Saturday, February 28, 2009

Clothing Swap in 3 Hours!

Ok, it's 50-50 for the pink chandelier, below - one resounding no, one yes (I think) ... and both from pretty stylish gents. Get yer votes in so the Grunge-Queen can end this wishy-washy hell!!

No, this pic isn't a style experiment - it's my set up for my clothing swap tonight! In a few hours I'll have 15 chicks in my one bedroom apt!! I've been doing potlucks forever - before they became hip - and sometimes I combine one with a clothing swap. It's heaps of fun - we eat well, drink well, and laugh like mad as we try clothing on and visit. An added bonus: we clean out our closets (that sometimes, for me, contain the odd thrift store mistake) and take home a few new things to refresh our wardrobes. Whatever's left (there's always a ton) is donated to a charity of our choice.

TIPS:
1). WHO: It helps that most of my pals and me are the same size. If you have a swap where there's a few people who aren't the same size, make sure you include housewares, jewellery and accessories, even makeup in the swap - one of my pals is a teacher and she gets hoards of new makeup from her kids that she's never opened! In other words, make sure there's something for everyone.

2). WHAT: Anything goes except undies and used makeup, I think. The first time I hosted one I thought some of my stuff was too junky - but the gals loved it! I go through my closet the afternoon of the swap and am pretty ruthless: if I haven't worn it for a year, chances are I'll never wear it again, so into the pile it goes. And that undie thing? It can be stretched slightly. Last year I picked up a lovely cotton spaghetti strap nightie by Robin Kay, a Canadian knitwear designer. I joked with its owner that she better not have done anything dirty in it, then I washed it and my beau at the time loved it!

3). HOW 1: Displaying masses of clothing can be hard, especially if in a small apartment like me. I'm lucky to have a brass bed: scarves hang over the head bars, pants over the lower bars, and sweaters and tops go on the main portion. I ask people to bring extra hangers and hang dresses, jackets, and nice tops across the shower bar in the bathroom - if there's room that's where we hang peoples' coats too, except you need a clear dividing line so people don't swap each others' coats by accident!!

4). HOW 2: Wine, women and clothing: you can see how things may get out of hand fast. You want every one to walk away with at least one good find, and you want it to be fair, yet fun. Since I'm having 15 gals in tonight, my plan is to let everyone sift through items as people arrive, have drinks, and visit. Once every one gets a chance to get a good gander, we'll draw numbers and have every one pick two things they want. After that, let the games begin: it'll be a free-for-all! I'll let you know how it goes tomorrow.

NOTE ON FAIRNESS: I'm not too hung up about who brings what, so long as every one contributes something in the form of food or drink and clothing. The point, natch, is to have fun, and that's exactly what we do!!

5). HOW 3: I get tons of big store bags in press kits (ok, and from my shopping column) so I store them up so the gals can take their new duds home in a nice bag.

Gotta go make meatloaf! If I've missed anything you'll find out tomorrow, and Lamp and Lighting Week starts Monday!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Decor Diva

I write a regular shopping column for the Town Crier group of newspapers in Toronto, and my editors insist on writing headlines that refer to me as the "Diva." It's a persona, sure, but maybe there's a wee bit o' truth in the diva epithet.

This hot pink acrylic chandelier has a diva-ish feel to it, but also a grunge-queen girlie feel crossed with a semi-junky look (though it is new, it's on sale).

I'm torn: I love it, and I can see it hanging over my dining room table, the area around which, as I see it, needs a little pop o' colour to spiff it up a bit. But the cost is holding me back (I know, chandeliers, even used, don't come cheap ....).


Can't you just see it there above the table, replacing that icky white light fixture??

Reader, what say you?

Note: 85 percent of my lamps are thrift, and this is $165 on sale (though I may get it for less). This week I'll be showing you how you can treat lamps like accessories, much like a scarf or a brooch, that you can change around to create a new look in your space!

