Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Dime Store Thrift's Day of the Dead Treasures

Something very special arrived in the post today. Followers of this thrifty vintage blog will recall that my now good buddy Sonya at Dime Store Thrift ran a contest in the summer. She was going to thrift on someone else's behalf. How cool was that? The crazy thing was that I actually won. Typically, I'm a loser, so I was in complete shock. I've been in touch with Sonya via email and we've discovered that we have many things in common - including our age, which I won't spoil this joyous occasion recalling. I have spent the last two weeks avoiding Dime Store Thrift like the plague because there was some major spoiler posted a couple of weeks ago that I almost accidentally read. Now the cat's out of the bag.

Here is my email that I just fired off to Sonya.

I came home late for work today. I gulped dinner down so that I could make it to Curriculum Night at my son's school. As I was heading out, I noticed a brown box on my porch. Is it? Could it be? Yes. It was. I took the package back into the house and I almost sat down to open it. I would have been very late for Curriculum Night, so I used great restraint. As soon as I got home I ripped the box open. Oh my goodness. I LOVE EVERYTHING. I can't believe what amazing treasures you found. I have nothing like any of the pieces. Thank you so much. The skeleton box is wonderful. I love how the skeleton pops out. The little dolls, the magic potion, and the mini icon clutch are gorgeous. They'll fit perfectly on my Day of the Dead shelves. You spent too much, I'm sure.
I am going to log onto Toronto Yard Sale Snoop immediately and post my blurry photos. I'll try and get some better shots in the daylight. You are amazing, fun, and amazingly fun.
Sending a huge hug your way,
Normally, I would have taken a picture of the box on my porch and documented the whole dang thing, but it was too dark when I discovered it. Here is the box on our sofa.
Oh the excitement.
Look. She even has amazing stationery. Are you surprised? Me neither.
The sticker seal matches the card. That's how Sonya rolls. Sorry for the blinding flash.
A kind heart and glamorous penmanship all rolled into one crazy package.
In the box I discovered many little parcels all lovingly wrapped in waxy white paper. There were little information cards too, which I haven't even had time to read.
Look what I got! A Mexican coffin containing...
a pop-up skeleton. This is one of the coolest Day of the Dead pieces I've ever seen.
Also inside were these tiny little dolls.
Four beautiful dolls showed up at my door...
A tiny red plastic clutch.
Hand stitched.

And full of lucky icons.
This little bottle contains herbs. In the background you'll see the mini shelves I'll put these treasures on.
The blessed Virgin Mary no doubt wondering why my husband was watching Gordon Ramsay's F Word.
Here I am - one lucky girl. Thanks so much Sonya. You've made my week. I'll think of you every time I look at these splendid pieces you found for me.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Song of the Week #13 Howard Jones "What is Love?"

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I know, I know. More eighties nostalgia. I can't believe "What is Love" was released as a single in 1983. That's almost 30 years ago. I'm getting so old! Human's Lib was the second cool album I bought, after a record by The Police. I was 12. Every song on Human's Lib is a fantastic morsel of pop. We were living in this big old brick house in North Toronto at the time, a year before my family would move to the suburbs and my life would change dramatically. I shared a bedroom with my two sisters - it was a huge room that my mom had somehow managed to partition into thirds. I had a tiny black and white TV on top of my wardrobe for late night viewing. I used to rush home and watch Toronto Rocks, and later Much Music, when they used to play music videos. It was Toronto Rocks where I first saw the "What is Love?" video. It's still a great song and a cool video concept - especially the little nod to The Red Balloon. Anything filmed in Paris looks great.

Carved Resin Necklaces

I picked up the special Halloween edition of Better Homes and Gardens. In it, I saw a necklace with a crow pendant that I had to have.

The necklace comes from Hot Cakes Design. I went to their site and I was immediately transported into jewelery wonderland. They do rings, bracelets, earrings, and brooches too. If I had unlimited money I would buy one of everything they make and wear something fabulous each day. Check it out.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Puttin' on the Ritz

Tantalizing diner coming your way...

