Stenciled Goody Bags and San Miguel (part 1)

For the past year, our group known as Tesoro del Corazon has been preparing for our fifth annual art retreat in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, during Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). Each year we bring our students handmade goody bags. This year we used muslin bags and had a spray painting party at Helen’s house using Stencil Girl stencils to create our bright, folk-art designs. Stencil Girl Talk is doing a blogpost today about our painted bags….so hop on over and take a look!!! They have an amazing selection of artist-created stencils, so check those out too and Today Only (November 13th), Stencil Girls is offering 10% off my border stencil sets! (code MIKA10)!!!IMG_4410IMG_4411We had 40 bags to decorate and had a blast using a variety of colors and stencils.

IMG_4416 (1)We were also able to use a few of my border stencils so that was fun too as I had never tried them with spray paint before.IMG_4422


We just recently returned from our retreat and I wanted to share a few pictures from the first few days. We shot so many pictures that I need to break up this post into two parts. The second half will feature pictures from class, our Santo project and the Day of the Dead celebrations…..where my husband, David, and others dressed up and actually joined in the parade this year! (need I say more? So stay tuned for Part 2!)

Anyway, the first morning the students arrived we had our orientation breakfast in the beautiful courtyard of Casa de la Noche, our retreat venue, where we passed out the goody bags, much to the delight of the participants!IMG_8975 We were so happy to see that EVERYONE had arrived because hurricane Patricia had just blown through Mexico the day before. But everyone made it and was ready to start enjoying this magical town.

The instructors, Helen, myself, Leslie (my sister) who is also our coordinator, Lynn and our first guest instructor, Elitia pictured below:

Our Tesoro group standing behind our altar that participants added to throughout the week.

Our Tesoro group standing behind our altar that participants added to throughout the week.

By the end of the week, David was referred to as both Señor Gato (think herding cats) and Saint David. (And he shares the Virgin of Guadalupe's birthday!)

By the end of the week, David was referred to as both Señor Gato (think herding cats) and Saint David. (And he shares the Virgin of Guadalupe’s birthday!)

and my husband and trusty sherpa, David, arrived in town a few days before the rest of our group to start setting everything up. There is always plenty to do….but we always seem to find time to shop too!

My sis and I....ready to fill our bags!

My sis and I….ready to fill our bags!

I have to say that the shopping in San Miguel is better than just about any place on earth! I love almost everything I see! First stop was to get my boots polished in the Jardin (the main square) with a beautiful view to the iconic Parroquia (church) behind me.


I love the Artisan’s Market and surrounding shops and could spend hours wandering from stall to stall.IMG_8832

IMG_8902IMG_8835 IMG_8837



Metal heaven!

Metal heaven!

IMG_8825Yes, Lynn ended up with this huge Tree of Life metal piece that she had shipped home. She is my shopping idol and guru….there isn’t anything that is too large or impossible to ship home!!! Last year she shipped two hand-painted, gorgeous, full-size doors home!

Entrance to the amazing home of Anado and Richard

Entrance to the amazing home of Anado and Richard

The first official day of the retreat began with a visit to Anado and Richard’s mosaic house/studio and Chapel of Jimmy Ray. We decided that we wanted to kick off the retreat this year with a full dose of color inspiration and no other place is better for this than Anado’s. The following pictures are just a small glimpse into the creative minds at work here!

Richard and Anado

Richard and Anado


Casa de Caca (the outhouse!)

Casa de Caca (the outhouse!)



The inside of their home and studio is equally fabulous with every surface adorned with paint, tesserae and found objects.




We were also treated to a studio tour!

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So how is that for a way to begin a mixed media art retreat?! Everyone left inspired and ready to start classes the next day! I am going to end here for now and will return next week for Part 2 of San Miguel…….adios….remember to run on over to Stencil Girl to take a look!



12 thoughts on “Stenciled Goody Bags and San Miguel (part 1)

    Thank you all
    & thank you for posting the photos.
    Looking forward to the Santo photos

    P, C, & M

  2. Thank you Laurie for inspiring us every time we follow your blog! This time you took me to my years of living in Mexico and I enjoyed the colorful pictures and happy art all around San Miguel de Allende. I’m looking forward to San Miguel Part 2!

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