Thursday, 7 May 2015

Midweek maxi

Weird weather we've been having; I'm finding a maxi dress, ankle boots and a jacket are my best bet. Cool enough when the sun shines, sufficiently layered up when the wind and rain set in.
The rough winds have been shaking the darling buds of my cherry tree...
until the lawn is confetti-strewn.

My friend Joanne and I have missed our customary Thursday meet-ups for the last 2 weeks but made it out today. Four charity shops and a vintage emporium later, and all I bought was...

this set of 6 glass tumblers. They are beautifully cut with fancy bottoms, and have a satisfying weight to them. There's no mark and trying to identify their age is tricky, but I think they have a 1930s look. 

Anyway, it doesn't matter what they are, they cost 25p each and we'll use them everyday for juice and water. Glasses don't seem to last long in our house (and I'm laying the blame at Simon and the kids' door for that) so there's little point in paying more. 
The groovy black and white 1960s enamel saucepan and Oriental-style tin came home with me from the charity shop this week. I rescued them from the scrap metal bin, so I was allowed to have them for nothing.

So that's a whopping £1.50 spend. Thrifty? I'd say so!

1970s C&A maxi dress - Ebay
Denim jacket, necklace and bangles - charity shopped
1970s Peter Bettley hat - flea market 
 Ankle boots - community fair

The cats always like to accompany me during my photo shoots in the garden. Charlie was showing off by shinning up a tree...

an escapade which soon turned into a rather panicky shuffle downwards, as he hung on by the skin of his claws.

I laughed. He didn't.

Minnie is above all that nonsense. 

I have finally heard that I have an interview for the charity shop deputy manager post I applied for a few weeks back. It's next week; I'm excited!

Any thoughts on possible interview questions? I want to be well-prepared, and I know you lot are seasoned charity shoppers. What are the most important things to you about a charity shop? What adds value and makes you likely to visit/return, and what puts you off?

All ideas and opinions welcome.

And now I'm off to sort through my sewing patterns and decide on my next project. I'll chant fabric choice is key as a mantra to avoid another dressmaking faux pas...



Laurie Duncan said...

Oh, my, am I first?
Well I think you did quite well thrifting this week! Love the black and white enamel pan! Good luck with the job interview. I always look for nice clean thrift shops with cheap prices. The more craft and vintage, the better! :)

Liz said...

Oh I do like those tumblers! Wish I had the courage to wear a maxi. All I can say is, to quote Rod Stewart - you wear it well!
Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

diaryofapennypincher said...

Good luck with your interview! I suppose the thing that draws me to the charity shops I regularly use is the reduced rail and bins, but I'm so cheap. Great buys and glad to see the adventurous cat got safely down!

señora Allnut said...

oh yes, fabric choice is key, but a fabulous pattern works wonders!
Love your maxi, as usual, and your hat!, you look gorgeous!
Kitties adventures are always delightful to watch!!
besos & sewing!

Kezzie said...

Good luck with your interview Curtise! I expect they might ask you, "How would you take the shop forward in a new way?"-that's a standard interview question for any job isn't it, insert job of choice.

Oh poor Charlie! He looks super cute but I do see the panic in his eyes! Your blossom is beautiful. Can we have a full tour of your garden one day, seeing it in its entirety! Yours looks like one I'd love to explore!
P.S. Exciting, I actually found a vintage maxi which was long enough for me and small enough - 1970's I'm guessing today!x

Mother of Reinvention said...

Nice frock and your glasses are lovely for 25p. I am not sure what questions they will ask apart from the usual "why do you want this job?" and "where do you see yourself in 5 years time?". The most important things to me as a customer are having interesting stock, that is not stupidly expensive and that it doesn't look like a jumble sale. Looking forward to your next sewing escapade. xx

Vix said...

