Monday, December 27, 2010

Goodbye Sweet Ruby Sue

It's a sad day at our house today. Our beloved Ruby of more than 15 years is gone. She was the best dog in the world. She was extremely smart and so good. She was loyal and loving beyond words...truly a best friend!

We feel good that she had a wonderful life. She was raised with three kids who adored her and parents who thought of her as a gift from God. We were so blessed to have had her in our lives for such a wonderfully long time.

Ruby 0508 003
Go to heaven now Ruby Girl. There will be no more pain. Be with God where you will be able to run like the wind again. Find all your brothers and sisters. Find George and Lucas. They will guide you home. We love you and we will miss you terribly. Someday, we will see you again baby girl.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

RIP Dear Dean I love you!

I have had so many unbelievable, life-changing miracles in my life that I am losing count. Because of these miracles, my faith is very strong. However, like Melody Ross mentioned in her recent blog post, sometimes you don't even realize you may have experienced a miracle until you take time to analyze the situation.

My most recent miracle came last week when my stepfather passed away unexpectedly. My mom and Dean have been together for more than 25 years and live in Northern California. He had surgery on Monday for a blocked artery in his pelvic area. He did fine in the surgery but afterwards, his blood pressure was low and his heart beat was irregular. Then the next day, his kidneys failed and his other organs began to shut down. Doctors did not know why other than to say he was a very sick man. On Wednesday morning he passed away with my mother and his son at his side.

He was a wonderful, sweet, gentle, very intelligent, lovely man who had been taking great care of my mother for many years, but most especially in recent years after the physical problems she has endured. The amount of care that he gave her was unmatched by anything I had ever witnessed. His unexpected death has left us reeling and unsure of the future for my mom.

The night before his surgery, I asked my mom to tell him that I love him and that I wished him good luck on his surgery. I told her that I didn’t want to make him come to the phone. She said, “I think you should speak to him.” (Maybe it was her unconscious premonition!)

I did speak to him and we talked for about 20 minutes and then we both said, “I love you.” That was the last thing my step dad and I said to each other. What a blessing for me…a gift from God.

As I thought about this, I realized that I have had three fathers in my life that I truly loved. Strangely, I received miracles at each of their deaths.

My previous stepfather who my mom was married to for more than 25 years was diagnosed with renal cancer and given six months to live. The day after receiving this information, I was in a major car accident. It was truly a miracle in itself that I lived. I was physically very broken and went through more than a year of operations and recovery. Because of this, I was not able to work.

During the last six months of my step dad’s life, I was able to spend a lot of time with him…time that I would not have had if I had been working. I was at his side when he took his last breath. I was positive of his love for me and mine for him. I had no guilt when he passed. I only had faith.

I know it may see odd that I would think of a car accident that I still, to this day, physically suffer from, as a miracle in my life. But it’s the only explanation I have for the love that I was able to share with my step dad in his last days. To be able to kiss him and tell him, “I love you” right before he passed was such a gift to me…one that I will always appreciate.

My biological father died when I was in my 30’s. My mother had been married to him for ten years and my stepmother was married to him a year after the divorce until he died. I hadn’t seen him for about a year. Out of the blue, my step mom called me because she was worried about him. I went over to see him and he was sitting in a chair. I could tell he was sick and maybe not sure of who I was…I thought. I went to him and held his face in my hands and kissed him on the cheek and said, “I love you daddy.” He said, “I love you too Kat.” Three days later, he died in his sleep. Oh my Heaven, that was such a gift from God. I didn’t even know he was sick and I hadn’t seen him in so long…because of a disagreement and pride. As soon as my step mom called me and told me he had passed I knew what God had done for me and for him.

