The Opposite Of Spring: Halloween And The Day Of The Dead- My Fascination With Sugar Skulls

Autumn has always been one of my favorite times of year.  Although you may not agree, In my world everything tastes better when mixed with pumpkin.  There is nothing more refreshing than a cool breeze after months of summer heat and most of all it is host to one of my favorite holidays: Halloween.  As much as I hate to admit it I have a macabre side. (Many of us do or holidays like Halloween wouldn’t exist) Halloween hosts many ghouls and goblins and makes fantasy come to life for a day.  It’s a fun time but an even more interesting cultural tradition that coincides with Halloween is The Day of The Dead.  For those of you who may not be familiar it is a Mexican Holiday celebrated all across the world. It was originally celebrated in Summer but was moved to Autumn in more modern times and coincides with the Roman Catholic triduum festival of Allhallowtide: All Saints’ Eve, All Saints’ Day, and All Souls’ Day. A three-day celebration beginning on October 31st, It is celebrated as a tribute to departed souls and to show respect and remembrance for deceased family and loved ones. According to Frances Ann Day, Latina and Latino Voices in Literature author

” On October 31, All Hallows Eve, the children make a children’s altar to invite the angelitos (spirits of dead children) to come back for a visit. November 1 is All Saints Day, and the adult spirits will come to visit. November 2 is All Souls Day, when families go to the cemetery to decorate the graves and tombs of their relatives. The three-day fiesta filled with marigolds, the flowers of the dead; muertos (the bread of the dead); sugar skulls; cardboard skeletons; tissue paper decorations; fruit and nuts; incense, and other traditional foods and decorations”

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Representations of Catrina, one of the most popular figures of the Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico

© Tomas Castelazo,www.tomascastelazo.com / Wikimedia Commons

One such decoration placed on these alters are called Sugar Skulls.  I have always been fascinated with the sugar skull image.  Each are unique much like the soul itself.  An image of a skull adorned with colorful flowers and hypnotic eyes instantly fascinated me.

In the spirit of Fall and the Halloween/Day Of The Dead tradition.  Here are three fun sugar skull decoupage projects:

Sugar Skull Mini jewelry Tray

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I picked up this miniature wood jewelry tray (unfinished ) at AC Moore.  I hand painted the piece with acrylics and matched the primary color to the greenish-blue color on the print. (yellow, pink or black would work also) It looks great for Halloween or keep it out all year-long on your dresser. Great for holding various jewelry, rings or change.  Cut print to size, apply Mod Podge and then the print. Carefully smooth out with your hands.  Once dry  seal with a few layers of Mod Podge allowing to dry between coats.

Day Of The Dead Miniature Wooden Suitcase Trinket Box

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This adorable wooden mini suitcase also purchased unfinished at AC Moore follows the same decoupage process as above. I used the suitcase to trace the image on both sides of the piece to assure it was cut to proper size and shape.  Hand painted inside and out, this would sit beautifully on a day of the dead alter filled with flowers or trinkets. The bright color captures the spirit of both Halloween and The Day Of The Dead.

Sugar Skulls Light Switch Cover

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I am a firm believer in the fun a decorated light switch cover can bring to a room.  I like to think of them as “little canvases”  It can be fun switching them to reflect the holidays as well.  Decoupage light switch covers are both easy and fun to create.  First ,you trace the cover with a pencil, including the area that the switch passes through.(You can use prints, scrapbook paper, napkins, old gift bags just to name a few) Using an X-Acto knife carefully follow the tracing.  Apply Mod Podge to the plain light switch cover carefully smooth out the image you want to use.  Apply multiple layers of mod Podge and allow to dry thoroughly between layers.

Decorative, and full of color Sugar Skulls are full of life certainly Ironic considering it is a celebration of the dead.

Stay Safe and Have a Happy Halloween!

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A Pre-Christmas Miracle: Altered Upcycling’s Holiday Giveaway!

I couldn’t wait to share the news with all of you! The very talented Mahe Zehra Husain (MZ) from Altered Upcycling fame is at it again!  This year she is organizing the biggest holiday giveaway EVER! From the 15th of November to the 25th of December.  Altered Upcycling is giving away different e-books and products weekly.  All you have to do is visit: http://www.alteredupcycling.com/christmas-giveaway join Altered Upcycling’s Facebook Page and sign up on the right to have the links sent to your inbox.  It’s that simple!

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The Green Craft Lifestyle Christmas Addition available November 15th through the 21st of November features an “On The Upcycle” Project Pickled Lamp: “On The Upcycle” Christmas Craft

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Other Freebies include:

ALICE IN WONDERLAND DIGITAL DIORAMA KIT
THE MIXED MEDIA COOKBOOK
PAPER DOLL BONANZA
PLANNERS

Be sure and check it out!  I can’t think of a better way to treat yourself for the holidays!

Holiday Wrap Up And Crowd Pleasing Recipies

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas yesterday. We sure did! The highlight of the day for my husband and I, was witnessing our daughter’s reaction as she came downstairs and realized she had been a good girl this year and Santa brought her gifts.  Mr. Claus also brought a special gift for our daughter this year.  Her very own pet goldfish named “Dorothy” just like Elmo’s pet goldfish!

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My daughter meeting Dorothy for the first time

Now it is the day after Christmas, all the preparation and hard work leading up to the holiday and in the blink of an eye it is over and the “clean up” begins.  I spent the good part of today cleaning, organizing and trying to assemble my daughter’s new Art Eisel which will be going in the craft room, so she and I can work on projects together. In the meantime, I thought I would share with you two holiday recipes that were crowd pleasers this year.

Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies.

