Wednesday, December 29, 2010


I love the tradition of sending Christmas cards. I'm not sure what about these cards makes me so happy, but I am NOT looking forward to taking them down.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Oh, the Places You'll Go!

If you haven't read "Oh, the Places You'll Go" by Dr. Seuss, please do yourself a favor and give it a read. I love this book for the metaphorical situations and positive message woven beautifully throughout the text.

I read this book to my students EVERY YEAR on the last day of school. It never fails to bring a tear to my eye, and sometimes the eyes of my students.

I also love the book because my fabulous husband gave me a copy of this book on our wedding day. He inscribed it with the most loving message that tugs at my heart still today. (My guy is pretty fabulous like that!)

What has inspired me to wax nostalgic? Well, a blogger friend of mine (Dawn at Dawn's Quilt Corner)is hosting a giveaway for some adorable Dr. Seuss fabric. It is all kinds of cute! "Oh, the Things I Could Think" to put that fabric to good use. :)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, December 24, 2010

Ready for the Big Guy

Well, the cookies are made.

The family room is trimmed and longing for presents. Santa's letter, cookies, and milk are left on the hearth. The reindeer have a small plate of baby spinach. (We have inside information that it is Rudolph's favorite.)

The living room tree guards our presents to each other.

I'm enjoying the calm before the storm. I think that I am more excited than the kids! :)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Double Dipping?

The Tooth Fairy and Santa on the same night?
Score! (Or as Gabriela now pronounces it: "thcore!")

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Want some Christmas zen?


Sunday, December 19, 2010


Well, it looks like Gabriela has learned what NOT to draw and email on mami's iPad. :)

Seriously, she isn't in trouble. Who could be mad at this face

Not me!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Handy Teacher Gift

I love getting/making gifts for all of the kids' teachers.  It is one of my favorite things to do.  This year, I went practical.  I saw a great idea over on the Idea Blog and decided to replicate it. 

I took hand sanitizer bottles and removed the labels from the front and back.  Then, I printed a poem with the teacher's name and copied it onto a transparency.  I trimmed the transparency, rolled it up and slipped it inside.  I used the pump to guide the transparency to the front.  Voila!   :)   Easiest gift ever!

Here is a close-up.  (Email me, if you want a copy of the poem.)
Merry Christmas to all!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Jolly Holiday Quilt

This is another quilt that I pieced together at the quilt retreat. I finally got around to quilting it this week. I coerced my hubs to help me take the picture. Isn't he a sweetheart? My usual helpers were all too busy running around in this unbelievably warm weather that we are having. (The thermometer in my backyard showed 84 degrees at around noon today.)
The back is mostly flannel (the green) which will make it comfy, if the weather ever cooperates!

Thank you for helping, Mr.Wonderful.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mercy by Susan Sims Moody

Recently, I had the pleasure to read Susan Sims Moody's novel titled Mercy. Mercy is the second book in the Jennifer Martin Mystery Series, with Susan's novel Flatlands being the debut of the series. I am honored to have an opportunity to provide a brief reflection on Mercy.

Let me begin by sharing a summary, as provided on Amazon:

Mercy, set in the small Mississippi town of that name, weaves a tale of past and present and reveals what can happen to three generations of family when money and secrets collide.
Davis Sanford, contemptuously dismissed by his family almost a decade ago, is a recovering alcoholic and the grandchild of local timber baron and pillar of the community, Frank Sanford. An early-morning phone call from his old haunt of Mercy draws Davis home once more for the impending death of the family patriarch. Jennifer Martin returns to the scene as Davis’s girlfriend, and the two embark on a weekend journey through his past.

As the prodigal son copes with his grandfather’s mortality, he must also face his disapproving father and a wealth of personal history he has tried for years to leave behind. Together with Jennifer he uncovers one family secret after another, at last discovering the sin that has shaped, conflicted, and ultimately driven them all to the tragic existences they lead.

