Friday, November 30, 2012

No Regrets

Dad in his SF hat.

Time has a way of slipping by, specifically when you want to hit the pause button. I know I spoke of my dad's diagnoses in a previous post, but I have not updated any status as of late. And yes, there are statuses to update.

 My entire life- as far as my medical history is concerned- I have heard doctors say something along the lines of  "we don't see this very often...", or "chances of THAT happening are minimal..." (and then it happens) or some other crazy unique statistic that has always made me feel like a freak. For crying out loud, I am allergic to NEOSPORIN!?! I used to joke with my sister, as she has some of the same issues, that we probably got it from my mom as her medical history is longer than my dad's. My dad has always been well, and if he ever came down with a cold you might think the end of the world was coming because that just never happened.

I spoke before of some challenges we had been presented in my dad's treatment plan. For those that know nerd speak he has the ALL type leukemia,with the Philadelphia marker, and some Chromosome 20 marker. These 2 markers together, the doctors said they had never before seen in the same patient.They also said they have never seen a patient diagnosed with ALL walk into the hospital vs being rolled in by wheelchair. And, it took them almost a week to figure it to be Leukemia because it "had never been presented" symptomatically the way it had in my dad. So, yes, I think we get it from him.

Monday November 8, 2012 I listened in on a medical conference that took place in my dad's hospital room. Involved in this little meeting were my parents, my brother +BJ, and a panel of MD's. They spoke about my dad's state of Leukemia, and discussed options available to him. There weren't many. 

My dad's uniqueness was a problem. He was starting to reject platelets. Because of the Ph + marker he had to have a marrow transplant. Because of the Ch 20, it had to be a 10/10 match. So far they had found only 4 possible matches nationwide. If they did find a match his survival rate was about 40%, and even then it would take almost 3 years for us to find out if it worked. There was always a chance he would just beat it on his own, you know miraculous healing and such. Or he could have a "maintenance lifestyle" where he could do maintenance therapy for years. As long as his body would let him. When all was said and done, survival rate doing nothing was around 3%. A little disheartening at best.

So November 9, 2012 my dad was able to come home from the hospital for a small reprieve between chemo treatments. Once he got home, and had the opportunity to think and pray, he made his decision. Life attached to an IV pole, gowning up with gloves and HEPA mask run an errand or to be around grandchildren was not his idea of living. Nor did he want the memories left with all of us to be of hand sanitizer, barriers, and him wasting away. He, and all of the family, has fasted and prayed and we felt it was time to let him go.

So that is where we are as a family.

He has been recording his last thoughts via a voice recording pen. He has asked each of us for a list of topics we might want to know about. I asked him to speak to each one of us and identify our best traits and why he likes it. I want to know what his favorite memory is about my mom, and what his best memories of his parents are. I even want to know his favorite memory about each of us. I want to know if he has any advice about regrets, and most of all I want to hear his testimony about the gospel as he gets closer to the end.

 I feel this has been one of the greatest blessings I personally could have received. We have been given a warning which has made it possible to have no regrets when his time to leave finally comes. 


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

We Could All Learn a Lesson from a Child

PUDDLE WARNINGThis post might have the possibility of creating puddles of happy, touching tears. You have been warned. :)

I have been so very blessed. I have been given very good children. Oh they have their moments of fighting, teasing, and yelling at each other (Stop breathing on me!), but their nature is innately good. Since this whole thing with my Dad, we have done a lot of talking about helping my parents and what will be required of all of us. We had a family meeting and told them all of what was going to happen to Opa (dutch for grandpa). He was sick, he would be in the hospital for long time, he would lose his hair, and we couldn't bring the sick bugs to him.We talked about everyone sacrificing, so we can help my parents. They have been so good to do their part. 

There has also been a lot of discussion about finances, as hospital bills can get quite steep. I have a monthly craft group, and I decided, that all proceeds will be donated to my parents. My daughter Aunna, who is 11, proposed that all the kids do more to help around the house, so I could help my dad at the hospital, and have time to work on the crafts for the group. We also discussed the plans for a fundraising Boutique and how that would help financially for my parents. I would have to be making a lot of the crafts myself, so they said they would help with dinner too.

