Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Da Thrifted Sistas

We're not gonna take it!
No! We ain't gonna take it!
We're not gonna take those chandeliers thrown in the trash ... anymore!!

Especially when they're identical!

Ah yes, we're the trash rebels, my twin sis and I.

I'd like to think my junking ways have rubbed off on my sis but don't think I can claim that here as she's been known to do a trash dig from time to time over the years.

When she saw some twin brass chandeliers at the curb last week, well, she thought of a room in her house, and she thought of me, her trash-lovin' sista!

I like it!

Her hubby swears they were meant for the fugly train, but she and I feel these babies could look pretty snazzy if jazzed up a bit with a coat of paint.

They are SERIOUSLY heavy and quite large. Not sure if mine will work in my place - need some high ceilings - but we shall see! Will show you finished products if and when we ever do something with them!

Would you paint or leave as is?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Fugly, freaky cool or fantastic?

Ever bought something you were attracted to and repelled by at the same time?

That was me in my local thrift shop yesterday when I found this belt for $3.99.

I thought it was a necklace as it was hanging from the jewellery rack, but the front part is so heavy it would never hang properly on the neck.

It just happened to fit perfectly around my waist. Was that a reason to buy it? The wings. The lion head. The strips of leather decorated with odd Tribal-influence metal discs: I admit I was intrigued.

Was this a belt for a rocker bike chick or perhaps some exotic starlet? Will it fit into my life outside of playing a vital role in my Wonder Woman outfit next Halloween?

Stay tuned; I'm pretty sure I can funk it up with an outfit and make it look not too freaky. In the meantime cast your vote: fugly, freaky cool or just plain fab fantastic??

Monday, March 29, 2010

A Touch of Vintage spring sale

Who are these jaunty ladies?

They're Victoria and Diana, owners of online Etsy vintage shop A Touch of Vintage.

I discovered the gals' online shop a month or so, only to discover they have a physical 'shop' in Toronto - ie: all you have to do is message them on Etsy and book an appointment to take a look at their vintage goods in person!

The 'shop' is in Riverdale, my 'hood, so natch I popped in to meet the gals and had a grand old time.

I'm not much of an online shopper myself - I like the tactile experience of it all, so I was happy to do a physical dig. Plus you can save on shipping costs via this method!

In keeping with the1980s red lip purse in the first shot and the retro red phone int he second, I picked up this 1980s (?) Sears tote bag in a cherry red - it fits all my junk and is very spring like!!

I also had a crush on this lovely hand-painted Russian pin. I have Russian heritage so I'd say it's a keeper!

The gals are having a Spring Clean Out sale this April 1-4: when you buy two or more items you get 25 percent off your entire purchase - check 'em out at

They've got a great selection of vintage dresses and housewares, and they've taken vintage slips and hand-dyed them these gorgeous pastel hues. Prices are reasonable and if you buy in person you pay on PAR (since prices are posted online in USD).

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Grunge Queen reader stories

Isn't this a beautiful brooch?

Doreen, a Grunge Queen reader who has become a friend, made it for me.

Doreen and I met a few months ago after corresponding via email, and we discovered we were fellow writers, thrifters, and general kindred spirits - and we share the same B-day to boot!

Last weekend we met for lunch and a thrift dig, and she presented me with the brooch and another wonderful pressie she made ....

A Grunge Queen ring!

I just love it. And the crown is so perfect.

Doreen is the kind of person who will bump into Gordon Lightfoot and respectfully ask for an interview, which she got. Check out her Brazen Heroine website for that interview and for her professional racy writings!

Doreen and I checked out Stretch Thrift and did a little dig - for two hours!

I didn't think she was going to find anything, but she walked away with these fab shoes for $4.99 in the end. I picked up some Peter Pan Getaway boots (that's what we used to call them in the 80s) for the same price that I will try to show you soon.

Doreen and her hubby, btw, read GQ regularly - Doreen tells me if her husband doesn't get a chance to check in he will ask her 'what Kelly found today?' - I am so flattered and thrilled; just get the warm fuzzies thinking about that!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

It bag a la thrift?

I haven't shown you my apartment lately - hope you're not getting sick of my mug. I've been too busy to be creative in my pad, but rest assured spring deco fever will kick in soon!

This is me in front of the new/old Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, wearing my thrifted suede/fur coat and Italian 1970s shades.

I sure won't be wearing the coat today - it's going to be 15 degrees C in TO today, yay!

But I sure will be toting around what I am now calling my fake Hermes bag. It's not quite a Kelly bag, but it's close enough.

The bag was $2.99 at Stretch Thrift in Pape Village.

