Mi casa bonita

I am trying to use as much Spanish as I can every day, as well as using my Duolingo app and watching You Tube videos for grammar information, hence the title of my post, as my house is looking very pretty now. I have not had a huge amount to do to it, as I did a major declutter at Christmas, but I have got some new white goods which makes the living area look much more spacious and tidier than before.

The previous layout had a large and very old fridge freezer with a microwave on top, at the end of the lounge units, and the lounge storage was scattered around the room. This really made the place look more cluttered and I was determined to try and get a more streamlined space.

I also had an old bulky TV there which I only ever used for the occasional DVD. Now I have lovely Spanish internet I am back to using my laptop for Amazon and Netflix so have done away with that.

I moved all of the units together onto the one wall and replaced the old fridge with a smaller fridge freezer where the washing machine was. I now have a top loader near the entrance to the bathroom, which works brilliantly. I also found some lovely stickers to go on the kitchen tiles which go perfectly with the new storage jars I have.

The coffee table was from my Mum. She and my aunt often give me furniture and it is great space for crafting as I have my WIP projects and sewing box on the lower shelf.

I was looking for something to go on the wall above the new washing machine, as I have picture hooks in the wall there, and came across this gorgeous door picture at one of the local home stores.

It is the perfect colour and you know how much I love beautiful doors! I am not sure where it was taken but would guess Morocco, although it could be Southern Spain, as it is very similar to many in the cities there.

I got some new serving dishes from the ceramica at Purellana so they are displayed in the cabinet at the end, and I have brought some of my lounge decorations from the UK as well, so it is all looking very much like home now.

In my bedroom I brought over a new duvet for the bed, which matches the craft room things that I brought from the UK as well.

I had to choose only a small selection from the whole of my old craft room to bring, so the whole stash now fits into one wardrobe, in these three drawer units, two wardrobe drawers below those, and the hanging storage.

The Barbie crew are making themselves at home here, eagerly awaiting some proper storage units so that they can come out of the wardrobe!

We have been to the garden centre twice this week so the terrace is looking very lovely and colourful.

I bought 5 new pots when I was in Purellana, the three fully glazed ones that you can see in the pictures above, and two more of the decorated terracotta ones. I have a lovely selection of my favourite geraniums, some cyclamen, gerbera, kalanchoe, coleus and petunias, and some others that I don’t know the name of.

It is all looking very lovely now, just a few more pots and a firepit/bbq to add to it, and maybe some more solar lights. I do love to sit out in the evenings reading surrounded by solar lights and candles. The above picture also shows the new candle holder that I bought in Purellana, on the right here, which goes beautifully with one that my aunt bought me many years ago for Christmas.

It is very hot again today, it has gone back up to the high 20s and after a very busy few days I am having a day at home, as we will be busy all weekend with my cousin. The knitting group on Tuesday was very lovely, a really nice group of very welcoming people, as knitters so tend to be. There is also a sewing group that meets on Wednesdays that I am going to as well next week. It is lovely to meet people here who share my interests and I am looking forward to getting to know them better over the next couple of months.

I am planning to do some more making up of the latest Little Cotton Rabbits elephant this afternoon, and maybe a bike ride if it cools down this evening. I have Spanish conversation group again tomorrow so that will be a good opportunity to see if I can remember how to say the new things I have learned. Still I am having fun doing it and it is making sure that my brain is not turning to mush in retirement ūüėČ

I hope that you enjoyed the little look at my new things, I am slowly getting the house sorted and getting into a nice routine with lots of fun things to do. I think the whole thing is becoming a little more real to me now, it feels less like a holiday and more like real life now. Especially when I consider that this would have been the start of the really busy marking period at work. To know that I never again have to read any 6,000 word essays is wonderful!

Have a good weekend ahead, hope you have something nice planned. Have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

A different world

Hello everyone and a very happy 2015, I know I am a bit late but this is my first post this year so I hope you all had a great time.

