Monday, February 21, 2011

It's the little things

Next to hearts, my favourite symbols are stars. I love starry skies, I love to see a starry brooch on a coat, I love to see stars doodled on message pads. 

I especially love finding them in thrift stores, like these large silver earrings from the Out of the Closet thrift store in Los Angeles. They were in a basket on the counter with some scrunchies, a couple of plastic bangles and a broken headband. True, they're not really my style, and they were very tarnished, but I picked them for silver and could see they were made by hand, probably from a sheet of silver rather than moulded. I gave them a good polish this morning and rather liked their emphatic celestial statement. Not one I'd make every day, to be sure, but one I enjoyed on a hot bright Sunday.

 Nearby on the same counter, there was a plastic dish filled with cheap jewellery. I found this brooch in amongst the clatter. 
I thought it was excellent value for a dollar and am fairly certain it will find itself pinned against white or navy blue clothes in the near future. 

The best op shops always have a box or bowl of those little touches that you'll wear for years. A couple days later in the Goodwill store in Culver Hill (maybe?) I spotted this old gem under the counter, biding its time amongst a range of pendants and necklaces. 

Yes, the enamel is chipped and the brass is dull, but the design is beautiful and the wear she's endured makes her all the more lovely to me. Eight dollars was a lot (well, based on her intrinsic value) but I know I'll never see another like her. I wasn't sure how I wear her but I knew I couldn't leave without her. She would, I was certain, add a touch of history and romance on something I own sooner or later. 

I love the little touches. Everyone has their own little touch in some area of their life - adding garlic salt to their minestrone, finishing their grooming with a swipe of creamy beige lipstick,  wrapping a present with two different coloured ribbons. In all the blogs I read, it is the little touches that intrigue and inform me most. 

Another thing I've learnt about on the US blogs is Target. We have Target here but not as our American cousins know it. Our Target is safe and reliable and its range is limited. Last year I enjoyed the Target Liberty pop up store in Times Square but this year I found giant Targets on a our little road trip and did some serious Target trawling. I was mesmerised by the quality and range US Target offers. I found lots of little touches there, including this : 

It's the perfect spotty Saturday bag for keeping safe sunglasses and purses while you haul a huge bag around for groceries and vegetables. Better still, it was very receptive to a little touch of its own. 

Brooch + spotty bag = nice touch. 

The American thrift stores were good to me. In St Matthews Thrift store in Santa Monica (well worth a visit: great range, extremely well priced) I found three silk scarves that cost me a total of $2.50. 

The drug stores were just as helpful. Walgreens offered me touches of two of my favourite cheap cosmetics. 
I love both these products - they render my skin and hair quite pleasant to the touch. 

While the holiday is still fresh for me, I have to say - home is good. It's been nice, unpacking everything, allocating the space in the wardrobe, sleeping in my own bed, making my own breakfast with my own special touches. 
I miss the side order of toast with grape jelly, and I really miss sweet potato fries, but my sister-in-law (an accomplished artist and fabulous cook) made sweet potato salad today that more than satisfied that craving. 

There's beetroot, carrot and beans in there too. The recipe is from Neil Perry's book, but the almonds are her idea. I thought they were a lovely touch. 


  1. You did quite well shopping on your trip! Yes, little touches make life sweeter. And your finds are very attractive.

    Our Target is a great store. It competes with other large department stores like WalMart and KMart but has higher quality and wider selection. I get a lot of my stuff there.

    Welcome home.

  2. The enameled brooch is gorgeous. It looks as if it's from the 1920s, a bit Art Nouveau. You really scored with that one, Baxter!

    I'm boycotting Target, as they made a huge contribution to a politically noxious candidate in the last election.

    I'm glad you had a great trip & are safely home!

  3. Love your goodies! Especially that brooch. I'm thinking the star earrings might look good as lapel brooches too.

    I'm so glad you had a good time in the US! Too bad you were nowhere near me... :(

    Probably the food I miss most from Australia are the "Four and Twenty" mince pies. If I didn't think they would spoil... I'd start hitting up my blog buddies from OZ!

  4. It's true, Shybiker - it's all about the little touches! I never got to Walmart. I have to say, the American Mall fascinated me. We saw lots as we drove through California and Nevada. They're so big, and so open.

    Thank you Charlotte, it's good to be home. After reading your comment I've researched Target's political contribution and am really disappointed to learn of their leanings. I am a very staunch supporter of the GLBT community & would have thought twice about shopping there had I realised. I bought a few things there and will make notations on my blog when i list them.

    Lawyerdoll, you are absolutely right. Those stars are going to work on a jacket very soon. I'm not game to send you Four and Twenties in the mail, but when you come to Oz again I will gladly take you to a little country town called Lithgow where the pies are even better than Four and Twenties. Or we can have noodles down the road - just as tasty!

  5. I love the idea of combining new and old like you did with the polka dot bag and the antique looking brooch. The thought of knowing the odds of running into someone with the same thing brought down to almost zero, make my day!
    I was just going to comment that the star earrings would look fabulous on a jacket and then I realized that you thought of it already at the end of the post