Heartistic Desires

Homemaking is an Art of the Heart and Soul.

What I’ve Been Up To

Posted By on January 24, 2011

It’s been cold here in Utah. Really cold. We had thirteen days straight of sub-freezing temperatures. Now, having lived in Nebraska for a year and a half, I realize that’s nothing to some friends up North. Be we’re not used to that anymore and it was sure obnoxious. The snow was piled high and wouldn’t melt off the roads. Finally, the last week we’re starting to see some 30’s and 40’s. Quite nice. The snow is melting and we’re getting some rain to ‘reign’ in the snow. Last night it re-froze in the common and now we have a fun little frozen pond.

We’re drinking lots of hot cocoa to help beat the cold. I love it with a dollop of marshmallow creme and a candy cane. Or a sprinkle of cinnamon or chipotle chili powder. It just warms you from the inside out.

I’ve been trying to get back in the habit of making menus again. The last few months I haven’t done so well with these household necessities.

After all these years I finally figured out a great way to make my shopping list. I made my menu for a month then made a spreadsheet with four weeks worth of shopping for groceries and household needs. The first week of the month I shopped for all the staples and non-perishables for a month, and the produce for the first week only. Then each shopping week I made a list of staples to check and produce to buy for the next week. The whole month on one list and in one planning session. So far it’s working great.

My pots and pans have been in a rather pathetic state. I started to look into new cooking sets and decided quickly that I didn’t care for most of the sets out there. So many of them have tiny pots and pans I never use. I found these pots at Ikea and decided to give the 5-quart pot a try. I love it. I went back and got the 3-quart and 2-quart pots. They have measurements printed inside that aren’t right on, but are helpful for getting an idea of amounts. It’s the 365 series and I’m excited to add pieces a little here and there. Next I think I’ll get the roaster. Or a couple of the non-stick pans. Or…

Along with all my household chores I also let my hobbies go for a while. I know some of you are wondering what the heck I was doing for a few months. I don’t know. Not much. But my friend Coretta wanted to tat snowflakes for Christmas for all the Young Women in our ward (Church congregation) and I thought I’d help. It was kind of scary how much I’d forgotten in the few short months I hadn’t picked up a shuttle. Coretta ended up doing all 20-ish herself. I felt bad and vowed not to let myself go like that again.

I’ve been trying to stretch myself beyond what I had learned before by making these larger hearts and motifs. I’ve enjoyed being back at the shuttle again and Garret even bought me three new threads and a couple more shuttles. I like the little plastic ones because they’re inexpensive enough that I can just load a new one with each color of thread I buy.

And I’ve started to wear reading glasses now. At first it was just at night or when I was tired. Not so slowly it’s gotten to be anytime I read or write or do anything with my hands. I pretty much just aim at my lashes to get mascara on. Kind of annoying, but there are a lot of cute glasses out there. And I’m not going to complain since I got to almost 50 before I even needed glasses in the first place.

We also went to Disneyland with some of our family, and went to Arizona for Christmas. Both trips we had to endure horrific driving conditions on our way to our destinations. But both trips were very worth the white-knuckle drives. It had been a few years since we were in Disneyland and I just can’t describe how wonderful it was to be back. It was like a homecoming for us. Hopefully next time we go even more of our family can be there, but this time was the first for our two little Grandkids and what a blessing and joy it was to be with them for that! They were little troopers! We were in the parks for four days and they just kept trudging on. How delightful they are to my heart.

We’ve Moved!

Posted By on November 5, 2010

Garret and I recently moved to a new (to us) house a couple of blocks from our old house. The ‘new’ house has almost twice the square footage but was the same price. Hmmmm…. Sounds like a no-brainer to me! We love, love, LOVE our new place and our new neighborhood. And it’s a bonus that we are still in the same ward (Church congregation) and a stone’s throw from our old neighborhood and friends. It’s been a great move for us and we’re very happy.

Our front. Of all the colors available in the community, this is our least favorite combination. But we LOVE the front porch and most everything else about the house, so we aren’t going to complain about the color. The homes are situated around common areas so Garret and I get to watch the neighborhood kids play in the yard. So cute.

