Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Quilt of the Week

I started this quilt 2 years ago (2005) this month. My grandson Collin has always been so fascinated with construction-type trucks -- backhoes, earth movers, dump trucks, basically everything depicted on the quilt. When I saw this pattern I knew I had to make it for him. It was such a lot of fun. I loved using such vibrant primary colors and each new block was unique and challenging. I found some fabric that had lots of different little kids faces so I added faces as drivers to each of the machines and trucks. I still can't believe that I hand appliqued a quilt for a 3 year old; a quilt that I expected him to use, no less. I did have it machine quilted though. I gave it to him for Christmas that year and he was thrilled when he saw it. He still sleeps with it every night. I hope he feels like I'm hugging him all night long when he goes to bed!
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Sunday, July 29, 2007

Weekend, part II

After going to the Farmer's market in the morning, I got to attend a beautiful wedding in the afternoon. One of Katie's close girlfriends from high school days, Melissa, had her wedding at the Salt Lake Country Club. It is one of the fancy-smancy, members only clubs here -- needless to say, we don't go there very often; in fact, I think it is only the second time Paul & I have ever been there (the first time being for my sister's wedding luncheon back in like 1980). Melissa had bought a beautiful dress that she wanted Aspen to wear. Katie wasn't really very excited to be bringing Aspen to a formal wedding but what could she say. Aspen did look adorable and she really was quite well behaved for a 16 month old!

The second photo is actually from last week's wedding of my niece Konni. Aspen had been asked to be a flower girl for that wedding and Kalita bought her that cute pink and green polka dot dress to wear. Aspen was adorable there as well but she was definately not into posing for the camera. She wouldn't let Konni hold her so we set her on the grass and everyone else had to come down to her level. It was truly amazing we caught this shot because she was up and out of there in like 2 seconds. Both of these summer wedding were so enjoyable. We were lucky to be included.
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Weekend, part I

I have been wanting to go downtown to the weekly Farmer's Market at Pioneer Park for several weeks now and I finally made it there. KJ and I put on our most comfortable walking shoes and coolest clothing (temperature-wise) and spent a couple of hours mixing and mingling with crowds of Saturday shoppers. For those that don't know SLC, Pioneer Park in downtown is about the most scary park in the city. Typically you would only go there if you wanted some drugs or you were a homeless male and needed some where to sleep. Most people avoid that place for major safety reasons but amazingly enough once a week it becomes the "it" place to hang out. There were probably about 50 separate booths selling everything from vegetables to fruits to nuts to artisian breads to honeys to plants and herbs to farm fresh eggs. And then there were another 20 or so booths selling prepared foods; everything from cupcakes to roasted almonds to slushies to Kenyan cuisine (looked a little too authentic for me). I loved the booth in the second photo that had the most unique vegetarian dishes with sprouts and pine nuts and everything looked so fresh and healthy. Then there were probably another 100 booths selling arts and crafts: jewelry, metal sculputres, knitted goods, aprons, tye dyed items -- even marshmellow guns (KJ bought 2). That was only half of the entertainment -- the other half was provided by the people that we observed as we strolled along. We kept running into this "python guy" and it was a little creepy. I finally tapped him on the shoulder and asked if I could take his photo and he readily agreed and started walking towards me -- I told him I could zoom in just fine -- whoa, people and their pets. By the time we had perused every booth, my bag was so full and heavy that it took both KJ and I each holding a strap to get it back to the car. What a fun outing! If you have a farmer's market by you, I highly recommend that you check it out.
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Thursday, July 26, 2007

The kicks with Route 66

I have chosen the quilt that is in Paul's office as my Quilt of the Week. You can see the wallpaper that Paul chose to have in his office is reminiscent of the good old highway "Route 66". He loves the song, he loves the nostalgia and he loves the knick knacks he has scattered about so when I ran across this fabric a few years ago I knew I had to make him a Route 66 quilt. It is just colorful and quirky. I used lots of my on hand scraps in the tiny little squares... I always love it when I can use some of what I already have stashed away. The inside border is to resemble the yellow strips along the roadway. I often try to use the left over fabric on the backside and this time I had some fun with it. I wanted those checkerboard sections to look like tire tracks. I did machine piece this one and then hand quilt it. Be sure to click on the photos for a close up view and you'll get a "kick" out of the cute fabrics.
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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Paul's turn

You may remember a couple months ago when I showed you the darling magnet board that Heidi created for me as a perpetual scrapbook page of the grandkids photos... well this week Paul got one for his office. It is so clever and unique. He was very surprised and excited. He has added more photos of the other grandkids since this picture was taken and they all hold a dear spot in his heart. Thanks Heidi... Dad loves it!
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Monday, July 23, 2007

The birthday goods....

Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone that helped make my birthday so enjoyable! I guess when we get to a "certain age" we tend to keep our expectations quite low for our birthdays but this year any expectations were far exceeded. Paul told me that he needed to know a few gift suggestions because the kids were asking what I wanted... then he went out and got everything I mentioned plus the video Ipod... he's a keeper!! My nephew and his wife were using our "basement hotel" for the weekend and they brought me that stunningly beautiful flower arrangement from my favorite florist called "Roots". KJ made me the darling apron that you can see in the photo. Yes, those are jello molds on the fabric of the pockets. She even included packages of lime jello in the pockets. My "uber talented" friend Robyn made me the chic beaded necklace. And it would not be an authentic, official birthday without the traditional red velvet cake. Thanks again for so many kind and generous birthday remembrances... I feel very cared about.

I thought maybe I could give something to all of you on this occassion as well... so here is the Red Velvet Cake recipe.

2 oz red food coloring 1/2 c shortening (like Crisco) 1 1/2 c granulated sugar 1 c fresh buttermilk
2 eggs 2 1/2 c cake flour (or 2 1/4 c flour and 4 oz box instant chocolate pudding mix)
2 Tblsp cocoa 1 Tblsp vinegar 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon vanilla

Cream sugar, shortening & eggs. Make a paste of the cocoa and food coloring and add to the creamed mixture. Mix salt and vanilla with the buttermilk and add alternately with flour to creamed mixture. Mix soda and vinegar and fold into mixture (do not beat). Bake in 2 9" greased and floured cake pans at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Now that is the original, straight from my grandmother's recipe box recipe but I must admit that I have given in to the updated recipe which is much simpler: 1 Duncan Hines Red Velvet Cake mix 1 4 oz box instant chocolate pudding mix Bake according to package directions. (cheaters never win but in this case, it works just beautifully!)

Now here is where you can't cheat -- the frosting! This is a little tricky to make but it is the highlight of the whole cake eating experience. 5 Tblsp flour 1 c whole milk 1 c granulated sugar 1 c butter, room temperature 1 teaspoon vanilla

In a small saucepan, whisk the flour into the milk. Keep whisking over medium heat until the mixture thickens. (This is the trickiest part. You want the rue to be thicker than elmers glue but just to the point where when you stir it, it doesn't just flow back together -- don't let it get lumpy). Remove from stove and let cool (I like to transfer into another bowl so the pan it was cooked in doesn't continue to heat it). In your mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar and vanilla. Add the cooled flour/milk rue and beat until smooth and well mixed. It becomes the consistancy of thick whipped cream. Frost the cake like you normally would. This cake MUST be kept in the refrigerator -- especially in summer -- otherwise all that butter will just melt and run right off the cake. Give this a try; I promise you will love it. This makes such a memorable birthday cake but also because it is red it is super for Chirstmas, Valentines and 4th of July. Hope it works for you. As they say on the Food Network shows -- ENJOY!!
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Saturday, July 21, 2007

Birthday Girls

Here we are, the two July birthday girls. First off is Katie. (age 4 in the top photo) I need to wish her a "Happy Belated Birthday" since I was in Arizona on her actual special day -- July 12th -- and didn't get around to posting about her. Katie is my "baby". I had decided that I wanted to have all my children before I turned 30 and I gave birth to Katie 9 days before my 30th birthday (it is also really helpful in remembering how old I am by just adding 30 years to Katie's age). She has been such a joy in my life ever since! Katie is a smart, savvy, talented, compassionate, considerate, patient, fun, adventurous, kind, loving, thoughtful, spiritual, beautiful daughter, sister, wife, mother, nurse and best friend to everyone. Our family has been truly blessed to have her as one of us.

