Saturday, 9 April 2016

Quilts, Tussie Mussies and Weather Vanes

Here I am again! I can't believe how much blogging I've been able to do whilst on holiday this week, as well as some creativity, gardening and a bit of going out and about too. Midway through the week I had a lovely day out with three good friends of mine. We met when our oldest children were babies (we have 11 between us), and more than twenty years on we still meet up regularly for days and evenings out. Our get-togethers have changed over the years from livey, fun events with our children playing together, to calmer, quieter (and just as much fun) occasions where we get the chance to wander, chat and drink coffee. This week we decided to go to the American Museum in Britain which is just outside of Bath, a country house which houses a collection of Americana.  I hadn't been here for a while, and was looking forward to seeing it again. We had rain to start with, but it turned into a very sunny day indeed, and we were delighted to see this woodland full of bluebells on our arrival.

A brightly-painted wagon was one of the first things to greet us.

And then this fabulous bank of daffodils in many different varieties.

Daffodils must be one of the most seratonin-boosting flowers around.

Claverton Manor, which houses the museum, sits high on a hill overlooking a beautiful valley. 

In fact, the canal where P and I walked last weekend is far below. Below the front lawn is a tipi which some children were playing in, an incongruous sight in such English countryside. I was quite tempted to venture in myself.

Grand vistas opened up around us and once the sun came out, the views got even better.

This is the Mount Vernon Garden which echoes George Washington's garden in the US. There were formally-clipped box hedges, and then a more relaxed spring garden.

These double daffodils caught my eye - aren't they lovely?

There was blossom,

and a delicate flowering currant,

which looked pretty against this little garden house,

and a stone grotto - I liked the graceful stone shell.

The gazebo was painted, like my own shed, in the palest blue although perhaps it's a little more ornate than my shed.

There was a little shop which sold herbs, and inside it they were hung up to dry. If I had high ceilings it'd be fun to do this at home.

The shop also sold tussie mussies - I feel the need to make my own tussie mussie, although I might not carry it around with me in public.

After a delicious lunch there it was time to look around the house. Inside it's very grand as you might expect, elegant and well-proportioned.

The period rooms have been brought here from the US, wood panelling and all. The writing desk in this room was rather appealing. I can imagine myself here, I think.

This stunning dress was worn at a ball which George Washington attended. The guide told us that the staff at the museum like to think that it may have danced with him!

This was my favourite room. The walls are stencilled with strawberries and the white lacy bed canopy is crocheted. Isn't it pretty?

The Museum is famous for its collection of quilts, some of them very old indeed. They are amazing works of art, ranging from the 18th to mid 20th century, painstakingly stitched, appliqued and patchworked. I took so many photos of them that I decided to put them into little mosaics to stop this post from becoming over-long. I was pleased that they came out well as we weren't allowed to use flash and the quilts are stored in a room with the windows shut to prevent fading.

Some are incredibly intricate and contain symbolism, the designs and motifs carrying meaning which would have been very familiar to the women who made them.

There was lots of beautiful embroidery too of animals and insects, and even a quilt with a repeated pineapple design.

After all this quilt-related excitement, we headed back to the cafe for a restoring cup of tea and a cake - well, we did need to keep our strength up. Then it was into the Folk Art Gallery which was a visual feast. I loved this Lady Liberty weather vane, a recent commission by the gallery.

Here are some naive bird sculptures,

and more gorgeous weather vanes.

I thought this little jumping horse was delightful, and loved the rich, deep red walls of the gallery which really set everything off perfectly.

After a quick look around the American toy exhibition (for some reason I forgot to take any photos there), and the Kaffe Fasset shop we headed for home, tired but having had a lovely day out together. I can recommend the museum, especially if you're interested in textiles, and shall leave you with my favourite quilt: an attractive nine-square one in yellow, green and cherry red.

See you soon x


  1. What an interesting and colourful place, I must visit when I'm nearby. You were lucky to find bluebells and daffodils in such quantities. x

  2. Thankyou for sharing these lovely photos, the quilting and embroidery are really nice, such talented folk x

  3. I am so delighted you took photos! The American Museum has been on my list of places to go for ages and I still haven't managed it. I even walked past the gate on our Skyline walk but decided that it needed a day all to itself, so kept right on walking. I'm determined to go this summer. Enjoy the rest of the weekend. xx

    1. I didn't realise the Skyline walk went past it - hope you make it there this summer. It's definitely worth a visit!
      Cathy x

  4. What a wonderful museum ..and that garden is so beautiful ... but I especially find the quitls so beautiful ... .. nice pictures
    enjoy your weekend ..bye

  5. You have had some lovely days out! I love seeing the bluebells and dafs.

  6. Happy to find your blog today! Your photos are so beautiful!! I've never been to your country, but I love to. So, thank you for taking me to American Museum.It looks wonderful place! I like gardening, so I'm impressed by the full of bluebells and daffodils. Thank you for sharing! I'm the newest follower of your blog:)

    1. Hello Keity, and thank you for visiting my blog! It's good to meet you!
      Cathy x

  7. What a lovely day out; I'm glad the weather was kind to you. Here in Cornwall, we have had all sorts in recent weeks - sunshine, hailstones, rain (lots of rain!), fierce winds, low temperatures and even snow yesterday! But the daffodils have been flowering for weeks now, such a long season of them, also celandines and primroses along all the narrow lanes. I have the first few bluebells in my own garden but it's quite early for them just yet - I was surprised to see them blooming 'en masse' in your photos.
    I enjoyed seeing those weather vanes, especially the horse ones - and that 'Lady Liberty' one is spectacular.
    I love the quilts and always hanker after one, but I am no seamstress - I hate sewing, so I'll never make one myself.
    Thank you for publishing your lovely photos.

    1. Yes, we've had some hailstones and heavy showers this week too, but lots of sun as well. Typical April weather!
      Cathy x

  8. Definitely going to Bath soon. How lovely your pics are I will be visiting the American museum too what a fab day out. Thanks for sharing

  9. What a lovely day out, I love the quilts, beautiful colours. And that tepee! hilarious!!

  10. I have always wanted to visit The American Museum to see the quilt collection. It looks a stunning place to visit anyway, I love the bank of daffodils. xx

  11. Judging from these lovely photos this is a very good vacation :-) Wonderful quilts.

  12. An intriguing museum, and the gardens look lovely too, the quilts are amazing.


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