all the things I do in my hideaway

Archive for July, 2012


With the cool weather we have been having. clouds are much on my mind.  In some parts of the country, like Utah, clouds can mean rain, and maybe not much else.  Here, clouds can be our friends.  Clouds on a summer morning mean our “cooling blanket” from the ocean has paid us a visit, and the day will not be HOT, but pleasant.  In the winter, the blanket is our “insulation”, holding the warmth (?) of the day above the land.  We know that clear nights in the winter mean COLD nights.  So, thanks for the clouds forecast for the next few early mornings, and the sunshine for the rest of the day. Temperatures in the high 70s and low 80s are my thing!

(I would take a picture of the morning clouds, but they are gone!  What a day to enjoy!


“Food for Thought” book cover

I spent most of the past two weeks in Salt Lake City.  Along with visiting family and friends, I stopped at Quilts, Etc.. a wonderful little shop on two corners of an intersection.  You read that right.  The northeast and southeast corners have wonderful little buildings just stuffed with fabric, patterns, and notions, designed to part any quilter from the money in their pocket (and on your credit card, if you aren’t careful).  What do quilters do, besides spend money?  They talk to the other quilters.  Everyone is a friend in a quilt shop.  So, when I found some fabric with books (not pictured on this blog, might be used for gifts in the future), I was asked what I could do with it.

Well, in addition to quilting (and working so I have money to buy fabric), I love to read.  Give me a book, and I am happy.  Hardback, paperback, and now, on my Kindle Fire, books are wonderful.  For travel, my Kindle is so much easier than carrying all the books I might want to read.  However, nothing beats a book in the hand, curled up on the couch/bed/, in the apple tree, on a blanket under the tree, on a bus; you get the idea.  Here is one thing to do with great fabric.  The food looked good, hence the title…

Paperback Book Cover (fits a standard paperback book.  Adjust as needed for other size books.)


Main fabric, cut 1 piece 8 in.x 17 in.

Lining, cut 1 piece 8 in. x 10 in.

Interfacing for both pieces

Ribbon for the book mark


Ready for sewing.  I like to leave a little bit of fabric not covered by the interfacing.  Your choice.  Hem the short ends of the main fabric.  I used a single fold over and a zigzag stitch.

Now to pin the pieces together so that when you turn everything right side out, everything is in the right place!  This is the only “hard” part of the project.


Fold in equal amounts on the hemmed edges, leaving 10 inches for the cover.  Note placement of the bookmark ribbon.  This is where you want to put it!  Trust me, I have had vast experience with a seam ripper!  Don’t determine length of ribbon yet.  You will need more than you might think.


Tuck the ribbon inside.  Remember, your seam ripper gets enough experience on other projects.  None needed here.


Pin everything in place.  Sew across the top and bottom, 3/8 inch seam.  Turn, press.


Put a book in the cover.  Place the bookmark in the front of the book, then decide how long to cut the marker.  Finish end of ribbon with Fray Check.

Find someplace to curl up and enjoy!

From Out My (Aunt Ethel’s) Window


(The tree, work in progress, with the remnants of the rock wall of the barn, now serving as a retaining wall in Aunt Ethel’s backyard.)


Last week, three women sat looking out a dining room window. To a casual observer, they were just three older women, watching a tree service trim dead wood from a majestic weeping willow tree in the backyard. The tree planted more than 60 years ago by one of the women assisted by her beloved mother-in-law, Rachel Bradford . The tree that has witnessed much joy and heartache. Nothing extraordinary about the scene, you might think. But that assumption would be wrong.

Three women, bound together eternally by their heritage. All descendants of Carl and Nettie Ohlin. Carl, a Swedish immigrant, came to Utah when nine years old. His parents left Sweden to be with the Saints in Utah. Nettie’s father left England with his mother. They, too, came seeking Zion, the opportunity to be with the Saints, to worship their Creator as they believed.

Carl and Nettie were hard working people. Not wealthy or educated in the eyes of the world, they didn’t have six years of formal education between them. But they were rich in knowledge, and wisdom. Carl was a carpenter, a craftsman with wood, who also tended a large garden and a few animals to provide food for his family. When not working, he read, continuing his education to the day he died. Nettie was a homemaker without equal. Equally at home in the kitchen, garden, or at her sewing machine, she fed and clothed her family by the sweat of her brow. She quietly served and enriched the lives of neighbors for miles around her rural home. Her hands were never still, except in sleep. Their goal was to see all their children complete high school. They accomplished that goal.

