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The last property we visited, Kedleston Hall  in Derbyshire was quite a contrast to the amazing amount of objects and sad state of disrepair at Calke.

From the drive through the beautiful grounds to the splendour of the rooms built for entertaining this was a palace, with Roman inspired décor and a wonderful collection of Indian goldwork.

Kedleston -park

Kedleston Hall

Kedleston 2

Kedleston 3

It was built in 1760 by Robert Adam and so looks very much like Nostell Priory which we visited a while ago.

The house was the family seat of Lord Curzon who was Viceroy of India between 1899 and 1905 and part of the ground floor is a small museum with a fantastic display of goldwork and silverwork, mainly cases that contain commemorative scrolls from places he made official visits to.

Kedleston -goldwork

Kedleston 8

Kedleston 9

Kedleston 10

Kedleston 11

Kedleston 12

There is also a beautiful beaded dress that his wife once wore inspired by peacock feathers and a painting of her in the dress.

Kedleston -peacock dress

Kedleston - Lady Curzon

The main reception rooms of the house are like stepping into the Pantheon in Rome, (we were lucky enough to go to Rome many years ago when Ellie was studying Classics), and the hall and side rooms are so splendid.

Kedleston - main rooms

Kedleston 15

Kedleston 16

Kedleston 17

Kedleston 18

Kedleston 19

The house has been restored and there were so many gorgeous rooms decorated with the stunning combination of blue and gold, this is one of the bedroom walls with silk wallpaper.

Kedleston -wallpaper

A truly beautiful and very stately home!

I am busy planning my crafternoon for this coming Saturday, which means digging the box of Christmas ornaments out from the back of the store cupboard.

Hopefully I will have chance to post pictures of our handiwork before I leave for Spain, am off there for a week and Sharon, my friend from knitting group, is coming with me which is very exciting.

I love being in Spain and it will be nice to share my favourite places with her and we are also looking forward to some relaxing time on the terrace, at the pool and the beach giving our knitting a little holiday as well!

Take care and thanks for visiting.

The Paso Blanco Museum was in an old chapel which had recently been refurbished. So not only was it the most wonderful collection of robes, cloaks and head dresses but the setting was amazing as well.

Lorca Blanco museum 2

Lorca Blanco museum

These were the first robes we looked at, the head dresses have eyeholes in them and the 3D work on the robes was stunning.

Lorca Blanco

Lorca Blanco 2

Lorca Blanco 3

Lorca Blanco 4

Lorca Blanco 5

Lorca Blanco 6

This is a close up of the wonderful Roman general’s cloak in the centre of the museum.

Lorca Blanco Roman robe

Many of the cloaks were pictorial as in the other museums and these had stunning scenes from the bible, the ones below were two of my favourite.

Lorca Blanco pictorial cloak 1

Lorca Blanco 24

Lorca Blanco 25

The detail of the people on this one must have taken hours of stitching.

Lorca Blanco black cloak 1

Lorca Blanco black cloak 2

And then there was the chapel to visit, just a little bit of gold in there!

Lorca Blanco chapel

Lorca Blanco chapel 2

Lorca Blanco chapel 3

Lorca Blanco chapel 4

Lorca Blanco chapel 5

Lorca Blanco chapel 6

Lorca Blanco chapel 7

Lorca Blanco chapel 8

Lorca Blanco chapel 9

Lorca Blanco chapel 10

If you feel like seeing any more goldwork I have done another slideshow for you. So much inspiration will keep me going for a long time!

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Hope that you have all enjoyed the goldwork and have a good week ahead, thanks for visiting.

We visited the Paso Encardo (Crimson) Museum first, no pictures from this one but we did get to meet the embroiderers working in an upstairs room and in my very poor Spanish I was talking to them about what I had made as well and they were explaining their methods.

It was interesting to see the work in progress, I didn’t realise that so much work is still being done there, not realising the scale of the event. The majority of the work that we saw in the museums was from the 20th century and a lot of it was very recent.

