Monday, 30 November 2015

The Buyer's Archive - November

Last year, I started keeping a note of the clothes I was buying.  My spending habits had decreased in recent times and I was craving more space and less stuff.  Being mindful about what my money went on with regards to non-necessities seemed like the logical place to start.  I had an idea to compare my purchases from this time last year to the ones I've made this year and see if there's any change, and if I wasted my money on stuff that didn't last, or that I changed my mind about.

knitwear sweater cardigan vintage M&S chair stack charity shop
If October was the month of being super restrained on the shopping front, November was... well, the complete opposite.  I bought all the knitwear.  More of that in a minute though - first up is what I bought last November.  One thing.  Past Elise was better behaved, or maybe the charity shops were less amazing last year.  

M&S polka dot work mini skirt charity shop
M&S polka dot skirt via charity shop - £2.75
Love this skirt.  I wear it to work fairly often in the winter months, although it does have an annoying habit of spinning around when I walk since it's a tiny bit big.  Still, it's great for those days when I'm pretending I'm not a complete scruff.

Last November I spent a grand total of £2.75.  You already know I didn't beat that this November, so I might as well show you what I got in exchange for my hard earned cash...

M&S sweater jumpers cable knit diamond design charity shop
M&S cable knit sweater dress via charity shop - £3
I'm not sure if this is actually a dress or it's just the big size on the label that makes it look like one, but I've been wearing it with jeggings anyway.  I worked out fairly quickly why such a new looking jumper ended up in the charity shop - when washed with anything else in the machine, it got fluff over EVERYTHING.  I sort of suspected as much and thought about hand washing it, but I'm just too damn lazy for that kind of faff, so I resorted to lint rollering everything at the other end.  It's all good.  Oh, except I can't hang it in the wardrobe because of said shedding, so it's just chilling on my yarn drawers right now.

M&S men's lambswool sweater via charity shop (new with tags) - £4
This jumper was one of five things I bought in one shop a couple of weeks ago.  We found a Cancer Research that wasn't overpriced and that also happened to have lots of Elise-friendly donations.  Dangerous.  I suspect a few of my buys may have come from the same person , so thanks to the random stranger with the great taste in knitwear!  This one was brand new and comically large and I love it to pieces.  I've been wearing it, putting it away for a day or two, then wearing it again.

wool sweater jumper cardigan M&S vintage floral charity shop
Classique flower print sweater via charity shop - £2.99
I was down in Stranraer a few weeks ago and picked up some good bargains there too.  This jumper was my first find - look how fun it is!  Perfect for when I feel like letting my crazy knitter side run wild.

M&S men's wool cardigan via charity shop - £3
My giant jumper twin, this cardigan is also massive and also featuring heavily in my life at the mo.  Plus, pockets!

M&S men's colour block sweater via charity shop - £2
The last one, I swear.  I fancied knitting myself a colour blocked jumper, but I couldn't resist this one for £2.  It was my favourite when I pulled it from the rail among the other M&S bargains but I've only worn it once so far.  The slightly more fitted style works well with my skirts though.

topshop knit top vintage stripe tshirt sandals charity shop
Topshop coloured knit top via charity shop - £2
I spotted this when I was heading over to try on all the knitwear and was instantly drawn to the subtle yet bright stripes and vintage style.  It's a little big but I've been layering it up with cardigans.  If we get a summer next year I'm already planning cute outfits based around it.

Rohde wedge sandals via charity shop - £4
I was hanging around waiting for Tam to buy something when my eyes fell on these shoes.  I'd never heard of the brand but again, the vintage style caught my attention and I had to try them.  It's very rare that I find (nice) shoes in my size in a charity shop, plus these look brand new, so my optimism told me to buy them.  I'm conveniently choosing to forget that I wore sandals not once this year.  (A quick Google made it clear that I'd wear exactly zero of the styles from their current collection, so I definitely lucked out here!)