How you like them apples? Pretty juicy, huh?

This novel was an unbelievably fun read that rapidly accelerates into the final chapters. I found myself trying to predict the twists, as well as the conclusion of the novel, only to then realize that I was arguing with myself about my previous predictions.

Throughout the book, I loved Moody's ability to expertly combine the tales from the present and the past voice, while allowing each to maintain its own identity. Additionally, I admire the complication of the relationships she bares to the reader, so much like those in many of our own experiences. I also enjoyed the exploration into Mississippi's history; particularly things that we Mississippians embrace with one arm, while we carefully push away with the other.

Now, on a totally personal note, I need to rave about the comfort that this book provided to a Mississippi girl living in a California state of mind.

I could begin simply with the dialogue. It is so refreshing to read an author that actually gets a southern accent correct, especially a Mississippi accent. It pains me when I read a well-intentioned author slaughter our beautiful southern dialect. A southern accent does not equal uneducated and inferior intellect. It is just plain offensive. Moody hits the proverbial nail squarely on the head, as her phrasing, colloquialisms, and pronunciations were absolutely impeccable.

Finally, it was also a source of comfort to read about local haunts for Jennifer and Davis that remind me so much of home. Whether it be the Courthouse in Bedford or the pine trees in Mercy, I love being transported to my home state in a work of fiction. (On a side note: I know one family that will be on the pulling into the Velvet Cream off of Hwy 51 in Hernando the very next time that we are in town!)

Now, not only are Susan's first two books available for purchase/download on Amazon, her newest book in the series, The Devil Don't Knock is available for download! Looks like I have some more readin' to do, y'all!

The author provided a free copy of this book for review.  I was not compensated in any way.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Wonky Sock Monkey

Another quilt from Quilt Retreat.  I sewed the squares together, slightly askew from one another, cut them, and then re-pieced them.  The edges are unfinished to give the quilt that raggedy feel.  
(See our new family Christmas tree, in the background?  Isn't it kitschy?  We still have the big one in the living room; this one is just for our yearly ornaments.)

A close up to show the raggedy, unfinished edges.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Eve and Pumpkins A-Plenty!

I love the anticipation on Thanksgiving Eve. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, because I get to spend the whole day in the kitchen making Thanksgiving dinner for my family.
Happy day! So, the brine has cooked and is now cooling. The turkey is washed and waiting for its brine bath. :)
I also wanted to take the opportunity to show the Pumpkin Quilt that I made recently.

I finished the binding while I was at the Quilt Retreat, but had finished the rest in late October/early November.

It wa made from a pattern called "Jack-o-Lanterns" by Black Mountain Quilts. I opted to not put the faces on the pumpkins, so that I could have it out in the front room through Thanksgiving.

The fabric that I used came from a kit at the Cottage for a quilt called Crazy Jacks. This is the first quilt that I haven't stippled. I free-motion quilted each pumpkin and then did a vine/leaf pattern between them. (No comment on the subliminal picture in the pumpkin quilting. My friends and I have already discussed this ad nauseum.)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Quilt Retreat 2010 - (Idyllwild)

(Disclaimer:  I wrote this post on my iPad and it isn't the greatest about adding photos from facebook.  I'll add the photos later.) 
I am the luckiest woman ever! Last weekend, I went on a quilt retreat with some friends, and made some new ones. We even formed a new Friendship Group! It was such fun. I can't wait until our next get-together.
Check out my car---loaded for our trip.

It looked like a sweatshop with all of the sewing machines set up. Short of the Quilter's Cottage, I've never seen so many Berninas!

After many hours, these two holes on the throat of my machine were taunting me. So, I decided to make them a smiley-face.

