Monthly Archives: October 2015

One of our Catrinas

The Day of the Dead: A Spectre to Enjoy

While the rest of the UK concentrates on Halloween, at Caoba Towers we usually mark October 31st/ November 1st with Mexico’s traditional celebration of lives that have lived*. The Day of the Dead (El Día de los Muertos) is a party where the whole family joins in, including those that have passed away. Favourite foods, drink and gifts are laid out in brightly decorated shrines to loved ones, to entice them to come, join in the party.

Some Day of the Dead celebrations are bigger than others… The opening sequence for James Bond’s latest movie SPECTRE is set in Mexico City during the Day of the Dead. And some remarkable props from this spectacular will be on display at the British Museum for the whole of November.

*This year we’ll be doing both!

So You Want To Make a Spider Piñata…?

We had a lot of fun at Caoba making these Spider Piñatas for the Day of the Dead, so we thought we’d share…


Fig 1 Materials


Covering the body

Fig 2 Covering the body

Making the fringes

Fig 3 Making the fringes

Attaching legs to body

Fig 4 Attaching legs to body

Fringing the body

Fig 5 Fringing the body

The head

Fig 6 The head


The finished spider....BOOO!

Fig 7 The finished spider….BOOO!

You will need: A balloon, a couple of newspapers, paste (made with 1 part water, 2 parts PVA), black and orange crepe paper, Sellotape (lots), string for hanging, small sweets and treats*
*Try to avoid choking hazards for young children




To make the spider’s body inflate the balloon and tear up a couple of newspaper sheets into small pieces. Stick the pieces down so that they overlap slightly. Apply two more coats, allowing each layer to thoroughly dry out in between.
Once the body is dry cut off the balloon end to let the air out and leave a hole to fill with sweets. Make a hole in the top centre of the body and thread through some string to make a hanging loop.


Make the crepe paper fringes by cutting the folded sheets into strips about 7cm wide. Then make half-width cuts along the long edge of each strip





Make a leg x 8: take 2 sheets of newspaper and roll up on the diagonal making a firm tube. Fold over one end by about 2cm and tape down. Bend the tube in the middle to make the “knee” joint.
Wrap each leg with black fringing using the tape to hold each end in place.
Attach the legs to the body by taping the folded ends to the underside of the body (hole at the front, this is where the head will eventually go). Use LOTS of tape to keep each leg in place.



Cover the body with more crepe paper fringing. We used black and orange to create a particularly dangerous-looking spider.






Finally the head: Scrunch up a couple of sheets of newspaper into a tight ball with a stalk at one end. Wrap lots of tape around the stalk. Cover the head with another sheet of paper and then a sheet of black crepe paper. Decorate the head with a face to suit your spider’s personality.

Slot the head into the hole in the body and tape into place. Don’t forget to put the sweets in first!



!Ya esta! A Spider Piñata.

Thanks to Nick for doing all the hard work in putting our workshop together.


Margaritas optional

Margaritas optional

Worry Doll key rings

More things Bright and Beautiful

Caoba may mean mahogany to Spanish-speaking nations, but to our shop visitors and on-line store customers it represents sunshine!  Call in to 56, Raeburn Place, Edinburgh and whatever the weather outside, you’ll immediately feel happier. Perhaps not an actual cure for SAD, but certainly a respite from the Scottish weather.

A sunny Caoba on a rainy day

A sunny Caoba on a rainy day

Our core Mexican range has recently been brightened by a delivery of glorious Guatemalan textiles, belts, bags and gifts.

Leather and woven belts

Leather and woven belts

Beaded star key ring

Beaded star key ring

Pouch-shaped purse

Pouch-shaped purse

Like the majority of our goods we source our Guatemalan products from Fair Trade suppliers with much of the range coming from the north of Guatemala around Lake Atitlan (”The place where the rainbow gets its colours”), an area of astonishing natural beauty and still largely away from the tourist trail.

Mayan woven textiles date back at least two thousand years with an intricate story directly linked to the region’s economic and social history. Each piece of handiwork contains the story of the indigenous people as well as that of the artisan who made it. For more information on Guatemalan weavers try this excellent book: Traditional Weavers of Guatemala: Their Stories, Their Lives.

Traditional Weavers of Guatemala book cover

Traditional Weavers of Guatemala by Deborah Chandler and Teresa Cordon

The money collected from the sale of our plastic bags goes to the Maya Health Alliance  an organisation committed to the health and well-being of the Mayan community in Guatemala.

Maya Health Alliance on Instagram

Maya Health Alliance on Instagram