Friday, July 31, 2009

Green sparkly velvet pillow

You may know by now my penchant for green velvet - I have a chair, and a Krohler loveseat you see here, both thrifted.

When I found this green velvet pillow with sparkly embellishments at the same store where I found my inexpensive sheet set (see a few posts below), I had to get it for my loveseat.

It was only $3.99.

It's a long-weekend in Canada this weekend, so let this pillow serve as a symbol of the rest, relaxation and fun I desperately need and am going to have this weekend!

Have a good one!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Gold, silver & gold

I'm not a huge fan of brass nor am I a clock collector, but I loved this clock by H. Samuel made in West Germany.

I found it in my local thrift shop for $5.99.

It looks very Old World when positioned in front of some of my old books.










Though I love glittery things, I also like old, worn and tarnished pieces that used to gleam and glisten.

This silver jug has a nicer look when oxidized, I think, than it would all shiny and new looking.

I bought it at the same thrift store in Toronto, Stretch Thrift, for $3.99. I tried to fit a plant into it but it didn't work, so it's just on its own for now.

This silvery vase was $10 at a west end Toronto junk store. Sometimes I put flowers in it but more often than not it sits empty and hangs out with my other gold & silver stuff on my new dining table.

What I'd love to find, for super cheap natch: an old silver trophy, with the handles and everything.

Once I get an idea in my head about something I'd like, it tends to come to me. So I'm just putting the trophy thing out there.

Now, what about that rich & romantic man?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Goodwill dig after column yesterday

I'm not trying to be fresh.

I just want to show some of the fab stuff I picked up at the Goodwill thrift store in Toronto after doing a shopping column on St. Clair Ave. West yesterday.

These sexy fabric and leather stappy cork wedgies with padding on the sole by Foot Petals were only $6.99.

They're way more comfortable than the shoes I was doing my column in, plus they're a tad saucy.

And the wedgies aren't heavy. They're actually a dream to walk in. So much for the general rule that you can only find crappy shoes in the thrift stores.


I also found this silky Banana Republic tote with leather straps and bottom for $3.99.

It'll be perfect for carrying my lunch and other junk when I'm out doing a column.




Meanwhile this beat up retro suede clutch was $3.99, but I asked for a discount as the leather is coming away from the hardware on one end, and the gal gave it to me for $2.99





I bought it because it opens in a way you wouldn't expect. If I were a designer I'd use the idea.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Make your own bed - then lie in it!

Grunge-Queen couldn't get out of bed this morning. Not just 'cos she was up late reading her fave Agatha Christie novel, but also because she was feeling so good ensconced in bed in her new 100 percent cotton sateen sheets....

I'm picky about sheets - no polyester - but I can't afford to buy them new very often as they can run upwards of $100 for a double set.

But lately I've been hankering for some ALL WHITE cotton sateen sheets, and once I get an idea in my head, watch out.


Then I went into a mom and pop bed and bath place a 5-minute walk from my place and found some lovely Lynda Reeves' cotton sateen sheets.

Only problem: there were flat sheets only, no fitted sheets.

My solution? I bought a flat top sheet in size double for $9.99 and a Queen flat sheet for $14.99, then simply used the Queen set as a bottom sheet. I used to chambermaid in high school so I know how to tuck in sheets tightly!

Then I found some plain white and champagne-hued pillow cases for $2.99 a set.

And voila: I have a crisp new summer bed for about $30.

I also found this gorgeous cotton sateen duvet cover for $29.99 at the same place. Burnt orange typically isn't in my colour palette, but I have slowly been leaning toward oranges the past six months (remember the $5 wool area rug?).

If you really love or want something, as I did with a pair of white sheets, don't be scared to make your own rules. In this case it didn't bother me a whit that I didn't have an official "set" - since my solution was pretty much the same.

I'm going back for a second pair. Then to sleep, perchance to dream ....

Monday, July 27, 2009

Books & baubles

I love coffee table books but will never pay full price for them. Sometimes I find them used in thrift stores, but that's rare. More often than not they're in discount book places or second-hand book stores.

I discovered this Vanity Fair book containing the best photos and articles from the 1920s-30s, for only $16 when doing a shopping column in the Leaside Business Park in Toronto (on old industrial park - see my Twitter updates for all links to my shopping columns).

This book has something on everyone, from Isadora Duncan to Carl Sandburg to the Ziegfelds - pretty much every artist, actor, political thinker or author you could think of crammed into an era's worth of a book that's in great condition.

Sigh. Does it seem that we have less people like that in the world at the moment? Glamour like it exists in these pages doesn't seem to be a reality today - we're too busy de-glamourizing everything from celebrity life to TV programming.

These baubles have nothing to do with Vanity Fair or the 1920s and 30s, but they were all found at thrift shops for cheap and exude a certain amount of glam.

There are several clear crystal-like necklaces from the 1950s I found lately wound around a hanger as you see here, along with a multi-tier red necklace that was only a few dollars at Goodwill.

