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      Our Stories | Mexicali Blues Blog

      Masters of Mudmee: The Secrets to the Art of Tie Dye

      Masters of Mudmee: The Secrets to the Art of Tie Dye

      Join us for a trip down memory lane to Bangkok, Thailand as we give you a sneak peak behind-the-scenes look at the secretive Mudmee process!

      Mudmee is a specific variation of tie dye that is native to Thailand and Laos. It is a highly coveted process and details of the technique are kept super secret to preserve the culture and practice within the community. We definitely don't know everything, but we can let you in on a few of the basics...

      Mudmee patterns are known for gorgeous starbursts and rich, vibrant colors. These colors are achieved because the dyeing process is always done on black or pigmented fabric, which is much unlike the modern tie dye of the beloved hippie era where dyes are created on white fabric. Notice that the base textile for our Mudmee products are either black, grey, cobalt, violet, or turquoise. Rich base colors like these make for dramatic color changes in each unique product. Since each item is made by hand, every single garment we carry is different! You can bring home one of our mudmee Althea dresses knowing it's the only one like it in the world!

       Let us introduce you to our friends!

      This is Pae, his lovely family, and ours! We haven’t been working together for long, but like most of our partners, it feels like we’ve known them much longer. Like Mexicali Blues, Pae’s mudmee operation is family-run, and everything is done with a fun and kind attitude that we love! Pae oversees everything that his team creates but that doesn’t stop him from getting his hands dirty (or dyed) and getting down to business.

      Meet Juan. He’s the person in charge of patterns, which is the most important aspect of the detailed process. He ensures the garment templates are arranged properly, in order to not waste a single inch of fabric.

      Juan’s process begins with each pattern being cut for the garment, but did you know that the fabric is layered to cut dozens of the same product at once? That’s why measuring and arranging the templates are so important! If the placement of the template is wrong on one, then all the garments will be off. It’s a good thing Juan is an expert, and he has a whole team to help him out too!

      Once the garment is sewn, then it's time to dye it! If you ever go to Bangkok, you’ll see many different kinds of tie dye being sold. These designers take pride in their practice and it’s shown in the vibrancy of the colors they use. Naturally their dying practices are highly coveted, so while we don’t know too much about the pigments, we did learn a thing or two about what makes our Mexicali Mudmee so special...

      ...It’s thanks to Mr. Boom! He’s the Spiral Master of Mudmee. Would you just look at that sun burst?! To create our designs, each item is individually bunched, set in place by rubber bands and then dyed by hand. The center photo above shows how a sunburst pattern is made. The details of the folding patterns are pretty complicated in order to create these wild designs but Mr. Boom keeps it all in check. He goes over the quality control to ensure each product will turn out with a dazzling design. 

      While we don’t know all the secrets, we do know there's a lot of happiness involved in this work! This attitude is just one aspect of why we love working with our vendors. We have a tried and true approach for deciding who we support and that's our "working with people who smile" philosophy! Below are just a few members of Mr. Boom’s team of skilled Mudmee Masters.  Nothing beats Aek's smile!

      The next step is the most photogenic out of the whole process. The dye has to be allowed to set and soak into the fibers. Once the fibers are thoroughly pigmented, each design is unbound and hung to dry. This is our favorite time because the pigments are at their most saturated and we get to soak in the rows of pretty colors!

      Next up, each item is inspected for quality control. The team works together looking for any imperfections on each garment just to make sure they are of the best quality. All those bags that are piled up in the background are the completed orders waiting to be sent to Mexicali Blues!  

      We hope you enjoyed reading more about the Mudmee process. Don't miss the newest additions to our collection and be sure to read about our other tie dye products!

       

       

      April 22nd: ASTROLOGY + ENERGY: New Moon in Taurus

      April 22nd: ASTROLOGY + ENERGY: New Moon in Taurus

      It's a rollercoaster out there and within all our own little worlds. That is hopefully coming to an end with the closing of this moon cycle, from which we are getting a fantastic burst of energy. Be wary and channel this energy into productivity and your health. It will be easy to go astray and channel it into destructive behaviors that can only become more damaging as time goes on.

      This month's new moon in Taurus is conjunct with Uranus, God of the sky and overflowing with the power of change and development. The force of Uranus, commonly misunderstood, can easily be misguided if it's not carefully accompanied by caution. Take care with all your decision making at this time because sudden spurs of misinformed judgment can lead to unforgiving outcomes. This will be a time of change and it will catch you by surprise.

