Sunday, September 23, 2012

A virtual tour of West Harbour

Today I took my first walk on the new section of walkway from Maia to St Leonards.  Instead of walking from Maia - where I live - I was driving on my way to Port Chalmers, when I impulsively decided to park the car at the St Leonards Yacht Club and walk part of the way to Maia.

Being right beside the ocean and in some parts, only a few metres from the channel where the big ships come in, it was very windy and quite cool.  There were some interesting cloud formations too.

Port Chalmers was bathed in sunlight and more sheltered from the wind.  I had a meander around - admiring a wooden door with iron work, a large container ship being loaded, or unloaded, and generally looking at the architecture and thinking what a cute place it is.  The Pioneer Hall is in Art Deco style, the Port Stables are a registered historic place and look much like they did back in the 1880s.  "Posh" is a local clothing design store in a more modern building which used to be the hardware store which closed a few years back.  The grey and white stone building just to the right of the container cranes is the Port Chalmers Museum, which is currently being refurbished.  It used to be the Otago Harbour Board.

One of my favourite stores to visit is "Box of Birds" which has a corner site near the Port entrance.  You can see from the sign, that it sells a wide range of items.  The sign is decorated with artificial flowers and hair curlers!!!  While I was looking around I could not help thinking of Op Shop Mama when I saw all the orange kitchenware, and was reminded of Vix when I saw the red polyester jumpsuit swinging on a hanger outside, and Helga when the green polyester dress jacket and beads grabbed my attention.  Alas, nothing called out to me "Buy me, buy me, buy me."

So, I called in to see the lovely Christianne, at her shop which is opposite Pioneer Hall.  While Box of Birds is eclectic, retro, vintage, and folky, it is on a well lit corner site with natural light pouring in through the windows.  Christiannes, by contrast is up market and stocks a lot of labels from standard high street store to designer labels, an excellent range of vintage fabrics, table linen and some china, also shoes, handbags, scarves, belts and jewellry, and although its very well set out in clearly defined areas for skirts, tops, dresses etc, it is not well lit.  

The advantage that Christianne has over other stores, is that she buys regularly and has a good stock turnaround.  Items which don't sell are marked down to a few dollars - I scored a great tee shirt with the face of the Mona Lisa for example a few weeks back.  Today I was on the hunt for a better pair of jeans, than the ones which I have been wearing, which seem to have shrunk!?!?  Lucky for me there was a pair of Levi's in an unusual cut which did the trick.  When I reached the counter I spied a beautiful rhinestone red bangle and also a moonstone ring.  The best part?  I had sold about 6 items to Christianne late last year and had "store credit" which paid for all three purchases and left some for next time!!

I hope you have all had a good weekend.  I must confess, I feel completely exhausted and am looking forward to collapsing on the couch with my book!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Pic Monkey is really cool ... look at my collages

I have finally got the hang of using Pic Monkey!  YAY!  Although I use a computer all day, my area of expertise is word processing or spreadsheets, and picture software is a mystery to me.  

Left: Vintage brooch home-made from a button, dress-making pins, glass bugle and seed beads, sequins, pearl beads, and iridescent gems which could have come from a necklace originally, $5 Trademe; Top Right: vintage tapestry purse $4 Butterflies Hospice Shop, Bottom Right vintage ceramic pendant $5 Trademe

I managed a quick dash to Toffs in the weekend and again I found some treasure in the $2 section:

Top Left: Mambo Hawaiian Loud Shirt with awesome roses pattern; Bottom Left, Pringle pleated skirt
Top Right and Bottom Left: labels for the skirt and shirt.

Alas, the pleated skirt does not fit me, despite me holding it up against me in the shop, and assuming that I MUST be able to fit a 42 inch hip.  But no. It did not fit around the waist GRRRRRH.  I am getting increasingly infuriated with buying kilts which don't fit me.  Perhaps I am not the right shape????  

