Friday, May 30, 2008

Giveaway Friday...

This contest is for the whole OWL package. Owls fluttered into
some time ago.. you can find them HeRe and HERe
Enter your name just once one the comments below and I will draw a name Monday Midnight EST. Spread the word. :)
The randomly picked number is: 4
IAMLOw Wins! Congratulations! Please e-mail me @ with address info! :)
Be sure to come back this Friday for another
Giveaway day!

Belong to Me...

This is a book about how people become yours simply because you choose to love them. The characters are real individuals... so unique that their 3 dimensional qualities remind me of the writing of Charles Dickens. There isn't a sentence that comes out of the mouth of any of the characters that doesn't truly belong to them.
Marisa de los Santos is so talented in her ability to express emotion and especially the elusive emotion of love that her writing made me want to weep and cheer at the same time.
"When he looked up, he said, 'Clare told me about Christmas.' And I swear the boy's face began to shine. I recognized what I saw there; that a person's name could be infinitely precious, that just saying it could make you feel singled out for glory."
My favorite passage is about when one of the characters is six years old. Everyone is swimming at the community pool, but she is afraid of the water and cannot join in. Her eight year old future husband comes up to her and says kindly, "you're missing the whole point of summer," and offers to teach her to swim. And, she talks about how his touch made her feel safe and how she learns to swim and then she says, "When I was no longer six years old, when I was a grown woman whose belief the possibility of safety, while far from shattered had suffered the inevitable hard hit or two, Teo's touch did not displace fear as absolutely as it once had. But it was still true that his skin on mine worked a kind of instant, inexplicable possibly chemical magic. When he touched me, the world fell into alignment -- a laying on of hands, a chiropractic of the soul-- the threat of drowning evaporated, and hope cast its light. I know this sounds dramatic, but what would you have me do about it? Some things are dramatic. Put it this way if you prefer; under Teo's touch, I could believe in happy endings. Or middles. Or beginnings."
There are so many good books, but one of the qualities of great book, in my opinion, is one where the great beauty of the language and the truth of it makes you want to open your heart a little wider and be just a little better. So, if you're looking.. this is one of those rare books.

Good Manners Thursday...

It's just rude to be late, or as our current President has put it, "late is rude." So, I apologize. Good manners Thursday is late again. We will try to do better next week ... again.

Did you know that at an English wedding.. "hats are aways worn," according to Debrett's? My English friends will be shocked to hear that I own 1 pink and 1 red beret.. and no wedding appropriate hats. Hats are really not worn in America since the Kennedy's were in the White House.

But, it is important to wear a lovely hat to an English wedding and it can be "as fanciful and extravagant as the wearer wishes."

However, if you are sporting a very large hat, it is appropriate "to keep social kissing to the bare minimum." Imagine the disasters that could occur.

In addition to this small bit of hat wisdom. I wanted to share something really helpful and one of the most violated rules of etiquette in modern society. Circe explains it like this...

RSVP means call if you can't come to thank me for inviting you, and call if you can come to ask what you can bring!

In addition to what Circe said, Alexandra Stoddard suggests that you make your decision about whether or not you will be attending said function in a timely way.. meaning within a day or two and get back to the hostess who may need to make other arrangements to complete her party if you are not attending, but who needs to know quickly either way (I will try to find the reference on that).

On a funny personal note. When little c was about 3-4 years old, she was addicted to "Martha Stewart Living" and she called Martha by this full title every time she referred to her, "Martha Stewart Living says, ..." etc and watched her program faithfully everyday. One day my mother was getting ready for a fancy girlfriends luncheon at her home. c was thrilled to see all the fancy little treats and pretty tableware... and was trying to finagle a way to help set the table. In her tiny little voice she said, "Nammy, how many guests will you be expecting at your party?"

I don't see much of that little social secretary these days, she is interested in Nancy Drew, super heroes and dogs, but I'm hoping that underneath the latest layer of playground dust that little person is still in there somewhere.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Father's Day Idea #3...

If you need a shirt to go with your cuff links.. this one from Land's End is fabulous and priced very reasonably... It says that it's "no iron"... mmmmmm.. I have NEVER found that a shirt didn't need an iron. I just don't believe in it.. but, it does iron up beautifully and stay ironed! It looks nice all day.

