Monday, June 29, 2009

My Junk and my Jewels

Ever since the city forced everyone to use city-issued garbage containers, it's become a lot more difficult to get good junk in Toronto. Before revealing the chair I found on the curb last Saturday, I thought I'd show off my favourite find - a wooden chandelier. I used to work in a garden centre and one night I was biking home and discovered this treasure out with someone's trash. I was so excited. I'm hoping that I can convince my husband to re-wire it one day.
This chandelier wouldn't look out of place in a guest house in New Orleans. I enjoy looking at it and inventing stories about its history. I have a very rich internal life. Click to enlarge the photo for all the cracked-wood-and-chipped-paint glory. You can almost smell Storyville. Scratch and sniff.

I grabbed these chairs two summers ago. I somehow hooked them onto my son's stroller and wheeled Duncan and the chairs home. My neighbour gave me a tut-tut when she saw us pull up on our walkway. I'm not sure if it was a tut-tut for compromising the structural integrity of the stroller, or a tut-tut for garbage picking. My goal this summer is to finish sanding them and painting them a fresh colour. They'll look fabulous.

Here's my little wooden deck chair I scored on the weekend. It matches the chair pictured below, which I bought from an eccentric English lady for $5.00 at a yard sale last summer. The chair was battleship grey, so I stained it. I'm interested to know what would Grunge Queen do; strip and stain the white chair, or paint the stained chair white? I'm thinking that the latter option would be the way to go. GC, if you're out there - please help a thrifty sister out.

My $5.00 deck chair decorated with Duncan's nature objects.

These perfume bottles don't really fit with this post, but since I didn't make it to any yard sales this weekend, this blog seemed naked without treasures from a sale. I bought these for a lousy quarter back in the fall at a church rummage sale. I think they are beautiful. The blue bottle says Lou Lou in fancy script on the label. They're not vintage, but they're still full of charm and mystique. Thanks for stopping by. Erin

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Searching For My Delirium

I didn't get to any sales yesterday due to a combination of year-end school fatigue, needing to shop for a new dryer, and a lack of sales in the neighbourhood. I did a little junking last night. I'll try to remember to photograph the wooden chair I scored later. By the way; when did garbage picking become junking? Today is a rainy Sunday. I'm not sure what we'll get up to. To clean, or not to clean?

Here's one of my new favourite bands - Ladyhawke, from New Zealand. I used to play the CD in my class this past year when the kids were creating art. I love the Thelma and Louise inspired video. Dig.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Whipped Cream, Fortune Teller's Cups and Other Delights

As you may recall from my last post, yesterday would have been a great day to yard sale had it not been raining. Today, we went to St. Catharines to visit my parents and smother my dad in Father's Day fuzzies. We're a close family and we're all a little koo-koo for yard sales, thrift stores and antique barns. My folks also like antiques, vintage, and random stuff that was made better a long time ago. 

Here's my mom's sturdy brown iron. 

And here's her ten pound mixer that comes complete with a beater ejector button. She told me that she has a light weight newer mixer, but she scored this old GE model at a garage sale and she likes it better.
Freshly whipped cream. I had splatter control issues, but otherwise felt like I got a darn good work-out using this baby. 

My mom gave me this beautiful wooden box that has been in the family for years. My grandmother used to rent the top floor of my childhood house out to a woman named Mrs. Lane. This box belonged to her. Mom thinks this box is dates somewhere between the '40s or '50s. Mrs. Lane died in 1960. I love the hand painted blue birds and the solid construction. 

We visited the local Goodwill, where I briefly contemplated buying this classic '70s green fondue set ($5.00). I decided not to in the end. Fondue seemed to be the big entertaining craze in the 1970s. 
I did, however, buy these cute little earthenware cups that were made in Japan (.50 each). My mother was quick to figure out all the different things I could do with them. I love the colours. 

I also bought these stunning yellow and black tea cups and saucers. It came with the creamer. I think each cup and saucer was $1.00. 

This cheerful canister was made in England and cost $1.00. I see myself out on the porch in the summer drinking tea and eating tiny cookies out of the jar. 

Purple clematis flower my dad gave me. I've pressed it in a book. 
We also hit a decent yard sale near my folk's home. There, I bought Duncan this Bunnykins cup for $1.50...
And this '70s juice jug for a quarter. We had the exact same one when I was a child. 
I also bought these snazzy tea cups and saucers for $2.00 apiece. 
And this box 'o buttons for $5.00.
I bought it for the box. It needs a good cleaning, but I will cherish it.

My favourite find was this fortune teller's tea cup. I don't believe in these sort of things, but it is a thing of beauty when viewed as a piece of art. The message on the outside reads: Perchance this cup will show it thee. Would'st thy fortune like to see?

Detail from the inside of cup.

What do the tea leaves say? Clean the cup!

Signs of the zodiac appear on the saucer. 

My prize.
What a perfect day. Love you Pops!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Rain-o-rama - Again!

Don't be fooled by the picture of the $2.00 Instamatic camera. This picture was taken two weeks ago on a SUNNY SATURDAY! Yes, we had another rain out. I think Duncan was more disappointed than I was. We went to Chinatown instead and had dim sum. You can check out the pictures of our trip at my other blog Landscape and Memory Toronto 

I think Duncan found every puddle on Spadina Avenue. Tomorrow is Father's Day, so I'm not even sure if thrifting is possible. We'll see. 

