Thursday, January 31, 2008

Lovely Dishes...

One of my sisters is getting married in April. She has been looking at china patterns and this is one of the patterns she likes. I think they're gorgeous! And, they are really quite practical too. See them here.

Scarlet Feather...

I recommended this book in a previous post and so I thought I'd better read it again, it's been awhile. Maeve Binchy is at the top of her game here, I think this is her best book, that I've read anyway. I love the funny twins Simon and Maude who take everything anyone says literally. But, listen to it and you'll enjoy it so much more Barbara Caruso will have you speaking with an Irish Brogue in no time.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Tiger & The Snow...

This is the most darling film. My sister brought it right over the other day and told me to watch it. She knew I'd love it and I truly did. I'm not going to tell you a thing.. just watch. It will make you smile and cry.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Blue Renaissance...

Little c and I went out and around in the shops last Saturday...
and we noticed lots of blue here & there.
I love every rainbow bright color and blue is a favorite. (Those are my Hello Kitties by the way. There was a little misunderstanding when we moved a few years back and c had her own room. I had to explain that c had her own Hello Kitties, but these blue and red ones were mine and right in their proper spot. It was all cleared up right after it was explained with a big smile because C is the greatest husband in the world).
My mom brought me two of these little lovelies.. the tiny painted vase with pansies and the tiniest example of my best china.. the other things are from dear friends.
.. and this remarkably comfy chair is from my sister-in-law, who knew I'd love it. It seems that I haven't really decorated my own place now that I think about it, but I am ready for the Blue Renaissance that's coming.. (I'm keeping all my bright yellow from last year though.. love it!)

President & Sister Hinckley...

It took me awhile to find this photo. It's one of my favorites. It was taken by Gerry Avant of the Deseret Morning News and is a photo of President and Sister Hinckley as they are greeted in China.
What an amazing legacy they have left for the world. They will be dearly missed.
I wanted to share something he said, "Believe in yourself. Believe in your capacity to do great and good things. Believe that no mountain is so high that you cannot climb it. Believe that no storm is so great that you cannot weather it. You are not destined to be a scrub. You are a child of God, of infinite capacity. Believe that you can do it-- whatever it is that you set your heart on. Opportunities will unfold and open before you. The skies will clear when they have been dark with portent." ~President Gordon B. Hinckley
Find out more about President Hinckley and the Mormon Faith here.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Kimmie Meissner & Nessun Dorma...

I love figure skating. I love to watch people who can even stay on their feet circle the ice. But, last night on TV I saw the most graceful and beautiful performance ever when Kimmie Meissner skated to Nessun Dorma. Grace and choreography combined like never before to create a thing of beauty and a joy forever. Sadly the media line this morning is that this girl fell from grace. Apparently, she was last year's champ and she only finished 7th this year. She fell 4 times during the program that I'm speaking of, but for me it has never been about the jumping even though I know it's just an incredible athletic feat to be able to make. It's just that I'm always so much more impressed by movement and grace and by the ability to tell a story and in all those things Kimmie was perfect. I had tears in my eyes when she finished, not because she fell, but because her performance was so beautiful. She's a small person, but her expression and movement took up the whole stadium. She was simply marvelous. I'm sure that when she fell it must have taken all her determination to make the performance as beautiful as it was and in that way she was truly a champion last night.

You know, my favorite line from Nessun Dorma is this... "stars that tremble with love and with hope" May those stars watch over all our dreams.
(photo from the Baltimore Sun collection)

Saturday, January 26, 2008


Maeve Binchy may or may not know it, but her books are a cautionary tale that instruct people in the most careful way that they should definitely keep all 10 of the commandments.
Adultery is a subject that makes me quite uncomfortable. Once you are old enough to have really seen the aftermath, there is nothing romantic or cute or lovely about it, just a kind of emotional violence and ugliness. So, when this book begins with an adulterous affair, I didn't know if I'd read on. But, there were no gross physical details, so I did. And, really the book spends more time on the consequences than anything. And, the consequences were what they always are, devastating.
This is not what I would consider literature, it's more of a beach read and Binchy's books are really fun on tape if you love to hear an Irish accent as I do. In fact, if you don't choose to listen rather that read, I don't know that I would much recommend them because you will miss so much by reading, unless you happen to be Irish yourself. Terry Donnelly reads Quentins and does a great job although not as great and the amazing Barbara Caruso (one of the greatest readers of all time) who reads Scarlet Feather, my favorite of Binchy's books. (Barbara Caruso also reads A Wrinkle in Time.. don't miss her performance on that one.)
I loved that so many of my favorite characters, especially the hilarious twins Simon & Maude, have minor roles in this book. I love how Binchy makes Dublin have a really small town feeling and how the characters come together to help someone who has made a mess of everything. I think that forgiveness and kindness are central themes. I had a harder time forgiving the central character myself and didn't much care for her in the end, but enjoyed so many of the other stories that are told in between using the play within a play device.
On of my favorite parts is about a guy who thinks that he will steal a found wallet, but has a change of heart, the romance of Brenda & Patrick Brennan and of course the antics of Simon & Maude, who are just the funniest. Listen to it.. I think you'll enjoy it.. just for fun, but maybe listen to Scarlet Feather first (These books on tape should be available through your public library).

