Saturday, December 22, 2012

Making holiday decorations

Since I have been the crafty holiday mood I thought that I would share some of them with you. 

A quick note to say that I did take some xmas ornaments with me when I moved to Spain, but they are few, and in a very nicely packed box. Currently I really do not know where that box is. I am just glad that I have them for later. 

This xmas we have a real tree for the first time, which means that it is really small, because it is a potted plant. We hope to have it for many years.

So in order to decorate said tree, I got two tubes of small ornamental bulbs. They were very cheap looking so I also bought some glitter glue and had some fun with it. It was a couple of weeks before I remembered that I also had acrylic paint (see the White tree and "s" below).

 Then I of course, used both at the same time.

And I could not just leave the tree up there all alone so I made a winter wonderland below complete with giant balls of yarn...

using some of my characters from a unsuccessful diorama.

Then I broke out the bigger ornaments.

I of course got bored with the paint and glitter, and started to try and incorporate yarn.

Then I made decorative yarn ball ornaments.

Then I wrapped the cheap plastic ornaments in ribbon yarn.

 Here are the bigger ornaments on display at the window.

And the free standing felt tree now lives with some felted critters I made (and a stone zebra I did not).

What are you doing to decorate this year? Anything crafty?
The next thing I need is a garland, because I have company coming this year!

Friday, December 21, 2012


One day last week I experienced the magic of Christmas for the first time this season. I had had the brillant idea of listening to Christmas music while on my crowded one hour and three train metro comute to work. It was wonderful. With the sound track of the holidays playing the metro was transformed from a dirty tube crowded with hot and cranky people into a cheerful and bright place.

But best of all? I was listen to the Waltz of the Flowers from nutcracker when I emerged from the bowels of the metro station to find the Telefonicas' campus transformed into a winter wonderland of lights.

 There were deer and snowmen in amongst the trees. 

Even the magnolias trees were hung with lights. There were santas scattered around, and even a huge Christmas tree made completely out of white lights that twinkled with every movement. (Sorry there are no pictures of that - it was too dark. For those of you wondering, I took these at about 8:20 and no sun yet.)

Belén's are springing up everywhere. Belén literally means Bethlehem in Spanish, it is also a popular girls name and what they call the naivety scenes. There are some spectacular ones. Some are impressive and made of rock or wood with huge figures taller then a man. Some are so tiny and detailed you know that they are done by an artist. (I will endeavor to take some around the city soon, now that I am on break and have more time.) 
But I think the most charming things about the Beléns is that there are supplies to build them popping up in stores and Christmas markets everywhere, and that every other store seems to have one. There is always a little surprise in each one. This one was in a window of an insurance agent.

Do you see the Caganer?

Do you see the woman at her spinning wheel?

Another magical thing about December is that all of the woolly fashion is coming out in the stores and out of closets, because baby, it's cold outside.
I'll admit to Kinnearing these photos on or around the metro.

This first one was of a woman that had the most beautiful coat on. It was black wool with silk (?) ribbon embroidery making colorful flower shapes. I only got the corner of her coat here, but I think that it gives ou an idea of the splendor.

This next one was new for me: a sheepskin coat with the wool still on it. Even though I felt the usual revolution at the fact that she was wearing fur, I was fascinated by the concept and maybe a little intrigued. Talk about "in sheep's clothing" (she cut me off on the way in and out of the metro).

Then there are the sweaters for sale in the shops. There are so many. I really only take pictures of the ones that I like or hate. I really need to put together a blog post just about them.

This one was the ugliest sweater/outfit that I have ever seen. Maybe an example of why not to do intarsia with "fashion" yarn?

This one is a beautiful fair-isle (or stranded) yoked sweater, but  the neck was drawn in with a rather thick I-cord. Looking at it I still can not tell you wether I love it or hate it. It is certainly an inventive idea.

 I hope the holiday spirt is with you too!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Plaza de Colón

Things have been so busy since moving and starting a new job that I forgot to post these pictures I took of Plaza de Colón on November 21st just before my Campaña de la Lana photos. I had always seen Colón out of the window of the bus, and I have even explored the other side once, but I had never been to this side.

This building represents what I love about Madrid. Old stately buildings right next to modern ones. This one can be found on Calle de Génova at the entrance to Plaza de Cólon.

On the West side of the plaza this lady is to be found. By Fernando Botero "A Woman with a Mirror".

(Which has been a subject of yarn bombing in the past:)

 Then if you look above and beyond the woman you see the statue of Columbus, or Cólon in Spanish. Remember that Queen Isabella was the one that funded his fateful journey across the ocean. I believe that there is still debate about which country he is from, but I know that there is no debate in Spain. He is Spanish here.

To the right (or South) of the Cólon statue is the National library.

To the left (North) is one of the many angels that decorate the rooftops of Madrid.

To the West (and to one side of the Botero is again, that clash of old meeting new...

....and to the right of that is a small, cute, little, guardhouse?

The trees down the center of the Paseo de la Castellana were stately showing their fall glory...

while the buildings of the Salamanca barrio were harmonizing with the autumn colors.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Getting ready for the holidays

For some reason this year I feel very festive. As we get closer to the holiday (and the first time I have ever had family over during the holiday) we are all getting ready.