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Thursday, 6 November 2014

Denmark Obsessed

Recently, HBC (the Bay), ran a promotion called "Copenhagen Obsessed."  I loved looking at the store displays which featured Danish companies that I had never heard of before.  The main floor featured a home goods label called "Muuto."  Love their pepper mills.

The clean lines and streamlined aesthetic really hit home for me.  What do you think?

I thought the pillows would be perfect for creating that frosty wintery look.

And saving the best for the last...

The world's biggest Hoptimist!  I know!  I want to take it home and stick it in the foyer so I can see it every time I come home.  It's huge and yes, it does jiggle when you press down on it.  Obviously it isn't for sale but these were...

Lots of Hoptimists in a multitude of colours.  I wanted one in every colour but ended up with this pair.

So not a thrifty purchase but I couldn't resist.  I have them on a thrifted vintage teak board.  I was so happy that these fun toys have been reissued but are still made in Denmark.  So, often, a reissued product is lacking in the quality that made it famous in the first place.   Looking around my home, I realized that I have a fair few Danish things, all thrifted and vintage of course.  This vintage teak tray with glass inserts was a recent find.

I think it will be perfect for hors d'oeuvres like olives and cheese and we all know the festive season is fast approaching.  Scary, huh?  Are you ready for the holiday season?

I am linking up with We Call It Junkin, Sir Thrift A Lot, A Stroll Thru Life.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Decluttering For Oz

What do you do when you find out that your best friend, whom you've known since the age of 5 and who lives in Australia, tells you she's getting married?  You check out the airfare, have a heart attack and then you pick yourself off the floor and have the biggest garage sale of your life.  And that is just what I did.

 Monsieur and I had a garage sale at my mother's place as we live in a condo.  A neighbour of my mother's was having a garage sale and asked if we wanted to have one too as a neighbourhood event would likely elicit more interest.  Unfortunately, due to a mixup, we were told that the start time was 9 am when they posted ads stating the start time as 8 am.  So when we pulled into the driveway at 8 am, we were feeling very pleased with ourselves for making such good time for once and congratulating each other with "La, la, la, lots of time to unload the car and set up pretty displays." Imagine our shock to see the street packed with cars, lots of people shopping and, OH NO, driving away.  There wasn't time to take photos as we were inundated by people diving into boxes as we were hauling them out of the car.  It was like being surrounded by crazed sharks and we or our boxes of stuff were the chum.  These photos were taken later in the morning after the initial rush was over.  By this point, there wasn't much left.

I sold off tons of Pyrex and lots of cool vintage things.  I know!  Sacrilege!  But living in a condo means a lack of storage and no driveway to have a garage sale.  So I really wanted to make the most of this opportunity.  I only had 3 days to pull everything together so there wasn't much time to agonize over what should stay and what should go.  I might have done some extreme decluttering as Monsieur asked me at one point if I thought I was going a bit overboard.  Quite a few people complimented me on the unusual, good quality things I had for offer.  I might have priced things too low but my mother lives an hour away from me and, after 3 days straight of packing and pricing things to sell, I just couldn't face the thought of hauling it all back. I just wanted to sell as much as I could.

Of 13 boxes of stuff, not counting the large items that wouldn't fit into a banker box, I was left with 2.5 boxes of stuff.  All in all, a good result.  Sadly, I checked my email later that afternoon and my cable and telephone bill had arrived and it was for almost the same amount as what we made at the sale.  Talk about a deflating moment!  I might need to have another garage sale but Monsieur is worried that all we will be left with is the bed and the clothes on our backs.  At this point, I am not sure if I will make it to Oz but I know, if I don't go, I will regret it forever.  Maybe it is age but my thoughts have been turning more and more towards the land of my birth.  It steals into my dreams and, when I wake, I am filled with longing and sadness.  In the spirit of staying optimistic, I have been making a short list of things I would like to get should I go. The first would be compostable toothbrushes.

