Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Boho sitting room in the dining room

Almost 20 years ago my best friend and I, in our first apartment together, did a gutsy design thing: we moved the living room into the dining room.

Yesterday afternoon the fine Spring weather threw me onto a full-on apartment re-org, with similar results. The dining room table went out of the dining room nook, and in went one of my Barrymore loveseats.

The final result: such a cozy, lovely Boho look, don't you think?

I love the big gilt mirror on the floor, with the Group if Seven (?) print hanging directly overhead - it looks like the two are connected!

I also like the look of the pretty blue lady painting over the chest of drawers found in the trash. The boho William Morris-esque work of art beside it is by Toronto artist Caroline Price is is my most recent and much-loved art acquisition.

Even the icky overhanging lamp doesn't look so bad.

Why this works, aside from being pretty:

Honestly I rarely use the dining room table, so having it jutting out like that in the middle of the room (see my last makeover series) was a waste of space.

This little nook is a wonderful space to relax after work, free of the TV and computer that's in my regular living room area. I like the idea of having a place to go away from technology, aside from my bedroom. I will do my best to use the space well!

As you'll see in the next few days as I post pics from the rest of my apartment, moving one loveseat out of the living room freed up an otherwise cluttered space and opens up the whole apartment for a breezier summery look.

I really like the cohesiveness of this look - pulled together yet arty. You'll notice I moved all the navy pieces - the loveseat, chair, and two Chinese lamps with blue shades. It doesn't look too dark as I've balanced it out with a lighter carpet and lots of lighting.

What could this all mean to you?

Never ever think you're trapped in by design or all your stuff. I'm a firm advocate of "play" in space and also in things never being static. Your look and space can evolve continually if you want it too. I can understand how that could be scary for some, but I find it invigorating ....

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Nifty thrift gifties

Birthday gifts at the thrift store? Absolutely! Not everyone may appreciate them but if you find items you know the person will love, even used, go for it!

I put together a nifty thrifty gifty for my Mom that she truly loved (I presented it to her yesterday and she was thrilled).

First, she has a collection of teacups that she hasn't added to in recent years. I picked up a gorgeous cup and saucer at Value Village that I knew she'd like for $3.99 - maybe it will inspire her to display her collection as it's hiding away now.

The cup was the perfect vessel for the thrift store pin (again $3.99) - a pretty silver leaf with five leaves, one for every person in our immediate family.

Next I folded up on the saucer a gorgeous silk Diane von Furstenberg scarf that I found at Value Village for under $5, can't remember how much but it may have been as low as $1.99. The scarf is navy and has huge pink flowers and tiny white, yellow and red accents. She LOVED it.

I wrapped it all up in some cello and tied a yellow ribbon 'round the old thrift gift. For around 10 bucks I found a lovely gift for Mom - and if Mom ever reads this she won't be offended over my cheap gift; I think she'd be proud!

1). I do buy clothing for my twin sis as a gift, as she does for me, but I'd say to be careful with this one as it can be tricky. Make sure you can exchange the item with tags on. Most thrift stores don't do refunds.
2). The housewares section of the thrift store is always a good place to start to look for gifts, as you'll find certain collectibles there, anything from china and teapots to silverware, teak bowls and pottery. Unless your loved one is a knic-knac queen I'd stay away from anything that borders on cutesy or kitschy.
3). I always check out the scarves as they make great gifts for stylish gals. I look for quality, usually silk, and anything with a tag that says "London" or "Japan." Anything signed or with a designer name is normally a good bet. Make sure you pick out one with the colours that look amazing on your loved one!
4). If the person loves jewellery take a troll through the jewellery case, and look on top of it and around it too! If you're looking for rings try to get the person's size first, or create your own sizer by measuring a string around one of the person's rings and then take that string with you to the thrift shop. Remember there's a lot of collectible costume jewellery out there so you needn't look for the true gold stuff. A lot of costume rings from the 1970s, I find, have adjustable bands.
5). Guy gifts at the thrift shop? This one may be harder. I'd avoid the electronics aisle at all costs. Clothing may work for some men, but it would definitely help to know if he collects anything. I met a guy who collects old board games at VV the other day.
6). Don't rule out the books aisle. I've found some great - dated - books on decor, Canadiana, and art.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Japanese ironstone

I've developed an eye for Japanese ironstone, a type of earthenware made of clay with iron in it. Japanese ironstone always seems to have a certain look to it: clean and crisp lines with artsy shades.