Thanks so much for the comments. I'm glad that the fun I'm having is being felt by those who visit TYSS. 
- Erin

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Bin There Dump That

Today was a pathetic yard sale day, but I'll try to write in an upbeat fashion so you keep on reading. We had arranged for a dumpster to be delivered so we could finally dispose of the remains of our kitchen which we had gutted a couple of months ago. By the time we were done, it was already past 11:00 a.m. Should I stay or should I go?
I packed Duncan into the bike seat and off we went. In our immediate neighbourhood we discovered a few random yard sales, but nothing spectacular. We had already been to the house that was selling the See no evil... monkeys (above) last year and the year before. It seems like the seller is determined to hold the same sale each year until she gets every penny she thinks all her tobacco-soaked clutter is worth. When she saw me taking a picture of the monkeys, she said, "Aren't they cute?" I wasn't quite sure how to respond, so I did my polite chuckle and changed the subject. 
Next, we hit a sale run by a retired teacher. I know this because she was selling a lot of Primary theme-unit style books and she had a rubber stamp section (I bought her "Terrific" stamp). Her books were over-priced, but I grudgingly bought some books for the class and Duncan. He's into sharks right now, so I grabbed him a shark book. She told him to choose a free toy from her Halloween section, so he grabbed this cool candy bowl with a dead hand that moves around and makes hideous noises. What a kind lady!
Duncan jammed into bike seat with creepy snack bowl filled with toy cars. 

We eventually hit the Monarch Park Street Sale. It seemed to be winding down. There, I found little to excite me. No vintage, no cool and funky things for the house, just a lot of young families selling stuff their kids had outgrown. 
One person, however, was selling bok choy and herbs. I've never seen that at a yard sale before. 

Someone else was selling a giraffe and a boxing punch bag. 

Another seller had these pearly air freshener things that I hadn't seen before. 

The air freshener people were also giving away free pregnancy advice. 

Mood music vinyl. The seller told me that this record was put out by Reader's Digest and that she remembers her parents playing it. Underneath this album was "Mellow Mood Music."

That's all folks. I hope to find better sales and goods next week. I live in hope. I'm tickled that people are reading my blog - even pals in the U.S. Please drop me a line in the comment section if you have time.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Wade Robson's Dance of the Crash Test Dummies - Brilliant!

This has nothing to do with yard sales, but I just had to post this hypnotic dance of the crash test dummies from So You Think You Can Dance. I love Wade Robson and he always chooses perfect music to compliment his choreography. Here, Ashley and Kupono dance to Goldfrapp's "Felt Mountain." I could watch this over and over... * Since the original clip is no longer available, I've posted a "home taped" version. The quality is poor, but the dance is still viewable. I do like the fact that a dog starts barking at one point and the girl who is recording the show tells Sparky to be quiet. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Sellers Losing Their Marbles

After last week's haul of vintage, today seemed a bit disappointing. In the end, the wee boy and I had a good time and managed to find a few gems. We started out on a street sale on a road that runs parallel to our street. There we found toddler/baby toys and accessories that would been great three years ago, but not much use now. We stumbled upon another street sale on a street two blocks south from our house. For some reason, everyone seemed to be selling books - academic tomes, philosophical chin-stroking snoozers, and contemporary fiction with spines that hadn't been cracked. I still found a few books that we'll get to below. Eventually, we ended up on the Danforth where we saw a white board advertising a "Gargantuan (Huge) Yard Sale" (two pics below). When we got there, we found a happy family with a beagle getting rid of random clutter. It was pretty fun.
Duncan strikes a Lady Liberty pose at the Gargantuan Yard Sale.
I took a snap of this sign last night. We didn't make it to this sale, but I was impressed by the degree of organization in their signage. They listed every single item they were selling. Who is this person? A librarian? A civil servant? A very tidy carpenter?

The most fun sale of the day.
We are, however, selling our passports, two aged cats, bone marrow, and Great Aunt Agnes. 
Surely this tag and Super 8 system must belong in a museum. When was anything made in Canada?  
Hound dog with a hang dog expression reflecting the collective sadness of our nation over the fact that we will never make our own Super 8 cameras again. 
Hot pink bongos atop a shower hose or whatever you call it. 
I found this Crüe disc in a pile of DVDs being sold by a wholesome mother of two. Perhaps she is married to a dirty headbanger, or maybe a long time ago she was a wild woman. 
This Barbie "Friend Ship" came with the bored-looking Pam Anderson Barbie (below). This is either from the '60s or '70s. I'm sure it would be worth a lot more than the $3.00 they were charging on Ebay. I didn't buy it.
After a night of heavy partying, Barbie chills in the Friend Ship kitchenette. 

Creepy talking fuzzball. They told me what it was called, but I've already forgotten. It came from a Teletubbies spin-off show. Need I say more?
More Canadiana in the form of a giant Lake Louise puzzle. 
Horrifically attired '70s people taking in scenic Lake Louise. 
At the Gargantuan Yard Sale, a current Leaf and a former Leaf bobble for business. 
Ubiquitous sombrero. Does everyone regretfully bring one of these home from Mexico?
Massive galvanized aluminum bucket of gorgeous marbles at the GYS. Duncan chose a few off the top before a woman bought the entire bucket for $5.00. It must have weighed close to one hundred pounds. She was going to take it on her bike, but had second thoughts. Bah! I could have done it.
Duncan checks out his big blue marble.
Books for our classroom, including a chi-chi Phaidon art book, two retro Choose Your Own Adventure books, an expensive looking book on Greek Mythology that cost $1.oo, and two Harry Potters. Most of these books were 10 for $1.00. Recession? What recession?
Love it.
A kindly East Yorker sold us some books and then gave Duncan this classy little boxed set of mini books on dragons. Sweet.
Side view. The A-Z Yard Sale person would be disgraced by the lack of organization. 
Duncan's book booty. 
My stash, including Nigella's huge Christmas cookbook (originally $50.00, mine for $1.00), a vintage reproduction of a very old book of Canadian wildflowers, a book of travel writing by women (.50), and a couple of squares of pretty vintage cloth (two for .50).

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.