Thursday, January 31, 2013

Have you ever had a "OMG" moment in an op shop?

Have you ever had a "O. M. G." moment in an op shop.  You know the one where your heart starts pounding a bit faster and you try not to squeal with delight but its almost impossible.  

I had one this week.  I called in to Restore and I was not hoping for anything ..... and then.... I found not one...not two.... not three....but FOUR homemade shift dresses in vintage fabric.  All in a voluminous size I estimate to be a modern 18 - ie with plenty of fabric so that I can remodel into something which fits me!!!!!!!

Here they are adorning my fabulous rotary clothesline.  Note I took the photo very carefully so you did not get a sneak peak at my smalls!!  Anyway, I paid $5, $6 and $7 for the two orange ones and the one with yellow and blue flowers, and $1 for the green one on the far left.  It has a small stain on it.  

As you may recall from my hotter than Elvis post a week or so back, I am struggling to keep my cool in vintage polyester so have been wearing some cotton dresses.  I have also been reading about vintage Hawaiian dresses having seen one (in size 8) at the Butterflies Hospice Shop, and as a consequence was on the look out for some amazing floral fabric.  I could not believe my luck when I clapped eyes on the blue and yellow one.... and things just kept getting better when I found the two orange ones on the same rack.  As usual I did a quick peek around the "fill a basket for $2" clothes section and found a nice rayon Hawaiian style shirt...and another dress.  The lonely green one was tucked in behind some polyester dresses which did not even tempt me.  Okay I was tempted by one but it was a size 8 and I was imagining it for my 11yo. But I restrained myself.

I just had to share with you!!  I am already so looking forward to the weekend because I want to get out my trusty Husqvarna and do some alterations.  Anyway, before I go I also want to share some snaps I took last weekend while I was at my friend Cindy's house (which is just gorgeous by the way).  It was a hot sunny morning and I sat in the garden and read a book and wandered around the taking photos.  Just lovely.  

So, I hope you have had a good week and wonder if you have your weekend all planned out, like I do.  I'd love to hear about your OMG moments too!!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Frock on Friday, Vintage Dresses and a couple of Skirts

Hi Everyone, hope you have had a good week.  Today I want to show you a few outfits as I am not organised enough to post daily.

First up, a photo of me and my cat Handbag, some blackcurrant jelly being made and some pikelets - all taken the first week of January.  When we returned from our holiday on the West Coast I picked more blackcurrants at our new section of land.  I have made two lots of jelly - the first not so successful, and the second much better.  I have also made a small amount of strawberry jam which is just delicious with fresh pikelets and whipped cream.  My outfit is a cut down home-made maxi dress bought from St Vincent de Paul, a denim jacket bought on sale retail several years ago and the brown shoes (not a good shoe photo I know) I bought in Blenheim for $2.  

This week the weather has been just lovely and I have enjoyed wearing items which do not transition to winter such as this amazing art deco print nylon/polyester skirt below.  I bought this skirt three years ago at the Blenheim Savemart.  I have adjusted it a couple of times as I found the waist to be too bunchy.  Two rows of elastic have improved the comfort immensely.  I am wearing it with a thrifted tee shirt, retail hair flower, belt, bracelets and Melissa shoes.  I also used my straw flower bag bought from the Hospice Butterflies Shop.

 For some weird reason I changed the setting on my camera to super vivid which has brightened up the next outfit too much.  I am wearing a pink Osti polyester dress from Toffs for $2.  The necklace is purchase from this week - I have wanted an aurora borealis style necklace for a while and to my delight I found one at the new Hospice Shop for $6.  

Yesterday I wore a more modern dress - but still vintage, and still not new: a polyester dress dating from the 1980s I think.  I found it at Toffs on the $2 rack earlier this week and knew immediately that even though it said size 18 on the label it was more like a modern 14.  The waist was incredibly tiny as the elastic instead of perishing and stretching seemed to have shrunk so I very very carefully unpicked bits and then snipped, allowing for some stretch.  It is still a bit tight and I need to adjust it again slightly, and in the photos I don't think the blue belt from the Hospice Shop is sitting right but I love it as it is so bright and cheerful.  The beads and bracelets are all thrifted.  The shoes are Melissa bought new a couple of years ago. 