Sainsburys stripe t-shirt via charity shop - £1
The last of my Cancer Research bargains was picked up when I was waiting to pay.  I've been looking for some striped t-shirts and this seemed perfect.  The size label told me it was a 16 but I wear my t-shirts big anyway so that was fine.  Except it somehow fits me perfectly.  I don't know whether to be offended that Sainsburys thinks my boobs are that big or assume that it shrunk and thus ended up on that rail but whatever, it fits.

vintage dress denim black 70s 90s pinafore charity shop
Denim button dress via charity shop - 25p
Someone helpfully cut the labels out of this 90s looking denim dress so I have no idea of it's origins, but at 25p I wasn't especially fussed!  I shortened it a few inches and fixed an almost-hole in the seam and it's already been worn with the aforementioned stripe t-shirt and burgundy cardigan.  It came from a Stranraer charity shop that had a whole rail of cheap clothing but nothing else caught my eye.  Probably for the best, since this might already be my longest Buyer's Archive post...

Vintage evening dress via charity shop - £3.99
I already had a potential outfit for our Christmas night out but I couldn't leave this amazing fabric behind.  I wasn't sure about the style when I first tried on the dress and planned to restructure it a bit but on the second fitting it grew on me a bit.  I stuck my hair up, put on my heels and faffed in front of the mirror for a bit, wondering whether or not to shorten it.  It's meant to be a maxi style but obviously on me it's not!  I'm going to attack the skirt with the iron since I hate the pleats, but I'm still deciding if it will look right if I take it up just a few inches.  I'm a bit worried it'll lose its dramatic flair if I do that.  All opinions welcome!

Crikey, a mere three visits to the charity shops and I came home with that many bargains!  Chances are I didn't need that many new jumpers but really, you can't have too much knitwear when you live in Scotland.  Or at least that's my story and I'm sticking to it.  Total spend for this November was... £26.23.  I was expecting a higher total considering the volume of purchases so I'm pretty happy with that!  Especially when you consider that it can be compared to the price of a meal out.  I think I might need a bit of a closet clear out soon mind you - it's getting a bit crowded in there...

What everyone been buying this month?  Any charity shop bargains?


Friday, 27 November 2015

Crafting the day away

decoupage letters laura ashley christmas gifts
decoupage letters laura ashley craft kit christmas gift
I've been experimenting with some new crafts lately.  There's a couple of things I can't show off quite yet (super secret Christmas pressies and all that) but these ones I can.  The fun stuff.

On Sunday, I went along to a craft afternoon hosted by Laura Ashley.  We were in The Butterfly and the Pig again, venue of my last crafty outing in Glasgow, and were treated to an awesome day of decoupage and needle felting, fuelled by tea and cake.  I had no idea that Laura Ashley had been around so long (sixty years young!) or that the brand started out as a tea towel designer, and the learning didn't stop there.  We were gathered up to test out their crafting kits - the ideal present for creative types this Christmas.

tea and cake vintage china butterfly and the pig craft afternoon laura ashley glasgow
The lovely ladies from The Crafty Hen were on hand to make sure we didn't make a total mess of things - useful, since we began with the decoupage, a craft involving gluing ripped paper to wooden letters.  Definitely one of the more fiddly jobs I've attempted recently.  We only had time to do a letter or two before we moved on to the next activity, but I was pleased with my progress by the end, even if my slapdash style wasn't the most elegant...

After a brief pause to inhale some cake (maple and pecan for me, yum!) we moved on to needle felting.  Now, I tried it for the first time last Friday at the Country Living Fair and pretty much hated it.  I was given a template and a pin and I couldn't get that donkey to look like it was meant to look at all.  Not to mention, I stabbed my thumb and it stung for hours afterward.  I know, I know, woe is me.  This time, however, we were just trying out flat designs and the tool was a multi-needle...thingie...with a protective shield.  So, despite managing to stab myself again, it was a lot less dangerous for a beginner.  First I made a sheep in a Santa hat, then tried a Christmas pudding and finally a stocking.  The latter didn't turn out very professional looking, but I'm pretty pleased with my first attempts.

laura ashley needle felting kit christmas gift
needle felting kit laura ashley gift christmas
christmas needle felting kit laura ashley crafter gift decorations

We used the Home Decopapier kit and the Needle Felting kit - both come stuffed with enough materials for plenty of projects.  I'm already planning a trip to the craft shop for more wooden letters to make use of all the pretty patterned paper, and I barely made a dent in the pile of wool included in the felting kit.  There's a chance everyone I know will be getting handmade Christmas decorations soon... It turns out Laura Ashley sell a rather excellent array of gifts for crafters - I'll be keeping that in mind for the future, especially since my friend is wildly jealous of my needle felting creations!

