Category Archives: art
We decided to picnic on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. this past Sunday. We went last minute without much of a plan. Everyone showered in a rush and Carlos helped me pack homemade tortas de jamón, bottles of water, apples and potato chips. When we arrived, we saw that some sort of event was going on but by the time we found a parking spot, (gracias a San Antonio who we always call on when searching for parking in D.C.) we were all starving and sat down beneath the trees to eat before investigating.
Soon our picnic attracted a number of uninvited guests and although I don’t think we’re supposed to encourage the wildlife, we couldn’t help but share.
After we finished eating and cleaned up the picnic, we walked over to the big tents to see what was going on. Sometimes I can’t believe my luck.
Out of all the events to stumble upon, we arrived in time to enjoy the Smithsonian Folklife Festival which features different languages and cultures each year.
“The [Smithsonian Folklife] Festival is an exercise in cultural democracy, in which cultural practitioners speak for themselves, with each other, and to the public. The Festival encourages visitors to participate—to learn, sing, dance, eat traditional foods, and converse with people presented in the Festival program.” – Smithsonian Institute website
Many interesting cultures are represented this year but of course I was drawn most to the Latin American groups in the “One World, Many Voices” section. (The other two main events feature Hungarian culture and African American culture.)
I first went to the Isthmus Zapotec tent where I watched a demonstration on how totopos are made by the Zapotecs who live in Juchitán de Zaragoza in Oaxaca, Mexico. Totopos, which are not the same as tortillas despite appearances, are made in an oven called a comixcal and are meant to be crunchy.
There are different kinds of totopos – for example, there are little totopos called “memalitas” and there are oval-shaped ones called “lengua de vaca.” Holes are poked in the totopos with a finger to prevent them from sticking to the inside of the oven. The oven is not used only for totopos but for cooking other foods such as pescado, pollo, tamales de elote and quesadilla de elote. The Juchitecas are famous for their totopos though and most women will make 15 kilos of masa per day through a labor intensive process which involves grinding the corn by hand using a “metate.” One of the women on a panel said they also make “totopos de calabaza con canela” and “totopos de coco” – (which sound delicious to me!)
“The name, totopo, comes from the Aztec (or Nahuatl) tlaxcaltotopochtl. This name is a compound of the word for a tortilla, tlaxcalli, plus the word for thunder. The combination means approximately tortillas that are noisy to chew.” – Wikipedia
The women shared with us how young brides are “kidnapped” by their novios, (it’s a tradition but the “kidnapping” is agreed upon beforehand.) We were also shown the different types of decorative clothing that the bride would wear for her wedding, (the young woman in the middle of the photograph is getting married soon.) I asked what the groom wears and she explained that his clothing would be much simpler – a plain guayabera and black pants. The grooms used to wear sandals but they now usually use black shoes.
I wanted to stick around and listen to more but the boys were getting restless so we wandered over to other tents to explore. Various groups from Colombia were represented.
At one tent visitors could write down their native language, their second language, and a heritage language spoken by a grandparent or great-grandparent, then pin it to the map. (The boys and I wrote “English, Spanish, German.”)
And the reading material throughout the festival was right up my alley.
However the sound of Andean flutes lured me away from looking at this interesting map. We watched a music group from either Bolivia or Ecuador play. (I tried to video tape with my phone but the recording doesn’t do them justice.)
Then I wandered away to look at beautiful textiles in the Kallawaya tent.
When I looked up I saw a lovely woman, one of the weavers and traditional medicine practitioners, taking a photo with a festival visitor. When they finished, the woman caught my eye and returned my friendly smiled. I indicated my camera and she nodded so I went over to her. She pointed to her hat and then at my head. I nodded and as she set it on my head, I thanked her in Spanish, which I decided she might speak in addition to Quechua and/or Kallawaya, but I’m still not quite sure if we shared any language in common.
