Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year a la retro Michael Lax fondue pot

It may be almost 10 degrees C out but who cares? It's New Year's Eve and tonight my fam and I are having a retro-esque dinner by celebrating with a winter-like cheese and a meat fondue. I'm supplying one fondue pot, a truly retro enamel fondue set given to me by an old school chum. It was in turn given to her my her folks, who received the set for a wedding pressie!

The bottom says Michael Lax Design, Holland and the make is Copco cookware. Michal Lax was an industrial designer who was big in the 1960s, who died over a decade ago in 1999. Born in New York but trained in Finland, he was known for bringing a Scandinavian sensibility to American-made products and was apparently also responsible for introducing enamel to cast iron. Looks like I may have a collectible piece here - btw, it looks like it's never been used!

Happy New Year!! kxo

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My Thirft Gift to him

So you must be bursting with anticipation: what on earth did I get my mannie for Christmas? Several things, among them this 'gift of thrift' that I felt sure applied to his life as a pilot who travels around all the time.

It's a retro leather traveling case. Looks like it's never been used!

The case, and all the utensils in it, have "Made in Western Germany" stamped or engraved on them.

I think I may have been more thrilled about the gift than my man! I love the chrome-covered tops on the brush, toothpaste and soap holders. So sleek. So retro!

Just look at this brush. I mean, isn't it the absolute top banana?

And this razor and brush? How absolutely darling!

There was a second case, also made in Germany, that looked as though it was used, but I bought it and cleaned it up and gave it to my sweetie pie with the other one. Both were found at a thrift shop.

I just loved the sense of history and the quality, and the fact that the kits tied in however loosely to my man's life. He could use them or not - and if it appears that he's not getting any value out of them, well, I'll take 'em back!!

My little thrifting ways, btw, inspired my mannie to buy ME a little thrift gift for x-mas - his first ever!! It was a second-hand book. I think he was pretty pleased with himself. As was I!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

1980s dress a la thrift for Christmas dinner

Cheers! I was a teen in the late 1980s when these sweater dresses were so big, but I never ever owned or wore one! I found this long wool beaded dress at a thrift shop months and  months ago and had it in the giveaway pile until I realized it would make for a lovely holiday frock to wear for Christmas dinner. I think it cost me $6.99.

Isn't the beadwork lovely? The dress weighs a ton. I'm wearing it here with a vintage velvet elasticized belt.

Unforch, I won't wear this dress again - unless I can figure out how to get the black dye from wearing off on my hands when I'm in the dress. When I washed it for the first time, I noticed there was tons of dye run-off, but I thought a good wash would be the end of it. Alas, my pals around the Christmas table thought I had rather serious bruising on my hands and had a good laugh when I told them it was dye from my dress. Eeps.

Any solutions or tips out there? I hand-washed the dress again, and again, the dye just ran and ran. Is this dress destined for the chuck pile??

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Grungy chic Christmas table

Hope every one has had a fab holiday so far. Yesterday's Christmas table was fit for a Queen - make that a Grunge Queen! Our lovely hostess for the day dressed her table in a way the Grunge Queen entirely approves of - by using pieces from around the home. Think practical, yet creative and pretty - and inexpensive!!

A host of darling teacups from our hostess' personal collection adorned the table and held wee Christmas-y floral arrangements.The look was chic yet practical - no cumbersome centrepieces to impede viewing pleasure - and added a personal touch to an already pretty table. Remember that you can always use the pieces you love from around your home, perhaps from a collection, to inject your own personality into your decorating!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Goodwill jumper

This isn't a very Christmas-y post but I wanted to show you my other Goodwill find, a retro-esque (though the label is contemporary) wool boucle jumper with gold buttons at the pocket, $6.99.

It's a wee bit short and I think next time I'll wear it with black thick leggings so I don't look too leggy. I'm wearing a vintage gold chain, signed, over the top for a simple retro look.

Now I'm going home to wrap pressies (oops I'm at work, but hey, no one is here so I can get away with blogging!).

Happy holidays to you whatever your tradition!! K xo

Thursday, December 23, 2010

This is the time to hit thrift shops

A few days ago I featured a lovely patent purse I found at Goodwill for about $4.99. Last night, as I was running around looking for gifties for my mannie, I happened upon a Goodwill shop.

You could almost hear the crickets in there. It was, needless to say, super quiet, save for some dealer types who were rummaging through things with the subtlety of charging rhinos.

