Thursday, June 28, 2012

I Must Ask . . . What Do You Do In the Summertime?

Oh, what do you do in the summertime,
When all the world is green?
Do you fish in a stream, or lazily dream
On the banks as the clouds go by?
Is that what you do? So do I!

Oh, what do you do in the summertime,
When all the world is green?
Do you swim in a pool, to keep yourself cool,
Or swing in a tree up high?
Is that what you do? So do I!

Oh, what do you do in the summertime,
When all the world is green?
Do you march in parades, or drink lemonades,
Or count all the stars in the sky?
Is that what you do? So do I!
–Dorothy S. Andersen,
Oh, What Do You Do in the Summertime?

It's been three weeks since I asked you all about grocery shopping. My how time flies. It must be summer :wink:. Grocery shopping, in my opinion is a necessary evil. The noise, especially crying children, is very distracting for me while I'm trying to figure out how to get the most for my money. It is important to me to make sure that I'm spending wisely. I'm not brand-loyal; my loyalty lies in the best price and if that means buying the “generic” I'm happy with that. But it takes concentration to make sure you're really getting the best deal.

Sidebar: A friend of mine priced out groceries in 2005 {or maybe it was 2008; I can't remember for sure}. She went back to the same grocery store and priced everything again this week. She told me that prices have doubled and tripled. I almost choked. I'm certain that our income has not matched that.

In any case, making the best of it seems to be the thing to do in the case of grocery shopping vs. the budget. From the comments, I get the impression that planning a menu makes grocery shopping easier. Or maybe that's just me. I've been a menu planner for most of my married life. When Mr. Bug and I were first married and poorer than church mice, I remember one time that I had $33 to buy groceries for the week. It took creativity and some serious planning, but I came away having spent $32-and-change and from what I remember, we ate pretty well that week. A few years back, I kind of quit planning menus and would only go grocery shopping when we ran out of cold cereal and milk. Looking back, I can see how stressful that was for me. I much prefer having a plan for meals and the groceries to go with it, even if it means going grocery shopping every week. As far as the voting, it looks like shopping weekly is the most popular choice.

In other news, the Olympic trials have been going on recently, which got me thinking of the Summer Games. I was going to ask what your favorite sport is to watch, but that gets complicated trying to keep the list to a manageable size without leaving anything out. Of course, I always to leave something out, so that's not new. Then I got to thinking that only the most elite participate in the Games and the 99.99% of the rest of regular folks probably do things we think are just as much fun as competing in the Olympics and we don't have to wait four years to do them.

Summer is officially here {unless you live in the southern hemisphere, in which case I'm glad it's you and not me sorry if you're cold}. One of my favorite things about summer is the longer hours of daylight. I love it when it is light outside until 9:30pm! I love staying up a little bit later in the summer and sleeping in. But I also love the cool, calm of an early summer's morning. Summer has so much potential.

Growing up something I loved to do in the summer was to watch The Price Is Right. It was so cool to imagine winning all those fabulous prizes. That's just a silly memory and not really something I look forward to doing every year. I haven't watched since Bob Barker had dark hair :lol:>. One of my favorite things about summer now is gardening. I love the smell of the earth, the sweat and hard work of it, and the meditative quality it has for me. I mostly do flowers. There's something about knowing where my produce came from that grosses me out a little. Don't get me wrong. I love it when my neighbors share zucchini and tomatoes picked ripe from their gardens. I'm just not a big fan of seeing my food sitting in a heap of composted soil where any number of creepy crawlies, not limited to but including worms, spiders, ants, snails and slugs, could potentially have been partying, if you know what I mean.

Sidebar: This morning, I was out doing battle with the rose bushes {I won, by they way} when I heard hooves against the pavement up the road. I looked and could see four horses coming at quite a pace. It is not uncommon for people to ride horses through town. But it is common for them to go that quickly. Then I realized that they horses were without riders! There's a paddock up the road a ways and they must have gotten loose. There were four of them and they turned the corner before they reached my house and headed on down the road. After a while, I heard hooves again, and there were those same four horses coming back the from way they'd gone. They headed back up the road and I hope they made it back to their pasture. I had to wonder what they were up to. See what I mean about summer having potential?

