Monthly Archives: July 2009

Loteria Artesania, Part 3


Okay, here is the rest of what I found up until now.  I had a really good time looking at all of the cool sites on Mexican Folk Art.  La Fuente Imports was my favorite!

34 El soldadoThis tin soldier, although it may not count because it was manufactured as part of a set on the Mexican and American War… but this paper mache soldier is hand-made.

35 La estrellaThis star lamp was the first one I found on my Lomini - 023teria journey.

36 El cazo – Now, some people translate it as “the bean pot” and others as “the ladle”: this miniature copper pot looks like the picture, so it will do!

37 El mundo (The World) – they have all sorts of suns, moons, and stars, but I haven’t found this yet!

38 El apache (The Apache) – I don’t understand why it’s an Apache – I may substitute with an Aztec warrior.

39 El nel alacran huichol beadedopal –  Here is a tin mirror and a painted tin ornament.

40 El alacrán – I looked around a lot, and found this beaded Huichol egg (ornament?)

41 La rosa – Check out this Tehuana embroidery – this is called a huipil. Here is another one.  I was also finally able to find some paper roses.

42 La calavera – I really loved this groovy skull tile, but here’s one in paper mache that’s pretty traditional.

43 La campana – Here is a little bell – it’s a tin campana tin orn

44 El cantarito – This is a gorgeous blown glass pitcher.

45 El venado – So many to choose from – here is a Oaxacan carved alebrije.  Here is a Huichol yarn painting of an ordinary gray deer, and here is my favorite – the magical blue deer in a yarn painting.

46 El sol – Finding a sun figure was not difficult at all – it was narrowing it down that was difficult!  Here is a paper mache sun and here is one in Talavera.

47 La corona – I found this – it’s used to “crown” saints statues in churches.  Maybe this one is more el sol talavera 1 large“crown-like.”

48 La chalupa – I haven’t found many options.  I may replace it with  la muneca.

49 El pino – Here’s a Christmas tree tin ornament.

50 El pescado – Here’s another coconut creation (it’s not really a mask) and a Oaxacan carving.

51 La palma – Yet another tin ornament.  Next project:  the tin ornament loteria!

52 La maceta – Here’s a Talavera pottery flower rana pmache

53 El arpa (The Harp) – coming soon!

54 La rana – Finally:  the frog in paper mache.

Now I may spend some time on another project – but this was fun.  Later, I will talk about the riddles that come with the loteria and how you can write your own (also an excellent classroom activity!).

Loteria Artesania, Part 2


Sorry I missed a day – I thought I would be able to access the internet at Callaway Gardens, but I could not.  Still, I have had a pretty good run at NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month).

Here is the next group of Loteria images I found.  As you will see, even after so many hours of searching images (I’m embarrassed to tell you how many), I have some missing.  That means substitutions.  Let me explain:  the idea behind this Loteria exercise was to come up with a traditional number of cards – that would be 54.

So, while I could have approached it several ways, I was trying to stick with images as close to the names of the cards that I could.  And – they needed to be some form of Mexican Folk guitarra toy

17 El bandolón – I couldn’t find a sitar (or mandolin?), so I used la guitarra instead.

18 El violoncello (The Cello) – still looking.

19 La garza – I found this Oaxacan wood carving (alebrije).la mano nicho

20 El pájaro – I like this Otomi embroidery swatch, or this Talavera bird.

21 La manoThis milagro (but it’s not large) and this hand nicho – I like it because it’s unique.

22 La bota – It wasn’t easy, but I found these Virgin of Guadalupe boots.

23 La luna – I love this paper mache moon.el borracho pap mache

24 El cotorro – Here is a paper mache parrot.

25 El borrachoHere is a drunk man made from paper mache.

26 El negritoHere is a traditional wooden carved and painted mask called El Negrito.

27 El corazón – I have soooooo many kinds of hearts, but I like this one in wood with milagros.

28 La sandía – a lovely coconut shell mask with a watermelon on it.

el tambor huichol29 El tambora Huichol yarn picture.