Thanks to Laura Ashley, Joe Bloggers and The Crafty Hen for an ace day out!


Thursday, 26 November 2015

Plaids and pockets

check plaid dress charity shop navy blue pockets cardigan m&s
pockets check plaid dress charity shop cardigan m&s
tan leather ankle boots office indiana
I've been living in this dress lately.  At least once a week, it gets pulled out my wardrobe for another outing, which may not sound like that often, but I do have a lot of stuff in there!  I'm not a hoarder until it comes to yarn or pretty clothing, it turns out.

The dress was a Brighton bargain, one that needed only a small alteration to make it wearable.  It was a rare find, in that it was my favourite colour, fitted perfectly, was long enough and - always a winning attribute - had pockets.  Giant patch pockets, to be precise.  So far they've just been used for holding my permanent tissue stash, but it's a bit classier than stuffing them up my sleeves anyway.  The cardigan was also a charity shop find, this time from a few weeks ago when Tam and I had a last minute stop on the way home and stumbled into a shop that was both reasonably priced and stuffed with goodies.  Well, it was from my point of view since I left with a cardigan, two jumpers (one brand new) and two tops for a grand total of £12 - I have no idea if Tam actually bought anything!

And then there's the boots.  I must admit, I'm a bit disappointed at how quickly they're showing wear, although I've been wearing them pretty often too.  I guess they'll just look all distressed and loved at the end of winter...

What's everyone else wearing in this miserable climate?  Any charity shop bargains?

cardigan - M&S via charity shop
dress - handmade via charity shop
boots - Office (on sale!)


Wednesday, 25 November 2015

FO - Pickles cable hat

pickles close cable knit hat free pattern
I loved knitting this hat.  Pickles close cables hat was just the type of pattern I was looking for, with its simple cable design and integrated rib.  Also, somewhat surprisingly, it turned out to be just the right size.  Despite checking my gauge where possible, my track record for a project ending up the size it's meant to be is not great.  I get there about half the time anyway...

I used some leftover Aran sweater yarn in this gorgeous charcoal colour, perfect for my uncle, who favours dark, outdoorsy clothing.  I'm getting a bit antsy to do some selfish knitting but the crafting plans are on track for now, so I guess I can hold off for another month!

On the reading front (since it's Yarn Along day, after all) I'm in the middle of The Innocents by Francesca Segal.  I realised this book was only on a two week loan from the library so I switched over from last week's book to read this first.  Adam and Rachel have been together for twelve years and just got engaged when Rachel's former-wild-child cousin moves home and threatens to disrupt their calm, if somewhat stale, life.  It makes for uneasy reading but I'm eating it up, especially since I'm not sure if my prediction for the ending will be how it turns out.

How's the Christmas crafting going for everyone else?


Monday, 23 November 2015

Photo an Hour Day - November

kit cat clock red retro photo an hour day
08.20 - See this creepy clock right here?  It started ticking in the middle of the night and woke me up at 5am.  I was too furious and sleepy to think about how it's probably possessed, which I guess is a good thing.  At least I got back to sleep anyway.  (Um, obviously it ticks all the time but when the tail is moving it gives off a loud noise, so I disabled it. There's the odd time it just starts moving by itself though, which is rather freaky.)

library book pile photo an hour day
09.18 - Having breakfast and a quick read of my book.  I have too many on the go at the moment, but I'm really enjoying The Innocents so far.

on my desk wool yarn knitted hat photo an hour day
10:27 - I tidied my desk the night before so the actual surface of the desk is visible now!  I still have a few wee piles going on though - my latest finished knit (details on Wednesday!) and some new yarn to start another project.

