Saturday, May 26, 2012

A very, very rare bird

This afternoon I had the privilege of seeing a very very rare bird: a Takahe.  My family went to the Orokonui EcoSanctuary to see the two Takahe.  The birds are flightless and were presumed extinct until re-discovered in 1948!!!  Now there are about 72 left and the two at the ecosanctuary are both males who have not been successful in expanding the population.  I felt very lucky to be able to be so close to such a rare bird.  One was much more shy and hesitant and barely visible.  The other paced up and down the fenceline as if he was wanting to know what was on the other side.  Alas, they could not be released into the sanctuary today as planned, as they were considered too stressed.  When they are released, literally the gates to their enclosure will be opened and they will be allowed to just walk out.

Seeing such a rare creature reinforces how much protection is needed for our environment.   Without intervention Takahe would become extinct.  I am really glad that me and my family are supporting the ecosanctuary.

On the thrifting, op-shopping and vintage front I have had a relatively quiet week.  I have made three Trademe purchases recently and felt that I could not justify spending more on clothes.  When I passed by the Presbyterian Support Shop my eye was drawn to a 1970s Golden Hands pattern book which I will show you later, and in the 50 cent basket at the counter a gypsy style necklace with a broken (but easily fixed) clasp.

Due to not getting home until dark I have no "outfit photos" except for my Frock on Friday outfit:

A homemade polyester dress found at the Butterflies hospice shop - I forget how much I paid for it, but it was less than $10.  Normally I wear it with a belt, but this time I teamed it up with a JayJays denim waistcoat.  I put on my Bambi necklace and noticed that the bright blue eye really contrasted with the brown shades in the dress, so I added a turquoise necklace and also a  bangle in a similar colour.  I work in a centrally heated office and any more layers would be too hot.

However, going outside is a different matter: traditionally on a Friday lunchtime I meet up with my best friend and we go for a "mooch" around the shops.  Here I am with a cool whale tale sculpture - I wore a grey cardigan and my crimplene coat when I was out and about which provided the necessary warmth.

Yes, I did make it to the 24 hour book sale.  I watched On the Waterfront earlier in the week and now have my first crush on Marlon Brando.  I was hoping I might find his biography, or maybe Elizabeth Taylor, or if I was lucky Cary Grant.  Alas the biography section was populated by people who had no concept of personal space or decent manners.  I could not get a decent look at any of the titles.  So I went downstairs to the basement, where the pickings were much richer - and this is where I found the following:
Denim: from cowboys to catwalks.  A visual history of the world's most legendary fabric ($4) - lots of fabulous photos showing garment evolution and also the links to culture, rock and roll and movies.
Stars of the Screen: Photographs from the Kobal Collection ($4) - the cover is a shot of Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman from Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and I swear there is practically steam coming off the pages.  Plenty of costume inspiration here, and also a reminder that I need to watch more classic movies.  My daughter got a haul of spooky ghost stories and a copy of The Hound of the Baskervilles.

At the book sale it is expected that you will see at least a couple of people you know, and to my delight I did and therefore it was a very socialable event.  We both wore our new berets which I have finished. Below is hers as a work in progress.  Mine is a bluey/green colour.  I had to do mine three times to get it right!!!

Following on from the book sale I decided to broader her horizons and introduced her to the world's greatest detective: the new version of Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jnr).  At her age I was introduced to the world's greatest spy: James Bond.  She is entranced.  Personally, I am torn between RD Jnr, and the delicious but flawed Bernard Cummerbatch, who portrays Holmes in the more adult version.

Anyway, here I am on a Sunday night feeling like I have had a good break from work.  There's a mound of washing as high as Everest to be sorted, a dress to be hemmed and more knitting to do.  Tomorrow its back to work and I am already wondering what combination of colours I can surprise my colleagues with!!

Hope you all have had a good weekend,

take care xx

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Inspired by Krista to reveal a little more of me.....

