Thursday, October 30, 2008

Op-Shop Thursday End of an Era

No face today! That's because I managed to reach new levels of dishevellment and plain old grubbiness - mud on my nose, cobwebs in my hair, garden dirt under my nails, no makeup at all (not even my usual panda eyeliner) and hair which was washed but not even combed. We did some really serious house moving hard labour, and things are starting to get kind-of, sort-of, almost something approaching organised. I'm sitting here in a room which is virtually devoid of furniture (I'm perching on the little dude's chair with three cushions piled on top so I can reach the keyboard), with large cardboard boxes looming on all sides and a strange night-before-christmas feeling of anticipation bubbling up in my tummy.

The only place I actually showed my grungy face today was the op-shop on the corner. I lugged a HUGE bag of stuff down there (as well as Alister's old guitar and case for Bill the semi-reformed alcoholic former street person who does all their deliveries and heavy lifting and restores guitars in his spare time), and said lots of farewells to all my favourite people. I'm really going to miss that place, as much for the lovely friendships I've made as for the legendary fifty cent bin. I was unable to resist buying just a few things - like this tie-dyed eighties shirt from Bali ($2) which some enterprising soul has sewed a little fake Lacoste logo on. I really love this shirt for its pattern, colours and floppy fabric - and although I probably should unpick that little alligator I like the utter preposterousness of it too much!

The other shirt I bought is this linen blouse (fifty cents) - with its dear little ruffles and lace edged sleeves it's the ladylike opposite to the roguish alligator shirt. Less swagger and more sweetheart - just look at those lovely details:

The other thing I bought definitely falls on the swaggering side of the scale though. These shredded jeans are one of those terrible/wonderful items - I watched about five people pick them up and inspect them carefully then put them back on the rack with a shake of the head, as if to say "Those are really dreadful, but I kind of like them. Or maybe I don't. Or maybe...Nah."

No face, and no feet either. No one needs to see my little muddy bare hobbit feet.

I just flat out liked them though, so I paid the five bucks. They actually look a lot better in person (my husband said "Rock and ROLL, baby" when he saw me in them) than they do in this photo but they are definitely pretty damn heinous. Being the contrary beast that I am, that only makes me love them more.

I actually think they work pretty well with the linen librarian blouse too:

Now I need to go and lie on our soon to be dismantled bed and try to switch off the endless to-do list in my mind long enough to get some sleep in preparation for the massive cleaning blitz which starts tomorrow...

PS. I have to relate this spooky thing that happened today. Last night I dreamt that I had a new job as production manager on a claymation series of Noddy - which had been made in the UK but now had to be re-voiced for Australia. I have no idea where the hell any of that came from, there has been no discussion of re-voicing in this house for at least a year, and I don't think I've laid eyes on Noddy for at least twenty five years (and never liked it much as a child anyway).

Today at the op-shop I was idly chatting to a woman who I have never exchanged more than vague pleasantries with before, and she said to me "Have you seen the Noddy frame?" and pointed over to a framed Noddy print which was on the "NOT FOR SALE" table. Judging by the style of the frame I'd say the print dated from the late fifties and was probably quite collectible. I've never seen one like it in an op-shop before. I was totally amazed that it had turned up after my dream, so I started telling this woman about it - and she said "Oh, that's what I do." I looked sort of quizzical so she said "I do voiceover, mostly re-voicing overseas stuff." Cue astonishment from me!

Does this make me some kind of op-shopping psychic?

Monday, October 27, 2008


Straw hat - $25 Bondi markets
Ken Done eighties scarf (on hat) - 25cents garage sale
Pink cotton eighties knit top - 50cents op-shop
Chambray shorts - 50cents op-shop
Suede leather studded sandals - $30 (reduced from $100) Sportsgirl

Hello! You probably don't remember me, but I used to blog around here once upon a time back in the olden days.

Things are hectic in our household (to say the least) with less than a week to go until we pack up the whole kit and caboodle and move interstate, but I thought I should stick my head up and say a tiny hello. Most of my clothes (and scarves and jewellery and all the rest) are packed now, so the outfits I've been wearing (and not posting) are of a similar scintillating quality to that one above. Thoroughly boring but entirely suitable for packing boxes, cleaning on the top of cupboards (the horror!), pulling junk out from under the bed, gardening and a myriad of other house-emptying chores.

The moving business has been keeping me busy (and boringly dressed), and the general super levels of stress and insomnia associated with that have certainly contributed to my lack of blogging and commenting, but the thing which has kept me locked down in my cone of silence this past week or so has been that dreaded beast, the breast lump. After some doctorly consternation, various scans, two biopsies and much prodding the lump has been declared benign - but only after striking fear into my heart of a most particular kind. This is not my first brush with the lump monster, but it was by far the scariest - and until it was resolved I did not feel much like speaking to anyone at all.

