Warm Woollen Wagga

“Talent and individual expression are not qualities that just other people possess. You have it too! All of you have a capacity for creativity in your quilting. Let yours happen and realize there are no boundaries to your unique expression.” Anon

“The real wagga was a woollen patchwork bedcover or woolly sandwich.”   Margaret Rolfe / Quilt Expert

RUDE Girl is inspired by the above anonymous quote.  I am not a traditional ‘rule following’ quilter, and do not want to be known as such.  My scavenger style quilt or wagga making reflects the ‘waste not, want not’ or making do tradition. This is evident  where I use recycled woollen fabric rescued from landfill to make my daughter a lap wagga for the football or the car.


I have no quilting skills other than those I have taught myself intuitively or from books.  And from asking talented traditional quilters some questions, and then once knowing the rules, setting out to break them.  Why?  When you work with new fabric and resources it is essential to follow good practice for the obvious reason that mistakes can be costly.  It is my opinion, that when you work with recycled fabrics, and other resources like RUDE does, the beauty lies in imperfections, and the lack of attention to traditional quilt making rules.  And therefore you do not have to be as focussed on making costly mistakes.

Photo below:  RUDE’S acronym is REuse of Unloved Discarded Excess.  The old blackboard is evidence that RUDE REuses stuff.  Even the chalk is secondhand!


A wagga was a bush rug made from scrap wool.  And this is my next quilt making project for the cooler Melbourne months ahead.  I attended a workshop on wagga making and wool dying October 2014.  I was able to eco dye the wool blanket patches provided at the course.  However, I never did get around to making up the wagga.  In the meantime I was given more woollen patches from a woman who had attended the course but was not keen to sew a wagga [thank you Sue for thinking of me!]

These patches came from numerous charity shops via the wagga and dye workshop.  The workshop’s textile artist Robina,  informed me that each blanket cost between $8-$12.  And that she had been all over the place over several months collecting them.  This labour of love, and with the actual total cost of the blankets, and then hidden costs like petrol and time, it is imperative that I create a tribute to all the people who have touched the parts of the blankets that I now have in my keep.

Photo below: 13″ square patches from woollen blankets that have been eco dyed

SAMSUNGPhoto above:  Preparing 6 1/2″ and  5 1/2″ squares for my wagga

Over the past six months I have also been collecting any woollen blankets that I come across.  I will not pay anymore than $4, and oftentimes hope to get them for $1-$2.  Usually they are in reasonable condition but are torn or stained which is perfect for patchwork, as you just cut around these areas.

Photo below:  A piece from a woollen single bed blanket purchased for $4 from a charity shop in Leongatha.  After felting it shrivelled up in certain parts.

SAMSUNG SAMSUNGPhoto above:  The piece of the blanket that shrivelled has been pressed and squares cut ready for use.

Australian waggas were used throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, mainly in the rural areas.  Very utilitarian in purpose being used for camping, holiday shacks, in general, and where extra bedding was sought for guests.

As described in The Gentle Arts by Jennifer Isaacs 1987,  generally waggas included some kind of sacking material, either corn sacks, wheat sacks or flour sacks.  These were opened, the stitching removed and they were sewn together inside other covers.  Extra wool would be added. often in the form of old clothing stitched together; this was then covered with blankets or some kind of fabric such a cretonne.

SAMSUNGPhoto above:  RUDE’s very own book The Gentle Arts 1987 purchased from the local tip shop for 50 cents .

Being a recycling radical, I do hope to showcase this wagga along the way and when it’s completed, as testimony to simplicity and frugality in times of rampant consumerism.  That RUDE’S future generations may keep and hand down this wagga, as evidence that RUDE was radical for their time.  That RUDE was not of the mainstream will definitely be reflected in this wagga.

Here is an example of a historical wagga with its story.

Beat The Man, be radical and make a wagga wagga!

Sashiko Shines Sustainability

Resilience is all about being able to overcome the unexpected. Sustainability is about survival. The goal of resilience is to thrive.

