Category Archives: Art & Crafts

Oaxaca Projects, Part One

I made this map to include in my students’ Mayan codices. It looks great laser printed on brown craft paper.  You have to cut the paper to size, however.

At the moment, I have to say that I am maxing out my loafing potential as Summer Vacation begins.  I have all sorts of ideas and projects, but at the moment, I can’t seem to be bothered much.  So… in an attempt to focus, I am looking back at my application for the National Endowment of the Humanities Summer Institute that is four short weeks away.

In order to be considered for the Institute, I had to write an essay of no more than 4 pages, double spaced.  I tried hard not to play with the margins too much, but I had so much I wanted to say.  The excerpt below is the part where I explain what I would like to do while I am down in Oaxaca.  Yes, there will be tours, and lectures, and all sorts of interesting things to see, but the main idea of getting a bunch of teachers together is to create lesson plans that will use the resources we will learn about – as well as any others we can bring to the table.

Here goes – of course, I’ve added notes as I am thinking of them now:

If I am fortunate enough to be chosen to participate in this Summer Institute, I have some specific ideas of what I would like to pursue.  First of all, I am interested in expanding upon my lesson plans on the Mayan Civilization, which is one of the standards that I must teach in sixth grade Social Studies.  I would like to take the idea of creating a Mayan codex (which I did as an accordion book out of cardboard and brown paper this past year) and add more elements to that book.

Glyph with Mayan Long Count Birthdate

This will be a challenge – but I think that my students already have some experience with “creative” spelling.  It may not be as difficult as I envision.

If possible, I would like to have clarification on how to calculate the dates in the Long Count calendar so that this could be aligned with the Mathematics curriculum.  I would also like to collect more specific information about the Mayan observatory – perhaps this information could be added to the Astronomy unit in the Earth Science curriculum.

To be honest, I found some excellent lesson plans, but the Mayan calendar in long count confuses me…  It is true, however, that we do study the planets in Earth Science – I just am not aware of any specific astronomical information in my Mayan resources.

In regards to teaching ESOL and reading, I have also located two young adult novels that portray young people living in Ancient Maya.  One of these books is called The Well of Sacrifice (by Chris Eboch) and the other is Heart of a Jaguar (by Marc Talbert).  The Well of Sacrifice has a female protagonist and Heart of a Jaguar has a young male protagonist.  I would like to organize a parallel book study where the students can identify with life in a Mayan village.  Both books portray vivid scenes of ritual sacrifice and I look forward to sharing ideas about teaching this sensitive subject.  I have supplemented my reading materials with books of Mayan folktales and legends and want to use those as resources, too.

I hate to sound jaded, but for most middle school students, the portrayal of blood and gore only seems to ENHANCE the reading experience.  Truth be told, I am having a hard time getting into these books, so I don’t know how that bodes for younger readers…  I forgot to mention that I DO use Me Oh Maya!, which is a Time Warp Trio series of books.  It’s pretty funny and is a good attention grabber.  In coordination with the new British series I found, it could be good.

In addition to these texts, I have found four texts that illustrate the modern world of the Maya and Mixtec people.  What the Moon Saw and Red Glass by Laura Resau involve heroines that voyage to Oaxaca and encounter curanderas, divination using corn kernels, and the Mixteca language.   Becoming Naomi Leon by Pam Muñoz Ryan also involves a journey to Oaxaca, and highlights the woodcarving culture of the region.  Although Colibrí by Ann Cameron is set in Guatemala, many of the traditions and references are similar to those in my books about Oaxaca.  I would like to make the teaching of these texts in more depth possible by collecting information and real life examples and making them available to our school library – to generate interest and understanding in the subject matters and culture described so vividly in these books.

So, there.  I don’t know if I am going to do all of those things, or choose aspects of each.  I do want to do some advance preparations so that I have some idea of the lesson plans before I get to Mexico.  After I made the proposal, I came up with the idea of looking at my collection of folk tales – which is pretty extensive, and using those for a Language Arts lesson plan on elements of a folk tale.

