Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Martha Stewart -- You're M-Azing!

Despite my ThriftKitty absenteeism issues, I have to share this little tidbit with you. Stumbled across it as I was cleaning up my much neglected gmail account.

Those who know me, know I'm a bit of a Martha Stewart fan. I stuck by her through thick and thin. Jail time and all. We all have our flaws - thank goodness ours are not out in the public eye for all to judge - but this lady has got some serious talent. One heck of a resilient lady to boot.

In a recent Martha Stewart Living Newsletter, she brings us a piece entitled "Treasure Hunt". Here, Martha and her team share secrets on Shopping Flea Markets and yard sales, tips on how to organize your own yard sale, and how to transform your treasures into chic home accessories! All this is [of course] layered with the most important tip of all -- never leave your manners at home. This is a key element in the etiquette of negotiating.

I am certainly on the market for tips on how to incorporate amazing finds into existing/budding home decor, as I have successfully cluttered most rooms in the house. Now what?!

Martha, what can you teach me today ...

ThriftKitty wants her groove back ...

During peek thrift season -- summer -- you'd think ThriftKitty would be in her prime! Clearly she would be staking out the garage sales at the wee hours of the morning and exploring new flea markets and antique stores stumbled upon during summer travels.

But clearly, if this were happening, she would also be blogumenting her journey here for fellow thrifters (heehee) to enjoy. Wouldn't she?

Yes, but clearly, this is not happening.

To be clear, it's the blogumentation that isn't happening. Case in point - refer to the date of my last entry. Meeeerow. Is taking too much time to smell the flowers a fair excuse? Probably not, but soooo enjoyable.

To be fair, what is happening are many a thrift travel and triumph. Never as many as I would like -- as there are simply too many fun activities and weekend getaways on Saturday mornings -- but some super exciting tales.

So, where are the posts? And when will I stop rambling about nonsense?

Good questions! ...

I'm awaiting inspiration. It's coming.


Friday, March 6, 2009

Pyrex: Stands the test of time!

... one more little post before heading to bed. Yes, I've spent my entire Friday night online. Oops.

An Internet shopping guru friend of mine (heehee), and member of Sunday Shopping Church introduced me to this amazing site detailing Vintage Pyrex patterns. They are so beautiful that I had to share. Pyrex!!? Yes, I know. They not only stand the test of time ... but far surpass the Pyrex of today. Man have we become boring these days or what?!

The butter dish I bought last weekend at Bentley's Flea Market was the "bluebird" pattern -- how fun it is to be able to identify the historical significance or at least appreciate the historical beauty of these treasured finds.

Okay ... off to bed.
Sweet thrifting dreams to all.
What's in store for this weekend ... only time will tell.

Let the thrifting begin.


National Thrift Store Month ... Canada

That country attached to our bottom half -- you know, the United States of America -- they sure have some amazingly Thriftacular blogs ... as well as a petition for National Thrift Store Month. Without even a blink, I am confident they are on to something.

This initiative ... and Facebook group ... is being led by the Thrifty Chicks very own Shopping Golightly. This thrft diva is seeking out the recognition, ap-pre-ci-a-tion, and attention that non-profit thrift stores, vintage shops, consignment stores, flea markets, and garage sales alike deserve!
It's all about the value and importance that these establishments serve in American (and Canadian) culture. Although the petition and backend efforts are focused on the US, we, as Canadians can build on this effort. Geez, any ideas? I've got my homework cut out for me.

I'm not a thrift fashion guru (yet) -- but I am THE number one fan of thrift stores for just about everything else. As I've ranted before, there are countless reasons why we cannot continue to mindlessly buy and discard. One of my goals is to do some research, reading, and collection of factoids on our consumption issues and overflowing landfills. Stay tuned. But just as important, is the fact that many of these stores donate a signifcant amount of their revenue to charity. VV for example, donates both on donations and purchases. Win-win.

I absolutely support and applaud recognizing December as National Thrift Store Month. Want to learn more? Intersted in supporting this movement ... join the Facebook petition!

What is your best thrift store find?? Oh goodness .... let me count the ways. ;)

Your homework?

Add something new to YOUR weekly schedule ... a trip to your local thrift store! It will add a new dimension to your life that can't be compared to anything else. Do it for green reasons, charitable reasons, frugal reasons, or kitchy reasons. Go with a goal. Start small. Shop for you. Shop for others. Determine your budget ahead of time. Make time for more than one round of the store -- some things don't jump out the first time.

Psssst .... Pass it on.


Ethical Shopping | Spring Recycling Craft Show!

A wonderfully unique, local, and independent coffee shop called "Umi Cafe" is hosting an ethical shopping event!

