Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Encyclopedia: Z

Z is for Zebra Print

Who says you have to wear your zebra print in black and white?
(get yours at JCREW)
I think I need these shoes... if only there weren't so many starving children in the world, I might get them.
Target has these ones, at a price that is a bit nicer!

Of course, if you are in the mood for casual, these are fun!

A new rug for the office?

Encyclopedia: Y

Y is for Yodeling

I have always wanted to learn to yodel, ever since I was a wee little lass and learned that song about the Austrian who went yodeling.

When I was in junior high school, I was in an orchestra that traveled to Germany and Austria. Driving on our tour bus through the Bavarian Alps, we tried, but alas, our yodeling fell short of beautiful.

When Elliott and I were dating, a group of us, including my roommate Nicole, went hiking in Sundance. Nicole and I were ahead of the group, and decided to try a little yodeling. When Elliott caught up to us he wondered if we were torturing a small animal! hehehe, He married me anyway!

The video posted below is amazing. Your kids will love it, and so will you!


Monday, August 27, 2007

Encylcopedia: X

Blogging isn't on my list of things to do today, but I know you are all waiting with baited breath... what will she come up with...

X is for Xerography

I know, it seems weird, but it is a technology I just can't live without! My life is mounds easier because I have a xerography machine in my house. It probably gets put to use at least 3-4 times per week, and more often than that when I was the primary president!

All technology is really amazing, but the fact that a machine can take an image, and make a copy of it, is truly cool. And when it can copy color too, that is even more cool!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Encyclopedia: W

W is for Winter

About this time of the summer, especially this year, when our last few days have been in the high 90's, and a little muggy, I start to yearn for winter. Elliott will laugh when he reads this, because last year I couldn't wait for winter to end, but I do love that Indiana has 4 noticeable seasons!

My favorite part of winter is the first decent snow we get. Everything is beautiful and white. Usually, the first snow is in December, and in the evening, when the neighborhood is decorated in Christmas lights, it makes a very pretty scene.

I also love winter because it is the season of Christmas. I love the joy of celebrating the birth of Christ, the wonderful music of the season, and the beautiful decorations that envelope my home.

This winter Elliott and I will be celebrating our 10th (!) wedding anniversary. Usually, our anniversary consists of us sending each other cheesy cards, and me making the dinner that won Elliott's heart (recipe to follow).

This year, I would like to try to get away for one night... doesn't this place look loverly:

Red room... probably my favorite just because it is red!

All the rooms are decorated with Ethan Allen furniture... so nice!

Winter-time view... will it snow for us if we go in December?

Look at the amazing grounds that surround it. We might almost feel like we are in England, except the food will be better! In fact, the inn has won awards for it's amazing breakfasts.

The way to a man's heart:

Shells and Proscuitto (recipe)

16 oz. package medium shells (I use Barilla). Cook according to package directions, adding 3/4 c. peas when pasta has about 5 minutes left. When done cooking drain, but do not rinse.

Sautee 4 minced cloves of garlic in 2 tbls. butter. Add 1 cup of half and half and 4 oz. proscuitto, sliced paper thin, and then sliced into 1/2 inch ribbons to the garlic. Cook until very slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Add drained pasta and peas and stir until completely covered in sauce. Add 1 1/2 cups finely shredded italian 6-cheese mixture to pan and stir again.

Serve with your favorite sourdough bread, salad, and garlic green beans (okay, you know by now these are what accompany our italian dinners!)

This recipe makes enough for a crowd, or lunch again the next day!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Encyclopedia: V

V is for Vertigo

No, not the genus of snail, and not the movie by Alfred Hitchcock. I suffer from the medical condition.

About once a month, sometimes more often, I become dizzy and feel as if the room is spinning. I generally have to sit or lie down for about 15 minutes, until the buzzing sensation in my head is gone. I have never thrown up from vertigo, but have felt slightly noxious on several occasions.

What is your weird medical quirk?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Encyclopedia: U

U is for Uncle Roger

(Sophie checking out Uncle Roger's beard)

My Uncle Roger is a man of many talents, including entertaining his nieces and nephews, and great nieces and great nephews. He lived with our family for a year when I was about 7 years old. I can remember many nights of playing war board games with him and my brothers, and spending many summer days at the casting pond in the arroyo near our home, looking for tadpoles and frogs. We used to drive to the pond in Roger's '67 VW Beetle, which he STILL drives! He does all the mechanical work on it himself.

