Monday, October 31, 2011

Family Talents

Happy Halloween! As I was compiling the pictures from this last week, I realized that they all showcased different family member's talents in one way or another.

First of all, did you guys know that Jason is an amazing artist? He is. I should seriously show you some of the stuff he did in high school. He's amazing. And every year, he does an amazing pumpkin carving. Remember his pumpkin from last year? I sure do. And this, my friends, is the incredible piece of art that he made this year:

It's the house from Up! Isn't it amazing? And look at that detail! Holy cow, I have a talented husband. Seriously.

It's sitting next to, of course, my traditional smiley pumpkin. Man, I love seeing that guy every year.

Next, we have my mom. She is an incredible seamstress. All my life she's made us (and our friends!) Halloween costumes, various outfits, and fancy dresses for school dresses or weddings. She even got a job earlier this year for a company that makes costumes for little kids, and she's great at it. She started high, and she's already been promoted.

This year, she made my sister Sydney a Yip Yip costume. And it is awesome. Good job for Sydney for thinking of such a great costume, and wow for my mom for pulling it off.

Sydney looks awesome in her costume.

And, finally, I did my best to make costumes for me and Jason this year. We're Pacha and his wife Chicha from The Emperor's New Groove. We went with it because we love the movie and because Chicha is very, very pregnant. So it works!

So, that's how we've prepared for Halloween this year. Happy trick-or-treating tonight!

Stiffy ghosts and pumpkins!

Hola! So remember how my friends and I made that Autumn banner like a month ago? Well, we made even more fun fall crafts a couple weeks ago: Stiffy ghosts and fabric pumpkins. They were both really easy to make.

This is all we needed for the ghosts (there are lots of tutorials online if you want to try them yourself): cheesecloth, Stiffy fabric stiffener, scissors, plastic wrap, tape, a cup, wire (for the arms), and a grocery bag (for the head, all balled up and wrapped in plastic wrap).

Here are my ghosts after they'd dried and I'd taken them off of their little mannequin (made out of plastic cups and wire) things:

And with their faces:

Ta da! It's been fun having them around the house; they're so friendly and smiley when I walk into different rooms.

The pumpkins were easy too. We used the tutorial found here (with a few modifications): Squash Softies. You only need fabric, a stem (a.k.a. stick you find outside), some stuffing (we used plastic grocery bags), thread, a needle, and a hot glue gun. Here's how to make them:

1. Cut a fabric circle for each pumpkin. We made different size circles, which gave us different sized pumpkins. The big pumpkins were 17-18 inch diameter circles, the middle sized ones 12 inch diameter, and the little one 8 inches.

2. Thread the needle and knot the thread several inches from the end. Sew wide stitches around the edge of the circle (about 1/2 inch from the edge). Holding one end of the thread, pull the other end so that the fabric gathers. Stuff grocery bags inside.

3. Set the stem in the hole, and pull the thread to cinch the fabric around it. We used hot glue inside the hole to help firmly set the stem. Tie the thread off and cut off the excess. And you're done!

I really love my pumpkins, especially the orange leafy one. And the burlap one. :) (I know that's two out of three, and I should probably include the little red one in my favorable assessment as to not hurt its feelings, but I really do love each of the other two more. Sorry, little red one. Stay strong.)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

One of my favorite things about Fall

As I've mentioned before, autumn is my favorite season. I love it for so many reasons. One of those reasons is General Conference, a semi-annual meeting for all the members in our church where we get to hear from the prophet and apostles. It's pretty sweet, as you can imagine.

One of the stories that I loved, loved, loved from general conference this year was told by President Monson in the Sunday morning session. You can watch or read the whole talk here (it'd be worth it to watch it. President Monson tells the story in such a wonderful way that doesn't quite come across just in text. You can just jump in at 14 minutes, where he starts telling the story.)

He tells:

"I am always humbled and grateful when my Heavenly Father communicates with me through His inspiration. I have learned to recognize it, to trust it, and to follow it. Time and time again I have been the recipient of such inspiration. One rather dramatic experience took place in August of 1987 during the dedication of the Frankfurt Germany Temple. President Ezra Taft Benson had been with us for the first day or two of the dedication but had returned home, and so it became my opportunity to conduct the remaining sessions.

