Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Hi everyone, today I thought I would share with you some things which I am finding really inspiring at the moment.

Here is a Women's Realm Home Sewing and Knitting magazine which I purchased from the "Everything but books sale" at the Regent Theatre a couple of weekends ago.  I think I paid 20 cents per magazine and I think I got some great bargains.  I think this dress is so cool - its a little bit like a school uniform but with a twist.  The Union Jack tie grabbed my attention immediately.

There lots of lovely colour adverts and pictures in this magazine - look at the wonderful drape of the dress below:

However, the "by-line" made me raise my eyebrows a bit - indeed if I wore a dress made with Ferguson fabric would I be instantly converted to a naughty loud girl?   Let's be honest, that dress is seriously short and if the model did not have so much of the fabric hanging almost vertically from her bust to her mid thigh, then I guess that the dress would barely cover anything!  With it being a fairly full dress too, I imagine that if I were to dance in it and maybe twirl around one or two times then I would most certainly be revealing a large portion of my derriere.  

A little bit more conservative is the Moygashel fabric advert below:

The dress on the right is certainly a bit longer but the fabric is in my opinion quite boring.  I would be trying to make a belt of the same fabric as the dress of the left (which is awesome) to jazz the outfit up a little.  I knew nothing about Moygashel fabrics, and thanks to Wikipedia now know that it is an Irish company.  You can read more here at Couture Allure Vintage Fashion.  I am not a fan of wearing linen as I find it creases so easily and always looks like it needs ironing.  You know me readers, I much prefer something of a synthetic blend.

One thing I will say is that the colour combos were so much bolder back then.  "Colour blocking" seems to be all the rage and I have seen it on several fashion pages in various magazines - both hard copy and online.  Maybe I am a fashion cynic but there is not very much which is "new" and colour blocking was fashionable even when I was a sparkle in my Mother's eye.

Although I am not a fan of a brown skirt and a cream blouse, I have to admit that the injection of blue and pink really creates an amazing contrast.  In the same magazine a few pages over, I found this advert which encapsulates those colours wonderfully:

Now, remember the green cotton Trademe dress which I had to practically sew all over again?  Well it originally had a zip in it....a zip exactly like this one:

I can't say that this zip gave me a big vote of confidence as I had to remove it.  I think the advert is implying that Rhona Roy zips don't start coming undone!!

Lastly, this advert says it all "the amazing fashion fabric which simply loses creases!"

Hope you are all having a good week!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The green dress in all its glory (?!) and more polyester

Hello everyone, hope you are all having a great weekend.  Another glorious day in Dunedin today, so I made the most of the warm sun and the light breeze and did a stack of washing.  Polyester dries in a matter of minutes under the right circumstances so now a new dress and shirt are both ready to wear.   Last weekend me and my family went on a road tip to Balclutha which is a small rural town about an hour and a half drive south of Dunedin.  We went on a secret mission that I can't tell you about just yet. Here I am at the park by the river wearing the green Trademe dress which I practically re-made.  It was a bit too breezy to wear by itself so I teamed it up with a tee shirt which I got in the $1 a supermarket bag of clothes I bought from the Presbyterian Yellow Shop a while back.

Green Cotton dress ~ Trademe
Green cotton tee shirt ~ Presbyterian Yellow Shop, St Andrew St less than 50 cents
Brown fake suede boots ~ St Vincent de Paul, George St $8
Awesome "cow bag" ~ Hospice Butterflies shop, Hanover St $10
Green and white zigzag bangles ~ Trademe $2 each
White beads used to below to my mother
Readers, I feel really, really stupid.  I have been cursing the internet in the most hideous and unnecessary fashion.  I have been blaming the internet for the painfully long time it takes me to upload photos to my blog.  I have made a big mistake.

While trying to upload photos of bikes and rollerblades to Trademe I have made a life changing discovery.  I think I have discovered the source of my problems with uploading my photos - its the resolution.  Oh my goodness I have had a revelation.  I am so silly.  I have been cursing the internet when in fact it was my own fault.  After changing the resolution of the images, I uploaded these two photos below in a matter of seconds!!!!!!

House of Raymond jacket/shirt from Gypsy Fair $2
This is the utterly divine House of Raymond top/jacket which I bought from the gypsy fair for $2.  It is a terrible shame it does not fit me as I would definitely wear it.  The shaping is fantastic and I love the  long sleeves with the big cuffs.  The contrasting colour at the bottom part is just gorgeous and the buttons are square.  I have listed it on Trademe and hope that someone falls in love who is a size 12.

Below is one of the "free" dresses I found at the Charity Barn in Kaikorai Valley.  I have sold the other one for a nominal amount of money which I will reinvest in other charities!  This one did not sell and I am thinking that I could just move all the buttons and give myself a little more breathing space....and then not move my arms or breath when I am wearing it.

