Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What I got at the vintage bling sale yesterday

This was the scene yesterday at the third semi-annual Toronto Vintage Costume Jewellery Club Show & Sale, a group I am part of. I wasn't selling but I did pop in to take a gander. It was a busy day and I did the entire round of close to 30 tables.

Now, you know I'm in clear out mode. So my mission: find one special piece and spend only what was in my pocket, $40.

Here I am at the sale. I'm looking pretty happy - and not just because I'm wearing my first pair of leggings (a cross between a jegging and a legging as they are made of a cotton cord material) since the 1980s. I'm also wearing THE PIECE I bought yesterday, which cost exactly $40!!

It's a vintage (circa) 1970s Napier pendant with these cut out concave jelly-bean shapes in red, white and black enamel. Very sculptural. I actually saw this very piece at the club's spring show and wanted to buy it then. This time, the seller and club member, a real sweetie, remembered that I loved it. She had it priced at $70 but gave me a super sweet deal. Thanks M!

Here's a pic I snapped of the piece at the spring sale.

Napier began, under a different name, in the States in 1875, apparently. The Napier brand is still being manufactured under the Jones Apparel Group (JAG) today.

I'm pretty happy with my new bling. As you can see, it's a real showstopper against a black cashmere turtleneck!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Toronto Costume Vintage Jewellery Club Show & Sale - TODAY

I was eye-balling this piece at the spring Toronto Vintage Costume Jewellery Club Show & Sale but didn't get it, alas. Well the doors opened at 10 a.m. today for the fall show, at Leaside Memorial Gardens, 1078 Millwood Rd. in Toronto.

I'm still feeling under the weather with a bad cold and sinus infection, but I'm hopping on a bus soon and hope to be there around noon to take a gander and visit with some of my bling lovin' pals. If you're thinking of popping in the show is in the William Lea room and runs til 4 p.m. today. There are 20+ vendors selling vintage costume jewellery, purses, accessories and vanity items.

Maybe I'll see you there!!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Talula Babaton blazer a la thrift

Thrifted Talula Babaton blazer and thrifted Guess jeans.

Eeps. I thrifted this Canadian Made cotton-Lycra blazer by Talula Babaton ages ago but put it in the sell/give away pile as it was an XS and a wee bit too tight for me (but, evermore a thrifter, I HAD to buy it as it was just a few bucks and I'm addicted to boho-looking statement piece blazers!). 

But I think I've lost a bit of weight 'cos I was rifling through my closet in search of another long-lost blazer this morning and tried it on - and it did feel and look less tight. It's still very fitted, still too small almost, a look I kinda like.

When I gain the weight back I'll give it to my niece, or sell it.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Mini makeover

For a fresh new look without lugging around furniture, settle on a rough theme/colour scheme and change up the lamps, chairs, pillows and decorative accessories to match the mood and tone.

I haven't been doing anything much to my apartment lately in the way of rearranging as life has been busy; but I've learned that you can create a whole new look without moving large pieces of furniture around - it's the semi-lazy Grunge Queen way, remember? But it's also what I call play - just moving stuff around my space is kinda therapeutic, actually.

My fave velvet chair found in the trash my first fall in Toronto. I scattered an old old wool shawl thrown over top (found in a junk shop for $20; the guy said it came in a box marked 'granny's shawl'!) and a red velvet pillow, thrifted.

In this case, the dining room table was blah blah - I had a dull coloured lamp and shade on it and the entire space looked washed out. Using the blue glass Moroccan star (now on the table) as inspiration, I changed up the lamps, chairs, and other accessories to create a punchier look with red and blue accents. There was a certain, semi-exotic mood in my mind.

This solid wood dining room table was $30 at my local thrift store. Pretty much everything you see here was thrifted, found in the trash or bought second-hand.

In the spirit of play, I tried a little something different and propped a thrifted painting of a Paris scene on top of the mirror on the table. I didn't think it would but it actually makes the ceiling look higher. And I hauled out my lovely antique Persian rug that I've had under my bed for months - Dag the cat IS scratching on it again now that it's out, but what the heck am I supposed to do: keep a rug under the bed for my entire life and never enjoy it?

Yup: the bohemian clutter bug in me is slowly learning about simplicity! I love the 1940s blue lamp perched on the bookcase.