In Value Village the other day I found a whack of it. A set of four retro cups, with "Primastone genuine ironstone oven detergent craze proof bronze Japan" on the bottom, were only $1.99.

This lone square dish by Mikasa, was $2.99. I plan on using it as a spoon rest.

I agonized a bit more over these contemporary purple plates called Sasaki by Vignelli Designs, Japan.

I loved the purple but had to go away and think on the price, $2.99 for the large plates (4 in the set) and $1.99 each for the 3 bowls and one lone side plate.

But I've been living with avocado green dishes, which believe me make most meals look grotesque. So I went back and bought the lot and got 30 percent off EACH individual plate - please let me digress as this is a post-script to my Sally Ann vs. Value Village post where I mentioned you can get 30 percent off your purchase if you fill up a stamp card. I made the assumption I'd get 30 percent off all the dishes added up us a subtotal. But no, I got 30 percent off each individual plate, which means I didn't get the deal I thought I'd get. If you have the stamp card and want to take advantage of the 30 percent off, you'll get a better bang for your buck if you save it for a higher ticket item!

Still, I love them, and look how great food looks on them! I'll still keep the green ones as I paid a fair amount of cash for them a few years ago. I can even try mixing the green with the purple for the rare dinner party where I have 12 people ...

TIPS: If you like the look of of this type of tableware, troll the thrift shops and always take a peep at the bottom of the item as it should have a "Japan" mark on it.

Crazing - what look like a network of little cracks - indicates the item is probably retro. To my knowledge crazing isn't dangerous and in fact I love the look of it.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Platters Matter

Thrift shops are havens for silver-plated trays for super cheap (a few bucks), but the idea of using a tray or platter seems so outdated - like we should be dolling ourselves up and serving martinis to hubby when he comes home from work at 5:30 p.m.!

The good news: You can do all sorts of semi-crafty things with them that can work with your life and your aesthetic. Try hanging a bunch on the wall like plates. Or I've seen people glue them to small table bases so that they become glistening table tops.

Since I'm more of an opportunistic decorator than a crafty one, I use these pretty trays for display purposes. I never know how to display my perfumes. They tend to look better contained in one space, so why not serve 'em up on this oval shaped platter?

Or how about my collection of pill boxes? Scattered over a table they look just messy. But contained in this pretty tray they look pretty-glam and like a cohesive collection

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

My little beauty nook

My bathroom is painted yellow (so not my choice), so the light is rather ghastly. Plus the kitty litter box under the sink makes for a rather gritty experience when I'm standing trying to put makeup on in the early morning hours.

So I created this little nook in my hallway using a thrift store mirror (maybe $30) and this darling gilt shelf I snagged at a garage sale for two bucks!

Here I put all my baubles from the thrift store, but the natural light is best for any face tweaking.

The only thing I'd change: natch, I need some colour.

I could paint the mirror frame and the shelf, but the work would be too intricate and as you may have guessed, I'm not exactly the handiest of junksters.

So my solution come the warmer weather? Think I will get that navy paint and paint the wall behind it. It's a small wall - part of a small hallway that'll actually look fab painted dark - think it'll be way easier a project than the alternative!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sally Ann Auctions

This is a chair I bought during a Sally Ann Thrift Store auction last summer for $10 (the blue velvet Ikea cushions were scored for a few bucks each at my local thrift store). The chair wasn't part of the auction, though.

I don't know if all the Salvation Army Thrift Stores across the world have auctions, but the ones in Ontario, Canada do. I was curious about how they worked so I attended one in the summer and wrote about the experience for a shopping column.

Believe me, I could have written a novel about it and all the people I met.

The auctions are interesting beasts: they run for a month or so before the big event as a silent auction where you place bids on auction items you want in a binder. Then it all culminates in a live auction event. Generally, the really good stuff is reserved for the auction.

If you're a really competitive person, you'll likely get off on the auctions. If, on the other hand, you're like me and more of a stealthy thrift shopper, you may not enjoy the experience as much. I like finding the deals that people ignore -- hence this $10 Rattan chair I bought while the auction was in full force that was standing in full view of all the auction attendees!

Please read on and click on the link to read my shopping column about the event in the Town Crier group of newspapers, posted on the Ontario Salvation Army Thrift Store's website! Hopefully you'll have a laugh over it....

