Monday, April 30, 2007

Home Is Where the Heart Is

Our family moved into this home four years ago in mid May. We used to live in a home that was just around the corner, but as our four kids got bigger the house seemed to get smaller. We really love our friends in the neighborhood and our great schools, so we bought this house before it actually went on the market. The previous owners were not only our neighbors, but also our friends. We loved Roger and Sandy and watched their children grow from outstanding teenagers into amazing adults. We visited Sandy in her home (but not often enough) as she slowly died of colon cancer. While Roger tenderly cared for Sandy, the home and yard became less of a priority as her health steadily declined.

I wish I had a picture handy to show you what the house looked like before we moved in, but since I don't you just have imagine the faded yellow siding and weeds up to your knees. Before moving in we completely replaced all of the flooring and painted every room. I distinctly remember our son bringing his prom date over so that we could see them before they went off to the dance. His tuxedo and her flowing blue gown were quite a contrast to the particle wood subfloors and demolished stone fireplace.
This past year we replaced all of the single pane windows and completely remodeled the kitchen and three bathrooms. We also got a new front door that is still waiting for the temperatures to warm up enough for us to paint. When we removed the old kitchen cabinets we found a recipe card for brownies that was handwritten by Sandy. You can probably imagine the delight of her only daughter when we returned the recipe card, along with a few other treasures.
This is a picture of the backyard that was taken a couple of summers ago.

Over the past three years we've slowly, but surely, replaced the overgrown garden weeds with actual plants.


Bleeding Hearts

Coral Bells

Lots of hostas and a few ferns, which are still underground.

Although the house and yard look very different than they did before we moved in, I like to think that the love that was planted here while Roger and Sandy were raising their children continues to grow in our home here in Happy Valley.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

What a Trip! (Part 2)

On Thursday morning the kids were up bright and early. My sister took her four girls out of school so that they could spend Thursday and Friday with us at the Disney theme parks. We had two day passes so that we could go to both Disneyland and California Adventure.
We opted to go to California Adventure on Thursday. This was our first time there and the kids were excited to try out all of the "new" rides. Of course, they wanted to head straight to the Tower of Terror first. The rest of the family had been on the Tower when we were in Orlando several years ago but, if I remember correctly, I had a headache that day and didn't feel up to it. Well, I wasn't going to miss out on any of the fun this time and my kids all made sure that I went on every ride with them. I think that the favorite ride this time was the California Screamin' rollercoaster. What a blast!!! The weather was wonderful and we all had a great time. It was hard to get a lot of good pictures because we were all spread throughout the park and besides that, most of the rides went too fast to get pictures. The picture above includes all of our kids, plus two of my nieces.

Now, if we had only had such wonderful weather when we went to Disneyland on Friday. We woke up and it was raining, but we were not deterred. We simply went across the street to Target and purchased rain ponchos for everyone. [Note to self: DD2 no longer fits into youth sizes. She's now a young woman, as tall as me.]It was wet and soggy all morning long. By lunchtime we were all ready to head back to the hotel to dry off. Thank goodness for clothes dryers in the hotel! We were not the only ones who had jeans and tennis shoes in the machines. After drying out we headed back to the park and, for the most part, there was little rain the rest of the day. Again, we didn't get many pictures since we were all spread out.All the girls happen to meet up in the evening and managed to all squeeze into a oversized tea cup. That's me and my sister in the back with all of our girls in front. (Nope, we don't look anything alike. She has blonde hair and blue eyes, I have dark hair and brown eyes.) The two lone men were at the Angels baseball game that night.

By the time that the fireworks were over, the girls slipped in one more go around on the Buzz Lightyear ride and then we headed back to the hotel for the night. My sister still had quite a drive home to Newbury Park.

Saturday was the icing on the cake! We met up with our closest friends, who were also in southern California for spring break, and headed down to Laguna Beach.This is a picture of me and my three best friends. They're the greatest friends anyone could hope for. We do everything together, including carpooling, crafting and meeting twice a week at Einstein Bro. Bagels for breakfast and "group therapy". From left to right: Laurel, Susie, me, and Robin.