I didn't do much with the living area, just changed the direction of the rug and added a footstool as table. I like the simplicity here. It's very New York (in my imagination, at least).

Thrift store art and a piece I chased the artist down to buy, brazen thing that I am.

I love the print on the bottom; it reminds me of a William Morris design (come to think of it the book on top is about the Pre-Raphaelites!). I walked into a shop one day and saw it hanging in a back office - tracked the artist down and asked her if she wanted to sell it. Now it's on my wall.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Fave Shop: Continuum Modern Vintage

Continuum Modern Vintage is one of my absolute fave vintage type shops. (It's where the shoes from yesterday's post came from). Owner Daina Liepa is celebrating a year in biz and I just came back from her anniversary fete.

Daina has such a great eye. She roams estate sales and antique auctions and finds the most beautiful and distinctive items in impeccable condition: a vintage porcelain Tiffany's box; white Limoges china; a gorgeous retro teak hutch.

What isn't in perfect shape gets a makeover - like this old coffee table she painted white and added a glass top to. There's also custom upholstery services available for furniture, headboards, you name it ....

... or you could buy it right off the shelf, so to speak. Walk into the shop and you could find a gorgeous Anthropologie-esque sofa, or a lush contemporary headboard with pillows, numerous custom-made throws and scarves.

I took this baby home: vintage velvet patterned fabric, dyed over with purple, to which a fringe, also dyed purple, was added, with brown velvet fabric on the other side. The most gorgeous thing I've seen in my life, and when I wear it, people practically stop me in the street.

Prices are really good, too, way better than the overinflated prices you see for the 'vintage' stuff they sell in uber trendy parts of town.

With vintage jewellery, luscious new candles, carefully selected vintage glasswear and accessories, this is a gift-givers paradise, a haven for those who love beautiful pieces and just an overall lovely store to browse in!

707 Pape Ave., 416-778-1200

For a review of Continuum and other shops just off the beaten path of the Danforth, see my January 2010 shopping column in the Town Crier newspapers

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Vintage shoes, never worn, my man bought me

Ah, le romanace. I'm not getting X-rated here, trust me: but I am showing off my sexy 'new' shoes my British mannie bought for me at one of my fave vinatage-esque shops (the latter of which I'll tell you about tomorrow) when he was visiting me a few weeks ago.

A pilot, he's now in Spain slumbering away through his birthday, so let this pic of my legs and the shoes serve as a little B-day pressie over the seas, tee hee.

But they are pretty sexy, aren't they? And only $25 (I'm a cheap date, what can I say). You know I have a thing for 1970s chic. Well these babies are '70s all the way: suede cross-over strappies with an open toe. Never worn. So boo-tiful. Thanks honey! I will def wear them for you the next time I see you!!

This could explain why they never sold: there's a different make on each pump! One says, "Celina, Made in Canada" ; the other, "Mugford  Shoes Ltd", an Ontario-based company that's been in existence since 1965 or so. Perhaps Celina was a make of Mugford? Or maybe the shoes were for different companies but made in the same factory? It's a mystery. What matters: I have my shoes, I have a good story about them, and yes, I have my mannie!

Tomorrow I'll show you the shop we found 'em in, which is, speaking of birthdays, celebrating its year B-day this month.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Get wise to Weiss, and vintage costume jewellery knockoffs

As you may know, I'm a lover of vintage (particularly 1970s) costume jewellery and am a member (however fleeting) of the Toronto Vintage Costume Jewellery Club (which is having its semi-annual Show & Sale in exactly one week; see details here).

This brooch and clip-on earring set is def not my style. My friend Matt gave it to me to research for him and possibly sell. The name on the back is "Weiss", a highly collectible name for vintage bling hounds - and for those who make and sell fake Weiss.

Thanks to the Google Gods and a book a member lent me, I'm close to concluding that what I have is a fake, meaning the set would fetch waay less than a real Weiss (some brooches go for $150, my sources say).

One, though the jewel-like pieces have the appearance of being prong-set, they're really not. And, not pictured here, the back is textured and the pros say the authentic ones are smooth.

Weiss stopped making jewellery in 1971, which perhaps explains its popularity in collecting circles.

Sorry Matt, looks like you got a dud.

Thanks to Vintage Costume Jewels for the information on Weiss.

For an interesting article (published in 2006) on people selling fake vintage costume jewellery on Ebay, see this New York Times article.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Maybe I really AM the Grunge Queen!

