Sunday, February 28, 2010

Thrifted out! Is it possible?

Last week Sophie (who has organised the sharing of our Flea Market Finds) complimented me when she called me an Op Shop Queen. I was duly honoured and I have done my best to live up to the lofty expectations one might have of an OSQ. I have certainly given the title a flogging this week!
It has been a big op-shop week. My daughters are  moving into their own little flat and were keen to thrift as much of the stuff they needed as possible. We have been in country oppies and their city counterparts and just about everything in between! I couldn't take piccies of everything, so I thought I would list some of them.
Here goes:
- a double bed ensemble
- 4 Actil sheets
- pyrex lasagne dish
- 2 cute chairs with rattan inserts
- flour sifter
- juicer
- cutlery
- 8 white Johnson Brothers plates with matching side plates
- 4 handpainted mugs
- 2 cow mugs (!)
- 2 baking trays
- muffin tray
 I have lost track of a few sundries ... We did fairly well I think!
My favourite find, and one I get to keep, had to be some lovely beads and buttons. Those I could take some photos of!
Lovely vintagy colours aren't they?
This post is my 100th and I had planned to have a givaway organised by way of a celebration. Sadly a week of hauling, thrifting, shifting, lugging and constructing ( God Bless Ikea!) has meant that I haven't quite got there! I plan to make something yummy using some elements from past Flea Market Finds posts. Sometime this week I will put the giveaway up so if you get a chance to drop in here you can join in!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Oh my!

Well, I am a bit late joining Sophies' meme this week - lots of comings and goings at my place lately - all a bit distracting really. I did however have THE-MOST-FANTASTIC-FLEA-MARKET-FIND-EVER last week. Actually, I didn't find it, it found me!
It would be a rare thing for my two friends and I to meet up and not have a "quick look" in the op-shop so of course when we spent the day together last week we had a poke about in the local Salvos. The managers of the store are well known to us and even though I haven't lived in the area for years now, they still greet me by name. We had been fossicking around the bric-a-brac and had moved on to the clothing room when one of the managers came out bearing a Most Marvelous Object. "Could any of you girls put this to use, you can have it if you want?" he said, sounding somewhat apologetic for asking. My jaw had hit the floor when I saw what he was holding, which rendered me incapable of speech - all I could do was open and close my mouth rapidly like a guppy doing a mime routine. "I think the answer is YES! " says my dear friend, coming to my rescue before the Most Marvelous Object could be whisked away and offered to some other, less deserving punter. I did manage to regain my senses and rushed the poor man out to the counter to pay for my goods so that I could legitimately claim the Most Marvelous Object as mine!  I am dead delighted on a couple of counts - first that the shop manager remembered the sort of work I do and that the Most Marvelous Object would be something I might like. Secondly, he called us girls - lets just say that none of us will be seeing forty again except in our dreams!
Thirdly of course is that the Most Marvelous Object is all MINE!

Let me introduce to you, The Most Marvelous Object and best op-shop find EVER ...


 Flowers and teardrops and crystals, oh my!
Now you can see why my mouth went dry and my heart rate skyrocketed! How lovely is it?! I can't wait to
clean it up and make it all shiny and turn it into - well lots of lovely things I expect!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Embracing the riches.

My week began in the very best possible way. On Monday I got to spend the day with my two dearest friends. I also read Rachels' blog ( which I always enjoy) and recognised that the sub-text was all about the pursuit of "economic productivity" or chasing the bucks as I call it. Being rich. The pursuit of riches. It takes a lot of energy. This pursuit drives our economy if you believe what we are told day- in- day- out by those who are supposed to know.
My friends and I are linked by shared history, basic values and our craftiness - or more properly,our creativity. We are separated geographically by quite a few country miles. Despite that, we pursue these relationships. It takes some planning, some energy.
I count myself lucky because I have these two friends (well I probably have more than two friends, but this pair are extra-special!) who  ENRICH my life. Their hearty laughs accompanied by hearty snorts ( you know it's true Kath!) and the way we find each other hysterically funny, enriches my soul. Their ability to know when to be wise and kind and when to be forthright, enriches my heart. My oft changing obsessions don't freak them out - they accept that this is simply how my brain works - in fact they recognised  and accepted that  long  before I did! This enriches my faith. I know they love me and this makes me a better and more worthy person and thus I am enriched.
So, the gist of this little love-fest is quite simple.
I just wanted to say