Jamais Cascio

RUDE relates to the above quote by Cascio, and is all about the joy of a frugal lifestyle.  Oftentimes we discuss our ability to survive should the great disruption eventuate.  We know it’s about having resilience, and we endeavour to be mindful, and also not rely on consumerism to meet our needs.  We want a slow and thoughtful life that shuns the trends of busy, and shop till you drop.  We embrace a lifestyle that’s based on an ethos of simplicity and sustainability.

Last weekend RUDE Girl participated in Brimbank City Council’s Sustainable Living Expo.  It was great to be invited to return to such a vibrant community event. The setting for this event is also unique, and adds to the atmosphere.  There is a large old white house as a community centre with a huge community garden adjacent.  It’s a magic place.

And even made better by the enthusiasm of the staff and volunteers.  This community centre thrives because it appears staff are happy, and volunteers are respected.  Brimbank City Council you could bottle this sweet nectar and sell it.

SAMSUNGPhoto above:  RUDE Girl at the front gate to the Westvale Community Centre, St Albans, Melbourne, Australia.

Photo below:  The Westvale Community Centre.



20150221_095911 Photo above:  RUDE’S REthink REfashion Cafe was a display and demonstration to inspire Expo attendees to REpurpose clothing items and/or textiles.

I have been patching RUDE boy’s red tab Levis using cotton twill patches, and sashiko stitching them to the inside knee areas.  At the Expo I took along these jeans to demonstrate rude sashiko stitching.

DSC04572 DSC04577  DSC04578 DSC04584 DSC04580

Photos x5 above:  The various stages from start to finish of the right jean leg and the inner seams.

Photo below:  A Chinese woman at the Expo was keen to have a go at sashiko!  Here she is commencing the  left jean leg on the same pair of jeans.


The left jean leg does not have any holes but the denim is wearing very thin.  The darker blue fabric on the underside, together with the sashiko stitching will ensure the knee area is reinforced.

Beat The Man, be resilient and sustainable, and thrive!

Something to Something that’s Something!

The thing about the basics is they don’t really change – it’s the details and the proportions that change. The shirt may be cut slimmer or looser, the suit might be darker or lighter, the sneakers might not have laces, but you’re still talking about shirts and suits and sneakers.

John Varvatos


I was giving too much time and effort to matters not worthy of my attention.  It takes a slap in the face to sometimes move me on and upwards.

My creative life was REvived as a result.  RUDE girl finally REdiscovered her studio late last week. 

It was lovely to REmake this Ben Sherman shirt [below] into a skirt for a young girl or small size 8 woman.


And this shoulder bag [below] from a pair of jeans that were given to me by Patrick from the Melton Sustainable Living Group.  I have used an unusually deep pocket on the front of the bag.


This Monday night, all going well I hope to go to Tap and Funk dancing lessons.  RUDE Girl loves to dance!

Beat the Man and funk him off!


It’s a Rap!

“You could name practically any problem in the hood and there’d be a rap song for you.”
Jay-Z, Decoded

“Love yourself and your expression, you can’t go wrong.”

Apologies all for no Friday blog post last week.  This RUDE Girl has had some hood issues.  As you all know RUDE is passionate about its scavenger style.  For over 5 years now, we have bought our clothes from Tip Shops [sheds on or near landfills that sell recycled stuff].

RUDE girl recently offered to volunteer her time and REfashioning expertise, to a local Council run textiles program for youth.  I facilitated an amazing two-hour workshop with six young people on 9 February this year.  I let the youth services worker know that I only work with recycled clothes.  And because there was no funding allocated to pay me, then a condition of my volunteering, was that the youth use free clothing from the local Tip Shop.

Snapshot 1 (15-02-2015 9-53 PM)

To my disgust Council’s waste management department,  was really only interested in bureaucratic due process as its priority.  And whilst free clothes would be considered, it could take weeks to organise.  By this stage I had turned off the light and gone home.  Why?  Because I have seen on a regular basis clothes [like in the pile above] discarded into bins.  Once in these bins, I have been told the clothes are taken by truck to landfill.

