Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I loved it as a kid, I loved it when my kids were kids! I love it now!

Today, since there are no kids left at home, no costumes to sew, no candy to buy, nothing to decorate for – I want to do something a bit different ----I had some email exchanges with Nancy Arsenault, a quilter from Tuscon, Arizona, who shared some of her “Dia de los Muertos” quilts with me after reading my post about my trip to New Mexico last week.

I asked her if I could share them with YOU, because they are truly charming and fun! And I decided to do it today because TOMORROW is already taken --- I’m releasing the yardage info for the new Mystery Quilt tomorrow. ((OH GOSH!! It really IS that time already!!))

November 1st, the day AFTER Halloween, is traditionally known as “All Saints Day” in many Christian cultures. Dia de los Muertos stems from that tradition, with Day of the Dead being celebrated on both November 1st and November 2nd.

Read on! If you want to know more about the history, I found a more reliable explanation HERE! ((Oh, I love history!))

Enjoy Nancy's Quilts!


She loves me, She loves me not!

Nancy writes:

I'm not from Mexico...in fact I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. So how, you might wonder, did I come to make a series of quilts to celebrate the Mexican tradition of Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)? I am a quiltmaker and collector of whimsical folk art. Living in the Southwest, I was attracted to the colorful imagery of skulls and skeletons which are often represented in Mexican folk art. It was only a matter of time before I began to use these images in my quilts. I made the first in the series (a five piece Mariachi band) in 2006.


Quilting Bee de los Muertos!

As I made these quilts, I learned more about how and why this tradition exists in Mexico. I learned about the belief that each person dies three times. The first death takes place when the body dies. Another death occurs when the body is laid to rest. A third and final death happens when there is no one left alive who remembers the departed person. To avoid that last death, some people make an effort to keep alive the memories of their departed friends and family members.


Swan Lake de los Muertos!

Each November, they clean and decorate the graveyards. Many families build small altars in their home to commemorate the lives of loved ones. Often these altars include favorite foods and symbols of the departed's favorite pastimes. There are special foods associated with this observance as well but what interested me most was the calaveras (skeletons) depicted doing the ordinary, everyday activities that they loved in life.


Flower Power de los Muertos!

Many of my Dia de los Muertos quilts are large but I also do some small (12 x 12") pieces. They're done with machine applique and quilting. They've been exhibited in shows around the country and they're meant to tickle your funny bone. You can see many more of them on WEBSHOTS under the name AZquiltmaker.

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Be sure to come back tomorrow for the Intro to the new mystery…I’m not even TELLING you the name until then, just to keep you hanging just a bit longer, but you won’t want to miss it!


  1. Bonnie you are such a tease and I love it! I can't wait for fab requirements!!!!! I also love Halloween and thanks for showing us those wonderful Day of the Dead quilts. I've thought of trying my hand at one.

  2. Anonymous7:17 AM EDT

    I'm on pins and needles for tomorrows blog.
    Thanks in advance Bonnie.
    Maryella in Maine

  3. Thanks for the Dia de los Muertos mini quilt show! I have been a collector of Day of the Dead folk art for several years, inspired by Jonathan Shannon's famous piece "Amigos Muertos". http://www.pbs.org/americaquilts/century/stories/jonathan_shannon.html
    I thoroughly enjoyed Nancy's quilts!

  4. Always so fun to read your blog. I can hardly wait for the next mystery. I did my first last year and loved it. That quilt is now laying on my bed.
    Alda, Fl

  5. Not being critical, but actually Dia de Los Muertos is actually November 2nd. Just and FYI. From Wikipedia:
    In most regions of Mexico, November 1 honors children and infants, whereas deceased adults are honored on November 2. This is indicated by generally referring to November 1 mainly as Día de los Inocentes ("Day of the Innocents") but also as Día de los Angelitos ("Day of the Little Angels") and November 2 as Día de los Muertos or Día de los Difuntos ("Day of the Dead").[3]

  6. I have no kids at home or costumes to make any more either, and it is very sad. It was always my favorite time of the year. I love the Dia de los Muertos quilts especially Swan Lake. How funny is that? Looking forward to tomorrow!

  7. Love those quilts! The quilting bee really made me chuckle then I got to thinking how our antique and vintage quilts make us think about the quilters who made them and it all made sense...

  8. The Dia de los Muertos quilts are really special, love all the colors. I'll be back to check out the mystery tomorrow! I love getting one more quilt done at the end of the year.

  9. I was in Mexico for this celebration one time, and it is really different than what I first assumed. Love the skeletons quilting!

  10. I'm loving that quilting bee one....the mom with the kid, and she has a ponytail in her ballcap! Too funny! And how are those glasses held up on the old lady one? HA! And the flower power one with the mid-drift shirt showing the ribcage! What a hoot! Thanks for sharing these, and the story! I'll be paying more attention the next time we are visiting in the southwest.

  11. Love the Dia de los Muertos quilts! So funny! And I didn't know about the Day of the Dead celebration. I learned something new today. Thanks!

  12. Great history lesson, thank you. And great quilts. Mystery? This has my creative juices ready to burst!
    Thank you for blogging Bonnie.


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