Thursday, September 30, 2010

Lost in Translation

My husband comes home from work only to be bombarded by the 2yr old boy and 4yr old girl. He gets into the house everyone calms down, and the 2yr old follows him around saying the same thing. Does he realize it, no. Why, because he can't understand it. Then I say, "hey James, he is trying to talk to you." He says, "really." Then he actually listens, and pretends to know what he said, responds with and "that's awesome" or "great" or an "okay" then proceeds to take his shoes off, and relax from work. The boy could have said, "I licked the floor," "I bit my sister," "I ate a slug," etc... The possibilities are endless.

I think as a mother, we are official translators to the family. That is our job. I know some who don't want to leave there kids with there husbands for fear they can not understand them. Luckily my daughter translates for him too. Now, both my kids are typical kids. There are no speech delays or developmental issues. The 2yr old is just in the language explosion phase of development. Some things come out garbled and mumbled. It happens to the best of us. But translation issues can happen at any age. Have you heard teenage boys talk on the phone! Seriously! I can barely understand them. But someone can. I think kids have there own language for a while. And even when they do learn "English" I think they are bilingual. It starts with English, then Pig-Latin, now we are seeing the language of texting. I don't even know what half those acronyms mean anyways.

As a mother, I am beginning to think that I will always be lost in translation with my kids. Between my husband and I we can decipher a fair amount of what the 2yr old says, but there is still a lot that gets lost. That goes for the 4yr old too. So I will accept it now, before they are teenagers and do not want to talk to me. Kids and parents have different languages. We share English, and the rest is a great big guess. I will probably always be lost in translation.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Teaching an old baby new tricks

When my first child was born, I wanted to teach him sign language as an infant, and it went pretty well considering that I ended up being less consistent with it as I should have been. Now with my second baby just turning 18 months old, I've been even less consistent with her and I wondered if it was too late to start. On the way out of the library the other day, I just happened to see this book on the "new and interesting" display shelf.

This is a good one for older babies and toddlers because there are more commands and emotions that they can relate to. And, as they're beginning to form actual words and short sentences, this helps them understand their meaning and can express themselves with a little less frustration. When teaching an infant sign language, there isn't a whole lot beyond "milk", "more", and "sleep". This book is divided into three sections: Mealtime, Playtime, and Bedtime.

So far so good. Little Miss Polka-dot is catching on quickly, and Mr. Jellybean is even getting in on it, even at the ripe old age of 4.

Have you taught sign language to little ones? I'd love to hear your tips.

P.S. Speaking of communicating with little ones, if you or someone you know has a BRAND new baby, I would highly recommend checking out Dunstan Baby Language. Most libraries should have the DVD. I was skeptical at first when I had newborns, but it's amazingly accurate!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Speaking Beauties

Have you ever wondered what your favorite flowers might mean and what you could be saying when you send somebody a special something from your local florist or your own garden?  I have and after doing a little bit of digging I came across some of the meanings behind the beauties I love the most and the ones I like to have in my home.  It was fun to see how perfectly they fit into that part of my life. For example:

 The Gerber Daisy (my wedding flowers): Innocence, Purity and Cheerfulness

The Pink Peony (ones I love to gush over and admire): Bashful

Ranunculus (my favorite to have on my window sill and if I can ever get the knack at growing some I would love to give them away just to say): "I am dazzled by your charms"

Dahlia (the confusing flowers in my garden): Dignity, Instability

Scarlet Poppy (the wild flower I can't seem to grow): Fantastic Extravagance

Lily of the Valley ( These sweet little bells remind me of my Gammie and my Mother): Sweetness, Return to Happiness, Humility, "You've Made My Life Complete."

What do some of your favorite flowers mean?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Pattern Design

photo credit
I checked this book out from the library a while ago. I looked at the pictures, read the first chapter, and then had to return it before actually getting to work. But it sparked something in me that I can't forget about...a desire to design my own clothes--pattern and all!

