Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Doll Quilt

Last week I won a giveaway! I couldn't believe it. I've commented on so many giveaways since entering blogville and never ever won anything, so I was quite surprised that my name was actually drawn this time. I won two fat quarters from Craftsanity.

The fabric is so pretty and looks like spring, so I just had to do something with it. I have made a few quilts in the past and always tied them. I've really been wanting to try machine quilting, but was afraid to try on a great big quilt for the first time. Then I started seeing doll quilts all over the place. Here, here, here, and here and lots and lots of others. I decided that I should make some doll quilts to practice quilting and binding before I jump into something bigger.

Here is my doll quilt sandwich. The picture makes it look a little bit funny, but it is a regular rectangle measuring 13 x 17 inches.

I tried a meandering sort of pattern when I quilted it, and I'm pretty happy with it. Especially for my first try. I definitely want to keep working on it. I think I will try some strait lines next time though. Might be a little easier.

Here is the back. I also really wanted to try a simple pieced back. I'm very happy with the way it looks.

And here is the binding I've made for it.

I am loving this!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Monday's Mess: the lazy susan

This is one of the lazy-susans in my kitchen. Actually just part of it. It is a source of frustration to me!

I have two, but this is the messy one. The other one only has pots and pans and stays pretty neat. This one is always a mess. I usually clean it out once a year or so, but it always gets looking like this within a day or two. So I think I really just need to clean out all these odd containers, get rid of the ones I really don't use, and store the ones I do use somewhere else completely. I haven't got it all figured out, but hopefully I'll think of something good.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Friday's Fix-up: Man! late again!

Well, here it is. My clean refrigerator top. It looks even better in person.

Why is it so hard, sometimes, to convince myself to get some work done? I do have lots of disruptions sometimes. And then there are those small helping hands that don't really help so much, but hopefully they learn something. But when I do get a chance to really get some good housecleaning done, I don't jump at it. I'm really good at finding other things to do. (My Mom can attest to that.) I wish I did jump at it a little, no a lot, quicker. I'm finding that I really enjoy work. Not the work itself so much, but I enjoy moving and exercising my body. I feel really good when I have accomplished something. I sleep better after physically working hard and I get to burn off plenty of calories. Work also brings a peaceful feeling to me and to my family. We are happier and less prone to contention in cleaner spaces. It is an all around good thing. So why is it so hard to convince myself to actually do it? I think that is one of those things I am here on earth to learn. "Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy." I am here to learn joy and work is one of many ways that I feel joy. I think I'm just beginning to catch on. I am only 30 though, so I've got a long while yet to keep learning. How grateful I am for this life!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Two in the Far North

Oh, I love going to Book Club. I got to go last night! It was a wonderful time. There were only five of us, but we still had plenty of things to talk about. A good portion of our conversation was about the book we read, but the rest was about all kinds of other things. It was so nice to get away from my everyday stuff and just talk and talk and talk and also eat some really good food.

We read Two In the Far North by Margaret Murie. It is a non-fiction book about the life of Margaret (Mardy) Murie as she moved to Fairbanks, Alaska in 1911 at the age of nine and then later married a biologist, Olaus Murie, who was studying the wildlife of northern Alaska. Mardy traveled with him all over Alaska, often by dogsled, and even brought their baby with them as they explored the tundra.

It was a very fascinating story and I learned so much about Alaska! Did you know that mosquitoes are terrible in Alaska? I had never even considered that mosquitoes could even live in Alaska. I really enjoyed reading about this amazing and very adventurous lady. Olaus' brother Adolph married Mardy's sister Louise and the four of them became very involved in the conservation of Alaska and other wilderness areas. When they retired they moved to a ranch two miles west of Moose, Wyoming.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

What Am I Thinking?

At any time during the day I might have so many different thoughts running around in my head. "I need to go fold those clothes. Ummm, better take care of the dishwasher first and get the meat out of the freezer. Why are those girls fighting again? Poor Naomi's nose just won't quit running. I'm really enjoying this book, I'll just read one page before I go start dinner. Maybe one more. Where is Noah? On the table! And he found someone's glass of milk. Guess I better take care of this before I make dinner. Stephen and Anne are home from school and I don't know what to give them for a snack. Pretzels? No. Carrots? No. Anyone want some saltine crackers? Homework time. Stephen, leave Anne alone and go practice your trumpet. No, Ellen, you can't listen to a cd while Stephen is trying to practice. What's for dinner? I forgot to get the meat out! Too late. What am I going to make now? What is that smell? Noah! Why do I still have to wrestle him just to get his diaper changed. Shouldn't he be used to this by now? Where is Naomi? Whoa, that's a lot of chapstick all over her face. Let's go wash. Man this living room is a mess. I think we can get it cleaned up before James comes home. We'll start on it as soon as Anne finishes her homework and Stephen is done practicing and right after I figure out what to make for dinner."

