These kitchen beauties were all collected in one op-shop mission. I was actually driving from Wanaka to Dunedin to see my Ma and her Missus, but I'm such a crazed op-shoper that I spent more of the day inside 2nd hand shops (or looking for them) than actually on the road..
There were a couple of especially good ones, I have marked them below.. One was in Roxborough, a cute town, like most South Island town I guess.. and it had a huge collection of enamel coated kitchenware. My dream in life! I bought this teapot for $10 in mint condition for me Ma, and she says its the best pourer she's got! Nice one Roxborough!
The second was in Lawrence, my goodness! She had a box of gorgeous cups, 10c each! I got these four along with many other reasonable priced bits and pieces. So I get to the counter, she carefully wraps my purchases and we have a bit of a chit chat, then to my delight she lifts a tea towel from the counter to reveal an amazing plate of home baked melting moments! I couldn't believe it..I took two. What a friggin awesome lady! I rate this as my no 1 second hand shopping experience.
Oh World Sweet World.. we miss you
Cheap as Chipped China
One crafty girl, her little car, and a mission to visit every op-shop in the country
When keen crafter Rosa-May Rutherford bought her first car, found herself with both time on her hands and a growing sense of adventure, she hatched a scheme to drive from one end of the country to the other stopping in every small-town op-shop along the way.
Inspired by Ann Packer’s book Crafty Girls’ Road Trip, 24-year-old Rosa-May decided to put her own spin on the fun concept. With a tight budget and little ‘all weather’ driving experience, Rosa was determined none-the-less. She had a plan: to put on loud music, fill her car with petrol and drive from the far north of New Zealand to the deep south, not returning home until her easy-on-the-gas wee Mazda 323 was jam-packed fill with second-hand stuff she could fill her house with, or repurpose for craft projects.
Having fun, seeing new bits of New Zealand, and catching up with friends along the way were all high priority, but Rosa-May’s trip was also strongly informed by her staunch belief that craft-making is made all the better by reusing resources. “There is so much out there to be reused,” she says, “and I was determined to go out and find lots of it”.
While she says it’s great how the majority of crafty New Zealanders will now purchase natural fibres, she is inspired most by the people who have gone the next step and are buying their craft materials second-hand. “I think I would cry if I saw that my friends had bought brand new knitting and crochet needles. The world is overpopulated already with size 3 1/4 knitting needles!”
Having recently finished university and ready to set up her first post-student home, she was also in desperate need of household goodies. So, as well as building up her crafting stocks, the search was on to find old-school kitchen equipment, pre-loved china and anything else that might cozy up her new pad.
“I’d never been on a solo road trip before so having a focus really gave the trip an extra momentum and I found that having a style or era in mind really helped me to zone in on the perfect scores! When I arrived in some small towns, it was sometimes a bit of a downer being by myself, but knowing there were op-shops just waiting to be explored made it ok”.
Rosa-May developed a method to finding op-shops in every new town she visited. “I’d always do a lap of the place, and check out the back streets just to make sure the shops weren’t hiding behind the library.” She admits though that there would definitely be quicker ways of finding them. “If I had been more on to it, I might have actually gone in to the library and checked out their yellow pages! But there’s something satisfying about finding the shop yourself”.
Along the way Rosa-May became as passionate about the op-shops themselves as the potential scores. “Op-shops rule. I know they’re nothing new, but maybe we take op-shops for granted. I love the sense of community and the locals all doing their weekly shop there and catching up on the grandkids. It also adds to the sense of community if you know that every dollar you spend is helping in some small way to keep a good thing going.” She noticed when folk took real pride in their shops. “The best shops were often in the small towns. Some of the big city shops were really lacking in that care - and I just walked in and walked out. You can tell straight away if the shop has its heart in the right place!” One memorable small-town op-shop was so committed to the feel-good shopping factor they even offered a free piece of home baking with each purchase.
Refuse centres were another regular pit stop, and always worth the hunt. “It’s pretty funny arriving in town with the first question running through my mind, ‘wonder where the dump is around here!’” But it definitely paid off when she would finally spot a Recycle Centre sign, and come out of the place an hour later with two shopping bags full to the brim with kitchen goods, aprons, reusable fabric, and have only spent $5 (after giving a $2 tip!).
Having returned from her trip, and now settling down to start on a myriad of new craft projects, Rosa-May has good news for fellow crafters and op-shop scavengers; “having driven from north to south, I can tell you there is heaps of cool stuff around that needs to be found, and used.” Rosa-May totally recommends a second-hand crafty road trip to anyone wanting an adventure with a purpose. She was seriously taken by the beauty of the homeland, and the kindness of people along the way, but most of all she is still in awe of her stack of op-shop scores. Now she has such an assortment of craft materials (and a house that almost looks like a secondhand store with so many tea cups and enamel-coated dishes) she figures she will be set for life - “or at least until the travel bug next gets me”.
Rosa-May Rutherford, like many others has a mini craft business selling her crafts on felt.co.nz. She makes sure she uses as many recycled and organic threads as possible to look after our planet a little more.