Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Op Shopping Tips

I love to go or op-shopping (aka thrifting). I've been doing it for quite a few years now and in two different countries -Australia and Germany. Some might say I love it a little too much -I even went op-shopping on my honeymoon! With my husband of course :-)

After reading some other bloggers takes on the do's and do not's (some of which I agreed with and some of which I didn't), I wanted to share some of my tips for you to keep in mind for successful op shopping/thrifting.

Thrifted Shoes

Op Shopping / Thrifting Tips

Don't be afraid to dig! Although many op shops today are lifting their game (and their prices) with regards to the display and sorting of their stock, many are also charities which are not the best in this area, so it really pays to have a look through everything. To me this can be part of the fun. That perfect bag might be on the bottom of a pile of terrible bags. That really sweet babydoll dress might be in the kids section!

Check for major flaws, especially if you are not someone who's great with stain removal or handy with a needle and thread (or if you just know you will never get around to fixing stuff!). There's nothing worse than getting home with your new dress and finding a huge rust stain or snag you didn't see earlier.  I have a huge pile of clothes which need to be fixed and have come to realise its better for me not to pick up things which need a little TLC as I'd rather spend my time on other pursuits.

Have an idea of what you are looking for.
Before you go, work out what pieces you'd love to find. Are you looking for a summer dress? A winter coat? leather belt, handbag etc..  This helps with direction so you don't end up with stuff which your wardrobe just doesn't need. This also helps if you are visiting one of those huge stores where you could spend all week digging through everything! BUT don't necessarily limit yourself to the things on your mental or physical list (unless you are lucky to be thrifting somewhere big) -you might find thrift gold but its not something on your list. If it fits and you love it, you know you'll wear it and the price is right then Woot!! This is what thrifting is all about :-)

Know your favourite fabrics and colours.
Again this is for direction but it will also mean you will love your clothes more. Love silk? Get to know how it feels and you can run your hand along a rack of clothes and narrow it down to the silk ones. Prefer synthetics because they are easier to wash? Get to know the feel and look for those.  Keeping in mind the colours which suit you means you are more likely to end up with clothes which you look fabulous in! I love pink but I have rosy pink cheeks so its not a good colour for me to wear. So when thrifting I try to keep my eye out for more flattering hues such as blues and greens.

Try things on. This may seem obvious but its not worth buying something if it doesn't fit like a dream. So you found an amazing dress, but it doesn't quite fit you right, unless you are great at alterations or are going to display it -leave it. If its something easily fixable like the hem needs shortening and you're a wizz with a sewing machine then go for it! If not, my advice is leave it for someone else and the thrifting karma gods will smile on you another time.

Go often if you can
Things are always coming and going in these stores so by going often you increase your chances of finding something awesome.

Pick your Shop/s
Different thrift stores have different vibes. Church affiliated shops tend to be a lot cheaper in my experience, as they are run for charity by volunteers. But they are also often smaller and less well organised. Stores will often reflect the areas they are in. For example in swankier suburbs the residents will be more likely to donate better quality stuff.

Have fun with it!
Go with a friend if you can, smile, laugh at some of the outrageous/terrible clothes you'll see.
Have fun and feel good that you are reducing by re-using, saving your money and most likely helping out a charity!


Saturday, 19 January 2013

Drink Write Wear See on Etsy

Etsy Spotlight!

Drink from this vintage coffee pot which has been given new life with some quirky nature inspired prints. I love the cute little fox. From Studio Robin Pieterse.

Write or draw something pretty in this amazing marbled hand-bound book. From Katy Goutefangea.

Wear these yummy wine hued geo earrings from A Merry Mishap.

See a beautiful hand cut silhouette of love birds on your wall from Silhouettes by Carolin.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Sneak Peak

Here's a little sneak peak on something I've been trying out lately.  I listed this pair of shorts in the shop. They didn't go anywhere and I thought they needed something a little extra, a little personalisation. Enter me and my crochet hook....

What do you think?

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Further Crochet Adventures

I made this as a gift for an almost-3 year old daughter of a friend of mine. I remembered seeing somewhere a crocheted crown and thought that would make a great present. So I gathered some inspiration and then I attempted my first crown. I made it with some thick acrylic yarn I had, but I made it way too big -it fit my husband! And the thick yarn wasn't giving the look I wanted so I went hunting for some more suitable wool/yarn.  I wanted some yellow or gold however the selection locally isn't huge and I didn't have time to go further afield but I found this hot pink yarn with sparkly thread in it. I love the addition of the sparkle but the wavy-ness of the yarn made it more difficult to work with (a heads up if you're thinking of trying it!).

This youtube video helped me get started on the crown. Video is great for learning! Especially as I haven't quite got the hang of following actual patterns yet (and I'm still confused by the european vs US terminology). And then although I can't quite follow a pattern yet I still understood enough of this free pattern to help give the points on the crown some extra definition.

I used the tutorial on youtube here for the star. She crochets way faster then me so I had to pause the video like a million times. I crocheted two stars and then just whip stitched them together leaving enough of a gap to push the wand handle in and secure with glue. The handle is made from three wooden kebab sticks, glued together and covered in the yarn. I thought it all came out pretty well and and I have video evidence the little girl loved it too!

Monday, 7 January 2013

Dukkah -Middle Eastern Dipping Spice

Dukkah (aka Dugga or Dukka) is an Egyptian spice mix and it is delicious!  I can't remember when I first came across it but it was somewhere in Australia. A short while ago I had some dry-roasted sesame seeds left over and I was wondering if there was something interesting I could do with them. Floating around in the back of my brain was this spice mix. I couldn't quite remember the name of it or the precise ingredients but a short look via google and I knew Dukkah was it.

Luckily enough I had the right ingredients on hand and quickly whipped up a batch. As I had already toasted the sesame seeds and I'm lazy I didn't toast any of the other ingredients but just crushed them and mixed them all together. I was a bit worried that it would taste too "raw" but it was yum! I do recommend making sure you toast the sesame seeds though as their flavour changes for the better after toasting. After finishing off that batch I thought it would make a perfect gift for a friend.

Dukkah is traditionally used as dipping spice. Take some fresh bread (turkish is great) dip into some olive oil (Extra virgin of course!) then dip into the spice mix and enjoy the flavour explosion.  I don't think it should be limited to a dipping spice for bread though and I've used it as a great addition to roast brusselsprouts and eggplant, and I've added it to salad wraps. I'm sure it would be great on loads of vegies and I've heard it's tasty on boiled eggs too.

Makes enough for around two jars -for you and a friend!
150 g Sesame seeds
100 g Hazelnuts
20 g Cumin seeds
20 g Coriander seeds
1 tsp Salt
10 g Peppercorns
10 g Dried Thyme or Mint (optional)
This is a recipe which you can really taste and adjust to your liking and the quantities here are just a guide.

Toast the sesame seeds in a hot dry fry-pan until light brown. Set aside.
Toast the hazelnuts, peppercorns, coriander and cumin seeds for about two minutes.
Combine all the ingredients and pulse in a food processor until combined and fine. Don't pulverise them to a paste, it should still be a coarse powder. Or smash the hazelnuts, cumin, coriander and peppercorns with a pestle and mortar and then combine all the ingredients.
Put into a pretty jar and enjoy!