Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Pinewood Derby

Matt took a minimalist approach to his car this year.  He made it super thin and spray painted it silver.
He told me later he chose that color so the weights would blend in :)

This is always a super exciting evening for the families.
I took Ben even though I knew he would be a handful and he wouldn't last too long.

The people that were hired to bring the track and everything also had a bunch of legos for people to make cars with and were able to race them after everyone else was done.

Matt had a great time.  Look at that smile :)

Easter Egg Hunt

We ended up being in Park City for Easter weekend.
The kids were thrilled to be with cousins.
I didn't get very many pictures of the egg hunt but here's what I did manage to snap...

As we know from former years Ben does not show any interest in participating in things like this and since he can't eat the candy anyway, we didn't try and push it on him :)

The Quilting of the Green

In March I decided I needed some St Patrick's Day minis with which to decorate
I found this fun pattern here.  It's called interlocking seasons but I renamed mine "Celtic Squares" which I know is the name of another very similar block but I decided to steal it for this one.

I couldn't stop at one so I searched for other Irish looking patterns.
I stumbled across this picture...
and fell in love.
It looked like four leaf clovers.
With further searching, I found that this is a quilt block pattern called Winding Way.
It's quite a bit more involved of a pattern than I was prepared to get into though so I thought about it and decided to cut out fabric pieces with my Silhouette and applique them onto a background.
Also, I wanted to do just three so it would be more like a shamrock than a four leaf clover.

I pieced the backgrounds and tried out the pieces on top.

I put some sashing in but wasn't happy with the center square.

I finally came up with something I liked...
I'm calling this one "Winding the Irish Way"

All ready to quilt!

I made sure I worked on them on the 17th while watching Darby O'Gill :)

I echoed the "leaves" and did some swirlies in between.

For the squares I stitched in the ditch first.  I had had poor experiences with stitching in the ditch before, but thought that would be best for this pattern so with some tips from my mom I went ahead and had a much better time of it.  (I slowed WAY down :)

Then I free handed a pattern I had seen in the corners.

Here they are on display...so happy with both of them!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Free Motion (Not Quilting)

Over the Christmas holiday my brother talked me into participating in an exercise/nutrition program that he was going to start at the beginning of the new year.
It took a lot of convincing but I finally agreed.
I knew I needed to lose some weight...I really wanted to but I had never before been to a gym to work out and I wasn't excited about the prospect.
He was going to go to a 6 a.m. class but with how things currently are with my mornings, I wasn't able to go until the 9 o'clock class.  Therefore, I wouldn't know anyone and I was nervous about it.
I told myself I could do hard things though and I went for it.
I started out not knowing anyone, but now, I feel comfortable with and enjoy the company of the other 8-9 members of the class.  I look forward to going and pushing myself.
It was a three month program and by the end of March I had lost 20 pounds.
I am continuing to attend the class because I feel so much stronger and I know that if I quit things will go right back to where they were.
I feel so good and am so grateful that my brother encouraged me!

I seriously struggled about posting these pictures...but I figured the left hand side was how everyone was seeing me a few months ago anyway so why not?

I've made many changes in my eating habits and am hoping I can maintain them.
I'm drinking green smoothies almost daily, enjoying quinoa for the first time, finding recipes that I enjoy that are void of refined sugars and flours and making sure my portion sizes are respectable.

It wasn't until just a week or so ago that I realized I had two Free Motion activities going on in my life...in addition to my quilting, this exercise program is called Free Motion :)

Free Motion (Quilting)

I've been practicing my free motion quilting a little the last couple of months.
A friend of mine and her daughter made a couple of quilt tops for a local shelter for kids that are removed from their homes.
She came over and used my machine to quilt the first and then asked if I would like to practice on the other one.  
I came up with a few different patterns to do in the different strips...

Things were going quite smoothly and I was pleasantly surprised...but of course things can't go without any hitches (a.k.a. unpicking :)...

Here are some of my patterns...

I experimented with words for the first time...

I tried to go for a whimsical look

I was grateful for the opportunity to work on my skills and help at the same time.

I've also been practicing my feathers with the encouragement of my mom.
I find a boogie board is perfect for muscle memory work.
I haven't quite gotten the courage up to try these on fabric yet but soon...I'm feeling it will be soon :)

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Odds and Ends

A couple of spiritual/inspirational thoughts I've enjoyed recently...

Love this scripture and all that it implies.

I've realized over the last year how important it is, to me as a person, to be able to create...to produce something and be pleased with it.  Consequently, when I read this quote from President Monson in a recent Ensign, it really struck a chord with me.

"God left the world unfinished for man to work his skill upon.  He left the electricity in the cloud, the oil in the earth.  He left the rivers unbridged and the forests unfelled and the cities unbuilt.  God gives to man the challenge of raw materials, not the ease of finished things.  He leaves the pictures unpainted and the music unsung and the problems unsolved, that man might know the JOYS and GLORIES of CREATION."
Love it!

In other news...
Our power company has been sending us reports every now and then of how we rank compared to our neighbors as far as usage goes.  I believe our household started out in the 80's somewhere (#1 being the most efficient house and 100 the least).  We talked as a family and decided on some goals to lower our rank.
We have significantly decreased our power use and are proud of it :)
Yeah team!

I had three piano teachers growing up.  The last one I had through my teenage/High School years.
I remember my mom picking me and Angie up from our first lesson with her and I cried.
I was intimidated and wasn't sure I could survive Deanne Vanderford's confident and powerful personality.
However, it wasn't long before I started loving her.  She was still intimidating, but in a caring sort of way :)  She had had quite a life and taught us much more than just notes and theory.  I remember her speaking to us about things she had learned from her experiences while we sat on the piano bench and listened.
She sacrificed for us...
When I was a senior in high school, I tried out for Music Sterling Scholar.  The piece I was working on at the time was a Rachmaninoff concerto.  Concertos have an orchestral accompaniment so Deanne decided she was going to have her Clavinova taken to the high school for me to accompany me on my piece.
By some miracle I was chosen as the Sterling Scholar.  I believe the next round was regional and was held 45/60 minutes away.  Deanne again, arranged for her Clavinova to be pulled in a trailer to accompany me.  She was probably glad I didn't advance to the next round :)

She was an amazing woman in so many different ways and I cherish the time I spent with her.
I quit lessons about 18 years ago, but I apparently (he remembers but I do not:) took Andy to meet her when we were engaged and sent her a Christmas card each year.

I found out that she had passed on through an almost off hand comment from my Grandma one night at dinner.  We don't take the paper so I am not too in touch with local happenings.  I'm so glad she mentioned something so that I was able to go to the funeral the next day.

She was quite a performer as you can probably tell from the picture below.
Whenever I hear the song MoonRiver I will always imagine her singing it in her deep, wise voice.
She was a very special influence in my life and will not soon be forgotten.

I was able to attend the temple with some lovely ladies recently.
Such a joy to be together in the House of the Lord.

And lastly, just some random pictures from Sunday evenings at Mom and Dad's house...

Love this one of the kids and Grandpa Kidd!