Sunday, December 23, 2012


My computer died this morning. Trying not to panic. Or think about all the things I haven't backed up on the external hard-drive... Loving that my local library is open on a Sunday but wanted to let you know that it might be a bit quiet around here ....

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Well that was fun ...

There is nothing like a bit of "Christmas Craft" to help you get into holiday mode is there? I decided to have a crack at making a wreath for my front door. It turned out ok but the best part really was in the making rather than the result!

Firstly I made a big old mess - cutting up old books and drinking fortifying cups of tea.

I rolled lots of "cones" from a hymn book I got at the op shop. I live in an area that was settled by Lutherans so there is no shortage of these hymnals in the thrift stores around here! Sadly my cones are a little less "coney" than they should be. The leaves are also cut from book pages with silver leaf added - now that really was fun!

The end result is a slightly skewed wreath-like thing. I kinda lost track of where I was so it is a bit lopsided...
Never mind, I got to play with the hot glue gun and it looks kinda interesting on the door!
Now I gotta craft me up a tree ....

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

I love the holidays ...

Great weather, great company, great food - who could ask for more. Lovely lunch at Nosh in Tanunda today. It is impossible not to enjoy a meal in a cafe that hangs teapots on the wall and a vintage bike from the ceiling ...

Did I mention I love the holidays?

Sunday, December 16, 2012

I have been remiss of late with regard to this blog. It has taken a backseat to the excitement of Christmas preparations and homecomings I'm afraid. Even getting to the op shops has been pushed way down the priority list! So in betwenn the swirl of tidying long neglected messes and washing linen and making bedrooms ready for special people, I did manage a twirl around a lovely shop that has been in the area for years. Sadly it is closing down as the owners are retiring and moving to be closer to their kids and grandkids. Really it is the end of an era here. I will miss both the shop and the owners. Where else will I be able to go on a Sunday arvo for a few tales told in a lilting Celtic accent? Or watch fascinated as the proprietor folds up little bags for small treasures from pieces of newspaper? Apart from having the opportunity to say my good-byes, I found some wonderful treasure - keys. I know heaps of people think vintage keys are all a bit passe but i just love them. Have loved them since i was a kid - I was always nicking the wardrobe keys which drove my Mum to distraction ... Now I am a grown-up (?) I can buy as many as I want - and can afford!

They are just lovely aren't they? I will have lots of fun using these in jewellery making.

I really like little keys with fancy tops ...

...and knobby bits in the middle ...

.. or ones that are just small and chunky ...

A copule of doors up from this lovely shop is an op shop so naturally I had a fossick in there too. I found this great necklace. These are bone beads. I will cut it up and use the beads in other things.

Another good find was this copper pan for $2! It isn't very large but is solid copper and will be great to cut up and recycle. Even the handle is made of nice wood so I should be able to use that too.

I hope in amongst the Festive madness you have found some thrifting time. I would love to see your treasures so please feel free to click on the link below and share your finds!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

My oh my it has been a busy time around here of late! Firstly it is the pointy end of the academic year ( ok so I use that term loosely since I am doing an Visual Art degree ...) and hot on the heels of that have been markets and art bazaars and an increased demand for jewels from retail outlets etc etc. Far and away one of the bestest bits of this busy time has been the exhibition my daughter and I have going at the Urban Cow Studio in Adelaide. It is pretty amazing to have the opportunity to do a mother and daughter gig like this! It is called Woodland Whimsy and even though we didn't physically sit down and work side by side, I am amazed at how well our work compliments each other. We have had great support form family and friends but also from the Gallery and local media. My daughter Ellen even did a radio interview on an arts programme and spoke brilliantly about our show! Oh yeah - proud mamma here. Still, piccies are better than words in this instance so let me share a couple of those with you ...

I am not sure why these pics turned out like this but at least you can get an idea of how the gallery looks.

Ellen's beautiful papercuts look amazing in this space and cast beautiful shadows onto the vintage wallpaper that backs them.

