Virgen de Guadalupe wallpaper

Feliz Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe. Happy Virgin de Guadalupe Day.

In celebration, I created two desktop wallpapers of la Virgencita to choose from. They are completely free to download.

Directions:

Select the wallpaper you like and click to enlarge.
Right click and select “Set as Desktop Background.

Virgen de Guadalupe - Blue/White theme

Virgen de Guadalupe - bandera mexicana theme

When you’re done, you can check out my post about the Virgin of Guadalupe from last year or go to the website of the Basílica de Santa María de Guadalupe in Mexico to send a prayer to the Virgen de Guadalupe. All petitions sent through the website will be placed at the feet de Nuestra Señora in the temple that she asked to be built on Tepeyac. At mass each morning, the petitions are prayed for by clergy.

Que la Virgen morena les cuide, hermanos.

Kusikiy: A Child From Taquile, Peru

Book description: KUSIKIY A CHILD FROM TAQUILE, PERU, by author and illustrator Mercedes Cecilia is a unique story that draws us into the kaleidoscopic and mysterious world of a Peruvian child. KUSIKIY lives in The Andes Mountains of Peru in a small island in Lake Titikaka. In this wise and peaceful community Kusikiy’s father cultivates potatoes and Quinoa; his mother, like her mother and grandmother, weaves intricate traditional designs into her textiles keeping a record of important events. Children will identify with Kusikiy’s love for family and his concerns for the effects of climate changes on Mother Earth, as well as with his desire to be of help to his town. This is a book that gives parents and educators a visual and appealing way to engage children in a dialogue about traditional cultures, the meaning of community, sustainability and caring for our environment.

“Taquile is a peaceful island. It is so quiet that you can hear the potatoes growing under the eath and the voices of mothers whispering Quechua songs to the babies on their backs.” – Kusikiy by Mercedes Cecilia

That is just a taste of the beautiful language found in this book, and here is a sample of the equally beautiful art, also created by the author.

by Mercedes Cecilia

If you’re interested in purchasing your own copy, the author is offering something special to readers of Latinaish.com. From now until December 20th, 2011, you can E-mail the author directly and let her know you’re a reader of Latiniash.com for free shipping and environmentally friendly gift wrapping.

For more information on the book and author, visit Kusikiy.com.

Disclosure: A copy of this book was provided to Latinaish.com for review. All opinions are my own.

La Casa Blanca y La Familia López

Driving by the Washington Monument on our way to the White House. (Carlos calls this "La Aguja" - "the needle.")

The visit to La Casa Blanca was bien chivo although President Obama wasn’t around to welcome me as I had hoped. I didn’t tweet or blog until now because between waking at 4 a.m. for the White House tour and preparing for our trip to Miami, I’m just super cansada.

I wish I had a lot of photos to show you, but on White House tours, no cameras are allowed inside. And honestly, although it’s fun to say, “I’ve been to the White House” – the section they allow you into is really more of a museum than actual living quarters for the family. (I didn’t even so much as see “Bo” – the Obama family’s dog!)

When you first walk in there are photos of the Obama family on the walls of the foyer. The very first photo prominently displayed, was President Obama with mariachi. I instinctively reached for my non-existent camera before remembering – no cameras allowed so I hadn’t brought it. I did find the photo on the internet though so you can see.

(By the way, I found this photo on a website called Obama Looks Bored, which features photos of President Obama looking bored. Love it.)

There were a lot of fancy furnishings, three immense crystal chandeliers that weigh 1200 pounds each. Each chandelier takes 72 hours to clean. (And that is the extent of historical tour guide type data I retained.)

There are various rooms named for colors – The Blue Room, The Red Room (which looked hot pink to me for some reason – but I loved it), The Green Room, etc.

