Thursday, December 29, 2011

Pyrex Christmas

Hello and a belated Merry Christmas to everyone.

Again, I must apologize for the lack of posts. It was a combination of being overworked and underwhelmed at the thrift stores in December. I'm going for a poke about this afternoon. I don't want to jinx things, so that's all I'll say on the matter.
Look what my parents included with my Christmas gifts - a Pyrex double sided serving dish! I haven't even had time to look up the pattern, but let your mind go wild.

Last night, we went to the Mackenzie House in downtown T.O. for Hogmanay, or Scottish new year. It was a lot of fun. There was a band who were dressed in period clothes from the mid-17th century and played traditional music from the British Isles. We ate haggis, oatcakes and shortbread. Mmm, it was terrific. I've become obsessed with historical buildings lately. The Mackenzie house was once the home of newspaper publisher and rebellious mayor of Toronto, William Lyon Mackenzie. He was also the grandfather of Mackenzie King, the somewhat bonkers PM of Canada from the 1920s to the 1940s.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Looking Today

I'm going on a hunt for vintage today. I'd love to buy a vintage Christmas gift for someone.
Here's the Audreys and the band they nicked the song from.

Here's an acoustic version post-Michael that makes me want to go to Australia. I was never a big INXS fan, but it's still a good song...

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Now I'm Back!

Sorry for the extended absence. I've been missing my thrifty vintage blogging life, but work has been far more overwhelming for some reason this year than in the past. I'm also tutoring three days a week after school, which is leaving me with less leisure time. Nevertheless, I plan to continue scouring Southern Ontario for treasures to share.
While visiting my folks in St. Catharines yesterday, I nipped into Goodwill, where I found this "old timey" salt/pepper/mustard set. It was in such good condition that I was left wondering if it was a reproduction. I'm still happy with it even if it is. The set cost $6.00.
I also bought a bag 'o random Christmas ornaments for $3.00.
These are what caught my eye. Plastic Made in Hong Kong choir boys singing outside a church. I loved that they were still in the packaging and had the Kmart price stickers on them.
There were two loose ones in the bag too. I love the cack-handed paint job on the mouths.
I also got these shiny tassel things.

I promise to be back much sooner next time.
Love Erin

Monday, October 17, 2011

Breaking Bad

Do you watch Breaking Bad? I think it's one of the best TV shows on the air. The acting is just superb, even if the plot is crazy beyond belief.

I haven't seen the second half of Season 3, or any of Season 4, so please don't drop any spoilers.

Here's a funny clip from YouTube. If you haven't seen the show, I guarantee it's not a comedy.

What's Not to Love?

My wonderful parents also recently bought me this vintage jade-ish green Pyrex bowl in Brighton, Ontario and filled it with local apples. Thank you again! It's a beauty.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Mom & Dad's Pyrex Find for Little Old Me

Last month, my mom emailed me to tell me that she picked me up a Pyrex chip and dip set that was in mint condition. They paid next to nothing for it. Well... here it is!
Balloons! Thank you, thank you thank you! I've got the best parents in the world (and I'd say that even if they didn't hunt for Pyrex).
Maybe I should start using it this weekend. Happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow Canadians. We've got a lot to be thankful for.


TV Show Request

Hello Bloggers and Thrifty people. Please read the following message I received. Drop Kyla a line if you think you can help.
All the best,

Hi Erin,
I did not see an email address for you.... I am a researcher working on Canadian television reality show featuring Steve Santini - escape artist and artifact collector who buys, sells and trades artifacts that have a dark history.
We are looking for people, collectors anyone in Toronto and surrounding area that might have something in their collection that fits this nature. Examples of things already featured on the show include - executioners swords, jack the ripper knife, torture helmet, Houdini's handcuffs etc.
Have you come across anyone in your travels that has an authentic piece of this dark nature?
Any help would be greatly appreciated if you could spread the word!
Kyla Schmidt

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Coming Up For Air

It's been an extra busy start to the new school year. Please forgive me for the lack of posts. I hope to do some thrifting over the next few days. I hope to have something fabulous to share on my next post. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Extreme Couponing I'm Gonna Be Sick

You're looking a little low on sandwich bags. I'd be very worried if I were you. What are you doing standing there? Get out there and steal your neighbours' newspapers. Get cutting!!! Now.

