Hispanic Heritage Month 2014: Gloria Anzaldua

Gloria Anzaldua is my all time favorite Mexican American author and the first time I ever read her book Borderlands/La Frontera my life changed. The words she spoke truly reflected the way I felt about living within two realms of reality. I was part of two places at the same time.  I am not from there nor am I from here.

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Ni de aqui, Ni de alla. We are no one and someone at the same time. One foot caught on each side where we are Pocho there and Mexican here. The reality is that I am a thirty something generational Mexican American who can trace her lineage to before the Texas-Mexico War.

This melding and meshing of two distinct cultures has forever transformed South Texas. We are forever intertwined and connected. Texas is the only home that I have ever known.

I am Texas and Tejas is me. I have always considered myself a Tejana. It was Gloria Anzaldua who made me understand that the essence of who I was. She began to delve into the notions of all our dual selves. The hidden selves that often contradict the basic societal and cultural norms that we are taught in our homes. Womanhood and personhood are also intertwined as we struggle still for acceptance and acknowledgement. This to me is where the very essence of Chingona was born.

“Wild tongues can’t be tamed, they can only be cut out.”
Gloria E. Anzaldúa, Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza

That internal struggle could do two things:

1) Hinder our ability to succeed or

2) Enhance our collective voice.

It was Gloria Anzaldua who allowed me to find my voice as a young women. With my wild tongue and my duality, I was able to embrace the word Pocho. To embrace my dark skin and dark hair, to embrace the indigenous side of my culture as well as honoring the Spanish side of my culture  as well.

Gloria Anzaldua was an intelligent, brave, and courageous scholar who wrote about the issues facing our generation and her words resonate on. I honor her and hope you will pick up her books and keep her legacy alive.

“The struggle is inner: Chicano, indio, American Indian, mojado, mexicano, immigrant Latino, Anglo in power, working class Anglo, Black, Asian–our psyches resemble the bordertowns and are populated by the same people. The struggle has always been inner, and is played out in outer terrains. Awareness of our situation must come before inner changes, which in turn come before changes in society. Nothing happens in the “real” world unless it first happens in the images in our heads.”

– Gloria Anzaldua

#tejanamadeHHM2014

 

Adventures in the Brush Country

Walt Whitman Quote

I recently moved to a much smaller town and now live in the Brush Country.

Again

I spent most of my twenties trying to get away from the Brush Country but at the same time I am grateful. My family has allowed me the opportunity to fall back on them while i go through my life crisis. Divorce may not be life threatening but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt any less.

It took me a few months to bounce back with the birth of our newest addition. With moving and enrolling my children into school and finally finding a routine that works for me. Well…sort of.

The only drawback is that  my mom lives in the dark ages. She doesn’t have internet or as she likes to say “Wee-Fee”.  Gasp, #firstworldproblems, people. She loves to regale me with her stories “When I was a kid”.

Come on mom, your early twenties was in the 80’s.

I will still be making cuff bracelets and other jewelry. I also will be including lots of great pictures, anecdotes, and stories about revisiting my old childhood stomping grounds. I will still explore my artistry and mastery of leather crafting and share what I discover with all you.

I also have several projects in the works and will share accordingly  as I begin to flesh out all the details.  I believe that every door is an opportunity, every person met is opportunity, and sometimes you just have to take a risk.

Each moment I spend learning, reading, and growing is one that helps me heal and move forward with what I want to do and what I want to accomplish.

It is only through growth that we can become a better version of ourselves.  It is through those stumbles where we learn from our past transgressions and recreate what it is that we first wanted.

We have to rid ourselves of the fear and doubt even if for a moment. Even if the fear is the only thing we feel grasping onto our backs with clawed fingers. The only option is to leap.

You have to jump with both feet and your eyes closed.  Ill let you know what I find at the bottom.

