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Book Bargain Bonanza

I had a day off this week.  A glorious, nothing-scheduled, I-can-do-what-I-want day off.  Work has been very stressful, I’ve been having lots of migraines, and life just seemed a bit craptastic in general.  I’m always exhausted and just needed a break.  So, a day off was necessary, for my mental health if nothing else.

I got up early (not too early – it was a day off, after all!) and hit the op-shops.  I wanted to visit some I hadn’t been to before, and expand my “territory”.  I didn’t have much luck in finding anything good to start with, but eventually I hit book heaven at one particular Salvos store.  Lordy, lordy, they had the BEST book selection, AND it was in alphabetical order so you could actually search properly in the section you were interested in.

I am always on the lookout for Alice Hoffman titles.  She’s one of my favourite authors, but I never buy books new (who can afford them???!) so I have to wait until I find them in second hand shops.  Normally, I don’t find any of her books or, just as annoying, only ones I have already read and have in my shelf at home.  But on this day, dear readers, I found FIVE!  Woo!  I’d already read a couple of them, but I did snap up two for myself – White Horses, and The Museum of Extraordinary Things.  So happy!  I’m cross at myself because I left another one behind – Blue Diary – because I thought I had it at home, but then found that I didn’t.  You know you have too many books when you can’t remember what you have!  Hopefully it will still be there if I visit the shop again…but I’m glad to have found these two anyway 🙂

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Craft books are not always easy to come across in op-shops, and really nice ones are like hen’s teeth.  That’s why I was thrilled to find these two – French-Inspired Jewellery and The Adventurous Scrapbooker.  The latter has lots of off-the-page ideas for scrapbooks and similar projects.  I actually don’t like scrapbooking at all – I don’t do it and have never liked the concept of it – but there are always awesome ideas and techniques you can apply to other crafts.  So this book is great for that.  The jewellery book is gorgeous – not just for the pretty projects inside, but for the beautiful background layouts they have used for display.  Vintage papers and ephemera, ribbon and other embellishments make for beautiful pages, that are works of art in their own right.  So glad to have found this one!  Especially for the bargain price of $2.25!

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I love dogs.  I had them all my life, right up until I was in my 30s.  But now, with full-time work and a little house of my own, on my own, a dog just isn’t practical.  Maybe one day…sigh…  In the meantime, there are books like Rachel Hale’s 101 Salvations to keep me happy.  Rachel Hale’s photography is always a delight, and this book of doggy pictures is gorgeous.  I want to start doing some proper drawing and thought I might start with some canine-inspired sketches (might as well begin with a subject I know and love!) so I am hoping to use the photos as guides.  In any case, it is a beautiful book in excellent condition and, again, at only $2.25 – I’m sure the original RRP would have been well over $35.00 – I got another bargain.

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As I just mentioned, I am trying to improve my drawing skills (such as they are) and need all the help I can get.  So, with that in mind, I picked up this next book – You Can Draw in 30 Days. I’m not necessarily convinced I will only take 30 days, but hey, it’s a start.  I desperately want to be able to draw eyes so I am really hoping this book will help me.

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I also picked up a couple of titles for my Mum, who is a  voracious reader and is always running out of her own books to read.  So, all in all, a very successful visit to this particular op-shop.  I didn’t have room in my basket for anything else, which is probably a good thing.  Didn’t stop me from going to a few more op-shops afterwards though! 🙂

Hope you are having a good day – thank you for dropping by x

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Craft Collections

Mum and I recently took a weekend off, for a little road trip to Bunbury, a favourite haunt of ours.  We wanted to relax, sit on the beach, collect shells and just chill out for a couple of days.  Sadly, the weather was pretty awful and so we only had one clear afternoon for visiting the beach without being blown away or drenched.  Never mind – it was an enjoyable few days anyway and we felt much more relaxed and mellow.

