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Thrifty-Happy

Op-shopping (thrifting), as I have said many times before, is one of my favourite things to do.  Probably THE favourite thing to do, if I’m honest.  I love the element of surprise, of never knowing what you’re going to find.  I have learnt not to actually go in seeking a particular thing, because I won’t find it.  It’s more of a treasure hunt – and sometimes you don’t find any treasure.  Which can really suck 🙂

Recently, on my birthday week, when I had some time off work, I did a bit of solitary op-shopping.  I had nothing to do and nowhere to be except in the rows of second hand goodness.  The weather last week was dreadful – it’s the middle of Summer and it has been cold and rainy and blah.  Which is probably the best kind of weather for trying on clothes because you don’t get hot and sweaty and cranky.

I have recently put on quite a bit of weight which, aside from being really upsetting and depressing, means that a lot of my clothes don’t fit me.  Ugh.  Is there anything more blues-inducing than trying to squeeze into a skirt that USED to be baggy on you but now makes you look like an overstuffed sausage?  No, there is not.

So, I needed to buy a few more items of clothing that would a.) fit me and b.) be suitable for the weird weather we are having.  Longer sleeves were the order of the day, because it’s too cool for short ones, and my arms are hideous.  That’s right, I said it – HIDEOUS.  They should be hidden away in case they scare someone with their white flabbiness.  There should actually be a law against my arms – seriously.  They could incite people to revolt.

Anyway, I went op-shopping.  I found a really nice shop that I hadn’t been to before and it had a great selection of clothes – so much so that I found myself with a basketful just from the first rack.  Reasonably priced and in my size – what could be better?

So here’s what I got :

  1.  Nice, lightweight top for Summer days.  Beachy and bingo-wing covering!

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Beachy!

2.    Cute little jacket that is still cool enough for Summer, or I could even
wear it as a top – it’s a blousey sort of material.

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Hearts!

3.  Super-soft checked shirt.  I don’t normally get these because I can never find one that looks ok on me.  But this one fits perfectly, is SO SOFT and I loved the blue tones.  It’s good as a cover-up over a t-shirt, or on its own.  I channel Madonna in her “Don’t Tell Me” video when I am wearing it.  Don’t judge me.

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Checks!

4.  Was lucky to find this lovely Review top.  It probably retailed for at least $100 originally, and I got it for $7.  Can’t beat that!  A good one for work.

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Ladylike!

5.  At $10.25, this was perhaps a tad more expensive than I would normally go for in an op-shop.  But it was so pretty, and just what I need for my craft room to organise my paintbrushes, pens, papers etc.

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Shabby Chic!

6.  I found this teeny-weeny religious thingy for only 50c.  It’s about the size of two postage stamps.  So dinky!  I am going to cover it and collage over it and make it completely non-religious, but hey if it has some built-in blessings or divine protection, I won’t argue!  I wish I had been able to find more, so will have to be on the lookout for them.  I guess maybe they are a little travel thingy so you can take your faith with you or something?  Whatever, it’s cute.

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Upcycler!

7.  I snagged this cushion cover for a dollar.  Although it does have a store label on it, it is obviously handmade which neat, little stitches and imperfections.  It is very large so will actually make a nice table mat or it could hang on the back of my couch.  I liked the colours and the slightly rustic quality it has.

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Patchworky!

8.  Shoes!  I have wanted a pair of these chunky heels for ages but have never been able to find exactly the right pair.  So I got these.  They’re a tiny bit small so I might need to stretch them out just slightly.  I got them for $5.  I am a mega klutzoid so I need chunky heels if I am going to wear heels at all.  Otherwise there is falling down and general embarrassment and humiliation.

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Chunky!  I mean the shoes…stop looking at my ankles!!!

So, a good day, and I have already worn a couple of the items which shows they were worthwhile purchases.  I Especially like the checked shirt – I think I will be snuggling up a lot in that in the Autumn months.  And pretending I am Madonna.  When she was still cool and making good music and not gadding about in leotards and pretending she’s 25.