The designs are drawn onto white cloth which was then laid over velvet, the design was then overlaid with strips of fluffy white cotton wadding which was couched down with tightly packed stitches, then the excess cloth was cut away.

I was surprised that they weren’t using gold for padding as I have previously seen it done with gold coloured felt as the gold threads are put straight on top of the white cotton.

They told us that it took 3000 hours to finish one of the capes and that includes the beautiful lifelike embroidered pictures that are surrounded by the goldwork.

The Paso Morado (Purple) museum was next which started off with the sort of things that we were expecting to see, beautiful clothes for the icons.

Lorca morado

Lorca morado 2

Lorca morado detail

What we weren’t expecting was this a whole gallery of beautiful and amazing goldwork.

Lorca morado museum 1

Lorca Morado banner 2

This piece was my favourite from that museum, not just the intricacy of the goldwork but the overall shape of the banner.

Lorca morado banner

I have put some more pictures from this museum into the slideshow below.

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We then went to the Paso Azul (Blue) Museum a couple of minutes away which was housed in an Art Deco style house very similar to Casa Modernista in Novelda that we have visited a couple of times.

Not only was the display of capes fabulous but the building was beautiful, I loved all the newel post baubles which were all of a different style on the first two floors.

Lorca Azul museum

Lorca Azul museum 2

Lorca Azul museum 3

This museum was very different as they had a lot more of the horse rider’s cloaks and a lot more emphasis on the pictorial side of the work, still amazing goldwork but also Roman and Egyptian pictures and biblical scenes like this one in silk shaded embroidery.

If the first cloaks the women were making took 3000 hours I estimate about 8000 for this one looking at the size of it, just incredible.

Lorca Azul horse cloak

This robe was also beautiful.

Lorca Azul Robe

Again I have put more pictures into the slideshow below, apologies as some of the photos are not brilliant as all of it was obviously behind glass but you can get a sense of the amazing work.

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Will love you and leave you now as stitching is calling but will be back later in the week with the mind-blowing last museum, Thanks for visiting.

Is it sad that it gives me great pleasure to sit on a Saturday morning (looks like it is going to be a bit sunny as well – yippee!) and write blog posts?

Hope not as blogging does make me happy and I have been looking forward to sorting out my embroidery pictures from Lorca all week.

Am splitting them into two, maybe even 3 posts, as there are so many and the amount of work that has gone into these pieces I feel they need sharing with the stitchy bloggy world.

First some of the gorgeousness of the city itself. It is sadly famous for having a very bad earthquake in 2011 and they are still repairing a lot of the damage. What has been restored is gorgeous and those that are not beautiful old stone are painted mainly in white with a deep yellow trim.

These are some of the old mansions, the Casino and the town hall.

Lorca  houses

Lorca  houses 7

Lorca  houses 8

Lorca houses 1

Lorca houses 2

Lorca houses 3

Lorca houses 4

Lorca houses 5

We spent some time wandering around and visiting churches and the castle as well. This picture from Google is a great aerial shot of the castle.

Lorca Castle

Lorca was important in the medieval period as it was on the border between Moorish and Christian Spain being halfway between Murcia (the city that I visited on the last trip to Spain) and Granada so this was a very well used castle – great views of the surrounding countryside as you can imagine.

It was a long walk up (and we got lost a bit) but a short one down as we found the way back through the very poor area just below the walls.

Lorca castle 1

Stark contrast between the crumbling houses in the barrio and this church and seminary at the bottom of the hill. I am going to frame this photo and add it to my ‘beautiful buildings and blue sky’ collection of Spanish pictures!

Lorca church

We got the idea of going to Lorca from my brother and his partner who stayed there overnight on the way back from a trip to the mountains. They went to the tourist information and picked up a brochure that said four embroidery museums in the city and kindly thought of me :-)

It was also a very exciting trip as we did it all by bus from La Marina, these are the sort of things like I love doing and it made Mum and I feel very adventurous!

We also had some lovely food in cute little tapas bars like this one in a converted house where due to my poor Spanish I inadvertently ordered off the menu (luckily what I ordered was lovely and mostly non meat for Mum).

