one month of projects

My mind is always full of projects and I'm not always good about writing them down if I don't make them right away. I think I have a temporary solution for that. I briefly mentioned it as a 'tweet' the other day. Have any of you heard of the National Novel Writing Month? Check out the site for details. The gist of the project is to write, write, write every day during November. I for one, don't think (no, I know!) I can't crank out 50,000 words in a month. So, I've decided to take a more 'me' approach to this.

I will declare November my personal 'One Month of Projects'. I'm going to come up with 30 original projects and I'll develop them as detailed sketches. If I'm on a roll I'll write a semi-tutorial for each. Notice I didn't name it very specifically. The projects will involve any type of handmade activity like paper crafts, knitting, crocheting, sewing (if I'm being brave)—anything. The good thing about this is that potential Christmas projects may come out of this.

I won't be blogging about any of my projects so the perfectionist in me doesn't have to worry about showing something lame. I'm not going to aim for perfection. I'm aiming (as the NNWM stipulates) for quantity and brainstorming.

Speaking of projects here is a little teaser of my latest project. I LOVE it. I'm starting to write the tutorial for it and it will eventually see the light of day. I'll keep you posted.

The countdown starts now. Four days until my OMP starts. Anyone want to join me?

autumn inspiration

These are some pictures of our little trip to a local nursery to get our pumpkins over the weekend. Autumn colors are my favorite. Brown, orange and yellow are the predominant colors in our home (love the orange!). This is a quick pattern that came out of the close up shot.

I bought tiny pumpkins to work on an easy tea light project I saw on the Martha Stewart site. Any excuse to light a candle is a good one.

By the way, I haven't been able to post anything on Crafty Synergy. Blogger has put a block on it! I'm trying to get that cleared up—soon.

fabric 2.0

On Friday evening, I drove to downtown Houston and joined a friendly group at the Fabric 2.0 event hosted by Caroline Devoy and Kathy Miller. I felt like a fish out of water, surrounded by so many people involved in the fabric world, but I loved being there. The view of the sunset from the 24th floor of the Hilton terrace was an added bonus.

I finally got to meet Michelle Engel Bencsko, Jessica Jones, Caroline Devoy and Paula Prass and her daughter Jennifer. They were all as friendly as I imagined them to be (and more!). I chatted with Lizzy House and Kim Kight. I briefly met Heather Bailey and Patty Young and I was, I'll admit, too chicken to say hello to Jay McCarroll.

L-R: Michelle, me, Jessica

I have to say that I wasn't quite sure what to expect (specially since I had never met anyone in person beforehand) but it was a wonderful experience to see the faces behind some of the blogs and work that I admire so much. I know I'll be stating the obvious here, but I'll say it anyway: blogs are great but people are SO much better. It was a real treat to match personalities and voices to the words that I read almost on a daily basis.

I hope that the Houston Quilt Market experience went well for everyone (so sad it isn't open to the general public) and that the fabric lines will be very successful now that they have all been officially introduced over the weekend.

It was great meeting all of you!

go vote!

I just got back from doing that myself. Feels good to have that taken care of. Now I can just sit back and wait for the results.

Another good thing... I don't like making the trek all the way to the Dr's office but at least I got good news—a clean bill of health. The view wasn't too bad either. This is what I saw yesterday from his building —view from Medical Center towards downtown Houston. (Taken with my trusty iPhone).

Today I'm on a mission to get a lot accomplished so I'm out of here!

gift tags in craftstylish

I visited the CraftStylish booth at Maker Faire and was pleasantly surprised to see a copy of the magazine in which a gift tag tutorial I wrote is published. I worked on this tutorial back in May so it was very nice to finally see it in print. These tags are very easy to make and it turns out they could be used for another purpose as well. A friend, that I showed the magazine to, said that she could see them being used as tree ornaments. I think she's right!

This morning I got around to uploading just some the of the photos I took at Maker Faire. If you'd like to take a peek they're on my Flickr page here. I was shameless this time. Took lots of pictures everywhere!

back from maker faire

I got back this afternoon from my 2nd trip to Austin Maker Faire. I went without the kids and Mr. Z (it would've been just too much this time around). I missed them a bunch because I saw so much I know they would've enjoyed. This year I wasn't a 'maker' per se (no booth) so my experience was different. However, it was still a lot of fun because of all the people that I saw again and the new people that I met.

