Sunday, July 31, 2011

My thrifty balcony

It's the long-weekend in Canada so today's post is going to be about thrifty leisure spaces - namely my wee patio. You know my penchant for orange these days. I found this gorg linen tablecloth (plus nappies) for $5.99 at my local thrift shop, Stretch Thrift.

The big handpainted, slightly cracked pot that's holding the lavender was found curbside, while the white pot was thrifted for a few bucks. The English jug was a gift from my best pal, and the wee glass tea light holder was also a present, from a family friend. The rose glass tea light holder was thrifted for $1.99.

I found the retro wrought iron patio set for $40 at a garage sale a few years ago; ditto for the seat cushions. I've had the stripy pillows for years, bought new at The Bay department store when I worked there eons ago.

The flower box was a gift (found by an ex in the trash - nice to know I inspire this kind of gifting!), as was the lovely cut-out ball (given to me by a friend - it used to be a lamp but it wasn't functioning so I cut off the cord - I could put a tea light in this if I wanted to but the piece can stand on its own). The stool is pretty ugly - I thrifted it for a few bucks and always meant to jazz it up - but one of my kitties loves sitting on it while outside, so I leave it like that for her.

Happy weekend!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

All-American pendant

I'm not an American, but I was so drawn to this pendant necklace I found in Toronto's Continuum Modern Vintage, a lovely vintage-esque shop on Pape at Danforth. The pendant reminds me of one of those bead counting toys (can never remember the name) that kids learn to count with.

As you may be able to see by the tag, it's a Sarah Coventry piece. SC jewellery is pretty easy to find, quite collectible though not worth tons of bucks. I don't care as I love the SC bling from the 1960s and 70s.

Though I sometimes wear this shade of blue, I don't wear these colours, really (and who, other than an American patriot, would wear them all together?), so I'm still not sure what I'll wear this with. But don't you worry, I will find my way with it!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Disco bag, repurposed

As you may know, I started a new job a few weeks ago. Since I now work in hip downtown Toronto, I figured my scraggy plastic lunch bag just wouldn't do. I needed a hip bag into which I could toss lunch, a water bottle, an umbrella, etc and tote around in addition to my purse.

In a vintage shop around the corner from where I work, I found the answer for under $20: a 1970s gold tote bag that can fold into a clutch (you can see the buttons where you can clip it closed as a clutch).

So this is now my lunch bag/everything bag. It's simple, chic and goes with everything, and big enough to fit my water bottle, insulated lunch bag and a extra stuff if I need it to.

At the end of the day, when my lunch is done, the bag gets smaller and I can fold it into the clutch style. That's my nifty vintage solution!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sometimes it pays to go back

I tried this ethnic-esque pendany necklace on at Canadian Thrift last week, and left it there as I didn't think it was my style.

But then I couldn't stop thinking about it. Jeepers, it was only 6 bucks and I left it there!

I went back a couple days later and dug around, but couldn't find it. Two days later, I went back again, not expecting it to be there. But it was! Someone had put it on hold and never returned, so back to the case it went!

I'd like to think this episode was a prime example of what I call my Thrifting Karma, but perhaps it demonstrates only that I'm tenacious to the max when it comes to bling! And I'm pretty sure the piece is vintage - just look at how well the chain is constructed. I really love it, and I hope it forgives me for abandoning it on first sight!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Call me crazy

Well here we are still in the middle of a heat wave in Toronto, and I'm buying myself a wool blanket.

It's on the end of my bed as we speak, and I've actually pulled it up over myself the last few nights when the sheet I've been using as a blanket isn't quite enough against the fan that has been constantly blowing on me.

It was only $4.99 at my local thrift shop, Canadian Thrift, and it's not stained, smelly or moth-eaten. These blankets are are to find in good shape, and Lord knows I'll need it when the icebox temps come our way in the winter, sigh.

The blanket (which happens to match the underside of my duvet, also thrifted) was made for Eaton's, a now defunct Canadian department store. I love that I have a bit of Canadian retail history on my bed!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Am I going tribal?

Yeeks, I think today's outfit matched the pillow from yesterday's post!

It's the end of the day, I'm on my balcony, and it's been a real stinker today - about 50 degrees C with the Humidex - so I'm looking a bit wilted, granted. My soul is a wee bit wilted too, as I have just returned from an industry event full of 20 and 30-somethings in chic downtown garb. I felt like a semi-frumpish aging boho hipster. But hey, I gotta be me, right?

