Pachis is located in Liberty Station

A little over 4 years ago, Pachis Art Studio for Kids opened up shop in Liberty Station. Before that, we had a space in Normal Heights. I bet most of you didn’t know that!
 
After a few months in Normal Heights, we had the opportunity to move to Liberty Station. That decision was a no-brainer.
 
And like that, it’s 4 years later. Wow, I can’t believe it’s been that long! I remember setting up this studio and thinking how big it was. How would I ever fill it up?!
 
Looking back, moving to Liberty Station was one of the best decisions I ever made. After the first month we settled in quite nicely. And by we, I mean me. Back then it was only me, and friends and family would help out when there were large events.
 
I remember one of my first days working at the studio. Across the hall from the studio there’s an Italian restaurant called Solare. Randy, the owner, came by to introduce himself. As soon as he left, a server brought me fresh-made pasta with silverware and a cloth napkin. To my desk. At my studio. Talk about a welcome! Yup, I definitely made the right decision.
 
But enough about great pasta. The real reason for this blog post is why did I choose to move Pachis to Liberty Station.
 
The obvious choice is that it’s beautiful! The green promenade, the nice breeze, ample parking, the parks and playgrounds. It’s clean and chock-full of history. And this was back when we didn’t have all the drinking and dining options.
 
Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of great options back then. Like Con Pane bakery. Where during the first 6 months of my first pregnancy, I would visit daily for one of their delicious dark chocolate chip cookies.
 
Another reason for the move was location. Liberty Station is in a prime location in San Diego. Yeah, the airplanes can sometimes be a bit loud, but the kids love it when they’re outside and they fly-by. And it’s getting busier and busier. It brings a smile to my face seeing more and more families filling the hallways of the buildings around me.
 
Come and visit Pachis if you haven’t yet. And while you’re here you can check out the rest of Liberty Station. Bring the whole family to make some art at Pachis, and then go explore. Walk down to the Public Market for some food and libations. And on the way there check out the rest of the buildings that have art galleries, businesses offering great food and beautiful products and services.
 
Happy Spring everyone, and I hope to see you soon!
 
Colorfully yours,
 
Juliana Flores

Making A Difference with Pachis Care Art: Open Art Expression for Families

 

 

This past week I received a phone call from a concerned mother asking if I would offer the Pachis Art Studio for Kids space to families who are emotionally processing all the recent political upheaval and even wanting  protest and raise their voices against hate and bigotry.

I’ve always been a huge believer that art makes us more sensitive and tolerant to others. It can help us express our thoughts in a non-political, non-aggressive way. We can use colors and shapes to express how we feel without offending others. We can use art as an outlet to put our thoughts out there and share those thoughts with our fellow citizens.

I was so happy to receive this call. I immediately said YES and then started planning something more concrete to offer our customers, our families, our friends, and our community.

My husband and I are both citizens of the United States and were born in San Diego but raised in Tijuana, Baja California Mexico. We moved back to San Diego when we got married and both countries truly feel like home to us.  Our families and some of our closest friends still live in different parts of Mexico.  I can’t begin to explain how hurt and worried I’ve been feeling about the hatred leading the news for the past few weeks.

With that background, I found this call to be a great opportunity to be part of a movement. A movement of change that teaches our children that we can work together to make things better.

We keep hearing that many people are also feeling frustrated, concerned, and sad about certain matters affecting our country and the peace in our society. Our children ask what’s happening. We all want to do something and give our children a safe environment to speak, act and express themselves without repercussions.

I’m proud to offer that safe space at Pachis Art Studio for Kids: Pachis Care Art will be offered every Wednesday in February from 5 to 7pm. For just a $10 fee per person (to offset the cost of supplies), you and your children will have access to the studio and to art supplies to be able to make care banners, signs, paint a picture of how you feel, or to share with fellow friends, neighbors and classmates.

Please join the Pachis team and our families on this Pachis Care Art movement and let’s add some color to our lives!

Creatively yours,

Juliana Flores

Happy Holidays

This post is about some serious business: Christmas!!! I love, love, love, love, LOVE the holiday season!

The smells, the decorations, cozy weather (when San Diego allows it!) and Michael Buble’s holiday album is the best! Oh and my husband baking cookies, also the best!

This year is extra special because Martina is now old enough for us to make our own Christmas ornaments together. We had such a fun time making them!

We made a doll ornament for each member in our family. Making dolls is something I’ve always enjoyed!

Here is the list of supplies we used:

  • Felt squares and fabric scraps for clothing
  • Wooden bead heads. The ones I bought had faces painted on them, but these will do. You can use a sharpie to draw the face
  • Twisteez wire for the body. This is a product I really like and always keep at Pachis art studio for kids. It’s easy for young kids to use and you can make any project with them, from jewelry to sculptures.
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • Buttons and beads from the box we keep at home

The first doll we made was Martina’s. I started by molding the twisteez wire to a simple stick figure shape that is threaded through the wood bead. This step I had to do myself. The twisting and managing of the wire can be a bit tricky for a 3 year old’s small hands.

