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First Rate Second Hand Buys

Hello everyone.  I’m so glad it is Friday.  This week was my first back from holidays and, boy-oh-boy, what a long week it was!  Work has been hectic and stress-filled and I don’t feel as though I have even just had a break.

It’s been a while since I did an op-shopping (thrifting) post so I thought I would show you some of the things I have picked up lately.  There is a lot more than is featured here but, in the interest of brevity and not wanting to scare myself with how much stuff I bought, I’ll just show a few.  A selection of goodies, if you will.

  1. Canvases – I recently participated in a school fete (had a little stall selling my cards and other wares) and, at the end of the day, the White Elephant stall was selling all its leftovers for $1.00 (fill a bag for one dollar!).  I had a quick look around and found some kids’ canvases – two sets of five.  The lady at the stall told me they were $3 a set and the price could not be reduced to the $1.00 special.  I figured $6.00 for ten canvases was still pretty awesome anyway, so I went to the counter to ask the lady to hold them for me while I went back to get some money.  Before I could ask her, she said “That’ll be one dollar love…”  I queried whether they should actually be the higher price and she assured me that no, they were reduced.  So I happily paid the dollar and went off with my purchases.  But it didn’t feel right.  So, after feeling guilty for a while, I went back and told the lady I didn’t think the price was correct – that I should have paid more.  She assured me it was ok but I felt bad, like I was ripping the fundraising off, so I gave her a few extra dollars anyway.  So, I think I paid $4.00 in the end for ten really good little canvases – nice and study, ready to paint over, ready to hang and everything.  I’ve already used a couple for paintings.

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2. Vintage soup bowl  – such a pretty little thing, this bowl.  I love the design, and how it is different on each side.  I liked the little bee on it 🙂  I saw the bowl outside an antique shop and I just had to have it.  It’s not in perfect condition, but for $5.00 I can look past that.  I will just use it as a display piece.

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3. Pink shoes – Very pink for me…but super comfy and soft.  I only wear leather if I can buy it second hand (because I’m a vego).  These shoes are tiny too.  I am sure my feet are shrinking.  These were only a size 5 (36).  Plus, they were half price so I only paid $3.00.

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4.  More canvases (and books) – I keep finding old canvases in op shops and, if they’re cheap enough, I snap them up.  Especially if they come in sets.  There’s a selection here – different shapes and sizes.  I also got a few old children’s books for cutting up.  I think this lot cost about $10.00 all up.

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5. Floral Jacket – I recently attended a friend’s wedding and I had to buy something appropriate to wear.  In my search for a nice jacket, I picked this one up for about $5.00.  I didn’t wear it to the wedding though (I borrowed my cousin’s faux leather one for that – it went with the navy blue dress I wore much better) but I will happily wear it to something else.  It’s quite fitted and cropped but nicely made and not too heavy.  Oh and please excuse the bandaged thumb.  My dermatillomania is a bit mental right now so I am picking my fingers to pieces.  Not very attractive.

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6. Books.  Mum and I went to the annual Save the Children Fund Book Sale.  We look forward to this every year.  It’s the highlight of Spring 🙂  This year they didn’t seem to have as much stock, which was a bit disappointing, but I still managed to pick up quite a few bargains.  The books ranged in price from 50c – $4.00 (unless they were antique etc).  I bought about 30 books for roughly $60.00.  I got lots of animal and bird titles, for cutting up for collage etc.  So many lovely birdies!  The “British Birds” volume features beautiful vintage images so I will probably not cut that one up – will colour copy instead.  So of the pics are worth framing.  Books make me happy!

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So, that’s just a few of the things I picked up over the course of a few months.  I love a bargain, but I am trying to only buy things I know I need or will use.  I don’t do the buying frenzies I used to do 🙂  I am trying to not fill my house with more crap, and just because something is cheap, doesn’t mean you necessarily need it.  Books are the exception, ha ha.  I always need those!

Thanks for stopping by x

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Being Yourself

Belated Happy Easter to you all 🙂  Did you indulge in a huge chocolate-fest, or were you restrained and just had a few little treats?  Did you spend time with family and friends, or take part in religious events?  Whatever you got up to, I hope you enjoyed yourselves and had a nice break.

