La Marina sunsets and other Spanish delights

Happy 2020 everyone! I know I am a little late with my greetings but have only just got back from my very lovely and much needed break in Spain. I had a horrible bug before I left which lasted well into the holiday so have spent much time coughing and feeling rough but have come back feeling much better.

It was brilliant weather all the time I was there, much warmer than usual with temperatures of 27 degrees just before Christmas so I was able to go for lots of lovely walks in the sun and had a couple of very warm beach picnics on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. I love the fact that it looks like this in January! Look at all blues in this picture.

Spain beach

We also visited the local spa a couple of times which was heaven and I spent lots of time sorting out at the house and sitting on my terrace enjoying the sun.

One of the best things about La Marina are the amazing sunsets over the mountains, I know I have mentioned them before but the sheer beauty every night never ceases to amaze me and I try and go for walks at dusk to see them.

Spain Sunset 7

There are such amazing colours of purple, pink and orange in the sky as the sun sinks behind the mountains.This is one of my favourite areas to view the sunsets and I love the contrast of the cacti against the sky.

There are equally lovely sunrises over the sea but due to me getting up very late whilst on holiday I rarely see those, this picture was taken on my last morning when I had to get up early for my flight home.

Spain sunrise

I love finding new areas to explore on my walks and last visit went over the other side of the urbanisation and found a new verde, or green area, so went there again this trip. I will go back again as I was not wearing proper shoes to enable me to explore fully but I found another one of the cultivated garden areas that people make in these wild spaces.

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This one was not so much a secret garden as it is beside the road but was still a wonderful collaboration of planting and seating areas by the owners of the neighbouring houses.There was a fir tree in the middle that had been decorated for Christmas as well which was very lovely.

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I also found a couple more areas where people had converted the verde in the middle of a block of houses into a communal pool area and they looked equally gorgeous with the back gardens of all of the houses looking onto this beautiful shared space.

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Spain planting 4

I just love wandering around looking at all the houses and gardens and getting inspiration for mine. The plants are so beautiful against the blue sky and there are oranges everywhere on the trees lining the roads. They are too bitter to eat but I have plans to make marmalade and orange relishes when I am there permanently. The bottom two pictures are from one of my favourite gardens, it looks like a mini stately home and there are terraces and gorgeous tiles everywhere.

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Spain planting 1

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My own house needed some TLC as since I last visited there had been some severe storms so the rain had come in under the front door. My Mum had to treat some damp which meant the loss of a few items that had gone mouldy. I also had a water leak under the front terrace which meant that my beautiful bougainvillea had to be cut down leaving the garden looking very bare. The whole of that back wall used to be covered with flowers.

Spain terrace 7

My Mum gave me some money for Christmas and my Aunt Maureen took me to our favourite garden centre where I bought lots of new terracotta pots and pretty flowers so everything is looking much brighter now.I even have a tiny new bougainvillea.

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Spain terrace 5

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Spain terrace 2

Spain terrace 1

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I also bought a cute new lizard for my wall. My neighbours who live there permanently have offered to water the plants for me so hopefully some will survive until my next visit in June.

I have already taught the first session of the year and am looking forward to this term.Things are a lot less hectic than last term as I only have about half the teaching and am on the the last stage of the doctorate so am going to be planning lots of lovely sewing and knitting which I will post about next time. I have new fabric (some I bought and some given as presents) as I treated myself to some for Steampunk outfits so am going to spend some of next weekend sorting that out and will take pictures of all the gorgeousness for you.

Meanwhile hope you are all well and happy and enjoying the first bit of the new year, although it is miserable weather again here I am very much looking forward to the next couple of months as there will be lots more crafting time. Take care and thanks for visiting.

Take one little house…..

I had some lovely walks when I was in Spain, the sky was so blue and I spent many happy hours just wandering around, looking at the lovely plants and admiring all the creativity of the house owners who have modified their properties.

I wrote about some of the different styles of newer builds in this post last year but what I like doing the most is seeing how people have adapted the smaller, older houses. It is amazing walking down a street where no two houses are the same. I wonder what would happen in the UK if we did the same here to our rows of terraces? It helps that there has been very little in the way of planning laws here and it is only now that people have to get permission for modifications.

spain modified houses 2

These houses were built about 30 years ago and like mine started off as small terraces, single story with one or two bedrooms as in the picture above. I think part of the reason for all the creativity is that a lot of people who live there are retired and they have the time and energy to do a complete remodel.

My aunt and uncle bought a small house on a large plot and over the next 25 years extended it to over double its size, doing most of the work themselves.My aunt has just sold that house and is moving to a lovely new one just the other side of the secret garden that I posted about here.

