Category Archives: guadalupe

Wacky Idea Number 1 – Semana Santa Peeps Diorama


I have had a lot of ideas lately – one of them cannot be done yet because it’s not the right season, one cannot be done because I am missing a supply, and one of them, well, probably cannot be done.  Today, I will propose the first idea.

It is that time of year when the Washington Post posts a slide show of their Peeps Diorama contest.  I was reminded by the Crafty Chica’s post about a peeps shrine she made using one of her new products. I would like to do a diorama of a Semana Santa (Holy Week) procession in Peeps.  There is nothing against what I am planning in the entry guidelines. So I guess it’s up to my good sense.

Now, we’re in trouble.  I am not known for my sensibility when I think an idea is cool.

In my senior year of high school, just as I was on the fringe of the popular folk, I wrote a cute poem.  It was about favoritism during the rehearsal for the Dramatic Interpretation competitions we used to participate in when we took Drama or Speech.  It was so cute, I did not think about how negative it sounded, criticizing the sponsor and basically saying that coaching preference was given to students who were consistent winners.

True, perhaps – but when they found out who wrote the poem, I became Persona Non Grata to the Speechies from that time on.

A while back, I used to teach Exploratory Spanish and I used to show a LOT of videos.  I had two in particular that pertained to the Easter season.  There was one about Semana Santa in Spain.  Then, there was a two day (or all weekend?) Easter procession in Peru.

The basic idea of the procession is that the relics from the church (statues, holy items, etc.) are taken out and paraded around the town on huge floats.  The floats are carried by a solid wall of people – mostly men. I thought this would be interesting to portray.  But, I don’t know if it’s appropriate.  I went to all three of the Washington Post slide shows, and the only dioramas I found of a religious subject were a priest commissioning Michelangelo to paint the Sistine Chapel, a re-creation of a Passover seder, and Mardi Gras (I know it’s not the same thing, I just thought I would mention it!).
Nothing like a nativity or Noah’s Ark or anything like that. But, here’s my idea anyway:

1. I would steer away from Spain’s celebration (see picture).  They tend to process in costumes with tall pointy hats and cloaks – often white. Also, as you see in the picture, a large cross is shouldered by one or more of the men.  While I understand the symbolism and culture behind this, I live in the South.  All people would see is a bunch of men in cloaks and white pointy hats bearing a cross… you know: the Ku Klux Klan!

2. No, South America is more friendly.  I found a picture of a group of men in purple carrying a huge wooden platform with a scene from the Bible perched atop it.
I immediately thought of purple Peeps.
3. Also, in Guatemala, they lay down intricate and colorful carpets made of sawdust, flower petals, and other items.  These are called alfombras.  I figured I could do that with sand or glitter.  After the decoration is admired – and hopefully, photographed – the people in the procession walk right through it!
So, unless I buy up Peeps and let them petrify for a year, I will have to wait for next year to plan my project.  I don’t know if it would be considered sacreligious, or just offensive. Hey, maybe some will find it cute!

I thought I was done with my Peeps ideas.  But they keep on coming.  What about a large Peep sculpture of the Virgin of Guadalupe.  I could call her “Guadalu-Peep”.

But, then again…


Nuevo Distroller


I had another question the other day about Distroller franchises.  Now, I apt9687have no contact with Amparin Serrano, nor with anyone who works for Distroller.  But that one post I made two years ago about the company is one of the most read in my blog.  I get both coherent and incoherent comments left on my blog, mostly in Spanish.

It seems that the people at Distroller have gotten no more efficient at answering all of the inquiries fired at them by interested licensees.  Maybe they don’t need the money…  I did notice that more stores have opened in Mexico, and there are now two in the United States:  one in Miami and one in Los Angeles.

For those people interested in franchising, I would suggest that you try calling one of the U. S. stores.  See if you can get any information from them.  Here is their information:

DOWNEY, CA 90241
TEL: (562) 923-8800

TEL: (305) 365-3939

Good luck on that!  Also, I visited the Distroller website and found it completely re-vamped.  Really beautiful, and with new products, too.  I particularly loved the new books by A. Serrano and Marta Anchustegui.  They are written by Anchustegui and illustrated by Serrano.  The titles look definitely interesting.  Topics include body image, familial abuse, cancer, and alcoholism.  The new website is called Sopa de Letras.

Bety Ballena

Bety Ballena

I guess you can figure out what issues Bety has…

I think that the biggest attraction to the whole Distroller phenomenon is the awesome imagination of its creator, Amparin Serrano.  Who else would make premature baby dolls a hot item?  There are all sorts of medicines and nostrums to feed and care for the “neonato” – and the umbilical cord is prominent.  For those that are uncomfortable with newborn humans, there are also animals (Leonato and Monato – lion and monkey).  “Los viruses” are little disease dollies that are the “enemies” of the Neonatos.