30 El camarón – haven’t found one yet.  I may replace it with this elefante (Oaxacan carving).  I have already asked for it for my birthday.

31 Las jaras (The Arrows) – Not yet.

32 El músicoa painted tin ornament of a musician.

33 La araña (The Spider) – Nothing yet.

More later!

Loteria Artesania, Part One


Yes, summer’s ending, and what am I doing?  Creating loteria decks in my head.  Here’s the deal.  What I do when I am bored is to, well, uh, instead of counting sheep… I look for rhyming words.

I can see your confused looks – It’s very simple.  I choose a phonetic ending, let’s say “-ait”.  Then, I go through the alphabet, looking for words that are spelled with that ending, or that sound (you know: -ate, -eight,…).  That would be ate, bait, crate, date, eight, fate, freight, gate, gait, great, etc.  What can I say – it keeps my mind occupied.

I don’t think I have OCD – I can stop whenever I want.

That has sort of transferred to the whole Loteria thing.  I have already started one post on “Making Your Own Loteria Deck“.  So, this is the logical next step.

I chose the theme of Mexican Folk Art – Here is Part One:

1 El gallo – I found three possibilities:  a Oaxacan carvinga painted clay rooster,  and a painted tin rooster.el gallo clay

2 El diablito –  a coco mask

3 La dama –  a huichol mask or  a clay miniature.

4 El catrín –  a clay figure of a smoking man.

5 El paraguas –  these oilcloth dishwashing gloves (to keep the water off your hands – I know it’s a stretch… or this clay day of the dead beach figurine.

6 La sirenaa painted tin mirror

7 La escalerathese primitive ladders or this Aztec temple tin ornament (it has stairs).

8 La botellaa set of Cuervo bottle tin ornaments.

9 El barriel arbol de vida 2lthis balero toy is shaped like a barrel.

10 El árbol – either this arbol de la vida or this one.

11 El melón – this one’s a long shot: a paper mache pumpkin.

12 El valientethis tin ornament.

13 El gorrito – no bonnets – I had to go with this sombrero or this sombrero pinata.

14 La muertethis clay pera laque

15 La perathis silver leaf gourd.

16 La banderathis popotillo plate with the eagle on a cactus, like the Mexican flag, or this papel picado which is like little flags, or this tin soldier holding a Mexican flag.

That’s it for part one.  Yes, I don’t have much to do right now.  More tomorrow!

NaBloPoMo, NaNoWriMo, SoFoBoMo… Say What?


“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing noise they make as they pass by” -Douglas Adams

I currently have -what? 5 days left to participate in NaBloPoMo –  which stands for National Blog Posting Month.  According to the website, it “is the epicenter of daily blogging! People who want to set the habit of blogging by doing it every day for a month, including weekends, can come here for moral support, inspiration, and the camaraderie that only marathon blogging can provide.”

Now, I registered, but I haven’t really been to the central website.  I got pretty frustrated trying to make and download a badge for my website, so I gave up.  So far, I have only missed two days at the beginning when I didn’t know about the month.  And I wrote two extra entries to make up for that.

With five days left to go, and only 6 days left of summer vacation, I am sometimes fishing in vain for blog fodder.  Yesterday, I got involved in looking for similar contests that take place over a month, more or less.

I happened to come across SoFoBoMo, which is short for Solo Photo Book Month.  This is a group event where a bunch of photographers all make solo photo books start to finish, in 31 days, at more or less the same time. It’s modeled loosely on NaNoWriMo, where participating writers all write novels in a month, and NaSoAlMo, where musicians write and record solo albums in a month.  This time around, the fuzzy month is any 31 day period you please, provided that it starts no earlier than May 1, 2009, and ends no later than June 30, 2009, at midnight in your local time zone.

