art helps me grieve…

art journaling: grief - susie carranza studio

Friday, October 20th, was the fourth anniversary of my sister Patty’s unexpected death. Four years. Since then, every subsequent October 20th always start out terribly, sadly, sometimes angrily for me. I wake up in the early morning hours and relive … Continue reading

not again… AGAIN. 

The world is terrifying and ugly and cold sometimes.

Today is one of them.

Again. 💔

not again... AGAIN. another senseless tragedy. - susie carranza studio
not again... AGAIN. another senseless tragedy. - susie carranza studio


around here…

i’m not in a celebrating-the-holidays mood.  losing my sister in october and losing my father-in-law in february did not leave me in a party mood. our thanksgiving here was a quiet meal with my parents, my brother, and my nephew. (my husband lawrence was with his mother.)  it was quiet, peaceful, and simple.  we also had a small cake for my mom; that day was also her 79th birthday.

lawrence and i did visit Huntington Library again a couple of weeks ago. (read my other post about the gorgeous library and botanical gardens here.) this visit was more about just clearing our heads and getting some exercise, so i was not concerned about taking too many photographs…

zen garden, huntington library, nov. 2013(i love how lawrence’s shadow looks in this photo!)

huntingtonlibrary_nov2013_2we watched some ducks for a while…

huntingtonlibrary_nov2013_4bridge in the japanese garden…

so – not many pictures to share this time, but we enjoyed the day.  we even finally had lunch in the tea room: garlic shrimp spring rolls with jasmine tea.  it was delicious!

i haven’t been painting as much as i should be, but i did start up again.  funny thing – even though i don’t feeling much in the holiday spirit, i have been painting ornaments for my Etsy art shop – and enjoying it!


i added a pretty metal heart charm on sheer ribbon around the birds’ necks…


birdwoodglitterygreenHOLIDAYWMif you’d like to see what i’ve been adding to my Etsy shop, please check it out – hopefully you’ll find some holiday gifts you can check off your list! ♥

my sister patty…

it’s Dia de los Muertos time – a time i LOVE. the tradition, the colors, the altars…all the beautiful ways of celebrating the lives of loved ones no longer here on earth.

i  had planned to blog about Dia de los Muertos: share photos from events we planned to attend, share new Dia de los Muertos artwork, create a new altar and share with you…

then, on October 20th, 2013, we unexpectedly lost my sister Patty.

everything stopped.

i closed my Etsy shops indefinitely.  stayed off of Facebook.  retreated.  looked after my parents.

one day i’ll share with you the story of my sister Patty.  she was one of my biggest supporters.  she would go to my Etsy shop without telling me and buy LOTS of items – never asking for a discount, AND paying for shipping. (we live in the same house.)

as my brother Tommy best describes it – “your story is one of redemption, inspiration and love.

me & my sister patty at our old house

me & patty

i miss my sister.  whenever we have our own home and set up our altar once again, and when i’m ready, i’ll have a very special place for her.

rest in peace, patty.



i’ve been trying to write a blog post for a while now, but i keep deleting everything i write…

on february 15, 2013, we lost my awesome father-in-law.  quickly.  within one month we found out he had liver cancer, and then – he was gone.

i wanted to write a post in honor of him, but it’s too soon.  i’m not ready.

and as i was trying to write, the mail came.  the latest issue of Sunset magazine, which we did not subscribe to.  i read the address label and it read “Mr-Mrs L-S Aguilar”.

Mr-Mrs L-S Aguilar.  only my father-in-law wrote our names like that.  (i kept my last name when i married lawrence.)  i guess he ordered us a gift subscription to Sunset magazine as recently as december or january.

the tears came.  and continue to come.  i’m not ready yet to write about my beautiful, funny, handsome suegro (suegro = father-in-law in spanish; “suegro” is what i called him).  just let me share a photo of him in happy times (at my mother’s 76th birthday party, 2010)…


he is greatly missed…♥

i tried to create new work, if only to help with the sadness and anger i feel, but i couldn’t.  i had put my Etsy shops on vacation but they’re up and running again as of yesterday.  slowly…slowly…i’m getting back to business.  i forget, for a while.

and then a gift from my father-in-law arrives in the mail…