Friday, July 26, 2013

Rocking my World This Week

After the noise and fun of the fiesta last week, this week has been quiet and restful, which in itself is something to be thankful for isn't it?
For July and August life takes on a simple pattern of getting up with the dogs at 7.00, because after 8.00 they are just not interested in walking, breakfast out in the porch, my one piece of housework for the day, cleaning, washing, shopping etc, lunch and a siesta, then either sitting in a shady spot to do some cross stitch, or down in my craft room making cards and 'playing' on the computer, tea, occasionally TV but more usually back to my craft room, a late night swim, and late to bed. That is the pattern and it varies very little. There is no rushing around and no sense of urgency, so we just take stock and rest up ready for the new surge in September.
I have a feeling I will struggle to do a double spread for my Project life album this week!
The temperature is a steady 34º in the shade with
over 40º in the full sun - which I don't go out in unless I have to. Last night the water in the pool was still 29º around midnight. I love just laying in it after dark. It is very relaxing and perfect just before you go to bed.

Sunday was one of the exceptions to our summer schedule because it was the annual Summer lunch for our Gallarte Group (Artists and Crafters from the Los Gallardos area). So I rushed home from church to collect my husband and we drove up to La Cumbre, a restaurant just above the village. We had an excellent meal surrounded by some very good friends. (And I bought a doggy bag back for the girls!).

As we leave the restaurant there is a sharp left turn and a steep drive down to the village. I took this photo from the car which shows our little village nestled down below the beautiful Cabrera mountains. Isn't it a lovely view?
Wednesday was our second son's fortieth birthday. For once I was really pleased with the card I made for him. Here is the front cover and the inside.
This was my first attempt at Kirigami. If you want to know more about why I chose the theme, and how it was made, you can read all about it on my craft blog post, Taming the Lion, HERE.
The most exciting thing for me this week is that we have booked our flights to UK for The Big Cut in September. (Part of the same blog post I linked above). We will be spending a few days with our sons in the Midlands and then Chris will fly home to look after the animals. I will be travelling down to Bournemouth to visit my five sisters who all live in the area. I am the baby of the family, and I miss the family get-togethers they share, so this will be a special visit for me. And now my train tickets are also booked so roll on September!
I always enjoy my weekly trip to the market, and in
the summer the fruit is so inviting. Right now it is yellow cling peaches which are in abundance. Some stalls are almost giving them away. I bought a big carrier bag full at 80 cents a kilo! They are not all that exciting to eat raw, though a really ripe one can be quite nice, but usually I slice them up and lightly poach them in lemonade, (that is all the sweetness they need). Then I use them to make crumbles, and to eat chilled with custard. They taste very like tinned ones. They freeze well but if I have too many for the freezer I also purée them as a sauce for icecream.
I'll finish with this photo I took just after sunrise on Tuesday. It was such a pretty sky. The family will tell you I am a bit fanatical about capturing 'skies' on camera, so I had to take this one. It is very unusual for us to see this sort of cloud formation. Our sky is usually cloudless, or else has big black storm clouds, but not often little fluffy white ones. So here they are.
A couple of hours later they had all blown away!
Now I am off to link this to Virginia's blog, Celtic House. She would love you to join us and tell us what has made you smile this week.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Rocking at the Fiesta.

Well there has been plenty to keep my world rocking this week with the annual village fiesta, and our Grandson over here to enjoy it with us. Not least is the music which starts around midnight and continues until 7.30 the next morning! So I am thankful for air-conditioning. This is almost the only time we use it, but by chilling our bedroom to the temperature inside a fridge, we are able to shut the windows, turn the air-con off and use the ceiling fan to ensure we get a good night's sleep despite the noise.

Mind you, we spend a couple of hours on the plaza enjoying all the fun and the friendly atmosphere first, and having a few glasses of the local brews of course.

The fiesta means all the fun of the fair, and this roundabout always amazes me. Have you ever seen anything like it? I have to say the little ponies are well fed and cared for, and much loved by adults and children alike, but quality of life? I'm not so sure!
One night the local dancing school puts on a display of Flamenco dancing and I love to see the little ones. I think they are born with a sense of rhythm, and they gradually learn to make their hands and faces so expressive.
A hugely important part of the fiesta is the 'Tradicional corrida de cintas'. This starts with the 'salida de cinteras', the girls who all wear traditional costume and parade down from the town hall to the plaza, accompanied by the village band, where they are seated all along the pavement. Aren't they adorable?
Then the boys ride bikes etc down the road and try to catch a ribbon furled around a rope that is stretched across the road. When they catch it, one of the girls ties it around him like a sash, kisses him and gives him a gift. 
It is hilarious to see the ones who just aren't up for the kissing but are happy to have their gift, and the ones who want to pose for a whole mass of photos while others are camera shy.
After the infants, it is the turn of the 'juveniles' and then the men. The lad who got the last ribbon was greeted by all the girls and his prize - a scarlet g-string!
It seems to me like a win-win situation for the boys but my Spanish friend was quick to say "Oh no Kate. It is most important for the girls"?!

