Op-Shop/Thrift Haul (#? in a series of many)

Op-Shop/Thrift Haul (#? in a series of many)

Op-Shops are my Kryptonite.  That is to say, they don’t kill me or anything, but they do render me powerless and somewhat weak at the knees.  I probably wouldn’t be able to leap over a building either (although it is possible I could if the bargains on the other side were awesome enough).  I just like the thrill of the chase, the rummaging around in junk looking for some treasure.  I know it’s not for everyone – lots of my friends don’t get it and I understand that (although I myself don’t understand why they pay full price for anything or think that $80 is a reasonable price to pay for a t-shirt).  I guess I just like looking for things that aren’t the same old stuff everyone else has.  I like quirky and different, old or vintage.  I think it’s the Aquarian in me (quirky) and the Scot (thrifty) in my blood.  Or it’s neither of those things – I don’t know.

This week (having promised myself I wouldn’t make any purchases that weren’t absolutely essential) I stopped in at a local op-shop on my way home from an exceedingly tiresome day at work. Nothing cheers me faster that a haven of 2nd-hand knick-knackery.
I had wanted to find some more little pots for popping succulents into and I found a couple that would work wonderfully well.

Firstly this lovely little earthenware cooking dish with its crackled glaze and its vintage charm.  It might not be vintage but it looks is and I liked it (so there!).  It’s nice and shallow too which is good for a happy little succulent.  I also bought a larger sized bowl (exactly the same, just bigger) which I will use for actual cooking I think.
(Please excuse photos – I had to take them outside on my porch as it was getting dark and my house had the WORST lighting ever for taking pictures…)

IMG_0545

Next up, these AMAZING glazed pottery mugs.  Swoon.  I loved the colours – purply/blue with the brown terracotta swirled through it.  I saw one of the mugs and thought “Oh that might be nice to plant a little cactus or succulent in…” and then I saw that is was actually a WHOLE SET (i.e. 6 mugs).  They were only $1.25 each and practically brand new so I had to buy them.  Well, by “had to” I mean I “wanted to” with every fibre of my being.  So I did.  I still haven’t decided whether to plant succulents in them or use them as actual coffee mugs.  They’re quite small though as is my kitchen cupboard which is already groaning under the weight of a million coffee and tea cups/mugs.  Might have to do a cull…

IMG_0546

Then I found this lovely little dish (I guess it is like a tapas dish or one that you’d put olives in or something…).  Nice and shallow and in perfect condition.  The price tag said $3 but the lady at the counter gave it to me for $1.  Bargain!  I like the colours and design on the inside of the bowl so it seems a shame to cover it up with a plant, but I will anyway methinks!  Or have a tapas night…which seems just as pleasant and good for the soul.

IMG_0549

IMG_0550

Then I spotted these two little trinket dishes.  So cute and in pretty good condition.  I thought I might give them to a couple of vintage-loving friends as gifts.  Or keep them for myself – I am undecided.  They’re so pretty and dainty (and I need all the help I can get on those two fronts!).

IMG_0551

IMG_0552

So that was a pretty good haul for one afternoon and one shop.  I am binge-spending so much right now (Mum and I went to the Save the Children Fund Book Sale today and I bought 26 books…I have nowhere to put them!) and it is on par with my binge-eating.  I am going to try harder from tomorrow to curb both my emotional-eating and my emotional-purchasing.  I know it is all because I am now in the process of divorce and it is easier to feed my face or empty my purse than deal with the feelings I am trying so hard not to feel.  But I am also buying things that I can sell on and make some extra money with (at swap-meets and my mini-markets) so I am trying not to be too hard on myself.  I assuage my guilt by giving to charity (and op-shops are for charities, right?  That counts!) and reminding myself that I am mostly buying 2nd hand things which is a form of recycling.  These justifications work if I don’t dwell on it too hard.

