Valuing the strands and threads

As if I needed any more challenges in life, but apparently I do;

because last month, I added  another task to my portfolio, by challenging myself to help an older family member declutter items which have been in the family for at least 60 years, and possibly longer.

As the expression goes, ‘What was I thinking?’  Some rather vainglorious and grandiose thoughts, I must confess, especially considering I haven’t even finished decluttering my home.  Be that as it may, part of the challenge, for me, is to learn how to sell online.

And I am  learning….. things like, it’s not easy to get your product noticed, and it’s not easy to make any money. ( I can hear some of the writers among you having a  knowing giggle!)  So far, I have had 5 sales out of the 6 items placed on the New Zealand  equivalent of eBay, known as Trade Me. I have made enough for two cups of coffee. πŸ˜€

Take a look at what I have done, and what I may do yet to add some cream to the coffee.

Sold!

Sold! a beautiful, unfinished retro tray cloth

Sold! a beautiful, unfinished retro tray cloth

Sold!

Sold! Vintage crochet thread remnants

Sold! Vintage crochet thread remnants

Yet to sell!

Yet to sell! Vintage embroidery cottons and nasturtium embroidery piece

Yet to sell! Vintage embroidery cottons and nasturtium embroidery piece

Unsold! Unwanted? Unloved? Uncool?

Unsold, potentially unwanted! Powder puff and crochet holder.

Unsold, potentially unwanted! Powder puff and crochet holder.

Yet to list!

Lister's knitting silk, reels and cotton

Lister’s knitting silk, reels and cotton; possibly antique

Looking at these photos, you might ask, wouldn’t it be easier and more efficient to help by dispatching everything to a thrift store or a skiff? Undoubtedly it would.

BUT

my heart says every item in my relative’s house arrived  there through love and/or hard work, and  often via much saving of pennies. Cottons and threads, for example, would have been gifted, or chosen with  care and extreme thrift. At one time, they meant a great deal to someone or other in my extended family. They gave pleasure, and comfort, and much-needed beauty, and, sometimes, a little extra cash.  So, the very least I can do is honour them and give them a gracious,  kindly send-off to a new home. πŸ™‚

PS (post strands): Many of you will know that on  22nd February we, the people of Christchurch, will  commemorate  the 5th anniversary of the ruinous earthquake of 2011. Most of us were hoping for an easier and quieter  commemoration than in other years. We were beginning to feel well- adjusted to the ‘new normal’. Unfortunately, the peace in our minds was badly scrambled by a 5.7 earthquake last week. Old, unwelcome memories came racing back. And, as the ground has rumbled and rocked all week to varying degrees,  the old memories have taken a firm hold again.

Preparing  the old threads and cottons for sale, holding them, admiring them, wondering about them,  saying goodbye, reminds me that although we say, in times of natural disaster, that possessions are unimportant, that is not entirely true. Possessions have their own ‘life’, their own history, which is intimately connected to ours.  As I write I am remembering all  those people in Christchurch who lost homes and belongings 5 years ago, and who didn’t have the luxury of saying a proper goodbye to them and everything they represented; memories, love, beauty, place, friends, birthdays, hard work, extravagance, thrift, income, hope, laughter, grief……..

And on another strand; the small island nation of Fiji is  tonight meeting one of the greatest challenges in its history ~ Cyclone Winston https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2016/02/19/catastrophic-cyclone-winston-bears-down-on-fijis-main-island-in-worst-case-scenario/  Please hold Fiji and its people tight in your thoughts over the next few days as they face the prospect of losing life and property.

Β© silkannthreades

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158 thoughts on “Valuing the strands and threads

  1. Inese Poga Art plus Life

    Arts and crafts take lots of time to make and materials cost also. I’m leasing a place, or basically husband is paying for it, and I feel bad about all this because my cost is 30K a year, but I make something like 2000, mostly in classes. I haven’t sold much, a few pieces recently which I rather gave away than sold. Well, I’m blaming my health and inability to work enough, but I know what you mean, at least I would be extremely happy with some art sales. When I get depression episodes I want to through them all out, or burn or poor paint over them. I calm down later and so they are just taking all space. Unfortunately, I am extremely good with drawing and therefore, I cannot waste paper or canvas for abstracts, but imaginatively realistic art doesn’t sell. Rarely watercolors do, and it is easier to ship them, as well.
    I like how you are committed to your creativity and creation. I also like any kind of self-made and crafted things. As opposed to mass-made and store-sold, these ones have so much more warmth, so much more personality and even feelings embedded in them.
    I’m happy you found my blog thanks to Cynthia and so I found your blog!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I am surprised that realistic art and water colours are not big sellers. I didn’t know this. I do know our consumer culture is weird. We are happy to spend $20 on wine or a meal out but think a book or a piece of art is too expensive at roughly the same price. And we easily spend $30 on a toy for a child but rarely think to buy them an art work for a gift!

      Reply
  2. Tish Farrell

    I love these compositions, Ann. They almost spur me to start stitching – although I only ever embroider in my head. Wishing you calmer times, and respite for your daughter.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Tish, good to see you. Thanks for visiting, most especially because your visit has brought to my attention the fact that WP has unfollowed me from your blog…grrr. And thanks for your good wishes. Calm comes in brief interludes. πŸ™‚ Love the embroidery in your head. I have a good collection stored in my head, too.

