Friday, February 12, 2021

Missing Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is a magical place.  Some people call it "The Enchanted Island" while others call it "Paradise", but one thing is for sure---- all who visits and leaves Puerto Rico misses Puerto Rico.

As a famous song says, "En mi Viejo San Juan" (In my Old San Juan) which was written by Noel Estrada.  He wrote it for his brother Eloy who was deploy in 1942 to Panama during the WWII.  Noel's brother had written to him how much he missed Puerto Rico -- that feeling of nostalgia for his motherland is what inspired Noel to write the song.   You don't have to be Puerto Rican to relate to the lyrics of missing your homeland and the desire to return. 

Here's a nice video that further explains the story behind this amazing and most beloved song:

Link: En Mi Viejo San Juan

The first time I visited Puerto Rico I was a child.  I remember it well because it was the first time I flew in an airplane.  My mother was nervous because on the flight to San Juan Airport, the airplane encountered turbulence; I had no idea what that was or what it meant but it was fun.  I thought it was like a roller coaster. Cheerfully enjoying the ups and downs while my mother held onto the armrest.  Finally, we landed and one thing that stuck with me ever since was the cheer that Puerto Rican did soon after the plane landed.   They clapped with joy in celebration to be back home.   Seriously, every trip I've done to Puerto Rico on every landing there is this ritual... I love it.  It's so cool.  Awesome, I found a neat video of this ritual... enjoy: 

Link: Aterrizando Bonito y Suave con Victor Manuelle

Over the years, I've gone back to enjoy not only the beauty, adventures, but also the family and friends. Puerto Rico's richness is found everywhere from the Rain Forest in El Yunque, the desert like forest in Guanica, west coastline ideal for surfing, beautiful beaches all around, and finally, the interior has a vastness of lush Mountains, Waterfalls, Forests and Lakes.  

Furthermore, adding to the richness of Puerto Rico is it's people, culture and food.  Looking back at moments I can't help but to miss this magical place.  

I used to hike to the highest point and absorb the view.  Here's one of the views:

and here another view:


There are times you can experience the following weather: Foggy, Sunny, Rainy, Cold and Hot; all in one day.  That's Puerto Rico for y'ah, but it doesn't last long... usually it's sunny and warm with a soft breeze.  

I enjoyed sightseeing the old San Juan...the old buildings full of color along the coast and the sound of the waves hitting the rocks was a delight.  

I took so many photos and I'm glad because it's gonna be awhile before I return.  Life has a way to change your path and for me, it's been a long time since I last updated this sight.  During my absence a few years back Hurricane Irma and finally Hurricane Marie just battered Puerto Rico and left those living there struggling.   The damage that Puerto Rico experience was unimaginable as I watched the news and desperate to make connect with my parents who decided to retire there. It took several days before I even knew they were alive and okay.   Ever since I've done everything in my power to help them.  I'm sure anyone who has a loved one out there has done the same.  Even now help is still needed out there.   As I watch the news and talk to friends and family I feel a loss.  

And for a long time I felt a need, a desire to do something and as I learn more about Puerto Rico, something was manifesting within me.   I wanted to celebrating every town in Puerto Rico and then it hit me, why not celebrate each town by creating a mini-Vejigante Mask wall art.

It took me a long time to figure out how I wanted to do this.  I started to draw again and play around with the design, look, and feel of these mask. After weeks on end, one day I lost myself into my creations and began to feel it--- I felt the love for the town and was inspired by their flag.  The first town I made was San Juan, Puerto Rico.   

After I hung it on my wall, I was even more inspired and determine to create my own collection. The first batch I made included the following towns:  Ponce, Arecibo, Lares, Utuado, Adjuntas, Ricon, Caguas, Vieques, Dorado, Abonito and Aguadilla.  

I stepped back and was in awe at how beautiful they looked.  Gradually, I continue to design and handmade each mask.  


It takes me a few days to make one since the process is takes time.  I prefer to have quality work and take my time to ensure it looks good.  Here I am cleaning the edges:

As usual, I end up cutting myself in the process. Those tools are super sharp which makes them ideal for this work.  So far, I have made about half of the towns in Puerto Rico.  

Funny thing is as I worked on my own project, others started to encourage to make them available online, which I have.  I have made them available at my SybariteStudio.Etsy.com store.  I'm humbled by the wonderful response I've received.  Here's one: 

and another that appeared on my facebook page:

With every feedback, I'm encouraged to do more.  I'm feeling the love for Puerto Rico.  I'm learning more and more especially their passion to honor and remember their family roots... To read their story and to connect the younger generation to the older ones with a common love that celebrates their hometown which is why I'm "Celebrating Puerto Rico"


I'll continue to work on these mask...my goal being to have all of them all designed and available for you, too.

Monday, January 4, 2016

You can't find it when you need it leads to making your own.

