Tudor splendour

Hello, hope that you are all well and happy. I am very much so as I have submitted the work I was doing for my doctorate, hurrah , which means more sewing time, double hurrah :-) and I am going to Simply Solids this afternoon for another of their sewing courses.

Add to that the fact that I am off to Lisbon on Tuesday with my lovely Mum and my lovely son has come home from University , (for about 9 months until he hopefully goes off to teach in Japan), so I am quite possibly one of the happiest bunnies around!

We had a fab weekend at Tatton as well, the rain held off until the battle on Sunday so we only got a little bit wet and we met up with lots of old friends and Ellie and I marshalled the battle for the first time rather than water carrying which was very exciting. I could show you some photos of all of the excitement if I hadn’t filed them somewhere safe!

So on to the pictures from the National Trust visits Ellie and I did a while ago. First stop was Charlecote Park  in Warwickshire, a beautiful Tudor manor still owned by the family.

I love Tudor buildings with the red stone and the twisted chimneys and this had a beautiful setting as well. It was brilliant to see so many families enjoying the place, it was the school holidays and there was a teddy bear’s picnic on the lawn. Lots of future National Trust members hopefully who will bring their own children and help care for these places forever.

Charlecote 5

Charlecote 6

In the Great Hall there were some brilliant costume pictures, sadly too high up on the wall to take detailed shots but in the dining room there was wonderful wallpaper and in the library some very ornate needlepoint chairs that looked Spanish in origin.

Charlecote 8

I also loved the plasterwork on the ceilings, more inspiration for that book of textile patterns based on historic buildings that I am going to write one day!

Charlecote 7

Charlecote 13

Charlecote 14

There was also a lovely display of the more ordinary textiles in the laundry and the kitchen with embroidered traycloths and some rag rugs which had been made by children as part of a craft event.

A very lovely place to visit on a sunny English afternoon! Well will love you and leave you now as have to go and choose the fabric for the class this afternoon, we are making vinyl project bags so hopefully I will have a finished bag to show you soon.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

 

 

It’s a tough job but someone has to do it!

 

Hello everyone

I started my week’s leave last Friday with a trip down to stay with Ellie in her new flat which is very smart and co-ordinated.

She is feeling very grown up as she has now got a full set of furniture all of her own since she moved into a totally unfurnished place and has gradually acquired everything she needs.

It was also a chance for me to see where she works, you may remember that she got a new job in November, still working for the National Trust at Clumber Park where she is Chapel and Collections Officer. Which means she is in charge of this beautiful place!

Clumber chapel 1

Clumber chapel 2

The setting is amazing, a drive in past the most gorgeous rhododendrons all in bloom, they are my very favourite plant and there were hundreds in the park.

Then into the stable block where her office is, right next to the clock tower and the courtyard with the café. Her office window is the one above the bay window in this picture.

Clumber office 1

Clumber park 1

She has a view down to the lake with the geese and swans. At the moment there are daises everywhere which makes a very pretty carpet.

Such a beautiful place to work and the chapel is stunning, especially as it was built as a private chapel in the late 1800s by the 7th Duke. It has ornate lamps and wonderful wood carvings of angels and saints.

We were there for the Requiem Mass for the Duke so got to participate in the full service with incense and candles as well!

The light coming in through the windows was beautiful.

Clumber chapel 11

Clumber chapel 12

I love all the little details as well such as this door lock.

Clumber chapel 13

There was also a bit of lovely ecclesiastical embroidery, an alter cloth and this banner as well as a couple of beautiful paintings. Apologies as the light was not very good in the side chapel for this picture.

Clumber chapel 14

The main house was demolished in the 1930s as it was too big to maintain, another one was due to be built but sadly due to the war and economic issues it never was so Ellie and her colleagues have been responsible for a new project this summer to try and recreate what the house would have looked like.

They have laid out ropes to make a floor plan and installed furniture, books, games, crockery and information signs telling people what the original rooms looked like and inviting them to come and make themselves at home.

It has been a great success, Clumber gets a lot of families visiting as there are great walks and bike rides and a camp site and it was brilliant to see everyone enjoying the installation.

We then went to Ashby de la Zouche castle for my first event of the season, it was lovely and sunny so got a little pink and had a great time catching up with everyone.

