Wednesday, 21 November 2012

My Journey To Never New

I get the feeling that some people are still wondering 'WHY?' I do what I do. I guess I have done a number of posts on 'WHAT' it is that that I do- but perhaps it is time to go through my journey a little bit.
I have said before, and it is definitely the truth, that this was NOT a decision that was made overnight. It was a choice that I made gradually over a number of years- the more I read up on it and the more I looked into where our stuff comes from.
I would have to say that the seed was planted the day that my then-husband told me that we should not shop at Walmart anymore. I was SHOCKED! What!! How could I possibly NOT shop at Walmart anymore??? I bought all of our toiletries, housewares, electronics, cleaning supplies, a lot of our clothing...etc., etc. there. How could I cut that out? (AND that was even before they had groceries there!!).
It seemed to be something that was important to him and so I said that I would go along with it. But- I must confess- I still did run in there once in a while and stock up on low-priced 'this-or-that'. I think that was because it was HIS choice and not mine. I really didn't see the value in it.
Then, I went to a screening of Garbage- a documentary by Andrew Niskar. He had a family of 4 collect all of their garbage, compost, recycling inside of their garage for (I think) about 3 months. The kids had to bring home any garbage they had from school, friend's houses and birthday parties. The parents had to bring home their garbage from work and when they were 'out'. The results were astounding. It's amazing how much it adds up for just an 'everyday family'. I started to think about where all the waste that I was making went to....
After that, I saw the documentary What Would Jesus Buy. This movie was about the 'over-consumption' at Christmas, and the need to support local vendors. Again, my eyes were opened.
I began to hunger to learn more, and the more I learned the sadder I became. I no longer wanted to buy the least expensive items that I could find- because I knew that someone who made that item was living in poverty because of it. So, I told myself that I could not buy anything from China (ya right) or Bangladesh (most manufacturing of clothing is moving there because they only have to pay there workers $1 American for a days [11 hours!!!] work).  You can read about this in Confessions of an Eco-Sinner. Well, that was nearly impossible.
So, for me, though the journey was far longer than this one page- and had many more twists and turns- ended at I would stop buying new. At least then, I was recycling, and saving something from a landfill.
I understand that most people will not understand or agree with the choices that I make in my life. And, that's ok. :)  Again, I just hope to maybe get some wheels turning and to plant some seeds of 'Consumption-doubt'.
Well friends, this will be my last post for a week- off to vacay with my sister. More and more posts to come upon my return. :)
Here is a little Smile (??) that seemed appropriate for today's post:

Monday, 19 November 2012

Bag Sales- For the Ultimate Thrifter

Have any of you ever tried Bag-Sale-ing?? I'm willing to bet that the majority of you have not. They kind of sound...well, trashy or something, yes?

Well, let me tell you- they are the ULTIMATE thrift experience. BUT- that being said- you have to be able to handle chaos, disorganization, mayhem, noise, AND have the time and patience to put into digging through piles and piles and piles of clothing, accessories and toys.

I'm not going to lie. My first Bag-Sale-ing experience was back when I lived in Calgary and I was simply not prepared for it. I ended up getting extremely dizzy and leaving with an-almost migraine! I have since acclimatized and can do very well at them now, thankfully. But, it is like running a marathon. You would never decide to run one without training for it. In a similar fashion- you shouldn't jump right into Bag-Sale-ing before you try, say Value Village- where every item is itemized properly by gender, size and type.

The thing that makes a bag sale great though, is that you fill a bag for one set price. The Mountain Kidz Klub has one a couple of times a year, however they can be VERY hit and miss. This is because it depends solely on what has been donated to them over the last few months. For example, you may be looking for 18 month girl clothes, but if they didn't receive any - there won't be any to grab. As long as I go without any high expectations, I'm never disappointed. ;)

This scarf is probably my favourite bag sale purchase- EVER. I grabbed it at one of the Mountain's Kidz Klub Bag Sales: where they have 'fill a white kitchen garbage bag for $2' or 'fill a black garbage bag for $5'!!  

So, I filled up my white bag, mostly with boys clothes- but topped it off with this scarf. I am so glad I found it. It is my favourite scarf in my closet by far. I love the teals, greens, and beiges in it. I love the ethnic pattern on it. I love everything about it. And it probably cost me less than a quarter.

