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Hello everyone and a belated Happy New Year.
I know it is supposed to be holly and ivy but I liked the way the cactus was growing with this ivy in Spain.
I hope you have had a lovely festive season, I did with lots of nice pressies including this beautiful tablecloth from my Mum which we used for our Christmas lunch.
I amused (or bewildered!) Jake by having no less than 4 Christmas table cloths and runners out over the two days- he thinks I am a little mad but I do like things to be pretty!
I have had a wonderful 2 weeks away, knitting, cycling and enjoying a new spa that has opened – Mum, my Aunt Maureen and I went twice for lots of lovely bubbles
We had a picnic and a bbq on the beach as well which is a first for me, lots of people do take bbqs down to the beach especially on Christmas Day – here was my glass of bubbly at our New Year picnic and Mum enjoying the sun.
It was lovely and warm as usual so had lots of chance for walks as well and taking pictures of pretty plants.
I really liked what these people had done in their ‘verde’ the public areas in between roads, isn’t this planting in the old tree roots nice?
We also visited a couple of our favourite local towns, Torrevieja for the 3 Kings parade and Elche for a bit of retail therapy and tapas and had a chance to see the large outdoor nativities called ‘belen’ that they have.
The Elche one was my favourite – the level of detail is amazing.
Back to wonderful. wet Yorkshire this week and still lots and lots of bunny knitting!
Thanks for visiting and see you soon.
I have been having a lovely time just recently, my visit to Spain was very nice, hot and sunny and very relaxing.
These are just a couple of the lovely little things from there, pretty flowers on one of my walks and delicious ice cream by the sea.
I have also been doing lots of knitting here and in Spain and am very proud to show you these very lovely little Xmas mini stockings that I have made.
They are from the very talented Julie at Little Cotton Rabbits ( they are one of her free patterns here) and I remember seeing them a few years ago and thinking that I would love to be able to knit them but did not have the skills at the time.
Well I am very pleased to have been able to make them now I have learnt how to do Fair Isle while knitting the bunny dresses.
I have also had a lovely little walk today, would have been longer but I slipped and fell in a large pile of mud so had to cut it short! This was the view of my favourite reservoir from the other side of the valley.
Hope that you have been having a good time whatever you have been doing and thanks for visiting.
As promised here are the pictures from Spain. This year we went to see the Easter parade of icons in Elche, a beautiful town just a short distance from my Mum’s that dates back to Roman times. The cathedral here is one of my favourites and I have posted pictures of it before here.
The parade was of two of the life-size icons, Jesus and the Virgin Mary, we joined the Virgin Mary parade at the cathedral and after about 3/4 hour of walking with this icon and the marching bands and people dressed in robes ,plus the beautiful ladies in their smart suits and Spanish headdresses and lace mantillas, we met up with the other parade of the same type but accompanying the Jesus icon.
Once again there was amazing goldwork, both on the flags that were carried but also on Mary’s robes. We have seen this icon before in the museum in the cathedral and her robes and crown are stunning.
The accompanying groups, all dressed in matching satin robes of different colours depending on the group, were giving sweets to the children which seems to be a feature of Spanish parades, most of them I have seen involve sweets given or thrown into the audience which makes them very popular with the kids!
The unique feature of the Easter parade is that they also throw religious pictures, these are small prints usually of the icons and were thrown from the cathedral at the start and from many of the apartments on the route. It was an amazing sight watching all these flutter down on the parade.
We also went to visit some cave houses near the town of Rojales again very near Mum’s – you can see the town from La Marina.
These are old houses that were once lived in but are now used for a range of artists from painting and ceramics to leather work. They were very cute and reminded me very much of the house in The Hobbit book and movie.
There was also a cave bar, a wonderful little place with lots of little rooms and a beer garden with a fab view of the mountains so we stopped and had a red wine with a view.
There was also this house just down the road from the cave houses that the owner has covered in shells and tiles, the place is the most amazing concoction involving bits that looks like a ship’s prow and others that look like castle battlements, all covered in tiny cockle shells and assorted tiles.