It's a funny thing - generally speaking I am not at all backward about coming forward with the way I'm feeling. I once read a really terrible press release for a Poison concert video where some misguided fool described the show as being "like an explosion in a paint factory." Putting aside the fact that an explosion in a paint factory would mostly look like any other kind of explosion (ie. kind of rubbly and probably a bit fiery), I think it's a pretty good description of my default personality setting. Fairly explosive, and decidedly colourful. When I'm faced with genuine fear, danger or difficulties though I go quiet, very quiet and very, very efficient. It's a legacy of my repressed anglo cultural heritage, and it's the only way I know how to handle those situations.

I am not capable of taking a coyly-looking-over-the-shoulder-shot without it looking like I've just finished doing a stand-up pee.

The first time I ever had dealings with a breast lump (now, that's a rite of passage to womanhood that we could all do without) I was in my early twenties and I vividly remember going off to the public breast clinic to have an ultrasound. The waiting room was full of older ladies, about half of whom were greek or italian or lebanese women - clad in their headscarves and widow's weeds. They dealt with their fear and anxiety by loudly saying the rosary, or wailing, and they met bad news with explosions of emotion, hair tearing and chest beating. Meanwhile the anglo ladies just sat silently (tight of perm and even tighter of lip) and knitted furiously. It was a strange little moment of self-discovery for me, recognising myself as a silent knitter - rather than the tempestuous creature I'd always thought of myself as.

Anyway, then as now I was lucky and my fears were allayed - but to everyone out there whose fears were realised, everyone who is really dealing with breast cancer I wish you the strength and courage and love you need to help you make it through.

PS. It was pink ribbon day here in Australia yesterday (yes, the pink top was no coincidence) but every day is a day where we can help make a contribution to the fight against breast cancer.
PPS. To all those very lovely people who have tagged me (Hammie, I'm looking directly at you) I have not forgotten those taglets, and they will be attended to just as soon as I can get back to some kind of regular blogging schedule.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Not Drowning, Waving!


Apologies for the intermittent posting around here at the moment - things are just a wee bit chaotic with the moving interstate and all. I'll be away for a couple of days this week as well, doing a reconnaissance mission to the new neighbourhood.

The mayhem is unlikely to stop until we're settled into our new house, but I'll do my best to get a post up here and there in the meantime.

Love you all lots!


Friday, October 17, 2008

Leopard Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Grey Wish dress - $2 op-shop
Blue Ikat silk scarf - $1 op-shop
Grey leather Mogil boots - $8 op-shop

I have a pretty solid case of New Stuff Syndrome today which is so much nicer than Mystery Seasickness Virus, that's for sure. It is a little bit boring for you lot though - since this dress and these boots have already been seen in my last two posts. Sometimes new things are just jumping up and down begging for me to wear them straight away, and I am powerless to resist their pleas because I'm in the grip of the Syndrome and must wear my new stuff IMMEDIATELY. "Saving for best" and "delayed gratification" are two concepts which I generally disdain (although they are very worthy and I should in fact embrace them both), which makes me easy prey for the insidious NSS microbe.

I am actually in the process of packing up my wardrobe in preparation for our move (which is now about two weeks away), so I am sorting and sifting through a whole lot of old stuff today. This leopard print dress is wavering between the Stay garbage bag and the Go garbage bag, I've taken it out of one or the other at least three times now - so I think it's time I turned to the experts for an opinion.

Please ignore the ugly shoes - I just threw those on for height.

It has a little dab of sentimental attachment which is helping its cause - I wore it to the wrap party of my husband's first feature film - but I also wore it constantly when I was pregnant with the little dude (with a tank top underneath) which means I got very, very sick of the sight of it by the end of that nine months. Not to mention I waddled around in it looking something like an overstuffed bordello sofa with a head. If it wasn't made out of some kind of uber-polyester which has a half life of twenty million years and emits great clouds of toxic fumes if you expose it to heat, I'm sure I would have been tempted to burn it, along with my other maternity clothes. All this baggage (both good and bad) is clouding my judgement on this frock, so I need to know should it stay or should it go?

Points for Staying:
- This thing is years old now, but "they" are still trying to bring the maxi-dress into fashion. Dresses almost identical to this one are on sale in shops round here right now so presumably it's still reasonably on trend (ugh to that phrase).
- Leopard print is one of my longtime loves. I don't have much in my wardrobe at the moment (I go through phases where there's lots of it though), so the dress is a nice touch of leopard in a leopard drought.
-Despite the polyester-ness it's actually very slinky and nice to wear, and I feel quite the sex kitten prowling around in it.

