Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Raiding Party

I feel sure that there would have been consternation in the op shops in the central North Island of our fair land this week following an audacious lightning daylight raid carried out by Mr Shoestring and myself when we swooped down and bought most of the available stock last Friday, on our way to Napier.  No sooner was the danger past and the worthy workers recovering their breath and restocking their shelves than we performed a daring repeat raid, this time on our way back home on Monday following the delights of winter deco.  No article escaped the searing gaze of our beady eyes as we searched for new treasure, and we were not disappointed!  Mr Shoestring was delighted with the purchase of virtually a new wardrobe for winter deco, including a fair isle vest, a suit, a pair of trousers complete with the buttons for braces to be attached, a pair of genuine button braces, and a jacket. 

Button on braces still in their packet!

A fair isle vest for Mr Shoestring's next deco foray

I found a burgundy coloured leather clutch bag and of course I am already planning a new costume around it for next year's deco.

We did not confine ourselves to art deco clothing though, oh no, far from it.  In my quest for pink glass I have been drawing a blank lately so imagine the thrill of finding this rather unusual leaf shaped serving dish complete with four small plates for $5 at the St Vinnies shop in Napier!  And not a chip or blemish in sight either.  

Also there was another terrier to add to the ever increasing collection, this one is clutching a hat in his teeth and has a roguish expression in his eye.

And then this lovely floral picture to add to the others in the gypsy room (the walls are groaning now, I must cease and desist soon),

and this embroidered scene depicting yet another terrier, this one making the acquaintance of a rather perplexed horse. 

I am undecided as to what to use this for, I was thinking of making another bag with it and it would be very capacious and useful for marketing, but some other idea may present itself before I take out my scissors and get started.  

This apron with the embroidered lady (who has a pocket cunningly concealed in her head) was too good to resist, though I fear the person who created her must have lost interest before the project was complete (a bit like me), and she has no lips, presumably for this reason.  I think I can detect a faint shadow where the transfer suggested lips should be embroidered.

Lips - who needs 'em?

Pretty border on the bottom of the apron

In one shop there was a cache of Czechoslovakian glass buttons from a shop in New York which closed during the 1970s and it was hard to know where to stop there, but I selected these ones thinking they will come in handy for deco dresses if I get the chance to sew some.  I have to admit I never did make the ones I planned for winter deco - must to better next time.  

Mr Shoestring dashed up to the counter when he spied this promotional bakelite thermometer, he is a softie for anything made of bakelite.  The text says, "Turn This Over and See Someone Important to Us".  Of course when you turn it over there is a mirror on the back, a very quaint marketing ploy.

I was pleased to see another pansy doyley, I had thought the first one I found was unusual - I feel a collection coming on.

When we finally dragged our booty home we were worn out after such an action packed weekend, but very pleased in the knowledge that no stone was left unturned in our quest for more treasure to line our bowerbird nest.  Probably just as well there are no more excursions planned in the near future because there isn’t much more we can fit into Shoestring.  Particularly as we have taken possession of an old cane sided lounge suite to paint and then recover – but more about that next time!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Winter DIY Deco in Napier

Baskets of pansies on Marine Parade

The Dancing Queen and her King

Mr Shoestring (on the right) finally had an opportunity to take his Gladstone bag out for an airing!

Well, winter deco is over now but what a wonderful time we had.  The weather in Napier was kind to us and though there was torrential rain forecast it held off until we were on our way back to “real life” once more.  Though it was cool enough for us to be able to take our furs on an outing or two we were still comfortable walking home at night along the waterfront where there is a paved walkway. 

The illuminated fountain
Art deco weekend is for people of all ages, not just oldies!  Aren't these little ones adorable?

The official events started on Friday night with a dance, and over the course of the weekend we attended another dance, saw a magic show, took part in a scavenger hunt and saw Bertie, Penelope and their eager helpers stage a Famous Five “radio play”. 

"With lashings of ginger beer!"

Charlie Chaplin put on a wonderful magic show

 There were also brunches, dinners and libations at the Hawkes Bay Club; 

Some fortunate visitors even have the car to match their deco desires

We visited the farmers market at Hastings one weekend and found lots of delicious comestibles there also, which further added to the gastronomic delights.  A long period of serious retrenchment will be called for now in order to make up for this festival!

At this lovely lady's shop we couldn't help ourselves and had to buy one or two items to add to our deco wardrobes.  If you are ever able to visit Napier you should pay her a visit at Charleston Chic.  Her wares include jewellery, accessories and clothes and as well as genuine deco items there are deco and vintage inspired articles.  Check them out online at and you will see some of her treasures, the hats are heaven!
Penelope, who makes the hats for sale in her shop Charleston Chic

Monday, July 9, 2012

Funny Little Things

We have been walking to and from work and enjoying the cool crisp weather.  On the way we have lots of regular small pleasures each day to make a happy routine.  One day we noticed this plaque on a park bench on the sidewalk and decided to investigate.  On closer inspection it commemorates … nothing at all, very strange! 

A little further up the street is the tall tree with a pair of trousers trapped near the top, which always gives us pause for thought.  How did they get there, how long will it be before they either fly away or rot away?

Then at the university science faculty building there is the mysterious chandelier which we suspect has been put there by some pranksters – it doesn’t look like a standard fitting usually seen outside the university buildings. 

And on to the place where all the beautiful wild ferns have started growing on the scoria wall and making the most of the place where storm water flows out through the wall.

 Sometimes we see odd things like the sign promising “litters” of water for sale at special prices too. 

The weather has been horribly cold at Shoestring Cottage, we have had a string of hard frosts and the garden has been decimated.  The begonias and impatiens which were still blossoming until recently have been turned to pulpy frost-bitten mush and the only things blooming are camellias and cyclamen.  Punctuating the frosts there has been torrential rain and gale force winds.  I was fretting about all my lily bulbs and picturing them rotting as water rose ever higher around them, but I was pleased to see that two of them have managed to poke their noses through the earth already, so all is not lost.  The bulbs are doing well so I still have high hopes of lots to look at in the spring but all in all things are rather gloomy and sad in the garden now. 

One thing which has been giving us a lot of enjoyment and pleasure has been the arrival of our two new kittens, who came to us via the SPCA. 

Florence on the left and Basil on the right

They are named Florence and Basil and are bursting with energy.  They spend their weeks in the apartment in Auckland and their weekends at Shoestring Cottage and are learning to travel in the car without too much howling.   (Though Florence does treat us to musical interludes while we are driving.  I am not sure if she dislikes our choice of music and feels she can provide better.)  Our patience was sorely tested this weekend when one of them peed on my quilt – the one which I have been toiling away on for the last few years and which I had high hopes of completing one day.  This necessitated much washing in the bath, in an effort to rid it of that certain cat odour which is so unpleasant and pungent.  Now my quilt is wrapped around the hot water cylinder and I am praying that it will dry out this week and that the safety pins holding the three layers together will not rust in the meantime.  Fingers crossed.  

After formulating an ambitious plan to create a lined picnic basket full of pretty china for next spring (surely spring must come some time) I found a likely candidate this weekend.  It has been stripped out and now it is ready for refurbishment.

These pretty glass dishes should go well inside, they are sturdy and hopefully won’t smash on the journey to the picnic spot.

I also found this lovely pink damask tablecloth with is wreathed with roses

 and it should look very pretty with the damask napkins I have put aside for the picnic set.  I think I will use this old piece of fabric for the actual lining in the picnic basket.

Just a question of finding time for the refurbishment now – and hopefully there will be no more kitten-induced disasters to take up all my time next weekend.