October 31, 2013

Celebrating St. Martin

Olá! Today I decided that next Saturday I'll participate in a craft show. I had nothing prepared and I needed to think of a very, very simple project inspired by the craft show theme: chestnuts... Yes... Chestnuts...

November is the month of the chestnut in Portugal. We celebrate St. Martin's Day preparing a magusto festivity. In that day you will find us eating roasted chestnuts and drinking água pé -(literal translation is "foot water") - a traditional and very mild alcoholic drink.

All this is stated by a a typical Portuguese saying:
É dia de São Martinho;
comem-se castanhas, prova-se o vinho.
(It is St. Martin's Day,
we'll eat chestnuts, we'll taste the wine.)

We will celebrate St Martin's day next 11th November and, as always, we expect very shinny days!! At that time the weather is always different from the other Autumn days... Very good and warm. That's why we call this period Verão de S. Martinho - St. Martin's Summer. The legend tells that on a very cold and rainy day Martin, a Roman soldier, cut off half of his cloak and offered one part to a beggar that was dying of the cold. Then the sun begun shinning, by God's intervention, and Martin was able to return home safely. All our children learn this legend at school!!

So... I needed a very easy project that could be made by someone that does not know how to embroider... Trying to find out what to do, I took a look at my working surface and I found my favorite materials: burel (a Portuguese felted wool) and cork. With them I knew I could create a chestnut!!! And the next step was, as I usually do, trying to find a simple pattern. As my drawing skills are terrible, usually I google images using words like "chestnut coloring"... And I always find very simple drawings that children use to color... Of course, in the end, I never make like the pattern I found, but  for me it is a very powerful inspiration source!!

So I had the materials and the pattern...

Burel and cork fabric - 100% Portuguese materials
Portuguese materials: cork fabric and burel
And decided to make a coaster using the chestnut pattern and Portuguese materials. But I made a mistake (not for the first time...) and it ended up very small... What a pity!! Next time I will make beautiful coasters to decorate my S. Martinho's table!!

100% Portuguese chestnut
So, I had to think of something else... And I remembered of making something to decorate the table, maybe we can call it a centerpiece...
Using the same materials, I applied the chestnut into a burel piece and with a very thin cork strip I created a simple finishing all around.

Chestnut table decoration
Chestnut inspiration!!
It's not perfect but I believe it will be a good project for someone that does not know how to embroider and is not familiar with these materials... But I confess I would still prefer the chestnut coaster...

Did you know that these two colors of burel only use the natural colors of wool, no dying materials?

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