Monday, May 31, 2010

The Hoarder Question Continues to Haunt

A scene from last year's Main Street Street Sale: I bought nothing displayed on the four-door sedan!

A while back, I ruminated on the show Hoarders and whether or not I was turning into one. If you haven't seen the show, a crew of garbage collectors and therapists enter the homes of massive clutter freaks and gently try to help them get rid of ALL THAT STUFF. I must admit that I tend to watch it through my fingers and I seldom make it through an entire episode.

I watched a little bit of it today and I do feel for the clutter freaks. They're actually good people who are incapable of throwing things out. There's usually a sad back story to it all, typically involving a deceased parent or spouse that the hoarder misses terribly. As a result, they can't bring themselves to throw away a single receipt that belonged to them. It's painful stuff and guilty viewing to be sure.

I sent two garbage bags of baby clothes to Goodwill the other day. I somehow doubt we'll have a second bambino. If by some fluke we do, I'll just have to buy new clothes. I think that's a better solution than saving bins of clothes for a child that may never come. Please don't feel sad. I'm happy with our three-piece family right now and I'm not longing for more kids especially.

As for my thrifting obsession, I've decided that I've got to be increasingly selective and only buy things I truly love. The problem is that I love a lot of vintage things and as long as we're living in our little semi-detached house, we're rapidly running out of room. That's where the hoarding comes in. We still have boxes of stuff we never unpacked when we bought our house over ten years ago.

I guess I'm not as bad as the woman who has to sort through all of the bags of garbage, or crawl on the floor looking for beads, but I don't want the joy of thrifting to become a problem down the road. Maybe I'll limit myself to one good thrift a week and give everything I'm tempted to buy, a second thought.

Don't get me wrong. Thrifting is not the same thing as hoarding, but when you start collecting things, you could be in for clutter trouble down the road. Has the urge the thrift led to space issues for anyone out there?

Thanks for reading this and allowing me to share my neurotic ramblings.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Song of the Week: More Pathetic Nostalgia

Alright, the song's not called "More Pathetic Nostalgia," but rather "Cuts You Up" by Peter Murphy. When I was a teenager, I was madly in love with Murphy. He played in a "goth rock" group called Bauhaus, but they were actually a very good band. Murphy went solo and I bought his first three records and thought they were great. Every guy I dated as a teen (not that there were tons, but a modest handful), seemed to sense that I rather wanted to be with Mr. Cheekbones. Because of this, I was subjected to a constant barrage of cruel jokes no doubt masking inferiority.

This song is actually pretty catchy and Peter looks great with blonde hair. I think he's bald now. Sigh.
Speaking of cheeky video memories from the eighties, check out The Damned's "Elouise."
I may be alone in my assessment, but I can't help but find Dave Vanian (the singer) at 2:45-2:46 curiously attractive when he raises one eyebrow. Yes, I have too much time on my hands right now. I should be marking or in bed, or in bed marking. Agggh!
Have a great week.
Here's the guy that inspired Johnny Depp's look in Sweeney Todd. Rrrrrrow!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Main Street Street Sale

Every year I take Duncan to the Main Street Street Sale. The best part of this sale is north of Lumsden. It's about a ten minute bike ride from where we live in East York. The residents of this street are best categorized as an eclectic community ranging from young couples, single hipsters, retirees, and even the local Communist Party candidate. Don't ask me how I know this. I am the Yard Sale Snoop!
There was very little in the way of vintage treasures, but I did score this lovely old biscuit tin from London. It's covered with romantic images from London town. I asked the seller how much she wanted for it and she said, "Just give me a quarter." Sold!
Trafalgar Square at Christmas graces the top of the tin. Ahh, makes me want to go back to my husband's home town.
I could tell by the weight and rattles that it came with some things inside.
It was used as a sewing basket.
I found some old Woolcrest buttons. Anyone else remember Woolworths? There's not much in the way of mid-price department stores. I miss the old days.
I also found these brass Royal Canadian Air Force buttons and some other military brass buttons with horses on them.
There's a family that always sell good-quality kids' stuff at the Main Street Street Sale. The mother always remembers us. I bought this Airplane Play Tent for my class next year for $5.00. I can't really talk about changes on the horizon with my job yet, but I'll share soon. It's all good, as they say.
This will be a reading tent for literacy centres. School should be fun.
She also sold me these games. The one on the left is a Leap Frog style math game that she bought in France. What I'd give to be able to say, "I picked that up in France." The computer on the right is for spelling games. It will go at the word study centre. I got the two pieces for $15. Not everything will always be dirt cheap at garage sales, but I'm still happy.
Last year, Duncan was a pumpkin for Halloween. I bought it at a rummage sale for $1.oo. Next year, he'll be Thomas, whom he loves. This was $3.00. I would like to make his costumes by hand, but it's hard to find time when you're working.
The Communist lady sold us the squeezy giraffe puppet and two Playmobil guys for .75.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Forgive Me For This...