When/Where: Sunday, March 22
2pm - 6pm
610 Somerset Street
Umi Cafe

What: Flea Market | Spring Recycling Craft Show
Great opportunity to buy crafts made from recycled items
Demonstrations of how their crafts were created

Why: Because it's time for ethical shopping!
Support local artists

To see more details and RSVP via Facebook click here.

Go on, get your flea market on in an unlikely venue while sipping away at delicious fair trade coffee!

See you there.


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Thrill of Sharing

This weekend was amazing. I had the pleasure of sharing my love for:

1. Vintage fashion, jewelery, furniture, and housewares
2. Thrift Stores and Flea Markets
3. Meeting fabulous people

I couldn't be happier. The friends that joined me a-pre-ci-ate-d the experience as much as I did. And I quote (well loosely), "I dreamed about places like this existing, and here I am."


* An amazing workout; discovered a new class - rocked out

* A delicious breakfast at Jak's Kitchen (best breakfast joint in town) shared with the boy and great friends

* Hit up The Collections art show at SPAO. Another hidden gem in Ottawa. Sarah Fisher's pieces were fantastic. The friend that joined me is picking up the bus ticket piece. I'm in love with the vintage animal planters print ... just need to find the perfect frame.

* Took some time to cruise the independent fashion scene in the Market - Victoire, The Workshop, Milk, etc...

* Purchased a delicious loose leaf earl grey tea from Bridgehead (still had a coffee buzz from Jak's)
* Thrifted 'til the sun came down!!! I tried out several new spots (which I will post on my central post with ottawa thriftkitty spots), and hit up some tried, tested and true. Great finds included a yellow and gold flower brooch, set of floral vintage dessert bowls, dainty gold leaf tea cups (for my soon to be hosted tea party), and a beautiful ornate frame.

* Oh, and a surprise stop at Home Sense. No, this doesn't fit into the master plan but I panicked when the Thrift Store on Merivale (across from Home Sense) had shut down. This is the third Thrift Store that is open one day, then closed the next!!! What a travesty. What is happening? I will return to this theme. The good news here is that I found the coolest set of candlesticks / table art and an owl for my budding collection. Very picture worthy -- so stay tuned. The candle sticks are glossy white ceramic tree stumps, in three different heights. Love them! Not vintage. Not used. But they could be. :) The owl has these cute tufty ears and legs ... I think he's a snowy owl. Perhaps an ode to winter -- aka -- please leave, we respect you but have had enough of you.

Sunday (aka Sunday Thrifting Church)

* Woke up, had a quick breakfast, filled a travel mug with my new coffee concoction (coffee with a spoonful of Eagle Brand condensed milk). Now, let me tell you ... it is so freakishly good you will crave it in your sleep. I can't take the credit though. My girlfriend and Image consultant guru exposed me to this divine creation when I was staying with her in TO.

* Set out for MaryAnn Harris' Vintage Fashion Rave Part II with a few of my friends! This time, we were one of the first to arrive -- and had the pick of the litter! MaryAnn and her hubby are fantastic, and perfect for each other ... it's always a treat to chat with them. Both will be at the Garage Sale Show at Landsdowne in May. I ended up taking home some fantastic earrings, furry poodle brooch, and a Mother's Day gift. This cash only, home-based sale offers many of MaryAnn's vintage pieces at 50% off; everything from hats, to jewelery, to shoes, gloves, dresses, and scarves. Such a comfy environment - complete with 'reclectica dollars' and snacks to boot! Will there be a Part III?

* We then took to the road in pursuit of Bentley's Flea Market (7 Cleopatra Drive- Near Hunt Club). Open every Sunday, we've declared this spot the source of our Sunday Thrifting Church. What an amazing experience as usual. They have a great selection of vendors. Not too big, good range of prices and time periods. My favourite vendor is bursting with pieces from the 50's and she's extremely knowledgeable about what she sells. It's a learning experience each time we meet -- and I never walk away empty handed. This time I took home a gift for the mommy, a 1950s Pyrex butter dish with a teal blue patter on it (something I've been hunting for quite some time), and a tiered glass petal dessert tray. The girls picked up some great jewelery grab bags which we proceeded to dissect and plan craft projects for at the Sushi restaurant later that afternoon. I also expanded my journey to the book vendor -- and found a great vintage book called the "Complete Book of Etiquette" by Amy Vanderbilt, written in 1952. What a perfect coffee table book! I'm looking forward to picking up a few etiquette lessons and finding out just how ill mannered we've become. Absolutely lovely highlight of our trip was that I met the most fabulous lady - one of the vendors. She's 80+ years old and has been doing the flea market thing since she retired. One of her three children work there with her. She spoke so highly of all her children and has truly lived a full, experience-rich life. Her favourite decade was the 60's -- primarily due to the people and experiences that came with that time period for her. I suppose when one looks back on decades they actually lived through, it's harder to separate the fashion and decor from the life experience. The 50's remain my favourite decade for those reasons. Not sure what I would have felt about the lifestyle. But truly, the greatest highlight of the day was sharing this experience with others. It was such a rush, the energy was contagious. Bringing these fantastic places to light by sharing them with others is the gift that keeps on giving!!