Where do I start? First off that's a cracking frock and hat. It's proper bitter when you're out of the sunshine, isn't it?
Love the saucepan and the glasses were ace for 25p. Back in the 1980s I managed the staff restaurant at one of the glass factories in Stourbridge. The imperfect glasses would be dumped in cardboard boxes and we were allowed to take as many as we could carry home with us. Everyone I knew got glass for Xmas.
Love Charlie panda-ing up the tree whilst Minnie does the thousand yard stare.
Excellent news about the interview. What annoys people about chazzas? They usually moan about customer service, don't they? Service with a smile, a thank you when goods are donated, not tutting when a five pound note is handed over and holding it suspiciously up to the light like its just been printed.
You'll walk it, honest. What are you going to wear?
Love you! xxxxxxxx

peaches mcginty said...

Yep! your lot are like mine with the glasses (I call them cups, drives Dave crackers *cackle*) my collection are recycled nutella jars of varying sizes and chazza numbers, I like them as I do your fancy bottomed numbers - thrifty makes me happy, I can't believe those pieces were in the bin! fab outfit btw and congratulations and good luck in the interview! pro's I like a well ordered shop, I like colour co-ordinated sections and sections with a junk bin - cons, selling over-priced, stained garments and general over-priced pieces (I'm not being too stingy but there does seem to be a hike in prices in certain chazza's)good luck for your next project! x x x

Candycane said...

What a pretty maxi and a lovely denim jacket - the only problem with maxi's in the rain is you tend to get soggy bits where they glide into the pufddles hehe...

Good luck with the interview!


Melanie said...

I'm glad you were able to do your Joanne meetup this week. The glasses are beautiful and it's good to know they'll get used.
In that maxi you're just blooming from the garden. Nothing better than a confetti carpet.
About thrift shops? These are common sense but: a customer greeting is always welcome; a discount rack draws me in; a well-lit and interesting window display that highlights a variety of tastes entice as well. I only say this because I notice the absence in a shop here.
Good luck in your interview!!

Suzanne Carillo said...

I hope you get the job! You're overqualified!

For me I love it when the store owner knows something about the items, (like you do!). I also appreciate it if they get to know me well that they can call me up and let me know when an item comes in that they know I would like. Regular good customer service is what I look for.

As far as has been quite a while since I gave an interview. They will ask you why you want the job, and what qualities you can bring to it. I think you'll do well. I'm rooting for you!


PinkCheetahVintage said...

Love the denim jacket with the maxi!! I like shops that always seem to have new stock and not be overpriced!

Elizabeth Yule said...

Love that black and white saucepan. It would've been a complete travesty for that to end up as scrap metal. Love the photos of your tree-climbing cat too - though he does look just a touch panicky when he's trying to get down.

What drives me mad in charity shops? Hmm, one major grump is displaying stock by colour and not by size - tres, tres annoying. Or maybe that's just me? I really don't want to have to go to each and every rail / circular-display-thingy to search out clothes in my size - just put all sizes together irrespective of colour and be done with it - puhlease.

Also, another very large niggle with me, keep prices reasonable. Don't price Primark / Asda / Store Twenty One cheapo crap at higher than the price it would cost to buy new - that's just silly. Major chazza gripe three, don't make out you're some fancy-pants boutique with wooden hangers and stripped pine flooring (the Mary bloody Portas effect), you're not selling high-end designer goods, it's second-hand and pre-loved and I, for one, don't want to have to pay top whack to cover the cost of the totally unnecessary refurbishment.

Right, that's my whinging done!! Wishing you all the very best for the interview. They'd be mad not to snap you up for the job - you'd be a natural.

mondoagogo said...

I never ever see groovy vintage kitchenware in the charity shops here, makes me wonder if it's all going to scrap.

Good luck with the interview! I reckon the most important thing in a charity shop is the same as any other retail business -- friendly helpful staff, things displayed so they're easy to find (don't leave the rails empty but don't cram them so full it's a tiring slog to go through them!), reasonable prices -- which means being able to recognise the *many* brand names that cheap high street stores retail under and pricing them accordingly (e.g Atmosphere/Primark) rather than pricing them almost as high as they would be new. Don't use too much strong-smelling soap/fabric softener when washing the clothes before they go out on the shopfloor, that stuff plays havoc with some people's allergies/sensitivities! And have a cheaper sale rail that gets updated regularly.

