out of my head and onto paper

I've had the idea of making the petals of a flower out of a specific shape for several days. I worked over it in my head until I thought it was ready for paper. It doesn't look exactly as I pictured it but it's really close. I think I know how to fix the center, which is the part that bothers me. I may include a small tutorial of this flower in a project I'm working on.

how we handle the sour notes

I found this list when I was digging through a box in our closet. It was given to us during our pre-wedding, one-day church retreat. It's a list of things to keep in mind when you're in the middle of an argument with your better half.

1. Don't call each other names
2. Don't involve others in your argument (mother-in-law, brother-in-law, etc)
3. Don't bring up old stories/complaints (stories that are more than 48hrs old shouldn't be brought up again)
4. Stay on the subject at hand and get to the point.
5. No low blows allowed - such as rubbing in character flaws.
6. Don't go to bed upset at each other.
7. Maintain a sense of humor. Laughing can be the best remedy.
8. Hold each others hands and look into each others eyes. Make the choice of love.

What have we really done? Have we followed these rules?

1. Yes. We've never called each other anything hurtful.
2, 4 and 5. Yep. No problems there.
3. This was a hard one for me to get used to. It REALLY works though. We've stuck to it all these yrs and it help a lot. If MrZ or I have a gripe and we don't bring it up in 48hrs = tough luck. This has forced us to be really good about solving things quickly; there's no pile up, hence no unexpected explosions. I think this rule has the best long term results out of all them.
6. Not always. MrZ gets over things so quickly, which is kind of maddening in itself. I need to stew for a bit before I'm officially over it.
7. Yes. We've actually burst out laughing in the middle of a so-called argument.
8. No not really. The last thing I want to do is hold my Mr's hands when we're in the middle of it.

I'll add one that we stick to...
9. No arguments in front of the kids or anyone for that matter. It all stays between the two of us.

Any rules you go by?

Something pretty to end on a good note. These are the lovelies we see in our yard once a year. This weekend I will definitely be getting my hands in some dirt. Our yard is desperately calling out and I happen to find weeding relaxing if you can believe that.

it's a spring thing

Every year, around springtime, I get the urge to do something with my hair. Typically it involves cutting a good portion of it off. I know the time has come when all I do is pull my hair up day after day after day. If I ask Mr.Z what he prefers (long/short) I always get the very diplomatic (smart?) 'you look great either way' answer. He'll won't admit it, but I know he does prefer it long.

Our opinions on graying hair are another matter. His mother has a very pretty full head of white hair. He thinks that it would work great for me too. Ummm. No. I love my MIL dearly but I'm not her. That's my blunt and maybe not so smart (but won't change) answer to that one.

So this is what I look like today. The flip on the bottom is just my curly hair trying to rebel the straightening I tried out for today. The look completely changes when it's curly.

For the record, I'm terrified of dying my hair. I've never done it and there are more than a few dozen gray hairs all over my head. Not sure when I'll get up the courage to get them taken care of. On the flip-side, I'm very low maintenance in the beauty department and the idea of having to keep track of roots just sucks the will power out of me.

bunny stationery set

I wanted to put together a set of Easter stationery for the kids. I talked about my ideas with D and little C and the bunny won.

The lined flat cards come in four colorways and the note card is blank on the inside. Matching gift tags and the bunny box complete the set.

And with that my work day is over. The end of the day (aka - working at home alone while the kids are in school) always comes so amazingly fast. Too fast!

back... again

I'm so excited to start a new week. The last few days we have been trading germs around here and our spring break was very uneventful. I'm ready to get going again.

I got these flowers (ahem... weeds from our obliging yard) from my sweet little C to make me feel better. She gives them to me with such pride and heartfelt emotion. Really sweet, mushy moment. Upon closer inspection, I was surprised at how pretty the flowers actually are. Each one is no wider than a penny.

Saturday we finally got some sun as we got ourselves out for the last weekend of the Houston Rodeo. This 'farm' was part of a cute set up for kids that helped them explain the cycle of planting, harvesting and selling a crop. We were among the least looking Texan families out there. There isn't a single cowboy boot or hat in this house. Some people look great in them. I think I'd look odd.