Father's Day Idea #2...

If you want to splash out...
a pair of beautiful Thomas Pink
Cuff Links... They are my favorite!
wrapped in a Love Box... if the message inside isn't just right.. let me know I have a few others...

Father's Day Ideas... #1

For the Fly Fisherman...
Find it here.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Granny Chic Dresses..

I love that blue dress in the back with the spots.. I would love to wear that!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Dan In Real Life...

I must be the last person to finally see this movie. I'm not a huge fan of The Office and so I didn't run out to see this film, but it's brilliant! The writing and the acting are perfect. The characters get under your skin, even the minor characters. John Mahoney and Diane Wiest play Dan's parents and they are just so wonderful that you wish you could adopt them. When the family breaks into the morning Jazzercise routine and make that believable, you are officially in love with them all. Dan is hilarious stuck in the "special room" with the dryer that always seems to have someones sneakers banging around in it while he's trying to sleep.
I think this has to be the best romantic comedy written in 10 years. I shouldn't have rented it, I should have just bought it.


Difficulties are just things to overcome, after all.
~Ernest Shackleton
Our book club read a book about the life of Ernest Shackleton and his polar ice explorations several months ago and I wanted to see this film ever since. And, the film was pretty good.
The story reminds me a lot of that in the film Apollo 13. Shackleton and his crew set about to be the first to which would carry the British flag across the continent from the Weddell Sea to the Ross Sea by way of the Pole. They fail at that goal. The rescue is the extraordinary story of Ernest Shackleton and the men of the Endurance.
Just one of the amazing parts of this story is when Shackleton decides that he must reach South Georgia in order to save his men. This he must do in just a small life boat and 800 miles of open ocean. Once he reaches South Georgia, he finds himself on the wrong side of the island and has to become a mountaineer which is an amazing feat in itself, made all the more amazing by the fact that he has very little to eat.
Kenneth Branagh does a fantastic job playing the part and showing Shackleton's truly unusual leadership skills.. the film is worthwhile just for this. Shackleton has an interesting way of hiring people. He thinks their personalities as important as their skills. Every man is required to do every job. When men become negative and have a poisonous attitude during some of the worst parts of the journey.. he keeps those men close to him. He knows when to treat people with kid gloves and when to be tough.
This is truly an amazing story of an important explorer. Don't miss.

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Glass Castle...

The world needs more Jeanette Walls. I loved her book. It is the Horatio Alger story of our age and proves that it is still possible to achieve anything in this country.
I had a difficult time with her parents. They seemed to be such broken people in so many ways with just a few sparks of light and intelligence that came through their dysfunction.
Obviously the father had his reasons for being un-well. The mother either had some unholy childhood herself or fell into what I want to call a mental illness when she married... what else can I call it when a mother does not have an intense desire to feed her children?
The parents left me scratching my head. Maybe they did the best they could with the inner resources they had. I don't know. But, the loyalty of the children to one another and their desire to pick themselves up and then help each other succeed amazed me. I found that part of the story inspiring.
I loved the part of the story where Jeanette was working for the jeweler and found out that he was keeping part of her salary for himself and how she then took a watch from the store, but later returned it. She had an ingenuity in the way that she survived and she had a desire to do honest work and wasn't afraid of it, and she had integrity; a recipe for success.
I'm sure there are scars. I'm sure that you don't survive that kind of childhood unscathed. But, I am so amazed at where she went in her life. And, I wondered as I listened to a story on Sixty Minutes about the Millennial Generation entering the work force.. how many of those coddled children could survive if times got really tough. And, I wondered about my own child. I hope that I am teaching her to work.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Giveaway Friday...

This contest is for this little ribbon note book and a few other fun things.. A package of bluebird postcards from the shop, a fun blue sharpie and a lime green pencil to mark up your notebook.. some carnival tickets.. fun to make lots of things with... and a fabric flower pin from The Gap.
Enter your name just once one the comments below and I will draw a name Monday Midnight EST. Spread the word. :)

Good luck!
Congratulations to Shelese!
Don't forget to come back next Friday for another Giveaway Day!!!

