Monday, June 27, 2011

Pillow Talk

Okay, so I've been making a few pillows...

My friend Jessica sent me this link for a really cute pillow. I had some leftover curtain fabric and an old red pillow that just needed something to dress it up a bit. So, here's my version:
I cut the curtain fabric into LOTS of 2" strips with my rotary cutter. When I got to the end of a strip, I would just stitch the end of another one to it and keep going:
In the beginning, I used an embroidery hoop to hold the pillow in place to make it easier. I think this pillow would be easier to make on a piece of fabric first and then, make THAT into a pillow. I was starting with an already made pillow and it got a little tricky with the back of the pillow always getting in the way.
Does that make sense?
This pillow took a long time to make, but it was really fun and I just worked on it here and there when Zeke and I were watching a movie or something. I would like to try and make another one. FYI, depending on where your pillow is going to be and how much it's going to be used, you'd better stitch those strips down tight! My pillow is in my living room where we watch TV and I've had a few strips come un-stitched already. If it was on my bed it might hold up better/less wear/throwing/squishing/etc.
Here's a close-up of the finished pillow:
I found these ideas at I really like them, but I didn't actually follow these patterns at all, they just inspired me and this is what I came up with.
I took an old placemat I was no longer using and sewed a square of muslin on the back and stuffed it to make the pillow. This one is for our bed:
I found some fabric scraps I liked and used a spool of thread for my circle shape and cut several circles (probably 7-10 per flower).
Can you see the circle I traced?
I folded each circle in half twice, so it was a wedge shape and I just tacked down the wedges really close together and kinda separated the "petals" and fluffed them up in places until I liked how it looked. I really like how it turned out.
And this idea came from my friend Julie's blog. I LOVE this idea of using an image from old shirt and saving it on a pillow. The image on my pillow comes from one of my very favorite college shirts. It's all stretched out and worn now, but I've kept it all this time because I just LOVE the picture on it. Now, I found a good use for it! This one is also for our bed.
Beck is showing you how BIG the pillow is:
The kids have each picked out an old shirt they want me to put on a pillow for them too. Again, this year, I am trying to do craft and sewing projects mainly using up the stuff I already have. It's been so fun and rewarding to go through my fabric boxes and do something with it.

And here's our bed: (My Dad said we have too many pillow on there -- that was about FOUR pillows ago! I think I need at least two or three more.)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Three is a Magic Number

Well, here's my week: Swim lessons everyday, Playdate/Park everyday, shopping, library, gymnastics, art class, oh, and laundry, dishes, dinner, and guilt from NOT working in my yard.

I realized this week I have reached a milestone in my life. This is the FIRST time EVER in 10 years that I have been able to sit and watch my kids during their entire swimming lesson. WOW. Really it is SO weird. Gabe started when he was three and I was busy with Zoe. Gabe and Zoe took lessons and I was busy chasing Kaia. For the last three years, I have been chasing Beck while Gabe, Zoe, and Kaia have been doing their lessons. Now, Beck is three and this is his first summer taking lessons.

I have 40 whole minutes just to sit there! *bliss* It took me until yesterday to realize I should bring a book! Every few minutes I would look up and smile and wave at the kids. Beck keeps giving me the "thumbs up" I like this new phase of being a Mommy. My brain feels so calm. It's time to re-fuel. Especially after chasing Beck through Wal-Mart yesterday morning!

Today is the first day this week I don't HAVE to go anywhere. I'm looking forward to working in the yard and reading "Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo". I'm on chapter four and it's really good so far. Really good, if you like juvenile science fiction/fantasy and I DO!

We're also going to a wedding reception tonight for one of Zeke's former young men/scouts. It's so cool/bizarre to see the youth grow up and get married. *sniff sniff* Where does the time go?
My girls just LOVE to go to weddings and see the bride's dress!
The girls have been playing dress up lately. Here they are as the Red Fairies complete with RED lipstick. I know I'm just a *little* biased, but I think they are absolutely adorable. I am so thankful they have each other. They are so close. Sometimes too close... there are some occasional arguments, usually over candy or jewelry or the cats. Oh, to be little again!
Last Friday, Zeke and Gabe went camping with the Scouts, so I took Zoe, Kaia, and Beck to the park. We also went Father's Day shopping for Zeke and got him some new shorts. This guy doesn't really ever buy clothes for himself other than shoes and T-shirts with funny sayings on them. I've mended and re-mended most of his shorts. He calls one pair his "Frankenstein Shorts" because of all the stitches on them. It was time to get new shorts!

