my turn

This is a little preview of this week's recycle project. ;)

Yesterday, I was tagged by Whitney and Jonathan at Brown Sugar Design to post eight random facts or habits about me, and then tag eight other bloggers. Here are mine:

1. I hated wearing dresses as a child. My mom would have to literally drag me into dressing rooms crying my eyes out to try on new dresses. I think the first time I bought a dress/skirt on my own was when I was about 20. Now I love wearing a lot of skirts. Making one of my own is on my new sewing adventures to-do list.

2. I used to be extremely organized and neat. After having kids that changed. It had to or I would've gone crazy. Don't take me wrong. Disorganization still drives me nuts. I've just learned that an impeccable home isn't something that's possible 24/7.

3. My favorite place to de-stress and get inspired is a bookstore. I LOVE an afternoon in a bookstore by myself!

4. My hubby proposed to me after only 3 months of dating (2 of which where long distance). It's a LONG story but we had actually met as teenagers and never dated back then.

5. Colombian connection: My husband and my parents are from my Colombia. I was born in New Jersey (haven't been back since I was 10 - so no Jersey accent here). I graduated from high school in Colombia so I don't have an accent when I speak English or Spanish.

6. Unless I'm really sick, I must doodle, craft, design, draw or make something with my hands every day or I get really cranky. Making/designing something is like my yoga of sorts.

7. I'm terrible at drinking anything. Water is the worst (except at a restaurant for some reason - but it does need to have extra lemon and no sugar). I need to work on that.

8. We try to only speak Spanish at home because we want the kids to be bilingual like us. That's definitely easier said than done.

I'm tagging:
Sally of Shim and Sons, Kathleen of Cake + Pie, Nicole of Freshly Blended, Jessica of How About Orange, Heather of Skinny laMinx, Lara of Kirin Notebook, Alison of Six and a Half Stitches, and Gennine of Blog de la Nine.

good things

We had a wonderful weekend. It started off with the baseball game we went to on Friday night. There was only a little problem. It's difficult to enjoy a game when you need to entertain a 4yr old after she states, in the middle of only the 3rd inning, that she's ready to go home! Thank goodness for a little pad and pencil I found in my purse. She doodled (like mother like daughter!) and played waitress taking our orders for the rest of the game. Whew! Crisis averted.

Saturday we had two birthday parties to go to and I stuck to my guns about giving handmade gifts. My initial plan was to make everything way ahead of time and at a leisurely pace. That plan went up in smoke because of me being sick for most of last week, remember? So I got up early Saturday and worked at a crazy speed to get done in time. I was inspired by Sally (who isn't?) and her applique projects to make two totes and t-shirts with their initials on them (one girl and one boy). I forgot to take a shot of the t-shirts...

Stripes for a boy...

Something a little more feminine for the girl...

When I checked my mail box in the afternoon I was so pleasantly surprised to find two packages for little ol' me. One from Zoe and another from Heather.

I got this beautiful print from Zoe because I won her blog anniversary contest! I wanted to kill the people that stuffed the big envelope, that just happens to be labeled with a big PLEASE DO NOT BEND sign, folded in half into my box. Arggh! But thank goodness the print isn't damaged. Thank you so much Zoe!

Heather sent me the tea towels I'd been pining for at her shop, a pin and a magnet - as a thank you for interviewing her for Crafty Synergy. I love everything! Thank you so much Heather!

Even the packaging is special. It's banged up but that's what makes it unique. It has traveled from Carmen in Canada, to Tiel in Australia, to Heather in South Africa and now to me. I can't wait to send it to someone else with some lovely goodies inside.

Sunday we had my parents over for the afternoon and just caught up on things over lunch which was made almost entirely by my hubby. :)

Then today I find that I owe another thank you to Natalie from Craft. She has included me in her list of crafty blogs to check out in her post about her BlogHer experience. My blog list is so long that I fear to go down her list and find more great blogs to read!