One of the ongoing problems I have with clothes is that I do have wide shoulders and I have a tendency to think about how a garment will fit around the bust or waist without fulling appreciating that it is the shoulder area which is trickiest.  This however was not a problem when I bought the two maxi dresses from Toffs a few weeks back.  Firstly the dresses had zips, secondly more shaping through torso, but thirdly and most importantly, in the case of the red maxi the fabric was slightly stretchy and therefore more forgiving.
"Free" polyester dress from Charity Barn
I have to say that overall I have more successes that failures with not trying on clothes.  I think I love polyester so much because of the slight stretch to it, doesn't fade, wears well and washes easily.

So, do you have a favourite fabric?  Do you swoon at velvet, or crave the touch of silk?  Do you covet vintage cottons?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Some things from around my home

Although its not a great photo of the table, this pic captures my beautiful cat "Mittens" sitting on a chair (she is keeping watch for her big brother from a position of relative saftey under the kitchen table). It has a grey formica top and extends from a square into a rectangle and great for sewing.   The edges are wooden and due to all the scrubbing, have almost no varnish left.  I bought this table from the Princes St Salvation Family Store in about 1999 for $10 ( I think).  At the time, I was flatting and it was transported from the store to my flat upside down on the roof of a yellow 1976 Honda Civic.  The chairs - there are three - are not the original ones which match the table, but were also from the Princes St store, my memory is a little fuzzy, but I think they were about $5 each, or less.  I bought them about 7 years ago, and I got the curtains from the very same store about 4 years ago.

This style of furniture is completely the opposite of what I grew up with: Scandinavian style wooden dining table and chairs which my parents bought in the 1970s.  My mother, in particular reviles the "1950s look".  Bah humbug is what I say.  I just realised that one of the aprons that my beloved Mother in law gave me is on the back of the chair!

I love this lamp - I sit beside it most evenings, reading, knitting or just watching tv.  It is a wooden turned base and still has the original lamp shade.  I bought it from the Barking Fish in Port Chalmers about 10 years ago for about $30.  I was prepared to pay more for it because it is such a cool shape.  On the left of the lamp you might be able to see a ceramic hexagonal pot which my dear friend Cindy gave to me.  It has a lovely picture of a deer on it and Cindy knows how much I love deer and bambi.  Cindy found it at ReStore, and we think it is a saki bottle  - I need to take a better photo of it as it has a golden bird over a little hole as well as a spout.

I found this wooden souvenir of Dunedin plate at the Hospice Butterflies shop.  My eye was immediately drawn to the cool flowers and the bright colours.  Judging by the cars I would say that the photo in middle is from the 1960s.  I did not need to buy this plate but it was so cool and I think it goes with some of the other quirky stuff in my house.  

I do not recall having a jewellry box when I was a little girl, my sister had one with a ballerina.  This one came from Trademe, and I immediately fell in love with the bright happy orange colour.  A really naughty part of me knows that this is the sort of thing my mother would call "tat", and for that reason I love it all the more, for representing the kind of thing I did not have when I was a child.  I do have some things from my childhood which I can show you, but that is another post.

So readers have you inherited your love of vintage from your parents or family?  Or are you like me and seem to be inexplicably drawn to retro, thrift, and vintage because it is the opposite of what you grew up with?

Friday, April 13, 2012

Weekly round up

First off I want to say that something silly is happening to the internet / computer and I have had not been able to post comments on the wonderful blogs written by my readers, nor any of the other blogs I read.  To my frustration I think the "block pop up" option has been on.  So sorry for not commenting, I can assure you that I have spent a lot of time reading this week!!

Well, my Easter Holiday is drawing to a close..my daughter and I have had lots of time together and I think we both really enjoyed being away from work and school respectively.  In amongst all the boring things that still have to be done, like the washing and shopping, we also visited a large number of op-shops:
Presbyterian Support Yellow Shop
Butterflies Hospice Shop (picture below)

Rainy day outside Butterflies Hospice Shop
Polyester dress from St V de P
Boots from Frames - several years ago
Denim Jacket Sussan on sale 3 years ago

....shops visited continued:
St Vincent de Paul, South Dunedin
3 Salvation Army Family Stores in South Dunedin, Princes Street, AND North Road
Shop on Carroll, which is the upmarket Presbyterian Support Shop (pictured below).

In the late afternoons we would watch movies: Judy Moody Not Bummer of a Summer, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Clash of the Titans and tonight Tangled.

