Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Fortunate Finds

This week, and the next couple of weeks, are a sort of 'forced' lesson in budgeting, making do and being rather thrifty.  As my husband is a shearer his work is seasonal, meaning that the bulk of his work is done in the warmer months, so come winter it slows right down, and then towards the end of winter we have to live rather frugally, as the money we have made from selling our lambs and our wool is starting to whittle away.  We always get through, but each year it's a good lesson in how to get by when times are tight.  

At the end of this week I plan on showing you what I have been making for meals and snacks (this post idea comes from the lovely Stephanie) and how I manage with a limited budget and feeding a large family.

Anyway today my boys were all at either school or day care, so I decided it might be fun to take my little girl thrift shopping.  I had a limited budget (read whatever small change I could find in my car and handbag....surprisingly there was $20 in change) and I found a few wonderful treasures.
I gravitated towards the knitting and craft section, being a new found hobby of mine, and immediately discovered this amazingly beautiful hardcover book.  A tiny bit creased at the top of the dust jacket, but otherwise it is in pristine condition.  It is full of gorgeous vintage looking crafty projects and the most beautiful photography.  It was $1. 
Then I found this one which was also a $1....
Another craft book, it also has great photos, with a mix of vintage inspired things and lots of fun projects.  This one also comes with patterns, all neatly tucked away in an envelope in the front cover of the book.
Finally I found this, and nearly fell over, considering I'm right into vintage fashion now and learning to knit....
Fashion through from the 1940s (my favourite decade), and lots of lovely knitting patterns that are well above my skill level (yet...hopefully...) but one day I might be able to give them a go.  I especially love this green short sleeve knit top on the cover.  It shows photos from the original pattern as well as the patterns made up today.  The lady in the charity store didn't know how much it was, there was no price, so she tossed it in the bag for free.  What a lovely bonus!
My last four purchases were an apron, two dresses and a skirt.  The apron was $1.50, and something I've been thinking about getting for a while since I've started dressing up a bit every day and baking a lot.  I have kids and work with flour at home way too much to not have an apron!!  Anyway I'd been looking around but had been holding off because every one I saw was $30 and over...some were even over $60.  What!?!  I considered making one too but with fabric at around $25 a metre on average I didn't think this was much better.  I was very happy with this one.  So much so that I decided to snap myself being a '1950s happy 'off-my-face' with joy' housewife...kind of like this....
Am I close??
Ok, I'm weird, but I like my cheap apron, which I think I will practise my sewing skills on and jazz up a bit.
The skirt I bought needs to be trimmed and hemmed...because I'm 5 foot nothing basically, and with the massive amount of fabric that will be left over I am considering making pockets to sew onto it for a bit of decoration.  Not sure yet.  I'll have a fiddle and let you know. It has a pretty pale pink rose pattern on it and it was a bit hard to walk away from when I knew all I really need to do is shorten it.
Finally I found these two dresses for a steal at $4.  Not bad for loose car change!
This one I ummed and ahhed over, and finally went to try it on.  It has a shirt front, although I don't think it is supposed to button all the way up because this pink cami showing is actually part of the dress.  It has elastic around the middle and frankly I look a bit like a potato sack in it.  The pale pink is a bit washed out for me, but I loved the navy bird print.  Luckily I was wearing my blue cardigan today so I threw that on over the top and voila!  I was happy with this!  It's a little shorter than I would like really, but it's a chiffon type material and will be fine for summer.  (sorry about my blindingly white legs, my excuse is that it is winter over here....sunglasses anyone?)
This last dress has a very 1940s shape about it, a bit like the bird dress does with the cardigan.
This is another floaty material, a good one for the warmer weather, and has that real 1940s bust line going on, with the darts under the bust.  I always wear a cami top underneath everything...since having had four kids I feel more secure...so to speak....and I just happened to have this red one on today when I tried this dress on, which picked out the red flecks in the dress.  I thought it looked fine with this red cardigan (also a charity shop bargain), altogether making up a nice outfit.
Thrift shopping is not for everyone, and it's normally not something I do often, but when you are on a budget it is something worth considering.  I've had some wonderful finds, and knowing the quality of things that I have given away to op shops in the past, I know there is all sorts of high quality things out there to be recycled, up-cycled and given a new lease of life.  In today's world perhaps we should all consider it a lot more?
Have you had any great charity store finds lately?




