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How Lilliana Vazquez turned $2 napkins into artwork

by Lilliana Vazquez /  / Updated  / Source: TODAY

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I never turn down the opportunity to shop and that commitment also carries over to vacations. On a recent trip to Mexico, I dragged my girlfriends to find one of my favorite Mexican handcrafts.

Lilliana Vazquez / Lilliana Vazquez

Otomi, which comes from the Hidalgo region of Mexico, is a very distinct style of embroidery that you can easily spot thanks to its bold use of colors and nature inspired motifs. You traditionally find Otomi embroidery on bedspreads, pillows and table runners, but since I live in a tiny New York apartment, I was hoping to find something a little smaller.

RELATED: Visit Lilliana Vazquez in her fabulous home office

I knew the search would take time, but I was committed. And because I'm Mexican, I had language on my side. I spoke to dozens of vendors before I found one who actually had just what I was looking for: small Otomi napkins that featured a single motif. The vendor told me she only sold them in matching sets of 12 for about $1200 pesos (approximately $80 dollars), but in the corner of her stall I spotted a stack of mis-matched squares for $10 pesos and quickly inquired about those. She said they were discards from a broken set — but to me, they were treasure. I knew they would make adorable coasters, as I’d seen them used at the hotel, but I wanted to show them off exactly as they were originally supposed to be used: as art.

Lilliana Vazquez / Lilliana Vazquez

When I returned home, I had my Otomi squares professionally framed, but I could have just as easily used an IKEA frame. All in all, my total cost was about $80 for a truly unique piece of artwork that proudly shows off my heritage.

See more DIY ideas from Lilliana on her site, The LV Guide.

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