Monday, February 28, 2011

Unplugged :)

The view from the front of the house.

Gabriel was helping Papa start a fire in the fireplace.
Life can get so busy. Even a domestic goddess, such as myself, needs time to "unplug" every now and then. To walk away from Facebook and blogging and cell phones and all of that. We get so caught up in the hectic pace of daily life! I love that our family makes time every year for our annual Family Getaway. The funny part is that as soon as we get home, we start talking about next year's trip :) Normally we go to Lake Arrowhead, but because of the mountain terrain it's almost impossible to find a house to rent that has a large flat yard for the boys to play in. So they end up spending most of their time indoors. My daughter in law, April, suggested that this year we should try Julian. I found this amazing home to rent on It'is a truly magical place to take the family. I felt like a child myself when I went inside this beautiful home and saw the backyard through the large windows. There is a tire swing and a zip line! The backyard is massive! Every child's dream yard! The perfect place for the boys to use their new adventure belts! The beds in every room have wonderful plush mattresses with gorgeous bedding!
Our 4 grandsons :)
I felt like we were staying at a friend's home and not a rental. The owner was so wonderful to deal with and she told us about Don's Market in town where they make their own sausage (which we had 2 varieties for 2 different meals....yummo!) and I also tried bacon ends for the first time. Thick chunks of bacon...oh my! Hopefully this home will be available for rent and we will be able to come back for years to come! In Lake Arrowhead, of course, the highlight for the little ones is snow. We were hopeful that we may get some snow in Julian. As it turned out, we were blessed that on Saturday we got our wish. The snow was falling and the boys (OK...I'll admit that I was pretty excited too) were beyond excited! I just wished we could have stayed longer! Our Family Getaway of 2011 is now in the history books and Caleb told his Mommy the next morning that he wished the "brown cabin" could be our home and David woke up from his nap yesterday and told his Mommy that he wanted to go back. Sounds like a good time was had by all :)
The boys found some cowboy hats to play with.

The zip line was a big hit!

Seriously.....who doesn't love a tire swing?

The view from the back of the house.

More zipping!

The boys on one of their many adventures in the backyard!

Checking out the huge front yard!

Elijah was making notes in his adventure journal.

Elijah and Papa adventuring!

Oma and Caleb playing Candy Land :)

Barkley with his jacket and boots in the snow :)

David catching snowflakes in his mouth :)

Elijah making snow balls!

Elijah and Caleb playing in the falling snow!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Adventure is Out There!

As a family, we go on a get-away every year in February and this year is no different. I got the idea to make Adventure Belts for the boys a few months ago and I've been collecting components for them ever since. I wasn't quite sure what material I was going to use for the belts themselves. I thought about felt, but changed my mind because it wouldn't really hold up well. Then I thought about denim and maybe using a heavy iron on interfacing to stiffen it up. Then the other night when I couldn't sleep....again.... (thanks peri-menopause) I started designing the belts in my head and I remembered that I bought a few yards of chalk cloth a few years back to make some chalkboards for the boys and I never used it. I decided that it would be perfect! It has the feeling of vinyl upholstery fabric. I edged the chalk cloth in bias tape with a tight zig zag stitch to soften the sharp edge as well as keep it from curling up and it also color co-ordinates with the accessories that go in the belt. For the actual "belt" I bought one yard of colored webbing in all 3 colors and D-rings to make the belts adjustable. Each of the boys has their own color so that there will be no confusion or fighting later on. Each belt holds a large magnifying glass that has a removable handle so that you can collect bugs inside the tube :) Also an adventure journal with a pen, a retractable measuring tape and a flashlight. Each boy will also have a pair of binoculars, but those will go around their neck and not on the belt. If my boys weren't so skinny, I could probably have fit another compartment on the belt, but I didn't want the belts to go completely around their body :) I'm hoping to have some fun pictures of my little adventurers wearing their belts very soon! My hubby wanted one for himself. So if one of the big boys like the belts, chances are good that the little boys will like them too!

Monday, February 21, 2011

A fun Friday night and a mystery.....

I spent another Friday night sewing with my blogger friend Regena :) Although we live in different cities, with the magic of the internet, we can each work on projects in the comfort of our own homes while we chat back and forth in between breaking needles and ripping out seams gone awry.
I wanted to take a break from sewing items for the shop and decided to make something just for me. A few weeks back I saw the pattern for this re-usable grocery bag over at and I knew I wanted to try it out. You can find the free download here. It's a great pattern..... easy to follow and fun to make. I'll definately be making more of these. I used sturdy home decor fabric and I love the way it turned out. A bag like this might actually make grocery shopping more fun. (OK....I said "might")

the mystery materials.......

So that was the fun on to the mystery! I've been collecting the items in this photo for a for a while now and today I'm starting the project.  Can you guess what I'm making? I'll show pictures and the details hopefully tomorrow, so stay tuned!