The Environmental Toothbrush
I know the thought of getting toothbrushes from the other side of the world sounds crazy but I have been trying, one baby step at a time, to be more environmentally aware.  These Australian compostable toothbrushes have such a luxe, spa like look and the cost is not exorbitant but, once international shipping is tacked on, it does make it cost prohibitive especially when compared to a cheapie, 99 cent plastic toothbrush.
I would like to check out some Australian organic skincare lines.  I cringe now when I think of how careless I was with my skin back when I was labouring under the delusion of the invincibility of youth.  Everyone has heard of Jurlique so I would love to check them out.

via Jurlique
I am definitely going to stock up on another Aussie wool blanket.  Of course, because the seasons are reversed, I might not find them as it will be high summer at the time of the wedding.  If you are an Aussie blogger in either Brisbane or Sydney and would like to get together for a cuppa and a chat around the New Year or first week of January, 2015, let me know!
And of course, with the mass exodus of stuff, a little thrifting was in order.  I was good though, I promise.  I stuck to useful things that I "needed".  Case in point, this amazing vintage German camelhair blanket.  It is huge as it easily covers a queen sized bed.  I have never come across a camelhair blanket before and it would not look out of place as a prop in a Ralph Lauren store.  It is so wonderfully dense and cozy, perfect for a frosty Winter night.

What?!  Pumpkins already?

I am not ready for Autumn yet.  Where did the Summer go?  Are you ready?

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Reinventing The Copco Honeycomb Spice Rack

I think I have mentioned my crush on good design before.  My crush is rapidly becoming a full blown love affair (obsession) which is problematic when one of my resolutions for 2014 is to be more organized and declutter like nobody's business.   It is hard to resist the siren call of lovely vintage things though, as good design is not just a delight to the eyes but to the mind as well.  It stands the test of time and is as relevant today as when it was first presented to the world. Case in point is the Copco Honeycomb Spice Rack designed by Lugbe-Randall.  I was very pleased (read: frantic gasps, surreptitious glances over my shoulder and a forced air of nonchalance whilst walking rapidly to the cashier) to find not one but two of them in matching scarlet red.  Like most of us, I already have a spice storage system in the kitchen but I really wanted to incorporate them into the home somehow.  So, I started to brainstorm ways to reuse these vintage spice racks.  I think that the bright cheerful red lends itself particularly well to a little boy's room (or any child's room).  It's perfect for storing all of those Matchbox cars.

It is not readily apparent in the photographs but the compartments are slanted to prevent the spice bottles from falling out.  Clever, huh?  For the sake of the photos, I had to position them upside down but I think you get the idea.  Very useful for storing craft bits and bobs as well.

The rack would look fantastic on a dresser or night table as jewelry storage.  I've seen a lot of DIY jewelry storage ideas on the Web such as reusing towel holders and rods but they don't seem very practical to me as it involves taking everything off the rod to access the one necklace or bangle that you want.  As with anything, easy use and accessibility is crucial to me.  Perhaps I'm just a lazy lump but when you are in a rush to get dressed because you are late for that 8 am meeting, do you really want the hassle?  The rack looks stylish and the compartments are perfect for keeping your jewelry bits in view and quickly accessible.  As they are perfect for corralling clutter, I think I am justified in keeping them as they help me with my resolution to be more organized, right?

There is no doubt that the geometric and graphic look of the rack lends itself to an architectural or scientific display.  Above, I put together a molecule (and no, I have no idea if this molecule even exists in the natural world) from a vintage molecular model set and placed it with the racks.  The rack and/or molecular model set would make a fun gift for the scientific geek or design nerd  in your family.  Can you tell I have Father's Day on my mind and that I haven't bought a present yet?  And because  I had the great luck to find a pair of the racks, why not play around with the geometric design and stagger them on the diagonal.

Have you found anything lately that you have repurposed?  Share your ideas with me!
And now back to more exciting events...yes I can't believe I am saying that.  After all, what could be more exciting than talking about vintage finds and decor?  This, of course....

France played today (and won!).  Monsieur is ecstatic.  Allez Les Bleus!  Do you have any fans at home? Who are you cheering for?

I'm linking up with A Stroll Thru Life, Sir Thrift A Lot, A Living Space, We Call It Junkin, Me and My Shadow, Thrifter Maker Fixer Farm.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Copper Crush

Spring has finally sprung!  Are you like me and am welcoming sunny days with open arms?  Do you find that with warmer weather comes the urge to clean and organize?  I have vowed to be a lot more streamlined and organized this year and have been a lot more judicious with what I bring back home.  But when I saw this vintage Stelton carafe, I couldn't resist.  It's definitely one of my favourite thrift finds ever.

It is hard to believe that this is an MCM piece as it looks so, well, cool.  I am in love with its iconic rocker stopper.  I have said it before but clever, well thought out design always leaves me in awe. Obviously, my obsession with vintage barware continues.  I think it will pair very well with my vintage silver fade roly poly's, don't you? (And no, I still haven't figured out how to photograph highly reflective surfaces without keeping me out of the photo).

