I found this fabric and thought it had a deco feel, so I'm going to try to unearth a genuine pattern and sew something for next summer deco.
While we were in the op shops I found two more landscapes for my ever-expanding art collection. They are hung on the walls at Shoestring Cottage now and I couldn't get very good pictures of them to show you because the walls are almost full and they are very high up, so even when I stood on a chair it was difficult to get a good picture. You get the general idea though. Now that I look again, I can see quite a bit more space where I could squeeze in a few more so the chase isn't over yet.
This one is of Lake Wakatipu, which we already have one painting of. It's hard to know how to hang them, sometimes we hung them by subject in the past (for instance, pictures with bridges in them), or by colour families, or style of painting. Mr Shoestring is very obliging and nimbly scrambles up and down each time there are more to add, though he and I sometimes disagree about the best configuration. (I have my suspicions that his approach is along the lines of hanging them as quickly as possible so that he can get on with other things. You would think that with such priceless works of art he would take more care, but no, it's all very slipshod and thoughtless if he's not in the right frame of mind.) I'm thinking of leaving my collection to the nation, I feel sure such a bequest would be received rapturously.
Another thing which I have been rounding up has been damask table cloths, and I recently added two more to my collection. They are such beautiful quality and it is interesting to note the change of style over time. Early ones are more finely representational of flowers and ferns whereas the later ones are more simply woven with less detail in the scenes represented, but they are usually in excellent condition because they have been treasured by their owners and brought out for "best", plus they are durable and well made. It seems sad that most people don't use them now, because the snowy whiteness sets off the look of a colourful meal set out temptingly. Also they are simple to launder. The last two I bought I was dubious about because they were rather discoloured, but they came up beautifully (apart from one small rust mark) after a bit of a soak.
Still looking for things to fill up the shadow box in the sewing room, I was intrigued by this tiny piece of coal carved into a "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" trio of monkeys. It is so cleverly done and must have been painstakingly slow to do I think.
After coming back from winter deco the days seemed to drag on interminably wintery, with rain and more rain. Though the shortest day has past it seemed as though we weren't making much progress towards spring. This weekend we have had two beautiful clear sunny days at last, though it has been very cold and frosty overnight at Shoestring. I just had to reward myself by having a go at a scrap quilt which took my fancy. It uses up all the 5" charm squares I have bought over the years so there is no guilt attached, apart from the fact that I should be beavering away on the stack of unfinished quilts I vowed to complete, of course. But it's been so much fun to cut the squares into quarters and then put them together with contrasting but sympathetic other pieces, it's quite addictive. I have in mind a solid buttery yellow homespun for the blocks in between the little four patch blocks; I seem to have a craving for warm yellow sunshine shades and I think it must be as a result of the long dreary grey winter.
Mr Shoestring is particularly susceptible to the lure of books (possibly because you can just chuck them into a bookcase and don't have the bother of finding picture hooks and hanging them up), and he treated himself to this lovely set which he found at the Sally Army.
"To close the day with a happy heart, and to find sleep and rest with a peaceful mind, these are two of the greatest blessings that help to maintain health and happiness."
Evidently it's also important to wear plenty of lipstick to bed and have one's hair set in perfect pincurls to ensure adequate rest.
My reading finds were along different lines, I collected together all these Agatha Christies so I can finally come to grips with her. I have to admit I selected according to the covers rather than the contents, so I might not have got the best of the large selection in the op shop, but it was a good start anyway.
The other book I have very much enjoyed recently and thoroughly recommend if you are interested in domestic history is this one: