Monday, January 30, 2012

The Spirit of Relief Society

Reminder: You do not want to miss the one time production of "The Spirit of Relief Society" tomorrow night, Tuesday, January 31 at 7:00 PM. It will be entertaining and you will be soooo happy that you turned off the TV, got up from the couch, and joined with the Relief Society sisters of the Mesa East Stake for a delightful evening.

AND there will be dessert! You may choose from fresh apple crisp or cherry cobbler with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. (I have been taste testing :) See you soon!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Romney's true wealth

In this morning's paper I read an article stating that if Romney does indeed win the presidency, he will be among the wealthiest ever elected president. As I pondered on that, I decided to share the above picture with you. I am sure that Mitt Romney would agree that his true wealth and treasure would be his grandchildren. I was delighted to see his oldest granddaughter standing next to him as he addressed the public last Saturday at the conclusion of the South Carolina primary election.

I have learned that one of life's greatest rewards are the grandchildren that come later in life. As I visit with my age related friends, I find that they agree with me. They, too, find that one of the great joys of life comes from grandparenting. If I had the opportunity to ask, I think that Mitt and Ann Romney would also be on board.

I recently read of a released study by BYU that was not only thought provoking but also reaffirming. Grand parents can and do make a difference according to the years long study. I know that my grandchildren are my joy and my treasure. I enjoy being with them, encouraging them, loving them, and being entertained by them. I am a blessed and happy grandma!

*We received a Christmas card from Mitt with the above picture. What a great reward for sending his campaign a bit of money.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

My two worlds

My two monthly physical environments are often a great contrast, especially in winter. Utah was finally full of snow. Snow it was all the way to the Utah/Arizona border. We stopped to take this picture in Glendale. I finally know how Warren Foote's apple orchard looks with snow.

Once back in Arizona, I walked out the back door and picked this basket of goodness.

There is more to come!

There is also lovely color all over the yard. Cyclyman by the fireplace.

Pansies in pots.

Violas, too.

Icelandic poppies by the garden gate.

In the time we were gone, the flowering pear not only leafed out, it starting flowering as well.

Last year the begonias in the Down Under pots were white. This year they are red. I love the contrast.

There is stock near the sidewalks so that walkers can catch a glorious whiff. Don't you think that they could come up with a better name than "stock" for flowers that smell so good?

Daisies are blooming.

Geraniums are exploding.

And the window box is bursting. Welcome to Arizona in January!

Monday, January 23, 2012

My quilt retreat for one

I packed up my sewing machine and took it with me to Utah this month. It was time to put together my Civil War Quilt blocks. I set up in the master bedroom and went to work.

It turned out to be pretty big. (Yes, I am standing on a ladder to take this picture :) I laid it out on the king sized bed to figure out how to assemble the blocks. There were 53 block patterns shared online each Saturday morning of 2011. My quilt is 7 x 8 blocks for 56 total. You will see that I made 3 more of block 2, North Star, using different fabrics. They are placed immediately before each corner block as one moves clockwise around the edge.

I really like the red with darker figured red material for the sashing. When I first bought the fat quarter sets of fabric for this quilt, one group included a large red star motif. It was hard to use in many of the blocks, but worked well for the sashing corner blocks. I fussy cut the stars so that the points are facing the same direction throughout the quilt.

Once I had it all together, I did not like the fabric that I had earlier purchased for the border. It just didn't feel like it belonged. Eric's family had presented me with a gift certificate to Quilt Etc. for Christmas, so I was off to shop. I was able to find a fabric for a stop border that I liked better as well as a stripped fabric for the binding that coordinates though from a different fabric line. My gift certificate also covered my purchase of the quilt backing. The shop also had a Civil War inspired quilt on the wall with a scrappy outside border made of squares. I really like the way it looked, so I am currently working on a scrappy 2 inch squares x 2 wide border made from all the left overs from the fat quarters I purchased for the quilt. I have learned that randomness is harder than it looks!

