Saturday, May 30, 2009

Vintage Pyrex and Tupperware Joy

Kick up your heels for deals!
Today was an up-and-down day as I scoured sunny East York for cool stuff. Hold onto your moth balls... Here we go!
Porcelain leg hooks from the ultimate vintage yard sale. Frothy details towards the bottom of this post.

Sombrero parked on matching Hyundai. 
I was excited to see the Main Street Multi-Family sale back again. The street seems like a mix of old timer East Yorkers, young families, and funky single people. The leader of the communist party was even out selling hotdogs at the end of her driveway. A bit of a capitalist venture? Anyway, there were no yuppies selling high end cast-offs for high end prices. Just eclectic clutter priced right.

At the Main Street sale, we met loads of great people. One family was selling off their entire collection of hamster cages and accessories. I complemented the father on this cool Christmas "candolier" in its original box (above). He told me how he remembered his mom getting it out every Christmas and placing it in the window. He also pointed to an insanely large novelty whiskey bottle that tilts. He said his father used to actually fill it with whiskey and pour drinks straight out of it. He told me his father died last year and they are now getting rid of his belongings. We bought this heavy wooden and bronze cannon from the family for only $1.00. If you had an intruder in your house, you could throw this and cause some serious damage. I wonder if the cannon belonged to his father too. Chin-chin dad!

Another great sale on Main Street. We were greeted by a chorus line of bundle buggies. How they amassed such a collection is beyond me. Note, Duncan in the mirror. In the corner, you'll see a glimpse of my bike which was laden with bag-loads of yard sale booty once again. 

I loved the people at the bundle buggy lover's paradise. Running the sale were a pair of elderly East Yorkers and their wise-cracking middle-aged daughter. The father had this amazing workshop in his garage. He had dozens of old tools hanging everywhere and he even had a small TV set perched in the top corner. He showed me how he can turn it on with the flick of a light switch. Above: a $7.00 wheelbarrow filled with thermal lunch boxes. 

Still, from the bundle buggy people: a crate-load of vinyl, including Swan Lake in Stereophonic Sound. They had really cool old clutter here, including several cameras (one even still had flash cubes in the box). I bought a few things we'll get to later. 

That's So Raven game: possibly the most exciting thing seen at the Girl Guide yard sale.

We mainly bought toys for Duncan at the Main Street sale. Somehow we made it home on the bike. Duncan wanted to show Dad his stash and play with everything when we returned. I slipped back out to an outdoor church rummage sale at Woodbine Heights Baptist Church. When I got there, I discovered a selection of unremarkable newer items being sold by Girl Guides. I didn't find anything I wanted or needed. The sale is much better when the congregation clears its collective clutter.  

Enough to make you go vegan: One of the Girl Guides was selling a bag full of realistic-looking kittens that appeared to be suffocating in a plastic bag. Possibly one of the most disturbing things I've seen at a garage sale. 

Crestfallen, I peddled down my street to St. Luke's annual parking lot sale. I could hardly bring myself to go. It's a vendor's sale and each year it's the same old over-priced flea market junk and tables of not great jewelry and beauty products baking in the sun. I cut across the lot looking for something good, but nothing was to be found. Just as I went to unlock my bike, I saw a sign indicating that church folk were selling things in the basement. I descended the stairs in hope. When I got there, I discovered the usual array of tea towels and picture frames. I did manage to score this cute bluebird (above).

In the basement, I also found these Tupperware beauties. Aren't the colours pretty? I also bought three picture stands and a hanging plant hook. A friendly lady shoved everything in a bag and asked me for fifty cents for the lot. 

I would have been happy with my cheerful Tupperware containers. A meagre $5.00 was all I had left in my wallet. A sensible person would have called it a day, but I remembered that there was another street sale in the Donlands area. On my way there I saw a sign for a yard sale on another street. Much to my delight I was greeted by a table of old kitchenware, including loads of vintage Pyrex, most of which, I grabbed. My biggest score was this 1960's "Made in Japan" Atomic platter on a pedestal. It only cost $1.00! See its underbelly in the picture below. 

Gorgeous Pyrex bowls. I just can't get enough.