Chingona-ness

About 3 yeas ago, I had the opportunity to hear Sandra Cisneros speak at Latism. She had mentioned how we needed to embrace our Chingona-ness.  Before that I had heard her speak in an HBO special. Her words resonated with me and this was long before I became a leather maker. I was and have always been a writer. An outcast among my extended family and a little weird as my mom still tells me. A little weird, a little defiant (well more than a little), and my own person.

Chingona Quote

After, I heard her speak at LATISM12, I started really trying to focus on what I was doing and what I wanted. Life got in the way but leather crafting became a way for me to explore my culture. Um..at first…,my designs were really, really pink. I think I was still trying to find my way. It took awhile to define my style.

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For years, I was a Chingona and I strode against the norm. It wasn’t until my marriage sort of unraveled that I realized I had lost that woman.

I lost the courageous woman who stood up for what she believed in, who spoke her mind, and who was fearless. Between motherhood and wifedom, I had become a shell of my former self and it wasn’t until my daughter said to me “That daddies are the ones who work” was that I had failed.

I had become someone else and although I love being home with my children. I also miss being a part of something larger than myself. I missed being independent.

I was reading a friend’s timeline and saw a quote from Pauline Campos (Dimelo and Aspiring Mama). It was about how speaking Spanish does not define our culture. We instantly connected and I have been an avid fan. When she came out and wrote ” How to raise a Chingona.“, I knew we would be friends. Then came the comments and discussions about whether Chingona was a positive or a negative word.

To me and where I grew up it was always “Badass Chick” but sometimes it meant “You thought too highly of yourself”. Well, hell yeah, we should think highly of ourselves. I commented, she replied..and the rest is Chingona history. I participated in our weekly Twitter Chats where we met other like minded, strong Chingonas and Chingons. Follow along at #chingonafest.

Although when I think about us getting together IRL, this country song pops into my head:

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Hey, I am Texan remember so Tejano Music and Country Music sort of collide in my veins.

As I said before, I had to rebuild myself now that I am single again. I had to build something for my children. I have to be a Chingona for my two daughters.

We are all Chingonas. Each one of us on a different path towards our own acceptance.When we speak our minds without fear of repercussions, when we write with all our corazon, and when we love and build each other up is when we know we have arrived.

Till then we fight for every ounce and step. Together, we will rise to the top. I will wear Chingona proudly and not like a crimson bade of dishonor.

I designed this cuff shortly after I connected with Pauline and #chingonafest. I modeled it after my Rebel Cuff and thus this beauty was born.  You can get your very own cuff at my etsy store.

Chingona Cuff 2

 

 

 

30 Minute Monday: Lace Bow for Back to School

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We finally had the opportunity to enroll my four year old into a Pre-K4 program in the same school as her older brother. This was the monumental milestone that she had been coveting since her brother went to Kindergarten last year.

Unfortunately, she was not too happy with the uniform requirements. She is my little diva so I wanted to do something special for her.

I decided to create some bows for her so that she could still rock some sort of personal style while being in compliance with the dress code. I started looking up lots of ideas on Pinterest and apparently bow making is more complex than I realized. It even has its own lingo much like any other craft.

Acronyms like OTT began to pop up and I immediately used google. I mean what else would you do. Apparently, OTT means Over the Top and let me tell you those bows are FABULOUS. Add in snaps while saying that if you want to because I literally channeled Hollywood from Mannequin.

But, the OTT bows DIY’s scared the heck out of this Texas gal so I decided on a cute, feminine bow that encompasses both class and sass. My motto if you ask me. The only downside was that I couldn’t find any good ribbon material in our local stores since we moved to a very tiny Texas town.

I had to make due with what was in my stash and what I could find. The school that she attends they can only wear maroon and khaki and on Fridays they are allowed to wear Black and Gold. Because, obviously, Football Fridays and we represent for the local high school.

I followed this basic bow tutorial and added a little bit of lace from my stash in Ecru.

