Black velvet, sugar skulls & a Sourpuss giveaway!

COMMENTS ARE NOW CLOSED! THE GIVEAWAY IS OVER!

and the winner is…#50!  Kate G!

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*** Congrats Kate! I’m e-mailing you right now. And thanks to everyone else who entered. I hope to do another giveaway soon… ***

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BOY, are you all lucky this week. Cupcakes the other day, cupcakes today. It’s a cupcake-palooza around here… which is appropriate, given my blog name. But I will admit that in general, I haven’t been posting as many cupcakes as I should lately. I’ve been distracted with other goodies & yummies & I’ve kinda been neglecting the cupcakes.

Before I start going off on my tangents, lets get one thing straight right away: this entire post is going to be a big lovefest. It’s ALLLLLL about things I love. You’re going to see me write that over and over and over again, and I do apologize. Both for my repetition, my lack of other suitable words for the circumstances and also for beating you over the head with it. Are you ready?

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I love Dia de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead. It’s one of my favorite things about this time of year; along with Halloween, spooky things, black cats everywhere, fall leaves, vampires, apples & pumpkins. Just in case you live under a rock:

Day of the Dead (Spanish: Día de los Muertos) is a Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico and around the world in other cultures. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. It is particularly celebrated in Mexico, where it is a national holiday, and all banks are closed. The celebration takes place on November 1, in connection with the Catholic holidays of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day (November 2). Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed and visiting graves with these as gifts. They also leave possessions of the deceased.

Scholars trace the origins of the modern Mexican holiday to indigenous observances dating back hundreds of years and to an Aztec festival dedicated to the goddess Mictecacihuatl. The holiday has spread throughout the world: In Brazil, Dia de Finados is a public holiday that many Brazilians celebrate by visiting cemeteries and churches. In Spain, there are festivals and parades, and, at the end of the day, people gather at cemeteries and pray for their dead loved ones. Similar observances occur elsewhere in Europe, and similarly themed celebrations appear in many Asian and African cultures.

The Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico can be traced back to the Indigenous Pagan cultures. Rituals celebrating the deaths of ancestors have been observed by these civilizations perhaps for as long as 2,500–3,000 years.[1] In the pre-Hispanic era, skulls were commonly kept as trophies and displayed during the rituals to symbolize death and rebirth.

The festival that became the modern Day of the Dead fell in the ninth month of the Aztec calendar, about the beginning of August, and was celebrated for an entire month. The festivities were dedicated to the goddess[2] known as the “Lady of the Dead”, corresponding to the modern Catrina.

In most regions of Mexico, November 1 honors children and infants, whereas deceased adults are honored on November 2. This is indicated by generally referring to November 1 mainly as Día de los Inocentes (“Day of the Innocents”) but also as Día de los Angelitos (“Day of the Little Angels”) and November 2 as Día de los Muertos or Día de los Difuntos (“Day of the Dead”).[3]

-Wikipedia

Basically, it’s about life, despite the name. It’s about celebrating the lives of those we love who have passed on. What a beautiful concept. It’s bright, it’s colorful, it’s happy, it’s fun. It bridges that great divide between the dead & the living, and it keeps them in our thoughts through a celebration of their lives as opposed to the sadness of their deaths. I see nothing bad in that, at all. I find it to be a revelation, actually, compared to the stodgy, stuffy, overly melancholy grieving process of my Catholic childhood. I love to celebrate my ancestors & their lives, as opposed to just remembering them at the ends of their lives. In years past, I’ve not only made an altar, but I’ve celebrated by making tres leches cupcakes & Pan de Muerto. I have a hand painted Mexican sugar skull (Jay has one too, kinda like our version of Yin & Yang), and I have sugar skull printed pillows, etc. Suffice it to say I’m big into it, especially the sugar skull iconography.

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So that’s one more thing I love. Sugar Skulls. Any size, shape, colors, theme. I love them all. I want to collect a variety of them, but they’re hard to find here in New York. Hey, are you tired of what I love yet? No? Good, ’cause there’s more. Who’da thunk it that I actually do LIKE so many things?

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‘Cause you wanna know snother thing I love? Sourpuss Clothing. I’ve loved them for four years now, ever since they first contacted me to send me products to review back in 2008. I’m obsessed with their housewares department- don’t get me wrong, I love Crate & Barrel, I love Williams-Sonoma, and I love Pottery Barn too. But sometimes a gal like me, with my skull obsession & my mohawk, yearns for something more… offbeat… for my kitchen decor. And those mainstream stores will usually only carry creepy or “weird” things around Halloween. Well, that’s great, but what if I want a zombie cutting board in June? Or Frankenstein & his bride salt & pepper shakers in February? I go to Sourpuss, that’s what!