      We urge you not to assume this change will be good or bad and to take everything as it comes, remaining level headed. Do not stretch out too far without a plan to catch you, should you fall. This is a beginner's mistake to act too quickly before all the pieces have be put into place. It is an especially poor time to make impulse commitments or purchases. For now, stick to the routine you have been practicing and lay low.

      It is expected to feel restless in this time but know that we are all together in this journey. It is important, now more than ever, not to act impulsively or take risks. Doing so would bring about unwanted change and destruction to your life. Instead use this energy to bring healthy change. Learn a new skill or start a new podcast. Record your own podcast! Did you like that Romantic Philosophy course you took in college? Many classes are free online and accessible from home. It's time to reawaken your intuition and curiosity!

      Learning new skills and growing to feel more secure and rooted in our ever-changing environment is a reasonable goal to set. Taking the time to learn these new skills and broaden our understanding of the world we live in is a great sign that our community is growing stronger together. 

      Stay tuned for news about how Mexicali is staying strong together through efforts in a community garden. 

       

      Artwork by Emma Lucille McCabe. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook or visit her website, emmalucilleart.com

      Recycling: The Things You Didn't Know You Could

      Recycling: The Things You Didn't Know You Could

      While everyone is home and settling in to new routines, it’s an excellent time to implement new practices with the world’s health in mind. We’ve seen evidence that the air has become cleaner in large cities with citizens in isolation. In China we have seen that emissions are already on the rise as they start to go back to work. So our question is how can we continue making an effort to save our little blue planet without putting everything on pause?

      The first thing to do is look up your local recycling facility. They should have a list available of recyclables accepted for curbside pickup. Some counties even have a list of resources and local businesses who will collect things like packing peanuts and unwanted paint. Check the resources you have and make the most of it! 

      The best way to promote and encourage recycling is to buy products that have already been recycled. This shows plastic producers that consumers aren’t interested in using what is known as “virgin plastic” or plastic that has not been recycled before. It is a more expensive process, resulting in a higher price than the generic brand most people will reach for with consideration to their wallet. It’s the price of keeping our planet healthy and we think it’s a no-brainer. Preserve.eco is a company making products out of #5 recyclable plastics that have been collected from Whole Foods yogurt containers and other post-consumer plastics. 

      If you have to buy plastic try to buy #2 recycling plastic. This plastic is used to make milk jugs and water bottles. It is the safest and most commonly/easily recycled. Alternatives are to carry your own reusable water bottle (who doesn't these days) and to take advantage of your local dairy farm. Smiling Hill Farm in Maine bottles their milk in glass and can be redeemed for $2 at grocery stores. Buy in bulk at natural food stores and always bring bags to the grocery store for produce- better yet shop at farmers markets and support local! 

      Surprising items you didn't know were recyclable:

      Toothbrushes 

      Dentists recommend you get a new toothbrush every four months. That’s a lot of toothbrushes over a lifetime and most end up in landfills. We recommend you buy a natural toothbrush to begin with. There are great ones made out of bamboo and you can brush guilt free, knowing it will compost when you’re done using it! You can also save your retired toothbrush for household cleaning projects. If you have an electric toothbrush, it MUST be recycled because it contains a rechargeable battery. See the battery section below.

      Batteries

      Check with your local waste district to see if they are hosting a collecting program. Otherwise, there are many programs where you can mail in your single use batteries to be recycled. 

      Call2Recycle is a nation-wide program geared toward helping citizens find a place for their reusable batteries. 

      Carpet

      If you've recently taken part in a home makeover, as many of us are during unexpected down time, chances are you have some carpet that is going to be thrown in a dumpster. Don't do that! You can get help from Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE) to locate where that old carpet can be recycled!

      Eye Glasses

      For those who wear glasses, most get a new prescription every couple of years. That's a lot of glasses in one lifetime so it's best to have a plan for outdated frames. Lions Club International is a great organization that donates glasses to developing nations. 

      Packing Materials

      First see if you can reuse the materials when you're sending care packages or holiday gifts. Always check with your local recycling and waste program before putting packing materials in your blue bin. Plastic inflated packaging should be deflated and can be recycled with plastic bags. Shipping companies will sometimes accept clean materials like packing peanuts and styrofoam. Call your local UPS or Mail it 4 U to see what their policies are!