This is what I love about Spain, anywhere you go there is something a little bit bizarre but very interesting, it really is my kind of country!
We also went for a couple of walks, this one was at a local nature reserve with a brilliant view of my mountains and lots of birds to look at – and we saw a snake in one of the lakes!
And this is from one of our beach walks – looks just like a really expensive Caribbean holiday doesn’t it?
As always I had a lovely time and am really looking forward to going back in August.
Hope you enjoyed the photos and thanks for visiting.
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.
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!
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.
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!
Hope that you have a good week ahead and thanks for visiting.
I am posting this a bit early as I will be away for the weekend – hurrah!
I took some of these pics in Spain, some at our last event at Tatton and some at home, I have had lots of fun trying to think of unusual ways to meet some of the words and am very pleased with my ideas for a couple of them. The kids have now got used to me saying ‘oh that will be brilliant for the Scavenger Hunt’ as I dash off to take a pic.
Thank you so much to Kathy for continuing to post words for the hunt, I am still really enjoying it and it makes me think about photography in a whole new way.
As always click on the pic above to see the other pics at Kathy’s blog.
This is the painted ceiling of Valencia Cathedral but on my second visit there I bought some posters of the angels so last thing at night what I see is this beautiful artwork on my bedroom walls.
These two were taken at Tatton medieval event – here is the leg of lamb on the spit before it was cooked …..
And here it is fully cooked some 5 hours later. Literally 30 seconds after this pic was taken the wind blew a huge deluge off the roof of the canvas awning over the fire, soaking the lamb and putting out the fire! Luckily the group managed to rescue their dinner, we saw them later in the evening and everything was fine.
On the edge
Of the pool outside the Science Museum in Valencia – it was so hot that day, 33 degrees that I did manage a sneaky feet in the water!
Out of reach
The Angora sheep we fed at Tatton Home Farm trying to get their noses into bags of food which are just out of their reach.
Right up close to the door of Elche cathedral – what a wonderful door knocker!
There is a new group of bronze statues outside Elche cathedral, one is of the Virgin with this beautiful halo / crown.
Not quite the Koh – I- Nor but a big sparkly stone on my summer sandals.
On a truck at Tatton Home Farm
To me nothing beats the majesty of medieval religious art – this pic shows a Bishop from the museum at Valencia cathedral
This month old foal was dozing next to his Mum at Tatton Home Farm – so sweet!
The beautiful symmetry of Spanish ironwork – taken in Valencia
Hello and hope that you are all well and happy. I have had a busy and mainly wet week though today has been lovely and sunny so we have been gardening. Unfortunately it rained later on which scuppered any chance of a BBQ but as we are away at a re-enactment event next weekend we will be having two BBQs to make up for that!
Next weekend is (unbelievably) my little baby Jake’s 18th birthday and we will be at Tatton Park in Cheshire where he has celebrated the last 10 birthdays. Ellie is coming to meet us which will be lovely, she is so enjoying her new job and is very, very happy. So good times all round!
As promised I have sorted some pics of Valencia for you, it is the third largest city in Spain and this was my third visit but I have not been for nearly five years. The old town and cathedral are beautiful but there is also an amazing modern development called the City of Arts and Sciences with museums and galleries and an Oceanographic centre which is well worth a visit – we love the Beluga whales there.
Valencia cathedral is one of my favourites in Spain – it has a beautiful tower and the most amazing ceiling painting of musical angels.
And a wonderful carved doorway of course!
The cathedral museum, which is located inside, has a breathtaking collection of religious art so I was a very happy bunny!
Near the cathedral was a wonderful shop selling icons, paintings and all manner of church regalia, robes, chalices, candlesticks galore. Sadly I couldn’t afford anything but my friend Kerry and I had fun window shopping!
This was the bell tower of another church in the city.
And below is the town hall which had a gorgeous pillared hall.
The pic below shows the Imax cinema with the Museum of Modern Art behind it.
We had a very lovely day out and I hope that you enjoyed the pics.
