Saturday, March 31, 2007

I made it!

Princess B is in shock that I managed a whole week without spending money (or is it just that she's realised she's paying for breakfast?)
Tim at Shi provided free champagne...and 4:02 pm saw me buying chocolate!

Day Seven: Total spent in the week 4pm last Saturday to 4pm this Saturday: $0.

(Listening to: Joss Stone, Introducing Joss Stone)
Looks like I'm getting married...

(At least I'll get a Green Card!)

Friday, March 30, 2007

Feeling like it's been...

...with less than 21 hours to go.

Today was particularly difficult with the urge to

a) go buy lunch at my favorite Thai place
b) check out what new wool Colleen had brought in

But I held steady. I was a little disappointed that a neighbour I helped out with a lift to town a couple of days ago who said "I owe you big time" didn't actually come through when I said chocolate would be more than enough recompense. Maybe I should have made it clear the deliveries of chocolate RIGHT NOW was the only practical option.

Oh - and the odd thing is I'm seriously considering giving myself 24 hours off (to act like a normal human being with friends in town and also buy some much needed grocery supplies) and then heading straight into another week of Fiscal Fasting. How mad am I?

(Eternity picture taken on the Sydney Harbour Bridge walk)

Money spent since last Saturday: $0

(Listening to: Jimmy Somerville, Read my lips)

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Money spent: nothing ('cause the drinks were free)

This not spending malarkey isn't too bad at all....

Here's the lovely John at Das Kapital pouring me a wine at an industry function this afternoon. (I'm impressed - I haven't been in since last month and he remembered which wine I liked...)
Here's the free glass of water I had at Wagamama where Aunty A, her Dad and J were dining - I arrived late and full of Das Kapital pizza so didn't feel like anything...Especially since, as I suspected, when we went upstairs to the Borders industry function (with more free wine!) they had a lavish spread of fruits and cheeses and crackers. And Minties (which I thought a rather odd addition. And, you'll be pleased to hear, I refrained from filling my pockets with...)

Day Five (and I'm still alive)
Total spent: $0

(Listening to: Jane Siberry, When I was a boy)

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

You're pudding me on, right?

You mean I had chocolate hidden in the back of the cupboard all along? Oh happy days....

(For all you homesick Kiwis in Australia this is actually Hansells chocolate instant pudding masquerading in different packaging. If only they had the coconut flavour as well....)

The Shopping Sherpa's Fiscal Fast day four results:
Amount spent: $0

(Listening to: Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, Universal)

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Day three and free tea!

I attended my second ever Stitch 'n' Bitch tonight - after a scary moment where the idiotic doorman at the Southern Cross Club told me they didn't do visitor passes and I'd therefore have to pay $10 to join. After wailing "But I'm not allowed to spend any money!" I called Taph and she came and signed me in. No visitor passes indeed. Pah!

I took my pirate jumper to work on...and achieved rather a lot!And since the club provides free tea and coffee I didn't have to be tempted to fall off the wagon to buy a drink. Which was excellent! (Unlike the tea but what do you expect for free?)Dollars spent so far: 0
Fudge remaining: 0 (Drat!)
1980s pop stars spotted: 0 (Double drat!)

Monday, March 26, 2007

It was 20 year ago today*

Dear Jim

I'm gutted that I won't be able to see you play tomorrow night.

Last year I had a good excuse. This year you're a) closer to home and b) as far as I'm aware not sold out.

But I'm still not coming to see you play.

Even though your latest album is custom-made for me. (And no, I don't actually have a copy yet)

I could have changed my mind at the last minute, I know. But you see I'm on a 7 day fiscal fast. And no matter how I try I really can't see a justification for spending $99 to see you play. Much as I'd like to.

You were great in 1986 (or was it 1987?). I saw you live at the Wellington Town Hall. I was wearing my black lace-up ankle boots, my satin suit pants, matching black brocade vest and a white shirt (hanging out - just like yours was that night)

I remember buying my very first tour T shirt. And when Mel Gaynor threw his drumsticks into the crowd I managed to get my foot firmly on them and argued with the chap who wrenched them out from under until we broke them in half and I took home the end that had been held. They lived on my bedroom windowsill for many years next to the Perrier bottle that Cy Curnin had used during The Fixx's Wellington Concert.

So you can see that missing your concert almost 20 years on is a pretty big deal (if you'd like to arrange a free ticket, feel free. It is almost my birthday, after all...).