My Scarf

My scarf, I believe, just finishes off this outfit (worn to this month's Art Crawl on James St N). Love.
Cardigan- $12.99 Value Village
Tank- $5.99 Talize
Leggings- $9.99 Value Village
Silver Bangle- $12.99 Hawk and Sparrow

Again, this fabulous scarf just adds life to an otherwise drab and boring ensemble. It really brightened up the look and made it the perfect outfit for my son's birthday party instead of a day at the morgue...

Black tank- $5.99 Talize
Skirt- $7.99 Talize
Silver Bangle- Hawk and Sparrow

So, in conclusion...Bag Sales are fabulous for A: getting bags full of clothing at a hugely discounted rate, and B: supporting a local church or community group.

DO NOT try Bag-Sale-ing if A: you have children with you (you simply won't have the time OR the patience to dig through piles of clothing items), B: you ever get claustrophobic, and C: you don't like a great deal.
But, most of all- have fun with it! Don't take it too seriously! It's not about finding that ONE perfect item (although, I'm pretty sure that I did find it in my scarf ), it's about stocking up on a bunch of items for you and your family at a ridiculously inexpensive price. :)

Friday, 16 November 2012

Pinterest-Inspired Thrifty-Chic: 4th Edition

Think that fabulous new fall look on Pinterest has to cost you a lot of money? I'll show you how to get the same look for a fraction of the original.

Do you doubt? Take a look...


Love, love, love this fall look on Pinterest
My Version:

Seriously- how CUTE is this outfit? I just LOVE the casual comfort of this outfit. It's dressy enough for a night out with the girls. Or, it's flirty enough for a first date without being too revealing. I'm all about modesty, girls and boys.
Black Sweater- Xmas gift years ago
Floral Skirt- $4.99 Value Village
Silver Skinny Belt- thrifted so long ago- I believe it was $1.99
Scarf- friend's cast-off
Boots- referenced here
Again- all of these items were already in my closet...I cannot emphasise enough the value of picking out a few "looks" that you love and then going 'shopping' in your very own closet! I guarantee you will (most likely) have at least a couple of the items...
I really am blown away by all of the positive feedback that I am getting from my friends! Thank-you all for all of the support!!
Have a fabulous weekend, friends!! Happy Thrifting!!


Thursday, 15 November 2012

In My Closet

As much as I LOVE thrifting, repurposing, buying consignment or vintage, do you want to know what I LOVE even more?? Discovering clothes that I have held onto for seasons and seasons and seasons- and finding a new love for them. Cost- FREE.
I'm not really sure why I have held onto this cardigan for as long as I have. It's not really me- other than the black and grey colour scheme. This is a very popular theme in my closet.
But, hold onto it I did. Even as I purged many things around it every year.  I can't even remember where I got it, I have had it that long.
I have been told (somewhere on t.v., I'm sure) that animal print is basically a neutral. Well, I'm not sure if I'd agree with that. Ever since I turned 30, every time I put animal print on, I feel like a cougar, haha- NOT really at all like I am 'blending in".... like a neutral would...

But, last night I was on Pinterest (shocker, I know), and came across this photo:

There were many 'likes' and comments about how great this cardigan was- and I thought "Hey! I have one of those!"

So, I think I will blame it on the sinus-cold-fogginess that I have been living in for the last week, but today I had the gumption to pull my animal print cardi out of my closet and wear it!

Me in my animal print cardi.


 I actually decided to leave the house in it- again, blaming it on my sinus-cold-haze. :)

I added some long fingerless gloves and a hot-pink scarf.
 And I actually got some compliments on it, too!

So, the moral? Not sure... Be a hoarder? Definitely not... But, no feeling is better than when you rediscover a little gem in your closet that you have forgotten about- or for whatever reason have just chosen not to wear- and you realize "hey, it's actually pretty great!"


Monday, 12 November 2012

Pinterest-Inspired Thrifty-Chic: 3rd Edition

Think that fabulous new fall look on Pinterest has to cost you a lot of money? I'll show you how to get the same look for a fraction of the original.

Do you doubt? Take a look...

Pinterest Fall Look I Love

My Version


The thing that I love best about fall outfits are all the layers. They make me feel so comfy and cozy. And, on a cold day- if I can find a fire to lounge beside- I can remove a layer or two. :)

This outfit is no exception. Comfy? Check. Cozy? Check. What's not to love?

