Mar 31, 2011

House, Harvest and a Hip old lady.

Our house went on the market 1 week ago. Look at that lovely red door! I've always wanted a red front door.
2 More weeks and we will have to say goodbye to it.
Little old Dana walking up to me wanting a cuddle, she is 14: we hope our 3 cats will cope with the move. They are not young anymore and have never lived anywhere else, except for black De-ja-vu. He was a stray.
Lots of people have already come through our house, either with a real estate agent, or at the open home. We have worked very hard to make our house as presentable as possible, tidied and scrubbed everything, got rid of clutter ( a big job!), even put a new special coating on the kitchen benches.
But I feel very restless at night, I am not starting any sewing or art projects, those empty surfaces have to stay empty. It is so tidy, I feel I ought to be sitting at the edge of the chairs.
Last Saturday we all got up early and had a garage-sale, combined with friends. It was very successful, we made enough to pay for a bill and extra money for all members of the household. The rest of the things that didn't sell, we gave to a charity shop: a carboot full !
This week some people want to come back to see our house again for the second time!

My tomatoes this year did very well indeed. As a matter of fact, even though they were all staked up, the weight of the fruit made them all fall on top of each other into a big jungle. These messy plants have all been removed of course, but not before I managed to harvest 5 kg of tomatoes. I still have another kilo ripening up on the cut-off vines .
This year I also tried an aubergine or egg-plant. I managed to get 2 fruits from one plant, but an awful lot of flowers that didn't develop. Next time I might have to do some pruning. I put the egg-plants into a lasagna, yum!
Very pretty flowers though. But aubergines would have been better...

From this harvest I made pasta sauce. A big bunch of basil, 5 kg tomatoes, green bell peppers, zucchini, loads of chives and perpetual spinach, all homegrown!
I added onion and garlic and a few spices.

And ended up with 9 big jars of pasta sauce, which I will use in the winter time when I like to make macaroni with mince and cheese added. Very pleasing results for a small-time domestic goddess like myself!!
This is, or was, my Hip old lady. She is a Husqvarna ( or Viking)2000, model 6030 from 1973. She is mechanical and is self lubricating. She has an ingenious "colourmatic system" for embroidery stitches. Little cogs can be installed into the back and then by putting the dials onto the correct colour codes, you get different stitches.
I usually only use the zigzag and straight stitches, mind you. But the possibilities were there. The length and width of the stitches are fully adjustable and there is a reverse and the feed dogs can be dropped for free embroidery.
I got her from my sister-in-law years ago, when my simple little toyota sewing machine broke down. That was my first machine which I got from my parents at the age of 21, because I hadn't started smoking!! (I still pat myself on the back for not doing that, it helps when you get bronchitis at least once a year. Or like to smell flowers. Or hug your children without them turning away their faces.)
The husqvarna was not in a going condition when I got her. Her main shaft was seized up and she had to see the doctor, he managed to get her going again, although he admitted that he nearly gave up on her. I am glad he didn't though, for she has rattled along happily ever since with me through many hours in the studio.
And now I have sold her to a friend of mine , who wants to teach her young girls the funky art of sewing! You see, I have gone and updated my scandinavian lady for a much newer machine. A Janome probably from the late 70's!
Yes, still mechanical.
No, not a microchip in sight.
While sorting through my linen cupboard, I came across this old wall hanging my Mum made for my brothers. I remember it hanging on their wall when they were wee boys. It is made with a combination of felt applique and embroidery. She enjoyed making things for us when we were little.
My brothers will laugh now and at the same time roll their eyes; for here is proof yet again of their sister's hoarding abilities/ syndrome. I will of course simply smile and blame 2 generations of ancestors who have downloaded these genes into me without asking.

A sweet little front door with a golden lantern. Those flowers would have been fun to make.

A tiny fantasy bird. Teeny stitches with shiny mercerized cotton.
And 2 little baby toadstools, very fairytale like. When did she find time with 3 small children and a puppy spaniel?
Did it stir any memories, boys?

Mar 13, 2011

More mundane banality, please....

So 22 February was not a very nice day, to put it mildly, for New Zealand. Another big aftershock in Christchurch; smaller than the one in September last year, but much closer to the surface. Most of the older brick buildings in the business part of the city were destroyed, many people were killed and injured. The ground liquified . The death toll presently stands at 166, still a large number of people are missing.My family-in-law there are fine, they live in a suburb on the northern edges of the city.
If you want to know more please just google it, I feel too emotional to relay it all. This has affected everyone in this small national population. Everyone knows someone with Christchurch connections. There are countless ways to make donations too.

