Tuesday, April 17, 2012

thrifty opportunities

It was pay day for us yesterday so I headed to a local op shop. I always love reading and seeing what people find.

Last week I gave away some of my treasured soup bowls to a dear friend, who had the same bowls at her nana's house when she was growing up. I had got them very cheaply but even my husband was fond of them. Imagine how happy I was to spot SEVEN of them at only $2 each. Very good price. They are of course Crown Lynn, and we need to pause a moment, because as I have mentioned before, my grandmother used to work at the Crown Lynn factory and indeed our home was full of Crown Lynn. It is now very collectible and I could cry if I spent too much time thinking about my grandmothers china and even our everyday plates we eat off.

I also have a thing for old flatware. I don't care if its distressed or not. I love its weight. I love that its silver. I love that its got stories. I love that its only 20 cents a piece where I go. Yes, I am the mad woman rummaging noisily through the cutlery boxes everywhere I go. I even start eyeing up the relatives cutlery and plates. I am shameless. The old picnic basket cost me $5 at a car boot sale recently. I'm going to use it for my banner stuff. I have so many projects on the go, and don't like those very practical but ugly plastic boxes. This will do for now.

Then I found some vintage wool fabric which I first thought of giving away because its metres of the stuff and it cost me only $15. However, I have since read this post by one of my favourite bloggers, Amanda of Soulemama and am inspired to finally have a go at reading a pattern and making a dress. There is a really good sewing course that I have done run at the local college in Tawa. The lady there takes you through the beginners steps (done that) and then you return with any pattern and make your own stuff during her class. Its a night class once a week and will work for me as a full time mama. I love Luellen, she's such a good tutor, its affordable and she keeps it all real. She worked for Massey University in the textiles department but has a real community spirit and heart. I love me some good people with plenty of heart.

There was some lovely cream yarn and vintage cotton, all for $5. I couldn't pass it up could I. I'm making a new hat for me from the cream yarn and some more of those cool crochet flannels like the ones seen here. I picked up all three for $1 at a funny little shop in Petone on the weekend. It was a treasure trove of things.

Yes, I'm getting older and I feel the cold so much now. Our home is not new and therefore very cold in winter. I love the old vintage wool carpet that keeps wee feet warm. (I know people are ripping this stuff out in favour of wooden floors but we love this carpet). I love our eco-heaters which run 24-7 at the worse parts of winter. I love my beanies and scarves and wool coats. I am especially grateful for some hand me down merino tops which a friend gave me last week. Those things are magic!

Yesterday eighty people visited and three people left comments. That is the norm say my bloggy mates. Ok. So I shall assume you are all super busy, knitting, running your families, businesses and what not, but if u can please leave a wee note below so I can acknowledge you mystery readers, I'd be so grateful cos I don't quite believe the traffic reports and feel the need to verify this for myself.  Thanks so much.

Do go op shopping people, there's so much goodness out there for next to nothing. We don't really need to keep manufacturing new gimmicky things all the time, its so wasteful and when I read the report of our wharfies who were all fired because they wanted permanent contracts, not casual, it breaks my heart. We are responsible with our careless consumerism for keeping people in poverty. For not spending our money wisely. We make a difference when we are intentional about what we own. It really bothers me that manufacturers make appliances that have a life of five years, about the time the warranty runs out. They are not concerned with quality so much as getting more dollars out of our pockets. Its manipulative and we are at their mercy with our need for more appliances.

Its why I love second hand things, its why I have no problem selling vintage goods because its just another way of recycling things that have heaps of life left in them. Its a smart way to save your family money and pick up awesome stuff to do up your house, wardrobe and life with. I'm probably preaching to the converted but do you also consider doing your present shopping there? I love that most of my friends bring me vintage stuff. My mum gave me the most awesome quilt she found in an op shop for $5 for my son's first birthday. I love that quilt, with its little marks. The cotton is so soft after the numerous washings and use it had already had, before it came to live at our house. And its handmade. Someone somewhere made choices about the fabrics used, for the baby it was first intended for.

Two of my favourite things. Handmade and secondhand. If you are a novice op shopper, find someone who knows how to navigate those stores. I often hear complaints 'its too expensive', 'I went and all I saw was junk' and indeedy, it can look like that, unless you know what to look for. See every store has its strength. If you find a store with lots of strengths, then that's awesome. Some will have awesome kitchenware, or textiles, or furniture, or childrens clothes, or books. They are not one size fits all.

