Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The book of Glorie Jean

Our friend Rebecca has this cute little dog named Glorie Jean that she just loves. I've taken a lot of pictures of Glorie Jean over the past couple of years, so I had this idea to make a little book for her birthday (Rebecca's birthday, that is, not Glorie Jean's birthday. I don't know when Glorie Jean's birthday is). Her birthday was back in March and it took me a while to get the book put together, but I finally finished it. I had it printed at sharedink.com. The finished book came in the mail on Friday, and I took a couple of pictures of it before we took it over to Rebecca's house. The printing and binding both seem really nice.

Here are all the spreads from the book--the way they looked on my computer, before going to the printer. The finished pages had a little trimmed off around the edges. You have to plan for that.

Rebecca loved her book!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Kate-speak 101

We have unraveled the principles of Kate's pronunciation. To start with, G's and K's turn into D's and T's. That part was easy enough to figure out. But also, for words that start with an S followed by another consonant, she puts the S at the end. That one took quite a bit longer to decipher. She does it very consistently, though, so we eventually caught on. Hence, snap, snail, and star become naps, nails, and dars, respectively. Squirrel is dirls, and squish is diss. She and Doug play a squishing game on the bed. It's just too cute to hear her yelling "Diss! Diss!" and shrieking with laughter.

Kate has known the word "turtle" for some time, but recently added "tortoise." One of her books has a tortoise in it. I told her that a tortoise is like a turtle. Now whenever we read that book she points to it and says, "Tortoise! Tortoise like a turtle." One of our neighbors even has a little tortoise in a terrarium, so Kate got to see a real tortoise. That was pretty exciting. She has also learned that a toad is like a frog. Another neighbor has a bird bath with a little stone toad on it, and Kate will go over and pat the toad and say "Toad like a frog!" When watching the Veggie Tales song about Barbara Manatee (from the library) I told her that a manatee is like a whale, which she accepted easily enough, but then Doug suggested that perhaps a manatee is more like a seal or a walrus, so we'll have to see if we can correct that.

Kate has been finding animals in her food. The other day she held up a bit of cheese from the pizza we were eating, and informed us that it was a seahorse. Tonight her bits of naan bread contained a hippo, a whale, a wolf, and a horse. This seems like pretty advanced abstraction for a two-and-a-half year old, but Doug told me that she had some bug-shaped graham crackers in the nursery at church that made quite an impression on her, so maybe that's where she got the idea.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Poor Man's Cake

I made a Poor Man's Cake this afternoon. It's kind of a family staple (from my family, when I was growing up) but it's been a long time since I've made one. In fact I don't think Kate had ever had it before. It's called Poor Man's Cake because it doesn't use eggs or milk. Actually it does use eggs, but they're optional. We always put them in. So I guess it's only half-poor. The real point of this cake is that it's made with whole wheat flour, and honey instead of sugar. This was almost always what we had for birthdays and such.

Somebody at church once asked me for the recipe and I never gave it to her, so I thought I'd post it here.

Poor Man's Cake

In a large bowl, mix together:

4 cups whole wheat flour
½-1 tsp salt
1½ tsp baking powder
1½ tsp baking soda
½-1 tsp cinnamon

In a blender put:

¾ cup vegetable oil
¾ cup honey (I have reduced this to slightly less than ½ cup and it's still plenty sweet for me)
1½-2 cups water
2 carrots (optional)
2 eggs (optional)
(I like to add a little nutmeg too)

Blend ingredients in blender. Beat both mixtures together. Add ½-1 cup raisins if desired.

Bake in a greased and floured 13"x9" pan at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until done.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Memories of Lloyd Alexander

Once upon a time, lo these many years ago, I was at BYU--this would have been the 93-94 school year, I think. My roommate Christy, who was an Elementary Music Ed major, was taking a Children's Lit class. Now I pretty much never stopped reading kids' books, so I had a great time talking to her about the stuff she was reading and recommending books, and reading the ones that she brought home. The class sounded like so much fun that I decided to take it the next semester. At the same time Christy found out that Dr. Tunnell and Dr. Jacobs were going to be teaching an evening seminar on Lloyd Alexander. Dr. Tunnell and Dr. Jacobs are both Lloyd Alexander nuts, and have written extensively about him and had a lot of contact with him in the process, and they had convinced Lloyd, who never went anywhere, to come out to BYU and speak, and they had planned this seminar in conjunction with the visit.

