About Zeebra Designs & Destinations (& Playamart!)

This site marries my love of the outdoors with my love of art.  Some people say that I bring the outdoors inside with my paintings;  many times I literally bring the outdoors inside!

The nearest “Playamart” holds unique treasures:  shells, feathers, pottery shards, driftwood, polished rocks – all trigger potential ideas for future projects, so I return from the beach with arms loaded!

Before/After  – copyright Lisa Brunetti


When people ask where a certain reclaimed and restored/altered piece of driftwood came from, I smile and say, “It came from Playamart!”  We joke that everything found at Playamart is free, but it’s hard to find a checker!

The extreme rainy season in Costa Rica purges rivers and streams, and the ocean  restocks the Playamart shelves every night! Chair legs,  crates, headboards, porch spindles or blocks of wood,  the ugly-duckling treasures quietly await discovery!

It’s fun to see others catch the Playamart fever, and they’ll say, “Lisa!  I have something for you!  I found it at Playamart!”   One friend once smirked and said, “I’ll trade whatever you want for three chair legs!”   She wanted to make a plant stand!  The pieces from Playamart give a relaxed balance to my ultra-serious fine art.

“Crawling Lessons” – watercolor – copyright Lisa Brunetti

Between the serious paintings and studies, you will find a balance of whimsical work.    Artists enjoy working with their hands, so it’s quite natural that I love to cook and garden.   You’ll be treated to a sampling of unique foods from Latin America and the Zeebra’s way of preparing them!

Having traveled through Central America and in Ecuador over the last 10+ years, I will also be sharing tales of interesting people and places I’ve encountered along the way.  One of these days, perhaps I’ll throw on brakes and figure out how to sell unique items like  colorful table linens or transformed blocks of wood!

Thanks for stopping by!   Your comments are appreciated! 🙂  Z


91 thoughts on “About Zeebra Designs & Destinations (& Playamart!)”

  1. Love love your designs! Are you located on the coast? I’m settling in Cuenca. Will be there late January for a couple of months to begin furnishing my condo. Where can I view your art?

  2. Thanks! Congratulations on your choice of Cuenca. She’s a lovely and elegant city! Yes, I live near the coast between Bahia and Pedernales; Most of my work stays off the market until time for a show, which will most likely be in the first half of 2012. A few of my paintings will be at Bamboom Furniture Showroom in Manta.
    (Their original designs, made at their workshop factory in Manta, are stunning.) The showroom is located on the ground floor in the complex beside the Oro Verde Hotel.

    ESCoffee in Guayaquil will represent my work when their new building opens in late 2012.

    Thank you so much for your interest in my work!

  3. Really interesting, beautiful designs and art! Enjoying your blog, thank you!

  4. Hi, I am building a site at oohandawe.com that will (soon I hope) take the place of what is currently at vistapacificahomes.com. Larry Pioli is a neighbor of yours it appears.

    If I link to this site and give you credit with every image I use for your site, may I have permission to use your pics for the Jama page?

    NB… at the moment the site is quite incomplete…

    • Hey
      Today I found several “real” comments in the spam box; sorry that you’ve been waiting in limbo!

      I’m honored that you like the images of the Jama area! I am not sure about giving total liberty/rights for my photos; I make my living from my art, and I am presently registering and copyrighting to protect against future infringements. I’ve had one copyright infringement by an international magazine, and they did profit financially. A link to the site and full credits sounds very fair; let me know which photos you’d like to use, and most likely we’ll work out something that makes us both comfortable!

      Thanks for your genuine interest and honesty!

      Lisa ‘Z”

  5. Just checked out the painting your gravatar is based on and it is stunning. The effect reminds me of Batik. Love it Z

  6. Hi! I found your blog though Anna (cancerkillingrecipe). The posts are beautiful; I’m from Panama, so your photographs are especially beautiful to me. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • hey! i have a really good friend who lives in panama, and i visit almost every year. the kuna’s molas inspired a totally new painting style for me.
      this past week here in ecuador, a friend served torta de pescado. i had never heard or tasted anything so unique! they use plantanos verdes y a pureed peanut, and wow, was it ever amazing. is that regional or do you have that in panama?

