Saturday, July 27, 2013

DIY Embroidered Linen Napkins


If you follow my sewing adventures at all, you’ll know by now how much I love 100% natural linen fabric. I’ve been wanting some linen napkins for a while now as I think they are ultra chic and modern. I chose to use the natural color to hide stains and also because it is timeless. I bought the 5 ounce linen from this online store.  I found this tutorial that helped me make the mitered corners. And with a few tweaks to make the corners a bit easier to master, I turned out nearly perfect mitered corners. Maybe between that tutorial and mine you’ll get the same results.

The napkins take about 20 minutes each to sew and another 5-10 minutes to embroider.

First, cut each napkin 20”x20”.  Fold up each corner of the napkin 1 1/2 inches and iron in place. Clip the corners about 1/2” inch. It’s easier to get a perfect miter if you also choose to fold the napkin at a 45 degree angle now and iron a crease there as well.


Fold up each corner about 1” and iron into place on the 45 degree angle, as seen below.


Unfold the edge you just ironed and fold the fabric up again, this time just 1/2”, iron in place and then 1/2” again to your first fold line, as seen below. Pin really well as the corners especially. Repeat for all four corners.


Sew two lines around the perimeter. I sewed one line right along the inside edge and another line about 1/4” away going directly down the middle of the folded edge. You could sew a third line on the very edge to the mitered edge perfect in place, as you can see, I chose not to that. Everything is secure and held in place.  Behold your perfectly mitered corners.


You could be done, but now is the fun part—adding a simple and modern embroidery motif.  Iron your napkin as seen below. This will help you center your embroidery design. I chose to embroider the bottom right section but  I also think the bottom middle section would be lovely.


Whatever design you choose remember that the napkin is seen on both side by your guests; therefore, I would suggest using a lightweight design—one that will just require a wash away stabilizer. If you choose a ‘heavier’ design you’ll need to use a cut away or tear away stabilizer and that would look not-so-lovely from the back of the napkin.  But that’s just my opinion. I used by small 4x5 hoop, two layers of wash away stabilizer and 505 temporary adhesive spray.


I am using my Spirals design. It’s fast at just 3700 stitches and a good lightweight design only needing wash away. Make sure you use two layers though! I chose to use just once color of thread but you could use the two colors called for.


Once embroidered, toss in the wash to remove the backing. Iron and enjoy.




I love the iridescent effect of this design.

Friday, July 19, 2013

A Party on the New Patio

We’ve been having a family reunion for Paul’s side of the family all week here in Utah County. His siblings have come in from Oregon, Washington, and Idaho to our little neck of the woods in Utah. My previous post details our backyard patio renovation. The landscapers finished the patio on Wednesday July 17, 2013 and we had our very first party with Paul’s family the next day. We wasted no time! All 20 of us put the new patio to the test. We made this amazing chicken recipe, had a cooler full of sodas, s’mores for the kids, strawberry shortcake for the adults, and lots of laughs.


This summer has been hotter than blazes (98 degrees during the barbecue) but I love every minute of it. 

Snow is evil. Sun is glorious.


My nephew Tom looks on while my hubby Paul fans the flames for a great s’more cookout.


Cousins roasting marshmallows with Uncle John.


My beautiful niece Laura is about to get really sticky marshmallow all over the place!


Luckily her sweet cousin, my pretty-great son Nathan, is there to wash her off and enjoy the sunset.


Isn’t family grand? That’s what life is all about. Family.

The New Patio

Hooray! Our patio is finally done! This was phase 2 of our backyard remodel. To read about phase one which happened four years ago, click here.  Yes, I took this photo while the sprinklers were on this morning, hence the streams of water you see. (Click on any of the photos to see them supa’ big.)


Bratt Landscaping in Pleasant Grove, Utah is who we used for the landscape plan and both phases of Project Renovation Backyard. They are wonderful to work with. I highly recommend them if you live in Utah County.


The raised beds will soon be filled with luscious plants. Can’t wait.


I also see some lovely patio furniture in our future—maybe an outdoor couch and upholstered chairs?


Here are a few before and after shots:

BEFORE: The filthiness of the yard makes the before shot all the more sad. (May 2013)


DURING: Ain’t no fun having giant earth movers in your yard! (June 2013)


AFTER:  Raised beds wrap around the columns. (July 2013)


BEFORE:  Our outdoor table and chairs were always on the grass which is a pain when you gotta mow. (May 2013)


AFTER:  Super large patio means the furniture can stay put. Oh and room for parties. (See next post.)


BEFORE: Basic stairs exiting the house, grassy slope (another pain to mow) leading down to the fire pit. (May 2013)


DURING: Tools and gravel everywhere and they level the yard. (June 2013)


AFTER: Beautiful block staircase exiting house, huge patio, stairs down to fire pit. Hooray, no more slope!


DURING: The sideyard had the fence removed to enable giant earth-moving equipment access to the yard. (June 2013)


AFTER: Flagstone path lined with shrubs. Fence is back up.


It’s hard to believe that our yard to used to like this when we moved in 7 years ago. A sloped, unusable mess. (June 2006)

planting the patmore ash

We improved it quite a bit in 2009 with Phase 1………

landscaped yard with fence 003

…….and we’re thrilled that phase two is now done. It’s just gorgeous.


Friday, July 05, 2013

Independence Day

I’ve lived in Provo 20 years now. And this year is the first year I attended the 4th of July parade. I don’t really care for parades. It’s hot, stinky, crowded, never a bathroom to be found, nor a parking place. But I went and it wasn’t too torturous. I did stand and cheer for the BYU float though. I’m not a total fuddy-dud.


