Words cannot adequately describe the ‘can’t sit still’ excitement I feel when I am close to good junk. On approach I get butterflies in my stomach, I get agitated when I can’t find a parking spot right away (or if I’m a passenger and the driver doesn’t drive with surgical precision to the market), if I am talking to someone I usually stop mid sentence, loose my train of thought and go in to ‘the zone’ preparing to sweep and scout each table, isle and pile for gold.
Thrifting and markets usually work better for me when I go with someone I’ve known for a long time and they don’t get upset when I walk away from them to investigate. Tanya and I worked out a technique many years ago that has worked for us, we meet at the beginning of the market/thrift shop/collectables store make sure we touch base a few times and at the end but in between we are both in hunting mode. It also helps to split up so we don’t both grab for the same stuff. Sounds ruthless but it works.
Last month while in Melbourne I made plans to meet up with Jess and spend a day junk hunting together. Long time internet buddies and Instagram haul admirers we definitely had similar taste but were we market compatible?
After making my way to Jess’s house in the early misty morning, she confessed to me in the car on the way to Camberwell Markets that most people didn’t have the stamina to thrift the entire day long with her and I knew in that instant I had found a suitable market buddy.
Luckily we found a close parking spot so I didn’t have to get grumpy but I did pull like a puppy on a leash when Jess suggested we get coffee before riffling through the markets – which would mean walking the ENTIRE length of the markets without looking at anything. I declined and said I could last a little on an empty tank.
The first table I (almost) rushed to when I saw what I thought was a Barsony black lady figure, holy moley! And it was $100! Thank god I had Jess there to point out that it was a replica. A REPLICA!! She informed me that we would be seeing more of them in the future as it was a thing now and the table we were standing at specialised in replicas (and not advertising the fact they were not originals). Stung a little by this reveal I managed to pick myself up and press on with Jess and her adorable baby girl G.
We circled the aisles, delved into boxes, chatted, swooped, enabled and haggled. It was a fantastic morning. We are definitely drawn to the same things so we had to be chivalrous about some items but we did end up buying matching vintage posters that were far to sweet too leave.
Meeting up briefly with my sister-in-law and the family for brunch, Jess proceeded to take me to her ‘secret vintage lair’. You know, every collector has one. A store that continually turns up great finds that it is your own precious gem. Sworn to secrecy I wasn’t even allowed to take photos, but needless to say I came away with a trolley filled with goodies.
And to prove our staying power, we ended up being kicked out of the store at closing time. Meaning we had junk hunted from very early morning to very late afternoon. A compatible match for sure.
Leaving the marketings and the vintage lair I felt completely sated but slightly worried about how I was going to fit everything in my suitcase for the plane ride home.
A few weeks ago I put a call out to join me in a little humble brag about some of the tops scores you found in op shops, well I can tell you there were some mind blowing responses on Instagram. Tagging their images with #thriftlifebrag these ladies kindly shared some green inducing treasures.
These beauties were picked up in an op shop for 50¢ by Rare Pear.
Fabulous mid-century modern candelabra – $1.
$10 from an op shop in Enmore a Barsony wall hanging bust. One of those once in a lifetime finds.
Pottymouth Mama has a vase habit that see’s her hit up op shops for a fix.
How beautiful is the colour of this vintage chair? Would cheer up anyone’s office – it certainly put a smile on Rainbow Vintage Home’s face!
The ridiculousness of this image is these fabulous canisters were picked up from one garage sale. From one hoarder to the next. Kiss the Cats is a consummate thrifter with a real talent for finding gems as you will see from the following submissions…
One church sale, many fisher price toys.
The spoils of *one* full day of thrift shopping – I told you she had a knack.
A quick drop into a thrift shop on the way home from errands produces all this.
Not one but THREE hugely rare 60s beach towels. I am in awe.
New couch? Just please!
Not bad for random thrift stop: 60s beach towel, huge purse and knitting patterns (that boy’s carry has a seal on the pocket, perfect for seal obsessed Little A)
Gillian Girl is ready!
For vintage wearing ladies this label is pure gold, to find it in an op shop is unheard of (what a lucky duck!)