Everyone is so preoccupied with the holiday mall shop that the thrift shops are blissfully quiet.

This patent clutch - which almost looks like real leather if you look at the crinkles on the thin little flap that goes through the hardware - was only $3.99. I bought it as I loved the shape and the hardware - which is super heavy.

Just look at the screws on the inside of the purse!! Four of 'em to hold the gold hardware that runs along the bottom flap of the upper part of the clutch.

Another purse to add to my collection.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Thrift Gift a la VV

So I was in Value Village yesterday and resisted the urge to shop pour moi, because I was on a mission to find some books for my nieces and nephew.

This set of Disney classics came in a baggie marked $2.99, and they're brand new! Cute eh?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Mon 'new' jacket

Of course, when I should be shopping for others, here I am buying something for me - namely this 'new' coat thrifted at Stretch Thrift in my 'hood.

Reader, it was a 50 percent off sale and this vintage James Bay Made in Montreal Jacket was only $10! Ten dollars! And it sat there for almost two whole days at 50 percent off - that means it was made for me!!

Now, the Google Gods could tell me nothing of James Bay Fashions in Montreal, but let's just say this: it's obviously a really well-made coat, with a lovely thick lining inside (intact) and made of lovely (wool? not fur, phew) material.

It could have looked like an old lady jacket but I think I jazzed it up pretty well with wool leggings, a cashmere scarf and a jaunty little beret - non? Thanks to my darling mannie for snapping the pic and making me look so good.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Little retro Christmas

The tree is up!! A tiny three-footer and my first REAL tree ever. Also my first tree I've set up in my apartment for years!

This is one of my fave ornaments, given to me by an auntie years ago.

This little guy was from my Mom a few years ago ....

This is a makeshift retro ornament, a red crystal bauble that used to hang on a chandelier, which I picked up for a few dollars at an antiques shop on Mount Pleasant Rd. 

Apparently the red pieces aren't so easy to find. I just strung a golden thread through it and voila: instant holiday bling!

Here's the tree! Isn't it just the cutest? Kinda Who-Down-In-Whoville, yes? A bit blurry, sorry for that.

Here's another Christmas tradition I haven't celebrated in years: hanging my Christmas stocking, which I've had since I was a wee kid. Think my Mom bought it decades ago at an independent retailer in Ottawa (now long gone) called Towers.

Not sure if you can see "Kelly" written on Santa's white belt?

Someone in my house, who's not from Canada, has a new stocking, picked up at the Bay.

Sometimes ya gotta start new traditions, right?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Patently gorgeous

I've been meaning to show you this patent (not sure if it's real) purse I thrifted at Goodwill for $4.99 a while ago. I just love it. It's in mint condition and is just the greatest shape, with the coolest detailing.

What I love about retro purses is that they are so sculptural. And check out the hardware on this baby - don't you just love it? This is my new fave purse. Maybe I'll wear it to a holiday-ish event.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Holiday ornaments from Mom

Here are all my Christmas ornaments, tucked away in the drawer of a solid wood dresser I found in the trash.

I haven't yet put up a Christmas tree - in fact I haven't put up a tree of my own since I've been in Toronto as I've always gone home for Christmas.

This year I'm probably not going home for the first time ever (wah), but on a happy note, I have someone dear coming to me - which means that I finally get to buy a tree and dress it for the holidays!

These ornaments comprise the collection I've amassed since I was about 19, thanks to my dear Mom, who has established the sweetest of holiday traditions by giving each of her daughters (and now her grandchildren) a holiday ornament every year.

More often than not they're purchased at craft shows and are handmade.

I'm so looking forward to putting up a tree and making it look nice! Isn't dressing a tree with ornaments almost like dressing up in a fab outfit and accessorizing with all the right pieces, btw? Actually I once had the idea of dressing a mini tree with 1980s earrings - wouldn't that be fun?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Carpet bags: my wee collection

As you may know, I have a definite thing for retro and vintage handbags and purses, invariably picked up at the thrift shop.

One subcategory within this group: vintage carpet bags.

We're not talking old-fashioned Victorian carpetbags - but rather ones from the 1950s to 70s. This was my first purchase and if memory serves it was $40. I'm guessing the era is 1970s (bought at The Bead Goes on in Toronto - a great place to pick up a vintage croc bag in wonderful shape).

True, I do pay more for my carpet bags than I do my other vintage purses - namely because they're hard to find in vintage and thrift stores. I never would have found this Missoni-esque purse in mint condition at the thrift shop.

