Baby bunting

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A penfriend had a baby recently, and I wanted to make something to send. As soon as she said the nursery theme was coral, mint and vintage I thought of the Moda Lullaby fabric collection – the right colours and designed to be soft and cute! (It’s not as orange as it looks in some of the photos). I wanted to make something small because I had to post it, and as the name was already decided bunting seemed like a pretty but not too complicated make.

 

The bunting was made from part of a layer cake of fabric and a basic triangle template. The flowers and letters were attached with Bondaweb and outlined using free motion machine embroidery. The lace, beads, buttons and tops of the flags were hand sewn. I found the hardest stage to be finishing the tops of the flags neatly, there’s a few not so neat corners hidden under the buttons that join the bunting together!

I sent it registered post because I’d hate for it to get lost somewhere. I hope she likes it – it might be a while before I hear back, apparently babies need a lot of attention 🙂

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Poppies: Weeping Window in Derby

The Poppies: Weeping Window installation opened in Derby last weekend as part of the UK wide tour. The poppies were originally installed on the Tower of London to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War. It’s nice that the installation has come to Derby, it sometimes feels like not much happens here.

It’s amazing to see, a sweep of red descending from the tower and spreading across the square that viewed close up becomes individual poppies and twisting black stalks. The art suits the building somehow, I wonder what the mill saw of the war…

Cromford Canal

The week before the late May bank holiday was glorious – hot, sunny and perfect for getting outside. Except I was in the office all week… so on the Saturday I decided to enjoy the last of the sunshine by walking along the Cromford Canal from Whatstandwell to Cromford. It’s a beautiful and peaceful place, sheltered by trees reflected in the water, lovely views across the valley in places, and very few people around.

I’ve been trying to practice my sketching and water colours recently so I took my sketchbook with me along the canal, and painted my sketches later on at home. I’m not much good at trees and lots of vegetation at the moment but I’m not doing too badly on more man-made features.

Happy Mail supplies swap

I feel like I haven’t blogged for a while… I’ve been struggling with low energy and feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the things I think I should be doing – getting all my post organised, written, and sent; sewing a large birthday present; my scrapbooking is 6 months behind; preparing for my next holiday; so many things I want to sort out and tidy up; and then just all the things that I need to keep on top of in basic living… Most evenings I do very little of that and then the weekends fly by and there’s a whole new week to deal with! Maybe at some point I’ll feel like I’ve caught up with myself.

I’ve still been doing a few swaps. It’s amazing how much time can vanish when preparing the perfect envelope of goodies! I’ve been thinking recently it might be nice to have a penfriend who does more mail art, I’ve had a few ideas for more creative letters but no one to really try them out on… I don’t want my existing penfriends to feel they have to reciprocate but I do really enjoy receiving more creative post. I’m not entirely sure where to find such a correspondent, the methods I’ve used before have introduced me to lovely people but with more normal letters. Anyone have any ideas?

A recent swap was for “happy mail supplies”, I sent items thinking one way and received from someone thinking differently…both valid by the swap and it wasn’t profile based but I’ll admit I was slightly disappointed – I don’t do a lot of papercrafting so I’m not sure I’ll do much with the smaller bits of card I received.

Sent to UK – I can send a lot more for less postage within the UK so I didn’t have to worry about it being flat 🙂

Watercoloured envelope

Stickers, envelopes, note cards, postcards, sticky notes, paper clips, patterned fabric tape, and a shaped peg. And a flow magazine journal because they listed it as a magazine they liked – I bought them because they looked fun and I like the magazine too. but then I never used them…

Received from Chile:

A fun envelope and bright little parcel 🙂 And yes the confetti went everywhere!

Tags, decorations, bits of card and paper, various types of stickers, decorative bits and pieces. All bright and fun but not stuff I typically use. It could be good to have something unusual to play around with, I might use some bits in a few mail art ideas…

I sent another couple of envelopes of nice things out recently, just need to wait and see what I receive next 🙂

Homemade envelopes from maps

I was digging out a local leaflet to include in letter when I found a few older map leaflets, and I’d also gained a few other map leaflets recently that I didn’t know what to do with either, tuen one morning I was inspired to make a few envelopes! I’ve got a couple of nice wooden envelope templates that make it easy.

The larger envelopes are made of maps of Derby, Shrewsbury, and the Science Museum in London, as well as the cover of an outdoor clothing catalogue. The smaller pocket envelopes are made from maps of the London underground, and Newstead Abbey gardens.

The Science Museum map is already on the way to a penfriend in the Netherlands who likes museums, and I’m planning to use the smaller envelopes to hold a few stickers or little flat gifts. It’s a really easy way to personalise a letter 🙂

Decorated dining chair

Most of my dining chairs are at least second hand basic folding Ikea chairs, but when I moved I bought a single decent chair with the intention of eventually having a fun and mismatched set of seating. I also intended to decorate the chair and brighten up the plain wood, and on the last bank holiday I started the transformation. It’s taken until now to get it finished and varnished but it’s definitely more fun now!

The boring ‘before’ chair

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And the final result!

The colours were chosen to match the pink and red in a nice decoupage paper I had, and the colours and styling were designed to go with the dining table I painted a while ago, with metallic cross bars and colour on the bottom of the legs. The colours are called ‘coral crush’ and ‘summer pudding’ (which was more crimson than expected) – paint colours have such wonderful names! There’s also a coat of varnish to protect the paper and colours.

