Saturday, January 29, 2011

Ikea Art Cards, Pink Pottery, and Another Hole

We were at Ikea this week and I saw something I wanted so badly, I couldn't wait until we got to the right department.

KORT Art card  Width: 4 " Height: 6 " Package quantity: 5 pack  Width: 10 cm Height: 15 cm Package quantity: 5 pack

Yes, it was a set of beautiful art cards of Swedish cities. Aren't they great? Sadly, when we got to the art and frame section, we couldn't find them and the floor clerk had no idea what we were talking about. I'm tempted to drag myself out to the Etobicoke location tomorrow so that I can have what my heart desires. They are sold in a set of five for $4.99. Good, arty VFM (value for money) if you ask me.

My urge to thrift had to wait this week. I can't even begin to describe how chaotic the week at my school was, so I won't even start. I took Duncan to the Science Centre today and I thought that we'd pop by the Thorncliffe Goodwill on the way home. They had had one of those 50% off sales yesterday and there was barely anything on the shelves today. I did spy the small sized Autumn Harvest Pyrex bowl, which I have already and I don't especially like. That was it. I saw some guy buying it when I was in the checkout.
I did find the pretty piece of pink pottery that you see above. I think I was charged $1.49. The woman who rang me up seems to be a hard worker who isn't a pricing dictator, so she tends to price down if the goods don't have price stickers on them. Thanks.

Lastly, I'd just like to say that every day this week, I've taken off my winter boots to discover that I've got another hole in another pair of socks. This has happened with new and old socks. I even cut my toenails and I still managed to get holes. What's going on? I'm starting to think there's some sort of sock conspiracy going on. Better call Jesse Ventura.

Welcome new followers, by the way. Thanks for joining in on the insanity. And to Sir Thrift-A-Lot, that wasn't me peeling stickers off Pyrex. I should have been so lucky finding any Pyrex this week. I'm usually the woman dragging a dirty blonde five-year-old boy around who's almost as tall as me. LOL.

Fretless and Fearless

I just learned that bass player Mick Karn died this month after a battle with cancer. He famously played bass with Japan and had a solo career of note, as well as playing with many other artists. His style was unique and hard to describe. You just have to hear him. Below is one of my most favourite songs that shows how melodically he played.

In memory of Mick Karn 1958 - 2011 RIP


"Buoy" - Mick Karn/David Sylvian

Underneath a burning sun
There's always work to be done
We take much more than we care to give away

You'll be the moth, I'm the flame
I'll bless you and keep you safe and sound
Until sunrise comes around again

I’m like a mountain made of stone
I’m like a new day dawning
I’ll be here every morning, close to you

We'll sail on a river, way out to the Baltic sea
Love will keep us together
And the tide will draw you close to me
(Never words so true, never words so wise)
Love will keep us together
'Cause there's more to this than meets the eye

I burn a candle in your place
I picture the passions on your face
Feelings that rise on a wave and fall away

All the pleasures have returned
All of the lessons I should have learned
Return again to light, for us to see

You're like a map of buried gold
I search for treasures in your soul
And when I'm gone, you'll know I will come back to you

We'll sail on a river, way down to the salty sea
Love will keep us together
And the tide will draw you close to me
(Never words so true, never words so wise)
Love will keep us together
'Cause there's more to this than meets the eye

I’m like a mountain made of stone

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Viva Vivienne Westwood

Has it really been ten days since my last post? Three words: report card writing. I'm trying my best to counter the bureaucratic side of work and sub-zero winter days, with creative projects. In our class, we've started a huge unit on the history of communication: from cave art to tweets. My brain is a thirsty sponge. As Anthony Bourdain says in the intro to No Reservations: I'm hungry and I want more. No kidding.

Inspiration comes from so many places and so it was a great surprise when my husband told me last night, "I'm recording a show at ten o'clock about Vivienne Westwood's London. Are you interested?" Well, I was so interested that I couldn't wait to watch it later. I'd sit through it, commercials and all.