      Reply
  3. cindy knoke

    “And with a silken thread plucks it back again.”
    “Valuing the strands and threads”
    Now I know why you quote Juliet.
    You both want to hold to your beloveds.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Awww, so we do, so we do. My beloved daughter is in hospital (in Australia) at the moment trying to get some more help with her mental health difficulties. She said the hospital offered some embroidery classes for relaxation. I urged her to try it but so far she has only felt strong enough to observe.

      Reply
  4. restlessjo

    Just popping in to say hello πŸ™‚ I haven’t been keeping abreast of the situation but haven’t seen anything on the news so hoping things have settled down. Mini dramas at home because my son’s car was shunted from behind into a taxi on his way to work this week. He was stationary and not responsible but the aftermath has been difficult as he needs to drive for work. The good news is that James is ok. A bit shook up and sad that his pretty car is looking sad but intact, thank God. My resourceful husband has taped the back bumper up so it’s still drivable whilst insurance etc is sorted. Life! πŸ™‚ Sending you hugs!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Jo, thanks for checking in on me. πŸ™‚ The land is a bit calmer, (dare I speak?).
      I am hoping to find time to put up a post to say I will be away from my computer for a while. I want to have some ‘me’ time, but also I have visitors this month, and then I will be off in early April to visit my parents in Cairns again.
      Glad your son is okay. Accidents, no matter how small, are always stressful.
      Also stressful, and another reason I need some ‘me’ time/downtime is that my daughter is back in hospital in Cairns on account of her mental health troubles. I am ever so glad she is in hospital, but the process of getting her there was very fraught and exhausting. I am hoping for a much healthier person when I go over in April. Hugs returned. Life, indeed!

      Reply
  5. womanseyeview

    How did I miss commenting on this – I distinctly remember reading it and the ‘threads’ jumped out at me because your photos are just lovely. I am a serial cross stitcher and although there will be very little clutter I leave behind it will include a pile of cross stitched designs that I still think I might make into pillowsπŸ˜‰. I hope you are as okay as you can be about your latest trembler last month – I am slowly making my way through Naomi Klein’s book ‘This Changes Everything’ and there are a lot if us who have anxiety just below the surface about what is happening around us. XX

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Carol, I don’t know which gives me the bigger smile a) that you have little clutter or b) that you are a serial cross stitcher. Perhaps I don’t need to decide. Both a and b make me happy. I did a little cross stitch in my earlier years. I enjoyed it but my enthusiasm was always greater than my skill. Now I just admire those who do it. πŸ™‚ I haven’t read Naomi Klein. The book is probably not for my present state of mind. I may try one of her TED talks. We have had a few unshaky days. Feels good!

      Reply
      1. womanseyeview

        Please keep the cross stitching between us – will be a nice mystery for my grandkids to uncoverπŸ˜‰. Naomi (a Canadian so I feel free to call her by her first name only!) says “climate change pits what the planet needs to maintain stability against what our economic model needs to sustain itself”. An enlightening if depressing analysis. Take care xx

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Definitely depressing but I guess if there is an understanding of the problem then there are ways to find a solution. Hopefully! πŸ˜‰

  6. Karen

    Having recently moved…downsizing to a smaller home in another state, I know what you are going through. Since we had a large barn, I had a sale each weekend for six weeks trying to find new homes for I the treasures I collected over the years. Even though I sold everything for pennies on the dollars, I felt like the items were going to people who would enjoy them as much as I did.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      That’s a great way to do things, Karen. (putting the idea in my ideas box for future reference!) And, yes, it’s the idea that someone wants the items (and not the price) that is most important

      Reply
  7. restlessjo

    Oh, Ann! Life is pretty stormy, isn’t it? So many challenges to overcome if our children are to carry on enjoying our world. I’m sorry for your personal distress at this unhappy time.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you, Jo. Your support is invaluable. I really hoped this year would be a good year but it’s starting out a bit shaky (pun intended!). We’re back to doing one day at a time. πŸ™‚

      Reply
  8. Liz

    What a moving and thoughtful post. We have ‘spoken’ recently about decluttering, TradeMe/EBay and the like. I think you are heroic for dealing with someone else’s belongings – it is difficult enough to know what to do with one’s own. But as with so much in life, this is all a journey, something that will never end, and we will always be re-appraising what we have, whether it still brings us joy (in the words of Marie Kondo!), and whether we can use things that no longer have any special place for us to bring someone else joy. Meanwhile, so very sorry to hear the news about Fiji.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Hmmm….I like that; to think of the decluttering and the appraisal and reappraisal as a journey. A life long one. When I started my married life, my important possessions fitted into a tea chest. My husband’s possessions fitted into a standard trunk. What a lot of baggage we have collected since! But at one time or another it’s all been used on the journey. As for helping my relative…..there’s so much family history in that house that I am happy to help out as and when I can. It brings me a little closer to understanding my grandparents, great aunts, great uncles, great grandparents, and the great great grandparents who came out to New Zealand with little more than a trunk of belongings. ( Gosh! I wonder if we might unearth the trunk! That would be a find. :D)

      Reply
      1. Liz

        Oh, how I do hope you find that original trunk – how exciting that would be!! One thing I am about to embark on is to transfer two sets of things from boxes into scrap booking albums. One will be for things to do with our wedding – we have lots of lovely memories stored away (cards, confetti etc) and it really only comes to light when we do a very grand sort-out, so not very often. But having things in an album, it will be much easier to flick through from time to time. The same goes for the second set of things – cards that I have saved over the years from other events (birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day etc). Again, instead of boxes full of memories, why not have them to look at in a lovely album! The third, and much more daunting task is to work out what to do with my wedding dress, which is currently stored in a huge vacuum-sealed box. I can’t donate it because it was hand-made for me (i.e. Not commercial). And I don’t suppose for a moment that my niece will want it. So I am thinking of cutting it up to use the fabric for other things that will act as a nice memory. Bit scary though…. πŸ™‚