 Today's dress for Frock on Friday was the white and blue polka dot dress below right.  It is another Toffs $2 find and I think from the label it dates from the 1980s.  I am not a great fan of sleeveless dresses but this one has cute pintucks down the front and tiny buttons and fabric loops so I wore a cardigan over it.  

The photo on the left is my old faithful cotton polka dot dress, and in the centre is the skirt I bought at Blenheim Savemart recently teamed up with a thrifted tee shirt.  It was a wrap-around but I sewed it up and put on some hooks and eyes to keep it closed at the waist.  

I bought two other dresses from Toffs this week but have not yet worn them - one is a polyester (surprise surprise) style shirt dress in shades of green and purple.  The other is a red and white polka dot 1980s style with puffy sleeves.  It needs an iron and its been too hot to even consider ironing in the evenings.  Well I am really glad it is Friday night as I am weary of work.  The weather forecast is excellent for the weekend and I am looking forward to some gardening in the sunshine!  

Friday, January 18, 2013

Holiday post 3: West Coast Adventure

Hi everyone, hope you have all had a good week.  Here is the third installment in my holiday series: theWest Coast of New Zealand.

After the heat of Marlborough we headed across the land (literally from one side of the South Island to the other) via the amazing Buller Gorge.  Due to the weather conditions taking photos was very difficult.  Thankfully the weather cleared enough to get a shot of me on the shore of a beautiful lake - the name of which escapes me at present.  Below left is one of the buildings in the grounds of the Murchison Museum, which was unfortunately closed.  Also there was a memorial to those who died in the Murchison Earthquake in 1929.  

Murchison had an amazing second hand shop called "Somebody's Treasure" where we spent a happy half hour or so gazing in wonder at all the items.  I particularly liked the sign with Jiminy Cricket and the Murdochs Orange drink bottles.  I took several photos inside but only one was clear - isn't the lamp cool?

Murchison had quite possibly the trendiest public toilets with a cut out figure of a punk-ish woman figure at the entrance.  An old shop also had a great display of old packets and tins. 

 The plaque commemorating the original Murchison Courthouse reads: 

The original Murchison Courthouse once stood on this site and had its walls smashed in and the whole building shifted 2 inches off its piles, in 1905.  A certain gentleman farmer was taken to court by his neighbor for alleged cattle stealing and he became so angry at the whole proceedings, that he tied dynamite around himself and threatened to blow up the judge and the courthouse.  
Luckily, he was persuaded outside before he was able to detonate the charge.  The farmer killed himself, appearing to be here one moment and completely disappearing the next and two policemen were badly injured.  So ended an interesting but sad episode in Murchison's history.

Our journey continued across huge rivers (photo below - top left) and through beech forest until we arrived at our next destination: Westport.  After disgorging all our luggage at the motel we decided to explore a place called Cape Foulwind.  This headland is very rocky and had a pleasant short walk to the lighthouse.  There is also a seal colony at the nearby bay.  We enjoyed the view back towards Westport of the limestone rock formations (photo bottom right).  To my delight several weka were in the carpark at the base of the headland/walkway (bottom left). Weka are flightless birds and very comical.  They are like a swamp hen or rail, and there are four species.  I had saved some stale bread with the intention of feeding ducks in Westport so I spent a very happy time feeding four or five birds.

Westport was not a town I felt endeared towards - the only artistic feature which appealed to me was the art deco town hall (top right).  

After an eventless night in Westport we headed off down the coast towards Punakaiki and Shantytown.  Due to a camera malfunction I did not take any photos of the rock formations at Punakaiki - I suggest looking here.  The weather was less than ideal when we left Westport but as look would have it, the clouds parted and sun shone while we enjoyed the spectacular rock formations at Punakaiki.  There is a purpose built walkway around and over the rocks so you can see down into the chimney stack and blow hole formations.  As we left the weather closed in again and therefore our visit to Greymouth was not long.  We walked along the river and I spent several sombre moments reading the names of some of the more than 400 miners who have died in the coal mines, in 2010 Greymouth lost 29 miners at the Pike River Mine.  The memorial was officially opened today and featured on the news.  

