New York, the iconic bits

As Ellen said before our visit, New York is the sort of place that you feel that you know before you get there. So many movies and tv shows feature parts of the city that they are all so iconic.

We did have a list of things that we wanted to visit, and it was very exciting to see things in real life that we have only seen on film. Although I visited New York about 18 years ago, that was only for a weekend, and being so near to 9/11 many things still weren’t open.

We stayed in a very lovely hotel, near to Grand Central Station, which is just as beautiful as it looks, even the ticket booths are masterpieces of art.

Our hotel was called Pod 39, and is similar to ones that I have stayed in before for city breaks, with a bunk bed layout and a small bathroom.

However the beds were very comfortable and the location was excellent. We weren’t really in the room much anyway, and the hotel had a lovely comfortable lounge with games and free hot drinks and water available so we spent some time there as well.

Our first day out was to the Statue of Liberty and the Ellis Island Immigration Museum and we could not have had a better day for it. Although it was cold, the sky was a wonderful blue which made for excellent shots of Manhattan from the ferry.

The Statue did not disappoint and the accompanying museum was excellent with really good interpretation, not only of the story of the build, but also looking at how the statue has been portrayed in all sorts of different ways since it was built.

There was a lovely quilt and a Barbie dressed as the statue, which Ellen suggested should be one of my next makes.

They had used the restoration in the late 1990s as a chance to show how the statue was made, with recreations of the moulds that were built for the casting, including a recreation of the statue’s foot.

I didn’t realise that she was bronze coloured to start off with and the green is the patina that has built up on the metal over time. I think it looks a lot better green, especially against the blue sky. We also saw the original torch, which had to be replaced due to its collapsing on itself.

The Ellis Island Museum was equally well interpreted, with lots of the stories of the migrants and their many reasons for coming to America. It was very poignant seeing the large hall where they would wait to be assessed before entry, and the postcards of the numerous ships that brought them from all over the world.

I have always had a huge interest in migration and people’s stories of why they leave their homes and having visited other museums, such as those in Oslo, that tell the story of those who left, it was fascinating to see where they arrived. Being part of a family who have migrated, and who now live all over the world, it is always really interesting to me to hear these histories.

Our second day was to Central Park and the Metropolitan Museum. Central Park is somewhere that I have been to before, and it never ceases to amaze me how large it is, and how great it is to have that space in the city. They also have the fattest squirrels I have ever seen!

The Met Museum was stunning, as we knew it would be. The scale of the collections is amazing, whole Egyptian temples, courtyards of castles from Spain, Tiffany loggias and windows and so much wonderful medieval art.

There were also some gorgeous early 18th century samplers.

However, the most stunning piece in the collection for me was this store of linen, buried with one of the Egyptian queens for the afterlife.

The fact that it is still around, thousands of years after being woven, such simple textiles but amazing that all that work of the weavers centuries ago still exists.

We also spent a lot of time just marvelling at all of the wonderful buildings, the Chrysler Building is a real favourite of mine, but I also loved Penn Station.

This beautiful building that was one of the ones represented by brass plaques in the pavement. I think it looks like it came from a Lord of the Rings film.

New York still had the skating rinks at the Rockerfeller Centre and Bryant Park, and trees and decorations everywhere, so it still looked very Christmassy.

We managed to tick off our food bucket list as well with pizza, bagels, pancakes, hot dogs and burgers, only failing to find a gluten free pretzel.

A brilliant trip and I am so glad that we were finally able to get there. These next few months are hopefully going to be full of us doing things that we have been planning for a long time.

I am loving my winter sojourn in Cyprus so far and shall be sharing the first set of pictures with you later in the week. I have been so lucky with the weather, so have been out enjoying the stunning coastline here.

Until then have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Finding haberdashery heaven

Well dear readers, the travel gods smiled upon us and Ellen and I were able to go on our very long awaited trip to New York in the second week of January. We had been planning this trip since about 2018, when we watched a series called Project Runway. This was set in one of the Fashion Institutes there, and featured regular visits by the contestants to the Garment District, in particular a shop there called Mood.