Speaking of Decor Diva, here's my Dufferin Mall Challenge shopping column (as promised) about trying to find a $100 gift for charity at the Dufferin Mall in Toronto - NATCH I ended up with a Decor Diva theme!!

Dufferin Mall Charity Shopping Challenge

The Bag

It doesn't have to be an IT bag, oh no. But a well-made bag is the secret to looking like you're worth more than you are, and surprisingly it can be hard to find. I don't typically buy new because I loathe the cheapie bauble-prone bags found in most mass market retailers and can't afford, say, a Birken. But this Matteo Mio by Montreal artist Edmond Salama is artisan-crafted and still looks brand spankin' new after a few months. Yes, it was an investment piece for this deal diva: $250. But well worth it. A great representation of his designs are available in Toronto at Whatever Lola Wants at 1625 Bayview Ave.

On the other hand, if you dig around you can find some real statement piece bags and purses for next to nothing. This patent retro purse with the wonderful shape was only $10 at Bead Goes On, 256 Soudan Ave. (near Mount Pleasant Rd). in Toronto. Reminds me of a bag I used to play dress up with when a little girl!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Coat Notes

I know this looks granny Annie-ish, but when I wear this cashmere coat with the collar flipped up and my sequined toque and big shades, I look like a young Gloria Swanson.

Found at the Toronto Film Studios' semi-annual sale for 10 bucks, it was originally marked at $60. But it was a hot day, and the rest is history. It looks great when I'm all tarted up but also chic with jeans ... in fact I can be a scrag bag underneath but all the world sees is pure glamour ....

Speaking of over-wear, nothing says chic like a well-made retro jacket. I found this quilted Bergdorf Goodman ("On the Plaza New York," the label says) at Common Sort in Toronto at 804 Queen St. East www.commonsort.com during its 50 percent off sale ... for $35! Like my coat, I wear it with everything from skirts to jeans, and the look can range from classy to funky.

There's another 50 percent off sale this Thursday starting 11 a.m., for all you bargain hunters out there....

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Pearls, Girls

The theory goes that hemlines fall with stock prices. Not sure if I buy the argument that consumer confidence somehow correlates to our confidence when it comes to dressing ourselves, but there could be something to idea that we dress more conservatively in times of economic stress. Natalie Atkinson wrote in the National Post about the Little Black Dress coming back in times of economic turmoil, and magazines galore have been talking about the return of classic cashmere and pearls.

Or, you could look at it another way: add on some classic glam for super cheap and keep them guessing as to whether or not you're some rich movie star or heiress in disguise.

I'm really digging costume pearls these days, dug up in thrift shops like Salvation Army and second-hand ones like Value Village. Scour the jewellery cases for multi-strand costume pearls like the ones I featured yesterday - those were $14.99 and VV by Essex of Canada.

My fave: the multi-strand gold-tone chain I found at the St. Vincent de Paul thrift shop for a buck - pictured here with an angora turtleneck sweater.

Or how about those wonderful dripping clip-on earrings, featured up top? Found those not in the case but in the little baggies on the wall at VV for $2.99.

Pair 'em with your Gap turtleneck sweater and you're off to the races, dah-lings.

TIPS:

1). Look for weight and non-flimsy looking clasps and hardware. They usually indicate an older, higher quality costume jewellery piece. Ditto for pearls with yellow strings.
2). Get in the habit of bringing a magnifying glass with you so you can read small stamps on the clasp. I've found Essex, Grosse, Napier, and some unnamed stuff stamped "Made in Canada."
3). Troll the jewellery cases but don't ignore the baubles in the crappy jewellery section, usually in plastic containers on the jewellery cases or, as in the case of VV, in little baggies on a wall display.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Rich Bitch Week!

Ah fellow fashionistas, recession got ya down?

Tune in this week, when I'll share my tips on how to dress like a rich bitch, for cheap.

For starters, pearls ...

But where to find 'em and what to look for??

Clutter Bug Art in Kitchen, Smart Art Finale

Arg, those four boring white walls my super insisted on painting my kitchen have been driving me crazy. So too have all those tiny mis-matched frames and photos I don't know what to do with .... wedding pics, diplomas, awards and other plaques, postcards and pics I love - what do do with them?

