Thursday, March 29, 2012

Three outfit photos in one post!!

Here is what I wore on Tuesday: in this photo I am trying to work out the right distance from the camera - yes I was using the self timer!  You may also notice that I am squinting, because I am not wearing my sunglasses.   If any of you are gardeners and interested in NZ plants, there is a mixture of hebe and totara to my left and a flax and some grasses to my right.  When we first moved in there was hardly any garden at all.  Over the years we have also been lucky to get lots of free plants - from friends and self-seeded ones too.  Many of our native grasses and hebes are "self-sown".

I wish I had realised that the cardigan (a successful re-fashion from the weekend) was concealing the belt I used to cinch in waist of the sundress.

Purple sundress $6 from Butterflies Hospice Shop
Shell bracelet St V de P
Refashioned cardigan from lost and found
Purple ballet flats bought retail
To my delight I received lots of compliments at work when I wore this outfit - purple is a favourite colour amongst my colleagues.

The weather forecast for Wednesday was for cooler temperatures so I thought I would wear the yellow lurex cardigan for the first time.  I was in a panic/rush when I got dressed but somehow things managed to work together:

In the background on the right you can see some Dahlias. There is a little story about these Dahlias - I got the bulbs/corms from the St Vincent de Paul in December 2010.  I planted them just after I had my gall bladder operation.  I love these flowers and their happy faces and they remind me of my time healing at home.  Oh and they were free!!  In the photo below, the ones just over my shoulder are visible - these are like pompoms and almost an orangey pink colour.
Yellow lurex Shetland Cardigan made in NZ :-) Trademe $15
Dragon skirt Trademe
Belt you have seen before
Teeshirt from the sale rack at the Warehouse
Brown Clarks shoes from St V de P approx $7
Today I wanted to wear a new Chinese style top in a dark blue and paired it with trousers for an oriental look.  Thanks to my dear H who took the photo, its nice to see a smile and not a squint/scowl!
Blue To A T trousers from York Place Red Cross $1
Blue polyester chinese top - possibly pyjamas??? from All Saints Church Fair $1
Obi made by me
Blue and cream loafers from No1 Shoes
Tomorrow, its Friday - thank goodness.  Today the green dress I won on Trademe arrived and I have already washed it.  It won't be dry by morning so it won't be worn for Frock on Friday.

If you are wondering about those square things along the top of the wall beside me - they are concrete tiles my daughter and I made.  We used ice-cream containers for uniform size and luckily we had a lot of them.  Dear H poured in the concrete and we decorated the tiles with "treasure" found from the beach such as broken pottery and glass, and some old glass beads, buttons, and coloured stones found on various beaches but mainly from Wakanui Beach near Ashburton.  We made these tiles about 4 years ago and they have weathered really well.  These tiles are another example of making something out of recycled materials or things that are free.

Hope you are all having a great week!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Update on re-fashioning

Right, here is a quick update on refashioning - just managing to squeeze in this post while daughter gets ready for bed, husband goes for a walk, before I do the dishes and then settle down to walk Criminal M..... OMG you would not believe it.  I wrote about 7 paragraphs and then the internet packed a sad and I lost the lot!!!

Can I remember what I typed.....Criminal Minds is on and I am watching it with one eye.

1. purple cardigan - chopped off sleeves to elbow, cut 20cm off bottom.  Much better!  Was originally in the "lost and found" at work.  It is a lovely shade of purple.  I will wear it until i have finished my purple cardigan.  Here is the link to the knitting pattern:
2. purple Muu Muu-like "Miss Jennie" dress - made into a maxi skirt, worn today.  Reports that Dorothy the Dinosaur was in Dunedin are wrong.  I might have water retention.  There is no photographic evidence of this refashion.  There may never be any evidence.
2a.  Breast cancer awareness tee shirt designed by World.  cut off overly tight neckline.  Much better.
3. cream crimplene waistcoat - took in back with two large darts.  Bust area still a problem.  Need to design a big brooch or similar to keep it closed at front.
4. Triumph mens shirt - cut off worn stained cuffs.  Hemmed edges now its ready to wear.  I must confess I bought this in Melbourne last year and have not yet worn it......
5. Mens dinner shirt - I have worn this so many times and finally the collar is too stained.  No amount of Persil will rescue it.  So I unpicked the collar and edged with 30 cent bias binding.  I then chopped about 20 cm off the sleeves.  I am embellishing with some vintage braid. Project is still a WIP.
6. Purple and brown "Bendon" sun dress - slightly too big in bust.  Hand sewing project only.  Managed to sew the middle together a little bit - to minimise cleavage area.  Now ready to wear and luckily goes with the cropped purple cardigan perfectly.

