Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve, Deborah Bay, Dunedin

Leaving the fabulous party at Deborah Bay
red white and blue pool dress, Butterflies $10
straw hat with raffia, Butterflies $5

How cool would it be to just hop on board and sail away?

Why would you want to sail away when you could have a view like this??

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Revolution and Resolution

Its been a tough week and I have missed reading blogs and feel a little out of touch.

So to re-connect I am going to tell you about my 2012 challenge.

Its in two parts:

Next year, 2012, I am going to make or buy second hand all gifts.  If I want to give a gift I have to make it.  All of them.  I will not subject myself to the cut and thrust, the shove and push of chain store, shopping mall, high street or fake made in china craft market. Please watch me in my endeavour to completely reject buying new.  Except underpants/knickers.

I will keep an honest list of all clothing purchases, new and old, re-made and re-fashioned.  I will keep a list of all clothing items which exit my wardrobe.  Old knickers will be recycled.  Not sure how, but they will become rags or dusters....the world is my oyster.

I want to be cost neutral, and ideally carbon neutral.  This may be quite a challenge.  Its one thing to take photos and comment on treasures found, it is another to keep a financial record.  To be honest just writing that makes me feel squeamish.  Maybe I will try and quantify things in terms of more than money, like time and intrinsic value in terms of care and consideration during production.  

To close, I wish all my readers a very happy Christmas and New Year.  I wish safety on roads and trampolines, strong swimming skills in seas, lakes and rivers.  I wish creativity and flair in all cooking and crafting.  I thank you all for your support and comments, and look forward to connecting with you again soon.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Raspberry Beret ~ 24A London Street, Dunedin

photo by Lucy Gray

There's a new store in the centre of town - Raspberry Beret
 - which previously was above Purple Rain in Princes Street. 

photo by Lucy Gray
Look at this lovely dress displayed outside the store....

...and these fabulous reproduction vintage dresses inside.  Raspberry Beret uses genuine vintage fabrics to make vintage styled clothing, in modern sizes.

There is a great selection of clothes for women and men.  Some of the men's shirts really appealed to me as I have broad shoulders and long arms!

The Victorian townhouse has been given a fresh coat of white paint with a raspberry red trim.  The white interior is a great background for the riot of colours, patterns  and textures.  As you walk up the tiny staircase there is a wonderful embroidered dragon displayed over the bannister.

The genuine vintage clothing is of very high quality, but the fair prices show that Raspberry Beret is a definite rival to the other stores in town selling vintage clothing.  

Recycled Boutique for example has also shifted locations, has a much smaller and disappointing selection of vintage clothing now.  For some time, Recycled Boutique has been stocking reproduction vintage clothing imported from the UK and US.  

photo by Lucy Gray

Gorgeous examples like the dress above priced at $195 
was one of the most expensive items.  
Many I looked at were the same price as a new dress from modern main street stores.

While I was drooling and wandering around I chatted to the woman who owns and manages the store.  I admired her retro outfit and hair.  Raspberry Beret will be available for functions for dress up, makeup and hair do up parties.  Updates on the store are available by following Purple Rain on Facebook.  This to me shows that both the vintage and the modern will be working together very well.  

The store is carefully set out to make the most of the racks of clothes and accessories.  Vintage suitcases and handbags and some homewares add to the charm.

I am definitely going to be visiting Raspberry Beret again!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Nostalgia - 1971

I am feeling a bit nostalgic at present - for the times when Christmas was simpler.  I find all the shopping, stressing, commercialism, and consumerism too much to bear. 

I get flustered and grumpy about "overseas" posting which, in the 30 odd years I have been living in NZ is still a major event.  How come there are now e-books, e-cards and e-gift certificates but it still takes a week to send a parcel to the UK and costs a small fortune (often more than the cost of the carefully chosen NZ goodies enclosed??)  Why can my carefully chosen "Aroha" tee shirt, from Postie + costing less than $10 not be sent via teleportation to the my primary school friend??  You know like the cool transportation thing in Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory??  In thirty years or more so many "time saving devices" have been invented and refined, why not the postal service??

When I was a child I was totally oblivious to all the stress associated with present-buying, food preparation and decorating.  I was about 9 years old, I think when I woke up one Christmas Eve night to see my parents putting the stockings at the end of my sisters and my beds.  I pretended not be awake though!!  Now I am the mother, and I know its a total waste of time to say things like "If you are naughty/don't eat your broccoli/ forget to clean your room etc then Santa won't be delivering any presents!!" because I will be answered back with "Muuuuuuummmmm, I KNOW that Santa does not exist".  

Her Christmas stocking is a MIC one, purchased from the "red shed" aka The Warehouse.  My "stocking" used to be one of a pair of socks, and contain an orange, nuts and small gifts like chocolate coins and pencils.  Oh, and the other sock!!  My daughter looked at me in stunned amazement when she reached in and pulled out an orange -  "Mum, why is there an ORANGE in my stocking!!