Project update:
1. green dress from Trademe refashion - button required and then its wearable!
2. "gypsy dress" refashion completed!  - now I need an opportunity to wear it
3. dinner shirt refashion - completely ignored, I was just not in the mood for this, instead I started ANOTHER project....
4. cotton camisole top to wear in bed - just needs bias binding around top and ribbon straps
5. purple knitted cardigan - about another 5cms
6. baby hat - completed (found out via Facebook that flatmate from nearly 15 yrs ago has become a father!!!)
7. baby mitten x1 completed.

To do list:
a) complete shirt refashion
b) knit mitten x1 and bootees x2

Trading and Purchasing:
Listings posted on TradeMe = 10
Proposed listings of TradeMe = inline skates, girls bike, Barbie magnetic dress up game, Disney Princess magnetic dress up game....the list is almost never-ending!!

Purchases from TradeMe = 1x dress, 1x shirt, 1x nightie, box of bangles & necklaces, German 1970s magazine on hats, biography of Vivienne Westwood (which I have already started reading and it is very interesting.

Purchases from opshops = 1 sewing book, 2 polyester dresses, 1 pair of boots.

Blue and gold colours on a sunny day
Yellow lurex cardi Trademe
Blue and White print polyester dress $1
and blue beads $4 both from Yellow Shop
White sneakers retail
We went to the skateboard park very early one sunny morning - below is the view of First Church with Flagstaff Hill in the background.  The zigzag roof line is of the New Zealand Railways Bus Terminal which is an iconic art deco building and now the Early Settlers Museum.

photo by Penny-Rose of iconic First Church and Flagstaff Hill

photo by Penny-Rose

Above is some cool, but creepy graffiti from the skateboard park - no photos of my daughter as she is shy!!  Below is the Railway Station and a couple of wagons.  The skateboard park is behind the station so there is lots to look at ....other than children scootering, or skating.

photo by Penny-Rose .....can you see the moon???

This afternoon we went to the pool for a leisurely swim and play before picking up dad and coming home for cheese on toast.  Now its time to close, time for daughter to go to bed, and I am ready for episode 5 of Game of Thrones.  Hope you have all had a good week.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Post-Easter update

Hi Everyone, hope you all had a lovely break over Easter.  Here in Dunedin we have had fabulous weather, and I have worn a dress every day - though not all day every day.  Did you eat too much of this over Easter??

Thanks to google this photo popped up first when I searched for chocolate :-)

I think I have been quite restrained.  Also, Cadbury Creme eggs don't taste as nice as I remembered.  On Easter Sunday my parents came over for lunch - ham, pastrami, cheese, pita bread, salad and the weather was just lovely.  Mid afternoon 10yo was dropped off at a friend's for a sleep over and we came home and sat in the garden, in the sun enjoying the peace and quiet.  Sorry, I am not being mean about my daughter, its just that when she is away, the place seems so very quiet!!

Today we went to town for a while and I managed a quick look around the Butterflies Hospice Shop and the Yellow Presbyterian Support Shop.  We then had to go over to a different suburb, and I discovered a new place to fossick for treasure: its called the Charity Barn and it is in Kaikorai Valley Road, on the left hand side, after the roundabout.  WOW, it was quite an experience.  Although it looked a little like ReStore, it was nowhere near as organised.  It was absolutely jam packed with stuff.  In parts it was not possible to walk around goods without items clutching at your clothes.  I went down one "aisle" and it was like a maze and I came to a dead end and had to turn around and backtrack.  Out the back was a huge area with a hand written sign "Free".  I did not need to fossick really, as two quite gorgeous polyester shirt dresses seemed to be calling out to me "Please choose us, we don't want to be put in the landfill".  I think the free stuff was probably destined for the landfill so I considered it my duty to rescue the two dresses.  There was a wide selection of out of date encyclopaedias from many different publishing houses, about 100 pairs of shoes, and a million thousand plastic toys from McDonalds.  I was fossicking for so long my poor family came looking for me.  I left in them in the car gaily calling out "I'll only be a minute!"

I did chat to the guy at the counter and he told me that the money went to charity but I am not totally convinced.  I am not saying he is not giving it to charity, but I am not sure WHICH charity.  It was fun though.  Oh, and I found a 1973 sewing book in mint condition and excellent photos.  I gave him donation which more than paid for the book.

Once at home I washed both dresses and hung on the line and then settled down to watch a chocolate movie with Johnny Depp.  No, not Chocolat, but Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  Now, I grew up on the original version: I can practically say the words while watching it.  I can sing most of the songs.  The boat ride is one of the most trippy things I have ever seen on tv.  But, the new version has a poignancy that really tugs at my heart.  Willie with his big brown eyes, and his perfect teeth, and his unusual haircut, velvet jacket and purple latex gloves exudes a fragility and an inner madness that Gene Wilder never attempted to capture.  Is it me, or were the glasses a precursor to Karen Walker's new eyewear range?  Is this just a coincidence?

