In love with anything tiny

I don’t know what it is about my brain but I am officially addicted to anything small. Be it patchwork, knitting, cross stitch or dressmaking, everything is better when it is tiny.

Over the years I have made so many little knitted animals, with equally small clothes, tiny patchwork hexagons, cross stitch ornaments that I need a magnifier to sew, and dresses for Barbie where most of the pieces are no bigger than my hand.

Although I have made larger things there is something wonderful about the teeny tinyness of it all. Maybe it is the sense of completion, it does not take months to do something. Maybe it is to do with my desire to swap projects on a regular basis.

The same passion for tiny has now been confirmed by our trip away in my first tiny accommodation. I have been following lots of vlogs for years about tiny house living and was really excited to see what staying in the shepherd’s hut would be like. I know it was only for a couple of days but I could honestly imagine myself living in something like that full time. It was wonderful!

These pictures are from the Air bnb listing as it looked a lot more cluttered once we had arrived. As we were staying for just 2 nights we didn’t unpack. If I was living in something that small full time I would need a little more storage (for fabric of course πŸ™‚ ) , but I loved being in a space that was probably not even as big as my kitchen.

I have the sense all the time now that this house is too big, it is too full of ‘stuff’, even though it is only a small 3 bed terrace and I can’t wait to properly declutter and downsize in my move to Spain.

The outside space was so lovely as well, these are pictures that I took on the first evening we were there.

It was a perfect view, overlooking the field which was being ploughed the next morning and with a view of the sea and some amazing sunsets.

The firepit was very much appreciated, it is the first time we have sat around a fire this year and I have so missed it. It truly was an idyllic place to stay and would thoroughly recommend it.

Since we got back I have been compiling a list of all my other favourite little Air bnbs to visit, I have about 20 so far. I may not get to all of them but I can dream! We have booked a wonderful cabin overlooking the beach for next May, in Northumberland again as we had such a good time and want to explore the area more.

I will post more about the rest of the trip soon, it was better than we had hoped as the weather was really good and we were able to visit lots of lovely places.

Meanwhile it is back to work with our new first years starting on Monday. We are very uncertain as to what will happen as we are under further restrictions in our area as of next week but we will keep our fingers crossed that we can carry on teaching on campus.

I hope that things are not too difficult where you are, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Very cute knitting!

I have not had much time to craft in the last couple of weeks as term has started and I have been teaching, socially distanced, in classrooms that look like a GCSE exam room, and from behind a visor. A bit strange but it is lovely to be back in the classroom πŸ™‚

I have made some progress over the last couple of months on knitting clothes for the Little Cotton Rabbits animals and spent some time this week blocking them. They are so cute and I am loving the designs.

Julie has worked really hard on all sorts of new patterns and additions to existing patterns so we now have so many options for gorgeous wardrobes for our creations.

I have now knitted three pairs of dungarees, the earlier blue ones for Egbert the elephant, who has gone to his new home now with my friend from work’s grandson. The green ones will be for a little mouse and the navy ones for another friend’s grandchild. I just love the cute little pockets!

These are my first pair of rompers, adapted from Julie’s pattern to have more of a frill on the bottom. These will be paired with a little cardigan and I am also in the middle of a very cute backpack for this set.

One of the other new patterns I have bought has been for some textured dresses and I have just finished my first one, again with the sundress option for the top. I will make a cardigan to go with this as well.

I was very excited last week as I went in to town for the first time in 6 months and my local habdashery shop has survived the lockdown. I am so pleased for them, and for me so celebrated by buying some more gorgeous wool for future outfits.

I am also very excited today as tomorrow we are going to Nothumberland for a few days. We have booked a very cute shepherds’ hut and Ellen and I will be visiting lots of castles and Beamish open air museum. All places we have not been before so I am really looking forward to that.

This picture is from the Air BnB listing, how cute is this! We are planning to stay in lots more cute places over the next few years as we both love tiny houses and want to try lots out.