Robin was raised in Tustin and has fond memories of growing up near the beach. She wanted to take us all to The Bead Shop in Laguna to make earrings and bracelets. Between the four of us we have seven daughters who were with us on the trip. You can bet that we gave the lady at the bead shop a run for her money. LOL! Actually, she was very pleasant and helpful and she even let us stay in the shop's covered parking while we spent the afternoon on the beach.
These are pictures of the girls playing the the water. The older girls spent the day boogey boarding in the frigid water. That's DD2 on the boogey board. Remember what I said yesterday about the thick skinned Utahn's? All of the local were wearing full wet suits while our girls frolicked in their swim suits. Brrr!!! Thanks goodness for clear, sunny skies! The two youngest, DD3 and her friend, "B", were happy to play in the sand and collect shells.
Here's one last family shot that we took before packing up for the day. (DS was off spending the day with a friend so he didn't make it to the beach with us.)

All in all, we had a great vacation. Next time, though, I vote for more time on the beach and less time at the amusements parks. Although they provide a lot of fun and help create good memories, I can do without the crowds and the lines.

P.S. Susan (Desertsky Quilting) asked how I enjoyed Wicked, the musical. I have to say that it exceded, our expectations. We have had the CD soundtrack for six or eight months and have all of the songs memorized. The script is extremely witty but leave you much to ponder; the cast was exceptional. My friend, Laurel, who saw Wicked in New York last fall said that the Glinda character wasn't quite as strong in Los Angeles, but since I don't have anyone to compare her with, I thought she was delightful and very entertaining! Even DS, who wasn't as excited to see it as the rest of us laughed and smiled the whole way though. We have also taken our two oldest children to Les Miserables, Joseph and Phatom. Les Miz will alway remain DS's favorite (we have tickets for June)!

Monday, April 23, 2007

What a Trip!

Wow.....what a fun vacation! It's been several years since our entire family has been on vacation together and I have to say that it was time well spent. Not only did our children manage to get along, but they were pleasant almost the whole time. Can't ask for much more than that, can you?I was fortunate enough to fly to Southern Califorina on the same day that my family took off in the van so that I could spend a day visiting with my sister. Susan, is a non-quilter, but a very good sport and took me to a quilt shop called Cotton & Chocolate Quilt Company in Thousand Oaks on the Tuesday that I arrived. I had been there several years before when I went and stayed a few days with my sister's family and it was a real treat to go back. I performed my quilterly obligation and purchased a few items for my stash. I found some Jo Morton yardage for my Little Women's Club projects and a store mug, in which I'll store tools.
On Wednesday we made what we thought would be a quick dash up the coast to Carpinteria, but we somehow overshot our mark and ended up in Santa Barbara. It must have been all the gabbing and catching up that we were doing! The drive along the coast was beautiful, which made the trip even more enjoyable.
Once we got turned around we discovered that the exit we had been looking for could only be found while driving southbound. That explained our trip into Santa Barbara! We found The Treasure Hunt tucked down a small side street lined with beautiful older homes.

Somehow a bunch of bright juvenille prints ended up in my bag. Not typically "my colors", but they will make several great baby quilts! And who can resist fabric at 50% off?! I thought it was funny that these kid prints were bundled in a set of 20 fat quarters with a suggestion to use them to make a Turning Twenty quilt. Can you just imagine how HUGE that quilt would be for a baby or small child? I'm sure I'll break them up and make several baby quilts. I also got a piece of Moda fabric that you can see in the bottom of the picture.

After lunch at In-N-Out Burger, my husband and children arrived in Thousand Oaks on Wednesday afternoon. Of course, the kids had to take a quick dip in the hotel pool. I'm sure that the locals must have thought they were crazy, but surviving the cold Utah winters has made them thick skinned and a little bit of cold water wasn't going to stop them from swimming. I mean, for heaven's's warm in California. Right? (More of that in tomorrow's post.)

