Mexico Textile Marketplace: Women’s Clothing Sale

I’m Mexico bound next Thursday, November 16, 2017, and this is the last of my collection I will offer for sale now. Stay tuned for when I return in March 2018. These are all one-of-a-kind pieces I’ve collected over the years, most of them new. I buy to support the artisans I visit and send these lovelies on to you.

Scroll down. 4 SOLD. 3 Available.

How to Purchase? Send an email to me, Norma Schafer. Tell me the piece — by number — that you want to buy. Also include your mailing address. I will send you a link to make a PayPal payment that will include the cost of mailing via USPS. If you are in Canada, it will be sent international First Class. Thank you.

Please order by Monday, November 13. That will give me time to package and get to the post office before I leave!

1. San Antonino Castillo Velasco, Oaxaca Wedding Dress, Size L-XL

1. This is a full-length Oaxaca Wedding Dress, $260 USD. Even in Oaxaca, embroidery and crochet of this quality can sell for $400 USD or more. Examine the detail of the little dolls at the neckline that serve as bodice gathers. Look at the intricacy of the crochet work and embroidery. This is a very fine piece! Fabric is a cotton-poly blend. Size Large-XL.

1. Sleeve detail, Oaxaca wedding dress.

1. Bodice detail, Oaxaca wedding dress

2. This hand embroidered floral motif dress is from the remote village San Miguel Soyaltepec — an island in the Miguel Aleman Reservoir, State of Oaxaca. I bought this piece there and never wore it. $235 USD. The stitches are teeny-weeny, dense and beautiful. Size L-XL.

2. Exquisite embroidered dress, fine stitches, Size L-XL

3. SOLD. Birds, flowers and vines are beaded onto the bodice of this beautiful China Poblana blouse from the mountains of Puebla, about 6 hours from Mexico City. The neckline and sleeves have a drawstring to loosen or tighten. The background is entirely filled with translucent clear beads. $135 USD. Size L-XL.

3. Densely beaded China Poblana blouse from Cuetzalan, Puebla State

3. Sleeve detail, Puebla China Poblana blusa

3. Bodice detail, China Poblana blouse

4. SOLD. This 100% wool shawl measures 76″ long and 20″ wide, and is hand-woven on a pedal loom in Teotitlan del Valle by Juan Carlos, an very accomplished artisan. It is dyed with pericone/wild marigold with an indigo over-dye. $125 USD.

4. Green Shawl, hand-woven with natural dyes — indigo/wild marigold

Detail, green wool shawl.

5. The blusa with Pizzaz, this beautiful soft cotton textile woven on a back-strap loom is embellished with traditional designs and some silver floss from the Maya village of Oxchuc, near San Cristobal de las Casas. $125 USD. Super fine workmanship! Can be a blouse or tunic. Size L-XL

5. Oxchuc village, Chiapas blouse, back-strap loomed with embroidered bodice

5. Oxchuc blouse bodice detail

6. SOLD. Lavender blue blouse with rainbow neckline and sleeve embroidery. $65 USD. Textile is hand-loomed and hand-embroidered, very soft and sturdy. Size L-XL.

6. Daily wear in Chiapas is a hand-loomed blouse with neck and sleeve embroidery

6. Bodice detail, Chiapas blouse

7.  SOLD. This simple blouse has an attention-grabber neckline, with little embroidered details on the shoulder and down the front. Hand-embroidered on commercial cloth. $35 USD. Size L-XL.

7. Natural cotton with embroidered bodice blouse

7. Detail of simple cotton blouse

For Dia de los Muertos and Everyday: Mama Dorothy’s Apple Pie Recipe with Cornmeal Crust

In 1976, a few years before I opened a gourmet cookware shop and cooking school in South Bend, Indiana, I contributed a recipe to the first edition of the Temple Beth El cookbook. Mama Dorothy’s Apple Pie is based on one that my mother prepared on occasion. For Dia de los Muertos, I found myself consulting that cookbook yet again as I prepared to welcome her spirit back to me.