I will be back at the end of the week as I am teaching on Saturday again and next Monday the full-time students start with us. Fingers crossed that we can stay teaching on campus, such uncertain times for all of us but I do hope that they enjoy their time with us. I really feel for them after all that they have been through this year and although I will not be teaching any of the Year 1s this year I am looking forward to spending time settling them in.

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

Wonderful waterfalls

My second holiday was a trip away with my sister in her fabulous camper van Eva, named after my Nana who lived to be 100 and loved travel.She and my grandad went abroad twice aΒ  year, every year from the 1970s which was very unusual for families like ours at that time.Last October we went to the Dales near Settle and had a fab time.We were going to go to Wales but there were still a lot of restrictions on sites there so we ended up back in the Dales again.

My sister loves waterfalls so I found a great site at one of the most famous waterfalls in the Dales, at Asysgarth. The site is at the back of the Aysgarth Falls Hotel in a stunning location with beautiful views and a very nice beer garden to enjoy them in. It is a very small site with only 10 van pitches but beautifully kept with great facilities.

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Dales waterfalls 45

The shower and toilet block is these little green garden sheds and there are two sinks for washing up.

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Ellen joined us for one night’s camping and she was in the very well – kept tent field which was just below ours.

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We met some friendly campers as well who came and admired the van. It is so convenient, I will always love camping but it is so nice to drive up and everything is there for you, and no wet tents to dry off when you get home!

We went cross country on the drive there which was fun, large camper van on small country lanes πŸ™‚ Luckily my sister is a very experienced driver. She wanted to stop at some waterfalls she had found on the map so we had a picnic at a cute spot in the middle of Wharfedale on the way.

Dales waterfalls 5

We started on the second day with a visit to Hardraw Force, which is the largest single drop waterfall in England. It was a beautiful setting and after seeing the waterfall from the bottom of the gorge we climbed up to the top to look down on it which was amazing.

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Dales waterfalls 23

The power of the water as it thundered into the pool was amazing and I could have stayed watching it for hours. At the top there were these huge rocks in the river leading to the waterfall and beautiful views across the valley.

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We stopped at Hawes on the way back for a look round and to purchase some Wensleydale cheese as we were staying in Wensleydale. There were some beautiful little waterfalls in the middle of the village as well and very cute cottages.

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Our second day was spent at the Aysgarth Falls and also going on a 2 mile walk (there and back) to another waterfall, Cauldron Falls, which we spotted on the map in the little village of West Burton.

We have been to Aysgarth many years ago and it is still an amazing place, the sheer power of the water is stunning.My sister got a lot nearer than I did as last year I fell over near the waterfall we were visiting and badly bruised my hip so stayed safe this time.

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Dales waterfalls 34

It was a very hot day and after an ice cream and a little sit down the walk to West Burton seemed a very long way. It was a very pretty village though and thankfully the village pub was open so we were able to have a cold pint of cider to keep us going for the way back to the pub at the campsite.

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Dales waterfalls 37

The Cauldron Falls were amazing, we had expected only a little waterfall but instead we got this.It was a really nice walk along the river as well.

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We also had a bbq, only the second of the year and had lots of time to just sit and chill and catch up with my sister. It was a fantastic relaxing and fun filled 4 days and I can’t wait to buy my own camper van next year. I loved taking pictures of all of the different textures of trees, water and rocks.

The journey back was in a very warm 32 degrees, just in time to get me acclimatised before I flew to Spain the following day. I didn’t take any pictures while in Spain as it was a very low key time. I did go swimming almost every day, and had some trips to the beach and a couple of meals out. Most of the time was spent sitting reading, knitting and generally chilling (albeit in 34 degrees!).

I have been so lucky to be able to get away and feel very, very happy to have been able to see my Mum and my aunt. There was a time in April when I thought I was never going to be able to visit Spain again and it was so brilliant to be able to be there with them.

The new Steampunk outfit is going well and I have completed the hat. I will be able to give you some updates in the next post and fingers crossed by Monday I will have most of it completed.

