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It’s been a busy week for several different reasons, and I’ve been a bit absent from the Internet for most of it, so I thought it was time to do a life lately post. =)

As regular readers know, yesterday I published my first e-book. Yahoo! After a year and a half of saying I’d create one, I finally made an e-coloring book. If you haven’t done so yet, please stop by yesterday’s post for a celebratory free sugar skull printable coloring page.

In other news: After a whole year of purchasing DoTerra products, I’ve decided to start sharing my monthly LRP order! Mostly because right now there are a lot of cool new items available and I want to make sure anyone who might be interested knows about them. There are many great new items for the holidays!

doterra lrp order

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It’s finally here – my sugar skull coloring book is live! Yahoo!! Let me tell you, getting all those listings written and published took longer than I planned for. I’m so happy everything is finished now!

Day of the Dead coloring book

As I mentioned Monday, the sugar skull coloring book has 12 designs. Here’s a preview of them all:

sugar skull coloring pages preview

The drawings are available for $8 when you purchase all 12 together, or for $1 each. All are available in my Etsy shop in the printables category, but you can also buy it through my blog. How cool is that? The widget is at the bottom of this post.

Also as promised, I have a free printable for you! You can download the full quality printable PDF of this sugar skull:

free printable sugar skull

I hope you enjoy the free printable coloring page! The nine pointed star mandala should be particularly relaxing to color. =)

The designs have been carefully play tested by myself and my husband. They are ready to print and enjoy!

play testing sugar skull colorin page

And, of course, if it’s a coloring sort of day for you, you can purchase all 12 Dia de los Metros designs for just $8.

Happy coloring!



Sugar Skull Coloring Book Creation Process

As I mentioned Monday, folks have been asking how I’m creating a digital coloring book so I’m going to share!

Before I start drawing a new sugar skull, I brainstorm for ideas. Although I do look at other sugar skull drawings for inspiration, many of my designs are not particularly traditional in the world of calaveras, and most of them are based on specific themes. Actually, I try to think of sugar skulls I haven’t seen, then come up with ways to translate the theme into a calavera design. So, for example, when I decided to create a nautical sugar skull, I jotted down ideas for elements that would make good eyes or a good central piece on the forehead. Although a compass rose and a ship’s wheel were both natural eye choices for me, I had to decide what the compass’s star and the wheel should look like, and I ultimately ended up creating a couple different versions before finalizing the sugar skull.  If an idea seems cool but I just can’t come up with elements that would work well for eyes or a central piece on the forehead, I don’t move forward with the design.

After brainstorming, I get sketching. My digital pieces actually begin with a physical sketch. Or, usually, multiple physical sketches. I find a blank page in Illustrator intemedating and I’m not particularly good at creating totally from scratch in the program. Instead, I do a sketch, sometimes a very rough one, in my sketchbook.

sugar skull sketch

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Sugar Skull Coloring Book Launch Date Announcement!

Okay – this is it; I’m setting a launch date for my sugar skull downloadable coloring book. Eeee!

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Holiday 2015 Costal Christmas Etsy Shop Items

I am excited to start bringing my new holiday items live today in my Etsy store today! I’ve been working on them for a couple weeks, but holding off until October 1 to post them for sale.

The decision to create a line of primarily coastal and Hawaiian holiday items stemmed from my realization that there are very few submarine-related holiday offerings on Etsy. The whole project kind of grew from there! Not all listings are live yet, but I am listing them over the course of today and tomorrow.

New items include a variety of costal and aloha print stockings. There are even more designs than this available in my store!

costal Christmas stockings

Gift tags:

love joy noel tags

And ornaments:

o silent night submarine ornament

The ornaments have been very challenging to get satisfactory photos of. I really love the designs, though, especially the pictured submarine with “O, Silent Night.” The Dolphin Store (a store that sells submarine-related gift-type items) on base will be selling my two submarine design ornaments and gift tags! I’m hoping this design, in particular, will be popular because it is both cute and very fitting. They don’t call it the Silent Service for nothing! The store manager is going to contact the family groups associated with submarines that will be gone over Christmas this year to see if any of them are interested in personalized versions of the ornament, too, with their boat name on the ornament.