I, of course, have taken part in NaNoWriMo – or National Novel Writing Month,  which is in the month of November.  It is described as “a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word – 1,700 words a day) novel by midnight, November 30.”

The think I like a lot about Chris Baty and the NaNoWriMo group is that they also have prepared lesson plans for teachers to encourage their students to participate as well.  Check out the Young Writers Program for lesson plans in three levels: Elementary, Middle School, and High School.

National Novel Editing Month (NaNoEdMo) is “an online community of writers who, having written a novel, gather together every March for moral support in order to edit their work, whether for their own personal satisfaction or perhaps even for publishing. March is chosen primarily because National Novel Writing Month, which requires you to write a novel, is in November. Setting NoNoEdMo in March gives you a three month break from that novel so you have fresh eyes when you go back to edit it. Fifty hours is considered by some to be a minimum to substantially edit a novel of reasonable length.

While doing my research, I found out that right now is JulNoWriMo (July Novel Writing Month) is a writing contest identical to NaNoWriMo. (from the website) Why not just wait until November? – Simple answer: we can’t. For some of us, November was a hectic time and we never got the chance to write that story evolving in our brains! For the rest of us, we just crave to write more. We’re insane.

There are also two more Novel Writing Sites and both of those take place in January.  JanNoWriMo stands for January Novel Writing Month. Their site explains the difference:  “Well, firstly, we work in a different month. We also allow the continuation of previous novels. Finally, in addition to the site-wide goal of 50,000 words, we also have a system for personal goals lower than/higher than 50,000.”

This is not to be confused with JaNoWriMo: the community for January Novel Writing Month, which is “not affiliated with NaNoWriMo, but taking the ideas laid out there and in Chris Baty’s book No Plot, No Problem! this is a month-long project to write a 50,000 word novel in one month! “

They explain further: “A lot of people have a hard time with the official NaNoWriMo because it takes place in November. November has a lot of school commitments, Thanksgiving, elections, holiday shopping, and heaven help you if you work retail!

January, on the other hand, is a much better month for starting new challenges. You can even make “write a novel” one of your New Years Resolutions and be done before February 1! And most people are already awake at midnight on January 1st anyway! Plus, January has a whole extra day to finish your novel!

The rules are the same as NaNoWriMo– 50,000 words of a NEW novel. A “novel” is defined as a work of significant length of prose fiction. “New” means you didn’t write it before.

Then, there’s April Fools –  April Fools is “very much like NaNoWriMo but with some small, yet powerful differences.  April Fools is for writers who want to use that nano like energy to help them create a piece of writing in one month. The differences, however, are marked. You chose your own goal … 500 words or 200,000 words, or anything in between.”

Of course, I have Book in a Month by Victoria Lynn Schmidt, so I can write a book any time I want… in theory.  There is something nice about working with a group to keep you on track, however.  That is why her companion website has a message board that reviews the steps every month. You sign up for it when you buy the book.   If you are curious,  see this  Writer’s Digest Review , which has sample worksheets and chapters from the book.  I like it a lot, and plan to use it before or by NaNoWriMo.

Now, let’s say you’ve written your novel – what now?  Well, there’s  – wait for it! – National Novel Publishing Year!  NaNoPubYe “has been in existence since 2004, the brainchild of one of our own in search of a plan to follow after the craziness of NaNoWriMo. You’ll find support here for bringing your manuscript from rough draft to hauling the thing out the door to the post office. Our year-long plan offers support at each step of the way, and is flexible enough to mix and modify as fits your needs. Join PubYe today and become part of a community that supports you all the way to publication!

I didn’t see when it started – I would think it would be in January – or maybe after NaNoEdMo?  I’ll get back to you on that.