One December, Roger was home watching John and me. For some reason John and I got into a fight, and started wrestling by the Christmas tree. I won (maybe John has a different memory). But I remember Roger just watching us and laughing.

Roger now is a big hit with the grand-nieces and nephews. They love to go exploring with him, looking for bugs, tadpoles, and other vermin.

He is a proficient gardener, even selling many of his vegetables to local restaurants. He has given me lots of good tips for gardening, introduced me to a yummy veggie pizza (onion, olive, and bell pepper-which my high school friends ordered for me for my birthday our senior year, just because they knew I liked it...) and shared some good recipes, including his famous "No-Dead-Animal Pasta Sauce":

1 can tomato sauce
1 can dark red kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup green beans, cut into inch long pieces
1 can olives
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. Italian seasoning

Saute onion and garlic in a little bit of olive oil. When slightly translucent, add celery, carrots, and green pepper, and saute for 3-4 more minutes. Add all remaining ingredients, and let simmer until sauce thickens slightly. Serve over whole wheat angel hair pasta.

Encyclopedia: T

T is for Tortellini

This is a recipe I just made yesterday, adapted from a recipe a friend gave me. It was delicious!

5 Tbs. butter (I said it was good, not healthy!)
6 Tbs. flour
3 c. chicken broth
1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
1 c. half and half
pepper to taste
4 chicken breasts, cut into bite size chunks and sauteed
1 20 oz. container cheese tortellini (I used the Butoni in the refrigerated section)
1 c. finely shredded Italian 6 cheese blend

Melt the butter in a large saucepan, and then add the flour to make a roux (whisk it to get it smooth.) Add the broth, seasoning, pepper, and half & half, continuing to cook over medium heat until sauce thickens slightly. Pour the tortellini and chicken pieces into the sauce and stir until all covered with sauce. Pour all ingredients into a 9x13 casserole dish, and spread the Italian cheese over the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, until bubbly.

I would serve this with garlicky green beans, a fresh salad, and sourdough bread. There will be enough for lunch the next day. Yum!

T is also for thunderstorms. We just had some awesome ones a few days ago. I love having a dark sky in the mid-day, and watching the lightening. It is so beautiful .

Encyclopedia: S

S is for Sophie

My little babydoll enjoying Hawaii

Some squeezableness!

Recently seen sporting an eighties hairdo.

Sophie is an incredibly sweet baby. She has been the easiest of my babies, and is always ready to brighten the world (as long as mommy or daddy are holding her!)

She is a great sleeper. She has put herself to sleep at most nap times and bedtimes since she was about 2 months old, which was her idea. I never had to do sleep training with her. She was fussy when we would try to rock her to sleep, so I just started putting her down, and she would go right to sleep. Now that she is older, it is a little more difficult. She wants to be more sociable, and if she hears the kids playing, she wants to go and play too, rather than go to sleep.

Sophie is very musical. She is always trying to change the music on the ipod, and she likes to dance along to anything we have playing. She also like to sing... loud... during sacrament meeting.

In the past few weeks Sophie has become very playful. She loves to be chased around by her siblings and her dad. She also loves to play patty-cake and peek-a-boo. Tonight she wanted me to pick her up. I was still eating dinner, and she crawled under the table to my feet and started clapping to get my attention.

She has a smile that is irresistible, and loves to give kisses. Her favorite toys are cell phones and computers. She is a wonderful baby, and we are so blessed to have her sweet spirit in our home.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Encyclopedia: R

R is for Red (my favorite color!)

Adorable Abbey Suede Ballet Flats from JCREW. These are so fun, and would work well with all the nice wool fabrics for fall and winter.

I think I might have to run to Target tomorrow to get this Mossimo handbag. I LOVE it! And at only $24.99, it is a great buy!

Who wouldn't love eating on these red plates from Crate and Barrel. Much better than boring white. I think they would add to the look of the food, and make it more exciting to eat.

A fun red quilt from Overstock.com. This would give some excitement to any bedroom! Get it while you can, it is about to sell out!

A beautiful wool coat from JCREW. Winter is coming, and I am always up for a new coat. Get it with Thinsulate for extra warmth!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Encyclopedia: Q

Q is for Quilts

Are you starting to see a trend here... Everything I have posted is family, food, reading, music (but not the hip kind) or quilt/sewing related. Yikes... I guess I would have fit in well in Little House on the Prairie times.

Anyway, I digress.