But you know, there’s one more thing I love: cupcakes. You knew that already, though. But sugar skulls on cupcakes? FORGET IT. Love it times a million. I’ve made cupcakes with little sugar skulls on them before, but why not repeat something when it’s a good thing? Thanks to Wilton for the awesome skull mold and beautiful food coloring gel that I used in this post. I made the frosting marigold color because marigolds are the traditional flowers of Dia de los Muertos, and are actually known as the flowers of the dead. (side note: they’d be great for Halloween too, with bright orange frosting)

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BLACK VELVET DAY OF THE DEAD CUPCAKES (taken from here)

Makes about 12 cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 ounce (1 tablespoon) of black liquid McCormick food coloring (or possibly less if you’re using Americolor)
  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar

Directions:

  1. Line your cupcake tins with liners and set aside. Preheat your oven to 350° degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl sift the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl, mix the food coloring and cocoa powder until completely incorporated. Set aside.
  3. In a stand mixer (or using a hand mixer) cream the butter and sugar on medium high speed until light and fluffy. Add the egg, and beat until thoroughly combined, being sure to scrape down the sides.
  4. Add the vanilla and the red food coloring-cocoa mixture and beat well to combine. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture, beat on medium speed until combined, then add 1/2 of the buttermilk, and beat until incorporated.
  5. Add another 1/3 of the flour, beat well, then the other half of the buttermilk, scraping down the sides after each addition. Finish with the last 1/3 of the flour mixture and beat until just combined.
  6. In a small bowl, mix the vinegar and baking soda, and immediately add to batter. Mix on high speed for just a few seconds until evenly dispersed, and pour right away into lined cupcake pans, about halfway, maybe 2/3 full.
  7. Bake for about 20-30 minutes, until a toothpick entered into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack.
  8. Cool completely before frosting.

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They’re beautiful, aren’t they? Deep, dark, black cupcakes. Bright marigold colored buttercream and a pretty little white chocolate handpainted skull. Delicious & pretty to look at, a great combination. And the inspiration for them ain’t too shabby either, right? Look at the pattern:

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Would you like your own set? I bet you would.

In this giveaway, one lucky winner will get the ADORABLE Skulls in Love apron. I’m sorry I couldn’t get a decent photo of it for you, but it’s hard taking self-portraits that are full-on body shots; even with my awesome camera & tripod. Either way, the apron is super adorable & the winner will love it. But it’s not just that, oh no. They’ll also get a matching kitchen set (oven mitt & pot holder) & tea towel as well as a skull bowl and a matching bank too. Perhaps for saving up to buy a KitchenAid mixer? Or to upgrade your old hand mixer? Use it to hold your latte fund? Or maybe the “bad language tax” collection for your kids? Whatever. It doesn’t matter what you use it for. It’s cute, that’s the point. And it all matches & coordinates with the bowl. A little girl skull bowl with a bow, and a boy skull bank with a top hat. I die (no pun intended) of the cuteness. I used the bowl to house my handmade tissue paper marigolds (like I said, they’re the traditional flower of Dia de los Muertos & it’s also tradition to make them out of paper), but you can use it for anything. Flowers, candy, a planter. So did you get all that? ONE winner gets an apron, tea towel, kitchen set, bowl and bank. Jackpot!

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ALL YOU HAVE TO DO TO ENTER IS COMMENT. Leave a comment here telling me why you love the Day of the Dead, too. What does it mean to you? Why can you relate to it? I’ll choose a winner at random via random.org on October 25th at midnight, EST. I’m doing this for ONE week exactly so that the winner has a better chance of getting their prize in time for Dia de los Muertos. As far as the winner goes: commenting on the Sourpuss blog or Facebook is invalid, as is a reply on Twitter. You must comment here to be entered. For an optional second shot at winning, tweet the following:

I just entered to win a Dia de los Muertos sugar skull apron/kitchen set/& more from @SourpussBrand & @CupcakeRehab! http://cupcakerehab.com/2012/10/black-velvet-cupcakes-sugar-skulls-a-sourpuss-giveaway/

Just copy & paste the above phrase, post it on Twitter, and then come back & comment a second time. That’s two chances to win. Optional third chance: share the link for this post (see the icon below) on Facebook and then come back & tell me. That’s three chances. Only the first one is mandatory to enter. The other two are just added extras.

But.. there’s ONE MORE thing. For an optional fourth bonus entry, get a friend to come here & enter. If you comment telling me who your friend is, you get a fourth entry, and they get an entry for themselves when they comment (maybe more, if they choose to use the Twitter and/or FB entries as well). So what are you waiting for? Go… get to commenting!

Sources & credits: Bakelite red-handled cutlery; vintage.
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170 comments

  1. Cathy

    Day of the dead is special to me because it is a celebration and happy. It is about good memories. There is something about bright colors and even the name sugar skull that brings out a smile when you think of those we love who have passed on. I grew up where it was morbid and sad and everyone wore navy blue and cried. I wanted to smile and be happy that the person who passed was free of pain, I was considered odd. I think of skeletons dancing together and all the souls coming back to be with us on that day as we pray for them. So celebrate their life for that night they are with us, and bring out the color and the sugar skulls and dancing skeletons…and smile.

  2. lynzee head

    Day of the dead is special because its about remembering those we have lost. Not to mention I love a wide variety of tattoo’s that we’re inspired by that day. :)

  3. Lisa Messer

    Dia De Los Muertos because the holiday and all its trapping reminds me of my son. He is half hispanic and every year we decorate sugar skulls in celebration. He was also born a few weeks after DDLM and has a sugar skull carseat cover!

  4. Alexa A.

    im fascinated by anything skulls and i love love love the day of the dead skulls ! i have a few tattooed on me ! i believe they are so unique and can be decorated to any ones taste ! i also love to cook and decorate my kitchen so winning this contest would be an awesome way to add to my kitchen collection as well as my sugar skulls collection ! xo !

    P.S,
    I referred my best friend Stephanie G.

  5. Jen Davis

    I love Day of the Dead. My kitchen and living room are covered in everything Day of the Dead actually…and so are half of my toddler daughter’s clothing…ha ha. These cupcakes are the sweetest (pun intended) things I’ve ever seen!!!

