The flower fairy in the wild

I had a very special day yesterday when I saw my lovely daughter for the first time since Feb. Now that we are allowed to travel for exercise she came up for the day and we went on a very long walk to the end of the second reservoir near me. Of course she did not wear the flower fairy dress but something a bit more suited to walking but it would have looked fabulous against all the lovely flowers.

Walk with Ellen 1

We even had a picnic beside the stream. It turned out to be very good weather, despite a very windy start and we sat for a long time in the sun, chatting about all the things that have happened in the past few months.

Walk with Ellen 8

Walk with Ellen 3

Walk with Ellen 9

Walk with Ellen 7

Walk with Ellen 6

Of course we have been keeping in touch by phone and video chat but nothing compares to seeing people live, with legs and everything, rather than just heads πŸ™‚ She is keeping busy with lots more sewing projects planned while she is still on furlough and some DIY to do on her house. Hopefully I may be able to go and help her with when restrictions are lifted further.

The rhododendrons were starting to bloom all up the valley, this is one of my favourite walks but have not been for a while to this spot.

Walk with Ellen 5

Walk with Ellen 4

Walk with Ellen 2

Walk with Ellen 14

I love the old stone work around the reservoirs. There are long steps either side of the largest one and lots of little ones leading off to other places around the area.

Walk with Ellen 10

Walk with Ellen 13

We had fun trying to work out the names of other plants as well. Ellen has been learning a lot from the garden staff at Clumber but neither of us knew what this was so Ellen has christened it tree rose, pink variety. It may be hawthorn but it has the most gorgeous tiny rose like flowers.

Walk with Ellen 11

Walk with Ellen 12

Today is very cold and windy and wet so after the weekly trip for fresh bread I have been staying in sorting photos and am planning to do some embroidery later on.

I need to work on the next block in the challenge tomorrow. I have not yet had time to do another Sawtooth Star in Liberty so that one will have to wait a while. This week’s block is a Bearpaw one and looking at the instructions it may be very tricky to make a 6 inch one with four ‘paws’ as the pieces would be very tiny so it may be a good idea to make a much bigger block.

I was searching for inspiration and found this beautiful scappy Bearpaw quilt from Wendy’s Quilts. Picture from her blog. This is absolutely gorgeous, I love all of the bright colours. There are more detailed pictures of each block on her blog as well.

Scrappy bear paw quilt

I am thinking that a scrappy Liberty block in a larger size may be a good idea. I can then maybe use it as the centre of my quilt or keep it for something else. Although I am getting better at the fiddly bits of these blocks, after last week’s struggles I think I want to go for an easier option than trying to make each paw only 2 1/2 inches finished size. After all this is meant to be a relaxing hobby πŸ˜‰

I hope that you have a nice rest of this Bank Holiday weekend if you are in the UK. The weather forecast for Monday is supposed to be very good. As I had my day off yesterday instead I will be working on my doctorate all day but hopefully can go for an early evening wander to the water.

Take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

 

 

A little adventure

It does not seem a week since the last post, luckily these weeks do seem to be going by quite fast, helped by the fact that I am so busy with work at the moment. I don’t think that things are going to change very much for us here in the UK, despite the long awaited announcement due this evening, certainly not for me as I expect to be working from home for a long time to come.

I did have great excitement this week though as after 7 weeks of not going into the village I took myself off for a little walk on the Bank Holiday Friday, which actually turned into a two and half hour walk as the weather was so good and I was so glad to be outside. I am spending too much of my life staring at a screen at the moment so am making a conscious effort to do lots of other things apart from be at a computer.

Marsden May walk 1

My route took me through the centre of the village which has the river running through it and out along the canal. This is where, in the summer, the pub next to the river has chairs outside and you can go down and paddle so hopefully, if some restrictions are lifted, we will be able to do that again.

Marsden May walk 2

There are some lovely old houses here, these two cottages are right in the centre of the village and I love the wisteria and the beautiful planting they have.

Marsden May walk 4

Marsden May walk 5

I love clematis, I had lots of it in my old garden and I have one in a pot now which always gets a couple of blooms on it. My neighbour across the road has some which is just blooming now and I was very happy to come across this one in a hedge. The views across the valley to the side where I live are also lovely.

