Tuesday, December 27, 2011


I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. I had a really great one and wanted to share pictures!

Christmas Eve at my house:

Christmas day at my brother's house:

The little ones waiting to open gifts!
Total chaos!

Can you tell we got new lipstick for Christmas?

Maddie appeared to have run out of batteries!!! But it was only a facade!! She was up two minutes later!

Nothing like a pool party on Christmas day!!!


Thursday, December 22, 2011


Yesterday was my birthday and my daughter Kristina's birthday. I turned 51 (UGGGHHH) and she turned 29. We had burgers and dogs at the house with the kids and grand babes. It just does not get any better than this.

My beautiful grand babies helping me blow the candles!

My husband of 16 years who I love very much.

My beautiful daughter who was my 22nd birthday present and who is my best friend.

Tell me I could not die happy right now? I carry these children and I feel INVINCIBLE. They are my life.

My "babies". Charlie, Me, Kristina, Pipo and Leonor. They are all adults now and most of them have been a challenge to say the least, but they are what makes my heart beat.

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE! May you be surrounded by people you love and who love you.


Okay, I have been thinking long and hard about this. My word for 2011 was BREATH. It has worked well for me.

For 2012 my word will be FEARLESS. Yes, Fearless. I know people think I already am but this is my word for 2012 - to face the year FEARLESS - totally and completely fearless.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

THE SECRETARY: Kathy's new project!

You have GOT to see this!! It's absolutely wonderful! I know what I am going to be doing during the holidays!!

Kathy tells me her tutorial for this project will be available either tonight or early tomorrow. She is teaching the class on her UStream channel tomorrow at 2:00 pm. This class will be my birthday gift to myself tomorrow!!!

Sunday, December 18, 2011


A reminder for the coming New Year.

You know how we go to the cementery and we always look at the dash? You know what I mean 1925-2006 e.g. We say, oh, he/she led a long life. That's good. 2005-2007... OMG! A baby!!! How sad.

After the death of my uncle from cancer a few years back, I thought about that. He was only 56. So wonderful and SO full of life. He died in few months of being diagnosed. Not much time for anything. Yet he threw HIMSELF a final birthday party that August and invited our entire family to be there. His way of saying goodbye in a "happy" atmosphere. He died way too young and yet he had lived a lifetime within the dash that separated his year of birth from his year of death.

He had come from Cuba in 1980 - had built a very successful business; had a life partner of 25 years who he had a wonderful relationship with; had traveled the entire world (literally) in 20 years!!! He was my love and my hero. So instead of focusing on the year he was born and the year he died which is engraved on his tombstone, I decided to focus on the DASH!!! Those years in between when he lived such a full and wonderful life!!!

We will all have this inscription on our tombstones - mine will read 1960- _____. And no matter what that _____ turns out to be, I want the dash to count. I want those years in between to be remembered by my children, grand children and my family. I want my life to matter.

So this coming year - this 1st day of January - make a commitment to yourself that what matters is the DASH and do something wonderful with it!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

She loves to dance !

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Kaitlynn Ballet RecitL

Too long and boring at times but she is sooooooo excited!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Sunday, December 11, 2011


Received this email today from a sweet friend. It only serves to underscore my message to you about not stressing Christmas. Do you think this family is even THINKING about presents this year?

You know who you are my friend. Know that I love you and my thoughts are with you and yours.

truer words have never been written

every once in awhile I try to catch up with people who were part of my
life in some special way- and I turn to a blog or two.
For some reason known only to the heavens, I was thinking about you and
the beautiful work you do- and since I was lazing around with my
laptop (nursing a major case of bronchitis) I googled your blog.
Imagine how much it meant to read your very wise (and I know heartfelt)
words about the stresses of the holidays and how we fall into the trap
time and time again. We've all been there, haven't we? Spend too much
money on gifts, stress too much about food, decorations, nurse headaches,
scream at the family (for no good reason other than not feeling so ho ho
ho...). I know I've been there year in and year out.

As I read your post about how you plan to change all that- and work on
only the important things- the family, I knew I had to write you a
short note, because for me this holiday is to be just that. A time
spent with family- basking in the joys of being together, of sharing
a past, enjoying the moment, hoping for the future.

