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June 2008

May 2008

Giveaway Winner, New Papercuts! :) (And I will be back on June 16th)

And the winner of the Flower Girl drawing is: BEETLEGIRL!!!!!! Yaaaay!!! Dear Beetlegirl, if you read this you can write me an e-mail (left sidebar) with your address so I can ship the drawing to you as soon as possible! Thank you all for participating in this giveaway!

And now my Friday post:












Dear friend,
Here is a group of my last papercuts for you. For these ones I drew part of the designs with pencil to get exactly the shapes that I wanted and I also experimented with different kinds of papers. Most of the papers have a lovely antique yellow color. I had the best time ever creating them but also they were my get-emotionally-ready-for-the-next-two-weeks (because they will be hard). In the next two weeks I wil be more busy than ever because there is so much going on over here, but everything is positive. My Mother-in-law is arriving soon, we will be organizing a birthday party for Diego and Natalie and also for her, Bill and I will have a series of important meetings about Diego's transition to the school system...and more... That's why if you don't mind I will be back with you in two weeks, to be more specific I will be back on June 16th. I am already missing you so much!!! This blog is an important part of my life and so are you. I know that those two weeks will go away so fast! So before I leave I want to send you lots of love and a big hug!
I wish the next two weeks of your life to be great, wish me good luck and see you on June 16th!

Your friend Elsita :)

The Cannes Film Festival and Bill

And today I am back with a little report about the Cannes Film Festival! This year Bill attended the event representing a wonderful movie called: Synecdoche. This was a hard word to pronounce at the festival and there is even a little video about it here. The director of the movie is Charlie Kaufman. I am happy to say that the Time magazine classified Synecdoche as an "Instant Cannes Classic". This is an unusual movie narrated in an unusual way, it is hard to tell you what the story is about but for sure I can say that it is great and it makes you think a lot about life. I went to a small screening here in Los Angeles and I left the place thinking and thinking about so many things. The casting is wonderful too! This movie is not out yet but it will be very soon.


In this picture you see Bill with Michelle Williams and Philip Seymour Hoffman who are part of the wonderful cast of the movie. Bill said that all the paparazzi had their eyes on Michelle Williams. I have never met her in person but Bill says that he is so impressed by how mature she is for her age, she is only 27, a single Mother and as we know she has gone through a lot. Bill said that in person she is the most normal and down-to-earth girl. On the other hand she is an amazing actress, one of my very favorite. Philip Seymour Hoffman is also an amazing person. I was lucky to meet him for the first time in Romania during the making of Cold Mountain. He was there with his partner Mimi. They have two children together and they are a wonderful couple. Mimi is the sweetest girl ever! Bill and I were so happy when Philip won his Academy Award for Capote, a very well deserved award!


Here is Bill again (the one with the camera) with friends, ready to walk on the red carpet.



In these two pictures you can see some other members of the movie. The girl with the beautiful pink dress is Samantha Morton who had a baby not so long ago (she brought her baby to Cannes). Bill thinks that she is a very special person so do I. I love her in the movie! And the girl with the long hair is Catherine Keener who I have seen in a couple of events and she always has a big smile on her face. I love the purple dress that Michelle Williams is wearing! What a great color!


Here you see a photo of the most rewarding moment: a big standing ovation after the projection of the movie. What a wonderful gift for everyone who worked so hard in the making of this film!



So, what are these two last pictures about? Well, they illustrate what a Hollywood Film Producer (Bill in particular) does when he goes to the Cannes Film Festival. He takes the train and goes away to a quiet place in Italy where he can play his flute and call his family and tell them how much he would love to be home! That's the real part behind all the red carpet thing and the lights and the photographers. Bill is a wonderful father and when he is traveling he calls home all the time to make sure that we are all fine. Then when he comes back he always brings little toys for the kids and they love it! And of course he also brings a little present for the wife :)

And now my friend I should go but I will be back tomorrow!
Have a beautiful day!
Elsita :)

GIVEAWAY: Flower Girl drawing :)


And our little giveaway today is this tiny ink drawing on paper. The title is Flower Girl and it was inspired by my daughter Natalie who was a flower girl in her very first ballet recital the other day. She did such a great job! We are very proud of her. The little girl in the drawing is Amelia and she is a Magician. Amelia knows how to grow flowers everywhere and her miniature friends are just fascinated with her magic. She promised to teach them the magic secret of growing flowers everywhere when they grow up. All they need now is to eat their greens so they can grow up fast.