With no yard sale signs in our immediate vicinity, Duncan and I loafed around the house and had a lazy morning. (Pops was working.) Duncan had never been to see a movie at the cinema, so we decided to go see Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. Before the movie, we went to the best little diner in our neighbourhood - The Ritz.
Unassuming on the outside, The Ritz is full of old diner charm on the inside. If you live in the greater Toronto area and would like to go, it's on Donlands just north of Cosburn.
What makes the Ritz unique is that they have a selection of dishes from the Philippines on the menu in addition to traditional diner fare.
It's great that they left the old fixtures and fittings inside.

I'm not sure if they still cook up their signature T-bone steak, but the old timey sign hangs at the back. I'd love to have it hanging in our kitchen. It's a tiny diner, but there were quite a few people dining when we were there. I took some snaps of the old stools after the people who had been sitting on them left.
Everything I love.
I ordered the Tapsilog, which is marinated beef, with rice, eggs, and salad. There was a vinegar mixture in the cup that I dunked my meat into.
Duncan went for the traditional sausage and egg platter.
For a four-year-old, he eats like a horse. Here he is eating a sausage like a Barbarian. I told him to switch to a fork. Below, the wee man enjoys a frothy chocolate shake that the owner made using the old milkshake blender. We made it to the cinema in time for the movie and had a great time.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

You're Soaking in it

Finally, a vintage commercial that gets to the heart of problems afflicting us thrifters. Get a load of the grotesque squirrel lamp.
Oh those dishpan hands! Here's a slightly younger Madge. I love the way the announcer says "greasy casserole," without a hint of disgust.

Life - it's Just One Big Game

Today I was finally able to do a little thrifting at lunch. Value Village is a second-hand department store and as luck would have it, there's one close to my house and one close to work.
I snapped up The Game of Life. I remember playing this at a friend's house when I was a kid.
It's a Milton Bradley game "heartily endorsed" by Art Linkletter. The game cost $2.99. It was the size of a huge pizza box. I had to strap it on my bike's rat trap.

I also found this sixties canister for $2.99. The best part was that it had...
three other tins nesting inside it. It smelled grandmotherly, not kitcheny. I put the tins in my bike basket, and off I chugged. On my way back to school, I stopped at Tim Hortons for a coffee. I was so loaded down, I actually tried to ride my bike through the drive through at Tims (LOL). They didn't hear me trying to order my coffee and I was getting funny looks from the cars behind me. I guess cars go through a sensor that they pick up on. I parked my bike outside and told myself that nobody would want to steal a seventies edition of The Game of Life or my bike. I was right. I rode my bike back to school and when I returned to the staff parking lot, my happy load got lot's of laughs.

Monday, September 21, 2009

A "Winkle" in Time

I bought five of these beauties for $1.25. And to think I had to think about it.

Anonymous J left a comment on my weekend post regarding those stylish mugs I bought for a song at Vincent de Paul's Value Shoppe. She speculates that I may have found Kathie Winkle cups. I've done some not-very thorough Googling, but did find a link to some pictures of her work.
See what you think. I believe the cups I bought just say "England" on the bottom. Perhaps they were made in the style of Kathie Winkle.
Thank you Anonymous J for letting me know about the exciting designs of Ms. Winkle.

Vintage in the Class Part Two

Here's my Made in Canada Coleman cooler. Last week it was languishing in someone's driveway with a three dollar price sticker on it. Now it's our funky junk trunk. The old metal table it sits on was left out in the hallway at my school last week. When I learned it was not wanted, I grabbed it. It looks like an old table the school nurse would have used in the sixties.
My cheerful Chinese pillow decoration bought at Value Village last week for $2.99 now hangs on the wall at the back of our class. Ironically, it hangs beside the "East" sign. If the weather holds out, I'm hitting Value Village on my lunch break tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Song of the Week #12 Bryan Ferry "Don't Stop the Dance"

I was too young to catch the whole Roxy Music experience at the time. I became a fan after the fact. I remember Bryan Ferry's Boys and Girls album. It was the mid-eighties. I was in Grade 10, bored with high school life and looking for something different. The song and video for "Don't Stop the Dance" were pure escapism into a glamorous high-end fashion life I would never be a part of. I loved the whiff of Art Deco that permeates the video. The album is still amazing and this video is chic and timeless (unlike Ferry's big-haired contemporaries also making music at the time). Chin-chin and enjoy.

