Thursday, 20 November 2014

What to do with those keepsakes? your parents' wedding telegrams?

You decoupage the inside of an old trousseau kist with it, of course. 

I am sentimental, and a hoarder, the combination of which makes for horrific storage challenges.

I keep things.  I still have my nursery school blankie, a little test book from Sub A, my Baby Love doll, books since forever.  Heirlooms like my dad's 2.4 m tall grandfather clock, his desk chair, my gran's dinner bell, my other gran's ring from an Italian POW.  I keep not-so-logical things, like my dad's uniform cap with his rank insignia on, the old tea tins my mom used for her curtain hooks (as I do), my mom's beautiful Bally shoes (not my size), an old anvil that was among the last things on my dad's mind as he lay dying - I still don't know where it comes from or the reason for his obsession with it. So I keep it.

And then I had the box with cards and telegrams of congratulations hat my mom saved after their wedding in October 1969.  It travelled with me from Polokwane to Pretoria to Brisbane to Pretoria and as I prepared now to move again, something had to come of it.   

Luckily I remember a pic of a decoupaged something, so the plan was made:

1. Take mom's old trousseau kist, one of those sturdy-but-not-so-pretty ones with the lacquered surface, that you store the linen in.

2. Lightly sand it down and paint with a non-drip satin enamel in a much better looking bone white...

3...While also cleaning the clasps

4. Modge-podge for the first time in your life and almost make a big bugger-up (luckily modge-podge is very forgiving. And luckily the wrinkles do disappear. Laaaaater).

4.   Lightly sand it down again et voilĂ , one better looking kist.

I used the telegrams on the inside of the lid, and more-or-less matching gift wrap for the trunk.  By then I also discovered adhesive spray, to make things a bit easier.

The Stanley knife...I was contemplating those edges, wondering how in hell I was going to cut it straight, when luckily (again) a Pin came past, advising me to fold the paper flat over the edge, and literally sand it off.  Beautiful finish, straight as a ruler, and just modge over it again. 

Done, I'm happy, can almost re-pack it!

Now to the list of twenty other things to do before we pack
(I also procrastinate...)

Next up: one retro wire garden set to de-rust and repaint.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

My Mzansi 14/10 - My Cool Pretoria

I took my boys out for a drive to Church Square, in the old city centre.  It is the site of one of the latest happenings of Cool Capital 2014, an uncurated, "guerilla" art biennale, by the citizens of Pretoria, for Pretoria.  

At the centre of the square is a large, bronze statue of former  Pres Paul Kruger, president of the Zuid Afrikaanse Republiek round the turn of the nineteenth century.  For Cool Capital, his statue was covered in aluminium tinfoil, rendering him sparking and brand new!  He will remain as such until 16 November.

My boys getting a dose of local history

The statue was commissioned by businessman Sammy Marks and sculped by Anton van Wouw, cast in bronze in Italy and erected in the 1950's.  It is surrounded by four anonymous Boer soldiers.

(I recently saw a photo of my grandmother here on a visit to Pretoria during the unveiling of the Voortrekker Monument 1938, before this statue was erected.  In this spot was a monument celebrating the crowning of King George VI. Amazing to see how Church Square looked then!)

Holding guard, the Old Raadsaal in the background

I could show the boys what real old vellies (velskoen - leather shoe) looked like.

Wonder what Oom Paul would have thought.

There was some murmurs of a crowd that did not like his new cover, but I think the old president might not have been disturbed too much.  Rumour has it, after all, that he has been known to sport a gold earring...

"I see you watching me watching you"

I think he looks splendid!

I've been living in Pretoria for 31 years now, and it's been lovely to see the city slowly shaking off its long-held image of a verkrampte, conservative bastion.  It still doesn't have a city vibe and feels actually just like a very large town (which is also great), but is home to academics, diplomats, refugees and us ordinary folk, making up a very interesting mix.