In the Green Room a painting caught my eye and I wanted to remember the artist so I could look it up later. Without a pen and paper I had to rely on my memory, which isn’t so good. To remember things, I usually have to play word games with myself. So, to remember the artist, Jacob Lawrence, I said to myself, “Jacob Lawrence, Jacob Lawrence, Jacob Lawrence… how can I remember his name? … Oh! Jacob Have I Loved!”

Carlos immediately turned around, “Whose Jacob?”
“The artist of that painting,” I said.
“No, the other Jacob you loved,” he said narrowing his eyes.
He didn’t believe me for several minutes that ‘Jacob Have I Loved’ is the name of a book.

The Builders - by Jacob Lawrence

The Obama family in the Green Room, (the painting I like is in the background)

(The painting turned out to be ‘The Builders’ by Jacob Lawrence, if you want to read more about it.)

Once we were outside, we were allowed to take photos, so I took a few with my cell phone camera.

White House lawn being cut.

Back outside the gates.

The future 1st Latino President and his hermanito.

Mini Faux Papel Picado

Making real, authentic papel picado takes patience and dexterity. If you want to make a quick, fun mini-version with the niños, here’s a fun craft to do.

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Mini Faux Papel Picado

What you need:

• colored construction paper
• scissors
• clear tape
• floss, string or yarn
• an imagination

Cut out small rectangles of colored construction paper, equal in size.

Fold the paper in quarters. (You can fold it more or less – whatever you like.)

Cut little snips and shapes out of the paper at different angles. (Remember making paper snowflakes as a child? Same technique.) … Also, it looks best if you scallop the edges in some way.

Repeat this process with rectangles of different colors. When finished, line them up on the table and tape them to a piece of floss, string or yarn before hanging up.

Tatuado

My cumple is at the end of the month, but Carlos wanted to give me his gift un poco temprano.

This is Carlos’s first and only tattoo… y lo amo!

Suegra still doesn’t know about it. When she finds out, she will probably threaten to disown him, (otra vez.) She believes tattoos are a pecado and that only “mala gente” like pandilleros get them. When Carlos told me this I said, “Wait, doesn’t your older brother have tattoos?”

“Yeah,” Carlos said, “but when my mother found out, she slapped him.”

So Carlos’s birthday present to me? A permanent reminder of his love, and the promise of mucho drama to blog about in the coming days.

(Thanks, nene!)

Eastern Market

Because we went to try Tortilla Café recently, we also had a chance to walk around Eastern Market in Southeast D.C. which is right across the street.

Eastern market has a little of everything – mostly food and handicrafts. It’s an excellent place for people watching, photography, spending an afternoon, and shopping, of course. The mix of scents; sliced apples to sample, fresh popped kettle corn, spicy incense, and a dozen other things, reminded me of the market in El Salvador. You could also hear a mix of languages, music, and a man selling newspapers on the corner.

There is a building that houses the indoor market which is mostly butchers/meat counters, fresh produce, baked goods and a few other things mixed in. (This is also where the restrooms are.) At one end of the indoor market there is plenty of seating if you want to eat something you’ve purchased right there, while listening to live music.

The market spills out onto 7th Street which is closed to traffic. Vendors line the sidewalks under canopies selling everything from candles, handmade toys, scarves, jewelry, paintings, and wind chimes, to apples, salsa, handbags, hats, antique furniture and more. Across the street in a fenced lot are even more vendors.

Peruvian vendors were my favorite, of course.

I made Carlos buy me a llama.

While we were walking around, I kept seeing this little dog. She was so adorable and I wanted to take her photo but I didn’t want the owners to see me do so. Since they never looked away from my general direction, I decided I wanted the photo badly enough to ask them.

“Is that a Chihuahua mixed with Dachshund?” I asked.
“That’s exactly what she is! She’s a Chiweenie!” she said.

I can’t think of a sweeter mix than that. I asked the owner if I could take the dog’s photo and she very willingly agreed.

Tips If You Go:

• Bring cash. There’s an ATM in the indoor market, but if it’s not your bank, you’ll pay a fee.