If you want thrift luck – this lady has it! Quiet Vintage Sewing found this framed with glass Tretchikoff print for $15!! But that’s not the best one…
This pig-tailed Barsony lamp with ribbon shade set Quiet Vintage Sewing back $10. That’s right, Trish just won the internet. Game over people, that’s it. $10! I wept and I am sure she did to. Probably wee’d a little too, did the ‘yes yes, just take my money and give me the lamp so I can run down the street manically laughing’ dance too.
Thank you ladies for participating the first Thrift Life Brag round up. Are you inspired? Have you scored bigger and better? I want to see them! We all want to see them! Post them on Instagram with the hashtag #thriftlifebrag and it could be included in the next Thrift Life Brag round up for the world to drool over!
Last year I happened to drive past what would turn out to be one of the best hard rubbish piles I have ever had the good fortune of rummaging through. You may remember it, I wrote about the spoils here.
Amongst the beautiful vintage bits and pieces I saved from landfill were a few linoleum samples. I have often wondered if the owner of the house was a lino salesman or just saved the samples from a fabulous kitchen renovation in the 50s – these thoughts that have made me desperately want to knock on their door and take a peek at their (possibly) amazing interiors.
Do you think they’d mind? How would your grandparents feel if some redhead in an old frock came knocking asking to sniff around their house? Well, with the best intentions I assure you. But it might be a little confrontational … but then again nothing ventured nothing gained!
Never the less, I had acquired lovely lino samples, some of which were a little cracked with age and all of which were dirty and needed a bit of a clean. What to do with them? I mentioned framing them on facebook and a friend suggested a solution that her picture-framing-parents employ: mount them on pre-stretched canvases. She added that the best place to get them was a $2 shop. Thanking her I locked the suggestion away in my head and stored the cleaned lino to await the day that I may have the time or energy to mount them.
Miraculously that day came last month. Waking to a lovely sunshine morning, SAH and Bub curled up next to me I announced that I wanted to make something that day.
So off I trotted to the shopping centre to pick up the necessary equipment (cheap canvas frames, all I could find where ones with images to colour in!) and returned home to get to mounting these bits of old plastic. Meanwhile SAH and Bub played around me (occasionally trying to assist). In the end I produced 4 framed pieces and I think they look lovely. However I have no idea where I am going to put them, erm yes I didn’t think of that before I started!
I am sure I will find somewhere, even in their age worn state the patterns and textures are too pleasing not to have them displayed.
The other week I was coming back from the beauty salon, when I drove past a large council chuck-out pile in front of a pristine 1950s blonde brick house in my neighbourhood. I had to go back for a peek.
Thinking I would only cast my eye over the pile, as I was freshly prettied up and in a nice 50s sundress, I jumped out of the car and found I was soon (neatly) unpacking every box, crate, and bag. Finding more and more goodies, I delved as deep as I could go. I stopped and thought about going home to get some gloves so I could pick up the wooden crates without fear of splinters but it really was a two person job. So I was a little disappointed I couldn’t pack a few of those wooden crates in my car, but my haul was so amazing that I can not in good grace complain.
I found wonderful old lino samples, wooden children’s games, a child’s broom, school chalk, light fittings, gold tiles, picture frames, leather belts (for suitcases that I think I will actually wear) and more. This is what my boot looked like:
A closer look at my score
I am going to hang the wooden boardgames in the Bub’s room and the Art Deco light fitting has found a new home in a friend’s 1930s bungalow (I rescued it to give away, it was too perfect to let it pass). I think I may frame or mount the lino (another friend has given me some tips on how to do this) and as for the rest, I have no idea what will become of them but I am sure I’ll make it work.
I love, love, love riffling through council throw out piles because I cannot bear to think about all those wonderful vintage objects getting crushed in a garage truck and taken to be landfil. The horror!
This was my best score in a while.
Are you a trash trawler? What was your best score?
Last weekend we celebrated the little man’s 1st birthday by the Lily pond in Sydney’s Centennial Park on the most fantastic mild, sunny day.
Having said before that this was going to be a simple, stress-free affair actually meant that I was still going to be a stressed out, control freak for days before and the morning of — let’s face it, it’s who I am.