Script Frenzy is an international writing event in which participants take on the challenge of writing 100 pages (20,000 words?) of scripted material in the month of April. As part of a donation-funded nonprofit, Script Frenzy charges no fee to participate; there are also no valuable prizes awarded or “best” scripts singled out. Every writer who completes the goal of 100 pages is victorious and awe-inspiring and will receive a handsome Script Frenzy Winner’s Certificate and web icon proclaiming this fact.

Script Frenzy, because it is also by Chris Baty and the NaNoWriMo people  – also has a young writers program… Great resources, including  how to write a comic book and workbooks for elementary, middle and high school students.

National Play Writing Month (NaPlWrMo – there really should be another “a” in there…) is a different challenge, and it takes place in November (not associated with NaNoWriMo, obviously).  This is from the website:


1.Start writing at 12:00am on November 1st. *Not* before.

2.Stop writing by November 30th at 11:59pm at the latest.

3. Your play must be a brand new play ( no screenplay) ; ie: you can not work on a previously started draft. ( yes, we changed it this year, sorry)

4.Your draft has to be at least 75 pages. (we’re talking a standard script page such as this one, offered by The Playwriting Seminars site  or something close enough to that, with a font no larger than 12pt courier). 75 pages is what we consider good length for a full length play these days. You can write more of course but consider the life of your play after you’ve written it and consider that 75 page plays get produced a lot more frequently than 90 page plays or 5 act tragedies.

The Three Minute Film Festival, I think, was started by the same people as NaNoWriMo, but is now run separately.  Here, you have the month of July to make a finished 3 minute mini film – any medium, but must be burned on DVD.  They even have a gala showing on August 8 in San Francisco, where people dress up in black tie and watch (all???) the films.

For musicians there is the RPM Challenge, where participants record an album in a month (28 days).  Their requirement is 10 songs or 35 minutes of original material recorded during the month of February.  There is also February Album Writing Month where you write 14 songs in 28 days.  I don’t remember which one I heard about on NPR.

24 Hour Comics Day is an annual event where cartoonists around the world each try to create 24 pages of comics in 24 hours. Last year, over 1200 cartoonists took part at events in 17 countries. Sponsored by ComicsPRO, the website has lots of great resources for planning your own city’s celebration.  The next one is October 3rd, 2009.

I tried to go to the website(s?) of NaNoMangO, which seemed to have wrapped up in June.  The site seems to be in transition – the closest I could find was a LiveJournal Community on the event.  NaNoMangO is the cartoonist’s version of NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. While the goal for NaNoWriMo is to write a 175-page novel in a month, the goal of the twice-yearly NaNoMangO is 30 pages of sequential art in thirty days.  I guess that means that the next one is in January?

The only thing that I looked up that didn’t seem to exist was a challenge for National Poetry Month in April.  Nope, there’s no writing contest yet, but you can have a poem sent to you every day for that month.

So, I’ve been thinking: lets start our own month of poetry!  In May, I really got into collecting poetry formats and I’ll bet there are enough activities for one month.  Scholastic has some great resources on writing poetry,
As Does

Oh, I almost forgot:  November is National Lifewriting Month, “an opportunity to celebrate and share our personal and family stories. More and more ordinary people are discovering that memoirs make a meaningful legacy to leave to the next generation, and that writing them is a rewarding hobby with many benefits for families and communities, too.” There is a Table of Contents outlining the different memoir and scrapbooking activities to be found.

Now, About Chilaquiles


chilaquilesverdesI love chilaquiles – but luckily for me, I don’t get a chance to eat them that often.  I don’t make them myself, because I am afraid of frying things… sort of.  I don’t order them from restaurants any more. They are good, but they are always made with meat (usually chicken) and I just don’t think that’s necessary.

The first time I remember having chilaquiles was at the Mansion Iturbe in Patzcuaro, Mexico.  It was part of my breakfast, and accompanied by fried eggs and refried beans.  Awesome – two summers ago, when we went back to Patzcuaro, that was the first thing I was looking forward to.

That, and sopa tarasca – but that’s another entry.

