Monday, April 30, 2012

Various and Sundry Monday: Vol. 26

If you woke up breathing, congratulations! You have another chance. –Andrea Boydston

Last Call
Have you finished a really great project this month and want to show it off? Blog about it and link your post at the April Finishes Linky Party page. Each link is an entry to win a jelly roll from the brand new line, Tradewinds by Lily Ashby! If you've already posted your finish for this month, there's no need to do a separate post. Just add the button to that post and link up.
April Finishes

If You Give A Mouse A Dishwasher
Our dishwasher washed its last load of dishes last week. It was a sad occasion because who likes doing dishes by hand? Not me. Fortunately for us we got a very meager tax refund which went to buying a new dishwasher last weekend. We got a really nice model at a very reasonable price at a scratch-and-dent clearance outlet. It is SO quiet and has a lot of extra space inside. This is my very first brand-spanking-new appliance. It is kind of fun and I love how quiet it is. But it got me to thinking . . .

. . . If you give a mouse a sweet new dishwasher that is so, so quiet, she'll want a new fridge too because the ice maker went out and the auto-defrost in the freezer isn’t working quite right and there is a near-constant drip of water inside the fridge. And then once you get the mouse her swanky new wide-by-side fridge with ice and water in the door and a pull-out drawer freezer, the stove will start looking shabby and the mouse will want a new stove. Once the pristine new stove is in place, the mouse will realize just how much she hates the super noisy over-the-stove microwave and will need a new one of those too. It will have to be extra quiet so as not to be heard over the really quiet dishwasher. Then, the completely spoiled little mouse will want a front loading washing machine. And dryer. With pedestals. With all those shiny new appliances, the mouse will definitely need a new couch so she'll have a comfortable place to sit to fold all the super clean laundry.

But if you give a mouse everything she wants, she won't have any scratch left over to take the Little Bugs to Disney World. So, she'll just have to be content with the new dishwasher.

Last night at dinner, Grasshopper wanted to know why “Bill” was short for “William.” The only thing we could come up with was that it rhymes. But we also talked about the other variations of William, which got me to thinking about the variations of my name. I listed 10, right off the top of my head: Beth, Betsy, Bette, Betty, Buffy, Eliza, Libby, Liz, Liza, Lizzie. Then I did a quick Google and found a few more: Alisa, Bess, Bethia, Bettina, Elisa, Elise, Elissa, Ella, Elsie, Liesel, Lilly, Lisa, Lisette, Tetty, Tibbie. According to Think Baby Names {where you can look up your own name—and if you do, I'd love for you to share your favorites}, there are 152 variant forms of Elizabeth. I looked up the names of the rest of the residents at Bug Cottage and Mr. Bug's name has 21, Grasshopper's name has 24 and LadyBug's name has 21 derivatives, most of which are similar spellings of their original names. This is also true for a number of the 152 variations on my name. But there also quite a variety in there of names that are very different from each other. The funny thing is, I'm kind of a stickler for being called by my full name. That's just who I am. But it is good to know that if I ever have to enter the witness relocation program, I'll have a good selection of related names to choose from.

Monday Music Spot: Only the Young

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sunday Sermons: The Merciful Obtain Mercy

I imagine that every person on earth has been affected in some way by the destructive spirit of contention, resentment, and revenge. Perhaps there are even times when we recognize this spirit in ourselves. When we feel hurt, angry, or envious, it is quite easy to judge other people, often assigning dark motives to their actions in order to justify our own feelings of resentment.

Of course, we know this is wrong. The doctrine is clear. We all depend on the Savior; none of us can be saved without Him. Christ’s Atonement is infinite and eternal. Forgiveness for our sins comes with conditions. We must repent, and we must be willing to forgive others. Jesus taught: “Forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not … [stands] condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin” and “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.”

Of course, these words seem perfectly reasonable—when applied to someone else. We can so clearly and easily see the harmful results that come when others judge and hold grudges. And we certainly don’t like it when people judge us.

But when it comes to our own prejudices and grievances, we too often justify our anger as righteous and our judgment as reliable and only appropriate. Though we cannot look into another’s heart, we assume that we know a bad motive or even a bad person when we see one. We make exceptions when it comes to our own bitterness because we feel that, in our case, we have all the information we need to hold someone else in contempt. ...

This topic of judging others could actually be taught in a two-word sermon. When it comes to hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges, or wanting to cause harm, please apply the following:

Stop it!

It’s that simple. We simply have to stop judging others and replace judgmental thoughts and feelings with a heart full of love for God and His children. God is our Father. We are His children. We are all brothers and sisters. I don’t know exactly how to articulate this point of not judging others with sufficient eloquence, passion, and persuasion to make it stick. I can quote scripture, I can try to expound doctrine, and I will even quote a bumper sticker I recently saw. It was attached to the back of a car whose driver appeared to be a little rough around the edges, but the words on the sticker taught an insightful lesson. It read, “Don’t judge me because I sin differently than you.”

