April 29, 2013
Hello lovelies! How do you like the new look? I'll admit, inspiration came from elsewhere. I've been having issues editing the template on my blog so I searched it on Google and found the answer from another fellow blogger, Shelly. Definitely a follower now. She has so many amazing photos and I love the layout of her blog. Call me a copycat if you want. It's just a compliment to the person I copied.
Anyway, due to popular demand, I've decided to make a camera strap tutorial. Making a camera strap is probably one of the easiest tutorials that I have made, and yet, I somehow managed to make a few mistakes along the way. Count yourself lucky to have me around to make all your mistakes for you. You're welcome.

You will need:
1/3 yard of fabric
1/3 yard of additional fabric (for underside if desired)
Fusible fleece 1/8+ yard
3 yards of 2" Lace (opt.)

Camera strap top - 4x22"
Camera strap underside - 4x22"
Lens cap pocket - 4x4" (cut two)
Fusible fleece - 4x22"
Lace - 44" (cut two)

1. Iron out all of your fabric and cut your fabric out to the dimensions above. Keep in mind the direction of the print of your fabric. If the print is going horizontally, then you'll need to get 22" of fabric so you can get the right direction. Riley Blake Chevron fabric (for instance) is horizontal, so you'd want to get 22" instead of 1/3 yard. Also, if you want your camera strap to be longer than mine, you might need to get more fabric.

2. Following the directions afforded you with the fusible fleece, iron the fleece to the wrong side of the fabric that will be on the underside of the camera strap (where it will be against your neck).

3. Place your 44" lace "ribbons" right-sides together and pin along one side. Do a straight stitch where you've pinned to keep them together with a 1/2" seam allowance. Flatten out lace with your hands and use the longest stitch possible to sew straight down where you've just sewn. Place a pin in the center of the lace you've just sewn together and set aside.

4. Put your two pocket pieces right sides together and do a straight stitch with a 1/2" seam allowance across the top. Flip pocket so that right sides are facing out and iron. Do a finishing stitch across the top at 1/8" seam allowance.

5. Pin the pocket on top of the camera strap top at one end, lining up raw edges. Sew the pocket in place with a 1/4" seam allowance around sides and bottom.

*If you're not using lace, skip step 6.

6. From the top of the pocket to the other end of the camera strap top, find the center and pin the center of your lace there. Gather the lace until it is the proper length (from one end to the top of the pocket), pin in place, then sew in place with a regular straight stitch. Fold excess lace by the pocket under and stitch down.

7. Making sure the lace is out of the way, pin the camera strap top piece to the camera strap underside, right sides together. Using a straight stitch, sew along the long edges with a 3/8" seam allowance (you can do 1/2" seam allowance, but the pocket will be a little more snug), leaving the two shorter ends un-sewn. Zig-zag the raw edges of long sides. Turn strap right-side out and press.

8. Fold shorter ends under two times to avoid any fraying and sew in place (or zig-zag top and underside separately and fold under once). Make sure you fold the camera strap top and the camera strap underside separately or you'll close the entryway and exit of the camera strap!

Slide in your camera strap and voila! Your very own, very washable camera strap! Love it! Now go take some photos!


P.S. If any of you are having the same issue editing your blog that I was, leave a comment and I'll direct you to a tutorial to help you get it fixed!

P.S.S. I decided to link up with Emily over at The Freckled Fox for a Sew and Tell (cute play on words)! Go check her out and meet some new friends while you're at it!


Debbie's Birthday

April 28, 2013
This weekend, Drew, Chelsea, and I drove down to Provo to get together with family and celebrate my sister's birthday. It was so fun to be with family and for Chelsea to see and play with some of her cousins. It was so sweet to watch as 8-year-old Aspen entertained Chelsea with silly faces and noises, Hyrum take Chelsea by the hand to play with her, Elizabeth giving her hugs, etc. etc. I count myself extremely lucky to have such a great family.
At one point during our visiting and eating, my brother, Kent, suggested that we share some memories or things that we love about the birthday girl. I shared a couple of things, but as I've been pondering over the great memories I have with my sister, Debbie, I've thought of plenty more. If I were to make this too mushy-gooshy and Debbie were to read this (hi Deb!), she would be so embarrassed, so I'll keep it brief, but entertaining if I can!

