DVD Review: The Book of Life

Not many mainstream animated movies are about Mexican culture, but this is what “The Book of Life” is all about. Not only does this fun-loving movie involve the Mexican holiday Dia de Los Muertos, it sends a great universal message to children and adults. The director and co-writer Jorge R. Guiterrez and produced Guillermo Del Toro have really outdone themselves.

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The movie starts off with a group of rambunctious children going on a field trip to a museum. The tour guide takes the children to a secret place hidden in the museum. The room is filled with treasures, ancient findings, and at the end of the is a book. The tour guide refers to the book as “The Book of Life,” which contains every story in the world. She then opens it and begins to tell the story of a city in Mexico called San Angel.

The story takes place on Dia de Los Muertos, which means, the Day of the Dead. On this day, family members go to the cemetery to celebrate the existence of their loved ones who passed away. Two spirits are present for this day and walk around the villagers unnoticed. La Muerte (Kate del Castillo) is the ruler of the Land of the Remembered, while the other spirit, Xibalba (Ron Perlman) is the ruler of the Land of the Forgotten. As they walk around, Xibalba pesters La Muerte about switching realms. She refuses, then finally agrees to the wager having to do with three young children. A girl named María (Zoe Saldana) is independent and confident within herself. The other two are Manolo (Diego Luna) and Joaquin (Channing Tatum), both in love with María. The wager is, which boy will win the heart of the girl. Xibalba chooses show-off Joaquin, while La Muerte chooses kind-hearted, soft-spoken Manolo. Who will win?

The style of the movie is Dia de Los Muertos created with CG effects. There’s so much color and life within the movie. The character design and environment are incredibly detailed and layered, especially in the Land of the Remembered. I recommend this movie to kids, adults, and anyone who appreciates great storytelling, because of the important message behind the movie itself. People may change, but your close friends and familia will always be there for you. Always follow your heart and you will never fail.

Written by Alyssa Valdivia

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Custom Papel Picados

Due to a happy misunderstanding, I have started creating custom papel picados. I thought I was being commissioned to create my papel picado designs, done digitally and then printed out. But my customer wanted actual cut out, custom picados. I saw it as a challenge and an opportunity to create what I’d always wanted to try, but never actually had the time to do. Yes, it’s hard work, but I enjoy it much more than I thought I would. I’m pretty quick at it as well! Recovery for my hand is the longest part of the process. Here are the first two of a 5 piece series. I’ll be working on 3 tomorrow and hopefully get 4 and 5 done this weekend. Stay tuned! And let me know what you think of these so far!

Want a custom papel picado of your own? Contact me! 

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Historical Home Tour Event in Oxnard, CA

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This weekend’s event in Oxnard was pretty, well…magical! I had a wonderful time. Thanks to Marcia Yoshida from Stampin’ Up for inviting me to participate! It was the most beautiful setting I’ve set up shop at, ever. The historical neighborhood of Oxnard with their over 100 year old Craftsman style homes, on a perfect Southern California day, breeze from the beach, and shade from the large, old trees, was the perfect setting for all my creepy and cute items, especially my newest Calavera dolls! Check out some of them below. You’ll notice they look quite different from the ones I’ve been creating so far:10414642_10152407061462083_6348389501499277395_n

All of my Calavera dolls are one of a kind. I don’t use a template to sew them and I don’t use any stencils or preconcieved ideas to design them. I just decide on a shape and paint, paint, paint! So what you’re getting when you buy one of my Calavera dolls is the direct transfer from my creativity, to you. 🙂 I also worked on some new hair flowers. These are much more involved than the ones I’ve done in the past. I had a lot of fun creating these:

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Some signage:

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Another pic of my Calavera dolls. I’ll be posting the ones I have left at the shop tomorrow. Photoshoot scheduled today! Enjoy:10687212_10152407060722083_8148904912076755531_n 10343037_10152407061082083_4423935558489868718_n

To see the whole photoset, including artwork from Beenznrice and Mexicans and Zombies, check it out HERE!

Need a custom Calavera doll or hair flower? Need bridal gifts or hair flowers for a wedding? Yep, I do that. 🙂 Contact me!

Noches de Muertos: LOTERIA

Had a great art show on Saturday night at Muddy Waters in Santa Barbara. Thank you for everyone who bought some cool Heavenly Skull stuff! Here are some pics from the event:

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That’s my butterfly lady!

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My table!

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CJ admiring the artwork. (AND skateboard legend Vernon Courtlandt Johnson checking it out behind him! He was AWESOME!)

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My piece was La Sirena.

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Carlos’s piece was El Diablito.

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One of my happy customers and Alyssa chattin it up with VCJ back there. Again, he was awesome.

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My in laws got to come this time and they had a blast! CJ with his pumpkin Day of the Dead/Baseball Furies look!

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RRRAAAWWWRRR!!!

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