Thursday, May 31, 2012

Bling show-and-tell, on request


If I had my way, I'd show you way more bling-only shots, except that I think people shots are more interesting. So I'm glad Curtise requested a close-up of the necklace shown in yesterday's post as it gives me a chance to show off. This department store necklace was not thrifted, and it WAS a splurge item, but I had just put my Brit Hunk on a jet and wasn't going to see him for two more months at least, so I was so so sad. I love the blue and green faceted pieces of glass. They may have mirrored my blue mood at the time, but generally blue makes me feel calm and serene, a good thing for an excitable chick like me! (Maybe that's why I wear blue so often?).


Meanwhile Ariane expressed an interest in seeing the necklace and bracelet from my May 18 post. This is one of my faves. I bought it in a Toronto vintage shop before I moved back home to Ottawa before getting married in December. I'm guessing it's 1980s. It's a choker style and I just adore the big golden flower. I have to make sure I don't wear the clasp to tightly; otherwise the tip of the flower digs into the hollow of my throat.


You may have already seen this bracelet, picked up for two pounds at an auction house market, so I'll show you a different view from before. It's very, very small and just fits around my wrist. I love it; it's so old world. Wonder if some gent gave it to his betrothed in Victorian times? It would be so romantic if it were a token of love ....


Speaking of the auction house market, I haven't yet shown you this necklace I picked up there for a couple pounds. It's kind of granny chic - smaller than what I normally wear, but I couldn't resist the shiny bits.


Here's a preview of my latest crush and Etsy purchase, a hand-painted boho multi-strand necklace pendant that I want to accessorize for you with just the perfect outfit. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Blue, blue & blue - yet I'm not blue!


I am back in the land of living after being away from home for almost three weeks! Thanks for all your kind comments and well-wishes re: the move to France. There is much to be done and I am feeling more than overwhelmed, but the excitement is palpable!

It's been so hot lately (yay!) that I'm back to my simple pull-the-dress-over-my-head dressing style - I hope this isn't too boring for you. I shall try to accessorize with great bling since I have limited footwear and handbags with me.


I don't buy new a lot, but sometimes if the price is right I do: this huge reversible canvas designer bag was 50 percent off at a sample sale, and the blue necklace, a definite splurge item, was bought new in an emotional moment directly after leaving my now hubby at the airport to fly overseas, back when we were doing the long-distance thing. I figure the cost was justified.

The blue patterned cotton dress: bought for a few pounds at a charity shop. The silver cuff bracelet was found in a Canadian thrift shop, as were the Italian sandals (one of the few that I kept when I moved to the UK so you may be seeing quite a bit of them). The sunnies you've seen before and were plucked out of the window display of an ancient hardware store in Toronto.

Have a great day!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Thrifted French dress & France


I've been MIA this past week as we've been traveling. I have some pretty big news: after only three months in the UK, I am  moving with the hubby to France!! Major excitement! Fittingly, as we walked through the cobble-stoned streets of the old town in Annecy in the French Alps where we'll be living, I wore a thrifted dress with a Paris label but bought in a UK charity shop. Je love tossing on a simple microfibre dress in the summer - no fuss, no muss and no ironing. I need to start practising mon French toute de suite!


I look a bit rough here - the product of too much good French wine the night before! I'm wearing a 1970s Avon pendant with a faux turquoise stone; a fake Fossil purse found in a charity shop for two pounds; and Italian sandals found in a Canadian thrift shop.


Whew, a chocolate milkshake perked me up a bit. Annecy is the most gorgeous place, as you can see. This picture is taken in the old town, a pedestrian-only area with Medieval castles, cobblestone streets and quaint cafes and shops set against a backdrop of mountains. The city is not big on thrift shops, from what I can tell (doesn't sound like a very French thing to me), but if there are any, you can bet I will suss them out! Bonne journee!!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Too small blazer & "replacement" bag


Ever bought a blazer that's too small, on purpose? I did. It's a petite size, and kinda sheeny/1990s, but I love the colour. I kindda like it fitted. With my second pair of skinny jeans bought for two pounds, and a simple tee, I think it looks pretty good.


I'm also showing off my "new" handbag found at an Oxfam shop for five pounds. It's a leather Kelly bag style, with this amazing hardware as you can see, and in really great shape (1980s, I'm guessing?). It will replace my vintage bags that have gone MIA (see posts below)! I'm also wearing my 2-pound vintage bracelet and vintage flower choker. Have a great day!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

More missing vintage bags


My blogging pals, we have been traveling this week so I've been unable to snap pics of my outfits. Now that we're home I shall put together some juicy ensembles to show you.

In the meantime, I'll do a part deux of the vintage handbags that have somehow gone MIA during my move from Toronto to Ottawa in Canada, and then overseas to the UK. This was my FAVE carpet bag, Missoni-esque in look, in perfect condition, 1960s or 70s- bought for $60 (not a Grunge Queen price) a few years ago at the Toronto Vintage Costume Jewellery Club's show & sale. It is just such a beaut.


A great 1970s clutch and another member of the missing handbag club. I bought this for less than $20 CAD, if memory serves, in Toronto a few years ago.


