I better not say. We all live on the same block so have at least a quarterly birthday lunch. Great fun and a nice way to catch up on what is happening in everyone's life.
Here we are again after getting our food. From left to right: Kathee, Mischele, Chris, and me. (I had a blackened salmon salad for lunch. Yum! It had salmon, shredded carrots, cucumbers, lettuce, cabbage, feta cheese, craisins, and a vinagarette dressing.

Here we are close up...Kathee and Mischele.

Chris, the birthday girl, and me.

I thought I was blond until I had to renew my driver's license this year. They gave me a choice between gray and white for my hair color. How rude/mean don't you think? I picked white but I wrote blond...sheesh.
Then it was on to my quilt group. We are working on a quilt to be auctioned off as a fund raiser for the Utah Valley quilt guild. Our quilt last year raised $1300. Not too shabby. Below is part of our group laying out the quilt.

Here is what the quilt will look like when it is finished. This one is PJ's. She has a talent for fabric coordination. You can't tell that from these pictures. The quilt is black, red, green, beige, and gold.

Here are two quilts that they brought to share today. I think the top one is a block of the month quilt from American Quilting in Orem.

This quilt was made by Helen Butler. The circles are paper pieced. I started this quilt a year and a half ago. It is sitting in my unfinished projects pile. It is a lot of work. Each circle has a ton of pieces. One of my goals this year is to get that pile completed or at least a lot smaller. As soon as my sewing room is cleaned out and put back together, I'll get right on that...

Same quilt from a different side.
Then it was on to running errands...picking up and dropping off a prescription for a neighbor, looking for fabric for my sewing room, picking up some supplies at Michaels, and running out of time before finishing my list of errands. We went out to dinner with my husband's parents and then cheered on our BYU men's volleyball team against Pacific. We won in 3 games. Yea. Then it was home for babysitting and blogging and now it's time for bed. A busy day but I love my days off. How blessed I feel to have spent it with friends and family.

My Husband's Handiwork

This is one of my husband's projects. I love it. We built it together but he did all the leaded glass windows. You can't really tell that that is what they are; I should have taken a close up of the windows. Even the cupola has leaded glass windows on every side. It gets used as a back drop for a lot of photographs at our house. This is the front.

This is the back. We also designed and he built the arch and the fence. I love it. When he was done building it, he said, "I have a name for the shed." I said, "We are naming our buildings now? He said, "We should call it the Bishop's store house." I cracked up. (He is a Bishop in our church and it is his storage shed.)

This is a work in progress but it is made out of part of my old door collection. I do love old doors. I'll try and post more pictures of uses for old doors tomorrow....oh and add in old windows too.
It will have shakes on the roof, shingles in the triangular area, and leaded/stained glass windows too. I'm so lucky to be married to such a talented and artistic man.
We love our projects and we always have lots of things in mind that we want to do. There just aren't enough hours in the day.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Thought For Today - Goals

I heard recently that 80% of those New Year's goals are forgotten by February. Are you one of those people that have already dropped your goals? Here are a few quotes that might help you get back on track.

Remember, "A goal not written is a wish."

I found this one today in my Costco Magazine...hey, you never know where your inspiration will come from so I'm open to all sources. :) "Commitment attracts opportunities the rational conscious mind is unaware of." Brian Klemmer

So, if you haven't written down your goals and dreams, go for it. You will be amazed at how much you can accomplish.

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Year of the Clean Out

I'm cleaning out my house from top to bottom. It is a slow process since just getting through life and my regular responsibilities keeps me jumping.

Sometimes it is hard for me to let go of things but who needs all the clutter? Here are some things that help me:

- It is easier to get rid of things when you think, "Someone really needs this and I'm not using it."
(Clothing, old coats, etc. If you haven't used it/worn it in a year, you should give it to charity.)

- Tell yourself over and over , "Just let it go." Make it your mantra. Once it is in the "to go" pile don't let yourself pull it back out.

- Think of the end results. Think how good it will feel when you have a clean, organized, uncluttered space.

- Send it to a new home. I have some things I made that are hard for me to let go of but they are "country" and I'm trying to get away from the "country" look. It would be easier if I knew they were going to a good home. I sounds dumb...but hey I'm somewhat attached. Maybe a friend would like it. Maybe you could use it for a giveaway on your blog.