On Saturday we had a session for our Dutch members who were in the Frankfurt Temple district. I was well acquainted with one of our outstanding leaders from the Netherlands, Brother Peter Mourik. Just prior to the session, I had the distinct impression that Brother Mourik should be called upon to speak to his fellow Dutch members during the session and that, in fact, he should be the first speaker. Not having seen him in the temple that morning, I passed a note to Elder Carlos E. Asay, our Area President, asking whether Peter Mourik was in attendance at the session. Just prior to standing up to begin the session, I received a note back from Elder Asay indicating that Brother Mourik was actually not in attendance, that he was involved elsewhere, and that he was planning to attend the dedicatory session in the temple the following day with the servicemen stakes.

As I stood at the pulpit to welcome the people and to outline the program, I received unmistakable inspiration once again that I was to announce Peter Mourik as the first speaker. This was counter to all my instincts, for I had just heard from Elder Asay that Brother Mourik was definitely not in the temple. Trusting in the inspiration, however, I announced the choir presentation and the prayer and then indicated that our first speaker would be Brother Peter Mourik.

As I returned to my seat, I glanced toward Elder Asay; I saw on his face a look of alarm. He later told me that when I had announced Brother Mourik as the first speaker, he couldn’t believe his ears. He said he knew that I had received his note and that I indeed had read it, and he couldn’t fathom why I would then announce Brother Mourik as a speaker, knowing he wasn’t anywhere in the temple.

During the time all of this was taking place, Peter Mourik was in a meeting at the area offices in Porthstrasse. As his meeting was going forward, he suddenly turned to Elder Thomas A. Hawkes Jr., who was then the regional representative, and asked, “How fast can you get me to the temple?”

Elder Hawkes, who was known to drive rather rapidly in his small sports car, answered, “I can have you there in 10 minutes! But why do you need to go to the temple?”

Brother Mourik admitted he did not know why he needed to go to the temple but that he knew he had to get there. The two of them set out for the temple immediately.

During the magnificent choir number, I glanced around, thinking that at any moment I would see Peter Mourik. I did not. Remarkably, however, I felt no alarm. I had a sweet, undeniable assurance that all would be well.

Brother Mourik entered the front door of the temple just as the opening prayer was concluding, still not knowing why he was there. As he hurried down the hall, he saw my image on the monitor and heard me announce, “We will now hear from Brother Peter Mourik.”

To the astonishment of Elder Asay, Peter Mourik immediately walked into the room and took his place at the podium.

Following the session, Brother Mourik and I discussed that which had taken place prior to his opportunity to speak. I have pondered the inspiration which came that day not only to me but also to Peter Mourik. That remarkable experience has provided an undeniable witness to me of the importance of being worthy to receive such inspiration and then trusting it—and following it—when it comes. I know without question that the Lord intended for those who were present at that session of the Frankfurt Temple dedication to hear the powerful, touching testimony of His servant Brother Peter Mourik.

My beloved brothers and sisters, communication with our Father in Heaven—including our prayers to Him and His inspiration to us—is necessary in order for us to weather the storms and trials of life. The Lord invites us, “Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me.” As we do so, we will feel His Spirit in our lives, providing us the desire and the courage to stand strong and firm in righteousness—to “stand … in holy places, and be not moved.”

As the winds of change swirl around us and the moral fiber of society continues to disintegrate before our very eyes, may we remember the Lord’s precious promise to those who trust in Him: “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

What a promise! May such be our blessing, I sincerely pray in the sacred name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, amen."

Monday, October 17, 2011

October Goings-on

Good morning! :) I hope that you had a good weekend, and that you're having a lovely start to your week.

Friday was my birthday; I turned 23! It was a great day; sunny and bright and happy. Jason had some more finals, but he was finished by noon, woot! Later, we had a birthday/halloween bash at our house with some of our friends. We carved pumpkins, made cookies, roasted pumpkin seeds, and watched Hocus Pocus. It was really fun. Also, Jason bought me flowers for my birthday, and made this adorable little book for me, and he is so cute and I love him.