We had originally planned to go 2 years ago, for Ellen’s 30th birthday but as we know the world got a little crazy and so we put that trip on hold. We had not finally decided to go until just before Christmas, as we were waiting to see if anything changed with restrictions but sorted it all out and had a fantastic time. I had visited many years ago but it was Ellen’s first trip.

As well as buying fabric and haberdashery we wanted to visit some fashion collections and museums, as well as see all the tourist highlights. I will post later about those, this post is just all about the wonder that is the Garment District. It really is amazing how many shops there are, and how much there is available, we were at points quite overwhelmed with what to buy.

We were guided by a particular vlog from someone I have watched a lot over the years, Bernadette Banner, who did a New York Garment District vlog three years ago. I don’t remember the name of every shop we went it but we did visit B and Q trimmings, M and J Trimmings, Pacific Coast Haberdashery, and of course Mood!

This was just a tiny selection of what was in one shop, they had four aisles just of zips!

Ellen was looking for sparkly fabric for a night sky inspired project and had a hard time choosing from all the loveliness, though the $450 dollars a yard fabric got put back straight away! The Garment District is right next to Broadway, so as well as fashion fabric there are endless sequins, lace and feathers available such as these beauties.

We were both very restrained, even though a small fortune could have been spent. I just bought things for very specific Barbie couture projects as it was wonderful to have very small scale braid and trimmings available. I will do a specific post about that and my plans for the purchases later.

Before the shopping we spent some time at the Fashion Institute of Technology, looking both at the display of students’ work and at their current exhibition. The student work exhibition was really interesting, as much for the design boards as for the final creations.

The current exhibition at the museum looks at the interior spaces that many of the world’s greatest women designers lived and worked in. As well as showcasing their designs there were pictures of their salons, many of which no longer exist. It was a fascinating look at these creative spaces. The gowns on display were a very varied selection, and all stunning.

I am going to be working on more Barbie couture when I get back to Spain so wanted to choose two garments from the trip to make in Barbie size. I have chosen this gold one from the museum collection as I love the beaded detail on the neckline. I may not do anything as elaborate as this but it will be the inspiration.

The other dress I have chosen is this one from the film, ‘Mrs Harris goes to Paris’, which I watched on the plane. I love this and was able to get some gorgeous fabric in New York for it. There are so many amazing dresses in that film so may make others in the future, Barbie scale only though! Picture from the above link.

We also saw a great exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, all about the history of the kimono, and how it became transformed once Japan opened up to Western fashion, and in turn how kimonos inspired other designers. Very interesting with some beautiful garments.

I am now actually in the Greek part of Cyprus where I am spending some of my winter months of exile from Spain. I am only allowed to stay there for 90 days post Brexit, but that gives me a great excuse to travel ๐Ÿ˜‰

I have a friend who lives here so came to see him, to travel around, and indulge my passion for church architecture with lots and lots of visits to Greek Orthodox churches. There are also stunning coastal walks where I am now so lots of posts of all that coming up.

I finished the blackwork just before leaving Spain and am so pleased with it. Excuse the rather odd blue tint in the first picture, but I am so happy with how it all looks and plan to do some more of these on my return to Spain. It was a very quick stitch, the border took the longest but really finishes off the pieces.

I have also started and finished a mandala for my van. The design comes from a book of embroidery I bought my Mum a few years ago, and it is stitched with perle thread. It has been a very international stitch, started in Spain, worked on in England and the USA and finished in Cyprus. It just needs the felt backing attaching and it can hang in Katy.

I hope that you are all well and happy wherever you are, and if in the UK have not suffered too badly with the extreme weather. I am very lucky to still be in 19 degrees and am making the most of it.

