Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Happy Thriftmas!

I love the magic of the festive season & oohing & aahing over anything Christmas related in catalogues or shops but I wont be hitting the shops in a buying frenzy. Instead Im embracing "Thriftmas" where I will be buying my kids secondhand goodies at an op shop instead of new at a shopping centre. I pretty much do this for their birthdays too. Not only is this cheaper (I have found many new items for a fraction of the cost at a shopping centre!), it saves valuable resources being used & by buying at an op shop Im supporting the services that op shop is funding (like councilling & food hampers).
So this Christmas I urge you to embrace Thriftmas too.

Be the change, gift the change.

I have put together some gift guides to suit a variety of people based on things I have bought secondhand for inspiration.

*Trendy recipe books, novels, frames, posters/artwork, one of a kind vintage earrings or tops (I get so many comments on that sequin top when I wear it), designer labels- that wooden bag is Oroton & there also always seems to be an abundance of cds & dvds catering to any taste.

*Basic recipe books (can you believe I bought this whopper of a recipe book for $1), magazines for any downtime we mums get to relax, scarves (this is for me as I always have bad hair days, Im yet to master how to knot them stylishly), boardgames (again Im a sucker for vintage boardgames, I chose this & Twin peaks boardgame for the boys to gift me this year at Christmas, totalling $8 for 2 vintage games ; ET is perfect for family games night), & which mum doesn't want to be organized- notepads (Im always on the lookout for Kikki K notebooks) & an assortment of occasion cards work a treat. Tupperware is also a great find too.  


Children are the easiest to buy for with most being grateful for any gift received. Everything purchased in these 2 photos was under $5. Kobe is receiving a magic kit & Dr Suess activity book this year for Christmas. Craft kits, science kits, activity books & superheroes seem to be a favourite with Kobes age group (5-6 year olds). Im putting aside the soap making kit for when Dylan is old enough, it will be a nice activity to do together. If in doubt; books & dvds are usually a safe bet.

Op shops are a treasure trove of kids favourites like Toystory, Barbie, Dora, Superheroes, Thomas the tank engine, Peppa pig- its hard having to restrain yourself. I have a little collection of Vintage Christmas Golden books (they are the best!) which I bring out every Christmas to read to the boys. That teletubby cost me 50 cents & Im trying to get it to be Dylans comfort toy since he gave up his dummy. I also think boardgames & learning cards & puzzles are great for toddlers motor skills.
I really struggled figuring out a gift guide with things I had previous bought in an op shop which suits a male as Luke tends to prefer new soccer shirts as his gifts. There are always dvds with crass humour, a great novel, gardening books, journals, games, dvds, cds or clothes to fall back on.
Having a look over these giftguides; 90% was under $5 with most costing a couple dollars.
I would love to hear what your gifting for Thriftmas?
Happy Tuesday!
Grace ox

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Slow fashion

Slow fashion is a term coined to garments & accessories that are made to last & mostly handmade usually in a small batch production. Which is the opposite to fast fashion. In Australia, according to ABC's War on Waste we throw out about 6000 kilograms of textiles waste every 10 minutes. With Slow Fashion October nearing its end. I'm sharing some labels who you will be wanting to keep their clothes forever as most their products are timeless & of high quality.

Hey Jude Kids (Pictured above)
The graphic prints alone have my heart all in a flutter. I'm spewing I missed out on the Bowie collection. Handmade in Dandenong ranges, Melbourne.

Little Noggi
Hats are made in very limited supply (around 50-100 per batch) so you have to be super quick to be able to purchase them. Made in neutral colours & in Australia by the very talented Sheree. Sadly the studio is closed until 2018.

Pons sandals
An ever so stylish summer sandal. You could picture yourself frolicking along the coastline of Menorca where they are made. The soles are made from recycled rubber. Check out this video of sandal production. For authencity, check for the "Avarca de Menorca" label. Predominately available in America, & in Australia it is available in Bondi beach & Camberwell.

Funkis clogs
No wonder the swedish are part of the worlds happiest nation with these comfortable yet stylish clogs. I live in mine the whole year. I seriously push my little one up a hill in a pram in them on the school run & yet to have a blister. Such a bonus they are made with sustainable wood.

Camp Cove swimwear
Bathers made from recycled materials & in Australia. The designs are very 60's inspired.