Hope you are having a happy day 🙂

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How to Measure Christmas

Christmas Day is just around the corner.  I can’t believe how quickly it has come up this year.  I probably say that every year, but this last twelve months has whizzed by, and so much has happened.  It’s been such a strange, disturbing year, with a lot of loss and grief for so many people.  I don’t know about you, but I am praying for a much kinder 2017.

My Mum is currently suffering with a nasty cough/virus and it makes me very anxious.  I can’t bear for her to be ill.  She is always so healthy and I sometimes forget she is a senior now, and small illnesses can be potentially dangerous.  Also, being sick at Christmas sucks!  I know she feels miserable and concerned and also annoyed that she can’t do a lot – she hates neglecting her garden and other chores.  I just worry incessantly, especially as I am not just around the corner but 30 minutes drive away, and I can’t keep a close eye on her.  Luckily, my best friend’s Mum is just around the corner – in fact, she is taking Mum to the doctor’s this morning (I would have done but had no one to cover me at work). Hopefully she will get some antibiotics (even though she hates taking them, she admits she probably needs some this time) and be on the mend soon.  We’re meant to be spending Christmas Eve with my brother and his family, but I don’t know if she will be well enough at this stage 😦

It’s funny how, in the lead up to Christmas, you think about all the things you would like, and hope that Santa obliges.  This year, I just want my Mum to be well, and for us all to have a nice, peaceful, stress-free time together, with no dramas.

This week, I managed to get all my Christmas shopping done in record time.  I have less people to buy for this year, for one reason or another, and it made it much easier.  I made a few gifts too, which meant less spending (always a good thing) and less stress (a very good thing).  I also decided not to do the fancy wrapping I always do, which usually ends up with me stressed out of my brain and wrapping gifts every night until midnight, making sure they all fit a “theme” and all look decorative and pretty.  Not this year.  I used store-bought wrapping paper and did nothing fancier than tying them with string.  I didn’t even use matching tags!  *gasps*  It just made everything so much easier and quicker and reduced my stress by about a million percent.  I am wrapped and done, ahead of time.

Whilst looking for gifts for my Mum, I pretty much followed the list she had given me (an Ian Rankin book, some gardening stuff, a Michael Buble CD, pyjamas) but I always like to get her some other little extras too, so she has some surprises.  I found this set of measuring cups in an op-shop and thought she might like them.  They look vintage (although I suspect they are not) and I liked the little Wintery scene on them, which I thought would also make them ideal for Christmas decorating, if Mum didn’t want to use them as actual measuring cups.  I just thought they were sweet.  And at $5.00 for the three, I wasn’t exactly breaking the bank.

I hope she likes them, and is well enough to enjoy all of her presents.
That’s all I want for Christmas.

Best wishes to you all.  Stay well and take care of each other x

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Second Hand Shenanigans

Today I had a day off from work.  Tomorrow is a public holiday so I decided to give myself an extra long weekend (thank you to my library assistant for suggesting it!).  So nice to be able to have a Monday off, especially as I have a bit of a dicky back today and did not want to be sitting at a desk all day, or doing shelving or dealing with people.

I went out for a spot of op-shopping this morning, wanting to get some more jewellery bits and bobs and maybe some housewares.  I hit the jackpot with a Salvos store in Mount Hawthorn.  I spent a bit much (whoopsie) and did leave with a slight case of buyer’s remorse, but I don’t think I bought anything I won’t use.

First thing I spotted was this amazing wooden-bead necklace.  Love it!  I will definitely be taking this one apart and using all those scrummy wooden beads.

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Next up, I found this cute little owl necklace.  It’s got lots of owls (not just the ones pictured) so I can definitely make a few pairs of earrings and some pendants out of it.  Very cute and on-trend at the moment.

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Then I saw this necklace – lots of interesting charms on this one.  I will use it on lots of different pieces, methinks.

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Then I saw this black pendant.  This one’s for me 🙂  I wear a lot of black so I think I will get a lot of use out of this piece.