  7. Thank you for sharing your inspiring and colorful world. For bringing nature and Art close to us in the most meaningful way. I nominated you for Capture The Colour. Hope you like it.

  8. I love your blog and have nominated you for several awards! Please don’t feel obligated to participate – just know that you are appreciated. Here’s the post: http://newsofthetimes.org/2012/08/28/tuesday-tunes-ramble-on-and-awards-galore/ Keep up the great work!

  9. Hi Lisa – Hope this finds you well.

    I can’t find an email/contact address for you here. When you have a moment, would you mind dropping me a line via my site’s email? I’ll be spending some time in South and Central America next year and have some burning questions I’d like to run by you.


  10. But of course! You must be looking forward to returning, and hopefully you’ll find those countries a little better than when you were there last.

    tzeebra@yahoo punta com is the address but i will write you shortly. we’ve been without power today, so if i don’t write back, that’s what happened!

  11. Just wanted to let you know I have nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award. I hope this will be welcome news for you. If you prefer not to accept the award, I certainly understand, but I hope you will visit the other nominees, and they will visit you, just the same. To see more about the award and accepting this nomination, please visit my post at http://wp.me/p2ekZU-E4. All the best!

  12. I’ve now been in Cuenca for a month, and am really enjoying. I suspect I’ll stay here for at least six months — mainly to get all the official paperwork done. Later, I suspect I’ll look for a smaller, more rural and less-English place. I am, after all, a West Virginia farm boy at heart and love critters. If you ever visit here, I’d like to meet you. Best regards!

  13. Love your site and your work. Just beautiful. I love Costa Rica too .

    • Thank you so much! I peeked at your blog, and it looks very interesting. The piles of rocks look like someone was clearing the area and manually placed them there. If they appeared magically overnight like crop circles…. hmmm, i’d have to ponder that the intelligent forces mastered crops and now are tackling more difficult objects!!! I will have to read more!
      Will be back online tonight, though we are losing power a lot, so whenever time allows, I’ll be back to your site.
      thanks again!

  14. x melissa little said:

    This is such an amazingly beautiful site you have here! I have fallen head over flats (heels don’t like me) with your art. Great work! I will be visiting often! xoxo

    • amiga! heels and i don’t get along either! your good humor and wit burned through your comment! thanks!

      i am so glad that this blog has given you a smile! thanks for visiting, and i look forward to more of your posts!


  15. Amazing and wonderful art! Just to my liking and heart! I will be back.

  16. HI from Australia! I love your site, it is so lovely to connect, Missy xox

    • thanks missy! thanks for following! i love your site too, and the gravatar tree is just bout the most wonderful tree i’ve ever seen! it’s so bright and happy, and i always wish to see it in a larger image. is that a sweater that it’s wearing?


      • I think so! I believe they are called ‘tree cosies’ instead of tea cosies. How creative (p.s I found this in google images, It’ not my creation:)) Wishing you a magical day xox

  17. I have nominated your blog for Beautiful Blogger Award. If you want to accept the award check my blog, http://theforesterartist.com/2012/10/20/the-beautiful-blogger-award/

  18. Hello my friend, Just to let you know, i have nominated you for three blogging award. Hope that you happy with this news. If you prefer not to accept, of course I understand. http://campanulladellaanna.wordpress.com/2012/10/29/blogging-award-nominations-you-can-get-it/

    Thanks for sharing 😛

  19. I look forward to following your blog. You are a gifted artist. 🙂

  20. I’m glad you liked my “fishy” post on “Swords, Specters, & Stuff.” 🙂

    You’re welcome back anytime.

    • you are welcome! august nudged us in your direction, and i look forward to exploring more of your posts. i just returned from two weeks’ travel w/friends, so internet time is short right now.
      see you again soon, and thanks!

