Thursday, January 31, 2013

Frost survivor

Look what has bloomed in time to welcome February.

On impulse I moved my camellia bush, pot and all, to the little table in front of the window on the patio next to the house.

It survived those frosty nights while we were away.  Now there are two blooms as well as many buds.  This makes me very happy!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

You can't have it all

This is how my garden looked before the BIG freeze.  While we were in Utah where the temperature was never above freezing, nature pulled a terrible trick on us.  The Valley of the Sun had five (yes, five) nights where the lows were in the high 20's.  On the outskirts of the metropolitan area there were even some temperatures in the teens.  This is a rare event in the southern deserts of Arizona.

Before leaving town I picked a basket full of tomatoes which I could tell were beginning to ripen.  I figured they could finish up on my Utah kitchen counter which they did.  They were delicious and flavorful.

So imagine my dismay when I arrived home and found every tomato plant frozen and squishy blackening tomatoes.  Please notice that the kale was still happy as was the spinach, lettuce, chard, broccoli, and cauliflower.  These are the normal winter garden plants in this part of the world and I understand that part of their makeup is a self-producing antifreeze.

Not so with tomatoes! It broke my tomato loving heart.

I did find this lovely head of cheddar cauliflower waiting for me.  I found the seedlings in October and decided to give them a try.

It tastes great, but the best part?  Broccoli/cauliflower soup looks all cheesy before you add the cheese!

*Not only do I like the cauliflower but so did some bright fluorescent green inch long caterpillars.  I was brave and picked them off before rinsing and eating.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

What goes around comes around

This is little Mae wearing a dress with a history.  This week the school district I used to work for, Gilbert Public Schools, celebrated its 100th birthday on the 100th day of school for the 2012-2013 school year.  My granddaughters' school chose to mark that special occasion by wearing older style clothing.

Grandma's smocked dresses are a bit old fashioned so they pulled them all out to see which would fit the oldest sister.  She had outgrown most but ended up wearing Sadie's 2011 birthday dress.

This little cutie was excited to find this one that fit her and wore it to grandma's house.  She is my delightful, funny two-year-old sweetheart.

This is how it looked on her older sister, Ruby, who wasn't as enthused about this dress as Mabel.  No, that curly little dark head is not Mabel's even though it certainly looks like Mabel's.

That is middle sister Sadie's curly head when she was small. Sometimes Sadie will look at a picture and ask why she isn't in the picture.  Well she is, but she looks like Mae and back then there were only two of them, a blond and a curly brown head.  I guess little dark hair girls come around again, too.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Rainy day fun

It's a lovely rainy day in Arizona.  Any rainy day in Arizona is lovely because there are so few of them.  It was a perfect day to sew especially after I checked my mailbox and found that my scrap bag of fabric from Homestead Hearth had arrived.  I ordered a bag after reading A Sentimental Quilter's blog post.  I want to make some historical looking quilts for the granddaughters American Girl dolls and this looked like a great way to get the "look."

This week I also noticed that the Temecula Quilt Co. was starting a new sew along honoring the 25th anniversary of Judie Rothermel designing for Marcus Brothers.  When I saw this fabric I knew that I wanted to sew along and now had fabric which would give me "the look."  This is my first row sewn today.  It began on January 25th and a new row will be up the next four Fridays. The sashing fabric is a fat quarter that I already had on my shelf.  It will be bigger than a doll quilt but looks like fun.  Hope there is something left for my girls!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Payson Temple progress

The Payson Utah Temple is now very visible from Interstate 15.

We decided to take the next exit to get a closer view.

In Arizona they fight the heat in the summer as they build the Gilbert Arizona Temple.  In Payson Utah they are fighting the cold.

It sits just north of an LDS chapel.

There are many new homes being built in the surrounding area.

These pictures were taken mid-day.  Utah has been under an inversion layer of cold air for days.  These pictures give one an idea of what that is like.  It gets old fast.  The temple, however, will be beautiful.  I look forward to following its progress.  A few days later when we left to drive back to Arizona early in the morning, it was still dark but as we passed the temple it glowed.  The lights on inside beamed through the plastic covering and it was beautiful.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Great Granny quilt finally finished

 Last summer I jumped into the Great Granny Square quilt along sponsored by Lori Holt of Bee in My Bonnet.  I bought two charm packs of "circa 1934" by Moda on sale and great granny squared away.  I soon had 12 blocks made from the charm squares but because of the directional nature of the fabric, I realized that I would have to set my blocks on point with alternating cream squares.  I sewed the pieced bloack to the 12 1/2 inch squares but was puzzled about the four corner blocks so I put it away until later. (I do that a lot :)  See this post for more about my dilemma.

