Sunday, 21 December 2014

Season's greetings!

A few weeks ago V. and I spent an afternoon looking for trees for my end of year message. I was determined to find either a madroƱo, or strawberry tree, native to Extremadura, or a persimmon tree (both of which area abundant around here and bear bright orange and red fruit at this time of year), to use as a background for my message. But in the end I had to admit: among all the pictures we each took this picture of his of a persimmon tree was the best of the bunch. So, with his permission, here it is, with my greetings to all!

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Finishing touches...

I'm nearly done. And this is actually a considerable feat given the circumstances: my sewing machine wasn't working and I had to assemble the bag entirely by hand, and in a terrible rush! Now I just need to add some finishing touches and a few more stitches here and there:

Doesn't the bag look sweet with the drawstrings pulled?

But I wonder if I did a good job matching the two fabrics with the embroidery threads... Anyway, if any of the students isn't pleased with these colours there will be a second colourway to choose from. I'm looking forward to trying this one out too. 

Monday, 13 October 2014

Nearly there...

It's been pouring, and for the last 5 days the sky has been really dark. But just before that we had wonderful weather: sunny and warm during the day with cooler nights. Like last year, my landlady gave me a huge bucket of olives for me to salt, which I managed to do before the weather changed.

Embroidery-wise, side 2 of the Indian inspired bag is finished. The traditional Indian motif that inspired me appears on the background:

Shame that I have so little time. I thought the green I used for side 2 looked a lot brighter and happier than the one I used on side 1. If only I had more time! Then I would redo the outlines and the border of side 1...

Anyway, I hope that the forecast proves true and we have some sunshine tomorrow so that I can photograph the finished bag.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

11 days to go...

So, that is what my exciting project is all about! I'll be teaching a workshop on some common stitches of Indian embroidery. You can find out more about it here.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Indian bag, moving on...

This is where I had left off my Indian inspired bag. But I've moved on. Because it is a sampler of some of the stitches used in Indian embroidery I don't think it's necessary to have both sides looking exactly the same. So each side will show one typical motif, and they will each be worked in different stitches.

The most time consuming  part of side two is nearly done:

And while out on the balcony this afternoon, enjoying the loud singing of the birds, the warmth of the sun and watching the activities in the village, I managed to start adding the outline of the flower:

Then it will be the border and assembling the bag. 

But I still have loads to do, and the next few days will probably feel like I'm in a fierce race against time..,

Friday, 3 October 2014

an exciting project...

V. has been working in Valladolid since the beginning of July, and during one of my visits there  I met the lovely Luz, owner of a very pretty fabric and yarn shop located right in the heart of the historic centre.

We hit it off straight away, and out of our common love of all things fabrics, colours and threads the idea for a joint project came up. She chose the fabrics, I chose the threads, the theme, designed it, and will stitch it. She will also provide the setting: a lovely space at the back of her shop.

The end result of this project will be two small hand embroidered bags. The stitches will be mostly drawn from Gujarati traditional embroidery, including the use of shisha mirrors, and the motifs will also be inspired by their traditional designs. But the inspiration for the colours is coming from a very different source: two different Kaffe Fassett fabrics that we chose for the linings. These modern and colourful fabrics will also appear at the top of the bags to create a quirky contrast to the traditional designs.

So far I've finished one side of one of the bags. The colours, as I mentioned, are not traditional Indian at all: 

And here I show on the background a traditional and very common Indian motif that uses some of the stitches I will be teaching:

My orange and purple sampler, by the way, was progressing nicely, but until the end of October I won't be able to touch it again, 

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Hello Spring!

No, no way, I didn't paint the cloth! But once finished this little flower seemed to be smiling just as happily as all the wild narcissus and other pretty flowers popping up along the verges of the roads. So I felt like playing a little to make it greet the arrival of spring...

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Stitching again!

It's so nice to have an embroidery hoop in my hands. But after such a long pause, it's hard work getting my stitches even again...

Thursday, 13 February 2014

In between the storms...

As we were having breakfast today, a little bit of sunshine managed to pierce the clouds to light up the village in this incredible way. We both rushed from the table to watch the spectacle.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Friday, 24 January 2014

one year on

Nearly one year to the day of my first blog post - about my first snowfall in Extremadura - last Saturday, the 18th, the highest peaks in the 'sierra' woke up once again with a white crown. The difference, though, is that this time round I'm living a little further away from the Jalama, the most magnificent of all the peaks in the area. The walk along the river nearest to my new village may well become a weekend routine:

The next day there was more snow again, just like last year, and a clear blue sky. This is the view from the road just beside my new home:

But the day was just too beautiful for one to remain inside doing household chores. We went for a long drive looking for the best views of the Jalama and the other white peaks.

This is the Jalama seen from the old and winding road that lead to Acebo, my previous village, and from where one gets spectacular views of the valley. There is also a newer, easier road to the village - which is probably why it gets so crowded in the summer.

After some more driving and walking we headed to another valley where there were a few more white peaks and a river I hadn't visited before.

I think this one really deserves a visit in the summer, when the trees will probably offer a welcome protection to the scorching sun.

With so much going on workwise, so much to see, so much to do, I wonder if I will find the time to start embroidering again...

colour wheel

I've been hearing some inspiring words about colour theory lately. Will I be able to put them to good use? With my hands itching to start embroidering again I just hope that 2014 will see me trying out some new ideas, as well as finding the time to finish off one or two things...

Sunday, 5 January 2014

a brief respite

Two weeks of constant rain makes one crave for clear skies. We were lucky that this happened yesterday during waking hours, and at a time of day of beautiful light. Our normal walk is north of the bridge on the picture bellow, through the woods and along the narrow, shallow and tranquil river. But the severe flooding lead us to explore a new path.

The might of the roaring river was breathtaking. 

The path lead to a lovely beach that made one think of warmer and drier times...

And then, after going up an oak covered hill, with its frighteningly slippery ground, one could see the meandering path of the river. Better to wait for the ground to get drier before carrying on exploring...

It was nice to see the Jalama again, the beautiful peak that dominates the sierra, and which I used to see from the balcony of my previous home:

I hope to write a little bit more in 2014!