Saturday, 23 January 2010

Day 110-113-My Name Is Eva

..and I am a Catalan gypsy. You know we originated from India and are sometimes called Romani? Many in my family have moved to settle in Catalonia, near Barcelona, and I will too soon, but not yet..

I have been told often that I am pretty, especially when I am donning the violet mantilla veil over my Peinitas. I made the Peinitas or the Spanish high comb myself. Usually we wear our veil over the comb but not me. I need to show off my craft. And who knows, maybe my style will start a trend.

Apart from being a talented tailor, I am also a wonderful dancer, although dancing is not my true profession. This is my flamenco dress which I had fashioned from our famous Catalonian laces. You know us Spanish just love laces. We use them more than the French do and we use them for everything, down to our unmentionables. But mostly, we use them to make our mantilla and the ruffles in our skirts. O yes, never forget the red rose for the dress and of course, our coin purse, which we must keep as close to our body as possible. Although most of us wear black, not me. The people in Delhi do not like black. They love colours and I want them to love me.

A while back, I sent Sans! some things from Spain, many of them I made. I don't know what made her think it was a lottery win when really, I had just wanted her to safe-keep them for me. It was awkward trying to take my wares back and I had to eventually send a toy elephant to trick her. You must understand I had no other choice, these wares form my livelihood. They are my means to settle in Spain, my ticket to reunite with my family. I have to do what I had to do.

In order to cater to the people in India, I had to adapt some of my stuff to local taste. I started with these boxes. They are good sturdy ones made of thin wood ply but I had to cover them with oriental paper in colours that the locals love.

I then fill up the boxes with laces, ribbons and embroideries. And for the last box, I put in all the sea shells I had collected when I was roaming the beaches of Barcelona.

So pretty these shells are, such perfect creations of Mother Nature, each and every piece a special reminder of a time and a place when I was totally happy. I hope someone will find a good home for them, perhaps to beautify a box or made into a charm or ear piece, even a comb.
Now you know why I needed toy elephant to run. I really must thank Sans! properly and I know exactly how.

I haven't forgotten that Sans! love my sweets. And so I made some traditional Turron, with a bit of a citrus twist, my own recipe. I know she will love it. I will give her a slice and then try to sell the rest.
And in case my patrons will like some beverages also, I have brought along a much loved pot and my canister of wonders, filled with the ingredients for a special brew found in an ancient book called Curioso tratado de la naturaleza y calidad del chocolate, written by an Adalusian physician.
All these I shall carry on my head. Oh, don't be so alarmed, this is but a small feat. I hear in Kathmandu, men carry a load as heavy as a 10-stone object called "fridge" on their head in similar fashion when they move from the valley to the mountains.

As for the rest of the wares, it is not easy, but I manage to fit all of them into 3 baskets. The big one holds my silver door hangings (mainly of the Gods) laces, some Egyptian cotton , a carved toy in the shape of a boat.

Another basket holds my precious tree-of-life ceramic and the last, hang a silver tray and a jug as well as some dried herbs.

And so here we are: my wares, my wagon and my self.
A basket on my head, two hanging from my neck and the last in my left hand while my right palm clasped a precious brolly tightly;
I am a clothier, a silversmith, a restaurant all rolled into one.
And me and my wagon, we travel the world.

And every so often, we find a shady spot and stop.

And to paraphrase Orhan Pamuk in "My Name is Red"

My Name is Eva.
When I load my wares-
items cheap and precious alike,
certain to lure the ladies, rings, earrings , necklaces and baubles-
into the folds of silk handkerchiefs, gloves, sheets and the colourful shirt cloth sent over in
Spanish ships,
when I shoulder that bundle, Eva's a ladle and Chandni Chowk's a kettle,
and there's nary a street I don't visit
Or a word of gossip or a letter which I haven't carried
from one door to the next..

I made this doll over 3 days. I knew, from the moment I opened Eva's parcel, that I wanted to make a peddlar doll to hold all her gifts. You can see what she had made in the picture above or in my previous post on Day 95. I spent more than 3 months wondering how to fit everything onto a doll. Eventually, without a clue how, I just decided to start . I took out one of dolls and painted the dress and then rather miraculously, everything else fell into place, the elephant, the boxes and the baskets, all in 3 days. Sometimes, all we need is to just do it and stop thinking so much. The important thing is to believe that with beautiful things (like the gifts from Eva), you can make beautiful things.

For you, Eva . Thank you!


Eva said...

