Sep 27 2012

fall, 1972

I’ve been watching a lot of 70′s TV shows lately…can you tell?

Last year I got this dress at the thrift store just before my birthday (*ahem* two weeks 1 day) and I failed to take any pictures during my birthday party, thus the dress was never shared.  So a year later, here we are.  To be honest though, fashion blogging has never really been my strongpoint.  But every now and then…

I LOVE this dress.  It’s comfortable…feels like  a good fall outfit (and looks good with purple tights.  Yes.)

Hah…side story:  I never like taking pictures of myself outside because…well…people watch and it’s awkward.  But today…Minnie watched.  And barked.  Maybe she could tell I looked awkward.

PS: I curled my hair three times today. THREE.  My hairdresser says flat irons are the best for long lasting curls, but I tried and they all fell flat.  I tried again with the flat iron after my walk (after all, it was a foggy damp morning) but those fell flat.  I’m about to head out for this evening so I curled them again (with a curling iron)…and they are not looking so good.  How on earth does one get curly hair to stay put??


Apr 28 2012


Thursday I made a skirt with some great navy blue polka dot fabric (that I found at the thrift store) following a tutorial on a fabulous new website I found called “Gerties New Blog for Better Sewing” (if you are into retro sewing, this is the place).  After making the skirt, I decided I also wanted a blouse out of the same stuff.  I found an etsy shop (Embonpoint Vinage) that sells PDF’s of out of print patterns.  It’s a whole drafting system, so you get instructions and a template, and you have to draft out the pattern yourself.  I’ve been wanting to learn a little more about drafting my own patterns, so I figured I’d give it a go.

Bigsby, on the other hand, figured it was a bad idea.  We had a stand off for a while, as I didn’t want to shoo him away and have him tear the tissue pattern paper.

I should have the blouse done on Monday, in which case I will try to make a point of sharing…something that I seem to have forgotten to do on this blog lately.  Apparently I don’t have much to share as of late.

PS:  I do often post to instagram.  My user name is “courteneyrodda”  Today is Caturday, thus, the above image of Bigsby.  Although…let’s be honest…every day is caturday with me.


Mar 8 2012

mellow yellow.

Despite the seemingly morose tone of these images, I swear, I’m not in a bad mood today. Just…*yawn*…tired.
This afternoon I went out to pick a location for a session I have later on today and thought “Gosh darnit! I haven’t shown anyone my swell yellow cloak yet! Gee wiz! Well, what the hey! I might as well take some pictures of it while I’m out!”
Um. Except I didn’t quite say that out loud.
Over a year ago, I found this yellow plaid fabric at a thrift store and snatched it up right away. I didn’t have any project in mind at first, but one cannot simply let fabric like this go. At first I thought that I would just wing it, and make a cloak from scratch. But since I found this fabric at the thrift store and there was no replacing it, I went on a hunt for a pattern (which I found online). I made the cloak, thinking it might be warm enough to wear on a milder winter day. Unfortunately, it doesn’t do so well with this Pacific Northwest rain we get so often in the winter. I had to wait till spring.
I can safely say, that today actually for reals feels like spring (I mean, it’s like 10 degrees outside! Wow!). So, thus…the cloak came out. The only problem with cloaks…is that they are virtually impossible to drive in. Cloaks + seat belts + trying to steer = not good. (Don’t worry, I don’t wear it while driving. I’m not crazy.)

I’m feeling slightly awkward about how to close this post off. I don’t normally do outfit posts. So…um…the end.

PS: Personal style blogging is a fairly new thing to the general public, so I can understand that when someone sees another person taking pictures of themselves they might be curious. But really people…stopping and staring is just weird. Come on. Don’t do it. If you are curious as to what the person is doing, politely ask, and move on.


Jan 11 2012

2011: The Year of the Thrifter.

(above–entire outfit: coat, dress, cardigan and shoes are all second hand)

Well, ladies and (er, gentlemen?) I have finally gotten around to writing some thoughts about the last year. And it’s only 11 days after New Years! I’m doing well. Heh.

This post is something I’ve been mulling over and planning for a while now.

This post is about thrifting.

You see, last year at this time I made a resolution of sorts. (I’ve never been one to make resolutions really, but it just so happened that I made this choice at the beginning of the year.)
I decided that I was going to buy all that I possibly could–second hand. If we were in need of a blender (which we were), we looked in the thrift store first (which we did–and we found a great one). If I needed fabric for a project (you can bet that happened more than once) I looked in the thrift store first. If I was in the mood for a new dress–you guessed it–thrift store. Now, I’ve never really been weirded out by thrift stores (RABBIT TRAIL: Often times I see people shopping for costumes at the thrift store. Presumably they would never set foot in one otherwise. Then they see something they like and exclaim “Oh! That’s really cute! …er…for being in the thrift store” and then they throw it back on the rack like it’s someone’s dirty laundry.) When I was a teen I frequented thrift stores and found many of my (still favourite) items there (*ahem* a beautiful red, fur trimmed swing coat from the 50′s for $7) However, it never occurred to me that I could look there *first*–and find what I was looking for. Thrifting was more of a hobby thing…like “Hey, let’s go to the thrift store and see if we can find something interesting”

But it turned into a lifestyle thing.