I love quilts. They are such a great form of comfort and beauty, not to mention a great source of stress relief if working on a quick quilt! I love making them, getting them as a gift, and buying them.

This quilt I just picked up at Hobby Lobby the other day. I went in for $1.50 ric-rac, and came out with this and a few other things. But hey, it was on sale for 50% off, and it gives a great shot of color and excitement to my living room! I have draped it over the couch for now. Not the bast made thing I have ever seen, but for only $60 (which is less than I could have made it for), I love it!

This next quilt is a gift for my mother. She has made me several quilts over the years, and I think it is time she had one herself. Of course, I start making it when I was pregnant with Emma... I got about 1/4 of the hand quilting done on it, but then I stalled out, and every time I would walk into my sewing room it would make me feel guilty. I finally decided to send it to an Amish quilting service. They finished the quilting and bound it for me, and I just got it back yesterday (wasn't that good timing?) It turned out beautifully! So Mom will be taking it home with her when the family comes to visit in a couple of weeks. Yeah!

Encyclopedia: P

P is for Popcorn

When I was younger my Dad was gone quite often on Sunday's after church because he had meetings he had to attend. Mom didn't want to cook a big fancy dinner for just us kids 9who can blame her), and also felt that Sunday was a day of rest, and so she would make us air-popped popcorn after church for a snack. It was quick and easy, and we all loved it!

It is a tradition Elliott and I have adopted for Sundays after church. Popcorn for a snack, and then Elliott makes pancakes for dinner. Yum!

This past Christmas, one of Elliott's clients gave us this chocolate covered popcorn. At first I wasn't sure I would like it, but once I started it was hard to stop eating it. it was so good!

A few weeks ago, I had some chocolate chips that I was using to make cookies, and I ate a handful an then had a handful of popcorn afterwards. It made a great combination, and I think tomorrow I might run out to get some M&M's to combine with the popcorn, just for a little treat!

Encyclopedia: O

O is for Opera

I have loved opera music ever since I was in junior high. It helps that my voice is made more for singing classical style music than Broadway or pop.

If you would like to sample some good music (beyond what is on the "Opera Goes to the Movies" CD you need for college Humanities courses) here are some of my favorites:

Lucia Popp Sings Opera Arias by Mozart

I have several of Ms. Popp's CD's. She has a beautiful clear voice... not too heavy. My favorites on this particular CD are #2 Voi Che Sapete and #4 Porgi Amor.

Magdalena Kozena: Love Songs

Especially love #25 Lullaby

Phantom: A classic. The original recording with Sarah Brightman and Michael Crawford. Amazing!

Speaking of Sarah Brightman, my awesome sister-in-law Katie gave me this CD one year, and my life has never been the same since. All the songs are so beautiful, and it includes the duet "Time to Say Goodbye" with Andrea Bocelli, and Elliott's favorite aria, "O mio babbino caro"

Finally, one of my favorite opera CDs ever... The Three Sopranos. Love every song on it! I aspire to this glory!!!!

Most romantic song ever

Stephanie and Leslie each recently posted one of their favorite songs... here's mine.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Encyclopedia: N

N is for No one reads my blog!

Oh well. Here is the pin cushion. I decided that since only half as many people commented as I wanted, I would give away half a prize! Yeah, when you are a blog dictator, I guess you can do that!

This pincushion pattern is by Heather Bailey (and done up in her fabrics!), and is found in the summer 2007 edition of Quilts and More magazine. They also have a different cool pincushion pattern coming out in the fall 2007 edition of their magazine, which is supposed to be on sale on August 21.

Now, for the winner: Lara

Yes, it is true, anything that says "poop" is the winner in our household! Email me with your address and I will get your pretty new pincushion out ASAP!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Encyclopedia: M

M is for Music

I come from a family of musicians, and as such, music has been a big part of my life. My grandmother played the organ, and composed music for it. She also led numerous choirs. My grandpa had a beautiful singing voice, and my dad is blessed with a beautiful baritone voice. I grew up listening to my dad play songs like Maple Leaf Rag on the piano, and he had a huge collection of Jazz and classical records, not to mention some intersting stuff from the 60's and 70's! Mom was a big fan of music too, always singing along with Hank Williams and Patsy Cline while running the carpool.

They encouraged us to develop our musical talents. All nine children in our family took piano lessons from first grade until at least high school. I took voice lessons for several years in junior high and resumed while at BYU. In elementary school I started playing the violin,but couldn't get the hang of how to vibrato, so I switched to string bass in junior high and high school, even traveling to Europe after 8th grade with the Pasadena Youth Symphony Orchestra.