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Oh gosh, cutting up a wedding dressing would be SCARY. But possibly a sensible thing to do. You never know though, your niece may want it. In the meantime, your scrapbook plans sound wonderful. Speaking of wedding dresses, one of the items to find a new home for is a piece of my great grandmother’s wedding dress. We can’t quite work out what the piece is (despite having a photo of Elizabeth in her wedding dress.) We won’t be selling that, but it,along with her beautiful parasol, may find a place in a local museum.

  9. Wendy L. Macdonald

    I like the elegant staging you do with the items. Your thoughtfulness of others shines through this post too. I agree it’s a shame when we can’t say goodbye to belongings before we part with them. Five years ago, just before we moved from our old home, I went around and bid farewell to all the rooms and areas of our property. It helped.
    Blessings & hugs ~ Wendy

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Wendy, I don’t believe I have ever said goodbye to a house properly. But if I have to move from this one, I will be very sure to bid farewell to every room, just as you did. In my mind, I often go from room to room in all the houses I lived. I always think I remember them very well, but I probably don’t! Blessings to you, too. And strength for your caregiving.

      Reply
  10. Zambian Lady

    I can’t believe that it’s been five years already since the earthquake. I hope the earth has stilled and you are all safe. I cannot imagine the fear and anxiety earthquakes cause.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      ZL, I, too, can scarcely believe 5 years have passed by. Some people say that because we are rebuilding and strengthening our city we will be the safest city in New Zealand. Hopefully that is true :).

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      JAA, I am wondering how long my decluttering enthusiasm will last! Or if it is equal to the task. Never mind, it is not my job to complete it; I am just the helping hand. As for earthquakes; we actually have them all the time. 😦 The latest earthquake was number 17,122, magnitude 2.20 (II) at a depth of 10.00 km, about 9km from Central Christchurch about 19 mins ago. Fortunately, most of them are very small and we don’t feel them. That is we have had more than 17,000 earthquakes since 4th September 2010! Yikes! Not sure why I stay. πŸ˜€

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  11. Lavinia Ross

    So many beautiful items! I never learned to embroider, but may yet do so. Decluttering – I am still at it here, and have often thought about the trail of things one leaves behind over a lifetime. All have, or had, meaning to ourselves, perhaps not to others. It is good when they can be “adopted” and loved again.

    Cyclones – my heart goes out to the people of Figi, and to you as well, as you remember your own earthquake event 5 years ago. We are still waiting for “The Big One” here on the west coast.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Lavinia, we are still waiting for the Big One, here, which is the Alpine Fault. I hope that you and I wait in vain, or that in our lifetime someone will work out how to predict earthquakes. In the meantime, all we can do is make the most of what each day brings. All the best with your decluttering.:) I would help you if I were nearer!

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      That’s a wonderful article. Thank you. I am woefully uncultured about the history of thread, so it’s fascinating to learn about Coats and Clark and the connection with Paisley. Would be great if Paisley does become a City of Culture. My favourite part of the article was this: “They were also highly cultured – the weavers included noted gardeners, bee-keepers and musicians and more than 230 poets.” I found a bit more about the Coats Family here http://www.paisley.org.uk/paisley-history/coats-family/ as well as an explanation for Paisley Buddies. I am thrilled with all this new (to me) information.

      Reply
  12. Kate Johnston

    I’m in the midst of going through all of my mom’s things to either auction in an estate sale, give to family/friends, donate, etc. She was a pack rat, having grown up during the Depression, and it is so hard to know if she held onto something because of sentimental value or because there is inherent value and we just don’t know by looking at it! We are lucky to be working with an appraiser, who will help us sort out the really, really great stuff from everything else. But past that? I can’t even think about it.

    Good luck with your sales. The embroidery pieces are beauteous! πŸ™‚

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Sending you strength for your task. It’s not an easy one, and it’s good you have help from an appraiser. It is my aim not to leave too much for my descendants to deal with but, inevitably there will be more than I intended. I think it is the law of stuff.

      Reply
  13. Steve Schwartzman

    I’d thought of you again when I heard about the devastating cyclone in Fiji the other day. It’s not the kind of coincidence you want, coming at around the same time as the latest Christchurch quake.

    You make a good point about what possessions, even (or especially) simple ones, can mean to people as connections to their past.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      The death toll in Fiji has reached 42, http://www.smh.com.au/world/fiji-cyclone-death-toll-rises-as-australia-sends-more-help-20160224-gn2w4c.html, according to latest reports. My friends are safe with very limited property damage but they are bound to have friends or relations who have been less fortunate. Re what possessions can mean to people…..my father had some photos taken during his war service in the Solomon Islands. For some reason, someone in the family (not my father!) decided they weren’t worth keeping, and put them out in the rubbish. That was more than 30 years ago and he still speaks with deep regret about the loss of those photos. (They were personal, casual photos, which were actually not supposed to have been taken because of security regulations.) I have a vague recollection that the photos were poor quality and mildewed, but I also regret their loss, especially now that I am trying to understand more about his war service. Through our air force museum I have managed to find some official photos of Unit 53 at Cape Astrolabe,and now know the layout of the radar camp but there are no photos of my father in the museum archives.

