Wednesday 24 April 2019

A visit to Chatsworth.

Last week we had a holiday in Derbyshire. We had planned to do some walking and some sight seeing. We were very lucky with the weather as it was dry all week and generally warm. One of the days we visited Chatsworth. Chatsworth is home to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, and has been passed down through 16 generations of the Cavendish family. This is a picture of the house from one side. I didn't get a photo from the front as I run out of time to walk round before the warmth of the day went and we headed for home.. Somewhere I have one I took about 25 years or so ago when we visited with my parents when our children where young. They had a fabulous children's adventure area with rope walk ways which Richard loved  on that visit. This time we had no need to visit that area, plus dogs were not allowed.

In the house we were able to visit over 30 rooms which included the painted hall, that I found rather over done and the very regal State rooms. The tour of the rooms took ages. While John and I went round the house Richard took Scamp for a walk around the grounds and then found a quiet spot to sit and read his book until we had finished.

As I walked past a courtyard I spotted this statue of a leaping hare which I just had to take a photo of.

In one room there was this huge geode of amethyst which was amazing.

This room was completely over the top with decoration

The beds were high of the floor and many had steps to get into them. I bet the curtains ensured warmth and privacy. 

There was a lot of chine on display.

This bedroom has a cosier feel to it and the bed was huge.

To the right of the desk that stood at the foot of the bed was this cute dogs bed. I'm sure Scamp and Picasso would love it

This time a smaller bed but with a very fancy canopy

and at the foot of the bed another dog bed.

There was a lot of art work around the house ranging from old masters to modern day artists. It was an amazing mix of tastes and styles and showed what the family had collected through generations. I love this scene that was given to the family from the Inuits. There is so much detail in it but unfortunately because of the busy wall paper behind, it's difficult to see much of it.

Some of the room along the route you couldn't enter but you were able to look into. In the doorway you can see a sculpture of a dog. There were a lot throughout the house as they currently have an exhibition celebrating the dog. 

This one had pride of place in a window alcove.

The dining table was huge. It can be extended further by adding more leaves. The chairs at the corner of the table are to stop people touching the cloth and items on the table. Any chairs that you weren't allowed to sit on had teasels on them

When I stood next to this display I couldn't understand why I kept smelling chocolate.

Then I read the notice next to the display and it all made sense. 

Once we had finished in the house we met up with Richard and Scamp and after stopping for tea and coffee we explored the gardens. The cascade was originally completed in 1696 but in 1708 it was remodelled and made longer and wider. We didn't walk up to the cascade house which you can see in the distance.

We all liked the curving hedge that draws your eye from the pond 

We walked down to the Emperor fountain. The wind was blowing the spray for quite a distance.

Here we looked back to take a photo of the scaffold dog sculpture. I love how the house looks dwarfed in the background.

We walked down one side of the lake. John doesn't like the photo as it makes him look small but they are standing on a sloop. Also Richard is 6 foot five and John 6 foot 1.  Neither of them worry that I always feel small being only 5 foot 6.

By now it was getting cold so we stopped to take a photo of this sculpture couple and headed back up the other side of the lake and back to the car.

Chatsworth was a very good visit and although the entry price seemed expensive it was well worth the money We all enjoyed our day out and went home happy.  I bought myself another stitchery whilst in the shop but I'll show you that another time.

This evening I'm taking John to the theatre to see a stage play of 'The picture of Dorian Grey'. In preparation for that I need to go and spruce myself up.


Tuesday 23 April 2019

All day sewing.

Monday was a perfect day. I had no commitments so the time was mine to do what I wanted. A few quick questions to self... do you want to take Scamp for a long walk? No he had lots of exercise last week. Do you want to do some baking? No, I'm trying to lose weight..again.  What I want to do is work on one of my projects. 

Last post I showed you my pile of blocks, some trimmed and some still waiting to be trimmed. 

I'd meant to trim these on Sunday but I got distracted by sorting out my fabric. My stash and projects aren't all in one place and as a result I  misplace or forget about things. In sorting through my 'in progress' projects I found some fabric I'd misplaced and decided to move things around to make it easier to keep track of everything. Anyway trimming the blocks was my first job of the day. The blocks have to be trimmed to 5 inches so my 6 and a half inch square ruler came in very useful. It took some time to do as the pointy ends (highly technical term) of the middle strip have to match up when putting the blocks together. Rushing could have left me with very messy joins.