Click Here to read my experience at a Sally Ann auction!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Updates, Requests & Thank Yous


Since I'm housecleaning at home today I thought I'd do some housecleaning on grunge-queen and give you some updates.

Alas Michael Kors will NOT be at the party this week (hey he went to Holts! And to my credit the invite did make it sound like he was going to be there - guess they meant MK the brand....). But I'm still going in my new (used) dress and will do my best to get pics!

It makes my day when followers and people visiting the site leave comments - I will always leave a comment in response and if you have a blog I'll do my best to leave a comment on one of your postings I like ... think that's good blog etiquette and many bloggers do it.

One request I have, though, is if you have a message of a personal nature that really goes beyond the topic of the blog or posting, that you email me personally at grungequeen@yahoo.com. I moderate comments and have posted a few comments of this nature but to keep the blog focused won't be doing so moving forward. Don't get me wrong: I love making a connection with every one who visits! Oh and comments that purport to be comments but that end up linking to sales sites will not be posted; they normally go right in to my junk folder any way. Thank you for reading; you make my day!

Ok, aside from my dear friend Rob most of you nixed the pink chandelier. It is still sitting in the shop and will stay there for now. Grunge-queen has had to tighten her purse strings so will not be buying $200 plastic lighting fixtures for now. Thanks to all the stylish, thrifty and otherwise well-meaning folk who weighed in on the matter, and no I am not mad at any of you for giving your honest opinion!

Remember the pink thrift phone most of you trashed? (see "Electronics and Thrift" post). I exchanged it for those two beautiful lamps at VV, then went to La Source and bought a new phone.

Then all hell broke loose. After two weeks of functioning just fine the phone started flashing. The blue "message" button and the red "charge" button were out of control and I couldn't get them to stop! This went on for a week or so. Then I came home yesterday and the flashing had stopped.

Is there a little phone Leprechaun in here who's messing with me?

Stay tuned.

Post on Sally Ann auctions is coming, I promise!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Sally Ann Auctions

Coming later today, an article I wrote about attending a Salvation Army Thrift Store auction!

Fashion designers, pizza intervention & jewellery

I'm not doing Fashion Week in Toronto so here's my tribute to designers:

, it's time for me to do a pizza intervention. See, I've been eating pizza (frozen or on my way home from 2 for 1, ak) for dinner since January because I've been working manic hours. No excuse, I know I know. But spring is coming and it's time to change my lazy pizza-loving way. PLUS I'm going to a Michael Kors/Fashion Magazine cocktail party in LESS than a week and I MUST look fabulous in my consignment-shopped Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress I found the other day at Extoggery in Toronto!!

I won't post a pic of it on my body form - will try to get a pic of me the night of the event!!

In anticipation of the event I ate a Greek salad and organic date & walnut crackers by Margaret's Artisan Bakery (yum yum) for din din tonight. Here's hoping I can squish into the dress and look fab while hob-knobbing with Michael Kors!

Speaking of designers I interviewed Franco Mirabelli today http://www.mirabelli.com/
and boy, is he the sweetest most funny and most real designer I've met in a while. Stay tuned as I'll post the article soon!

BTW the brooch I showed yesterday is also a pendant (cool!) - it has a butterfly logo on the back --- not so easy to see here. Anyone know who the maker or designer is?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Value Village vs Sally Ann

I'm continuing my blue theme with this 1980s enamel pin I found at Value Village the other day.

Aside from the thrift store around the corner from me, Value Village and Salvation Army Thrift Stores are tied for my fave second-hand or thrift stores in Toronto.

But I go to them for different reasons.

Value Village:
Pro: Great labels and generally stylish stuff; normally don't have to dig too much to find something good.

Con: But you'll pay more for stuff (generally - see pro below). Though the company pays charity and community organizations for clothing it is a for-profit enterprise. That means it thinks and operates like a corporate entity: it's VV's job to bring the best stuff as possible to the rack so it can make more money ... so you pay more.

For example, my fave pair of Bongo jeans and another great pair of Guess jeans were $24.99 each, probably the highest price point for jeans at VV. Meanwhile at my friendly neighborhood thrift store I found a pair of Bongo jeans that also rock on me for $4.99!

A pro or con, depending on how you see it: I find VV tends to price popular mass-market items - GAP, Old Navy, etc - at rates I'd never pay ... say $14.99 for a dress that new would have retailed for $30 or so. For me that's a pro because I don't buy that stuff thrift and I find the pricing Gods at VV don't always price items by quality ... which are invariably the items I like! Like any good business it will price higher what it knows it can sell.