They look like glittery little candies hanging here, don't they?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Celebrate style with roses & reorgs

Men just keep giving me beautiful roses in my fave colour, this peachy orange hue.

This was a pleasant surprise indeed, sent long-distance from a kind man I do editing work for, on the completion of a project.

After my stressful and technically challenged week, they made my day.

And they just happen to look fab in the corner I re-jigged as a result of my angst-ridden decorating identity crises (yes that's an Antrolpologie lampshade, doesn't it look great?).

I've learned the past few weeks, the hard way I guess, that tweaking and de-cluttering is good for the soul (thanks to Sonya from Dime Store Thrift on her comment to this effect), but stressing about whether or not your design style is "good enough" is just so self-defeating.

So, this slightly pared down but still wholly me a la slightly junky-clunky Grunge Queen is where, happily, I'm resting.

For the moment, that is.

And speaking of tech challenges can anyone tell me why the photos in my Flickr badge aren't showing but the badge is? Or can you see them and I can't?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

My new dinner table

Thirty dollars.

When I was at my friendly neighborhood thrift shop, Stretch Thrift, and saw the price tag on this uber heavy solid wood dining table with slightly worn veneer on top, I was flabbergasted to say the least.


Why so cheap? A bit of wear and tear - charming in my opinion - but otherwise in fab condition.

Who cares, really? The purchase of the table coincides with my streamlining re-do. It confirms that Kelly's got her groove back, not to mention her thrifting Karma.

I can leave it as is, in its grungy worn state, or spruce it up when I'm feeling ambitious in the future.

I love the legs and the curves at the bottom.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Technical glitch

Grunge-queen is having technical problems thanks to a laptop virus picked up from a blog I visited, wah. So she's posting from work in a furtive moment.

She hopes to return to regular programming tomorrow, when she will share with you her gorgeous SOLID (and uber heavy) old wood table thrifted for a mere $30.

Happy grunging in the meantime!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Decorating identity questioned

I junk; therefore I am ... a good decorator?

There's nothing like seeing someone else's beautifully decorated apartment. It can cause tremendous joy, seeing art and Persian rugs and books so artfully arranged - but it can also inspire neuroses.

A few weeks ago I visited the apartment of a pal in the building, and let me just say it threw into question my very grunger's existence:

One look at my pad after and I could see what I never saw before: the clutter, the papers, the mis-matched furniture, the junky look.

It wasn't a good feeling.

Since then I've been cleaning out the papers and rearranging and editing furniture, objects and art in an effort to streamline my space.

Some furniture has been tossed. Other bric-a-brac has been shoved in the closet and may make its way to a sale of some sort, or even a thrift shop.

I'm not sure if my new look is going to work out - I think when we question and compare ourselves in negative ways that creativity can be stifled. And after all, once a junker, always a junker, no?


Still I like what I did above with the big white (new) lampshade found at the Salvation Army Thrift Store for $7.99. It had a funny base that wouldn't allow me to attach it to the lamp the correct way, so I flipped it over and voila: I have a funky Art Deco-inspired look with an upside-down lampshade!

Maybe the Grunge Queen has a tad of spunk left in her.

Stay tuned. The overhaul - and identity crises - is still in progress.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Explore your decorating alter ego

I would normally never buy a pillow such as this - it's a bit frou-frouish for me.

I found it at the Salvation Army Thrift Store for $1.99.








Ditto for this one (handmade pillow, $2.99 at the Salvation Army Thrift Store).

And this one below, $2.99 at the same store, is a bit washed-out beachy for me.


But as I discovered as I progress with my balcony makeover, having a somewhat discrete space in your living area like a balcony can be a decorating get-out-of-jail-free card, allowing you to explore your decorating alter-ego ... in this case a Shabby Chic look I would NEVER have explored in my indoor living space.

And on a practical side, since they're used and thrift I don't care so much about their getting mucked up further by the elements ....

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Romance & trash: my balcony project

Romance and trash? Definitely a doable combo.

Two things for my current patio project were given to me by men I've dated/am dating.

An ex gave me the silver hanging box planters - yes, he found them in the trash!

I plan on putting herbs in them. I know, it IS a little late in the season but I'm a novice balcony gardener, ok?







See, I even have the pebbles in the bottom, ready to go!

Mmm, come to think of it I got the pebbles from the business of the man I'm dating now.

And to be honest, he bought me my flowers and herbs, the sweetie.

After I told him I needed a tiny wrought iron table or some such thing for my patio project, 'lo and behold he found me this brass marble-topped table that was left behind.

Isn't it just perfect?

Romance and trash: it works. My legs are jelly, really!

Let's see if I can get him to drill holes in the concrete for my sheer curtains ... Grunge Queen isn't so handy....

Then I can make him dinner as thanks - and serve it on my new balcony!!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Patio project proceeds - slowly!

Perhaps its the less than seasonable temperatures, or maybe it's because it's been crazy busy, but my thrifty patio project is moving along at a snail's pace.

