Ta da!

I have had a lovely week of stitching and am very pleased that I have already finished the first set of stockings.They are so pretty and have turned out even better than expected.

 

Jenny Xmas stocking 6

The designs are from the wonderful Jenny of Elefantz Stitchery Club and I followed her advice to back the fabric with interfacing which worked really well without a hoop.

 

Jenny Xmas stocking 7

Jenny Xmas stocking 8

Jenny Xmas stocking 9

I am so pleased with the stitching on these, especially the blanket stitch which I only learnt how to do this summer and though I say so myself has come out very neat 🙂 Now they just need to be cut out, backed and stuffed.

Apologies for the slightly blue pictures again, I even tried taking shots outside but even that did not make any difference.I did get a nice shot of the frosty hills behind the house though.Look at that lovely blue sky!

Frosty hills

I have been working almost solely on this project while watching lots of interesting things on Netflix, a very good murder mystery called Guilt and a competition program about cabins in the wild that has given me lots of ideas for future holidays as they feature lots of cabins from one of my favourite site Canopy and Stars!

Wouldn’t you love to stay in this tin tabernacle, or the very cute gardener’s hut or the geodome.

Canopy and Stars tin hut

Canopy and Stars gardener's shed

Canopy and Stars geodome

They have so many wonderful places on here that I am putting on my wish list for future trips. All pictures from their site.I am slightly addicted to watching tiny house videos on You Tube so this would satisfy some of my cravings to have my own tiny house.

Meanwhile we have booked mine and Mum’s city trip for next year, we will be going to Krakow in Poland in April. We were hoping to be able to get to Istanbul but flights and times were not good from here so we are now really looking forward to our first visit to Poland and to sights like this.

Krakow

We have not yet sorted a Spanish city trip but that will probably be done in June. Meanwhile back to reality and I have another set of stockings to prepare today.These have been so quick to do I think I may make more than six as I would like one as well.

Have a nice week ahead, hopefully on my next post I will have some good progress on the Steampunk jacket to report, so far all I have done is cut out pattern pieces, which took about 2 hours, and work out how much material I have, and discover I have not got enough interfacing or lining so I will have to buy those before I can progress much further.

My plan is to have at least the pieces cut out and possibly the bustle made before the end of the week. The jacket part is going to take more fitting so I have allowed a month for that as the event is on the 24th Nov and I know from past experience that it can take a while!

Take care and thanks for visiting.

 

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The wonderful Lake District – part one

In June Ellie and I went camping to the Lake District, partly so that we could visit another few National Trust houses. The Lake District is a very important place for the National Trust, not only due to the amount of land it looks after there but also as it is a key part of its history.

Canon Rawnsley, one of the founding members lived there and worked to enhance education and employment opportunities and one of the key contributors to protecting the land was the children’s author Beatrix Potter who lived there and bought land which she donated to the Trust.

We have visited a small bit of the Lake District before on whilst on holidays to Centre Parks but never actually been to the area for any length of time which is very remiss of us as it is only 1 1/2 hours from here and is the most glorious place.

Lake District - camping 1

We stayed at Low Wray campsite which is owned by the Trust and is literally on the shores of Lake Windemere and right next to one of the properties we visited, Wray Castle. This is the view from the edge of the site. What an amazing place to stay and so cheap, 3 nights there only cost £54 which was a real bargain.It is a beautiful campsite with an outdoor pizza place and boat hire so if you are looking for a place to stay I would really recommend it.

Lake District - camping 2

Lake District - camping 3

We were camped just behind this ridge on the right of the picture above, they also have tepees and camping pods for hire if you don’t have a tent.

In total we visited four Trust properties which I will post about later and a Trust owned pub , The Sticklebarn in the amazing Langdales.

Lake district - pub 2

Lake district - pub 1

Lake district - pub 3

We also visited Grasmere and Derwentwater Lakes and the little town of Cockermouth which was also very beautiful. Just the drives were amazing in themselves, the scenery is truly breathtaking.

Lake district - Cannon's house

Lake district - Derwent 1

Lake district - Derwent 2

Lake district - Derwent 3

I definitely want to go back and spend more time there, another place for the retirement list, only another 3 years, 8 months and 17 days to go until I can do that, not that I am counting 🙂

It is a wet and windy day today which is such a pity as the Jazz Festival is on this weekend in the village. I am volunteering tonight and all day tomorrow so hopefully lots of people will wrap up warm and come and visit anyway.