As an adult, my appreciation for fine music has grown. I love singing in church choirs, and was even the director of the ward choir while we were in Los Angeles. I haven't been the Primary chorister yet, but each time I substitute I really wish I could be! My string bass skills were actually put to use not too long ago in a special pageant some friends put on at the Los Angeles Temple.

Elliott is quite musical too. He is a very talented pianist, and has an appreciation for many different types of music. He keeps me semi-hip, because if it weren't for him, my listening would be all classical, opera, or choral, with a little bit of 80's thrown in!

We are encouraging our children to develop their musical abilities too. Andrew and Ethan are both taking piano. Andrew has really taken to it... I think the mathematical side fo his brain makes it easier for him to look at the notes and play them... just a theory. Ethan really enjoys playing the piano too. Emma loves to listen to (and dance to) many different ballets, and even Sophie, although not yet 10 months, "dances" and "sings" when music comes on.

Music has the ability to change moods, and I try to play music in our home and car that will be uplifting and help us to have peace in our home. In my car, I currently have 3 CD choices... "Consider the Lilies" from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the Pride and Prejudice Soundtrack, and Jack Johnson's "Curious George" soundtrack. My kids always beg me to play just their favorite songs from the P and P soundtrack. The songs they have picked definitely match all their personalities.

We aren't perfect musicians, and I don't want to give that idea. But we do enjoy music, and I would encourage everyone to develop their musical talents, and at least cultivate a love for fine music. It really can lift your soul when listened to often.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Encyclopedia: L

L is for Library

One of my favorite places to take my children is the library. There are many reasons for this. Chief among them the fact that it is free. It is also nearby, can keep us entertained for at least an hour, and it has something to entertain each member of our family.

Our library is free. It doesn't cost money to park, it doesn't charge admission, and we can borrow books and other assorted media at no cost, unless we are late returning them, which we are quite often! Actually, we aren't usually late returning the books, which have only a 10 cent per diem overdue fine. It is the movies that we have trouble with, and those are $1 a day! Nevertheless, I feel okay with the occasional fine, because of the enjoyment we get from having a humongous assortment of books and movies to choose from. The city we live in has only one library which is very large. Growing up, there were libraries in many neighborhood pockets, and then one main library. That meant we could ride our bikes or walk the half-mile tour neighborhood library without having to wait for mom to take us, but often the book we wanted was at a different library. Having just one huge library means the books are always in one spot. We do have to drive to it, but it is only a 10 minute drive, with beautiful buildings in our downtown to look at on the way.

Once at the library, the boys usually run off to the animal/insect section, while Emma, Sophie and I peruse the storybooks. I love looking through the many books available. Sometimes I seem to unconsciously choose books around a theme. For instance, this past week, of the 5 books I chose for the kids, 4 of them were about animals that outwitted other animals.

I am looking forward to taking the girls to storytime beginning in a couple of weeks. Emma is almost old enough for the storytime where parents can drop their child off and look for books on their own. And luckily, Sophie is still young enough to be content to wander around with me while strapped in the stroller. This summer I was only able to read 3 and a half books. Not too many by my standard. I love to read, and can't wait to continue the biographies of royalty in England. I think it is so important for children to see their parents reading. Reading opens up so many new worlds to children. If my boys didn't know how to read, they would not have their current interests in and knowledge about bugs, dinosaurs, animals, science, robots, movie making, and assorted other things that don't draw my attention.

Wow, maybe L should also stand for lengthy. Sorry about that.

Well, for all you that are still with me, and in the spirit of back to school (because today was our first day back!) I am letting you all know that next week I would like to start a book swap. Find your favorite novel (or biography that reads like a novel), and that you don't mind parting with, and be prepared to sign up and get more information next week.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Encyclopedia: K

I can't believe I am actually keeping up with this encyclopedia! To celebrate, and also, because I am feeling crafty and generous, because I want to get more traffic to my blog so I can be famous like my sister-in-law, in anticipation of a book swap a little bit down the road, and also because I am sick and not feeling particularly witty (oh wait, I'm not anyway!), I am having a giveaway in conjunction with the letter K. Read on:

K is for "Kids Say The Funniest Things"

Between now and 10pm Eastern time on Tuesday night, leave a comment with the funniest thing your child/children/grandchildren/nieces/nephews/you get the idea has said to you. The winner will be randomly chosen by my oldest son on Wednesday morning before school. The catch is that I need to get at least 30 unique comments, or I keep the pretty prize, so tell everyone you know to comment!