Here is a shot of my "completed" projects: 2 quilt tops, 1 apron, and I finished my pumpkin quilt. (From left to right)

Good times!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

2010 Boo Crew

Gabriela the Leaf Fairy

Daniel the Clone Trooper

Cristina the Baterina

Jake the Jawa

The Boo Crew

The Dastardly Daisy

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Happy Birthday, Daniel Shea

Once again, I have been derelict in timely posting birthday posts.  
So, shall we pretend that it is October 6th?  Thanks for playing!
October 6th is the birthday of my youngest son Daniel Shea!
Here is my sweet Daniel Shea Ortega on his birthday. 
I'd like to take this opportunity to tell you a few things about my Shea-Shea.
He was a chubby little baby. 

 He loves to climb, play, run, jump and all of the other things that little boys like to do.

He especially loves playing in snow.  He loves our trips to Idyllwild. 

He can get a bit clumsy (like his mom) and has already experienced a broken leg. 

He has adorable little toesies.

 He adores his papi and loves to spend time with him.

He thoroughly enjoys his independence. 

He is a total beach bum! 

 He is growing up way too fast!  (Look at that face!)
Daniel Shea, please keep being the kind, generous, intelligent little light that you are today. 
xoxoxo from mommy to my Shea-Shea McButter

Monday, October 18, 2010

I looked down at my feet, and I see...

I am much higher than I thought I'd be! --Tanya Donnelly

Ten years ago, I lost my mom to cancer.

We certainly didn't see eye to eye about things, but we loved fiercely.  It was such a difficult time in my life; however, her death made me realize that I wanted to make some changes in my life. 

It is ironic that the loss of my mother and my reflection on our relationship (or sometimes lack thereof) made me realize that I wanted (needed) to be a mother again (and again, and again).  :)

Although hard to explain, during that time, it felt as though I was living inwardly.  It felt like such a self-indulgent life.  

I realized that I needed a family.  To me, a fulfilling life is that in which I can live outwardly through the things that my family experiences together.   I love the things that we share and the things we do.  I love being a mom, good times, bad times, crazy times, and hilarious times. 

Maybe it was my mom's ultimate gift to me.  Her death helped me realize the absolute joy that my family has provided. 

Thank you, mom!  I miss you terribly and I love you with all of my heart. 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Nerdlets on their way to school...

You would think that we have a large commute ahead of us. 
Jake's school is less than a mile from our home and the elementary school is a little over two miles away. 
I love my little addicted readers!  

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Happy birthday, Gabriela

Let's just pretend that this was posted August 22nd.  Ok?  (Things have been so fabulously chaotic, that I have had little time to document the life we have been living.)

Well, on August 22nd, my youngest baby turned 6 years old!   This is the magical time that she and Daniel are both 6 years old, since they are only 10 1/2 months apart. 

Ahhh, I remember the day that I found out that I was pregnant with this sweet one!  Rene was post -vascectomy and I was breastfeeding Daniel.  We really thought that we pretty solid, as far as birth control was concerned. 

Surprise!!!!!!!!!!!  There was a little soul that had big plans and NEEDED to get here.  So it goes.

Here are some photos to celebrate the giant personality that belongs to my smallest child:  Gabriela Mae.

August 22, 2004

Gaby girl, I am so glad that you came to make our family complete.  You make us laugh  I love you, sweetness.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Classroom Quilt

Here is a little quilt that I made for my classroom.  It was unbelievably easy to make and went together really quickly.  I used a pattern by yoyo mama called Vintage Baby Quilt.  For the front of the quilt I used a muslin background fabric and Punctuation by American Jane for Moda  for the squares.  THe backing fabric is American Vintage by Showoffs Pattern #30685.  It looks like a chalk-dusted blackboard with math problems. 
I wanted to include a close-up of the front to show the details of the
fringed edges.  They really add to the charm of this little sweetie.
Can you believe the adorable quotient of this fabric?  Too cute!
The pattern called for this quilt to be quilted using straight lines to secure the squares; therefore, I got to put my walking foot to use!   I can't wait to bring this sweet little quilt to my classroom.  Perfection!