A weekend's worth of thrift

Specimen 1.0

1 Swiss chalet trinket box that makes a noise like this:

(my first ever attempt at YouTube using my iPhone, hence the terrible quality!)

1 small plastic fawn to add to my bulging collection.
1 'Cona' glass vase, which I assumed to be a science flask, but which my parents tell me is from a filter coffee machine. Perfect for mini-posies.
2 large glass jars to be placed in my wedding trunk. A sweetie table is on my list of wedding features.
2 more china plates to add to my mismatched collection.
1 new copy of Nylon, featuring an amazing Chloe Moretz editiorial in which she looks such a beauty.
1 new copy of Oh, Comely which I am saving to read when I have a quiet moment to savour every page.

And now I am lazy after my Saturday of rummaging, I talked wedding stuff with my parents until 2.30am, slept till 11am, eaten a huge roast beef dinner and wolfed down a slice of lemon meringue pie. I have had such a wonderful week, my best friend secured a teaching job in London, meaning she'll be close again and everything else has been almost perfect. And there's still another day off. More weeks like this please.

P.s if you haven't entered my second giveaway to win some beautiful odds and ends, there's only a week left to do so be quick, here

Hello New Hair.

Part 2 of my Aussie Lighter Style challenge (hardly a challenge mind you, sitting in a barbers chair for 3 hours is really very relaxing) was to be whisked off to the Tommy Guns salon in Soho for a new 'do. After discussing my wants with my gorgeous stylist Sophia, I opted for a colour and a minimal amount cut off as I'm trying to grow it out.

Colour wise, I loved my red but it was starting to look brassy and too darn fake for my liking (which is clearly displayed in that scary photo of the back of my head above). I decided to go darker as Sophia suggested I could promote growth and less split ends by using only semi-permanent dyes from now on, and semi-perms work better on darker hair. It also cleverly disguises the damaged hair a bit more, which is always a bonus for someone who inspects their split ends in the mirror everyday.

What do you think? I was looking at photos earlier and was having pangs of nostalgia already for my bright red, but I'm assuring myself I can always go back when I'm at the length I want.

I also met the wonderful Emily from Trash Fashion, whose beautiful hair I thought would be impossible to improve on. When she was all finished, however, she looked like an amazing sixties siren with her volumised swathe of curls!

Many thanks again to Aussie for a flawless afternoon and Emma for organising everything!

Giveaway Numero Dos!

Thank you for being patient ladies and gentlemen, I pulled my back out on Friday and things have been a bit quiet round here since! Without further ado, the two winners of the Little Fille giveaway are...

Georgia Coote & Rachel Phipps, both of whom have self-titled blogs which is a lovely little coincidence! Ladies, please email your addresses to myneonlights@hotmail.com and I'll get your gorgeous headbands out in the post!

And so, onto the next giveaway!

Wondrous Dianne started Dear Oh Deer to sell her beautiful jewellery, handmade from feathers, precious stones and other recycled materials. Anyone who inspirations include the following is a winner in my book: 'taxidermy, collections, found objects, mythical creatures, horned beasts, birds of prey, space, Gaiman's 'Sandman', Narnia, lace and velvet'.

Dianne has been ridiculously generous and has donated the following pieces that one of you lucky people can win:

- The End is Nigh Owl Print
- Springtime Lace headband
- Light White Single Feather and Turquoise earring
- Gold-leafed Crow Feather necklace

You all know the drill by now, so to enter:

Leave a comment below including your email address
Make sure you're a follower of Pretty Much Penniless to enter!
For an extra entry, simply tweet about the competition using this link- http://bit.ly/msm5x1 and mention my twitter name @ellietweeter
The giveaway closes Sunday 5th June, so approximately 2 weeks from today!
The giveaway is open internationally!

Read It Yourself

I have no idea why I’ve not written about the genius that is DIY Couture before. It’s a beautifully simple idea: patterns and instructions, neatly printed and bound in twelve editions, on how to make twelve key pieces of clothing from scratch. They can be altered, re-invented and made in a multitude of materials and various lengths and sizes. A gathered dress, a cape, a jumpsuit, numerous skirts, even trousers and a hoody are only some of the ones already published.

For me, the £9 cost of each book is a bargain. You can remake the pieces time and time again and lend it to different-sized friends (unlike a pattern). The website is great too, with a whole section of free download-able How-To's for finicky skills like making a loop fastening and joining fabrics.

If you had the time you could fashion yourself a whole new wardrobe. Alas, I do not. If I did, I would make them all in different fabrics and styles but also fear my sewing machine would have a coronary if I even attempted it. I am, however, buying the pleated skirt book. Now, a leopard print knee length number or a floral midi? Decisions, decisions...

P.s If you haven't entered my Little Fille giveaway just yet, quick! There's only a couple more days to enter. Just click the Giveaway button on the right.

