Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Katharine of Aragon and Ludlow Castle

Well, I have had a very busy week since the last Handmade Monday! I spent a long weekend in beautiful Suffolk visiting my friend and his partner who have bought a lovely little cottage in the countryside. I am a total convert....I absolutely loved it. What a beautiful part of England and such a well kept secret. I now feel totally refreshed after a weekend of relaxation and peace and quiet. My home......under the flight path to Manchester Airport and near the West Coast Mainline seems REALLY noisy now in comparison. 

On the way home we called in at Peterborough Cathedral to break up the journey and I visited the final resting place of Katharine of Aragon. I have long been interested in Medieval and Tudor history and have had more time lately to read more about it. I think Henry VIII and his wives are really interesting and I would love to visit more parts of the country associated with them and their story. I was surprised to find that Mary, Queen of Scots had been buried here for a while too. Her body was moved to Westminster Abbey on the orders of her son, James I when he became King. She had lain in Peterborough Cathedral since her execution at nearby Fotheringhay Castle. 

Former grave of Mary, Queen of Scots

Earlier in the week I had been down to Ross on Wye with my Dad.....another beautiful part of the country. He is interested in old cars so we went to the old car auction to hvae a look. He particularly like the car pictured below :

 On the way home we called in at Medieval Ludlow......which I absolutely loved. There isn't much left of the castle (where interestingly enough Prince Arthur, the first husband of Katharine of Aragon,  died after they had only been married 4 months) but there is an interesting audio tour available. The town itself was beautiful....medieval and Tudor buildings everywhere and a beautiful church too. They had a market on in the market place and it had lots of lovely stalls selling handmade things and home grown plants, vegetables etc. Not a tat stall in sight!

Ludlow Castle

Ludlow Castle

Me at Ludlow Castle! 
 With all this touring England I haven't done much making this week, although I did make a 'Hummingbird' cake....as in a recipe from the Hummingbird Bakery - not actual hummingbirds - and some courgette and carrot muffins so I will claim those as my makes for this week. I have had a lovely delivery of findings and inspiration packs so I will get playing with them. I think I will have a piece of that cake and a coffee and check out the other blogs on Handmade Harbour to see what everyone else has been up to for Handmade Monday.

Cake makes!

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Handmade Monday : Vintage Jewellery and Birds.

Flower Vintage Charm Bracelet

Flower Vintage and Copper Earrings

Well, it's been a rainy few days here in Manchester......in other words, perfect jewellery making weather! It's been quite a while since I made any beaded jewellery as I have been distracted with my love of polymer clay and doing up my house. I thought it was time for a challenge so I decided to have a look around online and came across Bead Me Up Buttercup and Smitten Beads on Facebook. I  totally fell in love with Angela's (at Bead Me Up Buttercup) polymer clay vintage birds and the 'Inspiration Packs' that both ladies offered, so I decided to buy some of the little birds and an Inspiration Pack from each shop. (An Inspiration Pack is a selection of beads and findings). The bracelet and earrings at the top of this post is what I created using the Inspiration Packs. The photo immediately below is the parcel which arrived from Bead Me Up Buttercup on Wednesday morning. 

Don't you just love opening parcels?

It took me hours of thinking and playing around with various pieces until I decided what to do with the polymer clay birds. So far I have only come up with designs for the yellow, pink and lilac ones. I am so worried I haven't done them justice. 'Vintage' is a bit of a new style for me but I am really enjoying creating pieces in vintage style. There is so much inspiration everywhere and it seems really on trend at the moment. Here are some pictures of my first go with the little polymer clay birds :

Summer Flowers Bracelet and Matching Vintage Lemon Bird Earrings

Summer Flowers Bracelet with Lilac Cream Washed Bird

Vintage Hot Pink Cream Washed Bird Earrings with Swarovski Crystals

 I have bought some cute mini bird houses (some wood and some papier mache) so my challenge for this week is to decorate them. I haven't done much decoupage before but I have bought some beautiful papers on eBay and been admiring them for a few weeks now, too scared to actually have a go. I think it is time to bite the bullet and have a go.....hopefully I will have a couple ready in time for next week's Handmade Monday. I had best get a move on and start actually doing something as I have a few things planned for this week.

On Wednesday I am going to Ross on Wye with my Dad. He is going to an old car auction (old cars are his passion) and he suggested I go with him for a bit of a change of scenery. (I have been ill lately (again) with this wretched lupus which springs up every now and then to torture me! ). I am not sure the old car auction is really my thing but I will have a stroll around the town and maybe take some photos, get some inspiration etc. At the weekend I am heading down to Suffolk to visit a very dear friend of mine who has moved down there. We used to volunteer at Samaritans together until I went to uni in Sheffield and he moved down south! lol! I'm really excited about visiting him and seeing a new part of the UK. I have never been to Suffolk before and I am hoping to maybe pay a visit to Peterborough Cathedral to see the resting place of Catherine of Aragon en route. Since I have been ill I have really got into Tudor and Medieval history so it seems a perfect opportunity to explore!

Anyway, I can hear the buzzer going on my oven....I have had a go at baking a fruit loaf.....and got a very fed up Maisie pestering for food (my cats are not enjoying this rain and are bored to tears in the house) so I will leave you with a few pics and wish you all a Happy Handmade Monday. I will be back with a piece of fruit loaf and a coffee to see what Wendy and all the others have been up to over at Handmade Harbour.......bye for now xxxx

Little Maisie.....fed up with the rain

Me, attempting to model my latest creation and take a photo at the same time!