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I picked up a few other bits and pieces – some pots for planting succulents in, and some t-shirts, plus a set of coasters with birds on them that I think I will collage on and make little decorative hangers from.  The final thing I grabbed was this lovely clock.  I nearly didn’t buy it – it was a bit pricey at $14.25 – but after picking it up and putting it back several times, I eventually gave in and added it to my haul.  I’m so glad I did.  I’ve been searching for a nice clock for my lounge room and this one fits the bill perfectly.  It suits my woodland theme well and is just the right size and colour.  I was worried it might not work, but I popped in a battery as soon as I got home and it is ticking away happily right now.  Love the owl on it and the vintagey look.  It is probably a cheap-as-chips junk piece, but I don’t care.  I am happy I got it 🙂

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After spending way too much in that shop, I stopped in at Vinnies, also in Mount Hawthorn.  Such a great little shop!  I haven’t been in there before and was pleasantly surprised.  I thought it would be expensive, because of the upmarket area, but it was very well-priced and much of the stock was half price as well.  Lots of nice clothes – I picked up a little top for work – but most of what I tried on didn’t suit me.  Which is probably a good thing, otherwise I would have bought the lot.  I did grab this lovely pot for planting succulents in – I love the glazing on it and the rustic colours.  A bargain at only $3.00 🙂
I can see a Haworthia or cactus growing happily in there on my windowsill.

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So, a good morning of op-shopping and a nice way to distract me from back pain.  I hope it will be a short-lived discomfort – I have been pretty good lately with neck/back issues so I really don’t want it to arc up again.  Maybe too much crafting yesterday and bad posture from leaning over teeny creations!

Hope you are having a good day – thanks for dropping by 🙂

Kings Park 2

Kings Park 2

More pics from our visit to Kings Park.  All the yellows and golds  this time.

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I think this is a Vertichordia.  But don’t quote me on that. 

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Banksia.  Fairly sure it is an Ashby’s Banksia…

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A Eucalypt.  Of some kind.  I don’t know *looks sheepish*

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A Yellow Powder Puff Plant.  Ok, I am making that up. 

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Hoorah!  A Wattle.  I know this one *pats herself on the back*  I believe it is a Hedge Wattle. 

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Another Banskia.  A prostrate form.  Not “prostate” like my Mum would say.  It doesn’t have to have uncomfortable proctological examinations at the doctor.

So, there you are.  Just a few of the lovely native plants on display at Kings Park Botanic Gardens.  Beautiful at any time of year but even more stunning in Spring.  Nature is a clever clogs 🙂

Doodle Drama and Poorly Mama

Doodle Drama and Poorly Mama

I had a somewhat dramatic night on Saturday when my Mum stayed over.  We were going to go to a craft & antiques fair on Sunday morning, so it’s just easier if she stays overnight at my place.  We had a nice early part of the evening – yummy dinner supplied by my super wonderful library volunteer (she makes the best curries and is nice enough to bring me some regularly), watching some TV and chatting about what we hoped to find at the craft show.  My Mum had a sore finger – she thought she had a rose thorn or something in it – and asked me to have a look and maybe lance it.  I did so, using a very sterile scalpel blade and made a tiny wee cut in the finger.  Barely any blood and nothing icky like pus coming out of it.  Mum started to feel a bit queasy so she sat on the floor while I put some disinfectant on the finger and a little bandage.  Then, feeling even more queasy, Mum passed out.  Quite dramatically (thank God she was on the floor already and didn’t fall from a standing position).  The worst part was I couldn’t make her wake up again.  She didn’t come round for what seemed like ages.  It was probably only 20 seconds but it seemed like forever.  Finally she came to and sat up again.  She then began to be sick.  And sick.  And sick (thank God again for handy buckets!).  She felt dreadful and so nauseated.  I managed to get her back to the couch to lie down (keeping the bucket nearby).  She was still being ill and I decided to call an emergency health line. They gave me advice and asked lots of questions before giving me some numbers to call for an emergency, after-hours doctor.  I was lucky to get one to come out within 30 minutes and he checked Mum over and said she would be fine.  He gave her an injection to stop the vomiting and told me to just let her sleep it off.  Which she did.  Yours truly, however, stayed wide awake, listening to make sure she was ok.  Once I heard her snoring (ha ha), I knew she was comfortable and asleep.

