Saturday, 26 January 2013

a glorious day

Goodness, it's not even February yet and today the sierra woke up to a spring-like day. Sunshine, the breeze lovely and warm, and  when I was on my way to a neighbouring village to get my weekly supplies of organic veggies at the tiny farmer's market, the only source of organic stuff in the area, I was greeted by this:

Snow covered peaks! Since I arrived, two months ago, only once had I seen those peaks in the distance, which are higher than the ones around here, covered in snow - but today there was a lot more. It is a different mountain range, and I hope very much to visit some of the villages around there at some point.

On my way back I just had to photograph the very pretty village where I live. The mighty peak that towers above it had only a tiny bit of snow left.

Later in the day a friend wanted me to see a reservoir where thousands of cranes from northern Europe come to winter. The idea was to go around sunset because this is when they all return from their daily outings. I was glad to see how much closer we got to the spectacular mountains I had seen earlier.

He was a bit disappointed, though, as this year the 'thousands of birds' he had announced turned out to be only a few dozen. But I wasn't. It was such an impressive sight (which my very basic camera couldn't quite capture), and the sound all those large birds made as they approached the lake was really amazing.

It was good to spend so much time outdoors as the forecast for tomorrow is rain - which here at this altitude and with this enclosed situation always means much fog...

Thursday, 24 January 2013

new year, new home, new projects...

Sharon B., of Pin Tangle, resumed TAST (Take a Stitch Tuesday), announcing the first stitch for 2013 a couple of days ago. I tried joining at the beginning of 2012, but work and the resulting etcs. prevented me from following it to the end of the year. Her initiative of organizing the challenge and producing a comprehensive online stitch dictionary are both incredibly generous - it's obvious that a lot of time and effort were put into this.

Participating in TAST is exciting and challenging, and I hope that my new life will allow me to carry on with it now. There are so many well known stitches one wishes to try out but which for some reason always remain as mere illustrations in books. And even if my return to the challenge is not regular as I may skip some variations of the better known stitches, I still think this is a wonderful opportunity to enlarge one's stitching vocabulary, and to improve technique and design skills.

I hope then to do the stitches for 2013 that I consider important and useful, and at the same time work backwards to the beginning of 2012 so that I can catch up with many nice stitches I missed last year. Hopefully I'll finish my half done sampler from last year too.

As usual I spent a long time choosing the colour palette for fabric and threads. And this is the result:

If things go according to plan and I manage to keep up with the challenge, maybe the process of choosing colours will get quicker along the year. So, to stitching in 2013!

snowfall, day 2

Today it's much warmer, the sky is blue and the snow is nearly gone.

But yesterday when I woke up and felt the cold I was anxious to check if I would get more nice views from the balcony. It was good to see that there was even more snow, and that it covered most hills in the valley.

And when I think I used to find Britain too cold... Yes, temperatures are much lower than here, and yes, houses are mostly old and badly insulated. But they have central heating, and oh, how I miss that!

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

from the balcony of my new home

This was the first snowfall this winter, but only the highest peak in the sierra, at nearly 1.500 metres, got a decent snow covering. Those a couple of hundred metres bellow only got a thin dusting.

It's very cold around here, although not as bad as in the UK, and I had to have my wood burning stove lit most of the day. It was good to make use of its inbuilt oven to roast squash. Pity, though, that all my efforts to learn how to lay wood and light the fire were not enough to make the room warm...