We then cut out simple shapes for clothes that would dress each doll. Here’s a sample of the little dress we used for the medium sized ornament. Martina helped me glue them together.

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Then I pulled apart a small piece of fabric scrap to make the hair nice and curly like my daughter’s:

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Finally, we added some buttons and sequins to add more detail on the doll. This was definitely Martina’s favorite part.

Once we finished the first doll, we chose the materials to make the rest of the ornaments.

And this is what they looked like in the end:

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Making your own ornaments is a way to decorate your tree with extra special pieces. It’s cheaper than store bought ornaments and it’s a great opportunity to spend quality time with your family.

When my mom and sister saw the final product, they wanted us to make one for each member of our whole family! Not sure I have the time to do that this Christmas but maybe next year I’ll surprise them with that.

Enjoy this activity with any family member or friend.

Please leave a comment below with any questions you may have.

Creatively yours,

Juliana Flores.

Thank You

Hi Everyone!

This month is about embracing thankfulness. I thought I wouldn’t be able to finish this blog post before the end of the month, but here it is! I hope you enjoy it.

These past two months have been crazy in our household. We welcomed baby Bruna in September. I don’t know about all moms out there with more than one child, but for me, this has been a bit more difficult than expected. Tantrums, no routine, no schedules, no sleep! So let’s say that between being a mom of two adorable girls, a wife and a business owner, I’ve been a bit overwhelmed.

A couple weeks ago, we had some friends stay with us for a week. I thought it would be too much but I was so thankful for their visit! Aside from the fact that they are like family to us, we had a blast being tourists in San Diego and the Guadalupe Valley, Baja California.

The reason I bring this up is because I realized how important it is to ask for help, to surrender and be humble and allow others to support you and your family. I’m a big “wonder woman” practicer, “I can do it all!!!”

Having extra hands around the house, someone else with a different energy to play with our three year old. Someone to listen to our fears, plans, goals and crazy thoughts is so heart warming.

We have been so lucky to be surrounded by amazing friends that have shown so much love and respect for our family.

This post is not about art or about being creative. I want to open up a little and extend a hand, an ear of support to all those amazing parents out there that are in “survival mode” as a friend would say. Just say “I get you” “I understand exactly how you feel”.

This is an important matter for me because I’ve always tried to make Pachis art studio for kids, an extension of my home, of your home and the home of those that haven’t visited us yet. At our home we open our doors to those we share love and respect with, and that is what we offer at Pachis as well. Bring your family to my Pachis home and share special moments. Make new friends and feel supported by others while doing something creative.

Thank you to my family, thank you to my friends, thank you to those of you reading and thank you all that have been making Pachis a part of your lives.  It’s because of you that we exist and work hard every day to be the best that we can.

Happy Thankful Season! See you next month with a post about making ornaments with your kids at home.

Creatively yours,

Juliana

Halloween Family Art

Halloween! One of my favorite times of the year! Boy do I love this holiday.
 
We usually try to host a party at our house. But between moving to our new home and our second daughter, Bruna being born, we decided to keep it low key this year.
 
But like I said earlier, this is one of my favorite times of the year. So today we got creative and had an amazing time making masks and a Halloween car. What made this activity even better was that the whole family participated. My husband César, my oldest daughter Martina and I got lost in this project. Bruna was only a spectator, though. Maybe next year!
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Earlier this month, we bought some new furniture for our home. That left two big cardboard boxes sitting outside our kitchen door. And right before my husband recycled them, I had the idea of making a car for Martina. By chance, the box’s shape resembled a sort of SUV, so we grabbed different paints and paintbrushes and got to work.
 
Martina’s art studio always has rolled drawing paper, usually from IKEA, on which I drew some witches, bats and other scary creatures. Martina then colored them in with oil pastels and we cut them out and glued them on different parts of the car.
 
My husband and I went around writing words like Boo and Scary, and we added a door by cutting one of the sides. We learned to do this after Martina tripped one too many times trying to get in and out of the car.
 
After we finished decorating the car, we cut out masks from cardboard for each member of the family. My husband was Frankenstein’s monster and the rest of the us were witches. These will make for a great Halloween family portrait!
That was it! All in all we spent a tad under 2 hours and the whole family got to enjoy being creative together. And as you can see, the supplies we used were things we already had lying around the house.
 
That much fun with only a handful of supplies:
  • A cardboard box
  • Markers
  • Rolled drawing paper
  • Paint
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Leftover party plates
I always have people asking me what to do with their kids at home. Or they’ll take a look at a project we do at the studio and have trouble figuring out how to do them without “professional” supplies. But as you can see, you don’t have to spend a ton of money of supplies. With some basics on hand, you can just take a look around your home and let your imagination run wild!
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Making art as a family is such a good and healthy way to spend quality time together. I highly suggest these type of activities for you and your family.
 
