Archive | Holidays

Australian Adventure!

You might have noticed that this blog went quiet over the summer months. This was partly because there was so much coming and going with 2 sons on uni vacations, but also because we were planning a trip to Darwin, Australia. Anselm, my eldest son, has been living there for the last 18 months, and we hadn’t seen him for 2 years so decided that it was about time to catch up with him. So we had a memorable 2 and a half weeks there at the beginning of September. It was by far the furthest I have ever travelled and was an amazing adventure. We went on Malaysian Airlines who were the cheapest (I wonder why?!! – we noticed that by the return flight we had been given Frequent Flyer status!).

We spent the first week in Darwin itself and for the second we hired a four wheel drive vehicle to take us to various local national parks – Kakadu, Katherine Gorge and Litchfield. Of course, in Australia local means driving the same milage as the length of Belgium! Unfortunately my camera spent too long on the beach one sunset and got sand in its lens – the zoom stopped working so I had to take most of my photos on my phone; nevertheless, here are a few of the memorable ones.

palm trees silhouetted against the sky

Palm trees silhouetted against the sky


palm leaves

Can you tell I love them?


palm tree

Yet another palm!


ball thing in Charles Darwin botanic gardens

Not sure what this is, but it was hanging from a tree in the Charles Darwin Botanic Gardens


panorama in kakadu

Amazing panorama of escarpment and savannah taken from one of the aboriginal art sites


I didn’t get any good photos of the actual art but if you google Ubirr or Nourlangie rock art you’ll see plenty.

We went for an amazing dawn cruise on the Yellow Water Billabong, and saw lots of wildlife including crocodiles and pelicans.

sunset on Yellow Water Billabong

Sunset on the Yellow Water Billabong


bird drying its wings

Not sure what this bird was but it was very picturesque silhouetted against the water with its wings outstretched to dry as the morning mist burned off.


fish on wall

I liked this fish made of found art which was on the wall of a Darwin coffee shop (the coffee was pretty good too!)



Sunset on Casuarina Beach on the last night


If you’d like to see more photos, my son Anselm has an amazing collection on his Instagram.

Incidentally, the ancient vehicle that the hire firm palmed off on us met with an unfortunate end highlighted here in the local NT News


Birmingham visit due

I think it’s time I had a day out to Brummy.  There are lots of things I want to do there.

First is Lost in Lace, an exhibition at Birmingham Museum which promises good things.  There is a fabulous set of photos on Flickr here.

And there is the Staffordshire Hoard, the huge Anglo-Saxon gold hoard found by a Staffordshire metal detector enthusiast in a field near Burntwood.   Part of it is on show in the Birmingham Museum too.

Then I want to go to Birmingham City Archives, who hold an indenture made between my 4x great grandfather Ephraim Docksey and various other people about an inn called The Cock in Norton on the Moors, Staffordshire and the will of my 5x great grandfather Joshua Dale.  No idea what they are doing in Birmingham Archives but I assume it is because the estate papers of the land they leased ended up there.  Very conveniently, it looks as if the archives and the museum are just across the road from each other.

Then I might have a walk along the canals where I took this photo a few years ago:

Canal in Birmingham

and made it into a gocco screen to print on  cards and Moleskine journals:

canal gocco print

If I do all that, I might just need several days – time to get the diary out!

Summer oddments

Here are a few odds and ends I meant to blog about through the summer but aren’t long enough on their own for a whole post.

We went to the Eden Project in Cornwall – this is the inside of one of the biomes.

biome of Eden Project

This is it on the outside:

biome with sunflowers

They are building a new railway station to try and tart up Newport for the Ryder Cup.  Apparently the roof bit is made of the same material as these biomes:

New railway station, Newport

Apologies for the poor photo – I took it with my mobile phone.


During the summer, my brother Martin, his wife Luisa and their 4 year old son Pablo came to visit us, and we went to a nearby playground (my teenage boys got on like a house on fire with their young cousin!).   In the park this web was wrapped around several of the trees.  

ermine moth caterpillar notice

caterpillar web

Some whole trees were covered with it!  Incredible…

The Festival of Quilts

Nearly a week since I got back from FOQ and haven’t had time to post!  I’ve been busy helping with crafts at my church’s holiday club for primary school age kids, and packing to camp (WHAT was I thinking!!!) at the Greenbelt Festival this weekend in Cheltenham.  I am going with just DS3 and we’re travelling by train so everything needs to be packed really scientifically.  I don’t do methodical packing at all.  At least the weather forecast is looking okay but I’m still taking my walking boots after all the rain this week…  Unless I can find a pair of nice flowery wellies in town this afternoon.  Highly unlikely.

Anyway, back to FOQ.  I had a wonderful time!  I diidn’t take many photos because I wanted to concentrate on actually looking at the work.   I went to six lectures over 3 days, mostly artists talking about their work, which was fascinating to watch and listen.  Elizabeth Barton showed us the progression of her work over the last few decades, Susan Shie talked about the background behind her quilts and what was going on in her mind and her life (and the life of the US as a whole) as she made them.  Pauline Burbidge talked us through her year juggling her studio quilts and quiltlines businesses. It was great to be able to go and view their exhibitions  and chat to some of them after listening to what they had to say about their work.