      Reply
      1. Steve Schwartzman

        Your reply made me think of George Harrison’s song “All Things Must Pass,” which I then listened to for the first time in decades. That, in conjunction with what you said about your father’s lost photographs, brought to mind the phrase “the secret world of things.” When I searched for it (in quotation marks) I got only a few hits, one of which led me to a blurb about a young photographer named Cari Ann Wayman. A search for her led me to the photograph at

        which brought me full circle to the pain and sorrow caused by wind, rain, and destruction.

        On an unsorrowful note, day has dawned here as I’ve been writing thisβ€”a clear and mild spring day with so far no wind.

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Well, my day began with George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass and continued with a morning of George Harrison songs. Most pleasant. I temporarily put aside all thoughts of wind, rain and destruction. By the way, the blog, Christchurch Uncovered does a very good job of discovering the secret of things….http://blog.underoverarch.co.nz/

  14. Inese Poga Art plus Life

    Selling crafts and art is extremely difficult. I hope more people realize how much work and love is in such creations. It is simply tough to work a lot and never really have enough even for supplies or their display. I believe you’ll get something sold. It’s just so that one has to work so hard, and I certainly know how that is, but there is not that much appreciation. This community is an exception, I’ve got to know so many great people in the blogging community.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you for your vote of confidence Inese. It is a pity that it is so hard to sell arts and craft. We don’t think twice about buying a new phone or tablet but we agonize over spending a similar amount for an artwork. And a painting for example will last so much longer! I am so glad we have such a lovely blogging community. πŸ™‚

      Reply
  15. Born To Organize

    I’m sorry to hear about the continuing earthquakes. In California they are common, and I’ve lived through a bad one (Loma Prieta, 1989) but nothing of the caliber that you’ve experienced in Christchurch. I do have a small sense though of the disorientation and the fear that they can strike without notice. Arms around you as you get through this difficult time.

    I clicked over to your link and did further research and see that Cyclone Winston has also caused death and damage in its wake. It’s devastating to see that level of damage.

    If selling these lovely bits of thread and tapestry feel good to you, then I think it’s good to do it. I’ve passed things along in many different ways (through charity shops, Freecycle and a buy nothing group) and know that it feels good to find a home for things that might otherwise be discarded. xo

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      You may see in my comment to Mrs P that the Loma Prieta experience has been carefully considered by our city rebuild authorities. It would seem the two earthquake experiences were not too dissimilar. And, hopefully, with each natural disaster, wherever it occurs, we can build up more knowledge about what works and what doesn’t, and how to improve our odds of survival and well being.
      I am also building up my knowledge of selling……it’s not my usual thing, at all, so I am glad to have all the charity shop options as back up. My family tree has many shopkeepers and small business owners on its branches…hopefully I have inherited some trading skills from them. πŸ˜€ Mind you, none of them made much money, so perhaps there are no skills to inherit!

      Reply
      1. Born To Organize

        That’s interesting to hear. I searched twice for your comment, but there are over 100 so I must just be missing it. I know Japan has set the standard for a lot of earthquake building practices. And you are right, with each event, we learn a little more. There are so many small things we do here without really thinking about them. Large furniture is strapped to the walls, when framing pictures we use plexiglass instead of glass, our water heater is strapped to the braces in the wall, etc. We have an earthquake kit (blankets, emergency water, first aid, etc.) stored in a garden bench next to the house and we talk about where we will find each other if we’re all apart during a quake. We have small quakes daily like you do, but most are under a 3 and go unnoticed.

        Unfortunately, I don’t think most shopkeepers make or made a lot of money. The margins are just too small. I’m glad they are there for us, though.

        Reply
        1. Born To Organize

          Thank you for sharing the link. I’ve just read the article and found the comparisons fascinating. I’ve not seen this before. I live in San Jose, with Santa Cruz to the south and San Francisco to the north. San Francisco also had a number of deaths when the Bay Bridge collapsed. It was horrible. I understand the trauma inflicted by these quakes. Like many trauma’s we feel helpless. For me, being prepared as much as you can be helps make me feel a bit more in control. I’ve been in a number of buildings in downtown Los Gatos that have been retrofitted with earthquake beams. They seemed odd at first, but now they’re commonplace and a sign that a beautiful old masonry building is not going to come down on your head.

        2. Gallivanta Post author

          Because of the earthquakes in Christchurch the rest of the country has been forced to take earthquake strengthening of buildings more seriously. Like you I am reassured when I see signs of retrofitting or earthquake proofing. πŸ™‚

  16. utesmile

    What lovely things you have to sell, Isn’t it great when you sell an item? Yes we keep on learning and it is fun too! You might sell more and have the cream with your coffee and even a piece of cake, who knows. Earthquakes are so scary specially when you went through one before. I hope the earth is still around your area and will be for many years. Let’s hope Fiji will get away with not too much damage.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Ute, I do feel happy when I make a sale or give something old a new purpose. And with each item I list, I am researching and learning more about embroidery and cottons. In fact, it’s such a fascinating area I may well get lost in it and forget to sell anything! Poor Fiji has been hammered by the cyclone. Disaster management is quite good in Fiji with its long experience of cyclones but the scale of this cyclone is unprecedented and will need far more resources than usual.

