Sunday, October 9, 2016

Torrid Times

I've been absent from the blogosphere for a while with bad health and then the near loss of dear little Shoestring Cottage to fire.  The house next door to Shoestring caught fire and was destroyed; luckily nobody was hurt though, and all occupants were able to escape before the worst damage was done. The wonderful volunteer fire fighters who turned out from towns all around did an amazing job and saved Shoestring, though it was too late to be able to save the house next door.  When I put my crystal sculptures in the garden I thought I might one day lose them to wind but it never occurred to me that fire would be the culprit.  The repair of the cottage and garden will take a while but if we take things one step at a time we will get there.  Melted spouting and blistered paint are small problems when we think what might have been. 

Life goes on though and at the markets this weekend we were pleased to find this painting to go on the walls already collapsing under the weight of our collection of priceless art works. This is so evocative of the Waikato, and when you can see it in "real life" you get a sense of the sun going down at the end of a winter day, with the last light glowing on the distant hills and illuminating the leafless trees.  Of course it doesn't fit the "theme" of any of the collections of paintings and so it might just be the start of a new one.  

At the markets I almost crowed with delight when Mr Shoestring found me three more glasses to add to the 1953 royal visit collection, it really is becoming quite substantial now and we're even getting some matchy matchy pieces; in time we could be able to host a royalist party and provide our guests with plates and glassware, though the plates seem more difficult to find.  

A long time ago I had a few beautiful old handkerchiefs with embroidery so fine and detailed that I always stopped to admire them when I came across them in my sewing cupboard.  Though they served no practical purpose I thought it might be pretty to sew them all onto a sheer voile curtain to display them better and this week I found some beauties.  Actually I think I have more than enough now for the curtain but the thrill of the chase makes me pick them up when I see them.  I must remember to take some to art deco weekend next year, because a lady would never be without a hanky in those times, though some of them are so tiny and fragile that it's hard to imagine them being practical when pressed into service.

The top one is cream silk and the embroidery is very subtle and pretty.   

Another find was an embroidered picture of a cosy cottage complete with water wheel, worked in minute detail using cottons.  The person who worked this took so much time and care, it would be a shame for it to be neglected and unappreciated.  

Another thing which has given me a lot of pleasure lately is searching for plates like these, as a joke Christmas present for my dear mama.  The three with poems on them all have the same poem, very sentimental.  

To one who bears the sweetest name
And adds a lustre to the same
Who shares my joys
Who cheers when sad
The greatest friend I ever had
Long life to her for there's no other
Can take the place of my Dear Mother

I was hoping that when I gave her the collection she would think I gave them seriously, have to pretend to be pleased and vow to treasure them forever.  I know though that she will instantly realise they are a joke, and insist on giving them back to me so I can smash them up for mosaics.  It's worth a try though.  

We recently salvaged an old light fitting from The Firstborn when she and her husband were renovating their first home.  Of course they thought it was horribly ugly and we couldn't let it be discarded, so we dragged it to Shoestring and Mr Shoestring very cleverly used some solar garden lights and converted it to be an outdoor chandelier.  The weather has been horrible; it's been the wettest spring we can remember and we despair of ever having outdoor evening meals but if the weather ever does oblige us with some sunshine and warmth we will happily sit under our solar powered outdoor chandelier.  The lights stay strong for a long time after sundown, the birds who spend their nights in the garden may have been a bit perplexed to begin with but it doesn't seem to have scared them away.  They have been enjoying splashing about in the birdbath, which is odd as there is so much water in the puddles and all around the district.

Roll on summer is all I can say, warm days  and nights spent outdoors.  I've found a few old straw hats which I'd like to decorate for Art Deco Weekend in Napier next February and want to experiment with the best way to colour them to match deco costumes, but it's proving a bit scary; after all it would be a shame to ruin them.  One day soon I'll just have to bite the bullet and take to one of them with either water colours (but imagine if it rained, which it always seems to be doing, and the colour ran all over a person's hair and face and clothing) or maybe watered down acrylic paint.  It will be a challenge, at any rate.  Some lengths of op shop silk are there, ready for making evening wear. it's just a question of getting started instead of leaving things until the week before, which is my usual approach.

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