It’s in the family.

Last weekend my cousin Aiden visited! We spent some time with my grandmother, whose retro abode is loaded with antiques and mid-century kitsch. It’s definitely got a vintage feel.

It’s become our habit to do a bit of treasure-hunting whenever we visit our grandmother. She loves passing her old stuff down to us, and, well, we don’t really say no.

Below, Aiden models one of grandma’s gifts: a black vintage purse in nearly mint condition. We can’t quite place the logo. It’s definitely not Chanel.

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She’s also sporting some very cool thrifted slacks from a San Francisco shop called The Wasteland.

During her visit, we went on several thrifting adventures (yard sale, Goodwill, flea market, etc.) in the Rockville, MD area. As can be expected, some trips were more fruitful than others. I ended up coming home with a pretty hand mirror and a brass planter. Here’s a pic of the mirror; I’m saving the brass planter for a future post on my ever-growing indoor garden. 🙂

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Only spent $3 on this pretty metal reproduction.

After returning home from my weekend at Grandma’s, I was excited to see that my new boots from American Eagle had arrived. I got these on sale for like 60% off! I think I spent around $20 on them total.

IMG_4187.JPGI’ve been wearing them nonstop, as we’ve been having some beautiful Fall weather the past week.

Enjoy your weekend! 🙂

Long overdue update.

Well, it’s been a while. School started and I got very, very busy.

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Here are a few pics of my classroom. Note the purple rug from IKEA…very frugal buy at a mere $25!

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The sets of plastic drawers were cheap yard sale buys!

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Though I have been pretty occupied, I’ve manage to procure a couple of cool things over the past few weeks…

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Pretty yard sale scarves…25 cents a pop!
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Lovely ceramic vase…$4 from Ryan’s Relics.
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Just a couple of bucks for blue and white. Gets me every time.

Hoping to go on a thrifting adventure soon. Stay tuned. 🙂

Jo’s story & fabulous stuff.

Today, enjoy this guest post from my faraway friend, Josephine!

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Jo: I have always been a thrifty person. It may be because my parents grew up in Sweden and England during the second World War (not baby boomers), so frugality was highly praised in my family. My father worked in the hospitality industry and often purchased secondhand furniture from his place of work when they remodelled the lounges or dining rooms. My mom was a self-taught seamstress, upholsterer and furniture refinisher. Our house was always well-decorated with her unique touch. Cushions, curtains, valances, armchairs, sofas, plush headboards, Halloween costumes, prom dresses–my mom could do it all and on a thrifty budget. Of course, my dad also did his share of DIY projects: finished basement, living room extension and an epic two-floor tree house with crows nest lookout and fire escape.

When I look around my condo, which was itself a thrifty find, nestled inside a 1913 character bldg in need of some TLC but in a fantastic neighbourhood, I realize that 90% of my furniture is used or secondhand. Antique markets, Craigslist, Kijiji, Sally Ann, Value Village, MCC thrift, the IKEA As-Is dept and the Old House Revival Co. are my favourite shops in Winnipeg, Canada’s most Cheap and Cheerful bigger city. It’s slightly isolated but with an unparalleled vibrant cultural scene and affordable cost of living (if you can embrace the winters.) Many of my pieces also come from my life abroad in Sweden, France, Morocco, Turkey and Afghanistan.

When I lived in Paris, I was fortunate to get a contract teaching English at Vitra, “manufacturer of the works of many internationally renowned furniture designers” such as Eames, Panton, Saarinen, Citterio, Morrison etc. I had absolutely no knowledge of design at the time and this was a fabulous entry into that world. You can imagine my excitement when I acquired this Saarinen tulip coffee table knock-off at Sally Anne for $10 CDN.

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It looks fabulous with my knock-off Acapulco chairs in my mom’s backyard.

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Since returning to Canada in 2010, I’ve fallen in love with vintage Pyrex bakeware and Norwegian Lotte Figgjo dishes. Here is just a smidgen of my collection.

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Finding the elusive red Primary Colours mixing bowl thus completing my set, has been the highlight of my collecting career so far….and for $8 CDN at the Mulvey Flee Market. The dish rack, a splurge and similar to one I had seen in the Conran Shop, comes from India, ordered from this UK website. http://www.theplaterack.co.uk.  

Pretty nice finds, eh? 🙂

My first eBay purchase.

Recently, I discovered the exciting world of bidding on eBay. As mentioned in a previous post, I have been on the hunt for a mid-century ottoman. It turned out that there were quite a few mid-century ottomans for sale on eBay–most of which seemed overpriced, especially including shipping. However, I eventually found an affordable one that I liked.

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Photo from eBay.

I sat on it for a couple of days. Then, as if reading my mind, eBay sent me a little surprise…

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Well, folks, I just couldn’t turn down this deal. The ottoman was originally priced at $49. I bid $44, and the seller accepted. Shipping was set at approx. $10, but with my $10 coupon, it cancelled out. So, I spent a total of $44 on both the item and shipping!

The ottoman arrived the other day. I’m pleased with it for the most part–it’s the right size, structurally sound, no damage.