I have just finished reading a book called ‘A Different World’ by Mary Nichols¬†, a very good story¬†about World War 2 which is set partly in Warsaw so it was interesting to read about that side of the experiences of people under occupation.

It struck me that this was a good title for this week’s post as I am sitting here watching the snow fall in lovely Marsden and last weekend’s view was this from our picnic on the beach.

Spain New Year beach and boat

Spain New Year beach

Not that I mind the snow (as long as I can get to work on Monday) as what better excuse is there for sitting with a fleecy blanket, some good TV (Game of Thrones Season 3) and some more hexagons!

Ooh and Ellen has said I can have some of the Baileys she inadvertently left after Christmas so I might be making myself a sneaky hot chocolate later ūüôā

I had a lovely time as always in Spain and really enjoyed the time I spent with Mum. I helped her choose a new sewing machine and was showing her how to cut out her first bit of quilting.

We also had great excitement as we found the quilt shop in Alicante which is the nearest we could find to where Mum lives  (thank god for the miracles of the internet!).

The shop is called Patchwork and Quilting and we met the owner, a lovely lady called Ana Camara, who despite saying her English was not very good talked to us for about 20 minutes about her visits to England (one to the Festival of Quilts) and about all her shop.

Spain New Year  Quilt Shop 1

She runs workshops as well as sells fabric so if you are every in the area do go and visit. This is a link to a map  of the shop.

She has an excellent range of fabric and I was very pleased to find this yard of Robert Kaufman print which co-ordinates with the panel I bought from Harrogate.

Kaufman baubles

Kaufman baubles 2

I had a very relaxing time walking and cycling in the sunshine, admiring all the gardens and pretty flowers, this is one of my favourite gardens and gave me the inspiration for the cactus planting at my house (they are very tricky to weed though, lots of ouch!).

Spain New Year Cactus garden

Spain New Year Cactus garden 2

Spain New Year Cactus garden 3

And this poinsettia bush looked really good in contrast with the purple bougainvillea next to it.

Spain New Year Poinsettia bush

While we were in Alicante we came across this replica of a galleon which had amazing doors – I expect my pirate re-enactor friends would love to have trip out on this.

Spanish Galleon

Spain New Year Galleon 2

Spain New Year Galleon 3

Spain New Year Galleon 4

Spain New Year Galleon 5

Right will get back to watching the snow fall and piecing hexis – am working a baby quilt for one of Ellie’s friends at the moment with the scrap stash that I bought from Simply Solids.

Will do a full tutorial post when it is finished but here is a preview – how cute are those cars!

hexagons car print

Thanks for visiting!

What a lovely end to the season!

Well we had a brilliant weekend away at the Mortimer’s Cross event at Hampton Court Castle.

I knew it was going to be a fab weekend when after a very pleasant train journey spent sewing more flower brooches I ended up pitching my little tent in a field with this view and settling down to a cold cider and my last evening meal in the open air for this year. A lovely end to a busy week.

Hampton Court camping

Hampton Court 2-camping

The weather was perfect and so I had a wander round the gardens on Saturday in between the two battles.

Hampton Court  -gardens

Hampton Court 4 -gardens

Hampton Court 5-gardens

Hampton Court 6-gardens

Hampton Court 7-gardens

Hampton Court 8-gardens

We then had a tour of the castle before tea (contemplating how we would redecorate if we bought it as it is currently up for sale at only £9 million).

Hampton Court  - castle

Hampton Court 10-castle

This is my new friend Angela who I first met at the Caldicot event.

Hampton Court 11- castle

I would keep these fabulous light fittings, they reminded me of the William Burges designs at Cardiff Castle.

Hampton Court 12- castle

Hampton Court 13- castle

Hampton Court 14- castle

Hampton Court 15- castle

Hampton Court 16- castle

There were two bands on Saturday night including a wonderful Celidh band with an excellent fiddle player so we danced lots and stayed up far too late really ūüėČ

Sunday was more of the same, the weather held and the two battles that day were even better, everyone making the most of the last event.