Lorca bar

Lorca bar 2

Lorca bar 3

I thought he was just explaining what was available and so was nodding to say that I understood and he obviously thought I wanted it all – we had to stop him after the first two dishes and say we had enough!

Mum and I were expecting to see loveliness and knew that the embroidery was connected with the Easter festivals(Semana Santa – Holy Week) and we have seen a few of these before so were looking forward to some lovely robes for icons etc.

However we didn’t realise that the parades are four days of spectacle that includes chariots, Romans and their Gods, Egyptians and the Devil  as well as usual icons of Jesus and the Virgin Mary.

Mum has lived in Spain for 11 years now and her sister for 24 and neither of them had heard of the event there so obviously a well-kept secret. So we know where we are going next Easter!

Here is a taster of the parade from some of local tourism web sites.

Semana Santa Lorca

Semana Santa Lorca 3

Semana Santa Lorca 4

Semana Santa Lorca 5

Semana Santa Lorca

The four museums represent the four brotherhoods – Paso Encarnado (Crimson), Paso Morado (Purple), Paso Azul (Blue) and Paso Blanco (White).

The last two are the biggest and the ones with the most spectacular embroidery as they are the groups with horses as well as icons and robes for participants. This tourism web site gives details of locations of all four and the other attractions if you ever fancy a trip.

Since this is a very long post now I will finish (and go and have brunch, my other favourite thing about the weekend!) and be back tomorrow for goldwork loveliness the like of which I have never seen before.

Thanks for visiting.

I realised (as I was mulling over the design for my thank you gift for all those lovely comments) that I had not posted any pictures of the last giveaway I did for my 400th post or the last piece of stitching that I did for the sadly now defunct Seasonal Exchange.

So here they are. This is the needlecase that I made, Cat had requested deep colours and I had these fabrics in my scraps from making my medieval pattern fabric throw for the sofa (which I still have not finished the hand quilting on – ahem!) so I though I would combine my hexagon addiction with a little goldwork.

needlecase giveaway

needlecase giveaway 2

The inside of the case has felt in a deep red for the needles and I put a little hexagon pocket in as well for scissors, threaders etc. Apologies for the yellowness of the picture, this was November light in Yorkshire!

needlecase giveaway 3

This was the last pincushion I made – the original gift got lost in the post and never arrived :-( so I made this little bird one instead.

It is an adaptation of a pattern from one of my cross stitch magazines, the original has NOEL on it and is a Christmas ornament but I liked the idea of an autumn bird looking for berries. It is backed with some of the same fabric left over from the throw.

Autumn exchange number 2 - front

I don’t know where I got the little acorn charm from but thought it was very cute and just right for this piece.

Autumn exchange number 2

We have had more snow this week, I actually ended up with a snow day yesterday where despite mine and the bus driver’s valiant attempts to get us to town I arrived too late for where I was going so turned round and came home! Was very tempted to just sit under a fleecy blanket and stitch but I was good and got on with some marking.

Plans for this weekend are to try out some more quilting blocks and our February block of the month will be released soon as well!

Hope you have a nice weekend and thanks for visiting.

Hope everyone has had a good week. Here in the UK we have had our twice yearly, ‘oh my God it has snowed, panic, panic do not travel’, buses stopped and everyone suddenly appears dressed for the slopes at Klosters.

Other countries with real snow all winter must really laugh to see the reaction here and there have been lots of pictures on Facebook of people managing perfectly well on roads with 20 feet of snow either side.However they do have it more than we do and have the right equipment.

It has been very pretty though and this photo from the local news shows you the loveliness of it all. It has nearly all melted now leaving my garden looking worse for wear so will have to get out and give it a good tidy up.

Marsden snow

I wanted to show you some of my pictures from our recent trip to the city of Murcia in Spain. Mum, my Aunt Maureen and I went on a coach trip there, it is about 40 km inland from where Mum lives and the drive alone was very lovely.

Spain New Year Murcia

We often go on these coach trips as it is a great way to see the country, they are good value at about 10 to 15 euros each and it is a lovely day out with no hassle driving or parking.

