Sunglasses need love too

11 Aug

We live such disposable lives now, always upgrading and lusting for the “new”. Australia is one of the fastest adapters of new technology in the world consuming iPhones and the like akin to a child with a bagful of mixed lollies. But what happens to all the discarded things? I absolutley hate waste and will always look for ways to lead a #zerowastelife I also really hate it when my sunglasses break.

Sunglasses tend to be one of those items we hate purchasing but wear on a daily basis. Personally I can’t stand to be outdoors without them. Our dependancy on them grows with each wear until suddenly they cark it, then we practicality burst into tears. I really should show my sunglasses a bit more respect, put them in a case at the very least rather than throwing them in my handbag only to be molested by my keys rendering them so scratched that I can’t see through them. Tsk Tsk.

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Long ago I made a pact with myself never to spend more than $30 on a pair of sunglasses. I just couldn’t justify spending over a hundred dollars on an item that could potenially break next week. Still my dispair at a pair of broken sunglasses motivates me to somehow prolong their life, even if it’s recycled into rescuing another pair of sunnies.

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If you trash the lens of your sunglasses, keep the arms & those teeny tiny screws. Get yourself a tiny screwdriver in both phillips & flat head to manage them. If you can find a magnetic one all the better as those miniture screws are tricky to handle! Now you have a back up supply of screws to save your sunglasses the next time an arm falls off. The screws come in different lengths & thicknesses so its worth accumulating any and all. Do yourself a favour and use that screwdriver to tighten the screws on your current sunglasses to prevent the arms dislodging in the first place.

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The arms can potenially create you a new pair of sunglasses by swapping them onto another pair that fit. This is a nifty trick if you have arms with a logo on them that you like.

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I love Aviator style sunnies but damn it, those flimsy metal frames bend out of shape like yogi on LSD. Luckily it’s easily fixed.Simply sit them in the sun for a while to soften the metal before slowly bending them back into shape bit by bit. The dash of the car will do the trick in just a couple of minutes. Same goes for bending the little nose rests that can make your glasses sit wonky.

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Did you know that the best way to clean glasses is to wash them with warm soapy water? True story. This disolves all the grease build up rather than just smearing it around the lens with a lens cloth.

So there you go, a few simple little tricks to keep your sunnies working for you longer and prevent you from the tedious task of finding yet another pair that suit you.

Mental note to self: Buy a hard case for sunnies and use it. *clips oneself up the ear*

How to RESTYLE recycled fashion

28 Oct

One of my favourite things about opshopping is the huge array of fashion styles spanning decades that you might find in a single shop. For an imaginative person this is great fun and if you’re like me whose style is non specific bordering on schizophrenic its the perfect way to shop, but many people tell me they struggle with the idea of making a 1980’s jacket work into their current wardrobe. My advice is to leave your signature style at the door and enter op shops with an open mind.Β Try on things you love but have never been game to try in a retail shop, take a risk. The small outlay in cash for a pre-loved item means fashion can be fun again. This is not investment shopping or even a planned purchase. Op shopping is spontaneous, surprising and I think more rewarding than buying retail.

In August I participated in a fashion challenge on Instagram. I must admit to being a much more prolific Instagrammer than a blogger so if you’d love to see more of my second-hand finds and haunts you can follow me here. The RESTYLE challenge was run by the Perth Fashion Festival. Each day presented a new theme to restyle a pre-loved fashion piece.

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Here’s a selection of my entries into the Restyle challenge. What do you think?

Collar - Men's YSL shirt with a beautiful suede tie.

Collar – Men’s YSL shirt with a beautiful suede tie.

Button Down - a have a few thrifted denim jackets but this one is is a fave.

Button Down – I have a few thrifted denim jackets but this LEE Riders one is is a fave.

Fringed - everything in this shot is thrifted - the Aldo bag, the vintage mags, even the mat!

Fringed – everything in this shot is thrifted – the Aldo bag, the vintage mags, even the mat!

