RUDE on Recycling and Rhetoric

“The values we live by are worth more when we pass them on.”  Author of Foundations of a Better Life

Today RUDE Girl finally realised that what RUDE does is definitely frugal.  We re-use and re-purpose.  We make do and mend.  We are NOT modern-day upcyclers.  We were the children of menders and repairers.  There was no excess of stuff to be frivolous with, in order to satisfy creative desire.

This article on upcycling is definitely NOT what we do, and we do not aspire to do our recycling in this manner.  We hope if you are conflicted about what it is you do, in relation to the type of re-cycling you undertake, then this article will clarify it for you.

For this week’s frugal Friday blog post, we just want to share a few scrapbook moments.  It’s a little glimpse into what we have been doing.  It’s very cold in Melbourne, Australia so RUDE being homebodies tend to hibernate at home and potter around.

Yesterday we did venture out to visit RUDE boy’s father in hospital.  He’s 86 years of age and undergoing surgery.  On the way home we stopped in a rest area behind some shops, to have our BYO refreshments, and RUDE boy just could not help but look through a pile of rubbish [photo below].

And yes, he found a few bits and pieces that he salvaged for possible future projects.  You can see the blue vacuum cleaner in the foreground.  He cut the cord off and took the clips and base.  He found some handles that he unscrewed from a security screen door.


RUDE Boy loves a good scavenge through a pile of rubbish.


Struggling ratepayers dealing with rate increases above CPI, foot hefty cost for three council officials to attend a conference in Mexico.

Many of you will know that RUDE is an avid activist on many issues related to recycling but also on global and local issues that we feel passionate about.  We advocate by making commentary and/or opinion on many issues, and we post widely.  This weather keeps us indoors, and what better way to be ageing activists than to have our say from the comfort of our armchairs.

This week just passed,  this article [above] in our local newspaper was featured, and we had to get our frugal heads around it. We initially thought it was a joke not a junket.

RUDE lives a frugal lifestyle to help ensure we can pay our ever-increasing costs of living, including municipality rates.  Cost of living in Melbourne, Australia is one of the highest in the world.  We get disgusted by some of the wasteful ways of our local council. This is evidenced by, in our view, an ignorant and self entitled organisation sending not one, but three officials to Mexico to spin and spruik at the 2nd Global Network of Learning Cities Conference. 

Anyways, moving on from unfairness and an overseas junket, to lack of transparency in relation to donations to charities.  This week we posted about how we have been getting all these donation bags stuffed into our letter box.  Four in a week is telling us something is not quite right in charitable land. 

We suspect private recyclers are paying charities money to use their names on these bags, but that the donations are going anywhere but our local charity shops.  We believe from what we have read, and have been told, that private recyclers are making money on-selling the donations to merchants that ship textiles overseas.

We suspect, many people donating are thinking that their local charity shops are being stocked from their goodwill.  Our understanding is that a vast amount is being shipped to third world countries.  This can have devastating effects on local tailoring and textile manufacturing industries in these countries.


Four plastic bags in a week shoved into RUDE’S letterbox. A bag for Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

To end on a lighter and more positive note, I thought I would share a photo of stuff we bought before our landfill scavenger days. The old wardrobe and trunk came from charity shops.  From memory we paid $25 for the robe and $20 for the trunk.  The mat covering the trunk was purchased for $5 from a garage sale. 

And like I said at the start of this blog we do not upcycle .  We immediately reuse what goes into our home.  The wardrobe is a storage cupboard for RUDE boys electrical bits and bobs, a step-ladder and vacuum cleaner.  The trunk stores winter curtains during summer and summer curtains during winter. Everything in the robe and trunk is from landfill.


RUDE decor is secondhand, and all about immediate reuse and practical function.

Beat The Man and pass on your frugal tips and tricks for a better life.  Stick it to The Man when fairness is forgotten or ignored.  Refuse to vote for The Man who is self-indulgent.

RUDE Boy Rocks Disruptive DIY

Men, we don’t get much, as far as holidays go – Father’s Day.


RUDE Boy is on a break away from his part-time employment for 6 weeks and has been doing some odd jobs.  We cannot get enough of his fix-it acumen.  I have let him know he has a wife not a life, and there is no rest.  That there is time enough to rest when you are dead!  Oh dear, I do hope you all get our Aussie humour and that there is a ‘u’ in humor.

These light fittings were both rescued from landfill.  But the dish shaped retro 60s light fitting fits the decor better.  The three pendant light fitting has been replaced.  We just had a check on eBay and the retro 60s fitting was $40.  Ours cost a couple of dollars.  It still has the original brown Bakelite light globe holders.

