{ earLy spRIng }

I'm just going to say it, "I love that we're having an early spring and a warm, snowless March!" And I'm not going to follow up with, "I know we need the water, but..." I'm so tired of that conversation. I talked that talk at the dentist today, and I then came right out and admitted that I don't really care about the upcoming drought...I have JUST LOVED not being cold for the past eight weeks. The dental assistant looked at me like she needed to send for the sheriff. Oh well...

I'm not going to dilute my joy with the obligatory, "But we'll pay for it in August." Or the sad truth, "The ski resorts have suffered." Rather, I'm shouting to the world that this has been the best winter ever, and (almost) everyone has been in such a good mood! Most of all, me!


Lucky Us!

Happy St. Patrick's Day and what a lovely day it was. The temperatures continue to be unseasonably mild and today was another of those "I just can't believe it" days.

Did you find a four-leaf clover as a kid? I remember searching and searching for one - like for summers on end. Our grass was filled with clover and finding a four-leaf clover happened to almost everyone... and then it happened to me. I still remember the excitement I felt when I found my special clover. And from then on, I was lucky. (Except in junior high when I was under-confident, awkward and not one of the popular girls.) 

I feel very lucky today. Mostly, I'm lucky because of my great family...specifically, seven awesome grandkids. I love each of them so much. Each one is adorable, smart, and outstanding. None of them lives here in Logan - but we get to see them quite often, and it's always a treat. 

In searching for photos of each of them, I realize I need to kick it up a notch! Their moms won't believe that these are the best individual photos I have out of 20 million photos on my camera roll. 

Brookelyn - 8th grade

Bailee - 5th grade

Carter - 1st grade

Claire - 3 1/2

Lizzie - 3 1/2

Emmett - 5 1/2

Hollis - 2 1/2 


{ designs I love }

Speaking of Orla Kiely...here are some favorite images from this designer that I've loved for many years. I first bought an Orla Kiely notebook in (of all places) Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Scott was taking a painting class, and I had some time to wander through the shops downtown. I had planned to stitch while he painted, but finished my project quickly and went looking for something to do. (This was before laptops.) When I saw the little notebook I was tempted jump up and down right there in the shop. It was just what I needed to fill my time. And the graphic design was so happy! I wrote a lot in that notebook over the next few days.
Orla Kiely is an Irish designer based in London. She received a degree in art and design in Dublin then worked in New York and London - where she designed for Esprit. In 1997, she started to design handbags and soon was selling many many out of her home. With the help of her husband, her company became successful very quickly.

My next Orla Kiely find was a journal in a little shop in the Cincinnati airport. We had a long layover on the way to...where?..so I decided to go walking. My walk took me to a little shop with an unexpected corner filled with Orla bags, home decor items, and notebooks. I loved it. (I also remember buying a book in that shop called "I Will Not Die an Unlived Life" by Donna Markova.) 
One day, when I was in a Target store, I stumbled onto an Orla Kiely section! Of all the places...Target. The best items sold out quickly. I bought a cutting board and kitchen towel. 

I found this on the Anthropologie website. I LOVE this purse - especially the perforated leather. And that color!  I've never "invested" in an Orla Kiely bag. (Probably never will.)
Orla Kiely also designs beautiful simple clothing and shoes. Oh, and buses. 


doodle a little

I love to collect notebooks, journals, pads of paper, even 3x5 cards. I keep a little stash of 3x5s in my wallet so I always have something to write on. Notebooks are everywhere.

I want to fill my notebooks, but sometimes I just can't think of anything to write. I'm so weary of my journals and how they drone on with the same old stuff that I always write about...the old angst about myself that's so tiresome. So, I went online and found lots of information about "what to write when there's nothing to write." One website suggested you open your journal every day and start by making a sketch. The simple act of putting pen to paper will get you started, and the words will come once the drawing is finished.

That's laughable. I can't draw...not even stick figures. But I am VERY inspired by the art journals of many artists/writers. Especially Mary Ann Moss who blogs at Dispatch from LA. So I decided to try the suggested sketching/writing exercise by copying a sketch from Mary Ann's blog that I like so much. 

I went to the blog and found a little flower to draw. Turns out, my little flower looks nothing like the one on Dispatch from LA. OK, it's a disaster. The flower was too difficult for me. I need something easier to sketch. Something with simple graphics. I need to doodle...not draw. I remembered my favorite Orla Kiely notebooks and the simple leaf design that I love. I turned to a new page in my notebook and copied the simple leaf design onto my page. Yes, that's more my style...doodling rather than drawing, and the colors make me happy. I then wrote about an interesting experience that happened yesterday.