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

If you happen to live with a super hero (as I do). Supers really enjoy studying the work of other supers. So, you need to rent them this film and you can sit through it as well because it's not as bad as you think it's going to be.
Last night we had a little family party for our super who came home with a great report card. We went to the store and she picked out the things we would make for dinner. She must be realizing that supers need to eat vitamins because she chose leafy greens, mushrooms, tomato, avocado and so we had a delish salad with some barbecue chicken and yummy popcorn with our show for dessert. It was a fun night!

Friday, January 25, 2008

A New Little Valentine...

I was pretty happy with how this turned out, which is good because it took me the better part of yesterday to figure it out. By lunch, I had nearly gone mad. But, now things are good and happy again and this little box is in

7 Things About Me...

Miss Felicity @ All Things Bright & Beautiful (and if you haven't been over to visit her gorgeous blog, you are missing out. Don't miss it!)
...anyway, Felicity has tagged me but I don't know if I can think up anything that most of you don't know already.

1. I adore flowers so much that they are part of the budget and I always have a few around.

2. I love living in Utah & I love snowy winters like this one has been. C snapped this photo right out the window the other day. When the sun comes out, it looks like a bazillion sparkly diamonds.

3. I sometimes eat paint, not on purpose. Tip: if you are going to hold a paint brush in your teeth.. make sure it doesn't have paint all over it first. (Paint does not taste good).

4. After all the years we've been married, I'm still madly in love with C... more than ever actually... even though it makes me feel shy to say it.

5. Little c is my very favorite artist & best girlfriend.

6. I like to go on vacation to big cities. NYC, San Francisco and Vancouver Canada are my favorites so far.

7. I love to read. I decorate in books. I read a book on tape while I work during the day and I have a couple by my bedside that I read at night. It's fun to have 2-3 going at the same time.

I don't know who has played already, so if you want to play.. consider yourself tagged and let me know, because I want to visit you and read your 7 things. Have a Happy Day!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

This Year I Will...

I wrote awhile back that I intended to read this book about how to change and make it stick. It's an easy read initially and I finished it quickly. But, it gave me so much to think about that it's a book I intend to keep in my library (those of you who know that I decorate in early, late and modern books.. even to the point of stacking them on the floor may not realize how selective I'm being). I have referred to several chapters again already and intend to re-read more carefully and take notes so I can remember a few of the bits better.
I have begun to hate, loathe and dread the word change because of it's over and insincere use in recent political discussion, so for the point of this post let's just say improve. I would like to improve in many ways that I find quite difficult. I find it so difficult to improve in certain ways that I ask for books like this for Christmas and actually read them.
I was discouraged to find that I can't improve in too many ways at once. You really must choose the thing that bugs the most according to this book or the two things, but not 7 things. Then you make a plan and begin. Suggestions for plan making are quite helpful. Beginning is more difficult. However, "Every successful person I have heard of has done the best he could with the conditions as he found them, and not waited until next year to be better." That is a quote by E. W. Howe that is found in the book and is quite inspiring I think. It would be helpful to me if I remembered all the helpful advice in this book, but I don't have good reader retention (something that bugs, but is way down on the list).
There are even helpful suggestions on follow-though and success and there are cautionary tales of failure.. all helpful. There is the tiniest part about "talking up", something that Alexandra mentions in her new book as well. People want to hear the positive. It's tiring to listen to people complain and groan and say negative things about people and situations. I find it exhausting lately even if I'm the guilty speaker. However, seeing the postive and having a good attitude (even a calm attitude) are not the natural place for me to go. Happily, Ms. Ryan explains that people really can improve. They can improve to the point that they create new and different pathways in their brains, according to this book. We can become our better selves from the inside out.
Anyway, reading this book isn't and doesn't claim to fix whatever it is that needs fixing, but it does act like a hand to hold and a counselor that's seen a pathetic cause succeed. So, that's good. I guess I'll know better how some of it turns out later. But, I think the book is a keeper, it has me thinking. And while some of the advice is common sense, I needed to hear it and will likely need to hear it again.
Your beliefs become you thoughts. Your thoughts become you words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your destiny. ~Mahatma Gandhi

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


We really needed a brown pair of shoes, but we didn't find one. We found these! We just went to Target and we found them to be between seasons. The red ones were on sale for $3.24. I think little c looks darling in these ballet flats. She says there are pretty comfortable, in fact the black ones feel like house slippers. She had a white shirt and these drapey black pants on and I think she pulled off the Audrey look pretty well.

