Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Cutting a Rug

We went to the local RSA on Saturday night with the Cannucks to see Roy Orbison and Elvis (yes, I know, I thought they were dead too but apparently not), and practice our fabulous dance moves.  The Cannucks cut a pretty impressive rug with their rock and roll and Mr Shoestring and I contented ourselves with trying to dust off a bit of rock and roll and some swing, also one or two sedate foxtrots.  I tried not to be annoyed with Mr Shoestring when he realised I had forgotten to don my net petticoat and began ever more vigorous spins to make my skirt fly up, and the whole outing was a great success.  We gave Mr and Mrs Cannuck fish chowder and a nice fruity pudding beforehand so they wouldn’t be overfull for the dancing and I have almost forgiven Mrs Cannuck for refusing my offer of some recently unearthed Jerusalem artichokes – she said she could still remember the bad effects she suffered from last year’s supply.  Some people are just not grateful! 

The weather was pretty dire, although the night was beautifully clear on Friday with not a cloud to blot out the pretty light on the mast at the top of the mountain by Saturday morning the rain had commenced and it continued for the whole weekend so a quick trip to the library was just about the extent of our other outings. 

I continued with the quilting on the latest quilt and the background for the tulip needlepoint but I have decided that although I love the look of a lot of quilting on a quilt, in the foreseeable future I will be content with making a very simple quilt with backing and some ties in well chosen spots to hold the two layers together, and not a lot of quilting, possibly none.  Otherwise I will never get onto starting all the quilts which are spinning around in my head. 

Next weekend is a long weekend and I want to “dress” a hat for winter deco with some colourful silk flowers and some leaves, possibly a bit of net and a few buttons and extras to make it fun to wear.  I have a few cloches and other felt hats to choose from and have a yen for a bit of colour to add some zing to my winter deco costumes.  Winter deco is great fun because apart from the fact that the furs can come out, there is a lot of choice in hats because of the felts not feeling too hot and oppressive (which they can sometimes do in summer, though One must Suffer for One’s Art of course). 

I am thinking if I deconstruct this flower and add in some silk leaves and pretty stamens I could end up with a magnificent chapeau to wow my fellow attendees!  (Things never seem to turn out quite how I anticipated, but I always start out in an optimistic fashion, expecting the best.) 

There is hardly anything flowering in the garden and even the fish were looking somewhat despondent and lacking in energy, perhaps even fish can get too much water in the form of rain or maybe the cooler weather is making them sluggish. 

A few weeks ago when I started cutting 1 inch hexagons out of my scrap fabrics in order to get through them all I found it a very tiresome and laborious task, also the basting of the hexies over their papers was tedious in the extreme.  Over time though I think I have sadly developed a veritable addiction to cutting yet more and more hexies, thousands of them in fact, and even enjoy the basting.  When Mr Shoestring is driving and I am free to stitch I have started keeping a tally of how many I can baste and keep trying to improve on my record.  I have begun to find little stashes of cut hexies and basted hexies and papers in various places and realise that it really is time to seriously think of a few projects to use them up, rather than just stitching random rows of them and never doing anything with them.  Apart from some cushions for the outdoor chairs a bag or two might be handy and I have these old frames, picked up at op shops over the years, which would be ideal.  Also a couple of modern handles which could be fun.  There are a lot of possibilities, now I just have to take myself firmly in hand and stitch all the random rows and random partly made rectangles into something useful!

Lately a new theme has emerged,sewing notions, irons, paper dolls and what not.  Before that there were small florals and also the chickens and roosters, it changes from week to week!  All in all a most eclectic selection in the end.  

I have a collection (yet another collection) of old handbag frames, collected from op shops over the years, and these could be ideal for turning some of the hexagons into bags.  

The most surprising treat last weekend though was when Mrs Peaceable gave me a lovely selection of old crocheted and embroidered pieces.  There was a set of pansy pieces which fitted perfectly with the last remaining flowers in the garden at Shoestring Cottage.  