I love this picture of Beck.
He was jumping up the slide and I caught him with his feet in the air:
Unfortunately, he jumped so hard, he hit his head on the slide:
"Whoa, Mom, did you see dat?!"

The girls call this the "little red spinny chair". It's tilted a bit, so when you sit in it and lean just a little, you start spinning so fast you wish you never sat there. I've only sat there twice. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me! What was I thinking? I used to love stuff like that. Not so much anymore, actually not at all. It's really hard to get out, especially with one hand over your mouth! Needless to say, Kaia and Zoe LOVE it!
Beck isn't too fond of the "little red spinny chair",
but this motorcycle is one of his favorites.
This park is one of my FAVORITE places to be.
It's only three minutes from our house.

I hope you're all having a FABULOUS summer and please don't feel bad if I haven't commented on your blog... I haven't forgotten any of you wonderful friends. I LOVE your comments and I look forward to catching up on your blogs in the next few days.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Now I've done it!

Okay, I seriously need to write a blog post... life is so busy and crazy right now.

A quote I really like, "Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle." Life is too short. No one is perfect. Look for the good. People can change.

I also believe that no matter how hard you try, you cannot get people to believe or see something they don't want to, even if it is the truth. Like Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do." But the truth will come to light someday and I am at peace knowing that retribution is with God. Let go and let GOD. Some good life lessons learned this week, not by choice, but maybe this was needed long ago.

Just FYI, we have ONE computer and now that school's out for the summer, there are FIVE of us waiting in line to use it during the day. Yeah, I'm thinking one post a week might be pushing it.

We've been swimming, BBQ-ing, cleaning, painting, gardening, laughing, crying, cooking, shopping, going to gymnastics, movie watching, reading, and staying up WAY too late... and just enjoying not having to do homework every night!

By the way, we watched a movie on Netflix called, "Outsourced", I really liked it.

NEWS of the week:
1) My neighbor and dear friend, Lora, is EXPECTING!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is the best news ever!
2) I got to meet a blog friend this week! Amber, I had a great time finally talking to you in person. Your kids are adorable! I wish I would have taken more pictures.
3) Zoe had an "Un-birthday" party today. Ever since she could talk, she's wanted a water party: swimming, water balloons, sprinklers, etc. Poor girl was born in November... so this year, she got her wish! :)
4) Last Saturday, I invited the girls from my Book Club and their families over for a BBQ. It was the best night ever! :) I seriously LOVE every single one of these women; they have saved my life. To see some of the highlights... go here, this is my dear friend, Tawnya's blog. This is Beck and his best friend, Sammy, at the BBQ. This is serious. Beck does NOT want to share Sammy with Kaia. At all. Or with anyone else. Sammy is the man! Beck talks about him all day and pretends he's here. :)
5) Gabe (far right) and his buddies heading to a Young Men's activity... they look pretty dang cute I think!

Zeke and I are so blessed. We have so many wonderful people in our life. Thank you to Lora, Tawnya, Amber, Nancy, Nicole, Melissa, Lisa, and anyone else who has made me smile. :)

Wow, suddenly June is half over. I need to take more pictures and keep working on my "to do" list. I've re-painted Beck's room and the family room. Next up is our room and the deck!

Next week: swimming lessons

Oh, and some good advice I learned the hard way,
"Never toss a bag of topsoil into your trunk!" (Do I need to explain?)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

"Thru thorny ways leads to a joyful end"

Be Still My Soul, Hymns #124

Be still, my soul: The Lord is on thy side;
With patience bear thy cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In ev'ry change He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: Thy best, thy Heav'nly Friend
Thru thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul: Thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: The waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Be still, my soul: The hour is hast'ning on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love's purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: When change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

I heard this hymn this morning as I was getting ready for church. The words are so powerful and comforting. God is real. He lives. He knows us and loves all of us. We are His children. I am so thankful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ and for this beautiful hymn. It has spoken to my heart this weekend and given me peace where I didn't think I could find any. Miracles have come to pass. I know that God hears and answers our prayers. Thank you and I hope you know who you are.