Tonights post is thanks to the amazing Krista over at Peetee's Palace.  Reading her recent posts has made me think about me and my style in a different way.  

1)How old are you? 
I am 43 this year, but I don't feel it, and I don't think I look it either.  

2)What does your appearance say about you? 
I am confident, I am not afraid to be who I am.  I also hope it says I am approachable, that I am not conventional, that I am not scary.  I like colour.  I like pattern.  I like colours and patterns together.  I find wearing colourful bright things makes my mood bright too.  

3)Do you judge other people based on their appearance? If so, how? 
I try not to.  But yes, I notice dirty shoes and I think about what other details are uncared for in their life.  

4)Do you worry about your appearance? If so, how?
I have developed an annoying dermatitis and rosacea recently and I do worry about my skin, in as much as I worry that it is not going to get better.  I feel guilty for eating chocolate and too much sugary food when it is possible that these things are actually a trigger for my skin problems.   I have quite a few surgery scars but I do not worry about them, they are my battle scars or war wounds!   

5)Is there a difference in being cute or being pretty? 
To me, yes, I think there is.  Cute is girly, as in young girl, with an innocent aspect.  I don't think I have ever considered myself cute.  However I like the idea of mixing cute style with say punk for example.  I love Bambi and have about 4 teeshirts all with Bambi on them, because Bambi represents something cute and childlike.  I like to wear these tees with jeans and studded boots for example.  As for pretty well, I tend to think of pretty in terms of perfection.  I think I have some pretty outfits, but I don't consider myself pretty.  Jeez, as I type this I am thinking to myself I still have body image issues!!

6)What do you love about yourself? 
I have an awesome family who understand and accept my sense of style and my passion for workers rights.  I love that I am able to help people in their workplace and make working conditions better.   I hope that I can be a good role model to my daughter and I love the relationship I have with her.  

7)What do you dislike about yourself? 
I talk too much sometimes.  I dislike the fact that I have a lot of grey hair and that I am not prepared to go au naturelle yet, so I get my hair coloured every six weeks.  I dislike the idea of putting chemicals on my head but I am just not ready for grey, yet

8)What career can you see yourself in?
Well when I was at uni I did not really have a career in mind, just something to do which used my qualifications.  I am not sure I am a career type person, I never really had a burning urge to have a particular job.  I have worked in administration for nearly 14 years now in different places.  I went back to work 12 months after my daughter was born - I could not see myself as a fulltime mother.  There are pros and cons to this choice.   I have been a union delegate for 8 years or so, and it is definitely a path I am very happy to be travelling along.  I am happy where I am right now as I can mix my job with my union work.  Eventually I might like to be a union organiser, or work for one of the charitable organisations.  

Thanks for reading, and thanks again to Krista for inspiring me!!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Looking forwards

At the start of the year I proclaimed that I was going to "not buy anything new" and also to try and achieve some sense of cost and space neutrality.  Easier said than done! 

However, in the weekend I took a large box of clothes, knick-knacks, handbags and some books to ReStore.  The clothes were mainly one my daughter had outgrown, but also included a few of my own such as a sewing fail - cropped trousers, a Trademe fail - Donna Rae green cotton coat dress size 14 which did not fit me, nor did it resell after 2 listings on TM so out it went; and a pair of jeans which no longer fit me comfortably amongst other items which I have not worn for a year or more.  

I also included a 2nd hand book fail - a novel about Boudicea which I bought for $2 from the Sallies a couple of weekends ago.  The writing style was so awful I could not read it.  The Eleventh Commandment, by Jeffrey Archer I bought at the same time on the other hand was an easy and enjoyable  read, but as I did not want to keep it I decided to donate it as well. 

