Monday, 3 August 2015

Wandering in Wellington

I was recently in Wellington for a long weekend, and the city was celebrating 150 years of being our capital. There were lots of public buildings open for tours behind the scenes, and free buses on the circuit. 

First on my agenda were two tours of the art and textiles departments of Te Papa, our national museum. Unfortunately I forgot my camera, so I took some photos on my ancient cell phone, but I can't work out how to transfer them to my new computer as it doesn't have an SD card slot!

Next I toured Government House, the official residence of the Governor General, Queen Elizabeth II's representative in New Zealand. It was a very warm day for the middle of winter. 
Because my photos were so bad, I went back the next day with a better camera.
 This gorgeous costume was made out of tapa cloth, which is made from mulberry bark in the Pacific Islands. I think it was made for the Wearable Art Awards.

 From the outside, it's a hideous mock-Tudor monstrosity built in 1910, but the interior was a revelation, packed with art and antiques. It's the closest thing we have to the stately homes in Europe, as we are such a young country, with very few aristocrats (fortunately).

 Lovely chandeliers in the ballroom. At the end is a portrait of Betty and a dais with two understated thrones where she sits when she visits Aotearoa.

 Part of the display of gifts from heads of state - this gilt robe was given to a previous G-G, Dame Silvia Cartwright. (Such is the smallness of NZ that I work with a relative of Silvia's.) Note the beautiful curtains in the background.

 Gifts from Pacific nations on a tivaevae quilt in purple, green, and pink.

 A miniature tutu given by the NZ Royal Ballet.

 Stunning blue silk curtains with silver tassels. I know, I'm totally obsessed with curtains.

 There was a sweet collection of embroidered cushions featuring NZ native birds in the formal living rooms.

 A painting of the house from the other side.

 The Women's Institutes of each city have made tapestry seat covers for the dining chairs.

 The aforementioned Dame Silvia, who is currently a judge in the Cambodia War Crimes Tribunal. 

 Each room has a specially designed carpet - I think this one depicts a flowering harakeke.

 A coat lushly embroidered with gold. I saw a similar one in Te Papa.

 One of the hilarious guides in drag on the free buses.

Part of the upstairs area was open, for the first time ever, but no photography was allowed, and the doors were roped off.
And there you have it - my first blog post in almost a year. I don't know why I've taken such a long break - a thousand things to do and never enough time, perhaps.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Reasons for blogging part one : with a special guest.

It's been so long (2 months) since I last blogged that I almost forgot how to do it.
But that doesn't matter because a visit from Australian blogger extraordinaire
Leisa of Vintage Bird Girl has inspired me to post.
I had to crop myself out of the picture because I am extremely vain and it wasn't a good photo of me!
It's lucky that Leisa's and my tastes are so similar -
her scarf is the same as a piece of fabric I have in a different colourway. 
  We had brunch and a long chat at Modaks Espresso and she gave me some wonderful gifts:
Some groovy fabric which I'm going to make into a skirt,
and some beautiful jewellery, a postcard and a rose dish.

Here are some clothes I've bought lately, most of them vintage:
A 1970s (?) nylon knit top which has lots of small holes
which you can't really see but will bug me until I patch them.
I'm going to make a mash-up with sleeves from another brown and yellow top I bought for parts.

A divine blue and white sundress 

A paisley nightshirt.

I love this sort of almost geometric pattern.

Faux-patchwork for summer if it ever gets here.
A psychedelic flying-saucer dress, not terribly vintage but I like it.

Another shirt-dress, from the Vintage Roundup fair, with a spot and iris print.
Here's a close-up of the leaves and berries:

The print on this one is heavenly.
Yes, I know, I wear a lot of purple and blue (see the name of this blog!)

This dress has a glorious ruffle around the collar.
I think these flowers are tulips (any gardeners out there agree?)
Reasons for not blogging:
I just haven't felt that motivated lately.
I have taken on a volunteer role in my spare time, and the restructuring at work is dragging on, so it all takes its toll.
It's not that I don't enjoy blogging, but other stuff gets in the way.
Anyhoo, I've got a large backlog of photos, so you never know when my next post will be.

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Another obligatory blogger deer.

Today was the shortest day and to celebrate I went on an op shop mission (5 shops in all) and things are looking up!

 This is most of today's booty - I'm particularly rapt with the deer tapestry which was $10.

A lovely glasses case.

A close-up of the deer.

Paisley fabric and a dress pattern - sadly not enough fabric for the dress but enough for a top or skirt.

