Archive for the ‘General Blogging’ Category

Blogging took a back seat last month.  May was busy for Angela and hence for us all.

First, she had a landmark birthday. 18!

She chose the Lemon Curd Crepe Cake from April’s Martha Stewart Living magazine.  Delicious!

Next,  she had a series of award ceremonies and presentations she needed to give for her senior end of year.

This was at the Windsor Rotary Club for Student of the Month with another recipient.


This was some of her art displayed during Senior Project night.


Here she giving her presentation on her Senior Project.  Her project was to start and finish writing a novel. She presented in front of a panel of teachers, parents and students.  They were notably impressed!


With only one week of school left, we threw her a big party!  We celebrated her 18th birthday, her upcoming high school graduation, her upcoming trip to Italy to study art in Florence AND her acceptance to UCSB for tha fall!  This required a special cake. So I made the family’s mile-stone cake.



Family, friends, more family and more friends.

With finals done she prepared for graduation.

Windsor High School had 412 graduates.

Yeah!  Cheers! Hooray!

The keynote speaker was a former football coach.  He had been gone for most of this year to be a contestant on The Biggest Loser.  Koli Palu lost 216 lbs. Angela had watched the entire show and was so excited to meet him.

Five days later Angela boarded a plane to Italy.  She will spend four weeks there; one in Lucca with friends and three weeks in Florence studying art.  Now its June and I’m sure things will slow down around here.  She will be missed!



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We had an extremely busy holiday vacation.  There was lots of Christmas preparations.   

Gingerbread House Decorating


 The teenagers were in charge of all things covered in royal icing.   

 And they did a GREAT job!   



And with a sense of humor!  



Our Christmas Day was very good.  Everyone was happy with their gifts. Especially Skittles.   

 We had some wonderful meals!  We had our Ravioli at my mom’s house for Christmas lunch.  She had two servings!!  


For Christmas dinner I made Beef Wellington, a special request from Angela. And it tasted as good as it looked!   



 The next day was my mother’s 100 birthday. 100 years old!!!  We had a small drop by at her house and many family and friends came to visit.   

  I still can’t believe that she’s 100!   

The following day we were visited by my brother-in-law, his wife, their five-year old triplets and 2 1/2 year old Henry.    

 Jenna has been my inspiration for blogging.  She’s been blogging for five years sharing her story about The Amazing Triplets and Henry.  



 We had a wonderful time with the kids,  Guy and Jenna!    

We went to the beach…   


                                                                  …to the park…   

                                                                                                                              …they busted the Gingerbread House…   


 …celebrated the New Year…   

 …by staying up until midnight eating chocolate truffles!!!   

While the Southern California Lawrences were here we had a Lawrence get-together.   

 Angela was sad to have the holidays come to and end.   

 When all the shopping is done, all the wrapping torn apart, all the cooking and preparing is done, the very best part of the holidays is spending it with family.  I hope 2010 brings us together with family even more!   


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My Little Navy Dress

About a year ago I saw this dress in a magazine and tore it out and pinned it to my sewing bulletin board.   Along with the other 15 or so magazine photos I have pinned there.  There it stayed until last spring when I went fabric shopping with my cousin Teri.  dress scan

She lives near several great fabric stores!  So we went shopping and I found some navy blue cotton eyelet.  I had never seen cotton eyelet in navy!  It seemed like a great fabric for a dress; casual, easy to wear, and great color!  So I used the magazine inspiration to design my navy, eyelet dress.

dress&coat 004I lined the bottom with silk lining so it feels really comfortable and I lined the top part with silk organza in navy because I didn’t want it too sheer.

dress&coat 006I used my dress form and created and changed the pattern a bit.  When it came to the hem, I just left it trimmed to the eyelet.  I used an invisible zipper and added a little vent at the bottom.

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I am really pleased with my dress!

Then I though about wearing it and concluded that a jacket would make a finished outfit.  I have made many jackets and I wanted something different and more current.  About that time I watched a piece on TV on Michelle Obama and I saw her in that lemon grass colored coat.  I remember watching her on Jan. 20th and thinking what a great outfit she wore.  So…

I decided to make a coat for my navy dress.  I wanted similar fabric with that comfortable, easy wear feeling. So I went back to the fabric store and found 100% linen in navy! 

dress&coat 022I made a linen coat in navy to wear with the eyelet dress.  The dress had a low v-neck front and back.  So the coat has a higher neck and four buttons.  I found them at Britex in San Francisco!

dress&coat 029I wanted to inject some color into this outfit so I added  a lively lining.

