Seville trip – from cuevas to alcazars

As most of you will have guessed by now I love travel. Not just the being there at the destination but the planning the research and the whole of the journey. I never want to just get there I really enjoy the process, however long it takes. For me the journey is about sitting back and relaxing and savouring the moment.

I have been lucky enough to have some great views flying back from Spain when we have gone all along the coast in clear weather but especially love coach journeys like the trip to Seville.

It took 10 hours in total, 2 of which were 3 stops and made me realise just how small the UK is compared to Spain, we only a short way across the country from just below Alicante which is near the pointed part of Spain on the right of the map to Seville which is above the Morocco label a little way inland. Such a huge and interesting country, I have so much more to explore!

spain-simple-map-large

We traveled through the Sierra Nevada which I visited about 15 years ago on a trip to Granada and saw beautiful landscapes with snowy mountains, misty peaks, amazing rock formations and little villages with monasteries and hill top castles. I would love to do that trip again and stop off and explore some of these places one day.

One of the stops was to a cave house (or cueva) that the owners have opened as a museum in Purullena, they still live there so you enter and go through their kitchen into the rooms.

They have owned the house for generations and it now consists of 24 rooms over 3 stories. There were lots of pictures of how they had dug out the rooms and made the stairway and they had filled the upstairs rooms with antiques including to my delight examples of linens, lace and stitching including the always present Singer sewing machine!

Seville Trip Cave House 5

Seville Trip Cave House 6

We were particularly interested as my brother Ben and his wife Amanda have recently bought a cave house in Spain, in the mountains about 2 hours from my house towards Granada. I have yet to visit but have seen pictures and video.

It has 4 useable rooms so far plus a kitchen and bathroom, these are on the front due to the issues of supplying water and power and as estate agents say, ‘room for improvement’ literally as there are some rough steps hewn and some part dug upstairs rooms.

The Guadix landscape around the cave house was amazing the rocks are very soft which is why there are so many cave houses in that area and they have been shaped into all sorts of formations.

Seville Trip Cave House - landscape 2

Our hotel in Seville was very lovely, we went on the trip with a local Spanish company so the hotel was included and it was very much more luxurious than our normal lovely but budget bookings.

The Hotel Alcazar is very near the gardens that border the Alcazar (Moorish palace) and as you can see from this picture very close to the cathedral, (not one of mine but from Google), taken from the roof of the hotel.

Seville trip hotel-alcazar-view

We particularly loved all the antique textiles on the walls so an excellent location with beautiful rooms, lounge and breakfast area.

I have lots more pictures for you of everything we did but am going to have an early night tonight as we have just had our first Swords of Show for the year and so I have returned tired but very happy. We had great crowds and lovely weather, only a very little bit of rain which we were all very thankful for.

I love this picture from yesterday of me with the boys during the fashion talk, particularly like Alex’s very fetching pink outfit!

Bolsover 1 - Fashion Show

Until next time take care, have a good week and thanks for visiting.

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Seville – a feast for eyes and palate!

I have had an absolutely wonderful time away and not only did I get to relax and do very little except read, spend time with my lovely family and go to the beach, mainly for drinks but also an afternoon sitting in the sun, but also got to visit Lorca for the Easter celebrations and a mini break to Seville.

I saw all three of the girls and gave them the dolls, they were very pleased and Emily, Lola and Ruby- Rose, as they were named, have gone back to England with their new owners.

I will post lots more photos as I sort them but here is a little montage that sums up some of the highlights.

Unlike Budapest where sometimes our options for food were sometimes a bit limited due to me being gluten free and Mum being not eating meat there was an abundance of choice for food. We both love tapas and there were so many wonderful tapas bars and we were determined not to order the same thing twice so over 2 lunches and 3 evening meals we had 19 unique dishes and came back with some wonderful recipe ideas.