I just walked back into my kitchen and saw the chair sitting in the sunlight and thought ‘oooh look at that!’ so I think the effort was worth it! Next on the decorating list: the wooden stand my printer sits on – I already have the paint and paper ready and waiting 🙂

Earls Hill views

 

Earls Hill and Pontesford Hill are located near Pontesbury, Shropshire. It’s a steep climb for amazing views across Shropshire and over to Wales. There are 2 Iron Age hill forts up there, a perfect position to defend yourself against the neighbours, and the earthworks and embankments are still clearly defined.

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Ordnance Survey/ Bing maps

Look at the contours on that! I’m so unfit, it was really hard work to get up there, but definitely worth it 🙂

Weekend round-up

Yesterday was my 2 year blogiversary, so here’s a round-up of my weekend. It’s been a quiet and lazy couple of days, I’ve done very little of what I’d planned… but I managed to do a bit of all of the random things I usually dump on my blog for want of a better recording system so it seems like a good enough celebration 🙂

Blog content type 1: random photos of random nice places, such as this view across Derbyshire viewed through the bus window on my way home from Nottingham.

And yesterday’s dramatic sunset.

Blog content type 2: post! I was in a postcard sending mood yesterday, so I replied to a postcard pal in USA, and sent postcards through Postcrossing and Postcard United to Russia, Sweden, and Japan. I’m missing receiving lots of cards at the moment, but I’m frustratingly at more received than sent on both sites, don’t like it when that happens. The bottom right card is an image of a fruit fly nervous system, they wanted to receive weird cards!

Blog content type 3: sewing, quilting, generally making stuff. And also Swap-bot swaps 🙂 I’ve now made the quilt block to match the one I sent out as a swap, with a minor change because some of my central strips weren’t long enough…

And tomorrow is the start of a new week, let’s see what happens next…

Palma de Mallorca

At the beginning of April I spent a long weekend in Palma de Mallorca for a relaxing break and some sunshine. A destination mainly chosen due to the cheap Ryanair flights from East Midlands airport, I didn’t realise the city is so beautiful or that there’s be so much to see and do, we easily filled 3 days. I’m not much of a travel blogger but here’s a quick breakdown some particularly nice places.

Where to go and what to see

The old city centre is fairly compact and easy to explore on foot – the map makes it look much bigger but nothing is too far apart. It’s a lovely city to just wander around finding hidden churches, little squares and surprise views. There’s a lot of nice Art Nouveau and early 1900’s architecture to admire, nice bars to relax at with a drink, and some very tasty bakeries 🙂

Some of my favourites places…

Le Seu (the cathedral)

A huge elaborate structure reflected in the water of the Parc de la Mar, built on a staggering scale with stunning stained glass, definitely worth a visit. There’s usually an admission charge but for about an hour over lunch between services on Sundays it’s free to wander around the main cathedral. The buildings are so crowded around the cathedral that it’s impossible to get a full view of the front of the cathedral, in the alley ways around the back you lose sight of it completely, quite an achievement for a building that size! There’s a section of old city walls near the Modern Art museum with good views across the roof tops, go in the afternoon for the sun to be shining onto the facade, or later on to watch the sun set behind the hills.

Castell de Bellver

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The aptly named ‘Beautiful View Castle’ is on a low hill to the West of Palma, reached by a set of steps from the edge of the city or up the road by taxi or the City Sightseeing bus. We took the bus, it looks like a bit of a hike on foot. The castle is a lovely structure constructed all at once using mathematical principles and contains a few nice museum sections. The best part is the view from the roof across the harbour, city and mountains. And free entry on Sundays 🙂

Hort del Rei

A small park at the base of the palace the far side from the cathedral, it’s a calm oasis that’s stayed in my memory for the wonderful smell of the orange blossom and as a lovely place to sit and enjoy the sunshine.

Where to eat

The 5th floor cafe of El Corte Inglés on

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View from the El Corte Ingles cafe

It’s probably because at the start of April the tourist season hasn’t really begun but we didn’t find a lot of restaurants open late. There’s a cluster of nice restaurants in the Plaça de la Llotja, next to the stunning Llotja (the old merchants hall which is open until 11 and looks wonderful inside when lit).

Beyond the city

A popular day trip from Palma is the old train ride to Sóller, followed by a tram ride down to Port de Sóller. At €30 for a round trip it’s not the cheapest day out but I had a great time. The old train used to transport oranges and lemons through the mountains to the city but now gets packed full of tourists – even in early April the train was nearly completely full. There’s not a lot of legroom but in the front carriage there’s a first class section with sofas which we ended up in by climbing into the nearest compartment as massed tourists attempted to board the train home, all much more luxurious!

The town of Sóller appears to be mainly the church, a few shops and cafes, and some wonderful views of the nearby mountains. Port de Sóller is a small beach resort and harbour reached by a tram that travels along the sea front. There’s a few view points around up the hills and some nice fish restaurants by the harbour. I suspect in the summer the beach will be packed but in April it was fairly quiet and a wonderful place for a stroll along the edge of the water. I had a great day out – fun transportation, lovely views and a relaxing time by the sea.

I’ve properly got the travel bug at the moment, I seem to be surrounded by people heading for exotic places… I need to start planning to next trip now!