Monday, February 16, 2015

Prepping For Deco

Every February the messages start to fly frantically back and forth between fellow Decophiles as we count down the days before we all converge at TCOTU (The Centre Of The Universe) for annual art deco weekend in Napier.  Furs are aired, costumes are inspected for any signs of wear and tear and a few running repairs are undertaken.  And every year I vow and declare that next year I will be better prepared and not leave things until the last minute.  Well it was another last minute effort this weekend, as per usual, in the scorching hot weather.  We seem to have packed much more efficiently this year though, using our old leather cases rather than polypropylene bags from the $2 shop.  The clothes are the least of our worries, it's all the handbags, shoes and hats which take up most of the space.  But one must have the correct accessories, they really to make the difference darling!  Next year I will do better ...

Now Mr Shoestring is not given to romantic gestures (or he may well be, but not where I am concerned).  However for some reason this year he pushed the boat out and ordered me a vintage style bike for Valentine's Day!  It will take about six weeks to arrive but it is a beautiful pale green shade and will have a dear little basket too.  Of course this means that I will actually learn to become a competent bike rider rather than a person who consistently falls into blackberry bushes and emerges dripping with blood and shaking.  After all, we can't have such a beautiful bike being damaged.

One good turn deserves another and I proudly presented Mr Shoestring with the hat box he had been visiting in the second hand shop near Shoestring Cottage, which pleased him mightily.  Even the colour is deco and it still has its New Zealand Rail check in sticker on one side.  It seems that people liked to make sure in those days that things were securely fastened; the hat box has not one, not two, but three catches to ensure no adventurous hats could make their escape.

It wasn't all toiling over a hot iron this weekend though, it was the monthly Matamata markets and what a fabulous haul of treasure.  This little fellow was just begging to come home to Shoestring Cottage, he was leaping for joy once I put him on the wall.  

His colouring is beautifully faded and though he has lost a bit of his gloss he hasn't lost any of his joie de vivre!

And this deco looking girl has taken up residence alongside the other two I already had.  She looks a bit haughty and superior but I'm sure in time she will get used to her reduced circumstances and enjoy life in a shadow box in a cottage.  Or at least tolerate it with better grace. 

Her companions look a little perplexed to find a newcomer alongside but they will learn to rub along nicely in time.  

One thing which gave me a nostalgic thrill was finding this IBM typewriter golf ball.  When these typewriters were introduced they were the epitome of all that was state of the art, cutting edge and technologically advanced in offices.  Where I worked only the secretaries of senior partners (it was a law firm) had access to these magical machines.  We used to have to type documents in triplicate and every time an error was made it involved correcting the carbon copies as well, how time consuming and frustrating it was.  The more careful you were not to make a mistake, the more seemed to appear as if by some kind of horrible magic.  At nights the typewriters were all lovingly covered with plastic covers, there was some fear that dust might somehow get into the workings and damage them from what I can remember.  And now these things seem so quaint and antiquated!  

There was a delightful fruit plate to hang in the trees outside and replace one which flew off in a storm and smashed to smithereens.  It set me back $2 but I endured the enormous expenditure for the sake of garden ornamentation.

And four champagne flutes which look pretty with a cooling summer drink - a berry, some ice, some rose water and tonic water, just the thing on a hot summer's afternoon.  They have a pattern of grapes on them and I can imagine them on the set of Mad Men only with a sophisticated cocktail perhaps.  

The tomatoes and passionfruit are cropping well even if the grass is turning into brown felt rather than green velvet.  

It wouldn't have been a well balanced weekend without a touch of stitching and I finally got around to making the teatowel I bought in Brighton into a cushion to go with one from Napier.  Instead of choking myself on second hand duvet feathers this time I cheated and put a feather pillow inside, much quicker and less bothersome on a hot summer day. 

Maybe the best part of the weekend though was visiting with Madame La Poste and being allowed into the inner sanctum, her work room.  What an Aladdin's Cave it was!  A place for everything and most things in their place, baskets with fabrics all ready for the next project, a design wall with her crazy quilt almost completed, inspirational pictures and everything to warm the cockles of a quilter's or embroiderer's heart.  I came away feeling newly inspired and less guilty about my scheme to start work on a new quilt; after all, if it's good enough for Madame La Poste it's good enough for me.  I do think she was rather unkind to belittle my use of brown but each to his own!  Thank you Madame La Poste for a look into that magical place.