Before Carlos could snap the photo, she bent over and picked up a colorful shawl from the ground and wrapped it around her shoulders. Carlos took the photo and I gave the hat back to her. Pointing at the shawl, I asked, “¿Cómo se llama? Es un rebozo?” – She pointed at it and said a word in Quechua which I unfortunately can’t remember. (After a little research, I think it may be called a “Lliklla.” Anyone can feel free to correct me!) I told her it was really pretty in Spanish and she smiled. I thanked her for the photo in Spanish and she nodded.
I wish I could have “spoken” with her longer. I would have loved to know her name, hear about her daily life, learn something about the traditional medicines she uses and the language(s) she speaks. It’s a part of life I still haven’t accepted, that I’ll meet people in passing and then never cross paths with them again.
Although I wanted to stay and explore more, we had planned to go museum-hopping and the boys were really wanting to move on. As we were leaving we stopped to watch a little Zapotec parade go by. (I would like to note that the woman at the back of the procession tried to throw a piece of candy to us and it hit me in the head, but I forgive her.)
If you live in the D.C. area, don’t despair that you missed this event. The Smithsonian Folklife Festival goes on daily from July 3rd to July 7th – so you still have time to go check it out!
If you don’t live in the D.C. area, the event website is really worth exploring. There are dozens of pages full of information, photos, videos, and, my favorite – an interactive map where you can listen to the featured languages.
As a member of Lowe’s Creative Ideas Network I received gift cards from Lowe’s in order to purchase supplies to complete projects. All opinions are my own.
The Lowe’s Creative Ideas Network challenge for July is “outdoor art.” I decided to pay tribute to one of my favorite artists, Fernando Llort. When we went to El Salvador in 2011, we visited The Catedral Metropolitana in San Salvador – a cathedral full of history and which featured a colorful tile mosaic façade by Llort. Months after we returned to the United States, that façade was thoughtlessly torn down. It’s difficult to say how sad and angry this made me – it still upsets me to this day. Making a replica of part of Llort’s mosaic felt like the right thing to do.
This project is time-consuming but worth it. Here’s how to make your own Backyard Ceramic Tile Mosaic.
How to Make a Backyard Ceramic Tile Mosaic
square white ceramic tiles (amount depends on desired size of mosaic)
glass paint (gloss opaque in desired colors)
fine tip paint brush
1/2 inch deep wood board cut to desired size (depends on desired size of mosaic)
1. Choose a design for your mosaic. This can be an existing design you want to re-create or one you created yourself. Decide how many tiles wide and high you want your mosaic to be and using a ruler and pencil, divide your image into a grid with an equal number of blocks. If your image is small, you may have to re-draw it larger. I recommend doing this the old-fashioned way instead of blowing the image up and applying a grid through computerized image editing, since the old-fashioned way gives you practice drawing the design. Use colored pencils to lightly color in the image if desired.
2. Number the blocks on the grid and the backs of the corresponding tiles to keep things organized in case you don’t finish in one sitting. (If your tiles come attached to each other, separate them and remove as much of the glue as possible using pliers.)
3. Screw the screws into the top edge of the board. Later you’ll tie the wire on but do this part now. You don’t want to do this after the tiles are attached and have the board crack.
4. Clean the surface of each tile with a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol and then allow each to dry before applying paint. You can use a pencil and/or permanent marker to draw the outline of your design before you paint it.
5. Paint each tile, referring to your grid as a guide. Allow to dry.
6. To cure the paint on the tiles, place tiles in a cold oven on a foil-lined baking sheet. Set oven to 350 F, bake for 30 minutes. The foil is especially important if there is still glue on the backs of your tiles. This glue will melt in the oven and the tiles will attach themselves to your baking sheet! Turn oven off, allowing tiles to cool completely inside the oven before removing. Note that your tiles go into the oven when it’s cold and come out when it’s cold. They must be allowed to heat up and cool down properly. If you have a lot of tiles, you may have to do this in batches. Note: When moving tiles be careful not to chip the paint. The paint is not permanent until tiles are cured. If you do chip the paint, touch it up and wait for it to dry again. The tiles, (I believe because of the glue), smell strongly while being baked. I recommend having a few windows open while baking.
