Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Skagway friends and Mexico

It's already Tuesday.  My trip here in Mexico is coming to an end.  Saturday, all 6 of us piled into the van and drove 5 hours to the coast.  We arrived, tired and hungry, and went to Happy Food for dinner.  It made us happy.  As we were walking back to our van, Maiya saw a little girl playing.  She looked at her, stopped, looked a little closer and realized she knew the little girl.  It was Rosetta, Jeffrey's daughter, from Skagway.  There were Kori (also a Skagway local) and Jeffrey sitting, 5 feet away, at a bar.  We knew they were in town, as we were planning on having dinner together, but to run into them in a big city... small world!
Sunday, I ventured out on my own and went to La Cruz for the farmer's market.  Best farmer's market I have ever been to in Mexico.  Vegan muffins, cilantro hummus, tortilla de espanola and more.  The prices for the crafts and jewelry were much higher than usual, but the only people shopping there, were Gringos, mostly retired white people.  Later that day, Alisa, Jared, Leisel, and I went to Sayulita, a small, hippy, surfing town.  It was being torn up and under a lot of construction, but it reminded me a lot of Tamarindo, Costa Rica.  Leisel is a friend of Alisa's from church and we stayed with their family.  They own a Segway tour, so we got to be tourists and do a Segway tour for FREEE!!  That night we had dinner at Jeffrey's, the owner of Starfire in Skagway.  I live next door to this thai restaurant and eat their curry weekly.   Abby Jo from Skagway was also living down here for the winter and it was fun getting to know all three of these girls more closely over dinner.
Finally on Monday, the sun came out for about an hour.  We were at the beach and it was lovely.  Here are some pics of the rest of the trip.
The Chapala Lake 

Ella and I
The farmer's market.  I bought agave syrup, jam, cilantro hummis
and tortilla (tasted just like Spain's)!
Sayulita Surf school
Surfer, living the dream.
Segway tour
The two youngest, Ethan and Maya
Alisa covering herself from the sun!
Getting some sunshine! (Image by Alisa)
Alex, Ella, Maile, Maya, and Rosetta aka The Little Mermaids
Skagway girls getting some sun!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Day 1 of Mexico 2012

I made it!!!  After ten hours of sleepful travel, I arrived in Guadalajara, Mexico to a torrential downpour of rain.  Just my luck. Rainforest raised girl seeks sun to find nothing but more rain.  Alisa & Jared are hosting me here for a week in their wonderful home located in a little Ajijic, Mexico, right next to the fifty mile wide lake of Chapala. It's huge and gorgeous and I really hope to see more of it this week.  Alisa and Jared have three wonderful children, who are the cutest ever, two red heads and a blonde.  Ella age 7, Maiya age 4, and Ethan age 18 months. This morning we started bright and early (early by my standards, which is like 8 am), and headed to the big city for "Market Day"! It wasn't raining, just overcast, but cold enough that I had two coats on.  Wait, what?  Two coats?  Am I really in Mexico?  The one time they have a cold snap in a billion years just has to be the same time I come to visit.  It's supposed to warm up by this weekend, fingers crossed!
The market was huge.  Streets lined with foods, trinkets, art, music and more.  It just never ended.  We were able to stop by a local business called Calidad En Repujado, that Alisa and Jared used to buy from, and then turn around to sell in their store in Alaska.  The artists name is Ricardo Portillo and he so talented.

Family run business, that sells metal art. Amazing stuff!
The process.
The metal.
The finished product.
It is crazy to see such talented artists selling their items for so incredibly cheap.  Tourist in Alaska would pay at least double, if not 3 or 4 x's what they sell it for here. From $5 hand painted boxes that would sell for $30 in the states to $50 hand beaded art by the Huichol People, that no American would take less than $200 for.  Around every corner, there was either a vendor selling their craft, or a garage like studio where it was being created.  How many hand made things do you see on the shelf back home?  I was surrounded by talent, local talent, musicians, cooks, artists, craftsman, looking for attention, an ear, a stomach to satisfy, a home.  The people were so kind, and not pushy or annoying like most touristy coastal towns in Mexico.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself.
Oh! I also got to go to my very first trade show outside of the USA.  What an unexpected surprise.  Alisa and Jared are sales reps and like to go to shows here in Mexico to find new lines to represent.  There aren't a lot of Alaskan type gifts, but definitely fun to look! Again, so much talent.  That is something the USA doesn't have much of anymore, hand made items.  However, this year at the Seattle gift show, they dedicated an entire section to hand made.  Hopefully it's making a big come back.
Here's a few photos of are day.

