Sunday, September 30, 2012

Buying Thrift Shoes...

During a recent conversation with my sister Marie, I was telling her about my latest shoe find and how little they cost. She too loves shoes and loved the price but she was concerned that shoes could cause problems that clothing doesn't. With clothes you bring them home and either wash them or dry clean them and anything that might be on them, dirt or otherwise, is washed away. Laundering shoes is okay for sneakers and slippers but no one is going to put their leather pumps in the washer.

Here are some of my tips on buying shoes from the thrift store.

  • first off, I only buy shoes from clean, dry, well organized stores I buy from a variety of stores some are cleaner and drier than others (I do live on the Wet Coast after all)
  • next look at the inside for wear, if the name is worn off the inner sole these are well loved well worn shoes. As I peruse the shelf I only pick up the ones with little wear inside
  • sometimes the previous owner used insoles protecting the inner sole from wear, so next flip the shoes over and check the treads for wear. I only buy shoes that have no wear on the bottom soles
  • when you get them home wipe them down with a damp cloth with just a touch of antibacterial dish soap (not too much soap or too damp as it could damage the material or leather)
  • last use anti fungal spray or powder inside the shoes and let them sit for a day or two before wearing them
  • finally if you spot a pair, like I did on the Naturalizers (below on the right), that still have the store tag on them you can be pretty sure they haven't been worn previously

725 Camo for $5 and Naturalizers for $12
Note the treads on both are still intact and the Naturalizers have the store tag (Note the dirt on the Camo shoes is from me, forgot to take a picture while they were still clean)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

London Fog!!!

I am so excited, I just came home with a London Fog trench today. These coats retail anywhere from $100 to $200. I picked mine up for $10 at the same thrift store I bought my $20 retro leather coat.

This coat is ankle length and fits perfectly with a sweater underneath so it will work well for me for the fall and well into winter, with the leather coat for the slightly cooler days.

London Fog Trench for $9.99
Harley is checking the bag with the denim skirt I also picked up. $2.99

Monday, September 24, 2012


I love sewing, it is fun and creative. When I was little I would find scraps of fabric and sew stuffed toys by hand.

Now instead of stuffed toys (which are still fun to do) I prefer making clothing and quilts. Making clothes requires some special tools which can be kind of expensive. So I made some of my own like a sleeve roll and a pressing ham. Mine of course are not like the professional ones but they mostly get the job done.

Imagine my surprise when I was strolling through a thrift store, because I was early for an appointment, and I discovered a pressing ham and a sleeve board for $1.75 each. To buy both these items retail it would be over $50. So I saved $46 buying at my local thrift store, where my money is put to good use.

Sleeve Board & Pressing Ham

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Dog Toys

Our 9 month old Rottweiler is hard on toys. A standard tennis ball will last about an hour if she puts her mind to finding out what is inside it. When she was spayed recently, the vet told us to keep her calm and quiet for 10 days (we made it to about 5 before she drove us crazy and we had to run around outside). I had noticed stuffed toys with squeakers only dogs can hear so we thought what a great way to keep her quiet and we don't have to listen to the noise.

It lasted an hour or so before the squeaker was chewed to tiny bits. The toy itself lasted about 24 hours before all the stuffing was removed and it was a little shred of red fabric. It cost $15 and did not keep her quiet for nearly long enough.

On my most recent trip to a thrift store I decided that I would take a look at the children's section for stuffed toys. Even though she is hard on them, Harley really loves playing with them. So for $1.50 I found a teddy bear and a lamb toy.

Harley's "new" bear eyes and nose removed.

Please excuse the blurry photos it was
difficult to get her to stay still for a photo.

I gave her the bear and within an hour she had removed the eyes and nose but the rest of the bear remained intact for 3 full days before the stuffing started coming out. Once the stuffing came out I pulled out as much as I could so she wouldn't make a mess and eat it. Even without stuffing she is still playing with it and having fun. Once it is reduced to shreds I will give her the lamb (or until she is testing my patience some day).

Here is my thought on the whole process. Pet toy manufactures are not as worried about getting sued for a pet getting hurt by a toy as children's toy manufactures are. Therefore toys for children are better made and will last longer for dogs than dog toys specifically made for dogs...go figure.

These are some tips on buying children's stuff toys for dogs:

  • check the bottom ends for bean bags, they are far messier to clean up than fibre fill stuffing
  • don't buy thin or shiny fabrics, they are weak and will have sharp teeth through them first bite
  • try to get toys without the button eyes and nose, they will get chewed off quickly and could be a choking hazard
  • cut off tags and ribbons before giving to the dog
  • remove any doll clothes from the toys
  • you may even want to cut a small hole and remove all the stuffing, dogs don't care if they are stuffed or not

Monday, July 30, 2012

Lastest Re-jeans bag...

I found an interesting contest on Craftsy to make a beach bag with fabric from Spoonflower. I thought this was a perfect opportunity to make a Re-jeans bag with this fabric. Unfortunately I received the fabric from Spoonflower several days after the contest closed.

This did not stop me from make a fun new bag and trying something new.

As usual, I love the contrast of the pretty bag with the seemingly pretty fabric until you look closer and realize the fabric is skulls and snakes. Thank you to Whimzwhirled for the gorgeous pattern on the fabric, its perfectly me, colourful contrast.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Dressing for summer....

I found my closet was lacking in summer clothes for work this year. Most likely because my last office job was in an office that was icy cold summer and winter to keep the printing machines at the correct temperature.

Here are some of my finds. The light cotton blouse with the cotton/linen blend, black skirt is a bit whimsical and a lot of fun. The dress needs to be fixed up a bit before it becomes a work dress but the other 2 outfits fit the bill. The green, cotton top with a long denim skirt is a nice classic.

Saturday, July 21, 2012


I think denim is my favourite fabric. I love how it gets softer with wear and washings (there is nothing more comfortable than a broken in pair of jeans). If it gets torn it or cut it frays in such away as to enhance the fabric. You can do many distresses on it because it is very strong.

You can wear it casual, dressed up or for working in the garden. Its always fashionable.

When I came across this fantastic find at Salvation Army in Courtenay last week I couldn't resist buying it. A portion of it is already slated for a suit made from a pair of jeans and some fabric.

Check it out 5.5 meters of 64" wide denim for $20. It is usually $15-$20 per meter at the fabric store.