Sorry, that was kind of long. But that is a pretty typical slice of my day. It is so hard to think about anything sometimes, except what is right in front of my face. It also seems kind of impossible to get anything done! The kids keep me quite busy, and I am too easily distracted. (Yes, I probably should be doing something other that blogging right now, but the two little ones are asleep and Ellen is coloring, and I just don't want to go clean up the kitchen right now.) I'm thinking this could all be a little bit better if I would just get up earlier than everyone else every day. It has to be way earlier though. Today I tried getting up about 15 minutes earlier so that I could read my scriptures. I got about two minutes to read and then everyone else decided to get up earlier too. I need more time than that! I do love being with my family. They bring me a lot of joy. And I already dread the day when my children are grown up. I'm afraid I will be quite lonely. But it would be so nice to have "45 minutes. All to myself." Just picture me saying that like Danny Kaye does in White Christmas. And so my goal for the next month, or however long it takes for this to become a habit, is to get up every day at 5:45. Even if the rest of the day goes like they do now, at least I will have had that time in the morning to really think. I think the time will be well worth it.

Monday's Mess: a little late

The top of my fridge. It needs help!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday's Fix-up: white light

Whew! This project was not as easy as I was expecting it to be, but I'm so glad I did it! I was amazed at what a difference it made in my kitchen when I took down the ugly old shade. There was so much more light!

Yup, that's a dirty window too!

I made some new curtains. I love white curtains, especially in a kitchen. And I love gingham! I am so not a perfectionist, so these curtains could probably be a little nicer, but they are done and up and I like them.



The gingham!

I don't know how to take a picture of a window! The outside light is always way to much and the inside light is not even close to enough unless I use the flash, and that just doesn't look as nice. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wordfull Wednesday Book List

The last two Wordfull Wednesdays from Chocolate on My Cranium have yielded some wonderful book recommendations for children and adults. I really don't want to forget them and I also thought it would be handy to have one list of all of them, so I'm putting it together here on my blog.

Children's Books

Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Wild About Books by Judy Sierra

Cynthia Rylant Books

Henry and Mudge

Cobblestreet Cousins

The Lighthouse Family

The Van Gogh Cafe

Gooseberry Park

George and Martha by James Marshall

Richard Scarry's Best Story Book Ever

Where the Red Fern Grows

Little Women *

Mandy by Julie Andrews Edwards

Nancy Drew

C.S. Lewis

Madeleine L'Engle

L.M. Montgomery **

Gone With the Wind

Away Go the Boats

5 Little Monkeys

My Truck is Stuck

Tomie dePaola

Leo Lionni

Kevin Henkes

Mem Fox

Virginia Lee Burton

Lois Ehlert

Don Freeman

Audrey Wood

Patricia Polacco

Chris Van Allsburg

Allen Say

Tikki Tikki Tembo

Rikki Tikki Tavi


Bobbsey Twins

Jock of the Bushveld

James Herriot

The Bear Story by James Whitcomb Riley

Little Orphan Annie

A Girl of the Limberlost

Caddie Woodlawn

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry (trilogy)

Huckelberry Finn

Tom Sawyer

Pudd'nhead Wilson

the Prince and the Pauper

the Whipping Boy

A Girl of the Limberlost

the Lupine Lady

Wind in the Willows


Milly Molly Mandy

The Small Pig

Piggie Pie

The Little Old Man Who Could Not Read

Roald Dahl

Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems

A Grandmother's Story by Glenn Halak

A Child's Garden of Verses

Miss Twiggley's Tree

Children of Noisy Village

Adult Books

David Copperfield

A Christmas Carol

Great Expectations

Peter Pan

Les Miserables

Swiss Family Robinson

The Count of Monte Cristo

Robinson Crusoe


Sense and Sensibility

Wuthering Heights

My Favorite Genre?