Here's my doodle:
And here's what I wrote:

Sometimes when you least expect it, a good thing happens that just changes your outlook and puts a spring in your step. That kind of thing happened to me yesterday. I had been helping my mom with errands she needed and the day was fading fast. I took her home after an hour in a dress shop in the mall trying on tops and sweaters. Then another slow walk through Bath and Body Works to buy soap. After I took her home, I decided to grab a Diet Coke at the gas station. I needed energy because in a short hour and a half, I had to go back to mom's and take her to a birthday party for her longtime friend, Iva Lou, I filled my soda cup and approached the cash register where a big, scruffy college guy was working as clerk. He jumped from his perch on the counter, smiled, and said, "So what are you doing today...anything fun?" I said (kind of woefully), "Oh, I'm taking my 85-year-old mother to her friend's 90th birthday party at an old folks' home." He said cheerfully, "That sounds fun." I replied, "Not really." And then the unexpected sentence that sent me out the door with a smile on my face. The young man shared this attitude-altering suggestion: "Just look at it this way...you'll be the youngest one there!" And then he grinned at me.


tidy up and earn billions

On Friday (Feb. 27), the Wall Street Journal ran a full page article and picture on the front of the Arena section. The Arena section is about books, movies, tv, art, music, theater, etc. For a book to land on the front page is pretty fantastic and the publicity would be like having a recommendation from Oprah.

I was completely surprised to see this little book:

I bought my own copy of this book about three months ago when I saw it on Amazon. When it arrived, I read through the first two chapters, then the next two, bonked my hand on my head and said to myself, "This is going to take some serious discipline AND a serious think-outside-the-box attitude. I laughed as I thought, "I can just picture Scott and me in the storage room, going through boxes, holding each item in our arms and asking each other, "Does this spark joy?" And then thanking the items for their service to us as we throw them away. 

For the author, Marie Kondo, a professional organizer, the criteria for getting rid of clutter is not to decide what things you don't like and throw them away, but rather to decide what things bring happiness and joy and keep only them. (Then, throw the rest away.) It's an inside out method that she says works.

The author of the WSJ article mentioned, and I agree, that the approach is very Japanese. But it has caught on in America to the point that fans have started clubs and social media pages to share their tidying up successes. The article says, "They use the author's name as a verb that can refer either to purging or to meticulous folding...as in: "I Kondoed my recipe books from three shelves to two." There are also YouTube videos including this one showing the author working with a magazine editor in New York City. I loved watching this video and especially the Japanese bows at the end.

Here are some of Kondo's suggestions:

Tip #1: Keep only those things that speak to your heart. Then take the plunge and discard all the rest. 

Tip #2: Gather every piece of clothing you own...every last piece from all over the house...and place it all on your bed. Divide the clothes into categories. Go through the clothes and decide which items give you joy. Donate or discard the rest.

Tip #3: Make tidying a special event, not a daily chore.

The book goes on to explain how to store the clothing you keep. Marie Kondo believes in folding most clothes rather than hanging. The Wall Street Journal shows her step-by-step method for folding a sweater and then calls her a global publishing phenomenon. 

So...I have to wonder, why is this book and author becoming such a sensation? I'll have to finish reading the book before I come up with an answer. But it's fascinating. 


Happy Valentine's Day

February - the shortest month - seemed to fly by this year. Maybe it seemed extra short because of the unusually warm weather - that's my best explanation. I enjoyed decorating this year - sometimes I think I won't bother (no kids to decorate for), but I'm always glad when I fill my house with hearts. and love.

I loved my Valentine's Table Runner. I finished it last year after Valentine's Day, so this was my first year to enjoy it. It decorated my kitchen counter along with pink and red candies. I think anyone could easily sew this table runner. The center tumbler blocks are so fun to make - it's magic how you sew those uneven blocks together and they come out in perfect rows. The applique is quick and easy using your machine. (The pattern is available from Kimberbell Designs)

This is Kim's version.

Add here is mine.

I loved using browns, tans, and taupe prints for this project.

I also loved my pillow which was made by my friend Teresa Lewis! Look at those buttons! And the hand embroidery. Teresa is a beautiful, prolific pillow maker. 

I loved loved the sugar cookies our d-i-l Sierra made. Her cookies are my favorite gift from her!

 I loved my handmade card from Becky! The ombre hearts have always been a favorite look and now I have a card of my own. 

I loved the flowers I bought at Sego and took to a friend...especially love that hobnail vase! I picked it especially for my friend because it looks old fashioned and girly. 


my iTune faves

Today I had an MRI - it wasn't the full-body awful kind where you're in the tube from head to toes for 45 minutes. No, this MRI was to check my injured knee, so I was lucky to have my head and arms out of the machine. Still, it was dang noisy and very uncomfortable to lie on the hard table for 30 minutes without moving.

Last night, I read up on "how to prepare for an MRI" on the internet - just so there would be no surprises. Interestingly, neither the doctor's office nor the Radiology scheduler gave me any information except to ask if I am claustrophobic. So I went to various websites and they advised me to wear a warm sweater and socks, take good headphones, make a CD of my favorite relaxing music that I could hand to the tech for me to listen to, and request a potty break and blanket before the procedure begins. I did all those things.