Hampton Court battle

Hampton Court battle 2

Standing on the field with the guns going off and arrows raining down I couldn’t have been happier. Such a lovely time and an excellent way to end a very good season.

You can tell how happy I am in this picture as it looks like I am dancing with these two friends in armour. Thanks to Pat for the battle photos, he did a brilliant job as always of capturing the action for us.

Hampton Court battle 3

This has to be my fave picture of the season, another one of Pat’s photos – a friend captioned this as ‘now we know that gunners have hearts!’

Hampton Court battle 4 - guns

Looking forward to our first off-season kit making weekend, the Sisters Kerry and Ellie plus friend Jamie will be here.There will be linen everywhere and hopefully completed shifts at the end of it!

Meanwhile there are more brooches and Christmas ornaments to be made, what would life be without fabric and wool?

Thanks for visiting and look out for the next post which will be a very special one as it my 400th so I will be having a little giveaway!

Gorgeous gardens

I have now reached the stage in my life where looking round gardens (preferably with the chance of a cup of tea and even cake) seems like a very nice thing to spend my time doing .

This weekend was the Marsden Open Gardens day so myself and friend Sharon from knitting spent a lovely afternoon sampling the delights of our green fingered fellow residents.

There were some really stunning gardens and it is hard to pick a favourite, it was amazing to see what people had done, particularly as a few were transformations of fields or rough ground and done with such great imagination.

This was the first one and perhaps will have to be my favourite because of the medieval theme, look at that little tower with the fabulous door (and the very cute ginger cat!).

Marsden Open gardens 1

Marsden Open gardens 2

Marsden Open gardens 3

Marsden Open gardens 4

Marsden Open gardens 5

Marsden Open gardens 6

However this one over the road – a transformation from field as in the top picture of next door to Japanese garden with a little hideaway complete with amazing views comes a close second.

Marsden Open gardens 9

Marsden Open gardens 7

Marsden Open gardens 8

Marsden Open gardens 10

Marsden Open gardens 11

Marsden Open gardens 12

Marsden Open gardens 13

Marsden Open gardens 14

There were some very stunning plants and cute garden seating as well.

Marsden Open gardens 15

Marsden Open gardens 16

Marsden Open gardens 17

Marsden Open gardens 18

Marsden Open gardens 19

Marsden Open gardens 20

Marsden Open gardens 21

Marsden Open gardens 22

Marsden Open gardens 23

And more beautiful views, I loved this garden on one of the roads out of the village which backs onto the moors.

Marsden Open gardens 24

Marsden Open gardens 25

Marsden Open gardens 26

Marsden Open gardens 27

This is one I see regularly as it is next to my bus stop.

Marsden Open gardens 28

And this beautiful Japanese style one is next to the river where I often go walking.

Marsden Open gardens 29


An excellent afternoon out, I am so lucky to live here.

I never get tired of how beautiful the countryside is around us and it was lovely to see some of the other beauty here and admire all the hard work of the proud garden owners, thanks to everyone who was kind enough to let us visit.

I will be away this weekend at another event (yippee!!!) helping some friends with their show at a local country fair so am hoping for very lovely weather for that.

Hope you have nice things planned for your free time and thanks for visiting.





Beautiful gardens

One of the things I really enjoy is seeing beautiful gardens and taking pictures of flowers.

I am waiting for my lilies to bloom here (and hoping that the sheep don’t eat them) and though I only have a small garden don’t miss the work involved in having more space and am quite happy to visit other gardens or just admire those all around me.

This is such a gorgeous time of year as all my favourite rhododendrons are in flower here in Marsden and all the gardens of the properties we visited this week were looking lovely.

These pictures were taken at Kingston Lacey  in Somerset.

