Friday, 19 September 2014

Scotney Castle

During the summer OH and I had a day out at Scotney Castle....which isn't actually a castle at all....but a stately home built in the 18oos to replace the original castle [which wasn't really a castle either!!]
For the Bloggers weekend I made up some kits for getting a variety of pages made......including making a double spread of this day out.....and was also lucky enough to have access to other bloggers' unwanted stash.
We weren't allowed to take photos indoors......but what was interesting inside was that the Hussey family had done a lot of modernising in the 1950s.....so there was a fascinating amalgamation of Victorian and 50s style......like the 50s TV sitting in a Victorian drawing room! 
Scotney Castle has the most wonderful gardens......and being set on a hill....you get all sorts of interesting views.
The original castle was actually a fortified house as it was designed with a tower in each corner to defend it......only one tower remains.....and it is possible that only one tower was ever built.

The new house wasn't built because the old one was falling down....but because the family felt it was old fashioned and difficult to maintain....and wanted something more modern.....having built the new house they then purposefully 'ruined' the old one as an attractive 'folly' in the garden!!

The old castle still contains original latrines [emptying into the moat]....unused these days,I would add.....a priest's hidey hole....and great views through the old and blurry windows.
The second LO shows the 'new' house......the old 'castle'....and the ice house.
I'd never seen an ice house before [you learn something new everyday!]......and this was a very effective one......in the winter frozen ice from the moat would be put inside.....and the building was so well insulated that it would stay frozen until the following winter....allowing them to safely keep food cold throughout the year....pretty cool I think!!!
All in all a thoroughly enjoyable and interesting day out.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

The perfect weekend- the bloggers crafty retreat

My summer break is over [though it appears our summer weather is not].....and it ended on the perfect note.....meeting up with my bloggy friend Kathy K [how did we forget to take a photo???] for lunch and some craft shopping.......followed by a crafting weekend retreat spent with a lovely group of fellow bloggers.
some who I met on last year's Blogging retreat.....and some familiar only from their blogs
it was such a thrill to meet the lovely Abi for the first time

we all spent our time chat,chat,chatting......laughing lots....eating far too much......completing challenges....scrapping more pages than I've made in months.....making cards......and learning a new mini book technique with Sandie

all in the wonderful surroundings of The Royal Agricultural University......the similarity to Hogwarts was mentioned a few times!
outside and in
Thank you so much ladies for such a lovely weekend.....and for lending me all your equipment....and particularly to Jemma for organising it......can't wait til next year
Photos courtesy of a variety of bloggers....thanks ladies

Thursday, 11 September 2014

A short flight over the sea...

took us to the Isle of Man for a stay with OH's cousin and his wife.......5 busy days of seeing the entire island......and sunshine every day.
the oldest parliament in the world.....I think they do actually meet indoors these days!
Peel Castle on the west coast
 Peel marina.....where we had a delicious pub lunch
a trip on the steam train
 to Port Erin in the south west [where we could see Ireland]
 lunch on the beach
back on the train to Castletown......the original capital of the island
 a trip into Douglas [the capital] on the tram train
 a little bit hairy at times....but passing through stunning scenery
arriving in Douglas bay [where we could see both Wales and England]
 and taking a trike ride round the famous TT road race circuit
and I now understand why this is one of the most dangerous races in the world......bikes racing round a 37 mile road circuit....through tiny villages and round sharp bends and across mountain passes....at speeds of up to 190 miles per hour....the fastest riders take 17 minutes to complete a circuit.....there is virtually nowhere that a bike can slide off without hitting a wall,a bank or sliding down a mountain.....and it's almost as dangerous for the spectators!!
 finally a trip to the north [where we could see Scotland]
the northern most point
A perfectly wonderful few days

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

One photo and twenty words

Today I'm joining in with Abi's 'one photo and twenty words'......you can find more here.
"We've booked you a surprise" they said.
It was a trike ride round the TT race circuit.
It was AMAZING!

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

A pile of postcards

Sian had another brilliant idea this year......the Pile of Postcards exchange.......send a postcard to 6 other [named] bloggers.....and receive postcards from 6 different bloggers.....I've loved this exchange.
It's been great fun getting postcards from all over the world......and fun choosing them for other bloggers.....if it was a blogger familiar to me I tried to choose an appropriate card.....which had me scouring junk shops....charity shops....and the tourist office.
All the ones I've received are now pinned to my 'mail art' board....including some I've received [unrelated to the exchange] from other bloggers.
So thank you to all the bloggers who've sent me cards.....and a special 'thank you' to Sian for organising it....can't wait for your next brilliant idea,Sian.
p.s. I'm off on a little break.....it doesn't require leaving the country....but does require a short plane hop over the sea.....see you next week.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Let's have a cup of tea

I saw this idea in a magazine.....I can't remember which one.....and decided to make one for my kitchen.It looked simple....and it was.
Come in and take a look.....and you might like to then stay for some tea.....and cake,of course.
A distressed frame.......a piece of vintage book paper......and black alphabet stickers from 2 sets......all done in a jiffy.,,,,,perfect for the kitchen.I may need some for other rooms in the house.
Don't forget to help yourself to a lemon and poppy seed muffin.....it's the first time I've made them....and I'm quite pleased with how they've turned out.
Abi is hosting today's tea party.....do head over there for some more cups of tea.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Cut and Paste-Ivan Chermayeff-but is it art?

