Category Archives: Thrifting

Sifting Through the Dross.

Op shopping has been a bit rubbish lately. Lovely fabrics are thin on the ground and vintage linens practically non-existent. Everywhere I went yesterday, shops were being repaired, had moved somewhere else or simply vanished altogether. It wasn’t fun. I called into Tasman Traders since it was on the way home – they usually have a small selection of slightly overpriced retro fabrics, many of them truly ugly – but you never know. I found this scrunched up piece of fabric which I thought was overpriced at $10…

Until I got it home and ironed it and realised that there was nearly 5 metres of fabric. And it’s not ugly retro, it’s truly beautiful vintage rayon. Delicious blue and purple tulips with gold splashes looking like they’d been crayonned onto the sketchy gray background.

I usually default to a tried and true Kwik Sew pattern for vintage rayon but perhaps I should branch out into this Academy pattern passed on by my MIL who wore it in the 1950s. Looks perfect for cycling don’t you think?



Filed under Christchurch, Sewing, Thrifting


Everyone needed something or other in the clothes department so off we went to Ferrymead for a fossick. Everything here is $2 and it’s right near the beach so you can run around in the fresh air when you’re done. I usually buy things to chop up and today was no exception. Two shirts awaiting their fate.


Tootal – Man at Ease. Crack me up. The girls had some brilliant luck boot wise … 2 brand new pairs of lace ups. Our home stay girl wore hers that afternoon to the mall and got some insane number of compliments including one from a complete stranger on the bus who’d been looking for a similar pair ‘forever’. She was open-mouth mad when told they cost $2 from an op shop!

The most fun, though, was Jono who was on the hunt for suits and jackets. His year level do Formal Friday at school and he’s a bit sick of his one (vintage Canterbury) beautifully tailored navy suit. He was fizzing when he found a 3 piece gray pinstripe (also vintage Canterbury, perfect fit) 4 ties for $2 and a black woollen pea coat. Back at home he had me take photos from all angles.

“Pensive? Damn, I was going for thoughtful.” (Name that movie!)

Everything you see is op-shopped. Except Jono. I got him the hard way. He’s worn the black coat every day since. I know that’s only 2 days but he’s worn it to umpire a cricket match, visit his best girl, drive to work and today at school. Score!

He also has a nice collection of pastel-ish formal shirts. And when anyone asks him where he got his gear, he takes great delight in saying … “From that thrift shop down the road!”

1 Comment

Filed under Jono, Thrifting

More Treasure

It’s not just chocolate boxes that hold treasure. You should also check inside sphygmomanometer boxes whenever you come across one.

Because you just never know what might be waiting inside.

It was a tangly mess but Henry carefully and patiently remedied that.

Rolled and ready for some serious hand stitching.


Filed under Thrifting


It’s always exciting when you’re out op-shopping and you find an old chocolate box. Even more exciting if it’s heavy because you know something special has been stored in there for a long time. Rattly chocolate boxes have buttons. This one didn’t rattle. Ribbons? Lace? I carefully eased the lid off.

Doilies! Mostly hand crocheted. So many pieces that when I shook them out, and tried refolding them, they wouldn’t fit back I’m the box.

20130104-144947.jpg Doilies exploding all over the carpet. I’m still thinking about what to do with them all. I was planning a table runner like this for Christmas but over a red cloth. Or there are some pretty cool ideas here. A colleague has the most amazing linen skirt embellished with doilies and cotton lace. Lots of possibilities. The reason why you should always check inside an old chocolate box.


Filed under Thrifting

A Long-Term Project.

I have a little app on my phone which I had a lot of fun with last year. It’s called Project 365 and involves choosing a photo to remember your day by. Old hat really on the internet but I like having that little visual reminder in my pocket.



I’ll keep using it this year but I’ve also decided to make a more permanent record of my days. Last time I went op-shopping  I specifically looked for an old-school book that was a) fairly tattered and b) at least 365 pages long. I’ve collaged a bit of color onto the front cover and I intend to glue a real photos onto the pages – one for each day of the year.


I added a colourful quote along the spine – mainly because I wanted to cover up the title of the book. “The Cruel Sea” is not exactly inspirational! I like the way it’s looking and I can’t wait to get started.


Filed under Thrifting

Super Saturday

Some days it feels like the sun is shining just on me. Like today at the Sallies when I stumbled across someone’s entire stash of patterns and crafty quilty stitchy magazines dating from the year dot. It was a fascinating hour, sifting through all that creativity, but in the end I chose just a few Enid Gilchrist books, some Top Kids magazines and a couple of cross stitch leaflets. The rest can make someone else’s day.

At the next place I found some pinky-red fabric and a pile of doilies. A huge pile. The beginnings of an idea for this years Christmas tablecloth to go with some beautiful Living Light candles Mum brought up earlier in the week.

20121124-115653.jpgAnd 6 perfect crispy pillowcases in vintage shades of blue. Maybe the makings of another pillowcase quilt? The last one was such fun to sew.20121124-115949.jpg And finally the library where I picked up some Christmas crafting books including one from Mollie Makes, the new Elm Creek Quilts novel and some softie books for school where gift making is in full swing and there are not many teaching weeks left at all.


Filed under Thrifting


Sunshine pillowcases, pinned and ready to quilt.

After the prime ministerial excitement, I spent the rest of the afternoon quilting sunshine lines.

Bound in a vintage pink gingham and (for the first time ever) machine stitched down.

I spread it over my bed…

and woke up in a room flooded with golden sunshine.


Filed under Sewing, Thrifting