On top of that, I have many interesting picture books about the area that can be appropriate for introducing the culture.  I have a book called Josefina by Jeannette Winter that is written about the artist Josefina Aguilar.  We don’t have a trip planned to Ocotlán, but I could go down there.  She and her family have a pottery studio there.  Dream Carver by Diana Cohn is said to be inspired by the real life of Oaxacan woodcarver Manuel Jimenez.  There is also a series of books by Cynthia Weill which include Oaxacan woodcarvings to illustrate the alphabet and opposites.

So, my problem is not with coming up with ideas – it is with narrowing down the possibilities for the four week Institute!


Make your own Loteria Deck!


So, I said on Mondays that I might start posting entries about Loteria art.  If you don’t know what Loteria is – here is a link to read.  I love creating new Loteria decks – so far, I think I have made or started about elsol14 0r 5.  Below is a card from a deck I was manipulating in PhotoShop a couple of years ago.  I think the focus was on artesania – or Mexican arts and crafts.  I like fooling around with those things.

So, how does one go about creating a loteria deck?  One thing I like to do is to print out a list of images from the traditional Don Clemente game and use that as my guide.  Here is a list of the images for you to peruse:

1 El gallo (The Rooster)
2 El diablito (The Little Devil)
3 La dama (The Lady)
4 El catrín (The Dandy/Fop)
5 El paragüas (The Umbrella)
6 La sirena (The Merelserape copymaid)
7 La escalera (The Ladder)
8 La botella (The Bottle)
9 El barril (The Barrel)
10 El árbol (The Tree)
11 El melon (The Melon)
12 El valiente (The Brave One)
13 El gorrito (The Bonnet)
14 La muerte (The Death)
15 La pera (The Pear)
16 La bandera (The Flag)
17 El bandolón (The Citar)
18 El violoncello (The Cello)
19 La garza (The Heron)
20 El pájaro (The Bird)
21 La mano (The Hand)
22 La bota (The Boot)
23 La luna (The Moon)
24 El cotorro (The Parrot)lacalavera
25 El borracho (The Drunk)
26 El negrito (The Little Black Man)
27 El corazón (The Heart)
28 La sandía (The Watermelon)
29 El tambor (The Drum)
30 El camarón (The Shrimp)
31 Las jaras (The Arrows)
32 El músico (The Musician)
33 La araña (The Spider)
34 El soldado (The Soldier)
35 La estrella (The Star)
36 El cazo (The Bean Pot)
37 El mundo (The World)
38 El apache (The Apache)
39 El nopal (The Cactus)
40 El alacrán (The Scorpion)
41 La rosa (The Rose)elcantarito
42 La calavera (The skull)
43 La campana (The Bell)
44 El cantarito (The Water Pitcher)
45 El venado (The Deer)
46 El sol (The Sun)
47 La corona (The Crown)
48 La chalupa (The Canoe)
49 El pino (The Pine)
50 El pescado (The Fish)
51 La palma (The Palm)
52 La maceta (The Flowerpot)
53 El arpa (The Harp)
54 La rana (The Frog)

Next, begin thinking of a theme.  If you have a theme or subject, such as your own culture, or your town, or your own group of friends, you can begin to conceive of your own images.  If you are doing a Loteria about Christmas, for lacampana copyexample, El Venado (the deer) can be a Reindeer, El Pino (the pine tree) can be a Christmas tree, and El Arpa (the harp) can be played by an angel.

You don’t have to remain stuck using all of the cards, as I hope you can see.  Staying with the Christmas theme, you might not want to have La Muerte (death) or La Calavera (the skull) – unless you are doing The Nightmare Before Christmas…  You can replace those images with ones that are not included in the traditional Loteria, such as Santa’s cap instead of El Gorrito (the bonnet), and a sleigh instead of La Chalupa (the canoe).

Your use of images is up to you.  I save images that I think I might want to elcantarito2use in the future.  One of my favorite decks that I did a few years ago was based on a multitude of mola images I had accumulated.  I also have my quilt loteria that I made using line drawings and fabric samples, available at my CafePress Shop.  And there’s the original Loteria Celeste and my Vintage Loteria.  See, I told you!

