Crafty in the Med

I'm here to enjoy meeting other crafters and to share my ideas and projects. I love to crochet,cross stitch and embroidery but I'm keen to try new crafts too. I love music and I love to sing! Singing makes me happy. I collect jugs....its their shape I think! I am addicted to yarn and buttons. I get lost in book shops and can spend all morning there and I absolutely adore rummaging in flea markets. I love to read sci´fi/fantasy,buried treasure, and off world adventures. I have a passion for history! I would be the first passenger on the first time machine ! I BELIEVE IN MAGIC!

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Eco-friendly heat relief

Here's a big welcome to my new followers Dee at Everyday Home Girl,Poppy at Poppyview, Carly at Crafted by Carly,  Julie  at A Tale from Toadstool house,Missy at Edith Florence and Ellie Great (sorry can't find your link).
Do hope you enjoy reading my blog and your comments are always welcome. I read them all.


The Spanish Fan

Fans became the ideal  instrument of communication throughout an era when young ladies of good families were constantly guarded and escorted by their chaperon, so that they could have no intimate contact with the opposite sex before marriage and during a time where freedom of expression for women was totally restricted.
However as I am sure you all know love and passion will have its way and the forbidden fruit is always the most tempting, hence the language of fans became a form of intimate communication generally between admirers or lovers.

I'd like to give you here just a brief insight into the basics of fan communication:

1. To fan yourself rapidly means "I love you immensely"

2. To fan yourself slowly  pausing now and again means that "you are married and you aren't interested". If you open and close your fan slowly it means the same.

3. Now then ...careful with this one.....to close your fan slowly means "YES". but if you open and close your fan quickly...sharpish like    you mean "Watch it! I'm engaged "

4. To close your fan means "NO"

5. Here's another one you have to be pretty careful with...to drop your fan means "I belong to you"

6. If you lift your hair slightly with your fan it means "I'm thinking of you,I won't forget you"

7. If you cover your face with an open fan it means "Follow me when I leave".

8. If you hold an open fan with both hands it means "best if you forget me".

9. A half open fan over the lips means "you can kiss me"

10. To pass your fan from one hand to the other means " You're messing around with someone else"
and there are many many more.

I learnt some of these from my mother-in-law, the rest I read about.
She always had a fan in her bag and a different one for each occasion .... even during her last years she carried a fan with her. She taught me how to use a fan...which isn't complicated it's just a twist and flick of the wrist. I started to carry one in my bag years ago and continue to do so...it always comes in handy winter or summer and it travels well.

Fans in Spain other than being a decorative graceful item are still used frequently by all ages  and always forms part of the regional dress here.

I'd say that fans are a very versatile instrument to have in your handbag not only as a cooling device but to keep the sun out of your eyes...it also entertains a noisy fidgety child and keep flies and mosquitoes at bay.
However don't think the language of fans has died out it has just evolved.

This is my own personal version of modern 2012 language of fans:

1. Fanning yourself rapidly in a hot suffocating restaurant means "switch the flipping air conditioning on" I assure you it works 99% of the time.

2. Holding up a closed fan above your head means "errr waiter ??? "

3. It can also mean " I'm over here dear"

4.Holding a closed fan and tapping it against the bottom of your chin means " hang on I'm thinking"

5.Fanning yourself erratically and fidgeting while in a queue means "come on I'm in a hurry"

6.Opening and shutting your fan quickly while holding it in both hands means "I'm bored..haven't you finished talking about football yet?"

there are more but I'd be telling, wouldn't I?

Fans can be quite cheap and some extremely expensive ones, especially ones hand painted and decorated on both sides and signed by the artist.
 You can get a small handbag fan,a daily fan,a beach fan, a fan for men and one of my favourites, the large fan which is used at a bull fight, ( incidentally don't think for a minute I have been to a bullfight I am totally against it and luckily Sr P too).

You can also buy covers for your fan but I decided, inspired by all the crochet makes throughout blog land, to make my own.


