We've done a lot of tutorials, reviews, and other Frida-related things, but I wanted to take today to reflect on Frida Kahlo's actual artwork. I love Frida and I absolutely loved getting swept up in the "Fridamania" surrounding her persona, but I've noticed that sometimes people who love Frida don't actually seem to be super familiar with her artwork. The first time I saw a piece of her artwork in person, I was so in awe and definitely cried in public. The thing that really stuck with me was how few people around me stopped to look at the painting. Frida's face is stuck on everything these days and sometimes it feels like the impact of artwork gets lost. So today, it's all about the paintings!
Google Arts & Culture
Last week Google announced their Arts & Culture site dedicated to Friday Kahlo and... Y'ALL! It is amazing! You could spend HOURS getting lost in this website. They have her artwork, interviews, videos, and so much more! You check out a preview of what the site is all about below or CLICK HERE to go straight to it!
I've brought up a few books about Frida before which you can check out HERE and HERE, however, there is a very famous biography written by Hayden Herrera which you can purchase HERE. This is probably the most notable book on Frida as it was the basis for the popular movie starring Selma Hayek. The reason I love this book is that Herrera also released a companion book specifically diving deeper into the artwork itself. Biographies about Frida Kahlo are tricky because they often feel so loaded with the author's personal opinions on Frida, but this companion book is really excellent.
See Her Artwork
To find out where to see her artwork in person for herself, HERE is a list of where all her artwork is currently hanging
What are your favorite ways to interact with the artwork of Frida Kahlo?
Frida Fridays are part of the Viva La Frida Swap hosted with Bee Creative Swaps. For info on the swaps, check out the links below!
Bee Creative Swaps Website
Bee Creative Swaps on Instagram
Bee Creative Swaps Facebook
Bee Creative Swaps Patreon
This week for Frida Fridays, I'm doing something a little different! Frida's step-daughter Guadalupe Rivera came out with a cookbook based on Frida's personal recipes called Frida's Fiesta's: Recipes and Reminisces of Life With Frida Kahlo. You can check it out HERE on Amazon. Of course I had to check it out immediately! I'm a vegan and, as a shock to no one, very little in the book is vegan. Challenge Accepted! I thought trying out some vegan versions of a few recipes would be an awesome way to do something completely different for Frida Fridays!
As a refresher, Frida Fridays are something Lizette and I have done for a few years while the Viva La Frida Swap takes place in order to give inspiration and encouragement to those participating in the swap. For more info on our swaps, check out the swap website HERE!
On to the cookies! The original recipe calls for:
2 pound of flour
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons lard
1 cup superfine sugar
2 cups confectioners sugar
Vegan baking is tricky because you can't do a straight one for one replacement of a regular recipe. All baking is chemistry and something like cornstarch doesn't have quite the same properties as say lard. I did a bit of research other vegan shortbread recipes and had to do a little experimenting from there to get the right balance as I wanted to keep to Frida's recipe as close as possible.
The vegan recipe:
1 cup vegan margarine such as Earth Balance
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons spiced rum
2 cups flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
confectioners sugar for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
Blend together the margarine and the sugar for a few minutes until well mixed.
Add in 1/4 cup of rum and blend for few more minutes.
Sift the flour and cornstarch into a separate bowl and then add them in a little at a time. Blend until well incorporated.
At this point I removed the bowl from my mixer to do a final kneading with my hands. The dough seemed a bit too dry in some places so I added the extra 2 tablespoons of rum to help incorporate everything else.
Lay an additional sheet on parchment paper on the counter and place the dough in the center.
Roll the dough out to approximately 1/2 inch thick
Use a cookie cutter (or in my case, the rim of a pint glass) to cut out your cookies. Transfer them to a baking sheet.
Bake for 15-17 minutes.
Allow to cool slightly and then sprinkle confectioners sugar over the top.
They are delicious and I ate 4 of them just during the time I spent trying to get good photos of them! I love a nice simple sugar or shortbread cookie and these are maybe some of my favs. I'll be sharing more recipes with the Bee Creative Swaps Patreon subscribers this weekend so be sure to subscribe for more goodies there!
