Saturday, May 25, 2013

Hometown Tour

Would you like to take a quick trip with me to a small United States-Mexico Bordertown? 

This is Nogales, Arizona, my hometown. It shares a border with Nogales, Sonora, Mexico. I have lived here the majority of my life. When I turned 18, I moved 60 miles north, to Tucson, Arizona in order to attend the University of Arizona. The majority of my family still lives here, including my parents, so this is home for me. 

The physical border fence literally cuts through the middle of Ambos Nogales (both Nogales), which was one community prior to the Gadsden Purchase of 1853, which transferred territory from Mexico to the United States and allowed for the construction of the territorial divide. 

This is the pedestrian crossing of the border. It's often referred to as, La Garita, which means small building or shelter. In the photo above, Mexico is on the right, and the U.S. is on the left. 

As I was driving through downtown Nogales, AZ, I saw people talking to their friends and family members through the fence. It's strange, because although the fence is intended to separate the U.S. from Mexico, both cities still rely on each other very much in terms of cross-border trade, commerce, and the social and familial ties that residents of both sides have come to share. 

As I made my way a short ways north and away from the border fence up Morley Avenue, I decided to stop at the post office. I had never really realized what a beautiful building it is until now. The original courthouse (on the right in the picture below), which is now only open as a historical site, is fantastic to me with its domed roof. 

Incidentally, if you head out to watch The Hangover III, you will see this same building dressed up as the police station that the guys are taken to in "Tijuana."The portion of the film that they say is Tijuana, was actually filmed in downtown Nogales, AZ. It was a highly exciting moment for the city when they filmed here. 

The courthouse is one of my favorite buildings. I don't know if it's the stone bricks or the columns, but I really just adore this building. When I was a kid I took art classes here. I used to escape from my art teacher and wander the halls. The doors to each room had frosted glass that always piqued my interest. I used to want to be an investigator just to be able to have a cool office in a court house like that.


I turned around and headed back toward the border on Morley Avenue only to get stuck at the train tracks. The train tracks run right through the middle of the city. There is a way to get around the train, but it is sometimes faster to just wait. When I was a teenager, the train would often make me late getting home, as it passed through just minutes before my curfew. No matter what I did, I was always late getting home, and I was usually cursing the train the whole road home.

Because I couldn't get out of the mini traffic jam the train stop created, I decided to head into one of my favorite stores. La Cinderella is a locally owned shop that has the best jewelry, shoes, and accessories. The most wonderful thing about it, is that the prices are totally affordable. It's by far one of my most favorite places to shop. This particular location, makes a cameo in The Hangover III, as well. (I took the photo below from my car, so the spots are courtesy of my dirty window :) sorry).

I took a short walk through downtown Nogales. Some of the vintage store signs have been preserved on the storefronts, even though the current store has nothing to do with it's original structure. The Woolworth has these great curved windows at the front. I also couldn't help but catch the tiny police car. It always makes me laugh.

As I made my way home, I decided to stop at the elementary school I went to. The building used to seem so large to me when I was a kid, but now, it seems smaller than I remember it. 

Just up the street from Lincoln School, is the best raspado (shaved ice) place I have ever been to. It's called the Finitos, which is a Spanish descriptive term for how fine the shaved ice is. It is like the fluffiest most ground up ice, and when combined with the natural flavors that they make in-house, these raspados just can't be beat. 

Having a shaved ice treat is literally a treat in Southern Arizona. When I tell people I grew up in the desert, they don't believe me, but it's true. Cacti, ocotillo, and desert wildlife is regular living for me, not to mention the sweltering heat. 

I spent a lot of time out in the desert, and not so much time in the city. My parents still live in the same neighborhood I grew up in. It's about a fifteen minute drive from the city center. We can see the border from the house (it's on the rolling hills in the center of the photo below). 

As I took this picture, I realized that the wild fires burning over the hillsides to the east were filling the sky with smoke. Unfortunately, that is a regular occurrence in these parts, as well. 

This isn't everything my hometown has to offer, but it's a short tour for you. Hope you enjoyed it.

Until next time.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Embroidery on Paper

After working on the embroidered mother's day card (included it in the previous post) using the pattern from Minitature Rhino, I have been totally smitten with embroidery on paper. So much so, that I have been on the hunt for more inspiration and I just had to share what I found.

I happened upon artist's, Lauren DiCioccio's work, and it's completely fascinating to me. She stitches the images from newspapers onto muslin, but it's possible to see the newspaper print behind the fabric. 

I kept hunting for more embroidery on paper and found One Sheepish Girl's amazing embroidered notebook pages. She journals in embroidery! It's absolutely fantastic and you have to check out her work, if you haven't already.


After seeing all these fantastic pieces on paper, all I have managed is my initials on the cover of a small moleskine notebook. I like to use these little notebooks to track my to-do lists and jot down ideas that come to me during the day. This is not nearly as fantastic as what I have found stitched on paper, but I have to start somewhere, right?

Until next time!


Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mother's Day Gifts and an Embroidered Card

I can't believe how quickly things are moving these days. I kept thinking I had enough time before Mother's Day to make gifts. The realization that Mother's Day was only a day or two away came at some point on Thursday night... and I had to hop to it and make some gifts for my Mom, Aunt/Godmother, and Grandmother.

I opted to make some small clutches from the Bags: The Modern Classics book by Sue Kim. I really love the patterns from this book, and of the three patterns I have tried, each has come together pretty quickly and wonderfully. 

This pattern is called the Glenda Clutch, and honestly, I need to sew one up for myself. This is just too cute of a pattern to pass up and it took me less than an hour to finish. I found a remnant of the mustard floral fabric at the local discount fabric store. I wish I could find more! It's a very lovely fabric. I haven't decided if I want to add buttons like the pattern suggests. I guess I have 24 hours to make that decision.

Halfway through purse making, I realized that I hadn't made anything with embroidery. I had bookmarked this DIY embroidered card link found over at How About Orange, and honestly, I didn't think that I would finish it as quickly as I did. The pattern comes from Miniature Rhino, who I have just recently become a huge fan of. Check out her shop, and her book, Stitched Gifts, and if you aren't a fan already, you will become one as quickly as I have.

I printed off the template, poked the holes, and got to stitching. I think it took around 30 minutes, so if you are reading this right now, and still want to make something for Mother's Day, this card is a quick and adorable addition to any gift.

Thank goodness these are finished. Now to get back to dissertation writing.

Hope you have a very Happy Mother's Day!

Until Next time.