Ah, you ask, what is the prize? Why, it is a pretty pin-cushion and storage box, perfect for storing needles, a thimble, or any other small trinket. A picture to come, as blogger won't let me log in on my computer (yes, it is miraculously working again) so I am posting from Elliott's computer while he is at a meeting.

To start us off right, here is a conversation between Emma and me this morning:

Me (putting on some princess music): Hey Emma, let's dance.

Emma (watching me for a minute): I can do it better than you can.

Me: Okay

Emma (starting to dance, and then pointing at her toes, which are lacquered in red): You need some of this to make you dance better!

Your turn!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Encyclopedia: J

J is for Jewelry

I admit I am a sucker for pretty things that sparkle. When my friend Stephanie had a new baby daughter, she had the baby wear pretty bracelets, and I thought it made the baby look so feminine and pretty. I immediately went out and bought all the tools and supplies to make bracelets for Emma and Sophie (who was on the way at the time.) I enjoyed making bracelets, but because I have craft attention deficit for everything but quilts, I have moved on. I will soon be selling my samples and extra beads on etsy, but in the mean time, I have enjoyed making bracelets for various nieces, sisters, mothers, and daughters, not to mention friends.

I wanted this post to have some pretty eye candy, so I included some adorable jewelry that I have been eyeing on etsy for a while. These necklaces and earring have a beautiful simplicity to them, and of course I love to support the artisans on etsy.

Really love these simple pearl earrings.

Isn't this a great necklace? You can get it customized with up to 6 letters, and the "peas" come in several colors, including "pea green"!

More earrings I love. I really think pearls and silver make a great looking combination!

These three fabulous finds are available at Rachel Sudlow Jewelry.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Encyclopedia: I

I is for Indiana

(our state flag... a torch)

If someone had told me, when I was at BYU, or even when I was first married, that I would be living in Indiana 10 years down the road, I would have laughed them off. I always envisioned myself married to a surfer with a bunch of little tan, blond surfer kids running around. Part of that happened, but it is hard to be a tan surfer when you live in a state that has more cloudy days than sunny, and the nearest beach hangout is 3 hours away, and is a lake to boot!

In spite of that introduction, I really do love Indiana! It is a beautiful state, filled with wonderful, friendly people. The area we live in is growing in leaps and bounds. It has amazingly good schools, lots of museums (including according to Parents magazine the top childrens' museum in the nation), a fun zoo, great shopping, and is CRAZY FOR COLTS!

Seriously, during Colts season, all around is a sea of blue. Elliott says that when you walk around downtown at lunchtime on Fridays, more than half the people there are wearing blue colts gear. You may remember that some of the people Elliott does consulting work for even gave us a little Colts cheerleading outfit for Sophie when she was born. Maybe this will refresh your memory:

Indianapolis is the capital city of "The Crossroads of America". It has some amazing and beautiful architecture, including a 284 foot tall monument which was erected in 1901 called "Sailors and Soldiers" which was built to honor the Hoosier veterans of several different wars including the American Revolution, the War of 1812, and the Civil War.

And speaking of Hoosiers, as Indianans are called, what exactly is a "hoosier"? I don't know, and Wikipedia doesn't seem to either!

This is a picture of our beautiful state capital building.

Here is Indianapolis at night.
Isn't it pretty?
Don't you want to come visit us so you can see it in person?

Friday, August 10, 2007

Encyclopedia: H

I think my computer is on its death bed. Actually, I am surprised it was still working this past week, I am pretty sure my desperate prayers to be able to keep in touch with my husband are why it finally died today, rather than last week. The night before Elliott left for China, he loaded an anti-virus software onto my computer which slowed it down and made some programs inaccessible, and then made it unable to start up. I finally figured out (with many prayers!) how to get it to start, and took off the anti-virus, but it was still shutting down on me quite frequently. This afternoon, while trying to post these pictures, it froze up, sent to a scary blue screen that said a bunch of stuff I can't remember, except for the very end sentence: "Beginning dump of physical memory." Yeah, that just isn't something you want your computer to say. Hopefully Elliott will be able to fix it, and all my files are not lost forever. Tonight he is at a cub scout camp-out with the 3 older kiddos. Lucky for me, Sophie doesn't camp, because neither do I!! We left at bedtime, and plan to go back for breakfast in the morning. So I am relegated to ERP's computer when I can get it.