We tootled around with no plans or schedules.  I had researched a bit before we went, so that I had some places in mind I wanted to visit.  I definitely wanted to go to a few places that Mum would really like and, seeing as how she doesn’t drive, wouldn’t be able to go to on her own.  So, with that in mind, I took her to Craft Collections, a gorgeous shop filled with everything a quilter could desire.  Wall-to-wall fabrics and sewing supplies, with special gift items related to quilting, patchwork, bear-making, and sewing in general.  Mum was in heaven and prepared me for a long stay as soon as we walked in the door…

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So much fabric!

It was all displayed beautifully, and the staff were so friendly and helpful.  Mum wandered around for ages, picking out fabrics and fat quarters, wadding, embroidery threads and more.  It was hard to choose – there was so much stuff!

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Pretty displays!

A favourite fabric artist of ours is Tone Finnanger, the creator of the Tilda brand, and Craft Collections has an entire room dedicated to her.  It made me want to start sewing immediately (which is odd, because I am NOT a sewer!) and Mum could barely restrain herself from buying everything in the pretty little room.  Tilda designs are sweet, cheerful, feminine and cute, and the drawers full of fat quarters were so inspiring.  We wanted everything!  Tilda also has delightful range of patterns, kits, books and embellishments like ribbon, lace, buttons, and so much more!

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Fabulous Fat Quarters!
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The Tilda Room – I’m never getting Mum out of here!

So, I can thoroughly recommend Bunbury’s Craft Collections as a wonderful spot to stop and indulge your sewing, quilting or fabric obsession.  If only as a way to keep your fabric-mad mother quiet for an hour or so 🙂

Happy crafting, everyone x

 

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Thrifty Goodness (Even though officially I am banned from buying anything more…)

So, I’ve had three glorious weeks off work.  GLORIOUS.  Not because I have done anything exciting or life-changing, but because I JUST WASN’T AT WORK.  Which is pretty damn good to me.  But the time has gone dizzingly fast.  Depressingly so.  Like, where did the last two weeks go?  Where did the last 5 days go?  The last three hours?  I don’t know.  I am a terrible time-waster, one of those people who is always “busy doing something close to nothing” (Thank you, Prince).  I have so many things I want to do, I end up faffing about doing nothing.  Which is horrible and makes me very annoyed.  I don’t sit around doing nothing, I move around and never sit still, but at the same time doing nothing constructive.

I was supposed to get fit and lose weight on my holiday, but that hasn’t happened.  I have pretty much eaten my way from one end of Perth to the other.  Lots of lunches and breakfasts and dinners out.  A coffee break here, an afternoon tea there – it all adds up.  So, predictably, I gave up on the whole losing weight scenario.  That will have to wait until I am back at work (although the workplace is often THE WORST place for trying to stick to a diet).  But I have caught up with lots of friends and family, so I am not complaining really.  I can’t do up my pants, but I am not complaining.

Because I am looking at moving out soon, I have tried to limit the amount of shopping I do.  I need to declutter, not get more stuff.  I sorted through my wardrobe and culled a bunch of stuff that I no longer needed or fitted in to (giving up the dream of ever being skinny again any time soon).  I didn’t go op-shopping for a few weeks.  I stayed away from those havens of thrifty goodness because I don’t want to fill my wardrobe again.  And I thought it would be incentive to lose weight – the promise of new clothes down the track.

Well, that lasted all of about three weeks, which is actually pretty good for me.  Probably a record, in fact.  I even took stuff TO the op shop in order to donate it, and did not go inside “to have a quick look”.  I was a good girl.  For a little while.  Hey, an accomplishment is an accomplishment, no matter how small, right?  I will try and hold out for longer next time.

So, this last week, unable to stand the withdrawal symptoms any longer, I stopped into a couple of my “locals”, ie the op shops that get all my money.  I desperately needed a new pair of black boots for Winter – mine are getting very beaten up and scuffed because I wear them to death, and have done for several Winters – so I did actually have a goal and purpose.  I wasn’t just wandering aimlessly, as I would normally do. Most of the boots in “proper” shops are a.) too expensive and b.) too high in the heel for me.  I have trouble finding shoes in general, but finding boots I like is a nightmare.