Here is Cowgirl Lace in all its simple glory:

Lace Cowgirl Bow

I hope to be making more bows for my daughters and maybe even some headbands. It was a fun and easy project that can be done in 30 minutes.

Jessica

 

Vaquera Outdoor Style: Discadas

Discadas are extremely popular where I grew up in South Texas. They are almost as important as the actual BBQ pit itself.

When I was in high school, I took a welding class where the very first project we were given was to construct a disco. That is what we call discadas in South Texas. Discos are a fairly simple outdoor cooking disc that can be used when camping or at the ranch. It is usually made from an old disc plow but you can buy the disc plows new as well.

Our Discos were used during Lentes fish Frys and when we made tripas. Tripas are not tripe (stomach and lining commonly used for menudo) but instead are commonly know as intestines or chitterlings. We used to wrap them in corn tortillas with fresh pico de gallo and avocado.

I believe that discos are considered more of a peasant style of cooking that encompasses what it is to live in the Brush Country. Discada cookung has suddenely been revitalized with people using them to make stir fry and other dishes when out camping. With the advent of technology and blending of cultures, small cultural gems like this become almost obsolete.

Photo by SouthWest DisK

Photo by SouthWest DisK

The one I made had legs and could easily be placed over a mesquite wood fire. Some of them now come with a gas connection so that you can attach a propane tank to the bottom of it.

I personally prefer the authenticity of having a real wood fire to place the disco over because it makes me feel as if I am connected directly to my ranching heritage.

Food, Family, Culture is so ingrained in how I grew up that I couldn’t move anywhere else.  it is in everything that I do from how I design my cuffs to my DIY projects.  My family roots are deep and strong and these small cultural treasures need to be preserved, collected, and written about.

Jessie

 

 

 

Crochet Wednesday: 5 Easy Crochet Circle Tutorials

Header Photo for Crochet Circle

 

Welcome to Crochet Wednesday, y’all!

I spend most of my days avoiding housework. I know that sounds awful but I am 9 months pregnant and it has really been an interesting ride to say the least. The overwhelming heat has agitated my allergies and I avoid being outside between 10 am and 5 pm if I can. That is the joy of living in deep South Texas. We fry down here.

I picked up my crochet hooks determined to beat the rag rug conundrum but ufortunately I ran out of t-shirt yarn. The traditional granny square and I are not good friends at the moment and I am sure that pattern is constantly saying “Bless her heart” as I struggle to make the squares look tight and even.

Which led me to part ways with her momentarily and try crocheting in a circle instead. I scoured Pinterest for different patterns and instructions because I am still quite the beginner.

The best resource for me was the diagram that I listed in #1 and guess what it was so easy to read and understand.

Here are my first ever Crochet Circles:

Crochet Circles

 

I used a 5mm hook and some Super Saver white yarn. I really loved doing these circles and I think they would make a great blanket or throw. I also used the magic circle technique for these circles versus the regular way.

Here are some other great Circle Crochet Tutorials that can get you hooking in no time.

  1. Easy Diagram For Double Crochet stitches in the round by Maggie Weldon Via Stitch Love
  2. Circle in a Square by Zooty Owl
  3. Large Circle in a Square by Just Do
  4. Maybelle Rose in a Square by My Rose Valley
  5. Circle in a Square from Color n Cream

Happy Hooking, y’all!

Jessica

30 Minute Mondays: DIY Texas Rustic Birdhouse

30 minute Mondays DIY Edition

We found a birdhouse hidden among the weathered debris and dying tree limbs. It was full of feathers and old cicada shells. My six year old was fascinated and pointed out that the amber hued husks were “chrysalises.”

We tried to clean it out the best that we could by giving it a good rinse with the mangera (water hose) before we brought it inside. As we were rinsing it,  a piece of the birdhouse awning broke off and you should of have heard the gasps of distress that came from my two children. Luckily, we had wood glue around so we waited a few days before we could paint it.