Let me tell you the top 5 reasons I go to the thrift stores for anything/everything:

1. COST.
Well duh. We’re on a tight budget. Thrift stores are cheap. Pure and simple.

When we were working down in South America, there was a market every week called the “American Market”. Locals would buy giant bales of clothing (that no one in America presumably wanted) for cheap, set up tents alongside the road and sell the items. When I heard about this, I wondered “What kind of clothes could these possibly be?” Well, the obvious…you know…last seasons Abercrombie or American Eagle hoodies, jeans that looked like they had been worn once or twice…”out of style” stuff. Um…yeah.
It really got me thinking about how disposable our clothing has become. It’s completely normal for someone to buy a number of items, wear them a couple times during the season, and then send them off to the thrift shop. It’s so easy to be drawn in by the giant window displays we see at the mall and think “I want to look just like that mannequin. But I can’t with what I already have. Must. Acquire. More. Stuff.”
Then when you think about all that, you think “Holy cow–every year we make more and more clothes…we harvest more and more cotton…concoct more and more polyester…” Pow. All that energy and waste going towards cheap disposable clothing items that we buy for $39.95, wear once and throw away. Yuck. I think I’d rather buy recycled clothes, thanks.

My favourite thrift shop in town is 100% volunteers, and all their profits go towards numerous places in the world helping people in need. I like that. If I can buy that blender and have the money go towards someone who needs food…hey, it’s a win win.

Do you realize that crazy interesting/exciting things I’ve found at thrift stores? My Melitta Coffee set, for one. Or my incredible mid-century modern solid walnut bedroom set (for $290) Most of the time I will go to the thrift store with a list in my mind of things we are currently in need of. (It can be easy to get carried away at the thrift store if you don’t have a list)
But sometimes, random things just catch my eye. I’ve got a really sweet impressionist style oil painting by a Vancouver artist for $6. The frame alone was worth more than that. Thrifting is most definitely interesting.

I put a lot of thought into what I wear (surprise!) I’ve always been a vintage/retro lover for as long as I can remember…unfortunately that’s not always what’s trendy for mainstream shops. I can remember being so frustrated sometimes, because I wanted to be classy and unique…but that can be difficult (*ahem* impossible) if you shop in mainstream stores.
I’ve noticed that since buying my clothes at thrift stores, I have become infinitely more happy with my wardrobe. It feels a lot more age appropriate, as well as unique to me. Dressing retro has never been easier. (Hah..because most of it comes from the 50′s-80′s anyway!) And because I’m not influenced by mannequin displays (thrift store mannequins are put together by 80 year old ladies. Um, no thanks, sweater sets and power suits) I can browse the product and grab things simply by a gut reacting of “I like!” rather than “Uh, I want to look like the mannequin.” I try not to think about fitting in to a current trend. I just wear what I like.
My home decor has also benefited enormously from the thrift shops. I feel like my own artwork – paintings, or photographs – don’t look so out of place with non-ikea furniture/decor.

So there you have it folks. Thrift stores are cool. Go support your local shop and fall in love with buying someone else’s old “garbage”.

PS: I also buy Vintage for more special items like a dress for an occasion, or my lovely fur-trimmed coat in the picture above. If you are interested in Vintage but don’t know where to start–I’m your gal. Give me a shout and I’ll direct you to–or heck, I’ll even take you to some of my favourite shops around.
PPS: No, I don’t buy socks and underwear from the thrift store.
PPPS: I do, however still buy the same cut of jeans from the Gap that I have for the last 100 years. If I ever see them in the thrift store though, you can bet they’d come home with me.


Nov 9 2011

it’s beginning to look a lot like…

I have a little magnet countdown to Christmas on my fridge right now. And it tells me that we’ve got 46 days left.
Good grief, where has this year gone??


This year, I have decided to be proactive. I love Christmas, but it seems that every year I’ve put off making Christmas pretties (er, decorations) and our house just looks a little blah. But not this year. I have a bit more time on my hands right now, and I have decided to use it, along with my thrift store super powers to make my house look fabulously festive. I have a long list. And I will be sharing it with you as I go! My inspiration for the decor is West Coast festive.

(side note: This was supposed to be a DIY post, but I got so into the project that I forgot to take pictures as I went)

My first project was throw pillow covers. Christmas throw pillows can be dorky. It’s something I almost didn’t do, because it can be the one thing that pushes you over that fine line of cute festive decor to crazy christmas bomb decor.

I went to the thrift store in search of any fabric item in my colour scheme (greens, browns, greys, creams) and after not finding anything in cotton…I had a brainwave–cozy sweaters! I can’t even describe how happy I am with how this turned out. The sweaters really made them unique. I also bought a big bag of mismatched buttons that I used, and will also be using for other projects.

I decided to do some festive silhouettes on a few pillows using these templates that I made (reindeer head + tree branch).

Et, voila!