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.


we loved Christmas

It was fun and sweet and filled with joy. And jammies.


hexie quilt heaven

I love Susan Branch and her blog and her website and her books and and her style and her writing. This Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt is an antique quilt she collected and posted on her blog in September of 2011...the link is here. I just stumbled onto the blog post and was scrolling through her beautiful photos of quilts in her bedroom, living room, and even hanging from the clothesline in her yard. When I saw this quilt, I kind of melted.

I've made a few hexie flowers and looked at a lot of patterns for flower garden quilts. I like having ongoing handwork to work on (yes, like the cross stitch sampler I've had in my bottom drawer since 1996, lol). But I've never really been motivated to start a hand-stitched quilt project until now. It's no surprise that I love the quilt - it is blue and white and pretty as can be. The charm of the quilt is in the faded fabrics, the hand quilting, the washed crinkliness, and the old-fashioned flower prints. Wouldn't it be fun to meet the woman who made it and say thanks. 


quick dinner

I made this and it was yummy! (I used ham from the deli rather than proscuitto.)

Fettuccine Pasta with Prosciutto, Peas, and a Cream Sauce

Recipe courtesy of Emeril Lagasse

Total Time: 40 min
Prep: 15 min
Cook: 25 min

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

1 pound fettuccine pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3/4 cup diced onions
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 ounces prosciutto, cut into 1/4-inch strips
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup frozen sweet peas
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
3/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves

Set a large pot of water with a pasta insert over high heat and bring to a boil. Place the pasta in the water and return to a boil, being sure to stir the pasta until the water boils again.

While the pasta cooks, set a large 12-inch saute pan over medium high heat, and add the olive oil and the butter. Once the butter has melted, add the onions to the pan and saute until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic to the pan and saute for 30 seconds. Place the prosciutto in the pan and saute for 1 minute. Deglaze the pan with wine and cook until it is nearly evaporated, about 30 seconds. Add the cream, peas, salt and pepper to the pan and let the cream reduce by half, 4 to 5 minutes. If the pasta is not yet cooked, turn the fire off the sauce while the pasta continues to cook.

Strain the pasta from the water once it is cooked, and place in a large heat resistant bowl. Pour the sauce over the pasta and sprinkle with the cheese and the parsley. Use tongs are two large forks to stir the sauce into the pasta and serve while hot.

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/fettuccine-pasta-with-prosciutto-peas-and-a-cream-sauce-recipe.html?oc=linkback


Giving ThAnks

Today, Thanksgiving morning, as I set my table for dinner guests, I knew I had to pause for an hour and write a blog post.

We've had many life events since my last post. I got "blogged" down because I wanted to write about all of them. But it was all too overwhelming. I finally told myself that I can't go back. I just need to start where I am.

So this sweet story brought me back to blogging....

When we were one-year married, Scott had to serve for two years in the Army. He worked hard to get assigned to Europe - specifically Germany. He had finished medical school and his internship, so he went as a physician and was lucky enough to get a job as a "flight surgeon" (a doctor who took care of pilots) on an army base near Frankfurt. We arrived in Germany in September - a beautiful time of year. I remember seeing apple orchards and abundant gardens as we drove, enchanted, through the quaint towns and pretty countryside that would be our home.

What I most remember, what I JUST LOVED, was the shopping (not surprising). And what I loved about the shops was the housewares. This was the mid seventies. I had just set up my whole kitchen with harvest gold pyrex and brown/green/gold stoneware dishes. And now I walked into these German stores and see these colors I loved times a thousand choices. The patterns, variety, colors were wonderful, I could spend hours wandering through small shops and large department stores.

And then I found Villeroy & Boch china. It was exquisite German porcelain - the most beautiful china I had ever seen. I loved china, but when I got married, the popular style for china dishes was white with a silver rim. Very plain but elegant. Now I was seeing china in colors and designs that changed me for the rest of my life. The Summer Day pattern was my favorite. It blended the pretty flowers and design I loved with the harvest colors that were popular. I decided that I would begin to collect that china - starting with eight plates for myself for Christmas. Through the next two years I added eight salad plates, eight soup bowls, and a platter. I came home from Europe with a treasure.

Fast forward nearly 40 years to my birthday in June. My friend, Bonnie, called to wish me a happy day and said she had a gift that she'd bring soon. When she came, I had the shock of my life. There, in several boxes, wrapped in tissue and bubble wrap were many, many pieces of my Summer Day china. WHAT??? You don't even see these dishes anymore. The pattern is discontinued and forgotten. And the pieces. A gorgeous tea pot with tea cups. A delicate cream and sugar set. Salad plates and a pretty bowl. Salt shaker and tiny serving cup. Where did these come from? How did she remember that this was my china?

My favorite - a little cream pitcher that goes straight to my heart!

The story goes like this. Bonnie has a cousin, a guy, who bought an older home. One summer evening, Bonnie and family went to visit the cousin at the new/old house. He told them about how the house had been filled with junk - lots of stuff to get rid of. He was cleaning out some of the cupboards in the garage and found these old dishes on a shelf. He asked Bonnie if she'd like the old dishes and other old things, knowing that she loves and collects antiques. If not, they were on the way to the dump. Bonnie looked at the boxes saw that the china was very special, and said, casually that, of course, that she'd be happy to take them off his hands. 

Fast forward a few months to our Sew and Sews (sewing club) tea party. Bonnie was in charge and did it up in style. She brought her massive collection of tea pots and tea cups to decorate and use for refreshments. It was an amazing scene - vintage tea pots and linens and vases of flowers everywhere. One of her teapots was surprising to me because it was my Summer Day pattern. I told her excitedly that I had the same dishes. She tucked that information in her mind for later in the summer...then the birthday surprise for me. 

Bonnie could have kept the china or given it to her daughters. She could have sold it on e-bay for a tidy sum. She should have done one of those things. I'm overwhelmed that she gave the many pieces to me...and they complete my set. Except for the salad plates, they are pieces that I don't have. And they are pieces that I absolutely love! They're beautiful. I'm grateful. My china cabinet looks amazing! 

As we sit to eat our Thanksgiving dinner today and use my and Bonnie's lovely china, I express gratitude to my special friend. This gift is just a symbol of her character and generosity. As I make my "thankful list," she'll be at the top. Thanks, Bonnie!


...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.