Speaking of Natalie, while I do some things this morning I'll be listening to her and other crafty ladies in Jennifer's most recent Craft Sanity podcast that features a session of the BlogHer event. I may not have mentioned it before but Jennifer's podcast is wonderful!

late night with paper

There are two things that I've done for a long time: go to bed late and play with paper. The first is just in my genes I supposed. My youngest brother is the same way. It's great to work in the silence of night time. The latter is something, that come to think of it is also something that I've been pre-wired for. I remember when I was little if I bought or was given a colorful pad of paper I would resist the urge to use a single sheet. It was too painful to use the paper on something trivial but it was also painful not to use it. Am I the only one that went through that?

So, last night, as everyone is sleeping I just got this urge to make something with paper. This time I was sitting at the kitchen table and decided to make a chair. No idea why. I made it just because... no real reason. It's about 1.5 in (approx 4cm) tall.

These are photos that I took this morning with better light (although it's gloomy yet again!)

These are the photos that I took last night at the kitchen table with the help of the overhead lamp. I like the shadows.

One last photo to show scale. I got my Craft magazine yesterday - fun reading for the weekend!

Like I said it's gloomy here (sorry Julieta!) soo... it looks like another rainy weekend. Fortunately we're going to see the Astros play tonight so we're going to have some indoor fun!

Have a great weekend everyone! :)

fresh off the press

This is a logo and corporate identity package that I finished for a client. They wanted something very conservative and corporate but modern at the same time.


I've had a lot of time to sketch out some ideas and come up with new projects in the past few days. I've also been thinking a lot about things that inspire me. Natural materials, organic shapes and handmade objects are definitely at the top of the list. I love trees too (that's no secret!). I need to take some photos of our surrounding neighborhood so that you can see where part of that comes from.

I think that my future projects will reflect these new thoughts. I feel like I've been trying to find a more unified voice in my work if that makes sense. By not working this past week I gave myself the opportunity to really take a closer look at what I've been doing up to this point. We'll see what comes out of all this.

I took these photos about a week ago. I'm not sure what I was going to use them for but I may as well use them today.

These are chimes we purchased in the town where we spent our honeymoon. It's the most serene place I've ever been to in my life. We must go back sometime.

A screen we have right outside our studio.

A hand carved chess set I bought at a great craft market in Bogotá about five years ago. (I have to retake this photo... really blurry!!)

Speaking of inspiration... if there were a store like this close by I'd be there in a heartbeat! (via Karin's blog) How beautiful. A lot of beautiful things there and a lot of the "less is more" aesthetic that I love so much.

I'm much better now, but it's definitely been a long week already. Thank you so much for the 'get well soon' comments posted on my previous post. :)

Before I forget, I owe Natalie at Craft another big thank you for posting my rolled paper craft project. Thank you!! :)

for mom

We hadn't really made plans for the weekend but I didn't expect to spend it in bed every single day which is exactly what happened. I've been running a fever since Saturday morning and I feel like you'd expect - like a used mop - as I like to say. This is what I did: sleep, watch tv, a little bit of internet browsing (thank goodness for wireless capability!) and repeat. Yeah... "fun".

The only reason I'm posting is that my little ones decided to make me feel better this morning by making me cards and breakfast in bed. I heard their little voices conspiring in the kitchen as they planned everything. First they made me these cards and then they ran off make me breakfast. When they came back little C brought me a glass of juice and D brought me a bowl of strawberries. I think it was the best breakfast I could've had. It felt refreshing after a feverish night.

The darker card is from D and the pink one is from Little C. You'll notice the same handwriting on both. Since Little C still doesn't know how to write, from what I gather, she "art directed" D and told him not only what to write but also what to draw. lol. Oh, and in case you're wondering, the infinity looking symbols between the hearts are supposed to be bows. ;)

Anyway... most of the time I show my work or something I've done with the kids. I think it's only fair that I dedicate a post (while they're at baseball practice with their dad) to my little angels who decided to work on this project all on their own . :)

Now, back to bed...

recycling project no. 5 - rolled paper strips

I was going to save this project for next week but we were pounded with heavy rain most of the morning so here it is. I think this is the gloomiest summer we’ve ever had!

