Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Grasshopper and a neat old sampler
Grasshopper and his brother, Greyfell, came to us a few weeks ago. They had been hanging out in the exam room at the shelter...but that's not a healthy place for small kittens, so we took them home. This little Siamese mix moved right in and showed such a unique personality. Like a little old man...wise...like an ancient Samurai he would suddenly appear on my lap. I never heard him or felt him; he would just be there, magically, quiet and calm.
But Grasshopper was having stomach issues. He had problems using the litter box, and I was having to bathe him every day (which he hated). But he didn't hold it against me. He'd just climb back on my lap, or my shoulder, and sit.
His stomach felt lumpy to me, so I took him to the vet, convinced he was constipated. It turned out he had a malformed digestive system, one that wouldn't allow him to pass waste easily, one that could not be fixed. The vet and I decided to put him to sleep. He was under the gas, but they lifted the mask off, so I could talk to him one last time. I kissed him, told him I loved him, and that I was so sorry. He's gone now, but he had several weeks with a very loving family and lots of playmates. I want to say that he would have been a great cat...but in reality, he WAS a great cat. He just didn't get to be a cat for very long. (The picture above is the last picture I took of him on my cell phone before we went to the vet, not knowing I was going to have to have him put down.)
Sorry these pictures aren't very clear. I doctored them up a little, but the originals were low-quality. But would you look at this sampler! It's on eBay as of this writing, but only for a couple of more hours. It's one I've been watching, but I'm afraid it's going to sell for more than it's worth, based on the condition it's in. It's from 1792 by Isabella Henderson and is English, most likely. I put a bid in on it a few days back, then called Diane Williams from Little House Needleworks to have her look at it -- she thought it was great. I told her that I thought the tree and Adam & Eve figures in the middle looked like something she'd design. But she told me to be careful to not get excited and spend too much. It's easy to do that with something this unique.
One of the things I really like most about it is that border. How unusual...an unkempt mess of nature. It looks like it'd be super-fun to stitch, and although I do not copy pictures like this when I'm designing my own samplers, I do use them as inspiration. This teaches me that it's okay to mix a variety of flowers and leaves on a border, and leave larger open spaces. I like that there are different colors in the leaves, on the berries, and the weedy-looking flowers. Again, that kind of thing is fun to stitch.
Another super-awesome element of this sampler is the over-one bushes to the left and right of Adam & Eve. The birds are over-one as well, and her name is in an over-one cartouche below the main scene. The bushes look wild, too -- not too evenly spaced or designed. Just like nature!
The verse is an old one:
You whose fond wishes do to heaven aspire,
who make those blest abodes your sole desire;
if you are wise, and hope that bliss to gain
use well your time, live not an hour in vain
let not the morrow your vain thoughts employ,
But think this day the last you shall enjoy.
I found a web site that listed the sayings on old gravestones in their churchyard in the UK, and this was listed as the inscription on the stone of Mary Manchester who died in 1811 at the age of 81. You may have seen this verse before...it usually starts with: "Fragrant the rose, but it fades in time./The violet sweet, but quickly past its prime...."
Anyway, I can't get them all, but this one was special enough that I thought I should share it with you before it goes into someone's private collection. I so enjoy these "old girls."