The most logical thing: put 'em all in the same place. My kitchen is now a bit clutter bug-ish, but it looks pretty funky. I figure I'll just keep adding things so until pics go up to the ceiling.

When you think of it it's a great way to display pics you don't want hiding in an album (you've probably gathered I'm a tactile person and not at all inclined towards digital frames).

The only thing I'd change is add a pop of drama and colour, like navy blue walls and that hot pink acrylic chandelier I've been admiring in a local shop ....

Consider this a work in progress ....

TIPS: Create your own collections by hanging all the stuff you love - why should it hide away in your drawer? Pictured here, by the coffee maker, a beloved cotton puff snowman pic made from my fave male orderly in the hospital while growing up - it's even signed "Bert." Postcards from my twin sis's art exhibits (that I've put in a retro wood frame); a fave black and white photo of my sis and I in Marseilles, France. Up top, photos of the nieces and nephews, and original art from pals.

Oh, and the clock, by Ingraham Clock Co? Found it in a local thrift shop for $13 - it's exactly like the clock I grew up with and looked at a dozen times a day for 20 years -- can you imagine being sentimental about a clock??

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Print Mint, Smart Art Part 4

This print looks Group of Seven-ish, and you wouldn't believe what I paid for it: $4.99 at my local thrift shop! It's big too - almost 30 by 30 inches. The back says Simpsons Custom Framing - another retro Canadian relic!

I move this around a lot but always leave it on its own, over a bureau or low table, for dramatic effect.




DECOR TIP: I like hanging my paintings low - just a few inches above whatever surface they hover over. Sometimes I hang one extra low - but then the tableau has to be right. More to come ... .

Friday, February 20, 2009

Retro wardrobe ditties for cheap

I'm interrupting my Smart Art series with a very important news bulletin: I visited some of my vintage pal retailers on Mount Pleasant Rd. in Toronto today, and I have all sorts of great updates for all you deal divas out there: great seasonal deals at the best designer vintage consignment shop in Toronto, Act Two at 596 Mt. Pleasant Rd. (you just have to go so no phone nos), where selected vintage fur coats on the deal rack are $20! Owner Inga knows her stuff - she consigns locally but also buys ultra special vintage pieces from France when she can .... the labels are true Euro designer and and the prices are more than decent.

North on Mt. Pleasant at my absolute fave vintage accessory store, The Bead Goes On (256 Soudan Ave), owner Cindy has amassed a hoard of swanky vintage purses and jewellery - the ultra cool thing is she's got items like vintage croc bags for a few hundred bucks and the odd Hermes scarf for under $200, but then you can find the neat fashiony items like I did for under $70.

The boho-chic carpet-tapestry 70s (?) clutch with short chain, above, was $45, and the costume jewellery ring that looks like a cross between a mood ring and a white opal was only $15 - it has something engraved on the inner band but I can't read it .... must invest in a magnifying glass for bauble scoping ....

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Cluster Buster, Smart Art Part 3

I don't just buy original art - but prints too. I like the idea of grouping pieces together on a wall as I've done here, but I learned the hard way that the look is more cohesive if spread over a smaller wall as opposed to a huge expanse.

Most of these prints were picked up for a few bucks each - the only exception being the print on the lower left found at an antique shop (don't mean to put antique shops down: they need to make a living too and have the expertise, but thrift stores are way better for prices).

HOW TO MAKE IT LOOK GOOD: As you can see here I grouped items of similar colour (gee, green, what a surprise!) and style (old world) together.

Another display technique: I group items together (again on a small wall) that I don't happen to have a space or plan for ... call it an 'overflow' wall of sorts. There's still some commonality here, though, as you can see below: the greens, and the fact that these are all paintings (while the other are prints).





The only thing I would change: make the art pop by painting the small wall a dramatic colour, like navy blue.

Over the weekend I'll show you my solution for all the wee wall art bits I don't know what to do with.

