A week of lovely things

I have had a very exciting week, as I mentioned last week I went to stay with Ellen. This  involved a walk in the beautiful Whitwell Woods near her house, a visit to Brodsworth Hall, lots of decorating and gardening (including trips to the garden centre and B and Q), and a trip to Aldi on the way back. I have not had this much adventure in weeks 🙂

Ellen has been going to these woods regularly and they are beautiful, it was a really hot day so we were very glad of the shade. We saw lots of squirrels running around in the paths. They are so cute, Ellen has squirrels at work and sees them every day but I get so excited when I see one.

The social distancing at Brodsworth meant that we were only able to visit the house but it all worked very well. You have to book timed tickets and there were plenty available. We had a lovely picnic in the grounds of the house by the statues.

Brodsworth 4

Brodsworth 5

The formal gardens are very beautiful, especially the different shrubs and hedges.

Brodsworth 13

I also really liked the fern grotto, I have a lot of ferns in my rockery and love the way they grow back each year from tiny tendrils.

There were also lots of beautiful flowers, some we had seen before, and others, like this purple monkey orchid in the top right, which were new to us.

Brodsworth Alison

Ellen thought my choice of blouse was very appropriate for the rose arbour!

There were tea facilities and the shop was open so I was able to support English Heritage by buying some of my favourite curds.We took some gluten free scones, jam and cream with us and had a lovely little afternoon tea in the courtyard.

Brodsworth 28

I have been really wanting to get back to visiting places as I know how much they rely on visitor revenue. I know it may not be the top of everyone’s list of things to save but I really value our heritage so want to try and do as much as I can to help both English Heritage and the National Trust over the coming months. So many things are at risk because of the situation and it is very worrying for all who work in both these places and the retail and hospitality industries. I am very lucky to have a job that has not been affected too much.

As well as the adventuring I got to help Ellen with some painting and a bit of a garden makeover. This bed was full of stones and very hard but we managed to dig it out. We made a trip to B and Q to get some petunias, bizzie lizzies and lobelias which will be very pretty when they flower.

Ellie's garden

I also got to spend time with her very cute cat, Wynn, who I have not met before. He enjoyed his time with us in the garden while we drank gin and tonic and admired our handiwork. He is a rescue cat and cannot go outside on his own due to being poorly so he was on a harness with us.

Ellie's cat

Ellen has also been decorating stones to brighten up her garden. She has made lots of ladybird ones and also some beautiful mandala style ones, so she and I spent a lovely afternoon painting some more of them. Hers are the two larger ones here. They look so pretty dotted around the garden and hopefully we can get some more stones to add to these.

Painted stones

It was such a lovely week, I really appreciated being able to spend lots of time with Ellen as well as get some practical things done. It feels as if things are really starting to feel more normal here, fingers crossed that will continue.

I have some leave coming up this week as well, Ellen will be up again and we are going to go on a little day out for my birthday, just to one of the neighbouring villages. We will also be seeing my brother and sister in law for a visit in their garden. I also plan to work on more knitted animals and I have almost finished the vintage style embroidery. I am looking forward to a few quiet weeks after all the busyness of work.

I hope that you have a lovely week ahead as well. Take care,stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Historic Scotland

We were staying quite a distance away from most of the National Trust for Scotland properties but did travel across to the other coast one day to visit the historic town of Culross.

We stopped for a cup of tea in a very cute little cafe and as I was looking out of the window I thought it looked familiar and I might have seen it in a film and turned round to see a signed picture from one of the stars of Outlander. I have really enjoyed this historical series, particularly looking at the costume, so I was really interested to hear about the locations that were used for the series.

The two pictures below show how the market square above was transformed for some of the scenes in one of the earlier seasons.

Scotland Culross_outlander

Scotland Culross-Outlander 2

The whole of the town is beautiful, there are such gorgeous cottages along winding streets leading up to the hill with views across the Firth of Forth.

We also visited Culross Palace, really a manor house rather than a place with amazing painted ceilings. No pictures were allowed inside so I only have ones from other travel sites.

Scotland Culross 12

Scotland Culross 11

Scotland Culross Palace

There was a gorgeous garden as well that goes all the way up to the hillside. There were some wonderful thistles and cardoons. The gardens were also used in the filming as they grow lots of traditional herbs there.