Our family doesn't do a traditional summer vacation, with a trip to somewhere exotic. We try to make the most of it with fun activities throughout the summer. My mom hosts Grandma Week every year, though for her 10 grandkids and either or both of their parents. It is a fun little stay-cation and we always have a good time. There's also a fun family reunion with Mr. Bug's family; his parents, seven siblings, their spouses and a collective 30 children. Planning rotates through the eight siblings {only five years until we have to plan it again}, so we do something different each year, and we always have fun. The Little Bugs love to go swimming, so we try to fit that in as much as possible. And sometimes we do a foreign exchange. That is to say, we have cousins come to stay with us or the Little Bugs get to go and stay with their cousins. The Little Bugs are on foreign exchange at my sister's house this week and from what I gather they are having a really fun time. {Sidebar: Is it horrible to say that I'm kind of enjoying myself too? I worked an 8-hour day yesterday without any guilt. I was nice not to have to mediate arguments by phone or worry about what the Little Bugs are up to, about not being there for them or about getting home in time to feed them before they starved to death.}

Ah, summer. So many fun things to pack into such a short time. Today, I must ask . . . what do you do in the summertime? What's your favorite activity? Or non-activity? I've listed a few things that came to mind, so vote in the poll and if you don't see your favorite, leave me a comment!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Sew Day: Escaping Critter/Bug Jar Quilt

Though snails are exceedingly slow,
There is one thing I'd like to know.
If I out run 'em round the yard,
How come they beat me to the chard?
–Allen Klein

Once upon a time, about three years ago, my mom and I started making an escaping bug jar quilt. Every week during that summer I went to her house and we had a sew day. We started with the little paper pieced critters. The snail was first because he is too cute, although an actual snail in an actual garden is anything but cute. He is still my favorite of all the escaped critters in the quilt {Coin and Natural Fairy Frost, Chestnut Moda Marbles}.

Then there's the dragon fly who needed a little sparkle {Aqua and Platinum Fairy Frost}.

And the beetle, who must be from some exotic land {Lipstick, Celestial & Violet Fairy Frost}.

The sticky-tongue frog makes me smile. I Photoshopped an eye on there so he wouldn't be sightless for his big internet debut {Lily Pad & Red Fairy Frost}.

If this mouse weren't so cute, I'd be setting a trap. Instead, I'll just leave him some cheese {Silver, Bubble Gum & Natural Fairy Frost}.

I'm pretty sure quilt spiders aren't poisonous. Better play it safe, though, and keep away from Miss Spider {Red & Fog Fairy Frost}.

Mr. Chameleon is playing it pretty casual, trying to blend into the background. If you don't look closely, you'll miss him {Lettuce Fairy Frost}.

When school got back in session, our Bug Jar Sew Days became less frequent. We scaled them back to once an month and we took turns traveling back and forth. The picture below was taking on our last sew day in February of 2010. We got our jars all cut, as well as the corners for the background.

We keep our fabrics in a storage tote. Whoever travels for our sew days gets to take the tote home and the next sew day will be at her house. The tote has been at my mom's house for more than two years. Yesterday, I went to her house for a sew day, but we didn't actually get to the sewing part. We did get all our background corner pieces marked and ready to sew on the corners of the bug fabrics to make them into jars. And we picked out some fabrics for a cute little firefly, which isn't included in the quilt pattern but was made by the same designer. It is too cute not to include, especially since I have some glow-in-the-dark Fairy Frost that will be perfect for it! The storage tote is at my house now. I hope it will be much less than two years before we open it again to work on our quilts.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Favourite Things Friday: Glee

My idea is that there is music in the air, music all around us; the world is full of it, and you simply take as much as you require.
–Edward Elgar

How does the old quip go? I'm glad life isn't a musical. I'd always be afraid that people were going to burst into song and I wouldn't know the words. Something like that. I love musicals and wouldn't mind being in one, even if I didn't know the words.

Recently, Mr. Bug and I were exploring our options for on-demand streaming through the fancy pants internet ready Blu-ray player we got for Christmas. For one of our tests we watched the pilot episode of Glee, and I was hooked, poor streaming quality not withstanding. I realized that I'd completely missed the boat, but the upside to that is that some extremely clever person invented Netflix and I can watch the whole series as fast as they can send the discs to me {the jury is still out on streaming so for now we'll go the old-fashioned DVD through the mail route}.

What I really love about Glee is the incredible music. No surprise there, right? Great music should, after all, be a given for a show about a glee club. But the sheer volume of production quality numbers is pretty amazing. All of the cast members have great voices, but I was completely blown away by Lea Michele. Between musical numbers, the plot is a little thin, but I love to hate Jane Lynch as the interfering cheer leading coach, bent on sabotaging the glee club to ensure she gets the full budget for her squad.

