Friday, February 22, 2013


Yes, Blog, it's true... I've moved you over to my new website where you will eventually be sharing space with Portfolio. The entire website is still evolving, but I think it's time to switch and we both ease into our new surroundings.

Blogger, thank you for 5 and a half fantastic years!

Please, everyone, update your bookmarks.


debivanzyl.com

Friday, August 3, 2012


 My friends Whitney and Julian are having a baby in a matter of weeks!  I just put the invitations I designed for their baby shower in the mail this afternoon. Same friends for whom I did wedding invitations and decor last March.

I love these little custom projects for friends; usually quick and dirty, not to much time to debate the details, and almost always very different than what I'm doing for my other clients. Totally fun.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


One of these days, after all the knitting is done and when all the exhibitions I'm working on are installed, I will get back to concrete and casting, a true love.

How beautiful is this herringbone (parquet) staircase hearth?

{Hearth House by AOC, via dezeen}

{update: I was preoccupied with the concrete that I only just NOW realized there is a cake on a cake stand on the staircase. I'm totally confused. Still love the stair but worried about that cake! And yes, I see the rabbit and I do hope he's real and not a piece of taxidermy as a prop. He's totally cute.}

Sunday, July 22, 2012


I love my  little collection of knitting needles. There are some unmatched mates here, but I can't seem to get rid of them.

p.s. I'm still knitting away as fast as I can to complete all the beast pillow orders. Slowly but surely. These days I see needles and yarn in my sleep.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


It might be hard to see, but it rained! Though only for a minute.
See those little rain drops on the right?  I was happy for the break, albeit brief, in this heat.

Thursday, July 12, 2012




I tend to try to make everything from scratch. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it does not. I won't say anything more about the marshmallows I tried to make a few years ago other than they were an utter disaster. Which reminds me, so were my milk chocolate malted milk balls.I was a fool to try to replicate the Malteaser.

Suffice it to say, I am not a good candy maker... BUT... I can CAN make cheese. Truth be told, I can only make one kind of cheese: paneer.  I've been making this cheese for years (because its so ridiculously easy and tasty and in many of my favorite Indian dishes) and part of the recipe calls for placing some kind of weight atop the curds gathered in a muslin cloth. This helps to drain excess moisture.

Never having had a weight heavy enough, in the past I've made towering columns of canned beans stacked on a dinner plate over a colander in sink. Interesting looking, though not very safe or effective.In my recent move into this new apartment I rediscovered my old iron. It used to be a long forgotten book-end, but now it's a cheese press! This green beauty weighs 7 pounds and does the trick in 30 mins as opposed to hours of the leaning tower in the sink.

To make paneer all you need is:
- 1/2 gallon whole milk
- 1 quart buttermilk
- fine muslin cloth
{cheesecloth is a little too porous and your cheese will stick. Certainly not the end of the world, but so much easier with muslin}

Boil the milk in the pot, slowly. Remove any skin that might form on top and try to keep bottom from burning. When you reach a boil, turn off heat and add entire quart of buttermilk and stir constantly. The curds start to separate from the whey (which is a funny green color). When this is complete, pour the contents of the pot into you muslin cloth which is draped on the inside of your colander. Drain, and gather the ends of the cloth and tie into a knot, which also helps push out moisture. Then add a weight and drain further. I like to keep the cheese bundle on top of my colander, which I turn over and leave in the sink.

I've also made this with fresh lemon juice (bascially you need an an acid to separate the curbs from the whey) but I prefer the taste of the buttermilk for this recipe.

p.s. Blog - I'm fiddling with your layout... you may notice some changes.

Thursday, July 5, 2012


Arrggghhh! So bummed I missed out on this limited edition tray by Susan of Up in the Air Somewhere. Sold out, alas. Gold leaf + chevron make me salivate.

{note to self: look more regularly at her site, then you won't miss out!}

{update!!! more trays available via Etsy! http://www.etsy.com/listing/78561915/gold-zag-tray}

Tuesday, July 3, 2012



Dear Blog,
I hope this note finds you well. I know you've been just sitting here for a while, patiently, with not much to say. Perhaps you've noticed that other blogs are regularly updated and have larger images? Don't be jealous though! We've got something good going. Hang in there with me.

I can pin-point a time when I started to pull away from you, Blog. It was about a year ago that things in my life caused me to shift focus. Shit happened. A lot of shit happened. And it just kept on happening. And now, finally, I feel like things are settled. It feels good to log in again and press the 'new post' button.

All this while I've been collecting things: images, objects, experiences. I want to show you some stuff. Its not everything, but a little taste.

Much love, Debi

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July 1, 2012

June 2012: New plant additions: ficus lyrata and croton.

June 2012: My work space evolves. Working from home again.

May 2012. A cake I made for my dear friend's rehearsal dinner.

April 2012. More loquat pie and pizza.

March 2012. My sister and I find ourselves in Seoul for 12 hours.
We ate very well. Wish we had more time.

Also, a stow-away escapes from my luggage during a layover in Manila. This little guy came from Negros Island, Philippines. We set him loose outside the airport and cross fingers that he lives to tell the tale. Poor thing survived the depressurized baggage compartment!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Wow.