• Bring toilet paper. The women’s bathroom didn’t have any. I made Carlos steal me a roll from the men’s.

• Bring your appetite. There’s plenty to eat, including free samples.

• Bring the kids. This market is very family friendly.

For directions, hours of operation and more, visit EasternMarket-DC.org.

Salvadoran Folk Art

Village by artist Fernando Llort

The traditional style of art in El Salvador comes from the northern town of La Palma, and that is where artists are trained and live today.
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Originating from an artist named Fernando Llort, the art is simple and colorful, typically making use of animals such as birds, rabbits, and turtles, as well as common objects such as flowers, trees, and houses.
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After traveling and studying in Europe in the United States, Llort returned to El Salvador amidst war. Leaving San Salvador for La Palma, he started an artist workshop called, “La Semilla de Dios.”
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Teaching the people of La Palma to make art has given them an alternative way to make a living. Today, if you buy a souvenir in El Salvador, chances are it will feature folk art in this traditional style.
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One of my own souvenirs:
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A wooden cross from El Salvador


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Photos of murals in La Palma, which I really love.
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© All rights reserved by Richard & Jo


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© All rights reserved by Richard & Jo


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Image source: Permission granted by Flickr users Richard & Jo, (gracias!)
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Links:
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The website of artist, Fernando Llort (Free gift when you join the mailing list!)
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Souvenirs – Latinaish.com
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Souvenirs Part II – Latinaish.com
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Typografía

(Image source: laughingmonk)

(Image source: laughingmonk)


Typography
ty·pog·ra·phy
[tahy-pog-ruh-fee]
–noun
1. the art or process of printing with type.
2. the work of setting and arranging types and of printing from them.
3. the general character or appearance of printed matter.

-Dictionary.com

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As a lover of both art and words, it’s inevitable that I would love typography. Words have meaning all their own, but when design is thrown into the mix, the emotion of it is amplified. When typography is done right, it can evoke an exact emotion – wistfulness, nostalgia, romance, anger, playfulness, seriousness, excitement, peacefulness, hunger.

(Image source: english.bicentenario.gob.mx)

(Image source: Copyright Stephen Raw)

(Image source: Danielle Bardgette)

(Image source: mtvtr3s.com)

(Image source: Copyright Nick Sherman)

Typography is used in magazines, art, television advertisements, restaurant signs, on products and everywhere imaginable to grab your attention.

In recent years, typography has also been used in music videos. This is often referred to as “moving typography” or “animated typography”. I had seen quite a few of these sorts of videos in English and was absolutely enamored, so I went in search of “moving typography” videos in Spanish. I discovered an Uruguyan band called “El Cuarteto de Nos”, who has used this in their videos. I love it! Not only is it fun, but it’s a good way to learn the spelling and pronunciation of some words you might not know. (Not to mention, la música está bien chida.)

Chécalo!

Paper Marigolds

Marigolds are the flower used to decorate for Día de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) in Latin America. The Marigold is also a popular flower in bloom in gardens in the United States during Autumn.

I decided I wanted to make some, but all crafts for making flowers involved tissue paper, which I never seem to have on hand. What I do have an abundance of is colored construction paper, so I set to work to figure it out. After a few false starts, I finally came up with this method. The result is so nice that I wanted to share it with you so you can make Marigolds with your niños.

Paper Marigolds
(caléndulas de papel)

What you need:

• construction paper (preferably orange colored)
• scissors
• a drinking glass
• a pencil
• a stapler


Use a drinking glass to draw 3 circles on a piece of orange construction paper.


Cut out all 3 circles. (It doesn’t have to be perfect.)


Hold all 3 circles together and fold in half, (so it looks like a little taco.)


Fold in half again. (Now it should be more of a cone shape.)


Place one staple in the pointy end to hold it together.


Cut slits, evenly spaced, into the rounded side. (You will want to cut a little deeper than what you see in the photo.)


Pinch your flower open. Use your fingers to pull the layers apart from each other and shape the petals.