So serious looking. I promise I was having fun.

I gave a demo at the Craft booth on how to make a diorama (remember?). I'm really happy with an interesting variation that I showed. I'll be using for a Christmas mantel decoration piece. Stay tuned. There was also the added bonus of meeting some of my very friendly blog readers. Hello ladies! You can delurk now!

Just like last year there was so much going on everywhere. Actually, I think there was more. There was no shortage of creativity and the demos and maker booths were very inspiring. I'll be the first to admit that I'm a talker but boy oh boy did I talk yesterday! How could I not? Here are just some of the great people that I met up with: Tina Barseghian (Craft editor-in-chief), Rachel Hobson, Jennifer Perkins, Kathy Cano-Murillo, Lisa Chouinard, Amie Needham, Jennifer Ramos (my little C loves here new apron Jennifer!) and Elizabeth Soule. I know I left some people out. I was going to post a bunch of photos but I'm too tired to do that now. Maybe tomorrow.

Oh! I can finally publicly announce the name of my upcoming book: Home, Paper, Scissors. Love it! The book will be published in August of 2009. Can't wait!


Don't you feel like sometimes we're running from place to place and missing everything in between? I know I do. I think that's where a book like the one I got in the mail a few weeks back can come in handy. The book is called How to be An Explorer of the World by Keri Smith. It has 59 really simple and fun ideas that vary from making pencil rubbings of found patterns to taking detailed notes of the people that you see in one hour (I love people watching!). The book is written completely by hand, looks more like a zine or a journal and has extra pages in the back to document objects and experiences. I think this book is one that I'll definitely be sharing with the kids. We'll all be explorers together.

Speaking of exploring yesterday we were doing a little of that with my little C (aka. my time with her while her big brother does homework). After making a pair of crowns (she insisted on making one for her and one for D) we tried some doodling. I'd scribble a line and C would try to make something out of it. She got a little stuck on one so I made horse with that particular scribble (towards the left). She told me, kindly and rightly so, that my horse really didn't 'look good' and showed me what a real horse should look like (far right). Too cute. Her teacher is convinced that she's going to be 'artsy' like me.

By the way, my neighbor called us last night. As she put it, she called to report 'no good news but no bad news'. Her great grandson is still in critical condition but there are possible signs that there can be some recovery. After they take him out of his medically induced coma there will be tests to determine his brain function. The good news is that they have tested his breathing without the machines and he is able to breathe on his own for tiny lapses of time. Thank you so much for all the prayers and good thoughts they will be needed because there is still a long way to go.

One last thing. Don't be like me and wait until your husband gets upset at you because you haven't gotten your mammogram taken care of. GO DO IT. Go schedule your appointment today. I'm on my way to do that right now. Ugh.

the power of prayer

In the interest of full disclosure and to ask for a favor, I have a story to tell. My previous post was partly inspired by a very sad event.

My next door neighbor is a woman in her early 80s. We love her to death. All our neighbors do too. She's our surrogate grandmother, mother hen, matriarch. Remember all the fun that I missed out during the aftermath of Hurricane Ike? It all happened on her drive way. She was surrounded by all the neighbors and their kids. She's the glue that holds all of us together and her family is just as wonderful.

She called us at 10 pm last night, crying and begging (literally) for prayers. She told us that her 11 year-old great grandson had been found, unconscious and without a heart beat at the bottom of a hot tub. His dad found him and gave him CPR while they waited for the ambulance. He was taken to the hospital alive and was going to be going through some tests and a brain scan because even though he was breathing he was still unconscious. That's the last I heard.

Our neighbor left really early this morning and hasn't returned. I'm really worried. I goofed around doing chores, twittering nonsense and what-not but my mind hasn't strayed away from this all day.

I believe in the power of prayer. If you do to, I would certainly appreciate it if you could send some this way. Pray for this family and their boy. Please. Thank you.

the measure of my men

I was just thinking about how lucky I am to have two of the most awesome guys in my life. They do little things that always show me how much they care.