Although I still love the colour, the satin fabric has been quite tricky to work with. Aside from my ever preset fitting issues (why do I always cut out things so large?), it is a very slippery fabric to work with and shows every pin mark. Hopefully the overall impression will be so stunning people won’t notice the tiny holes in some of the pieces, note to self, next time don’t ever use a pin in the centre of the fabric πŸ˜‰

I hope that you have all had a nice week, work has been fine as luckily we are not too badly affected by all the A level trauma in the department I work in. I feel so sorry for all of the students, their teachers, and the university staff who have had to try and deal with this. My heart goes out to all of the young people in what has been such an awful year for them without all this.

Take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting, liking and commenting, it is lovely to get such nice feedback from you all.

 

 

A pirate’s life for us

I have had a wonderful three weeks away. The first trip to Whitby with Ellen turned out much better than we expected as the weather was excellent. The forecast had been quite poor for the Saturday but it was really lovely apart from one small rain shower so we took advantage of the beautiful sunshine.

We didn’t get chance to visit the abbey last year as it was closed and really enjoyed our visit there on Friday.

Whitby Abbey 1

Whitby Abbey 2

Although it must have looked amazing when it was first built I also love it as a ruin.

The contrast between the stone and the sky and the way that the stone is degrading due to the wind and weather makes it an amazing place.

Whitby Abbey stone 2

Whitby Abbey stone 1

Whitby Abbey stone 3

We went down and back up the 199 steps to find the tea shop we so enjoyed last year. It was just closing on Friday but we went back on Saturday for the delicious gluten free cream tea and were able to have lots of other nice cafe and bar stops over the weekend.

Whitby steps Ellen

It was so nice to be out enjoying these things again, apart from a pizza in the village last month I have not done anything like this for four months which seems impossible when you think about it. It was lovely to see Whitby bustling with lots of businesses open again and we found some lovely new places like this little courtyard cafe.

Whitby cafe 1

We had a drink watching the sunset on the Friday night and then on Saturday went to a blitz themed restaurant and a bottle of my one of my favourite lagers, very appropriate for this current situation!

Whitby evening drink

Whitby meal out

We had one boat trip on a pirate themed boat and then as we had seen another that was a scaled down version of the Endeavour that Captain Cook sailed on we had to make another sea trip on that as well. That had a really interesting summary of Cook’s life and voyages which was good as we had not managed to visit the museum as it was closed.

Along with sausage and chips on the pier ( the little boy next to us had his sausage stolen by a very large seagull so we had to guard ours carefully), a few ice creams, a paddle, seeing the entertainers on the street,Β  and a go on the penny arcades, it was a wonderful British seaside weekend.

Whitby paddle

 

Whitby entertainer

We did see a few Steampunks and met these lovely people up at the abbey. This is Vintage Dapper Chap and friends who very kindly let us take pictures.

Whitby Steampunks

We are really looking forward to next year’s event and will be going for longer next year so that we can explore the beaches and go fossil hunting.

 

 

I then had a day to repack for my next adventure off in the camper van with my sister which I will tell you all about in the next post. We had a great time and are already planning more adventures for next summer after I retire. I was using the plane fight back from Spain yesterday to look for lovely places to visit.

Spain - flight

This is an area of France that I often fly over which looks brilliant. It is lovely to be reminded that there is a beautiful world out there which we can hopefully see more of next year.

I hope that you are all ok and have nice things planned for the week ahead. It is back to work for me, but first I have some work to do on the Steampunk jacket and hat and a bit more knitting to do.

Take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

 

Armchair travel

Regular readers will know that my two biggest passions in life are crafting and travel. In a normal year I am lucky enough to have at least three holidays, mostly to Spain, but also to lovely places in the UK and lots of weekends away at re-enactment events, Steampunk and WW2 events and visiting places of interest that usually involve museums, historic houses and textiles in some form.

