Monday, June 18, 2012

Ahoy There Me Hearties!

Here's hoping you had a wonderful Queen's Birthday Weekend break and toasted Her Majesty!

We were very surprised to spy this balloon bobbing along gently above us one morning when we went to the markets

Well my dear friends of the blogosphere, I must confess that I am very relieved to be able to "talk" with you once again.  Our home computer has turned up its toes and died  and what a lot of angst it has caused us all.  It was probably quite a good thing really because we had to break ourselves of the habit of turning immediately to it upon returning home after work or university, and spending happy times trawling through online auctions and other tempting delights of the internet.  Now that almost three weeks have passed though we are all relieved to be up and running again. 

Mr Shoestring has continued with his efforts on the home front at Shoestring, putting in a "new" window in our bedroom.  True to the Shoestring philosophy (Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without!), this window was one which was donated by my mum Bobby when she was doing renovations at her place, and what a success it has been.  It lets in so much more light and Mr Shoestring still demands at various times of the day that I dash outside to observe how the sun is shining on the window and the light is streaming into our bedroom.  He has also installed a tube skylight which we obtained from Trade Me.  It is in the dining room and though it caused a fair amount of cursing the weekend it was installed, it has made a big difference to the light there too.  I have to confess that Mr Shoestring was keen to make the initial holes in the ceiling and wall and for a while I thought that might be as far as we would progress - a little bit unnerving in the middle of winter! 

Interesting holes - but would they ever be filled in?

Very drab wallpaper which would have depressed even the most cheery individual was revealed in the bedroom, under the layers

We still have one more skylight to put into the kitchen but we will get there in the end, poor Mr Shoestring is quite worn out with all the problems he had with the first two installations.  There was an awful lot of swearing and cursing over the long Queen's Birthday weekend when those building projects were going on, it was not a completely happy time and Mr Shoestring became convinced that things were going against him at every step of the way so we are not going to put him under any pressure for a whie.

Just as well we have had all these light giving improvements because this weekend was bitterly cold and dark at Shoestring.  The ice was frozen solid in the birdbath and the frost even made the birdbath crack, much to our consternation. 

This didn't stop me from planting yet more bulbs though in hope of a lovely summer and spring show.  Mr Shoestring follows me round protesting that I must have planted hundreds of bulbs now, as I continue in a trance-like state to load more cut price bulbs into my basket and make for the check out.  This week there were three more regale lilies, five other white lilies and a fabulous assorted pack of 10 lily bulbs (how mysterious, what will they produce?).  Also some more lachenalias, daffodils, tulips and hyacinths.  I really must call a halt now and not plany any more.  Unless there are any really spectacular bargains next week, of course. 

The weekend before last I was stamping through the rain to get some quilting supplies when whom should I spy but Madame La Poste.  In the window of the quilting shop, taking pride of place, was her very own quilt, the one she had been shedding blood sweat and tears over for the last few months, and it won a first prize at the Calling All Quilts show!  It is a traditional Texas Star block and called New Stars From Old Cloth.  Clever Madame La Poste used eight decades' worth of fabrics in her quilt, including fabrics from op shops and flea markets and some donated by friends.  How wonderful that all her hard work and perseverence paid dividends.  It is hand quilted using fine perle cotton and what a beautiful quilt she has created. 

I was quite inspired by her example and now that the pink and yellow quilt is finally finished
I have resolved to work my way through all the unquilted quilt tops in my sewing room and not to start any more until that is done.  Next on the list is a tumbling blocks quilt and last weekend the quilting thread came out to make a start.
During the week nights I am still working away feverishly on the pansy needlepoint cushion, using up old left over wools given to me by Bobby.  It is a Kaffe Fassett design and the colours are so bright and vibrant and really "sing"   The background is going to be an unusual green shade (using double knitting wool rather than tapestry wool, which will be a much cheaper option).   

Here are the most recent op shop additions to the bulging cupboards at Shoestring, these nautical drinking glasses from the Red Cross Shop

and most exciting of all a fabulous pansy doyley or jug cover with those muted, washed out, slightly drab shades so beloved by those crocheting ladies of the past.  Ah, bliss!

Bobby found these dainty little embroidered napkins at her local op shop and they have inspired me to refurbish an old picnic hamper with pretty napkins and dainty china - not very practical if you had to cary the hamper any distance with all the weight of china in it, but how pretty!  Here are the napkins, more on that project next week once I have had a chance to find some fabric and make a start by lining the basket.  I can't wait to get started now!  Roll on Friday.

It would be lovely to fill it with an assortment of pretty cup, saucer and plate combos - but maybe not very practical - how many picnics would they survive?

I hope you are enjoying all your endeavours, whether artistic or workaday, and that inspiration is with you always!