Monday, August 31, 2009

Fifty Cent Shelves Find a Home

I bought these nifty old wooden shelves at a rummage sale in my parents' home town last year. They cost .50 apiece. They were sitting, forgotten about in our basement until recently. The small, interesting shapes make the prefect place for my Mexican Day of the Dead clay figures. I love the beauty and humour that comes through in Day of the Dead art. At the top, you'll find a very cool Day of the Dead card my friend Barb gave me as well as a picture of Frida Kahlo. Please excuse the harsh flash. The front of our house always seems dark.

Mexican treasures. Ken put his nuts and bolts sax guy on here. He may have to move (sax guy, not Ken), if my collection expands.
Grim reaper taking a farmer away. You really have to hold this box in your hand to appreciate the beauty inside.
Frida Kahlo shrine with mariachis. Most of these pieces were bought at a store in Port Hope, which is now selling clothing. We'll have to go to Mexico or Santa Fe to keep this collection/obsession going.
Doctor holding a head.
Proof that smoking kills.

Song of the Week #9 The Church "Under the Milky Way"

I have been a great fan of The Church for a long time. When I was 15, I used my older sister's photo ID and snuck into a nightclub to see them play. Almost 20 years later, I went to the Hologram of Baal tour with my husband after we'd moved into our new home. Those two moments are etched in my mind: happy times.
I'm also a fan of singer/bassist Steve Kilbey's solo music. He's a hugely talented songwriter and one of the most creative lyricists I'm aware of. Kilbey is also a painter. Below, find his painting "The Jazz Singer," which hangs in our living room. It was the equivalent of ten Christmas mornings rolled into one the day this painting turned up in the post. I promptly had it professionally matted and framed.
I have so many favourite songs, but "Under the Milky Way," was the group's biggest hit and is possibly one of the best pop songs ever, so I've chosen it as this week's Song of the Week. The Church are still recording and rocking out live. Kilbey is also a big blogger. If you are interested in his thoughts on life and the state of the universe, go to The Time Being at Believe it or not, he has two sets of twin girls from two different relationships.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Build a New Life in the Country

Here's a trailer from another great show that Ken and I watch quite a bit. Build a New Life in the Country is a gorgeously filmed series that follows couples from cities and towns in England as they move to the country to restore old ruins that they will one day live in. It is hosted by architect George Clarke, who is sensitive and wonderful. Every time we watch the show, I have this burning desire to move to a farm and start feeding chickens. Clarke also hosts a new show called A Dream Home Abroad in which English couples rebuild properties in European countries. These shows appear on BBC Canada. Check your local listings (I've always wanted to say that!).

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Near Torched House Leads to Art Deco Listerine Bottle

The remains of the best looking kettle we've ever owned.

I try to be a good person - a loving, caring mother, etc. But like most people, every now and then I screw up and almost set the house on fire. I'm blaming "Mom's Brain," and I'll milk that excuse until Duncan is in college.
Here's the story. Last night, Ken was working late and I decided to cook pasta for Duncan and myself. I put the pot of water on to boil and returned to the living room to talk with junior for a moment or two. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a flash in the kitchen. "Hmm, that was weird. Was there something up with the ceiling light? Was it a ghost?" No. The Betty Crocker electric kettle was on fire. I calmly unplugged the base and using the cord, tossed it on the floor. I then knocked the jug over to the part of the stove that wasn't on fire. I knew I had to find something to smother the flames, but I hadn't washed the dishes that day, so any available lids were soaking in the sink. I went to the cupboard and found this big aluminum tray. That did the trick. The kitchen stank like a plastic chemical factory but I did learn my lesson: never leave electric appliances on the stove and always double check to make sure the heat is on the element you need.

The story has a happy ending. I did suffer an insignificant flesh wound from the flaming kettle. When I finally decided to treat it this morning, I pulled the bandages down from the medicine cabinet and discovered this old Art Deco Listerine bottle that I've had forever, but somehow had forgotten about. How could I? My parents used to help out a crotchety old lady when they lived in Scarborough. I think this bottle came from her estate when she died. I'm glad I own it. I don't know who would keep a current Listerine bottle, but I can see why someone would treasure this.