The final event of the fiesta is always the mass for Virgen del Carmen, the patron saint of our village. Everyone dresses up and brings floral tributes to lay before her statue.
The fiesta lasts for four and a half days, so we were glad to have a quite couple of days with our grandson before he had to go home. One afternoon we spent a couple of hours on the beach, and on his last day we went up to the village swimming pool. It is only open during July and August, but it is beautiful up there. The pool itself is huge and very deep. (I am out of my depth all over it). The water is warm and very clean, and there is beautiful scenery all around. It only cost 1€ to swim, and it is never crowded. I think there were about twenty of us in the big pool, and a several young families in the smaller pool. I should really go up more often.
Sorry this is a bit long again, but some people did ask me to tell them more about the fiesta. There are more photos in a folder on my picasa gallery here, so do take look if you are interested.
The fiesta happens at the hottest time of the year and some folk find it tiring and too noisy. But we love to share in all the local traditions and to feel welcomed by the folk from the village who are happy to share with us. So we may be giving a sigh of relief now we are back to normal,but it was a very happy week and I am off to share this at Celtic House and Annie's Friday smiles.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Friday Smiles

Here we are again, and it is becoming clichéd to say how fast the time has flown, but it is hard to believe that Friday is here already. So what has been rocking in my world this week? Not as much as usual. As the temperature rises, our activities diminish, so there is less to write about, but still plenty to make me smile. I apologise that my posts are quite long and rather more detailed that some, but this blog was started primarily as a new letter for friends and family back home, which it is why I use a larger font size (for older family members!) and more description. It is lovely to see more friends popping in to read my Friday smiles, so Thank you for persevering to the end.

1. Tuesday was a good day when the postman delivered not one - but three parcels for me. The first was just something practical. I bought a 12"x12" D-ring album for my Project Life because I knew there would be 50+ pages in it, but to keep the bill down a bit I only bought half of the page protectors. But when I came to buy the rest I found they were very scarce. I eventually tracked some down from a smallish company that I haven't used before. The invoice inside was topped by a personally written message and the two were clipped together with a paper flower and brad. Isn't that a nice touch! It brings a smile to the opening of even a mundane parcel.

2. I was just one of the many who regretted not buying the Couture Creations 'Tied together' embossing folder when it came out. They only do one release of each folder so when they are gone, they are gone. However Crafts-Too have now brought out a similar one, that is a very good alternative, and my dear friend Di sent me one. Isn't that kind? I shall get so much more pleasure out of using it, knowing where it came from. So that was my second parcel, which also contained a lovely hand-made card.

3. The third parcel was from another blog-land friend Jo,who made me a beautiful tag book. The cover is a delight, (made from recycled cereal boxes and backing paper, with her lovely stamping in the top), and inside there is room for several ATCs. I have put some special ones in it so you can just glimpse some from my WOYWW friends from our anniversary swap, my first ever ATC from my sister, one made for me by my then 12 year old grandson, and one of mine that won a national competition a few years back. The parcel also contained a pile of silk scarves, hand-dyed by Jo. There was one for each of my friends who had made a LillyBo quilt for her project. What lovely friends I have made on the internet. They are such a blessing.

4. In the summer we like to have a quick dip in the pool to cool us down, just before we go to bed. it always looks so inviting as the underwater light turns it all to a pale turquoise. So we were disappointed when the light failed this week. We thought we would have to drain a lot of the water away to change the light, but after a chat with a pool maintenance man it turned out that the light is a secure unit that unscrews and lifts out for replacement. So here is Chris removing ours. It only has a short cable so it was a real fiddle to do and in the end I jumped in to help him from below. It was really difficult to get it back in but we have light again now, so that gave us a sense of satisfaction. (It is a 300w bulb that gets very hot, so you can only turn it on when it is under the water, with fingers crossed that it will work and you won't have to remove it all again!)

5. That night we switched it on, but couldn't have our swim because there was a sudden and intense electric storm. I dashed out to catch the first drops bouncing in the pool, but then it came down really heavy. We were glad to see the rain though, especially when it falls at night.