* Next, the very hungry, thrift exhausted crew headed for Sushi ... but as we drove down Merivale and decided to resist the cries of VV, the Thrift Shop caught my eye - their door was open. THE Thrift Shop.

The one I've been stalking for 2 months now.
The one that posts no hours and is always closed! The one tucked in behind a gas station, in the same parking lot as a very well attended Bingo Hall. OMG. I swerved off the road, parked the car, apologized for the crazy driving, and ran towards the store. We couldn't tell if they were in the process of closing down or opening up. Furniture was everything, random nic-nacs on shelves, frames on the floor. It was sweet, beautiful chaos. I have never had a talent for making sense of thrift clothing rack chaos ... but household items and collectibles is another story! Not to mention that I'd been waiting to get a look inside for so long!! I immediately found a lined basket, book, tea cup, pedal dessert plate (that matches the yellow tiered-tray I bought at the Consignment shop in Bells Corners, Echo Decor), pearl necklace, and poached egg thingy. Most of the items were missing prices, and when I asked how much my treasures would cost she rummaged through my basket and said $8. Okay then. The deal was done. I also had my eye on two vintage sitting chairs in great condition. As we were checking them out the lady running the store said "I'll give them to you for $10 each. What??? Since we were on such a role I asked how much the cute, ornate dresser cost in the back .... $20 she answered. We arranged a time to meet up that evening and home these items came (thanks to the wonderful guy in my life).

* We did make it for Sushi on Wellington with one final stop to American Apparel - where I exchanged some birthday gift leggings (already had the same colour) for this multi-purpose / multi-talented dress top get-up. The sushi was deeeelish and we ohhhh'd and awwwwed over our findings.

What a day. What a wonderfully glorious day. I can't wait to do it again, knowing that each of our journeys will be a little bit different. And spring, fresh, crispy, sunny, warm breezy spring will bring many many exciting opportunities.


Friday, February 27, 2009

The Art Show for Collectors!

Obsessive collectors ... come one, come all! This art show couldn't have come to Ottawa at a better time. Although I'm not going until tomorrow - I get the sense that it honours all the ThriftKitty themes. 

The Collections | Solo Series 2009

Artist: Sarah Fisher

Date: February 6th - March 2nd

SPAO, Vernissage,168 Dalhousie



Description: A photographic exhibition exploring the obsession involved in collecting similar objects. Photographer Sarah Fisher gives insight into collecting, through images of many similar objects. Throughout this exhibition the ideas and questions posed are from the artist's self-reflection and questioning of her own deficit throughout the years. These visuals represent a reflection of personal separation from things worth keeping and a curiosity in the people who can't be satisfied with one item, but must have many similar ones. Her interest is not in accumulating physical items but in documenting this need in others. Artist’s Statement Like most people, throughout the years I have accumulated many things. There are few things that I've held onto, the rest have been given or thrown away. Afraid to carry the weight of these objects through life, this was a way of separating myself from any attachment. It's fascinating to me the things people grow attached to. It's even more intriguing the things people are attached to but need more than one of to satisfy their craving. Whatever the rationale for these collections, I have created my own photographic collection documenting this need.


I've been collecting for as long as I can remember. Marbles. Stickers. Band-aids. Rings. Menus. Pooh. Hello Kitty. Clothes. Shoes. Pearls. And the list goes on and on. 

During my University years, I went through a phase where I had to reinforce "no more things". It was too easy for me and those around me to feed the habit. But moving almost every 4 months became a packing exercise in insanity! The collecting stopped. I actively resisted it. Well, with the exception of clothes and shoes. 

Thrifting has brought collecting back into my life -- with more focus -- one of area of focus is to creatively and uniquely decorate our new home. Yippee!!

See you at SPAO this weekend.

Inspiration at its best.



How do I love thee?

A wonderful poem -- vintage if you will; written in the late 1800's by Elizabeth Barrett Browning -- keeps popping into my mind. I've never been able to recite every verse because I don't believe, until today, that I had ever read the whole poem. Curiosity is a wonderful thing, because it's a great poem! Read on...

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being, and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the levels of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise;
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, -- I love thee with the breath
Smiles, tears, of all my life! -- and if God choose
I shall but love thee better after death. 

