Feb 12, 2017

Plumbing Woes

On Friday, laster-week (2/3), I decided to get really crazy and take down my Christmas decoration! (Yes, I know, let's not be hasty!) As part of that job I decided to mop the floors since much of the furniture was already moved to facilitate that task.  I used up the last of the mopping product I use and decided I would look NOW to see if I remembered correctly- was there more under the sink?

It was providential that I made that inspection. Our kitchen sink is situated in the corner of the room on a 45 degree angle to the walls; thus making a very deep cabinet. I took out the trash can (it has to live there to keep one naughty dog out of it). I looked at the nice red gingham-checked shelf liner that I installed when I replaced the faucet a few years ago and SOMETHING just didn't look right! As I stood there trying to puzzle it out it finally dawned on me that the shelf had warped down! OMSH! There must be a leak!

Out came all of the bottles, baskets and cans that live under there. Yes, it was quite wet. I peeled up the shelf liner... YIKES it is very wet!! I finally located the source of the problem! This dirty bounder was leaking at BOTH the on/off valve and the compression valve! The on/off valve had a pin-hole leak that was spraying against the side of the cupboard and then seeping down under the shelf liner, plus down the hole into the dungeon!

I'm not sure why this valve was even in the line as, fortunately, there was a saddle valve on the cold water source pipe and I could turn off the water there.

Now that I'd temporarily stemmed the flood I went to the dungeon to see how wet it was down there!

Not good, but not horrible! The leak couldn't have been going too long or the whole place would have been a mess.

Unfortunately there were several things that were wet! A jute rug was lying flat on the floor and, although wrapped in plastic, soaked up a good portion of the water, also a 26 yard roll of upholstery fabric, chair cushions, a couple of sweat shirts that were practically dripping and then several other items that were wrapped in such a way that, although wet on the outside of the plastic, were not wet inside.

Gordon helped me lug all of this up the stairs and into the garage. I'd deal with the drying out part later, when it stopped raining.

 The most damaged items were two of these antique rubbings from the Cambodian Temple, Angkor Wat. Gordon's mom bought them when they lived there and had them framed before coming back to the States.

Wouldn't you know it? That which is the most irreplaceable!

This one had water damage on the back but it hadn't seeped through to the actual rubbing yet. These went into the family room to dry.

Next day I  spread out the rug and upholstery yardage in the garage and, after 4 days of rain, nothing was drying out! We had a sunny day on Wednesday (2/8) so as soon as we got home from the Temple Gordon helped me move the rug onto the deck and we spread out the fabric on the grass. There were big wet spots in the garage where these had been.

About 7 pm I *folded* up the fabric and schlepped it inside so it didn't get wet from the dew. I left the rug as it was still wet.

They were predicting rain so Thursday night I rolled up the rug and dragged it into the dining room. 

As soon as I got back from my daily walk Friday morning I took the fabric back out to the deck so I started rolling it back onto the slightly bent cardboard center roll. Since I'd folded it up by dragging the ends together, again and again, I was able to unfold and roll. It took me a full 20 minutes!

But I was successful. Louisa May Alcott did her best, along with Marme, Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy, to help me complete the task. (I love to be read to! Thank you Audible.)

I trussed up the two rolls like so many piggies and dragged them back down in the dungeon. I'll use the jute rug on the deck this summer, it is too smelly for indoor use. I still don't know what I'm going to do with the fabric that I've hauled around for the 15 years! Maybe Deseret Industries or Habitat for Humanity?

Amid all the damp drama I also had to replace the float mechanism in my not-even-five-year-old-toilet. I'm a little tired of DIY this week.

**So I started this post in good humor but about an hour ago I heard that a huge area south of Lake Oroville is under a mandatory evacuation order as it looks like the emergency spillway is going to fail. I'm just sick! It makes my little problem come into very sharp focus. They are in my prayers.

