Barcelona Christmas Fair Part 2: Nativity Scenes

The Fira de Santa Llúcia is not only a place for buying Christmas decorations but it is also a one-stop-shop for those seeking Nativity figures and accessories made with skill and a lot of heart. 

Fira de Santa Llúcia photo by hellopomelo.wordpress.com

The tradition of depicting the birth of Jesus is ingrained in the Catalan culture. Although the first Catalan Nativity was made as early as the 14th century, the crèche with Joseph, Mary and Jesus became popular in Catalonia only two centuries later.

The opening of Barcelona’s Fira de Santa Llúcia in 1786 strengthened the tradition even more. 

The pessebre (Nativity crib) in Catalonia and other parts of Spain is a reproduction of Bethlehem. In Spanish, it is called belén, which is also the Spanish name for Bethlehem.

Fira de Santa Llúcia photo by hellopomelo.wordpress.com

The crib has a pastoral setting: a farmhouse with the manger scene and, around it, different scenes like a woman washing clothes by the river and shepherds herding their sheep.

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Barcelona Christmas Fair Part 1: Catalan Traditions and Symbols

What a busy weekend it was for me!

We went to Barcelona for the Christmas market, the Fira de Santa Llúcia. It was named after Saint Lucy who is the patron saint of eyesight.

Fira de Santa Llúcia photo by hellopomelo.wordpress.com

The fair dates back to the 18th century. According to historical accounts, on 13 December 1786, feast day of St. Lucy, there were people praying and celebrating Mass in the Cathedral in honor of the saint and of the Blessed Virgin. Meanwhile, several stands outside were selling Nativity cribs as well as clay and cardboard figurines and images of saints, shepherds, animals and so on.

Sta. Lucia photo by hellopomelo.wordpress.com

It has been organized annually without interruption since then.

Fira de Santa Llúcia photo by hellopomelo.wordpress.com

Now on its 227th year, it is the oldest fair dedicated to Nativity scenes and Christmas traditions. The Nativity scene is called pessebre in Catalan.

Nativity shop photo by hellopomelo.wordpress.com

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Drawing and Painting Class: Day 1

Yesterday was my first day in drawing and painting class at the historical Torre Climent Savall (Torreón Mediterraneo) in Castelldefels. The tower used to be one of the defense points of the city during the Middle Ages but nowadays, its basement and first two floors serve as the studio for the various art lessons given by the Associació Cultural Torreó Mediterrá. (More on that story soon!)

Our first lesson was all about composition. I was asked to do a quick sketch of the jar, bottle and flowers on a scratch paper. My initial composition was quite unsuccessful: it was small and lopsided. My second attempt, which you can see on the photo as the sheet of paper clipped to the board – was much better. It was big and centered. But it was so big that I had to omit the flowers in my composition!

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Then the real work began. I was taught how to shade using charcoal and kneaded eraser. The techniques are not entirely new to me, having been part of the art class back in high school. But, boy, that was 17 years ago! It wouldn’t be surprising then that, yesterday, it felt like I was holding a charcoal for the first time in my life!

After about two hours of coloring, smudging and erasing, this is what my finished work looked like. My instructor sprayed fixative on it so that the charcoal won’t smear.

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As my husband and I were walking back home, an old lady asked him where he got his calendar. We both looked at what he was holding – it was my charcoal drawing which she mistook for a calendar. Well, if my artwork is good enough for a calendar, then it’s good enough for me ;) 

For drawing and painting lessons, you may contact the instructor, Óscar Letxuga, at 664 521 924 or via e-mail: oscarecar@hotmail.com. You may also get in touch with the coordinators Teresa de Juan at 650 913 126 or Adriana Silva at 665 823 565.

Chalkboard Christmas by Zara Home Kids

Hello, everyone! Today I’d like to show you pictures from the December lookbook of Zara Home Kids. I was supposed to feature it on my fashion and design blog but I figured that we can draw inspiration for decorating this Christmas from the creative styling and chalk artwork. I even think that the idea would be great for shop window displays!

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DIY Christmas Wreath Ideas

First of all, a big thanks to those who read my post on DIY Christmas tree wall decors! The statistics have been very encouraging. I think that the holidays really bring out the crafters in all of us :)

The DIY love continues on today’s post with five Christmas wreaths that you can make at home. Let’s get started!

1. What can you do with the holiday cards collected from family and friends over the years? Use them on the wreath with the help of wire and cable cord. (via CB2)

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Handmade Delights at the Castelldefels Medieval Fair

Exciting times for the city of Castelldefels this weekend, with the annual Medieval Fair (Castrum Fidelis or Feria Medieval) in full swing! The fair opened last Thursday and will run until tomorrow.

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The whole ambiance takes you back to the Middle Ages: the flags bearing medieval icons; the booths clothed in dark fabrics; the vendors dressed up in tunics and robes.

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The Medieval Fair wouldn’t be complete without the Birds of Prey exposition. In the afternoon, kids and adults alike gather in the plaza to see crows, owls and falcons up close.

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Here’s a closer look at one of the falcons. The hood looks creepy :)

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We like looking at the owls, but we like it better when they look at us. This owl is different from the one I saw last year.

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Ikea and The Graphics Fairy

Swedish company Ikea is the world’s largest furniture retailer, with a net income of 3.2 billion euros in 2012. It is known for fresh, modern designs and continuous product development.

But in its latest set of paper products, Ikea used images that were neither original works nor made exclusively for the company. In fact, the black and white vintage prints on the notebooks and stickers can be downloaded free from the internet. Specifically, they are from the blog of the extremely generous Karen, more popularly known as The Graphics Fairy. Karen collects extraordinary vintage images (now totaling over 4,000) and makes them available to anyone who, like herself, enjoys crafts and DIY projects. She has the most awesome compilation of free vintage graphics. In the world. Ever.

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I don’t know how you feel about Ikea, with all its resources, using free graphics intended for DIYers and crafters, and profiting big-time from it. But if you like these paper goods, you can easily recreate them or design something similar using the images from The Graphics Fairy. Click on the links below to download the graphics. Have fun!

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Images: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Excited about this discovery? Share it via the social media links below! :D

Easy Christmas Tree Wall Decor

No room in your apartment for that festive Christmas tree? Then mount it on the wall! Here are five awesome DIY ideas.

1. I suppose this washi tape and clothespin combo was meant to be an Advent calendar. But hey, it works just as well as a Christmas tree! Use the clips to hold your gifts – perfect space saver! (Image via Stjernestunder on Pinterest)

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Featured: My Red Robot and Teal Moon Printable

My design was included in another member-curated gallery on Etsy! This time, it was the cherry red robot art print. Thank you to Stephen from tieyouup! My robot is very happy to be part of this “pack.”Red robot and teal moon on EtsyDomo Arigato Mr. Roboto treasury on Etsy

Visit Stephen’s Domo Arigato Mr. Roboto treasury list here.

The red robot and teal moon art print can be purchased here. It is also available in blue and green, and in custom colors. Check out the options in my shop.