It's Italian leather, by a company called Basido.

The leather is slightly beat up but the hardware and stitching looks quality.

I have been toting it around feeling tres chic indeed.

PHOTOS by Joey Cee

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Heavenly vintage-esque shawl

I want to be buried in this shawl.

Ok, since I want to be cremated, let's just say I'll be seeing it in heaven.

And heavenly it is. Made of vintage and new purple patterned velvet fabric and dyed by a local designer, even the fringe, it's the most gorgeous piece I've ever seen.

Investment piece. That's why I'm not only seeing it in heaven; I'm also wearing it til I die, even if all those fringes unravel to, well, hell.

I found it at my fave new local shop near the Danforth in Toronto called Continuum Modern Vintage.

There's so much to say about this shop that I'll just do a post on it this week to tell you all about it.

According to owner Daina Leipa, Hermes has recently done something like this.

And from what I recall, Hermes still hand-rolls and dyes it scarves, so my shawl and its scarves have something in common: handcrafted detail.

I'm wearing the shawl with thrifted jeans and a thrifted Theory blazer.

And I'm showing you my butt here 'cos I wanted to show off the Euro junky detail on the pocket of these thrifted jeans - I think it's fun and flashy.

I work with some stylish Italians so I think their style is rubbing off on me!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sometimes I wear new

Yup, it happens. Most of my outfits are thrift, but sometimes - rarely - I buy at the mall.

That's 'cos I have a shopping column. Last year when I did a column at Canadian retailer Costa Blanca I walked home with most of this outfit.

The ripped jeans were less than $40, if memory serves, and so was the black boyfriend jacket.

The neon top that makes me have curves I don't have? It came in a goodie bag at the launch of the spring collection of Toronto designer Franco Mirabelli.

The 1970s belt was a gift and the Italian made boots were thrifted.

The amazing piece of 1970s costume jewellery was found at the St. Lawrence Antiques Market in Toronto.

Franco Mirabelli, just so you know, makes gorgeous women's fashions right here in Toronto. He is one of the few major designers I know who is still doing that, and he sources beautiful fabrics from Italy. No problem having ANYTHING new from him as it'll honestly last a lifetime.

I don't generally advocate buying cheap n' cheerful disposable fashion a la Costa Blanca kind, but it is reassuring to know that ripped jeans and boyfriend jackets are still in style almost a year after my buying them.

Friday, March 19, 2010

New York, New York

This is my Rich Bitch New York look, created for the vintage costume jewellery shoot last weekend.

Putting this together was a blast. I found the pink silky jacket at Goodwill for 50 percent off, meaning it was 10 bucks! It's in perfect condition save for a tiny hole at the back. The tag reads "Helft's Statler Hilton Los Angeles" so it must have been a line created for the hotel.

I'm wearing it over a thrifted Teenflo dress (found for under $10 at Goodwill), my retro Canadian bag thrifted for a few bucks, retro shades found for $3.99 in an east end hardware store, and a 1970s gold elacticized belt picked up at a Junction vintage shop.

The absolutely amazing glass 1950s necklace is not my own; it's from the collection of one of the members of the Toronto Vintage Costume Jewellery Club.

The 1980s clip on earrings are hers too.

I don't normally do pink but I really dig the look here. It's so spring like!

If you're local and love vintage and retro bling, handbags and other baubles mark your calender: Saturday, April 24 is the Toronto Vintage Costume Jewellery Club Show and Sale.

It runs 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Leaside Memorial Gardens at 1073 Millwood Rd. Just grab a bus from the Don Mills station and you'll be there in a jiff!

Photos by Joey Cee

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Boho wedding

I want to get married.

So I can buy.

This jacket.

I interviewed Kim Ironmonger of Toronto's Valencienne boutique yesterday. Ironmonger has been custom designing bridal and evening wear for 25 years, and she has an amazing story (stay tuned on my Twitter bar for that one).

Back to the jacket.

You know my penchant for statement piece jackets, with a boho twist and a dash of velvet.

And velvet is is - silk velvet, to be exact. It was intended to go with a dress, but the bride didn't buy it.

So now it's just on its own.

I can actually see it with jeans and high heels - it's really gelling with the rock n' roll chic look that's been rocking my world lately.

It's around $500. A Grunge Queen dream, alas.

Ironmonger also sketched me and the dress she sees me in for a bridal affair - a vintage-esque Jean Harlow inspired silk dress with a wee bit of ruching on the boob to fill me out. Should have snapped a pic of it!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Lover chairs in the trash

I was on my way to work yesterday and what did I see peeping out from a mattress in the famous Trash Pile on my street?

