our colorful, crazy life

Posted on October 4th, 2017 by mountain girl  |  4 Comments »


Yep, it’s me…I’m back! Somehow the blog got away from me and I just realized it’s been over two months since I’ve posted, haha. Not sure how that happened, but here are some pics of our life since then.


Kindergarten artwork by Cash.


My crazy reds.


New wood to carve. I picked these out from the bargain bin at Klingspor’s Woodworking Shop in Cary, and little by little, I’m making my way through them.


A sassy little roadrunner for David’s parents. I added a cord so they can hang it from their rear-view mirror. Even better than fuzzy dice!


Steps in the process.


I carved it in butternut wood, and oiled it to deepen the wood tones before adding color.


A tiny fox for a custom necklace order. I’ll paint it, but I wanted to show the bare wood here. I carved it in red oak, which I really liked. It’s nice and dense–not splintery at all.


I’m nearing the end of an oil portrait commission. I find it challenging to work in color from a black and white photo, but it’s finally coming together–and I’m learning a thing or two along the way. Making skin tones here.


Speaking of color, FALL is here! And I’m loving it. It’s been a long time since we’ve had a real one. :)


This boy celebrated International Polka Dot Day with his class a while ago. Being the last-minute mama that I sometimes am, I painted the dots on his shirt that same morning.  Then we cut off the sleeves because he was too hot, haha. He got on the bus with wet dots and ragged sleeves. And he loved it.


More art from school. The top is Zia’s 3-D Koi watercolor project, the bottom is Pete the Cat, by Cash.


A small raccoon necklace for an Etsy customer.


And another order for a little bear necklace.


My kids learning to skateboard!


A new sewing pattern I’m illustrating for Meg at Sew Liberated.


Cover drawings for another pattern for Meg.


New shoes! Can you tell I like Vibram Five Fingers? David had me pick all these out online. I thought I would keep my favorite pair and send the others back, but I might just keep them all….


And finally, one of my favorites. Cash made this early one morning and brought it to me…”so we can all remember Colorado.”

I love it, and I can’t think of a better way to picture Colorado. Those happy mountain memories:)










my life in color

Posted on August 22nd, 2017 by mountain girl  |  3 Comments »

IMG_4041cpyIMG_3194cpyIMG_4522cpyIMG_2992cpyIMG_3235cpyIMG_2645cpyIMG_2990cpyIMG_3458cpyIMG_2960cpyIMG_4393cpyIMG_4472cpyIMG_3381cpyIMG_2218cpyIMG_3016cpyIMG_4742cpyIMG_3013cpyIMG_2528cpyIMG_2982cpyIMG_3118cpyIMG_4467cpy IMG_3554cpyIMG_4023cpy2IMG_3015cpyIMG_4392cpy

I’m sitting here in pure Carolina mugginess on a bench on my back porch. It’s the kids’ second day at school after their 3-week break, the day after America’s historic solar eclipse, and close enough to David’s return from NY that I feel like I can start counting down the days.

Though it’s been well over a month since July 12, I never posted my birthday pics, so I decided to put them here. There are so many faces of my life as I embark on another year, all my beautiful cards and flowers, little handmade presents from Zia, four Cinebistro tickets Cash somehow procured(!) and the gifts I enjoy every day–my sweet kids, a few bits of my art, and the man who fills my world with color.

Living in NC still feels new, and I still feel like a displaced Coloradan, but I can’t argue how incredibly good life is. I look at my crazy, spunky kids and it thrills me that I’m their mama. I’m on a journey to love them better, know them better, and respect who they are created to be. I’ve been entrusted with seeing them from babyhood to adulthood, and the gravity of that scares me a little–in a good way.

That man in the black cowboy hat treats me like a jewel, and I treat him like the solid rock that he is. We’re burnishing each other’s rough spots softer and smoother with every year that passes. Of course, I want him to stay a little rough.

We’ve made a home here in the south, or the east, whichever you want to call it. Our kids are happy at their school, I have time to do my work (I should be doing it right now), and David has an awesome job doing breakthrough technological things that I won’t even try to put into words, or I’ll completely reveal how non-techie I am. But on second thought, I’d just be revealing how very artsy I am.