    Thanks Jen… cupcakes are always my vehicle of choice for showing off anything new ;)

    -Marilla

  6. Petra Jardine

    Dia De Los Muertos is a day of beautiful celebration to remember our loved ones who are on the side. Its a day to laugh and to cry and to enjoy the loved ones who are with you today. It gives me a chance to sit and think of all the wonderful memories I had and talk to my family who are gone. I know they are there listening. I am Mexican and it has always been a tradition in our house to celebrate Dia De Los Muertos.

  7. Stephanie G

    I love Day of the Dead because it gives me a chance to have a specific day to celebrate the souls of my lost ancestors in a happy way. In Guatemala we make huge kites and I like to tie a note to send to my loved ones. I think this year I will be making my grandma’s favorite dish as well.

    my friend Alexa A referred me to this giveaway.

  8. Yvette

    Dia de los Muertos is important to me because its a celebration of remembering and honoring those who have past and a celebration of the life we have now. So many things are taken for granted and death is looked upon as something so dreary.
    Once we embrace the totality of life complete through the passage into the after, we get a better understanding and respect for what we have now and cherish each moment with our families and friends.

  9. mia

    Dia de Los muertos is special to me because it’s part of my heritage.don’t get me wrong,I love Halloween, but this celebration has a real meaning to it. And a beautiful one at that. Also, it is a day where me and my grandma share our passion for cooking and baking, and gives her the chance to tell me stories of her childhood!

  10. RavenMaven

    i love Dia de los Muertos. i even have a day of the dead tattoo! a band of skeletons playing various instruments across my back…. each one depicting an instrument i play myself.

    you will find sugar skulls all over my home… my clothes…. it’s a fascination i can’t shake.

    and i think your cupcakes are ADORABLE!! thank you for the recipe!

    RavenMaven-

    Thanks for mentioning the cupcakes! :D

    -Marilla

  11. Kimberly

    I like the idea of celebrating the dead rather than mourning them; when you celebrate death it also makes you more aware of life, and the importance of living it now and fully. Celebrating the life lived by dead friends and family members is a much more positive way to remember the influence they had and also the meaning they gave to their own lives. Meaning is what we really have in the end, what is left when we’re gone because it lives in the minds of others, so it is what gives us legacy (besides children that is). I think celebrating what someone brought to life as a whole is more important than dwelling on and mourning their absence from your life. And for some who suffered in life or just near the end, from sickness or what have you, it is important to celebrate the fact that they no longer suffer and to think of the freedom they now have. Celebrating death truly makes it part of life cycle, a natural occurrence, and this act of celebration closes the circle nicely — we celebrate birth so why not death?

  12. Maryea Presley

    Sugar skulls warm my heart because they remind me of my father and the good friends I
    encountered while living in Las Cruces, NM. I moved from their two years ago and the rich culture of the whole area I miss dearly……
    What a beautiful place!!!!

  13. Anita G

    My family has always had some kind of Dia de los Muertos shrine or altar which I always found so fascinating as a kid and I knew when I got my own place I would do the same. I think it’s a beautiful tradition of remembrence and respect for those no longer with us as well to my heritage. And it’s a joyful remembrence not somber and sad. Plus I absolutely LOVE skulls and skeletons and all forms of mexican artwork- I’m always finding new badass things to add to my altar. PS. Those cupcakes look Ah-mazing!!

  14. Cam Jellison

    Remember ing and honoring those near and dear to me..
    Also I love the whimsy of the skulls.
    Posted on Facebook and on pinterest!
    Will deff buy from you!

  15. Tori Vinson Whiting

    It is all about honoring our loved ones, remembering the special memories of our family and friends who have gone on to the next life. We also use the day to show our love, respect and appreciation for the family and friends that are still here by our sides.

  16. Megan Prosser

    I love day of the dead because of its art. Its such an amazing way to look at death and cope with it in such a different way.

  17. Karalee Kux

    Dia De Los Muertos to me is a celebration of the past. Of those who inspired us, made us sad, taught us and made us laugh, or even those who simply existed. All life has meaning, and the day of the dead gives a moment to appreciate life in its infinite wisdom. Some pause to remember love and others to contemplate their own fleeting existence. Dia De Los Muertos is the one day of the year that i am able to be at peace with my life. Because we all must pass sometime and no matter where your journey takes you it is important to remember those who helped you along the way.

  18. denise sanders

    Being a funeral director Dia de los Muertos is something close to my heart and etched forever on my skin! I have a 1/2 back tattoo of a sugar skull girl. I wish that all families could embrace the ‘hereafter’ it would so help with the grieving process. As a child raised in Australia, death was a ‘hidden’ thing – we are not taught how to deal with losing a loved one. If only we could have a Day of The Dead.

  19. Cyndi

    I love this time of the year!! I love the decor and the culture. It reminds me of those special ones I lost. Especially my Grandma who always told stories about growing up in Mexico and going to the celebrations.

  20. javier luna

    Dia de los Muertos is beautiful! I love the whole concept of celebrating those who have passed. I love the bright colors used to represent happiness and the skulls! And I would love to win for my lovely friend Mia, who still practices this day with her family!

  21. Nicky

    Day of the dead is a good time for me. This day helps me remember all of the wonderful things about the loved ones we have lost. It’s a day of celebration of them moving on to their new lives. This year I’m celebrating my nephew who passed away in a car accident. If he were here physically he’d be celebrating his favorite holiday as well <3

  22. Ange Dickson

    I adore the Day of the Dead. It brings beauty to something that is normally feared. The colours, effort and love put into this holiday by the people celebrating it show that our loved ones that have passed will always be in our hearts.

