Mainly Sky

Hello and a Happy New Year to you all. I have had a lovely time with Ellie and Jake and then my Mum in Spain and hope that your festive season has been good as well.

I love looking at the sky, I love the way it changes and provides us with the most beautiful colours, one of the things that I love most about Spain is the wonderful sunsets every night, pink and orange as the sun goes down over the mountains.

Here is a gorgeous sunset behind the palm trees from one of our trips out.

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We went to Clumber Park on Boxing Day as Ellie was working, she and I had been for the morning service on Christmas Day which was lovely but this was Jake’s first visit to Clumber.

We went to see the Kitchen Garden which is part of her responsibility as well as the Chapel and I took lots of pictures of the sky above and through the beautiful greenhouse.

 

These pots are also her responsibility, at some point she has to sort and catalogue them all!

 

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We then went on the fairy trail, just as the sun was setting, there were lots of different parts of the woodland decorated with clues for children to find treasure and it looked beautiful in the winter light.

I also took this picture with the Chapel in the background which I really like.

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I did try to get ‘seven swans a swimming’ but alas they were too quick for me but here are a few on the lake anyway.

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It is very dull here today but the mists over the moors look beautiful, good job I am not planning to go out but instead to spend quality time in the craft room before I am back to work on Monday.

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.

We are famous!

There has been great excitement here in the village this week as we are being used as a film set again, this time for a movie, ‘A Monster Calls’ , with Liam Neeson  (who will be playing a tree apparently so won’t be doing any live filming) and Sigourney Weaver who will!

The village and the surrounding countryside has already featured in lots of things, most notably, ‘Last of the Summer Wine’, and ,’Where the Heart is’, and we had Micheal Palin spotted here not long ago while he was filming a ghost story at the vicarage.

However the most exciting thing apart from star spotting is that one of the village shops has been given a make over, this is usually one of our local charity shops and has a very plain window similar to its neighbour that you can just see a bit of on the left of this picture.

Shop transformation 3

But look at that gorgeousness! All that lovely stock. Sadly it is going to have to be turned back after the filming but everyone in the village loves it and wishes it could stay.

Shop transformation

Shop transformation 2

We will have some themed shops this weekend though as it is the Jazz Festival and I helped my friend Sharon make  bunting with some of the music themed fabric that she bought from the Quilt Cabin in Hebden Bridge a few weeks ago.

Bunting

Bunting 2

Bunting 3

It is in the window of her art gallery ‘Enjoy Art’ which will hopefully be busy with lots of visitors to the festival.

I was perusing the charity shops this weekend and not only did I get some more great bargains (a new top for Xmas and some knee-length leather winter boots for the princely sum of £5.45 in total) but also this gorgeous piece of vintage embroidery.

Vintage ABC embroidery

I have taken a couple of close-ups of things we see a lot of round here – is raining again today 😦

Vintage ABC embroidery- umbrella

Vintage ABC embroidery- lamb

And something that has not been seen in Marsden yet however given our role as a film venue who knows what might happen in the future!

Vintage ABC embroidery

No date but I would estimate 1930s – 50s by the style of it. Stitched on linen in cross stitch it says at the top, ‘Teach me please my ABCs’, so I imagine it was for a child’s room and will be going up in my craft room this afternoon.

It is too nice to cut up and was only an amazing £2.80. I do love charity shops 🙂

Have made great progress with the hexis for the aprons, they are appliqued to the backing fabric just waiting for a machining session to be sewn together and am working on some more hexi love with the mini charm packs from Simply Solids today.

Will update at the weekend if time allows, I am running the box office for the Jazz Festival again all weekend and am hoping to see a couple of events including one of my favourite vocalists Ruby Wood with her new band The Sugar Sisters who are headlining on Saturday night.

See you soon and thanks for visiting!

Proper trains!

Hello there

After a very nice (if a little damp at first) show I stayed on for a couple of days and went on a steam train trip to Bridgnorth in Shropshire.

It was very exciting, I love trains anyway but this was a proper train with proper tickets and lovely little compartments (so much nicer to have privacy and not have to listen to other people on their phones!).