I guess when I think of it, it's rather apt I donned a tribal-esque frock today, given the gruesomely oven-like temps in the Big Smoke. I don't often do looks of this sort, but the dress, which you can't see in its entirety here alas, is long and straight, with a darling empire waist and these cute ruched cap sleeves. The pattern isn't something I'd typically wear, but hey - it's ORANGE and therefore fitting into my aesthetic of late.

Plus it was a whopping $5.99 at my local thrift shop, Canadian thrift!!

There's a great thrifting lesson behind the ethnic-looking pendant I just thrifted at the same shop, too. Will take better pics of it and reveal the deets very soon.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

I have no shame

Being a thrifter means you have to be an opportunist person to certain extent. So when I saw this wool pillow on the front lawn of a home in the neighbourhood one day - you know, one of those 'take what we don't want so it doesn't go in the landfill' type things - I stopped about 50 yards later and thought.

I thought, "Shall I go and pluck that used pillow off the sidewalk like some shameless second-hand hussie? Who is going to judge me? No one is on the street anyway [it was really, really hot outside]."

So, my dear readers, I went back, tucked that pillow under my arm, made plans to wash it [full disclosure: I haven't washed it yet], and it is now reposing on my thrifted green velvet chair.

I've picked up some great pieces in the trash over the years, so my advice is this: if you have the guts, go for it. If not, someone else likely will!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

1970s handmade maxi dress, thrifted

Now that I'm working in the hip section of downtown, I am feeling rather free to dress the part - the part being a semi-cool vintage bohemian hipster. And I can also shop at one of my fav vintage second-hand shops, CTS at 394 Queen Street West, just west of Spadina.

The lovely and infectious Nadia reigns supreme at CTS, her dominion being vintage glam at great prices. Not thrift shop prices, mind, but low, under $40. This 1970s maxi dress (handmade I'm pretty sure) made of highly flammable fabric, fit me like a glove and was $19.99. I'm wearing it with a 1970s necklace thrifted at Value Village for under 10 bucks. Perfect for the heat wave we've been having here in Toronto!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Portobello Market, place of vintage bling

This is part deux to last night's post, featuring a vintage 1970s Trifari statement piece necklace I bought in Portobello Market in Notting Hill, and a dress my beau bought me in a West Palm Beach vintage shop.

Here we are in Notting Hill on the edge of the market. I wish we had more time to hang here. We had just completed a 4-hour whirlwind tour of London via a jam-packed tube, and we were cranky and exhausted.

On the cusp of the market, which is, of course, on Portobello Road.

Once we hit the street, we did one of two things, respectively: he went for a beer; I went shopping.

In truth I didn't want my dear man to get too bored so I limited myself to one shop. The bling outside of 69 Portobello Road,  where Linda Jackson Vintage Jewellery sets up on Saturdays, was too good to ignore.

Outside on the table, pins galore.

Enough vintage earrings to sink a ship.

Necklaces luring me in like a fish to bait - 10 pound each.

Inside is where the really good stuff is - collectible, original, different pieces from the 1950s to 70s, mostly.

Vintage fishie pendants from the 1960s ....

Heaps of huge statement piece pendants. I almost bought this silver and black one by Avon but thought my Trifari packed more of a style wallop.

All those huge owl pendants you're seeing in the mass market places in the mall aren't sudden inventions: they were a hit in the 1970s, when makers like Sarah Coventry (which I'm suspecting this is but I didn't check) were putting them out there.

It was sad to leave Portobello Road (in a traditional London taxi). There were so many vintage places, and around the corner, an Oxfam shop that looked really good! Maybe next time my man and I will spend a whole day there - that is, if we can find something interesting for him to do!

Monday, July 18, 2011

I've been MIA, but I've been vintage stylish!

I've been MIA as I started a new job last week! Happy and excited but tired. Here I am (wearing the vintage 1070s dress my hunny bought me in West Palm Beach) at the send-off party my former colleagues gave me late last week. It was a fab, fun night and I wanted to look the part.

