Apr 28, 2020

Lock-Down Cravings.

The total Covid-19 Lock-down in NZ, at level 4, was lifted during the night. Now we are at level 3 again, hopefully for just 2 weeks. Hopefully all will go well, as in no spikes of the virus.
Today lots of people around the country had their first taste of take-away food again...
That is not what I crave. 
I would love to go on an op-shop spree... however those will not open for some time to come.
Nor would I feel comfortable in there as yet.
I do hope everyone is having a good clean-out, hahaha!

Add caption
Luckily I had kept my last pre-lock-down week of thrifted treasures in paper bags, untouched,
as I had gotten squeamish about touching the second-hand things at the time. While I was alone today, with my man being back at work (in a covid-19 safe way), I unpacked the bags at last, and had the same thrill as when I bought them.
I had found quite a few vintage books, some I bought, some in the free box. Love this red book cover. Vintage keys, carved bone rose earrings, and a gentian flower. I really liked the fabric off-cut, prints of insects, botanicals and natural finds, just enough material for a new art-book cover or for the inside covers.
The plastic little horse is the third one I have found, I wonder if those came with a bottle of liquor or something similar.

I also found books that I will pull apart for their contents, such as this new Victorian style photo album. I could achieve a lovely antique patina with sandpaper, inks and vintage papers. The illustration of the birds' nest is from a Nature Journal book, with gorgeous nature drawings on every page, a great find.
The bottom book has already been dismantled, with many sturdy pages of beautifully shot photos.

Other cheap Book Arts/ Collage Supplies came in the form of bird-of-prey illustrations, an empty garden diary, several empty notebooks, so easy to dismantle for the use of the pages in a handbound book. A stack of brown paper bags, and old library lending cards will add a neat vibe in a hand made book.
I treated myself to a new pack (yes from a retail shop, as serviettes don't come secondhand..)  of gorgeous botanical serviettes, frankly those are ridiculously expensive! But look so good melted into the background of a collage. These had wild flowers and honey bees printed on them.

My eye is always drawn to old embroidered linens, but I get picky about the quality of embroidery. I don't care about holes and rips in the old fabric, but the embroidery must be done nicely and finely.
I like filled satin-stitched flowers in bright colours. First they go in a bucket of fabric sanitiser to soak, then washed gently, and steam-ironed from the back. It is about the only ironing I do.
Pah!, who wants to do housework, when there are all these projects to make..
The silvery necklace isn't silver, and not a single link has all its diamanté's, but it just the right kind of worn vintage look I like. Same with the shabby faux pearl necklace. But the triple bracelet at the top is made of real egg-shaped irregular pearls, which can all be used in different ways.

More books were found in that week before the lock-down, most for free outside a secondhand bookshop. Gorgeous florals and botanical illustrations, an art book full of different paintings, and delicious vintage covers with raised patterns. The short-hand manual also has loads of pages great for back grounds, all those little scribbles. There are still people that know how to use that secretary code. Actually when I arrived in NZ you could still take typing and shorthand classes at school.

These books have already been relieved of their stories, Daisy was a particularly irksome tale and saccharine sweet. The wonderful holiday is a great title for a travel journal, don't you think?

A long sari veil, and tatted lace, just because. The long gold-tone brooch can be re-used and would look great in a necklace. But the hoop earrings are for myself, just as they are, in sterling silver. Tell you what, the serviettes from before could have paid for 3 sets of those earrings!
Hurrah, for fossicking! I feel I have satisfied a bit of op-shop cravings, for now...

Apr 3, 2020

A Watercolour De-Stress Kit.

  ...So we are on the 9th day of lockdown and social distancing in New Zealand, due to the dreaded virus. I am getting used to having my hubby home all day. We've been going for walks (in our 2 people 'bubble') everyday, and doing bits and pieces around the house. The drain in the bathroom is draining again, the garden is starting to look like we have a gardener in the house, and his pile of 'to read' books has dwindled by 6 already. 
Today I took my courage and a mask, and did the groceries. Which I found anxiety producing...
Yesterday I wiped away those recurring feelings by making a watercolour de-stress kit for our Daughter.
I had recently been tidying and found a set of watercolour paint-tubes, that had belonged to my dear late friend N. I had also been looking at travel art-sets on Pinterest, and I put the 2 ideas together.
BUT what to put the paint into, what with all other shops closed except supermarkets and pharmacies. I found a vintage Strepsil tin, which much be pretty vintage, as I can not remember Strepsel lozenges in a tin. I emptied it of pins and buttons, it was still pretty clean. 
Then found another idea on Pinterest! A solution; metal self-cover buttons! 
Well as it happens, I have a shoebox full of those, every time I see them in an opshop I buy them, for making brooches with vintage embroideries.

vintage tin and vintage self-cover buttons.