Snapshot 2 (26-06-2015 4-06 PM)

Three pendant light fitting from landfill has been replaced. Handmade place mat it sits upon is one of two and was also rescued from landfill.

Snapshot 1 (26-06-2015 4-05 PM)

1960s retro light fitting rescued from landfill has replaced the three pendant light fitting.

The Vulcan hot water system that has been removed by RUDE Boy was 18 years old and rusted out.  He sourced a secondhand Rheem 400 litre electric hot water service on eBay for $150.  New, these systems are priced around $1,600.  And then of course there is the plumber and electrician costs to add-on top of that.  RUDE Boy doing this disruptive DIY has saved our household $1,800 or thereabouts.

Snapshot 4 (26-06-2015 4-12 PM)

18-year-old Vulcan electric hot water system 315L has seen better days.

Snapshot 5 (26-06-2015 4-12 PM)

7-year-old Rheem electric hot water system 400L purchased on eBay for $150.00. Works a treat!

Beat The Man and be disruptive, if safe to do so, and you can!  Oh, and the hot shower was lovely.

Cloche and Crochet

Hello to RUDE’S followers and thank you for following our blog.  Many of you know that RUDE Girl writes a weekly Friday blog post.  I really love sharing our frugal journey with you all.

It’s now 8pm in Melbourne, Australia as I write this blog post.  RUDE had another priority today, and that was to do some housework!!  Yes, boring but it could not be put off any longer.  Lots of dust on the floorboards and furniture.  And the cork flooring in the kitchen really did need to be mopped over. My feet were sticking to the floor, yikes!

Another thing RUDE has been doing a bit off in the last few days is de-cluttering.  We have given some stuff away but have also been selling some things on Ebay and Buy Swap Sell sites.  We do not really enjoy selling as a rule, however it has bought in a little bit of extra play money.

Anyway, because it’s getting late I am doing a quick post this Friday.  I just have to share that I have been making cloche caps or capats out of recycled fabric. I wanted to make a contemporary cloche capat out of denim.  The fashion article titled Denim Revolution below inspired me to create a new look cloche with a vintage twist.

Denim Rev Weekend Sat 13 Jun 2015

Photo source: Weekend Liftout Sunday Herald Sat 13 June 2015

I adore 1920s style fashion and it really does suit my tall and lean frame.  I am definitely not suited to 1950s style as there is no hourglass shape happening with me.  And I do not like any clothes that are waisted, preferring to accentuate my hips.

1920s Style Fashion


Vintage denim skirt made in Australia. Rescued from landfill. Fabric used to make a cloche cap.

I have made three cloche capats so far, and then realised I required crocheted flowers to embellish the caps.  Therefore this week I taught myself to crochet with the help of some very helpful Youtube videos, such as Craft4Love and bobwilson123.

2015-06-15 14.20.42

Right side view of cloche with handmade crocheted flower

Denim Cloche Cap

Denim cloche capat handmade by RUDE Girl


Lace cloche capat [photo from the internet]. RUDE Girl would like to make something like this for a wedding.

“The right hat may also enliven our imagination of the past….an old-fashioned cloche, a picture hat, or a toque trimmed with a pouf of polka-dotted veiling is just enough to make us feel as if we were living in another, romantic age”.  ~ anon

I am currently making a cloche from red fulled wool and plan to add a purple crocheted flower or heart.  The red jumper that was fulled was rescued from landfill.  I have my daughter’s wedding in December and if my hair is still very short, I would like to make and wear a lined lace cloche.  Not sure yet but plenty of time to practise cloche making.  I would really like to crochet a cloche capat but have to find a tutorial on Youtube, as I do not like following written patterns.

Beat The Man and be your very own milliner!



An Orange Cat Curious for Upcycling

“Curiosity did not kill the cat.  It found it in Oregon, USA.” ~  Karen Ellis / Blogger

RUDE Girl’s curiosity sniffed out a talented textiles’ upcycler, Etsy shop seller and blogger from Oregon, USA.  Her name is Bunny Henningsen.  There was something about her re-creations that appealed to me.  When I went on to her blog I immediately felt at home.  Bunny’s writing style is easy, and she explains her approach really well.  I had to know more and contacted her.  And she was really happy to share her upcycling journey.

Sit back and enjoy her story and creations.

The Girls

Bunny’s Girls

my face

This is me, Bunny!

First off, thank you to Rude Girl for inviting me to her fun blog! But I have to behave.  She said more pictures less words. She doesn’t know me very well!!

Curious Orange Cat! What a silly name for a blog and business. Why you ask??? This is why.  The photo below is of Alex my cat.