Every year for Frida Fridays, we've assembled a list of some of our favorite items from Etsy that honor Frida Kahlo. Incase you missed the other info, Frida Fridays are something CreativityLizette and I started doing in honor of our annual Viva La Frida Swap with Bee Creative Swaps. To learn more about the swap group, click here. This year I took it one step further and have only chosen Etsy shops located in California. While we host international swaps, Lizette and I both live in California so it seemed fitting to feature makers in our community. Here's what I'm into...
One of the best and most well known from Frida on a great pin by RosaGuayabaShop.
Love this shirt from GuestBookery. I see a lot of Frida t-shirts that alter her artwork in some, but this one is great!
Living in San Francisco, layers are essential! This scarf from Streetheart would do just the trick!
I love Funko Pop figures, but I've never seen a custom Frida one before! This awesome work was done by ATattooedLoserArt.
I'm a sucker for a cute pair of hand earrings inspired by the ones Frida used to wear. I've read Frida's were a gift made by Picasso, but I don't know if that's true. In any case, check out these beauties from MoonandLeaf!
And finally, something fun and different! Buy an awesome Frida inspired item and then wrap it in these awesome paper from Mexicons!
Another Frida Swap, another summer of Frida Fridays! Frida Fridays are something Lizette and I started doing a few years ago to give everyone some extra inspiration while working on the Viva La Frida Swaps we host every year. Even before that, we both have put out a bunch of Frida related content because she is our favorite artist. For this year's first of many Frida Fridays, I decided to do a little recap of some of favorite Frida posts from both Lizette and myself!
First up, two of my favs that Lizette and I made from previous year's swaps!
Looking for some fun extras to include in your swap package? Check out these free printables Lizette put together!
Working with your kiddos? Check out the most beautiful handprint tutorial from Lizette!
Need to get inspired? Check out these book reviews from Emily.
Bring more inspiration into your room with a Frida Kahlo "Celebration of Life" altar made by Lizette.
Having a Frida Kahlo party? Check out this DIY photo booth from Lizette.
The Frida mugs I made last year and still use everyday! If you don't do ceramics, but have a pottery painting place near you, they're most likely gonna have everything you need to replicate these mugs!
Another swap is finished with Bee Creative Swaps and it was so much fun! Being one of the hosts of the swap, I ended up filling in as a Swap Angel for 2 people. I know it's weird that they weren't matched with each other after their partners dropped, but the timeline was complicated.
Anyways! For my first partner I made a cassette inspired swap item using a portion of this quilt pattern from Lysa Flower. My partner loved a lot of 80's music so it seemed like a good jumping off point. I've never done a piecing pattern quite this complicated before so I was a bit nervous about it, but it was actually pretty easy.
I'm so happy with how everyone came out. Embroidery is not my strength, but I think it makes a cute handmade mix type vibe. I bought the socks at work and ordered the Log Lady Funko Pop online after not finding it at local stores.
My second partner said that she loved Golden Girls and Cyndi Lauper the most so I stuck with those as my main inspiration when searching for what to make. I found this 8-bit image of of Cyndi Lauper online and decided to quilt it. I didn't know what to make with the quilt so I decided to keep it mini and turn it into a bag.
Annnddddd for my final partner, I pulled from her mosaic which featured a lot of Super Mario themes, Sanrio, and Totoro. It was great that each person I made something for had different interests so I could make different items each time. The mushroom bowls were the same ones I used to sell on Etsy so it was awesome to give them new life!
And finally, here's what I received! I sent 3 packages but only received 2 since one person I was just a Swap Angel. One partner when full Totoro and I LOVE IT. The other sent me some awesome cross stitches and the coolest Jem themed lipstick from Sephora. It doesn't look like Sephora carries it anymore so I was excited to get the exclusive color!
Hi Friends! Happy March. I've been working hard on all things Morose Bee these last few weeks including this new website, streamlining products, and applying to local craft shows. In lieu of all of the changes, I thought it only fitting that I upgrade and update my blogging platform. Blogging is such a crucial part of my creative process so I'm excited for these new improvements. I will probably backlog some of my old posts here as well.
In the meantime, check out all the new products in my Etsy shops and stay tuned for craft show dates!
This was the final quilt I made for the 2017 holiday season! There was another half square triangle quilt I'm skipping over, but I didn't get great photos of it before sending it off. Next time I'm at my parent's house, I'll try and grab a few shots. I didn't share what I have over on Instagram so go check out @themorosebee to see it.
Anyways! The bookshelf quilt. I'd been planning to make this quilt since last spring, but I saved it for the last one. I made it all over the course of a week and, it was such a mad dash to get it done, I didn't take pictures of every step of the process.
I tried to discreetly ask my uncle what his favorite books were earlier in the year so I could utilize photo fabric for some of the book covers. They looked so lovely and bright when I first printed them out, but they didn't hold the color very well.
Other than needing more fabric for some of the border panels and the back side, I didn't buy any fabric for this quilt top. Using up a bunch of scraps was so great! I debated keeping a particular color scheme or pattern, but I liked the idea of keeping an almost vintage vibe to it.
Assembling each shelf actually went pretty quickly! I've never done piecing quilt like this before, but it was simple enough. I did not use any kind of pattern or instructions and each shelf more or less came together somewhat organically. The leaning books were the hardest! I just kinda figured it out as I went. I probably could've looked something up, but I made it work.
The finished quilt just after finishing it! I was deliriously tired at the time of taking this photo! I pulled an all-nighter to get it done on time to give as a gift. I was also super worried in my exhaustion that I had messed something up, but upon review the next day the quilt still looked great to me!
In some of these close ups you can really see how the photo fabric faded. I followed all of the preparation instructions that came with the roll of fabric so I'm not sure if I did something wrong. They were still visible enough that he could tell which books I used so I hope it just contributes to the vintage-ness of it all.
I'm not gonna lie...I am pretty exhausted from all the quilt making! I will definitely be taking a break from quilting for a bit to work on some other projects. I'm so proud of my work, but excited for a change! I hope to have some quilts posted for sale by this summer after I take a short break!
I've been sharing photos of all the Christmas quilts I made on Instagram, but I still enjoy the process of sharing more in depth on ye olde blogge. Looking back, it seems so crazy that I made so many this year! This one was the second quilt (out of 5) that I made as gifts for people lately. This time around it was an 8-Bit Pokeball Quilt for my nephew. I knew I wanted to make a Pokemon something-or-other and when I found the 8-bit pokeball image I knew it was good place to start.
Making this quilt went SO QUICKLY! The Americana quilt was very very labor intensive and half square triangle quilts have a lot of steps involved so I think just doing squares caught me off guard at how fast it was to assemble. I debated doing 8-bit versions of actual Pokemon characters, but I was worried the quilt would get out-of-control huge.
I've stopped trying to make quilts to fit a certain size and have just started going with a design and seeing how big they end up being from there. I just add on elements based on how much bigger it needs to be to at least be cozy enough to curl up with on the couch. I could have done more on the border, but I like the simplicity of it. I almost bought Pokemon branded fabric to add to it, but I'm really glad I didn't! I feel like keeping it in limited colors makes it a bit more mature looking incase my nephew starts to outgrow the Pokemon thing.
I have 2 more quilt processes to share and then I'm done with all my handmade goodies for the 2017 Holiday Season. It's been such a learning experience and so much fun! I'm definitely QUILTED OUT and looking forward to making some other types of things next!
Hope every is having a happy New Year!
About a year ago, I was graciously given an entire car full of a friend's grandmother's quilting supplies. Her name was Charlotte and she passed away leaving a loving family with some beautiful quilts and SO. MUCH. FABRIC. A few family members took a few things like the nicer machines and I was given everything that was left. It filled my car from floor to ceiling everywhere except the drivers seat. It took several weeks to go through everything. There were patterns and partially finished blocks and lots of scraps and quilting catalogues from the 90s and so much other stuff.