Above is my iTunes list titled "All-Time Faves" that I burned to a CD and took with me along with Scott's best noise-cancelling headphones. (I actually could only fit 18 songs on my CD.) The songs are the songs that I can listen to over and over. Mostly they're oldies - good old oldies from my high school and college days. And then some from this year and other misc. songs. It's quite a mish-mash and not the type of "cool" music that my son, Mike, listens to. I do like his music and sometimes he makes me a list of songs he thinks I'll enjoy. But for my MRI and driving in the car, these are my songs. My very favorite song is "4 in the Morning" by Gwen Stefani. I'm not sure why, but it's my favorite. And if you haven't listened to the last two songs - "Satisfied" and "Melody," you just have to listen to them soon because they're both special songs. And I love the Blake Shelton version of "Home" instead of Michael Buble's version. Another top favorite is "A Whiter Shade of Pale." For years, I have turned on that song and tried to get the kitchen counter cleaned up before it ends. 

And, about the MRI. The tech that ran the machinery kind of laughed when I reached for my headphones. I had to use theirs, not mine - they were earbuds, and they felt like they were about to fall out the whole time. Also, the only music options were the local radio stations. I could choose Q92, 94.5, country, or oldies. I chose country. I told the tech, a younger man, that I would be happy if the radio station played Shotgun Rider, and he said he'd never heard of that song. 


gratitude list

Today I'm feeling so much love and gratitude for my family. My heart has been full the past few days...my niece had a darling baby girl - their first - named Allie! Isn't that cute. Becky and Pitt were able to move and so many people helped, (I got to help by tending grandkids,) My sister took my mom to St. George for a week and everything went well, my nephew and his family in Boston were hit by the storm - but not as big as the original forecast, my granddaughters did well in their soccer and dance competitions (thanks to the support of their good parents Aaron and Aimee), and everyone has traveled safely from Mesquite to Idaho Falls and thousands of miles in betweenWhew!


{ Ice Skating }

For the last few years, we've gone ice skating on the day after Christmas - or this year - the day after the day after Christmas. We use email and FB to invite family, friends, friends of family, and family of friends. It's fun to just relax and have fun. This is exactly what kids need after being cooped up in grandma's house with new toys, candy, and cousins. Speaking of cousins - that's our seven above. They're so awesome (says Grammy!). 
 I love everything about this picture. It just makes me smile every time I look at it. I'm probably going to put it on the wedding wall just for the smile factor. These two are an absolute delight!!
They don't rent skates for one year olds, but Hollis had fun riding on the ice in her stroller. I love that the ice center allows strollers on the ice.
Here's little cousin Gordon in his stroller. He's a cutie anyway, but being on the ice in the stroller  just lit up his little face. 

 Lizzie decided to experience the best of both worlds...skating and strollering. Her cute mama loved it all.
Merilee came from SLC to bring our mom to the party. Behind her is cousin Tyler - he's leaving for his mission in Taipei, Taiwan in two weeks! That's his dad right behind him (my brother Doug) thinking to himself, "Don't fall, Tyler. This would not be a good time to break your arm." Also in the pic are my two nieces, Mary's girls, Adrian and Abby and with the pink phone, my niece, Jennifer.
Now that's better - Tyler holding onto the stroller lol. Cheering them on is Tyler's b-i-l, Scott who's also a Las Vegas boy (no relation to Winston) that learned to ice skate by playing hockey.
Here is another cool-great thing about the Eccles Ice Center. They have cute little walkers for the kids who are just learning to sakte. This is another three-year-old cousin (my brother, Doug's grandson) with his dad, Matt Weed. If you look through these pictures, there are three little Weed boys...in black and blue, black and yellow, and black and red parkas. Two are twins - Byron and Porter and Gordon is the little brother. My niece, Michelle, has her hands full!
Scott's sister, Mary and all her reflections always comes and brings her family. We had Corey, Abbey and Adrian - but they didn't skate. Just Mary graced the ice with her elegant poses.
 Scott's cousin, Craig Watts (and Dorothy) came to check in on us but couldn't stay. Next year...
Suzie and Grandma Jean. I'm so grateful to Merilee for coming to Logan and helping mom come to the party. No, mom didn't skate, in case you were wondering.
Mike - that form!
 I loved everyone in their skinny jeans and figure skates.
 Brooklyn is the iPhone camera queen. She specializes in selfies - but she gets lots of cousin pics too.
Winston helped hold cousin Claire while Suzie had Lizzie. They aren't really skating yet, but getting a feel for it. I'm hoping these girls can skate a few times every year. I really believe that kids need to know some basic life "fun skills" like skating - both ice and roller skating. Winston knows how to ice skate really well and he grew up in Las Vegas, so I know it can be done! And tennis. Ping Pong. Chess (I never learned to play chess and I love that Scott teaches it to our grandkids.) Skiing and golf could be on the list, but the expense makes them not as common. But, for sure swimming. What else?
We really had fun. I feel bad that we didn't get a group picture. There were lots of people at the party that I don't even have in these photos.