My resolution for 2013 is to finish up old projects and limit my fabric buying.  My goal for January was to finish this quilt. I took it out, figured out how to square it off and proceeded to finishing. Last summer it felt like it belonged in the Ranes family living room as a cuddle quilt.  At that time, I also purchased the backing and binding material on sale.  When Cotton Way unveiled new patterns this January, I loved how one pattern used borders on just two sides of the quilt.  That inspired me to do the same for this quilt making it more squarish.

 There was plenty of backing fabric leftover to make borders.

I love the graphics in this fabric line designed by Cosmo Cricket.

It looked charming in a corner of my bedroom, but it also looks great in my daughter's living room with its black bookshelves and side tables along with a green corduroy sofa.

There was also enough of the binding fabric to make the inner border.

I have also resolved to do better with putting a label on the back of the quilts I make.  That is easier now that I have a sewing machine with alphabet choices.  Last week I came across "circa 1934" fabric with labels on a clearance table.  I bought a piece and then selected this label for this quilt adding the machine stitching and a piece of the selvage from the fabric.  Perfect!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Family brushes with celebrity

I record these moments for the family stories yet to be told over and over.  Youngest son Nathan signed up to be a driver for the Sundance Film Festival 2013 this weekend.  He was assigned to the lovely Keri Russell.  As you can see from this borrowed cell phone picture, he and Keri seemed to enjoy one another's company.  Keri has been a favorite of mine since "Felicity" days.  Did anyone else watch the Felicity TV series?  Keri has been to Sundance before starring as a pie baking waitress in "Waitress." This year she is promoting and starring in "Austenland" based on a book by Shannon Hale, a Utah author.  Surprisingly it was produced by Stephanie Meyer, author of the Twilight series of books.

Last Sunday grandson, TJ, attended an LDS fireside where Todd Heap former NFL Raven tight end spoke.  Afterward, TJ approached him to just say hello.  Imagine his surprise when Todd told him to "whoop on his uncle David for him."  Then Todd's father asked TJ if Glen Jensen was his grandfather.  What TJ didn't know is that Glen used to coach Todd and his brother in Little League and that Todd and his uncle David have been good friends for a long time.  TJ was pretty impressed that a NFL football player and his father would mention his family members by name

David, please note that unlike you, TJ is NOT taller than Todd.

In October 2011, I was in New Mexico visiting my son, Ryan.  He was very excited about the movie being made in his neck of the woods.  He even drove me south to Belen to see the town and current movie set where Arnold Schwarzenegger was starring in an action movie.  There had been lots of sightings here and there of Arnold and those involved.  "The Last Stand" was just released and a store front in Belen can be seen in the background of the photo above.  Belen is not on the Arizona/Mexico border as depicted in the movie, but I guess it's close enough.  Belen has also been used for other movie locations over the years.

Not wanting to leave any of my sons out of this post, Eric went to a live performance of Prairie Home Companion on Saturday at the Gammage Auditorium on the Arizona State University campus with his wife, Susan.  He said it was fun to watch.  You can listen to it here.  And that is what's new here in family blogger land.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Angels of Light

Last summer I purchased this art print from Howard Lyon, a former boy of the neighborhood and now husband, father, and artist.  He was at BYU Education Week in Provo sharing his work with the public.  I loved this piece and even recognized a few of the faces which were modeled on Howard's wife, family, friends, and others including a sister missionary from Pakistan who served our ward congregation in Arizona.  I loved this sister (in the middle on the right) and this painting.  It now hangs on a wall of the townhouse in Provo.

As I cleaned and dusted before leaving this week, I glanced at the painting and instead of Herald Angels I saw them instead as sister missionaries going out into the world to share their message of hope and truth.  Since the announcement at LDS General Conference in October that the minimum age for sister missionaries would be lowered to 19 years of age, there has been a flood of young women submitting their papers to serve missions across the world.  Read about the response here.

These young women are now beginning to leave home and go out into the world where they will bless the lives of so many who will listen and learn from them and their message.  They will be as angels.

Alma 29:1  "Oh, that I were an angel. . ."

Thursday, January 17, 2013

I give you my heart

This is what I've been working on as I sit inside at my new sewing machine trying to stay warm.  It literally warms my heart and satisfies my love for the color red.  I pulled out a pattern purchased last year, pulled the reds and creams from my stash along with some greens, and got to work on something scrappy.

It begins small (those are one inch squares) and then it grows in layers including,

a row of pinwheel blocks, another border, then corner pieces of green and cream squares and four pinwheel blocks also bordered.

Finally a red stop border and an outer border of a small red print

with corner heart blocks finished off with applique leaves.

