four years

Last night I realized that I missed my blog anniversary. On May 26th, four years ago, I started writing this blog very tentatively. I felt rather silly and like I was talking to the wind. Little did I know, how my creative life would completely change. It has been a wonderful ride and I'm glad I've fought off the times (many times) when I've had the temptation of just letting it all go.

To celebrate, I've decided to host a small giveaway. I will select four winners at random. One will win this piece I created today and the remaining three will win a printable of their choice. The giveaway will be open until Monday at noon. Please make sure that you leave an email or link through which I can reach you. To make it interesting answer this: What has been your biggest accomplishment in the last four years?

I thank you all for stopping by and taking time out of your day to visit. To those of you that leave comments, please know that I read every single one and I take them to heart. You make me smile often.

Thank you. Thank you.

Have a great weekend!

wrapping paper - family project

Here's the start—although I like it as is. I used a black marker and drew this on a large piece of butcher paper that has been around for a long time. I'm going to stretch it on the kitchen table and enjoy some coloring time with the kids. I want them to fill in some random leaves with a crayon. I hope I can convince them that there's no need to color every single leaf. Less is more.

one a day

I took a card out of my sketch box, fiddled around with some paper and here is the result. This gave me the idea to develop a series of cut paper pieces that will only be created with my scraps. I plan on creating one a day and each will be small and really simple.

So, here's No. 1.

This is a scan so that's why it looks rather flat. All I used was white and brown paper and a black thin marker for the hand drawn lines. Very easy. Just the way I want it. I don't want this to become a burden to keep up with.

There's a new interview on Crafty Synergy! Check it out here.


This post is a quick break from a project that has kept me busy since late last week. It's been a constant chipping away day after day (even while having family over for a barbeque on Sunday) and I'm a bit worn out. The good news is that the client is happy with my work. We're not done yet, so, I may be scarce around here for the next few days.

Backtracking a little, I did start the weekend on a great note. I visited Sew Crafty, Friday night, for their Spring Bling event. I met some lovely people (Sarah, Amie, Erin, Lisa) and had a wonderful time. It's always so energizing to be around creative people. I have awesome news too! I will be teaching a paper craft class at Sew Crafty in the near future. Stay tuned for details to come.

This is a little something I worked on over the weekend and between client approvals. I always need a fun side project to work on because it gives me mental breaks. I specially need the breaks when the project is very 'corporate' and on the dry side. This new printable PDF set is now available in my shop in two color options: blue/red and orange/gray.

My main objective was to come up with a small box that would be suitable for small gifts and in particular for gift cards. Sure, you can always tuck those plastic "credit cards" (like my little C calls them) into a regular note card but a box makes your gift more memorable.

I have no idea why the airmail theme came to mind. I know it isn't groundbreaking at all, but I do have some nostalgia attached to it. When I was little, my parents and I believe my grandmother, used these envelopes quite frequently. I still remember how it felt to hold them in my hands. The paper was thinner and it had a particular crinkly sound when handled. Some of the first letters I received from friends, came in airmail envelopes. They were always such a great sight to see in the mailbox.

I wish I still wrote letters the way I used to. I love technology and all it's conveniences but the joy of sending and receiving a hand written note of any kind can never be replaced.

simplicity and time

I've been working on several projects and it's frustrating that I can't show you any of them—at least not yet. What I can share are two tools that I use and work for me all the time.

The sketch that I showed you in my previous post (which actually makes me cringe a little now) inspired one of my latest designs. It also illustrates how I use the first of these tools—simplifying. I edited most of the image and concentrated on the basic tear shape. Reducing an illustration to a minimal expression almost always provides me with better results. I also find that the challenge of knowing how much to edit is half the fun.

This bowl was one of the first projects I pitched for my book. It didn't make the cut because it was determined that I needed something more colorful. I reworked it with different paper and found that I preferred leaving gaps between the strips of paper. That's how I ended up with the three bowls that are on the cover. I built them in a different way than my first bowl which also allowed me to experiment with a new technique. All around a win-win situation.

The passage of time is something else that I include in my design schedule. It involves walking away from a piece (for several days if possible) and coming back to it with fresh eyes. It's such a simple thing to do. The fresh view usually confirms that my design needs minor tweaks or that the idea isn't feasible at all. Discovering the latter isn't exactly fun but it's better to rework something than to show a poorly executed piece.

Today I happen to be staying away from some work for the above reason. We'll see what happens tomorrow when I take a look again.

ten minutes

It's the time it took me to slap an open security envelope and one of last week's doodles on the scanner and make this image.

- I knew this wasn't something that I'd normally do (make a collage type image) but I decided to try anyway.
- I felt out of my comfort zone.
- It's hard to pick just one color.
- Why did I have to pick just one color?
- I doodle a lot of leaf inspired shapes. A lot.
- I want to make a simplified version of this.
- It's not the best thing ever but not everything needs to be perfect.
- I like that you can tell it's hand drawn.
- This has given me an idea for a paper project.
- I didn't really think much. I just went with whatever came to mind—quickly.

Conclusion: I should do this more often.

The true reason why I wanted to write this post: to bump my birthday post further down the page. Enough with that already. However, I do appreciate all your lovely wishes. Thank you so much. I had a great day and weekend celebrating with my family.


My husband has been teasing me all week because he knows that the knowledge of getting ever so closer to 4-0 isn't too thrilling to me. But if I'm honest, I really am OK with it. Life is good. I can't complain. I realize that even though there are so many things that I'd still like to accomplish, that I'm in a good place right now. I'm doing what I love and there's always room and ideas for more. I'm always moving forward and that's what counts.