Happy Monday everyone… x

Painted Wooden Brooches

Painted Wooden Brooches

Hi all.  My last post was a bit depressing so here’s something a little brighter.  I painted these little wooden brooches this week (well, they will be brooches when I varnish and attach a brooch back to them!).  I wanted to do something a little bit different to my usual jewellery-making and cards.  I’m am not a dab-hand at painting.  I am too clumsy and have horribly unsteady hands but I always seem to end up doing tiny things which require great precision and attention to detail.  Nevermind, I was quite happy with these, if only because they brightened my mood and kept my brain calm and occupied for a little while (the big black dog has been following me around mercilessly this month and I am retreating further and further in to my shell, emotional-eating like a woman possessed, worrying incessantly about things and just generally being moody and sad).  There are a few errant “blobs” here and there (not noticed until the paint had dried and I’d taken photos of them).  Still, I enjoyed painting as a change and made use of these funny little wooden off-cuts that I had had for years.
I might make a couple of the smaller pieces into pendants too.

What do you think?  Be kind – I am delicate and fragile right now, prone to messy weeping and unattractive fits of self-pity.

Going to the big annual charity book sale tomorrow with Mum (as it is a public holiday here).  Oh, the joy of books!  I hope to come home with a bursting trolley of titles, maybe a few non-fiction goodies (craft and gardening books) as well as some foreign language books (for collage and cutting up).

Hope your weekend has been happy 🙂

IMG_6478

IMG_6530

IMG_6529

IMG_6531

IMG_6532

Planet Earth is Blue and There’s Nothing I Can Do…

Planet Earth is Blue and There’s Nothing I Can Do…

The world is a scary and uncertain place right now.  I suppose, in a lot of ways, it always has been, but I feel it now, more than ever.  Wars going on everywhere, it seems, and political unrest is the everyday norm. Children dying, people losing their homes and livelihoods, unspeakable acts of violence and cruelty – you can’t watch the news without feeling hopeless and helpless, angry and sad all at the same time.  I admit I have been switching off – not just the television, but my own mind and heart.  I cannot bear to see another story about man’s inhumanity to man.  Even on the home front – my workplace and family life seems fraught with danger and worry and at the end of the day I am just coming home, locking the front door and not wanting to let the world in (not an unusual occurrence for me in general, but, just lately, it seems almost imperative to my mental well-being and physical strength). I can barely look at Facebook – the posts about Gaza and child abuse, murders and cruelty to animals breaks my heart and makes me so sad.

This weekend I have babysat my gorgeous nieces – hardly babies at the ages of 9 and 11 but “babies” nevertheless in my mind and heart.  I want to wrap them up in cotton wool and protect them from the world.  I don’t want them to ever have to worry about foreign invasion or the atrocities of war.  I don’t even want them to stub a toe – how can I ever be ready to let them go into the big bad world which gets more uncertain by the day?  It is probably a good thing it is not up to me to “let them go”, because I don’t think I could.  I want to lock them up in a tower, Rapunzel-style, and keep them away from the world and all that could harm them.

But, of course, in doing that, I would be denying them the chance to change the world and make it better.  In order to fight injustice and cruelty, you have to first see it and want to make a difference.  I still believe there are good people, I still believe in love and harmony and tolerance.  I want to believe all those things are achievable and something to strive for.
But it is hard right now.  I haven’t been wanting to post on my blog because everything I write seems inane or ridiculously unimportant in comparison to what is going on all around the world.  I don’t know if things actually ARE worse right now or if I am just feeling it more than usual.

Does everyone else feels this way, or  is it just me?

I hope, in your little corner of the world, that things are calm and peaceful.  I hope your children are safe, your animals well-cared for and your homes protected and secure.
I hope you have food on the table and laughter and love as your companions, instead of fear and insecurity, violence and intolerance.

May you wake up in the morning knowing you and your family are free to live as you choose, regardless of your religious background, sexual orientation, skin colour or country of birth.
I don’t think that is too much to ask but, just now, it seems impossible for so many people.  And that just makes me so very sad.

Trash and Treasure

Trash and Treasure

A quick post about my weekend’s finds.  It will be a quick post because I am a bit disgusted about my recent lack of self control where my spending is concerned.
If I type fast, maybe it won’t seem so bad to me….(actually, who am I kidding?  I can never do short posts when I want to…this one will be no different).

