Sunday, 30 November 2014

On sewing

In my head i'm a sewer.  In my head I can whip up a tote bag, alter the clothes I buy in the charity shop and make a dresses out of bed sheets.  I buy things from the charity shop with the intention of making alterations and I have a large fabric stash.  The reality, however, is a little different,  I have never really got on board with sewing.  Yes, I did make a tote bag....once! but it took me all day (and i'm including the evening in that day).  Yes, I have altered a skirt.... once....with some success but I never did it again.  

Each new year I make it my mission to learn to sew but I just never quite get round to it, always  prioritising my knitting over my sewing.  If i'm honest I think the sewing machine pedal intimidates me.  I'm a very nervous driver and sitting in front of my sewing machine feels too much like sitting behind the steering wheel.  The pedal is just too similar to the accelerator!

I was very pleased to receive this lovely gift from my friend Debbie as it provided the perfect opportunity to get back behind the wheel.  I was in need of a very basic sewing project to get me in the mood.  I'm hoping to put my best foot forward with sewing, following the little introduction of this lovely owl family to our home.  

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Charity shopping - the bits no one tells you

Secondhand first week is over but i'm still feeling in the spirit, so I thought I provide a few words of wisdom for any of you thinking about taking the next step with charity shopping.

Charity shopping - the bits no one tells you
  • You will touch the perfect item on the rail, your heart will race, only to experience the utter devastation that this item is from Primark, oh and it costs more than it would have done new in Primark. 
  • You will find the most perfect dress in great condition, only to discover it's one maybe two sizes to small, buy it any way, look at it lovingly in your wardrobe, only to have to donate it back to the charity shop in a years time; or even worse wear it out, not be able to sit down and then send it back to the charity shop.
  • You will convince yourself that you are the master of alterations, buy a few dress two sizes too big and end up with an alteration pile the size of a mountain.
  • Polyester will be involved!!
  • You will make some bold purchases and you will think that you can pull them off. Your partner will promptly bring you back down to reality .
  • You will find the perfect dress, you will be so excited and you will forget to examine it.  You will get the dress home and their will be a rip or a stain and now you realise why it was so cheap.
  • You will never get your head around a red section, a blue section, a green section.....I could go on.  If you want a pair of trousers you want to go to the trouser section not the red section.
  • You will miss your bus to work because you thought you had time to 'pop' into the Aladdin's cave next to the bus stop.
  • You will see something, procrastinate over lunch, decide that it is indeed perfect, you will go back and it's gone.
  • You will, on occasion, be jealous of your friends gleaming white new t.shirt and you will wonder if it's all worth it...... but at the point when you're about to throw in the towel, you will find the most amazing Boden dress for £3.00.


Monday, 24 November 2014

Day 7 Secondhand first (a bit late)

So here it is my final secondhand first post.  I'm sorry it's a day late, I had a daughter who would not go to sleep last night.  It's been lovely connecting with you all this week!

T.Shirt - My mum's old one (Tesco)
Necklace -  A second hand  gift from my partner 
Dress - British Heart Foundation (H & M )

I thought I would share some charity shopping tips with you before I bid farewell.

Thrift shopping – a few tips

Look in all of the sections and try on different sizes

  • I have found some great cardigans and jumpers in the men's section before.  Also sizes vary so much from brand to brand and  from era to era.  I also find that sometimes items have shrunk if they have been well worn, I particularly find this with children's clothes. 

Go all the time

  • I rarely pass a charity shop without popping my head in.  Before I became a 'serious thrifter', I remember speaking to a few friends who told me that they got all their clothes second hand and I remember thinking they had better luck than me.  I now realise that this couldn't be further from the truth, a little bit of luck maybe but what's really involved is time and effort and a better understanding of your own style.  

Don't stick to the seasons

  • Many Charity shops now bring out summer and winter stock at the correct times but many don't and many shoppers are looking for summer dressers in summer and cardigans and jumpers in winter.  I have often found my best cardigans and jumpers in the summer, when less people are looking for the same thing. 

Leave your local town

  • I used to live in Brighton and had very little luck here, too many people wanting the same things.  I had much better luck in nearby Portsmouth, Bexhill and Hastings.  Combining charity shopping with a little day trip is most pleasant.

Get to know the staff

  • They will keep an eye out on specific items that you are looking for.  I find this very useful with children's things. 

Keep to a budget

  • It's easy to loose control when things are cheap.  

Get out of the habit of buying items because they are cheap you will make more mistakes this way.

  • I ask myself would I buy this new? if the answer is yes then I usually thinks it's worth buying.  Also worth considering do I have something similar at home?  Do I really need it? and when would I wear it? 


