More of Spain

Yesterday we went to Jijona / Xixona just for a random day out and were pleasantly surprised to see that the Moors and Christians festival was going on...
Here is a brief history for those of you interested.

If you do not want to read the following that is fine check out the pictures of part of a parade. The fiestas went on for 3 days in Xixona...
click on the3 title of post to be taken to my picasa web album and a slide show, pictures speak better than words sometimes

Almost 800 years of coexistence between Muslims and Christians gives a lot of substance for the festival of Moors and Christians. You can participate in this historical play almost every month in some town or village of the Spanish Mediterranean coast.

There is hardly a castle without a role in the struggle for supremacy over Al-Andalus, an Arabic name for the land ruled by Muslims in 711-1492. In its widest it covered modern Spain, except for Asturias, most of Portugal and the southern part of France.
In some towns the stage performance goes on for days, featuring the most important phases of local history. The scenes of many battles, schemes and alliances take place in town squares, castles, harbours etc.

Most of the plays start from the reconquest, the process by which Christians reconquered the Iberian peninsula. Depending on the town, the closing scene of the play involves the conversion of Moors to Christianity or their expulsion to Africa.

Besides watching the theatre of reconquest, people make themselves part of it. They hang the Muslim or Christian symbols, coats of arms and banners, outside their houses, wear traditional costumes and dramatize various scenes in the streets.

Playing the role of a Muslim is at least as popular as being a Christian. One reason is that the Moorish garments were more elaborate.

Thanks to henna, woad, madder and other coloring agents together with materials like cotton that were introduced by Moors their dresses were brighter and more sophisticated. But there are also more serious motives. Many people want to trace their ancestors back to the Moors.

It is only natural that over the centuries the Moors - constituting Arabs, but mainly Berbers of North Africa - got mixed with the Christians through marriages. The first invaders brought no women with them. This way a large part of the second generation Moors were actually half Hispanic. Many Christians also converted to Muslims or adopted their customs while still maintaining their Christian rituals. Mozarabs, Renegades and Muladis were all Christians or former Christians who embraced Islam and often fought against their former compatriots.

Parades that take the streets late in the evening show these and many other characters in fantastic dresses surrounded by skillful constructions of castles, boats and other scenes of the reconquest.

Fireworks, thundering guns and clattering swords are part of both the parades and plays. In many towns the dresses and other properties of the parades are inspired by the Muslim piracy, common in the coastland after the expulsion of Moors.

The festival of Moors and Christians gives a good introduction to the origin of names, things and customs you see and experience while travelling in Spain and in the Iberian peninsula. Gibraltar is named after the Moorish general who led the groups that landed at Gibraltar in the year 711.

Names with prefixes like Beni- or Ali- are of Moorish origin.
Much of the foodstuff and spices you enjoy daily was brought to Europe by Moors. They added pomegranates, oranges, lemons, aubergines, artichokes, cumin, coriander, bananas, almonds, saffron, sugar-cane, figs, grapes, peaches, apricots, rice etc. into the European diet. Systems of irrigation, which you can still admire, provided Al-Andalus with an agricultural economic sector by far the most advanced in Europe.


No art today

but I thought I would blog about the day instead.
Up bright and early - well 6.45 is early when on holiday, I think China, Sam and Charlotte were in a state of shock at such an early alarm call, the sun wasn't even up yet! The reason for the early start - a morning out on the jet ski! Me I stayed home with Stamford but watched from my patio all the fun out there on the Med.
Picked up our new car this afternoon - the Shogun has gone and we now have a VW Toureg instead, all mod cons, nice car!
The heat was colossal today hence the reason for just chilling, reading, and watching a bit of the Ashes (cricket match between England and Australia with a long history of rivallry - don't like cricket but like to see what is going on with this competition).
China got her exam results today she was upset and doesn't know if she is going to continue with her 2nd year; totally surprised at her Art result, she put so much effort in and got a low mark so I have submitted to get it re-marked) she did get an A for photography and I was really proud of her for that. Needless to say she is totally down, but it is done now so we will see what happens.....
She went to stay with Charlotte and Sam tonight as it is their last night in Spain - they go home to Switzerland tomorrow.
Stuart and I went to a local restaurant on the main road that we have driven past umpteen times but never stopped at... thought we should give it a go after 20 years!

to be fair it is a roadside cafe, but this is what we had for our main... the chef brought out this kebab, hung it from a chain on the ceiling and then flambeed it. It was delicious and thoroughly enjoyable. It is the perfect place to go if you want to nip out somewhere local for food.
Talking of places to eat, yesterday we went up into the mountains to a place called Bar Fonda in Sella - a delightful, totally Spanish restaurant with the Nunn family. We then had a walk in the village after, and I wanted to share these pictures with you from there...