Weighing in on the shop display debate, I'm in two minds about it -- sometimes I like it by colour if I have a specific item in mind and don't want to trawl through everything, other times it annoys me, because it seems like the shops that do it have a narrower selection, especially size-wise.

Ladan Ladanu said...

Those cats are so photogenic. I love a good heavy bit of glass, it makes me want an Old Fashioned. Oh, questions.....What the charity care about making money. I want it to feel like somewhere I can find something special and unique, a bargain, a charity shop rather than just a shop. One of the charity shops I went into recently after a refit looked like a disaster zone as far as I was concerned, it looked like Next! And volunteers are really important, without them it all falls apart. Good luck.

thorne garnet said...

a shop that's welcoming and not to messy. I can't stand when the counter at the check out is covered with a mess. A dressing room that's not stuck off somewhere weird. Good luck

Goody said...

That maxi would make the gloomiest day seem cheerful.

My biggest complaint is when shops slap an insane price on something because it is, "old" and therefore they believe it to be valuable based on 30 seconds of looking at similar on eBay. Perhaps, were it pristine, but when it is torn, damaged, or so filthy you hesitate to touch it, then there needs to be someone that can either clean it /repair it, or price it expecting someone else to fix it.

Good luck with the interview.

Natalia Lialina said...

Oh Charlie's adventures made me laugh! Great pictures, Curtise! I adore this dress on you, so striking. Your wearing this hat makes me wonder why I don't wear mine more often... You look stunning in yours! I'm so pleased for you - you're going to get this position, you are perfect for it, with your passion and knowledge of vintage and thrifting skills!!!
Love those glasses and black and white pot. I need to share finally my vintage kitchen stuff - so much to share, I feel like if I blog daily, I still wouldn't be able to catch up with all my ideas...
Much love to you, dear friend xxx

Josie said...

Mmmm, I'm in blog heaven with this post - Kitties, superb pictures and thrifting! Just perfect xx

Sue said...

Charlie is hilarious, such good photos of his acrobatic tricks up the tree. My pets always hang out with me on garden shoots!! Bugger about your weather, look out tho' summer will be upon you soon!! Good luck with the job, they will be very lucky indeed to have you.

Miss Magpie said...

Love the glasses and Huzzah for the interview, everything is crossed for you so you'd better get it;-)

Miss Magpie said...

I just had to choose pictures of bread to verify I'm not a robot!?!

beate grigutsch said...

fab look for the transitional weather! love that bold flowers!
the glasses really have something art deco going on - would like to sip a good whisky out of them :-)
for the interview - once i stumbled over the question: "where do you see yourself in 5 years?" ?????
i was 25 and had no idea what would happen the next 2 weeks.....
p.s.: the theater costume job is great and crazy - will post something soon!

beate grigutsch said...

p.p.s.: toes and fingers crossed for the interview!!!!!!!!

Beth Waltz said...

My dining room bookcases are topped with chazza crystal -- and those handsome Old Fashioned glasses would certainly sparkle among them!

To my eyes, a denim jacket with a denim anything else is too much denim. But that jacket with an appropriately casual maxi and slouch hat -- that's perfection!

And that's "what you bring to the job", Curtise:

EXPERIENCE in shopping in chazzas: What works and what does not in terms of display, pricing, and store staffing and management

And even more important, KNOWLEDGE of the chazza shoppers themselves. Via your blog you're in constant communication with women who spend -- the all important target audience.

INNOVATION? Do mention your sorting of stock into real vintage and cheap-but-usable piles, and your efforts to ensure that saleable yard goods are disposed as trash. You might even bring a few snaps for show-and-tell.

My love to Charlie, Minnie and Jess. They're beautiful pussies whose attendance upon you reflects well upon their characters.

Beth Waltz said...

edit: NOT disposed as trash

Lisa said...