We must recognize that we are all imperfect—that we are beggars before God. Haven’t we all, at one time or another, meekly approached the mercy seat and pleaded for grace? Haven’t we wished with all the energy of our souls for mercy—to be forgiven for the mistakes we have made and the sins we have committed?

Because we all depend on the mercy of God, how can we deny to others any measure of the grace we so desperately desire for ourselves? My beloved brothers and sisters, should we not forgive as we wish to be forgiven? –Dieter F. Uchtdorf, The Merciful Obtain Mercy

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Mr. Snuffleupagus, Can You Tell Me How to Get to Sesame Street?

He's not invisible, He just has bad timing! –Martin Robinson

Mr. Snuffleupagus, who everybody affectionately calls Snuffy, lives in a cave at 456 Snuffle Circle with his parents and younger sister Alice. Snuffy is approximately 8 feet tall and 15 feet long. He and Big Bird are the best of friends, and although for more than 14 years everyone on Sesame Street thought that Snuffy was imaginary, there's not a person or monster on Sesame Street who doesn't know and love him today.

Snuffy made his first appearance on November 8, 1971. He is built on a rattan framework, which is attached to a steadycam backpack and requires two puppeteers to operate. Throughout the years various performers have put on the Snuffleupagus costume, but since 1980 Martin Robinson has been the principal performer on Snuffy's front end. He does Snuffy's front legs and navigates through the use of a monitor inside the head. Marty operates the eyes and trunk with his left hand, the mouth with his right and also does the voice. Bryant Young is the main performer at the back end, although several others have also played the part. From his first appearance in 1971 to mid-season in 1985, everyone thought Mr. Snuffleupagus was Big Bird's imaginary friend due to a constant series of near-meetings. The producers decided to reveal him to the entire cast because they were worried that children might believe that the adults in their lives wouldn't believe them when they told them something important and choose, instead, to remain silent.

More Mysterious Mr. Snuffleupagus Facts:
Full Name: Aloysius Snuffleupagus
Age: 4
Birthday: August 19
Favorite expression: “Ohhh, dear!”
Best friend: Big Bird
Favorite food: cabbage, spaghetti and sasafrass tea
Favorite activities: Attending the opera, roller skating and tap dancing
Shoe Size: 65 triple G

Pattern by Michelle Thompson
Piece Count: 91
Block Size: 10"
Moda Marbles: Cyan Blue, Chestnut & Bubblegum Pink
Kona Cotton: Snow & Black

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Bourne Vivaldi

Who has a safety deposit box full of ... money and six passports and a gun? Who has a bank account number in their hip? I come in here, and the first thing I'm doing is I'm catching the sightlines and looking for an exit. I can tell you the license plate numbers of all six cars outside. I can tell you that our waitress is left-handed and the guy sitting up at the counter weighs two hundred fifteen pounds and knows how to handle himself. I know the best place to look for a gun is the cab or the gray truck outside, and at this altitude, I can run flat out for a half mile before my hands start shaking. Now why would I know that? How can I know that and not know who I am? –Jason Bourne, The Bourne Identity

This is too good not to share. If you're not a fan already, you will be after this. I'm not sure, but I think this might be my favorite video yet. Wow!

Available from The Piano Guys or on iTunes.

Story behind the song:
There are few "hooks" in the movie-music world that are as grabby as the Bourne Identity Soundtrack riff (starts at 0:29). Like the movie series, its intensity commands attention. We just had to figure out a way to use it. In our usual style, we thought we'd create an "action movie soundtrack" that combined this and a piece of classical music. In the early 1700's Antonio Vivaldi wrote a concerto for an instrument that was then largely "undiscovered" by the music world — the cello. Among the first cello solo pieces ever written, Vivaldi was gutsy enough to write it for not only one, but TWO solo cellos and string orchestra. With no "action movies" in the 1700's, this piece was probably the closest you could get to one. It has intense and exciting moments between beautiful lyrical moments. It was this piece, among others, that got Steven (the cello guy) excited about classical music—it was one of the first pieces he played with orchestra.

90% of this tune was written in 3 days. We worked on it day and night because it was so enjoyable to write.

This video features Steve's newest cello "Thor." It was handmade for Steven by Dawson Swan out of STEEL. Dawson is an amazing artist {website here}. This cello inspired a lot of this music and video. ALL the percussion sounds you hear were created by THIS cello. Thank you Dawson!

Recording of the actual Vivaldi piece played by Yo Yo Ma with the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra.

A HUGE thank you to the Heber Valley Railroad who gave us full access to a beautiful train in order to film this.

Another HUGE thank you to Paul Anderson (not our Paul Anderson, another Paul Anderson) — who rolled out the red carpet for us at the Mountain Cement Facility.

