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, 23 January 2014

The first one!

He wasn't allowed down the tunnel ....the tunnel was dangerous so the priest had warned him, after a generous clip around the ear!
Nevertheless at twelve what can one expect, the curiosity was killing him, so choosing the moment carefully while Father Gonzalo was in the sacristy he once again tried to explore the tunnel. This time he picked up a candle extinguisher pole to lever open the slab trapdoor to the forbidden depths. The gush of dust and air and the reek of rotten things assailed him from the tiny crack that his arduous efforts produced causing him to turn away sharply;a reflect to escape the stink. Dismayed he saw the slab slip back down to cover the hole once more with a resounding thud echoing down through the dark corridor. He waited in silence hardly daring to breathe until he heard the ominous sound of the clack clack of Father Gonzalo's heels on the cobbled floors, announcing the end of his adventure and producing the feeling that he needed to be somewhere else urgently, which made him drop the pole and run. The years of familiarity with the churches' confusing interior saw him up and on the flat back roof of the church winging his way to his personal shortcut in a flash. He slithered down the church wall ignoring the painful grazes and with a final jump into the street below, he ran like the wind to his home sheltered under the castle wall.
However he knew he would not hear the end of this and word would reach his father but not today;today he had things to brag about!

My husband was never an altar boy nor would he participate in the Holy chores the children in the Santa Maria Parish were obliged to undertake. As much as Father Gonzalo and Father Francisco tried to train him for the tasks and insist he attend catechism, he always found an excuse or disppeared hiding in another part of the church, mostly on the roof.  In the end they gave him other chores satisfied that he was at least there in the church.

 During the 60s and under the yoke of the powerful Franco regime it was unthinkable that the children did not go to church and fulfil their obligations with the padres. At this time if they did not receive religious education and later take the first communion it could bring down real problems on the family labeling them as ROJOS (reds). You did not publicly announce yourself as an atheist during Francisco Franco's regime!

Although I have embellished my little tale somewhat it is a true story and it is how my husband told it to me. It was also verified by my mother-in-law and she told me Father Gonzalo came to visit her a few days later to tell her what her son had done. At the time he was duly punished and was house bound for a few days which was the worst punishment possible for a boy who ran wild like he did.
Although my husband has never been very religious he does have a fondness for the Santa Maria Chruch and we often walk that way and he tells me ancedotes about his adventures there. When we go in to visit, he shows me little corners ,nooks and recesses and what things were like before.
 It fascinates me!

 He speaks frequently of the tunnel that he longed to explore and never did and that it was sealed up not long after his last attempt to get down there. The tunnel actually connects with a tunnel within  the castle walls and was of course an escape route from the castle. There are tales of bodies being discovered down there, some dating back centuries some not so long ago;Civil War victims. There has been some talk of restoration but it seems it is in such a bad  state that it would cost a great deal. Others say that is an excuse and there are too many secrets down there and they are best left alone; buried and kept secret.

The Santa Maria Church dates back 1300.00 years or rather its beginnings does. It being the first place of worship built in Alicante. It was originally a mosque ,then a synagogue and then a church.

 This is a 17th century print but it clearly shows the flat roof on the left and the drop onto the street which my husband used to use as a shortcut. In the 1960s that street on the left was much the same just narrower.

It is quite small but quite lovely inside: here you have a glimpse of the interior taken during my nephew's wedding in 2008 .....they were playing Pachelbel's Canon at the time I took this was an incredible moment;the acoustics in that church are phenomenal!

Guests at the main entrance waiting for the happy couple to appear
and they were duly bombarded with rice and rose petals


Well,my lovely bloggy friends do hope you enjoy this post :-)

Amanda :-)

Sunday, 12 January 2014

I have a bone to pick with you Mr Postman!

MY Sunbabe

I am sure we all know the saying "there is always a first time " and so there you have it the first time I haven't received a parcel from abroad!
My Autumn Glory swap partner Helen on Moonstrucks Creations posted her swap parcel to me on 29th November and it still hasn't arrived so we have both agreed that it has definitely gone astray ....... gone walkabout among the Christmas post I presume tch!!!!
I'm not really annoyed at the postman of course as it isn't his fault but certainly at the two postal systems! Nevertheless, as I was commenting to Helen it is the risk we take and especially if posting abroad. I've had a long lucky run up to now with post so I suppose I cannot whine about it too much!!!!

However I thought I would share with you what I've made for Helen, usually I publish these with the post of goodies I've been sent and when I know that the recipient has their parcel. In this case because of the loss of the parcel Helen sent to me I cannot do that but I can show you the goodies Helen has received from me:

At least Helen has received these things I made for her ,I would be even more fuming if my parcel to her had been lost too:
  • A red and green cowl which was taken from Kathy Kelly Chi-Town crochet cowl pattern found here . As usual I tweaked it a bit and interwove some green hearts into it. I liked the effect I do hope it fitted Helen. I was a bit dubious about sending a cowl as some people find they are itchy (I for one)but the Red Heart Shimmer 10 ply (Aran) yarn I used is very soft. 
This pic is taken from the designer's web page ...imagine it in red with interwoven green hearts if you can!!!

  • A sunbabe(see above), the pattern taken from Vanja's amigurumi dolls here which was tweaked to my liking too....she is supposed to represent the Autumn sun here as there was a lot of it when I made her and sent to Helen at the end of September.

