19 October 2013

Thrifting Finds

When I was young and stupid and living with a boy for the very first time, I hated hand-me-downs. I wanted new-everything: furniture, dishware, artwork, appliances... you name it, I wanted to buy it. Mostly at full price (because then, I didn't believe in discounts.)

Over the years I've grown to appreciate the life and soul of pre-loved items (maybe because I'm growing older and little careworn myself?) I'd give anything to turn back the clock and keep some of the one-of-a-kind and antique items I carelessly gave away in my twenties.

Since that's impossible (for now...), I just have to settle for collecting vintage items and giving them a new lease on life in our house.

Enter my newest pastime: thrifting.

I've been reading with my appreciation (and yes, envy) of other bloggers I know who score amazing finds at their local thrift shops. Items range from the very cool to the very collectible, with some even turning out to be hidden gems worth much more than their Value Village price tag (think Antiques Roadshow, but on a smaller scale).

I never found such attractive items at the second-hand stores in my neighbourhood, but a few weeks back it occurred to me that maybe the problem wasn't the inventory. It was the eye. I just didn't have an eye for spotting that unique, amazing, one-of-a-kind gem in the (let's face it) gigantic piles of crap that thrift stores often accumulate.

So, being on a tight budget now that I'm sabbatical for a few months, I decided to challenge myself. I needed to collect a few new dishes anyway for Recipe Tuesdays, so I set aside $20 for the task and hit the bricks in search of fabulous thrifting finds.

Here are a few of the beauties I brought home with me:

I've always wanted a little pot for French onion soup. I think they're adorable, if slightly impractical (because really, how often do I make onion soup?) There were four to choose from but I decided to purchase just one. If it turns out that I do make onion soup more than the single time I need to in order to justify the purchase, I'll search out others to make a set. Cost: $0.75.

This little bone china bowl and saucer was so pretty I couldn't turn it down, even though it was a little pricier than I would have liked at $5.00 for the set. It has a bucolic French toile pattern that I love for its daintiness. She's a bit chipped and battle-scarred, but her grace and colour won the day.

Funny story about these little Asian bowls. When I spotted them at Goodwill I was totally taken with them. I know they're everywhere and not unique at all; practically everyone I know and their grandmother has a set. But I love the depth of colour and the Japanese (?) characters, so when I stumbled across them my first thought was: These are so pretty! Who would give these up?!

I was excited to add them to our existing set, which was packed away somewhere at home in a box as yet unearthed.

Now, I think I've mentioned at one point or another how many truckloads of stuff we donated to thrift stores during our move from one Pit to the next? Right. So it turns out, our little set of bowls wasn't so much packed away as it was given away. In that, one year ago Daryn decided we no longer needed little decorative bowls we never used, and shipped them off for someone else to enjoy.

Apparently, that someone else is us. I totally owned these bowls, then donated them, then paid fifty cents each for the privilege of getting them back. Which is a very roundabout way of reminding oneself just how much I really do like these little bowls.

This little yellow casserole dish had me at hello. Was it the colour that sucked me in? For sure. Can you feel how happy it is? There was no question it had to come home with me and at four bucks, it was a total bargoon. I couldn't pass it up.

Look for it on a Foodie Tuesday in the deep winter months. I've got big plans for this little guy that involved copious amount of macaroni and cheese.

Because I'm going to cook homemade macaroni and cheese in it. Just in case that wasn't clear.

There are a ton more purchases I made ranging from $0.39 to $1.00 each, but I don't want to bore you all at once. I'm saving the others for a separate post so I can bore you over the course of several days instead!

So tell me: what's the best score you've ever found at a thrift store?