The Queen...

This was such an interesting film. I wondered how accurate it was. I do remember The Queen's speech on television. Princess Diana's death was such a sad thing to me.. as was much of her life. I remember following her engagement to the prince in all the magazines and I remember getting up in the middle of the night to watch her wedding on television. She was a fairytale princess.. just when I was at an age when I wanted to be exactly that. I still have my 'Princess' book by Robert Lacey that I was given for one of my birthdays when I was little and I still love it. I just adored her. But, she really taught me that adage that "all that glitters is not gold." Out of the public eye and without so much it may be more possible to find real happiness...

Still, I hope in the eternities she will have the peace and happiness she seemed to be searching for.

Good Manners Thursday...

I forgot yesterday about good manners Thursday.. and so I'm making it up with a really important piece of info. and that is how to word invitations when THE QUEEN will be invited to your soiree. You would not want to say that THE QUEEN "requests the pleasure of your company." It would be rude to make her seem like the hostess. According to Debrett's, "The correct form is to use the phrase 'in the gracious presence of Her Majesty The Queen'." So, now you know the proper way to send out the invites when THE QUEEN is coming to lunch. I saved you right!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Snowflake Boxes...

Snowflake Boxes are in the
...for the early birds :)

Meet My Favorite Notebook...

Don't you love this fun notebook my friend Kerri sent me.. She's my pen pal. :)
Anyway, she made this and she told me that she also made a Red, White & Blue one for her husband who was serving our country in Iraq.
They are not too tough to make and they are really fun. It's a good way to use us those bits of ribbon you may have hanging around.. a good little craft for Activity Days or 4H our Girl Scouts I think.. if you happen to be involved in any of those things. It takes only about 10-15 min.

This green, yellow and pink one will be part of the giveaway Friday.. so be sure and come back!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Nixon and Mao: The Week That Changed the World...

I thought about writing this post for my political blog.. but, I normally don't post book reviews there and so I'm taking a chance that this book review will interest a few. This book has been riveting to read. All of this history happened during my lifetime.. I was just too small to remember any of it. C said that the only thing that he really didn't like about President Nixon is that the Watergate hearings bumped his favorite program The Flintstones. You can see that point of view I'm sure. Anyway we were young, but are living in a time now where Nixon's opening of China has made great changes in the world we live in today. I honestly don't know that there would have been a lot of other men who would have been able to wrangle this deal other than Nixon and Kissinger. There were so many who were morally opposed to the trip.
William F. Buckley, someone I greatly admire, was invited on the trip by President Nixon and attended a banquet in China given in honor of the Americans by the Chinese. He had this to say about it, "It is unreasonable to suppose that anywhere in history have a few dozen men congregated who have been responsible for greater human mayhem that the hosts at this banquet and their spiritual colleagues, instruments all of Mao Tse-tung. The effect was as if Sir Hartley Shawcross had suddenly risen from the prosecutor's stand at Nuremberg and descended to embrace Goering and Goebbels and Doenitz and Hess, begging them to join with him in the making of a better world." An exaggeration.. Not hardly. Estimates suggest that Mao Tse-tung is responsible for the deaths either by political persecution or starvation of more than 40 Million people. There are many books that detail the brutality of Mao and his followers among them, the famous Life and Death in Shanghai extremely well written by Nien Cheng. My friend Circe also recommended a book I read several years ago called Mao's Last Dancer that chronicles the peasants struggle to avoid starvation due to the policies of Chairman Mao. At one point the author relates where as a child he realizes that his family is competing for their food sources with rats.. either they will starve or the rats will starve. It's heartbreaking.
And yet, Nixon wanted desperately to talk with the Chinese. His objective was complicated. The United States was in the middle of the Cold War with Russia; talking with the Chinese gave that government a sort of 3rd power status that created a thaw in U.S. / Russian relations and more caution on the part of Russia. Our relations with China after the Korean conflict and during Vietnam were difficult and possibly dangerous. Also, businessmen in the United States saw huge and lucrative markets and wanted in. There is no question that Sino/American trade has made untold fortunes for both countries. There were many other reasons Nixon wanted to go, but paramount among them was to ensure peace. That's a good reason I think. And, I don't know if Nixon thought of this because it wasn't mentioned in the book, but I think that it's obvious that contact with the western world has brought a measure of liberty to China.. not yet what one would hope for, but I think it's coming.
Nixon, who is remembered by most of the populace for Watergate, wanted to be remembered for this one week which he considered his greatest achievement.
If you're interested... read it and let me know what you think...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Shauna who is our favorite Jenni's sister.. is having a really fun giveaway contest about one of my favorite candies.. you have to see the post anyway.. she decorated so cute for the shower she had for her new daughter in law.. so get over there and enter!