It will be easier to sew on the borders with my sewing machine now back at home in my sewing table for added support. I plan to take the finished quilt top back to Utah next trip and setting it up for hand quilting in the quilt frame that used to be my mother's.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Presidential health, egos, and deceit

I just finished The President is a Sick Man by Matthew Algeo. Click on the picture to read the blue print for a synopsis. I never knew that Grover Cleveland had secret surgery to remove a growth on the roof of his mouth while at sea, did you? I found it fascinating to read of the economic upheavals of 1893 and Cleveland's decision to keep his health problems a secret.

But then, think how often the public has not been told the "whole story." FDR's paralysis was glossed over, Woodrow Wilson suffered a massive stroke which was kept under wraps for seventeen months, Kennedy had Addison's a renal disease, and Nancy Reagan tried to pass off the excision of a skin cancer from President Reagan's face as a pimple.

James A. Garfield did not try to hide his medical condition but his doctors did after the attempted assassination of Garfield just four months after being sworn in as president in 1881. The bullet that entered his body did not kill him, but the lack of sterile medical care did. It is surmised that the dirty fingers of doctors probing his wound for the bullet caused the infection which eventually took his life eighty days later.

Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard is a fascinating telling of the medical care provided Garfield and of the egos of doctors which prevented them from doing what was best for their patient. An English surgeon, Joseph Lister, had proven the worth of the sterile, aseptic conditions in the late 1860's but American surgeons were slow to accept his methods. By 1893, Cleveland was afforded sterile conditions while undergoing surgery while on a yacht on Long Island Sound. He lived 15 more years. Part of the reason for Cleveland's cover up, other than the turbulent financial and political times, was the public's recent memory of the horrible death of President Ulysses S. Grant from throat cancer in 1885. Perhaps they smoked too many cigars.

I found both books to be very interesting and enjoyed the additional tidbits of historical and medical information from the late 1800's.

I very much enjoyed some months back, this book, The River of Doubt also by Candice Millard. It is the story of the exploration of an unknown river in the Amazon region of Brazil by Theodore Roosevelt and his son, Kermit in 1914. And yes, it almost killed Roosevelt to do so.

Friday, January 20, 2012

oranges and broccoli

I know that it may seem silly to post a picture of three oranges, but these are special oranges. Several years ago Glen and I planted four dwarf and semi-dwarf citrus trees in large containers. The first season we had clementines and Meyer lemons. This year there were finally some navel oranges, these three. The Lisbon lemon tree also finally shared, one lemon which did not get a picture, but did get a taste taste. Much more tart than my favorite Meyers.

The best thing from the garden this month, broccoli. Of course, it all came on at the same time. I took a bag full to Toby because broccoli is one of his favorite foods. He was thrilled and probably ate his straight up. I, however, made broccoli cheese soup.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Winter afternoon sunlight

I adore winter afternoon sunlight. Suddenly in the southwestern sky, the sun comes in at an angle lighting up my backyard in a special way.

In my Utah house kitchen, the sun brings a moment of cheerfulness in late afternoon before disappearing behind the mountains on the far side of the valley. As a young mom in Bountiful I would rearrange the furniture in the winter. I would place a love seat in the dining space on the south side of the house just so I could curl up with a book in the sunlight while my babies took naps.

This little house makes me feel cheerful as well. Glen gave it to me for Christmas. One always needs another birdhouse.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

American girls under the stairs

There are magical things happening on the other side of this door at son David's house.

To participate one must be willing to follow the posted rules for American girls and their dolls.

Open the door under the stairs and you will find a space just big enough for girls and their dolls.

Around the corner in the back is a sleeping space.

And new kittens are included.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Heather's BD gifts

Heather was very gracious when her cousins received American girl doll beds for Christmas. There was envy in her eyes and she questioned her Uncle Andrew about being family too, but she didn't get nasty. Little did she know that there were two more beds hiding under a sheet in grandma's sewing room just waiting for her January birthday.