I am halfway through another set of the Inverness Diamond wristwarmers as well as my baby gift stitching, I loved knitting them so much last time as they were really relaxing.
Will take some event pics next week and post when I get back, really, really looking forward to being in a field with my family and friends – magic!
Thanks for visiting.
I am posting this early as I will be away in a few days so Jake has strict instructions to upload this post to the link on Kathy’s blog so you can all see it. Most of these pics were taken in Spain again. This completes a year of taking pics for the Scavenger Hunt and I am still really enjoying it, I love taking pics and get very excited when I get something good for one of the words!
Lots of the Spanish houses have beautiful ceramic house number tiles so here is a number 5 from my street.
This is on one of the roads I cycle along in Spain, the local council have recently fenced the road and painted the fence in multicoloured blocks with lots of musical notes along it, no-one seems to know why this feature has been chosen but it looks very pretty.
Not strictly a train but a train track and station. I took a couple of quite boring train pics which I was planning to use then came across this model railway on one of my cycle trips in Spain which was in someone’s front garden! It was a large layout about 10 feet in total with a little model village as well as this train station. I can only imagine the owner has a very understanding wife!
This was really hard as there are so many things that I love, my kids, my family, Spain, camping, travel, embroidery but I decided that I would post about something I have not posted before. The first thing I fell in love with would have to be reading and I still think books are the most marvellous thing. One of the great things about being on holiday is the amount of reading I do and this was the pile of literary love that I treated myself to at the airport – they were wonderful and I read the whole pile in 3 days!
This was the only Cupid I saw in the whole month, not a very good pic but from a local shop window.
Sandwiches Spanish style – the lunch that Mum and I shared on our trip to Elche.
The road down to the beach on one of my cycle rides.
In the sky
Nothing but blue! Taken from my terrace on Feb 13th.
A picture of a crowded lemon tree taken on one of my bike rides.
How spectacular is this – the front door of the cathedral in Elche.
Black and White
The Spanish love ironwork on gates and balconies and this is from one of the neighbouring houses.
This is quite a boring pic but a very exciting event – on the 29th Feb Leap Year Day I will be flying to China for nearly 3 weeks with work. I am very, very excited as you can imagine and will of course take lots and lots of more exciting pics than this one!
Warning this is a very picture heavy post – look away if you are not into random exploration into photography or go and make a cup of tea if you have a slow internet collection while it all loads!
First of all I would like to say a very, very big thanks to you and you and you, in fact all 5, 476 of you that visited me last month! I was really impressed to find that when I checked my stats yesterday I have leapt from my average visits of around 4,500 per month which I have had for the past year to the stunning figure of nearly 5,500 last month.
I am thrilled (Jake is grudgingly impressed though cannot imagine why people would want to visit a blog about stitching, photos and Spain!) Now I know that lots of people arrive here by accident through a search for something else and maybe don’t stay for long but I am very humbled by the fact that anyone comes here at all and love the fact that so many of you come back and comment and have become my bloggy friends.
I have had another very lovely week in Spain and have been indulging in some photography as well as an accidental fiesta.
It has become commonplace for me to just come across things happening when I go , we will just be visiting somewhere and something fab will be happening and this has become a bit of standing joke that not only do I get great weather for all my visits, ( I always say that God feels sorry for me because I live in Yorkshire whereas my Southern cousins sometimes get rain!), I also get events happening that we knew nothing about.
My last trip to Elche in October coincided with a wonderful medieval market and we visited the town last week only to find that they were preparing for a carnival at the weekend which we went back for on Saturday.
The reason for the carnival was not entirely clear, it was not a religious festival as far as we could work out and the people we spoke to said it was like Halloween, which we realised was more like the US version of Halloween than our UK one in that the point was to wear fancy dress of any sort (unlike our UK Halloween which is mainly witches etc) and have one great big street party involving brass bands and discos and general merriment.
Anyway we had a great evening watching and admiring the many costumes , early on the evening it was mainly children who were dressed up , princess costumes were a very clear winner with Snow White as the most popular but Minnie Mouse was a close second (she was also very popular with the adults later on).
