Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Lovely Lichfield: The Cathedral Close & Erasmus Darwin House

Whenever I go on holiday to a big city I try to include an out-of-the-city day trip in my plans. For example, the first time I visited Birmingham I also took a trip to Stratford-upon-Avon (so delightful! so much history!) then on my return visit to the city I hopped on a train to nearby Lichfield.

I started my visit by following the local heritage trail, popping into the Samuel Johnson Birthplace Museum and Lichfield's Museum at St Mary's in the Market Square (regular readers will know how much I love A) a heritage trail and B) little local museums). As well as the museum there's also a little cafe at St Mary's, where I stopped for a cuppa and something sugary (yum).

Now, when I came to blogging about my Lichfield trip I had totally planned on devoting a post to this early part of my day - showing you the church, the market square, the local park, etc - but it was such a grey and miserable morning that all my photos turned out terribly. Dull and depressing and definitely not representative of the actually quite lovely stuff to see in Lichfield. Nobody wants to see that snooze of a blog post.

So, I'm skipping that bit and moving on to the part of the day when the sun came out and cheered up all my pictures (hurrah!).

The weather started to improve just as I reached the cathedral close. Lichfield Cathedral itself is magnificent (and deserves its own blog post another time) but the Close is ridiculously charming.

It was lovely going for a quiet walk around the Close, thinking about all the people who've lived in these houses over the centuries and reminiscing a little about the years I spent living in another cathedral close in another city (many moons ago). 

Just off the Close is Erasmus Darwin House, which was my final stop for the day. Erasmus Darwin was Charles Darwin's grandfather and a doctor, inventor, botanist and poet. If you look closely, you can see him peering out the the window of the house...

Erasmus Darwin was a fascinating and incredibly accomplished man about whom I have to admit I knew very little. The museum really brought him, his ideas, and his inventions to life - I very much enjoyed my visit!

Not a bad view to have from your house, huh?


The museum also has a lovely Herb Garden, which is divided into Mrs Darwin's culinary herb garden and Dr Darwin's medicinal herb garden. All the plants are labelled so you can expand your botanical knowledge... 


... or you can just sit and enjoy the view like I did!

I'll be blogging about Lichfield Cathedral sometime soon (if you're a regular reader you'll know that "soon" is a bit of a flexible term when it comes to my travel blogging, but I promise I'll get there eventually!). In the meantime, you can catch up on my posts about Birmingham's architecture, museums, and Jewellery Quarter, or read about my earlier trip to Stratford-upon-Avon.

For more city break inspo, check out my posts about visiting Manchester and Leeds.

Monday, 26 June 2017

A Year of Wreaths: June Felt Butterflies Wreath Tutorial

Another month, another free wreath tutorial! Hurrah!

June's wreath is covered in pretty felt butterflies:

The butterflies would look fab decorated with sequins or embroidery, and you could also use the templates to make felt or paper butterflies for other crafty projects.

Click here for the free step by step tutorial on The Village Haberdashery's blog.

You can buy a kit with all the materials you'll need to make this wreath, or just follow the links in the tutorial to find all the individual supplies in The Village Haberdashery shop.

Click here to find all the wreath tutorials in the series.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, and the Pen Museum

During my week in Birmingham, I spent a lot of time in museums.

If you're a regular reader of my blog you'll know this is something that happens on most of my travels! I love museums big and small, and as well as exploring their exhibits I also like to support them by eating in their cafes whenever I can.

On my previous trip to Birmingham I'd spent a very short amount of time in the main Museum & Art Gallery - just enough to decide that I had to come back to the city for a longer trip so I could spend more time exploring all the exhibits!

I ended up spending so much time there on my return visit that I actually had to abandon some of my other plans for the trip. As well as exploring the permanent collection, I was lucky to be visiting during an excellent temporary exhibition devoted to William Morris & Andy Warhol. This exhibition was so fascinating (and so packed with interesting art and objects) that I visited it multiple times during the week (and all for free thanks to the magic of the Art Pass

The building itself is gorgeous - it's well worth a visit just for the architecture alone.

If you visit the museum, make sure to pop into the Edwardian Tearooms for lunch or a cuppa. The setting is fabulous, the food delicious and the service impeccable.

At the other end of the museum-size scale is Birmingham's Pen Museum: a lovely little museum, absolutely jam-packed with interesting objects relating to the city's pen trade and the history of writing.

I mean, just look at all this fabulous stuff!

I'd expected to just quickly pop in here as I worked my way around the Jewellery Quarter Heritage Trail, but ended up spending ages looking at everything and being generally delighted by it all.

Big municipal museums might have fancy buildings and famous artworks, but nothing quite beats the charm of a small museum devoted to something rather niche! The Pen Museum is just round the corner from the excellent Museum of the Jewellery Quarter, too, so you can easily fit both of them into one day.

Missed my earlier posts about my Birmingham trip? Follow the links to read about architecture, owls and the Jewellery Quarter.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Free Tutorial: Felt Butterfly & Flower Hair Combs

The new edition of my first book, Super-Cute Felt, came out last week. Yay!

To celebrate, you'll find a free project from the book over at MAKEetc: pretty felt butterfly and flower hair combs.

These combs are perfect for summer parties (or even weddings), and can be stitched in any colours you fancy. You could also used the butterflies and flowers to decorate other things (brooches, bracelets, hairclips, purses, all sorts of pretty things).

Click here for the full step by step tutorial.

The new edition of Super-Cute Felt is out now. It's available from Amazon UK or Amazon USA, or via your local bookshop :)

P.S. You can read more about my books here and see lots of other crafty books I've contributed to here.

Please note: the Amazon links in this post are affiliate links.