Monday, December 01, 2008

Holidays by Hand-Quilting Gifts

I've made a few Quilted Christmas Gifts and thought I would share them with you.

First, I made two sets of Quilted Christmas Cats Placemats for two very special family members, both of whom are Cat Lovers. The center of each placemat is a different cat or kitties taken for a Christmas panel fabric. I pieced around each center block first with coordinating red strips and then with approximately 3" wide strips of the border, coordinating navy blue fabric with Christmas Kitties, to make the placemats measure 14" x 18" before I added the binding.
The backing of each placemat is also the Christmas Kitties fabric used for the borders.These placemats were very easy to make and only took about an hour to piece them all together. I used Warm and Natural cotton batting between the layers and then simply quilted them together by "Stitching in the Ditch,"using matching thread.

Another gift I made was a simple Christmas tablerunner. Now a tablerunner is another quick and easy quilted project for even the most beginner of quilters. It is usually the size of two or three placemats put together, or about 18" x 36"-54." For this tablerummer I also used a block from a Christmas panel fabric, then pieced around the center to the size I wanted the runner to be. Here is a picture of the back (the fabric is an all over Christmas fabric in traditional colors with snowmen, bells, wreaths and teddy bears) laid on top of the front (alternate strips in shades of Christmas reds and greens and off white) to see the different fabrics used. Again I layered the fabrics with batting in the middle and quilted it by "Stitching in the Ditch."

Placemats and tablerummers are great small projects to practice machine quilting on. They are easy to manuever to quilt on a domestic sewing machine. These projects would be fun to make for any season or occasion by just changing the colors or theme of the fabrics.

You can see other sewing projects and ideas at Gidget Goes Home who is hosting the Handmade for the Holidays for quilting.

Monday, November 03, 2008


In an effort to simplify, I have been sewing away, making presents for family and friends for Christmas. Over the years I have often made gifts even before it became popular! I have sewn all my life and love to make things for others to enjoy.

Since the birth of my first granddaughter, Gigi (18 months), I have loved making little girl clothes again. I began making my own clothes when I was about 10 years old. My mom taught me how to sew and I guess I had an immediate love of it. I have made many dresses for my daughter, Nicole throughout her life: from play clothes to dressy dresses; Halloween costumes to prom dresses; a flower girl dress when she was 3 1/2 yrs old for my brother and sister-in-law's wedding to 7 bridesmaids dresses, a flower girl dress and 3 junior bridesmaids' dresses for Nicole's wedding as well as her wedding dress when she got married over 5 years ago! Sewing is definitely a passion of mine.

Recently my daughter asked me to make some doll dresses for two of Gigi's dolls. I searched through my many patterns but ended up copying a dress I had made in the 80's for Nicole's Cabbage Patch Doll , now Gigi's doll.

I made a sundress/jumper (pictured at top with doll dress and below) for Gigi to match this Cabbage Patch doll dress (pictured on right) made of a cute pink floral cotton print with kitties. Now Gigi will match both of her dolls (the other one I made for her baby doll named "Molly" ).

I made a second doll dress out of
Hawaiian Plumeria fabric that matches
a skirt I had made for Gigi over the summer
(also made a matching one for Nicole!)

Can't wait to see her expression, and yet wondering, if at 18 months, she'll recognize they match!!

I've got several other Christmas projects in the works, but don't want to spoil the surprise, so I will probably share these after Christmas!!

You can see other sewing projects and ideas at Simple Mom who is hosting the Handmade for the Holidays for sewing.

P.S. I'm also MOM to Gidget (aka Nicole!) of Gidget Goes Home and Gidget Loves Language

Monday, October 13, 2008


Isn't she the cutest CHARGER cheerleader ever?? We sure think so!

Gigi and Nicole came to hang out with us for a week, while David went to Argentina on business for the week. It was so much fun having them here. We got a taste of things to come soon, as the Bennett Family is moving back to California(YEAH!) at the end of November and moving in with us for a few months!

At 17 months, Gigi is not without a "ton" of endless energy!! It wasn't long before I had to do some redecorating to get some breakable things out of Gigi's reach--she is quick on her feet and loved running down Yaya and Papa's long halls and climbing on several things, including the tile covered hearth in our family room.

