Saturday, December 27, 2008

Starr Readers Book Drive Thrives Despite Failing Economy

From the LBBC -
"It never fails to amaze me how just one person can make a difference. For the past four years, Texas native, Karen Furlong, has been collecting and donating books to nine libraries in Rio Grande City public schools. The city is located along the TX-Mexico border and within Starr County, which is considered to have one of the hightest poverty levels in the country.

Despite this year's economic struggle, it looks like she may end up with a record number of donations and $5,000 worth of books to deliver. Karen delivers a diversity of books - classics, popular fiction, etc. - and this year she'll be buying more culturally oriented stories like Jonah Winter's Frida and Elena's Serenade by Campbell Geeslin.

If you would like to send some money, gift cards (a Barnes and Noble store that she works with will give her the books at discount), or actual books, you have until the 4th of January. Then the next day, she and her mamá, Evangeline Rodriguez Marino, will make their now traditional drive down to Starr County to deliver their gifts in time for Día de los Reyes. Please mail donations/ checks, made out to Starr Readers, to 3125 Damascus Way, Dallas, Texas, 75234.

Isn't that wonderful? So many of these children will be lucky to get any presents at all. If you'd like to read the whole article about the Starr Readers Book Drive, click here.

Perhaps, dear Readers, next Christmas, we can help out and have a little on-line book drive to send to Karen? I'm sure we all have many books that we could share with all the niños of Starr County."

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Feliz Navidad from Latin Baby and Mi Cielito Lindo

A little note to wish you all a wonderful Noche Buena and a very Feliz Navidad.
Mis niños are drunk on the excitement and the anticipation of all the goodies they think they will be getting. Already they have received so many gifts from family friends that I think I will have to take some of mine back. No child should have so many toys.
Friday morning will be spent going through "old" toys and filling the Goodwill box. A nice way to end the year by giving to those that are in need that which we do not. In fact, I will be combing through my closet and the coat closet as well, to dispense with our excess. How many of you are like me with sweaters/shirts/dresses/shoes sitting in your closet that are either too small (yes) or too big (no)? Or maybe there is an outfit that has nothing wrong with it, but is rarely worn?
I will post pictures next week, so that by promising to do so, I will be forced to carry out this plan rather than just talking about it.
I wonder, Amigas, would any of you care to join me? Let me know if you, too, will give generously and selflessly to those who have less this year. Send me a picture and I will post both it and your story.
With warmest holiday wishes from mi familia to yours,

Monday, December 22, 2008

Really, I don't need a job !

Hola y Felicidades Navideñas !

Monica has graciously invited me to join the wonderful mamitas that will be contributing to Cielito Lindo (ayy ayy ayy ayy, canta y no llores....) - sorry about the spontaneous singing.

My name is JoAnna Ordóñez. I grew up deep in South Texas and now live in the Texas Hill Country. Just about 4 years ago I decided to leave my engineering job and stay home with my family, we have been blessed with 4 children (ages 6 to 9 !) who are the light of my life. Vidriosa Glassworks has grown in many ways since I first began making glass pieces and today is a great success, and it affords me the luxury of staying home with my children. Life in our home can be very busy, but there is always time for play, travel and fun.

Really, I don't need a job !

In my business I meet so many people from many different walks of life. Art shows are a way of life for my family and I'm blessed with being able to share my story with my customers. It seems lately that every time a man who seems really interested in my work comes into my booth, they then call about 1 to 2 days later offering me a job. And not just any job, no sean mal pensadas !

A little background... In a former life, I was a Chemical Engineer and making very good money. But one day I woke up and what seemed like the perfect life, a house, a dog, 2 great cars and all the toys we could ask for, was just not my idea of what it was I really wanted out of life. Although I'd followed my parents plan of finishing school and getting a great job making lots of money, I really wanted to be a Mamí. My little sister, whose career is very important to her, gave me the whole "how could you do this to women" speech, but there was a real yearning in my heart to have little ones running around the house.

My husband of 18 years and I decided it was time to start trying for those babies and after a long run of fertility treatments we were just not able to conceive. It was by the grace of Diosito that we were able to adopt a beautiful little girl of 18 months. And then 2 years later we were blessed with 3 hermanitos. Our adoption story is a great one filled with the ups and downs and blessings that only could have come about through divine inspiration.

