Juggling Summer

Oh Summer. We have such a complex relationship. Last night my  talented friend Jami helped me with a professional photo-shoot. (More of those pictures to come.) It was such a gorgeous night. I honestly don’t think there is anything better than a breezy, warm summer night. (Here in Utah we don’t have much humidity, so nights outdoors are amazingly pleasant.) Those kind of nights always bring back waves of nostalgia – especially of my teenage years and being out with friends.

But summer is tricky too, and sometimes a little bit exhausing. I finally realized what makes it stressful for me – the lack of structure. Don’t get me wrong, one of the great things about summer is the lazy, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, care-free lifestyle. But the part of me that craves planning and schedules can sometimes get frustrated…
I’m trying to do better about just ‘letting-go’ and enjoying the moment. I actually read a book, or two, over the past few weeks, which I honestly haven’t done for months. So there you go. Has anyone else watched or read Call the Midwife? It’s my latest favorite show from the BBC [of course.] Highly recommend both books and show. There are some gritty, hard, tragic parts, but that was the reality that people faced (some of it makes Dickens look like a fairy tale.)  And the hope, and faith, and human kindness that come out if it, is so endearing and inspiring. (Although there is a little TMI about the “Cafes” (aka Brothels) in the first book. You may want to skip that part.)



We’ve been trying to explore new places. This is one my friend Calli told me about. It’s a 110-yr-old summer-house in the foothills a few miles from our house. All that is left of the house itself are two crumbling exterior walls, but there are remnants of the flower garden surrounding the house.

The coolest part is the poppies that were part of the original garden have spread over the surrounding hills and bloom during mid-June. What an awesome legacy of the original gardener. Makes you wonder what small act you do that might leave a remnant behind 110 years later for other people to enjoy. 

I’m trying to remind myself to embrace this time with my kids right now and do a better job of living in the moment – a constant battle. They are at such fun ages – I seriously think we’re in the golden years before they’re too grown up and don’t want to hang around with us as much anymore. I feel like I need to soak it up and make the most of it while I can.

One thing we’re doing is volunteering at This Is the Place Heritage Park in Salt Lake City. (Think Pioneer version of Williamsburg or Old Sturbridge Village.) It’s a place we’ve liked visiting in summers past and my kids were so excited about volunteering there once a week this summer.

I have to admit, I was less enthusiastic, but felt like I’d better run with it since they were gung-ho (even the boys), and probably won’t always feel that way about dressing in pioneer clothes and hanging out someplace with no access to phones, computers or other screens.

The first week we went there, I realized that this is going to work out even better than I’d hoped. Time to hang out together, un-interrupted and un-distracted. We’re even working on a quilt. I think it’s just what I needed. I’m going to have to share more thoughts and pictures on that adventure in a future post.

So life feels full and busy, but it’s a good full and busy. My time at the computer gets more and more limited in the summer – but that is not always a bad thing. I am getting some sporadic sewing time, so that is a nice little bonus. I finally finished piecing my blocks for this version of my Double Crossed pattern (that I started last summer), using a vintage-sheet-inspired line, Dream On for Moda. (That collection is a few years old.) I need to add some borders and get it quilted, but fingers crossed, it will be done before the end of summer! Maybe.

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  • Reply
    Elizabeth Dackson
    June 21, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    Preach! I completely relate to the troubles with the lack of structure in the summertime. I'm a creature of structure, too, and summer really bugs me sometimes because of the lack of it! Love that slip and slide pic, gosh, that brings back fun memories 🙂 And your Dream On quilt top so far looks swoon-worthy. Love the way the green solid works with the vintage-y-ness of the prints!

  • Reply
    Karen - Quilts...etc.
    June 21, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    love the poppies! love the river! and the quilts, volunteering at the old village sounds like fun<br />

  • Reply
    Paula @ Sewy Stuff
    June 21, 2013 at 6:21 pm

    Sounds like you are off to a great summer! And I really love that double crossed pattern.

  • Reply
    Mary on Lake Pulaski
    June 21, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    Oh Amy, those poppies sprinkled all overe in the grassy treed area are so lovely! As are the quilts, kids by the creek, Dream On quilt and peek at your photo shoot. Summer is the best – enjoy it – I will too.