1. Debbie always seemed to have candy stashed somewhere in her room and we younger siblings always knew about it. Sometimes Debbie would share the candy, but for a price. I remember acting like a dog on a couple of occasions and even kissing toes.
2. Every once in a while, Debbie would ride her bike to the nearby Junior High School to run on the track and she would take me with her. We would put a pillow on the bar between the bike seat and the handle bars and that's where I would sit while Debbie peddled. It wasn't very comfortable, but I didn't mind, because being with Debbie was awesome and she always made me feel good by telling me how fast I was!
3. Sometimes Debbie would take a "pit stop" at 7-11 and we would get Slurpees!
4. Debbie played softball in high school and as a fund raiser, the team would put on a softball camp. I had the unfortunate experience of getting hit in the face with a softball by a rogue ball. Debbie was by my side in an instant.
5. At the same softball camp, I got it into my head that Debbie liked Amber Petersen better than she liked me because Amber was a better softball player. I told Debbie about it and she said, "Sue, you're my sister! I'll always love you most!" And just to be clear, Amber Petersen is one of the most amazing people I know and I have never had a bad thought towards her. Never.
6. For a while, my bedroom was the room right next to the family room. One night, Debbie had some friends over and they were watching "Poltergeist." A completely ridiculous film in hindsight, but at 10 years old, a little scary. Debbie found out I had snuck in and watched the movie with them and that I was scared. She left all of her friends to come and comfort me. I remember tears being shed and feelings about a recently lost brother being shared along with many loving hugs.
7. Mom and Dad were out of town for the day and Debbie was at a softball practice when Emily, Kent, and I came up with the most brilliant idea of all time. We connected not one, not two, but THREE hoses to the swing-set and the trampoline and were jumping from one onto the other (swing-set to trampoline, that is). When it was my turn, I slipped on the wet swing set and managed not to fall off, but somehow gauge myself on a long screw sticking out (a mystery which to this day has not yet been solved). Not having anyone at home who knew how to drive, Emily called our grandmother, aunt, and neighbor who took us to the hospital and left a note for Debbie that read something like this:

Susan got hurt.
We've gone to the hospital.
Everything is fine.
Come when you can.

Debbie, upon receiving the note drove quickly to the hospital and sat by my side while the doctors stitched me up.

8. Debbie always volunteerd to be the camera-woman for our videos. Probably because she didn't really want to be in the videos.
9. Debbie played softball at BYU-Provo and I always loved supporting her at her games.
10. Debbie taught me how to throw a softball the right way... When I was 20 years old. She says, "It's never too late to learn how to throw right!"
11. Taught me how to "Pound it!" and "Blow it up! Blow it up, I say!"

Happy birthday, Deb! You are awesome! Love you lots!

This is how WE light candles!


