Category Archives: Wardrobe Wednesday


It’s all about keeping warm… boy has it been frigid in the Garden City recently. Wool, wool and more wool.

Luckily my classroom is toasty warm but today I’m still wearing a few merino layers underneath, just in case. This jacket is one of my favourite jackets of all time. I inherited it years and years ago from a stylish great aunt and about every 5 years I bring it out and give it another go round.

It’s a lovely warm brown wool, nipped in at the waist, with a soft leather collar, leather buttons and bound leather buttonholes. I’m certain my stylish great aunt would have bought it from Ballantynes in the early 70’s. She lived in the country and bought most of her clothes there on account. I remember her as always being perfectly made-up and impeccably dressed, despite living and working on the family sheep station. Today I’m wearing her jacket with a pair of tailored Jigsaw pants and black ankle boots. Jewellery is a simple cameo brooch.

And accessorized with my favourite new bag. I had something similar saved on Pinterest so I made my own version in fabrics I had at home including a thrifted green woollen, some chintz from the Red Cross and a long brown leather belt. The cascade of flowers with vintage buttons was great fun to make.

It’s widely admired wherever it goes.

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Oh would you look at that! It seems I’m doing my best today to blend in with the 1960s paint job in my classroom. Styley.

This corduroy skirt has been a long time in the making. It’s sewn from a minty vintage piece printed with tiny navy flowers and I’ve been saving it forever. I spent the first week of the school holidays making muslins, trying to get my favourite skirt pattern to fit properly. My shape has changed over the last year and I couldn’t figure out where. Or why either but that’s another story. Darts in, darts out, sides in, sides out… On go-around #4 I got so frustrated I threw the whole thing out.

20130522-183444.jpgAnd then very sensibly dug out Sew What Skirts. A few measurements later and I had a muslin that fitted like a glove. What a twit. I should have done that a jolly week ago! I stitched the skirt together while watching the Great British Sewing Bee and marveled at my invisible zip. Every bit as good as the famous tv people’s.

Pretty nice invisible hem too. I originally had a minty green top on this morning but the whole chameleon effect would have just been too much so there’s a navy top and cardy, navy tights and dark brown boots. Yes, all the same as last week. Sigh. The bling is different though.

20130522-191851.jpg A gift from my brother and made from an old New Zealand stamp. Very cool.


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What I Wore Wednesday.

Such a lovely, long weekend that I forgot today was Wednesday until I arrived at school and opened up my planbook! So this is a take-me-as-I come post. Which actually probably speaks volumes about the kinds of clothes I default to when I know it’s going to be a busy teaching day.


Navy blue cardi from the Sallies with my red Ashley House badge

Pink and grey striped Glassons tee from the Sallies

Dark red Spice jeans from Farmers.

My most favourite brown boots in the world, bought many years ago from Overland, so so comfy.

Brown leather bucket bag from the Sallies


I’m  a bit crazy about this bag. I found it yesterday and paid $4 for it. It’s roomy and squishy and has that wonderful old-leather smell. $4! And it matches my best ever favourite Overland boots.


Also roomy, squishy, a bit slouchy and worth every bit of the several hundred dollars I paid for them about 7 years ago. Brilliant for running from one sewing crisis to the next. And don’t tell the kids I climbed on a wheelie chair, totally illegal not to mention dangerous. But my photographer didn’t want to get down to ground level so what’s a girl to do?


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Back In Black.

Well yes, today was the day. We weren’t the only ones at our little local supermarket just after the doors opened. And look, a free jar! How crazy is that? I had to spend $50 to get it but please, there are 6 kids in my house. That barely covers our daily bread and milk!

I almost never wear black but today was so cold… On came a pair of warm leggings, a merino top and a patch tunic. Tall black boots and a black ski jacket to make sure all was toasty.

There are 2 weeks left in the current Tech rotation which is why I’m wearing the patch tunic. It’s made using this Lil Blue Boo pattern (it’s a PDF!) and 3 chopped-up tee shirts (thank you Ferrymead). Actually, I think this one used 5. It’s great for scraps too.

Some of my more capable year 8s have chosen to make these as part of an up cycling project which starts today. New life for your tired old tees, especially the kind with words or logos on them. Can’t wait to get chopping.


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Wardrobe Wednesday… For Miriam.

Today is Miriam’s last day hosting Wardrobe Wednesday so in honour of her, today I wore my favorite dress. I wasn’t going to – I had planned to throw on some pants and a tee shirt and bike to school – but Miriam loves dresses and she has some really beautiful ones so really, it’s the least I could do.


Andrew bought me the dress when we were in Golden Bay last month – we both fell in love with it in the window of a small store. The label is Hearts and Roses and it’s a 1950’s inspired heavy floral cotton. It fits like a dream. It twirls like you wouldn’t believe! It would be amazing with a sticky-out petticoat underneath.



Today I’m wearing it with a simple blue Glassons cardy, a wide blue belt, simple gold jewellery and a pair of stone-coloured flats. Photos by Henry taken in my classroom.

I’ve been thinking about dresses this week. I have a lot (30 of the little suckers) but I hardly wear any of them. It’s such a waste. Ten of my dresses are homemade and fifteen are thrifted. Five were bought new. I wear the home made ones the most, probably because they fit well and are made out of fabrics that I love. I don’t wear the thrifted dresses at all – isn’t that silly? I buy them for a few dollars each, they’re all vintage from various eras in great condition but I don’t have the courage to actually wear them. This year I’ve decided, inspired a little bit by Minxy Vintage, to finally alter, change,fix,improve these dresses and WEAR the jolly things!



