dull but not empty-handed

This week I had to hit the ground running. We all had Tuesday to recover and then it has been non-stop since then. I'm completing some projects and starting unexpected new ones. It's been a good week.

Unfortunately for you, my busy week is directly linked to this yawner of a post. The good news is that I do have a way to make it up to you.

Remember these lovely Make Good Books that I mentioned a couple of weeks back? Guess what? I have two of each to give away. In order to enter the drawing all you need to do is leave a comment here answering the following question: What has been your favorite sewing project? If you don't sew - What sewing project would you like to learn how to make? Easy. Right? I will draw four lucky winners next Tuesday, May 5th. Good luck!

For more information on the Make Good Books Series visit their site here.

My answer? I'd love how to know how to make very simple skirts (wrap arounds?) for me and dresses for little C to wear for the summer. But I don't own a serger. Would that be a problem?

Have a great weekend everyone!

everyone should take some days off

We got back from Cancun last night. Our two-hour flight back turned into a seven-hour ordeal with refueling in a different city. The bad weather here, kept our plane away for hours. Aside from that the trip was wonderful. We ate like kings, enjoyed every minute of the pampering and my brother married his lovely bride.

The wedding took place in this Catholic chapel right next to the beach.

Little C, while we all waited for the bride.

Married! They looked so happy and in love.

The day after - Bride, groom and friends (including Mr Z) playing a little beach volleyball.

I don't remember a time where I've eaten so much food or felt so spoiled. The hotel staff was extremely friendly. More importantly it was great having the whole family there.

The only time reality hit was when the best man told us about a message he got from a friend regarding the whole virus problem. We hadn't watched any TV so we had no idea what was going on. We were staying at a resort that is further south from Cancun and pretty isolated from the activities in the city. At this point none of us are sick. We certainly hope it stays that way.

Now it's back to the grind. The good news is that I feel like we were gone for two weeks instead of only 5 days.

• • •

Thank you so much to everyone that mentioned one or several of my projects during Earth Week. Thank you to Craft, Modish, The Crafty Crow, Scoutie Girl, Paper Shop Ink, All Things Paper, Folding Trees and of all places Discovery. Wow. I didn't realize the list would be so long until just now. If I forgot anyone I apologize. Thank you. Thank you.

recycle project no. 16 - hurricane cover

recycling project no.16 - hurricane cover

As promised here is a very easy recycling project. All you need is:
- 2 paper towel cardboard tubes
- scissors
- glue
- two letter-sized sheets of office paper
- tape
- 4.5" x 9" (11.4cm x 23cm) glass hurricane

1. Press and crease the cardboard tubes lengthwise. Cut the cardboard into 1/8" (4mm) slices. You will need 84 rings.

recycling project no.16 - hurricane cover

2. Arrange the rings in a pattern where there are alternating rows of 4 and 3 rings.

3. Attach the rings, by placing small dots of glue (shown in red) on the four outer sides of each ring that are adjacent to four additional rings. Only add glue to two points (shown in green) on the outer side of the rings used for the top and bottom rows of the cover.

recycling project no.16 - hurricane cover

recycling project no.16 - hurricane cover

4. Cut about 1" (2.5cm) off the short end of each of the sheets or enough to make them flush to the height of the rings. Tape the two sheets together along the long sides and secure them around the hurricane.

5. Once the attached rings are completely dry attach the opposite columns of rings to form a tube. Allow more drying time and hold with a paper clip or something similar while it dries.

6. Slide the tube of rings over the paper-covered hurricane.

• • •

I'll probably be too busy tomorrow getting ready for our trip to Cancun (my brother's getting married) so... Happy Earth Day and see you next week!

recycling projects

With Earth Day coming up on the 22nd I thought it would be good to dust off my recycling projects. You can see them all here.

I just took this photo this morning. It's the first piece of the series, which I started in May of 2007. As you can see it shows the passage of time with the yellowing of the newsprint. I kind of like that. It's like the piece continues to evolve.