Once the trimming was done it was a case of deciding how I wanted the blocks, stitching them into rows and then joining the rows. At the start the machine decided to play up and it took twenty minutes to sort it out and get the stitch right. After that it was stitching and pressing the seams until it was all together.

I was pleased with how the colours and patterns looked. I rummaged through my stash for some backing fabric and found this green piece that will do very well. Scamp decided he wanted to help make the decision about the backing plus he thought it was a perfect sized quilt for him.

Scamp is such a scruffy dog at the moment as he missed his grooming appointment. I've re-booked it but there wasn't a space until May so I'll have to trim his fringe to get it out of his eyes.

It was at this point that Katy phoned me and asked if I wanted to go to the Van Gogh exhibition at the Tate Britain with her. Having said yes I tidied all my sewing bits away and got ready to go and meet her.

The exhibition had over 50 of his works and looks at how Britain inspired him in his art works and how he inspired British artists. The following photos are some of the works that I liked. The first one is called  'The Oise at Auvers'.

Of course his Starry Night over the Rhone was part of the exhibition. The colours in this painting really popped

The first two pictures are more of the style everyone associates with Van Gogh but there were a lot of pictures using different styles and techniques. This one is 'Loom with weaver'. Weavers feature in two of Van Gogh's favourite books, Charles Dickens's Hard Times and George Elliot's Silas Marner. He made a series of drawings and paintings of weavers.

I also liked this one 'Woman sewing and Cat'. It would appear that a cat has always been important as sewing companions.

I really liked this one called 'Old man drinking a coffee.

In my final choice there is just so much detail and items to look at. This is 'Carpenters yard and Laundry'.

I'm pleased I went to the exhibition even though it cut into my sewing time. I didn't take many photos as it was rather busy. One or two of the visitors were very rude, pushing folks out of the way so they could look at the paintings. It wouldn't have been so annoying if it was in the last week of the exhibition but it doesn't finish until August.

Today (Tuesday) I had to take my car to the garage for a safety recall. There was a potential problem with the front passenger airbag and so it had to be changed. John and I took the opportunity to have breakfast out and to walk by the river.

I had several jobs to do today and that left little time for sewing. In between jobs I carried on cutting up my scraps. It feels good to be cutting them into useful sizes and slowly clearing the scraps boxes. Using the rotary cutter makes my arm a little sore after a while so this job is going to take some time.

The last few weeks I've enjoyed spending time reading. So I'm off to bed to read a couple of chapters of my current book before I settle down to sleep.


Sunday 21 April 2019

A perfect Easter weekend

Happy Easter

The weather here in the London is perfect, clear blue sky, lots of sun and very warm. Having seen lots of lambs and spring flowers last week in Derbyshire what more could I ask for Easter weekend. 

We'd chosen to head off on holiday on older daughter's birthday and arrived home the day after younger daughter's birthday so yesterday we had a family dinner to celebrate both. We combined it with our usual family Easter meal as all of our children and partners are doing other things today. That means I have space to do some sewing and also a little gardening. Whilst away I bought some plants for my outdoor pots so I need to get them planted.

Our holiday was fun and also a much needed rest. When we booked it back at the beginning of the year we had plans to do a lot of walking but we both felt quite tired so kept the week very leisurely. Richard was on holiday with us and also wanted time to chill out rather than rushing around doing loads of activities.  We were very lucky with the weather as there was no rain all week. The journey was only 180 miles and the traffic was reasonable in both directions. We stopped several times for Scamp to have a walk as he always associates a car ride with a walk and so starts to get whiny if he doesn't get one at regular intervals. Picasso was at home being looked at by Lucy (younger daughter).

One of our walks was to visits some waterfalls. Along the way there were a lot of sheep.

wood anemone,

Lesser celandine

The goat came down off the roof for a scratch and a stroke. As we moved on he went back to his post on the roof.

 Betty and Erol had just been called for their food by two young girls

The trees were coming into left and lots had catkins or blossom.

The water falls were disappointing as it had been dry for quite a while so there was very limited water flowing down the stream.  

