Sunday, June 27, 2010

Thank Goodness for Goodwill

First off, welcome to my 57th follower, Amy from Lil Bits and Berries. Do check out her delightful blog - I'll link it in the thrifty blog section to the right. Yesterday, it rained in Toronto, not to mention the ugly G20 protests going on downtown. It was pretty miserable all-round. No chance of a yard sale....
My sister drove us out to the new Goodwill-by-the-pound. It's in an equally remote part part of Scarborough. There, I bought a large fishbowl, a beaded leather children's belt, two scarves, two toy cars, and a pile of books for $7. Later, we drove to the Goodwill retail outlet on Eglinton, near Kennedy. There, I bought the items you see above. Lise is not happy with Value Village these days. They're charging too much and she's right - what's with a 30% off sale? Thank heavens for Goodwill.
This Pyrex mixing bowl is about 24 cm in diameter. I love the colour. It cost $3.99.
Ta-da! Naturally, my sister got some jab in about buying more Pyrex. It was in such great condition, I just had to have it.
Vintage pastel Tupperware coasters for $1.99. They remind me of Misty Mints.
I like the added drainage feature for sweaty summer glasses.
When I was a kid, I could never find my name on souvenirs. I love ghost towns and I've always dreamed of going to Arizona. For .99 I just had to have this mug.
I loved this vintage Oklahoma souvenir tea cup and saucer for $1.99. It was sitting on a shelf looking lonely and unloved.
I'll have to drinking out of tea cups more often.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Hot & Sticky in the Worst Way Possible

It's almost 11:00 p.m. here in Hogtown. We should have cranked the AC, but we didn't. I know it's going to be one of those nights where I'm so hot I can't fall asleep and I'm forced to watch the hours click into the early morning. I know how hot it gets in the Southern US. My sister Rhonda lives in Memphis and she just moves from one air conditioned space to another all summer. Don't be fooled about Canada though. Things get pretty darn tootin' hot here too.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Solid Cherry's Priceless Treasure & Welcome Deebiedoos

One of my favourite thrift blogs is Madge's Solid Cherry. She loves the same things I do and she always rounds up the cost of what she bought to the nearest dollar and uses the price for her title e.g. $4. This time her title is Priceless. If you haven't had a chance to see why, go have a peep It will put a smile on your face.

I'd also like to welcome my newest follower Debbiedoos. I've checked out her blog and it looks swell: lot's of thrifted goods and crafty things for the home. Check it out

My husband and I celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary last night. Yes, I was in fact 21 when I got married and yes, we waited 13 years before we decided to have a child - hence the 4 1/2 child with parents who have been married forever.

Happy Father's Day Ken. Love you!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

A Few Finds and Goodwill Vultures

We missed the opportunity to go yard saling this morning because Duncan had a birthday party. The good thing was that the party was held at a play place near the Thorncliffe Goodwill. So when it was over, we had a peep inside.

I bought a few things you'll see below, but while we were there it dawned on me that every time we go in, there's a group of hardcore thrift nuts who stand at the doorway that leads to the area the staff work in. They're waiting for the staff to wheel out another rack of recently priced goods.

I'm sorry, but as I recently told a group of boys in my class who enjoy flicking ears of classmates: This is weird behavior! I've seen one of these vultures at Goodwill before standing in the same place. I'm as eager as the next thrifter to get my hands on something special, but please, this has gone too far. I've worked in retail before and I know how irritating it is for staff to deal with people waiting for a shipment of perennials to be unloaded off a truck. You haven't even had a chance to get the product onto a table and people are almost knocking you over to grab the perfect geranium. I've also worked in a bakery and had to deal with vulture shoppers circling the bakery at the end of the day waiting for staff to reduce the bread. People - get a life and leave those poor Goodwill workers alone! There. I feel better now.

Here's what I bought today.
Dinosaur TV dinner tray from the late eighties. It was priced at $3.99 but the cashier gave it to me for $2.99.

Stool for next year's classroom. It only cost $4.99.

Wood and wicker magazine holder which I will use in my classroom next year to hold big books. Cost: $3.99.
Pale blue German pottery. This bowl cost $1.99. I'll put a plant in it.

Friday, June 18, 2010

So You Think You Can Dance Week 1

Go to fullsize image
Nigel Lythgoe before having his hair wings clipped.

