Saturday, July 21, 2012

Dunedin is an amazing place to live...and op shop!!

Followers of this blog will know that I think Dunedin is a fabulous place to live and I think the city is beautiful.

When the opportunity came up to take trip in a helicopter over Dunedin to raise money for the Chair of Neurosurgery, I thought it would be wonderful thing to do.  So a couple of weekends ago, my family took a trip in a helicopter and swooped all over the city.  It was an amazing experience.

There were so many people keen to take a ride that there ended up being three helicopters taking people for 15 minutes rides.  Alas, there are no photos of me in the 'copter, but below is a view of the city and stadium ....yes, I was lucky enough to sit in the front with the pilot!!!  When I got out at the end I think my face was almost split into two with a huge smile.  It was such a rush to swoop over the harbour and see the houses, schools, the coast line and the hills.  All the funds raised were going to be donated to the Neurosurgery campaign to fund the new Professor at the hospital.

Dunedin has an Annual Chocolate Carnival which coincided with the school holidays.  One of the highlights is the Jaffa race down the World's steepest street.  For all non NZ'ers, Jaffas are sweets made by Cadbury - they are round balls of chocolate covered in a crispy orange coloured and orange flavoured shell.  They are an iconic NZ sweet and popular at the movies, where if you dropped them they would roll on the floor and make a huge noise.  The world's steepest street is here in Dunedin, it's called Baldwin Street and is a residential street in North East Valley.  What happens is giant Jaffas (which are the size of gobstoppers) are individually numbered and you buy a raffle ticket.  If the Jaffa with your corresponding number crosses the line first, then there are prizes to be won.

I have never been, so I bought a ticket and took my daughter to see it.  There was entertainment from the local radio station and lots of children and families.  Unfortunately, it was raining - the misty sort which is really annoying as it clings to your hair and clothes.

My daughter and I managed to see 25,000 giant Jaffas rolling down the street but it was impossible to photograph.  Below is the best picture that I could take - considering the weather!!

In honour of the event I wore Cadbury colours - chocolate brown and purple dress, chocolate brown cardigan and boots, and a creamy white fur colour with huge fur pompoms which I bought from Trademe for $1.

A couple of posts ago, I told you that Toffs is my new favourite store.  Below is a pic of me wearing my "dunedin" tee shirt which is made by Nom;D which is a well known NZ design label which originated in .....Dunedin!  The top was $2 and I am wearing it with a velvet beret which I got at the same time, also for $2.  Please excuse the kitchen stuff - this was the only place I could take a self-timed photo with decent lighting.

Please excuse the kitchen stuff - this was the only place I could take a self-timed photo with decent lighting.  We have silly spotlights in the kitchen in a row of four, and two of the bulbs blew recently, making it very difficult to cook tea, and impossible to take photos.  Finally we got some new bulbs ...and finally I could take an inside photo.

I had a "four day" weekend during the school holidays which allowed me to get the sewing machine out and get a couple of projects finished.

First on my "to-do list" was a very long polyester skirt from Butterflies Hospice Shop.  I snapped it up because it is that knitted Trevira type fabric and in a beige and blue houndstooth pattern.  I think the skirt was originally for a supermodel because the waist was ridiculously small and it was so long that when it touched the ground it was almost under my bust!!  I think someone had tried to alter it previously as the waist band was very poorly sewn and twisted.  I cut 3 inches off the top and added darts at the front and and in the back.  I removed the very long zip and replaced with one from my stash.   I cut another three inches off the bottom and made a new waist band.  Not quite visible in the photo, but it is ankle length, which means that shoes are visible so it is no longer a true maxi.

$2 polyester skirt from Hospice Shop
$2 black knit top from Toffs
Liz Mitchell belt
Satin belt from a dress made into a headband
Bangles all about $2 from various opshops

Another item on the to do list was the dress below which I bought from Trademe about 4 months ago, but had not got around to fixing.  It is homemade and the material is very unusual - it feels like lining and it is shiney, and creases badly.  The red and brown/grey geometric blocks remind me those patterns which make your eyes go funny and the style is very much of the late 1960s.  It fits me nicely across the shoulders but the darts are high, which makes me think it was for a petite woman.  The part that I did not like was the very narrow arm holes - I could wear it alone but I thought it would be more practical if I could fit a black top underneath.

Red polyester geometric print dress Trademe approx $7
Black long sleeve cotton top LLBean brand, Hospice Shop $2

I carefully unpicked the side seams under the arms and then after a quick try on to make sure I had the right amount, I folded in the extra fabric from the sleeve edge following the existing arm hole.  I sewed it down and then reinforced the underarm.  As I said the material is weird so I ironed it and it sat nicely, so to speak, so ta da.  Another refashion finished.

This week I was delighted to see Owl in a Lark World at the Hospice Shop while I was on my weekly scavenge.