Bewdley Train trip

Bewdley Train 2

Bewdley Train 3

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Bewdley Train Trip

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It was a really sunny day and the view of the River Severn and all of the stations with their flowers made me very glad to live in such a gorgeous country.

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Bewdley Train 9

Bridgnorth was very pretty with lots of little gift shops like this one in the second photo.

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Bewdley Train 14

I particularly like the sentiments in these plaques, some sad things have happened to friends recently which makes you realise how precious time with loved ones is.

I am very lucky to have so much love and support from my family and friends and hope that I can be a support to others.

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Bewdley Train 16

It has lots of historic buildings and a funicular railway to get from the Low Town to the High Town.

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A really excellent day out – accompanied in true British fashion by a few pints of very nice cider and fish and chips for tea!

I have a quiet few days ahead which is lovely, going to be doing some sewing and have made a start on knitting Christmas stockings from the free pattern from Little Cotton Rabbits I used last year – only 133 days until Christmas apparently 😉

Thanks for visiting and see you soon.

The joys of living alone

I do very much love being an empty nester (not that I don’t love my kids dearly and look forward to their visits) but one of the great joys of having my own space is that I have a craft room.

That along with the need not to spend weekends shopping, cooking, cleaning and washing means I have physical,temporal and mental space to create which is wonderful!

However there are some downsides particularly when you are trying to put together IKEA flat pack furniture on your own. The storage units I bought did come with a warning!

Old craft room 3

I managed in the end but they are not actually screwed together at the bottom as I couldn’t get the last side to fit.

One is missing one screw the other two but gravity seems to be keeping them stable and when Jake is home as Easter I will get him to apply a bit of brute force to see if I can sort it.

I did sort out the craft room when I first moved in using storage I already had.

Old craft-room 4

But unfortunately the CD racks that I had been using as fabric storage fell over (once on my head which was a bit painful!) and the shelving units were very old and unstable and always looked cluttered.

I also got rid of the wooden chest I had there leaving me nowhere to store the small (ahem) amount of fabric for medieval kit that I have.

And I have been buying a bit more fabric since I moved in so was running out of space and rather than being the calm wonderful creative space I wanted it was a mess.

However there has been a transformation.

This was yesterday morning.

Old craft room

Old craft room 2

And this is the finished result.

New craft room 3

New craft room 2

The shelves with baskets and the lovely heart pinboard were bargains from local charity shops. It does still need painting and more pictures putting up but that will be a job for the holidays.

I still have one tall storage unit on the other side with all the small boxes but now all of the fabric is together so that I can see what I have got. I found fabric for a new blue peasant dress yesterday that I vaguely remembered buying but thought had wandered off 🙂

More importantly I have got a cutting table which is much better than crawling about on the floor!

So this afternoon I will be enjoying the fruits of my labour finishing off a little project for a birthday.

Oh and you see that pile of quilts next to the cutting area? No I haven’t been mega productive recently, they are made by my very talented friend Helen here in the village.

New craft room

She has been stash busting recently and has very kindly made these to donate to a children’s orphanage that my Mum supports in Spain. Will share pics of those later.

Do have a lovely week ahead and thanks for visiting!

The joys of Spring

Hello everyone

Hope you are having fun and that the weather is being kind to you where you live. We have had an excellent weekend and week so far – today there was washing drying on the line 🙂

I went out for a long walk this weekend and then afterwards came home, got the garden furniture out of storage, cleaned out the barbecue and planted more bulbs!

I took some pictures of the joys of Spring while walking – I sadly missed a photo of a jay having a little bath in the canal (he was too quick for me) and so was a kingfisher near the local mill-pond but these are some of the beautiful sights from Sunday. The crocuses are mine from the back rockery.

Spring walk March crocus

Spring walk March

Spring walk March daffodils

As I said to a friend at work this week I am surrounded by 360 degrees of excellent walking so this weekend went along the canal passing weirs and old bridges and then up the side of the hill on a footpath I had not used before, through the woods beside a waterfall then back the same way ending up passing the church where this last picture was taken.

Spring walk March bridge

Spring walk March canal 1

Spring walk March weir

Spring walk March canal 2

Spring walk March churchyard

I last did this canal towpath walk the same time last year and blogged about it here and remember meeting a little flock of sheep on my way back then.