      Reply
  17. April

    Of course, I’m still working on removing my clutter, but I have other favorite things to do…like knit and I’m doing some needlework at the moment. I have been finishing the Christmas ornaments I was hoping to use this past Christmas but it looks like next year they will make their debut.
    We are moving into tornado season. I don’t live in fear on a daily basis but when I see a little bolt of lightning icon when the news is covering the weather, I have to say that I get a little on edge….waiting to see if any bad weather with come across our neighborhood.
    I hope you enjoy your coffee πŸ™‚

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I dislike thunderstorms, so I am sure I would be terrified of tornadoes. 😦 We had a few small ones here a couple of months ago. Very unusual. But I was in Australia at the time so could be relaxed about it all. As for clutter; it surely has a mind and life of its own. And it is sneaky. Turn your back and it’s all over the place again before you know it!

      Reply
  18. lisadorenfest

    My thoughts are divided today. They are with you and the people of ChCh as you continue to ‘stay strong’ and adjust to a new normal in spite of on going rumblings that recall horror and loss. They are also with the people of Fiji whose smiles remain in spite of havoc wreaked by Winston in the past days. I have been blessed to have visited both places and been changed forever by the people in each.

    PS – Very impressed that you are ‘open for business’ on Trade Me, a very robust marketplace. One can find anything there. Don’t fret about the stuff that hasn’t sold yet. There is a buyer for everything on that site.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Lisa, I am very encouraged by your positive comment about Trade Me. I will persevere. As you know, my mind has been split in several different directions this week. In earthquake terms, it’s been fractured. (terrible pun!) Yesterday I found an extra glass of cold water and a little nap in the afternoon were incredibly restorative. I may do the same today. I think if you have ever been to Fiji or lived in Fiji you carry a part of it in your soul forever. When Fiji hurts, you hurt too. By the way, my daughter was born in Fiji. πŸ™‚

      Reply
  19. Su Leslie

    “Possessions have their own β€˜life’, their own history, which is intimately connected to ours.” Thank you; you’ve said so eloquently what I’ve thought but never quite articulated. I hope these things find new homes and will be used as they were intended. I hope too, and more importantly, that you’re ok and feeling supported today.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I am hopeful that someone will love them. In an effort to find out more about these threads I discovered, via the Museum, that there is a Lacemakers Association in Christchurch. And through Google I discovered a NZ Lace Society. http://www.lace.org.nz/page.php?3 So there are still many who love threads. πŸ™‚ The day went okay, thank you. Just feeling emotionally tired.

      Reply
      1. Su Leslie

        I’m glad you are ok. I’m feeling very cross with whoever decided to chuck stuff at Jerry Brownlee. Whatever I think of most politicians (and it’s usually not fit to print), I really deplore this “trend” towards feeling it’s ok to throw things at people. It’s such a selfish, uncaring, attention-seeking act that detracts from the real issues and the real point of events, particularly yesterday.

        Thanks for the link to the Lace Society. I have an embroiderer friend who I think is a member here in Auckland. She’s the only embroiderer I know now; in my mum’s generation it seemed that “everyone did it.”

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Yes, JB took the incident quite well, apparently, but it was not the time or place. And I say that as someone who is not a fan of Jerry’s. There is an article,(which embraces your point of view ), in today’s paper, about the dildo throwing at Waitangi, pointing out that all we may remember from that incident is the dildo, Joyce’s successful exploitation of the publicity, and nothing at all about why it was thrown. Like you, I deplore the trend. The people doing the throwing may have just cause, but being like kids in a sandpit, doesn’t usually help anyone.

  20. Clanmother

    You really are amazing, Gallivanta, to take on another decluttering project. You may recall that you were the source of inspiration for my Summer 2015 decluttering. It will be a summer to remember. The project is not yet complete, for I am now getting into the small boxes of precious memories – all the Christmas photos from years gone by. You know the ones that come every year that show the growth of children and the aging of parents into grandparents. It really is a journey backwards, both poignant and sweet. But that is what life is all about, is it not? As for earthquakes – you continue to be in my thoughts. We had one here a few weeks back which shook our world and brought with it all the newspaper articles of how to prepare (not certain that we can ever be completely prepared).

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I am not certain either that we, as individuals, can be fully prepared for earthquakes, or cyclones, or floods etc. We can take certain measures, but even being reasonably prepared costs a lot more money than most people have to spare.
      I am glad your decluttering process was a success, and is continuing well. I still have photos to go through. Will I ever get there? Slowly, slowly, perhaps I will. We will keep each other company.

      Reply
  21. BEAUTYCALYPSE

    Unfortunately, the mankind is too bureaucatic and too slow and not motivated enough to really move things on in regards of the climate change.

    I love your new project. And how the story threades.

    Reply
  22. Mrs. P

    What a lovely way to honor your family member…I would not have the patience to do such a thing. I would most likely search for a place that worked with vintage threads and donated them. :0

    I am glad to see you taking the high road on learning to cope with earthquakes…I do recall immediately after the Loma Prieta one which damaged the Oakland Bay Bridge I ran into an odd phenomenon. Every time my desk shook I was ready to tell all the students to duck and cover. Just as I would have sounded the alarm I realized it was just a student’s nervous knee banging my desk. This would happen about twenty times a day and went on for several months before I completely forgot about it and stopped reacting to the vibrations around my desk.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Mrs P, I am not sure how long my interest in the challenge will last, so I may well end up going the donation route. Which of course is a very practical one! I am glad you mentioned the Loma Prieta quake. The experience of the Loma Prieta rebuild has been factored into Christchurch rebuild plans, apparently. This is an old article on the comparison between the two cities. http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/capital-life/features/4978796/Rebuilding-a-quake-devastated-community

      Reply
      1. Mrs. P

        That does look interesting. I had not heard about the devastation in Santa Cruz because so much emphasis was put on rebuilding the Bay Bridge as it was a great factor in the economic viability of the major Bay Area. I haven’t read your article yet but wanted to share one piece of info…the government was taking too long to find a way to finance the bridge so private financiers took over and got it done.