Tomorrow night I plan to go to the gym then on to Stitch 'n' Bitch. I have a new CD player in my car so I will load up with this this and this to play on the way. I plan to play Love Song at least a kazillion times in a row. Very loudly. And sing along.

And maybe on the way home I'll swing past the AIS and see if I can hear anything from outside. Although I doubt I'll be lucky enough to find a spot like the old garage roof outside Athletic Park in Wellington that I saw the entire Eurythmics Concert from for free.

Yours in dejected fandom
The Shopping Sherpa

PS: Great article in Panorama last week, BTW, although I'm not sure about denim on both halves, no matter what Queer Eye have to say.

PPS: I still have a crush on you, dammit!

(* Or thereabouts)

The Shopping Sherpa's Fiscal Fast Day 1 (or maybe Day 2)

Is it cheating by reconsidering and saying since I last spent money on Saturday at 4pm my week of Fiscal Fasting actually started then so therefore finishes this Saturday at 4pm (not Sunday noon) leaving me able to go have dinner with Princess B and The Queen of Maryville with a clear conscious?

No, I didn't think so either. Therefore I magically leap from the end of Day 1 to the end of Day 2!

I didn't plan this very well at all. I should have gone and done a last minute frenzied grocery shop to keep me going for the week. But I didn't and so by yesterday I was out of:

* Potatoes
* Eggs
* Tofu
* Tomatoes
* Zucchini
* Smoked Salmon
* and, most importantly,CHOCOLATE!

Yesterday afternoon saw me decide that desperate times called for desperate measures and so out came the 1972
Edmonds Cookbook and I whipped up a batch of chocolate fudge which should hopefully tide me over... (Please take note of the "scratch and sniff" tendencies of the recipe page)
I spent the evening sprawled on the sofa with Nibbs, watching a video of Anne of Green Gables (however did I miss reading it as a kid?!), eating fudge and drinking wine from the $1.97 a bottle red wine stash Aunty A gave me a couple of weeks ago. (Daylight saving has ended which means I stop drinking white wine and switch back to red for the colder months.)

Today I popped in to deliver the 50 cent ball of 12 ply Clinker yarn I bought for Taphophile to knit a hat for the homeless out of and she had a huge box of goodies for me in return which included the following:Which sorts out how I'm going to entertain myself for, oh, the next year or so. And also helped the withdrawal symptoms caused by driving oh so close to two of my favorite op shops on the way back home without being able to pop in and just see what they had.

Total spent so far: $0.00

(Listening to: OneTwo, Item)

Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Shopping Sherpa decides not to (shop, that is)

In the last week I've spent a lot. And I'm feeling like you do after a particularly full-on food-laden Christmas Day, sitting in the corner clutching your stomach and moaning that you'll never eat again (metaphotically and fiscally speaking, of course).

So I decided to do the equivalent of a fiscal detox. For the next week, starting from right now, I'm going on a Fiscal Fast. I'm going to try to spend no money whatsoever. Not a cent*.(*You knew there'd be an asterisk, didn't you?! OK, I've decided I can spend money on claimable stuff for work and pay any bills that might fall due during the week. I'm also trying to decide if I get a "Get out of jail free" card, especially as Princess B and The Queen of Maryville will be down this Saturday for Cirque Du Soleil)

(Listening to: Nordic Lounge Vol 1)

(Un)picky (un)picky

I bought another pair of PJs. Lovely flanny winter ones this time, $19.87 from Big W.

They were perfect except for one little thing...Someone (like the designer?) had thought it was a brilliant idea to edge them with the brightest pink ribbon you've ever seen (and use it for the drawstring at the waist).

I soon made short work of that and now we're back to black and white perfection. Phew! It was a bit scary there for a while...

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Has it been a year already? (plus Second Hand Saturday)

One-twelfth scale miniature scene of a man inside a house with a beer in his hand watching a football match on TV. Outside the ranch sliders in the garden, three gnomes are lined up sitting on mushrooms, watching the match through the glass.It's time once again for the ACT Miniature Enthusiasts' show. It doesn't seem like a whole year...

Above is one of my favorite displays, which I've seen before and always always forget to take a note of the title and the maker. Loving the garden gnomes all lines up on their toadstools ready to watch the footy and the look on the human's face!