Westwood made this travel documentary with the intention to make people see the importance of culture. She's on a mission and it was great to watch her riding her push bike around London, stopping through neighbourhoods south of the Thames and the East End, which has become more gentrified than when she used to frequent the markets three or more decades earlier. She took us into art galleries and discussed oil paintings that have inspired her. She is massively interested in classical art and watching the show, you can see how she borrows from previous centuries to create her original designs. I think she's amazing and she looks really cool these days. She kind of looks like how I imagine Queen Elizabeth I in her sixties with her hair down.

I couldn't find the exact documentary to upload, but I did find a clip that was taken from the same filming in an art gallery for Vivienne Westwood's London. Watch and then go to an art gallery.

Winter doldrumily yours,
P.S. I will aim to thrift and blog this week. Stay tuned!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Treasures From Thrifted Treasure

I was thrilled today when I came home today only to discover a parcel from Australia in my mailbox. I knew it was from Thrifted Treasure's Alice. A while back, she had a pay-it-forward contest and I was a lucky winner. I shamefully tried to do a pay-it-forward too, but my intentions to pass on the goodness became snowed under by my working life. I do believe I still need to pay it forward to Mom Wald and someone else. In other words Alice, don't feel bad about the time that has passed. You're a very busy mom. And to be honest, your blog itself is a gift that I'm always happy to pay forward as a link to people I know would love your style.
Here's the pretty package. But wait to see what was inside...
A beautiful letter and three beautiful prints made by Alice herself. I'm very touched by this. They will be framed and will hang in a place where my family will enjoy looking at them each day.
Here is Kookaburra. This connects to my Australian father and family "down under."
Here's an amazingly abstract Bird of Paradise.
And an owl called "Hoot Owl."
Thank you again, Alice. These prints will be cherished for years to come.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Thrifty, Not Cheap - or am I Developing a Complex?

This here cake pan cost .99 at Value Village. Nobody loved it until now...

Two things that the majority of people I know (other than you, loyal thrifty-loving reader of thrift blogs) don't get about me:
1. I like to thrift, but that doesn't make me a total weirdo. I also shop for new things at new stores for boring things like pants. I don't bother discussing it because there isn't much scope for a conversation about buying a jacket on sale at Old Navy. New things don't have a back story or mysterious history.
2. Blogging is great fun, but I don't actually put EVERYTHING on the blog, nor do I write about every thought that comes to me.

If you blog, do you have people in your life who don't quite get it? Now that I'm 40, I should care less, but yesterday, a staff member made some friendly quip about how I must like the cost-cutting measures taken at our school to avoid paying for supply teachers during professional development workshops. "You must like it since you love yard sales so much."

I just laughed and told myself to let it slide since it would be pointless trying to explain that there's nothing wrong with buying anything at a thrift store or garage sale. And there's no way I could convey the happiness thrifting brings to myself and others when we find that perfect collectable dish or maybe something else that's pretty for the house. I guess it's a hobby that isn't as socially acceptable as tennis or sushi making.

Now it's filled with Rice Krispie treats and makes the wee children smile.

Thank You For The Love

Thank you for all the sweet greetings regarding my recent 40th. I was touched until I read Bounty Huntress' comments at which point I almost fell off my chair. LOL. I'm in very good company in the 40+ group.

Anyway, being young and toned isn't always ALL THAT (I've been waiting for the right time to re-air this clip).

In the spirit of 40-something jazzercized firmness, I offer you a young, spandex-clad John Travolta working the leg warmers as a token of friendship.
Love Erin

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Never Mind "You're Fired"

Hello friends.
Well, yesterday it was time to throw another log on the fire that is my life. This time it was a very big log.
Just in case I forgot what number my ticker clock had clicked over to, my niece made me this nifty birthday card. It must have taken her hours to find things in the flyers that were 40% off, just so she could collect enough numbers. What state would you compare the shape to? My U.S. geography is not stellar, but I'm thinking Arkansas.

Before I move on, here's my belated present to myself: a Kate Bush interlude.

Well, it was raining Pyrex on my birthday. Part of me thinks I'm not worthy, but the other side hears Heather Locklear's Nice and Easy commercial from back in the day. "You're worth it." At the last minute, I suggested to my sister that she find Mauzy's Pyrex: The Unauthorized Collector's Guide for me. I love the "unauthorized" part. It makes it seem kind of scandalous. Lise was able to order this from Amazon and it arrived in less than a week. More on the book below.

