Saturday, September 23, 2017

U.K., Day 4

A Most Blessed Day....
  Friday morning saw us at Paddington Station bright and early for our journey to Windsor for a private viewing of the Queen's Casket before the castle opened for tours
I have to say, that I was, and still am very impressed with the state of all the public transportation in the U.K. The stations were so very clean, there was always someone to help if you needed it, and not once did I ever feel my person was in danger~ the security at all was always present~ and everything ran along smoothly just like clockwork. 

 Windsor Castle could be seen easily from the train as we made our arrival....I tried to contain my excitement and act like an adult....but really on the inside I was madly hopping up and down like a child screaming  ' I'm here.. I'm Here!!!!'  I wish I could have had the entire day to spend at the Castle...but a go. go! GO!! no time for doddling about!!!!

It was a beautiful day weather wise too~ just perfect. Everything was so green, and the sky so blue~ everywhere one looked was a picture postcard.  This is looking down the street toward the train station, where we had just come from.

First stop was the pass office to check in. Ahead of our visit we had to file all the required security paperwork so we were in and out like a flash

  We entered the Castle thru the service entrance, which, as you can see, was quite secure 

 If you have never seen Windsor Castle,  it really is huge~ not just 'a castle'...but more like an little city within its walls.

 The moat garden was beautiful~ it's never ever had water in it~ always been a garden.  The viewing of the Queen's Casket was most wonderful, dare I say even magical~ you can click the link to see it. After our viewing we went on the castle tour

 Before we left I got to watch the changing on the guard~ I just could not go to England and not see a changing of the guard!

 From Windsor, we hired a driver to take us to Witney in Oxford for a visit to Witney Antiques

 Joy always has the highest quality of antique English embroideries & furnishings~ she did have a beadwork basket for sale...but honestly if I could have bought just one thing, it would have been the 17th c highchair in the center of the picture here. It. was. unbelievable. :::sigh:::

 From Witney, we were off across the countryside to see another 17th c embroidered casket.  One of the things I loved about traveling on the roads, is that the roadways are literally cut out from the trees...its like one is traveling along inside a hedge!

 And. Oh. my. Golly! The thatched roof cottages. This is the first one I saw with my own eyes as we were zipping along. No words...there are just no words 

 We arrived at Milton Manor  just in time for a tour~ it was a unique, magical place and my visit will be emblazoned on the front of my brain for the rest of my life

  When we were planing our trip, on my 'must have to do' list was going to Beaconsfield to eat the the Royal Standard Pub. Being the kindred spirits there are, my Dear friends fit it into our schedule as a surprise

 Not only did we get to go, but they had reserved the very table that I had always dreamed I would sit one day. How can thanks ever be adequate to those who make ones dreams come true?  The Royal Standard is the oldest pub in England~ go check out the link for a virtual tour video!

 Enjoying a  local pint (Chilton) with the best friends ever~ how could the day get any more perfect?

I'll tell you how~ a half portion of fish and chips with peas!!

Monday, September 18, 2017

London, Day 3

V&A Clothworkers' Center at Blythe House 

   Day three in London started off with an early tube ride to Barron's Court Station and a short stroll to the new Clothworkers Center located at Blythe House for an appointment to study several pieces of 17th c embroidery up close. 

   The new facility is large and spacious, and has been thoroughly modernized for the safest textile storage available.  

 The V&A and Alexandra really went above and beyond to make our time here super fantabulous.... Just look at the study tables...I wish I had just one this big for my collection.

By the time we finished at the Clothworker's facility, it was time for lunch. A quick tube ride back to Knightsbridge, and we were off to the Victoria & Albert Museum

 A quick, but really good, lunch was had at one of the cafes...don't ask me which one~ was the one right next to the courtyard~

 It was a beautiful day and there were many enjoying the reflecting pool

 After lunch we headed up to the second floor to see the 17th c embroidery and beadwork on display. One thing I was really excited about seeing was a swaddling band, but alas, the near non existent illumination that was present in most of the display cases for the textiles, was not working in that case~so it was literally a black hole.... which was my only complaint about my entire trip I think. It is in these instances that I very much appreciate them making their collections available online(but still not the same as seeing in person).  Above is a knit tunic that I very much want to make for my Pandora doll, Wood....when ever I get the time. I was going to dress her 18th c, because she was made c1720-40...., but I think 17th c would be much more fun to dress her in.

