Cushion Crush

Phantom Cushion
RUDE’s Purple Phantom cushion upcycled from a man’s shirt REscued from the garment graveyard.

“I do needlepoint from kits. I give them as gifts to people in the form of cushion covers and they are often speechless with horror.”  
Lynne TrussOh dear, we who handcraft and give our goodies as gifts know what Lynne Truss means in her quote above.  The looks on loved ones’ faces of horror, dismay, disbelief, confusion, shame, guilt etc is interesting.  RUDE just fobs it off as their issue to deal with, but really do, sincerely hope, we score a winner and someone likes, even loves what we make or REgift.

I [Karen] have made this little tapestry cushion below, as a Christmas gift this year for a grandson.  His father owns and rides a Harley Davidson motorcycle.  The tapestry was picked up at the point of landfill still on it’s frame for $1.  All I did was wash it and made it into a cushion by backing it with a secondhand Billabong brand shirt of Dannys and voila!

I will know exactly how Lynne Truss feels when our grandson looks at his handmade little cushion for his bed, and chucks it aside for the brand new store bought gifts [that will also be chucked aside not long after Boxing Day]  At least the cushion won’t break into bits and pieces when it’s thrown on the floor.

Cushion Harley frontCushion Harley Back
Cushion for NevaehAnd this little bird in cage cushion above, was scored for 50 cents at a charity store, and will also be REgifted at Christmas.

Beat The Man and risk making your own gifts, to keep the pennies in your pocket, and to save the planet from more rubbish.

Urban Scavengers

Scavenger StyleThe woman in this photo is not me [Karen] but I have been know to be bottoms up in a bin a la Scavenger Style


“It’s the idea that it’s the last moment of something.  I like to compare it to a family member who is terminally ill and you don’t know if this person’s going to pass away in three months then those three months becomes really, really significant and your intensity of your relationship with that person increases.  I’m not going to say it’s to the same extent as a person, of course, but there is some sort of intensity in going to a place and knowing it will disappear.”  Bradley Garrett ~ Academic & Urban Explorer

RUDE are urban scavengers not unlike the rag and bone man of old.  We REscue things from landfill because we see the last moment of these really good things that can be saved and immediately reused.  And if we do not REscue things of value they will disappear.   We compare this in a way to Bradley Garrett’s comment above on Place Hacking.

The main priority for Danny and me aka RUDE is to share an unusual lifestyle with anyone who is interested.   What we do is different to others, yes there are similarities but there are major differences. We do not expect people to embrace our lifestyle, we are not out there to get people to follow us step by step.

Our aim is to engage people in our journey, so that they are curious and ask, who are these people? Why do they do this? What kind of people in a prosperous country like Australia buy from sheds at the point of landfill? What kind of people wear and refashion garments destined for the garment graveyard? Why do this for over 5 years? And why for goodness sake, make it a political fashion statement and call it scavenger style?

Why?  We do this to Beat The Man at a number of his games. 

RUDE is not about encouraging scavenging by the masses at landfill, but hopes via sharing it may just encourage some people to seek out adventure and alternative ways of thinking.


Seams Unlikely

“It seems unlikely but there is wealth in waste and riches in rubbish.” 

Karen Ellis ~ Blogger

Seams unlikely

I had no idea Seams Unlikely was a book about a sewist! 

As I inserted the above graphic into this blog post I noticed the woman had a yellow, what looks like a tape measure around her neck.  I had heard mention of Nancy Zieman before and had watched her on Youtube.  I just had to put two and two together to realize it was ‘that’ Nancy from TV sewing fame.

I wonder if Nancy has ever upcycled seams into a placemat.  Seams unlikely?  Well perhaps for Nancy but not for RUDE.  I [Karen] craft and sew with fulled woollen garments REscued from the point of landfill, that have been hacked up to make fabric.  From these hacked garments, I REuse the seams to make into trivets or placemats.

This round trivet is made from seams that have been coiled and handstitched together.

Seam Trivet 2

This skewed rectangle shaped placemat is made from seams that have been zig zag

stitched together by sewing machine

Selvage Placemat

It may seem unlikely but you can upcycle practically anything!  Beat The Man and be your own creative genius.

