Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Read Across America is on March 3rd

When I saw the topic for this week for the Etsy Bloggers Blog Carnival I knew I had to share with you a bit about Sheryl Wilkes.

From 1990 to 2006 I worked as a teacher's aide and computer lab manager at a school in West Valley City, Utah. During several of those years, before cancer took her away, I and everyone else there was fortunate enough to be on a staff that included this amazing woman.

Whenever I think of Dr Seuss and Read Across America her influence is tied to it in my memories. As the article that follows and her obituary say she really did cook green eggs and ham for the school(600 to 800 kids, depending on enrollment that year). She had help of course but she was the woman behind the idea and under the red and white striped hat. Her way of celebrating the day was not just lunch either. She brought in guest readers from the city government, school district superintendents, parents and community members. Each of them would share a favorite book with several classes in rotation. There was so much laughter and sharing on that day that it felt as happy as the best Christmas.

Green Eggs and Ham is also the first Dr. Seuss book I remember being aware of as a child and I suppose will always be my favorite. As for green eggs, thanks to Sheryl, I do like them Sam I Am. I would eat them here or there. I would eat them anywhere.

The following it taken from the archives of
Granger Elementary School names library after reading specialist Sheryl Wilkes

When Sheryl Wilkes decided to plan a green eggs and ham breakfast for all the students at
Granger Elementary School to celebrate “Read Across America,” fellow educator Mary Jean
Harline said, “I could hardly believe my ears.”
“Cynical as I am about such huge undertakings, I didn’t think it could be done,” Harline said.
“What I forgot for just a moment was who I was working with — and done it was. Pounds and
pounds of ham, hundreds of eggs, some green dye and a couple of electric frying pans later,
Granger’s entire student body had firsthand experience with green eggs and ham.”
For five years, prior to her death in August 2003, Wilkes led Granger’s “Read Across
America” celebration — coordinating read-a-thons, decorating Dr. Seuss cakes, and reminding
students about the importance of reading. This year, during the school’s “Read Across America”
party, Granger students, faculty, parents, friends, and family paid tribute to Wilkes by naming the school library after her.
“Today, we are here to celebrate and honor the lives of two very special people, both of
whom inspired children to read and imagine. Those two people are Dr. Seuss and Mrs. Sheryl
Wilkes,” Harline said during a special assembly at Granger. “Throughout the last eight years,
many of us had the opportunity to meet and teach with Mrs. Sheryl Wilkes. For those eight
wonderful years, we truly witnessed a master at work.”
Wilkes, a teacher who became Granger’s full-time reading specialist, was described as a
“vibrant advocate” for her students. “As a teacher, she was magical,” Harline said. “Leprechauns
would march through her classroom, fish would fly, and cereal could talk. She put her arms
around the little children to tell them how well they had done in class that day, forever
encouraging them to do even better.”
Harline said Wilkes “was the personification of excellence. Sheryl always went beyond the
call of duty, doing much, much more than was expected – this is what excellence is all about. She
maintained high standards for teaching our children. She always went the extra mile for everyone.
We truly miss the vibrant, talented, and loving Mrs. Wilkes.”

Obituary: Sheryl Wilkes
Deseret News (Salt Lake City), Aug 29, 2003

6/19/54 ~ 8/26/03

"Keep a Smile in Your Heart"

An incredible, magnificent presence was taken from us on August 26, 2003. Sheryl Louise Bishop Wilkes, age 49, passed away after a courageous four year struggle with cancer.

Sheryl was born in Salt Lake City, Utah on June 19, 1954 to Glen and Louise Bishop. On June 25, 1979, she married Ken Wilkes. Sheryl and Ken made their home in the Salt Lake City area where they proudly raised two wonderful daughters to adulthood.

Sheryl graduated cum laude from the University of Utah in 1976. She worked as a teacher in the Granite School District for 28 years. Sheryl was an outstanding and well-respected educator. She touched the lives of hundreds of students and fellow educators in the most positive ways. Sheryl was always so proud to have so many former students approach her in their adult lives and inform her that she was by far their favorite teacher of all time. She would always do something special, and usually on a large scale, to make a significant impact on her students. (Who else would cook green eggs and ham for the entire school on Dr. Seuss' birthday?)