  • Reply
    June 21, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    Love your Double-Crossed quilt! You make such beautiful quilts and I&#39;m so glad you share.<br /><br />I am having the same feelings about summer as you are, especially the living in the moment feelings. Finding balance between screen-time and chores and keeping the kids entertained and me time is always a challenge. Here&#39;s to making the best of summer!<br /><br />xo -E

  • Reply
    June 21, 2013 at 7:06 pm

    I love the doubled cross pattern! So pretty in this version!

  • Reply
    June 21, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    PS is that a trampoline in the ground? I have always wanted one like that

  • Reply
    BedTime Quilting
    June 21, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    What neat historic places. I like your thoughts on the poppies. It&#39;s interesting to think about the mark we leave here. I love that your kids are doing the pioneer thing. I remember dressing up for pioneer days…those dresses were hot. But such good memories.

  • Reply
    June 21, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    LOVE Call the Midwife! Such a good show. Such a mix of cutting edge and backwardness. Season 3 is being filmed right now. Yay!

  • Reply
    Karen H
    June 21, 2013 at 8:51 pm

    The picture of your daughter with the poppies is amazing – I think it could win an award! Love your quilt. I still have some Dream On fabric that I have been saving… Not a lot of it left, but it is one of my all time favorites!

  • Reply
    Tracey Holzer
    June 21, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    Gorgeous photos!

  • Reply
    June 21, 2013 at 9:30 pm

    It was great to see you at This is the Place Park working on the hexi quilt! What great memories you are creating!

  • Reply
    Melissa Corry
    June 21, 2013 at 9:30 pm

    Those poppies are just stunning. What a beautiful place. What day do you volunteer at Pioneer Village?? That is so fun. If it is Friday, I will come see you this next weekend. We will be visiting my folks to drop off the kids before our trip 🙂 So glad you are getting to enjoy some down time with your children, you have totally earned the right to put your feet up and enjoy a book!!

  • Reply
    June 21, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    It sounds like you are having a perfect summer Amy! Oh to be in your dry climate — we&#39;ve had so much rain (which is a wonderful change from the drought this year) that the mosquitos are just nasty in the evenings — so can&#39;t do a whole lot outside. ;-( Those poppies are just gorgeous — what a great place to take photos of your family. Can&#39;t wait to hear more about your summer at

  • Reply
    June 21, 2013 at 10:39 pm

    I think you are right on target with your approach to summer. <br />I enjoyed both the books and the TV show of Call the Midwife and now we have to wait a long time for season 3. <br />Have a wonderful summer. Sounds like you are doing everything right!

  • Reply
    June 22, 2013 at 2:18 am

    What fabulous photos! Love the top quilt, so pretty.

  • Reply
    Berry Wood Lane
    June 22, 2013 at 4:21 am

    As much as I love summer, I also find it tiring. It is comforting to know that I am not the only one who has a complicated relationship with this season. You are wise to enjoy the moments that you have. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    June 22, 2013 at 7:03 am

    Sounds like a lovely summer, enjoy!

  • Reply
    ✾Jamie Lee Cooley✾
    June 22, 2013 at 8:16 am

    I feel the same way about summer…but I live for it, having my kids home all day is the BEST! I am homeschooling my middle child next year and trying to talk my husband into having the oldest stay home too. But I know what you mean about flying by the seat of your pants. It can be hard to do especially if you are used to a lot of structure.<br /><br />I just wanted to say THANK YOU for

  • Reply
    June 22, 2013 at 8:57 am

    You go girl…time with kids….time of your own….good job!:)<br /><br />Those photos of the poppies remind me of that book &quot;Miss Rumphius&quot; where her grandfather said one thing she should do is something to make the world more beautiful. I think you found a perfect example!:)

  • Reply
    June 22, 2013 at 9:47 am

    You have such a full life and you are so wise to enjoy it. How fun to volunteer at the park! I would have loved to do that, but didn&#39;t know that it was available! The poppy garden is a beautiful photo and I love your quilt. You always inspire me!

  • Reply
    Rebecca Grace
    June 22, 2013 at 11:26 am

    I really love your double crossed quilt top; looking forward to seeing it finished! Something about the balance between the vintage floral prints with the solid green feels very fresh and modern. I can&#39;t quite put my finger on it, but I&#39;m diggin&#39; it!<br /><br />I&#39;m curious about the midwife book — is it fiction or nonfiction? I had midwives with both of my deliveries, natural

    • Reply
      June 25, 2013 at 8:57 am

      The TV series is based on the memoirs of a 1950s/60s midwife in London.