I will be back soon with the other New York post and will update you on my Cyprus adventures as soon as I can. I am staying in a mixture of apartments and hotels so will be dependant on the quality of the wifi. Until next time, have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

The importance of dress

Ahead of this week’s lace workshop I thought that I would share with you a recent visit to Bankfield Museum in Halifax. I have visited the museum three times before and it is always a wonderful place to explore. Two of the visits have included displays about Anne Lister, now more well known through the TV series ‘Gentleman Jack’, but also for her travels and her diaries.

I first became interested in her as a traveller and I posted about that visit here. At the time there was not a link to her clothing as this was prior to the first series, but a couple of years ago we went back and saw some of the costumes from the first series. The museum is only small but as well as the changing exhibitions it has a fantastic costume gallery and holds the largest collection of textiles outside the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

The exhibition this time was of costume from the second TV series. It was also supported by an exhibition of garments from the same period from the museum collection so it was fascinating to see what the costume production team had done with the recreations. The pictures below are from the museum’s collection from that era.

It was particularly amazing to see the very tiny shoes!

I also love the fact that they still have pattern books from that time. Halifax has always been a centre of textile production which is why the museum has such an extensive collection.

These pictures show the costumes from the second series, each costume is also accompanied by a shot from the series so that you can see it in context.

They are absolutely stunning and so detailed in their execution. This below is one of Anne’s outfits and the braid detail on the jacket is beautiful.

The accompanying outfit in this picture was worn by her wife Ann, I have tried to do braid like that on clothing and it is incredibly difficult!

I love the black organza blouse in this red evening gown above.

There is such beautiful smocking on Ann’s artist’s shirt above in the middle picture.

The bottom row of pictures above show dressing gowns and nightshirts, I would love the one on the left, so pretty!

I was particularly fascinated by these reproduction hats with lots of lace.

I think the lace on this one above was made by the same method that we will be using this coming week, of stitching onto tulle, rather than bobbin or woven lace but am not sure.

One of the things that Anne is remembered for is her ‘masculine ways’, she dressed in male clothing, married a woman, (although this was not legally recognised), ran a business and travelled extensively, often to places that were not usually visited at that time, such as Russia. She actually died in Georgia while on that trip in 1840 and her wife had her body brought back to the UK.

For me Anne is a very great inspiration. Not just because she chose to dress the way that she did, but because she was not afraid to express herself, and her desires. Looking at her story one may think that we have come a long way from the days where it was not acceptable to marry and live your life as you wanted, but there is still a long way to go, even for people who are not fighting prejudice.

There are the everyday concerns of women about travelling on their own, even about walking home on their own. As you know this summer I have been travelling on my own around the UK and met many women who are also on their own. People have told me that I am very brave to do this but I just feel that I am following in the footsteps of all the other great women who have gone off exploring. Realistically not very much is going to happen to me at a Caravan and Camping Club site in the Peak District is it ๐Ÿ˜‰

I have also joined a Facebook group that supports women who may not feel comfortable travelling alone, by holding meet ups and offering a space for advice and help with practical things. Many of the members have lost partners, who previously did the driving and maintenance, or are now feeling lonely and don’t want to camp by themselves. It is wonderful to have that support, both online and in person and I am looking forward to meeting up with more of them next summer.

I may now be able to wear what we want without causing concern, I can wear trousers anywhere I want, or have my hair short and display many ‘masculine ways’. However many women across the world can’t do without fear of reprisal. Equally men often face prejudice for wanting to wear what may be considered as ‘feminine attire’. That is why I love the Steampunk community so much as you see such wonderful expressions of dress such as this stunning outfit.

What we wear is not just about keeping warm, or displaying our social status and our ability to afford the fine lace and hand stitched garments of the 1800s. It is about who we are, and who we want to be and here’s hoping for a future where no-one feels that they can’t express themselves the way that they want to. That is before we all end up wearing silver jumpsuits as my 12 year old self was sure was going to happen by the year 2000!

That is why museums are so important as they give us the chance to see things that make us question the way that we live now. I hope that everyone that goes to see the costumes thinks about this aspect as well as admiring the skill of the many talented people who made them.

