Friday, October 26, 2012

Dear Rachel (#14)

Dear Rachel,
I really like this picture of Timp your Dad took with his phone last week. It was taken along the trail to Squaw Peak (the one that starts from the parking lot, not from Rock Canyon.) Since your Dad isn't teaching this semester he is much more flexible during the day. I was surprised one morning when he suggested we have a hiking adventure after the kids left for school. We didn't make it all the way to Squaw Peak--it took longer than we anticipated, but now we know which of the three forks of the trail to take next time.
Basketball tryouts are on Travis' birthday this year so every day after school you'll find him at "open gym." Practice today produced a jammed finger and yesterday a sore back. Ever the clever one, he rigged up a system of keeping our old heating pad attached to his back while he did his homework at the kitchen counter. I couldn't help but chuckle. It reminded me of his solution to handling a runny nose.
We are in high destruction mode downstairs as we redo the basement. So, Travis and Abby have to share a bathroom upstairs for a while. Horrors! I think it was Travis (again with the tape) that devised this arrangement so their "stuff" would never touch.
I like to remind them that this really is a "First World Problem" and that there should be NO complaining whatsoever. (I was introduced to that term recently, and, boy, does it help keep things in perspective.) Have you heard that phrase?

Speaking of "problems", the cats do not like the weather getting colder. They are much more snugly and affectionate these days, and are always looking for new places to settle. Linus found our pile of clean clothes.
I suppose this would never become an issue if I would just fold the laundry as soon as each dryer load finished. Oh well. At least we keep the lint roller company in business.

I'll bookend this letter with another view of autumn in Utah. This one is of the backyard taken from our closet window. The colors were so brilliant and beautiful on Monday. They will be nice to remember during the gray of winter.
I'm glad your Dad has meetings in Atlanta next week so he gets to see you--even if it is only for a day or two. Make sure he gives you the things I've sent along.

Love you and David lots!


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Playing with Pins: Part 2

I've been playing with pins again. (See my first report here.)
Mod Podge pumpkins are everywhere. I wanted to give them a try ever since I saw the black and white damask ones Michelle made. This year I found the perfect napkins just like hers, but my attempt was a sorry sight--the Mod Podge bubbled and glopped. I was, however, successful with a different variety. It has temporarily replaced my musical orbs on the table near my piano--a subtle bit of Halloween for my front room. (Original pin here.)
My wallet was getting rather fat and NOT from an abundance of cash so I thought this idea was so clever. I broke my old hole punch trying to punch holes in the cards, but its replacement worked just fine. (Original pin here.)
It took Travis only a few minutes to assemble this catapult as per this pin. I suggested he use buttons as ammunition, and he successfully launched them over 20 feet. Very fun!
My creative and artsy Abby loves to peruse Pinterest as well. Once homework and practicing are done I let her start crafting. I was a bit skeptical about this plastic spoon flower, but she was insistent about giving it a try.
The plastic spoons did indeed melt, but soot soon covered Abby's hands and face.
She originally planned on spray painting her rose black, but when she discovered that we had gold spray paint, her perfect rose resulted.
She was so happy with how it turned out. I was just pleased that she had found an outlet for her teenage creativity and imagination and that the TV and computer remained OFF.

The Shabby Nest

Monday, October 15, 2012

It's Really Fall

(Aspens on the Alpine Loop)
Darkness lingers longer in the mornings. There is a chill when I wake that can only be dissipated by turning on the heater for an hour or so. Hearty oatmeal and warm soups satisfy now. Colors are brilliant and beautiful.
(Bridal Veil Falls, Provo Canyon)
(Provo Canyon)
(Provo Canyon)
It's time for our annual visit to Tyler's Pumpkin Patch
This year a tin man and a scarecrow greeted us.
Tyler's Pumpkin Patch is just down the street from our home, and Tyler is one of Travis' good friends. For years Travis has loved working on Tyler's "farm". It was (and is) the perfect spot to explore, create, and celebrate good old-fashioned childhood.
(Tyler and Travis)
Abby insisted we visit the chickens. They all scurried towards us and cooperated fairly well for their group shot. The rooster even serenaded us with his "cock-a-doodle-do".
It was hard work wheeling those pumpkins, butternut squash, and cornstalks home. Thanks, Travis.
Abby's prize of the day was the colorful farm fresh eggs. No one can touch the green ones. She's claimed them as her own.