Points for Going:

- I can imagine Paris Hilton posing cheesily while wearing this with a whole raft of shiny pink or white accessories, and possibly a diamante tiara.
- I'm only 5"2, I'm not sure that maxi-dresses and I were really designed for each other. Are we in Stumpytown here?
- Is it just a wee bit tarty looking? Or maybe a lot tarty looking?
- There's leopard print, and then there's Peggy Bundy leopard print, perhaps this one falls on the Bundy side of the equation?

Tell me what you think so I can make a decision about the damn dress and get back to my packing!

PS. I hope you are all having a splendiferous weekend...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Op-Shop Thursday - Shack Attack!

Chambray skirt - $7.50 Supre bargain basement
Silk eighties top - $5 garage sale
Mother of pearl ring - $15 Bondi markets
Zoe Witner tan leather sandals - $2 op-shop

Please note: I'm making the most of my last couple of op-shop thursdays, so I must apologise in advance for the fact that there are about a bazillion photos in this post.

I was obviously in certain kind of mood today - because everything I bought at the oppy today goes with everything I am wearing today. It's almost like a capsule wardrobe - you'll see what I mean shortly - where (in the words of the old Sussans jingle) this goes with this goes with that goes with this goes with that etc ad infinitum. There's definitely an eighties flavour (no surprises there), and definitely a nostalgic vibe which reminds me of my chambray-clad teenage surfie chick days. Soft colours and soft summer breezes!

First up were a couple of leather eighties belts (I always check the belts first since they're right by the front door), for a dollar each. The first one is exactly the kind of belt I wore circa 1987, it's possibly against some kind of natural law of physics to belt any garment with this which isn't chambray:

A dear little crochet bolero (fifty cents) :

Two camisoles for fifty cents each - pale yellow sheer Veronka Maine cami layered over a shell pink silk charmeuse cami. Gelati colours which are perfect together (mmmm, lemon and peach flavour perhaps - I can hear the gelateria calling my name)!

White cotton lycra eighties scoop neck and back top (fifty cents), again almost illegal to team it with anything other than chambray - but I'm sure I'll come up with some law-breaking outfits for it...

This soft chamois leather skirt (really wanted to type "shammy" but managed to stop myself) is three sizes too big for me, but with the drawstring waist I made it into a puffy-ish skirt instead of the nineties hipster beast it is meant to be.

I could probably hack another inch off the hem too, and I think it could use a belt - but for two bucks I'm pretty pleased with it. Of course if it had turned out to be a disaster there was always this option left:

This little silvery grey dress by Wish ($2) is the kind of versatile piece I don't have enough of. I can picture this belted, but it's fine on its own - a throw on and go number if ever I saw one!

I even wore it as a top with the chamois skirt (see what I mean about the capsule wardrobe thing?):

The last thing on my list (and you'll be breathing a sigh of relief knowing this epic is drawing to a close) is this wool pashmina type thing ($1).

It does work as a scarf, and if we were heading into winter I'd be very happy to have it, but I actually picked it up today because it's big enough to be put to work in a few other ways as well. For example: throwing over the windows as a temporary curtain in our newly leased beach shack...

Yay! Despite my seasick state of the last few days I managed to extend my tentacles out enough to organise this little wooden shack for us to move into in Queensland. It's a bit battered by age (by my dad's account, since he went and inspected it for us) and rough around the edges but with three bedrooms, a big grassy backyard for the little dude, and timber floors (I have a deep seated aversion to carpeted floors, it's another one of those quirks) it will suit us fine for the summer. Not to mention it's only a couple of blocks from this...

So now I think my op-shop haul makes perfect sense - it's the beach shack capsule collection!


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Green Around the Gills

Country Road grey marle ribbed singlet - 50cents op-shop
Sarong worn as scarf - $1 op-shop
Yellow tie dyed scarf - my dad got me in India a couple of years ago
Floral silk skirt - made by me from eighties dress $8 op-shop
Mogil leather ankle boots - $8 op-shop

Have you ever been really seasick? The kind where the whole room spins around you every time you move your head (or even your eyes), and if you so much as sit up you'll vomit from the sheer dizziness? Kind of like an inner-ear infection but without the projectile chundering, or the worst hangover you ever had but without the fun bit first? If you've been there, then you have my sincerest sympathies! I am just re-surfacing (only just and only in a shaky sort of way) after four days of a mysterious seasickness virus which kept me flat on my back and utterly unable to function. Apparently it's going around the neighbourhood, just one of those strange unidentified bugs which sweeps through town leaving a wave of green gilled misery in its wake.

