Handmade Love at Museu Marítim

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 It was a long two days. I had two kids at home with crusty eyes and goopy snot coming out of their noses. I was the official booger wiper, mess cleaner, and at-home entertainer. This was Thursday and Friday, and I was getting some major mommy cabin fever.

When Saturday rolled around, my husband could finally stay home to watch the kids. Craving some fresh air and a creative pick-me-up, I headed to Festivalet, a two-day fair featuring modern and attractive handmade goods. Unlike the traditional Christmas fairs in Barcelona, the Festivalet showcases design-y wares for a hipster, crafty crowd.

There was something in particular I knew I could find there…so my husband sent me off with warm wishes. And I was gone like the wind!

The Festivalet was held at the Museu Marítim de Barcelona close to Las Ramblas. The museum itself is housed in Drassanes Reials, former royal shipyards in Port Vell. Its courtyard is quaint and welcoming. In the entryway, you can stick your face in this cutout and pretend you’re on a passenger steamship a la Titanic.

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Fine details (that I fancy) adorn the main entrance.

Ribbet collageI was enamored with the cascade of the golden autumn leaves draping over the facade. (This Southern California native is reminded that other leaf colors exist outside of green.)

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The Museu Marítim embodies 13-century Gothic architecture with its arches and soaring ceilings. Upon entering the event area, a sweet feeling of creative energy buzzed about the room.

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A Few Awesome Finds

While I still appreciate traditional handmade local goods like the caga tió and the caganer, it was refreshing to see contemporary, stylish design. These porcelain spoons are hand painted with fine, feminine details.

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Handmade means not mass-produced, and hopefully, exceptional craftsmanship — like this. A charming set of costume-themed porcelain plates and teacups by LaMalconttenta.

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Don’t they look like the real deal? Sugary, dainty little donuts arranged in a cute little display case. Actually, they’re fun brooches that make for a great conversation starter. (Shhh…our caga tió is going to poop one out for my daughter on Christmas Eve.) By Kawaii Factory.

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A pop-up studio. At just 8 euros, Bernat Solsona was offering hand-drawn illustrations in pen and colored pencil. How fun would it be to hire him for a party?

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The fishmongers of Don Fisher were selling bonitos frescos (fresh albacore tuna). They create lovely fish wallets and purses in a pastel color palette. Artists and designers who go the extra mile for a special branding experience make all the difference!

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Finally, the reason for my Saturday morning escapade. Isn’t this the most delightful bunch of caga tiós? By Jaime Vicente.

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I came home with this tiny treasure. Her name is Clara, and her hat is stuffed so it’s nice and fluffy; it’s detachable with velcro. The legs are also detachable, so when you pack her up, they won’t break. She also comes with her own blanket…and six pieces of sweets! Beauty, my dear friends, is in the details.

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I was excited to show my sweet and bashful-faced caga tió to my daughter. And after imbibing in the creative atmosphere of local talent, I was energized afterward.  I felt like a new woman 😉

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About the Author Justine Ancheta

California native, churro aficionado, and mom of 3, Justine Ancheta writes fervently about Barcelona and Spain. Since 2008, she's been eating burnt onions (calçots) and tripping on cobblestones in the Gothic Quarter. She shares tips on popular attractions, exposes offbeat non-touristy spots, and gives insight on exploring Barcelona with kids. Her next Catalan culture challenge: top level of a human castle (castellers).

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