I snagged this super soft leather bag last fall at a vintage store in Toronto, and I wore it a lot. It is also in the missing box. I think that's it for the missing handbags, but it's amazing how quickly you forget. Every time I see an old pic on this blog or in my files, I think, "Ahha! That one is missing too!". Hopefully they're residing safely in my Mom's basement. Will keep you posted.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Vintage purses MIA


This picture, taken in the fall just before I left Toronto for good, is blurry - but it's apt as the vintage carpet bag featured therein is quickly fading from my memory ....


No, it's not one of many given away or sold en masse when I moved overseas. I had just bought it and I specifically remember saying to myself, "I want to keep that" and packing it in a box with other vintage purses. The problem is, I can't find the box. It didn't come overseas so I hope it's hiding in my Mom's basement somewhere. 


This darling little patent number with great hardware is missing too. It was only a few bucks a Goodwill in Toronto. Wah. Wah. Wah.


It's just so ironic that I gave away sooo many vintage handbags, only to have the truly special ones go missing in action. 


This leather one wasn't vintage but it was thrifted for a song and also designer. WHICH designer I can't recall as it's GONE. Hopefully not forever. There are more, but I can't think of them right now. Just come home to mommy.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

What's hanging around my neck these days


I don't have any outfits to show today so I thought I'd take some snaps of recent vintage bling buys that I'm really digging. I found this uber heavy vintage choker on Etsy for a song, and I just love its weight and detail. No marks, but a great clasp, wonderful detail and very substantial.


But bling doesn't always have to be substantial - this pendant isn't substantial at all in that it's extremely light. I found it in a charity shop for a pound and liked its Mod 1960s vibe. It's stamped Peak Stainless England on the back. Don't know much about the maker but it's nice to have a piece of bling made in England.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

My purple 1970s sunnies, on request, and thrifted New York look


I'm posting a close-up of the 70s sunnies I featured the other day, found in a Canadian hardware store for three dollars, on the request of Joni from Walking Colors - whose 1970s style, and sense of colour, I totally admire.

This photo was taken two years ago exactly, when I helped do the PR for the Toronto Vintage Costume Jewellery Club's semi-annual show & sale. The 1950s necklace belonged to a seller, but the rest of the look was created by me comprising some of my vintage thrifty finds.


At the time I called this my New York look. The crowning achievement is the hot pink vintage brocade jacket I found at Goodwill for $6.99, if memory serves. I'm wearing it over a thrifted Teenflo little black dress, accessorized with a 1970s gold belt and my beloved Paragon of Toronto vintage handbag that I found for just a few bucks in a thrift shop and stupidly gave away when I moved overseas. The shoes were new, but inexpensive.


The necklace was a beaut too, 1950s glass or crystals. The earrings were borrowed from the same owner as the necklace, 1980s I'm guessing. I had fun playing model for the show and we took some great snaps, which I featured here two years ago.

Head on over to Visible Monday and check out other fab thrifty stylistas.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Cartier love band, hi and low versions


I'm not wearing a ton of rings these days as my wedding band has eclipsed all others. Due to my own stupidity, we had to go through a few sizes before getting it right (note: my husband was right about the size). Not having been married before, I've never worn a ring on my wedding finger. I love my rose gold Cartier Love Band.


Then I saw this ring in my fave St Annes charity shop, the animal rescue one. It's a fake gold ring. Instead of diamonds, it's got these cute pink faux stones. It was a pound.


I now wear it on my right hand as a 'companion ring' to the other. Only the Grunge Queen would hi-lo her wedding band!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Take me to the prom!


I've been rummaging through all the dresses that I kept and moved overseas with me - and unearthed these vintage 1970s (?) gem, found at a thrift shop in Toronto for $6.99 Canadian - reader, I've never worn it and it still had the thrift shop tag on it!


It's so pretty and feminine - a DEFINITE "take me to the prom" dress. The dress label says that it's from an old Toronto retailer/designer.


Don't think the shoes are the best match but my stash has gone down and I have limited options. The earrings are amber faceted danglies I've had since I was 14 - a few years before my prom even happened!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Steals & deals: Etsy tapestry bag and thrifted N. E. From pendant

Photo courtesy edenfound, Etsy.

I have a confession: I've had this tapestry doctor's bag for weeks and I haven't shown you.

After stalking it on Etsy for several days, I took the plunge. It's made in Italy and has this amazing hardware. It was a great price, and I saw a similar bag that cost waaay more. I just love it. The seller identified it as 1970s but I would have guessed it was more 1990s - what do you think?


For its first outing, on a chilly English spring day, I took it out with my cashmere Jimmy Hourihan of Dublin cape (see a few posts below for another peep at the cape). Believe it or not, the pants, 70s-style purple sweater, black cashmere sweater underneath and booties are ALL NEW- a rare thing for the Grunge Queen, let me tell you!


But the 1970s purple sunnies were thrifted for three Canadian dollars in an ancient hardware store in Toronto that just happened to sell second-hand items in its window - I kid you not!