I have been to Murcia twice before but never managed to get inside the cathedral. This time we did make it and to the cathedral museum, also the museum that houses the large statues that are paraded at Easter and to the Casino, which is the gentlemen’s club built in the late 1800s.

I have put together a slideshow of some of the best bits here.

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As always there was beautiful goldwork, some dating from the 1700s, in the cathedral and museum.

Spain New Year Murcia

Spain New Year Murcia

Spain New Year Murcia

I have another trip to Spain planned in a couple of weeks and we are off to the city of Lorca where they have not one but FOUR religious embroidery museums – excited MOI – just a little bit :-)

As well as tapas in a very lovely bar that dated from the 1920s full of old pictures and posters of bullfights and a couple of stops for coffee and a little retail therapy (two very cute Moroccan style tea light holders – I know I don’t need any more candle holders but they are lovely!) we amused ourselves very nicely.

We also found these very cute little chocolate hedgehogs and had one each!

Spain New Year hedgehog chocs

I am planning to hand stitch for the rest of the day, still working on the hexi cars, have changed my mind about the design so yesterday took apart all the stitching I have done this week so am starting again!

Have a lovely week ahead and thanks for visiting.

On our recent trip to Spain we visited the little mountain town of Novelda again – I have posted before about going to Casa Modernista and we went back to show that to Ellie and my Aunt Maureen.

The church was open this time as they were having a fiesta so I got to take some photos of the wonderful inside, like many Spanish churches it has a tiled blue roof and some restoration had been done on the stonework with new inserts into the pillars which were beautifully carved.

Spain June 2014 Novelda Church

Spain June 2014 Novelda Church 2

Spain June 2014 Novelda Church 3

Spain June 2014 Novelda Church 4

Spain June 2014 Novelda Church 5

Spain June 2014 Novelda Church 6

The rest of the town was very pretty as well with an unusual tower on the town hall and gorgeous Art Deco benches.

Spain June 2014 Novelda

Spain June 2014 Novelda 2

Spain June 2014 Novelda 3

Spain June 2014 Novelda 4

We also went to visit a small local museum where they store the Moors and Christians costumes for the re-enactments of the Reconquista that are held all over Spain.

Spain June 2014 Novelda costume

Spain June 2014 Novelda costume 2

Spain June 2014 Novelda costume 3

Spain June 2014 Novelda goldwork

A fab time as always, I do so love Spain, the people buildings and lifestyle, I am very lucky to be able to go so often and can never wait to return.

Thanks for visiting and see you soon.

Apologies for the lack of posts recently. A very hot and relaxing holiday in Spain followed by one of the best Tewkesbury weekends ever means that blogging time has been severely curtailed.

Anyway here I am with some costume stuff to share and battle pictures courtesy of Pat Patrick who does such a fab job at all events.

Firstly here are the fruits of the sewing weekend we had in Feb. You may remember this being cut out, well it turned into the outfit below that Kerry on the right is wearing.

Tewks -Ellie and Kerry

The one that Ellie wears is a dress Kerry made some years ago. Apologies for the very non-authentic background, my Photoshop skills are not good enough to replace it!

They looked splendid walking round the market in the morning, even though it was very hot they made a sterling effort to look cool and elegant.

We had our newest member Sadie with us and she really enjoyed the battle. We spent a lot of time pointing out to her all the exciting bits, literally as Pat has captured!

You can just see us at the back of these photos – Sadie in green, Ellie in burgundy. me in blue and Kerry in brown, pointing out where our boys are fighting.

Even though it was really hot all day there was quite a rainstorm during the battle but the boys in armour never felt a thing! Here is the King and his retinue – look at that goldwork!

Tewks - battle in rain

Tewks - battle in rain 3

Tewks - battle in rain

A very excellent time and can’t wait for more events. Now on with some further kit making, in the week before Tewkesbury I managed to make a shirt and brais and mend some hose and an arming jack, now on with an arming waistcoat and then I am going to make some kit for me!

Take care and thanks for visiting.

Well the trip to Florence with my lovely mother was fantastic!

