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Finding things, Our recycled home, Thrifty

Recycled home – happy imperfection

8 February, 2013

We shift things around a fair bit in our house. We are so often picking up new bits of furniture from street corners (poor, neglected things) and little trinkets from charity shops that we kind of have to wriggle the whole lot about every now and then. We just recently overhauled part of our lounge in a bid to rehome a 1950’s cabinet that was covered in cat wee, which meant getting rid of a 1930’s beasty bureau that was taking up 50% of the room… This is the new craft station that took a while to get up to scratch:vintage cabinet

These rearranging sprees have turned kind of extreme at the moment, almost, almost, venturing in to “tidying” territory. I have, in the past, been entirely capable of spending twenty minutes creating a tableau- moving ornaments on a shelf by millimetres, reframing bits of fabric to place there, filling a vintage vase with roses to sit just next to that frame, all the while stepping on raisins, over mountains of Ramona’s toys, moving half-drunken mugs of tea out of the scene. I understand this complete obsession with beautiful things and utter apathy towards mess makes me a bit cuckoo.

However, pregnancy hormones must be kicking in, playing with this inconsistency of mine-  I am 30 weeks now, and with each day that passes I find myself, like, doing dishes! And picking the raisins up! Not only shifting around the beauty but dealing with the disarray. Talk about total discombobulation. Blimey, I’ll have a crush on Dave Cameron next.

Our latest big change in the lounge has opened up the room massively, and given us space to upcycle this old shadelesss lamp we found with a map of London.It looks wicked turned on, highlighting the twisting and turning bends of the Old Father Thames.recycled living space

We honestly found this bench in a skip. Who would chuck this away, eh?

Our house would be even more of a shambles if we didn’t have stacks of vintage suitcases lying around. The ones tucked under the bench were found in Oxfam for a few pounds, the black cornet case in a derelict space, and the glam white one was given to me for my birthday (filled with the pair of vintage curtains hanging by the cabinet – best pressie ever, or what?!) These suitcases are the outer hebridies of my craft station- they hold extra paper and paints that I can’t squeeze in the cabinet (c’mon, have you seen the size of that cabinet? It is teeny, weeny, really…)

vintage cases

With the prospect of selling this little bubble of Camberwell we live in looming, we are going to have to get some paint on these walls to make it all a bit more appealing. We have had the bare concrete exposed for the whole three years here- I love the raw feeling of it, especially with the juxtaposition of all our homey jumble-sale trinkets. In fact, a visitor last week asked us how we did it. Like “How did you get this awesome kind of gritty concrete effect?” Hehe. Hoho. “Pure laziness my friend, pure laziness.”

recycled shelves

There is nothing perfect in this house… nearly everything has a bit missing, a chip off the rim or a bit of rust, that is the way of making do, and then falling in love, with a completely recycled home. “Imperfection” for us not only means “bad ass thrifty” but it has come to mean “loved” and “enjoyed” and it is nice having a home filled with stuff that has bought happiness to loads of others in the past too. Even if it does make our house smell of cat wee. (Jokes.)

I have to admit, a bit reluctantly, these tidying up capers make it all even more delicious. I could almost get used to it…. *picks up a raisin purposefully*

lucy and ramona

These snaps were taken by the one and only Tom Hartford – thanks Tom, he was over here taking pictures of some exciting doilly crafts for an upcoming issue of Pretty Nostalgic mag… EXCITING!
redrosevintage

redrosevintage

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Finding things, Thrifty

Charity Shops in Streatham and the Charity Shop Blog Hop

31 May, 2012

When I was younger Streatham was known for only one thing; its gargantuan and spectacular ice rink.  We would put on our cool bomber jackets, exchange our best crepes (yoof speak for shoes, mum)  for some skanky boots and skate the day away to the winsome harmonies of BoyzIIMen.

Now though, memories of skating in Streatham are being squeezed out by the minutes spent gallivanting around the charity shops.