I am not totally happy with it as it is a bit of a tight fit.




 I plan to make another for one of my other fans and I'll make it a bit wider.



I've used Nº 5 perle cotton and a 1,50 hook and a bright pink transparent bead (which looks orangey in the photo) to hook the flap down. Its a very basic pattern made up as I went along in one piece...it could also be adapted to make pouches for glasses,ipods,mobile phones and many other things I'm sure.


 Friday tomorrow folks...... so have a great weekend
Amanda :-)



Sunday, 27 May 2012

Discovering a flea market and tapas

Welcome to new followers Angeliki at My Hobbies' Place and Liz at Shortbread & Ginger...lovely to have you visit.

Its a hard life Sundays too!!!!

I love going to flea markets and finding bargains .
Villafranqueza market

I usually look for china ,clocks and books. I wasn't lucky today, I did see a dish I liked from Seville but it wasn't Cartuja china so I wasn't prepared to pay 6€ for it but no matter I still enjoyed my morning.  Sr P and I, we discovered new routes in the Alicantina countryside,we talked ,we laughed,we got information about setting up our own stall and considered possibilities and we ate tapas at our favourite restaurant and congratulated Luis the owners son on his recent marriage.


 My husband is a bookbinder, a master craftsman in his trade and I am proud to say he has been commissioned work for the Royal family, one piece in particular has been presented to the King of Spain.



Big! Not for bedtime reading!
He has been working in the family business for more than 35 years and his father before him and now he has retired he wants to sell some of the books he has accumulated over the years and that is taking up so much room in our house. The special collection he is keeping for a rainy day or to pass on.


 Hence his interest in certain flea markets. I am also going to have a bash at selling some of my crochet and vintage bits I have accumulated over the years...well at least the bits I feel I can part with.
They have started up this very new flea market in Villafranqueza a little village just on the outskirts of Alicante and it is very craft orientated. I saw home made soap,pots of plants and herbs,crochet makes on three stalls, mostly hair pretties and toilet roll covers and the occasionally crocheted bag ( I think I can do something different than that) lots of stuff but just stuff and the occasionally interesting vintage item. Masses of paper back books and clothes,some wood carving furniture...very nice but costly and rightly so because it was extremely nice and a small clock stall which I was drawn to like a magnet but 2 clocks were modern imitations and one was a real jewel but far beyond my means.... sigh!
In all it was an eventful morning because we obtain information about setting up a stall from Vicky the organizer,costs are monthly and not too exorbitant,50€ per month and there are two days u can set up your stall every week ,Saturday and Sunday. This should keep my husband busy busy ...he is finding retirement empty.....from a workaholic to nothing is hard!
Afterwards we went to the Varadero restaurant in the port in Alicante and discussed what we had seen and with a cold glass of Jose Pariente white wine,opportunities and future prospects always seem lighter and brighter :-)
Choosing the wine a lot to choose from!
 The Varadeo Restaurant in the port is a must should you ever visit Alicante it has a wonderful selection of shellfish and seafood and its paelllas are incredible.......the real thing.
  Its a hard life deciding what to have for lunch!!!

Amanda :-)





Friday, 25 May 2012

Pride and Joy and vintage

Firstly a very big welcome to my new followers Sophie over there in Greece at The Laughing string, Shari at Sari's Crochet,Helen at Carfty Helen, Sarah at Annaboo,Jules at Little Woollie,June at Cats,Dogs and Eiderdowns,Katie at My Secret Crochet blog,Claire at Thriftwood,Carolanne at Chenilecottage,Sally at Art-a-musings, Muriel at Muriels blog,Debbie at Happy Little Cottage and Hazel at Ramblings and such and Isobel at The Home Nest "Ben vinda".
Thats all the latest I think ,if I haven't mentioned you I'm sorry but either I've missed you out or you don't appear on my follower's list. Please follow me by using the Google connect sign up gadget on my blog.....thanks mucho :-)
A post-it
Did I see/read somewhere that someone collects Ladybird books????