I spent a lot of time with family and friends over the weekend, cleaned my house so it was fit for my Mum to visit and stay in for a couple of nights, and did some crafting.  I am still loving the Kelly Rae Roberts Unscripted series I have subscribed to.  It’s just makes me want to craft and create and DO STUFF.  I am nowhere near her standard of creativity and art, but it is very enjoyable just mucking about with paints and paper and having a go.  I am still rubbish at faces, but I keep trying and hope that some day I will get them just right!  If only people didn’t have eyes!  It would make everything so much simpler for me, at least in terms of drawing and painting (maybe not so much in real life though…) and I wouldn’t end up having tantrums, or just drawing a lot of people with closed eyes (which is my default position these days).

I had this little communion plaque (bought on a recent op-shopping trip for 50c) and I thought it would be perfect to paint over and repurpose.  It’s quite small – a little bigger than an iPhone – so perfect for me to do some crafting on!  Plus it had the little hanger on it so I didn’t need to worry about adding one myself.

I removed the picture that was already on it ( a communion poem and prayer) and sanded the wood back, then slapped on a layer of white Gesso, just to seal and give it a good working surface.  I then added paint in various colours to create a distressed, rubbed back look.  I used a soft green, some burgundy and a little bit of yellow – just dabbing and rubbing it on with my fingers.  When I was happy with the effect, I let it dry whilst figuring out what I was going to put on it.

I decided to draw my little lady on a separate piece of paper, paint her main features and then cut her out, to be glued and finished on the plaque itself.  I didn’t trust my drawing/painting skills to just add her straight to the wooden surface.  I adhered her with gel medium and then added flowers and wings cut from scrapbooking paper and vintage books.  The words were cut from old books or stamped (when I couldn’t find the word I wanted!) and I’m not quite satisfied with them, but they’re stuck on there now!  I might go over them with a bit of colour, just to make them look less “new” and pale.  I outlined here and there with black and white pencils to give some definition.

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I was a bit heavy-handed with the lady’s features – I was using a very fine black marker, but it was still too heavy.  I will do better next time! I’m happy with her top though – it came out very rustic looking and picks up the red colour in the background – and I’m glad I added the “me” heart as it needed an extra little something.

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So, all in all, I was pretty happy with my little lady.  I am trying to be myself and be ok with who that is.  Even if it means I am not the world’s greatest artist 🙂  I am still trying to find my “niche”, artistically speaking, so this is another part of the journey.  I will keep practicing faces and different techniques with paint and drawing and, in the meantime have a lot of messy fun doing it 🙂

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Thanks for stopping by – may you enjoy the freedom of being yourself,
whoever that is, today and always x

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Antler

Forgot to post this before Christmas…  Just another ornament thingy I made for my handmade stall in December.  I had made a few of the baubles and wanted some less glittery versions, that could maybe serve as all-year-round decorations.  So, I found these lovely little ceramic antlers in Target and thought they would be perfect for embellishing.

I used, as always, recycled beads from old jewellery, including some rather tarnished and battered metallic ones that I really liked the look of.  There are also polished stone, clay, and wooden ones in the mix.  Strung onto some beading wire, attached to the antler and voila!  I was pretty happy with it and kept one for myself (which is now hanging on my wall next to my faux stag head). The ornament itself only cost $2.40 and I used beads I already had in my ridiculously large stash, so it was a pretty cheap creation all round.

Hope your day is a happy one – thank you for stopping in.

x

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Rhino

Coffee shops are awesome places.  They have delicious drinks and yummy cakes and you sit and watch the world go by whilst contemplating having another cup of tea or coffee (and possibly another cake, let’s be honest).  They also often have amazing craft supplies.  Ok, so they’re actually postcards used for advertising purposes, and you’re supposed to take ONE not a handful, but hey, it’s upcycling, right?

My local haunt has a nice selection of postcards ripe for the picking.  Example : these gorgeous Dürer rhinos.  Just delightful.  Advertising an exhibition at our WA Museum, these rhinos are actually little pop-out, stand-up models you can make yourself.  I saw them and thought “Hmmmm, I know what I can do with those…” and so I popped a few in my handbag.  And then promptly forgot about them.