As well as the workshop this week I am looking forward to another cycle ride, I have been doing between 25 and 30 km each ride which is amazing to me considering the state of my health before I retired. It is so lovely to get out into the countryside and go down to the sea. It is still around 25 degrees each day here, although the nights are a little cooler now so I will soon be using my outdoor firepit ๐Ÿ™‚ Although it has sometimes been a bit cloudy here it is clearing up and so the lovely sunsets are back, just look at these colours!

I have been very productive craft wise as well, I will finish the Luna rabbit today and hopefully also the Christmas dress for the reindeer. So I should be able to share some finishes of those soon. I hope that you are all having a nice weekend, have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

A long awaited visit

During my last week in the Peak District I visited the Silk Museum in Macclesfield. I have been planning to visit for around 15 years but somehow it never got factored into the plans. A wet day at the campsite seemed like a perfect opportunity.

The museum is housed in the former school of art, a wonderful Victorian building where many of the designers who worked in the local silk mills learnt their art. This means that they have a fascinating collection of artefacts such as the Jacquard punch cards and the samples that the students had to make for their assessments.

They have an amazing array of weaving looms and it was brilliant to talk to some of the volunteers who are restoring these. This one below is a jacquard loom and you can see the punch cards on the right and moving over the top of the loom.

This machine made narrow ribbons and there were samples of the sorts of things they wove.

I had a go with the tassel making machine as the volunteers had just mended it, it wound the silk around the wooden bead perfectly.

This loom makes knitted stockings which we still wear for re-enactment, although mine are wool and tied at the knee with a leather thong.

In a separate section was a display of silk printing from the Langley Printworks, some wonderful blocks including my favourite Paisley designs. The blocks were all carved in house to the designer’s specifications a very painstaking job as you can imagine.

Also very interesting were the manufacturer’s sample books, still so vibrant even though they are 100 years old. There were also a few garments, the Macclesfield stripe was particularly renowned as it was woven rather than being printed. A really lovely museum and I am so glad that I managed to visit.

I was busy decorating for Ellen last week, and did a day volunteering for the food bank. I am now back in sunny Spain so will be able to catch up on all of the other blog posts from my summer adventures as there are some other museums and historic house visits that I have done as stops on the way between campsites. Who knows I might even do some crafting ๐Ÿ˜‰ so that this can go back to being a craft blog!

The last 3 months have gone so quickly, I have had a brilliant time but am looking forward to spending a lot more time at my sewing machine and having a few months in the same place before I start travelling again. I did mange to finish all of the Christmas ornaments for friends before I left the UK, backing them with stash that I gave Ellen before I left the UK.

Until next time, have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Thinking about heritage

If you are a regular reader you will know how much I love visiting museums, especially where there are textiles involved. My recent trip to Lancashire included a visit to a museum owned by the local council, Towneley Hall, and it was very interesting not just for its collections but also its history.

Burnley has a long textile heritage, much of Lancashire was involved in the wool and cotton trades and there are many mill buildings still to be seen.

This building was a rather grand house however, owned by the same family for many centuries. It had a fascinating mix of architecture, from Tudor long galleries and panelled rooms to a Regency style suite which is now used for weddings and events.

The family who owned the house decided it was too big for them and sold it to the local council in 1901, who decided to turn it into a museum. However they had nothing to put in it so they started taking donations from a number of varied sources.

This has led to a very eclectic collection, some with links to Burnley life and others random. They were no doubt very interesting to the local population when the museum was first opened, who probably marvelled at the mummy case and contents found by an Egyptologist who was a friend of the last owner.

It raises many questions about what are the purposes of museums and what functions they have. There are many debates in heritage circles about what is in our museums, and where it came from, indeed should some things be returned to their original countries?

There were a small selection of textiles from Kashmir which were very beautiful.

How things are interpreted is also interesting, this was very much a ‘things in glass cases’ type of museum, which reflects its heritage. I have been lucky enough to visit many museums of all different types and having a daughter who worked in the heritage industry find all of these questions very interesting.