        Another thing that makes this article interesting is that my daughter goes to UC Santa Cruz! I sent the article to her as well.

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          That is interesting about the bridge. Most of the rebuild here has been financed through insurance payments but the Government has contributed funds, and there have been private donors too. Glad the article was of interest to you and your daughter.

  23. MΓ©l@nie

    life itself is A 24h-challenge… πŸ˜‰ here, in “old Europe”, Fiji and all the Pacific islands seem to be sooo far-away – “the end of the world”… Our planet used to be a huge garden… but not any more, hΓ©las!!! as an earth sign, I’m kinda skeptical(realistic!) about the (near) future, can’t even imagine a remote one…
    * * *
    my very best and have a positive week! πŸ™‚

    Reply
  24. Julie@frogpondfarm

    I was so sorry to hear if the quake in CC. It must have been dreadful and was a reminder of what has been. I too think that belongings have their own life and are connected to us. Thinking of you and yours .. We have friends in Fiji.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      The quake was a shock to my system! Though from a realistic point of view, it shouldn’t have been. Ah well….. My friends in Fiji are all okay but everyone will be affected in some way or other by such a massive cyclone.

      Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Oh dear. And there has been a greater loss of life than first thought,too. Do hope your friends have a safe place to stay at the moment. My friends still don’t have any electricity.

  25. Tiny

    It’s lovely you’re taking on new challenges! And yes, I was nodding to the fact that getting your items noticed is not easy. But you’ve done really well – beautiful items gone to new homes. I hope the tremors stop and you can get peace of mind.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you Tiny for your encouragement. People have been selling online for ages (it’s not a new trend) but I haven’t been brave enough to tackle it properly till now. Hmmm….actually I am not sure I am doing it properly….just bumbling along in my own way. πŸ˜€ As for the tremors, they are going to be with us for a very long time, so we must learn to accept that. We hadn’t had any for awhile so had begun to live in the false hope they had ended, even though scientists told us right from the start that we could expect up to 30 years of tremors.

      Reply
  26. clarepooley33

    I find it so difficult to get rid of anything of mine so I do sympathise with you and your relative. I have a basket containing skeins of cotton that look very much like your ‘vintage’ ones with the nasturtium embroidery piece. Oh dear, I suppose they must be vintage by now! My mother has a little sewing room jam-packed with patterns, silk, cotton, wool, pieces of fabric and so much more. She said to me a few weeks ago that she had been looking at it all and thought she ought to get rid of some of it. ‘But just the thought made me tired’ she said. ‘I’m afraid it will have to stay as it is and you will have to deal with it when I’m gone!’ Sigh!
    I am sorry you are suffering with your memories brought back by the recent earthquake and the subsequent rumblings. My thoughts and prayers are with you and all people in Christchurch and surroundings. My cousin and her husband are currently touring New Zealand and arrived in Christchurch today (as I see from her Facebook post!)
    Thank-you for telling us about poor Fiji. I will add them to my prayer list.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I hope your cousin and her husband had a happy time in Christchurch. They arrived on the most glorious day. The sort of day which reminds you why you love Christchurch despite its unfortunate shakes. Having said that, even after an unshaken night, I woke up this morning so on edge that I actually said, ” I can’t do this anymore. I’ve had enough.” That statement was true at that moment but I have backed away from it during the day. Besides there really is nowhere else to go. And when I put my rational mind to work, it is perfectly fine here and I have a good house and many comforts; unlike so many in Fiji at the moment.
      The relief programmes are already underway in Fiji. Fiji has good friends, and Fijians all over the world will rally to help families back home. (Did you know there are a substantial number of Fijians serving in the British Army?) The recovery won’t be easy but everyone will pitch in and do the best they can.

      Oh dear, I can well imagine your mother’s sewing room. Does she still knit or do needlework? Sometimes letting things go is hard because it’s almost as if you are saying goodbye to dreams and hopes you once had.

      Reply
      1. clarepooley33

        Oh Ann, I am so sorry you are so anxious! It is at those vulnerable moments that anxiety is at it’s worst – when we are tired, ill, trying to sleep etc. I am aware of the Fijians in the British Army – there is such a lot of affection for them here. I’m not sure what our government is doing about specific aid for the recent devastation but I know that there is general on-going aid for Fiji. I have sent a donation to Fiji Aid International.
        Unfortunately my mother no longer does any needlework as her eyesight is so poor now. She does a little mending when she has to and she did some knitting fairly recently. She was such a skilled needlewoman and could turn her hand to anything. She also iced cakes to a professional standard and read all the time! I feel so sorry for her but she is such a stoical woman. I also admire her very much.

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Thank you for your help for Fiji. Some of the photos I have seen recently have really shocked me. I have seen and been through cyclones in Fiji but damage like this I haven’t seen before.
          Oh, how sad for your mother. Must be so hard/frustrating. Do audio books help or are they troublesome too? I admire all those who grow old with patience and forbearance. πŸ™‚

        2. clarepooley33

          I have seen news footage of the damage in Fiji and it is shocking I agree.
          My mother does have a few audio books but she loves the radio and has it on for most of the day for company.