My favourite guilty pleasure starts tonight and in 20 minutes, I'll be glued to the TV. What for?

Enter Linda's Latest Contest

As Linda counts down the days to the big 6-0, she's running some fabulous contests. The latest is a chance to win from a store listed by CSN. Go to her blog A La Carte and check it out.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Best Story Ever

As soon as you finish reading these sentences, go to Kate's Love You Big blog (it's one of my favourite blogs and it's always linked at the right). Something incredible happened to her. I mean it. Go! Go now! (Come back later and you'll appreciate the film clip I'm posting). Swoon!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Pyrex for the Common People

From my last post, you'll recall that I visited my folks in St. Catharines yesterday. After a morning of serious yard sale snooping and shopping, my sister drove us to the big Value Village in town. I've dreamed and dreaded what was to follow... Pyrex everywhere I looked. It was like a scene out of Trainspotting, except with Pyrex. What should I do? Buy everything? Buy nothing? Buy a couple of pieces and pretend I didn't see the rest?

What did I do? I bought most of it. Yes, I need to join a Pyrex 12 step program. "My name is Erin Hawkins and I'm a Pyrex addict. Forgive me father. It's been a week since my last confession..." Here are the pieces that I scooped up. Vonlipi, I haven't had time to look up the names, but I'm sure you know them all.
Pretty medium sized white bowl with swirly blue flowers. Cost: $2.99

A mate for my now infamous teenie tiny shroom bowl that the VV in Scarborough almost made me give my first born son for. This bowl was a little wider and has the side handles/spout thingies. Cost: $3.99

Big, cheerful yellow bowl. I'm now wondering if I have the exact same one. I think this one is medium-sized and I have the same one in a larger size. Cost: $4.99

Sweet and happy casserole dish. My sister questioned the fact that I keep buying casserole dishes. Who on earth makes so many casseroles? I tried to explain that I've started a collection that can be used and displayed. I'm still not sure she truly understands.
With the lid it cost $5.99. It was in perfect condition.
Here's my extra special purchase: the sunflower double-sided serving dish. It was $9.99, but worth every penny as far as I'm concerned. I just know it will make me happy every time I use it. How can you not feel sunny looking at it?

I liked these sixties or seventies wooden snack bowls. I'm sure they tap into some childhood nostalgia. I like the almost-Medieval font used.
The chip bowl was $2.99, the pretzel bowl was $1.99. That's good junk food value for money.
Owl salt and pepper shakers $3.99. They still have the original stoppers in them. I hate buying s&p shakers with missing stoppers.
I'm such a sucker for fifties and sixties painted Japanese kitchenware. This whole set cost around $5.00.
Here's a blurry shot of the other side of the mini pitcher. It appears to be a sixties b-b-q with a kebab roasting over the flames.
Sweet little wooden boat for Duncan. Cost: $1.99.

Here's my song of the week: "Common People" by Pulp. It's a great song and video. It reminds me of the time Jarvis Cocker stormed the stage during a Michael Jackson performance at the Brit Awards. Jarvis wiggled his bum in front of the audience to show his disapproval. Awesome.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Willow's Content Sale

Today, Duncan and I joined my sister and her family for a visit to my parents' in St. Catharines with the dual mission of visiting and thrifting. Despite the rain, the hardy folk of Garden City kept their sales going and boy did I do well. I bought a lot of books, games, and toys, but I took pictures of the objects I thought Yard Sale Snoop visitors would be most interested in. Here they are...

We went into a content sale and discovered a treasure trove of well-priced items and lovely people selling them. These people were neighbours of a feisty woman named Willow, who loved gardening and looked after her home for many years. Her husband died a while back and maintaining the house became too much for her. She just moved into a retirement home. I loved the stories these neighbours shared about Willow. I almost feel like I know her now. This beautiful leaf dish called out my name.
I also bought this green vase. The picture doesn't do justice to the textures.
I liked this little plant pot as well. It goes well with the vase.
Willow was a big collector of Avon products. She kept all of the perfumed cream jars. I picked out my favourites and one of the ladies running the sale gave me a basket to put them in.
Here they are on a table in my parents' living room. The lighting was a little herky jerky, otherwise I would have taken close-ups. You can still smell the perfume inside them. Duncan had fun waving them under our noses. Which one was Willow's favourite? What did she look like back when she was using them?
I love coloured glass, so I snapped up this pretty little glass planter. Mom wondered if it was Depression-era glass. I don't know enough about Depression-era glass to say. All in all, this content sale was memorable. I got everything above, plus a small, round, wooden table for my class next year as well as an orange sixties stool with a lift up lid. They asked for $16 for the whole lot. I was happy with that and told them to tell Willow that some of her possessions will be going to a good home and classroom and that they'll be loved for years to come.
We hit a real junk sale afterwards where I bought the bird glasses (above and below)...
And the orange milk glass mug (along with a box of toy cars for Duncan) all for $1.00. Sorry about the blurry pics.
Later on in the day, we went to Value Village where I hit the Pyrex jackpot. I'll post photos of my haul tomorrow.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Mexican Oilcloth Tablecloths

