...and it's blue

This and many beautiful paintings are in a new exhibit at the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City. We went with my sister and were thrilled with the paintings and theme:
"Practicing Charity: Everyday Daughters of God."

Matthew 5:6...Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

 Galatians 5:13...by love serve one another.

Three artists are featured. The women artists (Kathleen Peterson and Lee Udall Bennion) are amazing, and I'll show my photos of their work soon. 
But this painting by Brian Kershisnik. 
This painting...lifted my spirit, and moved me deeply. 

Here's another version - also beautiful. 

We enjoyed our museum time so much. Merilee works in the church media department, so she knows what's going on everywhere and keeps us informed. Other paintings were also wonderful and I also LOVED the perfect, pretty garland painted on the walls of the exhibit space. 


good book - Crow Lake

Yesterday was book club, and it was my turn to do the book review. The book was Crow Lake by Mary Lawson. Our books come from our local library's book club club, so the librarians select the books and send a dozen copies home with our 'representative' to distribute among the book club members. We have book buddies that we share our book with. It's a great program because no one gets blamed if the book is unliked. (Speaking of not liking a book, I selected a book once and reviewed it with great enthusiasm. But I think I was the only person who cared for it, and that was embarrassing. I still remember - it was Letters to an American Lady by C. S. Lewis.

So, back to Crow Lake. I read, studied, googled, and prepared to review this mostly lovely, kind of complicated, nicely-written-but-full-of-literary-devices, heartwarming, frustrating book. 

It is Lawson's first novel and won several awards. It is set in northern Ontario and Toronto, Canada. Her descriptions of the land and countryside are beautifully written. The story is about family and tragedy and traditions and guilt and love. The story is filled with characters we can all identify with. It is at times very sad but also hopeful. I liked the book, but I can tell you that most of our Book Club LOVED the book. So that's a good recommendation. 

p.s. I own the book, so if you'd like to borrow it, just let me know. 

Also: Lawson has a new book called Road Ends that will be out this summer. 


HaPpy St. PaTrick'S Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day - mostly from Scott. Have I ever mentioned on this blog how much Scott loves SpongeBob SquarePants? He could sit for hours and watch SpongeBob cartoons, and he would be laughing the whole time. You would hear him from other parts of the house. He has most of them memorized. He owns a dozen SpongeBob DVDs.

Sometimes SpongeBob can be annoying and even unacceptable. Then I turn it off. But generally, (especially the early episodes), watching Patrick, Mr. Squidward, Sandy, and the rest is a bit of fun - a lot of fun for Scott.

Here's a Wikipedia paragraph on the creator of SpongeBob:  Stephen Hillenburg majored in marine biology and minored in art. After graduating in 1984, he joined the Ocean Institute, an organization that educated the public about marine science. While he was there, he had the idea that would lead to the creation of SpongeBob SquarePants: a comic book titled "The Intertidal Zone," which was used to teach visiting students about the animal life of tide pools.The comic starred various sea lifeforms, many of which would evolve into SpongeBob SquarePants characters. The comic's main character was "Bob the Sponge" who, unlike SpongeBob, resembled an actual sea sponge, rather than a kitchen sponge. 
In 1987, Hillenburg left the institute to pursue his dream of becoming an animator. Although he drew several rough sketches of the concept, it would be close to a decade before his idea would become a reality. He tells about pitching his idea to Nickelodean in 1997. "The execs from Nickelodeon flew out to Burbank, and we pitched it to them from the storyboards. We had squeezy toys, wore Hawaiian shirts and used a boom box to play music. We really went all out in that pitch because we knew the pilot lived or died by if the execs laughed. When it was over, they walked out of the room to discuss it. We figured they would fly back to New York and we'd hear in a few weeks. We were surprised when they came back in what seemed like minutes and said they wanted to make it".


USU award celebration

Utah State University celebrates Founder's Day each year in March and selects several award recipients for Distinguished Alumni and Distinguished Service awards.This year my dad received the Alumni award! It was a wonderful night for our family and a great honor for both my parents. 

The link to the Herald Journal article describing the entire event is here. There were numerous notable awardees whose accomplishments were inspiring...including the Nobel Prize winner and USU graduate Lars Hansen. The music by USU professors and students was amazing, the flowers and event decor by (cousin) Andi Watts Saxton were gorgeous, and the food by former neighbor Amy Rasmussen and USU chefs was beautiful.

Evan and President Stan Albrecht listening as the emcee reads the biography. The picture on the screen is from his twelve years as the director of the Student Union Building in the fifties and sixties. 
Dad's response was so good! It went with the theme of honoring USU perfectly. He talked about how much he loved the university - the students, faculty, classified employees, campus. Among several good quotes, he quoted Thomas Edison, "I never worked a day in my life. It was all fun." 

The stage set was beautiful. The huge backdrop of mountains and Old Main were created by Dennis Hassan, professor of scene design at USU. When the room was dark, the A and the windows were lit up.  

