March 31, 2010

Clothing Swap Success

I just got back from the Clothing Swap and Fundraiser that I organized with a friend some months ago.  This was the first clothing swap I've ever been to, and I had such a blast.  Many of the women thanked us for putting it on.  

My friend and I had this idea since we have such an awesome group of women friends.  Unfortunately, one of our friends, who was always the life of the party and always supported women's gatherings, passed away from cancer around this time last year.  Her children are riding in the Ride to Conquer Cancer in June, so we made the Clothing Swap a fundraiser for them.  Everyone was to bring 5-10 pieces of clothing and donate a toonie (two dollars in Canuck parlance) for each item they took away [most women, myself included, brought much more than that].  We had a dozen women show up and we raised $162!  Which means that 81 pieces of clothing changed hands in a little under two hours!

On the first go-round, we were to pick a piece for someone else!  The first person to choose picked something for me!  She chose a vintage apricot-coloured swing coat, which I love.  I was second and selected something for one of my co-workers.  I must know her well, because I picked out a skirt she had brought!  So I put it back and the second skirt that I selected was one that she loved.  As far as I know, everyone kept what had been chosen for them!  Then it was basically a free-for-all; women picked out their own clothes and friends pushed clothing on other friends.  We all had to go by the rack several times, to see what other women were discarding.  Collective gasps were heard when we tried on the right style and right colour.

We held the Clothing Swap in the common room of our local women's centre (I am on the Board of Directors).  While we were ripping off our clothing and running around in underpants, I thought that anyone who happened to look in the window would think "typical weird commie feminists!"  [although we all had bras on; that feminists burned their bras in the 1960s is just an urban myth!]

Besides my vintage coat, I came away with 5 sweaters, 2 blouses, 1 long-sleeved t-shirt, and 1 kilt.  Since we had such a blast, we are going to make this an annual fundraiser.  It really didn't take much time to do at all.  We just had to invite about 20 women, buy some wine and cracker and hummus, set up a clothing rack, and clean our closets out.

I highly recommend doing the same!

March 30, 2010

Wishing and Hoping and Dreaming....

....of cooking in a new and functional kitchen!  It won't be done for a few weeks, but I am itching to get a cook-on with the new (old) cookbooks I picked up the other weekend!

The middle one "Memorable Meals in British Columbia" was a gift from one of my sisters, along with a gauzy blue 'Betty Draper' style apron.  We cracked up reading the menu plans from 1971.  The section devoted to 'ethnic menus' suggested a third course for a German menu of Seafood Curry!?!

The "Rhubarb Recipes" is in anticipation of my big patch of Rhubarb, and trying to use most of it up.  It looks old but is only (!) from 1990.  It is amazing how time passes!

The Rebar Cookbook is one I have been wanting for a long time and I've almost paid the $24.99 price for it several times.  I think it was $5.99.  I've photocopied pages out of it before, and have made the recipes with great success.  It also makes me nostalgic.  I lived in Victoria for four years and Rebar is a staple there.  I make it a point to go there every time I visit now.  So, I guess even though I didn't pay the new price for the book, I still support the business with my patronage.

Tomorrow night, I am going to the Clothing Swap that I organized with a friend months ago.  I did a quick cull of my closet and have 9 things to bring, but I know I have a box of clothing still in the crawl space.  Hopefully, I'll come home with a few good things, but we are mainly getting together to have fun and to raise money for the Ride to Conquer Cancer. (we are asking a $2 donation per item taken away)

March 28, 2010

That 70s Reno

The drywall is completed and floor is in!  Without really planning it, it seems that we are doing a 70s restoration on our 1979 house.  But Hus says that the 70s-ish brown tiles we picked out are really growing on him, and I like them too.  And I think the coffee table I posted about previously will work great with the floor.

Here is a mini before-and-after photo comparison.  Just a two weeks ago....

...we were living in chaos. That is a big hole where we removed a zero-clearance fireplace, and we were framing a wall to fit in there.  Funny how dogs have to get right in the middle of the action!

And today...

