Friday, February 10, 2012


A while back a friend who was planning weddings for two daughters just a few months apart turned me on to Pinterest.  It sounded cool, but it really didn't interest my already overflowing interest driven mind. One day I stumbled upon Pinterest (I think I was following a link) and I was in a creative mode so I created a couple of easy peasy boards: Favorite places, Favorite spaces, etc.  I almost completely ignored it for a very long time.

I began following several artsy blogs that caught my attention a little because it's cheaper than buying magazines which I love to read, but more for the content because there are really talented people out there that love to share their ideas and accomplishments.  I found so many great ideas that my brain was a little flooded and then I remembered Pinterest and that was all that she wrote!

If you have a creative mind and so many ideas that you are afraid you will forget them before you can get to them, go to Pinterest!  It's simple to use and a very cool way to post things you love while giving credit to its source.  You are welcome to check out my board anytime here.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Hip Bag

Last summer while in Encinitas for my brother's wedding in Swamii Beach, I visited a great Farmer's Market and spotted the cutest Boho chic hip bag.  It soon became an obsession of mine.  I used the fabric from a well worn favorite Roxy skirt that I purchased in Rosarito Beach, a pair of cargo pants that I previously re-fashioned into a messenger bag (Dec 29th, 2011 blog post).  I also picked up a grip of Singer Sewing notions on clearance at a Von's market and sewed the buttons I purchased onto the strap.

I will tweak it a little next time, I think I would like bags on both hips because I love looking Hippy as long as I don't appear too "hippy."

Check out my blog for more fashion ideas!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Mexican in me.......

I was born in Corona, California in 1964 to parent's of mostly Irish descent.  My mother's father, my grandfather, was an original settler in Corona after Prado flooded, forcing the migrants to relocate to higher ground among the citrus groves.  The population at that time was predominately Hispanic and continued to be so at the time that I was born.  My father began cutting meat at a small corner market in Corona at the age of 15 and continued to work as a butcher most of my young life.  As a child, it seemed to me that most of his fellow meat butchers were Hispanic and I remember my dad speaking Spanish to them and to his customers.  My early childhood friends were Mexican and I don't remember their mothers speaking English, it was not difficult for me to understand their language and while I was not fluent in Spanish, I could communicate with them.  Mostly though, my friends would interpret for their moms.  What I remember most about being at my friends homes were the aromas of cooking, masa cooking on the comer, beans in the pot, arroz frying........mmmm.

We moved to Riverside, California in 1971, just on the other side of Casa Blanca, a small Hispanic community.  I attended Madison Elementary school with the children from CB, they were my friends.  One of my best friends was Emilia Sotelo.  I loved being over at her house when her mom would get home from work.  Her parent's both worked at the packing houses and left at the same time in the morning, but her mom came home early to prepare dinner for the family.  It is at her house that I learned how to roll corn tortillas with a heavy iron plumbing pipe.  I saw my first goat head sitting on a platter on her kitchen table, receiving a warning from her mom along with her not to pick the eyes, they were for her hard working dad.  While playing Barbie in the living room we would begin choking on roasting chilies and sprint outside coughing with tears running down our faces and laughing at each other, I could float in the smell of the Sotelo kitchen.

When my mother had her fifth child, it became difficult to make ends meet with her being a stay at home mom and my father working at the grocery store, sometimes more than two jobs at a time.  He left the store to work in the concrete business.  He partnered with one of his best friends, Mendez, and provided for our family successfully.  During periods of rainy weather, our pantry would suffer, but we never went hungry.  We raised chickens, pigs, goats and even ate rabbits, which seemed strange to some of the neighbor kids since we lived in the city.  There were times that we went to the Mendez's or they came to our house for meals.  My mom is the Ragu Queen of Riverside!  It was a fast, cheap go-to for her to feed her large family and guests.  I always loved it better when we went to the Mendez's because his wife, who was also one of my mom's best friends, would make papas fritos con chorizo with beans and rice and tortillas.  I loved the smell of her house when she cooked.  It was easier being poor when I had the comfort of beans and rice.  