After the glue dried, I had to make sure my daughter didn’t paint it every color of our paint stash. She does that and ends up with more paint on her than on the project we are working on.

Here is what our birdhouse looked like before we started painting it.

Before Picture of the Birdhouse

Isn’t this the cutest little birdhouse? I love the Texas cutout in the front of the house and am pretty thrilled that I was able to find it in a decent condition.

We used a mixture of off white and eggshell paints and a rustic red acrylic paint. It was an easy to do upcycle that didn’t require extensive planning or work. It was an easy 30 minute project and I really loved the outcome of the birdhouse. Perfect for this Tejana!

After Picture

Here is a better view of the top of the birdhouse. If I do this again, I would definitely want to find a way to stencil the star on it.

Birdhouse2

I really loved the way it came out even with the funky metallic blue paint and I love being from the Grand Ole State of Tejas. As put in Friday Night Lights, TEXAS FOREVER!

Jessica

Vaquera Couture: A new twist on the Cabeza de Vaca (Cow Heads)

Cow Skull Couture

I dubbed these posts Vaquera Couture because it shows the little pieces of Texas Style that I love. Let’s get started with the quintessential part of any Western Decor: The Cow Head. I grew up with deer heads gallantly hung on paneled walls complete with a built in gun case. Sometimes, we would the lone cow skull hanging in my Abuelito’s house.

Suffice to say, I grew up around hunting. I raised cattle, showed cattle, and it was the essence of farm to plate that so many talk about.  Cow heads have come a long way from being a faded relic of Cowboys past and instead of becoming a new rustic glam for design and decor.

Mosaic Cow Heads

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Eternal Heart Mosaic Cowskull

 

 

 

Beaded Cow Skulls

Cow Skull

Sacred Heart Beaded Skull

 

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Lilly Ross Mosaics

 

Zebra Print and Cross Steer Skull

Zebra Print and Cross Steer Skull

 

 Glam Skulls

 

These are just a few options you have to turn your wall into an Ode to the West.

Jessica

 

Crochet Wednesdays: 5 DIY Pot Holders and Dish Cloths

Crochet Wednesdays

 

Welcome to Crochet Wednesday, y’all!

One of my very first projects was a potholder. I used Peaches and Cream cotton yarn in #1612 Sunshine and #1530 Rogue Red to make them. My yarn and I were inseperable for a little while as I carried it around in this little blue zipper pouch I had. I stitched whenever I had a few moments at church, at the doctor’s office, and even sitting outside while we BBQ’d.

Soon, an almost obsessive desire to finish the potholder kicked in. Every stitch got me closer to the end and when they finally met I was ecstatic.  What people do not tell you about crochet is that it takes FOREVER to even for small projects! It literally took me a few hours but it could be that I am a beginner. I can say  with relative gumption that if you are getting a good sized crochet blanket for $100 then it is a steal because the amount of work is crazy, y’all.

I learned to crochet these pot holders  by  watching this video by Hooked in Stitches. It took me several views before I became comfortable with working the stitches on my own. I am a very visual learner so it works better if I have a video or pictures to see what I am doing especially when it comes to something as complex as crochet. I hope to one day read a pattern because the older Crochet Patterns are especially beautiful.

Crochet Potholders and Dishcloths

1. This is a very cute, colorful Hexagon dishcloth by Debs Crochet that I am hoping to try soon. I would love to see it is a pastel or mint color.

2. This second potholder is very durable and is perfect for heavy duty use in the kitchen. I have made 3 of these potholders in Sunshine and Rogue Red. I used the Peaches and Cream Yarn which is very affordable and holds up well.

3. I really love the puffy design of this potholder from Petals to Picots and seems to be a more complex pattern but it could just be that as a beginner it overwhelms me to see stitches outside of a single crochet. I love, love the use of soft colors and think they are the perfect touch to any country style kitchen.