In the meantime hang in there, ak, so bad, grungequeen needs to hang her hat and hit the hay ....

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Euro Trash, Smart Art Part 2

No wonder I was drawn to this painting: it's of the winged lion statue at St. Mark's in Venice, Italy. I've always said I'm a Euro kind gal, and I love the greens and seascape (there is an artist signature at the bottom but I can't make it out). I found this at an antique market in Newmarket, Ontario (now closed) for $25 - it was more but the dealers were liquidating due to the imminent closure (great time to get deals; still wish I had picked up that Madonna head vase ... sooo hard to find!).

I move my thrift art around regularly - in fact my pieces frequently engage in a little dance with my lamps and other accessories, each taking a spin around my apartment and settling in a new home on a new wall or surface, in a new configuration and even with a new shade! Later this week I'll show you how I combine art in my displays.



Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Smart Art

Aside from some original pieces given to me by my twin sis artist, I dig up most of my art at the thrift shop. Some is juvenile - literally, as in the case of the self-portrait of a six-year old girl (see "Bittersweet Thrift" from January).

When I troll the thrift shops for art, I'm just like any high-end collector: I buy what I love, what calls to me.

This painting definitely called to me - I love the urban (Paris?) scape and slightly retro feel (yes, it's mounted on a tweedy canvas fabric, tres 1970s). It looks original as the paint is raised and the signature in the bottom right reads "Brasso."

I did a quick Internet search and couldn't find much save for an auction of a Paris scene by a painter with the same name and similar style - the date on that other painting was 1970 (my birth date!) and it was valued at only a few hundred bucks.

That's OK. I love my painting and it filled a rather blank space on my icky-coloured coffee wall. It's the most I've ever paid for thrift art: $89.99, but it's worth it.

This week I'm dedicating the blog to Thrift Art - I'll take you through what I've found and how I display it - and how little I've paid for most pieces!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Persian Conversion

Ok, this may not be completely grunge queen as my new Visa card financed this purchase, but hey, the deal was too good to be had and I've always wanted a blue Persian rug. This one was found in a shop on Broadview Ave. and it's around 100 years old. My folks have a blue Persian rug of a different blue hue, and I was really wanting a blue one to solidify that emotional connection for me ... but blue is hard to find, and blues and pinks in combination are especially rare. All I can say is I've got good shopping Karma to have found this one with kudos to shop owner Nima. I'm in the process of translating this rug, from Maymeh, Iran - I love that it tells a story. My cat Dag, who you see in this pic, loves it too - so much so he's scratching it whenever he can! Check out www.pealac.com - you really must go to the store, though. Rugs are 50 percent off until end of March.

When Dag isn't hairing up and scratching the rug he's lounging on my green velvet chair with his partner in crime, Dinky. I've hardly had a chance to park my butt on the damn thing - my kitties are like nosy biddies: every time something new comes in they commandeer it! Here's hoping the novelty wears off soon ....

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Dumpster Love

He came to me bearing Barrymore loveseats on his back, pulled from a dumpster around the corner. They had this funky Peacock pattern on them (below). Yup, if you want to win my heart, bring me junk from the trash. This same man brought me a custom-made bookshelf (so large it's still in Ottawa, alas), and he tracked down a lamp I admired in a thrift shop window after it had been bought by someone else!

BARRYMORE LOVESEAT (SLIPCOVERED) PULLED OUT OF THE TRASH BY A FORMER LOVE


Alas, those loveseats came and went on my guy's back several times as our relationship ebbed and flowed - every time we were in troubles he'd haul them out; when we made up he'd haul them back. Though we broke up, he kindly left them with me - and I'll love 'em forever!

Other stuff men have brought me from the trash, the height of romance for me: a fully functional (and much needed) vacuum; a retro wood dining table that has the funkiest fold-up panel to extend the table; a couple wood dressers; a filing cabinet ... all very useful and needed - and still used.

Keep 'em coming, gents.