Fast forward to this last fall and my many art shows... It seems that every man that has come into my booth and looked interested in my product has something to offer.

From Xango to Pampered Chef, to Nona-V, Airbonne and Tupperware, there is always an offer of a way for me as a stay at home mommy and as a great sales person to make some extra income.

If they only knew, that I thoroughly enjoy being at home with my children and not having the stress of a 9 to 5 job. If they knew that Vidriosa is doing wonderfully thanks to the following and relationships I've been able to create with my customers, that to date we have over 45 wholesale accounts and counting. And, If they only knew that 25 of the 24 hours in the day are filled with childrens activities, working on my glass and craft projects with the kids, being the Arts Writer for Insite Austin Magazine , being the creator and Director of Artejanos, volunteering for Meals on Wheels and our ACTS Community, playing Bunko with the ladies, and keeping the house in "semi" order, they would never even dream of offering me a job !

Thankfully Vidriosa has blessed me with more business than I can keep up with in a day and I really don't need a job !

I'd love to hear from you and your experiences with this "dilemma" and if you're doing this I applaud you, I just really don't have time for another job. You can find me online at Vidriosa Glassworks and on facebook and myspace too.

Many blessings to you and yours.

Feliz Navidad y Prospero Año Nuevo - I want to wish you a merry christmas, I want to wish you a merry christmas, I want to wish you a merry christmas from the bottom of my heeearrrrt !

~* My children are singing too ! *~


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Mi Cielito Lindo is Growing!

As I have mentioned already, things are totally crazy for me. Latin Baby is growing and new projects (such as the Book Club and the Latino Family Gift Guide) are constantly cropping up. It is getting harder and harder for me to keep up with all the blogs, so I have invited some other talented Latina mamis from around the country to help Mi Cielito continue to grow.

The goal of this blog has always been to write about issues affeting Latina moms. My comadres bring a diversity to the blog that I am eager to have and will be writing about everything from art projects with the kids to health issues, fashion to the challenges of single parenting.

I hope you will welcome them with open arms and the warmth that makes us Latin mamas. I wasn't going to have them start until after the first of the year, but some are ready and willing to begin immediately with ideas for Navidad.

Welcome, Amigas!

Friday, December 19, 2008

A New Blog on the Block

There is a new mami blog on the web that you should be aware of. Carla Molina Martins the blogera behind Mama Hearts Baby has recently signed on with to be their official Latina mami. Their new blog, The Mami Diaries, are a fun (sometimes hilarious) take on issues that Latina moms face. Frequently featuring her baby girl, Dessa, Carla infuses her posts with humor, insight and helpful information.
I already call her the Super Mami because she has a hand on the pulse of the internet - MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, two blogs - while juggling a 16 month old AND pregnant with bebé number 2. And I think she's got a day job, too - don't you, Carla?
Anyway, her most recent Diaries post features Latin Baby and several other great businesses with product discounts for readers.
You can check out The Mami Diaries here.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Angelito Ornaments

This week has been a busy one at our casa, just as it probably is at yours. My oldest finished off her preschool week with a Christmas performance that I gleefully video taped. Of course, every breathing moment leading up to that was pure, frantic chaos. She worked hard to memorize the Christmas poem she had to stand up and recite, while I fretted over what she should wear and how to arrange her hair. My eyes were bloodshot from staying up WAY too late trying to finish making the felt angelito ornaments that I made for each of her teachers (there are four.) I was more or less happy with the finished pieces and have decided to make more for us and others as Christmas gifts. Here's a picture of what they looked like before I put them in their individual gift bags.

Now the Christmas break is here, so it is a good thing I finished shopping for the kids because between now and Christmas, I will not get to enjoy a single moment without one of them in tow. It is fine, though, provided I schedule my time wisely. For instance, I still have a few more presents to get, but shopping times will have to be planned for the early mornings as afternoons equal naptime and without naptime, shopping is hell. Actually, it is not that bad if you enjoy a crying, frothing, screaming two year old who wants to have everything in the store while the four year old keeps crawling out of the cart in a mad attempt to touch everything she sees in Tar-jay.
Morning shopping equals two docile little lambs who sweetly ask if we can get this toy or that toy, and barely blink an eye when I say "maybe" or "put it on your Christmas list." Much less stressful. I wonder about you, dear readers. Do you shop alone or with kids? or with kids and an adult backup?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Gift Sets for Abuelitas

One more shameless plug for Latin Baby...for those of you wondering what to buy Abuelita this Christmas, be sure to check out LB's gift sets. The one pictured here comes complete with a "#1 Abuelita" tee (available in azul or lavendar, sizes S-XL), an "Abuelita" pendant made of dichroic glass, and a pack of 5 handmade "Dichos de mi Abuelita" notecards using loteria images. All these are carefully packaged inside a vibrant day bag that is perfect for trips to see her grandkids.