Alisa enjoying lunch.
Pacole chicken soup with white corn. So good!
My feet.
My, what lovely teeth you have.
Ethan took a nap while we were out.
Cute hand made box, and proof I took the picture.
Apparently mustaches are just as popular here in Mexico as they
are in the USA.
Can you guess what these are? (See answer at the bottom of the blog).
What my step dad Jack will look like in the afterlife.
Same old open air markets, all over the world, except in the USA.

Can you guess what this is?!?  (Answer at bottom of the blog)
I heart candy.
Hand made rolling pins and more!


Everyone knows I LOVE valentines day! It's the time of year to send a little note to say "i love you". To let family, friends, and significant others, know that you appreciate and care for them.  And what better way to do it with an Owlentine!
I do!  Happy Owlentines Day!
Barbie, my amazing and beautiful friend, decided that the best way to spend valentines day was to spend all her gift certificates in one day!  Um, helloooooo?!?  I'm SO IN!  We started the day at Sip and Ship!  The best place in the world so send your packages, get a cup a coffee AND shop!

$10 Sip and Ship gift card
New journal for Barbie, Dark chocolate sprinkles for me!
The owner of Sip and Ship loved my Valentine's shirt and
posted this on the Sip and Ship facebook page.
Next stop, lunch with Heather at Purple Cafe, the coolest wine bar EVER!

With a champagne buzz, we were off to shopping.  Which is oh so fun!, but also could be dangerous!

Heather and I on front of The Confectionery.  One day we
 want to own one of these together! 

Best Valentines day in YEARS!!  Thanks Ladies!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The World On Canvas

Lately I have been wanting to do artsy projects, call myself artsy, and hope people believe I really am... artsy.  Pinterest has been amazing, in that I can find fun and easy home projects, pin them to my craft board, and then attack them when I have a free day.  Well today was 'do something creative with a map' day. I have always wanted a world map in my home, but I hate using thumb tacks, and who wants to have a poster continuously falling down because the sticky putty you are using is useless. (Ahem, Marcos, I'm talking to you.) And because I want a GIANT world map, buying a frame for it is out of the question, as they are too expensive. Luckily, I found this project by Creative Juices Decor on Deedra's pinterest board.  Canvases and Mod Podge?  I'm in. I bought a brand new, though antique looking, world map at Barnes and Nobles and went to work.
Seven hours later, with a sore neck, glued fingers, a trip back to the book store for a replacement map, I finished my work.
This is the map I used.
On the Creative Juices Decor blog, the artist traced out the canvases to mark where to cut on the map, but I had issues with the tracing.  I did this with the first map, but found that my lines were all over the place, and when I cut out the first 8 x 10, I realized that I would be cutting out parts of the map if I continued cutting where I drew lines. My canvases were super cheap and all a little different, even though they were officially 8x10's, and 16x20's, but I'm sure this was part of the problem.  I'm a perfectionist and needed exact measurements.  So instead, I measured the top of the canvas where I would want the map to lay and then using those measurements, made lines of where to cut on the map.

Measuring where the map would lay.
Using a ruler, drawing lines showing where to
cut from those measurements

Just like the original artist, I spray painted
 the sides and antiqued the edges.
While the spray paint dried, I cut up the map.
I used Photo Mounting Spray,
and ended up only using the Mod Podge
 on the left, for paper, matte finish.
I glued on the maps using the Photo Mount Spray, and
pressed them onto the canvases.
Once I glued the map to the canvas, I put a layer of Mod Podge over it.  I found that the paper bubbled really bad. I almost panicked until I found that the photo mounting spray really is not that sticky and I was able to pull up the map and then flatten it back down.  This was the hardest and longest part of this project.  First mod podging, then pulling the map back up, flattening it out again and mod podging more. (Is mod podging a word?)  I had glue all over my fingers, but this process seemed to really help the bubbling.  I had noticed a comment on the Creative Juices Decor blog where someone had that same problem.  I think with a laminated map or any non paper map, you wouldn't have the bubbling.
This finished Product.
This will go in my hallway in Skagway.
I took some pictures this morning of it in the light.  I also noticed that it needs another layer of Mod Podge!

Thank you to Creative Juices Decor for your awesome creativity and ideas!  I am so thankful for your "artsy" brain.....cause lets be honest, I am not artsy.

UPDATE:  I am back in Skagway and it's up on the wall!!
TA DAH!!!!!