  23. Pamela

    I’ve been intrigued by Dia de los Muertos since I first learned about it when I visited a friend in Arizona close to 20 years ago! She took me to a local nature museum where vendors were selling sugar skulls and other memorabilia. I fell inlove instantly with the sugar skulls. I had never seen anything like them and wanted to learn more about the Dia de los Muertos. She bought me some sugar skulls that I’ve carried around with me for years. I researched DDLM and was fascinated by the concept of celebrating the lives of those passed away, of inviting their spirits to understand that they are loved and missed and remembered. I also love things sugar skull in that I painted a glass head to look like a sugar skull as wedding present for a friend (yes, I will be referring her to this contest!), as well as just baked a simplified-ish version of a sugar skull (using Wilton’s skull cake pan) as a birthday present! My kitchen is decorated in skulls and skeletons. I have a skull cookie jar, skull dishes that we eat off regularly, skull drinking glasses and even skeleton hand salad (spoons?)! I’m also a fan of SOURPUSS clothing and I love that I can satisfy some of my need for things odd by shopping there!

  24. Marisa Mann

    Día de los muertos is special to mebecause I think that honoring our ancestors is a great way to keep the memory of them alive I collect dia de los muertos items and I am having a día de los muertos sleeve done.

  25. Nia Ruston

    I love Day of the Dead because its a time of year that I can remember my brother and not be sad. Every other holiday is gloomy wishing he was there. But this holiday allows me to celebrate the life he lived. I love preparing for it a month ahead. I live the flowers that I decorate his alter with- they bring cheer to my whole house. I love gathering my brother’s belongings and looking back on the memories they represent. I love making sugar skull cookies and candy. I love lighting his candle and seeing the flame flicker off his handsome picture. I love having a sense of closeness to him and sharing stories with the family.There’s really not anything I don’t love about it.

  26. Kate G

    I love Dia de los Muertos! Not only is it my mother’s birthday, but it’s a chance to remember all the souls that have left us. I just always thought that Nov 2nd was my mom’s birthday, and then when I got older my history teacher taught us all about it. Even in our art class and Spanish class we made paper marigolds on or before. When I first meet my husband (who’s Chicano) I asked if they ever celebrated it. He can vaguely remember doing something, but his family came here so long ago that he thinks the tradition got lost along the way. But now we have our family and we’re going to celebrate it. Complete with a feast, sugar skulls, and a visit to my father-in-laws grave. And I’m totally making these cupcakes for my mom, and for our feast!

  27. Megan Higby

    I would like to pretend that The Day of the Dead is something particularly special to me, but it isn’t. Although I have always thought that it was cool- because let’s face it, eating an effigy of a loved one,s (or you own) skull is pretty sinister and hard core! I am doing this for the Sourpuss swag. Hell, it isn’t even clear to me if you celebrate this holiday because you are Catholic, or because you are Spanish. Maybe it is both. Now, don’t get me wrong- it is a beautiful tradition, but it is also a little fucking macabre, don’t you find? When I die, it would be pretty damn awesome for my family to light a million candles and leave a bunch of flowers and baked goods on my grave site after spending a frigid evening shedding tear after tear (at said grave site) for my immortal soul. That is love!

    Megan-

    I’m neither Catholic nor Spanish, although the holiday is Mexican. I just like celebrating my ancestors, and I like the symbolism. I’m a recovering Catholic. ;)

    -Marilla

  28. Stephanie

    I enjoy Dia de los mertuos because it is a time to celebrate and honor the passing of our loved ones.

  29. Megan Higby

    Hey, I shared this on Facebook. I will be back when one of my lazy ass friends decides to repost because they wanna snag my Sourpuss goods away from me. C’mon guys!! Don’t I deserve to win a prize just ONCE??

  30. Robin Harrington

    I love the artistic side of Day of the Dead, also my daughter loves it because her birthday is Halloween and we want to do a Day of the Dead theme this year!

  31. miemo

    I loved the visual depictions of dia de los muertos, and sugar skulls and all the art work and colors related to it. But after losing my mom last year, the holiday has made it even more important to me, because it is a celebration of life. The holiday is meant to be happy not sad in remembrance of those you love, and I could use a little more HAPPINESS!!

    Now fingers crossed!!!! gimmegimme.

  32. Aida Landers

    I love day of the dead, I’m Hispanic so the day of the dead is a time to celebrate the lives of the love ones that passed away. We celebrate that day by playing music, taking food to the graves of our love ones. It’s a wonderful day, if you look at my Facebook profile you can see that I also have a sugar skull chest tattoo. I would love to have these sugar skull accessories in my home, it’s totally me :)

  33. Jasmine Gomez

    I adore Dia de los Muertos so much, it was actually the theme of my wedding! Personally, the holiday is not only beautiful in theory, it links me to my ancestry. I love the deep rooted tradition in this holiday and the comforting message it conveys. Participating in all the prep work, then setting out the plate of food connects me to the ones I miss. It just encompasses all of my favorite things in life: family, food, & spooky stuff! There is just an extra crackle of magic in the air this time of year & Dia de los Muertos takes charge of it in the most lovely way. ;)

  34. Tanya

    I love Dia de Los Meurtos because it allows us to remember the wonderful times we had with friends and family that were once living. I start the celebrating it when the veil between this world and spirits is thinned so that they can attend it as well. I love how beautiful and vibrant everything about it is.

