Thursday, April 29, 2010

My favorite abandoned house in Granada

Whenever I passed by this house, I'm at the same time intrigued and sad to see it in this state of abandon. I don't know its history but I like to imagine it was a happy house before, with plenty of romance going on in its gardens.
It is also beautifully situated at the foot of the Alhambra, leaning on a green wall of trees.
Next to the house, you can read the sign burro taxi (mule taxi) which sadly might not exist any more. I've found a phone number on their Internet address which is a dead line. This small mule taxi company proposed various rides in the old parts of Granada. You could ride a mule to go from the oldest district Albaycin to the Alhambra. A pity they don't do it any more. Such fun it must be !

ps: Canon just called me...youpee my camera is repaired and now has a new lens. Hopefully I have it back next monday. It's being sent by transporter but sometimes you never know, they can be as slow as mules !

pic: from last year in April

Monday, April 26, 2010

Straight into summer clothes

In Granada, people usually say that spring doesn't exist or lasts merely a couple of weeks. From one day to another, we suddenly found ourselves in pre full summer. I felt like a fool walking in the village with my black leather boots this morning. As much as we are not prepared for long lasting rains, we are not prepared either to switch quickly from woollies to light summer clothes.
The roof terrace is now my favorite obsession. It claims for more flowers, more attention, more paint here and there. It is a small lovely space which cries out : Hey glorious days are soon to you'd better hurry up and do me up !
So it means more potting and may be colorful summer clothes for the chairs too...
With no reason, the idea of summer always makes me a bit nostalgic. It's a time when I think a lot about my childhood. My sisters and I were beyond excited at the thought of summer holidays as it meant travel and new encounters. Our parents took us to Spain many times, by the seaside. I must say summers in Andalusia are for me the best ever, not only because time is more elastic but also, life is pleasantly easy but we'll have more time to discuss that in the future....
In tune with my nostalgic sensation, I feel like re-reading Françoise Sagan Bonjour tristesse. I'm curious to know if you have a specific list of books to read this summer. Have you ?
And today is definitely my lucky day...I received a pretty cushion from Agneta's give-away and because she is so sweet and was concerned that I didn't receive the give-away in time she added another lovely surprise which is now hanging around my neck...Thank you Agneta ! I so wish I had my camera back to take a pic and show it to you...but later, promised...

Have a great sunny monday !

pic : my summer cards 2008

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Potting interlude busy potting
while spring is still slow to come
while my camera is still on the mend...
but never is good...Monchéri is cooking
and John Lee Hooker makes us sing...

Have a great week end !

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Flamenco fashion

My post today was going to be about spices and then I stumbled on an old folder of photos of flamenco dresses found at a fleamarket. It made me wonder why on earth, I've never felt drawn to buy a flamenco dress at least to take part to the annual feria or rocio if such an occasion should rise. The thing is, I often find traditional flamenco dresses a bit loud and too folkloric. Monchéri suggested I should check the young flamenco designers who present their work at the Salon Internacional de Moda Flamenco (The International Flamenco Fashio Show) in Sevilla. It must not be easy to offer bold designs as the essence of the dress must be kept with its traditional frills but it's always possible to play with combinations of colors and innovative fabrics.

Surfing on the net, I found the beautiful web site of flamenco dress maker, Adela Olmos who lives in Jerez de la Frontera. Adela designs dresses especially to dance. I fell in love with the dress below. Can you imagine a glorious bride dancing away at her wedding just like this ?
Here are two models presented by Maria Carmen Cruz at the last International Flamenco Fashion Show 2010, this past january. I would love just to try them on. Their soft colors remind me of pastries. The cream and pale blue one is my favorite.

Talking about being bold, Daniel Lora who won the prize of diseñador revelacíon 2010 presented quite an audacious model in transparent black organza. Oh la la ! His collection baptized De Paris a Sevilla was inspired by Parisian haute couture and torero outfits in hot pink, violet and red. You can see more models here.

photo © Rafael Manjavacas

It's also interesting to know that over the past year this particular fashion segment didn't suffer from the crisis as much as the other textile sectors in Andalusia. If you take into account that a woman attending the feria changes dress at least three or four times during this special week, chances are the sales cannot be too bad. Especially as the rule of the game is of course to have new dresses every year.
Mmm...we'll see if I ever become a flamenco fashionista !

pics credits with thanks :

#1 Adela Olmos web site
#2 & 3 from here
#4 from here

Monday, April 19, 2010

Slowing down.....because it's monday

You might have heard before that things can be slow sometimes here in Andalucia. Last friday, I was waiting for a transporter to pick up my faulty camera and send it to Canon service department in Madrid. Around 8 pm, I suddenly realized nobody came but luckily Canon called this morning to apologize about this incident and that by all means the transportista will pass by this afternoon or...evening, meaning I had to cancel a visit in Granada.
So today, I'm posting this picture just as a reminder, that in spite of mondays and projects, it's always good to steal time to the agenda and literally venture through the meadows to catch at least five minutes of sunshine.
In the end, nothing beats the feeling of following one's own rhythm....
Happy slow monday to you !

pics : the goats in the village of Niguelas nearby

Friday, April 16, 2010

Stay in the pink.....