- Sale it on Craig's list or at a garage sale. (Think of it as a fund raiser so you can get something you would really like... umm, like organization bins.)

- Give your kids or a friend free reign to tell you what you need to let go of. My kids did this for me and I took their advice. OK...some of it moved to my studio space but I did get rid of alot. I'll show you the studio after I finish organizing. :) I'm excited because I got a new table and chairs for my birthday from my husband. For Christmas I got new book cases. I'm in the clean out mode so it's a big mess.

(Be aware that you will probably get rid of something you'll find you wish you had kept. It's OK. Hopefully you will be able to replace it. It is a small cost for peace of mind.

My goal is to clean something out everyday. Some days it is only something small but every little bit helps.

What works for you? I'm open to new ideas. If you read this, consider yourself officially tagged to clean something out.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Making Play Dough

Here is Cole busy mixing all the ingredients for playdough. (I didn't let him cook it. A four year old and a hot stove are a recipe for disaster. Don't you think so?)

You can see our kitchen tile job in the back ground. My husband and I made up the design, he drafted the design out, we picked out the tile together, and we did the tile job ourselves after we got a $700 labor bid. It was really pretty fun and not very hard if you are patient. We made a good team on this one which isn't always the case.

Just goes to show should clean the kitchen before you photograph.
Look at the big ball of play dough. Next we divided the ball into fourths and colored them blue, light blue, yellow, and green. He loved mixing in all the colors.

Here are our colored balls.

Rolling out the play dough and cutting out shapes with cookie cutters.

This is a ghost shape.

We had hours of fun together. The recipes are farther down in an older post. Check it out and make you own.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Oh Cwap!

That is how Cole used to say the word we don't really use at our house (Crap). It certainly started out bad.

This is the fog we woke up to this morning. (It was worse but I took these around 9:30 when it was starting to lift.)
Here is another picture. You can see all the snow that is still hanging around and there is more due tomorrow. Anyway, it was a good thing I got up early to read scriptures and ponder on the meaning of life because as soon as the kids got up chaos began. There was fighting, fighting, and more fighting which isn't the norm because they are such great kids. However, the kids snuck the portable DVD player in their room and watched a movie instead of sleeping last night. (That was so sneaky of them. We had no clue.) Crabby was the operative word this morning. Cole had major meltdown and I do mean major. Needless to say we gave up trying to get him to school this morning. I wish I would have thought to video tape it for you. It was wild. We used to do that with you Marissa remember?
To top it off my husband yelled up the stairs that the dog had left several surprises...and not the good my living room. Yuck!!! (Too bad it is too cold to keep the dog outside.)

I took off to take Grant to school and headed over to my friend Barbara's house to sew with friends. We didn't get much sewing done but enjoyed sharing the projects we were working on. Barbara made up kits of this quilt. Simple but cute don't you think? (I have mine cut out and ready to sew.)

Here is another picture. Mary Jo is on the left and Ann is on the right. My friend Barbara is not in the picture. She has breast cancer and is undergoing chemo therapy. She is feeling weak and under the weather and has lost her hair. It put everything in perspective quickly. Instead of continuing on my crappy day theme, I started counting my blessings and looking for the positive things on such a dreary day. I'm so grateful for a warm home, an amazing husband, food on the table, wonderful children and grandchildren, health and a myriad of other blessings. And now, here I am enjoying every one elses blogs.
What are you grateful for? Are you counting your blessings?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Fun Recipes for Children

When my children were little, we used to do all kinds of fun activities like making forts in the family room or making play dough. Here are a few recipes you can put in your file to use when you want to make some memories.

Play Dough
2 cups flour
1 cup salt
2 1/2 tsp Cream of Tartar
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cups water

Place all ingredients in heavy bottomed sauce pan and heat over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Divide into 4 parts and add 6-8 drops of food coloring.

Store in ziplock bags.

GAK - (from my friend Bonnie Miles)

A. Mix together:
2 cups school glue (4 small bottles)
1 1/2 cups warm water
Add color and smiles

B. Mix together:
1 tsp Borax (like 20 mule team Borax)
1/3 cup water

Slowly pour "A" mixture into "B" mixture and mix with you hands until it thickens.