My folks had stashed away a bundle of Pyrex for me, along with some other nice gifts. Somehow the stash was misplaced during the hustle and bustle of Christmas. I'm happy enough to wait. I hope the Pyrex pieces materialize in the middle of the summer when I'm going through a dry Pyrex spell. What amazing kin folk I have. I like saying kin folk.
This book is a lot of fun. Even if you're not a collector of Pyrex, it's hard to flip through the pictures and not be a little charmed by the pieces. Even the most boring person who only buys new boring stuff would have to understand why people like collecting vintage Pyrex after looking at the book.
I just want all the coloured glassware. There are some pieces that I really want. Look below!
If I ever find this beauty, I'll be a happy forty-something. If I ever track it down, I'll more likely be ninety-something. Sigh.
Here's the Early American pattern that I love so much. What I would give to have a piece of Pyrex with a cat on it.
Anyway, here's what our neighbourhood looked like last Saturday morning. This is the classic Canadian weather of my childhood. Here's #1 son messing around with his shovel. Apparently Toronto's going to get walloped by more snow overnight. Torontonians are notoriously wimpy when it comes to a little snow. I can just hear my friend Barb, who hails from Winnipeg, Manitoba. "Try spending January in 'the 'Peg'."
And here's hubby and my lovely next-door-neighbour, Rosa digging out. Yes, I was still in my pjs looking out the window contemplating a nice, hot bath, subconsciously savouring the dog days of my thirties.
Chin chin!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Snowy Saturday

This snowy day in Toronto is sponsored by insanely happy pop music from eighties Scottish band Altered Images. Does it get any better?

Two moments I've been waiting for will be realized today...
I'll be taking my son tobogganing on this very old wooden toboggan that I bought at a garage sale almost three years ago. It cost $5.00. The woman who sold it to me told me about all the happy memories she had about their family piling on to this beauty. She even made the customized pillow for added comfort. I can't wait to start our own family memories. Too bad my husband's working today. We'll rope him into it another time.
Ahhh. Here's little Duncan when he was two. He's such a big boy now. Note the chocolate on his face. He'll have more fun tobogganing in the snow than on the grass in our backyard.
Here's the other thing I've been wanting to do: use Pyrex fridgies. This is one of the ones Mary Lou gave me. It's now storing apricots.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Gerry Rafferty - RIP

I just read in the paper that Gerry Rafferty died from symptoms related to alcoholism. That's a shame. He's famous for two songs - "Baker Street" and "Stuck in the Middle With You," the latter song made famous in the ear scene from Reservoir Dogs.

I'll stick to "Baker Street." This song is hated by many for the non-stop sax solo. Of course, I like it for nostalgic reasons. It's another song that I remember hearing on the MUZAK at K-Mart and places like that when I was a kid. My husband's from London and when we were there together, he took me down the real Baker Street - made famous by Sherlock Holmes. Ken used to work at British Telecom which wasn't too far from there. So many memories conjured up in one song.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Spring Blossoms - Already

Pyrex lovers - stop me if you've heard this one before. This morning, my school's Office Administrator, Mary Lou surprised me with a bag of her mother's kitchen pieces that she was clearing out. It was the happiest start to any school day I've ever had. Thanks Mary Lou!
Included was this Corningware coffee pot. It's so seventies that it subconsciously brings back happy seventies memories of growing up.
Also included: a set of Pyrex Spring Blossom refrigerator dishes. I'm so happy that I finally own these. They are very hard to come by and I know they'll actually get used in the fridge.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Party's Over

This post is brought to you by Roxy Music's "Avalon." The first line is, "Now the party's over. I'm so tired." That's exactly how I feel right now and I haven't even been partying. It's a romantic song and the video makes me think of eccentric rich people in England, so it sort of goes with the book Blow By Blow, which I'm currently reading.

Anyway, if you feel like it, you can play the song and have a look at some of my favourite Christmas decorations that I packed away today. I go back to work tomorrow and I realized that if I didn't do it today, it wouldn't be until March that I got my act in gear.