New this year is Shop til you drop by Charlenewho takes the theme quite literally!Charlene and her husband Robert are Brindabella Miniatures. Once again I ended up spending the lion's share of my mini budget with them, for good reason (thumb tack added for scale. Yes, the pieces really are that small!)
All three pieces were originally bought as a final touch to a very very belated mini swap with Elisabeth in Sweden but already the candle has decided it's staying right here thank you very much.
I also did a special order with Brindabella for a full set of five of these canisters. The smallest is littler than my little fingernail yet they all are hollow with removable lids...The only other purchase I made was this wire dress form to add to my shabby chic mini bedroom (wouldn't that candle look just perfect on the dressing table next to it?)And in case you think the only shopping happening round here is of the 1/12th variety, may I present this week's frugalled haul:* 2 tins: $1 each. I love love LOVE storage. Especially cheap plain metal storage.
* 3 books: total $13. What would a frugalling week be without a book (Or two. Or three)?
* 2 balls of wool: $1.50. As if last week wasn't enough. But all those bright colours need some plain backing and I've almost used up my
last ball of white.
* Lovely silky Asian fabric and thick wintery moss green cord fabric. $16 total.
Guru's Jazzmatazz street soul: $3.50. Excellent, have been wanting this for a while.
(Listening to: oddly enough, Guru's Jazzmatazz street soul!)


Apparently today is Global Shutdown Day, a day where you see if you can cope without your computer for 24 hours. Ironically I only found this out this morning when I logged onto my computer to check my Bloglines. Looks like I won't be joining in this year then...

Friday, March 23, 2007

Wired for sound!

This is what I currently have sitting in the front passenger's side of Miss Daisy:Which can mean only one thing. Yep, I finally bought a new car stereo! With a CD player!
Which, in typical TSS style ended up costing more than originally planned.

It went like this:

I walk into the car stereo shop and tell the chap behind the counter that I'd like to (finally) buy the JVC car stereo he showed me in January. Which, of course, has gone up in price (but only by $3). While I'm waiting for him to see how long it would take to install I wander over to look at it and admire its sleek minimalist lines.

Except it's actually switched on (unlike on my first visit). And there's some sort of mad disco thing happening with the display.

"Ermm... does it always do that?" I ask worriedly.

The sales chap looks at me as if I'm mad (which seems to be becoming a theme for me in places to do with CD players) "Well that's in display mode but it will show you blah blah blah (OK, so my brain switched off when it came to the intricacies of what output would be pulsatingly displayed on my stereo.)

I look around wildly and spot a Pioneer stereo for the same price which is also switched on but sitting there so much more sedately. "Can I have that one instead?" I bleat pathetically, happy to have narrowly averted having a non stop disco installed in Miss Daisy which (I'm sure) would have been most distracting and thus terribly terribly unsafe.

The chap pulls his calculator out again and plays what looked like a game of Space Invaders on it. "It will cost you an extra $30" he mutters.

"How come when they both have the same price tag on them?"

"I gave you a discount on the first one"

Bloody typical. I cough up the extra $30. It's worth it. To paraphrase William Morris: Have nothing in your car which is not useful or beautiful. (Preferably both - that's my addition)

And, just in case you're interested, the very first track I played on my brand spanking new CD player was this.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Here comes The Grump

One of the most frustrating symptoms that I'm sick is I get grumpy. Very grumpy, which makes me not very good company at all. It's a good thing I live alone (well, apart from the cat who seems to have decided to make himself scarce today. Smart cat.)

I think I'm so used to racing through life at top speed with several plans, back up plans and mad schemes on the boil that when I'm forced to slow down I can't quite comprehend it. You'd think by the age of 40 I would have figured out that sometimes you just have to throw your plans out the window, take to your bed with a pile of good books, CDs and some knitting, wait til you feel human again and sort stuff out from there.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

How to justify a new pair of $39.95 store-bought PJs

1. They were $20 off!
2. If I wear the top as a night shirt, the pants with a black T shirt and use the bag as a shoe bag when I'm travelling I can say I got TWO lots of nightwear for $17.50 each and a bag for $4.95. Bargain!
3. They match the candles Princess B gave me for Christmas a couple of years ago which live on top of the TV in my bedroom. And it's vitally important that you match your decor, right?

