Thursday, May 31, 2012

Sew Weekly Celebrity Contact!

I mentioned in my LOVE sick post that I love to read a blog called Sew Weekly. Each week women from all over the world post about clothing item(s) they made based on a theme for that week. Well last week I left a comment letting Loran know how much I was inspired and moved by her post about Rosie the Riveter. Take a look here.

Loran as Rosie!

 If you follow Sew Weekly you know Loran, she has some of the most spectacular garments week after week. While the garments are lovely, the posts have been even better; like with Rosie, Loran is committed and is great at sharing her experience.  On the site today for example, you can see her wearing this week's Las Vegas inspired creation.  In the post she talks about her love of Elton John and some of her Las Vegas memories. Those are definately some cool sunglasses.  The link for the entire Elton John post is  Here.

Clearly I am a fan of Loran's.  So you can imagine my surprise when I got the nicest e-mail from none other than the amazing Loran!  She let me know that she appreciated my comment and wanted to thank me personally!  She read this blog and saw that we have a few things in common.  While I will not share the personal details, I will say that I am now an even bigger fan of Loran's, if that is possible.  What a nice lady. She has chickens and a typing cat!

 I think Loran is the kind of woman that the rest of us can look up too.  Hard working, passionate and caring; these are the traits that I admire and want to pass on to my own daughter.  That is why I want to let Isabel and every other woman out there know about Loran.  She is a quiet type of hero, but the best kind, the kind that goes out of their way to make others feel special.

Thanks so much Loran for taking the time to e-mail me.  My best wishes go out to you, I hope all is well with your family and extended family. 

Lost and Found

Last month I was able to contact by phone, a long lost cousin.  We had not been in touch since our early twenties when we met briefly.  She got to meet Sebastian as a two year old.  I found her using the internet and was so proud to finally talk with her.  It turns out that she now has a baby of her own, a beautiful little girl. I was also sad to hear that our grandmother (our mothers' mother) passed away very recently.  Our grandmother was at the center of her family and was a very sweet and loving woman.  I am glad that she had people she loved around her all of her life.
When we were children, my cousin and I only got to see each other on and off because as I mentioned my dad was in the Air Force and we moved every few years.  My mother's side of the family is from Georgia.  I remember Georgia and how green it is, and I remember how my cousin used to sing, she had an amazing voice, like the kids you see on American Idol.  I remember that she was always kind and generous to my brother and I every time we met.  The amazing thing to me is that after all these years she looks exactly the same. I mean it really is stunning.  I am posting her picture because she is so beautiful in her wedding dress, I can't resist.  With her is our Aunt who passed away in 2010.  It was the obituary I found for her that led me to my cousin. An amazing and strong women, I wish I had been able to let her know how much I admire and love her.
After talking to the cousin that was nearest to my age, the one in the photo; I was able to speak to another cousin who was a few years older than we were.  She was a cheerleader and I think homecoming queen and prom queen and I remember thinking she was the prettiest girl I had ever seen. She had hair like Farrah Fawcett. She sounds like a perfect southern lady on the phone. She is a successful business executive now.  It was wonderful to learn she was traveling and would be able to meet with my father in Texas.  So my cousin and her husband had dinner with my Dad and Step mom.  I heard they had a great time. Things sort of came full circle.  It is such a nice feeling to know that my cousins are out there, leading exciting and interesting lives.  I do not mention their names because I did not ask before posting this.  I just want for them to know that I am so grateful to be back in touch and hope to learn more about them and maybe even post again about them.  Love to you both.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Before we go any further I have to say as a family and as individuals we have things we love.  But my little family has a funny saying when we REALLY love something, we say "you are sick with it".  For example: "You are sick with M&Ms right now Mom." This is Isabel trying not to call me a pig when I have melted M&M stains around my mouth. So liking something way too much means you are sick with that thing.  I wanted to let you know about a few things we are sick with right now (we were not compensated to endorse anything on this post, we wish;), here goes:
Whole Family LOVE Sickness:
Luci:  Each of us has a special bond with our dog Luci. Maybe because we have had challenging times and she has really been there to love us all through it. What ever the reason, Luci is at the center of our universe and we each feel lucky to be part of the team taking care of her. All four of us list her as our #1 sickness.
Chick Fil A:  We love it so much our family budget and calendar has Chick Fil A built in for twice a month.  The Chick Fil A sauce is the best sauce in the entire universe.
Sweet Tea:  I remembered how to brew sweet tea and cooked up a batch about 6 months ago, since then Isabel and I cannot make enough.  I taught her how and now I love it when she does a batch on her own, she gets all puffed up and proud.
Pumpernickel Bread:  There is something so earthy about this dark bread, a loaf is gone in a day or so. 
NetFlix and Hulu Plus:  We ditched cable over a year ago and got NetFlix. Now we also have Hulu Plus.  I was paying more than $75 a month for cable (gold cables?) and now at about $16 ($8 each) a month and we feel like we are way better off and see fewer commercials to boot. I find we do much less vegging out in front of the TV and more watching exactly what we want.
Tempe Marketplace:  We live in Tempe Arizona, a few miles from ASU.  Nearby there is an open air shopping center that is very nice. There are misters (water turned to mist and sprayed down on people) throughout as well as fire features, a water fountain and seating areas with umbrellas. It has a giant Harkins Theatre, Target (with groceries!), Michaels (my fave), Best Buy and all those places that kids like to go.  We go there for outings, sometimes all together like to the movies, or to get a few groceries or the kids meet up with friends there.