Obviously that is not possible at the moment and won’t be for the foreseeable future so I have been finding ways of satisfying my travel urges via the miracles of the internet. I have been watching many different ‘van life’ videos for a number of years now, partly as fact finding as I am hoping to learn to drive and buy my own little camper van in the future. However I just love watching the beautiful places that people travel to and have been watching some wonderful ones recently while sewing.

Tread the Globe are the couple who I have been following for a few years on You Tube and I am taking the opportunity to watch lots of videos that I have not seen before. They are currently in lockdown in Turkey as they arrived there just at the start of the pandemic but have been posting regularly and are coping well.They also have a very informative blog here which not only gives details of the trips but also of how much it costs them to travel which is very useful information.

Before that they had been visiting some beautiful places in France and Spain so I have been watching that to get some ideas for more places to go in future years. They recently visited Taragonna which has been on my wish list for a while as it looks so beautiful. Picture from Google.

Tarragona

I have been collecting ideas for camper van themed decor as well so that when I eventually do get my van I can decorate it. I have been very inspired by my sister who has just bought her fourth van. We went away last October in it and that really motivated me again as we had such a brilliant time. As I mentioned then I made her a VW camper van cushion some years ago and have been looking at other things to make for me as well.

I love this camper van quilt pattern by Amy Bradley designs, (picture from her site), especially the little people that the design comes with.

Camper Quilt Pattern 1

I think the camper vans are so cute and love the retro feel of this. We had many very happy holidays in larger static vans when we were children and I just love caravans of all shapes and sizes.

I found this one during one of my searches, this is a self drafted pattern using inspiration from the many different pictures of camper vans out there and I love the use of all kinds of different fabrics.

Caravan Quilt

This is from A Little Craft , (picture also from her site), and she makes all sorts of beautiful quilts in New Zealand. One day my sister and I are hoping to take a camper van tour of New Zealand when we are both retired, that would just be magical.

I have just found another version as well, this is much larger and has a tutorial with it as well and free templates for the caravan as well as a pattern you can buy for the quilt. It is by the Missouri Star Quilt Company and I have used their tutorials before.

Cute Camper quilt

I have also had this cute stitched version on to do list for a very long as well, it comes from the Flamingo Toes blog and has a detailed tutorial and a free pattern.It is machine embroidered which I am not very confident about doing but it may be a good chance to improve those skills like I have done my quilting ones.

Retro-Camper-Embroidery-Hoop-Art

There is also this very lovely camper van pot holder which is a free pattern from the Sewing for Free site here. Not only cute but a very useful make.

happy-camper-pot-holders

So I shall be keeping myself entertained with virtual travel for the moment, there are so many great tours of museums and exhibitions available at the moment as well which is interesting and can give me lots of ideas for places to go when I am retired. If all goes well I will be starting that process a year from now which is very exciting πŸ™‚ and keeps me inspired.

I hope that you have had a good weekend, some of it has been a bit dull, wet and cold here, so I have been snuggling up in the fleecy blanket making the most of a quiet weekend and watching The White Queen on Amazon. I hope everything is ok with you and your families, stay safe, take care and thanks for visiting.

 

 

 

Historic costume and historic eateries

I am writing this in the aftermath of another storm, luckily the only damage to me is some blown over bins but we have had a lot of flooding in the area both last weekend and this, which may have contributed to a very strange dream I have last night where I was asked to run a session on the link between climate change and sewing! To my knowledge I don’t think seamstresses and embroiders have any negative effect on the climate, rather we are a force for good πŸ™‚

We had some more wonderful costumes to look at in Liverpool last week, again in the Walker Art Gallery with a small collection of Regency garments.

It is always particularly fascinating to see these as of course they would have been completely hand stitched, unlike some of the Victorian and Edwardian and are all the more impressive for that. The embroidery on the men’s jackets and waistcoats is just mind blowing, so perfectly done and so detailed.

Liverpool Regency clothes 3

Liverpool Regency clothes 4

Liverpool Regency clothes 8

I also have finally realised what a polonaise is which is very useful for my Steampunk costumes. Here is an example of one, the fashion of which was revived in Victorian times.It is an overskirt which can be hitched up at the back to create the ruffled look.

