Thursday, December 29, 2011

Swedish Christmas

  We tried to have a Scandinavian Christmas Party to honor our Swedish roots. Our daughter wanted swordfish and that fit nicely. She marinated it and roasted it. We made two different kinds of soup, had salads, potatoes, cauliflour tart, and so on and on. I read about a little gnome named Tomte that lived under the floorboards in Scandinavian homes prior to the legend of St. Nick. I got the idea to make these little guys. They are made from pears, peppers, string beans, nampa cabbage, and cloves for eyes. They were a hit. Our niece Molly married a Swede and it was fun to have Swedish guests and the story of St Lucia. performed and told to us. Molly came out complete with a white gown and a crown of candles. It's a gruesome story, but worth the read. 

This photo was taken by our daughter on a walk with cousins before the party.

Inversion in SLC

Daughter and Niece enjoy a gorgeous day snowboarding--the day before the party.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Holiday Sale & Events

Paradise Holiday Artisan Sale 
This is a really fun event that we've put together at the Paradise Town Hall on Dec. 10th, Saturday from 10 AM to 4:30 PM. We have more artisans and variety than we've ever had before. We'll have pottery, goat milk soap, decorative tiles, jewelry, crafts, baskets and drawings. Bring a can of food for the food bank and be entered in a special drawing to win pottery and handmade gifts.


We're especially lucky to have live music from our talented local musicians. Please see the link for more information.

On Dec. 2-3rd, I'll be part of the Winter Gift Market at the Bullen Arts Center. This is the best collection of artisans and gifts in Logan for the holiday season. Live music and food as well. It's free and part of the gallery walk. I'll have a wide variety of pottery, plus my novels. On the 2nd I'll be part of the Moonlight Madness sale at the Book Table. 

Dec. 3rd-19th. My pottery will be part of the wonderful holiday exhibit and sale at the Finch Lane Gallery in Salt Lake at 54 Finch Lane Art Barn



Tuesday, November 1, 2011

When did I get so lazy?

I used to love Halloween. My mom often sewed a costumes for me. Though I don't remember all of my costumes, one I remember was a Panda bear. The reason I remember was that I was sick that year so my mother said I had to go trick-or-treating while it was still light outside. This was not acceptable but it was that or nothing And since I couldn't go by myself my brother Brian and friend Geri were roped into going early.  Many people asked what we were doing out so early and they weren't sure what I was so I was embarrassed. It's funny how being embarrassed makes seemingly unmemorable events move to the forefront of our cluttered brains. At the Elementary school I attended they used to have a great carnival with spook alleys and cake walks and carnival games. I loved it. As I got older we started going to all spook alleys in town. Now they of course have corn mazes, but back then it was just spook alleys. The best one was at the Utah State "Mental" Hospital (the white house on the hill). It was more frightening than others because you weren't quite certain that the guy with the chain saw and a bloody corpse wasn't an actual murderer. Fun! Later I got to participate in this spook alley for a few years in a row--no I wasn't a patient--but a volunteer. Proceeds went to the March of Dimes. Being a spook and scaring the daylights out of people was more fun that being spooked.

When my own kids were little I didn't like them to eat candy. I know, somehow the mother in me pervaded the magic of Halloween. Eventually I got over it, but when they were little I only let them got to a few houses in the neighborhood. But I always loved dressing up that is until I somehow got lazy about the whole thing. About the last time I had to take my daughter trick-or-treating I quit bothering. My daughter was hugely into Halloween and had to have a different outfit each year. Our son seemed content with Dracula teeth and garbage bags for capes--poor kid, but our daughter was a jester, a Tigger, a clown, and so forth. I sewed the Jester outfit and was supremely proud of it since I am not a seamstress and because it was beautiful. We even made a matching hat and collar for Pickle the dog. He however did not like trick or treating. While looking for a picture of Halloween I didn't find the one of the Jester--so you'll have to take my word for it. It was fantabulous!!!