For today's Wordfull Wednesday from Chocolate On My Cranium, we are supposed to write about our favorite genre and adult book. I don't know that I can choose just one. (I'll try not to make this into too much of a list.) I have so many favorites that I love and go back to. Most are fiction and light-hearted. Like the Mitford series by Jan Karon, which I read when I'm in the midst of a particularly difficult life experience. The world of Mitford and the love expressed there is very lifting and always gives me something good to think about. Another series I've read quite a few times is the All Creatures Great and Small series by James Herriot. I'm really not an animal person, but the stories of rural England and the many antics of farmers and animals and vets are so wonderful to read that I can't help but laugh and enjoy them. Others are Mama's Bank Account by Katherine Forbes, The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale, and the Work and the Glory Series by Gerald Lund. I'm discovering that I really enjoy good mysteries too. The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie King and the Mrs. Pollifax books by Dorothy Gillman got me started there. I do love other types as well; C.S. Lewis and Robert Frost come to mind. And Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom is another favorite as well as Glimpses Into the Life and Heart of Marjorie Pay Hinckley.

I will say that my very favorite book is My Antonia by Willa Cather. I'm not sure that I could really tell you why. Maybe I can. Her stories are not filled with excitement or suspense. And usually there are some sad events involved. I first read My Antonia for my American Literature class at Ricks College, so my copy is very marked up. On almost every page I have marked a line or two or even paragraphs that taught me something or that I just really enjoyed. Cather's writing is so beautiful. Very simple yet so descriptive. I love her description of spring. "When spring came, after that hard winter, one could not get enough of the nimble air. Every morning I awakened with a fresh consciousness that winter was over." Just one more of the many passages I love is when Jim is describing his Grandfather's prayers. He says, "Grandfather's prayers were often very interesting. He had the gift of simple and moving expression. Because he talked so little, his words had a peculiar force; they were not worn dull from constant use. His prayers reflected what he was thinking about at the time, and it was chiefly through them that we got to know his feelings and his views about things." I could go on and on. The characters, the relationships, the language, the setting, all of it so wonderful. Oh, I do love My Antonia!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Monday's Mess: a little prettier please

One of my goals in all this monday's mess madness is not only to clean up and de-clutter my home, but to beautify it as well. We've lived here for almost 4 years now (man, does time fly!), and really the only thing I've done to decorate or make my home look lovely is put up a few pictures. It's time to fix that! So I'm starting with the biggest eyesore in the house; my kitchen window.

I've hated that window shade thing since the first day I saw it. Not only is it horrendously ugly, it doesn't even work. It is just about impossible to get it to move up or down. I will be so glad to see it go!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday's Fix-up: a little more order

Ahhhhhhhh. Another space, small though it may be, cleaned up and organized! Oh it feels good.

This little cabinet and the tub on top were containing a few good things and a few not so good things, but everything was just thrown or stuffed in. It was not a good use of space. Plus there was that pile on top. I pulled out and sorted and moved things around and ended up with an empty cabinet. So I filled it with some nicely folded fabric.

Until now that fabric has been stuck in cardboard boxes. Makes it kind of hard to see what I've got and use it. Sadly, this is not all of my fabric. There are still boxes waiting to be emptied and fabric waiting to be used or at least stored in a better way. I'll get there. But having this little bit put in order is great! I just love looking at it!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

For My Husband

Last week was my wonderful husband's birthday. I really wanted to make the day special for him. I'm afraid I don't show appreciation for him often enough and I really wanted him to know and feel that on his birthday. I thought and thought about it and even prayed about it. There weren't any gifts that he really wanted. Spending money on him doesn't make him feel loved. Saving money is the way to go for him. I even asked him what he wanted. He said he wanted me to surprise him. Finally the day before his birthday I got some ideas. We got him a few simple gifts: a movie he could watch with the kids and some of his favorite snack foods. I also planned to clean our bedroom (and as much of the rest of the house as we could possibly manage). It doesn't happen very often, but when it does it makes him very happy. And I planned to dress up for him. He always comments on Sunday's when I am dressed and ready to go to church how much he likes seeing me dressed up. On every other day I don't do my hair, I wear jeans and holey sneakers and a slightly nice t-shirt, and he comes home to pandemonium and is so patient about it all. I wanted his birthday, of all days, to be better! Things definitely didn't look so bright when we got up that morning. But I sent him off to work and then got to work myself. With some good help from the kids, who were a little more motivated that day, we had the important things cleaned up (including a very clean bedroom), the table set, the presents wrapped, the cake done, balloons put up, his favorite dinner ready to go on the table, and me showered, dressed, and smelling good when he got home. He was really surprised and had an enjoyable birthday.