I think I must have had Stelton carafes on my mind as I happened to be in the Bay's flagship store on Queen Street when I saw the Stelton carafe on a little shelf down in the basement.  The basement of all places!  I didn't realize that well known brands like Jonathan Adler have a small space showcasing their wares down in the basement.  There are lots of interesting quirky brands housed down there as well.  Anyway, the carafe was in a gorgeous copper.  I don't think a photo really captures how pretty it looks in real life.

Right below it were some copper mugs.

As soon as I got home, I hopped on to the Stelton website.  The carafe is still being produced and is properly known as a vacuum jug and comes in lots of colours.

I have to admit that I am late to the copper bandwagon.  It doesn't have the over the top glamour of brass or the cool minimalism of stainless steel but falls somewhere in the middle.  There is no doubt that a plethora of brass in the house can read as kitschy.  There is a warm elegance to copper that is hard to deny.  Then I read on a well known decor blog that they were sick of copper and wished it would go away.  What?!  I have only just discovered copper.  I hope it doesn't go away just yet, at least not before I have found some more pretty copper things.  This mirror at Anthropologie caught my eye.

via Anthropologie.com

And recently, in an effort to move away from teflon cookware, I discovered ceramic cookware and picked up a gorgeous frypan at Bed Bath and Beyond.

via Bed Bath and Beyond

The frypan is lined in white ceramic and has a copper coloured exterior.  Let's face it, copper cookware looks dynamite in a kitchen but the cost is prohibitive.  This line of cookware from Denmark Tools for Cooks features a faux copper exterior and is much for affordable.  The contrast against the white interior is quite eyecatching.  I will be writing soon about my experience with ceramic lined cookware so stay tuned for that.  What do you think of copper?  Yay or nay?  Do you prefer brass or the stainless steel?  Or do you stay away from metallics all together?

I am linking up with Sir Thrift A Lot, A Stroll Thru Life, A Living Space, Thrifty Groove, My Romantic Home, The Charm of Home.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Anthropologie Birthday Party

I was so excited when I received an email from Anthropologie that they were throwing a birthday party for ME.  Ok, not really for me but for anyone with a March birthday.  Any avid Anthro shopper knows that if you sign up for an Anthro membership card, you get a birthday coupon to use during your birthday month.  I don't know about you but, invariably, I forget to go to an Anthro store or wait until the last day of the month and am unable to find anything that I like.  So I thought that throwing a party was a really clever idea to entice shoppers into their store and use the coupon.  And as the party was just two days past my actual birthday, I was still in a celebratory mood.  There was a pretty table with yummy treats such as mini cupcakes and cake pops.

There was even a sweets section with plastic bags that you could fill up.  After all, what's a birthday party without a candy station and goody bags?  Refreshments included a delicious strawberry lemonade with mint.  I will have to ask next time I'm in the store whether the lemonade was bottled or made to order because it was so refreshing.

It is always so much fun visiting Anthro not just for the fashion but the fun and interesting store props and housewares.  I have heard of crafters searching for old Reader's Digest books with pretty covers and then repurposing them, have you?  Here is a display of books that have been cut into letters.  Have you tried cutting up old books?  As a former English Lit major, I am a bit leery of cutting up old books but it does make an eyecatching display.

I thought the hanging display of citrus slices was a very Spring and Summery touch.  I think this is something that could be replicated at home.

Do you notice the giant vintage hen planter at the back?  I think that it is actually from a carousel ride.  I would love to have something like that in a garden, wouldn't you?  Of course, it isn't possible to resist checking out the fashions in an Anthro store.  I fell hard for this Moulinette Soeurs dress.

The skirt is much more citrus lime in real life.  I think that it provides such a fresh contrast against the crisp navy and white lines on top.

via Anthropologie.com

I really like how the back is as interesting as the front.

No birthday cake at Anthro but, yes, I did get a birthday cake on my actual birthday.  That day was one of those agonizing work days that went on and on.  You know the kind.  I felt bad because I knew Monsieur was planning a special birthday dinner.  In fact, we didn't sit down to dinner until 9 pm by which time I was dead on my feet.  But what he did while I was tearing my hair out certainly brought me back to life.  He had decorated our home with millions of balloons, streamers and banners.  Then he cooked a lovely dinner of bavette and mashed potatoes.  I was just so thrilled and touched, all at once.  You see he had recently found out that I had never had a birthday party when I was a child.  So he was determined to throw a "First Birthday Party"  hence all the balloons and streamers.  After dinner came another surprise, a wonderful birthday cake made of red velvet and strawberry shortcake layers.

