Posts Tagged ‘Normanby Hall’

It’s been a very busy and full-on weekend at Normanby Hall Christmas Market, my last one of the season!

It was somewhat of a mixed bag but I did sell a few of my stitched pieces. They take so long to sell that I do feel quite lost when they actually go! One of the first sales on Saturday was this underwater themed locket:

I also sold the midsummer garden brooch I stitched back in January:

And this beaded brooch I made back in 2018 which was originally an enamelled 1980s earring:

It was far too cold to stitch on Saturday but Sunday was warmer and quieter and I got a little bit of another Bayeux Stitch project done, but not much. It’s also quite gloomy inside the stall at this time of year which doesn’t help stitch placement!

However, I have finished the jelly fish. Thank you all so much for your input. Everything is helpful because it gives me a wider menu of things to consider, and it’s useful to have ideas of what I don’t want as well as ideas of what I do! Anyway, here is the result:

I realised last week that the first row of bugle beads under the bell weren’t stitched down, and that it would potentially be possible to slide something underneath. After communing with my gold work supplies box, I found a piece of textured silver kid leather, cut it into shape and carefully worked it under the beads. It was big enough to push down under the edge of the row of grey seed beads and then I put some tiny stab stitches into place all the way round to stop it moving.

It’s exactly what I wanted and not only is it a finish (apart from lacing it over a slip of cardboard) but it’s meant I could clear the very large pile of bead tubes and silver goldwork threads from my work area too.

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If you are in or around North Lincolnshire on Friday 1st of November there are still places left on my Spectacular Spellbooks workshops at Normanby Hall Country Park.


The workshops are suitable for anyone, whether adult or child, who is interested in learning two simple bookmaking techniques. First, you’ll make two origami books, each created from a single piece of paper with four basic folds and a cut. We’ll be making a blank ‘spellbook’ to fill with your own ideas…


…and also one where you can collect and record fascinating facts and superstitions about some ‘magical’ medieval ingredients which I will have on display.


You will also be able to make a third slightly bigger blank book…


…with a cover created from random papers and a twig binding that can be decorated with fancy threads, beads etc.


Then just add your spells!


I’m providing the materials to make all three books which you take away with you at the end of the session.


Please note that Park entry also applies, or please display your annual membership.

Places may be booked here. I am really excited about this workshop and looking forward to the ‘awe and wonder’ moment when with one last fold, the origami book suddenly appears in your hands. Never gets old, that one. :o)

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I’ve been asked to run some hour long spellbook making workshops at Normanby Hall Country Park  for Hallowe’en and have had loads of fun designing and making some printable origami books and a blank book with a twig binding. Both types of book are simple enough to be made by even quite small children, but I think the results are good enough to appeal to adults too, so I’ve made it age 6+ to adult. The workshop details can be found here if you’re interested.


I’ve been making origami books with children for years now and I reckon I can fold and cut one in about ten seconds flat! It’s a real ‘awe and wonder’ moment when you fold the cut sides over and a real book forms under your hands!

I’ve also discovered that I can use Publisher to design a sheet of A4 which when you fold it, the pages come out the right way. So as part of the workshop the participants will make an origami book to gather information about some plants and stones that were considered to have magical properties in the Middle Ages.



Then another origami book for their own spell book


And a bigger twig book…


…with a corkscrew hazel twig that can be decorated for the binding.


Which can also be decorated and made into a spell book.


Fingers crossed now that people like the look of the books enough to want to make their own..!

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Although I haven’t actually physically wandered anywhere. But I did take on far too much and it all rather caught up with me: hence the absence.

First up: ‘Regency Romance’. As Museum Liaison Officer for Scunthorpe Little Theatre Club (SLTC) I work with the local North Lincolnshire Museum to find opportunities for our members to perform outside the main shows we do at the local theatre and to enhance the stuff they are doing. About a year ago it was suggested that we do something at Normanby Hall during their annual Food Fair on June the 17th.

Inspired by a wonderful intimate piece of promenade theatre that I saw at Stokesay Castle in Shropshire several years ago, I developed and wrote a six scene short play called, for want of a better title, ‘Regency Romance’ to take place in six locations in and around the Hall and grounds.

Lord George Henley, his wife Valeria and their daughter Charlotte are at their country residence for the summer.  A visitor is expected and John Stanton, a young undergardener, is sent up to the house with more flowers for the table.

He is met outside the front of the Hall by Lizzie, an underhousemaid, whose interest in him only matched by her love of gossip. She tells him that the visitor is a rich lord who is going to be betrothed to Miss Charlotte. Disgusted by her tittle-tattling, John tells her to hold her tongue and storms off, but his angry reaction makes Lizzie suspicious. Why should he be so interested in Miss Charlotte?

Shortly after John has stormed off back to the Walled Garden, Charlotte slips out of the House and sets off for the garden, ostensibly to choose some bunches of grapes for her mother, but actually to meet with John: the two are having a romantic affair.

Lizzie’s words have given John a wake-up call.  He realises that there is no future in their relationship across the social divide and that Charlotte’s chances lie in the advantageous marriage the visiting lord can offer.