Pro: But that's not to say there aren't deals, oh no. Good ole VV has them all the time. This year's calendar features cut-out coupons with different sales incentives every month. Right now in store you can also pick up a stamp card where you get a stamp for every $5 spent and 30% off your purchase when the card is full (this applies to donations you drop off too - and while we're at when you drop donations off at the store always tell the cashier as I've received 20% off my purchase that day). There's also the famous 50% off days that are well advertised.

Salvation Army:

Pro: Definitely cheaper. At the location I go to, $3.99 seems to be the magic price for dresses, tops, capris and fabulous rings. In fact where VV prices may vary according to perceived value, Sally Ann tends to have more standardized pricing.

Con: Sometimes a stinky thrift store smell and not as consistent a selection of good brands as VV (though personally I always find something at Sally Ann) ....

Pro: ...which means if you're a real treasure hunter who loves a good dig, Sally Ann is the place for you. When you find that great deal for super cheap you'll do your thrift happy dance!

Pro: Charitable organization with all thrift store proceeds going back into helping people in the community.

Pro: Also have 50 perecent off days and these crazy auctions ... will post a shopping coloumn I did on Sally Ann auctions this week!

FINAL NOTE: Though I'm sure both aim for consistent prices from store to store, prices will vary depending on neighborhood and the store, so get to know which locations have better deals on what.

Happy thrifting!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Something Blue

I know it's St Patty's Day and all, but I'm a bit blue today .... that's a good thing in my world!

As you can see by my pad I favour the rich deep blue tones in plush velvety fabrics, but I also incorporate different blue tones throughout my space ....

I love this wee vintage gilt compact with a blue-dressed fancy lady on it as much as I did 20 years ago when I bought it for $20 at a Queen St. West store in Toronto. She sits on my bureau with my pill box collection and other tiny decorative boxes.

To fill a narrow space in a bland hallway, I stuck up these beautiful postcards, sent to my by my best friend, on my wall as art.

I like the way they pick up my teal blue pashmina, which in turn pops so well against my yellow Bill Blass swing coat, thrifted for $12!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Accidental Collections

Yesterday's post has got me thinking about collections that just come together out of convenience or haphazardness.

A collection worthy of display can be anything you have in some number that you love - like these pebbles from the Mediterranean, bits of worn glass - even a very dated golden button from an vintage bolero I used to own, scattered across a worn wood surface....

The same idea, with a few pretty blue marbles thrown in and the pebbles contained in a silver bowl....

Speaking of, bowls can contain all sorts of on-the-fly collections. My mom used to have a button box (what mom in the 1970s didn't?) I used to revel in sifting through.

So why not treat those stray and fall-away buttons as pretty baubles? Having them visually apparent may help me remember to sew on the stray ones!

Collections can be made up of of bibs and bobs that separately don't pack much of a display punch but together create a sweet little vignette - like the semi-crappy candles and a pretty decorative box scattered over a small thrift store tray.

And can collections be comprised of sheer clutter, like the paper stuffed in this bowl?

For the grunge-queen, you bet your buttons.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Karma Clusters: Box Groupings

Oftentimes collections can be accidental. Over the years I've accumulated a bunch of decorative boxes, many as gifts. For a long time I never knew how to display them. I'd try to incorporate them into my decor individually, and sometimes this would work. Recently I've discovered there's strength in numbers - and it's so much easier to just pile them artfully on top of eachother!

There is a little method to my display madness, though. As you see I've grouped solid-coloured boxes together in one tableau, and patterned or engraved ones together in another.

I call these box groupings Karma Clusters as I store little treasure from my past in them - everything from home-made Valentines and love letters to ticket stubs, my fave earrings from grade nine, a cork from France, and a bracelet from an old beau....

These box clusters emit mega happy rays, major nostalgia power that binds me to my past and invigorates my present in very self-affirming ways!

And it doesn't all have to be hidden. I get a quick Karma fix when I glance at this glass box and see an old spoon my childhood "Nanna" gave me as I loved it so; and a gold filter from a blue ciggy smoked in grade nine; and a skull and crossbones tag that was attached to some uber potent home-made beer my bro-in-law gave me in the 1990s; a bottle of perfume that used to belong to my best friend, her fave scent that reminds me of her .... btw I don't smoke any more so I can be nostalgic over my wild and carefree days of grade nine!