Even the grunge-queen can flub up

Some grunge-queen updates: my pal Cath tried to post a comment about the phone (below) but it didn't work; and my other pal Rob sent me a private message about the phone as he didn't want to post what he had to say on grunge-queen.

Let's just say the feedback was unanimous: what a crappy pink phone! Ok guys, even the grunge-queen has her off days. I exchanged the phone tonight and will post my finds tomorrow.

The ONE thing I don't like about Value Village: their electronics aren't guaranteed to work and yet they won't give you a cash refund or even a store credit - you have 7 days to exchange the item and must do it for the full amount in one visit. Not a good plan for electronics that don't appear to be tested.

On a happy note: I love this egg shaped ornament by Sadler (England). It reminds me of the semi-crappy decorative eggs we'd used to buy Mom for Mother's Day back in the 80s. But this one is so pretty, and it looks older as it has some crazing (looks like cracks) on the bottom. It was $1.99 at my local thrift shop. I'm not egging you on!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Electronics and Thrift Stores

Like my pink cordless phone? Me too - except it's going back to Value Village, where I bought it for $17.99 last week 'cos I was just groovin' on the whole pink thing. But I learned, during a valuable trip to La Source, that the power supply must exactly match the phone it comes with or the phone will blow up. Maybe I should have known this but I'm a girlie chickie boo and not at all technically-inclined. Sadly the power supply I grabbed off the shelf is not the match to this old Radio Shack phone.

True: I recklessly discarded the wholly reasonable rule of not buying electronics second-hand - there are so many reasons not too, even if you test whatever by plugging it in. Items could be old, fried and dangerous, and typically stores don't take responsibility for donated items that malfunction or aren't safe.

But here's a cute wall scone I picked up at my local thrift shop for under $4. I plopped a little lampshade on it that I just happened to have hanging around and doesn't it look cute? I can tell by the cord that this is an old fixture, so I'm careful to not leave it on for long - just to be safe.

And there was a happy ending to my think pink theme: I found a cutie-pie FujiFilm pink camera at The Source on sale. Well a gal with a shopping column and a blog has gotta have a decent camera, no?? And grunge-queens have a thing called plastic for more expensive purchases - though she rarely uses it.

FRIENDLY THRIFT TIP:

Practise common sense with second-hand electronics. Generally the only item I buy with regularity is lamps, but I stay away from old frayed cords. I always test the item in store, and if I'm not sure about it, as I was with the pink phone, I ensure I can exchange or return it within a certain amount of time.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Green Machine Apartment!

I admit it: I'm a green velvet junkie. So I may need to rethink putting my new green velvet chair (found at my local thrift store in perfect condition, not even stinky) next to my green Kroehler loveseat ... there is such a thing as too much green, afterall. But I've never had a true armchair like this to snuggle up on - all my other thrift finds aren't nearly as substantial or comfy (I know, you're thinking of the white one pictured in my Makeover post, but in truth, the springs are gone and I had to build the seat up with blankets underneath ... I found it in the trash, remember?). See, my cat Dag is already checking it out (as he and his cohort Dinky do every time I bring something new in). You can just see the corner of my new Persian rug (will post better pic this week); it gives a bit of contrast.

SOLUTION: I'll move the blue-covered Barrymore loveseat where the green one is so it'll be the contrast between the two green pieces. Hopefully it won't look too weird symmetrical.

This post is dedicated to Lisa Buckland of Potato Skins Slipcovers in Toronto, and her star employee Susan DeSilva, who I had a great visit with recently researching for a column (that I'll link to once it goes online). Lisa is celebrating her 15th year in business and is known for her slipcovers that fit like second skins - they're amazing looking! Congrats Lisa! www.potatoskins.com

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Moody Booty

I've developed a definite thing for mood rings and mood-type jewellery, after finding a beautiful mood ring with a patent number stamped on the inside at Sally Ann for $3.99 and subsequently giving it away to a friend I've since never heard from. Jeepers I miss that ring. I've since found another at a thrift shop for .99 cents (pictured below) but it was the cheapie kind with the adjustable band.