Here are a couple of links to recipes for chilaquiles:

I wish I could buy this house!



I was doing a little research on chilaquiles when I came upon a blog by a guy named Todd – he has a lovely picture of his breakfast chilaquiles.  He lives in Patzcuaro, Mexico – where I think I would love to have a house one day (boy, I hope my husband and I agree when the time comes… hee hee).  I am too tired to synthesize all of my chilaquile info, so that will have to wait until tomorrow.

In the meantime – you’ve got to see the pictures this guy has taken of Michoacan – they are inspiring.  The name of his blog is Life in El Corazon.

Also, he has this gorgeous house for sale – it’s just outside of Patzcuaro and it’s called Corazon de Durazno (Heart of the Peach).  It must be a sign – moving from a place filled with Peachtree Streets to a Peach HOUSE?  I wish!

On the way home…


We left our lovely yurt this morning and headed home via Franklin, NC and then the John C. Campbell School.  As we were driving outside of Franklin on Hwy. 441, we passed by a fairground with a huge tent and a row of smaller tents.  We decided to turn around and check it out, thinking it was a flea market.  After findAmmonitecutPairLging a parking place – the place was packed! – we found out it was a Rock, Fossil, and Gem Show.

We walked through the outside tents only, because you had to have a business/wholesale license to get into the big tent.  But we saw plenty!  There were tons of rocks and beads and geodes and fossils.  I cannot even imagine how one would transport all of that stuff from venue to venue!  There was a cut geode as tall as a man there!  And at one booth, there were all sorts of skulls – including some huge buffalo skull with horns that were 3 feet long!  I really wanted that one!

There were also some pretty non-PC items for sale.  I am not talking about the onyx phalluses – although I have no idea what the market for that might be…  I’m talking about one wholesaler that specialized in glass shadow boxes with everything from butterflies to bats to giant bugs to lizards impaled on pins within.  It was very fascinating and educational, too.

We did buy a couple of things:  I bought a sharks tooth fossil pendant ($1) for my nephew and a lovely golden glass lampwork bracelet ($2) and my husband bought a nautilus shell fossil from Madagascar for only $8.  We were even able to bargain the dealer down to $10 for the whole lot ($1 off!).  I only had a $20 bill, and I knew he would rather give us a $10 bill rather than a $5 and four $1.  I was tempted to buy a strand of carved rose beads – there was one place that had so many colors, but I liked the red and turquoise ones.  They were $14 a strand, but I declined.  Luckily, I found some on Ebay that were comparable.

Here is what I think we attended:

22-25–FRANKLIN, NORTH CAROLINA: 44th annual show, “Macon County Gemboree”; Gem & Mineral Society of Franklin; Macon County Community Bldg., US Hwy. 441S; Wed. 10-6, Thu. 10-6, Fri. 10-6, Sat. 10-6; adults $2, children 12 and under free; minerals, beads, handcrafted jewelry, rough and cut stones, lapidary equipment, demonstrations, door prizes, gold and silver jewelry, findings, jewelry repairs and mounting; contact Linda Harbuck, 425 Porter St., Franklin, NC 28734, (800) 336-7829; e-mail:; Web site:

b.pendant.sharks.tooth.smIt was great.  We did not stop for long at the John C. Campbell School – just enough time to show my husband the main buildings.  Then, we had to go back to Hiawassee to the barbecue place to retrieve my purse…  Thank you, people of Smoke Rings in Hiawassee!  Great barbecue brisket, too!

So now, I am almost down to the single digits – meaning in the countdown to starting the school year.  I can honestly say that this summer was great – it seemed to go by just slowly enough!  I got to go for a week to camp (John C. Campbell), to Jackson to see the Raoul Dufy exhibit, we got a new bed and bedspread, I was in an art show, and we just got back from a great short break in North Carolina.  Fun!