7. Now you’re ready to assemble the mosaic and attach it to the wood. Put on some plastic gloves to avoid getting Gorilla Glue on your skin. Lightly moisten the back side of each tile with a damp paper towel and apply a very small amount of Gorilla Glue. Place tiles on your piece of wood in order using your grid as a reference. (Remember to check that the screws are at the top before attaching tiles!) Carefully place a flat heavy object, such as books, on top of the glued tiles to apply pressure. Wait 30 minutes until dry. If your mosaic is large, I recommend doing this step one section at a time. Note: You may want to test this process with extra tiles and a scrap piece of wood. Gorilla Glue expands and what you may think is a small amount, will be too much if you aren’t experienced in using it.
8. Wait 72 hours to be sure that paint and glue are fully cured before tying the hanging wire to the screws and hanging outside.
9. Optional: For a more finished look, you can glue thin pieces of wood molding around the outside of your mosaic. To make the mosaic more weather-proof, you could apply a ceramic tile surface sealer but I did not attempt this and can’t tell you whether it would affect the appearance of the painted tiles.
Note: Although the paint and glue are permanent, harsh weather will take a toll on your mosaic. Consider bringing your mosaic indoors during cold or rainy months, or display it in a sheltered area, such as a patio under an awning.
What will your mosaic design be?
Check out more from Lowe’s Creative Ideas Network by subscribing to their Creative Ideas Magazine and E-Newsletter, following them on Pinterest, and by seeing what the other Lowe’s Creative Ideas Network members are up to.
I’m excited to show you the project I made for May as part of my partnership with the Lowe’s Creative Ideas Network and I think you guys are going to love this one, too.
Remember a couple years ago when I went to El Salvador and one of the souvenirs I came back with was a “fútbolito” (little table top soccer game)? … I mentioned in that post that we had actually always wanted to make our own “fútbolito” and so that’s what I decided to do for May’s project.
For the month of May, the challenge was to use the PANTONE Universe’s Color of the Year, Emerald Green, (available exclusively at Lowe’s in Valspar Signature Paint.) … The color kind of reminded me of a soccer pitch and with my older son trying out for the soccer team again this summer, fútbolito is what came to mind!
To make your own, check out the directions below!
Make Your Own Fútbolito (Table Top Soccer Game)
green paint (I used PANTONE Universe in Emerald, satin finish)
white paint (I just used craft paint)
a wooden board – 10 inches wide x 14 inches long x 3/4 inch deep
1 1/4 inch nails (I used white-colored nails but you can use nails of any color)
coffee straws (optional: Use different colored straws for each team)
pencil with eraser
medium flat paint brush
fine tip paint brush
white mason line (string)
1. With medium flat paint brush, paint the wood board green, allow to dry.
2. Measure and mark lines in pencil. (Refer to or print the diagram I made below!) Use the protractor for the half-moon at the front of the goal box. If you don’t have a protractor, you can use a drinking glass. Also use the drinking glass, (or a drafting compass if you want to be technical), to draw the circle in the center of the field.
3. With fine tip paint brush, paint lines white, allow to dry.
4. Mark spots for players, goal posts, and border in pencil as shown on the diagram.
5. Gently hammer nails into spots marked for goal posts and border. Note: Be careful not to crack the wood. This is more likely to happen when you’re close to the edge.)
6. Cut coffee straws into 3/4 inch sections. Slide a piece of coffee straw on each nail for players before hammering into place. Optional: If you can find two different colors of coffee straws, make one team one color and the other team another color.
7. Wrap string around nails on the outside line and around goal posts. I don’t have an exact method for this. Just tie the string on one corner nail and start going nail to nail, keeping the string taut, wrapping the string once around, before going to the next nail. Go around the entire perimeter and goal posts 4 times before tying off. Note: On your last pass over the goal posts, criss-cross at a diagonal as seen in the photos.
8. Erase stray pencil marks.
9. To play with your “fútbolito” (table top soccer game), you can use 2 popsicle sticks and a marble or other small round ball that will fit inside the goals. Another option is to use a penny or other coin and take turns flicking it.