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One day of school and then we have a break. Magic! I dressed for mucking around outside today. The older kids were working so we took the little boys and hit a few local parks. In honour of Waitangi Day, the photos were taken in our taonga corner – on the wall behind me is a family patu and the flax kete it sometimes lives in, paintings by local artists and four ceramic tiles the kids chose for our 20th wedding anniversary.

The taonga I wear was designed by my family and carved by a friend who has greenstone in his river. I usually wear it with the smooth polished side out but today I’ve turned it over because carved on the inside is te korero pono āku tamariki – the story of my children. Each one is represented by a different frond on the same fernleaf.

Goodness – everything I’m wearing is thrifted. I bought the hat from SaveMart so I could use it as a pattern at school. Some of my more confident boys like to make these combat-style caps. Red singlet and colorful Principals top also from SaveMart – oh, and the Glassons pants too. I found the red shoes a few years ago at the Red Cross and they’re the most comfy shoes I have.

It was a lovely sunny day (eventually!) and there was plenty of geocaching around local points of interest. It was great to get out and about.


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Wardrobe Wednesday

Today I’m at school, getting my classroom ready for the year about to begin. So, an easy-to-wear outfit suitable for running around in, rearranging furniture and cleaning windows. Sophie took some photos before I left home.

20130130-103023.jpg It’s obvious, isn’t it, that these are my favourite jeans. I wear them all the time! Simple red tee shirt, comfy red flats and a wrap top.

The apron top is made from a lovely light cotton voile I bought from Global Fabrics before it fell over. The pattern is vintage Butterick and so simple to sew.

I often wear this top wrapped over togs. Its best made from a light, floaty fabric and it’s an easy way of adding a bit of interest to an outfit. I might have to head home at lunch time to change the jeans for shorts though. The day is heating up here in Christchurch and the warmth is beginning to penetrate even my dark and shaded old brick classroom.


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There is a lovely little hospice shop near where we live that is well-stocked with stylish things. The first time I ever went in there, Doreen said chattily to me “Gosh you must have trouble finding pants to fit!” I was a bit taken aback with that conversation opener but of course, she was right. I’m tall and most pants leave my ankles on show. I recovered quickly when she said ” I have a box out back you might like to fossick in!”


So fossick I did, finding 3 pairs that fit perfectly including these faded jeans. She nattered away, asking questions about what I did for a job, my favourite colours and which designers I liked. A groovy striped hoodie was suddenly thrust through the changing room curtain. “What do you think of that?” asked Doreen. I actually loved it. I love the way the thin stripes kind-of blend together at my elbows and some of my other crinkly bits to make patches of red. And it’s so comfy.

She came back a few minutes later with two Vamp tops that were the right mix of casual and clever. Then a silky jacket that was unusual but in my favourite colour and perfect for the odd formal school occasion. It was the start of a beautiful relationship. Doreen keeps a box out the back which she pops long- legged pants into plus the odd thing she thinks I might like. And I call in every week or so to ooh and aah over her cleverness and hand over some money to our local hospice shop. Everybody wins.

Jeans: Hospice shop
Striped hoodie: Hospice shop
Red belt: Sallies
Red shoes: Sallies
Vintage cosmetics case: Sallies


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Today is our first pay day since before Christmas (cheers Novopay) so I’m dressed for a running around town doing errands and paying bills kind of day. I think it’s about time that Christmas tree came down!

The top is a lovely green linen, loose and comfortable, with tiny flowers embroidered down the button band and ruffles around the hem. My favourite jeans and a pair of flat shoes.

I added a linen brooch in keeping with my goal of trying to wear something handmade every day. We made lots of these for Christmas – this one is loosely based on a tutorial from The Decorated House and it’s made from a scrap of linen and a little doily .



Linen shirt – Sallies

Skinny jeans – SaveMart

Navy flats – Overland

Linen brooch – me made

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I’m not teaching this week because our Year 8s are away on school camp. Instead, I’m available to relieve in classes when the teachers need to be out for one reason or another. So this is my prepared-for-anything outfit. It’s an awkward mirror shot because there are no kids around to take a photograph for me. Jeans for ease of movement, my favourite red flats in case I need to run (you probably wouldn’t be surprised to know how often you have to run in primary school), striped tank cut down from a very large tee shirt and a bit of lace for pretty. The jacket I picked up at SaveMart and the red badge pinned to it tells you that I’m in Ashley House.

I nearly went home when I found out that I was going to be teaching ukelele after morning tea. I’ve never even held one and I’m a failure on the guitar. “Just follow the book” said the real teacher. “And the songs are all on the CD.”

The kids were madly strumming “Oh Susannah” when I came in. I was intimidated. I picked up a ukelele and a songbook and slunk into the back row. The song changed to Achy Breaky Heart and they were off again. I tried to make sense of the diagrams in the book but my fingers were too fat to do what they were supposed to do. I worked out a C and strummed gently every time I saw one.  A soft, little voice behind me said “It works for me if I make a G7 in this order, then you can just slide over to a C … like this.” She was right. G7 C G7 C. It was easy. I joined in with Waltzing Matilda. I worked out how to make an F and suddenly I was playing Polly Wolly Doodle … in time. It was magic.

I had so much fun! By the end of the hour I was strumming, if not like a pro, then at least like a fairly confident beginner. That was definitely music coming out of my instrument.

And look at the ukelele the kids found for me – it matches my shoes!

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