Scavenger Saint

“Thrift is the really romantic thing; economy is more romantic than extravagance…thrift is poetic because it is creative; waste is unpoetic because it is waste…if a man could undertake to make use of all the things in his dustbin, he would be a broader genius than Shakespeare.”  G. K. Chesterton

red barina  This is the type and colour motor car my daughter drives

I [Karen] follow Richmond [Tigers] and Danny follows Collingwood [Magpies] two teams in the Australian Football League [AFL or Aussie Rules].  Aussie Rules is a fast and spectacular football style compared to many other football codes.  Spectacular, in my opinion, due to the speed and aerial leaps by players.  However, RUDE is not an avid supporter of any type of football and can take or leave watching the games.

I do however like to watch the entertainment at the AFL Grand Final.  Lionel Ritchie did a great performance and had me dancing on the ceiling.  But Meatloaf was ever after known, as low-grade minced meat after his performance [not worth posting here but you can watch it on Youtube].  I still do not know why the AFL uses overseas entertainers when there is such great talent in Australia.  This year Tom Jones the Welsh entertainer will be belting out a tune or three for the AFL Grand Final footy crowd.

RUDE’s daughter is a keen Saints’ [St Kilda] team supporter. The St Kilda Football Team is in the AFL. It’s team colours are red, white and black. Therefore I want to make her a Scavenger Saint throw rug in these team colours.  I have sourced woollen garments from landfill in these colours over the past year.  The wool has been fulled and has been cut up into 61/2 inch squares.  I have commenced the process of joining the squares together with a running stitch. The MCC initials on the grey/black patch stand for the Melbourne Cricket Club.  This wool fabric patch came from a bomber jacket in the free bin of a local charity shop. The backing fabric is from a black QS bedsheet made of cotton and sourced from the point of landfill.  It appears as new.  I will bind the two pieces together with strips of this sheeting fabric.

It’s a patchwork craft project in progress with the aim of getting it finished for Christmas.  I gather my daughter may not need to keep her legs warm at football games now, however when she’s much older she may welcome the warm sentiment.  She has a red coloured motor car and may even choose to keep it there as a picnic rug.

DSC04458 DSC04460 DSC04463 DSC04464DSC04441 DSC04442

Scavenged Onesie

There’s nothing I’d never wear, really. I’ve worn pink spotty pajamas from a Goodwill store onstage before. This only happens when I’m having a small breakdown!  Marina and the Diamonds

 DSC04517Men’s garments in excellent condition scavenged from landfill for a guest blog feature about Scavenger Style in the coming weeks

In the book Shaping Sustainable Fashion, Sociologist Juliet Schor is featured as citing the cultural critic Raymond Williams when she says, ‘we are not truly materialistic because we fail to invest deep and sacred meanings in material goods.  Instead our materialism connotes an unbound desire to acquire, followed by a throwaway mentality’ (Schor, 2002).

RUDE believes its garment and textile scavenging is true materialism, where we connect and engage, not just with the garments’ qualities but the associated experiences of self-improvement, and with ourselves as human beings.  We agree,  that to be in a state of engagement and connection, people have to be active and able, to have access to the skills, tools and opportunities to use them.

Scavenger Style is partly about honouring and appreciating all that was involved in a garment’s original construction whether it’s of high or low quality.  There is no better experience for me [Karen] than to REuse or REfashion a high quality garment from the point of landfill.  This type of garment, even if worn and torn, has a quality that’s becoming rare to find, especially at landfill.  You feel like an archaeologist REscuing precious artefacts at a dusty dig site.  But more than that, you have to think like the museum curator who will eventually get the artefact.  For example, the curator will have to see the potential for display and/or for storage until the time is right for the exhibition.  This is not unlike discovering a garment and seeing its potential for REfashion and wearing.

What is mostly seen by RUDE at landfill is piles of  fast fashion, some only suitable for rags but most garments able to be washed and worn immediately.  This is where I have to think much more creatively about the possibilities for garment REscue, REuse and/or REcreation.  In this situation, I feel like Mother Teresa helping to provide orphans in the slums of Calcutta with a better life.  Saving fast fashion garments, in my opinion, is very much true materialism, and much more noble because these garments really are considered not worthy of REscue by many.  Hence the large amounts that are not even downcycled but sent to landfill.