I never want to take these things for granted, and I always want to be overwhelmed with God’s goodness toward me. I could pine for the mountains, or for a home of our own with goats and a garden, for the weather to be cooler and dryer, (or for the zillion bugs to take a hike instead of eating us alive) but the truth is that our life is right here, right now–and it’s going by at lightning speed. Before I know it, forty-two will be sixty-two, and then eighty-two. Like snapshots and lightning bugs, I want to catch bits of this life, hold them, and revel in them before everything changes again…because in a minute, it will. <3

cash turns five and we fly to new mexico

Posted on August 10th, 2017 by mountain girl  |  1 Comment »


From the whirlwind of July, we leaped into the dizzying sandstorm of August. Cash turned five on July 30, and we celebrated our boy with a cake (he wanted a blue wolf on it) and a night at the Siena Hotel in Chapel Hill.

These two pictures are so perfectly him–one minute a sweet little boy, the next a roaring lion.


I’m not sure why he wanted to attack his cake, but he did the same thing the next morning when the staff at the Siena surprised him with a birthday treat.




The day before Cash’s birthday, on Saturday evening, David’s grandfather Roman passed away at the age of 97. On Monday morning we packed up and flew to Albuquerque, then drove to Santa Fe.


We are finishing up our second week in David’s hometown. We attended the funeral services the first week, spent lots of nice days with David’s parents, and all worked together to clean out Grandpa Roman’s house.

Here are a few snapshots of our time in Santa Fe.


Grandpa Roman’s house.



A hummingbird nest by the house.


David walking in his grandfather’s field.


Roman Jaramillo in the Navy.


Roman Jaramillo as State Representative for New Mexico.


And these photos–just because I like them. These are David’s great-grandparents on his grandmother’s side, Prudencio Romero and Delfina Urioste. I think David’s likeness to Prudencio is striking. I might look a little like Delfina. ;)


David preparing to read at his grandfather’s funeral.


Ceremony with the Knights of Columbus. David’s mother and father, seated.


Going to Santa Fe National Cemetery for the burial.


David with the flag from the casket.


The cozy bed & breakfast we stayed at near Canyon Road art district.


Gate and yard to the b&b.


A couple of pics of the inside.



Ice cream at DeVargas Mall. The flavor they got is called Wild ‘n Reckless. :)


A few pics from the road our second b&b was on, at sunset.



David’s parents are always so nice to us. The kids love them, and I think we had one of our very best visits these past two weeks. They are so patient with my (wild ‘n reckless) redheads, and so generous with all they have. I made a few things for them while we were here:


This little jewelry set for Mom. I found pendants I thought she might like and added chains and ear wires.


This carved raccoon for Dad. He wanted one to hang from his Jeep’s rear-view mirror. That adobe wall is the side of our hotel–our third “home” since being here.


We’ve been enjoying the lack of humidity, the mountain views, and just being back in the West in general. The kids are even picking up a nice Santa Fe accent to bring back to the southerners at home.


Adios for now!














july whirlwind and zia’s golden birthday

Posted on July 28th, 2017 by mountain girl  |  2 Comments »


You’ve probably noticed I’ve been strangely quiet around here. It’s not at all because there’s been nothing to write about–I think we’ve just been holding onto July’s coattails for dear life. I can’t believe I haven’t even blogged about Zia’s birthday, then mine came, and now it’s almost Cash’s. Besides the normal redhead birthdays, this month has been spinning with:

David finishing the last week of his London trip, and also a four-day trip to NYC.

Me taking the kids to South Carolina for my brother’s baby shower (and to see mi whole enchilada familia! or at least half, which is still a lot.)

18 illustrations for the Stasia Dress and Top, a new digital sewing pattern by Sew Liberated.

Shop orders for carved animals–a fox, raccoon, wolf, and two bears (also a fox and wolf requested by the birthday kids).

Making hammered metal jewelry and working on a commissioned oil portrait.

Zia starting fourth grade and–drum roll, please–Cash going to kindergarten.