Frances' LOVE Sickness:
Chocolate M&Ms:  Yes, I do regularly get M&M stains on my hands and mouth. 
Waffle Fries:  I know I have Chick Fil A listed above, but I am sick specifically with the waffle fries.  I think about them every day.  It may seem silly to schedule our fast food outings, but it gives us something to look forward to and we don't end up over doing it and going a few times a week. You can have too much of a good thing. Next week is the next visit!!
Instant Folgers:  Coffee lovers will be disappointed to learn that I am sick with instant coffee.  It is just so easy to microwave the water and milk and then add the delicious crystals. I drink about 2-3 cups a day and have to hold myself from drinking more.
Blogs:  I stumbled into Gertie's Blog for Better Sewing over a year ago and I am still a big fan of hers. Her book is #2 on my wish list (Sorry Gertie, it is #2 only because the DIY book has tons of easy projects;).  Through that blog I found an entire online sewing community that is generous, caring and supportive.  I read The Sew Weekly started by Mena Trott, it is a group of women from all over the world sharing clothing items they make based on a weekly theme.  I love seeing so many different and beautiful creations.  I also ADORE the blog I Spy DIY by Jenni Raddsevich. Her new book I Spy DIY is #1 on my wish list. She has super cool DIYs, especially the jewelry. Design Sponge by Grace Bonney is my favorite right now, I am super sick with it;).  It covers design, re purposing, DIY and a series called "living in" where they identify a movie that it would be cool to "live in" and why. I added the links below so you can take a look if you like. These are a few of the bigger blogs I love, I read a few others that are very special and I will share about them in another post.
Photo of Milk Chocolate M&M'S® candies
Happy Tuesday!  Gertie's New Blog for Better Sewing
The Sew Weekly


Monday, May 28, 2012

Ugliest Dress Ever?!?

It is finally here. Time to reveal what Isabel calls "the ugliest dress I have ever seen."  I want to start my defense with some background.  I am not stalling because you can't stall a picture now can you? I know you have likely seen it already but let me go on with my defense.
 I first learned to sew by machine in middle school and made shorts, a shirt and an apron.  I remember getting the pockets right on the shorts on the first try, what a rush. I think that was the moment I got hooked. I eventually got my own little (heavier than a truck) basic Singer.  I used it a few times and loved it, but eventually had to leave it behind in one of our moves.  My dad was in the Air Force and we moved  every few years.  During my senior year in high school we moved to Germany.  That is another post; yes, back to sewing (not stalling:) ok maybe). So fast forward to 2010 and I find myself with time on my hands and in need of an outlet/hobby and think of sewing.  I was afraid to buy an expensive machine and end up not using it.  I found a new older model Brother online from Wal-Mart.  She is basic, and aside from being a great bargain, she helps me feel more confident each time I sew. I have really grown to enjoy using her. I bought a few patterns to start with including See & Sew B4326.
I know, definitely lounge wear.  But I was going to be lounging so I thought of trying the long dress in an ITY poly cotton which I describe as a slippery t-shirt like material. I found the fabric on sale at, at $1.99 a yard.  Fabricmart is fantastic for their deals and wide range of choices.  I have ordered from them a few times over the last year and everything I received was great, better than expected.  When this fabric came I remember being surprised by the variety of pink but still loving the bold graphic print.
Without further ado, presenting what Isabel calls "The ugliest dress I have ever seen.":