And if you add those 9 days to July 12th, you will see that today is my birthday! So, Happy Birthday to me! Yup, that's me in the 2nd photo at one years old. I still have a few more years in the 50's category so I'm not freaking out about this birthday. I'm actually really grateful to be as happy, healthy and involved as I seem to be right now. Not too much exciting planned for today other than the wedding of a niece, lunch with some of the kids and RED VELVET CAKE! Here's to another year in the books!!
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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Quilt of the week

I thought I'd feature this quilt today. This quilt hangs in my family room. I made it specifically for this room. I started the quilt in August 2002 and finished it in July of 2003. I had wanted to make a quilt for my family room for quite some time but at the time I was past president of the Utah Quilt Guild and as such it was my responsibility to head up the guild's annual 4 day convention to be held the 3rd week of September. As an added challenge, I had chosen to hold the convention in St George, Utah for the first time ever. Since most of the quild members live in northern Utah, this was quite the hub bub. I was totally immersed in this endeavor and I felt like I had been doing nothing but difficult, not always pleasant, challenging, time consuming coordinating and planning and organizing things non-stop and one day I just had to do something for myself. So I walked into a quilt shop and found this pattern and found all the fabric and just immersed myself in a little creative release. Ahhhhh, I felt so much better!

The star portion of this quilt is totally machine pieced but the border design is all hand appliqued and I did hand quilt this one as well. The pattern came from a book titled "Civil War Women" by Barbara Brackman and the pattern is named "Tobacco Worm". The pattern was adapted from a quilt made some time between 1840 and 1865 and in the original quilt, portions of the quilt were made using a fabric that was the exact same green color as a tobacco worm, hence the name. That name doesn't really do a lot for me so I call this quilt "Saved by a Star" because I felt like my sanity was saved by tackling this project at such an intense time for me. By the way, the quilt convention was a huge success attended by over 450 participants and 2 years later the convention was held in St. George again because everyone enjoyed it so much. Whew, I lucked out with the quilt and the event!! Win -- Win!
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Sunday, July 15, 2007

Our own Tour de France 2006

July is a much anticapted month in our household for another reason entirely --- the Tour de France bicycle race. We have been watching and following this annual event for years. Even back as far as the Greg Lemond days. But in the last 7 or so years, Paul has become a serious bicyclist and it became his dream to go to France and ride some of those exact mountains and routes that the Tour de France covers. So 2004 was going to be the year... Paul was turning 60 and that was going to be his commemoration event. Unfortunately the ATV accident took that "honor" instead and the trip was postponed until last summer. Paul found a tour company that specialized in this exact kind of adventure so we jumped on board. It turned out to the one of the absolute highlights of our whole life!!! There were only seven people in our tour group so that was very enjoyable. Katherine, the head tour guide and van driver; Eric, the on-the-bicycle tour guide; Tom, from NYC and his girlfriend, Cynthia; Pascal, a native Frenchman but recently living in NYC; and Paul and myself. I did not do any bicycling -- French Alps are not for amateurs -- I just enjoyed the scenery from my chauffered van. Paul had worked very hard to be in good shape physically and he was glad he had prepared so well because those mountains are brutal to bicyclists but he was tough and accomplished all that he set out to.

Our trip started a little frustrating since Paul's bike and suitcase did not actually arrive in Lucern, Switzerland with us. Pascal's didn't either but he just went out and bought another bike. Paul tracked his bike down and determined that he would miss the first day of riding but that his bike would catch up to us so he tried to be patient while he rode in the van the first day. As annoying as it was, it turned out to be a good thing and he was more than ready to get riding when it finally arrived. Now as we watch each day's stage of this year's tour de France, Paul is watching the race and I'm watching the scenery and reliving that fabulous, once-in-a-lifetime experience.
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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Our LUCKY little Connor!

Just as scheduled, Connor arrived promptly at 2:25 pm on Sat. July 7, 2007! He is our "Lucky number 7" little boy: he was born on 7/7/07 and he is the 7th member of his family and he is our 7th grandchild and he is the 7th grandchild on his daddy's side of the family too. Those are just the quirky lucky things... the really important lucky things include being born into such a wonderful, loving, adoring family and arriving healthy and whole... such a blessing and a relief. I was truly the lucky one to be able to be present when he entered this life. Despite all the technology and advances in the medical world, child birth is still a "labor of love" and a very spiritual experience. It was so awesome to be there and witness his first breath and his introduction to this world and his loving parents and two grandmothers. It brought tears of joy and relief and gratitude to everyone.