Well they had obviously visited us again as they have eaten most of my poor neighbours beautiful crocuses (they couldn’t reach mine as they are too high up on the rockery) and attempted to eat one of my new primulas – for some reason only the yellow one was tasty 🙂

Naughty little things but it is great when the lambs come down off the hills so I suppose a few flowers isn’t much of a sacrifice.

Have got some new storage this week so am planning a weekend of craft room transformation – finally all those piles of fabric will be sorted and I can get on with all the things I have to make. Will share end results of the makeover!

Have a good rest of the week and thanks for visiting.

We love to boogie …. on a Saturday night!

Hello there

Well another Marsden Jazz Festival has come and gone and I think a good time was had by all.

There were lots of people dancing late into the night at our sell out Saturday night event featuring the very talented Airya Astrobeat Arkestra.I even got off duty for a bit to go and join in and I was also amazed by the guitar playing of Antonio Forcione at our other sell out event on Sunday.

As usual I had a lovely time in the company of my excellent band of fellow volunteers and really enjoyed meeting so many nice people who were very kind about the festival and how much they enjoy it.

I was also interviewed by the local radio and if you want to hear more about the festival my 15 minutes of fame are here
on the Two Valleys Radio web site.

It was a bit wet 😦 so we had some re-arranging of outdoor events to do (how optimistic were we?) but the venues in the village were fantastic at accommodating bands at very short notice so big thanks to them all.

I know I have said this before and apologies if you are bored by it but I love living here, there is a real sense of community and I so enjoy being part of this.

I managed to take a few pictures of the parade on the Saturday which involves the local dance school and local children who decorate brollies to carry (good job given the inclemency!).

Jazz Festival

Jazz Festival 2

Jazz Festival 3

Jazz Festival 5

There were even some very little children dressed as sheep which is the symbol of the jazz festival – so cute!

I am really looking forward to this weekend as an old friend of mine is coming to stay, Anita, who moved to Australia some years ago and has since become a very talented long armed and machine quilter is going to be here.

Have not seen her for about 3 years so lots of catching up to do. I have just been drooling over some of the new things on her quilting blog at Hillside Quilting.

Am still busy knitting bunnies 🙂 will I ever stop! And am half way through my Autumn stitch for the Seasonal Exchange.

Here’s hoping for better weather than last weekend so that we can go walking and show Anita our beautiful surroundings. However if it rains we may just have to hole up in the craft room – shame 🙂 Maybe she can teach me a thing or two while she is here!

Take care and thanks for visiting

Autumn Colours

Well Autumn is definitely here in the Colne Valley.

The last of the tents is drying out on the line ready to be packed away until next season and the air has turned colder.

I am often sad at the end of the season as I so love camping and re-enacting but am really looked forward to my second Autumn here.

Being so much more rural I can really see all of the changing colours of the seasons all around me and the other day I had a lovely walk along the canal to pick blackberries and took these pictures for you.

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I also popped into the local charity shop (to donate) but came away with this beautiful tray cloth.

Flower cloth

Flower cloth 3

Flower cloth 4

Flower cloth 5

I am thinking of maybe framing some of these pieces as I now have far too many just to make things from them and think these might go very nicely in the kitchen.

The designs remind me very much of some of Kelly Fletcher from Materialistic– a very talented embroidery designer from South Africa who has some beautiful freebies on her Craftsy shop – look for the Bloomin’ Marvellous designs.

She also has some gorgeous designs for sale – really inspirational stuff!

I now have the ultimate luxury of a Sunday to do whatever I want to 🙂 Jake has gone back to University (not that he was any trouble while he was here!) but I am home alone with only myself to please.

Shall it be Christmas ornaments, knitting more dresses for bunnies, stitching? Maybe all three! I am making a start on my autumn exchange piece today and have chosen some beautiful brown silks for the piece.

Or a walk on the hills? it is beautiful and sunny today so I might just don the walking boots and get out there 😉

I hope that you are having a lovely day whatever you have decided to do.

Thanks for visiting.

Lovely doors of Ludlow

When we visited Ludlow Castle a while ago I noticed that they had a poster of doors of Ludlow for sale in the gift shop.