Other options for buying Distroller are Ebay auctions.  There is a lot of piracy, however, so be forewarned.

Cleaning House


Right now, I am working to organize my studio – I am also watching almost all of the available episodes of House on the Fox website.  I am really suffering withdrawal from new TV shows.  I was able to catch one episode repeat last night at 9PM, but it was interrupted by news of the tornado that hit downtown Atlanta.  I wish those news people would get their priorities straight.

Then, I found another episode on the USA Network at 11PM.  My husband walked in from his late evening nap and pronounced, “That’s the one where the kid has the radioactive keychain.”  He doesn’t understand why I like House, and knew I had already seen it.  By making this statement, he was trying to wrest the remote from my control.  The joke was on him, because there was no Letterman or Leno because of storm coverage.

I am making ready to finish the game board I made with my nephews’ Pokemon cards.  I had stopped working on it last week, partly because I was still sick and preferred to sleep when I got back home from school.  I also did not have enough sequined trim to use as an element in the game board.  Lucky for my, I found what I needed at JoAnn Fabrics last night.  I also found a bolt of Painted Desert Virgin of Guadalupe panels – I thought they were discontinued.  I bought two yards, but really wanted to buy the whole bolt.

So, I have finished my sandwich, and it’s time to go back to work.

My newest creation


I was in JoAnn Fabrics and looking through the dollar bins at the cassquidpuzzleamall.jpgh register.  I had seen these little mazes before, but yesterday I had an idea.  I first bought one, brought it home and checked to see if the plastic cover would pop off.  It did, with the help of a finger nail file. Then I went back to JoAnn’s and bought more.

I was prepared to pay $1 each for them, but I noticed as the cashier was ringing them up that some were $1 and some were 50 cents.  So I stopped her to see what the difference was.  The ones that were $1 were safari animals and were the newer design, but they were mixed with the “summer” themed mazes, which were going for half off.  I had her take the $1 ones off of my bill, then went over and sorted the puzzles, buying 83 of the 50 cent ones.  Luckily, it was a weekday morning, so I didn’t hold many people up!

Now I have made them into mini shrines!  I had a lot of dismembered (or should I say, incomplete) Virgins of Guadalupe from the edges of my Alexander Henry fabric that I use for a lot of my shrines and other projects.  I hate to throw away scraps, because you never know when you can use those little pieces. I had already cut around the head of one of the scraps and used that to put in a shadowbox.  So I went through and found any spare Virgin faces and I cut those out and put them in the boxes.

blueguadalupeminishrineforinternet.jpgThe boxes are painted and I have used a variety of colors. Of course, I added the obligatory glitter, then I put some mini paper roses that I had lying around inside and put the plastic cover back on. The only thing added since I took the photo below are a few more glitter glue dots on the outside of the frame – oh, and I will varnish them, too.

I decided to put something on the backs of the shrines, so that they could stand alone.  The back is cut from a holographic folder, one of many I bought at WalMart for use “someday”.  My challenge was to not put too much in the shrines, as they are so small.  I have tons of sequins, and may make sequin flowers later if I cannot buy more of the tiny paper ones.  I remember buying them on sale at Hobby Lobby, so they may be discontinued.

I have been wanting to take part in the Art-O-Mat project for ages, and I think this will be just the ticket.  I will sign and number them, of course.  At 2 1/8th inch squared and 5/8ths inch deep, it fits into the regulation box (since they use recycled cigarette machines, the box has to be that size.).  It is a tiny bit snug on the sides, but I will make it work.  People purchase the art with a token worth $5 and I will get 1/2 of that.

It will also be good publicity.  My name will be up on the Art-O-Mat contributors site. I will also put some literature with it in the box so that the buyer can be referred to my other websites.  It could be really to get accepted, I have to send in a prototype, boxed and wrapped in cellophane. There’s also an application to fill out.

The Art-O-Mat site tells you to wait to make more, but I am also going to sell them on E-Bay and Etsy.  I plan to sign the ones I make for those sites, but I will make a limited number for the Art-O-Mat and sign and number them.  I don’t know how many I will make – the minimum is 50.  I am supposed to receive checks quarterly, I think, but I am not really doing it for the income.  I think it is an awesome project.  We have only one here in Atlanta – at Whole Foods on Briarcliff.  I believe I wrote a blog entry about it a couple of months ago.

New Assemblage Piece on Etsy


virginmaryblue.jpgI finally got this piece on my site.  This piece started out with a Virgin of Guadalupe that I encrusted with sequins. I didn’t know what I was going to do with it, but I had a large piece of canvas board that I put inside of a frame.  I put the sequined piece smack in the middle, and was stuck for a while.  Then, I added a background of different papers with a serape striped border.   Actually, I started with the border, which came from a set of Fiesta party napkins from Garden Ridge!