Yes, it's really Fall.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Send in the Clowns

Pink polka dots, pink pom poms and a pointy hat describe my favorite Halloween costume as a child. As with most of my wardrobe at the time, my mom made the outfit so my sister and I matched. I remember this clown costume with incredible fondness, but the mask . . . that I did NOT like. (Thank goodness for modern day face paint.)
me, my sister Charlene, and my cousin Jennilyn (Halloween 1969)
When my own daughter, Rachel, was young the typical costume conundrum arose. She had outgrown her first costume--a Raggedy Ann outfit (borrowed from the adorable over-sized doll my mom had made me.)

But, whatever happened to that pink clown? I called my mom in Virginia. The costume was long gone, but she did still have the pattern, and soon it was in the mail. Never the seamstress my mom was, I sewed up a new version with much trepidation. I barely finished it in time, and I distinctly remember my good husband staying up late with me the night before making the big red pom poms while I frantically stitched away. It wasn't perfect. Poor Rachel had marks on her wrists and ankles where the elastic was too tight, but we all were quite pleased nonetheless.
Rachel and friend Sara in Albany, California (Halloween 1990)
I couldn't believe when 11 years later I made ANOTHER clown costume (a few sizes larger.) Kellie wanted something unique, and that is what she got. Sadly, by this time clowns were no longer seen as merely fun humorous circus stars. They had taken on a more sinister role, and I didn't like it one bit. I suppose we all just wanted to hold onto the comedic delights of clowns past.
Kellie, age 11, 6th grade (2001)
We are firm believers in reducing, reusing, and recycling so I couldn't have been more thrilled when Abby decided to wear Rachel's clown costume 16 years after its original debut. (Mostly, at this point in my motherhood career I was burned out with thinking up new Halloween costumes each year.)

Abby didn't mind that the sleeves were now 3/4 length and that the pants were knickers. She eagerly added colorful socks, yet opted to omit the pointy hat.
Abby, age 7, 2nd grade (2006)
That same year Travis wore Kellie's old clown costume adding a nose and rainbow wig.
Travis, age 10, 5th grade (2006)
Finally, two years later, Abby had her turn with our second clown costume. And with that, a Halloween chapter had closed for our family.
Abby, age 9, 4th grade (2008)
Despite my obvious lack of face painting skills, I still like the sweetness and joy of good old-fashioned clowns. So, yes, just send in the clowns!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Amish Country

I'm not sure what it is about the Amish and the images I associate with them that I find so intriguing. Their beautiful quilts are definitely a big draw as are their delicious baked goods. Perhaps it is their seemingly uncomplicated life--a throwback to days gone by. Whatever the reason, it was wonderful to drive through this part of Ohio, peer out our rental van's windows and try to imagine such a simple and peaceful existence. All of these photos are "drive-by shots." I didn't want to appear too eager in my gawking.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Dear Rachel (#13)

Dear Rachel,
I had to show you the COLOR I found at the John Johnson home in Hiram, Ohio. Just look at these fireplace mantels and trim. I really like the contrast with the white walls.
How do you like this painted checkerboard floor? If only I could be so daring . . .
This is an example of feather painting which the Johnsons did on all the woodwork in their kitchen. Yes, they actually painted the design with feathers.
Never judge a house by its exterior, right? Do you remember going here when you were young? Some pretty significant events in our Church's history occurred here. Joseph Smith, the Prophet, received many revelations in this home, and that room with the checkered floor was where he was pulled from his bed in the dead of night, dragged across the street, and tarred and feathered by an angry mob.
I was really fascinated by the Lake-Stone houses in upstate New York.
The sign on this property states that "Lake-stone buildings were first built in this area by English artisans who came here to work on the Erie Canal. After the canal was completed in 1825, they found employment by constructing stone houses. Approximately 700 of these structures were built in this part of the state."
Check out the color and design of the room we stayed in near Palmyra--definitely not the typical hotel look. I like it!
Finally, look at the rainbow of color that settled perfectly over Grandma's house this summer. (That's Marlee and Grandma going inside.)
I think I am at the point in my life when I finally notice the details that matter and truly appreciate them like I never did before--brilliant color being just one of those.

Have a great week and Happy October!