I know I'm months, if not years behind in finally getting around to watching Extreme Couponing, but there I was last week, flipping around until I discovered an Extreme Couponing marathon. It's on TLC (The Learning Channel). Didn't they used to show more educational programs back in the day?

Anyway, I watched as much as I could, before feeling dizzy. Canadians, correct me if I'm wrong, but even if we wanted to do some hardcore coupon cutting, we could never walk out of a store with two grand worth of free groceries. It takes me months to clock up a lousy $20 worth of free goods on my PC Financial debit card or Shopper's Drug Mart Optimum card. It's hardly worth it.

There was only one woman profiled on the show who actually gave away groceries to a food bank. Everyone else seemed to have an OCD food bunker ready for the fall of civilization. It was gluttonous and ridiculous all at once. I mean really, if the apocalypse is coming, do you really need 59 Lady Speed Sticks sorted by fragrance in your attic? How much salad dressing can a family go through in a year before it becomes rancid? This must be one of the 7 deadly sins. I just don't get it. There seemed to be a lot of overweight people dumping boxes of candybars into their buggy. I've worked plenty of retail in my life and I'm telling you, I'd be putting up my "closed" sign and taking off for a coffee break if I saw someone with 9 shopping carts and a dossier full of coupons coming my way.

There, I feel better. Thank you.
See the freak show for yourself if you haven't already done so.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Finally - Pyrex!

The Pyrex/vintage thrifting scene has been so dire in Toronto over the past couple of months, that I thought I was going to have to resort to digging into the Yardsale Snoop vaults and reprint posts from more fruitful days. Well, my fortunes have changed...
Here's what I found at the Value Village near my school. A Daisy Cinderella bowl for $3.99...
A gorgeous pink bowl for $5.99 (sorry that the photo is out of focus)...
And another $5.99 bowl in a soft, buttery yellow colour. All bowls were in almost mint condition. Fortune favours the brave, or at least the patient.
I also found this funky little Fire King bowl for $1.99. The clerk had just put it out and I dived down like a WWII bomber.
Keep on truckin',

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Bret Michaels Award

Along with Keyboard Cat, I'd like to present Yard Sale Snoop's first ever Bret Michaels Award for public annoyance to the guy across the road from us who feels the need to clean his driveway with a leaf blower, even though he has a tiny driveway. P.S. Why must you do this at 8 a.m. Sunday morning? Oh yeah, and why do you always park your car on the street and not in your driveway like the rest of us? Is your driveway paved with the rarest ebony? I realize that my revved up neighbour likely doesn't read my blog, but perhaps someone else out there in thrifty blogland with a leaf blower fetish will read this and see the light. I live in hope.

Friday, August 19, 2011

South Dakota

The pickings continue to be ever-so-slim. I found this South Dakota drinks tray at Value Village today for $1.99. I've got a few other states, so it must be another collection. I hope to find something special this week.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Awesome Canadian Blog by Awesome Canadian Woman

There are so many wonderful blogs out there. It's hard to keep up. I just received a request by Kate to join the Pyrex Collective. I checked out her blog Scientific Culture. Don't be fooled by the title. The subtitle is "A crafty blog where science + cute = awesome." Kate is from British Columbia and she loves Pyrex, gardening, science, crafting, and lot's of other things we all like. Do check it out. I didn't think she'd mind if I shared this sweet cat picture in order to draw attention to her happy blog. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Mugging for the Camera

Toronto still remains a thrifty vintage ghost town, but I managed to find these swell Termocrisa bowls at my gloomy local Value Village. They cost $1.99 each. From my scant, Yahoo research, I can tell you that Termocrisa was Fire King made in Mexico. I suspect this happened before the whole NAFTA way of doing business took over. I like the tulips and gingham combo.
I know, this looks like the kind of souvenir mug you'd give your grandpappy. I had a massive Mexican mug that I loved, but the handle had a hairline crack and I knew that one morning, I'd end up with a hot mug of coffee on my lap as I was about to rush out the door. For this reason, I reluctantly retired it. Today, I was determined to find the biggest mug that didn't have a corny message on it - "Mom's make cherished memories" or "Brandi's Mug." I've actually been to Fort Henry a couple of times. I'm glad they included their goat mascot.