If you would like to win this little drawing just leave a comment in this post and I will announce the winner after tomorrow Friday (May 30)!!!

Have a great day and see you tomorrow!
Elsita :)

Sydney Pollack Dies at 73.

Today is another sad day for Bill and I since one of the most remarkable human beings that we ever met had just passed away. Sydney Pollack died yesterday of cancer.


Sydney Pollack and Bill (photo above) were partners for over ten years and together they produced some great movies. Sydney has been Bill's most important Mentor and some kind of Father figure since his beginnings in Hollywood, that's why this loss is one of the most painful that Bill ever experienced.


I met Sydney for the first time in 2001 in Vietnam when he was producing The Quiet American with Bill. I admired Sydney Pollack since I was a teenager and I loved his movies but I never thought that I was going to meet him in person, even less could I imagine that one day I was going to fly with him and Bill from Los Angeles to New York and that Sydney was going to be the Pilot. I couldn't believe that such a unique Artist could also be a real Pilot. During the whole fly I was just wondering if Sydney was a real person or someone from another planet (above you can see the single picture that I took that day in order to remember such an extraordinary experience). Sydney was a man of many talents, he was extremely smart, articulated, but most of all he was a beautiful human being, a family man and an extraordinary person who was curious about everything. Very deep Sydney Pollack was like a little boy plus he had one of the sweetest smiles that I ever saw. I remember that he told me a whole joke about a little chicken in Spanish, the pronunciation was perfect but he didn't understand a word about what he was saying, he said that he had learned the joke many years ago because he really liked how it sounded, I never heard anything like it, he was some kind of genius.


In this photo Pollack directs Robert Redford in "The Electric Horseman" in 1979, one of seven movies the two would ultimately collaborate on. And below you can see a selection of photos of Sydney with some Actors and Directors that he worked with over the years.


Sydney also experienced some devastating traumas during his life like the death of his son in a plain accident. Imagine how painful something like this was for such a family oriented man. But Sydney always knew how to turn his pain into creative energy and I can say that personally that's one of the things that I most admire about him. When he found out about his terminal cancer some months ago he told Bill about it. Bill said that his tone of voice was not sentimental or weak at all, but firm and even positive. He said that he had nothing to complain about because he was very happy about the life that he had and that it was OK to die. Bill was extremely affected by this news then and by his death yesterday but as we look at Sydney's legacy we realize that he will always be alive through the amazing body of work that he left to the world.

Here you can see a list of some of his movies:

The Interpreter (2005)
Random Hearts (1999)
Sabrina (1995)
The Firm (1993)
Havana (1990)
Out of Africa (1985)
Tootsie (1982)
Absence of Malice (1981)
The Electric Horseman (1979)
Bobby Deerfield (1977)
Three Days of the Condor (1975)
The Yakuza (1975)
The Way We Were (1973)
Jeremiah Johnson (1972)
They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969)
The Swimmer (1968, Co-Director)
The Scalphunters (1968)
This Property is Condemned (1966)
The Slender Thread (1965)

Made of Honor (2008)
Michael Clayton (2007)
Fauteuils d'orchestre (2006)
The Interpreter (2005)
Changing Lanes (2002)
The Majestic (2001) (voice)
Random Hearts (1999)
Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
A Civil Action (1998)
Husbands and Wives (1992)
Death Becomes Her (1992)
The Player (1992)
War Hunt (1962)


Dear Sydney, we love you very much and you will always have a very special place in our hearts. We don't want to say Good-Bye to you because you are and you will always be here with us in so many ways!
Here it goes a huge hug from Bill and Elsita to you!

Winner of Last Giveaway (And Some Story for You :0 :o ;) :D :/ :>)

I am so happy to announce that the little Gemini Pin goes to GEO!!! Geo is a wonderful Gemini girl, one of those people that you immediately have to love because of her intelligence and sense of humor. Yay Geo!!!! And I must say CONGRATULATIONS to all the Gemini girls and boys out there who are celebrating their birthdays around this time, I send you all lots of love!