These terraced houses are limited by plot size so most developments are upwards but what amazes me is all the different styles. A popular one is the traditional Spanish/Mexican adobe, there are quite a few of these and they look very different with their very ornate brickwork and lovely windows.

spain modified houses 1

The one above is just up the road from me and I have watched as over the years more and more has been added, they must have an amazing view from the roof terrace.This one below has gorgeous windows and iron work.

Or if that doesn’t appeal you could go for French chic, this lovely little pink house is just across the street from the last one and would not look out of place on the Riviera.

spain modified houses 7

Terraces are a big feature of most builds and these people clearly love their outdoor space.I can just see a barbecue on the roof and that must be lovely on summer evenings.

spain modified houses 8

The larger detached houses have a lot more scope for creativity as they have space for wall embellishments, terraces and even towers. You can go Tuscan if you wish as in this lovely example complete with vine covered terraces.

spain modified houses 9

Tiles are always a feature and I love this tiled mini tower on the house next door to the Tuscan one, reminiscent of the blue tiled roofs of the churches here.

spain modified houses 10

We also saw some amazing large houses when we took our trip to the beach I showed you pictures of in the last post. It was this place, La Zenia, that changed my mind about Spain. Up until then I had not thought of it as a place to live but seeing beautiful houses like these just next to the beach really inspired  me.

spain large houses 1

Sadly I can’t afford anything like this and it would be far too big for me anyway but I am looking for inspiration for when I move to Spain full time as I will have a little bit of re-modelling done on the terrace with a new wall and built in barbecue and I love these tiled balustrades on the house next door to the one above.

spain large houses 2

I also really want one of these Poinsettia trees that I saw everywhere, I love these flowers and usually have them in the house at Christmas so would really like to plant some in place of my very overgrown cacti!

spain poinsettia tree 1

I have not been able to do much sewing this week as I have had a small operation which has meant that my left arm has been a bit painful. I am working on my blog giveaway gift and really enjoying stitching that, especially as one of my favourite Netflix programmes has just released a new season so I have been happily watching Grace and Frankie while I stitch. They have a beach house that is amazing so I have added this to my list of places in world that I want to visit, look at that for a location!

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grace-and-frankie-on-netflix-beach-house outside

I love the house interior as well, this is the stage set but it is modelled on the real house. That is the most gorgeous view.

gracefrankie-home-inside

I am planning a quiet rest of the weekend, we have had a little snow here but no disruption thankfully, all the jobs are done for the weekend so I can just sit and sew 🙂

I hope you are having a nice time and are cosy and warm, or if you like somewhere hot as a few of my bloggy friends so keeping cool. I will be back soon and will hopefully be able to give you an update on the Steampunk outfit for Whitby as that is my next project after the giveaway gift.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

Back to Blighty with a bump and the giveaway winner

I hope that you all had a great festive season, I got back yesterday in pretty rough weather, there was lots of turbulence and the plane was really rocking coming down but we were only slightly delayed.

I have had a fab time and have more pictures to show you later, I have put a few of my favourites below but have really just popped in to tell you that the winner of my 11th blogaversary giveaway is Kay. I have e-mailed her to let her know but thanks so much to everyone who has commented, liked and followed this blog and sorry that I can’t make you all winners!

The weather has been pretty dreadful today with howling gales and we are forecast snow at the end of the week, oh joy! I am consoling myself by looking at my lovely beach pictures. This one is on the first day when we went down to the beach for coffee and a walk and the sunlight was just so sparkly on the water.

spain beach

We had our usual picnic lunch on New Year’s Day and I even got a little sunburnt. This yacht was out again on a very calm sea.I am sure I took pictures of the same one last year.

spain beach 2

Later in the holiday we went down the coast a bit for lunch and a walk to one of the rocky beaches, we took the kids here when they were younger and Jacob loved playing on this little island. It was a cloudier day with a magnificent sky and the waves were crashing on the rocks.

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I just love the sea in all weathers and even had a little paddle on New Year’s Day, there were a few people in the sea swimming then as well and some surfers at the rocky beach.

I had a very relaxing time, doing lots of reading, very little cooking, mainly living on delicious cheeses and soup. They even had a little Christmas selection pack of some of my favourite ones in miniature which made a lovely cheeseboard.

spain cheese

I also did a couple of puzzles, this one I bought last time I went as it is of a view that Ellie and I saw when we went to the Lake District last June, a painting of Derwentwater. Lots of pieces of sky to fit in!

spain puzzle 1

There was very little crafting done so I have nothing to show you, I am starting to put together my latest Steampunk outfit for Whitby in a few weeks. I am doing a pirate outfit for one day with my purple hat from last year and a vampire hunter outfit for the other day as both seemed appropriate themes for the venue.