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However, it seems to me that the ottoman’s actual color differs from the color pictured on eBay. It’s got kind of a mustard/tan vibe going on, while the seller’s photos made it seem more of a creamy ivory (likely due to using a flash rather than natural light). I was a bit disappointed about this at first, but I’ve come to accept it. I think it looks good in the space.

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Well, that’s all for today. Next time, I’ll post some photos of cheap school supplies I collected over the summer, as I’m in the process of setting up my classroom! 🙂

Finds for friends.

Yes, yes, I’m still reeling from my most recent yard sale win, but I wanted to share two other items from my weekend hunt that I bought for close friends.

Let’s start with Alex, who just got back from what sounds like an amazing trip to France. While in Paris, she had the opportunity to watch the last stretch of the Tour de France as the riders cruised along Champs-Élyséés. As Alex is an avid cyclist, this was a special experience for her. Moreover, she loved exploring the city and found Parisian culture incredibly charming and alluring (as I’m sure many of us do). Thus, when I came across this lovely wall art, priced at a whopping $3, I felt compelled to buy it for her!

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Painting? Print? Reproduction? I found it adorable and hopefully it’ll serve as a nice reminder of her Paris experience. I honestly have no idea if it’s her style (I told her that she is totally allowed to hide it in her basement), but I’m confident that she appreciated the thought.

On to Katie, whom you might remember from a previous post. A full-time doctoral student, Katie spends her (limited) free time baking, playing with her new puppy, and, well, baking. I immediately thought of her when I saw these cute ceramic measuring cups at a yard sale for just a few bucks.

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Katie absolutely loves them! I suppose they’re more decorative than practical, but who cares?

I truly love thrifting and gifting. It makes loved ones smile and gives you an excuse–I mean, a purpose–to wake up at 7 AM on a Saturday or spend happy hour at Goodwill. 🙂

Can’t say no to retro.

Guys, this may be my biggest win yet. Seriously.

This morning, at a yard sale, I purchased this mid-century industrial style chair for TEN BUCKS!

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How awesome is this find!? I am over the moon. 

There is a small tear in the red vinyl seat, which I’m hoping can be repaired.

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😦

Does anyone know if/how/where I could repair this tear? Will I need to replace the entire upholstery? Please comment if you have any ideas.

More brass love.

In an older post, I mentioned that I had picked up a pair of brass candlesticks at yard sale for $5. I polished them as best I could with some Brasso™. So, here they are.

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I’ve never owned taper candles, much less candlesticks in my life, so this is a fun new addition to my home.

Additionally, I had previously mentioned scoring a small brass decor item from Lancaster Creative Reuse. Honestly, I’m not quite sure what it’s purpose is or what I should do with it. But I like it, so I thought I’d share it.

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What am I?

It’s fairly small–maybe 20 inches long. Got it for a mere $1.50. Any ideas about what this is, or what I could use it for? Comment and let me know! 

Tiny treasures from LCR.

Yesterday I visited one of my favorite thrift stores, Lancaster Creative Reuse. You might remember this place from my post a couple months back (“Spotlight: LCR.”). Anyways, yesterday I picked up a bunch of cool items for a whopping total of $7.47!

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I even decorated my receipt.

 

So, here are my cheap thrills from LCR.

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Teeny brass incense holder.
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Assorted bits of tile. So pretty!
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Mix & match Scrabble letters.
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Small blue & white flower pot.

 

In addition to these tiny treasures, I also picked up a glass jug (which I proceeded to break within a couple of hours), and a rather perplexing brass decor item that I will share with you at a later time.

Do you have any tiny treasures? Let me know in the comments! 🙂

Brass bells.

Today’s guest post is courtesy of my pal Katie!

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Isn’t she lovely?

Last summer, Katie and I were roaming around the Fells Point Antique Market when she spotted a set of four antique brass bells that she absolutely adored.

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Katie really likes how each bell is unique (different lady, different dress). They can sit together as a heterogenous set (as I’ve placed them in this photograph), or be individually situated in different places around the apartment, as Katie has done.

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The price? $20 for the set! A great bargain. I just love brass accents.

It’s hard to place the time period…perhaps 18th century? Comment if you have any ideas about the origin of these bells!

Because “I liked scotch.”

Today’s post, a guest contribution from my friend Kath, showcases a unique hand-me-down.

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Kath: When my grandmother downsized into a smaller apartment, I was given this decanter set because “I liked scotch.”

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Belonging to my great – grandmother, this Tantalus decanter features a locking mechanism on the top – to keep your expensive spirits safe from either your househould staff, or young teens (depending on the home). Initially, the Tantalus cabinets were meant to showcase your expensive spirits in an appealing way, prior to the cheaper store bought bottles we use today.

Unfortunately for me, I accidentally locked it, and have no idea where the keys would be. I am also missing the third brass label – which, I’m going to hazard a guess, was bourbon. Even though they are empty and will presumably never contain alcohol, I enjoy looking at the set and the connection with my family (and their love of whiskey).

What an interesting family treasure. An added bonus: free!  🙂