I'm not baking mountains of cookies, I am not buying tons of gifts,
I am opening my heart and my home to my family and we will celebrate
each other. This year we will enjoy the antics of a two and a half
year old grandson, who grows in leaps and bounds- and fills my
heart with such joy, even in my darkest moments.

I will enjoy what time my 86 year old mother can stay with us
until she becomes completely disorientated and needs to be taken
home. I will take joy in having my "baby girl" home from Scotland
with her new husband (and have the joy of a small church wedding
here on the 17th with family and close friends). I'll enjoy the
time off my eldest daughter has from teaching at the University
of Chicago allowing her to be home for several weeks.

Most of all I will make the most of the holiday and the joy of
a wedding with my husband of 33 years (come March). This is the
most important aspect for us all on this Xmas as Doug was diagnosed
with terminal lung cancer at the end of the summer. Just when things
with my mother were lightening up- thanks to a more safe and
structured living environment that will be a god-send for us
due to her Alzheimer's disease, life turned around and dealt a card
I never saw coming. It has dramatically changed how we are living
our life now.

Home and family, and my husband's treatments are the most important
things in my life, as they need to be. I took a leave from my job
right after his diagnosis and as the treatment options and the reality
of his condition became more evident, I left all together- I can make
do with out the extra income.

My daughter-in-law applied for and was awarded a job at our local
hospital ( my "home away from home") that gave her the ability to
stay home during the week so that Tyler would not have to go to
day care. The weekend hours at the hospital rehab facility gives her
the same amount of income that her per diem placement did- a true
blessing for the little family. I do so miss those three days a week
my little man and I spent together, but now he comes to visit Nana and
Poppa at our house and it is a delightful treat- one he hates to leave
at the end of the visit :-)

As you said in your post, what would you do if you knew this was your last
holiday. I guess we never know until we are faced with that possibility.
I just know I wish I had made these changes in my life before I let the
stress of being a caretaker to both old and young as well as keeping up
with a job that meant dealing with a completely dysfunctional owner,
taking care of our home and all that goes with it take over my every
waking moment- all the while trying to keep my own health issues at bay.

I also know that what occurred in the past is just that- the past and what
we will do is make the most of the future given us as a family, and as a
married couple. I know that I took a good look at myself and what I needed
to do in order to be the best I can be and have taken charge of my health
in new and improved ways - and feel better than I have in years (and with
less medication!).

I know it won't be easy as things go on, but I also know I am blessed in
so many ways, with many good friends, and with family I adore.

I send my best to you. Thank you for making me think, thank you for helping
me see that the path I've chosen to take is a good always did
have a way of looking at the world and making it seem right. You too have
faced battles and losses...and I know it's made you stronger. I hope the
same is in my future.

I hope your son continues to do well, and congratulations on a third
beautiful grand daughter. Simple blessings-- those are the ones that make
our hearts full!

Be well, be happy and I hope the holidays are all they should be for you and yours.

After reading this, if you are STILL stressing on what you can or can't BUY someone for Christmas... well, then, I just don't know what to say to you.

Friday, December 9, 2011


Check out new mini book!!! How GORGEOUS is this???? Tutorial wont be out for a couple of weeks yet! Can't wait!!!

I am going to have to take two months off from work just to do all these books and tags!


OMG!! I am starting to feel SCHIZOPHRENIC!!!!

Every day I say THIS is my favorite... no, no, wait THIS one is my favorite!!! Is it just me or are His Royal Highness's tags just outstanding this year????

UGGHHH!!!! I HAVE to sit down and DO them!!!!

Thursday, December 8, 2011


As I've said many times, I love Michelle Ward! I love her art, her attitude, her challenges!

This is her latest challenge:

I don't know about you but I very rarely come out in any of the pictures I take (and I take TONS). I am going to start changing that!!! What the heck!! I want future generations to know ME too!!! LOL!


This is something I remind every one about every single year. DON'T STRESS ABOUT CHRISTMAS!!! It's supposed to be a wonderful, happy time. The world is TOUGH right now. Many do not have jobs and for those of us that are fortunate enough to have one, it's still very VERY hard to make ends meet. This month it's not just the worry about how to make the bills, it's the stress of Christmas presents we can't afford to buy.

