away and in the past

I've been away from my computer for most of the last few days and it felt so good.

We went camping with the boy scouts over the weekend and happily found our house in one piece once we got back. Remember last time?


I love campfires, sharing good songs, watching the kids play and the walks. The night in a tent when one has an inadequate sleeping bag is another story—specially when the rest of your family is sleeping soundly. I was glad for the kids and Mr. Z but I was beyond just cold and let's just say that I wasn't a happy camper (literally) at sunrise. However, seeing how much fun my boy scout was having with the whole experience made that quickly go away—a cup of very hot coffee helped too.



• • •

Today little C and I went on her class field trip to a one-room school house where we were treated and expected to behave as if it were 1898 (think Little House on the Prairie). We did the same with my D when he was in 1st grade and it was just as fun.

Lining up for class. Parents played the part of 17 yr old students or 'big sisters and big brothers'.

lining up for class

teacher's desk

The kids practiced math on slate boards and did some penmanship exercises with a quill and ink. The latter was a bit of a challenge but they did surprisingly well.

Here's the dress and apron I made... a lot of work for one day of use, but she looked so cute. It was well worth the effort, but I still don't understand those of you that think that sewing is so relaxing and fun—phew!

I made a dress!

The kids were thrilled to try out the hoops and sticks albeit a bit frustrated because they thought they would be easier to handle. They were told to go twice around the schoolhouse and they were completely out of breadth by the end.

We ended the day enjoying lunch (out of pails) while sitting on blankets under the clear blue sky. Perfect. I've always said it, March is my favorite time of the year.

playing hoop + stick

Days like these make me want to drop all work related activities and just be a Mom. I get such a kick out of seeing what a great time the kids have and watching their innocent play and minds at work. But I also know the part of me that craves tackling my own projects can't stay dormant forever. I'm most happy when there is an ebb and flow between both worlds. Tomorrow I go back to that juggling act... and that's ok.


I've been trying to be more diligent about getting more sleep. For a night owl like myself that's a big deal. But I've realized that the difference even a couple of hours makes is really noticeable. Last night I couldn't help but ignore all that. As in, I completely blew it off and I'll be paying the price today. But I don't care. I had one of those breakthroughs that simply can't be ignored. I knew I was around the corner from it and all the ideas came flowing out last night. My sketchbook had to put up with a lot. I feel like I've turned a huge page of sorts and I can't wait to get started.

The sad part of all this... I won't be able to show you anything for a long while. I apologize for the unfair tease but I'm just giddy and I can't wait to get started.

For now just some unrelated doodling...

children's themed fabric

Remember the pattern designs I showed you a couple of weeks ago (which also match my alphabet flash cards)? They are now available for purchase on Spoonflower. I can't wait to see how these patterns take life in sewing projects. I'm not even sure what I'm going to use my sample for yet. My little C was eyeing the animals for bedding for her dolls!

Animal Friends | Circles & Rods | Sweet Stripes

illustrations on fabric

It feels a bit strange to put my designs on fabric since I'm supposed to be the 'paper person' but I see how this can work for different projects. I'll stand back and let you have all the fun. I've had my fair share with the design process.

animal friends

inspiring break

The kids were on their spring break last week. The change in routine is alwasy a bit of a jolt but a great time to recharge. We visited museums, thoroughly enjoyed the awesome weather and I sketched every night like I hadn't done in a while.

This is my favorite time of the year to enjoy the outdoors.
walk in the park

Sea creatures are a new inspiration...

Fossils too.

The aquarium was a hit but the sharks were the obvious favorites.

Today I'm back at work, inspired and full of new ideas. I can't wait to get started. I feel like I'm on the cusp of a new wave. I don't what type of work will come of it but I know it's coming.

recycle project no. 21 - matchbox

I mentioned this matchbox project I while back. Remember? I finally got around to working on the tutorial and here it is.

I chose white paper for the cover of my box because I want it to match the one that I had already made. I also happen to love all office supplies that look like this. If you prefer more color, any decorative paper would be perfect to wrap around the cover or the inside of the box. The steps that I provide here are just to get you started.

recycle project 21 - matchbox

- Template
- Craft knife or scissors
- Cardboard from a cereal or cookie box that is at least 8" x 9"
- Pencil
- Ruler
- Bone folder
- Letter sized sheet of cardstock
- Craft glue and a glue stick

1. Print and cut out the template that you can download here.

recycle project 21 - matchbox 1

2. Trace the template onto the cardboard. Draw small hatch marks that line up with the interior lines of the template (shown by red dots). This will make it easier for you to score more accurately.

recycle project 21 - matchbox 2

3. Using the bone folder and a ruler, score the cardboard before cutting it out. Score along the solid lines shown in the template. Cut out the box along the drawn outline.

recycle project 21 - matchbox 3

4. Fold the outer most tabs towards the outside part of the box or the craft paper colored side. Fold the other edges towards the inside or the printed side of the cardboard.

recycle project 21 - matchbox 4

recycle project 21 - matchbox 5

5. Using the craft glue, adhere the longest sides of the box so that the long tabs are flat against the bottom inside of the box. Fold and glue the short sides in the same fashion making sure to go over the small tabs. The small tabs should be sandwiched between the short sides of the box. If necessary clamp the sides with clips.

recycle project 21 - matchbox 6

6. For the inside of the box - Cut out another piece of cardboard that is 3" x 4". That is the exact measurement of the box. Because of thickness of the sides, the inside bottom of the box will be slightly smaller. Trim the length and width of the cardboard as necessary to allow the rectangle to fit on the bottom of the box. Attach it with glue. If you prefer this would be a perfect place to use a contrasting color to give the inside of the box some color.