Pranced around garden in my new maxis, enjoying the swish of fabric around my legs and the sun on my face.  Neither dress is really suitable for work, so I will maximise wear at home!!  Okay, now I am seriously missing Criminal Minds.....and I don't trust the internet connection.

All for now!!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

May the Goddess of Thrifting, Op-shopping and Blogging Shine on Ye All!

Vintage Klipper Robe - modified by me - $6 Savemart
Hello Everyone, hope you have all enjoyed your weekend.  The weather has been classic Dunedin weather this week: All four seasons in one day.  I found myself going to work dressed for Autumn - for example in my Klipper-Robe-transformed-into-a-dress which is made of rayon and breezey at the best of times.  During the day the temperature seemed to turn into the early twenties only to plummet in the afternoon.  Luckily, when I arrived home the sun came out and it was so bright I found it hard to stand still while Dear H took a photo.

A similar thing happened a couple of days later.  This time I decided to wear a vintage Sonny sweater with a longer skirt.  Due to the lacy effect of the sweater I wore a singlet as well.  The morning started chilly ...... and then the sun came out and by the time I got home I felt too hot and sweaty for a photo, but made the sacrifice for my loyal readers.  I have to say the photo is not the best, I am practically grimmacing and I recall saying to my patient Dear H "Honey, please just take the g*&^%!!! photo" through gritted teeth.  Oh the things we do for fame and fortune.

Vintage Sonny Knitwear Sweater $2 St v de P
Paul Klee print skirt - previously a maxi dress - $8 Presbyterian Yellow Shop
Belt also thrifted - can't recall where :-(
The reason for the title of this post, is that today I felt that the Goddess was looking after me.  I had one of those OH WOW moments.  I went out for lunch with four ladies who I used to work with when I was twenty-something at Cafe Rue which is a pleasant cafe in Moray Place.  I wore what I call my Christmas Day dress, which for those who did not see my posts post-xmas, is sleeveless and made of thin cotton.  It is lined with thin cotton too.  So it is really two thin layers of cotton.  I also wore sandals and a cotton black cardigan.  I am sure that you will be shocked to read that during lunch it started to rain and hail, and when I left the cafe two hours later it was still raining and hailing.  Was I going to let a bit of water and wind put me off my stride?  No.  I had the car, I was alone and I had time to shop.  So I followed the new road rules obediently and drove to Toffs.  My fellow NZ readers will know what I mean - basically the give way rules changed at 5am this morning.  Anyway, I was very careful and avoided uncontrolled intersections.

Toffs was splendiferous.  Is that a word?  Its the sort of word that Helga would use and I think it is a word.  In the $2 section at the back on the left hand side was about 10 vintage dresses.
I know, I was almost shaking with excitement: vintage clothes ON THE $2 RACK.  

Because I was alone, I had time to try on.  So I tried on a 1950s / 1960s powder blue crimplene dress with lace detail.  It was okay but I did not like the colour.  I tried on a bright red beaded Indian top, you know the ones which come with trousers.  I loved the colour but the style was not flattering - no shaping what so ever.  The I tried on this vision of loveliness:

 ..and then I tried on this black and white home-made dress
 ...look at the cute flower detail and the lovely pleated frill around the neckline.

I almost could not believe my luck.  The red one fits like a glove - well maybe not quite a good as a glove but pretty darn good.  The stretchy fabric is very forgiving/flattering.  I am tempted to cut it slightly shorter so I can wear it for work.  I think it would look fabulous with tights and boots.

The black and white one is not so forgiving, but as long as I do not try excessive arm movements it will be perfect. Again, I will think about cutting it shorter.