The steal: the pendant I'm wearing, a Modernist amethyst sterling pendant found for A DOLLAR in my local thrift shop back in Canada. It's signed "N. E. From", standing for Nils Erik From, a Danish silversmith who designed in the 1960s. His Modernist jewellery is all over Ebay (in fact a rose quartz pendant exactly like this is now listed at $450).  I'm increasingly attracted to Modernist bling and this piece is another fave in my collection.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

My auction adventure


It began outside the sliding doors of Gerrard's Auction House.


I had found a vintage bracelet in the open market area there a week before for a mere pound ninety-nine, so I went back to scout for more cheap goodies.


The place was pretty quiet downstairs as there was an auction in progress on the second level.


Then a blur of vintage purses on a counter caught my eye. I asked at the front desk and turns out they were part of the auction upstairs. I had never been to an auction before (save one at a charity shop that I failed miserably at). Before I knew what was happening, I was registering at the desk and climbing the stairs to the auction. I had taken a closer look at those purses, and there was one in particular that I wanted.


This is THE purse that caught my eye. I LOVE the green. It's obviously handmade, but I have no idea how old it is. No stinkiness whatsoever. Just exquisite.


I stood waiting for the lot of my purses (I was already thinking of them as MINE) with an ever-quickening heartbeat. It wasn't very busy upstairs so most of the lots weren't being bid on and could have gone for ten pounds. I was hoping the same would happen for me. By the time the lot came up, I was so pumped I felt like I was about to have a heart attack. The auctioneer started talking and up shot my arm - we were off to the bidding races. There was no way those purses were getting away.


Alas, there was an online bidder and we went back and to for a bit. But I won, paying just $2 under my cut-off figure.


Here's the inside of the green purse, an obviously handmade job. MY insides were pretty jelly-like as I waited at the counter to pay and claim my purses.


This was the second purse in the lot, not as special as the first but still an interesting - and obviously handmade - piece. I like that, like the green one (which is admittedly a bit squished and will look better when I flatten it out to reshape it), it's a wee asymmetrical. Beautiful, imperfect. That's my cup of tea!

And so went my second ever real live auction adventure. Maybe auctioning will soon become old hat -- or old purses again??

Sharing my finds for Ta-dah Tuesday!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Call me Tinkerbell


This is my latest thrifty find and style obsession: a sterling silver ball I found in a thrift shop for a pound fifty. It has wee bells inside so it makes wee Tinkerbell noises when you move. I used to work in a jewellery shop in the 1990s and these would sell like hotcakes. We called them Harmony Balls. Major nostalgia trip! Of course I had to have it. It came on a yucky fabric chain so I replaced it with a vintage chain I had.


I decided to wear it out yesterday - I went to my first auction and it was SO exciting! Thrilling details coming! - over a glorious cashmere and wool cape I thrifted in Canada. The cape is in perfect condition and it's by Jimmy Hourihan of Dublin. Perfect for this icky English weather and oh so stylish. The company still exists and I've seen these capes online for 350 pounds new!


The neat thing is the cape has a band around the neck that can be styled as a scarf or pulled up as a hood, as you see here. With my thrifted MEXX wool cowl neck sweater and thrifted brown suede boots, I may look like an Ewok from Star Wars, but hopefully the look is more harmonious than that, tee hee.


A leather bag found at a consignment store in Toronto, with an adjustable strap so I can wear it cross-body, completes my rainy day look. Stay tuned for the story of my very first auction - they heard me coming, with my bells!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Jazzing up a new outfit with a long-forgotten thrifted gem



THRIFT ALERT: This is NOT a thrifted dress, but I did buy it at a closing sale for less than 50% off its retail price. I love the tattoo-inspired print of this Critical Mass dress. The Lacuzzo sandals are from the same sale, as is the Bibi necklace, which I will show you in a sec.


THRIFT REALITY: I've had this gold-tone 1970s shawl for about six years - in fact, it was one of the first items I thrifted when I moved to Toronto. The funny thing is: I've never, ever worn it. Instead I've used it around the home, as a tablecloth and then as part of a headboard. I thought of it the other day and figured, with this chilly English weather, that I'm going to have to learn to layer if I want to stay warm. So I plopped it on and tried it as a shawl. I think the look is pretty sexy, even with the crazy print of this dress.


THRIFT REVELATION: Suddenly it hit me. I could layer on the shawl with a boy blazer (bought new in Canada) and wear it as a SCARF. If my neck is warm, I'm warm. The result: Boho Chic.


NEW AND VINTAGE BLING: Toss on a silver-tone boho ring (bought new at a US airport kiosk) and a vintage bracelet bought in Toronto that's so small it barely fits me, and I think we're ready to party. Now, can someone take me to a party, please?


I HEART BIBI: I normally do vintage costume bling, but this new Bibi necklace, originally priced beyond my means but also on sale, went so well with the dress. V-necks make me look like a giraffe as my neck is so long, so I like filling the space with baubles. I'm really into hearts these days, and this baby had the perfect balance between hard and soft, rocker and pretty.

Have a fab weekend everyone!