This is the restaurant. Imagine as you go through the doors that this led into the garage originally. You had to walk around a really old car to get through to the restaurant area in the back. The Spanish family all helped, cooking and waiting on tables. If the restaurant was full you had to sit in the family lounge with the grandmother until a table became available... the food is sensational and if you have the "completo" menu it just does not stop coming, and so cheap too. It cost 120euros with a tip for 7 of us and that was for 6 courses...go figure!

After lunch we walked through the village as we had to show Julia and Gordon where the village women do their washing, and they still do it today... to the Llavado Municipal.
Who needs a washing machine when you can come here...

The water comes down from the mountains, the woman congregate to wash and chat... washday blues would be a thing of the past don't you think?

There is a channel either side of the main water trough so that when the women wash on the stone the soapy water runs into the trough without contaminating the main trough of water, ingenious.
Julia was pretending to wash as the children looked on.

So there you have it a little bit of my Spanish holiday...
till next time hasta la huego... - didn't know I did Spanish did you :-)


New Kids on the Blog

well not new as such - just Jazz and China as drawn by me today. China was like "well I can tell that's me, but not sure about Jazz" I will wait till I get home to see what he thinks... anyway it was just another drawing exercise. Strange drawing real life people!

Stamford went to the vet today, he had an operation on a little growth on his eye - totally not impressed and has been feeling sorry for himself poor little love.

Stuart gets back from England tonight so it will be nice to see him, my own space has been enjoyable as I have drawn without feeling guilty.
This holiday will probably gallop along now as we only have 10 days left.
Tomorrow we are going up into the mountains to a wonderful restaurant - I will take pictures and post tomorrow.

Shame I am not home as Jazz is playing football tonight, fingers crossed he does well. China's exam results come out tomorrow but she won't know the outcome until the letter gets posted home as she can not go into school to pick them up. I told her don't worry cos you can't change anything now - the results are done and that is that.
Anyway I am watching the World Atheletics Championships so I will sign off (also I don't like to rabbit on too much in case you get bored!) Thanks for sticking with me xxx hugs to all xxx take care till next time....



you bet it is... it is so hot here today I am sure that I could cook a full English breakfast on the pavement. Put it this way I have literally been sweating today, you know the type where it runs into your eyes, down your face and drips of the end of your chin...I have never actually experienced this level of sweating so quite a surprised... anyway enough of that.
Went out for lunch with my In Laws today - wonderful people, lovely lunch. Came back home with China and had a siesta, phone woke me - Stuart. Thankfully he will be back tomorrow night...miss him and all his funny ways!
As I was awake thought I would do another person, this time a little girl, here she is..

Used acrylics, gesso, stamps, collage images to create this piece. Limited to what I can do as I don't have all my supplies here, but it is good to work with what you have to hand.
Going down to the local bar with China soon so better go and get ready xxx bye for now xxx


All alone..

so it was time to play. Stuart back in England till Wednesday, China out with her mates so I thought I should do something; my moleskine was calling so I decided to practise more faces.

To loosen me up I thought I would just play and so I created this lady.... I love her wry mouth and will develop this into a page, Lord knows I have enough wry moments so I will journal this piece.

I then moved on to this next piece. I have so much difficulty getting the hair right so I thought blow this! and added a hat. Okay it is not perfect, but that is why I am practising right? Funny thing with faces, I know that we are not entirely symmetrical but it is so hard to do the 2nd half of the face, well the 2nd eye - never look even to me but I am learning to live with it, I try to get them as close as possible to balanced. China was like "she's a bit cartoony don't you think" mmm she may be right, but the idea wasn't to produce a photo picture just something that looked like a girl and not to harsh. I do like to show China my work as she is honest enough to tell me what she thinks and that is fine - constructive criticism works for me....

and then... after dropping China off I came home sat down and created my "Dream" lady. I envisioned her lying on her bed thinking of her lover and so this is what I drew. I wasn't planning on making a fuller picture, just a practise but I decided to do a backward piece and painted the bg after, added some butterfly and bird stamps, with some scrolls. I decided to leave the girl in the pencil rather than painting her. I will use this though to create a canvas at some point.