Using Loteria in the classroom lends itself to many applications.  My students created cards for a House of the Scorpion Loteria deck that we did after reading Nancy Farmer’s book.  At the same time, I also started looking for relevant images to use as loteria/flash cards in my teaching of the book.  I would pass them out to students and ask them what significance the card had in the story.  It is challenging and brings up the use of analogies, since students have to make connections and comparisons between topics and themes in books and lessons to see the connection to the card I chose.

Use of analogies, which have been scrapped from formal testing, is important in being creative with your own loteria deck.  If you are doing a deck based on New Orleans, for example, you would want to see the connection between La Sirena (the mermaid, usually bare-chested) and the “show me your boobs” girls on the parade route…

These are just some beginning guidelines.  The reason I like to start with the original deck and make analogous entries is so that the art form can be recognized as a variation on a Loteria deck.  If you were making your own Tarot deck, you would want to start with the original deck as a guideline, wouldn’t you?

In future posts, I would like to seek out original loteria decks and feature them in my blog.  Tonight, however, I thought that an introduction to the creative process of creating a deck would be relevant to some.  If you would like to start looking at decks, go to to look at the scanned collection there.

Day Three at the Campbell School


Today marked my third day of classes.  I have been going almost non-stop, with my basic schedule being:

  • 8:00 – last to roll out of bed – I am sharing a dorm room with 4 other ladies.
  • 8:15 – get in line for breakfast at the dining hall
  • 9:00 – 12:00 – class
  • 12:00 – get in line for lunch
  • 1:00 – 4:00 – class
  • 4:00 – 6:00 – still staying after class – catching up and waiting for the dinner bell
  • 6:00 – get in line for dinner
  • 6:30 – go upstairs and check e-mail; take a walk
  • 7:30 – 10:30 – go back to class and finish up any project I haven’t finished yet
  • 10:30 – get ready for bed; check e-mail
  • 11:00ish – go to sleep

Meals are served family style – we go through a line to get our drinks (or cereal for breakfast), then find an empty seat at one of the tables.  You really need to be on time, because they have a routine: song or grace, trays come around with serving dishes, pass everything around. After dinner, someone gathers up the plates and takes them back to the kitchen.  Only then will they hand over dessert. On the way out, you clean up any other dishes used. If you are late, you risk your table running out of food, and you have to go begging to another table or to the kitchen.  Some people raid the vegetarian buffet.

I made a run to WalMart on Monday and came back with Diet Cokes.  There is an ice machine adjacent to the book arts classroom, so I just bring one bottle down in the morning and one down in the afternoon.  Of course, several people have told me how bad Diet Coke is for me. As if this were news to me… I promised I would try and give it up soon.

So far, we have made 2 books, with boxes or sleeves to put them in. First, however, we carve a block print to contribute to each classmate’s book.  Monday, I carved a Mexican ex voto heart design into a block made of eraser gum like material.  Tuesday, I carved an image of a little Mexican goat onto my first linoleum block.  They came out okay, but I really have to learn to use a lighter touch.  On both, I ended up carving away too big of a chunk in at least one place.  So, being the perfectionist that I am, I took my paintbrush markers and very carefully added texture back to my prints.

We sign and number each one of our prints and collect a set from everyone in the class, including the instructors.  So far, we have made a 5 by 5 inch accordion book with hard binding and a box with a top to put it in.  Our second project was a 6 by 8 inch “stab bound” book, where we learned how to use a drill and how to sew the book together.  I just finished the slipcase for the book tonight.

Tomorrow, we will make what is also called an accordion book, but it just refers to the accordion spine that you attach the pages to.  For that book, the class decided on a theme: borders.  We each made a border or letterhead for a 6 by 6 page. That way, the rest of the page is blank for journalling. I did a pretty fair flourish inspired by the borders on a Mexican amate painting I had.  I really like it.  The accordion spine was a pain to fold – I’ve done them before for my gift card books, but those were only 7 folds: this one was 13!

Okay, time for bed. I did not bring the cable to upload my photos, but I will upload them when I get home.