But I've been thinking since then, why don't I do that more often? Or even just a little of it way more often. I don't have to wait for his birthday or other special occasions. I really enjoy making him happy and showing him rather than just telling him that I love him. Somehow it makes me love him even more.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Project Improv - again

Way back in January I posted that my Project Improv squares were all done. I thought so, so I read through the instructions again looking for Jacquie's address so I could mail them. Then I noticed that the squares are actually supposed to be 12 and a half inches, not 12 inches like I had made mine. I was a little disappointed that I couldn't put them right in the mail. I've thought for a long time about how I could make those squares just half an inch bigger and still have them look ok. I couldn't figure it out. So I got my scraps out and started over. I'm really glad I did because I like these last two even better. I'll just call those first three my practice squares.

Here is the blue/green.

And here is the pink/orange.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Monday's Mess: the next step in the laundry room

I'm sure anyone who sees these monday messes is going to think I'm an absolute slob! Well, I probably am, but I'm trying really hard to change that. So I'm going to start with a clean topic.

My bedroom is clean and it feels wonderful! Somehow my bedroom becomes the place where everyone, including me, puts things when they can't figure out where it should go. Sad to say, but a dumping ground. Well, it's cleaned up now, and we're trying really hard to keep it that way. OK, now for today's mess.

You might recognize that wall. The ironing area is still clean (I even got out the ironing board this weekend and put it away again!) so now I'm moving into the laundry room and the next mess along that wall. I decided to stick with the laundry room this one more week because of that one clean spot. It's beautiful and I want more of it.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Friday's Fix-up: the ironing area

Wow! Another blank wall! I'm quite excited about this. I had originally said I was going to leave the ironing board there, but after it was all clean underneath it became a great place for a one year old to play. So the ironing board is put away. I suppose it's better that way, though, because it won't collect clutter anymore. And it is easier to walk into the laundry room now. I'm so glad it's done!

I can't decided what to do next. Should I keep hacking away at the laundry room which is the messiest place in the house? Or should I move on to something else I have in mind that I'm more excited about? I just don't know!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Today's topic for Wordfull Wednesday is Learning to Read and our Favorite Children's Book. Visit Chocolate on my Cranium for more Wordfull Wednesday.

I don't remember much about actually learning to read. I do have one memory of asking my mom how to spell the letters. I started at the beginning and asked, "How do you spell A?" I think it took a few minutes for my mom to explain that you don't spell letters, letters spell words. I remember reading from Dick and Jane books in first grade. And I remember that I loved to read. I used to take as many books as I could with me to bed at night, until after a few nights I would have stacks of books on my bed. My dad really didn't like this, so he built a bookshelf tall enough that I could reach it from my top bunk. I don't remember if it helped or not!

I did have some favorite books as a child and they are still some of my favorite children's books. The first is Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey. I just LOVE that book. I love the illustrations, the story, the characters. I love knowing that there really are swan boats in the Public Garden in Boston. Someday I'm going to visit Boston and do all kinds of neat things, but one of the first on my list will be to ride on a swan boat!

Another favorite of mine was the Francis Books by Russell Hoban. Again, I love the illustrations and the stories and I love that Francis in not a perfect little girl. She gets scared in her dark bedroom, she "runs away" when her baby sister arrives, she decides that bread and jam is the only thing to eat. But she always learns from her mistakes, and her parents always love her.

One more favorite. My grandmother gave me Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein for my birthday one year and I loved it. I read it all the way through in a pretty short amount of time and then kept going back to read my favorites and even memorized some of them. Now I really enjoy reading another Shel Silverstein book, Runny Babbit, with my kids. It cracks me up!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Bushfire Squares and Swaps

I finished my squares for the Bushfire Quilt Project and will be putting them in the mail tomorrow!

I also participated in a Fat Quarter Swap organized on the Sew, Mama, Sew blog. It was a lot of fun! These are the four fat quarters I got from my swap group. It's not a very good picture. They are all so beautiful!

The bottom right came from Alissa, the top right came from Abby, the bottom left came from Alison, and the top left came from Ani. Thank you ladies!

Monday, March 2, 2009

On to the next mess!

I really want my home to be a special place. I know that cleanliness is REALLY not the only thing that makes a home wonderful, but it certainly doesn't hurt. That is why I decided to start Monday's Mess/Friday's Fix-up. I can't get my whole house full of messes under control all at once. It's just too overwhelming! And when I feel overwhelmed, I just freeze and absolutely nothing gets done. But I did accomplish my goal last week! That mess is gone and I'm ready to move on to the next. And since this week is looking less hectic than last week, I'm going to tackle something a little bigger. And scarier!

This is in the little hallway leading into my laundry room. That mess has been there for waaaaaaay to long and it will feel so good to get rid of it. I am going to leave the ironing board there because I really like having a place where I can just leave it up and use it whenever I want to without a lot of hassle. But everything else has to either be put away or tossed away. I think I can do it!