Friday, December 30, 2011

Love in every stich

It is hard to describe how special this yarn is to me. It has such a deep and complex history that it has become one of my most treasured possessions. As many of you may know by reading previous entries, my husband Yonid is from Peru. Before we were married I went down to Andahuaylas, Peru to visit him and his family for the holidays. I planned to purchase some wool yarn while I was there to use on the hats I was selling at the time in a shop in downtown Nacogdoches, TX.   I had done this before on a trip to Ecuador and the wool was a big hit. While there, I chatted with his family  about finding some yarn to see if they had any connections, and his mom said we could go to the market and look before I had to go home. The next thing I knew Yonid's 88 year old grandmother (la Mamacita), who at the time was still living on a mountainside potato farm with no electricity or vehicle access, had brought me a HUGE bag of finger spun yarn that she had made herself.  It must have taken her years to spin all the yarn on her finger tips without even a spinning wheel. All the yarn was made form wool off of their sheep.  I think that she was thinking of trying to sell it, but when she found out that I was wanting yarn to make my living at the time, she simply gave it to me expecting nothing in return.  To give you an idea of how much yarn there was, this photo shows about 1/3.

When she gave me the yarn it was all off-white, or grey, according to the sheep's color. So the next step was to dye it. Yonid and I, took on the challenge ( with a whole lot of help*)We purchased natural pigment powders from the market, which we were told was imported form Columbia. We took those out to the country where his Tia Hermelinda and Tio Leonidas (left) lives, who has experience with dying. It was a very labor intensive but fun process.

Yonid getting some water boiling

The yarns took some time to dry, and by the time they were ready to be balled up I was going to have to leave the next day. to my surprise all of Yonids aunts, uncles, brothers, cousins, and friends got together to help us roll them all up. It took hours. but it was a beautiful moment to see everyone coming together out of love and enjoying each other's company.

La Mamacita y El Papacito

The whole experience was really unique and incredibly beautiful. These people, who I now have the honor to call my family impacted my deeply with their love and generosity. A special thanks to La Mamacita, one of the most amazing women I know. I can now truly know how much love goes into each stitch I make with this very special yarn.

 Thanks for reading!

P.S. all the photos you see with the exception of the first one were taken with my Pentax MV1 in Andahuaylas, Peru and outlying countryside.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Homemade Wedding Photos

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Personalized ceramic cake-topper: made by me
 This little piece was the biggest hit of the night. Ceramics was my minor in college and I absolutely love doing it. I find the whole process fascinating from mixing the clay to trying out glaze recipes. It incorporates my interest in science and love for art. Since ceramics is such a huge interest for me I really wanted to incorporate it into the wedding. The leather-hard and bone-dry shots here are actually not the same as the finished piece. Tragically after working on the little guys for over a week, I dropped them when loading them into the kiln, so I had to start all over. It all worked out though, things usually come out better the second time around. The pieces were originally going to be coated with a matte white engobe(slip), however, I decided that I would loos some of the small details that way and ended up painting them with acrylics. I was pretty please with the outcome but I plan to experiment with the same idea using an engobe or a glaze. 

Crochet wedding bouquet: made by me
There are several reasons why this bouquet was great alternative to having fresh flowers. As is likely obvious by this point I do a lot of crochet, and it is something I was sure that I wanted to incorporate into my wedding. This bouquet will be equally colorful and pretty 50 years from now, and I can hand it down as a family keepsake. Also the yarn used is very special to our family. It was finger spun my husbands grandmother and we hand dyed it yourself. It was such a beautiful gift, and experience for us I will be writing my next post all about it with all the beautiful film photos we took there.

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Customized arch valence: made by an artisan in Andahuaylas, Peru
This beautiful piece was one of our many attempts to bring the beauty and color of Yonid's homeland into the event. It was my design, and I was ecstatic about how it came out. It is really well made too, it took the guy about a week to make it. The picture on the top also shows the Peruvian fabrics that we placed over the stone benches and the Mexican paper flowers we made.

Crochet boutonniere: made by me
My dad and Yonid both had crochet boutonnieres that were embellished with tulle, felt, and buttons

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Homemade music: made by my sweet Yonid 
Not sure if music counts as being homemade but I just wanted to include it because it was the highlight of the wedding when Yonid sang me "Un Pacto con Dios" by Rabito. I also want to make a special shout out to my awesome friends Krissy and Sean Matherne for playing a beautiful duet while I walked down the isle.

Yonid and I got married on Nov. 15, 2011 at the Chapel Dulcinea in Austin, Texas. The location was breath-taking. The whole wedding was planned in one week. Due to some issues with our Fiance Visa he and I were stuck in Peru and missed our original wedding date. Since this wedding was such a small group, we plan on having another big wedding party sometime in March or April 2012 to celebrate with a more extended group of friends and family.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Handmade wedding

 Left: Personalized cake-topper (ceramic painted with acrylic)
Middle: Me and my sweet husband Yonid
 Right: Crochet wedding bouquet (Finger spun wool yarn, wire, raffia, felt, beads)---Available on my Etsy!

My name is Candace and I just moved to Austin, Texas. I am a recent SFA grad (10+ points for anyone who knows of SFA) where I studied psychology and art. I am also newlywed to my awesome husband Yonid Franco ( I will be using him as a model for my projects often). He is an amazing musician from Peru, which is where I get a lot of my inspiration and materials form.  I am just about to start work at my new job in early January as a bilingual financial counselor at Clearpoint Credit Counseling’s new office in Austin. They are an amazing non-profit company that provides free credit counseling to those who really need it. So, needless to say I am going through some exciting transitions in life. 

As you may know having navigated to this page, I will be teaching a crochet class starting in March at the Hobby Lobby at 8000 Research Bld. Class times and dates are not set in stone yet, but I will have them posted soon. It will be a beginning crochet class, but as interests arise I plan to create additional advanced classes.  I am very excited about this opportunity to teach one of the great loves of my life to others and help them start their own journey with crochet. I also hope it will be a good way for me to meet new people and get more involved in the Austin community. 

I also wanted to take a moment to tell you about the name of my blog, One Happy Hooker. I have called my blog this as a tribute to my Great-Grandma Peep. She was one of the most avid crochetors that I have ever known and the first person to attempt to teach me the art of crochet (the attempt failed on my very distracted 5-year-old self.)  Although my grandmother has now passed-away, the family still laughs about the funny things that she would say. One of my favorites was the time that her co-workers at the middle school library poked fun at her for constantly crocheting at work. She told them they could just call her "The Happy Hooker." Although my grandmother’s crude humor was just to get a laugh, I believe there was some truth to what she said. The drive to create and keep busy may fostered her long healthy life of 86 years. 

I have carried on her legacy as the only other crochetor in my family. I will be using this blog to showcase my current projects, but you can check out some of my past projects on my facebook page here

Also I have just rekindled my etsy page and you can check it out too!

Thanks for reading