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Well the snow has almost gone here in Yorkshire apart from bits on the hills, we have Spring flowers appearing and have had a couple of warm days recently so we are all feeling very happy!
One of my favourite parts of the China Nationalities Museum that I visited while in Beijing was the exhibition of needlework, this sign outside perfectly captures how I, (and it would seem the museum organisers), feel about stitching!
There were themed displays of footwear (including the very sad lotus feet shoes for bound feet), bags, headwear and gifts – these little embroidered tokens of love and affection are called henbao.
I was interested to see cross stitch and patchwork in the bags as well as the more traditional Chinese silk embroidery.
There was also a section devoted to needlework tools – anyone remember these pincushions at the top of the photo?
My Nana had one when I was little (as well as the tomato one with the strawberry emery attached).
In another part of the museum there were some displays of traditional Miao people costume, with beautiful silver headdresses and embroidered robes.
Each strand of the skirt is a separate piece joined with silver beads.
I have had a busy week craft wise, have finished and posted my Spring ornament for the Seasonal Exchange, part made two bags out of recycled denim and pillowcases and been to two knitting groups (though more drinking coffee and wine was done than actual knitting – as usual!)
And next week the season starts again! They joy of seeing all my re-enactment friends and camping and campfires and BBQs - I shall be so happy
I must get around to putting up the events page for this year but next weekend we are at Bolsover Castle in Derbyshire - on Sat and Sun celebrating the victory of St George over the evil Dragon Knight! Please come and join us if you can.
Take care and thank you 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.
Hello again, long time no blog. The reason for my absence is of course that I have been lucky enough to be teaching again in China.
I have been here for nearly a month and most of that time I have been in Guangzhou again but I have had a short holiday this time after my work and have been spending a few days in arguably the brightest and probably the biggest city in the world, Hong Kong!
I thought that Guangzhou was amazing in terms of the tallness of the buildings and of their Pearl River light show but of course Hong Kong is the mother of all skyscraper neon wonder and I have been having a lovely time here.
I also had a visit to Disneyland – it is one of my ambitions to visit every Disneyland, so far I have done 3 with Tokyo, California and Shanghai (due for completion in 2016) to go.
As well as the bright lights I spent a day on Hong Kong’s Lantau Island yesterday which is a beautiful mountain country park. I went on a cable car ride to see the world’s biggest outdoor sitting Buddha and visit the monastery, on a speedboat ride round the bay and to see some traditional fishermens’ stilt houses, finishing off with dinner on the terrace of a very nice restaurant overlooking Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong.It was like being in a Bond film and was definitely one of the most amazing days of my life.
I will post more of those pics later once I have sorted them out (and found my camera cable which has disappeared somewhere in the packing process!) Here are a few from my trip so far. I am so lucky to be able to do this – I have spent the whole month pinching myself thinking am I really here again. I still really, really love China and hopefully will be back again with work in the Spring.
The first two photos are of the city of Guangzhou at night.
And here is the beautiful Canton Tower in Guangzhou which changes colour every few minutes during the evening light show.
Guangzhou is China’s third biggest city and is packed full of people, I have been staying in a very nice hotel in one of the busiest parts of town, this is what the evening rush hour looks like here.
And here is my gorgeous hotel room – aren’t I lucky! I know some people complain about business travel and living out of hotels all the time but I am still a novice at this and I am like a kid at Christmas with excitement. I am going back here tonight for two more days before flying home.
And a couple of photos of Hong Kong, I have much better ones of the city lights as I was raining heavily the day I took these but until I find the camera lead can’t get to them!
There has been a little bit of shopping (only a bit, more window shopping looking at all the designer shops in malls like this one).
And lots of culture as well, here is a picture of one of the beautiful painted panels in the ancestral hall of a museum I went to.
And lastly a little look at Mickey and Minnie in their Halloween finery.
Will update again sometime next week when I am back in the UK. Am looking forward to getting home to my beautiful village which will be such a contrast to all this but not looking forward to the weather. It has been around 35 degrees here and I have been wandering round in summer clothes.
Take care and thanks for visiting.
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.
Hasn’t the time flown? Nearly forgot to do this as the end of the month seems to have come so quickly.Click on the pic above to go to Kathy’s blog where you can see all the other lovely pics as well.
