Opshopping highlights – February/March

My opshopping habits have changed in recent years. I go much less often, I buy much less, and I try not to buy stuff for other people like I used to. (Sometimes I see absolutely perfect gifts, and break this rule…mind you.) However, I do still love a good rummage. Here are the best ‘thrift scores’ of the last two months.

I bought these two cups just because I instantly fell for the colours, the glossy glaze and the leaf motif. The mark on the bottom says ‘Tams ENGLAND’. After some internet research, I found that they were from a pottery in Staffordshire started by John Tams in 1875. These cups are from the 1970s.

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We have PLENTY of cups (I have a weakness for a nice cup) and Fraser has forbidden me to buy more…but if there are new cups I really can’t resist, I wriggle around this rule by culling a couple from the cupboard and returning them to the flow of the shop of opportunity…

I also found this raised relief rose vase – I’ve been on the scope for one for a long time, found plenty, but they are usually chipped to hell and in shabby condition. This one does have a couple of tiny chips, but is in the best condition I have ever seen. Very stoked to find this. I’ve probably been looking for one for at least five years. (Do you have a running list of things you are searching for from the op-shop?)


Cotton 1970s tunic, in amazing condition, given it’s vintage – who could resist this happy green and navy print?


A PRISTINE Poole dish in the most dreamy colour. I may have panted slightly when I spotted this.


& in the category of ‘bought just for my amusement’ – this 1940s recipe book. I love the font on the cover, it’s full of classic wartime NZ advertisements, lots of gag-worthy recipes, unmentionable things done to offal (like poaching it in milk) and horrible slimey desserts (junket with nutmeg, anyone?)


I love this diagram of the best way to organise your kitchen shelves, a la Mrs Beeton, 1943:


I thought it was odd that there was a section on ‘Marketing’ in the sub-title. I thought ‘Oh maybe they mean how to present your jams and cakes for selling at stalls, etc’ but no! The verb ‘marketing’ in 1943 meant GOING TO THE MARKET, and the ‘marketing’ section is tips for savvy and frugal shopping and how to not be outwitted by shop-owners.


Maybe we should reclaim it and instead of ‘going to the supermarket’ we could say ‘I’m supermarketing?’ Aaaand, maybe not.

Anyway, thank you PN op-shop goddesses, for some great finds so far this year.




Brrr…..it’s absolutely freezing here today, but there is hot food and live music at the Brown Foxes Night Market, so hopefully that will entice people away from their heaters…. & Black Doris will be there, not in her swimsuit…

Palmerston North City Library, 5-9pm, TONIGHT! 🙂

having a go at the Brown Foxes Market

This Friday, PN City Library, 5-9pm I am having a stall at the Brown Foxes Night Market, trading under the name Black Doris.

I love the market poster! (below)…

I’ll be selling mainly vintage things, from Victorian times through to the 70s, (I’m going to be in the vintage room) plus a few handmade things…



This is the first time the organisers are having a whole area dedicated to vintage stuff, so I hope it works out well for everybody. I have sold vintage stuff on trademe before, but never ‘in the flesh’. I am steeling myself for people tsk-ing about prices / kvetching about vintage traders who onsell op-shop stuff …but hopefully that won’t happen and it will just be ace, upbeat people who will smile and buy things.

Nothing on my stall is over $20, so yeah! there are BARGAINS to be had.

It has taken way more work than I anticipated sourcing / cataloguing / pricing / labeling everything, but enjoyable work. I’ll let you know how it went next week!

Here’s a peak at some of my stock.

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buttons and other wonderful junk


Vintage treasures recently acquired…

Where did the week go? Lordy!

I have been busy doing things which are integral yet boring to blog about: working, writing, parenting etc.

A more fun thing I have been doing is sorting my vintage button collection into little colour coordinated selections for an upcoming fair I’m taking part in…(more about that later…)


I love buttons! They are like little lollies you can’t eat. I have a heap of great vintage ones from buying old-lady button tins at op-shops and garage sales.

I love buttons so much the working title for The Comforter was ‘wood. button. bone’ …


Work has started on THIS collaborative art/poetry project that I’m part of and I am very excited. I think it is going to be great.

I love all things to do with the Womens’ Land Army/Land Girls so was happy to discover THIS TV series, which I’m going to start watching this week.

I reviewed Alice Miller’s ‘The Limits’ for Booksellers HERE.