"For boudoir and travel," appears on the back of the bottle. One must always have fresh breath in the boudoir.
Bottom of bottle. Thank you St. Louis!
Why don't they make such pretty bottles for mouthwash these days?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Old Timey Teacher Posters

I've been organizing my teacher posters and I came across these old posters my mother found at a garage sale in St. Catharines. The first six posters come from a reading series. The name of the series escapes me, but the central character was a boy called Pat. He had a pet dog named Mr. Mugs. My mom used these books when she was teaching in the seventies, so I'll get the name from her.
Back in the sixties, boys would make sure dad was comfy after a hard day at the office.
Pat and Cathy frolicking on the lawn.
Chasing Mr. Mugs.
Girl power!
Ahh Mom - a jumbo jet! How did you know?
Cowboy rollerskates. I need a pair.
Sixties holiday fun.
I liked this poster. Too bad the teacher was hole punch happy.
Seventies book club poster.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Your Daily Cup of Cute: Rocky in a Funnel

My next-door-neighbour Rosa has become a first-time pet owner late in life. Rocky is her pride and joy. The poor pooch went for the big snip this week and now he must wear this funnel for a few days to prevent him from licking his netherlands.

Here's Rosa. I love her to bits. I have to photograph her pasta sauce-making kitchen for a future post. Her basement literally looks like an Italian grocery store.

Speaking of Canadian dogs, here's a clip from another old chestnut of a show. I never did see The Littlest Hobo when I was a kid, but when Duncan was a baby, it was the only thing on TV in the early hours of the morning, so I watched episode after episode while feeding him.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Siren Song of Value Village Calleth Again

Is there ever a bad time to thrift? Probably not. Today was Duncan's birthday and we did plenty of fun stuff throughout the day. We're enjoying the remains of the summer, but the school year is around the corner and I had to stop by a copy shop on Danforth this afternoon. I was going to do a bunch of copying and laminating, but I was mortified when I was told they charge $3.50 to have one 8.5 X 11 sheet laminated. As we left the store, I looked across the street and what do I see? Woodbine Value Village, of course. "Come," it cooed. "I've got stuff you like. You know you want to come in..." Well, alright then.
This canary yellow mixing bowl cost $3.99. We have several mixing bowls, but I don't actually have a big Pyrex mixing bowl. I think the Pyrex disease has set in. Is there an ointment available?
This pixie-sized salad spinner isn't vintage, but I just couldn't refuse it for $1.49. I love the mint green colour. Very grandmother's kitchen cupboards circa 1963. Not that I was around back then, but I can only imagine.
I try not to put my more mundane purchases on the blog, but I was tickled to buy such a huge stack of construction paper at a thrift store for $3.99. It also came with a Sodoku book (which will go to my brainiac mother, since I'm too right-brained and impatient for these number puzzles).

The construction party pack also came with this "Sweet Teen Scrapbook Kit. " I'll likely give it to my tweeniebopper niece who is lovely and talented in the arts and crafts department. I love the happy teens on the cover. Those were the days...
Once again, Duncan found himself precariously perched on the bike seat as mom wobbled down the street with a basket and bags brimming with thrifted finds as well as our park toys from earlier. Turning onto a side street, I noticed that someone had tossed this wonderful Tonka toy in the garbage. Duncan had to have it. He tells me it's a front end loader. I'll take his word for it.
Here's the happy birthday boy in his dirt pile with his junked jewel. He did get some swish new gifts today, but he seemed just as happy with this cast-off from the curb. Go figure.

Look Who's Four!

Happy Birthday Duncan!

For your viewing pleasure it's...


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Name Change Coming

I am seriously considering changing the name of this blog while it's still in its early days. Although I do like to poke around people's stuff at garage sales, I think the name doesn't truly reflect the vintage bent of this blog. I'm trying to find a name that's not too twee-diddly-dee-dee, or sound like an antique shop. I'm open to suggestions.

Thanks again to all who have been stopping by for a gander at my goodies. I love the sense of community amongst us thrifty bloggers. Thanks too for all who have added me as a link to their own blogs. It's hard establishing yourself as a blogger without this kind of support.