 Of coarse we had to visit Martha Edlin's casket and padded mirror case. 

  Lord & Ladye Clapham were there as well~ if you go to make a visit of your own, don't  miss their extra clothes and accessories in the pullout drawers underneath the display!

  After my camera and mind were both spent, it was just a quick two block walk back to the house to rest. Back past the Baklava man with the never ending tray of free samples....a left turn at Bonham's auction house

 And we were home~ thats my window all the way at the top in the middle there

 And what did I bring home for today? A kilo of baklava of coarse....didn't last very long, next time I think I may need 2 kilo to bring home...and one for eating there.....

Thursday, September 14, 2017

2017 Limited Edition Heirloom Ornament Kit Available

Winter Queen

I am happy to announce that this year's 2017 limited edition heirloom embroidered ornament kit, Winter Queen, is now available for preorder sale on my Diamond K Folk Art blog here.  I hope to ship them by 20 October, or a little before

Gloves of Elizabeth Stuart~ (19 Aug 1596~13 Feb 1662) Electress of  the Palatinate 

This year's ornament will be extremely limited. I have had quite a challenge this year obtaining enough quantity of the materials within the kit to be able to offer it for sale. Real gold threads, real cultured seed pearls and gilt tinsel handmade in Germany were all extremely difficult for me to acquire...and to top it all off, the dye lot of my dutchess silk satin has been discontinued. The amount of kits I will be able to offer is just a fraction of the amount of kits I sold last if you are interested, honestly speaking, I would not hesitate.

Everything you need to make up an ornament is included in the kit, minus a slate embroidery frame and a certain silk...if you so desire to make up the 'secret' element to the ornament~ tho it can be made without~ just check out my Diamond K Folk Art blog page to find out what her secret is!

Saturday, September 09, 2017

London, Day 2

Off to Cambridge
 Day two we were up early ~ this is a view from my loo window~ how cool is this!  The big grey dome is the London Oratory House, and just to the right, you can see the cream tower of the Victoria & Albert Museum...just a hop and a skip from our townhouse!

 From London's King Cross Station we are off to Cambridge to visit the Fitzwilliam Museum for both a private study session, and to view the Sampled Lives exhibit.

 Cambridge is a beautiful city, full of higher learning and soooooo much history. I could have spent an entire day just walking around enjoying the architecture. The above are the front doors of the Catholic Church of Our Lady &The English Martyrs

 Even the door hinges are wrought with feeling and life ~

 I loved this little fellow. I have 2 unicorns I'm working on my flat top casket~ I hope I can bestow upon them as much character as he has~ just walking down the street from the train station to the Fitzwilliam, there he was, contently perched atop  the Hobson's Conduit Monument.

    The mighty Fitzwilliam Museum~ it certainly does not disappoint. It's magnificence in size is absolutely matched by the objects they hold in their collections...but as we were  a tad early, and it wasnt open yet, we continued up the road a little

  One could not help but be drawn in to the lavish grounds of Pembroke College~ this passageway makes me dream of the book 'The Secret Garden'...I can just imagine my little mice dollies scurrying about beyond it
 Visitors are most welcome to walk the grounds of the college(established in 1347) as long as they are quiet, and stay off that gorgeous green grass~

 We had about an hour before our study appointment to view the Sampled Lives Exhibit~ which absolutely was not long enough~ we went back again after our study session was over! Click on the link above and you can read about the exhibit, and if you cant get there in person(running until April 2018), they do sell a marvelous exhibit catalogue in the museum's shop.