My father had been an attorney in San Diego for more than forty years. Several weeks after his passing, my family was having a life celebration for him. I happened to be in court on that day on a financial situation. I had my four-year old daughter with me because we were going to go to grandpa’s funeral after we took care of the court business. It started to get late and I wasn’t being called. I went over to my lawyer and explained who my dad was and what the situation was and that I might need to leave. He knew my dad and was stunned that he had passed away. He spoke to the judge. The next thing I knew it was my turn before the judge. Turns out he knew my dad also. As my little girl and I stood hand in hand before him, he literally gave my dad a eulogy right there in the court room. Other lawyers and clerks had come into the courtroom and were standing along the wall beside and behind the bench. Some were crying. The judge discussed my dad for about ten minutes. He talked about my dad’s expert contribution to law and how respected he was and much he had actually taught the court. The judge honored my father in a way that I would have missed all together had I not been in the right place at the right time. No one wants to be in court, but if I hadn't been there, and if I hadn't been there on that day, I would not have received that unbelievable moment in my life that meant more to me than I can ever express. A miracle for me! I was in shock. I floated out of that court room in God’s arms.

While I have lost all three of my father figures and while our relationships were not always blissful, I am happy to have had them in my life and I am blessed to have loved them and to have been loved by them. And I thank God for His unwavering guidance.

Thanks to Melody for inspiring to write this article about my own life experience and to take the time to realize the miracle.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Seaside Soiree and Charity Wings

For three days I was in absolute Seaside Soiree sensory euphoria.

In fact, even the last few days of reflection on my weekend are only now just beginning to be infiltrated by the reality of chores, grocery know, the real life stuff.

The first annual Seaside Soiree was like being at an incredible entertainment park with some of my favorite people. My mind was empty of everything but having fun.

Everywhere we looked, everywhere we turned, there was something amazing going on including, making new fabulous friends and spending time with some of our favorite friends.

The classes were like being on a wild ride.

The teachers who, in my opinion, are some of the best included, Liz Hicks, Suzi Blu, Miss Vicki Breslin, Alisa Burke, Michelle Cummings and Melody Ross.

We made paintings, royal princess beaded crowns, sea shelled frames, stamped journal books, painted canvas purses and more.

Like fairy princesses, Elena, Sheila and the wonderful Charity Wings fairies gave us gifts throughout the entire event. Every class included gifts. Every time we went to bed, we had gifts on our beautiful tye dyed pillow. Actually, I should have brought an extra suitcase for all my projects and presents.

We stayed at the Oceanside Marina Suites, which was located right on the harbor. The accommodations included 2 bedroom, 2 bath suites that were literally 15 feet from the water.

Oceanside, California in the winter.

The view right outside our suite.

A man and his bird.

Harbor...we could hear the fog horn at night. So peaceful here.

Sally and Georgia

Living room in our suite

Kitchen in our suite.

Best picture of the night, Alicia and Kathryn having fun.

Me and my friend.

Elena and Jessie being cute! Awe Ha

Miss Vicki, Suzi and Maryanne

Miss Vicki and her baubles and bangles

Elena, Miss Vicki and Alicia telling secrets in our room.

Elena's birthday present from Kelly.

Hangin' with my good friend Sally.

Kat, Amy and Glenna at sunset.

Roommates, Miss Vicki and Camille

Princess Elena provided us with bacon so that every morning we could wake up to the smells and sounds of bacon cooking.

CSS Book club friends, Cynthia, Kat, Alicia, Kathryn

Crown time.

Danette & Kat

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Out of the Box Book Club at Urban Barn

Here we are at the Urban Barn in Escondido. What a fun backdrop for our Out of the Box Book Club. The Urban Barn is an incredibly inspiring, artsy, consignment store. It is very vintage and a true experience. Next weekend, they are having their monthly Street Faire, which is a real treat and a great place to buy gifts.

Tonight we celebrated the holidays with hord'oeuvres, desserts and a white elephant exchange. The only criteria for our exchange is that it must be handmade with love. Everyone rose to the occasion and we had a blast.