Saturday and Sunday were both pretty relaxing; we ended up going to my mom's house in Highland on both days. On Saturday we went up there to take my little sister Sydney home (she came to the party on Friday and then spent the night at our apartment) and to go to Sweet Tomatoes in Sandy. Have you ever been to Sweet Tomatoes? They have them in California, but they're called Souplantation there. They are one of me and Jason's favorite restaurants. They're a buffet, but they're really yummy and healthy, too. They have delicious big-chunk chicken noodle soup, and blueberry muffins. Mmmm. They're the best. And if you sign up for their email list, they send you coupons all the time.

Sunday we had church, which was good, and were trained a little bit for our new callings (ward missionaries), which was good too. Jason has been so in demand in our ward this week. A new Russian family moved in, a mother and her two daughters. The daughters (who are 18 and 6) both speak some English, but the mom doesn't speak any at all. So, Jason has been getting calls from pretty much everybody- the bishopric, the relief society president, you name it- to help with meeting with the family and translating stuff.  So, Jason has kind of an unofficial calling now in addition to our regular ones; he's supposed to meet with the family as often as he can, to make sure they're doing all right, and he's supposed to help the mom learn English as soon as she can so that she can get a job. It's kind of crazy, but he's already doing a great job.

After church, we went up to my mom's house in Highland again. We had Sunday dinner with my mom, stepdad, Alyse, my step-sister Diana and her husband and their two-year-old, and Sydney. It was really fun to see them, and we got to play games all together after dinner. Plus, it was really pretty in Highland with all the changing fall colors.

She is soooo adorable.

So, that's what we were up to this weekend!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

I made a pillow!

And it is a beautiful, beautiful pillow and I love it so much.

When my friend Jill and I were at Joann's Fabrics a couple weeks ago, I saw this one fabric that I instantly fell in love with. Which is weird for me, because that never happens. I'm never like, I love this THING and I must HAVE IT. But I LOVED that fabric and had to DO SOMETHING with it. And so, standing there in the aisle, clutching the beautiful, wonderful fabric I had found, I thought, I'll make a pillow! And it will be a wonderful pillow. And every year at fall we will bring out the pillow, and it will be the fall pillow. And thus it was.

I made the pillow using a combination of the instructions found here and here. I mostly used the first page, except for I stuffed the pillow using batting (like in the second tutorial) instead of another pillow (like in the first tutorial). I got the batting from, well... let's just say I don't have a pillow on my bed anymore. (It was old and cheap anyway, and I've been wanting a new one). I also did not use buttons like the first tutorial, but I did get some brown bias tape piping for the edges (which I think add a really nice element to the pillow).

And here it is!

Sewing sewing sewing...

It's hungry for more batting

All done except for hand-sewing the final opening closed

To close, I used the "invisible stitch" found on this page.

All done!


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Pregnancy Update: 30 weeks!

Well, today I'm 30 weeks (7ish months) along and everything is going great. The baby has been crazy active today, kicking and rolling and punching and kicking some more. I'm actually relieved, because I've been feeling her less lately, so for her to be so incredibly active makes me feel better.

I had my 28 week appointment two weeks ago, and everything is good. I don't have gestational diabetes, and my weight gain is good, and everything is on track. So, woot! I had to go get my rhogam shot last week, which they make you do if you negative blood type so that you don't develop antibodies against your future babies if this baby happens to have positive blood. I actually don't need it, since Jason has negative blood as well (and, to get even more genetically technical, he isn't Weak D either, which means that you have a weak positive phenotype and show up as negative), so our babies will always have negative blood. So, I'm going to sign a waiver to get out of it next time. But, even though I had to get an unnecessary shot, at least it didn't hurt. So no harm done.

It has been getting harder to move with my belly getting bigger. It's tougher to get up and what not, and my back gets really sore if I sit for long periods. But really, neither of those things are very bad, and I don't mind them. Jason's been awesome and gives me back rubs whenever I need them.

So yeah! Thirty weeks and doing good. :)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Autumn Banner How-to

So, remember those craft projects I mentioned yesterday? Well, here's the first one! My friends and I decided to do this project after we saw something similar (and way cute!) on Etsy.

It's actually a very easy project. All you need is some burlap, scissors, some twine/jute, paints (in whatever colors you want), a paintbrush, and a hot glue gun (or a sewing machine would work). 