NT Holiday June 2014 - garden KL 5

NT Holiday June 2014 - garden KL 7

NT Holiday June 2014 -Garden KL 1

NT Holiday June 2014 -Garden KL 2

NT Holiday June 2014 -Garden KL 3

NT Holiday June 2014 - garden KL 6

NT Holiday June 2014 - garden KL

They also had some very cute pigs to feed in the kitchen garden!

NT Holiday June 2014 - garden KL 8 pigs

And these were at Knightshayes in Devon.

NT Holiday June 2014 - Knightshayes garden 1

NT Holiday June 2014 - Knightshayes garden 2

NT Holiday June 2014 - Knightshayes garden 3

NT Holiday June 2014 - Knightshayes garden 4

NT Holiday June 2014 - Knightshayes garden 5

NT Holiday June 2014 - Knightshayes garden 6

NT Holiday June 2014 - Knightshayes garden 7

I love those water lilies, they just look so perfect they don’t look real.

Have spent part of the morning sorting out the 285 photos I took (don’t worry I won’t post them all!) and will have some lovely textiles to show you later in the weekend.

Thanks for visiting and hope the sun is shining where you are ūüôā

More domestic loveliness

Hello everyone

Well I am having a lovely autumn here, am not going to be going to China anytime soon now so I am making the most of the season in the UK with some more lovely walks, practising being a domestic goddess and still more bunny knitting ūüôā

Have been busy baking cakes and crumbles, cooking stews and soups and have just taken possession of a new cookbook, Paul Hollywood’s Bread – inspired by watching The Great British Bake Off. Today I made some delicious Stilton and bacon rolls from this recipe and have lots more great ideas for the coming weeks.

Bread book

You will notice I also have a pumpkin all ready for the now obligatory pumpkin soup with melting cheese – yum, yum.

I have just sent off another bunny, this one is a very special one as it is a present for one of my daughter’s very good friends.

Ellie is being a bridesmaid this weekend for her school friend Charlotte and the bunny is a present for Charlotte’s daughter Elizabeth. I was asked to make the dress in the same colours as the bridesmaids will be wearing and added a little hairband as well.

Bridesmaid bunny

Bridesmaid bunny 2

Here are some photos of a beautiful cottage garden from a walk on the hills above my house a couple of weeks ago. There were some donkeys in the field next to the house as well, looking very cute.

Sept walk 3 -donkeys

Cottage garden

Cottage garden 2

Cottage garden 3

Cottage garden 4

Sept walk

Sept walk 2

Also went to my favourite reservoir, they have partly drained it as they are doing some work so went right down to the water.

Sept walk 4 - Butterley

It is the Marsden Jazz Festival this coming weekend so I will be manning the Box Office all weekend. Looking forward to it and hoping for very good weather, we have had beautiful sunshine just lately ūüôā

Hope you have a lovely weekend whatever you are doing and thanks for visiting.

Bunny Love

Hello again

I have found a new addiction, I think I am just going to keep on knitting these bunnies as they are such fun to do.

I have long admired Julie’s (Little Cotton Rabbits) work and was very excited when she released the bunny pattern on Ravelry a while ago.

Do go and look at all the ones she has made on her blog, I have got lots of inspiration from looking at the colours she uses and have got some different ideas for my next few.

My first bunny and 2 dresses are finished and I have cast on for the second one.

Bunny Knitting 3

Julie’s original pattern has stripy legs and body so it looks like the bunny is wearing tights – I left that out of the first version to make it easier but am confident I know what I am doing now so will add underwear to the next ones!

Luckily I have lots of people to give bunnies to as we have lots of young children in the family now as well as friends with little ones so I will have homes for my bunnies to go to!

What I love about this is how quickly you can do it- am not a fan of large projects and the parts of the bunny are so quick even for a slow knitter like me.