Glenna, Pam, Kat, Elena, Nancy, Ivy, Sheila, Maureen

Elena multi-tasking as usual

Linda, Urban Barn Owner and Donna

Nancy went home with one of Elena's gorgeous buttons and baubles bracelet

Danette was so happy with the little girl, made by Nancy. The sad face is because she only got to keep her for minutes. It seems that in a white elephant exchange, you can steal other already opened gifts. And, that's just what Glenna did. Awe, poor Danette!

Ooops! Another robber came along and stole the little girl from Glenna.
Awe ha...Guess who went home with the little girl!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Suzi Blu - Self Guidance Video Portrait Classes

You have heard me credit Suzi Blu for simply changing my creative life. She has taught me so much about drawing a face and creating a mixed media piece of art that I am proud of.
Well, here's your chance to learn from the expert herself.
Only $35.00 for three classes,
including 39 videos.
You will never find a deal like this again!
Suzi's classes are normally a huge bargain at $55.00 and that is for one class.
They are a bargain because besides all the videos, which are yours to keep, she also provides pdfs, links, inspirational ideas and pictures, complete supply lists with links, and unwavering confidence in you. I don't believe there is any other artist on the web that offers as much.
Don't miss this opportunity!
Three of Suzi's most popular classes
for only $35.00.
Go to Suzi's website for further details.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Happy Halloween

Better late than never! Hope you had fun. We didn't get a single trick or treater.

This is my sort of pretty but stern witch. Not finished. I don't seem to finish things these days. I need to analyze that.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Suzi Blu Stamps

Suzi stamp used in a journal page

Colored with Copics Markers

I really have fun with Suzi Blu stamps. Suzi is a world renowned artist and I just can't get enough of her petite doll style. Her stamps are awesome in a card. I like to color them with paint, pencils and markers. I love the intensity of the colors with markers. I love to use them in collage or in journal pages. I thought this little Petite Girl would be perfect popping out of a birdhouse on my journal page. Go to Suzi Blu's website for a wonderful video and instructions on making your own collage journal page.

You can find Suzi Stamps at your local scrapbooking store. If they don't have them, ask the manager to order them from Unity Stamp Company. In fact, go to Unity yourself and order stamps. Right now, they are having a 40% off sale.
Or, go to the Eclectic Paperie for the full line.

Friday, October 22, 2010

I Have Wonderful News!

My friends think I'm keeping a secret and I am. I've been dying to share. So here goes...
I have two fabulous daughters in their late 20's and they are both preggers. Yes, I'm going to be a grandma twice. No they didn't plan this together. They are less than 4 weeks apart. It's amazing! Sarah is already an amazing mother, and anyone who knows Taylor knows that she will also be an excellent mother. These babies will truly be blessed to be raised by these two women.

Taylor is 17 weeks and last week I went to the Dr. with her and saw my grandchild in utero. Her Doc is pretty confident it's a boy, but I'm not sure. I saw what they saw, but I'm just not certain yet. If he is a boy, he is already a very active little boy. I was able to see him moving his arms and legs all around. He seemed to be playing for an audience. That's why I'm not so sure. Maybe it was a hand that we saw. I love him already...or her...and I can't stop thinking about the image of that little baby. Taylor cried through the whole procedure...she and Paul are both ecstatic.

Sarah is 13 weeks and I can't wait for her to have her ultrasound. She thinks she's having a girl, which I think would be very cool because she has two wonderful boys who need a little sister to love and adore.

I'm over the top about this. I can't believe we are going to have two new babies in our family.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Holly's Garden Rescue Saves Barkley

Farewell to Barkley. Barkley is a Pomeranian/Maltese mix. He has been my father-in-law's dog for 3 years. Barkley's human mom passed away in February. Dad and Barkley have been living with my husband and me since. Dad has decided to move into an apt. and doesn't think it would be fair to Barkley to live in an apt. We can't keep him because we have four of our own furry children. I called Kathy from Holly's Garden Rescue and she not only came out and picked up Barkley, but she has already found him a wonderful less than 24 hours. God bless Holly's Garden Rescue and it's dedicated staff.