Liverpool Regency clothes 6

Liverpool Regency clothes 7

One of the styles that I love is the ‘sack back gown’, with the train at the back and I love the ruffles on this one. It is made of silk which would have been so bright as the time.

There was a small collection of underwear including stays and a shift and also some wonderful padded stockings, for men who did not have the required fashionable shapely calf to go with their breeches.

Liverpool Regency clothes 10

There was also the added excitement at the art gallery of coming across some unexpected Pre-Raphelite paintings. I love these, not least for their medieval costumes and amazing attention to detail in the work, especially the backgrounds of the paintings.

Liverpool Art 1

Liverpool Art 2

Liverpool Art 3

Liverpool Art 4

Liverpool Art 5

We also had some lovely meals out in historic eateries, we chose our lunch venue on Saturday from Google Maps based on the fact that it was located in an old church and it did not disappoint.

Liverpool Food 3

The Alma de Cuba took over the de-consecrated church in 2005 and have very tastefully combined the original architecture with its new function as a restaurant and nightclub. I loved the fact that it was candlelit and had strings of lights in the ceiling. Many of the bars were lit in this way with fairy lights and it looks so lovely in the gloomy weather.

Liverpool Food 1

Liverpool Food 2

Liverpool Food 4

We chose a little vintage style cafe Rhubarb for our very lovely brunch on Sunday , near our accommodation in Lark Lane, which has lots of really beautiful historic buildings and a wide selection of places to eat.

Liverpool Food 5

We sadly did not mange the Victorian pumping house converted into a pub for lunch due to coming home early but will save that for next time.

I have finished one of the celebration projects, 19 hours sewing of lace has been completed this week, in 3 days actually which impressed even me! I had a very nice time doing that and will be able to show you the photos in a few weeks.

I am now just about to start on another dress after a very successful shopping trip to the wonderful Bombay Stores yesterday. I was very good and only spent Β£4 on needles, invisible thread and a metre of lovely braid but there were many yards of glorious fabric purchased by my friends for the event which is in April. There will be all sorts of lovely costume at that one as it is Middle Earth themed so I will make sure that I take lots of photos for you.

I am off to a writing retreat with work tomorrow to work on the revisions on my doctorate. Not as much fun as sewing but it will be lovely to spend time with colleagues and it is a very beautiful place. I have been twice before and am really looking forward to a few nice walks as well, weather permitting.

I will be back next weekend, hope that you all have a very good week ahead and hopefully there will be no more weird weather. Take care and thanks for visiting.

The leaving of Liverpool

We had a very lovely time this weekend, although we did leave in a bit of a hurry due to the awful stormy weather. We were looking round the Maritime Museum, ironically we had just visited the section on emigration, when the museum closed due to the bad weather so we cut short our visit.

Luckily made it back to the car in one piece as it was very blowy and made it safely home through a few bits of flooded road. I now do not have to leave the house for three days as I am working on my doctoral rewrites and some marking which I am very grateful for! It is now sleeting and very cold out so I shall hide indoors and sew πŸ™‚

We were there primarily to visit An English Lady’s wardrobe exhibition at The Walker Art Gallery which was very good. It was an unusual exhibition in that it was the collection of one person, Emily Tinne, who was born in 1886 and died in 1966. It was also accompanied by letters that she and her family wrote and photos of them, sometimes wearing the garments.The portrait photo below shows her around the time of her wedding.

Liverpool Clothes 1

The garments date from around the time of her marriage like this silk evening gown and a beautiful tiny waisted lawn dress with its whitework detail, to the clothes she wore as an older women after seven pregnancies. Emily did comment on how she could not believe that she had ever been so slim.

Liverpool Clothes 29

Liverpool Clothes 8

Liverpool Clothes 9

Liverpool Clothes 10

Liverpool Clothes 11

Liverpool Clothes 12

The blouse above has the most beautiful embroidered detail on the sleeves and I love the ruffled cuffs. It is the sort of thing that I would love to try and make to go with my Steampunk outfits.The silk dress below has gorgeous embroidery and is one of a collection of her day dresses.

