Sunday, May 5, 2013


Well, it's official -- I've completed my training and am now a full-blown member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. I never thought this day would come (actually, it came a couple weeks ago); it all feels so unreal to me.

This morning in our broadcast of "Music and the Spoken Word" we sang "the Battle Hymn of the Republic". That is, to me, a quintessential Mormon Tabernacle Choir piece. And I got to sing it with them. Me. Are we sure this is really happening? Someone pinch me, please.

Every Sunday when I stand in the choir loft I am overwhelmed with the magnitude of this opportunity. I have always wanted to be in the Choir, but for the past several years in particular I have doubted whether I could accomplish such a lofty goal. I feel so grateful to my friends and family who encouraged me to try, despite my fears, because they could see how badly I wanted this experience. I am especially lucky to have such a wonderful, supportive husband, who is so proud of me and acts like I'm the most talented singer in the world. Which, I am not. That becomes apparent to me more each week as I stand surrounded by superb musicians.

I hope I never lose perspective of how amazing this is. It's embarrassing to get emotional every time I sing, "God Be With You 'Til We Meet Again", but I hope I never become desensitized to what a magnificent and special opportunity this is.

Singing in April General Conference was perhaps the most incredible of my choir experiences thus far -- even though it was, to some degree, the most stressful and exhausting. Take that Sunday morning, for instance:

I was not slated to sing in Sunday morning Conference or in "Music and the Spoken Word" that weekend, but since I was still required to be present Scott and I got a hotel room in Salt Lake City for Saturday night. Sunday morning I overslept and left the hotel late. As I rushed out of the parking lot, I turned the wrong way down a one-way street in downtown Salt Lake, and almost hit an oncoming car. Startled and frazzled, I proceeded to get lost twice on my way to the LDS Conference Center. Once in the parking garage at the Conference Center, I could not find a parking spot on my normal level and had to go up two levels to park. I was lost again, and was about to be late for rehearsal. I didn't have my music, nor was I wearing the proper attire (my choir dress). I spotted some men from the Choir, and frantically followed them toward a door leading inside the Conference Center. However, since I was without a choir dress or proper identification, I was not allowed inside. I had a mini-meltdown in the parking lot, until I spotted one of the organists and asked for help. She told me to follow her, and led me into the choir loft just as rehearsal began. I was not in my choir dress, nor did I have my music, but I was there. Good enough. I retreated into the far back corner, hoping no one would notice what a blubbering mess I'd become.

Just then, the women's seating coordinator approached me and said they needed me to sing in the broadcast and the Sunday morning session of Conference. She asked why I wasn't dressed but said, "Never mind," when I began to ramble incomprehensibly about the terrible morning I had. She took me down the stairs and introduced me to a security guard who bore striking resemblance to Kevin Costner. I rode on a golf cart-type thingy with "Kevin", all the way to the Tabernacle, where I raced to Women's Wardrobe and to the music library, then back to the Conference Center on the cart. I got there just in time to be seated for the broadcast of "Music and the Spoken Word." Whew. Never mind that I didn't know the music, or that I had about 20 minutes to memorize 4 different songs. I was just happy to be there, alive and in one piece.

Through much of the broadcast I prayed the camera wouldn't stop on me, since I didn't want to be caught mouthing the wrong words. And apparently my prayers were heard, because from what I understand I didn't make a fool of myself. That Sunday morning session of General Conference was one of the most edifying experiences I've ever had. And, to top it off, we sang, "Come, Come Ye Saints" as the closing hymn. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir version. And I got to be a part of that. As I sang the last high note, I thought I might explode -- it was as though my testimony of the gospel and my overwhelming love for the Savior were bursting right out of my chest. I was so overcome with gratitude for my blessings, that I wept silently through the closing prayer.

Again I say, I hope this never gets old. I am so lucky to be a part of this organization, and to bear my testimony weekly through music. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world, and I'm eager to make the most of this very special opportunity.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Wire Basket Hanging Lamp

For a long time now, I've been looking for the perfect lamp to hang in the corner of our living room. With no overhead light, the room can get really dark in the evening -- which is sad, because Scott loves to sit in his wing-back chair for FHE and while I play the piano, and it's just too dark there! Recently, while browsing Pinterest and random design blogs, I had an epiphany. Actually, I found someone else's cute idea and became enamored.

I LOVE wire lamp shades. Like this one, from West Elm:

And this one, from Etsy:

I started searching for the perfect basket to make my own, but man they can get expensive! There were a ton of cute ones on Ebay, but I wasn't about to spend $50 for an antique egg-gathering basket....unless I couldn't find anything else. Then I stumbled upon this cute little guy at Tai Pan Trading It was only $15, and I knew it was begging to be mine:

Isn't it cute?

Making the lamp was actually really easy, and only cost me about $40 altogether. From Lowe's I bought a swag lamp kit (which includes the cord, switch, and decorative chain), a socket kit, mounting bracket, and threaded pipe nipples (to attach the socket to the bracket....I'll show you).

First, I threaded the lamp cord through the chain, sliding it through every 2nd or 3rd link.

Next, I slid the "naked" end of the cord (the end with bare wires) through the bottom of my basket. I wired the mounting bracket to the bottom of the basket, and threaded the cord through that, as well.