On top was written "Bonne Fete" (Happy Birthday) on a chocolate disc and a special message written around it, of which one of the most important words is "Love", which you can see. You can also see some balloons reflected in the table top.  I have to admit that I was shocked at all the little details that Monsieur put into my surprise "First Birthday Party."  Most of the time I am convinced that there is a built in filter in his brain that is labelled in capital letters "FOOTBALL" which automatically filters out anything that I tell him.  And then he pulls something like this that shows me that he does listen to me.  I think the best present of all is knowing that I have someone in my life who understands me, who just gets me.  To have someone who just understands and tries to replace sadness with happiness is, as a well known cc company would say, priceless.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Dansk (ing) with Sausage Soup

I am blessed in that Monsieur loves to cook.  Not to say that I am a complete ignoramus in the kitchen but if there is someone in the family who loves to cook and doesn't consider it a chore, why not give them full rein? Recently, he mentioned that our glass Pyrex open baker was a little shallow for his roast potatoes and he wouldn't mind one that was deeper, one that somehow gave off the message, "I am up to the job, in fact more than up to the job.  I will make your potatoes sing."  Glass just wasn't cutting it.  Now I do love the lowly spud in all its permutations and his roast potatoes especially.  And, I am a firm believer that if you want someone to enjoy what they are doing and to do a good job, they need to be given the right tools.  As luck would have it, I was thrilled to thrift a vintage Dansk Kobenstyle open baker and a small casserole pot shortly afterwards.  The rare times I have come across Dansk enamelware, the pieces were in really poor condition.

I don't mind that the white casserole baker has a few chips around the rim as it is for our own use.  Other than the few chips, the enamel is in great shape.  I don't think white is all that common a colour with Dansk pieces.  I just love the snowy pristineness of it.  Monsieur has already used it for his potatoes.  No photos, sadly, as we were too busy gobbling them down.  Monsieur is of the opinion that the hefty cast iron is fantastic at heat retention and for giving the potatoes that delicious crunchy crust.  The baker is very heavy and yes the potatoes were divine.  The red pot is in almost pristine condition.  I adore the fact that the lid doubles as trivet.

I do so enjoy clever, well thought out design, don't you?  Funnily enough, there was a display of reissued Dansk Kobenstyle in a fancy home goods store in town.  I stepped in to take a look but was disappointed to see that it was all made in Thailand.  It looked very pretty but I just felt that the mystique of the brand had been diluted somewhat.  I can see that reissuing it helps to stir up interest in an iconic line and makes it accessible to a new generation of cooks but I much prefer hunting for the original vintage pieces.  What do you think of reissuing iconic pieces?
As the weather is still bitterly cold and snowy, I asked Monsieur to make a hearty sausage soup.  He tends to freestyle it so I don't have an exact recipe.  He just used what was on hand.

There are carrots, celery, cabbage and mushrooms in there.  A couple of bay leaves for flavour.  Monsieur used two links of Farmer's Smoked Sausage.  Of course, for a vegetarian version, just omit the sausage. The marvelous thing about soup is that you can throw whatever you have on hand into the pot and let it simmer away and work its magic.  The prep bowls are Le Creuset ramekins which I also thrifted.  Season the soup to taste.  Monsieur used Himalayan salt which has a lovely pale pink colour.  Just remember that if you are using sausages, they will impart some salty smoky flavour to the soup.

A dollop of sour cream on top and some basil leaves (omit the sour cream if you are lactose intolerant) and a couple of slices of toasted crusty bread on the side and you have a filling, warming Winter meal.  The bread is on a Denby plate, also thrifted.  What are you doing to stay warm this Winter?  And if you are somewhere sunny, please send some sunshine my way!

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Put A Horse On It

Did you know that 2014 is the Year of the Horse?  I picked up a couple pairs of vintage onyx horse head bookends recently and am in love. I had been keeping an eye out for them for ages but whenever I found them, they were usually chipped or there was just a sad, lonely single.  I think I have to stop at 2 pairs because a third makes (another) collection!