photo an hour day wearing wool sweater long tall sally blanket scarf
11.19 - What I'm wearing is a regular part of Photo an Hour day.  Saturday's plans involved going out in the freezing cold, so I had on these Long Tall Sally jeans, a thermal top and new wool sweater.  Well, it was new in the charity shop and I picked it up for the bargain price of £4.  It's too big even for Tam but that just adds to the snuggly effect.  I'm also wearing a Long Tall Sally biker jacket, giant M&S scarf and my hand knit hat and mittens.

bobble hat knitted train scotrail ticket photo an hour day seat
12.23 - Met Tam on the train and settled in for some knitting on the way to Helensburgh.  Yup, this photo an hour bears a large similarity to May's one!

photo an hour day helensburgh tapas ice cream sign retro sangria
13:07 - We wandered along to the square, popped into a few charity shops and admired the retro decor outside the ice cream shops.  Apparently that's what Helensburgh does best - ice cream and thrifting.  There was no question of trying somewhere new for lunch since we both liked the tapas place so much last time.  I had a glass of sangria and stuffed myself on potatoes, cheese and vegetables.  Oh, and bread.  Always bread.

old school helensburgh photo an hour day
14.52 - After lunch we wandered around the remaining charity shops then along to the Victoria Halls to check out a craft fair, then back down to the sea front where we saw this gorgeous old school building.  It had an ugly modern extension that I carefully avoided getting into the picture, although a tiny part sneaked in on the right.

coffee cup photo an hour day
16.46 - Apparently I missed an hour in there...  We got the train back at 3-ish and got off at the Glasgow charity shops since Tam never really gets to go to those ones, then went back to the flat to sit.  Sitting is good.

knitting jumper wool yarn red photo an hour day
19.18 - I have a better reason for missing this chunk of pictures.  When we got home I stuck the heating on and after a while we realised it wasn't getting any warmer.  Yup, after two days of use this winter, the boiler has packed in.  After trying every way I know to fix it, calling my gas engineer brother, combing through the manual and finally standing with flatmate just staring at it, it's still not working.  Fingers crossed the letting agent bothers to email me back at some point.  Eventually, I just went back to my knitting with a blanket in tow.

movie universal laptop photo an hour day

20.44 - We ordered sushi for dinner to make things easy, although it took over an hour to appear and the curry was cold, so not sure how much better it was than me cooking something.  Afterwards we put a film on (Unbroken, very good) and I got another knitted pressie nearly finished, so the day was somewhat productive in the end...

Thanks to Jane and Louisa for hosting!  Check out their blogs for the next date - I'm hoping for Boxing Day but that'd be a bit later than usual...  Also how is it only a month until Christmas?!


Friday, 20 November 2015

A trip to Pollok Country Park

pollok country park house glasgow scotland red trees leaves garden autumn

Does anyone in Scotland remember autumn this year?  It was brief but beautiful and definitely my favourite time in the whole calendar.  Tam and I managed to pick the perfect weekend to finally pay a visit to Pollok Country Park at the start of the month.  The trees were a glorious mixture of golds and reds and there was plenty of opportunity for my preferred activity of crunching through leaves without having to wear a jacket. (I know, I have pretty specific tastes)

pollok country park house glasgow scotland fallen leaves walking

pollok country park house glasgow scotland fairy garden horseshoe

pollok country park house glasgow scotland red leaves falling autumn

pollok country park house glasgow scotland dog

pollok country park house glasgow scotland autumn

I spent most of the afternoon trying to capture the rapidly falling leaves on camera, squealing with delight over the tiny fairy village and making friends with that beautiful doggy.  We got a nice surprise when we realised the house was open too - I just assumed all National Trust properties closed in October (because it seems that way if you give the membership book a quick glance) but Pollok House is open all year.  I think it might become our walking place of choice over winter since I can be assured of cake and a country house wander in the middle!

pollok country park house glasgow scotland autumn leaves

pollok country park house glasgow scotland ducks

pollok country park house glasgow scotland garden autumn

pollok country park house glasgow scotland garden steps

lighthouse garden pollok country park house glasgow scotland

pollok country park house glasgow scotland

Has anyone been?  I was inspired to visit after reading Mimmi's post way back in May but typically, only got round to going months later!  The entrance to the park is two minutes from Pollokshaws West station, which is a great location but watch out for train times on Sundays - we just missed a train in both directions and had to wait ages since I've got so used to just leaving the house and diving on a train every other day.  Lesson learned.


Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Yarn Along

knitting cable hat aran yarn shirley jackson library book paperback

Knitting - Pickles close cable hat
A Christmas present for my uncle, this hat has been ideal for using up more of the leftover aran yarn from Tam's sweater.  Still, I think after I'm done here I'll still have about 500g in my stash.  Maybe he also needs a scarf and mittens...  (I'm talking about Tam and my uncle here.  They could both have matching accessories and I'd still have wool to spare.)

Speaking of knitting, my crafty plans are coming along nicely, if not quite as quickly as I'd like.  I keep reminding myself that I have over a month to get most things done, but I have some flexi hours stacked up at work if I go into panic mode and need extra time to finish something!  I'm done with my cousin's present and Matilda's one, although my Christmas window is definitely shaping up to be less impressive than last year.  I haven't been hit with any design inspiration and to be honest, I'm choosing to let go of any (self-imposed) pressure and just see what happens.  I'll have SOMETHING to hang up anyway, even if it's not quite on par with the thrilling 'minion Christmas party' of last year.

Reading - 'We have always lived in the castle' by Shirley Jackson
I popped along to the library last night to pick up this book - I'd heard talk of it being good so I ordered it on the app and it turned up super quick.  Glasgow Libraries are either super fast or deathly slow at delivering book orders it seems...  I also had a quick browse and found a couple of other books I liked the look of - good for supporting my local library but bad for reducing my own pile of books to be read!  I think I might be in for another spooky read with this one.  Who's read it?

Linking up to Ginny's Yarn Along.


Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Around here

craft sewing bloggers glasgow

Apparently as soon as my schedule gets out of whack, my blog posts grind to a halt.  I'm having a hard time balancing everything that needs to be done around here at the moment, and so the tasks that require the most brain power and motivation (namely, writing and exercising) are the first to get pushed off the to-do list.  I need to fix that!  At least now that jury service is over I can get back to fitting everything into my day - or at least attempting to.

So, what have I been up to lately?  I'm glad you asked!  The Saturday before last I had a very fun day out with some fellow crafty bloggers in the west end of Glasgow, where we saw the new costume exhibition at Kelvingrove and had lunch nearby, followed by an epic swap.  Despite not planning to come home with anything I managed to grab some wool and a set of needles from Kerry, two pretty pieces of fabric and a jacket pattern that was exactly what I'd been searching for.  I'm sure everything will come in handy at some point.  The above picture came from our fabby organiser, Franca, and as you can see, I was wearing my crocheted scarf and recently altered dress to try and fit in with the sewing crowd.

costume exhibition kelvingrove glasgow november 2015

A few days later I was on another blogger jaunt when Roisin came to town.  I've been following her blog for years so it was great to meet in person and have a drink and a good old natter, along with Elaine (who has the best style of anyone I know), Amy and Nuala.  Oh, and I also met Mimmi a few weeks ago at a dinner I attended with the Time Out blog crew.  I'm aware I sound all outgoing and exciting and sociable here, so apologies if anyone's getting the wrong impression of me, since I'm not really any of those things...  Apparently I just got faced with lots of fun events at once that I couldn't say no to!

glasgow goma light up scottish signs

Of course, the thing that was keeping me busy for the past week was jury service, which anyone who follows me on Twitter will already know about thanks to my constant whining.  Yup, I got picked to sit in a room for five days and listen to person after person pick apart someone's life and tell me things I had frankly no interest in ever knowing.  I must admit, it wasn't quite as dull as I was expecting, and I did give a silent prayer of thanks that I wasn't in the room next door, where the trial was expected to last 6-8 MONTHS (nope, not a typo), but I sure won't be keen to do it again in a hurry.

knitted pompoms baskets baby clothes booties ducks

As well as (probably) shortening my life, jury duty also did me out of a holiday (Tam's mum booked it the day I got my letter so I figured I didn't have a leg to stand on if I tried to use it as an excuse) Still, I managed to meet up with everyone on Saturday when they were visiting Stranraer and we had a nice wee day out, checking out all the charity shops and fitting in a quick dash to Portpatrick, one of my favourite places in the world.  Then Sunday was the craft fair.