Feb 10, 2017

Lions, [No] Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

Yesterday, for the first time in decades, Grammie went to the Zoo! Sweet Stephanie suggested that we take the little people to the zoo. What a fabulous idea! (My boys did an awesome job of choosing me daughters!)

The last time I visited Hogle Zoo was when I was a teenager! MY littles and I used to go frequently to the LA Zoo when they were children.

Our first stop was the giraffe exhibit! The middle-size giraffe was licking (yes, LICKING) the building. If you are able to zoom in you can see her dark blue tongue.

Just the size differences made me wonder if this was a little family. Plus, I've never seen such a light-colored giraffe as the licker!

I asked Steph to take a photo of me and she commented... how did you do this with your own three little ones. Well, I didn't go very many places when they were this young!

Our next stop was this huge stylized elephant statue. At first Liam wanted nothing to do with this behemoth. He is very leery of animals and stomping elephants in particular! Aren't these the most beautiful girls?

By the time we visited the statue later he was brave enough to get out and see it up close. I think it helped that when he saw the real elephants they weren't stomping at all, but napping! One was even lying down!

Our next stop was the lions! Yeah for lions! It was fun to see that there were several adult females, an adult male (or two?) and two juveniles, one of each sex. The little male was just starting to grow his ruff! So cute.

Camille's school just did a production of Lion King Jr (and they were the sound managers) so we discussed which lion was which character! This very agreeable fellow was lying right on the other side of this glass. The big muddy paw smear on his side of the glass was not lost on this Grammie!

 Miss Emmy also got a close view of this big boy!

Fiona enjoyed the animal statues almost as much as the actual animals.

THIS PHOTO!  There's a little deja vu here! (Seal watching.)

It is so evocative of one taken of MY littles almost 28 years ago... Spencer, Camille and Stuart at Disneyland August 1989.

The otter exhibit was next, but not an otter to be found. They did, however, find a dandy log to climb on and play peek-a-boo through knot holes. These sweet cousins, who are 19 weeks apart, often look like cousin-twins!

But this is the animal that Fiona most wanted to see! The paw-ler bear! This dandy girl put on quite a show just for *her* Fiona! She'd push off backwards and float for about 15 feet then...

flip over and swim back in the other direction on her stomach.

Back and forth, back and forth. I took a video of it and the kids eagerly followed her progress.

She finally got out, shook off and then relieved herself. "That paw-ler bear is going potty!" Fiona announced. (Which is also why we knew this bear was a girl.) We thought it very proper of her NOT to make peeps in the swimming pool!

Auntie Nie-Nie treated us to garlic knots at the zoo Beastro and a carousel ride, sans Liam and Grammie. Those animals are just too scary!

We had a lovely afternoon. And, not surprisingly all three babies were asleep within 5 minutes of getting into the cars to drive home.

Jan 17, 2017

Memories of Christmases Past

Yes, I know that it is now January 17 and Christmas was almost a month ago but this is a post that needs to be written instead of just inserted into my 2016 Blog book as I've done with other photos.

I always decorate early for Christmas, well, early for me! As soon as we've had our Thanksgiving, always on the 3rd Sunday in November, I love to bring out my favorite Christmas things. And they are always up for a couple of months. When Spencer was a child I usually had to *quick-take-down-Christmas* so we could have his birthday party on the 22nd! (And, yes, they are still up this year.)

I have A LOT, TOTES-FULL, of Christmas decorations. Many of them never emerge from the dungeon... I just don't have the heart to get them out. So about 4 totes are labeled *YES*.When I saw this lovely, living in one of the *YES* totes, I knew I wanted to put it out this year.

Decades ago rotten rodents got into the, then, cardboard box of Christmas decorations and chewed holes in this treasure, along with other items that are irreplaceable.

Reading this tag that my Mama taped there 43 years ago feels like a message coming through time. I know she still wishes me love, peace and joy. She knew all too well the heartache that comes at Christmas time when you have loved ones who have gone on before. Her mother died on December 19, 1927 when my Mama was only 14.

