Saturday, December 24, 2011

Fridays and My Ode To Christmas

Sasha renamed Peanut or "The Nut"
Fridays are my cleaning day, which means I get dressed before noon and Peanut doesn't get unlimited cuddle time.  So here's how the day sized up.

  • Laundry done - check
  • Vacuuming done - check
  • Kitchen appliances cleaned - check
  • Kitchen sink scrubbed - check (because these 2 make it look extra sparkly and clean)
  • Kitchen floor scrubbed - check (I could have just said Kitchen cleaned - check, but then you wouldn't really appreciate how I really knock myself out on Friday's.)
  • Paper work off the kitchen counter & bills paid - check
  • My projects organized and unnecessary things cleared from the kitchen table - check
  • Chistmas boxes all mailed - check  (I actually did that last Friday but I just wanted you to know how awesome I am presents will arrive in time for Christmas)
  • Bought unhealthy snacks including the sweet rolls which are a tradition - check (emphasis on the "bought" part)
  • Vege tray made - check
  • Full of good will and Christmas cheer - check

Our Christmas Tree
The way things looked at the end of the day.

So Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Hanukkah, Joy for the Winter Solstice and any of the great ways you might celebrate with the people you love!

Monday, September 26, 2011

It's All About 4 Days Of Quilting Mania

Last week was the annual Utah Quilt Guild Festival with classes from beginning to those offered by the National Teachers.  I can't believe I resisted going for so long.  It incorporates fund raisers, humanitarian opportunities, a vendor mall, and my favorite the luncheons featuring the National Teachers.  It’s interesting to hear how they started and the paths leading them to their advanced techniques.  Some have a more gradual progression and others win National Competions with their 1st quilt and sell them for $25,000 or more.  It’s fun to be around lots of quilters who have the same quirks and utter devotion as you do to the art of quilting. One lady was excited another kid had moved out. That would make the 3rd room to fit all her "stuff." I didn’t feel quite as bad I had my one room & the dining room table.... and I suppose the fireplace hearth... and maybe just a wee space in my bedroom. I guess that’s getting close to 3 rooms.  It just happens.

And then there's the Quilt Show. So we'll start with the good news first. The quilt I entered won 1st place in the Miniature category. I have to admit winning is really fun.
"Crossing Paths"  20" Sq. with 1,203 pieces.
Just when I’m feeling pretty good about myself, I turned the corner and saw this quilt.  It is by the National Teacher, George Siciliano,, who specializes in  miniatures.  I took one of his classes and it was just amazing to learn his technique and tips.  I bought a couple of his patterns and fabrics to try other designs & maybe try one of my own.  His wife, Virginia is an award winning hand quilter and both have quilts in the National Quilt Museum.  They teach the classes together.  Ken didn't want to hear about that part.
"Dusk a l'Orange" 12 1/2" Sq., 4,210 pieces

 During class he demos a 1" square made from 25 pieces.  He does a coin toss & the winner gets it.  That's right... it is now mine. I bought the pattern to try it myself.
I also took a class by David Taylor, , another National Teacher who specializes in hand applique.  This was much harder for me but he made me really want to practice & improve.  His quilts are taken from his photographs and it is hard to tell the difference.  His goat is made from hundreds of different fabrics.  Each color change is a different fabric, cut out and the edges all turned under before they are stitched down.  The detail is just exquisite.  He then uses many, many variegated threads for the machine quilting to compliment the quilt design. (because life is too short not to use color)
"Little S'Tinker

 On top of that I took 5 classes to learn how to use my EQ7 design quilt program.  I was exhausted by the end of it... in the best kind of way.  I can't wait for next year.  (It will be in St. George) 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

It's Not About Perfection

Most of you know I keep my mom in quilting projects. We’re both equally passionate about what we create and the happiness it brings us. However, I walked over there today to find her hunched over with a ruler measuring the 9-patches she had just made and telling me quite despondantly she hadn’t done a very good job in putting them together, as she reached for the seam ripper. It broke my heart. Sure they were a little askew and didn’t quite match up to the other blocks they connected to, but she has just the tiniest bit of sight in her left eye and macular degeneration in her right eye which means she has a black spot right in her central vision. So are you kidding me, they were fabulous blocks created with a determination to keep her passion alive in spite of her limitations. I didn’t want her to lose her joy. You know Mom, I told her. Something doesn’t have to be perfect to be meaningful. I hope I can do as well if my eyesight ever fails me.