He's filled with a hamburger and rice etc. casserole.
The bowl of candy waiting by the door. By bedtime it was still the same.
Okay this Halloween, the highlight was stopping Sunday to see the grandkids and our son and his wife. Thanks to my daughter-in-law Halloween is always going to be fun. I hope they send me a picture because their outfits were great. Now back to our tradition. My husband and I started making dinner in a pumpkin many years back. So this year we kicked back, made our dinner in a sweetmeat squash, had strawberry shake for dessert, ate popcorn and watched Charade. It was great. We've done similarly the last few years and then listen for the doorbell to see the creative costumes when treaters come to the door. However this year, we watched the whole move with no interruptions and no trick-or-treaters. Sad!
Our Halloween meal--yummy.

I found a few pictures from Halloweens past.

Grouse Creek School about 1988

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Cultivate Talents, Reap the Rewards!


I’ve been thinking a lot lately about talents and interests and how they are formed. I’ve thought about my own childhood and how my experiences shaped my life. I’ve thought about my friends and how they formed their talents and interests. Sometimes talents and interests are the same and sometimes not. For instance I have a great interest in hiking and it’s something I regularly do, though I don’t think hiking is something I’m particularly talented at. In fact, often when I’m with a group I might be the last one to make it to the destination. Both talents and interests enrich my life and the life of my family

However, there are two things I’m particularly talented at and I have been doing these two things from very early on in my life. The two things are writing and pottery.  My mother is a writer and during my childhood wrote for the local newspaper. She took classes. She read us her stories and it sparked my interest. My aunt Emma Lou Thayne is also a writer. Though I never talked to her about writing when I was little, the desire to be something like her was instilled. I had teachers as young as third grade who had us write stories and share them in class. I found out quite early that I had some natural ability. In eighth grade while sitting in a science class and feeling rather bored I began to write a story. It was a story about an abused boy. It was a touching and yes, sappy story but my mother thought it was wonderful and entered it in a contest with the League of Utah Writers and it won an award in the youth category. I was hooked. From then on, I wanted to be a writer.

Now about this same time in my life, I also had an interest in art. I had very artistic brothers and while I was less artistic I was still interested. I took art classes in school. In ninth grade the teacher Mr. Neilson had a unit on clay. I loved making things out of clay. One of the projects I made was a giant tennis shoe. I gave it to one of my friends and she still has it, some 40 years later. Then Mr. Nielsen brought the potter’s wheel out of a closet for a couple of days and we each got a short turn on it. My first pot was thick and small. Pottery is something that no one really has any natural ability. It is a skill that has to be learned, practiced and perfected. From the time Mr. Nielsen brought the wheel out of the closet I was hooked, but it would be a couple more years before I would have the opportunity to learn the skill in high school. I think about the rest of the kids in my class. Why was I hooked and they were not? What has to happen to our brain that turns something from an interest into a skill?

I had another friend Susan who was also in lots of my art and English classes. In high school she learned how to do the wheel right along side me. After school she got on the bus and rode to her house up Provo canyon. Often rather than going home, I would stay after school and throw. (that’s what it’s called—throwing) I would stack the balls of clay up on my wheel and try to center them. And when I’d fail which I inevitably would, I would try again, pot after pot and by the end a pile of slop and sometimes a pot worth keeping, firing and glazing. Eventually my teacher, then Mr. Bird would have to go home. I along with another student or two would beg him to let us stay. Sometimes we stayed until midnight, promising the janitor that we would lock up.  Eventually we got into some trouble for that and we had to get permission from the principal to stay late, but they capped the time at 10 PM. My dad had a hard time believing that’s what I was really up to, but after months of this hours and hours after school, long into the night, I started bringing home my wares—then he would proudly show off my work, even my rejects that I’d thrown in the garbage, he’d dig out and show his co-workers and try to sell the “junk” for 50 cents or so.  He’d give me the money he’d earned.
What I’m trying to get at is that I didn’t have any natural ability in pottery making. I was creative, had a lot of desire and worked hard to learn the skill. So many other things I do and have done spur ideas that transfer somehow to my artwork or to my writing. My science class –contributed to my first good story—because I was too bored to listen. Eventually I majored in art—not because I had any real talent in drawing, I still am just “pretty good” at drawing, but Ceramics/pottery was part of the art department and pottery was something I was passionate about.