It is weird stuff and fun to play with.

I'm going to see if Grant and Cole would like to make it with me after work today. I'll let you know how it goes tonight and tell you how the recipes faired. Maybe we'll even post some pictures. Happy memory making!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Making Memories of Shooting Off Rockets

Here we are in the front yard. (Ok, I'm taking pictures and my husband is shooting off a rocket with soda pop and Mentos candy.)

Loading the candy.

Blast off. It did go a lot higher I just didn't get the picture snapped until the rocket was on the way down.

Cole loading the Mentos for his turn.

Cole enjoying all the fun.

Hobbes and Cole. Hobbes was outside shooting rockets with us too. Hobbes is our faithful dog we've had for more then 10 years. We bought him from the pound for Marissa for Christmas one year. She begged for a dog and promised she would take care of him for ever and ever. She went away to college, went on a mission, got married, and bought a new smaller dog. Go figure! At one time I tried to give him away but my husband couldn't part with him. Now he is dying of cancer and won't last long. It is so sad and hard for us. He has been a good friend and protector.

Here is Papa and Grant getting ready to try it again. And....finally we had some sunshine to enjoy! Oh, what bliss!

Priorities. Why Is It So Hard to Keep the Right Ones?

Some days I'm intimidated by all everyone seems to accomplish in life. I feel like all I do is clean, work, pay bills, and prepare lessons for church (I teach a Marriage and Family Relations class.) Most of the time I feel like the movie "Ground Hog Day" where I live the same day over and over again.

Other days I'm so inspired...especially by my children's blogs...good pictures, wonderful sentiments, great challenges, and fun ideas.

So this week, I looked around my house and saw how many things I have made over the years. I realized that if I keep plodding away, over time, I do have many things that result. I've made quilts, many books (book binding), woven blankets on looms, have many hand made baskets, smocked dresses, etc. I realize I shouldn't measure productivity with tangible things in my home. You can't see hours of service given to family, friends, neighbors or hold in your hand the time you've spend gaining knowledge and learning. What about all the time spent keeping physically and spiritually fit? You can't see these accomplishments either and yet they are so important.

So, I'm trying not to be intimidated by all the tangible things I see you out there accomplishing. (I also realize that they are a compilation of many people and I tend link you all together as one.) I'm trying to keep my life balanced and full of important and good things.

I realize that the most important thing I've accomplished though is the raising of our children with my husband. I can't tell you how many times in my life I have had to remind myself to stop what I am doing and pay attention to my family. As much as I have an internal need to create, decorate, and cross things off my "to do" list, I've had to keep this poem in mind to try and keep my priorites straight. I received the poem hand calligraphied on a piece of baby wrapping paper at my baby shower just before Candice was born.

Those of you out there who are in the midst of raising your children, cherish the moments...they are so fleeting. Take the time to make memories... not just things. You will never reqret it.

Here is the poem:
"Cleaning and scrubbing can wait for tomorrow,
For babies grow up we've learned to our sorrow.
So, quiet down cobwebs, dust go to sleep.
I'm rocking my babies and babies don't keep."

I love you Candice, Stephanie, Marissa, and Eli!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Bed Buddies

This is what we call a "Bed Buddy". We heat them in the microwave for 2 minutes and put them in our beds to warm the sheets. (1 1/2 minutes for the kids because they get hot.) You can't believe how good it feels on a cold winter's night. You can also put them in the freezer to use medicinally.