Mama Dorothy’s Apple Pie, from Muertos to Thanksgiving

Many of you asked for the recipe when I talked about it on Facebook. So, here it is:

Mama Dorothy’s Apple Pie

  • 6 tart apples, peeled, cored and sliced thin
  • 1/4 c. raisins
  • 1/4 c. coarsely chopped walnuts (you can also use pecans or almonds)
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1/2 t. ground cinnamon
  • dash of grated nutmeg
  • 2 T. cornstarch
  • juice of 1/2 Meyer lemon, size medium to large
  • 4 T. water

In a large mixing bowl, combine apples, raisins, nuts, sugar and spices. Mix. Add cornstarch, sprinkling it over the mixture. Mix so that the apples are completely coated by corn starch. Add lemon juice and water. Stir and set aside.  (You can prepare this a day in advance: seal with plastic wrap and refrigerate.)

Mama Dorothy, 1916-2015

Corn Meal Crust based on a James Beard Recipe 

I love this corn meal crust because of it’s crunch. I buy Goya brand extra coarse corn meal from the Mexican market. The egg yolk enriches the crust and binds it together.

In your Cuisinart, with the chopping blade in place, add:

  • 1-1/2 c. fine white flour
  • 1 c. coarse cornmeal
  • 1/8 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. sugar

Pulse to stir these dry ingredients together.

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 stick salted butter, cut into 8 pieces

Add egg yolk and distribute the butter pieces evenly atop the flour mixture.  Use the “on” button to mix ingredients until butter is the size of small peas.

  • about 7-10 Tb. ice water

With the machine running, add the ice water slowly through the pour spout of the lid until the flour begins to form a dough ball. Add more ice water if needed. Remove lid and test to see if the flour is combined enough to form a dough. If not, continue processing and adding a bit more water. The dough should not be sticky!

Remove dough from machine. Put it in a mixing bowl, cover and let rest for 30-45 minutes before working it. At this point, you can refrigerate dough, covered with plastic wrap or freeze it until ready to use.  I will often roll out the crust, put it into the pie plate unfilled and then refrigerate or freeze until I need it.

Put the dough between two sheets of wax paper. It should be soft enough after resting to work easily with a rolling-pin.  Roll from center out to the edges, constantly turning the wax paper in 45 degree turns so that you create an even circle.

When dough gets to 8-10′ in diameter, remove top piece of wax paper. Lift edge of bottom sheet of paper and flip onto your pie plate.

Refrigerate for 30 minutes before filling.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Put your rack in the middle of the oven.

Remove crust from the fridge. Fill it. Don’t make the apples too deep. If you have enough filling and crust, you can make two 8″ pies.

  • Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes.
  • Reduce oven heat to 325 degrees and bake 30-40 minutes until the liquid congeals and becomes bubbly. Remove. Serve warm or room temperature.
  • Serves 6-8.
  • Top with vanilla ice cream if you like.

I’m returning to Mexico on November 16, and preparing Thanksgiving with Kalisa Wells for a crowd at my Teotitlan del Valle casita on November 23. I bet this will be among the dessert offerings!

Pie on a plate. It’s also good smeared with cottage cheese on top.

 

 

Happy Halloween and Chicken Pozole for Dia de los Muertos

A friend told me this week that she heard from her Mexican relatives that this time of year offers the most transparent veil in the atmosphere, which is why the spirits can more easily return. Welcome to Dia de los Muertos — Day of the Dead.

The difunta paddling home through the veil of transparency, by Josefina Aguilar

We do Halloween up big here in the USA. One day. Trick-or-treat. Spend billions on the holiday (costumes, candy, decor) and most of us have no idea of the origins. In Latin countries — the Americas and southern Europe — where Catholicism took hold, the season gives us three days to honor and remember loved ones and ancestors, many who we did not know but appreciate for our heritage.

Searing poblano chiles on the comal iron griddle I brought from Mexico

I’m preparing for Dia de los Muertos on November 2, when the spirits return to their graves. I’ve ordered a mix of fresh tamales and pan de muerto from La Superior. I’ve shopped at the best Latino supermarket, Compare, fully stocked with all needs Mexico. I’ll make slaw and apple pie, using my mom’s pie recipe.

Removing the skin from the poblano pepper: use a paring knife lightly scraping

My menu includes pozole verde with chicken (see Serious Eats recipe) that I will start today. I’m a make-it-up-as-you-go-along cook. I usually consult several recipes, look at the ingredients I prefer (they always vary according to who is cooking), and then go at it. Innovation is important to me.

Here is a good one from Epicurious.

De-vein and remove seeds, stem

The stock for the pozole verde (click for Bon Appetit recipe) is a tomatillo, onion, garlic, carrot, chili poblano, Mexican oregano, and bay leaf base. I simmered all these ingredients together first for about an hour. Warning: the poblano needs to be charred on a griddle or over a gas flame to peel off the tough skin.