This will be my motto for the days to come. My little pink Canon powershot A430 camera is ill and waiting to be picked up by a transportista this afternoon to be sent to the service department in Madrid. And this means, 15 days without my beloved camera. Ay caramba ! My first concern was, will my blog survive ? I hesitated a bit between buying a new camera and leave this one on the shelf but I got attached to it and was quite pleased with it so I will wait and see if it can be repaired. I have faith....The problem doesn't sound too bad.
In the meantime, fear not, dear readers, I have a vast stock of pictures to dig in during this transition period. And as the title of the post says, I will definitely stay in the pink !

getting delicate roses
putting on my pink satin bracelet watch to remind me to give time to time
focusing only on pink thoughts....
...and pink gifts
not forgetting the pink drinks, alcohol-free

or a cool bloody mary
of course, all this in the lovely Penelope here in pink ruffles
alas I don't have such a glamorous négligé but my favorite vintage number - a gift from my siter - rhymes particularly well with pink Martini....
and of course, let's not forget that skies can beautifully pink too !
Have a wonderful week end !

Penelope Cruz pic via This is glamorous

other pics, my own and my work

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Join the poets in Cordoba

At times I wish to be a simple tourist here in Andalusia and visit city after city. If I had time on my hands, Cordoba would be on my agenda tomorrow. Only two days ago, I learnt that an international poetry festival will be held there until April 19th with lots of activities, workshops and poetry reciting in the streets, in the bars and even in the local jail ! This brilliant project is the initiative of its current director Manuel Perez who created The Festival Cosmopoetica in 2004. As he says the aim of the festival is to bring back this lost art to the city. I also like his further declaration : "Poetry deals with vital human emotions. It doesn't need to be pretentious and open only to an elite group".
Among the various workshops, two caught my special attention because of their originality. The Fútbol y Poesia (Football and Poetry) workshop features a series of conferences and reciting of poetry related to football with the participation of footballers and poets who are fond of this sport. What a fantastic angle to approach football! Another workshop is Dulces Versos (Sweet Verses) which presents cakes and pastries illustrating various poems. Very tempting to me....
There is no doubt Cordoba is very inspiring for this kind of event but then I'm certain we can find poetry in everything and all things.
I've got a few notebooks where I write down some of my favorite poems or verses. My taste may sound boring, I'm forever fascinated by Pushkin's Eugene Onegin. I'm seduced by the languid sensuality of Saint-John Perse, the lulling rhythm of Aimé Césaire and the poetical prose of Marguerite Duras.
But for now, I will leave you with the famous verses of Spanish poet Antonio Machado :

Caminante, son tus huellas el camino, y nada màs,
caminante no hay camino, se hace camino al andar.
Al andar se hace camino, y al volver la vista atràs
se ve la senda que nunca se ha de volver a pisar.
Caminante no hay camino, sino estelas en la mar

Wanderer, your footsteps are the road and nothing more;
wanderer there is no road, the road is made by walking.
By walking one makes the road, and upon glancing behind
one sees the path that will never be trod again.
Wanderer, there is no road,
only wakes upon the sea

Festival Cosmopoetica in Cordoba april 14th-april 19th

1st pic found here
2nd pic my 1st collection of notebooks by Ève Morcrette

Monday, April 12, 2010

It's all about giving .....

