Following my North Star

North Star Shadow Gift Boxes by Patricia Zapata for A Little Hut

You know when you have that feeling that you’re on the right track with something you’re doing, with how you’re life is going? That’s how I’ve been feeling lately. I’m so grateful because the times I haven’t felt that way are so disconcerting — like walking in the dark. I’ve been walking with light — knowing that I’m doing what I should be doing. I’ve been truly following my North Star.

When I felt it was time to come up with a holiday project and I started sketching ideas and the star kept coming up over and over again. Was it a reaffirming sign? I don’t know. But it felt right.

The North Star Shadow Gift Box collection includes two cards, a hang tag, and a letter-sized printable pattern surprise. I’m still working on getting the large North Star box (seen below) set up for the shop.

 

North Star Shadow Gift Box and North Star Box

 

It feels like I got my paper making groove back. After a crazy busy summer, I finally feel a little more ‘normal’ when I get home and with enough energy to tackle something creative. I think I’m just more of a fall/spring type of person. The summer just kicks me! Funny that I live in a city where it seems like it’s summer for 80% of the year – ha!

I hope you enjoy this collection and the little quote I found about just being you…

 

“The way to find your own North Star is not to think or feel your way forward but to dissolve the thoughts and feeling that make you miserable. You don’t have to learn your destiny–you already know it; you just have to unlearn the thoughts that blind you to what you know.”
Martha Beck

Creativity: always at the center

Dragonfly SVG file by Patricia Zapata for A Little Hut

Hello, hello! Weeks and months have gone by and I always feel so guilty about not being consistent here. On the other hand, I know that I can’t be creative if I’m tired and short on time. I’d rather not work on something that isn’t going to be worthy of sharing with you, either as an idea, inspiration or a project for the shop. I’m pretty sure I’ve posted something similar in the past (about being away and coming back) and here I am again.

This is now my favorite mug! (If you’d like to order one, click on the photo)

I suppose I can decide to literally close shop and just work my 8-5pm job, which, by the way, I enjoy very much. But something keeps me here. I’ve been thinking about what that something is — and I’ve narrowed it down to the fact that after all these years (unbelievably I established A Little Hut in 2004!), I still love sharing ideas and spreading the joys of creativity. Yes, I’m fully aware how corny that sounds, but that’s all I have right now.

I started with pencil, added some ink, scanned the illustrations from my sketchbooks and then colored some flowers digitally.

I’ve always had this feeling — no it’s more than a feeling — it’s a certainty,  that I haven’t shared enough. I have more to make and teach. Judging by my absence here, you’d never know any of this. The truth is that aside from work, which has drained me of any creative energy in the past few months, I’m battling this overwhelming sense of not quite knowing where to take off from again. I’m overflowing with ideas but drawing, making patterns and simple projects, like my most recent ones posted here, is the most I can muster lately. Isn’t it fitting that the latest file I uploaded in the shop is a dragonfly — a symbol of change? I love that.

Creating patterns is like building a puzzle – fun!

Writing this post is not only to let you all know that I’m still around — it’s also a way of pushing myself to just move already! All that, plus I miss blogging. I miss how that was a way to really dive into ideas and have a conversation with you. Twitter and Instagram may be my current places to visit but those snippets of info really aren’t a complete sharing experience. I’d rather dive in a little deeper here.

I used a Sharpie on chipboard and colored pencils

So, here I am waving hello again and determined to fulfill that promise I made myself on my birthday, back in May, that this year I’m going to really tackle some to-dos on my list. If you’re visiting for the first time, welcome!; if you’re an old friend, thank you for sticking around. I really appreciate all of you. Here we go!

Grateful

In the midst of working on this project, I heard about a large group of artists and employees being laid off from a company that shut its doors without any warning — no paychecks, severance… nothing. I can’t even imagine going through something like that. This type of news makes me reflect and renews my feelings of gratitude. I may get frustrated because I can’t keep up with posting here regularly but that’s because I have a day job and there are only so many hours in a day, right? A Little Hut is something that happens in the evenings and on weekends — and that’s ok. The fact that I DO have a full-time job (aka steady income) allows me to continue working here and doing my own thing. That’s a huge blessing.