April 26, 2013
Perspective is a funny thing. Today in a small town in Arkansas, a 17-year-old Senior in High School is dressed up like an old person because it's Senior buddy day at her high school. Impatiently anticipating graduation from high school and moving on to college. The month she waits is probably the longest of her life. Grinning from ear to ear, a woman in Texas feels as if she could tear into pieces and cry in jubilation at the same time just thinking about her wedding day. Waiting to marry the man she loves even for just a month seems an eternity. In Rexburg, Idaho, a soon-to-be mother is just about one month shy of her first baby's due date. After enduring 8 months of giving her body fully to someone she hasn't even met, this last month, although not quite as uncomfortable as some of the previous, is the most torturing! And I am thinking about the past year, wondering how time could have gone so fast and how I ever thought time went by slowly.
Perspective is a funny thing. I remember being in all of those situations once (although, not in all of those places). I remember the end of the school year taking ages to come, my wedding day, although only a month's distance away, seemed more like a year, and my baby's arrival teasing me with passing due dates and false alarms. I was so ready to get out of high school, so ready to be married, so ready to be a mother... And now I find myself... surprised.
Perspective is a funny thing. A year ago today, I was sitting in Andrew's Grandparent's basement with my mom, wondering when, if ever, my baby was going to come. Hoping I wouldn't somehow mis-interpret contractions for cramps (HA!), Andrew wondering and hoping the same thing, and my mother probably thinking I was so silly, but not saying so because that's not the kind of woman she is. A year ago today, I was big and round. A biggness and roundness that would sometimes bulge on the lower right side in a consecutive manner because someone got the hiccups. A year ago today, life was very, very different.
And now I look at where I am today. An entire year later from then. What seemed to take an entire lifetime in high school, college, and pregnancy passed by like a breeze. Pleasant, but quickly gone... and never forgotten. The thing about a breeze is that you never really forget what they feel like. The goosebumps on your arms seem to return when you remember it. Not because it was cold, but because the memory of it comes back so vividly, it's almost like you're feeling it again. The best part is when you're in the business of mothering, or just living life to the fullest, each and every day a new adventure, those breezes are pretty common. And they're always memorable.
Perspective is a funny thing. I guess there comes a point in everyone's lives where they stop thinking about what they're waiting for and allow themselves to be swallowed up in the moment. Both perspectives are valuable... but that depends on your perspective.

Perspective is a funny thing...


Sun and rain

April 24, 2013
Spring is a lovely time of year. In fact, it's my favorite. It's the time of year when flowers bloom, color is everywhere, excitement is rampant, and smiles are more frequent. This year is no exception in beauty.
However, this spring is tinged with additional feelings. Feelings that somehow both brighten and dampen the season, just like the weeks of both abundant sunshine and rain. This year, my springtime is brightened by the smiles, laughter, and gibberish of the child I now hold in my arms. I live for these signs of happiness and pure contentment from my little joy. When I wipe her tears from her most recent mishap, I can't help but feel joy at the fact that I get to be the one to wipe them away, even as the tears continue sliding down her perfect face.
Then comes the rain. The little sprinkle that, at first, you question. Is it really going to rain, or was that sprinkle just my imagination? Until it comes pouring down, and there's no more question. My little girl is growing up. She will be turning one year old in just a week. What seemed would never happen is now very obvious. Her baby features disappear and are replaced by toddler ones. Little teeth and more hair are the sure signs of a downpour.
But the thing about rain in the springtime, is that it is oftentimes a welcome sight. Rain is what brings the flowers and quenches the thirst. It is what gives life and feeds the earth. Just as the rain falls and immerses the world in its shimmering waters, I too will allow myself to be immersed by this new stage of life. Allow myself to feel the rain on my cheeks, like wet, open-mouthed kisses. Allow it to slide down my fingers like tears from weeping eyes. Allow it to cling to my skin and clothes with its wet hands. Allow it to change, like the ripples in the puddle. Allow it to change me, and watch how it changes the lives of others.
My daughter is the rain and the sun, and I will live both. I will forever welcome the rain and remember the warmth of the sun. I will not forget how springtime has changed me.

 I am very serious about my pine cone collection.


Dad's wisdom

April 22, 2013
Before the creation of my blog, there was another. One that was so inspiring, so informational, and just so pleasing that it inspired me to create my own. That blog, was my family blog.
Well, I guess it really wasn't all that. It was more of just a place where my family updated everyone on their lives. There are twelve of us, you know. Well about a year ago (or so), the family blog kind of died, or went dormant. People just stopped posting on the family blog. Most of us got our own family blogs and got really busy.
At a family reunion during Thanksgiving, we brought up said blog and came up with a plan to save it. The plan failed. Then Mom and Dad just took over. The blog was saved! It's been really fun to keep up with my siblings and parents again, especially since Mom and Dad hardly ever posted in the past. Now I feel like they're really motivated and they post every week, with one or two siblings during the week.
Yesterday was a particularly good post from my dad that I wanted to share. Basically, it's a to-do list for marriage. Having been married for 40+ years, I feel like my parents know a couple of things about being married. Whether you're religious or not, a lot of these suggestions are good to practice. Here's what my dad said:

