Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tidings & EXTREME Warm Thoughts

Happy New Year!

The last dozen months have been ~EXTREME ~ in so many ways ~

A long standing Stertz tradition of designing cards was relinquished this year. We are pleased to bring you our Christmas joy through photos that more easily share our traditions. YULE enjoy a closer look at how we prepare our home to celebrate the birth of our Savior.

Our family delighted in a Boston Clam Chowder in bread bowls this Christmas dinner. Celery root salad and Sam Adams filled out the New England fare.

(Mom note) I finished a scrapbook for our daughter Morgan which was no secret since I have been working on it for 2 years! The bond grew ever stronger on my end - but the best gift in return was her decision to be the resident photographer so that I would have MORE photos to scrap. Thanks for catching the angles just so—

Yes Virginia, there is a favorite decoration.
Thanks to Lynda the "GREAT' who started our collection of hand painted ceramic ornaments 17 years ago, they now hang delicately from a beautiful tree. We look forward to the talented designs by Santa Theresa Tileworks https://www.santatheresatileworks.com  each year. 

Rick painstakingly searched his record album collection and with a little bribing decided to contribute the long cherished record album sleeves to the art project that created special LP album 'gift' boxes for each family member. You could say he 'rocks'!

Cleaning out a junque drawer was the reason for this advent calendar but in reality shopping for this calendar is the reason that it will probably be on display all year! This was my merry, merry!

Thanks Grandma Valin for 'watch'ing over us.
So perfect as art!

The scrap swap girls had a most delicious meal with the most awesome hostess and bestie Karen. I shared my home brewed vanilla and tried my hand at letter stamping to personalize the gifts.

A Christmas tradition that I look forward to sharing with my friend Sharon is high tea at Chantilly Tea Room. Winter tea blends are celebrated and the pastries are some of the best fare. Victorian Christmas treats, handmade ornaments and a strolling flutist turned back the clock on our day.

Our mothers now reside in a shared assisted living facility each struggling with finding peace. I pray that the Lord will pour His love over them. I am reminded that gifts are often wrapped in time and love. I could not resist snapping this photo of the Catalina Mountains dusted by God's hand one morning when I was visiting. Simple beauty and a reminder that Jesus was ever present...I could not have created a more reflective moment.

The best gifts are, of course the gifts that cannot be wrapped.  So in a most peculiar and singular facebook posting the impossible 'presented' itself.  In my wildest dreams I never imagined that there existed a brother and sister with whom I was not acquainted. Seeds have been planted and are being nurtured with gratitude from all. Blessed beyond my wildest expectations there exists a connection across two countries that is remarkable by any standards.

What we DID this year is less important than our personal reflections and committment to honour, integrity and service all of which were rich in our lives. We continue to learn about ourselves and others through our hobbies and divine appointments. A commission of a different colour forced a major shift of reason as Rick sought wisdom while serving on the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission as appointed by the Arizona Senate President. http://www.azredistricting.org  Nine years left and counting!

A recent message that struck a chord is what I would like to share with you.
 'Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.'
T.H. Thompson and John Watson

We share the gift of life with our daughter Chelsea & son-in-law David. BABY JACK will win over our 'hearts' when he arrives in February. The REVEAL party was so exciting!

Bets were placed...

The cakes were baked
Chocolate for Jacks
Red Velvet for Hearts

Guesses are in
and BOYS win!

Any of these 2011 events stand alone as spectacular unto themselves. We are grateful for the presents that have been chosen for us and aspire to be 'present' in our hearts and minds in all that we serve.

We rather like this new world over the miles to you...our first holiday Skype to family in Italy and news of the closing of the Tucson post office certainly post a new mark.

Bring on Twenty Twelve!

All our love, Rick & Debbie

Monday, October 3, 2011

How do you name a blog you ask? Comme ca.... Over the last few months I have been researching my ancestry. Linteau was my dad's surname at birth and it translates to 'lintel' (load bearing in fact) usually over a door.  The beautiful 'porte' that brands me in my real estate business tied it all together. It has been a fascinating journey that dates back to 1726 and with the help of Leo Linteau I have found a connection. Pretty & simple really...