Christmas Goose


I have already done at least one post on the Game of the GooseLast year, I img_0308planned on having my French students make a large goose game but didn’t go through with it.  In that plan, I made a bulletin board with a poster-sized game in black and white (I enlarged it in Microsoft Publisher, printed it out on my laser printer and painstakingly taped it together. I had the rules (in English) posted in the center of the game. I addressed the circumstances of each special field by copying and pasting it onto a separate document with the rule next to it.

I did allow my students to play the game, and used flat glass pebbles as the markers.  I printed out paper dice for them to use so they would not swipe them.  They enjoyed playing the game, but after thinking through several strategies, I could not really justify the game in my lesson plans. I was planning on printing out coloring pages for the students to color – mainly the flags of all of the Francophone countries – and different crowns to replace the ubiquitous goose.  I may do that again one day if I ever teach French or Spanish again, but I would need to have some task to do that has to do with the target language – like vocabulary memorization or something like that.

Anyway, while I was on that kick, I painstakingly laid out two of my own versions of a blank grid to be filled in one day by a class. I also cleaned up a scan of a goose game (juego de la oca) I bought in Mexico and translated the directions into English. All three are available at my CafePress Shop in different sizes and formats.

I had one blank customizable goose game lying around when I packed to go to Louisiana for Christmas.  On the off chance that it might be an entertaining family project, I packed it up with a box of Sharpie markers and brought it along.  I laid it out during the Christmas Eve party at my sister’s in-laws and it was a hit. Here are some pictures from the party.img_0285

This is my niece and her cousins working on the board.  Yes, the little one contributed as well!

The boys were not left out!  This is my giant nephew and another cousin of his doing their part for art!

I drew in the special fields, like the well and the bridge.  My mother was in charge of inserting the Fleur de Lis.  The FDL is a big thing over down New Orleans way, so it was the perfect emblem to replace the goose.  I still have some finishing touches to put on the game, then I will upload it to my site and make it available for my sister and her in laws to buy at cost.  It will be a great memory of a Christmas spent together.

The game still has a lot of possibilities for using as a response to literature.  I am planning a similar exercise using a personalized Loteria game.  It really is all about knowing about and using analogies.  The students must think about the story and customize the game to match the theme and major characters and plot points and settings in the story. They would also replace the goose with a symbol that represents the story.  The original “Special Fields” are:

6 The Bridge — If you land on 6, advance immediately to field 12.
19 The Inn — The good food and drink makes you sleepy, and you lose I turn. (Exception: if another player lands at the Inn within the same turn, you change places and you go back to the space that player just came from.)
31 The Well — If you fall in the Well, lose 2 turns—unless another player landing there releases you sooner, sending you back to the field that player just arrived from.
42 The Maze — You get lost and go back to field 30.
52 The Prison — If you land in prison, you stay there until another player landing there relieves you and you go back to that player’s last field.
58 Death — Your goose is cooked. Go back to the beginning and start all over.

For example, if we were to do a House of the Scorpion theme, we would use scorpions in place of the geese.  The “prison” might be a room filled with sawdust (making reference to Matt’s imprisonment when he was only six).  The Inn could be the Convent where Maria is staying or it could be the orphanage, or you could include both.  It makes the students think about what they have been reading and to show that they can synthesize that information and interprete it in a different form.

I would welcome any input that readers might have for using this in a reading or social studies class.

I’m into bookmaking!


I have to thank The Crafty Chica (Kathy Cano-Murillo)  for her awesome tutorial video on Making An Easy Gift Card Book!  I have been getting her Diary of a Crafty Chica e-mail updates, and this one really inspired me.  The first one I made was covered in fabric – I know, I can’t seem to just follow the directions before improvising!  Mom complains that I do the same thing with recipes.  But, I had all of these red gift envelopes saved and this new brocade with dragons, and, well…

Let me back up a bit.  If you are not interested in watching the tutorial – it’s only 7 minutes long – here’s a short explanation of the project.  You buy gift cards from various stores, but instead of just presenting them to the recipient in an envelope or one of those gift tins they now sell, you make a little 3 1/2 inch by 5 1/2 inch book with envelopes inside to put the gift cards in.  You stick the gift cards on little cut out tags that you make to match the book and envelopes.  I really loved the idea, and decided to make one each for my niece and nephews.  That’s 3 books.