I'm going to attempt a little commentary on this year's SYTYCD. Just remember, I'm not a dance expert.
I still don't know all the names of all of the dancers this year and I'm too lazy to look them up right now. I should get to know the names better within the next few weeks. Here are some general thoughts on this season and this week's show...
  • I'm not completely sold on the concept of having only 10 dancers (which ended up being 11 - d'oh!). They had to shake up the format, but pairing up a shorter list of new dancers with random stars of yesteryear doesn't really work and they said it themselves last night. The dancers have fewer weeks to grow into the show and work with different dancers and choreographers.
  • I'm not loving the dancers that they chose. Kent is the farm boy/contemporary dancer. He's got personality and I kind of like the way he speaks his mind, but he's not Benji Schwimmer when it comes to all-out showmanship. I find the girls completely forgettable this year. The tap dancing woman seems to be the most interesting, but I find tap dancing solos about as exciting as having my teeth cleaned at the dentist. Alexi, the girl who got voted off last night, seemed like a competent dancer, but she got stuck with a dreadful piece of light hip hop choreography by the dreadful "Nappy Tabs" or whatever they're calling themselves. There are too many contemporary dancers and not enough street dancers or untrained dancers. There's no grit this year, except for cute Jose.
  • Where the heck is Mary Murphy? She is so needed on the panel of judges. I know she seems like a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown, but she knows her ballroom dancing and she can cut someone down to size if their legs are turned in, etc. On a bright note, host Cat Deeley seemed tipsy last night. She kept blurting out random comments at the beginning of the show. I liked her sixties bun too.
  • Alex Wong is too perfect for the show. You just know that he'll keep cleaning up on technical merit and the judges will keep telling him to emote more. Subsequent weeks will be filled with video montages of him talking about "This amazing journey of discovering my true emotions."
  • I do like seeing some of the returning dancers. I like Neil, Pasha and Anya (see below), and Twitch. Anya's looking more like Geena Davis every week.
  • What's up with choreographer Sonia? Does everyone think she's a genius because of her edgy persona? I thought her two dances this week looked too much like work we've seen before - especially the dance with Mark that looked exactly like "The Garden" from two seasons ago.
Alright, those are my two cents. Feel free to agree/disagree. I'm hoping that the show will grow on me. I did like the African dance at the end of the show this week. Enjoy the clip of Anya and Pasha. Man, Executive Producer Nigel Lythgoe makes no attempt to hide the fact he's a dirty old man.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Apple Nymphs & Sea Monkeys

Before dinner we hit the Thorncliffe Goodwill. I spotted the same jade green Pyrex bowl I already have as well as the big cheerful yellow bowl I already have. There wasn't much there, but I did find these gorgeous Monsters of Mythology books. Fore $1.99 each, I had to have them.
Collecting books is another addiction of mine passed down from my father. I have a passion for Greek mythology and the classics in general.

Below: Tonight we'll crack open the Sea Monkeys. I've always wanted to know what they are. Will we unleash terror in the Greater Toronto Area? Orange alert!
Speaking of orange alert, here's the opening credits from one of my all-time favourite shows: The Prisoner. We have it on DVD. It's a cult classic from the sixties. Dig.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Pyrex Question and Pyrex That Didn't Steal My Heart

In a previous post, Jennifer left a comment asking what's up with this Pyrex obsession and whether she should be collecting Pyerx herself. Well, like any fetish, it's hard to rationalize and difficult to explain, unless you have the same fetish. I like Pyrex for these reasons: 1. Pyrex is very practical. 2. Vintage Pyrex is available in pretty colours and patterns. 3. Vintage Pyrex reminds me of my childhood and taps into some sort of nostalgia. I hope that helps. As for whether you should buy Pyrex, I'd say buy what you like, but be wary about starting a massive collection (read my Hoarders post from a few weeks ago). And if you really don't feel the love for Pyrex, there are lot's of Pyrex lovers out there who'd happily grab what you don't. Thanks for the comment. I feel like the Pyrex Dear Abby.
Earlier in the day, I went to the tiny Goodwill on Roncesvalles. I'd never been there before. It was a complete bust in every department. Looking for a vintage fix on this garage sale-less weekend, I hit the VV in my neighbourhood.
There, I found these not-bad Pyrex mixing bowls. The yellow one was $6.99 and the brown one was $4.99 or $5.99. I almost bought the yellow one, but I stopped and asked myself if I really, truly loved it. The answer was no. I like it well enough, but it wasn't a "must have" piece. I was pretty happy that I had the will power to leave these pieces behind.

