Friday, July 2, 2010

Paper Pastries and Rosca de Reyes

This house is something like a writing boot camp… I had this whole post done and ready to publish, and then, between someone splashing Windex all around me and other person humming of odd songs and asking me random questions, I somehow saved a blank page over it… so, OK… breath calmly and here goes, again:

In Mexico there is a holiday called Los Reyes Magos (Three Wise Men or the Three Kings, January 5th ), it takes the place of Christmas for most Catholic families (so, almost all of Mexico; specially in the south), one normally celebrates it by getting gifts (three, the same number baby Jesus got) and by eating Rosca de Reyes (I don’t know the translation for this, some site call it: Kings Thread and other Christmas Bread, It is like a coffee cake with strips of fruit on top; It is really yumm and it has a hidden figurines inside, if you get one of them on you slice you are supposed to do a party on another date).

Well since my family was kind of modern and not so much Catholic, we (my brother and I) used to get to celebrate both Christmas and! Reyes; on December 25th we got toys and in January we got school supplies (because normally school started around the same date). Of course to makes things special we used to get really cool (and cute for me) things; lovely printed pencils, ultra sweet erasers, mega bright note pads, etc, and so, for my first day of school after winter vacations my backpack was filled with jewels.

I knew nothing about gold, diamonds, silver or work visas when I was 7, what I desired and needed was pink and purple accessories, glittery plastic somethings, scented paper, anything with a big eyed character printed on it, fantastic envelopes that held small friendship memos (like: “Let’s be friends” and “Happy Together”). Los Reyes, for me, was the best day of the year, because after waking up I got the biggest thrill in finding, smelling *and making plans for my charming bounty.

Of course for the first days I got over anxious about using my new gems, I never wanted to sharpen the pencils because I feared that soon there was going to be nothing left of them, I had an ugly white eraser for when I needed to rub out any writing mistakes (whenever I forgot it home it was a nightmare to use the cute, nice-smelling, fancy ones; they were my version of those chichi soaps some women use to decorate their restrooms with: DO NOT USE THEM!! they cry if you ever even touch them).

That was part of my childhood, the jealous protection of beautiful things; waiting for special occasions to use my special tools, secretly playing with them in class, wondering what magical being made them, hoping they would last forever.

Of course they never did last long, eventually they would get old, lost or even stolen, and by April or May little trace of them lingered.

When we got older our parents decided it was time to bring out our oh-so-hidden artistic talents, and so, school supplies turned into art materials (like watercolors, pastels, carbon sticks, all types of paper, ink, etc); the tradition turned into something more meaningful and the flashy pink plastics were gone. Forgotten were my days of Sanrio and FLOMO** obsessions.

Sometimes the nostalgia would creep into my life; at 15 I had a plastic Elmo watch, at 18 a Pompompurin wallet, plastic rainbow earrings at 22 (small reminders), but as the years passed it got harder and harder to match my taste for the cute and bright with the will to grow up and become a woman… Or so I thought!

Turns out, I was not the only one suffering from glitter and big eyes withdrawal. All along a whole generation was going through the same thing. Mother had the feminist revolution; us? We had the “can I get sprinkles on it?” movement (yes, that is my professionally coined name for it), basically it represent the idea that we can be tough without the need of being rough. We can still marvel, love and acquire things that might not be as practical as a white sheet of paper and a #2 yellow pencil, but are so many times cutter. And that makes us no less a strong and determined woman; it just makes us a happy, strong and determined woman.

There are many different artists and designers feeding this great new movement (I love it!); I have a huge secret wish list filled with note cards, envelopes, rubber stamps, pens, pencils and other things that I must have.

Right now I will show you my favorite ones from an American shop, called Paper Pastries (I hope you like them):

i love you honey valentines day



hello there

Paper Pastries is a Los Angeles based company, the creation of Margaret Haas. If you want more of her work you can go and check out her blog (here) her online shop (here), her Etsy store (here) or her Flickr Photostream (here), right now (until the 5th of July) she have free shipping so if you really like something order it NOW!!!

samples of stamped designs

* Still that mix of strawberry or grape synthetic scent with plastic, makes my whole body quiver with happiness.
** Remember the Flomo pencil cases? The ones that had many different buttons that popped out accessories and hidden spaces! Fantastic little gadgets!