I briefly considered putting it on the floor, around my 3 trees, before realizing that if it was there it would get too much abuse from one *stupid-dog* Harley as he launched himself off the chair to go bark at the latest distraction he'd spied.

I settled on putting it on the chest with one of my creches on top. Why hadn't I thought about that before?

I may have hit on a new tradition. It has been so happy to have a little bit of my Mama around this season.

Jan 8, 2017

It's All About My Finger!

 I've said this before, I'm pretty sure that most people really don't care what I blog about BUT since this is MY blog I get to choose what goes here! I kinda like that!

I've been editing my way though my 2016 blog book and have gotten to all of the drama about hacking off the side of my finger last June with my rotary cutter. I took lots of photos, few of which turned up here, on Instagram or Facebook. I save the gnarly ones, or should I say I save my friends from the gnarly ones. The brave of heart can come read my blog book if they are really that interested.

I've added periodic photo updates on the healing process to my book. It is still startling to me how long it took to finally heal. I guess that was a whole-hunk-a-lot-o-skin to grow back. I'm just grateful for a strong and healthy body. I didn't have any infections or complications. I do still have some soreness on the outside of that poor little fingee!

I was showing Deborah and Camille my finger while they were here at Christmas time and told them that previously this had been my favorite finger.

They laughed! Who has a favorite finger? Well, me I guess! I just liked the shape of the finger, the nail bed and slight twist to it. Odd, but there you are.

So this is the healed digit tonight- nearly 7 months later.

I still have a flat, hard spot right along the cuticle where I think it is still trying to fill in that gaping hole.

But this is the one that shows just how much is still gone. It used to be plump on both sides!

And you know I always have a funny story...

We had a spiral cut ham while Spencer's family was here. It was delicious! I normally put the ham bone aside to make split-pea soup but the sliced ham went so fast that I pulled it out of the freezer and was going to slice up what was left. Deb was sitting at the counter talking to me. With my first cut I absentmindedly put the sharp blade right on the nail of that same finger...

Deb said, "Grammie, I'm taking that knife away from you!"

Thanks for saving me from myself sweetie!!

Jan 3, 2017

Snow Day!

Way back in December 2008 I took a photo-a-day challenge that morphed into a 25 month-long journey of a photo AND a post everyday. So when I noticed that last year, 2016, I only had 17 posts I was more than a little disappointed! Granted now I do more on Instagram and Facebook but somehow many of the wonderful photos languished on the hard drive of my laptop and the stories in  my poor little brain!

So this year I hope to do much better.

This day is the second time in the last 10 days that we've gotten a *dumper* of a storm! And all I have to say about all this snow is HALLELUJAH!

Is it a stinkin' lot of work to move 18" of snow? You bet. Do I do it all myself? You bet. I spent the better part of 4 hours this morning moving snow, erm, and then moving it again after the snowplows came through the neighborhood and filled up the newly cleaned mailbox access and driveway.

The snow is so deep that it covered the exhaust manifold of my cute little snowblower. But this little machine is a real worker. I've used vacuum cleaners that are harder to use than this snowblower! Although I really have to put my back and/or legs into it to move through the deep snow. Ah, the disadvantage of being short in stature!

Our last 3 winters have been pitifully short on snow. Now did I enjoy those temperate winters. YOU BET! But I'm a smart enough girl to know that we NEED this wonderful snow to make it through the long dry summers.

I love how the snow made these darling little cones on top of my gate posts. And since we have our attention on this side of my house I have to add that I gave up today and moved the garbage and recycle cans into the garage. It will eliminate a big stretch of concrete that has to be cleared. Fernando can just have a pleasant winter home over there until March or April. (He only has one wheel drive anyway!) 

I love my happy little winter home. I'm so very grateful for a safe, warm, dry, comfortable home!