The front room was purple when we moved in. I decided early on I wanted a deep yellow and, bless her heart, Nikaela decided she wasn’t leaving my house until it was yellow (she and her family, and my Mom, came to help us move in). The color we ended up choosing was a bit more vibrant than I thought I wanted, but we love it! Of course, the pictures don’t do it justice.

The kitchen has very limited counter space. This is my only ‘concern’ about it. Other than that it is a great layout, has a full pantry (!!), modern appliances and is delightful to work in! It’s currently an apple-ish green, but I want to change that a bit to a more sage-y or Tuscan green.

One of my favorite things about the house is a little window from the kitchen into the living room. I can watch movies while I cook!

The IKEA cabinets are once again invaluable and transformed into dish hutches. I’ve had a ton of fun displaying and using dishes that have been packed for more than 18 months.

Yes, that’s blue. We plan to change the blue after the first of the year. It’s a pretty color and all, it’s just… We’ve had this head/foot board forever but it was green and our last house was too small for us to have it set up. So when we saw we could use it in this huge master bedroom I painted it espresso brown. Much nicer.

I’m very excited to have a garden tub at last!

Garret calls it ‘hemorrhage’ but it says Cherry Tart on the can. While red is my favorite color and I would LOVE a red bathroom, we’re looking for something a bit different for this room. And we have a “fun” mix of styles going on here: lighthouse border, striped shower curtain, French signage…

Next we hit the Art Room. We are so excited about this room! Eventually it will house guests but right now we’ve laid out all of our photos and art and are sorting through and updating. It’s much easier to decide what to hang where when you can see it all at once. Another thing I love about this house is the closets. Our master bedroom closet is – seriously – as big as one of the spare bedrooms in our old house! And the closets in the two spare bedrooms here are very nicely sized walk-ins. I was able to unpack all my linens, get them washed and store them in this closet. Made me very happy.

And we’ve been able to unpack all of our books. This is about half of them. Some others are in the Rec Room and even more are in the basement. Another favorite thing about this room is that I was finally able to put my Grandma/Grandpa chair somewhere! I’m hoping to refurbish it.

The Rec Room.

A laundry ROOM! I have a laundry room IN my house! I’m so excited to decorate this room.

And down the stairs to the Office and Creative Room. We decided to play up the ‘industrial’ look in here and we love it. I’m hoping to get something a little more interesting to cover the window with. I wish you could see them better, but we found some cute lighting fixtures at IKEA. Actually it’s just a cord with a light fixture at the end and you string them where ever you want them. They have them in black, white, blue, green, red and orange. So we got the four colors to add a bit of fun.

And that’s our fun new house! I feel my creativity jump-starting to life again.

Fear

Posted By on October 28, 2010

I love to write about the little things of life. I can spend all day writing about gardening and crocheting and crafts and food. Easy, inanimate objects of life. Things, I can do.

But when life is emotional I have a much more difficult time. I’m not one to share my feelings – especially fears, challenges, worries – with very many people. I tend to hibernate when life gets hard. And right now there are a few hard things.

I am worried about my family. My family is my life. I never wanted much more out of life than to be part of a close, caring family.

I’m worried about the Young Women in my Church congregation. I have been asked to preside over the 12 – 18 year olds and I have come – very quickly – to love them and want the best for them. But life is challenging for Youth these days.

I’m kind of scared of what the next 45 years of life will bring. Maybe I put a little too much of my personal energy into “just” being a wife and mother. Now I live 700 miles away and they are adults who want, and need, to live their own lives. So… do I just bake and quilt for the next 45 years?? I believe I need more of a cause.

I’m concerned about my health. Probably nothing more than just aging, but I’m not fond of the aches, the migraines, the weakness, the blurring vision. *sigh*

It is a sad fact that too often the worries and challenges of life get too much of our attention and the blessings get second billing while we bemoan our fate. But, in actual fact, I am grateful and I do recognized how blessed I am. Sometimes, I suppose, you just gotta feel the pain long enough to let it go.

So Exciting!!

Posted By on July 5, 2010

Taken about a week ago. There are several more as of today.

Keeping those fingers crossed!

Man! That Went Fast!

