Just some baskets

Two weeks ago there was a large earthquake, 8.3, and a tsunami near where I live. Luckily my daughters and husband were at home when it happened and we all stood outside while the earth shook. One of the walls outside our house fell down, but we were fine, and thanks to Facebook I was able to immediately inform all of my friends and family that we were okay.
  
Within minutes our cell phones were receiving tsunami evacuation text messages, which continued throughout the night. The tsunami did more damage than the earthquake, destroying parts of the port city Coquimbo, and many of the small fishing and tourist beaches up and down the coast. My daughter is studying at one of the University in Coquimbo and so classes was cancelled for a week to allow students time to recover and help with clean up. 

Parents are scared to send their kids to school and everyone is nervous with all the aftershocks we have been having. Like the one that woke us up last night rattling everything in the house. So I am trying to stay calm, (earthquakes don’t scare me that much, not like strong winds, I was very scared of tornados when I was little), but the constant moving is hard.

Experimenting with yarn and my hand spun has given me something to focus on. I have been making small woven baskets. I am really enjoying this. Like handspinning, it feels like an old craft, a connection to a long ago past.

  
  
We also have a new family pet. After a year with no cats, (we went from having ten wild farm cats to zero in less than two years), a very friendly stray arrived at our house. She is a real sweety, and my daughters love her. We have just got her fixed, and she is going to be an indoor cat, (farm life is just too dangerous for cats).

  
  

Learning to fly

March. The month, not the action.

This week my girls went back to school, and for the first time in years they are both at the same school. However it will only be for a year; this is the last year of school for my oldest. Her last year, and turning 18 in a few months, has made me slow down and focus on her. She is flapping and fluffing her wings with the thought of university, and the possibility of studying away. I would love to keep her close, but I know I have to teach her how to fly.

My youngest is adjusting to her new teacher and classmates, while taking over my studio creating in the evenings and weekends. With the confidence I gained last year in the craft fairs, and with a lot of help and encouragement from my youngest, I finally converted one of the rooms in the old cheese building into a sales room.

The room is the closest to our house and for years we have used it to store our excess “stuff”. The room really needed a clean, and this was partly my reason for converting it into a store. I took “before” pictures, but it is very embarrassing how bad it had gotten! I am a hoarder!

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Before

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After

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Before

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After

For now it is not open as a store but it is available to show my, (and my youngest’s) work. And we are full of dreams of opening on the weekends!

little store

I have also been busy dyeing wool in my solar oven and making neck warmers with chunky hand spun and recycled silk. I am lucky that my Dad likes silk shirts and that they don’t last him forever!

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With March here it is also time for a visit to Santiago and my eye doctor. I will have another scan and check up, to see if my nevus has grown.  The first year with my nevus/melanoma was difficult and scary. However, when I learned it was stable, for some reason I felt better prepared; stronger and braver for the day when I do have to fight it (if I do). I learned how to talk about Cancer. I think that was the hardest part, being able to talk to people and not have them react with dread, fear, pity, when all I wanted was to talk.

But why did this happen to me? I believe things happen for a reason, and when my mother-in-law was diagnosed with bowel cancer late last year, I was the “cold one” she could talk to. I was the one who could say Cancer, and let her say Cancer without everything crumbling around her. I love her dearly, and I know she is scared, but I hope I am helping with my “practical” ways.

Her doctor is very positive, the tumour was found and identified early, (no thanks to the first doctor she saw, who sent her home with a cream saying it was just an old person’s complaint, luckily she didn’t agree and went for a second opinion). She wanted to tell her family in her own time, and that is why I didn’t post earlier.

Two weeks ago she travelled to Valparaiso to start her radiation and chemotherapy. She will be there for about six weeks. My husband and oldest are going to visit her this weekend, with her daughters visiting the weekends after. My husband phones her every afternoon, and she says she is doing okay, and I know (like so many women I know here) she is strong. But even with her strength, and wanting to protect her children, I hope she will let them take care of her for a while.

Winter craft fair – 4to Observatorio Cultural

This past weekend I participated in the 4to Observatorio Cultural.  It was hard work, (long days and cold), but a lot of fun!

Obs401This was my second fair and I was better prepared and more relaxed. I did some research on the internet about craft fairs, and learned how to display my woolly items better.

Obs402I also packed myself a good lunch and took coffee in a Thermos, perfect for the cold mornings! (I know, I said I was going to stop drinking coffee… but the odd one, or two is so nice!)

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I carded different breeds of sheep’s wool, alpaca, and mohair and then spun them on my wheel and drop spindle. People were amazed by the different textures and how the “fluffy fibre” was transformed into a yarn.

Obs403There were so many lovely hand crafted gifts and a really great atmosphere.

Here are a few pictures of some of the stalls; jewellery, honey, shoes, felted clothes, yarn, and plants are just some of the things that were on sale.

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More photos can be seen on Creatif’s facebook page for the 4to Observatorio Cultural.

And I have a small confession to make. I have a guilty pleasure that goes against all my woolly work…and it is called polar fabric.

As much as I love spinning wool from my sheep and goats, I find it hard to wear around my neck. Luckily my husband has no problem and he has a great selection of wool and mohair scarves. I, however, live in polar clothes in the winter. So when I saw this cape at the fair I couldn’t resist.

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And depending how I wear the hood I either look like the grim reaper or little red riding hood!

3er Observatorio Cultural

This is just a quick post to tell everyone what a great time I had at my first craft fair last weekend.

It was the 3rd Observatorio Cultural.  This is a group of artists and crafters using a public space to show and sell their work. The idea is to only sell and display work made by the participants, and not “imported” crafts from other areas.  (Some of the craft fairs here in La Serena sell a lot of imported stuff that is lowering the definition of crafts).

This Encuentro tries to demonstrate the value of hand made objects. We do this during the two days by giving free classes and showing how our products are made.

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That is why I went with my wheel and spent a lot of time spinning!

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There was a lot of lovely people and crafts, and a great atmosphere.

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Many people stopped to ask about spinning and told me stories of their mothers or grandmothers spinning with drop spindles. I think my hand spinning generated a lot of nostalgia.

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I didn’t plan on selling much, (I didn’t have much), but was pleasantly surprised when I did sell some of my woven articles.

There are a lot more photos and videos on the organiser’s facebook page, Creatif, and I hope I will be able to participate again.