Classic - the Claudia Strater silk knit top, the Ellery scarf & the silver/copper earrings were all found second hand.

Classic – the Claudia Strater silk knit top, the Ellery scarf & the silver/copper earrings were all found second-hand.

The DIY challenge was about modifing a pre-loved garment. This top had big ruffled sleeves that I simply cut into fringe for an edgier look.

The DIY challenge was about modifying a pre-loved garment. This top had big ruffled sleeves that I simply cut into fringe for an edgier look.

Graphic - a fave Lola Vs Harper top found in an op shop still with the tags attached.

Graphic – a fave Lola Vs Harper top found in an op shop still with the tags attached.

Arm Candy - all of these silver bangles were found second hand and most of them I wear everyday.

Arm Candy – all of these silver bangles were found second-hand and most of them I wear everyday.

Tomboy - This outfit cost a total of $9. Ksubi denim cut offs, muscle shirt & Converse.

Tomboy – This outfit cost a total of $9. Ksubi denim cut offs, muscle shirt & Converse.

Knit - Someone knitted this super long, super soft scarf with love & now I'm loving wearing it.

Knit – Someone knitted this super long, super soft scarf with love & now I’m loving wearing it.

Monochrome - The leather Kahlo shorts, Zara top & graphic Converse all thrifted finds.

Monochrome – The leather Kahlo shorts, Zara top & graphic Converse all thrifted finds.

Spots - I wish I could find more spotted clothing, they are so much fun! This knit & the satin Wittner heels are both op shops finds.

Spots – I wish I could find more spotted clothing, they are so much fun! This knit & the satin Wittner heels are both op shops finds.

Cropped - thrifted leather Damselfly vest worn back the front. All the jewellery is pre-loved.

Cropped – thrifted leather Damselfly vest worn back the front. All the jewellery is pre-loved.

Outerwear - This felt Brixton hat is a favourite in winter and it only cost me $4

Outerwear – This felt Brixton hat is a favourite in winter and it only cost me $4

 

These challenges are pretty hard work but I find them very rewarding. I love seeing what everyone comes up with everyday and meeting so many like-minded op shoppers. It creates a little community but also a melting pot of ideas. Here are some of my fave posts by other Instagrammers during the challenge.

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Aren’t they just fabulous? So much fabulousness! Go forth & follow them on Instagram.

 

 

 

Rhythms Op Shop, Seven Hills

21 Aug

Sssh don’t tell anyone but this one of my favourite hunting grounds.

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Rhythms Op Shop in Seven Hills is a sure thing, a place where I can always find great preloved clothes. It’s also a joy to visit. The staff are super friendly and love a chat oftenΒ asking me if I would like a cuppa whilst I browse the racks. The stock is edited so that only items in good condition make it onto the floor, no sifting through racks of pilled Kmart t-shirts or jeans with busted zippers.

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My other favourite reason for visiting this store on a regular basis is to check out the visual merchandising. These guys have a clever stylist on their team who has really lifted the edge of this store above other op shops. I’d compare the styling to the overpriced vintage stores in Newtown, only better with price tags comparable to Vinnies. The stylist uses their own collection of vintage/retro items which sadly are not for sale. Recently the shop had a face lift and I was bowled over by the effect of chalkboard walls used as price points lit with vintage lamps.

 

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This week’s visit didn’t let me down. I found an out of print book I’d been searching for quite a while for just 10 cents. Yes 10 cents! Also two linen tops, a classic Country Road shirt and a black Hammock & Vine oversized jacket. All that for under $10. I did of course take a much larger armful of clothes into the generously sized change room but as is the way with op shopping not everything fits. Everything is like a one-off, you have to take what you can get. Of all the great finds I had to put back on the rack I was saddest to leave this gorgeous raw silk Akira piece.