The most wonderful thing for me was that there is a Culross Needlework group who have been working on some gorgeous things to decorate the rooms. This picture is from the National Trust website.

Culross needlework - cloth

There were so many amazing examples of 17th and 18th century embroidery including sweet bags, pillows, pincushions, bed hangings and coverlets.

Sadly I have not been able to find many other pictures of their work apart from these few from the Trust website but there is an article about them here. They had also recreated one of mine and Ellen’s favourite pieces, the Layton jacket, which was in one of the bedrooms.

Scotland Culross_crewelwork_jacket_

Scotland Culross_detail_jacket_

With each piece there was information about the embroidery and the stitches used. It really made the place come alive and I hope it is something that the Trust encourages at other properties.

We also enjoyed a visit to Kilchurn Castle which stands in an amazing location at the end of a loch near where my friend lives. It was a gloomy and wet day when we visited but I can imaging the castle in all its glory and its location makes for some amazing photos.

We also met a lovely pair of Highland cows and had a chat to a photographer who works there taking amazing photos in all seasons.

Scotland 1 - Kilchurn 6

This is one of mine from across the loch through the rain in a very nice hotel where we had some tea and a chat to Jake all the way in Japan via the miracles of the internet.

Scotland 1 - Kilchurn 7

We ended our trip with a visit to Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Hill House, which Ellen was particularly keen to see as they have built a box around it to preserve it from the weather. I love the Art Deco designs of Charles and Margaret Mackintosh and her wonderful artwork and embroidery.

A really excellent holiday combining all of my favourite things, camping, mountains, historic houses, needlework and of course family and friends. I will definitely be back soon!

Yarndale is taking place this weekend so hopefully Sharon and Sarah will have had a good time, I managed to make a few things for sale so I will be back in a while to post pictures of those. I am having a very relaxing and creative weekend. I was hoping to do a bit of walking but it has been so appallingly wet that I am quite content to stay in and watch the pouring rain from the comfort of my sewing room.

Hope you are all having a lovely time and are not too wet where you are, take care and thanks for visiting.

 

 

Cobwebs in the chapel and other conservation tasks

Many years ago, 7 to be exact, I went to visit my lovely daughter at her first full time job with the Trust at Powis Castle in Wales. I had a great time and learnt lots about conservation and what she did to maintain the things in the castle. Here she is in that job with her daily checklist clipboard for recording light levels and other important things.

Ellie at Powis

Since then I have visited her at Hardwick House and had an access all areas in the textile store there which was amazing, climbed the chapel tower at Clumber and been a World War 1 Land Girl volunteer. Having a daughter in the heritage industry is fab because as well as all the lovely places she has worked I have had some brilliant behind the scenes fun as well.

Clumber 3 - chapel

On Sunday she was working so I went and volunteered with her again. The first job was cleaning the chapel which involved learning some new dusting skills.

Clumber 20 - chapel

There are some amazing statues in the chapel and they have to be cleaned very carefully with a soft brush as they are extremely fragile being over 130 years old.

Clumber 21 - chapel

Clumber 22 - chapel

Clumber 23 - chapel

I also dusted the gorgeous hanging lights with a very long extendable fluffy duster.This is more complicated than it sounds as the lights are very fragile and the brush needs careful control, not easy when it is eight foot in the air!

There was a lovely exhibition that Ellie had put together of some of the ecclesiastical garments that they have at the chapel. One of my projects over the winter will be some gold work to take to re-enactment. I was thinking of something like this piece on the top left on this montage as I love the simplicity and elegance of the design.

I was also really thrilled to see the candlesticks that I have recently donated to the chapel on the altar. I bought these from a local charity shop about 5 years ago but Ellie mentioned last time she was here that they were looking for some for the chapel as the originals can no longer be on display.

Clumber 16 - chapel

I was going to donate them anyway when I move to Spain so I was very happy for them to go to their new home now. They look amazing, so shiny and sparkling and I am so pleased that they fit in so well.

Clumber 18 - chapel

Clumber 17 - chapel

We also got to visit Nellie, the replica of the trench digging tank that Ellie and her team constructed as part of the WW2 events at Clumber this year.