To cut a long story short, on principle I am unable to facilitate this youth group now, unless I have access to these clothes for free.  Yes, free clothes can be bought in from home.  But that to me is not the point.  This is an opportunity to teach so many, not just the youth, about discarded fast fashion.  And how it can be REused and REfashioned.  About how to save money and the planet.

After watching some of my videos and listening to my talks, I was told by a couple of Council employees in the waste management area, to refrain from using the term Tip Shop.  Indicating that it gave the wrong impression of waste management in a contemporary context.  Again, I do not even want to labour on this nonsense.  When you live a Beat The Man lifestyle, it’s not mainstream, and some people, especially authorities can feel very threatened.  It’s all fear and control based in my opinion.

Anyway, to express the absurdity and let of a bit of steam, I made my very first rap video.  I felt it was important to stand up for freedom of self-expression.  The quote at the top of the page by Jay-Z means we can now add Tip Shops to the list of rap songs about recycling and the hood!

A video was also taken of my upcycling talk and workshop with the young people.  It’s magic footage.  I am unable to post it here for privacy reasons.  But here are a couple of snapshot photos from the video.

Snapshot 3 (15-02-2015 11-18 PM)

Snapshot 2 (15-02-2015 11-15 PM)

Photo above:  Vintage hand crocheted wool poncho upcycled into a skirt by RUDE

On a lighter note, it was fun to dress up, wear some hot pink lipstick [not my colour], kohl my eyes [love the look], find a bit of attitude, write a quick rap, record and be happy with the first take and creatively edit the video.

Rap and Stick it to The Man!  Watch my rap video by clicking on the link below.


Frugal Forgiveness

Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.

Oscar Wilde

Hello to all out loyal followers!

Life is blissful in the RUDE camp but at times it can be a bit hectic, and I forget to do small things – an apology is forthcoming after my excuses.

We have our make do and mend projects going all the time.  And we are on-line all day supporting the make do and mend, and recycling communities on Facebook that we administrate and/or follow.  And this year RUDE Girl is reaching out more into my local community, to share the joy of frugal and the fun of our Beat The Man game.

I will be teaching REfashioning in a youth textiles program, delivering a couple of recycled textiles workshops at a local primary school, undertaking a university course in community development related to emergency ready and resilient communities and workshopping recycled textiles at local community events to name a few.

Please forgive me for posting last Friday’s blog post [6 December] Share The Joy of Creativity, without access to two of RUDE’S YouTube videos.  The links are now open and you can view both videos there or the main video here.

Photo above:  The beautiful pure wool Veronika Maine top [black grape colour] that I am wearing in the featured video.  This top was ‘as new’ and was REscued from landfill.

Beat The Man but never be too busy doing it to apologise!

Share the Joy of Creativity

The thrill of performing – that’s something that hasn’t changed for me. That simultaneous joy of creating something and sharing it with an audience – it’s the same now as it was then, when it was just my cousins’ birthday party.

Steve Buscemi

As a child RUDE Girl would hold little singing and dancing concerts on the back porch.  There were costumes, a record player and vinyl 78s and 45s.  For many years, I had no idea that the love of childlike performances made me go ‘into the flow‘.

In the video below, I am coming out of my cubby house that was originally built by my father to house the briquettes.  I was performing to the camera even back then.  I loved my little cubby house. I had been cleaning some items in the cubby with that green rag in my hand.  I was happy in my little space in the corner of our garden.  My sister was not a performer, evidenced by her hands on her hips at my antics!


My energy for performance was channelled into the sport of marching [she can move probably thought my parents, so let’s make it disciplined like marching, and not provocative like dance]

I have always felt comfortable in front of an audience.  It’s only in recent years, that I have come to realise that I have something creative to contribute to an interested audience.  And that my creativity was always there but hiding away.  It was just never encouraged at home, at school or in the workforce.