Will post some more pictures of that in another post. Meanwhile there is some work on my doctorate to do, started the research for real this weekend so am going to do some writing up!

Thanks for visiting and see you all soon.

Serendipity and other happy things

Serendipity is one of my favourite words. It means, ‘the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way’, and I particularly love it when I get crafting serendipity.

This happens a lot as I am always finding great things on blogs or fabric that goes really well with intended projects which was what happened at Simply Solids on Saturday.

Last month’s Stichery Club by Jenny of Elefantz included this cute design, picture from Jenny’s website. I have already used the little birds on my Happy Happy block but want to make the whole thing as well at some point.ELEFANTZ the topiary tree

So I was very pleased to see this fabric on the shelves at Simply Solids.

Machine quilting course 13

They had lots of different colours but I thought this was very pretty. I can use the centre of the flower for the main design and the rest for the surrounding fabric. I think it will make a cute bag.

There was also a great machine quilting resource mentioned at the course, Leah Day and when I got home and found her website I realised that I had come across her before.

Her Free Motion Quilting Project  has shared 365 designs for quilting and they are all in the gallery here. Each design also has a video showing you how to do it, an incredibly generous resource.

I have added her book to my Amazon wish list as think that would be a very useful addition to my quilting library.

Leah Day 365 quilting designs book

She also has two other books that just have the beginner and intermediate designs in them so think I might start with those. You never know though after my recent success I could become a machine quilting genius after all!

I have also just ordered this PDF pattern from Acorn Quilt and Gift Company  , it  is one I found from a link from Jenny’s website I think and I have wanted it for ages but was not sure what I would do with it.

Betsys Closet In Stitches

A friend from knitting group has just had a baby girl and I think that one of these designs would make a gorgeous baby card so am planning to stitch that in Spain as well.

It is so cute and  I love the quilted border as well. There is also a fully appliqued version as well which is just as lovely.

Betsys Closet applique

Look at this little dress, and the quilting around it. One day maybe!

Betsy Closet Sunday Dress

Am fast approaching project wish overload as there are so many things that I want to do. I take comfort from the fact that the end of the teaching year is only a couple of months away and that means getting home at a reasonable time and in the light so my productivity always increases then.

And the fact that I am using this blog partly as a retirement resource for me as well for the time when I can devote all day everyday to crafting!!

Meanwhile hope that you all have a lovely next couple of weeks, I am very lucky and will be doing lots of resting and crafting so I hope that you have fun and will see you all soon.

Thanks for visiting.

A lovely crafting weekend!

 

Hello everyone

Hope that you have had a great weekend, here in the UK it has been Mother’s Day and I had planned a Crafternoon so I have had a thoroughly splendid time and got flowers as well!

Mothers Day Flowers

Ellie came up for both days, we had the usual cake and pink fizz in the company of Sarah, Helen and Sharon from knitting group and then on Sunday had a little trip out.

Can’t show you much from the Crafternoon as everyone but me was working on secret projects, Sarah for her new knitting book due out later this year and Ellie and Helen on gifts.

March crafternoon 1

March crafternoon 2

I thought I would start on a bit of paper piecing for Christmas – never too early!

Our planned visits further afield on Sunday were curtailed by heavy snow on Friday but we still had a lovely time and I have some new things to show you.

Firstly a couple of lovely quilt books, one bought by me last week and the other from my children, credit due to Ellie for spotting this in the National Trust gift shop! Apparently when she told him what she was planning Jake said he didn’t think I needed another quilt book, how wrong😉

Quilt books - Mothers day 1

As you know I love textile history and this gorgeous book, ‘A World of Quilts’, by Cassandra Ellis is all about making historic quilts, the author has used mainly recycled material and this gives the quilts a wonderful vintage look.

Each of the quilt patterns has a little bit of history with it and the finished quilts are beautifully photographed. A really excellent present!

Quilt books - Mothers day 2

Quilt books - Mothers day 3

Quilt books - Mothers day 4

I bought this one, ‘Tile Quilt Revival’,   from Amazon recently as I came across a reference to the tile quilts on a blog. Again they are based on historic quilts and have some really unusual designs.

Quilt books - tile book 1

The quilts are made from applique which is done onto a plain background with spaces between the pieces giving the appearance of grout. Here is a better picture of the cover quilt.