There was also information about the shops in Liverpool that she bought from, copies of adverts from magazines andΒ  information about her dressmaker so a real social history of the time and fantastic detail for costume historians and sewing enthusiasts.

Liverpool Clothes 33

Liverpool Clothes 36

Liverpool Clothes 37

There was a little display of some of the sorts of patterns that she used, the illustrations here are gorgeous so I bought a notebook and bookmark from the gift shop with some of these on.

What was lovely was that there were many things that she bought, such as some of the evening gowns, and never wore or that were not even her size or style but the family said that she probably just wanted to keep supporting shops and the salesgirls who worked on commission during the difficult years of the Depression. I think that is a fabulous reason for buying things and one that I can use as well for supporting fabric retailers.

There were also 150 hats in the collection, we were talking to one of the collection stewards and he was telling us that a group had recently visited in 1930s and 40s costume and he loved the hats and why didn’t we all wear hats more often and we both agreed. One of the lovely things about re-enactment and Steampunk is the wearing of hats and head dresses that instantly make you feel more glamorous.

Liverpool Clothes 28

The evening dresses were, as you would expect from a 20s and 30s collection, full of the most wonderful beading and embroidery.

Emily was also a very good needlewoman and made many of her children’s clothes herself. I love the two versions of this dress with ruffles.

Liverpool Clothes 2

Liverpool Clothes 3

The smocking on this ivory silk dress below is so skillful and tennis dresses so elegant. The little embroidered dress in white and blue at the bottom of the display is one of the ones there was a photo for, showing her daughter wearing it at the age of about three.

I have been watching some more videos on You Tube about historical costuming while I have been sewing which I will post about another time. It was fascinating to see all of the underwear as one of the vloggers has just made some combinations like the ones here. The detail of the pin tucks and lace is so gorgeous, especially as this was not going to be seen.The last photo is of a chemise that was never worn and still has the price tag on it.

Liverpool Clothes 19

Liverpool Clothes 22

One of my favourite pieces was this velvet evening jacket on the left of the picture below. I love wearing velvet, though not sewing it, and I have a gorgeous black jacket that I have added lace to for Steampunk. I also loved this amazing georgette evening cape. I would love to have the skills be able to make something like that.

Liverpool Clothes 34

Liverpool Clothes 35

We also saw some more Regency gowns which I will post about later and had some lovely meals out in historic properties. There is still so much to see in Liverpool so we will definitely go back and visit more of the museums next year.

I am working on a couple of secret projects for a friend’s wedding and another friend’s partnership celebrations and those are going to take priority for the next few weeks so will only be able to do a little bit of my own crafting in the evenings. I am going to focus on getting some more of the Barbie things finished for the first set of birthdays in April and early May as those and the wedding things have to be done before we go to Japan in only seven weeks!

I hope you are all having a good time and are not too storm damaged. Take care and thanks for visiting.

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.

Spain planting 5

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.

Spain planting 3

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.

Spain planting 6

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.

Spain planting 2

Spain planting 1

Spain planting 8

Spain planting 7

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.

Spain terrace 6

Spain terrace 5

Spain terrace 4

Spain terrace 2

Spain terrace 1

Spain terrace 8

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.

Home from home

As you know I love camping and last week I had an extra special trip because I went away with my sister, Jacky, in her camper van to the beautiful Yorkshire Dales. I have been looking at camper van videos on Youtube constantly for the last few years as I am hoping to buy one when I retire (after learning to drive of course!) so I was very excited to be staying in one.

Dales camper van 5

The van is a custom conversion which was made for her by the previous company she bought a van from and is based on a standard van with a fitted out interior.

