Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Vintage jewellery wall of fame

This is one of several jewellery piles on my dresser, not much of a system for a burgeoning vintage bling lover, I know.

In fact I have amassed some very nice and quite substantial pieces - all necklaces - of late, and it just won't do to have them all heaped in a pile.

So on a recent apartment clean and mini-re-org I decided to hang some of the larger pieces on the wall.

Hence my vintage bling wall of fame.



It actually makes practical sense to have them all hanging here.

They're easy to see, which means no more rooting around.

They're not getting all jumpled together and tangled either.

And they make for a bit of a decorative pop - in this case they filled a wall near my bed that I didn't know what to do with.





I hang lesser pieces in a bunch on the doorknob.

I have a similar dilemma with purses - never know how to store them in a serviceable yet pretty way.

How do you store your accessories, jewellery and purses?

Any cheap creative ideas out there?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Marilyn Munroe look a la thrift & vintage

This is my Marilyn Munroe look, tee hee.

Yesterday was a windy windy day in the afternoon, so when I left work I found that the thrifted dress I bought last summer (for about $6.99, cotton, French label) was blowing all over the place.

Here I am holding it down. My pal Chris took the pic.

I'm wearing the dress with a second-hand belt bought at a consignment shop.

Notice the vintage 1980s sunglasses? Take a read back a couple weeks and you'll see them again.

I live in thrift shop dresses in the summer. At my local thrift shop, Stretch Thrift, they can be had for $5.99-$6.99 on average, and the price is the same at Sally Ann. A really nice dress is often $14.99-$19.99 at Value Village, and I'll normally only go that 'high' if the dress is a nice designer label (ie: no Old Navy or Gap for that price).

Come to think of it, I won't go over $20 for very many items at the thrift shop, unless it's a piece of furniture. Do you have a threshold you won't cross when it comes to dollars spent?

Have a great day!!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Makeshift table, Grunge Queen style

While in the throes of a full-on apartment clean this weekend, I 'made' a makeshift table, which is stacked with magazines in the corner here.

The table is occupying a formerly empty space and is helping to solve the problem of what to do with a cumbersome wrought iron base that used to be part of a larger table (that I thrifted years ago, of course) - but it's been on its own sitting on the balcony since I threw out the ugly 1960s laminate top that was covering it.

I'll tell you what I did in a sec, but I'm kinda liking the look of a simple table with magazines stacked under the thrift shop painting. It just looks clean and - well, for the Grunge Queen at least - quite crisp.

You can see the wrought iron base here - and how nice it is, which explains why I've hung onto it rather than chucking it in the trash for someone else to reinvent.

As to the top, I had a teak shelf that was inside my teak hutch that I wasn't using, so I plopped it on top and it fit perfectly.

I haven't screwed to the wood in at all - way too handy for the old Grunge Queen - but the weight of thew magazines should be enough to keep the whole thing in place. But if a kitty jumps on it that'll be it.



Narrow corners like this can be tricky, especially when there's a big piece of furniture nearby as you don't want to overwhelm the space and make things look clunky.

I think the openness of the lower part of the table gives a sense of open space.

Little touches, like hanging a bright yellow 1980s sequin top from the table as you see above, add a touch of whimsy and GQ glam.

Grunge Queen philosophy, as you may know, is to unleash your creative pluck without worrying about being uber handy!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Retro parents

Who's this hunk?

My Dad!

One of my fave 'vintage' shots of him when he was working on a radio tower in his 20s, working his way through university.

Thought I'd post it as I had such a good response from the 'vintage twins' shots.

This is somewhere on the Canadian prairies, where both my folks were born.

Wonder who snapped the pic of him?

Can't leave Mom out of the picture.

Talk about a retro mama!

Love this shot also. My Mom grew up in a teeny Saskatchewan town called Radville.

There used to be peeps who would snap your pic on the street; you'd pay for it and give them your info and then they'd develop the photo and deliver it to you.

That's how this piccy came about, don't you love it? And look at the retro sign!