Posted By on July 3, 2010

Recently Nikaela and her family came to visit. We had SO much fun with them! We did lots of fun activities and still managed to say, “Oh, we never…” after they left. It’s just so hard sometimes to live this far away from them.

They got here on a Sunday and the fun started immediately. I made a roast beef with all the fixings (including Grandma Eddie’s homemade rolls). And then we went out back for a fire in the fire pit and s’mores. By the time the sun went down (about 9:30 these days), the kids seemed ready to jump into the new Cars and Disney Princess sleeping bags Garret and I bought them. They snuggled right in and drifted off. I wish I’d gotten a photo of that!

Monday Nikaela and I went shopping and she gave me an official Image Consultation. We had a blast! And when we got home, the guys had BBQ’d steaks for dinner – yum!

Tuesday was Toastmasters and hair style day. Wednesday and Thursday we went camping in American Fork canyon.

Friday was Salt Lake City and photo shoots. And Saturday was packing-up and then a brief shooting session in the hills with Garret’s 22 before they left.

A few photos from story time and bath time.

Computer Books with Grandpa

Is there any more comforting place to be than Grandpa’s lap?

Bath Time!

We love bath time with the grandkids. When our daughters were little we had a pretty strict bedtime routine. My Mom taught me that kids like routine and feel safe and comfortable when they know what to expect. We made bathtime – whether short or long – part of the good night routine and now our daughter does it with her kids. Such fun playtime for Grandpa, Gideon and Bela!

Story Teller

I love Garret’s deep, smooth voice and so do the kids. But then, kids just love Garret! We can be at Church, the store, just about anywhere and Garret can make googly eyes with nearby children and they will smile and giggle shyly. If I smile at them, they often just look back blankly. Garret is a charmer…

Gideon and I were working on making him a new hat on a hat loom. He says he can’t find the camo one I made him at Christmas. This one is dark blue with a light blue stripe.

Their visit just flew! But each moment was wonderful. It’s always hard for Garret and I to watch our guests drive away. We usually sit on the porch swing until we can talk without crying. But we just try to remember all the reasons we are here and remind ourselves of our great blessings. At least we live close enough to see each other every few months!

Yes, 37 Tomato Plants

Posted By on June 28, 2010

So, as most of you know by now, tomatoes are pretty important to us. Garret and I love fresh salsa, homemade tomato soup, diced tomatoes in salads and with pasta, sliced tomatoes with anything, etc., etc., etc. So we decided if there was one thing we were going to be successful at in a home garden this year it was going to be tomatoes. If you’ll remember right, I planted 70 seedlings in four varieties. Of those, 65 grew well. And then we got a little… something. A blight perhaps? Not sure, but it affected several plants and we were down to a mere 45-ish! I truly wasn’t too worried because I didn’t expect to have half that many survive the seedling phase.

Then we planted them in the ground. It was after Mother’s Day – supposedly safe by almost all neighborhood friends’ accounts. And the following weekend it snowed.

A few more plants fell by the wayside.

After all that baby-ing, the tomatoes were not looking so hot. Garret and I were getting concerned that we might not get any homegrown tomatoes this year. Maybe we panicked a bit early, but panic we did. We had heard about Global Buckets from my sister so we looked them up. Pretty intriguing! On Memorial Day we went and got all the supplies to make 10 one-bucket Global Buckets.

Garden Quest

While Garret cut all the pipes we needed…

Pipes

… I cut the handles off the strainers that go in the bottom of the buckets. We got these at the dollar store.

Retro-fitting Strainers

Then we cut holes for the pipes.

Next Step

We put the strainer upside-down in the bottom of the bucket, then put the large pipe with the cut-out down through the large hole in the bottom (now top) of the strainer.

Assembly Begins

Then Garret lined up the holes in the sides of the strainer and made matching holes in the buckets for the smaller, black drainage pipes.

Drainage

Now we just need to add the soil. And the plants.

Fill 'er Up

10 Little Global Buckets

We got the soil good and damp before putting it in the buckets.

Mixing the Soil

It was hard work stirring the damp soil, so I turned it over to Mr. Muscles.