The hole  is drywalled over, the wall is primed for painting, and the tiles are ready to get covered with dog hair! Our floors don't really slant that much, since this was a 'staged' shot I had to snap the picture quickly before the dog got up!  But, I'm sure that when autumn comes and we turn on the underfloor heating, the dog will never want to get up!

March 25, 2010

I bought Teak

I am picking up this teak coffee table at Easter!
 The picture makes it look quite red, but in real life it is a natural teak-colour.  Hus and I have only really had one coffee table since we have been together; it was a factory-second from Ikea that we found at a liquidation centre.  Since we are renovating, we are buying a few pieces of furniture that suit us and our tastes.  Hus's stepfather had a teak coffee table with tiles inlaid, like this one, that Hus's sister got.  Occasionally, he grumbles that it did not end up with us.  When I saw this one at a consignment shop in Coquitlam, I knew that Hus would like it, and made an executive decision to buy it.  With taxes, it came to $70.34.

The irony is, that just prior to stopping at this shop, we were at Ikea and were admiring a teak-like coffee table for $279! We couldn't figure out what it was actually made of.  For $209 less, I would rather have real wood and something that is more inline with my values.  And this will go fabulously with my Eames Chair and teak lamp.  You'll have to wait a few weeks until I can post the 'after' pictures.

March 24, 2010

More Vintage Brooches

While thrifting on the weekend, I couldn't resist buying a few more vintage brooches!  I'm not sure how I acquired so many in such a short period of time, but I probably wear a vintage brooch three times a week now.  So I am getting use of out them!  I've been watching the TV show Hoarders lately and haven't seen large collections of brooches, so I don't think this is an issue yet!  And they take up so little space....
 I've already worn the owl pin, which I think is from Avon.  I wasn't going to purchase the flower one, since I wear very little pink, but my sister convinced me to (OK, I didn't put up much resistance!).  And I thought the Christmas one was not too tacky, like some of them are.

On the renovation front...the drywallers are finished and the tile floor is half completed.  Which means that Hus and I will be painting on the weekend.  That is good news since we will be able to drive 'home' for Easter weekend!  We also have to go to our hometown for Easter since I have to pick up something else I bought in the Lower Mainland. My sister will be transporting it in her van, and we'll take it back from there.  Till next time....

March 23, 2010

Off-Season Thrift Shopping

This will be the first of several posts about what I bought used over the weekend.  Many of these things I've had my eye out for, and can't quite believe that I found them all used for really good prices.  The items on today's post were all bought at a Value Village in Coquitlam.  Although it is spring, I though I would wander over to the winter coats to see if there was "anything good."  I had it in my mind that other people may be overlooking that section of the store.

As I was flipping through the ski parkas my fingers connected with one that stood out from the rest.  It was soft with a tightly knit nylon fabric, and I instinctively started to get excited.  I flipped it over and then saw the name brand, and the price!
 Then I had a look at the rest of the parka.....
It was a Marmot eiderdown parka in my size, and it hardly looks used at all!  These retail for probably about $200.  Whoever priced this probably did not recognize the name.  What a steal!  I am also happy that it is machine washable.  It will keep me warm on those really cold days!

In the winter parkas I also found an LL Bean eiderdown vest for $7.99.  This will be worn prior to next winter, however.  Since 'sitting around the fire' season is starting (I've already sat around two this month). this will keep my backside warm and cozy!  I'll likely use it next weekend.
And on the theme of winter, I also found a tomato-red beret and scarf (100% wool made in Scotland).  I think they were $2.99 each.  These will go with my vintage winter coat that I blogged about in January.
I'm happy to say that all these items were on my mental "to find" list.  Actually, the coat and vest have also made an appearance on my Christmas wish lists for the last few years.  

When I get my house back in order, after the renos, I'll have to donate some of my older coats so everything fits back into the closets!

March 22, 2010

I blocked out the drywall dust

Well, I had a really good time in Vancouver and at my sister's house.  It was a nice break from the disarray and drywall dust that has been tracked into the non-reno parts of our house.  Poor Hus said he almost resented that I went away since I got a break from it, while he didn't!

While we are somewhat inconvenienced, we still have the necessary basics of life.  I feel guilty complaining about it when so many people lost everything in the recent earthquakes in Haiti and Chile.  Our life (and kitchen) will be back in order within a few weeks, I'll just have to keep remembering that!  The drywallers should be finished tomorrow, and then on to the flooring being installed!