Saturday, 22 November 2014

Day 6 secondhand first

This week has felt a bit less cheerful than others.  That's just the way it goes sometimes.  Work has been busy and I worked overtime, my daughter has a cold and hasn't been sleeping well at all and it's been damp and grey and at points I felt the need for more human contact than I had.  But in amongst this week of less cheer, my blog has felt like a sparkling firework showering the week with rainbow colour.  I don't know why but doing a weeks worth of self indulgent 'what I wore posts' has just been the bees knees.  I have looked forward to doing them at the end of the day.  Secondhand first week has really confirmed how passionate I am about recycling and reusing and got me thinking about all sorts of creative endeavours.  I think what's been the absolute jewel in the crown though is connecting with a few other like minded souls, this week, through my blog and on twitter.  I have also discovered some lovely new blogs.

Day 6 - Just heading off to work for an office admin overtime day.

Hat - Ebay (no label)
Jumper - British Heart Foundation (Marks and Spencers)
Dress - Ebay (Label hard to read - if I were a teenager I would describe it as early 90's vintage)
Shoes - New (Asos)

My colleague at work called this dress a 'long piece'  I like that... I think it describes it very well.

Looking forward to the final day tomorrow.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Day 5 Secondhand first

Today's title should really read 'washed out mummy'.  I have been up all night with a snotty toddler.  

Day 5 - We had a stay close to home day.  I reached for my old favourite jumper. 

Jumper - Beyond Retro Brighton (no label)
Jeans - Cancer Research (Top Shop)
Shoes - New (Dr Martens)

Off to put on my P.J's (not second hand) 


Thursday, 20 November 2014

Day 4 Secondhand first

Hello again, day four another outfit post and a few thoughts on why we should buy secondhand.  I overheard a conversation at work this week where two people were reminiscing about their old home town; the days before it had gone to the dogs and the charity shops had taken over.  The charity shop 'invasion' is a worry for many, personally a town full of charity shops is my idea of heaven but I do understand peoples concerns.  I actually see the opening of yet another Tesco metro as a more depressing sight. Our consumption habits have changed so much and a high street with 'proper shops' a butchers, bakers and a candle stick makers now belongs to picture books.   People often view a glut of charity shops as another nail in the coffin leading to the demise of their high street.  But we really can not go on like this, we must reduce our consumption habits. 1,200,000 tonnes of textile was discarded in the UK in 2011, 450/000 tonnes of that textile went into landfill or was incinerated (Triad) Landfill sites can release dangerous gases and chemicals into the environment.  Man-made fibres do not decompose and woollen garments produce methane, which contributes to global warming. We need to consume less and we need to be mindful about the purchases we make when buying new.  Buying second hand is a way of mopping up the excess of our mega consumption habits.  I am mindful that we must also support the local, the independent and the artisan, particularly as their products are likely to be better quality and will last longer.  

Why buy second hand?

  • It keeps clothes out of land fill.
  • It's perfect for thrifty types.
  • It's a great for finding unique one off items.
  • It forces one to think a little creatively about how to can make up your own trends.
  • Like everything that takes a little time and effort, the results are so rewarding.  Nothing beats the thrill of finding the perfect coat, for only £10, after months of searching.
  • It frees up money to buy good quality slow fashion items from independent/ethical retailers.
  • If you become a devotee It will take you far and wide on fun day trips to towns you would never have dreamt of visiting pre your charity shop obsessed days. (you may or may not see this as a good thing)
  • If you are shopping in charity shops you are helping to raise money for charity.

Day 4 - Duck feeding and a play date.

Jumper - British Heart Foundation (Marks and Spencers)
Dress - Ebay (1980's vintage)
Blazer - Vintage shop (no label)
Shoes - Aldo (new)

Thanks for stopping by.


Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Day 3 Secondhand first

Yup, it's me back again.  I'm quite enjoying spending every night with my blog. I must try and blog more after this week is over.  So here we have it.... Day 3 of secondhand first week has anyone treated themselves to any secondhand goodies yet? Or donated any old items to their local charity shop?  I haven't but I may have a little look round the charity shops tomorrow as Wednesday is my Friday and i'm off work tomorrow.

Day 3 - Working from home.

Shirt - British Heart Foundation (New Look)
Waistcoat - British Heart Foundation (Vintage Monsoon)
Jeans - Cancer Research (Top shop)
Shoes - New (Asos)

I have realised from all this clothes documention that I know exactly which charity shops all my clothes came from even those I bought many years ago.  This is a great revelation for someone who thought they had a shocking memory.......I can't even remember the names of everyone I work with.