I think this has to be my favourite city so far – the churches and palaces full of frescos and medieval art, the Uffizi Gallery with even more medieval art, the beautiful buildings and views over the Tuscan hills and the gorgeous food.

View from the Ponte Vecchio looking at the Arno River.

View from bridge

Some of the 80 ice cream flavours to choose from in the shop near our hotel.

Ice cream

I loved the display at this shop in one of the side streets, We came back with pasta, herbs and oils, yum, yum!

Fruit and veg

And there are also lovely shops if you are into that, personally I am not going to pay 10 times the price I can here for a pair of designer sandals but we did a little window shopping and marvelled at what some of the so-called fashions were priced at.

We stayed at the Albergo Firenze, another one of my fantastic finds from Expedia. Although it was rated only 2 star it was a gorgeous room, really good value for money and the location is excellent – 5 mins walk either way from the Palazzo Vecchio and the cathedral so exactly where you want to be.

Hotel

I have put a tiny selection of pics here and included many more in the slideshow below if you are interested.

Angel mosaics in the Baptistry.

Baptistry 8

Detail from one of the Madonnas in the Palazzo Vecchio.

Palazzo Madonna 2

Detail from one of the Annunciation frescos in the Santa Maria Novella church.

SMN angel detail

One of the chapel paintings from the same church.

SMN chapel with polyptych

We also saw some beautiful silver and goldwork, this was an altar piece frontal in the museum of the Santa Lorenzo church dating from the late 1700s.

Goldwork at St Lorenzo

Goldwork 2

Goldwork 3

Goldwork 4

Goldwork 5

I also loved this ceiling painting from the Plazzo Vecchio with its depiction of women spinning, weaving and sewing.

Palazzo ceiling crafts

Palazzo ceiling crafts 2

I had seen some of the fresco paintings from the churches before as many are in medieval costume books – look at these two beautiful gowns from frescos in the Santa Croche church.

SC Fresco - gown detail

SC Fresco - gown detail 2

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I have come back with loads of prints and a new icon with one of my favourite Madonnas by Filippo Lippi so have put up some new art in my bedroom to remind me of the trip!

Thanks for visiting and see you soon.

We have had a very, very lovely day today – not only going to Hardwick Hall for the day but because my lovely daughter Ellie works there had a brilliant ‘behind the scenes’ experience which was amazing.

Here is the Hall in the lovely sunlight – as a contemporary of Bess’s wrote when it was built – ‘more glass than wall’.

Hardwick - hall front

Hardwick - garden

Here are some pictures of what the public gets to see.

The beautiful velvet heraldic embroidery created by Bess of Hardwick herself,  the blue silk bed hangings, the Great Hall with its bed canopy.

Hardwick - Bess velvet 1

Hardwick - Bess velvet 2

Hardwick - Blue silk bed

Hardwick - great hall

But we also got to go up on the roof! This is the top of the hall and the view from one of the small banqueting rooms that are in the towers.

Hardwick - Roof

Hardwick - Roof view

The best bit for me was going into the textile store rooms in the attic.Here are all the boxes with little pictures of the contents.

Hardwick - Textile store boxes

And here is Ellie opening one of the boxes for us.This contained a beautiful velvet hanging of flowers.

Hardwick - Ellie box

Hardwick - Flower velvet 1

Hardwick - Flower velvet 2

Another box had some more of the most wonderful of Bess’s heraldic pieces, here I am close up to this piece – no glass at all, heaven!!

Hardwick - Box velvet 1

Hardwick - Box velvet 2jpg

Hardwick - Box velvet 3

I feel very, very priviliged to have been able to do this – thank you Ellie!

And we were able to see the Gideon tapestries that have been away for conservation that she has been helping rehang – go and visit her blog for more details of this. The pictures below show the before and after effects of the cleaning.

Hardwick - Gideon 2

Hardwick - Gideon 1

A brilliant day – I loved it!

Take care all of you and thanks for visiting.

I am off to Florence on Sunday with my Mum so there may be some pictures of medieval art and churches when I get back – you never know!

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