I had a hard time choosing a song to share. I've been listening to the music on Playlist and have so may favorites. I picked this one because it is was the clincher for me that Glee was going to be a favorite.

Today's post brought to you by:

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

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

Animals are such agreeable friends — they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms. –George Eliot

Dorothy is Elmo's pet goldfish and friend. She's six years old {in goldfish years}, is inquisitive and has a great imagination.

Don't look too closely. I've been working Grace too hard. I'll be sending her off for a week at the spa soon to have her tension problems all worked out.

You may or may not have noticed that my quilt layout has changed ever so slightly since I decided to add more blocks. Like the subjects of the portraits in Hogwarts castle, the characters have moved to different spots. Before I even posted the first block in the quilt, I'd e-mailed Michelle {the pattern designer} to ask her if she had a Mr. Snuffleupagus pattern. She e-mailed back telling me she had Snuffy ready to go, as well as several others that had not yet been posted at Fandom in Stitches. She also mentioned plans for some of the side-kick characters, like Oscar's pet worm Slimey and Elmo's goldfish Dorothy. The thought of putting them in the corners of the border passed through my mind, but at the time I was racing to a deadline to finish the quilt in time for the quilt shows.

When several new patterns were released at the end of May and I decided to make a bigger quilt, which mean absolutely no chance of finishing in time for quilt shows this year, I asked Michelle to send me everything she had ready for testing, which included Slimey and Dorothy. Slimey was so adorable I couldn't not make him. I thought about putting him on the back of the quilt with the label, but he was just too cute to go on the back of the quilt. So I revisited the idea of putting the side-kicks in the corners. I verified with Michelle which other side-kicks were in the works, moved the corresponding character to the corners of the quilt and voilà, another change to the plan. What can I say? It's my quilt and I can change it if I want to.

Pattern by Michelle Thompson
Piece Count: 51
Block Size: 4"
Moda Marbles: California Orange, Flag Red, Aqua, Wheat
Kona Cotton: Snow & Black

Monday, June 18, 2012

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

Slimey to the moon, he wants to wriggle 'mongst the stars.
Let him crawl through mud and muck on jupiter or mars.
To others worlds, let him fly.
To other worlds, send him winging.
Slimey to the Moon, and when this worm arrives you'll find
He'll take a leap that's small for him but huge for all worm-kind.
To other worlds he will soar, to other worlds
and then home to us once more.
–Tony Bennett, Slimey to the Moon

Slimey is Oscar's pet worm. They met one rainy day at the park, when Slimey crawled onto Oscar's shoulder and fell asleep. Oscar took him home and they've been friends ever since. Slimey sings, performs tricks, drives a worm racecar and was the first worm on the moon.

Slimey is performed by Martin P. Robinson and originally was a silent character. He communicated through gestures and squeaks. Recently he has developed a voice, provided by Dick Maitland, which is digitally altered to a high pitch.

More Small Slimey Facts:
Pet of: Oscar the Grouch
Parents: Dusty and Eartha
Sibiligs: baby sister, Sloppy
Cousins: Squirmy and Rachel
Pet: A bug named Dirty
Likes: Listening to Trash Gordon stories at bedtime, playing in mud puddles

Pattern by Michelle Thompson
Piece Count: 81
Block Size: 4"
Moda Marbles: California Orange, Dandelion, Key West Purple
Kona Cotton: Snow & Black

Sunday, June 17, 2012


Fathers are so special with a very special love.
They watch us and protect us,
They guide us and direct us
Back to our home above.
by Dawn Hughes Ballantyne and Joyce Mills Jensen

Thank you, Dad, for always being there, for worrying, for helping and for knowing how to fix anything.

Thank you, Mr. Bug, for helping our children become the amazing people they are.

Even Superman Needs A Dad
by Liz Lemon Swindle

Happy Father's Day to all the wonderful men out there who take time to influence the life of a child.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Prairie Dawn, Can You Tell Me How to Get to Sesame Street?

The Sesame Street Little Theater takes pride in presenting . . .
–Pageant director, Prairie Dawn

Prairie Dawn loves to write, direct and accompany pageants for her friends to act in. She wants to work in broadcasting or journalism. In addition to her pageants, she has hosted several segments, worked as a correspondent for the Monster News Network, participated in a number of Guy Smiley's game shows and tried her hand at directing. Unfortunately she had a bumpy start when, while directing Elmopalooza, she and the rest of the crew were trapped in a dressing room for most of the show.