Looks like a wing back chair to me.

Sure, the pattern on it is kinda 1990s ick, but then again it does have a semi Anthropologie look to it, n'est pas?

A closer look from a different angle revealed two chairs, nestled one on top of the other, as though they were spooning.

Ahh, how cute. I want to give these chairs a home. I didn't turn them over but I bet their seats are in good condition - that one lone cushion there looks barely worn.

I thought about hauling one home last night but was out with the gals, and besides, I couldn't separate the pair now could I?

A heart spray painted on a curb nearby sent a silent message: keep 'em together, or leave 'em there for the next person.

We'll see if they're still in the heap tonight.

I haven't had a problem with trash finds yet but sometimes I do get weirded out by bringing upholstered pieces home - you know bugs and all - but there is a spray that you can nuke 'em with.

My preference is to use a non-toxic silicon-based powder that gets rid of the creepy crawlies. Or toss the thing on my balcony in the deep freeze and dare any living thing to survive on it.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Rock n' Pearl

That's not Avon calling.

That's me on the phone at The Sutton Place Hotel in downtown Toronto, wearing heaps of vintage and retro pearls for a photo shoot.

Hopefully these photos will generate some interest in the media about the Toronto Vintage Costume Jewellery Club Show and Sale this Saturday, April 24 at the Leaside Memorial Gardens.

They were graciously snapped by Joey Cee, Toronto entertainment entrepreneur and long-time associate producer of the Beach Jazz Fest.

I call this a rock n' pearl look, a Euro chic look incorporating an Italian made Save the Queen top (found at Mira's Vintage Boutique in the Beach), thrifted Italian booties, and ripped jeans (picked up while doing a shopping column at Costa Blanca).

Who says you can't rock those pearls? Coco Chanel would be proud.

The ensemble is glam yet edgy, street smart and sassy yet ooh so feminine.

The pearls really pop against the black top, and the 1980s earrings add a pop of girl power, a la Working Girl flic starring Melanie Griffith, don't you think?

I had so much fun doing this shoot. Many thanks to fellow club member and jewellery collector extrodinaire, and general sweet person Colleen Roberts.

I had so much fun modeling and putting the outfits together I may do it again!

I love this shot. The phone and doorknob shots were my idea but Joey thought this one up, and I think it's the best.

Love the bling of the wall sconce.

If you want to duplicate this look I'd take a dig in the jewellery cases at thrift stores. Value Village usually has cheap versions of pearls hanging about. Consignment shops are also a good bet. Or check out the sale on the 24 if you're local! I'll be there but I don't think I'll be selling.

More photos to come over the next few weeks as we count down to the sale ....

Monday, March 15, 2010

Art Deco and air force

NOTE: This is NOT from the Toronto Vintage Costume Jewellery Club photo shoot yesterday.

Let me assure you those photos are waaay better!

But while I wait for the photos to come to me I'll give you a taste of more vintage-esque jewellery.

I found the Art Deco style pin I'm wearing on my boy blazer lapel at Miras Consignment Boutique in the Beach.

It was only $15.

My friend, Chris, pointed out that it looks sorta air force inspired, and I think he's right.

It looks like it's enamel, but I'm not sure if it's authentic Deco as the back looks more modern to me.

No matter. I love the style and the green.

Friday, March 12, 2010

French moi

I'm going on a cruise to the French Riviera!

Ha ha. I wish.

So I'll have to make do with this AMAZING French blazer I thrifted on the way to work a week ago.

The label:Didier Parakian.

The cost: $6.99 LESS 50 percent!

The style: Most awesome blazer I've ever ever seen.

It's black velvet with multi-coloured splashes, blue buttons and a funky peplum, and an asymmetrical collar at the back.

I could definitely dress it up more but I was so excited to wear it I paired it with jeans, high-heeled booties and a funky thrifted necklace.

I've never heard of this label before but a quick peep at the website
reveals lovely designs - look like the designer is based in Marseille in the south of France.

Here's a view of the back.

And the collar at the back.

And the buttons.

Sigh. Can you fall in love with a blazer?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

My new crush

Ever bought something you found alarmingly beautiful but wasn't quite sure how it would fit into your life?

This Art Deco, brass and glass necklace found at an antique market on Danforth Ave in Toronto, wasn't exactly a Grunge Queen price.

But oh, I love it so.

It's stamped "Regina" and though some of my pals at the club I've recently joined, the Toronto Vintage Costume Jewellery Club, had heard of the name, no one could find any info on it.

