Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Review: Recycle Boutique

Recycle Boutique moved from George Street to Hanover Street a few months ago and this week opened a "Bargain Basement" area in the not so new store so I thought the place worthy of a review. 

Well, I visit RB about once a week as it is conveniently placed between my work place and the Hospice Shop.  The George Street location was a modest sized store and reasonably well laid out.  The vintage and retro items were inside the front door on the left and the retro skirts and tops were on a round stand at waist height so I found it easy to look at everything.  Now, in the not so new location, things are not to my liking.

The shop is on three levels - the main entrance is up a few steps and is more like a lobby rather than a room.  This is wear the $4.50 rack is placed, so I can at least see it from the street.  Also in this space is the rack of retro inspired new stuff which does not appeal to me as it is basically made in china knockoffs. Access to the 2 other areas is from here.  There is a very rickety set of stairs with worn shallow treads which I personally feel like I am going to fall down everytime I use them.  Oh and everything has been painted a light blue colour which makes me feel cold. 

The second level is upstairs and is jam-packed full of clothes.  The vintage and retro area is now a rectangular stand - still at waist height.  Most of the other items are on double racks along the walls.  I find it tiring to reach up and look for clothes, and because items are jammed in together closely its often quite tricky to pull an item out enough to look at it without pulling out other items by mistake.  Hence, I don't really look at anything else.  I walk along the racks looking at the fabrics for any hint of something interesting.  The retro items are mainly more than $10 and occasionally there is a dress or two which are priced at $23.50  Nothing has screamed BUY ME, BUY ME for months.  But I like to look. 

Yesterday I made my foray into the freshly opened "Bargain Basement".  The first thing I noticed was the smell.  RB is not a thrift shop, its a sell on behalf shop.  In a thrift shop is it expected that items will smell old or fusty.  However, I could not work out if the smell came from the clothes or from the room in general.  A mid sized de-humidifier was placed in the far corner but it was not turned on.  Again, the room had two rows of racks meaning that I was looking slightly upwards at the second higher rack of clothes and  I did not realise that the floor is very uneven and I mis-placed my foot and stumbled.  Now its an old building, and it has character, but after all the earthquakes in Christchurch I can't help thinking that this particular building is probably not the safest.  I have spoken to the previous tenant - a cool comic shop which is no relocated into Princes Street - and was told that the building was in bad condition. 

Aside from my concerns about the physical space of the store, I consider the service to be borderline.  Rarely am I acknowledged when I am in the store, sometimes I am glanced over, once or twice I have initiated a conversation with the sales assistant and with less than adequate replies.  In no way was I assisted to make a sale. 

Here are a couple of quotes from the aptly named "Clothing Guidelines" section of the website.

Bring us appealing, fashionable items.
From my observations "fashionable" is interpreted as current season clothing.  What the RB statement really means is: Timeless classic pieces tend to be keepers and therefore this season's Glasson's dress or Supre top is what RB want to buy from you.   

Would you buy it? If the answer's no, chances are our customers won't either.
Using this logic I conclude RB would probably buy nothing from me, ergo chances are I won't be shopping there!

All in all, I am not much of a fan of RB.  I bought a few things from the $4.50 rack a year ago or more.  RB is merely a stopover on my pilgrimage to the Hospice Butterflies shop in the same street. 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Weekend report

Well, I hope you all had a good weekend - I'm glad I went to work today, I needed a rest!!!  The weekend was so busy getting my 10yo ready for her first school camp that I did not have any time for blogging and only a little bit of time for reading blogs.