And now let's get ready for a little story that starts with the pictures below:



In a faraway planet called Tierra there was a little creature named Mister Criatura that was born with no face as well as all the other creatures born in planet Tierra. One day he flew directly to Rodolfonso's studio (located in planet Earth) with a request: Would you design a face for me Rodolfonso? A week later Rodolfonso was ready to show Mister Criatura nine designs. When Mister Criatura looked at the designs he said: Wait a minute! I can't see anything! And Rodolfonso said: of course, because you have no eyes. And Mister Criatura said: Would you describe them to me? Rodolfonso described the nine faces but then he said: Wait a minute, you are not supposed to talk because you don't have a mouth! And Criature said (showing Rodolfonso a tiny little man straight from his pocket) but I have a mind reader, he literally reads my mind. Rodolfonso felt bad for the tiny little man because he couldn't say his own words, he just had to read Criatura's mind all the time.
Finally, after hours of deep face analysis Criatura picked one face and put it on. He looked really handsome. Criatura then paid Rodolfonso the amount of twenty-five dollars with seventeen cents and then he flew back to planet Tierra. But before that he let tiny little man land on the floor. After Criature left, Rodolfonso asked tiny little man if he wanted to work with him as an Assistant and he said yes. He could just read Rodolfonso's mind and see that he had the best intentions. From that they on Rodolfonso and tiny little man became great partners. They never saw Criature in person again but Criatura never failed to send them a card saying hello from all the exotic places that he visited every year.

The End!

This silly story has been delivered to you straight from the imagination of Natalie Horberg and Elsita Mora Horberg :) We hope that you liked it!
Happy Holiday!
And see you tomorrow!
ELsita :)

The Art of Papercut :)

I really love papercuts and I have been sooo curious about this art form for so long. I got three books about the subject and I was happy to learn that this tradition is still very alive in China. Here you can see an Etsy store (located in China) that sells beautiful papercut pieces, all made by hand. I purchased two of them and they are now framed in our home. After reading about the history of traditional chinese papercuts and admiring the contemporary aproach to this technique by Rob Ryan plus the provocative art of Kara Walker I just had to make one myself in order to experience how it feels to cut off lots of tiny pieces of paper. My report is: WONDERFUL and RELAXING EXPERIENCE. I folded a regular letter size paper in half and I then started cutting carefully following the design idea that I had in my mind for the border. I felt more free cutting directly on the paper instead of drawing a design because this way there were no mistakes to make. Then I opened the sheet of paper to make the center, I just kept cutting (slowly) as if I was drawing with the knife. In the pictures below you can see what it came out. The white color makes it look like lace.



When I was making this papercut I thought a lot about life and about how somehow we build our personalities this way, by "cutting off" little pieces of this and that in order to give shape to who we want to be. How many things do we leave behind in order to grow up and create our own "papercut design"?. From being a child to becoming a teenager and later an adult we go through a whole slow and deep process. It is fascinating to me how we "shape" ourselves over the years without even noticing it. Then one day we look back and see how much we have changed. We will never be perfect and we shouldn't but that's exactly the beauty of life as well as the beauty of art: They are always a work in progress :)

And now I wish you a wonderful weekend my friend and I will see you again on Monday!
Elsita :)


One thing that I looove about the city where I live (Los Angeles, CA) is the great characters that you find on the streets. I have a whole list of these characters that I am looking forward to seeing whenever I am out but there is one in particular that has won my heart (don't worry Billy!) and I have named him The Brush Helmet Head. This is a guy who rides a motorcycle but I have never seen his face because he wears this huge helmet with a black hard plastic brush attached to the top of it. I know that he wants his black brush to look dramatic and super cool but the truth is that this decorative element looks sooo funny. I know a similar guy who wears what we could call the real deal helmet brush (which is made out of long black feathers) he has a super motorcycle and the whole thing looks like from a movie but this one guy that I love rides a fragile-looking motorcycle that makes a funny noise, he is extremely skinny and also he wears huge sandals and short pants. His head looks extra large with the helmet on and all I can say is that when I see him my world gets illuminated like when a kid is watching his favorite cartoon on TV.
Here I drew more or less how he looks. When I saw him I wanted to scream: Hey Mister Helmet! It's me your greatest admirer!! But of course I didn't do it :) It is more fun to be a secret admirer : o