Marsden May walk 6

Marsden May walk 7

Marsden May walk 8

I also went into one of the shops in the village, I have not been anywhere where there are other people (apart from dog walkers and runners up at the reservoir) so I was a bit confused about where to stand but it was good to have a bit of normality and see that life is still out there.

I also went to the local specialist bakers on Saturday to collect my own bread (last week my lovely friend Sharon got some for me). It has been such a treat to have fresh bread, I can eat small amounts of sourdough so am going to get some every week now that they have re-opened.

I have been working on some of my WIPs and found these two that needed finishing in a drawer when sorting things. The circle embroidery is another one of Jenny of Elefantz designs and it just needed the adding of a hexagon. This will be another pouch like the one I finished a few weeks ago.She no longer has this design in her Etsy shop but does have other lovely circle ones.

Circle embroidery 1

Circle embroidery 2

Circle embroidery 3

I had abandoned this one, again by Jenny, some time ago as I was unhappy with the wobbly stitching but decided to finish it and let the wobbly bits be part of its handmade charm.

Heart embroidery

I have just had this delivery from Mill House Designs of gorgeous hand dyed thread as I am planning to do lots more embroidery over the summer.

Millhouse threads 1

Millhouse threads

I have 7 weeks of leave left to use up before September as I don’t think I will be able to travel anywhere so there is going to be a lot of time to sit and stitch. I met Steph, who owns the business, years ago at one of my knitting groups and she makes the most gorgeous hand dyed yarn, thread and beautiful buttons and earrings.

Another delivery brought me some more lovely Liberty for my blocks.

Liberty order May 2

This is from Billow Fabrics and is a collection called Spring Classics. I love the compliments slip with the attached square of Liberty as well. I have lots of smaller pieces now from all of the off cuts from blocks so am going to be making mini hexis with these at some point.

Liberty order May 1

I have started this week’s Riley Blake challenge blocks so will post about them next week, as I intend to finish them this afternoon. Unfortunately it is raining so my plans to take a walk up to the reservoirs to see the rhododendrons will be on hold. Luckily I have lots of You Tube videos of other people’s adventures to watch while I sew.

I hope that you and your family are all well, stay safe, take care and thanks for visiting.

 

Finding joy in the little things

It is a bit of an overused phrase sometimes but it has been very comforting to me to be able to go for walks and see that the world is still there, that things are still happening as normal.

As the weather has now been so lovely I have been going for a walk after work on a few days this week and have really enjoyed seeing the beautiful flowers everywhere and the cute little lambs.

Sheep 2

Sheep 3

Sheep 1

I know I have said this many times before but I am so thankful that I live here, it is my own mini Lake District at the top of the road and it only takes about ten minutes, even at my slow pace, for me to be here.

Butterley April 1

Butterley April 2

These pictures were taken at about 6pm last night, this is such a wonderful calming sight, it really is gorgeous here. This is the first of four reservoirs and I hoping to go on a longer walk in a while when the rhododendrons are in bloom as there are some beautiful ones along the second of these reservoirs.

It has been a tough week emotionally. I am personally fine, thanks to my wonderful friends I have company through the weekly Zoom version of Wool and Wine, and also met up with my work colleagues for a very lovely Zoom catch up last Saturday. My brilliant friend Sharon has just been to get my shopping from a click and collect some miles from here, as I have not been able to get an online delivery slot at all.

What has been tough is worrying about my students, having phone calls and Zoom tutorials with young people who are confused and worried, and in some cases trying to cope with a huge range of challenges and uncertainties. I have been a teacher for 33 years now, and have had difficult times before but this is the hardest ever as I just don’t know what to say to them. I know all teachers feel the same, my sister, who is a primary school teacher is so worried about her pupils as well.

That is why it is so important to have somewhere to go and free your mind of worries. It has also been good for me to go out more as being sat down all day makes the arthritis worse and I have been in a lot of pain this last week.

I have been enjoying some alternative crafting entertainment as well with the lovely Amy from Almond Rock. I discovered her Instagram a while ago and she has held an Instagram live with a sewing quiz and last night it was a You Tube live with sewing Pictionary with her sewing buddy Marie. That was great fun and I did really well, scoring a lot more that in the quiz.

