A little pre- Christmas pressie for me!

Hello there

I do hope you are surviving the freezing weather, wind rain and whatever else the heavens are throwing at you – roll on Spring, am bored of cold and wet now!

Way back in the Summer I ordered myself a little gift from my incredibly talented friend Pat Buckle who paints the most wonderful medieval pictures. Pat has recently started painting a new set of pictures depicting medieval trades so I ordered one of me as an embroiderer, in my blue dress. It arrived this week and isn’t it stunning!

Buckles embroiderer pic

It goes really well with the one I already have of me in my nun’s role as it is the same colours, I have them both on my mantlepiece in my bedroom where they look fantastic. I also have a large painting of the Archangel Michael fighting a dragon and a triptych of St Andrew (if we get any good light in the next few months I will try to take pics of these!).

Buckles nun pic

Do go and visit Pat’s website  and marvel at her talent, she is a genius and a very lovely lady as well!

I am off to Tatton Hall on Sunday for their Xmas Fair so will take some pretty pics and will see you later. Don’t forget to post on my blogaversary giveaway before then.

Thanks for visiting.

The art of glamping

Well here I am back from a lovely 10 days in various fields – the weather was very kind to us (extremely hot at Berkeley thankfully so lots of visitors).

I have read a couple of articles in the newspapers recently about the art of glamping – glamorous camping – and as this is something we strive to do all the time thought I would share my tips with you.

Location of course is very important and we get to camp at all the best historic sites at the UK which makes for some fab picture opportunities – here is one of the tents at beautiful Ashby Castle. 

Glamping 1 - Ashby tent
How about that for a campsite?

 

Facilities at our campsites are usually a bit limited (portaloos and ‘glasgow showers’ aka baby wipes) but the sight of the sun setting over some of most gorgeous castles in the world make up for that. 

But we do not stint on the other little luxuries in life – in particular a little tipple or two for round the campfire. As I am travelling by train I need to pack light so have found the perfect mini drinks to go. 

Glamping 2 - small wine bottle
Mini wine with added glass which is actually the lid - unscrews and can be refilled!

 

That only holds about two glasses but is perfect for the train and as back up how about the weekend sized wine box – modelled here by me at our campsite in the Forest of Dean last week. 

Glamping 5 - wine box
2 bottles worth of lovely red - available from my local Co-op!

 

Of course while sitting round the campfire suitable furniture is need to make sure spillage is avoided and my lovely friend Keith has just made all of the girls in the group some little wine tables. He is a builder and gets lots of wood from various sources to burn and turned up in July with boxes and boxes of little legs – some of which we burnt but others got turned into these – we have asked for footstools next! 

Glamping 3 - wine table
The table in action at Ashby Castle

 

When I met up with my sister in the Forest of Dean she showed me a very dinky little travel case that she had been given as a present so we had a little G and T to christen it. 

Glamping 6 - shots case
Collapsible cups, miniature bottles, ice tongs and stirrers!

 

I was catching up on blog reading last night and came across a post by the lovely Hen of Hen House  about her recent holiday  (July 29th 2010 post) in one of the glamping locations I was going to share with you. She stayed in an Airstream caravan on the Isle of Wight run by a company called Vintage Vacations. Check out these lovely pics! 

Glamping 6 - overlander-main
The Airstream Overlander - all pics from Vintage Vacations site

 

Glamping 7 - overlandertable
Inside showing the seating and eating area

 

Glamping 8 - Overlander-single-beds
Single beds with knitted patchwork covers

 

They look fab if you want to re-enact the 1950s rather than the 1350s as we do and are very reasonable prices – I will store that up as a future holiday idea. 

No more trips for a little while now so I will be spending the time gardening and doing various house sorting activities until our next weekend away. In between the lovely Yorkshire rain of course! Brief dry spell now so am off to do some pruning! 

Thanks for visiting – see you soon.

Embroiderers’ Guild Conference and my recent stitching

I was lucky enough to go for a day to the recent EG conference in Sheffield. My lovely children paid for this as a Mothers’ Day present and I had a wonderful day out listening to talks about embroidery and having a visit to a Sheffield branch of the EG and to the Sheffield Cathedral. Sadly I forgot to take my camera but took a few pics using my phone which Ellie was kind enough to transfer for me.

The first talk was an illustrated lecture by Anthea Godfrey on embroidery as used in haute couture and had the most beautiful images of all sorts of techniques used on the catwalk. She teaches embroidery at the London College of Fashion Arts  – I would love to be able to study there but will have to content myself at the moment with my local guild meetings and some day workshops!

After lunch we went to one of the local Sheffield Guilds for a talk by Diane Grant about ecclesiastical embroidery and the work of Beryl Dean. I have read a couple of Beryl’s books before and it was a very good talk illustrated with Beryl’s work throughout her lifetime. Below is an example from the 1950s,  this piece is in the V and A museum and features a stylised disciple or maybe Jesus with a fish and net.

Beryl Dean's panel
Beryl Dean's panel

The guild members had also put on a small display of their work which was brilliant – one particular member called Marjorie Holford had done some Elizabethan sweetbags which I really liked – she had larger display of those at the main conference hall.

After that we went to Sheffield Cathedral which was  treat in itself as I love visiting any church and had a special display of their ecclesiastical textiles which were very lovely. Most of the priest’s robes were quite modern but there were also some older pieces which I really love and I have put some pics of these below.

Image from an altar frontal at Sheffield Cathdral
Image from an altar frontal at Sheffield Cathdral
Goldwork on the priests' scarf
Goldwork on the priests' scarf
A banner which had been restored by the church embroiderers
A banner which had been restored by the church embroiderers

I must go back with my camera one day and get some shots of the cathedral.

