Fiesta Days

One of the things that I absolutely love about Spain is the number of fiestas they have. This is a nation that knows how to relax and have a good time! From the religious celebrations at Christmas and Easter through to all the little carnivals and local fiestas it seems that there is always something going on. Even little La Marina where Mum lives has a 3 day festival in August with live bands which is great.

I was lucky enough to visit two on my recent trip, the first the Easter Parade of icons in the tiny town of San Fulgencio, near La Marina and then the largest and most spectacular Moors and Christians celebration in Alcoy, a mountain town about an hour away, near to Barcelona.

I have been to both before but was very happy to return, particularly to the Moors and Christians one as I last went about 10 years ago, it falls on St George’s Day so I can only go in years when Easter is very late.

There is the usual lovely goldwork to look at on the icons and banners.

Aside from the two icons of Jesus and the Virgin Mary that get paraded from the church round the town, accompanied by a band and the usual gowned and tall hatted celebrants the main draw for me is seeing the beautiful Spanish women in their suits and lace mantillas. They look so stunning and I managed to get a couple of close up shots as well.

Spain Easter Fiesta 6

 

Spain Easter Fiesta 7

We went on a coach trip to Alcoy arriving just near to the end of the Christians parade so there were lots of people relaxing and refreshing themselves in the bar after their part of the parade.

The costumes are brilliant, such detail with everyone from each group dressed in the same outfit, even down to shoes and bags. there are mini versions for all the children as well, even the babies were dressed up.

We saw these lovely princesses in the parade and managed to get some close up shots as well, love that fabric!

Spain Alcoy 5 - princesses on float

Spain Alcoy 6 - princesses 2

Spain Alcoy 6 - princesses 3

We then had a couple of hours to wander, take photos of the gorgeous Art Deco buildings and then got a great spot to watch the second half of the parade when the Moors arrived.

They are a lot more flamboyant with sultans, dancing girls, camels and lots of riders on horseback showing off their skills.

There was just time for a few more pictures of the architecture on the way back to the coach.

Spain Alcoy 17 buildings

Spain Alcoy 18 buildings

I hope that you have all had a good week. Mine has been mainly full of marking and meetings as most of the teaching is over now. Saw Ellie briefly as she stayed overnight on her way to Spain, she is there now for a little break in between her busy Easter schedule and the start of her summer activities.

I have more marking and meetings ahead this week and weekend so I think it will just be a case of making a few more hexagons when I can, I am up to 47 now though so only 13 to go then I can start the process of removing all the papers and deciding on the layout.

Take care, have a good week ahead and thanks for visiting.

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A tale of two villages

Hello again

I am amusing myself after a very snowy day again earlier this week and torrential rain and flooding today thinking of happy sunny times in Spain so thought that I would add the rest of my photos from Tabarca.

At the other end of this little island from the wild rocky cost is a little village, just 4 streets at the side of the church, with some really pretty little houses, I took lots of pictures of the windows and doors.

tabarca-village-1

tabarca-village-2

This was a house that has been turned into an art gallery, lots of inspiration for arty shots.

And there was some lovely crochet in the window of this door.A beautiful place and one I would love to go back to. They do have hostels and rental properties so would love to do that one day as a mini holiday within a holiday.

tabarca-village-8

tabarca-village-9

The other little village is my growing collection of house pin cushions, have not made any for a while but have quite a few now. Not certain yet where they are ending up but for now they are just populating the craft room.

house-pincushions-all

Have really enjoyed choosing different fabric and buttons and flowers for these from my stash. Added the cute button headed pins to some as well.Apologies for shadows in the photos, the light was not good this weekend.

The fabric flowers come from some braid that I have cut into individual flowers. So cute! Have just had an order of very lovely flower buttons for the next lot of houses but those will have to wait until the ornaments have been done.

I have made the cathedral window ornament and several folded ones so will show you that next post. Ellie and I are of to the Harrogate Knitting and Stitching Show this weekend so looking forward to that and will try to be good and not buy fabric!

Take care and thanks for visiting.

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside….