Treasure Trove Tuesday*

(*As I'm way overdue for Second Hand Saturday) An exciting pile of goodies! From the top:
* 1932 edition of A Child's garden of verses (with beautiful illustrations): $1.
* Monica McInerny's Family Baggage (the rest of her books are Irish/ Australian rollicking good reads, I hope this carries on the tradition...): $4
* (Cue the applause soundtrack) 4 Maxwell Williams White Basics dinner plates: $1 each.
* Various pieces of vintage fabric (ex curtains, sheets and doona covers): $18 total (see below for my favourite two patterns)
* U2 by U2 sans dust jacket: $8. I can cope without a dust jacket if it means saving at least $36.95 on the Big W price (or $67 on full retail)!

As promised, here's a closer look at the cot sheet (with robots) and the curtains (with daisies):But wait! There's more!
1950s shabby chic style magazine rack: $7. I'm not sure if the gold bits are original or an afterthought. Either way I think I'll be trying to repaint the flowers back to white:190g Anny Blatt 70% angora/ 30% wool: $10 the lot. Each 20g ball has an original David Jones wool department price sticker of $19.95 on it. That was one fiendishly expensive wool!And, finally, here's a collection of vintage buttons and buckles I bought for 5 cents each:It wasn't til we were back in the car that Princess B pointed out that I'd bought them off Monica from Playschool. As usual I'm crap at spotting famous faces. Especially from TV...
(Listening to: Roddy Frame, Surf)
Oh - I almost forgot to mention - if you're in Sydney and after Stella McCatney for Target clothing we stumbled across three racks of it at Target at Burwood Westfield.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Uh, yeah, hello there *waves weakly*

Back home after a (*counts on fingers*) 5 day break in Sydney. Completely buggered. Managed to get much more carry on baggage than I should have onto the Dash 8 flight home. Could tell you all about the (*counts on fingers*) 7 op shops I visited in Sydney but then you'd want pictures of my haul and, as it's 7pm, the light is crap so that will have to wait til tomorrow.

Princess B and I went to IKEA today. I bought some good things. But things too big to cram into an overhead locker on a Dash 8 so Princess B and The Queen of Maryville will be delivering them when they come to Canberra in two week's time for Cirque du Soleil. I also bought very cool PJs on sale at Holy Sheet. (I must have left The Voice of Frugal Reason at home in Canberra - hurrah!)

I've been dodging The Snot Monster all weekend, trying to tell myself it's actually an allergic reaction to...errr... plane trees. I could actually be correct about the allergic reaction as I've all dried up and cleared up since I landed at Canberra Airport. Unfortunately I also had the Blood Nose Monster (a very old friend of the family) visiting fairly regularly while I was in Sydney which has not made for a very relaxing time at all.

(Listening to: Everything but the Girl, Tempermental)

Friday, March 16, 2007

Shake your tail feather

I went to see Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake last night. I'm such a pleb though, all I could think of during the oh so moving swan scene was "Hey Man! It's Hammer time!"

Lovely Tim Burtonesque scenery, too, by the way...

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Great balls of fire!

HUGE bag of wool: $10 from Chatswood Vinnies. I waddled down the hill today for a 5 minute visit after a team-building lunchtime Yum Cha.

(Isn't there a saying that you should never knit anything bigger than your head?)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Wagga can wait

Princess B and I had planned to drive to Wagga Wagga this weekend - officially to visit the Glass Museum (but also so I could rampage through some country town op shops).

But instead we've got a very important 75th birthday party to attend in Sydney.

(Listening to: Erasure, Loveboat)

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Today was:

* Knitting a new jumper for winter (with stripes, natch).
* Convincing the Nibbsmeister that my knitting needles aren't something that needs to be killed.
* Breaking in a new pair of the ubiquitous Target black ballet flats (also for winter).
* Wearing my new frugalled denim skirt for the first time. New (old) clothes are very exciting.
* Receiving a letter from Cuzzy C in Nuw Zuld
* Knowing that L has headed off to the USA and UK where she has strict instructions to buy me Method hand soap refills and Boots toothbrushes.
* Drinking cheap Banrock Station wine because I'm out of $1.99 bottles of white.
* Doing a little lunchtime frugalling (details to come later)
* Catching up with AU marie claire, UK Vogue and US Elle. And being very excited that the one piece of winter clothing I bought new (from Target) for this year is featured on page 196 of AU April 2007 marie claire. I may be broke* but it would seem I still have style!