  35. AMC0808

    The kiddos go to a dual language school so Dia de los Muertos altars are an annual Social Studies project. I love that they combine a family tradition with a history & culture lesson. They’ve been able to personalize the altars in some years (using family members) and other years they do historical figures. Either way its an opportunity for them to be creative & learn. We make our own sugar skulls too so the sourpuss loot would be great when we’re putting it all together!

  36. michelle hinojosa

    I love the idea of celebrating life – after death. We get so caught up in our daily struggles that we forget to have fun while we are here. SO why not celebrate life and lives lost after they are gone!
    I love the vibrant colors… my daughters birthday is November 2, she makes it a point to celebrate in style every year.!

  37. Jessica vidales

    Dia da Los muertos means a lot to me for it is the time to remember our love ones and celebrate their lives, I have a day of the dead tattoo for my grandma to always celebrate her life and remember how strong and loving she was. I love dia de Los muertos because i shows me to never forget the things are loved ones loved before they pass that even after life we can share with them on what they loved and bringing all the family together to celebrate their our loved ones life.

  38. Stephanie

    Dia de los Muertos has always been an attraction to me. Not only for what it represents, but also because of the art. I have a series of portraits I have done of friends in the style of Dia de los Muertos, plus tattoos & decor also, so those would definitely fit in my home. :)

  39. Danielle christine

    I love the day of the dead mostly because I love all learning about customs from other cultures and the symbolism of everything associated with the day of the dead and celebrating our loved ones that have passed is amazing and beautiful … plus the gorgeous sugar skulls don’t hurt lol … and my best friend has now planned to have her wedding next year on November second – the day of the dead with a sugar skull decoration theme with an alter/table just for her mother and other lovedones that have passed … its just an exciting thing for me all around

  40. Sarah MacMonagle

    I loooooove Día de los Muertos!! I love anything sugar skull… I even have two cute little sugar skulls on both of my lower legs :) My Grandmother’s second husband was a man from Mexico, I learned from a very young age the signifigance of this Holiday and found it fascinating that there was a part of the world who rather than just “remember” their ancestors in theory, they would celebrate those that left the earth every year! What a beautiful tradition that forever reminds you of where you have come from :) Not to mention my birthday is November 1st :)

  41. Vicky Taylor

    The day of the dead is the most amazing celebration as you can only truly celebrate someone when they have lived their life through, so much more appropriate than birthdays! I love the colours and obviously the amazing treats like these cupcakes. Also why mourn death when you can celebrate the amazing life that came before it?
    Beautiful things for a beautiful celebration x

  42. Vicky Taylor

    I’ve just shared this on facebook as well, so everyone can splendour in the delight and I’m sure that Ian Matravers will enter ;) x

  43. Shannon Reardon

    I have always had a fascination with the Day of the Dead. Living in a culture that has always frowned upon death and the afterlife, discovering Day of the Dead was more fitting for me. I lost my grandmother about 13 year ago and it was really hard for me to deal with her death but now as an adult i can celebrate her life and the day of the dead art has always kept it in perspective for me. I also have an appreciation for mexican art and all the time and creativity that goes into the day of the dead celebrations. I hope to someday travel to mexico and experience it for myself someday. I hope i get a chance to win these awesome prizes and add a little sugar skull decor just in time for my day of the dead celebration!!!! :)

  44. ian matravers

    after losing some people close to me the day of the dead is an amazing celebration and should definitely be shared to as many people a possible

  45. krystal

    I make my own sugar skulls. It is something very important to me. I celebrate my own version of these festivities continually in rememberance of mybrother. We are of hispanic decent, but he died when we were children. It is my way of keeping him close. My daughters even love sugar skulls, and I have artwork by them that I just adore. One day I plan on making a pilgrimage to participate in the actual celebrations, but until then I will continue to make and collect sugar skulls. This swag would be awesome to win.

  46. Ashley

    Día de los Muertos is a nice time to celebrate those who have passed. I’ll certainly be thinking of some deceased family members this year…
    Thanks for the lovely giveaway, Marilla and Sourpuss!

  47. Hillary

    Ah, wow….there are so many reasons that this giveaway couldn’t come at a more perfect time. Let me start listing the reasons:

    First, it’s my birthday. Giveaway on my birthday? Yeah…nuff said!

    Second, who doesn’t lover Sourpuss or black cupcakes?! I remember being 13 years old and asking for a cake with black icing. The bakery thought I was crazy…clearly this was the early 90’s and people didn’t understand how awesome I was at such an early age.

    Lastly, I love love love Dia de los Muertos and anything sugar skull related. The skulls are so beautiful and colorful and the concept is so endearing. Like you said, it’s about remembering the lives of those who have passed on. Since my Nanny passed away I’ve been trying to cope with losing someone so important in my life. I’ve focused on the loss. Dia de los Muertos celebrates the memories and lives of those we love, and reading your post made something click in my head. It’s not about mourning the loss of my Nanny; it’s about celebrating her life and how changed everyone around her for the better. (including me)

    Plus, I facebooked it and am getting ready to tweet-tweet it. :-)

  48. amy

    in all honesty I absolutely love day of the dead because I adore anything involving food, celebration, and sugar skulls

  49. Vicky Jett

    i love dia de los muertos for its contrast of the traditional morbid thinking of death and a festive celebration of life. the colors and artwork and costumes make me look forward to celebrating all year. cant wait to try the recipe for black velvet cupcakes!!

  50. JOEY HAYES

    Although I am a white Irish girl born and raised in Texas, Dia de los Muertos is my favorite time of year. I have embraced this tradition and feel a great spiritual connection to it. I have made altars for my dearest loved ones who have passed and cannot wait to pick out Marigolds and unpack them for this year. It’s a beautiful tradition, a feast for the eyes, heart and soul.