For more information, check out the Latin Baby boutique here.

Or, if you prefer, a gift certificate to the store also makes a great regalito for mamás y abuelitas and is available for as little as $20.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Latino Book and Family Festival

I never seem to be at the right place at the right time to catch the Latino Book and Family Festival (though I am often at the right place at the wrong time!) But maybe if you are in the Houston area this coming weekend, December 13 & 14, you could catch the festival at the George R. Brown Convention Center. Originally scheduled for October, the festival had to be rescheduled due to Hurricane Ike.

Co-hosted by Nuestra Palabra: Latinos Writers Having Their Say, the Latino Book and Family Festival is the largest book fair in Texas, and the fastest growing book fair in the country. Over 30 Latino authors will be in attendance, many of whom will be leading workshops, including America’s first best-selling Mexican American author Victor Villaseñor, the author of Rain of Gold, Burro Genius and Thirteen Senses as well as Gustavo Arelleno, who pens the nationally syndicated column Ask A Mexican, and Stephanie Griest Elizondo, author of 100 Places Every Woman Should Go.

The festival itself is a weekend event that promotes literacy, culture and education in a fun environment for the whole family. I have wanted to attend the book fair for ages, so if any of you go, I hope you will tell me how much fun you have!

Admission is free.

For more information, click here.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Las Posadas: Remembering Childhood Traditions

Sometimes it is very hard being so far away from familia. And the holidays are often the hardest. I think back about all the great times I had as a child during this time of year, and I wish so much that my own children could experience the same things.

For instance, the tradition of las posadas.

Growing up, this was one of my favorite holiday celebrations. More often than not, we participated in several each year before Christmas. Sometimes la posada was hosted by a community center or park, but most of the time a group of amigos took turns hosting it at their homes. I remember the pride each couple took in having one at their house. Rooms were meticulously cleaned, pictures of children and grandchildren were lovingly dusted, decorations were carefully arranged with special attention given to the tiny (and some not so tiny) nativity scenes. The homes were warm with love and laughter - especially the kitchens. ¡Ay! The aromas wafting from each one were a sensual delight - tamales, champurrado, chocolate caliente, buñuelos, and on and on...

I can remember usually being in the group that forms outside asking for shelter/lodging. Bundled up against the chilly nights with a tiny white candle in one hand and a piece of paper with song lyrics in the other, we would sing our little hearts out, steam from our breaths rising like the notes into the black, frosty sky above.

Occasionally I got lucky and was chosen to be one of the people who carry los peregrinos (the statues of Mary and Joseph) in the procession. Such an honor, but I always felt a little guilty because I never could memorize the words to the songs so I had to lipsync and hope nobody caught on.

The best part though, of course being when the "inn keepers" finally granted us permission to enter and everyone began joyfully singing,

"Entren, Santos Peregrinos,
reciban este rincón,
que aunque es pobre la morada,
os la doy de corazón."

If you'd like a good description on the history and current celebration of Las Posadas tradition, you can check out Wikipedia or Mexico Connect or even CinnamonHearts

For the complete song lyrics, click here (includes a link to a printable score.)

Now, if you are getting ready to host una posada, and are planning your menu for the night, why not check out these recipes for tamales de chocolate y canela (shown above) or cinnamon chocolate coffee, or maybe this one for warm apple empanadas. Mmmmm, delicioso!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Abuelitas Deserve a Lot of Love

Mi mamá leaves us tomorrow after 10 days of shopping, merriment and planning. I've spent almost all the money I had saved up for the holidays, and at least have my kids' presents taken care of and my office space better organized. I'll truly miss all the help she gives me with mis niños - feeding them breakfast, reading them to sleep, changing diapers, and so much more. Does she let them watch too much television when I'm not looking? Absolutely. But she also showers them with kisses and hugs and buys them (and me) the things that we need and I can't afford.

