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? 🙂

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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. 🙂

Narrow.

In response to this week’s Daily Post photography prompt, “Narrow,” I give you a couple of images of a charming town in southern Spain, Arcos de la Frontera.

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Quaint, beautifully whitewashed, and boasting a stunning valley view, Arcos is one of Andalucia’s many gems. I thoroughly enjoyed exploring its narrow, winding streets when I visited six years ago. At that time, the place was was virtually unspoiled by tourism, but I suppose things could be different now.

Speaking of traveling…I head to the beach tomorrow and am thus taking a brief hiatus from the blog. Until next week! 🙂

Making a statement.

I hadn’t planned on dedicating an entire blog post to this beautiful new ring, but it proved popular on my Instagram, so here you go.

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I purchased it for $15 a couple of days ago from a local shop called Caravanserai. Colorful, exotic, bohemian…I absolutely love everything in this shop! It reminds me of my years living in Turkey, and how much I came to love the artistic style there, both past and present.

Normally, I wouldn’t call this a “steal.” But, when you think about it, 15 bucks is pretty good for such an impressionable piece of foreign jewelry! Actually, I was hesitant at first because it is such an eye-catching statement piece, and I’ve never worn anything like it before, but hey: I have long fingers, so I can rock it, right?  😉

The things we leave behind.

This week’s WordPress Discovery Challenge is titled “The Things We Leave Behind.” Here are a few interesting photos that I think fit the theme.

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Top left: Greenbriar, Arkansas; Bottom Left: Petra, Jordan; Right: Manhattan, NYC.

Such found objects, in my opinion, truly tap the essence of “the things we leave behind.” I encountered all of these  exactly as you see them; the photos were not staged in any way.

Vestiges such as these have always piqued my curiosity.  Some seem abandoned, others intentionally left behind for a purpose. They are literally and figuratively perplexing, as they cause us to ask questions regarding the who and the why. I have always loved photographing them.