  51. ariana

    I grew up catholic and never really celebrated dia de los muertos. It became something I loved once I grew up. I love the colors and the dedication that people have to this holiday. I enjoy seeing the Altares and even had the chance to see them in Cali with Xenia last year. Ine of the best experiences of my life. The thought and love those altares have is amazing to me.

    Ill be posting this on my personal and business Facebook, plus my twitter cause this is just too good to pass up…even if I don’t cook LOL
    Btw, what exactly does black velvet taste like?! What does the word velvet mean in food?! Please learn me LOL!!

    Ari-

    Black velvet is red velvet, but with black food coloring, so it tastes like red velvet… which is sorta cocoa-y? Depending on the recipe :)

    -Marilla

  52. Christina

    I love Dia de los Muertos because I’ve been celebrating it with my family since I was a little girl. And because of that I’ve never been really scared of dying. I know that when a loved one passes it’s very sad. But the good memories will stay with you forever. Every year we get pictures of our loved ones that have passed and place them all over the house. Then, we have a party; there’s music, food and dancing. After that we go in a circle and tell stories about them or stories they’ve told us. For me; it’s never a sad time. Of course I’m sad that they’re gone, but the memories I hold in my heart are nothing but happiness.

  53. Sara

    Day of the Dead is really special to me for the same reasons that it is traditionally… to take a day to remember those who have passed. Additionally, my husband and I had a Day of the Dead themed wedding! We had a sugar skull wedding cake and everything. We are also planning a Day of the Dead get together this year, on November 2nd. Winning this contest would mean so much to me. I just had a thyroidectomy and had the lymph nodes taken out of my neck due to cancer :( I still have to go back and do radiation to make sure that it’s all gone. My hospital and doctor bills are killing me, so needless to say, I don’t have any money to spend on myself right now, everything that isn’t going to bills is going to the kids’ winter clothing. So it would be nice to get something for myself :) Thanks for the contest, your blog is badass, I’m going to add it to my follow list!

  54. Sabz

    Dia De Los Muertos is a time to remember passed family members and I always reflect and remember the good times with the loved ones I’ve lost. I also love collecting day of the dead figurines!

  55. Angie

    While my traditional Filipino Catholic family never celebrated Dia de los Muertos, we did celebrate All Saint’s Day. Not to mention, it was also my mother’s birthday, so November 1st was always a whammy of celebrations.

    All Saints Day, is celebrated much like Dia de los Muertos. I remember going to the cemetary, as a kid, to “see” our loved ones, We’d sit around, tell stories, sing songs, and reminisce about our loved ones while the kids would play (yes, PLAY at the cemetary). It was a very somber celebration. After a few hours, we’d all go home and have a huge smorgarsboard of food.

    I didn’t know about Dia de los Muertos until a few years ago when I spotted a sugar skull and became curious about it. Since then, I’ve been fascinated with the colors, festivities, and traditions that come along with it. It’s an extremely stark contrast to how we celebrated it in the Philippines, but it has definitely taken hold of my attention!

  56. kendy

    I like remembering our loved ones that are no longer here. Cleaning and decorating their graves and making their favorite foods is special….

  57. sasha

    It is said that the veil between the world of the living, and the world of the dead is thinnest on this night, and that spirits of our dead ancestors and family have an easier time communicating with us, and we with them. I love that concept & sugar skulls!!!

  58. Miss Veronica

    I am both Mexican and Italian. And I’ve grown up celebrating this amazing tradition. What made it more amazing was that my daughter was born on November 1st of last year! She’ll be 1 very soon and just like decorating for Halloween for her, we’re going to celebrate day of the dead as well as her birthday! It’ll be a yearly tradition for her and am excited for it. Also a new mom and wife I have been teaching myself to bake….so all this lovely gear would be perfect here in my house! For me, my kitchen, my daughter and our celebration of the lived ones we lost. <3

    Good luck everyone & happy halloween!

  59. Miss Veronica

    I posted the link on my Facebook page. MissVeronica Rene’.

    Sorry as I was typing above I hit the done button accidentally and it posted a that partial comment. My apologies!

    No worries, Veronica… I removed the incomplete comment for you. :)

    -Marilla

  60. John Depalma

    We must honor those who have crossed over to the other side. Our memories keep them alive always. I’m gonna leave Squiggy some milkbones on novemeber 1st. Happy first Dia de los muertos in heaven Squig!

  61. sarah

    Why I love it? Because it’s the only positive way I’ve found of remembering the dead, my brother died many years ago and no other tradition worked for me. And also, skulls + flowers, can’t get much better than that.

    Also, as a mom who makes black velvet cakes a couple times a year — people with small children should be warned that black food coloring, um…let’s just say don’t be freaked out by any green tints you see for the next day or two.

  62. Mayra

    I remember being 7-8 years old and being totally freaked out on dia de los muertos, I was born in Guatemala and the whole town would get together with masks, painted faces and I’d never want to be a part of that lol I’m a scary cat but now I see the art that comes from the celebration and I love that. This whole set on your giveaway is beautiful! Ive started collecting things for my own new kitchen and this would be the best! Will be tweeting about your giveaway, thanks

  63. Jeanette De Arman

    I have always absolutely loved Dia de Los Muertos, growing up in a Spanish family from New Mexico has played a huge role in it. I have always loved all of the art work and sugar skulls. I collect anything Dia de Los Muertos especially sugar skulls. I even have a tattoo. :).
    Also I am a huge sourpuss fan! I have ordered stuff from them many times!