 The samplers are all presented up close and personal, with adequate lighting that made it easy to really study them up close, and take as many nonflash photos for personal use as one was inclined to.

 I cannot have asked for better, more helpful staff who went above and beyond to pull our special objects for us to study~ one of which was casket T.8-1945, which is special to me because I based the inside embroidery of mine on the embroidery inside its lid. Between the sampler exhibit and study session, I went thru two Nikon batteries and took nearly 8GB of pictures......

    After all that learning, a trip to Il Papiro in Covent Garden was in order~ I bought two new pens, some ink and a sheet of hand marbled paper for something special while there.  Again, I could have stayed and mingled in Covent Garden for an entire day easily....but hey! I needed to get to Fortnum & Mason for some tea! No time to doddle on vacation people.....

I hope you visit the link~ oh . my. golly....the most wonderful store~ with every tea and biscuit you can imagine, and then some.  And its a beautiful store~ its an event in itself to just experience the atmosphere, especially knowing everyone else around you loves tea as much as you do! 

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

London Day 1

No Time to Blink!
 My trip to the UK was utterly fantabulous. A person may be inclined to say, two weeks would be plenty of time...but in all actuality, literally, I barely had time to blink. Seriously...sleep??? what is that? There were several nights of just 3-4 hours of sleep, if that much! I went a week early, before class in Bath, to spend some time in London with Dear friends~ our townhouse was just a block behind me here~ half way between the V&A Museum and Harrods. Good grief! A person could spend a week in Harrods alone and not see everything, and I am really not joking a bit here. Harrods encompasses an entire block, is 5 or 6 floors high, and each one of them jam packed with the finest of everything ~ from a 15GBP tin of loose leaf tea, to a 99,000GBP handbag...all in one spot. I loved Harrods, absolutely.

 Of coarse Harrods is directly at the entrance to the Knightsbridge tube we walked by it and the above store, Al~Hamidiah, anytime coming back to the house from the tube...or Harrods.... I left the pictures large today so you can click on them to really see whats in this window! YES! That is a tower of freshly baked baklava. The most amazing baklava I have ever tasted. The store clerks here were so friendly, every time I would walk by,  one would zoom out with a tray asking me to have a sample. I cant find it anyplace online~ so if anyone knows of a website for them, let me know! They are from Damascus in Syria~ the. most. fabulous. baklava. E.V.E.R.  I brought a kilo home with me and it was gone within 2 days, not kidding.
 Everywhere in London & vicinity had the most beautiful window boxes~

   After landing at Heathrow at noon.twenty, getting thru customs and out to the house, it was nearly 3pm I guess. After a trip to Harrods, a friend & I were off to see Westminster Abbey, just a short tube stop away. It was too late in the day for a tour, but I got to lay my eyes on it, and magnificent just doesn't describe it.  It was magical~, and yes, Big Ben could be heard in the background chiming away!

  The 'London Eye' can be seen behind the square

 Behind Westminster Abbey is Big Ben~ he is having restoration works done~ the scaffolding can be seen at the base. I was so lucky  to hear the beautiful chimes ringing out~ I took this pic on 15 Aug~ the chimes were paused at noon on Monday, 21 August, for the next four years, until 2021 when the conservation work is sched to be completed.
 There are no words to describe seeing something in person, that one has held in their hearts for so long

 By the time we reached the Tower of London it was nearly 8pm. I would have liked to see the Crown Jewels...but being so popular, one need get there first thing in the this is on my list for next time in London!
 Just beyond the Tower of London, on the Thames,  is the magnificent Tower Bridge. As beautiful as it is in the daytime, its even more spectacular at night.

 Walking across it made me feel small and insignificant, but at the same time, to me, its big arches resembled a big, wide open mouth, and the suspension cables two long, outstretched arms. It reminded me of a Grandmother welcoming me home

  We arrived back at Harrods late, which is a spectacle in itself to see it all lit up at night. London truly never sleeps, and I can totally understand why~ there's just too much to do to want to sleep!