Know Your Culture: My Immigration Story



Today I’m off to New York City to partake in the Latism conference. This will be the first time I’ve attended this gathering, I’ve always wanted to, but something always came up date-wise. This is definitely a good time to go. I’m one of 100 Latina bloggers invited to visit the United Nations on Wednesday and Thursday of this week. It’s part of the 2013 Latism Blogueras Retreat.


Yes, I’m thinking what you are thinking…WHAT?? It’s really happening. I’m packing up my yarn and glitter and heading to the Big Apple!

I’ve known for a couple weeks, but it has been a super-duper top secret topic, they are finally announcing it today to the public. We’re all staying at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in Manhattan and will be participating in a lot of different leadership panels, workshops, discussions and even playing sports games with kids from the Big Brother Big Sister program at the U.S. Open.

NOTE: Follow my Instagram & Vine (@craftychica), and FB feed ( to see pictures along the way! 

One of the homework assignments we had was to write a blog post titled, “My Immigrant Story.” Immigration reform is a hot topic in our country and I never get into politics on my blog. I believe art and creativity is something that unites people from all walks of life, and I like to be a catalyst for that. But, like each and every one of us, I have an immigration story to share.

And it’s not political at all, it’s my history.

Here is the story of how I ended up in Phoenix, Arizona. This is from my dad’s lineage. My great-grandparents on my dad’s side were born in Mexico during the late 1800s. My great-grandfather on my Nana Cano’s side used to manage a farm in Sonora by day, and after hours he had his own business making and selling blankets. He passed along that “craftypreneur” trait to my nana (and avid seamstress and artist), who passed it along to my dad (jewelry maker, sewer, and tinker), who passed it down to me (crafty chica). Back to the story! My great-grandfather  eventually moved the family to Arizona and my Nana Cano was born in Phoenix in 1913. OK, now, on my Tata’s side, my great-grandfather was a miner in Zacatecas (my great-grandmother, a housewife) and he moved the family to what is now New Mexico in 1910 – yes, during the Mexican revolution! Then my tata was born in New Mexico in 1912. His family eventually moved to Phoenix, Arizona, where my tata met my nana,they fell in love, got married and had nine kids – one of which was my dad! He met my mom, they fell in love and here I am!

My pop and mom!

My Uncle Joe filled me in on all the details before I left for my trip. I literally choked up as he told me all this information. How could I go so long without knowing all these details? Especially the part about my great-grandfather working so hard and running a creative enterprise, it makes me feel like carrying on a family tradition. I’m excited to return from my trip and spend more time with my Uncle Joe to get even more scoop.

Here I am in NYC!


I leave for New York with a strong sense of pride. Not only for my Mexican heritage (fourth generation!), also for being an Arizonan – a Phoenician! My grandparents and parents were born right here in our town, my dad even helped design the city streets as an engineer for the city of Phoenix. As much as I travel all over the country, and as much controversy we have here because of immigration, Phoenix, Arizona will always be the anchor that this crafty chica calls home.

Now it’s your turn! What is your immigration story? How did you and your family end up where you are now? It doesn’t matter what background or ethnicity, we all have a story to tell, so spill! Let’s pretend we’re at a huge craft table with supplies galore and chit-chatting the night away!

Why I love Handmade Galleries (& my Miley Cyrus story!)!

Ana Araujo gave me a shout out from my space at Handmade Galleries!

This was the coolest surprise EVER! Ana Araujo from When Creativity Knocks visited one of my favorite spots in Los Angeles – Handmade Galleries!

Patrick and I have had a space there for several years now and we love it. Owner Andrea Spyros is an amazing businesswoman who has the goal of helping each artist flourish into a larger, broader career with their art. She has certainly helped us. We’ve had several A, B and C list celebrity clients, our art space has been featured as the backdrop to several kooky reality shows, plus numerous other connections and artsy opps, all thanks to this wonderful art space!

My sewing book on display in the front windows!

Okay, since we’re on the topic of Handmade Galleries, let me tell you my Miley Cyrus story…sigh…

Remember the giant photo shrine I made for CHA a few years back?

After the show, we sent the piece to Handmade Galleries and they displayed it in a prime juicy spot. One day in summer 2011, I received a phone call that Miley Cyrus was standing right there, admiring the shrine I made and wanted to know if I could make one for her new home, for her sanctuary room. I was so excited! Of course I would!
Throughout that summer, Miley TEXTED me what she wanted on her shrine, the glitter color, and even snapped inspiration pictures from her travels in Australia and sent them my way from her iPhone. She was very sweet and friendly. I loved how excited and serious about this piece because she wanted happiness and peace in her new house. I was so honored she wanted my work to be a part of that!
Now comes the part where you’ll want to smack me in the back of my head. This is VERY unlike me, you guys KNOW me, right? I normally would be all over this. At the time this was happening, Maya was going through her first love drama – lots of drama.
ME: Mom Worry Overload! I hung on to the string of the emotional yo-yo by the tips of non-glittered fingernails. Dealing with her moods and everything that was going on during the break-up, I lost all my inspiration. Just like that, it vanished. I had zero motivation to make anything, to write anything, to blog, to leave the house, to travel, etc. The only work I did was for my daytime job, no energy leftover. In all my life and career, I’d never had that happen!
Bottom line? I never followed through for Miley.  I did make a doodle sketch according to what she asked for, but…never sent it.
You know I had to be in a not-so-sparkly place to drop the ball on such an exciting order, right? I did apologize and by the time I tried to redeem myself (oh, like, eight months later), it was too late. She must have thought I was a jerk!
Argghh! So frustrating. Wasn’t meant to be, life goes on, live and learn and all that. I moved on. I’m soooo happy that era ended and I got my mojo back! The silver lining is that I now have a fun story to share about how I almost made an art piece for Miley Cyrus!
Here’s a question for all of you. Do you have a story about a missed opportunity? If so, please share in the comments!
Let me steer this back on track…here is the wonderful video Ana made about Handmade Galleries! If you are ever in Los Angeles, check out the space. It’s bursting with cool, handmade art!

Here is the link!