Sunday, 10 December 2017

An afternoon with the Corsini's

Today I met up with my friend and together we visited the Corsini exhibition at the Auckland Art Gallery.   A fantastic collection of renaissance paintings from the private collection of the illustrious Corsini's whose history goes back to somewhere around 1300 and includes a family saint, three cardinals and Pope Clement XII.   I was interested as I had read that one painting was by Caravaggio and another by Botticelli.  Well, I didn't hit it off with Caravaggio but the Botticelli was amazing!
The two angels on the left hold the hyssop and the spear, while the two on the right hold the nails and the crown of thorns.  Mary has her eyes closed "as she anticipates what is to come"  - the notes told me all this.  But I was most impressed with the painting of the velvet robes of the Madonna.   I felt that if I reached out and touched they would be soft and luxurious.   Well done Botticelli.
It was a well curated display and obviously every effort had been made to impress - this is the first time the private collection has left Florence.  Fancy coming to the Anitpodes on your first overseas trip!   The portrayal of the robes, the lace, the velvet, the brocade was amazing and the ornate carved wooden gilded frames were to be envied.   Some of the ancestors looked forbidding and one Cardinal was distinctly austere.   The religious iconography was interesting; I hadn't realised there were so many styles of halo.   The two paintings which were the samples painted for the ceiling frescos were incredibly detailed - one was of smiling fat cherubs carrying the palace and the coat of arms heavenward.   A facsimile of that one was on the ceiling in the room which had the ornate table setting of Corsini family china and cutlery and reinforced that the rich and famous live totally different lives. 
Obviously castles are cold places and this huge portal curtain was on display - not for its draught stopping qualities but because it bears the coat of arms of the family.    Embroidered in gold and silver on a heavy velvet type of fabric it had survived the centuries reasonably intact.
Thank you to the princes and princesses of Corsini for your generosity to Aucklanders in allowing your valuable painting to come to our City.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Christmas has arrived at my house

I have had a productive weekend and two Christmas finishes are now done.
Neither would be given a 100% pass mark for construction but given they will appear for only one month each year  I am happy with them and will enjoy them
The Heirloom Nativity Sampler by Victoria Sampler was stitched on the designated fabric and with the thread and beads finishing kit sent all the way from Canada.   This one was on the wish list for a long time (7 or 8 years?) so I am well pleased to have it done.   The tightwad in me didn't want to purchase a hanger for the top so I snapped an old bamboo knitting needle to the correct length using my Dad's old pliers and sharpened the point with my heavy duty pencil sharpener.   Two wooden beads from stash - some glue and some brute force and voila!  The silver and white cord came with a bunch of flowers some time ago and has been kept "in case it is needed" :-)
The Quaker Christmas Sampler was stitched to be framed but fiscal prudence dictated that was an unnecessary expense so I have created a runner for the top of my wooden coffee table.   I matched the quilting fabric to the thread of the sampler and am very pleased with it.   The deeper red 'ends' are perfect for a couple of Christmas Ornaments - the first of which is Hardanger Angel Number 1.   Her big sister Hardanger Angel Number 2 is still without a body, a head, arms or even a skirt so she will not be appearing this Christmas :-(
Yesterday the DBEM and I went to the shopping mall for the last time until 2018.  An aged parent using a Zimmer Frame and the Christmas crowds do not mix well and it was a test of patience for both of us.  We are having a quiet Christmas this year - just the two of us -  and with the DBEM's dietary limitations it will not be the traditional fare either.   If the weatherman is to be believed it will be fine and hot so we may take a gourmet picnic to the park and enjoy the wonderful Pohutukawa which flowers Christmas Scarlet at this time of the year.

Friday, 1 December 2017

Frustrating Friday is Finished

It has been a long week.  A very long week.   And today, Friday was a long and frustrating day.
But there was one episode to brighten my day.
After spending all day up at the prison yesterday (for work!) I was surprised to find this on my desk this morning.   Well it was actually in a box and well concealed.   I won this for participating in our Spring Challenge at work and coming .......fourth!
It's cute but would be difficult to drink from. 
We are promised a fine weekend so the car will get washed and chores will get done.

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Silver Anniversay

Today was a day for celebration so I was up early this morning cooking.
Part of that was two ginger cupcakes for the Silver Anniversary.   Shall I tell you who and why?
Today marks 25 years since the DBEM came up to Auckland to live with me.   We have looked back nostalgically over the time, remembering overseas holidays and those in beauty spots around New Zealand; a shopping weekend in Sydney when Continental Airlines flew the Tasman (the DBEM still feels guilty about that one); concerts and shows we attended together; countless shopping trips to yarn stores and the bad years when we had frequent flyer status at the City Hospital. 
Good health and good weather combined to make today a very happy day of celebration.   Here's to the next ?? years.

PS The DBEM says she wants a commemorative photo when she is dressed in Sunday best so we will do that tomorrow after church.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

An unwelcome visitor

This evening I noticed a mark on one of the vertical blinds in my sun porch and went out to investigate.   It didn't look like dirt .
When I moved the panel of the blind - here was the culprit.
At least he was on the outside of the glass - obviously enjoying the warm sun and spinning an ever growing web.   My first job for Saturday morning will be to get out the ladder and re-home this fella.
But for tonight I am back on my hardanger angel.

PS   The book about the tsunami victims didn't haunt my dreams last night.  But I did have an appointment on the 29th floor of a waterfront building in the city today and admit to a feeling of unease.   To think, they probably pay premium rent for their location and views but haven't given a though to earthquake or tsunami risk.   Well inland and single story for me from now on :-)

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

In which I attempt constructing an angel

Having completed this years ration of Christmas ornaments I pulled out the next ziplock bag from the construction pile.   Blithely I opened it up to find....
the stitching is not completed.   There are several hours of fancy lacework.   I am halfway done the wings and then there is the long border of the skirt.   You can see the foundations of that at the top of the photo. 
Just as well I love hardanger!
But tonight my favourite stitching is competing with a gripping book.
I'm hoping that my dreams tonight will not be haunted by this heartbreaking account of the tragedy at Okawa Primary School during the Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami of 2011

Friday, 17 November 2017

A snowman

A couple of hours, some determination, a pair of rather tired eyes and the roly poly snowman is completed. 
The kit came with a circular bottle green plastic frame so tomorrow I will lace him up and slot him in ready to add to the Christmas package travelling to Kazumi.   She placed an order for him but the other contents of the parcel will be a surprise:-)