And what 30-something + woman in her right mind doesn't get caught up in the jet set fantasy of Roxy Music's "Avalon," for that matter? Here's a bonus video - coming right at you.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Wooden Chair, Chrysanthemum Tea and a Whole Lotta Body Talk

Alright, this is another huge, crazy post. Put the kettle on and settle in for a long read... (I hope this lives up to my promise, Queen of Clearance. If your enthusiasm could be bottled, we'd all be much happier people). Cheers! P.S. I'm up to nine followers. You like me. You really like me!
Duncan and I started off at another church book sale, which I'll get to later. As we were heading home, I saw dozens of signs for a yard sale two streets down from us. When we got there, this cute little wooden chair caught my eye. I thought it was an old school chair. I immediately got Duncan to sit on it. "Hey, it's just your size." The man running the sale told me that it wasn't a tot's chair, but a very old spectator's chair. He said people would fold it up and take it with them to tennis games, etc. For $5.00, I had to have it.

Here it is basking in the afterglow of another great day thrifting. Please excuse our hay-like grass.

As mentioned earlier, St. Luke's Anglican Church had a great book sale this morning. Compared to the raunchy material I found at the United Church last week, this was a classy, well-organized affair. They were playing jazz music and had hanging signs with the various genres that were for sale. Their prices weren't as rock-bottom as the United Church's, but 3 for $1.00 was still pretty good. Here, you'll see a down-homey book of Canadian chow, a Mexican cookbook, a book about North American trees, and a vintage bird identification book.

When I'm a senior citizen, I just know I'll be out there in the woods with my binoculars searching for rare birds.

Here's a happy birder circa 1957, about to photograph a hungry jay.

Gorgeous illustrations from the tree book.

On my way home, I found a house with a "Free Stuff" sign at the curb. I grabbed this English Melamine tea tray which I'll likely use to put plants on in my classroom. During the walk home, I was trying to think of why my instinct told me that I liked it, even though this style isn't really my thing. Then it dawned on me...
Front cover Photo of Kate Bush - Never for Ever
It reminded me of Kate Bush's Never For Ever album art. That psyche of mine.

The back side of the tray is filled with useful information. Thank you Marks and Sparks.

I also found these books at the freebie house. Idioms, plain English, and body talk work well together.

The illustrations in Body Talk are classic. The publisher really tries to sell the book with scientific evidence.

Anger about to be unleashed, or a nice guy in need of a good laxative? You decide.

I know how this is going to end. I've seen The Ice Storm.

There's nothing worse than a man who covers his inadequacy with his hand.

After taking Duncan out for a haircut, we went to one of the most overlooked neighbourhoods in Toronto - Chinatown East. It's not as big as downtown Chinatown, or as glitzy as the Chinese mall land north of the city, but I love my little Chinatown. I've always wanted to thrift at St. Vincent de Paul's Value Shoppe, but this location is always closed when I go past. Today it was open. The store was a dumpy mess and the staff seemed unhappy, but I got some cute cups, which you'll see below.

The Value Shoppe (what's with the spelling of shop?) was steps away from great Chinese stores and restaurants. Here's a ubiquitous scene in Toronto - a TTC streetcar.

My newly coiffed son eats a Chinese hotdog.

I tried chrysanthemum tea. It was sweet and tasted like nothing I can compare it to. I liked it, but I wouldn't want to chug it back on a regular basis.

Here are my Value Shoppe cups. I almost didn't buy them, but when the woman said they were .25 each, I knew I'd regret not buying them. They were made in England.
I think they're pretty in a seventies way.
I bought some groceries in Chinatown. I couldn't resist this sauce. Mang Tomas looks so mysterious. Ken cracked up when I showed it to him: "All purpose sauce? What's in it?"

If you follow this blog, you know how much I love Kate Bush. The hilarious KB parody is from This is Not the Nine O'Clock News. Pamela Stephenson really captured the essence of Kate, right down to name checking Proust and Cocteau. The song is based on "Them Heavy People," but they tack on "Oh England My Lionheart" at the end, but change the lyrics to "England, my Leotard."

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.