Tiles , sardines and another wonderful and wacky palace

Hello everyone

Mum and I really enjoyed our first trip to Portugal a couple of weeks ago, I came back with so many beautiful postcards of tiles as inspiration for quilt designs and some beautifully wrapped fish. Sardines are a big feature of Portuguese cuisine and there were tins of fish for sale everywhere.

Lisbon - sardines

I could have bought loads of these as they were in all of the gift shops and I love the vintage designs.

The city was lovely with lots of beautiful buildings, many art deco in style and the best railway station I have ever seen, the bottom two pictures in this mosaic.

The tiles on the postcards below come from the many tiled buildings that are in the city, some amazing pattern inspiration, if you want to see more look at this link.

Lisbon -tile postcards 1

I have framed this beautiful postcard and put it in my kitchen, lovely windows!

Lisbon  - tile postcards 6

The main reason for choosing Portugal for our trip was a blog post last year from Gillian Travis  , one of my favourite textile artists, who had visited Sintra, an area where the Portuguese royal family had their winter retreat and built lots of wonderful palaces. She has made some lovely journal quilts based on her trip including one with sardine tins, pictures at the bottom of this post.

Sadly my camera malfunctioned while we were away and though I thought I had taken lots of gorgeous pictures they were all corrupted so have had to resort to finding others from the internet to show you the wonderful Pena Palace  that we visited on my birthday.

Lisbon pena palace 2

I love bizarre palaces, we visited Neuschwanstein a few years ago and this is similar in its wonderful over the top architecture, this time with a Moorish influence.The whole area is so beautiful with rocky outcrops amongst the trees and views out to sea.

Lisbon pena-national-palace 1

I love this picture of it in the clouds, it looks like something from an epic film like a Lord of the Rings movie, amazing to think that this was actually built on the site of an original monastery as a family home.

Lisbon pena palace 3 clouds

We had a brilliant day exploring the palace and the beautiful grounds topped off by a ride down from the palace in a jeep which was very exciting! We had bought round trip bus tickets but the queues were really long for the return bus and there were lots of vehicles dropping people off at the palace and offering return trips. We narrowly missed getting a tuk tuk but were very happy with a cool ride down in the jeep.

We ended the day with a drinks on the terrace of a bar overlooking Lisbon and tapas at a very cute little place where we were the only customers, possibly something to do with the fact that Portugal were playing Germany in the Euro 16.Happily they won so we came back to the hotel accompanied by the cheers and honking horns of a lot of very happy Portuguese. A very memorable day!

We also visited an a great art museum and some found some absolutely amazing cloisters in the monastery, even better than Laycock Abbey so I will be posting pictures of those soon.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

Sunshine and gold

Hello everyone, am back from my very hot and brilliant event and a quick National Trust houses tour with Ellie. We saw four very beautiful properties and have had a thoroughly splendid time, got lots of photos to edit in between the work stuff this week.

Not been doing much crafting due to being away, just some hand sewing of hexagons in the car but wanted to show you the newly braided outfit and some pictures from our last event at Ashby de la Zouche Castle.

We had a really sunny and hot weekend which is not always the case at this venue and came home very pink and happy. Here is a close up of Ellie’s dress and coat with the 30 feet of braid on it.

I ordered it from a company in the US via Etsy , Tin Tiara Trims  and sewed two strips together. Ellie just has to finish beading it all now, she has done the neckline but has the gown to do as well. It is gorgeous stuff and I have lots left for Christmas ornaments as well!

This is a detail picture of the new belt she has made to go with the pouch and torque head dress. The charms she has used were also from Etsy.

Ashby - Ellie 5

She has also been busy with some new circlet head dresses, here she is a couple of weeks ago at an event celebrating the 750th anniversary of Chesterfield’s market charter. Photos from group Facebook page.

Ellie at Chesterfield 2 -small

Ellie at Chesterfield 1 -small

The dress she is wearing is one that Kerry gave her that she has altered and she has also made the veil, she is becoming a very skilled needlewoman and I am very proud of her 🙂

The King’s encampment was looking rather splendid as well, he has a new flag as well as a new awning area.

