Monday, October 22, 2012

Day of the Dead Altar

So this year I decided to try to create more cultural involvement in our school/club by doing a Dia de los Muertos altar at the high school to share the meaning of this tradition. And let me say that it was a ton of fun helping the students create their first Dia de los Muertos altar. To read about the meaning of this holiday go to this post I wrote last week.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Sugar Skulls & Day of The Dead!

So What is the "Day of the Dead? Well the Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday that is celebrated all throughout Mexico and around the world. In Brazil it's called "Dia de Finados", in Spain there are festivals and parades, and at the end of the day, people gather at cemetaries and pray for their dead loved ones. There are different forms of this holiday and they are all celbrated throughout Latin America, Asia, Africa, Europe, and also in the Native American cultures. This holiday focuses on the gathering of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members that have passed away.
In most regions of Mexico it is celebrated November 1st &2nd. With the first day being called the day of the innocents in honor of the children and infants. The second day honors all the adults. During this time people go to cemeteries to be with the souls of the departed and build private altars containing the favorite foods, beverages, and things that ment a lot to the departed. The intent is to encourage visits by the souls, so the souls will hear the prayers of the living. These celebrations can be humorous as people remember all the funny and good times they had with their loved ones.
Mow isn't this a BILLION times different than our holliday here in the United States??!! Halloween is kinda ment to be creepy and scary (don't get me wrong I love creepy and scary), but it's kind of nice to see what other cultures' version of "Halloween"is.
A common symbol of this holiday is the skull, usually made of sugar. Ssugar skulls are inscribed with the name of the loved one on the forehead.
Now, I didn't have a sugar skull mold, or patience to make one out of sugar. So what did I do? I went to Dollar Tree and bought one of their skulls! I then painted it ivory and then painted it with bright colors! So go out there and make your own "sugar skull" this Halloween!

Monday, October 15, 2012

How to Make Antlers!

So I have been looking at how to make me some nice deer antlers for a while, and honestly I couldn't find a single post anywhere on a SIMPLE & EASY way to make some antlers that didn't involve
 a) branches b) clay c) real antlers d) paper mache e) require me to go out and buy materials
I know cheap and laziness isn't a good combo, but as they say "necessity is the mother of all invention" and combined with my cheapness and laziness I came up with a super simple & easy way to make some antlers. Now you may be wondering "why?". No it's not for Halloween, although I am tempted to wear them for Halloween. But they are a prop for one of the dances the folkloric dance team is working on. I had seen the real prop that is supposed to go with this dance but they wanted $450!! about no. So for now (until I become a billionaire) this will be perfect! And plus did I mention my version was FREE! So without anymore babbling here is how I made them.

  • aluminum foil
  • painters tap/scotch tape/any paint able tape
  • wire (not too thin but not too thick either, I got mine at my local hardware store and it was the only size they had and it worked great)
  • wire cutters
  • needle nosed pliers
  • leather like fabric/ or any fabric you would like cut into about half inch strips
  • paint & paint brush & paper plate for your paint
  • metal headband
  • hot glue gun & hot glue
How To:

  • First map out what you want your antlers to look like and about how big you want them.
  • Then, with your aluminum foil roll it length wise and start making the shapes. I did each point separate and then just hot glued them together where I wanted them
  • Once all the pieces are hot glued together where you want them it should look like this...
  • After you have your antlers how you like them it is time to start taping! so get your tape out and make sure that every inch of your antlers are taped. (you can see I had tried to wrap one of the antlers in contact didn't turn out so well, I had to take it off and wrap it with tape instead)
  • Once you are done taping them they should look like this!  
  • Now comes the paint! so start painting your antlers the way you want them.
  •  It took about 2 coats of the light ivory paint for it to cover all traces of the blue tape. Then I added browns and darker ivories to them.
  • Now set your antlers to the side and wait for them to completely dry.
  • After they are completely dry take about a 12 inch length of your wire (sorry I forgot to take pictures of the rest of the steps) and push it through the bottom of your antler so you have an even amount of wire on both sides of the antler.
  • Now place the antler with the wire sticking through it on top of your metal headband (positioning isn't crucial when it comes to whether to move it left or right, because you will still be able to slide it to the sides while it's on the headband for now)
  • Now wrap the wire that is sticking out of the antler around the headband until it is totally secure and the antler doesn't flop forward or backward. (I had to play with wrapping and unwrapping it until I liked the rigidity of the antler)
  • Once you are done wrapping the wire around the antler and the headband start on the second antler.
  • Now that you have both of your antlers wire wrapped to the headband slide the antlers around on the headband until you like their position.
  • Now take your strips of fabric and start wrapping it around the headband making sure you hot glue as you go and to cover as much of the wire at the antlers as possible.
  • Once you are finished wrapping the headband in fabric you can leave it like that and you are finished!
OR If you want to be able to tie it around your head
  •  just cut your fabric to your desired length (I had cut my strips super long, eh about a yard, because I needed them to be super secure on the dancer's head) and hot glue the strips onto the ends of the headband and voila! You now have an awesome antler headpiece that cost you next to nothing! (it was totally free for me to make this, I already had everything I needed on hand!)

Vacation Time!

Well we did it! We took our first vacation this last week! We flew down to San Diego and stayed for a week! It was so much fun! We tried new food, went to the beach (a REAL one, not like the "beaches" here in Oregon), visited a ton of museums and even went to the San Diego Zoo!! It was great to get away and be somewhere completely new. I don't know why, but I somehow didn't end up taking many pictures of our trip....I know what kind of person am I!!??? well I finally got some of the ones I did take off the camera, and here they are! So if you are ever in San Diego I highly recommend going to Balboa Park and seeing all of the awesome museums there, and of course the San Diego Zoo! As for food, well if you are vegan/vegetarian (although they do have some chicken and fish meals) and you are in Oceanside you MUST go to the Hill Street Cafe! OMG they are amazing! After we found this place I think we ate there three out of the 5 days we were there. If vegan/vegetarian food is not your thing and burgers are more your thing try the Burger Lounge my husband LOVED their burgers, as for me well they did have 1 thing on the menu that I could eat that was vegan, and that was their quinoa salad. Let me just say that it was absolutely delicious! and the portions where HUGE! So I would order half a salad unless you are completely ravenous ;) Oh and did I mention that It was partially a work trip for me too?? I am now licenced to teach Zumba Sentao! Woohoo!!