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First Rate Second Hand Buys

Hello everyone.  I’m so glad it is Friday.  This week was my first back from holidays and, boy-oh-boy, what a long week it was!  Work has been hectic and stress-filled and I don’t feel as though I have even just had a break.

It’s been a while since I did an op-shopping (thrifting) post so I thought I would show you some of the things I have picked up lately.  There is a lot more than is featured here but, in the interest of brevity and not wanting to scare myself with how much stuff I bought, I’ll just show a few.  A selection of goodies, if you will.

  1. Canvases – I recently participated in a school fete (had a little stall selling my cards and other wares) and, at the end of the day, the White Elephant stall was selling all its leftovers for $1.00 (fill a bag for one dollar!).  I had a quick look around and found some kids’ canvases – two sets of five.  The lady at the stall told me they were $3 a set and the price could not be reduced to the $1.00 special.  I figured $6.00 for ten canvases was still pretty awesome anyway, so I went to the counter to ask the lady to hold them for me while I went back to get some money.  Before I could ask her, she said “That’ll be one dollar love…”  I queried whether they should actually be the higher price and she assured me that no, they were reduced.  So I happily paid the dollar and went off with my purchases.  But it didn’t feel right.  So, after feeling guilty for a while, I went back and told the lady I didn’t think the price was correct – that I should have paid more.  She assured me it was ok but I felt bad, like I was ripping the fundraising off, so I gave her a few extra dollars anyway.  So, I think I paid $4.00 in the end for ten really good little canvases – nice and study, ready to paint over, ready to hang and everything.  I’ve already used a couple for paintings.

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2. Vintage soup bowl  – such a pretty little thing, this bowl.  I love the design, and how it is different on each side.  I liked the little bee on it 🙂  I saw the bowl outside an antique shop and I just had to have it.  It’s not in perfect condition, but for $5.00 I can look past that.  I will just use it as a display piece.

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3. Pink shoes – Very pink for me…but super comfy and soft.  I only wear leather if I can buy it second hand (because I’m a vego).  These shoes are tiny too.  I am sure my feet are shrinking.  These were only a size 5 (36).  Plus, they were half price so I only paid $3.00.

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4.  More canvases (and books) – I keep finding old canvases in op shops and, if they’re cheap enough, I snap them up.  Especially if they come in sets.  There’s a selection here – different shapes and sizes.  I also got a few old children’s books for cutting up.  I think this lot cost about $10.00 all up.

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5. Floral Jacket – I recently attended a friend’s wedding and I had to buy something appropriate to wear.  In my search for a nice jacket, I picked this one up for about $5.00.  I didn’t wear it to the wedding though (I borrowed my cousin’s faux leather one for that – it went with the navy blue dress I wore much better) but I will happily wear it to something else.  It’s quite fitted and cropped but nicely made and not too heavy.  Oh and please excuse the bandaged thumb.  My dermatillomania is a bit mental right now so I am picking my fingers to pieces.  Not very attractive.

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6. Books.  Mum and I went to the annual Save the Children Fund Book Sale.  We look forward to this every year.  It’s the highlight of Spring 🙂  This year they didn’t seem to have as much stock, which was a bit disappointing, but I still managed to pick up quite a few bargains.  The books ranged in price from 50c – $4.00 (unless they were antique etc).  I bought about 30 books for roughly $60.00.  I got lots of animal and bird titles, for cutting up for collage etc.  So many lovely birdies!  The “British Birds” volume features beautiful vintage images so I will probably not cut that one up – will colour copy instead.  So of the pics are worth framing.  Books make me happy!

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So, that’s just a few of the things I picked up over the course of a few months.  I love a bargain, but I am trying to only buy things I know I need or will use.  I don’t do the buying frenzies I used to do 🙂  I am trying to not fill my house with more crap, and just because something is cheap, doesn’t mean you necessarily need it.  Books are the exception, ha ha.  I always need those!

Thanks for stopping by x

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Being Yourself

Belated Happy Easter to you all 🙂  Did you indulge in a huge chocolate-fest, or were you restrained and just had a few little treats?  Did you spend time with family and friends, or take part in religious events?  Whatever you got up to, I hope you enjoyed yourselves and had a nice break.

I spent a lot of time with family and friends over the weekend, cleaned my house so it was fit for my Mum to visit and stay in for a couple of nights, and did some crafting.  I am still loving the Kelly Rae Roberts Unscripted series I have subscribed to.  It’s just makes me want to craft and create and DO STUFF.  I am nowhere near her standard of creativity and art, but it is very enjoyable just mucking about with paints and paper and having a go.  I am still rubbish at faces, but I keep trying and hope that some day I will get them just right!  If only people didn’t have eyes!  It would make everything so much simpler for me, at least in terms of drawing and painting (maybe not so much in real life though…) and I wouldn’t end up having tantrums, or just drawing a lot of people with closed eyes (which is my default position these days).

I had this little communion plaque (bought on a recent op-shopping trip for 50c) and I thought it would be perfect to paint over and repurpose.  It’s quite small – a little bigger than an iPhone – so perfect for me to do some crafting on!  Plus it had the little hanger on it so I didn’t need to worry about adding one myself.

