my life in my words

Life In Color


Celebrating the annual Easter Reunion from a distance . . . in a coffee shop (naturally) ;p

Celebrating the annual Easter Reunion from a distance . . . in a coffee shop (naturally) ;p


Our family and extended family gets together every year for an annual Easter Reunion where we barbecue, have an egg hunt, and smash cascarones down peoples’ pants until the day is done! Now, one thing you should know about our family is that we are a rowdy bunch and we make ourselves KNOWN everywhere we go! So naturally, we gotta represent at these reunions and one of the ways we do that is by wearing shirts to show off our family. For the past few years, I’ve had the opportunity to design our family reunion T-shirt. This year I got to do it again and had so much fun playing around with the design. When my Auntie “O” sent me the design request e-mail, her idea was this:


This is the thought that is coming across for this year’s shirt. Two Coconut trees with Mamo on one and Papo on the other. Nuts in the tree could be the Kids, John, Josie, Olga, etc. and on the ground under the trees could be the rest of us “nuts.”

I knew immediately that I was going to have fun with this one! One of the things you have to think about as a designer is how your design can loan itself to the atmosphere of the event and the personality of the people you are designing for. Luckily for me, my family has a great sense of humor—you CANNOT spend more than 5 minutes with my family without cracking up at something that someone says/does—it’s awesome! So I took that idea that coconut trees were associated with the water, and the fact that we spend each Reunion at the beach. I think you know where it went from there 😉


That’s right, I went there. 😉

In the initial design, I decided to put the parents along the rope line, under the two big coconuts that represented my grandparents. Then, I wanted us grandkids to kinda be piled on top of each other because we’re very close. I thought it would be super cute to make the cuzzo cubs into starfish because they’re so playful and their personalities stand out so boldly. The sweetest part for me was adding the two seagulls flying above our family. They represent two of our family members that have died and are watching over us from Heaven.

After this initial design, I sent it off and awaited the critiques and changes. I know it sounds crazy and a bit masochistic, but I LOVE critiques. I think my worst nightmare would be for someone to say, “Hey that looks great, let’s go with it!” and deep down inside, they’re saying, “Y’know, it’s an okay design, but it’s not my favorite and I probably won’t want to keep it in eyesight of others cause it’s not that great.” Nightmare city for sure! I love critiques, especially from friends and family because it helps me grow and become better, allowing me to see things from a different perspective so that I can create something we’re all proud of. So I welcome and look forward to the process of making edits to my designs. The e-mail I got back after the initial design said:

Fallon’s sons name is Elijah. Can you make the 2013 a bit darker – as I need the screen to be able to pick it up, since it will all be a one ink print.

Right on! Let’s try this again . . .


We’re getting there . . .

Hey, I went by the tshirt guy tonight & he loved your design. He did ask that we make a few changes though so that the printing would be a bit crisper.

On the coconuts, we need to take the gray shading off  &  just leave it white. It is just a 1 color screen & the color will be black and the shading might mess up how the names look. Also is there a way to make the starfish a bit bigger and stack them, since they will be bigger?

The names are so small inside the starfish that when it prints they will barely be seen, if they are seen at all. If we make the starfish bigger, made me wonder if we needed to make the coconuts bigger so the starfish dont overplay the coconuts?? He also asked if the title could be a thicker or bigger fonts so that it would catch one’s eye. If not, then that will be fine.

You got it!



Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Squirrels, we have a WINNER!

This was the final design that left both camps happy as a clam! I was so excited to be able to work with my Auntie “O” again to make a shirt that everyone could be proud of. Now comes the kicker . . . when I say we like to make ourselves known, I mean it. Folks, our shirts this year are theme park friendly and kinda takes me back to island life . . . so fresh and so Kiwi Greeeeeen! 😀 I love it!


If it’s one thing that makes me happy, it’s bright colors . . . which is weird because when I was younger, I only wore blacks and grays and HATED bright colors. Nowadays, I love sporting hot pink, electric blue, highlighter yellow, and the like. And now, I get to add a fun addition to the collection! You can imagine just how happy it made me to get my shirt in the mail on Thursday:

Thanks for shipping my shirt to me, Auntie "O"!

Thanks for shipping my shirt to me, Auntie “O”!

I am more than proud to sport my shirt today (and tomorrow afternoon) in solidarity with my family as they are at the family reunion all day today. I’m even more excited because tomorrow, I get to make cascarones with the kids in our Children’s Ministry  . . . and I’m probably gonna make some extras to crack on some heads after church!


Author: Amanda Martinez

I am a mexican chick, born in Germany, raised in Austin, TX, lived in Seattle, WA, and now back home in Texas! I am a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a friend, a graphic designer, a youth pastor, a comedienne, a songwriter, a screenwriter, and a lover of music, art, people, and the world around me! Join me on the journey as I share with you my thoughts, dreams, passions, and experiences!

4 thoughts on “Life In Color

  1. Cute and love how you all designed your family shirt!

  2. I Loved the design I could tell at a glance the generational representations and the people that have passed on good job, super fun! Hope you can be there in person next year!

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