It looks funny with my arms out but I wanted to show off the sleeves.  I like the hoodie too and I still wear it occasionally.  I don't think it's ugly, but I do know that some may not get it.  Like Isabel.  I take her criticism in stride, she is 13 after all.  It was fun to make, but also challenging at times (I dusted off some rarely used expletives when I accidentally sewed the two arms together) and taught me a lot about sewing knit fabrics.   More to come on some sewing successes and fails.

I don't think strangers should talk about politics, but I think military service has nothing to do with politics.  So whatever you believe, please consider them; take a moment to remember those that fell in service to our great country.

Have a nice Memorial Day.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

He Made This!

I mentioned in our very first post that we would like to share some of the things we have made or are making. Well today is the day and I plan to make this a regular post.  I will start with two items that I love that Sebastian made for me.  Sebastian recently turned 19, but the first item I want to show he made in the fourth grade I believe. The orange mask was made with paper mache molded over a milk carton to get the shape. Sebastian then painted the mask and added a feather with a few beads.  I love the color and just the way it looks. We have had it hung up many times through the years, but it now guards the window in my room.  I love looking at it every day.  Sometimes I imagine little boy Sebastian huddled over it in art class. Priceless.  The second item he made as a senior in ceramics class.  The picture does not do it justice, it is a very beautiful shape with hand molded feet and that color dripping over! It may be my favorite color of all time, what a spectacular light blue green. I keep my scissors in it and enjoy seeing it every day.
The last photo is pure fun.  Yesterday, Sebastian started a new project to punch letters into a blank dog tag.  I got the idea to metal stamp jewelry tags online at the I Spy DIY blog (love this blog, more about it later;).  I was able to get the supplies on sale little by little over the last few months.  Michaels, Hobby Lobby and Joann's each seem to be sending out one item at 40% off coupons every few weeks.  We have a Michaels less than 2 miles away, so I go there most often. But I was able to get to a Hobby Lobby a few weeks ago and they had the best metal jewelry stamping supplies I have seen so far.  We now have what we need to practice so we can get the letters all aligned.  I would like to eventually offer prestamped and custom stamped metal jewelry in our Etsy shop, but we have a bit of practice and planning to do first;) Let me know if you have any cool ideas about what to stamp.  I am thinking great short quotes and funny ones too. 
Have a great day.

Spice Up Your Life

 I have been eating really well lately and wanted to share some photos of a few plates Esteban made for me.  A Penzeys Spice shop opened recently in our nearest shopping center.  That shop is so amazing, with just a few spice blends our food is so much more flavorful. if you have never been in one I suggest going in.  You will be amazed at the variety and quality of the spices.

I found them online and they say they stock over 250 spices and blends. 
Here is the site:  Penzeys Spices
In the last few days, Esteban has focused on sea food, take a look. The photo on top is shrimp with tomatoes, mushrooms and brown and wild rice. I believe the spice mix he used included saffron. Delicious. This was like a home made shrimp scampi made more healthfully.

The first photo below is salmon and shrimp and onions with a bit of curry spice. The second is salmon and onions on pumpernickel. The salmon was rubbed with an Indian spice blend called Tandoori.  You can see we are loving the pumpernickel bread right now, it has such a great strong smell and taste. 

This just goes to show that finding the right spices can change everything.  So here's to finding all the right spices in life as well as in cooking.