He is adjusting well to his new surroundings outside his mother's tummy. He is such a delightful little spirit even though he mostly sleeps and eats and he does not cry at all... wow, I wonder how long that will last?!? His siblings are delighted beyond belief to have him here. It is always kind of disappointing though when they realize that he really doesn't acknowledge all of their attention and he's not ready to go skateboarding yet. His big sister, Capri (by 11 months exactly as she will be 1 on Aug. 7th) is not very impressed by this blue bundle that is stealing all her thunder. She is too young to understand "be soft" when she reaches out and tries to grab a chunk of his face. Things here are starting to settle into a routine. Paul came into town yesterday and even though Capri is quite leary of him, Connor loves to sleep in his Grandpa's arms ... so sweet. We are so happy to be allowed to participate in this momentous occassion; we'll never forget being here at this special time --- we are all so LUCKY!
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Friday, July 6, 2007

The missing Lagoon pictures

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The missing cabin photos

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This one is WICKED!

These photos do not do justice to the intensity of this new roller coaster at Lagoon but the name is spot-on accurate!!! We warmed up on Collosus with it's two 360, back to back loopdee loops and then headed straight over to Wicked where we stood in line for about a hour but it was so worth it. First you blast straight up and then over the top and head straight down at mach speed and then head into a spectacular corkscrew and then multiple twists and turns and then it is over before you have even caught your breath!! We wanted to go again and again but the line was just too long so we did our other favorites: Tidal Wave, white roller coaster, Log Flume, the Bat, the Turn of the Century swings, and so many I can't remember. Now here's the real surprise... Paul came with us!!! Yeah!!! I think it has been like 5 years or more since he has been tortured like this but he was a great sport and even came on 4 or 5 rides like the giant ferris wheel and the sky ride -- he may be done with Lagoon for this lifetime. But the rest of us will definately be back!!!

July = FUN!

It is officially here, ta da.... JULY... the best month of the whole year!!! It is summer, it is laid back , it is 2 holidays and it is my birthday month (and Katie's and soon to be, Connor's) so I love July. My whole life I have loved this month. I think it started out mostly that I loved it because I was out of school, we would go to the cabin alot and we would go to Lagoon -- good times. Coincidentally, for the theme for this month in Heidi's online scrapbooking class, she has assigned us to have Fun!! And then to make sure Paul and I do the assignment, she has graciously sent her two boys here to see that we get it done. Yes, Cory and Colton flew (unaccompanied-first-timers) here on Tuesday and as we picked them up at the airport we officially announced: "Let the Fun begin!!!" Our first stop for fun was for lunch at the Brot cart at Home Depot ... ummmmm. Then we stopped home long enough to load up the ATV's (and half the house) and head on up to the cabin for a few memorable, fun days "Up the Lazy Weber". When we were in AZ last time, Cory wanted Paul to help him build a clubhouse but we didn't have enough time so Paul has been planning an impressive club-house-building project for the past couple of weeks and the boys (meaning, Paul, Colton, Cory, Cameron, Collin, Clark) got out lots of tools and constructed an awesome little clubhouse in the forest complete with lots of camo spray painting. Now that was some major FUN. Even Aspen gave it a couple of smacks with the hammer. The rope swing continues to be ever popular with the nerves of steel crowd. The ramp getting up to the platform is more rickity than ever but it doesn't deter Cory, Colton or Collin. I know now why Grandma Wallin was such a worrier at the cabin. We did all the requisite cabin events: drinking out of Sweetwater Creek (a little stream that comes right out of the mountainside --- photo where Colton is sitting), Snake wrangling Uncle Cameron style, canoe fishing with Uncle Clark at Smith-Morehouse where Colton said the birds caught more fish than they did, Smores eating until we all just wanted to ...... you know the feeling, Aunt LaRane made the most yummy Dutch Oven apple cobbler using Uncle Eric's recipe and of course!!!!-----...... "Your OAKLEY RODEO!!!!!" The buckers were bucking high and hard and the snow cones were refreshing as ever. Cory and Colton have some new jokes they are enjoying sharing over and over, thanks to the cowboy clowns: i.e. "Do you know why they call that bull Rewind?" "Why" "Because that's his name"!!! Oh yea, that's a good one. Of course, as usual we always have lots of good food at the cabin: K-burgers, potatoe salad, watermelon, Lake Powell french toast and in the middle of one meal, Colton even asked Paul to pull his tooth because he couldn't eat his burger --- we're waiting for the tooth fairy to come by. A final stop at the Polar King on our way home and that closed up the cabin portion of our fun.... don't feel bad.... next stop LAGOON!