Filming Locations:
Mountain Cement Facility, Utah
Heber Valley Railroad, Utah

Bourne Identity Soundtrack ("Main Titles") written by JOHN JAMES POWELL Published by UNIVERSAL MUSIC CORP OBO UNIVERSAL PICTURES MUSIC
Concerto for 2 celli, strings, and continuo in G minor RV 531 composed by Antonio Vivaldi
Arrangement produced by Al van der Beek & Steven Sharp Nelson
Arrangement written by Al van der Beek, Jon Schmidt, & Steven Sharp Nelson

Performed by
Jon Schmidt: piano
Steven Sharp Nelson: acoustic, electric, & STEEL cellos; cello-percussion
Recorded, mixed & mastered by Al van der Beek at TPG Studios
Video produced by Paul Anderson & Tel Stewart

Monday, April 23, 2012

Big Bird, Can You Tell Me How to Get to Sesame Street?

I guess it's better to be who you are. Turns out people like you best that way, anyway. –Big Bird

Big Bird lives in a nest 123½ Sesame Street building. This 8’ 2” yellow bird is always asking questions, trying to figure out how the world works. He often makes mistakes and gets upset when things don't go as planned. Despite that, he is persistent in always trying to find a good solution to the problem.

Big Bird is Sesame Street's central character and he has been a part of the cast since the first episode aired in 1969. He is performed by Caroll Spinney, who is completely concealed in the costume. He extends his right arm above his head to operate the neck and head and uses his left hand as Bird's left hand. The right hand and arm are stuffed and attached to a fishing line that loops behind the neck and is attached to the wrist of the left hand. The feathers on the costume are white turkey feathers, which have been dyed yellow, backed with yellow ribbon and hand sewn onto the costume. The feathers are replaced frequently.

More Curious Big Bird Facts:
Age: 6
Birthday: March 20
Scientific name: Bigus canarius
Favorite expression: “Asking questions is a good way of finding things out!”
Best friend: Mr. Snuffleupagus
Favorite Toy: Radar, his teddy bear
Favorite food: Birdseed milkshaes
Favorite sports: Dancing, roller skating, ice skating, riding a unicycle
Favorite hobbies: Singing, writing poetry, drawing
Dislikes: Making mistakes

Pattern by Michelle Thompson
Piece Count: 136
Block Size: 10"
Moda Marbles: Dandelion, Bright Yellow, Bubblegum Pink, Cornflower, Cardinal & Burgundy
Kona Cotton: Snow & Black

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sunday Sermons: Looking Through Windows

None of us is perfect. I know of no one who would profess to be so. And yet for some reason, despite our own imperfections, we have a tendency to point out those of others. We make judgments concerning their actions or inactions.

There is really no way we can know the heart, the intentions, or the circumstances of someone who might say or do something we find reason to criticize. Thus the commandment: “Judge not.” –Thomas S. Monson, Charity Never Faileth

Friday, April 20, 2012

Favourite Things Friday: The Piano Guys, ao Vivo

When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.
–John Ruskin

It is no secret that The Piano Guys are a perennial favourite of mine. They make regular appearances here and recently filled in on Favourite Things Friday when my favourite was cancelled due to snow. But today's post is a different kind of Piano-Guys-are-awesome post because we went to see them in concert last night and it was beyond awesome.

I'm starting with photos because I met famous people!
L to R: Mr. Bug, Grasshopper, Steven Sharp Nelson, LadyBug, Elizabeth

L to R: Jon Schmidt, Elizabeth
I bought our tickets over a month ago and counted down the days until the show. It was open seating, so a couple of weeks before the concert, I started planning my strategy for getting good seats. Sound check was at 5:00 pm. Doors open at 6:15ish. I would be there at 5:30 and if I had to wait in line outside the auditorium, I would be prepared with an embroidery project and my iPod to pass the time. I was not going to be stuck on the back row.

As is my life, I didn't actually get there until about ten-after-six, but it worked out perfectly. Sound check was still going on, and they let us in to the auditorium. My mom, dad and LadyBug came with me to get seats and we settled in on the fourth row, center. It was lucky that we got there when we did, because a few minutes after we sat down they closed the auditorium doors and stopped letting people in. We caught about the last 25 minutes of sound check. I felt so lucky that we did.

Mr. Bug had to work last night after the concert, so he and Grasshopper joined us just a few minutes before it started so that Mr. Bug could get as much sleep as possible. I think it would be an understatement to say that we all enjoyed it. I didn't shoot any video, because it is never the same as actually being there. Besides, The Piano Guys have lots of really great videos on YouTube. I will just enjoy the memory recorded in my head and you'll have to trust me when I say that if you ever have an opportunity to see The Piano Guys in concert, don't miss it!

As I watched and listened, I had to wonder if Jon Schmidt's piano teachers were constantly telling him to sit still, or if they understood that it was the music inside of him just dying to find a way out. Both Jon and Steven Sharp Nelson are incredibly talented musicians. I'm sure that they have spent hundreds of thousands of hours of practicing, because the music isn't just notes on paper produced by fingers on keys or a bow across strings. It is as if the music lives inside of them and that their instruments are extensions of them. Their music had a presence.

What impressed me most was that this was a benefit concert. Every bit of the ticket sales went towards buying therapeutic equipment for the students with special needs who attend the school where the concert was held. Jon and Steven donated their time to be there and they were happy to do so. They said more than once how much they loved to play. And how we loved to listen. I'm certain that what they took in from CD sales after the concert did not equal the personal cost in time and effort that they and their crew put into the performance. What they gave and what we received, was more that what they were compensated for. Their donation of time and talents not only helped the students with special needs, but I believe everyone who attended received something special in some way or another.