(Of course they will be bringing a couple of child proof gates to help with containing the little monkey!) We'll also be investing in some cupboard locks, which Nick thought would be a fun project for David once they are here. In the meantime I did put a few "removable" locks on a few of the most reachable cupboards to discourage her from getting into the wrong kinds of things (like household cleaners)!

Gigi loves animals, especially our two dogs. At first she was a bit scared when Sydney ("Nin-ney") would do her talking with the ball in her mouth--sounds a bit like friendly growling---but that didn't stop Gigi from wanting to see them and be with them all the time. She calls them both, "Nin-ney" and loved to pet them and sit close by them. Once she saw Yaya and Papa each day the next thing she said was "Ninney! over and over again.

Alex and Angelina came down for a few days too and we all spent a day at the San Diego Zoo--where Gigi marveled at all the animals and we marveled at watching her!!

We had some warm So.California weather so enjoyed the pool, too.

To see more pictures from their visit, click on the link to my flickr page:

Monday, September 29, 2008

New Blog Header!

If you haven't already noticed our blog has a fantastic new header designed by our very talented son, Alex. He is currently searching for a job in the Graphic Design field, while doing some free lance work on the side.

Check out Alex's website, AP Designs, by clicking on his logo on the right of our blog!! He recently redesigned his Home page and you can see samples of his work. If you need any Graphic Design work just contact him through his website.

Besides designing our blog's header, Alex has also designed Baby Announcements, his Wedding Invitation, illustrations, layouts, t-shirts, and all the graphics and header of our daughter, Nicole's blog, Gidget Goes Home. (Click on her logo, on the right, to link to her site!)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Kona, Hawaii - View from Our Condo

We just returned from a wonderful week in Kona, Hawaii (pictured in the header of our blog). Our friends, Lynn and Rick invited us to share a beautiful condo, right on the water's edge (about 10 feet from the rocky shore--here's two views)!

While there we went deep sea fishing--the guys caught sharks and the girls even caught mackerels. Nick caught a 7 ft., 400 lb Tiger Shark (below on the left);

Rick caught a Sandbar Shark that was
about 4-5 ft., 60-70 lbs (to the right).
What excitement!

We also drove completely around the island of Hawaii in one day. We headed north through Waimea
and onto the Akaka Falls State
Park, just outside of Hilo ( me in front of the Akaka Falls).
We continued south through the Volcanoes National Park, but didn't enter the Park as it was too late in the day. We returned to the Park a few days later and drove as far as you can in the Park, driving by the many lava flows of the Kilauea Volcano which have occurred since the mid 70's. We didn't actually get to see the lava flow or its glow as it is only visible from the ocean at night. We saw steam vents from the current flow (pictured below left),the huge crater formed by the erupting volcano,
walked through an actual Lava Flow Tube and
the rain forest in the Park

(pictured right). Incredible sights.

We stopped at the famous Black Sand Beach and saw Hawaiian Sea Turtles, known as Honu swimming in the bay there.
We kayaked and snorkeled one day near the Captain Cook Monument south of Kona. The water is so clear and we saw many Hawaiian fish and lots of coral. I think each of us was cut by the coral--very sharp!

We shopped, relaxed, played cards and eat both out and in the condo! We listened to the loud sounds of the crashing waves and took in the smells of the various foliage all around us. From the condo's lanai we saw schools of dolphins "perform" their tricks for all to see, watched the local surfers and boogie boarders, saw rowers, fishermen, and more Hawaiian Sea Turtles
swimming near the water's edge just below us!! They don't seem to mind when people are close to them-Nick was able to get within a few feet to take some pictures.

Thanks again, to Lynn and Rick for inviting us on this great vacation! We had a fantastic time!!

Here's the link to the rest of our pictures:

Monday, August 25, 2008

Fun Visit with GIGI !

We recently visited Nicole, David and Gigi, now 15 months, in Denver. Nick attended the International Fire Chiefs' convention while I took the "D Line" from Downtown Denver to Littleton (closest train station to where they live in Highlands Ranch) to spend the days with the kids!! After his convention we went and stayed with them for a couple more days.
In these photos she is amazed at the "wa-wa" in a fountain in Castle Rock, just south of where they live. She loves the water, loves to swim in the pool, taking a bath and the rain (which she called both "wa-wa" and "bubbo" for bubbles, another favorite.