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I’m really pleased with this entire outfit.  The coat can be worn with other outfits.  The dress can be worn alone or with a colorful shawl.  I can dress up the outfit for a more formal occasion.  Or keep it simple for casual events.

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This outfit took me all summer to make.  But it wasn’t difficult sewing.

I entered this outfit into a sewing contest.  Go to: http://www.craftstylish.com/contest/fall-fashion-challenge-09

and check out my competition!


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Family Reunions

The first few weeks of August have been all about getting together with family.  We had a a reunion at my house several weeks ago. I come from a rather large Italian family and we love a party! Grape_arbor









 For this Italian Family Reunion we decided to celebrate ‘zero’ birthdays.  Partly because my mother will be 100 this year.

My mom with a nephew.

My mom with grandson.

After a little searching I found 16 family members with ‘zero’ birthdays!  We had someone for each decade except 90.  It was GREAT! One_of_these_is_no_longer_a_teen

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Everyone brought a potluck dish so we had lots of yummy Italian dishes!  And my husband manned his new BBQ kitchen.

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Dessert was birthday cake with a star trophies for each celebrant.

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Large family group pictures were taken.  Cousins played darts and bocce, lots of eatting, drinking and talking and my 100 year old mother enjoyed visiting with everyone! 


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It was very special to have so many family members here and I want to thank everyone who made it.

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A week later my husband’s family had a smaller but equally fun family reunion.  Good food, wonderful people, and some good billiard games were enjoyed by all.

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Cousins got together and shared stories from college, work and travel.

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The grandparents were there, too!

With a little modern technology and Angela’s wonderful photo editing skills, we took a nice group photo.

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We missed family that couldn’t make it. 

It’s great being part of these wonderful families! 

Let’s do this again soon!


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It’s been a long time…

The days are getting shorter, the kids are back in school and I actually have some spare time!  It was a fun summer!  I spent seven weeks working at the fabric shop teaching young girls to sew.  We had loads of fun!  One week the girls made aprons and decided to have a ‘fashion show’ on the last day.  They were so proud of their aprons, pot holders and scrunchies!  Some of the girls entered their pillows and tote bags in the local county fair.  Many won blue ribbons.

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Two of my students won Best Of  Show in the pillow and tote bag categories!

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It was very rewarding for me to see my students do so well!  It really is a great job.  I wish I could do this year-round!


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Just Awesome

When I was young, my parents would wake me up at some ungodly hour of the morning (so usually around 7) and we would drive in our old convertible with the top down to watch the hot air balloons at the beginning of every summer. My brother and I would sit in the back with blankets and hot chocolate, freezing and tired but awed by the balloons. They were so magical back then, when I didn’t know about air density and temperature.

This morning, at about 4:30AM, me, my mom, and my dad all got up to go see the hot air balloons launch in the field. I was encouraged by the hopes of fabulous photos, hot chocolate, my mother’s sudden enthusiasm to go, and a certain co-worker implying my weekend plans to do my AP summer assignments were lame. Unexpectedly, my boyfriend Robyn said he’d like to go when I offered and so he (though groggy and sarcastic) came as well. My brother… was… asleep… There was no way he was going to get up at that hour.

Have you ever shot photos in the pre-dawn hours? At first, all I got was a bunch of colorful fuzz. Even after I upped my ISO, set my camera on a stabilizing mode, and made myself into a human tripod, things were still a tad fuzzy. Hang in there. As the morning progressed, things cleared up.


Three balloons go up first for the dawn patrol. They were filling up really quickly. I’ve never seen something like this before. At this time, my mom would like me to add that this was the 20th anniversary of this show.


When all of them were filled, they let them stand up all at the same time. I would like to mention that while this was happening, they were playing the theme song for the new Star Trek movie on the loud speakers. It made me incredibly happy.








And they stood! I’m not sure if you can really tell how massive these things are. We were on a field and the people are all about 100 feet or more form those balloons. They. Were. Huge.


First one is off!


I promise you you’re not seeing triple.. This was three photos I took of the same balloon. I just merged them.