I stumbled across this label getting lost in Melbourne. Minimalist fashion at it's best. The lastest collection has just dropped. This label is all about buying less but better quality.

Happy Thursday friends!

Saturday, 9 September 2017

8 tips for minimising waste at a party

A few months back I hosted Kobe's 6th birthday party at a community centre & wanted to keep the waste to a minimum. Here's a few simple things I did to keep wastage low.

1. Set up a drinks station. I sourced peach tea for the grown ups in glass & coke in cans, these were hardly touched? Maybe just water jugs next time. I provided jars as glasses aswell as an assortment of mix matched melamine cups. I even used an empty clean Moccona coffee jar for the Hulk cordial (unfortunately the cordial came in plastic. But it is the first time I used cordial since my teenage years so I wasn't too worried for one slip).
2. Use large towels as table cloths instead of those coloured plastic throwaway table covers.

3. Provide reusable cloth napkins to put the party food on. I sewed around 20 napkins & had 10 already to cut down on paper napkins being used. A friend did bring me spare paper napkins. Next time I'm bringing my kids melamine plates. I did run out & thankfully had some brown paper party bags to use to put the cake slices on.
4. Opt for paper party loot bags instead of plastic. I was going to source lollies at a bulk shop or books to put in the loot bags but a friend offered to buy a piñata filled with goodies (yes there was plastic in there but the gift was very thoughtful & the kids really enjoyed the piñata).
5. I chose games like musical chairs, musical bops, and I even painted a Captain America shield on a piece of cardboard for pin the star (pin the donkey) game. Prizes were books not toys.

6. For Kobe's gift from Luke & I, 2/3 was preloved. I managed to find the Scooby books & Robot at the markets in mint condition. Unfortunately the slippers came in plastic packaging (which I plan to post back to the company I bought it from). We spent $15 all up:)
7. Boycott balloons & streamers. They all end up in the bin afterwards anyway. Instead I used secondhand action figurines which Kobe & Dylan can play with for many years. No doubt they will be used again for one of Dylan's birthdays.

8. If you go for packaged party food, go for ones packaged in cardboard (which is easier to recycle than plastic).  I bought  the Patties party pie/sausage roll range which comes in cardboard. Aeroplane jelly which comes with paper & cardboard. Crackers did come in foil (which I took to Redcycle) & cardboard. And I bought the fruit all loose. A friend kindly gifted the iced cupcakes. And his rainbow cake came in a cardboard box. The only thing that came in plastic was the coloured popcorn which I took the packaging to Redcycle. I set up a recycling tub underneath the table so I made sure anything that could be recycled I took home to recycle.


Overall I ended up with 2 little tubs of rubbish which could of easily just of fit into a regular bucket & I think that I can do better for Dylan's 2nd birthday party later in the year.

I would love to hear what you did to reduce waste when hosting a party?

Happy Sunday!

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Places in Perth that are friendly when you bring your own containers/keepcups/cloth produce bags

I thought since it was coming to the end of "plastic free July" to keep the momentum going why not share a few places in Western Australia that are ok with you bringing your own containers/keepcups or cloth produce bags into a shop & boycott the stores packaging for your own.

It helps that I have a phrase ready incase the staff are confused (which happens all the time).
"Hi, I brought my own container may I have my produce in that please? I don't want any excess packaging coming home with me".
And since we are in Plastic free July I will add "Im doing plastic free July".
If they are still weary
I add  "It's easier for me to carry in my own container" insert 2 whinging small children & they are oh so willing to accommodate me :)

The following places did not have any issue with supplying my own container/cloth bags/keepcups.

*Coles deli department
*Woolworths deli department
*Rumps shakers (Southern River)
I have also heard that Five star meats (Wanneroo) & The naked butcher (Mundaring) & Olsen's butcher (Roleystone) are happy to place meat in your own containers.

The following bakeries I had pies placed in my own tin
*Miami bake house (Forrest highway)
*Four season patisserie (Kelmscott)
*Trackside bakery (Perth trainstation). I actually had some muffins put into my reusable cloth napkin instead of a paper bag.