For my 11yo daughter, Shantytown was going to be the highlight of the trip.  Shantytown is  a collection of old buildings (some original) made to look like a mining town with walks and historical activities and a steam train.  There are recreations of a Chinese Mining Camp, an old theatre showing a holographic movie, a sweet shop, tea rooms, barbers etc.  We went to the gold panning area first - excitement levels were so high it was almost impossible to restrain her and she practically ran along the walk.  The guide, Charlie very kindly showed her the correct technique and set her to work with a pan filled with gravel.  I read many of the interesting historical signs and enjoyed the gorgeous weather.  Again the clouds parted and the sun came out.  As finding gold is guaranteed it was just a matter of patience and time.  When she was down to the last few grains of sand the sight of a few small sparkles of yellow made her day.  Charlie put the gold in a little bottle of water and it is now one of her most precious possessions.  

We all loved Shantytown - for my Dear H the train was the highlight (top right shows the interior of the cab).  I enjoyed all the old signs - the one for hair cream was my favourite (top left), and also the recreation of the first Hannahs Shoes shop.  

We left after about three hours but could have easily stayed longer.   Our drive continued down the coast to Fox Glacier which was our final destination.  It was New Years Eve and pouring with rain.  We snuggled up in our motel and watched The Time Machine which was on tv.  I think we turned out the lights at 10pm and were lulled to sleep by the continual pouring rain.  It was still raining when we left in the morning, and continued to do so for another 24 hours.  When we finally got home we were dry and warm because we drove across the South Island from Haast on the West Coast, through the pass to Wanaka, through the orchards of Central Otago and then finally to our coastal city Dunedin.  However, some travellers only 12 hours behind us were stranded when a river not dissimilar from the one in my photo above breached its banks and washed away the road.  If we had been one day later we would not have been able to get home and would have had to retrace all our steps.   It was a great trip and we are planning to go again!  

Hope you enjoyed reading this and I will be posting some more op shop treasure in a couple of days.  

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Polyester makes me hot .... and so does Elvis!

I have been loving the hot weather but....polyester makes me hot!  So I have had to wear cool cottons.  For Frock on Friday I wore a home made dress (cotton digital printed fabric from Tessuti, Melbourne) and I wore turquoise, red and yellow accessories.  Dear H and I had some time to ourselves so we went for a lovely walk to the Botanic Gardens to look around the aviary and the Mediterranean Garden.  

Left: in the Mediterranean Gardens, at the Dunedin Botanic Gardens,  home made dress
Right: in the main street of Port Chalmers, "Page Boy" Vintage sundress, made in NZ, 

On Saturday afternoon we all went to Port Chalmers for an ice-cream and a look around the few shops.  I bought a really cool book Street Style, by Ted Polhemus for only $5.  Its a very interesting book on fashion from the sidewalk, rather than the catwalk.  It was originally published to go with the exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in the mid 1990s.  I wore a vintage cotton "Page Boy" Made in NZ sundress which I bought at the Shop on Taieri, which is a charity shop run by the Presbyterian Support Service, in Mosgiel.  I bought the dress earlier in the year but had not yet had the chance to wear it.  It is a little shorter than I would normally wear, but it was so hot I did not care.  I love the bright cheerful yellow and orange flowers and the black and white check print.  

Port Chalmers has a new-ish shop which I have not yet been in.  It is never open.  Its called the Costume Box  and I am not sure if it is a costume rental place or a shop which is a pity because there are some really awesome clothes in the window: 
Costume Box, George Street, Port Chalmers
Today was my first day back at work after the holidays.  I wore my favourite turquoise pleated skirt with a plain tee shirt and the obi sash belt I made from some Elvis material in my stash.  I also wore the vintage orange beads I bought in Mosgiel on Friday at the Butterflies Hospice shop.  I like the colour combination of this outfit - (I have just noticed that I am wearing my yellow sneakers in the photo, but I wore my black Melissa heels at work).  

