Monday, December 7, 2015

Tlalpujahua, a town that celebrates Christmas 365 days a year

If you are a Christmas fanatic like me I'm sure that you have already watched that movie where everyday is Christmas until the main character is finally able to celebrate it appropriately, although that sounds more like a nightmare than a gift, can you imagine in a more positive scenario being able to celebrate every single day as if it was December 25th?

Looking for directions?
This weekend I had the opportunity to visit Tlalpujahua, which is a small town located in the central region of Mexico, very close to the Monarch butterflies sanctuary; this beautiful place is most known because their primary industrial activity is the Bauble production, they spend the entire year working in the design and production of  baubles allowing us to have pretty ornaments to place over our Christmas Trees during the holidays, some sort of modern Santa's workshops.

Waiting for our Chilaquiles & Juice breakfast

We started this trip by making a stop at Quinta la Huerta, an old house that works as Hotel and restaurant, we had a huge breakfast to get the required energy to go walking up the hills to explore and look for the most beautiful decorations.

Cupcake baubles?

I was expecting to find the typical and classical baubles designs and colors so you can imagine my surprise when I found the most unexpected forms starting with some delicious cup cakes.

There were some in fruits shapes, some others resembling Hershey's kisses, candy canes, transparent baubles filled with a number of materials: branches, feathers, etc. and in a corner there was this little place that fabricates them in Batman, Spiderman, Minions, Hello Kitty and even Zombies vs. Plants forms.

Every year there is a Bauble Fair celebrated from October to Mid December, where all the local families expose their designs, you can find not only bauble's but also a number of glass-based ornaments, like Nochebuenas (poinsettias), air balloon figures, gigantic apples, among other zillion things,  and families get very competitive trying to have the best exposition of all, it's not rare to find that pictures are forbidden in certain stands as they want to avoid having someone copying their models.

Mexico's Santa Claus home

Close to the Fair you'll find the house of Santa Claus, and this magical place is like the dream of all little elves out there: Christmas carols can be heard in the background of this huge exposition of decorative objects with Christmas trees in different colors, baubles, advent calendars and any object that you can imagine in its festive version, from salt shakers and towels to small town houses and little trains.
Sorry for the blurry picture, we were like kids running from one room to the other

This was a one day visit  but it was enough to let us fall in love with the beautiful landscape,  huge trees, clear air, gentile people, good food and the feeling that the best time of the year is already here, it definitely is starting to look a lot like Christmas, my only regret, not taking more pictures!
Can you believe this is a not filtered picture?

Anyway, thanks for joining us in this virtual visit, now you should let me know in the comments section which bauble figure you would like the most and even consider to include on your tree.
P.S. Big thanks to my travel accomplices that took the challenge to go visiting everything in just a few hours (no heels allowed)

My beautiful travel accomplices!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

DIY: Coasters for the nostalgic, the music fan & the booze lover

Starting the series of quick DIY Christmas gifts to complete in an afternoon we have an all times classic: tile-based coasters.

Last year I did some coasters for my childhood girlfriends and I could tell that they were delighted by having a customized (and useful) gift, besides of the fact that we all have reached that point in our lives when we start worrying about not damaging our furniture (yes, that means young days are gone)

Today I'm sharing 3 simple recipes to create customized coasters for our loved ones that are either nostalgic, love a band/singer or simply those that find the meaning of happiness at the bottom of a bottle (hey, who are we to judge? not me considering that I used to watch The Kardashians therefore   I'll leave it to you to chose your own guilty pleasures)

Supplies needed for all versions:

-4*4 Tiles
-Mod Podge*
-Sand paper
-Clear lacquer
-Felt or Mounting tape (Scotch mounting tape is the easiest to find in stores)
*You can create your mod podge mixing 2 parts of glue with 1 part of water

Recipe 1) Nostalgic (for your mom/aunt/grandma/etc)

Additional supplies: Old pictures copies (you can always scan your old albums)

1) Print/Crop your pictures to a 4*4 inches size if you want them to cover the entire tile, or if you want them to have a Polaroid vibe I'd recommend them to be adjusted to 3*2 inches
2) Sand your tile until it's not smooth anymore (you'll feel how it turns porous)
3) Apply modge podge with a brush to the top of the tile and the back of the picture,  then place the picture over the tile
4) Apply 2 more coats of mod podge to the tile covering the picture and let it dry 
5) Turn it waterproof by applying a coat of clear lacquer
6) Once dry add little pieces of felt/ mounting tape to the back of the tile, this will avoid the tile to damage your table surface.

Repeat as required.
Can you believe those little angels are me & my big brother?