During a family visit, I wanted to teach them a new game -- actually one of my favorite party games -- called Tripoley.  I searched all over my home looking for this game and realized that I didn't have it anymore.

Thus started my journey to find that game, I drove over to local stores and they didn't have any available. Okay, cool, I'll drive over to next town and see if the toy store has it... to no avail.  Okay, let me try the next town over and drive to the bookstore and see if they have it at their board game area -- yet again, to no avail.  I hit several stores searching for it and every time I struck out.

I returned home and searched again for anything remotely like this game. I finally found a plastic  version, that was close enough.


We managed to play the game.  The kids took awhile to learn it since they had never played Poker or Michigan Rummy, but soon after they were getting quite good at making poker faces.  We had much fun.

After their visit ended, I thought of ordering the game online. I searched for it and found them but it was mostly retro board games and the quality of the game was "there".  After talking with Ron, we felt that it was better to make our own version of this game.  We have the skills, tools, and materials to make it.   Ron took on the part of making the wood design and cutting while I focused on making the inlay design, painting, and assembling the final board.  Here's our first prototype:


We spent days talking about ways to improve it.  To make it more special, more unique, and then we had an "aha" moment -- why not give it a more casino look?


Yeap, that's me hard at work making this lovely Tripoley handmade card board game.  Of course, I do wear a mask when working with any type of adhesive.  We take pride in the work we do.  Here's the finished Tripoley card board game:


Do you see the kitty?   Upon closer look you'll see that I'm a kitty lover... couldn't help myself.


Of course, that meant more work, but the end result is impressive. We wanted this design to last and look amazing in person.  I posted two photos of it in Instagram.  Here's one of them:


And soon after I had people approaching me to make one for them.  Since then I've made a few more and have it available at my Etsy store:  Sybarite Studio / Handmade Tripoley Card Board Game

A special " THANK YOU " for my fans.  Your support makes a world of difference.


Sunday, November 8, 2015

Barnes and Noble Mini Maker Faire Show & Tell

Last day of the #BNMakerFaire Nationwide, we've had so much fun doing the Show and Tell.  As part of the Central Texas Makers, we brought with us many of our homemade projects to this event and we're having so much fun.

Here's a picture or two:
This child is having so much fun play game on a Raspberry Pi tiny computer. Can you believe it, it has over 300 games of several different game console.  Remember the Atari series, Game boy, Nintendo and much more.

Another example of how Raspberry Pi tiny computer is being used is the next photo:

We have a Raspberry Pi running the PiAware software. This uses a SDR (software defined radio) to pick up aircraft transponder information. With the PiAware software, you can see commercial aircraft in the area, with their real-time location and destination. The data get fed to the FlightAware website, which is then used to map flights across the world. One of the benefits of feeding data to FlightAware is that you receive an Enterprise license (which normally costs $90 a month) -- which you can use to get detailed flight data -- real time -- from around the world. If you are interested in aircraft, it's a very inexpensive way to get into flight tracking.

Another fun thing we did is the Electric Cigar Box Guitar... people loved playing with it:


Guest visiting the #BNMakerFaire today enjoyed playing the handmade electric cigar box guitar and many other cool and interesting #maker #project display by #CentralTexasMakers member Ron and Evelyn Nelson
Posted by Central Texas Makers on Saturday, November 7, 2015


It's our last day but it's gonna be awesome. Look forward to seeing y'ah.  Happy Making Day.




Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Love 8Bit Art

8Bit Art fans can now enjoy more design and share their own design on Pixzle's facebook page.

You too can share your artwork here:
Showing off Fan's 8Bit art.
Posted by Pixzle on Thursday, April 10, 2014


When ever I get a chance to play with Pixzle, I upload my pixel art creations to Pixzle's facebook page according to which platform I used. For example, I made this lovely 8bit Cat art using the Pixzle Petite.  I love this platform because I can either display it on my desk as a stand alone artwork or by adding the acrylic clear hanger, I can now display it in front of any window in my home.  

Just the ideal window artwork for any cat lover out there.
See more Pixzle.me

Shared the above photo under "Pixel Creations using Pixzle Petite album" here:
Ideas for making #pixel #puzzle #art
Posted by Pixzle on Monday, August 3, 2015


During the summer I had guest visiting, one afternoon they saw the Pixzle Play and asked what it's all about.  After I explained that it's like making stain glass window art except you don't have to worry about cutting glass or using a hot soldering iron they loved it and gave it a try. Here's one of their design.  They had an enjoyable afternoon.  I had fun taking picture of them and their creations. 


More at Pixzle.me

The Pixzle Play Pixel is a much larger platform measuring about 12" square with 3/4" pixel tiles.  Perfect for very young children and ideal for senior citizens.  