Remember last week I told you I was trying to wear different combinations of clothes?  I think I wore skirts most days with different tops.  Here is a photo of me wearing the dragon skirt with my treasured Vivienne Westwood tee shirt which was one of my last full price purchases in clothing:

 I teamed it up with a brown belt and brown boots - both thrifted.  The tee shirt is my last white one and to my disappointment it has got a bit marked on the inside front collar from perfume or something similar.  Anyway, I wouldn't normally wear tee shirts to work because most of mine are not in good enough condition but I did wear one with a deer on it later that week:

 Not a great photo of the teeshirt - it was on the sale rack at the Warehouse one time I went in to get something for my daughter and as it has a deer on it, and I love deer, I had to have it.  It was priced at something silly like $4.97

I am wearing it with one of the skirts I bought from Sababa in Ashburton when we were there over Christmas for my father-in-law's funeral.  It might seem strange that I went shopping while I was there, but traditionally when I visited my parents in law it would be a holiday weekend and there would be lots of sales on, like Mothers Day, or any excuse sale day.  So for me it was perfectly normal to go shopping.  I went to lots of shops with my sister in law and her daughter and we had lots of fun.  But it wasn't until we were about to leave that I found Sababa.  I was immediately attracted to the colourful fabrics - this skirt is made from recycled sari material and is made of rayon.  It shimmers beautifully in the sunlight.  Anyway, there is a teeny tiny miniscule flaw in in (somewhere) and for that reason it was $20 rather than $50.

I am going to a wedding this weekend in Marlborough at a vineyard.  I though I had my outfit all sorted, but when I tried it on I changed my mind.  Below is a picture of me wearing the purple and brown Bendon sundress I scored a couple of weeks ago from the Hospice Shop.  I paired it up with a wide silver waist belt and a silvery grey wrap.  It looks okay, but I decided against wearing it to the wedding.

 Instead I am going to wear this:

I managed to squeeze in a visit to Savemart with the hope of finding something to accompany the green lurex number above.  I found a plain black straw hat (MIC) for $3 which I immediately imagined glammed up with some kind of orange or green flower thing, that I hoped I could just make from stuff in my sewing box.  At the counter to my delight and surprise I saw this orange wooden bead choker below for $3 which is perfect for highlighting the orange in the dress.  The two bracelets were an impulse buy in some ways, I have heaps of bracelets but the fact that they have flowers and are stretchy and plasticy appealed to me. Besides, they were only $2 each!

Late on Sunday afternoon while my 10yo watched Hotel for Dogs and chilled out, I got out my button box and some felt and made a "decoration" for my hat:

I sewed the buttons on a piece of felt first and trimmed away the excess afterwards.  Inspired by this I then crotched up another bracelet and adorned it with more orange buttons with a yellow centre piece:

Here is the finished hat:

I will make sure I get some photos from the wedding so you can see what the whole ensemble looks like.    Did you make anything in the weekend?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

More words than pictures: why I will never be part of the fastfashion masses and other ravings

This week, like last week, I have been trying to wear different combinations of clothes which I have not worn before, or wearing something which is a complete Penny-Rose virgin ie never worn before.  There are almost no photos to illustrate this endeavour due to my fair city receiving a month's worth of rain in two days, and the light being totally wrong for any photography shoots in my reliably picturesque garden or my acid yellow kitchen.

However, I have given this challenge a great deal of thought.  I have come to realise that I do not write enough in my blog - my blog is for writing after all!  In the media and around my life this week several threads have woven together in my consciousness and crystalised my thoughts on why I thrift and scrimp, why I literally troll or should that be trawl?  the op shops in my fair city on an almost daily basis.  Why I turned a glut of zucchinnis into a mouth watering cake rather than compost. Why I am considering unknitting a sweater so I can knit it into something new, or chopping off the too short too tight sleeves from a vintage top so its finally comfortable to wear.  Why do I reject the 2 for $20 knitted cotton tops from Jay Jays, or the retro inspired dresses from Glassons, or the vintage inspired whatever from Shanton.  Why do I?