Gigi is at such a fun age. We love being grandparents--it is the BEST ! She is mimicing just about everything we say and babbles so much in her own language. She loves being with us and saying "yaya and 'ba-pa'" over and over again.

When she can't say a word she studies your face so closely and with such attention to try it. We talk to her a lot on "skype" on the internet so she is very familiar with who we are. Her face lights up everytime she says our names.

She's climbing,on everything, much to her parents dismay, and constantly on the move, not sitting still, a lot like her mom at that age and I suspect like her daddy, too. And oh what a 'mind of her own' she has, mixed with a bit of a temper when she doesn't get what she wants! Dare I say, "terrible twos, here she comes"??? Although for us, it'll be more like "testing twos" because even in her frustrating moments she is just too adorable for words! (as every grandparent will agree about his/her own grandchild!)

It was a great visit and hard for both Nick and I to leave. But, in a few months, hopefully we will be seeing a whole lot of them, when they move home to California!! YIPPEE!!

More pictures from our visit:

Friday, August 22, 2008

The A B C's of Me!

I was "tagged" by my daughter to do this! I know, you all have been anxiously waiting for a new blog post and to learn all this interesting and fascinating stuff about me that you didn't know. So I won't keep you in suspense any longer. Here goes, just for fun:

A. Attached or single? I've been married 30 years this November!

B. Best friend? My husband, Nick, and my best girlfriends are a close second... here are a few of the many I've been blessed with: Susie, Lynn, Sue & my daughter, Nicole!

C. Cake or Pie? Berry pie a la mode

D. Day of choice? Friday! It's the start of another great, long weekend!

E. Essential items? reading glasses, cell phone, computer, sunglasses, digital camera, a good book, milk tablets so I can have ice cream anytime I want it, and sewing machine

F. Favorite color(s)? yellow and any shade of blue

G. Gummy bears or worms? I prefer chocolate (!)

H. Hometown? Grew up in Reseda, CA (San Fernando Valley/LA); college in San Luis Obispo; Hometown for the last 29 years: San Marcos, CA (North San Diego county)

I. Favorite indulgence? Coldstone or Baskin Robbins ICE CREAM!

J. January or July? January-I love the rain but also love the summer!

K. Kids? Yes, 4 grown, wonderful kids: Nicole 27 married to David! ; Alex 23 married to Angelina!

L. Life isn't complete without? Family

M. Marriage date? November 19, 1978

N. Number of brothers and sisters? 1 younger sister, Kathy

O. Oranges or apples? navel oranges (especially if someone else peels them for me; like daughter like mom!)

P. Phobias? I don't much like bugs

Q. Quotes- "A baby fills a special place within your heart, you never knew was empty," author unknown; "i carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart)" e.e. cummings.

R. Reasons to smile? My family; my cute little granddaughter

S. Season of choice? Winter, but I really like them all.

T. Tag 5 people: I guess I will tag Susie, who might do this, Lynn and Sue (but doubt they will do it) and Kristina!

U. Unknown fact about me? I have always loved the Olympics and can remember watching as much as I could every time they were on TV. I love how patriotic Team USA made/makes me feel. The problems of the world seem to fade away during the time of the Olympics which also makes it such a magical time. As a preteen I secretly dreamt of competing in the Winter Olympics in slalom skiing (although I never was good enough or fast enough)!

V. Vacation of choice? cruising or rving!

W. Worst habit? Wasting time.

X. X-ray or ultrasound? I don't like either but have had both numerous times.

Y. Your favorite food? ice cream, chocolate, fresh fish

Z. Zodiac sign? Gemini

Any surprises?? So how about you? Tag it's your turn --email me your responses--I'd love to learn about you too! Now back to watching the Olympics; only a couple more days!

Sunday, July 27, 2008


We just returned from our fantastic 10 day trip North to ALASKA! We went with our camping friends: Lynn and Rick Nance, Sue and Bill Laurie, and Robin and Pete Merandi. What an adventure into some of the most beautiful scenery we've ever seen!! The dense, green forests are thick with spruce, birch and pines, so thick you couldn't see through them, and colorful flowers were abundant everywhere we visited. The daylight almost doesn't end, at least for most of northern Alaska in the summer. We saw a lot of cool weather in the high 40's and 50's with some rain, but that didn't dampen our trip.