You know me, there is nothing more enjoyable than week ends spent with friends. Last friday, my darling Gym hosted another jazz night in her restored barn, The Sandpit Club which is now a lovely loft where Gym lives and paints and occasionally throws a party or a jazz concert. It is the third jazz night we had on friday and each time I tell her "wow...that night was even better than the last one!". You see, we're a big community of foreigners living in the happy Lecrin valley in the south of Granada and sometimes we're too lazy to drive to Granada just for drinks and music. So Gym had the brilliant idea to transform her loft into a live music venue with a proper bar and restaurant for our own entertainment. It's actually a lot of work for her and she spends a good deal of time organizing the band, the food, placing pretty white embroidered tablecloths on the tables upstairs. Gym charges 5€ the entrance to cover the band's fee and drinks are ridiculously cheap. Our friends Marianne and Thierry prepared some delicious food : orange & carrot soup, two different types of lasagna, black tagliatelle and salmon gravelax salad and chocolate and strawberry mousse. I don't know what it is exactly but those jazz nights are always a big success. I guess when the music is good, the company is really enjoyable and the food is great then we can just have a great time ! Thank you so much Gym !
If you're in the area, don't miss the next one (you can drop me an email for itinerary).
On saturday I slept nearly all day just like this sweet little girl I photographed on friday night who fell happily asleep in Gym's bed upstairs.
On sunday, I felt totally re-energized and made another cake topper then a bunch of pancakes for visiting friends. Sweet ones, with lemon and sugar, savory ones with ham and cheese..gosh I love pancakes !
This monday saw me a bit deflated as my cherished camera is technically dying. But the very happy news of the week is that blogging friend Sande, the exquisite muse of A Gift Wrapped Life is having a give-away. And a very sumptuous one ! Sande's favorite scent is lavender and her stunning give-away includes 12 Fragrant Sheets from Agraria perfumed with lavender and rosemary, a luxurious lavender and rosemary bath soap and a very elegant white mint candle. All presented in this beautiful lavender box. Incredible, non ?
I've been following Sande's blog for a couple of months now and I always drool over her creations and suggestions for gift ideas and wrapping. So chic and timelessly elegant...If you don't know her yet, visit her blog to enter her give-away and her website for a delightful treat....

Happy monday to you !

last pic from A Gift Wrapped Life

Friday, April 9, 2010

White strawberry and paper cake....

One of my favorite summer treats are strawberries...I mean red strawberries. So when I saw these white strawberries on some web sites, it intrigued me a lot. Oh dear...white strawberries ? Did they reach you in your part of the world ? They're actually called pineberries as they are mixed strawberry and pineapple and originate from Southern America. To sum it up, they look like red strawberries dipped in white fondant and taste like pineapple... leaves perplex....
Anyway, this morning I inquired about their upcoming apparition in Spain but until now they are only sold in England. God save the strawberry !
On the other imaginary food front, I resumed my series of paper cake toppers in shape of a cake. They're meant to be placed on top of a wedding cake or as adornment on the sweet table or as centerpiece.

Have a wonderful week end !

1st pic from Internet but can't remember which website...sorry...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A letter to love....

Here is my latest coup de coeur. Blogging friend Mélanie, the young talented French antiquaire of Le petit cabinet de curiosités recently opened an online shop where she sells her delicate treasures. I was first looking for an old handwritten personal letter but as Mélanie had explained they are quite rare so I bought this beautiful XVIIIth century land contract handwritten on parchment.
And because Mélanie is very sweet she added a little surprise for me which she knew I would love : a letter written by a mother to her son who is in college dated back to may 1835. She gently scolds him as he has been deprived of a day out for misbehavior. The tone is very touching and the end of the letter intrigued me as she says her silk worms keep her very busy. Did she have them for mere pleasure or did she produce silk ? And I cried with delight when I saw the address : Collège Royal, Bouches-du-Rhône - in Marseille, the biggest city near my hometown Aix-en-Provence. I love it so much, I keep it on my desk just for the pleasure of touching it softly....Mille mercis Mélanie !

Monday, April 5, 2010

Love, sun, summer....

The Easter week end is nearly over and it was great to gather up with friends for a lovely meal on friday and sunday. So today I feel quite happy to stay at home and work. It's a long time, I have not done anything to put on my etsy shop and today was a good day to start.
Because the sky was gray this morning, I took out a sheet of sunny yellow paper to make these three notebooks. As for inspiration, well...I just thought of the three things which make me happy.....Not too difficult : love, sun and summer....what else do we need ?
I cut out the letters in various colored or printed papers which I keep collecting over the years. I still need to put the pages inside before putting them on the etsy shop.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The black lace mantilla

It is this time of the year again when you can see women wearing their black lace mantilla, in Granada, especially on jueves santo and viernes santo. They wear it to attend the religious processions. Recently, I've been told that it's customary for women to wear the mantilla during the whole Semana Santa in Sevilla even if they don't attend the processions.
If only I could hop to Sevilla right now ! Since I live here, I've seen many processions, in Granada, in some small villages inland and on the coast. The procession which impressed me most took place at night, in Salobreña, a white little village on the coast. It started from the church at the top of the village and was only composed of women all dressed in black, all barefoot and in total silence. Believe me, it was truly impressive.
I thought overtime, my interest for the processions during Semana Santa would diminish. In fact, I want to know more about it....This is why this saturday, if plans don't change, I'm meeting a friend who participates to the processions as a penitent to collect his views and motivations. And hopefully, I can share this with you....
Have a wonderful week end
Happy Easter to you !
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