These tasty cookies are my husbands favorite.  In 1957 Freda F. Smith of Gibsonburg, Ohio, developed Peanut Blossoms for the ninth Grand National Pillsbury Bake-Off competition.  She failed to win the competition, but the cookie took off and landed on many tables throughout America. There are many variations of this cookie online but a great tasty version can be found here.  I normally do not make cookies except during the holidays.  I have a vintage Sunbeam Mix Master stand-up mixer that I picked up at a yard sale about 15 years ago. With the outrageous price of mixers, I will continue to use this 1970’s classic.  I chuckled because while watching an episode of “The Brady Bunch” I spotted my mixer in the background! Despite its advanced age it still works and it whipped up multiple batches of tasty cookie dough.

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A yummy peanut butter cookie with a Hershey kiss in the middle.

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These cookies are easy to make and my daughter enjoyed dipping the dough balls into the granulated sugar.  She is such a great helper!

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Christmas Breakfast Casserole

So much is focused on Christmas dinner, it is easy to forget about the most important meal of the day breakfast.  This year I woke before everyone, brewed some coffee and whipped up a mean breakfast casserole inspired by a recipe I saw on Pinterest courtesy of The Wholesome D.  I had to improvise a bit, I used cubed hash browns with pepper and onion seasoning and bacon instead of ham.  It took less than 5 minutes to prepare and cooked in the oven while we opened our presents. You can find the full recipe here.

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A great way to start your Christmas day or any day for that matter!

Deck The Halls: The Joyfully Tacky and Downright Different.

Wow!  I have not blogged in 5 days! “Sigh”  It has been such a busy time for your truly as I prepare for the Christmas Holiday. You certainly wouldn’t know it looking at my extreme blogging inactivity, but some things must remain a secret until after Christmas.  On this day, I will be making my favorite holiday cookies and I am hoping to get my daughter involved in the fun. Stay tuned!

For now, I want to have a little fun “On The Upcycle” and share with you some of our most “interesting” and in some cases downright strange family Christmas decorations.  My husband and I  have been known to embrace the different, retro,  and at times downright tacky, as long as it is in the name of good fun.

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1. Bichon Blitz!

My husband got this for me about 10 years ago after we adopted our Bichon Frise Casper. The tree is made by the Danbury Mint, (you know those collectable order forms you receive in the mail especially around the holidays?)  Even though this looks like a Christmas animal horde nightmare, I love it!

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2. Is Santa sleeping?

I admit, this one always creeped me out, but at the same time who doesn’t love a Santa Claus tissue box cover!  I think if you didn’t have to extract a tissue from Santa’s abdomen, coupled with the fact that Santa looks like he is either in deep sleep or deceased, this decoration would not disturb me so much.

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3. Every Girls Crazy bout a sharp dressed Santa!

What is better than Santa Claus Rocking out in sunglasses and a guitar? (Ok don’t answer but….) This decoration reminds me of what the members of ZZ Top would look like dressed as Chris Kringle. If the sled is rockin don’t come knockin!

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4. Kitchen Santa: pass me the Twinkies, man

This little light up, plastic Santa has either had too much eggnog or has been hanging out with Cheech and Chong for too long.  Whoever painted his face, looks like they were modeling him after the late and great Jerry Garcia! I have to admit I love this jolly old elf on the shelf even if he looks a little too “jolly”!

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5. There’s a Snowman in your shower

Some would consider this snowman shower curtain as a “bit much”  but compared to some bathroom Christmas decorations I have seen this pattern is mild, and forces the loo to have a bit of holiday spirit.

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See the above photo found on Ebay and I rest my case.  Poor Santa.

6. Deck the halls with Gene Simmons?

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It is no secret that the hubby and I are Rock and Rollers.  My husband has quite a collection of off beat Christmas ornaments.  What could be more rock and roll than a decked out Gene Simmons Kiss ornament dangling from your tree?

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7. Better left unsaid

I save the best for last.  I will allow you as the reader to come up with your own reasons as to why this Santa Clause candle decoration takes the cake.  It lights up, it is retro, and it is oddly shaped.  Enough said!

Don’t worry, I will attempt to redeem my holiday decorating reputation in a future post.  It’s not all fun and games, but it is eclectic, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

What are some of your most interesting Christmas decorations?  Do you display yours proudly?

The Green Craft Lifestyle Christmas Addition: Free Amazon Download begins This Saturday, November 30th!

Pickled Lamp: “On The Upcycle” Christmas Craft full tutorial featured in today’s newly released “The Green Craft Lifestyle: Christmas Edition”

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The Green Crafts Lifestyle – Christmas Edition – Make Christmas Decor, Cards and Gifts!

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I have had the pleasure once again to be a part of the second installment of “The Green Craft Lifestyle”.  The new Christmas Edition is jam packed with green Christmas crafts from around the world.  The very talented Mahe Zehra Husain (MZ) is giving away free copies for download from the 30th of November to the 4th of December you can find it here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GXE82S4 and http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00GXE82S4. On Facebook?  Join the free event here. Don’t have a Kindle?  Download Kindle Cloud Reader for your Laptop!

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The “On The Upcycle” family want to wish everyone a very safe and happy Thanksgiving day Holiday!

A Halloween Treat

We had a great time tonight, handing out candy to the kids, and taking our daughter trick or treating in our neighborhood.  It brought me back to when I was just a kid with a pillow case and a dream!  I remembered the excitement I felt running from house to house collecting candy.  Our little butterfly seemed to get the hang of the art of trick or treating easily and was happily carrying her bucket which seemed to fill up rather quickly!

Trick Or Treat

 

Hope everyone had a Safe and Happy Halloween!

Looking for some fun Halloween crafts?  Check out: Kitty Cat Halloween Candy Tray and Decorative Black Cat Halloween lamp.