On Saturday I went shopping with my Mum.  “I just need a couple of things…” I said dismissively, knowing full well I am incapable of actually controlling myself where shopping is concerned. Now, normally this isn’t such a bad thing because I generally buy 2nd hand items from op-shops etc.  I don’t buy “new” things very often and even when I do I rarely pay full price.  However, having visited my brother the night before and seeing some lovely household items his equally lovely partner had bought for the house, I was immediately overcome with waves of decorator envy and NEEDED to buy similar items for my house.  As you do.

So, we headed to The Reject Shop, the kind of store that is dangerous for me because I go in to buy wrapping paper and come out with three clocks shaped like frogs, a packet of weird sweets with unpronounceable names and a self-cleaning kitty litter tray.  When I don’t own a cat.  There’s just stuff in there you never knew you needed.  It’s dangerous, as I said.  So I don’t go in there very much unless I have a strict plan and stick to it.

On this particular day I walked out with a large cork-lidded jar with a stag head on it and some white shabby-chic-looking photos frames.  So not too ridiculous I suppose.

IMG_0402

Then we went to Typo, another shop that I have trouble controlling myself in.  They have so much stuff in there that I NEED.  I NEED more notebooks! (I don’t, I have about 48 currently).  I NEED stickers that look like french patisserie! (I don’t – I should be on a diet and food-shaped stickers will not help the situation).  I NEED a white ceramic stag head for my wall!  (Erm, I really DO want one of those…I have no idea why.  I’m vegetarian and find hunting abhorrent.  But I NEED a white ceramic stag head for my wall!  I do!).  In the end I walked out with a wooden ampersand for my book shelf and a white ceramic fox pen holder.  Both were heavily reduced in price so I didn’t break the bank, but guilt was already starting to set in.

On Sunday morning, very early, I went to a swap meet with my good friends MD and FK.  Ah, swap meets!  The smell of dewey grass trampled on by eager bargain hunters!  Nothing is more enticing to those of us with a taste for the quirky, the trashy and the downright odd.  There is always the hope that you will find something AMAZING that you’ve been hunting for for years.  That somewhere out there is a stall that has that pink/white/blue/polka-dotted pig/duck/skateboard you’ve been looking for all your life (or at least since last Tuesday when you saw it in a magazine and knew you NEEDED to have one).

We were looking for plants and pots and cute stuff and handy stuff and storage stuff.  So, stuff, basically.  MD and FK bought practically an entire nursery of plants (the car on the way home looked like a travelling botanic exhibit) as well as some garden pots, terrariums and interesting containers for succulents.  I picked up (after a bit of fruitless searching when I thought I wasn’t going to find anything at all…) a rather funky granny trolley…

IMG_6446

…which then came in handy for carrying other purchases (it was a bargain at only $6.00! – very sturdy and new and roomy) and will be good for fetching my groceries in…

…I also bought a delightful little succulent that had the prettiest of pastel colours on its leaves (love the yellow and pink tinges) and deserves an equally pretty pot when I find one…

IMG_6450

…I found this little wooden shelf/stool which I am going to paint white and distress (maybe add a vintage image to it) and either put plants or use in my craft room as storage.  I picked up the little book too which is actually a notebook (erm…what was I saying about notebooks?) with nice brown, kraft paper pages…only $2.50 for the two items….

IMG_0400

…I bought this pretty cup and saucer for $5.00, not knowing MD had been eyeing it off too.  It’s a vintage design but I don’t know how old it is.  Probably not very!  Doesn’t matter to me, it’s sweet and my favourite colour.  If I don’t use it for tea, it will be a nice container for a succulent.