Next time...some of the things I purchased over the weekend! 

March 17, 2010

Cooking with no kitchen

I have been caught up in work, renos and will be leaving for Vancouver tomorrow for a few days, so I thought I'd do a quick post before I go.

Being without a kitchen since the weekend, and eating out everyday has lost its appeal.  Today Hus asked if we could have salad for dinner tonight.  This is a sure sign that he is already sick of heavy restaurant meals.  Since we still have water in the bathtub, and salad doesn't require cooking, I should be able to put one together.  This reminds me of that Seinfeld episode where Kramer prepares a meal in the shower! Next week, I'll have to plan some bbq meals and more salads.

March 12, 2010

German and Japanese Vintage Thrifts

Yesterday, I was also lucky in finding some vintage goodies at the thrift stores.  I have been on the lookout for one of these German-Christmas-Rotating-Candle-Nativity-Scenes (or whatever they are called) for ages!  I bought this one for $2.

Whoever donated it was kind enough to tape the broken pieces on it, so it is complete. It just needs a little glue. It is not as nice as other ones, but this may be due to its origins.  Rather than coming from West Germany, it was made in East Germany!

But it is cute enough.  Plus when the candles are lit and it rotates, everything just becomes a fuzzy blur as it is so captivating.  I think I wanted one of these so much because it brings back childhood memories.  To my recollection, my family did not have one, but family friends that we ate Christmas dinner with every year, did.  As our parents droned on over Christmas dinner and I became more and more tired, the spinning nativity scene hypnotized me.  I've found an early 1980s picture of Christmas dinner with it in the foreground.

Here is me, middle sister, our dad, and a family friend.  You can see the red candles spinning the contraption in the foreground.  I actually remember that they had another one that was three-tiered.  This was in the basement of our friends' house, where it was very 1970s, and to my 1980s-mind, very ugly.  Now I think that swag lamp is kind of neat!

I also found a cool toothpick holder, made it Japan.  Besides being the shape of an owl, there is no story behind this, except that this is the first toothpick holder that I've ever bought.  

March 11, 2010

sexy (and practical!) pants

Normally, I don't look for pants at the thrift shops.  I have largish hips and legs and it is frustrating enough to try to find pants at regular stores.  But today, I had a great find!  I was at the Salvation Army and while browsing the clothing I found a pair of heavy-duty Carhartts women's pants.  I had a look at them and thought "these will fit."  I didn't even try them on.  I just pulled out the $5 and bought them!

Now, I'm not saying that these are sexy pants on me!  Rather, I know about Carhartts because they look incredibly attractive on men, including Hus.  Hus has worked at all sorts of occupations, but I like it best when he works 'blue collar' jobs (for lack of a better word) as he is now, because he wears Carhartts!  Carhartts even look good on out-of-shape and not-so-attractive men.  Actually, I even like them on myself because the back pockets are humongous, so my ass looks smallish in comparison.

Normally, I don't need special work pants, but I've been envying Hus's Carhartts over the past few weekends doing renos.  So, I thought it fortuitous that I found a pair for myself!
Here I am modeling them against part of the wall that we have ripped down, and I've included a hammer for atmosphere.  Now that I see this picture, I have to make a confession.  Middle sister, I borrowed those bright-yellow socks (that mom gave you) last summer and never returned them!  Sorry!

I feel that I should also include a disclaimer.  I have not been paid by Carhartts for this post.  But if Carhartts sees this, we would welcome any freebies for the endorsement!

March 09, 2010

Ditch Diving Deja Vu

Remember a few weeks ago, when Hus, Dog and I collected over $3 worth of bottles on our morning walk?  

On Sunday, we took the same route and collected approximately the same amount or even more!

The only way that I can see how that happened, are that people are pigs!  I suspect that spring also has more teenagers walking about and throwing their cans and bottles to the side of the road.  What happened to them being the 'green' generation?  

I am also amazed at the amazing variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage containers we collected.  Hus and I drink very few (non-alcoholic) bottled beverages.  Doing the South Beach Diet six years ago curbed our consumption of juice and sodas (although other sugar has crept back into our diet).

