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DIY Día de los Muertos

Posted by on Oct 13, 2017 in Craft | 0 comments

Decorating sugar skulls at CraftHack this time last year prompted me to learn more about Día de los Muertos and the handmade elements of this tradition.

“Day of the Dead, or Día de los muertos, is a time for commemorating the dead, celebrating with family— both living and dead—and appreciating the cycle of life and death.”

– National Museum of the American Indian

San Xavier shrine

When you lose someone you love, they don’t stop being part of your life. They remain in your heart and your memories. There’s something beautiful about recognizing and honoring this presence.

Día de los muertos ofrenda

La Ofrenda / Altar

One way to do this is by making a small altar (ofrenda) for the October 31 – November 2 celebration.

“Making a Day of the Dead Altar is about memories and traditions and the most important part is that you enjoy the process …  add [your] own special touches … add the four elements, water, wind, earth and fire in some way, the picture of your beloved one, food, flowers and candles.”

Elba Valverde

 

Marigold crown

The ofrenda can take many forms. Crafty Chica Kathy Cano-Murillo has even made them inside foam pumpkins!

Sugar skull from CraftHack

Calaveras / Skulls

“The calavera is an important symbol in Mexican culture, representing ancestors and the celebration of the continuity of life through generations.”

Kathy Cano-Murillo

 

Plaster paris skulls by Crafty Chica

Sugar skull project inspiration:

Colorful sugar skulls are probably the most iconic element in Day of the Dead celebrations, and they take many forms in art and craft.

2 Sugar skulls at CraftHack
Sugar skull project at CraftHack

Decorated candyFor CraftHack, Shanlyn made the candy skulls ahead of time in molds she had at home. Then we decorated them with frosting, sprinkles, and sanding sugar. The skulls she made were the mostly straight-up sugar kind, but some people make them from white chocolate instead.

Tip: You can also use sugar skull molds with plaster of Paris!

Embroidery pattern – Berene Campbell (Happy Sew Lucky) created this cute pattern with a sugar skull and scissors.

Sugar Skull printable via Live Colorful

Cupcake toppers – Free printable at Live Colorful!

Skull necklace by Vesna Taneva-Miller

Necklace – After Vesna Taneva-Miller visited Mexico City, she was inspired to create this Día de los Muertos necklace from a necklace chain, beads, and sari silk.

Tip: If you don’t have a skull bead on hand, you can make your own with polymer clay!

Skull coloring page

Coloring pages to print off or color online.

Day of the Dead planters

Day of the Dead Planters – Regina Lord painted terra cotta pots to look like sugar skulls and then planted succulents in them. The tutorial is at Creative Kismet.

 

A post shared by Berene (@happysewlucky) on

 

Quilt – Berene Campbell also made this awesome Sugar Skull Quilt using a variety of techniques (piecing, appliqué, reverse appliqué, stuffed hand appliqué, etc.)!

 

 

Papel picado at pasquals Santa fe

Papel Picado / Punched Paper

“Delicately decorated tissue paper represents wind and the fragility of life.”

– Karen Castillo Farfán

Papel picado

Colorful papel picado banners 3 ways:

1. Folded tissue paper method

Tip: Sketch your own design or use a printable template.

 

Papel picado by Live Colorful
2. Papel picado shortcut

 

Mini papel picado by Tikkido

3. Miniature papel picado

 

 

Marigolds

Flowers

“The ofrenda (the altar), traditionally includes the yellow marigolds (cempasuchitl) the sweet scent that leads the departed home toward their altar…”

– Vianney Rodriguez

Marigold crown

1. Marigold Crown

 

Paper flowers via Made Everyday

2. Paper (napkin) flowers

 

Mini tissue paper flowers by Tikkido

3. Mini Tissue Paper Flowers

 

Marigold margarita

4. Marigold Margarita

 

 

What traditions are meaningful to you as you remember your loved ones?


– More Día de los Muertos Projects + Resources –

 

Ofrenda




Photos via:

1 + 2. Me

La Ofrenda–
3. Elba Valverde
4. Kathy Cano-Murillo

Calaveras–
5, 7, 8. Me
6. Kathy Cano-Murillo
9 + 14. Berene Campbell
10. Elba Valverde
11. Vesna Taneva-Miller
12. Emily Mathews. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License.
13. Regina Lord

Papel picado–
15. Me.
16. Crafty Lady Abby
17. Elba Valverde
18. Nikki Wills

Flowers–
19. Tom of View from Another Angle
20. Nicole Valentine Don
21. Dana Willard
22. Nikki Wills
23. Vianney Rodriguez
24. Reign Trading Company

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The Southwest’s Indigenous Food and Films

Posted by on Oct 9, 2017 in Craft, Travel | 2 comments

I don’t think I’ve shared this video of a cooking demonstration from Agave Heritage Festival in Tucson here yet.

