Dia de Los Muertos, 2015…

Gorgeous papel picado, entrance to San Gabriel Mission Cemetery - susie carranza studio

Sharing my Dia de Los Muertos weekend in photos… (Please read my post from 2012 – Dia de Los Angelitos… to see our home altar that year.) ’til next time…

around here…

Just wanted to share today’s sketchbook journal page. This started with some late night scribbling and doodles last night, and I finished it today while listening to the pouring rain. (LOVE the sound of rain!)May 8, 2015 sketchbook page - susie carranza studio


I’ve added a couple new items to my Etsy shop!

I LOVE painting these beautiful tin nichos from Mexico. I painted this chapel nicho in bright colors – red, turquoise, green, and more – and on the inside I used the “El Corazon” card from a Loteria game (like Mexican bingo) on a bed of gold glitter (also from Mexico). To see more photos go to my Etsy shop (link above)!

El Corazon Nicho by Susie Carranza Studio on Etsy

“El Corazon” Nicho by Susie Carranza Studio

This small wood angel ornament measures just under four inches tall and comes ready to hang with a twine loop. I drew bold whimsical flowers on a white background, making them pop by using purple, turquoise, orange, yellow, and green.

"Spring Angel" by Susie Carranza Studio  www.etsy.com/shop/susiecarranzastudio

“Spring Angel” by Susie Carranza Studio

I have lots more projects in progress – I’ll be sharing soon!

‘Til next time…

creative April…

my work space today - colorful & busy!

April is turning out to be a creative month for me, and I’m loving it! I joined a 30 day challenge for the month – the Creative Sprint. You can follow along on social media by looking up the hashtag … Continue reading

’tis the season – for Dia de los Muertos…

i love this time of year, when there are lots of events and shows celebrating Dia de los Muertos.  i was going to write about it, but realized i already did last year, which you can read at Dia de los Muertos/Day of the Dead: Honoring Loved Ones No Longer Here.  i also love creating pieces Dia de los Muertos style, like these hand painted & embellished mini wood coffins.  they’re perfect for keeping on your home altars for your loved ones who are no longer here, with space inside for small mementos or treasures.

hand painted and embellished mini coffins, Dia de los Muertos style

hand painted and embellished mini coffins, Dia de los Muertos style

i’m happy to say that the first three sold quickly after i posted photos on my facebook page – so i created more today:

mini wood coffins, hand painted and embellished Dia de los Muertos style

hand painted and embellished mini coffins, Dia de los Muertos style

here’s just a sampling of some of my DOD (Day of the Dead) work on our website:


and some from my Etsy shop:


i learned so much about Dia de los Muertos from Annette Armas (i’ve mentioned her before, Annette of CJ’s Angels and our Arte de Nuestro Corazon business partner).  she creates Dia de los Muertos art like it should be:  beautiful, colorful, culturally-inspired, in a way that honors the tradition of celebrating loved ones no longer here.

check out some of Annette’s work for yourself, and let me know what you think:

work by Annette Armas

work by Annette Armas

Annette and her daughter Theresa also have a gorgeous 2014 calendar out right now, with 14 all new images, all Dia de los Muertos (the calendar is available for purchase right now at Arte de Nuestro Corazon, while supplies last!):


So – do any of you celebrate Dia de los Muertos?  what do you do?  if you have a related blog post, please share in the comments.  i’d love to see what you’re up to for Dia de los Muertos…

Crafty Chica Cruise 2013…


i’m back! from the Crafty Chica cruise, that is. actually, i’ve been back a week already.  just wanted to share some of the many photos i took during the week…


we set sail on monday, april 22nd.  i got to go on the cruise thanks to sylvia of Que Milagros Studio on etsy.  her husband couldn’t make it at the last minute and she invited me to take his place!  she called me on the 1 month anniversary of my father-in-law’s death, which was a very rough day around here.  at the encouragement of my husband lawrence and my best friend annette, i told sylvia yes.

i’d never been on a cruise before, and let me tell you, the Carnival ship we were on – the Inspiration – was like Vegas!  brightly lit, somewhat funky decor, clubs, bars, casinos…just one big party!  hungry?  thirsty?  no problem – the Lido Deck offered breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day,  with a variety of delicious options.  dinner in the Carnivale (yes, Carnival with an “e”) dining room was fun: i got to sit with a group of very cool and funny women, our waiters were a blast, even performing for us a couple of nights, and the food was pretty good (desserts were yummmmy!).

our schedule was docking in Catalina Island on Tuesday, and then Ensenada, Mexico on Wednesday.  Thursday was all day on the boat; we returned to Long Beach, CA on Friday morning.