Clumber 1 - Nellie

It is an amazing feat of construction, all made of wood and it looks so much like the original. There is also an assault course which the children have been enjoying.

Clumber 4 - Ellie

Clumber 5 - Nellie

The afternoon was spent in Ellen’s conservation room and store where I got to see some of the artefacts from the house.

Clumber 24 - chapel

As it was demolished in 1938 there is very little that has been found but anything that is goes in here and is catalogued and stored in conservation grade bags.This is a gorgeous confirmation badge.

Clumber 26 - chapel

Clumber 25 - chapel

Clumber 2 - Nellie

There was a small piece of a cross from the chapel statues that needs to be reattached along with various finds such as some small wooden shields.

Clumber 29 - chapel

I helped with some cataloguing of these and Ellie showed me some of the others including two of her favourite finds from underneath the choir stalls in the chapel.

Clumber 27 - chapel

Clumber 28 - chapel

One is some little boats made from the notes of the hymns to be sung that day and the other a crumpled bag that came from a sweet shop. Clearly some choir boys were getting bored one day! I do love these little bits of social history, they are just as exciting to me as ornate paintings or grand houses.

I am so lucky to have children doing exciting things that they love and it is brilliant that I can share in them.

I am still making felt flowers but am going to stop soon and get back to some knitting as there are Christmas presents to be finished. We are at Lincoln Steampunk this Saturday so I am really looking forward to that. I shall be taking a brolly to protect the tea party hat as we have had some dreadful downpours lately 😦

Hopefully I will get chance to post some pictures before we set off for Scotland next week! Hope that you have a nice week ahead and thanks for visiting.

 

A mini Hardwick Hall

Our last day of the staycation saw us at Gawthorpe Hall in Lancashire, another National Trust property. I have visited twice before but Mum and Ellen had never been. I particularly wanted Ellen to visit as the house was designed by the same architect as Hardwick, where she used to work and is a beautiful miniature version with an amazing textile collection. There are some historic rooms open but much of the public space contains the textiles collected by Rachel Kay-Shuttleworth.

Gawthorpe 1

Gawthorpe 2

Gawthorpe 29

Rachel lived there from 1886 until 1967 and collected over 30,000 pieces of textiles, from all cultures and for all uses.

Gawthorpe 24

She was an avid embroiderer and promoter of arts and crafts of all kinds which she taught to keep the skills alive.

Gawthorpe 13

This small display of ecclesiastical goldwork reminded me of my visit to the Elizabeth Hoare collection in Liverpool.

Rachel believed that creativity had health and and social benefits. I like to think that she and I would have been very good friends if I had ever been able to meet her, she sounds wonderful. The collection is maintained by a charity and works with schools and local communities as well as stitchers.

I love this display of her desk in one of the rooms, her stitching is on the walls and in the drawers are all the sorts of things she would have used, I love seeing this very personal side of stitching and can imagine her writing articles for embroidery magazines and deciding on new projects here.

There were some very similar pieces to those in the Women Travellers exhibition at Bankfield Museum that came from Eastern Europe and Asia.

Gawthorpe 22

Gawthorpe 23

Gawthorpe 21

The displays have changed since I last went about 5 years ago and there were so many wonderful pieces of whitework and lace on display.

These are two things I have never done but am fascinated by the delicacy of the work and think that the shawls and collars are beautiful. Maybe one day I will be able to incorporate something like this into a Steampunk costume.

Another thing I loved were these hexagons that she had collected, they had been fussy cut and posted to someone, probably as gift.

Gawthorpe 3

I think it is so exciting to see actual papers made of scraps, you can just imagine the sender making these and sending them to a special friend. There were also some hexagon needlebooks and you know how I love a good hexagon!

Gawthorpe 4

Gawthorpe 5

Rachel’s personal rooms also contained this wonderful bed with crewelwork hangings, I am really looking forward to the day when I have a hand- made quilt on my bed, I have one as a work in progress but it will probably be a retirement project as have not touched it for about a year. Luckily fabric does not go off!

Gawthorpe 30

Gawthorpe 31

There was also a display of contemporary embroidery inspired by the collection with some beautiful whitework pieces and silk embroidered birds and insects.