We spent a week planning the cake and SNH spent the Friday making it. Our concept was to link the cake to the birth announcement card we designed and illustrated (and our lovely friend Nathanael letterpresses for us). So a sailing boat and a friendly whale were constructed (the whale was made of low-sugar vanilla cake especially for the babies).
We accompanied the cake with our apple & ginger beer, along with a photo-a-month display, thrifted decorations and a suitcase filled with vintage 1st Birthday cards, lovely party plates and cutlery (Ikea and online orders from the US).
To amuse the small people, we bought a bag of balls from Kmart and filled a bucket. It was a smash hit!
It was an amazing day, the bub spent his time wondering around socialising, shoving food in his mouth and playing kick. He had a wonderful time.
We had a fabulous turn out of family, friends and mother’s group families. Thank you all for making it so incredibly special.
Oh and here is the invite I made for the party. Inspired by Little Golden Books, I illustrated the cover and inside. Printed the invite on lovely old paper and used metallic gold washi tape to reproduce the LGB spine.
It’s been a while since I’ve trolled through Op shops or junk markets. When SNH and I were first dating we would jump in his HG Premier (or my ’72 Triumph 2000 – both sadly now gone to the junkyard in the sky) and drive down the coast to Wollongong. Stopping at every Vinnies, Sally Anne’s (Salvos), Lifeline, Anglicare, Junky shop we came across. We would plot our courses according to the thrift shops and would come home with so many treasures.
These days Op shops are so picked through by dealers and others. And sometimes the good stuff doesn’t even make it to the floor – you gotta be in the know I guess. So Op shopping fell by the wayside for us, as it was no longer enjoyable. Plus we started to become very specific about the things we collected – you get that once your house is filled up with collectables and stuff – and it was rare that we found anything that we wanted.
But the other day, while driving around and around aimlessly while the bub was sleeping – sometimes you just gotta go with the naps they take and not disturb them – I weaved in and out of the streets of Rockdale looking at the council chuck out piles and scored two concrete pots (tree stump and faux brick wall designs).
Invigorated by my trash diving I drove past Rockdale Vinnies and thought ‘why not?’ So when bub awoke, I carried him in unsure as to whether he would pitch a fit (he gets over shopping very quickly) and much to my surprise he loved it! So much to look at, all the colours and stuff! I walked away with nothing except a sense of buoyancy that possibly, maybe I could entertain myself and the bub for a few hours every now and then trolling through charity shops in the future.
And have we ever! We’ve hit up a few old faithfuls from my uni days and a few new little junk shops and have scored lovely treasure every time. The best score was a 1960s Fisher and Price barn toy complete with silo and farm animals for $20 – the barn door even moo’s when you open it. Lovely. Other bits and pieces were 4 yards of barkcloth fabric ($10!!), Ship biscuit tin (filled with buttons) and early 60s clothing pattern catalogues – $2 each (such sweet illustrations, dig those hair dos!), a yellow breadbin to match our yellow/black/grey kitchen, and 2 x 60s floral scarfs – $1.50 each (to hide my grey hair – eep!).
I guess you could say I’ve caught the thrift bug again. To heck with collectables fairs and fancy shops. It’s time to push up my sleeves and start wading through the odds and sods for a real bargain again!
In late June I was asked to take part in a project by photographer Louise Whelan. She was photographing rockabilly and vintage people in their homes/natural surroundings (i.e. in their workshop working on their hot rods). And I was the token preggers vintage lady. I was very happy to be asked and accepted before I had to time think – my house looks like a bombsite!
Luckily my beleaguered mother agreed to come around the day before the photo shoot and help me clean the dust covered, brothel that was our house. After vacuuming, wiping everything down with a warm wet cloth and generally giving the living and dinning areas a good tszuj, I moved on to my dressing room. It wasn’t so bad, I just needed to put a lot of washing away and dust.
The house sparkled and was glorious to behold. So glorious in fact that I had to take photos myself to commemorate such a feat.