I love the translucent striations in the stone and how each piece is unique. The second pair has striations on the horizontal instead of vertical with dark tan accents.

The only problem with bookends is that, when they are fulfilling their destiny as bookends, you can't really see them in their full glory.

You see?  All you see is the front of their, albeit handsome, heads.  Do you have bookends on your bookshelves or in your decor?  How do you arrange them?  I was pondering this dilemma (I know there are bigger, more important issues in the world but it is a dilemma) when I came across 47 Park Avenue.  OMG! The extreme fabulousness!

via 47 Park Avenue

I am entranced with the hits of pink. Bold without being sickly sweet.  Do you notice the horse heads on the mantel?  I love the depth and layers on the mantelscape.   Lining things in.a.row. is a trap that I fall into over and over again.  I am really trying these days to be a bit more brave and daring with my decor.

Not as outrageously fabulous as 47 Park Avenue, admittedly, but at least now I can enjoy the horse heads more fully.  I have quite a few thrifted vintage knick knacks on that tallboy dresser including a Royal Krona of Sweden owl and a modernist Hoselton angel that I thrifted recently.  The gigantic round eyes of the owl make me laugh and I like to imagine that the angel is watching over me.  Coincidentally, Pantone announced the colour of the year as Radiant Orchid.  So quite by chance, I've managed to cover the bases on two trends this year!  Are you planning on incorporating any purple in your decor this year!  Or do you stay away from trends?

This week I'm linking up with A Stroll Thru Life, Remnant PDXSir Thrift A LotA Living Space, and The Thrifty Groove.

Monday, 6 January 2014

New Year Decorating

Happy New Year!  Are your Christmas decorations still up?  Sadly, I have to admit that many of mine are still on display.  I don't think that I can take all of the blame though as I live with an overgrown man child who prefers that they stay up until Valentine's Day.  I think that, last year, by the time he consented to get rid of the Christmas tree (and only because I pointed out that it had become a fire hazard), it was so dry that branches and pine needles were snapping off at the merest touch.  I find that decorating after the holidays is a bit tricky.  Everything seems so boring and blah after the glamour of holiday decor.  It's too early for Spring themes when we are being lashed by snowstorms galore yet Winter themes feel tired and redundant.  With a nod to Winter, I have a huge crystal bowl filled with pinecones and dried citrus fruit set out on the dining table.  I thrifted the bowl just before Christmas. 

I think it might be by Lasisepat as it looks really similar to their cactus vase.  It doesn't look like a cactus to me though.  I think the wavy rim looks more like icicles or icy stalagmites and reminds me of the wintry freeze outside.  What do you think?  I tucked glass glitter birds in amongst the pinecones as I wanted a bit of Wintry sparkle.  Do you see them peeking out?

One of the things I love about the New Year is cracking open a new daily planner or diary.  I know that the thing to do nowadays is to record appointments on a smartphone or Ipad but I'm adamantly oldfashioned in this regard.  I prefer jotting things down in a daily planner.  I noticed that a lot of things were selling out way ahead of Christmas and Boxing Day.  I think, because we had a severe ice storm and there are still a lot of people without electricity, there was a bit of a siege mentality going on.  Usually I am able to nab a Moleskine planner on Boxing Day but this time I got it before Christmas as it was the last one at my local bookstore.

Only a few clementines left!  We picked up the last box of clementines at the local grocery store on Christmas Eve.  I couldn't believe that it was the last box as usually there is a giant mountain of them at this time of year.  I put the clementines in a vintage Boda Nova bowl.  Love the clean simple lines, wafer thin walls and the accompanying cork trivet.
Having fresh flowers in the house is an expensive luxury especially at this time of year.  So I compromised by having a few leafy cuttings snipped from the hedges outside.  I popped them into a vintage Iittala Savoy vase thrifted just before Christmas.

I had been on the lookout for this vase for a while as I loved the organic shape of it.  I think it is the smallest size available which suits me fine as a few sprigs looks perfect in it.  No need to worry about trying to arrange a giant mass of flowers.

I love juxtaposing different eras and styles.  I have tried to keep to one style or era but have found that it doesn't work for me.  I prefer the layered look.  It amuses me to place the clean lines of a Scandinavian vase against a pile of weathered old books.  How do you approach decorating?  Do you have a specific style that you adhere to?  Let me know how your Winter decorating, post holidays, is going!

I'm linking up with A Stroll Thru Life, A Living Space, The Thrifty Groove.

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