6. The down side to the storm was that lightening started three wildfires in the area, but the positive side to this is the brave men who fight them, including the helicopter pilots who make endless circuits, dipping the big leather buckets into agricultural reservoirs etc and carrying the water to drop onto the fire. They always fill me with admiration. They had the fires under control by the morning and this man was just damping down the remnants to prevent another flare-up. It is a poor picture because I took it from a moving car and it was a long way off by the time I could focus on it!

7. One of my Wednesday sewing group friends celebrated her 70th birthday this week, so what better excuse for a lunch together. Good food, and good company, then home for a siesta to sleep it off!

8. And finally my beautiful hisbiscus is in flower again. During the storms of September last year, the water filtered the red from the center up through the petals and the whole flower turned orange! I am so glad it has returned to its original colour now. Just look at the detail in its beautiful stamens. I love it.

9. And Finally, finally! My lovely grandson has arrived
to experience first-hand, our fiesta this week. He has just got out of bed in time for me to add his photo here. And 'Yes, That is water melon for breakfast!' I knew he loves them so I made sure one of last week's was safely stored in the bottom of the fridge for him.

Right, I just have to link these up now to Virginia at Celtic House and Annie for her Friday smiles. And whenever I can fit it in around fiesta and visitor this week, I will visit you to see what is keep you smiling.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Rocking my world, Friday

Hi I'm back with another run down on my world and what has kept me smiling this week.
It got off to a good start with a party for my friend's joint 70th birthday and 25th wedding anniversary party. It was at bar El Naranjo and they had made it look very pretty with pink ballons and ribbons, and a banner that read FILICIDADES which in Spanish is used for Happy Birthday, Best Wishes,Congratulations etc. Lots of their friends came together for a great evening.
Flowers and cake; what more could you ask for? And they look so happy don't they?
On Tuesday our choir leader and my friend, Julie, came over to us and together we went to meet Cati, the founder and organiser of the charity ASADIS. We were able to give her 800€ from the donations at the Cantante choir summer concerts. This will help to pay for speech and physio therapy for the children over the summer.
On Monday, my husband Chris, ordered a new wide-format printer for me to replace my 'dead' one, and it arrived on Tuesday. I call that pretty amazing service, and for Spain it is exceptional! So I spent the rest of the day re-arranging my craft room, so I could tuck it away in a corner where hopefully I can protect it from cat hairs!
At my Wednesday sewing group I was given a gift:
Seven lovely water melons. The stripey ones are sandias which are almost pip free.
Most of them will go to the food bank at my church on Sunday, but I cut one up and boxed it in the fridge so it is chilled and ready whenever I fancy some.
On Friday mornings I usually drive to our nearest town of Turre for the market. Next to the railings there is often a little old man with a plastic bucket full of straw, and nestling in it are these bags of lovely fresh eggs. I like to  buy them and the English man on the next stall always grins and says "Scrambled eggs for tea today then?). But surprisingly I don't often break one in transit. Today they all got home intact. Yeah!
Another market buy today was these gorgeous poppy mugs to go with my new kettle. They are nice big ones too. We do like our good English tea!
Now I will leave you with these two lovely photos. We don't get too many beautiful sunsets out here because you need some clouds to reflect the light, and we don't get too many of them either! But this week we had a real treat. Here is the sunset on Wednesday evening (around 10 o'clock).....
.....and here is the sunrise the next morning.
What a blessing just to see them.
Now I shall pop over to Celtic House to link this, and also to Annie's Friday smiles. Do drop in to share other folk's happy moments and why not share some of your too?

Monday, July 1, 2013

Happy Birthday Dear Sister.

Way back at the end of May, in my usual Wednesday post, I was trying out a new set of dies and stamps ready for the 85th birthday of one of my sister's. Well she has finally had her celebrations so I can now show the finished card.
I started off with some white coated card and used ink dusters to add pink and a touch of yellow all over it. I then stamped the main rose script image and cut it out with the largest die from The Sizzix set - Decorative labels eight. I used the outer edge of the die to draw and hand-cut a cream, pearl mat and edged it with a gold Krylon pen and used pencils to add a little colour to the smaller flower, the leaves and the butterfly. I then stamped the single rose (which perfectly matches the larger one on the script stamp), coloured it with copic markers and cut it out with the corresponding die. I did the same with the butterfly but I had to take this from the main image and cut it by hand. Then I shaped them a little and used silicone glue to add them to the main panel. I found some pink card for the base which matched the rose, and a small pink bow for the upper corner. Once again my new Britannia word dies were used to cut the sentiment, and a small fabric butterfly from my stash finished it off. The stamps and dies are all from Heartfelt creations, Bella rose collection.
Unbeknown to me, my sister Jean also had just bought this stamp and intended using it for the same sister's card. Fortunately she saw my Wednesday post and decided to use something different!