Rare Beaded Blue-Winged Amazon Parrot

Dear friends, recently, I returned from my annual trip to Mexico and had an amazing vacation! This was my fifth visit to the Yucatán Peninsula. On this trip, my compañero and I travelled like locals to really experience this beautiful country. We swam in the ocean, rode bikes on Cozumel, went snorkeling with barracudas, visited a Mayan Jungle Spa, and ate a lot of guavas and guacamole!

Yucatan Mexico Uxmal Ruins Pyramid of the Magician

We then took a bus to the west side of the peninsula where we visited the ruins at Uxmal. This was one of my favorite days and definitely worth the trip. This is a very important Mayan site. The best part is that it’s not very crowded, so you can really explore and enjoy the architecture at your own pace. The artistic detail of the stones used to build these majestic pyramids is mind-blowing! This is also a good place to go birdwatching as well as admire iguanas in their statuesque poses:)


We also visited the northern tip of the peninsula the day we went on a birdwatching excursion. We went Birding with Steven, and had a wonderful time. Steven picked us up before dawn. We drove north to a tiny village where we saw many hawks, vultures, falcons, mockingbirds, parakeets, flycatchers, woodpeckers, grosbeaks, and my favorite bird, the Turquoise Motmot. It was a very peaceful way to spend the morning.

Female Mexican Sheartail Hummingbird Rio Lagartos Birding with Steven Playa del Carmen
Steven then took us on a 2- hour boat ride at Río Lagartos (aka. alligator river). Río Lagartos is a fishing village located on a lagoon which is part of a natural biosphere. There we saw so many beautiful waterbirds: one pink flamingo (all by himself!), a huge hawk, an osprey catching a fish, tons of herons, a stork, a kingfisher, tons of pelicans, and a mangrove warbler. And back in the village we also spotted a Mexican Sheartail hummingbird! This species can only be found in the Yucatán. I managed to take the above photo before she flew away. Overall, we saw over 70 species – not bad for one day!

Rare blue winged Amazon Parrot bead embroidery pin Yucatan Mexico Etsy sale beaded animal beadwork jewelry brooch tropical bird beads

While I was studying Mexican birds, I also learned that a new species of parrot has recently been discovered deep in the jungles of Yucatán. This bird is a Blue-Winged Amazon Parrot! Those who have discovered them estimate that only about 100 of the birds exist, which would make them rare and endangered. So, I decided to create a bead-embroidered pin to give this bird some attention!  Rare blue winged Amazon Parrot bead embroidery pin Yucatan Mexico Etsy sale beaded animal beadwork jewelry brooch tropical bird beads

This piece is currently available for sale in my Etsy shop. Please click the pics to take a peek and share. If you are interested in a custom beaded bird pin or portrait of a different species, please send me a message! Until then, I will be dreaming about my next trip South of the Border. 🙂

Beadwork at Casa de los Venados

Dear friends, long time no post! I have been off exploring the Yucatán and I have so much to share with you. This was my 4th trip to Mexico which officially makes it the country I have traveled the most. After visiting Mérida for a few nights (an amazing city!), my compañero and I took a bus to Valladolid. This is a small city in the center of the Yucatán, but it is very important to Mexico’s history. It is also very warm there as it is completely surrounded by jungle.

Casa de los Venados Valladolid Mexico Mexican folk art museum free tour

We arrived in Valladolid just in time to visit Casa de los Venados (House of the Deer). This is a private home which contains the largest museum quality collection of Mexican folk art in the country. There are more than 3,000+ pieces in this collection. The owners are kind enough to open their home every morning for a free tour (donations welcome!).

Casa de los Venados Valladolid folk art museum Yucatan peninsula Huichol beadwork

I had read a lot about this collection of folk art and I was very happy to have the opportunity to visit! This 18,000 square foot home is really a palace complete with beautiful open spaces, fountains, gardens, and a swimming pool.

Casa de los Venados Valladolid Yucatan Mexico Huichol beadwork folk art museum bead artist

I was amazed at the amount of art which was displayed in every room (there is even an entire room dedicated to Frida Kahlo). It is really a grand example of how one can make art appreciation a part of their daily lives. Of course, I was on the lookout for beadwork and I did find several pieces of Huichol bead art. Last year, I wrote a blog post about this art form which you can read HERE.

Casa de los Venados Valladolid Yucatan Mexico Huichol beadwork folk art museum bead artist jaguar

Folk art acknowledges the importance of what is sacred as a unique expression of a people’s perception of the universe. These works of art are primarily handcrafted for utilitarian or decorative purposes. A folk artist might be self-taught, or learn from other folk artists to create their own authentic works of art. This is different from ‘fine art’ which is generally taught and legitimized in academies.

Casa de los Venados Valladolid Yucatan Mexico Huichol beadwork folk art museum bead artist

At Casa de los Venados, the goal is to share with the community and teach that folk art is indeed something which the Mexican people should view with pride. They now conduct organized school tours to teach children about the art and handicrafts of their country. This is wonderful because in many cases the local children might never make it to a big city to view fine artworks. They now have the opportunity to learn about and appreciate the art that is all around them.