Textured Crochet Discloth from Petals to Picots

Petals to Picots

4.This very cute Cupcake Crochet Potholder makes use of the whimsical side of crochet. I found it on etsy through the seller, Whiskers and Wool.

Cupcake Potholder Crochet

Cupcake Potholder by Whiskers and Wool

5. I love this square pattern potholder that has a very dainty flower that embellishes it in the center. The colors are bokd and bright against the white background

four square

Four Square Crochet Potholder by Whiskers and Wool

I hope you enjoyed these easy and beautiful crochet potholders that can be easily customized to reflect the design of your kitchen.

Happy Hooking!

Jessica

 

 

 

 

Crochet Wednesday: Rag Rug Obsession

Crochet Wednesdays

Welcome to Crochet Wednesday.

Today I want to focus specifically on floors. I really love the look of rugs and since I have old wood floors it would be nice to have homemade pieces in our bedrooms, bathrooms,and kitchens.

I told Big E that I would use his old FRC’s to crochet an outside rug.  He laughed at me but I am totally serious about getting rid of all our old clothes by turning them into yarn. I did try my hand at doing this Doily Rug but it eluded me and then I just pulled all the stitches out. I searched for simpler and easier designs and these two seem to be the most popular. I also located a few other posts and videos.

This easy Colorful Rag Rug looks like an easy tutorial for a beginner like me and a perfect fit for my laundry room or kitchen.

Colorful Rag Rug Tutorial by Cuada Designs

Colorful Rag Rug Tutorial by Cuada Designs

I can see this Mandela Rug as a statement piece for my daughters room. One for the baby and one for Mara.

Mandala Floor Rug

Mandala Floor Rug

Other Great Tutorials and Tips:

  1. Craftbits
  2. Stargazun Designs
  3. T-Shirt Circular Rug
  4. T-shirt Rugs Using a Hula Hoop

Happy Hooking, y’all!

Jessica

 

Tejana Made DIY Edition: Bedroom Dilemma

I am expecting  our third child to make an appearance in two months and unfortunately my two children still love to sleep with Mommy. Now, there are several reasons for this and one is that my husband is a roughneck and gone quite a bit so it gives them comfort to be with me.

My daughter is also ready to transition to her room since she has been sharing with her brother for a while now. Bummer, because that means I have to move my craft room. I have been pricing bedroom sets for my children and Dios Mio!

I did the sign of the cross and everything in the middle of the furniture store. Okay, well I didn’t do it but I wanted to. It was $500 just for a basic bed frame. Now, I am frugal by nature and an antique lover. I love hand me downs because I feel like they have the ability to create a unique space.

I also love Shabby Chic and Rustic Style design which clashes with my husband’s modern sense of style. But, as I find myself designing for my children’s rooms I realized that I wanted to create whimsy for my daughter and something a little more modern for my son.

I am working on choosing several bed styles for my son and daughter who desperately need new bedroom furniture but everything is extremely pricey at the moment and I figure DIY would be the most cost-effective for me to do.

Here are some of the plans I need to choose from:

A. The Kentwood Bed from Anna White and submitted by Being Brooke

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B. Hailey Storage Bed by Anna White

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We just came back from Lowe’s this weekend so stay tuned to see which bed we decided to make.

 

Jessica

 

New Etsy Shop Additions

I am slowly starting to become more organized as the baby comes ever so much closer to arriving. I only have 7 weeks, y’all!  I have been adding more merchandise to my etsy store and recently created this very cool Chingona Cuff.

Chingona Cuff 2

Over the years, Chingona had a very negative connotation to it. It meant conceited or too big for your britches. Sometimes it was even meant, pardon my language,  the word bitch. However,  I have always thought of it as badass. I mean I already know how amazingly awesome. So, recently there has been new dialogue opening up about what a Chingona is and how we can raise our girls to fight societal standards and pressures.

I also launched two other collections. One is the Calavera Collection and the other is La Rosas: The Leather Earring Collection.