I wanted to re-post a beautiful quote from Mother Teresa. It helps me keep going in spite of opposition. I hope we can all see the good in others.

"People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.
Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere, people may deceive you.
Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.
Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some people may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today will often be forgotten.
Do good anyway.
Give the best you have and it may never be enough.
Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway."
Mother Teresa

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Good with the Bad... I'll take what I can get!

Okay, so Wednesday was Book Club. It was so AWESOME. It was nearly impossible to get there, but I was going no matter what! Kaia had a last minute birthday party. Zeke and Gabe went hiking with the scouts. At least my friend Nancy agreed to watch my kids, but right before I left, the Young Women came by doing a service scavenger hunt (how could I say no?) I had to take my Dad's old Chevy, very groovy in my opinion, although a tad hard to reach the gas pedal. I was an hour late, but it was worth every crazy minute spent trying to get there!

Sushi at the Black Pearl and Cannoli's at Sweetly Divine?
Oh yeah, but that's just the beginning!
Without incriminating anyone I will just say we hand a grand old time shopping for lingerie at Dillard's. What?!? Don't you go shopping for lingerie with your Book Club? Well, you should.

Oh and of course we talked about the book, a bit. Actually most of us hadn't finished it yet. It's over 500 pages and well... life happens. But I did finish it Friday night. If you didn't read my last post, it's called "The Forgotten Garden" by Kate Morton. I really liked it. I would probably give it 3 out of 5 stars, maybe 4. It's hard to follow sometimes, jumping between the early 1900's, 1975, and 2005 all through the book with each chapter labeled with a different year. It's a great mystery with interesting characters. However, I was a bit frustrated by this woman's apparent allergy to conjunctions. I don't think I've read a book with longer, more confusing sentences. (other than my blog!) I'd have to go back and reread a few sentences here and there trying to figure out what she was saying. I'm very impatient and it just didn't flow at times. But the overall story was great.

Seriously, this whole paragraph is TMI I know, but I don't care. Friday was one of those days.... my dumb bladder. Does anyone wanna trade me? Deb? Amanda? You've offered to trade other things with me, I just thought I would ask. :) Anyway, having IC does have it's benefits, I guess. When I'm having a "flare-up", I can't hold still for anything, for fear of, well, you know. So I spent most of Friday running around the house getting stuff done. A week's worth of chores done in one day: Litter boxes, weeding, laundry, more weeding, dishes, etc. I guess I just need the proper motivation. Hmm? The kids and I had fun in spite of my inability to sit still. My medicine just wasn't cutting it so I had to keep VERY busy in order to keep my mind off of it.

Random: Kaia and Beck watching Scooby Doo
For the record, we're just a week into summer and my kids are so good at helping me around the house. During the school year, they have a few chores each day, but with so much homework and scouts and activity days and all that, I don't really focus on heavy duty chores until summer. I have a very simple chore chart and I rotate it everyday. Did you know that Kaia seriously LOVES to dust? I don't know where she came from, but I am definitely keeping her! Gabe mows the lawn for me and takes out the trash. Zoe is my best sweeper and clothes folder and Beck will do anything if he thinks he's "helping". Yeah, I'm pretty dang blessed!
Here's Gabe and Beck chillin' on the back deck after Gabe mowed the lawn.
Beck LOVES his big brother!
Friday night, we built a camp fire in the backyard and made smores.
It was a bit chilly, but fun.
Saturday was a Mother-Daugher Picnic for the Activity Day girls (kinda like girl scouts, sorta). Zoe and I went together and well, she is my buddy. We had a picnic on the lawn and painted flower pots.
Afterwards, we went to the store to grab a few things and Zoe saw a display of Justin Bieber dolls and was NOT happy about it. I'm glad she's not into all that yet. Honestly, why is he so popular? He sounds like a girl, well, at least the doll version of him does. We had to test all of the dolls just to see if they worked -- at the same time. You know the guy that spins dinner plates on top of sticks or whatever? We're WAAAY better than him!
Saturday night, we invited our wonderful neighbors, Lora and David, over to help us eat some some dutch oven potatoes and ribs. They obliged and brought some dutch oven cherry-chocolate dump cake. It was a feast! I can't believe it's only been a year since I met Lora. We are so blessed! I was so sad last year when I got released from Young Women's and then, Lora moved in across the street and life just keeps getting better. We have a lot in common so we can relate to each other, but we are very different too and it's keeps things interesting. :) I didn't take any pictures :(

