House of Straw

Image Source: www

Image Source:  www

Us RUDE Guys do not live in an eco-designed house.  It is an early 1970s glorified tent!  It has some features that are sort of ‘green’ like roofing insulation and energy efficient globes in our light fittings.  Some rooms have curtains that are lined, and we have outside awnings on the windows.

We do however strive to reduce our carbon footprint in other ways.  We reduce, reuse and repair.  We rarely travel preferring stay at home mending and making do.  We are wary of expensive products that are labelled/certified ‘green’, refusing to be green washed by The Man.

What we do admire is others who owner-build with sustainability in mind.  And we would not rule out buying an already built eco-house on a small parcel of land in some sleepy seaside town.  Time will tell when RUDE Boy retires later in 2018.

On the topic of sustainable housing, National Sustainable House Day 2017 is fast approaching.  We just had to share with you Peter and Natasha Miles’ straw bale house in Merrimu, Victoria just up the highway from where we live.

A few years back, we spent an informative hour with this lovely couple .  Us RUDE Guys went to their property to collect some items they had generously listed on Freecycle.  They invited us into their home after we expressed a great interest in their building method.  At the time RUDE Girl had just completed a carpentry course and my eyes were wide open to future possibilities.

We would highly recommend that if you are looking to visit a sustainable house on September 17th take a drive to Merrimu and visit the Mills.  We know for a fact that they will make you feel most welcome.  Refer newspaper cutting below.

Oh, and what did they generously offer on Freecycle that we collected from them.  A digital camera that we used until were handed up mobile phones with cameras.  A computer hard drive that is still operating in RUDE Boy”s desk top computer.  And a lovely electric throw rug that was used many a time, and one such time was when RUDE Girl was very ill and suffering from shock.


Straw Bale House Merrimu Aug 2017

Straw Bale House ~ Merrimu.  Image Source:

Refashioned Exhibition – A Tribute Video


Refashioned by Box Hill Institute Bachelor of Fashion students Rachel Mufale & My Ha San


Refashioned by Box Hill Institute Bachelor of Fashion students Lauren Taylor & Sarah Sabatinelli

On Friday 28 August, 2015 RUDE Girl attended the Refashioned Exhibition held during Melbourne Spring Fashion Week at the Council of Adult Education in Flinders Lane, Melbourne, Australia.

What this exhibition inspired in me, is that there is hope that our young emerging fashion designers are being trained in sustainable fashion practices.  Whether this training can be transferred to an industry hell-bent on fast fashion, is yet to be realised on a full-scale.  It is my prediction, that the students I met and spoke with, will be prepared and ready to upcycle recycled fabric, as limited virgin resources become more and more a reality.

This exhibition was a huge highlight for RUDE Girl.  I was incredibly inspired first and foremost by the students I met  – Sarah Sabatinelli and Rachel Mufale.  These young women were knowledgeable and informative about their brief, and presented it well to the public.   And secondly, I was impressed by the stunning re-creations of all the students.  I made a comment that they must have exceptional tutors. 

This photo video of the exhibition that’s presented below was my first and only take.  In other words, my praises for this entire exhibition came with glowing ease and required no edits.  I simply had to pay tribute to the future of fashion, in this fashion.  Bravo Box Hill Institute of Fashion!

Better NOW than Never

“There is a next time for NOW because I think never is not all that sustainable”   Karen Ellis / Reuser of Unloved Discarded Excess

For Fashion Revolution Day today the 24 April, 2015 I decided to demonstrate that reasonable quality fast fashion from KMart can be sustainable.

There is so much talk about how fast fashion is not sustainable and RUDE agrees to a point.  The amount of fast fashion garments ending up in landfill is frightening.  And the consequences on people and planet of the fast fashion industry and our insatiable desire for new is alarming.

I do not plan to go into details here about the woes of our hunger to consume and spend.  And many of you will already be following the fast fashion industry’s shameful legacy on other forums.  You can Goggle all about the topic.


