Monday, December 30, 2013

Thrift shop voucher & "20 Euros in my pocket"


Hope you've all had a fab holiday season, whatever your tradition!

We had a lovely quiet Christmas here, with pressies in the morning, mostly for Adam, mimosas all day for Mommy and Daddy, and a cheese fondue in the evening. Adam took to his (thrifted) Fisher Price doggie xylophone right away. (His fancy new helmet is to correct a slight deformity).


Yesterday was my and hubby's two-year anniversary. So much has happened in two years: marriage to my wonderful guy, moving country twice, and of course, having Adam. So much to celebrate!

Unfortunately Adam and I were (and are) still recuperating from a nasty stomach virus, so we didn't do much. But these lovely roses my Mother-in-Law sent, in my fave colour combo for roses, certainly cheered the day (even if I did experience it from my bed).


I was bummed as I was sick on the day of the monthly brocante market, which was apparently really good this month, according to the hubs.

But hubby went out and bought me something that he tucked into my anniversary card, this lovely 1970s gold-plated glass and enamel pendant signed by a Limoges maker. What a sweetie pie. He knows my style so well.


I really do have the best man. Even though he hates the thrift shop, he often comes along with me when I want to go. 

The last time he was there, he snapped some pics of the place, and on Christmas Day, he tucked this thrift shop "Carte Cadeau" that he made for me into my Christmas card, featuring "the happiest pig in shit" on the front. Tee hee. That will be me at the thrift shop!


Taped to the back of the voucher: a 20 Euros note.

Aww. Just like the Thrift Shop song by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis: "... got twenty dollars in my pocket....". Ok, make 'em Euros and you have a deal.

So, just what can you get for 20 Euros at my local thrift shop?

Vintage cashmere sweater: Ottawa consignment shop
Kenneth Cole boots: Toronto thrift shop
Jeans (pre-pregnancy - whoo-hoo!): UK charity shop
Second-hand Tom Ford sunnies: Annecy consignment shop
Killer bag: see below.

A vintage (1970s?) faux fur/chenille coat by Cacharel.

Wool beret: Annecy consignment shop
Vintage Cacharel coat: Annecy thrift shop, 20 E
Vintage Mulberry bag: Annecy thrift shop, 10 E
1980s suede and leather boots: Etsy
Gloves and cashmere tunic underneath: retail.

A vintage (man's?) leather bag made by Brit maker Mulberry - for 10 Euros, marked down from 50 as the leather is slightly discoloured in parts.

Fellow stylistas, I had no idea Mulberry was a luxury bag maker and that new ladies' styles go for 1000-2000 Pounds. I just loved the bag and knew it was a quality piece. It's got the signature plaid lining, gold maker's disc, and serial number, the latter of which I need to look up on a purse forum - hopefully vintage bags will be listed there.

Turtleneck: Toronto thrift shop
Vintage Kenzo jacket: Annecy thrift shop, 30 E
Levis: retail
Vintage booties: Ebay
Belt: hubby's
Vintage Mulberry bag: Annecy thrift shop.

Hubby had to snap a pic of me wearing my thrifted velvet and floral jacket by Kenzo on a zebra crossing. He thought it was very Beatles/Sgt. Pepper. Couldn't simulate the cover of that album so Abbey Road will have to do.

Joking aside, I've been looking for a red velvet floral Kenzo jacket ever since my twin sis dug one up at a thrift shop years ago in Toronto. This one is perfect: fitted, double-breasted and bright. A French label, like Cacharel, Kenzo did velvet floral jackets in the 1980s and 90s, methinks. The Kenzo look is different today but I really love its vintage pieces. True, this baby was 30 E, but I couldn't leave it there.


Vintage Irish cashmere cape: Canadian thrift shop
Levis: retail.

I bought these items before Christmas so still have to spend my voucher, yay!


No snow in Annecy - it's been 8-10 degrees C for ages - but we went to the mountains to see friends on Boxing Day, and there's heaps of the white stuff there.