The Count of Monte Cristo...

This time around, I watched the film first and read the book second. I just finished the book and it is quite an adventure. I was a bit sad that I could not read it in the original French because I have the feeling it's much better that way.
After reading the book, I was so impressed with the film makers. Just to think they could make this book into a film was quite ambitious and they did a marvelous job. In fact, I kind of liked it better. The film has a much happier ending. There is much more forgiveness and less revenge. The book is quite a lot about The Count taking revenge on everyone who has wronged him, not that you can blame him for it, but in the wake of his revenge he hurts a few innocent people and is responsible for a small child being poisoned and yet he still sails off into the sunset with a young princess. That part left a bad taste in my mouth. The revenge buisiness is just no good, but Dumas doesn't make that point as well as he should have because he was just having so much fun writing this fantastic story.
In the film they cut out most of the revenge bit, although the worst of the lot still gets it in the end. The Count learns to let go of the hate and true love conquers all.. in the film anyway and I like that better. Still, the book is a great adventure and I wouldn't miss it. If I were to read it again, I would get a character list from some web site because there are so many characters and they are introduced right off. It's nice to have their names and a small detail in front of you so that you know who is responsible for what (a good idea when you're reading Dickens and a few other authors as well). This is a great piece of French Literature and I am supposed to have read it long ago for a university course, but I skimmed and didn't remember a thing. Truly a great book and truly a great film, although they are almost not the same story.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Spitfire Grill...

How did I miss this little masterpiece when it first came out in 1996. Written and directed by Lee David Zlotoff, who was also the creator of the TV series MacGyver and screenwriter for the series Hill Street Blues, the script is a masterpiece and does not follow the common way. It is it's own unique piece throughout. Alison Elliot, Ellen Burstyn & Marcia Gay Harden are all brilliant.
Alison Elliot plays a young woman who has just finished serving her term in prison for manslaughter. She is a poetic and intelligent girl whose never been given a chance. She dreams of going to a small town and getting a fresh start. Gilead is a town with troubles and they don't like having a stranger among them.
Audiences raved about this movie at the Sundance Film Festival and then critics and general audiences didn't give it such glowing reviews. But, I think it's a gem. Have you seen it? What did you think?

Michelle's Valentine Dolls...

Michelle has some more cute Valentine dolls going in her shop today. Don't miss them.. they are sooo cute.

Monday, January 21, 2008

More Spinning Spin Tops..

C went fishing Saturday and these tops happened while he was gone. I should have gone shoe shopping instead, little c has been wearing the same thing to church "forever!" not because she doesn't have the clothes.. her Nammy keeps her in fancy stuff, but her mom has neglected keeping up on the matching shoes bit. So, we'll go out today, if the snow stops, and see what we can find. I wouldn't want to cramp c's style.
I haven't thought of a good way yet to celebrate Martin Luther King day other than to reflect with gratitude that there have been so many great Americans who have been willing to sacrifice much so that all Americans can be free and equal. I don't think that we have achieved Dr. Kings dream yet, but I am hopeful.
However you celebrate today, I hope you have a good holiday.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Just let me brag for one second...

This cute cousin of mine, who looks like a model, signed up to serve her country and has just graduated from boot camp. Yep, she did all the hard stuff and has earned the right to wear the shiny new uniform. Her cousin Tif is so proud that she can hardly stand it and I just had to brag. Isn't she fabulous people?!?!?!?

Thursday, January 17, 2008


Wouldn't these be cute in pink and red for Valentines... hmmm Ali? See all of Martha's cupcakes here.


I was thinking the other day that I ought to paint some cherries... First because it's almost President's Day and second because I'm reading this wonderful book. A cherry box or two will be available in the
later today...
The quote inside reads, "Knowledge is the food of the Soul... Plato."
I thought it was the perfect quote since our founders depended so much on the Classical Greeks.

Neat Photographer...

See here.

Nest Key Keeper...

So pretty. I love this little key holder..

Monday, January 14, 2008

National Treasure Book of Secrets...

National Treasure Book of Secrets is so much like the original, the writing isn't very tight and the character development doesn't exactly make sense and there is one part where I swear they were writing the film to go one direction and then went another, (because actors reactions don't make sense in that spot)... I still have to say that I really liked this film. It was just fun. Helen Mirren is great in the film. It's a good escape from the depressing weather we sometimes have this time of year.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Blue Hearts...

Where there is great love, there are always miracles.. Willa Cather


My sister got some new bedding on her bed. Isn't it lovely? I love it!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Mrs. Backer's Pastry Shop...