I've mentioned this a couple of times before but to recap - a family friend was organising the fair to raise money for charity and Mother volunteered us to man a table, so we knitted our socks off for a couple of months and turned up with bags of stuff to sell.  On the wettest, windiest day of the year.   On Remembrance Sunday.  I sold one basket and Mother sold two cardigans and a pair of booties.  So... it was a learning experience.  She was pretty disappointed but the weather was really the deciding factor in how well it all went, and we couldn't control that.  On the bright side, my bro, sis-in-law, cousin and I cleared up at the raffle table and took home about half the bottles between us all, including most of the alcohol, so at least we know Christmas will be very merry!

I think I'm all up to date now.  What been going on in the real world*?  Did I miss anything good?

*by 'real world' I mean social media, obviously.


Tuesday, 3 November 2015

The Buyer's Archive - October

Last year, I started keeping a note of the clothes I was buying.  My spending habits had decreased in recent times and I was craving more space and less stuff.  Being mindful about what my money went on with regards to non-necessities seemed like the logical place to start.  I had an idea to compare my purchases from this time last year to the ones I've made this year and see if there's any change, and if I wasted my money on stuff that didn't last, or that I changed my mind about.

This post has the easiest beginning ever, since last October I spent precisely nothing on clothes.  Yup, absolutely zero pounds.  Obviously I didn't manage to repeat that success this year but I've definitely been more restrained overall.  I had a saving goal I wanted to hit this month and I made it!  And I also finally got a pair of boots that ticked all my very specific boxes.  Scroll down for more on them...

office indiana tan leather ankle boots

Office Indiana Tan Boots - £64
I think I'm gonna write a whole separate post on the utter faff that I went through in picking a new pair of boots, but let's skip past that story at the moment and focus on the main point.  I got new boots!  There's not much I can say that I ever really need in terms of clothing but these were definitely on the 'must buy' list.  To recap, my super specific guidelines for purchasing were as follows:

- must not have zips
- must have a small heel
- must go with both black and navy clothing
- must go with most of my winter wardrobe (so, as above point basically)

These gorgeous Office ankle boots ticked all the boxes and although they're a little big, I decided to hang onto them in the end.  I wore them on Saturday and walked all around the west end, and they held up very well, only rubbing a tiny bit on one toe on my way home.  They're currently on the Office site for £80 but I managed to snag them on offer with 20% off and free postage - Office seems to have a few discount codes around at the moment so it could be worth searching for one before buying.

charity shops purchases bhs dress new blue stripes wool mens cardigan

BHS stripe jersey dress via charity shop - £4.99
Honestly, I'm a little underwhelmed with my other two purchases of the month.  This dress was brand new and looks just my style and, although I like it on, it's really more of a summer dress.  I never seem to learn that lighter colours don't really work for me.  I'm going to try it with tights and boots to see how it looks since I'll be disappointed if I have to put it away til next summer!

Wool cardigan via charity shop - £5.99
I loved this cardigan when I picked it up on our last weekend away.  I tried it on in the shop and it fit great and I even liked the olive colour.  After a wash in the bath (where I realised we didn't have a plug for the kitchen sink then had to call Mother to check exactly how to hand wash something.  Hashtag adulting fail.) and a quick spin dry in the machine (and another call to Mother to check that was possible, since it did say no washing machines on the label) it was good to go.  Except it wasn't.  Why did it suddenly make my shoulders look massive?  Did I wash it wrong?  Did I suddenly bulk up?  (No, I didn't call Mother to check.)  It's now sitting on the ironing pile waiting for me to attack the sleeves in an attempt to make it work again.  

Total spend for October 2015 was... £74.98.  I think all this month's purchases are of the 'wait and see' variety, in that I'm now interested to discover if they hold up until this time next year when I can evaluate their usefulness.  I'm still not really in a clothes shopping mood and enjoying saving money, plus there's Christmas shopping to think about soon, so here's hoping November will be a quiet one too.  

What's everyone been buying lately?  

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