Almost immediately, I came across these boots, which were nearly new and in great condition , and in my size (which doesn’t happen very often).  They fit really well and are comfortable so I popped them in my basket (whilst secretly doing a little happy dance).

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Next up, I found this cute little handbag.  My own bag (sorry about cruddy photo – half of these were taken on my rapidly ageing phone) is VERY ANNOYING because it just won’t stay on my shoulder, it sits funny and I am just over it!  This one was a perfect size, nearly new and a great colour (pewter goes with everything) so it too went into my basket. My old bag will be donated – I am trying to donate one thing for every other thing I bring in to the house.  That way, I don’t become an official hoarder.

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Was super pleased to find these little pots for only $1.00 each!  I got five in all different colours.  Perfect for my succulents 🙂

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Then, I found this denim jacket.  It fits really well (I’m not skinny but I am petite, and jackets are often too wide with ridiculously long arms!) and I like the distressed detail and zip-up front.  It’s fitted so isn’t too bulky on me, but will be nice and warm for the coming colder months (ugh!).

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Another jacket – this time a leather-look one.  I did have a nice faux leather one, but it has been worn to death and was starting to fall to pieces, as faux leather will do after a while.

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My cousin actually bought this top but ended up giving it to me.  I like grey, and the little zippered pocket is a nice detail.  It’s long enough to wear with leggings and will be nice with jeans too, if I am brave enough to wear skinny ones this year.  Which seems unlikely, but you never know…

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Yes, I did buy another faux leather jacket – don’t judge me!  This one was so cute and feminine, and super soft.  Brand new with tags on still, it only cost $4.50!  It’s a bit dressier than your run-of-the-mill jacket and I love the detailing on the back (see following photo).  Hard to take a picture of, so hopefully you can get an idea of what it looks like.  It feels like one of those lovely old leather gloves – so soft!

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My friend thrifted this dress (sorry about blurry photo – I am hopeless today) but decided to give it to me.  I’m not sure about the bright colours on me, but it fit well so will probably wear it with some opaque black tights and a cardigan, for work.

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I wore this one today – a comfy oversized top.  Good for this in-between weather that we are currently experiencing.  I like the faux suede on the shoulders and fake pocket area.  I don’t wear a lot of pink but I didn’t mind this one as it had the grey/black through it.

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A cute little knitted jumper.  Not my usual colours, but I kinda liked it and it fits well.  I generally wear a lot of dark things so this will make a nice change.  It is also very soft and cosy, without being bulky or heavy.

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Last, but not least, this jumper.  I am going to go ahead and call it the Muppet jumper.  Because it looks like someone skinned the Cookie Monster.  It is ridiculously soft (I have a thing for soft, apparently) and makes me want to cuddle myself.  It’s a bit more cropped than I would normally wear, but I’m sure with a high-waisted skirt or pants it will be fine.  The lady at the counter charged it as a kid’s knit, so I only paid like $2.00 or something crazy.  I love it.  Have no idea where I will wear it but maybe I will just wear it around the house and stroke myself a lot.  Which would be weird.  So maybe I won’t do that.

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So, that’s it for now.  I tend to get in a bit of a frenzy, where op shopping is concerned.  It’s a bit addictive so I have to pace myself and remind myself that I am supposed to be de-cluttering and culling.  But I have already worn several of these items so I know they weren’t frivolous purchases, and many of them were half price so they cost me less than $5.00 each.  Not gonna feel guilty about that.

Back to work next week.  I’m so sad my time off is over, but I have really needed it and feel somewhat human again after feeling like I was at risk of curling up into a ball under my desk and never coming out.  I may well feel like that on my first day back, but at least I will have new boots to help get me through.  Shoes are very powerful – just ask Dorothy!

May the thrifting Gods smile on you all today 🙂

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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 🙂

Op-Shopping to the Max

Op-Shopping to the Max

It is fair to say that op-shopping is one of my favourite things to do.  Without question.  I am always in the mood for it and will seek out op-shops wherever I go.  If I go somewhere and they are thrift-free, I am disappointed and sulky.  What kind of town doesn’t have an op-shop??? That’s just craziness and I don’t understand it.

These past couple of weeks, when I should have been saving money after the Christmas spend-up, I did a fair bit of op-shopping.  My Mum is my enabler in this.  She loves it as much as I do, although she is more restrained than me.  I get caught up in a bit of  frenzy and end up with bags of stuff that I have no room for in my wardrobe.  Which then necessitates a clear-out of said wardrobe, which then leads me to the op-shop again when I go to donate stuff.  It’s a bit of a vicious cycle.  Vicious, but oh so enjoyable.  Plus it isn’t costing me a fortune (I tell myself, too scared to actually add up what I am spending).  And it’s a form of recycling, right?  So I am being eco-friendly! 🙂

Here are some things I got recently.  I actually bought a ridiculous amount so I won’t bore you with all of it.  But I snagged a few bargains and some designer stuff as well as a few things I got for other people (because I really, really like the pieces but am too fat/short/stumpy/long-in-the-tooth to wear them myself).  Apologies for the crappy photos – I am yet to figure out how to take decent photos of clothes…I probably should have worn each of them for the photos, but a page full of pictures of me seemed cruel and unfair punishment to my readers.

  1. Pale Blue Linen Dress – I wasn’t sure about this one as it is very plain and I tend to prefer pattern or dark colours to hide any wobbly bits ha ha.  It is very cool though – great for Summer – and easy to wear and accessorise.  I’ll wear it with a belt I think to break the monotone-ness up a bit.

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  2. Review Office Dress – Very excited to see this on the rack as I can’t afford Review brand new.  Their clothes are very well cut and made and this fits really nicely.  I’m trying to be more professional-looking at work and I think this is a good start.

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  3. Simple Shift Dress – Again, I wasn’t sure about this one.  I ‘don’t tend to wear a lot of shapeless stuff – it makes me look lumpy and sad.  This dress is pretty shapeless, so I might wear it with a belt or just have it as a casual, bumming-around-the-house kind of dress.  I do like the print though – nice and bright and Summery.

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  4. Maxi Dress – I suppose this isn’t technically a maxi dress…but I am short and so it is maxi on me 🙂  It sits really nicely and drapes well – I don’t usually wear clingy materials but this is ok.  I liked the colours and pattern of the fabric.  I’m not sure where I think I will be wearing it – it is fancier than what I would normally get, but will be a good standby if I suddenly become sociable and get invited to lots of soirees 🙂

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  5. Plain Office Dress – Hard to take a photo of plain black items, but this dress fits nicely and, other than my pudgy arms, is slimming.  I will wear it with a coloured belt to break up the black and also to pretend I have a waist ha ha (I do, actually – it is the only part of my body I don’t complain about).

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  6. Sunny Girl Love Heart Dress – LOVE this dress!  It’s so cute!  I showed my friend last night and I had to wrench it out of her hands because she wanted it for herself.  I love the heart print and the style of the dress – the skirt sits just right and isn’t too short, and I think I am just on the cusp of being too old to wear this style but I am going to wear it anyway, so there!  I tried to find a similar one from Sunny Girl online last night but couldn’t…so my friend is out of luck ha ha.  I think this cost me $2.50 – such a bargain 🙂

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  7. Blue and White Tiered Dress – This dress is SO eighties but when I tried it on it actually looked nice and I thought I would give it a go.  The frills at the bottom actually hide my less-than-model-perfect thighs and backside and does a cute swirly thing if I jig about.  It is cool and I love the print.