One of the tasks that is always part of my snow removal it a clear path for our mail lady. She finally made it to my neighborhood about 5pm! The thought occurred to me to leave her a little treat. I noticed when I was out on errands later that many mailboxes are just buried.

It always makes me remember my own dear Mama who drove the rural mail route in Greenville, CA for 13+ years before she had to take leave because of her ovarian cancer.

Jan 1, 2017

Out With the Old...

In every calling in our church you know that it isn't a life-time position (except Apostle, and I don't have to worry about that!) So you know, going in, that you will likely only be in that calling 3 years, then it is time for change.

That change came today. We were released as a Primary presidency. I love these good, dear women that I've been able to serve with. I LOVE the children!

I've spent most of my adult life serving in the Primary AND I LOVE IT!

Last time I served in a Primary presidency, at least 15 years ago, I didn't see the release coming and burst into tears! I spent several years in Young Women's, then we moved here and I had a chance to learn that Relief Society is a safe place- with sisters who love me rather than judge me. It was a wonderful change.


These children have been particularly dear to me. They are outstanding. I told them today that the are absolutely the best Primary I've every had. I told them to expect me to still want to give them loves when I see them.


The most wonderful thing with this group is I tell them what my expectations are, I tell them I KNOW they can do it and they never let me down!

I know that the new Presidency will be fantastic! They are all power-house women.

But I suspect that several times in the coming months I will sneak into the back and just be with these children I love.

Oct 29, 2016

Bunny Grey

Laster-month (yeah, now more like 2 months ago) I decided to finally take the plunge and repaint the main living area of our house.


When we moved here almost 12 years ago we fell in love with a two-tone green that we saw in a model home out in Eagle Mt. We didn't buy that home but I did get the name and manufacturer of the paint they used (khaki green and grey birch). I hadn't found any colors I liked better until now.

I'd seen a photo of Stephanie Nielson's walls (aka NieNie) on Instagram. It was Nimbus Grey by Benjamin Moore. If you do a quick Google search you'll see that it plays very similar to the color you are looking at here on the bottom portion of the wall. Ah, but when I painted it on the wall it looked VERY BLUE! Pretty, but not the color I wanted.

After much looking and 2 pints of *test paint* I finally figured out the colors I really wanted... behold Bunny Grey and Sweatshirt Grey (Yeah, and I can't help it that BM doesn't spell GREY in my favorite spelling!)

Eons ago, at least 25 years, I got a very cool color-changer shirt! But since I worked on the playground for 4 hours every day it quickly lost its changer-ness. At some point at least 16+ years ago I decided that it was now my painting shirt. That dark brown is from Bekah's house when we painted her *new* house in May 2000! The pants are somewhat newer... the first time I remember relegating them to the status of work pants was when I put the laminate floor down in Palmdale, 2003! Hey, no point in getting rid of perfectly good work clothes!! And since I'm into wardrobe details, these are my first pair of Skechers Go Walks from 2014.


Anyway, I got out my trusty painting clothes and, over the week, I painted the main floor rooms. We have 11' ceilings and I was so GRATEFUL for my Little Giant Ladder! So stable, so easy to used, so stable... did I mention that it is very stable?? Previously we had a ladder that wanted to fold up if you sneezed!

I am so very pleased with the finished results of my lovely home. Since I was changing up the paint I thought it was also time to change up the decor. We had an Asian themed front room since we moved here.

I knew I wanted to incorporate this painting that hung in my childhood home over the piano. It is of Crater Lake, Oregon. I'm guessing that it is at least 75-80 years old as it is unlikely that Mom bought it after they moved to Greenville in 1946; maybe a wedding present?

When Mom died and we each took the things we wanted. Sue, by common agreement, took this painting. She had it hanging in various houses over the years but several years ago she asked if I wanted it since it was just being stored in her garage. YES!!

