G.O.T: Stand and deliver

 

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Up until 1752, the start of the year was seen to be 25 March, so this monarchs reign actually saw the beginning of time as we know it by replacing this year date with January 1st. Thats a piece of odd trivia for you, certainly not something that he would be remembered for. His more notable fame was for his defeat of ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’ at the battle of Culloden, his rival being taken down for trying to restore the Stuart family to the throne and generally being a rebellious Scottish thorn in his side. On a lighter note, his rule saw the first botanical gardens laid out at the very beautiful Kew, which became an incredibly popular tourist destination. His reign also saw a huge influx in highwaymen, most notoriously, Dick Turpin…Being an Adam and the ants fan, I couldn’t help but include the Horrible histories parody, sorry to any non white stripe faced buccaneers out there 😉

 

G.O.T: ‘History is a set of lies agreed upon’

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This monarch is believed to have suffered from a hereditary blood disorder called porphyria, which could be a reason behind his supposed insanity and led to him being notorious as ‘The mad King’. He is also known to be ‘the king who lost America’, after the unpopularity of the British taxes led the American colonists to protest by way of the Boston tea party. There were a fair amount of good things happen during his reign, such as James Watt’s development of the steam engine, but most notably in the world of literature. Robert Burns published his first book of poetry, Jane Austen’s pride and prejudice was published and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein came to print. The title is one of my favourite historical quotes and was said by this monarch’s nemesis, Napoleon Bonaparte. The king’s reign saw the beginning and end of the Napoleonic wars, spearheaded by the great admiral, Lord Nelson. His hysteria became even worse after his Corsican rivals defeat and led to his death in 1820. To lighten quite a negative post, I thought I would share a more approachable (only mildly though) and cuter Bonaparte, my furry friend…

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As you can see from the pictures, anywhere he shouldn’t be you will find him. A chip off the old namesake block with his invasion tactics 🙂

 

 

G.O.T: Holy smoke!

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If having to restore the countries sense of positivity after the death of the very unjolly Olly Cromwell wasn’t enough, this king had a fair amount of work with a fair few other huge problems plaguing his nation. In 1665, the great plague ravishes the population, killing over 60,000 people. A year later, In 1666, the great fire of London erupts, leaving a reported 65,000 homeless, but at least it got rid of the flea and plague infested rats, eh? Despite all of the hardships in his reign, his positivity echoed through the population during the whole of the Monarchy restoration. During the plague, he is said to have gone amongst the disease ridden victims and also helped battle the flames during the fire in order to put back some faith in his subjects. You can see why he was known as the ‘merry monarch’ to them, becoming incredibly popular with his hands on approach and the reopening of all the things that the common man enjoyed, such as theatres, breweries and brothels. He was also a notorious party animal, adoring the masked balls and in particular the company of the fairer sex. Despite he and his long suffering wife, Catherine of Braganza not succeeding with an heir, he was reportedly the father of around 17 illegitimate children that he had with his many mistresses, the most famous of which being Nell Gwynn. It is thought that several of the English aristocrats knocking around today are actually descended from him, so look out for any well spoken gent sporting an enormous wig with a Courtesan hanging off of their arm 😉

 

 

A pain in the (long) neck

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This giraffe was planned to be a simple bank holiday afternoon project that I devised in my naive little brain. It is soon to be my nephew’s first birthday so wanted to make him something instead of just buying him a toy. On his pram he has an array of safari animals that all make random jingly noises, but no giraffe, so I decided to try and make him a gangly but gorgeous creature to go in his zoo. I sketched out the pattern pieces then cut them out on yellow gingham fabric, as well as little orange felt ears. I opted to plait the tail using orange and yellow wool, which turned out to be the easiest bit. I first handstitched all the legs, which was fine, until I realised I had sewn them right and wrong sides together 😦 Because it had taken so long to handstitch them and Id sewn so close to the edge, the fabric had frayed so much that I had to cut out all the fabric again. I gave up and got whizzy out to sew the limb parts properly. I sewed round all the edges bar the top one, ready to stuff and then slip stitch to finish. They looked ok so I was quite relieved, but decided to hand stitch the actual body because my lack of confidence on the machine will probably mean Id mess the curves up. I back stitched an orange smiley face and sewed on two buttons as eyes before assembling it, as well as the ears. I didn’t learn from my mistake with the legs and sewed to close to the edges, making them fray and ended up recutting fabric. Fortunately a few hours later and several mistakes on, it became plain sailing. The body was fairly easy to sew together, adding the tail near the end and stuffing it so was nice and squishy. I sewed buttons onto the legs before attaching them to the body to continue the orangey yellow theme. I shouldn’t worry too much about perfection anyway because normally little ones are not harsh critics and it will be covered in slobber from a teething cutiepie very soon 🙂

G.O.T: Oliver’s army

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In 1625, this monarch dissolved parliament, but consistently ran back to them when he needed some extra cash. As you might expect, they got a bit tired of this so Oliver Cromwell and his gang, known as the New Model Army (not to be confused with Gary Numan’s new wave band) started a revolt. After a 6 year war, this king was captured and executed in 1649. After his death, 11 years of rule by parliament as a commonwealth under Cromwell ensued. He isn’t classed as a monarch so has not been included on this stitch, but I thought Id include some snippets of him as it was an important period of English history and followed on from the recently sewn monarch. While many consider the now decapitated king to be a bit of a villain, the years after his death weren’t very rosy under the command of Ollie the misery guts. He had made the lives of the general public so unhappy with ultra strict puritan laws that by the time of his death there was a deep hatred for him that cast a huge shadow over the population. Some of the most bizarre changes were banning football, wearing too colourful dresses and banning Christmas. Anybody disallowing a big fat guy in red from coming down the chimney is a baddie in my opinion 🙂

G.O.T: Remember, remember, the fifth of November…

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Yes, the reason why we have the spectacular light displays and ‘penny for the guys’ on Bonfire night is due to the then Catholic’s hatred of this monarch. In 1605, a group of conspirators, (the most famous being Guy Fawkes, who wasnt even the leader), plotted and tried to blow up King and parliament. Of course, they didn’t succeed and were all killed following a hefty bout of torture the next year. Asides from this, it was during his reign that the Pilgrim Fathers set sail for America on the Mayflower and he also proclaimed in 1604 that smoking is harmful to the lungs whilst imposing a tax on tobacco. The juiciest gossip during his rule was that he was having a homosexual relationship with his favourite, George Villiers. Well, from his anti smoking campaign and near death firework experience, he should know better than most that there is no smoke without fire 😉

G.O.T: Like a Virgin?

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This monarch had such an interesting and turbulent life that I will have to plug up my mouth to stop it running with this update. There is so much to say that choosing one clue in particular was too difficult so I will just yabber with a few carrots and hope for the best. For all we know of her, the temperamental redhead, the virgin… her life was infused with personal turmoil. Early on in her reign saw squabbles with Mary Queen of Scots, who was her cousin. The family ties left her utterly distraught when she had no choice but to execute her for treason after numerous revolts. The suspicious death of Amy Robsart, the wife of her supposed lover, Robert Dudley, meant her court turned into a place of gossip and intrigue. This cemented her ‘celibate’ life, with her only marriage being to her kingdom, which remained her main love for her 45 year rule. It wasn’t all doom and gloom though, she saw a huge success in the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588, which was a very unlikely but celebrated victory for her country and lead to the everlasting quote: “I have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but the heart and stomach of a king”. A true inspiration to all of the Emmeline Pankhurst’s of the future… *resentfully puts plug back in mouth* 🙂