10. Feeling extra creative? Paint or decorate wide “jumbo” popsicle sticks with brand names to make it look like the advertisements you see along the sides of real stadium soccer fields!
Check out more from Lowe’s Creative Ideas Network by subscribing to their Creative Ideas Magazine and E-Newsletter, liking them on Facebook, following them on Twitter, (Hashtag: #LowesCreator), watching their videos on YouTube, re-pinning them on Pinterest, and by seeing what the other Lowe’s Creative Ideas Network members are up to.
Disclosure: This is not a paid or sponsored post. As a member of Lowe’s Creative Ideas Network I received gift cards from Lowe’s to purchase products to complete projects. All opinions are my own.
I am super feliz to announce that I’m now a member of Lowe’s Creative Ideas Network – What this means is that each month I’ll be participating in creative home and garden improvement projects which I’ll share with you here.
We’ve been Lowe’s customers for a long time, (remember the video we made a couple years ago about how all the signage at Lowe’s is bilingual?) – and like most homeowners, we have a long list of things that need to be fixed – so somos una pareja perfecta (we’re a perfect match!)
For the month of March the challenge was to either bring spring indoors or do some spring cleaning and organization – I ended up doing a little of all of that. We live in a small house, (1,144 square feet to be exact), so the family computer is located in a corner of the living room – and it wasn’t a very pretty corner. I decided to salvage the beat up desk and chair by painting them a bright color, add potted plants, clean up the clutter, and change up the wall art. Here’s the result!
What do you think? If you like any of these changes and want to re-create them in your own casita, here are some step-by-step directions to help you out.
Potted Plant How-To
What you need:
Pots of your choice (I chose the 3-pot herb tray planter, $9.97)
Plants of your choice (I chose lavender, $3.48 each)
This is pretty easy! In my case, I chose lavender because not only is it pretty but it smells good so it works as a natural air freshener. Lavender is also known to de-stress, and since this computer area is used for stressful things like filing taxes and doing homework, I figured we could all use a dose!
The Lavender came in biodegradable pots which can be planted directly in the ground, but because I re-planted it in ceramic pots, I cut that part away and simply put the biodegradable part outside in the garden. If the plant you chose came with too much dirt, remove as much as needed to make it fit. If the opposite is true, (the plant didn’t come with enough dirt to fill your pot nicely), you may need to purchase a small bag of potting soil and add as needed.
Beach-style Sign How-To
What you need:
A piece of lumber, 1 to 2 feet long
Paint colors, (your choice)
A large paintbrush for the background color
A very fine paint brush for lettering
Picture wire ($3.18)
Pencil with eraser
1. For the piece of lumber I actually bought a “mailbox mount board” for $3.47 because it was the perfect size plus it came with a little bag of screws. Paint the board whichever color you like. I chose Valspar semi-gloss in “Sprinkler CI 250.” Choose a word or phrase and then measure lines lightly marked in pencil to guide you. (The phrase I chose, “Todo me parece bonito” ["Everything seems nice to me"] is from a Jarabe de Palo song.) Allow to dry before moving on to the next step.
2. I chose to hand letter my sign, but you can use stencils. Use a pencil to outline the text lightly and then you can paint them in. (I just used basic white craft paint which, like many of the supplies I didn’t price above, I already had on hand.)
3. Allow paint to dry completely and then gently erase any pencil marks that are still showing. Optional: If you want your sign to look more weather worn, lightly hand sand it with fine sandpaper.
4. I wanted my sign to look kind of casual and hastily made, like a real sign you might see on a beach, so I chose to make the screws and wire visible. If you don’t want the hanging mechanism to be visible, you can do it on the back side. To make your sign like mine, measure an inch in on each side of your sign on the top edge. Mark a dot at each end, which is where you’ll place a screw. Tap the screw with a hammer so that it stands on its own, and then use a screw driver to drill it in deeper, but not all the way.
5. Use wire cutters to cut a length of wire that is a couple inches longer than your board on each side. Tie the wire to each screw and wrap any extra length around the screw. Your sign is ready to hang!