Ashby - kings awning

His kit is always amazing and he pus such a great effort into it.

Ashby - kings flag

Will be back soon with photos of Trust loveliness, have a nice week ahead and enjoy the sunshine if you are in the UK.

Thanks for visiting.

The end of a lovely day and a lovely season

I think my favourite time in re-enactment is the end of the first day of an event, especially when it is sunny and you have had a good day when everything has gone to plan and both re-enactors and the public have enjoyed themselves.

Then you can look forward to a relaxing evening, maybe have a BBQ, sit round the camp fire and visit the beer tent later on. All lovely with the added prospect of another event day tomorrow.

These photos below were taken at the end of Saturday at the Caldicot show last weekend. Caldicot was my first ever large re-enactment event and that is where I fell in love with doing this.

We are so lucky to be able to do this and be in lovely places full of beauty and history.

The castle is a magical place, especially when the evening sun is shining on it and I was just wandering round taking pictures of people relaxing outside their tents, or in the case of the Battle of the Nations group doing a bit of sword training.

Caldicot 2015

Caldicot 2

Caldicot 3

Caldicot 4

Caldicot 5

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Caldicot 9

Caldicot 10

The view from the top of the tower was brilliant, thanks to all of the groups who camped inside the castle with their living history displays, it really does bring the castle to life.

Caldicot 11

Caldicot 12

I have been helping to organise this event for the last few years and along with Ellie will be organising it again next year, this was our last show for this year and a great way to end the season.

It has been a very variable year in terms of weather, Caldicot being the only show where we have not come home with a wet tent, but still brilliant fun.

Our group, Swords of Mercia, have done more shows for English Heritage than previous years and got good feedback from all of them and hopefully we will get the chance to do those shows again next year.

We have had lots of sitting round campfires, discussing armour and kit, all the new things the boys have bought or want to, and all the things we have made or are going to make.

As usual we have promised to be more organised for next season and make sure that all kit is made well in advance. We shall see if that actually happens!

So I still have a couple of bits of tent to dry, it is raining here at the moment but I am hopefully it will dry up later. Am taking Ted for a walk in a bit and then will be sewing up the wedding jacket 🙂

Hope that you have a lovely weekend planned and thanks for visiting.

Very sunny Spain

Sharon and I really enjoyed our recent trip to Spain, it was between 35 and 40 degrees while we were there, a little bit different to Yorkshire, so we did a lot of staying in the shade.

We did a couple of trips to Cartagena and to Elche, both cities I have been to before but there is always something new to see including the restored Roman amphitheatre and these beautiful Art Deco buildings in the side streets of Cartagena.

Spain July 2015 Cartgena 1

Spain July 2015 Cartgena 2

Spain July 2015 Cartgena 3

Spain July 2015 Cartgena 4

Spain July 2015 Cartgena 5

I went on my first ever Spanish train!

Spain July 2015 Train

Spain July 2015 Market

From the train I could see this lovely Art Deco market hall in one of the little towns that we passed, would love to go back and take some close up shots one day.

We also went on a catamaran trip around the bay, the sea was so gorgeously turquoise.

Spain July 2015 Cartgena 6

Spain July 2015 Cartgena 7

Spain July 2015 Cartgena 8

In Elche we found a new café with a lovely vertical garden and misters spraying out cool water from under the umbrellas – much appreciated!

Spain July 2015 Elche cafe

Spain July 2015 Elche apartment

Spain July 2015 Elche bench tiles

Spain July 2015 Elche cathedral 1

Spain July 2015 Elche cathedral 2

Spain July 2015 Elche door

Spain July 2015 Elche park bench

Spain July 2015 Elche roof

Spain July 2015 Elche square

Spain July 2015 Elche tiles

Spain July 2015 Elche window

One of the clothes shops in Elche, Zara, is built inside the old theatre and they have kept the stage and ceiling décor.

Spain July 2015 Elche Zara 1

Spain July 2015 Elche Zara 2

Sharon was very busy knitting the sample for Sarah, she knitted on the terrace, the beach, bus coach and train.