And these bakeries I was able to put bread in a clean pillowcase
*Coles (depending on which ones had instore bakery with bread still unpackaged fresh from the ovens)
*Bakers delight

Cafés/Food stalls/Food trucks
The following put my food in my own container
*San churros- I get my takeaway Churros in a large container, I even bring dip cups. They have a 1/3 rate of remembering to NOT give me a straw thou when I order a drink to have there...
*Churro central food truck
*Bubble & Bimble food stall
*Miss Lucy delicious foods truck (they have me craving bao buns 24/7! See photo above!!)

*Hoyts movies
*Canning river cafe
*Little llama food stall (South Freo Growers Green market)
*Green & Co (Leederville)
*Cafe with El Abuelo coffee van- was happy to accommodate my playgroup with those who brought their own mug

I would love to hear any plastic free/paper bag free wins you had if your Perth based so I can add to the list.

Happy Tuesday friends!

*I shall update this list when I find more places:)

Sunday, 25 June 2017

What really happens to your clothes when you donate it & how to help?

This year I threw myself back into volunteering for my me time & also to do my part giving back to the community. With a background in retail, it was only natural to select helping out at an op shop (although my second choice is helping at a home for the elderly). 
Every week when I commence my shift my eyes pop at the generosity of the amount of goods donated. Unfortunately not all of it makes it to the shop floor. ONLY clothing (& items) in GREAT condition can be sold. After all if you wouldn't buy that tatty well worn dirty t-shirt, no one else would either. 
Now what happens to clothing that is dirty, has holes, missing buttons, has tears, faded, pilled, out of date I hear you ask?
Well some will be bagged to be on sold to mechanics for rags, there is a local lady who has a look if she can salvage any for art projects, there is one volunteer who can sew excess manchester into boomerang shopping bags, but sadly most will be bagged up & shipped to a third world country to use as "textiles" or most likely sit in landfill overseas. 

Read this article from "The true cost of fashion" documentary to see the abnormaty of our textile waste sitting in landfill overseas. 
And definately watch this clip about the effects of fast fashion in Australia.

Now what can we do to help?

*Only donate goods in pristine condition, if it isn't good enough for your friends. No one else will want it.
*Stop buying so much & make do with what you have. Mix & match what's already in your wardrobe.
*For special occasions, borrow off a friend or hire. There are so many dress hire places now, saves you spending big on wearing a dress once.
*Dont buy into the lastest trends. Know your body type to avoid impulse purchases you will regret later as it doesn't suit you.

*Get creative & restyle clothes already in your closet. Loving these upstyled jackets from Fi & Co. I'm actually altering a dress into a top at the moment, I shall share the final product when complete. You don't know how to sew? Could you barter services to a friend who sews? Or better yet take sewing lessons & watch sewing tutorials to get you motivated. 
* I have already previously mentioned in another post; you could hold a clothing swap with friends, donate dress ups to a local school or even fabric to school art class, pass onto a friend (I was completely grateful for receiving a winter wardrobe of handmedowns for Kobe (thank you Michelle:)).

Support local businesses selling preloved fashion; Fi & Co, Beleza Vintage & Ayla sell a great range of clothes in Western Australia. I have previously listed more here

Have I missed anything? Feel free to let me know.
Happy Sunday friends!
Grace Ox 

Friday, 12 May 2017

Mothers day gift ideas that are fabulous (& not wrapped in plastic)

By now all school aged kids have shopped for their mothers/grandma/nanna at the school mothers day stall & topped up on stuff wrapped in plastic. I cant fault the school as all money raised goes back into the school & educating our little ones. I also didnt want to deny Kobe a chance to pick something for me at the stall although I did try to sway him that mummy didnt need anything but he was determined to get me something (& even asked for more money to spend next year?!? So I will let him choose a small gift for his grandma & nano next year & not me).
Kudos to the head co-ordinator though who advertised that kids can bring their own gift bag (therefore saving on plastic being given out & also supplied some brown paper bags, hence Im hoarding everyones gift bags from birthdays to give to the fathers day stall later in the year).

Anyhow back to some plastic free options for gift giving for mother days,
1. Why not make mum breakfast in bed? Like these banoffee waffles, pictured as blog header (that I ate delightfully at Gabriels chocolate). Or bake up a treat?

2. Ofcourse I was always going to mention a cloth bag because they help reduce people buying stuff in plastic. Kobe personalised one for his grandma last year & will be doing one for his nano this year.