The quest for perfection is as old as time and I have always felt it is a bit of a self- defeating behavior, but I really felt it at that moment. I finally live in a world where I’m good enough. Damn it. I’m not always picking myself apart, trying to fix all the parts that might have gone askew and don’t always match up to how I think the rest of the world wants me to be. I like my reality and think it helps me love the things I love more. And that doesn't mean I'm not willing to change or try to be all the things that make a human being good, but if it is so discouraging and I start feeling like I can never do anything good enough and it makes loving what I do less, then I'm taking my plants and making another garden.

Anyway here’s the perfect things I’ve been creating lately. Just kidding. I have had fun making some miniature quilts. They’re 12” square and now I need to add some kind of nifty border. I forgot to take a picture of the one I’m entering in the Utah Quilt Guild Show. Sally Collins is one of the National Teachers that will be giving classes at the Quilt Festival this year. She is known for her precision piecing and the awesome way she creates borders to give quilts a balanced finished look. Since I won’t be taking any of her classes, I bought her book, “Borders, Bindings, & Edges, The Art of Finishing Your Quilt”. And that is one reason why I love quilting. There is always something new to learn. It’s an art form that keeps on giving.  (I think I said that once before so it must be true)
 This is "Perplexed By Purple"  Look at the circular geometric shapes then move your eye down and you'll see the purple & white flower.

I want to do some kind of beading on this one.  On this one kind of squint and move your eye between the white spaces and then to the colored.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

It's All About Staying Married

Ken & I have now been married 30 years.  In no special order here’s 30 reasons why:

  1. He always gives me the biggest piece of dessert.  He's like that.  Generous.
  2. He never complains when I eat the rest of the dessert in the middle of the night.
  3. He goes to quilt shows with me (and acts interested)
  4. He knows why it’s important not to cut off the points when you quilt and many other reasons that make a good quilt.  He’s like that.  Interested in what I’m doing.
  5. He has never belittled me in front of family or friends.  Or even to my face.
  6. He likes to do all the driving.
  7. He never lets me drive in bad weather without ample warnings.  He’s like that.  Concerned about my well-being.
  8. He can always make me laugh.
  9. He makes fun of me in humorous  ways  that expose my biggest flaws.
  10. He tells me every day he loves me. (except for that rough patch in year 2)
  11. Whenever  I think  life is the cruelest hoax ever he tells me everything is going to be OK. (and he hugs me when he says it)
  12. He’s a homebody like me.
  13. For a long time when the kids were little he cooked dinner every Saturday night to give me a break.  He’s like that.  Considerate.
  14. When I did the early morning paper route he went with me every Sunday because the papers were so heavy. (for 5 years)  He's like that.  Dependable.
  15. Have you seen how he looks?  He’s more fit and handsome than ever.
  16. His work ethic is flawless.  He has always done his best to support the family and keep it going.
  17. His integrity is flawless.  He taught the kids about striving for excellence and a multitude of other ways to be a decent human being.
  18. We work well together.  He has always done his share of the household chores and more often than not more than his share.
  19. Every week we go to the grocery store together and then he helps me cut up all the veges for the upcoming meals.
  20. He never complains if sometimes those well planned out meals turn into cheese sandwiches or top ramen because I’ve been working on my projects all day.
  21. He always cleans up after dinner and does the dishes.
  22. He makes me feel cherished.
  23. He never complains about all the birthday and Christmas presents I buy for myself.
  24. Sometimes he seems too good to be true.  I think he is.
  25. Once he surprised me at the airport and went with me to visit Mackenzie when I thought I had to go alone.  He’s like that.  He never lets me go to important things alone.
  26. In the beginning he told me in 30 years being together would be better than ever.  He didn’t lie.
  27. On our 2nd date he bought me groceries when I thought I was just giving him ideas of meals he could make for himself.  He’s like that.  Helpful without being invasive.
  28. We had to stay together.  Neither one of us wanted custody of the kids.
  29. We’re interdependent and individuals at the same time.  He’s like that.  Respectful.
  30. He’s my best friend.

And bonus videos from Miko the wonder puppy whose talents just keep increasing.

    Sunday, July 17, 2011

    It's All About The Quilts

    Yesterday we went to a Quilt Exhibit in Brigham City.  The featured quilt artists were Lenore Crawford, who gets most of her inspiration on her visits to small villages in France.  Dianna Grundhauser of Hawaii,, and Melody Randol of Loveland, CO,  And a few from Utah.  All I can say is every quilt had the WOW factor, and most had won national & international awards.  Also many had placed in the prestigious Paducah competitions.  The main focus was landscape and applique quilting.  Here's a few of my favorites, and I have to say seeing them in photos is a poor substitute for the real thing.  I've also included a close up of most of them so you can see some of the incredible detail and intricate free motion quilting.
    Kathy Porter (from my quilt group) and I were asked to show a quilt.
    You've all seen mine so here is hers.  She's always winning awards for
    her stunning & original designs.  This is from some doodles she likes to do.