Five children came to that home. Three daughters and a son, followed nine years later by another daughter. At that window sat Aunt Ethel, along with Bernice, my mother, and then me. Together, we have 240+ years experience in life. Each of us is a wife and mother, with vastly different lives.

Aunt Ethel has been and continues to be a journalist. For 35 years, she was Women’s Editor for a local newspaper. She also wrote a column, From Out My Window. That column, on occasion, included tales of her nieces and nephews. Retired, she wrote books of local history and musings about life. Never afraid of adventure, she embraced technology with enthusiasm, and her column was reborn, on her blog. Along the way, she raised two sons, John and Bill, an adventure itself! With acres of land “out back”, the boys had adventures only imagined by boys today. Ethel has lived much of this life alone, but never lonely. “Brad”, my uncle Arch, passed away more than forty years ago.

Bernice, my Mom, the woman who gave me life, hasn’t worked outside her home since Dad returned from Europe a year after WW 2 ended. But she has worked. Seven children came to her home.  Like her ancestors before, she worked to feed and clothe her children, and her time outside the home always included service to God. For many years, she served children in classrooms, schools, district, and state PTA positions. She has a large posterity, who honor her as mother, grandmother, and great grandmother.

With this heritage, I grew from infancy to adulthood. Like my mother, I have seven children. Like my mother and aunt, I have faced challenges. I attended college, received a degree in medical microbiology, and worked for a time in that field. I was blessed to stay at home while the children were young.  When all were in school, I returned to part-time work as a para-educator. Children grown, I returned to college for a master’s degree and now teach middle school science. Like my mother, I, also, spend time in service to God.

So, what did we discuss, three women with different insights on the world? We didn’t solve world problems, didn’t mention politics, or religion, but God? Often. The weather received only passing comments and Education reform wasn’t on the agenda.

Aunt Ethel talked about Brad. She described the land, owned by his family since a Land Grant in the 1850’s. She told of the old barn that sat near the site of her home. She described a near-death experience Brad had as a very young man. She told about Gram, her “more than” mother-in-law, her only mother after the death of Nettie sixty years ago. She shared her belief that our experiences are not coincidences, but in the hands of One who knows us and what we need.

Mom spoke of her childhood memories of Uncle Arch. Her childhood memory of hearing that Arch was dying of pneumonia at the age of 17. He did too, but ‘returned’ to live another 35 years, and Ethel tells that he cherished and kept that wonderful experience. Mom told of a telegram from Santa, tucked in her cedar chest today, sent to a little girl by her brother’s friend, and later, brother-in-law, Arch. Of how he would enter their home in winter, saying, “It’s not fit outside for man or beast.” (And Ethel, his wife, recalled the second part of that old saying, “Even the ducks are walking.”)

I recalled a childhood day Aunt Ethel showed up in my room with a grocery sack filled with books from her personal library. With perfect accuracy, she had chosen books I would enjoy. As I read, the monotonous days of a long-term illness were brightened by the world of The Yearling, Freckles, The Girl of the Limberlost, and the enduring love of Random Harvest.

Three women sat, looking out a dining room window, bound together eternally by the heart strings of love. Watched over by The One, The Source of All, who also knows all. Such a day may not happen again. But, for those hours, we shared the view “From Out Ethel’s Window”, and it was beautiful.



Ethel Bradford

Thank you, Sylvia, the first of the next generation of our family. It was a day I had expected to be chaotic, what with both visitors and tree workers scheduled, but turned out to be a day I will cherish and remember. My Second Son, Bill was there to be with the men, while I enjoyed ‘family’. And, I’m brave enough to know and to say that it just might be the last time the three of us will be together in this ‘room’ of Life. Thank You God.

My tree looks wonderful. Looks much taller and I will no longer shiver when high winds arrive, with fear of a big limb coming down on yard and perhaps a roof. Wonderful. All because of one man sky high in his small Control Tower, twisting around the sky and tree, and four men on my lawn gathering and taking to a truck the discards from above. Terrific, but just as a reminder, you pay a goodly handful of ‘sheckels’ for that perfection. Oh, me

Note:  This post is a combined effort.  I am honored that Aunt Ethel wanted to use my words and would share hers with me.  She is a truly great lady, as is my mother.  Those who came before us left a legacy to cherish.  If you want to read more about the view from out her window, go to: