Saturday, April 30, 2011

East York Picker

"Hey kids, knock it off. It's shenanigans like this that's costing the taxpayers billions each year!"
I've been scanning the local paper, waiting for the Westview Presbyterian Church Bazaar. It's a good one and there's always tons of garage sales running the same day. Well, that day came today. And the weather was perfect.
A happy day with a happy soundtrack to listen to as you view my new treasures.

I first hit the bazaar. I did the initial desperate scan for Pyrex. I'm sure five minutes before I got there, someone loaded up a U-Haul with all my longed for pieces. After accepting that there wasn't even a dishwasher abused casserole dish to be found, I began looking for other interesting things that would put a smile on my face. The prices were rock bottom. Books were .25 and I got the funky cow creamer, the Made in Japan bird planter and tea cup stickies, along with a brand new science experiment kit for $2.50.
It's amazing what a lousy quarter can still get you if you apply yourself.
I love these tender old Golden Books. This one is to teach children about different species of birds.
The illustrations are a thing of beauty.
I bought a flower press a couple of years ago at Value Village for $1.99. I couldn't resist this homemade flower press. I got it along with the thermometer, picture frames, and hankies you'll see below for $2.00.

Here's the science kit that let's kids create stinky scents in test tubes.
This was from the Christmas Posy book at the top. I loved the title.
Off I went into the East York neighbourhood that lies behind O'Connor Bowl. These people are real meat-and-potato Canadians. No latté moms in yoga pants here. Look at the weird desk organizer I got for next to nothing. I had no idea why that picture was in it. I think it was probably the generic picture that came with it and they never bothered to take it out. For $2.00 I got the desk organizer, the very old English candy tin, the tube piggy bank that you can turn to give you computational number facts, Crayola markers and pencil crayons, and a cheese container from the Ontario Dairy Farmer's "Cheese please" era. I used to hate those commercials. I preferred the "Stop cooking with cheese" commercials from a few years ago.

At another house a I bought this compact chalkboard/whiteboard for $1.00 from a friendly mother who was clearing out junk. It will be used in my Primary classroom next year if I can sneak it out of the house without Duncan seeing it go.

This is why I'm Yard Sale Snoop. I had the exact same Woody Woodpecker nightlight when I was a kid. I have a feeling my childhood light came from a yard sale in the seventies. I got this light, along with a box of toy cars and a pile of vintage Fisher-Price toys for $18. The woman originally asked $20 for the lot. My jaw nearly dropped. I was thinking more like $10. For a moment, I turned into one of those American Picker guys and offered her $15. We settled on $18. She was elderly and she told me that her husband had recently passed away. On top of that, her adult son was in a wheelchair and they were HIS toys I was buying. I knew Duncan would be over the moon and the toys would be played with more than a newer toy that would cost more, so I swallowed my thrifty pride and forked out the dough.

Duncan was so excited when he opened the bag of goodies. "You were so generous, Mom," he said. I asked him what the word generous means and he said, "I don't know."
The motherload.
Fisher-Price brings on an ecstatic state of toy delerium.

The ambulance was cool. It comes with a stretcher and sleeping bag inside.
With the $2 I saved by haggling down the toys, I bought this Cardinal windchime foe $1.00 and still had change for Duncan's first tooth that came out this evening. We'd been waiting for two weeks for it to come out. Tonight, he was chewing on the head of his stuffed Ikea rat. I tried to pry it out of his mouth when "pop" out came the tooth. I think he'll get a toonie from the tooth fairy.

Let's hope this is the start of a bountiful yard saling season.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Calling All Bird Lovers

Last week, we had a surprise guest arrive in our humble East York backyard. It had the size of a pigeon, but it looked almost like a Downy Woodpecker due to the red marking on its head. It was pecking away at a dirt patch where raccoons had attacked our grass. Sigh! Does anyone know what this bird is? Sorry about the terrible film quality. I took the pictures through a dirty screen window.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Awkward Love

If you're feeling blue and you need a good chuckle, just visit Awkward Family Photos. You won't regret it.

She was always on his mind.

Whoa Nelly!

Happy Easter

Happy Easter to all my friends!
Easter 2009
Easter 2010 - Toronto

Easter 2010 - Nana & Gradpas' home in St. Catharines
Easter 2011 - How quickly kids grow up!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Forthcoming Election

Go to fullsize image

I usually keep my political opinions to myself, but I just read in the paper that Jack Layton is gaining in the polls and I thought I'd do my part to rally thrifters in Canada to push him towards victory. Ha! I don't like Stephen Harper. He's our PM. He comes across as cold and overly controlling. Michael Ignatief is running for the Liberal Party. He's too much of an academic intellectual. Jack is a people person and I feel like I can trust him.

Anyway, vote for the person who will do good things in your riding.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Thing Called Love - Finally

Thanks to P who helped me find the embed code on YouTube. At long last, we can enjoy Dennis Quaid in Bonnie Raitt's "Thing Called Love" video. I remember enjoying this as a teenager, even though I was at the peak of my moody, gothy phase. That's the power of a well-crafted song by John Hiatt. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Lucky Thrifter's Awesome Finds

I was just visiting Lucky Thrifter's blog. You must see her fabulous treasures from a recent sale. Check it out Lucky Thrifter. You'll feel good when you read the story.

I was going to leave a song, but the embed code seems to be gone from YouTube. Does anyone know about this?

Just the Ticket

Last Thursday night, I hit our local Value Village, looking for something - anything good. This is the store with the scary manager with the bad perm. Not only was he not there, but I found these two Spring Blossom Cinderella bowls for $4.99 and $5.99. Not bad. Never throw in the towel with this collecting caper.
Have a fun and fruitful thrifting weekend.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

For Love or Money? My American Pickers Post

American Pickers (TV show) Mike Wolfe
Don't be too dazzled by Mike's matinee idol good looks. He's after your grandmother's ring collection for $2.

