My Vintage Childhood

My Vintage Childhood: September 2013

Friday, September 27, 2013

Tips for Thrifting with Children.....

Recently conversation bounced around over on our Facebook page about op shopping with children, after a comment I made that I braved my first outing with three kids. It would seem for many of us we have no choice but to have the kids in tow with us whilst we op shop. Whilst many commented that if they could avoid taking the kids along they would certainly seize the opportunity. I remembered a post I wrote sometime ago about thrifting with under four years olds. So I thought, hey lets look at that and see if it still applies and what other wisdom is there to add if any. So with tongue in cheek, and a little factual based experience, I hope this helps.

If like me you've got young children at home thrifting trips take on their own lives with kids in tow. From experience you will often need to have your wits about you and it's not for the faint-hearted, you really need to have everything in your mummy arsenal prepared. Let's examine previous insights and experiences:

Insight 1: The thing about op shops and toys is that there generally is no packaging for a toy, like in a retail shop, kids get right in there pulling out toys and experimenting with them straight away. Be warned if they work out how something functions it ends up being a bargaining chip for them in their defense why you should buy it.

  • Conclusion: Still an utterly valid point, be careful my friends this is where kids like to apply pressure. Look mum, look mum it works, see! I've never had one before, are likely comments you'll hear. Followed by can I have it please mum, please mum, please. Followed by cutesy smile.....careful it's a trap.

"Enough photos mum I've got shirts to look for!"

Insight 2: Be careful where and when you have donated their old toys to local op shops if they're ones you visit regularly, you might hear cries of "that's my toy", "I have one of those, where is it mummy". Of course once they see it after outgrowing it, they are adamant that they need it back. Be warned you need your defense statement prepared.

  • Lesson: a good old defense statement about unfortunate families or remote communities with children who need toys and books, with an age appropriate discussion about giving and how it makes us feel good is often helpful.

Insight 3: Take snacks, my kids are pretty easily pleased and aren't particularly fussy. But my kids will always announce their hungry and make it sound as though I starve them. Shop volunteers love offering sweet treats to kids, so be prepared especially if you're intending on visiting more than one store on your outing, you'll need to be strong and organised against the charms of well meaning shop volunteers.

  • Conclusion: no matter how many snacks you take, they'll ask for more. Well at least with my kids this is the case, I often feed them something on the way there too, but that doesn't stop the I'm hungry cries out loud for all to hear.

Insight 4: Do the right thing, if your kids a pulling out toys and going to town with everything, ensure they tidy things up, give them a hand. It annoys the shop volunteers when things are left strewn across the shop floor for them to pick up. It's the right thing to do and generally shop volunteers won't mind toys being played with if they can see a parent has a close eye on what's happening. Furthermore the toy section is not a babysitting area, nor are shop volunteers a free baby sitting service whilst you stroll around. Make a game of things as you move from area to area for example can you find the funniest hat.

  • Conclusion and Suggestion: nothing will ever change with this insight, it's just plain good manners, just do it. I find many op shops have great little book and library areas set up, so take a break if need be with your kids and find a chair or sit on the floor with them and read a book with them. Maybe reward positive behaviour with a purchase of a book and promises of more reading time together when you get home.

"I try this on mummy!"

Insight 5: Know the stores and areas you're visiting and where toilets are located, your child will inevitably need to go and believe me not all op shops are keen on letting the public use their facilities. Up side I guess of any accidents that occur is that a pair of shorts to get home in is usually cheap with some change in your pocket.

  • Conclusion: nothing changes with little kids and bladders and heavens forbid poos, this conclusion is more like a warning......BE PREPARED.

FINAL INSIGHTS: if you have a baby as well as other young children in tow, can I suggest some sort of ergonomic baby wearing carrier. It allows two hands free to deal with other children which is invaluable. Not to mention having two hands free for rummaging for special treasures. Aside from all the above just have fun, some of my best childhood memories have been treasure hunting trips op shopping. It does your child no harm to grow up with a thrifty attitude. My Cohen even now at four years of age will suggest trying to find a particular item at an op shop first. The kids also love trying to find pieces of clothing to add to their own wardrobes, encouraging independence and personal style is also wonderful.

Note: both Cohen and Sarah's outfits except their shoes are completely op shopped. 

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

2013 Week 38: My Wednesday Style Collective....

I was reading the gorgeous Vix's blog post yesterday about those who have been lamenting over gaps in their wardrobe and seasonal must haves. I read Vix's post nodding my head and agreeing with all she had to say. I think if more people could adopt the attitude (like Vix) of putting themselves first when it came to fashion and style and what made them happy rather then chase trends, more people would embrace their uniqueness, fashion and style cultures and attitudes would change.