Instead, I bought this little vase. I need another vase like I need a hole in the head, but I've got a thing for green glass, so I grabbed it. Cost: $2.99

I also bought a beautiful little piece of pottery. I took a picture of the outside of the bowl, but it turned out blurry. Basically, it looks speckled and has three flowers on the outside and one on the inside. I suspect it's new, inspired by mid-century pottery. Cost: $2.99
At the fruit and veg store on the way home, I bought this delicate fern for $3.99. I can put it in a piece of thrifted pottery.

Wretched Canadian 80s Video Cheese for Vonlipi

My homegirl Vonlipi recently posted some videos for songs straight off an eighties K-tel record featuring "hot" Canadian rock groups. Despite all the great music to come out of Canada in the eighties, most of it was complete and utter tosh. Don't believe me? Here are three videos MuchMusic never stopped playing.

Exhibit A. - Cats Can Fly
Crimes include having a ridiculous name, a singer who sounds like his male parts are stuck in a vice, mullets, and Miami Vice trench coats. Check out the squeaky drummer. LOL

Exhibit B. - Gowan
This is so bad, I can't even sit through the whole video. See if you can. Crimes include singing with a bone for a microphone, bad highlights, mullet, ugly pants and shirt, bad dancing, and an inflated song that doesn't stop soon enough.

Exhibit C. - Platinum Blonde
The singer was some cocky English guy who probably had been living in Canada long enough to lose the accent, but milked it for the sake of the band. This video is a complete rip-off of Duran Duran's much better "Rio."Check out the jackets, hair, and tacky set. A former Platinum Blonde member died under mysterious circumstances last year in his Toronto home.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Rain Out & Song of the Week

Firstly, welcome to my latest Follower, aRt. Your name is mysterious. Glad you like my little pony show.
Today was the Fun Fair at the school I teach at. I worked the Bouncy Tent and toted Duncan around. We both had a ton of fun. Above, find #1 Son in the Thomas room (natch) making a Thomas hat. Below, find him about to be pummeled by a Grade 3 kid in the inflatable jousting room.
I was hoping to do a little thrifting in the morning, but alas, the weather was damp and there were no yard sales in my immediate neighbourhood. I hope this changes tomorrow. I may have to hit a thrift store if this is the case. It's gone midnight. I'm going to watch some late night TV with hubby and then hit the hay. Here's my song of the week, "Happy Up Here." I can't get enough Royksopp in my life. I was thrilled to hear a snippet of this tune on So You Think You Can Dance. They frequently put cool music on that show. I don't know what they were smoking when they used "I Want to Know What Love is" by Foreigner on the "mystery disc." When I was in Grade 8 they played that video to death on MuchMusic. I still get a rash when I hear the opening keys. Now they're using it on some kiddie hot dog commercial that Duncan likes. Sorry, I'm ranting. Sorry if I've offended any rabid Foreigner fans. Keep on loving me.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Mod Pyrex?

I stumbled across the picture below on the fabulous craft blog The Constant Gatherer Who knew? I want this piece of Pyrex badly.

Here's my song of the week: The Church's "Under the Milky Way." It's the perfect pop song. Enjoy.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

One For The Road

Welcome to another two Followers: Erin's Lucky Stars and Kim at The Girl Can't Help It. These are both cool women with eye-catching blogs. I've linked them over at the right for your convenience. Forget about the TV - read more inspiring thrift-chic blogs. Thanks ladies.

I love riding my bike, especially at dusk. This evening, I snaked around the streets of my community, hoping for a little treasure in a box marked "Free." This occasionally happens on garage sale days. I'm very self-conscious when I'm poking around, essentially "garbage picking." Many people consider this activity as déclassé as cutting your fingernails on a city bus or dislodging your underwear from your buttock crevice while standing in the lineup at the grocery store. In the back of my mind lives the thought that I'm doing something good for the environment, so the feeling doesn't last too long.
I found this pretty little piece of pottery marked U.S.A. on the bottom. I can't believe nobody would want this. I would have happily paid for it. I may give it to my sister Lise. She's got a lot of ivory going on at her home. Does anyone else ever go out "junking" on yard sale days?