It seemed fitting to post this on Indigenous People’s Day (which I’m glad is gaining traction over Columbus Day!), since the recipe includes several local ingredients originally used by the Native American tribes in this area.

Also, unrelated to the video, we went to an IPD screening of two documentaries by Diné (Navajo) filmmakers at the Heard Museum yesterday. Both films were really great!

Heard Museum

You may get a chance to see them too, since they’re traveling around on a Navajo Films Documentary Tour starting in November, and one of the films, The Mayors of Shiprock, will air on the World Channel November 6.

Heard Museum

If I can track down tour dates, I’ll put them on the next Happenings List.

 




 

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Crafts You Carry

Posted by on Aug 21, 2017 in Craft | 6 comments

Watercolor

Anytime you see me, there’s a good chance I have my watercolor kit with me. It’s also not unusual to have a roll or two of washi tape in my bag and/or a few ultra fine tip Sharpies. Maybe a partly finished scrapbook. You never know when you might need to craft on a moment’s notice!

travel-scrapbook

My friend Anne always has knitting with her. It has its own little bag. If she has to wait for someone or is in a conference session, she’s working on a scarf or a sweater or hat. Unlike my watercolors, she can knit without looking at her project much, so it’s particularly good for things like sitting in Phoenix Comicon panels.

paper-bag-scrapbook-supplies-ed

Do you carry craft supplies or projects with you? What’s in your bag?




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Book Page Garland for a Graduation Party

Posted by on Jul 27, 2017 in Craft | 0 comments

Book page garland

Phillip finished grad school, after seven years of working full time and taking classes part-time. So we needed to have a party.

Graduation cap

We ended up reserving space in a restaurant near where the commencement ceremony was, so friends and family could just go there directly afterward. I wanted to add some festive touches but knew I’d have little to no time to decorate before people got there. (It turned out to be the latter.)

I kept it super simple with a few school-themed items that I could set up in a flash – all using things I had on hand.

Book page garland

How I made the book page pennants:

1. Ripped out several pages of a ridiculous conspiracy theory novel that I had picked up from free bin outside Changing Hands. (I mean, I’m not going to cut up a good book!)

Book page garland

Book page garland

2. Found the center of the page by folding it in half, only creasing the very bottom of it and making a mark. You could also actually measure and/or use a template if you’re into precision.Book page garland

3. Made a cut from the top right corner of the page to my center mark. Then repeated from the top left.

What I wish I would’ve done: cut from the top right and left margins of the page instead, so that the text would run all the way to the edge.

Book page garland

4. Punched a couple holes near the top of each pennant.

Then I just threaded some bakers’ twine through the holes and added the tassels.

Book page garland - tassel

Tassels

In keeping with the graduation theme, I made paper tassels for each end of the garland, loosely based on instructions I found on A Subtle Revelry.

Here’s how I adapted the project:

  1. Cut about 4 thin strips of paper. (These don’t need to be the same width – or even cut straight.)
  2. Folded over 3 of the strips, leaving a loop at the top. I made mine with a smaller loop and longer “tails” than the ones in the tassel tutorial, because I wanted the proportions more like the tassel on a graduation cap.
  3. Fanned out the strips just a bit.
  4. Stapled them in place.
  5. Covered the staple by winding that last paper strip around the tassel and securing it with double stick tape.
  6. Added a tassel to each side of the garland by threading the baker’s twine through the top loop.

Book page craft

What Didn’t Work…

Watercolor

I thought about adding some color with watercolors. However, my test pages totally curled up, even when I used the smallest amount of water possible or painted just part of the page.

Book page garland

The Pages

Another thing that could’ve been cool was using a book or notes from Phillip’s classes. But he didn’t have anything like that around – at least nothing that he was willing to sacrifice to the craft gods.

So I went with the conspiracy book, because I liked the page size.

I tried to make sure there wasn’t any murder on the pages I used, but it was hard to avoid. And there were still black helicopters and government officials typing things out on Blackberries – not very festive or on theme.

Book page garland at grad party

I hoped people would see it as decor and not try to read it.

No such luck.

One family member said they had been trying to figure out if the pages had some significance or clues. (Nope.) Another one asked me what the garland spelled. (Nothing.) It took me awhile to convince her that what she thought were large letters were actually backwards chapter numbers showing through some of the backlit pages.