I chose a short pipe nipple and screwed it into both the mounting bracket and the "cap" portion of the light socket, then I attached the wires to the terminal screws in the inner piece of the light socket (I stripped a little bit of the plastic coating from the wires, wrapped them around the terminal screws, then wound the screws tight to hold the wires securely in place). Then, being the resourceful gal I am, I used a tuna can to pound the outer covering of the light socket into the cap.

Next, I installed the switch in the lamp cord. An in-line switch is super-easy to install. You can find simple, step-by-step directions here. After I'd installed the switch, I plugged in the lamp to make sure it worked. It worked great, but then I realized I hadn't taken pictures of the inside of the switch (which I ultimately decided not to post anyway). I took the switch apart, snapped a couple of pictures, and then of course when I reassembled it, I couldn't get the dang lamp to turn on!


The entire project had taken me less than an hour, but I spent the rest of the afternoon trying to figure out why the lamp suddenly wasn't working. After a lot of troubleshooting, I finally figured it out, and hung up my new friend for all to see:


Saturday, November 3, 2012

I pretty much can't believe it...

For over two weeks I've been waiting for a letter. The Letter -- announcing either the offer or denial of a life-changing opportunity...and apparently possessing the power to nearly kill me with suspense.

While in Haiti, I was too busy to worry about the Letter, but the moment I returned home the torture began. I found myself checking the mailbox with trembling hands, multiple times a day, then skulking away in disappointment that it hadn't come. One night I dreamed that my mailbox was overflowing with letters -- all of them in envelopes the same size and shape as the one I was expecting. I dove frantically into the heaps of mail, searching desperately for the piece I'd been expecting. When I thought I'd finally found the Letter, I tore it open....only to discover a credit card application.


Well, today the Letter came and ended my misery. Now I'm just shocked. And grateful. And excited.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Vintage Wedding Dress -- Bailee

My darling friend Bailee got married a couple months ago, and lucky me -- I got to make her dress! Bai's got the cutest vintage style and wanted her dress to reflect that. I think her '50s-inspired, silk tea-length gown did just that.

Isn't she lovely? Makes me want to quit cleaning teeth and instead sew dresses for a living. :)


 (all photos courtesy of

Friday, June 22, 2012

Catching Up

I realized the other day that I've never posted about our wedding. I guess I'd assumed that everyone who reads my blog has already seen all the pictures on Facebook, but maybe not.

Scott and I got married on January 28th. We wanted to keep things simple and fun -- no standing in line, no poufy dress, no fancy decorations. Instead, we had a party at our church building the night before, with tons of food, music, balloons, and confetti -- we even had a pinata and a photo booth with crazy dress-up costumes!



I'd say it was a smashing success. :)

Our wedding day was freezing but perfect. Our families and a couple of our closest friends were with us for our sealing in the Provo Temple, then we had a lovely little luncheon afterwards.

My friend Scotty came down from Kaysville to take our pictures, and he did a fantastic job. Here are a few of my favorites:

We have a huge print of this one hanging above our piano. :)

I've been wanting to post a picture of my ring, too. I knew I wanted a vintage-looking ring, but the ones at the major jewelers around here all seemed too generic. We totally lucked out when we found mine at an antique store in Salt Lake -- it couldn't be more perfect for me!!

Anyway, it's so crazy to me to think that next month is our halfaversary -- it seems like we've always been together! I seriously had no idea that I could ever be this happy, and I feel so lucky.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

What do you think?

I feel bad for Scott. On Monday I handed him a sock and he exclaimed, "I'm free!" only to find out that I meant for him to help me with the laundry. And with cleaning up the backyard, the garage, and the balcony. And ripping down and replacing a caving-in bedroom ceiling. And hauling tons of stuff to the dump.

He's probably starting to feel like Voldemort's house elf...if Voldemort were to have a house elf.

Anyway, it's been a crazy week. Luckily for me, the impending collapse of the aforementioned ceiling coincided perfectly with my dentist being out of town for a week, so I've had plenty of time to stay at home and slave away. And to lessen the drudgery of the never-ending pile of household chores and remodeling projects that threatens to suffocate me, I took some time to do what I want to do.

Like finishing my accessory organizer. I've been searching for a neat, attractive way to display all of my jewelry, watches, and eyeglasses (yes, I really own 9 pairs), using one of my old windows. Inspired by ideas I found on Etsy and Pinterest, this is what I came up with:

I wanted to remove all of the glass panes and just use the window frame, but I couldn't get the glass to budge so I left it. I painted the chicken wire with an iron coating and then an oxidizing agent (to make it a little rusty), then used a staple gun to attach it to the frame. A painted wooden dowel and the leftover curtain rod hangers from my kitchen curtain project serve as a removable holder for my bracelets and watches, and 9 little cup hooks screwed into the bottom hold all of my necklaces. Fun, huh?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Curtain Love!

I've been obsessed with Pinterest lately. So many awesome things and rad ideas in one place -- I could waste a whole lotta time just browsing. One of my favorite finds lately is this shelf/curtain rod idea, originally from Martha Stewart:
As soon as I saw it, I just had to have one for my kitchen! So, here is my take (please excuse the screws.....I just got impatient and wanted to show you my handiwork before it was actually done -- haha):

Perfect for holding my great-grandma's cookie jar.

I also made the curtains. We recently painted our kitchen light yellow and put in new counter tops, sink, and lighting. It looks so fresh and happy in here now, but with bare windows we had no privacy from our neighbors or even passers-by on the street. Now we can walk around the house in our underwear without causing a scandal. :)