I’ve never made specific holiday items before, so I’m excited and a little nervous. To be honest, I’ve never even really experienced a holiday sales rush! Last year I wasn’t able to put the appropriate foundational preparation into the holiday season because of getting married, our honeymoon, and getting all the ensuing paperwork sorted out. Actually, November was tied for my lowest number of sales all year. Eek! The year before I was student teaching and then moving over the holiday season, and the previous year I’d just opened my shop and had pretty much no idea what was going on. Hopefully 2015 will be the year I finally see what that “holiday rush” is all about.

Have you ever made holiday-specific items? How are you laying a strong foundation for the fourth quarter of 2015 in your shop?



Wordless Wednesday – Fall Feeling

fall feeling



Edi of Memories for Life created this month’s team challenge. Here’s what she wrote:

“With the little ones headed back to school this time of year, create a fun back to school project. It could be something fun to do with the kids, something for them to give their teacher or just one last fun thing to do with them before they return to school.
Don’t have kids, tell us what this time of year means for you. Do you still love to play with school supplies? Do you love that the local spots won’t be so crowded with tourists? Tell us all about it in a blog post.”

Being in the “don’t have kids” camp, I decided to create a nostalgic piece. I associate back to school with fall, and school + fall makes me think of elementary school crafting projects. I don’t know if I’m biased because my birthday is always in the week before Thanksgiving, but I always think of projects like vests made from brown paper bags and hand print turkeys. I didn’t break out the finger paints, but I did create a Thanksgiving-themed illustration.

It started with this cute and innocent Pilgrim boy.

pilgrim boy basic illustration

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Singapore Day 2 – Crying in Public

In early January I sat at my grandmother’s table, on the verge of tears. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I’d just seem my dad for the next to last time and we were discussing how to spend the rest of our New Year’s trip to Florida. My grandmother wanted to spend time with us, I wanted to see her, and Papi Chulo wanted to go to Universal Studios. I can’t blame him – he knew this trip would be his last real free time until some point this fall. Two of the people I care about most wanted conflicting things from me; no matter what I chose, I would let someone down. Seeing me so upset, Papi Chulo said “Disappoint the person who will forgive you.”  We didn’t go to Universal.
When we decided I would visit Singapore to see Papi Chulo on a port call, he immediately started asking if we could go to Universal Studios Singapore. I agreed as soon as I realized they have a Battlestar Galactica ride (yes, I’m a nerd), and incorporating a trip to Universal into our Singapore stay became a top priority for us. I was incredibly excited because I knew he’d been wanting to visit Universal all year long and I’d never been to a Universal Studios location. It would be a mistake to say the day was a monumental waste of time and money because that isn’t quite true. It was probably the most miserable vacation day we’ve ever spent together but, oddly enough, we agreed to decide the day wasn’t a waste. We learned some pretty valuable lessons that will, I’m sure, serve us well in the future.

Sinapore Day 2

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If I had to pick a pet peeve phrase, it would probably be “But you don’t need air conditioning in Hawaii!” Okay, yes, Hawaii is famous for idillic weather, but there are 13 different climate zones in the world and Hawaii has examples of 11 of them. The weather depends on what part of which island you’re on, the time of year (yes, the weather does change here), and other factors like tropical storms or El Niño, which has apparently been the main weather culprit this year. Is it beautiful and am I luck to live here? Yes, but, man, some days I really wish I had air conditioning.

So what’s that got to do with this tutorial? Well, for most of August and some of September the weather was absolutely miserable. We’re talking heat index in the upper 90s, the world’s most ridiculous humidity, and wind speeds of 0-3 miles per hour. Paper and books felt soggy to the touch and I had to move a bunch of clothing to our newly-acquired storage because it was mildewing on the closet. Then I noticed something horrifying – the back panel of our living room media console was covered with some sort of mold, inside and out! I vacuumed and cleaned it off with some sanitizing wipes.

Less than a week later, the mold was back.

That’s when I decided to make my own mold spray with essential oils and vinegar. So far, it’s worked better than the wipes I used before, which is pretty exciting! I really don’t want to have to pull the back panel off the media console and throw it away because that just seems silly.

DIY Essential Oil Mold Spray (plus free printable)

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Wordless Wednesday – Waikane Morning

waikane morning


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