I know there are hundreds of women out there who do this every day. I know because they blog about it! But I have yet to make the leap from quilts and crafts to clothes.

I want a skirt that flatters my hips instead of widening them. I want a shirt with a moderate neckline and three-quarter length sleeves. I want pants that won't gape open in the back when I bend over. But since I can't find any of those things, I will make them! I will tailor them to my own body and feel so comfortable that I won't be distracted by always adjusting and tucking and pulling and I will be able to enjoy my own fashion. Yes, someday I will...

Anyone have a good tip to get me started?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Patterns in our Lives

"Good music, art, literature, recreation, and other worthy pastimes can help establish proper patterns in one’s mind and conduct. Happiness is a by-product of righteous living and sharing within the framework of lofty patterns."

Marvin J. Ashton

As I thought about patterns this week, the first thought that came to my mind was the patterns we make in our lives, and who we pattern our lives after. We all have examples and people we look up to. Some of them we know, some of them we do not know, some are patterns we are taught through our religions. As a mother, a wife, a daughter, a granddaughter, and a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, there are a few patterns I hope to follow.

The biggest patterns in my life come from my Parents. for instance, my parents were converts to the church when they were in high school. There families are not "Mormons," and most did not agree with there decision. They were not active for a while, until they got married and moved to Germany. My Dad was stationed there in the Army. While there they met some new friends who helped bring them back into the church. I am actually named after one of those families. The Cali's. So where does this lead to patterns in my life.

My parents had to create there own patterns. They had to follow the examples of others as they tried to live the gospel the best they could. They struggled. They were not perfect. Who is? But through them, I gained an even stronger love of the Gospel and have patterned my life with the church. I have found things I want to change and do better, and I have found things I want to do the same.

Here are some more patterns I have followed.

My dad is a frugal man, he couponed while I was growing up. So because of him I am frugal and coupon.

I am OCD, I swear. I have to be organized, that came from my dad too. He was the one reorganizing and cleaning out the cupboards on Thanksgiving while everyone else was in the kitchen making dinner. Yeah, I have adopted that pattern too. (You should see what his office looks like though, A MESS!) I have my messy spots too, but they drive me bonkers till they are clean.

My sister is really fit and has a workout routine, I am working on making that a pattern in my life too.

There are tons of patterns we follow. We pattern our lives by what we have seen from those around us, what we have been taught, and what we see in ourselves. These patterns will hopefully help us become better people, mothers, daughters, children. We create who we are. Like a sewing pattern, sometimes you have to give a little here, take a little there, but in the end, hopefully we have a beautiful project. We are in charge of ourselves. We have a divine creator who knows and loves us. We are here ultimately pattern our lives to his. We have been given examples and those around us to help us do so. It is up to us to pattern our lives in such a way that the project is beautiful in the end.

Who has helped pattern your life?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What's the magic number?

When I taught Community Education classes in Interior Design, and later when I taught an introductory Interior Design class here, that was the question my students would ask when we discussed pattern. How many patterns should you have in one room? How many is too many? Well, I have the answer. Are you ready? The answer is...wait for it...there is no magic number. Ha! Trick question, yes!
Back during the times of people like this (extra credit if you can name that king):
there were hard and fast rules regarding architecture, textile and furniture style characteristics. Do NOT combine styles, lest the offended monarch demand you be sent to the dungeon for a decorating misdemeanor.

But nowadays, these hard and fast rules of design are rarely followed or enforced. Today's style is mostly eclectic, and we have the freedom to combine elements to create our own style.

Even so, here are some general guidelines when using patterns:

1. Begin with one pattern to build on. Whether it is a piece of art, fabric or a rug, start with that and find coordinating patterns to suppliment.

2. Avoid using equal amounts of different patterns. One pattern should always be dominant and the most prominent in the room. All other patterns should occur in smaller areas, like accent pillows, an upholstered chair, or curtains/drapes.