Tomorrow I will post a simple recycling project that will be very simple and easy to make. Stay tuned.

weekend gifts

- A slow and calm couple of days.
- Incessant rain on Saturday which gave us the sloth time we all needed.
- A sketch book with new ideas that came to me between games and movies.
- A sunny Sunday. Our family room gets the best afternoon sun. The Sunburst Wreath is a project I made for Home, Paper, Scissors.
- Waking up later than usual to the announcement that breakfast was ready and served.
- Playing an 'I Spy' type game, made up by D, using the latest Michael's advertisement. Talk about cheap after-breakfast entertainment.
- Getting my butt kicked by my little C playing Guess Who. She was beyond delighted.
- Going to church without incident. No children complaining.

I feel ready to tackle the busy but short week. We're leaving on Thursday to celebrate my brother's wedding in Cancun. The only downside - the dreaded bathing suit purchase which I've been avoiding. A huge gift would be to find it effortlessly.

I hope your weekends were good ones too.


I love Friday evenings and I love rainy ones too. Tonight we happen to have both. Perfect.

It's been a long busy week but I just wanted to pop in a wish everyone a great weekend. Enjoy it!

I leave you with a random photo I had handy. This is a paper lamp I made last year. It inspired the floating pods fabric that I designed last November.

EDIT :: My apologies, but I had to remove the photo. I will repost when the time is right.

all that shines

Here is the result of a random request from little C. She asked me for a crown for her small stuffed penguin. Hmm. Ok. Five minutes later, plus 15min for drying, these were the results. I used a scrap strip of paper that wasn't more than a couple of inches wide and about the length of a letter-sized page. I eyeballed it and cut the curves freehand, sprayed the paper with adhesive spray and sprinkled a handful of glitter on it and used one staple to seal the ends together. If I could please my daughter as easily with all of her requests I'd be in heaven.

For the record I'm not really a glitter type person (gasp say all glitter lovers everywhere) and yet this is the second glittered crown I make. The first was much bigger. I made if for my D's Wise Man's school costume in December. Instead of paper I used cardstock and it held up perfectly. That's why I am the owner of a bottle of Martha Stewart glitter and that's why little C knew exactly what she wanted.

In the interest of full disclosure - The day I bought the gold glitter I couldn't stop my hand from grabbing the clear glitter. I used a bit on our Christmas cards. So, ok you got me. Maybe glitter does have a purpose in my life.

Small shop update :: I've received several emails from customers interested in a smaller format of my alphabet flash cards. I finally got a chance to resize all my artwork so they are now available in the shop. Each flash card is now 1/4 of a letter-sized page and very handy for little hands.
• • •

Check out the site of one my husband's cousins. We just found out he rents out 'fincas' (ranch style vacation homes) in different areas in Colombia. If we go next year the hardest thing will be to pick the city to visit.

For those of you that have never been or seen anything related to Colombia, aside from all the bad stuff we all know about, please take a few seconds to view the video on the home page. It really is a beautiful country with warm and hard working people.

the chosen five

I'm rather quiet about my graphic design work here. I'm not sure why. But it still is a big part of what I do. My design business was my first venture into going solo and the reason why I stayed sane a year after quitting my full-time job. I still enjoy splitting my time between Zapata Design and A Little Hut. It keeps me balanced.

If I had to pick only one thing to design it would be logos. They're challenging and entertaining at the same time and you never know what you're going to end up with.

I'm happy to report that these are the logos that have been selected to be part the first book of Initials & Crests in the new LogoLounge Master Library series. It will be published by Rockport Publishers next year.

Top (left to right)
Saratoga Springs - for a neighborhood in Phoenix
V Spa - for the Hilton Anatole spa in Dallas
Sumpter & Gonzales - Austin law firm

Bottom (left to right)
The Myositis Association - Washington DC
People & Partners - UK

• • •

FYI - I posted a new interview on Crafty Synergy. Come by and visit here.

like gifts waiting to be unwrapped

On Friday we took a tour of the city to show my uncle, who is visiting with his girlfriend, some sights of the city. While we waited to meet up with them and my parents we took a stroll through the The Cullen Sculpture Garden.

I obviously want our kids to pursue their talents and tastes without my biased influence so when they show any self-motivated interest in anything art related I can't help but feel more than a twinge of delight. D was carrying his sketch book in the car and spontaneously started sketching drawings based on the sculptures all around us. I was surprised that he was so sad to leave the garden.