Calavera Collection

Calavera Collection

 

La Rosas is dedicated to creating floral inspired jewelry with leather. As I progress in my skill set, I will add more earrings to the shop site.

Grey Rosettes

That is my weekly update for you guys. I hope you enjoyed what I have been creating.

 

Jessica

 

Mother and Daughter DIY: Repainting an Old Scooter

Diy Scooter Upcyle

My daughter has this really old, worn down wooden scooter and I have no earthly idea where it came from. I think someone gave it to her over 2 years ago. She plays with it in the house and sometimes she forgets about it outside so it has been caught in the rain a couple of times.

It used to have this picture of the Care Bears on it but after a few months, ahem years, of weathering it was stripped down to the bare bones. She still loves it and we decided maybe it was time for a face lift. We took our supplies out and camped out in our front yard.

Yes, I am that neighbor and we even have our garden in the front as well.

Here is how we gave an old scooter new life.

What you need:

Acrylic All Purpose Paint

Stencils or Stamps

Sandpaper

 

DIY Scooter Makeover Supplies

 

First, you need to sand off any of the old paint.  As I progressed, it is probably better to use a base coat underneath the main coat of paint. I also recommend letting it dry for one hour before applying the second coat but I had an impatient apprentice.

DIY Scooter Painting

 

 

After we let the coat dry, sort of, we used paint to cover our rubber stamp which was supposed to look like bubbles.

Bubble Stamp

 

Paint the stamp and use it to stamp a pattern onto the surface. I am not very good with stamps so it was a little tricky. Next time, I will use a stencil.

After Pic

 

You can also seal it with epoxy, modge podge, or anything else to make it water proof but I didn’t. I actually forgot about the sealing part but I can always do it later.

I hope you enjoyed our Mother and Daughter DIY Project.

 

Jessica

 

 

Crochet Wednesday: Patterns for Home, Clothes, and more

Crochet Wednesdays

Welcome to my first ever Crochet Wednesday!

Being pregnant has made me more organized and all of sudden more crafty.  It is as if all I want to do is craft and create more and more things to make my house beautiful. I love the Vintage Rustic look but Big E is definitely not a fan of that look.

Boo, Big E!

So, I get away with a few touches here and there. But, some of the things on Pinterest really remind me of my  Abuelita’s old crocheted linen tablecloths and I remember fondly her lace curtains which adorned her good room.  She was born and raised during the Great Depression so reduce, reuse, recycle was taught to us early on. She even made her own aprons, quilts, and probably a hundred other things I never had a chance to learn.

When I was around 10, my Abuela passed and  bringing another life into this world reminds me of my upbringing. Even then, I remember trying my hand at crochet but no one was ever patient enough to really teach me.  All, I can say is THANK GOODNESS for YouTube.

Each Wednesday, I will share with you my projects and finds that have to do with all things Crochet.

I am officially OBSESSED.

Here are this week’s finds:

 

Papel Picado from Crochet Parfait

Papel Picado from Crochet Parfait

This Papel Picado Banner is so amazing that I fell in love with it instantly. I want to make one for my kitchen window.

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Keila Top by Handy Kitty

Keila Top by Handy Kitty

This little dress because it is easy to modify to accommodate a range of sizes. You could also upcycle old fabric remnants, linen, old sheets..and the list goes on. I cannot wait to make matching dresses for my girls

 

Doily Rug By Creative Jewish Mom

Doily Rug By Creative Jewish Mom

 

Isn’t this rug fabulous! It inspired me so much that ordered t-shit yarn in black ombre. I also came across this  t shirt yarn tutorial for those of you who want to reduce your t-shirt stash.

 

I hope you enjoyed this week’s Crochet Wednesday and I hope you feel inspired to pick up a hook!