This is where Scavenger Style is unique, compared to what is being promoted by other REfashion bloggers.  Scavenger Style really involves scavenging, like a seagull scavenges for its food.  There is no walking into clean consignment/vintage clothes or charity stores where all the goods have been picked over, sorted, colour coded and displayed for sale.  There is no going to a textiles’ wharehouse where garments have already been REscued and sorted for on-selling.  There are no styling blogs for scavengers, except Rude Record styling outfits mostly made up of garments and assessories direct from the point of landfill.

Scavenger Style involves getting down and getting dirty, beating off other scavengers, sorting through piles of unsorted stuff and haggling over price.  Many people complain of musty charity shops, well Scavenger Style is about accepting the odours of rotting household rubbish.  It is not for the faint hearted and/or those who prefer the thrill of shopping in consignment stores for high quality vintage, the cleanliness and organisation of charity shops and/or buying new at department stores.

And of course that’s not the end of RUDE’s scavenging story.  You get in your car to come home and your hands are dirty.  If you suffer with allergies you can be affected by the dust.  When you get home [after washing your hands] you have to immediately sort and start cleaning the scavenged items. This is work and takes time and effort.  You don’t have to do this,  but we do not leave anything lying around inside that is unclean.  And whether deemed clean or not, most garments are immediately sent to soak overnight.

At a time when charity shopping is on trend worlwide, RUDE has shifted its focus to an alternative source of secondhand shopping.  Come share a journey with us, that just may be on trend in years to come.

Check out my scavenged onesie and zipper replacement in this video.

Rude Record’s Facebook Page

By popular demand and with some encouragement from my Facebook group members at Bowerbirds Journal, including Mel our neighbour and prolific blogger here,  RUDE now has a Facebook page.  Thanks to you all for supporting Rude Record and for helping us get our unusual lifestyle journey to the masses.

Rude Record Facebook Page

We will repost all our blog posts to this page, usually one a week.  During the week we will sometimes post any little snippet of interest that may or may not tickle your fancy.  We look forward to reading and replying to your posts and comments that you may leave on our page.

Rude Record WordPress Blog

We attempt to schedule a weekly post every Friday at 9am.  We love to get your comments and always aim to reply ASAP.

DSC04446RUDE’s Danny modified and fitted an old showerscreen scavenged from point of landfill for $2.  He wears a REfashioned windcheater also scavenged from landfill.  All towels in photo were sourced secondhand.

Melody Mayhem

My Singstar Score of stuff for less than $50, including the Playstation 2 [REpaired by RUDE]

“When you sing with a group of people, you learn how to subsume yourself into a group consciousness because a capella singing is all about the immersion of the self into the community. That’s one of the great feelings – to stop being me for a little while and to become us. That way lies empathy, the great social virtue.” Brian Eno

I [Karen] joined in a local singing group a few of weeks ago.  Another frugal and fun activity so I thought.  Unfortunately sometimes group community activities just don’t cut the mustard.  This singalong group, for whatever reason decided to ban me from its group.  Whoops!

I was probably too helpful with all the feedback I gave to the musical director – yes, you read right – a director of music for a fun singalong in a shed.  Anyways, I was not immersed in a couple of proposed song choices like Sadie and My Old Man’s A Dustman  My stand may have been seen to be lacking in social virtue.  I definitely did not feel like I was, in any way, learning how to subsume myself into this group’s consciousness.

Luckily for me, Danny had already REpaired a Playstation 2, and had over the past two years located in tip and op shops, the relevant connections, microphone and dvds for me to play Singstar.  There is definitely no instant gratification in our household.  I had to wait until all the bits were amassed secondhand and cheap.  I have also discovered that I can sing along to karaoke and instrumental music via Youtube.

I wanted to share my singing story, to show that there is more than one way to skin a cat.  The joy of frugal living is about frugal but it’s also about joyousness.  If you are going through life singing someone else’s tunes and not your own, it maybe time to go solo.

“Beat the man and your own drum for frugal fun” ~ Karen Ellis / Solo Singstar Recording Artiste