Today I'd like to do something vintage
my Gran was a crocheter and my memories of her practically always include her with some crochet make in progress in her hands. She did the fine stuff ...filet crochet,lace crochet and Irish crochet;doilies,tablecloths,tray covers, jug covers,and edgings among other things. Usually in white, beige or ecru, fine fine cotton using those tiny tiny hooks and stitches so very small .... it was what her mother taught her .
I want to share this with you today so I've brought out some of my Gran's makes which I had tucked away to show you.

 I rarely have them out and I never use the coffee table cloth I am scared I will stain it,in the past I had the beige round table cover on a small lamp side table but someone burnt it with a cigarette years back during a dinner party, so I put it away too.




I have more of the edgings somewhere and I have copied some of those filet crochet edgings myself.






  I still have a reel of the cotton she used which must be about 65 years old and a crochet hook.
 I am convinced that the crochet hook must be an antique. It is old but I don't know how old but it was given to my mother by my Gran and it was her mother's before her.



It doesn't look much as you can see in the photo and I have tried to clean it up however as you can see it is very old and it has a metal cap something you don't often see.


 I don't know what size it is....its faded away.



 Here's a wonderful thing .... thanks to another blogger I have only just met Lynne at Pieceful ,unknowingly to her ,on posting on her blog about napkin edgings and having to use a sharp headed hook she has clarified for me, after all these years, why this my old hook has such a sharp head to it. It is very sharp I assure you, I have drawn blood before now. Its unbelievable really it never dawned on me why it was so sharp because it looks flipping obvious now, to punch the holes in the cloth to pull the thread through of course!!!




I don't often get these treasured bits of my Gran's out .......just occasionally. After my mother passed away I didn't get them out for several years, it all tied up to her and Gran because mother did crochet too as well as her Honiton Lace. It brought sadness then but I am a strong believer that fond memories keep your loved ones  alive  and its a tribute to them to remember the good times and not to shut them away.  So looking at these treasured bits of crochet it brings to mind my Gran and my mother on a beautiful summer's day out in my Gran's rose garden at her bungalow in Brixham South Devon, heads down chatting as they crochet together.

Sweet memories!!!!!

Amanda :-)


Big Thank you!!!!

A very short post just to say:

a big thank you for the massive response to my last post  related to blogging etiquette.
 All advice,suggestions and  opinions have very much helped to clarify my doubts.

As the question of followers and number of followers has been mentioned frequently in the comments received, I would just like to add that although I respect other bloggers points of view I shall continue to prefer being able to see the number of followers I have on my list.I find this extremely motivating and inspiring. In my case there is no economical reason why I wish to have followers but pure selfishness. I feel it is like knitting a tiny community together and it produces great satisfaction to think that there are some people out there who read my posts and who wish to comment on them and likewise offer the same. I shall continue to wish for a reciprocal contact and as stated on my last post I shall always prefer quality over quantity.

Its me!
This is me...a few light years ago...you didn't really think I was going to parade a recent photo of me on here did you?

Amanda :-)

Thursday, 24 May 2012

THE FOLLOWING IS OF INTEREST TO ALL BLOGGERS


that is if you don't know about it already of course
this happened to me this morning; a fellow blogger commented that she was following my blog but she didn't appear among the icon pics on the Google connect gadget and when I checked the list she didn't appear there either. I verified it with her and she told me she had followed me by adding my link to the blogs on her blog's dashboard. I commented that she had to sign in as a follower via the Google Friend connect gadget for the blogger to see who is following their blog. She did this and there she was on the followers list. Since then I've been browsing around on the web to pick up a little bit more info about this and this is what I have discovered. If you add the blog you want to follow via the dashboard it will not appear on the Google connect followers gadget or list. This means that you may think a blogger is not following you but the blogger thinks he is. It also means that you may have more people following you than what you think....the ones who think they follow you via the link on the dashboard. 
This is where you have to go to follow a blog :
Google Connect Gadget


 and this is where you go to add a blog to your blog list


Sorry to say  Tabiboo I don't see you on my follower's list please add via the Google Connect gadget on my blog. :-)
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Blog etiquette advice please.....confused
I hate being confused,I hate not understanding and as I tell my students if you don't ask you don't know!

