Monday, April 27, 2015

Autumn Glories

I realise it has been a while, even longer than I thought now that I look back and see when I last dabbled my toes in the blogosphere.  But I have had a lovely visit from number two daughter, a now London based offspring and one thing and another, time has slipped away from me.  Now that I have time to draw breath (and sob uncontrollably at the departures gate) I can assure you that I haven't been idle for the last couple of months.

In order to make the seat more comfortable on one of the chairs at Shoestring Cottage I made this sumptuous down filled cushion, but what I failed to take into account was the fact that it really needed a lining of feather proof fabric and there is the teeny tiny problem of the feathers poking out in an attempt to escape their narrow confines.  I fear some remedial work is needed but the look is very pretty all the same - using left over fabric from the upholstering of the cane lounge suite plus an op shop feather duvet (it took a whole duvet to fill one cushion, who would have thought it?) and an old Sanderson sample this came out quite well.  

I met up with my old friend Ma'am and we had an outing to the gardens where there just happened to be a collectors fair in progress and I had to snaffle this pansy encrusted cup and saucer, which I intended to use every day.  When it came down to brass tacks though I new I would be the owner of a few shards of pansy coloured china within a short time, so it has gone into my cabinet of treasures in the sewing room, where I can gaze upon it fondly while pondering where vital perquisites may be hiding themselves.

That inspired me to press on with the pansy inspired crazy quilt this weekend, and two more blocks are complete and ready for embellishment with embroidery, always a mouth watering prospect.

I have made progress with the plan to complete all the UFOs in the quilt cupboard and this one came to the top of the list.  You can't make out the design clearly from this small picture but it is a colour wash effect of 5 inch squares and each square is going to be quite heavily quilted (why do I always plump for the heavily quilted effect, I wonder?) and I managed to get 5 squares done this weekend.  

I have to admit to starting one new collection, though.  (The opposite of the striving for completing projects and cutting back on treasure.)   I had bought this marquetry picture once at a flea market and low and behold,

at the shop at the dump there was another beautiful one, and when I was about to buy it the very obliging young man who sold it to me advised that there was a "sister" piece out the back!  How convenient!  It would have been harsh to separate them, after all.  The one below has been varnished and I feel I would like to take the shiny varnish off and make it look similar to the other two, but if I attempt that it could ruin the whole thing so I will leave it alone ... for now.

I was recently up in the highest of my high cupboards in the sewing room and searching for a book I had promised to lend to Madame La Poste.  It turned out to be a veritable treasure trove up there and I spent a happy time doubled over (the space is very limited) and crawling about searching for the book, which I never did find.  But I did find the chart to complete this fabulous tiny embroidery and another one 

of two wonderful barn swallows, which I am itching to start on.  But not yet of course, quilting and crazy quilting calls first.  

My dear Mama continues to curry favour with Mr Shoestring and he has built himself a pile of the old leather suitcases she has given him (why he put them in the opening to the fireplace I will never understand, with winter being upon us) complete with their old luggage tags.  It intrigued me when I saw that they are stamped with notices authenticating their construction materials, even when they were made there must have been imitation leather about.  I would like to fill them with my stitching requirements and fabrics but I fear the contents would be very stinky after a while so I will have to find some way to make them more fragrant, or at least less musty.  

In the garden we have had a strange season, the gale force winds and torrential rain this weekend have come at the end of a lovely autumn and there was still one Monarch caterpillar on the swan plant this weekend.

Camellias and dahlias are in blossom along with roses and still the subtropical apricot coloured brugmansia is putting on a spectacular display.

And as far as collections go, I had to bring home this pretty cup from the Salvation Army shop (and it

came with two saucers because one cup must have been broken at some time

and then my dear Mama gave me this coffee pot for my birthday present, how did she know she would be responsible for starting yet another collection?  It wasn't her fault, after all. 

I am very pleased with myself because the tulip needlepoint is on its way to completion, but one thing worrying me is the fact that I bought a ball of knitting wool for the background, and it is beginning to look as though one ball is nowhere near enough.  It may come down to a big unpicking festival and a lot of swearing and cursing, false economy and wasted time.