3. Little Dylan was meant to craft me a nature wreath at community playgroup this week but being way too little I got to admire every other childs artwork. Suitable for kids 3+. I found a tutorial here. I was mega excited that Kobes class got to paint a pot & gift us mothers a flower.

4. I really want this foodie magazine, it comes out quarterly & is made by a creative mum who also supports many family businesses. The recipes & stylings are merry & bright & it makes me want to get in the kitchen to cook (which I usually hate lol).

5. When in doubt, chocolate is a failsafe gift. Support local & purchase these beauties, Bahen & co chocolate which the cacao beans are roasted, winnowed, grinded & tempered in Margaret river.

6. All mums work hard caring for their lil ones (& big ones). Any sort of pamper relaxing session would be greatly appreciated, my friend recommends here if your a Fremantle local. Or there are so many diy beauty recipes online if your on a smaller budget, this sugar scrub looks amazing!

I would love to hear what you got your mum/grandma/nanna.

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Spring cleaning & where to offload/upcycle unusual items so they can be used again (if you dont want to recycle or dump at an op shop)

There is no time like the present to do some decluttering. I always recommend finding someone you personally know who could use what you can't. That way you know it won't sit in an op shop collecting dust. Why not organize a swap picnic where everyone brings their unwanted random items. However not everyone will want your cast offs so here are my recommendations if you don't know anyone who could personally use it nor want to rely on recycling.

(I have made easter chicken wings out of scrap fabric, a produce bag & handkerchiefs out of baby muslim wraps).

(I have even cut up old clothes to make pajama pants for Kobe & even a cooking apron, small fabric scraps can go in the compost).
  • Flannel pajamas- cotton rounds (for cleansing) or covers to wrap sores then paper tape.
  • Old clothes- tshirt bags or if still in good condition dress up box or dish cloths.
  • Sheets to cleaning rags.
  • Baby blankets- sew into produce bags.
  • Old costumes/dress up clothes to school kindy or pre-primary.
  • Muslin wraps- fairy wings, capes (thanks Sam for the idea:)), produce bags, handkerchiefs.
  • Old towels- again to animal shelters. There was an outbreak of parvovirus a few years back at an animal shelter so they had to burn all the bedding. They were so grateful to receive.
  • Buttons/ wool- school or local craft groups (some are advertised in the local paper you just need to drop off).

  • Egg cartons to Fruit loop (in Pickering Brook). Time it for fresh fruit or a lunch at an eatery. They do have a cafe onsite too.
  • Empty clean jars to a bulk food shop like Wasteless Pantry in Mundaring.  Wasteless pantry has also put a call out for empty essential oil bottles. Although I took a stack to the school as they had a call out for jars. I have some lovely friends (thank you Louie & Haelee) who keep their empty Moccona jars for me, I'm mad for using these to store flour & pantry items.

  • Books- host a book exchange, or I saw a bookswap at Dome café & my local library, plus Save the children host an annual massive book drive.
  • Magazines to school art or kindy (double check first).
  • Newspaper- school art class or cleaning the BBQ. I give my Sunday times newspaper to my sister for a second read.
  • Gift cards; upcycle to gift tags.

  • Tyres to DIY compost. Its what I do to deal with extra fruit/veggie waste. I now have a worm farm too (thank you Kaysey for the worms:)).
  • Any stall holder at your local market would happily take any unwanted plant pots.
  • Broken plates- mosaic project (you could jazz up a plain plant pot).

  • Toys- community playgroup.
  • Puzzles- good condition ones to Kindy or Preprimary.
  • Stuffed toys- the hardest to get rid of. I wouldn't recommend to a dog shelter as they are easily ripped up then go to landfill. I have reused the stuffing from my pregnancy body pillow for a bean bag. I have had to store the bean bag away until I am certain Dylan won't drown in it.
  • Pet toys- good condition rubber toys to animal shelters. It would brighten up the day to any neglected animal.

  • Canned food- Foodbank or Ayla are desperately chasing some tin goods for their hampers. (Racheal your amazing for your beauty donations:))
  • Personal care products- Again Ayla are chasing some for their hampers.

If all else above fails; advertise on Gumtree or Facebook what you have to give away.

I hope this helps to save items out of landfill & if you have any more ideas please share in the comments below.

Happy Tuesday friends!