Second one to take off!


There was no wind so they were able to hover together. It was fantastic.


Proof that we were up that early. This is the sunrise through the park trees. It was mildly less blurry in real life.

About an hour later (hence the better quality photos), the other balloons began to be set up. At this point, we were allowed on the field next to the balloons. It was awesome. We were so close!



This one was the target balloon. It was my favorite. We were able to stand next to it while they filled it with the fan. That’s looking into it…


At one point, we were surrounded by about 10 balloons all being filled.



But I couldn’t ignore that Target balloon…


We were surrounded by all the pretty, simple ones.


There they are. I got these troopers up at 4:30. They all had a good time.


This was an amazing shot… You can add hot air balloon pilot to my list of possible careers.


I think we stayed close to this one because it was toasty warm.


The Target balloon is up!


This was quite surreal… I looked up.


I liked the fishy one too.


But then I was distracted because the Target balloon was taking off…



They launched them really quickly after one another. They all launched within about 20 minutes of each other.


Okay, now this is the coolest part. They were all in the air.. There were like 20 of them total. Count the balloons…


The clouds were beautiful.


Apparently the energizer bunny is bigger than Lady Liberty. I had a hard time with that one because I’ve never been to New York but this bunny was really, really, really massive.


This was like amazing lighting heaven!


Just.. awesome..


Enjoy the photos!


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It’s been a while since I’ve had time to post.  I’ve been working at the fabric store teaching children to sew.  It’s summer camp  for sewers!  The girls are great and really enjoy learning how to sew.

Before I started working I was organizing my sewing room and found my knitting needles.  I’ve inherited knitting needles from my mom and my mother-in-law.  Both were avid knitters and had accumulated a wide selection of needles and yarns.  So I found all the pairs and tied them together.  I knew this wouldn’t last very long so I put my sewing skills to good use and make a very simple needle holder.  I thought this might be an easy sewing project for those of you with knitting needles in disarray.

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Start by measuring the length of my longest needles.  To that measurement I added 7″.  Then I laid out all the pairs of needles and spaced them with a generous inch between them.  I measured the width across and added 1 inch to the measurement. 

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I needed two fabrics 17″ tall by 23″ wide. So I looked through my stash and cut my two fabrics into rectangles of that size.  Your dimensions will be different and you might make your holder with added spaces for future needles.

Put the right sides of the fabrics facing each other, line up the corners and pin the two fabrics on all four sides. Leave a 4-5 inch space to turn the fabric through.  I like to mark the opening with two pins at each end so I don’t accidently sew through it.

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I like to use a 1/2″ seam.  To insure that it’s a straight seam I use a piece of carpenter’s tape placed 1/2″ from the sewing machine needle parallel to the stitching line. This allows me to sew straight seams.

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 Stitch around all four sides, leave the space open.  Backstitching at either end of the opening insures that the stitching doesn’t unravel when you turn the fabric out.

Before turning the fabric to the right side, it’s best to trim the excess fabric from the corners.

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Now you can turn it right side out, press the edges falt and pin the edges together including the opening.

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Then I top stitch close to the edge all around.  This stiches the opening closed.

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Laying the rectangle horizontally, fold the bottom up 6 inches.knitting organizer 020

Pin the sides together and along the top of the fold.  Here’s where you need something to make marks with.  I like to use sewers chalk because it brushes off when your done.  But a pencil would work.  You’ll just have to wash the holder to remove the marks.  Measuring across and using 3rd grade math skills mark lines where each channel will be stitched.  Make the channels 1 inch to 1 1/2 inches wide depending on the size of the needles. 

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When you”re happy with the channels stitch them from the bottom of the fold to the top.  Do a backstitch or fix-stitch at the beginning and end of each channel line.  Stitch the sides in the same way.

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The diagonal threads you see above happen when you don’t cut threads after each line.  I get lazy and leave all the threads to cut at the end.

Next you need a 20 inch piece of ribbon, fold in half and stitch to the holder at the midway point on one side.

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Insert your needles, roll up and tie a bow.  That’s it!

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I also made a needle holder for my crochet hooks.  And because they are shorter I use a purchased fabric placemat, folded up the bottom and stitched the channels. Viola!

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If you make one of these send me a picture. I’d love to hear from you!


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