IMG_0391

We stayed at the swap meet for about three hours then decided we couldn’t carry any more and had to leave.  Across the road was a “garage sale” sign so we made a bit of a detour…several plants and more pots later for FK and MD, we headed off again.  A few miles up the road we came across a sign that said “Vintage Garage Sale”.  Well, a screeching of brakes and a quick turn into another street, we found ourselves at a lovely little garage sale, indeed selling vintage pieces (china, furniture and other items) at very reasonable prices.  I got a few pieces (couldn’t help myself…why stop now?) starting with this sweet little Wade Heath trinket dish.  It’s in good condition – no chips or staining.  I considered using it as a pot for a wee little succulent, but I’m not sure yet…

IMG_0386

…I loved this bowl, even though it is clearly not vintage.  I liked the colours and the shape.  Very pretty and only $5.00…

IMG_0388

IMG_0387

IMG_0389

…this Meakin strainer dish was so pretty and the colours were very bright and un-faded.  There is a bit of staining in one corner, but is in otherwise great condition, and at only $5.00, was a no-brainer for me.  I love Meakin dinnerware and the flowers on this piece were just so pretty…

IMG_0392

IMG_0393

IMG_0394

So, a good morning indeed.  But then, after also getting some fruit and veg on the way home, from the markets, and also buying some DVDs to watch later in the week (whoops), my purse is decidedly lighter than I would like it to be and buyer’s remorse has definitely set in.  I am aware of the fact that I am not only binge-eating at the moment, but have also taken on a tendency to binge-spend, even if by other people’s standards it isn’t worth worrying about.  I keep saying I am not procrastinating about getting my divorce paperwork in, but I probably am.  By spending money on other things, I can somehow, deep in my sub-conscious, “forget” to submit the papers and pay for the divorce application, not to mention filling a huge emotional void.  I’m kidding myself if I think otherwise.  But really, isn’t buying vintage china, A LOT more satisfying than paying for a divorce???  I’m not going to put my divorce papers up on the wall, for all to see my failures, but I will happily display that Meakin dish and serve tea in that sweet little cup and saucer.  Now, if I could just save up for that stag head…

Have a happy week everyone.  Hope you find some treasure (or at least avoid any trash!) 🙂

Sanding off the rough edges of life…

Sanding off the rough edges of life…

 

 

 

 

It would be nice if life was like a craft project.  You could sand off the rough edges, paint it a different colour, stamp meaningful words on it or scrub it all off and start again.  You could cut bits out and throw them away.  You could add bits of ribbon to fancy it up or leave it plain and simple.  You could shape it into a heart or a flower or a star.  You could drill holes in it and hang it somewhere safe.  You could fill in those holes and make it whole again.  You could weave it with patterns and stitch it with love.  You could glue it together so it never comes apart.
You could colour outside the lines if you wanted to or make things precise, and both would be “right” because it’s ART.  You could wear it with pride or give it to someone else.  You could tea-dye it so it looks older, rather than trying to keep it clean and new. You could hold it tightly in your hands as something precious, or tear it in to a thousand pieces and throw it to the four winds.  You could leave it to future generations or bestow it on the present, knowing its meaning will change as each generation changes.  

It’s been a long day, one that started out quite happily and progressed into an evening of stress and drama.  Not my own stress and drama, but that of a family member, which in some ways is worse.  Hurting for other people is the worse hurt of all.  When your heart breaks for someone else it is terribly painful. I want to fix everything and wave a magic wand and make everybody ok again.  But I can’t.  I am not big enough or brave enough.  I’m not clever enough or rich enough to make problems go away and I do so wish that I was. Even if I know it is not my responsibility to repair other people’s “stuff”.

But I guess, in some ways, life is like a craft project.  It has rough edges that need a bit of smoothing.  It has chipped paint and faded bits that need restoring.  It comes in all shapes and sizes and doesn’t always fit everybody the same way.  Sometimes seams rip and stuffing comes out.  Sometimes you drop a stitch or forget to knit one, purl one and your design turns out a little funny and lopsided.  Sometimes other people don’t understand your ART.  Sometimes, there just isn’t enough black paint to cover it up and there will always be somebody else’s inky fingerprint EXACTLY where you don’t want it.

Today I just want to be able to hold everybody else together at the seams, to stop the stuffing falling out.  But at the end of a long day, just like this one, I wonder who is going to do the same for me, when I fear my own stitches are becoming frayed, and I’ve run out of safety pins.  I must learn to repair what I can and leave the rest up to the Gods, because every creation is a work in progress and who knows when it is finished but the one who created it?

