Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmastime with the Pavones

Nick and I had so much fun when we took Gigi to the Kids' Christmas Party at the RSF fire dept earlier this month, put on by the firefighters. There were so many little ones running around just being kids and having loads of fun. We enjoyed pizza and cookies. Santa arrived and appeared out of the make shift fireplace, after sliding down the fire pole! Watching the amazement on those little faces was such a joy!

Last Sunday we spent the afternoon with family: we took a trip to the Ikea store in San Diego, and then we headed to San Diego Harbor to enjoy the annual Boat Parade of Lights. It was a bit cold sitting on the waters edge, but we managed to bundle up in our coats and mittens!
We topped the evening off with a trip to the famous "Christmas Card Lane," in Rancho Penasquitos, San Diego and enjoyed all the lights while sipping yummy Starbucks drinks!

It looks a lot like Christmas throughout San Diego county and around our house,
and out!!
We've even got cloudy skies and rain today, to add to the ambiance of the season!! Having grown up in southern California we often don't have real Christmas weather. The rain is nice, especially since it was in the mid 70's just a couple of days ago, which is NOT Christmastime weather in my opinion.With Christmas only three days away, I still have wrapping to finish, cooking and baking to do before the big day. So I better get busy.....

To enjoy more pictures see my flickr page:

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Greetings 2009!

December is here and it’s time once again to reflect on the past year. We have much for which to be thankful......... our family, our health, our travels. Life is full.

Our family is growing.... Alex and Angelina are expecting their 1st baby in May, 2010, and we couldn't be more excited about the arrival of our 2nd grandchild...........and growing.......Nicole and David are adopting. Although we don't know when this precious one will arrive, we could (hopefully will) have a 3rd grandbaby anytime in the next year! Talk about being excited!

Our extended family has also grown as we had three nephews and one niece get married, and a grand nephew was born, giving us a chance to get together at many family gatherings.

Nick has fully recovered from his rotator cuff surgery of March. He is back to all his normal activities and played his first round of golf over the Thanksgiving holiday, pretty much pain-free!

We missed camping with our long time friends at the lake as we didn’t take our long summer vacation of camping this year. Instead, we camped with family and friends more locally and went on many long weekend RV trips, heading to: Campland on Mission Bay, San Diego; Quartzite, AZ for a big RV Show, and Yuma; Surprise and Peoria, AZ for Padres' Spring Training; Huntington State Beach, CA; KQ Ranch, Julian, CA; Flying Flags Resort, Buellton, CA, for a quilting retreat; and So. Carlsbad State Beach twice, once for the week of Thanksgiving.

We spent a fun weekend with friends in Novato, Napa & Sonoma, CA, tasting wines and sailing the San Francisco Bay. We surprised our niece at her college graduation from the Culinary Institute of America in Poughkeepsie, NY and spent a couple of days in Manhattan, New York, as well. I flew for a weekend to Pensacola, FL with my sisters-in-law and brother-in-law for one niece’s wedding! To top our travels off we took a wonderful 11 Day Southern Caribbean Cruise in the fall, with friends, old and new! We saw so many beautiful places, enjoyed the warm Caribbean waters and shared much laughter along the way!

We truly have been blessed this year. As we get ready for Christmas, and celebrate Jesus’ birth, we are also reminded how important our family and friends are.

We wish you all a very Merry Christmas filled with laughter, joy and love!

Nick and Karen

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

It's December Already!

Ok, I am a bit late in posting my finished projects for November. It was a "short" month for me so I didn't finish as much as I would have liked, and My one and only finish for OPAM- November was this table runner--shhhhhh...it's a surprise gift.

I did finish a couple of "blocks," though, that will count for the Charming Girls Quilt Club:
This block is for my Live Piecefully Quilting Bee online.
This block is for a Christmas "retirement" quilt for a gal at work!