Alex The Curious Orange Cat

I started out as a quilter and owned a quilt fabric store in a little town on the way to Yosemite National Park. But in 2008 gas prices soared, tourists didn’t stop to spend money and then the economy here in the U.S. went belly up. I lost my beautiful log home and had to close my store.  I packed what was left of my store and belongings, four kitties in carriers, and headed north to my mom’s in Oregon to reinvent my life.

Sewing kept me sane and busy until I could figure out how to earn some income.  I picked up an Altered Couture magazine one day and realized a whole new world was at hand. We had three wonderful thrift stores in town the Salvation Army store had a $5.00 bag day the last Saturday of the month. My obsession began.

top of the stairs 1

Bunny’s Basement Sewing Studio

Rude Girl wanted pictures of my “sewing studio” So here is [photo above] what I see as I walk down the basement stairs.  I know…. it’s a mess! But I’m in heaven down here. 
Everything gets thrown into the washing machine before I use it. I try to sort them. But, well… things do get out of hand.

creation station 1

Bunny’s Creation Station

Here is the creation station above. The place where all the magic takes place.

I collected this pile of jeans below from an abandoned house a friend was cleaning out. The electricity wasn’t working so it was dark and this was all I could find.

abandoned jeans 1

Rescued Denim Jeans

my supplies 1

Main Storage Area

Austrialia Rude Girl1

Baskets of Textile Scraps

This is my main storage area above with baskets of leftover scraps (I find ways to use them!) and a basket of lace and vintage linens.  It does tend to pile up. This is mostly men’s shirts sorted in various. One basket has nothing but shirt sleeves.

I mostly use men’s button down the front shirts. I cut off the sleeves, cuffs, collar and pockets. The bottom half of the shirt is used for dresses. The rest…well I’ll get to that…

Here are some of my favorite creations using shirtsleeves.


I always like to give a freebie with every purchase. So I make a little pouch from the shirt cuff and scraps from other creations.  Sometimes I coil up one of the collars into a flower shape or I sew scraps to the back and a pin for a fancy brooch.

Austrialia Rude Girl2

Austrialia Rude Girl3

I can’t throw anything out. Not even the tiny scraps below.

tiny scraps 1

Some I make into pet beds to donate to the local shelter. I make the main bed with fabric leftover from my fabric store and stuff the scraps inside. I then make a removable cover for washing. As you can see below, they have been tested by Ozzy the cat.

pet beds 1pet bed tester
I also use scraps of fabric to make these fun scarves. I use a product called Solvy. I layer the scraps between layers of it and then sew all over like crazy. The Solvy dissolves in water and the fabric is all that is left.

scrappy scarves
I also have this wonderful die cutter with lots of shapes [photo below]. It works great for covering up holes and stains. So, don’t tell, but if you see an appliqué on one of my creations…chances are there is a boo boo underneath.

Austrialia Rude Girl4So here are some of my creations… All made from castoffs, thrift store finds and donations from friends.

on sale2

French Frock by Bunny

The creation above uses the main body of the shirt and pocket. It was one of my favorites and is now living in France.

I feel like a little kid showing off my toys to new friends! I hope I have inspired you!  You can find me at Curious Orange Cat on my blog and at my shop on Etsy

Thank you Rude Girl!

You’re most welcome Bunny, thank you for sharing your unique upcycling story.  You can check out Bunny’s creations that have been featured in the magazine Altered Couture.  Contact Bunny for further information related to which editions.

Beat The Man by creating what makes your heart sing!

Apocalypse Apparel

Apocolypse Apparell 5 June 2015Photo above:  Runway model showcasing designs at the Southwest Graduates Show, Beijing, China.

Every person should have their escape route planned. I think everyone has an apocalypse fantasy, what would I do in the event of the end of the world, and we just basically – me and Nick – said what would we do, where would we head?

Simon Pegg

One thing that annoys me is when you see women in these terrible and incredible situations with perfectly glossed lips. You’re not going to look good in the apocalypse.

Sarah Wayne Callies

RUDE has been known to discuss how we will cope should there be an apocalypse.  Sometimes we joke about zombies after watching a movie featuring them.  And at the moment we have Mad Max:Fury Road and mayhem on the badlands.  Most of the time we try to give some serious, and considered thought, to how we might survive in an economic depression. 

And we also ponder the threat of water wars, should water become scarce or privitised.  After watching The Well last night and reading about how Nestle is selling bottled water from artesian wells on native reservations in the US, it’s a frightening thought. 

Living a very frugal lifestyle will ensure that we are not on the back foot worrying about how we are not going to be able to afford overseas holidays once a year, to wear designer clothes, to drive expensive cars, to dine out at restaurants at least twice a week, and go to the hairdresser every 6 weeks for a $400 cut and colour.