1. Choose not to fight. A fight requires two combatants. If you choose not to fight there will be no fight.
2. Meet each other's needs. Sometimes you will have to put your own needs on hold until later.
3. The wife's duty to her husband is to build up his confidence. She does this by showing faith in his ability to provide and in never belittling him or complaining about what she does not have in the way of worldly things.
4. The husband's responsibility to his wife is to care for, provide for, nurture and protect her, and to encourage her in well doing. He must never belittle her nor make light of that which is important to her.
5. Life is a test. The question the Lord asks is how much faith and trust you put in him. Your actions and the desires of your hearts will provide the answer.
6. You are no longer two people but one. Decisions must be decided together. If you are not in agreement, this only means you need to keep talking.
7. Refuse to invest your ego in any disagreement. Be willing to compromise.
8. Remember that the husband is to preside "in righteousness." Power struggles are not righteous.
9. Continue to communicate to resolve differences.
10. Admit to your imperfections and work to improve.
11. It is proper to confess your own sins. It is improper to confess each other's sins. Choose not to do it—ever.
12. Mutually agree to never do anything within the walls of your home that would drive the spirit out. Better to take bitterness outside than to allow it to infect the spirit of your home.
13. Pray together morning and night.
14. Read the scriptures daily.
15. Do whatever the prophets say to do.
16. Tell each other you love each other by often saying out loud in the other's presence, "I love you."

I can personally vouch for this list. One positive of being the youngest of so many kids is that by the time I came along, Mom and Dad had pretty much everything worked out. I got to see a lot of quiet acts of service between my parents and heard them tell each other "I love you," pretty often. Yup! I'm one lucky kid! I hope I can be just as good as an example for my children.
Good luck friends! Thanks for stopping by and I'll see you on Wednesday!



Feminine in yellow and blue: Friday Finds (for reals)

April 19, 2013
Today's Friday Find is a real find. Last week on Friday, I decided to take a trip to a local thrift store, looking for some over-sized shirts that I could re-make. While, I didn't find any I particularly liked, I found something even better. The exact type of shirt I was looking for, but it didn't need any refashioning. Well, maybe exact isn't the right word since I was looking for a lighter material, but still, it was perfect and I love it! What do you think?
Now, how about a little update on my family?
Chelsea has been walking since she was 9 months old and she is BU-SY! She definitely keeps me on my toes all day. She's also broadened her baby vocabulary. Yesterday she figured out how to make "g" sound and it has been so fun to hear her talking to herself using her new sounds. Her favorite "word" to say is "diggle diggle." She may not be able to speak with us yet, but she definitely understands what we're saying and has no problem communicating. She understands the words, "Daddy," "ball," "blanket," and "more" best and I think she's said her first word, if you can count it. I haven't really been counting much as her first words because I'm just not sure, but I think her first word was probably "Da Da." Normally I wouldn't count this because every baby says "da da," but she says it when Daddy gets home or when we're talking about Daddy. Not really bummed she didn't say Mama first, but I think she's getting pretty close. She still growls. All. The. Time. I blame Daddy. Hopefully she grows out of that before she's two.
Speaking of age, Chelsea's first birthday is coming up! Now I'm not really one to throw a huge birthday bash for her first birthday, and neither is Drew. One thing Drew does insist on is that Chelsea be given a chocolate cake to mash. I've seen a lot of children just stare at chocolate cakes so I hope Drew isn't disappointed by her lack of interest, if that's the case. We'll be sure to get a lot of pictures so you can see how it goes. In the meantime, anyone got any really good chocolate cupcake recipes?
And speaking of pictures...
Ta-da! Thought that the camera was just a prop, didn't you? Andrew surprised me with a camera today! Well, sort of. I've been saving every $5.00 bill that comes my way for the past few months for this camera, plus I committed to use my birthday money and money from my Etsy shop. So at this point, I've got at least half of the camera paid off. I'm a little nervous because I want to be a good photographer, but I know there's a lot to learn. Hopefully I'll be a quick learner because I have a lot of pictures to take, especially for my Etsy shop! I might have to use the talents of my friend, Mariasha for a bit longer.
The Etsy shop is starting to take off! Hallelujah! Still not getting orders as often as I want, or as many as I want, but it's a start. I'm thinking of adding a couple more items that I think will sell pretty well. I would like to tell you about them, but how about I show you one of the items instead?
Don't you love it?! I am so happy with how this dress turned out, plus I learned a lot from making it without actually making a million mistakes. Do you think buyers will like it, too?