IMG_0302

PS  Apologies for a melancholy post.  It has been a very long evening and I am worn out and definitely frayed around the edges.  Luckily I have more than enough stuffing to worry about losing too much of that and I think my distressed and ragged patina is part of my charm 🙂

Goodnight all – may tomorrow be a better day x



Pain in the Neck, Cake & The Joy of Thrifting Videos

Pain in the Neck, Cake & The Joy of Thrifting Videos

I am off work at the moment with a painful neck.  After all the stress of the last couple of weeks at work, with all the heavy lifting and long days, my neck decides to spaz out on me when I am doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to aggravate it.  Maybe it got used to the stress and heavy lifting…maybe it got confused on the weekend when I was no longer working long hours… Who knows?  All I know is that on Sunday morning, after a reasonably long country drive, down to my Dad’s for Father’s Day, I got out of the car, my neck went “ping” and I went “ouch”.  I also went into immediate meltdown because my neck and back have been good for ages and to have this happen made me panic and start seeing visions of a yet-again painful and debilitating future.  But I have been to the physio, been strapped up and pummelled and am now at home, resting up, trying to keep my muscles warm and un-stressed, so I can hopefully go back to work tomorrow.  Because being at work is way better than being at home, unable to do anything but watch TV and drink endless cups of tea.  I desperately want to craft or go op-shoppping but can do neither due to having the neck pain and no money (have over-spent a little bit this month, need to reel it in a little) and also being in my pyjamas with no bra.  Ok, you didn’t need to know that last bit…but bra straps do dig in to sore neck and shoulder muscles so going about sans bra is essential.  Essential maybe, but not very attractive.  Ahem, moving on…

So, I’ve baked a cake (my stand-by Gingerbread Cake).  I don’t know who for, because there’s only me here and I’m supposed to be lowering my sugar and fat intake.  I can’t take it to work because the new digs are supposed to be sugar free and a haven of good eating and healthy snacks.  So, I will most likely eat a piece (or two) and freeze the rest, so I have something to offer unexpected guests.  Which I never have because everyone knows I hate the “pop in”.  At the end of the day, I know the cake will be entirely scoffed by me, over a period of time.

IMG_0379

Besides baking a cake, I have made a couple of necklaces for my niece – really quick, simple ones that only took a couple of minutes and wouldn’t hurt my neck (i.e. with sitting and hunching over for a long period, fiddling about with tiny beads and whatnot) – she likes the simple “surfy” style chokers that just have a black cord with one little charm on them.  I looked through some craft magazines, watched Dr Phil (some lady boo-hooing about her “famous” baseball-playing husband treating her badly…I don’t know these people and although any kind of spousal abuse is wrong and not to be joked about, I couldn’t quite figure out if the lady was crazy, lying or just wanting attention from the media…I got bored and didn’t watch to the end so I’m gonna go with crazy.  And possibly on drugs) and, surprisingly, did some dishes.  I also have been watching lots of YouTube videos about thrifting.  There is something strangely addictive about watching other people shopping.  Not normal shopping, in department stores of whatever, but thrift store shopping (op-shopping as we call it here in Oz).  Seeing someone pick up some vintage dresses for under $5 is exciting.  Watching another YouTuber collecting some fabulous homewares from charity shops and then giving them a makeover?  Enthralling.  But then I am home bored and unable to do much myself so watching other people go shopping is about as exciting as it gets for me.  Here are some YouTube channels I recommend, if you’re interested:

Hermione LillaRosa – Lovely English lassie with ever-changing hair colours, fabulous non-fashion sense, quirky decorating style.

Thrifters Anonymous – A couple of thrifting buddies shop up a storm in some of the most-amazing-looking op-shops in the U.S.  One of these shops is apparently 34’000 sq feet in size.  Swoon.

Grav3yard Girl – If you haven’t watched Bunny’s channel before, do stop by and watch a couple of her “Thrift Hurl” videos.  Seriously, she is just so entertaining and I have watched her for a couple of years now.  I do tut when she is promoting products that are not cruelty-free…but then I skip over to one of her thrifting videos and then I’m happier.  She just makes me laugh.