Left:  Vintage 1970s maxi skirt - originally a dress and very badly altered by an amateur sewer to a skirt.  Right: the find of the year, a World jacket from Winter 2007.  It fits.  Its awesome.  I love it.

The pink skirt was originally a dress which had been butchered into a skirt for someone with a waist as small (or is that large) as my thigh.  However, I could see that there was sufficient fabric to make a decent skirt even if I did chop off 10 centimetres.  So, when I got home I immediately set to work with my Quick-unpick and removed the offending poorly made waist band in preparation for making something more substantial this weekend.  The World jacket needs nothing other than a steam - I have been hanging it in the bathroom daily to assist the wrinkles to fall out.  If only that worked with skin wrinkles.....

My colleagues are used to me returning from my lunchtime hunting from op-shops with items which make them gasp in surprise or sometimes grimace in horror.  However, I was not prepared for the outpouring of adoration which was released when I came back from the St V de Paul one day with this: 

Vintage maxi dress $4.  It has an ugly zip from throat to groin but is shaped beautifully through the bodice.

It reminds me of a Victorian dress - perhaps a revival style from the 1970s?  Its home-made and the fabric is very soft and might be a cotton blend.  Anyway, the ugly belt does nothing to conceal the zip and will not be used.  This vision of loveliness is to be converted, Dear Readers to my outfit for the Steampunk Ball later this year.  

I intend to punkify it with a black lace-up cinch waist belt and a few other items including my black top-hat.  The sleeves are spectacular but I intend to shorten them to yield sufficient fabric to make a dickey - or something similar - to conceal the awful zip. I have some white fabric and white lace and think that I can whizz up something on my trusty Husky.

So now I am able to monkey-ise my photos I think I will be posting more collages - the added bonus is that they upload really quickly.  I have another project I want to tell you about but that will have to wait.  Hope you have all had a fabulous Friday.  

Frock on Friday - a Dunedin point of view

Hello Friday-Frockers,

Dunedin is humming and buzzing at the moment because we have the mighty All Blacks and Springboks in town to play rugby tomorrow night.  

Kindergartens are decorated with black and white balloons, schools are holding black and white themed discos, shops have black and white crepe paper I decided to wear pink, a very un-rugby colour.

It was warm-ish at lunch time, around 15 degrees Celsius, and I wish I had taken my photos then, because this evening when we got home it was decidedly chilly and I was saying "hurry up and take the photo I am freezing".....

Pink polyester  "Sarah" dress, Butterflies Hospice Shop $4
I tried to do a "twirl" so you could all see the lovely fabric in the skirt......
Penny-rose is spinning out of control.....
 ..but all I succeeded in doing was making myself feel very I went for a static shot....

The jacket will feature in another post, but I can tell you, it was op-shopped!
....I wore the belt as a head band because my hair needed something pink in it, and the waistline of the dress is a little low for me and I prefer to cinch the dress in with a wider belt.  

So, what about the turquoise blue flower?  Well I bought that at lunch time at an accessory store on a "buy three items for $10" impulse.  The other two items were tights: grey lace patterned and red mesh ones.  To my utter annoyance when I got home and tried to try them on, neither would fit.  NEITHER.  The sizing on them is "one size fits most".  The lace pair were fine in the leg, but so skimpy in the torso that they barely covered, well you can just imagine.  The red pair were impossible to get beyond my knees as the waist would not stretch enough.  I said some very very bad words which my 10yo daughter knows not to repeat.  So, do I take them back and ask for a refund/credit? or do I accept that this failure is punishment for my deviation from my year long journey of not buying myself anything new, and I give both pairs to the Butterflies Hospice Shop?  

I have come to really love fun tights and socks this year and am really disappointed that these two cheap pairs cannot even be cut down to make knee hi's without being ruined.  Any suggestions?  What would you do?

Friday, September 7, 2012

Vintage Polyester and more

Hi everyone,

I hope you have all had a good week.  I have been taking photos, but somehow too busy to actually upload them.