Now back to some of my other friends, Susan. In high school Susan was a fairly skilled potter, but the spark that hooked me didn’t hook her. So what did? When Susan went home from school she often went to the sewing machine. She became skilled and developed a real talent in sewing. Both Susan and I took home ec in junior high. Both Susan and I had to sew first a hot pad and then a skirt. That was about all I ever made. Sewing was ok for me, but I didn’t love it. I never went home from school and sewed.  So because I excelled eventually in pottery and Susan excelled in sewing. Was the home ec class as waste of time for me? Were the art classes a waste of time for Susan since she never made anything beyond her classes? I don’t think so. I think being exposed to lots of different learning activities in and out of school helps develop who we are, helps us to find our passion, and helps us to find ways to contribute to society.   I can sew and have sewn a couple of Halloween costumes for my children, believe me I’m very proud of them because they were so difficult for me to do. It would have been easier to call Susan and have her do it. I can mend a seam and sew a quilt block though I usually have to have someone thread the machine for me.

Something else though that I gained from my friend Susan was my interest in hiking. On Saturdays or sometimes after school we would walk up the mountain from her house and hike to a waterfall. She taught me to love the mountains. Isn’t it great what we can learn from each other? My love for the mountains has always brought me so much enjoyment. It has brought my family enjoyment and is one of the things I have passed on to my children. My five-year-old grandson just hiked a full six miles with me without any help. My love for the mountains is reflected in my pottery and again in my writing. One benefits the other. Time is not wasted doing something we enjoy or that we can share with family or friends.

Another friend I had was Shellee.  From 2nd grade on Shellee was one of my best friends. Shellee had a natural ability at all things athletic. If it involved a ball, a bat, jumping, dancing, or running, chances are Shellee was very good at it. In 4th grade whenever Shellee got up to bat everyone in the outfield backed up. When I got up to bat the outfield didn’t even need to worry, but the infield needed to move up. I had no skills, but I loved to play. Sometimes after school, our neighborhood had baseball games. The whole gang played--boys and girls. Shellee taught me how to hold a bat, how to watch the ball, how to catch, and how to hit. I never became like Shellee, but I learned to play well enough that I didn’t strike out every time. I had fun. I didn’t go on to play baseball, but still it was not a waste of time—I was developing my personality and gaining friends, and learning sportsmanship. Shellee on the other hand didn’t go on to play baseball either. There weren’t a lot of opportunities for females in sports in the 60’s and 70’s, but years later when I met Shellee in a park for lunch with our young children, she brought her three-year-old son and I had mine. Her three year old could already swing a bat, hit a ball, and catch. Although she managed to pass on her athletic skills to all of her children, at least one son went on to play professional baseball. Her talent, her desire, her passion for sports increased her enjoyment and ability as a mother. Shellee too was in the same art classes that I was, but did not take it any further and yet she is the friend who still has that shoe pottery piece I made in the ninth grade.  Again isn't it nice what we gain from each other and how we can bless each other through our talents and interests?

Another friend was Rosanna. Rosanna was one of the neighborhood gang. She played baseball. She took art classes too. But instead of signing up for extra art classes she signed up for Drama and Choir. What Rosanna ended up becoming passionate about was singing and acting. I’ve seen Rosanna in performances at BYU, Sundance theatre, Hale theatre, in commercials, and in church films and now during General Conference singing in the Tabernacle choir. Rosanna made some pottery with me when I got my wheel. As far as I know those were the only pots she ever made. Her passion was not clay but performance! And look how many lives she’s touched with her talent.

Now back to writing. I learned in 3rd grade that I loved writing. I learned by 8th grade that I had some natural ability. So what did I do? Whenever I could I signed up for Creative Writing courses. I took classes at BYU before transferring to USU. At USU I took poetry writing, short story writing, and so forth. Eventually—like twenty years after college graduation I attended the League of Utah Writers in Logan and met some friends with similar interests. We started a critique group. I attended conferences. I read books on writing. All the time I was writing some short stories, but didn’t begin writing my first novel until the year 2000. In fact, it was one of my century goals.