I found two things which I could not refuse: first up this very kitsch pokerwork wooden spoon with a rose decoration:

The writing on the end is almost illegible but I think that it says "Russell, North Island" which is a little town at the top of the north island.  I also scored a couple of rings and a pair of shoes for a project which I will tell you about another time.

However, the piece de resistance is this bag, made from grain sacks with raffia flowers.  Again, an illegible tag on the inside, but I think it says Made in the Philippines.

I love it.  On dreary day seeing a blogging buddy was like a ray of sunshine and finding this bag was just the icing on the cake.  Oh dear thats a metaphor or two too many, but I am sure you know what I mean.

In conclusion, today was the weekly trip to town - this time for a haircut for Daughter and then a pleasant lunch at Angus Desserts (no dessert though as we were too full!!) and then a coffee at Starbucks.  Before we went the weather was half way decent and the light was good enough for an outdoors photo - my first in months.

Vintage Triumph polyester skirt, RetroStar Clothing Melbourne
refashioned denim skirt from Presbyterian Support Shop $1
red belt and red bag both Hospice Shop
red and purple button necklace gift from a friend
purple tights retail
black furry shoes from St Vincent de Paul.
This afternoon was spent doing the washing and a quick, fruitless but still enjoyable trip to SaveMart and ReStore.

Right, in a few minutes its Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with the sweet Johnny Depp, so I am going to pick up my crochet hook and make a couple of flowers or do some knitting while watching tv.

Hope you all have had a good Saturday,


Thursday, July 19, 2012

A little bit of Friday Love....

Its been a busy week for me, so I am really really happy that it is Friday.  I just wanted to share a couple of really cool things with you.

First up, quite possibley, the worlds most coolest, awesomest tights:

 Image 1

From here.  I want these tights, but as you know, I am on a "buy nothing new" regime.  Is it sneaky to ask my Darling H to buy them for me for my upcoming birthday??  My goodness the idea of Elvis all over my legs is almost too much to bear. 

Secondly I have been covetting a pair of Doc Martens for years.

From here.  There are so many colours and designs to choose from but since I watched All the Queens Horses on tv last night, I seem to be feeling a bit nostalgic for the motherland. 

I have done some thrifting and opshopping this week - I have photos and hope to post over the weekend.  In the meanwhile, hope you are all having a fabulous Friday!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Now, for something completely different....

Now, for something completely different.  It seems funny that I use the most modern of technology: iMac and internet to share my love of all things retro.  My home was wi-fi, hi-fi, cell phones, 2 lap tops, an iMac, an iPad, Wii and a very very old playstation.  I am not gloating, its just the way life has evolved.  My job like many others,  requires a computer and a phone.  When the internet goes down work grinds to a halt.  My daughter expects to play on the computer, the iPad, or the Wii - I might add her time on these things is rationed!!!  She taught me to play Angry Birds.  I taught her to play Solitaire.  She is teaching me to play tennis on the Wii.  I am teaching her to sew and she can knit very neatly.  However like many children of her generation she knows more about technology and entertainment than either of her parents, almost single-handedly set up the Wii, assisted with the iPad set up, can play all 3 games on my old cell phone, and is mastering Angry Birds.   

I should also add, that as much as she loves technology, one of her favourite toys is a wooden dagger and sword made for her by her Daddy.

So when my mother asked me if I wanted an old game from my childhood I had my doubts about whether it would be of any interest.  Well, was I in for a surprise.

Here it is: a skill ball game made by Chad Valley which used to below to my mother's older sister.  My mother can date it from around 1950.  

Skill Ball by Chad Valley - game instructions

I remember playing this as a child - in the 1970s - in the hall way.

Skill Ball by Chad Valley dating from around 1950 and still used in 2012!!

I also recall that we lent it to the Church Fair one year.  For such a simple game it is a lot of fun.  I have spent quite a while googling "Chad Valley" and Skill Ball but have not found any other games exactly like this one.  Chad Valley also made Teddy Bears and other toys. 

Essentially the aim of the game is to roll a ball into one of the coloured holes.  Scoring is based on the colour of the 4 balls and the colours of the holes.  Our lounge is not very big, so we only have a couple of metres for the "green".  There is a wedge at the top which is on a screw which turns so you can prop the game up slightly.  This makes the balls "sit" in the holes, and if you get enough speed on your ball you can make it go right around the top of the game and come out like a bagatelle.  

The four accompanying balls are of different colours - red, blue, green and yellow - and are hand turned so they are not perfect spheres.  Coupled with the normal bits and bobs which are on the carpet at any time, this means that accurately getting the ball in the coloured hoops is more difficult than you would think.

Have you any favourite toys from your childhood?  

Why Toffs is my new favourite store....

Toffs is my new favourite store - I keep finding amazing bargains!!