For me, personally, it brought joy to my soul.

Available from The Piano Guys and on iTunes.

From The Piano Guys:

After our Taylor Swift Coldplay mash-up, lots of people wanted more song combos. This led us to the creation of a cool hip hop/classical mash-up, but again we could not get permission. Instead of scrapping the great ideas, we used them to create an original tune. You will hear influences and inspiration from other artists. Try and guess them.

On the recording, Steven Sharp Nelson laid down over 100 tracks including cello textures never known possible. Every single sound on the video was made using only the instruments shown: piano, cello, mouth percussion and kick drum. We utilized some cool effects on lots of stuff...for example the U2-style delay on Steve's pizzicato at the beginning.

The extra string on the electric cellos (the black cello has an extra high string and the white cello has an extra low string) allowed us to cover the full range of the orchestra. The deep bass drum sound is a bump on the body of the cello with a little help from some effects. The shaker sound was created by Steve rubbing rosin on his bow. The record scratch is Steve scratching a quarter on the get the idea.

Special SPECIAL thanks to Paul Anderson and Tel Stewart "The Piano Guys" who put as much of themselves into the video as we did and without whom the video would never have happened.

Produced by Jon Schmidt
Arrangement written by Jon Schmidt, Steven Sharp Nelson & Al van der Beek
Co-produced by Chuck E. Meyers & Jake Bowen
Piano recorded at Big Idea Studios by Jake Bowen
Cello recorded at TPG Studios by Al van der Beek
Filmed at The Muse in Provo, Utah.

Today's post brought to you by:

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Oscar, Can You Tell Me How to Get to Sesame Street?

Ding dong! You're wrong! –Oscar the Grouch

Oscar is Sesame Street's resident grouch. He lives in a trash can between the 123 Sesame Street building and Big Bird's nest. He detests kindness, cleanliness and sweetness. He is especially annoyed by children who play in front of his trash can. Oscar is the ultimate pessimist — he's only happy when he's miserable. He enjoys yelling at people to go away, but is unsatisfied when they do because there's nobody left to yell at.

Oscar the Grouch was inspired by a grumpy waiter who served Jim Henson and former Sesame Street director Jon Stone at a New York restaurant called Oscar's Tavern. The waiter was so grouchy that Jim and Jon actually found him amusing and this waiter's attitude was the basis for Oscar the Grouch. Another unwitting New Yorker also helped to make Oscar who he is. On his way to the first day of performing Oscar, a Bronx cab driver asked Caroll Spinney, "Where to, Mac?" His gruff, gravelly voice helped Caroll to develop Oscar's voice.

More Grouchy Oscar Facts:
Birthday: February 3
Age: 43
Favorite song: “I Wanna Hold Your Trash”
Favorite expression: “Scram!”
Pets: Slimey the worm and Fluffy the elephant
Favorite food: anchovy milkshakes
Likes: collecting junk, standing in line, arguing, rainy days
Dislikes: rainbows, candy, niceness

How Oscar Came to Be

Part I: Oscar Abandoned
After waking up with a Sesame Street quilt in my head almost two weeks ago, I pulled out my stash of Moda Marbles and got to work {see also, Elmo}. I love the slight texture and color variations in the fabrics, which is more interesting than a solid fabric and less overwhelming to the design of these blocks than a print would be. In addition to about a dozen half-yard cuts in bright, cheerful colors, I had left about half of the jelly roll I used for my Grandpa's quilt, which had jewel and earth tones in it. In those left-overs was the perfect Oscar-the-Grouch-green. I had two strips, which is just a smidge more than an eighth of a yard and it contrasted perfectly with the pale lavender background fabric I'd picked.

Things were going swimmingly and I finished 7 out of 10 of the pieces last Friday and had them all together when it was time to stop for bed. Saturday morning while I was getting ready for the day, I decided that I'd better measure to make sure the block was the right size because in thinking of the completed Elmo block and the Oscar black, he seemed smaller. And he was. He was a full inch smaller than he should have been.

I knew that I absolutely did not have enough left of the green that I was using to make another block. I considered adding a little a border out of the background fabric all the way around the block to make it the right size. But I knew that it would look like I'd made the block too small and then added the border to make it the right size, so that plan was out almost before it was even considered. I thought about cutting away as much green fabric as possible from the too small block to make a larger block, but I knew that wouldn't work either. It was back to the drawing board.

Part II: Oscar Reborn
I looked up pictures of Oscar to really get his color in my head and then I weighed my options. OK. I obsessed. A lot. The Sesame Street Style Guide, which I had come across when searching for images of the characters, is very specific about which colors should be used for each character when they are represented in works of art. Oscar is supposed to be bright green. But that perfect, dark Oscar-the-Grouch-green was stuck in my head. I loved how it contrasted with the background fabric. And I loved the subtle variations in the color which reminded me of Oscar's fur. It was exactly the shade of the real live Oscar.