This post is the best gift that you can give me. A HUGE Thank you to you Sans *Grin*.
The gypsy doll (with the beautiful name of Eva...LOL) is so pretty. Congratulations my friend, you have done it again, you surprise me again.
I will write later on another comment, now I am a little bit overhelmed and I do not have too much words...*grin*

Tallulah Belle said... worked miracles there dear. I love how oyu have put ti all together to suit the scene...well done.. I love your stories. xxx

Pubdoll said...

I haven't read My name is Red yet, but as you know hubby has and he introduced me to Esther :-) Very clever and very fitting Sans :-) Hubby asked me to tell you he thinks it's very nice you're reading it too! (And I think it must be my next reading project)
Very lovely presents from Eva and the way you have put them all together in this story is indeed a very nice gift in return!

rosanna said...

What shall I say that Eva hasn't already told you? your stories are the best gift and I love reading them. Even now, it's 1 am, I cannot stop reading and thinking how clever you are.Better go to sleep now , I shall dream of a peddlar girl...Hugs Rosanna

Snowfern said...

woah pretty! and rather bling too ;) nice! very crafty, you certainly are! ;)

Sans said...

Eva, I hope you are not overwhelmed with negative feelings because I have taken great liberties with the facts! :) I know you are going to tell me it's ok even if it's not really. I understand that I may not appreciate the sensitivities involved like whether you are offended if I say my Eva is a gypsy or a peddlar :) :). That's why I use my comment box to explain my motivations. Otherwise each post will be as long as a book and every 2 sentence is an apology ! lol

I love peddlar dolls and have always wanted to make one. Like the pull along toy. But some things don't just get made. I can't anyway. I often find inspiration in the gifts I have received because like I said, I can only make something good (my standard , lol) with good parts that I already owned. And when I start, I get carried away again like modifying some of your work eg your boxes. Sure hope you'll understand! But I think you do. I expect no less with the gifts I send.

Now about my stories. They often develop pretty last minute like at the moment I am typing although I already have some foundation. As you can tell by now, I am not very inventive or imaginative and I cannot create out of nothing so again, I get inspiration from the people around me or a book I am reading, a movie I just watched. I try not to worry too much about what others think so that the story can just come out. Like real life, my characters are not perfect. I rather think perfection, though admirable, is boring.

But my girls, like the wonderful friends I have made here, are strong, creative and very clever. Sometimes, their stories are a little sad-after all, they live in an era where women are not treated the same- but always, I want my stories to be life affirming. At the very least, I hope they celebrate the qualities I admire so much in many of you :), strength, artistry and wit. And of course, humour! lol

Sans said...

Jayne, thank you :). I think I made it sound like it all just came to me in 3 days. Truth is I did a fair bit of research. I must have stared at 100 images of Spanish dolls, art and girls in traditional mantilla and as many peddler dolls. O, you must check out my favourite at

By the way, don't ever throw away your underwear! They are where some of the finest laces can be found!

Sans said...

Helene, I must really thank you for introducing me to the book. All because of my post on coffee inspired by you gifts inspired by what your Hubby was reading! What a series of fortunate events :):). I am so loving the book. I am pretty sure you will too!

I love Esther. Such a rich character she is but at the moment, I am only at the pages where she is in your regular "cookie-cutter" peddlar woman. I am sure her role in the book will take a dramatic and important turn towards the end.

I have to confess I am similarly in love with my own peddlar. Ever so often, I will check on her and make sure all her wares are still in their places :). She is the one doll in my bedroom now because I have a house guest and I am so afraid my big friend will knock her over in his sleep!

Meli said...

Sans thanks for the lovely story and as Rosanna what else can I say that Eva hasn't already said. The only thing is that I'm andalucian!!

Sans said...

LOL, Rosanna, you are my best muse :):)!

At 1am this morning, I had just started making this post. I finally finished it only at about 5am!

I have thoroughly enjoyed the making of "Eva". For me, it marks another milestone in my mini progress. Heh! I am as shameless in my self-promotion as my little peddlar girl but I do so love my one-woman-shop!

Sans said...

YOU are the crafty one, Crafty Cindy! Me? I just put all the already good pieces together! :).

Sans said...

Meli, OMG, an Andalucian! When I was doing my research, I found that of all teh Spanish communities, the Andalucian culture is the one that most closely resembles the Orient, in particular, Arabic. The Moorish architecture, your "harem" like (lol) mantilla etc etc. I was wondering what you would think of this post, being Spanish as well! Now, you have given me another idea :).

julie campbell said...

I enjoyed reading this so much.Its a cold wintery morning here in England and Eva's story just poured a ray of warming sunshine over it.
lovely !
julie xxx

Eva said...