In the morning she popped up like a cork, as though nothing had happened.  I could tell she wasn’t quite right though, despite her saying she definitely wanted to go to the craft show.  We did go, and had a nice time, but I was worried about Mum.  I kept nagging her to go to a GP and get the finger looked at and herself checked out again.  She did so on Tuesday and got some antibiotics and is now feeling better.
I will be in therapy for the rest of my life however.  I thought I had killed her!

Another, rather less distressing drama is my search for the perfect marker pen (or textas, as we call them in Australia).  I use a particular kind of paper, when I am drawing my little doodles that I use on cards.  The paper was given to me years ago by a friend of Mum’s and it is glossy and matte all at the same time.  I think it is a kind of photo paper…or possibly the paper they put between photo paper.  I don’t really know – she just gave me a huge bundle of it.  Anyway, I have used it for years as it works so well with coloured markers, giving the finished design a neat, almost printed effect.  Well, I still have lots of the paper, but my textas are running out (I’ve only had them 15-20 years, you’d think they’d last a bit longer ha ha).  I have looked for similar ones EVERYWHERE.  And I mean everywhere.  I have bought countless packets, trying them out to see if they work in the same way.  But no.  It’s doing my head in.  I have a theory that the ones I am trying now are all super non-toxic and full of modern whizz-bang ingredients.  My old ones were probably made from mercury or whale-oil or something.  I need to explain this in pictures…Below, you will see several little figures I have drawn and coloured.  Notice the seamless, bright and uniform hair colour?  That texta is still working – just.  See how there is no blotchiness to it?  No lines or colouring marks?  The green dress and blue dress at the bottom are coloured with an almost-running-out texta.  See the blotchiness and the uneven colouring?  It’s not too bad but with the new pens I have bought, it’s dire.  The colour is so unsaturated and you can see all the colouring lines and it’s horrible.  Horrible!  (am realising now I should have taken a picture of the new colouring for you but it was just too heartbreaking).  So what’s a girl to do?  I am thinking if I can’t find the right pens I will have have to change my technique, maybe do them in water colours on different paper and use a permanent pen for the outline.  Sigh.  But it’s all about change and growth, right?  Not getting stuck in a creative rut, trying new things?  But I like the old things dammit!  I’ve tried all different brands – cheap ones to expensive ones (hello Copic!) but to no avail.  So sad.  Oh well, I will keep trying and maybe a change will improve my little pictures and start me off on a new creative path.  Who knows?

May all your days be frustration free and void of fainting Mothers! 🙂

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Earring Bling

Earring Bling

Today I made earrings.  Lots of them.  There is nothing else to say, really.  I stayed in my daggy, around-the-house clothes, drank tea and listened to music.  And made earrings.  The market stall I was going to a part of was suddenly cancelled, so I am planning on having another mini-market at my house.  Which means I need lots of stock.  Hence the earring marathon today.  I made ethnic-inspired ones and bright ones and sparkly ones and ones-I-don’t-like-but-maybe-someone-else-will.  Many of these were made with recycled beads, rescued from old jewellery found in op-shops, or given to me by lovely friends.  Waste not, want not!

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I didn’t think these colours would work together but now I kinda like them in this pair…

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I went boho on these ones…

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Copper and green is always peachy keen…or something (I like this colour combination in other words)…

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Pretty in Pink – shells and birdies…

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These elephant, wooden, chunky earrings are, well, chunky, but some people like their bling big, right?

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Cheerful little number, this pair…

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Another bright set (pink not red in this one although it is hard to see in the photo)…

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Always gotta make lots of owls…I already have an order for some of these…

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Pastel pink…one of the butterflies is upside down, I just noticed.  Shhh, don’t tell anyone!

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Another bright and cheery pair – love the yellow in these!

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Feeling fruity…

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Shell and glass and ceramic beads make this pair…

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More shell, and freshwater pearls…

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An oriental pair…

My dining room table is now a state and I haven’t done any ironing or sorted out my lunch for work tomorrow.  My back is aching (ugh – so old!) and I am slightly squinty from having worked in bad light for most of the day.  But I am happy.  A day spent crafting is a good day indeed.