On Friday I had a day off work and I had planned on making a pair of pyjama pants.  Well, I did make a pair, but they were a total failure.  I was still in the midst of the sinus infection and the fluffy flannelette I bought from the Fabric Sale was not good quality.  Instead of thinking: is this a great idea -  my head is all stuffy, the fabric is fluffy and its all twisty and turny, maybe I should do something else.  But no, no, no.  I am not the type to change my mind.

So the beligerent fabric was twisted into shape - a shape that my dear readers would be more becoming on Nellie the Elephant, or Dorothy the Dinosaur.  A stuffy headed slip of the stitch ripper and voila - a huge gaping rent in the fabric.  The sewing goddess was sending me a message.  Just stop what you are doing.

So, in vengenance against all crappy fabric I decided to fill a 60 litre rubbish bag with all the awful fabric which I have stashed over the years, the cut offs from dresses I have butchered and the metres of cheap stuff which I have bought from Spotlight, hoping, wishing to make into some vision of loveliness.

Purging never felt so good.

Then I popped into town to meet Mr H for lunch and afterwards, I thought to myself "I think I will pop into Toffs".

What treasure awaited me!!!

This red knit polyester dress, my favourite Osti brand - with pretty, but not machine washable lace:

Okay, so the lace did not survive the machine, but it was soon replaced with some from the "lace stash".  Oh did I mention it was only $2???

Then, I found a beautiful hand made evening dress - a lovely purple floral polyester:

Its hard to see the pattern but its lovely.  I did not try the dress on as I envisaged it as a skirt.  As it happens when I looked at it closely (after cutting the skirt off LOL) the seams were wide enough through the top for me to let it out considerably.  Now I have a top and a skirt.  Oh, and it was $2 too.

PS Wore the purple skirt yesterday and received several comments about the lovely colour!!

Friday, July 6, 2012

So what have I been up to for the last month?

Well, readers I have been away from my blog for nearly a month.  The result of a particularly cold and dark winter and a bit of missing blog mojo.

I had my hair done by Kerri, at the excellent Java.  She did a cute coil roll and kindly took a photo for me so that I could show you all.  Alas, its now a few weeks out of date!

I bought a very bright orange flower hair accessory to keep away the winter blues.....

Don't worry I have kept up with the winter thrifting....I just seem to have been too tired in the evenings to download photos and post!!   Here I am wearing a $4 polyester dress from St Vincent de Paul....

 ...and here is another polyester vision of loveliness which was $2 from Toffs.

I work in a very warm centrally heated, air conditioned, well above world health organisation standards, temperature-wise building.  However, its been so wintery I have had to wear a singlet!!! as well as my dresses and cardigans.  I am not sure if I prefer the green dress with the grey belt and cardi, or with the yellow lurex one below..what do you think?

I have renounced Trademe....well, for the time being.  Below is my last purchase - a genuine Tekau polyester acrylic argyle vest.  It was $14 but the postage was $6 so it was a very expensive purchase for me.  I teamed it up with turquoise because I was wearing purple and turquoise socks....

There have been one or two nice days was spent walking along the mole at Aramoana, and look what I saw there:

The only other nice day I can recall was the day of the Presbyterian Support Fabric Sale....just look at the colour of the sky behind the steeple of First Church in Moray Place:

At the sale I found an amazing sewing machine - look at the amazing fonts and graphics on the newspaper size information sheet

There was so much fabric I almost did not know what to do with myself.  I stayed for around 2 hours and as the fabric was all reduced to half price in the last fifteen minutes I had to make some difficult decisions!!!

When it finally came to making a choice I chose 4 different polyesters - all vintage - some bright yellow stretch, to make underwear with when I finally have time....

I like the look of these skirts - I have so many bits of polyester and trevira now, I wonder if I have enough to make a patchwork skirt???

I could not resist this crochet book, if only I looked as demure and serious as this lady.  Truthfully readers I have just finished reading the ubiquitous Fifty Shades of Grey.  Seeing this crochet book just made me snigger.  Actually the book was a bit lame in parts and I skipped bits.

I already have one of the Turabast pattern books so was very happy to see another one:

All up I think I spent $14.  I got a couple of 1950s knitting patterns for hats too, which somehow I have forgotten to photograph.  I really enjoyed being at the sale - its so much fun and the lovely ladies who were volunteering for PSS were very chatty and kind.

Since the sale though I have felt quite jaded - a sign of being sick of winter - and then last week I got a really bad cold which decided to convert itself into a sinus and chest infection.  I have been working on the sweater for my dear H who is 45 on Monday (sssshhhhhh don't tell anyone I put this in my blog, as he is a bit sensitive about it).  There is no way I will be finished by his birthday this year, so maybe it will be a gift in 2014!!

Right, need to go curl up by the addicted to Angry Birds on the new iPad.  I will retreat to my Anita Blake novel and a cup of tea.  I have more to share and feel my blogging mojo is gradually coming back.

Hope you are cool if you are somewhere hot, that you are warm if you are in NZ, and where-ever you are, may the force of thrifting be with you.