Instead I found it last year at the Toronto Vintage Costume Jewellery Club Show & Sale for about $60. That's the most I've ever paid for a bag, but it was worth it.

I found this 1950s/60s one at a subsequent TVCJC Show & Sale, for only $15 or $20, but it's not in as good condition. The leather is peeling back on one of the handles and it's a wee bit stinky.

My most recent acquisition: a smaller purse in lovely bright hues, no smell, $19.99 at Canadian Thrift Stores (CTS) on Queen St. West.

Do I ever wear these purses? Rarely. Like my other vintage bags they adorn the walls of my apartment. Does that make me a true collector?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Brown Christmas

Ever slept with your latest thrift find on your bedside table?

I almost did the other night, though in reality my bedside table served as a cute backdrop for showcasing my 'new' Nine West Studio heels I found at Value Village the other day for a whopping $14.99.

I wear a size 9.5-10, which somehow translates into there being nothing but super ugly shoes on the VV shoe racks. I found these (in the size 6 shoe rack - pays to go through 'em all) just as I was beginning to give up hope.

Reader, they're brand new, all leather with a stacked heel, and nary a scuff mark on the bottom. Plus there's this saucy little fabric bow on the toe.

Who says brown can't be sexy? I'm really getting into brown lately, and these babies go perfectly with a little A-line skirt I've had hiding in my closet for a little too long.

I find dark shoes look pretty sexy with lighter hose, like I'm wearing here.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Flyball Bags and A Touch of Vintage studio sale tomorrow in Riverdale!

My gal pal and fellow vintage lover/creative soul Diana is having a studio sale tomorrow in her Riverdale digs, so if you get a chance, email her for deets and pop by.

Diana makes clutches, messenger bags, totes, hobo bags and other accessories like journals out of vintage and re-purposed fabric under her Flyball Bags label - tomorrow these will be 50-75 percent off!

They're not pictured here, but the latest arrivals - which look super chic cool - aren't part of the sale but can be purchased for $45: cashmere upcycled slipper leg warmers. Check 'em out on here at her Etsy shop

All vintage pieces, such as the handbags, barware and accessories pictured here, along with dresses and shoes and such, will be 20 percent off tomorrow. Check out Diana's A Touch of Vintage shop.

Email Diana at for address; sale is Sunday, December 12 from 1-6 p.m. in Riverdale, Toronto.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Shops Girls in Parkdale

It's not a thrift shop, but last week when Parkdale Village store Shop Girls was celebrating its third B-day, I popped in to take a gander.

Owned and curated by Michelle Germain, the shop specializes in work by up-and-coming Canadian artists and manufacturers.

There's everything from jewellery and scarves to hats, clothing, and, very lately, home decor accents. The place is also known for its extensive selection of YOGA JEANS, and let me tell you, almost every gal in the place musta walked out with a pair (or at least them on) that night. (They're stretchy and comfy and don't lose their shape and look absolutely fab on).

I fell in love with these bib style neck pieces - made with buttons!

Keys coated in resin - neat idea huh?

There are rings too.

I'm a gal on a budget, as you know, so I limited my purchases (maybe I'll get some Christmas money to go back for the YOGA JEANS?).

But this wrist warmer (made by artists in Ottawa, my hometown!) was just too cool, and under $20. Kinda artsy-boho meets steampunk chic.

I bought only one, to wear as an accessory, though now that the deep freeze has hit Toronto I kinda wish I'd bought one for the other wrist!

1342 Queen St West 416-534-7467

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Canadian Thrift open in my 'hood!

This was the scene in Pape Village a few weeks ago: the former Bed, Bath & More had a sign in the window. Canadian Thrift Coming Soon.

Then a few days later: the sign went up.Then the Open sign!

I popped in the other night and discovered I knew the owners - go figure! They used to have a shop on Danforth Ave. at Woodbine, across from the Value Village I frequent. Then they sold the biz and moved out to Scarborough, and decided recently to move to my 'hood, good old Pape Village.

I will do a more thorough review of the shop when it officially opens - likely next weekend - as the place is still in the set-up mode and stock is still arriving. But I will say it's not just thrift: they have suppliers in Montreal who provide them with new merch/apparel as well. For the grand opening, which I will do my best to give you a heads up on, they plan on having specials and a whole lot of stock from this supplier.

Sorry, so new I don't have an address yet, but it's Pape Ave. just north of Cosburne on the east side, across from the Value Mart and gas station.

Stay tuned!