My dressing room
Speaking of Barsony, I have been getting a lot of google hits from people searching for Barsony. SNH and I have been collecting for over 11 years and we have a large collection of lamps, ashtrays, wall hangings and figures. We have so many lamps there is at least one in each room of our house. We haven’t bought any Barsony in years though as I always refused to pay over $200 for a lamp (I only ever paid over $100 for 3 of ours). But I have seen some ballerina lamps lately that had the most over inflated prices on them. Personally I think it’s crazy, especially for the ballerina lamps (of which I am not a fan and we don’t own one).
So, people searching for Barsony: what are you looking for? Pieces to buy? Photos of lamps? Information? Is there anything I can help you with?
The ABC TV show Collectors did a great special on the history of Barsony, you can view it here.
Last month we celebrated our good friend Georgio’s 40th birthday at a lovely cocktail party arranged by his gorgeous partner Robyn. The party was Ratpack Vegas themed and Robyn hired a blackjack and roulette table complete with talented croupiers. Once the blackjack table got going I lost SNH, and there he stayed until late into the night.
Being part of a group of friends who have grown up in (and a little out of) the rockabilly scene together it’s nice that we’ve all graduated to a ‘vintage lifestyle’ instead. And it guarantees that gatherings are always going to be stylish.
For this most swanky evening I debuted a lovely 60s pink brocade gown with a cape! Oh how a love that cape.
I do apologise for another image heavy post, but we are having far too much fun with our EOS. Combined with the lack of words being produced as my creative writing brain is currently occupied writing a text book (more on that later) means my blog is more visual than wordy.
I love Easter: the time of year, the over indulgence of chocolate eggs, four day weekends and above all Hot Cross Buns. So I decided weeks ago that I was going to make my own HXBs come hell or high water.
With perfect timing SNH presented me with a gift of a new lens for our Canon EOS 40D, a Canon nifty 50 lens. I am forever trying to get more light in my images and a shallower depth of field and this lens is exactly what I needed. Just in time to document my first ever attempt at baking any type of bread product!
The recipe I used was found on the Gourmet Traveller’s Website
So they worked! They’re not lead balls, just a little ugly.
They could do with a little more taste as well, in parts they are plain (without the glaze) that’s possibly due to me removing the orange peel, but I refuse to believe that orange peel provides that much flavour.
And the good part? I would do it again!
I started crocheting Granny squares at the end of January. Picking up the hook sporadically when I was bored watching telly or sick on the couch I was very happy with my little pile of squares. But being the fickle crafter that I am I knew that I would soon bore of this lark and would be destined to own a pile of squares until the day came, very far in the future, that I would pick up the crochet hook again… or simply push the pile to the side with all my other unfinished craft projects – come on I know you all have them.
So my goal was, finish as many squares you can with a certain amount of yarn. And that is what I did today. I have 30 squares, they look awesome and make a tiny blanket. Possibly a future gift for someone’s newborn? (Don’t look at me mother-in-law)
I took over the dining table to arrange my pattern, and start to prepare for the next faze – joining. Luckily Pip at Meet Me at Mikes posted a helpful link in her crochet tutorial for a great way to finish of my blanket, here it is Carina’s Craft blog.
So this is what my currently blanket looks like
Hopefully in the next week or so it will be finished and my knees will be warm!
I am building up my craft cupboard and have 2 suitcases filled with yarn, material, bias binding, buttons and much more. Which I brought home from my Grandma’s house last weekend. She was an avid crafter and I know she would have wanted me to have what she left behind. Including fabulous pink yarn!
But this little number I nicked from my mum. It’s an ace knitting bag and lined with plastic, this is what I store my current projects in. I picked up the very helpful knitting needle box at an op shop.
Along with enough bias binding to last me a life time, there were a few other gems unearthed as we were cleaning out Grandma’s house. My sister discovered this Atomic Coffee maker in a plastic bag under the sink. It still had all the parts and the instruction manual and sales booklet with it. What a find! I have to confess I may have performed a rather embarrassingly spazzy dance upon this awesome discovery.
And while I am on an image roll, I thought I may as well post a few photos of the mantle. I am reorganising the house at the moment and I particularly happy with the way the mantle has turned out.