There were quite a few local exhibits as well including embroidered postcards and banners from the World Wars.

It was a very nice visit and the staff were very knowledgeable and friendly, not only about the collection but also about the history of the hall so well worth a visit if you are in the area.

After Lancashire I met up with my oldest friend, Sue, celebrating 40 years since we first met at Polytechnic. We had a brilliant time catching up, we haven’t really changed a bit!

I have had a quick trip back to Ellen’s to do some car sorting. I got Katy stuck on a gate a few weeks ago but am pleased to say that my car bodywork skills are good enough that I was able to mend the damage, and some more flower stickers covered up the slight difference in paint! Also met up with a few of the medieval group for a day’s event at Nottingham.

I am now at my final campsite of this summer, back in the Peak District for my last week in Katy. I have finally got the cushion inners and have bought a new privacy curtain for when I am sitting in the back reading. I am also trying out Jacky’s awning tent to see how it works compared to my little tent.

I have been having some great walks with stunning views, the drive here was wonderful and I am surrounded by lovely hills again.

I have more museum visits to share with you so the next post will be that or Peak District views. Until next time, have fun, take care stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Millions of needles …

As a keen seamstress I do have my fair share of needles for all purposes but have never really thought much about where they come from. At the Clent Hills camp site there was a brochure for the National Needle Museum in Redditch, just a short drive away, so I thought I would stop off and visit.

The museum was fascinating, it is housed in the original needle factory, dating from the late 1700s when the processes were driven by water. Redditch produced millions of needles, about 90% of the world’s production, and they were exported worldwide.

This meant that there were gorgeous displays made for national and international exhibitions. The companies also made surgical needles and fishing hooks.

There were also some great examples of how needles were used, from the textile group display of current craft on the first floor to examples of vintage craft.

It was fascinating to see the displays of needle packaging and needle cases over time.

If you are in the area it is well worth a visit. We are now back from Whitby where we had a lovely time as always and met some new people. I have bought lots of fab new jewellery for my latest outfits so will put together a post about the event when I can next access good internet.

I am about to leave Ellen’s now and go to my beloved Peak District for a few days. Normal UK weather has been resumed and it is forecast to be around 17 degrees and showers for the rest of the week!

Hope that you have a good week ahead, have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

For the love of God

Our final coach trip recently was to the little town of Gandia, further north again so through the same wonderful mountains as the trip to Javea, and a little inland.

We went to see the Ducal Palace, which dates from the mid 1300s and is very closely linked with the Jesuit order of monks and with one of its most famous Dukes, Francis de Borja, in the mid 1500s. Francis wanted to become a monk but had instead to take up his family inheritance. After the death of his wife he joined the church.

The palace is spectacular and has some amazing tiles. Much of the artwork relates to the story of Francis Borja and his family. The family were related to the infamous Borgias, and the notorious Rodrigo Borgia who was a pope in the 1400s. There were some great inspirations for crafting patterns in the tiles and woodwork as well, that window shutter has a fantastic quilt block design on it!

There was also a little bit of textile interest from the 1500s, the family crest and a priest’s robe.

The ceramics were of many different styles and this painted panel had some wonderful detail, I assume the striped flowers are tulips which I know were very popular from the 18th century.

My favourite room was the wonderful Neo-Gothic chapel, the artwork in there was just stunning. It reminded me of the decoration of Cardiff Castle and Castle Coch, which is decorated in a very similar style. The ceiling was amazing, I do love a starry ceiling!

This was one of my favourite paintings, I do love representations of nuns and she looks so peaceful.

The altar was beautiful as well, the painting around the cross was so delicate.

Such a beautiful place, I could have stayed there for hours looking at all the detail.

The later part of the tour covered the later baroque style rooms, wonderful ornate wood and plaster work and some very impressive ceilings. The guide explained that they were actually painted canvases rather than some Sistine Chapel style mammoth ceiling artwork.