In recent weeks I know I have commented in my style posts that I'm limited with options in my wardrobe at present. These first world problems of mine are just that, they're a minor woe, and a temporary situation. Yes Bron I do have a few kilograms to shift to fit back into my pre-baby clothes. I'd much rather make do with limited items fitting at the moment then to go and buy clothes for the interim. So I'm rehashing what I've got, clashing patterns and styles and pushing boundaries and just trying and giving it a go.

Take this outfit this past week for example, there would have been a time long ago I would have talked myself out of two such looks working together and I would have still played it safe. I would have likely paired the 1970's blouse with jeans or denim shorts. Which mind you is fine and I will do it on occasion, but suddenly by doing that I end up looking like everyone else who has rushed out to by a reproduction embroided blouse if that's what's hot that season.

1970's Embroided Oaxaca Blouse - Vintage Wishes
Modern style Yellow Plaid Print Maxi - op shopped at Lifeline's Mega $2 sale
Kawaii 1970's Rubber Faced Yellow Eskimo Retro Doll - available here

So I dare to give it a go and try something different and this is what happens. I think the result is much better then pairing with denim and makes the most of showing of these pieces. I actually really enjoyed wearing this combination this past week, is a bit fun and it garnered several lovely comments. Not bad I say for a authentic 1970's blouse and a thrifted modern day style maxi.

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

2013 Week 37: My Wednesday Style Collective......

I'm pretty happy this week with my styling efforts, even though I'm still not able to fit into many of my pieces whilst I'm loosing baby weight. But bit, by bit some of my clothing is starting to fit a little easier, so it's been nice to play around with a few more options.

1970's The Dress Company Short Sleeve Jacket - op shopped
Breastfeeding Singlet - retail
High Waisted Shorts - Kitty's Vintage Kitsch
Leopard Ballet Flats - retail

Things have also been made easier in my wardrobe by the delivery of two rather large parcels this past week, filled with all sorts of vintage delights including clothing. I did have a second outfit to show, but as I started to get everything ready to take pictures the heavens above opened up. Not only did they open up they pelted hail down with stones the size of peas right up to the size of ping pong balls. So let's just say the horrific sounds of it all, woke a very settled Fraser with a fright, which meant no more time or good light for pictures. Oh well we just have to roll with the punches and pockets of limited time at the moment.

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Didn't attend ProBlogger 2013 Conference? Here's how to make the most of others attending.....

Something happened here in my home town this past week which is a big deal in the blogging community. This years ProBlogger Conference was held here on the Gold Coast where hundreds of bloggers from around the country and the world converged on my figurative backyard. I'm yet to attend my first "big" blogging conference, I've attended small blogging workshops before and have been active in online and offline blogging communities and gatherings. But as for these big conferences; life, finances, pregnancies and newborns have prevented me from attending my first big conference yet. 

If there was a conference I would have liked to attend more than any other in that last few years, it would have been the ProBlogger Conference this past week. I'm in a time and place with the development and emergence of my business, and to it's extension this blog, where I feel I could have really benefited due to the momentum we've started to have. Attending this years conference was not to be, with a three week old baby in tow. It seems for various reasons there were quite a number of us in the blogging community who were unable to attend for various reasons. I know at least for us Queensland Bloggers we've had a baby boom in the last month or so, and there are other Queenslanders and counterparts over the country who are in waiting expecting new additions to their families at anytime. Whatever the reasons were for many of us not attending, it appears that many took to social media on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to wallow in there non-attendance at conference.
Cass from Cass Can Sew headed to Instagram #notatpbevent #eyeroll #maybenextime #lol #pbevent some of us none attendees discussed a possible revolt.

But seriously for those of us who didn't attend there may be questions you're asking yourself like, what was covered at conference and who were the various keynote speakers? Which of my blogging buddies attended? Who did I miss seeing or having a chance of meeting? How can I get in on the information that was shared? Questions may range through to gossipy things like what did they serve for lunch? Who had too much of a good time on party night?

So if you didn't attend, you might want to know how to make the most of everyone else who did. There are two approaches you can take to the conference, the information and moments that were shared. Firstly if you're still not coping and need to vent about your non-attendance, you could take to Twitter and Instagram #notatpbevent and check out the posts. The I'm #notjealous #notatpbevent comments and posts are rife and hilarious, and even a little scary, there is even a threat to eat a cat. I'm serious go check it out. If you need it, this is the place to vent your anguish and not feel so alone in your non-attendance...but just remember your hashtags!

However if you're looking to benefit from others who did attend conference and garner some insight and wisdom, the approach is somewhat the same. Head for social media first with enthusiasm to make the most of your situation and check out #pbevent on both Twitter and Instagram. From the snippets and insights shared on these platforms pay attention to anyone that was tagged as a speaker make yourself a research list, this is what I've done. I've taken quite a few notes and I've got some really poignant tid bits of insight that I'll be researching further in coming days and seeing how I can covert that information into practice on my blog or business.