                                                                                                                     Linteau Family 1922

Speaking of doors and real estate....Whoa! Hold your horses 'cause M&M are moving on up. Someone near and dear to them has helped them find the most amazing house. They will set up permanent camp exactly 1.8 miles from Ma & Pa Stertz.

The Bojorquez Estate
Hey Merg...

No this is not a re-run. While Morgan was busy buying a house she found some time to once again take center stage airing on CBS this time to feature the latest program at the Humane Society.



If the deck is stacked and the sonogram 'reveals' we will soon take part in a recent new trend. Stay tuned as our newest grand child will be starring in his/her first soiree! Will it be red velvet cake or dark chocolate cake? Story continued....next episode.

Always seeking joy equates to finding a silver lining. Moving mom into a home where she can get nursing care meant searching through old photos and memorabilia. The most amazing find was actually silver! My baby spoon now hangs in my studio on a ribbon so that it can slip off to share with grand baby Liv when she visits.

Buttons & Bows & Layering Frames
Gave old frames a new purpose

Born with a silver spoon really is an attitude and I am blessed!
And how very clever of the Rodgers silver company to make a handle for those wee hands.

Hundreds of photos later I was fortunate enough to document 6;  yes SIX generations of women on my mom's side starting with my great grandmother who was born in Scotland.

Such an awesome way to preserve my grandmothers hankies!

So it turns out that trading cards are not just for boys!

My scrap happy days are enveloped in a lovely group of friends that find the time to reCREATE and swap. The latest theme was nature and thanks to Karey-Ann I have started a collection of ATC (Artist Trading Cards).  Don't you just love the antique watch dome that covers the butterfly.

Well this bird has to take flight and go sell some more homes.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Feather Expressions

Unless you live in the dark ages, you have no doubt heard about the feather craze. I am totally behind my friends at  Feather Expressions to let you  know where you can find quality feathers for papercrafting and jewelry. I have not been able to find ANY other feathers that are acid free!

I started using feathers in my scrapbook pages and cards and I cannot believe how much texture they bring. The best part is you can use any adhesive and a pair of household scissors to shape, glue and apply. Here's a page that I did a while ago but you know how a new element can give a page a face lift so I flipped through some of my old pages and found this one to embellish with a beautiful peacock stick.

Hey Merg...
We say that a lot around here! This week we are asking for her autograph since she aired on ABC sharing her passion. Check it out and remember our homeless pets at the Humane Society of Southern Arizona need your help.


Dances and formals have filled the lives of the young ladies that have passed through our home over the years. One of the more special songs and a young woman that has touched my heart, tied the knot at a beautiful outdoor 'organic' wedding in Tubac. 'Harmony' is a song just like her name and her gift is to bring joy to those in her life. So Harmony for the joy that you bring to others thank you for letting me share your special day through this 'organic' wedding memory book.

Beautiful Bridesmaid and bestie!

Tag, you're it!
I had so much fun making these nametags. This celebration marks the beginning of a new season and I cannot wait to spend more time with the fam.

You are not far off if you are thinking music & fiesta! 


Aunt status will only be achieved once in my lifetime so I have bragging rights since my amazing nephew is not only kind and considerate ~ he is famous.

This performance was held at Arcosanti this summer and Ryan is on the left. Cannot figure out how he trains for a marathon, tours with a band, maintains an amazing relationship and excels in his business classes ~ oh yeah that's right ~ I just said he is amazing!

As I write this I feel so grateful for these special people in my life. I just opened a card from a friend who is reading my mind right now  "He fills my life with good things". Psalm 103.5 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Spring/Summer 2011
Unplanned vacations are the best! Off we went to Durango, Colorado via Winslow, Arizona where we stood on the corner of Route 66 admiring the bronze statue of Jim Morrison. After 5 days in the Rocky Mountains with 'Take it Easy' on our minds we are refreshed and energized.  Rick and I were so blessed to share this trip with our daughter, son in law and grand daughter while we anxiously await another grandbaby in Feburary.

La Posada, Winslow Arizona

Durango, Colorado

Our garden has made a miraculous recovery from the many freezing winter days in Tucson that caused significant damage to our gorgeous desert.  We made the leap from herbs to fruit this year (did not realize how much canaries like blueberries) and delighted in our strawberries, blueberries, chilies and flowers that Rick patiently tends. .

