The (wet) Castle Camping Club

As I have previously posted we get to camp in some of the most amazing places with after hours access to historic venues and the wonderful views from the tent for breakfast. This was my view last Saturday morning.

Tutbury morning view

We were at Tutbury Castle for a new event and had a very good time despite lots of rain. Great company, a few campfires and a little bit of cider made for a very nice weekend 🙂 Thanks to Armourial Knights for all their hard work in organising it.

I had wanted to visit Tutbury for a long time as it was one of the places where Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned while she was in the care of the Earl of Shrewsbury, Bess of Hardwick’s husband.

As you may know from my posts about Hardwick, Mary was a very keen needlewoman and again as with most of the places I visit I am very honoured to have been in the place where some of that work may have been created.

Here are a few photos – not great shots as it was a very grey weekend but what can you expect from mid summer in England!

Tutbury Show 1

Tutbury Show

Tutbury small 4

Tutbury small owl 1

Tutbury small owl 2

I love the shot I got of the owl flying off the perch!

Have had a very busy work week and am looking forward to a weekend of nothing but sewing – lots of medieval kit to make for friends so am going to try to document the process for some new costume making pages.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

Fun, sun and a few feathers!

Hello and hope everyone has had a good week. I have been busy marking and so it was lovely to have a fun weekend away at the beautiful Tatton Hall event in Cheshire. The weather forecast was not very good for the weekend but luckily it rained mainly at night (although we did have a wet set up on Friday!)

I have just bought a new tent and was planning to take a pic of it to show you (you know how I love tents 🙂 ) but got distracted by the rain.

It is a ‘new to me’ slightly bigger version of the one I use when there is just me camping and is lovely and roomy, for those events when me, Ellie and Kerry might be hiding from the weather!

Ellie is going to have my old tent as the one I bought her as a 16th birthday present is really too small to get into medieval kit in. Plus the kids tell me off if I have too many tents myself – they seem to think I have a problem.

The rest of the weekend was lovely and sunny, we even got a pink yesterday and had a brilliant time as usual.

Ellie was given a new feather for her helm from a friend who had decided to get some very impressive ones for his helm, here she is with her feather and he and another friend Andy and enjoying themselves on the battlefield.

Ellie new feather

 Andy 1

Andy  2

Jake was there as well, it is his birthday today and as he has had the last 10 birthdays celebrated at Tatton he joined us for this one so he was our official photographer, which meant we got some really good shots again.

Here are our friends from Knights and Freemen and Harlech enjoying the battle and a shot of me in watercarrying mode!


Knights and Freeman and Harlech fighting

Rhys 2

Rhys 3

Rhys 4

Water carrying

He also took lots of shots of cute dogs so asked me to pick one to include in the post so here it is!

Cute dog

I have been making lots of kit recently for friends in my group and other groups and have lots of things still to make so I am going to have a lovely summer of sewing :-).

I have made a couple of chaperons and this weekend Kerry was wearing the one I made for her at the end of last season for the first time so here are some pictures of that.

Kerry Chaperon

Kerry Chaperon 2

We are off to Tutbury Castle next weekend for another event, this time a new one so we are looking forward to that as we haven’t been to this castle before.

Have a good week and thanks for visiting.

Medieval art anyone?

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.


I have put a tiny selection of pics here, as there was so much to see.

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

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.

It just gets better!

Hello everyone and a very special welcome to all my new followers, I have been getting lots of notifications recently about people now following me and am very honoured, hope you enjoy all the future posts.

I have just got back from a brilliant trip to Florence and am sorting out my many pictures of medieval art and churches for a mega post.

I have had a lovely day today so I thought that I would share some of it with you – when I first moved here I promise to post pictures of my lovely surroundings in all seasons so here we have the early summer collection.

I love walking round here and particularly the walks up the valley with the reservoirs but the scenery has just got better as the rhododendrons are now in bloom! I love rhododendrons and they have only just started to come out so the walks will be even better for the next couple of months!

I am so lucky – all this is just about half an hour walk from my house! And there were baby geese on the reservoir today, have not seen them before.

Rhod walk June

Rhod walk June 2

Rhod walk June 3

Rhod walk June 4

Rhod walk June 5

Got back from holiday to find this very lovely Spring Exchange piece from Stephanie at Blue Star Stitcher, my latest partner in the Seasonal Exchange blog. This is a Prairie Schooler piece in an egg-shaped finish with really lovely beading. The backing fabric is really pretty as well. Thanks Stephanie it goes really well in my kitchen where I am currently displaying all my Spring exchange ornies.

Spring Exchange rec'd

Spring Exchange rec'd 2

Will be back soon with the Florence pics.

Thanks for visiting.

More from Hardwick

My lovely daughter Ellie has just sent me some further photos from Hardwick which I wanted to share with you.

The first two are of a painting of Arabella (or Arbella), Bess of Hardwick’s granddaughter, which hangs in the long gallery. This is a beautiful portrait and the detail on the sleeve is amazing.

Hardwick - Arabella 1

Hardwick - Arabella 2

This one is a ‘slip’ a tent stitched piece which has been appliqued onto a velvet background. This comes from the ‘Mary Queen of Scots bed’ although Mary never stayed at Hardwick but she may have slept in this bed as Bess’s fourth husband George Talbot the Earl of Shrewsbury was Mary’s jailor for a long time and Bess and Mary did spend time together sewing.

Hardwick MQoS Bed

The last three are of the volunteers at Hardwick on one of their recent costume days. Aren’t they wonderful. Ellie and I would love to do Tudor re-enactment, the costumes are so fantastic and it would mean I could wear some of my blackwork! We shall see what I have have time to do next year.

Hardwick - Costumes

Hardwick - Costume 2

Hardwick - Costume 3

Hope you have enjoyed these, thanks for visiting.