Anyway, let's get on with the encyclopedia...

H is for :

With that in mind, I have decided to share pictures of rooms in my house.

This is our entryway. It needs a coat stand, and something else, but I don't know what...

Music room and dining room (yes, we are seriously lacking in furniture). The dining room needs a buffet and some plants, and the music room could be a living room if we had a couch or some chairs. Luckily for us, Elliott's parents are downsizing, and we will get some of their furniture. Thanks Bamma and Pa!

This is one of my favorite pieces of furniture in the house... The Martha Stewart Apothecary Cabinet. It doesn't look like much here, but one day it will be filled with matching brown toile dishes. I love MS's furniture!
I made a quilt for the wall behind the red print chair (also MS, along with our couch!), it is being quilted by my mother at the moment, and hopefully she will be bringing it with her when the folks come to visit in 3 weeks.

Let me tell you a story: When I was in high school, my friend's mother bought a wreath to go over the fireplace in their home. It was not your run of the mill wreath, it was this huge thing with giant curly twigs sticking out here and there, and some dried flowers. At the time, my friend and I laughed about it, we thought it was such a funny thing to hang up. Then, when Elliott and I moved into this house, we auditioned several pieces of artwork and even a large oval mirror, but nothing looked right above the mantel. Finally, i decided a wreath like my friend's mother's was just the thing. It took me a long time to find this wreath,but I really do love it. Elliott would still prefer artwork,but luckily he is a good sport about it! :-)

Can you tell my favorite color is red?

Some other H's: Hallelujah Chorus (so fun to sing!), Holidays (my favorites are Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Halloween), and Hair Salons (since I need to be blond!)

Perfect for food storage

You can label cans of food (using this tutorial) with current pictures of your children, and then you will always know how old your food is!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Encyclopedia: G

G is for Giclee

What is a giclee, you ask? A giclee is a reproduction of a painting (or other artwork) that is done on artists canvas, so that it looks similar to the original. Often times companies will add a brushstroke glaze over the top that is supposed to coincide with the original artwork's brush strokes. I like the way the painting ends up looking, much nicer than a regular poster.

Elliott and I have this one hanging in our music room, Hofmann's "Rich Young Ruler"

I really love American Impressionism... this one, by Mary Cassatt, is familiar to me from my childhood, although I can't remember why. I think it may have been on a trinket box my mother kept on her dresser. Mary Cassatt is a very talented artist. You can see more of her artwork here.

Some other G's in my encyclopedia: Ginger (well, I had to use that one!), gratitude (Elliott is home safely), and giggling (especially when it is my sweet baby doing the giggling!)

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Encyclopedia: F

F is for Fabric

I love fabric, as evidenced by my little stash, as shown here. Some of you may think this is a ton of fabric, and wonder how I could have wasted so much money. But others, true quilters, will recognize this itty bitty stash for what it is... Puny by a real quilter's standard!

I think it is so fun to walk into a quilt store and see all the different types of fabrics. There are as many different styles of fabric as there are clothes... something to suit everyone.

Just as styles of clothes change, so does the design of fabric. Right now there are several designers that are "younger", that have put out some amazing lines of fabric, among them Heather Bailey and Denise Schmidt.

I had been abstaining from fabric purchases for a while, but I really loved Heather's "Fresh Cut" fabrics, and they are almost gone from all the stores. So I ordered 2 sets of 6.5 inch charm squares of all 40 fabrics in her line.

Aren't they pretty?

I saw a quilt on the cover of a magazine that I really liked, and will tweak ever so slightly to suit my own taste... Normally, I don't use only fabric from one line, and I don't copy patterns exactly, but in this case, it will get the quilt top made quickly, and I will have a pretty quilt just in time for winter!

You can see a few of the things I have made with my fabric here.

Some other great F's:

Freedom - I love our country; Food - So glad we have the abundance of it we do!; Flowers - I think my garden will be blooming well for another month; and Fiction.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Encyclopedia: E

E is for Emma

Emma is as girly as they come. She loves to wear dresses, and puts in the qualifier that they must spin out when she twirls. She prefers when they have a goodly amount of pink in them. She loves to play kitchen and Barbie, and her favorite movies are the Barbie movies, with the Princess movies being a close second. Luckily, she also enjoys games like catch and tag. She is a bit of a Prima Ballerina personality wise, but she also is a good sister and daughter. She loves many different types of food, including salmon, avocados, and veggie-pita sandwiches. Emma is excellent at cleaning her room. Although she is only 3, if I ask her to straighten her room, she comes back to me 5 minutes later and says it is done. Sure enough, when I go check, all clothes, toys and books are properly put away. It is a small miracle in our household!