Frustrated, I compared my bright green Moda Marbles to the style guide. Bright green Oscar was just not working for me. I wanted to find some more of the exact shade of darker green I'd been using. I browsed on-line to see if I could figure out which green Marble I had so I could order more, but lacked confidence that the colors on my screen were the colors I'd be getting in the mail. I paced up and down in front of the same two shelves at the quilt shop for 30 minutes, willing one of the bolts of Marbles they carry to turn to the right color. I found something similar and took it home, but it didn't look as good with the lavender background. Unwilling to give in to bright green Oscar, I experimented with different background colors. I couldn't find anything I liked. Oscar in true-to-life green was not working out. I relented. Bright green Oscar it was. And I made sure to make him at the right size.

Part III: Oscar in the Quilt
When I started blocks for this quilt, I had the general layout planned in my head. But as I finished up Oscar, with his deep purple background, I realized that I needed a virtual layout so that I could put the blocks in their spots to see how everything was working together. It wasn't until I had Oscar in his spot that I stopped obsessing over true-to-life green Oscar and embraced bright green Oscar. The darker green with the pale background would not have fit quite right in the quilt. Bright green Oscar's more vibrant fur and background fit perfectly. Thank you Sesame Street Style Guide.

Pattern by Michelle Thompson
Piece Count: 99
Block Size: 10"
Moda Marbles: Chameleon, Passion Purple, Paper Bag & Flag Red
Kona Cotton: Snow & Black

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sunday Sermons: Feeling the Holy Ghost

You feel peace, hope, and joy when it speaks to your heart and mind that something is true. Almost always, I have felt a sensation of light. –Henry B. Eyring

Sometimes the impressions are just general feelings. Sometimes the direction comes so clearly and unmistakably that it can be written down like spiritual dictation. –Richard G. Scott

The Spirit of the Lord usually communicates with us in ways that are quite, delicate, and subtle. –David A. Bednar

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Pooling of Resources

Whatever we possess becomes of double value when we have the opportunity of sharing it with others. –Jean-Nicolas Bouilly

I did a Sudoku quilt class with a group of ladies in my church. We finished up the quilts last fall and we're in the process of getting a very rudimentary machine quilting class together, so that the ladies who participated can see if they want to quilt their own quilts or send them out to be quilted. One of the ladies knew she didn't want to do her own and so we arranged to trade services. A while back, I had a little family get-together and needed to give my house a once-over. She happens to be very good, very thorough and very fast at cleaning and she likes to do it. I asked if she'd come and help me clean and in exchange, I would quilt her quilt for her.

Here's her quilt, all quilted and ready to be bound.

I did some old favorites—swirls in the sashing, of course. And I did arcs in the nine-patches. I used variegated thread, which was really fun, but is difficult to see in pictures.

I tried something different in the border; I did alternating fans, which came out really nicely. You can see them better from the back. I think the back of this quilt is really almost as fun as the front.

She's going to do the binding herself. She's picked out a pretty red, which will make a nice frame. It was so nice to have her help getting my house ready for company. And I really enjoyed quilting this for her. I'll drop it off to her later this afternoon.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Favourite Things Friday: Simple Gifts

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.

My favorite thing for the past several weeks is noticing and finding joy in the simple things. Here are some of the highlights.

Trees that bloom pink.

Beautiful old houses

Spring Flowers


Today's post brought to you by:

Thursday, April 12, 2012

I Must Ask . . . What is Your Favorite Breakfast Food?

Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon. –Doug Larson

Has it been two weeks already since I posed the question about belly buttons? I'm not sure where the time went. And I was surprised that not a single person who voted had an outie. I knew innies were more prevalent, but I thought there'd be a handful who had outies. Perhaps asking people about their belly buttons was too personal and the outies didn't want to out themselves? In any case, I liked Iris' idea about why some are innie and some are outie and some are innie-outies. A belly button is a scar and she suggested that they are all different because everyone scars differently. I think that's very smart, and probably right on the money.

Last Thursday, we had breakfast for dinner. I made Belgian waffles with the fancy new waffle maker my mom got us for Christmas. I offered a variety of toppings; homemade maple syrup {nothing too fancy, just sugar, water and a little mapelline flavoring}, spiced peaches {again, nothing too fancy; I thickened the juice from a can of peaches with cornstarch, added a little cinnamon, ginger and allspice, stirred the peaches back in and warmed them through}, or homemade raspberry freezer jam. We also had bacon. It was a long work week for me and by Thursday night, I needed a no-fuss-easy-to-fix dinner. It got me to thinking about all the different kinds of breakfast foods and then I started wondering what you all like to eat for breakfast. Or breakfast for dinner. I was going to ask this last week, but was too tired and decided to go to bed early instead. So, this week, I must ask . . . what is your favorite food at breakfast? I've kind of grouped things in categories, with a few miscellaneous things thrown in. Vote for your favorites in each category and if you want leave a comment and tell me what you love the most. I'm sure I forgot something delicious, so please make sure to leave me a note.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Elmo, Can You Tell Me How to Get to Sesame Street?