It was very beautiful and nice to get away from the city.

Linking up to all the lovelies at Patti's Visible Monday. Happy New Year! xo

Monday, December 23, 2013

Fa-la-la-la-la ...


Wishing everyone out there a very happy holiday season. Hope it's full of laughs with family and loved ones, lotsa vino, vintage goodies and whatever else your heart desires.

We've scaled back massively this year, and it's taken a load off. Most of Adam's gifts were found at the thrift shop - we live in baby central so the pickings are good - and hubs and I set a 20 Euros limit for each other. It feels good not to stress about buying (the thrift shop will be there in January, ha!). My big present would have been to go home to Canada. We're not doing that, but that's ok; we will have a lovely wee Christmas with the gift we are truly thankful for: Adam.


In honour of Christmases past at my family home in Ottawa, I'm showing you a somewhat fuzzy snap, taken my last Christmas home two years ago, of the Christmas tree topper my parents have had since the dawn of time. It's got a real 1960s groove to it, doesn't it? I've always loved it.


They still have the original box.


Bought for .77 cents at K-Mart. Retro!!


Meanwhile, the little one does in fact have two front teeth, just in time for Christmas.


Here's a peep at our Charlie Brown Christmas Tree. I don't know if it's like this on the UK and other parts of Europe, but the small tree reigns here. In North America, there's just more space, and the attitude is, Bigger is Better. It's refreshing to go small.


There have been major ice storms in Canada where my family is. Thousands of people are without power and lots of trees have been destroyed. I shiver to think of how animals have been impacted. Just got an email from my sis, and her power is back on. Here's hoping the storm abates and that peoples' power is restored in time for Christmas.

I leave you with the latest original Adam creation, courtesy of the Paint Sparkle app. It even looks like an ice storm.

All the best to you and yours! xoxo

Monday, December 16, 2013

New do & granny skirt

Michael Kors lace-up boots: half-off retail years ago in Toronto
Cashmere double-breased coat: Annecy thrift shop
Wool turtleneck: Toronto thrift shop
Tom Ford shades; Bally bag: Annecy consignment shop
Skirt (see below): Annecy thrift shop.

In honour of Visible Monday, I'm showing you a rare semi-dressy version of moi, wearing an outfit I may have worn to work in my former life, two-plus years ago in downtown Toronto working as a magazine editor (albeit a slightly less funkified version of that downtown gal). It's the first time I've hauled out my high-heeled, knee-high lace-up Michael Kors boots - which, in true Carrie Bradshaw fashion, I bought on sale in T.O. years ago using half my rent money :) - since moving to France. We had a rendez-vous in Geneva and I felt like looking semi-swish.


After months of growing my hair, I'm also featuring a new do, inspired by the short shag of actress Lisa Rinna, whose hairstyle I've always admired.


The outfit would be pretty blah without this padded wool skirt I thrifted recently, with a Monte Carlo tag, ooh la la. Not sure I'll keep it, though, as it adds padding I don't really need.

After making the agonizing decision of staying in France for the holidays, for various reasons, we've only just today put up a tree - a charming, 15-Euros Charlie Brown-inspired one that we've trussed up with red tear drops, the ornaments given to me by my Mom over the years (one every year since I was 19, a really nice tradition that will continue with Adam), and some beautiful clear Swarovski balls hubs bought me last Christmas.

It may be sunny and warm, in Annecy - not like the wind-chilled semi-blizzard conditions that my homeland is experiencing - but finally, it's starting to feel very much like Christmas. xoxo

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Around the house, mostly thrifted

New tablecloth, made in Jodhpur.

Yesterday was the annual street market in Annecy, which was full of over-priced tat: I can't tell you how many 5-Euros-scarf booths I saw. Though I snapped up two scarves at last year's market, this year, especially considering the 10-Euros-cashmere-sweaters I've found at similar such markets throughout the year that have since turned to rags, the thrill over such dubious bargains has turned rather stale.