  1. You are killing it with these thrift shop finds! I too always love scoping out my local thrift shops for unique pieces. Keep in mind those knitting books can double as decor too. (; They are so lovely. I really like the pale pink dress even with your fair skin. I too am pretty fair and pale pink is one of my favorite colors! Don't listen to people who say it washes you out. (; There's something so feminine and empowering about a pretty pale pink piece of clothing.

    I need to go shopping very soon. I've lost so much weight and I'm literally swimming in my clothing. A good closet clean out is happening very soon!

    1. I thought you'd be enjoying my thrift shop finds Kiki! I actually have been thinking of you when I am popping in and out of charity stores. Good idea about using the books as 'coffee table' books, although at the moment I still can't leave anything lying around, not with 3 kids ages 5 and under constantly trashing the place! Looking forward to seeing your new wardrobe. Good on you for dropping some weight, I wish I could! I think having 3 kids within 6 years and the old middle aged spread has hit me...and there is no going back...!! Amber x

  2. Where do I begin!?! Looking forward to the post, although I don't like that you are in tight-times right now!! Will be interesting to see, however!

    $25/metre!!?!??! It's $6-$10 for most fabrics a yard (same as meter) here. WOW. Australian mark-up! I love your "cheap apron" and the photos. So funny! I would love to see how you jazz it up, if you end up working on it! I think the skirt looks great too, even long like that! But that's less 1940's and more 1970's woodstock I suppose ;) ;)

    I love the dresses! I actually think the pale pink looks great. I love the pairing of pale pink and fairer skin. But you changed the whole look of the dress with that navy cardigan from "wow" to "woah ya!!".. I really like how it changed the outfit. I need to layer and mix and match my clothing more. I never try, and I should! The second does is really nice too, especially with the red sweater over it. Very 1940's, I think!

    I think it's great you were able to have such a nice trip to the thrift store for only $20. I haven't been in a little while and I will be going back soon. You can find a lot some days and nothing the next, so frequenting is something I need to do.

    Much LOVE!!

    1. I've been taking photos of all my food, which has been odd, in preparation for this post you requested. There would have to be cheaper fabric, surely, but from what I've seen locally it has all been around the $25 mark. There is a big craft and fabric shop called Lincraft that sometimes has sales and a big discount one called Spotlight that should have good prices. It's about 35 minutes drive down the highway from here so next time I'm down that way I should pop in. The long skirt is pretty, I agree, but because I'm such a pip squeak (in terms of height) only short skirts work for me. I was so surprised too with this pink dress, the difference the cardigan made. I wasn't going to buy it at all, but as soon as I put the cardigan on it completely changed it and it was like 'hey I have to have this'. For the price I paid it was silly to walk away from it anyway. Liked this weeks vlog by the way (I felt bad for laughing at your mum being 'drunk', as well as feeling sympathy. Was pleased to see grumpy Lola, and the close up of Spencer....is he a big old spunk or what?! Very curious to see what he looks like without the beard.... ;)

  3. Wow, you found some great stuff! I also love thrift and vintage shops, but I often find myself buying stuff that I really don't need (even if it was cheap).

  4. Thrift shops are the ONLY shops I allow myself to shop in except for groceries. I have furnished countless homes, filled every closet I've ever had, outfitted husbands, kids, siblings and their kids (my sister and her daughter's family have been so fun to find items for over the decades) and myself in everything from a tiny "party purse" for a special occasion and never used it again to a wool maxi coat made in the Ukraine where they know from cold. Couches, beds, tables, bookcases, desks by the dozen for the nerds in our clan, just two days ago my husband came home with two small fans that sit on the desk and blow cool air into his face and mine. At night I set it right next to my head and bask in the flow as I sleep.

    Great post, Amber.

    Thrifting is the only way to live in this world built for the rich folks and their trust fund kids. The quality, as you mentioned in the post, is often as good as it gets in stores. We bought a cute little flannel shirt for the boy we babysit for a dollar. Months later I put it on him and found a ONE HUNDRED DOLLAR BILL in the chest pocket. Hello, mama. We danced about the house with that crisp new bill that was intended for someone other than me. Check the pockets on all the pieces you try on or buy-never know what you may find.

    Both dresses are adorable and the skirt fabric too. Cardigans rule, don't they? I wear one constantly during the cooler months--which is all year here in northern California.

  5. Wow, you've found some amazing thift shop goodies! I love the vintage sewing patterns and craft books. x