Firstly I want to share with you some exciting news - we have bought some land and are planning on building a new house (next year sometime).  

It was originally part of someone's garden (very large garden) and about 1500 metres square in total area.  Its sunny and sheltered by a large row of some kind of conifer trees.  It is bordered on three sides by two streets and what we call a paper road, which is a road but it only goes to one house and is more like a driveway than an actual street.  Its in the same area as where we live now, so we know the climate and the neighbourhood.  Because it was part of a large garden, about a third of it is rhododendrons and azaleas in a quite traditional design, a third is native bush - including a lovely kauri tree (which is New Zealand's biggest tree and now protected having been harvested for furniture and wood for houses) and two Rata trees which have the most amazing red flowers which I can show you in summer.  The final third part of the garden was a greenhouse/potting shed which has been removed and it is this area where we will build a house and garage.  

The garden is divided into areas by big hedges which we may keep - or not depending on where exactly we decide to build our house.  The only thing it does not have is a view of the beautiful Otago Harbour.  There is one spot where you can see the harbour, but alas, it is not where we intend to build a house as it is quite close to the shelterbelt trees.  So I think I might have a pagoda in this area so I can sit and see the water.....

You can just see the water through the trees.  Hopefully, we will be able to design a house which will enable some kind of harbour view,

Here is a photo of me standing in front of a Pohutakawa tree which is known as New Zealand's Christmas tree.  I am wearing the $4 black and white polyester dress with shocking pink cardigan and shocking pink tights.

Black and white polyester dress, Butterflies Hospice Shop $4
Pink cardi, SaveMart
Black leather jacket, Salvation Army
Belt, scarf and pink tights, retail
Furry Shoes, St Vincent de Paul
A while ago I bought a maxi skirt from Butterflies Hospice Shop which required shortening because it was so incredibly long.  Here is is - not looking quite right because I should have straightened up my clothes before the photographer pressed the button:

Blue vintage polyester maxi skirt, Butterflies Hospice Shop $2
Vintage brown waistcoat, St Vincent de Paul
Blue necklace, Presbyterian Yellow Shop
Blue and white bracelet, Butterflies Hospice Shop
Brown Clarks shoes, St V de P
The last few days have been spectacularly warm - unseasonably and I am suspicious about what might happen next.  However, today, for the second day in a row in September I wore bare legs.  I bought this dress off Trademe because I fell in love with the pattern - a wonderful combination of polka dots and stripes:

Vintage blue and white dress, Trademe $7
Red belt, necklace and shoes retail
Red cardigan, Butterflies Hospice Shop $4
Red bracelets SaveMart $4 each
I want to finish tonight's post with these two photos of me and my lovely, handsome cat Handbag (which is his blog name).  He is a big softy and he and his sister have been terrorised recently by a marauding tom cat.  I think it is a wild cat as it is not at all scared of humans, hisses and spits, and  it  has been wailing and calling all hours of the day and night.  Both my cats are very unsettled.  So when my boy wanted to be part of my photos yesterday I decided that I would make sure he appeared in my blog!  I notice that many of the blogs I follow include pets - dogs, cats and a tortoise, and even a condor.

Paul Klee printed vintage skirt - previously a maxi dress, Presbyterian Support Shop
Red 460 Waughs tee shirt - in perfect new condition, found at the Hospice Shop, $2
Blue belt, Hospice Shop 50 cents
Denim jacket retail
Enamelled Bambi brooch, Rockbourne Jewellry

This weekend in addition to washing and shopping, I am hoping to go through the wardrobes and look for more things to donate to charity.  A group of us are going out to dinner tomorrow night to celebrate my best friend's 40th birthday, and on Sunday we are planning to go for a swim and then my daughter has invited a friend around to play.  I really hope the weather stays calm so I can get out into the garden and do some weeding.  Spring is definitely on it's way.  YAY!