I have been cooking. I am always cooking, but sometimes it’s nice to reminds yourself of all the cooking you do to help account for all the time that has passed & the wondering where it goes – recently I have made: rhubarb-blackcurrant crumble, hokey-pokey biscuits, honey oat biscuits, quince cakes, soups of various hue, giant piles of coleslaw….and dinner dinner dinner dinner every night dinner…

This weekend is the Red Cross Book Sale! I take so long at this sale, I have to go alone…because the times I’ve gone with friends I drove them mad with my sllllooooowwwwww-looking. I get ridiculously excited about the Red Cross Book sale – but every year I go, I find excellent poetry books, wonderful vintage childrens’ books and a pile of random treasures of the variety ‘I did not know I wanted this until I saw it but now I have seen it it is the perfect thing to plug that previously unknown hole in my life’….or something…

I am writing this very hastily because it’s nearly school pick-up time…. I hope you are feeling busy in a happy way and full of good projects, nice people and autumnal good food! x x x x x

top pops to the shop of the op

Op-shopping. I have the habit deep! It’s a hobby that clothes my family, furnishes and decorates my home, fills up my gift-suitcase (I stow interesting items in a suitcase so I always have something on hand when gifts are needed…) and combines simple/thrifty living with re- and upcycling plus the joy of a treasure hunt.

I often call into an op-shop after dropping M at school, or before picking him up. Here are some things I found in April/May. (Excuse the fuzzy photographs. I’m on instagram courtesy of a very old iPod touch that used to belong to my son  (I don’t have a smartphone) and the photo quality on it is not great.) These photographs only represent about a third of what I’ve found recently, but not everything is photo-worthy (books, clothes that are useful but not exciting, etc)

Gorgeous vintage frock. Way too small for me, alas, so I bought it for a friend who loves things folky…




GIANT patchwork bag with wooden handles, which for some reason really reminds me of the Little House on the Prairie books… mayopshop_2

Hilarious 70s notepad of love letter writing paper – each page features a vaseline-lens picture of a different couple with schmaltzy love-messages…


The sweetest tiny tea-set ever…


A great Nana-painting – an original! I love flowers on black backgrounds…


& the best 1980s wool jersey! Warm, comfortable and ridiculous in the best way…




gifts from the thrift

How is the first official week of winter treating you? (Game of Thrones fans will get the reference here….)


Here is some vegetable bunting I made for the kitchen because….well, just because:


Here’s some stuff from the op-shop lately. (I buy most of my clothes from the op-shop also, but they aren’t all that exciting to photograph.) The sweet, the curious and the plain old strange have come my way…

Something about this wee vintage dog appealed to me – the way he is obviously such a good dog and his face is on that angle of appealing to a person standing near….also he is standing on the tucker box – guarding it, or wanting to eat it’s contents…?




New (to-me) art for the wall – an American Jay bird. I love the pencil of the foliage and the way only the bird is coloured. This is on wood and has a kind of enameled or something surface. Quite unusual.


A Holly Hobbie tile, mounted on wood. This will go to one of the manifold little girls in my life.


Not op-shopped, but these two sweeties were being thrown out when Fraser’s grandfather moved house, so I duly rescued them.


Finally, a strange little mushroom man. Yes, I am aware that he is quite penile in appearance…I think this is partly what appealed. He’s like a wee fertility totem! 🙂


This is why I love op-shopping – the randomness, the chance – you just never know what you might uncover. It really is a treasure hunt.



new jewels for autumn

(I say ‘jewels’ ironically because I’m not a precious gems person. I’d rather have a new fabric brooch than a BLOOD DIAMOND. )

March means autumn, and autumn means….cardigans! And cardigans means brooches! Brooches are my favourite kind of adornment – they are like tiny artworks which you pin to yourself. I have an extensive brooch collection.

So, here are some new brooches I’ve come by over the summer which I’m looking forward to wearing as the weather gets colder.

This big beauty was made by Rhiannon of Toast Clothing and Croutons. Being a child of the 70s, I feel very comfortable with orange and brown together!


This lovely number I picked up at an op-shop. I am pretty sure it is an early 1980s specimen, as I remember friends of my Mum wearing them:


This one I got for a song, as in not enough to have covered the maker’s labour, from Urban Charm – a wonderful vintage and handmade shop on George St, PN. It will definitely cheer up my winter:


Lastly, this one isn’t new, but I rediscovered it when I sorted through my jewellery box last week. It is made of wool felt by my friend, the poet Maria McMillan. She found an old wartime pattern book for felt flowers. Isn’t it lovely?


And not a brooch, but a necklace – I usually avoid the mall but I was in there shopping for birthday presents for F and, ahem, ending up splurging on a little something for myself – this bunting necklace from LOVISA:


Thanks for indulging me in my Primer One-like ‘show and tell’!

In other news, my youngest son and I reviewed a book for Booksellers Blog – a highly cerebral book called ‘Maisy Grows A Garden’ – you can read the review here.