3. Consider how each pattern will be used in the room. If an accent pillow fabric doesn't quite perfectly match what is in the area rug, remember that the pillow will be on a sofa and not right ON the rug. It's OK to not be too "matchy", although many home decor fabric lines provide you with coordinating collections that are meant to match in both color and style.

4. Choose bolder patterns for smaller areas. A large stripe sofa is much more difficult to change out than some accent pillows or wall art of a similar pattern. Don't commit yourself to a pattern that will be difficult and/or expensive to change out when you tire of it.

5. Choose what makes you comfortable. More contemporary interiors rely on the use of texture more than patterns, and that's just fine too. I don't think I'd be able to pull off this look in my current house, but it does feel comfortable and balanced.

So, I guess the most important rule in using pattern is don't be afraid!

And, on a different but related topic of pattern, my mom just taught this quilt pattern to 15 eager learners at her 7th annual quilt retreat.

Man, does she know how to use pattern! I didn't attempt the quilt (my sisters and I are the resident cooks for the event), but I've finished some long overdue projects while I've been here that I'll share later.
Now, go pick some pretty patterns!

P.S. That handsome fellow at the beginning of the post is France's own Louis XV of the Rococo period. Did you get it right? Well done!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Gotta Know the Rules to Break Them

Remember way back in the second season of Project Runway when Santino Rice insulted Chloe Dao by calling her a "brilliant pattern maker"? It was, like, the worst thing you could say to an aspiring designer, and it bugged her all the way up until the moment she won.

Me? I wouldn't have minded, I think. Because opposite to Jenni I am definitely a pattern person. I just don't have that "if you can dream it, you can do it" sort of creativity. I need clear and concise directions - which isn't to say that I always follow them, but I need to know exactly what the rules are before I'm comfortable breaking them.

And so! Here are a few of my favorites:

The Kyoko Dress from Mod Kid. I wish they had this in grown-up sizes.
And look - they have a doll version, too! How cute is that?!

The Barcelona Skirt from Amy Butler.
I've made this in a few variations and loved every single one.

The Lazy Days Skirt from Oliver + S.
Which, inspired by a skirt someone made for my daughter when she was 2, I modified to make reversible! I should take photos of that, shouldn't I ... ?

The Buttercup Bag from Made By Rae.
I've made this a few times, too. A cute bag couldn't be simpler to make than this one!

There are also some really great pattern books out there, like Weekend Sewing by Heather Ross and Handmade Home by Amanda Blake Soule.

Whatever your style, pattern or not, aren't you so glad there's such a great big wide world of inspiration out there? Yeah, me too! Happy Sewing!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Not a Pattern Person

Patterns are definitely not my thing.  They kinda bug me.  Come to think of it, I am irritated by almost anything that needs (which I will use anyway because I'm not that great of a cook yet), instructions on setting something furniture, carpet cleaners, phones, fancy birthday watches(which I will tell you about later), computer anythings, TVs that have too many gadgets hooked to name it! I avoid them all.

I would love to say it's because I am a completely creative being and I only make unique things but that's just not true.  I'm sure patterns are useful. I'm pretty sure they probably make things easier and most people use them for a reason. I just don't enjoy making things unless I am the boss in my own head.

I do love to copy things though.  I think I have mastered the art of being a copy cat.  Sometimes I will make what I believe to be an improvement here or there and I may even just get an idea from something but if I can't look at it and say, "Hmmm...I could do that or I could make that", then I will avoid it almost completely.

Most of you are probably saying right now that I should give them a chance.  "You'll love them, I promise.  Well I have used them before.  I have even had success with them once or twice but they take so long to figure out and to use.  I feel like my project is losing it's fun.  Okay so I might be impulsive.  I might be impatient. I might just be very left brained but I know that if you put words and numbers in front of me and tell me to focus I'll immediately start to skim and skip over important information.  I have issues I'm sure.