Favorite Summer Flowers...

I have many favorite summer flowers roses, dahlias, cosmos, petunias and these zonal geraniums. These geraniums are super-stars in the garden. This variety of geranium has thicker stalks and produces heads the size of a large hydrangea (another favorite.. that doesn't grow so good around here.. although I've seen a few). The blooms stay on for a long time and if you feed them well.. when one head dies.. another will be blooming out. They go all summer long until the frost.
They are great in pots.. but fabulous in garden beds as well. And, they come in pink, pink, pink and more PINK!
What is a favorite summer flower.. or a garden super-star you are looking forward to this summer?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations to Kat Bryan who is the winner of the hedgehog box! Kat please contact me with mailing info. :)

There will be another giveaway post EVERY Friday until July 4th! So.. please come back again soon!

Speed Tests...

There are lots of speed tests out there to determine your typing ability. THIS ONE is my favorite. It is the most challenging.. but it's fun to type lines from classic literature. c is learning to type and I will have her using this test over the summer.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Iron Jawed Angels...

This is an amazing film that everyone should see. I didn't know what to expect from this film because I haven't studied the women's suffrage movement since it's brief mention in school. Although, I have read two entire books about Woodrow Wilson and neither of them that I recall gave a single line to Women's Suffrage. (I'm going back for a second look.. this bugs) I think that a Constitutional Amendment that gave half the population the right to vote is worth a line or two.. don't you?
From 1789 until 1917 there were no women serving in congress. In 2002 there were 73.
Today, Nancy Pelosi serves as the Speaker of the House. Hillary Clinton is one of 3 remaining contenders for the White House. Condoleezza Rice currently serves as the Secretary of State.
Women have opportunities in every institution of higher learning and in every imaginable field and profession. If you've been watching Carrier, you'll be very impressed with the two female naval aviators who fly and LAND the amazing F-18's aboard a United States aircraft carrier.
But, every woman that enjoys the liberty that is: the right to vote, own property, work in their chosen field, the right to be tried by a jury of their peers (peers that include women), divorce and attain or share custody of children, the right to an education... and many other rights owes those liberties to the women who worked and sacrificed to bring nations and governments to recognize those rights.
It is an important distinction to say that these women made governments RECOGNIZE their rights, not grant them. Thomas Jefferson recognized that God grants these rights.. not governments when he wrote, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
I am so grateful for my liberty and for the many men and women through history who have endured much to ensure that my rights are recognized by my government and many governments around the world. And, I am so grateful for the men and women today who stand sentinel and protect those rights.
Sadly, there are many parts of the world where the rights of women and of men are still oppressed. It is my prayer that Thomas Jefferson's words will someday take hold in the hearts of people everywhere and that governments will come to recognize the sacred liberties of every human being.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Giveaway Friday...

I will post a photo of this box later today when it's finished. (disclaimer: There is a tiny mistake on it.) Anyway, it's a hedgehog box. So, if you'd like to enter the contest, just comment once on this post and I will draw a name on Monday Midnight EST.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Debrett's... Good Manners Thursday..

