Monday, 21 September 2015

Thrifty, thrifted purses and a feather in my cap.

Whew!  I can't believe that the end of September is in sight, and fall is stealthily creeping up on us.  For me, that means that I really need to GET CRACKING on my hand-made gift list.  Especially since I still have Christmas quilt tops from 2014, er back to school 2015, er quilts tops for Thanksgiving 2015 that need to get basted, quilted and bound.

What's a girl to do when she feels the shoulder-buckling pressure of deadlines....combined with the inability to clear off the kitchen table, so that she can sew? 

Why, she hits the thrift stores for some retail therapy of course!!

These two purses were a little larger than pencil cases.  The white purse is a beautiful, macrame purse.  The black clutch is made of leather.  Both these purses were in beautiful, mint condition and they came home with me.

Macrame and slim leather wallet/pursey things.

$4.99 for a genuine leather, made in Canada clutch?

Yes please!

Exquisitely woven straw purse. It looks like it was never used.

Yes please!!

This purse broke my heart.  Brown lucite handle with cork-covered exterior. It was too cute for words.  Unfortunately the plastic handle had obvious scratches on it.  That won't do.

It got left behind.

Oooh, what do I behold?  

Could it be????

Is it??

YES!  A Welsh tapestry purse!!

You betcha it came home with me!

I love this purse!!  It comfortably holds my over-sized wallet, cell phone, keys and other miscellaneous junk.  This purse is MAGIC!!  It takes my usual jeans and t-shirt to a whole NEW LEVEL!!

Plus my kids roll their eyes whenever they see it.... that's gotta be a good sign, right?

This beaded beauty had opalescent bugle beads and seed beads.  It was priced at less than $5, but the insides were marked up, and I didn't need it, so it stayed behind.

Pretty beaded purse.

This tooled leather purse was another great find.  I specially liked the leather stitched trim.  But I already have several tooled purses which I this one stayed behind.

Hmmm, what do we have here?

Please note that no animals, or feathered creatures were harmed during the production of this blog post.

Now that we got that out of my system.  I'm off to clear off that dratted kitchen table so that I can get sewing....

happy thrifting ;)

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Back to School 2015, pristine purse haul edition

Whew!  Two posts in one day!!  This second post has been brought to you courtesy of the 100% humidity and high temperatures that manifested themselves in the last few hours.  Walking outside feels like walking through those long, damp thingies that hang in car-washes (but not nearly as fun).  You're instantly covered in a damp forcefield.  Since damp forcefields and yardwork don't mix, I'm inside enjoying the coolness. Sadly I can't even paint the DIY projects in the garage...the high humidity prevents the paint from curing properly.

Well the oppressive, damp, heat is your gain!! Instead of slaving away outside and perspiring profusely, I'm indoors on the couch  uploading handbags that joined my collection this summer.  After all, nothing says "Labor Day Weekend" like gratuitous pics of purses.


Here is my back-to-school purse haul.  The prices ranged from $3.50 to $14.99 (not including sales taxes).  Pardon the unsightly mess on the couch.  That is the second laptop I'm upgrading to Windows 10....getting the kids ready for back to cool baby!!

Let's start with the first item I found back in June.  Technically it's not a purse, but it can be used as such.  Check out this vintage, vanity case!

Value Village $14.99

What's inside to you ask?  Just a few other gems I bought this summer.  Value Village had one of those 30% off deals, so I bought some bits and bobs.

Jewelery!!  Love the plastic clippies for $4.99!!  Then the pewter ear goodies for $3.99.  Last but not least, a moonstone Coro neckie for $4.99!!

Back-to-school snacks anyone!  These goodies hold 1 cup of cereal. The packaging dates to the year 2000...that's almost vintage, right?  These little treasures will hold my dry's unlikely the kids will want to use them since they are teenagers, and thus too cool for cartoon, cereal characters.  

An awesome, assortment of fringe!!!  I think I have several metres here.

Are you ready for this?  Snap, Crackle and Pop in button form!!  I think I have all the cereals covered now.

In July I found a plethora of picnic baskets at the Village.  I bought this one for $4.99.  It's can't hold a lot of heavy stuff, but it'll do for holding fruit, sandwiches, plastic cutlery and such.

Value Village $4.99

Now that I'm indoors watching Buffy re-runs, I have to share some of my favorite outfits from one of my favorite episodes (Season 2, Episode 21 Becoming Part 1).

Buffy is wearing a beautiful, opalescent duster.  Of course she is running through the high school at night.  Honestly, don't the custodians lock the doors after the last bell?

Another great 90's look, manicured strong eyebrows, and a lustrous lower lip.  Kendra, the backup slayer, is wearing a loose leather jacket and cropped baggy pants. Love it!!

When I saw this embossed goody, I held my breath.  Like Buffy, it too hailed from the 90s.  I snapped it up!!