Okay, today, Sunday, has been quite a day for me. I've been praying earnestly for answers to some things that have been troubling me lately. I'm always amazed at how those answers come. Testimony meeting was inspiring and I really appreciated my friend, Michelle's testimony of prayer and how she's gotten answers to the "small" things and that's given her Faith to keep praying for the "big" things and now the big things have been answered. I need to have more Faith! I hope I can endure the trials I have been given. Sometimes I'm not so sure. They're nothing too major, but for me they seem unbearable.

I was thinking about how wonderful my life really is aside from one or two things and if I didn't have these trials to deal with, how would I learn anything? There must be opposition in all things, right? Sometimes I just wish I could pick the what and the when... yeah, it just doesn't work that way.

Also, while preparing my Primary lesson this week, I've had this cute little Primary song going through my head (and it's no coincidence):

Help me, Dear Father, to freely forgive
All who may seem unkind to me.
Help me each day, Father, I pray;
Help me live nearer, nearer to Thee.

Why is it so hard to forgive people? Maybe it's just hard for me. I look at other families and wonder what it would be like to have a different family. But you know, I was given my family for a reason. ALL of them. I'm really trying to figure out what I'm supposed to learn from all of it and REALLY trying to feel charity in my heart. I think it's interesting the lyrics say "all who may seem unkind". It's how we perceive things... and I could go on forever about that one. But regardless of perception and true intent, I am still REQUIRED to forgive. My trial isn't "finished", but I got a lot of answers today and I am very grateful for the peace I felt. I think I've made some progress. There's NO way I could handle what I'm going through without the help of my Father in Heaven.

Here's to a new week! :)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

This is my thinking face

I feel so behind on blogs and blogging. We had a good trip. It's always nice to see my parents. I didn't feel too well most of the time and well, that's just not any fun is it? Can I just tell you how much my parents LOVE the soundtrack to Mamma Mia? ha ha ha... good times. We went for a ride with them and they were SO into the music. It was a treat to see them out of the house and enjoying each other and the music. :)

I'm trying to get my children into some kind of summer routine. Yesterday was great, but I'm not sure yet how blogging will fit into it. Yesterday was also full of unpacking and extra laundry.

I'm trying to finish reading a book because Book Club is TONIGHT! I'm excited, but I've gotta get reading! So far, I really like the book. It's called, "The Forgotten Garden" by Kate Morton. We'll see how it ends. I also need to find a babysitter because Zeke and Gabe are going hiking with the deacons... I will TRIUMPH!

I always feel kinda weird visiting the cemetary... kind of sad and just really introspective. So many memories, so many regrets, so many worries, so many questions, so many hopes and wishes. I enjoyed going to visit the graves of both sets of grandparents, as well as my sister, Brenda, and my cousin, Rory. Life is SO precious. It can be over in an instant. This weekend was FULL of emotions and I find myself overly cautious and smiling on the outside, but worrying like a paranoid crazy person on the inside.

Here's my Mom, Zoe, and Kaia at the Centerfield, Utah Cemetary... it was very cold and windy. This is the headstone of my paternal grandparents, Leo and Eliza Andersen. Don't you just love Zoe and Kaia's headbands/bows? My Mom always has some special little thing for them. She is THE best grandma.
I am so thankful that she can be part of their lives.
Here's the boys: my Dad, Gabe, and Beck
(sorry the picture is so fuzzy, I took it from my phone)
The highlight of the weekend was my Dad singing "one of his songs"... you just have to know my Dad. I'll have to share a few with you later. But this was a song I've never heard before and well, before he got to the second verse, my Mom came running in and shut him up. My kids were laughing so hard and just DYING to know what he was going to sing. Dad, I'm still curious. You said you'd sing it to Zeke later and he could sing it to me. Oh, I can only imagine. :)

As soon as I finish that book, I will catch up on my blog reading!
Oh, and go hug your little ones at least two or three times, ok? :)
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