But with the purchase of some herbs and flowers yesterday, I was able to spruce up the balcony a bit.

I found this huge planter - that looks like it's been broken and glued together several times! - on the curb. It now houses my new Hibiscus, which I'm told is super easy to care for.




The other pots, both signed Italy on the bottom, were found for a few bucks each at thrift and consignment shops.

Tomorrow I'll show you what the men in my life, past and present, have contributed to the project. Yes fellow grungers, thrift and romance can coexist!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Trifari choker could be worth something

My best friend bought me this lovely, almost pocket size hardcover book for my B-day, Shopping for Vintage: The Definitive Guide to Fashion.

In it there are beautiful colour illustrations of the creations of much coveted and collectible clothing and accessory designers, along with descriptions of their main looks and what to look for when shopping for them.

Needless to say most of the designers are pretty high end, their wares like nothing I'd see in the thrift shops.

But the book helped me realize a necklace I bought last summer for $10 in a junk store outside Morrisburg, Ontario could have way more value than I thought originally.

I knew Trifari jewellery was somewhat collectible, but it wasn't until I read the write up on it that I realized how much.

This pretty silver tone leaf choker is signed "Trifari", a signature which, according to the book's author Funmi Odulate, means the piece was made before 1923.

All Trifari pieces after that date are stamped "TFK", so if you find a bauble stamped "Trifari" or Trifari and Trifari", you'll likely have a more collectible piece.

I haven't figured out what the value is on this necklace but I don't care much: I'm just kinda thrilled to know the Grunge Queen did pick up something somewhat collectible - I loved it on sight so it's still just as meaningful to me.

I always look for signed jewellery pieces when I do the thrift dig, though a signature doesn't mean an item is worth gobs of money. Sarah Coventry jewellery is highly collectible and often signed but I don't think it fetches the big bucks as there were so many pieces made.

Sometimes signatures or stamps change over time, as Trifari's did, and that can help you identify which era the piece was made in and possibly its value.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Trash couch re-do

This is my couch re-do, my Barrymore loveseat found in the dumpster, slipcovered by Lisa Buckland and her crew at Potato Skins in Toronto!

Note: any scrunchy bits you see are the fault of the couch's owner, not the slipcover Gods at Potato Skins.


The fabric is a suede-like microfibre that wears well and doesn't pick up as much kitty hair - it also makes it more difficult for the little critters to scratch. I love the deep blue.




This is how it used to look before, with a shapeless velvety cover I bought from some department store over it.

You can see how scrunchy-bunchy it was.

And the cat hair - don't get me started.

Slipcovers can look just like reupholstered pieces, especially if you get the uber custom kind that zip on. My kind is the less expensive version where they measure the couch and make a piece of fabric that you drape and fold and then pin into place. I even had the cushion covered!



Speaking of cushions, don't you just love the gold lame circular pin-cushion pillow I picked up at the Sally Ann Thrift Store for $1.99?

The $2.99 factor

I swear to the Thrifting Gods, every thing I like at the Salvation Army Thrift Store is $2.99 or $3.99.

Last week I did a Sally Ann dig on the way home - it had been too long, alas - and found two costume jewellery rings in the case for $2.99 each.

How could I leave them there?
They're not valuable per se - not like the other piece of jewellery I'll show you this week sometime as promised - but I just love the look of a big costume cocktail or dinner ring - so dramatic, for just pennies a finger!


Click on my Jewellery label link to the right to see more great thrift store jewellery finds and how to find the good stuff.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Family & garage sale necklace

It's been a fun, busy week as family has been visiting.

Here's a pic of me and my sis on a patio in Toronto.

I'm wearing one of my fave garage sale finds here: a 1960s three-tier necklace made of heavy plastic (I think) with gold jangly bells inside the black circles.

Crappy description, sorry, but for $22 - the most I've ever spent on one piece at a a garage sale - this necklace was well worth it.

I wear it with everything. It can morph from a classy outfit to slightly more rocker-hip garb with ease.

Grunge Queen philosophy: you can always jazz an outfit up with an inexpensive piece of costume jewellery found at the thrift store or in someone's driveway.

Nest week I'll have a story for you about a necklace I found for $10 that I just discovered may be worth something, thanks to a B-day gift from my best pal!

Happy weekend!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Canada Day parties & sisterly inspiration

Yesterday's post should have been my Canada Day post as I featured red and white roses, but here's an entertaining post for those of you who are BBQing today.

My sis hosted a party the other day and decorated with pink everything. You can tell she's related to the Grunge Queen 'cos she kept her decor cheap n' easy.

The pink roses were plucked from the rose bush in the front of her home, and all she did was snip 'em and plunk 'em in some plain white bowls and voila: instant centre-pieces!


I love the cake - so girlie, so sweet, so preety - and so easy!

All she did was put yellow, pink and orange smarties on top - you see they match the dollar store napkins she bought!

Way to go, sis. Lovely party.

And Happy Canada day to fellow Canadians!