This afternoon was the best gift - a much needed nap for me! I've been fighting a sinus infection for almost 3 weeks now and it seems to be getting the better of me. The nap was such a blessing.

And, of course, let's not forget the night off I got to actually go somewhere without a child in tow! The movie, Australia, was magnifico! I'm not a big fan of Nicole Kidman, but she did a great acting job. And now I can see what all the fuss is about Hugh Jackman! Man alive, let me just say, Sisters, it's a good thing for him that I'm married or he'd be in trouble! I think my hubby had to shut my mouth for me during the scene where Jackman is soaping up his magnifico torso. Ay, dios mio. I really owe my mami something special this Christmas!

So the point of all this is...have you got someone special in your life who helps you with the little things? Maybe it's your mami, or your tia, or your sister, or your best friend. Despite this holiday's economic crunch, why not do something really special to show your appreciation? Give them something you made yourself, or bought just for them. Make them their favorite meal, knit them a scarf with your own hands, get them the softest pajamas you can find. But remember - don't forget the card! And take the time to write down how much they mean to you.

Thank you, Mami.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Día de Gracias Sale

Just a quick note to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you have spent the day eating and visiting with amigos y familia. I have been enjoying a week with mi mamá - shopping, eating, shopping, eating and a little more shopping! Tomorrow night I even get to go on an actual date with my hubby to a movie of my choice --- AUSTRALIA!

And speaking of shopping, don't forget that Latin Baby is having our annual Día de Gracias Sale with dramatic price reductions on products throughout our store. But we only do this once a year and the sale ends this Sunday, so get it while it's cheap, People!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Rewards for Toddlers

Okay, so as promised, I am posting an example of our little "reward list" to accompany the "chores list" that I mention in the previous post.

To figure out what to put on the list, sit down with your child and think of fun rewards together. You might be surprised at what your child comes up with - I certainly was! First thing out of her mouth was "hugs and kisses." Wow.

Anyway, try to think of east things that you may enjoy doing together (i.e., baking a cake, making cookies, watching a movie, playing a board game) as well as extra special treats like a trip to the museum, movie theater, or bowling.

My daughter gets one point for every chore she does. Our chore list has expanded since my last post and she now has 16 different chores to choose from plus two extra categories represented by a star and a smiley face that are reserved for those moments when she accomplishes something important or worthy that is not listed on the page.

I divided her rewards up into three sections: For 0 to 14 points she can get "hugs & kisses/abrazos y besitos" or a "heart (valentine)/corazoncito." 15 to 49 points gets her one of the following: rent a movie, a surprise gift, help mami bake a cake/brownies/cookies, or a new book. And finally, for the incredibly helpful child who racks up 50+ points, she gets to go to a movie or bowling. So get creative and list some really fun things that your child enjoys. But try to limit food related rewards and definitely stay away from candy to avoid repeated requests in the future and unhealthy associations.

To help with bilingual education, I listed all of the rewards in both English and Spanish.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Serenity Now...

So this afternoon was a rough one at home. When picking up my eldest child at school, I was met by the teacher who told me that the morning had not gone well. In a nutshell, my child did not behave today. She was inattentive, rough-housing and not following directions. I thought I would die from the vergüenza. I mean, I knew other kids behaved this way, but not my kid. The final straw was when I asked my daughter on the way home if she had sat in the "thinking chair" (which has never happened before) and she held up two fingers and said, "but only two times!"

She knew she was in trouble.

Later, - much, much later - after I was able to calm down and think about the situation, I realized that things are not as bad as they seem. How often have I read the blogs of mis amigas describing similar behavior breakdowns in their kids? And it occurred to me that it is not too late and my daughter is not on the road to self-destruction with a straw/spoon/fork (or whatever they use nowadays) up her nose wearing black nail polish, chains and leather, screaming "It’s all your fault! Why didn’t you color with me?"

I was able to assess the situation in a more rational way by the afternoon and realized that a) she had gone to bed WAY too late the night before (9 pm is ususal curfew, but I could still hear her up in her room at 10:30) and had skimped on breakfast (usually oatmeal, yogurt and a full glass of milk or OJ, but this morning she had barely finished the oatmeal.) In addition, I am generally somewhat of an anti-TV mom. I think it is unhealthy and inhibits mental growth. But for a number of reasons that I won’t mention here (but basically equal laziness on my part and letting myself get too disorganized in the way I schedule my family time and my work time,) there has been a little too much television watching in this household.