Now it's December, and I only have one decoration up, my Advent calendar, made in 1979.
(We add a candy cane for each day in December leading to Christmas Day; see my daughter, Nicole's blog post about our family tradition of this Advent Calendar at gidgetgoeshome).

I am already feeling a bit of the crunch of a "short" December! Nick hasn't gotten our other decorations down from the shelf in the garage as yet, and we aren't getting our tree until this weekend (the 5th).

As for projects to do in December there are so many, and there won't be enough time. But I think I will be ambitious, so here goes:

1. Finish my "cat" placemats similar to these I made for my mom and aunt last year:
2. Several (4-5) shopping bags for Christmas gifts, similar to this one:
3. A taffeta Christmas dress for my granddaughter, Gigi

4. A table topper for Gigi's table out of these fabrics (she picked the brown birdies one!):
5. A baby quilt for my friend, Susie's new grandbaby due soon with this flannel:
I better get busy and get to my sewing!!!

Our Blessed Thanksgiving Tradition

The month of November seems to have flown by in the blink of an eye! We returned from our wonderful cruise, had two weeks of regular life and then we went camping for the entire week of Thanksgiving, Sunday to Sunday!

For the past 32 years or so we have almost always gone camping with family and friends for the Thanksgiving weekend. The few years we stayed home and had a "traditional" Thanksgiving, our kids would say, "This is boring! Let's go camping next year like we always do!" So we pack up the RV and head to the campground, this year (as in many past years) we headed to South Carlsbad State Beach.

Most years, including this one, the weather has accommodated us and we usually have a warm weather Thanksgiving. We've only been rained on a couple of times over the years. We cook a full Thanksgiving dinner while there with all the trimmings. Nick smokes our turkey in the smoker and friends deep fry their turkey. Everyone pitches in making everything that goes along with a traditional Thanksgiving meal. It's truly the best way to enjoy Thanksgiving!
Above top: Our "Stuffed Turkey" table decoration made
by mom almost 30 years ago;
just above: Nicole and Susie and Dane in line for the feast!

We have so much to be thankful for and spending time with family and friends tops the list!!
We are blessed! This year we all shared what we are thankful for and a new tradition was added to our way of celebrating this holiday!

To view more pictures go to:

Friday, November 20, 2009

Our Southern Caribbean Cruise

We had such a great time on our 11 Day Southern Caribbean Cruise, October 26-November 6, 2009, aboard the Celebrity Millennium ship, with our friends, Cara and Andy Mejia, Nancee and Marc Revere, and our new friends, Donna and Rod Guilmain. It was a very memorable trip!!Friends together!
(Top l to r: Andy, Karen Nick, Cara, Marc
Bottom: Nancee, Donna and Rod)

We flew into San Juan, Puerto Rico and spent the night there boarding the ship on Monday. We set sail at 8:30 pm sailing to our first port, Fredriksted, St, Croix, US Virgin Islands (84 sq miles). From there we headed to Basseterre, St Kitts, West Indies(65 sq miles) ; then to Roseau, Dominica (298 sq miles) ; on to Castries, St Lucia(238 sq miles); Bridgetown, Barbados (166 sq miles); St Georges, Grenada (133 sq miles), Willemstad, Curacao; and our final port of Oranjestad, Aruba (75 sq miles). From Aruba, we sailed back to San Juan, PR, where we spent one more night at a fantastic resort, The Conrad Hotel.

We saw plenty of lush, green, tropical foliage, fruit trees, and tropical flowers, in and out of rain forests, and met some friendly people along the way. Most of the cruise it was hot and humid, ranging from about 87 to 89 degrees daily with about 85% humidity! It only rained on us a couple of times--but the rain didn't last long. We did a lot of sightseeing, took some taxi tours, a bit of shopping, river tubing, swimming and snorkeling in the warm Caribbean waters,
and enjoyed martinis and wine aboard ship!!