Hi. I'm quite a new follower and have been meaning to leave a comment.
Firstly this maxi dress is the most fabulous I've seen yo blog so far and you have a great selection.
Good luck with your interview. My blog friend penny (
is the co- manageress of a charity shop, if you pop over she may be able to give you a pointer or two.
Good luck.
Lisa x

Winter Moon said...

That maxi dress is gorgeous on you, and perfect for this unpredictable weather. I wish the rain would stop, just for a little while.

Such great charity shop finds. I especially love the 1960s saucepan.

Kitty climbing the tree made me chuckle, and reminded me of Nala, who would always get stuck when she first came to live here.

Have a perfect weekend, Curtise. xx

Carina Rosenholm said...

You look perfect , and you must a great worker in a shop - you got the knowledge and the look ! Hope you get it !

Emma Kate at Paint and Style said...

Ooh good luck Curtise! It's been a long time since I had an interview so no help there I'm afraid.
What makes me return to a charity shop is finding something fab there. Everyone agrees that the shop I work in is the best in town. We are cheap, have totally random stuff that other chazzers would bin, and we have a very fair returns policy. My boss even refunded an elderly gent with holes in the shoes he'd returned even though they were clearly from another shop! We are loved! I listen to her having the same conversation 20 times over about the weather and you'd never know. Lots of older people come in for a chat and we used to have one customer that I made a cup of tea for every Friday.
You would be wonderful!!! xxxx

Angels have Red Hair said...

Great buys and you're looking utterly fab in your hat … suits you. Good luck in your interview … I'm sure you'll blitz it :0)

Mim said...

Aw, adorable little Charlie.

Good luck with the job interview - I'm with Goody on my main dislike of charity shops, I hate it when prices are silly just because something's either 'vintage' or a 'High Street Brand'. I saw an ASDA dress the other day priced at not much less than it must have cost new...

Ulla-Marie Nilsson said...

I like when shop assistants don't try to convince me. When I get to look in peace. An advantage is great (and loud) Music (of course from the 70's, 60*s, jazz, opera or ...) and that the staff are nice. But that was no question ... Hmm

Fiona said...

Great saves from the scrap metal bin, the saucepan is proper stylish.
Agreed with some of Vix's points, in particular saying 'thank you' when receiving donated goods instead of grumbling that you've no where to put them...I was speechless when this happened to me! You're aware of the importance of a great window display and you know your subject well, an intelligent and articulate person such as yourself should walk it. Good luck!!

Sheila said...

Good luck on the interview! For me, the best quality that a manager at a thrift/charity shop can have is to know her stuff, but be willing to listen when a customer challenges it. I had one incident a year or so ago, when I challenged the price on a mall-store skirt (it was ridiculously overpriced at $34!), and the manager wouldn't even listen to me. It was the principle of the thing - I'm not going to be stingy because I know it's a good cause, but I also don't want to feel that my own expertise (in knowing that it was a mall brand, which the manager didn't) was ignored.

Oh my gosh, look at Charlie! What a scamp! Your Minnie has the same fine moustachios as my Vizzini!

Tine Jensen said...

What a fabulous dress Curtise! It's such a beautiful flower pattern, and the fit is perfect. Lovely with the denim jacket and hat. I don't know how you keep finding one treasure after another! But that must count as a qualification for the job - as well as your knowledge. You're so experienced with styles and periods, and that's important too. Of course a great window display will draw people in from the street, and I have no doubt you have skills there too :-) I mean, just look at your photos here on the blog!

freckleface said...

You look perfectly gorgeous in this outfit, massive flowers and a floppy hat is a great look on you. That always happens, as soon as the blossom is perfect, the winds have to barge in. At least it's pretty seeing blossom snow and confetti on the grass. Got to love cats who want to join in. Those glasses look a very satisying weight. The sort of thing men used to drink whisky out of whilst smoking a cigar. Still hoping it's good news on the job front. Xxxxx

Trees said...

I'm already excited to see what your next sewing project will be! I am loving this frock on you too - the big flowers are lovely. Also I can't believe that tray and plate where in the scrap metal bin??? What?? So sad, I'm glad you rescued them :)