Prairie Dawn has been a member of the Sesame Street cast since 1971. She is based on the Hot Pink Little Anything Muppet, which is collective term for an “empty” Muppet head, to which facial features and costumes may be added. The Little Anything Muppets {which are smaller than the green or purple Anything Muppets} are used for small animals and children. Like most of the other Sesame Street characters, she has gone through several changes through the years. She is voiced by Fran Brill, who says she enjoys playing a character that is a little bit older than the typical Sesame Street resident.

More Level-Headed Prairie Dawn Facts:
Age: 7
Birthday: August 3
Favorite expression: “Places, everyone! Places!”
Best Friends: Grover and Herry Monster
Favorite Color: Robin's Egg Blue
Likes: Writing school pageants, playing the piano
Dislikes: Cookie Monster eating the letter of the day

Pattern by Michelle Thompson
Piece Count: 143
Block Size: 10"
Moda Marbles: Sherbet, Wheat, Jungle Lavender, Bright Blue, Cardinal & Bubblegum Pink
Kona Cotton: Snow & Black

Monday, June 11, 2012

A Farewell to Ray Bradbury

Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you'd drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It's more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories. –Ray Bradbury

Ray Douglas Bradbury
August 22, 1920
June 5, 2012

• Wrote something every day.
• Has published more than 300 short stories.
• Learned to do magic tricks and loved magic almost as much as writing.
• Never obtained a driver's license.
• Has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
• There is a crater on the moon named Dandelion Crater in his honor.
• There is an asteroid in the belt between Mars and Jupiter named 9766 Bradbury.
• Sold newspapers at a corner stand to support himself before his writing career took off.

Thank you, Ray, for taking us into a far future ... a strange past ... with stories that almost could be or might have been. You will be missed.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

I'm A Mormon: Erick Lund — Counting His Blessings

When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost, count your many blessings; name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done. Count Your Blessings, music by Edwin O. Excell, lyrics by Johnson Oatman, Jr.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Grandma Week 2012: Day 2, The Aquatic Center or Poop Happens

Isn't having a smoking section in a restaurant like having a peeing section in a swimming pool? –Unknown

My mom likes to plan a stay-cation for her grandkids every summer. Today, we went to a really fun indoor/outdoor aquatic center. The outdoor pool has fun for everyone, a shallow children's play area and a deeper swimming area. Today, it was windy and overcast, so going outside wasn't an option. It wasn't a big deal because inside there are two pools. One is a lap pool, with a diving board and the shallowest area is about 3½ feet deep. The other pool is larger, but doesn't get any deeper than 3½ feet and is very kid-friendly. There is an ankle-deep play area with a small slide and lots of water spouts that the kids can turn on and off. Opposite of that, there is a bigger slide that twists and turns and the water is just deep enough for a safe landing, but not so deep that beginning swimmers can't navigate safely to the edge of the pool. There is also a little tide pool that carries you round and round on its current, and then there is a small swimming area.

We always have a great time when we go there. I decided to leave my camera in the locker and have some splashy fun before taking pictures. I totally blew my chance, because about 20 minutes after we got in, somebody pooped in the pool. The bigger pool. The kid-friendly pool. Everyone was ordered out of both pools and we watched for about 10 minutes as the poor lifeguards used skimmers to try and clean up.

While clean-up efforts continued in the kid-friendly pool, the lap pool was deemed fit to reenter and we headed in. So did everyone else. We brought blow-up inter-tubes and had enough for all the kids to have one. We had them hold hands and pulled this fun little train of tubes around the pool, snaking in and out between all the other swimmers, much to their annoyance. Clean-up efforts in the kid-friendly pool were not yielding the required results and and after about 30 minutes of making ourselves a general nuisance in the crowded the lap pool, we got out to have a little snack. As we were eating, we noticed that the lap pool had been cleared and that lifeguards had their skimmers out again.

As time wore on, we realized that the kid-friendly pool would not be opening again. And the more we thought about it, the more we decided that we did not want to get back into the lap pool, which was just getting ready to re-open. We packed it up and called it a day and the only pictures I got were in the locker room. Poop happens, right? You can choose to let it ruin your day, or you can make the best of the situation.
{Left to right: Pixie, Mouse & LadyBug}

Quote of the day:
Pixie: Some people are just happier not swimming.

