Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Wrapping Paper Bows

Have you ever had a strip of wrapping paper leftover after you've wrapped a gift? Don't toss it in the trash! Turn that scrap into a beautiful EASY bow in just a minute or two.
This technique is very inexact. Start by folding the scrap of paper "hamburger" style with the printed side on the outside. (My daughter came home from Kindergarten years ago and told me about "hamburger" folding and "hot dog" folding. "Hamburger" means width-wise and "hot dog" means lengthwise.)
Fold it again, but this time "hot dog" style. Cut through the newly folded edge (on the right side in this case.) If your paper is still too wide, fold it again (also "hot dog" style) cutting through all the vertical folds. You should only have a fold at the top (which is your original "hamburger" fold.)
Next, cut vertically up to (NOT THROUGH) the top folded edge. I cut up to about 1/2 inch from the folded edge. Again, this does not have to be perfect. Guesstimate.
The finished bow depends entirely on the width of your cuts and the length of your scrap of paper. I can never make the same bow twice. Experiment. Don't worry about cutting straight lines. You want a messy look.
CAREFULLY curl the wrapping paper (like you would curling ribbon) by quickly pulling a strip between the blade of your scissors and your thumb. Turn the bow over as needed to make sure the back side of your paper is always inside the curl.
Don't worry if you accidentally cut off several pieces. I do it all the time and it doesn't make a bit of difference in the finished product. (See the strips laying on the table?)
At this point the bow will look something like this:
Fold it in half one more time and give it a little shake.
Tape it onto your gift and arrange the curls as needed.
Here are a few others:
This is my kind of crafting--quick, easy, and inexpensive.

Tip Junkie handmade projects

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Simple Thing

Winter in Utah is gray.
Spring is green, hopeful, awakening.
These globe willows never fail me.
They are the first deciduous trees to burst free each March.
Green, hopeful, awakening.
A simple thing.
A joyful thing.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


 On Monday I was "Jimmered" and "baptized by Jimmersion" all in one day!
All I had was my lowly cell phone camera.
After a morning of shopping, my mother-in-law and I stopped at Magleby's Fresh in Provo for one of their fabulous Steak & Bleu salads. Who should we spy, but BYU's famous Jimmer Fredette!

It was pretty awesome. I wanted to take his picture, but I was hesitant and uncertain. Would he be annoyed at my intrusion? As I debated whether or not to be the paparazzi I texted my family and shared my excitement. My 15-year-old son texted back begging me to get Jimmer's autograph. Quickly I tore a page from my planner (that was all I had) and proceeded to get in line. (By then several fans had gathered around his table.)

He was having lunch with his girlfriend and they were both extremely gracious. They didn't seem to mind the interruptions, and I was impressed at how very kind and humble Jimmer was.

It's been 30 years since BYU men's basketball has made it to the Sweet 16. They play the Florida Gators today in New Orleans.

Go BYU! Go Cougars! Go Jimmer!

(And, thanks for letting me have my picture taken with you.)

Monday, March 21, 2011


No trip to San Francisco and the Bay Area is complete without a jaunt through Chinatown.
To get here from our hotel I walked through one of the largest shopping districts in the United States. It was almost overwhelming. High-end stores like Prada, Gucci, and Kate Spade abound. I wandered in and out of many, occasionally feeling like quite the "frumpster" in my Gap jeans and cardigan. 

There were stores that intimidated and stores that beckoned from within. Banana Republic, Crate and Barrel, Williams-Sonoma, and Ghiradelli knew my name! Did you know that Williams-Sonoma's flagship store is in San Francisco? It's FOUR floors were packed with irresistible goodness. Luckily the one carry-on rule was my deterrent. (Brian insists we never check baggage.)

Yet, who can resist the colorful trinkets and Asian vibe that is Chinatown? After all, it "is the largest Chinatown outside of Asia as well as the oldest Chinatown in North America." (Source) Sadly, I didn't make it to the fortune cookie factory on this visit, but I was satisfied nevertheless.

I'm so grateful for this get-away opportunity. I came home a better spouse and a better mother. Suddenly life is a bit more cheery and I actually look forward to my everyday routine.

But, really, when can we do it again?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

My Turn

Once a year I try to accompany Brian on one of his numerous trips. The location of our get-away is completely dependent on the conference locale. Traveling "alone" is much easier now that the kids are older and Grandma lives close by. Plus, grown up siblings are easily cajoled into helping (if we make it worth their while.)