My Mom looks so pretty and happy here (she still is).

Betcha she'd just met my Dad.

Can't recall the details here but I just loved her smile, and get a load of the retro cat's eye glasses!

As you can tell from the coat above, my Mom had a thing in her younger days for coats. I have inherited that passion, except I'm buying the vintage coats she wore back then!

Happy Friday and happy weekend every one - if you're in Toronto hope you make it through the G-20 weekend!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

One-of-a-kind necklace with second-hand baubles

I bought some second-hand jewellery, most of it vintage, from a lady in Toronto the other day, and I did something semi-creative with some of the baubles I found.

I really liked this gold-tone leaf pendant.

I think it could either be an actual leaf that's been coated, or perhaps the leaf was cast. Anyway it's wholly realistic.

I've always loved the look of botanical jewellery, but buying new pieces in the shops is pricey, due, I'm sure, to the painstaking work involved.


On its own the piece is wonderful, but kinda blah.

Then I saw this 1070s-esque pendant.

I thought it was so pretty, and the shape was just right for the leaf as it fit over top perfectly. So I strung them together on a long chain and created dog tags a la grungy glam.


Here's the final product, strung on a long gold-tone chain I picked up at the same time.

I can wear it long, or twine the chain around my neck twice to get a different look.

I've been wearing it for the past few days - too bad I don't have a pic of it in action to show you.

Just goes to show that you don't have to be crafty or handy, per se, to be creative -- that's the Grunge Queen philosophy!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

1980s bling from Value Village with butterfly stamp

Don't you just love these?

They are individual vintage pendants, I'm guessing from the 1980s, that I found at Value Village for $2.99 each.

The coloured part is a textured plastic but each bauble is quite heavy as the backs are metal.

A fellow vintage jewellery buff suggested I take them to a jeweller and string them together sort of like this, which is an attractive idea, I admit.

But I do rather like the idea of wearing them separately. That way I can do the matchy-matchy thing with outfits, and perhaps even give a few away to gal pals I think may enjoy them.

There is a mark on the back of each, a butterfly, and so far my research has not yielded any information on that maker. But I have seen this butterfly mark on pieces before ....

I found this pin-pendant combo at VV a year or so ago for next to nothing and loved it on sight.

It has the same mark on the back, and as you can see the style is similar to the pieces above, except this looks like enamel.

I don't think the maker is contemporary as I have only seen these pieces in the thrift shops. The colours and the style just make me think they are 1980s - which scarily enough is considered "vintage" now!

Check out the butterfly mark on the back of the pin-pendant.

Has any one ever seen this mark before or have any information on the maker?







Here's one last piece with the same mark that I'm wearing, this time a yellow square surrounded by burnished silver.

I wore this one in West Palm Beach and it looked fabulous against my fake tan.

It's definitely a summer pendant, while the others are more fall or winter-like because of their jewel tones.

I just love these pieces and their simplicity and colour!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Thrift shop art & bling

As you may know, I get most of my art from the thrift shops.

It's not all velvet Elvis paintings and Anne Geddes baby print rejects.

I loved this piece dug up recently at Goodwill in Toronto - the framing job alone is worth a good penny, I'd say.

It looks like it's a water colour, and it's a depiction of St. Paul's cathedral in Montreal, Quebec.

I just love the French city scape.



Here's a longer shot of it so you can get the full effect.

I did something a little different when I hung this piece, primarily because there was a big hole above where I hung it.

My solution?

Hang one of my many thrift shop pins above it. It covers the ugly hole in the wall and adds a little bit of 'wall bling' to a rather blah wall.

Maybe I'll change the pin up regularly as one would change a dress.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Thrift shop bling for under $6

And we're back to regular scheduled programming.

I have some cool thrift shop baubles to show you this week.

This silver-tone flower pendant was only $3.99. It reminds me of a shape made me think of that retro 1970s game, Spirograph - remember that one?

Here's a link to a retro 1973 Spirograph commercial in case; groovy man: Spirograph commercial.