So there you have it, my day so far, sitting on the patio having fun...hope you have fun wherever you may be spending your day xxxxx

Oh and as a postscript - I just kept going and created these 2 after posting today so thought i would share them with you... starting to feel more comfortable with my faces now...
The reason why they are mainly done in pencil with colored backgrounds is because I left my C'arandache crayons at home... and also I like them like this....



I thought it would be a nice idea to create a paper weight today as it was too hot to do much of anything else. Found a stone, painted it with rose colored paint. Added some ribbon, butterflies and a Paper Whimsy image and there you have it.

Went into El Campello for a walk today, boy was it hot... China was not too happy let me tell you. She cheered up a bit when we stopped for ice cream!

Had a mooch around the little harbour while we were there. On the way home we stopped at a little place that sells the most succulent chickens, grabbed some fresh bread and salad and then dined al fresco when we got home.
Apart from that I have had what you call a lazy, lazy day today.
Wherever you are hope you are having a good day, till next time xxxx bye!


Let's face it...

Today I thought hmmm what shall I do today... and the answer, well they say practise makes perfect so I decided to, wait for it..sure you will guess *giggle* draw some faces, not just abstract eyes floating on the page.... and this is what I came up with.

I know she isn't perfect but I am happy with her, for a couple of reasons - 1. I was happy the way her hair turned out, I have issues with drawing hair, but I was pleased with the look of this.
2 Her nose doesn't look to long and large as is the norm for my faces, so reasons to be happy....
AND what I love about her, she is MINE, created out of my imagination and that is so thrilling.. truly, I am chuffed about her.
Next face I will try to tweak but as an exercise for me, I think this was a success. Hey ho! happy Dawn (easily pleased aren't I!)

As for the rest of my day, well a friend visited this morning, Helen, after 12 years living here in Spain she is going back to the U.K..... sad for her, but I believe things happen for a reason and so she could be back again one day. She has written a book and it has been accepted by the publishers, well more than that, it has gone into print - can't wait to read it.

The remainder of my day was spent chilling, but mainly doing that drawing above after some quick sketches.
Caught up with some blogs, will be able to do more of that come Sunday as Stuart is flying home Sunday through to Wednesday to sort out things with the firm... :-( will be strange here without him!!!
Going to read some more of Eclipse as I have read none today... so that is me done for this post.

hugs xxx



CONGRATULATIONS KAREN you won the spoon pendant....Lucky No. 7 for you. THANK YOU to all of you who left comments. Karen you will need to e mail me your snail mail address xxxx

Went out with the in-laws today, I love them both, they are fabulous people Charlie and Trish.. anyway we went to the market at La Nucia, a really pretty place and the market there has always been delightful.... note I said has always been! Well the people at the town hall have changed the location of the market and in doing so have changed the whole ambience. Instead of winding down the hill through the village it is now in a square and all the excited chatter of all the different languages, the colors and smells have been lost... what a shame.

This little dog was mooching around the flower stall where I bought some basil (I LOVE basil) and I couldn't resist taking a photo - he is a French Bull Terrier, don't you just love his ears!! they make me laugh.

After ambling around the market for a while we drove to the Guadalest Dam, never been down to the dam itself before only ever been to the village of Guadalest with its winding streets and hilltop church/monastery. The water here was such a turqouise blue, the chalk really adds to the color, Charlie took this photo of Stuart and I (Thanks Dad x)

Then we headed for the restaurant that is a MUST when in this part of Spain. Arriving the car park was a bustle of people of all nationalities, word has spread about the delicious food served at this restaurant. The gourds and honey grown in the regiion are available in this little shop in the car park.

But the piece de resistance is the food. The most beautiful meat cooked on this massive wood burning bbq, the taste is exquisite. I had lamb chops, and believe me they were oooooooooooooh so good. I didn't want them to end but sadly they did. I can't imagine cooking near this in the heat but this man does it so well. There were people queuing to eat, willing to sit and wait and have a drink and chat until a table became available - fortunately for us we pre-booked our table.