As well as the basic pattern I bought the pattern for the extra dresses again from Ravelry, the spotty sleeveless dress pattern comes included with the bunny and the other dress is an adaptation of the cap sleeved lace hem dress. I also added the white border to the spotty dress as the original one was a bit short.

Bunny Knitting 2

I made the lace hem dress looser by doing another repeat of the lace pattern, made it a lot longer by adding rows to the skirt, added a white band at the waist when I gathered it in by using decreases and used bigger needles to knit the top to make it looser.

I am now feeling a lot more confident about how patterns ‘work’ so know how to do these simple changes.

I have left the back of both dresses open as the bunny is a present for a small child and that makes it easier to undress.

Julie’s patterns are brilliantly written with lots of step by step pics on every detail including the stuffing so even the bits that look tricky, like the shoes, aren’t at all.

Bunny Knitting

I am going to try some of the other designs for my next dress – the spotty one was my first go at colourwork and despite the back looking at bit messy it came out ok.

I am going to have a lovely time for the rest of the summer!

I have also been doing quite a lot of garden fettling – forgot to take a before pic but at the back of the house there was a very overgrown rockery with two foot high dandelions and nettles which now looks like this.

Garden Aug

I have planted some clematis and jasmine at the back so hopefully next Spring I will have some lovely climbers up the wall. I don’t miss having my old garden at all but do miss my clematis.

The hanging baskets back and front are looking lovely – due to inclement weather we haven’t made much use of the new table and chairs but I’m hoping it will stop raining soon ūüôā

Garden Aug

Garden Aug

I do love my new little house so much – just the right amount of gardening to do, planting nice things and a bit of weeding and watering and no hedges or lawns!

Right am off to do more knitting – thanks for visiting.

This is England

Hello again

I spend a lot of time travelling to all sorts of beautiful parts of the globe so it was lovely to have week in my gorgeous country appreciating (along with many tourists from all over the world) what England has to offer.

Our first day was spent in the Cotswolds where I grew up and the visit to Bourton-on-the-Water brought back many happy memories of paddling in this stream, seeing the pretty cottages and visiting the model village (which Kerry loved just as much as I did when I first saw it).


Bourton 2

Bourton 3

We then went to Snowshill Manor, a National Trust property in the Cotswolds, quintessentially an English manor house with beautiful gardens but home to a very eclectic collection by the last owner Charles Paget Wade.


Snowshill 3

Snowshill 4

Snowshill 5

There was everything from samurai warrior suits to old bikes, including many beautiful Oriental chests from his travels. One room had a lovely collection of textiles including what looks like a piece from a Layton jacket!

Snowshill textiles

Snowshill textiles 2

Snowshill textiles 3

I particularly liked this sampler book showing miniature garments, no information on its maker but I think it would be a for a similar purpose to the one that inspired the Blackbird Designs book, ‘A Stitcher’s Journey’, which I posted about previously, to show prospective employers your needlework skills.

Snowshill textiles 4

Snowshill textiles 5

Snowshill textiles 6

A lovely day out – and all in the best of English summer sunshine!

Thanks for visiting, more historic loveliness soon!

Home alone – no pumpkins yet!

Some years ago in 2009 I did a post entitled ‘Home alone ……. with a pumpkin’ ¬†as both the kids were away and I was making pumpkin soup. In that post I wrote about how Jake would be leaving home so I was practising then for the time when I would be home alone for good.

Well this is it and Jake has left for University. We took him and all his belongings (and there were a lot of them when piled into my sister-in-law¬†Amanda’s car!) all¬†the way up north to Teesside University where he is happily settling in to his student hall.

Here is the outside of the halls of residence , not the most glamorous of buildings but Jake chose it as it has very large student rooms and good communal facilities and is very near campus.

Jake Uni 1

Here he is – with top hat of course – moving into his room.He says he has space for a grand piano but don’t think he will be able to afford that on a student budget! It looks a good room for parties though as it is twice as big as the space shown in this pic.

