Saturday, December 29, 2012


What do you do when you fall in love with your dream home, on your dream street in a pretty little town? Do you tell yourself it will never work and just go back to the same old, same old or do you find out what it would take to make it happen and go for it? Well, we went for it and with the help of an amazing realtor, we were able to fix up our circa 1925 East York semi that we've lived in for the past 14 years and sell it within a week - Christmas week! We actually have two amazing agents - Alex Brott in Toronto, who also happens to be a cool, funky Pyrex collector herself, and the very classy Catherine Sennett who works the greater Hamilton area. Our dream has come true. Below are some slightly blurry photos of our decluttered home, staged with Pyrex. Follow your dreams!
 Alex brought in this vintage cowboy painting, so I put my cowboy crockery on top. The old bookcase belonged to my grandmother. In our rush to pack, all the books that were in it were boxed up and put in storage. It was Alex's idea to turn it into a Pyrex display case. Love it! Pyrex purists will note that it is not filled exclusively with Pyrex, but beautiful vintage crockery nevertheless. 
 Here's our beautiful kitchen that my husband did completely on his own. The colour is Behr Poppy Glow, if you like it. Ken was going to use glass tiles, but at the last minute switched to these stick-on stainless steel tiles for the backsplash. He thinks it's a bit too much steel, but everyone else likes it. Check out the Pyrex and other vintage crockery in warm tones. I staged that one!
 The dishwasher has to be up there with the wheel in terms of brilliant inventions. 
 Look, still life with Pyrex bowl!
 Alex brought in this circa 1960s US school map from her own place to hang over our sofa. The area carpet comes from Ikea. It's a little hard to keep clean with a seven-year-old boy and a cat, so we'd been cleaning it every day with zeal and verve (feel free to add your own adverbs).
 A look out the window: I will miss our wonderful neighbours the most. Friends and family will always be visitable. 
 We bought these green cabinets a few years back to hold glassware. I really like them. The Umbra clock is ours and Alex added some pretty candles and vases. 
 Close up of the vintage cowboy theme. Time for come chuck wagon stew!
 To highlight how roomy our little dining room is, we removed our retro fifties table and chair and Alex rented this vintage tulip table with funky repro chairs. She bought the pendant light at Ikea and brought in the big mirror and modern art you'll see in the blurry photo below. The art is really cool. It's painted on wood panels and adds a much needed splash of colour to the room. 
There you have it. The upstairs rooms are just bedrooms and our refurbished bathroom, so I didn't bother taking pictures. I hope that the new year will be full of good health, good times, and good thrifty pickings for all of my blogging buddies. When we get settled in our new home, I'll post pictures. 

Happy new year!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

Hello there,

Our big news is that we've found our dream house and we're in the process of selling our current home in Toronto. We may be close to an offer, so we'll see. I'll be back over the next little while to show how we've used vintage Pyrex to help in the staging of our home. We have an awesome agent who collects Pyrex too. How perfect is that? 
Merry Christmas and bye for now,

Here's a piece of classic eighties Brit one hit wonder pop to get you smiling for the holidays. Get into it!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

At Long Last

After a long wait, I've finally found some amazing treasures to show you. Enjoy! P.S. Thanks for all the nice comments. 
 My good luck started at the Value Village near the school that I work at. I scooped up this beautiful buttery Pyrex bowl for $6.99. It was in pretty good condition. 
 I also scored these Termocrisa bowls for $1.49 each. I already have three of the green bowls, so that's virtually a set!
 Alright, in a moment of thrifting weakness, my husband and I decided that we were overdue a trip to the gigantic Southwarks Antiques in Cambridge. It was there that I found this Pyrex Ponderosa mug. I have so many happy childhood memories of going to the Ponderosa steakhouse that I told myself that if I ever find it, I will plunk down the money. Gulp, it cost $9.00, but I do love it. 
 My most extravagant piece was this $22.00 Horizon Blue casserole dish. I love it. 

 Above and below: a Daisy casserole dish that cost $12.00. So much happiness and sunshine in one dish!

 This Friendship casserole dish will go nicely with my other Friendship pieces. It has some tiny scuffs, but generally worth the weird price of $13.50. 