(Listening to: Enigma, MCMXC A.D.)

*Actually not broke but in severe "pay off debt" mode. Same thing, really....

Monday, March 12, 2007

Always asking questions

Good grief! I was belatedly reading Panorama (the Saturday arts section of The Canberra Times) today and came across an ad for a Howard Jones concert.

Howard Jones?! What on earth is he doing playing Canberra? And, even more perplexing, The Southern Cross Club! (more widely known for it's jazz concerts rather than acoustic tours of 80s Synthpop stars. An oxymoron if ever there was one)

How can he justify $45 for a ticket when you can see the (reformed) INXS and Simple Minds (plus Arrested Development) at the AIS Arena the night before for $90?

Has anyone in Canberra even bought a Howard Jones album in the last 20 years? (Well OK, I bought a tape of his 12" album last year for 50 cents but I don't think that counts)

And, most importantly, does he still wear those huge colourful fluffy handknitted mohair jumpers? If so, maybe we could arrange a special Stitch 'n' Bitch outing on the night....

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Wild thing, you make my heart sing...

I woke up this morning not feeling my usual bouncy self (and, dammit, it wasn't self inflicted!) so there was only one thing to do - spend the day in bed with English Vogue, a pile of CDs and my knitting.

Remember I bought a pile of green wool a couple of month ago to make this jumper for E?

When I pulled out the pattern (which has been lurking for over a year) I realised it only went up to a 9 month old size. And E turns one next week. So, once again, I was in Jumper Based on a True Pattern territory. As usual.

I used a hoodie pattern I've used before for him, but knitted it up in the biggest size so he should be able to wear it through to about 3 years old. And, not being able to leave well enough alone (also, as usual) I changed the side opening pockets to top opening pockets (all the better to keep 3 year old's treasures in) and added button holes to the front instead of a zip.

The only part of the original pattern I used was the dinosaur spikes. Which, of course, I changed as well.

And today I finally finished it (except for the buttons which I suspect will require a trip to HobbySew as I want five buttons of the same design but in red, yellow, blue and green):
Gratuitous close up of the spikes:Now please excuse me, I'm heading back to bed to start something new. I'm not sure what yet but I have my suspicions...

(Listening to: Cafe del Mar Vol 8)

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Second Hand Saturday - Across the border

L and I decided it was time for another interstate jaunt, but this time we stuck a little closer to home and headed for Queanbeyan, a country town just across the border in New South Wales.

Queanbeyan is a frugaller's dream, with 4 good op shops within a couple of blocks of each other. The local Salvos, which I call Little Salvos (which was packed as they had a half price sale today):
Big Salvos, which is just across the carpark and which I've been told is actually a branch of the Canberra Salvos (note suitably country-like vehicle pulled up outside!):and which is quite massive...Then across the main road is The Bargain Hunter, which is one of my favorite op shops, partly because I've got some good stuff here but also because I like the architecture:(a supermarket once upon a time?). Oh - and they also had a 50% off sale on summer clothes. Which I don't need, so I didn't look.
I did, as always, check out the selection of haberdashery in the glass display case though!Then we headed out the back door of Bargain Hunters, across the carpark and down the driveway to Vinnieswhich has a huge Auction sign outside which freaked me out until they explained that they are actually moving round the corner to Munaro Street on March 19th.

So what did I find this week?From left to right:
* Groovy froggy cot sheet: 50 cents.
* 2 zips, 50 cents each
* Interesting "set" of wool plaid fabric and 7 matching 25g balls of 4 ply (plus a button and tag) from Munro mills in Scotland: $12.50 the lot. Apparently it used to be quite common to buy bundled wool and fabric to make a skirt and matching cardigan.
* Black and white houndstooth fabric: $5
* Various buttons: $5.40 the lot.* Set of 4 salad serving dishes with stickers still attached to match this bowl. $1 each. Excellent score!Two winter skirts.
* Black pleated Esprit skirt: $5.
* Denim New Look (how on earth did it get from the UK to Queanbeyan?!) skirt: $7
* And an organiser which I bought for the index tabs as the ones in my filofax are looking pretty past it: $5.
And finally:
* 6 brown and white cotton placemats with little village scenes on them: $6.50 the set. I'm still not sure if these will stay whole or get the chop.
* 2 CDs, $3 total
* Book: $3.
(Listening to: Blue Six, Beautiful tomorrow)