No, I am not making excuses. I am just trying to understand what is going on.

SO, needless to say, I have made un cambio grande in the house. Disciplining la niña includes absolutely no tv for the rest of the week, and even then, only one show in the evening (I’m a sucker for Word Girl) and ONLY if she earns it back. In addition, I am throwing the breaks on the whole daily routine (or lack thereof) and reorganizing our schedules. Being a work from home mom sort of sucks every once in a while because it is such a big balancing routine and if you’re not careful, one thing suddenly starts to shift and then it’s all plftht!

Another change we made this afternoon, was creating and implementing a "Chore Chart." To give her more responsibility and help her focus on following direction. So for those of you with 2 to 6 year olds, I thought I would share ours and maybe give you some ideas of things to list should you decide to create a chart of your own.

Ours lists the normal things like clean your room, make your bed, brush your teeth, set the table, etc. But it also lists a few unique to us, but I think are equally possible like, help mami sort the laundry, put away your clean clothes, clean toys off the stairs, sweep the kitchen, pick up pinecones, feed the chickens/puppy, help carry in the groceries, pick up daddy's dirty calcetines off the living room floor (ewww).... The possibilities are endless once you think of all the things our little "helpers" already try to help us do everyday.

Make the chart fun by adding little pictures next to each chore. Maybe you can make it bilingual to help their Spanish skills (hacer la cama, barrer la cocina, recoger las piñas, etc) And keep a special set of stickers to mark each box and keep track of their achievements. We also personalized ours by having my daughter write her name across the top.

I hope you all find this helpful! Mi niña is already excited about it and was extremely helpful this afternoon and evening. She even made her bed before she put on her pajamas.

Next post will discuss rewards….

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Spanish Baby Shower Decorations

I have so many people coming to my web sites looking for information on how to throw a Latin baby shower - from phrasing the invitations, to games to play, food to serve, and how to decorate. Latin Baby has set up several informative web pages on this topic at the Latin Baby web site and also on Squidoo. But I am always keeping a careful eye out for new products or ways to celebrate this special occasion.

I was delighted to find ¡Ay Mujer!s shop which features a number of papel picado designs for decoration. There are a few businesses out there doing papel picado, but Ay Mujer stands out because they will do custom picados for a reasonable price AND because if you are looking for something quick, they already have a baby shower themed set ready to go. Or, if you are looking for something different and beautiful, they have other designs to suit any number of occasions (wedding, anniversary, birthday, etc.)

Yreina and Elsa Flores, "two sisters living deep in the California desert," are the artists behind the company. Their shop offers other products besides the papel picado, including jewelry, art and traditional, beaded moccassins. The moccassins are maravillosos! I just am so impressed by their artistic talent.
To order your set of papel picado, check out their shop here.

Monday, November 10, 2008

My Pink Turtle Studio Transforms Perceptions of Frida

There are few things I like better than discovering a new artist. I love gazing at beautiful art, and marveling at the talent it takes to create such fine pieces of work. One of the best things, though, is being able to share my "discoveries" with you.
Allow me to introduce Lulu of My Pink Turtle Studio. I recently stumbled upon her store and immediately me quedé enamorada with her folk art paintings and collages. I wanted to buy a dozen different prints and decorate my daughter’s (and maybe my own?) bedroom. I am having a tough time choosing, but hope to pick out a few as Christmas presents.
Lulu lives in Canada (Southern Quebec to be exact), but she loves all things Mexican and has traveled throughout Mexico where she has fallen in love with "la gente, el arte, la comida, todo!" And Frida.
Seriously, Amigas, who knew that Frida Kahlo would influence so MANY people? All my life I have grown up thinking of her as such a tragic figure – suffering, bitter and tormented. Now, however, this image is slowly being changed by artists (like Lulu) who are portraying her as beautiful, peaceful and even childlike.
I had a tough time picking out a single picture to post here, so I just tried very hard to narrow it down to two. But I encourage you to visit her store to see the many other pieces that she has for sale at a very reasonable price. In fact, for the entire month of November, Lulu has a sale going on to celebrate her new shop and for every two prints that you buy, you can get the 3rd free!
Don’t like Frida? No problema! She has many other subjects including fairies, princesses, angels, etc. Some are blonde, some are brunette, some have Spanish words on the painting, and some have French - a lovely variety of subjects to suit your needs. On top of selling at Etsy and Ebay, Lulu says that she also does commissioned paintings and will be more than happy to do a painting following the size and subject specifications of particular clients.
And for those of you interested in a little more, like I am, Lulu also has the most delightful blog which you can visit here.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Latino Holiday Gift Guide is Finally Here!