  8. Print Dress – I REALLY liked this but it is way too small for me.  The top part fitted fine which surprised me as it is a size 6 and I am so NOT a size 6 normally.  But the bottom part – Jesus, I could barely get half a leg in it.  So disappointing.  I bought it anyway as I thought it would look great on my friend who is a size 6.  She tried it on last night and couldn’t get in to it either.  So I’m not sure what kind of woman-child hybrid person they think it is supposed to be worn by, but it made me feel better that maybe I’m not quite the heffalump I think I am.  Having a little, skinny friend not fit into something you’ve also tried and failed at is a comfort.  Anyway, I might see if I can make the dress in to a top as it fits fine there, and I have run out of tiny friends to offer it to. Please excuse car keys in the first photo – whoops…

  9. Ruby & Kit Floral Backpack – gotta say, I am a bit in love with this little bag.  It was brand new and un-used, plus I really like Ruby & Kit stuff.  It will be my new op-shopping bag now – hands-free shopping!  Could be dangerous actually…  This was $7.25 which is more than I would normally pay but I liked it and it was something I have wanted for a while.

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  10. Review Lace-Detail Wrap Dress – now this wasn’t something I purchased (a friend at work gave it to me) but it came in at the same time as the op-shopping haul so I have included it.  Love navy blue and the lace detail on the shoulders of this piece is so pretty.  I am always wary of wrap dresses – they always seem to gape and threaten to come undone at inappropriate moments with me… However, this seemed to look ok and fit really nicely and I certainly wouldn’t have bought it brand new (because I am a tight-wad).

So, that’s just a bit of the haul I ended up bringing home (with serious buyer’s remorse/guilt, seeing as how it was just after Christmas and I probably didn’t need any more stuff…).  I also got skirts and tops and narrowly avoided buying a clock…and a silver reindeer perfume bottle.  I am now in self-imposed op-shop exile…no more shopping for me for a while.  This is what I tell myself, anyway.  You can all be my witnesses 🙂

Op Shopping Wins

Op Shopping Wins

I’ve been a bit naughty with my spending these last couple of weeks.  I hadn’t been shopping much for the last few months, mainly because I was trying to restore some of my savings after having to pay for my surgery. Besides that, I just wasn’t in the mood somehow.  I’d walk into a shop and lose interest in it by the time I’d made it past the first rack of stuff.  Even in op shops, which are normally a haven for me, I was disheartened and bored.

But that has all changed now, whether for the better or not.  My bank balance would probably say “not”.  I went op shopping a few times in the last ten days or so and picked up loads of things.  Like, LOADS.  A ridiculous amount of clothes (when I already have a wardrobe that is groaning under its own weight) and knick knacks.  Let me give you an example of one shopping trip – in one store alone, I bought 6 skirts, three tops, a dress, a pair of shoes and a jumper.  Like I said, ridiculous.

But I kinda let myself off because it is op shopping and so the prices are low and the money goes to charity.  So, really, I am being very selfless and thrifty!  Maybe?

So without further ado, here are a few of the items I bought this month:

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A fabulous turquoise ring.  It’s enormous.  Who would wear this as a ring???  I just wanted it for its beads…it was only $1.00.

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This good-quality, stoneware plant pot.  With a hole in the bottom.  I
hate it when pots have no drainage holes.  It’s so annoying.  It was $1.25, so even if it didn’t have a drainage hole, I would have bought it.  It’s nice and solid and I think the green will go well with something that has some bright flowers, or variegated leaves that add contrast.

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Stacks of magazines (teapot not included – I forgot to remove him before taking the photo) for 75c each.  I love magazines but they are so expensive now.  Why pay $10.00 for one when you can buy them for less than a dollar?

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This pretty grey and white floral top was only $4.50.  It’s a Portmans piece so would have been a lot more expensive than that originally.  Portmans is a shop I don’t even walk in to – I can’t afford their normal prices.  Because I am a tightwad basically.

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Black and white sheer and lace skirt.  This was $5.00 I think.  The sheer layer over the top covers the shorter one underneath.  I liked the lace details and the pattern.

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Another skirt.  Because I need them apparently.  This one is just a basic pencil skirt, but I really like the small-print floral and it is very comfortable to wear, especially on fat days ha ha.

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Um, another skirt.  I am still trying to figure out if it is brown or purple.  In the shop, I thought it was purple, then I got it home and decided it was actually brown.  Now I am just confused.  The lighting in my room is DREADFUL, so it could be bright green and I wouldn’t be able to tell.  It was also $5.00.  I liked the lace detail on the hem of this one also.  It came with this horrible brooch/chain thingy that was made from lace and ribbons.  Hideous.  That came off straightaway.