Friday, February 18, 2011

31 and 28....a couple of days late :)

I realize that February 16th was a few days ago, so this
post is a few days late.

Since I was 19 years old, February 16th has been a very special day for me. It was on that day 31 years ago that I became Mrs. Jose A. Torres. There was very little else I wanted to be in life besides Jose's wife and the mother to his children. I got my wish very quickly and our son Brandon was born in November of the same year. Our son was the most wonderful, smartest little boy ever and I longed for a little sister for him. 3 years later on our wedding anniversary we were blessed with a beautiful little girl! I couldn't have been happier!  So every year as we celebrate our anniversary we also celebrate our amazing daughter who is now 28 years old and happliy married. She too had her son born in November and is now expecting their little girl in June! This year for our anniversary, Jose bought me these gorgeous roses and this beautiful sterling necklace with our wedding date stamped into the bead cap. He also told me to pick out new dishes for our home (service for 16 as our family continues to grow :) But no matter what gifts I receive for our anniversary, Kristina will continue to be the best of all anniversary gifts!

Happy Anniversary my Love! I love you more every day!

And Happy Birthday Mouse! We love you and we are soooo proud of the wonderful wife and mother you are!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Rollin' with the Gnomies..... :)

 Yesterday's "Gnomie test run" went better than I expected! Karl found a new home the very day he was listed in the shop :) So I put my hands to work making another Karl and Jurgen, Gunter, and Reiner too! Those are all names of some of the men in my family :) We'll see how it goes. Good thing the hubby was watching "blow 'em up and everybody dies" movies last night. Gave me time to do all the handwork on these 4 guys.

The hubster gave me these gorgeous tulips for Valentine's Day as well as this hilarious card that had me laughing out loud for over 20 minutes! Our 31st anniversary is tomorrow as well as our daughter's 28th birthday. We have sooo much to be thankful for :)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Gnome Sweet Gnome :)

In my opinion, there are really only 2 kinds of gnomes. There are the evil ones that are scary looking and you just know that they eat slugs and frighten baby birds as soon as it gets dark outside and I'm sure they have something to do with all the things that go missing from the garden....
Then there are the totally sweet gnomes that work hard all day in your flower beds with their tiny wheelbarrows and help the flowers grow, singing a happy tune the entire time. Those are the kind I'm in love with :) I have always loved their little pointy hats and their sweet disposition! I decided to try my hand at making a pattern for one of these adorable little guys and this is Karl :) I've added Karl to my shop today to see if anyone else has room in their heart and home for him and if so, I'll make some more :) Happy Valentines Day everyone!

* Update on Karl - he didn't even last 4 hours on Etsy. Guess it's time to stitch some more :)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

New Stuff :)


This has been a week of new stuff for sure! I added some new pin cushions and some new ID / Business card wallets to my Etsy shop. Also I received a wonderful package from my dear friend Amy! We are doing a pillowcase swap together with our friend Regena. Amy knocked it WAY out of the park with the amazing new pillowcases she made for me! I love everything about them! You can see from the picture that she put alot more in the box then just the pillowcases :) Then yesterday I got a surprise visit from my swap partner Jeanie who made a special delivery right in my front yard! She brought my new Valentines apron and a bunch of new goodies as well as a huge heart shaped brownie for my birthday! You can see more details here. And today I'm waiting for UPS to deliver my new dishes. They are an anniversary gift from my hubby and I can't wait to open them up and wash them and place them in their new home :) So what's "new" with you?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wearin' My Birthday Suit :)

Wow.....1/2 a century! How did that happen? 50. It's a big number. It's a good number :) Pretty soon I'll be able to wear fun hats and gold shoes and not care what anyone thinks! I've always admired older women who dress just for themselves. You know the ones.......they always look like they are going somewhere special....even if they are just waiting for a bus? For most of us while we're young, we can get so tangled up in what we "should" look like or trying to fit into the mold of what everyone else is doing. I'm looking forward to the "everyday is a party" phase of my life. Bring it on! I'm sooo ready! 

And I'll bet you are ready to see who won the random giveaway?
The winners are:
#5 - Amy
#6 - Jayepea
#8 - Torkmonkey
#11 - Jillytacy
#13 - Mary Lea

Congrats ladies! Please go to my profile and email me your names and addresses.....and then watch your mailboxes :)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Sorpresa! Sorpresa!