Soak peppers in water for 10 minutes to remove heat, drain

Tomorrow, I’ll add the hominy that I will have soaked overnight and then cooked. I’ll also add cooked organic chicken leg meat, using the stock for the base, and shredding the meat off the bone. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Dried hominy. Soak it, then cook it, or buy canned

Slice poblanos and add to pot. Simmer until carrots are fork tender.

Garnish with sliced radishes, shredded cabbage, and thin sliced jalapeño peppers. Ready to eat. When prepared a few days in advance, the flavors have a chance to mingle!

Mexican spices from La Superior

You can actually add the seasonings and hominy to the base above, simmer for flavor development, and keep the chicken aside to satisfy the vegetarians.

Watch the heat. Use peppers for garnish to accommodate taste.

Food is comfort and memory. This is why we love the celebration of holidays, to remember the meals around the table, who was with us. We remember Halloween for costumes (homemade, then), whether we could fill the bag completely with candy, where we went for the best neighborhood hand-outs.

Panteon Xoxocotlan I, Dia de los Muertos 2010

I add a eucalyptus (bay) leaf to the stock. I remember the rustling of the eucalyptus trees in the wind that bounded the vast orange tree orchard across the street from where I lived in the San Fernando Valley. That was when the orchards of oranges, lemons and walnuts were plentiful, before the great migration of settlement that turned it all to concrete. I was scared. The aroma was heady, the kids held each others’ hands. The time when parents had little to worry about when the treat was an apple.

Teotitlan del Valle, Dia de los Muertos, 2015

What do you remember?

 

 

Explaining Day of the Dead to Friends

Day of the Dead — Dia de los Muertos — is one of the many Mexican holidays that blend Spanish Catholicism with pre-Hispanic, indigenous mystical rites. Despite political rhetoric, with a culturally permeable border, Halloween has crept into Mexico and sugar skulls have crept into the U.S.

My friend Sue said, I thought Day of the Dead was on November 1.

That is when it starts, I replied. It continues through midnight, November 2, when we accompany the spirits of our loved ones back to the cemetery, and sit at the gravesite with them to ensure a tranquil return to their eternal resting place. 

November 1 is All Saints Day.

November 2 is All Souls Day.

My Durham, NC, altar — under construction. What’s missing?

On October 31, All Hallows Eve or Halloween, with Celtic origin, there are children’s masquerades in Oaxaca to remember the young ones who have left earth at an early age.

Sunflower bouquet, NC Farmer’s Market, Raleigh

In the village where I live, Teotitlan del Valle, Day of the Dead conjures up a celebration of life and its continuum. Death is merely a continuation of life. We see this greca symbol woven in the rugs and interpreted as the steps through life, from infancy to adulthood to old age to death and then the pattern repeats. Circular. Continuous.

There is something reassuring and elemental about this, which is why I love this spiritual approach to living and dying, why it is easy for me to build an altar and celebrate the lives of my ancestors.

Rows of pumpkins, squash and gourds at NC Farmer’s Market, Raleigh

This time of year also conjures up abundance. Altars are filled with bread, chocolate, fruits, beverages and edibles that the deceased persons we honor enjoyed. It is harvest time, when the sun sets early and we want to cozy up with our memories.

There are photos now of our loved ones on the altar. But not long ago, before access to cameras in small villages, people sat on the floor with altars on the floor, slept on the floor atop handwoven palm leaf petates.

Hot Tamale! or Habanero Heaven at NC Farmer’s Market, Raleigh

They conjured up their memories, visions of the deceased. They lit candles and kept the flame burning for 24-hours. They lit copal incense to entice dead spirits back to earth for a visit with the heady aroma. They cut wild marigolds, also called Mexican mint marigold or winter marigold, a variety of tarragon, and put them in gourd vases, another scent to bring the ancestors home.

My own altar is now under construction. It will be finished by November 1.  On November 2, from Durham, North Carolina, I will sit with the memories of my parents, Dorothy and Ben, light candles and copal, honor them.

Rooster crown, or cockscomb, is as popular as marigolds in Oaxaca

On November 2, in Teotitlan del Valle, my friends and neighbors will share a comida midday meal with the spirit world. At 3:00 p.m. the church bells that have been tolling continuously for 24 hours will stop.

