About 10 years ago I decided to undertake the ambitious project of cross stitching a picture of my parent's house (my family home) for their 50th wedding anniversary. Apart from the fact they had lived all their married life in this house and that it had undergone two major renovations, this robust house had also survived two catastrophic floods - the 1974 flood where the waters totally inundated it and the 2011 flood where it peaked at just under the roof. I also wanted a sentimental keepsake for my parents as I knew that eventually they would 'move on' to retirement accommodation and this would provide memories for them.
The cross stitch program I have enables me to import a photo which will automatically convert it into a chart and then tweak the colour if needed. I should add here that this was the third cross stitch house project undertaken (the others will be the subject of future posts) so I felt confident enough with the task of emphasising the shading and lighting required to create a realistic interpretation of the 'real thing'. There were many computer hours spent on perfecting the 34 colours used, but many, many, many more in the stitching process which comprised of a total of 64,518 stitches and 362 stitching hours (yep I kept track!!). Framing completed the work beautifully and it hung proudly in their lounge room and was one of the very first items to be whisked out of the house with the threat of another flood in 2011.
After the flood my parents did indeed 'move on' to retirement village accommodation and hung their family home portrait proudly in their lounge room. But the fate of the actual house is an interesting story with it first being sold to an investor for rental purposes and then later sold to a developer where it was duly demolished to make way for construction of a newer and modern house. We had heard from old neighbours and friends still living in the area that construction of the new building was well underway so the other week my Mum and I went to visit the site and inspect the progress and simply could not believe our eyes.
With the scaffolding it's a little difficult to get a true appreciation of the size, but let me tell you that this massive construction is actually two (2) three-level houses and with a pool in each backyard, there will be hardly any grass. The neighbours have been practically built out with very little light or air flow or privacy. I will post an update when the houses are complete.
It really is hard for me to comprehend that 60 odd years ago a simple, small 2 bedroom hardboard house sat in the middle of this large quarter acre block and now all these years later 2 massive houses occupy it. To think that I used to ride my bike around the house and then later when I had my drivers license and bought my first car that I could park it at the side of the house (of course Dad's car got the covered garage).
Jo-an-Ray was a 'play' on my parent's names of Joan and Ray and a very good family friend made a plaque with this name on it for them when they were first married and it was attached to the front of their house all the years they lived there. When they sold the house, we made sure the plaque went with them. It has been cleaned up and now sits proudly on the brick wall at the entrance to the new home and my cross stitch of the family home is proudly displayed in its new place on the lounge room wall. It is indeed a beautiful family heirloom.
"We must always change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves, otherwise we harden" - Goethe