 For those of you who are not multi-lingual like moi.....sorpresa means surprise in Spanish :) Tomorrow I will be 50 years old....a proud age for sure :) So when my darling Sister-in-law invited us over for lunch on Sunday under the guise of saying "thank you" to my hubby and son for installing their new heater last Saturday, I was none the wiser. We were planning to celebrate my birthday together with my daughter's birthday this coming Sunday after church. My hubby orchestrated everything. He's handsome AND clever....a good combination! I was totally caught off guard for sure. Even my mom was in on it. She comes upstairs to the nursery at church just as the service is over, almost in tears and tells me that she isn't feeling well. She's forgotten to take her heart medication and I need to take her home right away. She was supposed to get me to take her home to keep me away from my own house (where my amazing cake was secretly stored in the outside fridge) so that Kristina could scoot over there and grab the cake and take it to my brother's house before I got home. My mom was NOT supposed to freak me out by telling me that she needed her heart meds.....but that's what she came up with. Even Kristina was worried until my mom smiled at her as we were rushing out of the nursery. I'm almost 50....I dont' need this kind of excitement!
 So after I get my mom to her apartment and she goes upstairs to take her medication and comes back down to the car, she tells me that she is starting to feel better. Maybe it was anxiety over forgetting to take her pill. I tried to convince her to stay home and rest but she insists on coming because she so enjoys having all her children and grandchildren together at the same time.....
I drove back to my house to meet up with my hubby and then the 3 of us continued on to my brother's house. When we got there, I had no reason to suspect anything out of the ordinary.
 My sister-in-law did such a great job of decorating with balloons and cute decorations and was clever enough to make sure that nothing could be seen from the front door. I walked in to find everyone standing there yelling "Surprise" when I came in! I've only had one other surprise party in my life and I was 28 at the time. Many moons ago! This was a truly special day that I will remember always! My hubby even had the cake decorated to match my Etsy shop! I mean....look at those Owlies! The cake was almost too cute to eat. ( I said almost....I'm not crazy!) My daughter was in charge of ordering the cake and knows of a wonderful bakery close to her home. The cake was lemon sponge, with lemon curd and raspberry filling. OMG! I had some Sunday. I had some yesterday for breakfast, then for afternoon snack and after dinner. Thank goodness we gave some away on Sunday for people to take home, otherwise I'd need some kind of intervention for sure! I also received some of my birthday gifties. My son is making an awesome picture frame filled with silly pictures of my children and grandchildren. How cool is that? I love it that he is making me something this year. I love all the thought that goes into handmade gifts. My daughter made me the most lovely scrapbook filled with pictures and verses from Proverbs 31. (I think she loves to make me cry in public) After all is said and done, there is no greater gift for me than my family and the love we share. All the ups and downs of life have brought me to this point and I am so thankful for every day that I get to spend with these wonderful people! I can't wait to see what the next 50 years bring!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Tis better to give, than receive GIVEAWAY!!!!

One of the coolest things about blogging for me so far has been all the awesome crafty women I have met and continue to meet. I was reading my new blogger friend Jennifer's blog the other day and she was doing a fun giveaway to the first 5 people who left a comment. She will send them something handmade by her at some random time during the year. I love suprise mail...don't you? So I thought I would take the concept and switch it up a bit. Since my birthday is next week and I'm going to be 50 I thought it would be fun to do a birthday giveaway in the same vein as Jennifer's. If you leave me a commment and tell me what your favorite color is and what your favorite thing is (like my color is red and I love chickens) I will pick 5 random winners on my birthday, February 9th to receive a handmade item from me during 2011. It could be anything from an apron, an owlie, earrings, handmade cards, etc. Anyone can leave a comment and you only need to comment once. I will be using the random number picker to choose the winners. Good luck everyone!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Love Story......

It all started the day my first package from Vintage Vogue showed up. Sure, I've made things out of felt before: the generic felt that you can buy at Michaels or JoAnn's, you know the kind I'm talking about. But this wool felt was unlike any other felt I had ever "felt" before! It's like this magic fiber that can be made into anything you want. Like the play-doh of the fabric world! I'm so totally in love with it! I have a container to keep even the smallest scraps that can be used for eyes or flower petals or the occasional owl beak. The possibilities are endless! Last night while the hubster was watching a movie with knights and swords and blood and killing....I was happily sitting next to him making this little "dunny" pencil topper. I think she just might put a smile on somebody's face :) at least I hope she does!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Today I am finally opening my Etsy shop!'s alot of work to take 5 photos of every item, then crop and edit them. Then resize them for Etsy and write descriptions. *whew* Anyhowzers.....I have all the Owlies and Owl pendants listed and now I have to photograph and list the aprons and ID/Business card wallets. I mentioned earlier that I would have a special deal for my blog "followers" (yes...all 18 of you :) If you are interested in purchasing anything from my shop, email me for a coupon code for 20% off your first purchase. This coupon code will only be available to those of you who are currently listed as my 18 followers. I will be offering special deals from time to time throughout the year to all those who "follow" this blog. So even if you don't qualify for this particular discount, you can always become a follower and you'll be included in the next one. Either way, I'm really hoping that you'll stop by Etsy and check out my shop!