Saturday, May 19, 2012


I love hats and needed some that were soft when I started chemo.  I crocheted a few and they were great in winter.  It gets hot here so I knew I had to come up with something for the summer, this was last summer. I never liked wearing wigs, they are hot, itchy and just don't feel quite right. Going free and bald is fun, but it makes me cold sometimes and hot other times. I needed something that could handle daily wear, including sleeping for some of the caps. So I made a few hats out of thin cotton blend jersey (t-shirt material) and they were amazing.  So then I wanted a variety to go with different outfits so I made some more and just loved them.  People stop me often to ask where I get my hats, and I feel so flattered when they do.  I wanted to put my creativity to work to help with finances but with little pressure so my daughter and I opened an Etsy shop. We are going to sell our hats and other handmade goodies online.  It is open now, but we are adding inventory and plan a grand opening July 5. The whole family is helping.  Here is bit from our Etsy profile listing each persons title:
My family is supporting me and each person has a role and exciting new title.  My son, Sebastian is a strapping young man of 19. He will be in charge of packing and shipping, so his cool title is: International Transportation Director. He is still learning to drive, but he can pack the heck out of anything.  Isabel is 13 and helps with the crafting and photos.  She has great taste, style and gorgeous hair so I think Creative Craft and Quaffed director.  My husband is Esteban and he provides comic relief and great food, so he is CFO (Chief Food/Fun Officer). I like to cheer everyone on and love chocolate so I will be the CEO: Chief Encouragement/Eating chocolate Officer). I have a great family and we make each item with love and hope you enjoy our shop.
  The shop is called-you guessed it-My Laughing Lion (I will do a post soon to explain the cool name).  Stop by and take a look at the shop if you get a chance:  .My Laughing Lion.  At least you will see the great pictures of Isabel modeling, like these. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Funny Bunny

I mentioned that Esteban likes to manipulate digital images.  Well, the bunny picture below is a great examples of his lighter work.   My profile picture with an astronaut suit was also made by Esteban. I added a tab to the top of the blog for Esteban's digital art work. 

Isabel recently had her 13th birthday.  She is my favorite funny bunny.  Full of whit and sass, Isabel is bright and sweet and an important part of our little family. I am so proud of her and I can't wait to spend time with her this summer.  I did let her use a temporary dye to add red to her hair.  She loves it and wants to try black.  I think black might be too much, so we are going to hold off;) We applied to Camp Kesem, a camp for kids that have a parent dealing with cancer. I hope she is accepted, if not we will find another camp.  She really wants a camp experience this summer and we are going to do all we can to give her one.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

First Post!

I am so excited to get started.  We are going to use this blog to share family photos (my family is so cute, it is practically an emergency), to chronicle our adventures and even just share what we are making/eating/doing right now.  I think this writing will be helpful to me and while I know no one may show up, I welcome each and every visitor that does happen by.  This will not be a cancer blog.  Please do not misunderstand, I am very grateful. That does not mean that cancer will never come up, it just means that my content will be about other things. While I am fighting with every cell (I picture tiny cells with boxing gloves:), I need a place to get away from it all and I am asking for you to join me.
I love to make things. I LOVE it.  Sewing, jewelry, embroidery, paper mache, glass etching, crochet, you name it and I want to try it out. I was a Brownie and Girl Scout as a child and back then I liked to make things. But as an adult, because I was always working, I did not know what amazing things people are doing out there with arts and crafts. WOW!  I started following sewing blogs about a year ago and will share some of my creations, including what Isabel calls "The ugliest dress I have ever seen." Hey at least I know she will tell me how she really feels. The dress is only the beginning, we will share crafts large and small as well as share about each of us and what we are up to. 
I mentioned Isabel, she is my daughter and just turned 13.  I will profile her and her brother Sebastian, 19 and my husband Esteban.  Esteban is an amazing artist, he works with digital images to create the unexpected. They are a family to be proud of and very funny.
One main character I forgot to mention, and she may be THE main character, is Luci.  Luci is, we were told, is a lab and boxer mix.  While that sounds possible, she also resembles a smallish great dane or Scooby Doo's girlfriend. We got her at a place in Tucson that rescues puppies from puppy mills. She was three months old when we got her and she was the cutest giant puppy we had ever seen. You will see, she is special and a very important part of our family.
Isabel and I are working on updates this week so stay tuned.

Luci the giant puppy at 3 months old.
Luci still thinks she is little and wants to sit in my lap. Luci is now 3 years old.