Casa de los Venados Valladolid Yucatan Mexico La Catrinas Cupola Roof Dome skeletons painting

If you take a trip to Valladolid, definitely make time to visit Casa de los Venados as well as other historical sites around the city. Take lots of photos and keep an eye out for the Catrinas! :O

Huichol Bead Art of Mexico

Dear friends, last month I traveled to Playa del Carmen, Mexico. This was my 3rd visit to the country. For those who have never had the opportunity to go to Mexico, I highly recommend visiting the Yucatan peninsula. This area is full of nature, handcrafted art, adventure, fish tacos, relaxation, and fun in the sun. For those who haven’t been there, I thought I would share a few photos of some beautiful beaded artwork I discovered along the way.

Tierra Huichol Mexican Bead Art Souvenirs Travel Playa del Carmen Mexico Riviera Maya

On my last night in Mexico, I visited Tierra Huichol, a gorgeous shop on 5th Avenue. This shop carries colorful hand beaded artwork made by indigenous Huichol (pronounced Wee-Chol) artists from the Pacific coast states of Jalisco and Nayarit. I had the opportunity to speak with the shop owner, Carlos, and he told me a little about the craft.

Tierra Huichol beaded art Mexican souvenirs Playa del Carmen Cancun Mexico beadwork Riviera Maya

The Huichol people use mainly Czech glass seed beads because Japanese seed beads are just too perfect. First, an animal figure is covered with beeswax, then tiny glass beads are imbedded into the wax one by one to create these amazing designs. One of the main concerns is that over time, the wax may harden and some beads may fall off. I was told they are in search of a manmade material (similar to beeswax) which they can use to help reduce bead loss.

Beaded torso Mexican Huichol bead art Playa del Carmen souvenirs Cancun Mexico Riviera Maya

I think the most impressive thing about this art form is that the artist does not use a  drawing or outline to follow. They simply use their incredible artistic vision and creativity to create one of a kind pieces.

Huichol symbols chart bead art beadwork Mexican souvenirs Playa del carmen Cancun Mexico

I was given the chart above to learn about all of the symbols which can be found in the artwork. Then I shopped around for awhile, and I found a small beaded gourd to purchase. This piece features images of the Peyote flower and the Deer.

Mexican Huichol beaded gourd peyote deer beadwork Playa del Carmen Mexico souvenirs
The next time you visit Mexico, look for Huichol bead art in small tourist shops and at the airport. These artworks are affordable and easy to pack in your suitcase, so find one you would like to bring home. Your purchase will help support the culture and livelihood of a very gifted group of artists! 🙂

Mexican Beaded Bracelets

Last week, I had the opportunity to travel to a much warmer climate – I went to Mexico! This was my first time visiting the country and it is just beautiful. It is very much like the paradise I imagined!!

Playa del Carmen Royal Haciendas Mexico Yucatan Peninsula Cancun vacation palm tree

I stayed in Playa del Carmen just south of Cancun. Of course, I went to the beach and did a few touristy excursions (Tulum, Xel-Ha, and snorkeling in Cozumel), but I also did a little shopping on 5th Avenue. Anyone who has already been there knows this is not easy. Bargaining is the name of the game, and everyone is trying to sell you something whether you need it or not. I was shopping for local handmade goods. I found quite a few shops selling many beaded jewelry items! I asked permission to take this photo of some beaded bracelets I saw:

beaded Mexican bracelets beadwork Mexico Playa del Carmen jewelry shopping beads Cancun

Women who live in the tiny villages of Mexico make this beaded jewelry to support themselves and their families. Any purchase you make helps support the local economy, and is greatly appreciated. So, of course I picked up a few bracelets to take home. Which one do you like best?

Mexican beaded bracelets beadwork Playa del Carmen jewelry shopping Cancun Mexico

 On your next visit to Mexico, stop and look at the beadwork. Perhaps you will find something special to take home, too:)

New Bead Painting in Progress!

I have been very busy lately! Recently, I started working on a new bead painting. This piece will be a city scene inspired by a photo I took while visiting Moscow.

beaded St Basils Cathedral felt Moscow Russia beadwork bead embroidery etsy painting

First, I enlarged one of the photos I took and cut out the image of St. Basil’s Cathedral. I used it as a template to create felt shapes which outline the architecture of the building. Then, I cut out more shapes, and stitched them together, creating a felt foundation for my subject (shown below).

felt St Basils Cathedral Moscow Red Square painting beadwork bead embroidery etsy

Next, I began stitching beads to the felt.. So far, I am using mostly gray and white beads for this piece. Some are Czech or Japanese seed beads, some are vintage beads, and some are gemstones (such as Ocean Jasper)..

seed bead art embroidery beadwork Russian Cathedral painting beading etsy

I plan to use many different types of beads for visual interest and to represent the beauty of the cathedral itself.

beaded Russian Cathedral felt painting bead embroidery beadwork etsy art

So far, I have completed 2 sections of this piece, with the exception of the spires which I will work on at a later date. How does it look? 😀

bead embroidery Red Square beadwork painting progress etsy art  Moscow Russia

Due to the size and complexity of this subject, I think its safe to say I will be beading for awhile.. Please follow my Facebook page for the latest updates. Thanks for your interest in my beadwork!