I wish you a safe and sweet Halloween in the company of your scary family creatures!
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Happy Halloween!
 
Juliana + Family

The meaning of “Camp”

 

Kids are out of school and the first thing that comes to any parent’s minds is: “What in the world are we going to do? Babysitter? Work from home? — Camp!!!”

Camp is usually the best option, right? Pick one that looks good, looks safe and is not too expensive. Pack a lunch and everyone’s happy. But how many times do we really stop to think about what our kids going to camp really means?

Camp should be a place where our children feel safe and happy. Where they can interact with other children that share like interests. Where our children are able to make new friends and have fun. Where the staff are as engaged as the children are.

Back when I first opened Pachis, camp was not part of the plan. I had experience working with camps before and it was definitely not something I enjoyed. To me it felt overrated, falsely advertised and sometimes just plain boring for all parties involved. It felt more like daycare where the staff were just hoping for the day to end.

My plans for Pachis were and still are to teach, change lives and create a community, and my concept of camp fit none of that.

But one day when a parent asked if Pachis was offering camp because her child would love to spend a full day at the studio making art, it dawned on me that Pachis could change that concept of camp.

During our initial camp offerings 3 years ago, we had a themed week called ‘Around the World’ which was a huge success. Each day we ‘traveled’ to a different part of the world (Mexico, Ireland, Africa, Paris, Spain) where we played traditional music, we learned about traditional food and recreated famous landmarks.

This is exactly what camp should be. A place where children can learn and are shown new ways of seeing and appreciating life. Where they can have fun and make new friends. Where the amazing art pieces they make won’t be thrown away at the end of the week, but instead framed and used as inspiration to redecorate rooms.

Pachis offers camp for every school break. Every week is designed to wow parents with the take-home projects as well as to expose children to art exploration through self discovery.

I invite you to take a look at the amazing art pieces that our students have created at the studio, and I hope you’ll join us for our upcoming Summer Art Camp.

Take a look at some of the art pieces we’ve created at Pachis Art Camp.

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Hope to see your family by our studio real soon.

Creatively yours,

Juliana

First time for everything!

You know that feeling you have as a mom when you look at something on Pinterest that’s so easy and fun to make with your kids, you pin it and then never get to it?  Well, I get that feeling quite often when it comes to doing fun and creative stuff at home.  Since I do it so often for work, I guess I get saturated with to-do lists and never get around to actually doing something for myself or my home.

But …There’s always a first time for everything!  A few days ago my 2-year-old M and I had a blast making homemade play dough and spending time together in our very cozy backyard.

What you’re about to read is something I do on a regular basis at Pachis for my students and M gets to participate in all these fun activities, but this time it was different because it was just the two of us and it was at home.

It was the first chilly day of the season in San Diego, M was feeling a bit under the weather with a slight cold and television is very limited at our home.  Our first plan was to bake something, but my husband will tell you I’m not the best at it.  (I just don’t have the patience!)  So, M and I pulled out flour, salt, water and oil and we decided to make play dough. I found the recipe for a great no-cook play dough.  It’s quick, easy and I was surprised to see how much it actually feels like the real kind.  

I have to say, the best part of this recipe is that M could participate in the whole making process and that’s important to me.  She’s very independent and likes to do things herself so sometimes making something that requires me or my husband to make most of the process, can really frustrate her.

Ok, back to the story: we got the ingredients, put everything in a plastic sealed bag and gave it to M so she could knead it until soft.  Then, we added blue and yellow food coloring to make it green (color mixing 101 for toddlers!) and it was ready to be formed and squeezed into animals, objects and sensory experiences.

I pulled out our animal cookie cutters, a plastic knife and a plastic placemat for her to use as a surface outside.

We set up our creation station outside and through our conversation about animal sounds, things we find in our backyard and things she likes we put together these beautiful pieces, you’ll see on the pictures below there’s a cupcake, we actually sang “happy birthday” to my niece, my mom and other friends that M was making cupcakes for.

M was so happy and so proud she even took pictures of her creations with her camera.  We still need to get Dad to print them for her!

We spent a total of 3 hours from the beginning of prepping for our play dough until the time it was getting chillier and dark outside and we had to stop to get dinner ready.

M is with me at Pachis, an art studio for kids making art all the time, but this day was different:  it was really good to do art with her as my daughter and not as one of my students. I guess I never thought about separating work from home because she’s always exposed to it, however, it was a very different kind of interaction.  Spending time with her is my priority as her mom and this was a wonderful experience.

Hope you enjoyed the pictures and take some time from your busy schedule to make something special with your child.

Creatively yours,

Juliana