Due to the wintery weather I have decided that some of my summer clothes are not going to see the light of day for a while, no amount of hosiery, underwear or cardigans will make some of the dresses suitable wear during winter so it makes sense to put them away.  This also made a little extra room for a 1970s maxi dress bought via Trademe last week - a long pink crimplene lurex number :-)

This weekend I am looking forward to the famous 24 Hour Book sale which will be held at the Regent Theatre.  This is the apparently the second largest booksale in Australasia.  For those in Dunedin it starts at 12 noon Friday 25th to and ends promptly at 12 noon Saturday 26th May.

Last year I made a flying visit and scored two wonderful sewing books, including Vogue Sewing with boxed slipcover.  I am planning a pile of Fashion magazines from the 2010-2011 to the Hospice shop this week as well, to make room for any potential purchases at the book sale. 

Also coming up on the "Things to do" calendar is the Annual Presbyterian Support Fabric Sale, which is on
16th Jun 2012 11:00am-2:00pm.  I doubt I will be buying much though, as I am seriously out of space at home to store anything remotely associated with sewing.  I plan on just enjoying being amongst fabric lovers. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

My humble vintage origins.....

Hi Everyone, hope you all had a good week.  Today I thought I would share a little bit of my history with you.

I have recently updated my profile and it says something like "after 40 years finally found my sense of style", well its a slight exaggeration.  I was lucky enough to have a mother who was and still is an excellent sewer, and she made many of my clothes as a child.  Until I went to high school she made most of my clothes or, occasionally we got a clothes parcel from a relative (but more about that in another post).

The first major clothing purchase I ever made was a pair of Levis.  I had an afterschool job at the local new supermarket and saved my wages (I started on $2.50 an hour) until I had enough to go to H & J Smiths in Invercargill and buy my first pair of Levis.  I still remember that day. It was in 1984.

My next memorable purchase was at an A & P Show (Agriculture and Produce) in Invercargill in the in 1985 or 1986.  At the time I had a huge crush on David Bowie.  My purchase was a black cotton tee shirt with a picture of David Bowie on it from his Lets Dance tour.  I adored that tee shirt.  I looked for a photo of it this morning, but could not find one :(

Then came the right of passage in the form of the school ball in 1987.  I got asked at the last minute, and hence had to find a dress at the last minute.  I remember my dad taking me shopping and waiting very patiently.

It was nothing, and I mean NOTHING like the dresses all the other girls wore.  It looks like a skirt and a top but its actually a dress.  I am not sure of the correct sewing terminology but the top was joined to the skirt via the top lining.  The white Fabia shoes were later dyed black.  The dress ended up at the Salvation Army or similar.

When I moved to Dunedin to attend University I stayed at Salmond Hall (now Salmond College) for the first year in 1988.  A large group of us went to the annual Knox Salmond Garden Party.

Here I am, second from the left in a white Glassons cotton and lace dress and a straw hat.  Glassons was the new store for women's clothes.  I bought this dress when the store opened in Invercargill and I later dyed it blue in the sink at the hostel.  Maybe I spilt something on it at the garden party???

I took a photo of this photo using my Arnott's biscuit tin lid as a prop - so please excuse the words "do not purchase if seal is broken or missing...."

My normal day to day clothes were unremarkable.  But when I had the opportunity to dress up I made the most of it.  Below is me in Victorian garb on the right, with a lovely gentleman and lady.  This was a fundraising event I organised which was part of the Dunedin Anniversary celebrations to mark the 150th anniversary of early settlers arriving.  I think it was 1998??  I hired the dress and jacket and loved wearing it.  What you can't tell from the photo is that the event was pretty much washed out by awful March weather.  However those of us on the organising committee had a lot of fun.

One of my earliest opped or thrifted items was a suede jacket.  I had it for years and years until eventually the sleeves practically fell off.  It was given to me by a boyfriend who at the time had a thing for black clothes and introduced me to op shopping.  The photo below is taken when I was about 24 I think.  The relationship did not last but I got to keep the jacket.