Weeks later, rummaging around in my craft supplies, I came across them again and immediately set to work using them on a card.  They’re so detailed and gorgeous and perfect for a vintage-look design.  I admit I didn’t pop them out very well- in the second photo I can see some little tabs that need trimming off – but I will sort that out later.  This card took no time at all, except for choosing the text.  THAT took forever.  I mean, what words or sentiments go with rhinos?  Plus, I was dumb and stuck the rhinos down first without leaving much room for positioning anything else on the card.  But the “You’re so special to me” sentiment seems to work.  Rhinos are special, right?  They’re nearly extinct!  How much more special can you be???

I thought I was finished, but then felt compelled to add some diamantes to the shoulders – as you do.  They needed a bit of bling to stop the card from being too sedate and beige.  But, all in all, I am pretty happy with these guys.

Hope your day is special – thanks for stopping by x

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Teeny Pendants (aka How to Give Yourself a Migraine)

I have a problem.  I call this problem “Why the hell do I have to make teeny-tiny things that give me a headache?”-itis.  It’s true – I always tend towards the ridiculously little when I am making things.  Give me a postage stamp-sized bit of paper and I will attempt to draw/paint/collage a masterpiece on it.  Which was fine when I was younger and had 20/20 vision.  Now, I hate to admit, my eyes are getting just a wee bit squinty.  My arms are getting longer, just because I have to hold everything at arm’s length in order for me to focus on it.  So sad. Sigh.

I know I need my eyes tested but I keep forgetting to do it.  Or, more accurately, I keep putting it off.  I have always had really good eyes but, now I am in my forties, I will have to face facts and accept the downward spiral that is my diminishing vision.

But, dodgy eyeballs aside, I decided to go with my usual penchant for teeny things and make these little pendants.  I had bought an old necklace from the op-shop earlier in the week for a couple of dollars.  It was pretty ugly – I don’t know who would have worn it but apparently someone did.  The bronzey/brassy plates on it looked like they were missing something, as though a large glass dome had been removed from each one.  At any rate, they needed rescuing, pronto.

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I took all the plates off and set them aside.  I will figure out what to do with them all as I go along.  The space inside each one is about the size of an Australian twenty cent piece.  I took two and painted and collaged on them – very simple, naive designs.  The bird one just about gave me a migraine – all those tiny little bits of text around the edge – ugh!  The flower one was simpler and less headache-inducing but still left me a bit squinty.  I am reasonably happy with them.  My new thing for this year is to just DO instead of worrying about how something might turn out.  I often don’t do things, just because I think I will do a bad job of it and it will suck.  It might still suck, but it is better, in my opinion, to give it a try.  I am not the world’s best painter – I am not my Mum or brother, but then I shouldn’t try to be.  I need to be less judgemental of myself.

So, I managed to get these two wee little pendants done in an afternoon.  I will varnish them tomorrow and then string them on some ribbon or cord.

What do you think?  If it helps, and will make you less inclined to say they’re rubbish, you can squint or hold the picture at arm’s length.  That’s what I’m doing 🙂

Happy Sunday everyone x

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Houses for Birdies

Houses for Birdies

Just a quick post to show you the bird houses my brother has been making.  He’s been using old wooden pallets – great idea for recycling!  He has added bits of fallen branches and painted the houses in rustic colours or left them plain and unpainted.  They’re more decorative than functional, but maybe some little birdies will be looking for just such a house to hide in or raise some babies.

I love these, and my brother 🙂

PS  I have been fiddling about with my blog’s theme/appearance as you may have noticed if you’re a regular reader… I haven’t settled on one that I really like yet, so please bear with me while I chop and change, and hopefully I will get it right soon! x

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Op-Shopping is good for the Soul (but not so good for the purse…)

Op-Shopping is good for the Soul (but not so good for the purse…)

It has been a long week.  A. Long. Week.  At short notice I had to empty my entire library within the space of two days.  Not an easy feat, even with a tiny library such as mine.  But it was done with the kind help of several of my workmates (not library staff – counsellors and other lovely staff members just giving me a hand) and as of Friday afternoon we had moved everything out and covered what was left with plastic sheeting, ready for several walls to be knocked out over the weekend.  I am exhausted to say the least.  I’ve been getting to work at 7:45 and working until 5.30, trying to get it all done while still attempting to get some of my normal work completed (I gave up on that by friday morning – it was just too hard).  I’d like to say when I go in to work tomorrow morning that all I will have to do it move everything back, but, unfortunately, we are also, at some stage soon, having the entire building painted and re-carpeted.  I am having slight stress-outs about the whole process, but have so far not collapsed in a heap or burst into tears.

