Monday, August 20, 2012

White Out

At last the bedroom is painted white white white, and thank heavens we can draw a veil over that episode and never speak of it again!  There was yet more rain this weekend, and once more the paint was very slow to dry.  But now that it has finally dried (with a lot of help from a heater), it looks so much fresher and I think white may stealthily creep its way round the rest of Shoestring Cottage in time.  My beady eye has been roaming all over the furniture speculatively and wondering where the white paint brush may strike next and I have one or two likely candidates but I am not going to be too vocal about those plans as yet, because poor Mr Shoestring is still recovering from his tussle with the white paint. 

 Speaking of Mr Shoestring, once he could relax after his labours with the paint he was happily immersed in an apparently fascinating library book about the history of trams in New Zealand (is your jaw aching with the effort not to yawn yet?) and he regaled me with tales from it, which he read aloud at great length.  After the first few minutes I developed the strategy of making enthusiastic remarks from time to time, “My word, fancy that!  How interesting!” and so on, but he soon began to demand more constructive contributions (it was probably becoming obvious I wasn’t taking in a single word about the wretched trams and their perambulations).  We have agreed to differ about the history of trams in our fair land though I have gone down in his estimation after I confessed I had little knowledge and less interest where they are concerned.

 In celebration of the new paint we hung another set of old curtains to cover the “new” window.  We already had a donated wooden curtain pole (thank you so much Mrs Peaceable) and by a wonderful fluke found the wooden rings we needed for sale in the Sally Army shop, so it was achieved with the minimum expense, as is the Shoestring way.  The curtains we already had so a great result.  In celebration of the new paint I put my least durable quilt on the bed.  It is made from old silk pieces and old doyleys, and suits our optimistic spring mood (even if spring is not quite with us yet). 

A good way to use up all those bargain embroidered doyleys which are a bit damaged

I got some wonderful bargains from the op shops this weekend too.  Not least was this “leaf” dish ($1, thank you Sally Army). 

I have a terrible weakness for anything which masquerades as a fruit, vegetable or leaf, not sure what the attraction is but can’t seem to cure myself of it.  This dish would be very pretty in summer time with a simple basil/tomato/mozzarella salad in it, it really isn’t the right season but I will put the recipe up in case anybody wants it later on.  It is a good way of using an abundant crop of basil in the summer.    

Outside in the garden the lily bulbs are finally rewarding my constant anxious looks by starting to poke through the earth, this week I found a few more so all is not lost.  Actually it is just as well that they are beginning to poke through the earth, or I probably would have speared the last of them with my trowel in my investigations as to their whereabouts and health.  The cyclamens have been a real star and I never noticed before what a pleasant scent they have – light, lemony and citrusy but definitely detectable in sheltered corners of the garden. 

The first of the Dutch irises are blooming

but sadly in the area where I planned a veritable symphony of cream, white, yellow and blue (jonquils, snowdrops, daffodils and bluebells) all the different varieties have elected to flower at different times so we now have the jonquils starting, the daffodils finishing, the snowdrops well and truly over and no sign as yet of blooms from the bluebells. 

Mother Nature can be a cruel dame, she is determined to thwart us at every possible opportunity.  On the other hand she has rewarded me with a delicious crop of hyacinths, which I usually don’t have any luck with so I can’t complain too loudly.

Madame La Poste called round this weekend, bringing yet more treasures with her.  She introduced me to this poem which I found very touching – how immediate and “real” the author’s sentiments seem, though she lived and died hundreds of years ago. 

To Yu Sun-Chih

A friend who lives a thousand miles away from here
has sent me a gift of brocade
with flowers in dazzling purple.

When I open the roll
I think that I see
evening clouds, made golden by the sun
or glittering ripples
on the water of a fall torrent.

If a pillow was made from the cloth
some of the leaves could be damaged
If a coat was cut from it
the flowers would be divided.

It would be best to sew a large quilt from it
so I could both day and night
experience it, as if you were here.

Po chi-i 772 - 846 AD

Any stitcher who has been too frightened to cut into a precious and treasured piece of fabric will understand the sentiments expressed here, and I must admit I feel the same about some of the gorgeous kimono and obi silks Madame La Poste has added to my collection recently. 


Happy days for you during the spring, I hope the weather is kind to you and your gardens are flourishing

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