Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Coat a la thrift

I'm not just a chair addict: I also have a thing for retro, well-made coats.

And since it's 12 degrees C this morning it's the perfect time to show you the ad FAB coat I picked up at my local thrift shop, Stretch Thrift, for $12.99 - yes, $12.99!

There's more: it's in mint shape, not a hole, hanging thread or pill to be found.

The tag says Heatona, Leeds and London and it says it's made in Scotland with pure new wool cloth, and it actually has a trademark symbol on it for the Scottish Woolen Association.

Just look at the detail on this coat! The buttons, the collar, the pattern - even the lining hasn't a rip in it.

This baby is going to look incredibly stylish with everything from skirts and boots to jeans and chunky sweaters - I can hardly wait to wear it!

I always look for well-worn (ie: not worn) wool that doesn't stink of mothballs. Lately I have been looking for wool with tags from Scotland as they seem to wear better and appear to be of a higher quality than most I see. Generally these makes tend to be more classic in style as opposed to trendy, meaning their styles are applicable today and highly wearable!

Tomorrow I'll show you another goodie I found at Value Village ....

Monday, September 28, 2009

Plucked from the trash

Ok, I have a problem with velvet and chairs.

I was walking home the other day and saw these gorgeous green velvet bucket chairs across the street. They were even made in Canada!

Reader, you already know I have too many chairs, and too many velvet ones at that. So I didn't even turn the chair over to see what kind of shape it was in ....

But I did nab one of the cushions, just to keep my hand in, you understand.

I plopped it on the seat of this faux bamboo chair (found, come to think of it, by the same apartment building trash), whose seat was falling out. The velvet cushion keeps the chair intact now and looks better than the 1970s caning across the original seat.

Needless to say, the kitties are loving it - here's Dinky hanging out on it.

Meanwhile those chairs are still across the street, being rained on, wah. Should I have brought one home even if I had no space and a few too many velvet pieces in green and blue?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Reader inspired by grunge queen

I feel like a proud mother.

My pal and colleague Cathy P is an avid follower of this blog, for which I am flattered and grateful.

But she's never plucked a gem from the trash before.

That changed yesterday when she spied a suite of dining room chairs - which she needed - by the dumpster across the way. The office there looks as though it's being renovated, so they're clearing stuff out.

Cathy tells me she thought of me and then recruited the gaggle of people she was outside with to help her haul them into our office.

Here's the dumpster in question.

It looks innocent enough doesn't it?

Cathy's chairs are in great condition - wood with upholstery on the seat that she can live with. She plans on recovering them one day.

Way to go Cath, I love your trashing ways, you go girl!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Blue room

This is part deux of my bedroom makeover.

I've never had a reading nook in my room and I wanted my new blue velvet chair to stand out rather than be incorporated with the rest of my chairs in the living room.

Plus, the chair was being commandeered by both cats.

I took the brass table from off the balcony and plopped some books and one of my many lamps on it - and voila. I've already enjoyed a few readings in my little corner.

Speaking of blue, I've had this gorgeous blue beaded purse made in Belgium for about a decade - thrifted for a few bucks at a thrift shop in Ottawa.

The clasp is broken and frequently flops open, so I use it mainly for display.

It's too pretty to pile up with my other retro and vintage clutches so I will either hang it on the wall, or hang it from a drawer pull as I have here.

As with so many of my fave things, I love the way it sparkles.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Regrets, I've had a few

BoldI've become pretty adept through my thrifting adventures at weeding out all the stuff I want to buy on a whim but will never wear from the stuff I'll truly wear.

As a result I have minimal regrets re: the deals I've picked up.

Except for this straw cowboy hat - straw cowboy hat!

I bought it new at a discount store for a few bucks, and at the time I thought it was very Carrie Bradshaw a la Sex in the City....

Think it would have looked better on Carrie.

It's now in the thrift store pile for some other deal seeker to pick up.

Do you have any thrifting regrets, something that worked in theory but not in application?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

New room

Here are some pretty decorative details from my bedroom makeover - which morphed out of a fall closet cleanup over the weekend.

My uber pricey lampshade from Anthropologie looks even more boho girly with some of my thrift store pearls and retro crystal-like baubles laced across the top.

The lamp base, by the way, was picked up at Value Village my first year in Toronto. Call me lazy but the pricetag - $5.99 - is still on it! It's one of my fave lamps.

Showing my bedroom may be a wee bit personal - the Victorian in me is cringing - but he the decor mags do it don't they?

I ended up moving a different pic over the bed as my makeshift headboard didn't provide a lot of contrast.

You may be able to tell that I'm in pared down mode. It feels good to declutter and get rid of stuff that's piled up and clogged my life.

I think, especially with the juvenile folk-like painting, that the look is sort of peasant-y.

