Monday, November 2, 2009

Dia de Los Sugar Skulls!: Saturday October 24th 2009

“The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” I believe this would have been the case had procrastination not played a part in this past Saturday. However, since we scrounged things up at essentially the last minute, the day couldn’t have gone any better! In your face Robert Burns!

Dia de Los Sugar Skulls was planned almost 45 days in advance, but we waited until Wednesday, October 21st to buy the supplies necessary to fashion the skulls. A lot of sugar, a little bit of water and meringue powder, and about 2 hours, resulted in the creation of 24 sugar skulls total. Margaret and Drew made medium skulls, I made large ones and they were all dried and ready to go by Saturday morning.

Justine and I spent the early hours of the morning scrounging up some Halloween themed viewing options, the last of the supplies for Painkillers, and enjoying another delicious breakfast at JD’s. Before setting off for Casa de Lina, we stopped at Buffalo Bills Brewery to fill our growlers with their delicious Pumpkin Ale. I called earlier to ensure it was on draught and we were assured it was. But it wasn’t…BUNK. Perhaps, this is what Mr. Burns was referring to, but he probably didn’t count on us just getting Johnny Midnight Oatmeal stout instead. Again, in your face Robert Burns!

12:45pm saw our arrival at Casa de Lina, we set up the table for our artistic venture, and promptly began drinking and awaiting the arrival of the rest of our merry crew. Drew and Margaret arrived soon after, laden with sugar skulls, decoration supplies, and brownies. We vowed to wait for Michelle’s arrival before beginning, but she took too long buying the makings for Cheeseburger Lasagna, so we began with some minor sugar skull decorating.

Upon Michelle’s arrival the decorating and drinking went into full throttle.

Universal's 1931 monster classic Dracula was the first movie to play as we feverishly decorated skulls. Thanks to Margaret and Drew, we had sequins, ribbon, red pipe cleaners, beads, necklaces, paint, glue, and the all important Royal Frosting (sugar glue) to aid in the decoration. We also fashioned paints out of white cake frosting, food coloring, and water, creating some unique colors and consistencies. Paint brushes in one hand, Painkillers in the other, we all worked hard to share our artistic vision in the form of molded skull shaped sugar.

We were even fortunate enough to have Richard’s daughter, Solei, join us briefly, but with enough time to decorate a skull of her own. Movies were changed periodically, dinner was prepared and cooked by Lina, and decorating went on well into the evening. The Cheeseburger Lasagna was the meat-cheesiest and we all ate too much. We capped the evening off with a group viewing of Michael Jackson’s Thriller and an attempt at viewing Creepshow 2. An attempt only because we had some early retirees, but that’s to be expected, despite Robert Burns’ presumptions we had exhausted our artistic creativity, two Cheeseburger Lasagnas, a growler of Oatmeal Stout, and some Painkillers. IN YOUR FACE!

The aftermath...

I will dedicate the rest of this week’s blog to pictures of our efforts, and brief descriptions where appropriate.
At one point Drew had an insaciable craving for brai...err, pure sugar, so he decided to take a bite out of the head of a skull.  Where the rest of us saw a bite out of a sugar skull, Margaret saw a creative opportunity.  Zombie Skull:

When the day was concieved I had only an artistic knowledge of Sugar Skulls, and was unaware of their purpose. I had fully anticipated the opportunity to eat the completed skulls, but you're really not supposed to (DREW!). The purpose of a Sugar Skull is to honor a loved one who passed away. It becomes a vessel for that loved one to return on Dia de Los Muertos, November 1st & 2nd.  I decided to make two sugar skulls for loved ones that passed away. The first was one for my Mom:

I also made one for my cat Cheeto, who passed away earlier this year. It was less traditional and more "on model":

Last, I did one just for fun, not a representation of anybody, just a chance to paint with sugar, onto sugar.  A skull made and left undesignated becomes a vessle for somebody who didn't have a skull made for them perhaps?

Justine decided to honor the King of Pop with her sugar skull, and she went deep too. Half represents who he wanted to be, the other represents what the public saw.

Lina made a sugar skull to honor her mother as well. A sharp wit, an unforgettable sense of humor, and of course, super fancy!

Lina made some other skulls as well:

Margaret's skulls were an artistic and creative inspiration for all of us. All of them traditional and modern all at the same time. We desperately wanted to copy her, but we wouldn't have come close:

Drew's skulls were simple and sweet (no pun intended). He accidentally created the fantastic Sno-Cone skull, and his Wizard/Pilgrim skull took shape over hours, until he perfected it.

Michelle took the reigns of a full colored skull tecnique that really wowed us. She was happily in her own place making her decorations with a big smile on her face the whole time. She also discovered that the purple sparkly (non-sugar base) paint ate sugar...

Richard couldn't spend the day making skulls with us, but his late entry is inspired!