... so I said to myself when I came home one day recently, only to find that my sweetums had bought me this romantic gift: a string mop, bucket, and cleaner to clean my floors!

Now don't get me wrong: I used to have a mop, long ago when I would spend entire weekends cleaning my pad. Then I got a life. The mop got old and I chucked it; the bucket - who knows where it ended up? Perhaps it's buried in my storage unit, pining away for the lost mop - but they both vanished from my domestic repertoire. What can I say?

And since no lecture accompanied said gift - only the quietest and most well-intended of cleaning wishes - I took no offense. And, truth be told, with all the cat hair and furballs puked up and sopped with only a piece of TP or a rag, let's just say those floors were looking a little worse for the wear.

And so, dear readers, I have embraced my spanky new bucket and mop, which you see here in my (now clean) utility closet (with a thrifted lamp, in need of repair, hiding in the background!). They have been put to good use this very day, when the good 'ole Grunge Queen found herself rearranging chairs and rugs and doing a little re-org of sorts - you will see the final product soon enough!

So go forth in good stead with thy mop, fellow grungers - and if a man ever brings you domestic supplies, think of it as a little reminder that he's not trying to change you ... he really just wants to spend his life with you -- with clean floors!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thrift blogger kudos for me n' my thrift bloggin' pals

100 percent thrifted outfit: American Eagle Outfitters blazer, MEXX top, Bongo Jeans, dollar store belt, and leather ankle booties.

Takin' a trip down memory lane with my style blogger shot from last winter. I'm feeling pretty stylish as Alex Deeds, creator of the website Associate Degree, an educational website, recently compiled a list of the Top-50-blogs-for-yard-sale-aficionados, and guess what? Yours truly was number one for the Top Style Blogs portion of the list (16th overall).

90 percent thrifted outfit: J Crew wool blazer, Teenflo miniskirt, Nine West booties, generic cotton stretch tee, and (not thrifted) vintage Nina Ricci chain with stone hearts by Toronto designer Rita Tesolin.

Well, thanks Alex for compiling the list! The cool thing: I blog with or at the very least have many of the blogs on my blogroll - the thrifting blogosphere is actually pretty small, if you can believe it!

100 percent thrifted outfit: Bionic dress by Toronto designer Marc Foreman, disco 1970s belt, white platform slingback shoes, vintage costume jewellery chain, and vintage faceted glass sunglasses.

So in honour of the posting I've posted some of my different seasonal thrift looks from the past. Enjoy, and check out the list for thrifting bloggers not featured on my blogroll - or I will, and I'll bring them back to you!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Hair cuts, hi & low

Excuse the crap Blackberry photo, but it's all I had with me to snap my new do, $25.

I've been growing my mop for months and months from its uber short style, and yesterday reached the boiling point: my hair was truly looking like a mop, with no shape, too much hair, and an icky texture (probably helped along by icky dollar store shampoo).

So my amazing hairdresser gave me what I asked for: a shorter blunt cut, tapered at the front and shorter at the back (that's how my layers were growing out so it made sense).

Cost, $25 plus tip.

I've discovered, the hard way over the years, that spending $100+ on a do often gives you the same or even a lesser cut than the cheaper varieties. Truth is I'm so happy with my $25 cut (and the good cuts my gal has given me over the years), that I have no inclination to torment myself looking for the 'perfect' hairdresser.

I'm thrilled with my own look, and before you ask: I'm sorry, but this is one find I can't share with you, not out of selfish reasons but for consideration for the stylist. My advice: there are plenty of peeps who work from home and supplement their incomes this way; you just gotta find 'em. But if you check out my Twitter feed to the right, I hear the Mrvel Beauty School in Yorkville charges $10 for a cut.

On the not so cheap note: I did have to equip myself at the drugmart after my cut with the necessary brush, (decent) shampoo and styling product - and images of me morphing into 'a high maintenance babe', as the women in my fam jokingly call it, flashed through my mind. We'll just see how it pans out, but I don't mind paying $40 for the accoutrements of style especially since the do was such a good deal!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pop Up Shop on Queen East until December 31

It's not listed, there's no phone number, and nata a website. But I CAN tell you the shop is called craisy's; it's located at 888 Queen St. East, just where Leslieville meets Riverside in Toronto; and it's open until December 31.