Wednesday night we had tickets to see Wicked at the beautiful Pantages Theatre in downtown Hollywood. This was the focal point of our whole trip. We have been so excited since we bought our tickets in February. For those who are unfamiliar with the musical, it is loosely based on a novel by Gregory Maguire about how the Wicked Witch of the West became so wicked. Although the book is quite "dark", the musical is very light hearted and entertaining. The message of true friendship touches your heart and changes you "for good".

Here are our amazing children: DD1, "M" (our friend), DD3 (in front), DD2 and DS. Can you tell from the picture that there was a strong breeze? LOL! It was actually a pretty chilly evening, even for us Utah folk, but we enjoyed the whole experience. Okay, maybe not the part where we waited outside after the performance so that the girls could get their playbills autographed. That was way too cold! But the kids had fun picking out the "stars" that they knew on the sidewalks in Hollywood before the performance.

Tomorrow I'll thrill you with details of our trip to Disneyland and California Adventure, along with tales of our beach trip! Stay tuned!

Monday, April 16, 2007

I'm Off To See The Wizard!

It's our spring break and we're headed to Southern California tomorrow. Our daughters have been waiting for Wicked, the musical, to make it's way West to Los Angeles, so when tickets went on sale last February we quickly snatched up enough for our family!

Of course, we'll also be stopping by to say "hello" to Mickey and Minnie while we're in the neighborhood. I mean, seriously, what would a trip to Southern California be without making a stop at the Magic Kingdom?

Lucky me! I'm flying down and will arrive a day before the rest of the family, which will give me a day to spend with my sister. I bet I'll even be able to talk her into taking me to a quilt shop or two!

I promise to take lots of pictures and give a full report when I get home next week! See ya then!

Seeing Red..."the laundry adventure"

Some lessons just have to be learned the hard way. Unfortunately, the hard way frequently ends up costing lost of moolah. Mom's moolah, to be exact.

We're heading out of town for a short vacation tomorrow, so in preparation my girls are in a rush to get all of their laundry done. Gotta looks cute, you know. I have a daughter that likes to get everything done at once. I mean, why do three loads of laundry if one big batch will fit in the new front loading washer, right?
I'll tell you's because of articles of clothing like that perky pink skirt! I don't think I have to tell you what happened. You're probably smart enough to figure it out just by looking at the picture. What you don't see is all of the other clothing that was only slightly damaged, several that were purchased within the past two weeks and have only been worn once. I made three different attempts at removing the pink, but with little luck.

So my question you think my daughter will be able to start a new trend wearing pink tie dyed jeans? Probably not. But I bet it's the last time she mixes her "reds" with her other laundry. Fortunately, she's a pretty quick learner!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Moving Along

Okay, the road construction rant is over. I just wanted to share the progress on my strippy quilt. The blocks are finished and are waiting to be squared up before I sew them together.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Gridlock in Happy Valley

The snow has melted in the valley, birds are chirping in the trees, gardens are blooming, children are running and playing outside, and road construction is everywhere!
Yes, I know that our city is growing. Sure, I understand that we need new pipes under the road. Of course, it makes sense that 8th North needs to be widened and the neighboring town needs a new road with sidewalks.
I guess what I don't get is why it all has to be done at the same time. I don't think they could have coordinated it "better" if they had tried. Currently we have construction, with road closures, on three sides of our neighborhood. We're trapped! And even the road that isn't closed is frequently backed up for a quarter mile.
Oh! Did I mention that our neighborhood is being configured with fiberoptic cable? Nothing quite like the sound of jack hammers in the air!

Welcome Spring!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Spring Flowers

Last night was our Jo's Little Women Club at Quilt, Etc. This is the "Little Flowers" sample that I made for the class. Doesn't it just get you in the mood for spring?! The the applique piece is just 6" square, and the finished pillow is 14" square.This was another sample that I made. It was very quick and easy since I simply used fusible applique. I'm sure it will find a place on a wall somewhere in my home.