I finally get to show you the wonderful piece of vintage bling I picked up in Portobello Market in Notting Hill, London on my holiday. It's a 1960s-70s Trifari gold-tone necklace with this indescribable pendant - it's a real style zinger in my humble opin, a super-dooper statement piece!

I'll tell and show you more about where I bought it tomorrow ....

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Orange, thrifted

I'm really into orange these days (see my post from last week, "A Look at a nook"). I bought this sundress (new, but only $20) before my holidays and never wore it as it was so cold in England, alas.

It's been so fab weather-wise in Toronto that I wore the dress today with these Espadrilles I thrifted for $7.99 this past weekend. They're by Nine West, they're satin and they're in mint condition!

You know, normally I don't go for the whole matchy-matchy thing, but I liked the orange on orange look of my outfit today. And, with a painful broken foot of late, the shoes cover my vulnerable toes so they don't get crunched as I bustle about my day. Plus, they're surprisingly comfy.

Orange. It's happy. If you want to wear a particular colour and it doesn't look all that hot on you, you can still get your colour groove on by experimenting with accessories, or wearing the hue on the lower half of your body so it's not too close to your face.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Meet my Judy

This is Judy, and she's a 'Judy', a term for a dressmaker's body form. I bought her new, years ago, at The Bombay Company on sale. I used to dress her up in one of my special vintage coats, but I found the coat just got too dusty. Plus it's nice to change things up every once in a while. Now Judy is an accessories junkie.

I just love these belts. I haven't had the chance to wear any of them yet as they're 'new' to me. The retro gold one used to be owned by dear Minnie, the lady I have told you about in recent posts.

The others came from my man's Mum in England, an accessories maven in her own right. I just love all the jeweled dangling bits. So boho chic!

The scarf, Perry Ellis, was thrifted for a couple bucks (you can't quite see but it has a bunch of birdies on it). The heavy duty necklace - vintage Nina Ricci, I'm told, by jewellery designer Rita Tesolin, who added these cute stone hearts to it - is so heavy it cuts little designs in the back of my neck, but I love it anyway. The shorter chunky colourful necklace is circa 1980s (Lucite?).

This wee pink purse is so darling - it was a B-day gift from my sis that she picked up in the market in Aix en Provence. It's from Italy, but hey, now I have the best of France and Italy! I'm not really a little bag person but it did prove useful while holidaying in England and also for weekend jaunt-abouts.

The thrifted version of the above purse: a tiny purse handmade in the Philippines, which I've had for so long I can't quite recall how much I paid for it - but I know it was under $5 as I have a certain 'thrift threshold' rule I enact when I find beautiful things that don't wholly fit into my life, and this was one of them. I don't wear it much, but when I do I pair it with a pink dress and feel incredibly chic.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Peonies & punch at Nathalie-Roze & Co. 5th anniversary do

Yesterday I popped into Nathalie-Roze & Co for its 5th B-day bash. Owned by Nathalie-Roze Fischer, the Leslieville, Toronto indie boutique features accessories and clothing by local artists. There's also this darling canopied and gated-in terrace where they have events and sell what I hear is the best ice-cream in town.

Nathalie-Roze and crew had the place all decked out yesterday for the festivities. These fragrant pink peonies, reposing beside N-R's famous mango and rose-water punch, remind me of growing up.

Back to the shop, a gorg green-walled eco-sanctuary of lovely hand-crafed jewellery displayed on teacup saucers and cool indie fashion labels. At the after-hours do last night, the change rooms and shop environs overflowed with hipster young women in their 30s (ok, some of us weren't 30!).

You know I'm a jewellery nut. This designer found a way to break and sand down teacups and fashion the bits into beautiful pendants.

And this one - a spoon! How brilliant!

Of course, my pics aren't doing justice to the breadth of what's in store - it was just too hard to get decent snaps of the clothing. Trust me when I say everything is recycled, upcycled or refashioned into a new stylish life.

Hair barrettes and head pieces of old ties! Do you know how many old ties I see when thrift shopping that are made of the best fabrics and patterns?

The lady of the evening wouldn't let me snap a pic of her, for shame, so I will wish a Happy Anniversary to the floating and very peony-like paper puff balls - Happy 5th!

You can find the shop at 1015 Queen St. E in Leslieville, Toronto. Look out for N-R's roster of events on her FB page or Twitter - pretty sure there's a clothing swap coming up.