Can you believe it? The holiday season is just around the corner! While pondering what in the world I was going to do this year, I decided that I was going to try and make a few things for friends and family this year. But despite my good intentions, I am sure I will run out of time for some. And there are some people on my list that just don't fit into the "hand-made" category.

SO for all you busy mamis who are in the same boat, I am so THRILLED to announce that the first annual Latin Baby Holiday Gift Guide for Latino Families is now on-line! I've worked hard to find you some great products that are "Latino friendly." Most are from Latina-owned businesses, but all these products should appeal to Hispanic families. I hope all of you will take the time to check out the guide and visit the stores that are represented. Help support these small businesses by purchasing their original gifts that are not manufactured on a massive, commercial scale. There is certainly something for everyone on your list!

With warmest wishes a todos,

Thursday, November 6, 2008


¡Híjole! What a hectic month. Finally, though, the light at the end of the tunnel is here. You all know that I have been working on a little project for the holiday shopping season. With great relief I can now say that it is more or less complete. I will have a nice announcement for you all within a few days.

So I apologize that the posts have been a little scarce lately. It is hard juggling three blogs, a business, two websites (three if you include etsy), a puppy, too many chickens to count, 2 donkeys, a cow, a mule, two kids, a husband, and a new (old) house with a variety of "fix-it" jobs. It took me four months just to peel the wallpaper in the hallway, only to have my husband say "maybe we should tear out that wall and make the bedroom bigger." I wisely kept my mouth shut for fear of the expletives that were lurking inside.

Don't get me wrong. I absolutely LOVE our new house. It is just suffering a bit of neglect. Or maybe I should say "we" are suffering it's neglect. Since moving in we've had to fix the washing machine drain line, fix the oven, fix the central heat, and replace the septic line. That's just for starters. Thank goodness my hubby is a jack-of-all-trades because I shudder to think of the expense all this would be if we had to actually pay for labor as well as supplies.

And let me tell ya, sisters, NOTHING spells stress like a toilet that won't flush and house of 3 and a half people (I say half, because my youngest is just starting potty training.) Especially when company is coming to stay.

Today was unusually warm, so to celebrate my freedom from the computer, I spent the afternoon outside with my family making a new flower bed. Created just for the hummingbirds and butterflies that will swarm our house next year, we planted several salvias and asters next to a beautiful flowering camelia, with plenty of room left over for more avian friendly plants. We even set up a nice heavy duty metal bird feeder on a post and filled it with black sunflower seeds - every little birdie's favorite type of feed because it is so high in fat. Perfect for the cold winter months.

Anyway, dear Amigas, hopefully I will be back on track now and able to post with a little more regularity. I have several artists whose work I have stumbled upon and fallen in love with, so during the next few weeks I hope to share them with you.
With warmest wishes to all,

Monday, November 3, 2008

Last Call!

Just a quick note to say this is the last call for submissions to the Latino Family's Holiday Gift Guide. You may still list products after we go live, but the introductory rate will no longer be available. For details, please visit the Latin Baby website here.
I can't wait for all of you to see the guide! We have a lot of great gift ideas listed by a wide variety of businesses. And Latin Baby will be listing a new item to our Navidad Collection. We'll let you know soon!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sugar Skull Mania...

One last giant post to celebrate Day of the Dead! As predicted, sugar skulls are everywhere. And as I sit here typing this post having to blow my nose every two sentences thanks to the first cold of the season, I am wishing that my head was a sugar skull so that my sinuses would be non-existent. Oh, well.

Here are some fabuloso finds to end this fun season...

First, check out this beautiful flower and sugar skull headband by Liz Miera embroidery. Isn't it bright, bold and beautiful? The perfect accessory to wear to that Día de los Muertos party, no?

And for all you crafty chicas out there, why not pick up a Tuck & Roll Organizer from Coyote Craft for all those crochet and knitting needles you have scattered everywhere? Not into the skulls? No worries, she has many other vibrant styles to choose from.