I took a trip to the nearby town of Bexhill......to the De La Warr Pavilion.....one of the South East's most iconic modernist buildings......built in the 1930s.
My friend Steph had been to an exhibition there......'Ivan Chermayeff-Cut and Paste'.....she thought I would love it......she was right.
Ivan is actually the son of Serge Chermayeff.....the architect of the building.....so it seemed a very apt place for his first major exhibition in the UK.
Born in London Ivan has spent most of his life in the USA.......and is responsible for dozens of the world's most iconic logos and posters.....but apparently he is most at home surrounded by junk and bits of paper "I really like cutting and slicing and tearing" he says [sound familiar anyone??].....and produces the most amazing paper collages.

I wanted to document my visit......and what better way than with a bit of cutting and pasting
So no photos at all.....I picked up 2 of the free exhibition booklets.......a postcard of the Pavilion.....and set about 'cutting and pasting'
 I stuck the exhibition advertisement on the back of the layout.
The title.....but is it art?.....came from a comment Steph's husband made about the prestigious Jerwood Gallery in Hastings "they probably wouldn't have this exhibition,they wouldn't regard it as art"......which begs the question.....what is art?
The Oxford English dictionary defines art as 'works produced by human creative skills and imagination'.......so I think they'd class this as art.....I certainly do....what do you think? 

Friday, 22 August 2014

A bit of skullduggery in Hythe??

This week I had a day out in the ancient 'cinque port ' town of Hythe with 3 friends......we wandered along the quaint high street....which is full of quirky,individual shops rather than the usual 'chain' stores
had a delicious lunch in one of the many cafes....and spent far too long in the 'Sewing Space'......an inspiring fabric shop....it took great willpower to only buy one piece of fabric!!
We then took a seriously steep climb up to St Leonards church
which contains one of only two ossuaries in England.....small,but fascinating.....and strangely enough.....not spooky at all.....quite peaceful,in fact.
It holds over 2000 skulls and about 8000 thigh bones....they date from the medieval period....when it was apparently believed that at least a skull and thigh bone were needed to be preserved in order for the dead to enter the afterlife.
The skulls have also been used to find out more about the genetic make up and health of our predecessors.....interestingly there are a lot of teeth in surprisingly good condition......sugar has a lot to answer for!!!!
Some of the skulls are individually displayed with explanations of how and why the person died.....axe wounds.....congenital deformities.....illness.....it would seem some even died of plain old age.
And we weren't allowed to touch the skulls as the oil from hands eventually makes the skulls all shiny.
It was fascinating......and also took me back to the day that 6 year old DD1 came home from school and announced that she never wanted to go to heaven because it would be full of skeletons.....not sure how much she would have liked this crypt!!

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Layered landscapes workshop

I recently attended a 'Layered Landscapes' workshop taught by textile artist Catherine Lawes....originally from New Zealand.....Catherine now works and teaches in the UK......and the full day workshop was organised by the East Sussex Federation W.I. for the amazing price of just £15.....what a bargain.
All Catherine's work is based on landscape photos that she has taken.....so we all had a pack containing a picture of the design which was based on a photo she had taken of a sunrise on the South Downs.....and an assortment of fabrics......all the fabrics were silks,voiles,satins.....no cottons.We then played around with the fabrics.....hand stitching them onto calico and wadding when we were happy with our placement.
When the fabrics are all layered up they don't look anything much to start with.............. 
 but just add a mount round them and the landscape effect becomes immediately obvious
One of the best things I learned was how to stitch trees using a small amount of embroidery thread.....I love how the tree looks.
Catherine had put some slightly furry,fleecy fabrics in the pack for making bushes......but I decided I wanted to embroider mine.
The way the fabrics fray just adds to the landscape effect.
I added a bit more embroidery at home.....and the picture is now finished and framed....but I've found it impossible to take a decent photo of it in the frame!!
I loved the workshop.....Catherine is an inspiring teacher....and also brought along a selection of her work for us to see....all of it wonderful.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Wedding belles

One of my summer break aims was to finish my 2013 album and my 2013 vacation album......but I've been sidetracked into scrapping some far more recent photos.....beautiful photos of my little granddaughters who were flower girls at their aunt's wedding last month.
One of the advantages of having a good sort out of my craft stash is that I've found stuff [like these alphas] that I'd forgotten I ever bought!! 
And papers lurking at the bottom of boxes
I used totally different colours/papers for the second page.....but felt that they had a wedding feel to them......and the heart brad was yet another 'sorting out' discovery.