I'm not that much into bracelets, but this retro 1950s one called to me.

And it was only $5.99.

I liked the beads; and the chain detail is different.

This is another Value Village special, as is the Spirograph one. I find they tend to price their jewellery high, but sometimes you can find a few gems that have missed the eye of the pricing Gods.

This sterling silver chain with glass faceted bobs was only $3.99 at Stretch Thrift.

Quelle deal eh?

I wore this in West Palm Beach, and the pale pink and yellow glass looked great against my tan.

When searching for jewellery in thrift stores, remember this tip: leave no stone unturned, literally. Often I have found jewellery outside of the case at Value Village, hanging in plastic baggies. Sometimes the most collectible stuff can be there, like the 1980s Coro earrings I saw at VV but left there, alas.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Retro twins

In honour of a BIG Birthday I'm dedicating this week's posts to my twin sis and I by showing you some true "vintage" pics of us taken in days of yore...

This one includes our older sister, for the heck of it.

Don't we look groovy?

As you can see I'm already practising for my blog poses by striking a particularly inelegant pose here as I lean against the door frame. Eep.

How about this one, in our hand-knit ponchos and matching pants?

Hello, weren't we absolutely adorable? Mom says people used to stop her when she'd go about with us, to admire and oggle us in general.

Hopefully we didn't peak at three, or whatever age we were here!

I'm on the right here, Kendra on the left.

Mom didn't always dress us the same, though often in complementary outfits, or the same outfit in a different colour. We still have those ponchos, by the way!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

When we were 14 ...

NOTE: I have edited this post since the original posting.

This is me, also when we were 14, taken by my twin sis after I had just piled on heaps of makeup.

I think I was trying to look like someone in the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

I do look rather sick. But oh, hello collagen!

Check out the retro dividing shelf wall behind me.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

My sis in thrifted sandals she went back for

This is my twin sis, striking a striking pose.

She and I sharing a B-day this week, so I've decided to dedicate some posts to her, and me.

I'd like to think I was responsible for sis becoming an avid shopper at my fave local thrift shop in east Toronto, Stretch Thrift.

One day she and I were there and I showed her the sandals she is wearing so beautifully in this shot.

They're from Spain, suede, and they were only $6.99.

She tried them on and her heel hung over slightly, yet they were still comfortable.

She hummed and hawed ... and left them there, to my thrift-loving chagrin.

But she went back a couple days later and got 'em, and she doesn't regret it at all.

And don't they look fab on her?

Thrifting for shoes is hit and miss, but I'd say with sandals, you don't necessarily have to have a perfect fit. In this case, her heel wasn't completely flush with the end, but they were comfy and not that worn at all.

So sis, you rock!

Monday, June 14, 2010

What would you do? The most amazing vintage glasses in the world

I have to have these retro early 1980s faceted sunglasses.

They are currently on hold at my spec shop, which I am going to do a post on soon.

According to the glasses Gods they just don't make the faceted type of specs any more, so these, at $300, are def a collector's item.

You know my penchant for big 1970s/80s sunglasses.

Let's go in for a closer look.

They do look good on me.

Do I need them? Do I think my life will change in some dramatic way if I get them? Perhaps.

Since hearing this verse in a Toronto bar, I'm tempted to make this my mantra: "Single girls, single girls, go to the shop and buys, go to the shop and buys ....".

Can any single gal out there relate? Is shopping just a way to deal with our single-dom? When we shack up do we immediately put the bank card aside and start having babies?

Deep thoughts for a rainy Monday morning.

Tell me what you think of the glasses, please. They're already mine in my mind.

In the meantime here's a funny shot of my pal and fellow reporter, Chris, who donned one of my fave pair of 1970s sunglasses the other day.

I think he's trying to look like that commercial he likes so well, about "The Most Interesting Man in ... the World!!".

They do look kinda cute on him.