As for Drew and me? Drew is still working really hard to earn money for our little family. We would like to buy a house in the next little while so I'll keep you posted on the progress of that! I'm looking for another project. Kind of. I've got some leftover Rainbow Chevron fabric that I would like to use for something, but I'm not positive what I want to use it for. Do you have any good ideas? Send them my way!

So everything's good at our house. This weekend we hope to try another hiking trip! I really hope it's not windy this time! It would be nice to hike when Chelsea is not screaming. At least we know now that when she's screaming, all she probably wants is a rock.



Coconut Cupcakes

April 17, 2013
I've admitted to you (my readers) before that I am not the most talented cupcake maker ever, especially when it comes to being made from scratch. It seems like all of the recipes I've tried from scratch come out tasting pretty good, but dense.

That is not the case with these cupcakes. My friend Corey shared this recipe with me from one of her friends who is a talented baker and pieced together ingredients until she came up with almost a perfect replica of a type of cupcake from one of her favorite restaurants (Plates and Palates. Mmmmm...)

This is probably the best cupcake I have ever tasted. You must try it!

We used just plain-ol whipping cream for our frosting because we are just a little cupcake-decorating challenged... At least, I am.

Coconut Cupcakes
Don't substitute cream of coconut for the coconut milk. Cream of coconut has added sugar and thickeners, while coconut milk is made by simmering coconut meat with water, then straining it.
Makes 1 dozen
Total time: about 11/2 hours

13/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. table salt
3 egg whites
3/4 cup coconut milk or whole milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. coconut extract
½ cup sour cream
3/4 cup sugar
½ cup coconut oil, solid
¼ cup butter (solid coconut oil)
Powdered sugar
Coconut milk or regular milk
3 tsp. coconut extract (or to taste)

Toasted shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350°. Line a muffin pan with paper liners.
For the cupcakes, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.
Combine egg whites, coconut milk, and extracts and sour cream in a measuring cup.
Cream sugar and oil with a mixer on medium speed until mixed, about 4 minutes. Alternately add flour mixture and egg white mixture (starting and ending with flour) until incorporated.
Scoop batter into prepared pan, filling each well about three-quarters full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 15-20 minutes. Cool cupcakes in the pan 2-3 minutes; remove and cool completely.
For the frosting, mix butter (or solid coconut oil) and approx 1 cup sugar together; add milk and more sugar if needed until desired texture is reached; finish with extract to taste; top with toasted coconut.

It is sooooo delicious, even if you're not a fan of coconut, I'm pretty sure you'll love this! Have a great day and I'll see you on Friday!


Feat. Josie from Just Delightful

April 15, 2013
I am so excited to have Ms. Josie on the blog today! She is the most feminine, graceful, and delicate woman I have ever known, and I mean that with every bit of truth possible. I wish you could all meet her and get to know her beautiful personality the way that I have. So without further ado, welcome Josie!