$3.50, half-price sale at Value Village.

The tags were still on it!!  This Liz Claiborne is definitely worth $29 (suggested retail), but I was happier paying less.  I love the little cell phone pocket in this purse.  Nothing screams 90s more than a Samsung flip phone!

For all you kids out there.  A flip phone can only be used for phone calls and basic texting.  Back in the day, this was considered cutting-edge technology.

Back to Buffy.....wait for it.


Red pointy shoes, black tights, red maxi-dress and an ox-blood,  long lace cardi.

It's Drusilla!!

Check out that French manicure!!

I think Dru would approve the following mini-portfolio.  

$10 at Value Village half-price sale.

Large enough to store a mickey of blood, it comes with a handy cross-body strap.  It's another Friends era purse with a small, flip-phone holder (which I'll prolly use to hold my chapstick).

This goody still has the $40 price tag on it....yay!!

Tags intact!!

Here is a woven straw lovely, from an earlier, uncomplicated time.  Back when people walked to the corner, pay phone. People walked more then.  It was probably used to carry a compact, house keys and a coin purse...full of dimes for the phone (yup, I went there).

Salvation Army, $6.99.

Wait till you see the inside!!!

Yes, the lining has delicious fruits printed on it.  And a "made in the British colony of Hong Kong" tag.  Like the other purses, it's in minty, unused condition.

Here is my second, most recent acquisition.  I almost passed on this pristine, suede and leather purse.  Because I have a lot of purses.  Some of which I haven't even used yet.  But the buckle-y goodness of this Wilson Leather Rex won me over.

Meet one of the newest additions to my collection!!  

Salvation Army $8.99.

The stuffing is still in the outside pouch!

The final purse is below.  Another pristine, never used purse. This one is a genuine, leather and suede purse.  It was MADE IN CANADA!!!

Salvation Army $4.99.

The latch took some figuring out.  Once I popped it open, I was amused to see the manufacturer label.

Mastercraft, Made in Canada.

Mastercraft. And I thought they just made power tools and screwdriver sets!!

After spending a fortune on back-to-school supplies at Walmart.  I was happy to see a selection of donated supplies at the Salv Army.  I snapped up these 2 pencil cases for myself.

Salvation Army $1.99 each.

The red one will hold my MP3 player and assorted paraphanelia.  The blue one is going to hold the small stuff that gets lost in the depths of my large mommy, Tardis totes.

And speaking of the Tardis.  Check out a purchase I made while we were in Chicago.

I can hardly WAIT to bring this lunchbag to work!!!

happy thrifting everyone ;)

DIY Surgery and what I wore to work

A co-worker recently had abdominal surgery.  When she called with an update, she informed us that the surgeon had sent her home with staples (in her midsection), and a staple-remover.

How is that for DIY?

Before I show you pics of what I wore to work.  Allow me to indulge you with some delicious finds at the Salv Army.

When I saw this set tucked away in the furniture section at the back of the store, my heart started palpitating.  It definitely looked vintage.  

Teapot goodness!!

I took a look at the maker's mark, examined the pieces for damage, and popped the two trays, the teapot and a creamer into my cart.

I left the casseroles, the extra creamer and the coffee pot for someone else to enjoy.  How is THAT for restraint, eh??

The Meakin pieces were in excellent condition, and very reasonably priced.  The two trays were $1.99 each, the teapot was $5.99, and the creamer was $2.99.  In total everything cost a shade under $13.

I am using the tea set at work.  I make tea and hot chocolate at work.  I also bring fruit to snack on.  My new tea set organizes everything without making an unsightly mess of food and drink.  

I love the little grey and olive geometric flowers on this set!! 

Without further ado, here are some random outfits.

What I wore when the AC was crazy cold.

Plus sized Liz Claiborne chambray shirt, thrifted, $1
J Crew black linen pants, thrifted, $4

The weather here has been lovely and hot.  Sometimes it has been too hot.  We crank up the fans (which is our AC system) and sometimes it gets too cold.  This outfit kept me nice and warm/cool :)

What I wore for work and errands.

Evan Picone top, thrifted $4
Green Woolrich skirt, thrifted $3

What I wore when I had to work 2 of my jobs.

Pink t-shirt with glitter embellishment, thrifted, $3
Cotton pants, Ricki's clearance sale, ???

I bought two pairs of these nifty pants from a clearance sale at Ricki's.  They were summer stock, and I bought them in the fall.  I forgot if I paid $20 or $10 each.  It's more likely I paid $10 for them.  They were a tad too large when I bought them, so I threw them in the washer and dryer a few times.  I'm happy to report that either I grew, or the pants shrunk, because now they fit me just fine :)   Remember kids, wash cotton pants BEFORE you hem them.