I decided several years ago that I was not going to fall into that trap any more. I refuse. I have a wonderful family who, thank God, need nothing. I have 3 beautiful grand children who - again, thank God - need NOTHING. So here are my choices - I can either get totally stressed out wanting to buy everyone something or I can be happy and stress free and show them I love them by being HAPPY!

My grand babies are just that - grand babies. Anything under the Xmas tree will be exciting for them. My children know I love them and I do for them all year long. My brothers and sisters in law understand how life is and so do my nieces and nephews.

So this year I am hosting a "noche buena" party - Xmas eve party - at my house. I will feed everyone, play some wonderful music, dance and laugh and talk with them. We will end the night with a toast to having gotten through another year together and THAT will be my Christmas present to my family.

Enjoy your Christmas! Five years from now nobody will remember what you gave them for Christmas but they WILL remember how much fun they had with you during Christmas!!! They WILL remember some wonderful cookies you baked or the pretty decoration at your home.

Give your mind and soul a rest! If this was your last Christmas... if you KNEW that you would not live to enjoy another one... would presents be what's important? Giving OR receiving?

Bottom line my friends... live this Christmas like it's your last and you wont care about whether or not you can afford presents nobody will remember any way.

TAGS 7 AND 8!!!

They are both absolutely amazing!!!!! The steampunk one has to be my absolute favorite of all so far!!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


As you guys know I am a major fan of KATHY ORTA and Paper Phenomenon.

This is her latest mini book! How fabulous is this!!!

She has already sold out of her kits but she sells tutorials for all her projects on the paper phenomenon site

I have bought all of Kathy's tutorials and I can tell you that they are wonderful!! They are easy to follow and Kathy is always there to answer questions. She also does the projects on her UStream channel so all you have to do is follow along with your tutorial!

BY THE WAY: My friend Lillian gave me a great idea!! This is not just a great project for Xmas! It would be a wonderful housewarming present or a family album.

Monday, December 5, 2011

PS: bonus tags? Really?

Since HRH does not understand how we stress doing ONE tag a day, he has decided to add BONUS tags!!! LOL!!!

Here is day 5 bonus tag:

And this is the bonus tag for day 4:

You know I love you Timmy - but REALLY?????


Where are the days GOING!!! How the heck is His Royal Highness on tag FIVE!!! I totally missed 2-4!!! And of course I haven't done ONE of them yet!! LOL!!! But I WILL I WILL I WILL I WILL (yes, it works on a subliminal level).

Here they are.... tags 2-5

Where does he get these extraordinary ideas every year!!!???? I really want to do all 12 this year.....

Thursday, December 1, 2011


Like every year since 2008, I have been waiting to see Tim's Xmas tags! Today was day 1... and what a START!!!

This is Tim's Tag for Day 1:
I have no idea when I will be able to sit down and do this but GOD I love them!!!

Here's his YouTube video on making the pine cones. Gotta love this!

Monday, November 28, 2011


As always, we spent Thanksgiving at my brother's Julio's house. I love Thanksgiving for the one reason that we are all together. This year was a little tough emotionally though.

My father, as you all know, left his entire family in Cuba to bring us here in 1966. For the first time we have a ton of my dad's family here (they have all recently come from Cuba) and he is not here to see it. His whole life he wanted so badly to have his family here with him. And now that they are here - he's not. Well, I am sure that God has a reason for why He does what He does.

My brother Julio had this beautiful urn made for my dad's ashes. I am sure my dad was smiling down on us this day. I miss you papi - you have no idea how much.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Walls Project

As I had told you guys before, we just started a new project using a book called the Walls Notebook. It is exactly that, a soft cover book with nothing but pictures of walls. The idea is to do graffiti art on these "walls" as you would on the street! Fun, easy and quick! These are two pages I made in my own book before sending it off.

This journal will be challenging since none of us are graffiti artists and this is so different from anything we do!!! So we are now a "gang" doing graffiti on walls!!! Woo HOO!!! Gotta love where middle age takes you!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Asian Journal

We just started our most recent round robin journal called A Little Bit of Asia. I made these pages for Carla and Daisy. They are now on their way to Lee in Australia!

This is the double page spread I made for Daisy. I really love this Asian image and hope she does too!

I had to scan Carla's pages separately: Page 1...

and Page 2