I also want to show you what I bought off Trademe this week.  It is a "snug"fit but it is so cute!  It is yellow lurex Shetland brand and made in New Zealand, and much brighter than the photo suggests.  There is gold embroidery around neck and cute buttons as well.  I did pay a lot more than I would normally for this but it was love at first sight.  $15 well spent I think.

In addition to all my weekend chores - washing, cleaning, etc I have been working steadfastly on my current knitting project which I have not shown you yet.  It is a cardigan (can a girl have too many cardigans or jackets?  I think not).  I inherited a lot of wool and knitting needles from my dear mother in law and have aleady used some of this lovely Shepherd Juliette yarn making the dreaded 3 hour sweater and also a grey and purple striped vest for my dear daughter.  I can't find the url of the pattern, but it is a free one and knitted from cuff to cuff.  Neither of these photos give an accurate representation of the colour - it is just lovely.  The top one is clearly too dark and the bottom one too bright.  In the bottom one though you can see the colour variation which reminds me of heather and lavendar, cat mint and sage.

Tomorrow is a regional holiday - Otago Anniversary Day - but I will be going to work for half a day while my family stay home.  Tomorrow afternoon I hope to update you on my refashioning projects and post the url of the cardigan pattern.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Apologies for absence, some local history and some op shop treasures

Dear Readers, I am sorry I have been a bit quiet.  Like many of my blogging colleagues I am juggling my family and my work as well as my hobbies including blogging.  I have managed to catch up on my reading but have not yet made up my mind about the Liebster Blog Award.

On the daily fashion front, you may recall that I vowed to try and wear some new and exciting combinations of clothes.  Below I am wearing a home made red floral top with a turquoise pleated skirt.  Somehow the mixture of red and turquoise worked really well.

 Red floral home-made top
Red wide belt from Butterflies $2
Grey cotton cardi from Recycle Boutique $4.50
Brown boots from St V de P $9
Turquoise pleated skirt from Port Chalmers School Fair which was 
part of a grab bag totalling $1.  So this item probably cost less than 50 cents.

I may have been trying new and exciting combinations within the limits of my wardrobe, but that has not dulled sense of joy and excitement when I find a truly awesome item which screams: Buy me.  Buy me and wear me.  Do it.  Do it now.

That's how I felt when I saw this absolutely out of this world pineapple yellow sleeveless POLYESTER dress at Butterflies.  Here I am wearing it - yes I know I am wearing the grey cardigan again.

Pineapple yellow sleeveless polyester sun dress, Butterflies $6
Grey cardi as above
Black Keds bought on sale for less than $10

In the weekend I took my daughter on an adventure.  It was a lovely sunny day on Saturday, so I told her we were going to look for the graves of pirates.

Really, we went to the old cemetary at Port Chalmers.  Although it was hot and sunny the cemetary is very sheltered with huge old trees.  It is sited on a steep slope and in parts was almost impossible to walk around without slipping on the dry pine needles and broken twigs.  Under the trees there were some amazing mushrooms which I told my daughter not to touch under any circumstances.

The oldest grave I could find is the one on the left (below) and you can see from the picture on the right that the cemetary is being reclaimed by nature.  Some of the trees were originally planted beside the plots and have now taken over the space completely.

Today was another beautiful day, so I decided to wear another new combo - this time pairing up shocking pink with a deco print POLYESTER skirt.

 Pink cardi Savemart $5
White sleeveless cotton shirt Butterfllies $2
Deco polyester print skirt on elastic Savemart Blenheim less than $10
(This skirt was bought about 3 years ago and although I have worn it around the house, it has not yet been worn at work.  Originally it was on a waistband for a size 10 with a tie, I removed the band and made a casing for elastic, a much easier fit!!)

Yesterday I made a mad dash trip to Butterflies to revel in the post St Patrick's day quiet.  The shop had about 60% green items .... proof that at the peak of sales on Friday and Saturday it must have been amazing.  I managed to perch on the edge of the display for curtains and went through every single knitting and crochet pattern.  My patience paid off big time.  I have been looking for cardigan patterns for ages - although I have a large stash of patterns very few are for cardis or jackets.

