Sunday, August 30, 2009

Searching for Jewels in the Junk

A few months ago an elderly family friend passed away and my parents (who are almost 80, so hardly young themselves) were left as advisory trustees to her estate. Since Nola had no relatives what this meant in practice was that my parents and a few other friends were left with the task of largely cleaning out her house. This has had a big impact on all involved - we all now know where hoarding leads to and frankly it isn't pretty.

We all had some good laughs along the way (Why would anyone need to have 26 black skirts in her wardrobe? Is there any good reason to hold onto hats that have not been worn since WWII?) but without exception all of us who have worked on her home have come to look at our own with fresh eyes. There has been much intensive cleaning in my own home and many, many loads of things we no longer needed have been moved onto local charities in the hope that these items will be of use elsewhere.

For my parents they have taken to their lifetime of possessions and collections with unexpected vigour. I have long thought that I would have quite a job on my hands, in due course, but they have taken it as a challenge to deal to as much of it as they can now rather than leaving it for me. I have lost count of the number of times my mother has told me that she is determined not to leave me a mess like we were faced with earlier this year. We will see.

There has been a small downside to their activities - they seem to weekly turn up at my door with another box of "treasures" that they are planning to relocate from their house to mine. It's like a giant merry-go-round of "stuff". Many things I would have been happy to have never seen again. However there have also been some real treasures which I have been delighted to welcome into my life and home. I'm not sure my husband feels quite the same, but this is the real nub of the issue - one man's trash is truly anothers treasure.

One of the jewels I am delighted to be reunited with is the blanket that was knitted for me as a newborn my one of my aunts. It was knitted into squares so in no time at all I've been able to transform it into a new scarf for myself - aforementioned husband rolled his eyes, but my more textile inclined friends have been more impressed and not a little envious. I can still feel the love knitted into every stitch.
Having mentioned in my last post that the crocheted doilies appear to be breeding in my sewing room I can now offer potitive evidence, as this week my mother gave me every piece of crochet that her father had made. As you can see from the photo, he was reasonably prolific.
I'm trying to come up with a project to keep these all together so I know exactly which were his - perhaps stitched together to form a long table runner or maybe stitched onto a blanket. This would probably result in open rebellion from certain family members! But for me, it's lovely to have these links to my past - truly jewels to be treasured, hopefully for many years to come.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Poor neglected blog

It's been one bout of illness after another in our house - if it isn't bad enough looking after children getting ill in sequence I finally succumbed and this cold is a beast to shake. Its a true plague house here if it ever was one!

However I was very surprised when downloading the latest photos off the camera to discover that life over the last very weeks hasn't been completely full of bleakness and illness. I was reminded that at some point I found my way to the sewing machine and made this banner, inspired by much loveliness over at Ravenhill.

I made mine out out of old Japanese kimono fabric that I had and some of the many, many crochet doilies that appear to be breeding up in my sewing room. As I recall I'd gone to the sewing room with the intention of starting a new quilt but couldn't settle on what to do. So I decided that something small and easy would be the thing to get me stitching again. And it has worked as I now know what the next quilt will be... should I ever get shot of this cold enough to get cracking on it....

I also had a real flying visit to Christchurch which was a wonderful 20 hours of indulgence with fantastic food and wine and uninterrupted strolling in the Arts precinct, to be tempted by the creativity of others,and in the Christchurch Art Gallery, which is always full of interesting exhibitions. And even if the art isn't to your taste (not sure I will ever fully get my head around Et Al...) there is always the building to just marvel at and enjoy.