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Brown leather shoes.  I don’t normally buy or wear leather, but I will make an exception if the item is second hand.  I figure the damage has already been done to the poor animal.  Me buying these shoes isn’t going to make a lick of difference in the long run.  They’re a little big for me but comfortable and soft.  I might end up giving them to my Mum, if my leather-guilt gets too bad.  She has bigger feet than me so they will probably fit her better anyway.

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Got this cute little brooch for $1.00.  I looked the creator up online and the brooches normally retail for $30.00 each so I think I got a bargain.  I don’t even know if I will wear her, but she might go on a bag or something.  I might even re-gift her.  I’m not opposed to re-gifting things, within reason.  Don’t tell anyone…

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I actually got this book from a 2nd-hand bookstore in Margaret River.  I just liked the illustrations.  It was $7.00, which is more than I would normally pay for anything, but I got sucked in by the pretty pictures inside.

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These gorgeous yellow beads (from a huge necklace that was so heavy it could possibly give you scoliosis of the spine) were like a ray of sunshine to my yellow-bead-deprived heart.  I am always looking for this kind of yellow.  Not plastic or glass, I needed ceramic or clay ones.  And here they are!  And so many too!  They’re hand made and so each bead is a little different to the next, which I kinda like.  Although, if I am trying to make earrings from them, I will probably go insane trying to find a pair that matches.  These were $5.75.

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Finally (for this post anyway), this delightful little Stilton cheese pot.  Love the shape and colours and overall design.  I have no idea what I will keep in it.  It will probably just be a display item on my bookshelves.  It was only $3.00.  I can even see me planting a succulent in it, although that would render the lid a bit redundant.  I just liked it.  It’s cute 🙂  So there.

So, just a few of things I bought this month.  I am not quite sure where this spending frenzy is coming from but it is best not to fight it.  That could get messy and lead to whining and possibly the over-consumption of cookies/cake/insert bad food of choice here.  I think I am also sub-consciously putting off starting the process of buying a house.  I have given myself a year to make a decision about it and the months are already dwindling away and I am no closer to even STARTING to think about it.  Sigh.  It’s too grown-up a decision for me to make without hyperventilating and coming out in hives.  Op-shopping is safer and cheaper and downright nicer.

That’s my story and I am sticking to it,.

🙂

Gift-Giving When You Don’t Know What to Give

Gift-Giving When You Don’t Know What to Give

I like buying presents.  Truly, I am one of those people who actually likes to give more than receive.  It’s not even a non-selfish thing.  I LOVE buying presents.  It’s fun and you get to make someone else happy and let them know you’re important to you.  What can be better than that?  Plus, it usually means you get to go shopping.  Which is always a good thing.  And it’s GUILT-FREE shopping because you’re not spending the money on yourself.  So it doesn’t actually count as spending!  Woo!

But some people have everything.  And you think “Ugh, what can I get this person who has everything and doesn’t need another mug/vase/notebook/photo frame?”  It’s quite the conundrum.

Never fear, I am here to help you.  After many years researching (ie shopping) I have found that the best things to get people are the things are actually kind of mundane.  But they’re the things that we all need and use from time to time and often don’t have, right when we need them.  There’s also lots of stuff we need but can’t be bothered buying for ourselves because we’d rather buy shoes or cupcakes or something.

So, here are some handy ideas for the next time you’re stumped for a gift.
Put some thought into it and a little bit of heart too.

