Day of the Dead in the City of Angels November 1, 2006

I celebrate Day of the Dead every year, but today was really amazing — I spent most of the day on Olvera Street here in Los Angeles, looking at beautiful shrines and colorful Dia de los Muertos trinkets of all kinds, and took lots of pictures. I put them all in a flickr set here, but one of my favorites is this one…

sugar skull flags!

I came home so excited to make my own altar after seeing so many incredible things, and choosing a few new pieces to add to my own mementos. I built my altar on my work table in what seemed like no time at all, and dedicated it mostly to my dad this year. I added my two favorite pictures of him from way long ago:

the main part of the shrine

This is just a little peek at my shrine — the whole thing is about three times as big — but I really love that center part of the altar. I have more pictures of everything here if you’d like to see them!

I’ve just started writing for the Adorn magazine blog too, and my first post (earlier this week) was also on how to make your own Day of the Dead shrines — with links to craft projects to make, traditional food and drink recipes, folk art, photos, and all kinds of inspiring ideas. I’d love to hear what you think!

And last, in the spirit of recognizing the sweetness of life mingled with the sadness of losing someone you treasure, I made up a new Mexican-style hot chocolate with a spicy heat that has been my treat of choice this week. If you’d like to try it, here’s the basic recipe:

1-1/2 cups of milk or soymilk
3 heaping spoonfuls of sweetened cocoa powder (I used Ghiradelli)
a generous shake of chipotle powder
a generous shake of cinnamon

Warm the milk in a pan and stir the cocoa powder into it until it’s dissolved nicely. As the cocoa heats, lightly sprinkle chipotle and cinnamon into it and keep stirring, tasting it as you go to so it’s just spicy enough for you (I like it strong but I know everyone doesn’t!). Take it off the heat when it’s steaming and pour it into your favorite cup.

You can also mix it half-and-half with black coffee to make a delicious mocha-cafe con leche drink with a spiky, spicy heat underneath.

p.s. I’ll be posting my usual first-of-the-month getcrafty column tomorrow instead of today — a review of five amazing new craft books! Stay tuned.

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