I didn’t really know I could write a novel, but I tried it anyway and it turned out good. It takes a lot of work and it takes a lot of desire. It takes a lot of practice and continuing to develop and learn. So even though I always wrote a little I didn’t get serious until I was forty years old. In fact it was a mid-life crisis that sent me back to college to get a second degree in English which reminded me that I was pretty good at writing. Our time to find our passion doesn’t have a time limit. There is no one setting a standard except ourselves. Olive Ann Burns was 60 yrs. Old in 1984 when she published her first novel “Cold Sassy Tree” which became a best seller. She died of cancer before completing her second. And yet her book continues and is being read by young and old alike today and has reached wide audiences and much acclaim.

Talents and Interests are worth developing. They are worth sharing. They make us who we are. Whether you make the best Lemon meringue pie, or garden, or know how to be a good friend, or write a book, making and sharing talents is important. We are told to let our light shine. But we aren’t told what our light is. We each have a unique light don’t we? Isn’t it nice that we don’t all love the same things? Isn’t it nice that we don’t all know how to make pottery? If we did who would appreciate my work? Isn’t it great that we all can’t sing a song or act in a play?  Natural ability helps sometimes too, but exposure can lead to desire which can lead to a  passion, then add the time and learning and practice to really cultivating a talent and reap the rewards. It takes all the ingredients. There are no shortcuts.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Stepping out of Grouse Creek into the World

When our daughter was all of five years of age we lived in Grouse Creek, a town of less than one hundred people set in the desert hills of Northwestern Box Elder county. When she was five she wandered off and her excuse was that she couldn't help it because her feet just kept going and going. Wandering off in Grouse Creek was dangerous with literally millions of acres of canyons, gullies, hills, cliffs and desert to get lost in. So when my husband found her well beyond where a five year old should be, we were greatly relieved. Now at 27 her feet have taken her the world over. I'm pretty sure she feels the same way too--that she can't help it. The need to see, feel, and explore has not dissipated. This small town girl has lived on her own in Denmark, Austria, Alaska, Argentina, Guatemala, San Francisco, Brooklyn and now Manhattan. She has traveled throughout Europe, South America, Central America, Cambodia and Thailand--and I'm sure I've missed some. Her ventures aren't with groups and usually aren't even with friends, though she makes friends easily and stays in touch with people from every corner of the world.

For a mother having a daughter like her is both a challenge and a reward. Worrying comes second nature to mothers and maybe even easier for me than some. People used to ask me if I worried about her and I would answer, yes, but I try not to think too much about it. Then for some reason many people feel the need to tell horror stories about whatever country or place she happened to be living in at the time. "Did you hear about the earthquake, murder, drowning, typhoon, drug cartels, hurricane, bombing, and so on and so on?" "Yes, but did you hear about the _____ (fill in the blank) that happened right here in happy valley, Utah?" Danger is around every corner whether it's in the tiny town of Grouse Creek or bustling cities of Buenos Aires or NYC. So you might as well live your life putting one step in front of the other exploring the world and seeing what is out there--letting your feet take you wherever they will. I was lucky enough to share my birthday with my daughter. We walked a lot, saw a lot, and I enjoyed it all. When I got on the plane she sent me a text message. It was simply a sad face. I got tears in my eyes and my heart ached. Saying goodbye never gets any easier from the time she embarked on her first camping trip in the mountains, or one of her many adventures.

NYC from a bridge

Sculpture at Storm King

Roy Lichtenstein sculpture. We liked the reflection better than the sculpture.

Loved this stone wall at Storm King


Buddha Torn apart

The Kiss with Daniel

The Kiss with Ginger

A Henry Moore. I loved this British artist when I first saw his work in England 34 years ago.

This one was fascinating from every angle.

Riding the Ferry. An inexpensive way to see sights.