Gawthorpe 27

Gawthorpe 28

This case of needle work tools was also inspired by the collection.

I have been embracing Rachel’s philosophy very much this week, we are right in the middle of marking season, with the added work on my doctorate and so it has been wonderful to sit and stitch in the evenings. I have been working on a table decoration for my Make do and Mend display and so have been quietly doing chain stitch while watching Netflix, very soothing after a hard day of thinking!

I have transformed a man’s shirt into a blouse for my display as well and am now busy working on other aspects, luckily both Jake and I have worn through socks recently so I will be able to demonstrate my darning mushroom and darning egg and I have just got a copy of a vintage pattern for making some patchwork slippers so that is my next project for the event.I am really enjoying the research for the event and have been doing lots of very interesting reading. I have also just won an auction on Ebay for some clothing and food ration books to add to my artifacts which I am very excited about. I will do a post all about that in a little while but my next post will be all about the Haworth 1940s event that Ellie and I are going to this weekend.

We are very excited, Howarth is such a cute village, home to the Bronte sisters and I have not been to this event before, though we have done a Steampunk one there a few years ago. The tablecloth jacket will have an outing as I have decided it is a great example of Make do and Mend and I will be putting on my false eyelashes and red lipstick for a bit of 1940s glamour. I am aiming for something like the gorgeous Gene Tierney here.

Gene-Tierney-makeup-1940s-

As with when we do Steampuk it always seems strange to be wearing make up and costume as I am so used to medieval re-enactment and shapeless clothing and all my hair covered. It will be lovely to be able to have a bit of 1940s style and I can’t wait to see all of the gorgeous outfits there.

Hope that you all have a nice weekend planned, take care and thanks for visiting.

 

Women who broke the mould

One of our staycation trips before Spain was to Bankfield Museum in the local town of Halifax. It is a beautiful museum situated just outside the town in what was a mill-owner’s house.

Bankfield Museum 30

The Ackroyd family that lived there also built a model village, Ackroydon,  in the surrounding area with well-designed houses for the workers that they then helped their staff to buy, so they were real social campaigners, aside from living in the very glamorous Italian style mansion house!

I have wanted to go there for a while to see their costume collection, that is currently being re-organised and will open in late May so Ellie and I have plans to visit later in the summer. However there was a really good exhibition on Women Travellers that had the added bonus of lots and lots of fascinating textiles.

Bankfield Museum 6

Bankfield Museum 5

The exhibition told the story of four women, Gertrude Bell, who I was familiar with already, Edith Durham, Lizzie Humphries and Anne Lister. Lizzy and Anne were local women, the others came from Durham and London.

Bankfield - Gertrude

Bankfield - Edith

Bankfield -Lizzie

Bankfield - Anne

All of them had travelled extensively on their own and Edith in particular collected lots of examples of textiles as she did so.She mainly explored the Balkans and came back with some beautiful examples of traditional costume including marvelous embroidery and goldwork.

Many of the items were gifts for weddings including the beautiful embroidered gauze towels in these pictures above and below, There was also such intricate goldwork!

Bankfield Museum 14

I really liked this blackwork piece above, I have not done any blackwork for so long but I love the stunning effect with just one colour of thread.

Bankfield Museum 8

A particular favourite of mine in the exhibition was her drawings of people in costume and the photos and postcards that she collected.I also loved all the original labels.

Bankfield Museum 9

One of the things that I noticed was the way that the women’s exploration was portrayed by media of the time. Lizzy Humphries’ husband actually abandoned her and their round the world walking tour, (taking most of their money with him!), but the poor women still had to suffer being referred to as Mrs Harry Humphries , spelt wrongly below, by newspapers and posters, she didn’t even get to go by her own name!

A really brilliant exhibition, I love things like this, there is so little that tells people about the different roles that women played in travel, research and politics like these women did.

There are also other exhibitions as well like this small one of various ceramics in a room with a wonderful tiled floor.I can’t wait to go back to the museum as they are also going to be having a Halifax at War exhibition as well from June 8th with lots of original photos. And entry to the museum is totally free!