This picture was so sweet and I love the ornate frame. Something like this would be great for blackwork!

The palace went into decline as the family in Spain died out and in the late 1800s it was bought by the Jesuits and restored. It has been a national monument since 1964 and is well worth a visit.

We had time to have a very nice lunch in the old town and admire the cathedral and the town hall.

We also made a quick visit to the museum, which was based in the old nunnery and hospital. There were some beautiful pieces of medieval art there as well that had been collected by the order.

I am very tempted to try and link this order, which unfortunately I forgot to record the name of, with life in medieval England as I would love to add a flower head dress to my nun’s outfit.

Although I love the paintings themselves, it is the detail in the backgrounds that is the most interesting part for me, such gorgeous architecture and landscapes.

There were also some musical angels, I really love these depictions and have only seen them here in Spain.

These were a group of interesting and very unusual reliquary heads, there were about 10 in total.

I am very much enjoying being able to explore much more of Spain, this is such a fascinating country and I am planning to read much more of its history over the coming months. I have read quite a lot about the civil war period, but less about the 1400 – 1600s so will be concentrating on that next. The history is very interesting in comparison to that of the UK, in terms of the many separate kingdoms that existed. The relationship between Spain and its empire is also something that I would like to read more about.

It is lovely to go out and practise my Spanish as well. I am still studying every day and when we go on trips get lots of opportunity to use it. One of the things that I am finding is that I can now understand a lot more. I listen to what people are saying around me and it is starting to slowly make sense which is brilliant and makes me feel as if I am making real progress.

It has been unseasonably hot here, 33 degrees earlier this week, which is more like July weather, so I have been to the pool three times this week. Between 5 and 7 they have half price rates and it is virtually empty so I have the whole pool to myself to swim. So far this week I have done 150 lengths which I am very pleased with. I have been able to take my bike out as well and have been doing some more off road exploring.

I have also been busy with my writing, I am half way through a new writing course with the WEA which is centred on Place and Identity. I am finding the exercises that we do really helpful in stimulating different aspects of the novel writing. I start another creative writing course with them in a couple of weeks, with the same tutor I had in January.

I am so, so happy that I spend my time at the computer doing fun things now, in previous years May and June was all about marking thousands of words of dissertations and essays. I still can’t believe I never have to do that ever again ๐Ÿ™‚

I hope you are enjoying life wherever you are, I will be back soon to share some more crafting with you, I have been doing a little bit in between all the adventuring ๐Ÿ˜‰ In the meantime, have fun, take care , stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Poetry in plaster

The Alhambra, in particular the Nasrid Palace section, is such an amazing place. This was my second visit and to be able to go again, and to see the exhibition in the museum there, answered some of my questions about how the palace was decorated and what some of the designs mean.

I found this very informative post which talks about how the building was designed and what some of the inscriptions mean, many are poems or sections from the Koran.

The ‘muqarnas’ in the ceilings, which you can see in the middle picture in the bottom row, are fascinating and the museum had a display of how they are put together, an eight piece 3D jigsaw of plaster pieces. The relief plasterwork, as seen below, was so regular, we wondered if that had also been done using moulds.

The sheer scale of the carving, mosaics and woodwork is incredible and you get a real sense of the work that goes in to conserve it as there is live conservation going on everywhere, which is fascinating.

We were really lucky with the weather as well, although rain was forecast it was just dull and we were able to see the Generalife gardens, where I tried some ‘arty shots’ looking past the flowers to the palace.

An absolute must see if you come to Spain, such an important part of the history of this region.

Now for my very difficult task of choosing something to turn into a design. One of the aims I had for retirement was to create some designs based on the many architectural features I love to take photos of, and I have challenged myself to do one by the end of this visit to Spain. I have lots of ideas for possible blackwork, goldwork and quilt designs but have narrowed it down to three pictures. I think I would like to do blackwork as an homage to Catherine of Aragon, and as I have not done any blackwork for a long time.