Hello everyone

I have come back very brown and happy from a lovely week in Spain with my Mum, a brilliant winding down week consisting mainly of sleeping, reading and walks along the beach with not only paddles but one actual swim in the sea.It was very warm all week, in the high 20s so I wore shorts for most of the time and now actually have brown legs for the first time ever in my life.

We went on a boat trip to the island of Tabarca on one of our days out, I have been a few times before and love it, it is a tiny island about 3 miles from the mainland which was fortified during the 1700s so has the remains of the walls and a little fort.The sea was such a wonderful colour.

It is a very different landscape to the mainland beaches with lots of rocky inlets and sea grass that has dried into huge clumps on the beach, very much like the Cornish coast and there are some great views and walks at the uninhabited end of the island.

This was the little graveyard right at the end of the island. At the other end near the village is the church, we have never been able to go in it as it has been being restored every time we have visited over the last 10 years but it makes a very imposing sight at the edge of the island and the stone looks amazing next to the sky and sea.

We stopped for a coffee so I got the chance to take an arty shot of these stools outside the bar.Love the colours against the sea.

tabarca-1

Later on we had lunch overlooking the sea with lots of cute stray cats begging for food, we saved some of our tuna for them and I got a quick picture of another  island stray for you, because there aren’t enough pictures of cats on the internet are there 😉

tabarca-8

We walked along the restored fortified wall to the other end of the island to peek through one of the defensive towers.

tabarca-15

It was such a lovely day with the sun sparkling on the sea, hard to believe that in the UK it was Autumn and it has been a bit of a shock to find myself back in winter time zones with it now getting dark at 5pm. Luckily the festive season is fast approaching, so I seriously need to get my act together with ornament making and I am very glad I have mulled wine and candles to keep me sane 🙂

Also I have all the Christmas events to attend, am really looking forward to spending Christmas with Ellie in Worksop as she has to work on Christmas Day so I get to go to the church service at Clumber Park chapel.

It will be the first time we have been to a Christmas Day service since our trip to Prague in about 2006 when I, ‘persuaded’, the kids to come to Mass with me on Christmas morning. It was a very cold cathedral and the hour and a half service was all in Latin, for some reason they were not inspired to ever let me repeat that experience. I call it character building!

I did sneak a Christmas Eve service in last year in Oslo cathedral which was lovely. Ellie is now quite happy to attend any church service in any country but Jake is still not amused by trying to sing hymns or carols in other languages.

Hope that you all have a very nice week, will be back soon with the Liverpool goldwork pictures and more lovely pincushions! Take care and thanks for visiting.

 

 

Probably the best cloisters in the world..

As you may know I do love cloisters and I have seen lots of really beautiful ones in my time. However the ones at the Jeronimos Monastery in Lisbon were absolutely breath-taking in their splendour.

The decorations carved on the pillars were amazing and all unique, I couldn’t stop taking photos of the way that the sunlight and shadows made contrasts. Just amazing.

Lisbon - cloisters 1

Lisbon - cloisters 2

Lisbon - cloisters 3

Lisbon - cloisters 5

Lisbon - cloisters 4

Lisbon - cloisters 6

The monastery itself is wonderful, my camera was playing up at this point, previous pictures are from my tablet, so here are a couple from the miracles of the internet to show you what I mean.

Lisbon jeronimos_monastery_2

Lisbon jeronimos-monastery

There are other monasteries in Lisbon that we did not have time to visit so will have to go back as well, it is just there are so many other places that I want to go as well, just not enough time for all the loveliness there is in the world!

One of the last places we visited was the Belem Tower, built to defend Lisbon in the 1500s and just gorgeous, beautiful stone carvings and very ornately decorated for a defensive structure.

Lisbon - Torre 1

Lisbon - Torre 2

Lisbon - Torre 3

A really great holiday again and wonderful to spend time with my mum who like my lovely daughter is very happy wandering round churches and historic monuments, so glad to have travelling companions who like the same things that I do.

Have another re-enactment event coming up this weekend, we will be at Peveril CastlePeveril Castle, fingers crossed for fine weather as it is right on the top of the hill with a very long, steep climb up and down. Last year was brilliant weather on Saturday and raining all day Sunday so am praying for sun all weekend.