Of course, Kathy does hers with 3 gift cards each, so on Saturday I spent some time going around to stores and buying gift cards.  I started out at Kroger, because they advertise that they have the best selection – over 200 gift cards!  Here’s the problem:  I did not find one that was under $25.  I did buy a 3 pack of $10 I-Tunes gift cards, so that was good.  My mother warned me about some news report she saw claiming that gift cards are risky because some stores may go out of business before the card can be used.  Scary!  But, I went to Target, Sports Authority, and TJMaxx – I think I’m safe.

So, as I was saying, I tried an Asian theme first.  I bound the bookcovers in red brocade with medallions and dragons on it.  Then, I made my first mistake – I covered the inside of the covers before gluing the accordion envelope holders onto the ends.  So I had to prize up the holographic cardstock – hot glue is NOT forgiving.  At that point, I decided to finish it, but to make it a “practic” book.  The second mistake I made was in my accordion folding.  I was about to go into a big detailed explanation (snooze) but let’s just say that I figured out an easier way to fold without measuring out the accordion fold lines.  Lastly, although I love my little Chinese red envelopes, they are quite a bit smaller than the book is – although the gift cards DO fit in them.  I finished off the outside binding with some floral foil I had.  So, it was a bit insubstantial, but it was good practice!

From there, I went on to make a really stunning book with an angel theme.  I used heavy scrapbook paper and some Punch Studio angel Christmas cards I had been hoarding.  It looks awesome!  Although it was not part of the tutorial, I had some gorgeous silk ribbon saved from my (OMG!) wedding shower 10 years ago.  I attached it to the front and back, covering the glued-on places with angel cut outs.  I will have my husband take a picture of it and post it.  I honestly don’t want to give it away…

So, now I want to give gift cards to everyone on my list!  I am working on a Loteria-themed booklet (natch!), and am going to do more…  First, I have to put a coat of varnish on my Blue Dog Shrine orders and mail them out!  I am really bad about that – I get my best ideas when I am supposed to be doing something else!

Sold! One Frida Kahlo Shrine Frame


As of late, I had gotten out of the habit of updating my Etsy site and of putting things on EBay to auction.  So, this week I started to work on that.  I had the pictures – my husband took themil_fullxfull44562565 a month ago.  I just needed to crunch them down and put them up.  After two days in my Etsy shop, one of my newest shrines has just sold!

This is a Frida Kahlo postcard framed in one of my exclusive wooden shrine frames. I was experimenting with putting different ornaments on the tops of my shrines.  I had this really nice flourish hanging around, so I glued it on there.  It is painted a bright red-orange and embellished with wood appliques that are accented in yellow. The top crest sports a 3-D butterfly – a Punch Studio sticker – and there are butterflies on the insides of the doors. The image is under glass and surrounded by a coordinated border and sequins. The front doors have two more wooden appliques and I have added jewels to the door handles.

So, I am plugging away, trying to get things up for sale.  Christmas is coming up, and I want to make sure that I have enought moolah to buy gifts!  I also may be visiting a friend who just got a fellowship to work in Johannesburg, South Africa starting in January.  That’s a long shot, but I am trying to think of it in terms of items sold – that would be about $1500 for airfare alone – so that’s gonna take some selling!

Making Sugar Skulls


A couple of years ago, I found some skull garlands and skull necklaces at Star Wholesale (RIP, Star).  I bought them all in a post Halloween sale, I think, and I didn’t know what I was going to do with them.  I actually came out with two sizes of skulls: some were about 2 1/2 inches “square” – and they were made from plastic, I think.  Then, there were lots and lots of skull beads that came on the necklaces.  Those were less than an inch in all 3 dimensions.

