Thursday, September 25, 2008

A little history

Today I had to drive into a section of my city that is called Sugar House to pick up my new sunglasses. As I drove down this street that I have driven on for many, many, many years, I again noticed this monument. This is an iconic symbol in this part of town but I realized that I had no idea what this monument honors. So today I decided to park my car, walk across the street and see what it was all about.

So I thought I'd share what I learned with you. Salt Lake City has a proud pioneer heritage beginning with the first pioneers that entered the valley on July 24, 1847. The story goes that Brigham Young, the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at that time, was sick and struggling with the hardships of the covered wagon expedition he and the other pioneers had been experiencing as they searched for "zion" and where they felt the Lord was leading them. When Brigham Young raised up from his sickbed and saw the Salt Lake valley, he declared "This is the place!".

As the pioneers began to settle into their new location, they began to homestead and create ways to provide for their daily necessities. I learned from reading the placques on this monument that the early saints tried to produce sugar in this area.

This placque depicts the original Sugar House; hence, the name given to this area and commemorated by this monument!

I have lots of pleasant memories from my various experiences in Sugar House. Paul & I bought our first home in 1974 in Sugar House where we lived for about 4 years. Every year at Christmas time there is a Santa Claus "house" set up near this monument and children can come and visit Santa Claus here to tell him what they want for Christmas. We have a picture of Paul at that spot back when he was about 6. There are lots of unique, quirky, one-of-a-kind shops in this Sugar House area including one of my favorite Quilt stores. My orthodontist and my pediatrician were both located within a few blocks of this center spot. It was fun to take a couple of minutes and reconnect with some history today -- both mine and the early settlers!
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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Fun projects

Last week I had my neighborhood quilt group over to my house for a fun little sewing project. I taught about seven women how to make these easy baby receiving blankets. As a bonus, we used the left over scraps of fabric to make the cute matching bibs. All of the women finished at least one of each and then went home excited to make bunches more. They are such "instant gratification projects". I'm sure if you were to google "self-binding receiving blanket" you could find the pattern online.

Then I thought I'd share my recently completed Halloween quilt. I can't remember if I have already shown any pictures of this one or not. I started this quilt around Halloween last year because I absolutely love all the fabulous fabrics that come out for this crazy holiday. And I loved this quilt pattern because I could use so many different fabrics. I think I made 2 blocks of each of the same fabrics but since there are a total of 32 pinwheel blocks that use 3 fabrics each, I was able to pack a huge variety of fabrics into this quilt.

I pieced the blocks together on my sewing machine and then I took it to my wonderful machine-quilting lady to finish it up. I say "recently completed" because I just got around to putting the binding on the edges but it has been mostly finished since about June. I'm excited to put it on display this year along with my other Halloween decorations. Just a little bit of "eye candy" to go along with the candy corn and mini snickers!
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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Spectacular view!

Here is the view I enjoyed first thing this morning. I say first thing but it was actually right after a 2 1/2 mile hike up Millcreek Canyon on the Grandeur Trail. Once again I am totally amazed with what lies so close to my home that I have never taken advantage of. And I consider myself to be an outdoors-kind of person! I could even see the Great Salt Lake far off in the distance!

Now here is the REAL outdoors-kind of person, Paul's sister, Kalita. She is outdoors every single day, all year long. She has hiked every trail within the whole Wasatch front, I'm sure. She has run a mere 53 marathons the past 25 years and has one scheduled for next weekend. She loves to climb to the peaks of all of our surrounding mountains "just for the fun of it". I suggested that she take me on a hike and since she knows them all, I had her choose where we should go. What a treat! This is just the most pleasant time of year to get out and go for a hike and with the leaves changing, it will only get better.

Last week I hiked up Little Cottonwood Canyon to Secret Lake. It was 35 degrees when my friend Maurine and I arrived at the trailhead at 7:30 am. There was frost covering everything and I was glad I had worn long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, a heavy sweat shirt and I even brought gloves. Once we got moving and hiking uphill, I began to warm up and it was a delightful hiking temperature. So this morning I was prepared for a similar climate only to discover that I was overdressed. Once we came out from the shade of the forest into the rising sun, the temperature began rising and I wished I had dressed in shorts and a lighter-weight shirt like Kalita.

We are going to keep on hiking until it gets too cold or it starts to snow. I am so excited to keep on discovering new vistas right here in my backyard!
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Monday, September 15, 2008

What's for dinner?

How do you organize your recipes?

Here is my pathetic organization. See that recipe card holder with no lid; I'm just holding my breath it doesn't get accidently tipped over one of these days. My yellow binder is where I have been putting recipes that are not on recipe cards. There is no organization in that binder. I just have to flip through all the pages until I come across what I'm hoping I stashed in there.

A couple months ago I was on a mission to find a software that I could enter all my recipes on and print off non-handwritten versions of my life long favorites. So many of my recipes are on these 25 or 30 or 35 year old recipe cards and the ink is fading! I can barely read them any more. I even went looking for a new recipe box and they are fast becoming extinct!

So I'm turning to my much more savy audience here on the internet to ask you for your suggestions. Have any of you, dear readers, used any recipe organization software that you would recommend? How do you keep your recipes? Please don't hesitate to share your successes with me since I'm sitting here with such a huge failure!

Thank you!! Thank you!!
(I wonder what to fix for dinner....)
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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Fall is in the air!

For the last few weeks while I have been doing all my crazy home improvement projects, I decided I needed some "recess". Whenever I can I like to sneak off to my sewing room. Here is what I have just finished putting together!