I am then off to Spain for a bit to see the family, not planning to do much due to the fact that it will be very hot, just lots of reading, going to the pool and spending time with my cousins and my god – daughter.

See you when I get back, thanks for visiting.

 

 

Tiles , sardines and another wonderful and wacky palace

Hello everyone

Mum and I really enjoyed our first trip to Portugal a couple of weeks ago, I came back with so many beautiful postcards of tiles as inspiration for quilt designs and some beautifully wrapped fish. Sardines are a big feature of Portuguese cuisine and there were tins of fish for sale everywhere.

Lisbon - sardines

I could have bought loads of these as they were in all of the gift shops and I love the vintage designs.

The city was lovely with lots of beautiful buildings, many art deco in style and the best railway station I have ever seen, the bottom two pictures in this mosaic.

The tiles on the postcards below come from the many tiled buildings that are in the city, some amazing pattern inspiration, if you want to see more look at this link.

Lisbon -tile postcards 1

I have framed this beautiful postcard and put it in my kitchen, lovely windows!

Lisbon  - tile postcards 6

The main reason for choosing Portugal for our trip was a blog post last year from Gillian Travis  , one of my favourite textile artists, who had visited Sintra, an area where the Portuguese royal family had their winter retreat and built lots of wonderful palaces. She has made some lovely journal quilts based on her trip including one with sardine tins, pictures at the bottom of this post.

Sadly my camera malfunctioned while we were away and though I thought I had taken lots of gorgeous pictures they were all corrupted so have had to resort to finding others from the internet to show you the wonderful Pena Palace  that we visited on my birthday.

Lisbon pena palace 2

I love bizarre palaces, we visited Neuschwanstein a few years ago and this is similar in its wonderful over the top architecture, this time with a Moorish influence.The whole area is so beautiful with rocky outcrops amongst the trees and views out to sea.

Lisbon pena-national-palace 1

I love this picture of it in the clouds, it looks like something from an epic film like a Lord of the Rings movie, amazing to think that this was actually built on the site of an original monastery as a family home.

Lisbon pena palace 3 clouds

We had a brilliant day exploring the palace and the beautiful grounds topped off by a ride down from the palace in a jeep which was very exciting! We had bought round trip bus tickets but the queues were really long for the return bus and there were lots of vehicles dropping people off at the palace and offering return trips. We narrowly missed getting a tuk tuk but were very happy with a cool ride down in the jeep.

We ended the day with a drinks on the terrace of a bar overlooking Lisbon and tapas at a very cute little place where we were the only customers, possibly something to do with the fact that Portugal were playing Germany in the Euro 16.Happily they won so we came back to the hotel accompanied by the cheers and honking horns of a lot of very happy Portuguese. A very memorable day!

We also visited an a great art museum and some found some absolutely amazing cloisters in the monastery, even better than Laycock Abbey so I will be posting pictures of those soon.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

Madrid – doors galore!

 

Hello, hope that you have all been having fun in the last couple of weeks. I have had a wonderful time in Spain, including my first visit to Madrid which was splendid, even by the very high standards of all the other beautiful cities I have visited.

I will have to go back, there was so much to see and I think I could spend at least a week visiting churches.

We did get to see the exterior of a few like these three above and the stunning cathedral, started in the late 1800s it was not completed until 1983 so has a mix of gothic architecture with more modern ceiling painting which was wonderful, such bright colours and patterns.

The exterior was also beautiful.

The visit included lots of time spent just staring up at all the buildings, much of Madrid was built between 1900 and 1930 so there are some wonderful examples of Art Deco and Modernist style architecture as well as the older building like the Palace and the Plaza Mayor at the bottom of these pictures.

I love the detail on these buildings, the plasterwork, turrets and balconies make them all look so special.

We also visited the Palace and the Prado Museum, another fix of medieval art plus some stunning pieces by artists I had not really looked at before, will put those in another post.

The bars were decorated as well as well, with lots of tiling and woodwork, would love to go back and spend more time exploring these and eating some of the food on offer.

