My Favourite Window

January 27, 2012

Curtain Animals

Aelfy returns from Narnia ...

to consider joining the circus.

Which reminds me that one of the purposes of Lady Mondegreen's Secret Garden is to provide an archive for mid-twentieth century fabrics and household wares. Returning to my blog this year, I am gratified to see that posts such as


are showing up in internet searches.  Whether or not my posts are useful to the seekers, I hope that I can add something of a personal as well as useful nature, to a global catalogue of wares. 
For me too, the Internet is a fabulous research tool, though I would like to be able to submit an image of fabric or china for easy matching.
At some stage I would like to apend 
Lady Mondegreen's Pattern Book to this blog, but I want it to be more than the melange of images that it currently exists as. 
My own fascination is with design history - including its social context, production methods and emotional significance. 

So, although the theme of this curtain design represents entertainment that many of us now find cruel and unacceptable, it also speaks deeply to my sub-conscious of the security and comfort of my early childhood.

I can remember my mother making these curtains for the room I shared with my brother soon after we moved into the Skudder House in 1963.  This is the design she chose to decorate her children's bedroom with.

Fanciful, joyous: who was the artist who produced these images? They are reminiscent of picture book illustrations of the period, and this style still infuses me with a childish happiness when I come across it.

The fabric is 46 inch (117 cm) wide cotton with a slub woven into it. This is known as barkcloth amongst collectors and connoiseurs, but when I was growing up in 1960s New Zealand, we simply called it curtain - or furnishing - fabric. I can remember in my teens and early adulthood thinking this type of cloth, not to mention the designs, were fusty and old-fashioned.

Aelfy has been thinking about this Circus business and doesn't think that he could work with Big Cats...

He has decided to stick to pole dancing instead.

January 18, 2012

Holiday Hats

An opportunity to play around with fabric, flowers and feathers!
The North Canterbury Musical Society, wanting a new collection of Edwardian hats for its Costume Hire service, invited members along to a hat-decorating session. 

Where to begin, when faced with a room full of trimming, swatches of fabric, old hats and ex stage props?

 At the beginning of course.

Re-working the Edwardian aesthetic allows great scope for creative excess. Watching some of the young milliners at work today I was full of admiration at their artful gay abandon,  

as well as dainty application.

As these are costume hats, achieving effect overides authentic construction, so hot-glue guns got things done quickly.

Bryony chanelled her inner Pirate in two hours, 

And Pam models one of her own that she prepared earlier.

 And here's one fit for Lady Mondegreen to wear, or as the Wardrobe Mistress said, ' I could see Maggie Smith in that.'

This is a good time for a little shameless promotion of the North Canterbury Musical Society's forthcoming production of
Blood Brothers - in which Bryony plays Linda.
Since the indefinite closure of the Rangiora Town Hall in December, the show has hung in the balance. However, a new venue has been found and Blood Brothers opens for a two week season on 15 March at the Chervier Centre, Rangiora.

January 15, 2012

How Does Your Garden Grow?


Give it a break - just about the time that summer unfolds...

... In a La Nina climate cycle.

Go away and spend such a delicious summer in someone else's winter.

Not forgetting to forget to cut the grass before you go ...

And this Secret Garden will run wild.

... But - don't forget to return in time for the harvest...


And be sure to share the wilderness with friends.

January 10, 2012

At the Other End of the Earth...

The New Year launched me into the national gathering of Morris Dancers, held in Dunedin between the 3rd and 8th of January 2012.

The hosts for this year's annual tour were Jack Frost Morris,
a side whose Otago University origins have coloured their character - maverick.
Although this is a New Zealand gathering, there are always international visitors, some of them old hands, and others new to the way of the morris in New Zealand. English and Australian dancers joined us this year.

We danced for joy.

We danced with skill,

and showmanship.

And we danced because it had to be done!

We danced in landmark settings.

We toured a multi-national factory...

and a small boutique brewery:

where the hospitality was as excellent as the beer,

and the dancing was memorable.

In truth, I did very little dancing.  Jetlag and bad ankles took their toll, though I did indeed get to the top of the Steepest Street in the World.  However, I took great pleasure in watching Kitty dance at every opportunity...

Poignantly, she wears her father's bell pads.

Without our live musicians, pleasure in the dance for me would be diminished. Every one of them is precious beyond gold.
Here a handful from our larger band, plays in the Botanic Gardens.

From top to toe, most of us enjoy
dressing up.

And the theme for this year's Ale provided ample opportunity for creativity and sartorial elegance: Steampunk/Apocolypse.

The End of the Earth Morris Tour is over.
Well done Jack Frost, with particular mention of Jules Mann and Jonathon Cweorth, who organised it... and us!
Next year the annual tour will be hosted by City of Auckland Morris Dancers and held in Rotorua.