If that still isn't enough for you, hang tight over the next week there is sure to be numerous ProBlogger blog posts being shared over the interwebs from your favourite bloggers who did attend. Check in with them and go through their blog posts with a fine tooth comb, see what pearls of wisdom they have to impart. Still needing information? There is also the option of luring your favourite blogging buddy who attended conference, to a coffee catch up (that's what I did, thanks Suger) with the rouse to suck them dry of any information they are willing to impart. Be careful they could be tired, wired and suffering post conference blues, you'll need to handle them delicately.

Finally in closing if you didn't attend, it's not the end of the world. You're just now presented with the challenge of collecting and collating information from various online and social media sources. You'll have to put he hard yards in with plenty of reading and reaching out for clarification, but it's the only way. Well not the only way, you could of course start saving now for next year, but in the meantime don't let yourself suffer from lack of knowledge and instead chase it down now and make the most of the situation.

Oh and if all else has failed and you still feel you don't have nough information you could always purchase yourself a virtual pass, they're still available with no immediate plans for them becoming unavailable.

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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

2013 Week 36: My Wednesday Style Collective....

Keeping it post-pregnancy real, I'm struggling with my wardrobe at present. I'm still needing to drop a few extra kilograms before I can get back into my beloved vintage maxi and high waisted skirts and dresses with buttoned busts. Overall I'm at an in between phase, along with needing items of clothing that allow me to be able to breastfeed easily, so I'm currently (and temporarily) down to minimal suitable and fitting items that suit my tastes and style.

As I drop the extra kilograms over coming weeks, my options will increase but for now I'm feeling a little out of sorts and not myself when it comes to being entirely happy with outfits I can piece together at present. I do have plans to assist in resolving said quandary and have enlisted the sewing services of a friend who is going to whip me up some maxi and wrap skirts from vintage and retro linens and fabrics I have here. I do also have some vintage pieces that are en route to me from far off places, but it's all about being patient for all the above.

But not to be one to baulk on a Style Collective Post, here I am keeping it real with a super cute highlight to my outfit.
 Skirt - modern paisley print is a hand me down
Animal Print Tank Top - retail
Baby Carrier - Hug-a-Bub Ring Sling......I have used this one with all my babies - retail 5 years ago

Ok so Fraser's the highlight but that's allowed isn't it? For what it's worth Fraser's clothing is all gifted and thrifted or has been used with my other babies. He is wearing a all-in-one short sleeve and short leg suit in yellow with two toned green stripped baby leggings (not seen in pic). He is in cloth nappies which have also been used previously on his brother and sister. His whole ensemble hasn't cost me a cent.

Regardless of my temporary wardrobe woes I find it important to wake up each morning and make the effort to piece an outfit together, it lifts the spirits. But all that aside I'll take a snuggly day even if it's all day with my little man, even if it means I don't manage getting out of PJ's all day. Because at the end of the day they are so little, for such a short amount of time, and I'm happy to relish it.

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Monday, September 9, 2013

Moments of The Week and Weekend with a Newborn.....

I'm still navigating the new normal here and seeing what works for us. In all honesty last week didn't even give me a chance at seeing what the new normal would be. What with the Ben returning back to work last Monday, and with Cohen and myself coming down sick. He with an ear infection which saw him cry and scream for the entire first day I was flying solo with the three kids. Then there's me coming down with a throat infection and two days of body aches, chills and what not. As a result it's all about the kids at the moment, but this week will also see some more changes for me, which should allow me to start carving out a new routine for managing the blog and business more agreeably with the family.

Here's a glimpse of last week as we moved through it. As I said it's all about the kids and keeping them happy as we settle into the new and changed and family dynamic of a family of five.

Mashing bananas for some muffin making.

 Muffins yum.

 Mini V's general status is feeding or asleep, he's a content bubba.

Puppet shows and taking turns.

 Taking a break for a bite to eat and goofing around whilst out on the weekend having a family fun day.

When you have a big day this results.

Thankfully the week ended with the result of the last two pics above, which was much needed for blowing out cob webs, lifting spirits and getting a change of scenery. Our family fun day also resulted in a spot of op shopping but not a single little treasure was unearthed. I guess you can't have all the luck all the time right?

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Saturday, September 7, 2013

What I've learnt since opening an Etsy Store....

As many of you will remember I finally opened our Etsy store towards the later end of Fraser's pregnancy. In the short time our Etsy store has been up and running, I've learnt some useful lessons. So I thought I'd share what I've learnt, with many people asking me lately about my thoughts on Etsy and if they should give it a go.