This is a photo of me and my baby sister, sitting on my Nana's knee, at our house in 1971.  My blow up Rudolph Reindeer, a gift, possibly from my other Nana, sits beside us like a guest of honour.  Rudolph is totally to blame for my love of all things to do with Bambi and other deer like creatures.  Can you see the orange angle lamp in the background on the right side of the TV?  I still have that lamp - it does not really fit any where in my house at the moment but when I have a new lounge, I will find a spot for it.  The chair, is a bentwood one, part of the Swedish dining set my parents still use daily.  My Nana bless her, was probably minding her grand-daughters while my mother was in the kitchen.  We would alternate Christmases at their house in Yorkshire, and ours in Lincolnshire.  Nana came to NZ with us in the 1980s and was part of our family Christmases right up to the mid 1990s.

For me Christmas is not about spending lots of money and struggling with the masses to the 30% sales, it is about spending time with family, at home, eating good food, possibley too much food, and being thankful.

My fairy name.....

Get your own fairy names from The Fairy Name Generator!My fairy name is Briar Saturndancer
She is a trouble maker.
She lives in leafy dells and bluebell glades.
She can only be seen when the bees swarm and the crickets chirrup.
She wears bluebell-blue dresses and has pale pink wings like a cicada.
Get your own fairy names from The Fairy Name Generator!

Friday, December 9, 2011

My favourite op shop in the whole world: St Vincent de Paul, George Street Dunedin

 Many of my purchases have been found in the St Vincent de Paul shop which is just around the corner from where I work.  I go there a couple of times a week.  Traditionally the two front windows have different displays - the one on the left is more contemporary, the one on the right more traditional.  During the Rugby World Cup there was a fabulous display of rugby jersey's (including past RWC jersey's) support scarves and books.  More recently there has been a wonderful selection of table linen, with vintage aprons, shoes and boots, ballet, and now Christmas,
 The traditional window using displays knick-knacks and china.  Many of my treasures have been spotted in this window, including a cute vintage figurine of a little girl in a ballet tutu with a violin which I gave to my at-the-time-ballet-loving-daughter.  In this photo I particlarly like the zebra salt and pepper set.  For those that collect vintage tea spoons there are always several, as well as a cute cat which reminds me of the Aristocrats and is on my desk...for some reason I have no photo so show so must take one.

One thing I love the most about this store, is that I can find some amazing treasures at very reasonable prices.  In the last twelve months I have been made acutely aware that not all the people in the store are buying clothes and looking for kitchen ware like I am, many of them are waiting for food parcels.  It saddens me that I live in times when so many need an extra hand in terms of food and clothing.  It maddens me that some who come in to the store, demand their food parcel as if it is a right, and seem to forget or no know their 'pleases' and 'thank you's.'  The ladies that run this store are absolutely delightful, but there are many who work upstairs, washing and ironing the clothes, sorting food and clothing.  They are the faces that I do not see.  They are people who are giving back to the community, predominantly in their older age.  They are volunteering their time to help those who need help.

When I am no longer in full time employment, maybe when I am nearing retirement age (if one still exists) I would love to volunteer at a place like the St Vincent de Paul, to talk to the people, to help people, to find party clothes for excited first year university students, to select some baby clothes for an expectant mother, perhaps to make up a food parcel for a family.  The idealist part of me hopes that maybe there won't be such a demand on a charity for providing support that a government should, or could be giving.
Do you have a favourite op shop??  I would love to hear about it!

Creative accomplishment!

Inspired by this book, I decided to try a new 'hair do', especially as I now have mid length hair.  I had to read through things a few times, to make sure I understood the instructions.  I had tried to make victory rolls a long time ago, and, well, they flopped and since then had not made much effort beyond a 1960s / 1970s inspired bouffant.  So armed with a lot of pins and a can of my favourite hairspray Schwartzkopf extra strong.....

The front looked pretty cool, with three rather large curls carefully arranged with the flower.  There are a couple of photos, but I took them, and my face is really distorted.  I am sure you know what I mean.

I was really pleased with the overall effect and now have the confidence to try again.  YAY.

To accompany the dress I made with the cool fabric I bought from Tessuti while in Melbourne, I was encouraged by fellow bloggers to have another go at making a button bracelet.  This time I took my time, and picked up a crochet hook and a random ball of wool.....

The end result is wide enough to support some amazing vintage buttons sourced from op shops and Trademe which are similar to the colours in the fabric.  I was really pleased with this simple project.

Pattern: Using a 5.00mm crochet hook chain 25.
I have slim wrists and thought this would be plenty. However the overall length shrinks slightly as you crochet, so I would recommend making long enough to go around your wrist and then adding 3 more chain.  Turn.
Double crochet starting in the second chain from the hook to end.  In last chain 2 double crochet and then turn to start crocheting in the bottom of the chain.
This pattern imitates one of the many Baby Bootee patterns I have!
Double crochet to end.  At end four chain (this forms the loop to fasten your bracelet).
Double crochet to end, move around corner and double crochet back to where you made your chain loop.  Now, leaving a long bit of wool - 50 cms - cut wool and pull though last stitch to fasten off.
Use this long "tail" to sew on your buttons.  Thread through back of bracelet to finish off loose ends.