Whether the attraction towards this poem is due to my new found love of thrifting, or to my ever growing love for the wonderful man in my life, I'm not sure. Well, okay, I'm sure .... But given the subject matter of this blog -- let's go with the thrifting theme. :)

Reading each verse, I realize it has this elegant sense of wisdom and innocence. Although the pure joy of thrifting, the thrill of the treasure hunt, the fulfillment of a new hobby, and the lure of collection is what got me hooked ... there is so much more depth to this subculture that I have yet to even realize. The history and the story behind these pieces, the people and animals that benefit from the charitable donations, and the landfills that grow even a bit slower because we're reusing goods that already exist vs. constantly buying new are just a few of the ways I love thee.

I'm also drawn to the verse, "I love thee with a passion put to use". So true. SO TRUE. Life is lived so much more completely when we draw upon our passions. It's what lights the flicker in our eyes, what causes a heart to race, and what gets us out of bed in the morning. It is where innovation and creativity comes from. Passion makes food taste better, experiences richer, life sweeter.

Now, tell me who wouldn't want to feel this big, this deep, this wide, this high? Find a passion, enjoy it to the fullest, and put it to use. 

See you at the thrift store.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Impure Yoga Thoughts: Thrifting!

Oops! I've got thrifting on the brain.

In addition to becoming a thrift expert extraordinaire in 2009, I have also been determined to get my exercise on. ThriftKitty has got to get her groove back - such a lazy bones! So, I was at yoga this evening ... well, a yoga of sorts -- it was BodyFlow at GoodLife ... and for those who know this class, there is a relaxation session at the end of the class. I've been known to do everything but relax during this timeframe. Stress, plan, worry, and oh ya, sleep.

Tonight -- what did I do? I daydreamed about thrfiting. Really? Yes. I couldn't stop imagining this fabulous scene where I stumble
across the most amazing thrift store! A treasure trove tucked away on a side street. It's completely quirky with fantastic prices! You know, the real thrift pricing of the good old days ... when you could buy items for a quarter (hear that VV!?!!)! Then, during this beautiful, relaxing song I started to get that thrift panic / excitement heart racing thing!!

What did I do? I rushed out of that class (after namaste-ing of course) threw on my boots, jumped in the car, and drove straight to the only thrift spot I know that stays open until 9:00pm. VV.

Oh man, it just makes me laugh. But what fun!! They had to rip me out of the store after 3 "we're closing warnings".

Haven't take pics of my most recent fabulous finds ... but my gem of the night was definitely this crazy log patterned, mushroom infested gravy boat!!

I'm just so excited! What a week. I even stumbled across some new amazing thrift blogs -- which are in my blog link section -- Thrifty Chicks and Queen of Fifty Cents! You have to check these gals out. Pure genius.


Sunday, February 22, 2009

New Flea Market / Flea Market Reborn

Not sure if this is new news or old news, but it's news to me.

Check out the Ottawa Flea Market y'all! Okay, okay. Nerd alert. My heart is racing ... eyes are dilating ... palms are sweaty. I have to wait until SUNDAY!? Ohhhh. And I have this feeling that the price points will be fantastic! Please have owl statues. Please.

Sunday Thrifting Church anyone? Here at the deet's:

260 McArthur Road

Vanier Columbus Club
(613) 297-0648
Open Sundays, 9:00am - 4:00pm

I've updated my Thrifting in Ottawa post with the details as well. Check that post regularly for a complete list of thrift, vintage, consignment, or flea market spots I've come across in Ottawa.

Now, if you happen to check out the OFM website, please tell me if I'm delirious or not ... but I think it says they have an open bar and karaoke! Seriously?! I have been known to perform Flagpole Sitta' from time to time... but combine thrifting and karaoke under the same roof? A proposition I had not yet pondered.

They do have an open bar. hmmmm.


The Church of Thrifting

The Church of Thrifting. Yes, this is a religion, a habit, and an activity that I can get behind.

But first, a minor tangent.

A wise person recently enlighted me on the difference between expressing "luck" vs. expressing "fortune". I simply hadn't thought about it before -- and tended to use the word luck, never the word fortune. She explained ... Luck tends to imply chance, happenstance ... something out of one's control. Whereas fortune, or feeling fortunate implies gratefulness, and having participated in the process of that fortune. Unfortunately, the dictionary doesn't entirely support this difference -- but I digress. :)

Okay, so the point of that random non-thrify tangent was this. I am truly fortunate to have some seriously, absolutely, astoundingly, and most incredibly amazing people in my life. There are so many reasons for this outburst, but I have never been so aware of this fact as I am today. Thank you for this fortune. I am so grateful and will spend the balance of my days ensuring that I have earned this fortune.