  21. Hi Lisa,
    you have a truly wonderful and inspiring blog, I look forward to following you into the future.
    Have a great time.
    Greetings from the far North

  22. Hallo,

    I have nominate you for the very inspiring blog award. You already have one, but you derserve one more : )
    Enjoy your day en keep up the good thing.

    Sweet greetings, Summer

  23. Hi Z, I love the warmth of your site very much! Your pieces are also quite unique. I’m looking forward to your stories on Central America as it is a place I’ve always wanted to visit. Thank you so much for stopping by and following Island Vignettes! I am really happy that you did as now it gives us a chance to discover more about each other 🙂 Have a blessed Sunday!

  24. Hi Playamart,

    Good news!

    I have nominated you for the Blog of the Year 2012 award, because of all what you have done so far.

    See for the rules of that award


    All my best wishes for you!

  25. Allyson Mellone said:

    I treasure the handmade and look forward to your artist’s eye to enlighten and bring forth the unique. I endeavor in your endeavor 🙂 Allyson

  26. May ask you a question, please?
    I noticed that you have got a lot of Blog Awards you are presenting on your blog. My blog was often recommended for blog awards, too, but I always did say “no!”. But now I am a little bit unsure about blog awards. So my question: Why did you accept all these blog awards? Probably your answer could help to decide.
    For further information have a look at my blog, please, where a big discussion takes place about the pros and cons about those awards.
    Thanks a lot.
    And not to forget I like your blog 🙂
    Greetings from the sunny coast of North Norfolk

    • I appreciated this comment very much and gave it a little time to incubate. as i stated on your post about the chester beatty library, had you not inquired, i would have missed your post that was soothing to the eyes and spirit.

      i agree with you on many of your reasons not to participate; some questions seem really silly, yet there are others that allow us to share information, as in the Booker Award. http://hughcurtler.wordpress.com/2012/08/23/the-booker-award/
      It’s always comforting to find others who share the same love of a certain book, and often times they point us to other titles that are new to us. The Booker Award is a great vehicle for this, though it would be nice if there were a Booker Award Library where people could browse the titles!

      i do not pass on awards in hopes of finding more readers; on the contrary, the time spent on acknowledging the person who presented the award takes time and research to pass it on to others. I would much rather be creating a new post about a recent experience! Our circle of like-minded people increases, and i have made several strong friendships thanks to recommendations from others. Some people seem grateful to have new sites to explore, though I wish we could keep the number in the low digits! In that, I agree that it seems more like a chain letter.

      Just yesterday I was thinking that the best way to pass on awards is not to use an award at all, but to mention that person and include a link to their blog if they’ve written or said something worthy! your ‘beatty library’ post is a great example, and i would like all of my like-minded friends to savor that post as well!


      sometimes we stay so busy with other posts in queue that we let those jewels ease to the perimeter of our drawing boards and they eventually drop to the floor and are replaced by newer posts. linking someone directly to your website via passing on awards helps others to take a peek – or not.

      usually i look at the awards as an honor, though sometimes it seems as if someone was on a seek-and-find mission to pass the hot potato to the next blogger! that’s happening with some of the photo challenges where a pingback arrives, and we follow it only to find out that we are one of a long list that was copied and pasted. most likely that person never looked at my post but used it as a way to get more views.

      as for accepting or declining the awards, i don’t think anyone has bruised feelings when an award is declined, but if that person truly treasures your blog (and everyone should!) then it’s nice to give a nod back to say, ‘i’m honored, thank you.’

      thank you again, for allowing us to peer inside those ancient manuscripts and marvel at the beauty of a lost art. of course, sign me up! it\s my loss that i’ve not done that sooner!


  27. Wow, you are super talented and you got one awesome blog here! Really glad to have stumbled upon you! 🙂

    • (Who? Me?!) Thank you so much for your kind words! I’m honored and flattered that you like this blog! You’ve put a big smile on my face while I argue with the new system for uploading images! Thanks, I truly needed that smile!