We arrived in Fairbanks, Alaska, about 1 a.m. Alaska Time (1 hour ahead of California Pacific Time) and walked out of the airport doors thinking our watches had stopped. It looked more like 5 o'clock as it was still daylight. It seems, Fairbanks is so far north that the sun doesn't truly set. It gets kind of dusk-like for about 2 hours, maybe, from 2-4 a.m. with about 22 hours of daylight for about 2-3 months in the summer! In the winter, it is dark most of the time with only about 2 hours of daylight and temperatures that can get to 60 degrees below zero!! So the long days of summer are a welcome change for the locals!

We bus toured the area the next day, taking a steamboat river ride down the Chena River, till it joins with the Tanana River (largest glacier-fed stream in the world). Glacier fed waters are a murky, gray color due to the glacier silt that flows from the melting glaciers; it is so thick it doesn't easily mix with the sea. We also visited an authentic local Chena Athabascan Indian Village; visited a working gold mine-El Dorado, where we panned for gold; and visited the famed Alaskan Pipeline.

The next day we drove to Denali National Park and toured there. Years ago the name was changed from McKinley to Denali, its original Athabascan name which means "most high." We weren't able to see the peak of Mt McKinley as it was covered in clouds, which it is about 70-80% of the year.

We did see a real, wild moose along the side of the park road, but no bears! We stayed in a lodge high on a mountainside which overlooks the Denali area-what a view!

Next day we drove to Anchorage and onto Seward our starting port of our cruise. From there we cruised to Hubbard Glacier-a truly awesome sight! We slowly made our way through the ice and iceberg pieces to within 1/4 mile of the glacier. The glacier is many shades of light teal blue and the ocean water was a murky shade of gray caused by the glacier silt runoff.
We saw bergs fall off the glacier into the bay amidst the rain causing some rolling waves. Truly a sight to behold!

From there we cruised to Juneau, Alaska's capital city-which is only accessible by boat, ship or plane! Nick and Rick went Fly-out fishing, getting to their fishing destination via a float plane in pouring rains! Despite the rain they had a fabulous time catching lots of trout (all catch and release)! The rest of us looked around shopped in downtown Juneau!

Next port stop was Skagway, Alaska, a true old Alaskan town, looked around and took the White Pass and Yukon Route train up to Bennett, Canada (at the border of the Yukon Territory and British Columbia) above the treeline. More breathtaking views of steep mountains, dense forests, waterfalls and lakes.

Then to Icy Strait Point, port stop at the Indian village of Hoonah; guys deep sea fished for Halibut, but only Rick caught one.

We headed to our last port of call in Ketchikan, where we looked around the cute seaport town and then took a boat to a remote area where we drove 2 seater ATV's-what fun that was (a surprise for me! I even liked driving it myself).

Lastly, we cruised the beautiful, breathtaking Inside Passage to our final destination of Vancouver, Canada. Our friends all flew home early in the day, while Nick and I took a city tour visiting Stanley Park (a huge park on the water in the midst of this big city). We also went to Capilano Suspension Bridge park where we walked around the park and across the long suspension bridge which crosses 200 feet in the air over a river below-boy did it sway! A great end to a great vacation!

See all our pictures:
More photos taken by Lauries:

Monday, June 02, 2008


Alex and Angelina at their
Rehearsal Dinner at The Old
Spaghetti Factory, May 29, 2008.

Alex and his new bride, Angelina arriving at the
reception in our backyard.

Alex and Angelina's first dance!

Nick toasting the new couple!

Our New Expanded Family!!

More photos of the Rehearsal and Wedding can be seen on my flickr page:

Monday, May 05, 2008

It's May Already! Our Big Month!

This month is a big month for us.
Gianna turns "1" and Alex an Angelina get married, not to mention Alex will be 23 on
the last day of May!!

It seems like only yesterday when Alex got engaged and they started planning for their wedding, which is now a mere 25 days away!! Nick has been working really hard on on the yards. He put in a new walkway on the side of our house using pavers (right).

It is so awesome and really opened up the area. He's also been busy planting, trimming and weeding.
Yesterday we bought a patio heater, which he had to put together, in case of chilly May gray weather the night of the wedding. Most of the plans are in place, much still has to be done, but not till the day before...... so, the countdown is on!!

