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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Decooooraaaations (sung to De Colores)

Cascarones -There is a tradition in Mexico of making cascarones (eggshell "crackers" filled with confetti).   They are created for fiestas and street-party types of celebrations, not just around Easter but for Cinco de Mayo, as well.  Growing up in Arizona, there was not a Cinco de Mayo celebration that Jo and I participated in, that did not involve cascarones!

What you will need:
  • eggs - emptied out
  • tissue paper - cut into small squares (to cover egg opening)
  • confetti 
  • glue
  • scissors
First, you will need to empty out your eggs.  I HIGHLY recommend just cracking a small, yet manageable size on the bottom of the egg, in order to get all the white and yolk out (after many years of making these growing up, I think my cheek muscle memory will never ever forget the soreness of blowing out eggs...this technique, while very pretty, it is not only very time consuming, but sometimes makes the eggs harder on the head).  Save the raw egg to make your family omelets, scrabbled eggs, or some other egg treat.  Savvy Tip: use a pin or needle to break up the yolk.  You can manage a smaller hole, and the yolk won't get caught up.

Next, you can use many ways to decorate.  Markers, glitter glue, paint, egg dye. 

Once your eggs are dried, fill them with confetti.  Seal the opening with the tissue paper and glue.  Once your glue is dry, you are ready to start smashing them on people's heads...

Tissue flowers:  Brightly colored tissue paper flowers are a necessity when it comes to Cinco de Mayo decor.  These are very easy to make, and even easier when your son's first grade class is studying Mexico and his super talented teachers decided to make these decorations during an art unit...

What you will need:
  • scissors
  • tissue paper
  • pipe cleaners
  • optional: your son's first grade class LOL (obviously this was an apropos event, but convenient none the less-that's redundant, isn't it?)
First, make a tidy stack of six pieces (or more) of tissue paper:

Next,  cut the stack to a desired length.  This can be anywhere from 6 to 12 inches wide, or more.  I recommend making a variety of sizes and colors.  This will only add dimension to the aesthetics.

Then, secure the center of the tissue with a pipe cleaner.

From here, use your imagination.  You can trim the ends with scissors, make notches, the sky is the limit. You can cut an arch shape for a regular round flower or use fancy scissors for ruffled edges.

The magic of the flower begins to appear.  Separate each layer of tissue carefully, beginning with the inside, making your way out.

You now have a beautiful flower!

Stay tuned for more decoration ideas.  Coming up is a new 'twist' on the tissue paper flower idea, and papel picado, cut paper banners that are an additional Mexican fiesta tradition, and you will see why. With cheerful colors and clever cutouts, how can you not include these?

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