E is for Ethan

Ethan is our resident artist. He loves to sit and draw for hours. I think this year I will actually invest in art lessons for him. His favorite subjects to draw are power rangers and dinosaurs, which is a welcome break from the Godzilla phase we were in not too long ago. Ethan is also an excellent singer. He has had a good ear and could sing perfectly on pitch since before he was two. We used to listen to the Star Wars soundtrack in my car while running errands, and I realized one day that he was humming along with it perfectly. Ethan is a great brother, and loves to entertain both Emma and Sophie for me while I try to get things done around the house. He also loves to be social and is a great friend. I have many, many parents that call me for playdates with him, and I know it is because he plays well and is polite to his friend's parents.
His favorite sport is swimming, favorite food is dinosaur chicken nuggets (thank you Costco), and his favorite color is blue.
I am so lucky to have such great kids!
Some other E's: Elliott, Easter, and England.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Encyclopedia: D

D is for Design

I love designing things. Specifically, I like designing quilts. It is much more fun than making them, although I enjoy parts of that too. But I love looking at fabric (and buying it!), I love drawing out patterns, putting different elements together, and figuring out color schemes and pattern schemes for quilts. Maybe it is because to do the kind of designing I do, which is for piecing, rather than applique, you don't have to be good at drawing. I stink at drawing, I wish I was better. My better half is a great artist, and I hope he has passed it along to our kids. But I think I do have a good sense of color and design elements, and I think that is why I love it.

D is also for:

Dad- I have a great dad. I am so grateful for the support he gave me growing up, and I love to see him with my kids now. They love to play with him!

Daddy - as in, the daddy of my kids. Usually, in the mornings, I bring Sophie into our bedroom and she hangs out for a little bit, trying to wake Elliott up and saying, "dadadadadada". She also usually says it all day long,, when Elliott is working at home. But I have noticed that she is barely saying it at all since Elliott has been in China, which means she must know who he is. It is amazing to me that she has so much awareness even at 9 months!

Discipline - as in, I wish I had more, but tonight I made a yummy cake because I had a friend over for dinner (with her kids), and I am sure I will end up eating most of it!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Encyclopedia: C

C is for Chocolate

Okay, I thought about all the things I could write about that start with C, and decided that today would be a completely frivolous day... I am sure there will be more. But really, what girl doesn't love chocolate. I have only known one.

My favorite type of chocolate comes from Sees Candy. I really love the Butterscotch Square... It tastes like pure brown sugar in the middle. So delicious. I love chocolate cakes, hot cocoa, chocolate ice cream, and chocolate cookies. Unfortunately, after having 4 children, and starting to reach middle age (okay, not really, but let's just say I ain't 20 anymore!), my waistline doesn't let me indulge as often as I would like.

Some other favorite C's:

Christ - It is probably cheesy to put him in a list, but I am thankful for his atonement, and his example. I am definitely one of those who need it!

Choir, Cheese (especially the stinky ones!), China ( hubby come home!), children, Christmas (it's my favorite holiday), and childbirth (what doesn't kill you makes you stronger!)

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Jane Austen Fans -- Rejoice!

This article talks about all the Jane Austen media currently in the works. I am SO excited. Can't wait to see these new movies coming out!

Encyclopedia of Me

B is for Babe
Babe is the love of my life, although most of you know him as Elliott. When I call him Elliott, after almost 10 years of marriage, it just sounds weird.
Elliott is an amazing man... He can cook, clean, and sew, almost better than I can. He is brilliant, an awesome artist, has a great eye for photography, and most importantly, is a patient and loving husband and father.
When Elliott and I were first married, I used to think it was so bizarre when people would go on the Newlywed Game and say all the things that bothered them about their husbands. But finally, after these many years together, I have found one thing: Elliott is barred from doing my laundry (although he does the kids just fine!)
Right now he is doing one of his favorite things: adding a new country to the list of places he has been in the world. China brings his grand total to 30 countries!
When Elliott and I had been dating for a while, his dad asked him what he liked about me (hmmm, good question, I am still wondering how I tricked him into marrying me!). His answer was that I wasn't afraid to speak my mind. Unfortunately that is a trait that I would rather not have, and it has gotten me in trouble quite a bit. Luckily, Elliott is good at holding his tongue, and his example has helped me to be a better person.
I am so blessed to have married such a wonderful man...
Okay, you all can stop barfing now!
Some other B's in my encyclopedia: Bathroom from H-E-(double hockey sticks)... ( I hate to say it Babe, but I think we need to call in a professional!), babies, blooms, berries, and billiards.
Okay, I put spaces in between these paragraphs, but Blogger isn't showing them. Sorry it is so hard to read!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Encyclopedia of Me