Desk & Chair Makeover How-To
What you need:
Paint of your choice (I got a gallon of Valspar semi-gloss in “Sprinkler CI 250″ – cost $34.98)
Paint brushes ($2.98 to $3.98 each, depending on size)
Face masks – aka “respirators” (3 pack, $5.97)
Candy (to “pay” your kids to do the dirty work)
Optional: electric sander
1. If you can, take your furniture outside when you sand it – this saves you from making the house all dusty. The purpose of sanding before you paint is to help the paint adhere better to the wood and it will save you from having to do a second coat. Use eye protection and a face mask to keep the dust from sanding out of your eyes and lungs. You can sand by hand or use an electric sander. (If you hate sanding like I do, hire your kids to do it. Mine work for candy, which Lowe’s conveniently sells.)
2. Wipe the furniture down with old rags to remove all the dust.
3. Open the paint and stir. If painting inside, spread old newspapers under the furniture to protect your flooring. If painting outside, you can do the same if you don’t want your grass painted. A gallon is more than enough to paint your average-sized desk and chair – You will have plenty leftover for other projects.
4. Allow paint to dry completely before moving your furniture or putting anything on it.
Check out more from Lowe’s Creative Ideas Network by subscribing to their Creative Ideas Magazine and E-Newsletter, liking them on Facebook, following them on Twitter, (Hashtag: #LowesCreator), watching their videos on YouTube, re-pinning them on Pinterest, and by seeing what the other Lowe’s Creative Ideas Network members are up to at LowesCreativeIdeas.com.
Disclosure: This is not a paid or sponsored post. As a member of Lowe’s Creative Ideas Network I received gift cards from Lowe’s to purchase products to complete projects. All opinions are my own.
It is 35 degrees outside today but I am not deterred. I am already thinking ahead to when I can hang a hammock on the frame in the yard and nap in the sunshine. Today, thanks to the people at NOVICA/National Geographic, I ordered a new one to replace our well-loved Salvadoran hammock which might not make it through the season.
Our new hammock (pictured above), is hand-woven by Maya artisans in Mexico using traditional techniques. This particular hammock is called “Magical Isle.” According to the website, “The tropical isle of Holbox, at the tip of the Maya Riviera inspires the color selection for this hammock. The sea assumes both green and blue undertones that merge around the isle to give it a mystical illusion.” – I’ll be daydreaming about that isle of Holbox when I take a nap in the hammock but I’ll also be feeling good about the purchase I made, knowing it supports people who are keeping traditional culture alive.
All of the products purchased on the NOVICA website support artisans around the world – and each handmade object is so incredible. Let me show you a few of my favorites.
All of these items here are actually part of my “Colorful Soul” Collection. On NOVICA you can curate collections of images, (kind of like Pinterest), and your efforts help highlight products for customers, thus supporting the artisans.
I have a feeling that most of you think this is all just as chévere as I do, so I’m very excited to tell you that NOVICA/National Geographic is allowing me to hold a giveaway! (Did you really think I’d brag about my new hammock without giving you the opportunity to get something, too?)
See the details below to enter!
Prize description: One lucky winner will receive a gift code for $75.00 USD to use on a purchase made in the NOVICA/National Geographic online store. (If you choose an item valued more than $75.00 or the total comes to more than $75.00 with shipping costs, you will be responsible for the remaining balance. Gift code expires 5/8/2013 and if not used before that date, will not be renewed.)
Approximate value: $75.00
How to Enter:
Visit the NOVICA/National Geographic online store and then leave a comment here telling me which item you love the most and which country it’s from. (It doesn’t have to be from Latin America!)
For a second entry, create an account on NOVICA, and curate at least one collection. Leave the link to your NOVICA collection in comments.
(Please read official rules below.)