Today will be all about getting one big thing off my plate and then some relaxing time by making something. I don't know what yet but I want it to just be something for fun.

I'm really looking forward to tonight because the whole family will be going out to eat. It will be a real treat because schedules and distances rarely gives us the opportunity too see each other on a weeknight. After dinner, my parents will take care of the kids, and the rest of us are going out for a little latin dancing. My feet may not be too happy with me in the morning but I know we'll have fun.

I didn't have a photo planned for today so here's another sneak peek of a project from my book. It seemed appropriate for the day.

Thank you to Adele for inviting to an interview for her Paper Cuts series and to Jessica for the lovely post about my hurricane cover project. Thank you ladies!

Have a great weekend everyone!


I'm following through with what I said about teaching. I have a phone call set up, for nest week, with a very experienced teacher who has generously offered some of her valuable time. I'm really looking forward to hearing what tips and advice she will give me. I've also contacted a local group where I think it would be possible to teach a class.

I'm making a list of the possible directions my class could take. I need to narrow the scope of my ideas. So, this is where I need a little help from you. For those of you that would consider taking a class with me (whether you live here or not)- What would you like to learn from me? I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

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The kids are down to the second to last week of school and I need to get some things done before summer officially starts in this household. I feel scattered. So, I think a little blogging break is in order. Fear not I will have new goodies when I get back next week. In the meantime, enjoy the rest of the week!

The bowl is one of the originals from the cover on my book.

hgtv - that's clever

Today I found a DVD that hadn't seen the light of day in a long time. It's the one were we recorded my 2006 HGTV That's Clever appearance. It's so interesting to see how far my work has come.

The day before taping I had a severe case of laryngitis. I never loose my voice. Never. Not even after screaming my head off at some sporting event or concert (back in the day). But of course 24 hours before taping the show I had absolutely no sound coming out of my throat. Talk about panicking. Somehow, the morning the film crew was going to show up at the house, I got most of my voice back. Like my D said today, I still did sound 'weird but ok'.

The whole process took about 5 hours of continuous work. Most of the retakes occurred because I was laughing so hard about the cutesy lines they asked me to say. I felt completely out of my element and it was a long afternoon but it was a lot of fun. It felt like those tough experiences that you'd like to try again once you get past them.

Oh and our kitchen isn't that crazy yellow anymore. Yikes!

Patricia Zapata from Patricia Zapata on Vimeo.

alphabet quilt

So here's a little quilt idea using my alphabet flash cards artwork. I can't say it was my idea. It was Heather who suggested I do something like this. I don't think this is what she imagined but this is what turned out (so far). The idea is to offer this as a quick way to make a type of 'cheater' quilt. I will sell the front and back, fully designed and printed. The customer will add the batting and do the quilting. For customization, I can replace the year with the baby's name.

I love this idea because I've never made anything remotely resembling a quilt and there may be others out there that would appreciate something like this too. I hope this doesn't offend the sensibilities of those of you that have. It would definitely be a quick job for anyone with sewing experience. The only problem is that I don't know how cost effective this is. I'm still trying to figure that out and see if there is any interest.

For now I'm going to make this for my little C but in dolly size. I'll probably have to change the color to something more girly. She's all about pinks and purples. I know it looks rather simple but in my mind the quilting is another design element and the texture of the stitches will add to the whole look. Right now this image just looks very flat.

I'm going to keep the gray and use a rich/subtle raspberry color to replace the blue for little C's quilt. One of the patterns (still working on them) will be for the fabric on the back and the ABC rectangle on the right will be the front of a small pillow sham. The dotted lines show where I'll quilt it. Click on the image to see it slightly larger.

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Thank you so much for all your comments to yesterday's post! You are all so generous and I feel so encouraged by your words. I'm really touched. As every comment came in, I couldn't help but smile every single time.

Have a wonderful weekend!

saying it out loud

I want to teach a craft class. I've been thinking about this off and on for quite some time. But this is the first time I say it out loud—all because a friend asked if I'd be interested in doing it. It's kind of scary to put myself on the spot this way but, why not?

My dream would be to have a comfortable studio space where to teach or, dare I say, travel to other cities to be a visiting teacher. But for now, a big table here at home and some interested friends will be wonderful to start off.

Why would I like to teach? Definitely to have interaction with those interested in my ideas. As arduous as it was, writing my book was awesome and sharing tutorials here is also very important to me. But the bottom line is that there isn't anything that can compare to sharing in person. That's why I've loved my two experiences at Maker Faire. I only did two small demos but the opportunity of talking to all sorts of interesting people was awesome.

So, I've said it. Now what? I suppose I should start organizing my thoughts as far as the type of class I'd like to give and reaching out to teachers that are willing to share some advice and tips.

What do you think? Crazy or doable? What about you? What have you been dreaming about doing and haven't done anything about it yet? Sharing may be the first step.

school days gift boxes

It's teacher appreciation week (we have the best teachers!) and I can't believe that we are only a few weeks away from the end of the school year. Where did these last few months go? The kids are excited and I'm preparing psychologically to have to go back to my late evening working hours.

Thanks to your suggestions here I've been slowly making new gift box designs. They are rather addicting and fun to design. So here is School Days in time for the end of the year teacher gifts.

And now for the winners of the book giveaway. I used the random generator and the lucky winners are: Heather, Cassie, Pamela and Lemonlime Pie. Please email me (info at alittlehut dot com) with your mailing addresses. Thank you to all of you for sharing your sewing stories. I loved reading every one of them.

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"Mom, you are the best art teacher ever!" - a spontaneous comment from my D. Melt.