Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Leeds Waterside & the Royal Armouries Museum

I might have enjoyed a fabulous holiday in Seville a couple of years ago, but my usual holidays are much closer to home (and often much less sunny!).

In the last couple of years I've visited Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham and this spring I took a trip to Yorkshire, visiting Leeds and York.

The weather for my main day in Leeds turned out to be rather glorious for the time of year (sadly this didn't last!) so I spent a really enjoyable day walking all over the place, admiring the architecture and sampling lots of tea and cake along the way. I'd never visited the city before so it was really great to be able to get out and explore.

In the afternoon, I decided to visit the Royal Armouries Museum because (as you've probably gathered by now if you're a regular reader of my blog) I do like a nice museum.

It turns out that the walk from the city centre is rather lovely.

The canal was looking gorgeous in the sunshine and there were plenty of interesting buildings and historical bits and bobs to see along the way. 

The Royal Armouries Museum is located at Clarence Dock.

It was built in the 90s to house the national collection of arms and armour - there are apparently over 8,500 objects on display here!


I visited the Royal Armouries at the Tower of London last year and really enjoyed seeing all the armour and weaponry on display, so I was rather looking forward to seeing the bigger collection in Leeds.


The setting is, of course, a tad less fancy than at the Tower of London but the large, purpose-built space means there's plenty of room for the large pieces in the collection (which includes armour for an elephant!) and for events like talks and demonstrations.

There are six themed galleries: War, Tournament, Oriental, Self-Defence, Hunting, and Peace. I looked round them all but definitely only just scratched the surface of the collection - there were so many interesting objects to see and interesting stories to discover.

The museum is free to visit so it's definitely worth a look if you're even slightly interested in history, and you get to enjoy the canalside walk on the way there and back as well, hurrah! All in all, an excellent (and free!) way to spend the afternoon.

Friday, 29 April 2016

Banners, Buntings, Garlands, & Pennants!

Way back in 2014, I was busy behind the scenes making lots of things from felt, card and other crafty supplies. Now here we are in 2016 and I can show you what I was making... yay!

The projects I was working on are part of a new book called Banners, Buntings, Garlands & Pennants. It's published by Lark Crafts and comes from the same team who brought you 'Tis the Season to Be Felt-y, Felt-o-ween and lots of other titles.

It's lovely to finally see the finished book, and to see all the awesome projects in it. They're all so fun and colourful!

As you might have guessed from the title, the book includes lots of different designs for making banners, bunting, garlands and pennants. There are 40 beginner-friendly projects to choose from: some made with paper & card some with fabric & felt and others with crafty supplies ranging from yarn to shrink plastic to seashells.

Each project has step-by-step instructions, and there's a short guide at the front of the book that covers all the techniques you'll need to know.

Wanna see my projects? :)

I made Mini Gumdrops...

... Yarn Tassels...


... Rainbow Bobbins (perfect for a craft room!)...


... a Paper Clothesline Garland...

... an Autumn Garland of felt leaves and pinecones...


... and some Cross-Stitch Hearts.

Banners, Buntings, Garlands & Pennants is out now! It's available from Amazon USA, Amazon UK and many other bookshops. Please note: The Amazon links in this post are affiliate links.

When I went to put my copy of the book on the shelf, I realised it's the tenth book I've worked on with the folks at Lark Crafts. It's kind of awesome seeing them all together! Maybe you have some of these on your bookshelf too?

and, of course Banners, Buntings, Garlands & Pennants

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

A Trip to Seville: Plaza de España

Time for another virtual visit to Seville!

On our final day in the city, we visited the Plaza de España.


This is a large, semi-circular space, built in the 1920s for an international exhibition (world's fair) held in the city. It's now mostly government buildings and, of course, is a big tourist attraction.

The Plaza de España is located at the edge of the Parque de María Luisa (Maria Luisa Park). We got a little lost and ended up walking through quite a bit of the park to get the the Plaza. It was lovely walking down these shady avenues on such a hot day.

The Plaza itself is huge and very theatrical. I've never been anywhere quite like it. Apparently it was used as a location in one of the Star Wars prequels which seems very fitting as this is a very fantastical space.


There are buildings all around the curve of the semicircle, with archways and balconies galore.


In front of the buildings is a curved canal, where you can rent charming little rowboats  The canal is crossed by four bridges decorated with colourful ceramics.

Aren't they lovely? There are also 48 alcoves (one for each of Spain's provinces) decorated with ceramic tiles- you can just make them out in this photo.

Sadly I was feeling a little under the weather on the last day of our trip, so we didn't spend as much time as we'd hoped looking round this unique space but I'm really glad we got the chance to see it.

This might have been our last day in Seville, but I've still got more photos to share with you guys soon. In the meantime, if you missed it, you can read about my visit to Seville's Metropol Parasol, aka "the mushrooms".

Monday, 25 April 2016

Follow Me on Instagram (Yay!)

So, I have finally joined the modern world and got myself a smartphone. My previous mobile was a Nokia 3310 so this is a bit of a step-up for me technology-wise!

Learning how to use all this new tech is slightly breaking my brain and is making me feel really rather old, but I'm getting there slowly.

I was very pleased to discover that the phone case I made for Mollie Makes is a perfect fit.

Now that I've got a smartphone, I can finally start using Instagram - hurrah!

This is not the only reason I switched to a smartphone, of course, but (I'm not gonna lie) it was one of the reasons! I really miss the good old days of Flickr when it was a busy, buzzing place filled with creative people sharing interesting images... and Instagram seems like it has that same vibe, and seems to be where my crafty friends are all hanging out these days.

Basically, I've been feeling a bit left out of the fun happening over there and I'm delighted to be able to join in :)


I'm posting on Instagram as @lauralupinhoward - follow me for the usual mix of colour and craftiness.

P.S. I'll still be blogging, of course, and I'll make sure to do round-ups from time to time of my Instagram snaps so you won't miss out if Instagram isn't your cup of tea.


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