Cherry red Pyrex dishes. I sensed the woman selling these items had been a crazed collector, but reached a stage where she realized they were taking over her house. She seemed slightly sad to see them go, but I told her they were going to a good home. Maybe one day I'll be going through the same thing. For now, I'm just happy with my bowls.

A fifty-cent vintage Bayer Aspirin bottle from the Pyrex Lady sale. 

We don't really use shot glasses, but I couldn't resist Pyrex Lady's chic Canadiana shot glasses. 

Vintage duck vase that hangs from wall (from Pyrex Lady's sale). I think I gave her $4.50 for everything pictured above. 

My booty from the bundle buggy people: A jade green Tupperware box. I already have a set of these, but I couldn't resist another. I also bought a very old beater, the seahorse comb, and decks of vintage game cards. Everything cost me $2.00.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

At Long Last

We had perfect weather for yard sales today. We started off at a small sale on our street. The people were very friendly, but otherwise it was a sad affair. The woman of the house told me that she suffers from fibromyalgia and did not have the energy to keep the house maintained. She was trying to get rid of small appliances, books, and twee nicknacks. I bought two Christmas craft/cookbooks and a vintage cookbook with florescent green cocktails on the cover. The seller asked Duncan if he believed in angels and then gave him a ceramic keepsake of an angel sitting on a crescent moon. It was pretty tacky and it reeked of smoke, but her heart was in the right place. We thanked her for it and moved on. 
Two-fifths of the Village People. 
We strolled up to Mortimer where we found ourselves at a driveway sale that we've been to before. We remembered the thirty-something couple and their bulldog and they remembered us. They even remembered some of the things we bought two years ago like Duncan's rice paper night light that spins around slowly and casts colourful light on the ceiling. This sale had a nice mix of old and new clutter. Duncan scooped up a bunch of toys including a vintage Fisher-Price police officer with car, and a construction worker with a bulldozer. I grabbed some seed trays, coco fiber pots, a couple of mugs, and a candle holder. When we were leaving, Duncan noticed a brand new Care Bear and while we were paying for it, one of the sellers gave him a Hot Wheels stunt ramp for free. Love those East Yorkers! 
Retro horse and duck riders. 

A face in need of lifting. 

Bruce Cockburn on a chair in the snow on a CD on a table at a yard sale in spring. 

Gotta love those horse riding monkeys. 

Electric scissors. Another great invention that just never took off. 

Yet another over-priced university textbook now languishing on a front lawn. 

My stash: a creepy cast iron candle holder, and two delightful mugs. 
Upper Canada Village mug. Memories of the good old days when children got the strap. 

What the heck does this mean: "One of the Manhandlers?" And what do manhandlers have to do with Campbell's Soup?
Construction guy in action. Excuse my toes. 
Police officer tries to arrest a lily-of-the-valley.
We made a pit stop at home and then I took Duncan out on the bike. I'm glad I can still squeeze him in the bike seat though I suspect he's surpassed the 40 lb maximum weight. We found two more so-so sales. One was run by some soon-to-be empty-nesters who thought Duncan was cute and they sold us this Tonka dump truck for one dollar. He now has Tonka dump truck in every size. As we were leaving the woman told me that her children were in their twenties and she remembers when they were Duncan's age. She insisted we take a Beenie Baby bunny. It seemed to represent some sort of passing the torch thing to her. Yard sales can be very emotional. 
Later, we found a small but charming sale on our way back. There was a smart little grade three boy who was selling off his dinosaur collection - five dinosaurs for a quarter. Duncan also bought a small steam engine and a zamboni. 
Splendor in the grass. 
The smile says it all. 

Monday, May 18, 2009

Yard Sale Withdrawal

Toronto has experienced two consecutive cold and rainy Saturdays. Ugh! I want to shop and blog about it!

Instead, I will tell you (assuming this is actually being read by anyone other than myself and the odd glance it receives courtesy my yard sale addict parents) about one of my favourite yard sales from last year. I wish I had been blogging at the time. 

It was a beautiful Saturday morning. I had scanned the community paper and read an ad for a sale that was a long way from our house. My husband is not interested in yard sales in the slightest, although he enjoys a good rummage in an antique barn. He was working that day anyway, so there was no chance of blagging a ride. I strapped Duncan into his bike seat and off I peddled to a posh-looking enclave of East York or Scarborough. I'm not exactly sure where it was. It was a little bit tricky even getting there: we crossed a bridge and had to go up and down many a hill. When we finally arrived, I knew we had hit the jackpot. 