I don't know when he is going to show up again but I am looking forward to it!!
Now I should go but I will be back tomorrow!
Elsita :)

GIVEAWAY: Gemini pin! :)

Our giveaway today is this pin that I made out of inkjet shrink plastic and stiffened felt. It features a little print of my illustration titled Gemini and it has a gold plated pin attached firmly to the back side which makes this little piece very easy to wear. I decided to give some movement to this pin instead of making it flat, that's why you see some little waves all over the edge of the plastic part. If you would like to win this pin you just need to say Abracadabra 3 times. I'M KIDDING! Just leave a comment in this post and I will announce the winner on Monday!




Have a wonderful day and see you tomorrow!
Elsita :)

The Boy-Car! :)

The other day before I took Natalie to school I had to put some gas in my car because the tank was almost empty but then we kept going. I noticed that Natalie was so quiet, she normally likes to sing or talk as I drive. So after a few minutes of silence she says:: Mommy, Diego is not a car right? And I responded: Of course he is not a car, he is your little brother, why do you ask me that sweetie? And she said: you know Mommy, because the other day you said that Diego had some gas! But he is not a car right? That was SO FUNNY!!! We both started laughing so much but the best part is that she was serious about her question. I just love it when Natalie comes out with the most unexpected questions! That's the best part about children!

And later I just had to draw these pictures to illustrate the idea of Diego the Boy-Car!


Have a great day and see you tomorrow!
Elsita :)

Winner of the tiny painting (And new characters :)

And the winner of the tiny painting is: HEIDI KENNEY! Yay Heidi!!! And thank you sooo much to everyone who participated in this giveaway! This time I opened the book myself (with my eyes closed) in page 31 :) If you didn't win the tiny painting don't worry because there will be more chances to win a little something in the future. I promise to keep these giveaways going once a week! :)


Now I am so excited to introduce you to Miss Albertina and her special student Pascuale. Miss Albertina is a fourth grade Teacher from the Elementary School where she has been teaching for over 20 years now. One day Pacuale's Mom and Dad invited Miss Albertina for lunch because they wanted to talk to her about their son.


Pascuale's parents were so concerned about their son because he didn't show any interest in the world, he was sad and he did not want to go to school. Pascuale's parents were desperate and they thought that Miss Albertina could come out with some magic idea to help him since they had already tried everything.


Miss Albertina said: OK, let me think about this an I will call you during the weekend with a solution. Pascuale's parents waited for the call with their hearts full of hope. Then on Sunday night after Pascuale was already in bed Miss Albertina called and she said: I have the solution!





And now we should be thinking about what the magic solution was! This is something that I do with Natalie all the time, I start telling her a story and then I let her create the rest of it. In the beginning she got mad at me but now she loves it! I started doing this since she was very little and it is amazing how this game pushes her to be creative and to come out with her own ideas. In the beginning her stories were pretty basic but now they are getting more and more sophisticated. She makes up lots of problems and then she finds the solutions to them. When she is talking I remain as quiet as possible which makes her keep going, she loves me to be a good listener. The best part of it is that then she does the same thing in real life. Natalie is so resourceful, her level of frustration is lower and lower everyday because she is getting so used to finding solutions by herself and it all started in her imagination. I didn't do the job for her, I just created the conditions for Natalie to use her own mind and I am so impressed with the results.

We, as adults, are not different from children. We, even more than them, need to come out with solutions to our daily problems and the quality of these solutions is directly connected to our creativity. If we feel comfortable being creative in our imagination then we will feel comfortable being creative in real life. I try to teach myself how to see problems not exactly as problems but as opportunities to practice my creativity. When I see problems this way I get more excited about finding solutions, it really helps me see life with positive eyes. Problems will keep coming no matter what, I am so sure about it. That's why the point of this post is for us to think about our "brain muscles" and about using them as often as possible. And right now I am doing that because I am thinking about all the possible magic solutions that Miss Eduardina could come out with in order to help Pascuale :)

I wish you a happy and creative Monday my friend!
(And don't worry about Pascuale because he is going to be a happy boy very soon!)
See you tomorrow!
Elsita :)

(Miss Eduardina, little Pascuale, the magic bag that he is in and the three little drawings are now available here)