A bit highlight for me was meeting so many people who I know online either from Yahoo groups or via this blog or Facebook.  So many I missed meeting too!

I had an all too brief meeting with my Artful Dodgers friends between two lectures:

meeting with friends at FOQ 

From left to right, Sue of The Magic Armchair Traveller, Gill of An Elegant Sufficiency, Paulene Cattle, Mags of Digital Gran (who I met for the first time), Helen of Textile Goddess, Carol of Textile Tales and Maggie of Stitching with Schnauzer and Siamese.  I met Helen a few more times and had a good chat over coffee on Saturday but sadly the others were only in Birmingham for the day.  Myfanwy of Winifred Cottage was also at the show but hard at work on her stand. 

I also met Rayna who blogs at Studio 78 Notes – Rayna was teaching a 3 day masterclass and I managed to catch her at the very end.

Me and Rayna at FOQ

I have been reading Rayna’s blog ever since she started blogging, I think, and it was wonderful to actually meet her at last. 

Another blogger I met was Marlis Egger of Textileartand…  Sadly we didn’t get a photo but kept on bumping into each other throughout the 3 days, as I did with Stephanie Pettengell, who I got to know on the 3 day class I attended last time I came to FOQ (was it really the last time?).

I also enjoyed meeting Claire Benn and Leslie Morgan of at the Virtual Studio and bought their last two books, Screenprinting and Thermofax Printing of Committed to Cloth and spent quite a lot of time there!  Here is Leslie screenprinting:

Leslie Morgan screenprinting at Virtual Studio

I’ll save my purchases for the next post once I’ve taken a few photos.  Not so many of them for once!

A trip to London

A week or so ago, I had a day out in London.  It was a bit of an accidental trip, because I was booking tickets to go to the Who Do You Think You Are show in Olympia in February, and by mistake ordered tickets for 27th March instead!   Anyway, it was a great day so I’m glad I went twice. 

I arrived at Paddington and took the tube to Oxford Circus.  Then I walked to Berwick Street in Soho, to go to Cass Art to buy supplies.  And it was a good move, because lots of things were half price! 

I then walked to Clerkenwell to go to the Society of Genealogist’s library as they had an open day and it was free to visit rather than the £18 it would otherwise have cost.  

Here is Bloomsbury Square, where I was standing when I took the photo of the London Bus that I made a gocco print of:

Bloomsbury Square

On to Centrepoint:


Then, in stark contrast, there was this lovely old shop just up the road:

old shop in London

Some gorgeous facades if you look up:

interesting to look upwards

And these funny things on the lamp posts:

starburst lamposts

Past Lincoln’s Inn Fields, which was all locked up; I suppose because it was Saturday.

Lincoln's Inn Fields

Some tall blocks of flats; I liked the blue in the stairwell, though it isn’t so clear in this photo as in real life.


Nearly there:


A mixture of old and new…


The End of Summer

crocheted scarf

The boys went back to school today and I’ve finally got back into my studio to continue with my reeds series.  The next one is hopefully going to have a grey background and golden reed stems but it depends if the experimental piece works out.    Meanwhile, I’ll tie off the summer blog posts with a few photos.  The above is the scarf I crocheted at Urchfont in July (how long ago that seems now!).  I used gorgeously soft cashmere/silk yarn from Makalu Yarns.  It drapes beautifully.  Hopefully one day I’ll finish it:(

crocheted scarf 

We didn’t go anywhere exciting this year as a family, but I had a few day trips.  Here is Salisbury – DS1 was going to help at a kids’ camp there and as he had not long passed his driving test, I went with him to make sure he took enough breaks on the way.  That was a good enough excuse for an outing!


I loved the colours and shapes of these houses in the market square:


Then on Monday we went to Oxford for the day.  Two of the family teenagers took rather a lot of getting out of bed and the trip was rather fraught (like a fight between them while we were stuck in a traffic jam…) but it was worth it, just about! 


We went round a few colleges and I took this photo from the garden of one of them.  The round building on the left is the Radcliffe Camera.  Apparently to be a member of the Dangerous Sports Society of the university, you have to climb up the outside of it…  DS2 was looking very thoughtful when DH told us this… calculating just how he would go about this task…

Bodleian Library, Oxford

This is part of the Bodleian Library taken from the quad.  I love the grid effect created by the different parallel lines.

punting on the cherwell 

In the afternoon we went punting on the River Cherwell.   Love the reflections..

river reflections

Week away continued

rusted green man

Isn’t this rusted Green Man amazing? 


We did dyeing with Helen and I obviously have a green theme going on looking at this piece of Evolon – I used the transfer painted papers that I decorated several months ago….


And of course I did some mark making doodles with the parallel pens:


While we were there, there was another workshop where they were making chairs – honestly! A whole dining chair in a week!  Steaming the wood to make it curved and everything …  One of the ladies on the course brought us this gorgeous strip of planed wood at the end of the week – isn’t it gorgeous? 


My main achievement during the week, however, is a blue crocheted scarf and I can’t believe I haven’t actually taken a photo of it yet so it’ll have to wait for the next post…  I hadn’t crocheted since I was a teenager so I was glad to see the skill hadn’t left me. I used a silk/cashmere yarn for it and it feels yummy!  Since getting back, I haven’t even touched it and I only need to do about another 12 inches so I must pick it up again…

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