Sunday, February 14, 2010

¡Oh, qué encontrar

I could barely wait for Sunday to roll around so that I could share with you my Flea Market Finds.
I was rifling through the box marked tea-towels in the hope of finding my friend Melissa something cute and vintage for a project Cam had shared. Alas alack there was nothing special - mostly pretty scungy really. Still, I was sitting on the floor so I thought I should make the most of it as the getting up is always soooo much more difficult than the descent. There was another box right next door marked pillowcases so I thought "why not?".  The first layer was not at all promising but then I caught a glimpse, a flash of bright yellow, red and blue. My heart began to beat faster as I spotted what surely must have been a grey on white squiggly 1950's pattern. All thoughts of benevolent gifting flew out of my head.  I hauled that baby out of the box and was on my feet with alarming, head-spinning speed. Oh the joy as I spread my arms to reveal this gorgeous, unused tablecloth decorated with flamboyant amigos and one  donkey riding Senorita! Truly, I nearly fainted. I certainly startled the ladies with the sounds I made - I was trying to subdue my "wheeee goody goody gumdrops" and it came out rather like the sound a poor injured animal might make. One lady toddled over to make sure I was ok and all I could do was flap the cloth at her wordlessly. "Oh yes" she said casually, "There's a whole set of matching placemats and coasters for that!" I tried hard to maintain some composure and refrained from taking her by the shoulders and shaking really hard whlist demanding their whereabouts. Instead, I am pleased to report I matched her casual tone with a barely interested whisper - "oh really, where would they be?" Sure enough, she reached into the magic box and spilled forth 7 matching placemats and 6 little square coaster things. All new. All unused. And now ALL MINE!
So here it is in all its heart palpitating glory ...
(probably should have ironed it first!)

Just look at these spunky chaps!
Hair flying, basket laden Mexican Miss aboard her steed.

Here they are in coaster form.
Hope you can share a little of my excitement - I did get rather carried away but they are just so lovely!
There were a few other finds that day but for me they pale into insignificance by comparison.Thanks for putting up with my rave. Oh - and sorry Melissa - no luck on the tea-towel front!

ps. you can translate the title of this post here.
pps.Nip on over to Sophie's to see lots of others special goodies.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Oh how fleeting is the surge of power and fulfillment from learning a skill and applying it. I am sad to say that the SOAP SAVER which we gazed upon with wonderment just a few days ago is a complete FLOP. It doesn't work! I think the stitching is too tight and the fabric not porous enough because I am darned if I can raise one lousy bubble with it, let alone a lather. I am hanging my head in shame and hoping that sometime soon I will garner the steely reserve needed to once again tackle another Adventure in Knitting.
In the meantime I plan to clean up my studio in the hope that somewhere under the debris or tucked behind something on a shelf, I will find both my motivation and my Muse as both seem to have been M.I.A over the Summer. Wish me luck - note I will be taking all necessary precautions and tying a rope around my waist before I enter the void. Also taking a flare. Just in case. Maybe a whistle. Definitely a snack.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Adventures in knitting.

So. Everyone has to start somewhere - I mean when acquiring a skill. And apparently it is best to start at the beginning. With knitting that means you have to cast on. I am sure in a previous life I have done just that, but last night I couldn't remember how - I had vague recollections of my Uncle showing me how to do it using a thumb but really, who was I kidding - that was 35 years ago! I resisted the urge to "google" 'cos I knew I would just get marooned in YouTubeland and click away the evening. Instead, I turned to my trusty Readers Digest book "How To Do Just About Anything" and sure enough, between those esteemed pages I found my salvation.

The actual click-clack process came back to me in a great flood of remembering. Sadly, so did the fact that I really don't "get" the tension thing. How can each row look so different? Despite having a generally firm "no-unpicking-like-EVER" rule which I apply to all manner of making, I spent the evening unraveling and re-knitting. It took me half of  'So You Think You Can Dance' and ALL of 'Burn Notice' ( which I might add was fun, has some nice scenery and an emaciated chick toting an implausibly large gun but appears to have forgotten to provide an actual plot?) to achieve my small piece of knitting wonderment. Of course I had to refer back to H.T.D.J.A.E ("How To Do Just About Anything"- you try making an acronym for that!) in order to cast off , which was more or less successfully completed - only one stitch seemed to disappear into the ether. Oh joy, oh bliss. I had made a SQUARE. It was ever so slightly wonky ( not quite a trapezium ) but definite evidence that cutting up t-shirts is a valid craft pursuit. A square is a square is a square. Obviously this newly created piece of rainbow knitting could not simply remain a damn square! Oh no, it needed to be created into something that would celebrate the complexity of its colours, the intrigue of its construction and the sheer bloody-mindedness of its creator. And so I give you ....
... can you guess?