We were planning on traveling to Japan last August, but the wedding of the summer sent Brian there alone. We opted for a weekend trip to Eager, Arizona instead. Previously we have enjoyed Boston and New Orleans together, and this year did not disappoint as we traveled to Berkeley and San Francisco.
This shows only about 1/3 of the Expo.
San Francisco was the site of this year's National Science Teacher's Association Conference and Expo at the Moscone Center. Brian's Virtual Labs (licensed to Pearson by BYU) take him to this annual event. He gives formal presentations as well as mingles with teachers in the Pearson booth. The Expo is HUGE. Science teachers abound and even Bill Nye the Science Guy makes an appearance. This year I spied him in the lobby of our our hotel. My kids would have been thrilled if I had run up and had my picture taken with him, but Brian would have been mortified. As for me, I just tried to capture his image with my cell phone, but alas, he was too far away. Maybe next year.
There's Brian behind the guy in the camel jacket. See him in the red tie?
While Brian worked I wandered around the city and explored the environs of our hotel (the Marriott Marquis). The art near Yerba Buena Gardens was fun to discover.
How appropriate TODAY that St. Patrick's Catholic Church was just around the corner.
Next up:  CHINATOWN!

If you're looking to add a little green to your day, you'll find some at Salads and Such.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Grown Up Now?

As a spouse of a graduate student at UC Berkeley years ago there were two local establishments that were particularly symbolic to me of having "made it". For 6 1/2 years I would wistfully peer out the window of our VW Rabbit and wonder if I would ever partake of their grown-up glory.

This week, I finally did.
The Claremont Hotel is a magnificent architectural presence in the Berkeley hills whose interior is as stunning as its exterior. Brian and I stayed there for two nights this last week!
While Brian was "conferencing" I explored the resort and grounds and browsed the shops on College Avenue.
Food is always a high priority for us when we visit California and our taste buds were tingling at all the possibilities. As we contemplated our options, it suddenly occurred to me that perhaps we could eat at Chez Panisse. (Our trip was childless and we actually could afford the unusual extravagance.)

Should we? Could we actually get a reservation for that very night?
We did, and it was pure heaven!
We dined upstairs in the Cafe, of course. (Downstairs requires a reservation at least one month in advance.) I ordered and delighted in

Blood oranges and avocado with ginger dressing
Wood oven-roasted spicy shrimp with white polenta, leeks, tomato, and green garlic
Creme caramel with candied kumquats and biscotti

It was fabulous!

Even though society defines me as middle age, I don't always feel like a grown up, like I really am the adult, like I've made it. Perhaps it is because the older I get the more I realize I don't know--so much to learn, to experience, and to explore.

It doesn't seem all that long ago that I pumped my own gas for the first time or took my first ride in a taxi cab, but grown-ups do those sort of things.

Grown-ups also get to benefit from the fruits of their life-long labors and enjoy a rare night at The Claremont or a delectable dinner at Chez Panisse.

Enjoy it I did. Relished and savored it, actually.

Being a grown-up really isn't so bad.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


It's Wordless Wednesday.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Owl Pillow

Most of my kids' outgrown clothes are happily handed down to neighbors and friends, but one particular owl shirt was simply too beloved to give away. Abby couldn't be convinced to part with it, for owls are her latest "thing". Abby's overly dramatic pleas were so humorous that I relented and told her I would try to turn the shirt into a throw pillow for her bed.
For months the shirt sat in my "to do" pile; out of sight, but not quite out of mind. This week I finally picked up some fabric and began the transformation attempt.

I have a short attention span for sewing and crafting projects. They must be quick and easy--immediate gratification a must.
I started out just fine then frustration slowly crept in as I realized my math skills had failed me. In figuring out cutting dimensions I completely forgot to take the owl panel into account. The result did not  fit the 14" pillow form I had, and I just wanted to get it done. . . today!

Forget about the nifty removable cover I had planned. This pillow would simply be stuffed with poly-fil left over from my last pillow project.  Abby wouldn't care, and at that point I certainly didn't care either.
In the end Abby was very happy. She paid me the best compliment by saying, "It doesn't even look like you made it, mom."

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


It's Wordless Wednesday.