So here, for your viewing pleasure is the evidence that patience pays off:

 I love the effect of crochet - but it does use a lot of yarn.
The owner of this pattern had punched holes in the side and put this in a ringbinder.  I do hope there are no holes in the actual instructions 
I use the clearfiles with pages and only put a couple of patterns in each pocket.
Many older patterns are fragile and need to be kept apart.  

 This pattern appeals for the low v neckline and the sleeveless option.

 This one has such cute bows - and the pattern is simple enough for even the most hesitant of knitters.  

 Oh my goodness it was the hair which attracted me to this one, 
 I am not sure I am skilled enough for this one, but I love both versions for the short sleeves.

How much was this treasure trove?
A dollar.

 I want to show you this amazing material that I also scored yesterday.  I saw it last week but decided to wait and know wait a few days and then if it is still there then see if you still like it and if you do then buy it: 
 I think its a 1970s trevira type knit.
Its very wide and about 1.5 meters long.
I can imagine a dress or a skirt and top.  
It was one of the more expensive pieces of fabric - $4.

What appealed to me was that it would make a fun maxi skirt for winter and the bright blue would be a fun compliment to a an impluse buy from last week.

Oh Readers and Opshoppers I must confess my sin.  I bought something totally on impulse.  Something which I coveted simply because of pattern, and (imagine a whisper....) something which may not actually fit me.
 I am not normally keen on tops with low backs (and fronts). 
 It has a low(ish) front and back.
I normally would not buy something which has no size and might not fit me. 
This top has no size and there was a high chance it would not fit me.
I am normally too stubborn to buy a made in china item.  
This item is probably MIC.

I DO however, absolutely adore peonies.
This top has peonies.

What do you think?

 Not bad for $2 and due to the wide neckline it does fit me.  
So I am redeemed??

Finally, here is a shot of the POLYESTER Miss Jennie sun dress which I just butchered this evening.  This is a before photo.  It is a size 16 or 18 and is huge and unflattering.  
When I got home from work I lay it out on the carpet in the lounge.
Then, I cut off the smocking and the straps.  
I am making a maxi skirt from it by folding over the waist to make a casing for elastic.  
I plan to do this over the weekend as we have a regional holiday on Monday and I am hoping to have the day off work.

Wow, that was a long post.  Its easier for me to do a couple of posts a week rather than try to post daily.  I really admire bloggers who can post daily, I wish I had that kind of dedication. I also wish I had the kind of internet connection which allowed for uploading of photos at a greater speed that 11 photos over 20 minutes :-)

 Hope you are all having a good week and that your blogging, opshopping, crafting and hobbies are all going well.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

SPCA op shop Otago first

Volunteers Linda Morton, of Clyde, Marian Bennetts, of Alexandra, and SPCA inspector/fundraiser Helen Saunders, outside the new SPCA opportunity shop in Alexandra's Centennial Ave. Photo by Lynda Van Kempen.
Volunteers Linda Morton, of Clyde, Marian Bennetts, of Alexandra, and SPCA inspector/fundraiser Helen Saunders, outside the new SPCA opportunity shop in Alexandra's Centennial Ave. Photo by Lynda Van Kempen.
This is no shaggy dog story - the SPCA has opened a shop in Alexandra. Funds from the opportunity shop, in Centennial Ave, will be used to help finance the operations of the Otago SPCA.
The shop opened on Monday, and had a queue of customers waiting by the time the door was unlocked at 10am. Business was brisk with a steady stream of sales.
Alexandra-based SPCA inspector and fundraiser Helen Saunders said the shop was a first for the organisation in Otago.
It would be staffed by volunteers and goods were donated by the public, but the shop would have to "pay its own way" by generating enough income to cover rent and power, she said.
Stock includes used clothing, from formal gowns through to work gear, books, art works, "bric-a-brac", jewellery and SPCA merchandise.
Mrs Saunders said the shop would not affect the Salvation Army's Alexandra shop as research had shown having more than one opportunity shop in a town brought in more outside customers.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Wedding Anniversary Lunch at Tall Poppy, Port Chalmers

Today was my 12th Wedding Anniversary....and we went to Tall Poppy Restaurant in Port Chalmers for an early lunch.  Here I am wearing one of my favourite polyester dresses.  This dress has featured on my blog before but it was longer.  I recently re-hemmed it and turned it up a bit more.  Plus when wearing a wide belt it tends to scoot up a bit, and therefore appears shorter.  Not sure if you can see in the photos but the sleeves have an interesting pointed bit on the cuff and this feature is also on the collar, but a the back which goes to a point.