  • Reply
    June 22, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    Enjoy your summer with the children; they grow up so fast. I have never commented but I have to second your comment on Call the Midwife – love, love it! My daughters delivered with midwives, and so we all love that show. My youngest daughter had her wedding pictures taken in the field of poppies! Fun to see pictures of that again. She also volunteered at This is the Place, so those were

  • Reply
    June 22, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    I totally get what you&#39;re saying about the feel of a summer evening – I had the exact same conversation with my husband on the way home from a BBQ. It&#39;s the feeling that I love to remember in the middle of winter. Love your quilt.

  • Reply
    June 22, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    Wow, I love the pic with the poppies in the trees and it looks like a little trail thru there, I would sooooooo love to live there!!!!<br />(smjohns63 at yahoo dot com)

  • Reply
    June 22, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    Your summer is looking delightful so far (don&#39;t photos always tell a lovelier story!) but I get it. We&#39;ve always got to take the bad with the good, such a delicate thing to balance in your heart.<br /><br />I enjoyed Call the Midwife (the book) as well. Although I did find one section a bit more information than I needed. How do you say &quot;gratuitous&quot;? I&#39;ve seen season 1

  • Reply
    June 22, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    Lovely sentiment. I often feel the exact same way about summer. It looks like you&#39;re really making the most of it. I&#39;m excited to see your photo shoot pics!<br /><br />Kelsey<br />everydayfray.com

  • Reply
    June 22, 2013 at 10:35 pm

    BEAUTIFUL pictures Amy! I loved the Call the Midwife series on tv…made me NOT want to be a midwife! 😉

  • Reply
    June 22, 2013 at 11:13 pm

    I LOVE the photos of the poppies!!! And I miss the structure during summertime, but we try to keep things sane around here. 🙂

  • Reply
    June 23, 2013 at 4:42 am

    Very evocative photos…if only we had some sun here in Cornwall it might actually feel like summer! Love the volunteering – don&#39;t the kids look like they&#39;re having so much fun?!

  • Reply
    June 23, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    Such pretty photos! So inspiring. I particularly adore the double crossed quilt! That green is the perfect counterpoint to the florals! It looks like a well-groomed English garden!

  • Reply
    June 23, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    Great photos! I haven&#39;t read the book (yet) but I loved that series too!

  • Reply
    Lisa Lisa
    June 23, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    Time does fly way too fast, and it&#39;s great that you&#39;re making an effort to slow down and enjoy life. Looks like you&#39;re having a great time! Enjoy! Love that quilt!

  • Reply
    The Life and Times of Karrie
    June 24, 2013 at 8:31 am

    Do enjoy your summer with the kids…time goes by so fast!

  • Reply
    June 24, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    Amy, it is just amazing all that you do…enjoy your summer!

  • Reply
    June 25, 2013 at 8:55 am

    The &#39;living in the moment&#39; thing is so hard for me too. I know exactly what you mean about structure as well. Looks like you&#39;re doing a really good job of going with the flow, but don&#39;t beat yourself up, good enough is good enough. (And I loved Call the Midwife too – Miranda Hart who played Camilla (and is a hilarious comic) grew up just a few miles from my home.)

    • Reply
      amy smart
      June 25, 2013 at 4:34 pm

      No way! That is really fun. Chummy is one of my favorite characters.<br /><br />And yes, so true. &quot;Good enough is good enough&quot; is going to be my summer motto!<br />

  • Reply
    June 25, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    I love to read too..have seen the show, have the book. Do you also watch Downton Abby? I found the show this season and caught up on all the shows and read several books related to the topic too!

  • Reply
    June 26, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    I love the analogy of the poppies. I have a hard time with &#39;living in the moment&#39;, but now that my kids are grown, I&#39;m finding it easier to do with the grand-kids (and enjoying every minute!) Keep the kids close while you can because they will soon become more independent. However, I&#39;ve found it sometimes gives me more time for quilting 😉

  • Reply
    Katy Cameron
    July 4, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    Looks like a load of fun places to explore, especially loving the HUGE poppies! When I was a kid I was a street urchin at a local working museum set in 1900 in Ironbridge, known as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. Come to think of it, life there probably wasn&#39;t far off Call the Midwife! (which I love watching, but haven&#39;t read the books of)

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