  64. magahen

    these are absolutely fantastic…i love Halloween it’s the kick off to my holiday season and the start of all the fun activites I do with my muppets (3 children) and the rest of my family

  65. pam remmel

    Day of the Dead is a perfect way to remember those whom we have lost and think of daily. It is a perfect tribute to loved ones, bright colors, celebration and happiness.

  66. Erin VanCleave

    I absolutely love this whole entire set, it is absolutely darling. My home is Dia de ds Muertos Decor and Mexican art(mainly religious). I come from a hispanic backround and definetly have an appreciation for this. And I am also in the process of finishing up my Dia De Los Muertos sleeve. I love it that much to put it on my body. I especially want this kitchenware because I had a Dia De Los Muertos Print potholder that I burned to a crisp while making tamales. And to top it all off my Birthday is the 26th, the day after the drawing.What a perfect Birthday gift!

  67. Meaghan

    i love the day of the dead sugar skulls because they’re all beautiful. i’ve never seen an unattractive one, they’re all so unique in their own way and the designs are all gorgeous, I just recently in the past year became infatuated which is why i’m commenting to enter to win :) thanks for your time!

  68. Esther Reyes

    I have liked the Dia de Los Muertos it has always been part of our culture with Halloween, All Saints Day, etc…it would be a great addition to my kitchen. Erin Van Cleave mentioned this site to me…really cool! Thank you.

  69. Erin VanCleave

    Love the tradition of this holiday, the art, and the FOOD! Thank you Erin Van Cleave for showing me this!

  70. Mama Harris

    The Day of the Dead is such a wonderful way to remember loved ones that have passed on, those that celebrate give off such a HAPPY vibe during this time, and I love it. My daughter is 12 and half Mexican and has gotten really into the tradition and learning more about the Holiday. She loves sugar skulls too, and has a Dia de Los Muertos apron of her own she wears in the kitchen with me. It’d be cool to have my own to match her!

  71. Amanda Spratley

    Awesome cupcakes, red velvet is my favorite this time of year. I love to add a little something in the center (ei cream or sweet blood like gel). I would love to win the dia de Los meurtos kitchen set! I’ve been celebrating in little ways most of my life. Not only do I love the beautiful designs but I love paying contribution to the deceased. many of my friends own an alter i’ve created for them. I hope I win, haven’t won anything since a cake walk in elementary school.

  72. Aracely Morales

    I love Dia de los muertos not only because of the beautiful bright colors but because it’s such a beautifull way to remember your loved ones.

  73. Megan

    I love Dia de los Muertos, because I think any holiday celebrating those who have passed on is so much better than grieving. Its an amazing way to remember the deceased. I am also intrigued by the way in which people celebrate, the costumes, the make up, I think its an amazing holiday.

  74. LC Aggie Sith

    I’m Puerto Rican, but came to Texas when I was 9 1/2, and raised in the Valley. Dia de los Muertos was something foreign to us (heh!), but we grew to respect and love the beautiful tradition, which was similar to the All Saints Day celebration we observe in PR. What’s truly wonderful about it is that anyone of any culture can find a way to celebrate it.

    I probably won’t win, but if you ever need anything from Texas, be sure to let me know ;)

  75. crystal adams

    im obsessed with sugar skulls. I make them everyday for hair accessories. Mine says Haunted Hair Candy buy you cant eat them. Well im hungry for some!! thanks for this great giveaway

  76. Erica Gutowski

    Loved learning about Dia de los Muertos in Spanish class in high school, and I’ve been interested ever since. Other cultures generally handle and look at death better than we do. Or more comfortably perhaps I should say. But moving on….those cupcakes look amazing. :)

  77. Mackenzie

    I took about 6 spanish classes during my high school years… yes that means I doubled up a couple years.. My favorite part of it all was when we celebrated dia de los muertos. I enjoyed the meaning behind it, and I especially liked making the bread for my classmates! And yes the cupcakes look amazing, and Hopefully I will be making them soon!

  78. Anna

    I have always said that when I die, I hope my family throws a party at my funeral & celebrates my life, not mourns my death. Dia de los Muertos is a beautiful tradition in every way, from the meaning behind it to the beautiful colors, flowers, shrines… & I LOVE sugarskullies just as much as you!

    Now gimme the CUPCAKES!(I would say that! OM NOM NOM) <3

  79. Falon

    Why do I love day of the dead: well thats simple, as much as I love anything to do with ghosts and seeking them out,some people dont, some people this freaks them out, they become afraid of the dead. With the celebration of the dead its totally different, people dont see this as scary, they see it as a time to embrace our love ones that have pasted, to speak to them with no fear, to watch for them without fear, to smile while thinking of happy memories, to feel safe in remembering.
    And those cupcake are deeeeeee—-lish! oh my word, I am a huge baker so a new cupcake receipe is awesome and to have those amazing sugar skull kitchen coolness would be AWESOME! Sugar skulls are so beautiful in so many ways, they are all so different, never the same which is perfect, just like a snowflake! love love

    also shared on both fb and twitter https://twitter.com/junkielove1983 & https://www.facebook.com/junkielove1983

  80. Nydia

    I love this set! :o)

    And I do love Dia de los Muertos because it’s a time when I can honor my beloved dead friends and relatives with a lovely ritual.