  • Greeting Cards – Nearly everybody needs these at some time or another.  Buy a selection of birthday, thank you, thinking-of-you etc cards and bundle them up in a nice box or basket.  You can get really nice cards for $1 or $2 or, better still, make some yourself.  It will save the recipient time and money, which is never a bad thing.  Remember to buy cards for each gender as well, or more uni-sex ones if you can find them.
  • Wrapping paper – Same deal as greeting cards.  Find some inexpensive sheets of paper and bundle them up in a pretty package with some accompanying ribbons, stickers, or other trim so they can gussy up their gifts.  Wrapping paper is always the thing you forget to buy when you have to give someone a gift.  Save them the trouble.  Again, it’s a good idea to go with designs that will suit any gender.  Stripes are good, as are spots and geometric shapes.
  • Tea Towels – Yes, it sounds dull, but how often do any of us treat ourselves to a nice new tea-towel?  I don’t know about you, but I have a drawer full of grotty old tea-towels that really should be made into dusters now.  I never get myself new ones.  In fact, I “save” any really pretty ones I have because I don’t want to get them dirty.  Duh.  But if I had more decent ones, maybe I would use the ones I have.  Buy a set of pretty-but-practical towels in cheerful colours or in tones that match the gift recipient’s kitchen.  You can tie them up with a ribbon and pop a wooden spoon or other utensil in as well, just to add to the theme.
  • Cruelty-Free – OK, stay with me on this one.  Finding cruelty-free products can be tricky.  If you’re someone who, like me, will NOT use products you know are tested on animals or brands you just aren’t sure about because they never display it on their packaging, having a trusty list to go buy is VERY handy.  Do some research, look at websites such as Choose Cruelty Free (Australia) or PETA and compile a list of suitable brands (write them in a nice notebook or type them up and laminate in a purse-sized format) for a vegan or animal-loving friend.  Add a couple of items from the companies you’ve listed.  If your intended recipient isn’t in to makeup or hair, you can do the same sort of concept with cleaning products, skin care etc.  It’s a thoughtful, helpful gift that will save them time in the shops, especially if they’re new to the whole cruelty-free world.  It will show that you validate and support their beliefs and that you care about them enough to take the time to make a truly unique and heartfelt gift.
  • Donate on Their Behalf – I know some people think this is a crappy gift, but it really can be a nice thought if you choose your charity wisely.  Some people really want to give, but don’t have the funds to do so.  You can purchase gift  donations to everything from charities that support women’s rights, to organisations that provide sporting goods to children in poorer countries.  Give the gift of clean water or employment opportunities, educational supplies, mosquito nets, livestock or just a good old cash donation.  Make your gift count.  What do you give someone who has everything?  You give them a gift that will help someone who has next to nothing.
  • Recipe & Baked Goods – So you make the world’s best brownies? (well, I think mine are pretty good as it happens…) and your friend loves them?  Whip up a batch and while you’re at it, type up the recipe and have it laminated. The recipient gets the yummy goodies AND your secret recipe, which is pretty awesome.  Present the goods in a nice container and it’s win-win all round.
  • Mix CD – Now, I have talked about my fondness and sentimentality over the good old mix tape, so it’s no secret I love this somewhat daggy gift.  There is nothing more personal than sharing your favourite music with someone.  It’s like letting them in to the inner sanctum of your life.  Maybe.  But this can be a really neat gift.  I actually made one for my brother a couple of years ago, with a bunch of songs that we loved as kids, mostly one-hit wonders that don’t get played much nowadays.  He thought it was the best gift ever.  Bringing back memories is as important as making new ones.  It’s important to make the song-list one that the recipient would like, not just a selection of tunes you’re crazy about.  Make it personal to them – maybe songs from the year they were born or the year they graduated high school.  You get extra points for giving it a cool, handmade cover.  Make it old school, baby!

So, there you are.  Just a few suggestions that might help you out next time in you’re in a quandary about what to get someone.  I think the secret is always to make the gift very personal, very individual to the person you’re giving it to. Make it look like you put some thought into it – not just grabbed the first thing you saw on the sales rack or next to the counter when you were buying your groceries.  It’s not hard to do and doesn’t need to be expensive.  You can buy a box of chocolates for someone, but arranging them in a pretty jar tied with ribbon and a lovely handmade tag makes it special.  It’s all in the presentation, people!

Now, go buy me something! And make it awesome! (Kidding).

Have a lovely week everybody 🙂