Recipe 2) Music Fan  (the easiest one)

Additional Supplies: Album covers/Illustrations

1) Print your favorite album cover or any illustration with the preferred band/singer in a 4*4 inches size
2) Follow steps 2-6 from Nostalgic coasters

Who is NOT a Beatles fan?

Recipe # 3) Booze lover's

Additional Supplies:
- Acrylic Paint
-Blue Painters Tape

1) Sand your tile to allow paint to easily adhere to the tile

2) Using the blue painter tape create a margin 

3) Paint your tile with your favorite color, 2 coats must be enough to completely cover it (you can sand your tile a little after it dries if you want it to have a "messy" look)

4) Print a design in your vinyl, I created some kind of "Booze table of elements" that includes Vodka, Whiskey, Gin, etc but you can print any beverage you prefer.

5) Place your vinyl over your painted tile pressing over until it gets glued.

6) Remove the painters tape and apply the clear lacquer

7) Once dry add little pieces of felt/ mounting tape to the back of the tile, this will avoid the tile to damage your table surface.

And voilá!, instant customized presents for your buddies.

 I love the 3 recipes and although I've received more requests of the Booze lovers version I think that my favorite is the music fan recipe MAYBE because those Beatles coasters were a gift from my boyfriend (insert love-eyed emoji here)

I will probably be doing some more nostalgic coasters for my mom, moms always love to see pictures of us when we were babies, probably because it reminds them how easy was to deal with us in those days hahaha.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this DIY I'd love to know which one you would prefer doing and which one you'd like to receive for Christmas, so please let your comments below.


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

2015 Holidays Deco inspiration: Whreaths, trees & Gift wraps

Since I was a little kid I remember loving the holiday season, we would play non stop Christmas Carols starting on my birthday (Nov 21st) until mid January, watching Home Alone over and over and we would be extremely excited about the decorations but the best part of all would be the "parties" that my sister and I would host in our bedroom, it was just the 3 of us: my little sister, me and a huge bag of candies that we would equally split, ahhhh, good times!

I'm a little older now and my health/ love handlers can't afford those sugar-filled parties anymore, but I still feel like a kid just to think of holiday season.

I've been daydreaming a lot about the decorations for this year, specially since I just move to a new house and have a new canvas to play around, but as we still have so many boxes to take care of  that are not allowing me to start putting stuff all around I decided to kick off the season with some beautiful/simple ideas that you can adapt or take as inspiration for your own decorations.

1) Wreaths 

I love special wreaths, below you can see 3 examples of original designs with unexpected materials:

1.1 The Colorful version: Citrus wreath (link)

Mmm this probably also have a very nice smell
Source: Better homes

1.2 Minimalist version:  Bells Wreath(link)

We are familiar with Bells as part of Christmas decorations but have you ever seen a wreath made of bells?
Source: Nordic House

1.3) Unexpected Version: Paper Wreath (link)

For those who enjoy using different (and challenging) materials

Source: Fall for DIY

2) Trees

Who doesn't love a big Christmas tree? I do, but it can also be fun to add some accents to the mix here are 3 proposals for small (and extremely cute) trees.

2.1) The Colorful version (link)

Who said that Christmas trees can not be red or pink?
Source: Anthropology

2.2) Minimalist version: Small fresh cut tree (link)

This cutie that can be placed anywhere from a coffee table to a bookcase or as in the picture over a shelf next to a framed image.
Source: Julie Blanner

2.3) Unexpected version: Newspaper Trees  (link)

What about colorful trees made of newspaper or post-its?

Source: Pinterest

3) Gift Wraps

We still have some time to finish our gifts list and run to the mall but in the meantime check this 3 proposals for gift wrapping that will make you not wanting to give them away:

3.1) Colorful proposal: embellished sacks (link)

These cuties are great for gifting food: cookies, chocolates, small jewelry, you name it.

Source: Celebrate Creativity

3.2) Minimalist version: Kraft paper and a branch (link)

It doesn't get any easier than this.

Source: Pinterest

3.3) Unexpected proposal: Hire some little helpers (link)

What about asking for some help to get your little presents delivered?
Source: Captain and the gipsy kid

In the coming weeks (and if we succeed at the new house unboxing project) I'll share some simple ideas of DIY small gifts that you can create in a couple of hours for the cool people that surround you that might have been naughty this year but still deserves something more than a piece of coal.

Thanks for stopping by, please let me know which of the ideas above was your favorite


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Stop and smell the succulents?

When life urges us to slow down.

If you have been following this blog (and I hope you have) you probably noticed that last week there was not post.

