Retro Recycle

“We live in a disposable society. It’s easier to throw things out than to fix them. We even give it a name – we call it recycling.”

Neil La Bute ~ American film director, screenwriter and playwright

This stool was lovingly REupholstered and then dumped at landfill, probably because its pair was broken.  Or maybe two new matching stools were purchased to replace them.  Who knows but it’s our good fortune to REclaim this stool.

RUDE purchased this stool for $1, and a couple of years later the glides for $1.  A $2 telephone stool comes in very handy.  REtro RElic REvival or the 3 Rs.

Dishes Dance

“A perfect wife is one who helps her husband with the dishes” Anon

“No husband has ever been shot doing the dishes” Anon

For many, doing the dishes is a chore. For us too, however we like to jazz the job up a bit. And we think of positive frugal activities that we can enjoy at the same time.

We have saved bucket loads of cash by not eating and drinking at restaurants, and dancing at clubs. And we can still be seen to be ‘out there’ in public by recording Youtube videos.

So what are we achieving in this video other than getting the dishes washed and dried?

Saving money
Sharing the joy
Sharing memories
Making a video
Having fun
Enjoying adult play
Laughing at ourselves
Promoting health and well being
Listening to Elton John
Promoting frugality
Engaging surreal humour

“He who wants to change the world should already begin by cleaning the dishes.”

Paul Carvel ~ Belgian Writer 1964 –

Mindful Mending

“True economy consists in always making the income exceed the out-go. Wear the old clothes a little longer if necessary; dispense with the new pair of gloves; mend the old dress: live on plainer food if need be; so that, under all circumstances, unless some unforeseen accident occurs, there will be a margin in favor of the income.” P.T.Barnum

The above quote by P T Barnum of Barnum and Bailey Circus fame, reflects RUDE’s outlook on frugal living.  We love to mend and make do.  And also to REmake something unique and new to us.

To add our stamp on things that were once owned by others, and then discarded for us to find and treasure, brings us joy.  But why treasure stuff?  Well for us, its more about the resources, time and effort that goes into making things.  We acknowledge the final object is the sum of all the parts of a making process, and we honour these parts by REinvention and REuse of the object.

I [Karen] was recently inspired by my fellow blogger and mender Agatha Lee from Green Issues by Agy when she held A Darn Good Mending Cafe in Singapore.  A fun name for a mending cafe.

In this photo below, I have sashiko mended the crotch of a secondhand pair of jeans REscued from landfill.  For me, mending is a mindful and peaceful process.  It creates flow and has a frugal purpose, which makes for simple living joyfulness.




As frugal types RUDE is wary of the issue of ‘green’ consumerism.  That is where certified green industries and companies are charging an arm and leg for products and services.  For us frugal living is first and foremost on the agenda.  Secondly, if green products are competitive or cheaper all the better for us and the planet.

We have not embraced solar panels because we are close to retirement and have not yet decided where we will be living.  Also financial incentives and restrictive contracts are not attractive.  In our opinion it’s all set up for big business to make money.  Those we know and have read about, who have solar panels, are not raving about them.  Some say there is very little advantage in shifting to solar in the current political and economic environment.

Whether solar panels or off-the-grid it would be great to have either experience. We were recently inspired by a family who has decided to go off-the-grid across the plains from us in Little River [yes, where the Australian pop rock band took its name from].  The Off the Grid Solar House was recently featured in an informative article in The Age newspaper.  You can read the article on the blog and follow this family’s journey.  Emma from the blog writes a good yarn.  She will make you laugh with her take on how the west of Melbourne is winning the solar race.

Solar graphic

Happy Hacking

“The design processes of upcycling can make us update the world of fashion in small and beautiful steps, upfashioning it with our own craftsmanship.”  Otto von Busch 


There is a liberating feeling to be experienced when you hack into clothes that were once considered fashionable.  You are the REdesigner [the hacker] not accepting societies informal rules and expectations around how unwanted clothes are to be treated. 

My Scavenger Style statement is a guerrilla garment tactical response strategy to fast fashion’s wasteful ways.  And my upcycling colleague Jane Milburn from Brisbane, Australia is also embracing Hacktivism in her year long project, where she creates an upcycled outfit each day.  She has written about my political fashion statement and Otto von Busch’s Hacktivism movement at Textile Beat

Happy Hacking!


Poncho Play

It’s impossible to be unhappy while wearing a poncho! ~ Noel Fielding /Comedian

I [Karen] have a love hate relationship with ponchos, probably because I am a practical Capricorn.  It’s just difficult to do the housework, tend to the garden, go to the toilet, whatever, in a poncho.  And I never wore one in the 70s when it was on trend to do so, because I prefer to be an individual, and not on trend in any decade.

In the 80s I did not do big hair.  Not that I could because my hair is fine. Watching ABCs Grumpy folk RElive the 80s, I am now very pleased I have fine hair.  Looking back at my hairstyle in photos from the 80s, is not too REvealing of this awful fashion decade.  My children in these photos give my age away and not my hairstyle, thank goodness.

But I have always known what Noel Fielding the surreal humourist quoted above [and depicts in the 2nd video below] that there is something about wearing a poncho that makes you want to play. Funny discovery as I write this blog post, but my video of my REfashioned poncho [1st video below] is probably surreal humour.

As with satire, my humour is intended to expose particular norms and preconceptions rather than as pure entertainment.  It’s a way here to spread the message, that someone well over 50 years of age, can wear a child’s crochetted poncho as a skirt, and be delightfully happy [and video it!  Now that’s surreal].  And to promote that the poncho came from the point of landfill and was REvamped by me, certainly exposes preconceptions and norms about fashion such as who designs it, where it comes from and who should wear it.

Embrace Scavenger Style and beat the fast fashion trend  ~ Karen Ellis / Surreal Humourist