My third annual scrapbook retreat (bizarre practice of staying up too late and eating too much candy) with the girls in July gave me a chance to catch up on some UFO's (unfinished objects).The kinship is grand! It keeps us all motivated to continue family journals through photography and creativity. Another first was a matchbox 'swap' which was a most amazing experience coordinated by my dear friend Karen. She has started a trend so stay tuned.

This 'abundance' folder will safely store my paternal family ephemera that includes newspaper clippings, receipts and certificates that represent Dads legacy. Merci Pappa for recording and saving the special moments in your life. Some day when I have the time I will translate them into English.

I was inspired to create a recipe book after finding two recipe boxes. One belonged to my mom and the other to her mom (Grandma Valin). Although neither of them cooked with any passion I wanted to honour them with this book. In several instances they had both hand written the same recipe which oddly enough I had in my own collection, so for three generation these recipes have been shared.

Fourteenth sock delivered! I am definitely ready to retire these size 1 needles. If you knit and have not tried variegated yard, I highly recommend their beautiful patterns. It will definitely step up your game and creates gorgeous designs.

Duck! Duck! Duc-T! Guess who turned one and yes her first word! Precision cutting on chipboard takes patience but was well worth the effort.

I have been organizing my studio and reflecting for the last week on my downward approach toward 60 years!

The treasures that now hold the what-nots in the studio include a collection of Oneida silver from Toronto  which I tried to photograph but the flash and silver did not get along.

Durango/Silverton reminded us of the earth's beauty and how grateful we are to have this life.
Every girl needs a good chair right? Found this treasure in a flea market in Durango and somehow we made it fit in the car.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Fait Accomplit! Creating this blog to share with you has been a goal for many months and although I cannot put my finger on why I had this goal I can tell you that it ranks as one of my biggest challenges second only to my annual Christmas card design and production whose era was retired in 2010. After those cards were sealed, I began to think of my life in another way...through the lens of a camera really except that I had to learn to use the timer! Please take note: I promise that I will NEVER again be ahead of you  - so just this once I would be honored  for the extra effort of your time.

My studio/office is hard at work these days creating graduation gifts but thanks to my latest subscription creating memory books has never been easier. I photographed the finished graduation gift and as I began to prepare my first posting I realized that the message on the cover conveys my exact sentiments that I am 'So Happy to be With You'!

Every turn brought a new irony including the concept for a blog in the first place. Some fabulous friends were processing beautiful feathers for artists and my love for design and crafting connected me to their great product at http://www.featherexpressions.com/  While visiting the zoo this week during my DH's (darling husbands') 50 something birthday celebration, a peacock randomly decided to show off  his plumes. What a thrill it was to see the real thing after so many months of shuffling packaged feathers. Thanks for the irony!

Our daughters and grand baby surprised my DH with noisemakers and hot cross buns at 8am yesterday hence the zoo visit. We decided that children are just an excuse for adults to go the zoo. Our evening was enjoyed sharing our favorite trifecta which included a play, pizza and popcorn at the Gaslight Theater where melodrama and amazing local talent provide the best value in town.

Occassionally the knitting needles still come out - ok every night I knit. I may just make a habit out of making small wonders for babies. They knit up much faster than the adult counterparts. Someone in our family has a thing for orange so I could not resist.

Tried my hand at yo yo's. There will be more of these in my future so stay tuned.

This special button was made with the fabric from the dresses that I made for our daughters to wear in our wedding twenty years ago.

In February we went to the rodeo and I was so excited to share our treats with you but then it snowed and my priorities changed. Unfortunately my camera was exhausted from getting this delicious powdered sugar fry bread picture and that's all she got! I recommend ordering your very own so that you do not have to share.


Maggerty daggerty is our faithful pup and she will pop in from time to time usually looking her best.  While most of the girls in our family love accessories we do have one exception. Apparently this lovely lady did not see a need to sport this bow on her bum! Good thing I got this pic because two seconds later it was off.

This has truly been a thrill!  Without you this door would not have been opened.
Isn't that ironic!