My all time favorite thing to do though is when I am just vegging in front of my computer I search and go crazy looking at the creative world out there on the Internet.  I have a folder on my computer that holds every idea I have loved and one day want to try.  In the process I do find myself altering and being totally creative with it.  I end up seeing something different by the end. The expectation it must meet before entering my world is  "Is this easy to make and could I do it without a pattern?"

 For example, I found these fun projects ideas recently...and man am I itching to go at them.

I'm going to be making something like this to string in the corner of my Sadie's newly designed bedroom.  She has butterflies in her quilt and on her curtains.  If only I could get my hands on one of those hard to find butterfly paper punches.

I want to cover an entire throw pillow with something like these for our new bedding, or maybe just one big one that take up the entire square.  We just painted our room a very light shade of that blue color and I can hardly stand not working on something for it. I love that blue color.  I think I'll marry it.

I seriously heart this idea for a sweet love note permanent envelope.  How many cute ways could you use this?  I doubt I'll need a pattern for this one...then again how many times have I said that and then asked somebody else how to fix my "trying hard" project.


How fun is this scrappy quilt idea.  I know it's appliqued and probably really hard but I am going to make it my own way with raw edges and no hand stitching.  It's going to be so fun to make and I need something to dwindle my scraps away.

I love the dollies on this bunting.  Next bunting I make will have these on them.  Maybe I'll make them for me for my birthday on Friday.

 I really want to make a rainy day quilt that has something like this on it.  One I can snuggle into frequently with our almost-everyday's-a-rainy-day winter season and read a book or watch cartoons with my kids.  That could be a family treasure.
And I'm wanting to put together some sort of wall art for our bedroom.  Maybe something to go over our bed. So my thought was something that had to do with dollies and little birds...maybe a group of three pieces.  Nothing like this print really.  Hmmm...still thinking on this one. Any ideas?

This week I was going to write about how I was going to give patterns a chance for a while but instead I think I'll celebrate the fact that I don't feel like I should have to.  I'm sure one day I'll give in but for now I think I'll stick to the simple stuff.  It fits my simpleminded personality anyway and my lifestyle at the moment. 

Anybody else out there who thinks like this? 

Friday, September 17, 2010

Movies - They Keep Us Connected

I am not the kind of person to quote a movie very often. And if I do, it is probably a line from one of the movies my family loved when I was a kid. I'm talking about movies like The Princess Bride, Groundhog's Day, or Overboard. Here are a few of my favorites--you may or may not know them:

"Don't drive angry. Don't drive angry!"

"There's a shortage of perfect breasts in this world, t'would be a pitty to damage yours."

"You are the devil and my children are the spawn of hell!"

"I make the weather."

The next two are from a movie I didn't mention:

"These potatoes are so creamy." and "Do I like jello?" (If you like While You Were Sleeping, you'll know why these are so great!)

There are plenty of lines from films like these that are more popular and that I know you know...but these are the ones that I can say to any member of my family and I know they will laugh. These are the lines we have repeated time and time again, at just the right moment, to communicate something else not actually said--to recall a shared experience that somehow links us together and helps us understand each other better. (Okay, the one about perfect breasts is not one that we really say unless we're rattling off favorite movie lines--but you know what I mean.) :)

I didn't realize how much I loved movies until the other day when I finally stuck in a "mommy movie" for me to watch instead of a kid movie for my girls to watch. It was amazing how I went from feeling like a task-driven tethered-to-my-kitchen mom, to a young vibrant member of society again. I'm not sure exactly how it works, but just by watching a movie I heard good music, saw cool parts of the world, witnessed humor and love and human interaction that made me happy. I took part in a world outside myself for a while, and I didn't realize what a difference that could make.


Sometimes I feel like sitting down to watch a good movie is wasted time. But I'm beginning to recognize that there is more to movies and really great films than just entertainment. We live in a world and a culture connected by things like this--the commonalities of life portrayed in such a way that we can all relate to each other. It's the wit and genius of people we would otherwise never get to enjoy without this cinematic link. I love it!