I should be curled up reading a good book, but I'm blogging instead. Here are some objects of my desire (not Cary Grant or Bryan Ferry this time - LOL) that I've been dreaming of for some time. I'm talking about repro vintage Mexican oilcloth tablecloths. Here are some striking examples available.
sample of red Pears & Apples oilcloth floral oilcloth sample Flower Basket oilcloth sample

Paradise oilcloth sample pineapple basket oilcloth sample mums oilcloth sample with green background

One day I'll scrape up the money and take the plunge. If you're interested in these, visit

I hope to hit some garage sales with my folks in their town tomorrow. I'll keep you posted.
Stay happy!


How can somebody dressed so wrongly be so rightly?
Go on. Have a moment.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Cary Grant or George Clooney?

Would you rather be Audrey Hepburn in the arms of Cary Grant, or J-Lo in the arms of George Clooney? I'd rather be Audrey with Cary. Whichever combo you prefer, you have to admit that movie trailers were a lot more stylish in the old days.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

50 Followers - Hurrah!

Welcome to my fiftieth follower Kobys Cache This is a new, but fabulous Canadian blog by another lover of vintage. Go and visit and validate someone with similar obsessions.

Here's a rave from the grave. I forgot how much I love this song.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Lovely Linda's Big 6-0 Thriftacular Contest

Random picture of Duncan I accidentally uploaded to this post. It has nothing to do with this post, but the picture is kinda funny. Nothing like soft-boiled eggs with toasted bread fingers.

Here are my top five reasons to visit Linda's blog A La Carte.
5. She has a cat that looks just like mine. If you are a cat person, you'll understand.
4. A La Carte is dainty and feminine. Kind of makes TYSS look like Great Grandaddy's armpit.
3. Linda's not afraid to celebrate her age and she's happy to raise a glass to herself!
2. Linda has way more followers and comments than I could ever imagine, yet she takes the time to comment all the time on my humble little Canadian thrift girl blog.
1. She's giving away linens and things in a new contest.

Need more reasons to visit A La Carte?
I think not.
It's linked to the right, but here it is again for all the lazybones out there:

Monday, May 17, 2010

Shoe Lasts & Future Funky School Table

Before I go any further, I'd just like to say that Spook's doing much better. Here he is on the right having snuggles with Kiko last Saturday. They're so purrrrrfect when they're like this.
Now - on with thrift!
Today, Value Village had a 50% off sale. None of the things I bought were included in the sale. I did get a few swell things like this little side table. Can you believe it was only $3.99?
I'm going to paint it canary yellow and put it in my classroom next year. I'm determined to remove as much drab, grey stereotypical school furniture from my life and make the class more homey.
The table was a bit scuffed, but for $3.99, who's going to haggle? Ken says it will need a little sanding before I can paint.
Are these cool, or what? I think I've started a new collection. These metallic shoe lasts cost $3.99. They seem very Fritz Lang Metropolis.
I also bought another bag of shoe lasts thinking I was getting two pairs. Turns out that none of them match, but what the hey for $3.99.

That's all.
P.S. Thanks for the lovely comments everyone, especially the sinus advice. I bought a spray nasal flush at Shoppers tonight. My nose hasn't been so happy in a long while.

Song of the Week Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds "Lime Tree Arbour"

I've been a hot and cold Nick Cave fan over the years. When I discovered his album Boatman's Call, it was a few years after the fact. Nick and PJ Harvey's relationship was well and truly dead. This is a really good breakup album. It reminds me of one very hot summer around 2003 or 2004. I was stuck taking a summer course in statistics out at York University. They said stats was not about math. It was all numbers. They lied. I dropped the course and got my life back.
Here's Nick.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Quick Trip to Goodwill Leads to Art Mystery

The weather was cold and dark, so no garage sales were on the horizon. Instead, we chugged out to the Thorncliffe Goodwill. Here's what $30.00 bought me:

I don't usually buy art at thrift stores, because I seldom see anything that grabs me. I fell in love with these original hand-drawn pictures. If you look closely, you can see that they were carefully drawn with marker. Each picture was $6.99, signed by artist Ann Southam. Since this original post, I've discovered that Southam started out as a visual artist, but went on to some fame as a minimalist classical music composer. It could be a different Ann Southam, but it seems to make sense that a visual artist who is so obsessed with music theory would go on to become a full-time musician/composer. Now I want to find out more about her life and work.

Pictures from the late-seventies/early eighties.
Pop up book from the early eighties.

Great books for next year's class, or Duncan when he's a little older.
They were playing banal music from the eighties. I found solace in this Talk Talk CD, which has beautiful pop gems on it. I never had it in the eighties. Now it's mine.
For .79, I got this Made in Germany desk organizer. It was cheap and modular charming.
Paperclips and tacks will soon go in these little drawers.

About Me

My photo
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.