      Athletic Shoes

      Most runners get a new pair of kicks every 500 miles. There are several programs in existence to recycle their unwanted sneakers, apart from donating them to Goodwill. Nike has a Reuse-A-Shoe Program which recycles shoes into other sport plastics like rubberized surfaces of running racks.

      Crayons  

      Crayons are not biodegradable and they clog our landfills. Thanks to The Crayon Initiative over 40 million crayons have been rescued from our landfills and have been donated to children's hospitals!

      eWaste

      Many cities offer host a electronic waste recycling program annually. This is a day when Rotary Clubs and other organizations take your old computers, iPods, televisions and other electronics and dispose of them properly. Look up when your town is hosting an event like this or look up nationwide companies that do. 

      Mascara Wands!

      The Appalachian Wild Life Rescue uses these to help baby opossums! How can you say no to that? before you throw out that empty tube think about mailing it to an organization that helps animals!

       

      For all our Mainers here's a handy resource for you!

      Recycle Maine.

       

      Recycling programs differ from state to state but other nations have policies in place that are much more strict than the guidelines we have in America. For instance, in Sweden, only 1% of waste is sent to landfills. Their recycling program is advanced and involves converting trash and recycling into energy, providing heat and electricity to one million homes. Many countries even import trash from abroad because they don’t produce enough waste. China is no longer accepting recycling from other countries due to their National Sword policy from 2018, which left the US and others scrambling to find a new market. Unfortunately, in many cases this policy and shift led US communities to discontinue their recycling programs all together, leading citizens to toss what could have been recycled to the trash.

      The United States definitely does not have a system as advanced as Germany, which recycles 56.1% of it’s waste. While we campaign for more enforced recycling and waste laws, there are some things we can do with the system we do have. Let us know what you're doing to help the planet! Reach out to us on social media- we can't wait to hear from you!

      Fun Fact: Pizza boxes are not recyclable! If they have any amount of grease they will go to landfill. Think twice before putting it in your blue bin! Alternative: compost it!

      Feng Shui for the Mexicali Minded

      Feng Shui for the Mexicali Minded

      We do not claim to be experts in this ancient practice. If you are looking for traditional methods of Feng Shui we highly recommend looking to the masters. However, if you're getting a little stir crazy and need some ideas to help revitalize your space we can help with that!

      Feng Shui translates to "wind" and "water," respectfully. It goes without saying that in order to survive, the inhabitants of the Earth need access to both these elements. What many people have forgotten is we need to be in balance with all the elements at play to live harmoniously. In a world, with increased tension, stress and sickness we are in dire need of a massive reconnection to nature. That's where Feng Shui can help imbue natural serenity into all of our lives. 

       A good first step would be to decide what areas of your life to focus on. Take some quiet time, preferably in a clutter-free space to take into consideration your relationships, profession, health or anything else that you feel could use better energy. Looking at the Bagua Energy Map (above) you can see there are different areas that can be influenced by positive energy based on the placement of your belongings. 

      Now we're not suggesting you should always have a fire burning in your south-facing room, but you could have a warm-toned rug to give it the right cozy and warming energy. This map can grow to fit your whole property or it can shrink just to fill one room of your home. Make sure pathways are clear in your home so good energy doesn't get caught up. Each element noted on the map is represented by specific colors and should be placed in the corresponding areas that reflect in your home.

      A few of the most important aspects of Feng Shui are easy to implement in your home. The first priority should be your entranceway. To ensure having good chi in your home it is imperative to have a clean entryway, void of clutter and unnecessary items in order to invite good energy inside. Objects like outerwear, umbrellas and reusable shopping bags should all have a specific place in the home as they are carriers of the outside world energy or chi.

      Commanding positions are another important principle to keep in mind before you start rearranging everything. There are three important pieces of furniture in any home; the desk, bed, and stove. Each of these objects has powerful ties to your chi and the corresponding attributes they are associated with. They should be placed to view the front door or North section marked on the Bagua Map to ensure positive energy can flow directly into these spaces. 

      Don't forget to look through our home decor and textile collections to bring the right energy flow into your home!

       

      Our Favorite Indoor Plants to Reduce Stress

      Our Favorite Indoor Plants to Reduce Stress

      House plants continue to trend as the seasons continue to cycle through. There’s comfort knowing that the seasons are staying on course. But through those transitions how do we keep the springtime energy in the home once Summer’s end comes- and it’ll come sooner than you think! Let’s look further into why we love our botanical counterparts so much and learn their added benefits apart from their ability to make any Instagram page look more welcoming. 