I recall in my second year at varsity (1989) I got invited to a 1970s party.  I went to the St Vincent de Paul in George Street and bought a lurex and wool maxi dress.  I cut it off just above the knees and took it in on both sides so it was almost skin tight.  I wore it to the party with black tights and black boots and green oval tinted sunglasses.  I was the most punkish person at the party.  Everyone else was in hippy flower power clothes.  I had the dress for years.  Here I am wearing it with a beloved black cardigan at one of my birthday parties in the 1990s  - behind me two friends are clearly laughing at me being so silly.  You can just see the sparkley fabric, I recall it was a swirling pattern of greens and blues.

Dunedin is a city which was built on the Victorian wealth and one year I went to a proper Victorian Ball.  I hired a dress, from the same place I had hired the red tartan one pictured above.  I think the lady was called Joy and I think, but I am not certain that she has moved to Oamaru now and does costumes for the Victorian fete.  Anyway, I wore a very very posh red dress and felt very awkward.  I much preferred the practicality of the other outfit but it was a ball and therefore I had to be dressed accordingly.  The ball was at a private house and everyone was dressed up.  I felt like a bit of an imposter as I was not comfortable in the very tightly boned corset and the frilly dress.

Last photo for today's post is me standing atop the newly renovated Ravensbourne Rail Footbridge.  Last Sunday my family and I took part in the Annual Babies for Trees* ceremony organised by Keep Dunedin Beautiful and Rotary.  We planted a Pohutukawa Tree for our family and as the planting was on the harbour walkway we decided to walk to the bridge.  You might remember a few weeks back we attended the official re-opening of the bridge.  Well here it is in all its glory, and there's me at the top, wearing much more comfortable polyester dress, crimplene coat and boots.

Right, time to get the oven on for tea.  My very thoughtful husband has just asked me if I have permission from the people in the photos to publish them on the internet, and I can assure you I do not.  The photos were taken years ago before the internet really existed.  However if I have published the photo of someone and not identified them, but they see this post and are concerned, please contact me and I will fuzz your face out with the drawing tool.

* Trees for Babies is NOT about swapping your baby for a tree which is what my adorable 10yo asked.  It is about planting trees to beautify the city and celebrate the birth of a baby or commemorate the passing of someone.

Bye for now xx

Friday, May 11, 2012

Some old favourites and some new items

Hi Everyone, this week I thought I would shock you   surprise you with a "day by day" series of photos.  Continuing with the semi-theme of wearing different combinations of clothes I decided that I "should" wear clothes which had been languishing in my wardrobe and not actually been worn.  With this noble thought in my mind I started my week wearing the Elizabeth Byrne cropped jacket which I had bought at the Hospice Butterflies shop months ago and never worn.

Monday: Here I am wearing it with the black long sleeved cotton tee shirt also from Butterflies ($2) and the refashioned denim skirt from Presbyterian Yellow Shop ($1).

The skirt is actually very dark blue but in the photo it looks black.  To accessorise I chose the oversize red belt, Hospice shop ($1), red tights (retail), bangles (all thrifted) and black ring which was a 40th Birthday present from my dear work colleague Sonya.

Red resin stretch bracelets from Savemart $3 each
Cream and gold bangle from Butterflies (it is stamped but its so tiny I can' read it) $2
Close up of red belt

My favourite black furry shoes from St V de P
Tuesday: I wanted a completely different look so I picked out the turquoise pleated skirt which I grabbed at the Port Chalmers School Fair for less than twenty cents.  I wanted to wear my new necklace from the Salvation Army ($4) and I thought this would look good contrasted on the Sonny Knitwear sweater ($2 from St V de P).  I like the effect of the white and turquoise but something was missing: a belt.  I am not exactly a tidy person and frequently things stay on the floor near my dressing table for a couple of days before I get around to putting them away.  My eye fell on the, red and turquoise go together!  I finished the look with black opaque tights and red shoes:

Grey cardigan worn over outfit as kitchen was  beeping cold when I was posing for this photo.