And who could resist this adorable little Cheetos face, even if I didn't quite get the photo in focus?
{Woodland Sprite}

We spent as much time out of the water as we did in today, so we asked the staff if there was anything they could do for us. They were able to issue us return passes, which was nice. As I mentioned yesterday, we're doing Grandma Week in two parts this year, so we'll get to give it another try.

That's all for Grandma Week until mid-August.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Grandma Week 2012: Day 1, Timpanogos Cave

Endurance is one of the most difficult disciplines, but it is to the one who endures that the final victory comes. –Buddha

Every summer, my mom plans a little stay-cation for her grandkids and their parents {either or both}. LadyBug starts asking about it mid-March, and everyone always has a really good time. This summer, our Grandma Week has been divided into two parts to better accommodate everyone. We kicked Grandma Week off with a bang this weekend.

Our first activity was to visit Timpanogos Cave National Monument, which is actually a set of three caves, with lots of beautiful and colorful rock formations inside. To reach the caves you have to hike a fairly steep 1½-mile trail, which zig-zags up the mountain-side and rises 1,092 feet to an elevation of 6,730 feet above sea level.
{Top left:Grasshopper, Elizabeth, LadyBug
Top right: Back row: Grandma, Grasshopper, Miss Butterfly, Middle row: Mantis, LadyBug, Lizard Boy, Front row: Cap'n Underpants, Roly Poly, Mouse
Bottom: Jeremy, Miss Butterfly, Cap'n Underpants, LadyBug, Mantis, Grasshopper, Julie}

Quote of the Day:
Lizard Boy: I just don't think I'm going to make it. I'll have to sit here and wait for you to come back.

There are several signs along the trail that warn of rattle snakes. One of the rangers on trail duty pointed this guy out. I never would have noticed him; he was sitting just off the trail and is nicely camouflaged. I stayed well away, using my zoom to get closer. I'm kind of glad his head was out of sight.

It is no leisurely stroll, but it is so worth it to get to the top and see the caves. The first cave is called Hansen Cave. Visitors enter through a man-made door and as you move into the cave, the tour guide shows you the natural entrance, which is about 20 feet above the door. It would be a tricky spot to navigate even with modern climbing gear. The man who discovered the cave in the 1860's {I think} was alone and definitely did not have a lot of fancy schmancy gear. I think if it would have been up to me, the cave would have gone undiscovered.

From Hansen Cave, you move through a man-made corridor into Middle Cave, which was discovered by the son and grandson of the man who discovered Hansen Cave. The natural entrance to the cave is so high up and the cave walls zig and zag back and forth so you can't see the entrance. On their first descent into the cave, their rope was about 50 feet too short, so they climbed down the rest of the way without even the assistance of a rope. I'm really glad I was not the wife and mother of these two.

After Middle Cave, you move through another man-made corridor into Timpanogos Cave. The rock formations are amazing, and where nickel, iron or manganese have been incorporated into the formation process, the rocks have tints of green, pink, purple and brown in them. Amazing. Of course, we saw stalactites, stalagmites and columns formed when the two meet in the middle. There was also flowstone, cave bacon and many other kinds of formations. Timpanogos Cave has lots of helictites, which are the gravity-defying curlicue formation you can see on the ceiling in the picture below. You can also see the exceedingly rare stalgpipe just behind the kids, which grows in the most amazing {and convenient} ways to keep you safe throughout the cave, and is the only formation you are allowed to touch.
{Back row: LadyBug, Grasshopper, Miss Butterfly
Front row: Roly Poly, Cap'n Underpants, Mouse, Lizard Boy, Mantis}

All in all, everyone had a really great time and it was fun to visit this National Monument that has been a family favorite since I was kid.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

I Must Ask . . . How Often Do You Go Grocery Shopping?

My kids always perceived the bathroom as a place where you wait it out until all the groceries are unloaded from the car.
–Erma Bombeck

I've finally sorted out what I'm going to do about the layout and new patterns and my Sesame Street quilt. Thanks to everyone who voted for their favorite layout. As you can see, layout 2 won. But I told you that I was asking which layout you all liked best to help me decide what I really wanted and that I might not go with the majority vote. I've already announced it, but just for the record, I'm going with layout 3. The patterns are so much fun to put together and I love working with the bright Moda Marbles fabrics. Prairie Dawn is next!

When I first started pondering expanding my quilt layout to accommodate several recently released blocks, as well as some that were already available but that I'd omitted, P. asked me what I would do if even more patterns are released. My answer to that is the same answer I gave in regards to my Twilight quilt when someone asked me what I'd do if Stephenie Meyer wrote more books: :crazy: .