 

Jessica

 

#RealCincodeMayo Blog Hop: Talavera and Papel Picado Ceramic Necklace Tutorial

I never grew up truly celebrating Cinco de Mayo. Most of the time, we used it as an excuse to BBQ. As a Texan, any day is a good day for Texas BBQ. But, as I began to get older I realized that people actually celebrated Cinco de Mayo in fervor. Cinco de Mayo is celebrated far more in the US than it is in Mexico. Outside of Puebla, that is.

I thought an easy jewelry tutorial would be perfect for the kids to try out on Cinco de Mayo so I finally pulled out my air dry porcelain clay. After a few ideas, I thought that creating some Talavera and Papel Picado necklaces would be the perfect way to pay homage to these two long lasting Mexican Art traditions. Unfortunately, as I read the back of the air dry instructions I realized that it would take a few days for the clay to actually dry.

This ended up being a two part tutorial so stay tuned for Part Two. I used air dry Porcelain Clay but you could easily use polymer clay or even kids air dry clay. Remember, that you have to bake polymer clay in a craft oven.

We used Fimo Basic Air to create the pendents.

Image

 

We also used some small clay cutters to cut out the shapes. It is fairly easy to use the clay. You have to manipulate  it a little to get it to work for you.

Here is the necklace that my daughter and I created together this weekend. This is the pre-finished version so stay tuned for the next post that shows how we finished and assembled the necklace.

Image

Instructions:

 

Using a roller, make it at least 1/2 inch thick more or less.

Have handy a cup of water in case the clay dries out and to smooth the piece.

Cut a rectangular or square shape using a clay knife.

Create a Papel Picado pattern using the small cookie cutters.

Let air dry for a few days before finishing.

 

This is part of the Texas Latino Blogger’s Cinco de Mayo Blog Hop. Join us all this week as we celebrate  the #RealCincodeMayo.

04/28 Tejana Made

04/29 Que Means What

04/30 Candypolooza

05/01 Mejorando Mi Hogar

05/02 Momma of Dos

05/03 Family Love in My City

05/05  Your Sassy Self

 

Texas Boot Leather Ornament Tutorial

In my lovely little piece of South Texas, the weather has turned mild dashing my hopes for a white Christmas. As part of the Texas Posadas Blog Hop, I pondered what type of craft I would set up for you. I have a love for poinsettias. The deep red blush of their leaves always reminds me that it is time for Christmas.

My house, like my abuela’s and my mother’s, is filled with Poinsettias and a few Nativity sets. Although, attempting a porcelain clay poinsettia ornament would have been amazing and a little over ambitious. I opted instead for the epitome of Texas, The Boot.

boot2

I decided to use acrylics to paint the leather and instead left out the final step of covering with a thin dye to age the boot. I forgot how bright white paint really is without distressing it.

Materials Needed

3 oz leather

Modeling Tool

Exacto Knife

Acrylic Paints in White, Blue, and Red

1 mm to 1.5 mm leather string for barbed wire 

Directions

Case leather, wait a few minutes. Draw outline of boot with modeling tool. Add in details.

IMG_0687

Cut out boot with exacto knife. Paint with watered down acrylic paints. It is important for you to water down the paint before applying to the leather.

Don’t forget your edges. Paint edges and finish them using a circle edge slicker or bone folder.

For barbed wire closure, tie small about 1 inch  pieces of cord onto the main leather cord which creates the Barbed wire effect.

Texas Ornaments

Merry Christmas, Ya’ll!

Jessie

Texas Posada Blog Hop

I’m participating in Texas Posadas Blog Hop as part of the Texas Social Media Network (#TXSocial). You can visit these other blogs for more on Posadas: food, traditions, etc. We’ll be celebrating our Posada Blogs for the next nine days. Join us!