If you feel like playing a fun game today, check out my recent post on my retro shade collection and tell me which ones you like in order of preference - include these ones too even though they are not yet mine! Vote on Kelly's retro oversize sunglasses collection

Have a happy Monday!!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Skeleton chairs & ribbon dispensers

This chair was in my local thrift shop, Stretch Thrift, before I left for West Palm, and when I returned to do a little dig after my vacay it was still there.

Whoever goes for this would need to have some guts, as this chair is obviously all guts.

So wish I were handy enough to reupholster and fix up this baby. It's got good bones and a good shape. A wingback chair would be so cozy wozy in the winter months ....

I decided to leave it there for the next person. Betcha it's still there.


Next to the chair there was the ribbon dispenser contraption, which must have belonged to a store, or perhaps the craftiest person on the planet.

I couldn't find the price but I thought it was kind of neat.

There were bins of ribbon spools nearby too.

Isn't it amazing the things you find in thrift shops?

I think a person could spin a novel from all the items found in one ....

Friday, June 11, 2010

Toronto designers using vintage

As you can see by the Palm Tree-like plant behind me, my glorious trip to West Palm Beach is still lingering in my consciousness, though my fake tan is fading like a Florida sunset.

In keeping with the beachy theme today I donned a top made by Toronto designer/Queen St. West retailer Preloved, which has recently opened a pop-up shop on the Danforth around Greektown.

Preloved fashions tops, dresses and other funky ladies' garb from reclaimed vintage fabrics - sweaters, tees, and even sleeping bags by the looks of a dress I saw there the other day!

This tee has that 1990s look to it, but the asymmetrical neckline and tight fit make it more contemporary. You can't see but the black is all black. I love the purple fishies.

The three-strand chain necklace, meanwhile, is by Toronto costume bling designer Gay Isber. The chunky chains are from the 1970s, 80s and 90s respectively.

Rock n'roll meets beachy chic a la vintage re-do: gotta love it.

P.S. Forgot to say huge cocktail ring is vintage too - $6.99 at Goodwill!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Launch party of 1212 decor in Toronto






















Does this look like a bed fit for a queen, perhaps a Grunge Queen?

Hey, that looks like a crown on the bed to me.

I could have slumbered and dreamed all night long after the official launch party last night of 1212, a swank new design shop at 1212 Yonge St. in Toronto.

Many of the colours, as you see here, match the beachy hues I was talking about yesterday.






















Check out this occasional chair by Avant Garde - it's covered with this nubbly terry cloth material.

Loving the pink rattan table beside it.

These are not Grunge Queen prices by any means, but I'm too excited by the colours and styles to worry about that.

Let's just call this post a Grunge Queen inspiration post.



















As Creative Director Alexander Donovan explained to me, 1212 carries a melange of styles and decor pieces and embodies the ethic that decorating should be fun, not a thing to be afraid of.

Well I'd say that jives with the 'ole Grunge Queen philosophy pretty well.



















The full-service design shop carries the most comprehensive selection of works by the designer, artist and illustrator Larry Laslo of Larry Laslo Designs.

Mr. Laslo was on hand last night and gave me a personal tour of some of the shop and showed me some of his furniture pieces, which he describes as structural.


















Laslo's colour palette isn't like the beachy one I'm showcasing here, but his pieces are lovely.

This French Deco sofa ($6240.00), which I hope isn't too dark in this pic, is one of his creations.

Interestingly he told me that for some reason, a couch is the hardest thing in the world to design. I would have thought the opposite: shows how much I know!






















Still, you can tell the man has some pluck, evidenced by the jaunty pinstripe suit he wore for the occasion.

He's posing for me here under a work of art he created - he started off as a painter, he told me.

The piece is called "Take a Spin" and it's covered with 10-15 coats of resin to give the surface a super gloss look.

Love it. Want it. Won't even bother to look at the price.























The only thing that I could afford, and that would be in a pinch, is one of these gorgeous mixed ribbon pillows, $435 each.























Worth a pop in for a gander.

1212 Yonge St.
416-646-1234
toll free 1-877-999-1235