I have also been really enjoying the last bit of my Royal fashion course, looking at theΒ  Windsors. One of the things I loved about watching The Crown recently was seeing all the gorgeous costumes.Picture below from Google.

Princess-Margaret costume

I loved Princess Margaret’s costumes and hairstyles and the series was so well done in terms of the way that they matched the actors to the characters, they looked so realistic. I would love to visit a costume exhibition from that series as well if I could one day. I have been lucky enough to see exhibitions from Downton Abbey, Wolf Hall, Victoria and Gentleman Jack over the years.

I have also been continuing with the Riley Blake Block Challenge, this week it has been the Economy Block, or Square in a Square, which is a very quick and easy block to do. I used this tutorial from Diary of a Quilter.

I think that the purple one may just be my favourite so far, I love these prints together and I am very pleased with the matching of the points on this one, the other one is not as good but will be ok at a distance πŸ™‚

Economy Blocks 1

Economy Blocks 2

Economy Blocks 3

I could not resist starting a new project last week after blogging about the camper van ideas so I put this together and have been happily stitching round it whilst watching The White Queen on Amazon. The free tutorial is available from Flamingo Toes here.

Retro camper 1

Next week is officially the last week of term so after that it is an intensive period of marking, and finishing the re-write of the doctorate. Fingers crossed the weather will stay lovely so that I can have lots more peaceful walks.

I hope that you are your family are all ok, take care, stay safe 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.

Scotland the beautiful

The holiday to Scotland seems a while away now that we are gearing up for the new term but I am planning to go back next year as well for more exploring. I have been to Scotland a few times before but not for about 14 years and the beauty of it never fails to amaze me.

Scotland campsite 6

We stayed just above Loch Lomond for the first three nights in a lovely campsite which is right on the West Highland Way. There is our lovely green tent with wonderful views over to the hills.

Scotland campsite 3

Most of our fellow campers were walking the 90 odd miles of the way so we just saw them arrive early evening and then pack up and leave the next day. We did feel sorry for them the mornings it was raining!

Scotland campsite 1

The campsite is called Beinglas and I can highly recommend it, very lovely with a bar and restaurant and well equipped shop and a little river running through it.

Scotland campsite 2

Scotland campsite 4

Scotland campsite 5

The main access bridge to the site had been flooded but Ellen did a brilliant job with going up and down the slightly bumpy back access road.

We stopped en route at a the gorgeous Lowther Castle in Cumbria, another Victorian castle build which is now a ruin with very creative gardens within its walls and beautiful parkland which is slowly being restored.

Scotland Lowther 1

Scotland Lowther 7

There were some lovely little follies and architectural treasures all around the park.

I love these hydrangeas in the picture above, they always look like they have butterflies landing on them.

Scotland Lowther 18

Our first day was a trip to Lochgoilhead for a wander which was just gorgeous,it was a slightly cloudy day and I just loved seeing the clouds hanging over the hills.

Scotland Lochgoilhead 3

There were some beautiful plants on our walk and interesting moss and ferns on the walls and lots of mussel shells.

Scotland Lochgoilhead 14

Scotland Lochgoilhead 13

We visited the old church as well. I love the decoration on the gravestones and the rusted ironwork.

Then it was back to the campsite for the last BBQ of the year in the UK, I have however just booked my flight to Spain where I shall be spending both Christmas and New Year πŸ™‚ so I will be having a BBQ on Christmas Day after a picnic lunch on the beach.

We went to Scotland specifically to see my friend Sue who has partly retired there, she is living in the most gorgeous cottage, not quite in the middle of nowhere but about 2 miles from the main road in the forest with amazing views.

Scotland Sue 2

Scotland Sue 1

It was lovely to spend the day and night with her, especially after a slightly damp end to our camping, the wood burner in the cottage was much appreciated!

We also managed to pack in a bit of a tour of Scotland to see some of the National Trust for Scotland properties so I will be back later in the week with some pictures of those. I hope that you have all had a nice weekend, take care and thanks for visiting.