My husband treated me to an unexpected lunch at a nice restaurant by the river a couple of days ago. I think it was his way to offer some relief from a tough week. It was nice to have some time together—alone. He's been nothing but supportive about all the craziness that I go through.

A quick shot with my iPhone. Restaurant by the river. South American cuisine. Yum!

The guys had an early soccer game on Saturday morning (Dad is the team coach). They let us girls sleep in. Just before they left, I felt my D pull the covers over my foot, which was sticking out from under the covers, he gave me a gentle pat on the head and a kiss on the cheek. The whole time he assumed I was fast asleep. It's not the first time I get 'tucked in' by my eight year old. It makes me smile every time.

We're enjoying a beautiful Sunday. I hope you are too.

playing catch-up

Remember my lofty ideas of having my fabric designs all ready to go? Well, all that got postponed as you can tell. I only have two new colors of the previous fabric design to show you for now. I realize they're not really fall colors but it's hard to get into the cooler spirit of things when we're still in the 80s around here. I'm selling them as fat quarters for now because I'm trying to find a more reasonable alternative for selling these by the yard.

So what's up for the weekend? I will definitely tackle my office. No big decorating involved though. More of a purging that needs to happen asap. Making 33 projects for the book put a serious dent into my efforts at staying organized. There are sheets of paper and sample projects everywhere. The minute I finish this post that's what I'm tackling today—oh yeah, and that thing called laundry.

After I pick up the kids from school we're off to a birthday/halloween party. D is going to be Darth Vader (he's all about Star Wars nowadays) and our girly girl wanted to be a ballerina this year. The countdown to being able to use their costumes for the first time this year has finally come to an end. Thank goodness—now just looking forward to the after-party sugar high.

Thank you to Apartment Therapy for featuring yesterday's cereal box organizer and a huge thank you to Natalie at Craft for featuring A Little Hut as part of the series of 'blogs we love'!!! I'm so very flattered. What a great way to end the week. And welcome to those of you that are new to my blog. I hope you stick around for a bit and look around.

Have a great weekend everyone!

recycle project no. 14 - drawer organizer

I saved a couple of cereal boxes a while back and today I used them to make a drawer organizer. Everything in the drawers of a small Ikea drawer unit I have slide back and forth and I was getting tired of that. I love the neutral colors of Muji stationery supplies and that was a tiny inspiration too.

The first thing I made was a basic box that is as wide as the inside of the drawer. The divider is made out of another piece of a cardboard and it covers the bottom of the box, which make the whole project very sturdy.

I purposefully didn't want any part of the outer graphics to be visible. I didn't take a photograph of the finished outer box but I covered the sides with left-over kraft paper I had. If you prefer something more colorful use gift wrap, leftover wall paper or scrapbooking paper.

Notice that the back of the drawer has one of my magazine bowls.

So, why did I disappear? So many things happened in the last month. Right after the hurricane it was difficult to fall back into our routine. It sounds rather silly considering we had it really easy but other friends had the same trouble. The kids were out of school for two weeks so that didn't help either. Aside from that, I had to re-shoot some photos for my book (my photographer was here last week and the house was a wreck again), revise my manuscript a couple of times, worked on some things including an illustration for the cover of a magazine (fun + unexpected), the obvious mom/wife/family-life things and then the worst of all, I had some personal health issues sneak up on me. I had several medical appointments, was poked for exams and had minor surgery on Tuesday. I had a serious reality check and several days filled with introspective thinking and I'm more focused on my priorities now. Physically all is well now, except for the ravages of the breathing tube that make my neck feel like it was run over by a car and my throat all scratched up by barbed wire.

Needless to say things have been busy around here. When I'm stressed and really busy my creativity comes to a screeching halt which ironically makes me even edgier if that makes any sense. I certainly didn't feel like giving you a daily depressing account about all this (one paragraph was plenty, right?). But I did miss being around. So today I feel like I'm really back—really.

What did I miss? I haven't read any blogs in forever and I've only been semi-Twittering. Do you have any great links to share?