Day of the Dead Barbie: bride and groom

October is upon us. What does that mean? Dia de los Muertos is almost here!


I only have about 349857753495803 things left to do. On top of the other 4893570345737 things that I do on a daily basis. I'm hoping and praying that adrenalin will kick in and allow me to complete all the tasks I need to. That and a whoooole lot of caffeine.

As the month progresses, I'm planning on doing a little preview of what I'll be selling at my booth. For those of you who aren't here in Southern California, these items will be on my Etsy shop as well.

Note to self: Complete Etsy shop.


Until then, I thought I'd share a pic of the latest Day of the Dead Barbies we'll be selling on November 2nd.

Isn't this bride and groom just...bad ass? So cool and so much fun to create.

Until then, peace and love.

P.S  We're doing some changes to my spot here, so excuse the banner changes as we work on finding the one I like (what can I say, I'm really picky)


Crafty Chica sighting

I finally got to meet Kathy Cano-Murillo of the Crafty Chica fame over the weekend. Yay me!  I've been such a stalker fan. Ever since I read about her lovely family's Christmas tradition of tamale-making in Better Homes & Garden, back in 2004.

When a brown family is in one of my favorite mags, doing something near and dear to my heart such as tamale-making, I pay attention.

Ever since then, I've followed her on Diary of a Crafty Chica. She's been such an inspiration to me. An artist, mother, wife, writer, business-woman and mujer--she's is blazing a trail for creative Latinas such as myself. Of course I had to make plans to go and see her at the local Michael's Art & Crafts store, promoting her new line of craft supplies.

I have to say she is glitter personified. Everything about her personality was so friendly, bubbly, down-to-Earth and sweet! It was really like meeting an old friend.

I also had the chance to meet her husband, Patrick Murillo. I've always loved his style of artwork, and the fact that he had dreadlocks all the way past his behind just made me dig him more. It's so encouraging to meet another artist couple, one that has worked so hard over the years. It gives me hope!

Sometimes this artist gig is kind of rough. I often wonder what is the point of being an artist? What is the point of having this thing inside you that needs to be expressed outwardly if it's practically impossible to support yourself and your family financially? I really struggle with how artists are undervalued in our society. This is what plagues me in the middle of the night.

This is one of my all-time favorite quotes by Pablo Picasso, and it never fails to remind me why art and artists are necessary.

Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.   
I may never make millions of dollars. Not every person may enjoy my type of art. Some people may even question the need for art and/or artists in the first place. But I know that art is important because it does exactly this--washes away the worries of everyday life. It brings forth beauty.

Needless to say, meeting Kathy and Patrick really boosted my morale and put some wind in my sails. I have so much to do and Kathy helped me to realize I have to keep working hard. Working, loving, creating, living and being.




Dia de los Muertos Barbie dolls

I visited a local gallery last week and I was totally inspired by some of the artwork they had on display.

Whenever I see a really cool idea, I immediately assess whether or not I can make something similar. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, after all. It's not because I want to steal the idea.  


If I see something that's really cool, my wheels start turning. How can I make this better? How can I reinterpret the piece? How can I inject my own style? I mean, hellloooooo. It's all about appropriation in the twentieth century and beyond.

So, I saw these Dia de los Muertos Barbie dolls and died on the spot.
I died. Dead.
I mean, two of my obsessions wrapped up into one design. How could I possibly pass it up? Within seconds I was visualizing how I could paint the faces of the legions of Barbies I have scattered around my home. This is the first time I've done created something like this with a Barbie doll.

When I was in college, I fashioned a bondage/dominatrix-themed outfit with black electrical tape on an old Barbie. It was pretty sick and twisted. When Josh was about five or six years old, he would come into my room and study this dominatrix doll for all she was worth. Anyhow, she was a main fixture among my collectibles for many years. I feel like these Day of the Dead Barbies is a natural extension of that.

There we were, my little brother Josh and I, working feverishly into the morning--tiny outfits, flowers, and nekkid Barbies strewn about. It was so much fun! Oh em gee. Probably a little too much, if that is possible.

I was so proud of my baby bro's painting skills. He was neat, his color choices were good, and his lines were clean and steady.

The force is with you, young Skywalker. But you are not a jedi yet.

Every doll is painted by hand, with Pandora playing and ish talking all around.

This doll was all him, so maybe he is going to give me a run for my money .

This project is something we decided to do for fun, to get the creative juices flowing. We want to decorate our booth with them. These will be limited edition dolls, complete with a dress, flowers and their hair did. They will be for sale so keep your eye out or more details coming soon.


Senior citizens on the interwebz

My parents have just entered their rollin' sixties (two points for you if you have some hood knowledge and know what rollin' 60's are), and thanks to their employers they are not completely computer illiterate. My mom e-mails and she pays her bills online without fear that they'll steal her identity like she used to about five years ago. My Dad is the same way, he can e-mail and surf the web, too.