Then this is where you will need your hankie... 
My 7 year old, Bradley comes to me and crawls onto my lap, turns my head to face him, and says: "Mom, I have some dollars, 3 I think. Can I give them to Opa?" At this point I was doing my best to hold it together. I told him that I was sure Opa would be so grateful to have them. Bradley then proceeds to ask me what else he can do to help raise money. He proclaimed he wanted to start a "Lemonade Stand Business", that's what he called it. But since it was winter, he thought hot chocolate would be better, and in the summer he would do lemonade.

He said he needed a box, to write a sign. I asked him what he would write and he said he would put...
"My Opa has Leukemia, please buy some.
25 cents"

He has been working on what he needs to run said business. Hot cocoa (of course), cups, spoons and a giant thing to put it in (thermos). Then he said he wanted to go to all the houses being built in our neighborhood and ask the workers if they would buy some. "Because, mom, they are probably cold working outside."

Yes, I think we all could learn a lesson from a child.

Monday, October 29, 2012


We've all done it. Heard some kind of tragic, life changing story that applied to someone else's life, and for a moment thought... "I am so glad these kinds of things don't happen to my family." I've done it. I personally have friends whose loved ones have been taken in an instant, or become sick, or even impaired. And everytime, my heart goes out to them completely, followed by that guilty thought.

Well, over the last 2 weeks, I have become that individual in your circle of friends. The one you have empathy for, feel compassion for, and then think..."I am glad it isn't me." On Wednesday, October 17, 2012 my dad was diagnosed with Leukemia.

Don't feel guilty though, you should be glad. We all have our individual roles in this life. And for whatever reason this is something my dad has to fight through, and in turn, we must deal with. These types of things are nothing you can really prepare for, emotionally that is. You have to experience and process the emotions, and in time you come to accept it.

I have to say though, as far as diagnoses go, we are lucky. When he was first given the news of Leukemia, they talked about a dual phenotype something or other. Meaning they thought he had both the ALL and AML types of cancer. Let's just say that prognosis was bad, like, no hope bad. I remember feeling kind of numb for those few days, and then... some good news. A few days later, the pathologists said it was just the ALL type, and we were pretty happy about that as far as families-that-just-received-cancer-as-a-diagnosis could be.

Now, 2 short weeks later we are trying to get into a routine of how best to help my dad, share the burden with my mom, and for me... make the most of the time. Not that we have been given a time, but I have noticed that since my dad has been sick, our relationship is different, he is different. I mean, how could you really stay the same? He tells me all the time to enjoy my kids, cause the time goes way too fast, that he loves me, and is proud of the mother I have become- and I see the joy in his eyes a lot brighter when I tell him the going ons of my children.

He has always told me he is proud of me, and I always knew it in the past, but now I am hearing it. Like it is sinking into my soul. And every moment I spend with him, I feel like is a photo shoot, memories I will add to my mind should the outcome not end up as optimistic as it started.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Charger Plates

This is my favorite time of year. I don't know why, but since I was young I have absolutely adored the fall, I love the crisp air, and warm sweaters. I love the fact you can wear denim and boots and you don't even need a coat!

Now, top this with decor and you have the perfect time of year!!!

A few months ago I had the opportunity to help a friend out in a bind. She designs and sells vinyl as a side business and her computer crashed. She has been trying to figure out a way to recover YEARS of vinyl designs. A call came in to her to help with an LDS women's ward function (most of us know as Super Saturday). It is a day dedicated to crafting! Sign ups are provided to be able to make said crafts.

 Since her computer is down, she gave that woman my number. 
I don't know why, but I am sooo excited to do this. When I met with the lady in charge of this one project, she said they had 13 inch charger plates that they wanted to do vinyl on. I was given full creative reign of what I wanted to do! 

How cool is that? The only thing I have had a really hard time with is remembering to keep cost in check and not give away my services or product. This is definitely a learned attribute...

This is the HALLOWEEN plate. I know this type of saying is EVERYWHERE!! But honestly, I love it. I designed the spider web and spider, and just added the font.

Here is the FALL/HARVEST plate. I made this specifically for use during September, October, and November. I love keeping my pumpkins up as long as I can.

Last but not least, the CHRISTMAS charger. Every once in a while I do things that even amaze myself.This is one of those things. I designed the star, and put a lot of work into it, and I love it! Not the most spectacular things ever, but it brightened up my week to make them.

Friday, October 5, 2012

I Changed My Mind

It's 2 am. I can't sleep. So what am I doing? Blogging about paint colors....
 I painted my front hallway a while back. (Which I do not have a picture of as my phone crashed and I lost the photo, this is all I could find!)