We have planned that we will only be wearing scavenged clothes that will need to be repaired and made to last.  We have collected all the textiles that we require to survive on the wastelands.  I have my hand-cranked sewing machine for repairs as well as my sashiko stitch mending ability.  Have you noticed in movies about the apocalypse the costumes are all raw edged and sashiko stitched?  I have been paying attention and getting inspiration for RUDE’s wasteland wardrobe.  Scavenger Style has been seven years in the perfecting.

Video #1 above:  Free textile and garment finds.

Video #2  below:  A garment from #1 video above has been re-made.

Beat The Man and plan for a rainy day!

Dumped Denim

Dumped Denim 29 May 2015

I feel most comfortable in an old pair of jeans, Converse, and a man’s jersey. My best friend cuts my hair with kitchen scissors.

Jane Birkin

RUDE Girl is relating to the above quote by the gorgeous Jane Birkin.  I rescue and wear old jeans from landfill.  I love my Converse sneakers also from landfill.  I cut off most of my bob with the kitchen scissors a few weeks ago.  Then RUDE boy finished the trim with a No 4 Furiosa inspired by the current Mad Max movie.

2015-05-11 17.15.07
Photo above: My Furiosa No 4 hair cut.

When you spend a fast amount of time on the Wastelands [landfill] like Furiosa, you do not need to be primping and preening oneself.  Shaving my hair off frees up time to go scavenging and scrounging whilst looking the part.

I am currently sourcing denim garments from landfill.  I seek out the denim made with cotton as a preference.  I have been inspired to collect it because I have been getting into sashiko mending in a big way.  And the other reason is that I have been reminded of its beauty and functionality after borrowing the book Denim Dudes by Amy Leverton.

Denim-Dudes-Book-01-960x640Photo above:  Sourced from

RUDE boy is wondering why he has not been featured in this book about guys and their denim duds.  Actually I am too, because there is no serious attention given to sashiko mending and denim jeans.  RUDE boy is obviously setting the Sashiko Scavenger Style trend here in Australia.  The rest of the world is a bit slow to catch on!!

Check out another RUDE sashiko mending project on the video below.

Beat the Man and rescue dumped denim to sashiko mend and then wear!

Vintage Sewing Machine Heaven


My mother had a sewing machine. I was never allowed to use it, but I was so fascinated by this little needle going up and down joining fabric together that I’d use it when my mother went out to feed the chickens.

Philip Treacy

RUDE Girl can relate to the above quote.  I was not allowed to use my mother’s Singer industrial sewing machine EVER.  She did not want it stuffed up.  And as we had no chickens to feed, there was no opportunity for me to be defiant.  In later years a friend gave her a household machine, so that she could do zig zag.  She hated that machine as it was too small with not much grunt.  The machine was given to me to use.  But more times than not, I would stuff it up, have to ask her for help realising sadly that she was not much interested in teaching me how to sew.

In the 1980’s I taught myself to sew and bought myself a brand new sewing machine and overlocker.  The machine was a basic Janome that recently was stripped for parts by RUDE boy.  The overlocker is still in use.  I now have nine (x9) sewing machines and three (x3) overlockers.  Seven (7) of the sewing machines are vintage and two (2) of these are semi industrial quality.

On 20 May, 2015, I posted a video about my sewing machines in use, over on our Facebook blog at Rude Record.   I would recommend anyone interested in basic sewing to purchase a vintage sewing machine. Get a good one and it will outlast the plastic models you buy cheaply today.

Photo below:  This fulled wool cloche capat [cap/hat] was made on my vintage Brother semi-industrial straight stitch sewing machine.  See more photos over on our Facebook blog at Rude Record [link above]  The head mannequin with buttons was rescued from landfill years ago.


Some might say RUDE are collectors of sewing machines, as we have more than a couple of them.  We do not consider ourselves to be collectors.  Maybe rescuers and repairers of sewing machines for our own private use, is more our thing.  There have been machines we have rescued, repaired and then replaced with better machines we have found at landfill.  We have gifted a couple of our sewing machines after they were replaced.

Our small sewing machine ‘collection’ fades into insignificance when you meet our friends Wayne and Judi McKail from Sew What in Maryborough, Victoria, Australia  This couple has over 500 sewing machines!!  They live and breathe sewing machines as a lifestyle.  And were recently featured on The Project TV program on Channel 10 across Australia.

RUDE managed to video the segment and upload it to YouTube, to ensure it could be seen internationally.  It runs for just over three minutes and is a lovely good news story.

Ask the question, Sew What? to Beat the Man!