We both decided to sign up for the seminar (Christy took it for credit--I audited). Most of the other people were children's librarians and teachers. We read most of his books (some of which I had read before, some I hadn't), heard a lot about Lloyd's life, and were treated to readings from the delightful and out-of-print Janine is French, about how he met his wife. I was taking a bookbinding class at the same time, so I made a link-stitch book with a pig on the front (copied from Eveline Ness's cover illustration of The Book of Three) and a matching clamshell box.

The day of Lloyd's visit, he spoke during the afternoon to a crowded concert hall full of elementary school children. He read from The Arkadians, his most recent book, and answered questions from the audience. I remember one boy asked, "What does Gurgi sound like?" and he replied, "Gurgi sounds like what you think he should sound like." In the evening he came to our class, visited with us and signed all our books. One lady handed him a book open to a specific passage and asked, "Could you read this for us?" It was a bit of Gurgi dialog. Lloyd looked stricken and everybody laughed. Dr. Tunnell said, "There was a boy this afternoon who asked what Gurgi sounded like." And the lady said, "I know! That was my son!" Lloyd did read it for us (I think it was a bit about smackings and whackings on his poor tender head), sounding properly pitiful and squeaky, and we all applauded.

Several people had gifts for Lloyd, and I gave him the book and box I had made. He exclaimed over it for a while and gave me a kiss on the cheek (awww!).

We had watched a film in class earlier where Lloyd talked about answering fan mail, and showed off a few things that readers had made for him, like some little figures of the Prydain characters. So I pictured him keeping my little book in his office and maybe showing it off to somebody else later. Shortly afterwards I got this letter.

Best known for his Prydain Chronicles, Lloyd Alexander wrote nearly forty books, many of which feature cats and/or spunky redheads. He passed away May 17th at the age of 83, at home in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania. His wife Janine died just two weeks ago. They were married for 62 years.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day!

The quest for the Mother's Day photo continues.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

It's May! It's May!

What a beautiful spring we are having! It's been so nice out lately. We celebrated Children's Day on May 5th with our traditional pictures-in-front-of-the-flowers at the park. (It's a Korean thing.) Kate got to check out a worm (she likes to watch them but isn't much inclined to touch them), and had fun playing with her daddy on the grass.

May 5th, in addition to being Cinco de Mayo, and Children's Day, (and Kentucky Derby day, this year) was also National Scrapbooking Day. We had a big sale at NDISB--combination National Scrapbook Day sale and "Yay! We're back from the crash!" sale. My breakthrough templates have been selling amazingly well. I have a feeling this may be the one thing I end up being known for--"You know that one lady who makes the torn and curled paper templates?" It's funny. You never know what's going to catch on.

Here are a couple more layouts with the breakthrough templates:

(Credits here: Your Eyes and Betsey & Angie)

Friday, May 04, 2007

"There is no WAY that's a digital product!"

My brother (Peter) made a clip for me, from last week's "Dishin' the Digi" show, of just the part where they're talking about my layout. Click here to listen. (In fact it is a digital product--but made with real paper!)

From "Dishin' the Digi - Coast 2 Coast" on DiSc Talk Radio, with Shanah Gordon and deann McDaniel. Used with permission.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Wall Words

We still don't have everything unpacked and put away, but our kitchen window is now sporting this extra accent. I got these vinyl wall words from Emily Kate Designs (Edit: looks like she's not doing vinyl anymore). It was very quick and not expensive, and easy to apply, and fun! It's a Korean proverb that I loosely translate as "Before we climb the mountain, let's eat first." I've kind of adopted it as my food motto. When my blood sugar gets low I get cranky (and sometimes downright irrational and hostile) so in order to keep on top of things I really have to plan and start cooking before I get hungry. It's taken a long time to learn (and still doesn't always work out right). This was a particular problem when I was serving as a missionary in Korea, and things were often busy and pretty stressful, but by learning to plan ahead I was able to keep meltdowns to a minimum. And of course, it helped that I like Korean food, too!

The woven straw scoops are from Korea, too. I'm not exactly sure what they're for. In my last area I was serving in Sunchon and a lady came to the door selling them. My companion, Sister Kim Su Gyoung, bought them for me. She said they had something to do with the date, and I think she even said they should be hung up in the kitchen. (I'll have to find someone who actually knows, to tell me more about them.) I've been carrying these scoops around with me for almost 14 years, and I figured it was time to finally do something with them.

Despite all my artistic interests I've rarely done much in the way of decorating. Whether it seemed like too much work, or I wanted to but just never got around to it, or the places we were renting just seemed too small and utilitarian, I can't say. But it's been kind of fun dressing up our kitchen window. Now when I'm in there cooking I can enjoy our pretty white curtains and my Korean motto, and remember to eat before I go climbing any mountains.