Most of them were white plastic, but there were a few cards in the right size made of metal. I undid the shanks with some pliers, 12 little button covers fitted into the tin, perfect!
using E6000 glue 
 I used E6000 glue to attach the little cups into the tin. I always have that in the house, handy glue.
extracting the watercolour paint from the old tubes
 Extracting the paint was a bit more bothersome, as some had gone quite gluggy, lids needed soaking in order to loosen them, and other tubes had dried up. I took the cutter to those, opened the tube, and cut off a little slice to fit into a cup, stuck down with a little glue stick. Once the paint gets used the paint will stick by it self. With watercolours it doesn't matter if the paint has dried, it still works the same. Room was left for 3 extra colours that were not there, yellow-green, dark-blue and white. In the meantime you could mix those, or use extra water to lighten the hue.
adding the rest of requirements to the kit
Then I scoured my work-room for the rest of the kit. First a box to put it all in, this 1 had a magnetic side closure, and pretty flowers on it.
A bunch of different brushes to play with, black and white ink pens for doodling, a water misting pen to wet the paper with.
Some thick serviettes for cleaning excess paint, a stack of watercolour paper cut to a non-daunting size.
 From my stash of preserving jars 2 tiny glass jars that actually fitted into the box, a Youtube address of 'watercolour for beginners' tutorials, and the colour's sample card, which I waterproofed with sellotape.
(And in case you are worried, everything had been wiped down, and I kept washing my hands during making this kit.)
the kit fits into an old envelopeand notepaper box.
After I had done the groceries, -were I picked up a roll of medical paper tape, to make nice white edges around the painting, and to stop the wet paper from buckling-, my De-Stress Watercolour Kit was complete. And popped it into Daughter's letterbox.
I hope she'll play with mark making and colours.

Jan 8, 2020

Sustainable Opshop Fashions.

The first week of 2020, and the local opportunity-shops have opened again. Most volunteers like to spend the Festive Season at home, but now they have restocked their shelves, and I like to visit those nearby on my list. I scored very well on nice clothes, and, as I usually go on about vintage books and jewellery, I thought I'd give you a little fashion show.
I have a lot of clothes, mostly recycled like this, and lately I look for natural long-lasting materials, like linen. Garments I can wear for years to come.

 I am loving the layered (or "lagen") look. Very easy to create too.
A mustard coloured tunic, 100% linen. (Two-fold opshop, Columba church, Taradale, $8 )
This was my most expensive item for the day, and I will probably take out the sleeves, as they pull a little.
Teamed here with a brown cotton skirt, covered with white embroidered leaves. (St.Vincent de Paul, Napier, $1)

A pink 100% Silk, fringed scarf, with some yellow and brown print. (St.Augustine church $0.50)
Bracelet with faux pearls and green handblown glass beads (Salvation Army store, Greenmeadows $1) and from the same shop a vintage pin with pink ceramic forget-me-nots, ($3)

A pleasing rusty-red dress, just past the knees-length, with side splits, adjustable straps, and -oh joy- POCKETS. Made from a viscose linen blend. (Red Cross shop, Onekawa, $5)
A long cotton scarf in my favourite sky blue, printed with silver dragonflies. (Twofold opshop, Taradale, $3) Saw it, grabbed it immediately. Gorgeous.

Accessories to go with this outfit, are vintage clip-on earrings with real slices of natural geodes, (Greenmeadows Sallies, $2) and a silver tone necklace with a carved bone pendant (Taradale Sallies, $5).

A pair of wide 3 quarter pants, in red linen and viscose blend, (Twofold opshop, Taradale $5)
With a white v-neck t-shirt (Savemart, Ahuriri,$3.99) and the blue scarf.

The earrings as before, but now with a vintage brooch, goldtone with teal Austrian crystals, (Sallies, Greenmeadows, $3)
 Here is the mustard tunic again, this time teamed with oatmeal coloured linen drawstring pants (Twofold opshop,  Taradale $4.50) Brown raw silk scarf (St.Augustine church, $1)
My faces' skin colour does not like to be teamed by too much yellow, so if I wear a different colour scarf, this seems to stop people asking me if I'm alright...hahaha.

The same combination but now accessorised with light-blue.
Lightweight blue and white sandals with a slight heel, (Red Cross, Napier, $7)

And the mustard tunic again, but now with the red pants and pink scarf, and a pair of red Rieker shoes. (Red Cross, Napier $7)
So, there you go. Comfortable and inexpensive clothes, easy on the wallet, eye and landfill.
I hope you liked shopping with me!