Monday, April 09, 2007

When is a quilt not a quilt?

My 10 year old daughter just loves riddles; what kid doesn't? I recently shared with her the old riddle, "When is a door not a door?" Answer: "When it's ajar." Ha, ha, ha... Quite clever if you're 10 years old!

So now I ask you, "When is a quilt not a quilt?" If you were to ask DD3 her answer would be, "When it's a cave."
A cave?! Yep, a cave! All you need is a quilt, a piano bench, and a couple of old towels.

Do you know how fun it is to hide inside your own private cave and reach out and grab the legs of unsuspecting passers-by? Or to read inside the darkness with a flashlight in hand? The possibilities are endless! We've been listening to a low growl come from within the cave walls for the past two days. Who knows what sort of creature lives inside!!!

This is the first Yellow Brick Road quilt that I ever made. Actually, I think it's the only one I've ever made. I sure like it in those Mary Engelbreit fabrics.

My kids get a kick out of the block that says "OLD MOM". I've tried to convince them that it actually says "GOOD OLD MOM", but they're not buying it!

Seriously, now.....

.....what can I say?

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter

I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in
me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.
(John 11:25)

Friday, April 06, 2007

Signs of Spring

This morning my friend, Susie, and I went walking. This is the beginning of our latest attempt to get (somewhat) fit. Our original plan was to drive a few miles to the mouth of the canyon and enjoy the beautiful surrounding as we walked up the jogging/bike path. Well, when we got there we realized that we weren't prepared for the cool morning breeze, especially since sunlight had not yet reached down into the canyon, so we went to "Plan B" and headed back to the nearby park.
This ended up being a great choice! I was taken back by the beautifully blossomed trees that lined the bordering canal. The trees looked as though they were on parade.
The snow capped mountains only added to the beauty. Can you smell the freshly mowed grass?
The sound of buzzing bees filled the air. How facinating to watch them as they worked! Look closely; can you see the pollen that this guy has collected on his back legs?

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Sending out the Message

"Whoever thought up the word "Mammogram"? Every time I hear it, I think I'm supposed to put my breast in an envelope and send it to someone. "-- Jan King

Last week I got a call from the radiology department reminding me that I was overdue for my annual mammogram. I know, I's been more than a year and a half. I've been meaning to call and schedule an appointment. I mean, they've sent me a couple of reminders in the mail. The day that I got the phone call I had seen a report on the news about the importance of getting an annual mammogram and I told myself, "you need to call today." Did I? No. But I must have an angel watching over me because she called me.

How 'bout you? Have you had your mammogram this year? No? Go pick up that phone RIGHT NOW! I want you to report back after you schedule your appointment!!!

So now I'm off to the clinic and then I'm heading to the quilt shop! Sounds like a good way to reward myself. Don't you think?

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Back at the Machine

This past week has been filled with lots of family obligations that have left me little time for quilting. I've been dreaming of 2 1/2" strips all week long, so when I woke up this morning, looked at the calendar on my kitchen wall and discovered that I didn't have any major obligations, I told my family that I was planning on sewing all day long. I actually got a lot done considering I had to squeeze in a PTA meeting and took a couple a breaks to rest my aching back.
I started out with a variety of about 60 or 66 strips for my quilt. Look how the bright morning sun lights up those beauties!
Take six strips and sew them together as in the picture above. Your strip sets should be 12 1/2" wide......
so now sub cut your strips sets into 12 1/2" squares.
Cut them into four triangles, corner to corner.
Mix all of your pieces up and match them up in pairs according to the picture above.
Stitch together. Pretty simple, huh?
This is how many sets I have stitched together tonight. Do you think I might be able to get the rest of them finished tomorrow? That's my plan. Wish me luck!!!