There is nothing wrong with a date night of dinner and a movie--whether it is out on the town or in your own home--that can be just the right way to stay connected and enjoy a little piece of life. :)

So, as you select the right movies for you and your family (because there are just as many bad ones as there are good ones...), might I just say, "May the force be with you," my friends. ( he, he, giggle, giggle, you know that one, right?)

What will you watch this weekend?

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Well instead of writing about feature length films , I thought I would give you a taste of some of my favorite YouTube clips. Although it is very hard to narrow them down. I guess I should pick my favorite category. I have a ton of favorite serious ones, some old classic cartoons, funny ones, etc. Well here are some of my non serious favorite clips to get you laughing and amazed. Enjoy! Your children will probably really enjoy these first few ones too. So bring them to the computer.

PS I learned tonight that YouTube is one word, and spelled like that. It is totally throwing me off in my editing. It just looks weird.

PSS You can full screen the videos without leaving the site to go to YouTube too by clicking the 4 arrow looking button in the bottom right hand side of each video.


My kids (2 and 4) were belly laughing so hard when they saw this. They ask for it all the time now.

This one just received a Webbie award. It is a classic viral video.

We love this one. In fact, we love the whole Muppet studios channel on YouTube. It is AWESOME! If you have time you should watch them all.

My little brother introduced me to these last two. They are funny, but yet very amazing. They crack me up every time.

I will probably be singing this all day now. I love the covered heads! He is so talented. I am so happy i found one with English subtitles for you too and in HD. The one we have been watching was not so great. You are lucky!

I know I could go on all day, but I better go and accomplish something instead of watch YouTube clips all day long.

What are some of your favorite YouTube videos?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Waiting for "Superman"

This movie is opening in select theaters next Friday, September 24th. Go here to make the pledge to see it.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Good Book for Movie Classics

Okay, just real quick, since I have to go watch Pushing Daisies with my husband in a minute (we've been catching up on television series that we've missed out on because we haven't had our TV hooked up, well, ever - hooray for Netflix!), I wanted to tell you about this book you should totally check out if you want to introduce your kids to classic films:

The Best Old Movies for Families, by Ty Burr

It's got some great suggestions, and it's fun to read! Go check it out, and then go watch some movies!

It's in the Bag!

Thanks for all your great comments last week in your entries for our giveaway! I loved reading and thinking about every single one of them.

If you'll remember, I couldn't decide last week if I'd choose the winner at random or if I'd choose the comment I liked the best. WELL. When I went to buy the fabric to make the bag, the pattern says it takes 1/2 yard of each; since I wanted to make one for myself too, I bought a full yard of each. Which, actually, made enough for three! Hooray! I got to pick my favorite and one at random! So the winners are:

K, who said:

I'm beginning to think that mothering during the school years is much harder than having lots of toddlers. I'm beginning to think that life takes more faith than I have previously exercised. I'm beginning to think that my kids don't have enough hours in the day, either. I'm beginning to think that joy can be found at every stage of life, if you will only notice it. I'm beginning to think that a good marriage makes everything else possible.

and Britney, who said:

I'm beginning to think that all little girls should have "The Devil in Diguise"
as their theme song. ;o)

Congratulations, ladies! Please email me at: and let me know how I can get your new bag to you! I only wish I had the time to make one for all of you. But seriously, this bag is really simple to make - even for a Martha pattern (I'm not a huge fan of her instructions sometimes). And here's what it looks like:

One side ...

... and the other!

Monday, September 13, 2010

My Top 10

This week we are talking movies and since I would rather watch a movie then review one I figured I would just give you my top 10 all time favorite flicks.  You can then go check them out and let me know what you think.  Here they are...and in no special order because how do you even compare an action adventure movie with a cutie cartoon.



Those are them. Are any of these on your list?  Which ones am I missing?