Ginger

City at sunset

Bluff State Park

Bluff State park Tree

The beach all to ourselves in Connecticut


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Highlights of Summer

Meadow Creek
Do other people get a bit depressed at the end of summer? I remember as a child being super-excited for school to end and yet almost as excited to start again, find out who my teacher would be, who would be in my class, and to get back to a routine. Now that I'm an empty-nester and a grandmother, I hate to see summer end. This summer was different. Usually my husband and I go on hikes and bike rides almost every day, but this summer my husband had knee surgery so I only went on a few hikes, some before his surgery--though he was in pain--and a few without him. Now school is on, my husband is back in school teaching and I'm feeling less that summer-fulfilled. But this summer wasn't without blessings, joys, fun, and meaningful experiences. At the end of May we had our third grandchild born. He's sweet and beautiful. In July we had a quick trip out to Grouse Creek to celebrate the Fourth, watch a small town parade and visit some favorite spots like Meadow Creek--land owned by my husband's family for the generations.

Hike with brothers
At the end of July, we had a family party. My mother, and all four of my brothers came. We also had some of the next generation too. It meant a lot to me that two of my brothers came early to go on a hike. By this time my husband had already had surgery so he was out of commission and I was having nature withdrawals.

In August our oldest grandson turned five and we got to celebrate with him. He got a new bike, but was especially excited about the cake his mother made for him. 

A few days later we headed for our annual cabin trip in Montana. This one was extra-special. A nephew married his beautiful bride and mother of his child--truly a ideal match. They got married right in front of the cabin our grandpa built in 1961. I also got to be with our two children and two of the grand-kids. And the kids loved hiking. As long as we mentioned Dora the explorer the almost three-year-old could hike and hike.

  
My daughter agreed to a quick hike to another one of my favorite places on earth before flying back to NYC, White Pine trail in Logan canyon. 


The summer highlights out-weighed the difficulties. I had to do some pottery sales without the help of my husband, but found that friends will go to great efforts to help me when needed. I learned how to move sprinkler pipe--again thanks to some good friends and new friends who pitched in to help the novice. I learned how to change a flat tire--twice. The first one my BIL came to the rescue, the second I pretty much did by myself. I took care of animals, mowed lawns, and whacked weeds. I still hope to fit some hikes in this fall. Husband is back to teaching school, now on one crutch and doing well. I hope next summer he'll be fit and ready to go.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Tristi Pinkston's New Book

Welcome to the Hang ‘em High Hoedown, counting down the days until the release of Tristi Pinkston’s new novel Hang ‘em High, the third installment in The Secret Sisters Mysteries.



When Ida Mae Babbitt receives an invitation to visit her son Keith’s dude ranch in Montana, she’s excited to mend their broken relationship, but not so excited about spending time with cows.  Arlette and Tansy go along with her, ready to take a vacation that does not involve dead bodies or mysteries of any sort—one must have a break from time to time.  But it seems a no-good scoundrel has moseyed into Dodge City and is bent on causing all sorts of trouble for the ranch.  Unable to keep her curiosity in check—

especially when it seems her own son is the most likely culprit—Ida Mae decides to investigate.  Can she lasso the varmint and get him to the sheriff in time?



You are invited to the launch party:



When:  Saturday, August 13th, 12 – 4 pm

Where: Pioneer Book, 858 S. State, Orem

Prizes, games, Dutch oven cobbler (first come, first served)

Tristi will be joined by authors Nichole Giles, Heather Justesen,

Cindy Hogan, and J. Lloyd Morgan





To count down to this book launch, Tristi is holding a contest, and you can win a ton of great prizes!



On my blog, you can win:



One of my Sun Tunnels and Secrets books given away by my publisher.




To enter

1.       Be a follower of my blog.

2.      Go to Tristi’s blog at http://www.tristipinkston.blogspot.com and become a follower of her blog.

3.      Leave Tristi a comment and tell her you’ve been to my blog, and tell her one reason why you’d like to win my book.



All entries must be received by midnight, August 12th, MST.



Be sure to check Tristi’s blog every day for information about the next prize – you’re in for a rootin’-tootin’ good time as we count down the days!


Tristi Pinkston's Newest

Welcome to the Hang ‘em High Hoedown, counting down the days until the release of Tristi Pinkston’s new novel Hang ‘em High, the third installment in The Secret Sisters Mysteries.



