Turquoise and a Rose

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I have finally semi-completed my Mexican embroidered dress right in time for….. fall.  There’s nothing like wearing bright flowers and turquoise after Labor Day. Ah well, I am pretty happy to finish my first embroidery project. I said “semi-completed” because I may still add some embroidery at the side seam, right under the armholes. But I was bound and determined to make this blog post before Labor Day; thus it is only partly finished. Though parts of the embroidering became rather monotonous, I really enjoyed making the little pink flower, and I love how the big red rose turned out. The pattern for this dress was hands-down the most simple pattern I have ever drafted. This pattern would probably be cute for other dresses, too– maybe in a more airy fabric? Here are the dresses that inspired me to make mine.

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Inspiration: Mexican Embroidery

Those lovely embroidered Mexican dresses have been catching my eye lately. I really want to try making one. The dress pattern seems to be very simple. My obstacle: embroidery… Does anyone have any good tips or links that might help me? I have never embroidered anything; but it can’t be that hard, can it? Also, any color suggestions? Right now, I’m leaning toward white or turquoise or possibly green. Here are a few of the gorgeous specimens I have found:

 

Mexican backpack

This weekend, I spent nearly a whole day developing and perfecting this little pack. It turned out almost exactly like I had imagined, which is rare. One of the greatest things about it is that I had to scrap for it; as in, there was hardly enough fabric to make this little fella.  Last summer I made a pair of “Mexican” shorts out of this material and saved the leftover bits and pieces. So they merged into this bag, with some help from me and these instructions. My help consisted of French seams (I promise it’s Mexican, though!), top-stitching, turning strips of fabric inside-out and outside-in, and stitching up the beautiful little Mexican dahlia (who knew the dahlia is Mexico’s national flower?!?!). The bag was originally intended for summer camps and babysitting, but I think it will work quite well for other uses, too.

My mom picked up that vintage suitcase at a garage sale for about 7 bucks. I adore it. I’ve had “old suitcase” on my “garage-selling list” for a few weeks with no particular purpose for it. I thought about covering this one with fabric, inspired by this post from A Beautiful Mess, and using it as decoration/storage. But I’m still not sure. Does anyone know any other unique (or not) uses for it? I probably won’t use it for actual luggage, since I already have a huge suitcase.

 

The French seams on the inside

Mexican chocolate cupcakes

I actually may have posted a very similar cupcake recipe before, but I’m pretty sure they couldn’t have been as good as these are. They are so delicious. They’re a moist, rich cake with a slightly spicy, cinnamon, essentially Mexican icing. In case y’all haven’t caught on yet, I’m in love with all things Mexican: Mexican hot chocolate, molcajetes (mortar and pestles), Mexican blankets, hot sauce,  Mexican doors, tacos, turquoise and brown; you get the idea. As a side note, the cayenne pepper does not really make it spicy; it just adds a nice Mexican flavor ;)

Mexican Chocolate Cupcakes: makes 24

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients together until moist and well blended.
  2. Put in cupcake cups and bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees F.
Mexican frosting
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar, or more as needed
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon clear vanilla extract, or to taste

Directions:

In a bowl, sift 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, and the cinnamon with the confectioners’ sugar. Beat in the cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until the frosting is smooth; mix in the vanilla extract.

Mi molcajete y guacamole

That is just about the extent of my Spanish, except for the very useful phrase my dad taught me: “puede usted decirme donde i un buen hotel?” (Can you please tell me where i can find a good hotel?) I’m pretty sure I titled this post “My mortar and pestle and guacamole” =D. Anyways, perhaps my favorite Christmas present was this 14-pound, granite mortar and pestle. It works amazingly well. I made this guacamole today. You just grind up two whole garlic cloves and two green onions and kosher salt with your molcajete ;), add a couple or three avocados and mash them up, mix in some hot sauce and juice of one lime, and there you have one muy bueno batch of guacamole.

Salsa verde

My aunt and uncle showed me this recipe over our Christmas get-together. This authentic green sauce is absolutely amazing. I ate it on tamales (don’t ask how many:), chips, enchiladas, and pretty much anything I could get my hands on. The recipe takes some guessing, so you can get it just how you like it. The recipe makes quite a bit more than what is shown in the picture.

Boil about 8 tomatillos and 5 jalapenos (in separate pots!) until the skin starts to wrinkle. Seed the jalapenos and peel the tomatillos… beware- they are flipping hot. Chop about 1/4 onion and (we used) 2 garlic cloves. Blend them with the jalapenos for about 5-10 seconds. Separately, blend tomatillos, some cilantro, and salt for another 5-10 seconds. Now what you do is add the jalapeno mixture to the tomatillo mixture to taste. So if you would rather it not be very spicy don’t add a whole lot. But if you’re like me, add quite a bit. Just stir and eat!!!!!