Now that I've talked that one to death, I'm jumping back to a one-off of the question I asked two weeks ago, which was, how often do you cook? Today, we're talking about grocery shopping. Going to the grocery store is kind of a big chore. I used to love it, but it's not much fun anymore. Nevertheless, we all like to eat, so I go once a week and that works best for me. When I wasn't working I would go mid-week, but it easier to fit it in Saturdays now and the upswing to that is if I don't feel like cooking on a Saturday, I can grab a rotisserie chicken from the deli on my way out.

I plan my meals ahead of time and shopping once a week allows me to get the fresh ingredients for what's on the menu that week and keeps us from running out of really important things like milk, frozen waffles and Oreos. I keep a little magentized notepad and pencil on my fridge and as we use things up or people have special requests, we write what we need on the list. At the end of the week, I plan my menu, check inventory to make sure that we're not running low on things we use a lot and then I transfer the hand-written grocery list to my swanky new spreadsheet, which is divided by departments and aisles in the order that I shop them. It took a little bit of doing to get it set up, but now that it is done, it saves a ton of time at the store, because I know everything I'm looking for on each aisle and I don't miss anything and have to back-track to find it. Love it!

How about you? I must ask . . . how often do you grocery shop? Do you have any time or money saving strategies? A favorite clerk? A great grocery shopping story? Vote in the poll and leave a comment. I can't wait to hear!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

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

Slap on a happy grin! And spread sunshine all over the place, just put on a happy face! Put On A Happy Face, music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Lee Adams

Zoe, who is Elmo's best friend, is bursting with energy, imagination and sparkle. She has a pet rock, named Rocco loves to ride around Sesame Street in her Zoemoblie and can be seen sporting barrettes in her hair. She's a spunky monster who's not afraid to jump in and get her tutu dirty.

Zoe has been adding pizzaz to Sesame Street since 2003. Her orange fur was chosen to compliment Elmo's as he was gaining popularity at the time and the creators wanted a female character to be his friend. Zoe is performed by Fran Brill, who, out of several possibilities, chose the character sketch that looked like Carol Channing. Another cast member suggested they call the character Frannie, but Fran didn't want a character named after her, so she went with Zoe because of the J.D. Salinger book Frannie and Zooey.

More Sparkly Zoe Facts:
Age: 3
Birthday: September 30
Best Friend: Elmo
Favorite expression: “Don't joke me!”
Favorite song: “Jump (For My Love)”
Likes: Parades, ballet dancing and the letter Z
Dislikes: Sitting still and training wheels on her bike

And, in what should not be a surprise to anyone, I decided to go with the bigger layout that has room for more characters.

Pattern by Michelle Thompson
Piece Count: 168
Block Size: 10"
Moda Marbles: Popsicle Orange, Fuschia, Bubblegum Pink, Cardinal, Flag Red, Passion Purple, Jungle Mint & Paper Bag
Kona Cotton: Snow & Black

Monday, June 4, 2012

Various & Sundry Monday: Vol. 29

How incredible it is that in this fragile existence we should hate and destroy one another. There are possibilities enough for all who will abandon mastery over others to pursue mastery over nature. There is world enough for all to seek their happiness in their own way. –Lyndon B. Johnson

Batiks, Baby!
One of my goals for this year is to start collecting a nice stash of batiks, and I think I'm well on my way now. I ordered these from Connecting Threads. They have a great selection that is very reasonably priced. I wanted batiks that look like they've been watercolored, but they have some amazing prints too and the best part is they sell fat quarters at linear yardage prices. They had a sale on a few of their batikss when I ordered my FQ's, so I practically stole a couple of these pieces.

The Last of the Peonies
Peonies definitely have the "less is more" thing down. At the very most, they started blooming in my yard 3 weeks ago, and they're all pretty much done. I missed showing you a few the later blooming ones and I very nearly missed showing you Bartzella. There was only one bedraggled bloom left when I finally made it out to take pictures. I tried to knock an ant off, and also got the petal it was sitting on. Bart is supposed to be yellow. He looks very pink in this photo, but he bloomed more coral and less pink than it looks here, with a hint of yellow in there. I suspect the color has to do with the acidity content {or lack thereof} in the soil. In any case, Bartzella made a beautiful showing this year and I'm looking forward to tinkering around to see if I can get the flower color to the yellow it is supposed to be.