This good condition NOW garment by KMart in the above photo, was rescued from the point of landfill and was free.  It’s not just the responsibility of the fashion industry, consumers also have responsibility to care for their garments whether fast fashion or not, right?

When I spotted this gem in the pile of clothes at my local Tip Shop it was clean but looked sad  and devoid of human heart.  Maybe because it had been pieced together in an environment that cared little about uniqueness, and more about rapid turnover.

The hoodie was the same fabric and had a bright white thin cotton tape through it to tie around the neck.  The neck  had a 5 inch slit down the front and the edges of it had been overlocked/serged.  The back of the garment was too short, and riding up my back.

To make this garment sustainable it firstly had to be rescued from the dirty and smelly clothes around it.  But even one step before that it had to have someone like me recognise its potential.  Obviously nobody, before me had realised the value in this garment.  I initially, threw it to one side as I continued to scavenge for more interesting clothes.  But then I remembered that I was keen to demonstrate that unsustainable fast fashion can become sustainable with a bit of tender loving care and a mend and make new ethos.

This garment came home and was placed in a laundry bag, soaked overnight and then washed.  The laundry bag prevents piling and protects the fabric from too much agitation of the fibres.

The NOW tag was removed [I do not like tags on clothes].  In my mind, I created a new top with some uniqueness.  I was then responsible for the entire re-design of the garment.  My hands made the re-make happen.  I personalised this top for me, and it really reflects everything that RUDE [reuse of unloved discarded excess] stands for. 

RUDE will send this blog post to KMart to show the company it can also get more sustainable by encouraging the actions of its customers to upcycle its garments.  In other words people really do have the power to make companies like KMart think differently about their clothes and garment design.

Here is the video showcasing my new not NOW windcheater.

Beat The Man and join the ReFashion of Fast Fashion Revolution!

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!

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!

Citizen Rude

Perhaps no place in any community is so totally democratic as the town library. The only entrance requirement is interest.  Lady Bird Johnson

Social media is not about the exploitation of technology but service to community.  Simon Mainwaring

What was our local municipal council thinking when it overlooked RUDE to present at its Energy and Sustainability Expo on 31 January, 2015 at the local library?  This event is being held in the city’s sustainable and award-winning library and community hub [a democratic space if you agree with the quote above].

Rude Record  presents at local workshops and festivals in cities and shires surrounding the city where we live.  It’s great to be invited to share our frugal and unique lifestyle with people in other municipalities.

Picture1Photo above:  A flyer on a board at the library in Bacchus Marsh featuring Rude Record to present at BacchChat the brainchild of the Central Highlands Libraries.

The Energy and Sustainability Expo in our own town of Melton is an opportunity for us to present and share within our own municipality the City of Melton, Melbourne, Australia.  As a ratepayer forking out approximately $AUD 1,300 per year [and ever-increasing] to the municipality, RUDE certainly has an expectation that it can and will participate in local civic events.

Feedback has it that this expo is about energy [power] savings and that’s why RUDE was not invited due to our  REcycling [REuse & REpair] focus. However, this explanation does not wash with us, when the main attraction for this ‘energy/electricity/power’ expo is a celebrity gardener!  And most of the other invited groups are not specifically focused on electricity savings.

RUDE administrates Melton Bowerbirds a 24/7 on-line Facebook group with over 60 local members.  To give our local municipal council the benefit of the doubt, it may not have considered Bowerbirds a ‘real’ group.  Melton Bowerbirds is definitely a ‘real’ group and many of its like-minded members know each other in ‘real’ life.  Some of us meet up from time to time and share our passion for REcycling.  Some of us are members of other local sustainability groups and we cross-pollinate.

RUDE also administrates a very tight-knit ‘nest’ of interstate and international members at Facebook group Bowerbirds Journal.  Our local municipal council probably has little, if any idea of the amount of exposure across the globe that our city gets, as a result of this group.  And yes, members have also met up, and will continue to meet up as a result of this group.

The quote by Simon Mainwaring above, strikes a cord with RUDE in relation to this post because Melton Bowerbirds and Bowerbirds Journal are social media on-line forums, that are unique platforms for a like-minded community from across the globe, to engage in the vast area of sustainability.

