Sunday, November 2, 2014

El Dia de Los Muertos 2014

Dia de Los Muertos, Oaxaca, Mexico

Maybe it's a past life thing but for many years I've looked forward to El Dia de Los Muertos like a child awaiting Christmas.  Although I'm not of hispanic descent,  I've embraced the culture and enjoy celebrating the lives of friends and family no longer with us. Around mid-October I climb into the attic and pull down the boxes of catrinas, calaveras, sugar skulls, textiles, family photographs- and so much more- that I've accumulated over the years.  These are the makings for my ofrenda, or altar, that I build for the Day of the Dead. A big part of my joy is revisiting this collection of objects. 

In addition to building the altar, I transform the house with my collection of handmade pillows, masks, and other objects relating to the holiday - many purchased on my trips to Mexico.

Felted skeletons I found on Etsy
Small collection of calacas, calaveras
This guy looks pretty happy
Every year I do things differently. Sometimes, weather permitting, I build the altar outdoors. We had an abrupt change in the weather this past week so this year I chose the living room.  

I begin by layering the textiles over tables, risers and boxes.  Then I add the photographs, candles, fresh fruit and flowers.  Many friends and family have added to the altar so I continue to include their offerings from past years.  This year we added a painting of our sweet dog, Scout, who we lost in January.

Layered textiles I've collected over the years

Our 2014 ofrenda

Our beloved Scout

Paige left us way too soon
  I have a few friends over to celebrate each year and this year I decided to make party favors from interesting images of calaveras. I decoupaged them to matchboxes and filled the boxes with M&Ms. It was my first foray into glitter and I think I'll be seeing glimmers of glitter for many years to come. It's everywhere.  Oh, and I forgot to hand out the party favors until half of the group had departed. :(

Party favors

Glitter everywhere for days
Another first this year was handmade tissue paper pom poms. I found a great tutorial here and after a total fail in my first attempt, I watched the complete video and the rest turned out well.

Easy to make paper pompoms
On the day of the party I decorated the tables. A friend suggested offering mask painting and although I had no idea whether people would participate, it ended up being a great success. Thanks for the idea, Linda, and all those great art supplies! I also put out paper flowers and butterflies for Frida-style headbands.

Sugar skull from Mexican Sugar Skull online store
Mask painting and floral headband art supplies
Everyone seemed to really get into the mask painting and a few made floral headpieces.
Lots of crafty activity
Mask painting fun

Find rhinestone and glittery stickers at the Dollar Store and Michaels

The outdoor contingent
Fabulous headband creation

Another beautiful Frida-inspired headband
Loved their creative energy

Carl and I

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