Play! Play! Elmo wants to play! –Elmo, as quoted by Caroll Spinney in The Wisdom of Big Bird (and the Dark Genius of Oscar the Grouch): Lessons from a Life in Feathers

Three-and-a-half-year-old Elmo Monster lives on the third floor of the 123 Sesame Street apartment building with his parents, Louie and Mae Monster, and his baby sister, Daisy. He loves to ask questions, color, sing, and care for Dorothy, his pet goldfish.

Voiced by the 52 year-old, 6' tall, deep-voiced Kevin Clash, Elmo is the most recognizable children's character in the United States. He's been a regular part of Sesame Street since 1985. Michelle Thompson has captured him perfectly in her pattern, available at Fandom in Stitches.

I may have lost my marbles, starting a new quilt when I already have so many other things going on. I woke up with the idea in my head a few days ago and couldn't get it out of my mind. I pulled out my stash of Moda Marbles and got to work. I bought them almost three years ago for another project that is still waiting to be worked on. I'll eventually get back to it, but in the meantime, it makes me happy to use these fabrics in something so fun!

I guess I didn't lose my marbles after all :wink:.

More Fun Elmo Facts:
Full name: Elmo Monster
Scientific name: Furrius childus
Birthday: February 3
Favorite song: “Elmo's Song”
Favorite expression: “Elmo loves you!”
Best friend: Zoe
Pet: Dorothy the Goldfish
Favorite food: pizza
Favorite fruit: banana
Favorite game: tag
Favorite sports: Rollerblading, miniature golf
Favorite hobbies: playing piano, tap dancing
Dislikes: Brussels sprouts
Awards: Won the longest giggle award on the Golden Grover Awards

Pattern by Michelle Thompson
Piece Count: 122
Block Size: 10"
Moda Marbles: Lipstick, Key Lime & California Orange
Kona Cotton: Snow & Black

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easter Tales

The joyful news that He is risen does not change the contemporary world. Still before us lie work, discipline, sacrifice. But the fact of Easter gives us the spiritual power to do the work, accept the discipline, and make the sacrifice.
–Henry Knox Sherrill

The Easter Bunny did not come to our house on Sunday. There are several possible reasons for this. He might have had a very long {as in 40+ hours} work week preceding the holiday. He might not have wanted to fight the crowds at Wal-Mart on the day before a holiday and chose, instead, to spend Saturday afternoon sewing. He might have had a migraine, which made him feel rotten and contributed to the desire to avoid the pre-holiday crowds. Or, he might simply have gotten lost on the way here. Whatever the reason {I highly suspect the first three listed above}, when I went for groceries yesterday, I saw him lurking about the clearance aisle picking up Easter treats at 50% off. Somewhere between getting the groceries home and getting dinner on the table, that rascally rabbit left baskets of goodies on the table for us. Mr. Bug was surprised and the Little Bugs were excited. LadyBug supposed that the Bunny had gotten lost on the way. Grasshopper suggested a map. And then they got down to examining their haul.

Today, I ran to pick up some new contacts from the optical shop at ShopKo. For some reason, I went in a different way than I usually do and came upon an end cap full of these cute clear baskets. I thought to myself, “they're probably plastic.” I glanced at the sale sign and it said they were glass. Skeptical, I picked one up, and indeed it was made of glass, and beautifully so. Upon closer inspection, I discovered that they were not just on sale, they were really on sale, which is my favorite price. The Easter M&M's to go in it were on sale too, and I'm certain they are just as good now as they were three days ago, when they were full price. Maybe even a little bit bettter.

Grasshopper brought home the little sculpted sugar egg from school on Friday. The grandmother of one of his classmates made one for everyone in their class. I think there are 27 kids in the class! What a thoughtful thing for this girl's grandma to do! I was so tickled by it. We had a sugar egg like this one growing up. The icing around the edge was pink, and when you peeked inside the egg there was a little Easter scene in there. We had it for ages; I'm not sure how long, but it seems like forever. Who knows? My mom might still have it. I'm going to have to find a place to keep this one safe, because we're going to keep it and bring it out every Easter from now until forever.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Sunday Sermons: He Is Risen

That ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. –John 20:31

Friday, April 6, 2012

Favourite Things Friday: Cancelled Due to Snow

Dear beautiful Spring weather, I miss you. Was it something I said? –“Skipper” Kim Corbin

I had a great Favourite Thing planned for today. I've been working on the idea in my head all week and finally figured out how I wanted to do it yesterday. But I was in a hurry when I left for work and forgot my camera. No matter. I could still take photos today, right? Not so much. We woke up to snow. Not just that slushy wet stuff that melts as it hits the ground, but actual snow. Big, fat flakes of wet, heavy, stick-to-the-ground snow. Which makes photographing my favourite for today . . . difficult. Perhaps next week.

Rather than leave you all hanging, I arranged with The Piano Guys to fill in today. They're awesome like that. And they're always a favorite of mine. I have tickets to see them in concert soon. They're playing right here in town. I'm so excited!

