Before you buy gifts at the mall, look local and handmade!

In time for Christmas, the 6th Observatorio Cultural will offer residents and visitors of La Serena the chance to buy local and handmade gifts, as well as participate in free mini classes. image This Observatorio will also see the launch of Creatif products inspired by the life and work of Gabriela Mistral. These products are made by combining our knowledge and use of different materials to make unique gifts. It is going to be good. And it is going to be fun! We will be in the plaza Santa Domingo, from the 20th to the 23rd of December. image image image image image

Lets just call this my 100th post

I wanted to write something great and moving for my 100th post, but the more I think about what I should write, the further away I find the post. This happens a lot with me. Constantly thinking, my mind going over every thing so that I get nothing done. However, today I will share.

This morning I looked out of my window, through the mist, and watched the new lambs as they jumped and played, and it made me think of all the beauty around me.

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Like yesterday for instance. My family and I went up the Elqui Valley to Vicuña where we had a terrible lunch, (not new for us), but a nice walk around. We visited Emporio Oveja Negra, which sells products from some of the Creatif participants as well as the owner’s beautiful wool creations. We then visited Galeria Elqui, part of Elqui Total. This is a pretty gallery set in a horse ranch, with textile, ceramic, sculptures and painted art.

I came home feeling inspired and belonging to the artistic/artesian community, – and it feels great!

I have been preparing for the next Observatorio Cultural, but in a relaxed way, enjoying the process. I have more ideas, (have to start thinking of spring) and using more of my handspun.

At the moment I am working on a diagonal weave on my large nail loom.

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I am not sure if it is slower than traditional looms, but there is no warp loss, which is good when I am using my handspun.Image

The handspun is a mix of wool from the south, alpaca, and wool from my sheep.

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I have also been sewing with my youngest daughter and knitting a scarf for my oldest.

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I bought some grey fleece fabric for school clothes, and we made this octopus with some of the leftover.

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This is really simple and great for kids! Here is the link on how to make this no-sew octopus.

There have also been some changes on the farm. Sadly, last weekend we sold the last of our cows. As long as I have lived on my Dad’s farm we have always had cows. But my Dad wants to focus on smaller animals that don’t need as much physical strength to control, (when things go wrong it helps). I am sure this has been harder for my Dad, but he is looking forward to a simpler farm.

And I am looking forward to my next 100 posts!

 

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!

Where has the sun gone?

First it rained.

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Sheldon isn’t bothered by the rain

Then the sun came out and everything turned green and beautiful.

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And then the sun went away, and we have been left with cold, wet, grey days.

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We are accustomed to misty mornings and grey days, but we haven’t seen the sun in over a week. Clothes are not drying on the laundry line, children are staying home with colds, and where ever you go, people are complaining about the cold.

We are lucky, we have a wood burning stove that keeps us warm. But most businesses, schools and homes do not have heating, so I have been knitting and weaving for my family.

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A warm hug of wool to keep loved ones warm on these grey days.

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.

Been writing forever

December 29 1982, I spent the entire day in my pyjamas and leg warmers, (probably a Christmas gift), and played with my plasticine and our Texas Instrument computer. I also counted the number of cats in our neighbourhood, nine. I had just turned 12 a few days before.

I know this titbit from my past because on December 25 1982 I was given my first Diary. The first entry began with a headache, bad spelling, and the mention of a cute boy. I kept a diary or journal, (basically following those same themes), up until my first daughter was born. Choose any day in the 80’s and I can tell you what I was doing, maybe even the state of the world – if it included a cute boy.

My diary soothed me, it helped me “talk out” my problems. All those things that teenagers find so dramatic, my diary helped me put into perspective. And even though I do not use this blog as a diary, it still allows me to untangle my feelings, like with my last post. I said what I needed to say about my eye and cancer, and now I can let my freckle just be, (at least until July and my next appointment).

So moving on to wool. The weaving class with my husband’s company has started again after the summer break. We have a new teacher and we are going to make woven wall hangings. In our first class we experimented with weaving cloth strips; an old shirt, a sock, scraps of fabric.

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I have also been teaching my neighbour how to spin in exchange for some wool from her sheep, (softer than mine). Here is some yarn I spun with her wool, as well as some woven key rings that I am making.

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I like the key rings, but need to give them a test run to see how robust they are.

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A few weeks ago I made a large rectangle nail loom and I have been using that to make shawls and ponchos.

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More pictures of these can be seen on my facebook page. I started this page because I found that many Chilean crafter’s use facebook to advertise, communicate, and generally connect.

I will use it mainly for pictures and small updates, and keep my blog for when I need to “talk”.