I can't stop staring.

{by Jose Romussi, via all the mountains, see more on flickr}

Wednesday, April 25, 2012



I dream of having a picnic like this one.

{photos by Hilda Grahnat for Kinfolk... via Front & Main, by West Elm.... via Oh Joy!}

Monday, April 23, 2012


I had never eaten a loquat before, until yesterday while walking home from the farmer's market, a family (whose two kids were climbing a loquat tree) shouted across the street to me and asked me if I wanted to try one. Totally random.

And I did.

It was delicious. I've been curious about loquats as there is a tree in my yard full of ripe loquats, but I never got around to trying one. So when I got home, I picked a bunch off the tree and decided to try to make a pie.... because why the hell not. Not too many loquat recipes out there, but I found one here. It was amazing! Not too sweet... just right. Pie crust from Epicurious.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Ahhhh! I'm stuffing envelopes and assembling invitations for the mail tomorrow!

Then I'll be knitting my fingers off...

Friday, March 9, 2012

Wow...what a response! I sold my first beast pillow the other day on Etsy, and since then I've been getting tons of orders. Its wonderful, and a little overwhelming! I'm been frantically knitting trying to keep up. But since each one is knitted by hand by me, and only me, its take a while.

I'm way behind in replying to everyone separately, so to anyone who has written in: there are more pillows on the way! I'll get in touch with each one of you, I promise!

Also, a huge THANK YOU to Swiss Miss and those of you passed it around the internet, Pinterest and Facebook!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

My good friend is getting married and I'm doing her invitations. We've just started talking about design and this is what she gave me for the color palette.... all from their garden.

Pretty awesome.

Friday, February 3, 2012

A little late to the game, but I've stocked the store with some good oldies and some new things!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Nice message inside the cap of a delicious sparkling beverage.

And it's true, or at least becoming true after a tough 2011 and a tumultuous start to this new year.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The letters are final up on the title wall, but still more to do. The exhibition I'm working on, Breaking Ground: Chinese American Architects in Los Angeles (1945-1980), opens at the Chinese American Museum on January 19th. If you're in LA, come check it out! It's part of the Pacific Standard Time initiative.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Letters for an exhibition opening in a couple of weeks. Just need to sand and paint them now...

Sunday, December 4, 2011

My very dear and talented friend Catherine has started making jewelry. And just in time, because not only have I a lost a few pairs of earrings lately (I'm so mad!) but I'm also just bored with the little jewelry that I have. She had a sale last night and I now own a pair of earrings that I love so much, I can't stop wearing them, even though I was in my pajamas all day. (Top pic, lower left, the ones with the triangle cut outs)

In addition to creating organic shapes mostly out of brass, she uses a lot of industrial pieces, like copper pipe fittings, or washers and she hand paints them with enamel paint or dips them in rubber. I love the colors, the art deco bold shapes, and simplicity of the industrial pieces coupled with the delicate chains. I'm so excited to see more! And I'm wondering if I can sleep in my new earrings...

Monday, November 28, 2011

I drove to Austin, Texas for the Thanksgiving holiday. It took me 3 days to get there, but I decided to do the drive home in two days instead. I arrived last night after a very long day of driving, which included sitting on the highway for 2 extra hours without moving an inch just after crossing the California state border.

The upside: its not often you get to see people walking around, chatting, standing on the roof of their cars, and walking their dogs along the I-10.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


Hello again Blog!

This is a photo of my To-Do list. I got a lot of work done this week! I get such joy out of scratching out completed tasks. And when I use a sharpie it's even more satisfying. Done done done. Done!

A lot of things have happened since I last wrote; family stuff, relationship stuff, dog stuff, career stuff; it's all too much for now, slowly it will trickle out. Needless to say, this year has been quite eventful so far, and that's not all good. But I've come to terms with things and I feel good. One day at a time.

I have to share a few lovely things I've seen along the way and can't stop thinking about:

The most amazing house plant set-up. Home of Maurizio Zucchi. I need to get some plant stands like these And taller plants. Tout de suite.
{via yellowtrace... thank you CG!}



This beautiful artist in residency residence....
{via Ne√ęst... more info here: J.B. Blunk Residency}



New blog love: odette



And lastly, clean graphics and branding approach by Anagrama.
{via Black Eiffel}

Friday, July 22, 2011


Family is a funny thing.

And a hard thing.

And a wonderful thing.

In the last two weeks, I've learned about a long lost and very important part of my family. And it's been a roller coaster, to say the least.

I've learned about new branches in my family tree that I didn't know existed, which makes me happy, but it's countered with very sad news as well.

I have to mix the good with the bad all at once and I'm still learning about how to do that. But overall, I'm just really happy that I have new branches.

{image via Jennifer Davis}

Saturday, July 16, 2011


The little concrete vases with wire holders are lovely. And delicate.
Makes me want to get back to working with concrete and casting again.

{by Thai designer Decha Archjananun, via dezeen}

Friday, July 15, 2011


I love this house.
{via ffffound!)

I love when new buildings take notice of their predecessors in a really interesting way. Reminds me of this building. And my architectural thesis.

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Happy belated blog birthday for yesterday... 4 years old!!