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.