I credit my new machine for accuracy and the ability to make this little 35 inch square of loveliness.  I would sew and then the pattern would say, "It should measure ___ inches" and it would!  Dual feed - where have you been all my life?! 

I need to finish it up.  I did go shopping to find the perfect binding.  I'm almost afraid to quilt it for fear that I will spoil it. Pattern is "Love Grows" by T-nee's Pieced Quilts.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

WWII viewpoints

I've been plodding, yes plodding, through this biography on Dwight Eisenhower published in 2012.  Thank goodness for my Arizona library's generous online renewal system.  I like a good, fat, comprehensive biography every once in awhile.  No need to stay up all night finishing it as you already have a pretty good idea where the story is going and how it will end.  But all the fascinating little details and nuances, that is what keeps one coming back a few pages at a time.

Eisenhower is the first US president that I can remember as he won the presidential election the year I was born.  However, I was a bit confused as a child.  I thought there was only one president in my world, President David O. McKay, who presided over my church as well as country.  One day my mother sat me down and gave it to me straight explaining all about Eisenhower.  It rocked my world a bit but I accepted it.  I think my mother had a soft spot for both men.  She considered President McKay to be a living prophet and she had served in the Women's Army Air Corps during WWII and appreciated General Eisenhower's leadership as allied commander.

The President McKay of my youth was a tall man with a full head of beautiful white hair and he looked like a prophet.  I found this picture on the BYU web site taken in 1952 when then President Harry S. Truman visited campus during a campaign trip for Adlai Stevenson.  President McKay is on Truman's left. Truman played a part in the subtle political wrangling the eventually put Eisenhower on the Republican ticket.

I found the political presidential part interesting but more so the military career of Eisenhower.  It was fascinating to follow the history of WWII from the commander's viewpoint and logistics, both the seeming failures and the triumphs.

When my son learned of my current read, he recommended and lent me "Rite of Passage".  The author, Ray Matheny, had been my son's professor at BYU.  Now I had another viewpoint of WWII, that of a young enlisted man who trained as a flight engineer and top-turret gunner on a B-17.  His plane eventually was brought down over Germany and he and one other crew member survive but soon find themselves POWs in Stalag 17 under the command of the Nazis.

If I had been more interested in history when younger, I might have had the WWII viewpoints of my maternal uncles from the ground and the air.  The greatest generation doesn't like to talk much about it but I could have at least asked a question or two.  Lowell, in khaki, became a top-turret gunner like Matheny but in a B-24 Liberator.  Ray Metheny was based in England and his  bombardment group mostly dropped their wares over Germany.   Lowell D. Nyborg was based in southern Italy with the 746th heavy bombardment group as part of the 456th, or "Steed's Flying Colts," who dropped their bombs in Italy, Austria, and Romania preparing for the invasion of southern France.  Other targets included those in Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and the Balkans.  Lowell, too, survived when his plane fell from the sky over Austria near the end of the conflict.  He also was taken as a prisoner of war who eventually returned home not only with a beating heart but with a Purple Heart for valor. His brother, Elden, served in the Army as an infantry soldier marching across France.

Lowell is the hat less blond on the front row in this picture of his crew in front of their B-24 Liberator.  I found online a scanned hand typed page with 5/2/45 at the top listing each crew members' name and rank along with the name of a family member and their home address.  My guess is that it was in preparation for the notification of the next of kin about the plane going down.  They came from New York to Kentucky and Washington, D.C. to Drummond, Idaho.  My grandmother's name, Rhoda, is on that list.  I can only imagine her worry and despair.  There is also a scanned page of an "Individual Casualty Questionnaire" given by Lowell Nyborg.  It states when questioned about the bombardier, "Went down with the plane."

It is pretty amazing how much one can find by browsing the Internet but I know it would have been so much better if I could have just sat down and visited with the uncles.  Too bad my interest and questions came later.  They are both gone now, but miraculously they both came home and my grandmother's family, though marked forever by their experiences, remained intact.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Oscar vs the dinos

Oscar went out to dinner with his parents and grandparents.  It was a nice restaurant at City Creek in downtown SLC and his parents wanted him to be a well behaved two year old during dinner so they bribed him.

"Oscar, if you can be a good boy during dinner, we will take you to play with the dinosaurs."

Several times during our meal I heard, "Remember the dinosaurs?"

He was a great dinner companion so he walked across the street from the restaurant to the food court which includes this amazing play area.  It was full of kids because where else can you play when the temperature is hovering around zero degrees F.

A great reward for a great kid who is full of energy and loves to laugh and climb and use that body.

*That Mickey Mouse sweatshirt would make Oscar's great grandma "J" so happy!