This is the only photo I have of it in my Greenville home. We had board and batten walls that I loved! You'll also notice that it had some *demented angel wings* (Sue's description) on the corners and center of the hand-made frame. She removed them but that left the wood showing through.

I didn't want to change the color of the frame, not only sentimental reasons, but because it was perfect with my new wall colors.

I used a silver paint plus some blue and black that I sponged on. I'm so pleased with my refurbishment!

Our new front door (and the Oakland Temple). I made new covers for the chair and got some dandy new throw rugs at my favorite Costco,

And made new covers for the throw pillow. My favorite quilt got a new home on the back of the couch instead of the dining room table.

I painted the fridge hole the darker accent color on a whim (I didn't want to have to buy more lighter paint!) Gordon suggested I do the rest of that small wall around the pantry. I love it.

Our dining room set works just fine with the new grey walls and my favorite Resurgam (Latin for "I Shall Rise Again') print looks lovely too. And my wonderful RuthAnn/Dennis handmade star would look wonderful ANYWHERE!

I added the *stained glass* film to the half-circle window above the back door. When the sun is shining through it really *blues* up the room.

So here's hoping that it will be 12 years before I decided that I want to change the paint color again! Seriously, I love the finished results and really don't mind painting!

Oct 27, 2016

Quiet Books- Mission Completed

Back in June I posted about Jude's quiet book. At the time I started his book, and through most of the lengthy process of making it, I hadn't planned on making any others. I'd even warned my other children, who have young children, that this was a special one-time project for Jude. But, by the time I finished, and had time to recover, I thought, "How can I NOT make one of these wonderful books for each of my littles?"

But since I was going to be making [a bunch] more quiet books I decided to create digital patterns that I could print on Steam-A-Seam bonding on my computer so as to avoid countless hours of tracing.

My original idea was to make one book for each of the five families (so 4 more books) who have children under age 5, but as I neared completion Camille suggested splitting the pages into two books so her two Bitties could each play with a book at the same time! (Great idea).

I spent the next two months mass producing pages. I had quite a process of making all of the elements for a 2-page spread down to a science. The land, sea and air pages were a must.

As were the shapy-shaper-tons! And this time I did used Velcro instead of the magnets to attach them to the page.

Sandcastle building was also another set that had to be repeated.

Finally, after working diligently for two months I had all of the pages finished and sorted into file folders for each of my sweet grandbabies.

And I can't decided what makes me the happiest about this photo... all of the finished pages or the folded and color-sorted boxes of fabric in my closet!

I've realized today as I have slogged through about 200 photos that I would have had a less daunting task if I had blogged about this while in the process, but I wanted many of the pages to be a surprise. (Erm... next time?)

And since my sweet grandbabies are not ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL the books couldn't all be an exact duplicate of Jude's. I had great fun adding specialized pages for each of the littles.

Here are the pages not previously shown in Jude's book.

I knew that I didn't what to recreate the all hand-pieced Armour of God page. So I printed the pattern I purchased on fabric (sure wish my printer accepted 9" wide paper/fabric), bonded it to felt and used those wonderful tiny magnets again

In my Pinteresting I found this idea then found these fun flip-flop buttons on Etsy. Now comes the fun part... I put them on my bed scanner, scanned them and made up the matching pattern for the big flip-flop pieced from felt. I can't even remember now where I got the idea for the beach bag and smaller flip-flops, but I did the same thing here and made my own pattern. I just happened to have some random strips of hand-dyed fabric from a quilting project done years ago that were just right for the body of the bag. Since the buttons came in a two pack, there are only two of these pages (Emmy and Fiona).

Ah, but now I'd created a monster idea. As soon as I saw these darling fish buttons at WalMart I snapped them up for Miss Annabelle and then used fabric from her baby quilt as the background. I found a cool pelican idea here.

I also loved this sea-themed page. I didn't like some of the element so found ideas elsewhere for the Nemo-themed fish.