I have a mental list of what my family needs. Shoes for this person, hoodies for this kid, books for that person, etc. It is opportunity shopping (hence the kiwi phrase op shops) because you just have to make the most of the opportunities that come your way. If I'm unsure about something I might leave it. I have to love it to take it, or know I will use it. I have taken things that I've thought might or might not fit one of us, with the thought that if it doesn't, its too good a deal to leave behind, and I'm happy to pass it on to someone else. 

I'm a gatherer, a treasure hunter, yes, an opportunist of bargains and good finds. Its not uncommon for me to put my wee stack of goods down (usually in the shop baskets they provide) only to turn around and find someone fossicking through my stuff! lol. I usually give it unless I really need it. I believe one develops an eye after a while. I love my vintage dresses, furniture, and goods. I have a plethora of collections that aid me as a maker and designer. And its affordable and within our one income family budget.

Indeed my husband when we were first married took me to a Salvation Army store, handed me his card and said 'go wild baby, whatever you want, its yours'. He does love my thrifty ways and encourages me to head out. He even comes with me now, especially now that we have a small vintage stall. He is starting to develop a very good eye himself and he gets pretty excited over things like old typewriters and prints. ;)

Yes, thrifting is very much a way of life for us and has been my whole life. My children have resigned themselves to the fact that 'I'll just be a minute' can turn into an hour. But I bring snacks and handheld games for my lads because I am a smart mama. They will sometimes venture out. My 9 year olds favourite find were his metal army ammo boxes for $5. He loves those things even though I threaten to chuck them out because everywhere I turn, there they are underfoot.

Ok, I'm headed off to visit my dear friend Shells who has finally moved into her beautiful handmade house on a hill. You can read all about it here. She's one half of this business Lovely Sweet William with her equally talented sister Paula. I am taking myself off to the country for the afternoon. There's about five thrift shops on the way. I hope I get there. ;)


Sweetpea said...

I am going to stop and say, "HELLO!" I often read your blog (think I found you through miz Flint), but I usually read it through Google Reader so the stats would not show up that I visited - so am I number 81? ;>]] Sorry I haven't spoken up before...I do sooo enjoy my visits here. Goodness me, you are an awesome op shopper - I could certainly learn a thing or two!!

Kay said...

Delurking briefly. I love op shopping and enjoy watching your art, here and on pinterest. Kay

Flower said...

That Crown Lynn is beautiful, I can't believe you'r G-ma used to work there! That is awesome! I bought some Crown Lynn tea cups in that beautiful teal blue they did today, I'm intending on filling them with my men's shaving soap to sell at markets but I don't know if I can bring myself to part with them!

Lynley said...

Just a hi - I don't usually comment because I don't have much that's interesting to say! I think we had a jug like those soup bowls ...

Deckhand said...

Hi. I am a regular reader of your blog.

Could you list the op shops you like to visit please?

I am enjoying the Mary Potter hospice op shop in Porirua right now.

I blog over at: http://ordinarygood.wordpress.com and http://koruknits.wordpress.com

Your post view numbers are great and lots of bloggers seem to get just a handful of commenters. I have a few regular commenters. Keep up the good work:-)

Anonymous said...

You are a woman after my own heart...I am a die hard thrifter from way back. We also share two very special friends in common - Aleena and Lou :)
I have popped by in the past a few times to get my fill of the beautiful Bay..oh how I miss that place. Am heading back in August for a bit and can't wait. Will definitely be getting in on the thrifting action while I am there.

Anonymous said...

Hello...I'm a new follower, but I read you wanted to hear from readers of your blog! I sure know what you mean! I didn't even blog yesterday, and so far today I've had over 60 readers and no one has left a comment! LOL Either I didn't say anything important, or they were not chatty! That's okay though, because I think we blog for all kinds of reasons, and some of mine are just because I have a need to write and to share...and if someone reads it I'm happy! I'll finish checking out your blog now! ♥♥♥

Zeb said...

Heh came across this blog entry while doing a search for that sunflower design by Crown Lynn. It's so hard to find now, so hold on to them!