Saturday, 19 April 2008

Op Shopping Extravaganza

On a recent Mental Health Day, I decided to revive my spirits by heading down Glenhuntly Road and stopping at every single op shop on the way. The purpose, so I told myself, was to find material that I could use for the patchwork quilt I am imagining myself whipping up for my friend's soon-to-arrive baby, but know I never actually will. Mainly because first I have to learn how to sew. I can sew buttons back on. That's about it when it comes to a needle and thread, and as for using a sewing machine - well, I did one class at a Spotlight sewing class once. I think I learned how to sew sort-of straight. But really, the real reason for the Op Shopping Extravaganza was to SHOP!

I knew there'd be a dazzling selection to visit, having lived around Glenhuntly Road over the last few years. Sadly a few have closed down, but there were still enough to completely exhaust me and cause me to eat 5 dark chocolate Tim Tams in a row.

The Glenhuntly Road Op Shopping Extravaganza commenced at the Elsternwick end of the road where I made the best purchases of the day - not that you'd expect the Uniting Care Op Shop (at #302) to contain many goodies if you were just strolling by. It's dingy and overflowing to the brim with a lot of rubbishy looking old clothes and knick knacks. But I persevered through the dregs, mainly because I felt sorry for the little old man behind the counter who was happily chatting away to me whilst boiling a pot of tea up the back, and came up triumphant with a pair of Gap cords that looked just about brand new, for only $6.

It was totally meant to be. I was looking for something which would be fine to "filth up" in when on a camping weekend, and these tan cords are perfect for that. And they fit me like a dream - SO important when camping out, as one does want to look particularly stylish when trying to set up the tent or getting fire smoke in one's eyes.

Most of the clothes are in pretty shabby shape, but surprisingly there were a few nice brands there, such as some DKNY cords and a pair of Marcs BabyDoll cords that looked brand new - still with the new fold creases down the front. You can't tell I was checking out cords, can you.

I also scored some great blue velvety material and pale blue and white striped cotton, both of which will be used on the baby quilt. And I couldn't resist some 70's style floral material which could be turned into a little retro apron (once I learn how to sew) and some dark green cord to be used on another quilt some day - because obviously, once I finish the baby quilt, I'll be bang up for making more.

When I got home, I put together the material with some other bits and pieces to see how the quilt colours could possibly work together and came up with this:

Hmmm, its not quite right yet, is it? I think I'll stick with the yellow and blues and find some more yellow and some white to mix in. That's the dark green cord on the right.

Next up the road, at #366, is the Salvos and what a difference their shop is! Bright, spacious and clean. As there was no material, I moved on. It's not for a couple of suburbs down the road that you get to the next op shop, since the two in between have both closed. The Brotherhood of St Laurence Community Store, at #143, is packed to overflowing and didn't have anything particularly appealing. I did find a little apron with a dodgy yellow and black 70's floral pattern for only $2.50 for my retro apron collection.

The most spectacular op shop of the day was the Posh Opp Shop, at the corner of Grange Road and Glenhuntly Road. I'd driven past before, but never stopped in, and what a mistake that was! This op shop is crazy busy - packed with just as many people as clothes. And no wonder, as there's some pretty awesome finds to be had. There was a fabulous bright orange vintage Escada pants and jacket set, definitely not for the faint hearted. There were some interesting old watches in the cabinet next to the front counter. There were some funky 80's cardigan-y tops.

There were lots and lots of leather jackets, and a few too many leather pants. Leather pants are a fashion faux pas that I hope will never be repeated. And now that I've just said that, they probably will come wildly back into fashion and I'll be desperately longing for a pair. Actually, I've seen pics on street style blogs where the cool people in London, Manchester and NYC are wearing them, so... get yourself down to the Posh Opp Shop and score a pair before they can't be found anywhere!

Two large carboard boxes plus a long table were overflowing with shoes, some of which were pretty awesome vintage but unfortunately too large for me. Not all of it is that cheap. The charocoal wool turtleneck I picked up was $18, but as it was in such great condition, I didn't mind - considering I also recently found a fab jumper at Hunter Gatherer that was in worse condition for almost twice as much.

And my favourite part of the Op Shopping Extravaganza was being served by the awesome little old ladies behind the counter, covered in gold bling, bright coral pink lippie and sporting incredible wrinkles from too many exotic holidays in the sun when they were young and beautiful and their husbands were rich and successful. I wanted to adopt them as my grandma's because they were definitely not the kind of grandma's who'd bake you cookies but instead the kind of grandma's who'd give you amazing vintage Lanvin or Givenchy jewellery and tell you it was from their Italian lover they succumbed to when they were lonely on the beach while their husbands sat in the hotel room on the phone all day.

And I just love the name: Posh Opp Shop. Is that an oxymoron? Maybe so, but if any op shop is posh, this one is!


jenshops said...

delightful! What a great use of a mental health day. SO glad there are others who find these beneficial.
op shop on!

Lazy cow said...

There is also the Jewish op shop on Glenhuntly Road, next to the video shop and near Hawthorn Road.
St Catherine's op shop (which closed down recently) is now being run from the church hall on Kooyong on Fridays.

Lazy cow said...

Kooyong Road, I mean.

Anonymous said...

Straight sewing is all you need to start a quilt. Good on you for taking the plunge! I'm a newbie, and can really recommend buying a rotary cutter, a cutting mat and a perspex ruler, if you can afford them. They make it easier to cut the fabric straight, which of course means you'll be able to sew the seams straight. Your local library will have loads of books on quilting, if you need guidance.

ajc said...

Of course! I can't believe I missed that op shop, especially as I have given bags of unwanted clothes to them before! Thanks for the reminder. And thanks for the tips on newbie sewing; I've been getting a little sewing kit together so I'll add those to it. :)

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