Monday, February 16, 2009

Colossal Caves

Here we are with our suckers.  Starting to have happy hearts again.

This is a picture Dad "Made" us take, and as you can see the kids are so gloriously happy about it.
This is at the start of the day, see all those smiles?

Things I learned about caves:

* 4 year olds are terrified of them
*Raccoons are not (terrified) thus the incredible smell that greats you when you enter
* This cave is a constant 70 degrees year round. ( I need to return in the Summer)
* SMELLS.  I could smell all the people in our group, too close of quarters for my taste.
* There's Guano everywhere
* Never ending pit....what?
* People got married in the cave?  
* There hasn't been water there for 8000 years.  

Things I learned about kids:

* Riding for an hour in the car isn't always a joy
* Kids never sleep when they should, and do sleep when they shouldn't.
* Madeline is a self proclaimed better paper puncher than Mitchell
* Suckers cure anything and everything.
* They love playing with pizza dough balls.
* They change their mind after they have already ordered. However, if they make up their mind to dislike something, they will stick with that.
* When one has to go to the bathroom, they all must go.  And it must be #2.

Things I learned about parents:

*Parents are grumpy when kids scream for an hour in the car (even if it is happy screams)
* Parents have crazy ideas about "Valentines...", I pushed to spend the day with the kids, I thought it would be so fun to make it special for them.  By 7 p.m., I was ready to go home and rest my tired soul.
* Parents are crazy enough to wait an hour, just so they don't have to cook dinner.
* They want to take pictures of everything.
* Love to stop and kiss for a minute
* Love being with their kids almost as much as they love being alone.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentines Day

This post really has nothing to do with Valentines day...but love.  The other night, at about 1 a.m., my little Elizabeth climbed in bed with me and snuggled in.  All my memories from my childhood started flowing in.  I remember being scared, and running to my dad's side of the bed.  He would scoop me up with one arm, and hold me close as we spooned.  I never felt so safe as I did when my sweet dad was holding me.  I slept so soundly, I felt so loved, and I definitely felt protected.    Even as I grew older (too old to climb in bed with Dad), we still cuddled.  In high school, I would come home from dates, snuggle into my dad and talk about the night. He would tell me all about guys, what they were thinking, and how to avoid certain pitfalls.  I loved these talks with my dad.  Now as a parent, I try to be like my dad in this way.   I want my kids to have that same "safe" feeling, I want them to feel pure love like I did when we cuddled in silence, I want my kids to know that I am always available to them.  So, when my little ones crawl in my bed, and keep me from sleeping by laying on top of my head so they can be as close as possible, I remember my fabulous example, and I snuggle back into them.

Monday, February 9, 2009


Today I am feeling slightly under the weather.  The house is a mess, I feel confined to the couch, and I am dreaming of a really lovely servant.  You know, one that might bring me water when I am too lazy to get up.  Maybe some crackers?  Oh yeah, and maybe this beautiful servant could also unload the dishwasher, transfer the laundry, fold the clean laundry, and clean up from the weekend.  So...I'm dreaming.    At least I have a fabulous bunch of children who did unload the dishwasher for me, and helped me with the laundry.  I need to count my blessings (even if they don't include my very lovely and helpful servant).

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


So, every now and then I have a perfect moment.  Sunday night was it for me.  I nuzzled into my sweetheart, we read scriptures with our little ones, and then watched them prance around our game room.  It was so nice to just sit back and enjoy it all.  Oft times I don't even notice how perfect life is, I am so bogged down by dishes, dinner, laundry, cleaning, baths, homework, piano practicing, blah, blah, blah. 
  I am so glad for these peaceful moments, where I kick back and enjoy the moment.  

I love this picture of the kids.  The girls: always dancing, playing, screaming, singing, putting on a play.  Mitch: thinking, am I really the only boy here?

Sunday, February 1, 2009


One of the most important things in understanding color is value. Quite simply, value is light, medium, dark colors. Value, of course, is dependent upon what else is going on in a quilt. Light in one quilt, could be dark in another.  Notice on the chart above the lightness/darkness of the colors.  If you only stayed in the medium/dark range, the bottom medium color would be considered the light color.  Conversely, if you stayed in the medium/light area...the same medium color would be considered dark.  Value is dependent on the other colors.

Understand light/medium/dark isn't a hard concept. However, understanding how light/medium/dark all play together can be tricky at times. It also determines how your quilt is viewed. Many times people enjoy using the medium color palate. I find myself to be in this category. However, sometimes my tastes go towards light and dark, depending on the new Moda lines at the time. When I pieced together my first quilt I used 3 colors, but 2 of my colors were medium, and 1 was white. I also only used 3 fabrics, I don't know if it could get more boring. But, I didn't know any better, and isn't that what life is about, learning?
first quilt: 
see how boring? What if my middle red, was a super dark red?  What if it was super light? What if the middle white, was more cream?  There are many possibilities missed here by playing it safe (and boring).

This quilt is hanging in my game room.  There are tons of different colors and values.  Sometimes there is little value difference (as in the blue square above), and sometimes there is a huge value difference (as in the orange and purple square).  I chose to have a little of each to give the quilt more interest, to be less predictable, to move the eye along.  As you can see, there is no rule about value, just the more you understand it, the more you can use it to advance your own purpose.

These are all great examples of value at work.  The flower and CD art are both one color...just varying values.  The the Trix box shows complementary colors as well as using light and dark to highlight their cereal.

Moving on...... You have to decide before you make your quilt, what parts you want to stick out, what parts you want to recede, what parts you want to be the background, what parts you want to be a surprise for viewers when the finally get up close, etc... What everyone must understand: there is no Right answer. Each quilt is different, each wants to accomplish a different task. Some are soothing, some are stark,.... it is the understanding of color and value and how they work together that will help us all make the quilts/art we dream of.   

This quilt by Bill Kerr and Weeks Ringle, shows perfectly how value can create visions in a quilt.  It seems as if there is a square of vellum placed in the middle of the quilt, or the sun is shining on that part.  That is the joy of value, by using lighter variations of the same color, they are able to make even the black parts seem lighter.  

Your challenge now, is to notice the value all around you.  Imagine what things would look like if you made something darker, lighter, etc.   If you quilt, scrapbook, paint, craft, whatever....., understanding value will help you achieve what you hope to accomplish.  Good luck, and please feel free to share any insights, successes, failures in your quest to understand value/color better.