Ellie would have loved it, being as you know a Disney Princess and a huge fancy dress fan, so maybe one day we can all go dressed up.We of course had to drink red wine and eat tapas in the little bars around the central square (just to be sociable you understand) and did not leave till about 11 – the rest of the town were due to carry on partying till 3!
There was a lovely mix of home-made and bought costumes and these pics give a flavour of that – I love the plastic cup hat and the robot got loads of pics taken. The band shot was just a random coming together of a group of people at one point before we left, love that about Spain – totally mad place but totally wonderful!
Elche is a very beautiful place with so much to see and its Palmeral (Palm Park) is a Unesco World Heritage site.
I have also been trying to take lots of lovely arty pics with the new camera that I got for Christmas which is very good (thanks kids!) and has very good definition for close up shots as well as a zoom lens that works (yey!) so have really enjoyed exploring all the different places.
Whenever I read things about painting and photography people often talk about the light being really good in places and I have never really understood what that meant. However after spending a lot of time taking pics in Spain I have realised that the colours and the way that the light reflects off the stone and the sea really changes the way that my little snaps look.
These three pics were taken down at the beach and the salinas (salt lakes) that are a bird reserve where I often go for a bike ride.
I come back with pics that have the most amazing blue sky in them and the contrast between that and the sea or the way the sun hits the stone is wonderful. The pics below are of the Basilica Santa Maria in Elche.
I have also taken a few close up shots of the great vegetation there is – this time not only a cactus from my terrace but beautiful ornamental cabbages surrounding a pool at the park in Elche.
I hope you have enjoyed the pics, I will be back at the weekend with my Scavenger Hunt pics for this month, I will be posting them early as I am off to China with work next week which will be very exciting!
Thanks for visiting and making a little blogger very happy!
Well here we are again. Kathy has very kindly kept going with the Scavenger Hunt , click on the pic above to go to her blog and see everyone’s pics. I joined last March so this will be nearly a year of taking pics.
Some of these are from my last visit to Spain at New Year topped up with a few extras that I have quickly done today. Lots of scope this month for interpretation so it will be really interesting to see what other people have done.
A pair of beautiful doors in Cartegena.
It was good to have this as a category this month as most of my New Year’s Eve firework pics came out as a blur and here is one of them.
One day I hope to be able to turn my hobby into a business, got the business cards and the company name, just need more time!
Now this could be interpreted differently depending on how you say it – I have chosen it as the opposite of exit so here is the entrance to my house.
In my bathroom
Strictly speaking this is the downstairs cloakroom but here is my collection of postcards from some of the lovely places I have been lucky enough to visit.
No I haven’t gone mad, in Spain ice-cream is always in season, this is the selection Mum and I had on Jan 5th – coconut and mango yum, yum!
In the distance
It has to be my favourite subject of mountains, taken on one of my bike rides in Spain.
Part of the map of Cartagena – you have to love a place with roads called Paseo de las Delicias and Santa Florentina!
Sadly there are lots of old abandoned farms and smallholdings in this area of Spain and this is one that I passed on one of my bike rides.
These are sort of like Horse Chestnuts but with a suntan! From one of the verdes in Spain.
My Mum voluteers at a local dog shelter and takes the dogs walking one afternoon a week so I went with her in Jan. This is little Martha who had such soft ears and such a cute face it was hard not to take her home!
On the back of the antibiotics for my ear infection.
I have just got back from another lovely warm week in Spain and while I was there visited one of my favourite places. Cartagena is New Carthage, the place where Hannibal landed on his way to fight the Romans. He made his way up the coast of Spain and over to Italy, possibly passing where I have my little house which is an exciting thought.
Cartagena is a wonderful place if you like history as it has Roman, Byzantine and medieval buildings and so much beautiful late 19th and early 20th century architecture it is breathtaking. Here are a few of my favourite ones in a little slide show.
Thanks for visiting and see you all again soon!
|A digital scrapbook by Smilebox|