I then decided to use a patchwork design of various papers to frame the Virgin.  In the foreground, I added some painted flowers that I made from the bamboo flowers on my chicken baskets.  It makes a little platform for the Virgin to stand on.  The pink roses add another unexpected element and they break up the regularity of the patchwork background.

The frame is hand-painted in two colors of turquoise – originally, I had the whole background in light blue, but I didn’t like it.  The frame was originally antiqued gold, but I painted it turquoise blue and highlighted the flower and leaf border.  I am very pleased with the result.  I know that my work is not everyone’s cup of tea – but I like color.  It makes me happy!

Today,  I got started on my new diet.  I have a blog for it – I recycled the one I was going to use for Mexico.  I don’t remember exactly when it was that I picked up an article called “The Frozen Food Diet.” I am pretty sure it was while I was waiting in an examining room during my physical – about 6 months ago. I picked up an old issue of Good Housekeeping magazine, and came across the article.  At the same time as I was reading this, the Jenny Craig program was getting a lot of publicity with Kirstie Alley as a spokesperson.

I did look into the program, but am shy about committing that much money at the moment. I also visited a lot of other sites that provide calorie-controlled meals to people who are dieting – there are quite a few, and they have some very attractive food. Some of it gourmet-quality, organic, etc.  So this is a try at keeping my own regime using purchased entrees.  You can go to the site if you are really interested – I won’t bore you here.  This will mean that I am going to try not to be cooking so much – I am going to try and channel that creativity into my art.

I am also working on getting my E-Bay auctions settled and mailed out.  The Coolceras (the Distroller-style bracelets that I purchased in Mexico.  I sold a whole lot of bracelets (pulseras, in Spanish) and a couple of the scapulars already.  I also have orders for crosses, Blue Dog shrines, both kinds of Guadalupe shrines, and fabric.  A pretty good week, but I have to get organized now!

My husband just got finished organizing all of our photos from Mexico.  He spent hours on, figuring out how to work out the hierarchy of sets and groups and collections.  He has a couple of panorama shots that are great!  I still have to go in and write comments, but go and check the pictures out!

Patzcuaro, Part 2


arboldemuerte.jpgHere I am, back to classes. Last night may have been the best night’s sleep I have had on this trip so far. It was finally COOL: of course, I didn’t really want to get up. But I did.

The hotel where we stayed in Patzcuaro was called the Mansion Iturbe. I had stayed there before with my mother. It’s right on the Plaza Vasco de Quiroga, and is very nice. Included in the price was a free cocktail and snack between 6 and 7PM and a breakfast of your choice each morning of your stay. The only complaint that I might have is that they advertised free wireless internet, and it didn’t work most of the time.

On Saturday, we woke up at about 9:30 and went downstairs to claim our breakfasts. I ordered chilaquiles Purepechas, which is cooked with eggs and doesn’t have any meat. I asked for some crema to temper the heat. It came with beans and mango juice and an interesting assortment of breads. Wheat had the “hot cakes” which did not come with maple syrup or any of the typical American accoutrements, so he had jam on them. After such a substantial breakfast, we went back to the room. Wheat took a rest while I went shopping.

I made the round of shops on the Plaza, then went looking for the Casa de las Once Patios. This is a former convent that houses workshops and tiendas where people from around Michoacan sell their wares. I made a mental note of several shops I wanted to re-visit to buy things. I was particularly interested in the bordados – embroidered scenes depicting such events as the Noche de Muertos, La Vida del Rancho, La Boda, etc. I also planned on buying a LOT of things at a shop that is off the road to the 11 Patios. I have been there before and bought gifts on former trips.

On my way back to get Wheat, I was accosted for the third time by a persistent little lady who sells copal wood carvings. I had stopped by the night before to admire her wares (she was stationed on the sidewalk across from a hotel). She makes carvings of the Virgin of Guadalupe, as well as other virgins (the triangular virgin, for example – usually called the Virgin de San Juan), santos, and angels. She showed my husband and me her certification from the State of Michoacan, and quoted a price of 80 pesos per Virgin, most of which were about a foot high and nailed to a stand. She also had larger pieces, including some very nicely painted ones which were more expensive.

When I pasted her this time, I thought that I would go ahead and buy two Virgins of Guadalupe. Then, I realized I only had about 118 pesos in cash. I told her that I could only take one for the moment, but I would return to buy another later. She wouldn’t let me go, and finally gave them to me for what I had in cash. That was a little more than $5 each. I should have bought more!!! Darn!