Dales camper van 3

There is a small seating area, with table at the entrance and then a kitchen and storage area with fitted units and a double bed across the width of the van with lots of storage underneath.It has a working sink and also has a portaloo so it was real luxury compared to being in a tent πŸ™‚

Jacky is an experienced van owner, this being her fourth one, but she had not done a lot of camping in it since getting it in August as she had mostly used it for festivals. This was also a test of how it would work with two people and the conversion of the living area for a single bed. It was lovely to see the cushion I made for her in situ as well.

Dales camper van 1

We stayed at a beautifully located campsite, Woodend FarmΒ , just outside the village of Austwick in the Dales.Below are the views from our pitch, we also had electric hook up so had lights and heating! Real luxury πŸ™‚

Dales camper van 4

Dales camper van 6

Dales camper van 2

I can heartily recommend the site as it was very well maintained with amazing views across the valley and a little stream running through it. It would be great for kids to play in the summer as there was lots of space and being a working farm there were lots of sheep. The whole of the Dales is covered in sheep in wonderful dry stone walled fields so I felt very at home.

Dales sheep 1

Dales sheep 2

It is an area I have visited before, we camped there quite a few times when the children were young but I have not been for about 15 years. The weather was brilliant, we had three days of sunshine and so were able to go for lots of walks, mainly to see waterfalls as we both love those.

Dales waterfalls 12

Dales 6

Gordale Scar was our first trip, the gorge leading up the waterfall is really beautiful with impressively large rock walls and a babbling stream which leads into a cleft in the rock where a waterfall tumbles down.

There were lots of adventurous people climbing up it, Jacky went much nearer than I did and you can see her in the middle picture. I am have not done much off road walking in the last year due to the arthritis and I didn’t want to fall.

Dales waterfalls 8

Dales waterfalls 9

Dales waterfalls 13

The views were just stunning, couldn’t believe that the weather was so good. We even stopped and had ice cream at the little refreshment van on the way out it was that lovely.

Dales waterfalls 11

 

That afternoon we went to Malham Tarn, owned by the National Trust as Marsden Moor is, and very similar in scenery to our local reservoirs. We saw a little deer there in among the trees and lots more sheep.

Dales 13

Dales 12

The next day we went to Stainforth Force, another impressive, though lower waterfall where I did manage to slip on these rocks and fall into the shallow bit on the bank in the picture below.

Dales waterfalls 7

Dales waterfalls 6

Dales waterfalls 5

Not too injured but very wet we spent some time in a cafe at the nearby Langcliffe Park caravan site drying off and had a little wander admiring the vans and their beautiful views across the valley.

Dales 1

Dales 2

Dales 3

One of my early retirement plans before buying the house in Spain was to live in a static caravan and I just love them. I may end up buying one yet, so many lovely reminders of childhood holidays and nowadays they are very luxurious.

After going back to the van and changing (one of the advantages of having your house with you!) we climbed up the hill to Catrigg Force. The path took a bit of finding and it was a steep climb but well worth it as the waterfall is located in a wonderful glade and comes crashing down from the moor above into a deep chasm. This time I stayed safely above the rocks while Jacky went exploring!

Dales waterfalls 4

Dales waterfalls 1

Dales waterfalls 2

Dales waterfalls 3

A really brilliant break, it was lovely to spend time with my sister and we both really appreciated the time away from work. She is a primary school teacher and works very long hours in a school with lots of challenges so it was great to just unwind, go on lovely walks, sit and play cards and games in the van at night and generally enjoy life. There were some beautiful sunsets and skies and we just loved all of the gorgeous walls with their moss cladding.

Dales 5

Dales 7

Dales 4

It has been a very cold and wet week here, as for most of the country, so I have spent a large majority of the time very damp as I have started doing my placement visits. Much as I enjoy this part of my job standing at freezing bus stops is not fun so I have appreciated working from home today in the warm and dry.

I am hosting a Christmas ornament making session on Sunday for the Wool and Wine group which will allow me to finish off a couple of things. Despite my best efforts I am still going to be rushing to finish everything in time, thank goodness I made some ornaments in Jan.

I hope that you have a good weekend ahead, take care 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.