Now, I kind of want to go back to Franklin to that show!  That’s okay – we have Folk Fest coming up soon.  Even though I cannot afford to be a part of it, I like visiting and looking at the art.  Oh, and I may be going down to Callaway Gardens to meet my sis and her family for one day.

Today seems to be all about Puebla!


Women making China Poblana costumes

Women making China Poblana costumes

Today, all of my internet activity seems to pull me toward Puebla.  I last visited there two years ago with my husband and my mother.  We actually stayed in Atlixco, with our friends the Maurers.  Ever since I was a teenager and first visited the Maurers with my family, I have considered living there.  I even sent my transcripts to the University of the Americas, which is situated in Puebla.

Today, while searching on a bit of information about the Mexican population in Jackson County, North Carolina, I came upon this article called Bridging Spanish language barriers in Southern schools.  In the article, they focus on people settling in North Carolina from San Pablito, which is the part of the state of Puebla that produces amate paintings and paper.

Then, an article on Chowhound mentioned the new popularity of the cemita poblana – a type of sandwich from Puebla.  Here is the description from Wikipedia:

A cemita, also known as a cemita poblana, is a Mexican sandwich and street food that originated in the city of Puebla.[1]

It is distinguished from a torta by the fluffy sesame-seeded egg roll that it is served on. Additionally, the ingredients usually are restricted to sliced avocado, meat, white cheese, onions and red sauce (salsa roja).[2] Recently it has appeared on the streets of New York, Los Angeles, and other cities with Mexican food vendors.

Now that I remember, I think it was this kind of sandwich that my husband ate in Puebla on the day before we returned to the U.S.  He had a case of food poisoning or dysentery so bad he though I might have to call a doctor to our hotel room in Mexico City.  I think it was the lettuce, tomato or cilantro on the sandwich.

Anyway, I digress.  From there, I read a fascinating article by a foodie traveling through Puebla – she called it “the Lyon of Mexico”.  The article is in the New York Times – here is the link.

I wonder if they can be found in Atlanta?

Here is another recipe for Chile-Marinated Pork Sandwiches on Cemita Rolls.  Here is a whole article called A Meal in a Sandwich from MexConnect.  Okay, time to go to bed before I get hungry again!

Whiteside Mountain Hike


This morning, we slept in a bit – I had to get up twice during the night and make my way up to the bathroom.  It certainly makes you think about your evening fluid intake…  We’ll see how it goes tonight.

When we first inquired about hiking over here, the guy at Sun Dog Places who is renting us the yurt suggested that good hiking could be had at Panthertown Valley.  It is a relatively new area for hiking, as I think that the Nature Conservancy had it protected for a while.  I was a bit worried about the distance, but I was willing to consider it.

Unfortunately (but fortunately for me…) Panthertown Valley is not marked for trail hiking.  You need a map and compass and such.  That was a bit too much trouble for a fun day hike, so instead we headed to Cashiers to check into hikes in the area.  After a visit to the Tourist office, we snagged some maps and a recommendation.

We ended up going to Whiteside Mountain, which is a “moderate” loop trail with amazing views.  I am out of shape (an understatement), so even the gentle approach and climb was pretty strenuous for me.  It took us exactly 2 hours to do the whole thing.  After we got back to the yurt, I took a nap!

Yesterday we had gone grocery shopping, so tonight, I used the extremely well-stocked kitchen to cook a stir fry with pre-chopped fresh veggies, pork chops, and plum sauce.  We got boil in the bag rice – which was okay.  Tomorrow, we are supposed to try and use the Big Green Egg to grill steak and baked potatoes.

I am really enjoying our vacation so far – there is absolutely no one else out here – the other yurt has not been rented during our stay.  I think it would be great to rent both yurts as an extended family trip – we are in the smaller one, which has a king-sized bed, but there is also a larger yurt with a king-sized bed and a double trundle bed.  I figured someone could also camp out in front of the fireplace on the pavilion, but they probably don’t encourage that!