7. For the box cover - cut out a strip of cardstock paper that is at least 4 1/8" x 8.5". Even though the box is 4" long the thickness of the cardboard makes it necessary to make the cover a bit wider.

recycle project 21 - matchbox 7

8. Line up the paper with one of the long sides of the box. Pinch and crease as the paper goes around the box making sure that the cover is snug but not too tight. Before gluing it together make sure that your cover will comfortably slide on and off the box. Glue the ends of the paper cover using the glue stick and make sure to let it dry completely. Done!

- I used cardboard for the box but a thick cardstock will work just as fine.
- If you have access to a larger piece of cardboard enlarge the template to make as large as you need it.
- To make your box even more customized and use a favorite color of fabric you may want to try adapting this clever tutorial on CraftyPod for the cover of the box.

The opportunity for customizing this type of box is only limited by your imagination. Ribbon, fabric, and so many other embellishments or materials can make every box quite unique. Experiment and make it your own.

Have a great weekend everyone!

spring cleaning

All the windows are wide open! That has to be, hands down, one of my favorite things to do when spring rolls around. The spring cleaning not so much. I've been taking turns doing the sprucing up around the house (toys self-reproduce right?) and on my computer.

The digital work involves my Patricia Zapata site that had been long neglected. I've been working on it this week and now I'm tackling the blog. For those of you that don't know and may be interested in that sort of thing, I've added my Twitter feed on my sidebar. If you've enjoyed my Friday Tidbits in the past, I've adopted Twitter as my new home for the links that interest me. If you know me, you'll see that I stay true to swaying between craft and design.

Now back to the home spring cleaning part of my day. Oh boy.



I was sketching out some ideas when my little C asked me if she could work on something herself. It didn't surprise me all that much since she's done that before—and even though she has her own sketchbooks, she prefers that we share mine. Sometimes I'll turn to a new page and a little one of her doodles is on it. More often than not, I have no idea when it was made. It's just there to give me a sweet hello.

Yesterday I was drawing on the left page while she was working on the opposite side.

shared sketchbook

I traced some of her rectangles and came up with this pattern (the proportions will be larger in the final piece). I love it so much that I'm going to get it printed as soon as I decide what color to use.

daughter + mom collaboration

It thrills me to see my little C interested in what I do. Sometimes I wonder if the reason is that she'll be artistic herself or that she simply wants to hang out with Mom. I'll take either one.

Do you have little ones that follow in your footsteps? What do they do?

spring is in the air

The mundane part of my life (aka mountains of laundry) is keeping me indoors on the most beautiful afternoon ever. The sun is shining and the birds are signing away. The thing is, that if I don't take care of the work right now, I'll come up with some fabulous excuse to avoid it all. So here I am taking a tiny break which will be followed by a yummy "arroz con pollo" that I just made.

from my little dd
Tiny flowers from my little C.

Fear not, there's a slightly more interesting reason for me to post today. If you have anything that you'd like to ask me you can do so on Formspring. I'm curious to know what your questions will be, but also a bit nervous too. Be kind my friends (I know, you always are).

I hope you're enjoying your weekend and that it's more exciting than mine!

animals + geometrics

It appears my brain is on a pattern track and I'm just letting it flow. I think it's also a mental balance and response to the corporate design work that I'm tackling now. The question is what I should do with these patterns that are starting to pile up. Hmmm.

(Click on the image to see it a bit larger. My photos seem to be blurry lately-sorry about that. I think it's a Flickr thing ??)

couldn't leave well enough alone

The patterns that I just posted about late last night are now cut out. How I will use them is the question...

paper version

Many of my ideas are well planned out and have a predestined purpose or use. This is obviously not one of them. I'm just going with it and seeing where I will land.

That's all for now. Duty calls.

old shapes inspire a new project

Welcome to March, my favorite month of the year. Spring is in the air and I can't wait for it to be really here. I think that may be spurring on my efforts to do some reorganizing around the house (do toys reproduce on their own?). I want to purge, purge, purge. It's slow but it's working.

So... the organizing effort has reached my computer and I dug up some designs that I hadn't seen in a while. I have a folder of patterns that I add to every now and then. I work on them as a way to take a break from other projects. I haven't done anything with them yet. The obvious would be for them to be printed on paper or fabric but I'm actually thinking of using them in a three-dimensional paper (or wood) quilt of sorts. It's that too off the wall?