It is hard to believe it is the 5th of May already. Many celebrate "Cinco de Mayo;" but really, it is two days before our sweet little kukla (Greek for "doll"), Gianna's, FIRST BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!! Yes, she will be 1 ! Doesn't seem possible, does it?! Can't wait till they arrive for the wedding on the 24th--it's been almost two months since we've seen them, and now she is walking!! Yikes, she'll really be on the go here in our big house! Last time she was here she was barely crawling!

Last week we attended the Annual RSF Appreciation Dinner given for all safety personnel in the district. It was a huge success with the largest attendance ever, including several retired firefighters! (Sorry it's a side view of Nick-my camera took too long to take it!! Guess I need a newer one with a faster shutter!!)
The picture to the left is of the three recent Fire Chiefs of the RSF Fire Dept. Left to right, Irwin Willis, chief prior to Nick, Pete Pedersen, chief who retired 15 years ago, and the present chief, Nick!

The dinner was put on by the RSF Rotary and held at the Rancho Santa Fe Inn. The Rotarians served us a delicious prime rib dinner and lots of service awards were given out. Nick gave a special presentation on the Witch Fire, which was incredible !! Then all firefighters were given a special honor for their service to the community during this fire.

P.S. The last time I wrote our Padres were starting the season well. Not so true right now, but we are still cheering them on--hopefully they will turn things around soon. On Saturday, May 10th, we are going to the game as it is Firefighters' Night at the Padres, sponsored by the San Diego Burn Institute, and proceeds benefit this great organization.

Friday, April 04, 2008


Baseball season is here and our family rivalry begins. Yes, we are a family divided. The Pavones (Nick, Karen, Alex and Angelina) are cheering on the
San Diego Padres!!, who are in first in the west currently, and the Bennetts (Nicole and David)are LA Dodger fans (the only thing good about that is Gigi looks adorable in her Dodger Blue garb!)

In recent years I have become a much more avid Padre fan, watching most of the games on TV and attending several games throughout the season. In honor of the season, I received an email that I had to share with you.

"Spring training is over and America's favorite pastime (
quilting, not baseball!) is now in full-swing. In celebration of the season's start, we'd like you to sing along with us:

' Take me out to the quilt shop
Take me out with the crowd
Buy me some fabric right off the rack
I don't care if I never get back
Let me root, root, root for the new stuff
If it don't come I won’t stop
For it's one, two, three trips and more
To the old quilt shop!' "

Since I have a TV in my sewing/quilting room, I often can be found watching the Padres while quilting!! But, then, I am a good multi-tasker!


Monday, March 24, 2008

Goodbye Georgetown! HELLO Pacifica!

For the last two years we have enjoyed camping in our 33 ft Georgetown Motorhome. It had two slides and gave us so much more room than our previous class C motorhome, or so we thought. We had a great weekend camping at Newport Dunes RV Resort, February, 2008. We ventured to Balboa Island with Alex, Angelina, and Alex's good buddy, Jake. We couldn't have asked for nicer weather. We walked around the shops on the island, then along the broadwalk and took the ferry to the Peninsula where we had lunch at BJ's Pizzeria.

While we were at Newport Dunes, a local RV dealer had about 6 or 8 diesel pushers on display right at the resort. So one night while we were walking the dogs we decided to take a look. These motorhomes were really nice, top of the line, big boys!! All 40 ft and way too pricey for us.

But Nick's always wanted a diesel pusher, and as he gets closer to retirement he couldn't resist "just looking!" When he does retire, we plan to do a lot of RVing and traveling across the United States. I think the "just looking" started last November. At first I would catch him on the computer searching for RV's a few times a week. Weeks of casually looking turned into months. Then after the first of the year, he went to the two RV dealers that were closing their doors in San Marcos, to look over any sale prices. Then, Camping World, which is located about 3 miles from our house, and right across the street from Home Depot, opened their new RV Sales showplace. So Nick just had to check them out. Each time I caught him searching RV's on the internet I knew he was being reeled in.