Spain  July 2015 Sharon knitting

We had lots of gorgeous tapas, tried a few new places out including a traditional bodega in the village where you can buy your wine and sherry on tap, plastic bottles supplied, for a couple of Euros a litre. I do love that country!

Spain July 2015

Sadly am not going back again until Jan as mu Mum is over in October for a family wedding and I am hopefully going to China for work later in October so will have to wait a while for more cheap wine 😉

We are away this coming weekend at Peveril Castle, (the one with the very steep climb), for a show with our group. this time we have booked camping at a campsite in a nearby village to save having to take everything up the hill!

Looking forward to some lovely views and hoping for very good weather as it is a little exposed!

Take care, have a good weekend whatever you are doing and thanks for visiting.

Attention to detail

We had a great time at Ashby de la Zouche and amazingly apart from light drizzle on Sunday it didn’t rain! This was Sunday evening before we sat round the campfire – just beautiful.

Ashby May 2015

Ashby May 2015 Castle in sun 2

Ashby May 2015 Castle in sun 3

Jamie’s new surcoat was finished just in time on Friday – it took a lot longer than expected because of the lining which I had to do 3 times before I got it right. At least I have learnt from the experience and will not attempt to machine sew one in next time as it is too bulky.

I have had lots of compliments on it and a couple of requests for others so will be making more. I am going to update my, ‘Making a surcoat page’, when I get chance as I know that always gets lots of visitors.

I was especially pleased that not only did the individual squares match up the front and back did as well and the part squares at either side.

Ashby May 2015 Jamie 2

Ashby May 2015 Jamie 3

Ashby May 2015 Jamie 4

The boys did some action shots for me as well.

Ashby May 2015 Luke and Jamie 1

Ashby May 2015 Luke and Jamie 2

Ashby May 2015 Luke and Jamie 3

It never ceases to amaze me the attention to detail that the boys in our medieval group pay to their kit, even though they know it will get battered and worn they spend so much effort making it look lovely, they are real works of art.

Here are some more pictures of Luke with his new brigandine or coat of plates, behind the leather are metal plates for protection.

Ashby May 2015 Luke brig detail 1

Ashby May 2015 Luke detail 3

Ashby May 2015 Luke brig detail 2

Ashby May 2015 Luke brig detail 3

I love the decorated rivets and am going to try to get some of these for a belt for Ellen.

Ashby May 2015 Luke detail 1

Ashby May 2015 Luke detail 2

Ashby May 2015 Luke 1

Ashby May 2015 Luke with sword

Here is Shane’s beautiful arm armour and our King – Edward the second (or Clive in real life) whose costumes are always amazing, he has a new crowned helmet for this season which is very impressive.

Ashby May 2015 Shane detail

Ashby May 2015 King 1

Ashby May 2015 King detail 1

Ashby May 2015 King detail 2

Ashby May 2015 King detail 3

This week’s task is to make a shirt before the event next weekend – should be a simple job and at least I do have a very long car journey to finish the hand stitching!

Have fun and see you all again soon, thanks for visiting.

A sunny weekend at a castle

Well I hope that you all had a lovely weekend as we had an excellent time at our first show of the year at Bolsover Castle. The sun shone almost all the time apart from a very heaver shower on Saturday, luckily just as our slot finished, which allowed us to test the new waterproofing on the awning 🙂

We were there doing a St George’s event with a number of other groups including the wonderful Atkinson’s Action Horses who we have seen before a couple of year’s ago doing their dressage display at Bolsover.

William Cavendish who built the castle was a very keen horseman and the riding stables have been restored and are used for a display of 17th century horsemanship by the group.

This weekend the group were displaying combat training and stunt riding and there were some brilliant flips and rides alongside the horse either horizontal or vertical while still holding on and the incredible riding of two horses at once.

They do stunt work for lots of TV shows and films and we saw the horse that has been used in Poldark which was very exciting! Go and have a look at their web site to see pictures of the stunts.

As well as all that there was us with the usual weapons and armour talks, head dress talks  and combat , this time with a difference as it was with dragons!

Sadly not Game of Thones standards but two of our members Jamie and Trevor did a brilliant job dressing in dragon costumes to thrill the crowd.