The Tall Poppy is a lovely restaurant which has some interesting shipping things including a model ship and the picture behind me.  It was cosy and warm inside and the bright red walls are warming too.

It was a really grey, miserable, wet and windy day.  There is a lovely courtyard where you can sit outside but as you can see it was not very appealing.  In the background is the historic Iona Church.

The Tall Poppy has a wonderful selection of desserts which you can see when you enter, which makes it quite difficult to choose what to eat from the menu.  I am always thinking of dessert before I eat my main.  You can see from the picture below that the desserts are spectacular.

I had broccoli and cheese soup which was delicious but unbelievabley rich and therefore I found it impossible to eat all of it.

 Dear Darling H had the Chicken curry which he said was fabulous and one of the best he had ever eaten (see pic below).  Dear Darling D had crispy chicken and chips.

We wanted to have an early lunch so that we could go to the official re-opening of the Ravensbourne Railway Footbridge which has been closed for nearly two years.

There is a long history for the footbridge - it is the only only surviving Edwardian lattice trussed overbridge in Dunedin or possibly in New Zealand (depending on the reporter) in the  local paper.  In the book "Bush to Borough and Beyond" which is a pictorial history of the West Harbour,  it is dated specifically to 1911.   Anyway, it is a prominent landmark and had been raised to accommodate the newer style railway wagons when in 2009, it was announced that it was to be closed.  To make things worse, it appeared that neither the city council nor the railway could agree who actually owned the bridge and therefore would be liable for the maintenance and repairs.  Not shy of sticking up for the underdog I lobbied my local councillor vigorously and was delighted to last year that it was finally being repaired.  In my community newsletter this month was a small advertisement proclaiming that on the 11th March at 1pm, the repaired bridge would be re-opened.  I had to be there!!  It was pouring with rain and a howling southerly but a dozen or so die hard residents stood at the top of the bridge (see below) while Jan Tucker and Andrew Noone cut a lovely red ribbon in half to symbolise the opening of the bridge.  
When we have a fine day, maybe even next weekend, I will ask my supporting family to photograph me on the bridge so you can get a better idea of what it looks like.  I was hoping to spend some time thinking about my Liebster Blog Award and who to pass the award on to, but honestly I am running out of time to do it today.  After the bridge opening we went home for a warming hot drink before going to the pool for the weekly flippaball (like water polo for kids) and I managed to crawl my way back and forth a few times in my inaugural swim of 2012.  By the time we got home it was nearly tea time, so as Dear D had a friend over for tea, I quickly made batch of ANZAC biscuits and a Chocolate Fudge Brownie cake.  

I promised a recipe so here is my version of ANZACs*:

3/4 cup of sugar.  I like brown sugar, but today I used raw sugar
1 cup of coconut
1 cup of rolled oats.  I use the cheapest ones - I like my biscuits with a bit of fibre :-)
1 cup of flour and a bit extra.

mix together in a big bowl.

In a saucepan melt 100g butter and a largish tablespoon of golden syrup and a drop of two of vanilla essence.  Boil the kettle and make a cup of tea.  No seriously, put a teaspoon of bicarbinate of soda in a cup and add two tablespoons of boiling water.  It will go all foamy.  Add this to the butter and syrup mixture but only when its all melted and liquid.  

Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour in the liquid.  Stir until completely mixed.  If you think it is too runny then add a bit more flour.  But do not be tempted to add too much else your biscuits will not flatten out when cooking.  It is is soft then it will spread and you will have lovely round biscuits.  If it is not, you will have to flatten with a fork.  

Cook in a moderate oven 180 degrees celcius until golden brown.  While waiting have a cup of tea ;-)

For very special occasions such as Dear D going on school camp, I melted a cup of white chocolate buttons and then when the biscuits are cold, I put a blob on the top of each.  White chocolate goes really well with these.  