I made a typical dinner too—burgers, potato salad, cole slaw, and baked beans. And of course, fireworks. I still can’t believe aerial fireworks are legal to purchase for the general public in a desert state that hasn’t seen rain in months. (Ok, it did rain last night for a few minutes, but that was after the fireworks and I’m sure it instantly evaporated once it hit the flaming hot dry parched soil that is Utah.)

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Wait a minute, why are we sitting next to a bobcat tractor on our curb? Well……..


………that’s because our yard still looks like this—6 weeks into our patio project that should’ve taken two weeks. So disappointed we have a torn up yard this summer. The landscaper dudes are great, but it’s just been one delay after another.



Either way, happy Independence day. I love being an American. Love it.

Lagoon, it’s what fun is.

The title is a bit misleading, but that’s the slogan for Lagoon amusement park in Farmington, Utah on all the TV commercials. Growing up in California, we attended Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, and Magic Mountain. So Lagoon isn’t anything fancy compared to those parks, but still, we had fun. Gotta get dressed up in hot and itchy costumes for western pictures too. And of course it was 102 degrees last Friday, June 28th 2013.  Hot-ter-than-hell that’s for sure. Thankfully, Utah’s heat is dry. But still, no likey.

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It was Paul’s company’s celebration for 40 years in business. Hence the matchy-matchy shirts like we all attended the same day care.


Here I am, trying to stay cool at the company picnic dinner with a Nestle crunch bar. The runny mascara is due to all the waterslides. Again, just trying to stay cool! Notice I wouldn’t wear the extra thick and extra dark man t-shirt. Too hot. Cool is the name of the game.


The kids (and I think Paul) loved the Vomit Vortex. I don’t know the real name of the ride, but that’s the outcome so who cares what it’s really called.


For all the misery the heat wave has brought for nearly a month now, I tell myself, it’s one less day of snow. And that’s what summer is all about. The absence of snow. Unless I’m eating it. In the form of ice cream.

The Big Island of Hawaii 2013

Paul and I took the kiddos to Hawaii a few weeks ago. This time we went to the Big Island of Hawaii. (Two years ago we took them to Oahu.) We chose this island because we were travelling with kids—lots of adventures to be had! And it was an adventure for sure.

From the moment we stepped off of the plane, the humidity smacked us in the face. In fact, it was humid the entire time. But with the trade winds it’s never too uncomfortable. In this photo below notice Hallie’s smile? The kids thought it hilarious the airport is outdoors—“just like when the Brady Bunch went to Hawaii” I was informed. Oh brother. Our life is being compared to a 40-year old sitcom. Of course, Paul is smiling too but that’s because we were just happy to be off that dang plane.


We quickly found out on this trip that 15-year old boys do not smile in photos. Luckily, the girls will still smile for their mom and the camera.


We immediately checked into our condo and couldn’t believe the views we had!


Every meal eaten on the ocean. Be still my heart. For more info on this fabulous condo owned by a sweet couple, click here.


The below photo is Mauna Kea beach—often voted the best beach in the United States. Easy to see why don’t you think? Hallie was busy waiting for a wave. But with a beach this calm, she was lucky to catch a small handful of waves. Still, Mauna Kea is yummy. Those darn hotel rooms behind Hallie are $1,500 a night but the beach is public access for cheapskates like us. Neener-neener-neener.



We put over 1,200 miles on our rental in just 8 days. The island is huge and we spent many an hour packing and unpacking sandy gear.


This was the view we saw each night from our condo in Kona. Yes please. (The sun sets at 7pm—even in June (which is when we were there! Compare that to 9:30pm sunsets in Utah, and what a difference!)


Volcano National park, like everything, is a long drive from Kona, so we stopped a couple times to refuel our bellies with malasadas—Portuguese donuts. Mmm, sugar and fat together.


Why can’t we get passion fruit and guava donuts here in Utah? I don’t get it.


Once we got to Volcanos, we went on a ranger tour. Ilene is listening so intently. Off in the distance is an erupting volcano deep in a caldera…..


…….but seeing that same caldera at night was much better.


The ranger told us lots of Hawaiian legends about the plants and such.


The kids loved walking through an actual lava tube. Eerie my friends.



Seeing lava just coat the landscape, creating cliffs at the ocean, was unbelievable.



Lava flows destroyed this road, so we had to hike it.



Yup, I believe the road is closed. Even without the sign.


Lava, lava, and more lava.


Because of this sign I begged Hallie to stay close to us………


………..but to no avail. This photo makes it look worse than it is, but from where I was shooting the camera, I thought she was gonna die. Rascal.


Adventures like Volcano are great, but I’m just as happy on a beach at sunset. Me and my sweetey—chillaxin on Spencer Beach at the very end of the day………


……….watching the sun go down and the kids digging away.


Give a kid a bucket and a shovel, and she’s happy.

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Pu`uhonua O Hōnaunau (“Place of Refuge”) is pretty amazing. And beautiful. Sadly, we were being scorched by the heat and rushed through a bit. But Paul and I had been here five years previous, so we were ok with that.


The heat and humidity was unbelievable under the bright sun this day. I thought I was gonna faint. Or turn into one of these petrified tiki statues. I’m so wimpy. Give me a frosty drink, stat!


Luckily, the beach is always around us for an afternoon of swimming.


I frolic in the ocean, bobbing up and down happily, but my hubby actually swims. Good for him. I already have curly-hair frustrated hair. Ocean water just makes it worse.


Ilene begged to bring her ukulele. How could I deny a little girl her dream of playing “Somewhere over the Rainbow” in Hawaii?


A memory I hope she cherishes forever. I know I will. I got it on video.


Lots of memories actually. From the botanical gardens…….


To smoothies on a fruit farm………


To black sand beaches…….


….with sea turtles





…….the Big Island of Hawaii has it all.

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