Barkley's new home is in a more rural area, which is good for him because he has energy. He has a new 10-year old human brother that I know he will adore and worship. Plus, he has a new mom, and since he loves women, I know his new mom will be very happy with this little sweetheart. His new mom is a groomer and raises Poms. Can it get any better? I am so happy and grateful to Kathy at Holly's Garden Rescue for her immediate love for Barkley.

Holly's Garden Rescue is a San Diego, Calif. based non-profit (501c3) organization that specializes in saving small and special needs dogs. They would welcome tax-deductible donations to help them care for these animals and find them wonderful homes such as Barkley's new home. Please visit their website for more information.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Tony Stewart Wins at Atlanta and Cinches a Spot in the Chase

Last weekend, Tony Stewart, co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing and driver of the #14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Emory Healthcare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia.
Let's go Tony! Take it away!
Credit: Getty Images

Monday, September 6, 2010

More Soldered Bottles

I told you I was on the hunt for some more bottles for soldering. I found this beautiful blue bottle in an antique store in La Mesa. It matches my first bottle. Now I have a pair of pretty blue, soldered bottles.

Elena Etcheverry and I spent the day at Suzi Blu's house soldering. The temperature outside was in the 90's, but we thought it would be a good idea to solder out on the patio (first mistake). Since none of us were especially experienced at soldering, it turned into a bit of "the blind leading the blind." In fact, it was downright scary at times. Since we were live on the web, many people across the world witnessed this fun but rather hysterical episode. Suzi was getting wild with the soldering iron and I was getting so nervous that she would burn herself that I had to unplug her. Then she dropped her bottle, which, of course, broke. Elena came to the rescue and foil taped and soldered the broken bottle along the JAGGED EDGE (eek). By now, I was a basket case. In the end, the broken bottle became a very interesting wind chime for Suzi's patio.

As the day progressed, we were so hot and near crazed. At one point my two friends looked at me and freaked out. I was red as a tomato and looking like a total stroke victim. Suzi immediately made me go inside and we were done...not only with our bottles but cooked well-done from the sun.

I must say, we made some pretty bottles, we laughed, and I'm happy to say, no one was hurt during the filming of that event.

This is a close up of the original bottle I soldered at the Art Bar in Miss Vicky's class.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Tags with Claire

Tags were made with Tim Holtz distress inks, grundge board and grundge paper. My friend Sally and I had fun grunging up the grundge board in a class with Claire, at Stamping Details. These are all Claire's clever and creative designs.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Out of The Box at Urban Barn

What’s more fun than a group of girlfriends getting together and sharing art. It’s definitely one of my favorite things. Tonight our Out of the Box Book Club gathered at the Urban Barn in Escondido. What an awesome, inspirational place. It’s a store in a warehouse setting with tons of fun vignettes of vintage and shabby chic. I don’t think there’s another place in San Diego that comes close to matching the unique experience this store offers. We are so thrilled that Urban Barn owner, Linda, decided to move into our neighbor hood from Temecula.

We just set up a couple of tables and chairs right in the front of the store. The doors were up, the sun was setting and it couldn't have been a more beautiful night.

Glenna's gorgeous banner

Kat's Happy Girl painting - taught by Suzi Blu

Pam went to the CREATE Retreat in Chicago and learned the techniques for this custom book.

Pam also shared this beautiful collage.

Each cycle we do an art exchange. This cycle it was birds.

Here are Bonnie's fabulous soldered charm birds.

Kat's chipboard birds with butterfly hanger

Elena's creative magnetic boards with a little birdie magnet.

Allison's sweet paper piecing birds

Danette's cute little fat birds all made with circles.

Sheila's awesome embellished birds using items that she currently had on hand.

Pam's gorgeous smooch birdies.

Judy took an example from our book and added her own flair, which turned out adorable.

Glenna's lovely vintage bird tag.

We each took home quite a collection of pretty birds.

We couldn't end the night without a tune from our lovely Book Club leader, Elena.