Wednesday: I wanted another contrast and I felt I needed to wear another item which had not yet been worn.  Uncharacteristically I even chose this outfit before I went to bed!!  Unfortunately, it does not photograph very well, but I can assure you its a cool dress.  I found this in a vintage shop in Oamaru which is located in the Victorian precinct.  I tried the dress on in the shop over the top of the dress I was wearing at the time and I thought "if it goes over my head and fits, then I am buying it."

Alas, I felt I had not found the "right time" to wear it.  So taking a leaf out of the books of many of the lovely bloggers I follow, I decided to wear it to work.  I mean, a black cocktail dress with gorgeous sequin detailing on the neckline and the sleeves is not going to be worn at a cocktail function, because I just don't go to any!!!!

Black polyester cocktail dress
Homemade and bought in Oamaru
A dress like this did not need many accessories other than a pair of tights and cute purple ballet flats. The sequin detailing around the neckline and the sleeve cuffs are an irridescent purple colour and I think the shoes picked that out nicely.  Ofcourse in my mustard yellow kitchen, under artificial lighting its a bit tricky to see this in detail, but I hope you get the general idea!

Ballet flats bought retail.
 I like to wear earrings every day and I found myself reaching for the pair pictured below which I recall were a Christmas gift from my parents in the 1980s.  I wonder, is something from the 1980s vintage??

Thursday: On Wednesday lunchtime I did a quick walk around the block (via the Hospice shop) and to my delight found a lovely pink/purple/blue paisley patterned Bonds dress. I love the colours and when I got home I gave it a wash and dried it carefully beside the fire.  Voila!  Here it is with the ubiquitous grey cardigan, purple opaque tights (not visible) and cream boots.  I love this dress - it was just the right warmth and very comfortable to wear.

Bonds dress $5 from Hospice Shop
Grey cardigan from Recycle Boutique $4.50
Blue agate pendant $5 Trademe
Bangles - various op shops.
Comfort was very important to me on Thursday because I had two very important meetings with my union members.  I wanted to feel confident and approachable and this outfit certainly helped.

Friday: following the great tradition of my fellow bloggers I decided to wear a frock - another previously unworn frock.  So I spent Thursday night carefully cutting 33cm off the bottom of two maxi dresses and then when I decided which one I would wear, I hemmed it.

Silly photo

More serious photo
This Pat Rogers maxi dress was $2 from Toffs.  Honestly readers, I felt like a million dollars wearing it.  Most of my dresses are not figure hugging, but this one fits like a glove :-) and it has a racy key hole neckline which gives the impression I have a bust.  Well, a bigger bust.

So, there you are, a day by day photo shoot.  Thanks to my very patient husband for taking the photos, and thanks to my darling daughter for letting me use her camera as mine had flat batteries.

I am planning a quick trip to Toffs and to Savemart in the weekend as I would like some new flannelette pj pants - the cold Dunedin weather is getting to me!  Also, I need to spend some time on my knitting project, which since you last saw it has been completed unpicked, re-done in a different pattern and unpicked again.  I think I have been too tired in the evening to see properly and that has made knitting more of a challenge.

All for now, hope you all have a great weekend, Penny-Rose xx

Sunday, May 6, 2012

A good weekend.....

A good weekend, to me, is time spent with my family.

A good weekend is a chance to wear something new:

Vintage Marks and Spencer green polyester blouse - Trademe $4
Denim waistcoat - retail
Green and brown home made skirt - St V de P $2
Beige boots - Restore $7
White vintage glass triple strand necklace - Trademe $1
White perspex bunny earrings - Trademe $10
Bangles - various op shops
Rings - wood and leather from subway store in Melbourne

A good weekend is being able to leave the city behind and enjoy the fresh sea air (as we did a couple of weeks ago):

Chasing birds on Aramoana Mole

Or smell some rare orchids deep in the forest.....
Easter Orchids at the Orokonui Eco-Sanctuary
Watch Tui's drinking sugar water at a feeding station....
Tuis drinking sugar water at feeding station, Orokonui Eco-Snactuary

In the weekend its good to get in the car and visit a "little town"....

