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Sunday, 27 November 2011

Mistletoe Fayre

One of the advantages of living out in the country (and there are many disadvantages) is that this time of year we can choose how much or little we can join the pre-Christmas "shopping madness". When you live in a city or a large town, it is difficult to avoid the Christmas hype, which very often starts as early as the end of September.
Here in the country it is different, Christmas arrives more slowly. It is only now that many villages have their Christmas fairs, with local produce and crafts (some better quality then others).

It would be hard to beat the setting for a Christmas fair to the one of Barrington Court Mistletoe Fayre, which we visited yesterday. Most of the National Trust house have closed for the winter, but Barrington Court opened its doors this weekend, the first weekend of Advent.

Enter through the shop please.

Many of the stallholders were wearing period costumes in tune with the atmosphere of this beautiful Tudor house.

Even some Tudor ladies came to do their shopping here and very kindly allowed me to take a photograph. The one on the left made these wonderful dresses.

The stalls were very varied. You could buy anything from jewellery, to hand made soaps,
lovely local food, from sausages and pork pies, a fresh duck or a goose, beautiful Christmas cakes and puddings, drinks made from the local apples and fruits.

We could even enjoy some entertainment.

This area is close to the Devon and its sheep and there were lots of wool products, but the find of the day for me was

Sharon and her wonderful Five Moons wools, hand dyed in Devon.
This was a real "sweet shop" for me

and of course I could not resist.
This is a beautifully soft 2ply, a mixture of extra fine merino wool and silk, with a touch of silver sparkle, an addition to my knitting stash.

Outside in the apple orchard the trees are full of mistletoe ready for Christmas.

But away from the Christmas market it is a little difficult to think about Christmas just yet, as the nature still insists on hanging on to some wonderful autumn colours.

Have a very good week!

Saturday, 19 November 2011

my angel

It is more then two years ago since I bought a pattern for an angel and I started making it last year. Unfortunately the angel did not make it past this stage at the time and it stayed, unfinished, in the basket in my work room.


But "Heirloom Hannah" will see Christmas this year!

The pattern is from the "Button Angel" by Elaine Aitken .

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Just keeping in touch really, as I haven't anything to show you.
We are having a wonderful weekend, full of sunshine and daytime temperatures we would be quite happy with in the summer. Very welcome, after a week when we saw a lot of heavy rain, with some local flooding.
I have spent a lot of time in the garden yesterday and today, carrying on in getting the garden ready for the winter.  I emptied pots and hanging baskets, which had geraniums still in full flower, but it is time to get ruthless. The frost could hit any time now.
I even found some small strawberries still trying to ripen, in mid November!

I am at last in the process of hand quilting the Scandinavian Christmas quilt/wall hanging, so it should be ready for Christmas.
I have started to knit a scarf, using the lovely alpaca mix yarn I bought recently. But I wasn't happy with the pattern, so I unpicked the lot and starting again, using a different design and trying out various sizes of needles to see what will work. All this of course takes time, but it is better to get it right at this point.
There is a slow progress with knitting the Norwegian design jacket. Having knitted the lower part, which is a more complicated design, the top part is knitted in two colours only, but the two shades are very similar, so impossible to differentiate in any artificial light. I will have try to find more time during the day to knit this one.

It was also this week when my wonderful large fridge, a friend for more then 20 years, gave up, not a good timing. But of course I should not complain, will any modern fridge last as long?

I wish you a very good week!

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Jacobean embroidery

I have finished a Jacobean embroidery, stitched in Chameleon threads on silk. I like using space-dyed threads, they give a such nice varied finish.

I always feel a great satisfaction when I get from this,

to this.

Design: from book by Via Laurie "Embroidery Techniques Using Space-Dyed Threads".
Threads: Chameleon hand dyed threads Perle No.8 and Stranded cotton.
Stitched on silk.

In fact I have enjoyed Jacobean embroidery so much, that I am starting another one.

It gives me a welcome break from the Scandianvian Christmas quilt.

I wish you all a very good week!

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Sunday at Tyntesfield

 Tyntesfield is a recent acquisition by the National Trust. In 2002 a very rare opportunity presented itself to the Trust, when Wraxall Estate came on the market, following the death of Lord Wraxall. However, the Trust could not do it alone and had to appeal to the public. In just 100 days the public collected £8.2 million. Together with a single largest grant by the National Heritage Memorial Fund, and a grant from the National Lottery for the restoration work, Tyntesfield was saved for the nation and can now be enjoyed by all.

Tyntesfield was a home to 4 generations of Gibbs family, who made their money in fertiliser, which came from South American guano. This made William Gibbs one the richest man in England. He bought the original Regency house in 1843 and in 1863 started a rebuilding work which resulted in Victorian Gothic Revival house we see today. There was no expense spared. The house was the first one in the area to have electricity, from their own generator and central heating, powered by steam.

Very little of the original house can be seen now, only some simple straight lines give us a clue where the original Regency part of the house is.

Tyntesfield is also unique, because it was lived in until 2001 and it was sold including all the furniture and fittings, be it in a neglected state. 50,000 items have been listed to date, many of them still in storage. The priority, following the purchase of the house, was to make it secure against elements, so until early this year it was hidden behind a scaffolding. You can watch the unveiling here.

We have been planning to visit for some time. This weekend was our last chance this year, as the house is now being "put to bed" for the winter, as the Trust calls it.
To protect the interior, the daylight is kept to the minimum and camera flash not allowed, but I took as many pictures as I could to show your this beautiful house.


These are animal bones, which were found below the bathroom floor, in 6" deep layer.
They were there to absorb moisture. The original dehumidifier?

The Gibbs family chapel.

The restoration work is still going on and it will be a long time before all is repaired, cleaned and on display. For myself, I was little disappointed by the shortage of interesting textiles, which are probably still in storage. I look forward to coming back in a year or two, to see the progress.

You can read more about the history of this wonderful place here and here.

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