These are some of my favourite blackwork makes from previous times. The first two are a picture I made for my aunt, not sure where I got the frame but love it. The last one is a needlework set I made for a re-enactment friend. These were all patterns from stitching magazines so I would really like to have a go at designing my own work this time.

So I am thinking of turning one of these plaster motifs into a blackwork design. For the first picture it will be the bottom motif. The second picture it would be the central one with star and fruits. The bottom picture it would be motif on the lower left (or right as they are both the same).

I can’t promise to have the whole thing stitched by the end of June, as I have costumes to make for re-enactment and Steampunk, but my aim is to at least have the pattern drafted. If you have a favourite please let me know in the comments.

We have lots of exciting textile related things coming up with my sewing group as well, the group are having some outings and social events which is lovely. I am so happy to have met another group of like minded people who are so enthusiastic about all things textile related!

It is looking as if it might be a sewing day tomorrow along with the second session of my writing course. I am working on one of my quilt WIPs as well as costume so am looking forward to a few crafting days in over the next week. I will be back soon with the coach trip to the gardens. I hope you all have something nice planned for the weekend. Whatever you are doing have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Granada, mother nature and man

I am firmly convinced that one of the reasons that Granada, and specifically the Alhambra, is so stunning, is due to the contrast between the man made splendour and the amazing beauty of the Sierra Nevada backdrop.

This is the second time I have visited the city, both in the same season with snow on the mountains and it is the most amazing sight. My first trip, around 20 years ago, was going to be my only trip to Spain as an adult but I fell in love with the beautiful houses and coastline here and the rest is history!

We stayed in a beautiful apartment, Apartamento Capitania found on Booking.com, in a fantastic location near the cathedral, with shops, tapas bars and taxi and bus stops all minutes away. It was also excellent value for money, costing us each 30 euros a night. It had a gorgeous view of a small church and a square with a few bars around.

As always the architecture was stunning, so many beautiful ‘wedding cake’ style buildings, balconies and wonderful doors!

On our first day we went to the Albaicin, in itself a World Heritage site for its steep winding roads and Moorish architecture. This trip was for Mum’s birthday so she had planned everything that she wanted to see.

The houses are, as often in Spain, amazing in the way that they have been constructed on top of each other up the hillside, with beautiful roof gardens and lots of wonderful tiles and doorways. We were aiming for one of the royal palaces but stopped off at the numerous miradors, or viewing places to get closer and closer to the views of the Alhambra with the snowy mountains behind it.

This was the view from the restaurant where we had a delicious mango and goats cheese salad and fried aubergine with honey.

The Palacio de Dar al – Horra was lovely, a very understated version of the Alhambra, with again amazing views across the Albaicin and the Alhambra.

After that we wandered down into the valley, with the assistance of Google maps, and around the mountain to the area of Sacromonte, famous for its cave houses and the flamenco venues that the gitanos or gypsies who have been here since the 1700s developed. We are now quite knowledgeable about cave life since our visit to Ben and Amanda so really enjoyed looking round the cave house museum there.

The best bits were all the textiles and the old photos of the people who lived in this complex. There was a perfect little one person cave that I would be very happy living in, complete with sewing area! In this cave there was the most fascinating rag rug, made from triangles, unlike the other strip ones I have seen and it was wonderful to be able to see all the different fabrics that had been used.

An amazing day and a perfect start to our trip. We had pre-booked tickets for the Alhambra for the following day so to see so much of it beforehand was just perfect.

I will be back with part two of the trip soon. I have made a promise to myself that I will develop a design from one of the Alhambra pictures so if you have any favourites in the next post let me know in the comments.

As always have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

The delights of Worcester

Kerry came down to visit me so we had a jam packed weekend visiting the majority of what the city has to offer in the way of historical and heritage properties. There is such a wonderful mix of architecture here, Tudor, Georgian and Victorian, as well as the riverside walks and the canal heritage so it is well worth a visit.