The walk was fun but Scamp was very tired when we got home. His usual walks are all on the flat and this one involved a lot of ascents and descents.

Back to today I have plans for sewing. In January I cut the fabric for a tablecloth. The charm pack came in my monthly subscription box.

This project had sat in its project box until now. I have now done some initial stitching to make the square blocks and this afternoon I will do some more work on it.

Before I can do any  more stitching I need to finish trimming the blocks. I'll do that later today and tomorrow I'll get my machine out and sew the blocks together.

I did a little more on the bunny garden embroidery this morning and will continue working on this during the evening. I'm working on the flowers at the moment.

I'll take a better picture tomorrow but every time I put it down to take a photo Picasso came and sat on it. I'm linking this post with Kathy for her Slow Sunday Stitching. Pop over and see what everyone has been creating.

It's great to be back posting and getting back to stitching. Now all I need to do is catch up with my blog reading. I am way behind!


Tuesday 16 April 2019

Getting back to normal

It's been two months since I last wrote a post. Unfortunately my brother was taken ill with breathing and other problems and so we went rushing off to be with him. He was in hospital for quite a while but was back home in early March and has slowly been getting back to full strength. I took two weeks out to be with him but of course once you get back home you have to sort out the chaos that your absence created. 

We'd been back a day when we realised that Picasso wasn't walking properly and was having a lot of difficulty getting up onto the back of my chair which is his favourite place to sleep. That sent the family into another meltdown. Picasso is an older cat. We've had him 15 years and the vet thought he was a year old when we rescued him but he could have been older. He had an emergency trip to the vet, a full physical check and some bloods taken. Our vet felt it was arthritis in his back leg where he had a previous injury but it could also be problems with his spine. He had also lost some weight but not enough to worry the vet. He's now on daily anti inflammatory medication and is walking better. He can climb up to his favourite spots again and has regained his usual healthy appetite and I think he's put on weight. He was always a very active cat but he is now behaving in a more appropriate way for a cat of his age which includes not climbing onto the roof of our neighbour's house.

No sooner had we got Picasso sorted out than older daughter had a meltdown. She has been harassed and bullied at work by senior staff and couldn't deal with it any longer. She is now off sick,has put in her notice and is gradually putting her self confidence and life back together. So now in the middle of April we are back to a point where all family members whether human or pets are well or progressing back to health and life can get back to some semblance of normality.

Since the middle of February I hadn't done any sewing, not even hand stitching. I forgot to pack any stitching when I went to be with my brother. Instead I've done quite a bit of reading.  On Saturday John, Richard and I travelled to Derbyshire for a planned holiday and that evening I took out some hand stitching. A while back Barbara from Cat Patches showed a picture of a new hand stitching project. The design is by Lynette Anderson and I spent ages browsing the website.

I bought the rabbit pattern and decided to print it onto my last sheet of Fabric Solvy. I used this when stitching my 'It's a dog's life' quilt and it worked very well, soaking away once I'd finished my stitching. The last sheet went into my printer but managed to slip to one side but fortunately I didn't lose any of the design except the border on one side.The adhesive backing had lost its sticky so I stitched round the inner border to hold it onto my fabric

I like the pattern as it uses several different embroidery stitches which makes the piece more interesting to stitch. I also ordered the carrot and the snail buttons which will finish off the piece.

On  the Friday evening before we left home I spent time cutting up some of my scraps. I have quite a lot of scraps and they needed to be sorted so I can use them in a quilt. The whole process feels like it's going to be very tedious but the ironing and cutting for this pile was soon completed. It left me with a pile of two and a half inch squares and one and a half inch squares plus some strings. Any scraps smaller than one and half inch squares were thrown away.

When we get home I'll start on the next box of scraps. My little subscription box also arrived on Friday. The box always comes with a pattern or two as suggestions of what to make. I don't very often follow the suggestions but this month I think I might make the red work cushion for a friends birthday.

It's now 9 :30 p.m.and I'm going to stop writing and pick up my knitting for an hour. We're going to sit and watch a film, not sure which film as John and Richard have chosen it. Scamp is curled up next to me as the walking has completely worn him out. I'll tell you about our holiday in my next post.