Oh yeah, that's right - BEHOLD the Thrifty Soap Saver. 
Good thing you were sitting down huh?  

I am sure there will be further "Adventures in Knitting" but for the moment I am content to gaze lovingly upon my new creation. Did I mention it used up all my t-shirt yarn? What a shame - now I will have to nip off to the oppie - AGAIN. Ah well, no sacrifice is too great in the pursuit of creativity is it? Just gotta grab my purse ...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Do you know what this is ...?

If you said " Why Sue, I believe that is a ball of t-shirt yarn - in fact the very first ball of t-shirt yarn made by your fair hand", then you would be absolutely RIGHT! Well done you! This stuff is so easy peasy to make - a few snips of the scissors and it is good-bye 5o cent Yarra Trail T-shirt and hello scrummy ball of yarn! Naturally this also gives me another excuse to hit the op-shops to search out old t-shirts. Now, I do in actual fact plan to knit ( Melissa, Kath get UP off the floor immediately!) this stuff into something natty - something that just involves a square or rectangle 'cos I don't actually know how to knit. Any suggestions?! Well, I will be working up to that. In the meantime, this is what I made with the short bits cut from the sleeves.

Frankly, apart from the scrumptious colours I am not too sure about this piece. I wanted to use the yarn to make bracelets but clearly today was not a bracelet day 'cos everything I tried looked awful. I just had to make something though. Maybe it will grow on me - in its favour it makes a quite nice "tinking" sound when the glass rings bump into each other! Now I just need to hunt me up some off those pointy sticks and learn to knit - how hard can it be ...?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I went a-walking ...

Despite the heat yesterday I took my great-nephew for a stroll along a linear park in the city. The path is nice and shady , the pram has a big hood and I greased that little monkey up with so much sunscreen he practically slipped through my hands! We set forth and I was delighted with the soft southerly that was blowing along the riverbanks - made pushing the pram much easier. I spied some graffiti along the way and took a photo, thinking I might at some point use it as a background in a print. Now this got me to thinking ( please do not fall over, I do occasionally use my brain for pondering!), if I did use this as a background, would I be infringing copyright? Given the recent debacle that Men At Work have faced (read about it here) I guess I could be. Or, because it is public, does the artist give up any claim to it? Would it be morally wrong to use the image? Which brings me to another point, when is graffiti art and when is it vandalism? Tags do my head in a bit, they seem so frenetic and busy. I love political graffiti and paste ups and good images and I think the city would be worse off without them, they are part of the urban landscape. My goodness, all that deep thought whilst trundling along with a 12 month old who has just discovered raspberry blowing - the child is a virtuoso in that department! I didn't really draw any further conclusions 'cos the little bloke demanded a kiss and returned mine with a big, slobbery open mouth one of his own - after that nothing was as engaging or as interesting or as lovely as my dear little charge!
These are the images I liked the best.
In the case of the mushroom, the tags actually enhance the image and create an interesting backdrop.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Thrifted Allsortz

Sunday has rolled around with alarming speed and I find myself preparing  to once again join Sophie's meme, Flea Market Finds. When it comes to ferreting about in thrift stores, it is easy to overlook the things that there are always stacks of, like mugs and plastic lids for containers that are, in all probability, taking up space in a landfill, quietly not decomposing. This week however, I set off deliberately seeking out those forlorn and mis-matched bits of cut and pressed glass that seem to lurk in vast numbers in the corners of every op shop I have ever entered. Oh yes, I had a project in mind and I was on a mission! The op shop people were dead delighted when I gathered up a box full of those dust collectors and they sold the lot to me for ten bucks. Home I went with my loot and washed and scrubbed them until they were nice and shiny. It was when I began working with them that I realised just how lovely some of these pressed glass bits were. I started to recognise patterns with a distinct Art-Deco feel and delicate etched patterns. They were quite lovely - clearly I had under-appreciated this stuff in the past. Alas I have no pics of the project but it is underway and I am pleased with how it has developed. Hope to get some photos soon!
This is some of the glass bits I collected - this is post-washing so they are quite shiny. Mmmmm - like SHINY!