I hope to find some new fabulous finds soon. Short of hitting an antique store, I'm doing all that's humanly possible. Stay tuned!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

I've Been Looking - Really

Well, the title says it all: no yard sales, no interesting items at the local thrift stores. Nothing for the past few weeks. Today, I rode my new Schwinn out to the Value Village at Victoria Park and Eglinton. There wasn't much there: Woodland and Forest Fancies Pyrex, a dishwasher scuffed Pyrex refrigerator dish and nothing else of note for the kitchen.
I did find this charming hand-stitched hanging. I'll give you the first few lines. Be the best you can be! If you can't be a pine on the top of the hill, be a scrub in the valley - but be the best little scrub by the side of the rill. Be a bush if you can't be a tree... This is lovely. I'm going to fix it up and hang it outside my classroom in the fall. $2.99 was the price.
Speaking of school, I'm teaching grade 1 next year. I'm looking for rhyming books and this Dr. Seuss collection was just the job. The books were .99 each, but if you buy four, the fifth one is free.
I've been looking for something like this for ages. Duncan has a collection of dead insects, bones, shells, and other treasures from nature. I'll try to take a picture once he's put his collection together.
I'm always looking for "thank you" cards. There were two sets inside for $2.99.

Hopefully, I'll hit vintage thrift gold over the next few days. I live in hope. In the meanwhile, here's a sassy song and video for anyone who's ever thought about locking up someone and throwing away the key!

Saturday, July 16, 2011



Has anyone seen Oddities on the Discovery Channel? I just discovered it last week, and I'm already hooked. It's very Me - a fact that my loved ones will not dispute, given the number of skulls I've collected. The show is kind of like American/Canadian Pickers meets the Addams Family. The program follows off-beat, slightly morbid collectors/business partners Evan and Mike who run a shop in the East Village called Obscura, that's filled with antique curiosities. I like the Victorian objects mainly. There are some truly weird things in that shop that I wouldn't want in my home: taxidermied two-headed calves, mummified cats, enlarged human gallstones. Hey, if you've got to buy a wedding gift for a surgeon, you just might find that special something. It's a very cool store and I love the way it's run with all the care of a museum.

Go to fullsize image
Evan (centre) with Mike (left) and cool-looking assistant, whose name I've forgotten. I think it's Ryan. Mike looks like a man cave Monday Night Football kind of dude, but he's actually pretty freaky in his interests.

I do like Evan and Mike. They've got a bumbling sidekick who occasionally helps out in the store. It almost seems like the producers added him to the mix to create a little comedy. They've also got a rather dashing assistant who looks like a younger, better looking Nick Cave.

Check out the show and see for yourself.

P.S. Sorry for the lack of posts. I've honestly been looking, but there have been zero garage sales in my neighbourhood and NOTHING going on in my thrift store hangouts. I'm going to have to go further afield this week.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Viva Mexico!

On a day like this, I love Toronto. We explored the Corazón de México festival down at Harbourfront Centre today. It was fantastic. Mexican culture is so amazing to me: the warmth of the people, the passionate music, the dancing, the colourful clothes, the humour. What's not to love?

We viewed, tasted, and listened to so many fantastic things today. There were folk dancers and singers, puppet shows for kids...
Here, Duncan checks out our first ever tamale. He also contemplates our yummy beef burrito that could choke a horse.
Toronto doesn't have a large Mexican population the way a city like Chicago does. Slowly, more Mexicans are coming. If the Minister of Immigration is reading my blog - let more Mexicans into Canada!!! They can only make the country a better place!
Duncan works on a mask.

Incredible paper maché Dia de los Muertos figures celebrating the harvest season. These were hand made in Mexico. Awesome.
We also watched a cooking demonstration by cool chef Francisco Alejandri, who hails from Mexico, but now lives in Toronto and runs the restaurant Agave y Aguacate in Toronto's Kensington Market.

Photo courtesy Eye Weekly

Do you want his recipe for Tinga de Pollo and a drink made of lime and chia water? Read on. You can play Los Lobos for mood music while you read or copy down.