Did you know that I love etiquette books and I have started to gather a small, but fun collection. I don't know that it's helped me that much. I think that I tend to read and forget. However, this book is destined to be one of my favorites. Debrett's, I understand, are the favored etiquette books to our British friends, even though one reviewer wrote this title, "Insight into bizarre tribe." And, as you read, there are some differences between America and Britain, especially in table manners. Don't, however, go to England and call your napkin a serviette. I was told that was correct, but Debrett's says.. NEVER!
John Morgan writes about etiquette with a great deal of satire. I feel like John Morgan, the author, is looking down his nose at me as he is saying things like...
"Generally speaking, it is bad manners to behave in a loud, disruptive or irritating way in public; this the behavioural preserve of drunken louts leaving pubs at closing time."
here's one for me...
"Chewing gum is ugly and uncouth." (Sigh.. I love gum! Orbit Sweet Mint is my very favorite.. but I promise not to chew gum in Britain.)
and this one I couldn't agree with more...
".. even less appealing on the pavement is the sight of dog dirt. Really good mannered owners carry plastic bags to remove any offending matter." When I take a walk in my town, I find that I spend a great deal of time looking down at the ground to avoid dog mines rather than up at the lovely sky and flowering trees... I find this very irritating. Some of my neighbors even allow their pets to come into my yard and garden to use the restroom. My garden is not a dog bathroom. Now be honest.. that is not thoughtful or kind behavior.. correct?
This one is quite obvious, but it was written in such a funny way I have to include it..
"Queuing, although not the great British institution it once was, is still part of the national psyche. Thus it remains bad manners to jump any queue, be it at a bus stop or in the collection line for vouchers for the Royal Enclosure from St James's Palace on the Monday of Ascot week."
I could see that people could be especially sensitive to slights on the Monday of Ascot week so be cautious travelers.
All this has put me in a great mind to see the film, The Queen, which I am adding to my Netflix queue today.
***P.S. Please come back tomorrow. I am hosting another giveaway this Friday and every Friday through July 4th!

Glass Lidded Carafe...

I am not an elegant person, I only wish. I spend most of my days painting in clothing that paint can (and has) been spilled on.. like pajama bottoms and sweat pants.. but I love the idea of an elegant life... possibly one that includes a lovely breakfast tray with this beautiful carafe, a piece of toast, some fruit and a single rose. Wouldn't that be lovely? I think this would make a lovely wedding gift for an elegant person.
You can find it on Carolyn Roehm's lovely site here.

The Prestige...

I really enjoyed this film. It was recommended to me by a friend some time ago and I finally had some time to watch it last night. I loved some of the costumes.. they were so beautiful that it was almost worth it to watch just for the visual part of the show. The plot is very twisty and interesting and moves right along. It is definitely a plot driven film rather than a character driven film, which is OK because you don't really like the characters that much except maybe the minor characters of the little daughter and the manager who was played brilliantly by Michael Caine.
The film is really about unbridled ambition and revenge as two talented magicians compete to destroy each other.
It's a dark film and it was rated PG-13.. there are several disturbing images of death by drowning, hanging and shooting... so not for children.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Oh my children...

My sister Alicia sent me this column from the Atlantic Monthly yesterday... It is the story of a father trying to lay down the commandments at the dinner table. Now, before you click over there.. I don't mean to be indelicate.. but empty your bladder so you won't pee your pants and finish your coke so it doesn't come out your nose.. This story is funny stuff if you have or know any children.
See this story HERE!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Lily of the Valley...

In the language of flowers...
Lily of the Valley means..
Return of Happiness
Are not they lovely?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mother's Day...

**Note: Before I start this post.. don't forget that there is a giveaway several posts down. Everyone is welcome.

Secondly, this is a photo of the box I painted for my mom for Mother's Day.. there is also one in the shop if anyone is interested.

I hope you had a wonderful mother's day... guilt free. For some reason, in the places I've lived Mother's Day can become a day of comparison. Do you do that? I do. I look around at all the talented women that I live by and wish that I could have some of the best gifts of every one of them. My neighbor gave a talk at our church the other day. She is a person whose done a lot of research on parenting and she made an interesting point. She said that she had looked at a study that had tried to discover the ideal way to raise successful children and the study found that there was no ideal way, but that many successful (successful here is defined as happy) adults had one thing common... they were loved. What a relief, if we love our children and they really know it, that fact will make up for a lot.

Several years ago I was asked to speak about mothers. Here is a small portion of what I wrote about some of the mother's in my life.