So, the Church of Thrifting ... or more broadly referred to as the Church of Sunday Shopping. This term was coined by a good friend of mine - a creative genius really. And the following has grown quickly. Tripled actually, when another good friend, longtime thrifter, and artist to boot joined the church and created our sign! :)

We plan to set out on a weekly basis. Give our thanks. Invest in our community. Celebrate our friendship. And share in our common beliefs.

This has added a new dimension to my thrifting journey.
Stay tuned!

Damage will no doubt be done. Treasures will surely be found. New territory will most certainly be marked.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Vintage Fashion Rave?

Sunday's are great Flea Market days. But this Sunday was special. It kicked off with a Vintage Fashion Rave! What is that you say? Well, we set out to answer this very question at 10am this morning!

MaryAnn Harris, a vintage fashion legend here in Ottawa, orchestrated a day of great deals on some of her fabulous vintage clothing and jewelery collection. Everything was 50% off (OMG). Her house was transformed into a Reclectica store ... complete with shopping baskets, a free "reclectica dollar' upon arrival, a change room, snacks, and an overall warm and cozy feel! Guests were encouraged to wear their favourite vintage duds to the event, and 'staff' were dressed to the nines. Add it all together, and you've got a vintage fashion rave.

I got out alive -- but not empty handed. B'en non.

My focus: pearls, blingy earings or brooches, 1950's dresses.

The result: pearls, blingy earings, fantastic hat, girly aprons!

I LOVE PEARLS!!! A friend recommended that I have a photoshoot with all my pearls as a nod to a famous picture of Marilyn Monroe with all her pearls. Key difference - mine wouldn't be real. Plastic pearls are simply undervalued. LOL. At the end of the day, oodles of pearls = divine fabulousness.

APRONS are just about the cutest addition to a hostess' outfit for a dinner party or bruncheon! You know, a little domestication never hurt anyone ... even if it's just in one's outfit. Good quality, good condition, frilly aprons can be tricky to find in thrift stores! So voila ... two great finds at the vintage fashion rave. One will be the perfect additon to a Valentine's Day meal ... perhaps breakfast in bed for my one and only!?

The HAT was an unexpected find ... it's absolutely adorable, but more worthy of a live shot. It's black with a big bow in the front - almost tam like. It looked to lifeless laying there on the floor. Unfortunately I don't have a hat stand to display her.

No luck on the 1950's dresses. My search continues!! MaryAnn mentioned that she has some in stock, but decided not to include them in the sale. I don't blame her, they're hard to find. I was reassured that they would be proudly displayed at the Spring Garage Sale at Landsdowne Park in April. Check out my Ottawa Events post for show details!
I'm hoping that with the increased popularity of tv show Mad Men, and a general influx of 1950's vintage in the mainstream interior design world -- that it, too, will make it's way into the fashion scene ... with many sizes and options to choose from.

After the vintage fashion rave we headed over to Bentley's Flea Market (Merivale & Cleopatra)... my FIRST visit, but not the last!! I brought a girlfriend with me who just died over the great jewelery -- brooches, bracelets, and more!! I died over well -- everything! I showed great restraint ... but did find the perfect ice cream bowls. They're from the 1950's, lime green, and originally terms Sherbet bowl. Yeahhhh. The vendors are very friendly, not too stuffy, and a number of the booths were quite well priced as.

The exposure to this Ottawa secret definitely paid it forward, thrifting style. We will be back.

I can smell a tradition brewing.... Sunday Thrifting Church anyone?

God life is good. Get out there an enjoy it!


Oh Vintage Owls ... how I long for thee!

Without even knowing it -- I started a new collection! Ooops! It happened a little while back when I stumbled across this very adorable owl statue from VV. He had a few chips off his ear and beak, but had fantastic character. I knew he needed a good home. So home he came. A couple weeks after that, another owl crossed my path. I think he's actually one of those owls people buy to scare off other birds from chillin' on their balconies. Who would do such a thing!!? So home he came.

The two owls are now happily perched on top of our closet in the front hall. It's a perfect space, but they're getting lonely. Since those two lucky finds, I have yet to come across another.

After countless missions and no luck, the itch got stronger. In preparation for a cathartic blogging session about owls, a quick Google search for 'vintage owls' yielded the image to the left. It was actually a pic from a blog called Design*Sponge ... highlighting some beautiful vintage owls from Etsy: bluebellbazaar! I quickly went on the site, but no such luck ... they had been sold!! I emailed the vendor (Gosia) and she responded almost ins
tantly! I'm now on her mailing list to find out when new gems get posted. Success. Fingers crossed.