Finally, he convinced me we should go look at some motorhomes at several dealers in San Diego before going back to Camping World. After a month of weekends, looking at new motorhomes all day each Saturday and all day each Sunday,it became obvious we would be buying a new one very soon, despite the high cost of diesel fuel these days!! The looking process was exhausting and consuming!! We thought we wanted a 35-36 footer, but soon came to realize that the 40 footers had more of what we were looking for if we upgraded.

We thought we had narrowed our decision down to one made by Fleetwood. But Nick wanted to go to a couple more dealers up in Orange County. On our way up, we decided to stop and look at what Traveland, Irvine, had in stock. The salesman there showed us his inventory of Fleetwoods and we happened upon a 40 ft Pacifica made by National RV.

We immediately liked the floor plan, but the price wasn't right. But....they had another floor plan available at their Corona store, that they could make a great deal on. So the dealer had it brought over to Irvine, and by that night we were the proud owners of a 2007 40 ft Pacifica Diesel Pusher, with three slides! Talk about lots of room inside!

We picked it up on Sat., March 22,
and went camping for our first
trip in it at San Mateo Campground,
east of Hwy 5, S. San Clemente.
What a beautiful campground,
lots of trees and foliage, really big
campsites, plenty big enough for our huge motorhome. This is our last RV, at least that is what we tell ourselves! Can't wait to take it out again in the near future.
Here's a panoramic of the inside-composed by Alex!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


By now you've probably heard that we're having another wedding in May, and we're so happy to share this great news! It's an exciting time. Alex and Angelina will be getting married in Carlsbad, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The wedding is set for the late afternoon and the views will be beautiful. Here's a view with the happy couple in the front.
The reception will be held in our backyard, following the ceremony. Alex and Angelina are really organized. Most of the plans have been made. We are happy to be able to have this big event at our home!
Alex compiled both of the panoramic views of the locations. He's almost finished with his Digital Arts Certificate Program at Golden West College in Huntington Beach. He is looking forward to starting his new career this summer after the honeymoon.

If you need a place to stay for this big event we have a block of rooms reserved at the
Hampton Inn, about a mile and an half from our house. It's located off Hwy 78 and Twin Oaks Valley Road, at 123 Carmel St., San Marcos, CA 92078 (760) 736-9249. Special rate of $119/night (mention "PVW") is available for all reservations made at least a month before the wedding, or by April 30.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Yes, we had the most wonderful visit to Highlands Ranch, Colorado, where we enjoyed our first real WHITE CHRISTMAS and the biggest snowstorm the Denver area has experienced in over 100 years!!! Nicole came down to the basement where Nick and I and Alex were sleeping on Christmas morning to tell us it was snowing!!! It was beautiful to watch the snowflakes fall from inside Nicole and David's warm house! Later on Christmas day,
pictured above, David, Nicole and Gianna are all bundled up to be outside while it was snowing.

Alex's fiancee, Angelina arrived later on Christmas afternoon! That's correct! Alex asked Angelina to marry him on December 17th. We are all very happy for them.

There were 14 of us who stayed with Nicole, David and Gigi: 11 adults and 3 little ones!! It snowed several times the week we were there and I loved it. Both Nick and Alex tried their hands at shoveling the driveway and both concluded they are glad they don't have to do it in California!

We went to Golden, Colorado, where we toured the Coors Brewing Company, tasted some free beer, and visited the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum.

Below is a picture of the whole gang at Coors, l to r: Paul & Reuben, Stacey, Nick, Karen, Dan & Jeri, Nicole, David & Gigi, Carly, Alex & Angelina.

We drove to the Rockies, about an hour and a half, where Nicole, David, Alex, & Angelina snowboarded, and Nick and Paul skied at Loveland Ski Basin. The temperature was -14 degrees with the wind chill factor at the top of the slopes. (I was glad to be back in the lodge babysitting little Gigi!)

In the picture to the right,
that's Nick, Alex and David loading the car in the afternoon.

We took the Light Rail to Downtown Denver and walked alone the 16th Street Mall before going to the Pepsi Center to watch the LA Kings beat the Avalanche.

The entire time we were there it didn't get above 20 degrees except the last day; I think it got up to 27!! (extremely cold for those of us who call Southern California home!!)

It was a lot of fun to hang out with family, Pavones and Bennetts alike. We were one big family. Fellowship and food were grand! Sure do miss everyone.

Our BEST Christmas ever!!