Zia turned ten on July 10th, which means it’s her golden birthday, and that has been a really big deal. :) We had a little party at home with a treasure hunt, pinata, presents, grasshopper pie and red velvet birthday cake. The red velvet cake was a backup plan in case she didn’t like the healthy-raw-vegan-gluten free-colored with spinach-and-sweetened with maple syrup-grasshopper pie she asked for. Well, at least there were no grasshoppers in it!


Everyone actually loved it, and the red velvet cake was completely unnecessary. That cake was also really fun to make–I used a box mix (probably for the first time since I was a teenager) and the frosting was included in the box, LOL. I even bought decorator icing to draw with. It was a total forget-this-natural homespun mama-thing, and I won’t regret it for a very long time.





Zia’s birthday was also the first day of school. Wake County does year-round school tracks, in order to fit in all the kids from the huge influx of new families moving here. It’s really a great thing, because the summer months are so hot that it’s hard to be outdoors anyway. There is a rotation system of nine weeks in school, three weeks off, and that continues throughout the year.


David grilled steaks for her birthday dinner. That man is easy on the eyes and easy on a girl. His mama raised him right–he can cook, wash dishes, and do laundry, too. I try not to exploit his abilities, but I have to admit, they are nice to have around. He can also change a mean diaper…though that skill has lately gone dormant in both of us (happily!)

It’s getting light here, and I’m off to make breakfast, pack lunches and catch and dress a certain scrappy kindergartner. I’ll come back and blog about the rest of July later, but it’s time to grab the tail once again and enjoy this wild ride.




















salt and sea

Posted on June 27th, 2017 by mountain girl  |  6 Comments »


Friday the kids and I drove to Wilmington with our friends Linda, Nick, and Sophie to spend the weekend at the beach. Wrightsville Beach was where I took the kids when we first moved to NC, and we hit that first, staying till dark, playing in the waves and filling our swimsuits with sand.


The salt spray has a way of ironing out all the pinched feelings of life–especially life in the suburbs. Meet the school bus at 8:45 and again at 4:15, put the trash out Monday, recycling Wednesday, mow the lawn (and do it right!), try to hammer your copper more quietly, check the mail–it’s 11:30, lock the door, run to the store, keep the kids from yelling too loudly, turn up the AC, turn it down, don’t take too many walks or the neighbors might think you’re weird.


But on the beach, nobody really cares. It’s a wonderful, free feeling. You can leave your bags for hours, and nobody touches them–and as you walk to the ocean on the dirt trails from the street, there are lines of flip-flops where people ditch them to run barefoot and then find them again at the end of the day.


Saturday we went to Carolina Beach. It was hot and we stayed in the water for hours–Nick and Zia far out where the water was still only waist high, Sophie and Cash on the edge of the shore where the tide slid sheets of water away from them and then came crashing back, sending them rolling and squealing. Linda and I were just big kids, too–swinging our kids over the waves dozens of times, getting knocked over, burying ourselves in the almost-liquid sand. On the salty little midway we got shaved ice and played at an arcade, where Nick won 1,000 tickets and the kids all picked out prizes. It was kid heaven.


Holden Beach was our favorite. It has a wild feel of solitude and peacefulness that is unrivaled by the others, and it seemed like a herd of wild horses might come flying out of the surf and race by.

There are tide pools that swirl and eddy and sandbars that grow as the tide goes out, leaving treasures of shells and coral and driftwood and tiny snapping things. The ocean is a whole world in itself, and the little things left on the beach are like a trail of bread crumbs that beckon you in.


We filled Ziplock bags with the things we gathered, and all the intricate shapes and textures made me imagine what I could make using them as raw materials. But the truth is, they are already perfect little artworks in themselves, and would be hard to improve on. I’ll still try, though. ;)


We drove home Sunday evening happy, sunburned, and saturated with saltwater and sky. Linda found a conch shell just after I wished for one, and now I can have the ocean in my ear whenever I want.


I have to say, as much as I miss the mountains, the ocean does a pretty good job of filling that hole.



And so we’ve begun another week in the suburbs, with some extra chillax and a bit less picayune worry about doing things just right and by the rules.

After all, we did just came back from a little reflection of heaven.