Pants with vintage necktie pattern!!
Yes, I have more than one job.  I have worked 2 to 3 jobs since I was 13 years old.  And believe me, that extra part-time job has definitely saved me a few times.  I'm trying to be more frugal so that I can save more of the money I make.  

What I wore when I answered a bunch of emails and phone calls.
Talbot's shirt, thrifted $3
Woolrich skirt, thrifted $3

What I wore on casual Friday.

Ricki's blazer, thrifted $10
Alia sequined t-shirt, thrifted $3
Calvin Klein pants, TJ Max clearance $8

This outfit woke a few people up.  It's difficult to tell from my crappy pictures, but the pants are bright pink.

What I wore when the weather cooled.

Jessica, cotton sweater, thrifted $???
Eddie Bauer, maxi-skirt, church rummage sale, $2
Necklace, thrifted $5
Wilson Leather purse, thrifted $8.99

This outfit received a few compliments from work.  I love the fact that I paid so little for it.  The skirt is a maxi, I had to wear sandals with a heel so that the hem wasn't dragging on the ground.

I forget how much I paid for the sweater.  I bought it during my 'blue' phase in the spring.  I'm pretty sure I didn't pay more than $4 for it.

Thrift shopping has really changed how I look at clothing.  I love to have lots of clothing (and purses, and shoes, and jewelery!).  But as the years go by, I find I'm paying less and less.  I used to pay no more than $10 for a thrifted item, and $25 for a new item.  Now I'm paying closer to $2 for a thrifted item and $15 for a new item.  Since I discovered bag sales, and Goodwill Outlet, sometimes I pay less than $1 for an item.

I have a pretty cynical eye towards trends.  I still love to watch fashion shows, and read fashion magazines.  But so much of the stuff in retail stores is poorly made sludge that has been dredged up from the 80s and 90s.  Why not shop thrift stores and get the originals?

happy thrifting ;)

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Family vacation, Chicago edition

Hello friends! Our family threw caution in the face of the horrible US/Canada exchange rate and we went to Chicago.  It was quite the trip.  It was our first blended family trip, and the first time any of us had been to Chicago.

We experienced a bunch of firsts during this trip.

But before I get to that, may I present vintage Griswolds. 

Here is a pic of the ThriftyParka version.

Wrigley Field baby!!

And here is a dashboard pic from our trip.  We are driving to the Field Museum.  

Chicago has quite the majestic skyline.  The kids oohed and ahhed as the tall skyscrapers appeared.

Then something interesting happened.

My darling boyfriend observed that most of the Chicagoan motorcyclists were not wearing helmets...with the exception of these Outlaws.

First time a motorcycle gang was commended for being safety conscious. CHECK.

Eventually we made our way to the Field Museum.  It was spectacular.  We saw Sue the T-Rex,

photo from Field Museum website

watched an IMAX movie about the Galapagos Islands, visited the dinosaur exhibit, saw a mummy and ate some delicious food at the museum cafe.  

Us girls squeezed in a quick pass through the Grainger Hall of Gems while the boys ran outside to rent bicycles and explore.

My youngest daughter and I bonded over the topaz display. It's our common birthstone. 

Photo © 2008 The Field Museum, Geo86518_0755Ad
One of many gems on display from the 1893 World’s Columbian exposition is this 16.6-carat golden topaz.
Sadly eldest daughter wasn't on this trip, so she missed seeing her birthstone.

Photo © 2008 The Field Museum, GEO86518_0208Ad
A ruby crystal on white marble from the Yen Bai Province in Vietnam.

Turquoise is one of my favorite gems, the Grainger Hall had a bunch of those too.

My daughter and I really enjoyed the Grainger Hall, I highly recommend it to any bloggers out there.  

We were supposed to see Kid Rock that night at Tinley Park, but he cancelled, oh well.

The next day we wandered over to Lake Michigan and went for a dip.  It was our first time in this great lake. CHECK.

That's me wading out. The water's beautiful and clear!!

That night was our first ball game at Wrigley Field. CHECK. 

Eventually I'd like to visit all baseball stadiums in North America.

The seats ahead of us were empty, so the kids and boyfriend moved up a row. I stayed behind to snap pics and people watch.

Huzzah! I mastered the panoramic setting on my iPhone, CHECK.

The sunset was absolutely gorgeous.

This wasn't the most frugal trip we took - we overspent but sometimes you have to bite the onion and charge it!!  We made some great memories AND we got to spend quality time with the kids.  

Plus, on the way back we spent the night at hotel in Duluth. Now it wasn't my first time in Duluth, MN.  But it was my first time swimming in a stainless steel pool.

First time ThriftyParka felt like she was an entree in a buffet table, CHECK.

Back to school is just around the corner. The weather is a little crisper. Soon we'll be bidding adieu to summer and welcoming autumn.  So how did YOU spend your summer, hmmm?  Do tell.

happy thrifting ;)