I am a charity shop ADDICT. I start going through withdrawal if I don’t go for a week (symptoms include pottering around my friend’s homes, picking things up from their shelves with an inquiring gaze.)  I like that it is a kind of shopping that requires imagination and vision (my husband didn’t have that vision when I showed him a little packet of retro Christmas candles this evening) and that it builds patience as you dedicatedly wait until you come across the item you hope for.

So Streatham REALLY floats my boat. It must have the most number of charity shops per sq mile then any other area in London. In the one mile walk from Streatham Hill along Streatham High Road to Streatham Station there are TWELVE  of ’em and two junk/antique shops. Never has a road so aptly been nicknamed (er, by me and Tim) The Golden Mile.

Here is the run down but also check out the google map where I’ve  handily plotted them for you!

Give a Little

Begin at the top with Give a Little at 77 Streatham Hill- just opposite the Mega Bowl. Bursting at the seams with clothes and trinkets, both up and downstairs. Clothes tend to be on the steeper side – £7-8 for skirts  but all good quality. The bric-a-brac is fairly priced, nice mugs for £1.

Trinity Hospice Shop
Stay on the same side of the road for this sprawling jumble sale kind of a shop,  chocka block with quirky things and people. I love the kids clothes section- literally a tiny mountain of garments that you bury your nose into – three for £1.

PAWS
A little shop that involves popping off the main street a few metres, but well worth browsing as the prices for things vary wildly.

Relief Fund for Romania
Carry back down the main road for a while until you come across the little yellow sign pointing you up to the left. This one has £1 rails- hurrah! Sometimes when you need jumpers for craft projects you really don’t want to spend more than £1 but these rails are so rare.

British Red Cross Books and Music
Cross over the road for the next two. A huge selection here, carefully laid out. In specific Books and Music shops I find you don’t get the bargains you might in another shop but you are paying for a higher chance of finding something ace, aren’t you?

Trinity Hospice
This Trinity Hospice Shop  is as sparse as the first is sprawling. But they have selected the choiciest cuts, and there are some creative little crannies. (Doe we say crannies?)

Oxfam
Nip back over the road for this new, massive Oxfam – this one is the Ikea of chazza shops. Clean, spacious, affordable and air conditioned! Primarily for furniture and bric a brac, they have some gorgeous things in there. Our sofa hails from here, this massive, bed like thing and it was only £30.

Oxfam
Amazing shoes and clothes- I snapped up a pair of Reef flip flops from there today for £3.99, they kinda, mostly fit me, even though they say a size 10 and I’m a size 6. Just a few inches sticking out the back. I wonder if I can snip that off…

Cancer Research
They have the longest rail for dresses ever seen (each one around the £5 mark) and the BEST tunes. One of my favourite things about charity shopping is the eclectic music and how it is perfectly acceptable to singalong. (No?)

British Red Cross
Huge selection of clothes and lovely crockery. They always seems to have some nice retro bits in here too.

Working for Charity
Tiny shop with a small selection of things. The things were LOVELY but, dare I say it, a bit overpriced. I saw this tea set and thought “OOf, I’d stretch to £15 for that” as it was so beautiful. Turns out they wanted £58. Yep. £58.

What the?

The ongoing charity shop pricing dillema. See, on one hand I agree that they have a responsibility to their charity to get as much as they can for an item. On the other hand, I feel like they play an important redistribution role too – making beautiful and good things affordable for those less well off.

Shelter
This is quite a new shop and  swanky with it.  It’s a Next Generation charity shop – making charity shopping more clean and appealing to the masses. (However, personally? Give me a rumble in the manky old jumble anyday.)

There it is,  The Golden Mile – for some of the best charity shopping in London. The prices reflect those of other Capital charity shops – no 50p china plates here- but for sheer volume and overall thriftiness Streatham is Where It Is At.

Having a little one, I have to plan my charity shop traipsing carefully- ensuring Ramona gets a chance to run wild either before or after. Being a scorching day we trundled round the corner to Tooting Bec Lido, this fabulous old school pool, where we bumped into a wonderful friend, scoffed ice cream and splashed our merry wee hearts out. Heaven.