I have been busy stitching a few gifts recently and have a couple of finishes to show. The first one is a blackwork scissor keep that I have been working on for a friend – I am making five of these in total.

Blackwork scissor keep
Blackwork scissor keep

The design is a motif from one of my Lesley Wilkins blackwork books.

I have the rest of the scissor keeps to finish but need to get on with sewing up a new nun’s outfit that I have cut out as we have our first re-enactment event this weekend. It is at Bolsover Castle in Derbyshire on Sunday from 10 – 4pm so if you are in the area do come along and say hello.  I will be easy to spot being the only nun in the place! I am very excited that the season is starting again – nights under canvas and sitting round a real fire – bliss! Hopefully the weather will be as nice as it has been this past week.

A day out at Uncle Roger’s

Today we have had a day out with the medieval group to Uncle Roger’s – otherwise known as Roger of Lancaster’s Armourie. Roger is the brilliant guy who makes the swords and armour that our group use and he very kindly offered to host a day for us all to go and ‘fettle with the metal’ and make or mend armour. The lads were very happy to  spend the day in his workshop surrounded by so many tools and Bev and I did a bit of embroidery, made cups of tea for everyone and Bev had made a fab chilli for lunch.

Here are some pics of the boys ‘ grand day out!

Paul and Keith all dressed up - mail and padded jacket
Paul and Keith all dressed up - mail and padded jacket
Bev and Dave doing a bit of tent mending
Bev and Dave doing a bit of tent mending
Some of the helmets that Roger makes on display
Some of the helmets that Roger makes on display
Just some of the swords that Roger makes
Just some of the swords that Roger makes
Ye old fashioned way of cleaning mail - in a cement mixer with some sand!
Ye old fashioned way of cleaning mail - in a cement mixer with some sand!
Here's one I made earlier - Dave's lemon squeezer helmet
Here's one I made earlier - Dave's lemon squeezer helmet
Bev with the new group banner
Bev with the new group banner
Paul and Lee with the anvil
Paul and Lee with the anvil
Dave making sparks fly with the grinding wheel
Dave making sparks fly with the grinding wheel
Bev and I looking babelicious in the workshop
Bev and I looking babelicious in the workshop

 We all had a lovely day so big thanks to Roger. We always have a lot to do in the off season during the winter in terms of repairing and making new kit for re-enactment so this was a very useful day.

Unexpected pleasures

Have had a lovely quiet day today courtesy of the very heavy snow fall that started last night. The kids were off school because of it , what I was planning to do was cancelled and I have spent a large part of the afternoon stitching and watching the Tudors Series 2 .Can’t show you any stitching pics as the item is a surprise gift but it is blackwork appropriate for my TV viewing.

I love the series and wish I could go and see the costumes for real – if anyone ever hears of an exhibition please post and let me know.

Meanwhile here are some pics of our snow – it has not stopped yet and we now have about 6 inches – the first one was taken last night.

Snow in the garden at night
Snow in the garden at night

We  had just come back from seeing Valkyrie at the cinema and having Pizza Hut and this pic is taken with my new camera (hurrah will try not to break this one!).

Here are some more that were taken from Jake’s attic bedroom this morning.

Snowy roofs
Snowy roofs
Snow on the hills
Snow on the hills

We have had a busy weekend sewing and cutting out new costumes for the coming season. Am now making a lovely stew for tea to stave off the cold. A very domesticated day!

Happy day

Am having a happy day today despite some fairly major problems at work but I’m sure it will all be sorted eventually thanks to my excellent colleague Julie. I am still on track to go part time from Monday so Friday will be my last day in this role which is very liberating – hello new me. Have now no idea where things will take me which is very strange as up until recently I had a very clear plan for most of the rest of my life but have decided that I like this fate thing in some ways. Bit scary but lots of positives.

Excellent weekend which has put me in a very good mood – here is a pic of us all outside the little castle.  Nearly all of the group are there – apologies to Luke who was absent . Don’t we all look lovely in our costumes!

Order of Fighting Knights at Bolsover Castle
Order of Fighting Knights at Bolsover Castle

They really are the best bunch of people in the world and I am so lucky to have them all. We have such a laugh together and support each other and they are like a big extended family. I am starting to feel like some kind of normality is returning as we are now back at work and the kids are at school from next week – the holidays have been lovely but it is time to go back to real life.

It’s going to be strange for all of us as there are big changes ahead – me and work and the whole embroidery business,  Ellie with her A levels and moving away to University next year and Jake with starting his GCSEs. But they are so fab, strong, kind, caring and really good company.

Hope that wherever you are you are having a happy day too – take care and be strong.

Internet crisis!

Apologies for the lack of recent posts but we have had no Internet for the last two weeks! It is amazing how much we have come to rely on it – no-email access (except at work but I am too busy there to write personal stuff) no just being able to look up things when we need it. Technology is so wonderful when it does work but we have really come to rely on it which is quite scary. For most of last week we did not have a computer that worked either which was a big shock to the 13 year old addict! Thankfully that is now semi-sorted as we had a broken monitor so have had to swap the other monitor to this PC.

The re-enactment season has now started – we had a very cold and wet show at Bolsover Castle last Sunday but huge thanks to the 800 odd (mad!) people who donned their wellies and came to see us. I have spent most of this week drying out the kit, the tent, the bedding, the hangings etc. and am now packing everything for this weekend when we shall be in North Wales at the beautiful Boddelwydden Castle near St Asaph. Hurrah for being outdoors and pray for some nice weather this weekend!