Ideas for making #pixel #puzzle #art
Posted by Pixzle on Friday, May 30, 2014

Finally there's the Pocket Pixzle, I love this version because it goes where ever I go.  It's most popular with young adults and teens.

One story I heard from a fan who travels much that he loves to take the Pocket Pixzle with him into the airplane.  After the airplane took off, he pulls out the Pocket Pixzle, opens the bag, takes out the clear acrylic base and little by little grabs a colored tile and places it into the clear acrylic base. He makes several designs and if there's an empty sit between him and other passenger, he'll leave the base with the tile on that sit and fall asleep.  When he woke up and looked over he's artwork had been altered and a new one magically appeared.  


Pretty darn cool that a perfect stranger was enjoying this new creative platform.


I love robots and made this fella, he's one of my favorite character and I hope to inspires Pixzle fans to pixel their favorite characters, too.


See more Pixzle.me

When I'm at artisans/handmade market shows, I get lots of request or comments about characters people love which both inspires and challenges me to create them in 8Bit /Mosaic artwork but when I do succeed, I share them to help inspire you, too.

Here's the 

Ideas for making #pixel #puzzle #art ( #PocketPixzle)
Posted by Pixzle on Friday, May 16, 2014

Hope you enjoyed this little Pixzle journey and become a fan of Pixzle. Share your designs in any of the above facebook albums. 

Have fun creating Pixzle Puzzle Art.


See more Pixzle.me



Monday, September 21, 2015

Life's unexpected events

Life is full of unexpected events.  Some of these events are chaotic while others are a welcomed breeze.  What a roller coaster these past few months has been but the nice thing is that I'm finally getting closer to doing what I was doing when chaos broke.

I'm grateful to have a larger shop and more space to work in.  It was very difficult these past few month working every day knowing that my real creative work was on hold.  No more.  I'm getting excited to be returning to my creative works in my shop.

Here's a glimpse of my shop:



I'm also excited because I'll be participating in for this year's 3rd Annual ATX Artisans Handmade Market in November.  They have booths available for fellow Artisans. http://www.atxartisans.org/



I love this location since it's in one of the most popular areas of Austin Texas near the intersection of Burnet Rd & Anderson Lane at the Norris Conference Center.  Lots of parking and stores and restaurants.  Furthermore,  Roman's Rescue will be hosting pet adoptions onsite during this event.  

Thus the next few weeks I will be preparing for it.  I'll be working on the PIXZLE products and a new classic game.  Soon I'll have photos of it. 

Remember to stop or pause for a moment and smell the lovely scents of roses.

Looking forward to seeing y'ah once more.  

I'll have a demo table and maybe we'll be able to play a game during this events. 

#ATXartisans #PIXZLE #SybariteStudio #8bit #pixel #puzzle #tripoley #artisans #handmade #etsyshop #pixelart #Adultcoloring #supportlocal #retrogames #retro #art #games #MadeInUSA #AustinTexas #ATX 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Thank You from an artist

I take pride in what I do, I strive to do it well and I'm rewarded when I see others enjoying my work.  One of my personal goals is to bring back the "USA made" to truly mean made in the USA.  It's challenging but I'm a firm believer that we can do it.  As I work and strive to provide top quality work, I'm grateful to you who made the choice to buy from me.  Not only did you help me but you also helped all those who were involved in the creations of my work.  

I thought about how my creations helped to improve people's lives.   Not just those who are buying my creations but with their purchases are helping me to help many families earn a living. 

 
As I sit here humbled by the interactive links of life, I realized how much we trust people to do the right thing.  How we take for granted the everyday things such as goods and services, maybe that's why I love watching "Dirty Jobs" with Mike Rowe.   He brings to light all the unsung heroes. Yes, HEROES!!!  That hero could very well be you, and if so, "THANK YOU!!!!"   

Mr. Rowe, keep doing what you’re doing...bringing light to a world that at times seems to be in darkness. Thank you for creating Dirty Jobs and dedicating time to present an awareness of such opportunities to the masses.

Whenever I watch the news media it saddens me to see so much focus on the negativity and yet all along there is so much good happening all around us.  We trust perfect strangers to do their job and do it well.   If it weren't for their dedication, pride and integrity where would we be?   Take a moment and think about it, really, where would we be?

This winter season share a smile or a hug, and say thank you to all those unsung heroes who works and makes our daily lives so livable. 

"THANK YOU for doing what you do best."
~Evelyn Nelson
 http://gofarrago.com/ 
 https://www.etsy.com/shop/SybariteStudio 
 http://pixzle.me/wp-pixzle/

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Taking a moment to say...

Thank you.

To wish you and yours a truly magical and loving Thanksgiving day tomorrow. 

Let's celebrate the positive things in life whether it's 
big or small, there is much to be grateful. 

Once more,

Happy Thanksgiving