Haul or Nothing : Thrift Store Shopping (on FAWN) – I wish someone would challenge me to a thrifting spend-up

Riannstar – She makes me laugh.  Mostly because I don’t think she actually gets the whole thrifting/op-shopping thing.  I think if you’re looking for “in-season” pieces or anything “on-trend” you should probably go to different shops.  The whole point of op-shopping is that you don’t look like everybody else and don’t have to spend a fortune.
But that’s just my opinion.  Maybe I’m wrong… (I’m in pain and cranky so it’s likely I am just being picky for nothing).

Xpurr – Welcome to the crazy world of dumpster diving.  Crazy because people THROW AWAY SO MUCH STUFF IT IS CRAZY!!!  I find it fascinating that all this stuff (most of it brand new) gets thrown away by shops etc.  This videos for me are like watching those makeover shows or American Pickers or something.  I wish I was brave enough to go dumpster diving.  But I know if I was brave enough, I would probably just end up finding a load of rubbish.  And catch the plague or something.  It amazes me that so many people and businesses can throw all that stuff away and I have trouble tossing empty rolls in the bin, recycling or otherwise.

Anyway, that’s a few that I like to watch.  Mostly, they’re just fun distractions.  I get the guilts when watching anyone buy lots of new stuff (the world has enough landfill in it thank you) and really, there is enough second hand stuff in the world to clothe and decorate us and our homes into the next millennium.

Well, I’m sore and achey from sitting here in front of the computer for even this short length of time so I will retire to the lounge room, make another cup of tea (I’ll go crazy and make it a proper cup – no more herbal for today) and heat up yet another heat pack for my neck.  Hopefully I will get my bum into gear this weekend and make some stuff to show you.  I have a business idea I may or may not share with you at some stage…still working out the logistics (i.e. whether I can be brave enough to do it).

Have a happy, thrifty week – let me know if you find any 2nd hand treasures (but only if they won’t make me jealous) 🙂

Too Tired for a Title

Too Tired for a Title

So tired.  Too tired to type.  Work has gone from ridiculously busy and stressful to it’s-possible-I-might-have-an-aneurism-very-soon busy and stressful.  I’m not even going to go into details, just believe me when I say I have face-palmed more this week than in any other week before it and I predict much swearing and head-holding before the week is up.

I’ve made a couple of jewellery bits and pieces, for the lovely K who is, as I type, gallivanting around Tonga somewhere swimming with whales (as you do).  I envy her lifestyle so much.  I also envy her ability to wear bathers in public and not worry about what anyone else thinks (she doesn’t need to worry anyway).  My thighs and other flabby bits are stopping me from swimming with whales!  Well, that and the fact I am not a very good traveller, don’t like flying, can’t dive without holding my nose and spend too much money on craft supplies and op-shopping to actually go and buy myself some holidays in exotic locations.  With whales.

Back to the jewellery.  K wanted me to re-string a shell she loved onto some string or thonging.  We’d already done this a while back but she wore it in the water (as she does) and it started fraying and disintegrating.  So I decided to go with tiger tail (not really ideal for water either but stronger) and bead the whole length.  Hope she likes it.  I know she wanted a more natural look but hopefully she will approve of this different approach….

IMG_6342

…also did some matching earrings…(both pieces using some wooden beads I bought last week)…

IMG_6345

…and, finally, I repaired and re-strung a bracelet I had made K ages ago.  This had also suffered disintegration via sea water baths and was barely holding itself together.  But it is fixed again now, ready for another few months of ocean swimming (and probably the odd whale/shark/seal/krakken sighting).

IMG_6347

It’s nice having someone appreciate my funny little crafting endeavours and so, to K, I say thank you 🙂

PS Sorry – very short post but I am completely shattered after a very long day lifting furniture, dealing with clients, trouble-shooting problems and just being in a general unorganised frenzy.  Hope you’re having a zen-like, calm and non-stressful week – send some of that over to me! 🙂