RUDE is extremely proud of Bowerbirds Journal because of its members willingness to participate by sharing, inspiring and posting regularly.  One of the followers of Bowerbirds Journal crocheted a bowerbird.  Her beautiful creation is the front cover photo for the group.  And her son, for a school project showcased RUDE Girl as a committed citizen in her community.  I [Karen] have not met this woman or her son but each day I am grateful for their goodwill and friendship.  We hope to meet face to face in 2015.

10653597_10152457006678922_5412828494928229579_nAbove photo courtesy of Maretta Bertram

Good news is that the Mayor of our city is focusing her new term on a return to grassroots community involvement and sustainability.  She went into bat for us, along with some Bowerbirds from across the two groups, who sent emails of support to the municipal officers organising the expo.  Melton Bowerbirds and RUDE will now be attending this event.  YEY!!

Thank you also to a Bowerbird from Brisbane, for introducing RUDE to the term greenwashing.  We have since payed this knowledge forward to our city’s Mayor who was not aware of the term either.

In keeping with this expo’s energy/power theme, RUDE’S presentation focus is on emPOWERment.  That is the power and energy that can be harnessed from people in the community to do more with less.  We will have a stall promoting Melton Bowerbirds and Rude Record will be presenting in the Balum Balum Room at 11.10am

Beat The Man by engaging the power of the people, and using social media for community good!

10352951_10152478470608922_8492414982320640931_nGraphic above is courtesy of Maretta Bertram and her son

Something Subversive

What I love is the f-you about him [Jean Paul Gaultier]; f-you to rules, f-you to tradition, f-you to doing things in a particular way.  Toni Maticevski ~ Australian Fashion Designer

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier is at the National Gallery of Victoria, Australia until February 8, 2015


Above:  ASSIN brand viscose garment REscued from landfill.  It reminded me of the black and white stripes Gaultier is REnowned for.

Read about the interesting true history of stripes in fashion here

Gosh it’s amazing what can be saved direct from landfill.  I liked this ASSIN garment a lot when I spotted it amongst the piles of fast fashion.  I was attracted to its unusual cotton fabric label, unique raw edging, and the soft as silk fabric. I had no idea that ASSIN garments are expensive to buy, even on sale!

I [Karen] studied 5 years of French.  I have been told that my maternal great-grandfather went to Jesuit boarding school in France.  I have also been told by a distant relative that he had an attitude of f-you.  I would not be surprised if my Gaultier gauche, rude, cheeky and Beat the Man approach to a frugal lifestyle is partly genetic.

Like fellow western suburbs’ designer Toni Maticevski, RUDE can relate to that f-you attitude that Gaultier oozes.  You certainly have to have it to survive the stereotyping that comes with living in the west of Melbourne. 

People who live inner west will not have the same level of stigma that comes with living in the outer west.  Toni Maticevski grew up in the inner west and has a studio there today.  RUDE lives in the outer west and has a studio at home. The differences are that RUDE is a fringe dweller and not a well know couture fashion designer.

Gaultier was REcycling and REusing in the 1980s with his punk creations. As a child, he listened to his grandmother tell stories about life during the war. Women were already recycling then, to cope with the prevailing shortages: men’s suits were altered for women; pants became skirts. By enriching recycled objects, Jean Paul Gaultier made them magnificent. Sumptuous linings turned military garments into formal attire, while evening gowns sprang from camouflage-print fabrics.

Like Gaultier, RUDE’s approach to a creative life is not mainstream and was formed in childhood, watching a sewist mother deconstructing garments for fabric and removing buttons and zips for REuse.  RUDE’s Scavenger Style defies a lot of social norms around hygiene, consumption, consumerism, safety and acceptability to name a few.

Community Recycling Network Australia summed up well RUDE’s ‘cheeky’ approach to REcycling in the link below.  RUDE is loving that we are REcognised for our contribution to keeping stuff out of landfill.
Beat the Man and do something subversive!