Vintage pleated skirt from a school fair for less than a $,  Elvis obi belt made by me,
grey cotton tee shirt thrifted for $2, orange beads thrifted $2
I confess I made the obi very quickly in the weekend - I had started several other projects all in polyester and due to the heat I could not bear to finish them.  I wanted to make something in cotton and then I found the Elvis fabric which I bought years ago.  I used an existing belt as a template and some calico fabric as stiffening.  The end ties are from some purple cotton also in my stash.  Elvis made me hot around my middle today but not as hot as a polyester dress! 

Hope your week has started well, 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Holiday series: Part 2

Moments after posting my earlier post I realised that I had omitted several important facts and a photo.  

Facts: in the photo of me in front of the Fyffe Whaling Station I am wearing a Misery tee shirt (little girl and flamingo's) is a NZ made and designed item (you can read more about Misery stuff here) and I bought it for the princely sum of $2 from the Butterflies Hospice Shop.  Then in the dorky photo of me post-sea voyage where I am dressed for comfort not for style, I am wearing a Very Grouchy Lady Bird tee shirt (I get lots and lots of comments when I wear it, by adults not children even though it is designed by Eric Carle who writes books for children).  I bought it retail at a jeans store for $5 just prior to going to Melbourne in 2010.  

I am woefully sorry about not including a photo of me at the wedding.  Its a photo of me without my sunglasses and I am unsure if I like it.  
Vintage Diane Freis dess $2, Toffs 

Anyway, I am wearing the $2 Diane Fries dress from Toffs, a thrifted leather belt, handbag a gift, shoes and hair flower retail.  The wedding ceremony was at a lavender farm and a very beautiful setting.  It was overcast (which is why I do not have my sunnies on) but not cold.  

Right, Blenheim.  What I would like to share with you is a fabulous second hand antique junk store called "Just Browsing" which is in Batty's Road.  It. Is. Amazing.  It was very very hot when we went and the bright sunlight made some of the photos look overexposed.  But I think you get the general idea.  

OMG, I have just learnt that Dear H did not see the tin steam train toy!!!! He was too busy looking at the train books hehehehehehe - and yes, he bought several.  Neither did he find the vintage, still in the original plastic New Zealand Rail playing cards which I bought for him as a present.  :-)  The "flying" person is a deep sea diving costume - I think.  I love the dog.  It reminds me of a toy from my childhood. 

As some readers may have already guessed I loved the two brass deer very much.  But I exercised the "do I really want this" rule and did not consider buying them.  I stroked the tiny rabbit huddled against the log hoping-against-hope that that huge eagle will not find it and eat it.  The art deco lady is apparently a copy not an original and it was used in a movie or something.  Well that's what the tag said.  It also said $350 which I thought was a lot for a knock-off.  

I was delighted to find that the Salvation Army store was open - on previous visits to Blenheim it has been closed.  The store was very spacious, well laid out, and prices were reasonable.  Nothing took my fancy.  I also found a "new" charity shop (top right photo) and it was there that my Dear H and Darling D searched fruitlessly for a cell phone charger to replace the missing one.  I had a good look around and spotted a nearly new - perhaps unworn - pair of shoes in leather, sort of Mary Jane style.  $2.  You can't go wrong really.

Right, last photo from Blenheim was taken at lunch time after I had stuffed myself with kumara vegetable stack with bacon and an amazing chutney.  I am wearing a Karen Walker tee shirt designed for SAFE.  It has funny capped sleeves which really annoy me.  

The finale was a visit to the re-located SaveMart.  I made my family take me there after they forced me against my will to go in several second hand book shops.  Nah, not really, I went willingly into the book shops and they ever-so-kindly sat in the car and read while I mooched around SaveMart for an hour or so.  I have to say that the new venue is pretty much the same as the old one - perhaps a bit bigger.  The retro clothes are fairly reasonable prices - not much over $25.  There is a huge amount of designer label stuff - must be all the rich people in Marlborough with vineyards who go to Italy and France and buy clothes and then put them in the clothing bins.  I was amazed at the some of the clothes which appeared to be brand new.  Anyway, the only thing that caught my eye was a wrap around skirt in vintage fabric.  Since getting home I have sewed it up and added a hook thing and some press-studs and voila it fits.  There was no way it could be worn as a wrap around with my Christmas curves!!