The other three pictures in the montage are of one the beautiful courtyard gardens that are such a feature of the architecture of the city,  some of the tiles in the Real Alcazar and the ceramics and tiles at the Plaza de Espana There were tiles everywhere and we could have bought so many wonderful reproductions of these designs.

I was catching up on blogs when I got back and was very inspired by a post by Crazy Mom with a Scrappy Churn Dash Block tutorial. I am not very confident with quilt blocks and this looked a bit complicated and I was going to finish off a pouch I have been stitching while I was away but my zip order has not arrived yet. So I just thought I would try one and made two on Saturday afternoon as they were very easy to do thanks to the excellent tutorial.

Churn dash block 1

 

Churn dash block 2

I have so many tiny Liberty scraps from all the hexagons I have made so used that for the scrappy parts and love the way they have come out. I decided to put borders on them as well and have turned one into a basket and the other will be used on a pouch.

Meanwhile it is back to work tomorrow and our first re-enactment of the year next weekend, Bolsover Castle for St George’s Day, the dragon will be back!

I will hopefully get a chance to post more pictures this week, hope you all have a good week ahead. Take care and thanks for visiting.

Happiness is …..

Not having to work on a Sunday for the first time in quite a while, especially when you had to work on the Saturday and there was snow again and all the buses stopped! By that point luckily I was safely home, it was very bad visibility on the way home but the roads were not too bad and I made it home to my lovely warm house where I could watch the snow fall down knowing I did not have to venture out.

We have had another foot of snow here and so I was very, very glad to be snuggled up under a fleece all yesterday afternoon finishing the dolls off. I spent the morning making skirts and then the afternoon doing the hand sewing.

Dolls 1

I only managed to make 2 skirts each but that is fine, at least they are all finished ready to take with me on Saturday.

Dolls 6

I made the arms a little wider this time and changed the eyes. I made them slightly bigger and used a fabric dye pen to fill them in which I think works well.

Dolls 3

Dolls 4

Dolls 5

I hand sewed all of the bodies up as well this time which gave me more control and didn’t loose any arms in the process this time 🙂 Original pattern details are in this post here.Everything came from stash apart from some elastic and the hair ribbons.

Dolls 2

I am very pleased with the way that they have all turned out, the ‘twins’ are for Anna-Mae and Alice and the pink one is for Avive. I will be seeing all of them over the time that I am in Spain which will be brilliant. I saw Anna-Mae and Alice in August but have not seen Avive since last Feb.

I will be away for just over two weeks so I hope that you all have a lovely Easter break. We are going to Lorca for Good Friday to see the Easter parades and finally see in action all that stunning goldwork we saw on our trip there a few years ago.

Then the following week we have our mini break, can’t wait, I know I have only just got back from Budapest but am so looking forward to being warm!

Take care, thanks for visiting and see you when I get back.

A bit of Hungarian stitching

Don’t get too excited, this is not anything I have done, just some wonderful inspiration from our week in Budapest and another thing to add to my wish list!

I am still working on the little dolls, progress has been very slow as I got a chest infection on top of the flu so have been in bed for most of the last week and doing nothing!

I am getting a bit fed up of being ill, I really want to be young and sprightly but my body seems to have other ideas and it is seriously affecting my crafting productivity 😦

Anyway no doubt once the weather is better, and I have come back from nearly three weeks in sunny Spain things will be a lot easier and work calms down a lot after Easter as well.

We saw some beautiful vintage work in various museums, 17th and 18th century gold work and 19th and 20th century needlepoint and redwork along with some wonderful pictures and candleholders. Sadly the Ethnography Museum is closed for renovation as I would have loved to see more traditional costume.

There were some lovely historic costumes in the National Museum, these were from the late 1500s with delicate blackwork on the linen shift and shirt and embossed velvet.

Budapest embroidery 5

Budapest embroidery 4

Budapest embroidery 6

This beautiful beaded cap and embroidered bodice was from the late 1800s and the outfit below from the early 1900s, some Steampunk inspiration!