The link to the Herald Journal article describing the entire event is here. There were numerous awardees including the Nobel Prize winner and USU graduate Lars Hansen.


the last few days of February

It has been beautiful here lately with spectacular sunsets and mild weather. A bit of rain (thankfully) last week and one huge rainstorm that made my drive home from Salt Lake City on Thursday harrowing, to say the least. When I watch the news and see the terrible snow and ice storms in the east YET AGAIN, I feel so sad for those poor people and so grateful for lucky us (although I KNOW we need the snow and rain to avoid drought this summer).
I love Scott's shots of the sunset and incredible sky above the Wellsville mountains.
Today I went outside and checked out the yard. There are tiny shoots of green everywhere. It feels wrong somehow.
Our resident pheasant is back. He makes a distinctive call and when I hear it, I run to the window to say hello.
And the deer continue to hang out. This is a shot from our deck with the canopy supports framing the buck.
The weekend loafers. They spent the day basking in the sun and enjoying our crab apples and soft grass.


Love isn't love 'til you give it away!

This Valentine's banner that Becky cut and sewed for us made me happy all month!

And also, my Valentine table runner (that I made last year when I worked for Kim) brought smiles anytime I looked at it.
This sign/quote did too. It's on my kitchen window sill where I see it each morning. It inspires me to go and do. 
So I decided to do some old-fashioned Valentine's door ditching. I gathered tags and ribbon , giant sugar cookies from Old Grist Mill and a variety of Valentine candy. (The tan tag is actually a tag that Scott's sister Jill made for us, along with a plate of fabulous cookies and chocolate candies. All handcrafted by Jill...she's amazing. )
I found cards and stickers to help add loving messages. 
I had a good supply of these cherry M&Ms that were made just for Valentine's Day, I  had to hide them because I knew Scott (and I) would eat more than his share, and I definitely wanted to give a bag to my friend Dorothy who loved them but never could find them in December. The red candy colors are so pretty.

We wrapped up the M&Ms - and laughed at the red "spokescandy" trying to look romantic. Wrote some cheesy words and tied on the cute tags. Dropped them off, but weren't fast enough to do the door ditch thing. 

Now you won't believe this. Scott made banana bread - yes by himself. He gave it away too.  
 We had a grand Valentine's Day, Scott and I, taking goodies to neighbors, staff at work, visiting teaching friends, etc. We talked to family on the phone and opened e-cards from our grandkids.
These Valentines came to us from little Lizzie. The Doc McStuffins theme was adorable and perfect for Dr. Raymond.


sNowflaKe cooKies

It's snowing today! Finally. 

This picture is from before Christmas, and I put it on Instagram, but I love it so much I had to blog it too. Aren't those cookies gorgeous? The frosting decorations were exquisite and you can't see, but they looked glittery and sparkly too. 
For my snowy picture, I knew I had to place the cookies on the perfect plate. I love the white white Waterford china. I bought one dinner plate and one salad plate when Dillards in Logan closed and their china samples were half of half price. Those silver squiggle-swoops are my favorite. 

My daughter-in-law Sierra and her mom made and decorated the cookies. Sierra and Leslie are awesome at things like sugar cookies and caramel apples and holiday celebrations with fancy food to match. For their Chinese New Year party last week, they had Mike cook Japanese food for them, and they had cute decorations and probably homemade fortune cookies. I love how they do things up right! But I'm most impressed with their sugar cookies (because I love to eat them). Leslie's recipe not only looks great but tastes delicious (the icing too). I probably ate most of the cookies myself because, unlike Scott who can forget food, I kept sneaking into the kitchen for one more nibble. 


scRapbooking nowadaYs

Scrapbooking! No, I haven't done it lately, but I sure have enjoyed looking at what others make. It's still alive and (sort of) well. Many scrappers have taken their layouts to an art form as you can see from the examples that follow. I'm amazed by their creativity and dedication to their art. I admire the companies who continue to design gorgeous product. The photos are from the blog of an Australian scrapbook distributor called Aussie ScrapSource. 

I just love watching trends and seeing how they change. Right now there seems to be an emphasis on texture with lots of layers and clusters of product on light-colored (or sometimes chalkboard-ish) backgrounds. The one-photo layout is still popular. Lots of scrappers are adding interest with stencils and spray mists.
Heidi Swapp
Carta Bella - Bella Blvd.
Jillibean Soup
Studio Calico
Studio Calico

The last image is the pretty Capri Collection from ADORNit where I once worked as writer and editor. It's actually not a new collection, but I included this layout because I came up with the name for the papers and fabrics: Capri. A simple but nice name that made me think of sunshine, sea scenes, and happy vacations. The girls on the layout are the owner/founder/artist Carolee McMullin and her daughters..the ADORNit girls...also a name that I developed!