Before her birthday, I made two mattresses with matching pillows and machine quilted up this fat quarter that I have had on my shelf for years. It seemed appropriate since I had just received
The Quiltmaker's Gift from Heather's family for Christmas. While an elementary school librarian, I ordered this book for the library. It came as a gift pack with a fat quarter of material which coordinated with the book. It's hard to check out fabric from the library, so I claimed it as my own :)

A fat quarter is just the right size to back or make a quilt top for an American Girl size doll bed. I loved that the colors in the fat quarter also matched my birthday theme of items for Heather's Josephina American Girl doll.

I used this stripe fabric leftover from a quilting project to make a dress for Josephina using one of the original Pleasant Company patterns published 20 some years ago and now available as PDF files online. I had also purchased AG accessories including the golden colored shawl with embroidery and Josephina's doll. Heather was delighted.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Book of Mormon Reading

LinkGlen and I are reading a different than our usual version of the Book of Mormon and loving it. Glen has been fascinated with chiasmus and other forms of Hebrew poetry found in the Book of Mormon for some time. This is a large, paperback version reprinted so that the poetic forms are readily apparent.

I am loving all that white space. It seems to allow my brain to "see" or visualize what I am reading in a new way. This version is published by BYU. We both recommend it!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Newest member of the family

Look who came to town! Emilia's sister had a baby girl this week and Emilia came lickety split. She not only met her new niece, but also the newest addition to our extended family.

Santa brought a little male kitty to Ruby and Sadie because they decided that if both of them put a kitten first on their list they would probably get a kitten. They figured that they almost always get the first thing on their list. It worked! Meet Tiger, my first grand kitten. He even climbed up on my shoulder and purred in my ear on my last visit. He's a blur because he's constantly moving just like the grand babies!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Civil War Quilt Blocks finished, almost

47 Dixie Tea

The weekly posting of Civil War Quilt blocks during 2011 ended on the 53rd Saturday, the last day of 2011. With the holidays, I got behind, so while Glen watched bowl games on Monday I worked on my blocks. When I look at my tin box full of blocks, it makes me very happy.

The above block represents the creativity which people had to use during the Civil War to find a substitute drink for tea.

48 West Virginia

Once again I wrestled with "Y" seams on this block in honor of West Virginia.

49 Yankee Puzzle

Yankee Puzzle looks complicated but was really one of the easier blocks. Look closely and you will see 4 small blocks just the same and turned for effect.

50 Grapes of Wrath

I broke down and bought a fat quarter on sale which was on the purple side just for this block. How can one have grapes without purple?

51 New York

I loved using my tiny flower stripe in this flag block.

52 Christmas Star

I just finished this more complicated block yesterday. I had skipped it until I had more time. I had looked on the flicker group and liked how some had made it look like a wreath in the center. I think in a redo I would move the paisley corners to the outside. I think the blue would have made the wreath stand out more, but there will be no redo.

53 Union Shield

The last block was simple and bold. The suggested layout is to have 7 X 8 blocks. That would make 56 and Barbara Brackman suggested making 4 of this block for the corners. I considered this, but instead have decided to make three more different versions of block 2, North Star, instead.

That is why I am almost finished. I also decided to applique a "Seven Sisters" block now that I am comfortable with hand applique. I have finished 6 stars, just 1 to go!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Glen Jay's day

This cute baby boy turned 61 today. I love how he still resembles his baby picture.

We dropped by Dave's and Sally's to deliver Sally's birthday present after eating at Tia Rosa's with the sister missionaries and they surprised Glen with a Krispy Kreme doughnut cake.

It worked for Ruby in July and it works for Glen in January.

I think the rule is that you get to start over with just one candle again after your 60th.

Thanks to this cute little family for creating a cake on their red "You are Special" plate.

Cute Mabel insisted on getting a piece of the doughnut with sprinkles.

David quickly led the clapping of 61 times! Happy Birthday Glen Jay!