The blanket at the bottom of the bed I bought at an end of the line retail store - it was $20 and I've seen the exact same one for $60+ in other stores. Dag is now kneading it to death.

On the wall: a vintage wool Holt Renfrew blazer I've had since high school.

The brass bed: bought with small portion of my scholarship money while doing graduate work in Ottawa - for a mere $125.

Blooming into fall

Ahh, last day of summer today and first day of fall tomorrow. Mixed emotions, totally.

If you're a reader of this blog you'll remember some of my outdoor decorating projects like my balcony.

Well I was pretty thrilled this weekend when my hibiscus bloomed agin - the weather has been so lovely it's no wonder.

And just look at that lavender!

Can you see the tiny purple flowers on top??

Hey what's that to the left of the lavender? That's the roses blooming!!

Summer, keep on bloomin' - I'm still hanging out, happily, on my balcony.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Hairy chairy

Remember the chair I recently bought (see this past M onday's post)?

I haven't had a chance to sit in it.

As you see here, Dag uses it as a bathing perch. Dinky frequently sleeps on it but I just happened to catch Dag in action the other day.

I'm only mildly annoyed, because it's just so cute that my kitties want to hang out in the new chair.

And Dag looks so darn cute doesn't it?

You can see that I've moved the chair and added a more comfy cushion, in anticipation of being able to watch the TV ....

Obviously, I haven't had a chance to do that yet.

When one of them does manage to vacate the blue velvet, I sometimes catch a glimpse - fleeting as it is - of cat hair matted over the seat.


Hopefully the novelty will wear off for the kiddies soon. Then maybe I'll get a chance to enjoy my "new" chair.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Indie greeting card for dumpster divers?

I love this card - in case you can't see the print it reads "Antiques Road Kill" under a bunch of junky second-hand relics riding in a car.

It's by Cara Scissoria cards out of LA and I found it on Danforth Ave. in Toronto in Drysdale and Co.

Natch it's published on recyled paper.

Owner Susan Drysdale has expanded her greeting card collection as a result of a nearby shop closing last year, and I must say I had trouble picking out a B-day card for a pal as there was so many funny cool ones to choose from.

I picked up this one for me. There's a fab collection of indie cards, jewellery, handbags and other accessories at Drysdale's shop.

Located at 107 Danforth Ave., just east of Broadview; 416-484-8592.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Matt and Nat bag a la Sally Ann

The cooler weather has arrived this morning, and it's time to change my sassy yellow bag that I bought on sale last month and have been wearing ever since.

(I wore it last night to a cocktail party and several eyebrows were raised by my colour combination. I thought it was quite jazzy).

This can be one of my fall bags - a Matt and Nat red bag picked up at the Sally Ann for - wait for it - $4.99!

It still had the tissue inside!

I've always wanted a handbag by Matt and Nat but could never afford one - they run at a few hundred bucks.

The company is known for its vegan handbags and socially responsible ethic.

Come to think of it I have red Mary Jane shoes that'll match it!

Monday, September 14, 2009

She scored blue velvet

Do I need another velvet piece of furniture?

You know the answer to that one.

I found this bootiful chair in Leslieville and though it was more than I'd usually pay (ie: not free) I scooped it up.

The velvet is soo rich and in good condition, and the bones are really good - which means that after my cat Dag tears it to shreds I can reupholster it in some hearty fabric.

I'll write more on the shops in Toronto that surround the place where I picked this up - I'm writing the column today and will link to it here once it's published so you'll know where to go for antique/second hand furniture if you live in the big smoke!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Feathered fascination at TIFF

Fellow grungers, forgive me, I did not wear the poly maxi dress everyone loved so below.

But when I was invited to the Hats On For Awareness party Friday night benefiting the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, I knew two things: I had to wear a hat, and the hat offered me was never going to go with a 1960s poly maxi dress, alas.

Pal and artisan Victoria Feistner has recently launched her custom handmade hat design biz, The Emporium Esoterica, and these gorgeous "fascinator" hats are only part of the heady pieces she has in the offering.

Emcee Ambrose Price Ambrose Price of
HGTV singled out my hat as one of the TOP THREE, but alas I didn't get my chance to parade on the stage as the live auction was taking a long time and they needed to move things along.

But that doesn't change the fact that Victoria's hats rock and this one truly was one of the best toppers in a party where over 500 people attended, and $40,000 was raised for CAMH!

Alas I have some pics from the fete but I need to find out how to get them off my internal memory ... will post Twitter link soon to my media follow up on event.

And my maxi dress may have its day in the sun - or spotlight? - as I'm considering going to another bash next week ... stay tuned!