  28. Here’s another to add to your (virtual) collection!
    Just to start the New Year off right, there is an Award waiting for you at http://acrossthebored.com/2012/12/30/awards-christmas-comes-twice-this-year/
    Whether you choose to participate or not, please know that Across the Bored finds inspiration, entertainment, enlightenment and good company in your blog. Thanks for being a presence in our virtual reality!

  29. Hi there,

    Just wanted to let you know I have nominated you for the The Versatile Blogger Award. I hope this is welcome news to you. If you prefer not to accept the award, I certainly understand, but I hope you will visit the other nominees, and they will visit you, just the same. To see more about the award and accepting this nomination, please visit my post at http://wp.me/p1w5ra-H8. All the best!

  30. We’ve nominated your blog for an award (or two, or three…), if you accept them. If not, just consider it a token of our esteem! 🙂 See our post at http://windagainstcurrent.com/2013/01/13/award-appreciation-we-thank-our-readers-for/

  31. Hi There, Thank you for stopping by my blog. Yes I found you here on an extraordinary blog I have ever seen. I think you are the one who has very deep sense in arts I can see that from most of your works and photographs, the way you look at the subject is very amazing. there is almost no more space to share my thought as hundreds of friends have enriched it. I am grateful and want to revisit over and over again. Best wishes.

    • hey, thanks so much for your genuine and kind comment. today another wordpress person and i agreed that it’s comforting when we cross paths with unique individuals – those who remind us that we’re on the right track. your comment has enriched my day; thank you so very much! lisa/z

  32. Dear Lisa (Z) — Thank you for your wonderful blog. I have nominated you for The Gargi Award. Please see this page for instructions about the award and how to accept it. Congratulations and many blessings, Alia http://wp.me/P2BC2S-jb

  33. your work is just great, Lisa. My late sister was an artist, and I have an especial respect for the process. That watercolor of the turtle is so good! Looks 3d it’s so like-like. I am happy to have discovered your blog; an extra shout out to Doris who made the connection possible!! Have an inspired day…:)

  34. Hi Lisa, I’ve nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award: http://catbirdinafrica.wordpress.com/2013/03/21/the-very-inspiring-blogger-award/

    I hope you’ll accept but if you feel it’s too much work, I certainly understand!! 🙂

    • thank you amiga! presently i am way way behind on reading posts and answering comments, but when i catch my breath, yes, i am honored to pass it along!

      company arrives tomorrow for two weeks, but i’ll get back to it! thanks so much!


  35. Thank you for visiting my blog and your welcome comments. Your blog is so colourful and as you may have already guessed, I am a big fan of colour. I would love, one day to visit Latin America, you are one lucky lady, it must be so inspiring. Thanks again and I will be dropping by regularly.

    • Thanks, David; your work is very strong, and you have a really special style. I taught once upon a time long ago, and I admire that after a full day at school, you have the energy to work on your art, which can be equally exhausting.

      I hope that one day you pursue your dreams.

  36. Thanks for letting us into your whimsical world 🙂 I really love your art and the essence of it , it’s so full of life and full of “happy” 🙂

  37. Congratulations, Zeebra!

    I have nominated your blog for the WordPress Family Award.

    More about this award is at


  38. Sian Mann said:

    Your work is beautiful! So full of life, I love it! Glad I stumbled on your blog

  39. Now I get it, and I love it. I used to go to Playa del Carmen, MX a lot, and when I first saw your blog name it made me think of a convenience store in the town. I don’t know if any are actually named this, but I wondered if you had any connection to Playa. Very clever.

    • my good friends and i use the term so casually that we forget that most don’t understand when we say, ‘i’m going to playamart.. wanna go?’ or “i got this from playamart!’

      i’m glad you enjoyed the post!

  40. Lisa! I’ve noticed your most-colorful gravatar in my blog’s comments area, and now I know the talent behind it! Your work is so vibrant! THANKS for subscribing to my funny-caption photoblog, TheDailyGraff.com, and leaving a “like”! I hope I can bring you a smile (or at least a groan) every weekday.

    P.S. See what I make from the objects I get from Playmart: http://www.ohio.edu/people/robinsoj/recycled_art/

Thanks for your support and feedback!!! Z

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