Wheat and I returned to the Once Patios, and I warned him that almost all of the shops I went into had “no tocar photos o videos” signs posted, which was disappointing. Still, he managed to chat up a guitar maker from Paracho, and we got some video of my choosing and buying the embroideries, which were made by a cooperative of women near Tzintzuntzan. I addition to the themes I mentioned earlier, I also bought a Tree of Life bordado.

I didn’t go way out of control in my spending – I don’t think. I had spent some time the night before thinkshawl2.jpging about what money I was going to spend on travel, classes, accomodations, and hotels for the next couple of weeks. So my purchases seemed meager so far. I REALLY wanted a shawl that was for sail at the bordado shop. There was one in cream and one in black, and they were embroidered with hundreds of tiny designs from one end to the other. It was set up on a regular grid pattern, so they were lined up perfectly, buy each image was a different one. I thought that the woman had said that it was for sale for 1500 pesos (less than $150), but when Wheat offered to buy it for me as an early birthday present, I found out that it was actually 2000 pesos, and that was too much.

I also purchased two retablos, two ex-votos, and one carved and painted Virgin of Guadalupe from the store where I had bought so many gifts the last two times I visited Patzcuaro. The themes of the ex-votos were alcoholism and divorce (both averted, thanks to St. Anthony and the Virgin of Guadalupe). I bought a retablo of the Nino de Atocha and I think one of another Virgin.

That evening, we went down to the Plaza to film La Danza de los Viejitos. There were two groups that were taking turns. I tried to get one of the little boys to talk to us on tape, but he was only 6 and we hit a conversational dead end. Unfortunately, the old San Franciscan church that was turned into a library dedicated to Gertrudis Bocanegra was closed due to a political rally. I wanted to get pictures of the mural by Juan O’Gorman. Darned politicians!

After our happy hour, we went to an internet cafe, where I did some extra research on places to eat. We ended up choosing El Primer Piso – we couldn’t find it at first, but realized finally that it was in the same courtyard as El Kiosko, where I had bought things the night before. I passed by that night and bought another version of a Loteria game – an older one I had seen on a website. The restaurant was upstairs, and I realized when I got there that Mom and I had eaten there 7 years before on our trip to Patzcuaro. We ordered actual salads, and I had my third bowl of Sopa Tarasca of the weekend. This one had beans -which I prefer.

I will write more about Sunday in Patzcuaro, Part 3. But I will report the paleta of the day as being arroz (rice pudding – no raisins). It was very good!

New Guadalupe Shrines


Well, I worked for two full days on coming up with five standard designs for my Guadalupe Sheer Shrine. I have made nPink openote of all of the supplies needed for each shrine. I am trying to be vigilant so that I don’t get caught unprepared and run out of stuff. Of course, I know that I have limited access to the box itself, so I am warning interested parties that these will probably not last long after Christmas! To the right is my pink shrine (I have named them after the outer ribbon border color), closed. Notice how the Virgin peeks out from behind the door. That is exactly the effect I was thinking about when I first saw the boxes. I have posted all of the pictures on my Flickr page (here) and also put them up for sale on Maison Celeste Etsy Store.

pink closed Here is the same box, opened. I made the flowers myself. I LOVE hot pink and orange together. Back when I was in middle school, and thought that I was going to have a racing stable, those were my chosen colors. My second choice was red and yellow. I am just a fan of bright colors, I guess. So, there are four other designs, each with a different Virgin. Next, I am going to work on four versions of my painted crosses. Until then, since I got soooo much done, I am sorting sequins. Yes, into different colors. Next, I will put all of the sequins of similar color in a common caddy, sorted into various shapes. I know, anal.

I also finally completed a special order for a Blue Dog Shrine frame. I had a request from a former client who had herspurple dog open stolen – gee, how flattering! This is great fun, because since it was a custom order, I was able to use an image I don’t commonly use. I think I used this Blue Dog for my friend in Houston, but with a green frame. I had a BLAST making it. I have to use only cards for the ones I sell on E-Bay, but I have done a couple of custom ones. You can see them as well on my Flickr page. I just got finished ordering 13 copies of the 2006 Blue Dog Calendar datebook, which is supposed to have a different piece on each page. I think that I can use them in my upcoming shrines.

Speaking of which, I just went to the bank today and send a wire transfer to China to order the new frames that I had to have made. I will have to raise my prices, but I think that it will be totally worth it. Until then, I think that I am going to make three last shrines with the frames that I salvaged from the discount bin at Hobby Lobby. They are in sad shape, but I think I can work with them. I also have about thirty miniature Spanish doors I bought about 2 years ago that I need to make something with.

Of course, I am getting all of this inspiration and steam up just two weeks before school starts. Typical. Next Tuesday, my husband, the dog, and I are headed for the mountains of North Carolina. I need some relaxing time. I also need for it to be cooler.