Bankfield Museum 28

Bankfield Museum 29

I was originally supposed to be at a festival with my sister this weekend but my back and joints are not very happy at the moment so I have (probably wisely) given up three days camping for a weekend in the house sorting out my Make do and Mend garments and some work on my doctorate.

I hope that you have a good weekend whatever you are planning and if you are in the UK a nice and hopefully not too cold and wet Bank Holiday weekend.Take care and thanks for visiting.

600 years in a weekend

We have had a lovely time doing two events this weekend. Firstly it was a multi-period event at Thoresby Hall in Nottinghamshire. This beautiful Victorian house is now a hotel but we were able to go into the grounds.

I especially loved the gates and we had a picnic lunch in that gorgeous turret seating area looking out from the lawn,we do get to see some stunning places!

Thoresby 3

There were lots of different groups there from the Romans to World War 2 plus some American Civil War so we had great fun admiring all of the different costumes. I particularly loved this WWW1 tent with all the textiles and authentic magazines.

Ellie would really like to do WWW2 as well as medieval so was interested in talking to those groups. The funny thing was virtually everyone we talked to also did medieval as well.

I finished making a new linen veil the night before, great to stop my neck being burnt as it was very hot.

Thoresby Veil 1

Thoresby Veil 2

I took these shots of Ellie on stairs up to the formal gardens, I love the light in these.

Thoresby Ellie 1

Thoresby Ellie 2

Thoresby Ellie 3

Sunday we spent at Clumber Park – a little time travel 600 years into the future to 1918 for our WWW1 land girls stint rather then 1318 and the court of Edward the 2nd. I will post about that in a couple of days.

I am having a very quiet week this week in preparation for another weekend event coming up, at the lovely Ashby Castle, making the headress for Kate and doing lots of marking.

Hope you have a nice week planned, take care and thanks for visiting.

Possibly the best National Trust tearoom ever !

I hope that you all had a lovely Christmas, we did and are now having a few quiet, and snowy, days before departing for Spain.

We made our now traditional visit to Clumber Park on Boxing Day and Ellie had booked us in to the very lovely tea room that is located in the old Head Gardener’s House.

I found this wonderful picture of part of the lake that we walked around from the National Trust website, it has been taken from a crane next to the chapel that Ellie is in charge of.

Clumber from air

We usually stop off for tea and cake at every Trust property and always rate the tea rooms for theme, decor and availability of gluten free cake and this one scored very highly indeed.

It has been restored and is absolutely gorgeous inside. This exterior picture is from the National Trust website as I forgot to take one but all others are mine. We especially loved the very glamorous Victorian themed toilets.

Clumber - Head Gardener's House

They also had exceptional good gluten free chocolate brownie, no pictures of that as it was eaten too quickly!

This gorgeous silk embroidery was hanging in the upstairs hallway.

Clumber embroidery 1

Clumber embroidery 2

Before the tea we had a lovely walk round the park, again there was a beautiful winter sun like last year so I was able to take some arty shots.

This beautiful old stone bench by the lake is part of the collection that Ellen looks after, I love the long shadows in the photos.

On Christmas Eve we visited Nottingham for the Christmas market and had a quick wander round, they have beautifully decorated stalls with lots of chocolate, gingerbread and German inspired food.

There are some beautiful buildings in the city centre as well.

It was lovely to meet Ava, my great niece,  as well, she is such a happy, smiling baby and she really loved her little knitted mouse, she fell asleep holding it which was so cute.Here is a picture of my lovely children at the family lunch we had. Jake looks so grown up with his beard.

Xmas Ellie and Jake

Hope you all have a lovely New Year, don’t forget to like this post for a chance to enter the giveaway. Thanks very much for visiting and see you all again in 2018.

 

 

Gorgeous and so tiny!

I have not had chance to get here to post pictures of the Victoria costumes at Harewood until now. Work has been pretty busy and I taught last Saturday and then we had Jazz festival. Really enjoyed that as always though due to work only volunteered Sat night and Sunday.

The costumes that we saw were beautifully made and we marveled at the size of them. Jenna Coleman must be so minute to fit into these outfits, even with the benefit of a corset!

There were two rooms with costumes in, the first showed some of the gowns belonging to her ladies in waiting.