For the computer nerd, take a look at this sugar skull mouse pad by Vista Latina. Can you imagine what you co-workers would say if they saw this on your desk? Consider it a great opportunity to teach non-Latinos about Día de los Muertos.

Or maybe you are looking for some home decor? Or a little addition to your DOD altar? Well, how about one of these beautiful wallhangings by Carmela Jay? She has a ton of decorative sugar skulls. All of them so equally beautiful that it was hard for me to pick just one.

For those of you looking to add a little splash to your wardrobe, The Blue House has several sugar skull purses/totes with bamboo handles. This bag is also available in black, fuschia and red, but this beautiful tourquoise is my favorite.

For babies, check out these adorable Día de los Muertos bibs. Custom made to order by Stinky Monkey 4 Eva. I really like the colored bibs.

QueJimenez has several of these adult ladies' T-shirts available in various colors. Sizes small and medium are listed on her site, but I'm sure you can contact her directly to order a larger size if need be. The skulls are appliquéd to the front of the long-sleeve tee.

Or what about these awesome mosaic tiles? Garden Candy is offering 36 square porcelain tiles with one larger center tile. Perfect for scrapbooking, jewelry, and other art.

And finally, I'll end this post with my FAVORITE find from Scary Merry. Aren't these pairs of knitting needles the best? Unfortunately, I don't know how to knit! But they'd be worth it just for decoration don't you think? Or if you know someone who does knit, I think they would make a great Christmas present. I couldn't decide which one I liked better, so I included them both here.

Happy Halloween a todos!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Dia de los Muertos Activities and OOAK Products

Everywhere I look I am running into products and activities for celebrating Día de los Muertos. Companies all over the country are jumping on the bandwagon to cater to Latinos who are celebrating this holiday, and it is pretty neat to see how popular the traditions associated with Day of the Dead have become. has a whole website dedicated to Día and one of the best areas is the Teacher/Parent Education Packet that they have put together. The 31 page packet includes a puzzle and word search, 4 coloring pages, and bibliography, as well as papel picado, mask and puppet projects for children. The original artwork is fantastico and created by Patrick Murillo (husband of the below mentioned Crafty Chica.) You can download the packet here.
In fact, Murillo's work is so appealing, that one of my favorite bloggers and etsy store owners, Claudia Marchán, hand-stitched one of his designs onto a little onesie that is now for sale in her shop. Isn't it adorable? Claudia's superb skill perfectly captures Murillo's illustration.

Under the Spanglish name of "Stichado," Claudia also has a hand-embroidered woman's T-shirt for sale that features José Guadalupe Posada's famous zinc etching, La Catrina. Check out the wonderful detail she has put into the stitched design!
You can find these and more of Stichado products here.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Are You Having a Crafty Chicaween?

I am a compulsive crafter. I think many Latinas are. We can't really help it - the urge to create colorful works of art is simply overwhelming. Like the twitching of our hips when we hear a good Latin beat (Samba, Mambo, you fill in the blank.)
I mean, in the last two weeks alone, I have made 4 scarecrows with my kids, painted a small and neglected (but hermosa!) table, put together a fall door wreath, started two small quilted wall hangings, worked on a felt table topper (for said mesita,) and fashioned a "Thanksgiving" tree with some branches, a rubber band, construction paper, ribbon and a pot. The tree was placed on the (surprise!) renovated little table.

My point is, I can't stop. I have totes and totes and more totes full of plaster of paris, ribbon, yarn, fabric, glues of every shape and size, glitter, beads... the list is endless. My husband constantly complains about all the "junk" upstairs in my sewing room (to which I respond with more complaints about all the "junk" in his tool shed out back.)

Anyway, all this explains the ecstasy I felt when the Artsy Majesty herself, Kathy Cano-Murillo, came out with her own line of Duncan craft projects - now available at Michaels (select stores only!) If you are one of the unfortunate ones living near one that doesn't - no te preocupes! Most, if not all, are available from

To add to the madness, if you are unsure what you can create with all the wonderful new art supplies now in your possession, Kathy has a whole page dedicated to Crafty Chicaween projects. (Don't worry, you can even make these without the official Crafty Chica paraphernalia.) From beehive wigs to shadow boxes, pumpkin-carving stencils to hot glue masks, you can find a full set of instructions on her website here.

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