I do not want to support the economy of my country by buying MICC, by patronising the chain stores for clothes, by adding to landfill, or depleting the atmosphere, increasing the CO2 or whatever.  I want to make a difference, to my life, my families life, my garden, my neighbourhood, my city, goddamit, my planet. So, the two things which have made me stick to my keyboard this morning are:

#1.  In-your-face-no-holds-barred-shoot-from-the-hip Dame Vivienne Westwood.  One of my style icons, designer heroines, punk Queen and Eco warrior.  Dame Viv, is literally plastered all over the fabulous web site Ecouterre
"People have never looked so ugly as they do today. We just consume far too much.. I’m talking about all this disposable crap. What I’m saying is buy less, choose well. Don’t just suck up stuff so everybody looks like clones. Don’t just eat McDonald’s, get something a bit better. Eat a salad. That’s what fashion is. It’s something that is a bit better.” —Vivienne Westwood, speaking to reporters after her Autumn/Winter 2012 show at London Fashion Week.
When I read this I thought "Sh*t, that's what I think, that's how I feel."  And then I thought"I need to write more in my blog".  So, Dear readers, look forward to more words from me. 

#2.  Vacuous and soul-less advice from so-called "life style" and "fashion" sections of the NZ media.  For example: Fashion fix Friday on Stuff: here: The blandness of what is considered by main-stream media as fashion is so gob-smackingly vapid, that I will not harm my fair readers by even showing you the photos.  You will have to explore yourself.

Anyway, I more than reject the mainstream media's idea of what is a fashion fix on a Friday.  I am going to make my own.  So who will join me in a session of "Eff Off Fashion Fix Friday"? 

Today's clothing:
$1 T-O-A-T dark navy pinstriped trousers, Red Cross Shop, York Place 
$2 T-O-A-T white and black pintucked poly blouse Hospice Butterflies, Hanover St (photo above)
$1 plastic blue and white stretch bracelet, Hospice Butterflies, Hanover St
$4 genuine vintage 1970s brown waistcoat St V de P, George St
$4 Clarks brown leather shoes as above

Have a lovely Friday everyone!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A personal challenge

This week I thought I would try and wear clothes or combinations of clothes that I had not worn before.  I feel like I have been wearing the same old stuff for a while and got into a "put a dress on because it is easy and I don't have to make much effort" rut.

Because I am still not feeling 100% and I am a teensy bit shy, I thought I would post retrospectively rather than make a bold claim and not be able to live up to it.  Aren't I silly??

MONDAY:Anyway, first up is the blue dress from my post last week - which had fallen-down-hem-and-sleeves in the weekend but is now completely wearable:

Blue polyester shirt dress, Milton Salvation Army $4
teamed up with grey cardigan from Recycle Boutique $4.50
silver grey waist belt from Portmans - bought on sale for less than $20 about 4 years ago
TUESDAY: Next I tried the 1950's rock and roll look....

Rock and Roll Skirt, St V de P $4
lurex top with silver embroidery, one of 10 items in a $1 fill a bag at Port Chalmers School fair
yellow shoes from Rubi $10, bought before Christmas
 Here I am pretending to sit on my daughter's swing....hoping that the branch does not break while the photo is being taken LOL.

I love the low back on this top, but have been a bit too shy to wear it at work as it reveals my tattoo and I am in a semi corporate / management office.  Anyway, enough excuses, I have never worn it before so I wore it and got lots of compliments.  You can also see my earrings in the photo above which are little white rabbits made from perspex - bought on Trademe.

Here is a close up of the shoes - they are totally fake ie made from made in china man made stuff, but they are very comfortable and they make me think of my mothers Scholl sandals she wore in the 1970s.

WEDNESDAY: I forgot to take a photo....honestly I was dog-tired when I got home and not in the mood for having my photo taken.  I wore a shift dress I bought from Milton which I have discovered is a teeny tiny bit small for me across the shoulders and when I put my arms forward the hem shot upwards dramatically.