Saturday was mainly Tudor at first with the Tudor House Museum and Greyfriars, both on the same street where there are other wonderful Tudor buildings, including some lovely places to eat. The Tudor House Museum was originally three cottages and the displays concentrated on the importance of the trades in Worcester, very much textile related with the production of broadcloth and glove making dominating.

The museum has been extensively restored as it has been a pub, and cafรฉ owned by the Cadbury family in recent times, so there is a nice mix of history in the small space and some lovely reproductions of costume and artefacts as well as the historical collections.

I have previously posted some pictures of the Tudor group at Greyfriars but this visit was for a tour which told the history of the property throughout its 400 some years. This was very interesting as it ended up being used as slum dwellings, with other tenement housing built within the garden. The restoration in the later 20th century was by a brother and sister, Elsie and Matley Moore, who were passionate collectors and she was a keen needlewoman. Therefore there is an extensive collection of beautiful textiles.

This is one of my favourite pieces, above the fireplace. I love the colours used in this piece. I think this is one of Elsie’s own embroideries.

I also really loved seeing the little touches of her life, such as the worn pincushion next to the chair, and the collection of needlework tools in a display case.

The library was also beautiful, in a different way to the libraries in other Trust houses. This was full of well loved books, but still with some beautiful decorations on the spines. I wish all books looked like this today, rather than just name and title on the spine. I think that they look so exciting!

We had a quick look around the city museum as well, where they have a display devoted to Worcester Sauce, as well as some lovely military costume. We were very admiring of the braid on the tunics here.

I loved this painting of a Spanish girl, making me homesick for my adopted country as these type of outfits are still worn for fiestas.

I have been busy booking lots more coach trips with mum so will have more adventures to share with you in May and June, the Spanish do love a good costume and I will be there all over the Easter weekend which is always exciting.

Our last heritage venue was the amazing Georgian Guildhall built in 1721. This is a beautiful public building in the centre of the town which is free to enter, and is used for weddings as well as official business.

The ceilings in the Assembly Room and the Council Chamber were stunning and I can imagine there must have been some amazing events there in the Georgian era. I am of course channelling my inner Bridgerton here as we eagerly await the second series in a couple of weeks!

After a quick stop for tea and cake at the same vintage cafรฉ I visited last time, we had a lovely wander around the canal basin. We then had a drink in the oldest pub in Worcester, and ended up in a very lovely restaurant called Bill’s. I must admit to choosing it partly based on the dรฉcor, (as I did in Edinburgh), but the food was delicious as well.

A very lovely day out and it was brilliant to catch up with Kerry. We will next meet at my first re-enactment event of the season in July. I do have more pictures from Sunday to show you as well, but I will leave that until next week.

I am pleased to tell you that the moses basket is done, and to confirm that I intend never to work with jersey ever again ๐Ÿ˜‰ It is too stretchy and slippery so I am going to confine my future makes to my favourites of linens, denims and Liberty, as well as some nice, non slippery fabrics for Steampunk, and no velvet.

I have already mentioned that I have been spending lots of time reading cross stitch magazines through my wonderful Readly app and I have been inspired by one article to buy a gorgeous pattern to stitch for my sewing room/bedroom in Spain.

It is from a French Company called Jardin Prive and is called ABC de la Brodeuse, pictures from their web site. It is so cute and I love all the Quaker inspired motifs.

It will take a while to stitch but I have also ordered the band to stitch it on from Willow Fabrics as I needed a metre of it.

I also treated myself to this lovely Christmas design to use the individual motifs for future ornaments. I am going back with all sorts of wonderful things to add to my craft stock so will definitely have to sort out my storage as soon as I get back!

This week’s task is to make up the knitted rabbit as we are meeting with my niece at the weekend for a little do, not really a baby shower, but more a family lunch. There will be some baby related gifts though and I am making the nappy cake, out of real nappies and lots of ribbon and cellophane.

I hope that you have all had a good weekend. Have a good week ahead whatever you do and as always, have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.