I obviously should have come up with more for people to do.

image

What Worked (Mostly): The Decoration Bag

I loaded up a large ziploc bag with everything I (or whoever) would need to set up the decorations at the restaurant:

  • Chalkboard sign with “Phillip’s grad party!” already written on it – with chalk markers, so it wouldn’t smear.
  • A jar for markers and pens that had a chalkboard label on the front. I wrote “Please sign the program” on it with a little arrow pointing down.
  • Chalk markers in case one of my signs needed a touch-up.
  • Regular markers and pens, so people could sign the commencement ceremony program like a yearbook. These were just regular kids’ markers you’d find in the back-to-school aisle.
  • A wooden ruler to hold the program open. (Also because it was cute and school-y.)
  • The garland, carefully folded and placed between things so it wouldn’t get crunched up.
  • Washi tape to hang the garland.
  • Scissors.
  • This Yoobi kit in case we required a tiny stapler or scotch tape for some reason.

I had hoped to hand the bag off to my parents, who were designated to get the party started, since I guessed (correcty) that Phillip and I wouldn’t be able to leave the place where the ceremony was and get over there right away. But they were so focused on their mission that they left before I could give them the Decoration Bag.

So I set things up halfway through the party. Less than ideal, but that’s life.

At least having everything in one bag meant I could get it done in record time. And at least the guests didn’t have to wait on the food.
Grad party garland

 

– More info on DIY party decor –

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Solstice Cookies and Solar Cooking

Posted by on Jun 27, 2017 in Craft | 2 comments

Solstice cookies

The forecast high in Phoenix for the longest day of the year was 120F (49C).

So it seemed like a great day to try baking outside.

Burton Barr Library

On the way home from the summer solstice celebration at Burton Barr Library last Tuesday, we picked up chocolate chip cookie dough. I chose that for my solar cooking experiment, because there’s no raw egg in it, and if it doesn’t cook all the way, you end up with doughy cookies – not a bad thing, in my opinion!

I scooped spoonfuls of cookie dough into a reflective aluminum roasting pan, covered the top with plastic wrap, sealed the sides with packing tape to trap the heat, and added a meat thermometer, so I could see how hot it actually got next to the cookies.

Solar baked cookies

I had intended to get an earlier start, but at 3:45pm, it was still 120 degrees out. So I decided to give it a go and set the pan in direct sun on our concrete patio.

The temperature inside the pan got as high as 160. The cookies began to look like they were melting, with the oil separating from the dough.

Baking cookies outside

Four hours later, the sun was low enough in the sky that the whole patio was in the shade. The dough had flattened out into cookie shapes that were somewhat solid but still pretty soft.

Solar baking

So we scooped vanilla frozen yogurt on top (à la pizookie), and it was delicious!

Apparently, a proper solar oven will bake faster, even if it’s not as hot out. But I would try my improvised “oven” again on a day when I could get an earlier start and give it a little more time in the sun.

Phoenix

– More info –

  • The package actually said not to eat the cookie dough raw. That didn’t stop me. But I thought you should know.
  • Many of the solar ovens I saw online have glass on top. If you decide to use plastic wrap like I did (because I didn’t have any glass panes just sitting around), try to get good cling wrap. I used the Target brand, and it was really annoying trying to get it tight across the top. (In the end, it was a wrinkly mess.)

Articles to check out…

Cookie dough

 




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Chalk Robots

Posted by on Jun 5, 2017 in Craft, Travel | 9 comments

There was a chalk drawing of a robot on the ground. No explanation. Just an arrow.

La Ru robot

So, of course, we followed it – and the next one and the next one – down the steps behind Pike Place Market in Seattle.

Pike Place Market

We tried to guess where they were leading. A street art project? A robot maker? Nowhere? The den of our new robot overlords?

One lead us to turn the corner, and then, “Is that it? Is it a baby store?!!”

Ugly Baby and La Ru, Seattle

Nope. A larger robot drawing pointed inside a store with a chalkboard sign that answered my question: “{Ugly Baby & La Ru} Handmade local art for grown-ups and practically nothing for actual babies.”

Ugly Baby and La Ru chalk art

It was a gift shop owned by two artists – Rosalie Gale (of Ugly baby) and Lauren Rudeck (a.k.a. “La Ru”), who was there in the store that day.

Artist La Ru

Ugly Baby and La Ru, Seattle

She creates illustrations of animals and robots, and seemed delighted to hear her chalk drawings had lead us in. The store was full of craft kits, cards, and mini works of art, and I wanted to buy everything.

Ugly Baby and La Ru, waterproof art

Ugly Baby and La Ru, Seattle

The entire store wouldn’t fit in my suitcase, but I did take home a really great sloth coffee mug.

Coffee sloth!




 

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