Crafty Chica Podcast #7: Latin-ize Your Christmas Tree!
I know it isn’t even December, but once turkey day has passed, celebrating Christmas is fair game. And Starting December 1st – you can find a new Crafty Chica show every day…granted, they will be short, but I’ll offer a gift box of surprises for you. Starting with today!
First, Crafty Chica updates -
Number one – Special thanks to Latina Magazine for featuring the Crafty Chica Podcast as Number 13 in their “50 Ways to Add Sabor to Christmas”. If you haven’t seen this issue yet, get it. It is filled with all kinds of great resources for Latin-themed holiday goodies. Thanks to Working Mother Magazine and writer Claire Whitcomb for the wonderful article on me in this month’s issue. And gracias as well to La Ciudad Magazine in Los Angeles for giving props to my ornaments. The same goes to Tu Vida Magazine for the same. Tu Vida Magazine is produced by Hearst Magazines and you can find it inserted inside Oprah, Cosmo, Good Housekeeping, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire and Redbook. Way cool, huh?
I had no idea my ornaments would be such a hit. I started making them last year because I couldn’t any cool ones at the store. I wanted Frida, Loteria images and even Dia de los Muertos images. So I designed my own and next thing I knew, everyone wanted a set. I’ve been making them non-stop this season. Check out my store at ChicanoPopArt.com to take a peek or if you even want to order some. Mention this podcast and I’ll give you free shipping – that’s $5 off!
Other Crafty Chica news: I now have t-shirts up for sale through CafePress. Not just t-shirts, but also tote bags and such. They have a picture of tattoed chica holding up a pair of power scissors and underneath it says “La Crafty Chica”. Coming up will be more t-shirts representing other kinds of crafty chicas.
Looking to get out of town? I have two offers for you in 2006. First up is the Chica Lit Club Fiesta. This is a writing and creativity retreat put on by best selling author Alisa Valdez Rodriguez. You know her! She wrote Dirty Girls Social Club and most recently Playing with Boys. Alisa has rounded up a top notch literary crew to speak at her convention. Visit her web site, www.ChicaLitClub.com for all the details.
The other trip is the Crafty Chica Creativity Cruise on Carnival Cruise lines, that will be a 3 day trip in September 2006. We will start in Long Beach on a Friday, visit the Museum of Latin American Art, board the ship by 4 pm and sail over to Ensenada, Mexico. We’ll watch a couple of crafty movies, make gobs of cool art projects. Stay tuned for more info on that!
Whether you have Latin blood in you or not, some of us – like me – love to add a dash of color and culture to their December decorations. But that doesn’t mean you have to have a piñata glued to the top of your tree. Here are some spiffy ways to add la cultura to your house this season.
- Crepe paper. You want to buy hues that fit your color scheme. White and gold, red and green, etc. I make my tree very colorful. This year I’m going with hot pink, purple and teal. Take the streamer and cut strips that measure 6-inches each. Cut a stack of about 1-12 of each color. Take the stack and fold it in the center, so you have a double stack that measures 3-inches. Now take your scissors and create FRINGE by snipping the stack vertically, about ½ inch from the fold. Do this with the other stack of strips. Unfold them and pull off one of the pieces and poke it into the inner branches on your tree, almost touching the center stem of the tree. Continue to insert these fringed piece of crepe paper all over the tree. What this does is create dimension and texture. Once you add on your other embellishments, you’ll see how cool it looks, and it has a bit of a festive edge.
- Milagros. Milagros are little silver charms that come in a variety of shapes, like body parts, animals, hearts and people. They are used to zero in on whatever needs some extra DIVINE attention. My nana always has a different collection of Milagros pinned inside her bra every week. I know this because when I take her to church on Sundays, after mass, she walks up to the father and asks him to bless her medals. He says SURe and then then proceeds to lift her hands from her walker, and reaches into her bra and unpins the Milagros and hands them to the priest. I love my Nana. OK, so I like to use Milagros on my tree. The little ones, that are about the size of a dime – I glue these to small painted wood discs that I find at the craft store. You can also glue them to store bought ornaments. There are larger Milagros that are about the size of your palm. I love to take these and thread a skinny piece of red velvet trim through them and hang them all over my tree. So where can you find Milagros? If you don’t have a local import store, visit a web site called MilagroMercado.com because they have every kind of milagro under the sun! Even ones of dogs!
- Loteria cards or Mexican cinema cards. Everyone has seen these, but here is a great time to put them to use. Cut them up and glue them to foam core and trim the edges in glitter.
- Use squeeze glitter to write your favorite Spanish words on glass bulbs. Instead of writing “hope” write “esperanza”, or paint on a Sacred Heart with your name scrolled across the front.
- Here is another eBay find – painted Mexican tin ornaments. You can buy them in lots of six and use pretty ribbon to hang them from your tree. Better yet, make your own tin ornaments. Buy a package of disposable cookie sheets, cut the center out and then cut out various shapes. Lay the pieces on a magazine and use a ballpoint pen to draw designs. Use glass or acrylic paint to add color.
- Bottle cap, tin nichos and matchbox ornaments. These are both materials that are commonly used in Mexican folk art. Glue a picture inside and trim with glitter, create a hole at the top for hanging.
- If you do want a major punch of color, cut some small swatches from Guatemalan fabric – the kind with the rich, lush colors or from a Mexican serape and sew tiny pillows to hang on the tree. You can print off pictures on fabric and sew them on them too!
- I’ve saved the best for last: Here is the new thing I’m doing to my tree this year – I’m taking silk roses and/or carnations, trimming off the stems and trmming the edges of the pedals in deep, luxurious glitter and then I’m inserting them within the branches. I experimented with this idea last night and KISS it looks fantabulous!!!
*~Peace, love and glitter from Crafty Chica!*~
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