It wasn't laziness or procrastination, that day in the morning I was hit when I was driving to a trailer, yes, a huge truck carrying merchandise hit the rear of my car and even when I've been thinking over and over about it, there was simply no way that I could have avoided this (maybe staying at home?)

Anyway, this is not intended to start a pitty party, I'm fine, just had to go to the doctor, wear an orthopedic cervical collar for some days, being taking some (really strong) medicine and my worst nightmare: getting some rest!

It's interesting the lessons that you can learn from a situation like this:

1) I'll be fine, just not today

Because of the discrete thing I was wearing over my neck there was no way I could hide this accident, and it's really nice that people care and want to get all details, however imagine how many people has asked the exact same questions.

Other thing that can get annoying: people telling you it could be worst, that is true, but it also could be better, so there is no real comfort on hearing that, you know what is even better? Offer your help.
My friends at the office offered to drive me to places, carry my purse, even recommended real cool Netflix shows, and as my bed is my new best friend those recommendations were very useful and I feel really grateful for their love and support, no words but actions instead.  

2) Taking health for granted

Right, is so easy to assume that living a healthy life gives some guarantee to avoid visiting hospitals and it certainly helps but there is no way to assure you 'll be exempt of an accident like mine.

S@&t happens, it happens everyday and at some point it can be us, therefore please don't take your health for granted: get up, move, shake, enjoy, run and wear those 3 IN heels that right now are forbidden for me (I miss them!)

3) Strengthen your body

This is my 5th or 6th car accident and every time I get checked the doctor says that those with regular physical activity are more likely to have a faster recovery and less likely to be severely damaged as are built stronger.
So let's prepare our bodies for this battle that is called life.

4)Finally, take a moment to reflex on what is going on in your life

Before this thing I was literally running between work staff, preparing to move, planning travels, thinking in new DIY projects, visiting farm markets, practicing Tenis, etc etc etc, I realized that I needed to slow down, stop running and try to appreciate the things that were happening instead of running from one thing to the next, these days I learned that it was ok to lay down watching a movie, life was made to be enjoyed and there is so much joy in spending that time with my boyfriend even if we are watching re-runs of the nanny.

They say that we don't see life as it is, instead we see life as we are, so this days I've started to see it more peaceful and fulfilling, and with all that is happening in the world is not a bad time to demonstrate our appreciation for the incredible people that makes our lives better, so thank you for making my life better by supporting this blog and please drive carefully!


Monday, November 2, 2015

Dia de Muertos & the World's largest Catrina

One of my favorites holidays in the year is definitely the "Dia de Muertos" (Day of the Dead)  celebrated in Mexico during November 1st and the 2nd: on the 1st we remember the children that are no longer with us and on the 2nd we celebrate the life of all our loved ones that are gone.

The Catrinas

During this festivity is very common to find Catrinas everywhere: a Catrina is a female skeleton very elegantly dressed with a hat and a nice dress in a 20th century European style, this image was created to describe someone who was ashamed of his Indian origins by Jose Guadalupe Posada, and although he drew the original skull it wasn't until Diego Rivera painted the "Dream of a Sunday afternoon along Central Alameda" mural that the Catrina was conceived as we know it today.

The Catrina has become the referential image of Death in Mexico and it has inspired a number of  pictures, sculptures, crafts and even "living" Catrina's parades.

The World Guinness Record

We've been extremely busy these days, but when my boyfriend told me that there was a little town near Guadalajara that was creating the largest Catrina ever to get registered in the Guinness Record's I knew that we had to be there.

The population name is Zapotlanejo, and on November 1st 2015 at noon their Catrina, located in the main square, would be certified as the largest Catrina in the world.

We were a little lazy that Sunday so we arrived there just pass noon, but we were amazed to see this huge elegant skeleton that was registered as the world's largest ever with 18.72 meters and 600 kilos (Weigh Watchers is probably now asking for her address):
Here you can see how big it is (or how small I am) and how I got photobombed!
In the streets close to the main square there were skulls sculptures representing famous actors from  old Mexican films.

  And we also got some time to "play" with the big Catrina:

 Back to Guadalajara: the Catrina's Avenue

We were pretty tired after our small trip but we didn't want to miss the opportunity to see the Catrina's exposition installed across Chapultepec avenue in Guadalajara on the same  day.
Each of the Catrinas represented an important character in Mexican history: from Frida Kahlo to Octavio Paz, all of them were created by students of different schools where they try to keep these traditions alive for the new generations.

Please enjoy the pictures and let me know which is your favorite because I definitely have a lot of problems trying to select only one.