My Whimsy Flowers Card Set or anything I make wouldn’t be as whimsy if I didn’t have peace of mind. That’s the thing with creativity. It flows when the rest of my world is ok. I hope that it flows for you once you start creating with my work. That’s always been my intent. Who can think of problems when they’re crafting? I can’t — thank goodness! I think it’s become particularly important to have some time to get away from the online, TV world. There is simply too much out there and many days it’s just too negative, counterproductive and silly. The peace of just making something (maybe with a few favorite songs or a movie playing in the background) is just the perfect therapy for the everyday grind.

 

The peace of making and spreading that is what keeps me going with A Little Hut — really. I revisited the intent and mission I have with this site once again (nothing new for those of you that have been around here long enough). It’s something that I periodically do. I don’t want to do subpar work. You deserve better and I just can’t stand showing up with something half-baked. Yes, I’m still hanging around. I’ll stop when I feel like I have to move on or I can’t contribute something meaningful. It’s still feeling good. I hope it is for you too.

Having said that, sometimes I wonder what you’d like to see from me and sometimes I get a little stuck with what I should make next. Are there any particular projects that you’d like me to tackle? I’d love to hear your ideas.

Have a great week everyone!

Available in the shop now:
Whimsy Flowers Card Set
Inset Flower Gift Box

 

Helping out after Harvey

As many of you know I live in the Houston area and we’re dealing with a lot right now. The devastation left after Hurricane Harvey is so much more than anticipated — ever. My family and I were some of the very lucky ones that came out on the dry side. Many of our friends and neighbors were not.

I’m about to head out for another day of helping with the aftermath. But, before I do, I wanted to finally post my latest project that I got started when the storm was raging overhead.

During one of the nights of the worst part of the storm, I couldn’t sleep after what seemed like endless rain and so many tornado warnings blaring on our cell phones. I think it was day three of the storm. I lost count. The days keep getting blurred one into another. So, I got up and did what I do to relax — I started drawing. I don’t remember why but I decided to look up which is the Texas state bird. I didn’t know that it’s the Northern Mockingbird — a bird I see almost every day — makes sense. This is the illustration that I drew that night (I used an iPad Pro and then added some watercolor textures in Illustrator). It’s the inspiration for the Northern Mockingbird Gift Set that is now available in the shop.

 

I didn’t think much after finishing it. It was something to keep my mind at ease (it worked). But as the tragedy of this last week became more apparent and I realized that we were in it for the long haul I want to contribute a little bit of what I do to help out. While I’m physically doing something to help out our friends and neighbors, you can help me in my efforts and get something fun to make in the process.

I’ve been working on this a little bit every night after running around during the day. This project has helped me unwind in the evenings. I’m at that point that I’m so tired I can’t fall asleep right away. Being crafty comes to the rescue — again!

 

As I put together the artwork and the cards I realized that I was missing a third shade of the color of paper I was using. Since running out to my nearest craft store isn’t an option right now (either it’s not open or it’s flooded — I’m not sure which at this point), it occurred to me to use a colored pencil to darken the bottom half of the leaves to get that third shade I needed. It worked. The background paper and the bottom halves of the leaves are the same colored paper. By adding the extra shade of teal with a colored pencil I darkened it and made the texture of the paper stand out in the process. I need to keep this little technique in mind for future projects.

Another little note: If I would’ve had my way I would’ve used a slightly lighter tone of gray for the top layer of the bird. But again, I was limited to using what I have on hand.

 

So, here’s the part where you can help me out. While I’m out running around I hope that this little set sells like crazy because I will donate 100% of the proceeds to the Houston Food Bank. Right now every little bit helps.

Paper crafting has always been a fun and therapeutic thing for me to do, so why not make it a great way to contribute to a good cause too? Are you with me?

If you have prayers and thoughts that you can forward to Houston and all our surrounding towns I’d appreciate that too. So many people need them.

Thank you and have an awesome and creative week!

XO – Patricia
PS – One last idea: Enlarge the artwork for the cards to a size that you can frame but instead of using card stock for the background use handmade paper or a watercolor sheet painted with the same color of teal that I use here. It would look closer to the original that I made. Have fun with it!


UPDATE
Thank you SO much to all of you that ordered this set. Thanks to your support we were all able to make a donation that was larger than I thought this effort would add up to. $5 x many friends added up to a little more than $300. Thank you, thank you! 🙂

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