i’d never been to Catalina before and i thought it was beautiful.  fresh air, lots of beautiful mosaic tile work on the sidewalks and buildings, and of course, lots of businesses to shop at.  In Ensenada, we stuck to the downtown area and did a little shopping.  my favorite stop was at Casa Ramirez – beautiful, authentic art pieces made by local artists, with friendly and knowledgeable staff more than happy to talk about the items in their shop. if you’re ever in the downtown Ensenada area, i strongly recommend you visit Casa Ramirez!

we did some crafting on the boat –  my favorite workshops were the leather ring workshop, by Crafty Chica Kathy Cano-Murillo; the “La Chica Doll” workshop with Annette and Theresa Armas of CJ’s Angels; and the Sacred Heart workshop with Yoli Manzo of Sacred Yoli Designs.

i only completed the doll and the sacred heart workshops; i’ll share more about the workshops themselves in a later post.  i want to finish up the projects i brought home.

oh – i won a Gelli Plate! have you guys heard about them?  i first heard  of them from Yoli on her facebook page.  i’m so excited i got one and can’t wait to use it in my mixed media work!!!  check out their site and see for yourself at Gelli Arts.


the best part of the cruise was running into old friends, meeting Facebook friends in real life, and meeting lots of new people.  i even got to meet one of my favorite artists, Emily Costello.

on Thursday evening, our last night on the ship, we had a “mercado nite”, where we had a chance to sell our homemade items, artwork, etc.  i made back a good chunk of what i spent during the week!

stay tuned for more about the projects i did on the cruise…

(btw, the last photo of the sunflowers: my mom bought them for me when i returned Friday. ♥)

Dia de los Muertos/Day of the Dead: Honoring Loved Ones No Longer Here

Day of the Dead (in spanish: Dia de los Muertos) has become so popular recently that it often both saddens and maddens me to see the term “day of the dead” slapped onto a piece of artwork just because it has a skull or a skeleton on it.  or lumped together with Halloween.  lots of people want to capitalize on the popularity of this tradition but don’t bother to find out what it’s REALLY about.  or honestly, they just think skulls are “cool”.  last year, one online store held a “Day of the Dead” craft contest on their facebook page, where people posted pieces they’d created and the one with the most “likes” won a prize of some sort.  i still remember one of the pieces:  a gravestone, spiders, webs, and pumpkins.  and one scary-looking skull.  Day of the Dead – really?  not so much….

Dia de los Muertos is about honoring our loved ones who are no longer with us.  there is nothing scary, or spooky, or Halloween-y about it.  it’s a beautiful tradition that involves celebrating life, not mourning death.

i did not grow up knowing about Dia de los Muertos.  i honestly don’t remember the first time i ever heard about it, but i know that once i did i wanted to know more.  that was years ago.  today, with so much virtual information at our fingertips, there really is no reason not to know what this tradition is all about, if one truly wants to.

i could try to share what i’ve learned about this beautiful tradition, but there’s an awesome site that did such a great job with this, i’d rather share their page and let you see for yourself.  check out mexicansugarskull.com’s post about the history of Day of the Dead.


and, if you’d like to check out another link, here’s an interview i did at Crafty Catholic Mamacita back in March.  maria finds artists and crafters on Etsy and interviews them for her weekly “Crafty Mamacita Miercoles” (miercoles = spanish for Wednesday).  she found my shop on Etsy and asked if she could send me some questions for an interview.  (i’m glad i did; maria was very sweet and very professional.)

the last question was about Dia de los Muertos.  you can read my interview here:


my husband and i have an altar set up in our dining room year round.  we started it 3 years ago during the Day of the Dead season and never took it down.  it stays as a tribute to loved ones we’ve said goodbye to yet know we’ll one day see again.  we make a few changes as time passes, adding friends and family who have passed on since we started our altar, redecorating, etc.  i love having a physical place to pause, light a candle, and say a quick hello.

*our altar has artwork from several awesomely talented artists: the large candle on the right is Cathy Ashworth; the skull on the second shelf of our altar is from Cesco’s Muertos; the skeleton-butterfly piece (top shelf) and the skeleton dog (front) is from Theresa Armas; the black skull (left) and blue box (right) is from Annette Armas of CJ’s Angels and Arte de Nuestro Corazon.  the tall candle with the image of flowers (on the left) and the piece in the lower left corner were done by me.

so, tell me – do you celebrate Day of the Dead?  if you do, i’d love for you to share in the comments!