I have used most of the larger skulls I bought, making faux sugar skulls with paint, sequins, white glitter, and glitter glue.  The next year, I made the skulls for my students, I think.  of course, they weren’t appreciated as much as if they had made them themselves. I just didn’t have patience that year.  Last year, of course, I taught French, and that is not skull-friendly.  I have sold a few of them, but they are difficult to ship, since the sequins fall off easily.

This year and maybe last year, I picked up skulls whenever I found them and whenever they were not too expensive.  Last month, I found some 4″ by 2 1/2″ skulls at Garden Ridge, I think, or Michaels – or maybe Party City.  I don’t remember what I paid for them, but I did find some that were slightly larger at WalMart for $1.00 each.  There were also some 8 inch skulls for $3.99.  I bought 3 of those.  And, some day, I will use the gigantic 18 inch (or more) skull I bought years ago when I made that first purchase.

I don’t think that I have ever published a tutorial on how to do this.  It is fairly easy, but it is also nice to have instructions.  I plan on letting my students (those who are well-behaved and who deserve it, that is) make them this year.  Yesterday and over the weekend, I used a hot glue gun to fill in the eye sockets – the sequin eyes will be glued on top of the skull, so there needs to be a firm foundation.  Today, I had my students paint the skulls. I used some leftover white and ecru paint that I mixed together.  With four classes working, we got two coats of paint on the skulls.

Tomorrow, I will have them use the brushes to put glue on the skulls and pour glitter over them.  That will probably take all four classes as well, since the glitter and glue have to dry on one side or on the top before they do the bottom.  On Thursday I will have sequins and glitter glue available for them to decorate their own skulls. By Friday, they should be dry, and the kids can take them home.

That’s the plan, and it may have to be altered if I am called in another day for jury duty.  I am preparing lesson plans just in case.  I am making my “demo” skulls in all four stages of developement, and will publish the tutorial when I have pictures of them all.  Stay tuned!

Mad Cow


Last night, I was trolling EBay while watching TV.  I don’t know how, but I came upon an auction for a spectacular painted circle skirt with nopales on it.  It had stains on it, but I kept looking at the great designs I found.  Then, I happened upon the matador skirt.  I impulsively bid on it, but did not make the reserve.  I tried again, promising myself I would stop after that.  I had already bid way too much.

I then sent an e-mail to the auctioneer, asking just what the reserve was.  It was $150 plus $10 shipping. I tried to get her to go lower, but she held firm.  I slept on it (thank goodness pay day is not until Friday) and went to school.  While my students were reading their library books, I surreptitiously took a piece of yarn and wrapped it around my waist.  I then measured it using a ruler on my desk.  I looked at my measurement, then looked again at the waist measurement of the skirt.

Let’s just say they did not match.

That led me to start thinking about painting my own skirt.  Of course I don’t sew, but I could get help from my mother and there were all sorts of helpful tutorials on the internet. This website had a diagram showing where to cut the fabric.  I found another one written by a man who apparently likes wearing skirts (and kilts).  And this one stressed the importance of hanging the panels to stretch the bias before cutting the hemline.

I am sure I will forget about it – I have a lot of projects to keep me busy right now.  Still, I decided to look for a pattern of some pants I saw almost 10 years ago in Paris.  You put them on like a diaper, then tie the top of the pants to adjust the leg openings.  After a bit of mis-Googling, I found out they are called Thai fisherman’s pantsHere was a great tutorial by MediaTinker – with sketches and everything.  It looks so easy…for a person who knows how to sew…  This is what they look like and this is how to put them on.  Maybe I will order a pair before I decide.

Cockroach Cupcakes, Anyone?


So, today I did a bit of wandering.  I originally wanted sushi, but the Marietta branch of RuSan is no longer open on Sunday.  So, I wended my way north and got onto 120 East to take the “long way” home.

I thought I might pick up an etouffee stuffed chicken at Cajun Meat Company, but of course, they were closed, too.  Next stop was T J Maxx, where I picked up a new skirt, a 4 qt. pan, and some stickers.  At Michaels, I was able to find more craft crosses – I pick them up whenever I can because it does not seem possible to order them on the Web.  My last recreational stop was at Party City.