Today the kids went back to school and the house felt really empty. I didn't realize it would be so hard to jump back into my routine.

favorites around my desk

I'm cleaning up my studio today and here are a few things I could never get rid of.

- Sketch box :: It really is a recipe box but I use it for 2 minute sketch ideas. I make them whenever an idea hits or I do several in one sitting. These are separate from my sketch book because I don't thing about them. I just do. That sounds similar to what one would normally do in a sketchbook but somehow I don't feel so attached to them (maybe not bound permanently?) so the ideas just flow more freely. If I don't like it, it goes into to the recycle pile. If I do it stays in the box for future reference.

- Sketchbook :: I'm stuck on Moleskines. I love my black cover Moleskine but my cahiers (which aren't in the photo) are never far away either.

- Paper + envelopes :: Just got a new order and I love my new kraft envelopes! I've been wanting my card envelopes to be this color for a very long time but I had to use up all my previous stock first. I know kraft envelopes are everywhere but I don't care. Call this a small indulgence or a grown up version of a 2 year old "I want it!" fit. Either way I love them.

The paper will stay the same - a natural color with visible specs. Still love it too. I use French paper because of the quality and because of their focus on environmentally sound products.

- Small clipboard :: I use it for my to-do lists and it gets a lot of use. Who could ever get rid of a clipboard?

On an unrelated note :: If you've ever made anything using one of my tutorials as inspiration I'd love to see it. I've created a Flickr group for this purpose. I hope that doesn't come across as self-indulgent but I really enjoy seeing others' work. Some of you have been kind enough to email me photos of your creations - thank you! Now we'll all have a place to share. Care to join in the fun? Click here.

Since the tidiness in the picture does not reflect the rest of my studio, I must get back to work!

the clouds have lifted

Today was the first time the kids and I got out of the house in four days (which were, coincidentally, the coldest and rainiest in weeks). We took advantage of the great weather that popped up out of nowhere and went to the park for a bit.

It was the first time I saw her cross all the way on her own.

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with me regarding my previous post. It's always insightful to learn a bit about what everyone else goes through. And your kind words were very touching. Talk about brightening my day!

here I go again

For any of you wondering why I was gone last week, I will try to explain. Blame the fever I’ve had for the last two days if I don’t make much sense.

I've stayed away because I was hit by feelings of self-doubt. That’s it, plain and simple. It touched how I feel about my work, my abilities and my path choices; everything related to what I do for a living. I waffled about my current projects and about ideas that I have about the future. Reflective retreat is my typical modus operandi when all this comes about.

It’s not the first time I feel this way, nor will it be the last. It’s something that shows up like an unwelcome guest and can be just as annoying. I acknowledge these feelings, not because I really want to, but because I need to. Trying to ignore the whole thing and move on would be like trying to work with one hand behind my back.

I don’t really know why these feelings creep up but they do. Like I said, they're annoying but in a strange way they shake me up in a good way. When they pass I typically feel a sense of renewed enthusiasm. I discover that there was something that needed to be fixed and I find that I have new ideas that were lurking under the surface. This time was no different.

I’m ok now. I’ve done some reading, taken notes and done some sketching. I think I’ve even made up my mind about what I want my second book to be about. Yes, I’m willing to take the leap again. I still have to see if my idea is accepted but I’m pretty excited about it.

I wondered if I should post this or not. But sharing preempted feelings of vulnerability because I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one that goes through all this. Coincidentally Jena proved that today. So, in case you didn't know this already, if you’ve ever gone through something similar, you’re not alone.

• • •

“Self-doubt is the little voice in your head saying " You Can Do It!" and the big voice saying " I Wish You Would"...listen to the little voice” - Sean O'Donnell


Tomorrow my youngest brother will be getting married in a civil ceremony. The church wedding will take place in April.

Congratulations to Felipe & Amy! We love you both!

sew positive

Inspired by Holly's creative series I'm going to, as she put it, "just do it". I'm also going to make a point of forcing myself out of my comfort zone.

I received a copy of Softies Only a Mother Could Love a few days ago and Little C and I went through it immediately. It's an adorable book of softies designed by crafters from around the world. All the designs are truly unique. Maybe a little too unique in Little C's opinion (Mom, that one looks scary). But she did ask me to make her the donkey designed by Myra Masuda (My Little Mochi). We'll see how it goes.