  • SALES! They will happen, don't expect to have a sale within days of opening your store (although you could be lucky), it takes a little bit of time and effort to finesse your listings and store presentation. If you're starting out take the extra time to work on your store polices and profile. Give prospective buyers a full overview of what you're about. Etsy has loads of prompts and suggestions for developing all of this. Use the vast array of information on hand to get you going.

  • STILL TALKING SALES. The more listings you have the more likely you'll have people coming by your items. Many sellers in the help forums on Etsy suggest at a minimum it's best to have at least one full page of items in store, which is twenty-four. But don't limit yourself, the more you can list the better chances people will be exposed to your store.

  • PRODUCT DESCRIPTIONS Be thorough, specific, honesty and edgy. Give people all measurements, give them in inches and centimetres you're hopefully trying to sell items all over the world, it saves on having to answer unnecessary emails. Make sure your photography is showcasing your product, it's features and description to it's maximum ability.

  • Make sure your SHIPPING is fair. In many countries around the world postage and shipping costs have hiked up in recent times. Don't let this deter you from selling internationally, at the end of the day if people really love an item they'll pay the shipping/postage. But my tip is too double check that your rates are fair and comparable to what your countries postal service is charging. Case in point my sales so far have been to overseas buyers and even though I've had queries on the postage/shipping costs (which I haven't inflated over Australia Post's charges) I have still had sales because of the quality and uniqueness of items I have listed. 

  • COMMUNICATION is key, if a potential buyer contacts you regarding an item be prompt, honest and clear in your reply. It goes a long way to rapport building and the likelihood they will favorite your store and keep an eye on what you're listing and be a return customer.

  • Still talking about COMMUNICATION, if you receive a notification that one of your items or store is appearing in a treasury, be sure to thank that person for including you and make sure you add a comment on the treasury as well. Same goes with messages that you'll feature in a blog post mention or round up, it's just great manners and sets a standard reflecting the image for your store and ethics.

Finally to those who have been asking about opening an Etsy Store, just do it. Just get started and open up a shop. There is so much help available on Etsy to get you started. There is everything from tutorials, workshops, worksheets, help forums, seller groups and more. Before you get started have a read off some of these posts on getting started in the Etsy Seller's Handbook Archives, you won't regret it.

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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

{Special Edition} 2013 Week 35: My Wednesday Style Collective......

This weeks style collective I am sharing with you all, is really only for one person......ME. I had intended on sharing this post two weeks ago the day before I was booked to have Fraser's c-section. But as you all know now, he was a little eager and decided to get the show on the road two days early. So please with kindness in your heart, I'm opening up to share something very private and personal with you all. It's a chance for me to take my full circle cathartic moment.The following post and picture was written and taken the night before I ended up starting spontaneous labor with Fraser who was born on the 20th of August, something in the air must have told me it was time.

As so many of you now know our back story to starting our family and the loss, trauma and grief not only myself but Ben have been through in the last five and a bit years, this post is a reflective one for me and one to say, look how far you've come mumma.

Five and a bit years ago, my life, my heart, my soul, my everything was turned upside when we lost our Elle and Meg. The knee jerk reaction to that event occurring and the onset of PTSD and triggers to OCD behaviours of ritualistic superstitious thoughts, were catastrophic to a vintage loving persons wardrobe. Bar a few and I mean a very few items in my wardrobe I owned, every other stitch of clothing I owned and had collected over years was thrown away, gone forever, never to be seen again. You might gasp at the thought, but that was just the tip of my raving insanity of grief, PTSD and OCD at the time.

As many of you can probably attest building or even re-establishing a vintage and a uniquely thrifted wardrobe takes time, you can't click your fingers and in a days worth of shopping be ready to go. Curating a vintage wardrobe takes time and patience, much like the healing process. Although I attempted to try and start rebuilding my vintage wardrobe after losing Elle and Meg, when it came to photographing my changing body through Cohen and Sarah's pregnancy I couldn't do it, I wouldn't let people take pictures of me. As a result I have no progress pictures to reflect back on with their pregnancies. I was messed up in epic ways battling internal demons who told me if I did take photos bad things would happen again to us. So sadly there are no beautiful pregnancy photo shoots that were had with their pregnancies, there's nothing which is plain sad. 

But we are here now after years of professional therapy along with me having immersed myself in my passions and interests, I am where I am today. I won't say healed, I'll say healing, I'll be forever healing. But I'm stronger, braver, more determined, more driven and more purposeful for what has happened to me. This below is my big brave stance to my demons, to say that I will not have you rob me of my last chance to cherish every last minute of this pregnancy and to have something to look back on. 

This picture is for me, but I'm sharing it with you all, as scary as it is to make myself vulnerable in doing so. But it's a totem to my journey and a reminder and a mirror, that says look at you now mumma! Look how far you've come! You keep on living your passion with your sweet girls in your heart, you rebuild that wardrobe of yours, you deserve it and more than anything else you are abundantly blessed.

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