 ..a little town where most of the major employers have shut up shop such as the woollen mill :-(

...we were just passing through but took time to tour some of the back streets and snap some photos of the lovely brick buildings.

A good weekend is when you can move the 10yo daughter back into her room and start to sort out things...

...and appreciate the small things in life, like the sound of the ocean, or the calls of wild birds, or the tiny perfection of a ladybird family.

How was your weekend?  Mine was just lovely :-)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A little bit of this, and a little bit of that...

Hi everyone, hope you have all had a lovely weekend. Its the end of the Golden Weather here in Dunedin. By that I mean that the lovely sunny Autumn days have ended  \with a freezing cold southerly this week.

 I found myself not able to put fingers to the keyboard until tonight.  The main reason despite wearing new and challenging combinations of clothes I have not felt like being photographed as I have had a big flare up of rosacea which is an annoying skin condition.  Without photos to document my outfits I felt like I had little to offer this week.  So I have done a lot of reading and caught up on all the amazing projects my fellow bloggers have been posting about.  I feel very lucky to be among such talented people: special shout out to Girl from the Naki, SoPastCaringVintage Bird Girl, Max and Helga .

Since the beginning of last week we have had a painter at our house as we are getting the 10yo daughters' bedroom and the hallway painted and as a result our place is an absolute mess, with piles of clean linen and towels stacked neatly along the back of the couch, and all the furnitures from the bedroom in the sunroom, and all the coats and shoes which previously littered the hallway are crammed into every available nook and cranny.  There is a single and a queen size bed, two large chests of drawers and a small set of drawers all crammed in our bedroom.  It is very cosy.  Well, that's one way of describing it!

Saturday was warm enough to wear a dress and jacket when me and my family attended the Workers Memorial service at Market Reserve.  I found it very moving listening to the names of all the workers who have died.  I took some old bedspreads and two sleeping bags over to the Salvation Army afterwards as it is directly across the road.  I really like the new store, it is very open and light.  The only down side is that one wall is all window and it gets very very hot!!!!  Anyway, to my delight I scored a few novels - including a newish Jeffry Archer for me, and Jurassic Park for 10yo daughter and and a  chunky resin necklace in a nice turquoise colour.  It is quite probably a modern piece, MIC, but I like it.

In the afternoon I made another 4 litres of carrot soup from the carrots we grew in our vege garden.  Some of them were obscenely large (haha) and not suitable for much other than soup.  I also did the daughterly thing and visited my parents.

On Sunday morning we braved the gusty wind and went out to Aramoana for an invigorating walk along the mole.  It was very dramatic and I did take photos, but have not yet uploaded them to the computer.  Late on Sunday afternoon I decided that I wanted to watch something fun: so I chose Hairspray (the 2007 version with John Travolta).  I love this movie - it really speaks to me about standing up for what you believe in and the songs get my feet tapping and the costumes are ........ahhhhhhhh fabulous.

Although I could find quite a few great photos on the internet, its the dress Tracey wears at the end of the movie which I love the most - its black and white and very mod.

The 1950s dresses with circle skirts and cardigans are so cute.

Today I dodged the rain and bitter southerly wind to make a quick trip to the Hospice Butterflies shop.  I called in last week and found a cute bangle and sure enough I found another one today.  At $2 or less each it is a great way to accessorise, and although bangles do get in the way when I am typing, its worth it!  One thing I have noticed is that now I have quite a few bangles I am having problems finding them in my drawer - they always look messy.  So, I decided that I should try and find some way of displaying them.....and if I found a mug tree then I would get one.  I had a chrome one for years, but got rid of it.  To my delight there was one at the Butterflies shop today, for the princely sum of $2.  So, when I got home from work I spent a very satisfying few minutes arranging my bangles on the tree.  I will take a photo when the bedroom is in a better state and show you what it looks like.

Hope you are all having a good week :-)