Quilt books - tile book 3

There are some wonderful patterns in here and as I have established I am much better at applique than piecing so am very drawn to this quilt style.

I have also been doing some applique myself, this is one of the Splendid Sampler blocks I mentioned previously, Happy Happy by Jen Kingwell .

Splendid Sampler Block 4 Happy-Happy-Block-picture

I really liked the pattern and all of the examples that I was seeing so have been spending most of the last week working on this.

SS Happy Happy Block 1

The fabric is a Liberty print for the vase and the flowers are all made from part of a Moda Best Wishes charm pack. I am improving my skills at chain stitch as well and am very pleased how this has come out.

SS Happy Happy Block 3

Am adding a couple of Jenny’s cute birds to the piece to finish it off.

I love the way that everyone has interpreted this design differently, there are buttons, fussy cut flowers and so many beautiful fabrics.

On this mosaic are designs from Lori, Nantje, Dianna, Kandy, Heather, Coralie, Jill, Beth, Christine and Alicia, all pictures from the Splendid Sampler blog and Facebook page. Wonderful work ladies!

Have an exciting weekend ahead as well as am off to another quilting course at Simply Solids on Saturday learning how to improve my freestyle machine quilting. Will share progress with that on Sunday.

Have a lovely rest of the week, take care and thanks for visiting.

 

A Good Yarn

Hello everyone

Am back from a very lovely week of relaxing in Spain where I did very little in the way of crafting, I do have a completed dress for a mouse which I will post about later once it is on said animal, however I did do lots and lots of reading.

Jenny of Elefantz has just sent us her Stitchery Club for Feb and in it is a great design for any book lover, in the middle on the right hand side,  as well as all this beautiful stuff! Picture from Jenny’s web site.

ELEFANTZ club feb 2016 cover

You can buy just this set of patterns from Jenny’s Craftsy store or sign up for the Stitchery Club, it would make a great Mother’s Day present. The March designs also look excellent, will get stitching again once the mouse is put together!

I am now just over half way through the, ‘Blossom Street Series’, by Debbie Macomber and am loving them. I just cannot resist a new book and  I come across books that I want to read in many different ways.

I found Debbie through a TV series and I love her writing, at first sight the books look very much like traditional romance novels but they actually deal with all sorts of themes including cancer, infertility, alcoholism, adoption and drug use in a sensitive, interesting and real life way. Have just ordered the last five of this series:-)

It varies what attracts me about a book, sometimes it is the cover illustration or the title that catches my eye, other times it may be a review in a magazine or a link from Amazon.

Their marketing strategy always gets me, that ‘other people also read’ has led me to buy far more than I intended and discover some great authors.

Another person that I have been really enjoying at the moment is Rosanna Ley, I had, ‘The Saffron Trail’, on my Amazon wish list when my Mum gave it to me and picked up, ‘The Road to Mandalay’, in a charity shop.

Again beautifully written and with the added bonus of settings in Morocco, Devon, Cornwall and Myanmar that just make me want to travel more… if that is possible. The cover pictures are wonderful, am lucky enough to have visited the place on, ‘The Saffron Trail’, book cover on a trip to Morocco.

And I was once again tempted by the ‘buy one get one half price’ in the airport WH Smiths and treated myself to another from my wish list, ‘The Versions of Us’, by Laura Barnet. A truly lovely book, wonderful plot lines and so nice to have such talented people to read.

Book - versions of us

I have also just finished, ‘Great Continental Railway Journeys,’ based on the series with Michael Portillo that I have watched for further inspiration for travel.

Really enjoyable all about the history of the railway development in Europe so has improved my knowledge of general history and geography as well.

Railway book 1

Next up is another treat to self, ‘Great Railway Journeys of the World‘, I love train travel and am planning more trips in the future so thought I would get some inspiration from here.

Great Railway Journeys of the World book

What about you, what attracts you about a book? Got any favourites to share?

Hope that you are having a lovely week whatever you are doing, thanks for visiting and see you again soon.

 

Joining in again

Hello again, more things that you might want to consider joining for your crafty entertainment this year.

The first is from the lovely Jenny of Elefantz and is her new free Block of the Month embroidery. As you know I am already a member of Jenny’s Stitch Club so I get loveliness every month but this is for everyone. Photo from Jenny’s blog.