But that is where they draw the line.

My mom curses all the time we spend online and the $$ they charge for data packages on our phones but she is the first person to speak up when she wants us to google something or use our navigator to find directions. We recently talked my Dad into getting a Skype account so we could communicate a little more frequently. I often complain that we could be dead and buried and my Dad would have no idea what was going on since we seem to catch each other on the phone every couple of weeks or so. Skyping my Dad is a comedy of errors. First, there is him looking at me over the tops of his glasses. Then we always have a sound issue. He can't hear me. Or I can't hear him.

I think you've got the mute button on, Dad.
Unmute me, Dad.
Raise the volume, Dad.
Dad, are your speakers plugged in?
Wait, you still have the mute button on?
Dad, come on! Geeez!

And there I am typing chat messages so he can fix it. Usually, I'm like, "Just call me! This is ridiculous!" When I saw this video, I just about died laughing because although my parents aren't quite as old as these two lovely white-hairs, they will be someday.


Video: Dia de los Muertos artwork

I've been busy busy busy all summer long, finishing up my artwork for Dia de los Muertos. I'd be lying if I didn't already feel the heat. It's only a month and a half away! I have sooooo much to do by then.

My plan is to utilize all of my original artwork and then make prints, candles, tees, printed scarves, postcards, a coloring book etc. to sell at my booth. So I've been working hard for the money. I think I could draw a sugar skull in my sleep!

I managed to create nine new pieces over the summer. I'm almost done, I'm working on what I think is my last one. It's a hippie.

Groovy, man.

I've been working strictly with black and white because....that's just what I've felt like doing. But my eyes are telling me that I need to take a break from black and white because they kept blurring and tearing up.

I'm pretty sure it has something to do with being an old sea hag but whatever.

I'll post more images soon. Until then, here's a short clip of me finishing up a bride and groom portrait, and talking to myself like I usually do.


Our homeschooling, unschooling and charter school hybrid

The school year has officially started for us on August 23rd, as dictated by our charter school. But being the rebel that I am, we have eased into the school year, and I've cast aside any worries about the "first day of school".  This is more for me than it is for the chil'rens. So instead of banging erasers, we've read a few books, ordered a few programs, organized our "school room" (basically, its just a glorified one of these). Whose bright idea was it to begin school in August, when it's still hot and sunny outside and the slip 'n slide beckons?

What a sadist!

We went camping on Labor Day weekend, so there was that. Then there was the mandatory 2-3 day recuperating period after said camping trip. We tried to get some work done in between all that but, who am I kidding? We were in survival mode. That left yesterday, as our unofficial/official first day of school. For my kids that are home, we've settled on this: Teaching Textbooks for math, Apologia Botany for science, a combination of First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind and Easy Grammar and IEW for my oldest. We've finally decided on Story of the World, the Middle Ages for history. We've also got guitar lessons, sports, Boy Scouts and possibly dance class for the girls. Things are looking pretty good. We may or may not finish these books but I like to get some direction and then move from there.

As it stands right now, I've got three chil'rens in a 3-day a week charter school. My oldest three are fully homeschooled. On the days I'm working on homestudy packets with my littles (Tuesdays and Thursdays), I usually let my homeschoolers read, look at videos and/or do math programs online. I can't handle a full day of everyone's studies. I just can't. Not with the horrendously fat stacks of homework the charter school hands out. Not to mention the five to six assorted websites they like us to utilize throughout the day. It's just craziness. We work on it all.day.long and there is still assignment we don't finish.

I can't say that I'm completely happy with our current arrangement. Some tweaking is still in order. My littles love their charter school, their new friends, their teachers. But now, more than ever, I feel that our educational philosophies don't align with a public charter school, so I am feeling the discord of not being true to myself. But my bank account with the zero balance dictates that I stay with a school that will give me instructional funds for each child. Just like the carrot dangling before the horse. I will hang in there for now and plan my exit strategy.

Its been a real eye-opener for me. I've learned that the grass isn't always greener on the other side. We are in a continual state of evolution, as far as my children's education is concerned. We've filed independently (going rogue, my personal favorite). We've done homeschool co-ops, which is basically organized classes taught by other homeschool moms. When we first enrolled in a charter school (keeping attendance was like a splash of cold water on the face every month), I was relieved at the thought of some lesson planning help, some monthly accountability and the instructional funds.

Did I mention the instructional funds already? 

As their mother and the chief officer of their education, I reserve the right to withdraw the chil'rens from any/all of these programs and go rogue once again. We need to be able to breathe. We need the flexibility. And I need to feel inspired once again. I want to look at the job of educating my children with a smile on my face. When I have to crack the whip to get things done, when we are under someone else's schedule and timeline and there is absolutely no time for anything else, I am not the happiest mama in the world. And I really don't think I can survive the next eighteen years in that state.

I have lovely children and I want to enjoy them. I'm going to see to it that I do.

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