  • A crocheted pendrive pouch to hold a pendrive with a few music files that I had uploaded and  thought Helen would like. You see I had noticed she had been on holiday to Granada (fantastic place) and had accompanied her post about Granada on her blog with some muscial video clips and so I thought she would like some Music from Manuel de Falla and from the Bolero of Ravel as well.

  • I added an assortment of ribbons,buttons and fridge magnets as well but I cannot find the photographs I took of all those bits and pieces. It was three months ago!

Well,that was quick....I am pleased to tell you that Charlie boy from Spanish Strays has been adopted and now has his forever home!! Whoopee!!

Amanda :-)

Saturday, 4 January 2014

We three Kings of Orient are bearing gifts we....

The Christmas season is when so much is happening! I think you will agree with me on this! However it seems it is more prolonged here than back home in the UK.
In Spain they keep to the old twelve days of Christmas and the last day of Christmas is on 6th January which is Twelfth night. Sunday therefore is the Kings night when the three kings visit the children to leave them gifts or coal if they haven't been good!

 There is a big parade through the centre of the city and a multitude of children line the streets. The Kings parade on their horses and camels;floats and bands march and sweets are thrown.When it is finished the Kings:Gaspar, Melchor and Baltasar, after a bit of a rest, pop into the children's houses when they are asleep and leave them presents .........yes I know....again!!!!
In my house at least as I have to celebrate Christmas day too!

Can you imagine a Christmas Day with no Father Christmas?  I can't!
I remember the very first Christmas I spent in Spain it was hard for me because my Spanish family did not celebrate Christmas in the same way.
I felt very homesick!
There was no Christmas tree only a nativity scene.Father Christmas did not make an appearance! However there were meals after meals after meals in different homes visiting the family.The Spanish families were on holiday and there was laughter and tears when an unexpected member of the family turned up, especially if they had traveled far. There was lots and lots of laughter and smiling faces. Everyone greeted each other ,families,neighbours,shop keepers,friends,colleagues with a smile calling out "Feliz Navidad, Feliz Dia, Felices fiestas " .
Once I adapted I realized that it was a good way to celebrate Christmas too and when I moved into my own place I was able to enjoy my own tradition and the Spanish ones as well.

Christmas Day lunch is always a decision we make together.......turkey,duck,a leg of something or a Spanish meal. It is traditional in this area of Spain to have cocido on Christmas Day and this year Sr P asked me if we could have that.
 As my mother-in-law taught me how to make cocido way back when we lived with my in laws and as it is one of the most practical dishes to make because it can be prepared and cooked in advance. This works out very well especially on a day like Christmas day. The late Christmas Eve dinner the night before with all the family means we do get up very late on Christmas day so I was more than happy to do that.

Cocido is a main meal soup
It is a Chicken soup packed full with lots and lots of ingredients:

  • half a small chicken
  • half a boiling fowl
  • half a pigeon (if you can get it but optional)
  • meat bone x 1
  • ham bone x 1
  • chunk of stewing beef
  • small piece of belly pork 
  • chunk of cooking chorizo
  • Chicken stock cube x1
  • bay leaves by 3
  • parsley
  • carrots x 4
  • swede x 1  (small)
  • parsnip x 1 (small)
  • celery x 2 sticks
  • leek x 1
  • onion x 1
  • large whole potatoes x 4
  • Saffron
  • salt 
  • chickpeas  ( soaked over night)
  • Medium sized meat balls x 6 
  • morcilla sausage   x 1 (optional)
  • lettuce ( outer leaves)  x 6 to 8
  • water to cover

Wash and prepare all ingredients. Place all ingredients except the meat balls in a pressure cooker cover with water add salt. Calculate 20 minutes from the minute steam escapes from the valve. Lower heat.
At the end of cooking time turn off heat,remove valve. DO NOT TRY TO OPEN LID until all the steam has been released through valve nozzle....IT IS DANGEROUS!!!    Once all steam has escaped open lid.   Strain soup into another pan. Discard stewing chorizo, sausage,bones,belly pork and lettuce leaves ( I don't like celery so that goes too) . Cut up some of the chicken and the other ingredients (very much depends on personal likes) and add to the strained soup,add meat balls and cook for 20 minutes approx.
Serve with a dash of lemon ( not everyone likes the lemon).
 I downloaded these images of Cocido from Google because so much was going on during our lunch and what with a glass or two of Rioja red as well I completely forgot to take photos :-)

*If you buy a jar of chickpeas they are normally already cooked so add to soup 5 minutes before end of strained soup with meat balls cooking time.
*Sometimes only the meat balls are added to the strained soup and all the ingredients are served on a large platter in the centre of the table so everyone can choose what they want to add to their soup.
*Advice:The soup is much better if you make and strain it the day before. 

It does look a long process but it isn't once you have all the ingredients into the pressure cooker you can go and crochet for 20 mins!

 I am very happy to announce.....

that BIG Fred the BIG puddy cat, whose photo and appeal from the Spanish Strays organisation in Andalucia has been displayed on my blog for some weeks now, has finally been adopted and has a FOREVER HOME.
This was just before Christmas makes me feel so good!

Now you will see there is another photo displayed on the left of my page ....Charlie boy who also wants a forever home too!   I'm afraid you will be seeing many more puddy cats looking for forever homes announced on my blog as Kerrie at Spanish Strays tells me they have over 70 cats and kittens to find homes for!  

Have a great weekend

Amanda :-)

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