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. 🙂

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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? 🙂

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. 🙂

Thrifted and gifted.

If you didn’t read my previous post about the uber-awesome thrift store Lancaster Creative Reuse (LCR), you should go and do that. Right now.

Here’s why: My close friend Michaela, the director of LCR, spotted this adorable vintage piece in the store and put it aside especially for me.

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Such a beauty. I guess I’m a sucker for anything floral. Thanks, Michaela! ♥

Because everyone needs a purple vanity chair.

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When I saw it on Craigslist, I knew it had to be mine. This tufted vanity chair, originally from World Market, was definitely a steal; I think I ended up paying around $150 for it secondhand. It’s the first thing you see when you walk into my apartment, and is flanked by a taller side table showcasing this very cool typewriter, a hand-me-down from my grandmother.

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Don’t we all need these things in our lives? If worshipping them is wrong, I don’t wanna be right.

Swoon.

Yesterday, I made an impulsive Craigslist buy (shocker, I know).

But…just look at these beautiful plates!

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I honesty have no idea how I will use them, but I just couldn’t pass up this bargain: $10 for eight of these small lovelies. They feel very Anthropologie to me, sans the price tag.

The backs of the plates indicate that they were originally sold by a company called 222 Fifth. Check out their website–really nice stuff.

Overall: a solid win, in my opinion!

You know you want it.

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Tell me you love me.

This adorable mid-century ottoman came into my possession through one of my many Craigslist adventures. I showed up at this guy’s door with the intention of picking up a free table. After he brought out the table, we chatted for a bit. He revealed that he was in the process of moving, and thus attempting to purge as much as he could. Did I want to see what else he was getting rid of? Hell yes! And he whips out the ottoman.

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Without hesitation, I accepted this stranger’s gift with metaphorical tears in my eyes. I loaded up my car, queued my favorite jam, and drove away into the sunset. Okay, not really, but you get what I’m saying.

Barn star.

I had been wanting an authentic barn star for some time, but always felt they were overpriced. Then, a few months ago, a close friend of mine in Lancaster, PA directed me to a hidden gem: off the side of a country road, there was a friendly farmer selling medium to large barn stars for $10 or less. I nabbed this one, approx. 16 in. round, for $6.

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I’ve hung in my apartment over some exposed brick, which I feel really compliments the rustic charm. A great find!

Spotlight: LCR.

Today I’m paying homage to one of my favorite thrift stores: Lancaster Creative Reuse.

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Located in Lancaster, PA, LCR’s mission is to connect community excess to those who can use it creatively. Basically, imagine a charming low-cost thrift store bursting at the seams with myriad craft supplies and fun miscellaneous novelties, all local donations. I’ve visited the store on many occasions, and let’s just say I never go home empty-handed!

Here are two of my LCR favorites. I think I paid .50 for the tin and maybe $1 for the bottle.

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Not only does LCR sell some great stuff, but it also hosts fun kid-friendly events and values community outreach. Curious if something like LCR exists where you live? Check out this directory of creative reuse centers in the U.S. and around the world.

Happy thrifting!