In Salt Lake city during the Valentine's season especially, don't miss going by Mrs. Backer's Pastry Shop. A fixture in the city since 1941, this place sells the prettiest sweets in town. Make sure to purchase a raspberry tart.. my very favorite!
434 E South Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84111-1323 Phone: (801) 532-2022

Tue-Sat 8:30am-6pm
Remember not to get a hankering for sweets on Monday, because they aren't open that day.
C used to work right near Mrs. Backer's and I've missed getting a treat from there on a regular basis. Yesterday, we were in the neighborhood trying flower girl dresses on little c for my sister's upcoming wedding and step into a vintage, Valentine wonderland when we walked into the bakery. What a fun day!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


I must have been tired, lazy or talking on the phone when I made this box because it just didn't turn out how I like them to turn out. I eyeballed it all wrong. On top of that, this particular red paint does not forgive anything, once you make a slight error, you are just married to it forever.
You can see my mistake. One of my snow flurries is all bunched up and one is all strung out! DAng! This box is just not up to the standard that I insist upon for the shop. So, I've thought about it and rather than offer it at a discount, I'm going to give it away if whoever wins will promise to display it on the pretty side. :)
I'm also giving away this pretty red heart, which turned out perfectly.
So this is how it works... Make just one comment in the comments below and you are signed up. I will choose two winners on Friday. You must have a blog where I can contact you or leave an e-mail. Winner number #1 will get to choose which box they like best and winner #2 will get the other one. Good luck!
There are many more Valentines in...
And the Winners are:
#1 Stephenson Family
#2 pinkjagxj

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Nicholas Nickleby...

Next to A Christmas Carol and A Tale of Two Cities, this has been my favorite Dickens novel. I painted a lot of boxes listening to the unabridged version of this book on tape, but what fun! I just loved it. If you get a reader who can do all the voices and accents, this book just comes alive.

I have so much admiration for Dickens, his characters become so real. I've decided to go back to my college days studying literature this year and teach myself a class in a favorite author or two, but I think I could study Dickens all year and not make it through to the end of his work. I would really like to read Great Expectations again this year and Hard Times for the first time.

It's such a privilege to read these books. They changed the world. Dickens was a very effective social reformer. The Victorians did not have 60 Minutes to take them visually inside schools, orphanages, poor areas of town, prisons and the like. But Dickens, with his incredibly visual language, showed his countrymen and ours as well the things they would never have noticed without him.

I read once that most of Dickens work has never been out of print. Part of the reason for that is he can still show our generation a few things and not just about characterization and great writing, but even more about the responsibilities of being a human being and the courage required to be a good one.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Be Mine...

I love holidays so much and none more that Christmas. So when we spend Twelfth Night (last night) taking down the tree and burning the house's twinkle lights one last time, I finish it off by putting up the Valentines. It keeps me from being sad. I like New Year's resolutions too. It's kind of dark around here in the winter time and sometimes the inversion (which we haven't had much of thank heavens!) can bee a real downer. So, I like to make lots of plans and have fun things in my head to look forward too. And, I have to send C fishing and get him out in the sun for a bit, that's all it takes to keep him happy. He's pretty easy to please; I'm lucky that way.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

New Year Brings Change to the old Bloggity Blog...

Since I am so lucky to be visted here by a few fun girls from other nations and a few non-political friends as well. I will no longer air my political rants on this blog... I'm going to save it all for my politics only blog Sunlight & Stars (It's an election year people and I must vent somewhere!). This way only those of you who like to get mad with me or at me can choose to read (both sets of folks are welcome... be fair warned if you don't agree with me I will argue with you, but I'll still love ya even if you happen to be way wrong and completely insane!!! :)

And, after some consideration, I have decided to list on EBAY in a sort of by appointment only fashion. If you can't, won't or don't want to go over to ETSY with me, I am willing to list on a "buy it now" basis on EBAY for those prefer to work with them. If you have a Paypal acccount already however, it takes two seconds to register on ETSY and there are really fabulous artisans over there besides myself who purvey marvelous stuff, so my advice is not to miss out on that. EBAY just takes too large of a cut and I frankly can't afford it, so when I do list on EBAY I will be adding their listing fee to my regular prices.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

A Guest Worker Program...

Today, Utah State Representative Julie Fisher sent around a 2008 Legislative Survey. The ideas that she has listed as solutions to Illegal Immigration are very distressing to me unless we have a Guest Worker Program in place first. If you live in the same legislative district and recieved this...Please write in Guest Worker Program under the #1 "Your suggestion" and the #9 "suggestions". This is a nation of immigrants, lets find a way to treat all the members of our society in a humane way.

A Willa Cather Valentine...

This is the medium size version of this box. Instead of reading, "Hearts & Flowers" inside, it reads, "Where there is great love, there are always miracles... Willa Cather" these boxes will appear today in