Sunday, 22 July 2012

Save the Whales - Brooch

Over the past week I've been op shopping to find jewellery.  Usually I would be open minded about op shopping around town in charity shops and my favourite haunts in the city and keep an eye out for anything worthwhile and interesting, but not for any particular item or accessory.  However, it has occurred to me that I could really do with more quirky pieces of jewellery to go with my numerous jackets and winter coats.
I found this beautiful humpback whale brooch that I fell in love with at first sight.  It has a silver mark on the back and I managed to get it for $10.00.  I intend to wear it to an assistive technology course coming up on Wednesday.   

The day after finding the whale I came across these sterling silver and shell pendants at one of my favourite op shops.  All seven of them still had the new tags and original prices, after being priced down I bought five of them for $1.99 each and two for $2.99.  They've all got silver stamps and must be the best bargains I've found for some time.

Cowry shell
Paua shell
The paua, cowry and mussel shell pendants.
Silver bargains.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Bags of Style

I haven't bought a new handbag for many years, since I began op shopping as my main wardrobe source.  Basically I am very hard on any bag I use, to the point that not many last for any length of time; the linings rip from being full to the brim of my daily essentials, or the handles give way from the strain of being overfilled.  This is one of the reasons why I decided to buy my handbag stash second hand.  I appears that many women get bored of their purchases reasonably quickly and purchase more bags as the mood takes them, therefore, I have obtained some great op shop bargains over the years.  
Handbag heaven

This selection of bags was op shopped; some locally and from further afield.  If I'm able to I look for leather, but failing that I will settle for good quality bags with plenty of wear.  
Floral fabric Cellini handbag

Black, leather Cellini handbag.

Here I have two Cellini bags; the fabric bag was bought for $6.00 from a charity shop in a small town not far from Perth, Australia.  Even when we travel I like to send time op shopping, especially in small towns.  The black, leather Cellini handbag was bought from my favourite op shop at the nearest city from here.

Green faux reptile bag.

Leaf & flower patterned leather handbag
I use the green satchel when I'm attending a course; it holds lots of paraphernalia.  I also used it as a carry-on bag on our last trip to Australia.  The black and white leather handbag is one I go back to often when I wear one of my favourite colour combinations; black & white.  I treasure all my op shop finds and truly enjoy putting together different combinations when I dress for the day.  I'm currently on the look out for a daily work bag that I can take to school and which I won't be able to over load with folders.  

Tuesday, 26 June 2012


I came across the Handmade website, which took place in Wellington earlier in June.  The programme was so interesting with some great workshops.  It made me wish that I lived closer and could participate in some of them; in particular the refashioned shirt workshop, the handstitched jewellery and the refashioned lace cardigan workshop.  I know there are tutorials on different blogs that document step-by-step instructions on some of these refashioning projects, but I can't help thinking that working as part of a face to face workshop would add to the whole experience.  

The Lace race; An upcycled cardigan:
The lace cardigan refashion is a project that I would be able to start sooner rather than later, because I have already got a few cardigans in my stash of future projects. 

Here at Tea Rose blog is a very nice example of a refashioned cardigan, with step-by-step embellishments.  I would probably use less embellishments and include some repurposed doilies.  
Embellished knit
Also, see this set of tutorials for embellished knits on Grosgrain.A have a tone-downed version of this cardigan in mind, with a grey woolen cardigan and some black lace from my stash.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Op Shop Finds

I am always on the lookout for treasures when I am op shopping; buttons and baubles, future embellishment and refashioning projects.  Most of the time I am on the lookout for garments I can wear with little or no refashioning, so with a good soak and wash they're ready to go.  I already have quite a stash, but have not got around to take any decent photos, so here goes with a few jewelery finds.  Red is one of my favourite colours, which I gravitate to when I'm op shopping.  Over the next few weeks I will post some of my favourite op shop finds.
Red coral necklace and 1960s earrings.
My favourite red coral necklace, which I found in a second hand shop for about $25.00.  I suppose you couldn't call it a bargain, however I have seen these necklaces with chunky red coral in high end shops for approximately $100.00.  I've always lusted after red coral and did quite a lot of research to make sure I wasn't looking at fakes, then dropped lots of hints to family around Xmas time.   So, when I came across this example I was ecstatic and have managed to wear it on quite a few nights out.  