As a thrifter and lover of old timey treasures, you'd think I would have been following American Pickers from the get-go. Not so. I'd heard about it, but could never find it on the TV dial, until last night when I stumbled upon the History Channel. I guess I never watch the History Channel. If you're living abroad and not sure of what it is, American Pickers is a show that follows two funny guys around the sheds and storage facilities in America, looking for cool, old junk that they can sell in their antique store back in Iowa. If you're interested in Americana and vintage goodies, it's required viewing. Still, I found that my heart broke a little when I watched Mike and Frank offer an old widow rock bottom prices for treasures her husband had collected. They were practically rubbing their hands together as they loaded the van and drove off, calculating how much profit they could make. Sure, they've got the expenses of running a business and they're trying to make a living. Also, some of the sellers they encounter ask extortion prices for their decaying ephemera... but still, it's pretty cut-throat. I for one could not bring myself to not buy something that I love and want to keep.
Here is the perfect example of an old treasure that I'll never part with. My father is a real collector and he recently gave me this very old whistle. It's got the classic whistle shape and it's sturdy enough to survive a nuclear explosion.
Here's the best part. My father's Australian and look where it's from: Sydney, Australia. I love it. I'll have to ask him how how it came to him. How could I ever sell something like this?
It's called Aussie Thriller and if you look closely, you can still see the old cork ball inside.
On the other side of the love or sell debate, here are some vintage souvenir tea towels I bought at a garage sale in my neighbourhood a few years ago. The seller wanted $5 for each. It seemed a little steep given that it was a garage sale. You could tell she was a Martha Stewart-type who had done her research. "They're worth a lot more than that. They're collector's items." I'm loath to haggle over prices. I'm a take it or leave it woman. When you see how charming they are, you'll see why I gave her $10 for the pair. They make me happy. One day, I'll press these towels and mount them in frames.
I wish pickers would leave garage sales and thrift stores alone for the lovers, but it's a free world.

Anyway, I'll still keep on collecting for the love of it. I have no intention of ever opening up an antique store. For those of you who are amassing a collection of old things in your basement or garage, dust them off and enjoy them before it's too late. One day you'll be dead and the pickers will come-a-knocking.

american pickers
Despite my mixed feelings about the way these guys do business, AP is a highly watchable show, so check your local listings. The History Channel has several episodes on AP's page. Canadian Pickers is starting this Tuesday. Ironically, the Canadian Picker guys look more American than the American guys, who describe themselves as "a couple of hayseeds from Iowa." The Canadians look like stand-ins from Bonanza.

Hosts Scott (left) and Sheldon (right) in picker heaven

Above: the Canadian Pickers. See, I told you they look like they're from Texas. This show is coming soon to a TV station near you - at least in Canada.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

First Rummage Sale of the Season

Hello there. Today is a warm, perfect spring day in Toronto. I hope you're feeling bubbly all over, where you are. At long last, my first local church rummage sale came today: Hope United Church. The sale started at 10:30 and if you've ever had the pleasure of trying to get a five-year-old out the door, you'll know how painfully slow it can be: "Get your clothes on! Brush your teeth fast!" I could just imagine someone snatching a piece of dream Pyrex off the table seconds before we arrived. Well, I didn't get any Pyrex, but I did find many other things that I love. I paid $10 for everything you see in this post.
I love trees and old books, so I had to have this beautifully illustrated book.
I can't help thinking of the history behind the things I find at sales. Now I know that this book came from a Grade 1 class that used Room 4 at Huron Public School. The book was published in 1962.

I found this pretty painting in a box that was stuffed with picture frames. I see the potential in it either with a modern frame, or if I give the existing frame a make-over.
The back is taped up in a DIY sort of way and there's a very old envelope address stick-on with someone's name on it. Is she the artist, the former owner of the painting, or both?
Very big and very old paper fasteners.
I'm sure they'll come in handy for something.
Big 'ol Christmas tree skirt. This looks like it's from the sixties. We'll use it for years to come.

So cheerful.
Wiggly handmade scarf.
Handmade candle holder in pleasing earthy green tones.
Rear view.
I almost didn't buy this, but I was charmed by the quaintly patriotic feelings one goose can stir up. When I paid up, one of the ladies working their looked at her elderly mother standing beside her and laughed. She told me that it was made by her mother's sister-in-law. I asked if it was a mistake that it was being sold and whether they wanted it back. They told me it was alright. I asked them if S. Powell was still alive and they told me she was.

Bag of crafter's yarn for the eco craft club I'm starting at my school this week.
Doesn't this look like cotton candy at a glance?
Let's pause for a moment of Simpsons' nostalgia.

These pillowslips look cooler in person. They've got a sixties criss-cross line pattern on them.
Duncan wanted colourful golfballs to horse around with in the backyard. The sleeve that looks like it holds matches actually...
holds golf tees.

Oh my, Noddy and a Martin Short/Tim Allen DVD. Junior's been picking things out.
I love this cookbook. It's so old that it's falling apart. The cover looks like it's got a rare skin disease, but you know that means the book was well-loved.

I just can't get enough of the bright, technicolor photographs.

I'm making this Christmas tree thing for sure.

The chapters are in sensible order for the busy person.

This boy looks like one of those little brats running around Big Daddy's party in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.
Isn't this what we all want to come home to each day? Tea and biscuits on a fancy tray by a roaring fire. Life doesn't get any better. How was your day thrifting?

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.