I wonder if I am lingering where I am not wanted?????

Now bear with me a minute and I'll explain my doubts and hope that some kind soul can clarify for me
I am still a blogger learner but learning more and more from you the experienced bloggers out there as I go along.
However its not my intention to disrupt blogger etiquette so please correct me if you think I have misunderstood how one should go about this blogging business:
As I understand it this is the procedure:
  • You blog-hop to find other blogs that coincide with your own interest  (or you just like)
  • once you have found the blog you find interesting you follow said blog
  • you comment on the blog that you are following
  • if you receive a comment back that blogger then reciprocally follows your blog 
  • the blogging relationship commences up until one of the blogger decides to cut it short (for whatever reasons).
  Is there some sort of invisible message that is understood by experienced bloggers that if  you follow a blog and you comment to show your interest and keenness to follow that blog but the blogger does not reply to ANY of your comments, does not comment on your blog either ,but has not blocked you from that blog then, is this a discreet sign of not wanting your  presence on their blog?
Is it the norm in this case to just stop following or just continue as an anonymous reader?

and

If you are following a blog have received replies and comments from the blogger but said blogger does not follow you.  Does one just ask are you going to follow my blog or what?

Thanks in advance for your help

Amanda :-)

PS: I want followers but I want the reciprocal relationship that goes with it more. Quality more than quantity!






Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Granny Struggle!



First things first ...welcome to my new followers.....thanks for popping by and I've enjoyed all your comments. 




 Words cannot describe the satisfaction I feel at present on having finished my Granny square cushion at last!!!

Now due to self-pride I cannot NOT mention that I consider myself an experienced crocheter ...I've been at it for about 45 years!! I have made numerous cushion covers in the past and successfully so.





So much for boasting about my crochet attributes and here comes the simile,it was like a bucket of cold water when it finally dawned on me, after unpicking the back of this cushion cover for the umpteenth time, that I had become supremely overconfident where my crochet expertise was concerned or in other words the yarn and the hook had got the better of me!





The Granny square was no problem and although its never as quick with cotton as with wool it was finished in an acceptable amount of time considering my work agenda.
I was working with Coats cotton Nº 5 and 2.00 crochet hook (if you saw my previous post about Granny squares you will see the reason I chose cotton over wool).
Now tension is everything with crochet and my tension tends to be loose so I usually drop down in hook size but I didn't this time, it was a little loose but the appearance was fine.
One of the main reasons for making a Granny square cushion was precisely to try out Cherry Heart button back cushion cover. I'd never done one like that before and I really liked the one Cherry Heart had on her blog, among other things because she has some fab ideas and makes...do pop in there if you haven't already. Getting back to my ordeal.....I followed Cherry Heart's tutorial ,which you can find here, with no problems whatsoever because her instructions are perfectly clear and each stage is accompanied by photos.  It really is a breeze to follow.
When I reached approximately half way down the first piece of the back (its done in two pieces) I realized that it wasn't as neat as it should be and I could see it sagging and getting baggy, so I unpicked it all and went back to the beginning and assumed that my tension had got too loose and dropped down to a 1.75 hook and merrily started again




...CLANGER Nº 1






 I was totally confident that it was resolved and carried on again right down to the end of the first piece not even considering that there would be any other adjustments to make
Leaning back to admire my work I saw it was baggy again and it didn't convince me at all!
I reviewed the tutorial word by word and came to the conclusion I had missed something so off I went unpicking the lot and started again, by this time the button cushion cover back idea wasn't looking so attractive to me, but it was also a challenge and an annoying thought that I couldn't do a crochet cover back...ridiculous totally out of the question!
So off I went again but warily and vigilant, very vigilant checking each two rows and I was following the instructions diligently. At about the fourth row down I could see it bulging again so I unpicked all that ...by then I was getting a little irritated and I thought that's it drastic measures are required and I dropped down to a 1.50 hook and off I went again. Fortunately this did the trick and I managed to finish the first piece. I was happy then I knew I had it ALL under control and ALL resolved.....