An atomic carafe with a burner underneath - how cool is this?

A Norwegian Figgjo Flameware dish.

A mug by local potter O. C. Stephens - 1940s?

More Crown Lynn teacups for my collection.

Two necklaces - purple and silver.

Here's that tapestry again!

A purple paisley skirt I bought a few months ago and altered.

My friend Suzanne visited Melbourne recently and brought me back this lovely braid.
She said the shop made their own trims.
They have a lovely blog HERE
There seems to be a purple theme today - no apologies!

This is a gorgeous nylons box, Luxury Sheers by Canterbury, made in New Zealand.
It's made of card with a gold foil covering.
I doubt many tights are made here any more.
The nylons are gone but the artificial rose, complete with velvet petals, is intact.
I think it cost me $5 a couple of months ago.
The gift card reads "A gift for you for Xmas. From Denis and the girls."

I also found this rather splendid purple tassel.

And a lilac and green cardi with a curious asymmetrical fastening.

Masses of this dark green spotted and flowered fabric which had been locked away in a suitcase for 25 years so it's a bit mothbally. 

A small bit of linen with paisley and birds, which I might make into a skirt.

Two curtains which are a bit greener in real life - my camera flash doesn't do blue/green very well.
A few weeks ago we had a small Autumn snowstorm.
I was at home with a cold so I took these photos from my window.
The first one shows some frozen water drops on my maple tree.
And this is the front garden:
It was only an inch or so at sea level but it caused chaos.
The schools were closed, there were lots of accidents and lots of people didn't go to work.
It makes me laugh because when I was a child we sometimes took winter holidays at a ski resort in Central Otago.
Now that's where they have what I call real snow. 

Sunday, 18 May 2014

A woman's needlework is never done : NZ onward

Blogging has been good therapy because it gives me a prompt to look back and reflect about the last week(s).
Confession: I've kind of lost my blogging mojo lately.
Sometimes I don't know how to express myself but a picture can say 1000 words.
A fringed velvet embroidered wall-hanging from Egypt.
Found in an op shop in Balclutha.
I'm guessing that a soldier brought it back after World War 2 for his mother.
I love the naivety of it.
For thousands of years people have been embroidering, either to embellish an object or to express themselves. These are some little purses I've acquired.

I don't use them but I love to look at them and think about the hours that went into making them, the attention to detail and the perfectionism.
I'm a bit like that at work, although I'm not much of an embroiderer at home.

The rosebud-embroidered bodice of a dress, which I accessorised last week with a navy cardigan and my green rose collar.

An embroidered woollen scarf which is my current favourite, now that the weather has officially turned to custard. 

A tablecloth embroidered in beautiful colours.

A bag from Oxfam.

A knitting needle holder, bought online.
The needlework is exquisite.

A paisley embroidered handkerchief case, made by my Nana.
One of my most treasured possessions.

A nylon nightie with an embroidered yoke and pocket, from a Gore op shop.

An embroidered picture of Waitaki Girls' High School, Oamaru, crafted by my late mother when she was at school there.
On mother's day last weekend, I found myself missing her a lot.
The yellow behind is the colour of my living room walls.
I had to empty everything out last week so the ceiling could be repaired, plastered and painted.
Before I put everything back I am thinking of painting it a light cream as I will be selling the house in 5 to 10 years.
It was also too cluttered and I will have to sell some of my china collection.

A tablecloth embroidered with poppies, in honour of ANZAC day a few weeks ago.

A piece I bought online - the colours are amazing.
I just can't resist this sort of tablecloth - found in an op shop.
They look like passionfruit flowers.
Things around here have been pretty busy.
On top of packing everything in the lounge up, and dealing with insurance claims, builders and painters, my cat became ill and went missing for three days.
When she turned up she was sicker than before and needed a trip to the vet and a course of antibiotics.
One of the neighbour's cats, Archie, has been constantly tormenting her in my garden and I suspect he was the cause of the wound in her head.
I finally lost patience with him and turned the garden hose on him, and he hasn't been seen since.
Lola can't stick up for herself at the moment.
The stress at work continues, with more budget and staff cuts looming because of our city's financial woes.
First world problems.
I've just been to see a film called Bella, about a mixed-race woman in England in the 18th century.
Highly recommended and a bit of a tear-jerker.
So I think about embroidery, and how women (and men) over the years have enjoyed it and escaped into it and made beautiful things out of just a few scraps of thread.