12/16 – My Tots Travel

12/17-  Sweet Life Bake

12/18- Expecting the Unexpected

12/19- Frida’s Cafe and Juan of Words

12/20- Tejana Made

12/21- Monica Wants It

12/22- Sybilline

12/23-  Your Sassy Self

12/24- Que Means What

Fabulous DIY Gifts for Women {Handmade Holidays}

Handmade gifts sometimes get a bad reputation but sometimes they can be just as beautiful as the store bought fashion jewelry. While some of the tutorials for  jewelry can be a little complicated, these  are a cinch to make. Find some beads and let’s get started.

Memory Wire Bracelets

rosary bracelet white

I love memory wire bracelets.They are  the easiest thing you will ever make besides a strung necklace. The hardest thing about memory wire is deciding what beads you are going to use. 

Double Spiral Memory Bracelet by My Beads 4 U ( Intermediate to Advanced)

Pearl and Crystal Wire Memory Bracelet by One Artsy Mama (Easy)

Braided Memory Wire Bracelet by Desperate Craftwives (Intermediate)

 

Leather Wrap Bracelets

wrap bracelet

Leather is definitely on trend this season. These easy leather wrap bracelets are sure to be a big hit with those who want something that is edgy and yet fashionable.

Leather Wrap Bracelet by Poppytalk

Leather Friendship Bracelet by Make and Fake it

Ladderstitch Bracelet from Lima Beads

Stormy Seas Bracelet Tutorial from Lima Beads

 

Loomed Bracelets

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I am not talking about those looms that use those rubber bands but actual beading looms. The great thing about Loom Bracelets is that you can use almost anything to make them. You are open to your imagination.

Five Row Beaded Cuff made with Bead Loom by Beadiful Nights

Ladder Bracelet by Kendra Higgins on Positively Me

 

 Easy Earrings

earrings

Earrings are a great gift to give to someone. They can be flashy or subtle. Crystal beauties that glisten in the winter moonlight or reminiscent of a warm spring day. Whatever your style, there is an earring for that.

Fiesta Sunset Earrings By Mill Lane Studio

Crystal Fan Earrings by Thanks I Made It

Pink Crystal Bead Earrings by Art Platter

 

I hope these tutorials have given you some ideas on how to make your holiday a little more handmade.

Happy Handmade Holidays!

Jessie

Milagro Leather Pendents

Milagros are miracles. As a Mexican American, Milagros have been a vital part of my life.  The small brass or copper ornaments can  resemble a heart , an arm, a leg, eyes and nearly a dozen other things and each one of them represents an ailment or problem.

When I was a teenager, I injured my knee and my mom is an extremely devout Catholic. She ushered me to the Basillica of  Our Lady of San Juan . When there we purchased our candles and our little gold colored milagro of a leg. It was meant to usher her  prayers through the Virgen of San Juan to God’s ear. We made our way into the Milagro room that was filled with wedding dresses, crutches, pictures,  charms, and even braided hair.

In that room was hope and the essence of people’s faith. It was a showing of how devout they were and what they were willing to give up as a thanks for prayers heard.

Religion and Culture in the Mexican American community are interchangeable. The two mix so much that it is hard to know where one ends and the other begins. These tiny trinkets have been a part of Catholicism for centuries. They are essential to what is known as Mexican and Latin American folk art. Some of the most intrinsic designs are a mix of faith and culture.

The most common images of Milagros or the ones found in Pop Culture are the Virgen de Guadalupe and the Corazon.  These hearts are also known  as the Sacred Heart, Sacred Heart of Jesus, and even the Sacred Heart of Mary.

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Sacred Heart of Mary Via ETWN

I decided that it was time to expand out of my repertoire of  bracelets and try and create a pendent.  There are many different renditions of these hearts and the one thing to remember is that the smaller the object the harder it is to tool the detail in the leather. I used up some scraps that had been sitting in my leather bin.

I did two designs. One was of a rose and the other was a hand drawn milagro. I have been practicing the Sacred Hearts for awhile now  so it was easy to recreate it.

Pendents

I used a modeling spoon, a beveler, and a swivel knife.

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Jessie