Jake Uni 2

It doesn’t seem two minutes since we dropping Ellie off at her halls of residence – you can see her at her first day at her halls in this post .

Hope Jake has a fab time, we are very proud of him

And of course now I get to start sorting out the new craft room, did a little bit last night but I have a lot of stuff to move – am hoping to be able to show you pics at the end of the week.

Still have not really decided on a decorating theme, was going to do a vintage/Cath Kidston¬†look but most of my fabric is either Xams¬†stuff or medieval so don’t know what would look best. Maybe I should just go for a Santa’s grotto theme and then I could have all my ornies out year round, that would be pretty ūüėČ

Am going to my new knitting group in the village tomorrow, Wool and W(h)ine, held at one of the local pubs (what a good idea) so am taking a simple pattern as don’t think I will be able to concentrate on anything much.

I was out partying this weekend and met a couple of the knitting group who are very lovely. One of them is an ex   re Рenactor who has just set up an online fabric store which I will get the details of and post here! How exciting, I knew I was so right to move here.

I have had a wonderful week, on Monday I went to see the Mikron Theatre Company’s ¬†latest production at one of our local pubs – a wonderfully funny play called ‘Losing the Plot’ about an allotment. The info for the company is at the link above – do go and see them if you get a chance, brilliant unique theatre.

Since I now have no one to look after or feed I thought I would do my bit for the local wildlife so have bought a lovely new bird feeding station for my front garden. I was ignored for the first 24 hours but then got some lovely visitors, starlings, crows, two finches and two robins. Was difficult to get good pics but this one is lovely.

Bird feeder

And as for the pumpkin it is nearly time to buy one for my favourite soup – Delia Smith’s Roasted Pumpkin Soup with Melting Cheese ¬†– yum yum!

A busy week ahead but hopefully will have some crafting time. Thanks for visiting.

Measuring the bear’s forehead (and other conservation tasks!)

I hope that you are all well and happy. I have some time off this week so am very much enjoying myself – have just done a bit of gardening and am now continuing with my hand quilting.

I had a lovely time visiting Ellie at Powis Castle  this weekend. It was beautiful weather when I got there on Sunday so I took lots and lots of pics. Here is Ellie in her National Trust uniform.

Powis - me Ellie 1

The title of this post comes from one of Ellie’s daily tasks which is to take light readings to check that there is not too much¬†sun coming into the castle which would damage the textiles.

I went round with her when she did this on Sunday and one of the things she has to do is to measure the light on the bearskin rug in one of the rooms. She has a chart on the clipboard in the above photo to record the readings and one of the columns actually says ‘bear’s forehead’.

Years ago when she was very young we went to Bolsover Castle in Derbyshire and as the castle had just been restored the custodian took us on a personal tour and let Ellie unlock the castle with a massive key.

Ellie has always remembered that but these days she has the big keys herself and she gets to lock the beautiful doors like these on the coach house.

Powis - me - Ellie door

She is living in a house in the grounds which overlooks the gardens – here she is on her doorstep and the view of her garden – and the croquet lawn!

Powis - me - Ellie house

Powis - me - Ellie garden

The castle is amazing and full of the most beautiful things – we were not allowed to take photos of the interior as usual and it was too dark to take good pics anyway but you can go and look on Ellie’s¬†¬†blog where she details all of the wonderful things she does and has lots more pics.

I am so very proud of her, it is a brilliant job and she is having a wonderful time. I went out for a meal with her colleagues and they are all very lovely and Welshpool is a really pretty little town to live in.

Here are a few of my fave close up pics from the garden – taken with my new camera which is working very well (until I break this one of course!) I am going to frame some of these for my new craft room.

Powis - flower 1

Powis - flower 2

Powis - flower 3

Powis - flower 4

And the beautiful gardens – some of the best I have ever seen. Well worth a visit if you are in the area.

Take care and thanks for visiting.