First, cut out triangle pieces from the burlap.

Next, paint the pattern you want (we did polka dots) on the burlap. After that dries, paint the letters.

After you've painted all the triangles, cut a long length of jute that will be long enough for all the pendants and for being able to tie it off on your wall. Folding over the top of each pendant, hot glue them to the jute. (You could also sew them to the jute if you have a sewing machine).

Trim the edges.

And you're done!

We really enjoyed doing this project. It was fun, easy, and the finished result is really cute. I put it in me and Jason's family room, and since it's a nice focal point it kind of ties all the fall decorations in the room together.

I even made a mini one for the fridge!

If you decide to try it, have fun! I think I'll make a "Happy Birthday" one in the future.

Linking up to:

Friday, October 7, 2011

Blustery Days

Waking up to rain this week has been so happy for me. I looove Fall. I don't know exactly what it is - the oranges and yellows, the crunchy, swirling leaves, the elementary school feeling of back-to-school or the hints of Halloween and Thanksgiving. I just love it. And so I've loved waking up this week to rain and wind outside. It's made me feel so cozy and protected in our warm and safe apartment.

What have we been up to lately?
  • Jason's had lots of classes and tests. His major, Clinical Lab Science, is really small (about 40 people) and they have tests every Friday. Since one entire day out of five is testing on what they've learned the other four days...they're pretty intense tests. But Jason's a trooper.  
  • Jason's brother and our sister-in-law Shelley had their baby! She's a beautiful, healthy little girl. Yay!
  • My dad's been in town the last two weeks and we've got to hang out with him a lot, which has been really fun.
  • Sydney, my little sister, turned 11! I can't believe it. She's so old!
  • We sold our old car. I can't remember if I mentioned that before or not, but either way, we're excited that we were able to sell it and have it done with.
  • My sister Alyse got the perfect job for her! She majored in English with an Editing minor, and for the last couple months she's been looking for an editing job. And she found one! She just started this week as an editor for a well-known group of private schools. She's really excited, and so are we. It should be a great job for her. 
  • Some friends and I have gotten together a couple times and made some fall crafts. It's been really fun, and I'll be posting them soon.
  • We had General Conference last weekend! It was so good. So many of the talks were just amazing. If you didn't get to listen to any, I'd recommend any by President Monson.
And what have I, specifically, been up to? Well, I've been working on a ginormous journal-scrapbooking-old photos-home videos-memoir type of project. It's got a lot of components, and I'm excited about each of them.

First of all, I'm putting together my journal from senior year of high school. You see, the last two years of high school (and the first couple of college) I mostly kept my journal on my computer. I would type up my entries in Microsoft Notepad, and called them my ramblings. At the end of my junior year I printed up all the entries I had made up to that point, and put them in a big three ring binder. I had much fewer entries the next year, senior year, and never got around to printing them up. Until now. The last couple weeks, I've printed off all my journal entries from that year. In addition, I've collected all the bits of paper I have from that time: notes, ramblings from the back of my math notebook, quotes, emails, movie tickets, letters, school programs and awards, etc. I've been putting them all together in one book, and I really like it. It's like putting together a big puzzle.

Once I finish my senior year book, I have multiple related projects I want to do: put together books for each year of college, make a binder of any elementary school work/art I want to keep (right now it's sitting in a box in my mom's garage), scan all of my, Banks, and Alyse's baby photos, convert our childhood home movies from vhs to dvd, make cds/dvds of relevant photos for those who'd want them (roommates, grandparents, etc.), and make a couple Shutterfly photobooks of different subjects (Girls Camp, high school, baby pictures, college).

I'm really excited about each and every one of these projects and ideas. Though I'm staying home these couple months and don't have a baby yet, I've got a lot of stuff I'm working on, and I'm enjoying it a lot. I think it's pointless for memorable things - all the things I mentioned above - to sit in boxes in storage. Either you don't really want or need them, and they can be tossed, or you do really want them and value them, and they should be displayed and easily accessible. If you value them, show that you value them. Anyway, I think that's what's motivating my big project. I do value these things, and I want them to be in an easily accessible format.

So yeah! That's what we've been up to lately. :)