The shop carries mostly fair trade imports from Peru, Mexico and so on. The wool and jewellery rocks, though you can pick up sea salts, kid's stuff and other accessories.

This wool Al Paca beret: a mere $15.

The real oak leaf dipped in some sort of metal (there were maple leaf variations dipped in sterling too): $25.

This gorgeous purple Al Paca sweater would have cost $150-200 in other stores, I'm guessing, but here it was $57. After my beret and my pendant I was broke, so my hunny bought it for me, the sweetheart that he is. I've been wearing the sweater in this damp weather - today I donned it with leggings and but a big belt at the waist - and it's been keeping me warm, and reminding me of my man.

The hat, meanwhile, is impossibly chic and has already turned into a staple. See how la-di-da it looks with some retro 1970s shades, and my hunky mannie?

See my recent review of Craisy's and some other new Leslieville area shops in my "Shopping" column in the Town Crier newspapers

P.S. Leslieville's "Wanderlust" evening shop hop is this Thursday, November 18! Many shops will be having specials and events and will be open late - I hear some will be open til 11pm. A family and stoller-friendly event too, I hear.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Diane & Veronica's Excellent Thrifting Adventure at my fave shops!

They went. They thrifted. They conquered.

It was a tale of epic proportions: Diane (left), a Grunge Queen reader, and her best pal, Veronica. Both dedicated thrifters. The former, in search of a fun day she could treat her best pal to, but unsure of where to go. The latter, a gal from-out-of-town, entrusting her best pal to organize An Excellent Adventure.

That's where the Grunge Queen came in. Enlisted by Diane to suggest a number of thrift shops in Toronto's east end along with a spot to lunch, so Diane could treat Roni to a day of thrifting in the big city, the Grunge Queen put on her thinking cap, made her list and checked it twice, and sent it off to Diane.

Would it measure up? Would the girls, so accustomed to adventure, be bored? Would GQ's thrifty picks be worthy? What if the shops were horrid, and they found nothing?

First stop: Stretch Thrift on Pape Avenue - the GQ's ultimate fave shop where she buys most of her wardrobe. The GQ knew this was the first stop beforehand as Diane sent her the itinerary (which Roni is reading, above) of their "Excellent Adventure, # 32."

Gulp. Adventure # 32? Would these thrifting picks make the grade? Surely, we were dealing with no common adventurers here. The GQ had to wonder: what were the 31 adventures that came before? Only Diane and Veronica know.

Diane's first find: a double-breasted brown wool coat. Cost $7.

Next: Roni finds a Spongebob Squarepants costume, a major victory.

Diane's second find: a turtleneck for five bucks. The scarf was picked up later at St. John's Thrift shop on Danforth Ave. near Woodbine ( another GQ fave), for $4. Matches the turtleneck perfectly, as she rightly observed.

Somewhere in between St. John's Thrift and Value Village next door (where the GQ had found many designer dud), it looks like there was some lighthearted thrifting fun to be had. 'Cos if you can't have fun thrifting, really, what are you doing thrifting in the first place?

Roni scoured VV for work clothes but ended up finding heaps of play clothes for her kiddies. Diane picked up a tie and a Sandicast bull terrier for her son's Don Cherry Halloween costume (pictured with him in it here) - she even made the suit and the doggie's tam, how fab is that??

A possible gem Diane picked up: a drawing that could be worth something. Stay tuned.

These wild and crazy gals end up partying at the Drake Hotel with their hubbies later, and since no pics were provided for that particular event,  let's leave them having lunch at Relish tapas resto near VV on the Danforth, toasting the Grunge Queen, the sweeties.

Ladies, all humour aside, thank you for sharing your Excellent Thrifting Adventure! It sounds like you truly had a blast and you've made me think what a wonderful thing it would be to actually make A DAY out of thrifting as you did!

All photos courtesy of Diane & Veronica's Excellent Thrifting Adventure.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Can a bohemian clutter bug live with a streamlined contemporary?

I've spent most of the weekend relaxing and tidying my apartment - no energy to do a full-on re-org, alas, but sometimes you can get the FEEL of a re-org by just rejigging the elements on a console, as I have here.

The urge to de-clutter and purge myself of all my STUFF is still going strong, helped along by life's little events - falling in love with someone overseas - and that fact that said beau is a contemporary style kinda dude: minimal clutter and an uber streamlined look is his design dealio.