Budapest embroidery 8

Budapest embroidery 11

There was some of the traditional Hungarian embroidery in the museum as well, this beautiful cloth was about 200 years old.It was really interesting to see the Elizabethan style motifs such as the central flower, very similar to ones that I had made previously

Budapest embroidery 7

Then there was a little display case full of ‘modern embroidery’ and knitting items from the 1950s, the sort we were seeing in all of the gift shops.

 

Budapest embroidery 10

I love these kinds of displays, always makes me wonder who owned the things in them.

I have collected some beautiful inspiration from Pinterest on my Sewing Inspiration board and I am planning to do a small motif for a pouch. I love the bright colours of the traditional work, there were some lovely blouses with these on in Budapest, especially for children.

A lot of these remind me of Jacobean crewel work, there are some very similar motifs.

I am hoping to find some time this weekend to finish the dolls, have nearly finished the stuffing and sewing up, just need to make 9 little skirts as I wanted each doll to have a choice of outfits so wish me luck!

Hopefully I will have some pretty little people to show you next week, just in time to take them to Spain for all the little girls in the family.

Take care and I hope that you have a nice weekend planned, thanks for visiting.

 

 

 

 

 

A perfect day!

This weekend was my wonderful friend Kerry’s wedding and we had the most perfect day. Despite huge weather issues in the UK that meant lots of public transport was not running and roads were shut so some people did not manage to make the wedding and me stupidly getting flu last week we made it to the beautiful medieval church they had chosen for the most perfect ceremony and then reception in a nearby manorial barn.

Kerry wedding 1

We ended up staying in a lovely hotel on the Friday night as well as we were not sure about driving from Ellie’s Saturday morning so that gave a nice relaxed start to the occasion and meant that at least we were only a short drive away on the day.

Kerry wedding 2

Everything was wonderful with such attention to detail. Kerry and Dave have planned this wedding so well and had put such a huge amount of effort into everything, from the scrolls with the history of the barn on at the tables and wedding favours which were medieval spice packets, everything was perfect.

Kerry wedding 4

The very best thing was seeing her so happy though, they both really enjoyed their day which is how it should be and it was just brilliant to see how relaxed and happy she looked. She made her own dress which was just stunning and most of our re-enactment friends came in kit as well.Photo above and below courtesy of Silke.

Kerry wedding 3

The cake was a masterpiece, made by another re-enactor friend Eloise, it is a page from the Gutenberg Bible , apologies as the barn was a bit dark so it is not the best picture but you can tell how amazing it is.

Kerry wedding 8

I am so, so pleased everything went well, Kerry and Dave deserve the very best of happiness. I first met Kerry in the pouring rain outside a castle about 15 years ago when she offered to help me pitch the tent so we could get the kids out of the rain and dry. We started spending lots more time together about 10 years ago when we began travelling to the bigger shows together and since then we have been best buddies and partners in crime.

Kerry wedding 5

She is one of the kindest people on the planet, more than a friend, a second Mum and best friend to Ellie as well as me. She is always there if I need her and I have lost count of the number of times she has driven me to and from events insisting I can’t go by train, gone and got things that we needed at shows last minute and just generally been wonderful. I don’t know what the last 10 years would have been like without her, we have had so much fun together, supported each other through some tough times and to have a day like Saturday where she smiled and laughed all day was just wonderful.

Kerry wedding 6

Congratulations  lovely couple, enjoy your honeymoon in Iceland! It may well be warmer than here 🙂

Kerry wedding 7

Take care everyone and thanks for visiting, see you at the weekend for small update though not much else been happening here apart from festivities!

Learning Hungarian

Whenever we visit a country I always try and pick up a bit of the language, as someone who teaches about language the process fascinates me and I also love to see if I can work things out from the context of being in that situation, so much easier than learning in a classroom.