Kisses and cha cha cha

Tinga de Pollo


6 ounces chorizo, about 3 links
1/4 cup white onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 cups of finely chopped cabbage
4 plum tomatoes, finely chopped to make 1 cup
3 canned chipotle chiles to taste
2 tablespoons sauce from the can of chiles
2 cups poached and shredded chicken
1/3 cup chicken broth
1 avocado sliced
salt to taste
1 red onion cut in half, reserve one half for a different use
juice of two limes
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

Directions for chicken

Remove the thin casing from the chorizos and break them apart into a large skillet using a wooden spoon.

Cook over low heat to render out the fat, being careful not to brown the chorizo. Strain off all the fat, reserving three tablespoons.

Add the onions, garlic, and cabbage and fry over fairly low heat, stirring the mixture with a wooden spoon occasionally, until the vegetables are soft.

Add the tomatoes, chipotles, and chipotle sauce and continue cooking over medium heat until most of the juice has been absorbed and the mixture is almost dry.

Stir in the shredded chicken and broth and cook for another 5 minutes or until the mixture is moist but not juicy. Adjust the salt.

Lime and Chia Water

The juice of 6 limes
1 teaspoon of chia seeds
1/4 cup of white sugar
1 quart of water

Combine everything, serve cold, and enjoy.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Rich Internal Life

At the end of each school year, we're given an agenda. Everyone flocks down on them, eagerly placing them in their trusty agenda holders. Everyone loves them except for me. I don't use agendas. It's never come naturally to me to write down upcoming events. My mother and sister are supreme list makers. I've tried to do the same, but after a week or so, I fall out of the routine. I do write down random boring dates on a wall calendar to remind me when to go to the dentist, etc., but that's about it. The rest is committed to memory. I figure if I've survived this long without being a slave to an agenda, I'm doing alright.
What I do keep are dozens of notebooks that serve as scrapbooks that I use for bits and pieces of things I come across that strike my fancy. Occasionally work stuff makes it in. I find it comforting carrying around notebooks of treasures. The faux alligator skin notebook you see above is one of my favourites. When I was studying literature at university, a professor commented that Anne in Jane Austen's Persuasion had a "rich internal life." In other words, she had a vivid imagination. I'm like that. Here's a peep into one of my notebooks.
The inside cover has a pile of bird stickers. I'm mad about birds right now. I also traced a tree and cut out the "Ad free blog" owl and stuck it on a branch. Duncan made those marker pictures at Edwards Gardens one day when we got stuck in the botanical library when it was raining. There's also the cover of a Fever Ray CD.
"How to knit hand warmers." I never did make these. At least I've got the instructions.
Anne Sexton's "All My Pretty Ones," with a butterfly sticker.
A postcard of Varley's painting "Liberation." I've always loved this painting. The colours are so magical. Also, more images of the singer from Fever Ray as well as handwritten lyrics from their song "When I Grow Up."
Seamus Heaney poem with Fever Ray singer.
Heaney with a vintage mini postcard from Spain.
Baltimore oriole with the singer from Rockettothesky.
A quote from William Lyon Mackenzie - the firebrand first mayor of Toronto, who started a rebellion. We should be so lucky to have a mayor like him today. His house is a museum that you can visit. We went there recently.
Notes reminding me of bands I liked while listening to the CBC Signal podcast. Elfin Saddle anyone?
Here's some literacy planning for next year. I'll jazz it up somehow so that when I glance at it in a staff meeting, I'll feel a cozy sense of wonder.
A couple of pictures cut from a brochure after a recent visit to Hamilton's Dundurn Castle. You must go if you're ever in the Steel City.

Goths on a Carousel

A couple of weekends ago I took my son to Centreville on Centre Island in Toronto. We had lot's of fun, but one of the highlights happened when the carousel he was riding was taken over by Goths. Ah the memories.
I stealthily snapped my camera, pretending to take pictures of Duncan. Shh! So excellent.
Minus the cape, this looks a bit like my first boyfriend, Dave. Ah, the memories!
The guy in front of Stripey Tights sat backwards on the carousel. I don't think I would have been so daring when I was a teenager. "We'll get kicked off the ride!"
I'm not quite sure what the look is here. Knights Templar? Still, you've got to admire someone for wearing something akin to Masonic ceremonial garb in the heat of summer.

Yet another surreal moment.

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.