Hope the start of your week has been fulfilling and and a sign of good things to come.  If nothing else, you are one step closer to Friday!  Smile! 🙂

Pots and Such (Another Adventure in Op-Shopping Land)

Pots and Such (Another Adventure in Op-Shopping Land)

Hi everybody! I hope your week has gotten off to a good start. I am gearing up for yet another move at work in the next couple of days and I am very tempted to either hide under my desk until it is all over or move interstate. I can’t wait for everything to be back in its rightful place, neatly organised (or not-so-neatly, I’m not fussy, as we all know), all the library books back on their shelves instead of packed in boxes all over the place, and to be able to run an efficient service again without having to tell people that we can’t access things at the moment. I don’t want to leave the other office though – I like it there with all my colleagues and will miss them (such a sap!) and the sound of chatter and laughter during the day. Hopefully I can make regular visits to see them and ensure the resources there are kept up-to-date and current.

I did do a spot of op-shopping on the weekend. I always call it a “spot” of op-shopping… Why don’t I just say I ran rampant in a few op-shops and emptied my purse? That would be more realistic. I didn’t buy clothes which is a miracle, but lots of china and pottery including a little, vintage porcelain brooch – which I promptly dropped as soon as I got it home and now it is chipped in several places (I am telling myself that it was already chipped and I failed to notice in the shop). This is also the only decent photo I took of anything so be prepared for a less than award-winning photography performance…

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I bought a few different receptacles for succulents including….

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…this cute pottery mug – the colours will go nicely with an aeonium (with it’s pink and yellow-tinged leaves).
Don’t think I am all up on the names of these things; I just had to look that up 🙂

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…these pottery bowls – so nice! I’ve decided to keep them for me and use them in the kitchen. I’ve already had my soup in them as pictured in my last post.
They were only about 25c each so I couldn’t pass them up (well, I could have, but I didn’t!)…

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…this little gobletty-thing. I don’t know what it is, really. I guess it could be a candle holder thingy. I’m going to call it a goblet.
If you know what it is, please tell me so I don’t look like a dufus (any more than usual). It’s made in Ireland and I really just liked the colours…

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…these ceramic clogs! So daggy and twee! But they will look cute with a little succulent in them, right? Not my kind of colours (a lime green clog? I don’t think so…) but they might go with someone else’s decor, you never know…

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…a couple of little white pots. Cacti and succulents always look nice in a fresh white pot, so I picked these up for a cheap price. The smaller one is made in Portugal…

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…I loved this sugar bowl. I’ve always liked this design – 70’s Figgjo Flint, Tor Viking – and this little vintage piece was in really good condition, no chips or cracks.
It was only $3.25 too… They had matching cups and saucers but I controlled myself ha ha… I’ll keep this piece for myself though…not planting anything in that!

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…of course I bought beads (that goes without saying). I found a couple of necklaces that had awesome beads and they were colours or shapes
I didn’t already have anything similar to…these blue/green cubed wooden ones were great and plenty of them on long lengths…

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…they came in a bundle with this necklace, which I probably wouldn’t have picked up on its own (turquoise – I think I have enough of that…
but can you ever have enough turquoise?) but I will use the beads nevertheless…

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…these ethnic-looking beads were perfect, especially as they are lighter in colour than the typically dark wood ones I always seem to get.
The pale terracotta shade is really nice with the white detailing…

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…LOVED this necklace with it array of pretty lampwork beads in shades of green and I’ve already made a pair of earrings with them…

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So, a pretty good afternoon of treasure hunting and actually not much money spent as most things were marked down from their already ridiculously low prices. I’m going to stop looking for and buying pots etc soon – the succulent “thing” is shaping up to be a bit of a fad/phase for me and I haven’t even potted any up yet (although my lovely cousin gave me a load of cuttings and leaves to propagate last night…) so I’d better start growing some before I buy any more containers to put them in. I do like the idea of plants that are hard to kill though…and if you can plant them in cute little pots, all the better!

What do you look for when op-shopping/thrifting? Do you only go for clothes or like looking at lots of different things? Do you go in with a budget, or just wing it? Do you share your favourite spots with friends, or do you keep the locations secret? I’d love to know your op-shopping “style”…

Have a lovely day, everyone x