In the pile I found a photo of this Texas quilt layout as well as some of fabric and a few partially completed blocks. I'm not sure if Charlotte made this quilt and took it apart or made some blocks inspired by someone else's quilt, but I knew I wanted to do something Americana and similar to it.
I spent a long time rearranging what was partially made, figuring out how to replicate more of what she has made to complete patterns and doing a lot of research on traditional quilts. It was super fun and definitely a huge learning experience. Also, because I was making it sort of freestyle, figuring out how to fit it altogether was a challenge.
I finished the quilt top in December of 2016, but ended up packing it up not long after because we were planning on moving to California. It was a little wonky and uneven in some parts where I tried to recreate certain blocks, but I still loved it. A few of the block were signed by what I'm assuming where Charlotte's friends who gave or swapped a few quilt blocks with her. It made me a little teary to hope that I was carrying on someone else's work!
Once we got settled in San Francisco, I started working on this quilt again in the hopes that I could get it done as a Christmas gift for it's intended recipient. I did the back using only scraps of fabric in a similar color scheme. This is about the time where this quilt started to be the bane of my existence! So many pieces and details and so much stress about how to quilt it and basting it was a workout in itself.
I decided it was so big and heavy that I wasn't going to quilt the entire thing and that I would only do segments. Essentially any area that was blue, green, purple, or black was quilted with dark blue, a few red areas were quilted in red, and then a few white or beige areas were quilted with white. One can only do so much with no long arm machine! One of this days I'll pay for professional quilting services, but this was not that day!
I was so pleased when it was finished! The only thing that really bothers me is the one super crooked row of small flying geese, but this is the first quilt that I've done flying keeps so I guess I won't beat myself of too bad! All I could think about is that I hope Charlotte would be happy with what I've done with her work.
I actually made quite a few quilts this year for Chanukah and Christmas and will be sharing them slowly over the course of the next week or so. Man oh man did my post office bill start to rack up! I hope everyone had a lovely holiday and has a wonderful New Years!
I've been wanting to talk about how inspiring my recent vacation was, but I've hesitated out of fear of coming off as super elitist or showy because I know not everyone is able to go on vacations. We recently went on a really incredible trip to Barcelona, London, and Paris, but it's one that took a lot of struggle and was more or less 8 years in the making. Ultimately, I think the inspiration that can be gained from travel doesn't require flying to another continent and, also, this my space to talk about my own creative life. So...I'm talking about my trip and creative inspiration I gained from it. Here goes..
Stepping Away to Evaluate
It's not really a revelation that taking a vacation can help get you inspired and recharged. Breaking away from your everyday life and out of your physical routine can really shake up your mental routine. For me, I've been in a weird place with where to go next. Do I want to go back to selling more on Etsy? Do I want to jump headfirst back into craft shows? Do I want to start a completely new business? How soon do I want to have a brick and mortar again? All of these questions have been rattling around in my brain for weeks! While on trips, I take a lot of time to read, listen to PodCasts, and reflect. Things I don't really do in my day to day life and things that can be done regardless of what your destination is. I listened to some really great episodes of Dear Handmade Life while on vacation including episode 34: Awesome Visual Design and episode 35: Perfection & Passion Projects. I can't remember which episode it was, but one of them talked about the concept of Past Lives. Essentially, the things you did in previous passions or hobbies still have value and impact your creativity today even if those passions are over. It was so critical for me to hear that at this point in my journey. Having previously owned other businesses and having moved a bunch, you can't help but feel like maybe you stepped away too soon or that those years were a "waste." Those thoughts can really eat away at me or negatively impact the things I choose to do going forward if I let it. I feel like all of these thoughts culminated during the course of my trip and gave me a better path with which to push forward. Surprisingly, what I ended up with was the decision to do less. I want to keep doing what's fun, enjoy the process of The Morose Bee, increase sales if I can but don't try and force it into a "quit my day job" situation, and just dig back into loving to MAKE. I feel like the shift in my goals is visible on my annual birthday post as far as the things I've decided to prioritize.