Most of these were taken on our recent trip to Lake Como in Italy.
We went on a boat trip across the lake from where we were to a little town called Varenna. We were just wandering up the hill on a little path and came across this villa which is now a museum and this was the view from the terrace – wow!
Can’t live without
I hadn’t got the list for this month’s hunt before I went so used the computer in the hotel to check. As soon as my Mum and the kids heard this category they said ‘red wine’ – so here is a pic of the wine we had every evening – even Jake got into drinking it. Though I think I could live without it …. but do love it!
The ferry-boat going in the direction of Bellagio across the lake from our hotel on a very misty first morning.
This had to be one of my (many) door pics – this one from the Duomo Cathedral in Milan – what a door!
While in Milan we visited the Milanese version of Harrods and this was in the Food Hall , designer water . I don’t know if you can see the price tag but it says 59 euros – the phrase ‘more money than sense’ comes to mind!
Multi – coloured
From the same store these lovely Pantone mugs – have just bought Jake a couple of the cheap version of these from our local store for his ‘bottom drawer’ for going to University in Sept.
On the move
Our amazing train journey over the Alps – the Bernina Express train.
The first morning was very dull and misty but that meant there were amazing clouds clinging to the rocks in the village behind the hotel.
Ellie has just bought me this book from my wish list as a pressie for help with her dissertation -she is such a lovely daughter and it did make me smile lots and lots! I love Rick Stein, the series was brilliant and he has a lovely smile as well!
Beautiful wisteria in bloom all along Lake Como.
They would be if you tried to wear them! Miniature chocolate shoes from the Milan store food hall – yours for 35 euros.
The clematis and honeysuckle over my garden arch – just waiting for it all to bloom now.
Well we have had a wonderful time in Italy. We went to Lake Como, somewhere that my Mum has always wanted to go and this was a postponed 70th birthday holiday for her (it was last year but for various reasons we did not get to go away then).
We have been really enjoying our little peek into the ‘lifestyles of the rich and the famous’ (the line comes from a song by one of Ellen’s favourite bands Good Charlotte) and have seen villas owned by people such as George Clooney, Richard Branson and the Gucci and Prada families.
We have been (window) shopping in all manner of lovely places such as Como, St Moritz and Milan and have been very spoilt by staying a luxurious and all-inclusive hotel with fabulous food and wine all week. Jake now says he cannot contemplate a non-inclusive holiday ever again but he will have to as that was a one-off and we will be back to camping and BBQs in the rain for the rest of the year!
We stayed at a very lovely hotel, the Hotel Britannia Excelsior, in a little village called Cadennabia right in the middle of the lake and as well as 3 organised day trips (into Switzerland to go on a train over the Alps, to Milan and lake cruise) we also did some sightseeing ourselves taking the bus and the little ferries so that we could explore the wonderful villages. It really was picture postcard perfect and I hope that you enjoy these pics in the slide show below.
This is one of my favourite ones taken at the Villa Carlotta which we visited for its beautiful art and gardens. Look at that view!
And here we are at the same place in a bit of a tourist pose – when did my son get so tall?
|Slideshow made with Smilebox|
I also have some lovely textile pics which I will post about separately as I managed to find lots of lovely embroidery (how unusual!)
Thank you as always for visiting – I have now had over 6,600 visitors in one month which is wonderful! See you all soon.
Just back from our fab holiday in Italy which I will be posting about later. Here is a pic of the views that surrounded us all week, this was taken from one of the lovely villas that we visited - it was a wonderful holiday on all counts especially as we went all inclusive for the first time which was very luxurious!
I have just finished the page about my time in China so hope that you enjoy all my pics.
See you all soon and thanks for visiting.
As might have been expected I found some lovely things in China! I thought I would put these in a post rather than with the other pics I have been working on for a separate page so that they will appear in the tags at the side.
China is of course famous for silk and while in Guangzhou (which was formerly known as Canton) I went to the old 19th century area for a visit and found this beautiful piece of embroidery on silk in an antique shop there. There were many pieces to choose from but I bought the lion as that is a very traditional Chinese symbol. I love the bright colours and the detailed stitching. There were so many lovely things in the shop (that I could not afford) like caps and gowns and stitched shoes.