So I dedicate this pared down little twilight tableau (consisting of a vanity/console I traded with an ex; flowers given to me by someone I wrote about in the Town Crier newspapers; a brass/glass box with all my little tchotckas in it; a brass lamp bought for $5 at Consumers Lighting in Toronto; a lamp shade from a garage sale; and a thrifted hardcover book you will be hearing about very soon!) to my darling N, who, like many of you lovely readers, checks in every day to read this wee blog -- because, well, he loves me.

I'd say a bohemian clutter bug and a streamlined contemporary can most definitely live with eachother! It will certainly make life interesting!!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Forgive me readers; here's what's coming

Dear readers, it has been a crazy busy emotional time for me, so please please forgive me for not posting every day; for not yet responding to your comments and thanking lovely new followers! That will come in a day or two, but at the moment I'm just so so bagged. This pic has nothing to do with this post, btw, other than to say it was taken yesterday while doing a shopping column - that and I'm wearing a thrifted wool sweater from Paris and thrifted Paige jeans. The sunglasses are vintage too.

SO: LOTS of exciting stuff coming up! Here are the highlights:

1). A Grunge Queen reader follows GQ's advice on where to thrift shop in Toronto, treating her best pal to a day thrifting in the city. Hear about their finds and see exclusive photos!

2). Vintage 1970s shoes my Brit beau bought me at my fave vintage shop that's celebrating a year anniversary this month. See pics of the shop, and see a wonderful pair of vintage shoes that have NEVER been worn - with a different maker's stamp on each shoe to boot!

3). A fun pop-up shop discovered in Toronto's east-end: my finds; what he bought me.

4). Ebay: who knew there was a green arm? A local designer previews her collection there.

5). A great designer consignment shop in Toronto's west end: 1970s bling found there!

So you can see I have all sorts of nifty thrifty ideas brewing in my head - and they are coming to you next week!! Please stay tuned and thanks for your patience .... Love Kelly

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

That's MY kind of centrepiece!

Sorry I've been MIA this past week - I've never gone this long without a post, except, perhaps, when I was in England recently. I've had a house guest - from England, gee coincidence? - for two glorious weeks so have been pretty bust between working, visiting, seeing family, going out, etc.

Anyway, back to regular Grunge Queen programming.

When we were home visiting my fam last weekend, I snapped a pic of this centrepiece that has slowly been growing over the years at my sis's place.

The do-it-yourselfer Grunge Queen in me loves the simplicity of this: all ya gotta do is drink lotsa wine and then pop the corks in the glass bowl! Then you can take a dive in, pull out a cork, and reminisce over that particular bottle of wine and what was happening in your life when you were drinking it!

Cheers to inventive decor ideas like this!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Retro Irving Posluns jacket: don't be green with envy

This is another Stretch Thrift gem, a retro Irving Posluns jacket that was under $20. It's a Kelly green plush, almost suede-like coat, with faux fur flip up collar and trim at the cuffs. Adorable eh?

I don't know much about the designer other than that he was a well-known Toronto coat designer. I showed this coat to local designer Franco Mirabelli and he told me Posluns was big in the scene in the 1960s and 70s.

My sister loves the coat so well she's already asked me if she can have it if I ever tire of it ... which I never will, lol! I'm wearing the jacket with some vintage 1960s made in Italy shades I bagged for five bucks.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Designer coat $14.99 worth $700

Remember this white with leather trim coat I showed you a while back, which I picked up at my friendly neighbourhood thrift shop, Stretch Thrift, for $14.99?

I knew it was well made and I loved it so I bought it. And I didn't even ask the Google Gods what the label meant, for shame.

Well, I was doing a shopping column at Toronto's Shops at Don Mills the other day and met a very "on" sales associate in a shop who guessed the label of the coat without even looking at it: Mackage.

Savvy fashionista that she was, the gal was, of course, correct - and my eyeballs almost popped out when she told me these coats sell for $600-$700 new.


That's the thing about the Grunge Queen: she may not be up on all the high-end designer labels and such, but in her little thrifting heart of hearts, she can call 'em when she sees em.

Happy thrifting! P.S. Can you tell I'm wearing the $2.99 wool mohair scarf I thrifted the other day on St. Clair Ave. West?