And Now, Roll Up, Roll Up-  Time for the Charity Shop Blog Hop!

I am well excited about reading everyone’s write ups- be it local or exotic.

Please link back here (with the image if poss) and visit all the other linker-upperers to share a comment– hopefully you’ll find even more charity shop lovers than you knew of.  Hurraahhh!

Just click below where the links (and photos) will be displayed in all their glory…


 

And finally, if you are on Twitter use the hashtag #charityhop (see what I did there?)

Finding things, Thrifty

Charity Shop Blog Hop and a few magpied marvels

21 May, 2012

I used to volunteer in a charity shop on Saturdays, it was so bad for me. I jest not, at the end of the day I would routinely walk away with AT LEAST one bin bag full of finds I couldn’t resist. I’d be in the back sorting, going “One for the shop… one for me… one for the shop…. one for me…”

Since those heady days I have installed charity shopping as the primary source for all our stuff. I just see it as totally win win – a good rumble in their jumble gets us both necessary and frivolous things in a cheap way.  But equally I love knowing the money I am spending is going to help someone or a situation AND I love knowing I am making use of someone’s leftovers. ( I realise that is not even win win, but win win WIN.)

Of course, there is the odd time a grumpy worker bites or you have a couple of weeks of thrifting absolutely NADA, or the time you see a Primark dress going for thrice the price, or the time you get something home and it reeks of someone’s armpits.  (But best not to mention these as each time you  do an old shop volunteer dies.)

I know loads of other people adore charity shops too and there is a whole bunch of bloggers dedicated to showing off our charity shop bounty. I fancy holding a bit of a parrrtaaaayyy showing off the charity shops themselves and I’d love you (Yep, YOU) to join in.

Whoever you are, if you have a charity shop you can never pass without ducking in, a route you often traipse around or have hit up a random town in a splurge of charity shop tourism then blog it and link it in ten days time on Thursday 31st May as part of the (drum roll):

<div align=”center”><a href=”http://lulastic.wordpress.com/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://lulastic.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/charityshopbloghop1.jpeg”></a></div>

It could be a secret route, with intricate detail and a google map, or it could be an abstract poem dedicated to your local – anything goes. The aim is to have a little Tinternet soiree  for charity shop lovers and for newbie thrifters to meet the Old School,  but it might also provide some helpful info so we can all plan our holidays around scouring charity shops (What, no one else designs their breaks around that?!)

Please join in – everyone welcome! Simply write a post before or on Thursday 31st May and visit here to add your link using the linky tool. Include the graphic using the code above so people can find their way back to check out the other party people.

I’ll also do a round up of the highlights  a week later in case anyone missed the joys.

Cool. You in, yeah?

Onto a couple of things I have found lately:

Every house needs a step ladder with a plump pile of neatly folded fabric on it eh? The fabric stacked at the very bottom was a hefty £10 from my favourite Fara shop but it is huuuuuge – about 2 x 3 metres.  I am not sure what to do with it. It is a peculiar shiny material. Maybe a blind?

The top piece is about 50cm by 1 metre and is clearly quite ancient- I just love the flowers on it. It was £1.50 from a Geraniums for the Blind shop. I can’t quite bring myself to give it a permanent setting if it involves taking scissors to it. But I know it is wasted perching on a paint splattered ladder.

And lastly, I scored these five plates from the local car boot fair in East Dulwich- just £1 for the five. I love the brown and turquoise design, all the glories of the Seventies right there.

Linking up with Liz’s Magpie Mondays, of course- do have a poke around their second hand loot.

Have you found anything lush lately?

And, do you reckon you’ll join in with the blog hop?

And, how do you feel bout spending 17  seconds voting for Lulastic in the Thrift & Craft categories of the MAD blog awards? (Saying it in third person sounds much less desperate.) Unlike our electoral system, every little vote counts!