I Got Tired

*sigh*

*sigh*

We mixed lime in with the soil and then poured fertilizer around the outside edge of the buckets. Just following directions…

Food for Thought

Then we put plastic over all that and…

Coverall

… cut an ‘X’ in the center to put the plant in. We dug a deep hole in the center and buried the plant pretty deep – about 2/3 of it.

Tomato Time!

Now supposedly we water from the top of the white pipe only – never the center where the plant is. I must admit to a little skepticism. If my sister and her husband hadn’t had such huge success I would be dubious. I’ll be anxious to see how they do, though, as the “Ground Tomatoes” (as we now call them) don’t look too good at all.

Grow, Grow, Grow!

All ready to go! We did turn the buckets so we could reach the water pipe a little easier. Now we’ll see what these babies do.

Global Bucket Garden

So… with 10 Global Bucket tomatoes and the 27 Ground tomatoes that have survived – we have a lot of tomato plants. And just counting the days til we see that first little tomato.

Wait a Minute…

Posted By on May 24, 2010

Who ordered snow at the end of May? Sure, it’s pretty, but I’m a bit worried about my garden.

Snow in May

Snow in May

Snow in May

Snow in May

Snow in May

Have a lovely Spring day, wherever you are! Me? I think I’ll skip Spring Fever and move on to Summer Fever. It’s got to be right around the corner!

My World Tonight

Posted By on May 18, 2010

Good Morning, Spring!

Posted By on May 17, 2010

I have to say that I love living in Utah; I have found very few things I dislike about life here.

But these ant piles completely freak me out!

This one was by our garage door this morning when we stepped out for our walk.

It seems like they’re all over instantly. It’s so strange because there was nothing – nothing – there yesterday. These huge ant piles appear literally overnight.

Coming from AZ, I’m extremely nervous around large piles of ants – and I’ve rarely seen them in hills this big there. But in AZ, if they’re fire ants, they are very aggressive and their bite is painful. In Utah, the mounds are huge, but they don’t seem to care if we’re there or not.

As soon as Garret poured ant killer on them, they started pouring out of the cracks – by the thousands. It is disgusting! They climb all over each other and create big hills of ants. Yuck

By the afternoon, there will be no trace of them whatsoever.

It finally warmed up enough for me to feel comfortable planting our tomatoes. Remember those tiny little seeds?

A pull-out view of the whole garden at this point. We’ve been able to plant a lot of vegetables in this one little strip of bedding. The peas are coming along nicely – even starting to grab hold of the trellis. And now that it’s warmed up a bit the radishes are starting to grow. But the carrots are still very small – I haven’t even been able to thin them yet.

Being a rental property, we didn’t have any control over the care of the home and yard before we moved in last year. And, in all honesty, I don’t think it’s physically possible for us to get rid of all the dandelions in the time we will spend in this home. They are everywhere! I pull a few here and there, but they are evil little things. In AZ, we thought they were kind of pretty. HA! (Well, yeah, they kind of are – they just don’t stay pretty for long!)

This little picnic table is just so sad it’s adorable! It was never sealed, so the wood has turned to pulp. You can’t touch the table without coming away with a ton of tiny bits of wood all over. I keep my pots and herbs on it, though, and it works great for that. Kind of chaming.

Many of you may remember my herbs from last year… sad.

But this year we are getting tons of seedlings! Again, they waited until the sun came out but now they are sprouting in force. I’m considering grabbing a couple packets of some other herbs to try.

This is one of my favorite things about living in Utah – spring with snow still in the mountains. The bases of the mountains and the fields are all green with tiny purple wildflowers, but the peaks are still capped with snow.

And here in the valley, there are blooms and seedlings everywhere. So pretty!

Have a great Spring day!!

Photo of the Day

Posted By on May 11, 2010

Well, I am just SO thrilled! The Lay’s Happiness Exhibit has chosen my photo as Photo of the Day on their website!

To see it up close and personal go here (at least for today… tomorrow it will probably be gone…)

And check out some other photos while you’re there. There are so many fun and happy faces!

Seriously, I could never have imagined uploading a couple of photos going so far. But this has been a really fun ride. A shout out to Shannon at Juniper Park who originally asked for my photo to use in the Lay’s ad in People magazine. Thanks, Shannon!

And what have I learned from all of this?

Some times you just have to go for it!