...CLANGER Nº2







 I whizzed in with a new colour and started the second piece of the back ,the part that overlaps the first piece ...off I went crocheting merrily, merrily not bothering to follow the instructions because after all it was a repeat of the first piece. 
It was half way down when I thought to admire it and saw the sides were stretching and pulling down the crochet stitches, so back I went to analyze the situation. On checking the instructions I realized I was jumping to the gap between trebles and not going into the centre treble as well at the sides.

 


 ...CLANGER Nº3







I felt quite guilty then and I am sure I blushed......... good job only Willie the cat could see me.
Me the experienced crocheter what a laugh!

Back I go unpicking the lot carefully, carefully following the instructions and you know what!!!!!
I finished it !......oh my dear readers what a relief...you know that relief when you've just had your baby .....well  ........ I'll be generous and accept that I am exaggerating just a tiny bit but nothing really can describe that feeling of relief better than that.





What is the moral of this tale?

When you see a great haircut and you want yours like it don't think that it is going to look the same on you!

OR

Review what you are going to make before you make it;think it out. If you are going to use different materials take that into consideration. Check your work constantly! The yarn and the hook don't lie. They are in control.
 
Trouble maker


  Bye for now 
Amanda :-)



Saturday, 19 May 2012

About Palm trees and Japanese influences



Welcome to another new follower Jooles at Sew Sweet Violet  
and welcome to Victoria at Tangled Sweetpea  too.


Parque San Gabriel

St Gabriel park is about 15 minutes walking distance from my apartment and just down the road by car.

Its on the south side of the city on the beach road to the airport. It was built 15 years ago and I remember what it was like before the council decided to put a park there. It was just a rather dirty dusty waste ground strip of land with rows of equally dusty palm trees beside this concrete monstrosity ,the Aluminium factory, which dominating the area.
We would frequently past this area to get back into the city from the beaches and time and time again I would comment to Sr P and also criticize that such an eye sore could be at the very entrance to Alicante City, precisely on the road bringing in visitors from the airport.
One would never go there at night either because there were always some unsavoury characters hanging about and groups of people by their cars drinking and haggling.  We went on our bikes around there one morning ...goodness knows why I choose that route... and the place was inundated with heaps of rubbish of the worse kind...broken bottles,cans and syringes to name but a few. Needless to say we were out of there like shot!

Transformation.

Overlooking the boat pond and the Med over the road

They say that the project had been approved quite some years before they did it but the council waited because it was used as a political stunt nearing election times.
I am just content that from a crime infested dump yard this has emerged.

 Waters the main theme in this park and as you can see here and in the other photographs I have taken there is a Japanese influence artistically scattered throughout the park . 
We come here frequently to walk in the mornings in the winter and in the hot evenings in the summer to find a wisp or two of cool air or just enjoy the smell of Jasmine and honeysuckle.

There is something for everyone there, a picnic area,playgrounds,a bike route,outdoor theatre .the cave and waterfall,tennis,football and the beautiful gardens.

For the children

I said for the children!













The children particularly like the Cave and the Waterfall. They run through behind the waterfall and of course get wet....fun big time!!!

Lots of relaxation ....you can even talk to trees


and the gardens






Its such a popular place to be now that newly weds come to get their photograph taken or if you're lucky like I was to get this snapshot , the Alicantina's also come for a photo session during festival week in full regional dress.



So if you are ever over here in Alicante City its an absolute must visit park to see


Amanda :-)









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