This is a very simple project that again, uses materials that we probably all have at home. This time we used:
• strips of paper cut out from a catalog (sorry Pottery Barn!)
• a glue stick (used to glue the end of the little rolls of paper)
• Elmer’s glue (the kids lightly dipped the rolls of paper into this glue)
• cardstock for the background

I thought the kids were going to be able to make the little rolls of paper but it turned out that they either didn’t have the patience for it or their little hands just couldn’t handle the task at hand. In order to stop seeing their little frustrated faces (this is supposed to be fun!) I ended up making all the little rolls of paper myself. I would’ve probably made a wider variety of sizes but the kids were going really fast and I was trying to keep up with them. This reminded me a little of the quilling that my sister-in-law taught me last year but trust me this is not a good representation of what I learned. Speed was of the essence - "Mommy, mommy I need another one... quick! quick!"

When we work on these little pieces I never tell the kids to make anything in particular. The only limitation I give them is the pencil line that I draw to show them the amount of space they have to work on. The rest is up to them. Spontaneous abstract art is the theme we seem to be working with. ;)

Little C's - She was going fast!

D's version - after he finished he said he sees a shark!


Our art wall with our new project.

By the way, any of these recycled wall art projects that I've posted can be made in any size. I'm soooo tempted to buy a big 40" x 40" canvas and make any one of these projects in a larger format. I think they would still hold up.

Oh... and speaking of the kids I can't leave without telling a little mommy story. I was playing 'doctor' with little C when she decided to take my temperature with the play syringe. That's a cutie thing there but it gets better. She pulled out the "thermometer" to read it and she proceeded to tell me, with a very serious face, that my temperature was 20 cents! She got a tight squeeze and a kiss from me for that cuteness! :)

Thank you to Jeffrey Yamaguchi from 52 projects for mentioning my blog yesterday and 'welcome!' to those of you visiting via his post. If you've never been to his site and need ideas for almost any type of project to work on you need to check it out. Just make sure you have a lot of free time because there's a lot to look at!

Have a lovely weekend everyone! :)

recycling project no. 4 - matchbooks

This is a little quick project I thought of doing this afternoon (a rainy one again). It's another way to get rid of some junk mail in a more useful way.

I'm always carrying around little pieces of paper with lists on them. These matchbooks will allow me to have them all in one place and recycle some paper at the same time. The outer cover came from a box of paper samples that I've had for a long time. The actual pages of the books are junk mail letters that we've gotten in the past few days. I'll only be able to use one side of the pages because each has something printed on the opposite side.

I used a double fold to make the "spine" sturdy.

I stapled everything together before trimming.

Trimming after stapling ensures a nicer finish.


I thought the covers looked a little plain so I added a scrap of a block print test (silver ink) that I had from another day. My OCDish side keeps looking at those poorly aligned staples, but they're staying as is. One of my intents with my recycling projects is to be more spontaneous and less worried about a perfect outcome. Easier said than done. ;)

my version

This is the latest in my sewing adventures. It's the Artsy Clutch from Amy Karol's book. It was fairly easy to put together and I decided to use the polymer clay button that I made the other day. I never use clutches but I think this will be handy when I run a quick errand and just need to take a couple of things. I'm quite pleased with the results. I didn't have elastic cord for the button so I ended up using a crocheted strip instead.

Have you ever noticed when you start a new technique/craft (in this case sewing) you just want to keep going? Well, I'm no exception. I never thought I'd say this put it's actually hard for me to put the sewing machine away now. I need to though, because I need to finish the new cards that I'll be posting on my site soon. I'm off to work on some printing...

rainy day

A little bit of sewing. I finished the coasters! For all you sewing experts out there, I know this isn't terribly exciting but for me, the novice, it is. Trust me. The mere fact that I've actually completed a project using a book (Lotta's) as a guide is even more of a feat. Yes, I'm one of those compulsive "I'll reinvent the wheel without help" types.