P.S. The dress IS thrifted - a black empire waist cocktail dress by MEXX found for $6.99 at Goodwill!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Purple queen: dress bought by subway

Retro purple shades for $3; mauve curtain sheers thrifted at Value Village years ago for a song ... and my new (and not used) purple dress bought on the subway for $9.99!

I'm really into purple these days - makes sense as the Grunge Queen as purple was the colour for royalty - but I'm finding this lighter mauve-y hue looks totally fab with my tan.

I didn't actually buy it ON the subway, but it was close enough, dug up at a no-name store just outside the Bay subway station in Toronto in the hall leading to the underground concourse there.

I've actually found some good booty in those semi-skany shops located in the actual subway stations - one at Eglinton and another at one of the northern subways, Sheppard I think.

Get creative with your shopping and look in places you'd never set foot in typically - you'll never know what you'll find!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Statement piece blazers a la thrift

Yesterday was the first day of school for most kiddies in Toronto and it got me thinking about fall fashion (wah, summer just arrived in the city too!).

I love fall fashion - the patterned tights, the scarves, the accessories - so many cheap and chic ways to jazz up your closet.

Every fall I pick up a few statement piece blazers at the thrift shop, usually for under $10 each.

I found this thick green one for $4.99 at the Sally Ann. It's made in Japan and says size 15 - likely a plus size there as it's slightly big on me! - but it's thick, well tailored and looks expensive.

A gal pal from work gave me the silk scarf from Morocco that you see with it only days after I bought the blazer - talk about fashion karma!

This is my absolute fave statement piece blazer that never fails to elicit oohs and ahhs - picked up last year at Value Village for $7.99 if memory serves.

It's a velvet (you know my penchant for velvet couches and pillows? Sometimes it applies to what I wear too) patchwork paisley blazer - tres retro 1970s but when worn open with jeans and a cashmere turtleneck underneath, or belted here with my new vintage velvet belt, the look is tres glam.

It's got these crazy long floppy lapels that I need to pin down, but otherwise the lines are just fab.

Here's a back view.

Don't you just love it?

I've never worn it with the belt as I just purchased it but I am so giving it a whirl once it gets cooler.

The statement piece jacket a la thrift: a perfectly wonderful way to add some vroom to your fall and winter outfits!

Monday, September 7, 2009

70s shawl over my head

Often decor choices come to me on the fly and are inspired by moments from my past.

Growing up in the 1970s my sis and I had twin beds, side by side, with these puffed white headboards that we absolutely adored (and still talk about tho this day!).

Sometimes early early on Saturday mornings when we were wee things (so wee this is just a flash of a memory), we would stay in our beds, tuck our pillows on the top of our headboard so they would hang over our heads like little canopies, then hang our dress-up scarves over the pillow so the scarves would fall down on either side, like a waterfall.

We'd pretend we were princesses living in our own magical enclaves.

Yesterday I was washing this 1970s shawl I picked up at the Value Village years ago. I use it for decor more than dressing up (though I bet it would look fab with that black MEXX dress I thrifted the other day), and I didn't want to stuff it back in my newly cleaned linen closet.

So I threw it over my brass bed. It instantly reminded me of playing the canopy game with my sis.

Nice to know the creativity of youth can still inspire you today ....

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Thermos flask from Sally Ann dig

Ever gone back to the thrift shop over a month later and seen the thing you really wish you picked up the first time?

That happened to me yesterday when shopping along St. Clair West on my way to work.

This is a Thermos Bottle Co Ltd made in Toronto Canada (so it's etched on the bottom). It also reads "Thermos Stronglas, registered trademark, Made in Canada."

What a wonderful Canadian-made relic!

It's glass lined and has a hinged top and I just love it.

The thermos technology was created by a Brit but sold to various companies. The Thermos brand has a fascinating history; check it out if you're so inclined.

I think it was $6.99 when I was there the first time, but the price tag had fallen off so the powers that be at the Salvation Army Thrift Store gave it to me for $2.99.

I call that thrifting karma.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

100% polyester dress - shall I wear to TIFF?

The Toronto International Film Fest is coming up and I may be going to a party or two, and though I have heaps of cute sexy dresses I could wear this thrift find is def a red carpet look .....

Only $6.99 at my local Goodwill, this vintage 1960s halter dress fits me like a glove - the halter style is so flatering as it makes the shoulders look more broad, and the inverted V pattern just draws the eye in and creates a narrowing effect.

So, eventhough I won't be walking the red carpet at TIFF and very likely won't be meeting the Brad Pitts of the world (though I may fall all over myself to get a good peep George Clooney), I'm thinking of wearing this dress.

Would I be making a mistake? Shall I go for a safe cocktail dress or go all out with this full-length 100 percent POLYESTER FROM THE 1960s thrift find - yes I think the polyester makes it slightly iff-y; then again it's so darn thick it's friendly to the flab.