ELEFANTZ gentle domesticity button

The theme this year is Gentle Domesticity and there is a free block published on the 5th of each month, that stays free for the rest of that month before being sold in her Craftsy shop, where she has loads of other gorgeous designs as well.

The great thing about Jenny’s designs is that can all be personalised and made into gifts so that you can use them for all sorts of things which is why I love them so much. I love adding names or my own messages to her work.

This is the January block, I love the house and heart together and this would make a lovely housewarming gift for someone. Photo from Jenny’s blog.

ELEFANTZ gentle domesticity BOM block 1 jan 2015

The next one I want to share with you I originally found about from Jenny’s page and this looks amazing.

It is called The Splendid Sampler and is no less than 100 blocks by 83 designers which are all free in a mystery block of the month.

The-Splendid-Sampler-Sew-Along-big-button

The designers include so many brilliant people, including Jenny and lots of other people whose blogs I follow so this looks like an excellent project. I love the fact that the some of the blocks will be embroidery and English Paper Piecing as well.

Of course I will be saving the block information rather than trying to make two blocks a week but there should be some lovely stuff here:-)

All this excitement starts on the 14th Feb with two 6 inch block designs released each week.

They have already released a design for a block case which you can find on the Splendid Sampler website here. Photo from the web site.

Splendid sampler block case

This very useful case not only keeps a ruler safe but also lets you audition fabrics on the inside section and keep fabric and completed blocks safe. Photo from the web site as before.

Splendid sampler block case - interior

There is also a Facebook group and so far 7740 people have joined that, there are some lovely fabric pictures of peoples choices to drool over at the moment.

According to the poll there are 8 of us from Yorkshire doing it, not thought about any fabric yet as I will probably do blocks in different choices depending on design and purpose.

Isn’t it lovely that social media lets us do all these exciting things. And to think I once said to a friend when he explained what the internet was back in about 1994, ‘no I don’t think I’ll be using that…can’t really see the point’. Ha ha, how wrong I was!

Well I will leave you and get back to some actual crafting, Ellie and Kerry are due later for a visit and we have a Fire Festival in the village tonight as well.Thanks very much for visiting and see you all soon.

Lovely presents

Hello everyone

I have been waiting a while to get some good pictures of the great things I got for Christmas this year.We had a nice sunny day yesterday so I was able to get pictures of my new craft room treats.

You may remember me saying that I had bought a sewing machine themed cotton reel holder and had the matching hook set on my wish list, well guess what my lovely children bought me for Christmas!

Xmas presents 1

This was a total surprise and I was delighted, Ellie said she thought the link on my blog was a hint but it was just really for me to remember where it was from as it was quite expensive and I was going to save up for it. So thank you brilliant children:-)

I am using it at the moment to hang bags from and on it is another one of my gifts on it, this knitting bag on the left from my brother Ben and his (now wife!) Amanda.

Xmas presents 2

The girls at knitting all thought that we should get t-shirts with this on as it is so true! They got this from Not On The High Street.

Xmas presents 3

My lovely friend Kerry always gets my great gifts and this year she bought me this diary from my wish list. Look at all the quilty joy that is in here.

Xmas presents 4

This rainbow quilt is brilliant and I love the look of the rail fence cushions.

Xmas presents 5

Xmas presents 6

She also, ‘gifted’, me some fabric that she bought some years ago at Harrogate but has never used and I was very pleased.

I would be pleased with Christmas fabric anyway but there at the bottom is the red version of the gorgeous stuff I managed to get five fat quarters of last year at Harrogate.

Xmas presents 7

When I brought it home I was thinking how great it would be if I had some more of the red as well and now I have!

Not much crafting to share with you this week, mouse is still a WIP but I have recently finished another of Jenny of Elefantz’s designs, this one in the variegated thread again.

Elefantz heart stitching 1

I think the thickness of the thread looks really good with the flower design. The heart is cut from some batik.

Elefantz heart stitching 2

Am finishing off the mouse this weekend so will be knitting the cute ballet cardigan tomorrow then need to get some tulle for a tutu so that I can make it up next week.

Hope that you have a very enjoyable weekend, it has just started snowing here so I am staying snuggled under the fleece enjoying my hygge home!

Take care and thanks for visiting.