The vampire hunter outfit will be a modification of a beautiful red wool evening coat that I have had for years, bought originally for re-enactment. I am taking inspiration from one of my favourite films, Van Helsing with the gorgeous Kate Beckinsale and this jacket though my coat is a lot longer as this will be February in the UK so warmth will be a priority. There will also be a top hat of course so I have been searching for inspiration for that.

vampire hunter outfit

Back to work tomorrow so it will be next weekend before anything serious can be done on that but the top hat will be started tonight.

I hope that you all have a good week ahead, take care and thanks for visiting.

 

Lorca, the goldwork in action

I am catching up with all the things that I have not posted about over the summer. At Easter, before the trip to Seville, we visited Lorca, a small city in the mountains a couple of hours from La Marina to see the Good Friday fiesta.

We have wanted to see this for a few years since we went on  our trip to see the goldwork museums. The four museums house all of the robes and banners that are used in this festival and we were absolutely amazed by them then. Two of the groups that organise the festival, the Blue and the Purple ones, are responsible for the religious side with the icons and the White and Scarlet organise the armies and other groups.

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Lorca 11

Lorca 13

We really had no idea of the scale of the festival though, what we saw in the museum was only a fraction of what filled the streets. We had a couple of hours wandering around watching everyone get ready and had drinks and something to eat before finding a spot to watch. It was quite bizzare seeing the streets filled with Roman soldiers and chariots and Egyptian girls!

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There are stands where you can buy seats for the parade so next year we will do that but we had a pretty good view of events from our little spot. We were right behind the camera crew so we could see a lot on their monitor as well.

Lorca 14

Apologies for the slightly blurry pictures but I wanted you to see the scale of the floats. As well as the Roman and Egyptian armies and their chariots there were horses racing up and down the street and the huge floats carrying icons , Roman Emperors, Cleopatra and her consorts and even the Pope!

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A truly incredible spectacle and the amount of work that went into the costumes is amazing. Some of the larger group ones were made by machine using ready made goldwork but most of the main characters are hand embroidered and it is truly stunning to see the mass of beautiful work that goes into this event.

A really great celebration of the art of the stitcher and another reason to love Spain! This is only a very small city and not famous for anything apart from this parade so we really wondered how they got to be producing something on this scale every year. We are going to go back next year and hopefully will book seats so we can have an even better view!

I am planning more pouch making this afternoon as Yarndale is in a couple of weeks and I need to get all my stock finished. Then it will be on to the Christmas ornaments, I have made a few of different types but need to decide on which will be the design I make six of for this year for my group of friends.I think I might go with baubles as have not done any of these for a very long time and have just acquired a huge stash of polystyrene balls from a local shop that was closing down.

Hope you have a lovely rest of the weekend and week ahead. We are off to Caldicot Castle for our last event so are hoping for good weather to end the season with.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

Just a little bit of bling!

The last photos I want to show you from Seville are from the cathedral. This is one of the largest in the world and it uses the tower or Giralda of the original mosque as part of its design.

Seville cathedral Giralda 1

Seville cathedral Giralda 2

The Giralda is stunning, with all of that detail made from brick and the surrounding buildings are also really beautiful, there are lovely cafes and restaurants all around the cathedral which makes it a gorgeous area.

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Seville cathedral 1

Seville cathedral buildings 2

I loved the exterior of the cathedral, the front entrance looks to have been completely replaced as it is a different colour stone and the roof decoration is stunning.

Seville cathedral 2

Seville cathedral 3

As we were queuing for a while to get in I took a few artistic shots looking up the facade, the second one is one of my favourite building photos ever, I love the contrast of building shapes and sky.

Seville cathedral 4

Seville cathedral 4 - angled

I really liked the little creatures on the facade especially this fox and the dragon, I think he looks cute and definitely tameable!

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Seville cathedral 6

Inside the cathedral was very impressive though not as decorated as I was expecting, compared to others such as Valencia the interior was quite plain but with beautiful lighting illuminating the intricate carved ceiling.

Seville cathedral interior 1

Seville cathedral interior 2

There was the most impressive gold altar that I have ever seen, absolutely mind blowing in its scale.

Seville cathedral interior 3

There was also a beautiful display of goldwork and the precious artifacts and paintings in a side room that was gorgeous. A truly magnificent place and a fitting end to our trip.

Seville cathedral interior 4

Seville cathedral interior goldwork 1

I have had a lovely weekend, mainly watching the rain come down while I have been stitching, which has been a bit of a shock after such high temperatures here for so long. I am hoping that my friends in the re-enactment group have not had bad weather as they were doing a show on top of the hill at Peveril Castle this weekend.

Sadly I missed that as the recent infected bites have led to a flare up of arthritis so I knew I would struggle getting up the hill. I know that other friends have had to cancel events this weekend due to the extreme weather which is such a pity for everyone involved.

Our next event is in a few weeks time at Lincoln and I need to finish my Steampunk jacket for then so I am planning to work on that this coming week.

Hope that you have a lovely week ahead, take care and thanks for visiting.