Sheryl had great artistic instincts. She was an excellent interior decorator. Sheryl kept Ken busy over the years implementing her various home remodeling projects. She also recently coordinated a couple of wedding receptions, and did such a great job, was offered an exclusive contract by a reception center to handle all future receptions. She was the arranger for almost all family functions throughout the years, especially Christmas. Her cooking, writing, decorating, and love were cherished by so many. Sheryl added a song and her special magic to everything she touched.

Sheryl is survived by her husband, Ken, daughters Candace and Chelsea, her brothers David (Barbara) Bishop, Kenny (Rena) Bishop, and John (Devon) Bishop, and hundreds of friends, students, and loved ones. Preceded in death by both her parents.

Memorial services will be held Tuesday, September 2, at 4:00 p.m. at Wasatch Lawn Mortuary, 3401 S. Highland Dr.

Sheryl, you were my love, my life, my everything. You made me and anyone you touched a much better person. I will miss you dearly. Ken.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Who Am I?

Not sure why I feel the need to write this tonight. The thoughts are just running around in my head so I thought I would make them visual. Bear with me and feel free to comment about this post or share your own story as a crafter, artisan, or artist.

After many years of selling at craft shows and festivals, I decided to sell online. The craft shows took their toll on me. The setting up, tearing down and weekends away. I was lucky most of the time to have good partners to share the load with and time spent with them was enjoyable. I never even came close to making a living at it and that was never my real goal anyway.

I did meet someone at a show in San Diego that liked the thread crocheted angels I was making at the time. She would order them 300 or so at a time once or twice a year to finish by stiffening and decorating them to sell in her own booth at shows. That level of production kind of took the fun out of it. I was happy to get the money but my hands ached and I was doing those things in my sleep to get the orders done and still have time to create for my own shows. That is not a joke either. There were times when I started crocheting, kind of dozed off and woke up to cut the thread on a finished angel with no memory of the middle part of the process.

So who am I? I would call myself a serious hobbyist. I have an overwhelming need to create. I have been this way as long as I can remember and can't imagine life without something for my hands to do. My abilities are a major part of what defines who I am. These projects and ideas wind through the rest of my life and bind it together somehow. Creating somehow makes me more than the wife, the mother, the daughter, the whatever. Not that any of these things aren't important or have their own rewards but I don't like to think about what I would be like without that little bit more.

On the forums at places like Etsy there are always folks who talk about being a business and being professional. Those words kind of leave me cold. I have no problem with the fact that they fit very well with some. They just don't fit me. Does this mean I don't care about providing good service? The answer to that is a resounding no. Because my need for creativity drives my life, sending things off to be appreciated by someone is very important to me. I make what I am inspired to by the cloth or fiber on hand and trust me I have a lot of inspiration around here. Over the years I have learned that if I am patient someone will come along who likes it as much finished as I did making it, whatever the "it" is at the time. When that happens I am happy to communicate and ship in a friendly and timely manner.

I don't expect to get rich selling online either but I want my creative drive to support itself. I like to spend the money on new ideas and better tools with a bit of "just for fun" spending money as well. I try to make my pricing a win win thing for both me as a seller and the buyer. I know that for knitters, crocheters and hand quilters a reasonable hourly wage is extremely difficult for most to get and I accept that. I do however want to get a decent return on my investment of materials, fees and costs of being online and something for my time. If that happens then my creativity isn't a drain on family resources and I can keep going.