I called this piece "Home is Where the Squirrel is" It is made of pewter, brass, copper and sterling. The squirrel is a little charm I found and the acorn is cast from a charm Audrey gave me. I actually had to make a tool to 'dome' the heart ... (brag alert!)

Here is Ellen with her favourite piece - "Bohemian Love Bunnies" Check out the detail ...

All cut by hand, with a scalpel, from a single sheet of paper ... !!

 The love bunnies inspired this piece -  "Woodland Love Seeker" . I even had to think like a papercutter to make it by working with the negative space to create a layered image. The bunny is cut from epns, the first background is vintage tin and the final background is paper - rescued from a thrown away screenprint at uni! The layers are encased in an old watch case. This was my favourite piece to make.

 Tumbled agate, recycled sterling and watch parts.

Acacia, sheoak and eucalyptus wood that was cut up about two years ago - it should be properly dried and "cured" by now! I added a little sterling silver leaf - simple but pretty.

I am going to leave you with this image of Ellen's work "Jumps Over the Lazy Dog"   just because I love it. It is a bit hard to tell from the pics but the papercuts "float" in front of the background so in good light the image is replicated in shadow on the vintage wallpaper. Now I am switching to holiday brain - squeeeeeeeeeee! Might get a bit silly around here for a while .....

Sunday, November 25, 2012


I snuck in one very quick look around a local thrift store this week. That's right - one! And it was very quick ... Still, since I am not currently on the look-out for anything specific perhaps it is just as well. I had a half baked idea that I might find something wonderful to wear to a few events that are coming up but it just wasn't meant to be I'm afraid. I didn't leave empty handed though - I found some rather glamourous vintage rhinestone ear-rings. They are lovely and sparkly and a classic style. So, even if I have to wear a daggy outfit , my ears will look glam ...

Pretty no? I hope you all had more time to get to the oppies or flea markets in your area than I did. If you would like to share some pics of your treasures that would be great - just click on the link below

Thursday, November 22, 2012

new makings ...

Playing around with enamels today.

Flowers on stems

All torch-fired

Kinda crusty - just how I like 'em.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Light Square installation.

On Monday m I finally installed a mob of kangaroos in Light Square in the Adelaide CBD. 135 of them in fact. The concept behind the installation was rather simple I wanted to kindle a little rural/urban connection and what better way to say it than with our most recognisable icon? There have been moves afoot to dual name the city squares with English and Kaurna names. The proposed Kaurna name for Light Square is "wauwe" which means small grey female kangaroo.

It seemed like such alot of kangaroos in the making and I had ltons of help from the lovely Kathy and The ManBeast. Strangely once they were in that big open space those 135 kangas seemed to take up hardly any room at all!

I had two marvellous helpers on the installation day in Ellen and Jakob. We had a lovely time even though the ground was hard and the weather hot.

Permission wasn't sought for this installation but no-one seemed to mind us putting these critters up.

Judging by the response of passing motorists and pedestrians it would seem that Aussies love their kangaroos - certainly everyone seemed pleased to see them. They were all still present and accounted for the next day although a few had blown over in the ghastly North wind that was gusting about. It will be interesting to see how long they remain there. I hope people take them home and put them in their gardens - or maybe in other parts of the CBD.  Do you think that when city folks see them that their thoughts will turn to the people and animals that occupy the rural landscapes of this great country? I hope so. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012


Well last week saw me having a complete spam-meltdown so apologies for not putting "Thrift-a-long" up. Whilst the spam continues to be annoying it is not freaking me out as much! Life has gotten so busy of late that there hasn't been much opportunity for thrifting here I'm afraid. I did manage one little sally which I thoroughly enjoyed.

I am looking forward to the summer holidays. Lazy days for reading and mooching about. With that in mind I purchased a bunch of crime novels - just the ticket for whiling away a few hours. I had to have the lovely book on Mexico that is in the background - it is full of stunning photos - it can go in the "summer dreaming" category! Irealise that I was trying to impose a tin moratorium but really who am I kidding? One look at a paisley patterned tin and I am a goner and all my good intentions are goners too.