As regular readers know I love taking pictures of doors 🙂 much to the amusement of family and friends so when I went back again this last weekend I took the opportunity to take a couple of photos.

Ludlow doors

Ludlow door 2

I also took some more photos of the beautiful Tudor buildings there which I thought I would share with you.

Tudor Ludlow

Tudor Ludlow 2

Tudor Ludlow 3

Tudor Ludlow 5

Tudor Ludlow 6

Tudor Ludlow 7

As well as original Tudor buildings there are some later ones in Tudor style and a beautiful market hall.

Tudor Ludlow 8

Tudor Ludlow 9

Tudor Ludlow 4

We also visited the church and a Tudor house with some fantastic carved wood panelling so I will put all those in a later post.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

Art Deco in Spain

Hello everyone

Hope that you are all well and happy.

Seems longer than week ago that I was in Spain with those lovely blue skis 🙂

My Mum had surprise day trip planned for me, I thought that it was going to be  a new museum of religious art or a fab church but it turned out to be this amazing art deco house in a little town called Novelda, about an hour away from where she lives in the mountains. She discovered it in a DK book that my brother and sister-in-law bought her and first went to visit it last October.

Spain has a lot of Art Deco and Modernist art and I have seen many very lovely things, mainly fabulous doors and ironwork but this was really special.

If you didn’t know it was there you would not really notice the house, the facade is lovely but it is tucked away in a little street in the centre of the town and from the front it looks to be quite a small property but it stretches back a long way and like many Spanish houses it has a Moorish influenced courtyard garden inside the house.

The wonderful thing about the house is that most of the rooms are furnished with original Art Deco furniture and it looks so lived in.

The house is called Casa Modernista and was built between 1900 and 1903 – the DK travel web site  has info on location and times info . It is well worth a visit if you ever find yourself in the area.

Spain Casa Modernista

Spain Casa Modernista 2

Spain Casa Modernista 3

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Spain Casa Modernista 7

Spain Casa Modernista 8

After lunch (tapas at a lovely little cafe round the corner) we had a little wander around the town and the market and then set off to find a church, St Mary Magdelene’s Sanctury and castle that we could see from the town and that Mum went to on her last trip there. After a few false starts and lots of communing with the locals we found it and it was really beautiful.

As far as we could work out it was built in the early 1900s and reminded me very much of Gaudi’s Sagrada Famila that I was lucky enough to visit a few years ago in Barcelona – on a much smaller scale. A very interesting church and look at those wonderful blue skies! These pictures were taken on the 4th of January!

Spain- Novelda Church 1

Spain- Novelda Church 2

Spain- Novelda Church 3

Spain- Novelda Church 4

So back to reality this week, a busy week at work but I had knitting group and a lovely relaxing weekend crafting and cooking so it was not all bad 😉

I have been working hard at creating new stock to take the craft centre, have some new heart ornaments made from recycled charity shop finds that I am just finishing off so will post them next weekend.

I have finished my hat – in beautiful James Brett variegated wool, this was an adaptation of a pattern that I had as a freebie booklet from a knitting mag. I changed the stocking stitch with Fair Isle main part for moss stitch with a stocking stitch crown when I realised how hard it was going it be to do the decreases for the crown shaping in moss stitch.

New hat Jan 2

New hat Jan 1

I am very pleased that it turned out so well and that I now have the confidence to play around with patterns like this. It is very warm and lovely and I just cast on for another one in the purple version of this wool.

This will be followed by matching scarves and possibly wristwarmers in both colourways , at some point in between everything else I want to do. I have still not managed to win the lottery so unfortunately crafting is still subsidiary to my day job – is just lucky I really enjoy what I do!

Exciting job related news – my next trip to China has been confirmed. I will be leaving for Beijing at the end of Feb for two weeks of teaching followed by a few days of exploring the city.I am so lucky, life is wonderful at the moment and I am so enjoying myself.

Like most of the rest of the UK it has been snowing overnight – not as much as I expected but here is the view from my window this morning.Hopefully it will last until the weekend when I can go for a walk on the snowy moors!

Snowy Marsden Jan

Hope that you have a good week ahead and thanks for visiting.