 

A tale of two airports …. and a staycation

Well if you were expecting to see photos of lovely Krakow I am afraid that I will have to disappoint you, at least for the moment, as sadly we didn’t get to go on holiday. It was a very simple but unrecoverable error as we went to the wrong airport and so missed our flight 😦 and were unable to rearrange things to go later.

90% of the time we fly from Manchester and this holiday was booked from Leeds Bradford and despite us both checking the times on the boarding passes about 8 times as we had made a mistake before and nearly missed a flight to Spain we did not notice and did not realise until we got to the wrong airport.

We were really upset, me more so than Mum who was very calm about it all, but nothing could be done in the end so we came back home from the airport a short while later. We did then have a lovely staycation, the weather was beautiful and we were out every day and as a bonus my wonderful daughter Ellie came over on her day off to take us out which was great for Mum as she wasn’t expecting to see her this trip.

So Krakow will have to wait until next year, meanwhile I can show you some more of the delights of the Peak District and Lancashire! We had two great trips out involving museums and textiles which I will post about separately but these are from our trips to the cute little village of Uppermill and the local canal walk.

Uppermill 1

Uppermill 2

We went over the border to one of the loveliest little villages in Lancashire full of cute houses and gift shops and walked along the canal to Greenfield then up to a beautiful reservoir that I haven’t visited for years, Dovestones. It was a gorgeous day as you can see by all the sunlight reflecting on the water and through the trees.

Dovestones 1

Dovestones 2

Dovestones 3

Dovestones 4

Dovestones 5

The following day we had a good three hour walk along the canal with the great excitement of watching a boat go through the locks.

This part of the canal is a dead end at my village and with 10 locks along a short stretch of water it doesn’t get much traffic so it was fascinating to watch this boat go through.

We are so lucky to live in such a lovely place and despite the disappointment we had a great week, and we did manage to get the right airport at the right time at the end of that week to get to Spain where I had a very relaxing two weeks in (mostly) glorious sunshine.

I will be back later in the week with some textile loveliness for you from our trips, in the meantime take care and thanks for visiting.

Domesticity and friendship

I have so far managed to have a lovely weekend with lots of both of these things. As I mentioned last post I now have every weekend to myself and that has meant time to catch up with lovely people and the energy to do more than just everyday cooking.

We had a lovely bauble making evening, everyone opted for the style where you cut into the bauble and insert sections of fabric. Rosemari was on a roll and made three in the end and we are continuing with this next weekend at Sharon’s house so may well make more.

Nov baubles 1

She brought her own fabric with her as her house is decorated in lots of blues and aquas so she wanted her baubles to go with that. I think they are gorgeous and love the way she has fussy cut the bird here.

Nov baubles 2

I just made one as I was busy instructing and sorting food . I later added some little jewels to each side, this will be a new addition to my tree for this year along with one of Jenny’s stockings, I am getting on well with the second batch.

Saturday morning my wonderful friend Kerry came up, I have not seen her since Caldicot so it was brilliant to have a catch up and eat nice food.I made my favourite pumpkin soup from Delia Smith’s recipe and an amazing focaccia bread with rosemary and thinly sliced potatoes. It was so good I am going to make more today!

We also went for a walk, the first bit of leisure walking I have done since August.Thankfully I feel a lot better and really miss my little walks around the village so it was great to get out and enjoy the autumn views and say hello to a few sheep.

Nov sheep 1

Even though this picture has focused more on the fence in the foreground rather than the sheep I still love it as it shows the misty sunlight, I am so lucky to have all this beauty five minutes from home.

Nov walk 1

Nov walk 2

Nov walk 3

I am going to the Remembrance Sunday service later on today, there is a special service in honour of the fact that it is 100 years since Armistice. The village, like many other places has been decorated with poppies and they have the names on them of everyone who was killed in the Great War.

This amazing installation at the Tower of London commemorates the 888,246 British and colonial lives lost during this war but we also remember the lives lost from many other countries of men, women and children from all wars.

Poppies

Much of what we do as re-enactors may be seen as promoting or glorifying conflict but I have always seen our roles as more about education about the history of war in the hope that this understanding will help avoid future conflict. Next year Ellie will be involved in lots of events around the Second World War as Clumber Park was involved in that in many different ways so she and her team are planning lots of things to commemorate their involvement.

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