The black background is not an attempt at being somber/modern or whatever. It just happens to be the top of my desk - where the most decent light is available on a gloomy day!

A little bit of frustration (ok... more like a lot!). Now I'm really not getting ANY notifications of comments made on my blog. I'm trying to keep track of them but if I miss anything just let me know. And as always... thank you for visiting and all your comments are always appreciated!

revisting a dusty friend

Remember I said that my summer schedule would be different? Well I didn't expect it to be this different! I went to bed last night (more like this morning) at 5am. I'm still working on the book project. The good news is that it's due to the printer on Monday so after this weekend I'm a free woman. Thank goodness my hubby took the last couple of days off from work or I would've been in a heap of trouble.

I'm not the type to write a "woe is me" type post so the above is only to emphasize my frustration (but extreme delight too!) upon receiving the books I ordered and not being able to enjoy them fully yet. Here they are:

As I mentioned in my previous post I will be tackling some sewing. I think these books will give me a good starting point. Leafing through them, I realized that I don’t think construction is my problem. I can figure out how to put something together. I just don't know the little tips and tricks that are part of sewing something.

I've only tackled 3 or 4 sewing projects since my husband bought me my sewing machine as a birthday present years ago. Shameful I know! Here, in all its glory, is my first project ever – a tote/diaper bag. Excuse the awful pictures - they're circa 2004. I used fabrics/materials that really aren't me - I have no idea why. I used the bag more out of pride than anything else. And what's up with using that fabric with backpack-type straps? Yikes! I do remember that I didn't use a template or anything of the sort. I sketched the idea out, figured out some appropriate measurements and just dove right in. I even learned about interfacing and I think I used a double application of it.

The bag is pretty banged up now and I haven't used in a while, so I can finally let it go. My plan is to replace it with something more ‘me’. I’m really looking forward to that. So much so that I’ve been designing one for several weeks in my sketch book and I keep changing it around. I just need to make one and get the ball rolling.

I've been staring at the Lara Cameron fabric sitting on my desk for too long now. I started making some coasters with it tonight (just before another 6hr work session started). I'll take a photo of them tomorrow - if it's a decent day. It's been raining for the last couple of days here. We had a dreary/gloomy albeit fun 4th of July celebration at the neighbor's house.

The use of the buttons from my previous post are on the back burner. I have a new idea - a different shape - an oval. Like the one I used in my last cards.

Ok...It’s 2am...the earliest I’ve been to bed in several days. I need to take advantage of this! Good night! :)

polymer clay + linoleum block

I used a little break from playing with the kids to make something quickly. This left over polymer clay (from this little test) had been sitting as a little lump of nothing long enough. Today I had the block that I made this print with nearby so I created these two little buttons - if you can call them that. Before setting them I made a hole all the way through the circle and the rectangle cutouts in the other. The color of this clay is not my favorite but I'm trying to stay in a "use what you have" mode (easier said than done!). My plans for these involve my sewing machine and the linen in the background. Yes, I said the sewing machine - shudder!

For now I'm just waiting for book revisions. It's going to be another long night...

what I do at 2am

It was a very uneventful weekend. It doesn't help that I was working on Friday and Saturday night until 3am. I'm helping put together a book that will be, in the near future, reaching a Barnes & Noble near you. My part of the project isn't too terribly exciting. I'm just designing the simple inside text part of the book (black & white). However, it is exciting that this project is finally coming to life. I'll post a link to the book once it gets published.

As I was working on chapters and waiting for revisions (2am-ish) I felt I needed to do something other than surf the net or do any "thinking" work. I needed to relax and stay awake! So I started carving a new block using one of my most recent doodles as inspiration. These ovals have been popping up a lot in my sketch book since I worked on this.

The top right orange card is what I started with and the left yellow card is what I ended up with after I decided to keep carving. I used a 3 x 4 block but what I really wish I had was HUUUGE piece of linoleum that I could carve and print on fabric! Wouldn't that be fun?!

EDIT: I posted a new interview at Crafty Synergy - finally! :)