I am thinking by now that you are guessing that I have enjoyed a love affair with the Hispanic culture, language, people and food my entire life.  My son's father is Mexican, my daughter-in-law is half Mexican, making my granddaughter a leprecano too.  I raised my children on Mexican food, I have worked in a Spanish restaurant, I can have a conversation in Spanish, I once owned a little place in Rosarito Beach, Baja California, and I look forward to enjoying grandchildren from my daughter who's husband's family is from Michoacan.   I love the romantic writing of Isabelle Allende, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and especially Victor Via Senor, who lived a good portion of his life in Corona, California (I can tell you that his book, Rain of Gold is one of the best reads ever).

So today I have a crazy busy life and even on my days off, sometimes the only times that I sit is to work on projects for my blog or to blog.  But, last week while working in Lamont, near Bakersfield, I spotted a bag of hominy and my heart ached for the smell and taste of Pozole.  I used a beef chuck roast, achiote chile because it has great flavor, the hominy and tomato boullion, with onions, garlic, salt and pepper.  My home smells like my childhood, I have avocado, lemon, radishes, cilantro and fresh cheese for garnish......I almost don't mind that my day will start at 3am tomorrow.

Re-purposed television cabinet makes a great pantry

A few weeks ago my mom wanted to expand her pantry.  We have created a good sized little stockpile during our couponing days and she wanted to be able to organize better.  Mom's kitchen isn't that big and the pantry space that she had already was small with deep shelves, making inventory difficult.

At our local thrift store we found a nice heavy television cabinet that seemed likely to work for her, but when we got it home dad checked it out and he didn't think it would support the shelves that she wanted to install.  So, we went with plan B.

We switched out the cabinets, replacing the old one with the newly purchased one.  After cleaning up and painting the old cabinet which is made of pine, dad installed shelves and viola! Mom has enlarged her pantry storage considerably.

I love the baskets that she uses to organize and now she can see what is in there making shopping and rotation of products easier.  Check out the photos of the finished project, I love it!


I love the idea of taking an old rock band adult tee and re-fashioning it into a little girl's dress.  My kids were all very into music, they play all sorts of instruments and love to attend concerts.  Music was a huge part of my upbringing and I tried to surround my children with healthy doses of different genres of music through out their lives.

My son has an inherited love for the drums, he started banging pots and pans as a toddler before he walked, drove me batty drumming on any surface incessantly throughout his teens, played in bands, even got to play B.B. Kings Hard Rock Cafe once and played at the Whiskey a Go-Go.  His father is also a natural born drummer and continues his love affair with drums.  So when I ran across a cool t-shirt featuring a drum set at the thrift store, I was excited to get it home and refashion it.

I read over several of my favorite blogs to get a good idea of what I wanted to do because I hate making something that I love and then seeing a different way that I may have chosen had I seen it first, don't you?  So, I ended up printing out a sized 2 dress pattern for the measurements, opted for a boat-neck style neck, left it long because I think it makes a cute Boho-chic maxie dress and sewed buttons at the shoulders for an added touch.  I am pretty happy with the results, take a look:

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Repurposed Maternity Dress Project No. 2

I am leaving to train up north for a couple of days and I expect that I will be too busy to blog so I wanted to get this out before I take off.  This is the second project I was able to make from the maternity dress I picked up at the thrift shop, it was really fun.  I added a window with extra fabric that I had and applique'ed it with the dress fabric.  I also created a nice big pocket because I like big pockets on my aprons.  

I got the idea to applique' the dress' paisley print pattern onto the fabric and was really excited about my creative genius....until I remembered that in all of the years that I have sewn...I have never applique'd!  So with a little tuteledge from my mentor, I call her mom, and a couple of practice runs, I dove in and I think I swam pretty okay.  

My youngest daughter has returned to the nest for a while, I hope to have her sewing when I return from my trip.  She is very creative and has my sense of style, you know, boho-riche fashion with a boho-hobo budget, I really crack myself up sometimes.  I have a couple of projects that I think she'll have a blast working on.   I will keep you all updated.

Everyone have a safe, pleasantly peaceful week, see you in a couple!

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