Oh, here's my funny anecdote from today. I went to my cousin's wedding shower this afternoon. My Auntie Helen introduced me to someone from her church. She said, "Susan is one of our minister's wives." I burst out laughing and made some crack insinuating a polygamous situation, which I probably shouldn't have in the first place. Another church lady corrected me by telling me that there are in fact two ministers at this church. So my Auntie Helen was right. Susan was one of the ministers' wives, not one of the minister's wives (I hope my use of the apostrophe is correct here and illustrates the misunderstanding). I promptly excused myself and stuffed a cupcake in my mouth, telling myself never to joke about clergymen and harems ever again. Man, I hope my parents don't read this post. I'll be banished from family functions forever at the age of 39.
Here's The Tindersticks' "Seaweed." This is the perfect soundtrack for junking at dusk.

Pyrex & Fisher-Price

First off, welcome to my two latest Followers: Julia Williams Art and The Antique Odyssey. Welcome aboard. I hope you enjoy the ride.

There were several yard sales in my neighbourhood this morning, but I was good and limited myself to one street sale on Glebeholme. Besides the toys I got Duncan, here's what I bought...
This enormous hamster cage is lightly used. The whole thing, including bedding and the race car exercise wheel cost a mere $10 - wow! Our classroom hamster kept escaping from her tubular cage, so she sadly lives in our spare room at home shut away from the cats. Now I might bring her back to the classroom for the remainder of the school year.
A kind, fifty-something woman (I only mention her age, because she said this was one of her childhood toys) actually gave this to Duncan. She said it's too dangerous to sell. I guess she thought that a children could hurt themselves on the nails sticking up. Duncan loved it. I told him he could put in on display in his bedroom as a decoration. The musical teddy is sad and beautiful all at once. Read my last post for my thoughts on the legacy of vintage thrift.
Score! I found this lovely Pyrex casserole (MORE CASSEROLE!) buried on a table outside another house.
I asked the seller about it. She said it was her mother-in-law's and sold it to me for a mere fifty cents. Sweet!

Bye for now,

Friday, June 4, 2010

Theirs Now Mine - The Secret Lives of Finds

Thanks to all who posted thoughtful comments about my last post where I mused about the difficulty of purging thrifted finds. I'm heartened to know I'm in such good company.

Lately, I can't help but feel a little sad when I buy vintage things. True, an old brooch or a well-used piece of Tupperware is just an object and material goods have no soul. Nevertheless, I often wonder about the back stories of the goodies I scoop up at garage sales and thrift stores.

It really hit me the last time I visited my parents' and I went to the estate sale of a woman called Willow who had just moved into a retirement home. The sale was being run by some loving neighbours who were helping Willow out. It felt wrong walking around a stranger's home, especially considering that the rooms looked like they hadn't been touched much since Willow left. I don't know why I feel this way either. It's not as if I knew her, yet being surrounded by her personal artifacts dating back to the fifties, it's hard not to feel a little connected. The objects - including her vast collections of Avon bottles - all looked lonely. I began wondering about the years she had lived in the house. Had she been married. If so, had here husband passed away? Did she have kids? If so, where are they living? What did Willow look like? What perfumes did she like? Was she a good cook? Sometimes when I buy really old things, like kitchen utensils, I wonder if the person who originally owned them is now deceased. Would they mind that kids in my class are now using their old wooden rolling pin to make salt dough Egyptian mummies?

This week a girl in my class brought in a postcard and family photo that had been left in a time capsule in her house. They were from the 1950s. The students were so taken by these artifacts and everyone took their turn examining them. When the students returned to their desks, the girl brought me the postcard, which had been torn in half as one student had grabbed it out of another student's hands. I'm glad she didn't start crying, or I may have joined her. Maybe it was PMS, but I felt really sad all of a sudden. On one hand, it was one of a gazillion vintage postcards you can find in an antique mall. On the other hand, it seemed sad to think that this card, which someone had gone to the trouble to stash in a hiding hole - a card that had survived in the wall of a Scarborough home for almost 60 years - could be destroyed in a careless second.

Vintage treasures may not have souls, but they do hold meaning. Objects passed down, or even cast out are imprinted with untold stories of places visited, happy memories, unremarkable daily routines, family tragedies, births, and deaths. They document a look, a feel, and a style that has come and gone. Quite often I get a feeling that the kind of vintage things I'm drawn to were well loved the first time around. If I'm lucky enough to buy these treasures at garage sales, I always make a point of telling the seller that the items are going to a good home. This always brings a smile. And I never haggle. Do you have the same internal dialogue play like a tape when you pick up previously enjoyed treasures?

I'm going yard saling tomorrow. Maybe I'll come back with more things to show and talk about. Until then...

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.