Real sugar skulls are made by pouring melted sugar into molds and then decorating with colorful icing. The skulls aren't meant to be scary; their bright colors and designs are meant to celebrate departed ancestors. Each skull usually has the name of a deceased loved one written across the top.
I wanted to take part in this tradition in part because I've lost a lot of loved ones this year. My previous attempt at making candy, however, resulted in a house filled with smoke and a pan covered in charcoal. So I decided to honor my departed souls in a medium with which I have much more experience: paper.
The first skull that I created honors my Grandma Viola who passed away over the summer:
Grandma was a beautiful 90 something lady with a fantastic sense of humor. She had a daughter, a son and four grandchildren, all of whom are represented on the skull by flowers:
The cross in the middle represents my grandma's strong faith. There are also two tiny flowers underneath the cross that represent the twin babies who died as infants.
Grandma Viola's Italian heritage emerged in her delectable spaghetti and meatballs. Grandma's famous dish shows up around the eyes of the skull:
Yes, that is a meatball and those orange lines under the meatball represent spaghetti.
I think Grandma Viola watched Wheel of Fortune even after she lost so much hearing she couldn't understand what was going on. I watched it with Grandma when I was younger and she was always so impressed when I solved the puzzle. When I moved to Tucson I tried out for Wheel of Fortune and I thought about Grandma Viola the whole time. These little symbols represent the Wheel:
As a whole this sugar skull only represents a small part of who my grandma was. Designing and decorating the skull allowed me to reflect on cherished times with grandma and appreciate the time I spent with her.
I'm in the process of making three more skulls. I'll post pictures when they're finished.