We do, unfortunately, drink wine.  I would love to buy the large boxes for the savings and less packaging, but don't particularly want that much wine at our house at one time!

Well, I guess we need the return-fee, for our renos.  As you can see in the picture, our old electrical panel is in the background.  The electricians are here right now installing pot lights, moving electrical outlets etc., and we still have to get the bill for the work they did a few weeks ago!

March 06, 2010

Revealing Renos

Today Hus and I worked on tearing out more of our kitchen/living room, in anticipation of various contractors coming over the next few weeks.  We had to tear out a few cabinets for the electrician to do some work on Tuesday, but will still will have a functioning kitchen until next week when it all has to come out for the drywaller and the floor installer.  I hope that friends will have pity on us for the next month, otherwise we'll be eating out a lot!

Doing renos reveals a lot about your house and the people who formerly lived there, and the time in which it was built.  When we pulled out one of the bottom cabinets, we found a whole stash of ephemera that had slid between the countertop and the wall.  This is better, I think, than finding a whole stash of knives in a ceiling, as one of my sister did when she was doing one of her renovations years ago. 
 Come to think of it, at the last house we owned, Hus and I found a whole bunch of pornography when we pulled up purple shag carpeting in one room.  Seems to go together, doesn't it?  Note: there was no porno in the stuff we found today!

The first interesting item was a 'Master Charge' bill from the year in which our house was built - 1979.

On the reverse, the Interest listed was 18%, so people were getting fleeced in 1979 from credit cards too.  So no feeling nostalgia.  The nostalgia kicked in when looking at the third item on this list - this person filled up their vehicle at Chevron for only $12!!  And, only three item?  Our monthly credit card bill is usually three pages! (full disclosure: we pay it off in full every month; we do most of our purchasing on the credit card to earn aeroplan points). 

In chronological order, the next thing was a UI (when it was known as Unemployment Insurance!) statement from 1983.
I was surprised to see that the amount this person received was $302 for two weeks.  I wasn't so surprised to see a UI claim for 1983.  This was a time of recession, restraint and unemployment in the province of BC.  It was also a time of high interest rates. The interest rate in Canada in 1983 was around 10%.  If this poor sod had bought our house in 1981, they would have had a mortgage of around 20%!  Maybe they needed that $302.  And the keypunch holes are very quaint!

There were also two sets of McDonald's calendar stickers from 1986.
And finally, lots of recipes from two different hands.  One is for Trifle. 

I won't be making this one for the simple fact that Jello appears as the first ingredient.  I occasionally like Jello, but don't think that it should be part of anything else.  Especially not trifle.  I also like that the recipe writer had to include brackets next to 'sherry' noting that it was (booze).  Not to be mistaken for the neighbour, Sherry.

The other hand lost 5 recipe cards down this gap in the countertop.  I wonder if she ever had to make something for a potluck and searched in vain for her recipe for 'Drumstick Canapes."  Maybe it was good that she could never find it, since no drumsticks actually appear in this recipe; rather it is for wings.  In the modern parlance, we would call these "Chicken Wings."  But in the 1980s, it was all about show and flash and big hair; you could imagine 'drumstick canapes' or Dynasty or Dallas, rather than the modest 'chicken wing.'  
I might keep the recipe for Lemon Sponge Pudding that she got from Gladys.

Can't wait to see what we'll discover when we rip out the rest of the cabinets. I'm hoping not water damage or anything like that!

March 02, 2010

Mid-Century Prints

Like a lot of other bloggers, I am eagerly awaiting the garage sale season to start.  I already have one marked on my calendar.  I thought I would share with you my last garage sale purchase from last fall. Why?  Because people seem to like looking at used crap other people buy.  I certainly do!

Although I don't think these prints are crap.  I've looked online and found them for sale for $25-$30 each, unframed.  I bought three for $5, professionally framed.

I've never been to Paris, but love the style of these prints.  I especially love the mid-century people all decked out in modish clothing: slim pants, pencil skirts, pillbox hats etc.  

I only hope I'm lucky enough to find such great things again in the upcoming garage sale season!