 

 

Bordado – the art or pastime of embroidering cloth

Bordado, as we found out in Seville, is Spanish for embroidery. The Folk Museum had lots of really interesting artifacts all housed in the beautiful Moorish Pavillion.

Seville Bordado museum

The first section we looked at was devoted to materials and their transformation and there were lots of displays of all types of artisan workshops including gilding, woodwork, leather and bakery.

There were also some brilliant works in progress pieces, one of the most exciting things for me in museums is seeing the unfinished pieces so you can see how they have made the embroidery.

In these pictures you can see the whitework paisley before the holes are cut and where padding stitches have been done first before satin stitch. There is also the lace being worked over a paper pattern.

I was really interested to see the tissue paper pinned round the working area on this last piece to keep it clean. That is something I haven’t done but is a great idea. The embroidery frames are beautifully made as well.

Seville Bordado 5 - paper

Then to my great excitement there was a whole gallery of embroidery and lace, one of the biggest collections that I have ever seen, so much wonderful work.

Seville Bordado - lace display

Much of it was a very similar type of work, sets of tray cloths or table cloths and napkins all unused and very similar in design.

Seville Bordado - napkin display

I wondered if they had been sample pieces for a book on embroidery or a series of magazines.I would guess they may be from the late 20s or 30s looking at the designs, there was no information about their origins though.

There was also very detailed whitework, some with cutwork lace.

I have never done any whitework though have some books on it and would love to. I don’t think I could ever make lace though I love looking at it.

One of my favourite pieces of whitework was this amazingly detailed unfinished tablecloth, you can just see the pencil outline of the rest of the design on the right.

Seville Bordado - whitework 3 - unfinished

Things like this always make me want to know the story of the maker, what happened, was it boredom and it became a WIP? Was there a tragedy and she never finished because of this?

There was also lots of amazing Spanish lace, whenever we go to the Easter Parades we admire the beautiful lace mantillas that the women wear with the high combs and these were stunning examples of mantillas and shawls.

When we at the recent fiesta in Alicante there were a group of people in costume with mantillas and lace aprons, it was too crowded and dark to get pictures then but these are a couple from Google from previous year’s fiestas to show you how beautiful they are. Spain has such a wonderful history of textile crafts and I love these traditional costumes.

Alicante costumes

Alicante costumes 2

I am still working on Jenny’s embroidery sampler at the moment and having fun practising stitches I have not done for a while like chain stitch. I still can’t master French Knots so may have to substitute seed beads.

I have a nice week ahead as I am working from home all work which means lots of early finishes and sewing time. We might even get some more BBQs in, only 7 to go to hit our target of 20. Hope you are also going to have a lovely week, take care and thanks for visiting.

Seville – saving the best bits till last

I was thinking about what to blog about next, I have so many posts waiting to be written and then realised that I had not shown you my favourite bits of the Seville trip. Although I really loved the Real Alczar the highlight for me was going to the Plaza de Espana.

Plaza de Espana 5 v

When I first saw pictures of it I assumed it was part of the Moorish heritage due to its water gardens but it was actually built in 1928 as part of the Ibero-American World Fair, along with a beautiful park and lots of other museums. I was amazed by all of the beautiful tiles.

There is more information about it and some stunning panoramic pictures here. We spent about two hours here just wandering, taking photos and listening to the fantastic Flamenco buskers and admiring all the different varieties of tiles.

There were several solo guitarists and then in the centre a group who had set up a simple board for the dancers with boxes for the drummers and three women taking turns to dance and sing. It was wonderful and very moving.

Plaza de Espana Flamenco

We really loved looking at all of the cities listed on the tiled seats and discussing which we have visited and which we want to.

Plaza de Espana cities 1 h

Mum has seen more of Spain than I have as before deciding to buy a house in La Marina she travelled to the north and south-east looking for potential homes. We now have a long list of places to see, virtually everywhere in Spain!

After the Plaza we went through the gardens to the museums at the end of the park. I will show you the contents of the museum we visited in another post as they had a whole section devoted to embroidery 🙂 so I was a very happy bunny. This is the Moorish Pavillion which houses the museum of Folk Art.

Below is the archaeological museum which we didn’t visit but just admired the gardens between the two pavillions.

I am so lucky to be able to go and visit all of these wonderful places, especially with my Mum who is just the perfect travelling companion. We like all the same things and she is very used to putting up with me taking endless shots of the same things.

We have had a lovely time at Tewkesbury, it was very hot so our cold flannels were much in demand. I unfortunately got bit by mosquitoes on the last night and the bites have become infected so have spent the last three days feeling very rough and not doing much at all. Thankfully the antibiotics are taking effect and I now have legs rather than swollen sausages. I am going to be having a very quiet weekend with my feet up!

Take care, have a nice weekend and thanks for visiting.