Who could resist them, and they have an unusual three dimensional pansy as well! 

But the piece de resistance had to be this swan doyley complete with the little black markings at the base of the beak, and the eyes also.  Each swan is stuffed at its base (that sounds wrong somehow, but you understand what I mean) with a cotton wool ball!  I couldn't make the swans all stand up properly for a photo call, they were a little exhausted after their time crushed up with all the other treasures, but I will revive them and change the photo forthwith.  You will be astonished!

Monday, May 18, 2015

The Arbitrary and Unpredictable Nature of Attractiveness

(Or in other words, Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder)

This weekend Mr Shoestring and I were on one of our companionable walks and after a while he noticed that I was falling behind from time to time, and demanded to know why.  I showed him the beautifully coloured autumn leaf I had picked up and explained that I wanted one perfect leaf to pin on my wall at work (where the sun never shines and the light of the sun is replaced by fluorescents) to remind me of the changing seasons outside.  This brought on a serious search by Mr Shoestring and I was presented with a wide assortment of leaves of different shapes, colours and states of decay which I culled down to a few likely prospects.

Eventually I found myself laughing uncontrollably because I was reminded of walks on the seashore with young children when they gather an array of shells or pebbles.  I have been caught out in this situation before when I have surreptitiously discarded 50 or so of them, having looked at them and thought "Why would anybody think this was special, it is completely ordinary and has nothing to recommend it?", only to return home and be forced to lie, and pretend that I must have lost the treasures because of a hole in my pocket, when asked to present them for inspection.  At this stage I understand that I have lost all credibility in the eyes of the children because I am so foolish that I can't even keep hold of treasure while on a walk. What is special and beautiful to one person is commonplace and dull to another, it seems.  It is similar to the way that your old boyfriend takes up with somebody completely unsuitable and with no redeeming features, and you are astonished to discover this, but it is none of your business and you definitely can't comment on it.

Recently a couple of pretty china pieces were broken at Shoestring Cottage and number two daughter suggested a spot of mosaicing to use the pieces.  That was a brilliant idea but not content with taking on a small project I decided to mosaic the fish pond, and you would be very surprised to see just how little surface area a side plate and a cup will cover.  The search was on for cheap but colourful bits of china in the local op shop.

I have stuck some of the pieces into place already but not grouted in between them, I will do that once the entire surface is covered.  It is good fun though surprisingly difficult to make all the miscellaneous shapes fit together in a pleasing way.  I may end up filling in some of the gaps with tiny pieces and perhaps add some shells and glass marbles in places, also handles of the cups and other three dimensional bits and pieces.  Number two daughter also suggested I get a miner's lamp on a hard hat so I can continue at night time, but that would just be silly!  (I wonder if they are readily available?)  This weekend I found these pretty pieces to add to the mix.  At first it was difficult to take to things with my hammer, but in a surprisingly short space of time it became quite enjoyable.

I bought this salad bowl for 20 cents with the idea of smashing it up too, but it was so attractive in a retro way that I couldn't bear to.  It would be a shame to ruin it and it would be useful for a summer salad.  

 Because the weather is finally becoming autumnal I didn't feel so bad about spending a lot of time fossicking around in the sewing room playing with the contents of the big dresser

Some progress was made on the needlepoint and quilt but I somehow became distracted by the beautiful remnants of toiles I had stashed in various places and had to gather them together and inspect them.  Most are blue but there are some sepia toned and purplish coloured ones also.  I wracked my brain for a way to use them so that the larger than usual scale scenes depicted can be shown off to best advantage and hit upon the idea of putting "frames" of hexagons around them and then making them all interlock.  It can't be started yet obviously because of the 10 or so other quilts still under way and the fact that it is definitely forbidden to start any more, but it is a very beguiling idea and I feel sure there must be a perfect solution.

Even if I never find it, just turning the possibilities over in my mind is very satisfying.