We finished off our fleeting visit to Marlborough with a quick drive to Picton (which has a pretty good second hand book shop) for an ice-cream and to Makana chocolate factory.  I tried to post a link but the internet is intermittent at present and will not allow me.  Dang.  I confess: we bought an extrordinarily large amount of expensive chocolate but somehow restrained ourselves from eating it until we were home in Dunedin.  True story.  

Okay, internet getting more intermittent - so much for broadband.  Want to save this before something crashes and I lose the lot!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Welcome to 2013

Hello Everyone, 

Hope you have all enjoyed the festive season and had a good start to 2013.  I have been off the radar for a couple of weeks or so having a much needed holiday with my family.  We came home to our very much missed comfortable beds and our beloved two cats Handbag and Mittens (aliases to protect their delicate identities) with a deep feeling of wonder and amazement.  Over the next few posts I hope to share with you some images which to illustrate our beautiful country and how much fun we had.  

Our holiday was a trip around part of the South Island of New Zealand and involved a family wedding, catching up with family as well as 3 days of just the three of us - me, Dear H and Darling D.  

Naturally, to ensure maximum satisfaction of all those on holiday there was opshopping, antiquing, train and railspotting and second hand book shopping.  It would not be a holiday without a few things not going to plan - mainly the failure of rechargeable camera batteries, missing cell phone chargers and truly spectacular weather.  

Part 1: Having a whale of a time:

Our first port of call was Kaikoura which is a small town on the East Coast of the South Island which used to be the centre of large-scale whaling and is now the centre of large-scale whale-watching!!  Although it was expensive we could not stay a couple of nights in this town without going out on the water in search of one of nature's most majestic giants.  I was quite anxious about being on the water as I get motion sickness so I bought the wrist bands which act on a pressure point.  To our delight on our morning tour of two hours out at sea we saw two sperm whales - one at the start of our journey and one at the end, and a large pod of dolphins and an albatross and other sea birds.

The whales are spectacular and I felt so small and insignificant on the boat (which was a catamaran with 47 others and the crew).  I confess I was almost in tears of joy seeing a real live whale, rather than the skeletons I have seen in museums.  Since I did a project on the horrors of whaling when I was around 9 years old, I have always wanted to see a real live whale swimming in the ocean.  Well, now my wish has come true!!

I kept thinking to myself that I would not feel sick, and I think mind over matter helped enormously.  Most of the other passengers were sick....just goes to show that a huge latte and a muffin etc before getting onboard a boat to go 13 miles out across a continental shelf to deep waters, travelling at 30 knots is not a good idea.  My family were queasy but both enjoyed the trip immensely.  I am so proud of my daughter as she had not been out to sea before.  My Dear H was great too, holding on to us both while we went crazy with our cameras taking photos.  

I was amazing by the playful nature of the dolphins - it was just too hard to take photos of them as they were jumping out of the water all the time.  To our delight there was also baby dolphins swimming alongside their mothers although they were small they were very fast swimmers and very agile.

Below left is a pic of me standing outside Fyffe Whaling Station which is a historic building to visit.  It is on a headland where we went for a walk across some amazing rocks to look for seals.  Alas no seals.  At Kaikoura the beach is rocky with large rounded stones and great for fossicking.  Top right is me post-whale-watch!!  None of us felt like much for lunch so I bought some bread rolls and we travelled up the coast to a picnic spot.  Then for a total change of scenery we went on a short beautiful bush walk to a pool where baby seals swim in winter:

Yes, you read that right, baby seals swim in the pool in winter.  You can read more about it and see a news clip here.  Compared to the windy coast the bush was peaceful and serene.  As much as I love the beach and feeling the salt spray on my face, there is something very calming about being surrounded by trees and the soft sound of a freshwater stream and the music of birds.  

My next post will cover the second stage of our journey, to Blenheim and sunny Marlborough.