Deborah was also pretty excited about this repeat of fabric from Annabelle's baby quilt. I had to piece the little amount I had left to come up with the 2-9" pages!

This bunch of bed-jumping-monkeys caused me a great deal of stress! I knew I wanted to make a Monkeys-jumpin'-on-a-bed page but did NOT want to piece a bazillion little jumpers! I finally found this awesome FREE graphic. All I had to do was cut and paste those little monkeys... well, except... there was neither a Mama nor a Doctor. So I went totally PhotoShop crazy and cut and pasted a stethoscope and medical insignia on the Doctor (found in the plethora of clip art I've amassed over the years) and took a cake out of Mama's hands, changed the angle of her arms and gave her a cell phone. Yeah, I'm sick like that!

I played around printing different sized monkeys on paper until I got them small enough for little fingers and then printed them on fabric, bonded that to white felt and sewed it closed. Each little finger puppet is two sided.

Of course, monkeys NEED a bed to jump on. More clip art from the now defunct HugClub by PC Crafter's. The pillows Velcro onto the headboard and the quilt makes a pocket for the pillows and monkeys.

But all of this was just way-too-much for a single page. The facing page is a little zippered pouch for monkey-storage!

This Harley tic-tac-toe page was a must for the two little families that always come to Grammie's house. When Fiona hears Harley whining as she comes to the door (erm... or pulls up to the curb!) she says, "Harley says- My Nona! I love my Nona! My Nona's here!" (Grammie has taught her well.)

"I love to go to Grammie's house, to Grammie's house, to Grammie's house,
I love to go to Grammie's house, and see that Harley-dog! (repeat)
That Harley does some woofing, some woofing, some woofing.
That Harley does some woofing then we take him for a walk"
(Sung to- I love to go to Grandma's house.)

Another idea I gleaned from Pinterest was this one, but I couldn't find ANY-thing that I liked. So I just made it myself, says the Little Red Hen! I had great fun digitally painting this tree a leaf at a time, found a cute popcorn piece (I don't remember where) and the popcorns snap onto the branches. I used PhotoShop again to create the layers and printed it on fabric. I loved digging into all of the fonts and graphic elements I have to find just the right combination.

I sent Camille to my Pinterest board one night and she found this wonderful idea of adding a little envelope with a personalized note for my sweet baby-children.

I laminated the note, but saved it as well in case I need to print a replacement at some point.

Camille also found this ladybug counting page that I liked better than the counting or ladybug pages I did for Jude.

But I quickly found out that the googley-eyes and glued on dots made Little-Liam frustrated since he thought those should come off too. Bless him!

Since I was splitting two of the books I needed to add a couple more single-spread pages to go at the beginning and end of each book.

Another Camille suggestion-

The letters Velcro onto a strip of loop. I had a serendipitous find with this clearanced Velco at JoAnn Fabrics!

This little page got created on a whim! I already had the numbers printed, cute buttons, zippers, and strips from a quilting project, gone wrong, and ended up with this fun!

So here they are...


The edging is older than her mommy!


With more fabric from her baby quilt.


Fabric from my cowboy-stash!


The boy who loves RED and BLUE. He just petted the cover when I gave it to him.


With fabric from her infant car seat cover!

(And wouldn't you think I'd have a pix of the finished book? Nope, just tons of photos of how to put the binding on wrong! AGAIN!!)


Well, I don't know what this baby's name it! He/she is still a gleam in Daddy-Stuart's eyes!

Actually it is the other half of Emmy's book but her Mama is looking ahead.

All of the fabric used in these quiet books comes from my copious stash of fabric. See!! There is a good reason to hoard... erm, save all of that fabric!

And this time... I really will come back and write up a post about how to bind these up. It took me until the last 2 (of 7) before I could get it right from the start.

(It literally took me 6 hours to find, edit, upload the photos, find the ones I missed the first time, and write this blog post!!)