And now the absolute horror in Japan...
My sister-in-law is Japanese and her family are o.k. as well.
My thoughts are with all the victims.

We live on a live and kicking planet; we are so vulnerable...

Yet we are also a resilient species.
Here a link to a teacher's description of the first day back at school for Christchurch children . She manages to capture that bittersweetness much better than I can.

So some normal and more mundane happenings .
In January I visited the Napier Weavers to say hi to some of my fibre friends. Here my friend Heather is showing another friend's daughter how to paint designs on fabric. Heather is a very talented lady and knows her way around many and varied mediums, be they clay, paint, fibre or stone. Although she is now 70 she still teaches art, and works with young adults at risk.

Some of the gorgeous looms for the weavers use. Printing your own fabric is one thing, but actually designing the fabric itself from scratch is a whole different kettle of fish.

One of the members "dressing" the loom with the "warp". A precise job which needs some maths beforehand. And dexterous skills , not to mention good eye sight.
Which always makes me wonder how the old weavers in the 1800's did it in their little dingy cottages without electric light..?
A gorgeous hand-dyed silk warp is put on . Each thread goes through a different set of metal "heddles" depending on the pattern she wants for her cloth. This is a 4-shaft floor loom; it has 4 frames of metal heddles, which can move up and down independently when you push down their floor paddles.
A clever machine that doesn't need electricity to work!

One of the reasons I haven't been blogging lately ( apart from being completely distracted by the ongoing plight of Christchurch) is that things here at home are "afoot".
Most people in the world are nice. I really believe that.
A few are not. Just our luck they decided to live next door to us. We've had noisy neighbours before. Behind us a 16 year old keeps having his stereo confiscated by the noise control officers and then he quitens down again for a while. Too young to learn and an un-supporting parent who is hardly ever home. It's bearable.
The 28 year old next door however, has sunk lower and lower since his girlfriend left him. ( I will always call the police when I hear and see evidence of a bloke hitting a woman.)
The flatmates he got in, in order to pay the mortgage, love partying. 3 Times a week preferably and on the front lawn from 3p.m. to sometimes when it gets light again. Much manly roaring and swearing, girl's screaming and death-metal "music". Our girls started sleeping in the livingroom to get away from the noise; the man was un-approachable, became aggressive and abusive. Even worse after noise-control came to take away their stereo. Although we would have carried on with calling the authorities, it was becoming increasingly stressful in our household. My love didn't like coming home in case he saw them busy on the lawn, knowing what kind of night we had in store for us. So we started eye-ing up our street: a number of elderly women, with more health issues over the years, in houses that hadn't been updated for decades; cheap places once they'd have to go into a resthome or decided to leave. What kind of people would buy their houses? More of the same kind as next door if we were unlucky.....
Maybe it was the right time we should sell?
The thought alone at first made me weep, I couldn't even talk about it.
This has been our family home for 15 years, our girls grew up here. I have never in my life lived anywhere so long...
This picture shows the weeks' drinking by 3 people (fishwife drinks wine) without having a party. Other weeks it's one of those green wheelie bins stuffed full. You'd think they'd have a liver problem.
Certainly there seems to be a fore-brain problem with the concept of action and re-action.

Well, to cut this story short : we have bought a new house. And we will be shifting soon. And we are excited!!
In Napier, an opportunity knocked, and we opened the door to the cheapest house in a very good street. Now we have to sell this lovely home. So my love is finishing off his painting, there he is;
It is going to go well! It will be tip top looking inside and out, I am culling my hoarded treasures aggressively, cleaning curtains and throwing out spiders.
To add to our delight (and cursing Murphy's Law) the neighbours have been pretty quiet lately....

Weird Impulse Buy
from some time ago. Well not really weird, but unusual.
This vintage necklace and brooch in beautiful condition. Enameled metal leaves in soft sage green with flowers inset with coloured sparkly glass stones.( also called paste stones)
Sooooo Pretty! Don't know from what era, but I have been making it this era by wearing the brooch. I'd like to wear the necklace, but it is a bit too short. I might need to get a necklace extender or something like that. It was $5nz. Love at first sight...
It's just so girlie!