Then the gorgeous ballroom had four of Victoria’s gowns in.

Harewood costume 5

Beautiful work and it was great to be able to see them very close up.

Harewood costume 6

This muslin and lace one was my favourite, given that I love old lace so much. It was beautiful!

Harewood costume 7

Harewood costume 8

Harewood costume 9

They also had the coronation gown which was embroidered with motifs representing all of the four emblems of the UK.

Harewood costume 10

Harewood costume 11

Harewood costume 12

Here is a picture of it from the series.

Victoria coronation pic

The last gowns were a layered dress of voile and gold silk and a simple but very pretty day dress.

I would have loved to see the wedding dress as well, so pretty!

Victoria wedding pic

 

I have yet to start watching Season 2 but am looking forward to more gorgeousness when I do.

I am enjoying the luxury of a whole weekend at home and have no real plans other than stitching some Christmas ornaments and lots and lots of relaxing watching TV, or rather watching programmes.

I have recently got rid of all TV services so am now just using my laptop and Netflix and Amazon Prime and have not missed the old TV services at all.I was not watching enough programmes when they were aired to warrant the cost so have upgraded to super fast broadband and all digital content, very 21st century!

I hope that you have a lovely weekend whatever you are doing and thanks for visiting.

Delightful dahlias

Well we are just back from our visit to Harewood, it was quite a nice day weather wise so we got some time in the garden.

As always the dahlias were our favourite, these are so pretty and the colours just wonderful.

The gardens were looking really gorgeous as well, I do love all the autumn colours of the trees in the distance. We had gone primarily to see the Victoria costumes and I took lots of pictures of those and the house which I will put in the next post.

Term has gone well so far but I am really busy at the moment with late nights and teaching Saturdays so crafting time is almost zero. Lots of planning projects in my head though and I have made the first of the Christmas ornaments which I will share with you soon.

The Yarndale stall went well, not certain how much I sold yet but had a very lovely comment from someone here on the blog who had bought some of my things so thank you Natalie! Here is the stall and you can see my bags on display at the back.

Yarndale stall - 2017

So just a short post for today, hope you are all well and enjoying the start to autumn, take care and thanks for visiting.

Hexagon challenge

You all know by now how much I love hexagons and am in the process of making a full size double bed quilt from some using the Grandmother’s Garden pattern.

Well we were really thrilled to come across some wonderful miniature needlework during our recent visit to Nunnington, they have a series of miniature rooms that are part of their collection.

Nunnington -miniature needlework 3

Rather than being one dolls’ house these are lots of different rooms like this grand staircase in the picture above and most contained amazing examples of miniature cross stitch and needlepoint.

Nunnington -miniature needlework 2

When Ellie was little we bought her a dolls’ house and spent many years furnishing it and I stitched rugs and and made bedding for it. When she went to University we gave it to the family across the road who had 8 girls and I am sure they must have loved playing with it.

Nunnington -miniature needlework 4

Now she has her own house she has decided she would like to have another dolls’ house and has bought an antique cabinet to house it in, similar to the many we have seen in historic houses.

I said I would make some rugs etc for her but we also came across this miniature hexagon bed quilt in the display so I am going to attempt something like this for her. I have no idea if it has been paper pieced or not. I can’t imagine how you can cut paper and fold them that small as each must be only 1/4 cm across. I may well have to make my pieces bigger!

Nunnington -miniature needlework 6

There were also miniature sewing tools and work in progress like this needlepoint frame and lace making pillow and tatting.

Nunnington -miniature needlework 1

Nunnington -miniature needlework 5

Nunnington -miniature needlework 7

All wonderful stuff and so cute! I have been looking for information and as usual there is lots of inspiration on Pinterest so after Yarndale will have a go at a mini, mini, mini quilt. I have found a site that sells tiny papers as well!

I found this amazing mini quilt show on Pinterest, no idea who created it but look at the tiny loveliness here.

Mini quilt show

This weekend we have the Steampunk event at Lincoln, sadly our medieval show has been cancelled due to structural problems at the site BUT that means two whole days to enjoy the Steampunk and marvel at all the lovely costumes. My very talented daughter has been working on a fabulous costume for this year so all will be revealed next week!

Take care and thanks for visiting.