I removed the picture that was already on it ( a communion poem and prayer) and sanded the wood back, then slapped on a layer of white Gesso, just to seal and give it a good working surface.  I then added paint in various colours to create a distressed, rubbed back look.  I used a soft green, some burgundy and a little bit of yellow – just dabbing and rubbing it on with my fingers.  When I was happy with the effect, I let it dry whilst figuring out what I was going to put on it.

I decided to draw my little lady on a separate piece of paper, paint her main features and then cut her out, to be glued and finished on the plaque itself.  I didn’t trust my drawing/painting skills to just add her straight to the wooden surface.  I adhered her with gel medium and then added flowers and wings cut from scrapbooking paper and vintage books.  The words were cut from old books or stamped (when I couldn’t find the word I wanted!) and I’m not quite satisfied with them, but they’re stuck on there now!  I might go over them with a bit of colour, just to make them look less “new” and pale.  I outlined here and there with black and white pencils to give some definition.

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I was a bit heavy-handed with the lady’s features – I was using a very fine black marker, but it was still too heavy.  I will do better next time! I’m happy with her top though – it came out very rustic looking and picks up the red colour in the background – and I’m glad I added the “me” heart as it needed an extra little something.

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So, all in all, I was pretty happy with my little lady.  I am trying to be myself and be ok with who that is.  Even if it means I am not the world’s greatest artist 🙂  I am still trying to find my “niche”, artistically speaking, so this is another part of the journey.  I will keep practicing faces and different techniques with paint and drawing and, in the meantime have a lot of messy fun doing it 🙂

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Thanks for stopping by – may you enjoy the freedom of being yourself,
whoever that is, today and always x

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Book Bargain Bonanza

I had a day off this week.  A glorious, nothing-scheduled, I-can-do-what-I-want day off.  Work has been very stressful, I’ve been having lots of migraines, and life just seemed a bit craptastic in general.  I’m always exhausted and just needed a break.  So, a day off was necessary, for my mental health if nothing else.

I got up early (not too early – it was a day off, after all!) and hit the op-shops.  I wanted to visit some I hadn’t been to before, and expand my “territory”.  I didn’t have much luck in finding anything good to start with, but eventually I hit book heaven at one particular Salvos store.  Lordy, lordy, they had the BEST book selection, AND it was in alphabetical order so you could actually search properly in the section you were interested in.

I am always on the lookout for Alice Hoffman titles.  She’s one of my favourite authors, but I never buy books new (who can afford them???!) so I have to wait until I find them in second hand shops.  Normally, I don’t find any of her books or, just as annoying, only ones I have already read and have in my shelf at home.  But on this day, dear readers, I found FIVE!  Woo!  I’d already read a couple of them, but I did snap up two for myself – White Horses, and The Museum of Extraordinary Things.  So happy!  I’m cross at myself because I left another one behind – Blue Diary – because I thought I had it at home, but then found that I didn’t.  You know you have too many books when you can’t remember what you have!  Hopefully it will still be there if I visit the shop again…but I’m glad to have found these two anyway 🙂

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Craft books are not always easy to come across in op-shops, and really nice ones are like hen’s teeth.  That’s why I was thrilled to find these two – French-Inspired Jewellery and The Adventurous Scrapbooker.  The latter has lots of off-the-page ideas for scrapbooks and similar projects.  I actually don’t like scrapbooking at all – I don’t do it and have never liked the concept of it – but there are always awesome ideas and techniques you can apply to other crafts.  So this book is great for that.  The jewellery book is gorgeous – not just for the pretty projects inside, but for the beautiful background layouts they have used for display.  Vintage papers and ephemera, ribbon and other embellishments make for beautiful pages, that are works of art in their own right.  So glad to have found this one!  Especially for the bargain price of $2.25!

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I love dogs.  I had them all my life, right up until I was in my 30s.  But now, with full-time work and a little house of my own, on my own, a dog just isn’t practical.  Maybe one day…sigh…  In the meantime, there are books like Rachel Hale’s 101 Salvations to keep me happy.  Rachel Hale’s photography is always a delight, and this book of doggy pictures is gorgeous.  I want to start doing some proper drawing and thought I might start with some canine-inspired sketches (might as well begin with a subject I know and love!) so I am hoping to use the photos as guides.  In any case, it is a beautiful book in excellent condition and, again, at only $2.25 – I’m sure the original RRP would have been well over $35.00 – I got another bargain.

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As I just mentioned, I am trying to improve my drawing skills (such as they are) and need all the help I can get.  So, with that in mind, I picked up this next book – You Can Draw in 30 Days. I’m not necessarily convinced I will only take 30 days, but hey, it’s a start.  I desperately want to be able to draw eyes so I am really hoping this book will help me.

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I also picked up a couple of titles for my Mum, who is a  voracious reader and is always running out of her own books to read.  So, all in all, a very successful visit to this particular op-shop.  I didn’t have room in my basket for anything else, which is probably a good thing.  Didn’t stop me from going to a few more op-shops afterwards though! 🙂

Hope you are having a good day – thank you for dropping by x