 More childhood nostalgia: We had a wooden snack dish that was very similar to this, hanging on our kitchen wall when I was a kid. I still have it and I've collected a few more of these over the year. Sorry about the harsh sunlight. Old man winter is just around the corner. 
 I quite like the Shenandoan Pyrex pattern. When you're shopping at Southwarks, the staff keep walking by and take your collectables to the front desk. I ended up finding the larger size dish for less than the small dish that a different vendor was selling. The woman at the cash pointed this out, so I split up the vendor's set and got a deal. Hey, business is business. The small dish cost $10.50 and the large one cost $10.00. 
Lastly, I couldn't resist this Red Rose coffee tin for $9.00. Red Rose is a Canadian tea company. I had no idea that they once sold coffee too. 

I will try to get the Pyrex pics on the Pyrex Collective soon. 

Bye for now,

Saturday, November 3, 2012

That's Life

I'm a lumberjack... Duncan poses for a Halloween picture after a night of soggy trick or treating. This costume cost $1.99 for the axe. My sister donated the beard and the rest came from stuff we already had. 

A couple of posts ago, I introduced our new cat Lily. Sadly, Lily became very sick a couple of weeks ago and had to be put down. She was only two years old, but she was a tiny cat and they think she died of a feline virus FIP. Our older cat Kiko thankfully seems healthy, but we're going to wait until we get another cat. You are supposed to wait at least a month in order for your other cat(s) to excrete any remnants of a virus they have fought off. It's all rather strange how it happened, but we don't know Lily's history. We never have let our cats outdoors and up until Spook became sick in the summer, we've never had any health problems. It was hard saying goodbye to a cat we'd only had for such a short period of time, but at least she's not suffering. We gave her a good home for her final days and we'll look to help out another cat in need as soon as we know it won't be at risk of contracting a virus. 

I've been trying to look for cool things in the thrift stores and unfortunately, I've only come across scuffed Pyrex and nothing else of interest. I'm hoping to start going to antique dealers soon. Speaking of dealers, has anyone seen Salvage Hunters on Discovery? It's like American/Canadian Pickers, but set in England. The treasures are generally older, the scenery is gorgeous and the production values are more understated. 

Here is a not-so great quality clip. We watch it on Friday nights at 9 p.m. 

Here's the great Stan Ridgway singing Mission in Life. I love the lyrics. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Good, Clean Fun

 Last weekend we went to the apple festival at the Spadina House in Toronto. It's an old, Edwardian house (I believe) that's stuffed with furnishings and objects from the past. It only cost $5 to get in (free for kids). Here, you'll see volunteers pulp-ifying apples grown in the sprawling orchard. 
 "You turn my crank - literally." Some random gentleman squeezes the apples until the juices run down into the bucket. You'll see the end product below. 
 Duncan signed on for an old timey sack race. 
 Ah, life before video games!
 Here's what's left of the apples. 
 And here's the juice. 
Sadly, it all ended tragically when the house wolf mauled Duncan. Fortunately, he was back to his old self the next day. Or was he?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Back in Action

Our dear little Lily - the newest member of our family!

Thanks to everyone who posted a comment regarding the death of Spook. I've been very busy over the past few weeks getting my classroom set up and of course, teaching. I've got a wonderful class this year and soon, we should be into our routines and I'll have more time (and hopefully money) to do a bit of thrifting. The yard sales really dried up in my neighbourhood this summer. I'm hoping that the Value Village near my school will give me something special to blog about soon.

Lily is slowly making herself more comfortable in our home. She's now having snug time on the sofa at night. We tried to make a little bed for her, but instead, she prefers to hang out in a bucket. Go figure cats. 

I'll be back much sooner next time. 
All the best,

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Our beloved Spook 2003-2012

Last week, our cat named Spook suddenly became severely ill. He had been coughing for a few weeks, but we thought it was just a fur ball/digestion issue. X-rays confirmed that he had three tumours that were inoperable, so it was with great sadness that it was decided that the most humane thing to do would be to have him put down. It still breaks my heart looking at his picture and thinking about our final moments with him. We were all in tears. If you have ever lost a pet, you'll know what I'm talking about. Spook loved nothing more than sitting on your lap, nuzzling, and having his tummy rubbed. He was always at the door to greet us and just seemed like a happy cat. 

Spook was adopted from our local animal hospital nine years ago when he was a few months old. He was found on Gerrard Street at a busy intersection in Toronto and for some reason, never got adopted when he was a little kitten. As he kept getting passed over, he got bigger and less desirable for people wanting to adopt a cute tiny kitten. When I brought our other cat Kiko in to be neutered, I saw Spook sitting in a cage on the receptionist's desk. I asked why he was there and she told me the story. They were hoping that the increased visibility would make someone want him. Later that day, I brought him home on a cold, December day. 