I also came across some lovely cross stitch kits – these were being sold by a street vendor on one of the bridges near the hotel I stayed at in Guangzhou and worked out at about £1 per kit so were a real bargain. I have just started stitching the Emperor one to remind me of the dressing up with Mo that I posted about last time.
The first group of people I worked with in the city of Shantou gave me a gift to say thanks at the end of the week which was very kind of them. I was thrilled when they gave me this beautiful set of local lace.There are about 12 of these in the set they gave me. They told me that lace making was brought to the area by missionaries in the 19th century so they thought the present was appropriate as it was a blend of West and East which was so lovely. They didn’t even realise when they chose this gift what a textile addict I am so it was perfect!
I was lucky enough to be taken out on a brilliant day’s tour of cultural sites when I was in Shantou. I spent most of my time in China teaching but had 3 rest days while I was there and the school I was working at took me to a historic house nearby where they had museum displays. This is part of a wedding carriage and is appliqued embroidery on silk.
Puppet theatre has a long tradition in Chinese culture and in the same museum there was a puppet theatre display with beautiful goldwork side panels.
I am still working on the rest of the pics to choose some for my page – I took so many so am spending a lot of time editing them and hope to post that at the weekend.
Thank you for visting and see you all soon.
Apologies for lack of weekly post – have family staying so have been out and about and very busy so normal service will resume soon!
The pics for this month’s Scavenger Hunt were all taken in a week on our recent holiday to London. I had set myself a goal of trying to get the whole list in one week – some of it was ridiculously easy while other words took a bit of searching but here they are and I hope that you like them!
Being the capital city there were a fair few Union flags around – it is only called the Union Jack when it is on a ship – but this is one of my fave flag pics – taken at Hampton Court.
Had to be a bit creative with this one as did not see any but did come across this quote from Mary Poppins in the Disney Store on Oxford Road ….
We are very big Disney fans in our house!
Being the capital city there are loads that take place here but thought I would share with you some of the memorabilia available for our latest one – the marriage of Prince William and the gorgeous Catherine Middleton on April 29th. This pic was taken in a little gift shop round the corner from the British Museum on a very rainy day. I did buy a fridge magnet to take a pic of but thought this was a lovely pic as you can just see the reflection of tourists in the rain under an umbrella opposite the shop.
Again I had to be creative here as there aren’t that many in central London but we were in the theatre district and I saw this poster advertising the musical from one of my favourite films – how many Christmases did I watch this! Do you remember the bit where they fall asleep in the poppy fields?
For when you are feeling particularly patriotic!
This is not actually ice cream but a little selection of takeaway desserts from Marks and Spencer where we bought our in train picnic for on the way back – how cute!
Red, white and blue
Well I really was spoilt for choice here but I came across some fab shoes in a shop in trendy Carnaby Street – here is the patriotic UK version…
and the patriotic US version !
Again this took some thinking about but then Ellie pointed out that Ariel the Little Mermaid has a bra made of seashells in the Disney film. When Ellie was little she had a dress like this with a long fish tail which she loved.She is most upset that the Disney Store don’t do adult sizes!
Something that makes you happy (not a person or an animal!)
Well apart from my family and textiles the thing that makes me most happy is travel (if I get to travel with my family and there are textiles I am super happy!). I really love travelling by train especially as I think it is very exciting and though I use the train a lot I never get bored, I love just sitting looking out of the window watching everything go by. I am sure I would be a terrible driver as I am so used to being able to look all around when I am going anywhere and see all the pretty things. So here is a pic of one of the Docklands Light Railway trains that we used, the views from these of the skyscrapers at Canary Wharf were great – you can just see them in the background here.
There was the most amazing ceiling in the chapel at Hampton Court decorated with stars – I couldn’t take a photo inside but here is a pic from the front of the guide-book.
and then when we bought things from the gift shop the bag had this design on.
Here is Ellie enjoying strawberries and creme fraiche as part of our picnic at Hampton Court.
And some lovely pots lined up in the Hampton Court gardens.
I do hope that you have enjoyed my pics – very much looking forward to seeing what other people come up with this month. To see the other Scavenger Hunt pics or to join go to the blog.