You can incorporate even the teeniest items into your decor. Remember there's no rule saying you can't surround yourself with the little bibs and bobs you love ....

Friday, March 13, 2009

Breaking thrift rules

Grunge-queen is bagged tonight, so you get a pic of me from my very recent archives, sporting not just a new do but also a sweater I picked up at Value Village last week for $5.99.

I normally wouldn't have given it a second glance as my general rule is to NEVER buy acrylic, especially thrift as it tends to be the old, very scary brand of acrylic.

But this actually looked more like wool, and I just loved the style - a chunky cowl-neck and batwing sleeved three-quarter tunic with silver thread woven throughout. Worn with my crochet silver ball earrings given to me by a Toronto artisan, I thought the look was pretty chic.

The tag is a little incongruous considering my urban hip outfit: it reads "Country Girl."

Well, call me a little bit country.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

No Waist Waste Here

Grunge-queen doesn't have all the great ideas. I owe this one to my friend Cath, who at the clothes swap a few weeks back was eyeing this belt I tossed into the mix.

Cath put it on over her head and voila: instant necklace chic.

She was a sweetie to boot as she left it there for me to reclaim - from my own stash! I wore it the next day and it looked like some swanky necklace.

Then a few days ago I was trolling the baggie jewellery rack at Value Village (see posts below) I found a HUGE baggie marked "$1.99." Inside, two retro belts (smelling of a really strong and equally retro perfume) linked together.

That's less than a buck for each!

The "belt," let's just say, is impossible as a belt - 28 inches, my exact waist size. But as a necklace? Well, doesn't it look artsy chic?

Here's the other one on a real body with a real outfit - tres 70s chic, n'est pas?

Worn with a Mexx cowl neck sweater (a few bucks at the thrift store) and wool houndstooth American Eagle blazer ($7.99 at the same). That's half an outfit for around 10 bucks!

Put your creativity to the test!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Grunge-queen history: $1.69 thrift dig

Sure, I've found Liberty of London silk scarves in mint condition in junk stores and patented mood rings for $3.99 at the Sally Ann Thrift Store. But I've never, ever in grunge-queen history left a thrift store with two great items for $1.69 - including taxes! This is grunge-queen history, ladies and gents.

I've always wanted something like this but haven't found anything until trolling my fave neighborhood thrift shop this afternoon. There, this yellow-tone Lucite box was $4.99 and had some toxic-smelling Styrofoam stuffed in it. When I took it to the cash to pay the $4.99 that was on the tag, the cute guy at the thrift shop told me the decorative spoons that fit in the Styrofoam grooves were missing (likely stolen) ... so he ended up giving it to me for 99 cents.

I celebrated by putting a Liberty of London scarf in it along with another retro striped silk scarf. I love the way it pops against black velvet.

I loved the lines and gold & silver of this retro bud vase on sight - no wonder as it's stamped "Japan" on the bottom and most vases I find are (very likely many pre-war ones were made there).

The price had been ripped off, a common enough occurrence in thrift stores, so cute guy offered it to me for 50 cents -- at first I refused then gave in. I just looked at the bill and he let me have it for 49 cents, the sweetie pie.

Can love of thrift and a little crush at the thrift shop intersect?

TIPS: If you like the idea of a Lucite box to display your treasure but don't want to pay the big bucks in the design shops, try checking out restaurant suppliers or restaurants. A vendor told me he found the clear Lucite boxes with flip up tops I admired at a restaurant supplier. It didn't appear he had to buy in bulk, so it may be worth checking out.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

$5 or less pick-me-up

Believe it or not, most of the fab jewellery I pick up at the thrift or second-hand store is 5 bucks or less.

My trick is to take a peep in the jewellery case, but pay more attention to what is deemed to be semi-crappy jewellery outside of the case -- either hanging on makeshift racks or jumbled in plastic trays on top of the jewellery cases.

Value Village tends to bag and hang the jewellery its price makers don't think merit a visit to the cabinet. True, most of this stuff is horrifying 1980s earrings and 1950s earrings worthy of some crafty project, but if you sift through it all you can find some gems, like the Art Deco-ish gold and yellow glass (?) pin I found for $1.99

Ditto for this sterling silver floral pin - same price.