Families will then go to the cemetery, sit quietly, drink beer and mezcal, bring an evening meal, consider the meaning of life and death. Their ancestors graves will one day become theirs. The plots are familial; graves are recycled every ten years to accept the body of another, old bones moved aside to make way. A reassurance.

These Calacas came to the Raleigh Art Space from Mexico in time for Muertos

Many spiritual traditions have an annual day of memory. In mine, we light a 24-hour candle on the anniversary of a parent’s death. I will do that, too. It is good to always remember.

Altar at NC Art Space honor organic food and the farmers who grow it

Wherever you live, I bet you can assemble your own altar. Look for farmer’s markets, Mexican groceries, art centers that want to merge multicultural practice to promote appreciation.  The papel picado came from a local gift shop. The sugar skulls from the local Mexican sweet shop. What’s missing? Pan de muertos. I’ll buy that next week.

 

 

 

Take 50% Off the Handbags! Oaxaca Textile Marketplace

Can I make this more inviting? I’d like to sell these. Take 50% off the prices marked below. You can’t buy them in Oaxaca at this price!

How to Purchase? Send an email to me, Norma Schafer. Tell me the piece — by number — that you want to buy. Also include your mailing address. I will send you a link to make a PayPal payment that will include the cost of mailing via USPS Priority Mail. If you are in Canada, it will be sent international First Class.

Four tapestry bags by the Mendoza Family, #1A-#1D Left to right.

Item #1A: SOLD. Traditional Zapotec pouch shoulder bag with cord braided shoulder strap, made by the Mendoza family from Teotitlan del Valle. 100% wool. Tapestry weave. 10″ x 11-1/2″   Shoulder strap is 45″ long where it connects to the bag. $95 USD plus shipping.

#1A, shoulder bag detail

Item #1B: SOLD. Zapotec pouch cotton shoulder bag with flap, woven by the Mendoza Family. Flat weave strap is made on back-strap loom by Abigail Mendoza from Santo Tomas Jalieza. Fine weave. 8-1/4″x 10-1/2″  Shoulder strap is 41″ long from where it connects to the bag. $125 USD plus shipping.

#1B, shoulder bag detail

Item #1C: Zapotec pouch wool, cotton and silk shoulder bag with cord braided should strap, made by the Mendoza family. Fine weave. 7-1/4″ x 8″  Shoulder strap is 53″ long from where it connects to the bag. $125 USD plus shipping.

#1C, shoulder bag detail

Item #1D: Zapotec pouch shoulder bag with cord braided shoulder strap, made by the Mendoza family. 100% wool. Tapestry weave. 7″ x 8″  Shoulder strap is 53″ long from where it connects to the bag. $95 USD plus shipping.

#1D, shoulder bag detail

#2A-#2E, Five shoulder bags, eclectic mix from Oaxaca and Chiapas

#2A: SOLD. Large shoulder bag/tote, all natural dyes, indigo and wild marigold, fully lined with inside pocket and strong zipper closure. Big enough to hold iPad. 11″ x 13-1/2″  with 44″ shoulder strap to where it connects to the bag. Shoulder strap is 1-3/4″ wide and is hand-loomed, too. Hand-stitching details on bag made by Bii Dauu Cooperative. $85 USD.

#2A, shoulder bag detail

#2B: Nice Zapotec diamond design shoulder bag in earthy tones of rust, olive and brown, with traditional braided shoulder strap. 9″ x 9-1/2″  Shoulder strap is 41″ long from where it connects to the bag. Fully lined with zipper closure. Made in Teotitlan del Valle. $35 USD plus shipping.

#2B, shoulder bag detail

#2C: SOLD. Very finely woven tapestry shoulder bag by Bii Dauu Cooperative, with high quality adjustable fine grain cowhide black leather strap, brass grommets, and black leather trim . 8″ x 9″  Shoulder strap adjusts to fit 45″ to 56″ long. $115 USD plus shipping.

#2C, shoulder bag detail

#2D:  SOLD. Tapestry and leather shoulder bag, 9-1/2″ x 9-1/2″ that is fully lined with zipper closure, 44″ long brown leather shoulder strap secured to bag with brass ring, grommets, and with leather trim. $75 USD plus shipping.

#2D, shoulder bag detail

#2E: SOLD. Whimsical hand embroidered on natural gray sheep wool pocket bag with tie down flap from Chamula, Chiapas. 7″ x 8″ with a 53″ long shoulder strap. $18 plus shipping.

#2E, bag detail