I often wonder what our kids will do when they grow up. My biggest hope is that it's something they love.

As I typed the end of this post I decided to ask the kids what they want to be when they grow up. Little C's answer: An artist or a chef (expected). D's answer: An actor (news to me!).

happy easter

It's so nice to have these pretty flowers to look on such a gray day. We gave them to my little C who turned 6 yesterday. We had a family get together to celebrate so it was a very hectic Saturday. But it was well worth it. My princess felt really special.

Today we get to enjoy the quiet of our of comfy home. My parents who always host Easter are out of town (having fun in NYC) so we're all just taking it easy.

Happy Sunday!

renewal - block print cards

I haven't had the chance to carve out some linoleum in a long time. Creating this at the start of spring just seems so right. I called it renewal to name it after the new season and my great weekend.

My card sets now come with yummy looking kraft envelopes. The cards and envelopes are both recycled and are made at a paper mill that uses hydroelectric energy.

happy bookshelf

Linen, Wool, Cotton (Akiko Mano) and Patchwork Style (Suzuko Koseki) are new books published by Trumpeter as part of their Make Good: Crafts + Life series. What a nice surprise to find them in the mail yesterday.

Linen, Wool, Cotton - Just as the name of this book is simple and straightforward so are the 25 projects in its pages. It's perfect for someone that is new to sewing. The book is divided into three chapters, and you guessed it, they are: linen, wool and cotton. The photography of the book is wonderful (if I could I'd jump in and live there) and the projects are very simple and sweet. The three projects below are among some that I'd like to try.

Slouch bag

Mary Jane slippers

Hanging pockets

Patchwork Style - This book has 35 projects that are more advanced than the first book. It is divided into 5 chapters: log cabin, appliqué, patchwork squares, free stitching and square appilqué. I like that there are many versions of small bags and totes. Very tempting.

Pillow cover and quilt

Tote bag

Red and blue party bags

Both books give very simple instructions and clear diagrams to go by. I don't have any Japanese craft books but by what I've seen in online book reviews these have that same peaceful quality to them. Love that.

Felting for Baby - Is another book that makes up the series. It would surely be on my shelf if I were to have another baby (not in the plans at all).

Funny how I keep getting sewing books (not complaining). It's like someone is trying to tell me something.


second grade field trip

This weekend was, in one small and insufficient word, wonderful. I went on a retreat with a group of amazing women and couldn't feel any better. It sounds rather cliche, but it would be very difficult to summarize everything I learned and experienced. I can say that I have a renewed perspective on my life and more energy to move forward.

My only regret is that I didn't take a camera with me (hence the photograph from when I went there last year). The retreat center is such a beautiful out of the way place. You feel like you're a million miles away from everything.

But now I'm back and I need to tackle my to-do list. Have a great Monday!


This is just a quick message to let you know that I'll be going out of town tonight and won't be back until Sunday afternoon. Any orders that are placed during that time will be delivered on Monday, April 6th.

I'll have no access to internet, no cell phone or even a watch during the time I'm gone. I'm also going with a group of women. No husbands and no kids. Woohoo!

Have a great weekend everyone!

time flies...

When you're having fun. I can't believe it's already April. April people! The older I get the faster it seems that time goes by. So... since the end of the year will be upon us before I know it and because several of you early birds have requested it (some since January), I'm getting my 2010 calendars ready. If you sign up for my newsletter I'll be sure to let you know when they are in the shop.

The pattern for my April letter is actually one that I'm going to get printed on fabric for cushions for our very brown living room. I'm dying to get some color in there.

Yesterday, Jena, the wonderful Modishblog editor, was so kind to publish an interview of me in her Modish Biz Tips section. All I have to say is that it's always easier to be asking the questions than to be answering them. Thank you so much Jena!

And don't expect any pranks from me today. I'm terrible at telling jokes (I either forget half the joke or ruin the punchline) and I've never been that great at April Fools things either. For those of you that are rearing to go, please be kind to your intended victims. Happy April Fool's Day!