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Rhythms Op Shop is run by a local church who believe in grass-roots level community assistance. Yes the op shop itself is fabulous but there is also a lounge area at the back of the store to take a rest & have a chat. Β They offer all types of assistance to those in need whether it be food or contact with relevant community services. As a nonreligious person myself I find this type of work really inspiring but not because it’s the work of the church, I’ve never once had that pushed on me in all my years of visiting this store but because it’s about community building. Good people doing good for others. Of course many of the big charity stores run on this principle also but it is always at Rhythms that I feel the love. The genuine care for those that walk through their door.

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Rhythms Op Shop is located at 154 Best road Seven Hills.

Tip: while you’re there… Pop around the corner to Boomerang Place where you will find some great Indian supermarkets and authentic Sri Lankan & Indian restaurants. Don’t leave empty-handed.

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Front Porch by Fiona Lenord

15 Jun

Upcycle: verb. To reuse (discarded objects or material) in such a way as to create a product of higher quality or value than the original, moving it ‘up’ the consumer goods chain.

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I love creative people who breathe new life into old things. I’m not talking about The Toy Story theory of extending a discarded item’s life by passing it on to another to be loved all over again but rather upcycling. Pushing the boundaries of an item’s original purpose and creating a new form. Front Porch is one such brand riding the upcycling wave. Front Porch was launched in 2012 by Fiona Lenord after making a tree change to the Blue Mountains, NSW. Behind the brand is Fiona’s 23 years experience as a Textile Designer specialising in hand painted florals, including 13 years with iconic Australian brand Sheridan. This wealth of experience shines through her apparel and homewares designs. The attention to detail and the love put into each piece is really beautiful.

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The Front Porch signature piece is a dress made from upcycled textiles. The design is a simple strappy A line cut with a soft rope drawstring, tapering down to varying lengths. Fiona describes her latest best seller, The Foofoo, as “the love child of a poncho and a kimono. Both styles can be layered up and down for all seasons. Worn casually or dressed up for weddings and formal events”.

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A keen op shopper who loves hunting through secondhand stores and flea markets for vintage items, Fiona found herself “rescuing” old fabric like brocade, seersucker, vintage lace, retro 60’s prints, Australian printed tea towels, embroidered and crocheted tablecloths and doilies. The textiles span across the decades creating diversity in Front Porch, “I have a collection that is constantly rotating from soaking tub to a dye bath, clothes line, sewing machine and ironing board” notes Fiona. The history of the textiles also strike up sentimentality in her customers, some have even commissioned dresses made from family heirloom fabrics. “My biggest surprise has been the repeat customers. I have some customers who own over 30 of my dresses! I have met an amazing network of creative women and friends through this venture and feel lucky to have bonded so quickly with the Blue Mountains community”.

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In keeping with the nostalgia of her products is Fiona’s brand name: Front Porch, “I wanted a name with nostalgia, history and quintessentially Australian. I grew up on a fruit Orchard in Kurmond. Our fibro 1960s bungalow had a decorative Besser block Front porch. It was a backdrop to many family photos, a place to greet visitors and hang out.”

 

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This is my Front Porch dress (above) made from a white tablecloth with pale blue embroidery and trimmed with vintage lace. Not only is it cool to wear on hot days and perfect for throwing over my cossies at the beach, it’s also super comfy! I honestly feel like I’m wearing my PJs but I must look fabulous as I always get comments whenever I wear this.

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I first met Fiona on her stall at The Bluebird Market in Leura and now I have the privilege of calling her my friend. Talented designer is but one of her many hats. Fiona is also a wonderful mother, a professional wearer of red lipstick and owner of a great infectious laugh. I urge you all to seek her out. Front Porch has a stall at The Glenbrook Rotary Market on the 3rd Saturday of every month in the lower Blue Mountains. This is a lovely market full of local farmers, bakers, artisans and producers. Front Porch also visits other Sydney markets so please Like the Front Porch Facebook page for updates. Fiona regularly sells direct from her Front Porch Facebook page so even if you are not in Sydney you can still own one these unique pieces.

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Do you own a Front Porch original?

* Thank you to Fiona Lenord for the use of some of her images.

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