Followers may remember from a previous post that RUDE was not invited to participate at the local Sustainability Expo last month.  And with a bit of noise making, I did get to present our Beat The Man approach to life.  Here are some video highlights of that talk below.  Should anyone want a DVD of the whole presentation please contact us via email.  We have a lot more to say about how we beat the man in our daily lives.

Karen at Expo 2015


As you get older, you know more and more based on your experience, and you have more to share with people who haven’t had that experience. But it’s an even exchange, because while you’re focusing them and giving them craft, they’re sharing contemporary taste. So you’re prolonging your creative years. You’re staying younger, thanks to that compact.

Harold Prince

RUDE hoped to inspire its followers with interesting posts.  What has been unexpected for RUDE, is our followers are inspiring us as well.  We are sharing the joy, of not only frugal, but our feelings too.  We know many of our followers are younger than us, and can relate to the Harold Prince comment above.  The following was a private message from a young woman this week.

“Thanks for sharing your blog with me too. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading it thus far. You remind me very much of my mum and I feel a little like RUDE girl at times – I love being silly, in fact, that’s one of the many terms of endearment my friends have for me.

Re this statement, ‘I am much about encouraging myself to channel my childhood roots and unleash my creative side too’, it made me think of this TED talk I have seen. You have probably seen it too as I know it was v. popular. If you haven’t seen it I hope you enjoy it, and if you have seen it I hope you enjoyed it!”

Beat The Man and give your children a creative education!

Let Your Frugal Fun Freak Flag Fly

White collar conservative flashin down the street, pointing that plastic finger at me, they all assume my kind will drop and die, but I’m gonna wave my freak flag high.     Jimi Hendrix

I don’t judge others. I say if you feel good with what you’re doing, let your freak flag fly.  Sarah Jessica Parker


The above article by Liz Graham could be on-line but I was not able to find it.  Therefore, I decided to post a photo of it.  It’s an inspirational article and compliments what RUDE is all about these days.

RUDE Girl is not your typical fun junkie.  My daughter owns this title.  Here she is in the photo below, with her fiance in the photo booth, at their double denim engagement party.

When I look at this photo the apple does not fall far from the tree.  I do remember that I was always the person encouraging my friends to go out for the night disco dancing.  We were always on the dance floor, and rarely had time to buy and consume alcoholic beverages.  We would pick the venues where we could get in for free, as after all, we were student nurses not earning much money.  These were the days of ‘hospital trained’ nurses  [slaves to a health system and a story for another post].  I guess frugal has always been a way of life for me.

There is no going out disco dancing these days [the era is over] but I have not stopped dancing.  And the article above [in the blue circle] is encouraging us all, to dance our butts off in 2015.  RUDE girl needs no encouragement to dance [check out the video below if you dare] but the validation, that the activity makes us more playful and fun, is all I need to shake my bon bon.


According to the article the sillier you are, the more authentic you are.  And get a load of this, people love fun, silly, authentic woman.   I certainly love myself more when I let my inner weirdo come out.  

I am much about encouraging myself to channel my childhood roots and unleash my creative side too [yellow circle in the article].  Growing up, I was always singing and dancing for the neighbourhood kids and staging little concerts in the backyard.  I am finding more and more that when I bring my creativity to the surface, I really do feel more inspired and vibrant.  It’s good for my psychological well being, that I no longer have adults telling me to sit down and behave myself.

At the moment I am enjoying directing and creating videos of any willing subjects.  It’s a fun, frugal and creative way to capture special moments and thoughts.  It takes a considerable amount of my time to create a modest home video.  However, it’s a wonderful experience gift to give, and there is minimal monetary cost.

Get out of your fearful rut and embrace a playful life recommends Miracles Now author Gabrielle Bernstein.

Beat The Man and embrace your frugal fun freak!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?x-yt-cl=84924572&v=YCAOZQkwvBg&x-yt-ts=1422411861&feature=player_detailpage