      2. clarepooley33

        I forgot to say that my cousin had a lovely time in Christchurch. She didn’t stay long as she is touring the whole of NZ and is then going on to W Australia to visit relatives of her late father!

        Reply
  27. melissabluefineart

    You are right, our possessions do have a life of their own, a story. I love it that you are posting them for sale. A great photo and a great verbal description are vital for success, I have learned. It looks to me like you are succeeding at that! I hope all of it finds a happy new home.

    Storms and earthquakes are apparently going to be a new normal on this precious blue planet. I’m wanting to move to the Pacific Northwest, and I understand that scientists believe it will have a 9.3 earthquake with a side of tsunami sometime in the future. My heart insists I go there to live; my mind isn’t so sure….

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      My mind wonders if I should be here! But my heart doesn’t know where else to go. Usually the heart wins. πŸ˜‰ Do you have a time frame in mind for a move? Thank you for your encouragement re selling. I try to take the sort of photos that I would like to see if I were buying something but of course a lot of people prefer plain and no frills!

      Reply
      1. melissabluefineart

        If the right people see them, they will love the photos you take πŸ™‚
        I keep reading articles about “preparing for the big one” out there in the Puget Sound area and my heart and head are in serious disagreement! It would be different if my daughter were not going to be living with me. I won’t be moving for another year or 3 while I save up for it, so I can keep watching things unfold out there. You are right, the heart usually wins these things.

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Ah, you have a good length of time to think over everything. Sometimes people ask why I don’t move away from Christchurch, as many people did, but apart from any other considerations, moving, as you rightly point out, requires money. Money as well as physical and mental resources are scarce at my place!

  28. Andrea Stephenson

    I love the reverence with which you’re treating these items – it shows great thought and respect – and the pictures of them look great. I hope too that the earth settles before the commemorations begin.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      The earth is a little quieter….:) Dare I say it? Andrea, in some ways, I am reliving my childhood with these threads. I used to love playing with cottons and material; making dolls clothes, and dolls made from scraps of cloth. I wasn’t skilled but I had fun!

      Reply
  29. The Hopeful Herbalist

    Oh I recognise all these things from my mum and grandmother’s things. Someone will love them. Hope the shaking has stopped so you can stop shaking emotionally too. The world is certainly having lots of natural events just now x

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I lived very far from my grandmother when I was little, so I didn’t have much knowledge of her sewing interests, but I certainly remember a lot of things like these in my mother’s belongings. She had a tiny book with instructions for all the different stitches. I loved looking through it and trying out all the stitches. When I see my mother next, I am hoping to interest her in an easy form of embroidery. Maybe it will bring back memories of her early interest in embroidery. Did you do, or do you still do embroidery, or was that mainly your mother’s hobby?

      Reply
  30. Cynthia Reyes

    Ah, so many thoughts going through my mind as I read this. How trauma recurs in our minds and bodies, though we fight to banish them. How true your saying that some possessions hold such heartfelt value and connections to our past, even as we say possessions shouldn’t matter. And one look at that partly done embroidery sent me straight back to my adolescence, when I traced flowers on fabric and embroidered along the lines. As always, your posts go straight to my heart and make me think. Be well, my friend. (As if that were so easy….)

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Cynthia, isn’t it wonderful that you on your island and I on mine were doing the same sort of embroidery at roughly the same time; no doubt with patterns and cottons supplied by the same company. Even before today’s technology with our same games and our same devices world wide, we had universal connections! I do wish my daughter were well enough to take up embroidery again. She is very good at needlework. It was once considered a pathway to healing ( I am sure it still is). https://www.stpauls.co.uk/news-press/latest-news/art-from-war-descendants-of-wwi-soldiers-sought-for-st-pauls-commemoration One of the worst aspects of my reaction to this latest earthquake was the realisation that if I couldn’t cope, there is very little chance that my daughter will ever be able to live here again. Sigh. 😦

      Reply
      1. Cynthia Reyes

        Ah, dear Gallivanta. So much to deal with, and most of it invisible to the eye, but so real and painful nonetheless. I read a newspaper story today about a new memoir that says Jackie Kennedy had PTSD and the story made it out to be a big discovery. All I could think was: of course she had PTSD! How could she not?

        Glad to hear we were learning the same fine skills at the same time!

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          How could she not! I thought I was being very calm about the latest shake but was speaking to someone over the phone today, mentioned the recent spate of quakes and then burst into tears!

  31. Mary

    Sounds like you’ve had some real success in your short time of online selling – I’ve not tried yet, so it is interesting to read your post. Sorry to read of the rumbles again Gallivanta – stay safe.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thanks Mary. We are safe even if we don’t always feel we are! I think there may be quite a difference between selling your own work and selling someone else’s. I am sure selling one’s own work is more demanding of one’s emotions and energy.

      Reply
  32. shoreacres

    follow several hurricane/cyclone trackers, so I’ve been watching the storm approach Fiji. Even mets who pride themselves on their objectivity have been astonished by the strength of the storm. But, as you say, it’s moving quickly. I haven’t checked yet today, but I wish them all the best.

    You’ve reminded me of the process of dispersing my mother’s yarns, threads, and canvases after her death. What a project that was. She knit and did needlepoint, and was a part of groups until the last year or two of her life. Her “stash” filled multiple large, plastic bins. I can’t remember exactly how many now, but there probably 15 or 16. Maybe more.