This Christmas I made oh so many of these for my neighbors along with a personal letter telling them the things we loved about them. It took me a long time to write all those letters but my neighbors appreciated it. The letter started out something like this: here is something to keep you warm and a letter to warm your heart. Many of my neighbors expressed their appreciation especially for the personal letter at such a busy time of the year. Here is how I make them.
We use feed corn purchased from Intermountain Farmers. It is approximately $8.00 for a 50 pd. bag. It is better than rice because it is less expensive and retains the heat longer.
Yes, this is what it looks like...hard kernals of corn.
Cut your fabric. It doesn't matter what size it is. I cut these 7 inches by 20 inches.
Sew with right sides together. I line up the edge with my presser foot to gauge the seam allowance. I also use a small stitch length. Cole (who is four) is helping sew these. Aren't those cute little hands? Leave an opening for turning.
See the opening between the two pins? Next, go around again zig zagging the edges. (I sew a lot but I don't own a serger. Don't forget to leave the opening unsewn.
Turn bag right side and and fill with corn.
Here is Grant (age 7) filling the bags. I fill a cup up with the corn and squish it so it works more like a funnel. I also fill it over a tray. Easier clean up when all the corn doesn't make it into the bag. Don't fill the bags too full. You want the bag to be able to conform to a knee, shoulder, back, or other hurting body part. I sew the opening shut on the sewing machine...another reason not to fill it too full.

You can make a cover that you can wash since the bed buddy is not washable. Does any one want a tutorial on that? I have extras for guests to use and take home too. Happy sewing! They really are great to have.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

More Door Ideas

My daughter Candice and I had a baby shower last summer for Marissa. We used old doors for the back drop behind the food table. To see more decorations and details go to her blog here. Her pictures are always so good. I guess that is what you get when your passion and career is all about photography.

Happy Valentine's Day

I had a happy surprise when I checked out my daughter Stephanie's blog She made the greatest Valentine's. I just cracked up. What talented children I have. I'm so lucky.

I Love Old Doors

I really do love old doors. For a while there I had quite the collection. My daughter, Marissa, used one of my doors to make a coffee table out of. It looks great. We polyurethaned the top and legs to protect her from the paint if it contained lead. It also made it washable.

Maybe I can get her to post a picture on her blog so you can see it.

My husband used quite a few to make a shed. It is in progress but I'll take a picture for you when it isn't snowing outside...yes, it is still snowing at my house.

I also used a door to create a wrapping paper station in my sewing/craft room. It just leans against the wall so if I reconfigure the room, it can be moved easily. Here is a picture of the whole door. (Sorry, I don't know how to turn the pictures so they are upright. Can anyone help me with this?)

Here is a close up of the ribbon. They are on spools threaded on a dowel and color coordinated. There are six hooks. I took the top dowel off so you could see what they look like. I predrilled the screw holes and then attached the hooks with screws. Yes, I figured this one out all by myself. (Buy your husband tools for his birthday and Christmas and you will have available anything you need for your projects. He thinks tools are great.)

I also hung a basket half way down the door. (I think it is supposed to be a window box for flowers but it fit the width of my door perfectly. It was one of those things I found on clearance..thought it was cool...and was sure I could find a use for it.) I put my iron and starch in the spot that is currently empty. I also have containers with ribbon I bought by the yard and other odds and ends.
Down below I have all my wrapping paper in this container. It was what antique bobbins came in when I used to have a retail store. My kids told me to get rid of it. It was in the family room and they were helping me declutter. You need that every once in objective opinion. Anyway, I still liked it so repurposed it in my sewing room. It does have a lid that I keep on it too.

The door sits next to my cutting table where the tape dispensers and scissors sit. I hope this gives you ideas for organizing your own center.

My favorite door I used in my living room at Christmas and Halloween so I would have more places to hang decorations. Sorry, I didn't take any pictures but maybe next year I'll remember. My husband and daughter use them as photo backdrops too. Check out my husband's website and see if you can find the doors.

I'll try and post Marissa's baby shower pictures where we used my old doors as a back drop behind the food table.
P.S. I like old windows too.

Monday, February 11, 2008

More Birthday Celebrations

Here we are celebrating at my friend Kathee's house. From the left: Kathee, me, Candice, and my friend Mischel. I look like the amazon tall the top of my head is cut off.
Here is another shot of us. (Kathee is my exercise partner. She does an awesome "Crow" balance pose in yoga. She's run at least 10 marathons including the Boston.)
Here are many of our neighbors. It was so nice to visit with everyone.
Here are my friends: Kathee, Camille, Wendy, and Mischel. Look, we are eating a healthy meal.
Here is Candice, Cole, Mary, and Annalee. Isn't Cole's smile a crack up?
Here is a picture of our healthy salad and spinach and cheese bread. Thanks for a fun day everyone!