I'll get a chance to test it out with my wardrobe this weekend, as I'm going a photo shoot for the jewellery club's annual sale (Saturday, April 24 at Leaside Memorial Gardens in Toronto, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) ... and I'm the model!

I'm a bit nervous, but I'm modeling some FAB vintage jewellery by members of the club. Will see if the photographer will let me post some pics here!!

P.S. The antique market on the Danforth is called the Danforth Village Antique Market, or "Finders Keepers," and it's on the second level at 715 Danforth near Pape. It has everything! Check it out at

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Punch of pink & purple thrift

I think I match my website here.

I thought I'd show you a spring-like ensemble that, with the exception of the tights (and the artisan crafted leather bag), is 100 percent thrift!

Long brown scarf, used H&M, can't remember how much but under $20.

Stuart Weitzman shoes I bought last week at Goodwill, $9.99.

Made in Italy boho purple dress, $20 at a consignment store.

Retro pink wool-cashmere coat thrifted at Value Village for $14.99.

I feel like a spring flower!

Thanks to pal Chris Reynolds for snapping yet another pic of me at work - more to come Chris!!

Have a great day everyone!

P.S. I should add that most of my outfits everyday are pretty much all thrift, but then again you knew that right?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Reading room

Here are my bunnies. Ever since redoing my bedroom (see a few posts below), they've been hanging out on the bed, as they are here.

I love the vintage-esque pillow I bought at Pottery Barn (with a media gift certificate. The pillow was not a thrifter special!).

It's sitting on a duvet cover I thrifted over 10 years ago for $3.99, which has this dusty rose on one side and a light blue on the other.

The brass bed was also found over 10 years ago for just over $100.

Let's leave Dink and Dag to their slumpers ....

Speaking of brass, I decided to haul this brass book holder out and put it at the end of the bed on the floor.


I had too many chairs after my breakup re-org, so the idea of creating a little reading area in my room came to me.

There's the thrifted purple bowl to the right of one chair.

I found the chair in the trash. The heavy brass table was given to me by my recent ex.

Here are the two chairs, side by side.

The blue velvet one on the far left was also found in the trash and it's one of my fave chairs.

My cat Dag loves it too. You may be able to see the white stuffing oozing out of the top of it!

One of my carpets, a long worn runner found for $100 at a decor consignment shop in North Toronto.

Have I actually sat in these chairs and read yet?

Not really.

But I like the look of it. It seems kinda old world, to have a formal-esque reading area.

Ta ta!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Madame Vroom-Vroom

Meet Madame Vroom-Vroom.

I didn't find her - she kinda found me this weekend.

I was in a shop doing research and was having a great time chatting with the owner. I told her how much I loved her store, and she gave me this pin because as she put it, she always gives a gift to newcomers. Wowsers.

Or maybe it was because I asked to take pictures and the 20-somethings in there with me just starting snapping away.

No matter. I accepted the pin (and bought some items, natch, will post soon).

Now I love my Madame Vroom-Vroom.

I named her "Madame" because of her headdress, and the Vroom-Vroom part isn't just because she looks so saucy. As you can see the back of this pin is signed. Can't quite make it out but I think it says "Vom, 06" ... not so much of a stretch to go to Vroom is it?

Let's take another look at her.

She appears to be made of recycled pins and baubles.

I sure wish I knew who the designer was. The kind lady who gave me the pin said that a customer recognized the designer from the pin but she couldn't remember.

I wore her on my coat lapel last night, and she sure looked fab.

Have a vroom vroom day - 14 degrees C in Toronto today, yay!!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Major designer steal at Goodwill

Excuse the run in my tights.

I'm hoping that people were focusing on other things when I wore this outfit yesterday, like the oversize navy 1980s blazer with the big gold buttons I thrifted at Goodwill the other day.

And do you notice the shoes? Forget the Kenneth Cole ones I bagged for $3.99 a few days ago.

These ones were $9.99, almost brand new, and by ... Stuart Weitzman!

Stuart Weitzman shoes are made in Spain and take 6-8 weeks to craft, according to the website. They incorporate all kinds of comfy technology that makes wearing them pure joy.

Not sure if you can see but the heels are a tortoise shell inspired look.

I checked the Weitzman website and platforms like these retail for about $300 a pair!

Needless to say, I'm pretty thrilled. I've always wanted a pair of shoes by Toronto's Ron White, who uses similar technology to make the soles of his shoes comfortable ... needless to say the thrifter in me can't afford the $500 plus pricetag.

My outfit here: thrifted blazer and thrifted wool skirt; 1970s chain bagged at a church sale for $3; vintage belt rhinestone and velvet belt, $30 at a film studios sale. Cashmere sweater from the ex.