 I am loving all the colours and patterns that are out this summer. These beads are for wearing for once rather than re-using and the dear little purse is so appealing with that kinda "Santa-Fe" look going on. I made it mine and have used it already! This trip to the oppie was well deserved i thought - I have been slaving away at my bench and really needed to have a break. Thrifting is the best kind of retail therapy isn't it - so much variety and you get to go home with some fun stuff without having to take out a second mortgage. Or have that sinking feeling when the credit card statement arrives ....
Hope you have all had some fun in the op shops this week. You know the drill by now - click on the link below and SHARE!!!

Friday, November 16, 2012

How much mess can a messy maker make?

Rather a lot apparently! I have been busy collaging together some metal to create an object that will be part of a print installation. (How come when I say that out loud is sounds so wanky ..!?) Anywat it is a good excuse to clutter up the kitchen table and make a mess ...

note the coffee cup - this was a 3 cup job ....

all the fun stuff - tools, metal and glue!

my collage is taking shape. How handy is that gaffer tape stuff for clamping tricky bits? Love it! Of course this work is due next week so I really needed to get on to it - it has taken a goodly while to gather up the rusty metals and other odds and sods required. I am now the Queen of Pop Rivetters by the way. Just saying.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

And the loveliest of all ...

was the UNICORN!

Made from reclaimed pewter and a recycled wooden tray. The very beginnings of an exhibition called "Woodland Whimsy".

And a brooch too. Of all the whimsical critters lurking in the woods I think I would like to meet a unicorn most of all.

bah ha ha ha - I couldn't resist inflicting - er- I mean sharing that classic piece of music history with you!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The time has come ...

Sorry I have had to do this but I have added that word verification thingo to my blog because the spam I have been receiving this week has been ridiculous. OUT.OF.CONTROL. I will trial this for a while - hate it 'cos I think it is a pain but hate the spam more .. Any better ideas out there about how to contain the sods who spam and I would love to hear 'em!

Sunday, November 4, 2012


I have to say that finding time for op shopping has become increasingly tricky lately - the "to do" list doesn't seem to be getting any smaller and it feels just a bit like skiving off if I don't keep my nose to the grindestone... However we all know that productivity is increased with a little R&R so I have decided that thrifting could come under that heading, and hence, managed the odd forage or two this week. I bought the  ManBeast a hat - not a true Akubra but of that ilk - but with mesh ventillation. He has one already. Well two actually - a grubby work on and a cleaner "good "one but they are terribly hard to find new. He is fairly specific about the features of the hat so I was very happy to snap up a brand new, albeit a little crushed, one for just two bucks. I shall spare you a photo. I had a happy haul of a few nice things that have nothing to do with the boring practicalities of keeping the ManBeasts' noggin in the shade ...

Oh dear - more tins - and I haven't shown you the complete haul - I promise to be stronger about this 'cos I am running outta storage room! No more tins from the oppie for Sue! sigh. There are some pretty beads to repurpose amongst that lot and I was particularly happy with the brass door furniture. They will make excellent bezels I reckon.

The lovely tin with the rather Western looking Japanese woman printed on it actually describes a tea ceremony.  I daresay it is from the Sixties and I daresay I won't be cutting it up ...

This has the caption "Ritsko shows the cup for tea"

Here we see "Ritsko with 'fuksa' - or tea napkin" There is one more pic of Ritsko which I haven't shown you but rest assured that she is keen for you to visit and that you are indeed "Welcome at the tea ceremony". Interestingly, this tin was printed in Australia and made by Willow. Just as a point of interest - Willow took good care of their workers and in 1964 formalised that tradition by instituting a superannuation plan - and it was  applied retrospectively to each worker based on the date they commenced work for the company! Given the number of jobs that have just been lost in the manufacturing sector this week in South Australia, that little bit of history that demonstrated a company's determination to provide security for their staff seems nothing short of miraculous. (sorry - that may have been a soapbox moment)

More door furniture! The key hole bits made my heart go pittypat ...

