Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Progress On The Crazy Quilt

To be honest things are a teeny tiny bit sad at Shoestring Cottage High Command at present.  Daughters Number One and Number Three are Travelling Abroad and now Daughter Number Two has announced her intention to follow their example.  Of course this means that for the foreseeable future there shall be no cosy evenings spent watching Bridget Jones’ Diary or Pride and Prejudice.   (Therefore no more opportunities to ogle Mr Darcy in his wet white shirt either.)  No more chats about the relative merits of the new winter boots in stores, or outings for special treats such as manicure/pedicure combinations.  No, instead leisure time in the evenings will be an endless series of Top Gear reruns and English Premier League highlights of the week.  In the fullness of time I may even become proficient with the Offside Rule and understand the intricacies of Knock Ons in rugby league.  (Though this may be a little bit ambitious on my part.)  Instead of quaffing delicious Sauvignon Blanc I will learn to differentiate between chocolate and liquorice notes in beer, tell the difference between a lager and an ale, and develop an abiding passion for pork scratchings.  (The packets of which shall be strewn around all over the floor in the apartment.)  A fate too ghastly to contemplate really, so until Daughter Number Three actually leaves our fair shores I will put it out of my mind and concentrate on the present.  At least I can take consolation from The Dancing Queen (her new kitchen and all its workings are intensely interesting), Mrs Peaceable (what fabulous white linen trousers she was sporting last weekend) and the Duchess of Ringloes, who is repainting her new abode and has also dreamed up the most unusual and arresting planting scheme for her hanging baskets.  The pleasures of female companionship, they should not be underrated!

And as far as the present goes at Shoestring Cottage, this weekend was a bit of a milestone because seven gorgeous goldfish took up residence in the “water feature” as the little pond is rather grandiosely termed.  There are five gold or gold/white ones, one very pale yellow one and a dark grey one which manages to camouflage itself very effectively against the concrete bottom of the pond. 

 The grey one is in the centre at the bottom, you can see how well s/he conceals herself/himself against the concrete.  No names yet, we shall have to work on that.

 In the pond where they came from they were occasionally fed bread but apart from that left to their own devices.  I have high hopes that they will clean up the mosquito larvae population and also I bought them some fish flakes to supplement their diet.  I was a little concerned that Florence or Basil might develop a fondness for fishing, but Basil resolutely ignored the fish and Florence only became interested when she sniffed out the fish flakes, thinking that they might be suitable as cat food.  When she suffered a mishap and her tail was submerged in the water she soon decided that the pond was best avoided, here’s hoping that she will continue with this approach.  As well as the goldfish we were given a baby water lily plant (thank you Mrs Peaceable) so eventually we may have fragrant lily blossoms as well.

Mr Shoestring did a lot of work in the front porch this weekend, painting the walls and front door and replacing some of the panes of glass which were broken or damaged.  Sadly the glass was hideously expensive (we had decided on some red and green panes to “go with” the colours in the stained glass panels), but we are telling ourselves the end result will be worthwhile.  For now we have an odd collection of mismatched panes in place but once the door is finished it should look very pretty. 

The rainbow crazy quilt is coming on a treat.  I suddenly realised a couple of weeks ago that it must be nearing completion and then could not locate most of the squares (which I had put in a “safe” place).  A period of panic ensued and it took me a week or so to locate them, but now that I have them I just need to complete the occasional piece of embroidery which has been missed, then it will be ready to assemble.  The plan is that it will create a colour wash or rainbow effect, ranging through range/red/yellow/green/blue/purple in rows.  Here is a selection of blocks so that you can see the general idea. 

Very bad photos - I didn't have a good camera with me this week  

I am relieved that it is almost ready to put together because then I can press on with the “second hand rose” themed quilt – and then the one with damask napkins and doyleys, the “birds and bees” one and the “travel” themed one.  Time is fleeting, madness takes its toll.  If I don’t increase speed on them, I will forget all the ideas before ever making a start!   

I bought the tuber for this dahlia from a lady at a market who gave me a selection of her favourites.  Little did I know that it was a complete thug and would tower over me and all its neighbours.  I am beginning to suspect that I should put it in with the Jerusalem artichokes and let them fight it out.  Speaking of Jerusalem artichokes, I have done a lot of research and have a plethora of recipes now, including pickled J artichokes! I shall use Mr Shoestring as a guinea pig in the coming weeks and report on the best recipes.  Also I have a recipe for quince vodka, which sounds heavenly.  (Mrs Peaceable is very generous with her quinces.)

Since we are cutting back on acquisitions, this coat hanger is our "best find" this week.  Kindly donated by my dear mama, it says "Consult The Government Tourist Bureau Free Service" and recommends says at  Chateau Tongariro, Waitomo Caves, Waikaremoana, and Milford Sound Hotel.  I like to think that some long ago guest stole it from their hotel wardrobe as a souvenir of their stay in such luxurious surroundings - I only wish my photo was better so that you could enjoy it in all its glory.