I love stained glass. My dream would be to live in a house with cathedral ceilings and gothic stained glass windows. I bought the pear and two birds at Tracy Hardware on the Danforth near Main Street. Kelly Grunge Queen knows about this store. It's a very old hardware store, run by an elderly woman. Her daughter buys antiques and other curiosities and puts them in the front windows for sale. I found these pieces about three years ago. Duncan was still in a stroller and I used to go on these far flung walks just to get out of the house. I don't think I paid more than $8.00 for the three pieces. I had a nice chat with the proprietor. She had to get this grabby hook thing to reach the pieces down. I eventually had to climb up onto the raised display case to get down the last bird.

This decoration is my favourite. I bought it on the main street in St. Catharines at a gift store. It was on sale. When we got back to my parent's house, we just learned that my uncle had died. Now the ornament makes me think of my uncle. I agree that delight reigns in a garden.
This felt cat came from this big outlet store in Myrtle Beach called Waccamaw Pottery. When we used to go to Myrtle Beach on family vacations, Waccamaw was a huge place filled with all kinds of clay pots, etc. When we were last there a few years ago, it looked like it was closing down. They had a Christmas section and that's where I found this cat for a dollar or two.
On that last trip to Myrtle Beach, I also found a Christmas store. We were at one of those surreal shopping centres that has a dungeon and dragons-style mini golf area. We saw Pirates of the Caribbean there too, I believe. Anyway, I found Halloween Christmas decorations, which was very Tim Burton. I bought a few pieces. I love this witch's boot. It reminds me of the Wizard of Oz.
This is one of my newest favourite pieces. A very sweet boy named Zach in my class gave it to me along with this huge, scented candle. His mother is lovely and she told me the decoration is for Duncan. I love that it's a Canadian nutcracker.
Above and below: foam decorations that Duncan made at his daycare. I'll always remember my five-year-old boy and his amazing babysitter when I pull these out each year.

Another Waccamaw treasure. My sister and I both bought a goldfish. What can I say? It's nice having a fish hanging on the tree.
The tin bird came from a house and home store on the Danforth called Moss. If you live in Toronto, you probably know about it. Duncan has some non-Christmasy tin birds from Moss hanging in his room.
If you've been reading this blog for a while, you'll know that Mexican folk art is one of my passions. Not surprisingly, I've amassed a few tin Christmas decorations. I even have a tin nativity set, which I forgot to photograph. I'll try to do it later because it's very special.

Here's a very old felt elf that's been around forever. I'll have to see if my mother remembers where it came from originally. It's so old that a soft sneeze could knock the pompom right off the hat. I love it.
When we were kids, we used to pose the legs in funny directions and make the elf look like he was lounging around.
I'm not sure what happened to his feet.
I bought the white elf recently and now Big Green has someone to have snuggles with. Don't you love a happy ending?

Have you started packing up Christmas yet?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A New Year - New YSS Features

Never lose your sense of fun!

Welcome to Yard Sale Snoop 2011! I'm looking forward to another thriftastic new year filled with old treasures and good blogging friends. I'm also adding two new features. One is "Books I'm Reading," which you'll find as a sidebar on the right. I hope that by sharing what I'm reading, I'll be forced to actually complete books and read more. I'll eventually add a section "Completed Books" where I'll say a few words about the book and maybe even rate it.

The second feature I'm going to add is called "Little Mysteries." Lately, I've been feeling like I'm surrounded by a culture that's overcooked. I'm completely bored with tabloids, useless celebrities, and fluffy banter about things that are boring. I realize that by blogging about little mysteries, I am in essence taking the mystique away somewhat, but this isn't the Huffington Post with a zillion readers. I'm just part of a small, but passionate community of people who like a lot of the same stuff. So what's wrong with that?

I've already filled a page in one of my many notebooks with little mysteries that take me down pathways that a million others haven't. A big thanks to Kate from Love You Big for sparking many of my new artistic interests. Kate also has a reading list on her blog, which is fascinating. Do check out Love You Big.
All the best!

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.