A Picture, an Iron and a Sewing Machine

For a long time, to me,  mixed media meant using different art supplies (acrylic, watercolors, pencil etc)  on paper, canvas or other flat surface. I’ve learned that it extends so much further than that.

After years of experiments with supplies , digital imagery and computers, reading about other artist in their ventures, I’ve come to realize that mixed media overlaps into everything. It’s like a big web of colors, images, textures, tools and techniques all coming together. Whatever makes you happy “sorta thing”. And the funny thing is no matter what I am working on be it soap making, or sewing up a pillow, the end results still has that “Me Brand”.

I have let myself go in my creative playground…..where everything and anything is possible….no rules.

gosho pillow

Using transfer paper, I ironed a photo of Gorgi (our Pug) on a piece of linen (curtain cutoff). I then stitched and trimmed it into a pillow and little pouch.

Holiday Sweet

holiday sweet

My very first illustration “Forest Spice Cake”, for my friends at “They Draw and Cook”  is featured in one of their two Holiday Books, just released.

Holiday Sweet and Holiday Savory are both available for sale at their site.

watercolor

Forest Spice Cake Gift Box:

I designed a gift box perfect for packing Forest Spice Cupcakes. Another idea would be a mixture of the dry ingredients and the “just add” card with the things that are not in the box.

Download the PDF files below and print out the images on medium to heavy paper 11 x 17. Align the printouts and stick them together before you score, fold and trim.

Forest Spice Cake Box PDF

Goul-camole

goulcamole002I love avocados. I eat them all the time…sometimes even for breakfast. After trying various guacamole recipes, I found that this is my favorite. Mainly because it doesn’t have lime in it. The catch is, you have to serve and eat immediately or the guac’ will turn brown. I only add lime if we have leftovers…..which is not too often at my house.

It’s spookilicious paired with blue corn chips and black olives! Visit “What’s Cooking” for other of my illustrated recipes.

And if you like to cook ,  “They Draw and Cook!”  has a wonderful collection of recipes from all over the world accompanied by beautiful illustrations.

Habichuelas con Dulce

If you want a Dominican to really make a sacrifice….ask him/her to give up “Habichuelas con Dulce” for Lent. This traditional sweet bean dessert is typical during this time. The custom is to prepare large quantities, enough to share with friends and family, especially during Holy week. What makes it even more special is that no “Habichuela con Dulce” is the same. Every version of the recipe comes with family history and secret ingredients. So I grew up loving the dessert but never dared to make it myself. Until last year……I figured I had baggage enough to give it a try.

Habichelas con dulce

And was so bold last week, that not only did I make the beans, I  decided to illustrate the recipe and submit it to one of my favorite websites.

“They Draw and Cook” created by Nate and Salli, two incredible illustrators. Their idea GENIUS! They provide a format…and you illustrate a recipe.  A contest turned into a book and a beautiful website filled with delicious recipes from around the world with amazing illustrations and designs. Visit them for more than a treat!

A Blank Canvas

Late August , 2000. after living in NY City for almost 14 years, I moved into our home at 1 Beechwood Road. The house, built in 1904, was a ranch like, circa 1960 remodeled structure, with blue bathrooms, lopsided, off center chandeliers  and a once white,  shaggy,  wall to wall carpet on the second floor. The kitchen was a combination of salvaged,  mixed-matched cabinets with a wagon wheel light fixture hanging over a crooked island on cracked, light blue and silver, checkered linoleum tiles.

Yet the house was perfect! The lighting was right, the rooms were open and spacious and the basement was unfinished. To me it was a blank canvas!

After removing the carpets and refinishing the floors, we moved in. Two years later, we finally tore down the master bathroom. I really couldn’t bear taking another shower in the cerulean built in tub. Unfortunately, for the first time, I also realized the time, money and patience needed to complete any project in this home. There is nothing straight about a  house that is 100 years old…

We managed to give the kitchen a facelift and redo the other two bathrooms. But shortly after, my magazine clippings, paint chips, job quotes were filed and the canvas was put aside.  My kitchen, the Viking stove I dreamed of, now seemed a lifetime away…..

That creative fire was dimmed, Life took over and my canvas was forgotten.

What inspired me to write this was something I read over the weekend. The Author was talking about savings. How putting money aside first before paying your bills would secure  savings…because the bills  no matter what, would always be paid. The author then went on to apply the same strategy with everything in life.  For example, taking  an hour of personal time everyday, in a busy schedule, even if it means hiring a babysitter. What is crucial is being consistent about it so that it works long term.

Which brings me once again to my kitchen. Last spring we had to decide whether to repair or replace our cabinets and counter after a valve leak caused water damage. My husband convinced me that this was our chance. Even though it was completely out of the budget, we should just go for it. We would find a way. I was hesitant at first, but that quickly grew into excitement. I pulled out my files, dusted the cobwebs off the canvas and was amazed how once again the creative light started to burn….my vision now extending to the living room,  dining room and the rest of the house. Seeing everything evolve brought out the sensitivity to color and design that had been dormant for years. Not only has the kitchen brought light into our house, it has also brought happiness, inspiration, hope and possibilities for the future. And the bills got paid.

The Viking stove was  cut out of the design . I traded it for a wonderful green counter ( the color of plantains).

IMG_2456

I love to start my days , sitting by my counter, sipping delicious coffee with my breakfast.

Sergiman vs Life

My son Sergi was born on Valentine’s day. He came two weeks ahead of time even though he was a scheduled cesarean. A true love child, an angel baby, round, cheeky, perfect. With a heart shaped birthmark on his left thigh….a postmark from the heavens……..

Being my first, I could see no wrong…or right for that matter. All I saw was a child who was slowly developing into a little character. To me milestones would be met in their own time. And even though he was two and could not put any words together, he could recognize the alphabet.

It became my battle with the world…..to see that this child…..even though all characteristics were pointing in one direction….was more.

After receiving every therapy listed in the book and being evaluated by numerous strangers and given an assortment of age appropriate tests, he exploded with an amazing vocabulary at three and a half.

Being an illustrator, working from home made everything that followed a little easier….however it has been an exhausting journey for all of us…especially Sergi.

Next year he will be going to middle school. And as he’s matured, he has become fully aware of his strengths and weaknesses. He has also learned to cope with his limitations, unconsciously compensating with his own strategies.

Over the years we discovered that his issues were due to the delay in his motor planning. We just recently found out the term for this is Dyspraxia. Sergi’s being of Language and gross motor. I never thought that finding a label to his struggles would give us all such a sense of relief, even though the treatments are vague and not much different than what we have been doing.

This discovery has given Sergi a new meaning and understanding of his  own learning abilities. “I learn differently.”, he now says.

Having this information has only confirmed what I’ve always known…..he’s my perfect.

fishman vs robofish

Sergi is an amazing draftsman with a passion for comics. He found  that drawing his answers was much easier  than writing a sentence. At first he was getting in trouble at school and sometimes at home. Until we realized it was his way of expression. We have now started to sketch little story boards to help him plan a paragraph, rather than writing notes. The challenge is to shorten his drawing time to give him more time for the written work. We are also building a visual dictionary/thesaurus to enrich his vocabulary so to improve his word retrieval.

His next project is to start a blog with his comics….25¢ per download 😉