Who were the ANZACS?  Well they were the brave soldiers from New Zealand and Australia who fought in WWI and WWII.  I also think New Zealand soldiers fought in the Boer war, but I am not sure if there was a combined Australian and New Zealand Armed Corps.   

* PS I have been using the famous Edmonds Cookbook for years and there is an excellent recipe in it for ANZAC biscuits, but this one is different as I have made some small changes.


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Smiling so much my face could split in two...

This evening to my delight I found out that the lovely Vintage Bird Girl has awarded me a Liebster Blog award.  I am smiling so much that I think my face will split in two!!  

Because I am still in a state of stunned amazement and warm fuzzies I am going to think about my top 5 picks and post over the weekend.  

Blogging is pretty much the one activity that links me to other like minded thrifting, treasure-hunting, op-shopping people.  Most of my colleagues and friends accept my second-hand quirky fashion but do not buy second hand.  My dear friend Cindy has a love of buttons and craft and she and I are on the same creative wavelength which is awesome.  But when it comes to squealing over a treasured item found for 50 cents then I find myself looking to the computer screen for company.  And what company I am amongst.  I follow a lot of blogs - and oh my goodness some of them make me feel totally consumed with lust for vintage items, cute knicknacks, jewellry, crochet, you name it, I find reading blogs more satisfying that any glossy magazine, because we share part of ourselves.  That sense of cameraderie is what is so rewarding.  

Thank you Vintage Bird Girl for giving me this award.  You have made me one very happy vintage loving op shopping Dunedinite.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A train trip and a wedding

On Saturday morning (very very early) my family and I boarded the train at Christchurch to travel to Blenheim.  The weather was unbelievable - a weather bomb was about to be dropped on NZ - but it made for spectacular viewing from the Observation Deck:

Here I am, all wind-swept and interesting.

The views along the coast line were spectacular.  

 For all those train lovers out there here is a gratuitous shot of the DCP which took us from Christchurch to Blenheim.  

We arrived in Blenheim at midday and the wedding was not until 3pm.  So I managed a very very quick trip to SaveMart for a look around.  It had heaps of really cool stuff, but nothing I wanted to buy.

Never mind.

Here is a photo of me at the reception which was held at Drylands Winery.  
No, I am not wearing my hat.  I took it off.  
I spent 10 minutes in the ladies backcombing and fluffing up my hair!!
There are a few photos of me wearing the hat, it but my family are in the photos and they are all shy and don't really want to be on on the internet.  :-( but fair enough. 

Green lurex dress ReStore $8
Orange wooden bead necklace SaveMart $3
Blue Hushpuppies mary jane shoes Mosgiel Hospice Shop $10
Orange Atmosphere cardi Recycle Boutique $4.50

The dress was very comfortable to wear even though there was not much movement in the arms.  This was not a problem when eating and drinking but a slight problem when I was dancing.  When it came to driving back to where we were staying I had to drive sitting perched on the edge of the drivers seat else my arms could not comfortably reach the steering wheel!!!

Real leather jacket, Capture brand, Salvation Army $8
worn with jeans and tee shirt and stuffed canvas sneakers, all bought on sale new.

The next day we were greeted with sunshine and blue skies.  We took the opportunity to have a look around Blenheim and here I am sitting by the fountain in the square which is the middle of town.  I forget the name but it is very pretty.  Unfortunately because of the earthquake risk the war memorial which is also located here is all fenced off.  I have been there before and taken some amazing photos.
 Near the park is the St Vincent de Paul shop which was closed 
but on my list of places to visit when I return.

Due to the weather bomb there were significant delays on the way home.  
Our train was delayed by nearly an hour an a half.  My daughter and niece waited very patiently playing on the platform and I read "Out of Africa" my husband was happy waiting.

Here is the DXR which took us home.  
The girls had a great time in the Observation Deck with the wind whistling through their hair.  
I stayed inside and just enjoyed the view from the window.

So what did you get up to in the weekend?  Did you shelter from the weather or were you out in the sun blooming like a rose?