I only know how to sew very simple things and this doesn't look very beginner friendly to me but I'm going to go for it anyway. I have everything I need because for someone who doesn't sew, I have plenty of fabric to choose from. I think it's my inner positive self hoping that some day I will use it all on magnificent projects. Sure.

Have a great weekend everyone!

caught my eye

I haven't posted Friday links in a while so here I am on Thursday instead. Here are some I'd like to share:

Sanford Photo - Sanford was the photographer that shot the beauty shots for my book. We worked for three days straight and he was awesome! Not only did I learn a lot from him but I also had tremendous fun.

Ink+Wit - I've always been a fan of Tara Hogan's work. She just started her blog last month and I can already tell I'll be a frequent visitor.

Bailey Doesn't Bark
- I only buy white dishes. These would be a cute exception to the rule.

Seven Of - According to Amy the purpose of her blog is to give readers a "mental breath mint". That's what she said when I met her at Mom 2.0 Summit. She and Jane are friends and collaborate on a daily random list of 7 things.

Alphabet wall - I seem to be stuck on the alphabet lately. I posted this on twitter but I figured I'd share here as well. I don't remember how I found this nursery but I really love the letters on the wall. And speaking of alphabet...

Lovelydesign - Adorable favor bags that Sharilyn made for her daughter's birthday. So very cute!

One last one - I love this quote.

I finally got around to replacing my broken lens (yes!) and this is one of the first photos I take with the new one. It isn't fancy (same one as before) but I've fallen in love with my camera all over again. Sorry iPhone and old Olympus thingy - thanks for filling in, but it just wasn't the same.

feeling thankful

- For yesterday's surprise lunch invitation from my DH. We used to get together at lunch more often but now that he works a little further away we do it rarely. As we were eating I asked Mr. Z why he invited me to lunch (just to see what he'd say) and without skipping a beat his reply was: "To thank you for everything you do." No teasing involved. He really meant it.

- For gorgeous weather even though I still consider it a bit cool for me (as those of you with snow call me a wimp!). The empty tables on the restaurant patio are proof that I'm not the only one that can't eat in chilly weather.

- For the simple pleasures that my kids enjoy. Free balloons at the grocery store are always a hit.

- For working from home and getting to do what I do every day.

- For being able to book our trip to join my brother on his wedding day. It'll have to be a quick one because the wedding is in April in Cancun and well that thing called 'school' gets in the way.

- For anyone that can tell me how on earth I found this photo/screen shot among my iphone photos. I think one of the kids did this and I don't know how. I don't really need to know but the curiosity is killing me.

- For very generous internet friends. This is a late one coming - so sorry Lori! I won her 500th post giveaway about 2 months ago. (I told you I was late - really, really late!) My little C and I split all the great magnets I won (she took the veggies/fruits/sweets to play restaurant) and I'm waiting to share this very cute birthday card with someone special. Lori also owns Fin and Roe were she designs and sells custom photo announcements. I love all her modern designs.

- And last, but certainly not least, for all of you that come and visit every day. I truly appreciate you taking the time to stop by. To those of you that leave comments - I read them all and they always brighten my day.

Happy Wednesday!

alphabet invitation set

Today is the day. Finally! I've been working on this project for what seems like a very long time. As I was working on my Alphabet Flash Cards I designed these party sets (purple/orange and green/blue) and the additional illustrations needed for the favor boxes. Three illustrations per letter of the alphabet. Phew.

A new detail with to this set is that the PDF for the invitations is editable. You can type in all the information for your party, press print, cut and you're done. No more cramped hand from writing a dozen invitations.

The boxes are also sold in sets of four (purple/orange or blue/green) - you select the initials you need.

I will be using the purple/orange combination for my little C's birthday next month. The alphabet boxes came in handy for Valentine's day as well. I gave each of the kids a box with some Hershey kisses in them. I was surprised to find that I could fit 2 dozen little chocolates into each box. Fear not, I did not give them that many at all. We definitely do not need the kids bouncing off the walls!

A big thank you to Heather (who I was lucky to meet at Mom 2 Summit) for her sweet words in mentioning my alphabet cards on her blog last week! Her design blog is also a wonderful and inspiring place to visit. Thank you Heather!