Even though it hurts them both, he tells her this and heartbroken, Charlotte runs back to the house.

Meanwhile, Viscount Rickinghall has arrived and is shown into Lord George’s study where he explains how he fell in love with Charlotte during her last London season and wishes to marry her.

As a very rich man he can offer her every advantage. Lord George is delighted and immediately goes to break the good news to his wife and daughter.

Lady Valeria is equally delighted, but for Charlotte, even though she appreciates the honour of such a rich and important man seeking her hand in marriage, the pain of her rejection by John is far too raw.

Lord George, sensing her reluctance, wisely leaves her with her mother. Lady Valeria is completely unaware of Charlotte’s mental turmoil and starts to reminisce about her own youth and some of the unsuitable men she fell in love with as a way of explaining to Charlotte how well her own arranged marriage to Lord George has turned out.

Some of what her mother is saying makes sense to Charlotte and by the time the two of them leave the room, she is no less heartbroken, but now understands what John was trying to tell her. 

Lizzie sees her opportunity to get back at John and follows Viscount Rickinghall out into the formal garden.

She pretends to be crying over her love, who has cast her off because he is in love with someone else and this, she hints slyly, puts her into the same situation as Rickinghall. She isn’t prepared for the way Rickinghall turns on her and she certainly hasn’t thought far enough ahead to realise that she may have endangered her own job with her spitefulness.

Rickinghall feels there is enough in her story for him to investigate further and decides to question Charlotte. If she is in love with someone else he will leave and not press his suit. He sends Lizzie into the house to ask Charlotte if she will show him around the Walled Garden.

Oblivious, Charlotte joins him outside the front door of the Hall and they stroll along the drive , making small talk as they go.

Charlotte soon starts to feel that some of Rickinghall’s comments are pointed but she doesn’t know why. As they cross the stableyard, John, pushing a wheelbarrow, comes round the corner.

He is just in time to see Rickinghall, desperate to know whether Charlotte actually does love someone else, grab her by the shoulders. Without thinking he snatches a hoe out of the barrow and attacks the Viscount.

Theere is a brief fight, broken up by Charlotte, terrified that they are going to kill each other and then both men regain control. Rickinghall has finally pieced the story together, and in spite of John’s glib explanation about thinking the Viscount was going to manhandle Charlotte and doing what any of the family’s servants would have done to protect her, he realises the truth.

He asks Charlotte directly if she is in love with someone else, and Charlotte, encouraged by an almost imperceptible shake of the head from John, replies that she is not. She takes the Viscount’s proffered arm and the two leave to take a turn around the park.

It was a wonderful setting and despite a number of very stressful problems we had beforehand and on the day, none incidentally to do with our fantastic cast and crew, it was a privilege for me to see my words and characters brought so beautifully to life in such fabulous settings.

So, June 17th and the first project out of the way. Next goal, the craft fair on July the 1st.

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The last two pieces in this series.

Concentric circles of running stitch in variegated perle around the pieces of sea washed glass and a meander of amethyst chips through the middle.

For the last one I decided to splash out on a bit of beading.

I left the sea glass pieces alone and used tiny (not sure what size but they are small) frosted AB delicas in dark and light purple for a simple curving line of butterfly oglala stitch.

Life has rather got in the way of stitching but my reports are finished; Scunthorpe Little Theatre Club’s October show Terry Pratchett’s Guards! Guards! is cast and rehearsals are underway and this weekend sees  the promenade performance of my ‘Regency Romance’ at Normanby Hall Food Fair so I’m hoping things will start to get less hectic soon.

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I dyed some of the crinkled spotted voile offcuts from Miss Murdstone’s House Cap with lichen I gathered from fallen branches in the garden of Godolphin House last summer. The soft gold goes well with the whipped back stitch and french knots.

Holly green cotton velvet from an old skirt, straight stitches, cross stitch and french knots in scraps of stranded cotton.

All five fragments together.

Autumnal colours and a range of textures.

Fun finishing next. 😮

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We’re lucky enough to live close to Normanby Hall. Even when the Farming Museum and House are closed in the winter, the park and playground are a favourite place to run off steam with my youngest.

This autumn we had some real golden days.

One Sunday morning we were one of the earliest visitors in the park and were rewarded with the first pick of the day’s conkers.

I’ve always adored conkers:  the silky linings of the cases and the rich leathery brown of the freshly fallen seeds. I spent my childhood autumns with pockets stuffed with them; gathered glossy bowls full from the massive trees on the front lawns of the teacher training college where I spent four years and I still can’t resist them. But now the ones I find are claimed by the children…and I had to be content with acorn cups.

But such unusual ones. Flat, like buttons, or tiny frames…

…and they gave me an idea, which I was finally able to get underway this weekend. Each of these tiny pieces is about 1.5cm or just over half an inch in diameter.

Crinkled green chiffon with seeding in pale brown silk thread.

Green rusted silk with a chain stitch spiral in variegated rayon thread.

Couched thick rayon thread. I think it looks like straw.

The needle at the bottom helps give an idea of scale.

I picked up five acorn cups; two still fixed back to back to the same stem.

Three fragments stitched, two to go.

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