China went to Benidorm with her mates this evening so Stuart and I had a wonderful evening together... so special, and without any teenagers about it was GREAT to skinny dip with him :-)
Jazz doing well and coping in England, and hey he has signed a contract with Sutton United F.C. If I were to tell you that since he was a little boy he has wanted to be a footballer and this is "the start" for him you will understand how PROUD the whole family is off him. He is a great footballer, I know I am his mum but it is the truth and I hope to keep you updated with his progress as he goes along this path... this start means he is semi-professional, he gets paid for playing - and he will carry on working at the firm with his dad... but he could go on to become Professional from this point - you have to be at a good club to get scouted and this is his opportunity... nuff said for this post, wherever you are I hope you are as HAPPY as me xxxx



Today is my 18th Wedding Anniversary and to celebrate I am going to be giving away this spoon...when you receive it I will have put it on to a chain. So want do you have to do? Leave a comment on my blog and I will check back on Sunday to make the draw using Random.org.
make sure that I can contact you to let you know if you have won

Had a lovely day so far, been out shopping,had quality time with my DH and out for a meal tonight.

No creating for me the last couple of days, I decided to watch a couple of films. Gran Torino was one of them... amazing film, won't spoil it for you in case you haven't seen it. Then I watched Seven Pounds with Will Smith - boy what a film, I cried myself to sleep after I have to confess... again I won't spoil but I do recommend both these films.

Right a girl needs to make herself beautiful for her DH so I shall leave off here
As always appreciate your dropping by big hugs and may you be as happy as me!



Click on the title to visit Sarah at Whimsy Dreams, she has a 4 page spread in Artful Blogging and to celebrate is having a giveway. Good Luck

Where I create in Spain

Here is where I create when I am in Spain. It's a lovely room up on the roof of the villa. I get a nice breeze up there so I am quite happy to disappear to my sanctuary.
I must admit it does look quite bare, nothing like my room at home! to say the least.
The long white table and the dark brown skinny drawers were a gift from my husband as was the chest of drawers,the shop where we have bought a lot of furniture gave me it as a present - happy days. The glass cabinet was donated by friends of ours here in Spain.
Most of my art supplies are hidden away but there is always something on the go, hence the reason why there are always some supplies on the surfaces...

There aren't many places for me to buy supplies over here so I tend to buy on line, double of paints, inks etc. have one lot at home and one lot I leave here. Then there are the supplies I take back and forth.
I was fortunate to go into the only craft shop here the day before it closed and these next 2 pictures show what I bought.
Everything was a euro, in the case of the paint brushes 3 for a euro and for the charms etc. so I grabbed some bargains.
The BEST bargain was the Viva Metallic paints - I love these paints and have 4 colors at home in England, I was planning on getting more and did so here... saved myself a lot of money because I paid 1 euro for a pot (about 80p) whereas normally in the UK they cost me £4.95...this girl loves a bargain.

I need to get me to a Rastro (flea market) to see what goodies I can find. Oh yes in the morning I am going into an art shop to get me some decent pencils, can't draw with rubbish pencils.
So there you have it, my little piece of heaven...xxxx


Trinkets... for my princess

This is China's last day of being 16 :( why do our kids grow up so fast? Anyway I made a couple of pieces for her today as she seems to like when I make her jewellery (bless her). Whilst up in my art room I also dabbled with a couple of other pieces.

Some more spectacles, a bracelet and a fob necklace for China.

It has been a really hot day today... but it was fab to be in my room with a cool breeze blowing through. Forgot to eat today, it was too hot, and hey it's not a bad thing once in a while!
Stuart and I did start to watch Gran Torino -need to see the end though, interuppted by his mate calling from England.
Jazz rang, he played for Sutton Reserves today, they won 4-1 but his day was made because is brother Dwain went to watch him play. He seems to be enjoying his football and lucky him he went round to my mate Sam's for Roast Beef this evening.

I can't believe that today as whizzed by so fast... scary really, Stuart is going to walk Stamford around the block and is looking at me all sad, Stuart not the dog - so looks like I am going to.. Thanks again for dropping by xxx Be Happy xxx