Song of the Week #8 Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy"

Soulful and funky music with a hint of melancholy. What's not to love about this song? I lose my mind at least twice a day, so I'm all over the lyrics. Enjoy!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Find and a Few Finds of My Own

I ordered Stan Williams' book The Find from a Toronto book store last week and yesterday I picked it up. Wow - I have a new favourite book. The Find is packed with inspiring ideas and photographs showing you different ways you can combine thrifted goods with newer items. I see things I want on just about every page and I'm already thinking about new ways to view my old treasures. What I like most about the book is Stan's writing. Usually when I buy books containing a lot of photographs, I tend to gloss over the text and look at the pictures and read the captions. Not so with The Find. Stan writes as much from the heart as the head, illustrating points with personal examples of his thrifting life. He knows what he is talking about from a design perspective, but the anecdotes pull it all together and make you feel like you're listening to a good friend sharing stories. There is no snobbery or whiff of superiority, just encouragement to search for gorgeous old things that make you happy and clever ways to arrange them. I'll be taking it to bed tonight and I'll likely stay up to finish it.

Speaking of finds, we were back in St. Catharines for an early birthday party for Duncan. On our way home, my nephew convinced my sister to stop at a gigantic Value Village where I bought this vintage sleigh dish. It was $3.99 - a small price to pay for a piece of nostalgia and a place to put red and green gumdrops in for many happy Christmas holidays to come.
The unrefined paint work lends charm. I like the gold speckles that cover the edges.
The cheerful lidless Pyrex dish was $3.99. There were no prices on the citrus-coloured Tupperware bowls. The cashier didn't charge me anything for them. I figured it was payback for all of the videos I've bought from Value Village that didn't work when I got home and wasn't allowed to return.
Where do you think these tasteful little candlestick holders are from? Denmark? Holland?
No. They were made in Prince Edward Island, the smallest and most charming province in Canada. Sorry Vonlipi - Quebec is pretty darn charming too. I was so tickled that I bought something made in P.E.I. They cost $2.49.
Here are Danish candle holders. I didn't get them today, but my P.E.I. candlesticks made me think of them. My mom bought me one of these at a garage sale in St. Catharines. Several years later, I bought the other identical one at a rummage sale in St. Catharines. These look great with skinny white candles in them.

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Astounding Lini Grol

Yesterday I visited writer and artist Lini Grol at her home in Brampton, Ontario. It was an honour and a pleasure. We spent over an hour discussing her life experiences and her work, which are intertwined. As a young woman, she was a nurse in Holland. She survived a harrowing experience during the Second World War when a hospital she was working in in Rotterdam was bombed. She helped pull people to safety.
Lini Grol
A sampling of some of Lini's books.

Lini is a published writer. She has written extensively about the liberation of Holland during World War Two. After moving to the Niagara region of Canada, Lini wrote for a local newspaper and also wrote books about Fonthill and Pelham. She is also a poet and has had her poetry published in numerous publications.
Lini is currently working on another novel. Did I mention that she will be 96 in October?
One of Lini's sculptures on display in her home.
A painting by Lini hangs in her home.

Lini nursed in Holland, South Africa, and Canada, before turning her attention to art and writing full time. Children, mothers, and nursing inform much of her work. Lini has been a prolific writier. She says that not having children of her own to raise has made it easier for her to write as much as has. I still think that her accomplishments are remarkable.
One of Lini's numerous scissor silhouettes on display in her home.
Halloween in reflection.
Lini was friendly, humble, and gracious and she gave me a card and a book of her poetry which I will treasure forever. I am going to go back throughout the fall to record our conversations and I will begin writing an article (or perhaps something bigger) about her incredible life. If I hadn't come across those framed cards of her work at that yard sale in St. Catharines a few weeks ago, I would never have met her. Talk about inspiring.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thrifty Finds in Action

There's nothing better than actually using your thrifty finds. I have a lot things languishing in boxes, waiting for the right place, possibly in a bigger house.

I bought this iron Edward Gorey-esque candle holder at a garage sale back in the spring. I don't think I paid more than $1.00 for it. The problem is that we don't use candles much lately.
Solution - put in on the front porch with a real bird's nest in it. Why not? I collect abandoned birds' nests. Most of them are in my classroom.Here's the plant stand I bought for $1.00 at a church rummage sale in the spring. It's not the most beautiful plant stand that I own, but I still like it. Those .69 ceramic pots you get at Ikea fit perfectly in it.
Here's a peak at our tomato bed. We've waited so long to see red.
Gorgeous basil. Can't you almost smell it?
Basil leaves harvested in my jade green Tupperware colander from a recent trip to Goodwill. We've already made four batches of pesto sauce. I'm sure foodies would disagree, but it freezes very well and we really enjoy being able to slather on the pesto sauce from our garden in the dead of winter.

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.