Very tempted by all of these different types of gambas, (prawns), on offer here.

Madrid bars - gambas

While exploring and taking pictures of these lovely places we came across a flamenco bar so went back for the show later that evening, what amazing footwork and singing, I would love to go again someday.

The place was just stunning in the detail so I took lots of pictures of my favourite thing – doors. Lots more content for the book I keep joking to the kids that I am going to publish one day, ‘Doors I have Known’, featuring all my favourite old doors.

And there were beautiful lamps everywhere, outside the Palace and on all of the streets, just lovely!

We stayed at the Hostal Bergantin, a great central location about 10 mins walk from all the main sights like the Prado and Palace and with lots of bars and cafes all around. A very comfy room, helpful staff and a great view from the 4th floor of city life! Another good find from Expedia.

Have been busy since I got back as the lovely kids have been here celebrating Ellie’s 25th birthday. Cannot believe she is so grown up, am going to have to start lying about her age soon lol.

Ellie 25th birthday 1

Here they are while we were out for a meal last night, the ‘crown’ is the band from her Frozen birthday cake as however old she gets she will always be a Disney princess!

So am back to work tomorrow for the start of the summer term, looking forward to lighter nights and lovely times as re-enactment begins in a few weeks and there is definitely Spring in the air.

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

Tiny Norwegian Houses

Hello everyone, hope you are all well and planning a lovely weekend. The sun is shining here in Yorkshire and we have blue skies which is a bit of a miracle for January so a walk might be in the plans for later on.

I have always been fascinated by tiny places to live, I have plans to buy a caravan when I retire and some of my happiest homes have been small, bedsits and little flats.

I am currently loving the tiny house movement and all the gorgeous things that pop up on my Facebook feed.

Look at this one for sheer inventiveness, it looks like something out of a fairy tale. This comes from a company called Spa Hungary.

Tiny house resized

I have found lots of lovely pictures on this Tiny House blog as well, love the look of this cabin from the Isle of Wight.

small-beach-house-exterior resized

small-beach-house- exterior resized

When we were in Oslo my favourite houses at the Folk Museum were two tiny wooden houses from the early 1900s, built side by side.

The amazing thing about these was although they were probably only not much bigger in terms of floor area as modern tiny houses 9 people lived in one and 8 in the other.

As always it was the little touches that made it home that were so amazing, these houses had been moved to the museum so they were not the original belongings of the inhabitants but still so beautiful.

Three of the family slept in this tiny loft bedroom accessed by a ladder. The ‘bathroom’ was a small bowl and mirror tucked behind a curtain at the bottom of the stairs, and the toilet was out in the yard.

Norway Folk Museum small house 2

There were lots of space saving ides like these hangings for trays.

Norway Folk Museum small house 1

Norway Folk Museum small house 3

And evidence of beautiful embroidery to make the place feel like home.

Norway Folk Museum small house 4

Norway Folk Museum small house 5

Norway Folk Museum small house 6

Both of the houses had little sewing areas with vintage sewing machines. I have one just like this which has its own table to stow it in. Sadly it does not work anymore but is a very lovely heirloom.

Norway Folk Museum small house 7

Some of the family would sleep on the sofas in the lounge.

Norway Folk Museum small house 9

There were photos of some of the families that lived there, all in their Sunday best!

Norway Folk Museum small house 8

Norway Folk Museum small house 10

It may seem strange that people now willingly choose to live in tiny houses but I can see why this is such a good idea and most of the people doing it are choosing mortgage free lifestyles either as their first homes or as retirees.

I do love my own house but sometimes I think it seems very big for just me and is very full of ‘stuff’. Why do I need 10 wineglasses when at the most there are only ever 3 people in my house drinking wine at the same time?

Of course the contents of the craft room are exempt as that is not stuff, that is the retirement fund!

Have had a lovely week at work and also managed to get quite a bit of knitting done, all body parts for one rabbit completed and am now onto the mouse which is exciting as I have not made one of those before.

Hope that you have a lovely weekend and week ahead, will be back with some pictures of the lovely presents I had for Christmas, craft related of course 😉

Take care and thanks for visiting.