That front vase has a sweet and very delicately etched star and starbeams - gorgeous.
Ok, so glassware wasn't the sum total of my finds this week - I also found this cute cage. I don't have a plan for it - most certainly will NOT be keeping a bird in it but couldn't resist. It reminded me of The Jetsons for some reason?

Then of course there is Physco Bunny!


Oh yeah - be afraid - be very afraid ...
This odd bod is cradling his noggin in his paws - maybe the voices in his head are getting too loud - frankly I think he is channeling Jack Nicholson in "The Shining" - hope he isn't called Johnny ...!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Universe Speaks and I Obey!

The Universe is a strange and wondrous place. I say this because recently I have had reason to notice just how freaky it is. It has been kinda "owly" in my world of late - birthday themes, diary designs and jewellery making etc. Lo and behold, I waltzed into the op-shop - purposefully I might add as I was after a zip - and what do I spy? An entire collection ( that would be a Parliment!) of owls of all kinds! Naturally, I expressed my amazement ("Holy C*#p that's a LOT of owls!") and the op-shop lady explained that they had come in that very morning and they had already sold a bunch. No wonder - they ranged in price from 20 cents to 50 cents with a couple of large ones around $2. You know when you buy a new to you car and suddenly the world is filled with that make and model of car? Well I felt this was kinda like that. Maybe the Universe was trying to tell me something or maybe I just have owls on the brain. Regardless, I took the sudden appearance of a plethora of owls at my local oppie as a sign - one to be ignored at my peril. So, I brought a few home with me and all things considered, I was pretty restrained. Check 'em out ...
This little Brown Owl is one of a family that ranges from Papa Owl to Baby Owl - Papa is just under 4cms tall.
This duo were so freaky looking they just had to come home with me - they will fit in nicely with the rest of the household! Just 4cms tall.

Personally, it would never occur to me to glue a teeny owl statue to a cowrie shell but hey - whatever floats your boat! These guys are tiny - about 2cms. Don't you just love the way they have different wing positions?

These are handpainted pottery and probably the most modern ones I brought home. 

This is my absolute favourite. His head comes off! Originally he held one and a half ounces of "Rapture" cream sachet - some kind of cream perfume I guess. Do you remember how Avon used to release perfumes in quirky bottles? I wonder if this was one of them?
And here is the whole family! What on earth am I doing to do with them?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Woh-hoh- oh - the busts are gettin' bigger ...

In number if not in size!
The saga of the busts has finally drawn to a close! Yep, they are all re-covered and I have added a couple of cones that fold down flat! Masses of thanks to dear friend Kath who helped me finish off a couple of the biggies and gave me the boost I needed to get on and do the rest! This has been a big upcycling  (or should that be recycling?) project but very cost effective. The fabric cost ten dollars ( gotta love those "Buy 1 metre get 1 metre free" sales), I used over a dozen gluesticks and half a pot of Tacky Glue. The backs are covered with wallpaper from the op-shop. The cones used $3.60 worth off cardboard and fabric from the cupboard which probably means it came from an oppie. All up if it cost me $25, I would be surprised. Colour me thrifty hey? Plus, I didn't have the hassle of finding new ones and I am  feeling the righteous joy of NOT contributing to the landfill.

I recovered 9 busts in all and made four of the cones. The best thing  about the cones is that they are "flat-pack" busts - which makes them heaps easy to cart about. I thought about calling them the "IKEABUSTS" but  not sure how that would go down with that well-known Swedish company!
This is how the cone looks undone - all flat - those wrinkles smooth out once it is buttoned into regulation cone position.

And the back - could probably have been a bit neater here but once they are done up and have jewellery on them hopefully no-one will be making judgments about the back of a cone!

Oh by the way, I hope the title of this post has you humming that Mental As Anything song all day! (hee hee) 

Monday, February 1, 2010

Colour, colour,colour!

Today I brought home a rainbow!

Isn't it gorgeous?!