      There are so many perks to having plants in your home. Our favorite aspect of having them around is their potential to reduce stress and keep you feeling grounded. The act of putting time in to care for living energy that can then give energy back is the poetic cycle we love to encourage and nourish. 

       

      We’d like to start with Aloe Vera. 

       People from all over the world have been using aloe in their home-made hand sanitizers, but did you know it can do more than soothe the skin! While the sun shines, aloe conserves it’s precious energy and releases bursts of oxygen in the dark hours giving us one of the key elements of life.  The history of aloe vera is rich. In India, we see it near almost every entrance to homes. It is thought to bring good luck to those who live there and is a sign of welcoming. 

      Aloe vera is a succulent and prefers indirect light. Do not water if the soil is even slightly moist.

       

      Next up is the Fiddle Leaf Fig!

      Chances are, you've seen this plant around a lot lately and some are referring to it as the new Monstera. (Though we’re still dearly attached to the monster goddess of tropical leaves, stay tuned to find out why!) Popularity in the hardy fig tree has had gardening enthusiasts everywhere scouring local greenhouses and we’re not surprised. It has lush foliage and those giant leaves are the main benefit to producing clean oxygen in the home. 

      It can survive in a bright window nooks away from cold drafts. Water when the soil is just a little dry.

       

      Golden Pothos (aka Devil’s Ivy or Money Plant)

       It is the easiest plant to care for and thus leaves any herbologist with zero stress about caring for it. Let’s not pretend that some people just can’t keep plants alive. We overwater them, we forget to water them, we move them and then they die in protest. It’s not always easy. We’ve had countless plant babies kick the bucket but the money plant keeps our spirits high with its ability to thrive in any environment. We should all be more like the money plant.

       

      Jasmine

      We are fortunate to have spent quite a bit of time in India over the past 32 years of business so naturally, Jasmine is a plant we love. It brings a soothing comfort to us that has a powerful hold on us. Jasmine has the sweet, delicate aroma and in India, these sweet flowers are sewn into garlands, a remarkable and complicated process that can have many beautiful and intricate designs. These garlands adorn the braids of women and schoolgirls, they are used to decorate the statues of deities in Hindu practices and Jasmine is always present in wedding celebrations. It is clear that Jasmine has a stronghold in Indian culture and it is beginning to become more popular in the western world too.

      It prefers southern light and will be happy with just four hours of light a day. 

      If you liked this content, sign up for our emails so we can share more with you! Tune in next time for more

       

      🌕 Artwork by Emma Lucille McCabe! Follow her on Facebook and Instagram @emmalucilleart or find her work at emmalucilleart.com. 

       

      April 8th: ASTROLOGY + ENERGY: SUPER MOON IN LIBRA

      April 8th: ASTROLOGY + ENERGY: SUPER MOON IN LIBRA

      The month's full moon is the second of three super moons this year and we fondly refer to it as the "Pink Moon!"

      It is called this because of it's proximity to when creeping phlox, or moss phlox tends to bloom. This plant makes itself known with a brilliant shade of magenta and is thus called "moss pink." While the moon won't be turning magenta, it will have a golden hue just after it rises above our horizon. This will also be the time when it appears the largest to our natural eye. Remember what we said about our last super moon in Virgo? We recommend finding a wide-open space with a clear horizon to watch this big lunar baby rise. 

      The moon will reach its peak illumination later in the evening at 10:35 pm (Maine Time) but it will no longer appear as magnificent.

      With our lunar queen nestled in the Libra constellation, there are some key elements at play. Those closest to you are on full display in your journey through the cosmos. While the moon rests in Libra, it's ruler is Venus who is squared up with Mars right now. There are no two more famous lovers than these astrological behemoths. You can bet that things are getting spicy. 

      From these deductions, it is safe to assume you are experiencing something new with those close to you. See if you can channel that energy into positive and fun activities. If it has more fire, consider how you can help to tame it and see eye to eye. After all, the moon won't be leaving Libra for a little while.

      Something else to tune into this month is the Lyrids meteor shower. We'll be celebrating the New Moon during this annual phenomenon. Don't miss it!

       

      Illustration by the incredible Carmen Garcia Gordillo. Follow her work on Instagram.