good stuff #5: thriftlove

Palais Royale plate with kumquats

happy lovely sunday to you.

today’s edition of good stuff is dedicated to thrifting, the art of spotting and repurposing those discarded gems. i’m never short of amazement at what i come across in thrift and charity shops. finding beauty in the everyday is a big theme here at ebta, and it’s especially fun to plan posts and photos around items i’ve sourced for next to nothing. it gives me an excuse to slowly browse the aisles of mish-mash and see what reveals itself to me.

always the robust thrifter, a large part of my personal style comes from combining objects from various sources and price points.  sometimes i’m looking for a specific piece, but more often i spot something that just speaks my language, and when it get it home, it fits. sometimes it turns out that i’ve stumbled upon something valuable, but the value for me is how much i love it. 

something really interesting about thrifting: when objects are placed out of the context of a professionally styled environment, it allows you to see their potential in a way that is not curated by someone else, and i like that!

most of what you see in my food photos are props i’ve sourced when thrifting, and in the random shots of my ever-evolving space. here’s a quick smattering…

xx

  1. gourmates chrome tray with bakelite handles ($1.99). i love the post-war modernity of this little tray, and i can see it being very versatile for serving. it was made in montreal and still has the original label on the bottom.

  2. macrame plant holder ($3.99). macrame is indeed a thing again. i love plants, and in my light-challenged house this will make better use of my one sunny window. i also love the fact that someone made this, probably in the 70’s, and it’s getting new life.

  3. old pastry blender (.99 cents). a purely practical purchase, since i do a lot of small pastry jobs in my food processor, which recently caught fire. oh, the gripping excitement of food blogging! this is in mint condition with a smooth wooden handle, perfect tines, and a really comfortable thumb-grip. i’ve used it a few times, and i’d forgotten what it was like to blend butter into flour by hand.

  4. vintage florist vases used as salt cellars. (50 cents/$1.00 each). the shape of these grabbed me, so i flipped one over and it had a “ftd” label on it. back in the day, when you had a floral arrangement delivered, it came in a really beautiful container. these are heavy, and a lovely opaque white. a good wash and dry and they make the perfect salt cellar.

  5. tea jar with bird lid ($2.99). this is a piece of cheap japanese export porcelain from the middle of the last century. the thing is, a lot of mid-century japanese porcelain wouldn’t be called “cheap” by today’s dollar-store standards. they often have beautiful coloration and fine detail, like the bamboo branches and little birds on this footed jar, perfect for tea or little cookies.

  6. curvy white plate (.99 cents). worthless, but not to me, because i love this little plate for its oblong shape and curvy border.

  7. johnson bros. ningpo china ($9.99 for 25 pieces).  it’s not often you see china in these colours of clear grass-green, yellow, and orange, some of my favourite colours. so i grabbed the lot of cups and saucers, plates, and bowls for ten bucks, and now i use them almost every day. a quick search of the pattern at replacements.com revealed what i have to be worth several hundred dollars. score!

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aberfoyle market

Aberfoyle Antique Market
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linen covered directors chair and french flour sack pillow

i was told off just a little this weekend for bringing home another chair. i have a thing for bowls, and chairs.

i’m not sure if the ability to see diamonds in the rough is a blessing or a curse. here’s how I see the top 5 reasons to bring home some old stuff:

  1. (sometimes) you save a bit of money if you buy used things over new (generally speaking. I’m not talking original 17th century handmade french chairs) especially if they need some love.
  2.  you’re giving stuff with good bones a new life and keeping perfectly good things out of the landfill.
  3. no one else will have what you have. your style emerges when you find and buy what speaks to you.
  4. you can make it your own with paint, fabric, or whatever other upcycling talents you have
  5. it’s just fun, don’t you think??
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an old trunk, safari helmet, and washed white tablecloths

aberfoyle, ontario boasts a mighty good antique/jumble sale, held every sunday with some special shows in the spring and fall. i wait all year to wander the hundred or so stalls and find some great things. this weekend i discovered a stall called “White”. french chairs were covered in aged linen, furniture painted white, old trunks and mirrors. pure heaven.

so i brought home a duck-egg blue folding chair  ($20) and (another) white-ware bowl ($14)

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those divine french chairs covered in old centre-seamed linen. le sigh.
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