Speaking of going, I think I will for now. If you have read this whole wordy post please share your thoughts. Let others who come along, and me, know what it is like for you and what drives your life and provides sanity and satisfaction.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Kayaking for the First Time

While in California I got to spend some time with my sister Kristi. She has taken up kayaking as a hobby and wanted to share it with me. We got together on Sunday afternoon on the 17th along with her friend Kathy and my daughter Cindy who I made the trip with. Kathy is the photographer on this little expedition through the Channel Islands Marina. I want to thank her for making sure we had copies of the pictures before we left to come home.

kayaking 003

I am on the left, my daughter is in the middle and my sister Kristi is on the right. Coming from Arizona I was freezing in Utah at Cindy's house and still cold in the 60 degree dampness of being by the ocean. I grew up in Southern California but have been away too long for that to be a day for a short sleeved T-shirt like my sister.



kayaking 004


We saw lots of birds along the way. Many of them had been around people enough that if you glided up to them quietly you could get fairly close before they flew away. My daughter kind of made fun of my fascination with the birds but watching them was a good excuse to quit paddling and rest a minute. Sometimes it was hard to tell exactly who was checking out who.

kayaking 042


Of course if you put four women in boats with paddles some splashing has to happen. Cindy got the worst of that but she also managed to get me once or twice. It didn't really matter because you are going to get wet paddling in a boat so low in the water no matter what.

kayaking 014



We did see some really cool looking boats. This was one that Cindy wanted to make sure we got a picture of for her son.

kayaking 018 kayaking 032

On the way back to the boat ramp we got together for one more picture on the water. I can see why my sister enjoys this hobby. I had a great time and would love to go again.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Just Relax

For today I want to share with you a find from my favorites list on In the future I plan to make this type of post a regular feature. My list of favorite things is much more that you see in the Etsy Mini on the left and I want to show them off.

This Cozy Creature is from kraftychic's shop. Here is what she wants you to know about it-

fishHeat therapy goldfish is constructed from four layers of 100% cotton fabric. It's filled with rice, cloves and natural lavender. Not over-powering, a faint relaxing aroma.
Ideal for all aches and pains! Especially for the ladies during their menstrual cycle…place underneath lower back or on top of lower abdominal. Perfect for sore muscles, arthritis, cramps, headaches and many more uses. Not only will it relieve your aches it will also add a smile on your face at the same time.
Place in microwave approx: 90 seconds. If prefer hotter, replace and check every thirty seconds for desire temp.
If chosen to use as an ice pack, place in a large Ziploc baggy (included)before placing in freezer.
Measures:11 x 8.5 inches.
Nice size-not small!

All of this cozy comfort is just $12.00US. Take a look ! I can think of so many times where having this would be so wonderful, can you?

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Memorable Valentine's Day

The Valentine's Day of 2004 will stand out in the minds of much of our family for a long time.

A couple days before the holiday Jim and I were at a Flying J Truck stop in Lakepoint, Utah to get something to eat. This is a rather rural area about 25 miles from Salt Lake City. As we were getting seated the waitress who knew our family asked where our granddaughter was. She along with her Mom and Dad had meals there with us fairly often. The granddaughter is usually chatty, smiling and friendly so every one gets to know her.

Jim starts to call them to see if they want to join us and his phone rings. It is our son in law who says they have been in an accident on the way home from Walmart and it looks really bad for the other car. Without asking any more questions we leave the restaurant and go to where they are about 8 miles away.

The other vehicle was a small pickup. It had slid across the center line of the road as snow was beginning to fall and was t-boned by the Durango my daughter was driving. The truck ended up in two pieces on the side of the road. The Durango was totaled.

As it all turned out thanks to seat belts, air bags and car seats everyone in this accident was banged up and scared but okay. Every one took a ride to the hospital to get checked out and then we took daughter, son in law and granddaughter home.

The reason they were at Walmart in the first place was to get Valentines for the granddaughter to hand out to classmates at Kindergarten. When she came home from school on Valentine's Day guess what was in the bottom of her backpack? You got it, the valentines! She was so excited looking at the ones she was receiving that she forgot to hand hers out.

This Valentine's themed post is part of the Etsy Blogger Street Team Carnival for February 11th. It will be hosted at Tulips Treasure Box. Look for the post there that will give you the links to all participating blogs sometime on Monday the 11th. If you would like to know more about the EtsyBloggers you can go here.

If you are looking for handcrafted Valentine's Day gifts you can alway start your search on Etsy. With more than 100,000 shops and who knows how many items for sale you will be sure to find something. My recommendation would be something like this romantic little box by artisticrenderings who I just happened to notice joined etsy on my birthday.
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