We all have our vices. Mine seem to be centred around forest animals and dwellers -- owls, deers, squirrels, acorns, sticks, and birds. hmmmm. I suppose it could be worse. For now, I'll relish in the amazing experiences of the weekend!!! My first visit to Bentley's Flea Market and a trip to MaryAnn Haris' Vintage Fashion Rave at her home. More to come on that!

Ottawa might not be such a bad thrifting city after all. Just takes some digging into the subculture of the thrifting world. Diamond in the rough.


Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Guide to Thrifting: Part 1

There are many veterans out there - in the wild and wonderful world of thrifting - with great wisdom and insights. I aspire to one day be one of those veterans. In doing so, I commit to doing my best to document these travels, share tricks of the trade, and impart some of the ideas that work for me. I also plan to pick up a few of the books mentioned in an earlier blog -- no doubt many great thrift hunts have been brilliantly documented.

A Guide to Thrifting: Part 1

1. Have a plan. Whenever possible, have a plan. It's easy to get overwhelmed and lose focus. Decide in advance what you're hunting for that day. Whether it be a particular room (dining room, kitchen, bedroom) or particular item (dishes, jewelery, picture frames), zero in on that area of the store and focus your time there.

2. Take your time. When setting out for a thrift experience, you give yourself lots of time. Don't rush. Scan the shelves slowly -- and if possible, double back over the same area twice!! New items will pop out the second or third time around! The time factor is especially true if you're going to a Flea Market, large Antique store, or new spot. If you only have an hour to shop, don't try to cover the whole store. Focus your time in one area. Ideally, you have a whole day ... but sometimes the best time to go is on a weekday morning. The stores are quiet and new items have just been put out.

3. Bring cash. Smaller stores may or may not have debit. Cash can also be a negotiating tool. If you only have a certain number of dollars, you can use that as your best offer. Carrying cash can also be a way to manage your budget. If you only want to spend $20, bring $20 cash with you and stop there.

4. Collect, then sort. Whenever possible, take a basket or cart. It's best to grab whatever catches your eye, then sort through your basket at the end. It's okay to put things back -- someone will be glad you did. Not only will this ensure you get first dibs on taking that treasure home, but it will also give you time to plan out where it will live when it gets home, which items may be given as gifts, or whether you really need that piece today!

5. Go often!! This may be the most important one of all. Frequency is key. Some trips may not be very fruitful. Don't be discouraged ... it's the thrill of the hunt that makes the find truly rewarding. You may also get to know the salespeople, who can give you tips on when new merchandise is put out, or even keep an eye on certain things for you. Frequent thrifting can be challenging for a few reasons, 1) The hours of these stores may not align with your work schedule during the week - this drives me nuts, or 2) You may have a number of spots you like to hit -- where to go and when, oh my!?!?, 3) You may end up spending way more than you expect - this requires diligence and focus. Give it a shot ... even pick a day of the week and stick to that schedule.

... to be continued!!


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Thrift-worthy Events in Ottawa

One of my earlier posts referenced a fabulous "Vintage Fashion Rave" that's coming up in January ... but this past weekend I stumbled upon a few more, and thought it would be ThriftKitty worthy to share them with fellow thrifters:

Vintage Fashion Rave
Sunday, January 25
10am - 4pm
1495 Chomley Crescent (off Coronation Ave)

Yesteryear Antique Fair
February 13 - February 15
Friday: 5pm - 9pm
Saturday: 10am - 5pm
Sunday: 10am - 4pm
Nepean Sportsplex
1701 Woodroffe Avenue

Vintage Fashion Sale - Round II
Sunday, March 1st
11am - 3pm
1495 Chomley Crescent
Amazing pieces - Cash only - Great deals!

Antiques & Vintage Living
March 27 - 29
October 23-25
Friday: 5pm - 9pm
Saturday: 10am - 5pm
Sunday: 10am - 4pm
The Fieldhouse
Carleton University
Bronson & Sunnyside
www.asinter.com (for a reminder and discount pass)

Spring Garage Sale
April 18 & 19
Landsdowne Park
Sat & Sun: 9am - 4pm
Coliseum Building

Capital Clothing Show
May 8-10
Friday: 5pm - 9pm
Saturday: 10am - 5pm
Sunday: 10am - 4pm
The Fieldhouse
Carleton University
Bronson & Sunnyside


Great Glebe Garage Sale
Saturday, May 23, 2009

New Edinburgh Garage Sale
Saturday in September 2009
Details TBD

Old Ottawa South Garage Sale
September 5, 2009

See you there!


Monday, January 19, 2009

Vintage Shopping: Online!

Today is the day of Vintage!

Lulu's Vintage held a 2008 People's Choice Awards for the best vintage sites. What a great service ... talk about narrowing down the search for us newbies!!