At first, I loved it. I loved the color etc, then I painted my ceilings, followed by the kitchen, then the Living room. I loved it too. I was really hoping it would solve my perceived problems.
It. Didn't.
This is my problem:
 When my house was being built it looked really light infused, cheery even. Now, for whatever reason it looks dark, and gloomy. I chose hard floors (in my kitchen and entryway) that were one of the worst decisions I have EVER made! I think they have a defect. No matter how I care for them, they have no shine or luster. They actually look cleaner when they are dirtier? In addition to this they suck the life right out of the room!
Needless to say, I am really struggling with inspiration.
 I really want a place that is my home. A place that no matter where I have been I walk in the door and think "Ahhh, I am home!" not...."ugh, its looks dingy in here..."
So I am facing a dilemma... I am a lover of rich colors. Deeper hues, as you can see from the swatch above.
Reds, golden yellows, dark blues, celery greens. And I am facing an alteration in my go to colors for the last 10 years cause they don't work in this home. It is making me feel like I found out I was switched at birth or something... It goes against everything I know!!!
So, I went with what seemed to be the best color scheme I could find on paint chips, and put them on my walls. I seriously didn't even buy a small jar to test. I dove in with my clothes on. I also decided to add something else to this boring little hallway as well.

To give you and idea of the darkness in the front of the house, this picture was taken at 10:30in the morning! To my right is a tall slender window by the front door. Yes, even the hallway light is on. I chose a height I want the chair rail to be and I drew a line with a level.

Here, you can see the marks I made to note where I wanted the vertical slats to go. 

I know a lot of people have a hard time doing the math for the spacing in a project like this. It is confusing to some, but here is the method, simplified (I hope!):
  • Measure the length of the wall you are working with. Go with inches, not feet.
  • Decide how many slats you want in that space. Here, I wanted 4 on a 47" space.
  • This is NOT the tricky part. However many slats you want (4), add one for doing the math. 4+1=5
  • Take the space you measured (47 inches) and divide by your slat number plus the one (5). 45/5=9.4 inches. That is your spacing. 
  • This has the potential to be the tricky part: To turn the 0.4 to a fraction, go back to 3rd grade, and remember that first digit after the decimal is the TENTHS digit which makes this number 4/10. Simplify the fraction and you get 2/5. Go from there.

This is the teeniest tiniest wall inside the hallway you cannot see from the other pictures. I have rounded corners in my house, and this is how I ended the chair rail, as I do not want it wrapping the corner into my entry way. Back cut your chair rail in a 45 degree angle. Fill with a little piece that has also been cut at a 45 to meet, and then a regular 90 degree where it meets the wall.

After lots of caulking and hole filling (which I thought you didn't really need pictures of), this is what came about.


I have a few more cute things I am adding to this (like a doorbell cover and light switch plate! Ha!), but I am painting them now.


I am done with my refinishing of frames and here is the finale! I love the way it turned out!

Friday, September 21, 2012


It really makes me cringe to think of posting something without pictures. And I wouldn't do it if it wasn't necessary. I just wanted to drop a line in and let everyone know I haven't forgotten about my blog. It has been a really tough 7 weeks! Wisdom teeth extraction followed by a car accident involving all of my family, school starting, and life adjusting with my baby in kindergarten!
The accident has put a HUGE setback to many-o-things but I am almost back on track. I have pictures, and crafts, and more recipes coming soon!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Post Pumpkins

If you have ever done a Google search for pumpkins made of wood, you find many o' types, and if you are like me, none that really appeal to your taste!
There are many made of the 2 x 4 type, I even have a set (I made them at a church activity for free, and I am working to dress them up currently).These range from the single 2 x 4 cut in varying heights to create a "set". I have even seen the ones with three 2 x 4's glued together to make a block of a pumpkin.

 If you type in "post pumpkins", these are the ones that are made from the round fence post that has the flat edges. Those always seem really out of proportion to me... What are they?...about 4 inches in diameter and about 3 feet tall. Mmmm, sorry, no thanks. 
I wanted something classy and timeless, so again, off to the drawing board to figure out how to make what I am seeing in my head.

Did you know there is such an animal as an 8 inch x 8 inch post? Because I don't have the equipment capable of cutting it, I had to settle for the 6 inch x 6 inch size. Even then, I have to run it through the table saw twice by flipping it over just to cut it once. 