My dear, of course I'm overhelme with very positive feelings. Totally overwhelmed because I did not expect a gift like this. Your post is great, and I really mean it. I've read it (3 times) with an open mind and seeing the relationship that you were building between my world and yours, which basically is the same. I liked very much. Of course not offend me that Eve is a gypsy or a peddlar wearing Peineta or about any of the other features she has. The important thing is that she is a strong woman with inner beauty and also its flaws. The story is hilarious at times, with touches of drama.
Peddlar, I had to look in the dictionary, now I know what it means.
When I saw the tittle of the post: My name is Eva was a great feeling. I knew at that moment that I gift for me was waiting. I smile, smli, smile....
I am totally sincere, I feel very honoured and happy. Thank you!
Muchos besos ;)

Lize said...

Eva, what a lucky 'young' girl you are to have such a pretty doll named after you and with such a hauntingly beautiful story too. A bit like the Indian version of Wuthering Hills..(Beauty, struggle, drama and desperation) You only need your own young Heatcliff...How about a love story Sans?

After starting off this story, you need to finish it.

PS Very impressive research you did there!

I waited last night, and waited for your post... eventually HAD to sleep as today my week started! So came home from work to read it... (No wonder! You only posted early morning!)
And do our minds think alike.. I admired the little shells from another far away country.!

Sans said...

Thank you so much, Julie, for your equally warming comment! :) Is it still wintry in England? And wet? I can never tell that your weather is so dismal, looking at the pictures of your shed. Now, that is one cosy, pretty and warm room-well deserving of a place in American Miniaturist. I don't have access to any miniature magazine here so when the March issue is out, I'll really look forward to reading all about it on your blog, Julie!

Sans said...

Eva, és la meva inspiració! Gràcies! Sóc tan feliç que li encanti la història. Que li llegeixi 3 vegades em fa fins i tot més feliç!

Sans said...

O Lize, but it was because of you that I struggled on to finish the story! Even if it means staying up till 5am! LOL. I keep forgetting that your weekend is Thurs-Fri.

On the shells bit, I wanted to add something about Eva bragging that "the Spanish seashells by the seashore shinning stronger than Saudi seashells by Lize's seashore while she's on a see-saw" but I was too groggy for poetry.

The truth about why I took so long with the doll was also because of the seashells. I wanted to use them to make a miniature jewellery box but I didn't have enough to make a nice one. Trust me I stared at the shells till my eyes crossed. That's why when I saw that you had posted on seashells as well, I thought it was kismet!lol.

Eva said...

OMG....You have written in a perfect Catalan...LOL...You are great!
Gràcies bonica, m'ha arribat al cor!!
Un petó

Ara said...

I completly agree with you sans! I think sometimes we need to stop planning and just dive into a project! Things tend to flow a turn out better than we thought! YOu lady Eva is wonderful and she has such beautiful objects! I would by several things from her! Hugs, ara

Lize said...

And how many shells are you short?

I think between us we can make this pedlar called Eva's dreams come true...

Sans said...

Haha, Eva. Isn't it amazing what a virtual translator can make me? Now I can say I can type in almost all the languages of the world!

Sans said...

"I will buy" is most definitely music to any peddlar's ears, Ara, so thank you! I am sure she will be able to dig out many a thing the Bentleys or the Addams fancy. She is very resourceful :).

I wish I can just "dive". I used to do a lot of that. But I think you need confidence apart from guts to do that. OR be very very inspired :). Although prep work is good,I do agree that we must not worry too much. What do they always say in the US? Don't sweat the "small" stuff? hehe

Sans said...

Dear Lize,

Are you really sending me some of your Saudi shells? awwwwww..

Seriously though, I have already used up all the ones Eva gave me. They are all stuck inside the round box so that they do not fall out. I also don't think my doll can carry anymore unless you want the box between her teeth or worse, coming out of her ears!

More importantly, I think I know now why I didn't make the box. I am incapable of making a good sea shell box because frankly, I don't really dig seashell crafts. I only like seashells as they are. It was just a challenge to me to see if I can make something I don't like, decently. I surrender.

How about you try? I will love to see what you can come up with ;)! I am sure you can make me fall in love with a miniature seashell box, like a miniature HP printer ;)

from someone completely defeated by seashells.

Liberty Biberty said...

I wholeheartedly agree, sometimes it is just best to stop thinking about how to do something and just do it!
Eva is beautiful! You've done a fabulous job!

Sans said...

Thanks Merce! I was thinking of you when I made the boxes :)

Papillon Bleu said...

Did I tell you that according to my mother , my grandfather had gipsy origins? Anyway...I am a combination of soooooooooo many things...Chinese, Indian, French...100% Human!!!
You know, I want to thank you for telling me about the film. I have never seen it and now I am very intrigued.I have been on Youtube to see a bit of it.
Also, I will enter your name twice in the giveaway as all the participants who had to go on my French blog to post a comment. You've made an effort so I will make an extra one too!