Isn't that gorgeous? I hope you had some time to hit up the op-shops this week. You can share your finds by clicking on the link below ...

Friday, November 2, 2012

Beady Eyed ...

It has been a good long while since I sat down and made some beaded jewellery. No wonder I used to make so much of it - it is great fun - and easier on the hands than all that metal work! Seems I was channeling my inner Frida today ...

 I started out making some flowers - I used to make these years and years ago - usually out of 'natural' coloured wood beads for a surfie range. Today it was all about colour - and then I decided they should all go together! They are each about the size of a 50 cent piece.  Then I thought some ear-rings would be fun ...

Apologies for the quality of the pictures - I wanted to share them RIGHT NOW and of course have taken the photos indoors in poor light ... still you get the idea right? These babies are about as big as a 20 cent piece and look substantial but are light as light because they are made predominately of wood beads.
I can see myself returning to this theme - I love all that colour! Maybe I could make some really big ones ...?

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

to market to market

Woo hoo it is that time of year again when all the fun markets etc start to roll around. If you live in South Oz don't miss the annual Arts Bazaar at AC Arts in the city - lots of cool students' work to be found!

Printmakers, ceramacists, jewellers, painters, sculptors - definitely an excellent place to do a spot of Christmas shopping - or just get some art for your own self ....

Sunday, October 28, 2012


I am pretty sure someone actually stole this week. One minute it was Monday and then in the blink of an eye Sunday has rolled around again! What is the deal with that?! I only hit up one oppie in my busy week but it turned out to be all I needed. I am currently trying to make an installation at art school. Of books. The installation is called before Google, and the plan was to spell out that title using books. Something like this ...

.. only better. The installation is a bit of a comment on the ubiquity and superfluousness of the book in a digital age. I was inspired to make it when I stopped to consider the sheer volume of discarded books in thrift stores - particularly encyclopedias. I did in fact hope to make the whole thing from encyclopedias but the logistics proved too complicated for this project. So I created one letter "b" and was stunned by how many books it used up. These were saved from an overhaul of my own shelves (or rather boxes in the ceiling!) and a box of books I purchased for a couple of bucks. Clearly spelling out two words and a total of  twelve letters was not gonna happen - too many books required! I settled on just spelling out "books" but still needed more books than I had on hand. I headed to the biggest op shop in town to see what they had on offer. The deity/spiritual being-of-your-choice was with me because just as I got to the book section a chap came along with a sack truck and began loading boxes of books onto it. It quickly transpired that these books were headed for the "big skip bin out the back". Whaaaaat????? Well I guess it helps prove my point about the perceived worth of books these days. Apparently the shop gets so many books donated that they cannot manage to find space for them all and despite the prices ranging from free in the school holidays to a buck, they just can't sell enough of them either. I was a bit gobsmacked but recovered quickly enough to explain my situation and divert Mr SackTruck to my van. Look what I came home with ...

Believe it or not there are two boxes missing from this photo - they were still in the car!

Rex thought the boxes were interesting.

The first part of the selection process - separating hard covers from paperbacks. Then it will be by size and colour.  It has taken an age because I keep getting distracted by the inscription that are often inside the front cover - "To Dottie, Merry Christmas 1953. love Uncle Bert and Aunty Win" and things like that. There are get well wishes and congratulations for academic achievement too. It seems there was a whole raft of  situations that meant a book was the perfect gift! There are plenty of library books in these boxes too. Some of them have stern instructions to borrowers inside the front cover ....

Wow - they certainly took the book lending business seriously huh? That is the sum total of my thrifty adventures this week - and quite enough to contend with! I hope you managed to get out and about and find some treasures this week. If you click on the link below, you can share them with us!