Sugar skulls are an essential part of Fiesta de Azucar, or Day of the Dead holiday in Mexico. The skulls represent a departed loved one, who is thought to return to earth for a joyous family reunion for a short 23-hour period. Craneo de Caramelo was created in memory of my Grandma Louise. When I was a girl, she and my grandpa would drive up in their camper when they came to visit.
I spent many happy hours in the back of that camper, snacking on candy and pop, and playing Yahtzee with my grandma. In later years she would visit me and my children, this time in a more modern RV. My daughter Katherine recalls scooping up the candy Louise would toss to everyone from the RV as she drove away to the next stop on her travels.
My grandma passed away just a few short years ago, two months before her 100th birthday party. I still miss her.
Putting candy to paper
When I sat down to create a sugar skull block for the Fiesta de Azucar quilt, I immediately thought of candy. I gathered up photos of different types of candy and played with how the sweets might be arranged on the skull to best effect. M&M eyes and a candy corn nose seemed obvious choices. I had a little bit of trouble deciding how the center of the eyes should look, but I think they turned out just right. The sugar sprinkles added the perfect finishing touch.
After the pattern was finished, it was time to get to work. Here I’ve assembled the Island Batik fabrics, Auriful thread, embroidery hoop, scissors, and other things I’d need to bring my skull to life.
Here is how the skull looked as I added the applique pieces to it, and stitched the embroidered details.
And finally, Craneo de Caramelo as a mini quilt:
What kind of sugar skull would you create to commemorate a loved one?
You can download the pattern for this Fiesta de Azucar block here,
or on Craftsy. Click on “Fiesta de Azucar” in the menu bar on this page to find links to the other quilt blocks and borders in this series.