Calm Sunday

We wanted a lazy Sunday, something easy and cheap, something to soothe our heads. We took the bus to Highgate and walked the hill to Highgate Cemetery. It's one of the most beautiful places, we walked slowly and read the inscriptions on the stones and tombs. It was peaceful and sad. I saw where Douglas Adams was buried and the hand-carved memorial of Malcolm Mclaren, I saw a group of Chinese tourists stand in awe at the huge head of Karl Marx. I found a Mother's day card which made me tearful and on leaving, found Holly Village, an amazing 19th Century purpose-built set of eight neo-gothic houses (the last photo) built around a village green and exactly where I want to live, thank you very much. I hope no one finds these photos disrespectful, we were quiet and my camera was never out when there were others around. I just found myself wanting to capture everything, every gravestone was a work of art. One, a very basic rough wooden cross with only the name 'Luke' carved into it, caught my eye. Nothing else, no words of memoriam, no flowers, no other markers whatsoever. Just simply a signpost of a life.

RELAUNCH! Reader Giveaway: Little Fille!

EDIT: Thanks to the Blogger Fail of 2011, half of the lovely entries are gone from the post so if you can't see yours, feel free to comment again on this one. Also I'm extending the giveaway deadline to Friday 20th May to give everyone a little more time.

Little Fille aka Mari Santos, a freelance fashion designer from Toronto with an MA in Fashion from Central Saint Martins, creates wonderful headpieces and hairbands in all manner of colours and sizes. Oversized bows, rope detailing and a colour palette that resembles an ice cream menu all feature in her new collection which I'm head over heels for, especially as each piece is hand made to perfection.

And it isn't just I who is in love with Little Fille- you can find LF on sale at Topshop Oxford Circus and Mari's creations have recently been spotted in their huge front window and adorning their lingerie mannequins.

I'd been planning a few giveaways (this is the first of 3!) so when Mari was lovely enough to sponsor one of my giveaways I almost fell off my chair, but here we are, and here I am with two beautiful headpieces to give away.

To win either the
Elle hairband in pink ultrasuede or the gorgeous blue gingham (now sold out!) version, all you have to do is:
  • Leave a comment below including your email address
  • Make sure you're a follower of Pretty Much Penniless
  • For an extra entry, simply tweet about the competition using this link- http://bit.ly/m1TeJA and mention my twitter name @ellietweeter
  • The giveaway closes Friday 20th May, 1 week from today, when the next giveaway will be announced!
It's that simple! The competition is open to everyone, including international readers!

Los Angeles & San Fran Shopping List

So, did I tell you I booked my trip to America a couple of weeks ago? From September 12th till the 26th I'll be stopping at LA, Santa Barbara, Carmel, Monterey, San Francisco, Yosemite, Death Valley and Las Vegas. To be honest, I still can't believe I'm going and I still can't believe it's only a few months away so prepare for me to be a teensy tiny bit excited over the summer...

Of course, the first thing I did after sorting out my Visa was to research what shops I want to find whilst I'm there. Here's the first batch on my list:

Photos of Polkadots and Moonbeams via Doe Deere

Polkadots and Moonbeams
8367 W 3rd St (Vintage Boutique)
Doe Deere (whom I stole the gorgeous photo from), said this was her favourite vintage store in LA, so it's a must on my long list of shopping stops. The photos on their site all show brightly coloured sixties and seventies dresses and peter pan collars galore!

301 S Broadway, at W 3rd Street
A den of iniquity for all those LA pagans and catholics alike. Can't find out much about this place but it sounds very intriguing, stocking religious paraphernalia, potions and spells.

2801 24th Street, San Francisco On The Corner Of York & 24th
A typical soda fountain diner dating back from 1918 and still as popular as ever, with huge burgers and ice cream sodas (or as I used to call them, spiders!)

1855 Haight Street, between Shrader & Stanyan Streets
When I went to SF when I was 17, my parents took us to Amoeba and I remember just being hugely overwhelmed. This place is warehouse-sized and I spent ages browsing the thousands of new and second-hand CD's and records. I remember I stocked up on USA-only Courtney Love releases and bought some Le Tigre. I can't wait to go back.

Alameda Flea Market

Alameda Point Naval Air Station
Do I really have to explain why? Supposedly it takes half a day to cover the 800 dealers there, so this may be one of those days I venture off on my own!

1555 Haight Street, at Clayton Street
1660 Haight Street, between Clayton & Cole Streets
1201A Guerrero Street, at 24th Street, Mission
Three of the most popular vintage shops in SF, all on my 'to do' list. And yup, I plan on taking a half-empty suitcase and posting things home to myself. Painted Bird's blog/website is mega amazing and Buffalo Exchange is an American institution.

Have you been to either of the cities? I need more recommendations to add to my special holiday Moleskine planner!

Treasure Chest

After writing that post recently about dream sewing boxes, a beautiful stroke of luck meant that I found a very pretty pastel and floral wicker chest last at a car boot sale last weekend for £5. Complete with a few left overs bits and bobs, including some wonderful old pinking shears and a half-finished cross stitch of a cat. Brilliant.

Also, you may mock, but I've started to collect pieces to decorate my reception for the wedding. I bought 4 china plates for 50p at the car boot and will need approximately 100, so only another 96 to go! I bought another couple of electro-plated cake stands, some glass bottles and some lovely embroidered hankies and place mats. Ed's predicting this wedding is going to look like the inside of someones nan's house. I predict he is right, because it sounds like the exact look I'm going for.

Everything was bought for under a tenner, so not bad going really. A cheap, vintage, kitsch wedding will be mine!