Available from The Piano Guys and on iTunes.

From The Piano Guys:
Many people ask why Steve is SO HAPPY when he plays the cello. We followed him around with our cameras on his day off. We think we now understand why... :biggrin:

**NO INSTRUMENTS WERE HARMED IN THE MAKING OF THIS VIDEO** — we used a "stunt" cello for these scenes just in case — and we were really careful out of respect for the instrument. After all the filming, "Jackie" (named after Jackie Chan since he does all his own stunts) only had one minor scratch inflicted by a shopping cart... (this proves the saying that statistically there are more shopping cart accidents than sky diving accidents).

Story behind the song:
This music video was one of our very first ideas as ThePianoGuys. It originated when we were filming "The Cello Song" — the first project that Steven Sharp Nelson, Al van der Beek, Tel Stewart, and Paul Anderson did together (which is also the first time they all MET!). As we were finishing the all-night film session, we starting talking about the many "uses" of the cello and before we knew it we were laughing about how funny it would be to make a movie about "cello bonding" — spending quality time with the cello. We didn't feel like we could ever get away with making this video, but we just couldn't help ourselves :biggrin:. For a while Al and Steve tried to write an arrangement of two Bob Marley tunes for the background of the video. It wasn't flowing, so the project was abandoned for several months. Since the making of "Cello Wars" we haven't really had the opportunity to throw "funny" at our audience. And to be honest, we've missed it. We all love to laugh — especially at ourselves. :lol: It keeps the pressure of producing videos every other week we revisited this concept, but this time with a new tune — the Turtles "So Happy Together." It fit perfectly. We ended up with a lot more scenes than we could use—some of which we were sad we couldn't fit in. Maybe we'll make an "extended version" one day...

"This video is dedicated to all of my music teachers that taught me to have FUN with music — to let it live and breathe rather than insist it be dead and dissected. As for my other music teachers that didn't teach me to have fun...I'll try to make a video for you some other time." :biggrin: –Steven Sharp Nelson

Filming Locations (in order of appearance)
St. George, Utah:
-(Performance) Main Street Square
-(Dinner) 25 and Main Cafe - Awesome place to eat!
-(Golfing) Ledges Golf Course
-(Grocery Shopping) Lin's Grocery
-(Volleyball) Vernon Worthen Park, St. George
-(Basketball & Sit-ups) The Biggest Loser, Fitness Ridge
-Ocean Buffet Asian-American Cuisine & Hibachi Grill
-(Treadmill & Yoga) The Sumitt
-(Art Museum) Dixie College Delores Echols Fine Arts Building
-(Disco) Go check out this home where we filmed the Disco scene, it will blow your mind with Awesomeness!!
-(Skydive) Skydive Utah
-(Carousel) St. George Rec Center
-(Movie Theatre, Bumper Cars, Arcade) Laser Mania

Special Thanks:
The Dotty's for letting us use their Yellow Tandem bike.
The Neilsons for the use of their home where we filmed the Disco Scene
Will Stucki for the use of the Bass

"Happy Together" originally written by Garry Bonner & Allan Lee Gordon and performed by The Turtles
Published by EMI Glenwood Music Corp
Arrangement written and produced by Al van der Beek & Steven Sharp Nelson
Performed by:
Steven Sharp Nelson: cellos, percussion, vocals
Al van der Beek: vocals
Recorded, Mixed and Mastered by Al van der Beek at TPG Studios
Video filmed, edited, and produced by Paul Anderson & Tel Stewart
Steve's sky diving stunt man: Phil Liu
Sky diving footage shot by Jeff Agard

Today's post brought to you by:

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

40 Before 40

Do a little more each day than you think you possibly can.
–Lowell Thomas

About a month ago, I posted a partial list of 40 things I'd like to do before I turn 40. The idea came from Pink, who is working on her 30 Before 30. Of course, you don't have to be turning one of those “oh” birthdays to do this. You can do it at whatever age you are, from one birthday to the next {obviously, I'm a bit behind, which is normal :rolleyes:.

I finally got my list together, and although there are only 32 main things on the list, some of those things include multiple things to complete. To make it to the official 40 things mark, I'm counting each of the eight quilts I want to finish as individual things, even though they are listed as one group thing. It's my list, so I'm pretty sure I make the rules. I threw in a couple of bonus Ph.D quilts so I'd have options and possibly be motivated to get more than eight quilts finished.

My list graphic took almost as long to create as it did to write the actual list. I like how it turned out and it was fun to review. I'm definitely going to have to print this out and put it where I can see it, because I'd already forgotten some of the things on the list. Some of the things on the list are long shots, but I think that for the most part, it is do-able. I've checked a few things off and have plans in the works for a few more.

It is going to be a busy year.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A Stitch In Time: March Finishes Giveaway Winner

Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself. –William Faulkner

I am always amazed by the beautiful and creative things people come up with. I enjoyed visiting each finish in March and finding inspiration in your projects! Thank you to everyone who linked up! Each link was a chance to win March's giveaway, a fat quarter bundle of Avalonin the winner's choice of colorway, sponsored by The Fat Quarter shop. My little random number generator {LadyBug} chose number 27.