I sometimes stop by Party City to see if there are any small items I can use in my assemblage art.  They also have a lot of cool party confetti in different shapes and sizes.  I found some plastic ball bearing puzzles with clear lids to make more of my Day of the Dead fridge magnets.  Finally I went over to look at the Halloween items – they were not done putting them up yet  So I browsed the Clearance wall.  That is when I saw them: The Harry Potter Cockroach Clusters.  They were on clearance for 50 cents a package (that would be 25 cents per cockroach).  I picked up one that had not been crushed and bought it.  They normally go for $3.00 or more ($1.50 a cockroach).

In the back of my mind was to use the cockroaches as cupcake toppers.  Immediately, I thought of a couple of party themes that are not even Harry Potter related.  Carmen Agra Deedy, a local Cuban writer, has a book out called Martina, the Beautiful Cockroach.   It is based on a Cuban folk tale, sooooo.  Cuban sandwiches, faux mojitos (limeade with mint), and cockroach cupcakes!!!  What about Wall-E?  There was a cockroach there – but maybe it would seem cruel to eat characters in a book or movie…

I did open them and attempt to eat one.  I don’t know what I was expecting – maybe a chocolate covered marshmallow thing?  “Cluster” – to me – implies a nut and caramel thing, but I wasn’t expecting that. It was not either one.  It’s made of orange jellied candy – I could not bite through it and did not try. Here is how the Candy Warehouse describes it:

Have you ever seen a giant cockroach scurry across the floor? Stomped on the poor creatures as they tried to flee to their dark lair? Now these delectable critters want to lay eggs and nest in your mouth! Dare to eat a sweet tasty “bug” treat from the world of Harry Potter! The juicy gummy underbelly is covered with a crunchy candy shell, just like real cockroach wings. Even the underbelly of these candy creatures looks real.

It was just an idea.

Post Script:  While searching for pictures, I came across a recipe or two for home made cockroach clusters:  This one calls for chow mein noodles and chocolate, but I saw one with raisins and pretzel sticks, too.

Melt your chocolate until smooth. Stir in chow mein noodles until the mixture is thick enough to hold together. Spoon bite-sized clusters onto wax paper and let harden in the refrigerator. If you want longer-lasting candy, melt 1 stick cooking paraffin per 12 oz of chocolate before adding the noodles. These can be frozen, just thaw before serving.

It probably tastes good, but they aren’t a spectacular, either!



Today, I went out to lunch at Taqueria del Sol.  Afterward, I stopped by Star Provisions to pick up dessert and to browse.  I got some of their cornmeal cookies with lime icing and two of their S’mores cupcakes.  While I was there, I came across the greatest line of cards and journals called PaPaYa! and made a mental note to look at their website when I got home.

The art on the PaPaYa! site is awesome.  It is the brainchild of an artist named Anahata Katkin.  There is a link to her site, also, so I went there.  I spent some time browsing through her art and drooling over the workshops scheduled in Bali and Cortona, Italy.  I WISH I could go to one of them.  I found a Flickr page with pictures from a cool workshop she did where it looked like people did a huge art piece on a 6 ft. piece of wallpaper.  Neat!  Here’s the link.

All of this has made me want so many things.  I want to go to an art workshop.  I want to give art workshops.  I want to learn new techniques, but not to completely copy the style of other artists.  I am making plenty of art right now.  I have had several orders for shrines as a result of my EBay auctions.  But I want to do more!  I am a huge hoarder of paper and tchotchkes, as I have mentioned before.  I am trying really hard to get organized and to do something with them.

Last night, I went through all of the frames I had ordered from China a couple of years ago.  Many of them arrived with shattered glass.  Next time – if there is a next time – I will order the glass on the side.  I opened the last two boxes, shook the frames (which are encased in plastic) and if they rattled, I set them aside.  Then, I took the panes of glass I had specially cut at Lowe’s, sorted through the ones that did not fit the frames (about half…) and replaced the shattered glass in the frames.  I managed not to hurt myself, but on of my cuticles is inflamed.

So that’s a start.  I also found a link there to Teesha Moore’s website, which has a tutorial on art journaling.  That sounds like fun, too.