THURSDAY: Today, I confess I needed to wear a long skirt because I was too lazy to shave my legs.  So, I dug out a long black vintage petticoat I bought in Oamaru as my starting point - here I am at the end of the day:

 Vintage petticoat $10 bought at Oamaru Victorian Fete - this was the first wearing!!
Close up of top made by refashioning a dress I made last year and using a $5 scarf from Equip to make the sleeves, front facing and the bow. Worn with black Obi belt bought from Ezibuy about 7 years ago.
Black cut glass Deco necklace from Trademe 
Jewellery and shoes:

Turquoise coloured stone ring $3 Warrington Market
Bubble glitter flower ring which was a gift from my lovely daughter. 
She bought it from Harry Wragg in Melbourne, not the one in town the one in Brunswick Street.
Shell coloured bracelet from JayJays $5
Beloved Keds from the Warehouse about 2 years ago for $7 - on sale

So, tomorrow is day 5 of my personal challenge.  I have to wear an item or a combination of items that I have not worn previously.  As I work in an office I can't wear the light blue coloured slip and rainbow jacket I have been wanting to wear for ages, nor the while and purple flowered caftan-esque housecoat.  I will post the results in the weekend.  Hope you are all having a great week and whatever challenges you are facing, whether they be by choice or chance, I hope you are successful!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Weekend round-up ....where does the time go?

Well I am not sure what my dear readers do in the weekend, but I try to mix some fun things in with the chores: purchasing new slippers for my 10yo, grocery shopping, searching for scooter handle bar grips, washing, making zucchini/courgette pies for the freezer, knitting a few rows of a new project, cooking the silverside (corned beef), going to the Video/DVD rental store to find Avatar, eating Whittakers caramel chocolate....I think you get the picture. I hope you do get the picture, because there are no pictures of my weekend!  I was too busy!!
In the spirit of thriftiness I used the zucchinis from my garden and those kindly given to me by my mother to make the famous Kay's Vegetable pie.  I thought you might like it so here it is:

Kay's Vegetable Pie
3 grated zucchinis
2 grated carrots
1 grated onion
1 cup grated cheese
1 cup flour 
1/2 cup of oil
3 eggs 

in a bowl combine egg and oil with salt and pepper to flavour
in another bowl combine all the veges, flour and 3/4 cup of the cheese

fill a pie dish, I use a lasagne dish with the vege mixture
gently pour over the oil and egg mixture
I carefully make sure the liquid part mixes in with the veges using a fork.  
top with the remainder of the grated cheese.

bake in a hot over 180-190C for about 45 mins

Variation: using a can of asparagus 
drain can of asparagus and save 1/4 cup of liquid.
Make pie as above using liquid instead of oil.

I confess, I regularly forget the oil and it still turns out delicious.
I had so many zucchinis I made the equivalent of 4 pies. Most will go in the freezer for winter.

Last night my dear darling H and I watched Moby Dick.  We did not realise that it was a two part / mini series, so we had to watch the last hour this morning as we were both worried we would fall asleep and miss some of it.  Ethan Hawke, William Hurt, Gillian Anderson and Donald Sutherland were all fantastic.  The whale was magnificent too.  I got totally caught up in the pursuit and felt in parts it was as thrilling as Jaws.  I have not read the book but now I think I must.

Today we went to the "new" Plaza Cafe at the Plaza by the new stadium for a late morning tea. New is in quote marks, because I think its been open for a couple of months.  It was very crowded because of the Masters Games, but never mind.  Although I was impressed with the layout and furniture and the screens made of plants, I found the hot chocolate I ordered to be more water than milk and too frothy.   Dear H thought the Long Black was not one of the best.  However, 10 yo thought the Spider made with pepsi was lovely.  Afterwards we did a quick walk around the perimeter of the stadium to get the blood pumping.

This afternoon I hauled out the Husky so that I could finally hem two polyester shirt dresses which have been unworn since Winter because of drooping hems.  
I also put a casing on a skirt and threaded through some elastic.
You haven't seen this shirt dress before - here it is, and you can see the sleeves needed hemming too. 

Polyester Shirt dress, Milton Salvation Army $4

I thought you also might like to see the cool vintage Bendon Sundress I scored a few weeks ago at the Hospice Butterflies shop:

Bendon Polyester sundress, Hospital Butteflies Shop, $6

 I am thinking of wearing it to the family wedding we are going to in early March.  
I just need something like a shrug to go with it.  
As it happens I am knitting something and will show you soon, which I hope will do the trick.