Mothers are different.
In my own family my two Grandmothers could not have been more different.
One graduated with a degree in nursing, had ten children, seven of them boys, was an avid sports fan and a great cook of large portions of good Mormon cooking all the while working outside the home as a labor and delivery nurse by necessity to help support her large family. I never saw her with makeup or any other form of feminine adornments but she always knew the scores of all the games.
My other Grandmother graduated from Utah State with a degree in clothing and textiles. She is the mother of six children 3 girls and 3 boys. I have seen many pictures of her looking glamorous in fancy dresses she made with high heels and red lipstick... think 1940's Christian Dior! She was a homemaker by trade, artistic in every way and a Relief Society president many times over. She is also a great cook of small portions of gourmet food.

Both of my Grandmothers were good mothers. Both of them were faithful Latter Day Saints who served tirelessly in the church and were wonderful examples to their children and Grandchildren. Both of them were missionaries. Both of them shared their love, talents and testimonies with as many people as they could, but especially with their families.

I am so grateful this day for my own dear mother whose gifts and talents are many; who taught me to awe and reverence the creation that our Heavenly Father has made for our happiness. She loves everything that is good and beautiful. I enjoy going on drives with her so that she can point out and name every special tree and flower and bush and so she can remind me not to forget how beautiful our mountains are today with either green grass, autumn leaves or snow. She loves the beauty of every season and celebrates every holiday and occasion with exuberance and real joy. I am so grateful for her quiet faith and her extraordinary acts of service and for her great loyalty and love for her family.
I think it's a good idea to try to celebrate the differences that make each mother the right mother for the child they have been given by God... even if that mother is you!

Saturday, May 10, 2008


I ran into this book at the bookstore yesterday. I had to sit there and pretend I had really bad allergies instead of the fact that I was crying in the store... so embarrassing. It's about a mother who has this cute daughter. The daughter has the audacity to grow up and ride two wheel bikes and it's like in the next page that she leaves for college. And it's about how precious this daughter is to her mother. I'm going to try and give this to c for her birthday this year. I hope I remember.. and write her a lovely letter and tell her she is the most fabulous thing that ever happened to me.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Surprise Love Box Giveaway...

I finished a new design this week. Sadly, the first one is never exactly right. And, because a new design is always sort of an experiment.. they are often not up to standard enough to put in the shop. So, I'm giving this first attempt away. Only the winner gets to see it since it's imperfect. If your interested.. comment just once on the post below and I will draw a name Monday Midnight EST.

Congratulations to Motherboard!

Speed Racer...

I was thinking about taking c to view the new Speed Racer movie this weekend or next (it takes a lot of gumption to face movie crowds on the weekends around here). I'm not so sure anymore... some idiot must have already seen it because at 2AM said doofus came racing around the neighborhood. Sleep never comes easily for me and it is quickly frightened away by thunderstorms, dogs and crazy people doing reckless automobile stunts in the middle of the night. So, I've been up since 2 and feel like I was run over. I may have to catch up with you all tomorrow. Sorry to be so whiny.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Why dieters eat celery.. 5 a day and other news..

This is why dieters eat celery. (That's a great website I think.) I've just helped myself to 3 stalks.. 30 calories. I have discovered that the whole 5 a day thing is kind of a conspiracy... the idea being that if you stuff yourself full of veggies.. there will be no room for dessert. For instance, did you know that if you buy a normal 6oz. bag of salad at the grocery store you have to eat at least half of it to count as a serving of veggies and say you just wanted to pig out on spinach.. Well, just go right on ahead.. You've pigged out, you've eaten the whole bag.. no worries it's only 40 calories. At some level I knew this, but not like I know it now. I've never tried to really stick to this 5 a day thing before.. it works you know. Running six miles a day works faster, but this works too and I'm not so sore and injury prone. At some point I hope the running will be part of it again too, but for right now I'm trying to eat my veggies.

A little friend came to visit...

A little while ago, this little friend came to visit. Three is an interesting age and she reminded me that a lot of the things my nephew, (who I see far more frequently) does are all about being 3. Three is big. People who are three can do big things and they don't need any help. People who are three can be afraid of the garden peas on their plate, but not afraid to jump down an entire flight of stairs if you're not watching them close. They can be afraid of the swing set, but not afraid of running in the road.
You have to watch a 3... carefully.. but, they sure are a delight.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008