I hear a lot of chatter about the downsides of social media and, in general, I try not to be on my phone ALL the time. The truth is, I like social media. It keeps me in touch with my friends in other cities or countries, it's how Lizette and I are able to host such large swaps, and it's how I'm able to manage getting the resources I need for a lot of the crafts I've made. I no longer fall into the trap of needing to mimic other people or things I see on social media. My feed being full of happy people doing cool stuff doesn't make me jealous. It makes me feel excited for them and want to do better in my own life and in my own way. I know that not everyone is wired that way, but I like it. That doesn't mean that I don't get totally overwhelmed! I think the hardest part as a maker is wanting to come up with original work or even just original online content. What's left to make or do? Thirty seconds on Pinterest can send you down a rabbit hole of blog posts and ideas already done by other people. While on this trip, we had terrible cell service and I could only browse on my phone so often. Usually, whenever I want to make something new my first step is a Pinterest board of ideas and inspiration. During my down time on vacation, I doodled quite a few quilt ideas ALL WITHOUT CONSULTING THE INTERNET FIRST. Instead of worrying what's already been done or what tips I can use from other's to make my ideas better or how to avoid things that other people have done, I just came up with ideas. I didn't worry about it and I just sketched and jotted down notes and enjoyed myself. I had this realization that I don't really care if someone else has done something similar or had the same idea as me. I want to make things that feel authentic to my own process and if other awesome makers are making similarly awesome things than that's awesome too. I understand that there's a whole other legal side to this, but I'm not trying to find a niche market to fill. I'm just making things to have fun. When I first start The Morose Bee, my original idea was sculpting mustache necklaces. I didn't look to see if it was a "thing" yet. I just made them and posted it and they sold well. Turns out, at the time, there weren't many (if any) mustache necklaces on Etsy and it wasn't until a few years later than the mustache craze became huge. That was almost 10 years ago and I think I need to lean into those gut feelings a little more often.
So here's the thing, often times when I am feeling on fire, I leap head first into whatever my new amazing idea happens to be. Sometimes I make huge decisions impulsively because I like to be an ALL IN kind of person. I have a tendency to wayyyyy over analyze everything and not always in a way that is productive or constructive. Once a decision is made I am usually ready to go! At one point on my trip, I was having so many ideas I straight up wanted to dissolve my Etsy shops and start and entirely different kind of business. I had this idea in my head for about 3-5 days and I was going to do it when I got home. I'm so glad I didn't do it! The 180 degree spin of my thought process during this trip took me down a lot of different paths, but being away from the internet didn't allow me the ability to act on any of them. I just had to keep reflecting and enjoying the trip. The end result was a completely different plan by the time I got on the plane to come home and I'm so glad I didn't cut The Morose Bee out of my life!
Realizing What You're Excited To Come Home To
Ultimately, it all came down to that plane ride home and all the things I couldn't wait to get home and do. I read the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and was ready to start decluttering our apartment, I sketched 5 quilt ideas and I am really exciting about 2 of them, I evaluated all my goals and ideas, and came home ready to make! I think if I were to come home and think "Well crap. I have to finish this damn quilt" then I'd have a serious problem. My only issue now is I'm too excited! So I came home and started on 4 different projects at the same time. I realize this post is starting to sound like I spent a 2 week trip thinking about all of this. There were shows, museums, friends to visit, good food, and lots and lots and lots and lots of walking. But those are the times where ideas strike me. As a maker and someone who is entrepreneurially oriented, these thoughts are always just below the surface. For example, I suddenly had the most amazing idea for a quilt while in the middle of a tour of La Sagrada Familia! I just won't be able to make it until after Christmas gift making is over. I feel like much of these same ideas could've come from getting a hotel on the beach 2 towns over. The point is stepping away from your life for a short time when at a crossroads. When you come back, the decision that needs to be made will still be there and in clearer focus.
Just a San Francisco gal sharing creative pursuits, inspiration, and other things that interest me.