    There were knitting yarns, fancy threads, half-finished sweaters, canvases. I kept some of the needlepoint supplies, and some of her canvases, but gave away the rest. Some went to Oklahoma, some to Michigan, some to Massachusetts, some to Kansas — all to people who would put it to use. Her knitting group finished up the sweaters, and I gave those away: especially to relatives.

    I was about to get rid of the rest of the needlepoint yarns and threads, but then I had my eye surgery. Now that I can see, I might take up needlepoint again — some day. Eventually the time will come when I’m far more confined to home, and not able to hit the road as I please. Having a little project or two might be a good thing

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      My relative’s house probably has at least 15 or 16 plastic bins of ‘stash’, so I have an inkling of what you were dealing with. Fortunately, I am only helping and don’t have primary responsibility for the decluttering process! I am glad you found homes for everything, and have kept a few things for yourself. I will hold on to a few items, just as keepsakes. I have already selected some samplers, and a couple of items which won prizes at local shows or Country Women’s Institute competitions. Where they will go eventually I have no idea. A museum perhaps? We are short of younger females in our family tree. Maybe time to educate all the males in the family about needlepoint and sewing; erstwhile manly pursuits.

      Reply
  33. Joanne Jamis Cain

    I have two unfinished thread projects myself. I’ve not felt motivated to finish them. My eyesight is not what it used to be and I seem to find so many other things to do.
    This is a lovely post. How nice of you to help your friend! And what beautiful pictures of the needlework you have posted.
    I admire the point you made about natural disasters. I’m sure our possessions would be very comforting in those tragic times. xo

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Joanne, maybe one day your granddaughter will help you finish the thread projects, or you will help her. πŸ™‚ Despite all the technology children have access to these days, I am sure they still enjoy craft work.

      Reply
  34. YellowCable

    Lovely items.. I hope they get a new home soon. I understand how you feel about getting attention for the item put up for sale. I had one item that I put up for sale or nearly a year before it went to the new home. In some case, the new owner changed his mind and the item came back to its original home. It feels like a hopeful gambling game. Good luck!

    Reply
  35. dtaylor401

    I admire your careful regard for the items that represented beauty and thrift in someone’s life in earlier times. The personal histories associated with such ‘threads’ are poignant indeed. Thank you for these lovely memories – that bring to mind my mother’s sewing basket. Beautiful photos.
    And may Fiji fare well in the coming storm.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Wasn’t Mother’s sewing basket a wonderful place to explore? My sewing box isn’t half as exciting, probably because I do so little sewing or mending…….I write this as I look guiltily at a shirt that needs mending. 😦

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      And a little cake would be nice too. πŸ™‚ Any money I get will actually go to my relative but I am sure I will be allowed to have coffee, cream and cake as commission.
      The cyclone appears to be moving quite quickly so hopefully the worst of the storm will be over by morning. For many it will be a frightening night.

      Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Our city’s buildings and infrastructure are much safer than they used to be. We have to train our head space to acknowledge that fact. πŸ™‚ Rebuilding a city is one thing, rebuilding a person’s mind/emotional strength is probably a harder task.

  36. inavukic

    Oh you beauty πŸ™‚ I know it’s not easy to get products noticed but when the right people are looking – all snapped up especially I would imagine the embroidery pieces – do some myself, much more rarely than when young but love my tablecloths etc – so therapeutic the needle work is – plus of course almost a direct line with ancestry πŸ˜€

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Yes, I am confident that in the end every piece of thread will find someone who needs it. I didn’t want to throw any of them away because I know how costly they were to purchase and how valued every last piece of thread was, once upon a time. I haven’t done any needlework since I was about 20 but I can understand how you find it therapeutic. Were you doing traditional Croatian designs? I look back on my needlework times as very happy ones.

      Reply
      1. inavukic

        Yes traditional Croatian designs of hearts, flowers, leaves…on linen and the crochet etc I have a huge box of threads beautiful my most pried is Last Supper I traced the image of it on cotton/linenn and the filled with needle work it’s stunning like a painting and when I took it for framing I was offered $5,000 for it 18 years ago when I did it over 8 months a bit almost every night πŸ™‚ I don’t do as much these days but it’s so relaxing

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          It sounds as though you are superb needlewoman. And with the Croatian designs I can understand how embroidery and needlework connect you to your ancestry. I think the small amount of embroidery I did probably had an English origin.

        2. inavukic

          Yes embroidery was a past time and pride of women everywhere and TV soaps have replaced it 😦 But still to some the old fires for needlework and creativity live – I have studied embroidery around the world as hobby and the English households were particularly rich with the tradition too

  37. earthbornliving

    Honouring the threads feels so important and isn’t it amazing how the right person finds exactly what they need.
    Thank you too for mentioning Fiji I had not heard about this – we are in such unsettling times of change when prayers and attention and conscious shifts are needed. Wherever there is a circle of people holding hands change happens and it feels to me in so many ways that we stretch our hands from southern and northern hemisphere – the whole earth is one garden.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Just a few days ago, Fiji became the first nation in the world to ratify the Paris climate change treaty. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/feb/15/fiji-becomes-first-country-in-the-world-to-ratify-paris-agreement Tackling climate change matters to all of us, but particularly to Fiji and other islands of the Pacific. This enormous Cat 5 cyclone has the potential to be devastating, and is the kind of storm which Fiji expects more of if climate change is not taken seriously by the world. The earth is a garden. We do need to hold hands.

      Reply

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