I am working on some more applique from the free gift at the moment so will be able to show you some of that next week. Hope that you all have a nice week ahead and thanks for visiting.

Another glorious cloister

We stayed over in Gloucester on the way back from our recent trip to Caldicot as we really wanted to go and see the cathedral. I knew that it had the most wonderful cloisters and I really love these so was excited to see them.

The docklands area where we stayed has been redeveloped with a mix of conversions of the old warehouses and new flats, shops and places to eat so we enjoyed having a quick wander round there and on through to the cathedral area where we say a little shop and exhibition devoted to Beatrix Potter’s, ‘The Tailor of Gloucester. We saw a lot of her original drawings when we visited the Lake District in the summer, which I have still to post about.

Glos cathedral 2

Glos cathedral 3

Glos cathedral 4

The cathedral itself is stunning, there are the most beautiful little chapels and stained glass windows everywhere.

My favourite was this painted one, which was done in the late 1800s and it gorgeous.

Everywhere you look there are altars and carved ceilings as well as some notable tombs including Edward 2nd who is portrayed by one of the members of our re-enactment group.

Glos cathedral 18

Glos cathedral 9

Glos cathedral 19

The best bit for me was definitely the cloisters, not only the carved fan ceilings which were stunning, but all the beautiful stained glass.

Glos cathedral 21

I took lots of pictures of designs as inspiration for the future book I intend to write of embroidery, goldwork and blackwork designs inspired by historic places that I have visited.

I especially love these little flower designs. I am not sure when they were made but they are clearly very old, you can see how bowed the window in the bottom picture is.

Glos cathedral 35

Glos cathedral 36

Glos cathedral 37

Glos cathedral 38

We were also very excited as there was a film crew setting up for work on a new TV series, ‘The Spanish Princess’, about one of my all time favourite historical people, Katherine of Aragon.

Glos cathedral 17

Look at the beautiful goldwork Tudor roses on these banners. I am really looking forward to seeing the series when it come out if I can find it as it is being made for American TV. Here is a sneak peek of the filming at Wells Abbey, the costumes look stunning.

Autumn is well and truly here and the trees look lovely. I have only today off this week as we have been continuing with induction for the new students so am just going to do a little bit of sewing this afternoon. Most evenings I have been far too tired to do anything more than about 10 stitches so am making very slow progress on my latest embroideries!

I have a quieter week ahead so will be able to spend more time on fun things. Hope you are having fun with whatever you are doing, 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.

Seville cathedral buildings 4

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!

Seville cathedral 5

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.

A little bit of Mediterranean madness

Hello again. Spain was very lovely as always , I spent most of my time at the pool and reading but did go on a trip to Alicante to see the fogueres or bonfires of the Festival of Saint John where the people make the most beautiful sculptures and then set fire to them.

They are dotted all around the city and every year there is a new theme, this year I think it was Nature as there were many with seasons or animals.

Alicante fiesta 2018 1

Alicante fiesta 2018 2

Alicante fiesta 2018 3

The level of detail is amazing and then they burn them!

Alicante fiesta 2018 4

Alicante fiesta 2018 5

At midnight there are fireworks from the castle on the top of the hill, then each foguere was lit in turn with accompanying fireworks.

Alicante fiesta 2018 6

Alicante fiesta 2018 7

We were standing on the opposite side of the road from the beautiful Winter themed one pictured above and we could feel the heat from there, it was so intense.

Alicante fiesta 2018 8

There were firemen hosing down the palm trees as smoke and sparks poured out and the owner of the nearby ice cream bar was on top of the roof hosing it down so it didn’t catch light. Madness and another reason to love Spain!

I was sad to leave but it was getting very hot, 34 degrees the last few days but it has not been that much cooler here.

I have had a brilliant weekend having a reunion with friends from college who I first met a mere 34 years ago. A fantastic time, lots of sitting in the sun and reminiscing about our time together and sharing hopes and plans for ourselves and our children.

I have a quiet couple of days ahead then it is off to the wonderful Tewkesbury event next, I would like it to cool down a little before then as don’t really want the boys to have to fight in 30 degrees plus. We British are never happy are we, it’s too hot, it’s too cold, it’s too wet, what would do without all this weather to talk about 🙂 !

I hope that you have a great week ahead, I will hopefully get chance to post some more travel pictures soon and then can update you on my recent Liberty blocks.

Take care and thanks for visiting.