Monday, September 10, 2012

Swans and Frocks and Pincurls

This weekend I was thrilled to finally obtain the variegated hydrangea I have been searching for.  (I know, tragic isn’t it?)  I had planted one which was given to me as a cutting and which I had nursed along until it developed roots, but it promptly turned up its toes (or roots) and died over the winter.  It does seem that variegated plants tend to be a bit less hardy than their more homely plain green cousins.  Being determined to achieve success with the variegated version I bought two this time, and at an outlay of only $2.50 per plant.  Granted, they are not impressive in stature as yet but I have high hopes that this time they will thrive, or at least survive.  Also I found two perennial lobelias with very unusual red leaves so I hope they will be happy in the garden at Shoestring Cottage also, and it will be interesting to see what kind of flower they eventually produce.  The market was disappointing apart from these plants, (I think because of the ghastly sounding weather forecast a lot of stall holders had stayed home), but at the wonderful op shop up the road I found a cute old dress with this gorgeous all over print of plant pots with daisy-like flowers in them, and blue bias binding trim. 

 I suspect it dates from the 1950s but I can’t be certain.  Also at the same op shop was this serene swan which can now sail along my window sill.  It set me back $1.

These swans (so utterly naff I know) have become wildly popular once more and are very much sought after, I haven’t seen a small one like this before but thought it was very pretty and smallness is an asset at Shoestring Cottage where space is so limited, thanks to my regular op shop sorties.

In the same op shop I found this shadow box, which needed a small repair but some thoughtful person had provided the broken parts when they donated the shadow box and Mr Shoestring quickly repaired it with his trusty PVA.  When Madam La Post called in we had a very enjoyable discussion as to what could be displayed in the new find.  We can ponder that topic for a while yet, I suspect it will be a while yet before Mr Shoestring feels strong enough to complete the refurbishments planned in the sewing room and it doesn't do to press him.

The kittens are getting very good about travelling up and down to the cottage and make no sound when they are in their travelling cage in the car.  We let them out into the garden this weekend and they loved chasing each other round and round and scampering up the trees.  Sadly though Basil is able to climb up the trees but not to get down again.  Consequently he has to drop to the earth eventually (when he loses strength in his “arms” and can cling on no longer) and then tries to look as if it was all part of his plan.  You know what cats are like, they take themselves rather seriously and don’t like to look foolish. 

 Basil and Florence looking angelic - but we know better

There is a lot of new growth in the garden and I was surprised to see the first bud on the English rose Graham Thomas.  Thankfully as yet there are no signs of aphids and the foliage is all looking healthy – maybe the frosts over the winter were worth it. 

 No aphids - yet

There were so many blossoms to choose from in the garden for the weekly , here you can see freesias, bluebells, polyanthus and daffodils.  Speaking of daffodils a fellow apartment dweller has kindly donated me her tete a tete daffodils which have finished flowering on her apartment balcony, so I will plant them amongst the bluebells in the back garden.  If my plans are successful there will be a better display next year because the tete a tete seemed to be flowering at the same time as the bluebells, though of course I had planted mine in a different part of the garden so didn’t reap the rewards this year.  Next year will be better!  (Don’t we gardeners always think that though?) 

The tulips have rewarded us with lots of blooms.  I will lift them once they die back and save them for replanting next year after six weeks or so in the fridge.  (Note to self, make sure Mr Shoestring does not attempt to cook them.)

When I was weeding I managed to spear not one but two of the lily shoots with my trowel.  Why oh why I have this unerring instinct for the torture of expensive bulbs is beyond me, I nearly cried.  Maybe they will survive and put forth shoots next season but there is no hope for any flowers off them this year.  Well, nothing for it, will just have to keep on planting more of them until the desired effect is achieved! 

In between gardening and chatting with friends (and a gift of yet more bounty for crazy quilting, thank you Madame La Poste), I was absorbed by the book NZ Woman's Weekly The First 60 Years.  From 1937 there was an advertisement confidently assuring readers they could gain "7 Attractive Pounds in 12 short days", which is a problem not many of our population are afflicted with nowadays.

There was also an article from 1938 with 11 rules regarding kissing which I found strangely intimate and somehow rather shocking.  The points included, "When kissing a girl lingeringly, leave at least one nostril unrestricted.  A girl must breathe."  Another urged, "Never kiss a girl with your hat on - it's disrespectful, and ample grounds for a sound slap."  How mysterious, I wonder why leaving one's hat on for a kiss was disrespectful?  I would not have expected this kind of instruction from such a sedate and worthy publication as the NZ Women’s Weekly I must admit.  But the fashions from the 1930s were beautiful and I wished I could somehow extract them from the illustrations and transport them directly into my wardrobe. 

Afternoon frocks from 1933 - my favourite fashion year
When we got back to Auckland I was thrilled to find that in the mail my new pin curl maker had been delivered all the way from Australia and I immediately had to try it out. 

 Here she is, the little beauty
 Even the packaging is delightful

If you are a fan of retro or vintage looks I can’t recommend the Sculpture Pin Curler enough, it makes the most wonderful pin curls and you just hold them in place with a hair grip while they are "setting".  Sleeping with them in is perfectly comfortable.  I became so enamoured of my new toy that I think I will use it every week.  Possibly every day, as the results are quite fetching in the morning but my hair refuses to "hold" a curl for the whole day.  I may have to overcome my aversion to hairspray, the things we do for our art!  I notice those attractive ladies in the "frocks" above have some good pin curls going on and if they were prepared to suffer then so will I.