    My favorite

    Friday, July 8, 2011

    Miko - The Puppy Prodigy

    I just had to post another video. I can't believe how smart she is. Ryan said she'll just approach them and then sit, lie down, roll over a couple of times and then look up expectantly for a treat . . . . before they even say a single word. Too cute.

    Sunday, July 3, 2011

    It's All About Miko

    Here she is. The much awaited puppy of Ryan & Alissa. A little Yorkshire Terrior. And I do mean little. She is 12 weeks old and weighs in at a whopping 2.5 lbs. She is just too adorable!!

    A week later she miraculously turns from a baby into a toddler and enjoys a day out at the beach. Get ready for a cuteness attack. Ryan is having a blast with her, as this is his first dog. We're glad we deprived him of a few childhood experiences so he could have a few happy new firsts in his adult life. :)

    Meeting Trixie, the emperess of the house, for the first time, hoping they will be fast friends.

    It doesn't take long and they are snuggling together. Sweetness attack.

    She sleeps in a playpen to give her plenty of room to move over, as her bladder is too tiny to make it through the night.

    I'm happy she loves her blanket I made for her.

    Sunday, June 26, 2011

    Misty & New Baby, Parker

    Misty was in town for a new baby checkup and stopped by. It is always good to see her. She didn't have the two older boys with her... as if they are very old. I love to just watch them... they are really too funny. It sure reminds you what a crazy time of life it is to have toddlers. Any kid at any age at home, really.

    He was content to let Gma2 hold him.

    I made him an "I Spy" quilt with a bunch of picture fabric that I've collected over the years.

    Sunday, June 19, 2011

    It's All About The Yard

    Yesterday we did what most couples do who have been married for awhile. We went out and bought something we would have bought anyway and said it was for Father's Day. Ken has been mostly in charge of the yard... ok, everything except watering the hanging basket out front. This year I finally missed going and picking out flowers and playing in the dirt. We are trying to fill the yard with perinnials and eventually have everything all lush and beautiful, and doing it by itself every year.

    Our front is small... (just our size) On one side we found a big hanging basket and put it in the corner where nothing ever grows.

    On the other side we made a little herb garden... we have basil, oregano, 4 different mints, echineacea, comfry, and a few more I can't remember

    I love the hanging basket we found for the front entrance... we went to every nursery until we found the most beautiful one...

    This is the area we planted in the back. It sure didn't feel like $300 worth of lushness once it was planted. I'll post another picture when that happens...

    We even bought a couple of chairs and a little table. You can't tell but it is inlaid with a bunch of tiny tiles. The chairs are just perfect.... simple (without big bulky cushions) but they still rock and swivel. Ken was a very good dad this year..... as always...

    Monday, May 23, 2011


    I finally completed something start to finish. Ryan & Alissa are getting a puppy so of course it has to have it's own blanket. Just so you get the right perspective.... the puppy is in the "Let's Play" position.... with it's front paws down and bottom up.

    I wish somebody could give me some magical tips on how to get a good tension. I spent more time fiddling with that than the time I spent quilting it...

    Saturday, May 14, 2011

    Much Ado About Everything

    April, yes way back then, started out with quite a rocky patch... sadly Ken's mother passed away... and the only upside to these events is that we got to be with our kids (& Kenzie) The "girls" have asked me to make them quilts from some of their mother's clothes, which I am very honored and excited to do for them. Quilts are so much more than fabric to keep you warm... I
    hope what I make will envoke all the love, warmth, and security they felt with her.

    All of our family with Grandpa Joe

    Ken & his dad.... two kindrid spirits...

    Kenzie & I fit in a sewing lesson. She wanted to make an "art quilt" so she could give it to me to enter in my competitions. She had no doubts I would then be presenting her with several blue ribbons. I love the confidence in that girl!!

    .............................ANDREA GRADUATES....................................

    At the end of April Andrea graduated from Utah Valley University in the Behavioral Sciences Social Work and Criminal Justice Program. I'm so proud of her... she gives new meaning to the phrase, "You've come a long way, baby." Now on to grad school...

    While she was graduating I had surgery on my left eye to repair a tear in my retina and hemorrhaging from my optic nerve. All went well, and just about the time it was going to be ok to get back on the tread mill, I got an 8 day killer flu.... you know the kind that feels like it's eating your bones?.... see why I don't excercise.... stuff like that always happens....

    I'm so ready to be back in my routine.... going to quilting.... having 10 or so projects I'm working on and making a general mess...