When Ida Mae Babbitt receives an invitation to visit her son Keith’s dude ranch in Montana, she’s excited to mend their broken relationship, but not so excited about spending time with cows.  Arlette and Tansy go along with her, ready to take a vacation that does not involve dead bodies or mysteries of any sort—one must have a break from time to time.  But it seems a no-good scoundrel has moseyed into Dodge City and is bent on causing all sorts of trouble for the ranch.  Unable to keep her curiosity in check—

especially when it seems her own son is the most likely culprit—Ida Mae decides to investigate.  Can she lasso the varmint and get him to the sheriff in time?



You are invited to the launch party:



When:  Saturday, August 13th, 12 – 4 pm

Where: Pioneer Book, 858 S. State, Orem

Prizes, games, Dutch oven cobbler (first come, first served)

Tristi will be joined by authors Nichole Giles, Heather Justesen,

Cindy Hogan, and J. Lloyd Morgan





To count down to this book launch, Tristi is holding a contest, and you can win a ton of great prizes!



On my blog, you can win:



One of my Sun Tunnels and Secrets books given away by my publisher.




To enter

1.       Be a follower of my blog.

2.      Go to Tristi’s blog at http://www.tristipinkston.blogspot.com and become a follower of her blog.

3.      Leave Tristi a comment and tell her you’ve been to my blog, and tell her one reason why you’d like to win my book.



All entries must be received by midnight, August 12th, MST.



Be sure to check Tristi’s blog every day for information about the next prize – you’re in for a rootin’-tootin’ good time as we count down the days!


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

June in Paradise






I know you all get sick of me telling you about how lovely living in Paradise/Avon is, but with all the rain this year we had an especially beautiful batch of flowers growing behind our house. I thought I'd share a few shots.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Learning New Things

This is the summer of new things. Most summers are pretty blissful. My husband and I often get up in the mornings, share a nice breakfast, go on a hike or a bike ride, then come home have lunch, do some jobs, attend some activities, go to art festivals--you get the idea. This summer is being dominated by my husband's knee surgery. He's out of commission for the rest of the summer. This means I'm the one getting the newspaper in the morning, checking the chickens eggs, feeding the cats and chickens, watering, mowing, weeding, weed eating, carrying garbage to the bottom of the hill, doing the laundry, icing my husband's leg, keeping him fed and comfortable. I know lots of you probably do all these things--but he's always shared in the work.

Lots of farm kids learn to move sprinkler pipes when they are twelve years old. It's a great skill, builds muscles and teaches responsibility. But I didn't grow up on a farm or even remotely close. I grew up in the middle of Orem, Utah. I played in irrigation ditches and turned on the sprinklers on our lawn and ran through the rainbirds in the park across the street and got in trouble when we dammed the ditches and made our field into a lake large enough to canoe in. So moving pipe is something I didn't do. So at age 53 it's a new experience.  I have a good friend and neighbor who has come to the rescue, and another woman saw us working and helped, so I've learned a new skill. Tonight though my friends couldn't help so my husband helped on crutches. We've been spoiled. Now back to work.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Contest Winners!

This took me a while to post. I've been busy with Summerfest--a really fun art festival in Logan. Now that it's over I decided to finish this. The winner of Sun Tunnels and Secrets is Christopher who read and signed a review on Janet Jensen's blog. The winner of either False Pretenses or A Question of Trust is Delma Smith of Ogden. The winner of the Frog is Heather Moore.  I used the website Random.org to choose the winners fairly. I hope some of you will pick up Just Shy of Paradise or one of my other books. I've had a surprising number of people tell me Just Shy is their favorite. I'm surprised because it's quite different than the other. Thanks everyone who entered and I hope you'll check back now and again.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Contest to win Novels!!

 As the reviews are coming in for "Just Shy of Paradise" I'd like to reward my readers by giving away two of my novels and one of my frogs. Look at the photo above to see what they look like. I'll be giving away a copy of 2010's Sun Tunnels and Secrets, and a copy of either False Pretenses or A Question of Trust--winners choice. Here's the rules. I'll post links to the reviews here. After reading a review post a comment on their review for one entry, Either Facebook or Twitter about it for another, and Follow my blog for a third. Make sure you let me know what you are doing so that you can have a good chance at winning. The link to my blog is www.carolethayne.blogspot.com

Julie Coulter Bellon's review


Janet Jensen's review 

Jolynne Lyon's review 
Susan Dayley's review