In terms of my completed sewing projects here is the shift dress I made from some amazing batik with peonies, fish and crabs:

Batik cotton, Trademe, $6
Blue cotton bias binding, Butterflies, 50 cents
 I used thrifted blue bias binding from the Hospice shop around the neck - 
I could not get a neat V shape, but I am very happy with the variation below:

This afternoon I made a batch of ANZAC biscuits and Chocolate Caramel Slice and
for tea tonight I made pikelets which are a family favourite.  

I was thinking how much I enjoy cooking and smiling to myself knowing that both husband and daughter have their lunchboxes envied by friends as there is always something home made inside and I realised that home cooking is really important to me.  So, cooking will become part of my blog from now on.  I don't have a huge stack of cookery books and don't particularly like modern cooking programmes, but I do have a few fail safe family favourites which are tasty and economical.  

My clothing and sewing thrifty have taken a back seat this weekend while I filled several tummies and the pantry!!  What have you been up to?  

Monday, February 6, 2012

For your viewing pleasure some retro patterns and Stitchcraft magazines

 Hi, I hope you are all having a good week.  We had a National Holiday on Monday - Waitangi Day - so it is just a short work week YAY.  

I managed to finish my Klipper robe/ Dressing Gown refashion and wore it to work today.  Sorry forgot to take photo and its really windy and unpleasant and would be impossible to take decent photo.  

As promised here are some gratuitous photos of the patterns and magazines I bought in the weekend.  

 I know that these tiered skirts could be made without a pattern, but, I thought it could also double for a petticoat pattern, and that way I would be getting two for one.

Both of these dress patterns appealed to me - the top one for the keyhole neckline and the bottom one for the Peter Pan collar.  While I was rummaging through the patterns at Restore I had a lovely conversation with a lady who was also looking for patterns.  One of the things I like about thrifting is meeting other like-minded shoppers!

This English Women's weekly is as old as I am.  I remember reading these when I was staying with my Nana.  I particularly remember the letters section - where I learnt quite a lot actually - and the fiction.  I had no interest in sewing, knitting and crochet, although I was taught all those things.  

 Just look at this amazing suit - imagine how many hours of work went into creating this!

 Isn't this yellow dress fabulous??  Not enough women wear yellow I think, perhaps because we worry about it making our skin look bad.  I remember when my family emigrated to NZ when I was about 12 we had a stop over in Singapore and my sister and I both had yellow outfits - in cotton, trousers and tops.  Ofcourse, when I wore mine to mufti (civvies) day at school I got thoroughly teased and from then on hated yellow.  Silly I know, but that was the way I was when I was young.  

 Seeing all the cold weather in the United Kingdom and the US on the news makes me wonder how my readers are getting on in those icy conditions.  I do hope you are all keeping warm and cosy.  

I had never imagined knitted or crocheted trousers until I read Stitchcraft.  Why would you want to do it?  Surely it would be very hot and itchy (if you used real wool).

Then I saw this outfit, I thought, "Vix could wear something like this and look fabulous".  

For those who like the idea of matching clothes for mothers and children (my daughter would not let this happen!) there is this vision of loveliness:  

 Lastly, for those who like his and hers matching outfits here is a jacket you can both wear!

Hope you all have a fabulous week.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

I came, I saw, I conquered - Saturday escapades, Part 3

Next stop on my Saturday adventure: Restore on Vogel Street.  

Restore is crammed full of stuff.  I mean it is absolutely bulging at the seams full of stuff.  I haven't been for a little while and I was feeling a little weary, after my trek to Toffs and Savemart.  However, I had a good feeling about stopping here before heading home.  

The patron Saint of thrifting, whomever they may be, must have looked kindly upon me because my eyes fell on the most amazing maxi dress the moment I walked into the door:

This photo does not do it justice - I used Ultra vivid to try and capture the truly awesome lime lining but it still not quite right.