St Croix is the largest of the US Virgin Islands, 19 miles south of St Thomas. The US purchased the island from Denmark for $25 million in 1917.Taken from St Croix looking at the Caribbean

St Kitts is a lush green island and home to the "green monkeys" on St Kitts-the fur on the belly of these monkeys is actually a bluish green color. Caribelle Batiks are designed and hand made on this island. The "Green Monkeys" of St Kitts!

Dominica is home to 365 rivers, many waterfalls and the cool waters of the Emerald Pool in the rain forest, pictured below.

It rains approximately 435 inches every year on Dominica. English is the offical language and Patois, a mix of French and Creole is also spoken.

Barbados is the easternmost island of the West Indies islands. We spent Halloween day here. It rained a bit while we were in port and the rain just added to the heat and humidity! That night we "dressed up" in masks for the festivities!
Grenada is known as the spice island, since many spices are grown on this island, such as nutmeg, mace (which grows on the outside of the nutmeg), cloves and cinnamon.View of the coastline from the fort on Grenada

Curacao is a very diverse island composed of 55 nationalities and many languages are still spoken there, including Portuguese, French, English, Dutch, and the local dialect known as Papiamento (a mixture of the languages). This island is not very green, as most plants won't grow on it since the island is coral and it rains very little in Curacao. Curacao is 35 miles from the northern coast of Venezuela. We were told one can only see the coastline of Venezuela 15 days out of the year and we were there on one of those days! We visited their "Sea Aquarium" set right on the coast of Curacao--the setting of which was breathtaking!

These are pictures of the Dolphin pools and the rocks mark the separation of
the Sea Aquarium pools and the Caribbean Sea.

Aruba is 18 miles off the coast of Venezuela and is the westernmost Caribbean island. The official language of Aruba is Dutch, but almost everyone also speaks English and Spanish. Aruba has gorgeous white sand beaches with the whitest sand I have ever seen.
Our new friend Rod doesn't much like monkeys....... but we thought we'd get him one to help him get over his "fears" and the remember the trip!Rod and his green friend.

To see all our pictures and Mejias' pictures together go to my flickr page:

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Today marks our anniversary---Happy 31st Anniversary to us!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Projects Complete for "Charming Girls" and "OPAM"

I know I'm posting my completed projects for October early, but we leave on our 11 day Carribean Cruise on Sunday morning, October 25th.

This red Hawaiian Dress for our adorable granddaughter, Gigi!

Fabric actually bought in Kona, Hawaii! (and my friend Lynn is making matching dresses for her two granddaughters!)

The pj bottoms with ruffles at the ankles

that match the nightie top I made for Gigi last month!

Another Baby Girl Quilt, my pattern 4 Patches and Squares.
This one is backed with a cute "Suzy's Zoo" Panel and I used flannel for the "batting" to give it an extra soft feel!
The large pink squares are a coordinating "Suzy's Zoo" print!!

and 2 Flannel Burp Cloths, aka "Ni-nites" to Gigi. Two as gifts and two for Gigi to keep at Yaya and Papa's house for sleepovers!!

As for November projects, here's a couple I hope to complete:

Pin, machine quilt and bind Gigi's Hawaiian Quilt for her toddler bed:

A Christmas project for my SSCS (Secret Santa Christmas Swap partner). Since it's a secret, here's a hint-one of these possible patterns:
I could name a few more projects, but as we draw nearer to the holiday season, I know my time will be limited to sew. I think I will be a bit more cautious in my predictions of finishes.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A QUILT SHOW in San Jose

Last Wednesday I sent two friends (Nancy on the left of me and Lynn on the right, pictured below from the Brown Bag Retreat we attended in Sept), the following email (I know, corny, but I couldn't resist!):

Jury duty Complete! CHECK!
Working today and able to get some stuff for my good friend Nancy, and oh, by the way, do you need anything, Lynn?! CHECK!
Packing almost Complete! CHECK!
Boarding Pass Complete! CHECK!
Flying to be with good friends at a Quilt Show! PRICELESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Then, Thursday morning I flew to San Jose to go to the Pacific International
Quilt Festival XVIII held at the Santa Clara Convention Center. My friend Lynn drove into town via Sacramento from Redding, spending the previous night at her daughter's house to get a "grandma fix," and picked me up at the airport. From there we headed to the Hyatt Regency/Convention Ctr for the quilt show, where we met up with 3 more quilting friends, Nancy, Barbara and Una, who drove up from the Buellton area, Central Coast of California.