I only have one other fall quilt that I made probably about 5 or 6 years ago so I had been feeling the need to make a new fall quilt. One day in early August I came across this pattern in one of my favorite quilt shops and decided this was just what I was looking for. The pattern version of this quilt was done in pinks and greens and blues and purples but I knew I wanted oranges, golds, browns, greens and reds so I spent a week or so visiting more quilt shops to find just the perfect fabrics. All the fabrics are batiks. I have to say, I really am thrilled with the way this has turned out!

Each leaf block was made from two corresponding blocks. I made one block with a dark background and a lighter leaf and then another block with the same two fabrics but used as a light background and a dark leaf. I machine appliqued the leaves to the backgrounds. Then I cut the blocks apart diagonally and sewed them back together with the opposite combinations. A very fun and quick technique. It took a few more visits to the quilt stores to pick out the sashing and the borders but I'm very happy with the results.

I took it to my favorite longarm machine quilter and she thinks it should be done in about three weeks -- just about the same time I expect the mountains around here will be looking just like this!
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Monday, September 8, 2008

"Creative Escape"

I got to Escape with my daughters this past weekend!!!

What a treat! Heidi had come to the US for her huge scrapbooking extravaganza and Katie & I were lucky enough to get to come along with the other 640 participants who gathered at a fabulous resort in Phoenix for 3 days of creativity and partying! Just let me say... scrapbookers know how to party!!!

This is an event that Heidi dreamed of and brought into reality 3 years ago. Back about 5 or 6 years ago, she was doing alot of traveling to teach her scrapbooking classes. Her 3 oldest kids were just little then and it was really hard for her to leave and be away for 4, 5 or 6 days at a time so she came up with the idea of creating her own event and bring all the scrapbookers to her. She partnered up with a fabulous company called Bazzill and together they put on just the most awesome event. Ironically, yes, the event is held in Phoenix but now Heidi still has to travel to get there! Life is just so unpredictable!

The event has grown in popularity and back in January 10,000 people signed up hoping to snatch one of the 640 spots that would be available. Eight national-level scrapbooking teachers, including Heidi, taught for 2 days and each participant was able to attend each class. Each teacher designed a unique project and provided all the supplies necessary to complete it. There were about 30 (maybe 40) people who came as just volunteers to help in the classrooms. Katie & I came to be volunteers in Heidi's class. The 640 participants were divided into 8 groups so each teacher taught her project 8 times. Unfortunately there were only 7 large conference rooms so 1 teacher had to split up her class into 3 sections -- Heidi volunteered for this duty. So Katie and Emily Waters, Heidi's good friend, ended up being the extra teachers of Heidi's project. They each took a segment of the project to teach and then they rotated between the 3 groups to cover the whole process which then resulted in each of them teaching their segments 24 times instead of just the 8 times! Everyone was exhausted by the end of the weekend.

I just can't say enough about what a fabulous event they put on and what fabulous women were in attendance!!! Of course, I was totally enjoying my instant, elevated status simply because I was "Heidi's mom"! People were so friendly and gracious and happy and generous -- it felt more like a family reunion. There were women from EVERY WHERE! Hong Kong, Japan, Russia, the UK, Austrailia, New Zealand, all 7 Canadian providences and from every state in the US -- even those states that were getting pounded with hurricanes. So many women even told me that they read my blog! HI LADIES!!! I loved meeting you face to face!!!

So now I'm back home, Katie has gone back to being a nurse and Heidi is on a plane back to China! It just never lasts long enough! Heidi's class was titled "Everyday is beautiful" and she stressed how important it is to take advantage of EACH day. Each day is unique and whether exciting or mundane, there is always something to enjoy or cherish or capture or try or experience or play or work or watch or create but most of all, there are things to be grateful for! I'm so grateful for my sweet daughters! and for all my dear family. I'll escape with you guys anytime!!
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Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Where has the summer gone??!!!
I can't believe it is basically over. Once Labor Day comes and goes, you know exactly where the year is headed!
With this in mind we decided we needed to go to the cabin at least one more time. Katie, Clark & Aspen came up with us to spend the night Friday and then Cam, Collin & Cache joined in the fun on Saturday. The weather was just perfect -- 95 degrees in the valley but about 82 degrees in the mountains.

My parents built our family cabin back in 1960. One of the first forms of entertainment that was installed was a rope swing. This one in the picture is the second installment. This is the "safer" version. Back about 33 years ago, we were at the cabin on New Years day and Paul sailed off the ice-covered swing and fell about 40 feet and landed on the natural gas tank and suffered a spinal compression fracture. After that my mother was so tramatized that she insisted that swing be taken down and a less dangerous one put up in a less steep section of the forest.

We are now on the 4th generation of family members who are brave enough to attempt the take off. This is always the highlight of any one's cabin experience. The grandkids can hardly wait to be big enough to get in on the fun. My dad started a tradition of screaming
"Ya ba da ba doooooooooo" on the take off just to increase the thrill.

So this is the take off point. You stand on this very rickity platform (we have said we should repair the platform for about the past 3 years and the platform is almost scarier than the actual swinging), hang on to the rope and look down at the small wooden seat that you jump towards and hope you land on. I have been performing this stunt for 48 years and it still gives me a huge adrenaline rush on the take off. This time was just a bit different though. As I stood there building up my confidence to take off, I heard my two little grandkids encouraging me. Collin was telling me "you can do it Grandma!" and Aspen was counting "one, two, three... ". I think she got to about 7 or 8 before I actually took the leap!
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