Inspired by the lovely blog Bella Dia, I have decided to write an Encyclopedia all my own...

A is for Andrew

Andrew is my first born child, and as such, gets to be the guinea pig for a lot of crazy ideas. He bears it well though. He is a very intelligent boy who has know what the word paleontology meant since he was only two years old, and currently wants to double major in mechanical engineering and zoology, with an emphasis on arachnids. He definitely takes after his father in the brains department!

Andrew is about to turn 8 years old, and is excited to be getting baptized. He will start 3rd grade in about two weeks, and soon after that will resume his LEGO Robot team practices, which he is also really looking forward to. He is currently reading the 7th Harry Potter book, and enjoys playing golf and Uno.

A is also for:

artichokes, ancestors, Alma the Younger, Austen (as in Jane, the author), angel hair pasta, and airplanes.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

For Judy: Surviving life as a mother

This is a bit of an answer to my sweet sister, but also a bit of a sorting out for myself.

Elliott is gone this week. He flew off to China, the lucky guy, but has promised to bring us all home some kind of treat. The kids asked for toys, and I made him promise he wouldn't get anything little and cheesy that resembles a Happy Meal toy, but I know either way the kids will be happy.

It is true, it doesn't take much to make a kid happy. Mine enjoy playing board games, having a water gun fight, playing with Legos or Barbies, or "doing screens" as we call it in our house. The thing is, they really enjoy it more when mom is doing it with them. Kids thrive on attention from their parents. A happy side effect of playing with your kids is that your house stays cleaner. For instance, if my kids are entertaining themselves, I will come into a basement full of games they have gotten out and not put away. If I am playing games with them, we clean up one before going to the next. Fights are also less likely to break out when mom is there to referee. Not that I think I should constantly be playing with my children... That would be unhealthy for all of us. I want my kids to become problem solvers by themselves, and to be able to do things independently, but I think they need a good healthy dose of my attention each day.

So now that the kids are happy, how do I maintain my own happiness? For starters, I am diligent about keeping up my relationship with Heavenly Father. There are a lot of things you can sort out during prayers, especially at night when all is quiet, and you have had a busy day. The other thing I do is give myself goals to work towards, and I am talking short term, a day or week to finish.

For instance: With Elliott gone, I determined I would get a lot done to keep me busy, since he isn't here to entertain me. Also, we have family coming to stay with us at the end of the month (can you believe Andrew is getting baptized already!!) So my goals for the week are: Deep clean laundry room (done!), organize master bedroom closet (halfway there!) and paint our bathroom (it's coming along...) I can't tell you how happy I am to be accomplishing these things. I look around and think... wow, I did something! Of course I would rather sit and read a book, or sew, or be on the computer. These are things that I use to escape, but I have found that if I set manageable goals for household chores, it is more satisfying.

I love walking into my laundry room now... it is so neat and tidy!

I am getting rid of mounds of clothes that just don't fit... Maybe I will sell some, mostly I will donate them, but I have so much space now, and I am not even done in the closet yet!

As for the bathroom, well, it is a never ending story. This is its third color of paint. We just can't find one we like. And it is, like all bathrooms, not easy to paint. The problem is, this color is not right either, so it is turning into more of a primer to get rid of the bright blue we had previously.

Finally, I do need an escape that will satisfy my crafty side. Tonight is my last night of painting, and then I plan to finish up some little hand sewing I have going on.

So dear sister, you see, you have to force yourself to work. Then, reward yourself with play. Now that Loi is back, I think it will be easier for you. And remember, never underestimate what a good date night can do. Good luck, and call me before you run away!

Back to the closet I go...

PS to anyone reading this... I am far from perfect (as my sister knows), but I am pretty happy. This is just a little musing for her benefit and mine!