Coffee? And books.


This weekend I fulfilled my barista fantasy.

Alex set up a mobile version of his cafe at Oaxaca’s International Book Fair. It all came together at the last minute, (like the day before the event), so we didn’t have much time to prepare.

I also put my Oaxacan aprons to good use in the kitchen… as we ended up catering a bunch of events after they tasted some of the goodies I whipped up to accompany the coffee.

Cooking is something I do to relax and regroup from my own creative work. Being in the kitchen is a form of therapy. Especially when I cook for others.

I gave Alex a bunch of the boards I use for my painting substrates to make a chalkboard menu. We already had the chalkboard paint, because I use it on so many surfaces.



We grabbed the turquoise cabinet from our home entryway and turned it into a surface for pastries, with plates, forks, napkins and more pastries stored inside. Note: we spiffed up our pastry display on top – getting rid of the plastic servers. This photo was take the first day when we pulled the miracle off.

It’s a 3 week book fair! People are serious about books and reading here. The event has been packed every day and night… like a rock concert. The cafe is hopping, too.


A large menu board created out of one of the many old doors I have in my studio. The doors are from the cafe renovation. These are old, solid wood doors. Heavy.

I use the doors for surfaces – they make excellent work tables and easels. And signs.

What can’t you use chalkboard paint on?

On our last trip to Mexico City, we found these lovely industrial metal chairs. They were the color of steel, which is lovely, but I always envisioned bright yellow chairs on our cafe patio. So I had these spray-painted in our signature yellow.


Oaxaca has so much design. Here’s a look at the event program. Provedor Escolar, a local bookstore, is the main sponsor of the book fair. They have their own publishing company and each and every cover is work of art.

Apparently, books are judged by their covers here. It’s nice to see that design matters. Good book design respects the effort that goes into the writing.


In addition to live author events, music, and parties, several visual art exhibits fill the walkways. What a great idea to have a gallery right in the midst of things, instead of tucked out of the way in a separate space.

This exhibit is made up of photos taken of people reading in various places. Ah… doesn’t this get you in the mood to go off somewhere and get lost in a book?

Speaking of…


Oaxaca has a stunning children’s library, and they’ve created a whole big play space for kids with lots of books to read.

Getting to draw and write on kraft paper covered walls… that looks familiar!

In the spirit of play and Day of the Dead, we hired an artist to come to our mobile cafe and paint traditional muertos makeup. I’ll show you how that turned out next time.


by Lisa Sonora // share your thoughts... in the Comments { 1 }