Official Rules: No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years of age or older to enter. You must be able to provide a U.S. address for prize shipment. Your name and address will only be shared with the company in charge of prize fulfillment. Please no P.O. Boxes. One entry per household. Make sure that you enter a valid E-mail address in the E-mail address field so you can be contacted if you win. Winner will be selected at random. Winner has 48 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be selected at random. Giveaway entries are being accepted between February 21st, 2013 through February 28th, 2013. Entries received after February 28th, 2013 at 11:59 pm EST, will not be considered. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. If you win, by accepting the prize, you are agreeing that Latinaish.com assumes no liability for damages of any kind. By entering your name below you are agreeing to these Official Rules. Void where prohibited by law.
Disclosure: This is not a paid or sponsored post. NOVICA/National Geographic allowed me to pick something from their website for under $75 for review purposes. All opinions are my own.
Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, leave your link in comments. English translation in italics!
Sí, ya sé que es muy temprano por escribir sobre El Día de San Valentín, (también conocido como “Día de los Enamorados” y “Día del Amor y la Amistad”), pero yo no puedo esperar porque les tengo una sorpresa.
He creado algunos “valentines” para ustedes en español! Por favor, siéntase libres de compartirlos en las redes sociales, a través de E-mail, o incluso imprimirlos y darlos a su amorcito. Son completamente gratuitos. Besos!
Title: 10 Valentines
Yes, I know it’s too early to write about Valentine’s Day, (also known as “Día de los Enamorados” and “Día del Amor y la Amistad” in Latin America), but I can’t wait because I have a surprise for you.
I have created valentines for you all in Spanish! Please, feel free to share these in social media, through E-mail, or even to print them and give them to your sweetheart. They’re completely free to use. Kisses!
Please note: The license on each of these photos put in place by the individual photographers allows for non-commercial use and adaptations of the original with attribution. Each photo has been watermarked by me with the photographers name and linked to the original photograph. I want to thank the photographers for making their photos available for use under Creative Commons.
I’ve got a backpack full of links for you to check out for Día de Los Muertos (also known as “Day of the Dead” or “Día de los Difuntos”.)
SpanglishBaby.com had the genius idea of creating this collection of Day of the Dead links which includes everything from altars/ofrendas, crafts for adults and kids alike, themed products available for purchase from around the internet, recipes, history, culture, photos, videos, and personal stories. The collection of links includes all my Día de los Muertos posts too in case you missed them in previous years.
Click the image below to go to the SpanglishBaby post which includes not only all their awesome links within their own site, but links to all our fellow amigas’ great content which continues to be added!
Like many other people out there, I’ve come to love using the online image editor PicMonkey to edit my photos. It has every awesome feature you could want, plus some – and it’s free. I didn’t think I could love PicMonkey more than I already do, but I just came upon a super chévere seasonal addition. Not only have Halloween features been added, but there is now a Día de los Muertos theme!
Although I’ve never had a desire to paint my face like a sugar skull before, PicMonkey made this idea very tempting. Carlos came into the room while I was in the middle of creating this.
Carlos asked me, first, what in the world I was doing, and second, “I thought you said you were busy writing?”
(Thanks a lot, PicMonkey, for distracting me and getting me into trouble!) … I’ll go back to writing now, the rest of you, go have fun!
On SpanglishBaby I talked about a non-profit organization called Story Corps which records people’s true stories to create a sort of archive of American history for future generations. Some of these stories have been animated, and I shared a really hilarious yet heartwarming video from the Story Corps collection called Facundo the Great – (go check it out on SpanglishBaby!)
While I clicked around on the Story Corps website, I found several other animated stories I loved just as much as Facundo the Great. Here are two more, and if you love them mucho, check out Story Corps for más.
I’m not planning on getting too political here on Latinaish.com despite it being an election year, but I couldn’t resist sharing this greeting card I discovered this evening at Target.
Wow – this simple card manages to hit 3 demographics at once!
1. Spanglish speakers
2. Democrats or others voting for Obama
3. People familiar with the “Keep Calm” meme
Congratulations to the artist at Recycled Paper Greetings for hitting it out of the park. And for Republicans out there, no worries, there was a much less catchy “Keep Calm, Vote for Rom” version as well.