Same time same place tomorrow.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Day 2 Secondhand first

Hello there.  Wow, another day another outfit post.  I have never spent so much time with my little blog.

Day 2 - late home from work and a mad dash to get the camera out, photo taken and then I realise I have no shoes on.  It doesn't really matter as I only own 1 pair of secondhand shoes.  I have never really got to grips with secondhand shoes.  It's not that I won't go there it's just that I never really see any I like and well I won't lie I do like new shoes.  I would love to hear your thoughts about wearing secondhand shoes.  Do any of you buy secondhand shoes?

Cardigan - Red Cross (Marks and Spencer's) 
Dress - Cancer Research (Rebecca Taylor )
Belt - To be Worn again (no label)
Broach - Made by my lovely friend, Ella Robinson, from driftwood.

Same time tomorrow.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Secondhand first week Day 1

I have decided to push myself way out of my comfort zone this week.  I will be be posting an outfit everyday this week, to celebrate secondhand first week.  

So here we go, 

Day 1 - the end of a long day at work and an early evening children in need fund raiser at my daughter's excuse my dishevelled hair covered up with a hat.  

Hat - Cancer Research (no label)
T.shirt - My mums old one ( washed out label)
Tank top cardigan - boot fair (hand knitted)
Skirt - Oxfam (Mango)
Shoes - New  ( very old New look)
Necklace - gift

See you tomorrow.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Secondhand first week

When I started my blog I had absolutely no intention of talking about the clothes I wore, well maybe, with the possible exception of showing off a hand knitted scarf.  I thought my blog would be a thrifty craft blog and would also document some of my day trips.  I am however a very slow crafter, throw a child into the mix, and well very little crafting actually gets done.  I also hadn't quite realised just how passionate I was about second hand shopping.  This blog has turned into a nice little outlet to talk about my love of second hand and re using.  This coming week (17th to 23rd November) is Triad's Secondhand first week.  Take a look at their secondhand first pledge, I committed to buying 80% of my wardrobe second hand this coming year.  I'm linking up with Ethical fashion bloggers to celebrate the joy of second hand outfits.

I love second hand shopping, I love the thrill of the chase and the buzz you feel when you find a perfect item of clothing.  My partner and I visit dull towns on the strength of their charity shops.  We rate our favourite charity shops, our favourite being the old school sort of charity shop the ones that are simply called 'charity shop', raise money for cats or donkeys and do not sort it's stock out by way of know the ones that smell ever so slightly of the attic and sell most items for a pound, oh yes we really love our charity shops. I joke slightly, I do also recognise the value of paying a fair price for second hand clothes and raising money for charity.

So I think it's safe to say, I was very excited about Second hand first week as it's a way to celebrate, what is really, my favourite hobby.

So here is ..... drum second hand, outfit post.

Hat - Cancer Research (no label)
Dress - Car Boot sale (George at Asda)
Shirt - British Heart Foundation (Gap)
Jacket - St Vincent de Pauls (Edinburgh Wool Mill)
Shoes - Clarks new

I may be brave and blog some more of my second hand outfits this week so do pop over to my blog and say hello.   Happy Secondhand first week!


Show and tell

Since taking part in the sustainable fashion challange challenge, I have been thinking a little more about the types of materials I have in my home.  We needed a new rug for our house so I decided to make this one using T.Shirt Yarn.  For those hard core thrifty beings out there, ( or people without children) you could make your own T.shirt yarn.  I chose the easier option and purchased some from ebay.  T.Shirt yarn uses off cuts from the fashion industry that would otherwise often end up in land fill.  Not quite hexagon and more of a splat, I was, however, very pleased with the result.


Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Man down.

You may have noticed my brief period of absence from this blog. It's been a bit of a case of man down in our household of late; Frieda fell first, then me and lastly Alan.  It felt like we were ill for absolutely ages but in reality, from Frieda to Alan, we were out of action for a week and a half.

Illness causes household chaos.  Peppa pig became our babysitter and the tin opener our cook.  I'm a terrible patient, I'm always in such a hurry to get better and now that I am better I am incredibly grateful that illness and health conditions are not permanent fixtures in our household.  I spare a thought for those of you out there who have to deal with a health condition on a daily basis.  Now that I have a child a sick day is a thing of the past, and I now look back to the noro virus of 2011 with fond memories.

In the midst of many cancelled plans (including a trip to see family) we were fortunate enough to enjoy an early summers day at the end of October!  and discover a very big muddy puddle.....simple pleasures

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