Monday Music Spot: Rockebel's Cannon

Avilable for purchase from The Piano Guys or in iTunes.

Story behind the song:
Ask any cellist. They'll tell you about what's it's like to play the cello part of Pachebel's Canon in D. It's the same 8 notes over and over and over again. The good news is, it's easy to memorize. The bad news is you don't know when to stop. There's a rumor floating around that says Pachelbel either died while writing it, never finishing the cello part, or that he dated a cellist and it did NOT go well :raspberry:. This arrangement is dedicated to all the cellists that have fallen asleep while playing this song...or at least wanted to fall asleep. Steven Sharp Nelson actually began writing this arrangment while bored at a wedding :biggrin:>.

Ahem ... all the bitter cello-malice aside, Pachelbel's Canon in D (written in the 1600's) has stood the test of time — celebrated as the most recognizable piece of classical music. We like to call it the "one-hit wonder of the 1600's" :biggrin:. It really is an amazingly-catchy piece of music. It demonstrates the musical form of the "canon," when a melody is played and then repeated in a round by other voices (watch how the melodies are passed from one cello to the next — right to left).

ALL THE SOUNDS YOU HEAR WERE CREATED BY THE CELLO — bowing, plucking, strumming, and beating the cello any way possible.

This arrangement was actually written before ThePianoGuys posted our first video, "Michael Meets Mozart" — but we hesitated filming it because of how involved the idea was. We've never used "extras" before! And the thought of staging a wedding, directing extras, and cloning Steve 4 times all in one video-shoot made us justifiably anxious. So we put it off. And put it off. And then put if off some more. One day Al van der Beek was skimming through our thousands of messages on Facebook and happened to see one with the title "wedding" in the subject line. A woman had emailed us about an opportunity to film at a big magazine-spread wedding photo shoot. It was perfect — they would have the location, flowers, actors, and even a cake. Everything we'd need. To make a long story short, we excitedly scheduled our video shoot for the same day as their photo shoot, but a few days prior to the day it fell apart. After much discussion we determined to move forward on faith that we could still work it out. Paul Anderson marshaled all sorts of connections and called on whomever he could and by nothing short of a miracle in a matter of days the wedding was all planned — complete with a beautiful location, stunning decor, sharp tuxedos, fancy flowers, a photogenic bride and groom, 60 energetic guests, and an iced cake!

The piece at the beginning that is just ending is Steven Sharp Nelson's 4-cello arrangement of "Thanks Be To Thee" (att. to Handel). Available for purchase (track 7 on the album "Tender Mercies") from The Piano Guys. Sheet music also available for purchase.

Thanks to our many "cameos" we're reluctantly-proud to admit that this is the first video where you can SEE ALL FIVE PIANO GUYS! Everyone appeared as themselves, except for Jon who got a little carried away with his characters :biggrin:.

A HUGE thank you goes out to our vendors that made this wedding look so amazing. Please visit their sites and use them if you're planning a wedding!

Bell Tower
Forever More Events

Another huge thank you goes out to all our extras — family and friends that sacrificed an afternoon to make our little wedding look the part! You were all fantastic!

And another thank you goes to Robin Saville of Bride Access who helped Steven Sharp Nelson conceptualize this video.

Canon in D written by Johann Pachelbel (1600's)
Arrangement written and produced by Al van der Beek & Steven Sharp Nelson
Recorded, mixed, and mastered by Al van der Beek at TPG Studios
Video produced by Paul Anderson & Tel Stewart
Steven Sharp Nelson, cellists
Paul Anderson, himself
Al van der Beek, himself
Tel Stewart, himself
Jon Schmidt, minister and hip old lady
Shalley Sorenson, bride
Zach Sorenson, groom
Nicole Alfano, Wedding Coordinator

Sunday, June 3, 2012

I'm A Mormon: Kristy Glass - Finding Forgiveness

Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. –Unknown

Saturday, June 2, 2012

A Stitch in Time: May Finishes Giveaway Winner

You can't always expect a certain result, but you can expect to do your best. –Anita Hill

One of the highlights of my time spent on-line is getting to see all the terrific projects that get linked up as finished each month. I am always so impressed by the creative and beautiful projects that are out there. There were 58 finishes linked up in May and LadyBug drew entry number 17 as the winner.

Petite Odile

Congratulations to
:partytime: Amy :partytime:
at Sew Incredibly Crazy

Amy will receive four charm packs of Petite Odile by French General from our sponsor, The Fat Quarter Shop. If you have a minute, check out her winning Entry, Three Sheets to the Wind. Amy submitted eight other finishes this month, 1, 3, 8, 11, 18, 21, 33 and 37. And if you haven't already, check out a few of the other projects that were finished last month.