As regular readers will know I love taking pics of architecture (particularly pretty doors and iron work to the bewilderment of my children!) and I had plenty of opportunity in London. We arrived at St Pancras station which is an incredible building, one day would love to depart from here on the Eurostar or the Orient Express as I love train travel and it is a wonderful station, very modern on the inside with lots of shops and cafes (including a champagne bar!) but the outside is the best bit.The web site has a nice little bit on the history of the station with more pics if you are interested.
Edited to add – According to my Google banner today 13th July is the architect, Sir George Gilbert Scott’s 200th birthday – well done Sir for a fine building!
No pretty pics of the British Library which we went to that day – lovely gardens and it is nice inside but too much of a brick block for me. We did see some very lovely things in the Treasures collection including old maps and illuminated manuscripts and they have a very good feature on their website that lets you look at some of these in more detail called ‘Treasures in Full’ and an online gallery called ‘Turning the Pages’.
However the following day was heaven as we went to Hampton Court ! I didn’t realise that the Flower Show was on that week which meant it was very crowded coming home on the train so we stayed and had tea there and caught a later one. Hen House has wonderful post all about the Flower Show – she went a couple of days after us so I didn’t get the chance to bump into her which is probably a good things as the children would have been very embarrassed by me trying to introduce myself to one of my ‘imaginary friends’!
I have wanted to visit for a long, long time because of my fascination with the Tudors, particularly Catherine of Aragon who has always interested me not just for her love of embroidery and allegedly introducing blackwork to England but also because of her story which is such a powerful one and the outcome of it changed so much about English religious culture which again is one of my interests. I have just started re-watching the Tudors from series one and am going to treat myself to series four as I missed most of that when it was shown live (on far too late at night!).
The place did not disappoint and I was also very pleased to find that there was the newer palace of William and Mary from the 18th century behind the Tudor one which I had not realised. I prefer Tudor architecture and decor to Baroque but the gardens and apartments were lovely.Below pics show the outside of their palace and one of the beautiful symmetrical gardens.
This was the really exciting bit though.The pics below show the Clock Court, Tudor Gardens and window in the Great Hall, the ceiling of the Watching Chamber and Henry’s kitchens which fed 1200 people a day when he was there with his retinue.
I think that gold ceiling would make a marvellous inspiration for a goldwork piece!
And there was even more excitement with a very good exhibition about Henry’s early life which we looked at after the main house including paintings of two people you might recognise.
The lovely Catherine of Aragon and her rival Anne Boleyn.
There was a very poignant part of the exhibition detailing all the stillbirths and deaths of Catherine’s children and both her and Anne suffered because of their failure to produce a male heir. It really does make you appreciate what women went through in childbirth and how the status of women has changed thankfully.
We also met the great man Henry the 8th himself with his last wife Kathryn Parr – during the day they had a series of short re-enactments with some actors recreating part of their story and I was lucky enough to get some lovely pics of the in the courtyard.
Fab costume , I do fancy doing Tudor re-enactment myself but would only ever opt to be a lower staus role. I will leave the really fancy stuff to my very talented friend Kat , who by the way has just had her second baby girl – big congrats and welcome! I am sure the baby will be as beautifully dressed for re-enactment as the whole family are. Her Tudor section is here if you want to have a look at the wonderful things she makes.
We later went to the Natural History Museum which Jake loves and they had a dinosaur exhibition which was very good (the sort with the moving ones in!) This building was designed to look like a cathedral to honour of all God’s creations and it is an amazing building . I bought a book on the history of the building and it is made of terracotta not carved stone as I had originally thought and was created by Alfred Waterhouse. More pics and history on this site if you are interested.
There was a bit of modern architecture appreciation as we stayed in Docklands so took another trip to Canary Wharf where we marvelled yet again at how tall the buildings are.
We are having a quiet couple of weeks here now doing some house and garden fettling. I am finding my Makower farm fabric quilt a challenge as I am designing it myself so no pics yet just a lot of moving fabric around and trying not to cut it out wrongly but hopefully I will have some progress on that by the end of the week.
Well this has been a very long post – time for a cup of tea I think!
Hope you all have a lovely week and thanks for visiting.