Here are the winners:

Dorothea's Closet Vintage
Sweet Cherry Vintage
Dandelion Vintage

Daisy Fairbanks
Damn Good Vintage
Vintage Secret
Fast Eddie's Retro Rags
Sydneys Vintage Clothing

I'll work my way through this list and report back on which sites ship to Canada. I've found that a number of the vendors on Etsy won't ship to Canada.

Happy shopping!!


Vintage Calendars: Re-use at its best!!

Thanks to a great thrifty blog, WISEBREAD, I have an exciting new thrift hunting mission: Vintage Calendars!!

What better way to:
1) Add character to your kitchen or cubical wall with a piece no one else can match, and
2) Collect great prints at reasonable prices to put in your fantastic vintage frames.

I don't know about you, but I'm completely addicted to ornate vintage frames. Sometimes they come with fantastic old prints or art within, but other times, the best deals are frames only. A solution has been found. Yeahh!!

So what's the catch --
Time & Date. Use this smarty-pants website to determine which years from the early 1900's match 2009 (or any year to come).

There are so many wise people out there! Thanks WISEBREAD.


Friday, January 16, 2009

Spot on: Personal Provenance

In my blog readings this evening, I came across a local blogger known as "girlaboutOtown". She recently published an article in Ottawa Focus, and I thought it was perfectly spot on.

The article is about "Provenance", which is defined by
the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary as "the history of ownership of a valued object, or work of art, or literature." The article encourages us to ditch that cookie-cutter image of design and style -- be YOU -- make your interior design and even your personal style more meaningful. Value the origins of each an every piece. Whether it's sentimental value, a sense of history, the story behind the find, or simply the I LOVE THIS PIECE factor. Storing everything away and over de-cluttering can be too sterile.

This concept is the cornerstone of not-so-new, vintage, thrift, consignment or antique shopping. Very fitting.

The article is definitely worth a read, check it out. Then read up on the writer behind the article ... girlaboutOtown.

I'm impressed. Inspired.


Mission .... Achieved!

I set out to hit at least one thrift spot before end of day Friday.

I ended up working until after 6pm every night which means that most non-boxstore, non-mall establishments are closed.
That said, I persevered to ensure that my mission was achieved. Barely. I hit a pretty standard spot: Value Village on Bank and Walkley. I've found a few gems here (namely, my first owl sculpture: picture to follow soon) -- so I continue to return in hopes of uncovering a rare deal or amazing find.

My take-homes today were the following ...

* Great old wood frame and print
* Queen Anne creamer

Mini rant ... it seems to me that Value Village's prices are a little steep for a store that has all of their merchandise DONATED FOR FREE. It seems to have become a highly commercialized machine. Anything that holds a stronger retail value, or may be considered vintage is marked way up! Not to mention, on more than one occaision I've overheard families complain about the prices. Sure, the price points are lower than what you'd pay for new items. But come on, that's the point. In my heart of hearts, I feel that Value Village is to grass roots thrift shops, what boxstores are to cute original boutiques.

for a great example of what a true blue thrift shop should be ... check out Generations on Bridgeport Road next time you're in Waterloo, Ontario! Yes, this is my hometown and a great spot my mom discovered. They organize everything so adorably, items are presented cleanly and professionally, they have rock bottom prices, and really great stuff!! I'm always impressed!!

Keep your eyes out for those super gems in Ottawa, and I will continue to do the same. Maybe Sunday will bring me a window of opportunity to hit a new spot!


Monday, January 12, 2009

Thrifting Withdrawal

I'm the first to admit that I have a problem. Yes, I have a shopping disease.

A good dose of retail therapy has solved some very serious issues in the past!! BUT, even when everything is roses and kittens, I tend to go into withdrawal when I haven't shopped in a while. But, recently, the disease evolved. It got worse - or better, depending on how you look at it! I'd say this disease would now be classified by experts the world over as a Thrifting Addition. I'm full fledged addicted to the thrifting thrill.

Here's the proof.

On Saturday night, I met up with a couple girlfriends. Before we hit the Black Tomato for dinner (which was delicious by the way), we stopped at Zone on Sussex. Not thrifty -- but such a fun spot and they had some decent sales.

Yes, I broke, I splurged. I purchased an item that I've been drooling over for MONTHS: the "Village Cuckoo" Clock. Wish I had found a vintage version (trust me, I've been searching for a while), but this version seemed like the perfect combination of vintage and modern -- a harmony my BF likes to achieve. And yes, it was on sale!

Point of the story? This shopping splurge didn't feed my addiction at all! Here I am on Monday evening and I'm dying to hit one of my fave thrift spots -- or perhaps try a new one! Finding something totally unexpected, imagining the piece's past life, planning out where it will live when it comes home with me, and well, the thrill of being thrifty. So good.