After a week of warring, Kiko and Spook worked things out and became best buddies. In the past week, Kiko has looked a little lost around our house.

We knew that we'd never replace our wonderful purring lap cat, but we decided to go to Toronto Animal Services to look at the cats up for adoption. We went back for a second visit yesterday and adopted a small, two-year-old grey tabby that our son Duncan named Lily. She's still shy and getting to know the house, so I haven't been able to take a picture of her yet. Kiko's mellowing in his older year and has only hissed at her a few times. I think they'll be chums. On our way home, I joked that Kiko will have a younger foxy girlfriend to keep him youthful. We'll never forget Spook, but having his new little spitfire in the home has helped fill the void with happiness. 

More to come. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Homemade Home

Two Christmases ago, I ordered Kirstie's Homemade Home for my sister Lise. Kirstie is Kirstie Allsopp, famed English television host, author and entrepreneur. We seem to get British TV shows long after the fact in Canada, so it's no surprise that you can turn on BBC Canada just about any time of the day and see one of Kirstie's shows when Top Gear isn't on. Homemade Home ran as a televised series before the book came out. If you'd like to find out more about Ms. Allsopp, click here for her website. You can tell her home smells good just by looking at her.  
 Lise offered to lend me the book, but I told myself I'd buy it one day. Well, when I discovered it at the local library, I cheaped out and checked it out instead. The book is all about encouraging people to get their hands dirty and learn how to make beautiful things for the home. I like the projects and Kirstie's not pompous like other do-it-yourself TV personalities - alright, I'm just thinking of one person right now. Kirstie's also loves to pay respect to England's craft traditions, such as its history in willow basket making, blacksmithing, etc. 
Above, Kirstie makes her very own fire poker in an olde timey blacksmith shop.  
 I'm inspired to learn mosaic after watching Kirstie make her own little table. In the centre of the heart is a piece of old pottery from the area she lives in. I'm hoping to take a mosaic course in the fall. Find out if there are courses where you live. 
 A master mosaic maker created this wall outside a door in England. I can't imagine how many hours went into making this. 
 Here's a multi-toned willow basket that Kirstie made with two of the very few remaining traditional willow weavers in the U.K. 
 Here's the rustic gate to Kirstie's rambling country family home. I love how the letter A has slipped down. It reminds me of Fawlty Towers. 
 Here's one project I completed already: a potted herb garden. My herbs were getting lost in the tomato plants, so I put a few together in an old tin tub that was rusting away in the driveway. 
Here's the "arial" shot. I'm growing parsley (from my dad), two types of basil, dill, and chives. The pot has filled out nicely since I took the picture and it's great being able to nip out to the porch for fresh herbs. 

Recipes That Really Cut the Mustard

I just noticed mustard making recipes on the Design Sponge blog. I think I'll try to have a go this weekend.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Release the Hounds!

I bought this delightful horse and hound dish at the not-so-great Value Village on Danforth yesterday for $4.99. It didn't come with a lid and I don't know who made it. Any ideas?
P.S. Thanks for all the comments on my recent posts. I'm soaking in the love. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Treasures From Kingsley

 A couple years ago, a wonderful man who lived across the street from us suddenly passed away. His name was Kingsley. I've written about him in previous posts, so forgive me if you've heard this before. Anyway, Kingsley was a retired psychologist/academic who was a refined gentleman and general good egg. He was clearly living a leisurely life as a retired person. When I used to work at home as a freelance writer, I used to get a chuckle when I'd see Kingsley going to his front door in his y-front underpants to pick up the morning paper. This would usually be around 10 in the morning. I just loved his "I don't feel the need to be productive" ethic. A couple of Saturdays ago, his family - who have maintained his estate - held a yard sale. Duncan and I were the first ones across. I was looking for anything old and special that would remind me of Kingsley. 
 As you'll see from the above two photos, Kingsley got into the spirit of Canada's centennial in 1967. I loved this cup and the fact that it was made in Cork, Ireland. I think it cost me .75 or some small sum. 
 Above and below are pictures of vintage tins I bought for $1.50. I loved that the two big tins were still being used for baking up until fairly recently. 

At the end of the sale, they dragged out the items that hadn't sold - including one of those contraptions that you hang upside-down in to straighten out your back - with a "free items" sign in front of them. Duncan kept crossing the street to see if he could find anything else for us, even though I'd told him we had the good stuff. He did manage to find a sixties transistor radio, which is pretty cool. 
That's all for now. More to come sooner rather than later.  

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.