When I say it is a big quilt show I mean it is an HUGE show--the biggest one I have seen, (more than triple the size of Southern California's Road to California Quilters Conference ) with hundreds and hundreds of gorgeous quilts to see as well as vendors of quilting supplies!

We hit the quilt show by 11 am., meeting 3 friends from Buellton. Two days of quilt shopping (fabrics, patterns, threads, notions, machines, etc) -- what could be more fun for 5 quilters?!?! Creativity was abounding, fabric was plentiful, and did we ever shop........................
We were so busy shopping we forgot to take pictures of ourselves, but here's a few of the beautiful quilts we saw:
To see more quilts from this quilt show, use this link:

Sunday, October 04, 2009

September Finishes-October TO DO's!!

My Brown Bag (quilting) Retreat was so much fun, as always!! We sewed non-stop, Friday from 8am-midnight, Saturday 9 am-12:30 am, and Sunday 8 am till the end at 3 pm, and, yet, I only finished two quilt tops!! I always think I will finish so much more, forgetting how time consuming some projects can be, for example, my "Moose Junction" (pattern by McKenna Ryan). All the animals, birds, fish, trees and mountain are machine appliqued on top, using a blanket stitch all around the raw edges. I timed myself while stitching around one of the mountain goats and it took 20 minutes to finish one!!! So this project was definitely labor intensive, but worth it.It's a favorite of Nick's, and I'm thinking of adding another border, making it a small throw for our motorhome--since it looks so great draped over our couch!

I also finished the quilt top, "Gigi's Hawaiian Quilt" for our toddler bed. I got the initial idea from a free pattern and changed it to make my own. The blocks are made with two 3 1/2" squares of different Hawaiian fabrics and two 4 patch squares. I love the way it turned it. The criss cross pattern formed by the 4 patch squares are actually a pale yellow fabric that has beachy items on it. This accent really brightens up the quilt.[I had planned on posting pictures from the retreat, however I left my camera at my friend, Lynn's house and won't be getting it back until we meet up at the Pacific International Quilt Show, Oct 15-17th in San Jose!}

I also managed to finish some other projects during September, including another Firefighter Baby Blanket...
a matching "Big Brother" Pillow case (pictured on the left below, both gifts for one of the firefighter's in my husband's dept!);
another "Big Sister" Pillow Case, for another new baby girl born to a member of the fire prevention team;

and lastly, I made a "nightgown" for my granddaughter, to match the nightgown of the little girl in her favorite book, "The Goodnight Book" (which was also one of my daughter's favorite books as a child!). (Picture will be posted once I have it!!)

My October TO DO List will be shorter than my September list was, for two reasons. First, because I was over ambitious last month, and second because I actually have less time to sew and quilt, since we are going on a cruise, leaving the last week of October.

I'm hoping to complete the following:

1) Pajama bottoms to match the pj top/nightgown (which is supposed to be the pj top-but it is longer on Gigi than I planned). The pajamas are made out of the softest fabric--100% bamboo!
2) Another Hawaiian dress for Gigi (made from Hawaiian fabric bought when we were in Kona, Hawaii a year ago (my friend Lynn will be making matching dresses for her two granddaughters as well!
3) Pin, quilt and bind "Gigi's Hawaiian Quilt" (pictured above)

4) Time permitting, pin, quilt, and bind the "Moose Junction" quilt.

And if there's more time, any other projects I've previously mentioned and haven't finished as yet!!!! Wish me luck!