Friday, June 29, 2012


Hello friends!

For a number of reasons I have finally decided to switch to WordPress. I’m still in the process of transferring, so please forgive me if there are a few glitches along the way. The good news is, my blog is public again! With WordPress I can make only specific posts private, so ask me for the password if you run across one (the password will always be Lydia -- easy!). There are just certain things that probably shouldn't be shared with the whole world for now.

So if you're following me, please make sure to change your reader to the new blog:

Welcome, and thanks for reading!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Ruffle top revisited

A friend of mine is doing a craft challenge and she asked me to feature a project, so I'm revisiting this guy:

Yes, you can make this!

The challenge is to make it look simple, it's a competition to inspire people who feel they aren't "crafty" to do something. And this one is crazy easy, so what a good place to start! It's also a great way to learn a little more about your sewing machine.

The Married Life

For this ruffle top, you'll need:
- one tank top/halter top (this will be your base shirt)
- another old shirt with similar fabric that is the same color

Now for the execution: it's as easy as one-two-three!

1) Cut up the old shirt into strips, about three inches wide.

2) Now we ruffle them. Don't be afraid of changing the settings on your machine, it's really simple: It's also the coolest part, because you essentially don't have to do anything except adjust your machine. So to gather the fabric, simply set your machine to a longer stitch and maximum tension. 

Make the stitches longer but not the longest setting--they'll be way too tight. The top number is the stitch length on my machine (It's probably indicated by something like this design - -- --- ---- ----. Otherwise, look it up in your machine's manual)

Tension is the little wheel at the top. Set it to the max: now the machine does all the gathering for you!

You might want to play around with scraps before doing the real thing so you can get a hang of it.

Sew the strips about a 1/4 inch from the edge.

Don't cut the thread too short-- leave a nice long tail so you can adjust the ruffles by pulling on the thread if they're too tight or too long. 

If your strips are about 1 1/2 times as long as your shirt is wide, you're good. Now look at all those lovely ruffles!

(Don't forget to put your machine's tension and stitch length back to normal after making all your ruffles!)

3) Now tack them on with pins and start sewing them on (go ahead and sew over the same line) from the bottom up. You want them to overlap by about half an inch to an inch.

The top ruffle may need to be smaller depending on the neckline, etc. so adjust as necessary.

All done! I like it with a cardigan for some structure, but a blazer is nice and slimming too.

Now go have some ice cream, you just made yourself a new shirt! And go check out Iris' blog for more projects in the future, and enter the challenge if you feel so inclined.

The Married Life

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A little tour

I know you're all thinking "Sure, Lydia, you'll get a job any day now... which is why you've been there for nearly two months." No really I promise, it's just around the corner, I just need to be patient :)

So in the meantime, I'll give you a little photographic tour of our current home. Well first, Andrew's first day of work!

And now: the Miller House. We live with 5 other people -- it's all kinds of fun. The house is actually pretty modern inside, other than the complete lack of air conditioning... yeah, it's miserable on hot days.

I'm convinced this dumpster actually has my name on it, underneath that sticker.

And on into the backyard:

Dock #1 and dock #2. The one on the right is pretty nifty for getting the raft into the water. The one on the left... was a failure.

And our makeshift fire pit! Andrew's eagle scout skills have come in quite handy since living here.

Meet the roommates (well, mot of them)

Well that's it for now ladies and gentlemen, have a lovely evening!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

We really like rafting

Or just floating.

Of course, we never plan to flip our boat in the biggest rapid on the river...

 At least the water cooled us off on a hot day!

Sunday devotional - scripture study

I started a new "thing" (as I have a tendency of doing).

I actually learned this from a favorite blogger: having a scripture journal. Ok, I'd heard of it before, but one post in particular really got me thinking about it. And then I read this recap of  a presentation about scripture study called "the battle in our brains" which essentially said that we need to create the same positive associations in our minds with the scriptures and gospel study as we have with say Facebook or anything else we do regularly -- there's nothing inherently wrong with checking email frequently, but we need to create that sort of dependency on the scriptures too.

So I thought to myself: I need to be a little more serious about this. And I started a scripture journal, and so far (day one) it's been pretty cool.

I only studied one chapter but I wrote out some thought processes, as questions came up. It was nice, and I felt very involved. I like this method.

And by the way, the sister who gave that presentation will be giving it again this Friday at the Mormon Women Project Salon, so if you're near Salt Lake you're one lucky lady! I so wish I could go :(

Otherwise, church was good today, and Andrew and I are making nice progress on a musical number for two weeks from now: I'm excited! It's such a beautiful piece. We'll record it when it's ready so our family (and friends who may be interested) can hear it too :)

Oh, and I unearthed this little gem: Guidelines for writng LDS hymns. I guess there was a big push for members to submit new hymns in the 70s, but frankly everything he says could apply to us. It's basically an exhortation to create new content -- what a cool way of being part of the process! I'm thinking Andrew and I should try our hand at it. We'll see what comes of that! And speaking of hymns, I may have sniffed out a really cool story on the origin of the "Souviens-toi" French hymn, and I'm in the process of verifying it with the woman who I believe wrote it. I'll keep you updated :)

Have a lovely Sunday evening!

Friday, June 22, 2012

On the luxury of having too much to chose from

Sigh. More female dilemmas. Nothing new, but a few recent articles have stirred up the debate and continue to make me think.