The tricky part is they all tend to close before I get off work.

Mark my words -- I'll fill the fix by Friday.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Vintage Fashion Rave

I stumbled across this -- hmmmm -- not sure how, but here it is! Pass it along.


Sunday, January 25, 10am - 4pm

1495 Chomley Crescent, Ottawa

MaryAnn Harris is hosting a VINTAGE FASHION RAVE, featuring a sublime selection of vintage clothing, jewellery, shoes, purses, hats, and so on, all at SHOCKINGLY LOW PRICES.
Hope you'll dress up for this one! This party is by word of mouth only. Tell all your friends! MaryAnn can be reached at mah@cyberus.ca (or) 613-720-9242.

MaryAnn Harris (the host of this event) also has a Facebook Group: Ottawa Vintage Fashion News.


Thrift Reading!

So, it turns out that quite a few BOOKS have been written about this amazing hobby, past time - or dare I say lifestyle! I'm not entirely surprised, but certainly thrilled. So many have walked this path before me. I have so much to learn!

Do date, I have not yet plunged into this newly found book genre, but look forward doing so. How fun would it be to find one of these at a thrift store?! Sounds like I have a mini-mission on my hands.

Charity Shopping and the Thrift Lifestyle
Lettice Wilkinson

History of the Thrift Movement in America
Simon William Straus

The Thrift Book
India Knight

Thrift: A Cyclopedia
David Blankenhorn

Thrift: How to Have a Stylish Home Without Breaking the Bank
Bridget Bodoano

Thrift Score: The Stuff, The Method, The Madness!
Al Hoff

Thrift Store: The Past & Future Secret Lives of Things
Emily Larned

Subversive Seamster: Transform Thrift Store Threads into Street Couture
Melissa Alvarado et al

Have you read one of these written journeys?
If so, I'd love to hear about it! BlogBookClub anyone?


Thrifting in Ottawa

A key element of this journey is to first sleuth down the best thrift spots in Ottawa. So much fun!

... please come back and visit this post often. I hope to develop some sort of rating system, as well as figure out a better way to list and display Ottawa's thrifting finds. But in the meantime, I will simply update this post as the list evolves.

NOTE: Included in this list are thrift, consignment, vintage, and antique shops.

Please send me any others that I have not yet visited or posted!!!

Alphabetically speaking:



505 Gladstone
(613) 565-3497

Wedgewood Plaza (Moodie South Exit - Turn Left, Right on Robertson)
150 Robertson Road, Nepean
(613) 820-9253

154 Somerset Street
(613) 594-8861

1273 Wellington Street West

(613) 722-7166

THIFT STORE - Altavista

2659 Alta Vista Drive
(613) 523-9059


1320 Carling Avenue
(613) 728-2145

1558 Merivale Road
(613) 225-4521


1490 Richmond Road
(613) 726-7136

VALUE VILLAGE - Bank & Walkley
1824 Bank Street
(613) 526-5551

1375 Clyde Avenue
(613) 288-1390


1221 Cyrville Road
(613) 749-4977


1877 Merivale Road
(613) 596-4141

1500 Bank Street
(613) 739-1500

90 Robertson Road East
(613) 726-3893

2 Ullswater Drive (Nepean)
(613) 667-9631

1440 Wellington Street West
(613) 724-4874



1979 St Joseph Boulevard, Orleans
(613) 841-1894


209 Gilmour Street
(613) 565-0564

1094 Wellington Street / Somerset West
Note: Very irregular hours, but worth it!

43 Flora Street
(613) 233-6940

246 Dalhousie Street (by St.Patrick)
(613) 321-1590



1096 Somerset Street West
(613) 729-1388

1179 Bank Street
(613) 730-6000

1206 Bank Street
(613) 247-0662

1240 Bank Street
(613) 739-9580


Old Hwy 17
417W to Exit 169 (Kinburn sideroad),
Turn Right, go to the flashing lights at Old Hwy 17,
Turn Right and go about 1km


7 Cleopatra Drive
(Corner of Merivale and Cleopatra)
Open Sundays, 9:00am - 5:00pm

(613) 225-5613

2079 Carp Road
417 W to Carp Road, Turn Left on Carp Road
Open Sundays, 9:00am - 5:00pm


260 McArthur Road
Vanier Columbus Club
(613) 297-0648
Open Sundays, 9:00am - 4:00pm

Ottawa Urban Market
1750 Innes Road (Innes Road Plaza)
Mon: CLOSED Until June 1st, 2009
Tue - Fri: 9:30 AM - 7:00 PM
Sat: 9:00 - 7:00 PM
Sun: 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM

** Grand Opening Sale: Sat, Feb 28, 9am - 7pm **

Happy thrifting!