My wonderful neighbors happened to have a bunch of these 6 x 6 posts to the side of their house that had been weathered already. Perfection!
I forgot to take a picture of the next step, but if you zoom in you can see on the middle pumpkin I used a jig saw to skim off the edges.
Obviously with worn wood you have to sand down your pumpkins.

Then, I drilled a hole in the top with a  1" butterfly bit. This is a stock photo of what one looks like.

I was by myself for this next step, so I didn't take a picture. I will do my best and explain. I got a roll of medium size hemp twine from WalMart, and some picture wire from Lowes (not the weaved mesh stuff, just regular silver wire). I clipped the wire to the lengths I wanted. I vut the hemp twine 3 times the length of the wire. The wire is thin enough to insert one end of the wire into the tip of the glue gun about a half inch. This just gives a tacky surface to the wires and then I started to wind the hemp around the wire. When you get to the end, use the same technique of inserting the wire into the glue gun and the keep wrapping the twine to stick it to the wire.I used a thin marker to wrap the vines and get the even twirly look. Keep one end kind of straight to insert into the burlap stem.

Once, I drilled them, I painted them. To keep with that rustic look, I wanted to find some sticks, but couldn't. So I settled for burlap. I cut strips about 1" in width. Using hot glue, I started off the rolling, and ended by including the "vines" in the last wrap around.
Then you just decorate!

I used a chiffon type green wire ribbon,  I cut it into about 4 inch lengths. I put a stripe of hot glue at the end, gathered the center parts, pinched it towards the center by bringing the wire ends together. This created an oval looking "leaf".

Before adding the bow, I sprayed them all with a clear gloss spray paint. It didn't make them shiny, it actually richens the color, and makes keeping the dust away much easier.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Homemade Pizza

In our family, pizza night from retailers is just like "eh". BUT... If it is homemade pizza night, they kids shout for joy, there is love in the home, and you would think world peace has been achieved! I think this has more to do with the RECIPE than anything else.
I started long ago collecting (and tweaking) recipes to be worthy of making for my family or taking to gatherings. Some are made occasionally and others have become a staple in our home. This is one of the staples. I owe this to one of my besties (Tonya Bennett) The recipe for the dough is multi-purposeful. In addition to pizza crust and bread sticks, it makes for awesome scones, and Navajo Tacos.
I will warn you though... once you try this, there is no going back!


4 tsp Dry Active Yeast
1/2 c. White Sugar
1 1/2 c. warm water
4 c. White Flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 c. oil

In small glass bowl combine yeast, sugar, and water to activate yeast. Set aside for about 5 min. In large mixing bowl add flour and salt. After yeast has doubled, add oil to the yeast mixture. Add yeast mixture to flour. and mix until sides pull away from bowl and continue to knead for about 5 min. place moist towel and let rest for 10 minutes.  After resting dough, use desired amount to make large pizza crusts, or personal pizza crusts. Oil surface first. Add sauce and toppings. Bake at 425 degrees for 15-17 minutes. Bake for 11-13 minutes for bread sticks. Makes 2 medium pizza crusts. (Large Round Pampered Chef Pizza Stone)


1 sm can Tomato Sauce
1 sm can Tomato Paste
1 Rounded TBSP White Sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp Oregano
1 tsp Basil
1 tsp Parsley
1 tsp Garlic Powder (or fresh pressed garlic clove)
1 tsp Onion Power
1/4 tsp Hot Sauce (Tabasco-optional)

Mix together well. Heat for marinara dipping sauce. No need to heat if using on pizza.


1/2 ready made dough recipe above
1/2 cube melted butter
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp salt and pepper, each
1 tsp parsley
1/2-3/4 c. Fresh Parmesean Cheese

Mix everything except dough and butter on a plate. Put melted butter in a pie pan. Form dough into sticks. Roll in butter, then in seasoning mix. Place in pan.When all dough is used, if there is leftover butter or seasoning sprinkle on top of breadsticks. Bake at 425 degrees, for 11-13 minutes.

Yes, It is a lot of ingredients, but it is soooo worth it! Let me know when you make the recipe and let me know what you think! Happy baking!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Craft of the Day

So it's not like I have a set aside day of the week to do a craft, let alone do I do a craft every day.  We have to be very clear about this, because I do NOT need the pressure to be that high for me or anyone! 

