Sunday, March 24, 2013

Treasures From The South

Being the thrifty (but acquisitive, it has to be admitted) creature that I am, the South Island road trip would not have been complete without one or two souvenirs from charity shops along the way, despite being very disappointed by what was on offer in Queenstown.  A bit pricey, darlings, they must have a better class of junk in Queenstown.  However, there were many treasures to be found in other places.  

The winner of the best town for bargains category would have to be Timaru, where this wonderful tablecloth leapt out at me from the 50 cent box, it has such a colourful confidence and with its cocktail themed images it will make a brilliant backdrop for Mr Shoestring’s cocktail shakers. 

I suspect this wonderful 50s tea towel (in perfect condition, Irish linen and as vibrant as the day it was woven) may have come from the same kitchen. 

 As a souvenir of our travels in the South Island this couldn't be beaten, though I do wonder why the Nurses’ Home was included as a scenic attraction.  Most odd, but perhaps it was a very moderne and daring building when it was built? 

 We did visit Caroline Bay and it was just as splendid as portrayed here 

 My word, isn't that aeroplane just the last word in modern air flight?

This linen tablecloth was partly embroidered but as I would never be able to match the colours I planned to unpick the cross stitches already started (there were only two of them) and instead embroider a selection of motifs, possibly various teacups and kitchen implements in a green shade to match the woven grid.  The hard work had been done for me already because the industrious former owner had tacked the hem in place and even mitred the corners (a particularly tedious and loathsome task), so it was even more of a bargain (at $3) than originally thought.  But the ghastly realisation came to me (as I spent a frustrating afternoon laboriously unpicking) that $3 was far too much to pay for this linen, because the effort required to unpick was vast.  Never again, never again!

 In Dunedin this enormous enormous tablecloth complete with 12 matching napkins was too good to resist, though I think it may have to be repurposed and used as a bed covering because the diminutive tables at Shoestring Cottage and in our apartment in town would be completely swamped by such an enormous cover. 
 Perfect condition still, somebody has treasured it for decades

After the wool appliqué bed cover the next project I have planned is going to be a crazy quilt made from doyleys and damask napkins so it was excellent to find this selection of damask napkins in various op shops.

Though I am ashamed to say that in one shop I was the victim of a good saleswoman (I know, who would have thought, in an op shop in a small town in the South Island?) who confided in me after my initial purchase that a wonderful cardigan had come in just that day which was surely brand new, never worn, quite gorgeous, etc.  I hastily protested that I was on a strict budget and couldn't afford $4, (because it really did not appeal one jot), at which point she said, “Oh dear, how much can you afford?” and I felt compelled to buy it! 

I could have gone crazy in the crockery section but of course we had to bring our treasures home with us on the plane so it wasn't feasible.  Just as well, because as it was we had to but an extra bag to bring home all the booty.  That enormous tablecloth was surprisingly bulky and heavy, which I hadn't taken into account at the time of buying.  Then there were a couple of pairs of shoes for art deco weekend and a miscellany of other objects too good to leave behind.  

The other recent acquisition was this cross stitch piece, laboriously completed in cross stitch using stranded cottons by some unknown person.  Personally this painting never appealed to me - there seems to be an air of gloom and foreboding and general despond.  But surely there is something useful to be made out of this piece - I just don't know what it is yet.  It seems a pity that after all the effort and hard work by its stitcher, it was sold for $2 in a Salvation Army shop.  

Mrs Peaceable has kindly given me some quinces and I am hoping to make a delicious quince vodka liqueur.  If it turns out to be a success we will have some very interesting and fruity cocktails.  The scent of the quinces is sweet and aromatic, if it imparts itself to the vodka the bouquet will be very special.  (I will post the recipe if it works out so you can make your own version.)  I suspect that the return gift of some new season Jerusalem artichokes may seem a little pedestrian by comparison.  There is obviously going to be a bumper crop this year, much to my dismay; at this rate the Jerusalem artichokes may starve out all the other plants in the front border and block the sun, they really are reaching for the sky.