This vision of loveliness was $8 it doesn't have a label but its lurex and I am guessing it dates from the 1970s.  So, with a happy heart and this firmly tucked under my arm I made my way towards the fabric and patterns, and then......, then I saw this:

Another maxi dress - this one in black and white with the most spectacular coloured and gold braid.

The photo of the label is upside down I now realise as well as being more than a little fuzzy, but it says Estelle Rose, Made in New Zealand.  It was priced at $6.

I also picked up three more sewing patterns, a selection of StitchCraft magazines and an English Women's Weekly all for $1.  I'll be showing you more of those later in the week.  

When I got home I immediately tried on both dresses - why didn't I try them on in the shop I hear you all asking, well, I'll tell you.  The changing room is not very private and a dress requires complete disrobing and I felt a little shy.  Anyway, the green lurex number fits well - although it would seem that 30 or 40 years ago, ladies had skinnier arms than I have as the sleeves are very snug.  Alas, the black and white number cannot be done up beyond my bra strap, and despite changing to a smaller bra and therefore allowing for more room in the front, there is about 1.5 cm of space between the left and right side of the zip.  I am a bit disappointed but not heartbroken, so I will be putting on Trademe, with detailed measurements and a reserve not far from what I paid for it.  Both dresses have been lovingly hand washed in wool mix, carefully rinsed in Cuddley, rinsed again and drip dried on the line in the late afternoon breeze.  

So have you ever bought anything only to find that it does not quite fit you when you get home?  Do you think it is ethical to sell such items on Trademe, and seeing as I bought this from a charity is it mean-spirited of me to try and make a modest profit?  Hope you are all having a lovely weekend.  

I came, I saw, I conquered - Saturday escapades, Part 2

Next on my tour of second-shops was Stafford Street.  

This building has recently had a coat of paint and is looking fabulous.  

 I could not resist taking a photo of this "Epic" grafitti on the back of a building on Princes Street, but it clearly visible from Stafford Street.

Iconic Sew Hoy Building on the left, now the home to Savemart, and the little building on the right is "Glue".  

I was fascinated by these creepy cats ......part of me wanted to go in and pat them, the other part of me wanted to run, run screaming, far far away.  

Opposite Savemart is the Sew Hoy Oriental Food Asian Supermarket.

I spent nearly an hour in Savemart - again, though I left empty handed.  

Friday, February 3, 2012

I came, I saw, I conquered - Saturday escapades, Part 1.

Op Shop Review: Toffs, Princes Street, Dunedin

I spent about 3/4 hour in Toffs today. I went by myself so I could have a good mooch around.  The pucci-like print skirt and top were still there.  I still liked them.  I still thought they were more than I could justify spending.  The entrance way is a little bit worrying, there is a fence separating the "upmarket" and "retro" sections.  I made my way down into the heart of the shop and started looking at the $2 dresses.  There were two or three similar to ones I already have - one Lady Lichfield in a pretty floral was in perfect condition.  

Like Savemart, items are grouped by colour.  Which means I bypass the black and the white.  I did find a genuine Dirndl dress - with European tags and gorgous metal buttons - it was in the $2 section of blue dresses.  It was made of a heavy cotton and I was surprised by its bulk.  Although it probably would fit me, I decided to let another shopper buy it.  When I arrived there was a queue of about ten people at the counter and over the course of the time I was there it seemed very busy.  I did not see any advertising in the ODT so maybe it was word of mouth which drew the punters in.

My overall impression was that there was an excellent selection to choose from, the clothes were in fair condition and the $2 section was excellent.  The Retro section had a small number of amazing dresses and the prices seemed to be on a par with Savemart.  The interior was lighter, whiter and brighter than Savemart, so I was able to see most items without squinting or holding them up and rotating through 360 degrees until I could actually see the pattern!  Like many second hand clothes stores it was a bit stale-smelling in there, particularly the shoe section.  However, I was impressed with the layout and it was clean and tidy.  

Did I buy anything?  No.  Although I saw plenty of cool clothes - including the Pucci-like skirt and shirt,  nothing leapt out at me and said "buy me, buy me".

 Look at this cool car parked outside!