Well followers, I have successfully finished my green dress refashion - photos to follow soon.  I spent a tedious hour or so unpicking the sleeves from the polyester gypsy dress as I discovered when I got it home that some one had tried to make some alterations to it, and not done a very good job.  Four different kinds of thread, one handsewn, two standard sewing, and one zigzag.  My goodness some of it was the worst sewing I have ever seen.  Ever.  Honestly.  It was not straight.  It was as if the sewing machine was being raced recklessly along the underarm seam.  Right, time to sign out and pick up the knitting needles again.  Hope you all have a lovely evening, and don't eat too much chocolate!!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Weekly summary and a Gypsy Fair

 Dear Readers, let me present exhibit A.  This is the purple cuff to cuff knitted cardigan started a couple of weeks ago.  By this point I had used 5 balls of wool and had only two left.  I realised that I did not have enough wool.  So, I did what any self-respecting knitter would do, I pulled it undone.  All.  The. Way.  I started again and made the sleeves shorter.  I also decided I did not like the horizontal ribbing so I decided to knit in stocking stitch.  I was not a happy bunny.  However, I knew it was a short week with Easter coming up and I would have time to knit and after all it was only a few hours of knitting.  Its not like I had finished all the wool and THEN realised that I did not have enough wool.

The week progressed fairly well.  Until we went to get in the car on Thursday afternoon.  Let me present Exhibit B (below) of the rear passenger right door.  Yes, that is a large dent isn't it.  Thankfully the culprit left me an apologetic note on my wind shield.

 Today, being Good Friday I decided that I would like to sit in the sun and maybe do some reading or some knitting relaxing.  Well the sun shone for about an hour during which time I brought outside my Childaw Mannequin and got her ready for a fashion parade.  I got as far as adorning her with the green cotton house dress I bought via TradeMe.

So dear friends, here is Exhibit C: The Green Cotton Dress:

On close examination I realised that this dress was not in great condition.  The bias binding on the neckline and sleeves was stained yellow and in parts it was threadbare.  Also the stitching was less than perfect - yes, less than perfect in a way that was clearly less than my style of sewing.  So I sat in the sun for an hour with my quick-un-pick and unpicked the bias binding and the hem.  I am not sure if you can see it in the photo but the hem is all puckered because it looks like the sewer (I am too hesitant to type "seamstress") was a learner.  In fact as I unpicked I wondered if this dress was the first dress that the sewer ever made.  The zip is slightly crooked - well now, its actually completely removed, and in places I can see that the cutting was crooked and the seams are a little wobbley.

I am not going to lie, I am disappointed.  I thought this would be a bargain at $1 plus postage.  As you may have gathered the sun decided to hide behind a cloud, so by lunch time I was out of my sundress and into cargo pants and a tee shirt with a cardi.  As I consider Good Friday a family holiday we got in the car and went to what is known as the "Dinosaur Park" which funnily enough has a slide which is like a dinosaur, it also has swings and slides, an adventure climbing thing, and a huge area mapped out like streets so children can ride their bikes or scooters around.  My 10yo happily scooted around on her beloved scooter while Darling H and I got colder and colder.  The park is near the sea - only a large sanddune seperates it from the ocean and I swear that every single time I have been there, I have been cold.  The easterly breeze from the sea seems to make the air cool and damp and therefore while children scooted around and ran around like mad things in tee shirts, Darling H and I sat huddled in our coats with our hands firmly shoved in our pockets.

Now, what did warm me up was the prospect of going to the Gypsy Fair.  We drove past on the way to the park and my 10 yo wailed "oh maybe there will be a mood ring there..." and I thought "maybe there will be some vintage clothes or something interesting".  So on the way home we pulled over and made our way amongst the caravans and stalls.......

Readers, I can tell you that there is *T*R*E*A*S*U*R*E at the Gypsy Fair in Dunedin.  Treasure in the form of a stall selling awesome vintage clothing.  I was restrained, honestly, I was!  I bought a polyester dress in green and red, that does not look like a Christmas ornament, a House of Raymond jacket which looks like it was originally the top part of a dress, and an embroidered cotton shirt from the Philippines.  The dress is quite possibly Debenhams or something British, and yes it has had work done to it, but it is a vision of polyester loveliness.  The jacket is also polyester and in two colours with a cool fabric covered buttons, and the shirt is cream with red and green.  All are drip drying on my washing line as I type this.  While my photos have been uploading I have been trawling Trademe for vintage goodies (and to get some ideas on prices in case I think of re-selling anything).  My dear family exhausted by scootering and walking and playing tennis in the driveway are now in the prone position with glazed eyes watching The Return of the King.  

So what have you been up to?  I hope you all have had a good week, and are having a well deserved rest on Good Friday.