When I saw this bracelet glinting in the Value Village jewellery case, I mistook it for a green amber. Then I saw the glitter specks and thought, "cheapie-deapie." But when I tried it on I noticed the rectangle changing to a brilliant blue - a mood bracelet, only $5.99!

Mood rings and other such heat sensitivity devices were novelties in the 1960s, but I always wonder who the ring is supposed to be changing for. Is the fact that I'm in a black mood and sporting an equally black mood ring (or whatever the colour is supposed to be) meant to warn (or ward?) people off, or is it meant to notify me of my moods before I'm aware of them? I'll have to keep track of this little cuff and see how accurate it is .... See links to my Shopping Column if you want to read more about dandy duds I've found in the thrift shop jewellery cases.

COMING UP: Grungers I have so much to tell you! A new chair, a new 100-year old Persian rug, a Dumpster Love entry for good 'ole Valentine's Day, thrift shopping tips of the trade, and many many more photos & tips on developing chic on the cheap. Stay tuned!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Value Village Victory

We went; we shopped; we conquered.

Today a friend and I shopped VV for a good hour and a half. It was looking grim for a while. Nothing in the jewellery case. Ditto for jeans and dresses. After a troll in the sweaters I knew I was getting desperate; a chunky acrylic bat-wing sweater was actually looking good. I hit a low point in suits, where another acrylic creation of gold and brown had me thinking if I couldn't perhaps stretch the look to Boho....

But we fought the good fight and stuck our shopping ground, my pal finally emerging with a cute suit and picture frame. Still thinking of my short velvet skirt from the day previous (see post below), I didn't have issues with this skirt, $5.99. A thick crepe with white braiding detail, it was obviously a good make (though no tag could be found). I'll wear it tomorrow with black opaque tights, a black turtleneck, my green Simon Chang belt (see Jan 22 post), a bright scarf, and my rock n' roll booties (see Jan 25 post).

We celebrated our victory with beer and nachos after - the perfect end to a Sunday afternoon

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sexy Boho Chic Outfit Outta Nothing At All

In theory this outfit is wrong on so many levels. Orange and black, a fashion no-no; a super short velvet skirt; a strange orange vintage wool jacket with an even stranger arm length.

But with a sheer black nylons, pewter heels, and a vintage elastic belt, this is a boho-chic outfit with a dash of come-hither thrown in (that'll I'll likely try out at a party next week).

The skirt, TeenFlo, $4.99 at Sally Ann; the jacket was under $10 at some thrift store; the belt $30 or so at the Toronto Film Studios semi-annual sale; and the RALPH by Ralph Lauren sleeveless turtleneck and old staple in my closet.

THRIFT TIPS:

1). Don't automatically disqualify something if it calls to you (orange jacket) or even if it appears to go against every fibre of your fashion being (short velvet skirt). I haven't worn a skirt this short (at least 2 inches above my knee) for years 'cos I have definite knee issues, but I decided to try point number two, which is to ...

2). Play up your assets: I have long legs and often forget all about them. A short tight skirt like this, with sheers and sassy BCBG heels, makes my gams look miles long. An extra high waist on the skirt helps lengthen my legs, and the belt detracts from any little tummy I have by highlighting my waist. An outfit that is technically wrong can blossom into a butterfly if worn with a little attitude (wool and patterned velvet and silver shoes), especially if it's calculated to show you and all your bodily parts at their best. (I like that the length of the jacket balances out the short skirt ... and hey, if the skirt doesn't work out it's going to be the most Boho looking pillow in my place).

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Two Buck Pick-Me-Up

Ok, so the grunge-queen has gone out the last few nights and her posts have not been so sparky - forgive me, fellow grungers.

Thrift stores are havens for tacky brooches and pins. Even at good 'ole Value Village, you can find 'em for a $1.99

I steer clear of the snowmen and go for the simple pins, as a rule - and lately the ones I've been digging are circular. I found this gold-tone leaf pin on my way home tonight at Salvation Army for $1.69 - not in the showcase but in this crappy plastic container near the cash.