The June Finishes Linky Party is already open, so you can link up as you go throughout the month. Remember to include the June Finishes button {code found on the May post} somewhere in your post. The giveaway, sponsored by The Fat Quarter Shop, is a rolie polie of Millie's Closet by Lori Holt for Riley Blake Designs!

Millie's Closet

Today's post brought to you by:

Friday, June 1, 2012

Favourite Sew & Tell Things Friday: My Sewing Space

Happiness isn't something you experience; it's something you remember. –Oscar Levant

My favourite thing today has been my favourite since Christmas. I've been meaning to post about it for ages. It's been a journey to get here, so get comfy and enjoy the ride. I took pictures of this favourite in February, but Shay went on holiday the week I was going to post them. A couple of weeks later, when I went to post, I couldn't find the photos. Instead of taking new photos, I spent about four hours that afternoon organizing my photos because I was sure they'd turn up any minute. Eventually, I gave up and posted something else, thinking that I'd forgotten to move them off my memory card and they'd been deleted with a folder there that I thought was empty. A few weeks later, I found the photos, hiding in plain sight, in the folder I'd left them in February. That took all the fun out of it for me and I resolutely ignored them.

In late March, AmyLouWho posted a picture of her messy sewing space and the photos of a make-over in progress. She issued a sewing space spring cleaning challenge and I decided to take the challenge. For the past 2½ years, my sewing spot has been in the living room and I've know for a while that it was time to move it out of there. It took me almost a month to work up the nerve to actually photograph my sewing table, and it's been another six weeks since I took the photos. But here they are at last. Don't judge. OK. Judge if you want to. It's pretty bad.

It's kind of like one of those pictures where you have to find the items that don't fit in, hidden somewhere in the drawing. I see car keys, two different remote controls, a stapler, a flyer for a deal on cable TV and my menu planning notepad. I wonder what other non-sewing related things are lurking in there? Then there are the projects layered on top of projects. And do you notice anything really important missing? What a mess!

Besides everything on top of the table, here's the mess that trailed through the living room.

After I took these photos, I started sorting. I have most of my stash in plastic storage containers, sorted out by project. I got a few more containers and sorted anything not designated to a project by color. I removed anything that didn't belong, and within a few days, I had the space all cleared out and the table put away. Wohoo! We have a living room again!

As I removed things from table, I put together my new sewing space. For Christmas, my mom got me a sewing table. She's awesome like that. I tipped her off that they would be on sale the day after Thanksgiving for half price, and if you went in before noon, you got an extra 20% off. That fit her budget exactly. I've been using the sewing table since mid-January {I know! Silly me! Why didn't I rip the box open Christmas evening?} and kind of traveled back and forth between the two tables. The clutter always stayed with the table in the living room, though.

I set up my new sewing table in the kitchen. It was kind of migrant for a while, but I think it's found its permanent spot. I set it up this way a little over a month ago when the old table went down and it has pretty much stayed this neat and tidy, because a quick clean-up between projects, with places to put everything, is lots easier than a big clean-up. It is so nice to have an organized work space!

I love these drawers. I collected them a few at a time, and had them in a different configuration, which is why there is kind of an odd-man-out there. They were too tall the other way and I like it better this height, even if one of the drawers doesn't match up evenly.

Today's post brought to you by:

A Stitch In Time: June Finishes Linky Party

Look at a day when you are supremely satisfied at the end. It's not a day when you lounge around doing nothing; it's when you've had everything to do, and you've done it.
–Margaret Thatcher

Welcome to the June Finishes Linky Party! There were so many beautiful finishes in May and I can't wait to see what you all work on in June! Anything finished between 12:00 am on June 1st and 11:59 pm on June 30th can be added to this linky party. You have through 10:00 am on July 1st to post about it and link up.

To participate in this month's linky party:
• Finish a project and blog about it {finished as in done, finito, nothing more to add, ready to use/display/give away}.
• Scroll down to see what other bloggers are up to and link to your own finishes.
• Please include the June 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 June giveaway, a rolie polie of Millie's Closet by Lori Holt for Riley Blake Designs! I'm so excited! I'm a huge Lori Holt fan!

Millie's Closet

• Thank you to The Fat Quarter Shop for sponsoring our giveaway!

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}.

June 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.