The screw back earrings were an absolute find in an op shop, for all of $6.00.  I kept the tag to remind myself how well I did that day.  They are in excellent condition, and even though I have them as 1960s, they could just as easily be from the 1950's.  I have never worn the two items together, because there is one thing about wearing the colour red, always keep it to a minimum within the same outfit.  

I found these pink and purple harakeke (woven flax) earrings with paua, in one of my favourite second hand shops: Savemart.  They have the Toi Iho trademark, which authenticates the goods with Creative New Zealand.  The photos don't do the earrings justice at all; even the decorative box is beautiful.  So for a mere $3.99 I am certain that I got a bargain!  The shop assistant said that they had only been put out for display that day, so I was very grateful for being in the right place at the right time.  

I have to travel to the nearest city to get my op shopping fix, so I try very hard to look for quality.  It can be a challenge at times, especially as I live one and half hours away in a rural area.  This is one of the reasons that I make it my business to be focused and determined with my op shopping trips.  There are many tips and helpful hints on how to make your op shopping and thrifting trips successful, which a number of bloggers have posted about.  I have decided to do a few blogs of my own on what I have found useful over the years.  

Friday, 25 May 2012

Paisley prints

have always been a fan of paisley prints and whenever I come across paisley in a fabric store I grab it.  Paisley is a classic and some of these styles are an update of what's out there this season.  

The history of the paisley print.
Peacock paisley.  Kick it up
I'm on the lookout for different boots for winter, maybe croc print is safer.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Back to the Future

Fashion Forward:  Winter styles on the platform.  
Louis Vuitton Fall Winter 2012/2013 runway show at Paris Fashion Week by Marc Jacobs. 

At the moment, in the Southern Hemisphere, it is getting cooler by the day, with higher than normal rainfall for this time of the year.  I don't usually look up links on YouTube unless it's an interesting tutorial, but I couldn't resist linking to this Louis Vuitton video clip.  Haute couture fashion is beautiful, but always requires a certain amount of imagination to see any individual I know walking down the street (or even wearing) the creations.  

Is this a blast from the past? It is reminiscent of an era that I have always liked and makes me admire any sewer who is able to recreate for themselves the beautifully tailored garments.   
Is there a time in fashion history that you particularly admire?  Do you sew or refashion garments to wear that resemble that era?

Saturday, 31 March 2012

I'm Back

Over the last few months I have had extended leave from work. while I have been spending time with my father, who was given four months to live.  It's been such a difficult time that the last thing I wanted to do was update my blog.  So I decided to have a rest from blogging all together and just cope the best I could.  I had lots of support from family and friends over this time, but being away from home has also thrown up other issues.  Not all being bad, just readjusting to city life, living out of a suitcase and trying not to get bogged down with the task at hand.  

I found myself looking for distractions that seemed to come full circle in a way.  I went back to spending my time doing what I enjoyed as a student.  I would seek out the local thrift shops and then find a quirky cafe and spend time reading.  All the walking has helped; I have dropped a dress size and since I've been a plus sized girl for a few years now, that has made me feel so much better about myself.  Besides the fact that my grief had made my appetite dwindle over night.  It might not sound like much, but when you've always had difficulty finding nice clothing at a reasonable price, it is a bonus of sorts.  I found myself reevaluating many things in my life; my job, my lifestyle, the Works.  I guess it's all part of grief and change in general.  I feel like a different person; or at least the real me trying to get out.  

As I wasn't working for such a long time I needed to live within a budget, as I still needed to travel home every so often, so the thrift shopping was an excellent pastime.  I have always favoured New Zealand and Australian made products and I know many of the better labels; plus sized or not.  Over the next few months I will post some of my excellent op shop finds. 
I didn't travel with a laptop or my sewing machine, as I was staying in the Hospice accommodation during my stay in the city.  I did have my sewing kit and while I was op shopping I collected many items for embellishing my refashions.  So I didn't manage to do a lot of sewing, but I have purchased some wonderful items to refashion and recycle.  Visiting city markets has given me some great inspiration for embellishing and I have taken an absolute fancy to recycled jewellery.  I have read more than I have in years as I sat at my Dad's bedside, or in the local cafes; usually it's all work related articles.  

Life goes on and mines about to change; or is it that I'm going to give myself a big kick....  Time for a wine!