It was also an outing for the new costume we have been working on. I can’t take credit for Jamie’s new outfit apart from the material which I gave him as the gown was made by Jackie from Cloaked and Daggered   and he looks very lovely in it. Here he is on the left of this picture with Luke.

Bolsover St George

Bolsover St Gerge 2

And here are James, Trevor and Richard – looking not quite so fine and dandy but very happy in their peasants’ outfits.

Bolsover St Gerge 3

Ellie I can take some credit for, she has had this gown and coat for a number of years, we bought it from a friend who had it made by the genius that is Kat from Kats Hats. Ellie had outgrown the gown so I altered it, removing two of the coat panels to make new sleeves.

Bolsover St George - Ellie

Bolsover St Gerge 5

Bolsover St Gerge 6

Bolsover St Gerge 7
I am planning to make a matching torque head dress similar to the black one that she is wearing in the picture which was one of my earliest makes.

She had many compliments on the outfit and had her picture taken with lots of children who wanted to be with the ‘princess’! It is lovely to wear being made of silk velvet which is a very fine material and looks beautiful on her.

So back to reality this week with the start of teaching term and a few weekends at home to make more kit!
Take care and thanks as always for visiting.

Copenhagen – costume old and new

As re-enactors we spend a lot of time trying to be as authentic as we can when it comes to costume, most of it we make ourselves and so we visit churches to see effigies, look at manuscripts and illustrated bibles to try and get clues about things.

The best source is always a portrait but sadly those are very rare for the early 1300s which is the era we do most of the time.

The Tudor period is luckily a different situation as it was very fashionable to have your portrait painted so there are lots of lovely examples and Mum and I really enjoyed the paintings saw at Frederiksborg Castle.

Although I don’t make Tudor costume myself my lovely friend Kat does and Ellie has her costumed volunteers at Hardwick Hall so I still like to look at these and take pictures for them to use.

One day when I have more time I would love to re-enact this period if only for the blackwork I can wear so all of this research will come in useful.

Just look at these wonderful examples of beaded headwear, lace and jewellery. All of these ladies lived from the mid 1500s to mid 1600s and are members or relatives of the Danish Royal family at that time.

Copenhagen Costume

Copenhagen Costume 11

Copenhagen Costume 12

Copenhagen Costume 13

Copenhagen Costume 14

Copenhagen Costume 15

Copenhagen Costume 16

Copenhagen Costume 17

Copenhagen Costume 18

What really struck me was just how similar the fashions were to our Tudor and Elizabethan fashions of the time, I had not expected there to be so much similarity across Europe in dress.

We were also very impressed with the way that costume had been used in the interpretation for the children. The whole of the old wine cellar was devoted to an exhibition of the life of Christian 4th of Denmark who was born in 1577 at Frederiksborg Castle.

The best thing about the exhibition was that portraits of the young prince and his family had been used to recreate costume that children could try on.

They were elaborate and very authentic reproductions from the front with splits and ties at the back which would be easy to try on but also in a range of sizes so every child could try on something.

There were boys’ as well as girls’ costume, plus mini armour and a photo area with drapes to make it look like a portrait background.

Copenhagen Costume

Copenhagen Costume 2

Copenhagen Costume 3

Copenhagen Costume 4

Copenhagen Costume 5

Copenhagen Costume 6

Copenhagen Costume 7

This one was our favourite – the portrait at the back shows the King’s family and there are four dresses to try on with head dresses as there were three daughters in the portrait.

This is a photo of the painting from the National Museum of Denmark’s website.

Christian's family

Copenhagen Costume 8

Genius idea and there were lots of children enjoying the displays which also included food displays and an area where they could practise writing with a quill pen and colour pictures of costume.

I showed all of this to Ellie as inspiration for her interpretation as although I have seen costume in properties I have visited in the UK nothing has been done on this scale.

We have our first re-enactment event of the season this weekend at Bolsover Castle in Derbyshire  so if you are in the area please come and say hello.

There is plenty to see and do and there may well be dragons involved at some point as the theme for the weekend is the celebration of St George’s Day. It has been beautiful weather here this week so we hope it will continue for the weekend 🙂

Have a good weekend whatever you do and thanks for visiting.