Two of the stones were missing but I just happened to have some old pins with stones falling out hanging around my place - some hard core glue and a couple minutes got me a brand new brooch!

TIP: Sometimes the powers that be at VV circulate the pins out of the case to the cheaper baggie rack (haven't seen them do this with necklaces).

This gorgeous silver leaf pin was in the case for weeks and sat untouched - not sure of price inside but I bet it was more. I went back the other day and it was hanging on the rack for $3.99!

It'll make the perfect B-day gift for mom as she loves pins on her coats. It has five leaves and I know she'll appreciate the idea: one leaf for every member in our family.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Lamp Week Finale: more lamp camp tips

I wasn't sure Lamp Week was really doing it for y'all, but thanks to a comment on Lamp Camp, below, I've come back from two sick days off with renewed lamp vigor ....

But before I give you another tip on lamp hardware, here are some easy things you can do to spruce up your lamps at home ....

Hang things from 'em: necklaces, chandelier crystals, or in this case, a plastic bauble (that's hanging from a cheap necklace chain wound around the harp of the lamp).

Paint 'em:
This buffet lamp was a boring brassy brown. When I went through a silver spray paint phase a few years ago, many accessories and pieces of furniture in my pad were on the receiving end of my spray can.

Over time the look actually becomes nicer, more distressed, as the paint wears off.

Put stuff on 'em:
This was the lamp a former love went back to get for me in the thrift shop, only to discover someone else had bought it. He had a feeling one of his thrifting pals in the 'hood bought it, so he went to his house and rescued it from that man's closet for little 'ole me (see Dumpster Love post).

It's a funny little wrought iron lamp with a cut out rectangle where something once must have fit in. I still can't find a box to fit it, so here I put on old copy of "Paradise Lost" on top.

Get handy: Yes, I'm not at all handy: this was my ONE handy project and I will never do it again. I found this Pottery Barn chandelier at a garage sale for $5 - it still had the tag on it and I can see why, as there was no cord or anything, just the shell.

What was I going to do with this? I went to a hardware store and bought some gold chain electrical cord (and because the lamp hardware was pewter) a can of pewter paint. I spray painted that damn wire and had the whole thing dry on my fire escape at the time. When it was done it actually looked ok, but never again ....

The gift of light: my garage sale pal Matthew gave this to me as he knew I loved it. Still trying to find a lampshade for him (the lamp, silly, not Matthew!) - a black wig or a top hat one would look way cool, but it could be hard to find something like that (unless I somehow fashion an old hat into a shade?).

Any thoughts for a shade that will work on this? The lamp isn't that tall, only 8 inches to the top of the head and there's no harp hardware on it.

One last lamp hardware tip: if you have a lampshade like this and want to put it on a lamp with a harp, no fear, you can do it so long as you have one of these disc things I found with one of the thrift lamps I bought recently.

Simply put the disc on top of the harp, where the finial screws into, and voila!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Lamp Week Interrupted: today's thrifty deals!

We interrupt Lamp Week to bring you this important announcement: I scored some major finds thrifting today!

Hear me out: I haven't thrifted for two weeks, scared into my retail-phobic shell by horrible recessionary news of media layoffs and more. But I needed a pick-me-up today for various reasons, so I hit my fave suite of shops on my way home from work today.

At 69 Vintage by the Pound (1234 Bloor St. West), where they sell clothing and accessories for $15 a pound, this purse ended up being $10.50. I love its bones, eventhough it appears to be missing a chain handle. It's white faux croc/vinyl with yellow specks, and the inside reads "Made in England by Persaud of London." I loove it. Was able to take most of the gunk off with soap and water but may need to try something stonger for the brown blob and some of those blue streaks.

Across the street at Salvation Army Thrift Store (1219 Bloor St. West) I trolled the jewellery cases for rings. If you click on the Shopping Column link you'll read of my finding a patented mood ring for $3.99 in that very case, one I gave away to someone who doesn't appear that worthy of it now. Today, I got my Karma back: this gorgeous gold tone adjustable ring that reminds me of some beautiful botanical jewellery I've seen out of New York was only $3.99!

I learned at my potluck this week that I need a cake plate for desserts and such. This lovely cut glass platter was only $4.99 - it's flat, with a tiny raised pedestal on the bottom, and the yellow swirly leaves are cut out from the bottom and create a pretty effect.

There's more - I got two charming spring/summer dresses plus the above for under $30! More to come!