Again near the cash at another thrift shop, this silver-tone pin was a mere buck. I wear this one on the lapel of a blazer, and the heavier gold one is coat-worthy.

COMING TOMORROW: Sexy chic boho-chic outfit with a weird orange blazer and a short velvet mini - who would of thought??

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Domino's Dead

I need a happy Spring-like photo, not just because I'm sick of winter. The publishers of Domino magazine just announced the publication will be no more after its March edition. Another decor mag, sadly, has bit the dust.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

What's Your Style?

I'm never sure what to say when people ask me what my style is. If pressed I'd have to say Boho -Baroque best describes my most recent look, with a bit of girlie glam thrown in. I like ....

1). Rich fabrics and textures - velvet, silks & embroidery.
2). Lots of bling - silver, mirrors & glittery picture frames.
3). A few straight lines, but lots of curvy ones.
4). Rich gem hues - green, indigo & purple balanced by pops of orange.

Not sure what your style is? Here's how to start:

1). Keep track of particular things you like - in the stores, in magazines, in friends' places - anywhere. Anytime you see a colour, or a chair, or a painting or a pillow, make note of it or write it down.
2). Any way you can classify your list? Try sorting into subheadings like colour, feeling (funky or romantic?), style (country or modern?) and anything else that occurs to you.
3). It's ok if some categories overlap, and don't obsess over names or categories. I have a touch of country in my look, but my overall look is decidedly not country.
4). Anything in your home that fits into any of those categories? Make that your starting point, the pebble plop from which all your create energies and new design elements will emanate. Build around that piece or pieces, together or in separate vignettes.
5). Don't reject items already in your home that don't appear to fit into your ethic. I have a mix of different styles in my home, and they all work because my look is highly eclectic.
6). Accept that your look can constantly evolve. Style is never static as it can be influenced by everything around you.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Men and Thrift

I'll never forget one particularly nasty beau calling a coat I picked up at an Ottawa consignment shop my "Obi-Wan Kenobi" coat. It was a Hilary Radley wrap coat - ok yes, it was brownish, and it had a belt, and - well - it had a hood too. I thought it was chic beyond belief, but I let this guy ruin it for me ... every time I went to wear it thereafter, all I could think was that old fart Obi-Wan. Alas, the coat went in the donation pile recently after sitting in my closet unworn for years.

When my ex called a prized (second-hand) head vase (pictured here) Ichabod Crane, I was ok with it - primarily because it come from a place of fun and love. And I love head vases - they're the freakiest things: vases in the shape of heads, with little openings where the brains should be. This head vase was like nothing I'd ever seen - so elegant, not at all kitschy - and it was made in Spain, not exactly the head vase capital of the world. My feisty cat decapitated Ichabod one day when I was at work, but it was a clean cut, thank God, nothing a little mega glue couldn't cure. I smile every time I look at my elegant lady. She can be swishy - and she can still be Ichabod.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Jewellery for the Queen - of grunge

Five hours at the Dufferin Mall and I have my "Decor Diva" package for charity - I'll put the link up here once the article is published so you can learn what I bought for $100!

Natch, I shopped a wee bit for myself. I normally dig my jewellery up at the thrift store for literally a couple bucks, but I couldn't resist this multi-strand charm neckalce found at Vivah for 40% off. The regal theme is there for sure, but it was those little crowns that did for me (plus I'm still groovin on my rocker chick charm necklace) ....


.... which by the way I have posted another pic of, per Robbie's request to get a better view....

That's a wax mannequin of me - really! Wearing Bongo/Value Village jeans, Dex/thrift store angora top, disco belt given to me by floridagirl, and Giant Tiger jacket found on clearance rack for 5 bucks.

P.S. - grunge-queen also bought something on sale that she's been wanting for sooo long but hasn't been able to find: PURPLE FISHNETS.

Is there anything that's MORE grunge-queen, I ask you??