Plaid Shirt- Xmas gift

Tank- Thrifted $4.99 Value Village

Sweater- Xmas gift

Leggings- $9.99 Value Village

Boots- referenced here

So, grab a photo of an outfit that you LOVE, and head over to Talize today (November 12th 2012)- it's 50% OFF the entire store today! Pick up some things for the home while you're there!

If you missed it today, Value Village is having their 50% OFF sale November 19th 2012.

Check out my other Pinterest Inspired Thrifty-Chic looks here.

More to come..... :)

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Who Is Really 'Living Better...?"

Uh-oh...I could feel another rant boiling up inside of me today... I had to let it out....please comment if you agree or if you disagree. I'd love to hear from you...

Walmart's motto to "Save Money...Live Better" drives me bonkers like nothing else in this world does. I'm not exactly sure why this is. But constantly, I ask myself every time I pass by- "Who IS it that is living better, exactly??"

Is it the people that frequent their store? Those that buy their inexpensive shirts that will inevitably stretch, shrink, fade or pill before next season? But- no was so cheap that they can afford to buy another...and another...and..... Or, let's put clothing aside- I have a friend who had to go back 3 times to purchase the same steam mop because it kept breaking. So, I have to ask, is that
"Living Better?"

What about the people in developing nations that lose their clean water, clean air, forests, valleys, etc. so that our Big Box Stores could be full to overflowing with plastic, off-gassing "stuff"... Do we believe that they are "Living Better?"

Bringing it back closer to home...What about the employees of our local Big Box Stores (and many other retailers) that have decided that they will hire a majority of 'part-time' employees, but make them work full-time hours- just so that they can avoid paying any medical benefits? Are those employees "Living Better?"

My friends, I don't claim to know all of the answers- but I just hope to encourage people to be prompted to ask questions. I want to stress that in no means do I judge or dislike anyone if they work in retail of any kind. I realize that in this economy, a job is a job. I know the importance of putting food on the table for your family- believe me. I know that this is the way 'our world works'. I just choose to live apart from that as much as I can...and hope to pass on the challenge to question and not to swallow everything that we are told...

One of my favourite little videos to watch on this subject is The Story Of Stuff. It takes about 20 minutes, but is well worth it.

Happy Rememberance Day, friends. Lest we forget that we have the freedom to think, to challenge, to worship, to live, all because others before us gave their lives.

Love to all.

On The Hunt For...

I thought that it may be fun to post things that I am looking for and then document how long it took me to find them, how many stores I had to go to, etc... you can see my first "On The Hunt..." here

Right now I am on the lookout for:

* A good-sized suitcase (mine is in very bad shape- and I have been in need of a new one for some time... but, it is never at the top of my list)

* A brightly coloured bedspread. I want to add some life to my bedroom. I am looking for a Queen-size in a pink, purple or red.

* Some skinny belts. As I scour Pinterest for fall looks, I am increasingly aware that I have only one skinny belt. MUST remedy this....

Let the hunt begin. :)

* UPDATE #1:

Well, again- the very next day that I posted, I had a few spare minutes, so I decided to run into Talize. I found my suitcase, YAY! I also wandered into the housewares department and realized that I have been needing a large pot for some time as well. So- I picked one up. :)

Good-sized suitcase- $12.99 Talize

Large Pot (cooking spaghetti at this moment)- $5.99 Talize

* UPDATE #2:

Since I posted this "On the Hunt", I've been on the lookout for a bedspread. It feels to me that for about the same amount of time, I can't seem to escape the news everywhere in Hamilton about how BAD the bed-bug situation is here. Is someone trying to tell me something??  I need to think on this a bit more. Of course I would rather spend less/ recycle by purchasing a bedspread second-hand. But, maybe this is an item that is best purchased new- from a local vendor?? Again, sI till need to weigh the pro's and con's..... but for now this purchase is on hold.

* UPDATE #3:

I found me a skinny belt that I actually like! YAY! It's very cute. I usually don't like skinny belts because I feel like they make me look like a giant (I have a long torso), which is most likely just in my head, but.... I really do like this woven white one. So,  so, so, cute. 

This top (which I love) was thrifted just today- 12-12-12 for $6.99 at the Salvation Army store on Upper James. I guess that date really IS lucky, haha.

Well, that's that. Another 'On the Hunt' done....until next time....

Thursday, 8 November 2012

And Then There Was Light...