I imagine this as being like a racehorse and doing 4 circuits of a race track.

I used a selection of buttons and simply sewed them on using the tail which minimised starting and stopping.  Voila.  The only limit is the amount of wool and buttons!!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Dreams are free.....

Since I saw an old St John's Ambulance First Aid caravan for sale near Milton, a couple of months ago, I have become increasingly interested in the caravans.  
This gorgeous one is featured in a classic car magazine and is classic American retro styling

Here is something of a New Zealand flavour (a joke there as Tip Top is a major brand of ice-cream).  I love the simple lines and coloursL: red and white again.
It makes me think of french vanilla :-)

However, as I was trawling through the internet, I found this:

Can you imagine my delight when I read that this vision of loveliness is in New Zealand????
I am immediately planning a visit....and in the meanwhile have added to my blog list for important daily reading!
Hope you are all having a good day today and enjoyed your weekends.
Today, its my office Christmas lunch 
and we are going to Gaslight Restaurant in St Andrew Street.
No doubt gratuitous photos and a review will follow!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Fashion Icon Friday

This is the last of my brief series called Fashion Icon Friday. 
 I am a fan of David Lynch and Twin Peaks.  
In hindsight, I think it had quite a profound influence on me -
the eerie music, the shocking images of laura Palme,
the small town hiding a big secret

The female characters I have chosen look like "good girls", 
maybe even sweet and innocent, but all those who have seen this iconic series and the films know that underneath the smooth exterior lurks something much darker and dangerous. 

Thrifty jewellery finds and a selection of my favourite earrings

Brooch < $1 at Oamaru Victorian Market

This amazing red brooch appears to be made from a button,
dressmakers' pins, pearl and red beads and sequins.
White three strand glass bead necklace

Close-up of clasp
Although I already have a white bead necklace,
but when I saw this one on Trademe in the $1 auctions
I had to put in bid - and I won!  

1970s lovers necklace
This necklace was also won in a $1 auction.  It was described as a 1970s lovers necklace,
however, I can't help thinking that it looks a little like...
........Barbie and Ken!!!!

Kissing cousins necklace
 This was my first lovers purchase 
- its the real deal in terms of age - 
and to my delight when I bought it, Karen Walker (I think) had just released a jewellery line which included a modern interpretation of this image.  At a much higher price too.  
I have also seen modern "knock-offs" of this design at Diva or Equip.  
But I like mine as it is quite small and the figures are so cute.

Flares and 'Fro lovers necklace
 When I bought this recently, my colleague commented that she used to have one when she was a young girl, we had a long talk about 1970s nostalgia as a result. 

Some of my fave earrings
 Left: Moonstone bead earrings from Java, 
Centre: resin earrings made by 'Kismet' based on vintage illustrations from children's books.  Artist Susan Broad also makes kimono earrings and rings, and is an accomplished textile artist.  I met her at the Dunedin Craft Fair last year.
Right: enamelled heart and arrow earrings from Cosmic Corner

More favourite earrings 
Left to Right: knock off Vivienne Westwood earrings in the classic orb shape 
purchased on Trademe $5;
Copper and crystal earrings by Raewyn Auckram, at the Oamaru Victorian market $5;
Reproduction Egyptian cat earrings bought at the Tutenkhamun Exhibition when I visited Melbourne in August;
Slightly obscured between the orbs and copper are some bead earrings my lovely daughter made for me when she was at a holiday programme last year.

Let Yourself Sew...For your viewing pleasure

Its a little 'dog eared' but this $1 purchase from Trademe is a real treasure!
How to put a wardrobe together...
How to start thinking about colour
There is so much to love about these dresses!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Cool garden sculpture, Oamaru

 As my family and I wandered towards the historic precinct of Oamaru, 
we passed the most amazing garden.....
The first thing I saw was the cross and I wondered if it was a pet grave, 
as we walked past I saw the gravestone and the skulls and bones...

photo by Lucy Gray

....if you look at the house carefully, on right there is a huge insect and another just under the eaves on the left....what weird land were we passing through???

and then I spotted it.  It was huge and primitive.  Guardian of the graveyard....

photo by Lucy Gray
...a giant weta!

photo by Lucy Gray

When I popped back to the car after lunch to off load some purchases I could not resist the opportunity to take some photos.  I love seeing art and sculpture in gardens and in unusual places.  In New Zealand you can see giant butterflies on houses - usually Monarch butterflies.  Compared to the quaint English village where I grew up, it seemed kitsch and a bit odd.  When I bought my own house I thought about getting a giant butterfly installed but as my house faces the harbour and is battered by coastal winds I thought a butterfly would look a bit out of place.  Instead, I have a few unusual objects in my garden - one of my favourite is 
photo by Lucy Gray
my very own sphinx!

More gratuitous peony photos....

carefully grown in my garden Coral Charm 

 My pride and joy tree peony

Above and below, Peonies for sale at the Oamaru Victorian Fete