I haven’t had time to really miss all my other colleagues.  Which is probably a good thing.  I have had phone calls and emails and some visits from them so I’ve not been abandoned entirely.  When the library is all back in one piece and things have settled, I will “feel” the loss of my work buddies and be sad, but right now I don’t have time.

Anyway, the weekend was very, very welcome by the time it came around and although I had promised myself I wouldn’t spend money, I failed miserably and did exactly that.  After meeting up with a friend in the morning for a coffee and catch-up session, I drove over to my Mum’s as we had planned to go to a movie together.  Both of us were so tired and really not in the mood to go to a noisy shopping centre and deal with people and lining up for a movie etc.  So we piked on that idea and decided to just go op-shopping and then back to my house for dinner and a DVD.  Bliss!  So much better to be comfy at home and chill out with cups of tea and a good movie.  Mum has been planning and designing her garden – she’s been painting little models of the plants she wants so she can have them standing up on the design plans, to show what they will look like as you look over the garden.  Smart huh?  And how pretty are her little painted models?

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And the op-shopping!  Oh Lord, the op-shopping!  You can do a lot of damage to your purse over the course of an hour in a good op-shop!  Yesterday was no exception.  I was looking for some nice knits – cardigans and jumpers and tops – and boy did I find them!  I ended up buying seven.  Ridiculous!  I have nowhere to fit them all so have had to have a bit of a cull this morning of my old stuff (time for a clear-out anyway, I’m starting to look like a bag lady).  The knits I found were in such good condition (which can sometimes be hard to find where 2nd hand knits are concerned) and in lovely colours and styles.  I got stripes ( I have a thing for stripes…I blame it on Tim Burton) and plains, studded details and interesting necklines.  Anyway, this is what my couch looked like when I brought them all home…

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I also bought a few magazines and a little plastic bead box (only 75c and I can never have enough bead storage).  I found a cute little salt shaker for a dollar – it is just right for storing some of my little beads and will look pretty on the shelf with all my others jars…

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I also went a bit crazy with scarves…I’d already gotten two on Ebay this week (couldn’t find any in the shops I liked) – an animal print one and a butterfly-patterened one :

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…and then Mum found two pretty ones in the op-shop that I really liked (if I’m truthful she went “Oh, these are nice!” and I sorta-maybe-kinda snatched them up for myself – hey, it’s every man for himself when you’re op-shopping!  She stopped me feeling too guilty by grabbing a photo frame I had spotted, so we’re even now) :

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…how cute is the cat one?  And I love polka dots, plus that magenta colour is awesome 🙂

I had a quick look at the jewellery section to see if there were any nice beads…found this bracelet made with heavy glass beads (love the purple) so I bought it too:

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So, all in all, a pretty successful day.  My purse may be a tad on the light side now, but I didn’t really spend that much, all things considered (a heck of a lot less than I would have spent in a shop selling new stuff) and it was a nice way to spend a couple of hours, instead of moving furniture and bookshelves.  I’ve done some gardening this morning and hoovered the house, done a couple of loads of laundry and washed the dishes.  That’s enough housework for one day.  If I’m feeling energetic I should go for a walk later (was supposed to go this morning with a friend but she had to cancel) but I can see that not happening.  It’s cold and miserable outside – better to stay indoors and do some crafting or, if I’m sensible, some ironing (how does one person accumulate so many baskets of ironing???). I should also be completing my tax return (ugh!) and sorting out my divorce papers (double ugh!) but I am procrastinating on both.  Neither fills me with joy or happiness, and I think things like that should be avoided…although I really did mean to get the divorce stuff sorted this week – just ran out of time and kept working late each day.

Hope you are having a good weekend, doing whatever you enjoy doing most 🙂  I don’t suggest filling out divorce papers OR tax returns.
Filling your tummy would be far more acceptable – go eat a cookie (on me) 🙂