Hello! My name is Josie and I'm visiting from Just Delightful. 
I am so excited to be visiting Susan's cute, cute blog today. I took a lovely photo of her scarf she made me with a cutest of cute bow. I had the chance to go visit her lovely home, her baby and kind husband just a few weeks ago.
Susan and I first met at BYU Idaho. We took a singing class together. I grew to adore Susan and each time she sang, I felt as if I couldn't breathe. Such a pretty voice and such a kind woman.  It was the most interesting and perhaps the most inspiring class I ever had. Our teacher's name was Sister Bossard-but we lovingly called her Boss. For our final in the class, we performed our own rendition of a Spice Girls song, wore costumes and passed with flying colours. 
I've been looking through my computer at past assignments. At the end of the semester, we had to write a list of what we learned. Here's just a few:
-Don’t sing to your mom like you love her. Sing like you LOVE her!
-Don’t copy me, discover you.
-Increase pressure, not necessarily sound! 
-Everything you do, talk, sing, needs drama!
-Words don’t have meaning, people do.
-Anyone can sing!
-Be yourself.
-Multitasking is not something we do when we’re living in the moment.
-Singing needs support and posture. Really mean and feel what you’re singing.
-Tears are liquid truth.

So, carry on.
 Sing with all your heart, 
remember who you really are,
 maybe stop by Just Delightful
 and perhaps even listen to Spice Girls 
on your way to work.

Much love.

Thanks, Josie, and may I say, the scarf looks smashing on you! Reading your post did remind me of all the good times. Show Ms. Josie some love by stopping by her blog, Just Delightful before you go today! And listen to Spice Girls? Don't mind if I do!


Chelsea's first hiking trip

April 10, 2013
Days like yesterday don't come around all the time. The wind was howling, but the sun was shining. The day was busy, but productivity was booming. I had more hairspray in my hair than usual I ever use, but it looked fantastic! I even got part of a project done; a car seat cover that I will not reveal until it is completely finished!
Drew wasn't working yesterday so I took advantage of his presence by leaving him home while Mariasha (my upstairs neighbor) and I took a trip to take some pictures of the newest item in my Etsy shop... The Baby Bath Time Towel Apron!

Some of you might remember my tutorial for this a couple months ago. I still maintain that it is one of the best, and most utilized item I have made (other than the Changing Mat and Car Seat Protector that are also available in my Etsy shop), but I've had a few people mention that they would love to purchase this item. I'm happy to oblige! Click on the Etsy tab at the top of this page for more information.

Now, with springtime coming and the sun shining, Drew and I have decided that we want to be really active this summer. So, last weekend we bought Chelsea a hiking backpack and used it for the first time yesterday! We dressed ourselves and Chelsea as warmly as we could and picked a short and easy hike for Chelsea's first. When we got out of the car at the trail head, our spirits were high, and so was the wind speed. We simply shrugged it off and got Chelsea set up in the backpack.

Things started out really well. Chelsea was loving all the scenery and trying to growl like a wolf or bear. The wind wasn't even so bad because the trees acted as our protectors.

But things started going downhill (and by downhill, I actually mean uphill) once we left the protection of our tall plant friends . The wind seemed to pick up and we noticed Chelsea's hands turning pretty red. So we pulled her sleeves over her hands and she didn't like that too much. Finally, we reached a lookout spot with a view of the Davis County Valley and it was beautiful! We even got Chelsea out to enjoy it for a while. She seemed pretty happy to take some pictures and to be on her own two feet.
 See? Windy.
Chelsea particularly enjoyed picking up rocks and examining them, which wouldn't have been such a big deal, but some of those rocks were actually dried-up deer poop and I happen to know that Chelsea has a habit of putting "rocks" in her mouth.
When it was time to get Chelsea back in her pack, I brushed the rocks and the "other rocks" out of her hands and strapped her in. She. Was. Not. Happy. We tried to get down the trail as quickly as possible, but she was so upset, and continued crying until we were halfway down the trail. It was then we decided to get her out and just carry her the rest of the way down. Before starting again, Andrew let her walk for a minute and gave her a little rock. It was then that a miracle happened... As soon as that little, red rock was in Chelsea's little, red hand, all crying ceased. We started on our way again, and Drew tucked her little hand with the rock in my jacket. Chelsea couldn't even look at or see the rock in her hand, but she was suddenly so happy! We made it down the rest of the way and into the car, not even a whimper from dear little Chelsea until I removed the rock and substituted it with some Cheerios. If only we had known that all Chelsea wanted was a rock.

Thanks for visiting! Be sure to stop by my Etsy shop before you go and I'll see you on Friday!

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