One of the blogs I follow she has some great ideas, I love 'em! And this is project was inspired by her. Seriously such a wonderful, uplifting statement. It sits in the corner of my countertop to the right of my sink. I see it everyday. It is a positive reminder that I have the power to control my life.

I saw her plate and and I wanted to take mine a little further. I designed both the background and the saying on my Silhouette. I measured the inside of my $2 plate (from Wallies) and when I cut the background I cut the diameter of the circle with it so it was perfectly round. That's it. That's all there was to this little ditty!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Monogram "Wreath"?...

Do wreaths technically have to be round, with foliage, or flowers, vines and ribbon? I don't know either... but this is close enough. Do any of you have the same problem as me, in which you you need a wreath for the other 8 months of the year when it isn't Fall, Halloween or Christmas? I decided to solve my problem with a Monogram "Wreath".

I started with this frame and wooden letter. I purchased both from the Wood Connection. figured I didn't need to snap a picture of the raw wood, so I painted it first. These strips of ribbon are the ones I choose to coordinate with the project. After painting it a light color of gray, I changed my mind and painted it a darker one.

After it was painted I sprayed it with a coat of clear gloss spray paint. Then I tied the ribbon around the frame. Keep it a tad bit loose so the board can still fit against the frame. To keep the ribbon ends from fraying you can do this quick little trick

If you can, get self drilling screw so you don't have to pre-drill. I had some of these on hand so I could anchor the triangle hanger on the top of the frame.

This is what it looks like when they are attached.

After I found a pattern of paper that I wanted, I glued the paper to the thin wood backing that comes with the frame. DO NOT ATTACH IT TO THE FRAME YET.
If you look closely at this picture you can see I ever so lightly traced the letter on the paper so I knew where I needed to place the screws for the next step.

Drilled 3 screws through the front side of the frame so that I would know where the holes would be behind the frame. And then removed them.

Because the backing on the frame is such a thin wood, you really want to make sure you don't counter sink the screws. Keep them above the backing like so, so you don't crack the board.

This is the side profile once the letter has been attached to the backing.

So the backing combined with the weight of the wood letter is too heavy  for the little tin staples to keep the board held in- so I put large dots of glue in the corner of the frames to hold the backing in place.

Before hanging you masterpiece on your front door, I suggest that you put these little felt pads at the bottom so that it doesn't destroy your front door, or your new wreath.

And here is the finished product. :)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Vintage Book Decor

I love old books. I love the charm they add to any given space and decor. They usually are grouped together in my home and they stand alone to make a statement.
But I had one book leftover after I moved some things around... and I decided to try something and spice it up.You know, something old combined with something new to make that shabby chic look.This was really simple and the pictures will do most of the explaining, so here we go!

Here is the old book I was working with. The spine of the book was shot. The binding was an old fabric that had become brittle and was falling off. I didn't want to throw it away, so this is where I got the idea for re-purposing it.

So I decided to take the front and the back off. I used scissors to cut the paper holding the hardcover on like this. I repeated it for the back as well and then I just ripped the hard covers off. They came off very easily.

I had two random pieces of cream ribbon. I wanted them to look older. Because I don't buy tea and coffee, I grabbed leftover coffee grounds from a neighbor and soaked them. Once dry, you can set the "tea stain" look with a little vinegar in cold water and let them dry again.

I love a good sale. I admit that sometimes because something is on sale I will just buy it in case I can use it later. The larger pearls with the hematite metal were 99 cents. I bought them a few years ago and never wore them. I also gave jewelry making a try a while back and it wasn't something i enjoyed, that is where the bracelet comes from. As for the necklace, I am the WORST mom ever!!! My little four year leaves this necklace around all the time. How many times have I picked it up? So I snatched it and removed the little Aurora princess charm. I know, you can totally judge me, I deserve it.

I have had this key forever. I bought it in a pack of 7 from Pottery Barn about 6 years ago. I just had it in a box somewhere and I grabbed it.

So I took the 2 ribbons and tied them separately around the book.

I slid the key onto the bottom ribbon.

I wound the pearls into a loose circle, and...

...slid them on top of the key. I tied this shorter ribbon into a knot.

I pulled one of the lace pieces through the center hole of the key. And tied it again into a bow to secure the pearls and key together. And there you have it! No glue or anything. I will show you in a later post where I am going to display this little treasure.