Mum and I learned quite a few words from just walking around looking at shop signs and street signs and picked up some useful words such as ‘tolni’ which means push, ‘forro bor’ which is hot wine or mulled wine which we had quite a few of, ‘etterem’ which is restaurant and our all time favourite ‘Szombat’ which means Saturday!

We visited Buda Castle on our first day which is a Baroque palace rather than a medieval castle which involved a ride up the hill in a funicular railway.

Budapest castle 2

Budapest castle 7

Next on the itinerary was the Fishermans’ Bastion next to the amazingly beautiful St Matthias church.

I am one day going to write a book of embroidery and quilting patterns based on my travels and all the wonderful patterns I have seen and this roof needs no explanation, look at those lovely hexagons!

Budapest St Matthias 2

I enjoyed taking arty shots through the Bastion windows and this reminded me very much of the cloisters we saw in Lisbon.

We also visited the Vajdahunyad Castle on the same day that we went to the fantastic Széchenyi thermal baths. These pictures are of the entrance foyer of the baths in wonderful mosaics, a real cathedral to glamourous bathing!

This is what the baths look like inside, picture from Google as we were in cossies and not carrying cameras, although there were some very silly people with their phones in plastic bags taking selfies!

It was gorgeous and wonderfully warm, the water was 28 degrees while the outside temperature was 11 degrees.

Szechenyi-Spa-Baths-Press-Photo-Outdoor-Pool

The castle was built in 1896 for the millennial exhibition and is based on lots of different architectural styles. We had a little picnic by the castle lake after our swim as it was a lovely sunny day.

Budapest H castle 1

On the way there we spotted this beautifully restored art deco house.

Budapest Art Deco House

Budapest Art Deco House 2

This one was sadly not open to the public though we did visit another art deco museum later on in the week that not only had gorgeous furniture and paintings but also gluten free cake! That was so nice after 3 days of wandering past coffee houses and bakeries just drooling over all the lovely things!

Budapest cake

A very, very lovely trip to somewhere we have wanted to visit for ages. I have some more pictures of textiles from the museums to show you in a later post, it wouldn’t be one of my holidays without a bit of textile exploration would it now 🙂

While we were away Mum and I were discussing our trip for next year. We are going to Seville at Easter but would like to visit another city next year. On the shortlist are Istanbul, Tallin, Moscow, Krakow, Dubrovnik and St Petersburg. I do love planning holidays almost as much as going on them!

Have a lovely week ahead, take care and thanks for visiting. We are in for some severe snow this week so hopefully it will not cause too much disruption, it seems to have been going on forever this winter, roll on spring!

 

Budapest, lots of snow, lots of goulash!

We got back from Budapest late on Thursday, having been slightly delayed due to snow which we had lots of during our stay. It made for a beautiful visit, some of the time it was very clear with blue skies and thankfully the day we visited the thermal baths it was like that, others it was grey and blizzardy but it was really lovely.This one of the most famous views of the city, of the Parliament building taken from the castle area.

Budapest view

We packed so much into our 4 days and as usual I have lots to show you. We stayed in a very lovely studio apartment, Nova Apartments which was really spacious, well equipped and very warm, another great find from Expedia.

It was 20 mins walk from the centre of town and in an area full of bars, restaurants and ruin pubs so we had some really great meals out.I am gluten free and Mum is a vegetarian so main meals were easy to find but I did eat a lot of goulash for lunches which was really lovely and kept me warm for sightseeing.

Budapest tram

We spent so much time just wandering around looking at the beautiful buildings, there is lots of Art Deco there which I love, as well as Gothic architecture, amazing churches and castles, an feast of wonderful architecture.

The street where we stayed had some tailor’s shops and I loved these adverts.They reminded me of all my vintage print fabric.

Budapest Tailors adverts 1

Budapest Tailors adverts 2

Budapest Tailors adverts 3

I will be back later in the week with some more pictures for you, I am having a nice relax this weekend finishing of embroidering doll faces and am hoping to be able to make some progress with these tomorrow afternoon.

Take care and thanks for visiting.