1% Wives Are Helping Kill Feminism and Make the War on Women Possible, according to this author.

Ouch! I see some pertinent points here, but I'm not sure I agree with her premise that feminism means raw wage equality. I've always seen feminism as giving political and social equality to women but especially valuing femaleness as much as maleness, which to me entails that a woman doesn't have to do exactly the same thing as a man in order to have the same "value" in society. And while she starts off talking specifically about "one percenters", her arguments are really stretched out to include any woman who has a choice. I find her basic assumption scary because it means that, basically, she would love to see all women forced to work full time and earn their own keep.

I agree with this:

"Who can possibly take feminism seriously when it allows everything, as long as women choose it?" 

There has to be some sort of standard: Becoming a porn star is a bad feminist choice. Being a mother who forces her daughter to marry at 14 is a bad feminist choice. I'd say dropping out of high school is a bad feminist choice. And she's right that mothering is not the same thing as salaried work, BUT that doesn't mean it doesn't have value: I believe being a stay-at-home-mom has immense value and it should be viewed by all as a valid--and valuable--life choice.

She has a point about women being financially dependent on men -- it's a dangerous position to be in, and that's why education is still very important, at least having the POSSIBILITY of being able to support yourself should (heaven forbid) anything happen (which has incidentally been taught by prophets). But otherwise, her tone is pretty crappy and I'm sure she's going for controversy here... not everything of value in life is measured in $$ signs. She's like the people who want to prevent Laura Bush from receiving the Alice Award, which honors a woman who has advanced the cause of women: I refuse to let a few individuals define feminism in such a narrow way.

Then there's this article, which is spot-on. It also depresses me, because it is so true. I get incredibly frustrated sometimes that the media industry wants to force me to decide between family and a career -- it's still very much all-or-nothing in journalism, and frankly I'm sick of it. There are no true role-models in the media for me, no woman that's figured it all out. I don't want to give up my prime child-bearing years only to be chewed up and spit out as soon as I get a wrinkle or two.

There's another dilemma in all this, as a Latter-day Saint woman: we absolutely have benefited from women entering the workplace in many, many ways. Family-friendly corporate policies for example (for women AND men), or domestic policy that benefits children and mothers. It is important for women to hear their own viewpoints and opinions expressed in the marketplace of ideas. I think female reporters (and not just single career women, either) are necessary, crucial even, because they will have an eye for certain issues that may not be brought up otherwise. And we can bring qualities like empathy and (as mothers) a common understanding of education/health/family issues.

But that brings up the question: how many LDS women should chose a non-traditional path? It's a hard question to answer, especially when I'm pretty sure EVERYBODY I know is sort of wondering why we don't have kids yet. And yet Jimmer didn't serve a mission. Steve Young played football on Sundays. Valerie Hudson isn't a full-time stay-at-home mom. Mitt Romney spends a lot of time traveling away from his family. And nobody gives them any trouble about it, because these people make valuable contributions and also give a positive image of the Church to the world. (Well, Romney arguably not, since liberals don't like him) The irony is, we sort of need more Mormon women in the workplace and the public eye in order to push back, to change the workplace to fit better into Mormon women's lives, if that's what they want. But doing that takes sacrifices.

So how do you know you're supposed to be a norm-breaker? At what point do you know your contribution will be worth the concessions you might have to make? Who will be the next one to place themselves and their family on the Sacrificial Altar of Progress?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Another graduation

Just a quick update after this weekend: my sister made it across the stage and accepted her high school degree with dignity, and she sang the national anthem beautifully in front of thousands of people!

And of course I had plenty of fun with Andrew's parents. We cooked, we shopped, we sewed, we watched movies... good stuff. And I slept so well with air conditioning that I'm a little bit sad to be back. But not sad to see Andrew again!

Saturday, June 9, 2012


I wish I had more pictures, but as you can imagine I'm not 100% comfortable bringing a camera on a raft that was bound to get very wet as we went through the rapids. But it was awesome. We got the raft in the mail yesterday during the day, and of course Andrew had to come home for lunch to check it out and inflate it :)

I had to find something to wear that was water-appropriate, and we found the perfect fit at our local Walmart. (Actually, we have two in Casper, that's how fancy we are)

Yes, they're Hello Kitty... from the children's section (it's a miracle I could even fit in them, although they are pretty stretchy). Hey, they were just perfect for my needs! And no worries, we have life vests too.

When Andrew got home from work at 5 we set out for an hour-long ride down the North Platte. It was still very hot outside, and the scenery was beautiful. We felt like real adventurers! The rapids part was pretty fun (it also filled the boat -- and my face -- with water... I need to improve my rowing skills). The dismount was less than graceful. Let's just say we kind of overshot the landing zone and had to get out in lots of weeds and up a hill. But we have learned from our mistakes :) We're just regular Huck Finns

And then today we tried to construct a mini-dock out of some leftover wood and a pallet that were sitting around, but we kind of failed. I won't even post pictures it's so ghetto. When our contractor roommate returns from his weekend he's going to have a heart attack!

But the raft? Safe and sound. Anybody wanna come play on our river?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Life continued

Still no jobs news, but...

We've been to an arena football game

And played some music.

We're waiting for a raft to arrive so we can go float the river that goes through our backyard. We've made s'mores and hiked up to see a waterfall. It's not a half bad summer, all in all :)