Congratulations to
:partytime: Summer :partytime:
at Summer Lee Quilts

Summer had two other finishes in February; number 7 and number 40 below. If you haven't had a chance to check out what the others have been up to, take a minute to click on a few of the links! You won't be disappointed.

The April Finishes Linky Party is already open, so you can link up as you go, throughout the month of April. Remember to include the April Finishes button {code found on the April post} somewhere in your post. The giveaway, sponsored by The Fat Quarter Shop, is a jelly roll from the brand new line, Tradewinds by Lily Ashbury!

Tradewinds Jelly Roll

Today's post brought to you by:

Monday, April 2, 2012

2012 Free-Motion Quilting Challenge: April Motif

I do not want to die until I have faithfully made the most of my talent and cultivated the seed that was placed in me until the last small twig has grown. –Kathe Kollwitz

The thing about waiting until the last minute to do March's challenge {I was the third-to-the-last to link up} is that I still had my stuff out when the April challenge came on-line and I was still in the mood to do a little FMQ. Plus, if I hurry, I can be second to link up this month!

I had everything on hand for Don's tutorial, except for the embroidery hoop {just had to dig a little for some fine-mesh tulle}. I didn't want to make a trip out to get a hoop so I tried a glue stick first to see if that would work instead. I put a very thin layer of glue across the entire template, which held the tulle in place very nicely. When I was done tracing, the tulle came off easily. To transfer the design to my quilt, there was enough friction between the tulle and the fabric that I was able to hold the tulle steady and in place while I marked the quilt.

When I started this challenge, I envisioned the optional quilt as a sampler and I wanted the different types of quilting to really show. I decided to use darker threads on my off-white fabric to make that happen. I know that every mistake really shows, but the trade-off in being able to see the quilting is worth it, I think. I didn't do so well with the echo feather in February when I was practicing, so I picked a much lighter thread than I'd originally planned to quilt it. It still shows every single imperfection, but I can live with it. And I decided that I really do want my quilt to showcase the different quilting. If this were a “regular” quilt, I would not have used these dark colors of thread for the April motif. But I wanted it to highlight the pretty flower I saw in the shape. Imperfections not withstanding, this was a fun exercise.

For those who are not doing the challenge, this is Don Linn's tutorial for marking a quilt using tulle as your tool.

Today's post brought to you by:

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Sunday Sermons: Comfort in Trials

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. –John 14:27

A Stitch In Time: April Finishes Linky Party

An idea not coupled with action will never get any bigger than the brain cell it occupied. –Arnold Glasow

Welcome to the April Finishes Linky Party! Thank you to everyone who linked up in March. There were so many great finishes and it was fun to visit all of your blogs and have a closer look! If you're new here, so glad to have you. Anything finished between 12:00 am on April 1st and 11:59 pm on April 30th can be added to this linky party. You have until through 10:00 am on May 1st to post about it and link up.

To participate in this month's linky party:
• Finish a project and blog about it.
• Scroll down to see what other bloggers are up to and link to your own finishes.
• Please include the April button in your blog post. Copy the code in the text box below and paste it somewhere in your post. The button is a link back here, so that other bloggers can find their way over and link up too.

• Each time you link up a finished project, you're entered to win the April giveaway, a jelly roll from the brand new line, Tradewinds by Lily Ashbury!

Tradewinds Jelly Roll

• Thank you to our sponsor:

The Fine Print {which might be boring but you really should read}:
• Projects must include stitching of some sort. For example: appliqué, crochet, cross-stitch, embroidery, knitting, practical sewing {garment construction, bags, curtains, etc.}, quilting.
• Projects must be completely finished. As in done, finito, nothing more to add, ready to use/display/give away.
• You can pick something new to do, but projects do not have to be started during the month. If you pick up a UFO, Ph.D, WIP and finish it during the month, it counts.
• Finishes must be completed during this month, but you have until 10:00 am MST on the 1st of the next month to link your post.
• Post about your finish and then link your specific post {instructions here} above. Links to your blog and not the individual post about your finished project will be deleted.
• Have more than one finish this month? Great! Post about each finish individually and then link the specific posts up separately. Each finish, and therefore each link you add, counts as one entry for this month's giveaway.
• If you've already posted about a finish for this month, there's no need to do a separate post. Just add the button to that post and link up.
• Please copy and paste the code below to include this month's button somewhere in your post {not your sidebar}.

April Finishes

• Don't have a blog? You can link from your flickr account. Just post a picture, include a little note about your finish and a link back here {code included below} in the description. Then join the linky party.

• Make sure to visit a few of the other links and leave them some love {ie, a comment}. A good rule of thumb is to visit two links for every one you include.
• Winner of the sponsored giveaway will be drawn randomly from among the links and announced by 8:00 pm MST on the 3rd of the following month.
• Instructions for making an index page to your finishes can be found here.
• Kindly consider changing your comment settings to the pop-up window option for faster and easier commenting for visitors to your blog. Instructions can be found here.