Sans said...

Wow, I sort of know a real gypsy through you, Patricia :)! I think you will really like the film. I have seen it like more tan 10 times cos "What Dreams May Come" must have been shown on HBO 100 times :). It's the art that's really fascinating and the colours. The whole movie is so beautiful,which reminds me, I must watch "The Fall" soon. Thank you for putting my name twice :) and coming over to tell me :).

dale said...

Wow, just wow. :)

Can you believe that I actually dreamed about this blog posting? Truly!

I had perused through all of the pictures when you posted it, and then, I was like, when I can get the time... lol ;)

Eva is gorgeous, the pictures are all fabulous and of course, as usual, I love the story that you have woven in between. :)

No wonder, you are one of my favorite bloggers, you've invaded my dreams! lol :)

When I grow up, I wanna be like Sans. ;)

Gorgeous pictures! Did I say that? Now, I have to go to bed.


Sans said...

You know Dale, how there are some days when you are so bogged down with life and everything whizzes past you and you feel like Alice running twice as fast just to stay on the same spot. You wonder if there is any meaning in whatever you do. And then someone does something that completely rejuvenates you and makes you happy and believe again :):) And when she tells you she wants to grow up to be just like you, then you know you must be doing something right even though she makes you sound like a 100 years old -haha

I can't believe you have dreamt of this post! :) Just when I was remarking to someone this morning how sometimes the whole idea of playing with doll houses and miniatures is so frivolous when people in the world are going through such tough times.

Yet, when I come home from a hectic day, and I sit down with my minis, be it gluing something very small or writing a silly story, time slows down and I can breathe properly again. And when you make such good friends , sharing this passion, everything makes sense.

Thank you, my friend, for the sweetest words ever. By the way, what kind of emoticon is "(((Sans)))" supposed to be?lol

contar said...

Me gusto mucho la historia de la gitana española, y todos sus complementos.
es usted toda una artista

I like to myself very much the history of the Spanish gypsy, and all his(its,her) complements.
It(he,she) is you the whole artist

dale said...

(((Sans))) this means I am hugging you, ever so tightly. :) but, not so tight to squeeze the breathe out of you. ;)

My life is pretty busy as well and minis have been my saving grace as of late. I won't bore you with the details, but someday, we'll share. :)

Life is kinda like that a lot, Sans. I know for myself, one sweet comment, will send my heart soaring. :)

One negative, will leave me in the dumps for a week. :(

What you do, does have meaning, and obviously, to a lot of people.

Yes, there are many great tragedies that occur, even recently. We think of them, we pray for them, we keep them in our thoughts and do what we are able to do, to help them.

And, then we continue to think about them.

That does not mean, that you can not find joy in your heart, relax or have some fun.

One, does not negate the other, n'est pas? (yes?)

I have a feeling, I'm way older than you are, my dear, so 100 is not cutting it for me. (giggles)

You have my *heart*

contar said...

Hi, sans
The oil bottle this made following(continuing) a tutorial of the magazine miniatures in españa
If it(he,she) is interested to you it(he,she,I) will look for it for you
And it(he,she,I) will order it in an email
It(she) is very simple, a bill of the color of the oil, a transparent thumbtack for the part of the neck, and a few tubitos of plastic for the handle and the zone for where the oil is spilt

hola , sans
la aceitera esta hecha siguiendo un tutorial de la revista miniaturas en españa
si te interesa lo buscare para ti
y lo mandare en un email
es muy sencilla, una cuenta del color del aceite, una chincheta transparente para la parte del cuello, y unos tubitos de plastico para el asa y la zona por donde se vierte el aceite

Sans said...

Contar, I am so happy you like the story. Thank you for always taking the time to comment on my post :). Also explaining how you made the olive oil bottle! That is so clever! Mucho gracias, Contar!

Contar, estoy tan feliz que te gusta la historia. Gracias por siempre tomar el tiempo para comentar sobre mi post:). También explica cómo se hizo la botella de aceite de oliva! Eso es tan inteligente! Mucho gracias, CONTAR!

Sans said...

(((Dale)))) :). I am way way older. I just sound young :). It's the minis. They make me girlish ! lol

dale said...

I think I'm older than you. tee hee. ;)

Gemma said...

Cogratulations for your job is wonderful and for your blog. Best wishes.

Sans said...

Ok Dale, you win :):)

Gemma, thank you for visiting :). I have seen your site and have followed it ). I am very interested in your work :).

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