The yard sale host was a slightly older woman who was clearing out decades of clutter from her house. The items were spread out along the driveway and spilled right into the garage - a true garage sale! I love snooping around in people's garages: especially ones where you find old Simpsons bags hanging on nails. Amazing treasures were discovered in every nook of this garage and just about everything was for sale. I even unearthed an ancient wedding cake topper and a box of faded party decorations from the '70s. The woman told me that her mother was getting on in years and it sounded like she was about to be relocated to a retirement home. When I hear these stories, the items for sale all of a sudden seem poignant. I couldn't imagine selling off a lifetime of objects that had sentimental attachment. 

I kept finding stuff I needed, like a tasteful magazine rack, a vaporizer, a huge stack of vintage children's books, a giant bag of new plastic easter eggs. I can't even remember everything I bought, but I do remember my bike being dangerously loaded down. My basket was filled to capacity and I had plastic shopping bags dangling from the handlebars. I had to keep checking to make sure Duncan wasn't being suffocated by my overstuffed knapsack. I don't know how we made it home. I'm just glad we didn't get pulled over by the cops. Thinking back, I was totally crazy, but we're still alive and I have this amazing old timey milk request sign (above) as a reminder of this terrific sale. It only cost a quarter. I'm sure it is worth a lot more than that, but when we are finally finished renovating our kitchen, I will find a special place for it and it will be treasured always.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

East York Driveway Delights

There weren't a lot of sales in our immediate surroundings today. A neighbour mentioned that today was the day of the Cosburn Lawn Bowling Club Sale. After dragging Duncan up the road, the clutter was a little disappointing. We bought a few things which you'll see below. On our way back, we hit gold - a driveway sale on Mortimer run by a 60-something couple who plan on moving in the near future. I love East York and this couple were the epitome of the down-to-earth folk that live in our community. 
Duncan attempts to test drive our new old toboggan in the backyard. 
Nothing says East York like a lawn bowling club. Pictured above: East York Lawn Bowling Club Sale seen through a chain link fence. 
Lawn bowlers also like ping pong - or someone once did. 
Bargain mugs: I bought the vintage Fort Henry and Sanka mug as well as the Woody Woodpecker cup with matching log bowl. 
Christopher Columbus' coffee of choice: I bought Duncan this nifty replica of the Santa Maria for a lousy quarter. He calls it his "pirate ship."
Kenny G., Terence Trent D'Arby, and Hall & Oats cassettes. Get 'em while they're hot. 
This lawn bowling club has been around for almost eighty years. Inside the clubhouse you'll find trophies and photos. 
Supreme lawn bowlers from the late '80s. Big hair and even bigger glasses. Is there a connection?
It takes a lot of bowling balls to run a good lawn bowling club. True.
After stumbling upon this awesome driveway sale, Duncan and I found dozens of interesting objects. Here, Sonny Jim checks out a very large funnel. 
Old margarine containers filled with fuses. 
Pull-tab pop cans from the early eighties? Do they still make Wink?
Home with our wonderful wooden toboggan. The couple charged us $5 for this well-loved toboggan that their family used to pile onto during snowy days in the '70s. The woman told me that she made the pillow herself. It's filled with plastic to help prevent soggy bottoms. 
Awaiting new snowy memories. 
Some of our haul includes a vintage three-hole punch ($3.00), an old tin of pencil crayons, and real papyrus from Egypt.. 
I bought this vintage iron for $4.00. The man ran in and put a new cord on it, which cinched the deal. I heart East Yorkers!
Oh the memories. I couldn't resist buying these vintage picture books. They still have the 45s inside. If only I had a turntable. 
Fairy tale books for our classroom. I wish I had these two weeks ago, when we started modernizing fairy tales. Below, my whole stash of books, including Duncan's Winnie the Pooh books, a book on tartans and clans of Scotland (for Ken), and a very old Esso map of Northern England. In all, I spent about $20.00 today - maybe less. 

About Me

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I'm a slightly off-beat Toronto-area teacher who enjoys writing and photography. I come from a family of collectors and now I'm dragging my own family around to yard sales. It's just a bit of fun. Enjoy the scenes.