I’ve had surface design occupying most of my attention these past weeks. Even while working on a few sewing projects (“summering up” my son’s bed as well as my wardrobe), I was rifling through design images in my head. Then there was a voice constantly nagging me about updating my website and portfolio as well as organizing the pattern collections I had already had for uploading to Spoonflower.

Well, out of the blue, a cousin popped me a message on Facebook. Would I be able to help her come up with a simple guestbook for her wedding? And just like that, my brain made space for a new project. 

Because I had been on that surface design binge, the first thing that came to mind was to do something with watercolor. Then I thought about doing something with lino prints. I think I may have gotten carried away because at some point, I had to remind myself that I was making a one-page book that guests could sign. That’s when it hit me. A book! A handmade book! A pop-up book!

This led to looking around the internet for inspiration and my go-to for pop-ups is Robert Sabuda. I first heard about Robert Sabuda from a friend who heads the Philippine chapter of the SCBWI, Beaulah Taguiwalo. She had met him on one of the conferences. I actually emailed him to let him know that I was a fan of his work and that it was Beau who led me to his website. To my surprise, he emailed back! So now I’m a Robert Sabuda fan for life.

The picture below shows a page from his Alice in Wonderland pop-up book. He has about 25 of these pop-ups, some of which are out of print. He also shares templates and instructions on his website which can be found here



During my search, I came across Shawn Sheehy. He also has engaging pop-up books and is a paper engineer. The commercial work he’s done had more to do with “engineering” the pop-ups rather than doing the illustrations. I once saw a video of how paper engineers come up with complicated pop-ups and decided that it was too much for my brain to handle. This is why I appreciate templates that incredibly gifted artists like Robert and Shawn share. I don’t use the design but I follow the folds.

There are hundreds of pop-up cards and books posted on Pinterest so rather than populate this post with more images, it might be more fun if you grab some iced-tea (bubble tea if you can manage it!) and spend some quality time with pop-up eye candy. I, on the other hand, will begin figuring out my guestbook project which will be the topic of my future posts.

Got your drink ready? Then head on to Pinterest and enjoy your Friday afternoon!

#creativelive · #dowhatyoulove · #karichapin · art · crafts · decisions · illustrations · Macy's · taking stock · work


2014 is turning out to be quite a ride. This must be the year when, in my old age, I have to decide what I really and truly want to be when I grow up.  Focus, focus, focus! I keep telling myself that specially when I find myself illustrating one day then wanting to try out making a doll the next, then discovering a whole new way to do art two days after. Whenever I see a technique or style or craft that gets me all excited, I feel that I just have to try my hand at it.

It harks back to my childhood when I used to always take things apart to see how they worked. I inspected my dolls’ clothing to see how they were sewn and one of the first things I used to do whenever I had a new doll was to see if it had underpants. It might sound crazy but it was important to me that they weren’t painted on or skipped altogether just because the doll came in pants.

So yesterday, while I was working on my Butt In Chair entry for the day, this craziness I put myself in kept popping in my head. If you happen to follow me on Instagram (under my paperwitheverything profile), you’ll see that I ended up taking off just to get away from it all. I went to the mall, found that some things had changed since I’d been there, and then got myself a flourless chocolate cookie and coffee.

Yesterday was the last of the 3-day class with Kari Chapin on CreateLive. It was all about having a handmade business so most of the attendees were artists, designers, and crafters. I skipped the last day because of the need to get away and take stock of things. I needed to be where I wouldn’t pick up a pencil or fabric. I didn’t even bring my iPad so I wouldn’t start sketching.

Now this is not an easy thing for me to do given how my mind flits from one thing to another but sometimes when I’m in a different environment, I can actually focus. So I did.

In the end (and after I found myself in a part of Macy’s I’d never been to before where I walked away with a couple of baby clothes for my granddaughter, Sophie), it was all a matter of making the surface design, illustration, and writing work with one another. I couldn’t seem to walk away from any of them so I might as well put all them together to work for me.

I also had to face up to the fact that I needed a dependable income to support this endeavor and that I’d have to just squirrel away hours that I can dedicate to losing myself in all that can be magical and wonderful–at least to me. So I applied at retail stores. I’m not sure I’m even employable but well, a job means income. Maybe I can bring some magic in whatever work environment I wind up in. Whatever it is, it’s something to do while the right agent or publisher hasn’t yet discovered how fabulous I am.

I wrote that with a straight face too.

Meanwhile, my Butt In Chair entry will be a bit delayed today because of this post. Besides, yesterday’s entry was brewing in my story-telling lobe all day yesterday and resulted in this sketch over breakfast. He’s not the main character, though. Those are still just bits and pieces that haven’t resolved themselves just yet.

All in all, it was a good Wednesday. I’m not sure if I can say that about 2014 when it’s all done but getting away and taking stock makes things a bit more manageable. I even got home in time for the Modern Family reruns.