There's nothing exciting about cheaply-made goods. All the French markets I've experienced (except brocantes) are like this, and they puzzle me as they completely contradict what I know about France's love for high quality, locally-produced goods. Perhaps these markets are the French's version of Big Box shopping, their form of retail junk???

Lamp: Annecy vide grenier
Bowl and candelabra: Annecy thrift shop.

The long and short of it: the exception to the dirth of uninspiring scarves, sweaters, slippers and kitchen knives, was this amazing hand-printed tablecloth bought at a stall by a man selling textiles from India. Ethnic anything is not so easy to find in this part of France (and the gal next door who sells gorg Moroccan pieces is closing up shop in the New Year and moving to Marrakesh!), so when I discovered this gent, who wholesales across France and has two retail shops in a nearby town, I was thrilled beyond belief.


Hubs and I were talking about the beauty and wisdom (and the sad slaughter of African variety) of these wonderful creatures only the night before, so it was fortuitous that we found a tablecloth with elephants on it. There are peacocks in the middle too.


Though they're different styles entirely, I think the cloth goes really well with this bowl I thrifted at my local shop. Forget the tourist shops if you want to find nice French pottery and such in Annecy. The thrift store is piled high with bowls, plates, dishes, cups - you name it - and all from a few centimes to a few Euros each.

A tale of two candelabras, both second-hand ....

Like everything in my old Canadian pad, many of our decorative accessories are second-hand. I've been on a candelabra bender of late. I've always wanted one but have never found one to suit my budget or style - and the really ornate, Gothic-type styles leave me cold. Then all of a sudden, I find two simple styles back-to-back! The elegant silver-tone beauty was 30 Euros at my local consignment shop (I had money on my account so I count this as a "trade" item).

Then the next day, I was in the thrift shop and there was this heavy rustic pewter candelabra (behind) made by French company Etains du Manoir. For 5 Euros!

Second-hand textiles: Granny's old shawl...

I have a thing for vintage textiles - the more beat up, the better, in some cases. This wool shawl has stains, a few holes and is criss-crossed with hand-sewn stitches from over the years, but I love it. I found it in a junk shop in Toronto, which apparently came in a box marked "Granny's shawl". I knew the shop owner and bet he bought the box for that very reason - and of course, when he shared the story with me, I had to have the shawl.

 ... wool scarf ...

I found this wool men's scarf at a skanky French thrift shop and use it on my photo table as a runner.

... and French scarf.

Meanwhile this second-hand French scarf creates a pretty border on a table showcasing my and my hubby's wooden box collections.


Btw, hubby made me the flower out of an old foil wrapper. So talented. I love this kind of stuff: beauty from trash.


Back in Toronto, I was Queen of the Pillows. I gave away or sold most of the pack when I moved overseas (along with most of my apartment, in the biggest decluttering exercise of my life), though I couldn't let go of them all. I've had the pink and green embroidered throw (back) since I was 21, bought as a birthday gift in an ethnic-y shop in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. The Kilim one in front was a recent Etsy find.


This oversize one was dug up at a Toronto consignment shop specializing in decor. Apparently it's a custom-made pillow made out of antique fabric. Green velvet anything really rocks my boat, as did this pretty pattern, so it stayed on the "keep" list.


Can't not include the little guy. I've found a few knit patchwork blankets at the thrift shop this past year, and this mini one was very boy-like and will eventually go on Adam's bed. For now, it's the 'safe zone' part of his play area, which you can see he's way out of now that he's starting to roll around!

One of the many looks I created using all garbage and
thrift shop finds in my old Toronto apartment.

I wish I had more than tableaus to show you decor wise, but, living in a semi-furnished apartment that we're planning on moving out of soon, I haven't spent a lot of time stamping my individual style on the place. Perhaps having a husband with his own individual style is another reason! I'm really looking forward to creating a home, and putting together a cute boy's room out of thrifty goodies, once we have a new, larger place. I used to feature a lot more thrifty decorating on this blog, and I miss it. Hopefully the New Year will bring us a new space I can tinker with.