In this post I plan to 'shed some light' (haha) on some more repurposing ideas- specifically focusing on...lights. And lamps. And chandeliers. And... well- you see where I'm going with this, yes?
I found most of these repurposing ideas on Pinterest - if you haven't spent many hours a day 'pinning' various pictures that you feel pertain to you or your life in some way- you are missing out. But not to fret! I have spent endless hours sifting through ideas for you. And these are some of my favourites.
And really- what can I say about our need for lighting? Especially now that the nights are getting longer and darker. This time of year we need it to eat our breakfast in the morning, eat our dinner at night, read our books by and to stare into our loved ones eyes.
Here are some very creative ways to turn everyday items into lighting for your home.
Large ceramic bowls made into pendant lamps

A globe, split in half, makes two fabulous pendant lamps 
How cute is this utilitarian-style chandelier made out of repurposed spoons? Perfect for a kitchen.
Why not wrap an out-of-date map around a lampshade? Instant face lift.

Not sure what to do with your much-loved crystal that sits in a cupboard? Put it on display as some gorgeous lighting. cute are these top hat & bowler hat lamps?

Old glass teacups make a whimsical chandelier

Some old spoons made into beautiful flower lamps

A fabulous serving bowl pendant lamp

 And...some repurposed ties make an interesting lamp shade. So creative!

I hope this gets you looking around your home for items to be repurposed...if so, be sure to share your tale with me! :)


Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Pinterest-Inspired Thrifty-Chic- 2nd Edition

Think that fabulous new fall look on Pinterest has to cost you a lot of money? I'll show you how to get the same look for a fraction of the original.
Do you doubt? Take a look...
The Cameron Diaz Fall look that is plastered all over Pinterest
right now
My Version

I love the ease and comfort of this outfit. It's perfect for an autumn stroll around town, some antique shopping, or to lounge in a local coffee shop with a book.
Long Green Tank- $6.99 Value Village

 Short Black Sweater- $7.99 Talize
Skinny Jeans- $12.99 Value Village
Jimmy Choo Purse- $19.99 Peacock Chic Boutique (closed)
Boots- referenced here

I am simply amazed at the number of people who have mentioned how much going thrifting with a specific look in mind helps them. I'm so pleased. Although I had everything for this look in my closet already, I will often see a look that I love and then go looking for that/those piece/s that will bring it together with the items that I already own.

More to come...... :)

Check out my 1st Pinterest look here


Adorable Knitted Kid's Hats

My friend Christine has started selling the cutest children's hats. I LOVE them because:
1. They are to-die-for adorable.
2. They are handmade- so in buying them, you are buying from a skilled artisan. And for those of you who follow by blog regularly, you will know that I only buy new if it's handmade or a local vendor. Well, check and check!!
3. She's local. I loves to support me some local vendors. :)
4. These make fabulous Christmas gifts and you are giving your money to a budding entrepreneur instead of a faceless corporation.
5. They are only $15 each!! For a hand-made, one-of-a-kind creation? You can't beat that!!
I asked Christine some questions about how she got started, what her favourite yarn is, etc... This is what she shared with me:
Knitting is something I do with my mom. She is much more talented and quicker then myself. My Avo (grandma in portuguese) was always knitting, crocheting and sewing, (when she wasn't cooking or cleaning lol) making clothes for the family. My mom being 1 of 2 girls in a family of 14 very quickly caught on and helped. My mom always enjoyed doing these things, making us stuff and she found it relaxing. She made everything and anything! Even clothes and booties for my dolls. I learned how to sew, knit and crochet around 5 or 6. I wanted to do what my mom was doing. By grade 2 I was making 'real' stuff (scarves and small blankets). By grade 3 or 4 I was making sweaters, hats, mitts etc. Stuff a little more difficult. I always like sewing through highschool and wearing different clothes then most girls. I made some extra money altering friends clothes and making some prom dresses for graduation.

I don't buy any particular brand of yarn. I learned to go by touch, depending on what it was going to be used to make. For example, baby stuff you'd buy soft, fluffy yarn, slippers, something more synthetic and durable. Or if you want something with a tighter stitch it would have to be thinner.

There's no particular animal that I prefer to make/do. I guess just ones that are cartoon-ish but realistic enough to know what it is.
I'm so excited to share these photos of her hats. I've already ordered the owl hat for my youngest in blue. She says that she can do any of these hats in pretty much any colour that your heart desires.



If anyone is interested in purchasing any of these hats or a customised one with different colours and/or faces, you can contact Christine by e-mail:
I only wish I could pull off the Oscar hat myself. :)