I'm gradually returning to a state somewhere west of normal, hopefully soon I can shake the feeling that my head is a bowling ball balanced precariously on my shoulders and connected to my body only by a thin and tenuous cord. That might explain the fact that I'm wearing not one, but two BIG scarves today - to help anchor my bowling ball head in place!

I can't explain the profusion of colours and patterns, perhaps it's just a legacy of four days of dizziness and strange wild nightmares? Actually I think it might be just that I need a bit of bright colour on a day where my complexion is about the same shade of grey as the sky, my singlet and my new boots.

These boots are so cute, with that kooky eighties distressed looking leather, (although they're actually brand new) - and the best part is that they have never been worn, not even tried on as far as I can tell. The grey leather reminds me a little of river stones, and they absolutely made my day when I found them this morning in the usually horribly overpriced St Vincent de Paul shop.

By rights I should have eschewed the little flat pixie boots and teamed this long skirt with some towering heels - but I am swaying enough already without adding heels into the equation. Being 5"2 I have never been a habitual long skirt wearer. There have been a handful of much-loved ankle length skirts in my wardrobe over the years - but on the whole I tend to avoid them. The fashion cycle brings them back every few years, (when the stockmarket goes down so do hems according to that old saw) and I only occasionally dabble, but I think this silk skirt (also seen here in dress form) is almost trend-proof because of it's intricate cut and strong print. See how the wind picks up the mermaid shape here:

I love it!

It really is good to be back in a vertical position, but now I'd better go and do some of the approximately nine thousand household chores and moving related errands that I didn't do over the last four days...

PS. I have had a very quick look to see what everyone on my blogroll has been up to - I will endeavour to have a better look and do a commenting blitzkrieg tonight (or maybe tomorrow morning if I start to get seasick again). Thank you so much for your good wishes - I've missed you all madly!

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Sorry for the interruption to normal programming around here. I'm a trifle unwell at the moment (ie. flat on my back in bed for the last two days while my poor husband wrangles the little dude singlehandedly).

Hope to be back on deck soon!


Thursday, October 9, 2008


Eighties dress - Etsy (can't remember how much, but it was too much)
Black suede sandals - $30 Sportsgirl sale

This eighties dress is my one and only Etsy purchase ever, and I spent waaaaay more on it than I should have because I:

a. was impulse buying in a fairly uncharacteristic way
b. forgot to factor in the exchange rate when I clicked to purchase
c. was shivering away in the depths of winter dreaming of a time when a brightly coloured summer dress would be just the thing.
d. all of the above.

The print is pretty unbeatable though - so I feel like it was almost worth the foolish expenditure. I'm not quite sure what's going on amongst that riot of colour, but there seem to be battle elephants and people with spears and shields and axes and some kind of diving oxen - so at first I thought is was Hannibal crossing the alps. That doesn't explain the (purple) giraffes or the flames though, so maybe it's some kind of kooky eighties riff on tribal/safari? It doesn't really matter - it had me at "battle elephants".

The dress also has one of those sneaky little keyhole cutouts in the back, I do like those. When I was a teenager in the actual eighties I would have preferred that cutout to encompass the whole back of the dress, or maybe the midriff area, and preferably both, but now I think I'm happy to just have the bit between my shoulder blades on display.

That's me looking out to make sure that the security patrol at the synagogue across the road hasn't sent anyone over to check what I'm up to again. It's Yom Kippur so they've understandably amped up their security, and yesterday I aroused suspicion with my camera and tripod. A sheepish youth was despatched to cross the road and check on my activities. The exchange went like this:

Sheepish Youth (very sheepishly): Um, can I ask what you're taking photos of?

Me (annoyingly perky): Me!

Sheepish Youth (in manner of hard hitting interrogator, except way more sheepish): Really? Why would you take photos of yourself?

Me: It's for my blog.

Sheepish Youth (discombobulated): Oh. Ah, so it's for your blog?

Me: Yes.

Sheepish Youth (memorising information to tell whoever sent him over in the first place): Ok. For your blog. Ok.

I was tempted to mess with him a little but that would have been too mean (and truthfully the synagogue security patrol is unfortunately all too necessary) - not to mention I couldn't think of anything quickly enough. What other possible explanation can you come up with for a small slightly eccentrically dressed woman to be taking her own photo in the street in the middle of the afternoon? Answers please!

I do feel a little like this is what any visitor to my blog is getting at the moment - but I promise that once the crazy relocation shenanigans are over and the dust has settled then full blogging service will resume. Double super promise with cherries on top!