  81. Jessica

    I’ve always thought Dia de los Muertos was such a beautiful and important holiday. It’s definitely an interesting way for the living to reflect on existential matters and honor loved ones that have passed on. As for aesthetics, the use of color, patterns, and the dressed up skull motif is positively gorgeous! As I’ve grown up, my curiosities have shifted away from trick-or-treating and pumpkin carving to really taking the season to reflect on all that Dia de los Muertos is about. It’s a good opportunity to really put mortality into perspective.

  82. Michelle D.

    I love el Dia de los Muertos because it is a celebration of life along with respect for the dead. I love the marigolds, sugar skulls and the way this holiday turns something strange or morbid to some and makes it beautiful.

  83. Pinky Calderon

    In this past year my husband’s mother passed away. This was extremely hard on both of us as she was the sweetest woman in the world. My husband and his family are Hispanic so they taught me all about the beautiful traditions of Dia De los Muertos. This amazing holiday allows us to not only mourn her death, but also celebrate the wonderful life she fulfilled. She will remain in our hearts.

  84. Elizabeth Ricardson

    I love dia de Los Muertos. It’s my time to celebrate the life of my grandpa and my aunt that have past. It’s a day that reminds me to take the time and remember all loved ones that have past on.

  85. Tina Becker

    I haven’t yet started celebrating this, but I love the idea of it…more of a celebration of life than a depressing thing. I love the sugar skulls!

  86. Diana Luna

    I truly love dia de los muertos I grew up knowing that it was a celebration of past lives. I have sugar skulls pretty much everywhere in my house now but I keep buying more and more. I even have a sugar skull tattoo on my entire back . I celebrate dia de los muertos every year by goin to the cemetery and decorating our loved ones headstones and leaving some of their favorite treats I also pay some local marachis to play some of their favorite songs all the while me,my mom and 98 yr old grandma sit back an remember all the wonderful memories we had with each one.

  87. Amanda

    Love your cupcakes and all other goodies! The day of the dead is a beautiful day of remembrance and celebration of lives lost. I like that. <3

  88. morgan elliott

    I love the holiday because of the traditions that go with it. I also love the colors and the art depicted in it. I celebrate by decorating my place and putting out fruit and flowers.

  89. The Painted Baker

    I adore sugar skulls. So much that I actually have started a half sleeve of one. Well started, is not quite the word. I have the sugar skull and a bunch of roses around it. Just waiting to add more to it :) The artwork associated with Dia de los Muertos is just gorgeous. I could look at it all day long.

  90. The Painted Baker

    And of course on Twitter. But what about Pinterest? ;)

    I left Pinterest out this time… too many Social Media things to use! But next time I think I’ll do a giveaway that utilizes Pinterest in a big way. Feel free to pin this, though =oD

    -M

  91. Libby

    Day of the Dead things have a very special place in my heart – they remind me of a dear friend’s wedding, a fabulous friend’s first tattoo, my baby girl’s favorite dress….all of these things would have a very special place in my house :)

  92. Gem

    I’m celebrating the life of my pops who passed away 9 years ago today from Sudden Adult Death syndrome aged 48. With the inevitability of death, Dia de los Muertos evokes happy, colourful memories for me. A visit to San Diego on my only trip to America meant I came back with some wonderful Dia de los Muertos goodies and thus the thigh tattoo I have now to find brightness when unexpected lights go out.
    Did I mention I love cake? I’d love a big batch of those yummy ones above, and may just take one to where my pops sleeps this Halloween. His funeral was on Halloween to the distaste of sone family members but he would’ve found this hilarious and would have wanted to spook people if he could.
    Thank you for adding more sugar skull sparkle to the world x

  93. Judy R

    It is a day to celebrate the lives of all your family and friends that have passed on and to remember them.

  94. Megan

    I love Day of the Dead because it celebrates the fallen and gives us a chance for one more night with them..

  95. Caroline Redmon

    November is my Granddaughter’s birthday. Beautiful day! It is also a day a to remember all ancestors of the past who crossed over. I always make a special alter for loved ones who are missed. Have you noticed how colorful this day is? It’s a celebration of life. New life.

  96. cheri duncan

    I feel life is to full of what if and past regrets, The Day of the Dead means a second chance for me. A second chance to say those things i wish i taken the courage to say when you were alive and still around me. A second chance to make things right. A second change to put heart ache behind and start anew. Every body deserves a second chance.

  97. Sylvan Edmonson

    I love being able to see the beautiful handmade art & food that surrounds this holiday as well as remembering love ones. It is a great opportunity to learn about other cultures as well. But id say the best part is the way it embraces idea of death without all of the fear. It is a very special & meaningful holiday <3 thanks!

  98. paige mary

    i love day of the dead because i feel they should still be honored and cared for even though they’re dead. plus i just did a whole project on day of the dead! :D

  99. emily clark

    I love dias de los muertos because it reminds me of when I lived in New mexico, going to the pa
    rades. Love the idea of celebrating someknes spirit, even if the body is no longer with us.

  100. jamie

    i love day of the dead for the marigolds and the sugar skulls. it’s not a holiday i’ve paid homage to in recent years, but i am just pretty much in love with the sugar skulls. i love the combo of death and beauty!

  101. Cece

    Dia de Los Muerto’s is one of my favorite holidays. I have always been a fan of the artwork, especially the calaveras, but in the past 5 years really learned the history behind the holiday. I love the significance of celebrating life. :)

  102. Tara

    Last minute, I know but the items are just too cute to not enter. Celebrating the life of my grandma who passed in July, she raised 8 children and we have a big family full of love because of her. <3